Spring break is over and I am so excited to report to y’all that I have found a pair of stylish, colorful AND comfy flats! This pointed toe pair from RestrictedShoes.com passed my personal test of wearable shoes in Europe, where I hiked up the French cliffs of Étretat. The back of the shoe did not rub against my heel and irritate my feet like most flats tend to do, and they maintained their beautifully embroidered colors after a good amount of walking. I wore the “Giselle – Black” style but honestly had the hardest time picking a pair off their website. There are so many options, and knowing they would be comfortable only made the decision even harder.
While spending my break in Paris with my family, we decided to venture to the beaches of Normandy to mix things up a bit. The whole journey there was filled with hilarious mishaps from getting kicked off a bus (for not having the exact amount of change) to nearly missing a train because we lost each other in the train station to arriving at our train destination only to find out there was no rental cars in the small town of Rouen to somehow locating a car and driving another hour to the cliffs of Étretat.
Finally, after my Dad’s first drive in Europe and many laughs, we descended from the winding road to the charming town of Étretat that could easily be the backdrop for Beauty and the Beast. The town was nestled between two towering cliffs that house three white arches. I had stumbled upon pictures of the town online some months earlier but they could not compete with the magnitude and beauty of the actual view. For those of you planning a trip to France, this is easily my number one destination if you are looking to get out of the big city and see authentic French countryside. And you know what goes great with this type of travel? Restricted Shoes flats! The whole journey I wore these flats and loved how their bright, bold print contrasted the cooler tones of the scene.
They are a great style for Spring and so easy to pair with anything from jeans to shorts to solid colored dresses. I wore them with a spotted cardi for some additional contrasting patterns. These flats are currently priced at $55 but if you use code BARELYBLONDE25 you will receive 25% off your purchase! (This can be applied to all shoes on the site at RestrictedShoes.com.)
I hope y’all are having a wonderful month and I can’t wait to share more ways I style these shoes in the warmer months!
In the same manner as springs blooms greet the sun, so do engagement photos and wedding announcements blossom all over social media. This time of year celebrates new stages of life, and in particular two love-birds saying hello to forever. As I scroll through my Instagram feed I see the latest picture of the newly engaged couple preparing for the wedding, venue shopping, asking their friends to stand by them on their big day and setting the actual date. While excitement is abundant there is also the stress of each person’s role in a wedding ranging from soon-to-be bride to bridal party to wedding guest. As a gal in her early 20s invitations are bountiful but money is not. While I want to look the best I can, I also want to keep my savings. It can be stressful trying to find dresses for every wedding you have and avoid the dreaded “outfit repeating” (cue Lizzie McGuire clip). Last summer I discovered Plum Pretty Sugar who provides effortlessly elegant dresses, pj sets, and robes all that are perfect for any wedding you’ve rsvp-ed to. Not only do they have beautiful pieces for a bridal party, but they also a offer looks to transition from newlywed honeymooner to mamas-to-be. I excited to share with y’all three of the many looks they offer that I think would be perfect for any wedding! The first look is my ideal engagement-party dress, the second is a bridesmaid look, and the third is a look for unwinding on the honeymoon.
Engagement Party Look Inspo
While I have never been engaged, I have played bridal in a myriad of bridal shoots and always wondered what kind of dress I would wear to my own engagement party. I’ve been in love with the off-the-shoulder trend since it popularized last spring and thought this midi-dress was a perfect balance of feminine flair. I love the asymmetrical flowers and the smokey sky blue color of the dress for year round engagements. The dress is more fitted around the waist and looser around the legs. The top is elastic so it stays exactly where you want it without constricting your movement. The one thing you can’t get from these pictures is the lightweight and breathable fabric the dress is made from. I am amazed at the quality for each piece and think Plum Pretty Sugar knows how to do engagement dresses right. Pretty much any dress on their site will steal the show making them the perfect resource when shopping around as a bride-to-be.
As brides try to juggle the lightening bolts of wedding planning, they also want to make their best friends feel cherished. While this may be easy one-on-one, trying to collectively satisfy a group of women can be a challenge. Each relationship is unique and you don’t want to squander any individuality in your friends; but how do you maintain some uniformity in the process? Bridesmaid dresses are often a dilemma in the planning, but Plum Pretty Sugar provides a quick solution by offering several dress styles for every color or print they offer. This means brides can simply pick a color or print they want and bridesmaids can go from there choosing the length of the dress, style and the best fit for their body-type. While it took me forever to pick my favorite print, I wound up selecting the Ashley Dress in the Oceane Lulls the Billows print. I loved the ultra-feminine florals halter dress with its sexy double slit to show summer tan legs (once I get there)! The dress is priced at $70 but can be purchased in a bridesmaid set if several if the women want the same style. While this dress and print would be stunning for bridesmaids, any wedding guest could rock it.
Honeymoon outfits tend to be overlooked which is such a shame because its the perfect opportunity to show off your cutest looks to your new spouse! This Swoon Off-the-Shoulder dress will undoubtedly keep that newlywed glow going! I absolutely love the white-on-white with detailed embroidered to dress up with any color you choose. This dress is so flattering it can easily become a staple summer piece after the wedding bliss sets in. While I did not shoot any pjs sets this time around I still wanted to link them for you to check out and will have an older post including the pjs up on my Instagram story today!!! Click here for all the different pj prints. This company is amazing and with all the prints and styles they offer there is something for everyone.
Now last but certainly not least is the creative professionals who helped this collaboration come to life: Jonathan Ivy! This married duo just moved from Houston and pretty much specialize in making any wedding or commercial photography dreams come true. They are beyond diligent researching their clients needs and assuring a timely and beautiful result comes to fruition. If you live in San Antonio please reach out them for your photography needs! They are wonderful and we are so lucky to have them as our newest locals! Their website is http://www.jonathanivyphoto.com! I hope y’all enjoyed reading about Plum Pretty Sugar and glancing over the images from Jonathan Ivy. If you have any questions feel free to reach out!
Now that the Spring semester has started and I have turned in my law review comment, you can find me lugging books and my laptop from class to the library to home and back again. Intermittently I have photo-shoots or lunch meetings with other professionals, but for most of my day I am running around trying to squeeze in my latest reading assignment. While I love constantly being on the move, I have always dreaded carrying around a “turtle shell” aka hefty backpack. Up until two weeks ago, I lived the turtle-life because a purse was too small and my old backpack was the only thing that fit everything I needed. However, it was filled with loose writing utensils, notes and highlighters and was basically a black-hole.
Over the past few months I’d been keeping my eye out for a chic but functional backpack, but nothing quite fit my needs. That is until I discovered this gorgeous leather backpack on Etsy! You know when you find a product and you instantly love it, and then the more you use it the more you love it and you didn’t even know how perfect it was when you first bought it? Well that is this bag for me. When I first saw the photos on Etsy by The Bag Minimalist I loved it’s clean lines and rich color. But once it arrived and I was able to fill it with all my miscellaneous items, did I see the true genius in its design. It fits the variety of roles I play: student, law clerk and blogger without forcing me to switch bags between. It is a soft cowhide leather that makes it super lightweight and has several inside compartments that make it easy to stay organized. It is just big enough to fit the essentials without looking bulky. I finally feel like I have crossed over to looking like a young professional and I couldn’t love this playful but mature bag any more. Check out the different ways I have styled this bag!
With so many adventures planned for this year, I can’t wait to take this bag as my carry-on! If you want to see other similar products by The Bag Minimalist click here!
How beautiful are these “Slow Motion” wedges from Restricted Shoes? When I first saw them online I was drawn to their unique cut-out designs and season-less style but when they arrived I loved them even more for their comfort. I’ve recently been struggling to find heels that don’t rub against the side of my foot and the lace-up detail on these wedges has solved that problem. Plus we all know wedges are always super comfortable!
And to really test their comfort level, I have even airport-proofed them for y’all by flying from San Antonio to Tuscon for a stay with my sister before the holidays at home. Once I arrived in Arizona I styled them with this embroidered floral tunic and a pair of leggings. Lately I have been wearing them with jeans and leggings but they can just as easily be paired with dresses or shorts in warmer temperatures. I chose the Taupe wedges because I wanted a pair I could wear with anything however they come in a variety of neutrals from Black to rich Cognac colors if you would like a more contrasted look. While they may be the perfect holiday shoes I know I will be sporting them all Spring and Summer long. These wedges definitely live up to the Restricted Shoes’ slogan: life shouldn’t be Restricted, just your shoes. This brand is my new favorite go-to for super cute shoes that don’t sacrifice comfort. Check them out at RestrictedShoes.com.
Last weekend I attended the second anniversary of “Johnny Was” at their La Cantera location. The store was staffed by the sweetest and most stylish women who made the whole experience delightful. They had desserts and live music to accompany their latest arrivals for fall fashion. Everything about this boho chic location is perfection; from the embroidered blouses to the silk scarves strung across the room. Their fashion inspired a sense of adventure and takes you away to a magical shopping trip.
After trying on this Zivelly tunic I knew I couldn’t leave the store without it. It has quickly become one of my favorite pieces I have ever owned. It is lightweight and ohhh so comfortable. I have been pairing it with leggings lately but as the weather cools off more I will continue to style it with jeans and light layers. I love tucking this tunic in the front or leaving it loose for a laid back vibe. If you are looking for some truly unique and eye-catching pieces definitely check out Johnny Was, and if you are in San Antonio I can’t encourage you enough to check out the La Cantera shop; you won’t be disapointed.
Hope you all have a beautiful Sunday,
P.S. I also couldn’t leave without one of their gorgeous scarves so keep your eyes out for some pics styling it in the near future.
About this time each year I start to look for new places to shop in preparation for classes and fall transition looks. While I am anxious to start styling fall outfits, I couldn’t resist this striking pop of summer color from PB&J Boutique. As if this store wasn’t already perfect, they also offer free shipping and a 10% off discount to new shoppers! I just had to share this lovely online shop with y’all. It offers the latest trends with a vintage flair and will be a frequent go-to of mine!
I ordered this stunning Cayenne blouse because really, who wouldn’t want a red off-the-shoulder top to finalize their summer wardrobe. I love the feminine pattern and the sweetheart neckline! With such a fiesty blouse I had to try something more daring for a photo shoot. Ignoring my fear of heights, I ventured onto the top floor of a parking garage and hopped on the wall (Yes I was shaking the whole time). But I think the bold location emulated the blouse and once again showcased a little piece of the city I hold so dear.
After the rainy weekend we had here in San Antonio and the heartbreak of Houston it was nice to see the sun and have a little fun. I hope you all have been able to do the same and check out this new find!
P.S. if you are in the market for some booties, PB&J has some ADORABLE pairs if I dare say so!
Some days you just want to throw on a princess skirt and twirl around your favorite shop. And that is exactly what I did in this beautiful chiffon maxi by Dainty Jewell’s. I recently discovered the online boutique’s wide selection of modest yet modern styles and fell in love with this ultra-feminine skirt. The Fluttering Fancy Skirt is priced at $64.95 which is a steal for this whimsical staple piece. Each one of their pieces is uniquely elegant and gives a nod to the best fashions of the past and inviting them into the present. While they not only have a large selection of styles, they also respect the different bodies of women and offer several sizes to include every woman. Each piece is created timelessly for women by women. Dainty Jewell’s is definitely a new favorite shop for dress-up occasions when I want something completely different.
Beyond their everyday wear collections they have also expanded their site to include beautiful bridesmaids dresses that can be worn throughout the year. What I love about their bridesmaids pieces is the unique prints and colors. They have cultivated their own styles and stay true to their core values of offering modest and modern pieces.
I hope y’all have a fabulous Monday and check out Dainty Jewell’s unique collection for some classic pieces!
I recently discovered Welly Merck and their beautiful mesh strap watches and knew I had to get my hands on one. I’ve seen other mesh straps however, what I love about the Classic New York watch is the straps are interchangeable. Everything about the brand is timeless and fashionable. Behind the company is a classic romance which we all know is my Achilles heel.
The name “Welly Merck” is the final two words in a fairy tale romance. It is based on the true story of an American boy, Merck, falling in love during an Italian vacation with a girl named Welly. The two overcame the challenges of a long-distance relationship and found a home together in Switzerland where they created the next chapter of their story. Here, their watch company was born. Their initial vision to create affordable luxury in watches continues to embody the brand’s reality today.
Beyond the Welly Merck’s exceptional story, my expectations were quickly surpassed. The watch arrived quickly after ordering it in a beautiful teal box and made me feel proud to own my first luxury mesh watch. I chose the rose gold watch because I wanted something summery, but I quickly realized it would become a year-long staple for me. It is simple and elegant. I have received so many compliments on this piece and honestly have never loved a watch more!
I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
P.S. If you are interested in purchasing your own piece feel free to use the code BARELYBLONDE20 at checkout for 20% off your purchase www.wellymerck.com.
If you’ve ever had the itch to step outside of your comfort zone in a creative endeavor, I cannot recommend working with Obsidian + Blush enough! Nico and Michi work endlessly to create a fairy tale photography experience. Their vision challenges the bounds of creativity from floral corsets to Cinderella themes and monochromatic sets. They create the entire set themselves handling everything from styling to hair to makeup to snapping the perfect angle.
I had the pleasure of joining them on a Victorian fashion shoot several months ago and was truly inspired by their work. They make being professional fun. They make you feel like a supermodel from encouraging you to play music, bring beverages and even bringing friends!
I jumped at the invite to shoot in their pink and white monochromatic sets for something unique. The pink set looks straight out of a movie. If you love pink, then this may finally satisfy that! I would never consider white a playful color, until I saw the balloons and tiles composing their second set. It was like swimming in a sea of childhood bliss tossing around dozens of balloons. They are by far my favorite creative duo and I can’t thank them enough for their unique photoshoots! Keep your eyes out for a winter/holiday theme coming soon!!!
Production: Obsidian + Blush
Photography: Nico Nordström Photography
Set Design/Construction: Nico Nordström and Michi Lafary
Hair/Styling: Michi Lafary
Sitting in a white chair, grasping an iced coffee she responded with a beaming smile, “I always would choose to be deaf. I wouldn’t be Emma without all the challenges and struggles everyday. “ Katie, Emma and I had been sitting in the quant Bird Bakery for nearly thirty minutes meeting for the first time and she felt like a friend I’d known my whole life. I had spent the past four weeks reading about Emma Faye anticipating our meeting but could never have expected how charming Miss San Antonio would be!
She sat there dressed in a white and floral maxi dress from a local Boerne boutique Ella Blu paired with clogs fit for a busy day. Her dress was the perfect transition piece from a coffee date to a photo-shoot. In the Texas heat, she not only looked amazing but stayed cool. I opted for a braided crop top and flowy white skirt from my latest trip to La Cantera. I can’t seem to make it out of my favorite outdoor mall without snagging a bag, or two, or three!
While chatting with Emma, it became clear nothing about her was surface level, through and through she was true beauty; sweeter than sugar. Over the past year, the 21 year-old had carefully created the first ever deaf music festival, Good Vibrations. The festival stemmed from her non-profit Aid the Silent. She had raised over $150k to support the event and had even implemented her detective skills to encourage companies to sponsor her event. With a couple giggles, Emma reminisced about finagling her way on a flight to a Las Vegas hotel where she knew a company’s Vice President was staying for a conference only to knock on his door and smile her way into a sponsorship, “my mom and I are crazy in the best way.”
While she makes her success look like a breeze, it was no easy journey. Growing up as a deaf child, Emma often felt isolated, frustrated and her dreams to create a non-profit for the deaf and to compete in the Miss America circuit overlooked. She commented, “no one knew me (the dream in me), they didn’t know I wanted to play music.” It wasn’t until she turned 14 that she realized it was her choice to choose joy. After attending a Young Life retreat, people said the Emma they used to consider a blank slate now wore joy on her face. While she continued to dream of pursuing music, a deaf non-profit and the Miss American crown, she thought the reality of these were too distant to chase. Even leading up to her high school graduation, Emma planned to attend Beaumont University in Nashville to pursue a degree in Graphic Design following in her mother’s footsteps. But the week leading up to receiving her diploma proved her path would diverge. She felt called to attend UTSA and focus her energy into Aid the Silent.
At this part in her story, Emma interrupted herself inquiring what Katie’s forearm tattoo said. Katie read the handwritten ink “life’s not fair.” Emma nodded with a smile, “so true!” She segways the conversation into her first year in college when she met another deaf person for the first time. She volunteered at a homeless shelter where she had the revelation that she would spend her life serving the deaf. She immediately went home and purchased the domain for Aid the Silent. The non-profit addresses four specific areas in the deaf community: ministry, research, resources and education. Among the many services Aid the Silent provides they offer scholarships for families to obtain hearing aids the government does not provide. The organization also provides classes for people to become bilingual in American Sign Language to encourage communication with deaf loved ones. They also send children to summer camps. The entire non-profit is a rubics cube of bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds.
A few years ago, Emma generated #showyouraids which was a movement to fundraise for young girls. The campaign to show off hearing aids spread across the country and eventually the world! Good Vibrations became an extension of her efforts to integrate the divided deaf and hearing communities. The event embraced the deaf as guests of honor. It welcomed everyone to experience music like never before. The event married the rhythm with visual depictions of sounds such as a light-up dance floor, pulsing LED beach balls and backpacks that vibrated with the beat. Everyone was able to roam freely and not be pushed off into the shadows typical of a hearing environment, isolated to the corner with an interpreter. Emma talked about how dreamy it was to see deaf children experience music for the first time and break out of the silence to dance.
She began to play music at 14 through the vibrations resonating off a piano. She describes the feeling of the notes dancing through her arm as her experiencing music. After learning to play the piano she then added the guitar to her repertoire of skills. When playing the piano she felt the music in her arms, but when she plays the guitar she feels it in her heart. Eventually she began to learn to sing. Instead of feeling the sound in her chest she was able to learn how to control her pitch based on the feeling she had in her head! While she joked about still asking for help to check her sound, she has the voice of an angel. To hear her singing check out “Love Hears: In the Silence.”
Finishing up our coffee we decided to begin our photo-shoot. We had the pleasure of meandering through the recently renovated Witte Museum in childlike wonder. We marveled at the Dinosaur exhibit, interacted with a multitude of technologies and twirled around the temporary whales display. The Witte gave us a chance to step away from the heat but still enjoy the sunny day in its floor to ceiling windows.
Today Emma is working as Miss San Antonio for her second time. She is the first deaf Miss San Antonio as well as the first one to have founded a true non-profit. Because of her job as a public figure, her non-profit has skyrocketed. She aims to advocate for members of the deaf community and act as a role model and lobbyist for others in a world void of deaf leaders. THIS WEEK, Emma will be traveling to Dallas to compete for the Miss Texas crown, taking a step closer to her dreams. The thing that stuck with me after my time with Emma was not just her shear kindness but that love is a language all can hear.
Thank you all for your love and support! And lets cheer our sweet Emma on this week at Miss Texas!