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9/12/20

Giveaway: Minimalist Mascots for Modern Sports Fans

sports fan art
I'm always on the lookout for cool, unique products that celebrate the love of sports. That's why I've been a longtime fan of S. Preston Art + Designs. His modern interpretation of iconic stadiums are vibrant pieces of art that smartly key in on the visual elements of these beloved structures. They're not only interesting to look at, they tell a story. Then he moved on to another beloved element in sports — mascots.

I LOVE mascots, especially my own Rocky the Bull from the University of South Florida. I know a lot of other sports fans hold their mascots close to their hearts, too; some even invite them to their weddings! So when I saw S. Preston's new mascot poster prints and mugs in the same minimalist style he's famous for, I had to share. (I've already submitted my request for a Rocky the Bull mug, so standby USF fans!)

sports team mug

— GIVEAWAY —
 
To celebrate the much-anticipated return of college football, I'm teaming up with S. Preston to give away a college mascot poster print (pending availability; otherwise, the winner can choose an NFL mascot poster print). >> Head over to my Instagram @thestyleref to enter!

I highly encourage you to explore all of S. Preston's incredible art on his website. He's always adding new things and they all make great gifts for family, friends and colleagues! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of his style.

5/24/20

How to Makeover Your Shoe Collection Without Buying Another Pair

tips to organize shoes

It's safe to say most women realize deep down inside that they have way. too. many. shoes. For me, variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to fashion, but the truth is having so many options can create some issues. Whether you're trying to stick to a budget or simply running out of storage space, taking a close, hard look at your closet can be daunting, but also rewarding because it gives you a chance to get reacquainted with the things you love. During my time at home, I took major stock of my shoe inventory and quickly realized that in light of current events and budget considerations, I needed to focus on finding ways to maximize my wardrobe, so I could wear and enjoy more of what I already have. I'm really happy with the results and have a newfound excitement about my shoes. So put down your credit card and let's dig into your shoe situation together! Here are a few ways to make your current shoe collection feel like new again.

First, Inventory
This step is semi-painful, but very important to the process. You cannot wear what you have unless you know what you have. As you do this, keep in mind:
  • Do whatever you need to do to really take a good look at all your shoes, then toss the ones that are worn or no longer fit your style.
  • Eliminate duplicates (shoes that are really similar) and prioritize pairs you wear more often as opposed to those you rarely wear. I vote to keep special occasion shoes as long as they're comfortable because it's better to have a pair on hand that are already broken in.
  • Zero in on the shoes that have literally caused you pain — this is the time to be cutthroat. If you avoid wearing a particular pair due to how uncomfortable they are, take a deep breath and throw them out. If they're just a little tight and you think they're worth salvaging, try stretching them out. I recently tested Formé Shoe Shapers on a pair of pointed toe heels that were too tight in the front and they worked like magic. They now feel a half-size bigger and I can wear them without getting piercing pain in my toes.

Organize
Once you've finished taking inventory of your shoes, it's time for the fun part! Sorting by style and occasion will help you find what you need when you're putting together outfits. I group my shoes this way:
  • flats
  • heels and professional/work-appropriate shoes
  • sandals and "house shoes" (the pairs you throw on to get the mail, do a quick errand, etc.)
  • sneakers and tennis shoes
  • special occasion
  • boots and cold weather shoes
Once you sort your shoes into groups, identify the space(s) around your house where you can store them. My main closet is certainly not big enough to hold all my shoes and clothes, so I have shoes in different areas of my apartment, including in my closet, under the bed, inside a storage bench at the foot of my bed and in over-the-door organizers. Pro tip: the doors around your house offer well-hidden, often under-utilized storage space. Over-the-door organizers are great for all kinds of things, including shoes! For example, put just one over your closet door and you now have space to store 20+ pairs of shoes! Here are a few different types of organizers I use for my shoes.

Accessorize
You may not realize it yet, but some of the shoes in your closet can be transformed into a totally new style in seconds using a cool product called Straplets. This ingenious invention quickly and easily changes the look of your shoe and solves the problem of annoying shoe slips. Straplets come in four styles and I'm obsessed with how effortless they are. They also expand the number of ways you can wear your favorite shoes — using Straplets, you can style one pair of heels in four other different ways for a total of five unique looks! That's a lot of fashion bang for your buck. Check out how easy these are to use in this quick video and then shop Straplets here.


I hope these tips help you makeover your shoe collection, so you can more fully appreciate the beauty and potential of what you already have in your closet. Let me know how it goes! :)

5/19/20

7 Gratifying Things to Do at Home That Don't Cost a Dime

It's understandable why some people are going stir crazy at home, but in my case, I finally have time and energy to do all the things I put off in the past as a result of not being home enough. During quarantine, it's easy to get sucked into unfulfilling distractions like scrolling through social media, making TikToks and splurging on cute lounge wear. However, this time should be about finding joy and gratitude in simple things because that's precisely what we're all missing in our lives right now — we can't plan or celebrate or enjoy life exactly the way we used to, but the good news is we will again soon and we'll appreciate it that much more. In the meantime, I think we should make the most of our time at home and focus on achieving little wins for ourselves. Here are a few ideas for things to do at home that are not only free, but will make you feel pretty good, too.

1. Reorganize
This is an ongoing project for me because I feel like organizing is truly never done. However, I finally dove in to some areas of my place that needed a refresh like my closet and bathroom cabinets. In the hustle of normal life and daily routines, stuff accumulates and gets stored in nonsensical, unattractive ways. Quarantine is a great time to literally dig into the problem areas of your home and make some order out of the messes you've gradually created. You don't need to invest in fancy organizing systems or color-coded bins either; get creative and re-purpose things you already have around the house like Amazon boxes and empty (clean) food containers.


home organization

2. Try a Little DIY
I'm sure you have some DIYs or crafty projects lying around the house that you've been meaning to try, but there was always some new Netflix show to binge first. I, for one, have been making jewelry (one of my favorite hobbies/pastimes!) and next up, plan to do a paint-by-number canvas my mom gave me several Christmases ago (sorry, Mom!). Even if you're not into crafting, you can try a simple yet super satisfying DIY like this one from my friend Stephanie Pernas and update an old t-shirt or sweatshirt with a quick snip!

crop sweater DIY

3. Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are basically the modern, on-demand version of talk radio and with a huge podcast universe to explore, it's the perfect time to tune in. Do a quick podcast search based on your interests and then listen for free whenever you want. A couple of my favorites are Suze Orman's Women and Money podcast and Second Life.

listen to podcast

4. Brush Up on Your Skills
It's hard to imagine that people learned how to do hair and makeup before YouTube, so we're #blessed to live in a time when all this expertise is literally just a click away. One of my favorite quarantine activities is watching hair and makeup tutorials because this is a great opportunity to observe the pros and brush up on my skills. If you want to learn how to correctly apply bronzer or do a fishtail braid, seize the moment and prepare to be your best, beautiful self when we all emerge from quarantine.

makeup tutorial

5. Make a Vision Board
This is something I've had on my to-do list for a while and now I finally have the time and motivation to do it. I love the intention and purpose behind a vision board — organizing your goals and dreams in a way that helps you visualize them happening in your life. Planning a vision board and sitting down to put it together forces you to take stock of your life and what's important to you, which is part of the effect this quarantine experience is having on all of us. Here's a quick vision board tutorial to get you started. You can cut pictures and words out of magazines or print stuff off the internet, whatever works for you. Just make sure your vision board reflects the things you love and want for your life. Then make sure to display it somewhere that you can look at it every day.

vision board

6. Start a Gratitude Journal
This one is pretty straightforward and extremely effective. If you do nothing else on this list, do this one thing — each day, write down (or at least think about) a few things you're grateful for. It doesn't matter if it's a small thing like what you had for breakfast or a big thing like your health, job, family, etc. The point is to take a moment to appreciate what you have and how it makes you feel. This is a long-term practice you can start now that will have an increasingly positive effect on your mood and outlook over time.

gratitude journal

7. Look at Photo Albums
Remember those?! Chances are you have some (and so do your parents), so take a stroll down memory lane and flip through old photos that remind you of happier, carefree times. You might even find a few gems you want to frame or share in your next Zoom happy hour.

photo album

How are you spending time at home and what are some of the things you've enjoyed doing most? Stay safe!