Fashion & Beauty

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I’m one of those moms who likes to be prepared. So before baby Juliza ever graced us with her presence, she had a closet full of clothes in various sizes for various seasons — all bought on sale or secondhand. Sounds great in theory. However, I had no way of knowing my child would be bigger than almost every other baby her age.

What does that matter? Well, she’ll be 8 months old in 8 days. At the moment, she’s wearing 12 months clothes, and pushing 18 months in some stuff. Which means that she’ll probably be wearing 18 months this fall and winter. When I was planning, I thought she’d be wearing 18 month sizing next summer — when she’s actually 18 months old. So all the stuff she has in that size are for warm weather. Not really going to work.

So when Walmart challenged me to share a baby story with you, I took the opportunity to get her some fall and winter gear that she’ll actually be able to wear.

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Walmart really does have a ton of cute, affordable baby clothes. And while I love shopping for Juliza, I don’t like spending a lot of money on stuff she’ll only wear for a short time. So anything I buy has to meet both criteria: Cute and Cost-effective. And whenever possible, organic. But that’s hard to find in person. Anyway, it took me forever just to narrow down a couple of outfits. Eventually though, we found three that will work for the next few months.

So we had a little photo shoot so Juliza can show off her new skills: Standing up and walking (with assistance).

Outfit 1

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I picked up this Healthtex sweatshirt the moment I spotted it on the rack. I mean, could it be any cuter? Sweatshirts usually aren’t my cup of tea, but the addition of gold polka dots and a pink ruffle — plus the fact that it cost just $7.98 — made this one a must-have. I paired it with some $3.88 Garanimals denim-look leggings that she’ll be able to wear with a ton of other stuff. And how cute is the result?

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A quick word about brand sizing: In my experience, Healthtex and Garanimals baby clothes tend to run a little on the small size and have less stretch. The Child of Mine by Carters clothes are more generous and have better stretch and better quality fabric. As a result, while this sweatshirt fits pretty well, I think I’m actually going to take it back and get a 24 month size just to make sure it’ll fit her when it really counts.

Outfit 2

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Baby chambray shirt? Yes, please! This is another Healthtex top that I couldn’t pass up. The fabric, the pink polka dots, the cinched waist? Just, yes! This top is a transitional piece that she’ll probably start wearing soon because it fits right now, and because the length of the sleeves and the light weight of the fabric make it a perfect summer/fall transitional piece. The pink leggings are from Garanimals.

Bonus: This photo is evidence of what happens when you have a photo shoot with a baby: She tries to attack the camera.

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Outfit 3

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This was the only outfit I grabbed as a set, and while I like the style, I LOVE the quality. The Child of Mine by Carter’s brand is my favorite for baby clothes at Walmart, because the fabric is always soft and smooth, and as I mentioned, the sizing is generous. And if this gif of Juliza clapping is any indication, she likes it too!

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I really love the long-sleeved ruffled top and the leggings will work with a ton of different outfits. Plus the elastic waist of these seemed more comfy around her middle than the Garanimals leggings. Note to self.

And because Juliza is such a good sport, we made a “runway” video of her three looks. We present “Baby on the Catwalk”:

I’m really happy with our finds, and I actually spotted a few more pieces that I plan to go back and get. But I’ve learned my lesson about trying to shop for the right size ahead of time. I’ll just have to let Juliza grow at her own (apparently very fast) pace, and try to keep up.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I’m Wearing: Forever 21 top (similar)  |  Kenar Palazzo Pants (similar)  |  Merona Neon Crossbody Bag (similar)  |  BCBGeneration bracelet (similar)  |  H&M rings  (aff)

So…it’s been a while since I’ve done an outfit of the day. I know. What can I say? The combination of having an infant in the house and working from home has made it a lot less likely that I’ll get “dressed” on any given day. I mean, I’ll change out of my pajamas. Sometimes. But dressing up? Not something I’ve been doing a lot these days. Especially since my post-baby body still doesn’t fit into a lot of my pre-baby clothes the way it used to, with few exceptions. Like these pants. These wonderful, wonderful pants.

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Do ya’ll remember these pants from way back in March when I shared 5 ways to style a tank top? I said that I was going to live in them for the summer. Well, my prediction was spot on. These are so cool and lightweight and comfortable that I’ve found tons of ways to wear them. They’re my go-to when I need to leave the house in a hurry and look like I actually tried, even if I didn’t.

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This time, all I did was throw on my new favorite t-shirt from Forever 21 and add some fun accessories for a pop of color. No earrings and no necklace, because baby Juliza has a radar for those, and they’d end up in her mouth in two seconds flat whenever I hold her.

And speaking of my family, only they can make me smile like this…

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I had to get my hubby to take a couple of shots with my girls. It helps that Juliza’s outfit happened to match my bracelet, but I really like getting pics of all of us when I can, since I tend to be the one behind the camera most of the time.

Ja’Naya is turning into one heck of a young lady. And can you believe how big baby Juliza is getting? I know you see her in her monthly pics, but her size is more obvious when you see her next to her sister and I.

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My baby is a biggun, and I love her. All the more chub to snuggle, and I do that often.

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Honestly though, I promise I’ll try to do better. I really do love posting outfits, and I kind of need the incentive to get dressed. So I make no promises, but I’m trying to get back on the ball.

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I’m Wearing: Forever 21 top (similar)  |  Kenar Palazzo Pants (similar)  |  Merona Neon Crossbody Bag (similar)  |  BCBGeneration bracelet (similar)  |  H&M rings  (aff)

Back to School: Girl Style

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God knew what he was doing when he blessed me with two daughters. Honestly, there’s little I love more than dressing them up. The back-to-school season gives me an excuse to shop for clothes for my older daughter. She’s at that age though — she’s developing her own taste and style, and mom’s input isn’t as welcome as it used to be. So I’m learning to compromise on what to get: Stuff that she needs and are practical, but that she loves too. Because like her mama (and her daddy, for that matter), my baby loves to be fly. So when Walmart challenged me to find some back-to-school style on a budget, we were only too happy to oblige.

Last week, I shared her brother’s outfit picks. This time, I did the shopping on my own with her taste in mind.

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When I saw this owl tunic, I knew she’d love it. I’ve been trying to consciously encourage her to consider colors other than pink. This had just enough pink to keep her happy, it’s long enough to cover her butt, and the owl and ruffles are just fabulous. And those lace-trimmed leggings? $3 on clearance. So this whole outfit cost about $11.

Plus, she can mix and match both pieces with a ton of stuff that’s already in her closet, so they’ll really stretch her wardrobe.

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For the second outfit, I had to consider the weather to come. Because while it’s still scorching hot in Georgia, that will change eventually. Winter coat weather is still a long way off, but sweater weather will come a lot sooner — especially during the early mornings when she heads out to catch the bus. During the fall and spring, my daughter practically lives in hoodies, and all of her ones from last year are too small.

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This Danskin hoodie caught my eye, and at just $9.98, I couldn’t pass on it. It is super soft, both on the outside and the inside, and the color is neutral enough to be worn with a bunch of different bottoms and layering t-shirts. And in fact, I plan to go back and get it in a few other colors, because it fits so nicely and the quality is awesome.

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The jeans are from Jordache, and I love the zipper details and fabric belt. When I first looked at them in store, I thought they were cropped, but once she put them on, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they actually go all the way to her ankles, so she’ll be able to continue wearing them when the weather turns cooler.

My daughter has already worn the first outfit to school, and I know she’ll wear the hoodie as soon as it’s cool enough. So mama did pretty considering I didn’t have her with me to choose stuff.

Walmart is one of the places I like to shop for the kids because I can generally get good quality clothing inexpensively. They grow so fast that it’s usually not worth it to me to spend very much on their clothes. And even if your kids wear school uniforms, you can get those pieces inexpensively at Walmart too.

Where do you shop for your kids’ back-to-school clothes?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I consider myself lucky. I’ve always had relatively clear skin and I’ve never had to deal with severe acne. But after I had baby Juliza, my skin started acting up. I started seeing more pimples and flareups of smaller bumps where there had been none.

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Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I had a beautiful new baby to care for, so I didn’t exactly make my face a priority. So when Walmart offered me the opportunity to try out a new product designed to reduce acne without using any chemicals, it was the incentive I needed to finally address the issue.

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So about that product: illuMask is a literal mask that you wear for 15 minutes at a time that is designed to treat acne with light therapy. It is available at Walmart for $29.97.

Sound a bit strange? Yeah, I thought so too. And it looks even stranger.

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I had flashbacks to my first Friday the 13th movie, but I’m game.

I pressed the button on the controller to start my first treatment, and the lights came on. They are bright, and it took a while for my eyes to adjust. And I felt a little claustrophobic. It took some getting used to. Thankfully, there is a viewing window, so I just watched an episode of Law & Order SVU while I waited out the 15 minutes. The lights simply went off when the time was up.

Unfortunately, that’s where my test ended. Because as I read the instruction manual more carefully after that first treatment, I came across a disclaimer:

“It is not recommended to use illuMask if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or nursing, as the device was not tested on pregnant or nursing women.”

Well, that would’ve been nice to know earlier: Like a prominent warning on the outside of the packaging — especially for moms who are making an in-person purchase decision. This one sentence was on page 10 of the instructional booklet. It’s also not in the online description, which would be very disappointing for anyone who ordered it, only to open it and then realize they shouldn’t use it.

So I didn’t complete the treatments. Bummer too. I really wanted to see if it would clear up my face.

Still, here’s what the product is designed to do, in visual form:

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For those who may not be able to see the image, illuMask uses a combination of red and blue light wavelengths to target acne-causing bacteria. The blue light is designed to kill the bacteria, and the red light to reduce inflammation, heal breakouts and even skin tone.

Each illuMask is good for thirty 15-minute sessions. In testing, 93% of users reported improvement in the appearance of their skin in as little as two weeks, though it is recommended that you complete all 30 daily treatments.

When I’m done nursing, I do still want to try this, because I love the idea of using light to repair my skin rather than some questionable chemical cocktail, and the anecdotal evidence is good. I’m going to hold onto it until then.

What about you? Would you try illuMask?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Back to School: Boy Style

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Shopping for back to school supplies is a necessary consequence of this time of year, but it is hardly my kids’ favorite part. Like me, they are far more excited about shopping for new clothes. As much as they’d probably love it if we went to the mall and spent a ton of money on pricey brand name clothes, that’s just not going to happen — especially not when they’ll outgrow the stuff in a year’s time.

Instead, I’m more concerned about finding clothes that look great, but that also are affordable and durable so they can last as long as possible. So when Walmart challenged me to share a back to school story, I knew my stepson would be more than happy to find a couple of outfits to go back to school in style.

Here’s what we found:

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My stepson is a character. He may be small for his age, but his personality is huge. Can’t you tell?

On top of that, he likes to look good. He’s the type who plans his outfits in advance and is sure to accessorize with a pair of sunglasses, a watch and a few spritzes of cologne. What can I say? He takes after his dad.

Anyway, I was actually the one who spotted this And1 t-shirt, and I knew he’d love it. Because in addition to his love of “swag” (I despise that word), he also fancies himself a football player, so the phrase “Every Day is Game Day” appealed to his athletic dreams.

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The Faded Glory jeans were a great find too, at just $12.97 with an adjustable waist and belt included.

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The second outfit is a bit more casual, but appropriate since he lives in Florida and the weather will be warm enough to allow it for all but a few months of the school year.

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My husband has a couple of performance tops from Walmart, and this boy-sized top by Russell was the perfect choice for my stepson. Paired with some affordable basketball shorts from Starter (just under $5), he’ll be comfortable throughout the school day, and he won’t have to change before switching to sports and outdoor play in the afternoon.

All told, we spent about $35 for two great outfits that can be mixed and matched with each other and with other items already in his closet. There were a ton of other affordable options too, including graphic tees in the $5-10 range and a wide variety of jean styles and colors.

Where do you shop for your kids’ clothes to go back to school?

Next week, I’ll share my daughter’s back-to-school style.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I’m Wearing: Avia performance tank from Walmart  |  Avia performance capris from Walmart  |  Puma sneakers (similar) (aff)

I’ll start this off with a bit of honesty: I’ve become lazy. In fairness, I’ve had a good reason to slow down. Having a baby will do that to you. But baby Juliza was born six months ago, and it’s about time for me to find ways to become active again.

We moved this past weekend, which was one heck of a workout in itself — especially given that we moved from a third floor apartment into a house with all the bedrooms upstairs. That was fun. Still, it’s long past time for me to develop an earnest workout regimen, less for vanity and more for my health and fitness. I’ve lost a lot of flexibility over the last few years, and I need to work on my arm strength and endurance.

All this to say that when Walmart offered me an opportunity to try out some great activewear from Avia (yes! You can find Avia clothes and shoes at Walmart), I knew it could be the kick in the pants I needed.

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Typically, I work out in leggings and t-shirts. Though I’ve bought some workout shorts in the past, I learned after a couple of uses that they weren’t my favorites because they’d ride up during my favorite form of exercise: dancing.

These workout capris from Avia are amazing. They are soft and smooth with great stretch, which makes them awesome for everything from yoga and pilates to dancing and bike riding. And did I mention they’re great for lounging around the house? I’m wearing them right now, and they are so much cooler than yoga pants when it’s hot outside. Plus, there’s a hidden pocket big enough for a key. I wish it was a little bigger, but I’ll take it! They’re available in a bunch of colors, and at just $14.86 for performance pants, I’m definitely going to invest in a few more.

On top, I’m wearing a great moisture-wicking performance tank. I can’t lie. I chose this mostly because of the color and style. The performance is just a nice bonus. I usually like workout shirts with sleeves, but I thought this would keep me cooler, especially on bike rides. I got through an exhausting (and sweaty) Zumba routine without having the fabric stick to my skin, so I’d say that’s a win.

And the best part? All the Avia items go up to a 2X, and the stretch is pretty awesome.

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As it is, I’m probably going to live in this outfit for the rest of the summer, because the loose fit of the top also makes breastfeeding a breeze, both from the bottom and through the arm hole.

There are a ton of styles of Avia tops and bottoms, and some great sports bras that looked to be really supportive (though I can’t know for sure without a test). For the price, I really like the style and quality, and I’ll keep my eye out for more Avia items when I need some workout clothes that can do double duty for lounging.

What about you? Do you like to invest in workout clothes? Do you trust the Avia brand enough to try these?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I’m Wearing: DIY scarf top with scarf from Walmart | Faded Glory jean shorts | OP striped tote bag | Thrifted Calvin Klein sandals (aff)

Like most other people this weekend, I will be spending time with my family with good food and possibly some fireworks. I will obviously want to be comfortable for this, because what fun is a full belly in uncomfortable pants, right? Still, wannabe fashionista that I am, I also want to be cute. So when Walmart challenged me to share a Fourth of July story, I knew I wanted to create a comfy, affordable outfit.

Of course, the idea of a patriotic outfit generally conjures cheesy t-shirts featuring flag motifs, eagles or some horribly tacky combination of the two. And mama doesn’t do tacky. I chose instead to feature our nation’s colors. When I couldn’t find a top I really loved, though, I decided instead to make my own. From a scarf.

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I grabbed a great, lightweight navy Faded Glory scarf at Walmart for just $6.97, along with some $10 white shorts and a great red and white striped tote bag and commenced trying to create a look I could walk out of the house wearing.

After tying it about a million ways, I finally settled on one I liked. I call it the “Goddess Drape top.”

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I love the soft drape of the front and the fact that it doesn’t look at all like a scarf. It feels put together and fancy, with a little added awesome because I “made” it myself. I’m actually really proud of this outfit. So much that I wore red lipstick to complete the patriotic look. You can take a look back at my past outfits to see how rarely I wear makeup. Hint: Almost never.

Anyway, I thought you might want to learn how to make this top too, and like the old saying goes, I can show you better than I can tell you.

DIY Scarf Top Tutorials

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All that trial and error resulted in quite a few tops that look really great. Check out this video for four ways to tie a scarf as a top, including the style I’m wearing in the outfit above.

What about you? Would you wear a scarf as a top? Are you planning to dress for the Fourth of July? In either case, feel free to share your outfits in the comments below!

More for the Fourth

If you’re looking for more Fourth of July ideas, check out these great ones from the other Walmart Moms:

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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The best way to describe my husband’s style is cool and casual. He will dress up on occasion, but he is most comfortable wearing — well — comfortable clothes and fly sneakers. So when Walmart asked me to shop for men’s polos and shorts for the summer, I knew both would be right up his alley.

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The selection was huge! There were several walls with nothing but men’s shorts displayed, along with several racks. Prices ranged from about $9 to $16. There were solid shorts in a variety of colors, along with plaid, stripes and camouflage prints. But it wasn’t difficult for him to zero in on a pair that he liked: These belted gray shorts from No Boundaries for just $12.84. They fit well and they’re just long enough, and he’s thankful for the canvas belt that came with them. Plus, the pockets are nice and deep — a must for my hubby since he puts everything in his pockets. (aff)

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There were a ton of polos too, from solid colors to patterns, and fabrics from cotton to dry fit. He chose a performance golf shirt by Russell to coordinate with the shorts. It was among the pricier tops at $17.97, but completely worth the price. It is a moisture wicking shirt to keep him dry in the hot Georgia summer and it has UPF 30+ sun protection. Plus, the fabric feels like a dream. The tag recommends that it not be ironed, but once we wash it and hang it up immediately out of the dryer, the wrinkles should fall right out.

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While we were there, we picked up some shorts and a top for my stepson. Because he has to look fly too, and we couldn’t resist all the boys’ shorts on display.

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He immediately knew he wanted camo shorts, and we found a great pair from Wrangler for just $11.97. The fabric feels like great quality: Thick and rugged enough to withstand pre-teen boy shenanigans, but still soft to the touch. We’ll see how the colors wear in the wash, but the great thing about camo is that the more faded it gets, the “tougher” it looks. (aff)

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He paired the shorts with a graphic t-shirt with an inspirational message in bright neon green for just under $10. Not bad for two full outfits made up of items that can be mixed and matched throughout the summer. Not bad at all.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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