Fashion & Beauty

The past two years have been — how can I put this nicely? — lazy. No. Lazy isn’t really the best word. They’ve been a flurry of activity as I watch Juliza grow up before my eyes while I attempt to juggle work. But the one thing I honestly have not made much time for in the juggling act is exercise. I know I should. Really I do. But I haven’t made it nearly the priority I should. So when Walmart asked me to try some of their newest fitness wear, I admit I was hoping that wearing it would imbue some motivation.

Walmart really has a lot of great, affordable fitness options, from yoga pants and moisture-wicking tops to sweatpants and sports bras. My favorite fitness activity is dance, so I really just wanted to find some items that would allow me to be comfortable while I get my groove on. I found these great Danskin patterned leggings and baseball-style tee.

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Let’s talk about these leggings for a second. They. Are. Awesome. First, there’s the pattern, because that’s what immediately drew my eye. I love patterned workout clothes. They somehow feel more happy and motivating than — say — gray or black. But more than that, they are genuinely comfortable. Comfortable enough for me to do this:

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Look at me, pretending I do yoga! Lmao! Anyway, the fabric is soft and perfectly stretchy, and I could sleep in them. From me, this is high praise. I HATE sleeping in any kind of long pants.

The top was designed to be oversized, so I bought an XL. Turns out I still should’ve bought a 2X. Still, it was comfortable, if not roomy, and I love the brightly colored sleeved. Plus? $6.96. I’ll probably grab a couple more of these in different colors (and a bigger size).

I also bought a Danskin sports bra in an XXL, but let’s just say that some XXL chests are apparently bigger than others. Though it was sturdy and well constructed, it didn’t fit comfortably. I should be used to this by now. Lmao!

I really need to hit up Walmart’s fitness wear section more often, because the prices are great, and you really can’t be the comfort. Even if the only exercise I wind up doing looks less like Zumba or Crossfit, and more like this:

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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.

Baby Juliza and I have a beautiful relationship, but…she’s 2. So that means that I spend most of my day saying some variation of “stop!”, “don’t do that” or “climb down from there, please!” And she spends the rest of the day saying “I don’t want it!” or “no!” But the one thing we both can agree on is dressing up. The child loves to put on clothes, and she’ll spend her whole day wearing shoes if I let her. This is much to my glee, since I’m slightly fashion obsessed, but lack the money necessary to replace my entire wardrobe with clothes that actually fit. So when I was asked to dress Juliza in Healthex baby clothes from Walmart, I took the opportunity to live vicariously through her closet.

Look 1

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As soon as I saw this top, I knew Juliza had to have it. She just received some pink and black sneakers for Christmas, so I’ve been on the lookout for stuff she can wear with them. The screen printed heart pattern and sewn-on flowers on this Healthex top are perfectly cute and girly. I just paired it with some pink leggings she already owned and her sneakers, and it’s the perfect outfit for her to play like toddlers play without getting in her way.

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And isn’t her head wrap the cutest thing ever? I have to work on getting her to sit still long enough for me to wrap it a little tighter, but I love the way it looks. If you want to try the same with your baby or toddler, just be sure to use a really lightweight scarf or piece of fabric, because wraps can get heavy, and you don’t want to put their developing neck muscles under any unnecessary strain.

Look 2

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How cute is this sweater dress?! I usually stay away from inexpensive sweaters, because they tend to be made of itchy, lower quality knits. That is not the case here. The fabric is really soft, and though I might let her wear an undershirt because of the embroidered pattern on the front, she could easily rock it without one.

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We kept the leggings from the first look for additional warmth, since Georgia decided it was finally time for winter and temperatures have been hovering in the 30s and 40s. And we paired them with her new boots, which I’m completely jealous about. Her boots are better than mine!

Look 3

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The final outfit came as a set, and how could I possibly resist the metallic gold leggings? This is the perfect outfit for those days when I want to dress her up a bit without going overboard. And just in case you weren’t aware toddlering these days apparently includes taking copious amounts of selfies on mommy’s phone. This one is the money shot, sort of:

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Anyway, as a testament to how comfortable this is, it took a solid 30 minutes of convincing and a promise of breast milk before she’d let me take this outfit off her. And the best part? The whole outfit was just under $8. In fact, everything I bought was under $10.

Truth be told, much of Juliza’s existing Walmart wardrobe is made up of Healthtex clothes, including the outfit and coat seen here and the dress she wore for our family Christmas photos. The brand is super affordable, and the clothes are really cute and comparable to stuff I’ve seen elsewhere for much higher prices. How affordable? Well, I was able to get two outfits and an additional top for $25. At those prices, my daughter can afford to be a fashionista, even if I can’t right now.

My only word of caution is to pay attention to the sizing. Right now, Juliza is hovering between 24 months and 2T sizing. Healthtex doesn’t offer 2T — it jumps straight from 24 months to 3T. For the most part, 24 months is ample in size, like the sweater dress. But in some styles, like the black and pink top, the cut is really small. I bought that in a 3T. In some cases, the fabric doesn’t have much stretch, so it’s wise to size up a bit.

Disclosure: I have received product for review and compensation for my time and effort in writing this post. As usual, all opinions are my own and 100% truthful.

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One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our yearly family Christmas photo. It is so much fun to look back at how our family has changed throughout the years — from the years that include my stepsons and our dog, and the years before and after baby Juliza was born. So when Walmart asked me to dress up my kids, I thought it would be a great time to find outfits for the girls for our family photo.

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Every year, we pick a unique color scheme for our Christmas decorations. This year, we chose turquoise, purple and gold. Not exactly your average Christmas colors, but we decided that we’d try to wear outfits in the same color palette so we wouldn’t clash with the tree. I headed to Walmart with those colors in mind.

First, I found this awesome Faded Glory tunic outfit for Ja’Naya (similar at Walmart.com).

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The purple sweater top is super stretchy, with a great sparkly tulle skirt attached. For just $14.97, the tunic also came with black leggings. It was just dressy enough for Christmas, but not so dressed up that she’d feel overdressed or uncomfortable.

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Because Ja’Naya was going to wear purple, I had to find a turquoise outfit for Juliza. This Healthtex dress with tulle around the hem was perfect, and at $7.96, it was incredibly affordable!

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When I put the dress on her to try it on for size, she didn’t want to take it off! The fabric is soft and stretchy, so it makes for a comfortable fit with no itching. And let me tell you, she worked every ounce of her cuteness for these photos!

It really makes my heart go pitter patter to look at these images of my girls interacting. Their relationship is so beautiful, and I’m thankful to be able to capture it in a way that feels really true to who they are.

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My hubby and I joined in with coordinating turquoise and purple outfits from our closets, me in a retro-inspired dress and him in a button-down top. These photos perfectly capture our relationship: Him acting silly and me trying unsuccessfully to rein in his antics.

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And finally, our family photo. As you can imagine, having a toddler in the mix meant we had to take a TON of these to get one where all of us looked presentable, but we somehow managed to do it.

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Merry Christmas from the Petersen family to all of my amazing readers! Thanks for sticking with me for another year.

And because I’ve been skimping on the outfit photos for the past year and because I love my dress so much, here are a couple solo shots of me :)

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I won’t promise I’ll post more outfits in 2016, but we’ll see what the new year brings :)

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.

Let’s be honest: The reason most of us look forward to Thanksgiving is easy. We love the food. Trust that Thanksgiving is the only time of year when I’m guaranteed to cook enough food to last our little family of four (sometimes more) days on end. For many folks, it is also a time to get together with family and friends, but since our family tradition has always been to cook at home, the biggest draw for us is the food. Therefore, we usually don’t have much reason to dress up. Our clothing choices are typically focused on comfort, and little else. Still, when Walmart challenged me to share a Thanksgiving outfit, I thought at least one of us could look good for the holiday. My daughter won the coin toss :)

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Still, her choices were based on comfort, because how can you enjoy turkey (cornish hens, in her case, since she won’t touch turkey) and peas & rice and macaroni & cheese and plantain and homemade cranberry sauce and rolls and corn on the cob while wearing clothes that won’t stretch, right? Plus, for the first time, I took the kids with me for a little Thanksgiving Day shopping, so her outfit had to work for that too.

She choose this awesome Faded Glory plaid button-down flannel top, one of which she’s been wanting for months, for just $7.94. We debated pairing it with jeans, but really? Jeans? On Thanksgiving? Nah. So we found these soft Faded Glory pants with a tuxedo stripe on the side of the legs — because tuxedo stripes make everything better, amirite?

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As is, those two pieces were awesome for chilling around the house all day, waiting for, then eating, amazing food. But when we got ready to leave the house, she added the finishing touch — this amazingly soft, chunky, sweater knit infinity scarf for just $7.97. She’s probably going to find this scarf in my closet really soon if she’s not careful. Because I love it.

We had fun experimenting with different ways she could wear it. Here are a couple of our favorite, on-the-fly looks:

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Hooded

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Knotted (aka My Favorite)

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These pants, and the top and scarf with it, made for the perfect Turkey Day attire, and my daughter officially has a new favorite shirt.

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.

I’ll be honest: I look forward to the after-Thanksgiving sales each year. I know, I know. That’s unexpected coming from someone who cares about sustainability. Still, it’s the truth. The reason is simple: I use those sales not only to get a lot of Christmas shopping done, but also to stock up on necessities while they are steeply discounted. This year, winter clothes for both my girls are on our needs list. And while I’m not above heading out into crowded stores to find some great deals, my absolute preference is just to shop online. The challenge? Finding the deals on what I want.

Alas, CyberMonday.com has come to my rescue.

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CyberMonday.com is a deal-seeker’s dream, no matter what you happen to be buying. It’s an awesome way to find deals, coupons and sales from all over the web all in one place.

I started my search for winter clothes in the “Babies, Kids & Toys” category, then clicked “Apparel.” Voila! All the best deals from online retailers, including kids specialty stores and larger stores that also sell kids’ clothes. On one page, I could find free shipping, % off discounts and more.

I was able to find some of the cutest winter and holiday pieces for both my daughters, steeply discounted AND with free shipping! Here are some of my favorite finds:

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1. Loose Knit Vented Sweater from Old Navy / 2. Faux Fur Vest from Children’s Place / 3. Floral Mesh Skirt from Children’s Place / 4. Coated Skinny Jeans from Old Navy / 5. Graphic Crew Neck Sweater from Children’s Place / 6. Patterned Skater Dress from Old Navy

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend this coming weekend at CyberMonday.com than fighting through the in-store crowds or refreshing my favorite sites. Check it out next time you’re looking for a great deal.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

DIY Doc McStuffins Costume

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is deciding what we will dress up as each year. But as much as I love it, the decision often devolves into a heated debate between my oldest daughter and I — especially when I’m planning to make the costumes myself. The challenge is that we have to hover perilously at the line between “This costume is awesome” and “I can actually make it.” We still haven’t definitively decided what her costume will be this year because of this struggle.

Thankfully, baby Juliza is easier because:

  1. She’ll wear whatever I put on her as long as its comfortable, and…
  2. It’s not hard to narrow down her interests.

So when Walmart challenged me to make a DIY costume, it took me about 2 seconds to decide to let Juliza dress up as her bestie: Doc McStuffins. To say that JuJu loves Doc would be a severe understatement. The child would watch Doc all day, every day if I let her. So Doc is who she will be.

Of course, that begs the question: Why didn’t I just buy a Doc costume. Well, first, because I couldn’t find one in Juliza’s size, but also because since Doc wears “regular” clothes, I thought it would be awesome to create a costume with pieces she could wear even when its not Halloween. So without further adieu, here’s our fly DIY Doc McStuffins costume:

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Awesome, right?

So how did we make it? To be fair, much of this costume is a matter of assembling the right pieces, most of which you can easily find at Walmart. You can start with the basic building blocks:

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Once you have that, you can add special DIY touches to make it feel less like random clothes and more like a costume. Starting with a fabulous, fluffy pink tutu to represent Doc’s cute little pink skirt.

DIY Doc McStuffins tutu

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You’ll Need:

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In all fairness, I really could’ve just bought a cute pink skirt to go with the rest of the outfit. But where’s the fun in that?  Plus, I knew that a tutu would be crazy cute and really make the costume pop. Since I’ve made this kind of tutu on many occasions before, I’ll direct you to the tutorial from last year’s St. Patrick’s Day tutu. The process is exactly the same.

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  1. Measure your child’s waist and cut enough excess ribbon to tie a secure bow.
  2. Cut dozens of lengths of tulle in various colors. (The pattern I chose was 5 pink, 1 light purple, 1 dark purple)
  3. Tie tulle to ribbon over and over again

It’s really easy once you get the hang of it.

DIY Doc McStuffins Headband

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You’ll Need:

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You may be fortunate enough to find a purple headband with a pink flower on it. I was not. So I made one. I simply cut a flower shape from the pink felt, and a circle of purple felt for the middle. I glued the flower to the side of the headband, and glued the purple circle to the middle of the flower.

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That’s it! Quick, easy Doc-approved headband.

DIY Doc McStuffins Treat Bag

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You’ll Need:

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Yesterday, I shared the awesome DIY treat bag I made for Ja’Naya. Well, we couldn’t leave Juliza out, could we? She actually has a little doctor kit already, and I considered using it to contain her treats. The problem is that it is cumbersone to open since it’s more of a suitcase than a bag, so I knew it wouldn’t work for trick-or-treating since we’d have to fight to open it regularly. So in keeping with the costume theme, I decided to make her treat bag look like Doc’s bag.

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You’ll need printable iron-on transfers. Simply print two copies of the bag template on the iron-on transfer sheets. Then cut them out and iron them on to the front and back of the bag per the instructions on the package. If you’d like to personalize, you can also type your kid’s name in a cool font and color, and print out two of those as well. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to reverse the font so it print’s as a mirror image. This is how it transfers properly when you iron it. This is the font I used, which is reminiscent of the Doc McStuffins logo.

I am absolutely in love with the way it turned out, and Juliza is pretty excited too!

Doc McStuffins Costume Extras

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By now, your little doctor should be looking sufficiently like Doc, but if you want to take the costume up a notch, you can add a few special details. The bag template above also includes a Doc logo patch for the “doctor’s coat” and a doctor’s ID badge. Print the logo patch on printable iron-on transfer sheet like you did for the treat bag above, and adhere it to the front left or right side of the white shirt to make it look more like a doctor’s coat.

Then print out the included ID badge on card stock or photo paper. There are blank spaces for your child’s name and photo. You can add them in Photoshop or Illustrator before printing, if they’re available, or you can add them after you print. Then simply cut it out and stick it in a plastic badge holder for your little doctor to wear on the coat.

The finished look of this costume makes my heart sing.

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And the best part? Juliza loved it! I had to quite literally chase her to take it off. That’s what I call a success!

More DIY Halloween Costumes

If you loved this and you’re looking for more homemade, DIY costume tutorials, check out my creations from Halloweens past, along with ideas 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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Kid Style: Fall Dress-Up

Logically, I know that we’re in fall. My daughter is back in school, and we’re almost in October. Still, I wasn’t quite prepared for what that meant when I strolled outside barefoot in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt a few mornings ago to put out the recycling. Because we’re in Georgia, right? And it’s still warm in late September, right? Well, technically yes. It’s still warm in the afternoon. But since I rarely leave home in the morning, I really didn’t realize just how chilly they have become.

When Walmart challenged me to find some great fall baby wear for Juliza, I knew I had to get her something warm and cozy to arm her against the newly cool mornings and evenings. And what did I find?

Only the cutest coat ever!

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Seriously, how fabulous is this? This Healthtex peaccoat is made of fleece, but it looks much more luxurious, and I have no doubt she’ll be toasty in it. Plus? It cost less than $15!

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I did size up quite a bit, because I knew the 24 months size would only fit her for a few weeks. But I still had to skip a size and go up to 4T, because the arm holes were a little small on the 3T, and the didn’t button as loosely as I would’ve liked. The 4T gives her room to move without feeling like she’s going to suffocate.

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For under the coat, I picked up a great Healthtex tunic and leggings set for $7.47.

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I chose black leggings so the outfit would work the coat (and her cute boots from last winter that still miraculously fit). But really, the leggings could’ve been red, or pink, or just about any solid color and it would still work.

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I am genuinely itching for a morning out so she can wear this. My swoon level is off the charts right now!

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.

There are a lot of things I look forward to about fall: The start of the school year after a long summer, cooler weather and fall fashion are high on the list. But I can’t even lie: I eagerly await September because my favorite shows come back for a new season. This September, I cannot wait to see what drama will unfold when Empire returns. So when Walmart asked me to share a fall fashion story, I decided to pay homage to my girl Cookie.

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I’m Wearing: Faux Fur Vest | Faded Glory fitted tee | Faded Glory coated jeggings | Nine West sandals | Gifted necklace (aff)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Cookie is the Lyon family matriarch who is fresh off a 17-year bid in prison for drug dealing. And when I tell you Cookie don’t play, I mean Cookie don’t play. She’s quick to tell any and everybody off, and she has a penchant for fur, leather, animal prints, form-fitting silhouettes and dark lipstick.

What I love about Walmart.com is that you can find pieces there that you have little to no chance of finding in store. Case in point: This amazing fur vest that cost me just — wait for it — $20.97. What?! I’ve been wanting a fur vest since last fall, and I couldn’t believe my luck at scoring one so affordably.

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I was a little skeptical about what kind of quality I’d be getting, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fur is soft and cozy, the lining and seams are great, and overall, it looks a lot more expensive than it is. The one caveat: It sheds. A lot. So while I probably won’t wear dark cotton fabric with it next time, and I’ll have to carry a lint roller, I’m still happy with it.

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Now, for these jeans. Actually, they’re jeggings, and they are awesome. The coated, leather-look fabric is the perfect denim look for fall, and like all Walmart’s Faded Glory jeggings, they cost less than $15. And as an awesome bonus I didn’t expect, the fabric is stretchy, but firm, so I don’t even have to wear shapewear. Yes please, and thank you. :)

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Overall, the leather and fur look is very Cookie, and I hope I did her justice. I’ll always think of her when I wear this vest, and I can’t wait for the Empire season premiere!

Oh, and of course, an outfit shoot wouldn’t be an outfit shoot without a photobomb from Juliza. You’re welcome :)

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I’m Wearing: Faux Fur Vest | Faded Glory fitted tee | Faded Glory coated jeggings | Nine West sandals | Gifted necklace (aff)

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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