Fashion & Beauty

Last winter when I was pregnant, getting dressed was a challenge, to say the least. Given that baby Juliza was due in January, I really didn’t want to purchase a bunch of winter maternity clothes to use them for two and a half months. Especially because maternity clothes tend to be really pricey.  REALLY pricey. It’s really hard to justify spending nearly $100 on a pair of jeans I’ll only wear for a short time. Thankfully, Walmart has recently launched a new maternity collection that changes all that.

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Their new collection, Great Expectations, offers maternity basics in sizes from small to XXL at great prices. In fact, the most expensive item in the collection — their jeans — cost just $24.94. And all I keep thinking is where were you last year when I needed you!

So what exactly can you get for such great prices? Here are a couple of outfits built with pieces from the collection, and a couple of other goodies, all from Walmart.

Look 1

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1) Great Expectations Maternity Long Sleeve Tee with Tie Ruched Sides, $14.94 | 2) Nautical Striped Scarf, $2 | 3) Great Expectations Maternity Full Panel Jean, $24.94 | 4) Kathy Van Zeeland Front Pocket Satchel Purse, $34.97 | 5) Faded Glory Quilted Riding Boot, $29.97 (aff)

Look 2

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1) Great Expectations Maternity Surplice 3/4 Sleeve Top, $14.94 | 2) Gold Pink and Jet Statement Necklace, $10 in stores only | 3) Great Expectations Full Panel Maternity Legging, $12.94 | 4) Magid Studded Clutch, $27.99 | 5) Faded Glory Bow Ballet Flat, $13.97 (aff)

I can think of about a dozen other ways to wear these great basics, but these are just a couple of ideas. So if you’re expecting a beautiful new bundle and need to get through to colder months in style, you now have an option that won’t make your pockets cry.

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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Anyone who knows me knows that I generally try to avoid wearing heels. Sure, I have a couple of pairs in my closet, but I tend to break them out only for special occasions — usually ones that involve a lot of sitting. It’s not that I don’t like heels. On the contrary, I love them. Well, I love looking at them. But my feet hate them, and I hate being uncomfortable.

So when I got the opportunity to try Rockport’s new Total Motion heels, designed with style and comfort in mind, I had to see if could finally find a heel that could make me a believer. To see if I could be #PoweredByHeels , if you will. The best kind of test for that was to see if I could wear them all day and still be comfortable. Especially when I’m #PoweredByBaby , toting her around everywhere I need to go.

Today was the day. I had to leave early to take my daughter to morning chorus practice, then run to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Still wanted to be cute, but these aren’t the type of tasks that require heels, right? Right?

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Wrong!

I took a few laps around the grocery store since this is a relatively new store to me since our recent move and I’m not sure where everything is yet. Normally, doing these laps in heels is my definition of a nightmare. Not today.

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Today, my feet were well-supported and comfy for the duration. So much that the baby, hubby and I even decided to go to park for a walk around the pond. Be sure, this is not something I would normally do in heels. Not in a million years.

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But this time, we did not one, but two laps, we returned to the car with nary a complaint from my feet.

I’m sold.

Any heels that let me feel stylish and simultaneously show my feet lots of love get my uncontested vote.

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I’m Wearing: Rockport Total Motion Desert Boot  |  Jordache skinny jeans  |  Faded Glory tank  |  Thrifted sweater vest (aff)

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All of this makes sense when you consider that Rockport’s Total Motion shoes feature ADIPRENE® by adidas sport technology. What does that mean, exactly? Well, in layman’s terms, it means that these shoes wear like sneakers. In technical terms, it means that they are designed to conform to the shape of the foot for a personalized fit. Trust me when I say that you feel it as soon as you slip your foot in.

Since I’m powered by all things baby these days, I hadn’t been wearing heels a whole lot (read: at all). But with these babies in my fall arsenal, I’ll be much more comfortable adding a few inches to my height on a regular basis. There are a ton of other styles to choose from too: From pumps to ankle boots. Check out how Kirstin Marie styled their tall stretch boots. In a word: Fabulous!

If you want to learn more about these shoes AND get a chance to win a pair, join me, Rockport and The Motherhood for a Twitter chat today at 1pm ET! Click here to sign up. Share what powers you and you could win a pair of Total Motion heels! Post a photo on Facebook, tag Rockport Shoes & use #PoweredByHeels! The entire #PoweredBy campaign is designed to show women that we can be active and empowered and do all the things we need to do without sacrificing style and in an awesome pair of heels!

Follow Rockport on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Disclosure: I received the shoes featured in this post and compensation for my time and effort. As usual, all opinions are completely my own.

Outfits: Is it Fall Yet?

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There comes a time toward the end of every season when I begin to wish it would just pack its bags and move on. As much as I love warm weather, I’m sorry to say that time has come for summer. The kids are back in school and I don’t have a pool where I can swim laps, so I’m waiting impatiently for the day when it’s cool enough to break out my boots and sweaters. And boots. Did I mention boots?

When that day comes, I’ll be ready, thanks to Walmart. When they challenged me to find a couple of fall outfits, I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store.

My excitement was justified when I found these lovelies:

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I am in LOVE with these moto boots by Faded Glory! The buckle and strap details make me happy, and I love the color and the fact that the slouchy opening is more than wide enough for my thick calves. But the best part? They cost just $28.49. Even better? There were a ton of other great boot styles available for under $30. In fact, there are two I plan to go back and get this week, because my pregnancy left me with a boots that are now too small. Honestly, I was super impressed with the selection, and I’m mad at myself for not taking a photo of all the gorgeous styles in store, from ankle boots with lace to quilted knee boots (I must have those!). They’re really worth checking out if you need some affordable boots.

Now, for the outfits, both inspired by this awesome pair of footwear.

Look 1

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I’m Wearing: No Boundaries sweatshirt, $9.88  |  Faded Glory skinny cargo pants, $15.44  |  Faded Glory moto boots, $28.97  |  Vintage Coach crossbody bag  |  ICU Eyewear sunglasses (aff)

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This sweatshirt right here? Soft, supple and awesome. It’s a juniors XXL, and it has just enough stretch to hug my curves. Paired with some skinny cargo pants (not skinny enough, though) and my beloved boots, this is the perfect look for a casual fall day. I can already tell this one will be a quick go-to outfit when the weather turns cooler.

Look 2

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I’m Wearing: Faded Glory cardigan, $12.97  |  Jordache super skinny jeggings, $16.44  |  Faded Glory moto boots, $28.97  |  Full Circle Exchange infinity scarf, $5 on clearance!  (aff)

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I’m usually not a cardigan-wearing kind of girl, but in this case, the color drew me in. Plus, I’m a sucker for multitasking pieces. This will make a great layer that I can wear open over a camisole or long-sleeved shirt, or it will work great on its own for days when there’s just a little chill in the air. It is designed to be oversized, but I sized down so it would fit a little more closely. I paired it with some Jordache skinnies that I’ve had for more than a year and LOVE. They’re soft and fit like a dream. I really need to grab them in a few other colors. The finishing touch was this gorgeous infinity scarf from the Empowering Women Together collection.

I think my fall wardrobe is off to a great start with these basic pieces that I know I’ll wear a bunch of ways.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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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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