Fashion & Beauty

To call my daughter active would be a severe understatement. If she’s not doing gymnastics, she’s thinking about doing gymnastics. All day. Every day. It’s been this way for almost 2 years. She spent the last year teaching herself lots of moves since she wasn’t taking classes for a while, but she’s getting ready to start formal training again, and the occasion called for some new gear. So when Walmart asked me to share some activewear finds, I headed straight to the girls’ section to find her a few pieces that could accommodate her favorite pastime.

Because while I could get her to stand still for a couple of pics…

janaya-activewear1

Most of them were like this…

janaya-activewear2-square

…or this…

janaya-activewear3-square

…or this.

janaya-activewear4-square

You get the point. I love Walmart‘s Danskin Now performance apparel. The fabrics are breathable and stretchy, and the colors and patterns are awesome. There’s tons of options that she can mix and match.

We picked up two Danskin Now girls’ performance long-sleeve tees at $6.86 apiece, two performance shorts at $4.88 apiece, and one pair of performance capris for $9.98. I love the capris because they offer extra coverage without getting in her way, and she loves them because they’re soft and comfy. Still, she seems to prefer the shorts because she can easily throw them on over her leotards and contort her body into various dangerous-looking positions.

janaya-activewear5

janaya-activewear6-square

Honestly though, we’re thinking these will be a hit at her new gym, and we’ll likely be investing in some more because she’s going to need all the activewear she can get.

janaya-activewear7

And since I have to see her do this all day long, now so do you. She actually started a gymnastics YouTube channel, Fantastic Gymnastics, a few months back, so we made a little compilation of her doing a bunch of stunts in Walmart‘s activewear. Check it out:

I’d say she’s well on her way to being the next Gabby Douglas!

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.

ootd-newyear1

ootd-newyear2

I’m Wearing: Walmart statement earrings | Faded Glory plaid shirt | Eloquii satin midi skirt | Nine West Authority heels | Apt. 9 satchel purse (aff)

Most years, I spend New Year’s Eve in my pajamas, snuggling with my hubby and kids so we can watch the ball drop in Times Square and toast with some sparkling apple cider. Still, what would I wear if I were to get all dressed up for a fancy party? Well, a New Year’s Eve outfit requires a little sparkle, and I don’t own any sequins. The quickest way to take an outfit from casual to party-ready is with some great statement jewelry. So when Walmart challenged me to share a New Year’s Eve story, I knew I wanted to pick up a couple of their great, affordable statement pieces.

ootd-newyear3

Toward the end of this year, I’ve been obsessed with two things: Plaid shirts and midi skirts. I grabbed this Faded Glory top, thinking I could pair it with my new satin midi skirt, and when I found these earrings, I knew I had an outfit! I like to think of the whole look as “Fancy Lumberjack.”

ootd-newyear4

The earrings are the perfect complement to the two pieces, and the best part? They were only $5! Seriously? How many gorgeous pair of earrings could I get at just $5 a pop? And there were so many awesome options to choose from.

walmart-jewelry1

And as if the $5 earrings aren’t enough, this bevy of statement necklaces?

walmart-jewelry2

Just $10 apiece! I wore one last week. With another plaid shirt. Don’t judge me.

ootd-rackroom7

Also, I will be going back for this minty fresh beauty and the knit kimono to match.

walmart-jewelry3

Anyway, back to my New Year’s outfit. The plaid top could definitely skew casual depending on the pairing, but the satin and rhinestones really elevate it to something fit for a celebration.

ootd-newyear5

ootd-newyear6

And celebrate we will. Baby Juliza came into our lives this year and she’ll be one in a little more than a week. We have a roof over our heads and food to eat, and we’re healthy. We moved to a new city and Ja’Naya has adapted and thrived at her new school. I’m blessed to make a living doing what I love, whether it’s style blogging or graphic design. I ended the year with a lucky streak that saw me win no fewer than six giveaways that allowed my kids a great Christmas. There’s just so much to be grateful for about 2014, so I’ll ring in 2015 in style, in hopes that it will be even better.

ootd-newyear7

ootd-newyear8

Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed and Happy New Year!

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.

ootd-rackroom2

ootd-rackroom1

I’m Wearing: Madden Girl Cactus Wide Calf Boots c/o Rack Room Shoes | Lucky Brand plaid shirt (similar & plus size) | Old Navy high-rise Rockstar jeans | Walmart statement necklace | Just Fab Pantheon handbag (similar & similar) | ICU Eyewear sunglasses (aff)

This time of year, everyone is styling gorgeous holiday looks that usually involve lots of glitz, glam and sparkle. I have my fair share of fancy outfits, but my lifestyle revolves less around parties and dressing up and more about comfortable outings with my family. That’s not to say I don’t want to look good. If you know me at all, you know better than that. It’s just that dressing up sometimes needs to come with pants. And comfortable shoes. So when I was offered the chance to style a holiday look around a pair of gorgeous, wide-calf boots from Rack Room Shoes, it was the perfect fit for the way I really live — and dress — on a daily basis.

Not to mention the fact that these boots are…well…see for yourself.

ootd-rackroom3

ootd-rackroom5

Gorgeous, no? Anyone with large calves knows the pain of finding the perfect pair of boots — only to find that you can’t zip them or pull them up. Because calves.

These wide-calf Madden Girl boots fit perfectly, and I am loving the fly details. The studs in the back around the red zipper make them noticeable even from a distance, and they are really comfortable to wear. An ensemble like this is my holiday shopping/family time uniform. It’s the kind of outfit I’d wear to my mom’s house on Christmas day and still feel completely put together. I’m loving plaid shirts, though I need to get a red one, and these high waist skinnies are the business! The statement necklace (just $10!) helps a bit too :) Plus, if you love the boots, get $15 off a $75 purchase with this Rack Room Shoes coupon.

ootd-rackroom4

ootd-rackroom6

ootd-rackroom7

I was feeling like a million bucks in my new boots, and the whole family went to the park, so I took the opportunity to grab a few quick photos with my girls.

ootd-rackroom8

You can probably tell from her ever so precisely layered outfit that Ja’Naya has inherited my love of fashion. Also…she is only a half-size behind me in shoes(!!!), so she’s already raiding my closet. I imagine my new boots are going to make their way onto her feet sooner or later. Juliza has some catching up to do, but she’s holding her own in the fashion department.

ootd-rackroom9

I’m Wearing: Madden Girl Cactus Wide Calf Boots c/o Rack Room Shoes | Lucky Brand plaid shirt (similar & plus size) | Old Navy high-rise Rockstar jeans | Walmart statement necklace | Just Fab Pantheon handbag (similar & similar) | ICU Eyewear sunglasses (aff)

So what about you? How to you “dress up” for the holidays? Link to your outfits in the comments below!

Before I go, I want to share a hilarious observation. My husband shared a meme with me that wonders why fashion bloggers are always looking at the ground. What, exactly, are we looking at down there? Well, I can tell you.

I’m looking about my boots, because they’re fabulous, and my footing on the rock…

ootd-rackroom10

And here, I’m watching my step, because loose, uneven red clay + clumsy me are not a good combination.

ootd-rackroom11

There. Mystery solved. Enjoy the holidays, ya’ll!

Disclosure: I have received product to facilitate this outfit and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. As usual, all opinions are my own and completely authentic.

{ 1 comment }

30PlusStyle: LBD Lookbook

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd1

I’m Wearing: Daisy Fuentes for Kohl’s dress (similar in plus size) | Forever 21 top (similar) | Thrifted Steve Madden pumps (similar & similar) | ASOS belt (similar) | Vintage purse (similar) | Gifted earrings (aff)

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd2

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd3

What self-respecting fashionista has a closet full of clothes, but no little black dress? Well, apparently this girl.

I was invited to participate in this month’s 30PlusStyle challenge, joining a group of amazing women who regularly inspire me to step up my style game, and I was so excited! When they told me the theme was “Little Black Dress,” I thought, “awesome.” Until I hit up my closet and realized I didn’t own one. I’m still not sure how that’s possible, when I feel like there is SO MUCH BLACK in my closet, but alas, none of those black pieces were dresses.

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd4

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd5

All this to say that this challenge required some shopping. I found myself scouring the racks at Kohl’s for the perfect LBD when I came across this beauty. It’s from the Daisy Fuentes collection and it is made of awesome, structured scuba fabric — a favorite of mine these days. The fit and flare silhouette is another favorite. And the best part? It was on clearance for $12.80. And I had a gift card, so I walked out of the store with a dress and no cash spent.

Of course, the challenge was that the dress is sleeveless, and it just felt a bit too…summery…for this time of year on it’s own. So I added a sheer Forever 21 top underneath to give the illusion of sleeves, and I loved the silhouette. I like to think of it as an easy holiday party look. I got lucky with the weather when we had an unseasonably warm day here in Georgia, so I used it as an excuse to forgo tights and bare my legs for what is probably the last time until March or so.

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd6

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd7

Now that I’ve added this baby to my closet, I get why every fashion maven from here to Timbuktu tells every woman she needs a little black dress. I can think of at least a dozen other ways to wear this, and I’m sure I’ll try a few before the winter is over. I have a lightweight collared sweater that’s just begging to be worn under it with some knee-high boots and leggings. Also?

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd8

ootd-30plusstyle-lbd9

Shop My Look:

Please check out the other fabulously stylish ladies who are rocking the LBD this month! I already know I’m going to be taking some styling notes throughout the day:

What about you? Do you own an LBD? How do you rock it?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PamperedPiggies #CollectiveBias

My oldest daughter is a girly girl. She loves dresses and cute shoes and painting her nails. I have no idea where she gets it.

piggypaint6HERO

OK. Maybe I do. She likes getting dressed up about as much as I do, and we have so much fun when we get to do it together. The challenge is that I just can’t, in good conscience, let her use traditional nail polish knowing that it probably contains a cocktail of toxic chemicals. So what’s a mama to do? I want to give her a little creative freedom (on the weekends, at least), but I want her to use a product that’s safe.

piggypaint3

This is why I absolutely love Piggy Paint, nontoxic nail polish for kids — though I guess it’s really for anyone. Or at least that’s what I told myself this weekend. My girls and I had a little pedicure party on my birthday using Piggy Paint’s cute colors, and some of their other great products. And yes. The baby got her nails done too. Which is the beauty of using a product like this. I know it’s safe for her, too.

piggypaint2

Plus, I mean, it just doesn’t get cuter than this. Right? Right.

piggypaint5

We started with a little lotion to soften and moisturize our skin — because all of us are prone to dryness during the winter. Then we slathered on a little flavored chapstick. But the best part, by far, was painting our nails.

piggypaint9

Thankfully, baby Juliza was so intrigued by the process that she actually sat still for most of it, and I carried her on my hip until her toes were dry. With Piggy Paint, that doesn’t take very long.

I’m thinking this is going to become a regular date for my girls and I. Because as cool as it would be to have mommy-daughter mani-pedis at a nail salon, I’m in no hurry to expose them to the fumes that run rampant there. Piggy Paint has given us the gift of quality time spent on a shared interest.

piggypaint7HERO

Piggy Paint is available in a ton of colors, as evidenced by the fact that we all managed to choose different ones, and you can find it with the other kid-friendly beauty products at your local Walmart.

piggypaint8

If you’d prefer to shop online, head to piggypaint.com and get 15% off your purchase using coupon code “piggypaint“. Valid through 12/23/14.

{ 1 comment }

I am one of those people who goes crazy for Christmas. I know, I know. I really shouldn’t buy into the rampant consumerism that comes with the holidays. Still, I love finding the perfect gifts for my family and friends, and I truly enjoy seeing the looks on their faces when they open them on Christmas morning. Still, one of my favorite traditions is less about that consumerism, and more about enjoying time with the people I love: Christmas pajamas.

So when Walmart asked me to share the PJs I could find for the whole family, it was easy to oblige.

ChristmasPajamas1pin

Each year, I shop for cute new Christmas sleepwear for my husband and kids. Our tradition is to open our stockings and one gift on Christmas Eve. Because I’m usually the one to wrap the gifts, I always make sure that gift is our pajamas. We open, hop in the the shower, dress in our new PJs and and stay up watching Christmas movies until we can’t keep our eyes open (or the kids are getting on our nerves with the begging to open more presents).

This year, I scored on affordable PJs for the girls and my hubby.

Ja’Naya has been begging for a pair of all-in-one pajamas. They weren’t nearly as hard to find as I would’ve expected. There were choices in both the girls section and the women’s department. So, in spite of my skepticism, I found her this cute fleece pink pair for — wait for it — just $10!

ChristmasPajamas2

There were character PJs and thick fleece options with hoods and fur. I thought this simple version with a nice snowflake motif would be the best bet.

For baby Juliza, I knew I absolutely wanted fleece, footed PJs. She’s still too young to sleep with a blanket, and she hates being cold at night. I’ve found that when she wears two-piece pajamas, the top always ends up bunching around her chest, leaving her stomach and back exposed. All that to say warm footies were non-negotiable.

I was able to get her two pairs of Christmas-themed pajamas from Child of Mine by Carter’s for just $4.50 apiece! Cute, cozy and really, really affordable. The Frozen footed pajamas were cute, but not quite as thick as I would’ve liked for keeping her warm enough.

ChristmasPajamas3

Now, for the hubby. There were a few sets to choose from, but I know the way he sleeps. He rarely takes the time to make sure his pajama top and bottom match. So instead of giving him a set he’ll never wear together, instead I just got him some comfy Hanes pajama pants.

ChristmasPajamas4

At just $9.96, I actually want to go back and get him another pair, but I’m thinking this Fruit of the Loom matching robe and pants would be an even better deal.

Now, I just have to go find a pair for myself. There are ton of women’s PJs for less than $10, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a pair that works for me. Or maybe I’ll let someone else do the pajama shopping for a change…

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.

Outfit: Polka Dotted

ootd-polkadotted1

I’m Wearing: Skyline Selfie Top c/o Nicolette Mason for ModCloth | Forever 21 plus faux leather skater skirt | DIY polka dot tights | Thrifted Nine West booties (similar) | Gifted necklace | H&M stackable rings (similar) (aff)

ootd-polkadotted2

Yesterday, I shared what is quite possibly my favorite DIY project ever. Not because it was elaborate or difficult to accomplish, but precisely because it wasn’t. These DIY polka dot tights are so simple to do, but the finished look is amazing! Now, I just need to grab some tights in other colors so I can make more, perhaps even in other patterns. I loved the tights so much that I immediately put together an outfit inspired by the pattern.

ootd-polkadotted3

ootd-polkadotted4

This top is the Skyline Selfie top, which is one of the pieces I won from the Nicolette Mason collection for ModCloth a few weeks back. If I’m completely honest, it’s not the type of shirt I’d usually pick up when shopping on my own. Mostly because big boobs mean that button-down shirts rarely lay flat in the front, and I never really know how to style them. But it was honestly the perfect pairing for these tights, and now, I’m looking for other ways to wear it. So thanks, Nicolette, for pushing me outside my comfort zone.

ootd-polkadotted5

ootd-polkadotted6

Of course, I had to pair the top and tights with a skirt, because the whole point of tights in the winter is to be able to rock them without freezing. This plus-size faux leather skater skirt from Forever 21 is an oldie, but goodie, and it’s the type of piece that can be remixed dozens of ways. Check out how it wore it back in the summer.

Also worth mentioning? This topknot. I never thought I could get my thick, curly natural hair into a convincing topknot, but I did, almost by accident. I twisted the ends of my puff, planning to have a defined twist-out puff. But the twists didn’t set right and I just wrapped them into a bun instead. I’m digging, and this hairstyle is about to become a permanent part of my repertoire, because yes. Plus a red lip. Because a topknot requires a red lip.

ootd-polkadotted7

ootd-polkadotted8

I’m Wearing: Skyline Selfie Top c/o Nicolette Mason for ModCloth | Forever 21 plus faux leather skater skirt | DIY polka dot tights | Thrifted Nine West booties (similar) | Gifted necklace | H&M stackable rings (similar) (aff)

So what about you? Are you inspired to try your hand making polka dot tights, now that you’ve seen how you could wear them?

I’tstylem linking up with: Style Sessions | Whitney NIC James

tights-socks2pin

I admit it: When winter rolls around with its icy temperatures and frigid winds, I usually put the skirts and dresses away. Not because I don’t want to wear them, but because my Caribbean-born legs just can’t take the cold. This winter though, I’m fighting back. I have too many cute skirts and dresses in my closet to just give them up for a season. So when Walmart challenged me to share a winter craft, I knew I wanted to do something that would help me extend my wardrobe. So here are two simple, warm projects to tackle: DIY polka dot tights and DIY boot socks (also known as leg warmers).

DIY Polka Dot Tights

polkadottights8

You’ll need:

polkadottights2

It’s so secret that the easiest way to keep wearing skirts during the winter is to add tights or leggings underneath. So what’s the problem? Well, finding plus size tights at all can be a challenge, but finding any with a cool pattern or even colors other than black feels almost impossible. So I decided to take the black tights I could find and dress them up myself. This is the kind of project I love: Simple, with a huge, stylish payoff at the end.

I grabbed some George tights from Walmart in the largest available size: Queen. They come with cardboard inside one of the legs, and you’ll want to leave it there. The polka dots are painted on, so the cardboard will stop the paint from seeping through the porous tights.

I initially planned to use a sponge to apply the polka dots, but the only one I could find was too large. Instead, I decided to use the tip of the paintbrush. Not the brush end, but the opposite tip. I had paintbrushes of a variety of diameters, but in the end, I decided that I wanted decently sized dots rather than pin-points, so I chose my brush accordingly.

You may want to do a few test dots on a piece of paper before you start on the tights. My pattern was simple. Start in row one with four dots, approximately an inch apart. In the second row, place dots between the ones on the first row. On the test paper, I just did three dots on the second line, but on the tights, I did 4 dots on every row.

polkadottights3

Once you’re comfortable with your dotting technique, move on to the tights. I started pretty high up, right in the crotch area so I’d have some practice in an area that won’t be seen when you’re wearing clothes. You don’t have to start that high if you prefer not to.

polkadottights4

polkadottights6

Simply follow the pattern until the whole length of the leg is covered. The dots don’t have to be perfect at all. In fact, imperfections lend to the handmade quality of it, in my opinion. Plus the dots will stretch when you put the tights on. Anyway, polka dot the front of both legs and let them dry. Then flip to the back and repeat the process.

polkadottights5

On the back, I did my best to line up the pattern. For example, if there was a dot right at the edge in front, I left space for the dot on the back. That way, there would be no dots right next to each other when worn. This was not foolproof, but I did pretty well lining it all up.

Let the paint dry well. The finished look here is, dare I say it, amazing!

polkadottights7pin

I have slim ankles and calves in comparison to my thighs, and that makes the dots stretch as they go higher up my leg. I actually love that look, and I want to do several more pairs in other colors. And there are a ton of other color options at Walmart.com.

polkadottights7

Talk about making a statement! I am so excited to rock these than in the next few days, I’ll share an outfit that I put together just for these tights!

DIY Boot Socks (a.k.a. Leg Warmers)

diybootsocks8

You’ll Need:

diybootsocks2

  • An old sweater
  • Scissors
  • Embellishments of choice, buttons in this case

I have one pair of boots socks that I love, because they’re super cute, but also because of the added warmth factor. Realistically, leather boots can still sometimes leave my legs chilly. These solve that problem and they’re so easy to make that I plan to hit up Goodwill for a bunch more sweater so I can make more. If you don’t know how to knit, this project is a quick shortcut.

We all have a sweater in our closets that just doesn’t work anymore. The one I choose was a bit faded and had a couple of holes in the sleeves. Thankfully, those sleeves can still serve a purpose, warming my legs. To begin, before you cut, slide the sweater sleeve up over your calf to make sure the wrist whole will stretch enough to fit. I have large calves, so this step was important.

diybootsocks3

Choose the length you’d like for the socks. I personally wanted mine all the way to the ankle so I cut them close to the shoulder. Baby Juliza helped. Not really. But she did like the buttons on the sweater.

diybootsocks4

If you don’t want all that bulk inside your boots, you can definitely cut them shorter. My sweater had a cuff, so I likely could have cut just below the cuff, and that would’ve been enough to peek out of the top of my boots.

You can stop here if you just want simple socks. I wanted to add a little embellishment. I grabbed some simple gold buttons at Walmart to add to the sides. I laid the boot socks out so that the sleeve seams would be centered in the back. Then I found the center on one side and sewed two buttons on by hand.

diybootsocks5

diybootsocks6

Crazy easy technique, but it made the boot socks feel so much more finished, especially when worn. Plus, you can customize them in a million ways: Add lace, rick-rack, tassels, pom poms, initials, and more. You’re only limited by your imagination.

diybootsocks8pin

I think I’m going to make some of these as Christmas gifts, because I know my sister and nieces would love them as much as I do.

You can wear the tights and boots socks separately, or you can wear them together. Personally, I think the layered look is sort of fabulous.

tights-socks2

tights-socks4

What about you? Would you wear polka dot tights or boot socks? Would you make them yourself?

More Winter Craft Ideas

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.