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Rain, rain go away

January 20, 2017

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The amount of flash flood warnings and rain we’ve had over the past week have really put a damper on things. Weather like this reminds me that having some rainy day wear is truly essential. A classic trench is my No. 1 rainy day staple. And, I’m all about the classics. 😉

I own a similar trench from Banana Republic that I’ve had for years that will never go out of style. This trench from Anthropologie has a beautiful, feminine shape. If I didn’t have one already I would totally pick this one up! I also have this waterproof  jacket that’s great for running around on the weekends when the weather is blah. This handbag jacket is sort of the most ridiculous thing, but I kind of want one!

Although my mini me is a boy, I would love to have a little matching trench like this for a little girl. It’s just so, so cute. Braden has really been into doing things himself these days (shocker, for a 2.5 year-old, right?!) and I think it’s about time to get him is own umbrella. When I was dropping him off at school this week, he wanted to hold my umbrella which basically means he stays dry and I’m left damp.

Stay dry, friends! Here’s hoping the sun starts shining soon!

Fashion + Style

The Classics: Part 1 – the perfect white shirt

January 6, 2017
classic white shirt pleated cuff

white-shirt-3 white-shirt-4 white shirt pleated cuff

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white-shirt-10 I don’t like the word “resolution.” It makes me think there was some sort of conflict to overcome and that just sounds a bit negative. During the process of building our home and prepping for the move, I’ve realized I have too much stuff. So, a goal for 2017 is to focus more on the classics. I certainly gravitate more toward  classic pieces, especially as I’ve gotten older and invested more in wardrobe staples that may be a tad pricier but are higher quality. I have friend who would laugh at me when I’d talk about investment pieces and how I think about things from a cost versus use standpoint. I was saying this 15 years ago, and I believe it more now than ever! I’m also really good at taking care of those investment pieces. I will take the time to spray suede shoes with an all-weather protector prior to wearing, get shoes re-soled or have a handbag handle replaced if it starts to get worn. I’ve been a caretaker/mom my whole life, even to my stuff!  When it comes to style investment pieces, I think denim is worth the splurge if it’s a flattering dark denim that will not go out of style. Colored or distressed denim? Well, I’ll probably spend less.

All that said, a timeless staple that every woman should have is the perfect white button-up shirt. This is something that you don’t have to spend a ton on! The versatility of a white button-up shirt is infinite. I love this shirt I picked up recently because it had a modern twist with the pleated cuff. And, I love it even more because the sleeves are actually long enough for this long-limbed lady. I can wear this to work with a blazer and swap out my bag to go to dinner/happy hour on a weeknight. No outfit change=less laundry. I currently have 5 unfolded loads sitting in my gameroom right now taunting me. The laundry fairy was off during the holiday break.

Bottom line: 2017 the year to truly live by the mantra that less is more. I know myself and that doesn’t mean I’m going on a spending freeze. Let’s get real. (Sorry, Ben.) But, I will aim to be more thoughtful, focusing on the timeless pieces I’ll wear for years instead of just a few months.

I’ll be back with more on the topic of  ‘Classics’ soon! 🙂

Outfit details:

Banana Republic shirt | Current/Elliott jeans (old), similar found here | Ann Taylor shoes (old) – another classic in my opinion! Similar version here  | Ann Taylor clutch

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Fashion + Style Holiday Shopping

Black Friday Weekend Sales/Gift Guide for Her + the Kiddos

November 25, 2016

Gift Guide for Her + the Kiddos, Laureenloves.comWith all the carbs we’ve consumed the past 48 hours thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, there is not much energy left except to sit on the couch with my phone and laptop browsing the Black Friday sales. Online shopping is just the way to go. It’s so much more efficient, and there are tons of great sales for Black Friday weekend that just kicked off.

I’ve rounded out some of my favorite picks for her and the minis. I’ve also listed some great deals going on at some of my go-to stores. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy family and friends Christmas gifts without the hassle of going to the stores that are often picked over. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to treat yourself. 🙂 Happy shopping!

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Gap – 50% off everything through Nov. 26 at 11:59pm ET. Use code TGIF50 at checkout. Always a great place to stock up on everyday kids’ clothes. B has a whole pajama wardrobe from Gap Kids, and I love all their Christmas PJs.

Zara – 30% everything through Nov. 26 at 3am ET. I buy so many of Braden’s clothes here. I think they have the best boy clothes. I love how they have a good variety of cotton or twill pants that are perfect for pulling on really quickly —  a requirement for potty training, which we started recently.

Ann Taylor -50% off everything through Nov. 27 at 5pm ET. Use code CELEBRATE at checkout. I have shared my love for AT shoes here and here, but I get a lot of work clothes here, too.

Banana Republic – 50% off 5 regular-priced items with no exclusions until Nov. 26 at 11:59pm ET. Use BRFIVE at checkout.

Anthropologie – 30% off everything with code LETSGO. Perfect place to get tons of gifts for friends and family. I love all of their kitchen accessories.

Shopbop – 15% – 25% off depending on how much you spend through Nov. 28 at 11:59 PT. Use code GOBIG16

Pottery Barn Kids – 20% off and free shipping using the code OHWHATFUN through Nov. 28. For Braden’s second Christmas (he was 16 months) we got him a personalized workbench from PBK and it was the BEST toy we’ve ever purchased. He still plays with it all the time (he’s now 27 months) and it keeps him occupied while we’re cooking dinner, cleaning downtairs, etc. The one we have looks a little different, but the one I’ve showcased is pretty similar, and I love that you can get the name or monogram on it.

J.Crew – 40% off through Nov. 27 at 11:59pm ET. Use code HOLIDAY at checkout.

 

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Fashion + Style

Lace-up sweater dress

November 21, 2016

 

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I’m loving this sweater dress I picked up from the Shopbop sale a couple of weeks ago. It’s oh-so-cozy, and it’s a great non-maternity dress that can work with and without the bump. It finally feels like fall here in Houston, thank goodness! So, this is definitely a #realoutfitgram. 😉

Lace-up sweaters and tops have been right up my alley as you can see here. Although this dress is a newer piece, I still feel like it has a timeless quality to it because it’s neutral. I can definitely see myself wearing it a ton beyond this fall and winter season. I have a few sweater dresses that I’ve had for years that I pull out when the temps drop, and this one will get added to that rotation. I like the length, too, and I can wear it to work, changing it up with tights and flat boots when it gets even colder or keep it casual. Bottom line — I love the versatility and the price point isn’t too bad, especially when you snag it on sale like I did. It’s available at Madewell, too.

It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, too because it’s so comfortable and a tad loose in all the right places!

Dress | booties: old but nearly identical version here and here

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Fashion + Style Local

Black lace-up shirt with a pop of green

November 14, 2016

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black-shirt-2  black-shirt-3 black-shirt-4 I’ve been all about the flowy tops that are non-maternity because I’m sporting what looks more like a large food baby than a real baby. I bought this black lace-up tunic a few weeks ago, and I’ve been wearing it a ton. Wearing all black is not something I do a lot, but when I do, I love including a pop of color with shoes or accessories. These hunter green shoes are fun and comfy since they have more of a chunky heel.  I’ve also pulled out my J.Crew pixie pants, which are  like leggings but better because they’re thicker and more structured. Because they have great stretch, I can still wear these non-maternity pants for awhile. They’re also excellent travel pants because they’re comfy and take up very little room in a suitcase. I have them in 3 colors and bought them a few years ago and I still wear them a lot. They’re still something J.crew offers year after year probably because they’re so amazingly comfortable and timeless. I wear them a ton in the fall and winter with sweaters and cardigans, and pair them with heels, booties, flat riding boots — the list can really go on.

I  love the lace-up detail on this shirt, and I’ve picked up a couple of other tops with similar detail. It’s not available anymore (sadly since it’s great quality and was a steal at $65), but I’ve linked to some very similar options including this one, which I have in a cream color and actually wore today. Hi,  Houston fall weather!

We have been spending time outdoors since the weather has been pretty amazing, and we stumbled across this mural near the Lawndale Art Center when we were in the museum district this weekend. I love the Houston Mural Guide. It’s such a fun way to capture all the great spaces in the city and can’t wait to visit more! Braden loved the googly eyes.black-shirt-1-2(This is what happens when you say, “Smile, show me your teeth!”)

A quick pregnancy update at 19 weeks: eating has become my second job. I don’t recall being this ravenous in my first pregnancy, and I haven’t gained much weight. This may sound annoying, but it’s almost time-consuming to have to pause what I’m doing to eat 4 snacks at work in addition to 2 breakfasts and pretty much dinner and a bedtime snack. The sheer volume of food I consume is pretty surprising actually but I’m trying to be somewhat smart about it. I sure do love peanut butter toast, though. (I’ve already passed down this addiction to Braden. Whoops.) I’m definitely more tired this go-round too but I think that has to do with having a toddler. But, as my husband says, ” If you go to bed at 9pm it’s like sleeping in but in reverse.” So, I’ve been a grandma and going to bed around 9-9:30pm most nights.

I don’t love most maternity clothes, but very open to suggestions, so send them my way if you have them! I still gravitate to more versatile non-maternity pieces like this black lace-up top that can be worn post-pregnancy.

Top: Wayf version in black sold out but I’ve linked to the striped option available here and black options here and here | Pants | Shoes | Marc Jacobs Handbag (Old)

 

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Fashion + Style

Fall work transition

September 22, 2016

burnt orange shirtdress on laureenloves.com

laureenloves.com shirtdress 2

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SoleSociety has some of the best fall booties, by the way. They’re really well made and I’ve had several pairs over the years that stay in good shape!

shirtdress with cardigan

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It’s officially fall! According to the calendar, that is, but most definitely not according to the 90 degree temps in Houston. I’m so in love with the rich colors of fall clothing. I love the jewel tones and darker colors, so I’m pulling out a lot of my fall basics I’ve had for years and picking up a few new ones along the way that are more timeless like this shirt dress. It’s a rust color, but looks burnt orange, so that’s always a plus, too. 🙂

I like the versatility of a shirt dress because you can really change it up with shoes and a cardigan. Cardigans are a major staple for me because my office is SO cold, and I can’t really think or function efficiently if I’m shivering all day. I work in a relatively casual work environment (an advertising/PR/marketing agency) so I tailor my workwear based on what I have going on a particular day. For client meetings, I’ll step it up a bit, but otherwise I can get away with jeans. But, I love a good shirt dress, and this makes me feel like some cool temperatures are right around the corner. We are maybe getting a cold front early next week to the mid 70s. I actually overheard my husband making small talk on the phone with the AT&T rep yesterday telling her this, and she burst out laughing. Crossing my fingers!

Happy fall, y’all!

shirtdress |  cardigan | | B bracelet | bracelet 2 (old)  from Madewell and no longer available| necklace | Sole Society booties (old), linked similar ones here and here

 

Fashion + Style

Fall transition: burgundy cold shoulder top

August 11, 2016
fall transition top

It’s hard to imagine, but fall will be here before we know it. In the meantime, we’ll continue to melt a little every time we walk across a hot parking lot. With all the fall clothing popping up everywhere, it’s hard not pick up a few pieces here and there. When I can wear items now and into the next season, I don’t feel so bad about adding a few pieces to my wardrobe. That’s exactly how  I feel about this  cold shoulder ruffle top. It’s a rich wine color, which to me just screams fall. The fact that you can still show a little skin makes it wearable now. It’s a great price point at $79, and if you sign up for emails or watch out for their in-store sales, which I talked a little about here, you’ll come across a 40 percent off deal pretty often.

This is a great date night outfit. All of these outfit pieces are staples in my wardrobe that I’ve had for awhile minus this top. Fall is my absolute favorite season for so many reasons, but one of the main ones is because I LOVE fall clothing and the rich jewel toned hues, chunky sweaters and boots that become everyday items during the cooler months. The countdown to fall is on!

Topjeans (old) – linked to similar pair from the same brand | shoesclutch (old from Banana Republic) but linked to similar version | jewelry (old from J.crew, which has amazing jewelry by the way!)

laureenloves.com burgundy cold shoulder top 1

Houston Skyline, laureenloves.com

Windy day!

Windy day!

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Fashion + Style

White denim mixed with a soon-to-be fall shoe favorite

August 2, 2016

With summer winding down,  I’m trying to get the most out of my summer favorites. White denim is definitely a spring and summer must-have piece and a closet staple that is so versatile.  I’ve had my favorite pair of white jeans for more than three years, so I’m really getting a lot out of them since they were more of an investment pair. Since I work in a casual work environment, I can get away with wearing white denim  and dressing it up with a blazer or cardigan to make it look a bit more polished.  I ended up getting another two pairs of jeans this spring, and I rotate all three regularly. And, off-the-shoulder  tops have also been pushed to the front of my closet during these warm weather months as well. I plan on sporting this  top for a couple more months since it’s navy, which makes it easier to transition into fall.

Back to the denim. I thought I’d share how I’m wearing two of my summer staples — white denim shorts and jeans — right now.

I wore this outfit (the shorts version) to an early dinner on Saturday night with B & B. We tried the new Liberty Kitchen in Garden Oaks.  It has the same great food as the sister restaurants (AMAZING lobster mac & cheese) and they have good options for kiddos, which makes life a little easier these days.

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laureen Loves white denim shorts

Laureen Loves white denim + cold shoulder top

I recently picked up these fringe heels from Ann Taylor online (I’m a huge fan of AT shoes, as I’ve previously mentioned here) and they’re SO fun and comfy. They have the perfect heel height  – 3.5 inches. The fringe plus the suede — just so fall. I can’t wait to incorporate them into fall outfits, but I feel like they can totally work now as well. Wearing them with white denim and these whimsical tassel earrings makes them very summer date night appropriate.

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laureen loves Ann taylor fringe suede heels

Suede, fringe and the perfect heel height all in one. These shoes will be a fall favorite for sure.

 

Now a question I’m a little on the fence about: I don’t really believe in the “Don’t wear white after Labor Day rule” because it’s so hot in Texas you can still wear shorts through October most of the time. But, I typically retire white denim after September and move on to cream-colored denim. Sounds a bit ridiculous, I know.

Yay or nay to white denim after Labor Day?

Cold shoulder navy top from Ann Taylor no longer available, but I’ve linked to a few similar options: here, here and here. | Jeans: Joe’s jeans. I also have this more budget-friendly pair. | Shorts: Gap | Earrings: J.Crew (other great colors available and a similar blue version here) | Bracelet: Madewell  cuff and cork bangle ( old from J.crew ) | Shoes: Ann Taylor heels and Dolce Vita flats

 

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Fashion + Style

Floral midi dress + some great sales

July 22, 2016

With summer winding down, there are tons of mark downs in stores right now.  So, that means great sales on fabulous spring and summer items to  make room for new fall inventory.

A few amazing sales at some of my favorite stores:

Banana Republic – many items are 40- 60% off including this feminine floral midi dress I picked up a few days ago. It was an extra 40% off the sale price so it was 66% off the original price at only $60. MAJOR SCORE. This sleeveless dress is a definite wear-now item, and I love how it has a bit of vintage feel to it. I can see myself wearing it to a bridal shower or other events in the next few months.

Ann Taylor – pretty much everything is 40% off including new arrivals. I love the wine colored, jewel toned pieces that are popping up everywhere, including in some of AT’s new fall pieces.  I recently picked up this cold shoulder ruffle top. And, if you haven’t discovered Ann Taylor’s shoes – they’re awesome. They’re so well-made plus they’re stylish, classic and comfortable. I probably have more than a dozen pair. I totally have my eye on this suede fringe pair in tan.  So perfect for fall. Just use the “Shop40” checkout code online and you get free shipping when you spend $175. I always buy more than I should then return the extra items just because it’s easier on me, plus they have a lot of tall sizes online. Online shopping is the best for tall gals like me.

Nordstrom – the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is now open to the public. I received some packages in the mail yesterday with the goodies I picked up online, which I’m pretty pumped about.  I shared a few of my picks here. Definitely take advantage of the #NSale if you can, as it’s just too good to pass up!

Gap –  40% off everything right now at Gap with the code HAPPY online. I don’t buy a ton from Gap for me, but I always get a lot of children’s clothes there. Right now it’s a wonderful time to buy summer items you can save for next season. I get a lot of everyday wear pieces for Braden here, and he’s currently wearing  18-24 month clothes I bought him last summer that were major clearance. I always pick up items from Gap and Baby Zara when they’re on sale since it’s easy to predict  his sizing for the next season.

Enjoy these great deals, y’all! Let me know if you come across any worth checking out. I’m always on board to get quality items with a little discount!

Outfit pictured: floral midi dress, shoes, and necklace

Braden’s outfit all from Baby Gap

floral midi dress

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Fashion + Style Shopping

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

July 16, 2016

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You know how hot it is outside, right? I thought you said you bought ONE rain jacket? How many jackets did you buy?

Silly, husband. Little did you know it’s Christmas in July, aka the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I made an appointment on the first day of the sale and swept in and bought a few things in-person. I also picked up some of my favorite items I thought would sell out quickly online earlier that day. He thought I was a little off my rocker when he saw my loot, but I like to call it proactive. I know many are with me on this one.

Early access started on Thursday (you must be a Nordstrom card holder to take part), but it’s very much worth it. Nordstrom has always been my go-to department store and this annual sale is just one of the many reasons. I have picked up a lot of staple items over the years including timeless work pieces, coats, boots, and cardigans that I wear ALL the time, so I just knew it would be worth it to take advantage of the sale again.

There’s more I could share, but decided I would edit things down for you. I’ve included my top picks for work, for everyday play and for working out, as well as a few things I picked up for the mini me. I thought having a boy would be a little less fun in the wardrobe front, but there are so many amazing boy options out there!

FOR WORK

I end up wearing shift dresses a lot to work for client meetings. Some of my classic dresses I purchased over the years during the Nordstrom sale. I’ll throw on a cardigan, blazer or vest depending on the season, and it’s a polished, timeless outfit.

FOR PLAY

Fall fashion is my favorite. I gravitate toward roomy sweaters, chunky knits, skinny jeans/riding pants and booties, so I love all the cozy fall staples in this year’s sale. I snagged  this ivory knit with lace-up detail, a trend that’ll be on heavy rotation in the colder months for many, I’m sure. And, if you’re in need of riding boots or booties, I’m sure you can find a few pairs. I purchased this gray suede pair. I held back on the shoe front this year because I bought two really great pairs of boots during last year’s anniversary sale.

FOR WORKING OUT

My Saturday uniform is typically on the athleisure front, and this sale is the BEST time to get Northface or Patagonia pieces, since those are typically pretty pricey. This waterproof jacket will be perfect for running around on the weekends or neighborhood walks. I also picked up this rain jacket and this vest, which were such great deals if you look at what the normal price will be in a few weeks!

FOR THE MINI ME

My 23-month-old is growing like a weed, and I bought these Converse in his next size. I actually bought all of these things in his next size up. I forced him to try on the Northface fleece when I brought it home and it was just the cutest. Toddlers in hoods = heart melted. I bought the blue version, but it looks like that one is sold out. The red one is just as adorable.  I’m sure it’ll make an appearance on the blog at a later date.

So, that’s that! I am still looking at a few other pieces that I may purchase online this weekend. What are your favorite #Nsale picks?