Friday, February 8, 2019

Looks to take you from winter to spring with the Charlotte Today Show

Not sure how the weather is where you live, but here in Charlotte, the months of February through April can be unpredictable!  We can have 70 degree days in February and 40 degree days in April and everything in between.  This crazy weather can sometimes make it challenging to figure out what to wear!  On my most recent segment on the Charlotte Today show, I shared looks that are perfect to wear during these transitional months.  If you are new around here, I am an occasional fashion contributor on the Charlotte Today show which is a local TV show on NBC that airs every weekday.  I love going on the show and am so thankful that they keep asking me back!

I recruited 4 friends to be models for the segment including three blogger babes here in Charlotte.   Anna from Peppered In Style, Josephine from The Style Hostess and Rachel from Queen City Chic all did a wonderful job as models.  I have linked their Instagrams so you can go check out their feeds!   I partnered with a local boutique, Vestique, to provide clothes for me and the models.  They have a great selection of clothes, shoes and accessories and everything is so affordable which you know I love! Vestique has 2 locations in the Charlotte area:  Dilworth on East Boulevard and South Charlotte in Blakeney Shopping Center.  They also have 6 additional locations throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Vestique also has a great online store for those of you who are not local, which you can visit HERE.

The outfit that I wore during the segment is definitely more of a winter look, but as soon as I saw this leopard print sweater dress, I knew I had to wear it!  I love the turtleneck style and full sleeves, and you can't beat the under $50 price tag!  I paired it with some ankle booties, but it would also look cute paired with tights or black leggings.

The outfits that the 4 models wore can all be worn now and into spring.  The key is how you layer and accessorize them!  Andrea wore an eyelet top layered with a cardigan paired with some distressed jeans.   This outfit can easily be worn into spring by shedding the cardigan and swap out the boots for some wedge sandals.

Anna chose a winter white look that is so chic!  These white pants can be worn as it gets warmer with a pretty tank top.  Wide leg pants look great with a heel, so Anna can switch out her leopard heels for some high heel sandals in the spring.

Josephine is wearing another layered look that is so on trend.  She has paired denim on denim which is very popular right now. Just be sure the denim washes are different to give your look some dimension. As it warms up, wear the light weight sweater without the denim jacket.  This sweater would look cute with denim shorts too!

flare jeans \\ scarf options HEREHERE & HERE

Rachel shared another popular trend this season - flared jeans.  These are flattering on the leg, especially on you taller ladies!  She wore a white cropped sweater and added some color with a cozy scarf. As it warms up, ditch the scarf for a statement necklace.  With this look and the others, accessories and layers can really help transition from one season to the next.  I hope you found some style inspiration to get you through these transitional months with these looks!


Pictured with the host of Charlotte Today, Colleen Odegaard
(Left to Right:  Colleen, Laura, Anna, Andrea, Rachel, Josephine)

Laura:  leopard sweater dress 
Anna: white v-neck sweater \\ wide leg pants \\ belt
Andrea: white eyelet top \\ necklace \\ distressed jeans \\ earrings \\ cardigan option
Rachel: exact white sweater \\ similar white v-neck top \\ flare jeans \\ scarf options HEREHERE & HERE
Josephine: striped sweater \\ exact jeans \\ similar jeans \\ denim jacket

Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!  I appreciate you following along here on the blog.  I generally post every day on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure you are following along there as well.  Stay tuned for more blog posts and another segment on Charlotte Today soon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Happy Love Month, friends!  The weather has been so pretty here in Charlotte and is giving me spring fever!  It will probably be cold again next week, but I am enjoying it while it lasts. With the unpredictable weather, sometimes it can be a challenge dressing in these transitional months between seasons.  I like to have some pieces in my closet that I can easily take from winter to spring, and found the PERFECT TRANSITIONAL DRESS to share with you all.  The best part?!?  It is priced under $30!

In addition to the great price, there are so many reasons to love this little dress.  It comes in this pretty teal color as well as a navy and red color option, all with cute polka dots.  I love the ruffles at the sleeves and around the waist and hem as well.  It is light weight, so it can easily be worn as the temps start to rise.  I also like the length of this dress, as it hits just above the knee.  (I am 5'5" for reference.)

While it is cooler out, you can layer the dress with a denim jacket or cardigan.  I am wearing booties with my dress, but it would look cute with tall boots as well.  If you are a hat gal, this dress would also look great paired with a hat in the cooler temps.

As it warms up, I will switch out my booties for some wedge sandals like THESE.   I have them in two colors because I love them so much!  The heel is high but with the wedge they are so comfy.  I can wear them all day and my feet don't hurt.

The dress also comes in navy and red so there are three pretty color options.  I am tempted to get a second color, especially for the price!  If you decide to purchase this dress, please send me a photo. I would love to see how you style it!

Don't forget to follow me on LIKEtoKNOW.itINSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for daily style posts.  And I have a surprise for you now...I am offering a fun giveaway with a few blogger friends, so read below on how to enter.  Thanks as always for reading Smart Southern Style!

Louella Reese-Ultimate Valentine's Day Giveaway
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $200 Gal Meets Glam Gift Card to pick out your date night look and a $300 Open Table Gift Card to spoil you and your sweetie (or best friends) with a delicious Valentine's Day meal! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada only and runs until 02/14/2019.Winner will be announced here. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 1, 2019

Amazon Best Buys - February 2019

Happy February!  Did anyone else feel like January lasted 296 days?  Longest month EVERRRRR.  It was pretty quiet on the blog last month while I was getting back into a routine with school, work & life in general after the holidays.  But, I have some exciting content planned for you all, starting with this highly requested blog post.  Many of you have asked me to start sharing more of my top picks on Amazon, and today I am starting a new blog series called "Amazon Best Buys".  This particular post is all about fashion, but the content will vary with each Amazon post.  If there are any particular categories you want to see me focus on in future posts, please comment below or SEND ME AN EMAIL.

(Side note before we get started:  I make a very small commission when you purchase directly through the links in this blog post.  However, if you check out through the Amazon app or a different browser, I do not make any commission.  I only share this because the little commission that I make is what allows me to keep Smart Southern Style running.  Thank you for supporting my little business!)

Every piece featured in this blog post is an item I already own and love.  And the best part is that nothing is priced over $30!  We will start with this light weight BLACK VEST.  I have shared it on my INSTAGRAM a few times and many of you buy it each time I post it.  I love how versatile this piece is!  I have it styled under a long sleeve shirt here and you could also wear it under a turtleneck sweater in colder months.  As it gets warmer, layer it over a simple cotton dress, tank top or basic tee.  It runs true to size, comes in tons of colors and you can't beat the price at around $16.

This EMBROIDERED TOP has been another favorite of Smart Southern Style readers.  It looks so expensive with the beautiful embroidery, but it is only $26.  It snaps up the front, so you could also leave it open with a tee or tank underneath to style it more like a jacket.  I find that it runs true to size.

These JOGGER SWEATPANTS so insanely comfy and soft!  I wear them a few times a week because I love them so much.  I find that they run true to size and you can't beat the $22 price for this quality too!

The FLEECE PULLOVER that I am wearing with the joggers and in the photo above is the softest piece of clothing I own! I have purchased similar pullovers before but they were scratchy and uncomfortable on the inside.  This one has the same fleece on the inside as the outside so it is so comfy.  It is only $24 and runs a little oversized, but I would say to stick with your usual size for outerwear.  (I am wearing a medium.)  I love it so much I got it in two different colors!

This SHORT SLEEVE EMBROIDERED TOP was one of the most purchased items on the blog last summer.  It looks way more expensive than the $19 price with the embroidery detail and fun tassels.  I bought it in blue last year and love it so much that I just purchased it in pink!  This would look cute layered under a cardigan in the cooler months.  It runs small and doesn't have any stretch, so I would recommend sizing up.

This LEOPARD CARDIGAN has also been popular when I have posted it on Instagram.  It comes in several color options and runs true to size.  With a price under $30, I am tempted to get a second color!

Last but not least, this LEATHER BELT is one of my most worn Amazon purchases.  It is reversible with brown on one side and black on the other.  It has a gold buckle and looks very similar to a designer belt but only costs $25.  Be sure to follow the size guidelines to make sure you get the correct size.   Mine is 105cm for reference.

I hope you found a few goodies in this post that you wouldn't have discovered otherwise.  I would love to hear feedback on what you want to see in future "Amazon Best Buys" posts.  Feel free to leave your feedback below or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  Don't forget to follow me on LIKEtoKNOW.itINSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for daily style posts.  And I have a surprise for you now...I am offering a fun giveaway with a few blogger friends, so read below on how to enter.  Thanks as always for reading Smart Southern Style!

Louella Reese-Ultimate Valentine's Day Giveaway With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $200 Gal Meets Glam Gift Card to pick out your date night look and a $300 Open Table Gift Card to spoil you and your sweetie (or best friends) with a delicious Valentine's Day meal! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada only and runs until 02/14/2019.Winner will be announced here. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Two ways to style a moto jacket

Happy New Year friends!  I hope 2019 is off to a good start for you all.  I so appreciate you following along in 2018 (my first full year of blogging) and I am excited for what is to come in 2019. Some of your favorite posts on Smart Southern Style in 2018 were about how to maximize what is already in your closet.  This was even the topic of one of my TV segments last year and you can read the post about that TV segment HERE.

Since you all seem to enjoy those posts, I thought I would start off the new year with a post about two ways to style a Moto jacket.  I have a very special guest joining me in this sister Leslie.  (Yes, we are biological sisters and yes, I know we look nothing alike!  Ha!) Leslie was in town at Christmas (she lives in L.A.) and I decided last minute to have her join me for a photo shoot while she was here.  You may remember that my mom joined me in a post a few months ago and I decided to call her Smart Southern Mimi on the blog.  (You can read that post HERE.)  Leslie is a singer out in LA, so to continue the trend I have decided to call her "Smart Southern Singer"! You can follow her on Instagram at @leslieaustinlife HERE.

Black bootie options HERE & HERE

As I was saying, today I am showing two different ways to wear a Moto jacket.  In this case, Leslie and I are both wearing black leather jackets but the same style ideas are applicable to any type of Moto or leather jacket.  First we will start with my dressier look.  I dressed up my jacket a bit by pairing it with a camo skirt.  If camo isn't your thing, you could pair a similar jacket with just about any skirt.  I layered it over a silk cami and added some black ankle boots.  I accessorized with gold earrings and a layered gold necklace to compliment the gold hardware on my jacket.  For another way to dress up a Moto or leather jacket, you could layer it over a dress to make your dress a bit edgier.

Necklace options HERE & HERE \\ Converse sneakers

My sister is styling a super casual look with her black Moto jacket.  She has paired it with a basic tee and grey jeans.  She is wearing some white Converse high tops and added a fun beanie for a pop of color.  Leslie added a long gold necklace & some simple hoop earrings to finish off her look.  You could also layer your jacket over a graphic or colored tee for some other casual style options.  The possibilities are really endless with a jacket like this!  And, it is a piece that is not going out of style anytime soon, so you will get some good wear out of it.  I have some options under the photos above in case you don't already have one or are in the market for a new one.

These looks and photos are pretty typical of the major differences between Leslie and me.  In terms of style, I generally dress up more than Leslie and she has an edgier look overall.  The pictures are also a good depiction of the differences in our personalities.  You can probably tell which one followed the rules when we were kids and which one was a bit rebellious!  Isn't it funny how totally different two siblings can be?!?  As I mentioned, Leslie is a singer in L.A. and has released a few great songs recently.  You can check out her music HERE.

Thanks again to my sweet sister Leslie for joining me in this blog post.  I hope you enjoyed another post about styling one item multiple ways.  If you have any ideas of what you would like to see in future posts, please comment below or send me an email HERE.  Just a reminder to follow along on Facebook HERE & Instagram HERE for daily style posts.  I appreciate you stopping by!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Best After Christmas Sales 2018

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones.  There are SO many amazing After Christmas sales going on right now, so I wanted to provide you all with a comprehensive list in one place.  I shared a few photos above of items I own that are part of the sales.  There are direct links under each photo if you want to shop for those specific items.

You can easily shop all the sales using the links below.  I have listed sales for stores where I personally shop and they are in alphabetical order, so you can easily find your favorites.  Happy Shopping!
So many great sales!  Be sure to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for more sale updates.  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

My new skin care routine

With the beautiful Toska Husted who I have to thank for my improved skin!

One of my most requested blog posts over the last year has been to share my skin care routine so today, I am doing just that.  A year ago I didn't have much of a skin care routine to be honest.  I washed my face and used a drug store night cream, but that was the extent of my "skin care".  One of my new year's resolutions in 2018 was to start getting regular facials and taking better care of my skin.  After all, I am not getting any younger and those years I spent baking in the sun in high school and college are catching up with me.

I didn't really know where to begin, but had heard great things about Toska European Spa here in Charlotte and decided to book an appointment in January of this year.  Toska Husted is a well known esthetician here in town and I had seen some amazing results on clients by following her on Instagram.  After seeing the improvements in her clients, I decided I was willing to make the financial investment to have Toska and her team help me improve my skin.  When it comes to clothes, I am all about looking for the best deal, but when it comes to my skin, I want to use what works even if it means paying more.  After all, it's the only skin I've got!

Reception area at Toska European Spa

So many amazing products!

I was a bit intimidated when I called to make an appointment because I had no idea what to even ask for!  Of course I had nothing to be worried about because Toska's staff was super nice and reassured me that I didn't need to request a specific facial.  They told me that my skin would be evaluated at my first appointment and they would tailor the treatment specifically to my needs.  True to their word, when I went in for my first facial, Toska did an in depth evaluation of my skin using a machine that reads hydration, elasticity, oil, and several other skin characteristics.  Based on her evaluation, my skin consisted of hyper pigmentation and fine lines.  With that in mind, she tailored a personalized treatment to rejuvenate my skin.  I was also introduced to Biologique Recherche products, as Toska's spa is one of the few places in the U.S. that carries this line from Paris.  I had read that Jennifer Anniston uses this line, and she has beautiful skin, so I was eager to try the products.

I have tried several treatments at Toska European Spa over the past year and most recently had the Supreme Oxylight facial.  It was by far the most amazing facial I have ever had! It involves several treatments including dermabrasion, light therapy, micro current therapy, and oxygen infusion spray.  Rather than trying to give you the long definition of each of these steps, I thought I would quote Toska's website.  It says this is "the ultimate combination of treatments for optimal non-invasive skin rejuvenation".   I couldn't have said it better myself!  My skin was tighter, plumper, smoother and looked better than it has in years.  There are a bunch of different treatment options available at the spa including a new client introduction facial which is a great one to start with.  Be sure to check the "Beauty" highlight on my Instagram Stories to see some footage of my recent treatment!

My favorite product - P50 balancing exfoliator

Even if you are not in Charlotte, you can still take advantage of Toska's expertise and the amazing products she sells.  You can fill out information about your skin on their website and receive a free consultation and recommendations for the best products based on your skin type.  Speaking of products, I thought I would share the products that I currently use.  Please know that I did not buy all of these at once.  I started with two products (P50 balancing exfoliator and Masque VIP O2) and gradually added additional items.  As I mentioned earlier, I have made a personal decision to invest in my skin.  Toska's staff can help you choose the best products to start with based on your needs.

Eau Micellaire Biosensible - gentle make up remover
Lait E.V. - milky cleanser
P50 Original 1970 - balancing exfoliator
Masque VIP O2 - brightening and unifying mask
Masque PIGM 400 -mask to make skin more even
Serum Dermapore - serum to help shrink pores
Serum Oligo-Proteines Marines - brightening serum (helps with dark circles around eyes)
Serum Collagene Natif - toning and tightening serum
Serum PIGM 400 - dark spot correcting serum
Creme VIP O2 - brightening and unifying creme

I know this may seem like a lot of products, but again, I started out using only one consistently each day and even now do not use each of these products every time I wash my face.  If I only had to pick one product to use, it would be the P50 balancing exfoliator.  It was the first one I started with and I quickly saw an improvement in my skin's brightness after using it.

I have now been using Biologique Recherche products and going to Toska European Spa for facial treatments for almost a year and have seen an amazing improvement in my skin.   My pigmentation has improved and the lines on my neck and chest are less pronounced.  My skin feels more hydrated and all around healthier.  I have received more compliments on my skin since starting this new skin care routine than I ever have previously.  I am so pleased that I made the investment of my time and money to get healthier skin and now have a regimen that I am comfortable maintaining.

If you have read this far in this blog post, thank you! I know this is a longer than usual post, but wanted to share my full skin care journey with you all.  I hope this has been helpful to you and would love to hear your feedback if you start using any of these products.  If you have any questions about my personal experience, please feel free to send me an email.  Of course if you have any questions about the specific products or treatments, you can read more on Toska's website or her Instagram.  Be sure to check out my Instagram and Facebook for daily Smart Southern Style updates.  I appreciate you following along!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

4 For Fashion & Luna Boutique

Happy Holidays!    Hard to believe that Christmas is only a few weeks away.  I hope you are enjoying this season and all of the festivities that go with it.

I am excited to be highlighting holiday fashion on the blog today with another 4 For Fashion post.  If you are new to Smart Southern Style, here is a little info about our style squad.  4 For Fashion is a group of 4 bloggers who all believe that you can find something that fits your personal style just about anywhere.  Our ages range from 20s to 50s and our goal is to provide fashion inspiration to ladies of all ages.  If you missed my previous posts featuring these lovely ladies, you can read a few of them here, here & here.

Today we have partnered with Luna to share a variety of holiday looks.  Luna has locations in Charlotte, Atlanta, Bethesda and Charleston.  They have a great inventory of casual chic clothing and an amazing selection of accessories too!  You can find a nice selection of your favorite designer jeans, dresses for a night out, and everything in between.  The 4 For Fashion gals all picked an outfit from Luna that would be perfect for a Christmas party or other holiday event.

First, let's start with my outfit.  I am a big fan of wearing red at Christmas time, so I was immediately drawn to this pretty red satin shirt by Velvet.  I paired it with a faux fur vest and some black velvet jeans by Citizens for Humanity.  I love mixing textures, and liked the combination of satin, fur and velvet in this look.  I added some tassel earrings and a beaded necklace and finished off the look with a black studded clutch.  You could wear a similar look to any of your Christmas festivities and each piece could be worn individually as well.  

Barbi from Southern Blonde Chic chose a beautiful black fur vest that looks cozy yet chic.  I love the pop of leopard from her top, and can we talk about those pretty sleeves?!?  She wore black jeans and added a clutch and some statement earrings to finish off her look.  I think this outfit would be perfect for a holiday party at the office and could easily be worn before and after the holidays as well.  

LauRen from All of the F Words is wearing a pretty green bodycon dress.  This color is great for the holidays and the dress can be styled so many different ways.  LauRen added a tan leather jacket for an edgier look and I love it!  You could also style this dress with a blanket scarf or layer under a cardigan.  So many options!  LauRen accessorized with a layered necklace and some pretty earrings and finished off her look with some fun leopard booties.

Rachel from Queen City Chic chose a chic casual outfit perfect for a Christmas brunch.  I love the black and white boyfriend blazer she is wearing!  She dressed down the blazer by layering it over a graphic tee and wearing it with sneakers.  She paired the blazer with some cropped black jeans and a delicate necklace.  I love the pops of red from the cute red purse along with her red lips.  This look could easily be worn all year round!

As you can see, we all chose different looks, some dressier than others, and we found the perfect accessories to go with each outfit.  You can find all of our looks at Luna.  They are located at Phillips Place in the SouthPark area of Charlotte.  They also have locations in Atlanta, Charleston and Bethesda.  For those of you who are not local to one of their boutiques, you can shop on line here.  They post new items all the time on Instagram so be sure to follow them for updates on all their new arrivals.  If you stop by the store, be sure to tell them that the ladies of 4 For Fashion sent you!

Big thanks to Deeana Kourtney Photography for the photos in this blog post.

Stay tuned for another edition of 4 For Fashion coming soon.  If there is a particular style or shop you would like to see featured in this series, please comment below or send me an email.  And don't forget to follow along on Instagram here and on Facebook here.  Thank you so much for reading Smart Southern Style.  Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!


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