Friday, October 19, 2018

Smart Southern Style Turns One

Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

That is the only way I know to start out this post, as it was exactly one year ago today that my blog Smart Southern Style first went live!  I can't thank you all enough for joining me on this journey over the last year.  Whether you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, read and subscribe to my blog posts and/or purchase items I share, I am so appreciative of your support!

For at least a year before launching Smart Southern Style, I had thought about starting a blog, but kept telling myself I was crazy to take on something else. After all, I already had a demanding full time job that required travel, two beautiful daughters who were busy with activities, a hubby I wanted to spend time with, and other family relationships and friendships to maintain and grow.  However, I finally decided to take the plunge into blogging and am so glad I did!  It has been WAY more work than I thought it would be, but I have enjoyed every minute!

A while back, I asked you all on my Instagram Stories to share what you would like me to write about as I reflect on my first year of blogging.  You sent in questions, so I thought I would answer some of them in this post. So, here it goes...

What have you learned after a year of having a blog?
As I referenced above, blogging takes a lot more time than I thought it would.  I thought I would just post a photo or blog and people would just find me.  Nope!  Building and growing a blog takes a lot of time - engaging on your posts and others, planning content, writing blog posts, networking with other bloggers and brands, the list goes on!  I have also learned that it is important to be grounded in a firm foundation of who you are and not get swept up in the game of comparison.  When we are comparing our "insides" to someone else's "outsides" (Instagram feed, clothes, number of followers, etc..) it is easy to experience feelings of inadequacy.  But, nothing I see on a phone or computer screen can compare to the grace and love of Jesus, my family and friends.  If I fall into the comparison trap, I will take a break from social media and blogging and spend time doing what fills me up.

What advice would you give someone just starting a blog?
Set goals for yourself, but make them realistic.  When I first started, I said I would write two blog posts a week. I quickly found that to be unrealistic with the limited amount of time I had available.  In addition to setting realistic goals, I would pinpoint the target audience you are trying to reach.  For example, the objective of Smart Southern Style is to provide fashion inspiration for busy mamas in their 30s and 40s who want to live a fashionable life without breaking the bank. And my last bit of advice...HAVE FUN!  Give yourself grace, make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and enjoy the ride!

How do you balance your blog with your full time job and personal life?
I'm not gonna lie, it is TOUGH!  I love to put 110% into all of my "jobs" - wife, mom, corporate job, blog - but that leaves little time for me!  There have been times in the past year that I have had to put the blog to the side when other parts of my life are busier than normal.  This balancing act is still a work in progress, but I am trying to give myself grace and not be as hard on myself.  And I am thankful to have a supportive husband who has taken on even more with our family since I started blogging!

What have been the highlights of your first year as a blogger?
This is a tough question, because there have been so many highlights!  Being able to connect with all of you has been the best part of starting this blog.  When I get an email or DM from you saying that you found inspiration in some way from something I posted or wrote, it is the highlight of my day!  In addition to connecting with all of you, I have been able to meet some amazing ladies who are also fashion bloggers. They have been so helpful and kind and I want to specifically thank Anna DeLeon of Peppered in Style and Jan Correll of Silver Is The New Blonde for meeting with me and answering a bunch of my questions when I was just starting out.  (Give them both a follow if you don't already!) I have also been able to work with some amazing brands in the last year and I am so thankful!

Who takes all your blog photos?
I work with a fabulous photographer named Deeana Beckley, with Deeana Kourtney Photography. She is great to work with and was so helpful and patient when I did my first few photo shoots.   I asked her questions like "What do I do with my hands?" and "How should I pose?" because I was completely clueless and she gave me great advice and suggestions.  If you are in the Charlotte NC area, I highly recommend her.  Occasionally my sweet hubby takes photos of me, especially when we are traveling.

What are your favorite trends for fall?
I am actually wearing several of my favorite fall trends in the photos in this post.  Leopard (or any animal print) is definitely one of my favorite trends. Even if you don't want to go bold with a sweater or skirt, you can incorporate some leopard in a more subtle way with a belt or handbag.  I also love burgundy and plum colors for fall.  You can wear them with clothing, a handbag or even with your lipstick or nail polish.  I am also loving pointed toe booties for fall. I think the pointed toe gives them a bit of a dressier look, and you can wear them with anything from jeans to a dress.

Do you have one article of clothing that is your favorite?
I have a basic black sheath dress I bought about 5 years ago for an event that is still in my closet.  It is  flattering and timeless and can be worn so many different ways.  I have worn it several times over the years and continue to hold on to it because it it is a classic piece that is easy to put on if I cannot figure out what else to wear to an event!

I tried to cover as many questions as I could without this post getting too lengthy.  If you have any questions that I did not answer in this post, feel free to comment below or send me an email.  Thanks again for reading Smart Southern Style and making the past year so much fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

4 For Fashion & Adair Boutique

Happy Fall, Y'all!  I'm so excited that October is finally here.  It is one of my favorite months for so many reasons - cooler temps, leaves changing colors, our family trip to the NC Mountains, and of course fall clothes!  I love the deep jewel tones that you often see in fall clothes as well as the cozy cardigans and boots that are staples this time of year.

I am excited to be highlighting fall fashion on the blog with another 4 For Fashion post today.  If you are new around here, here is a little info about our fabulous foursome.  4 For Fashion is a style tribe 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 them here, here & here.

Today we have partnered with Adair to share a variety of fall looks.  Adair has a great selection of casual pieces as well as those that are perfect for a night out.  They also have a fun assortment of accessories that will be sure to complete your look. If you are looking for a gift for someone, they have some cute gifts such as candles, quirky signs and other household items.  One of my favorite things about Adair is how affordable everything is!  All of the pieces that I personally purchased at Adair were priced under $60.

First, let's start with my outfit.  I chose a plum colored plaid button down top for a casual, everyday look.  Plum is one of my favorite colors to wear and the plaid just screams fall to me.  The different color fabric with flowers embroidered on it on the back make the top unique.  I paired it with denim, but you could also dress it up a bit with a skirt.  You could also layer this top under a cardigan when it is cooler outside.

Adair has some pretty and unique accessories and I found several to wear with my outfit.  I love layering necklaces, so I picked a choker with a black stone and added a longer necklace with black velvet and a grey stone. I finished off my look with some brushed gold earrings by Sheila Fajl.  These are my new favorite pair of earrings!  They are lightweight, go with everything and I literally have worn them every day since I got them.

Next we have a super cute look by Rachel from Queen City Chic, our 20-something blogger babe.  Rachel chose a pretty off the shoulder top full of beautiful jewel tones.  I love the blousy sleeves!  She paired it with a taupe suede mini skirt and finished off the look with a long necklace.  Both of the pieces she chose are so versatile. You could wear the top with some skinny jeans and booties and the skirt would also look great with a solid black or white top.

LauRen from All of the F Words chose a jumper dress in the perfect fall hue!  LauRen wore a cute off the shoulder black top under the dress which brings out the black buttons on the jumper.  She added some statement tassel earrings and finished off the look with some great snakeskin booties.  The black off the shoulder top would also look good with jeans or a skirt.  And those snakeskin booties...well, they would look fab paired with jeans, a skirt, you name it!

Finally we have Barbi from Southern Blonde Chic.  She chose a duster cardigan vest with shades of plum and white.  She paired it with the prettiest plum blouse with balloon sleeves which I love.  She added a long necklace to finish off her look.  You could also wear the plum blouse with some black jeans and boots for a dressier look, or pair it with some black or tan dress pants for work.

We were really tempted to take a ride on this scooter parked outside the store!

Pictured here with Sydney, the owner of Adair

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 Adair.  They have two locations in the Charlotte area:  their flagship store in downtown Concord and their new boutique in the Southend area of Charlotte.  For those of you who are not local, 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 Say Cheese CLT 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.  I really appreciate you stopping by!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Versatile Fall Pieces Under $35

Happy Fall, Y'all!  I can say that now that it's September and Starbucks is selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes, right?!?  If you have been reading Smart Southern Style for a while, you know that I firmly believe you can find items that fit your personal style just about anywhere.  And, you don't have to spend a fortune doing so!  I wanted to share 3 versatile fall pieces from Cato that are each under $35 and can be worn multiple ways.  Yes, that's right, each of these item combined costs less than $100!

First up are these dark wash jeggings.  I like having a pair of dark skinny jeans in my closet, as they go with everything and I think they are a bit dressier than lighter wash denim.  This pair is super soft, has just the right amount of stretch and they are slimming too!  (I do find that the jeggings run large, so I suggest sizing down.)  These jeans can be dressed up with a blazer and heels or dressed down with sneakers and a t-shirt.  And would you believe it if I told you the jeans were only $25?!?  I couldn't believe it either, especially for the quality and fit.  Skinny jeans are my go-to style lately, but if that style is not for you, Cato also has several other denim styles to choose from.

The next fall staple I am featuring is this olive green utility vest.  This vest is definitely a piece that can be worn year round.  I have paired it here with a short sleeve tee since it is still hot where I live.  But, I plan to wear this as it gets cooler over a long sleeve tee.  I also think the vest will look really cute over a casual sleeveless dress for a different look.   It also comes in a few other colors including a pretty burgundy.

Finally, I found this fun croc-inspired circle shaped bag.  This shape is really popular right now, but I don't know how long this trend will last, so I didn't want to invest in an expensive circle shaped bag.  This one was just under $35 at Cato and the versatile dark brown color goes with just about everything.  The size of this bag is great too, as it holds all of my stuff without being too large.  I also wanted to mention the pretty gold hoop earrings I bought for $6.  You can never have enough gold hoops in my opinion, and I couldn't pass up this pair for the price!  

I hope this post has been a good reminder that you don't have to spend a lots of money to look cute and stylish!  What is one of your go-to versatile pieces for fall?  Send me an email or let me know in the comments below.  Thank you as always for reading Smart Southern Style!

Thank you to Cato for sponsoring this post.  All ideas, opinions and photographs are my own.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fall Transition Looks with the Charlotte Today Show

Colleen (Charlotte Today host), Andrea, Me, Rachel, Christy, Josephine

Hi Friends!  I know it's been a while since I have written a new blog post.  The last several weeks have been crazy with travel (both for work and fun), having family in town, and getting the girls ready to head back to school. I can't believe I now have a 2nd grader and 8th grader!  Anyhow, now that school has started, you should be hearing from me a bit more regularly here on the blog.  I generally post every day on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure you are following along there as well.

I had the pleasure of going on the Charlotte Today show recently to talk about fall transition looks.  Charlotte Today is on NBC every weekday here in Charlotte and I am honored to be a fashion contributor for the show.  You can read blog posts about a few of my previous TV segments here and here.

I recruited 4 friends to be models for the segment including two blogger babes here in Charlotte, Rachel Brown from Queen City Chic and Josephine Hauser from The Style Hostess.  I have linked their Instagrams so you can go check out their feeds!   I partnered with a local boutique, The Southern Nest, to provide clothes for me and the models.  They have a great selection of cute, casual clothing and if you live in the Charlotte area, you should definitely visit their store.  It is located right off Highway 521 in Indian Land, SC.  

When I arrived at the TV station for this segment, I was excited to find out that Bob Saget (aka Danny Tanner from Full House) was also a guest on the show!  He was absolutely hilarious and very gracious to take photos with all of us.  Such a fun surprise!

So fun meeting Bob Saget!

I wanted to share some details about my outfit from the TV segment.  One easy way to transition t-shirts and tanks from summer to fall is by layering with a cardigan.  I chose a pretty burgundy cardigan and found a similar one HERE.  I paired it with a comfy v-neck tank similar to THIS ONE.    I wore my favorite new high waisted jeans, tan belt and these peep toe booties that go with everything.  Add some fun statement jewelry and you are good to go!

Andrea, Christy, Me, Rachel, Josephine

We featured several fall looks in various styles and many of these can be replicated with items you may already have in your closet.  There is an over 20 year age difference between the youngest and oldest lady here, yet we all found something that fit our style at one store!  I firmly believe that you can find something just about anywhere that works with your body type and style.

The key to utilizing items in both summer and fall is by layering and/or switching out pieces with others you have in your closet.  For example, both Andrea and Christy's looks could be worn in the summer by switching out their jeans for some denim shorts or skirt.  Rachel can take her striped dress right into fall by adding a denim jacket over it.  And Josephine can wear the black maxi dress in the summer without the sweater layered over it.  

The exact clothes and accessories that the models and I are wearing can be found at The Southern Nest in Indian Land, SC.  They do not have an online store, so I am not able to link all of the exact items.  However,  I have scoured the internet and found similar options for all of our looks that are linked below.

Pictured from left to right:

Andrea: Similar camo sweatshirt \\ Exact sweatshirt in solid green \\ Similar jeans
Christy: Similar embroidered top \\ Similar jeans
Laura: Similar tank \\ Similar cardigan \\ Exact booties \\ Exact jeans \\ Exact belt
Rachel: Similar dress options here & here \\ Similar booties
Josephine: Exact dress in different colors \\ Similar black maxi dress \\  Similar sweater \\ Similar peep toe booties

You can view the TV segment by clicking on the video posted below.

I hope you found some fashion inspiration on how to transition clothing items from summer to fall by watching the segment.  For daily fashion posts and sale updates, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks as always for reading Smart Southern Style!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

4 For Fashion & Scout and Molly's

Hi friends!  I am excited to be back with another 4 For Fashion post today.  If you are new around here, here is a little info about our fabulous foursome.  4 For Fashion is a style tribe 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 them here & here.

Today we have partnered with Scout and Molly's SouthPark.  This boutique may sound familiar to you, as I've featured them on my blog in previous posts you can read here & here.  Scout and Molly's has a great selection of both casual and dressier clothes.  And I absolutely love all of their accessories!  One commonality you will see among all of our outfits is the great accessories we all chose.  Some of my favorite accessories came from Scout and Molly's and I always receive compliments when I wear them.

First, let's start with my outfit.  I chose this cute light blue ruffle sleeve top.  I was drawn to the sleeves as well as the striped pattern on the top.  I paired it with these DL skinny jeans that have a great fit and are the perfect length.  I added a tassel necklace with various shades of blue as well as some gold and blue fringe earrings.  I also chose a matte gold cuff bracelet which is a great accessory staple that will go with any outfit.  My favorite part of the outfit is this gorgeous straw bag!  I love everything about it...especially the bright pink pom poms.  Scout and Molly's has a great selection of bags that were hand made in South America.

Next up is Barbi from Southern Blonde Chic.  She chose this gorgeous hot pink maxi dress.  I just love the flattering cut and think this dress would be perfect to wear to a nice dinner or wedding.  She paired it with some turquoise statement earrings which are a pretty complimenting color with her dress.  Barbi added a colorful clutch for an extra pop of color, which you know I love!

LauRen from All of the F Words chose a cute casual look.  This v-neck tee has such pretty detailing with several colors and textures around the neck.  She paired the tee with some terra cotta colored shorts, which is a very popular color right now.  She added a dainty choker necklace, gold statement earrings and a cuff bracelet for the perfect mix of accessories.  LauRen chose a black and white clutch to finish off the look.

And finally, we have a super cute look by Rachel from Queen City Chic.  I love the fringe detailing on her cream sweater and the distressed jeans fit her perfectly!  She added some fun black statement earrings and a stack of beaded bracelets.  My favorite part of Rachel's outfit is this straw bucket bag!  The colors, the shape, the pom poms...everything about the bag is perfection!

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 Scout and Molly's SouthPark.  They are located at Specialty Shops across from SouthPark Mall in Charlotte.  You can find them on Instagram here and can visit their website here.  If you stop by the store, be sure to tell them that the ladies of 4 For Fashion sent you!

Big thanks to Say Cheese CLT 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 following along on Instagram here and on Facebook here.  Thank you so much for reading Smart Southern Style.  I so appreciate that you took the time to stop by my little corner of the internet.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Full Roundup of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Top Picks

Colorblock sweater (wearing my regular size, but could have sized up for looser fit)
Pencil skirt (TTS) \\ Leopard booties (TTS)

Well friends, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is finally open to the public!  That means that anyone can now shop the sale, not just Nordstrom card holders.  I have rounded up all of my top picks from the sale and you can shop everything through the direct links I provided under each photo.  Keep in mind that inventory goes FAST once the sale is open to the public, so depending on when you read this post, some items may already be out of stock.  If you have your eye on something, I would recommend buying it when you see it since things sell so quickly.  Shipping is free, as are returns if anything doesn't work for you.  Happy shopping!

Tres Chic tee (size up) \\  Camo skirt (runs TTS to slightly big)

Black blazer (TTS) \\ Cream cami (TTS)
AG jeans (TTS) \\ Camo sneakers (TTS)

Floral top (TTS) \\ Cardigan (TTS)
AG jeans (TTS) \\ Open toed booties (TTS)

Knit blazer (TTS) \\ Cream cami (TTS)
Wit & Wisdom jeans (size down) \\ Medallion necklace
Vince Camuto OTK boots (TTS)
Tory Burch crossbody bag

Hooded cardigan (TTS) \\ Cream cami (TTS)
Madewell jeans (TTS) \\ Medallion necklace
Wedge sneakers (TTS)

Knit blazer (TTS) \\ Cream cami (TTS)
Madewell jeans (TTS) \\ Leopard booties (TTS)
Tory Burch crossbody bag

Floral top (TTS) \\ AG jeans (TTS) \\ Sunglasses

Long sleeve top (TTS) \\ Medallion necklace
Wit & Wisdom jeans (size down) \\ Open toed booties (TTS)

Cable knit cardigan (size down)
Wit & Wisdom jeans (size down) \\ Medallion necklace

Black plaid skinny jeans (size down) \\ Kendra Scott necklace
Cable knit cardigan (size down) \\ Camo sneakers (TTS)

Embroidered top (size down) \\ Kendra Scott necklace
Madewell black jeans (TTS) \\ Grey booties (run big - size down 1/2 size)

Leith Cardigan (size down) \\ Tory Burch Cross Body Bag

I hope this post was helpful!  I will continue to add more photos throughout the sale, so be sure to check back often.  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Favorite Items Under $50 from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is in full swing, and we are still in the "early access" part of the sale.  That means that the sale is still only open for Nordstrom credit card holders, and it will open to the public on Friday, July 20th.

There are so many great items available as part of the NSALE and I wanted to share some of my favorite items that are priced under $50.  Some people have a preconceived idea that everything that Nordstrom sells is expensive, and that is definitely not the case, especially during this sale!   Many of the items I shared in my last post about 12 Must Haves from the sale are under $50, so be sure to read that post as well!


There are several cute graphic tees available in the sale, and they are all priced well under $50.  This Good Vibes tee was one of the first items I purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  It is only $21, super soft and I love all the fun colors.  It runs true to size.   You can wear this now and as it cools off with a cardigan or jacket.

Good Vibes tee ($21) - TTS

This Tres Chic tee by JCrew is great to wear now and when it gets cooler under a denim jacket.  This tee runs small so I recommend sizing up one size.

Tres Chic tee ($29) - size up


Now is a great time to stock up on PJs to wear both now and as it gets cooler. I absolutely LOVE Nordstrom's pajamas as they are soft and don't shrink!  There are options with both shorts and pants depending on what you are looking for.  I find these to run true to size for PJs.

Short Pajamas ($35) - TTS

Pant Pajamas ($42) - TTS

I also really love the Make & Model brand of lounge wear that Nordstrom sells.  Their pants are the softest pants I have ever worn!  I have a fit review of the top & pants I am sharing below on the "NSale" highlight on my Instagram.  I would recommend sizing up in both of these pieces.  

Striped tee ($15) - size up

Jogger pants ($29) - size up

I think this $39 knit blazer is a hidden gem in this sale!  It comes in a bunch of colors and is so versatile.  You can wear it over a graphic tee, skinny jeans and booties for a casual look.  You can also wear it with dress pants, a silk cami and heels for a day at the office.  The blazer runs true to size.   

Knit blazer ($39) - TTS


There are so many great basic tops that are part of the sale, and many of them are well under $50. If you are looking for a great basic tee, I found a short sleeve and long sleeve option each for under $20.   These tees both run true to size.  

Short sleeve tee ($17) - TTS 
I have this in white and it is NOT see through!  

Long sleeve tee ($18) - TTS

There are also some tops that are versatile enough to go with a lot but dressier than a basic tee.  This blouson sleeve top is SO soft!  It comes in lots of colors and could be worn with denim, pants or a skirt.  It runs true to size to slightly large, so you could size down if in between sizes, but I would generally recommend sticking with your regular size.  

Blouson sleeve top ($39) - TTS

I like to buy a new plaid shirt each year during the Anniversary Sale.  Nordstrom sells one by BP that can be worn so many ways.  You can wear it by itself untucked with leggings, or under a blazer or cardigan paired with jeans.  You can also layer it over a graphic tee for a fun casual look.  This top runs true to size.  

Plaid shirt ($31) - TTS

If you haven't already, be sure to check out my previous post on my 12 Must Haves from the sale, as there are many more items under $50 in that post.  If you buy anything from the sale featured on my blog, I would love to know!  Please comment on this post or send me an email to let me know.  Thanks for following along with Smart Southern Style!  


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