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!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Affordable Holiday Outfit Ideas


Happy Holidays everyone!  Hard to believe that it is already December and Christmas will be here before we know it.  This time of year, we all have holiday functions to attend, from office parties to church on Christmas Eve.  It can get expensive to buy a new outfit to wear to all of the different events going on this month.  I have teamed up with Cato Fashions to bring you some cute and affordable holiday outfit ideas to wear to your December events.

It is no secret that I love a good ruffle sleeve, so when I saw this sweater dress with the double ruffle sleeve, I knew I had to have it.  I chose the dark green dress to wear for Christmas events, but it also comes in a pretty grey that would be great to wear anytime.  I love the length of this dress, as it hits above the knees but is not too short.  The sweater knit is soft, comfortable and not too thick.  I find that it runs true to size and it is really affordable at only $34.  Cato has some other cute ruffle sleeve dresses here and here.

I chose to pair my dress with a festive plaid infinity scarf.  Sometimes scarves are too bulky and hot for me to wear, but this one is thin and comfortable to wear.   My exact one is not on line, but you can find the same style in a similar pattern here.  Cato has several other cute scarves that would be great for the holidays here, here & here.  You could also pair these scarves with a basic sweater or cardigan for a casual, everyday look.  These scarves are all priced under $12 and are an easy and affordable way to add a little something extra to your outfit.

There are several shoe options you could wear with this dress.  I opted for some brown ankle booties  for a more casual look.  I love that the buckles give them a little bit of edge and the thicker heel makes them comfortable.  You can't be the $32 price either!   If you wanted to dress up your look a bit, you could opt for these faux suede pumps or these over the knee boots.

I finished off my look with a few accessories from Cato.  I opted for some simple gold hoops since I was going for a more casual look.  You could easily dress up your outfit by adding some earrings with a little bling like these or these.   I picked a beaded bracelet set that is versatile enough to be worn all year round.  Just like the earrings, you could chose a bracelet with more bling if you wanted to dress up the outfit.  This stone stretch bracelet and this thicker stretch bracelet are both good options.  Most of the accessory options at Cato are priced under $10, so you can easily add a few statement accessories without breaking the bank.

I hope this post has been a good reminder that you don't have to spend lots of money to look cute and stylish for your holiday festivities!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more holiday outfit inspiration in the days to come.  Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season.  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.  

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