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Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday's Fancies: Summer Nights!

This month's Friday's Fancies from {long distance loving} is fun for me as it best reflects my personal style. I have had a lot of good times going out this summer - honestly making it a priority in my life for the first time in a long time. Going out when I have all of the stress from work in my system means I am purging all of that negative energy... instead of letting it sit there and consume me over a few days. In the summer I try to wear dresses as much as possible - I'm so much more comfortable in our southern heat if I am in a dress! - and going out at night means I swap out my ballet flats to some fun heels.

I'm struggling to remember with my weight loss that my body is different, it means that while I'm looking in the mirror and sometimes seeing the same girl, she really isn't the same and I need to learn to accept that. My body change means clothing I used to pull on weekly just does not work for me anymore - it has been difficult to realize but I'm slowly getting there. Anyone have any tips for that? (Besides lingerie shopping because let's be honest that's a lot more fun now!). It also means shopping is less of a chore, as I have been trying to explore more contemporary fashion labels. I have always known the labels, loved them really, but I've always convinced myself to not spend the money. Now I do and it's a blast. It makes starting my day a lot more fun and I find myself trying to be more creative with accessories and garment pairings.

Does anyone else love up-and-coming label Nonoo? I've loved her collections the past couple years, and seeing her as a CFDA finalist certainly has made it more exciting to see how she grows her brand. The dress by her is in the Polyvore below (left side) and really could be a Milly, a Trina Turk, a DVF. As a woman herself, her clothes always look perfect for many bodytypes and for the transition of day-to-night. The DVF on the right in the below Polyvore is beautiful on. It is such a great fit-and-flare style for girls like me (large bust and wide-hipped, but long waisted). The pattern-mixing and piping just makes it all the more fun for a chic dinner out. At work I'd pair it with a fitted black suit jacket.

What do you wear and what do you enjoy doing during our summer nights?

Friday's Fancies: July 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New blog sponsor: JoPa Company of Richmond, Virginia

For over 55 years, Richmond and the surrounding area have relied on JoPa Company, a family-run, local business to provide them with the finest in outdoor furniture, pools and spas, as well as swimming pool chemicals and maintenance products. Founded in Richmond in 1959 by Joseph Farrar Pace, Sr., the family business is now run by sons Mark and Farrar Pace. As they told Richmond Magazine, "We have built pools for people, and now we are building pools for their children." (Richmond Magazine RHome "The 2012 Readers' Favorites")

JoPa offers a variety of styles from casual to formal and contemporary to traditional. But what makes JoPa a destination for homeowners, renters, and interior decorators is the customer service as well as the number of brands available in their extensive 8711 West Broad Street location. Many of the brands sold by JoPa, from the floor and by special order are listed below:

  • Leisure furniture: Brown Jordan, Jensen, Tommy Bahama, NorthCape International, Gloster, Winston, Kingsley-Bate, Barlow Tyrie, Woodard, Seaside Casual, C.R. Plastic Products, Coastline, Poly-Wood, Neille Olson, Castellano Collection, Telescope Casual, Sunbrella, Elaine Smith, Tropitone, Lane Venture (WeatherMaster)
  • Outdoor rugs and shades: Sawgrass Mills, Treasure Garden, Tucci
  • Grills, smokers, fire pits, spas and spa accessories: Riviera Spas, Primo, Kalamazoo, OW Lee, Lynx, Polaris

JoPa designs and builds the finest custom swimming pools in Virginia and have received numerous awards for their creative designs. Additionally, JoPa services and repairs pools and delivers products throughout Central Virginia. When families move, they frequently call JoPa to do the pool project at their new home. This company knows pools and home leisure products; their motto is "the good life people."

Customer service has always been a top priority for JoPa. A BBB accredited business since 1966, JoPa has an A+ rating. In an age where online shopping has become popular, the staff at JoPa recognizes the importance of working together with their clients. Not including the owners, the staff has over 70 years of JoPa retail experience. This talented team wants to assist you; whether you're looking for an entire outdoor living/dining set, a hammock, glider, or just cushions, the staff is there to help! With examples of all the finishes, color swatches, trims, piping, and cording available, you'll be sure to find just what you're looking for. Utilizing the expertise of the sales team, clients have often bought items right off the floor from this Broad Street store.

JoPa Company is a recognized leader that upholds value in both the outdoor living industry and the region.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." All photos property of JoPa Company.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Splurge vs. Save with Credit Card Insider

{Credit Card Insider logo}

Happy Thursday to you all - it's almost the weekend! What do you have coming up? I plan to go to a concert Saturday, but other than that not a whole lot going on. Then again, it's summertime and I often feel like the best activities happen spur-of-the-moment, so someone might rope me into something fun.

I was contacted by Credit Card Insider to participate in a promotion they have going on this summer called the "Splurge vs. Save" campaign. I was asked to pick an item I've scored for cheap and include my pricey inspiration. You know I really enjoy scoring a good deal... sometimes it just takes a bit of investigating to find the item I want on sale... but other times just finding a similar item at a different price point is the best I can do. I never do that unless I truly love the item. You have heard me say before I will often go to a lower price point for a big trend item. Check out my splurge vs. save below on one of the biggest trend items for this season, the bucket bag:


Elizabeth and James suede purse


Antik Batik brown purse


Which bag is your favorite? Were you aware that fashion-industry fav store Need Supply Co. is actually based in Richmond? Many people seem to be unaware, but we love having their storefront in Carytown. They have a little bit of everything for everyone - including the BAGGU handbag shown above (which yes, is 100% leather at that price point)!

You may wonder how this fashion-oriented campaign relates to a finance industry company? Well, Credit Card Insider helps customers compare over 200 credit card offers on their website. They're basically advocates for smart financial decisions. It's pretty neat, but I'm not in the market to change cards at this time. If I was, I would certainly use this website. You select options from a menu on the left side of the screen which lets you pick the type of card, credit score, issuer and features. It seems like it would eliminate the hassle of contacting each company individually, plus as an independent resource there is less of any kind of bank/brand pressure. Credit Card Insider compares cards, while in the photos above, I compared a few trending fashion items. I know a lot of you are similar to me in that you love shopping, but really changed your shopping habits after the market tanked in '08. Sometimes I like to share a little bit of fiscal responsibility on here!

{Pixabay free usage photo}

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I was not obligated to include links back to the site on this post. Any links included are neither affiliate links nor required links for this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, July 7, 2014

My experience with the Fashion Project

{logo from Fashion Project}

Back in March, I was catching up on the InStyle news section of their website. I read a short post about two entrepreneurs who had founded a website called the Fashion Project back in November 2012, and it looked as though InStyle had been promoting them regularly over the past year plus. What piqued my interest was the fact that the two founders are female and Harvard Law graduates. Their names are Christine Rizk and Anna Palmer, about my age, and while in law school they realized that although some people can write checks for charity, maybe it would be easier for many others to donate clothing and accessories instead. The net worth of the items donated to charity in the United States is much higher than you'd expect!

Essentially the Fashion Project boils down to being the perfect website for me. Let me elaborate - about once a year I will go through my closet and sort my items into 4 piles: keep, store, donate, repair. Repair is obviously made up of items that go to my tailor or cobbler. The store pile gets moved into a different bedroom (I do this seasonally, but sometimes in Virginia it seems like the seasons run into one another!). The keep stuff will be reorganized and placed back in the closet to be worn with the current season. However, the donate pile is the biggest pile each time. Particularly this year, when I had about 200 items of clothing or accessories that were from before my weight loss or from my college years (Itty bitty miniskirts! Way too casual tops for work!). The pile kept getting bigger and bigger that I thought, 'hmm, how about I sort them into consignment-friendly brands and then a separate pile for Goodwill.'

That was still easier said than done, as many consignment stores don't want J.Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Free People, etc. unless they are less than two years old (if at all). That is where the Fashion Project website came into play. I went on the website, saw that many of my 'not fancy but nicer than $3 worth' clothes could be sent to them and asked for a free donation bag. My first two bags arrived within days, and I requested that those items go toward the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. I still had a big pile of nicer clothes/accessories to donate, so I requested another two bags to be donated to Autism Speaks. The bags are USPS prepaid labeled bags, so I just had to fill them up, close them (reinforced with packing tape), and wait about a month to 6 weeks to get an email from them that the items were processed. Thankfully, you get tracking numbers when you turn in the bags to the USPS counter, so I knew they had arrived fine.

One full bag of the four I have donated has hit the showroom, and I know more will continue to be processed. To break it down money-wise, a $90 J.Crew dress from 4 years ago is listed for 79% off. 55% of that purchase will go directly to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. It is still more than the garment would get going to Goodwill, so charity is charity in my mind and that makes me incredibly happy. Eventually, I'll get a tax receipt for my tax filing, so again, I get to account for these gifts in that way as well. Many people are still learning about the service, so there is a delay due to the volume of donations. I don't really care - it isn't in my house anymore taking up space and the items will eventually hit the 'showroom.' They check the clothes for cleanliness, repairs needed, give them their own mini photoshoot and place them online. That has to be a long process.

The tagline for the company is "Fashion as a force for good." I feel great knowing that thanks to Fashion Project, we all end up winners. Over this past weekend, I got $320 in Nordstrom gift cards, my items will eventually sell through the Fashion Project website raising money for two charities that I have personal ties to, and I still have a huge pile of clothes to send to Goodwill. The promotion I participated in is featured in the YouTube video above - 5 items donated equal a $40 Nordstrom gift card. That is already 40 items I have donated! I cannot wait to donate to Fashion Project again. I hope you all will look into this business, I highly recommend it!