Friday, December 15, 2017

my everyday style: a plaid topper!

As I mentioned yesterday, it's pretty much non-stop plaid around here these days and I'm a-okay with that. I've been depending on shawl toppers like this one since the weather turned cool this fall.  They are surprisingly versatile... I've worn them over a tee (shown here) or over a sweater (50% off today!) like I am below or I've also thrown them on as an oversized scarf too.  Layers are KEY this time of year as the cold and snowy weather is here to stay, so however I can layer up in style - I'll take it!

I've also been known to evade wearing a coat if at all possible.  Somedays it works and some it straight back-fires in my face. But this shawl (it's 50% off today!) is so thick I found it blocks the wind amazingly and was a great alternative to a bulky coat for running holiday errands.  I am also known to bundle up to high heaven to run some errands, only to be a pool of sweat inside those layers an hour later.  Am I alone?!?! This is a perfect alternative I would say!

Shop the pieces.... 

Outfit Details:
Plaid Shawl - 50% off today!
Sweater - 50% off today!
Earrings via ROCKSBOX get your first month FREE here!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

my everyday style: a pop of plaid!

Getting dressed this time of year always seems to revolve around one theme: plaid.  I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate more plaid this time of year and really, why not!?!? We will likely be absolutely sick of it in a month or two - so wear it all now! That's my motto!

That and "don't leave the house without a hat" - that is my other motto right now because while it may not look it in these photos it is DARN cold out these days (thankfully we took all these photos before the endless snow started).  This time of year you can find about two or three hats, scarves, mittens in my purse and in my car and in general laying all over the house. Any one else!?! It's like they spawning. Except for my kids' hats and mittens - those are disappearing faster than I can replace them.  Seriously though.

This is the perfect outfit for all your holiday errands.  Warm over the knee boots (like little sleeping bags for your legs!), a cozy faux fur trimmed hat (this one is seriously SO warm and beautiful), plenty of plaid and a hat... always a hat.

Shop the look...

Outfit Details
Hat (similar)
Boots (similar or similar)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

holiday gift guide 2017: stocking stuffers under $25!

How is your holiday shopping coming along!?!? I was at the slowly and calmly gathering gifts here and there phase. Which has now moved into the semi-freak-out-how-will-I-have-this-done-in-time phase. Next week will be the I'm-riding-on-pure-adrenaline phase (hopefully! I don't know how else I will get everything done!).  Any way... if you could use a little help (i.e. a full time on staff elf) right about now like me, I've got some help for us both!

Today I rounded up tons of under $25 stocking stuffers and the good news is that they ALL ship for FREE in time for Christmas delivery.  That's the kind of help I need these days.  You? There are fun finds here for all ages like Dylan's Candy Bar mason jar or a peppermint snow tube for the kiddos. And super practical gifts like black/white charging cable or fingerless gloves for your brother or sister that has everything. I love these 80's remix magnets for your BFF from way back or drop earrings for that super glamorous friend of yours. A initial bottle stopper is perfect for EVERYONE on the list that is at least 21+ - think grandmas, uncles, teachers and neighbors.  And a few of my personal favorites are this peppermint lip conditioner, these Invisibobble hair ties are amazing and this is my favorite candle!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

my everyday style: grey scale!

Can you believe we are less than two weeks from Christmas now? I am in serious Christmas prep mode over here as I am sure you are too! This is the time of year where you just don't know how you will complete it all... but at the same time you know you will and you just go with it!  I feel like I keep popping another gumdrop or Christmas cookie in my mouth and turn up the Christmas music and I can get through one more item on the to-do list!  If you need more Christmas gift ideas - be sure to check out ALL my holiday gift guides in one easy place by clicking here.  So far my men's gift guide and the teens/tweens gift guide are the most popular this year... and that's not surprising since those two groups are the absolute hardest to buy for! And if you need last minute tips and tricks on getting all those gifts wrapped (even if you are short on time) make sure you check out this post!

Cozy outfits like this one definitely make the busy and snowy days more bearable.  I am obsessed with this oversized chunky knit sweater... it's PERFECT for hanging around the house in.  And everyone seems to LOVE this scarf... and for good reason. It's SO soft and warm and comes in tons of colors. It makes a really great gift this time of year, especially for that hard to buy for gal.  I love to throw on my Sperry boots when the snow starts flying and since these are more of a spring/fall boot I always pair them with a cozy wool sock. Is anyone else snatching up cozy socks for themselves and loved ones this time of year like crazy!?!? Like I mentioned, we only really buy pajamas before Christmas and we really only buy socks this time of year too.  Is that weird or do you guys do the same thing? (I mean who wants to buy socks in the summer!??!)

Shop the look...

Outfit Details:
Socks (similar or similar)
Earring (via Rocksbox, use code JILLBFF4 for a FREE month!)

Monday, December 11, 2017

instagram lately!

Each month I love to round up my favorite Instagram looks of late and it's always a popular post around here! I love the spontaneity of Instagram... when I post an outfit there that day it's 99.9% something I just threw together that morning.  Rarely I will plan out an outfit the night before... but I'm usually hardly that organized. Here are some of my favorites from the past month... if you need a few outfit ideas for the coming week... snag one of these ideas!

This cozy outfit is totally worth repeating... a simple pair of jeans, a super cozy sweater (under $50 and lots of color options!) and loafers is always a winning combo in my book.  Add a cozy plaid scarf and a classic tote and you are ready for whatever the day or the weather brings!

Layers, layers and more layer this time of year! Who's with me? Shop the sweater, similar vest, similar hat, similar boots and jeans.

I've been getting tons of wear out of this cozy pullover fleece. It would make a great gift too!

I'm happy to sport faux fur pretty much every day now that the temps have dropped! Shop a similar vest here or here. Or shop by sweater, jeans, and boots.

I wore this cute combo to my first holiday party of the year. You can find the pieces here: plaid top, similar skirt, heels, clutch and earrings.

I am loving this oversized sweater - I wore it with leggings and Uggs. It would be just as cute with jeans and boots.  Shop the plaid shawl and bag.

My favorite pj pants. I'm wearing them constantly.  Sometimes all day too ;)

Friday, December 8, 2017

holiday gift guide 2017: sleepwear for the entire family under $100!

I say it every Christmas and I will say it again: sleepwear is hands down the best gift to give (and receive) for the holidays!  The truth is, I rarely buy pjs for myself or my kiddos throughout the year so by this time of year not only do we want new cozies for the cold weather... we also kinda 'need' them too.  And really the lounge and pajama selection is the BEST this time of year... robes, slippers and pj sets can be difficult to come by brand new in the summer. So this is THE time of year to stock up on sleepwear gifts for the whole family.  Plus, they are great gifts to give to friends and family because its usually pretty easy to guesstimate sizing and who say no to a snuggly pair of pjs or a robe?

I love this nightshirt and over the knee sock combo.  How cozy would that be for a winter movie night at home? These slippers look SO soft and they are available in quite a few colors.  My husband loves these Ugg slippers the best and he usually needs a few new casual tees to lounge in or a new pair of sweatpants for around the house.  For my kids I love the fitted pajamas (and they love them too!).  Both of my kids are always seeming to grow out of their robes and slippers each year. How cute are these bunny slippers (under $25!)!?!? So darling. The best part is everything I've pulled together here is at the $100 price point or under... with most items being UNDER $50!  So they are not only the perfect gift, but at the perfect price!

For the gals...

For the guys...

For the kiddos...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

my everyday style: a trip to the tree farm!

Cutting down a Christmas tree is a yearly tradition our whole family looks forward to.  And while it's usually cold and snowy - this year was a different story! Sunny and high 40s was a welcome change to freezing our buns off and taking the first tree we found... instead, my kids had a blast running through the acres and acres of trees and my husband and I got to slowly peruse the selection without having to snatch and grab one because we were so cold.  Of course, we still had to snag a warm beverage for the drive out there - I mean, a tradition is a tradition.

A cozy fleece pullover, hat (40% off!) and scarf (under $25!) were perfect for battling the slight chill in the air and I was afraid the farm would be muddy so I went for my SOREL boots... which are a work horse for keeping your feet dry, warm and the mud washes off them so easily.

These trees here in the photos are my favorite trees of all, they are called Concolor.  You can see they are quite fluffy and have a blueish/greenish color. If you smell them they have a citrusy-pine scent. Which is AMAZING.  Unfortunately their branches don't hold ornaments too well, especially the heavy ornaments.  We ended up with a very full and TALL Balsam Fir (9 feet - yikes!), which has very soft needles and strong branches.  Firs have what I would call a very woodsy-pine scent. Our family room smells like a Christmas tree farm and I am not mad about it!

Outfit Details:
hat - 40% off!
scarf - under $25!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

holiday gift guide: what mom REALLY wants with Evereve!

This post is sponsored by Evereve. All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. 

Today I am partnering with Evereve to bring you a gift guide for all those moms in your life!  If anyone knows how to treat moms right, it's Evereve.  With super helpful sales associates and an amazing selection of wardrobe staples and trendy items that are perfect for the busy mom on the go - Evereve has something for every mom this holiday season.

Every time I pop into my local Evereve I am always floored by the amazing selection and my ability to seriously want EVERYTHING.  They are always getting new stock in and always have plenty of stylists ready to help me pull together the perfect outfit or gift. You can see my holiday looks with Evereve here, or this was my go-to fall look, also styled by Evereve.

Today I pulled together some of my favorite giftable from Evereve that the moms on your list will really love!  A few things that are on my own personal wish list are this toasty sweatshirt, this LOVE locket by The Giving Keys and I am so in love with these wedge SOREL boots!  I love these 'LOVE YOUR MELON' pom pom hats... it would be perfectly paired with this stay-cation top.  For the lady that has everything this grey ruana/shawl or fringe hoop earring would be perfect!  There isn't a busy mom alive that doesn't love a super flattering pair of skinny jeans and cable knit sweater combo!

top row, from left: LOVE locket by The Giving Keysstay-cation toppom pom hat - so cozy!
bottom row: wedge SOREL bootstoasty sweatshirt - my favorite!, skinny jeans - so flattering!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

my everyday style: 10 things making me happy right now!

A few months ago I started posting a quick list at the beginning of the month of ten things that are currently making me happy... it's such a fun way to start the month! So without further ado... here are 10 things making me happy right now, I'd love to hear what's making you happy this month - feel free to chime in below!

1) All the Christmas decor is DONE at my house (well about 99% done). The twinkle lights, smells of fresh pine and all my favorite ornaments are sure making me happy right now.
2) Christmas music is HERE!  I admit that I have to listen to it in bits and pieces because otherwise I will get burnt out on it - but man when I am doing Christmas prep around the house or working on Christmas content for the blog - it gives me ALL the feels!
3) Holiday party season! There is nothing I love more than a fun night with friends... we don't go to a lot of parties, but the ones we do make time for are some of the most special ones.
4) Gift shopping - sometimes I think the gift buying process gets a bad rap this time of year. But what is more special than picking out that PERFECT gift, hiding it, wrapping it and then waiting to see the reaction on the recipients face. It's definitely a process I love and it gives me the warm fuzzies this time of year.
5) Christmas movies - is there such thing as watching Elf, Polar Express or A Charlie Brown Christmas too many times?! I think not.
6) You all know I have a sweet tooth and Christmas candy is some of my favorite!  I love the old fashioned hard ribbon candy, the gum drops and of course a good old candy cane cures the winter blues!
7) Early nights.  I know by about February I will be sick of the short days, but lately I have loved it getting dark early.  It's an excuse to get in my pajamas a little early and in general just slow down, especially during this super busy season.
8) Christmas cookies! We always make a lot of cookies and then freeze them all to bring out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - what are your favorite Christmas recipes?
9) Our Christmas photos... okay so the morning of the shoot was a little stressful (rain, grumpy teens, etc) - but they turned out so great.  These three people are my life.
10) You gals! You show up, you comment, you send messages, you encourage me, you click and buy and you make this blog what it is! I'm always trying to do better for you gals and endlessly thankful for your support! 2017 was one of the most exciting years on the blog and I have you to thank for that.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating the Christmas tree(s) - we did two full size trees this year! I say it's my "favorite" tradition... but really, they are ALL my favorite traditions. This is by far one of the kids' favorite too.  Sure it's a little hectic unpacking boxes and giving the kids instructions on what goes where, and there always seems to be 5 ornaments on one branch, but it's so fun!  Every year we blast the Christmas music, bring up all the dusty boxes from the basement, get some cookies and hot cocoa out and have at it! I snagged these adorable Santa mugs this year and the kids love them (they've been eating snacks and cereal out of them too!).

Sweater - under $50 and 5 colors!

Monday, December 4, 2017

my everyday style: 5 tips for family holiday photos!

So let's be honest... while family photos are great to HAVE they are a huge pain in the butt to complete. Who's with me? From choosing the outfits (the struggle is real!) to getting everyone ready the day of, to keeping everyone happy (it's hard to believe my kids are smiling they were so grumpy before photos!) to finding a photographer - it's all a TON of work.  But the payoff is huge.  The family photos we have taken over the years are among my most treasured mementos.  Whenever I look back on photos of my kids from when they are young so many emotions and memories rush back. I can never believe they were so little and I am always so thankful we made the time and money investment back then.  I can't say enough how worth it is!!!

We had our family photos taken for our yearly Christmas card while we were on vacation in Orlando last week and I absolutely LOVE how they turned out.  Even though my son was SUPER grumpy that day. Even though it was RAINING when we started - my poor hair! Even though it was FREEZING - cloudy, drizzly and 52 degrees is quite chilly in Florida!  Here is how we survived...

My 5 tips for family holiday photos:

1) Choose an amazing photographer!  Our photographer was SO sweet and encouraging. She helped to put us all at ease and make us all laugh at the right time.  Plus I loved that she gave clear and concise instructions on posing and smiling.  And then other times she just let us be "us" - it was the perfect balance!  We used Flytographer to find an AWESOME photographer in Orlando and I couldn't recommend the service enough!  We booked a full hour, though a half an hour would have been better for everyone's sanity - but, hey, we survived!

2) Book your photos in a place that is new to you! We did our family photos in California a few years back with a fellow blogger friend who lived there at the time (you can see a few of them in our old master bedroom post, here).  Ever since then, it was a lightbulb moment!  Capturing your family is a new and unfamiliar place is an adventure all of it's own! But what if you don't have a photographer friend in every city!?!? Enter Flytographer - a friend told me about them and now I am telling everyone I know about this amazing service (this isn't sponsored, I just really love them!). You choose a city and Flytographer let's you choose a photographer in that city.  Then you communicate with them on the basics of the shoot and voila! It's done.  No location scouting, our photographer did it all for us and no pressure to buy prints after the fact. It's a flat rate that includes digital images you can print on your own or use for holiday cards.  The process was SO easy and we loved it!

3) Choose outfits wisely! I don't worry so much about outfit matching, but I do make sure they all coordinate well. For this photoshoot I went with pops of red for a festive holiday feel.  Then from there added in a bunch of neutral colors like grey, black and navy.   The last time I did family photos I went 100% neutral - you can see those photos here.  You want to at least choose colors in the same color family - so go back to your art 101 class and make sure the colors are on opposite ends of the color wheel. It seems silly, but it's so true! And ALWAYS make sure everyone is going to be comfortable in their outfits so you can move around and have some fun. My daughter doesn't wear dresses much, but she agreed that this style was comfortable enough for photos. It can be tricky having kids "dress up" a bit for photos because they usually don't want to. But try to find some type of common ground - for instance I let my son wear sneakers. Which really didn't even show!

4) Don't be too worried about the final product! I've learned over the years that my kids are going to be crazy, maybe a little grumpy and that the photos probably will NOT look exactly like what I had envisioned.  But they will still be amazing!  It was drizzling for these photos and I feel like my hair looks super frizzy - but now I just will look back on it and say "remember when it was drizzling for our family photos" and laugh.  Family photos are capturing a moment in time for your family... embrace that not every moment is absolutely perfect and go with it! In the end trust that your photographer is capturing you at your best - that is what you are paying them for! And be ready for whatever the final product may be. I remember when our son was about 1 1/2 years old we booked photos with an expensive and highly sought after photographer. The shoot was a mess. Our 1 1/2 year old was a whirling dervish of toddler craziness.  I was convinced the shoot was a bust, but I literally burst into tears when I saw the photos she captured.  They were beautiful memories of crazy toddler life and she did such an amazing job!  That is why they are the professionals - trust them!

5) Always, always offer a reward for the family afterward!  Family photos are fun, but they can be super draining and while my kids don't mind smiling for about 15 minutes they are DONE after that.  And truth be told, sometimes I am too. Give everyone in the family something to look forward to afterward.  If it's a cold day all go for hot chocolate afterward, or plan a family game hour to blow off some steam.  Go out to your favorite place for lunch or snag an ice cream cone afterward.  Make the entire thing FUN with a big payoff.  That will get them smiling well after their standard 15 minute quota.

I hope you enjoyed my family photos tips... you can shop all of our photoshoot outfits here:
(sadly my red striped dress is sold out... here are a few similar options: one, two, three)

Choosing a Christmas card to send to friends and family is one of my favorite holiday activities!  Addressing them all, is not - for a limited time Minted has a FREE addressing service and right now new customers get 20% off their order or existing customers get 15% off their order... there are SO many beautiful cards to choose from!  Here are a few of my favorites...


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