To the Families of Child Cancer Patients on Cancer Awareness Day

It’s late at night and I was thinking about some friends of mine on this National Cancer Awareness Day. Friends and acquaintances of mine whose children suffer from cancer.

I was going to write a Facebook post, but it occurred to me that I had much to say. I hope they read this, but it is okay if they don’t. These are just my thoughts. I know that there are more than children suffering from cancer, and I am aware that it is always devastating for the families no matter the age, but as a young mother I find the cases where children are involved just stay with me each day.

So here are my thoughts. To my lovely friends and to those lovely strangers going through the same battle.

open letter to the families of child cancer patients on cancer awareness day

I go on social media, most every day. I feel like in this way I am checking in on people I love. Every morning, just making sure everyone is okay. As I have reached the age at which myself, and most of my peers have become parents, I have watched them post pieces of their lives on social media.

I celebrated with them as they announced their engagements and waited in anticipation to see wedding photos. For many of you I drove a great distance so we could celebrate together.

Later I shrieked at my computer screen and went running around my house to tell anyone who would listen that my old friend just posted that she and her husband were expecting a child, and then again, I waited. I waited to see pictures of tiny babies. For many of you those pictures never came, and I watched you struggle with that heartache, but for most of you, I watched as you posted pictures of your new baby, your eyes gleaming with…love.

smartphone checking phoneI enjoy opening up my app every morning and scrolling through cute pictures and silly stories. I love seeing photos of play days and Christmas cards, recitals, and haircuts.

And then every so often comes one of those post I have to read so slowly, and so carefully. It usually says something like “We took him to the doctor, it is cancer and treatments start next week.” For some of you it’s not cancer, but a terminal illness diagnosis. For some of you, you’ve left the doctor knowing your child’s life expectancy, or that in a matter of years they would lose the ability to walk.

I can’t know what that is like. It is not my journey, but perhaps I can give you a glimpse into what it is like for me over here on the sidelines.

I want you to know that when I heard your little child was sick, I cried. Everything in my world moved in slow motion as I thought “Oh, no God, please heal this baby.” I probably stopped everything I was doing to excuse myself from my children and sob as my heart breaks at the overwhelming news. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years or we only met briefly.

add you to the saddest prayer list quoteI remember how you prepared for that little baby, who is now sick, and I add you to the saddest prayer list I never thought I would have to make, and then I tell as many people as I can about you, hoping that they will join me in praying.

As the startling news starts to sink in and I’ve taken all the time I can away from my daily tasks, I return to my “normal day” with a heaviness weighing on me, as I grieve with you at this news.

The next day when I check in again, I’m reminded of the gravity of the situation as you post a photo update of your poor little child in a hospital bed.
I will probably put some money in a passing offering plate or an online giving account, but what I really want to give you is a hug. Also I want to give you, your space, so I part with money you need more than I do, and hope that it does indeed help your family.

I watch you be stronger than anyone should ever have to be, and I am encouraged and inspired by you. I know that you probably cry when no one is around and that you probably haven’t slept much, and that is okay. It is okay to be human through this. However you go through this, it is okay. (I know you don’t need me to say that, but in a world where everyone is making anonymous social media accounts to leave cruel discouraging remarks. I completely support you.)

encouraged and inspired quoteI watch you post about the good days and the bad days. I see as people clamor around you to support and encourage you and I am so glad, even if you won’t remember in years to come, that I can in some way be one of them.

For some of you I see from my spot on the sidelines as your child becomes friends with other children in the pediatric oncology center. And I am happy for them to make a connection with someone that seems “just like them” in a world where they probably feel very different. The next thought I have is wondering how many people have kids on that floor of the hospital and why it has to be a thing. What if we lived in a world where there was no pediatric oncology center?

I’m happy to hear about your good days and sad when you share about your bad days. I am reminded that there is still so much life to be had, and amazing memories to be made, even if you have cancer. When you shared those photos of your child’s make a wish trip I was happy for your child that they were able to have a really great day, but my heart still ached a little for what you are going through.

I am thrilled when you say that your little one is in remission and you don’t have to go back for months to check and maybe you can move on from this darkness. Though I imagine that for many of you, there is always some fear there. Even when they say “cured”, even when they say “remission,” it must still be nerve-racking at every follow up appointment and round of testing.

I have seen some of your children have the cancer come back and then the whole thing starts all over again.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am so sorry I do not know just what to say, so I talked too much and said the wrong thing. I hope for the best, and even if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I prayed for you, because it is something I can do when I feel so helpless. Also I pray, because I believe in its power.

national cancer awareness day with leukemia ribbonToday is National Cancer Awareness day, and I want you to know, that for me at least, I never forgot about you. I appreciate you keeping us informed in whatever way you choose to do it and I totally understand if you just don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As a young woman I remember looking around at my group of friends and wondering who we would marry or how many kids we would have or where we would live. I knew the world was full of possibilities, but I didn’t imagine any of the heart aches we would go through. I certainly never imagined cancer. I’m glad it wasn’t a heaviness that I had to carry with me in my youth, also I am glad no one interrupted my wandering thoughts with logic and reason that perhaps even the happiest of lives have some dark days in them.

I am so very aware of cancer. I am aware of you, and I am in awe of you.

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Be Blessed

Three Free Printable Erin Condren Planner Covers Perfect for Valentine’s Day

Oh these gorgeous planner covers. I do so love them you guys.

Love this life free printable planner cover for valentine's day #erincondren

Finished, laminated cover on my planner

February is here and I am ready to dive back into planner decorating. I have a tendency to make big plans and then never complete them because I didn’t have everything lined up just how I wanted them to beforehand.

Plans are a fickle thing aren’t they? You make a good effort to accomplish things that are noble and then life happens.

Nevertheless, I am strong willed and determined, and I am not giving up. I have things to plan and goals to accomplish.

This year I bought my Erin Condren LIfe Planner at Staples. I was so excited to see that they are selling them at select Staples locations now. If you haven’t gotten yours already, you can save $10 when you order your Erin Condren Planner through this link.

I liked being able to use a coupon on Erin Condren planner when I picked it up my planner, and I definitely loved being able to have my planner right away. The only thing missing was the ability to personalize my planner and all the extras that come in that lovely shipping box.

To be honest though, last year I got all those beautiful extras and never used a single one. Since I really love to personalize my planner myself, I figured I would make the retail store version of the planner work this year. Plus, I may have been a bit behind on ordering it in time for the new year.

Valentine's themed free printable erin condren planner coversI’m so excited to share some beautiful planner covers for February.

I wanted to be able to make my cover reversible so I had to make more than one. I went through a few failures, before I settled on these three favorites. I think I might keep the striped one on way past February, I love it so much and I hope you will love them too.

I went ahead and made these planner covers to be printed on standard size paper or card stock. I have yet to find specially sized paper that is the same size as the Erin Condren Planner. Cutting this simple rectangle out should prove simple enough though.

If you are planning on making your reversible, remember that the inside cover of your planner will be upside down. I printed mine and taped them together with double sided adhesive before laminating. Very, very easy.

love this life free printable planner cover, erin condren life planner valentine's day planner cover>>Click here to download FREE Printable Love this Life Planner cover <<

Click the above link to download the printable file of the “Love this Life” Planner cover. Print, laminate and then you will need to line your laminated cover up with your removable cover that came on your planner to mark where the holes will be.

I manually punch mine with a 1/8 hole punch and then place it on my planner with the aid of a pencil to force the plastic down between the binding. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to anser them.

Smartandsavvymom, Free Printable - love arrow mint and gold erin condren planner cover>>Click here to download FREE Printable Gold and Mint “Love” Planner Cover with Arrows<<<

I am having a color crush on mint lately, or always. Teal, turquoise; I am a cool tones kind of girl. I wasn’t sure I would make it the entire month of February with black and pink so I wanted to be sure to have something with my favorite colors that still fit the occasion.

I am pretty sure I can make gold and mint appropriate for all occasions though.

smartandsavvymom, Love flag banner and flowers Free Printable planner cover>>Click here to download FREE Printable “Love” Flag banner Valentine’s Day Planner Cover <<

Lastly is this great cover which almost made me create a fourth design just so I didn’t have to chose only two. The flags on the banners have tiny white polka dots and we are sticking with the “love” theme.

Love banner fre printable planner cover for valentine's day for #erincondren

I am not really big on Valentine’s Day for no particular reason. February, however, is the month that my husband first asked me to be his girlfriend, so I can’t help feeling extra romantic this time of year.

This year my husband and will have been a couple 15 years. I am a lucky woman.

I hope you enjoy these planner covers as much as I do, and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s day.

Stay tuned for some upcoming Valentine’s Day outfit ideas, I am pretty excited to get all dolled up in pink and red.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ashley

Free Printable 30 day Skin Care Routine Tracker

So it is 2016 you guys! I love new years, new months, and even new weeks really. Every Monday I am sure I am going to accomplish some major goal that I haven’t been able to accomplish and start some new habit that’s going to lead to my success.

My favorite thing to do to achieve my goals are charts and challenges. I love adding little stickers to my planner and keeping charts and graphs to track my progress.

I am working on a bunch of lovely printables to help me stay on top of my goals in 2016 and I can’t wait to share them with all of you.

(Scroll to the bottom to download your Skincare Routine Printable)

So among my many goals is getting on track with a skincare routine. I tend to complain a lot about the state of my skin and then do nothing about it, because I’m not sure what to do and I’m sure I don’t have the time to figure out how.

Well, as it turns out, that course of action hasn’t improved the condition of my skin in anyway. So I’m going to quit with the way of excuses and keep myself accountable by using this, 30 day skincare printable tracker and inviting a friend (in this case my beautiful sister) to play along. If you are a checklist lover like me than this may be perfect for you, and I hope many of you will find it useful.

30 day skincare routine printable preview titleOn this printable I have provided a suggested skincare routine. It’s a pretty general list and I’m sure I have not covered everything you might be using, but this can still be useful to keep track of making sure not to miss a day. There are so many great products between night cream, and serums, acne treatments and cleanser there is too much to cover.

I personally, don’t like putting 12 items on my face all at once. I like to do something like…

  • One or two products to remove dirt (cleanse and exfoliate or cleanser and make-up remover),
  • Toner
  • Something to help with under eye circles
  • Night cream or Antiaging
  • Moisturizer

Unfortunately I am super inconsistent and always miss a step or 2.

I am going to try and work on adding in one product consistently every month or couple of months. This month I am going to try a night cream I received as a bonus gift with purchase. I will also be removing make-up with a wipe before cleansing, and adding a hand cream to my daily routine.

I’m very interested to see what results I might have if only I were consistent with my skin care.

Do you have any skincare products you swear by? Please share in the comments.

30 day skincare routine printable previewYou can find the suggested skincare regimens at the top of the sheet separated by day and night routines.

I plan on starting my weeks on Mondays, but of course if you are a Sunday person, or what have you, you may begin whenever. The idea is to take it 30 days at a time (even though I realize the months may have more or less that that). After the 30 days, I will review my skincare routine, based on my results or how I liked or disliked a product, restock and start over.

I will probably keep these in a binder where I can keep notes and look back on my progress. Hopefully at some point it will just be a given that I do my skincare routine in the morning out of habit, like brushing my teeth, but until then this lovely printable will be a fun tool to use.

Of course, besides the skincare regimen list and the AM/PM check boxes, I added in some lovely flowers and a graphic to make it pretty. Pretty things keep me motivated. I am a very visual person and plain black text just does nothing for me.

So wash your face, moisturize, treat , and then check your boxes. Here is to a more consistent skincare routine and a year filled with goal conquering.

>> Click Here to Download your Free Printable 30 day, day and night Skincare Routine Tracker <<<

It is a .pdf file, so just download open and print and you should be ready to go. Set your print settings to ‘print without border’ for the best results printing.

Have a beautiful day,

Ashley

Snowy Style
My Out of Town Winter Outfits

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


So my loving husband had to drag me kicking and screaming on a near 20 hour drive to see our families. Really the drive is much shorter, but with 4 little children in tow, it never quite works out that way.

Of course I was crazy excited to see my family, and my kids kept asking me if we were going to build snowmen at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

The thought of snow had me thinking though. I knew that it had been unusually warm this winter in my former hometown and I had written off the idea of snow, but the more the kids asked the more I got to thinking.

I’m not the sledding, snow angels, and snowman kind of girl. I usually stand on the side taking pictures while the kids have snowball fights with their dad, but I was thinking the one thing that was missing from my life were some great outfit photos with a snowy white back drop.

At the risk of packing yet another pair of shoes I did pack one or 2 extra outfits just in case.

Turned out when we finally arrived at the doorstep of my in-laws house it was in fact snowing. The first snow of the cold season for them, just so happened to occur at the time of our arrival.

I wish it would’ve waited until we got the car unpacked, but I am happy my kids were able to play in the snow and a few days later I did snap a couple outfit pics before it all melted away.

buffalo plaid peacoat from #burkesoutlet and red beanie, plaid and stripe pattern mix. My modest winter styleKeeping warm was serious business for me. It had not been cold in South Carolina where I live up to this point, and I did not pack correctly for the cold and windy lake front weather. This red beanie from Groopdealz was invaluable to me. If you have not shopped Groopdealz it is an amazing website that has great deals on boutique style clothing. I actually found this beanie on Groopdealz for only $6.99!

red buffalo plaid winter coat pattern mix with black and white striped dress and black knee hight boots, modest winter outfit ideaOf course I brought my favorite red and black buffalo plaid peacoat from Burke’s Outlet on my trip. I have warmer coats, with hoods, but I wasn’t planning on being this cold. At least I looked great, right? Quick steps from the car and back, no lingering, and I was fine, with the exception of a few outfit pics with my big sis.

buffalo plaid button up and black and white striped long sleeve dress, my modest winter styleOkay, confession time, I am slightly obsessed with buffalo plaid. If you had more than one conversation with me this fall/winter I have probably brought it up, and I am not sorry.

So now that we have that out in the open, you will not be surprised to see that when I took off my plaid coat I was actually wearing a plaid button up shirt in the same print and the same colors.

buffalo plaid button up tied over black and white striped dress, my modest winter syleI couldn’t hide how cold I was when posing for this shot. No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t get my shoulders to come down, taking my coat off was quite the shock. Don’t worry we didn’t stay outside more than a moment. You can also rest assured that it wasn’t as cold as I look.

I felt amazing in this 3/4 sleeve long striped dress from Jane.com. It wasn’t too dressy and it was heavy enough for the colder weather. Best part about this fabulous dress made by Sign Here Vinyl is that it was less than $20 on Jane!

It was hard to buy only one. You should definitely head over to Jane and check out there great deals.

This buffalo plaid button up shirt is a recent wishlist find I from Wamlart. My husband couldn’t believe when I exclaimed it was just what I’d been looking for, but I promise I don’t have one like it. It is perfect for layering and the price is perfect too.

Necklace and boots are from Cato Fashions, earrings are from Burke’s Outlet, and headband is from Payless.

white lace dress and cognac boots and belt my modest winter styleI love this dress I found on clearance at White House Black Market a few seasons ago when I was still living in Indiana.

I like it for spring, but couldn’t wait to layer it up for winter. It was pretty windy at the park by the lake so I might have to repeat this one so I can get a picture of it on a sunny and clear day in South Carolina, but mostly because I love this outfit.

white lace dress and cognac boots modest winter outfitThis beige cardigan is from New York and Company outlet, and my blet is from Cato Fashions. I always find great deals at Cato Fashions.

These amazing brown sweater boots are from Groopdealz! Yes, again with Groopdealz. Before I found Groopdealz I just owned less clothes. Groopdealz is really amazing and these boots were less than $30!

My bohemian style necklace is from Ebay and I think I payed less than $4 for it. Love finding fashion for a steal. Although, I admit, I have to repair jewelry I order from Ebay from time to time.

red embellished sweater with statement necklace and tulle skirt modest winter outfitDressing up my red sweater I bought for our choir concert, hope you saw how I styled it in my previous post of Red Christmas Outfits.
I layered my red sweater from Kohl’s over a simple white button up shirt I bought from Walmart.

I added my super gorgeous statement necklace I got for $16 at Rue21 a few months back.

Added my very long and very gorgeous beige tulle skirt I purchased from Amazon. I bought my  6-layer Midi Length Tulle Skirt for our family Christmas Photos and am so pleased with how lovely it is.

red embellished sweater with statement necklace and tulle skirt modest christmas outfitThis  6-layer Mid Tulle Skirt from Amazon is listed as midi length but hit my 5’3″ frame at my ankles. This skirt did have a length option, if you like the shorter style tulle skirt. The shorter length is great for less formal events or warmer weather.

red shoes and white tulle skirt modest christmas outfit ideaYou know you have a slight obsession when you are so excited that the snow is icy hard so you can stand on it in your red high heels. These red shoes from Shoe Carnival are another recent affordable find. I love, loving all my clothes.

A couple years ago I made the decision to only buy clothes that make me squeal. No more “Well it is the right price and it fits” decisions. It’s working out pretty well, I hope you agree.

red embellished sweater with statement necklace and tulle skirt winter outfit on benchLoved the contrast of the bright red against the soft beige tulle skirt. I will never tire of this necklace.

I am back home and ready to start a new year with new goals and things to accomplish. More on all that to come in a later post. Hope the new year is treating you all well, and thank you so much for stopping in as always.

Christmas In Red
3 More Holiday Styles

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are spending your day doing something memorable.

I know that I already shared my Burke’s Holiday Style and My Gold Holiday Style and my 12 Days of Modest Christmas Style, but I am back again, for one more Christmas style post.

I am definitely cool tones kind of girl. I love mint and teal and ice blue and silver, but it’s hard to get through the holiday season without at least one great red sweater outfit, or in my case 3.

I was very fortunate to have a lot of reasons to get dressed up in festive attire this season, and even better I get to share it with you.

embellished white peter pan top with red cardigan and silver gray skirt, modest christmas outfit ideaHere’s a great and easy outfit I just loved. I am such a lover of cardigans and Peter Pan Collars, and I was so excited when I found a few great tops at Loft outlet with Peter Pan style collars. It was hard to pick just one, but in the end I ended up with this super versatile, jewel collared shell.

Why do I torture myself with beautiful hard to wash pieces? Oh, that’s right because they are beautiful!!

red and silver peter pan collar modest holiday outfit ideaIt’s not all red and green for the holiday season. Silver is such a great color or even gray. I loved this skirt because it is super comfortable and has a great length so I don’t have to fuss with it all the time to feel comfortable.

Plus, this great skirt from JCPenney has a bit of a sparkle to it that is even greater in person than in these photos, making it wonderful for holiday events, and a little more dressed up than your typical pencil skirt.

red and white and silver easy modest holiday outfit ideaThis pairing of red and white and silver with these perfect gray shoes by

Aerosoles was perfect for a morning singing a Christmas song with the choir at my church.

I added some bright red lip gloss a statement necklace and the perfect gray headband (also from Loft) and this look was complete.

My next look is another casual Christmas look featuring this gorgeous fair isle print sweater from Rue21. It was only $10 and has been on sale for weeks, so I hope you get yourself one.

red and black and white fairisle sweater with black and white striped skirt, modest holiday outfit idea This is what I am planning on wearing today while my kids open up gifts. I layered this sweater over a red and black plaid button up top I recently found on a hunt for affordable tops from Walmart. (Read about that excursion here, lots of cute tops to be had). Layering sweaters over button up tops is definitely a go to for me this fall (and into the winter).

red christmas sweater with black and white striped skirt, easy modest Christmas outfitThis black and white pencil skirt has an elastic waist band, which, I believe, is critical during a proper Christmas dinner. I found it at the perfect bargain price at Banana Republic at our nearest outlet mall location. Yes, I hit a few clearance spots on Black Friday this year. I only bought 7 things for myself ll weekend, I was good. This skirt was a definite wishlist item, but now I don’t think I can justify buying a dress in the exact same print, so there is that one drawback. This skirt is really classy  and really comfortable, I could (and probably will) wear it all the time.

sparkly red sweater, tassel necklace and red boot socks, modest outfit ideaIt’s hard to believe that I live in the southern part of the country when you see all the layers I’ve been wearing. One day I’ll adjust, but I just got here and I still associate fall with sweater weather, though I think a sweater has only been justified about 2 times, no need to say how many sweaters I have worn when it was way to warm.

red and black modest christmas outfit ideaIt was another choir performance, and to be honest I wasn’t too concerned with what I was going to wear. I figured it was going to be cold and outside and I would just throw something together. Then at the last practice a few people were discussing what they would wear, and I realized perhaps I cared too little what I would wear. I try to love everything I buy that way when it is time to get dressed the hardest thing decide is which beautiful thing to neglect that day. I didn’t have time or money to go out and shop and it turns out I loved what I pulled together anyway.

red sweater and black pencil skirt modest christmas outfit ideaRed sweater with embellished sleeves is from Kohl’s and black button up is a clearance find from Cato Fashions. Since I’ve started sharing my outfits on my blog I realize that a lot of it is from the clearance section, girl’s gotta save though right?

Black pencil skirt is from a yard sale and the boots are also from Cato Fashions. My new favorite and super affordable everyday headband is from Walmart. I like it because it is accessible and affordable, because I have a tendency to break a lot of headbands.

My red watch has a sparky thin band and is also from Cato Fashions. Perfect for every single holiday event I have this season. This watch is great and is another piece I am going to wear over and over again.

These red boot socks may have been a little too long for this look, but I didn’t let that stop me. I looked a lot of places for lace topped boot socks but really didn’t find any, so I ended up getting these ones from Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas To You

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Merry Christmas 2015 from Ashley and family at smartandsavvymom.comI absolutely adore Christmas and I anticipate nothing more than the picture perfect moment of my kids revealing what has been waiting for them under the tree for weeks (hopefully) hidden only by a thin piece of perfectly picked wrapping paper. I am grateful to bring them that moment of joy.

Of course I am grateful for the unique joy of appreciating the Savior as a redeemed Christian on this day.

I hope you are having a wonderful day, and that you find joy in whatever you find yourself doing today.

More details on how our family did these photos ourselves coming up this week. Enjoy your day, and if you have time make sure you check out my upcoming post featuring 3 more holiday styles all starring the color red.

More details on my look in the above photos in my Gorgeous in Gold Holiday outfit feature HERE.

Gorgeous in Gold for the Holidays

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


It’s close enough to Christmas time to start thinking about New Year’s Eve plans and outfits. It’s definitely not too late to go out and find something fabulous to wear to your Christmas day or Christmas Eve parties.

One of my favorite things about Holiday style is that it is perfectly acceptable (and even expected) to wear sequins, and tulle, and all manner of formal attire. Oh for joy.

If you are thinking of sequins, I have a few great ideas for you. It is not too over the top (but if you are going for that, it sounds great to me). You can dress it up or down, a little sequins in your headband, or on your clutch, or your shoes, but a sequin top or skirt is also lovely.

Here are 4 sparkly, sequined outfits perfect for your holiday event this year (or Sunday Morning church if you’d like).

First, is my dressiest look, which includes a sequin top I bought on Poshmark.

gold sequin top and tulle skirt modest outfit ideaIf you haven’t signed up for Poshmark yet, let me tell you briefly what it is. Poshmark is a site where lots of fashionable people like you and me sell their clothes they are no longer using. Poshmark pays for the shipping and handles the purchase and any returns if needed so it is super smooth and easy. They have lots of brand names and new, and like new items at great prices. My favorite thing about Poshmark is being able to find something specific when I need it at a price I can afford.

If you haven’t signed up for Poshmark yet you can check it out here. When you get there use the code PDSMN to get a free $10 credit to spend on your first purchase!

gold sequin and beige tulle skirt modest holiday outfit ideaI found this gorgeous top on Poshmark.com for only $13. If you use my code PDSMN when you sign up you might be able to get yourself a gorgeous top like this for $3 or less.

I love it, and it looked great in our holiday photos. My girls were all wearing tulle skirts with sparkles on them so I decided to get a tulle skirt for myself to match my lovely little girls.

beighe tulle skirt and taupe boots, modest holiday outfit ideaThis V28® Women 6-layer Mid Tulle Skirt in Beige is full without being too full, and ankle length. It has a lining which makes it super comfortable and the price was perfect. I got this gorgeous skirt from Amazon and it was eligible for 2 day shipping with my Amazon Prime Membership which is way too convenient.

The rest of this gold look was in the accessories. Taupe booties are Jennifer Lopez Collection from Kohl’s. My gold braided headband is from Target and my layered pearl necklace is from Burke’s Outlet. My pearl drop earrings actually came with the necklace from Burke’s Outlet and I paid $7.99 for the set. Love that store. See 4 Holiday looks I put together from Burke’s Outlet Store HERE.

gold sequin top and beige tulle skirt, easy christmas outfitThe rest of my sequin style will feature this really fantastic gold sequin skit from Target.

I sometimes am surprised to hear how many of my fellow fashionistas dislike online shopping. With 4 kids and a limited budget sites like Jane.com and Eleventh Avenue are a life safer, but if you are more of a brick and mortar kind of girl, check out how I styled this sequin skirt from Target.

white cable knit sweater layered over black button up top, gold sequin skirt, black tights and booties. Modest holiday/christmas outfit ideaSeriously this skirt is so fantastic, and, breathtaking, and affordable. I sized up since the skirt was a bit on the short size for my Mommy sensibilities and buying it a size larger allowed me to wear it a little lower on my waist and feel more comfortable with the length.

I dressed it way down with a casual white cable knit sweater (which coincidentally I also bought at Target, weeks earlier).

white cable knit sweater and gold sequin skirt modest outfitKept my earrings simple, but I did wear a black bib necklace and my gold braided headband is on repeat.

red and black buffalo plaid top and gold sequin skirt modest outfitBuffalo plaid and gold, (well buffalo plaid and most things) might be m favorite thing ever. This buffalo plaid blouse from Burke’s Outlet is great for when I want to dress up my plaid print. It’s dressier than a standard cotton button up so it is perfect for pairing with sequins.

Layered a black cami under this top and added a simple heart pendant necklace.

red buffalo plaid top and gold sequin skirt, modest holiday outfitMy last look is inspired by a Pinterest photo I found pairing polka dots and sequins.

black and white polka dot peter pan collar sweater and gold sequined skirtI wore my black and white polka dot sweater that I bought about a month or 2 ago at Kohl’s. This sweater actually came in 3 or 4 different combinations, but I had black and white polka dots on my wish list so I went with this classic.

white and black polka dot sweater with gold sequin skirt, modest holiday outfit idea new year's eve outfitI love this top because, besides being gorgeous, the peter pan collar is removable since it is attached with buttons.That means I could layer this sweater over another top without having the collar get in the way. Although I do love the way it looks just off the hanger, and I’m not sure when or if I will layer it. Tough choices haha.

So there you have it, four, yes 4 amazingly easy looks featuring gold sequins.

My hope is that I convinced at least one of you can to wear sequins for the first time or in a different way than you have in the past. I hope you loved at least one of these looks, I know I did. You can pull off sequins. Office party, family party, or wherever you are headed this Christmas don’t be afraid to sparkle.

Thanks for stopping by hope your Christmas is fabulous!

My December Erin Condren Decorated Planner Pages

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


I had such a great time decorating my planner pages in December that I couldn’t wait to share them with you even though I have yet to share my November pages. Don’t worry those will be here in the next couple weeks and I hope you guys love them. In the meantime I made December in my planner so fun and festive.

I have not purchased next year’s Erin Condren Life Planner (I just can’t decide what style I want!). It is an investment, but I love it for planning all things blogging and special events and appointments.

If you are interested in buying an Erin Condren Life Planner make sure you buy it through this link to save $10 (for new customers only).

I can’t wait to show you this month’s spread. I went a little scrapbook  paper crazy, using Scotch roll adhesive to stick everything to the pages. Way quicker than browsing through thousands of (beautiful) stickers on Etsy and waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

december monthly spread 2015 erin condren life planner #EClifeplannerI found glitter red and green washi tape in the $1 spot at A.C. Moore, not the easiest to use but I cut it in half and used it to line the bottom of the daily boxes all the way across the spread.

I used green for the weeks my kids were going to be off from school. I cut out some scrapbook paper with these foil deer silhouette  and layed out the word December with individual letter stickers. Across the top on the right side of the page is another strip of scrapbook paper I cut to size.

On the right margin, is a t do list notepad I cut down the center. It just adds color even though it only covered up a list space of lines underneath.

I took the photos of the monthly spread before it was filled out. While it was still clean and pretty.

december week 1 in my #ECPlanner. Winter ice blue decorated planner spreadWe should just establish before we get too much farther that I am currently obsessed with deer silhouettes and plaid.

I used a flag punch on card stock to cover up the letters and then wrote the numbers in with a sharpie marker. A trick I learned watching @belindaselene on YouTube.

winter blue #ecplanner decorated weekly spreadA few sticky notes and planner squares go a long way towards adding color my planner, but without filling up the space I need to write. I actually live my life out of 3 planners. This is the only one I decorate to this degree. Some weeks I do find I have to add in a post it note or 2 because I filled up the space, but I can’t help it, it is so pretty.

deer silhouette decorated winter planner #ECPlannerI took this gorgeous silver deer silhouette paper from a paper pad I got during a black Friday weekend sale and cut it out for a bottom border. It also had this square with the deer silhouette on sheet music and laminated it for a page marker.

buffalo plaid December week 2 in my #ECPlannerFor this weeks spread I printed out some pins and made up some ornament stickers, buffalo plaid planner squares, and to do list squares, cause I just couldn’t let December go by without some buffalo plaid in my planner.

red and gold christmas decorated planner #ECPlannerI really loved my buffalo plaid snowflake and my red and gold Christmas ornaments. I printed them on Avery label paper. People are always asking me about the quality of Avery labels, the quality is amazing, but remember a week in your Erin Condren Life Planner goes by in 7 days, how high quality do you need the sticker paper to be?

I think that the Avery Label paper is outstanding. I don’t know why I would use anything else. Besides being great quality and turning out beautiful stickers, they are also very affordable.

You can get 25 full standard paper size labels for only $6.99 on Amazon HERE.

red and gold christmas decorated planner pages idea; #ECPlannerI made the weekend stickers with deer silhouettes of course. I did finally find some buffalo plaid washi tape at Michael’s, but only after I had printed and cut my own, but both are gorgeous. Pretty much all red and black plaid is beautiful to me. I hope this trend last forever. Plus, how cute are these pens from the Target store dollar spot?

December week 3 decorated baking, cooking theme planner spread #ECPlannerI think baking with my family may be my favorite thing to do with them ever. Yes it is always a little too much sugar in the bowl, and flour on the floor, but still, we have such fun.

I frequently have cooking time with the kids during our homeschool time. They are very little but it is great to teach them about measuring and other things while we laugh and poor and scoop.

With the anticipation of all the baking the holidays bring and a fabulous pad of stickers that were only $1 at Michael’s with all manner of Christmas baking stickers in it.

holiday baking theme decorated planner pages idea. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerI had a sheet of baking card stock stickers I found on clearance quite a long while ago, and I finally used them on this week’s spread.

The little square cupcake and muffin stickers are the exact right width to fit in the vertical layout squares. I used a pink to do list note pad on the left. I found this super cute cupcake washi tape at Dollar General in October when I was on the hunt for Halloween Washi tape.

pink and green holiday baking planner decorating idea #ECPlannerIt was my daughter’s birthday this week so I added some foil birthday balloon stickers. These stickers are easy to find, I’m pretty sure I bought these at Walmart.

I liked how cheerful the bright pink and mint colors are in my planner. For the date squares I cut up some polkadot scrapbook paper I had on hand. It was loose or I would love to tell you where it came from. Just stuck it down with some adhesive. I really like how covering up the numbers on top can transform the whole look of the spread without taking up any of the space you would normally use to write on.

christmas decorated weekly planner pages, Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannereChristmas week in my Erin Condren Life Planner! I just jam packed it full of beautiful things. I don’t have a lot of appointments the week of Christmas and didn’t think I needed to write in “shop, wrap, cook” so I felt like my options were wide open. I printed some stickers from Etsy and a lot of them ended up in this spread. You can check out my post on these affordable stickers HERE.

christmas decorated planner pages Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerA little fun with Santa on the to do list and this amazing washi that reminds me of fairisle print sweaters.

My favorite Christmas verse on Tuesday and red and green glitter washi stacked across the top border of the page.

christmas decorated planner pages. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerCandy canes, Christmas presents, and Rudolph. I only wish I wasn’t so, so busy that I have barely have had time to look in here this week.

Even looking through the photos of my planner make me happy, I am going to be sad to pack this up. The pressure of a totally blank planner, right you guys? I keep telling myself “You own everything you need for decorating your planner, buy nothing!” Somehow that thought always turns into “Make everything yourself!” I am really looking forward to making myself a few planner covers. At least I can share all the gorgeousness with you.

New Year's Eve decorated planner pages in black and gold. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerI really wanted to do black and gold for New Year’s decorated pages.

I used scrapbook paper along the bottom and side, and these glitter hearts that come in packs of six from the $1 spot at Joann’s.

black and gold New Year decorated planner pages. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerObviously a page marker that says “YOU ARE AWESOME” always belongs in my planner. At least one of you is wondering if I’m kidding, and the answer is; sort of.

Really sometimes we need a daily reminder of how awesome we are, and that is why I like to fill my planner with quote stickers. I like to feel encouraged and uplifted whenever possible.

Since everyone always asks, the only Etsy shops I used are the printable stickers from the Shops Listed in My Previous Post HERE. Most everything I use in from local hobby stores. Washi tape, stickers, scrapbook paper and paper punches are about the only things I use.

Here’s a look at my desk before I sat down to do all these spreads.

how I decorate my Erin Condren Life Planner. Organized desk set upI keep my big pads of paper and paper punches off to the side, along with some big trash cans so that I can try to keep it tidy.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have below or leave a link to your decorated pages blog post, I love seeing all the great ideas everyone comes up with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casual Christmas Style
12 Days of Christmas Outfits

Hello lovelies, I am so glad you are back here with me.

It’s less than a week until Christmas Day and I have teamed up with 11 other fashion bloggers to countdown 12 days of gorgeous Christmas outfits. I hope you have been following along on Instagram.

See my original post here to check out all the details and prompts on the #12daysofmodestchristmas fashion countdown, complete with lots of giveaways.

It is my turned to be featured and my style prompt is “Casual Christmas.”

I have already attended 3 Christmas events this year and I wore red and black and white to all of them in some fashion, though of course, no outfit repeats. Not for the events anyway, every other day is fair game for outfit repeats.

Since there is a ravishing red day coming up on the countdown and I have already styled several red looks including the 2 in my Burke’s Holiday Looks Feature You can Read Here, I decided to do something in a different color pattern.

I found two great holiday sweaters at Rue21 for only $10! They had those prefect holiday stripes on them so I bought one in red and one in mint. You ever do that? Buy something in 2 colors because you love it and the price is right?

mint and gray casual holiday modest christmas outfit ideaThis sweater was just too perfect, and a girl can never have enough mint colored clothing, right? Same thing goes for buffalo plaid, and mustard, of this I am certain.

mint green and gray, casual and modest christmas outfit ideaLayering a sweater over a button up shirt is a great way to keep stylishly warm this winter, and this sweater from Rue21 went perfectly with this black and white buffalo plaid top I found recently at Walmart.

This sweater is on sale again at Rue21 for $10 and you can check it out here. Personally, I super love it.

I wore my gorgeous sweater with this shimmery silver gray skirt I recently found at JCPenney. This is great for dressing up an outfit in a super comfy way.

mint and silver easy casual modest holiday outfit ideaEverything about this look was super comfortable. I could definitely wear this look at a party with all of my kiddos in tow. Even these madden girl gray boots were perfectly comfortable.

Being comfortable isn’t always my first priority, but I try to aim for it as often as possible, and this outfit is definitely in a winner. The boots have a low heel and should it ever decide to get cold here this is comfortably warm. Not as warm as when I styled my red coat in the 80 degree weather, I could wear this on a cool South Carolina evening.

mint green and gray casual christmas outfit idea #12daysofmodestchristmasThe details always pull it all together and I had some great ones this day. This necklace is an ebay find of all places for around $4 and contrasted well against the sweater. I found this gorgeous headband at Loft, they really have some amazing headbands you guys. Loft isn’t the type of store that makes you think headband, but if you are a lover of headbands as I am you have to check out Loft’s selection.

Now that I have seen the lovely headbands at Loft I can never go in there without checking to see what they might have on my visit.

winter blue and silver gray modest holiday outfit ideaI am rocking my embellished hoop earrings from Burke’s again, I just love them. Take a closer look at them in my Burke’s Holiday Outfits Post.

I love everything I have on here. I love the holidays and I am really enjoying doing these holiday looks with these great ladies on Instagram.

Here’s a look at some of the other outfits I have put together for #12daysofmodestchristmas.

beauty in a beanie #12daysofmodestchristmasStyled my red beanie from Jane.com and my super affordable red coat from Groopdealz for “beauty in a beanie.”

burgundy dress and blanket scarf with mustard cardigan modest outfit ideaBraved the elements in my blanket scarf, for “blanket scarf babe” day. It was dark and raining and windy, but I just had to get that outfit picture. My husband is such a good sport for balancing the umbrella in one arm while taking photos of me, meanwhile I stayed safe, and mostly dry under the awning by my garage.

perfectly gorgeous long green modest dress #12daysofmodestchristmasFor gorgeous in green day, I styled this great green dress that was only $20 at Ross Dress For Less with these great sparkly black pumps from Payless.

white and green modest christmas outfitI do so love my cool tones, so for Winter Wonderland White I paired this silvery white sweater from Loft with a green wool skirt from J.Crew. Can’t say enough about these gorgeous taupe boots with gold accents from the Jennifer Lopez Collection at Kohl’s.

Don’t forget I am having a giveaway over on my Instagram Page so hop over there and check out today’s post for details. Follow me and play along.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

 

My Holiday Style
With Burke’s Outlet

It’s that time of year again, Christmas time! There are lights up in the house, and an excess of music, baking, and dressing up. I love seeing all the holiday dresses and candy cane striped leggings, and reading Christmas stories to my kids.

One of the greatest things about the holiday season is spending time with friends and family, and usually that means parties. Yep, this time of year brings lots of parties, and school performances, church programs and office events to attend this year. If you are wondering what you are going to wear to your holiday events this season I have got you covered.

Burke’s treated me to a shopping trip to put together some holiday outfits and I am so excited to show you the beautiful outfits I was able to put together.

modest holiday outfit looks with Burke's outlet I had $100 dollars to spend, and was able to do a lot with it. I always see television segments featuring outfits for $100 or less, well look what I was able to do with $100 dollars!

I bought a dress, a vest, two tops, a coat and a pair of earrings. I pieced some outfits together with some holiday staples you ladies probably already have at  home and I am ready to party Burke’s Outlet style.

Let’s take a closer look at these great outfits.

 

red holiday sweater dress and fur vest, modest outfit idea from #burkesoutletSweater dresses are so great, dress them up, dress them down, lounge around the house or hit the town. You can do all of those things for only $19.99 with this great red sweater dress from Burke’s. It is the perfect length and so comfortable!

black fur vest outfit, red sweater dress modest holiday outfit, modest christmas outfitThere were quite a few sweater dresses to be found, but I liked the brightness and the length of this red one best of all. I  also found this great fur vest, Burke’s Outlet had this vest in 2 colors, brown and black for only $14.99. How this is the first fur vest I have stumbled across this season in my price range I do not know, but I super love it!

I love layers in the winter, they are a wonderful necessity. Plus a vest at a party means I can eat two extra cupcakes and no one will notice my slightly expanding waistline, though I am not sure how I’ll hide the actual act of eating the cupcakes in the first place.

#burkesoutlet holiday outfit; red sweater dressAlso got these embellished hoops for only $4.99, my friends I am definitely a hoop earrings kind of girl, and Burke’s has great jewelry of all sorts. This is probably the fourth or fifth pair I have purchased from Burke’s.

So this look featured a lot of great items from Burke’s outlet, including a vest, dress, and earrings.

In addition to those I headed over to Payless and found these great sparkly black pumps a friend had told me about.

black sparkle shoes and red sweater dress christmas outfitSeriously these are so perfect, and I didn’t have any dressy pumps in black and Payless was having a 50% off sale. Obviously I couldn’t ignore a sign like that. (Haha)

Bracelet is from a few months back at Kohl’s, and these bright red holiday nails are Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, number 570 Right Said Red.

This is such a great and easy look to put together for the holidays. Topped of this sweater dress look with my tassel necklace and headband from Walmart. (Yes. Walmart.)

Next up is a less traditional look. Sometimes, when everyone is wearing gingerbread neutrals or merry holiday colors I like to break the mold, so I go back to an old standby; mint. Mint and mustard may be my favorite colors for everything.

I found this great mint 3/4 sleeve length with gold and white button details at Burke’s outlet for $14.99.

I winterized this look by adding a full and flowing Beige Tulle skirt I found for just $18.99 on Amazon.

mint, tulle and gold winter holiday modest outfitQuick someone invite me some where, I have the perfect outfit!

I can totally picture myself laughing the night away with friends and family over drinks and food and light music.

white tulle and mint top #burkesoutlet holiday outfitI added this great cream and gold striped scarf I found last year at Loft Outlet. Full tulle skirts are not usually my style, but I had this for my family holiday photos, and knew it would go perfectly with this top.

I think I love tulle for the holidays, but I have seen so many great looks with this style skirt, so if you do end up buying this one from Amazon (which you can find HERE) don’t worry that you will be limited to special occasions. Tulle skirts have become very versatile. And double don’t worry, because I will be sharing some more looks featuring this skirt in the near future.

beige tulle skirt, with boots, modest holiday christmas outfitOkay guys, we are going to have to talk about another amazing pair of shoes. These Taupe Boots are Jennifer Lopez Collection brand from Kohl’s.

They have gold embellishments and tied in quite nicely with my scarf. I’m obsessed with how great these boots are. Still on the hunt for a pair of brown ones, but I’m starting to get to that part of the winter where I feel I may have enough to get by. If I see a brown pair at a great deal I might still take them home with me. Please let me know if you find a great deal on chocolate brown boots in the comments.

mint blouse with gold scarf and tulle skirt, modest holiday outfit ideaI am really loving this blousy mint top. Great for people like me who live some place that can pretty warm even in December.

Accessories really completed this look, bracelet watch by Lenox, and this Chloe and Isabelle inspired bracelet was only $5 from Ebay. Also added this perfect gold braided headband from Target and stud earrings from Cato Fashions.

If you do find you are going to have to layer up to attend your holiday event, then you are going to love this Buffalo Plaid coat I found in the junior’s section at Burke’s Outlet.

super affordable buffalo plaid coat from burke's outletYou should have heard me squeal like a school girl and start taking selfies to send my sister when I found this coat in my size at Burke’s.

I have been looking for this coat all winter. I almost approached a stranger at a restaurant to ask her  where she got a coat similar to this one, but she looked like a young teenager, so I thought that might be weird. I don’t know if you can tell just by looking how much I love beautiful clothes so I let her be.

I recently saw a coat just like this one at JCPenney. It was on clearance and it was still marked $45, original price $90.

This coat at Burke’s Outlet was priced at only $24.95! Do your happy dance guys and then run to Burke’s Outlet, there are some real gems in there.

red black buffalo pliad gorgeous coat for the winter holidaysThis coat makes me think of cold winter days drinking hot cocoa, and strolling down the streets looking at Christmas light displays with my children. Think of all those outdoor holiday photo ops, wearing this coat. This coat cost less than some tops I own, and it is completely fabulous.

buffalo plaid coat and striped skirt modest outfitIf you do find yourself sporting a buffalo plaid coat to your outdoor event, a little pattern mix with stripes might be a lovely way to go. You will probably want to wear boots, but I was sporting my sparkly heels again, I’m not anticipating any snow.

The final look I’ve already worn out to a holiday party.

Another great top from Burke’s Outlet. They had great black and grey skirts as well. I even saw a striped skirt and Aztec print skirts at Burke’s also.

black and white gingham top with black tulle skirt and pops of red, modest holiday outfits with #burkesoutletEverything I found I really loved. This gingham top was more of a tunic style and was very sheer. It is a thinner blouse type of top that is great for a dressier event, or a business casual look. I layered this top over a black tank top with thick straps, and added some red jewelry. I tucked it in to hide the length, but this might be a fun one to wear with leggings on another day.

perfectly red holiday heels with black tulle skirtI guess I should have mentioned that celebrating the birth of Christ really makes me want to pull out all my show stopping shoes. Bahaha, not really, just a lovely, fashionable coincidence.

These shoes were a great price from Shoe Carnival, and were actually really comfortable, though I admit I spent the bulk of the night sitting, only getting up a few times to refill my plate. (Aren’t holiday parties great?)

Red pumps should be in every girls closet, and now these ones are in mine, also added a few extra rings, most of which are from Bass Outlet.

burke's outlet holiday look with affordable pricesFound myself laughing all night in this lovely outfit. I was never uncomfortable and the elastic waist band on the skirt was very easy and comfortable to sit and converse in. This black tulle skirt was only $12.99 at Ross Dress For Less.

I have found some great dresses and skirts at Ross for great prices, and this one will definitely be put to good use.

I found a set of three sparkling braided headbands at Payless for 50% off, and added the red one to this outfit. The red necklace is from eBay and bright red lipstick by Estee Lauder

#thesecret is outlet burke's outlet weekly giveaway and modes holiday outfit postNow here is some more great news. Burke’s outlet has great clothes at great prices, plus great accessories and great prices on other items in their store.and for the next few weeks when you shop at Burke’s Outlet you can share a picture of your purchase on social media using the hashtag #thesecretisoutlet for a chance to win a $50 Burke’s Outlet gift card!

People are already winning you could be next!

Make sure you are following me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with my latest outfits, including more looks with items I found at Burke’s Outlet.

Head over to Burke’s Outlet Facebook’s Page and give them a like and a follow over on their Instagram page.

And don’t forget there are even more great deals on Burke’s Outlet Online.

See you next time lovelies.

~Ashley