Saturday, November 18, 2017

size friendly brands: eShakti part 2

I love eShakti so much I had to feature it twice. If you missed my first post in this series on eShakti, you can see it here.
I wasn't sure how much I would like this dress but I LOVE it. I got it to be knee length so I could wear it in the classroom. You can customize everything about this dress, the sleeves, neckline, length and now even the pattern. So if you like this design but blue isn't your color, you can exchange the print. This dress is actually a wrap dress which I have found is really flattering on me! I have worn it a few times already. I love how bright blue it is.

eShakti features sizes 0-36w. If you are a new customer you get a $25 gift card and see shipping!
eShakti helps you feel as good as you look and look as good as you feel, no matter your size!

We are off to Paris and Amsterdam for Thanksgiving!  See you in a week!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

DIY: tassel earrings

Have you seen the tassel earring trend going around? I love them and think they are so pretty and perfect for the holiday season! I wanted some but I didn't want to spend a ton of money, so I decided to attempt a DIY! They turned out so cute. 

Large Oval Jump Ring*
Embroidery Floss (there are all types and any will work!)
Pliers (they have "jewelry pliers" at craft stores but I just used the needle nose pliers from my toolkit!) 
*both easily found in the jewelry section of the craft store. 

Step 1: With help from the pliers, loop the oval jump ring around the embroidery floss.

Step 2: Loop the thred around the jump ring you just put on and secure with another jump ring. Remember to use those pliers!

Step 3: Give your tassels a haircut! Remember to make them even!

Step 4: Connect the earrings to your top jump ring using your pliers.

That's it! Picture this with a black dress and you have yourself a holiday outfit!

The holidays totally drain our budget so I try to save where I can. Purchasing #SecondHandFirst or diy-ing what you can is a perfect way to stay trendy and also on budget. 

Thanks to ThredUp for sponsoring this post! If you want to save extra dough and find an outfit to go with your cute new earrings, check them out! Remember, you can use code "RILEYJO" to save 50% off your entire order until the end of November, or you use this link, you get a $10 credit!
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

size friendly brands: eshakti

You guys know my love for eShatki. You can see previous posts here, here, here and here. I also just realized I own three eShakti skirts and one other dress I have never taken pictures of. I purchase from them constantly. 

You can customize the ENTIRE dress and it's still affordable. I got this dress to be knee length so I could wear it to work. I also customized it to my exact measurements so it fit exactly how I wanted it to fit. eShakti wants everyone to look as good as you feel and feel as good as you look.

I know this dress is more spring time, but it's hard to feel very fall like because on the day I took these pictures it was so warm (also very bright as you can tell). I don't really like to reserve certain clothes for certain times of year anyway because the dead of winter is exactly when I need to wear a bright pink dress with flowers! :)

You can find my dress here in sizes 0-36W. If you are a new customer you get a $25 credit and free shipping!

Shoes are from Cents of Style. Thanks to them for letting us use their pink wall! Thanks to Mark for being a great Instagram husband!
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

size friendly brands: agnes and dora

Last week has was crazy, literally bonkers, and this week will be the same. I am getting really close to finish an extra endorsement I have been working on at work for the last two years and I am also getting ready to "level up" at work. All educators start with a provisional license and then have to move to a professional license. It's a ton of work! So I was observed three times last week in my classroom and I will have once more this week, plus I have had to put together a huge portfolio and it's just been crazy. I also had strep last week, and we are leaving to Europe a week from today, so we have a lot going on!
Despite all that craziness, I have felt inspired to create a new series on my blog that feature brands that include many sizes, so a traditional size run of 0-12 and then also plus sizes. This is not easy to do! Brands that have this often do not advertise that they carry curvy sizes, so they are hard to find but I have found a bunch that I want to start featuring.

It only felt right to start with Agnes & Dora, because this brand started me on my self acceptance journey. I had been married for about six months and in my first year teaching when I noticed I had put on some weight, none of my clothes fit. I could no longer fit into a large in most stores like Forever 21 and H&M. This was actually pretty devastating to me. I felt horrible and ugly. I would wear the too small clothes anyway and they would squeeze me all day, a constant reminder that I was not where I needed to be. I was going to the gym regularly but because of the stress of work and marriage, I wasn't losing the weight.

Meanwhile, a friend had an Agnes & Dora party and I went. I tried on their tall and curvy leggings and it was the first time in a while that my clothes had fit how I wanted them to! I instantly felt more confident in myself because I didn't have clothes squeezing me to death. I have been purchasing from A&D ever since (do you remember my warehouse sale haul? I still wear everything from that all the time, especially the pencil skirts). Unlike their popular competitors, they are not an MLM and you can buy their stuff online from A&D themselves or from one of their seller's websites, so you don't have to go through the hassle of dealing with someone pushy when you just want some dang clothes.
I have seen these floral dresses on a lot of people but I never found any that fit me appropriately. This is a XXL in Agnes and Dora (I'm a size 18 in jeans right now). It fits perfectly. I have worn it to school a few times because it's really comfortable, leggings material. They also have this dress in traditional sizes as well.
Erin Helley is who I buy my stuff from. You can check out her website here(and remember, no pushy Facebook party, join my team stuff)
These leggings are really cool! They are athletic looking and really cool. This is a really pretty babydoll top. They also have some really pretty black dresses like this Krafft dress and this Curie dress. And of course, my dress I am wearing.

Thanks to Erin Helley from A&D for sending me this dress and wanting to expand the vision of size friendly brands! 
I'm off to get ready for this week, have a good one!
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Claus Family Takes Halloween, 2017.

Historically I have hated Halloween. I have talked about this on my blog before (past Halloween costumes here, last year here). With my anxiety comes an intense fear of anything scary, and I didn't really realize that Halloween could be cutesy. I think that the rise of social media helped, especially Pinterest, because then everyone was able to share all of their costumes.
This year I started thinking about costumes in August. I loved being Judy Hopps last year. The one thing that would have made it better is if Mark matched because we have a Halloween party every year and you have to match to win the contest. So I tried to find matching couples costumes this year and it was not easy. Everything is either cheesy or too weird. Finally I just gave up and let Mark figure it out. He settled on Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. He found this very funny. "Has this been done before??" Thinking we were groundbreaking. We were not apparently, a single vote didn't get cast in our direction. We even had our friend be our elf! I haven't laughed so hard in a while as I did while we were walking down the street to the party.
 Everyone in our friend group realllllly stepped it up this year and there were just too many good costumes.
11 and Mike

David Bowie
Jelly Fish and the guy from SpongeBob who says "my legggg, my legggg!"
Nana as our elf

We do the same thing at our Halloween Party every year, we eat and then we play Scattegories for what feels like hours. We each pitch in $5 a couple so that we can get prizes. We had lame gift cards this year, so next year we are going to step it up. 
 This year we also watched Stranger Things. I was really sick trying to make the best of it, so I slept through a majority of the party.

The winner of our costume contest was David Bowie!

We are already thinking about next year!
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017 with Thred Up [50% off code included]

Happy Halloween!
I have loved Halloween the past few years. Coming up with costumes is my favorite! I am really into makeup right now, so I wanted a costume that would allow me to do fun makeup. I also spent a lot of of money on Mark and I's couples costume (coming in a post later this week) so I wanted something affordable to wear at school. I really wanted to turn something in my closet into a costume. I have this awesome lace bell sleeve dress from BooHoo that I love and I thought it looked perfectly witchy! I paired it with a hat and some tights I already had. I wanted to finish this outfit with some black boots. I was already in the market for some comfortable black boots for when we travel for Europe anyway, so I went looking! ThredUp has a great selection of brand new "Wanted" brand boots for a huge discount. Here are some cute gray vintage looking ones I am planning on getting soon! I also was able to get an eShakti dress for only $13, a black knit cardigan for Europe and this Victoria Beckham for Target peplum gingham blouse that has tags on it for $9.99.

A tip for shopping on a site like ThredUp is to use the filters! I have the filters on so that only the brands I choose (Old Navy, Target, Torrid, ModCloth etc) come up so I am not overwhelmed. I also have my size filter on. There is no need for me to see anything I am not going to fit in! That is also why I shop ThredUp in real life, they have all sizes.
If you have kids, they have great selections as well. I am tempted to buy this Red Sox jacket for my new niece, it's only $7.99! I just got lost in a black hole in their children's section and now I think I need a child?
I used ThredUp for my Halloween costume last year when I was Judy Hopps and so I was happy to use them again this year! Here is a post if you want to see other costumes from ThredUp for adults and kids. Shopping "second hand" like this is my favorite way to shop.

Use the code RileyJo to get 50% off your entire order on ThredUp until the end of November! Or if you use this link to sign up for ThredUp, you get $10 to spend!

So black lipstick looks weird when you smile.

I look like a freak but I wanted to document my makeup a little bit, it looked way cooler in person! My blending skills are top notch lately, I have been working on it!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

las vegas

This weekend was my fall break and my favorite band also happened to be playing in Vegas, plus we found $70 plane tickets and it was kind of all just a match made in heaven to take the trip! We flew out on Saturday and came back Monday, so it was very quick but really fun!

 It's going to be extremely difficult to ever drive to Vegas ever again. Flying was SO fast and convenient. Of course we took our Just Porter bags. I have talked about them many times before but they are the only bags we travel with. Plus for every bag you buy they donate a backpack full of school supplies to a student in need. We were given our first bag (Marks gray one) and then loved it so much we purchased mine (bigger and green).

After we checked into our hotel (Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino-off the strip but brand new and I highly recommend) we hurried to get ready for the night and headed to a buffet that Mark had heard about, the Bacchanal Buffet inside Caesar's Palace. I haven't been to a buffet in probably like ten years and I forgot how wonderful and crappy it is at the same time. I loved that Mark and I didn't have to decide what to eat-we each were able to have what we wanted. I hated how I felt after. Haha! The desserts here were all miniature, think miniature lava cake, tiramisu, creme brûlée, etc. That was the best part besides the spicy sausage.

My face when I realized how many calories I just consumed

 We were seeing Elton John in Caesar's Palace and we had an hour or so to kill before we needed to be at the concert hall so we decided to sit down and play some penny slots. I chose this Dolly Parton one because I thought it was funny.I have never played penny slots before so I just started pressing way random buttons. I ended up winning $80 in less than five minutes. Mark was in shock and we were both laughing so hard. Right after that I ran into a student who said..."Mrs. H??? Vegas....why!??!" and was in total shock. It was extremely funny to me.
 Elton John was so fantastic-better than I anticipated. The one downside is the seats are SO packed in there and I was sitting next to a person who should have purchased two seats and the girls next to Mark were very drunk and kept spilling beer all over him so we were very uncomfortable but tried to make the best of it!  
If you know me, like really know me, I have probably serenaded you with either Tiny Dancer or Bitch is Back. My sister is an EJ super fan so I think some rubbed off on me.  He was looking very old and kind of hobbling around so I don't know how much longer he will perform-I would highly recommend seeing him before he ends his residency!

The next day we woke up and ordered room service for the first time ever. The hotel we stayed at had very affordable room service. We got two breakfast meals that came with a drink for $20 total. It was really yummy too! Then we went shopping at the North Outlets which are huge and wonderful. They have a mix of designer stuff (I purchased my very first designer bag with some of my penny slot money!) and more affordable stuff. They have a great Adidas and Nike outlet as well. It was worth the stop! We spent a few hours there. 

Awkward selfies but I did my makeup really well this whole trip but you can't quite even see it-bummer.

 Of course we had to stop at Gyu Kaku, our favorite Yakiniku place! They have locations pretty much everywhere except Utah. Boo.

 The concert itself was so incredible! We had previously seen Arcade Fire when we were first married and it was good, but this one was great. I am not sure I have been to a better concert. The stage was square and the band constantly was rotating around, it felt like such an intimate party even though there were 12,000 people there. It was just so good! I am not one to sing and dance at concerts because I get too concerned about what other people think of me, but I was going crazy. 

The concert was at Mandalay Bay, which I was a little stressed about in light of recent events. They had heightened security-we went through multiple checkpoints and there were guards everywhere. Across the street where the shooting actually happened was completely untouched. They had roped everything off with caution tape and all the signs, garbage, stage etc was still there. It was incredibly sad and left me with an indescribable feeling. Especially because we were across the street attending a concert to have a good time, exactly what the concert goers were doing a few weeks ago. Here is the list of Go Fund Me accounts associated with the shooting. Here is a list of 30 things you can do to aide gun reform.
I don't believe in outlawing guns, we have one so I can feel safe when Mark is gone, but I do believe that no one needs a gun that holds so many bullets. When people talk about the Constitution and what our founding fathers would have wanted that doesn't make sense to me, their guns only held one bullet. They were still killing people with bayonets. Times have changed. As the weeks drag on from the Las Vegas shooting, people aren't talking about this issue anymore. We can't forget. Seeing the scene of the shooting really was a huge part of our trip for me and something I can't easily move past. 

Sorry to end this post on a "downer" but I don't feel right wasting any "influencer" power I have on superficial things when there are real fights to be fought.
We had a great time in Vegas and it was touching to see how the people of Vegas have rallied. I did get strep throat from the plane germs (??) or something, so I am down for a few days but hoping to get it together soon so I can celebrate Halloween! 
Have a good week!
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