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Blog

A fashion blog about weekend style

 

Filtering by Tag: Special Occasion

You’re Invited

Jessica Wagner

Party Planning: Summer Soirée with Paperless Post

One cannot have too large a party
— Jane Austen

Summer is in full swing – and that means lots of seasonal celebrations! In my ideal world ever day would be a party. Since fancy cocktail and dinner parties don’t happen every night at our house, when it comes time to prep for a special occasion I tend to go all out – down to the smallest details. Big groups, or the more intimate affairs, I want every aspect to feel authentic and have an organic excitement to it!

Planning a summer soirée? How do you prep for celebrations?  I have multiple up-and-coming events that I am hostess for. I thought it would be fun to share how I scheme up ideas for our get-togethers, big and small.

First thing first – my end goal is always for everyone to have FUN and keep it EASY! (Followed by deciding what to wear!) I have literally planned whole parities around an outfit – haha. A theme doesn’t have to be obvious – for example, when planning our wedding (coming up on our 7 year anniversary whaaaaat!) I used “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as my subtle inspiration. I also love a simple floral motif or color scheme (for my daughters 1st birthday we did gold and shades of pink.) One of my favorite parties was a 1920s dinner party we threw for one of my 20-year birthdays. It’s amazing how having a vibe can make a bash feel cohesive and thoughtful. Although mine usually turn into some sort of “champagne campaign” lol. Mimosa bars just work --and add an easy bit of effervescent liveliness.

I've had this whole *spiked lemonade* party planned out in my mind, and keep buying things for it – (AKA anything with a lemon on it – have you seen this post?) When life gives you lemons….  you share them with your friends! (In the form of spiked lemonade that is.) File this under charming and whimsical outdoor entertaining. Always looking for an excuse to share a cocktail with good company! Anyways, I guess all I need to do it set a date?

Once you decide to throw a party there are so many factors to consider – like how many people can I cram into our house? Or should I reserve a spot at the bar – hopefully one that’s not too loud/crowded. Or can I schedule enough time before hand to clean and provide nosh? Should we have a sit down dinner or keep it cocktail friendly? A daytime soiree? (Sit home alone with a bottle of wine and have a party of one?)

When it’s time for a seasonal entertaining I’m all about creating an atmosphere – it’s so important to set the mood.

Here are a few tips and ideas on making your next outdoor soirée one to remember.


PARTY PREP:

Once you decide to have a party, birthday, special occasion, or low-key get-together, you need an invite list. I am not a numbers girl, but for parties having a head count is numero uno. Once you have a number in mind you can set a budget and plan food, drinks, location.

INVITES:

An invite that is customized can tell your party-goers everything they need to know – what to wear and what to expect. Food? Drinks? Dancing? Entertainment?

When it comes to inviting your guests, do you use paper invites or do you prefer to use apps or online invitations?

Sure, sometimes a text or a Facebook group suffice, but what about when you want to make more of an impact? I personally love receiving tangible mail, and will proudly display it on our fireplace mantel, but to be honest, when you are the sendee it can get expensive quick! If you want to elevate your party-goers experience through presentation, another option is to use Paperless Post. They have an endless supply of beautiful, simple card designs that will make your shin-dig talk of the town. (I love this one, this one, and this one!)

Paperless Post reached out to me, and I am infatuated with their gorgeous prints! Since exploring their site, I am convinced digital invites are the way to go! For one, it’s a HUGE money and time saver! I know you are all looking for ways to save time and money. Plus, it’s a great way to go green, which is always a smart move. I lean sentimental, but I think a lot people toss out cards after giving them a quick glace.

Digital invitations/cards are a relatively new idea, but more and more people have started to use them for weddings, baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthdays, holidays, and other occasions. Here are a few favorites from their site!

Here’s the run-down. Paperless Post carries multiple high-end designers, such as Kate Spade, Rifle Paper Co. (one of my all-time favorites! Have you seen this dress post?) Charlotte Olympia, Liberty Fabrics, Kelly Wearstler, Sugar Paper LA (I love their wrapping paper seen in this post.) I love when fashion and print worlds collided, as it usually equals creative clever charm.

Let your imagination run wild– you can custom create your invite or greeting card to say whatever you want, without having to design the actual graphic or print. (Which is not my strong suit. I’m much better at mixing colors and patterns.) Their layout tools are really easy to use too!

So how does it work?

First, you pick your invite (and good luck narrowing it down – sooo many darling options!) Some digital styles come at a cost, and some are free. 

Next, you can customize your font, the envelope liner, and response card. There is a “preview” option for each design, so you can see what your guests will experience as they unveil their digital mail.

What an awesome and practical option for weddings, kids birthday parties, cocktail parties or even a surprise party! They also have amazing greeting cards, stationary, and thank you notes!

SET UP:

This part makes me giddy with excitement! I love to decorate, and add little touches to make the fest just that – festive! Fun paper straws, flowers, a custom drink of the night, music. Gather all your supplies as you plan ahead and keep them in a bin, so when the time comes all you need to do is grab your scissors and tape!

(Make sure you have scissors on hand. Multiple pairs. I always find when decorating or prepping someone is always asking for the scissors!)

PHOTOS:

If you are like me, you like to capture a few shots of your pretty little details and set up before your guests arrive! It’s fun to show off your creative handy work and maybe inspire someone else along the way.

I love my Instax Mini 8 for adding nostalgia to the night and giving guests a little take-away in the polaroid form. Nothing notes a memory a like photograph.

FOOD:

For a light picnic, BBQ or clam bake, take into account your gusts food preferences, allergies, and dietary needs. Make sure to provide a mix of options. Fruit, veggies and a main dish. I love a  decadent dessert spread and if someone offers to bring something take them up on it!

MUSIC:

Music will set the mood. (No, I don’t know how to play the ukulele. I took a guitar class in college and got a B. Like one of the only Bs I got in school. So I’m more of an air guitarist typically, but my sister plays the uke and taught me how to hold it so I look cool.)

Make a playlist, or I love to put on some Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday or a Lumineers channel on Spotify. At home we use the record player and mix it up. Keep it light, and as the night goes on play somehting that will make your guests want to sing along or maybe have a triwl. I have a bunch of friends who do know how to strum a guitar, so tell them to bring it along!

DRINKS:

Make sure to supply options for the non-drinkers, but hopefully most are down for some "spiked lemonade in the glade," "rosé on the roof," or whatever else you want to throw out there as a party drink theme!

I love to make fruit and flower ice cubes too! So easy to plop a little berry, mint leaf, gummy bear, or rosebud into the tray and freeze! (It’s also something you can do ahead of time!)

***Don’t forget to actually spike that lemonade and garnish with a flower. (Pretty sure someone I know made accidental virgin jell-o shots once!!)

HOSTING:

As the hostess it is your job to serve your guests. Make them drinks, do introductions. You are the connector. Be gracious and offer to take purses/coats. Show them where the food and restrooms are. (Usually my first two stops at an event.)

FOWERS:

Bring blossoms to your host when you attend a soirée, and use them to decorate when you are hosting the soirée!

They don’t need to be excessive or over-the-top, but a few sprigs can really add a bit of whimsy and color. Babies breath and white daisies go with everything. (Or grab a few wild flowers!)

ATMOSPHERE/ COMFORT:

Take into account the weather. Make sure your gusts are comfortable. Provide fans, if it’s a hot day (this shoot was soooo humid!), seating, mood lighting, have some sort of entertainment planned. We usually end up playing games aka Cards Against Humanity and sometimes Rob will set up a DIY photo booth.

(Or you can always provide live ukelele entertainment, lemon juggling, poetry reading, and flower picking.)

OUTFIT:

Pluck a flower in your hair and be done! Add a hat, shades and a jumpsuit covered in fruit – haha ok I get not everyone is going to wear what they are serving at the party, but as hostess I say let yourself shine!

Go out and get a special dress or if that’s not your thing, put on your favorite laid-back tee. Your guests want to see that you are relaxed and comfortable, you really set a lot of the feel for the night. If you are running around frantic your guest are going to pick up on it.

Most importantly, have FUN! Otherwise – what’s the point?! When it comes to hosting a special night, just know the juice is worth the squeeze my friends!

A special thank you to Paperless Post for collaborating on this post!


I‘m going to end with a poem I wrote back in college: (My love of written word and citrine fruits is long standing. Weird fact: as a kid I would eat lemon slices - like whole.)


Lemonade

Sweet and sour

Next to you

My rush hour

Let me be

Wild flower

You dispense

I’ll devour

Squeeze tight

Electric power

Pucker up

Citrus shower


Outfit Details:
Jumpsuit: Anthropologie Lemon Grove Strapless Sunglasses: Anthropologie Sky Bag: Free People Miklos Marrakech Straw Basket Lips: Anthropologie Albeit Geranium Shoes: Old, (also love these here)

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My Best Shopping Secrets

Jessica Wagner

White Lace Dress

Ok guys! I’m spilling all! I have a few tricks I use when shopping to score high-end items at a budget-friendly price.

Exhibit A: The Little White Dress

White and lace will have you ready for springtime brunch, cocktails, picnics and all the on-coming parties in between.


Splurge // Save

Guess which dress is more expensive...

The one on the right is the save! Originally $195, I nabbed mine on sale at Nordstrom Rack for $18. Here’s how.

The dress on the left is by Self Portrait and costs $$$. I was charmed after seeing it on it-girl fashion bloggers, and parading across Pinterest… but it will set you back roughly $500 (aka not in my budget.) I put “white lace dress” on my LIST so I would remember to scout one out.

I found the dress on the right, by Romeo + Juliet Couture marked down to $35 and then got an additional discount because the zipper was broken. This same dress was originally almost $200. You guys – I mean there is no other way to shop! You can’t get a dress anywhere this lovely for that price. My rock-star seamstress fixed the zipper for a few dollars. You can’t beat it. 

1. Bargin Hunt

Now, I know barging hunting is not for everyone, but this a great option for anyone on a budget, or for someone who likes name brands at a lower price. It's an affordable way to keep up with fashion and trends. I am a born and bred bargain shopper... (my mom is the Queen, I am her heiress.) I will splurge for special occasions, or when I find something that is just too good to pass up. My advice is to be a bargain shopper. This means something different to everyone, but look for discounts, shop off-price realtors, compare prices, shop sale and outlets. It’s smart! And I know you are a smart clever girl. I also love second-hand and vintage stores (that's where I found these pink vintage Gucci mules for a steal. ) Places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack are full of name-brand and designer fashions at a fraction of the price. It’s a great way to be able to afford high-end items. On-line sites like Poshmark are also golden for tracking down a sold-out item or high-end designer clothes and accessories.

2. Buy Less, Choose Well

AKA make sure the juice with worth the squeeze. This is becoming one of my most important guidelines when making a purchase. You want a $500 dress but only have a $50 dress budget. You either need to save up, or be uber resourceful. Most likely you will find another dress that is just as good and save you money for something better. Learn to set aside that instant gratification impulse. It's like working a muscle – you need to use it regularly to reap the benefits. Do not - I repeat - do not put that thing on your credit card. Sticking to a budget will help you shop with conviction. Impulse buys rarely leave you feeling satisfied, in fact they leave you with a shirt that doesn't fit after one wash. Saving up to earn that special item gives you time to consider where your money is going. The bottom line – invest in classics, it will benefit your closet in the long run.

3. WAIT FOR IT.

REPEAT AFTER ME: There will always be cute stuff to buy.

This a little trick I like to play on myself when I need talked down from an impulse buy, because this happens ALL THE TIME. I fall in looovvveeee with something and have to have it. (I mean every other instagram scroll or Pinterest binge puts me in a want/need/pretty please frame of mind.) With everything available on-line it’s almost too convenient. It’s easy to click “add to cart” and never look back. Practice this mantra with me guys: There will always be cute stuff. ALWAYS. That exact seemingly perfect item might not always be there, or it might go and sale, and hey, look at you saving money and being clever. I promise eventually something better will come along. There will always be pretty dresses to buy and gorgeous heels to wear. So when you’re feeling sad about not being able to afford something (or know you will get in trouble if you come home with another pair of shoes) remember these things always come back around. 

4. The Want // Need List

Keep a running list of items you would like to add to your wardrobe. Mine is on my phone so I can glance it over any time. This can include a new pair of running shoes, a retro pair of sunglasses or a cocktail dress for a beach wedding. It will help you remember what you are looking for (so don’t even try on those cute hot pink rain boots in your size that you will only wear once because they don’t go with anything.) I like to keep this list to classic capsule wardrobe pieces, a few seasonal items and maybe a trend or two. You might see you change your mind on some of the items as you wait for a deal, or they come and go out of style. 
 

5. EDIT

Clean out your closet on the regular, not once a year. If you can’t keep up, at least try to edit down each season. I love to donate, and recycle. Let your closet breath. It will also help showcase your current style, as whatever you were wearing a couple years ago might not represent who you are now. Sites like Poshmark or Ebay are great resources for selling your gently used name brands. (Shop mine here!) I set the money I make aside to put back into my closet. Sort of like a one in – one out idea. Move on if doesn’t fit anymore, you only wore it once, or toss if it is damaged (stains, holes.)  I could write a whole post on this (maybe I will!) as it’s an area I think a lot of us struggle with. (A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!) Also, this helps you see what you love and what gets the most airtime. Those are the pieces that cue you in to your favorite style and what you should emulate.


A couple other quick tips…

-Know the brand and their return/shipping policy. 30 days is pretty standard, but on-line can be different. If you are on the fence, bring it home and see how it looks. Put in on with the shoes and the bag. (I do this all the time – I don’t buy it and then I can’t stop thinking about it /talking about it and end up getting it anyway.) I rather have the option to return it, if it doesn’t work out.

-Try on a zillion things. (Although this can be a gamble – everything looks good or nothing works lol.) It never hurts to give something a try. I think this is how I find a lot of my favorite unique items. Snap a pic in the fitting room! It’s like having another set of eyes.

-Share. Borrow. Find a friend who wears the same size shoes and you just doubled your shoe collection. Swap clothes. I borrow from my sisters all the time and it really saves money. There are sites you can rent clothes from as well. Especially when you want something new for vacation or a special event. You know all your girlfriends have pretty wedding guest dresses hanging in their closet waiting to be worn again.

I hope some of these help, as I get asked this question fairly often - how do you afford to buy new clothes all the time?! The answer is I am a fox when it comes to clothes. (What kind of animal are you when shopping? Comment below!) I literally shop like a frantic animal on the hunt!! I have a tight budget. I don’t always stick to it – but I am honest about everything I buy to keep myself accountable. (Who doesn’t like to splurge on something nice that they just looooove?! ) I enjoy nothing more than curating the perfect outfit for any given occasion. It’s my “art.” If you are like me, this is the way to go (and if you are paying attention I am happy to share anything in my closet!) I guess what I am saying is, if you love to shop you have to practice smart shopping habits in order to maintain a fresh dream closet to actually choose from. Buy from ethical fashion brands, shop local and invest in the classics and know simple in always in style.


Outfit Details:
Dress: Romeo + Juliet Couture (sold out, but was here, love this one) Hat: Old (love this one) Shoes: Vintage Gucci Pink Logo Print Mules (similar here) Bag: Jessica Simpson Lorelei Clutch (similar here) Watch: Old (also love this one) Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Baci

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What are your favorite shopping tips!?! Share in the comments below!

Rose Tinted

Jessica Wagner

Valentine's Day Casual

With Valentines Day three days away it’s the perfect time to pull together your girliest shades of pink for a head to toe pop of wow.

Whether you spend the day with a significant other, girlfriends, family, or yourself it’s a great excuse to wear something that makes you feel special and to spread the love.

This look flaunts a playful silhouette with graceful textures and hues that say, “made you blush!”

For an intimate yet relaxed look, take a lesson in layering with monochrome pale-rose and butter-soft knits, which always make a chic paring.

In this post here I talked about how monochromatic outfitting is an easy way to make a major style statement.

Today’s look is about a much softer color story in sheer tulle with whips of cream. (Trench last seen here, and bag last seen here.)

If you want to see life through rose -colored lenses, (last seen here) keeping a positive opinion of yourself is a crucial first step. Ever notice how a color can brighten your mood? An optimistic perception begins and ends with you. So you can start by dressing the part.

For me, that shade is usually something bright and fun.

The correlation between your outer presence and what’s on the inside are totally related. I know I feel my best when I look my best (that’s not to say I’m not at my best when dressed brooding, dark and moody.)

Try it. Set aside some time this week and dote on yourself (inside or out.) The other day I was feeling bored with life/myself and rather all-around uninspired, so I took 10 minutes to try out a new hair style. You would be amazed what a cute braid can do for your frame of mind (while exercise may be the best way to release those endorphins I find my spirit can be lifted by the simplest of pleasures!)

You ladies know what I am talking about! A fresh mani/pedi, new haircut, maybe even a new shade of lipstick. If you don’t have the cash to spend on the special treatment, do what I did and play around with your look at home. Put on a hat (princess crown) whatever makes you smile. For me, I say give me all the pink, and not just on Valentine’s Day. 

Positive thinking can be so easily influenced. If all else fails you can come borrow my pink shades, as I’m pretty sure rose-colored life is the best life.

Outfit Details:
Top: Old (similar here) Skirt: Forever 21 (similar herehere and here) Coat: Zara (similar here and here) Shoes: Lace Up Flats (similar here) Bag: Olivia + Joy Scarf: H&M (similar here) Hat: Forever 21 (similar here) Sunglasses: Le Specs Flashy Cotton Candy Necklace: Stella & Dot Covet Black Diamond Abundance Lips: Stila Baci Nails: Essie Ballet Slippers

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