Friday, May 30, 2014

Another Spring and Summer of Maxi Dresses...

Maxi Dresses...oh how I love them! They are feminine and flowy, come in a wide variety of prints, colors, and styles, hide a multitude of imperfections, and to top it all off, they are incredibly comfortable to wear, too.




In fact, one of the things I like the most about the spring and summer is that I get to take my maxi dresses out of hibernation to wear them again. Granted, since moving to Montana I will only be wearing them for a couple of months due to the weather (instead of almost year round like I did in Florida), but I am still going to enjoy wearing them nonetheless. :)

Here is a peek at just a handful of mine...


From Left:
Tropicalia Pleated Maxi Dress, Rachel Pally Caftan Dress in Black Confetti print, Ella Moss Stripe maxi dress, & Rachel Pally Caftan dress in Starfish Print


This photo was taken a couple years ago, but I will be wearing this same outfit again this year.


From Left:


This photo is from the summer before last, and I am looking forward to wearing the dress again this year.

Another thing to love about maxi dresses is that they are available at all different price points to fit all types of budgets. I have done some online 'window shopping' for maxi dresses, and have listed several that I think look promising. Take a peek and let me know what you think. :)


What are your thoughts on maxi dresses? Do you love them as much as I do, or are they a 'no-go' for you? Do you own any of the dresses I have listed? Are you planning to buy a new maxi dress this year, or perhaps try one for the first time? Please do share...I always love to hear from you! :)

Have a lovely day!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shopping Simplified @ J.Crew: Extra 30% Off Promo-Priced & Spring Sale Items + an Extra 50% Off Final Sale Styles - SWEET!!!

Hello everyone! It's time for another All Things Simplified Shopping post, where I take the work out of sale shopping for you! My 'simplified shopping' posts will include information on the deal or % off, promo-priced items, and/or sale markdowns, and/or my personalized picks for retailers that are running current sale promotions. This time the simplified shopping is at J.Crew...

J.Crew is offering an Extra 30% Off Promo-Priced Items & Spring Sale Styles, plus an Extra 50% Off Final Sale Styles with code SWEET at checkout until 6.4.14. They have done a 'switch-up' on the Promo-priced items at J.Crew this week...a lot of new items have been marked to promo-price, while others have gone back to regular-price or marked down to sale price (making them final sale).

For those of you who aren't familiar with Promo-priced items, they are select Regular-price pieces that J.Crew marks down to a 'Promotional Price' for a short amount of time. These items end in $.00 or $.50, and are eligible for any extra % off sale or full-price promotions that may occur at any time. The Promo-priced items are also eligible for the Educator and Student Discounts, so if you are a teacher or student you can receive an additional 15% off on them, as well.

If an item is on promo or sale online, but not in the store, ask the sales associate if they will match the online price, and apply any extra % off that may be happening at that time. You can also ask to place a 'Blue Martini' (formerly Red Phone) order for an online promo-priced or sale item and have any extra % off taking place in the store applied to it, as well.

The promo-prices are usually in effect for a week or two (sometimes longer), then they either go back up to full-price or move on into Final Sale. I have noted the majority of the Women's Promo-priced items currently available on the J.Crew website below.

Sweaters:


Shirts, Tops, & Tees:


Blazers, Jackets, & Outerwear:


Dresses & Skirts:


Pants, Denim, & Shorts:


Bags:


Shoes:


Jewelry:


Accessories:


***Just a reminder that the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale for Women & Kids is also taking place right now...save up to 40% off on a wide selection of merchandise. More details as well as my personal picks in this post.

Have a lovely day, and Happy Simplified Sale Shopping! :)





Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before?

Hello Everyone! It's time for another edition of *You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before*?

This is an ongoing series of posts in which I share less expensive 'look-a-like' alternatives to pricier clothing items from J.Crew, Madewell, and high-end designers/retailers, allowing you to get their look for less...let's get started, shall we? :)
















*Striped Oxford Pullover in Blue Stripe



*Crop Chinos in Green/Grey Camo








Isabel Marant Dicker Boot













*Lakitia Sandals in Gold Glitter

***If you have a 'Familiar Find' you would like to share, please feel free to email it to me: allthingssimplified.me@gmail.com.

That's it for this week's edition...I hope you've enjoyed it!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Inspiration: Memorial Day - What Heroes Gave...





What Heroes Gave
by Roger Robicheau

Each donned their uniform to be
Defenders of our liberty

Their mission sure, their spirits bright
Guard freedom’s home, be brave to fight

One final day each faced their call
Each gave their best enduring all

We’ll never know what they went through
But know they loved this country true

Deep down inside we should all feel
What heroes gave, their cost so real

We must stay thankful, grateful of
The gift of freedom through their love

Their loved ones bore the gravest pain
What we can’t know, some now sustain

To God I pray their pain will cease
And each will find long-lasting peace

Remember this from year to year
What heroes gave – shan’t disappear

We’ll never let their special day
Their time for honor slip away

These brave fought for a nation free
If not for them, where would we be?

Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country! Our lives would not be the same without your loyalty, bravery, and sacrifices! God Bless You and keep you!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shopping Simplified @ Madewell: Extra 30% Promo-Priced Items & Sale Styles + Free Shipping on All Orders - OHYES!!!

Hello everyone! As you know, it's Memorial Day Weekend, and this means sale shopping galore at just about every retailer out there, so I am sharing yet another All Things Simplified Shopping post for those planning to take advantage of all the great deals. :) My 'simplified shopping' posts will include information on the deal or % off, promo-priced items, and/or sale markdowns, and/or my personalized picks for retailers that are running current sale promotions...I basically take the work out of sale shopping for you! This time the simplified shopping is at Madewell...

Madewell is offering an Extra 30% Off Promo-Priced Items & Sale Styles with code OHYES at checkout until 5.26.14. Shipping is FREE on ALL Orders, too...YAY! I absolutely love Madewell, personally. The casual-vibe of their clothing works well with my lifestyle, and the prices are often more affordable than a lot of the retailers offering similar styles. The quality has been good on all the items I have ordered, and the pieces are all holding up very well so far. If you haven't ever ordered from Madewell, you should definitely considering giving them a try. :)

They have done a 'switch-up' on the Promo-priced items at Madewell this week...a lot of new items have been marked to promo-price, while others have gone back to regular-price or marked down to sale price (making them final sale).

For those of you who aren't familiar with Promo-priced items, they are select Regular-price pieces that Madewell marks down to a 'Promotional Price' for a short amount of time. These items are eligible for any extra % off sale or full-price promotions that may occur at any time. The Promo-priced items are also eligible for the Educator and Student Discounts, so if you are a teacher or student you can receive an additional 15% off on them, as well.

The promo-prices are usually in effect for a week or two (sometimes longer), then they either go back up to full-price or move on into Final Sale. I have noted the majority of the Promo-priced items currently available on the Madewell website below. :)

Sweaters:


Shirts, Tops, & Tees:


Blazers & Jackets:


Dresses & Skirts:


Denim, Pants, & Shorts:

*NSF® Basquiat Pants in khaki oil wash & cherry pigment
*NSF® Basquiat Pants in khaki pigment

Swimwear, Coverups, & Intimates:


Handbags:


Shoes, Sandals, & Boots:


Jewelry:


Accessories:


My Personal Picks...Outbound Jacket in Vintage Dyed Camo, Memento Tank, Elephant March Boyshirt, The Mini Transport Crossbody, The Sidewalk Skimmer in Calf Hair, Leather Belt, and Facet Stacking Rings.

What are your thoughts on this sale? Do you own any of the items currently on promo? Is there any item you would recommend? Please do share...I always love hearing from you!

***Just a reminder that the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale for Women & Kids is also taking place right now...save up to 40% off on a wide selection of merchandise. More details as well as my personal picks in this post.

That's it for now! Have a lovely day, and Happy Simplified Sale Shopping! :)


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shopping Simplified @ Nordstrom: The Half-Yearly Sale for Women & Kids - Save Up to 40% Off!!!

Hello everyone! It's time for another All Things Simplified Shopping post, where I take the work out of sale shopping for you! My 'simplified shopping' posts will include information on the deal or % off, promo-priced items, and/or sale markdowns, and/or my personalized picks for retailers that are running current sale promotions. This time the simplified shopping is at Nordstrom...

Nordstrom is currently running their Half-Yearly Sale for Women & Kids which takes place until 6.1.14. Shoppers can save up to 40% on apparel, shoes and more for women, kids and juniors. Sizes and selections sell out quickly, so it's always best to shop sooner rather than later if there is a specific item/items you are looking for.

As most of you probably already know, Nordstrom offers Free Shipping and Free Returns on all purchases made on their website. Returns can also be made to your local Nordstrom department store if you prefer. Click here to shop the sale, and be sure to check out my personal picks below. :)

*'Adrianna' Tie Dye Jersey Maxi Dress - such pretty shades of blue...perfect for the spring and summer months.
*V-Neck Jersey Maxi Dress - I've tried this one on, and it is very flattering, not to mention extremely comfortable.
*Cotton Jacquard Sheath Dress - especially love the navy.
*'Bella Luna' Pleat Neck Sweater - chic and understated.
*'Cary' Cotton Blend Cardigan - love the longer length and all three colors, too.
*Print Cotton Peasant Blouse - especially love the black/grey combination
*'Medium LM Cuir' Leather Tote - also available here in yummy spring colors
*'Camille' Chronograph Bracelet Watch - this is absolutely gorgeous in person. I own the gold and silver in this style and always receive numerous compliments when I wear them.

Are you planning on taking advantage of the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale Event? Have you placed an order already? Is there any item or items you would recommend? Please do share...I always love to hear from you!

Have a lovely day, and Happy Simplified Sale Shopping! :)


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Love This...

Understated. Elegant. Effortlessly Chic.

Get the Look...

The Sky's the Limit:


On a Budget:




Sunday, May 18, 2014

System Reboot - Update

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far! I finally finished my 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse this past Friday, so I thought I'd give an update and share my thoughts on the process. (For those of you who are not familiar with the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, I shared information about it in this post, as well as the reasons I chose to partake in the cleanse.)

The first day started out well, and I did not experience much hunger at all. I chose to do the Full Cleanse as opposed to the Modified Cleanse, so I had a small snack of apples and carrots, but other than that I only drank the smoothies, and felt satisfied the entire day. The only downside to day one was that I ended up with a horrific headache, so that was not very fun at all. On days 2 and 3 I felt good, but not so much on day 4, as I felt incredibly tired and ended up taking an hour nap in the mid-morning. I was also quite hungry a large majority of the day, and ate extra snacks of hard-boiled eggs, apples, and carrots along with my green smoothies. Day 5 was another good day, and I had plenty of energy with minimal cravings or hunger.

Now days 6 through 10 were a different story, as I ended up being extra hungry, and by the end of the week, I ended up switching to the modified version of the cleanse. I still drank the smoothies two times a day, but did a lot more snacking on organic almonds, fresh fruits and fresh veggies. I also ended up eating baked chicken with steamed vegetables for my dinner on days 8 and 9, then baked chicken with salad for my dinner on day 10.

I chose to add protein powder to the smoothies, and they were actually quite filling. I started off using my heavy-duty Kitchenaid blender to make the smoothies, and it was doing a fair job at puréeing the green veggies and fruit for the smoothies, but a couple days into the process of all the smoothie making, it started leaking...not good at all.

After that I used my 'backup' Oster blender, which really was not up to completing the job very well. Granted, it did work, but I think I would have enjoyed the green smoothies more if I had been able to make them in a Vitamix Blender or another type of blender with a lot more horsepower than the Oster that I used.

I do not have a scale to weigh myself, but did take my measurements the morning of day 1, then again after day 10, and ended up losing a total of 2.5" (waist, lower abdomen, hips, & thighs combined). I do know that I lost at least a few pounds, as my clothes fit much looser than they did when I started. Weight loss was not my main goal for the cleanse though, as I wanted to 'reboot' my system and get rid of any toxins that had built up due to stress and other factors over the past several months.

I do feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally after completing the cleanse, but I think that I actually achieved all of that in the first 5 days. The last 5 days felt like more of a lesson in willpower to not give into my desire for a hot cooked meal with seasoning or a slice of gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread. It seemed to me that the extended period of time is perhaps geared more toward the weight loss aspect, although any amount of time spent eating/drinking lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and lean protein is extremely beneficial to the body, so doing it for the additional 5 days is of course a plus. I felt for me personally that just 5 days would have sufficed though. :)

All in all I am really glad that I decided to partake in the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. I feel much more energized and renewed than I did prior to completing the cleanse. My overall mood and sense of well-being have improved, and it was much easier to accomplish than the fasting cleanse that I had done earlier in the year, since I was able to snack as much as I needed to. I will definitely continue to drink green smoothies on a regular basis, and will complete the cleanse again in the future whenever I feel I need another 'System Reboot'.

Have you tried the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse? If so, did you achieve the results you had hoped for? Are you planning to try it in the future? Please do share...I always love to hear from you! :)

Have a lovely day! :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Shopping Simplified @ Lands' End - Friends & Family Event: Extra 25% Off + Free Shipping on $50+ & Lots of Pretty Items to Love!!!

Hello everyone! It's time for another All Things Simplified Shopping post, where I take the work out of sale shopping for you! My 'simplified shopping' posts will include information on the deal or % off, promo-priced items, and/or sale markdowns, and/or my personalized picks for retailers that are running current sale promotions. This time the simplified shopping is at Lands' End...

Lands' End is offering an Extra 25% your purchase during their Friends & Family that is taking place until 5.19.14. Just use code FAMILY pin 5020 at checkout to receive the discount.

This is a great deal, and if you haven't taken a look at Lands' End lately, you really should! There are SO many cute things there right now, and the quality of their merchandise is very good, in my experience. However, if for some reason an item does not work out, it can be returned by mail, or to any Sears Department store at any time, since every item is guaranteed unconditionally.

From the Lands' End website:

The Lands' End guarantee has always been an unconditional one. It reads: "If you're not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price." We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we've decided to simplify it further. Guaranteed. Period.®

Click HERE to see just what they have to offer, and check out my picks below:


Are you planning on taking advantage of the extra 25% off Friends & Family Event? Have you placed an order already? Is there any item or items you would recommend? Please do share...I always love to hear from you!

Have a lovely day, and Happy Simplified Sale Shopping! :)




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yes Please!!!


The Vitamix has recently moved to the top of my wishlist. I've been thinking about purchasing it for a while now, but since I already own a heavy-duty Kitchenaid blender that is fairly powerful, I have held off on the purchase since it is something that is definitely not cheap. As I shared last week in this post, I decided to do the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, and actually started last Wednesday. The Kitchenaid blender has served me well over the years, and was doing a fair job at puréeing the green veggies and fruit for the smoothies, but a couple days into the process of all the smoothie making, it started leaking...not good at all.

Since then, I have been using my 'backup' Oster blender, which really is not up to completing the job very well. Granted, it is working, and I am almost finished with the cleanse anyways, but knowing that I still need a blender that works effectively, efficiently, will last more than just a year or two, and will perform many different functions, I am once again contemplating a Vitamix Blender.

As I also mentioned in my post from last week, I have greatly improved my diet and eating habits over the past several months, and have been eating mainly fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, lean protein, and gluten-free whole grains. I avoid refined sugar, fried foods, sodas, junk food, gluten, and anything high in sodium, but I would really like to do even better than this. I am now trying to move myself and my family away from eating processed foods, and would like to start preparing meals made completely from whole foods without added preservatives. This is another reason I would like to get the Vitamix.

The specific one I have been considering is the Vitamix 5200 Super 64oz Variable Speed Blender w/Dry Container, which is sold here on QVC, and currently offered at 5 Easy Payments (which is always extra helpful on pricier purchases).

According to the product information on QVC:

"It makes juice from whole foods; cooks soup without a stove; and even makes ice cream--no attachments needed. Now, with a dry container for blending dry ingredients included, plus two recipe books, the Vitamix Blending Machine is more impressive and useful than ever.

It takes over a multitude of kitchen tasks. Using the 64-oz container, this machine replaces your juicer, food processor, ice cream maker, and more. You'll turn to it to make everything from coleslaw and dip to tomato sauce and whipped cream. Its superior power allows it to pulverize whole foods including their skin, seeds, pith, leaves, and fiber quickly and easily. What might you make? The options are unlimited--flip through the included "Whole Food Recipes" book with nutritional information and pictures for all kinds of ideas.

Using the durable, precision-designed, 32-oz dry blending container, you can grind grains, beans, or rice into nutrient-dense, homemade flours for use in baking and cooking. The versatile container can also be used to knead dough for breads, pies, and other baked goods. The "Whole Grain Cookbook" is chock full of recipes to get you started. From Vitamix."


I would love to be able to make my own peanut butter, almond butter, ice cream, fresh bread, etc., without all the added sugars and preservatives that the store bought versions contain (not to mention the extra money they cost, as opposed to making my own). The Vitamix Blender is quite an investment purchase though, so I am saving up my pennies to hopefully get one in the future. I think in the long run the 'Cost Per Use' will become minimal, and the money I will save from making my own various types of food will make the purchase extra worthwhile. Vitamix does sell Certified Reconditioned blenders on their website, so that may be a less-expensive way to go...it just wouldn't include the dry container for the grains and such that I would like to have.

So tell me, do you own a Vitamix Blender? If so, which series and model? Are you pleased with it? Does it do everything the website claims that it does? The online reviews are mainly positive ones, but I would love to hear your feedback, too...please do share! :)

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Love...

Before having my boys, I never fully understood how my heart could possibly hold so much love, or how absolutely willing I could be to sacrifice anything and everything to protect them, care for them, and how I could love each one of them uniquely, wholeheartedly, and unconditionally...now I do, and I thank God each day for blessing me with each one of them.

Before having my boys, I never fully understood what my own mother went through all the years she spent raising my sister and me. I never fully understood the amount of sacrifices she made or the amount of love she had and still has for each of us. Now I do, and I am so very thankful for that love, and for her...my mother, my friend, and a true example of a mother's unconditional love.

"What is a Mother's love? It is something that is very, very special. It is something that no one can really explain. It's something that is made up of much deep devotion, joy, pain, and sacrifice. It is endless and unselfish and it endures whatever may come. It is full of hopes, dreams, tears, and pleasure. Nothing can ever destroy it or take that special love away. It is very patient and forgiving.
A Mother's love is a lifelong commitment to selflessness. More often than not, it requires much more giving than receiving. But it is something that is given with delight, gratitude, enthusiasm, and much satisfaction. A Mother's love never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking. It is always believing when the rest of the world is condemning. A Mother's love is a splendored miracle that man cannot understand. It is something that cannot be measured, for it has no beginning or no end."
~Author Unknown


Wishing all of the mothers out there a very special Mother's Day filled with much love, laughter, hugs, and happiness! :)




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shopping Simplified @ Target: Buy 2 Save 10%, Buy 3 Save 20% on Women's Clothing & Save 20% on Heels & Flats

Hello everyone! It's time for another All Things Simplified Shopping post, where I take the work out of sale shopping for you! My 'simplified shopping' posts will include information on the deal or % off, promo-priced items, and/or sale markdowns, and/or my personalized picks for retailers that are running current sale promotions. This time the simplified shopping is at Target...

Target is offering a special deal on select women's clothing until 5.10.14: Buy 2 save 10%, buy 3 save 20%, plus get free shipping on orders of $50+. They are also offering an extra 20% off women's heels and flats. The discount has already been taken, so the sale price is shown and no code is required at checkout. (The fine print: discount applied automatically at checkout. Offer available online only. Offer excludes clearance, women's panties, socks, hosiery, and sleepwear.)

There are a lot of really cute clothing items and shoes at Target right now, and with the extra % off it's the perfect time to pick up any of them that you might have your eye on. You can shop the deals here, and take a peek at my own personal picks below. :)

*Favorite Button Down Shirt - so many cute prints to choose from! I love the whales, pineapples, bicycles, and navy gingham check. :)
*Favorite Blouse - the polka dot is my favorite print on this one.
*Ultimate Long Sleeve V-Neck Tee in Stripe - especially love it in black.
*Ultimate 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Cardigan in Assorted Prints - especially love the whales, sailboats, & bicycles.
*Knit Komono Maxi Dress - I bought this one in black when they first started selling them a couple years ago, and have pretty much worn it to death since then. The dress is incredibly comfortable and very chic when paired with sandals, a fabulous handbag, and pretty jewelry.
*Eyelet Pant - also available in curvy fit
*Bootcut Denim - also available in curvy fit

What are your thoughts on this sale? Do you own any of the items? Is there any item you would recommend? Please do share...I always love hearing from you!

That's it for now! Have a lovely day, and Happy Simplified Sale Shopping! :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Love This...

I originally posted this image I had scanned from Vogue magazine back in February of 2011, and I must say that I still love it just as much today as I did back then. It is such a timeless and feminine look, one that stands the test of time and trends...

Classic. Understated. Effortlessly Chic.

Get the Look...

The Sky's the Limit:

*Hat in black mix

On a Budget:

*Jacket in cognac