Why I’m Doing Condom Couture Asheville

If you haven’t heard by now, I am co-designing and co-creating a dress with Rachel Weisberg for Condom Couture Asheville. And if you haven’t heard, you clearly aren’t following me on Instagram because I’ve been sharing behind the scenes looks and announcements, so shameless plug, go follow me on Instagram. But there’s so much more to it than sharing that, so I wanted to use this platform because 10 second videos just are not enough to share why I’m participating.

The entire event is not just a quirky fashion show (designing a dress out of condoms will literally test everything in your body and mind) but a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. And that is something I can get behind 100%. Not just because of the recent administration putting everything in to jeopardy but out of a place that hits home. I’ve had to use Planned Parenthood on multiple occasions. Some of the worst days have been had inside a Planned Parenthood office and that is why I wanted to participate.

I myself have cried in a Planned Parenthood. I have watched some of my closest friends cry inside a Planned Parenthood office. I have witnessed hard decisions made and have also made those same decisions. I have watched the persecution take place outside those four walls, just for entering. I myself have been tested, received affordable birth control, received pap smears, routine check ups and been given advice by the kindest souls who have made it their life mission to help those in need at Planned Parenthood.

So why night dedicate my time and creative outlet to help raise money to support something that has been there for me time after time? It’s a no brainer. It’s not all about abortions. It’s about a safe place for people, helping to educate and promote safe sex, provide affordable care that some women and men may not be able to get at other places, provide the assurance that women do have the right to make decisions about their bodies and helping all of us live healthier lives.

So whether you are wanting to check it out for a creative fashion show (I mean come on, dresses out of condoms, I know you are intrigued) or an activist for Planned Parenthood, I truly hope you will be able to join me on March 10th for this event. You can find all the information here about tickets and a run down of the fundraiser. Tickets Available HERE.

Alternative Valentine’s Day Outfit Idea

I shared a look on Monday that screamed Valentine’s Day, but now I’m sharing a look that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Whether you are giving the day the middle finger or you are just keeping it low key, this outfit is perfect for that.

Distressed denim, a funky top, faux fur accents and pops of reddish hues. All go together for the perfect alternative outfit for celebrating Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day or just a winter date night next week (or any day for that matter). I get it, we all don’t celebrate the cheesy holiday for numerous reasons, but isn’t it always fun to add a little fun pop of color especially with some colored faux fur or leather jacket. And this top. So warm and cozy (aka comfy wear) but made special with the leopard sleeves and the sequin embellishment.

You don’t have to go full blown pink and red to feel festive for Valentine’s Day. You can add pops of pink if you want but also not something you have to go out and buy. Wear what you want girlfriend! Celebrate how you want!

 

Pretty In Pink For Valentine’s Day

Holidays are the only time I break my own fashion rules. As in I dress pretty neutral for the majority of the year, but when the opportunity opens up for me to wear some sort of festive dress, I will more than likely jump at the chance. Which is why I have this flowy pink (it’s actually more on the peach side of the spectrum) dress. I actually bought this dress for Easter Brunch last year (since we actually went somewhere extra fancy) and have never really worn it again. Which I’m not upset about because I got it for a super steal on BooHoo (honestly wasn’t expecting the quality to be as good as it was). So it was sitting in my closet ready to offer it up for anyone who wants it and was like oooooo this will be the perfect dress for Valentine’s Day and possibly Easter again. Or even to visit Biltmore Blooms.

So here I am dressed in a pink dress, which is my most hated color especially for clothing for one of the cheesiest holidays we celebrate. Though cheesy and controlled by the retail industry I still celebrate and still love it. I don’t get why people hate on it. Consumerism is a part of our daily life so what gives. Any excuse for me to get dressed up and write hand written cards is a win win in my book. Ohhh and by dressed up, I mean even for making a frozen pizza at home.

But this dress just screams Valentine’s Day. It’s off the shoulder which gives it a sexy, sultry vibe, but flirty, fun and conservative with the ruffles, shape and length. Perfect for dancing in or just twirling around in. And bringing back my Christmas shoes, because red DUH, for a playful fun take on the whole outfit. Kept all my jewelry simple to focus on the flows of this dress. Move over stuffy, over planned date night, I’m ready for something fun!

Let me know if you enjoy Valentine’s Day and what you plan on wearing below!

SHOP THIS LOOK: Another Pink Dress // Similar Shoes // Bangles // Bracelet // Half Moon Necklace // Necklace

The Power of a Good Belt

Belts! Often times over looked and one of the most underrated accessories. The power to completely transform an outfit from simple to the next level or just make you feel extra sassy. Like I was this day.

I have been looking for a vintage western belt or vintage western inspired belt. I haven’t been able to find one that was in my price point or size that I liked. Total random Target shopping trip simply for a planner (story of my life) and found this western inspired belt. And though not vintage, extremely affordable. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. Even though everyone can afford this belt, it doesn’t seem like a cheapo belt. I have so many ways I want to style this belt, but I took it for “a test run” with a simple raw edge denim skirt paired with tights, a striped shirt, long flowy cardigan and some edgy boots. I think this whole look was actually pulled together with the belt and tights. Transforming from what may appear to be a take on 90’s fashion to something modern, funky, edgy and chic.

Belts are a great way to add some versatility to your closet on a budget. Belts allow you to wear items you already have or are going to purchase in so many different ways. Also a great way to add some shape to your figure. Enhancing curves and manipulating fabric to hang the exact way you want it to. Most belts are extremely affordable, even a nice quality leather belt isn’t going to break the bank. Have fun with them! Though I’m sticking to a neutral for my belt doesn’t mean you have to keep it simple. There are tons of options out there.

 

Shop This Look: Top // Skirt // Tights // Necklace // Belt

 

Style Inspiration Muses

I get asked on a regular bases who inspires me for my clothing choices. Especially now that I have openly discussed being in a creative rut and verbalizing that I don’t want to look like every blogger or influenster out there. And it’s hard now because it seems like every person is shopping at the same places and styling the exact same pieces. So in times like this a Pinterest search or Instagram search has been unhelpful in helping me find inspiration for fashion this year. So, I decided to go back to my trusty girl crushes who always seem to inspire me and have grounded me in my individuality. And I thought what better time to share the ladies in entertainment that inspire my outfit choices. Even though they have amazing stylist, loans of designer pieces and a full bank account, I think their style is just as attainable as the person you follow along with on Instagram. Not only do all the women I constantly “seek out” for inspiration dress amazingly but promote self confidence, body positivity and being an individual through fashion. All what I am looking for these days.

  1. Florence Welch

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The queen of individuality and unique clothing. Flowy fabrics and rockstar silhouettes. Always a go to when I’m in a rut.

2. Adele

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Adele can we just be friends already? The first actual plus size women I had for someone to look up to. I think Adele really started the change in the plus size fashion industry. Always amazing, classic pieces and silhouettes and the person who made me think it’s okay to only work with neutrals in my closet (mainly black).

3. Lady GaGa

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Gone are the days of insane outfits, insane make up and over the top hair. I think she really found her self and her voice and doesn’t have to hide behind all the “stuff” anymore. And I love it. Simple, rocker chic and letting her shine through. I have been pulling a lot of inspiration from the recent Lady GaGa.

4. Stevie Nicks

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The original creator of the gypsy boho chic look. Flowy pieces and pretty much whatever goes, goes. Such a good inspiration. Gimme all the oversized dresses and dramatic sleeves!

5. Danielle Brooks

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Another plus size muse doing great things for the plus size fashion industry. Never afraid of something body con or curve hugging, but keeping it simple. All things I can get behind.

6. Tracee Ellis Ross

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So real and attainable except when she’s walking the red carpet. She dresses like any of us would. And I love that about her. Plus she created a size inclusiveness line for JC Penny that made me love her more. And she rocks pieces from her line. Which the line was simple capsule wardrobe pieces that any women no matter size, age or style could rock.

 

 

Favorite Investment Pieces

Picking out quality pieces for my closet has been a big change in how I am shopping this past year. I have started to not only shop for sustainable and ethical products, but also looking for more items made in the USA or high quality products. It’s been a task because high quality products are way more expensive than what I have spent on clothing before and fast fashion just seems a bit more interesting because it’s trendy and what most of you are wanting to see. But I just can’t spending between $20.00 and $40.00 on cheaply made clothing that is going to get holes or start to ravel and possibly be out of style next year. So I started buying things I actually like, that are fun, versatile and much better quality than fast fashion. So here are my favorite quality purchases I have made in the past year.

Lysse Denim– These jeans are amazing. They work perfectly for curvier ladies because of the actual denim used and the control top available in each pair. These are skinny jeans with a nice side pipping and a fun zipper detail at the ankle. Seriously if I could wear these every day I probably would. So comfy and so slimming. The best part about Lysse? They include sizes from XS to 3XL. So everyone can enjoy these jeans. Lysse jeans are a little over $100.00 a pair and tend to sell out quickly when updated on their website. Seriously worth the investment though.

Lack Of Color Hats– A new to me brand and I’m in love. Quality made hats with structure, so no floppyness with these. I haven’t had these hats for too long but they have held their shape very well so far. There are a ton of options on their website; different colors and styles. These hats are $80.00 and up but well worth it if you are a hat lover.

Yana K Dresses– Buttery soft, simple and versatile. I can’t say enough about this brand. From every day wear to dressing up. Each piece has the potential to be styled so many different ways. And so flattering on so many body types.

Custom Fox & Beaux Jewelry– Located in Asheville is a little jewelry boutique where all your jewelry dreams can come true. Carefully designed pieces are available for quick purchasing or you can work with the staff to create your own. This dangle choker was a custom design piece I created and they put together. Literally no one else will have anything exactly like it making it perfect for my daily go to choker.

These are just a few of my favorite investment pieces from the last year. And you will see them on repeat, styled different ways. Because sometimes having less is more.

Shop This Look: Jeans // Dress // Hat // Silver Necklace // Dangle Choker // Horseshoe Necklace

Why I’m Not In To Resolutions But More Goal Making + My 2018 Goals

I’ve taken a little break to refocus, spend quality time with those around me and recharge from a hectic holiday season with work; but in reality it was to sleep! A new year has yet again rolled around and everyone is making resolutions, coming up with words for their year and starting the “new year, new me” train. As for me, I’m currently eating a apple pie I bought out of the frozen section of the grocery store while I constantly see everyone posting about their new diet all while rolling my eyes and deciding whether I finish the champagne off or make a hot toddy. Yup, same old Stephanie in the new year.

Here’s the thing. I hate resolutions. Be honest with yourself and I with myself; you or I are going to give up on half of them unless you or I are extremely determined, it just sets us up for disappointment. And why make resolutions anyways? Because it’s the norm for the new year? Just because everyone else is doing them? Girl (or gent, all about inclusiveness here) be a rebel. Do what you want! And who needs a word for the year, when there are a ton of words in the English language to describe yourself every day! Like worthy, loved, amazeballs, pretty little young thang or dare I say a bad ass bitch. But you do you and if you feel inclined to create a word for your year, no judgement here. Though I hate resolutions, I do like to set goals. But I set goals on a monthly basis, it’s sadly part of my type A personality, so it’s not out of the norm for me to do so. Goals are more attainable in my opinion because they don’t have the word resolution or “this has to be achieved in order for me to feel fulfilled” looming overhead. So since it’s the new year and we are all about sharing what we look forward to, I’m going to share some of my goals for you.

On a personal level I would like to travel and explore more, work harder at the things I am the most passionate about, capture more memories but also be more present (how is this even possible) and dig deeper in to the hygge lifestyle. Nothing out of reach or that has specific deadlines. If it happens, it does, if not, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

For 30 Shades of Stephanie, there are some big changes coming. And this is not something that I just randomly thought of or created with the idea of a new year rolling around. I have discussed before a creative rut and sadly it never went away. It wasn’t until I had a press event and got to speak with the lovely Sarajane over dinner and drinks. She said some things that struck me, like blogs are dying and stories are the new “it” thing. But I love my little corner of the internet, even if just a few people read it. It’s more an electronic scrapbook of things I have done and storing all the changes I have went through as far as style and life over the years. So don’t worry I’m not stopping. But things are changing. There is going to be way more info, posts and daily life situations on InstaStories and Instagram in general more so than on the blog. I like the idea of keeping my posting schedule to MWF but it may also change to just Monday and Friday. Who knows right now. Also video content (thanks Sarajane). I have talked about it but never went through with it, mainly because I think sometimes I have a manly voice. But it’s happening in 2018. Why? Because A) I want to connect with each of you on a different level and B) there are just so many things a shutter through a lens cannot actually capture. Like, sometimes I want to be able to laugh with each of you about weird fabrics or why things just don’t work, for you to get my real ahhh ha moment when something as far as fashion comes together just so, so we can all feel a little sense of wonder when I visit new places (or so you can see I’m not just a serious work lady) and so I can feel like I’m actually talking to you. Because you the real MVP if we get to talk in person or on the phone or facetime. So just imagine these videos as one big facetime session.

ANNNDDDDD, there is an entire shift itself in the fashion you will be seeing here on the blog or on any social media outlet for that matter. Last year I talked about one of my goals for the year was to stock my closet with more things I love and investment pieces. Well guys, I actually accomplished that goal. WHOOOAAA. Fast fashion is fun (and don’t get me wrong, there are still trendy pieces I buy at Target and Old Navy) but it has slimmed down a lot for me. I just don’t want to spend money on things that are going to tear in a few washes and be out of style next season or year. I’ve gotten really picky with what goes in my closet. I now don’t have a problem with investing a bit of money on one piece if I can get a lot of wear out of it and also it’s something that will continue to stay in my closet. So more things like this, capsule wardrobe pieces, best investment pieces and how to shop smart for bigger ticket items are coming your way. So there may be a lot of stuff on repeat and I won’t be showing you the same thing the other 5 bloggers a few sites over are doing but that’s okay. I’m changing, my views are changing and my lifestyle is changing. So it’s time the brand of 30 Shades of Stephanie also took that change that I have been wanting to make and have just been putting off.

Even though I have all these ideas for what happens here and else where that I have been jotting down for the past three months, I love the input of others. Duh, I want to make y’all happy and have an enjoyable place to visit (whether to read or watch or double click to like). So if you want to share your input, head on over to Instagram to cast your votes on my InstaStories today about the changes taking place!

So Long 2017

This year has been an absolute doozy. There has been so much heartbreak and sadness. Not only personally but throughout the country and the world. So, going in to the new year, I wanted to focus on the good things that happened and not just the bad to have a clear mind going in to the new year. Let’s face it, after all the news we have had to read and see this year, we need to know there were some good parts of this year. Here are my highlights of 2017!

Though a lot of family changes occurred this year and several camping trips we had planned this year were put on hold due to that (if you aren’t aware of what happened you can read about it here) there was a lot of mini day trips had! We got to explore new places along the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Devil’s Bathtub and Western North Carolina in general.

Andrew and I had an epic beach vacation. Where we had nothing absolutely planned. No agenda but sitting on the beach all day. We did exactly that. We beach sat more than we ever have on a vacation. We were there right at the time the hurricane was coming so towards the end of the week, we were some of the few who were not leaving until evacuation was mandatory. That made for a memorable and peaceful vacation.

For my birthday I was gifted a weekend to Chattanooga to see one of my favorite artist have spots at two different galleries. It was amazing to see the artwork up close and personal and sleep in an old train station for the night. I have talked about gifting experiences over things here and Andrew and I are starting to do this more and more. For Christmas this year I was gifted a trip to Nashville!

This year I would like to think I have come in to my own. I had a seriously low rough patch in my life where I actually made people around me concerned for the way I was living life. Don’t worry I wasn’t partaking in drugs or excessive alcohol, I was just making crazy decisions. After being picked up from that time by the people who are always in my corner I looked at my life. Changed my hair, attitude and what I was doing. I began to put myself first. Started to take care of me. And everything changed. From not caring about not wearing a bra to putting my foot down for things I didn’t want to do.

Also this year on a journey of finding myself, I also found my voice. Let’s face it, a lot of shitty things have happened in our country with a shift in political ways. I have participated in more events to better each other, I have spoke up on my stance on things and I have called my representatives more times this year than I ever have before. We are all in this together and we have to support each other. Now is the time we have to take actions, Facebook posts are not enough any more. I’m proud to be a part of the change that is taking place in this country.

I went to see the Avett Brothers with my best friends. Seriously, they perform better live than anyone I’ve ever seen besides Adele.

I got to meet a semi-famous designer this year. Contrary to what others at the event thought; I thought she was amazing. Real and empowering to those around her.

 

I’ll be sharing more highlights from 2017 on Instagram, enter shameless plug here: If you aren’t following me on Instagram go ahead and follow me because I have big big plans for 2018!

 

 

 

Star of the Show: Perfect Holiday Sweater

Are you still looking for that perfect outfit to wear for Christmas? Or even New Years Eve? Well time is running out but you can still snag this fun sweater if you find it in store!

This seems like the perfect sweater for a much more casual NYE look, but I really like it for Christmas because it isn’t your typical over the top green or red sweater. You can be comfy and super cute in this. I decided to take this look for a total 90’s feel by adding a denim skirt, tights and booties. Super easy to pull off and extremely comfortable. And topped it off with my newest obsession, this Lack of Color hat. Which I may be wearing to everything.

Simple. Festive. Stylish.

 

Shop This Look:

Sweater // Skirt // Tights // Hat // Similar Booties

Holiday Sips: Hot Toddy Recipe

It’s cold out there. The holiday season is here. Flu season is here. You need a drink to fight off the cold (both the virus and the temps) and celebrate the season right. And though most people think you need bubbly or festive cocktail creations for this time of year, a hot toddy does just the trick for numerous occasions. It’s cozy and inviting. Jut like I like all my winter vibes. So here’s a simple, easy, make at home hot toddy recipe!

YOU NEED FOR ONE MUG:

Whiskey- shot per glass or like I do, just eyeball it

Lemons-2 wedges

Cinnamon- 1teaspoon

Cloves-three whole cloves

Honey- 2 teaspoons

Secret Ingedient- Homemade vanilla extract, just a splash

Hot Water

DIRECTIONS:

Put your cinnamon, cloves and honey in your mug of choice.

Add your shot of whiskey.

Squeeze one lemon wedge in with this.

If you want add your splash of vanilla extract.

Have boiled water ready to pour in and fill the mug with hot water.

Stir well.

Add last lemon wedge to the mug.

Drink slowly with Christmas music playing in the background!

 

CHEERS!

If you want a step by step of this recipe follow my InstaStories today for it!