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!

Holiday Style: Casual and Funky

Just because the holiday season is here, doesn’t mean you have to dress head to toe frilly, in lace or sequins or even in the holidays “it” colors, red and green. Let’s face it, I’m just not in to dressing frilly anymore. So for me, the old holiday outfit ideas I used to have, are out the window. Dressing for myself is the number one priority and this year I made it a goal to do that.

Christmas bells are ringing and I’m over here still dressing in black, denim and stripes. But hey, that’s me. So for this holiday look I pulled together my new favorite look to show you how easy it is to dress for a casual holiday function without looking like a Christmas tree and being true to yourself.

If you are new around here, I have an addiction with stripes. It’s probably because I was always told women of size shouldn’t wear them and I love to break social rules. Besides the point. So I have paired this silky-ish blouse with a plunging neckline, boxy shape and my favorite print with my new favorite pants. These denim leggings I snagged from Lysse on Black Friday are my newest obsession. The perfect fit, slimming affect, pipping along the leg and the fun zipper detail all make me squeal with excitement when I wear them. A dressed up casual look but all while being oh so comfy and stylish. To make the outfit feel more festive I paired it with these adorable pom pom shoes that bring just the right amount of festive cheer to this outfit without going over the top. I would wear this during the non-holiday season, which is a point I make when I am shopping for pieces for my wardrobe. Topped it off with an edgy black necklace and a furry clutch. And a red lip takes your outfit to another holiday level right now. I love a red lip on any day, but right now, you just can’t miss it!

Perfect for any holiday event thrown your way or even just meeting up with friends.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season so far! I did just want to remind you that I am doing #instamas on Instagram where I am documenting parts of my life every day! Feel free to join in on the fun.

 

Shop This Look:

Top // Denim // Similar Shoes // Similar Clutch // Necklace

Holiday Styling With Versona

Deck your #ootd’s with red and green, Fa La La La La, La La La! Tis’ the season for festive dressing. Since we are just now at two weeks until Christmas it is time to pull out all the red and green garments you have and go wild with it. I don’t own a lot of red or green pieces in my closet. Shocker, I know right?! So when I recently had the chance to partner with Versona to pick up something for the holiday season and style, I was on a mission for something red or green and some statement earrings.

I tried on countless red and green pieces, many were out of my comfort zone and I shared them all with you on InstaStories (shameless plug if you aren’t following me you should). Nothing felt quite like me though. I was trying to pull together outfits in my head and decide on something festive yet that fit my personality and would work with my closet. Even when partnering with a brand, I always think about the long run. Like when will I wear this again and how will I wear this again. I am not wanting to fill my closet with pieces I don’t love and am not going to wear.

One of the lovely sales associate picked this green top for me and the minute I tried it on, I was like, yup this is it. Super basic, but the seaming makes the shirt extremely flattering, simple ruffled sleeves to keep the top trendy and a green I could live with. Something I knew I could dress up or down for the holiday season and get wear out of it past December. I immediately knew I would style it with this skirt I got from Versona last winter. A little edgy and a little more me.

Paired with these fun and festive statement earrings this shirt makes for the perfect holiday party look. I love, love these earrings. I’m so glad I scooped these up because I had been eyeing a pair like this from somewhere online for three times the price. Of course this couldn’t be a holiday outfit without my red pom pom shoes! So comfy, fun and festive. Sadly these are no longer available but I wish they were because everyone deserves some red pom pom shoes for the holiday season. So now I am ready for any type of holiday shindig thrown my way. Office parties, family parties, Christmas church services or even Christmas dinner. I am loving the simple, yet fun components of this festive #ootd!

Thanks again for Versona for having me create a festive look! And if you are in the need for any holiday outfit needs, make sure you check them out! Did you know we have a Versona in Asheville? It’s over by the Whole Foods off of Tunnel Road! And they do have red and green pieces galore! And also tons of statement earrings. And tons of gift ideas!

Best Beauty Buys of 2017: Perfect Stocking Stuffers

I’ve tried my fair share of beauty products this year. Some were duds and some were game changers for me. So I thought I would share all my favorites because these are perfect ideas for stocking stuffers!

Rubber Facial Scrubbers– I have debated for a seriously long time on getting a clarisonic. Done a ton of research and watched a ton of reviews. But I came across some of these little silicone scrubbers at TJ MAXX one time and decided to give them a try. For starters these are much more sanitary for your skin than a brush scrubber. They are also much more affordable and much easier to clean. I love these and they are available at Wal-Mart for under $3.00! These get a really good clean on your skin and I like to think this has helped with my occasional break out.

Outer Space Flexible Hair Spray– Yes I still use hair spray. Got to keep that hair looking fresh to death all day! And this is my absolute favorite. Like I had a meltdown when I ran out and wouldn’t be able to get more for a few days. The hold and the flexibility of this hairspray is unlike any other. It just does it’s job without being crunchy or sticky. And the smell is out of this world. A+ for the packaging as well.

Gimme Brow– Okay, I hate to admit this, but I’ve never done anything to my eyebrows before this year. Just tweezed and that’s that. Why? Because no company makes a good brow product for gingers. There was nothing light enough to make it not look like I was wearing clown makeup. Sure I could go through the trouble of finding a match in an eyeshadow and making it work, but let’s be honest, that’s too much work. This year Benefit Cosmetics came out with a new color for their brow products. And it works amazing for people with the lightest shade of eyebrows. I love this product, like seriously it’s made a difference. My brows aren’t overly dramatic but at least I feel like they are more “on fleek” now.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel– I started getting gel nail manicures this year. I hadn’t had a manicure in ages and loved the long wear of the polish since I work with my hands a lot. But that got extremely pricey. Seriously mad props to all you ladies who do this on a regular basis and have the cutest designs. I would just rather spend that money on tacos or a new bag. So I started looking for at home polishes that would have a long result. So I tried a bunch. Had some real failures. Enter Sally Hansen Miracle Gel. Lots of color options, long lasting and work tested. Plus much safer and affordable.

Aveda Volumizing Tonic– I have been testing all kinds of products to get some great volume in my hair for that messy chic look. This bottle of amazingness is my ticket for fresh washed hair and getting all the oomph I need. The only downfall with this product is the smell isn’t great. But it seriously helps me achieve that blow out volume look I have been aiming for.

Dry Bar Round Brush– So I have changed my hair big time. Last year I did a huge chop and have been playing around with the actual cut ever since. After lots of practice, watching videos and talking with stylist, I have finally figured out how to blow dry my hair properly and to get the style and volume I want. So I decided to invest in a good round brush. This brush might be a little more pricey than what you would consider, but it really does make a world of difference.

Kat Von D Eyeshadow Quad– I have purchased this before, but re-purchased. You know that’s when you love something, right? The formula is just the best on these eyeshadows. So creamy and so easy to blend. If you aren’t a pro with eye makeup, this is a great brand to try. It’s pretty much fool proof. That’s how creamy and well these blend. To be honest I’m still probably blending wrong but it looks fine!

Rootfoot Rose Water– I have been taking my skin care very seriously this year. Maybe it’s because I’m getting closer to middle age but oh well. This spray is soothing, calming and even moisturizing. This saved my skin during the summer. Any time I was in the sun, afterwards I would use this. I didn’t peel the entire season. This never happens. I’m also noticing with cooler weather and dry heat from the car, work and home I have been using this more and more for a skin drink.

 

 

Holiday Style: Christmas Dress

I wasn’t looking for a Christmas dress, I was going to re-style something that was already in my closet, but then I randomly saw this dress. Bright red, flowy, ruffles and flutter sleeves. Loved it! Tried it on, felt good in it, but didn’t buy it. I didn’t need the dress. I wasn’t sure if I would wear something so bright, because hello, I’m the girl who wears black on a regular basis. But then I was working on a few things, planning some more things for the blog and got an invite to a party. I will also have a wedding to attend in the fall of next year that this would be perfect for, so I went ahead and bought it. Because after long contemplation, I would get my wear out of it.

This dress is perfect for any festive event you have coming up this holiday season and it’s even more perfect because I know you are spending a ton of presents and the perfect decorations. This dress is under $35.00 and would be flattering on so many skin tones and shapes. This can be taken really festive, retro glam or even just kept simple and all three ways to style it would still be great for the holidays.

I just paired this with an oversized fur coat and block heels for a simple 70’s glam look. Not overly festive but also I can say Happy Holidays in this without feeling like a grinch. Seriously if you are in Target, check out this dress, it’s worth the double take.

SHOP THIS LOOK:

Dress // Similar Coat // Heels // Necklace

DIY HOLIDAY: MODERN CHRISTMAS WREATH

If you can’t tell I have an obsession with these metal hoops that are used for floral arrangements. There are just so many uses for them. Even a modern floral wreath. I have been on the hunt for a wreath for my front door but haven’t found one I really like or one that is even affordable. $60.00 for a wreath seems a bit crazy to me even if you can use it year after year. So to get one just the way I wanted it I decided to make my own. And it’s so easy and affordable you can make your own.

These are perfect for the holidays, home decor and for year round decorations. I decided to go extremely modern and just do green and white as my color palette. This makes this easy to hang on my door for Christmas and I can also bring it in and hang it in my room or closet after the holidays are over.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

METAL WREATH HOOP

FLOWERS AND GREENERY OF YOUR CHOOSING (I WENT WITH JUST BASIC WHITE AND GREEN)

SCISSORS

WIRE

POSSIBLY A HOT GLUE GUN

To make this wreath start by cutting all your stems and flowers. Then start wrapping and forming to the metal hoop. You can start by attaching with wire. You can continue with wire or use a hot glue gun after you get your base started. There is no exact science to the wreath. You get to just build up the flowers the way you would like and put them on there. Once you get everything on there the way you would like, you are ready to hang up. Pretty easy and hardly takes any time.

The great thing about this is you get to do your wreath any way you like.

Happy wreath making!