Thanksgiving Outfit #2: Cozy Knits

Comfort food, pie, cuddling by a fire and cozy sweaters; exactly what any holiday should involve especially  Thanksgiving. To top it off, sweater weather is in full force around here! I love that they are tons of ways to incorporate knits in to your wardrobe these days but I have finally bought an actual sweater. Generally, I lean towards knit cardigans because I’m so hot natured, but this year I took a leap and invested in a nicer sweater to get me through the Fall and Winter.

A sweater is just the most simple way to put together an #ootd, making it especially great for Thanksgiving day! To make the outfit look less frumpy, I paired the sweater with light skinny jeans and over the knee boots. Now pass the pie!

Also sweater dresses and cozy cardigans would be great for some fun layering for Thanksgiving. These sweaters will help create some dimension to your look and add some texture, making your holiday style that much better!

Missed yesterday’s post where I styled athleisure for Thanksgiving dinner? Read it here.

Stay tuned for more outfits this week!

Shop This Look:

Sweater // Jeans // Boots // Bag // Similar Necklace

Thanksgiving Outfit #1: Dressing Up Athleisure Wear

I get it. On Thanksgiving you want to be as comfy as possible. Maybe even stretch pants need to be involved. No judgement from me! I understand. It’s a busy day of running around, traveling, cooking or even partaking in events around town before dinner time. And then there’s feasting and lounging. Even though the athleisure trend is very popular now, I still like to take the look to the next level so it doesn’t look like I just got done with a yoga class or that I don’t care about my #ootd.

To transform this outfit made for feasting and cooking, I’m taking three items from my closet to spice it up.

Keeping the same leggings and oversized long sleeve pullover, I transformed this in to a more chic and stylish outfit by adding a leather jacket, oversized printed scarf and over the knee boots. Looks like a totally different outfit. Much more chic. Still just as comfy though. Stretchy pants still included. You could easily cook sides, travel and then mix it up to show up for Thanksgiving dinner. Did you mention Black Friday shopping? This outfit is perfect for taking you in to that all night shopping frenzy.

If you want to be as comfortable as possible but still look stylish, check in your closet to see how you can play up the athleisure trend. Just mix and match pieces to go from gym look to dinner look!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a new Thanksgiving Outfit Idea!

 

Shop This Look:

Top // Leggings // Similar Scarf // Similar Jacket // Boots

Florals For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and planning outfits for the day have already been on my mind. Everything about Thanksgiving is so hectic from cooking, traveling and starting the holiday rush, so our outfit shouldn’t be a hassle. I’ve been trying to come up with outfits that are extremely simple yet festive or unique or fun for the day. Something to take you from lounging watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to traveling to see friends and family to feasting on comfort foods to being in a food coma afterwards to hitting the stores for Christmas shopping after your food coma breaks.

I love the idea of wearing a subtle floral for Thanksgiving. It’s so festive for a day of thankfulness. This is technically a dress worn as a cardigan paired with stripes and skinny jeans for a laid back look. Perfect for staying comfy yet feeling a little dressed up for the day. I paired the outfit with a fringe necklace, hat and mules to kick up the fun factor and to pull everything in the outfit together.

I love that this outfit screams Fall and is great to wear before being decked out in glitter, sequins, plaid, red or green. But this comfy easy outfit is so easy you can wear something similar to this throughout the holiday season.

Stay tuned next week for more Thanksgiving outfit ideas and the real start of the festive season here on 30 Shades of Stephanie.

The Perfect Thanksgiving Appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Happy Thursday friends! How is Thanksgiving only two weeks away? It’s almost here and I’m over here planning what I’m cooking for dinner, how to watch the parade online and outfit planning, because priorities y’all! But I recently attended an event where the best small bites were served including theses bacon wrapped, cheesy goodness, dates.

I’m still not sure how in the world I had never had these prior to this event. I’m pretty sure I had been living under a rock. But dates have always scared me. Like I don’t know how they cook, I’ve never blended them up in smoothies and never ate them on their own. But man oh man was I wrong. Delicious! So with discussing the upcoming holidays I was/am determined to make these for Thanksgiving appetizers. Way more fancy than dip guys!

These are so easy to make (minimal ingredients and minimal work) and so yummy. Everyone will love the sweet and savory mixture.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Bacon

Dates

Goat Cheese

Toothpicks

Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper

Set oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the dates open on one side and remove the pit.

Stuff with a small amount of goat cheese. I added garlic salt and parsley to my cheese.

Wrap with bacon.

Secure with toothpick. This helps in flipping the dates to get evenly brown bacon.

Place on lined pan.

Bake for 7-8 minutes. Flip the dates and bake another 7-8 minutes.

These can be served hot, warm or reheated!

ENJOY!

 

Also heads up! I found dates to be a struggle to buy. A local grocer Ingles had 4 dates in a package for $3.00. If making for a large crowd I would considering buying in bulk from somewhere. Because these little guys disappear from the plate fast!

Falling In Love With Denim Skirts Again

When I first heard denim skirts were coming back big time this Fall, I was like “nope, not happening”. I was persistent on not bring back this early 2000’s trend. Remember the time in middle and high school when you weren’t cool fashion wise if you didn’t own some kind of denim mini skirt. Even cooler if you wore it with a popped collar shirt or with leggings. Yea those were the days (insert rolling eye emoji now). But they are back, in a little more sophisticated way, and I gave in to the trend.

The reason I gave in to the trend was because I had previously just seen short, butt cheeking hanging out, short denim skirts. But I finally came across a longer version, with a high low hem, side slits and distressing in actual good spots. It was the grown up version and I wasn’t mad at it. Clearly I still have some work to do on styling because I wasn’t exactly sure how to, because the only way I know how is for my 14 year old self. And that’s not good.

I just added layers and more layers and threw on some over the knee boots. I was also hesitant on these as well but kind of love them. I’m wondering if tights and booties paired with sweaters would look to unchic for this? I’m wondering if bell sleeves and mules would be too many trendy things at once? But it’s all trial and error so there’s that. I will keep playing with this and let you know what I think.

Happy Monday friends! Did you know the holiday posts started last week? I posted what to expect here and how to have a carefree holiday season here. Stay tuned for later this week because the holiday fun continues with the perfect appetizer for any holiday function!

Your Guide To A Carefree Holiday Season

I don’t know about all of y’all but I can’t believe that it is already November. Christmas is in full swing at stores, media and I suppose here on 30 Shades of Stephanie. The holidays can be the most stressful time of the year, but only if you let it. A few years ago, the holiday season became too much for me and it was miserable. I’ve never hated the holiday season as much as that year and I knew something had to give in order for me to enjoy my favorite time of the year, so the following year I made a few changes that immensely helped. So here are a few things I do in order to actually enjoy the holiday season and make the best of it.

Plan Holiday Travels, Outings and Make Reservations 

Now is the time to book your plane tickets and hotel rooms. It will be much cheaper now and you will actually be able to get a flight or room. Since it is November you can now start making reservations for any holiday dinners out especially on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because those reservations tend to fill up fast. Living in a tourist town, trust me, book any December special event dinners now. Also go ahead and try to buy tickets now to any holiday events like the ballet, concerts or light festivals. You can generally get them cheaper now, get better times or seats and of course they aren’t sold out yet!

Make Your Christmas Cards

I don’t know how many times I have planned to take the perfect Christmas card photo and make those cute custom photo Christmas cards or buy the perfect witty and festive card to tuck the photos inside. I either never have enough time to take the photos, let alone make the cute photo cards or buy cards. Don’t even get me started on the actual mailing of the cards. Sometimes they get sent a few days before Christmas or they don’t get sent at all. Right now is the perfect time to get on the ball with this. Plenty of time to take the pictures and get the perfect picture picked out. Plenty of time to make those cheesy custom cards or buy cards and print out the photos. Plus if you by now you don’t have to be left with the unwanted card selections! Also now is the time to make sure you have everyone’s correct addresses and make a list of all the people you want to send cards to. You don’t want to leave anyone out. And last but not least, buy your stamps now. The lines aren’t as long and you can easily slip them in to your mailbox once you have everything filled out. Now who doesn’t love some snail mail, especially festive snail mail?!

Start Thinking About Meal Planning

So not only do you have to plan for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals but you are going to be busy, busy during the holiday season. I know I tend to work longer days and have more social events filling my free time that the last thing I want to think about is making dinner. I like to start looking for easy and quick recipes that are perfect for the long days I seem to have during the holiday season. I like to look for crock-pot recipes and one pan dishes on Pinterest and make note of those recipes for the season. But I have also recently discovered Seeds of Change thanks to Influenster, which makes dinners at home a breeze. Seeds of Change offers rices and sauce packs that are not only healthy but extremely easy. Win, win. I received a complimentary Sweet and Sour sauce pack and made an awesome stir fry packed with veggies and protein. The best part, it took hardly no time to make. I stir fried garlic, mushrooms, onions, green beans, asparagus, chicken and the sweet and sour sauce and served over rice. It was a hit in my house and I will be purchasing more of these sauce packets to make during the busy season. The full range of Seeds of Change products are available at Target!

****This product was sent to me to test and review. All thoughts and ideas are my own.****

Start Planning Now 

One of the things I learned from the year I knew I was starting to despise Christmas was because I wasn’t using a calendar or planner. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s a huge deal and it is for a lot of people. For me, if it isn’t written down or planned in advance it generally isn’t happening. I remember that year I lost the holiday spirit, the biggest bummer was double planning two events in one night (twice). One was an early Christmas present (the ballet, which I hadn’t seen since I was a child) and then a social media event. I got a message on the way to the ballet asking where I was for something I was supposed to be co-hosting. I remember yelling, crying, making up an excuse and not paying attention during the ballet worried I had let a few people down. Ohhhh and something similar happened the following week. Now I write down everything. Work, social events, blog post and social media schedules, dinners, freelance meetings and even when I am wanting to go and do certain Christmas events. I also like to write down a list of things I want to do like going to the ballet, seeing Christmas lights, Christmas at Biltmore,  the gingerbread competition at the Grove Park Inn or art events so I can prioritize and plan out those “Christmas Bucket List” things so I can actually do them. I’m telling you it makes a world of difference. So use the calendar on your phone, a standard calendar or a full blown planner to get it together. Plus you won’t miss out on the things you really want to do if you plan accordingly.

I have recently found this little holiday planner from One Swell Studio which is adorable for the holidays and perfect for keeping it together. The design is so chic and I love the large daily layout. It doesn’t start until December but perfect for the craziest month. This one is super unique because it acts as a keepsake of the holiday as well. Not only does it have a to do list for every day, but also spots for special moments from the day and a spot to write what you are thankful for. It also includes portions for budgeting, spending and gift tracking. I will use this in conjunction with my regular planner, this one as my to-do list and holiday memory keeper. How cute would it be to add a Polaroid picture to each page for each day?! Seriously considering this.

Block Off Downtime and Be Okay With Doing Less

Though I like to plan hardcore for the holidays I have also started to make sure that I have time where I haven’t packed the entire day with festive activities. During the holiday season you really need to focus on self-care more to avoid getting depressed or despising the holiday. Also if you can’t do everything, that’s ok. It’s fine to not do every festive activity in your town or go to every social event. If it doesn’t all get done, everyone around you and yourself will be fine. I like to pick a few days where I just do things I like, generally by myself, like getting my nails done or getting a massage. You deserve it girlfriend! Plus I will be sharing tons of self-care ideas here on the blog and on Instagram throughout the holiday season.

 

 

Your Guide To The Holiday Season

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year!! Now I know you think I’m crazy because it’s only November 1st but let’s face it, I’ve been planning holiday posts since early October. Plus we all know the moment the clock strikes midnight after Halloween it is full force Christmas. Now mind you my pumpkins are going to stay put for a few more days but I’m ready to dive head first in to the holidays here with all of you.

Now I’ve been in a creative rut for both fashion and the blog lately. I know I’ve said that before but this time it’s a little different in the fact that I’m not seeing or feeling enough diversity in the blogging world. I feel like we are constantly seeing the same things over and over and over again. To the point where I get tired of seeing the same sweater styled essentially the same way by 15 different bloggers. And the holidays are no different. It’s the same decor, the same wrapping paper, the same items in the gift guides, the same necklace to spice up a holiday outfit, the same sales and the same Christmas dresses. So I want to make my mark for something different. Something we may not have seen a million times (okay over exaggeration) over.

So here’s what to expect: unique gift guides leading up to Black Friday, unique and affordable home decor ideas, DIY ideas, style and outfit inspo, traditions, self care ideas, Asheville happenings and so much more. These sound like a million blog posts you have already read around the holidays. But I promise you I have tried to make mine a little different. Also social media is going to play a bigger role this holiday season (thank the phone lords for that new phone this year). I’m wanting to do “special segments” on Instagram Stories like how to shop locally, gifts I love to give, shopping for Secret Santa gifts, day in the life Christmas edition and maybe even trying all the insane peppermint flavored product. Even though I have a bunch of ideas scratched out I love hearing from you! What would you like to see on 30 Shades of Stephanie for the holidays?

My goal is to have 30 Shades of Stephanie be on the top of the list of websites you visit during the holiday season. I want you to feel inspired, feel the Christmas spirit and included! The world is in shambles lately, a lot of negativity going on, and the holiday season is a time of happiness, cheer and unity for me. So I want us all to feel that and share it.

Cozy, Warm Layers + Halloween Traditions

Fall I love you. Layering I love you. Car rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway to peep leaves, I love you. Rolling fog I love you. Scarf season I love you. Chilly temperatures I love you.

I feel like I’m always running around trying to squeeze in as much of seasonal activities that I can.  Lately I’ve been trying to see as much of the autumnal foilage, cross off lists from my Fall bucket list and see as many misty, foggy mornings as possible. But when running around I just can’t fathom getting dressed up for chasing leaves and walking around in the clouds.  So I go for my trusty favorites.

If I’m going to be doing any type of hiking of course I dress accordingly and will wear leggings, etc. But when I’m not going on a lengthy hike I go with my trusty skinny jeans and a common pullover. I actually acquire a few of these pullovers every season. I wear these fore everything from work, to adventures, to lounge wear. For this particular day, I knew I needed to run a few errands afterwards and was also having a lunch date so I threw on my favorite leather jacket I purchased from Nordstrom a few years ago and a scarf to keep my neck warm. I’m loving all the different earthy colors, textures and layers I have going on in this outfit. And though it may not look the warmest, it kept me warm in the below 50 degree weather.

Stay tuned to next week because I will actually share in more detail how I love styling basic pullovers for every day wear so it doesn’t look like you haven’t changed from pajamas all day.

 

HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS

Like most holidays, we all have our own traditions. Some times they change, some times we don’t stick to them and some times we are trying to find something new to add to your traditions. So I thought I would share my old and newer traditions.

When I was younger we always had typical family traditions. My family was big in to Halloween. We always went to my grandparent’s house where we had some kind of homemade soup. Oyster stew, chicken stew, chili or chicken noodle soup. No matter which one it was always soup. We always went trick or treating in the same neighborhood and always ended the night with scary movies. As I got older, the soup remained a constant but the activities changed, like parties and haunted houses.

As I’ve gotten older, live on my own and start my own traditions, I have tried to incorporate some old things and some new. Every single year I no longer do the trick-or-treating but instead am the lady who passes out candy and comments on each costume. All while each child asks about my cat and some kids have even just walked in to my apartment. It’s interesting to say the least. It never fails, I always try to make a soup I like because honestly I’m not the hugest soup fan (even though I had it every Halloween, still doesn’t mean it was my favorite). So I have a few recipes for soups (love this one) I actually like or I try to make a crock pot meal (Winter staple in my house) or a casserole of some kind (easiest one I have ever made). Some thing easy but warm and hearty. After the trick-or-treating is over, I make a wicked cocktail or have a pumpkin beer and put on a horror film. But no Halloween night is ever over without watching Hocus Pocus. Since moving to the mountains I have actually stayed up extremely late on Halloween to wait for the first snowfall of the season, it has happened a few times since moving here.

Let me know what your traditions are in the comments!

6 Non-Scary Movies Perfect for Halloween

On Tuesday I shared my top 10 favorite horror movies to watch leading up to Halloween and on Halloween night. But if gore, paranormal activity and things that go bump in the night are not for you, I’ve still got you covered girl. So grab a cocktail, dinner, popcorn and dessert and enjoy all these movies. And I’ve got your back that you are never too old to watch these Halloween movie picks!

1. Beetlejuice

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Your favorite dirty and hilarious ghost, ready to party! Just don’t say his name three times.

2. The Addams Family

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Normalcy is overrated. Settle in with the craziest family around.

3. Edward Scissorhands

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Have you been thinking about getting some landscaping done or going for a new hairstyle? Johnny Depp in all his weirdness with awkward hands. Plenty of laughs to be had with this one.

4. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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I’m not big on cartoons or animations but how adorable is Charlie Brown. Plus you will get all the nostalgic vibes from this movie.

5. Nightmare Before Christmas

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My grandparents used to watch this movie every Halloween. So it’s kind of a tradition. And Tim Burton is a master of creepy animations. Are you the pumpkin king?

6. Hocus Pocus

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You are never, never too old for some Hocus Pocus. By far my favorite Halloween movie. And I would be lying if I told you I didn’t watch this movie year round. “I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine”.

This Is Halloween + Spooky Playlist

The week leading up to Halloween is amazing! If you are a die hard Halloween lover the whole month of October could be amazing for your wardrobe. But leading up to Halloween you can literally just about get away with wearing anything. If you look crazy no one even bats an eye.

So since you can get away with just about anything I wanted to test out a few new items and see if I was going to keep them. Like these striped pants! A very bold statement piece. A very funky piece. So I threw on a blazer, mind you that I didn’t pair with a top or bra because testing out y’all. And two things I’ve come to realize. I love these pants and will be wearing them to a few events this winter. I can’t wait to style these for the holidays. Yes I love them. And secondly this blazer cape thing needs to be altered before I wear it again.

But I got to try out an insanely wild outfit and if anyone had said anything at dinner I would have simply told them I was Beetlejuice or Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas.

So since Halloween is a little under a week I also wanted to share a “spooky” playlist. Play this to get in the mood, play it while your passing out candy or play it while your dressing up. Either way it will add some Halloween fun to your life.