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.

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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

Thanksgiving Outfit #3: Dressed Up Florals

If Thanksgiving dinner is more of a dress up and look like you are going to a party kind of occasion I recommend wearing a nice shift dress. Shift dresses come in all different prints and textures so I’m sure you have one tucked away in your closet or that you can find one easily. The reason these are amazing is because they can be dressed up so much to look a little more fancy, yet they are the most comfortable thing known to man kind. You are essentially wearing a t-shirt dress in a nicer fabric. The flowiness of the dress makes it perfect for eating all the delicious holiday foods while feeling a little glam.

I love this floral dress I picked up from Old Navy a few years ago and it still gets wear in all the seasons for me. To make it Winter and Thanksgiving appropriate all it takes is some tights or leggings and some nice chunky booties. And BOOM you have the perfect dressed up Thanksgiving Day outfit!

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

Hilton Head Island Travel Diary: The iPhone Version

So if you aren’t following me on Instagram (which you should because sometimes it’s funny) you may not have known that I took a much needed vacation last week to Hilton Head Island. It’s one of my favorite places for a ton of different reasons. I love the atmosphere, the scenes, the fact that it is a quiet community and the food! So here are some of the highlights of my trip!

For the first time in almost four years we stayed on the South end of the island, right down the street from Coligny Beach. We were walking distance from food and shopping of any kind; and the most important, we were on beach front so we could easily walk to the beach at any given time during the day. It was so easy to have a relaxing vacation when everything was at your fingertips. Plus it didn’t hurt that according to the FitBit, we got well over 10,000 steps a day. Plus you could constantly hear the waves crashing which is the ultimate sound for relaxation.

Being so close to the beach and the fact that this was a much needed vacation was a no brainer that all day, every day I was at the beach. I loaded up on the SPF and literally chilled. The beach was quiet after Labor Day Weekend and even more quiet with the threat of a hurricane. But still I relaxed. And swam in the ocean. And played with sea creatures. I’ve got plenty of questions about this hat, the striped bathing suit and the kimono cover up; so they are all linked here!

Hat // Striped Bathing Suit // Kimono

Hilton Head Island is known for their world class golf courses and food. And well let’s just say I prefer food over the links. I have been waiting 5 whole years to try this place. They shut down for a week before Summer and it just so happens that’s always the week I visit. But it was worth the wait. Perfectly cooked cajun southern food. I had the etoufee and it was amazzzzzinggggg! If you visit Hilton Head, I suggest visiting Kenny B’s.

I found Java Burrito Company on Instagram and I am so glad that I did. It’s like a local Chipotle but for every meal and a full coffee bar inside. I had a breakfast bowl and iced dirty chai. Hands down one of the best decisions I made on that trip.

Ela’s is becoming a favorite on the island for me to visit. A little swanky, quiet, on the waterfront and the service and food is outstanding. We visiting the day before the evacuation was in order for Irma and they were still open. We had the place to ourselves and the service nor food suffered due to being understaffed or the island becoming a ghost town.

Marley’s Island Grill was a first for me, but not a last. Sooooooo good! A Caribbean take on local seafood. I got chorizo almond crusted scallops which may actually be one of the top 20 best meals of my life. So good.

There is just beauty and magic every where on the island. Maybe it’s because you are on vacation or island time. Whatever it is, it works. My soul feels a little more full after my visit there.

Happy Travels!

The Failed Romper

Fashion, style or lifestyle bloggers typically share what they love, what works and what they think you need to add to your shopping cart too. But a lot of times we miss the things that just don’t work. So I’m here to share with you something that just missed the mark big time.

Last year for Andrew and I’s annual Hilton Head Island visit, we got invited to a last minute event. And to be frank, I had planned very little on blogging or working period because not only was this our annual visit, but it was also in celebration of graduation for myself. I literally planned to sit on the beach the entire week and do nothing but swim, eat seafood and drink gin and tonics. But this event happened. I ran out to the local outlet mall to grab something quick. Without even trying it on, I bought a sale item that of course couldn’t be returned. But at least I didn’t waste a lot of money on it, right? I wore this to the event dreadfully, because well it just didn’t work. Hence why no pictures of the private seafood dining experience we had.

In light of the male romper becoming a thing everyone is talking about, I thought I would get this out of the closet to try to style it one more time, with my entire closet and plenty of time. And it’s still a big nope. The area around the crotch is just not working for me, the top portion is about two sizes to big and the linen fabric for this does not work because it’s constantly a wrinkly mess. I don’t feel confident in this number, nor do I feel comfortable. Which are huge turn offs for me in clothing.  I’m glad this is from last season, because I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. I’m confused on how someone can create a male’s romper to fit his groin area without any moose knuckles but women’s rompers are the luck of the draw, and they are the luck of the draw for many women in many different sizes and shapes. They are just hits or misses.

Needless to say this number immediately went in to a donation bag because there’s no use in it taking up my closet space. Also lesson learned to never leave the store without trying something on, especially if it’s a “no return sale” item.