My Black Friday Sales Picks

I used to always make it a tradition of going to the store for Black Friday. But when the stores began opening sooner and sooner I started to change my traditions. I no longer hit up the stores but check out online. And not just big retailers, small shops that I have fallen in love with too. So here are my Black Friday Sale picks that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to shop from! So stay cuddle up in oversized sweaters, eat pie for breakfast and check out these sales!

OLD NAVY– 50% OFF EVERYTHING

ASOS– 30% OFF EVERYTHING

BEACH BONES JEWELRY– 30% OFF EVERYTHING WITH CODE: CANDIEDYAMS (SUPPORT SMALL, SUPPORT HANDMADE, SUPPORT WOMEN. THIS NECKLACE I WEAR IN THIS PICTURE IS FROM BEACH BONES)

TARGET– SPEND $50.00 IN STORE OR ONLINE AND RECEIVE A 20% OFF COUPON FOR LATER USE

YANA K– SPECIAL DISCOUNT WITH FALL17 (GREAT FOR THIS INVESTMENT PIECE I SHARED MONDAY HERE)

LYSSE– 30% OFF EVERYTHING WITH CODE: BF17

R+CO– 20% OFF WITH CODE: BLACK20

COLOURPOP– $4.00 LIQUID LIPS

RACHEL WEISBERG-30% OFF EVERYTHING WITH CODE: HOLIDAY LOVE

QUAY- SELECT SUNNIES DISCOUNTED

LACK OF COLOR– SELECT HATS 30% OFF

 

 

Gift Guide For Experiences Instead of “Things”

We all know someone who literally has everything they need and want. So what do you get those people for a Christmas gift? With a world full of so many things, why not gift experiences. A great option that keeps on giving after Christmas Day and after the newness of a present wears off. Here are the options that I have come up with that would make great experiences!

Admission To Fun Activities

Gift a one-time ticket to any where your recipient loves to visit. Or some where the person may want to visit, but a little out of their price range. Museums, exhibits, the zoo, amusement parks, or local attractions. Or even a certificate for a massage for a day. I know I personally love visiting art exhibits, museums and amusement parks. These places always make for a great day.

 Food Experiences

Gifting cooking lessons isn’t saying that the person you love is a horrible cook. This would be such a fun experience. The ability to try foods you might not otherwise try to cook and learning to appreciate the process of cooking and the experience of eating the meal. I’ve been dying to try some of the classes that Hickory Nut Gap Farm offers. It seems enticing to try something I could never do in my own kitchen. If classes are not available or just perfect for the person you are gifting, try gifting a gift card to a restaurant the person has been wanting to try, their favorite place or something that may be out of their element.

Lessons To Learn Something New

Something you know someone has always wanted to try? Whether it be a new language, an art class or advancing on their hobbies.

Tickets To One Time Events

Think sporting events, concerts, plays, ballet and musicals. I have received tickets for shows, games and the ballet for several different holidays and they have been amazing. I’ve had to wait until the actual events and the excitement has only built. The only downside to this is that you have to choose a date for it, but most tickets you can get in enough advance that someone can plan for this event.

Getaways and Travel

In order to do this you must really know the person you are doing this for. You have to know where they would love to travel to, where they would love to stay and when would be a good time to book the trip. It doesn’t have to be a grand vacation. It could be a weekend getaway or a night away. Sometimes it’s just fun and exciting to get away from home for a while. This past year for my birthday, Andrew gifted me with a trip to Chattanooga. It was only for a night but it was amazing. And totally worth the drive.

Camping Adventure

If someone can handle a night or weekend away without staying in a hotel I highly suggest the gift of camping. To be one with nature, no cell service, to be in silence, sleep under the stars; all amazing things and can do wonder for your health. I have gifted this adventure before and though I got a kink in my neck, had to shower with shoes on and got extremely cold at night, nothing beats bourbon under the stars by a fire. Or how peaceful I felt.

Season Passes To Favorite Places

A gift that lasts for a whole year. A pass to someone’s favorite place or even just an extremely fun place which they can use over and over again for a year! I have annual passes to the Biltmore Estate and think they are well worth the investment. Most places it is cheaper than two visits. You can get them to just about anywhere that requires an admission fee. From the national park services to amusement parks to local area attractions. I have gifted amusement park passes before and were a huge hit. Plus it was a gift that kept on giving all Summer long. I would actually love to get annual passes to Grandfather Mountain!

Hopefully this got you thinking about gift giving in a different way. Go explore fun things that you can give to your loved ones that won’t be shoved in a drawer soon.

 

 

 

Gift Guide For Her Under $100.00

Back Packs Doubling as a Diaper Bag // Throw Blanket // Hat (This One Is On My List) // Wall Hanging (DIY Coming Soon) // Dry Shampoo Paste // Copper Mixing Bowls // Indie Brand Candle // One Question a Day Journal 

 

Another day, another blogger’s gift guide. However, I wanted to do something a little different. There’s no point in sharing silly things I know none of us will really use or overpriced gift sets that really aren’t worth the money. Or sharing the same things you have seen on every other blog. Gifts you will actually love to give, that your recipient will love or that you would actually love to get. All things you can actually use, most right after opening. From new brands I have discovered and am swooning over to brands I stand by. And something for everyone. Whether it be your fashionista, chef, homebody, explorer, the one who loves to savor moments and the one possibly obsessed with textiles. It’s all here and the best part, everything in the gift guide is under $100.00!

Happy Shopping! Happy Gifting! And happy Wishlist making!

Perfect Dress and Luxury Gift: Yana K

I love a good versatile piece, we all know this by know. Versatility is the key to getting the most out of your wardrobe without spending a fortune every single season. So is investment pieces.

I have been following along with fashion designer Yana K for some time now and am even more in love with the designer and her designs after meeting the designer at a local pop up shop and of course, finally investing in one of her pieces. At the meet up, I love her explanation behind her designs. she has created a line of clothing for all women, for every stage of her life, so she can feel amazing. She doesn’t want us to have to think too much on looking amazing in her clothes. She wants us to feel amazing. She wants us to be comfortable. And most of all, she has created her dresses as a one size fits most situation so we aren’t focusing on the number in the tag. All of these are things I can get behind.

I walked away with this dress knowing that I can wear it all Fall, Winter and Spring long with it’s versatility. The quality is going to make it last season to season, and probably my most reached for piece. This piece looks great on it’s own, cinched with a belt, draped with a cozy cardigan or a little more edgy with a leather jacket. I wore this dress after taking photos to a large art and craft show at the agriculture center in Asheville. I got so many compliments and also was as comfy as the women in their sweatpants. Win Win in my book.

Seriously, you want to add one of these babies to your Christmas wishlist now. Or gift one to yourself or someone you really love that loves fashion. I know I have another dress on my wishlist currently like this one. Because if you are going to ask for a piece of clothing for Christmas, make it an investment piece that I can guarantee you will feel amazing in.

Shop The Look:

Dress // Similar Booties // Belt // White Cardigan // Similar Leather Jacket // Bag // Necklace

 

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.