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!

Breakfast Fuel

Breakfast Fuel

I love breakfast. And in the Summer time, it’s the only hot meal I really want to eat in the day. I like things that are easy to whip up and filling to last me through my work hunger cravings. So I’m sharing these open face breakfast tacos again because besides anything from Over Easy and 5 Points this is by far my favorite breakfast. It’s really easy to make and a hit. This works perfectly for my early work mornings, but would be great with some fruit and mimosas for weekend breakfast!

Breakfast Fuel

What you will need:

  • 1 small fresh corn tortilla, if cutting out grains you can omit this
  • olive oil
  • 1/2-inch-thick slice of avocado mashed lightly with a pinch of salt, or you could use guacamole
  • 1 oz pork breakfast sausage
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • chipotle chili powder
  • 1 large, organic egg
  • salt, freshly ground pepper and hot sauce to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub a few drops of olive oil onto both sides of the tortilla. Toast the tortilla in the hot skillet until lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Set tortilla on a plate to the side.

Crumble pork sausage into hot skillet and stir around until nicely browned, about three minutes. Add spinach. Add chili powder. Can add tomatoes or can serve fresh on the tortilla. Continue to cook until the Spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Crack egg and fry egg to preference. I cooked mine over easy.

On the tortilla put your mashed avocado or your guacamole. Then your meat and spinach mixture. Add tomatoes if you haven’t cooked them. Place fried egg on top and garnish with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Serve hot and immediately.

A Weekend in My Life: Series 2

A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2A Weekend in My Life: Series 2

This weekend was so packed full of fun events (and work). On Friday I attended to launch party for a new boutique in downtown, Lou Lou Boutique. I’m loving the boutique, the staff, the location and the merch! There will be more information on what I got and what I saw coming later to the blog.

On Sunday Andrew and I ventured out to Chimney Rock to do some exploring and relax by the river. We explored the small little downtown, had some coffee at a little bed and breakfast cafe on the river and then ventured out to set up the hammocks.

The riverside relaxation was short lived so poolside, napping and watching #OITNB for the rest of the day. And a date night at a sit down restaurant.

That was pretty much the entire weekend. I hope all of you had a great weekend and the start to your week was awesome.

A Weekend in My Life: Series 1

A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1A Weekend in My Life: Series 1

I spoke on SnapChat (s.ferguson6623) this past Friday that I had been absent from the blog and that I needed the break to not only deal with taking care of myself, but to find a new creative flow and not focus on numbers so much. After the break from the blog and Instagram I feel refreshed both mentally and creatively. So I wanted to introduce a new series that will be posted every Monday on the blog: A Weekend in My Life.

This weekend, Andrew and I decided to head up to Looking Glass in Brevard and go camping for a night. There is absolutely no cell service (even Verizon) in the area of the woods we were in. Which was just what we both needed. A completely unplugged day and night. We splashed and relaxed in the Davidson River. The sound of the flowing river is almost just as calming as the sound of the ocean waves. Then we went to wear the climbers camp to camp in the hammocks. Deep conversations were had by the fire, weenies were roasted, beers were drunk and the starry skies were gazed at. Even though I was beyond ready to get ready to a real bathroom on Sunday I felt refreshed, calm and at peace.

Besides work, this was pretty much my weekend in a nut shell. So stay tuned next Monday to see what I take on this weekend!

Body Positivity Through Swim Wear

Body Positivity Through Swim Wear Body Positivity Through Swim Wear Body Positivity Through Swim Wear Body Positivity Through Swim Wear Body Positivity Through Swim Wear

Did you cringe or flinch when swim wear began to hit the store floors? Are you rethinking having Summer fun now that the weather is warming up, pools are opening, lake or beach trips are being planned and water parks are opening? Are you saying you don’t have a beach or pool body? Well you do and you should rethink all you Summer plans after reading this.

You do have a body. A body that does great things for you. It does awesome things like breathing, walking and pushing the limits. So now all you have to have is some body of water and just like that you have a bathing suit body. Why? Because it seems only natural to wear swim wear to a body of water due to the material and how it allows your body to move while doing water activities. I mean you aren’t going to wear denim in to the pool are you?

Bathing suits are just like jeans and the most complicated items to find that fit, are flattering and you feel comfortable in. But just like finding that perfect pair of jeans you love, you have to actually try. You have to spend countless hours trying on and doing your research. You have to find something you feel comfortable in and say in your head, “Damn this works”. Find something you like and not what other people like. Don’t wear things based on what other people might think. If you are bigger and feel confident in a two piece that shows your stomach, and you like it, don’t let the fears of others stop you. You can feel comfortable in a bikini, tankini or a one piece. And just like jeans, once you find that perfect one, you buy it. You buy it without hesitation. You get it before it’s gone.

You put that bathing suit on that you feel on top of the world in, and without awkwardly pulling or holding your arms or hiding, you wear that! You go swimming, you lounge by the water, you enjoy all the Summer activities. Because you do have a beach or pool body. Because you have a body and a bathing suit you feel comfortable in.

While in your bathing suit, don’t forget to give compliments! Compliments boost confidence. You can help someone else tackle their fear of standing up tall with their beach or pool body. How simple is it to tell someone you like the pattern, color or style of their choice of swim wear? It’s not. It’s really not.

So this Summer let’s all be confident in what we are choosing to put on our bodies and let’s help everyone else; no matter their size or shape; feel confident in what they are wearing.

Road Trip Favorites

Ahhhh I’m so excited to be heading on a celebration vacation! Every time I’m ready to head out on a road trip I begin thinking of all the songs I’m going to listen to on the way to the destination. Generally I try to download the songs to iTunes even though a part of me always still wants to burn a CD to remind me of my old road trips. So I go through a make an upbeat playlist and have this plan to have a great party in the car but generally I play about 5 songs, pass out and wake up just in time to be getting to the vacation spot. So here are a few songs I constantly listen to when I’m heading out on a road trip.

 

I loveeeeee this song and generally I am traveling with Andrew so it makes it special. No matter where we are, where we travel to, I always feel at home with him by my side.

 

I have a little thug nasty side (not going to lie) and I have a slight obsession with Tupac (West Side)! Hahaha I have no idea why, but I have to listen to this song when traveling. Haha. This song brings back so many college memories and just puts a smile on my face.

I just can’t help it, I love this song and it reminds me of Summer. It actually reminds me of late night car rides with the windows and the mountain air blowing in.

There’s a lot of flipping through Pandora stations between the 2000’s Hip Hop station, Florence and The Machines station and Spice Girls station.

I’m heading on an exciting trip to celebrate graduating so there’s going to be a bunch of fun stuff going down or maybe a lot of sleep or maybe just a lot of relaxing. Either way make sure you are following on Instagram and SnapChat (s.ferguson6623) to follow along with all the exciting things I will be up to!

Final Finals Week Reflection

Between The Lines

If you are following me over on Instagram you may know that I am in my final semester of college, taking my final exams for the next week and preparing to graduate. With all of this craziness whirling around, the other day to prevent a complete and total meltdown of a combo of being tired and panicking that there aren’t enough hours in the day I took a little time to reflect on what’s happened this time in college. I thought about how prepared I am for a new job, the sense that I have a lot of knowledge about what I’m studying, how much I have given up to make sure I made it through school as an adult, the people who have been supportive the entire time, opportunities I have been given like my internship and this little space here. See for my degree I had to take several social media, marketing and website classes. For one of my very first website classes I had to create a function website and 30 Shades of Stephanie was born. I knew about future classes I would need to take and thought this would be the best to constantly transform and grow with my degree and it fit with the emphasis in fashion that I was going for. I had read some fashion blogger’s blogs prior to creating mine but still had absolutely no idea what I was doing. But I still did it. And it constantly kept growing. Then there was a time that I no longer need to work with a website or a live social media campaign. But I had carved out a spot of my mind, heart and soul for this, and well, it’s still here. It has grown so much in the past few years, evolved in to something I am proud of, morphed in to something I take pride in and something I enjoy devoting my time to. I love sharing new finds, new trends, affordable pieces, how I’m dressing and what I’m doing with you. So thanks for being there, thanks for making it something fun, thanks for making it more than a grade, thanks for making me go the extra mile, thanks for constantly challenging me, thanks for opening up new opportunities to me. Thanks for supporting me.

The Buddha Bowl

The Buddha BowlThe Buddha BowlThe Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls are currently all the rage! The perfectly placed foods in a circular pattern in a bright crisp bowl are perfect for #foodie pictures are Instagram; but these bowls pack a punch of yumminess and healthiness. Essentially you just create a bowl full of veggies, a meat if you eat it and a grain. Put it all together. And, BOOM, you have a meal. But this was a little more complicated than I had expected. You have to pick combos that go together and taste good together. I finally came up with a combination I enjoyed. Baked brussel sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, sauteed garlic mushrooms, brown rice and an avocado cilantro cream. One day for lunch I even added grilled chicken breast seasoned with Italian spices. Pretty, Pretty, Pretty, Prettttyyyy Good.

It’s Friday and I hope all of you have a great kick start to the weekend!

Friendly Reminders:

Enter to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card here! Last day to enter is tomorrow.

Enter to win this awesome mint necklace from Noonday Collection here. Last day to enter is tomorrow.

Black + White + Pops of Neon

Black + White + Pops of NeonBlack + White + Pops of NeonBlack + White + Pops of Neon

Top-Versona // Skirt-Versona // Necklace-Versona (only available in stores) // Sunnies-Versona (only available in stores) // Booties-Target (old, similar)

I loved this look so much from my styling with Versona in Asheville that I had to share a little more. I absolutely love this look. It’s really simple to play up any look that may be intended for dressing up. This skirt was in the dressier section of Versona so I paired it with an oversized, flowy cotton shirt tucking only a portion in. Tucking only a portion in accents the waist and gives a more relaxed, edgy vibe. Since I did color blocking I wanted to add a pop of color without going overboard which is why I opted for neon Navajo inspired necklace. Paired with my favorite black booties gives it even a more relaxed look. Fashion is all about playing around and finding what works for you. If you want to see the other looks I styled with Versona you can do so here!

Also I have two different GIVEAWAYS going at the moment. You can enter to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card package and a Mani/Pedi package in honor of Mother’s Day HERE! You can enter to win a fair trade, ethical mint green necklace perfect for Spring, Mother’s Day or graduation HERE!

Authentic Irish Dinner

Authentic Irish DinnerAuthentic Irish Dinner

Corned beef hash is about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs, but it’s plentiful on St. Patrick’s Day. So for something a little more authentic, try putting a sausage and potato bake on the table for dinner. All you need for this simple dish is potatoes, onions, sausage and your choice of spices.

All you need to do is chop your potatoes and onions and place in a baking dish or iron skillet. Mix with some olive oil and spices. Brown your sausage just lightly, then slice and mix with onions and potatoes. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees and you have an authentic hash perfect for dinner!

Serve with Irish soda bread and a Guiness and it’s truly authentic.

Authentic Irish DinnerAuthentic Irish Dinner