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!

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.

Turkey Day Outfit

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Top // Jeans // Booties (similar) // Earrings // Hair Clip (in stores only at Versona)

I honestly can’t believe next Thursday is Thanksgiving! How is this even possible?

So I start thinking about the holidays and how my wardrobe will work for the holidays early on. Probably when Fall fashion starts hitting the shelves. I’m not the hugest sparkle fan (even though you will be seeing a fun skirt soon) so it’s ok for me to start looking early. A few things come to mind. First off I want to be stylish because I’m known as the fashion blogger in the family and because I know pictures are going to be taken if I’m not planning on them. But then there are a few other things to keep in mind but mainly is it comfortable. I mean there is a lot of cooking, a lot of relaxing, a lot of running around and then there is a lot of eating.

So when I saw this blouse at Target I knew it was the perfect thing to wear to Thanksgiving dinner! It screams fall, the color is perfect for Thanksgiving, it’s flowy and it has some awesome detailing. I was sold! I’ve decided to pair it with distressed denim and booties for a casual, comfortable yet chic look. I’m going to go ahead and call this my sophisticated pilgrim #ootd.

Thankful

Casual Thanksgiving Outfit

On Wednesday Inspiration this week I wanted to thank all of you, my readers and supporters. You don’t realize the impact all of you sweet people have on the blog. When I started 30 Shades of Stephanie it was part of a class assignment for personal marketing, a lesson in advertising,the impact of real people’s views on products, the power of social media and basic website construction. After the three classes where I was graded on this little part of the internet I didn’t think I would continue, but here I am one and half years after being graded, still blogging. Blogging is hard work, not just throwing on an outfit and having a post created. I spend a lot of late nights editing, writing and researching. It’s also difficult with what I’m trying to express on the blog and where I live. I’ve been turned down constantly for working with brands because I promote chain stores and I get a lot of negative feedback because my closet isn’t bursting at the seams with all local boutique finds. It’s hard to take that, but I do and continue on because I know there are some people who enjoy the content I create. I do have support in my blog and helps me continue. To all of you, positive and negative, you all strive for me to do better, provide better content and give you something you actually want to read. I am extremely thankful for all of you who follow, comment and posts words of encouragement. I am thankful for new friendships, rekindled friendships and the opportunity to make great connections with both Asheville local and non-local brands. If it wasn’t for you none of this would have been possible. So for that I am thankful for each one of you!

To show my thanks to each one of you, I have teamed up with some awesome local companies to bring you a great GIVEAWAY next week, so make sure you are following along for that!

Thanksgiving Brussel Sprouts

Thanksgiving Brussel Sprouts11-34

 

Roasted brussel sprouts are one of my favorite things to eat; lightly coated with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. But since it is the holiday season I decided to spice them up a bit with bacon and festive cranberries. I made this for a tiny “friendsgiving” and it was a hit! These are so yummy and you should include them on your table for Thanksgiving or even Christmas or any holiday meal for that matter.

Ingredients:

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Bacon
  • Cranberries (dried)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Coat the brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Toss and roast on the other side and cook for another 15 minutes. While the brussel sprouts are roasting begin to fry your bacon. While still hot sprinkle with brown sugar. Then cut the bacon up. When the sprouts are done toss with the bacon and dried cranberries. Best if served warm!

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Casual Thanksgiving Outfit

Casual Thanksgiving Outfit

Sweat Shirt- Old Navy // Jeans- Forever 21 // Boots-Charlotte Russe // Earrings-Jared // Ring- Ashkal Shop // Nails-Jamberry

There are 4 short days until Thanksgiving!!! If you haven’t been to the grocery store yet, I highly suggest you go now lol. On Thanksgiving I don’t think of dressing “fancy”, I think of dressing comfortably; generally the day involves getting the sales paper, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Western Carolina’s marching band will be starting the parade off this year so watch it), binge watching Netflix, relaxing, eating and eating some more. So I like to be comfy. I’m not saying wear your sweats all day (but by all means dress how you like), so I decided to pick out a comfy, casual outfit. I have been living in this sweat shirt from Old Navy and is perfect for casual wear or you can also dress it up. I paired it with some Forever 21 skinny jeans, my riding boots, my Ashkal ring (which I’ve been wearing every day) and my emeralds from Jared that I have also been wearing every day! I kept my make up simple but enough to liven up my tired face, and I kept my hair extremely casual in a pony but added some flair with a flannel ribbon! Also this outfit is the perfect transition to spending time with your loved ones, then hitting up the stores for the crazy sales! (Stay tuned because I will be doing a Black Friday OOTD)

What will all of you be wearing for Thanksgiving?

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Healthy and Quick Thanksgiving Side

Healthy and Quick Thanksgiving Side

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I found the perfect side dish for your dinner. Most sides are starchy and fattening (which is great for one day a year) but you may want a healthy veggie alternative. I made some roasted brussel sprouts that hit the spot, Andrew said they were delicious!

Heat oven to 400 degrees, Halve your sprouts. Spray your pan with a non sticking spray.

In a bowl I mixed the halves with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and basil. You can use whatever seasons you would like.

Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on one side. Flip over and bake for another 10 minutes. I added some shredded Parmesan cheese when I flipped the sprouts over, but this is totally optional.

And viola, you are ready to dig in!

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