Sunday, July 5, 2015

10 Affordable + Fun Summer Date Ideas

Summers in Wisconsin are so short & sweet that we've been trying to take advantage of every weekend (or weeknight)! I've found that we're more likely to do something special together if we make a list of ideas. If you're tired of Netflix marathons check out my list of date night ideas & be sure to comment or tweet me with fun date ideas that you have!

10 Affordable + Fun Summer Date Ideas
Here's a list of what's on our summer date night wish list (& they're all pretty affordable options)!
1. Rent a Canoe or Kayak Madison is surrounded by lakes, so renting a canoe for an hour or two is a great way to get outside and explore even when the weekends get chaotic. Grab a post-canoe trip ice cream cone to beat the heat.
2. Beer Tasting Night: Find a local grocery or liquor store that allows you to "build your own 6 pack" and each pick out 3 different kinds of beer. Then, draw up a little rating card and discuss which are your favorites. (Here's a cute printable!)
3. Movie Night Under the Stars: Grab some blankets, popcorn and an iPad for movie watching under the stars in the backyard.  Use portable Bluetooth speakers for better sound (we love our Jambox) & light candles or tiki torches for extra lighting.
4. Thrift Store DIY's: Head to a local thrift store to find a diamond in the rough, waiting to be upcycled. You can find some home décor pieces with great potential on the cheap! Check out my "Crafty Girl" pinterest board for tons of inspiration.
5. Have a Theme Dinner Night: I love cooking dinner that has a theme around it- Southern BBQ night / Hawaiian Luau night / Mexican Fiesta .. you get the picture! We usually make an appetizer/ main course & cocktail to fit the theme. Of course, don't forget the playlist to set the mood!
6. Go to a Local Festival: It seems like every weekend there is a local festival happening. Check local city event guides to see what events are going on. I'm a fan of any that have live music & revolve around some sort of quirky event (cheese fest anyone!?).
7.  Game Night: We're huge scrabble nerds, but really any old school game brings out our competitive sides. Of course, you can bring your game outside so you don't have to be cooped up indoors on a gorgeous summer evening or invite friends over!
8. Play Tourist in Your Own City: It seems like there's so many (often times free!) local sights you just don't take advantage of when you've been living somewhere for a while. On our list this summer is the local museum, gardens & nearby hiking trails.
9. Start a Weeknight Tradition: Having a mid-week date night can help break up the work week and give you something to look forward to besides the weekend. We like to experiment with making different grilled pizza combos & catch summer sci fi flicks during $5 Tuesday at the movie theater.
10. Get Fit Together: Whether you're just taking an evening walk around the neighborhood, going hiking at a local state park, or testing out a new fitness class together- working out is so much better if you're doing it together. We even have Fitbit's so we can track our steps & compete each week!
Just for fun-sies, a picture of Kyle & I from our friends' wedding last weekend! We clean up okay :)
What are your favorite summer date ideas? We're always looking for something fun to switch it up!
xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Statement Necklace

Statement necklaces are one of my favorite styling pieces because of their versatility- especially in summertime when layering clothes is not an option! For one, it can make an outfit go from casual to pulled together with the addition of just one accessory. It can also add a fun pop of color like giving this graphic pullover a 4th of July feel. It does a great job at balancing dressy & casual. I've accumulated quite a fun collection of them, but the bright red & turquoise stones in this style from Lemon Drop Boutique will be great for year round.
The only thing to keep in mind when choosing the right statement necklace is choosing a neckline that works well. You can either use them to fill empty space in a neckline (in a V-neck silhouette) or layered lightly over a crew-neck, just make sure you have it adjusted to the right length. Right now fan, fringe, floral & layered strand statement necklaces are all trending.
Check out how I've styled my statement necklace and check out the giveaway to win one of your own at the bottom of the post!

Summer Statement Necklace
What I'm Wearing: Summer Statement Necklace
Mixed Stones Fan Necklace: Lemon Drop Boutique | Graphic Pullover: Boathouse Apparel
White Skirt: (similar) | Leather Clutch: (similar)
Summer Statement Necklace

Summer Statement Necklace

Summer Statement Necklace
Summer Statement Necklace
 Now for a fun giveaway for a statement necklace of your own from Lemon Drop Boutique, it's super easy to win! I recently discovered this affordable independent boutique, they have a great trendy assortment of accessories (which you know is right up my alley)! As you know I love to support local boutiques & fellow #girlboss-es!

I chose the Believe Gem Necklace to giveaway to you guys- I LOVE the color combo!
Can you guys believe it's July 1st! Wow does time fly. Hope you're enjoying your summer!
xoxo, lauren

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Fancy 4th of July

I can't believe one of my favorite holidays is only a few days away. This year, I'm looking more for more of a "fancy" 4th of July soiree - and this inspiration board perfectly represents what I was looking for! Things like trading light beer for berry champagne cocktails and a fruit topped flag cake for a rustic berry pie. It's about simple but special details like tassel topped napkins & a star spangled photo backdrop.
I've rounded up a few of my favorite red, white & blue recipes, décor & entertaining inspiration for your 4th of July get togethers. Even if it's just a low key afternoon with friends, or an evening watching fireworks & grilling out- these are great ideas for an Independence Day cookout party.
Patriotic Party Inspiration

Fancy 4th of July Inspiration:
7. Red, White & Blue Ombre Wreath | 9. Sparklers & Flower Crown

Creating a festive and patriotic celebration doesn't have to break the bank either. Think about simple DIY's you can do to add a touch of red, white & blue style. I like to repurpose serving pieces & décor I already own and make a few things to accompany them. I have a white cake stand, gold polka dot coasters and milk glass vases that make a lot of appearances at my parties.

Looking for more patriotic pinspiration?  Check out my Pinterest board full of ideas!
Follow Lauren @ La Petite Fashionista's board Celebrate: 4th of July on Pinterest.

Looking for a few last minute décor items? I love these striped straws, glass milk bottles (that can double as vases) & blue gingham tablecloth! Bonus: They all ship within 2 days with Amazon Prime.. one of my favorite party planning secret weapons!

xoxo, lauren   

Friday, June 26, 2015

How to Style: A Denim Jacket

If there's one piece of clothing in my closet that has gotten a serious amount of wear over the years it's my denim jacket. It's been a style staple for decades and it's not going anywhere. For me, it's something I love to grab as I'm running out the door to dinner to pair with a sundress- or as a layering piece to make an outfit feel a little bit more put together. Denim jackets are a great way to add structure to an outfit or to pare down a formal dress & make it feel a bit more casual! 

On a a side note, I've finally tried out the jogger trend and I'm not sure what's taken me so long! They are literally like wearing pajamas & they're one of my favorite pieces to wear while I'm working from home. They're a step up from yoga pants when paired with a denim jacket & tan heels! 

What I'm Wearing: Printed Joggers + Denim Jacket
Denim Jacket: JCP (similar) | Printed Joggers: Kohl's (on sale for $8!) | Mint Crossbody Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Earrings: Kendra Scott (similar)  | Sunglasses: Tory Burch
Tan Sandals: Marshalls (similar)

This look would be perfect for the 4th of July weekend too - just add a pair of red wedges shoes (like these!) to give it some patriotic flair (P.S. If you're looking for more red, white & blue outfit inspiration be sure to check it out my last post!)

Now, a little denim jacket inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers:

Denim Jacket Style Inspiration:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

As you can see from this summer denim jacket styling inspiration, It adds a fun casual element to all of the looks. Paired with little white dresses or white denim it adds another focal point and pop of color. Paired with preppy prints like stripes and gingham it has that distinctly all-american feel to it. Then, it also helps make dressier embellished pieces and sundresses feel a little more casual.

Over the years I've always debated if it's something that still needs a place in my closet since I've had it for SO many years. Every single time I see some great style inspiration and I know this classic wardrobe staple isn't going anywhere!
How do you like to style your denim jacket?

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Red, White & Blue Style

With 4th of July next week, it's time to break out the red, white & blue hues. Though American flags can be kitschy and fun for Independence Day- all of these picks are patriotic, but easily wearable all year long. Personally, I love preppy pairings for the 4th - white eyelet, red lipstick, bows, monograms little red dresses & nautical navy stripes! I think this year I'll take style cues from adorably preppy duo KJP & Sarah Vickers (if you aren't following them on insta.. do it right now!)
As for my summer plans, still undetermined. I know no matter what I end up doing my long weekend will involve a lake, summer shandy, fireworks & some classic rock tunes! Nothing like classic Americana to celebrate the holiday.  
Check out this outfit inspiration for your Independence Day!
Red, White, Blue | Patriotic Summer Style
Get the Look: Red, White & Blue Style
Red Dress: Splendid | Red & White Bows: Forever 21 | Red Lipstick: Smashbox
Bandana Tee: Lucky Brand | Lace Up Flats: Topshop | Monogram Earrings: Moon and Lola
 Boat Shoes: Sperry | American Dreamers Tank: Old Navy | White & Gold Watch: Michael Kors
White Purse: Michael Kors | White Eyelet Dress: Forever 21
Chambray Dress: Forever 21 | Navy Perforated Bag: Marc Jacobs | Blue Wedges: Nine West
Navy & White Striped Shorts: Old Navy | Star Headband: Forever 21 | Blue Bracelets: Sequin
What are your plans for 4th of July weekend.. or more importantly- what will you be wearing? P.S. I'm pinning lots of summer entertaining fun over on pinterest!
xoxo, lauren

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Try This Trend: Summer Neutrals

As much as I love bright colors and patterns -there's something that feels so right about pairing neutrals, light wash denim and gold accents together in the summertime. Pieces you may not think to pair together are easy to style when they fit within a similar and complementary color palette
Neutrals feel a little more sophisticated and classic but look totally fresh when paired with pieces in trendier silhouettes. A tan blazer & light wash denim for example, paired with a gold metallic pineapple print tee. I also love this pale pink embellished tunic paired with strappy sandals & cross body bag.
I've rounded up a few of my favorites from my closet, affordable finds to help you get the look!
Try This Trend: Summer Neutrals
Try this Trend: Summer Neutrals
Try This Trend: Summer Neutrals
Khaki Blazer: Forever 21 | Faded Denim: Anthropologie | Metallic Scarf: Popsugar Must Have
Strappy Sandals: Kohls | Gold Pineapple Tee: Old Navy
Tan Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Gold Bangles: Icing 
Pink Embellished Tunic: The Daily Shoppe (head over to their site for a great deal on this today)!

 To get the look pair colors like pale pink, tan, nude, metallic gold, with light wash denim & white!
xoxo, lauren 

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Save Time + Money on your Next Shopping Trip

When it comes to apps I download for my phone I typically ask myself a few key questions before giving up any of precious phone space for it (this girl takes a LOT of pictures!)-- 1. Does it make my life easier? 2. Is the app simple to use and setup? Shopami has been the perfect answer! I wouldn't share with you guys if I didn't think it could totally make your life easier too! (By the way, "ami" means friend in French .. could we be a more perfect pair?!).
I'm not an extreme couponer, but I do love a good deal and saving some money. Like clockwork, before I go out shopping I search my email inbox for coupons or plan my shopping trip around the stores having great sales that week. New smart shopping app Shopami made this process a million times easier. Their team reached out to me about reviewing it and it honestly has been so helpful in the past three weeks I've been using it!
I'm going to walk you through the process of getting this free app set up & all of the fun features it has for my fellow shopping lovers (or anyone trying to save some money)!
Review of the new time & money saving ShopAmi app!
Step 1: Find ShopAmi in the iTunes or Google Play app store to download to your phone!
Review of the new time & money saving ShopAmi app!
Step 2: Set up the ShopAmi app to sync with your email (you know the one with all the shopping emails that totally overwhelms you)!
Review of the new time & money saving ShopAmi app!
Step 3: Once your email syncs, start scrolling through the lastest deals. The app currently supports 50+ stores and I found that all of the places I typically shop at were included in the list including J.Crew, Target, Nordstrom Rack & more. It automatically sorts the offers to show which ones are ending soonest.
Review of the new time & money saving ShopAmi app!
Step 4: Want to be sure you're really on top of your shopping game? You can turn on notifications that automatically pop-up when you're near or inside a store that you have a deal for. Yes, seriously. This is the future of shopping you guys! You can also have a notification for deals that are expiring that day so you don't miss out.
I don't know about you guys, but my email inbox is totally overwhelming and a pain to navigate! It's so exciting to be able to go to one app and see my shopping deals organized in such a clean & organized way.
I have a quick story for you too! Last week Kyle wanted to take an impromptu trip to Kohl's to look for a shirt for a friend's upcoming wedding. Before I even had a chance to scramble to look for a coupon, as we pulled into the parking lot my Shopami app notified me that I had a 15% off promotion in my inbox. We ended up saving $60+ on our purchase between our coupon and the sale happening and it couldn't have been easier.
 I'm seriously thankful for this app an I know you guys would be too. Don't forget that you can find ShopAmi in the iTunes or Google Play app store
On that note, if you love my tech girl side, let me know if you'd love to see more app reviews! I know I can't be the only one who loves a great game-changing app!
xoxo, lauren
Disclosure: Thank you to ShopAmi for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own! I only share pduts and services I think you will love as much as I do!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt

Happy Summer.. officially! I've been gravitating towards cute silhouettes that beat the heat like flirty tops & fun patterned drawstring shorts. I've teamed up with Kohl's to show off a fun, colorful look for summertime. Their junior's section has become one of my favorite places to pick up trendy clothes and accessories (perhaps you've seen this outfit & these rings) that won't break the bank.
This outfit features a few of my favorite trends, the off the shoulder shirt, printed shorts & delicate layered necklaces. I love the way they work together in an outfit balancing dressy & casual. If I wanted to make this look a little bit more casual I'd swap out the pink top for a basic tank & sandals. If I wanted to dress it up a bit more I'd pair with dark denim & bold statement earrings. I just love the versatility of both of these pieces!
La Petite Fashionista: Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt
What I'm Wearing: Tropical Summer Style
Ruffle Off the Shoulder Top: Candie's | Black Palm Tree Shorts: Joe B.
Strappy Sandal Heels :  Mudd | Statement Necklace: Mudd
Rose Gold Rings: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's | Statement Earrings: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's
La Petite Fashionista: Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt
La Petite Fashionista: Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt
La Petite Fashionista: Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt

La Petite Fashionista: Palm Tree Shorts + Off the Shoulder Shirt
As I mentioned, the best part is how affordable each piece is! It's a great way to add some fun summer trends to your wardrobe without splurging. Can you believe that my entire outfit is from Kohl's and nothing cost more than $35? Score!
Tropical prints and graphics featuring palm trees/leaves, flamingos & pineapples are huge trends for Summer 2015! Printed shorts and graphic tees are a fun way to incorporate them into your outfits. As for accessories, layered necklaces, and rings - more minimal than the chunky statement necklaces (though I love those too)- are making some major trend waves.
What trends are you excited to wear this summer?
xoxo, lauren
Thank you so much to Kohl's for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to Style a Romper

Being petite and curvy, not every trend is an easy look for my body type to wear. Rompers are trending in a big way for summertime, especially for dressier occasions. Most of the times that I've tried them on in fitting rooms I've been wearing sandals. As a result they often end up looking frumpy and unflattering - & end up in the "no pile"!
Then, I realized I should approach rompers the same way I do mini skirts & sundresses! Pairing rompers with a comfortable but stylish stacked platform or wedge sandal helps legs look more toned and gives the outfit a more polished look. Plus, if you're petite like me, it adds a couple of extra inches of height & makes legs look longer! Note, that while heels are great, avoid stilettos with rompers if you want to keep the outfit looking classy vs. sassy!
Check out my three ways to wear rompers- in a beachy, boho & floral way! I hope it gives you some styling inspiration for this often times tricky trend!
How to Style a Romper | 3 Ways to Wear
How to Style a Romper: 3 Ways
Look 1: Beachy Romper
Tie Dye Romper: Forever 21 (less than $25!)  | Tassel Earrings: Bauble Bar 
 Silver Wedges: Sam Edelman | Pink Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (on sale for 40% off)
This tie-dye inspired romper is perfect for a night out with it's long sleeve to balance out the shorts. Pair with colorful accessories and silver wedges shoes (love these options) for a beachy glam evening look.
Look 2 : Boho Chic Romper
Off the Shoulder Romper: Shop Ruche | Stone Bangles: Bourbon and Boweties
Geometic Print Wedges: TOMS | White Fringe Bag: Rebecca Minkoff
The white romper is great because it can easily be incorporated for any style you're going for. I'm a huge fan of Bourbon and Boweties bangles, a line created by a fellow FSU alum and they're finally carrying them at Nordstrom- yay! The bangles and fringe bag give it a relaxed boho vibe.
Look 3 : Feminine Floral Romper
Yellow & Gray Floral Print Romper: Forever 21 | Crystal Flower Earrings: BaubleBar
Nude Lace-Up Wedges: Hinge | Grey Leather Bucket Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs
The high neck halter of this floral print romper has sort of 90's feel. I'd keep accessories classic and minimal with this style and pair with a netural lace-up heel. It's such a pretty, romantic outfit!
Which romper outfit options is your favorite?
xoxo, lauren

Thursday, June 18, 2015

eff.Y.bee Jewelry | Follow Your Bliss

Following your bliss is something I'm very familiar with. I've made it a personal goal to stay in tune with what I'm passionate about and what brings me joy. Sometimes you have to take risks to find your bliss, sometimes bliss finds you when you don't even know what you're looking for. For me personally, starting my business has been my bliss. Though things aren't always a piece of cake- remembering why I started & what makes me insanely happy, always brings me back down to ground when things get tough.
Founder Alyssa, Kuchta of eff.Y.bee Jewelry (that's follow your bliss)! can relate. She's sharing her story of launching her jewelry line while still in college (a girl after my own heart), advice for fellow women entrepreneurs, and why she doesn't worry about competition. As she mentions, finding your bliss is  about more than dreaming- it's about doing. How fitting is our latest wallpaper/printable freebie?!
Eff.y.bee is not only headed up by an inspiring #girlboss, it's a beautiful line is handmade and design in New York City. Their pieces are totally on trend, a little bit boho but classic from stone bracelets (bliss stacks)! to pendant statement necklaces like the one I'm rocking.  I'm wearing their gorgeous
Harper necklace, a great way to add a fun pop of color to any outfit. I just picked up a ton of surfer girl style graphic tanks from Old Navy last weekend and I've been wearing them nonstop.
Be sure to check out the LPF Instagram later tonight- I'll be teaming up with eff.Y.bee to give away one of their Harper necklaces like the one I'm wearing!
La Petite Fashionista:Follow Your Bliss
What I'm Wearing:
Go With the Waves Tank: Old Navy | Graphic Skirt: Aeropostale (similar)
Necklace: Kelly Green Harper Statement Necklace from eff.Y.bee

P.S. FINALLY am starting to get the hang of the fishtail braid - this tutorial majorly helped!
La Petite Fashionista: Follow Your Bliss | Fishtail Braid
La Petite Fashionista: Follow Your Bliss
La Petite Fashionista: Follow Your Bliss | Fishtail Braid
Alyssa was also sweet enough to take the time to answer a few questions about the journey of starting her own business and advice for anyone wanting to do the same! 
 photo women who inspire us effybee_zps8zvd6tjd.png

 Alyssa Kuchta, New York City - Founder/Designer of eff.Y.bee jewelry

LPF: What's the story behind starting eff.Y.bee?

   Alyssa: I experienced a "mid-college crisis" during my junior year at the University of Delaware, realizing I hadn't figured out what I was passionate for and I had no idea what I wanted to do after college (I was majoring in Psychology and Chinese at the time). I was working at a local boutique and began volunteering for an organization on campus called Students for Haiti. It was within these two experiences that the inspiration for wanting to start my own line came about- learning the ins and outs of running a small business, being exposed to many jewelry lines, and also finding passion in giving back. It was a way to combine two things that I found excitement in and creative fulfillment. My friend Nelly helped me come up with the name "eff.Y.bee" which stands for follow your bliss. It's always been our go-to advice to each other and the name has a deeper meaning which I hope to inspire in our customers - that anything is possible when you follow your passions!

   The summer going into my senior year, I started making pieces (without any real knowledge of what I was doing) and launched a website. In the Fall I began selling on campus through trunk shows partnered with Sororities and the Campus Fashion Magazine, UDRESS. Starting a business while a student was the best decision I could've made, there are so many free sources on campus, professors who are willing to help, and of course I'm so thankful for all of my friends and Sorority sisters who were my first customers and continue to support eff.Y.bee today!

LPF: What's been the biggest "win" for eff.Y.bee so far?

   Alyssa: The biggest "win" to me is our amazing Brand Ambassador team. We're currently on 21 college campuses with a team of 34 incredible young women who are extremely passionate about our brand and go above and beyond to contribute and help us grow. It always excites me to see a new applicant in our inbox, there is no greater feeling than seeing someone who loves eff.Y.bee as much as I do.

Having our own shop at Bryant Park's holiday market two years in a row was also the most incredible experience. Being able to create an environment that embodied the brand, meet new customers face to face, and have a physical location for people to visit with a direct few of the Empire State Building was so much fun and definitely a pinch me moment!

LPF: How would you describe the eff.Y.bee girl & her style/passions?

Alyssa: The eff.Y.bee girl is passionate, optimistic, and daring. She's on a mission to live each day striving to follow her bliss whether that's finding the beauty in the little things or working towards her life goals. She is a dreamer but a doer, she is sweet and wholesome, and believes in who she is and who she is going to become. Her style is effortless but always put together - a touch bohemian and a touch classic. She loves wearing a bold colorful stack of a bracelets and a simple pendant necklace, paired with a dress or a pair of boyfriend jeans, a white button down, and a fun pair of flats!

LPF : Read any great business/self-help books lately that you'd recommend?

Alyssa: Start with Why by Simon Sinek, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and Marie Forleo's B-School program was completely life changing for me. All are must-reads!!!

LPF: What advice do you have for other young women entrepreneurs?

Alyssa: Infuse your individuality, your story, and your personality into everything you do and you'll realize there is always room for more and there is no competition (whether your launching a brand, a blog, or applying for a position) because no one will ever be exactly YOU or do things with your exact style. Stay reminded of why you started for when things get tough- create a vision board with your goals that you can look at daily and stir that excitement back!
Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on yourself, you don't know their journey. Confidence is everything, don't forget it! Have mentors and advisors to help guide you and surround yourself with the people and things you love, cut the rest!

What will you do to find your bliss?
xoxo, lauren
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