Final Baby Prep

10 days.

I can officially count down the days until baby comes on my fingers. Ahh!!

The nice thing about having to schedule a repeat c-section is that even if baby does decide to come early, there is a definite eviction date. Baby will no longer be in my belly after August 23 – I am just so excited to meet this little one!

I’ve shared before that it took quite a while for my nesting urges to kick in this time, but once they did, they really did. In the last two weeks, Justin and I have worked to transform an old dresser, paint the walls, set up a crib, and get some semblance of a nursery together. Whew! Now that we have the hospital bags ready and a little nursery, I feel as prepared as I can be for baby to arrive!

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I kept the nursery preparations very simple for baby #2 for three big reasons. First, we kept LJ in a bassinet in our room for the first 8 weeks and plan to do the same with this baby. Because of this, the nursery really isn’t going to get used for the first two months of baby’s life. Second, since we did not find out the gender, I didn’t want to do too much decorating in advance. Once baby comes, I’ll be able to customize it a little better and actually hang things on the wall. And third, all baby NEEDS right away is a source of food and a place to sleep. Once we had that covered, I decided not to stress too much about anything else.

Today I thought I’d just share a little glimpse into what we did for the simplified nursery.

Enjoy!

Baby #2’s Simplified Nursery

So up until about two weeks ago, the nursery still looked like this:

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Brown walls, random furniture, and an air mattress because we had been using it as an extra guest bedroom. It doesn’t exactly scream “welcome, baby!” does it? I had at least started to sort some of our newborn clothes though 😉

My #1 goal was to lighten up the room. I wanted something bright and airy, so after we primed the walls, for the first time in my life chose to paint walls white. Normally I’m not a fan of white walls, but since we didn’t know the gender, I decided to go this route this time. Eventually, I plan to make the wall behind the crib an accent wall of some kind. For now, simple, crisp, clean white will do.

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Next, I wanted to create a cute little dresser for the wall on the opposite side of the room to give a little color to the room. I found this fairly ugly dresser for $10 on Craigslist and knew I could transform it to just what I wanted. I enlisted Justin’s help (I was more of the visionary, he was more of the laborer ha!) and I’m so happy with how it turned out! We sanded it down, primed, two coats of paint (Sherwin Williams Green Tartan), and added some new hardware. Then Justin used dowel rods to create legs and give it a bit more height. I also had him add a stained board to the front because the piece of plywood that was there was very flimsy and cheap. Plus, I thought it gave a little more character. I love it now!

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Dresser: $10

New hardware: $18 total (including tax and shipping)

Paint: $13

Wood + dowel: $7

We had the primer, stain, and brushes already. So the total cost of this dresser was right under $50 total. Win!

A friend had an extra crib but it did not have the ability to adjust mattress height for a baby, so we put that crib in LJ’s room and moved his crib to the baby’s room. Another friend is done having babies and was ready to part with her glider. I added a simple piece of artwork that was previously in LJ’s nursery, hung blackout curtains in a shade of minty green that will complement pink or blue, and brought in our trusty sound machine and salt lamp for once baby is ready to sleep in the nursery. And done!

It’s definitely very simple, but I’m so happy we decided to freshen up the room and I cannot wait to see our little one in it so soon!

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My Mom Uniform

Good morning!

Today I’m once again joining Erika & Shay‘s monthly Let’s Look link-up (which will actually be tomorrow, I’m just posting a day early) and this month’s topic is your favorite “outfit of the day” or OOTD. 

If you’ve been around for a long time, like 5 years ago before my blog’s hiatus, you know that this space started out as a place to share lots of teacher outfits. My Instagram used to be exclusively dedicated to sharing my teacher ootd and I would share simple, everyday looks that were professional, comfortable, and affordable. The outfits are all still saved under my closet archives but here’s a little sampling of what my professional wardrobe used to be:

 

I loved mix-and-matching basic pieces in different ways – I loved little details like a fun ruffle, statement jewelry, or unique shoes and I enjoyed finding fun ways to layer. I still enjoy dressing up like this if I have the occasion to!

Now that I am no longer teaching and stay at home with LJ all day, it would be super easy to live in sweatpants, but I still try to get dressed every day. I don’t mean get dressed up, I mean just get dressed in anything other than the same old sweats.  It is literally JUST as easy to throw on a basic striped shirt as it is to throw on a sweatshirt, and it may seem silly but it affects my overall confidence and happiness. I’m way happier bumping into a friend in the grocery store if I’m wearing a “real” shirt. I’m way more confident kissing my husband when he comes home if I’m not in the same sweatpants I was wearing when he left for work in the morning. When I feel like I look even just a little bit put together, I feel better about myself and a happier, more confident Sarah is honestly a happier, more confident wife and mom.

All that being said, I don’t have the same about of time to piece together a daily outfit like I did when I was teaching and even if I did, there’s no real reason to go to that level of thought and effort. My days usually include pushing a stroller on a walk or running around my backyard or reading books on the floor so the heels have taken a leave of absence. Plus, many days I end up with yogurt on my pants or have a strawberry thrown at my shirt (thanks LJ) so I stick with basic, easy to clean clothes. I have a “mom uniform” of sorts that goes something like this: easy top in a classic pattern (stripes, plaid, etc), one piece of simple or statement jewelry, skinny jeans, and flats. It maybe takes an extra two minutes to pull these items from my closet instead of reaching for sweats, but the minimal amount of extra effort makes a huge difference.

All of those outfits were super easy to thrown on, and I felt so much happier and more confident heading out the door. And they are all still comfortable and easy to “mom” in!

Now do I also take the time to do full-on hair and make-up everyday? Heck no. I’m often in a messy bun with maybe a few swipes of bronzer and mascara. And of course there are days where LJ and I are in jammies and sweats all day long. But I really do try to put at least a little effort into getting dressed more often than not.

I also want to address that now that I’m pregnant, my wardrobe is reduced and comfort is the name of the game, but I still try to look put together. I’m rocking a comfy, simple top, skinny jeans, and my Converse most days.

Also, since it’s approaching summer, we’re outside playing a lot now so I’m often wearing some form of athleisure.

My favorite OOTD is one that is comfy, cute, and requires minimal thought and effort while still staying a step or two above my ratty college sweatshirt. By keeping a simple “mom uniform” in mind, it’s easy for me to feel put together every day.

What’s your standby, go-to outfit that makes you feel put together and confident?

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes

Hi there!

Now that it finally feels like spring is here to STAY (mid-May and we’re just now getting to the point where we go a whole week without a night with temps below freezing!) I’ve got a fun DIY project to share!

Since Justin and I love being outdoors as much as possible and we hang out on our back deck frequently, I wanted to liven up the space with some flowers. That being said, I didn’t want to take away valuable floor space with potted plants (and, to be honest, I also don’t trust our puppies to leave potted plants alone just yet!) After brainstorming with Justin about ways to tweak window boxes to fit our needs, we decided it would just be easier (and cheaper) to just make something ourselves. I present to you:

DIY Pallet Flower BoxesNow, the directions might look a bit intimidating. Hopefully the pictures do a good job of conveying how simple this project really was! It fits right in with my requirements of easy, inexpensive, and functional!

DIY Pallet Window/Flower Box instructions

1- Get a pallet! We asked around at local businesses — several were more than willing to get rid of old pallets they had lying around. We also found some at the dumpster near Justin’s school.

2- Select the side of the pallet that you’d like to use. We actually decided to make two boxes so we used both ends of the pallet. Saw the end off to the size you want the box to be. For this step, Justin used a hand saw.DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com3- Using the remaining pallet (not the part you’re using as your flower box), remove one long board. Justin essentially just used a hammer to knock off a board running lengthwise. This will eventually form the bottom of the flower box.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com4-Before nailing the bottom board onto the flower box, seal all the wood with a sealant.  Justin went out to Lowe’s and bought a $4 aerosol can of exterior weatherproof sealant. He sprayed down every surface of the box and let it dry (he let it dry overnight but yours could be ready much sooner depending on temperature).

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com5- Once the sealant has totally dried, attach the long board you removed from the excess pallet to the bottom of your flower box. Justin used nails, but you could use screws if you’d like. He used two nails on each end and also at the post in the middle so there for a total of six nails attaching the bottom board.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comSidenote: If you’re concerned about everything lining up just right, consider taking a piece of sandpaper and running it along all the edges. We knew it was going to be outside and I was okay with a more “rustic” look so we didn’t sand it down.

6- Next, take a mesh lining (we used a cheap package of $4 fiberglass screening found at Lowe’s) and cut it to fit the inside of the box. This is to keep the potting soil from falling out of the cracks once you fill the box.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com7- Fit the mesh inside the box. At this point, you could actually attach the mesh to the box (with a staple gun or something of the like) but we did not. Once the potting soil is in the box, it will hold the mesh in place.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comThe rest of the directions will vary depending on how/where you want to hang your pallet box. We hung it from our deck railing so we needed to find sturdy hooks to hang the boxes. Since we couldn’t find any that worked, we made them!

8- We bought a $3 pack of L-shaped corner braces at Lowe’s (ours measured 2 1/2″x 5/8″) seen below.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com9- The next part is complicated. Justin measured our railing to see how wide the hook needed to be to fit over the rail and marked that spot on the corner brace.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comSee the little black mark? From the corner to the black mark is how wide our railing is. Justin needed to bend the remaining part of the brace to parallel the part sticking up in order to form a “hook.”

10- After carefully measuring, Justin then put the brace in a vice and gently hammered the brace until it was bent at the place he had marked.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comThe picture is hard to see, but the black mark is at the very top of the vice. Justin hammered down the part sticking up to parallel the part sticking towards the camera.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comFinished product!

11- Attach the hook to the pallet box. We used two hooks of the pallet box. Justin used 1/4″ screws to attach the hooks.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comEh-hem. Please excuse the puppy photobomb.

12- At this point, all that was left to do was hang it up on the railing and add some potting soil and flowers and voila!

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comI used a bunch of random flowers found at my local farmer’s market — I love all the vibrant colors! I’m hoping they continue to grow and fill out the box. And yes, I know our view is the best thing ever.

And that’s it! This project cost less than $15 (most of the nails and screws we already had) which was significantly less than window boxes we looked at and (in my opinion) much prettier than store-bought versions anyways! It was really pretty simple to put together and the fact that we were going for a “rustic” look made our margin for error much wider. 😉

I cannot end this post without giving a HUGE thank you to my super talented handy-man of a hubby! This project would not have happened without him — he did the bulk of the work and I’m so so pleased with how it turned out!

Have a great Tuesday!

 

Wedding Wednesday: Reception Decorations

Jambo!!

Today is the TEN YEAR anniversary of the premiere of “Mean Girls.”

Wait.

Mean Girls

WHAT!?

Yes, it’s true. Regina George came into my life ten years ago!

Regina GeorgeI seriously love this movie! My friends and I watched it at least once a week in high school — I can quote Every. Single. Line. And it makes me laugh every time I watch it! It is an absolute classic in my book! So of course, I’m celebrating it’s 10th anniversary by . . . wearing pink (because it’s Wednesday, and that’s a rule) and watching it for the trillionth time!

Because of this oh-so-fetch celebration, I’m gonna make my weekly Wednesday post nice and quick!

Wedding Wednesday

My final decoration post is about our wedding reception. We kept things nice and simple — a big white tent in the front yard of the farmhouse with a few decorations to add pops of color! Once again, all photographs are copyright the AMAZING Rothwell Photography.

First of all, MAD PROPS to my awesome hubby for creating these paper flower poms:

DIY flower pom for weddingThe boy spent hours creating 30 of these babies! Each petal was a piece of paper and you need 5 petals to make a flower, 12 flowers to make one pom. Do the math — that’s 1800 flower petals to fold!! I was so impressed with how they all turned out though. We got tons of compliments on them! All we did was hang them from fishing line across the length of the tent at varying heights (we used a hold punch and those paper reinforcer donut hole stickers to hang them).

DIY flower poms :: wedding ceremony decorationSimple and beautiful! And I love the way they pulled everything together without trying too hard.

First DanceThis was one of my favorite shots of our first dance — mostly because I love the way J and I are laughing and loving life in that moment but also because the poms look sa-weet! I absolutely love how they turned out! So proud of my crafty hubby (even if he did only do it to have an excuse to take study breaks! Haha!) See the full directions here for how to make them.

Really the only other reception decoration was the centerpieces. Each table’s set-up looked like this:

DIY wedding centerpieces :: yellow and green wine bottles and tree stumps-Square piece of green burlap

-Large stump cut to a height of about 2 inches (thanks dad!)

-five wine bottles (more on this below!)

-a few bits of moss around the stump

-one small stump with a notch cut in it for cardstock (again, thanks dad!)

-table numbers (each table had a fun fact about us corresponding to the table number i.e. Table 7 — the number of states we’ve traveled to together. It was a fun way for our guests to learn a little more about us as a couple!)

-green, yellow, and white flowers (got these in bulk from my florist. They were all the same types of flowers incorporated into my bouquet and other flower arrangements, which helped tie everything together. By buying in bulk and assembling ourselves, we saved a ton of money too! Yay!)

Justin and my table looked a little bit different. We didn’t have a bridal party table because we wanted our attendants to sit with their significant others so we had our own simple little table:

Simple bride and groom tableA nice green tinted jug with flowers and some Mr. & Mrs. stumps (made last minute with a sharpie marker and some extra little stumps!) kept things sweet and simple. We knew we wouldn’t be at the table that much anyways so why overdo it?

We hung a few strands of white Christmas lights around the tent and called it good! Easy peasy!

Wine Bottles

The wine bottles was a simple project. We collected tons of wine bottles from family, friends, restaurants (not kidding), and anywhere else I could find them. Some were already tinted green and yellowish, so we left them as is! Labels are easily removed by soaking the bottles in warm water (make sure the water inside the bottles is really warm!) and removing it with a kitchen scraper.

The bottles that were clear or a color other than green or yellow got spray painted. I used lime green, yellow, and cream (hotel vanilla, technically) spray paint. I didn’t take pictures of the process but it was super simple:

1- Lay out newspapers in a large space outside. Make sure to lay out a lot of newspapers — the spray paint goes further than you’d think!

2- Place the clean, dry bottle on the newspaper (my dad eventually crafted a bottle holder out of a block of wood and doll rods but most of the bottles were sprayed on paper).

3- Spray thin coats of paint on the bottles. I waited 30 minutes in between coats and each wine bottle got at least 3 coats.

4- Let the bottles dry for at least an hour or two, depending on the temperature of wherever you’re spraying them.

5- Smile! You’re done!

We used rubber bands to create a striped look on some of the bottles (see white bottle above). To do this, all you have to do is wrap a bunch of rubber bands in varying sizes around the bottle between steps 2 & 3. It looks better in the end if the bands are lying flat against the glass and not twisted. I cut the bands off with scissors then — do not remove the bands until the paint is completely 100% dry!

And there you have it! Super easy and it looked great! Plus now the wine bottles make great decorations around the house!

Have a great hump day! Love, me and Mrs. George 🙂

Mean Girls***

Today’s outfit. Unfortunately, there was no pink involved so I couldn’t sit with the Plastics at lunch . . .
Maxi dress & cardigan :: teacher outfit blog Dress: via Ross (no longer available) ~ Cardigan: Target (exact here) ~ Shoes: Nine West (no longer available; similar here)

 

Wedding Wednesday: Ceremony Decorations

Hey Mike! What day is it!?

Hump Day

The students at my school absolutely love quoting this commercial. I have to admit that it does bring some much-needed energy to help push through the day! Whoot whoot! 😉

Wedding Wednesday

Continuing on my decoration trend, let’s talk ceremony decorations!

Since the ceremony was happening outdoors, I wanted to keep the decor to a minimum and let nature do most of the work. We had white chairs arranged on the lawn in a semi-circle with a middle aisle. At the entrance to the main aisle, there were sets of three tall tree stumps of varying heights.

wine bottles and stumps // simple wedding decorEach of the stumps had a glass bottle (these were all beer bottles spray painted in wedding colors) holding a single flower. We varied the flowers to give it a little more pizazz.

easy DIY wedding decor

I really liked the way this turned out! It gave just the right touch without going overboard or taking tons of time.

The only other ceremony decorations were at the front of the aisle. A dear family friend of mine (basically a grandfather for me) constructed a beautiful arch for us. I absolutely loved it!

simple white wedding arch

Side note: I also really enjoyed this moment of the ceremony. 😉

We had some slate tiles to stand on since there was a chance of rain (and it did rain) so we wouldn’t be standing in wet grass or mud. Under the arch I placed an antique table that belongs to my family. I covered it with a simple lace doily from my mom’s house and set three pitchers on top.

simple wedding table for footwashing

The pitcher in the middle was a gift from our pastor. It was handmade (though not by him) and came with a matching basin. Instead of a unity candle, we decided to have footwashing. This is an important tradition in our denomination and we really wanted this to be part of our ceremony. I’ll give more details in a future post!

simple wedding footwashing

The other pitchers belong to Justin’s mother. They each had water in them; instead of our mother’s lighting candles, we had them pour water from the pitchers into the main pitcher we used for footwashing.

white coffee filter pom hanging at wedding

The only other decorations we had were a few white coffee filter poms hanging in the trees. These were made by my sister-in-law and provided a nice little touch.

Other than that, we let nature do the talking. And I was okay with that. 🙂

backyard wedding ceremony

Happy hump day!

All wedding photos are copyright Rothwell Photography.

***

I love maxi dresses; they are so simple but still look like you put in some effort! Today’s look:

Striped blazer, black maxi dress

Blazer: Maurices (exact old) ~ Maxi Dress: Modcloth (no longer available; cute option here) ~ Earrings: Premier Designs (exact old) ~ Bangle set: Shop Ruche (exact here) ~ Ballet Flats: Fergalicious by Fergie (similar here)

 

Catching up!

Ever since I got back from vacation, blogging has taken a serious backseat. Now that it’s finally starting to actually feel like spring, I’m spending a lot more time in the evenings outdoors with my fur babies (yay!!) and other shenanigans with the hubby.  Here are a few pictures to give you a snippet of life over the last few weeks:

The Good:

Art ShowChecked out my beautiful sister’s senior art show! So proud of her amazing talent (which I have less than none of).

CavernsVisited a cavern with my parents and Justin. The pictures turned out pretty awful but it was beautiful in real life!

FestivalSpent the day at a local downtown festival with the love of my life. Music, food, and lots of glorious sunshine!

The bad (for my health):

Chocolate shoesToo much wine and food at the aforementioned festival = sickness. 😦 But it was worth it to snag one of these beauties: a chocolate shoe lollipop!!

OreosMy youngest sister visited and brought me these. Tastes like an Oreo with Dunkaroo frosting — best combination ever?? I think YES. Unfortunately, I polished this package off way too quickly and need to log some serious hours at the gym to make up for it!

The ugly:

Granola failAn entire box of my favorite granola ruined thanks to a not-as-closed-as-I-thought container. Complete and utter lunch-packing fail.

WindshieldThank goodness for insurance! My entire windshield cracked after a stray rock hit it on our trip to Charleston. Yikes!

The Threads:

A round-up of work outfits from the last few weeks. I finally got to break out some warmer-weather stuff! Yay!

03-27 Look 03-28 Look 03-31 Look 04-01 Look 04-04 Look 04-07 Look 04-08 Look 04-09 Look 04-11 Look

***

And lastly, today’s outfit! I’m totally loving this new dress from Target! And thanks to the Cartwheel app, it was 15% off. Score!

04-13 Look 1 04-13 Look 2

Dress: Target (exact here) ~ Cardigan: Target (exact here) ~ Necklace: Maurices (similar here and here) ~ Bracelet: J. Crew Factory (exact here) ~ Shoes: Nine West (exact old, similar here)

Wedding Wednesday: The Decorations, Part 2

Not gonna lie, it’s been a long day and my hubster wants to chillax on the couch and catch up on last night’s episode of “The Voice” so I’m gonna just get right down to it so I can go join him! It’s Wedding Wednesday and the decorating fun continues!!

Wedding Wednesday

Our wedding took place on my grandparent’s farm, which is now owned by my parents. My parents decided to renovate the old farmhouse in the months before the wedding, and one of the things they updated was the windows. Putting new windows in = tons of old, rustic wooden windows for me to use for DIY decorations!! YAY!

Here are some of the ways I incorporated these windows into the decor:

DIY Window Pane with blown up photo

Believe it or not, this window frame came with the perfect amount of aging/distressing so I didn’t have to do anything to it. All I did was clean the window with some simple wood cleaner and it was done! I printed out the photo at Costco because it was the only place I could find that would print off a near poster-size picture and didn’t charge a ridiculous amount of money for it. Score!

Engagement pictures in rustic window frame. Wedding DIY.

I used the same process as before (but with smaller pictures) in the above window frame. I’m sure you can find some super crafty way of attaching photos to a window on Pinterest, but I’m going to be very real about the un-crafty way I created these.

1. I cleaned the window and glass.

2. I placed one picture at a time behind the glass of the window and moved it until the exact part of the picture I wanted to see was “framed” by the window pane.

3. Without shifting the picture, I carefully pressed it into into the glass. Making sure the picture was flat against the window glass, I used my nail to bend a crease in the picture up against the side of the window frame. This marked the outline of the part of the picture I wanted to see

4. I cut out the picture using my crease as an outline (I left a slight edge around the crease in case I needed to shift the picture. Better to have to trim it a little more than realize I came up short!)

5. I used masking tape to attach the picture to the side of the window glass.

6. I repeated all those steps for the remaining three window panes!

Like I said, you’ll probably find a more conventional, “crafty” way to do this using fancier tools and a more exact method on different blogs or DIY websites; however, this is what worked for me because it was quick and easy! I loved the result and no one saw the back of the windows anyways so the whole tacky-masking-tape-thing can stay our little secret, right?

Engagement photos in old window frame, stacked crates, DIY wedding decor

While I liked the first two window frames (which were placed by the “welcome table” that I talked about in last week’s post), this last one was probably my favorite. I loved the double window; it was so unique! I propped it up against this display of new and old crates found in my parents’ attic near the walkway where people went from the ceremony to the reception. The yard at the farmhouse was very big and thus, difficult to decorate, so this display was a simple way of adding some cool decorations without spending a lot of time or effort or going overboard. I found the J & S letters at TJ Maxx and the wooden hearts were handcrafted by a dear family friend. The wine bottles were part of a whole ‘nother DIY project that I’ll discuss in a later post. I was really happy with how this display turned out!

In the spirit of window crafting, I’ll share one more thing! Our seating arrangement was created using an old storm door found in the attic of the old farmhouse.

Old door used to display seating chart. Wedding DIY

I alternated seating arrangement cards with engagement photos on the windows of the door and absolutely loved the way it turned out! For this, I used clear reusable tabs on the back of the photos and seating cards to attach them to the glass. My dad created a simple arch and used swinging screws to attach the door to the arch to put it at eye level with our guests.

seating arrangement on window pane

If you look closely, you’ll see I used the same tree design on the seating cards that we had on our invitations and programs. It was the perfect way to tie everything together!

All photographs are copyright of the fantastic Rothwell Photography.

And that concludes another Wedding Wednesday! Have a good evening!

***

I am slowly inching my way into a spring wardrobe — here’s hoping the cold winter is finally gone!

Teacher outfit blog: pink and brown, bow belt, flower necklace

Sweater cardigan: Maurices (similar here)~ Cami: Express (exact old)~ Khaki pants: Maurices (similar here) ~ Flats: Target (exact here) ~ Belt: Via Plato’s Closet ~ Necklace: Lia Sophia “Flower Pot” (no longer available; similar here)