basics. you can never go wrong with the simplicity of basics. in fact, i’m pretty sure 90% of the time i live in basics. they’re the easiest to style, and are incredibly versatile. you can style a plain white tee with cut off shorts and sneakers for a casual look or kick it up a notch with jeans, a blazer, pumps and a statement necklace. and viola, date night ready!
i’ve picked out some of my favorite fall basics all under $100. they’re the perfect pieces to grab when you’re in a rush, not feeling it or are opting for a comfy kind of day… or opting for any kind of day, really. best of all, you can mix and match just about all of these to get tons of outfits out of just a few pieces.
i tend to shop for basics in neutral colors so i can wear them in multiple ways and multiple times. aka… over and over again. some pieces are worth investing and others are worth saving on. basics do not have to break the bank. in fact, you can find some that are at a steal of a price. i like to have a few of both. i splurged on a couple of james perse basic shirts a few years ago and practically lived in them throughout my first year out of college. i still have them and still go to them every single summer. others i spent no more than $9 on and still wear and love. you just have to find the basics that fit you and your style best!
shop short sleeved tops
[short sleeves and tanks are great for layering underneath jackets and sweaters]
we had our first cool day in south korea, so you better believe i took full advantage of it! i sure do love summer and soaking up the sun, but fall has to be my favorite season. i love comfortable and oversized clothing like this free people plaid shirt. it’s loose enough to keep you cool, but paired with a great pair of faux leather leggings and over the knee boots and you have yourself a stylish outfit without sacrificing any comforts.
this oversized plaid top can be worn loosely as shown, or if you look closely, there are buttons on the side of the shirt. you can unbutton the sides and tie a cute little front knot to pair this top with jeans and show off your waist line.
now let’s talk about these leggings. i have basically been living in them. i just wore them on a 14+ hour travel day and still cannot say enough good things about them. aside from the fact that they hug you in all the right places and are extremely flattering, they are incredibly comfortable as well! i love the metallic shine. they give an all black look a little pizzazz, and who doesn’t love a little pizzazz! they are a little bit of a splurge, but worth every single penny.
when it comes to boots, i’m as picky as they get. they have to fit just right, can’t be too tight or too loose and have to have the perfect heel height. not to mention, they must be comfortable. this pair of vince camuto over the knee boots checks everything off the list. they come in multiple colors, but i know this pair of black boots will be a fall wardrobe staple of mine.
shop similar items
be sure to check below for a fun giveaway just in time for a fall wardrobe update!
xo | jasmine
this week i decided to team up with some of my favorite bloggers and bring you an amazing giveaway. one lucky reader will win a $650 gift card to amazon.
use the widget below to enter the giveaway. the more “tasks” you complete, the more entries you will receive. the giveaway is open internationally. the winner will be announced (on the widget only) up to 2 weeks after the giveaway has ended. it can take time to select, verify, and get in contact with the winner, so please do not privately message any of the hosts. if you have any questions about the giveaway process, feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
the number one topic i get questions about is travel. i started writing this post and realized it quickly became information overload. so, i pumped the breaks and found a way to break my top travel hacks into segments. i hope this helps you save a buck or two on your next european extravaganza, or gives you a little tip on how to make the most of your trip. so, here it is… travel hacks, europe edition.
booking your flight
book your flight at least 2 weeks in advance. 3 months is ideal, but get any closer than 2 weeks and you can expect to front a little extra cash to get to where you want to go. this could also be the complete opposite. if an airline has tons of seats left, you may be able to score an incredible deal at the very last minute. however, chances of that are slim to none and i do not advise you leave an international trip to chance unless you have ample amount of time off and are great with spontaneity . [kudos if that’s you].
booking your flights early can not only save you money, but also allow you to choose a seat next to whomever you will be traveling with. this will make your flight so much more enjoyable. it also helps with the prevention of getting stuck next to a chatter box who does not get the hint after you plug in head phones and pretend to be sleeping. [we’ve all been there].
another perk to having your flights booked ahead of time is that it also frees up your time prior to your trip so you can properly plan for your actual stay.
flight hack: if you are traveling overseas, take a look at layover locations. london, germany, and prague are just a few of the most common layovers. if you want to get see an extra city, take the flight with the longer layover. this flight is usually the cheaper option and you can check your bags at the airport and go and experience the new city/country with enough time to hit some of the major hotspots. think of it as a bonus day.
if it’s a city/country you want to spend extra time in, you can typically search for a “multi-city” flight and there would be no additional cost for extra time. for example NYC to London to Paris to NYC would be the same cost as NYC to Paris to NYC because london is a natural layover destination. in other words, if you can expect to have a layover in that city regardless of whether or not you want to spend a little extra time there, you can typically add that city into your itinerary at no extra cost. this will not be the case with every city, and every time, but leave yourself a little time to play around with ticket searches so you can choose the flight that suits you best.
to save money, you can also look to fly out of a major city such as New York, Houston or Dallas. this does add time to your travel day, however if money is a constraint, look into domestic flights to a major city from your home and then international tickets from the major city. my husband and i have done this numerous times [while using southwest companion pass] and saved over $600 on our tickets, as well as snuck in a little new york visit. weigh the cost of extra travel time. if it’s a $50 difference, scrap it. also pay close attention to boarding times. international flights require additional time for check-in and if the major city has multiple airports, make sure you are domestically flying into the correct one, or have a method of transportation. [most airports have shuttles to and from, but confirm this before taking this route].
don’t plan it down to the wire, but have a general idea of where you want to be and what you want to do. i typically make a list of the things i want to see and do in order of priority. then, i pull out a calendar and try to fit as much as i can on there. europe can be explored in two ways. you can spend all of your time in 2-3 cities and really explore them or you could see 4-5 while there on one single trip. if you choose staying in 2-3 cities you are allowing yourself more time to really enjoy the culture and see all that the city has to offer. if you choose to ambitiously see 4-5 cities during your trip, know that you will have to choose the highlights of each city.
when i travel, i always opt for seeing as many cities as possible. this can be exhausting, but i always say, i can sleep when i get home. 🙂
activity hack: let me introduce you to my friend named rick steves. he’s quirky, informative, tries to be funny and will save you a bundle. i recommend purchasing his corresponding book for every city you plan on traveling to. even better, save yourself some money and check them out from your local library. his books will act as your personal tour guide and give you incredibly detailed tips and information on where to go and how to get there. where to eat, where to stay, what to see and what to do. seriously, cannot recommend these books enough. ideally, it’s best to snag the book prior to your trip and skim through and see what interests you most in each city. that way you know exactly what you want to do when you get there. david and i would read up on the places we were going to visit during our train rides to and from cities. it made the time fly and we felt much more knowledgable about what we were looking at and experiencing in each city.
but wait, there’s more. rick steves has an app that will act as your very own personal tour guide while visiting all of the hotspots. you can purchase audio tour guides [in english] or hire your own tour guide [that speaks english] in most locations while in europe. it does not cost much, but it all adds up. $10 here and $25 there will come out to hundreds before you know it. and best of all, you don’t need to spend any of that. download the rick steves app [it’s free] before and pre-download the audio tour of your choice. rick has it down to where he even gives you walking directions while in the museum/landmark. seriously, amazing.
if you forgot to download the audio tours while having free roam to wifi, you can download the audio tours using free wifi on trains, or find your nearest mcdonalds and connect there. when my husband and i travel we carry a headphone splitter and headphones for this exact reason. we will use the headphone splitter to plug in both headphones to one phone so it’s as if we’re taking the tour together. it’s cheesy, but it works for us :). *do bring a powerstick with you so you don’t drain your cell phone battery throughout the day.
shop rick steves’ books
shop headphones and headphone splitters
this is where the bulk of your travel cost comes into play. you can opt to stay at a very nice and fancy hotel that you will enjoy all the amenities at. for some, this is what a vacation is all about. consider the extra cost for amenities as an additional cost for activities. or you can find a highly rated hotel that may not include a spa and nice restaurants, but is still clean and comfortable. then there is always the airbnb/vrbo option.
personally, when i know my planned travel is ambitious, i spend very little time in my actual hotel room. i like to be on the go so for the most part, i am okay if my hotel does not make the top 10 in travel + leisure [bonus points if it does].
for me, the biggest question comes when choosing hotel vs airbnb/vrbo. if you choose to be in the same hotel for 2-3 nights minimum then airbnb/vrbo can typically save you on cost. especially when you are in a group. do keep in mind, when choosing this route you will have to meet up with the owner to get keys, or find the apartment on your own. hotels are a little easier to find because they are more well known within a city, whereas someone’s personal home may have you on a hunt. not to mention, if you don’t have access to wifi then calling, texting and searching for directions can become a real challenge. so if you’ll only be in a city for a short time, consider the amount of time it will take out of your day to locate the home and gain access into it. most have specific hours for check-in as well and add additional costs for checking in late. you will come across owners that enforce this and others that are extremely accommodating and will coordinate and adjust to your travel schedule. again, this is hit or miss. and if you have limited time to explore a city, you do not want to spend half of your day just trying to get into contact with a home owner while you have a new city to explore.
directions hack: load google maps whenever you have wifi access and put the starting point as your drop off point and the ending point as your hotel or accommodation. hit start and let the directions load. google maps will work offline so once you lose your wifi connection, you will still have a way to find where you are going. you can do this when walking to a site, or anywhere really. as a back up, screenshot the directions as well as the map just in case.
the train system in italy in particular is absolutely incredible. each city and country varies a little bit on this one, but if you have 4+ people renting a car is probably the most cost efficient. however, this is not the most time efficient. also, using public transportation also means you don’t have to navigate through a foreign country.
weigh your options. think about how long you will be in each location, whether or not public transportation is safe/reliable, whether or not it is a walking city and the costs of additional plane tickets/car rentals. every european location has options, you will just have to choose what is best for you.
sorry- no hacks here.
this can go one of two ways. if you are a big foodie and the highlight of your vacation is trying the best local cuisine, you want to budget your top notch meals under activities. also, consider making reservations ahead of time so you don’t waste hours waiting for a meal when that time could be spent exploring.
i personally plan meals around activities and look for restaurants near the activity of the moment. some switch this around and plan activities around meals. [one way is not better than the other, it comes down to complete personal preference].
meals hack: to save on one meal of the day, find a hotel or bed and breakfast that serves complimentary breakfast. also, if visiting italy, try the house wine! it’s fabulous just about anywhere you go. splurge on a glass or two here and there because, you are in italy! but don’t feel like you have to at every meal. every house wine i tried was spectacular!
most importantly… remember you’re on vacation and ENJOY IT!
if you’re over hearing about it, this is your moment to rejoice. if you have been eyeing an item, this is your moment to pull the trigger. with free shipping + free returns, now is your chance because the beloved nordstrom sale ends in just 3 days.
this years’ sale had tons of great items at killer prices but let’s be real, you had to be on stalker status with the nordstrom page or your favorite bloggers insta stories to grab your favorites in the right size if you wanted any chance at getting some of those hot ticket items. just about all sale items popped back up throughout the sale, but even then… they were gone again within minutes. at times i enjoyed the game of cat and mouse. but those times were rare.
although many items have been sold out, there still are some great pieces that have been restocked [can’t promise they will stay in stock] but they’re available right now, so if you’re reading this, don’t walk… run!
below you will find my top 5 picks in each category. all are products i have purchased, already have, or brands that i stand behind because of quality and comfort. the bobbi brown lipstick found in my top 5 beauty products is actually the color i wore on my wedding day. loved it then and love it now. the rag and bone jeans were life changing for me. i never felt comfortable in jeans [no idea why] but these jeans were a game changer. they made me mix up my leggings and an oversized tee uniform with joy.
if you’re on the fence about something, go ahead and order it before prices go up. if you don’t like it, send it right back. [if you do this, decide whether you will be keeping the item the day you get it. if the answer is no, send it back before the week is over and check that off your to-do list as soon as you can]. but if you love it, then you congrats– you found a great nordstrom anniversary sale deal 🙂
i’m going to start this out by saying marriage is awesome. i’ve only been married for 7 months now so i am by no means an expert but i can and have looked back on my day with some major take aways. did everything go as planned? as far as i know, they did, but that’s because if they didn’t, i did not want to know. was it the happiest day of my life? you bet it was. did my dress stay in pristine condition? haha, 45 minutes into the reception + a little stumble resulted into the dumping of an entire cup of coffee on my gown. did it ruin my night? heck no! a little soda water ( and miraculously, white wine ) and i was good as new!
i had some amazing people by my side giving me tips throughout the process on how to make my wedding day the best day ever. at first i thought, yeah yeah… these are just things everyone says. but, let me tell you… you are in control on your day. if you make it the best day of your life it absolutely will be.
below are 5 tips that helped me make the most out of the most magical day of my life. i hope they can do the same for you, because memories on your wedding are some of the most special and treasured times.
1. don’t sweat the small stuff
when your big day comes around, don’t worry about everything working out. there are so many moving pieces to a wedding that it is inevitable that something goes wrong. and when it does, don’t sweat it. in fact, you probably won’t even know if something did go wrong. i put my maid of honor in charge of any issues or assistance needed. your friends ( especially bridesmaids ) are there to support you and make sure you have a great time. don’t be afraid to ask them for help. especially with communications or stresses that could take away from you enjoying every single moment.
don’t let anything get in the way of having the best time of you life. in the end, you get to marry the man or woman of your dreams and you get to do life with them. y’all it’s an incredible journey. and let’s be real, you worked way too hard to make your day perfect for it to be anything less than that. so focus on the big picture. if there’s a hiccup, embrace it and move on.
2. remember it is your wedding
well yours and your spouses of course. whatever you do, do not feel pressured to make everyone happy at your wedding. that is never going to happen. make sure your day is a reflection of you and your spouse. remember, that is who is being celebrated. weddings can bring out all kinds of emotions in people and sometimes even a little crazy. as a bride, you want to make sure everyone enjoys themselves fully, but you must always keep the bigger picture in mind and do what’s best for the majority. in every wedding there is always someone with an opinion. listen to all suggestions, but take them with a grain of salt. you don’t have to do anything by the book. there are no rules and no regulations. if you want to serve dessert first, because that’s the way you and your spouse do it, eat dessert first! your guests are there to celebrate and support you. not the other way around.
3. be in the moment
on your big day, take a deep breath. in fact, take lots of deep breaths. i’m sure you’ve heard a million times before, but your day will go by so quickly. make sure to soak up every single moment you can. when else do you get to be surrounded by all the people you love most just to celebrate your love? it is such a special time.
i remember just stopping to look around and take mental pictures because everything felt so surreal. it felt as if i was walking through a dream that i never want to wake up from. it’s a feeling i will never forget and forever cherish.
4. hire a good photographer
memories last a lifetime but so do photos. hiring a photographer that you enjoy being around and are able to honestly communicate your expectations with is key. you cannot go back and replicate the moments in time, so be sure to hire someone to capture them for you. going back and looking through wedding photos still gives me butterflies, as i hope it always does.
these pictures are ones that i will forever treasure and cannot wait to someday look through all of them again with my children and grandchildren and tell them about the most magical day of my life.
5. be thankful
this one doesn’t need much of an explanation. for all things, be thankful. be thankful you get to marry your best friend. be thankful the people you love most are all in one room, because you brought them together. be thankful for the memories. be thankful for all the love in the room. and be thankful all the planning is over!
my husband and i asked our wedding planner to make sure to pull us aside so we could have a moment to ourselves to take it all in at our wedding. this moment was incredible. david and i went for a walk and found a bench and just sat next to one another feeling blessed beyond measure and so thankful for everything.
your wedding day may not go exactly as planned, but if you find the beauty in the imperfections you will have the most perfect day.
with the numerous moves and hotel stays i have had the past year and a half, i found myself struggling to sleep at night. when i finally did fall asleep, i woke up feeling unrested. this is not the way anyone wants to start their day. and h e l l o, a girl needs her beauty sleep. after trying every trick in the book, i found the 9 tips below to be most helpful at getting a good night’s rest.
take a hot bath
this is one of my favorite things to do before bed. the warm bath water relaxes your body and muscles and helps you enter that groggy state right before bed. your body temperature rises as you lay in the warm water, so make sure to leave a little bit of time after your bath to allow your body to cool down and be in the ideal state to fall asleep.
skip late night snacks
the sugar and calories in late night snacks may be keeping you up at night. calories are essentially energy. you want your energy to wind down before bed, instead of wind up. if you feel you are hungry, try having a cup of warm tea instead. be sure to leave enough time to use the restroom before bed, so you are not disrupting your sleep cycle with having to get up in the middle of the night. 1-2 hours prior to bed is as close as i would cut it.
you can avoid the urge to snack all together by eating a colorful dinner filled with veggies and a light protein about 4-5 hours before bed. having a well balanced dinner will help prevent late night hunger pangs.
charge your phone in another room
having electronics in your bedroom is a major no-no. that goes for laptops, ipads, reading devices and cell phones. screen lights trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. this may cause troubles when it comes time to fall asleep. it also prevents you from feeling the need to answer any messages, e-mails, or social media updates that may stimulate your mind prior to bed. we all do it and we all know we shouldn’t. charging your phone in another room is a great way to finally take action and make moves towards a healthier you.
invest in your bed/bedding
think about it. what is the one place you spend most of your time? your bed! you may [hopefully] not be awake for most of that time, but a good chunk of your life is spent sleeping. mattresses and bedding are items that last a good while. if you purchase quality, you could actually save yourself some money, backache and hours laying awake in the long run. my husband and i have spent many nights in hotels recently and neither of us were sleeping well. we finally got to move into our home and unwrap our tuft and needle mattress and brooklinen bedding and it was a game changer. we are now sleeping like babies. if you’re in the market for new bedding and or a mattress, i can’t say enough good things about both of them. they’re a match made in heaven. jumping into bed has become one of the most relaxing and enjoyable parts of our day. [as it should be.]
hang out in a room other than your bedroom 1-2 hours prior to bed
according to my doctor, and many studies, the bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only. that’s right, i said it! but really, your bedroom should be your designated place of rest. you wouldn’t be comfortable sleeping in your office, would you? this goes for reading a book in bed, watching late night TV, crossword puzzles, whatever it may be, consider it a no-no. leave your bed as a sleep [or sex] zone only. your body will feel relaxed and ready for bed upon entering your room, which is exactly how you want to feel before bed.
add scents that relax the mind and body to your room
my personal favorite bedtime scents are lavender or chamomile. i use lavender essential oils before bed. i rub some on my wrists and behind my ears about 30 minutes prior to bedtme. it works like a charm every time. the aromas help calm and relax the body. this will get you and your body in the perfect state to get a good night’s rest.
if essential oils are not for you, i recommend trying non-heated infusers, a room spray, or wall plug-in. [if using a wall plug-in, i recommend either turning the scent meter up before bed, or completely unplugging during the day and plug-in 1-2 hours before bed]. you want to avoid using candles before bed because you don’t ever want to fall asleep with a lit candle.
try going sleep at the same time every night
we’ve all heard it. our bodies like routine. [but not for everything]. try going to bed and waking up around the same time every evening and morning. this will help get your body used to bed time. sounds simple and basic, but sometimes we need the reminder. [i know i sure do!]
turn on a fan
using a fan serves two great purposes. first, our body temperature rises as we sleep. one of the reasons for tossing and turning throughout the night is that we become too hot. this could lead to interruptions in your sleep cycle with you waking up in the middle of the night.
fans help keep you cool throughout the night and help minimize sleep interruptions. [if it initially is too chilly for you, throw on a pair of socks to help keep your feet warm.]
second, a fan’s white noise helps drown out any other surrounding noise that you may be focusing on. as a light sleeper, i tend to hear every creak and cranny happening around me. having white noise helps distract your mind from noises that may be keeping you awake. it works wonders for me. a noise machine or playing music at low volumes work as well.
getting exercise, whether it is going out for a walk, run or hitting the gym, is said to help you get a better night’s rest. exercise increases your body’s temperature. the drop in body temperature post exercise may promote better sleep. some experts even say exercise helps reset the sleep cycle. exercise has also been linked to helping decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. both which may cause insomnia and may be keeping you awake at night.