Life is Changing

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post – and it isn’t due to lack of content ideas. I read an awesome book about the fashion industry I wanted to review for you, I’ve re-vamped by work-from-home wardrobe, and I’ve cooked so many recipes using fresh vegetables from my garden! So why didn’t any of these ideas come to fruition to the keyboard?

Because Baby Yeaton is on the way!!

Life threw Mark and I a surprise party when we found out we were going to be parents this summer. We are absolutely thrilled with the news. I’ve been daydreaming about being a mom since I started babysitting when I was 12 years old. As long as I’ve been dating Mark, the site of a dad with his baby or toddler makes him smile and say he can’t wait to be a dad. The best part? As long as I’ve been dating Mark, the site of a dad with his baby or toddler has made me hope Mark is the dad to my kids 😉

As exciting as this news was, it has plagued me with two months of sporadic nausea and CONSTANT exhaustion. I needed to focus my energy on my health and my full time job. Unfortunately as much as I loved keeping my blog this spring, between napping and falling asleep at 7:30pm most nights, blogging wasn’t integral to my survival in my waking hours.

But I’ve rounded the corner into my second trimester and my energy is quickly following! And I can’t wait to share this new journey with you!

Here’s a snapshot of the integral parts of my waking hours that you missed:

  • Where to live? Mark and I don’t currently live together. Prior to Baby Y, we had agreed that we wouldn’t move in together until we were engaged. This life event definitely trumped that plan. The problem, and I realize it is a very fortunate problem to have, is that both Mark and I own our homes and didn’t have a strong desire to leave our homes.

Our final decision? We are going to rent out my condo and I am going to move into Mark’s house.

What’s to come? Lots of home décor as we make Mark’s bachelor pad our home

  • Self-Care: The first trimester, as I’m sure you’ve either heard or experienced yourself, is ROUGH. Luckily there was zero vomiting, but there was lots of nausea, lots of naps, a few hormonal breakdowns, lots of discomfort in my hips and belly, and quite a few sleepless nights (due to discomfort and a never ending need to pee).

What’s to come? My first trimester survival kit

  • Career Change put on Hold: Career what?? You read that correctly. There has been more than one thing I’ve been keeping private. For the past year I’ve been in school for a Master’s degree to completely change my career. I was supposed to finish my classes in December and make the move in January. The problem? The move was to an unpaid student teaching position. Considering I need health insurance and a paycheck to prepare for Baby Y, that career move will wait until the Fall 2021 semester. Looking on the bright side: hopefully school will be back to the classroom and I’ll have a normal student teaching experience!

What’s to come? Sharing more about what prompted this career change, what catapulted it forward, and where I see myself in 5 years

So for those of you who loyally followed along throughout the Spring, I apologize for leaving you hanging! For those of you who are new to @klosetbykrista, welcome! And to all of you reading along, I can’t wait to re-vamp my blog to open up the kloset of my life to more than just the clothing within 🙂

A Week in Cape Cod

Mark and I just got back from what we agreed upon was our best vacation yet. He and I have gone on many trips, the most exciting include Nashville, Puerto Rico, Florida and Acadia National Park, but this local trip to Cape Cod took the top spot.

So what was so special about a local vacation just an hour and a half away from home versus the lively cities and national parks? Low stress. No crowded bars to squish into late into the night, no tourist ridden sites to see, and no long list of hiking trails to cram into one day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bar, historical site, and breathtaking view, but a vacation without rushing and agendas was very welcome.

Below is a list of activities we did on vacation. You can do these activities, not only on your next Cape vacation, but any beach vacation!

Sweetwater Forest Campground

Sweetwater Forest Camping Resort

Yes, we camped in a tent for the WHOLE week! We have traveled to a few campsites down the Cape, but this was my favorite. It was so big and had something for every style of camping you want: seasonal trailers, full hookups, water and electricity, or primitive tent sites.

We had water and electricity and it cost $50 a night. After accounting for the cost of firewood and ice to keep the cooler cold all week, it is still an incredibly affordable option.

The store was equipped with the necessities (firewood, ice coffee, groceries, papergoods), there was a Wi-Fi café, mini golf course, yard games and playground. During non-COVID years they have a lodge for evening events, arcade, and other family activities.

We lucked out that we had great weather (it briefly rained two mornings, and the rain was light). If you’re willing to gamble with the weather and have a good air mattress, camping is a great option!

Deep Sea Fishing

I was incredibly nervous to go deep sea fishing. Mostly, I was nervous about getting sea sick and being stuck on a boat for hours at a time. I took some measures to prevent this: didn’t drink too much the night before, took Dramamine about two hours before going on the boat, and wore a sea band, and they worked! The water was rough and the fog was thick which was more nerve wracking than my stomach dropping, but it didn’t take me too long to learn how to ride the waves.

Our trip was 3 hours long and the perfect way to spend an afternoon. We caught 3 fish, which seemed like a small quantity. The fisherman said that he had caught 6 fish the trip before us. He filleted the fish for us on site and, after getting a recipe from him, made a quick stop at the grocery store on the way back to the camp site and cooked fresh fish on the grill.

Drive In

Wellfleet Drive-In and Cinemas - Movie Theater - Wellfleet ...

Did you know there are only 300 drive-ins left in the country? 2 of them are in Cape Cod! We went to the Wellfleet drive-in to see the double feature of Grease and Dirty Dancing. Aside from these being two classics, the drive-in was a great evening activity!

For starters, the cost of the double feature was the same as it is to see one movie in the theatre. Second, there is no fifteen minute interlude of movie trailers before the film. If there is a drive in near your beach down, I highly recommend spending a night there.

Atlantic Cedar Swamp Trail

If you head down the Cape for vacation, the Atlantic Cedar Swamp Trail is a hidden gem. Right by Marconi beach, it is a piece of nature unique to anything else on Cape Cod. The ground is covered in Moss, the trees lean and drape across the board walks, it looks like a scene from Snow White.

The trail is only a mile long, it is mostly in the shade and is all flat. It’s a great walk to do with kids. In fact, the only other time I did it I was 12 years old. If you finish the walk and the family still has energy, right next to the trail is a path to an ocean view. It is also a good activity to do off-season. Though this scene is unique to Marconi beach, you can take the idea to any other beach town. I recommend researching nature trails near the beach and finding other nuggets of scenery outside of the typical beach view.

Sea Food

Hey! That Cape Cod song's familiar - z* Business - capecodtimes ...

Give me all the lobster rolls and fried clams! Those are my go-to when ordering from a seafood shack. Plus whatever else may be the restaurant’s special, like homemade onion rings.

If you are headed down the Cape, Mark and I ate at Kate’s Seafood in Dennis, Cobie’s in Brewster, and Arnold’s in Eastham. We had lobster rolls at both Cobie’s and Arnold’s, and it’s a tie for which is better – I liked Cobie’s lobster roll (I eat mine cold), but Mark liked Arnold’s lobster roll (he eats his warm).

Our tip for seafood shacks is to plan on an early dinner, that way you avoid the long lines and crowds. We tend to have late and/or big breakfasts, snack during the day, and go for an early dinner so that we can also hit up the ice-cream stands before the crowds.

Beach It

We beached it 4 days! Cape Cod has a bay side (inside the arm) and the ocean side (under the arm). There are pros and cons to both, but we prefer the bay side because the water is calmer and warmer. Neither of us love going in the water, but when it feels like a bath and I can see the bottom, I’m way more likely to go in to cool off.

Guidelines for Massachusetts beaches during COVID are that you have to stay 12 feet apart from others. With the exception of one day, we had no problem doing this, even at high tide. The day that was a little more challenging, I would say we were probably more like 4-6 feet apart (still better than the average summer). Dennis beaches controlled the population by getting rid of their overflow parking. We combated this by going to the beach in the evening! We went at 5pm and watched the sunset. Brewster is having guests purchase passes online, and we found parking every day we went (without having to wake up and show up by 7).

Bike It

Cape Cod Rail Trail - Great Runs

I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 12. More influential to my low expectations of biking was that I HATE doing the bike at the gym. But riding the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Brewster to Dennis and back way surpassed my expectations.

The trails is pretty much flat the entire way, so I was able to do the 13 miles with little fatigue. My legs were JUST starting to feel sore at the half way mark, and by the time we hit mile 11 I felt like I was having a good workout. Come mile 13, it was a very good place to stop. Despite the fatigue in my legs, I didn’t even feel sore the next day.

I loved this way more than I thought- getting to ride through different parts of the woods, alongside the beach, and passing all sorts of bike riders small, big, experiences, and novices like me.

One tip would be to purchase true biker shorts. No, not the trendy biker shorts from Target or H&M. TRUE biker shorts from an athletic store. They have built in cushion in the bum. Though my bum was still feeling a little sore at the end, Mark was complaining about his butt way sooner than I was.

We were able to do all of these activities without rushing, crowding, or stressing. It was ultimately a GREAT vacation, and I highly recommend getting to your local beach town for at least a day trip, if not an overnight, before the end of the summer!

Black Wide Legged Jumpsuit – Styled 4 Ways

Disclaimer: there may be lots of exaggerated language, flamboyant adjectives, and biased opinions in this bog post. This is my favorite jumpsuit…EVER.

The material is one of the softest things I’ve put on my body all summer, which isn’t surprising since it’s from aerie. It is as flattering as it is comfy – the rouging hugs your chest and waist, and the flowy bottom starts right at your hips, hiding anything you don’t want the world to see!

One of the best things about this jumpsuit is that it looks like a dress ,but you can move in it like it’s pants. Plus, the reaction when people realize it’s actually pants is priceless! Seems like everyone loves it that much more as a jumpsuit vs. a dress.

I can’t wait to wear this jumpsuit to the beach next week. Here are the four ways I could style this jumpsuit when on my camping/beach vacation:

For the Beach:

All that’s missing from this beach look is the bathing suit (soon to come!). I love the way this over sized floppy hat compliments this jumpsuit. It balances out the wide, excess material on the bottom of the jumpsuit, and the stripes add some dimension to the outfit. Also, this wide hat will definitely keep my shoulders and face from getting burned!

Similar hats and shoes are available to shop through the link!

For the Campfire:

My campfire style looks an awful lot like my work from home style. At least I have two purposes for one outfit!

I love how this cropped sweatshirt looks over this jumpsuit. The cropped hem hits exactly at the bottom of my waist, so it effortlessly looks like I’m simply wearing cozy pants with a cozy sweatshirt.

I hope these sneakers give you inspo for how cute white sneakers would be with this jumpsuit, too! And for my campfire purpose, you’re supposed to keep it closed toe by the fire!

For Vacay Date Night:

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to imagine getting dressed up when I’ve been living in comfy clothes while working from home. If you’re feeling the same, this jump suit is for YOU!

This jumpsuit is a comfier version of a little black dress! It can so easily be dressed up. Layer it with a denim (or any) jacket and some fun accessories like this, and you have yourself an outfit for a nice restaurant. If you’re in the mood to get wild, try throwing on a pair of heels, too!

To Go Get Ice-Cream:

Click HERE to Shop This Look

Because what beach vacation isn’t complete without a trip to the ice-cream shop? Considering Mark and I eat a bowl of ice-cream every night even when we’re not on vacation, you know that I will have multiple trips to the ice-cream shop (he has already asked me -LAST WEEK- if I know how close the Sundae School is to our campsite).

This look is perfect for a casual date like ice-cream: slip into a pair of sandals and pull that beach hair back with a headband. No fuss!

Also, this jumpsuit is definitely made to hide your ice-cream belly 🙂

I can’t wait to show you all which way I choose to style this jumpsuit on vacation!

For more style inspiration, make sure you are following @klosetbykrista on Instagram and Pinterest. To shop my style, click the links or follow me in the free Liketoknow.it app (where every outfit I post is shoppable!).

Men’s Khaki Shorts – Styled 4 Ways

A few weeks ago a friend suggested that I dip my toe into men’s style. I loved the support and always appreciate new ideas for my blog (so send them my way!) The only problem? Men’s fashion is way out of my comfort zone.

Styling men and styling women are incredibly different. For starters, we have different body shapes, and I haven’t learned nearly as much about how to dress men’s body shapes as I have women’s. The second difference is that there are completely different fits and silhouettes in men’s fashion. For example, the “slim” fit

Lastly, most men I know are usually more conservative in their personal style than me. Where I’m inclined to recommend colors and prints, most men like to stick to classic looks and the color blue. Especially my boyfriend Mark.

Mark is my polar opposite. He is a plumber and wears a uniform 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time he lives in sweatpants, is a hard core outfit repeater, and only gets dressed up when I tell him AND pick out his outfit (if I tell him, but don’t pick it out, he ends up in jeans and t-shirt if I’m lucky).

Despite my lack of knowledge of men’s style, I figured dressing Mark would be an easy start. There’s no where to go but up! The biggest challenge was his very limited wardrobe…I threw out lots of his clothes when we started dating and we haven’t fully replenished.

So to kick off my new journey of learning to style men, I bring to you: styling khaki shorts 4 ways:

Mark’s Way:

Click HERE to Shop this Outfit

Mark is a t-shirt guy. It doesn’t really matter if it’s too big, has a stain on it, or is purchased from a souvenir shop like this one – he’ll wear it. Pairing this t-shirt we got on Broadway in Nashville with khaki shorts keeps him comfortable visiting my family, or for a casual date.

A little tip for all you other ladies with the chronic t-shirt wearing boyfriends: buy them a nice pair of sneakers. They’ll have happy for a new pair of sneakers and not even realize it elevates their outfits!

My Way:

Click HERE to Shop this Look

I was a very proud stylist when, after he put this outfit on, Mark said, “I should pack this outfit for the Cape next week.” Yes, he should!

I mentioned before that when I started dating Mark I threw out lots of his clothes. Mark lost a weight the summer before he met me, and there were lots of clothes taking up space and untouched in his closet. To not completely put him in shock, I only threw out the clothes TWO SIZES two big. Yes, that means many of his clothes are still one size two big, like this shirt.

Is the man in your life someone who also prefers his clothes loose? If so, try the front tuck. I know this is a move most ladies have mastered, but I actually really liked it on him, too!

Meeting in the Middle:

A successful relationship involves compromise, and this outfit is a prime example.

I put Mark back into a t-shirt for this look. Even though the color and fit are a bit more flamboyant, the material is actually very soft and comfortable. Win for him and win for me!

We got these sneakers from Nordstrom last year, and they really emphasize how a nice pair of sneakers can elevate an outfit. Wouldn’t this outfit look much more dressed down if he paired it with his beat up running shoes?

But I know Best:

Click HERE to Shop This Look

You can see it in his face that he knows I’m right about how handsome he looks in this classic style 🙂

Can you believe up until a few months ago Mark didn’t have a casual white button up? Neither could I. We love this one because it is a perfect “un-tucked” length. For you girls with the casual boyfriends, this option is great. No tuck means no fuss!

Since Mark is a plumber, he has strong forearms from working with his hands all day. Cuffing the sleeves is a perfect way to show them off!

Ultimately, I owe a HUGE thank you to Mark for being my model! He is the photographer for 99% of all my photos on this blog, and getting in front of the camera was out of his comfort zone. Despite that, when I shared this idea he said, “of course I’ll do it.” He didn’t complain once, landed the pose every time, and continues to support my work on this blog. Sorry ladies, I snagged the best one 🙂

I am a Mavely Partner

When I told my parents I wanted to pursue a career in retail, they weren’t thrilled. When I automatically say fashion is my passion or my hobby, I can tell that other automatically judge as materialistic. When people think of a girl in her 20s who’s obsessed with fashion, they think Clueless, Legally Blonde, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada.

The problem with the world’s perception of girls in fashion is that they are often right. Girls want the brand name, they want something no one else has, and they want the status. More so: they want to be able to walk into Target or the mall, spend $100-$200 dollars, and come out with a whole week’s worth of new outfits. And don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it, too.

I think few of those girls shopping in Target or posting on Instagram take the time to think about the inequities and sustainability (by which I mean the lack thereof) of the fashion industry. What are the factory conditions where the clothes are made? Who is making them? What happens to all of the clothes that don’t sell? What really happens to their own clothes after they “donate” them?

Those who do take the time to think about it, they probably think a lot like me: “I love fashion as an art, and I understand the dark side of the industry. But I’m conveniently surrounded by Target, Walmart, and Malls, the ads on computer seem to know that I love the fit of Abercrombie jeans, and while I know the high costs of cheap fashion, I don’t have the financial budget or the time budget to spend researching and spending these high end companies…”

And then Mavely fell into my lap.

Mavely is a consumer app that exclusively includes product from female founded or sustainable companies. It is a one. stop. shop. No extra time to click the “About me” on a website. No extra time googling. A range of affordability. A wide selection of category of product. A responsible shopping app.

So how do Mavely and I mix? I am a new Mavely Partner, meaning I am able to use this app to collect shoppable links for these products and share them with you! Do you want sustainable fashion? I can find it! Do you want sustainable, clean beauty? You know they have it! Do you love to support other women? Me, too! These products will help 🙂

About once a month I will be rounding up some of my favorite products from Mavely and sharing them on my blog under the “Sustainable” tab. This way I can be YOUR one stop shop for responsible consumer choices!

Interested in shopping more than once a month? Download Mavely and follow me! Make sure you send me an e-mail letting me know you followed me so that I can follow you right back 🙂

Happy Shopping!

**full disclosure, I earn a small commission for items purchased through my shared links

Everlane Tees

Everlane is a clothing company dedicated to sustainability. By 2021 they promise to eliminate all virgin plastic from their company (office lunches, packaging at the store level, plastic used in clothing production included). By 2023, they promise to only source their cotton from organic cotton.

Transparent with the costs of their clothing, conditions of their factory, and progress towards sustainability, they are a great company to support!

All tees $18

Shop this yellow tie-dye tee HERE

Shop this green tie-dye tee HERE

July Shopping – Aerie

For almost a year now, I’ve been trying to only shop for clothes once a month. I have not always been successful (remembering the first few weeks of COVID where the entire world went on sale!), but since the Summer started I have really been having conversations with myself that it is time to get more responsible financially, sustainably and socially: fashion impacts it all!

So instead of just shopping for what was “Cute” this month, I really made an effort throughout the past few weeks to take note of what I wish I had in my closet to wear that I didn’t. The answer: Maxi Dresses.

I am officially working from home indefinitely, and I need more clothes that are incredibly comfortable, appropriate for daily video conferences, and can be wearable from my freezing cold basement office to the 80-90 degree weather outside. Maxi dresses check off all of those boxes!

Below are the dresses (and jumpsuit) I bought, with a bonus headband! P.S all of this is from aerie and they are doing up to 60% off!

Chambray Maxi Dress

Sizing: I sized up 1.

I’m a pear body shape and am learning that shift dresses tend to cling to my hips since there is no structure. This dress fits fab around my hips, but I will need to self-tailor the straps as they are not adjustable.

Favorite Details: The dual straps and slit

Wrap Dress

This is Mark’s favorite of the three outfits I bought! I know the wrap dress is one of the few styles that is flattering on every body type, but for some reason it usually doesn’t entice me. I’m glad I tried something new, because I love!

Sizing: TTS

Favorite Detail: The ruffle along the hem

Little Black Jump Suit

By far my FAVORITE of all three pieces. The material is great quality. Despite being a little thicker, it is also incredibly flowy which gives you a breeze on a hot day. I already know this is going to be making a second appearance on my July Favorite Finds post at the end of the month.

To see these items styled in my day to day life, make sure you’re following @klosetbykrista on Instagram and Pinterest!

7 Day Mask Challenge

Click HERE to Shop These Face Masks

Alicia Yoon is the founder and CEO of Peach and Lily, and I follow everything she says like it’s the Bible. About three times a week, she hosts “Peach Skin Academy” lessons on her Instagram. These videos cover topics from aesthetician school.

I attended a Peach Skin Academy about how to reset your skin. It was perfect timing given the heightened exposure to the sun (loving the summer working from home!), change in weather (hello humidity), and being required to wear a mask (thanks pandemic). What she recommended? Masking. Or, as known by her followers, #1day1mask.

Doing a face mask every day was her recommended way to reset your skin, whether your skin is feeling extra dry, oily, inflamed, etc.

Up until a few months ago, face masking was something I did when I during a slumber party with girlfriends or a night with my sisters. When I discovered Peach and Lily’s Super Reboot mask, I started applying it at the beginning of each week and soon after added their Pore Proof Perfecting mask. A few weeks ago, I started adding a sheet mask once a week for relaxation. During a night in, I pour a glass of wine or scoop a bowl of ice-cream and watch an episode of the cheesiest TV with the sheet mask on. Doing this every night was something I had never imagined before. If I – a young, unmarried woman – thought getting to do this every night sounded refreshing, I can only imagine what you wives and mom’s think!

Alicia described her friend who had been doing a facemask every day for nine years. To summarize her words, her friend had seemed to reverse aging! If you think nine years is a long time, Alicia explained that many women in Korea actually include a face mask as part of their daily routine!

Alicia promotes masking every day for a month to reset your skin. Despite a month being significantly less than nine years, it still seemed like quite a commitment (and expensive!). Instead, I committed to masking every day for one week.

And here were my results:

Before: Right, After: Left

What I used:

SHEET MASKS

I used all Peach and Lily products for my masks (obviously!). Unlike facemasks I’ve gotten from generic brands, these face masks stick to your face and then don’t budge. They are so pungent with essence, but rather than make a mess, the essence really absorbs into the skin. After about ten minutes of wearing it I can feel how saturated my skin is. The directions say to wear the masks for 20 minutes, but I extend it to a half hour. There is notably less product on the cotton sheet after this amount of time, another sign that my skin really drinks it up! I rub the excess essence into my skin, neck, chest and hands.

Most of the masks I used were the Peach Slices label, which is a brand within Peach and Lily. This label has TONS of facemasks. I used all sheet masks, but they some peel off as well.

You can find some of these masks at Target, but there is a much wider selection online. I used calm, hydrate, and clarify. These are the most affordable masks at $2.50

Click HERE to Shop These Face Masks

Also from Peach Slices, I used the banana ice-cream sheet mask. Ingredients included banana extract, which helps revitalize skin, and hibiscus extract and aloe which both help hydrate. The ice-cream masks are found online only through the Peach and Lily website, as is the Popsicle line I have yet to try. These are $3.50.

I also used a few sheet masks from the Peach and Lily label. I used Reset button and Good Skin Day. These are a little pricier as I got a box of 3 for $15. They were great on my skin, and the sheet material felt a little more elevated than Peach Slices. If you want to splurge, I do recommend them, but I think the Peach Slices masks give just as good of results!

EXFOLIATION

Ever since I discovered the Super Reboot from Peach and Lily, I’ve topped all physical exfoliators. With 10% AHA and BHA, this goopy mask is an exfoliant that is effective, but still gentle. It tingles (okay, slightly stings) for the first thirty seconds or so, but afterwards the sensation calms down. You won’t believe the feeling when you wash this mask off and how smooth your skin will feel.

I follow the Super Reboot with the Pore Perfecting mask, and let me tell you, it’s worth it. If you thought your skin was smooth after the Super Reboot, you have a whole new feeling coming to you after this. This makes your skin feel like porcelain.

Click HERE tohttps://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/1OsNACx6mTGE0ZYTOxP14e Shop These Face Masks

Envision the two working together like this: The Super Reboot suctions everything out of your pores, and then the Pore Perfecting mask goes in and scrubs them out. The combination practically gets rid of the texture on my forehead and even flattens out my hormonal break outs on my chin.

I have been doing these masks once a week long before this 7 day mask challenge, so kept them as part of my routine. The directions say to keep them on for 20 minutes, but like the sheet masks, I wear them for 30 minutes. Note that you want to build your way up with the Super Reboot.

My Results:

Let’s just look at this picture again, because I truly can’t believe the difference:

Aside from being tanner from my weekend on the lake, there is so much good that happened to my skin last week!

  • Across my whole face my tone is nice and even.
  • The bags beneath my eyes are smaller (I made sure to massage the sheet masks into my under eye).
  • That GLOW

If you’re still not sure you think it’s worth dedicating the time or money, just know that I have continued masking every day with my extras since my week “ended”. And you can bet I’m buying more this weekend! It is now something I look forward to every day, a little something extra for me. Because us women, we deserve it!

To see more beauty tips, follow @klosetbykrista on Instagram!

Businesses to Check Out For Blackout 2020

July 7, 2020 is blackout day. A day where, if they put money into the economy, allies and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement solely shop from and support black owned business. This is a form of protest for more equality and justice, and if politics is what motivates you to support these businesses, that’s great!

In my opinion, this is a great movement beyond the politics of it. It is a great opportunity to research new brands that may bring as much joy to your life as a new dress from a local boutique, or may be of even higher quality than the mass produced products we buy from Walmart or Target. It is an opportunity to shop for something NEW, and if you’re as passionate about fashion, beauty, and home decor as I am, you should welcome this day!

I have spent this day researching brands to shop, not JUST because they’re owned by black women, but because they resonate with ME. It’s no good to buy a product if you don’t value it or don’t put it to use. Because the owner of these brands and I, despite our differences on the outside, have the same taste and style. And, very importantly, have the same budget.

McBride Sisters Collection – Wine

Sisters Robin and Andrea lived in wine regions on different continents, completely unaware of each other, for half their lives. Upon meeting, they discovered they had the same passion for wine and very similar upbringings. Today, they are the largest African-American owned wine company in the U.S. Today their wines encompass the regions they grew up in and their own personal style.  Try their bundles like “Smooth and Sexy”, “Balanced and Blessed”, and “Bright and Fresh”, and also check out their She Cans collection (yes, that’s wine in a can!)

The Lip Bar – Cosmetics

This cosmetic company was started in the kitchen of women from Wallstreet! Determined to shake up the beauty industry, they made unique lip products that are vegan, cruelty free, and inclusive. They appeared on Shark Tank, and I bet those sharks are kicking themselves for turning them down because they have since launched at Target and have opened their flagship store. Inclusive of all skin colors, their products have expanded beyond lip to the entire face!

Ellie May Clay – Clay Jewelry

I don’t wear much jewelry, and when I do I often stick to earrings. My go to is a big, gold, hoop, but if you follow along you know that I LOVE a good statement piece. Ellie May Clay is a new Etsy shop that opened this year. Owner Anaya fills her shop with unique, statement, clay earrings – and they are all under $20! Whether you’re into large sizes, bright colors, or fun prints, these earrings have something for you!

Cushnie – Clothing

favorite black owned clothing brand. Cushnie is a unique dress brand that makes fine dresses in bold colors, materials, and silhouettes. They also design unique wedding dresses. These dresses are incredibly modern and, in my opinion, the models look like pieces of art when wearing them. A few months ago, you may have only found these dresses at higher end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales or on Celebrities like Michelle Obama and Beyonce. But this year, Cushnie launched their first line at Target!

Jungalow – Home Décor

Are you secretly over the ALL white home décor trend? Me, too (to be honest, I’m not sure I was ever on it). Shopping Junaglow will brighten your day and transform your bedroom, bath, and home into a fun place that feels more like a boutique hotel than a crisp, clean home…and who doesn’t love to stay in boutique hotels? Beyond brightening up and decorating the lives of their customer, Jungalow believes in sustainability. For each purchase, they plant a tree and match all donations to Trees for the Future.

I know finding these brands was just the first step, to truly support them I need to shop them! So, for the rest of the year I will shop a brand each month and share and review their product. Can’t wait to see what gems I find!

My Camping Essentials

The girly girl in me has fallen in love with the manly man in Mark. The manly man in Mark likes to spend the summer camping. Luckily his version of camping involves an air mattress, unlike my childhood version of camping where my dad would lay down a yoga mat for us (oh, Dads). But his version of camping also involves sleeping in a tent rain, shine, 90 degree heat or 30 degree evenings. It involves not always having running water or electricity, things that a girly girl like me tends to need.

That being said, I have really enjoyed the two times Mark and I have gone camping. We are heading out for our third trip this Fourth of July weekend and have a FULL WEEK planned to go later this month.

But part of the reason why I enjoy camping with Mark is that I do it my way. I refuse to live off of only cheap hot dogs (as delish as they are), to neglect my beauty sleep, and to spend my time in nature chopping wood.

These are my camping essentials:

Skincare – I do NOT neglect my skincare routine when I go camping. I pack it all! I don’t wear makeup when camping, but my face feels coated by all of the elements at the end of the day, and by the must of the tent in the morning. Since it’s unlikely to get a good shower while camping, maintaining my skin care routine helps me feel refreshed. Not to mention it adds a little luxe to the experience!

A suitcase full of cute bathing suits and loungewear – We always camp near water, and I tend to trade bras and underwear for bathing suits. At first this was because I would lay out and tan near the water. But usually a day camping leaves you a little sweaty and dirty and bathing suits are more durable than underwear.

In terms of loungewear, I bring LOTs of it! A set for every evening may be excessive, but it is usually what I do. For starters, I’m always more comfortable in a sweatshirt and sweatpants at night. Aside from being cozy by the fire, they keep the bugs away. But similar to doing my skincare routine every night, putting on a fresh pair of clothes each evening makes me feel refreshed and helps me forget how long it has been since I’ve had that good shower.

Home-baked goods – I love s’mores, but there is something about a freshly baked cookie that makes you feel at home. Camping can involve so much pre-packaged food that a home-baked cookie, though not healthy, feels more wholesome. Big chewy cookies also feel more indulgent than a thin, crisp graham cracker. Indulgence = luxury…are you catching on yet?

Fresh Veggies – Similar to my point about home baked goods, you are likely eating a countless amount of hot dogs when camping. It’s easy to stick to a bag of potato chips and call it a meal. But if you’re like me, eating lots of processed food days in a row bothers my stomach. If I’m going to be living in a bathing suit during the day, I don’t want to feel bloated!

Fresh veggies are actually a very easy campfire dish. Mark and I slice them and throw them in tin foil with salt, pepper, and either olive oil or a chunk of butter. You can either put the tin foil directly next to the fire, or you can put a metal grate over the embers and put them on there. The vegetables will steam themselves in the foil! Our go-to veggies are ones that don’t need to be kept in the cooler to stay fresh: zucchini, summer squash, sweet potato and white potato (make sure you dice the potatoes up small so they cook in a reasonable amount of time!)

A good Book – A good book is a must for me no matter where or when I travel (even if I’m just going to Mark’s for the night, I bring my book even though I know we’ll probably binge Seinfeld before bed instead). The best reason for bringing a book camping? To have something else to do with your hand when the others start collecting and chopping up firewood 🙂

These five essentials make Mark’s version of (real) camping feel a little more like the glamping I used to envision.