5 Fall Favorites

Fall is in the air! Well maybe not just yet, but my love of fall fashion has taken over. Early September is my favorite time to pick out great fall pieces to add to my wardrobe. So many clients and friends are heading back to the office, heading back to school or just heading into a fabulous time of year. Today I am breaking down a few of my favorite fall trends that I can’t wait to try this season! As always, I have found pieces that are budget-friendly.

Oversized blazers

H&M
Target

Faux leather

Lulus
BooHoo

Straight leg jeans

Express

Chunky knits

Target
Vici Dolls

Thick sole ankle boots

Target

If you are looking for a little help updating your fall wardrobe, fill out the form below so we can get started.

-MB

The Lorax meets a baby shower

Creating this Dr. Seuss inspired baby shower theme for my sister was so fun. In a world of nude, white beige and tan, it was a breath of fresh air to play with truly fun bright colors for a change. This theme really was based on the colors of the truffula trees. We choose orange, yellow, pink and sky blue. In this blog, I will share where we saved, what I DIYed, the menu and the vendors we used. Want to throw your own Lorax party? Shop my decor shopping list with the links below! I have included links for almost all of the purchases we made to bring this shower to life.

Decor and the DIY:

Truffula trees – how to: The large trees were made from large tree limbs, spray painted white with black sharpie lines to match the ones from the book. The tops were made with a 6 in foam ball as the base and faux fur boas pinned to the foam. This was much easier than gluing so the fur stayed fluffy and you could secure the fur as needed easily. I used a basic terracotta pot for the base with a foam block and rocks to hold the trees securely. Top the pot with fake moss to cover the rocks. The smaller trees followed a similar process. A basic crafting dowl rod, 3 inch foam balls and half a boa of the faux fur. Set on top of Grass centerpiece base

Mustache straws: on each table setting we placed a plastic colored straws that had a hot glued yellow mustache on them, like the Lorax himself. An hour or so with the hot glue gun and all done.

Arched backgrounds – These were made with 8×4 plywood boards cut to have rounded tops and then two feet for support, courtesy of my father-in-law and hubby. I got wooden letters from Joannes and painted everything sky blue, I am so happy with how this turned out. Every photo looked on theme! Invest in a backdrop for your star, you can never go wrong paying special attention to a high photographed area.

Ballon Arch Fun fact I am scared of balloons. I am constantly worried about them randomly popping and scaring the S*%! out of me. I was so proud that I was able to assemble this little one for my sister. The things we do for love.

The Menu:

  • Christopher’s Runaway Gourmay chicken and pasta salad
  • Ham biscuits
  • Cucumber salad
  • Cheese and veggie board
  • Fruit salad
  • Caprese salad from Ceasers
  • Three-tiered cake From Copy Cat Cakes
  • Candy bar – Swedish fish, air heads, chocolate candies, lollipops, Ukrops cookies, and fruit chews
  • Mimosa bar wiht fresh fruit
  • White claws
  • Soda, tea and lemonade

Venue – Wrexham Hall in Chesterfield VA

Napkin rental – Lane Rentals in Midlothian VA

Games:

The trick to this shower was finding games that could be played with a large number of people. We played baby BINGO with two winners, a lottery scratcher, diaper raffle with two winners for a total of five winners and five gifts.

Where we saved:

  • DIYing the truffula trees
  • Ordering candy and catering in bulk
  • Not getting drinks from the catering team
  • Using the tables chairs and linens provided from the venue.
  • Returning items that we did not use after the shower

I hope these details inspire you to create your own unique baby shower. Need a little help? The Dirty Blonde Stylist loves planning all types of events and would love to help you plan a truly unique event for you! Send me an email using the form below so we can started today!

-MB

The last year of my 20’s

Each year for my birthday I like to reflect by writing a post. Either something I want to do, something I learned or just something I liked from the past year. This year I am 29 and have decided to put together a little “bucket list” for my last year in my 20’s. These aren’t tangible things but more ideas and mind sets that I would love to have. Not only want to have, but also feel valuable to have entering into the next decade of my life.

Master the concept of quality over quantity- I have struggled with this for years. I am always the one who is so proud of the deals I find and how far I can stretch a dollar. While I won’t let my thriftiness fade, I am working to refrain myself and not buying things just because they are a good deal.

Do less with more focus- This goes hand in hand with quality over quantity. Multitasking to a certain point becomes unproductive. I become unfocused and end up having to go back to go over the things I did while trying to do something else at the same time. Stay tuned to thedirtyblondestylist.com to see if you can see how my focus shifts in the next year.

Be present – This idea has never felt more real. Maternity leave was a great trial run of what it would be like to just sit and be present in the moment. For me, work and the rest of my life came calling after maternity leave was over. Now I am trying to take active steps to be present. I want to be present in my business, present with my husband, and present as a friend, sister, and daughter. Most of all present with my son, he will only be little for so long and I don’t want to miss it because I was worried about “what’s next and what do I need to be planning for”.

Do better to let go of the “mom guilt” – While I know this one will be challenging, I am hoping that as the year goes on and I become more adapted to being a mom. I hope I can find a way to let go of some guilt that really is not warranted. Feeling guilty about going to work, feeling guilty when I have to pump and dump occasionally, feeling guilty that I haven’t found the balance yet. All these things I want to try and let go of so they aren’t weighing me down anymore.

If anyone can relate to these types of goals, drop your comment below. Growing up is a lot easier when you know you aren’t the only one going through it.

– MB

Adult birthday party themes

It’s birthday month! I have always loved July because for me it was a month of celebrations, my birthday, my Dad’s birthday and America’s birthday. As I have gotten older my love of celebrating has only amplified. I believe that if there is a reason to celebrate, do so. Life is just too short. Over the years as an event planner, I have loved the creative themes that are both fun and age appropriate for adults celebrating their birthdays. Today I am sharing some of my favorite ideas of how to celebrate your big day!

Tea Party

Gather your girls for a frilly and fancy tea party. Complete with big hats, lace gloves, and delicate sun dresses. Enjoy brunch or finger sandwiches with your girls while catching up on all the latest tea.

Murder Mystery

My sister and friends threw me a murder mystery party for my 27th birthday and it was a bucket list party for sure. Having everyone play along and get into character is so fun!

Camping or glamping

Pack your sleeping bag for a camping or glamping adventure. Get outside under the stars or just under the twinkle lights inside for a fun adventurous evening.

Survivor

Come up with your own minute to win it style challenges and divide your group into teams. Compete in drinking games, build your fort and vote for a winner of the day!

The newlywed game

Gather your couples and see who knows who the best. Create a list of questions to ask your partner to see if you know how they will answer. A friendly game that will have everyone involved and most likely laughing.

Movie night

A drive-in movie night is on my bucket list for sure. Get an inflatable screen and projector then lay out some blankets for everyone to get compfy. Don’t forget the snack bar!

Wine tour

Feeling boujee? Hire RVA brew Crew to take you and your friends around town or out of town to wineries and breweries. I did this for my husband’s 30th, it was so fun!

My favorite things

If you ever wanted to put your personality on blast, this is one way. Set up different activities all based on the things you love. A scrapbooking station next to a coffee flight station next to a putting green station, all your favorite things on display for your friends to enjoy with you.

Spa party

Make mani-pedi appointments for your girls in a private area of a salon. Complete the look with champagne and fresh fruit. Looking to stay on a smaller budget? Set up a foot spa, a table full of sheet masks, all the nail polish you have, and pop a bottle of champagne at home!

Decade Party

In love with the 80s? Want to relive all the trends from the 90s? Now is your chance! Pick a time period and ask your guests to dress according, play music from that decade and maybe even dig up some authentic decor. I hosted a 90s-themed Galentines day party, watching the girls all show up with big scrunchies, crimped hair and clear plastic purses was everything I could have hoped for.

If you want help bringing your next party to life, fill out the form below. I would love to celebrate with you!

-MB

Get The Coastal Grandmother look from Amazon

The coastal grandmother look has got to be one of my favorites for summer! The style is inspired by Diane Keaton’s character in Somethings Got to Give. From a style perspective, it’s all about breathable linens, chic monotone color combinations, and looking effortlessly stylish. What I love about this trend is that it can be worn across different age ranges. Not to mention, this makes simplicity cool and fresh again.

I have rounded up a few of my favorite pieces from Amazon to help you achieve your coastal grandmother goals this summer.

Bucket or sun hat

Two-piece linen set

Wide-leg linen pants

White button down

Woven sandals

Tea length sun dress

Tortoise shell sunnies

Jute heel wedge

Open knit sweater

Mock turtle neck

Straw bag

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small commission, no cost to you, if you purchase through my link.

I hope this helps you channel your inner coastal grandmother. Enjoy the simple things in life like flowers fresh from the garden, long walks on the beach and, fresh fruit from the farmers market, all while looking effortlessly chic!

-MB

How To Control Your Impulse Buying

Many people are guilty of impulse shopping. A great sale, Instagram ads that caught your eye or buying something as a form of retail therapy, I am guilty of falling for all of these. After years of giving into great deals and pretty things, I realized that when it came time to clean out my closet most of the things that were first to go were things that I bought impulsively. I had to develop some tips and tricks to cut out impulse spending. Save some room in your closet for the things that you truly want.

Unsubscribe from all retailer emails

Brand Gloss

I always hated the idea of this because “what if I missed out on a coupon or the chance to get something on sale?!”. But in order to not be tempted, I unsubscribe from all retailer emails and turned off notifications from apps, like Target for example. In case I ever wanted to subscribe to the emails again I wrote down all of the emails I was unsubscribing from just in case.

Create a new list

While getting dressed every day, note the items that you need to add to your wardrobe for an upcoming season. Maybe you are in desperate need of a new white T-shirt or your summer look would be complete if you just had a new pair of sandals. This can also include outfits you may need for upcoming events or a special occasion you may have. Having this list on your phone makes it easier to go shopping. So the next time you were at target and you spot something cute check your list. If it’s not on the list it does not get purchased. This has really helped me avoid buying things on a whim just because they are cute, not because I need them.

Brand Gloss

Steer clear of clearance

I often pride myself on how many items I have found for pennies on the dollar on the clearance rack. I still browse the racks to see what is available but the same rules apply. I do not purchase something unless it’s on my list. The great thing about having your list is that it can go for all seasons. Let’s say you wanted some new chunky sweaters but never found the right ones during the winter. Clearance is a great place to find those items marked down. One of my favorite things is buying off-season clothes and then opening my drawers next winter to find brand new pieces ready for the season. It’s like a gift I give myself.

The waiting game

I myself am guilty of clicking on Facebook ads and then loading up a cart full of items from some boutique that I never knew existed. When I’m done shopping I exit the page. Most carts will sit for a few days before the site empties them for you. Amazon will sit forever. In order to see if I really want them, I give myself two days without looking at them or re-opening the site. If after two days or more I still find myself yearning for those items or wanting to go back and check out I do after reevaluating my original choices. If I have forgotten all about them, then the internet will take care of emptying my cart for me. Some sites will send you reminder emails with coupons or just a preview of your selected pieces, do not be tempted. By waiting you’ll determine if you really wanted those items and will shake off the impulsiveness of the purchase.

Shop with a stylist

One service I offer is a guided shopping trip. I take my clients to pre-selected stores based on their needs and we shop together. I help my clients find the best pieces based on their needs and also avoid purchasing items that they may be tempted to buy. Having someone with you to keep you accountable can make all the difference in the world in what you actually walk out of the store with. Interested in learning more about my styling services? Send me an email at thedirtyblondestylist@gmail.com so we can get started!

-MB

Personal Styling

In Home Or Online Styling

Edit and organize: Having a closet that is not organized can affect your style. We will go through your closet and edit out the pieces that are no longer serving you during our scheduled time together. A lot of people don’t know what they have because they have not gone all the way through their closets in years. After the edit, everything that remains I’ll go back into your closet in an organized way to better help your day-to-day style. This service pairs great with Restyling.

Re-style: Many people tell me they have a closet full of clothes but only wear the same five outfits. Bringing in a stylist is a great way to rework your current pieces. We will go through your current wardrobe in just one or two days. I will help you style new looks for your everyday life using pieces you currently have. We can also develop a shopping list to help fill the gaps in your closet. Add-on service: Guided shopping.

Guided shopping trip: Shop along with a stylist. We will shop at predetermined stores for specific pieces while guiding you on what to look for when shopping, including proper fit, avoiding impulse buying, and where to shop based on your needs.

Getaway Styling: Planning a trip or vacation? Let a stylist help you style and pack the perfect looks! During our time together, I will help create looks for your trip based on your destination and itinerary. This includes a digital packing list and style guide to use while packing and during your travels.

Investment: Styling services are typically billed hourly unless they are contracted otherwise. All services have a two-hour minimum and include travel time. Each client will receive a quote for the estimated time needed to complete our styling work together. Send an email now to Thedirtyblondestylist@gmail.com or complete the form below to receive your custom styling plan and estimate.

Buttons, Wraps and Secret Flaps

The post partum wardrobe edit

Big life changes are one of the main reasons people hire a stylist. Having a baby, fluctuations in weight, or moving into a different chapter of your career are all major reasons to update your wardrobe. Having a baby of my own now meant that I needed a few new pieces that were breast feeding friendly. Being able to transition these into my normal wardrobe was so important. As most of you know, I don’t love spending a ton of money on pieces for just one season of my life. Everything I am showing today is under $40. I also love to marry style and function. Each of these pieces are so functional for my new life as a mom but also keep me feeling stylish.

So much of your body changes after having a baby. For me I came home and didn’t necessarily need my maternity clothes but also was struggling to fit in a lot of my pre-baby clothes. Not to mention needing constant access for breast-feeding. It was just one of those things that I didn’t think about until it was actually happening. I love a good styling challenge just as much as I did dressing my growing pregnant body. I am trying my best to completely embraced the changes my body has gone through. It’s hard to see the stretch marks in the mirror and to not be able to button some of my favorite jeans just yet. Finding pieces that make me feel good, comfortable, and practical all at the same time has kept my spirits up for sure! I never underestimate the power the clothes can give you. Who says that you can’t be confident, comfortable and practical all at the same time?

Looking to update your wardrobe for your major life changes? Send me an email at thedirtyblondestylist@gmail.com to find out more about my styling process and how we can work together.

-MB

Baby Favorites

I am officially 6 weeks into being a mom and wow how life has changed. One thing I have learned is that no two moms have the same experiences. What works for one mom and baby may not be relevant to another. It is so important to respect what works for each family. We are all just trying to figure it out after all. In these first few weeks when baby mostly just wants to eat, sleep and poop there are still a few products that have stood out to me.

Babies Brew – This portable bottle warmer has been a life saver. Being able to warm up his bottle without a cup of hot water is great when we are in the car or out and about.

Breast Friend For the breastfeeding mamas, this thing is SO MUCH BETTER than a boppy! (I said it) It may not have as many cute colors or covers but I love the flat top and width. The baby is not going to roll off and sometimes I can feed him handsfree.

Cosmetic mini fridge I do not pump at night but if I did this is a great alternative to going downstairs to put my milk away. I do where a Hakkaa on the side he is not feeding on to catch any leaks. I store that milk in this little fridge for the night. Almost every night I can get an ounce or two just by taking the time to catch those drops.

Oh Baby Devotional I have always loved a devotional, this one is tailored towards my new life as a mom.

Love to dream or Velcro Swaddle, Some people hate these but I love them. Trying to swaddle with blankets is an art form that I was not able to master. The love to dream allows your baby to sleep arms up which may be more comfortable for some.

Honeypot MAMA collection wipes, foaming wash, and pads that make everything more comfortable. This turned out to be such a useful gift I received for postpartum. Cannot recommend enough even for once your period returns these are great products!

Stroller fan The moment we got Jackson home I wanted to take him on walks. The second it got warm outside this fan was amazing.

Electric Nail file I don’t know how other moms have the courage to cut their nails with anything other than this file. So simple and ouch proof!

Portable breast pump If you were planning to pump I highly recommend getting a battery-powered pump so you are not chained to the wall. Even just being able to do my hair or walk around the house while pumping is a game changer. I got the blue spectra pump and it has been great. Be sure to check with your insurance to see what free pumps are available to you.

Electric nose sucker I decided early on that I could not stomach sucking boogers from my baby’s nose. This has made it so easy and he truly does not mind it at all. No stuffy nose here!

Hakkaa as I mentioned, I love wearing this to collect any leaks. Perfect for feeding, pumping or in an emergency, a great hand pump.

Butt spatula, we have three of these, one upstairs, one on our portable changing table downstairs, and one in the diaper bag.

I am nowhere near expert level when it comes to parenthood and Products but I can speak from experience about each of these and how helpful they have been. Hopefully, these suggestions help you on your new journey into parenthood.

-MB

5 Things People Forget To Budget For Their Wedding

Any bride knows the little things can add up quickly. One of the first pieces of wedding planning is setting a budget. Of course, it is hard to include every single little detail in your initial budgeting. I try and help my clients include as much as they possibly can from the get-go. Today I am sharing a few details that not only can add up but also are commonly forgotten in the budgeting phase.

Dress alterations – This can be an easy $1000 that people forget about. This is also something to keep in mind while shopping for your dress.

Sabrina Boykin Photography

Food the day of your wedding while getting ready – So many couples forget that breakfast and lunch will occur during the craziness of your wedding day. Not eating, will help no one! Scheduling lunch delivery, catering trays, a few bottles of champagne, or even room service at the hotel are all great ideas, but they can lead to an additional hundred (s) dollars on your final bill.

Outfit options for the bachelorette party, honeymoon, engagement photos, and rehearsal dinner. If there was ever a time when it seems rational to buy a special outfit, this is it. Of course, you want a new dress for each of these occasions. On average, women will buy at least 3 new looks for each of these occasions. Add a line item to your budget so you have something stashed away for these special outfits. Remember to return the rejected options to help your bottom line.

Gifts for family, and wedding party – Many couples love to give gifts to their wedding party and family leading up to the wedding. Budgeting for these gifts can easily be a few hundred dollars to be prepared for. Many brides often give their bridesmaid’s gifts multiple times, bridesmaid proposal boxes, some sort of gift for the bachelorette party, and then wedding day gifts. Family and the groomsmen often received gifts for the wedding day as well. Make sure not to forget this one on your budget.

Postage for invites, save the dates, thank you notes, and RSVP cards – Stamps are .58 cents each. Talk about something that can add up quickly! Calculating this expense is fairly easy and can be easy to budget for from the get-go.

Sabrina Boykin Photography

I am a firm believer that planning and preparation can help save money on your bottom line. I hope these tips will help you on your planning journey. If you need more help planning your big day, send me an email at Thedirtyblondestylist.com to find out more about how I can help.

-MB

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