Friday, September 30, 2016

Trending: 9.30.16-- Celebrating One Year of Belle On Trend!

I can't believe it has been one year! I thought the best way to ring in a year of blogging would be with my traditional #trending report. So, here it goes! It will be slightly different, though. My top ten will have some bits of advice for those of you who might be interested in starting a blog and just some general reflections. Enjoy! (And, I will have some random pictures for you, too! Haha!)

Engagement pics by Meagan Hudak of Blossom Lane Photography. She is the absolute best!
^^^ Time to celebrate 1 year of Belle On Trend! 
Dress: Camilyn Beth.  

[1.0]  As of today, 47,508 people have visited I honestly NEVER IMAGINED that this blog would reach farther than my dad in the Poland Public Library. hahah! Hi, dad! Love you and your support. I am so grateful to everyone who reads this blog. It has been a rewarding experience all year, and I am extremely grateful for the following! Author's note: I currently have 1,013 Insta followers! OMG!  Follow me on Twitter, Insta and Pinterest: @BelleOnTrend. Also, you can find my Belle On Trend page on Facebook, too!

[2.0] I never thought I could figure out a blog myself, but let me tell you, if I CAN, you for sure can! I always laugh because my kids know I am awful with technology. I can never make the projector work, and 9 times out of 10, somehow I end up projecting my screen saver of Mike and I's wedding instead of their actual assignment. In other words, ANYONE can be a blogger. I promise you that! (It also helps to have a super savvy hubs! Thank you, Mike!). (One of my favorite engagement pics below! He's a genius. Real talk!)

[3.0] I had a "fan" who I didn't know (!) approach me in the park, and it honestly meant sooooooo much to me! I know that I idolize my favorite bloggers (101 Things I loveBarefoot BlondeBows and SequinsSequins and StripesClassy Girls Wear Pearls, and McKenna Bleu), and when I met 101 Things I Love's writer, Johanna, at the Wilco concert in Chicago, I was SO STARSTRUCK!  And, she just so happened to be the sweetest gal ever! McKenna Bleu emailed me back a few times about 2 years ago, and I just have always appreciated her personable nature. These are women who make a living being bloggers. I, of course, do not -- haha! I would never want to stop teaching! But, they have millions of hits each day! They are famous in my eyes!
^^^ Here is the background to my laptop and desktop at work! Haha. Finny!!! 

[4.0] Here's my first ever blog post on our wedding.
^^All the most important little people in our lives (minus Finn because he wasn't on earth yet, haha!)

[5.0] Ask friends and family about blogging. My friend, Krista, helped me set up Shopstyle for my blog. I am currently at $52.71 and will get paid out at $100! I can't wait to celebrate when I make my first real money!
Here's a pic of my good friend, Krista! ^^ and her adorable daughter, Everly Rae!

[6.0] Do it now. Honestly, when else will I be able to write a fashion blog, take pictures of outfits, and just enjoy the time before babes? It's so important to enjoy your own hobbies outside of work. It's also super important to have unique hobbies that your significant other may not share. While Mike drums, I blog :) it's a really nice combo!

^^^ from our 1st anniversary getaway in New Buffalo, MI.

[7.0] Follow your favorite bloggers. I remember the first ever blog I read was Sarah Vickers in Classy Girls Wear Pearls. Jackie showed me this blog about 4 years ago, and I was hooked ever since. Jackie, my super fashion-forward friend and "big sis" is another major reason why I started my blog.
^^ Jackie and me (and my fully sequined crop top baahhaha)

[8.0] Some friends from my 10 year class reunion who I hadn't seen in years approached me and said they loved the blog. That was the best compliment I could have received! I am so thankful for people being so positive. It's so fun to get comments, too!

My besties before our 10 year high school reunion ^^^ 

[9.0] Never let someone discourage your dream. I know that sounds super cliche, but when I told some people I wanted to start a fashion blog, I got a lot of "why?" and "how will you make money on that?" "Wait... what?!" Well, I don't make money... yet! Haha. And why create a blog? Because I absolutely love fashion and writing, so why not combine the two? I've gotten some amazing deals (and free clothing!) to blog about!  That is worth it for me!

^^Images of my favorite graphic tee and my mug (thanks to Megzo!) from The Trendy Sparrow! The cutest online booty-q based out of Chi-town!

[10.0] Reach out to your super talented friends. Katie Carter, one of our family friends from our middle school days, is an incredibly talented designer. She created my business cards and all my icons/backgrounds for Facebook and Instagram. Check her out! She is the most creative gal ever and has worked for some BIG NAMES in the fashion industry! Plus, she's the sweetest girl, eva!

^^ Katie's handiwork! 

I want to thank you (yes, you!) for reading Belle On Trend. Writing my blog is seriously one of my favorite hobbies. I have been a little down in the dumps this week after getting my lower back MRI results. I have a herniated disc and a stress fracture in my back. It means I need another steroidal epidural in my lower back (scheduled for October 10), and I have to wear a back brace 8 hours a day for 3-4 weeks. Not exactly conducive to wearing fun clothes to teach in, right? My kids and coworkers are amazing. Everyone has been caring and kind about it. Hopefully after the 3-4 weeks I will be healed and back to the Barre. (The other bummer-- I have to take this time off Pure Barre. The ladies at Pure Barre Geneva have been sooo sweet about it).

But, this blog lifts my spirits! And all your kind comments on Instagram. So, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Cheers to many more years of bloggin' :-)

Monday, September 26, 2016

On Becoming a Godmother (x2) and Wrap Dresses!

A little over two years ago, I was asked to be my cousin Bryn's Godmother. I was sooo incredibly honored! Jay and Beth, Bryn's parents, are our cousins, and we just love them so much. They live nearby in St. Charles, which is so great since our parents are back in Ohio. God always has a plan because the fact that I ended up in the western burbs near our "Chicago cousins" is kismet. Here are some pictures from Bryn's baptism in 2014! 

^^Me, Beth, Jay and Godfather Danny! With sweet BRYN!
My dress: old Sail to Sable. Similar here

^^ Bryn was one of our adorable flower girls at our wedding! 

^^^ I love this picture (mainly because Mike is just rogue hahaha!) 

Last weekend I was given the honor of becoming Finn's Godmother. 
^^^ Anna with sweet Finny! 

Finn wore a baptismal gown from the early 1900s! My great grandmother made it for my mom's mom, my grandma Audrey. Then my mom and uncle Gery wore it, and both my sister and I wore it, too. Now it's Finny's turn! 

The proud parents, my BIL Shawn and Anna with Finn. 

Action shot ^^ God bless, Finn! 

My Ann Taylor wrap dress is the perfect piece for fall. The navy, blush and pewter are great jewel tones for the autumn months. I love the fit! It's true to size and a bit stretchy. I wore this the first week of school and received so many compliments. It is not too low, which is always my biggest fear with wrap dresses. 

Anna and Shawn got married at this church! Isn't it beautiful?
It's called Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Chicago. It was also my church when I lived in the city. 

God parents with the proud parents and Finn.
Wrap dresses were the dress of the day. They're perfect for work, and they're incredibly flattering. 
My wedges: here.  Remember, these wedges have been on heavy rotation since my mom and Gary's wedding in July 2012. That price per wear ratio is amazing. hahaha #justification

Anna's wrap dress: here
My wrap dress: currently an extra 60% off

Brendan and myself, the Godparents for Finn Patrick. 

This picture would be great if I wasn't kicking my foot out like a weirdo. Haha! 
Our family together! 
Gar, mom, Mike, me, Finn, Anna, Shawn, Patty and Dad. 

I love that Finn nibbled on the heirloom gown the whole time. Hahah! He was SO good! No tears whatsoever. 

Sweet baby boy with dad and Patty!

Mom in Lilly & Gary with Finn! Does he just look like a sweet angel? 
A similar wrap dress version of mom's Lilly: here

My favorite Ann Taylor wrap dresses of the season:

More wrap dresses to love: 

And if you are doing well and want a high-quality, quintessential wrap dress, get a DVF!!!! 
Swoon x 1,000,000. THAT will become an heirloom for any nieces or daughters in your life. 
Are you a Godparent?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

J. Crew Ruffle Striped Shirt + Pink Winnies!

I have a confession to make. I saw this striped ruffle shirt in the J. Crew catalog about 3 months ago, and I just stared longingly at it in my online shopping cart until I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. To be fair, I even tried to buy it in person and try it on at the Naperville J. Crew, but they had already sold out. Mike was starting to think I was a weirdo because I kept talking about this shirt. But, isn't it awesome!!!??? I'm ashamed/proud to admit that I wore it 2 times within 4 days of having it. (Insert monkey emoji covering its eyes.)
These Winnie pants are my go-to cropped work pant. I have black, navy, plum and this punchy pink color called raspberry (above). They're currently $39! I've gotten them as inexpensively as $29! They have no pockets, but they're super flattering with a looser top. They run just a little small. For reference, these are a 6. You want them tighter, though, especially for your flowier tops! Court and I are suckers for the Winnies-- she totally got me started on them, and now I'm addicted. Shall I sent my J. Crew Factory bill to Pittsburgh, girl? hahaha jk. 

I forgot to mention that I also saw this top in the J. Crew catalog, ripped it out, and put it on the kitchen table to stare at it some more. bahaha #pathetic

This top! I am so in love. Size down if you're in between sizes, so you don't look too much like a football player. I hope I don't in these pics. LOL. This is a size 4 for reference. For whatever reason, though, it was excluded from all promos. Lame, J. Crew. But it was worth every penny! 

Annalisa at Beautiful You Salon cut and styled my hair before we took these photos on Saturday. She is the absolute best! She has cut my hair since 2012, and she also did my wedding up-do. Call her ASAP for your next hair appointment-- she rocks! 

If you've followed my blog in the past, you know I am way obsessed with these BCBGeneration Valentino dupes. IMO, these are better than the Vals because they are SPARKLY! And comfortable! And no where near $1,000. But, if you can afford $1,000 shoes, #treatyoself. Otherwise, be like me, and wear $49 ones! 

I love stacking Kate Spade bangles like this, this or this with my Michael Kors watch.

I also love this ruffle top for a less in-your-face ruffle. I have this one in green, and I got so many compliments on it at work. It runs big, though. I have a 4, and I wish I had gone down to a 2.

The pave J. Crew link bracelet is one of my favorites. It looks great with everything.
My glitter earrings: Kate Spade

This purse is old Kate Spade Outlet, but I'm obsessed with the navy and scallops. I love a cross body bag.
Here, here and here are some high-quality navy cross body bags. They are certainly investment pieces. Think of them in a PPW (price per wear) type scenario. Then, you'll feel less guilty. haha!

More pink pants: here from J. Crew, here from Loft and here from Ann Taylor.

A few quick snaps from my time in the city with the family last weekend...
^^^Stuck in Chi-town traffic on 90. Wah wah. 

omg. Finny! Those overalls!

Mom, myself and Anna (both in Lilly) on the rooftop of the Hotel Lincoln

What's new in your closet?