Think Pink All Month

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     October has always been a powerful month for me with lots of ups and downs. When I was a child I LOVED October because it meant that me, my brother, mom and dad would all pile in the car and road trip from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Virginia to find the perfect (enormous) pumpkin. My parents loved Halloween. We would decide on a family costume and they would decorate the front yard for All Hallows Eve, complete with tombstones and spider webs. My mother even convinced my dad to make her a life-sized coffin for her to hide in so that she could jump out and scare trick or treaters. 
    Then, when I was about 19 years old, October took a turn for me when I lost my father to cancer just 3 days before Halloween. My mother and brother were able to recover and begin to celebrate again a few years later. In memoriam to my dad I'm sure, but I never fully regained the joy they had for this holiday. I would participate here and there but my heart was never able to recover. 
    After I met Dallas, October started to look up. He would humor me and try to plan trips to the pumpkin patch again like my family did years before and now that we have a child I am learning to love Halloween in a new way. We are building new family traditions on the stilts of old ones. 
    Another reason October is now a big deal in our household is that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Dallas's Mother is a breast cancer survivor. In 2012, Dallas's mom Bev's fight was intense. After undergoing a double mastectomy, reconstruction, chemo, and radiation we are proud to say that her cancer is in remission! 
    Since then there is not one October that goes by that we don't reflect on our loved ones (past and present). Cancer is something that touches everyone's life and we have to remember to take care of our bodies. Women so frequently put the family or other people first and they forget to take care of themselves. Ladies, please do your self-exams. If you are 40 or older, please go for your annual mammogram. I know the process is an uncomfortable procedure but it could save your life. 
    Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I thought I would share this cute pink look with you. The blouse and chambray tie shorts are form Apricot Lane and the nude gladiator-style heel is from Red Dress Boutique. To keep this look bright I paired it with a teal straw clutch with colorful pompoms and grabbed some silver Kendra Scott jewelry to add some metal tones. 

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This Coke's For You

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Cheers to getting life back on track! 

I can't begin to tell you how many DM's and messages I have received asking "Where my Fashion Friday Try On Sessions have gone?" Well, truth be told, I've been slacking. Mainly because we've spent the good majority of this year moving and dealing with buying and selling a home. 

As I've told you, we accidentally bought a house earlier this year and moved in mid-summer after completing some construction (to see the full transformation check out my family page). Although we are completely unpacked and moved in, I am still putting some finishing touches on a couple of bedrooms and remodeling our laundry room.   

However, with things slowing down I am now finding time to work on the fashion side of my blog again. Thus, Fashion Fridays are BACK! In case you missed it, I posted a Fab'rik Birkdale Try-On Session last week (which I will repost again this Friday). I also shot some of my favorite new arrivals for you all and this Spanx / T-shirt combo is my Fab'rik Birkdale "Look Of The Week"! With fall weather around the corner, I am feeling my streetwear roots and bringing back army jackets (The Star Alys) and sneaker wedges. I finished this funky ensemble with a pair of gold and leather star cut earrings from Fab'rik Birkdale as well. 

If you are looking for trendy new looks to dress up your fall wardrobe Fab'rik Birkdale has the streetwear, business casual and cocktail attire you need in your life!
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Best Friends Are Hard To Come By

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NYFW is upon us and although we are already looking forward to Spring 2020 lines, we still have to live through Fall of 2019. This season, get ready for a little 90's influence. Cue the denim jackets and plaid button-downs. Although we are still waiting on our first burst of cool air, fall fashion styles are already rolling out. 

Last week my best friend Laura Pucker was here in North Carolina to escape Hurricane Dorian as it threatened the east coast of Florida after pummeling the Bahamas. Of course, when Laura called and asked if she could fly up and stay with me I said YES immediately. Laura and I have known each other for years and met when I was coaching her for Mrs. Florida America.  

About 3 minutes into our first session I knew 2 things, Laura was the class clown (aka Ms. Congeniality) and we were about to become best friends. Since that day 10 years ago Laura and I have been thick as thieves and we have bonded over everything from travel and relationship issues to fashion trends and fake friends.

Even though Laura and I don't live in the same city, she is one of those people you can just pick right back up with. One of those rare friends that you can call for anything. While Laura was here we were inspired by NYFW and started planning our return trip to New York City for fall fashion week this coming February.  

In the meantime, enjoy these fall-inspired styles that are sure to be hot trends as the leaves change. Look for denim, mauve, plaids, casual dresses and sandals to rock this season for transitional pieces.  


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Be A Boss Not A B*tch

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Let me just start with a great quote. "You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building each other up instead of tearing each other down". Plain and simple if you are the malicious type, I have NO USE FOR YOU! 

It truly makes me sick that there are women in business that try to take others down when in reality working together would have been MUCH more beneficial. I have been dealing with a lot of negativity in my life lately and it has been stifling. To have anxiety about simple daily tasks is ridiculous. If you are someone who finds yourself avoiding people in the hallways or hiding in your office, that is no way to live.

You don't have to roll over for those people anymore. My advice to a woman giving another woman a hard time is to "be a boss, not a b*tch." If you are currently medaling in someone else's life take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself what it is about that person that aggravates your demons? Are you jealous? Are you longing for something they have? Or is there something going on in your personal life that you are projecting onto them? Either way, it's time for some self-reflection and prayers. 

Bottom line, handle YOUR business and don't be green with envy when others can handle theirs. Brush up on your skills and be the boss you were born to be because respect is earned not given.

While some of you reflect on those words of wisdom enjoy this boss babe look. White blazers for summer are all the rage and these wide leg cropped business pants are a perfect pair. Believe it or not, you can find these trousers everywhere from Macy's to Dicks Sporting Goods.

 I scored these Zara earrings in the airport flying back from Italy and matched this look with my favorite heels and Celine bag! 



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Where I've Been ...

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      So it's official! We've closed on the new house! However, we still haven't sold our old one yet. Meh! Thus, most of my time has been focused on what I can do to appeal to buyers in a super-saturated market, which is why I have been so MIA lately. After brokers lunches and multiple open houses where visitors provide feedback, I feel like I am pretty much an expert home stager at this point! 

     When we put our house on the market 30 days ago I was just trying to get it listed quickly in hopes that getting it out there would sell it. How wrong I was! Looking back at our MLS photos I now realize that I could have done much more to make our home a clean slate for buyers to see their own lives unfold here (not ours). 

     Of course, when I first listed our home I knew I needed to take down all of our family photos and make sure the house was immaculate, but I failed to realize that our wine collection and personal items were clouding buyers attention to the actual house! 

    After receiving feedback (which I was offended by at first) I decided to take the constructive criticism to heart and "de-clutter" our house. Now, luckily I have a new home to move things into but I've learned some people consider putting their things into a pod or storage unit until they sell their homes. 

    Some of you might be wondering what "de-cluttering" consist of? Well, let me tell you when I do something... I do it big! Our home currently shows like a model house. I've removed all unnecessary furniture to make the rooms feel as big as possible. I've also taken down all of our wine and cleared our bar tops in the bar room and the kitchen. I've cleared out 50% of our hanging clothes in the closets to make them feel as large as they can and I've taken EVERYTHING off of our built-in bookshelves.

I am hoping and praying that this will help sell our home soon. I am even going as far as having our MLS photos retaken to spotlight our new space. I'll keep you posted! In the meantime, I wanted to share with you my new favorite jumpsuit! This cotton onesie is from Express and was designed by Fashion Blogger and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo. It sells at a great price point and it is only one piece of her collection! 


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We Accidentally Bought A House!

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     I know. I know. How do you accidentally buy a house? Well according to my husband, I'm pretty good at accidentally making purchases. This time, however, it wasn't all my fault! See what had happened was...

     Dallas and I have been "talking" about moving for at least a year, but clearly, we were in no real rush. In fact, in a years time, we had only seriously looked at 3 homes and our current house wasn't even on the market yet. 

   Originally we thought we wanted to stay inside the I-485 loop. We loved the area we were in and wanted to stay close while finding a little more room. Then within the last month, we had decided to open our housing search to explore a little farther south and include Ballantyne. BINGO! I immediately started to see homes that I was interested in, so I set up a "scouting" day with our realtor Danielle and Dallas. 

   "Let's just go check a couple out." Famous last words. I fell in love with a newly renovated cul-de-sac home right across from the golf course! After months and months of looking for a unicorn, we would all get what we wanted out of a home. Dallas was very adamant about being inside a community (for baby Cashton), he also had hopes of a golf course and I wanted an open floor plan with vault ceilings (and of course a couple more bedrooms). This house had everything we wanted and more, but were we really ready to pull the trigger? 

   After talking it over Dallas and I decided that we weren't going to get into a bidding war over this house. There were a couple other families looking at the house as well and they had planned on putting offers in too. We chose to put in one offer that we thought was fair and call it a day. We could sleep at night knowing, if it's meant to be, it will be. 

Within two hours we received a call from our realtor exclaiming "Congratulations! You got the house!" "WHAT?!?! Really? Oh $h*t! I guess it was meant to be! 

So needless to say we spent the next two weeks scrambling to get our house ready to throw on the market... and here we are. We JUST listed our current house, and have an open house scheduled for this coming weekend. Wish us luck. 

In the meantime, enjoy this weather and this flowy spring transitional look. I scored this blouse and necklace from Apricot Lane in Stone Crest and I paired them with a semi-distressed white denim jean and my favorite Kristin Cavallari booties!




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Camo On The Mountain

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     I was so looking forward to my first time at Beech Mountain to go skiing for their annual 80's weekend. Our whole show was going to hit the slopes and host an 80's costume party at the resort's ski lounge. 

    The weekend started off GREAT! Our Aupair, Elena and I made the 2.5 hour drive up whiney roads into the gloomy abyss. Unfortunately, the weather was being less than cooperative. Ski conditions weren't great since it was warm and rainy, but we were going to party anyway! Beech Mountain was nice enough to set our whole show up in one giant house for the weekend!

    As soon as we all arrived, there was fun to be had! A quick dip in the hot tub and a slice of pizza was the prelude for the evening. We all got ready in our BEST 80's ensembles and headed out for the night. Hosting the resort's party was a ton of fun and everyone really brought their A-game when it came to costumes. We saw, Ghostbusters and Joan Jet, Don Johnson and Hulk Hogan, but the first place award for the night went to Cheech and Chong!  

    The night seemed to go off without a hitch... until now. After making it back to the house everyone took another quick dip in the jacuzzi and headed to bed. That is when all hell broke loose for me. I closed my eyes at 1:45am and not long after I was violently awakened by the sudden urge to use the restroom and puke at the same time! 

   Now I know what you're thinking. LauRen, you probably just had too much to drink. I had 2 drinks all night! This was not the spins! This was something awful... something different and I proceeded to spend the next 7 hours unable to hold anything down. Ironically when I called my husband back home, he had been dealing with the same ailments. We BOTH had the stomach flu in two different cities. 

   He urged me to come home ASAP as he was feeling the same way I was. He had been watching Cashton all weekend and was afraid to be around him and give him the flu too. So Elena and I got into the car and made the horrific drive back to Charlotte. As you can imagine driving almost 3 hours puking into a plastic bag is no fun! 

    When we arrived back home Elena became the real MVP! She took Cash and let Dallas and I quarantine ourselves in our bedroom until the vomiting passed and we could sleep off the shakes. 

    All in all, I guess you could say, feeling a little "green" left me inspired to share this camo look with all of you! The earrings, pants and white waffle tee shirt are from Fabrik Birkdale. I paired them with my Gucci flip flops since the weather is a little warmer today and this bamboo bag from Red Dress Boutique. Enjoy!  



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72 Hours With The Fam

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Let's be honest... everyone has family members that they consider a little cray cray. Well, that's pretty much my whole Pittsburgh family and last weekend I got to spend 72 hours in the "Burgh" with those crazies. 

It's not often we get the opportunity to all be in the same place at the same time but this occasion was special. My Aunt Angela was getting married, so Friday morning after the show, I hopped on a quick one hour flight to the city of bridges and landed in a blanket of white. It had been snowing for 2 days and continued to dump buckets of snow on my car as I raced across town to get to the courthouse to watch my Aunt and her new husband Mike tie the knot in front of their family and friends. 

Saturday afternoon they celebrated their love with a reception at the most beautiful restaurant on Mount Washington, The LaMont. Their old world glam and spectacular view of the city skyline was the perfect backdrop for this special occasion. 

There was just one problem ... this was a "dry" wedding. WHAT?!?! Of course, that wasn't going to fly with me. I didn't come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania not to have a drink in this stunning restaurant! So I did the only logical thing and I struck up an agreement with the bartender. He would open the bar (for only me and my siblings) and we would keep it quiet and take care of him at the end of the event. DEAL!

After our extended family disbursed the real party started! You know the saying after the party, it's the hotel lobby?" Well, we pretty much took over the Homestead Courtyard for our pregame party before heading out that night. (Classy, I know.) 

Let me just say if you were in Downtown Pittsburgh the night of February 2nd, I apologize because we are not a quiet crew! Our little tribe headed to Sing Sing Piano Bar, where we did just that. Sang the night away!  


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