Fashion Friday: Edition it’s past my bedtime

I just got home from a super fun event at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy and am slightly tired. And by slightly I mean that I started thinking I wasn’t spelling my own name right by the time I got finished signing books after the event.

But I had the best time and there were a group of girls there that even had t-shirts made.

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How cute is that? And they all had their monogram on the front pocket. I just have to say it’s a little surreal to see words from one of my books on a t-shirt.

And now for some other cute things I’ve seen this week before I fall into a dead sleep:

1. a casual spin sweater

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I like these layered looking things that don’t actually require layering. It’s so much easier and less bulky.

2. santa maria embroidered dress

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This dress looks a lot like the one I chose from Golden Tote and it’s a great price. Plus you can wear it with a denim jacket over it and boots when the weather cools off. Let’s pretend that’s happening sooner rather than later.

3. michael kors watch

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Monday is the last day of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale so now’s the time to snatch up any deals you’ve been waiting on. This watch is on sale for $166.90 and is normally $250. You should tell your husband this might be a great way to finish his Christmas shopping months in advance.

4. gorjana g ring hoop earrings

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I love a big hoop earring. These are a great size and big enough that they don’t get lost in your hair. And they come in silver, gold or rose gold.

5. painted threads poncho

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I bought Caroline a sweater kind of like this one the other day and it looks so cute on her that I want one for myself. This one is on sale for $29.90.

6. target sawyer booties

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In case you’re on the bootie fence and aren’t sure if you would actually wear them or like them, these booties are at Target and just $34.99. They’re kind of a similar cut to some by Rag & Bone that are about $300 more expensive.

7. urban southern leather tote

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These Urban Southern leather products are so unbelievably soft and smell so good. And they have everything from messenger bags to this tote which is just about the perfect size.

They are currently offering 20% off everything on their site just for Big Mama readers. You can use the code SUMMER20 at checkout and it’s good for the next seven days.

8. magic leggings

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Last year I mentioned these leggings because they are my favorites. They are the perfect weight and hold everything in without feeling heavy or like you’re wearing a hip to ankle girdle. Plus they aren’t cotton so things don’t cling to them. Best of all, they’re only $20.

9. altar’d state cross my heart top

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I think my love of an embroidered shirt is well-documented. And this one is from Altar’d State which is a store that donates part of its sales right back to charity. That’s a win-win situation.

10. anele blouse

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This is on sale at Anthro for $49.95 and it also comes in white. Availability is limited so you may not want to hesitate if you like it. I love tops like this with jeans and boots in the fall.

That’s it for today.

Have a good Friday.

Because what’s more fun than a box full of surprises?

Okay, before I talk about the real reason for today’s post, I’ve been meaning to mention that I’m speaking at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas this Thursday night, July 30. It’s a free event! Doors open at 6:30, it begins at 7:00 and will be over at 8:30. And I’ll be signing books afterwards. So if you’re in the area I’d love to see you! You can find out more information here if you need it.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had the chance to try out a personal online shopping service called Golden Tote. I’ve tried other things like this with mixed results, but was excited to try Golden Tote because it works a little differently than the others.

On the first Monday of every month new totes go on sale. You can choose between a $49 filled with two to three pieces or $149 tote filled with five to six pieces, then you look at the different clothing options and pick one or two things that you love and they surprise you with the rest. You can also select some add-ons for a reduced price and you create your very own style profile so they can get a good idea of your sizes and clothing preferences.

I chose the $149 tote and filled out all my information to the best of my ability, although I realize I am super picky about clothes and there’s no good way to accurately convey “It can have some flowers but can’t be too floral-ish” or “Sometimes I like flowy tops, but only if they fit EXACTLY the way I want them to and hit at EXACTLY the right place on my body.” I did, however, specify that under no circumstances should they send me anything with an elastic waistband because that never works for me. In the history of fashion an elastic waistband has hit me at the right spot on my body exactly NONE TIMES. Basically I need you to be a fashion jedi if you’re going to figure out how particular I can be when it comes to clothes.

And so I picked out the two items I knew I’d love from the website and left the rest to the eye of the stylist. It’s like being in Vegas but gambling with fashion instead of money.

I chose this dress.

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And I love it as much as I thought I would. This time of year I’m such a fan of a loose, shapeless dress that doesn’t really touch any part of your body and this looks cute with just flat sandals or dressed up with my wedge sandals.

(In a perfect world I was going to model all these things, but it just never happened because I don’t have the strength to put on my makeup and do my hair or figure out how to take full-length selfies. And I could have had Caroline take the pictures, but I can’t handle the criticism from someone I taught how to use the toilet.)

My other selection was this sweater.

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It’s a super soft cotton weave with lots of holes for ventilation.

This is the kind of thing I love. And it will transition perfectly into a Texas fall and winter with just a tank under it now and with a t-shirt, boots and jeans later.

Along with the two things I chose, I also received these items.

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I really like this top because it’s light and airy and perfect to throw on with shorts. Plus it looks like something I would pick out for myself in a store.

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This dress is cute on so I like the fit, but I’m not crazy about the pattern. This falls into my category of too floral-ish. Or is it paisley-ish? I’m not sure. I just know it’s too busy for my taste, which is unfortunate because I like the way it fits. I just like my clothes to be a little simpler. However, Caroline loved this and was said it didn’t fit her.

Which brings me to these last two things.

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How cute is this on Caroline? I tried it on and liked it okay, but wasn’t crazy about where it hit me. But then she swooped in like a vulture and put it on and I said SOLD. She loves it and I’m happy about that.

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This final thing is another piece I didn’t really like. The fit is good and I liked the length, but it’s too sheer to wear alone and thin enough that it looked really messy when I tried a tank under it. All that being said, Caroline threw it on over a long tank and it fits her like a dress. She is thrilled with this development and it turns out that my Golden Tote experiment was a huge score for her.

And I liked it, too. I love getting a box of surprise things delivered to the door and trying on new things and I appreciate that Golden Tote, unlike some of the other similar services, actually lets you choose a couple of your items so you know will like those things for sure. You can’t return anything so you are committed to what you spend when you order your tote, but they do have a Facebook page where you can trade items that don’t work for you. However, I still felt like I got my money’s worth because I truly adore three of my six things and I would have easily spent $149 for those alone.

So I think Golden Tote could be a great option if you like new clothes but hate to shop for them. It’s a way to get some fresh pieces in your closet that you won’t necessarily see anywhere else. And I wanted to try it out for y’all because I know many of you don’t like to shop (I do not understand this at all, but God made us all with different gifts and abilities) and I think the online stylist concept is awesome in that case. So if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, you can sign up for Golden Tote here.
As for me, I enjoy the whole shopping experience. I like to walk around stores, try things on, feel the fabric and look for pieces that will go with things I already have in my closet. So I think I’m mainly sticking with old-fashioned shopping in the form of picking clothes out for myself, but Golden Tote has potential if you find yourself in a gambling mood and I would totally do it again if I ever want to shake things up a little bit.

As long as no elastic waistbands are involved.

**Golden Tote sent me a tote free of charge in exchange for this review.

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The dog days of summer

Have I mentioned it’s hot here?

Apparently the answer is yes because one of you posted this cartoon on my Facebook page and all I can say is YES.

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This is the stretch of summer that gets really depressing because the heat has really set in and we know it’s not going to get any cooler until sometime around the end of September when a cool front arrives and temps plummet into the mid-80’s.

We had a fairly uneventful weekend around here. P was fishing in a tournament with some friends. Their team won second place and missed first by 1/4 pound, but the good news is they still get a very tasteful plaque with 3D renderings of a trout, redfish and flounder so thank goodness for that. Sadly (please note the sarcasm) Caroline has already asked that he hang the plaque in her playroom and I just want my child to be happy.

Meanwhile, Caroline and I had a girls’ weekend at home and watched some movies, ate some junk food and stayed up way too late, but that’s the beauty of summer. Then P got home late Saturday night and I spoke at our Community Worship Service on Sunday morning (I’m speaking again this coming Sunday) and we all took a Sunday afternoon nap. That’s what this heat does to you.

“What should we do today?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe stay in the air-conditioning and sleep?”

“Sold.”

I deemed yesterday as our official errand running today much to Caroline’s joy and delight. (Please note more sarcasm.) Our first stop was at Target to shop for school supplies. This is always one of my most dreaded tasks, but I’ve learned I will hate it infinitely more if I wait until the last minute when everything is picked over and it’s even harder to find a six pack of glue sticks with a 1 1/3″ glue diameter and scissors with a blunt tip buffed by the wings of fairies.

The good news is not many people are shopping for school supplies on a Monday in July so we made our way through Target with no one fighting in the aisles for the last eight pack of colored pencils. Caroline kept telling me she needed “these really nice mechanical pencils” or “these special pens with all the colors” and I’d ask, “Didn’t we buy those last year? What happened to them?”

And the answer was always, “I lost them.”

Well. That totally makes me want to spend that money again.

But we survived the experience – event the sticker shock at the cash register – and now have two bags full of Kleenex, pens, notebooks, composition books, mechanical pencils and hand sanitizer ready to go in a few weeks. Ultimately, this is great because it means I don’t have to accomplish one other thing this summer to feel like I’ve been productive. My work here is done.

Cooking? Cleaning? No thank you. I’ve bought our school supplies.

After Target we ran to TJ Maxx because I can’t even tell you about our towel situation in the master bath. I’m not sure what happened to our towels over the last few months but they have had some sort of breakdown. All of a sudden they are – for lack of a better term – raggedy. I knew they were at the point of needing to be replaced when I was doing laundry last week and mistook several of our good towels for the old towels I keep on a shelf in our laundry room that I use to clean various things or dry the dogs off after a bath.

And I decided over the weekend that life is too short to not have nice towels. I’m a grown up and I have earned the luxury of drying off with a towel that doesn’t have holes in it. This is America, land of the free, home of the brave. A place where you can buy new towels on virtually every corner.

So we bought new towels. They are made in Turkey and you know the Turkish are known for both their cotton weave and their delight.

After that we ran by Office Max to search for the elusive and magical binder that’s full of pockets and zipper bags and comes complete with a magical, organizational fairy that Caroline has dreamed up in her mind and is currently not available anywhere in town. Or on Earth.

And then we finished our day of errand fun at HEB buying things like milk and eggs and Sour Patch Kids.

Once we made it home and unpacked all the contents of our day’s excursion, I loaded up Piper and Mabel and took them to the dog park. This has become an essential part of my day. And because of that, the dogs lose their mind anytime I walk out of the back door with my keys in my hand.

It’s their happy place. And a place where I get a few minutes of alone time every day because nobody in my house wants to go with me to the dog park, which makes it my happy place.

Piper has discovered the joy of drinking straight from the faucet. She feels that being dainty is highly overrated.

Dog days of summer from Big Mama on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, Mabel is trying to get onboard but she just isn’t sure it’s as sanitary as drinking straight from the muddy pit.

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You know she wrote a haiku about it.

Why choose fresh water?
Flows from the devil’s spigot
Sister plays with fire

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