Thanksgiving Funnies

Tonight is the official start of my Thanksgiving vacation! I’m excited to have five whole days off and to be home in Birmingham the entire time. I don’t think I’ve had that long off work and at home since we bought our home two and a half years ago!  

Here’s what I have planned over my time off:

—cook/bake Thanksgiving goodies

—shop for Christmas presents

—decorate for Christmas!

—clean the house & do laundry

—write blog posts

—finish reading “Secrets of a Charmed Life”

—finish walking/running the remaining 7 miles for 20 miles in November!

—see the last “Hunger Games” movie

So my list of to-dos may seem kind of boring, but I’m really thankful to have this time to relax, see family and friends, get some things done and just have fun!   

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

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Holiday & Winter Inspiration At Torrid

I’ve been wanting to go on a shopping trip with my good friend Sherri at You Got Rossed for a while now, and last Saturday we made it happen! She has been telling me how cute the clothes at Torrid are, and while I’ve always admired them on Instagram and I own a couple of their shirts, I haven’t spent enough time shopping there.

Well, after three hours there, I think that’s changed!

We had a blast trying on some of their holiday and winter fashions, and while we went there with the intent to style this amazing red tulle skirt that Sherri had already purchased, we ended up trying on a lot more … and walking out the door with a shopping bag each.

Check out how we mixed and matched some awesome pieces!

This red skirt looks amazing on Sherri, and I love the cute T-shirt she picked out to go with it. She styled it with her own studded wide belt and black booties. Sherri claims to need some fashion help — but the girl has a great eye all on her own!

red black

Tulle skirt, $64.50; Skull rose T, $28.50

We added this cute bolero jacket to give the outfit a little holiday sparkle. This would be fun for an office party!

I also love this skirt styled with this gray T and a leather jacket. A cute leather jacket like this can make a feminine skirt a little edgy.

Leather military jacket, $98.50; similar heart T here

Leather military jacket, $98.50; similar heart T here

Sherri and I both fell in love with these black leather  and ponte leggings — we each took a pair home! I also bought the duster — something totally out of the box for me, and I love it. I have my own studded wide belt I may pair with it, or it looks cute just on its own.

Sherri also paired these awesome leggings with this blouse she had also recently purchased, which could easily be worn to work with a sweater or blazer.

And she also picked up this blue blouse that looks amazing with her blue eyes!

I can't find this blouse online! But here's a similar one.

I can’t find this blouse online! But here’s a similar one.

I tried on a couple red-and-black combos, and I loved them both! This lace skirt is so feminine and I just want to twirl in it!

But of all the items I tried on and left behind at the store, this is the outfit I may go back for. This pleated leather skirt is bad.ass!

Lace satin blouse, $38.50

Lace satin blouse, $38.50; similar pleated skirt in midi length, $48.50

I did buy this look! I have been wanting a great pair of cranberry pants, and this plaid top with the lace trim was too cute, and so comfortable thanks to the split in the back! (Also, we love that Torrid has fans in their dressing rooms! Makes trying on clothes much more comfortable!)

Finally, my favorite look of the day was these awesome plaid leggings and black blouse on Sherri. She looks so amazing in this outfit! I’m so glad she took this home with her.


Posted in Accessories, Clothes, Fashion, plus-size, Shoes, Shopping, Style | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stellar House: Our Living Room

*this post includes a few Amazon Affiliate links

Right now, I’m curled up on the couch in my living room, enjoying the chilly day with a fire and a little Food Network inspiration for Thanksgiving. So what better day to tell you a little about how we decorated my favorite and most-lived in room in our house?

lr light

couch: Havertys Almafi sectional; rug: {similar here}; large painting: Kirkland’s {no longer available; other framed art here}; burlap drapes: Target Threshold Basketweave in beige; curtain rods: Target Bali birdcage rod

Our living room is still a work in progress. As you can see, the wall to the left is completely blank — that’s where our wedding photos are supposed to go! I just haven’t had any of them printed and hung up yet. I’ll get there!

Another missing piece, or pieces? More cotton sprigs to fill the vase on top of our bookshelf. Those suckers are pricey, so I’m saving up! (I got these here at Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery in Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham for $10 each.)

More details:


lamp: Kirkland’s {no longer available; more buffet lamps here}; chalkboard sign: Hobby Lobby {similar here}; basket for blankets {similar here}; monogram coasters: Thirstystone

I love our end table and coffee table, which came from Encore Resales in Pelham. That store is a treasure trove of fun finds! The worn look of the wood and the industrial touch of the metal top fits our style well.


decorative tray: Pier One Antiqued Carved White Tray; white lanterns: West Elm Porcelain Hurricanes; candy corn jar: Target seasonal; colorful coasters: a gift!; turquoise vase: Southern Living prop sale!

I love collecting candles or lanterns in a tray for the coffee table. I have a few fall decorations around our home, but that’s one season where I need to build up my decor supplies!


chairs: Kirkland’s {no longer available; more accent chairs}; film-reel table: Pier One; Admit One accent plate: a gift!

These chairs and this film-reel table are a few items we bought right away after moving into our home two and a half years ago. We had the rug, the coffee table and these three items for months before our couch finally arrived! It was fun to put all the pieces together over time.


vase: Pier One ombre glass vase; glass bowl on bronze stand: Kirkland’s; Be Thankful banner: Kirkland’s {similar here for Christmas!}; crown-shaped votive candle holders: World Market

This amazing vase came from Pier One and I love the colors, especially when the sun shines on it. We filled the basket on the right with cinnamon-scented pinecones from At Home.


round bookshelf: World Market; vase: Pier One glitter swirls vase; Mr. & Mrs. sign: handmade by my father!

This bookshelf from World Market is one of my favorite pieces in our entire home. And thank goodness, because it took my husband and me at least four hours to assemble! Each piece was large and heavy, so it was very difficult to put together. But it’s been worth the work!


accent table: Kirkland’s Addison Console; British flag frame {similar here}

And the last little nook of our living room, near the eat-in pub table, is this fun little table we covered in some family photos. I love the canvas photo my sister made for us and gave to me at my bridal shower at home in New Jersey!

Thanks for joining me on a tour of our living room!

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Books Of 2015

*This post contains Amazon Associate affiliate links.

Today a sweet, supportive friend, Mandy of Off the Beaten Shelf, is moving away from Birmingham. In her honor, and because she has helped renew my love of reading and the community books bring, I am writing today about the books I’ve read so far this year.

I’ve read about 13 books, starting out the year by finishing the Game of Thrones series. I hope to finish at least one more before the year is over. I’m not sure I’ve ever tracked what I’ve read so closely, but I’ve enjoyed using the Goodreads app and finding recommendations from friends. I made some pretty decent book choices this year, so I’ve been talking about them a lot more!

Here are my Top 3 favorites from this year, plus the remainder of my list from 2015.

  1. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

anthony doerr

I don’t even know exactly what to say about this book except: READ IT!! Like, click the link above, click purchase, or run right out and buy a copy and curl up and read this book now. It’s a beautiful, sad, heart-breaking and romantic story set during World War II. I simply can’t say enough good things about this book!

2. Secrets of a Charmed Life, Susan Meissner

susan meissner

This is another book where I don’t know where to start because the story is so wonderful. I haven’t even finished the book yet, and I’m already recommending it to everyone I know. This book is also set in World War II, and the characters have sucked me in. I am sad for them, angry for them, cheering for them … loving this book!

3. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

paula hawkins

I know some people who hated this book — I loved the book, but hated the characters! There are some pretty despicable people portrayed in this book, but I love a good mystery and this is one definitely had me hooked. If you liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, you’ll like this book, too. Even if you root for the demise of the characters!

Here are the other books I read this year — I’ll give them a rating of 1 out of 5 (1 for just OK, 5 for awesome), so you’ll know how I felt about them, too.

A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin — 4
Who Do You Love, Jennifer Weiner — 4
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart — 3
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple — 3.5
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter — 3
The Silent Wife, A.S.A. Harrison — 2
Girl on a Train, A J Waines — 3

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert — 5
Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling — 3.5
Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want, Tess Vigeland — 2

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Fashion Friday: 4 Trends From The Web

Happy Friday, everyone!

I was having a hard time coming up with a fashion-related topic to write about today so, first, if you have any burning fashion questions, please ask them in the comments! Second, what’s a girl to do when she has writer’s block? Just share other articles! Well, at least do some research on what’s trending on the Internet and pass that info on to her dear readers.

Here’s 4 Trends From The Web that I came across this week:

  1. Jeans — while rocking the skinny jean is still a popular way to go, the boot cut and a wider leg are really making a comeback. This isn’t huge news — it’s something we’ve seen coming for a while now. But I will caution one thing — in this article on, one woman was pictured in wider-leg jeans for petite sizes. While I don’t dislike this look completely, I think it’s important to tailor the pants to your height so there’s little pooling at the bottom. This will just make you look shorter. Instead, go for a length as seen below that falls gracefully from your torso and glides over the tops of your shoes.

2. Next week is Thanksgiving, so of course everyone’s talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Here’s a great round-up from I’m sure I’ll have more sales to share with you before next weekend!

3. My No. 1 priority today? Buying Adele’s new album 25! I can’t wait to listen to all the tracks again and again and again. Her style has grown over the years, and she recently wore a dress by Kate Middleton’s favorite designer, Jenny Packham, during a taping for a show to air on the BBC One on Nov. 20. Is this dress a stunner, or what?

4. Earlier this week I wrote about camo print and plaid pants — and Lord knows I can’t get enough of animal print. This fun quiz by will figure out what print speaks to your soul. Surprisingly, my answer was paisley! I could definitely handle this paisley-print scarf from Lands End.

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What Is Your Gym Personality?

Earlier this week, a friend asked the Stellar Fit Fam Facebook group how to choose a gym. It’s a great question because there are a lot of options out there, and gyms are often expensive, so you want to make sure you’re making the right investment. With the new year around the corner, this is also prime time for gym memberships. 

Other members of the Facebook group chimed in, too, so here are some tips on finding the right gym for you. 

1. Figure out your workout style. Do you enjoy a variety of group classes to choose from? Do you want an expansive weight room for lifting? Or are you OK with a good treadmill or elliptical and your own mini TV? Knowing what type of workout you’re likely to do will go a long way in helping you decide from a larger gym with more options, to a more specialized setting. 

2. Do you plan to work out more on your own, or do you want or need one-on-one attention? Smaller, boutique style gyms or Crossfit businesses may be more in tune with what you need to get your sweat on every day. I have found that at most larger gym atmospheres, you need to be self-motivating, unless you hire a personal trainer there. Tip: Another way to feel accountable in a larger gym — start attending the same group classes regularly and you’ll make friends with the other people and instructors there. They’ll start to ask where you’ve been if you miss a class!

3. Are you a little shy, or wary of gyms where you might not be as in shape as others? When you visit the facility you’re considering joining, pay close attention to the people there. Are they in a similar age group? Are there all shapes, sizes and fitness levels? This may help you determine your comfort level. Also, many gyms have a “women’s only” area with a selection of equipment. This is a great option if you’re timid about the larger gym. 

4. A fellow blogger, Jessica at Spiffy Eats, pointed out in the Facebook group that the gym should have a certified staff, trained in CPR. Safety should be a big concern, so ask about the knowledge of the staff and their availability to members. Many gyms will do a preliminary assessment of your fitness level and recommend exercises upon joining. 

5. Make sure the gym is clear on its payment options. Try to get a month to month plan, instead of having to sign a yearly contract. You may find you don’t like that facility after a while. Or you’ll get so into yoga or spinning that you want to join a speciality spot that offers these classes only. Keep your options open! Tip: Make sure to ask your company if they have a corporate rate at any fitness centers. My company does, and it’s half off the usual monthly fee!

6. Finally, think of the other amenities that may be important to you. What is the locker room like? Are there enough showers or private changing rooms, if you want them? Is there a pool or sauna? Do they sell water or snacks, for convenience? These little extras may go a long way in making you more likely to use the facility often. 

What is your gym personality? If you already belong to a fitness center, how did you choose it?

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Stay Motivated

Lately I’ve been focusing more on what I eat. Waging that battle in my head day in and day out can be a little exhausting. For people who have never really struggled with an eating addiction or disorder — and yes, overeating is a disorder just as bulimia or anorexia — it may be hard to understand why it’s not always easy to just, simply, not eat. Or not eat as much. 

But as someone who has struggled with my relationship with food for my entire life, staying motivated to eat well at each meal can be a daunting task. 

This all sounds like doom and gloom, but I promise you, it’s not. Because despite the battle, we do have control over our cravings. Cliche as it may sound, we can do anything we put our minds to. 

And one thing I’m putting my mind to, in addition to what I’m eating, is the exercise side of the health and fitness equation. 

After seeing the graphics below on Pinterest, I set my alarm for 5:15 with a plan to get up and run before work tomorrow. I’ve been working out each week, but not as often as I’d like to. 

So here’s a little workout inspiration for us all. Happy Wednesday! 



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Splurge v. Save: Plaid Pants

Today’s post has a lot to do with your personal taste. As I said before in a previous Splurge v. Save post, many times the value of investing in a classic item that you’ll wear for years to come feels worth it, while you may want to save on trendier pieces. 

Plaid pants are one of those items that may be out of your comfort zone — you may see them as hot right now, as is everything plaid, but not something you see yourself wearing down the road. 

Still, quality is a big consideration when it comes to buying pants. The fit is everything, and sometimes a little extra dough goes a long way in pants that retain their shape and fall nicely. 

These wider leg pants from Lane Bryant are gorgeous and super flattering ($69.95).   

And these Old Navy pixie pants are fun, a little slimmer cut (available in plus and straight sizes) and you can choose from several different plaids at roughly $38 per pair. 

Are you feeling plaid pants? Do you feel they are more classic or trendy?

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What I Want Now: Camo

Here’s a trend that I actually love, but don’t actually own any of: camo print.

I love some of the interpretations of the print, and these are three pieces I would love to add to my closet!

Sequin skirt
This skirt from Lane Bryant is so chic and so much fun! It’s on sale right now for $75.


Cozy sweater
I love the swirls of this camo print from Mossimo at Target, and at only $24.99, the price is right!


Slinky dress
This hot little number from Eloquii is by far my favorite — and it’s technically animal print, not camo! But I love how at once glance it could be one or the other. And that slit! ($99.90)


Do you own any camo print? How do you style it?

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Weight-Loss Accountability Tools: Part II

Last week I wrote about one way I am trying to hold myself accountable to my fitness and health goals. I’ve been having a lot of fun checking in on the activity of the community on DietBet.

Here are other ways I use to keep myself accountable — and not surprisingly, most of them involve community! I find having the support of others is vital to working toward my goals.

  1. Stellar Fit Fam: 
    Not long ago I started a Facebook group called the Stellar Fit Fam, and I have thoroughly enjoyed cheering on other members with their fitness goals, exchanging ideas for healthy recipes and just voicing our thoughts and concerns. It’s a safe place where we all believe in body positivity and I have learned so much from everyone already! Please feel free to join us, if you’re interested!
    stellar fit fam
  2. #NoCheatNovember:
    Earlier this month I found a hashtag on Instagram for #NoCheatNovember and discovered a group of people working to keep their nutrition goals in check. I decided I would work to only eat within my Weight Watchers daily and weekly points — no cheating! And actually, I wanted to strive to have weekly points leftover. Thankfully I’ve done well so far — last week I had 22 points left!
  3. 20 #stellarmiles in November:
    I set a goal to run or walk 20 miles this month, and I’m already at 10 miles as of the halfway point, which feels great! Most of these miles came from walking, so I intend to ramp up the running for the last two weeks in preparation of the Mustache Dache 5k.
    Welcome to November! My challenge this month is to walk/run 20 miles. Will you join me? {Blog post link in bio} #stellarmiles #november20 #walk #run #fitness #fitblog
  4. Enlisting a friend:
    The best thing about all of my accountability goals is the community of friends/families/readers who have joined in and provide support along the way. One of my closest friends has started a Google doc for us to share and help each other’s weight-loss goals. We track the foods we eat each day, and our activities (we both happen to be doing Weight Watchers), and we write our weekly goals, check in midweek and do a follow-up at week’s end. It’s so great to have that someone to confide in! I think this would work for any eating plan you choose to do.

So these four, with the DietBet, are the accountability tools I’m employing right now to keep me on track.

How do you stay on track? Do you have other accountability tools that you can recommend?

Posted in Accountability, Fitness, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Running, Stellar Fit Fam, Walking, Weight Watchers, Weight-loss, Workouts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments