I’VE MOVED – STYLED BY CLAIRE

Visit StyledbyClaire.com

Hello, everyone!

I’m so excited to tell you about a project I’ve been working on since I last posted! After starting A Hot Mess and really getting into blogging, I realized there were a whole lot of things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. While I thought I spent a lot of time and energy putting this page together, I began to realize I put too effort into some of the wrong things and too little effort into what I should have. Not only that, though, I also began getting extremely caught up in what others bloggers were saying was the right way to things, or the right way to design things, or the right way to brand things. I found myself trying to fill my page with what was “right” and would bring more page views, not with what I truly enjoyed writing about.

Que: Styled by Claire. While my next page will share some of the same content, I intent to focus a little more on fashion and style. Not only do my style posts here on A Hot Mess get the most views, but it’s also my favorite thing to write about. I’m so excited to turn this page and truly begin my blogging journey!

Splurge or Save: Summer Sunglasses

If there’s one way to easily add pizazz to any outfit this summer, it’s with a sassy pair of sunglasses. Sometimes, though, a pair of sunglasses will be “in” one summer and “out” the next– so why spend big bucks on something that’ll be out of style before you can wear them next year? On the other side of the coin, though, I also understanding wanting to invest in a nice pair if they’re something you’re going to wear every day. So, I have put together a spend and splurge list of a few pairs of my favorite sunglasses this season; I picked my favorite designer pairs and found cheaper versions for a much lower price. Check out the slide show below to see my favorite styles, then keep on readin’ to find out where to shop!

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WHERE TO SHOP.

Splurge: QUAY “All My Love”

Coming in several colors, these sunglasses are feminine chic with their simple, cateye shape. They come in transparent fades as well as mirrored fronts and are sure to add colorful personality to any outfit. Save: Forever 21 “MELT Flat Cateye”

Splurge: Ray-Ban “Round Metal” (Gold)

I mean, maybe I’m biased (I have these hehe), but I’m in love with these. They’re simple and chic, but their fun and round shape keeps them on trend. Not to mention, they’re incredibly light weight so they’re comfortable to wear all day. Save: Forever 21 “Replay Vintage Round”

Splurge: RAEN “Scripps”

These sunglasses come in a few dark colors, which makes them perfect for girls with an edgier style. Not to mention, they are fitting for any occasion from relaxing on the beach to a day out hiking. Save: Forever 21 “Mirrored Circle”

Splurge: QUAY “French Kiss”

Blush, rosy pink is incredibly trendy this season, and these sunglasses do a perfect job of adding just the perfect pop to any outfit. They’re chic, stylish, and sweet, but the brow bar adds an element of edge that make them perfect for any outfit or style. Save: Nordstrom “Thin Brown Angular Aviator”

 

What’s your favorite way to add personality to your outfits? Leave a comment below!

claire

Can You Rock a Patterned Pant? (Hint: Yes)

DON’T FREAK.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… Patterns can be scary, especially with something as bold as a pant. But, fear not! A Patterned pant isn’t as scary as you think! Once you know how to easily pair this awesome statement piece to create an outfit, you’ll putting together tons of looks in no time.

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KEEP IT SIMPLE.

When I’m out shopping with friends and I point out patterned pants, the number one response I get is, “But what would I wear it with?” Easy– let the pants steal the show and pair them with a simple, solid top. Just like you would pair a flashy top with a simple bottom, look for a basic top to pair with your patterned pant.

Shop my Chelsea & Violet Printed Wide Leg Pant at Dillard’s (on sale for under $35!) , and look in your own closet before going out to find a new top to wear. A simple white t-shirt tied at the waist adds a casual flair, or try a cropped off the shoulder top for a little more sass.

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If you can’t find something in your own closet, don’t fret. I got my top a few years ago from an awesome boutique called Molly Green, and while they don’t have this (admittedly great) sweater tank anymore, they do have a ton of awesome basics up on their website that I think would pair great with any pair of patterned pants.

[Wade Top] [Malibu Cami] [Baylis Top] [Clematis Tank]

The only thing greater than how cute Molly Green’s clothes are, is their prices. Not so expensive that you’re going to spend an arm and a leg, but not so cheap that you have to worry about your clothes falling apart in the wash. Like I said, I got my top a few seasons ago and it’s help up extremely well. (Trust me, my friends and I BOTH wear it all the time…)

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If patterned pants aren’t your thing, I totally feel ya– what’s your favorite way to incorporate a little flash into your outfits? Let me know in the comments below! Happy styling!

claire

 

5 Ways to a Better Morning

MORNINGS CAN BE HARD.
STARTING A NEW ROUTINE CAN BE HARDER.

Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person who can really sleep in, even if I wanted to. That doesn’t exactly mean I’m an early “riser”, though. Even though I’m usually awake before 9:00 a.m., I spend a good amount of time laying in bed, snuggling Evie, playing on my phone, and being generally lazy until I feel like getting up. Or until Evie needs to go out, which ever comes first.

While I admit to starting my morning this way, I also recognize that it probably sets a horrible tone for my day. Studies show that getting up and out bed early correlates with better grades, enhanced productivity, and better mental health. So, I’ve decided to capitalize on my inability to sleep past the rooster’s crow and get into a better morning routine.

I know this will probably be a lot easier said than done, though. My bed is cozy. Like, really cozy and really hard to get out of. Plus, I’m going to have to break my already “routine” of laying in bed until the last possible second to start something new, which will probably be the hardest part. So, while I won’t have trouble with the actual waking up part, the getting up part is what has me worried.

Starting the morning off with a routine gives you control over your day from the second you wake up. By setting an efficient and healthy tone early with good habits and mindfulness, you can increase your productivity throughout the day. I always figured my love of naps was just a love of sleep, but maybe I feel so lazy throughout the day because I start my day lazily.

While early mornings are common when it comes to suggestions for when to perform a morning routine, if you’re a lover of late sleeping, don’t panic! The most important part if your routine is that you perform it right when you wake up. Besides, while there are benefits linked to waking up early, there’s nothing that really says what time of morning is perfect to start your day.

5 WAYS TO START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT.

1. FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE THAT GETS YOU GOIN’.

What gets you excited? What could you incorporate into your morning that would get you excited to get up and out of bed? Special coffee? Quiet, reading time? Exercise? For me, it’s a trip to McDonald’s. Every morning (I wish I was kidding…), I go to McDonald’s for a large Coke and an Egg McMuffin. Now, I know this isn’t the absolute healthiest meal to start my day, but it’s got a good balance of fat, protein, and starch. Plus, the caffeine in the Coke (unfortunately, I hate coffee) is what really wakes my mind up and helps me get ready to take on the day.

2. DON’T CHECK YOUR PHONE RIGHT AWAY.

Trust me, I’m just as guilty as you are– the VERY first thing I do when I realize I’m awake is reach for my phone and check my notifications. This study explains how technology is essentially hijacking our mind and keeping us slave to notifications; everything about our technology is designed to keep us logging back in.

By checking your phone right as you wake up, you’re framing your day around what you missed the night before. Instead, try turning your phone on do not disturb the night before, and don’t let yourself turn on notifications until after you’ve finished your routine. Try to align your morning more with your true needs, rather than with updating yourself on Instagram and Facebook.

3. GET SOME NATURAL LIGHT.

Opening the blinds or curtains first thing is amazing for making sure you don’t fall back asleep. Also, though, it’s proven that natural light is the best way to wake your brain up. The actual very first thing I have to do when I wake up and actually get up is take Evie outside to use the bathroom; when I take her around the block, I wake up past just getting my feet on the floor. It helps me get my brain moving and mind working towards getting ready to really start the day.

4. GET MOVING.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying you have to start running every morning and going to the gym. Heaven knows I’m not gonna start doing that– but at least stretching when you wake up has tons of benefits. It helps reduce stress, improve joint and muscle flexibility, and improve circulation. Not to mention, it improves posture and energy levels throughout the day.

I’ve really been itching to take up a daily yoga practice– do you have tips or advice on getting into yoga? I would love to hear them!

5. PLAN YOUR DAY.

This one seems obvious, but I actually am really bad about doing it. When I make a list of all the things I need to get done, I ALWAYS get more of them done instead of if I just let all the to-do items rattle around in my head all day. When I sit down and actively plan what I want to get done, what errands I need to run, and the school work I need to complete, I feel more organized in my day and I’m more likely to actually cross things off the list. If you want to hear more on my ideas on planning your day, check out my post here. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about simple ways to get organized right now.

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

What do you want to incorporate into your morning? What routine works best for you to get your juices flowin’ in the AM? I would love to hear! Please join the conversation with me below and comment how you start your day!

claire

Rocking the Off-the-Shoulder

One of my very favorite trends recently is the off-the-shoulder top. Truthfully, I have three different off-the-shoulder tops in my closet because I think it’s the perfect top to make it seem like you put more effort into your outfit than you really did. It’s so simple, but adds another level of chic to any outfit. I also love the little element of sexy it gives while still looking sweet.

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SWEET AND SIMPLE.

One of my favorite lines to shop is Chelsea & Violet at Dillard’s. They have an awesome price point and great, quality clothes that are always on trend. Shop my C & V top here (on sale for under $50!) and my shorts here. I absolutely love the floral details– 1) because I just love flowers and 2) I think they add a lil somethin’-somethin’ extra to what could have been a very basic element. I love to find basic pieces with a quirky aspect; I think it’s a great way to show off personality through style.

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OFF-THE-SHOULDER FOR ANY BODY TYPE.

The great thing about off-the-shoulder tops and dresses is there are tons of styles to fit any preference or body type.

ON A BUDGET. FULL OF PERSONALITY.

Check out this embroidered off-the-shoulder body suit from Forever 21 for under $40! I love the added embroidery across the chest and I think this could be a great “outfit maker”. Basically, you could throw this on with jeans or shorts and the outfit would be basically complete.

CHESTY LADIES.

While this is not me, I have lots of friends who are well endowed and I can empathize with the struggle you ladies go through. If you’re nervous about a lack of support with a strapless, off-the-shoulder top, try a cold shoulder! This style is awesome because you have support with the spaghetti straps, but can still show off your shoulders. I love this maxi dress (mauve <3) from Lulu’s and this colorful Billabong top.

BROAD SHOULDERS.

If the thought of showing off your shoulders makes you want to cringe, don’t turn your nose up just yet! Try a cold shoulder top with thicker straps– this gives the illusion of showing off your shoulders while only giving a peek and not really bringing them to the center of attention. Anthropologie has an awesome top here that comes in tons of colors for any occasion or mood.

What’s your favorite way to show some shoulder skin this summer? I would love to hear!

claire

 

 

The Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain

So, if you read my post here on how to spice up your summer, then you know I’ve been dying to visit the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain here in Knoxville. A little tidbit about me is that I love ice cream. Cones, sundaes, and milkshakes all make my heart soar, so it’s not a surprise that one of my goals this summer was to visit this new soda fountain.

I love anything and everything retro– and the Phoenix Pharmacy is everything retro. Not only is it a fully functioning and operational pharmacy, but they have a full menu of sundaes, milkshakes, and floats complete with bottled, vintage sodas to wash it all down. Trust me, with more than five specialty sundaes on the menu, making a decision on what to order was no easy task. Take a look at their Instagram and you’ll get just a taste of what they have to offer.

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CLASSIC BANANA SPLIT.

In the end, the Classic Banana Split won out. I couldn’t pass up this timeless combination of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream topped with strawberries, pineapples, and walnuts, and hugged by two halves of a banana. Not to mention– the finishing touch of whipped cream and cherries on top. The only thing that could do this sundae justice is going in to try it for yourself.

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MORE THAN JUST A PHARMACY AND FOUNTAIN.

Ice cream cravings and prescriptions aren’t the only thing you can get filled at Phoenix Pharmacy, though. They also have an assortment of retail candies and goodies that make perfect gifts for any occasion. They stock brands like Olive & Sinclair Chocolate, an artisanal chocolate company based out of Nashville, and Hammond’s Candies, a sweets company who has been making candy for over 90 years.

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I enjoyed every second of my visit to the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain. The atmosphere was fun and inviting, the ice cream was delicious, and the overall experience made for a wonderful day trip to Downtown Knoxville. Phoenix Pharmacy is definitely a destination worth visiting and an experience worth having. You can learn more about their day-to-day happenings and find ways to contact them on their Facebook.

What’s your favorite ice cream combo? Do you have a favorite ice cream destination in your town? I’d love to hear about it!

claire

3 Easy Ways to be More Organized Right Now + Mid-Year Resolutions

WELL, IT’S JUNE.

I don’t know how we got here, but some how, we’re already about half way through 2017. Anyone else feel like January was like, yesterday?

If you’re like me, you like to start things off fresh with the new year. Unfortunately, I’m not a naturally neat and tidy person. If I didn’t make the effort (which, to be honest, it’s an even split if I do or don’t), my room would be constantly in a state of disarray. I’m the type who has to make myself put things back where they go, instead of just throwing my shirt in the corner and putting all my odds and ends on my desk. So, with the new year, I wanted to be more disciplined on a more regular basis. My hope was that I would form organizational habits that would carry through the year, and hopefully the rest of my life.

That kind of happened. While, like most, I started out strong, my resolved quickly waned. The semester picked up, my out-of-class commitments started taking up a lot of my time, and organization fell to the way side. I found my floor usually full of clothes and my desk often cluttered with papers, books, and water glasses. I will say, though, that when I did have extra time, I think I did a good job of using it to get my ducks in a row.

Well, now it’s summer time– half way through the year, more time on my hands, and I’ve been revisiting my new year’s resolutions. My overall goal was to improve personal discipline; I wanted to more healthy when it came to all of my daily habits. From making my bed every morning to washing my face every night, I wanted to get into overall better daily habits. While I wouldn’t say that I completely failed at improving personal discipline, I definitely don’t think I’ve been living up to my own expectations in terms of carrying out my goal.

Welcome to my mid-year resolutions! I’m going to be revisiting a few of my goals for the year and revamping my resolve when it comes to executing them. I don’t believe it needs to be a new year to make positive changes– it doesn’t even have to be a new day! If there’s something in your life you want to change, decide now, and do it! There’s never a wrong time to decide to make improvements in your life.

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3 WAYS TO BE MORE ORGANIZED RIGHT NOW.

Changes don’t always have to be huge to make a big impact. There are little things you can do in your day-to-day that can improve your organization, which will in turn improve productivity. Being more organized makes it easier for your brain to think through things, and the easier you can think through things, the faster you can get them done.

1) MAKE TO-DO LISTS.

There’s just something satisfying about crossing items off a list. Not to mention, crossing the very last item off a list and seeing everything you’ve accomplished.

Creating a to-do list is a great way to streamline productivity. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, being able to physically see what you have to do makes it easier to plan and get things done. When I write everything out that I need to get done in a day, I’m personally waaay more likely to get all those things done than if I just let them float around in my head. I think this is a) because I can more effectively manage my time by seeing how many individual things I need to do, and b) because I’m probably going to be disappointed if I have to re-list something in the morning that I didn’t get done the day before.

With it being summer, it’s easy for me to put things off. Then put them off again, and again. Putting my to-do lists in a place where I see them constantly helps me to actually use them. Writing all my tasks down and stuffing it in the back of my planner won’t do me any good, but if my list is taped to my desk mirror and I see it six times throughout the day, I’ll be regularly reminded of what I need to get done. Post-it notes work great for to-do lists: they can stick anywhere and are small enough to not really get in the way.

2) USE A PLANNER.

Having a place to write all your dates makes a huge difference. Before my 2017 agenda came in the mail earlier in the year, I had assignments and meetings written down on a random piece of paper or floating down in my head and it was exhausting. I was constantly scared I was going to forget something, or an appointment would get lost when I transferred everything into my calendar.

Routinely using a planner takes the thinking out of your scheduling. Once I put a date in my calendar, I don’t think about it again until I see it coming up in the month. I don’t have to spend time wondering what I have going on next week, because I can just open my planner and see.

I use the AY Livewell Inkwell Flex Planner in Layered Hexagon. I love this planner because it’s got lots of space, but it’s not so big that I can’t throw it in my bag and go. Plus, IT’S LINED! I can’t stand not having lines and writing in a slanted line, so that was a big benefit for me. The Livewell Flex Planner also has a ton of other features including monthly mission boards, weekly goals, and daily habit trackers. If you’re on the market for a new agenda, I definitely recommend this one.

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I know that planners aren’t for everyone, though. If you want to be more organized, but haven’t had luck with agendas, I encourage you to do research on bullet journaling. This method is perfect for people who have trouble with structure and like to have things organized their own way. I tried this method for a while, and I loved how creative it allowed me to be every day, but personally, I needed something with a little more structure.

3) KEEP YOUR WORKSPACE CLEAN (OR FIND SOMEWHERE CLEAN TO WORK).

This one, based on what I just got through telling you above, is a little hypocritical. While I don’t always have a clean workspace, I can’t get things done unless I’m somewhere organized. If my room is a disaster, I either have to clean it to work in there or work at my dining room table.

I can’t focus on tasks at hand if I have mess around me– my mind is distracted and that’s the one time I can honestly relate to the phrase “mess equals stress”. If I have a ton of things on my plate, a mess around me is genuinely only going to add to my stress. Not to mention, mess is just a distraction in general. By eliminating that distraction, you’ll be more efficient and be able to get more done.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.

Although it’s not exactly the new year, it’s still not too late to revisit those changes you wanted to make for the better. While self-discipline was my overall goal, there were several other specific goals I had under that umbrella that I want to try to get back into., like cooking better food for myself and getting into a daily yoga practice.

It’s always good to reevaluate where you are with your daily habits and health; I’ve found that it’s so easy to go from having junk food every now and again for a treat to your diet becoming McDonald’s quarter pounders without even realizing it. A day off from making your bed turns into a week, into a month, into “when was the last time I made my bed?” Hopefully, by revisiting my New Year’s resolutions, I’ll be able to keep myself a big more in check. (A bit more disciplined, eh?)

What were some of your resolutions that you’ve fallen off the wagon with? I would love to hear them!

claire