April 16, 2018

It Took Me By Surprise

It Took Me by Surprise - One mother's unexpected lesson about siblings

When my husband and I decided to have another child, I envisioned moments of sibling love. When the kids would play on the floor together with cherub-like smiles and laughter that carried from one edge of the house to another. A little more than two-and-a-half years later, I’ve learned those Norman-Rockwell moments are few and far between. More often than not, when my children do actually play together, it turns into some rendition of StarWars or Power Rangers, and anything worth swinging becomes a lightsaber or sword. Instantly, my once comfortable couch transforms into a springboard of propulsion to help them skyrocket through the galaxy (aka a trampoline). 

But sometimes through the noise and inevitable destruction, which is bound to ensue when they find themselves in the same room, there is a glimpse. A small glimpse mind you, but a glimpse nonetheless; of two brothers playing in harmony with the uninhibited imagination found only in young children. They build Lego cities where dinosaurs roam, and army men rule. They construct winding trains with tracks going from one room to the next. They sit and play their Kindles next to one another snuggled on a couch sharing one cozy blanket between the two of them. Their handmade pillow forts quickly transform into a rocket ship and then into a playhouse, and then a city bus or firetruck. These moments melt my heart, and I cherish them dearly, but as they become more frequent, I've noticed another change.

I've become less important. 


Now I don't want to overexaggerate here, my children are still young, and they need me for many things - laundry, food, boo boo kisses, bedtime stories, and the list goes on - but they do not need me to play. They do just fine on their own, without the outside influence of closeminded adult imaginations; they do fine without me.


I was watching them play together outside the other day, and it hit me, I never expected that adding more people to our family would create a void for me. I had always imagined the sheer size of an expanding family would lend itself to a feeling of total inclusiveness, and most of the time it does, but it also fosters an environment for imaginations and personalities to flourish independent of the other people in the family unit. I had assumed my boys would play together, but I thought I would be a part of it. The truth is, I just complicate things most of the time. I've discovered a small sense of newfound loneliness, but it is as fleeting as a gust of wind when I realize it comes from the very thing I desired for them - they find enjoyment in the company of their sibling. They do occasionally ask me to make a cameo appearance during their playtime charades, that is until they banished me to the land of the bad guys, but for the most part, they play with me. Now my evolving role is to sit back, break up the sword fights, encourage them to play together, and acknowledge their progress and accomplishments.


Smiling brothers in Radio Flyer wagon with fall flowers

This is just one of the innumerable steps required to let them grow up and transition into young boys, then young men, and then men of character, but I want to acknowledge it because it took me by surprise. I'm sure this is something all parents experience at one point or another; a stage of their child's life passing, seemingly large or even insignificant, so quickly or unexpectedly it seems to happen overnight. One moment they are tiny little beings which rely on you for every conceivable need and the next they are standing with a set of car keys ready to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle. The reality can be quite shocking if you aren't aware it's happening. 

I realize as a mom there will be many more opportunities for me to be shocked by the unexpected realization my kids are growing up and the arms of the clock pass much more quickly than I desire. Heck, they aren't even in kindergarten yet, so there is a long road in front of me full of surprises with unforeseen twists and turns. I'm looking forward to navigating the changes and watching how we all weather each stage of childhood, even knowing that my motherly role will change just as rapidly as they do. 


Brothers looking into horizon at the fire station

I need to learn and accept, that as my everyday role as a playmate and parent may change, but my priorities to lovingly guide my children through life via my words and persistent example do not. Parenting a two-year-old may look vastly different than traversing the terrain of preteens (I guess I'll learn that soon enough) and while my participation may not be wanted at times, the fact that I observe and influence during times of peril and praise in moments of triumph should be unwavering. It just amazed me, that at such young ages, this lesson has already presented become obvious, maybe it's just God's way of preparing me for what's ahead.

If you have more than one child was there one particular change which has come as a surprise to you in your parenting journey? Please share in the comments below so we can learn from your experience.

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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March 21, 2018

A Bit More Than Basic Salmon Recipe

Disclosure: Some of the links in this a Bit More Than Basic Salmon Recipe post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

A Bit More than Basic Salmon Recipe

We still have a couple weeks left of Lent, and if you are in search of a great, family-friendly fish recipe than look no further. This, A Bit More Than Basic Salmon Recipe is a healthy and delicious twist on basic oven baked salmon. It requires less than 10 minutes of prep, and then you put it in the oven and walk away. It's a satisfying weeknight meal any time of year.

Utilizing classic flavors, this salmon recipe can also serve as an adventurous transition for kids looking to move from fish sticks to fish filets. My little ones, who love fried fish, both ate this after a little coercing. They also quickly discovered how yummy salmon can be if you dress it up right and don't overcook it. For some picky eaters, fish can be a tricky meal, but this light take on a timeless recipe offers an easy to prepare and palatable first step into seafood.

Pro Tip: You know salmon is overcooked if it smells fishy. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 salmon filets

Ingredients: 
1 lemon (1 tsp lemon zest and 2 tsp lemon juice)
1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 TBS garlic-herb butter, room temperature (I use Kerrygold)
4 salmon filets (5-6 oz/each), skin removed
4 TBS mayonnaise
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Even space the salmon filets on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl mix the panko bread crumbs and butter with a fork, then set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and pepper. Reserve 2 TBS of the sauce mixture, then brush the remaining sauce evenly onto the salmon filets.

Gently press the butter and bread crumbs evenly onto the salmon, so it forms an even crust. Bake the fish for 15-20 minutes or until fish is fully cooked (145 degrees).

Before serving, drizzle the fish with the reserved sauce mixture. 


A Bit More than Basic Salmon Recipe

If you are looking for some other tasty, family-friendly recipes, then you'll definitely want to look here. Do your children eat fish and if so what are some of your favorite transitional recipes for kids?

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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March 7, 2018

An Honest Hello Fresh Review

I was in no way sponsored or asked to write this Hello Fresh Review. I just believe there are a lot of misconceptions about meal and recipe delivery services and I wanted to give an honest review of my experience with this service provider. 

I hardly notice the ads which run along the flanks of my Facebook page or the ones draped over the top of almost every news article and blog post. They are so commonplace I, like most computer-obsessed Americans, no longer click through based on the promise of 40% off or a free widget with purchase. But I have noticed a trend when I go down the rabbit hole known as the interweb; there are more than a couple grocery and meal home delivery services, and they are all targeting me with their internet advertising.

An Honest Hello Fresh Review

I've had friends and neighbors mention these meal delivery services to me, but I shied away, afraid that if I fell into the habit of having my meals left at my doorstep, I would somehow be jeopardizing my love of creating regular, fresh homemade meals. I had some preconceived and unsubstantiated notion that all of these services were cookie cutter versions of off-the-shelf suburban meals which lacked soul and substance. I was wrong in many regards.

I recently took a chance and tried Hello Fresh, and for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here's how it works:

1. You pick your plan and your weekly quantity. There are three different options - Classic Plan, Veggie Plan, and Family Plan. We chose the Family Plan and opted to receive 2 meals each week, each portioned for 4 people. Since I have two little ones, we have a healthy amount of leftovers with each meal. Each time the leftover dinner heated up nicely for day two.

2. Choose your meals. Each week there are five different meals from which you can choose. You merely go to hellofresh.com, sign into your account, and make your selections. When you are looking through the options, you can read through the recipe and instructions. There is also a list of all the required instruments and any additional materials you might need for each recipe. I have an extensive pantry and spice cabinet, which I can tap into when necessary, but you will likely need salt, pepper, olive oil, sugar, and butter for any given recipe. Also, you can choose to "Skip the Week" for any reason. I really like this feature since I have a family of picky eaters and it can be challenging to find two out of five meals which work for all four of us.

3. Wait for your groceries. After you place your order, you just sit back and relax, especially since you are saving yourself time at the grocery store. You might just have half a second more to do that certain something you've put off for the last couple months, or not, no one is judging you.

4. The delivery. When your Hello Fresh box arrives, it will be packaged in a brown box and clearly marked. Inside there is plenty of insulation to ensure your food is fresh upon delivery. The meals are wrapped individually in brown paper bags, and all the meat for the meals are located underneath the brown bags, sandwiched between two big frozen insulated liners.

5. Move the food to the fridge. Make sure you properly store your meals and ingredients. I move all the bags and meat to the refrigerator until I'm ready to prepare them for dinner.

6. Make dinner. Once you're ready to cook, you'll want to locate the 11 x 8.5" recipe card which corresponds to the night's desired meal. The recipe cards include clear written instructions paired with step-by-step images to help guide you through the cooking process.

7. Serve dinner and enjoy. Once you've assembled the meal according to the instructions and plated it, sit down and enjoy a well-balanced, homecooked meal.

An Honest Hello Fresh Review - Potato Chowder with spring mix

After my first two weeks using Hello Fresh, I'm mostly impressed, but there are some aspects I didn't love. Here is a list of some of my personal pros, cons, and misconceptions:

PROS
  • As I mentioned my family is comprised of picky eaters and this allows us to try new recipes, which might not otherwise be on our radar. 
  • The meals are well balanced, with correctly portioned proteins and lots of fresh veggies.
  • The recipes are easy to follow, and you can save the recipe cards so you can recreate the meal in the future. 
  • You can review the entire recipe ahead of time, and you can make the recipes without having them delivered. If you really want to try three or four of the five meals, you'll need to do some of the grocery shopping, but the recipe is available to you to prepare it at home. 
  • While the ingredients are provided, you are still cooking each meal yourself. It really doesn't take away from the feeling of proving your family with a healthy, home-cooked meal.
  • You can look at the available menu options for the next month if you are a super planner. 
An Honest Hello Fresh Review - Ingredients

CONS
  • I've been a little suspect about the freshness of some of the ingredients. For example, one of the recipes included asparagus, and on the outside of the package, it said, "Best By" and listed the day the Hello Fresh box was delivered. Typically I do not plan on cooking the meals the day of delivery since I don't know what time the box will arrive. I was surprised they didn't choose to send produce which was best by a date later in the week to ensure freshness. I also once received chicken which smelled a bit. 
An Honest Hello Fresh Review - Questioning Freshness because of "Best By" Date
  • There are a lot of potatoes. I grew up in a potato-loving home. We had some version of potato with most of our meals, but when it comes to a meal delivery service, I would except a little more diversity. I want to caveat this and make sure you know there are different types of potatoes, sweet and Yukon, and they are prepared differently from recipe to recipe. I wish there were some more recipes with pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, or some other starchy options besides just potatoes.
  • One of my meals required eggs, and one of the two eggs was cracked when I received it. As I noted above, I have most of the ingredients on hand, so I just grabbed an egg from the refrigerator, but it did run onto some of the other package ingredients. 
  • I'd like to see some fish options for the family meal plan, especially since it's Lent and many families do not eat meat on Fridays during this time. 
  • We don't have as many scheduled leftover nights.

MISCONCEPTIONS
  • I thought the food was delivered prechopped and ready to cook, that's not the case. You still need to prep your ingredients. Some of the components come premeasured in their packaging but not all of them.
An Honest Hello Fresh Review - Asparagus and lemon wedges - meal prep
  • These meal options really do not cut down on time spent in the kitchen. There are multiple steps, and each recipe that I've made takes about 45 minutes of combined prep and cooking time.
  • I cook a lot, and I like to experiment with different flavors and techniques. I've actually learned a couple things from following the recipes, and I honestly didn't expect to learn anything new.
An Honest Hello Fresh Review - Steak, potatoes and green beans

Overall, I'm happy with our experience with Hello Fresh, and I am going to continue to have meals delivered in the foreseeable future. I doubt I'll keep it up long term but for the next couple months its fun to stretch my family outside of their comfort zone and learn a couple new recipes. 

If you'd like to give Hello Fresh a try, you can save $40 off your first week by using this link: Save $40 off one week of Hello Fresh  

An Honest Hello Fresh Review - The Pros, The Cons, and the Misconceptions.

Have you ever tried Hello Fresh or any of the other home meal delivery options? If so, I'd love to know your thoughts and recommendations. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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January 18, 2018

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - Book Review

Disclosure: Some of the links in this Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - Book Review post are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - Book Review on www.Everyday-Thoughts.com - Historical Fiction, 4.5/5 stars and a Must Read.

Let me wipe away my overly emotional tears so I can compile my thoughts. I just finished the book, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, and I have the same sensation I get after watching an emotionally-trying movie.

When I decided to start reading Before We Were Yours, I had no idea what it was about, I only knew it was based in Memphis. Since I have ties to Memphis, and the book was getting rave reviews, I gave it a shot. Let me start by saying I cannot believe this is actually based on historically accurate events and while living there for over 10 years I was utterly ignorant of it all.

Wingate tells the story through two different perspectives exposed side by side, alternating from one chapter to another. One is of a young girl in the early 1940's, Rill Foss who later ends up going by the name May Weathers; and the other is a modern day narration of a young woman, Avery Stafford. The beautifully written novel ultimately ties the two stories together but not until the very end.

The reader is introduced to Rill and her youthful adventures living on a shanty boat floating down the Mississippi Delta with her parents, Queenie and Briny, and her siblings, Gabion, Camellia, Fern, and Lark. The seven of them clearly live an impoverished life, but they are rich in love. The gypsy family parks their floating home on the banks of Delta in Memphis and shortly after that Queenie is swept off to the local hospital with birthing complications while delivering her twins - a boy and a girl. In the commotion of the crisis, the other five children are left onboard the Arcadia (the name of the shanty boat) to await the return of their parents. However, it is the police who come knocking and eventually corral the children to what the reader later learns is The Tennessee Children's Home Society run by Georgia Tann.

It is at this point in Rill's story, Wingate creatively and believably interweaves fact with fiction. The Tennessee Children's Home Society was, in fact, an orphanage in Shelby County (Memphis). It is historically documented as an institution notorious for its abuse of children while funneling them through a black market adoption network which catered to high-end clientele like Hollywood's elite, people of high political standing and influence, and the extremely wealthy. While in the care of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, the children experience the atrocities of everything from bullying and molestation, to confinement and starvation to even death.

In the story, the five children quickly learn they need to behave if they hope to evade the torment and punishment customary for children at the orphanage. Their names are changed, and they are paraded in front of potential parents, like a steer at a cattle show, in hopes their cherub-like blond curls and blue eyes capture the heart of a prospective parent. In a heartbreaking twist of events, one of the children disappears after a run in with a pedophile handyman who lives at the orphanage, Mr. Riggs. Then one after another the children are sold to the highest bidder and adopted to unknowing families who are told stories of needy children, with well-educated parents lost to some unforeseen tragedy. All of the stories and the paperwork which backs them up are fictionalized parts of Georgia Tann's elaborate black market scheme.

While this story unfolds, the reader also learns of Avery Stafford, a modern-day D.C. attorney, and daughter of a prominent South Carolina Senator. Avery is an ambitious young woman being groomed to follow in the footsteps of her father. After her father's health complications become known to her, she returns home to South Carolina to travel the state with him and follow him from political appearance to political appearance. It is along this journey she meets an elderly woman who leaves an undeniable impression on her. How the two stories come together will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Wingate, interweaves romance, family drama, fact fiction, and suspense throughout the tales of these two women.  If you are looking for a great book based on historical events, then add this one to your reading list this year. I highly recommend Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. I give it 4.5/5 stars.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - Book Review on www.Everyday-Thoughts.com - Historical Fiction, 4.5/5 stars and a Must Read.

What are you reading? Join me on Goodreads (a social network for book lovers) to see what I have on my reading list this year.
________

If you love to read check out some of my other book reviews here:

World War II Page Turners
The Pearl that Broke its Shell
Nourished by Lia Huber
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Left to Tell Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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December 20, 2017

Twice Baked Potato Recipe

I grew up on the stereotypical midwestern diet of meat and potatoes. In fact, I remember, fondly, having potatoes with almost every meal as a youngster. Thankfully, that menu has not carried over into adulthood - I mean I'm already having enough trouble losing weight, adding potatoes to my meal plan 4-5 times a week would be a hurdle I doubt I could overcome. Regardless, I still love potatoes of all varieties - mashed, scalloped, whipped, baked, fried, broiled, grilled. I'm starting to feel like Bubba Gump talking about all the different variations of how you can serve shrimp, so I'll stop, but you get the point.

I recently shared my Twice Baked Sweet Potato Recipe which is perfectly portioned because no one else in my family likes sweet potatoes, so it's always a personal treat when I make them. Regular twice baked potatoes, on the other hand, are a family favorite at my house. In fact, almost every year for my husband's birthday they are the one thing he requests. And it wouldn't feel like the holidays if the menu didn't include twice baked potatoes and brussels sprouts - a true sign Christmas has arrived. So this holiday season I want to share with you a recipe you are sure to find served at our house this year and for many, many years into the future. Of course, they will be topped with crispy bacon, cheese, and chives; because yea... bacon.

You can hit the gym in the new year, for now, just enjoy!

This Twice Baked Potato Recipe is ideal to serve as a side during the holidays, for birthdays, or for those evenings when you want a comforting meal sure to stick to your bones.


This Twice Baked Potato Recipe is ideal to serve as a side during the holidays, for birthdays, or for those evenings when you want a comforting meal sure to stick to your bones.

Prep Time: 1 hour minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-5 large potatoes

Ingredients: 
5 Large Potatoes (about 1/2 lb each)
1/4 C milk
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C butter, softened
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 TBS chives
12 oz fully cooked bacon, chopped and divided
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash your potatoes and poke holes along the tops of each one. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Cut an oval shape out of the top of each potato and remove the skin. Then, using a spoon carefully remove the inside of the potato and transfer it to a bowl. Be sure to leave a thin layer of flesh between the skin, about 1/4 inch, so it is not too delicate to handle.

Into the bowl with the potato add the milk, sour cream, butter, half the bacon, half of the cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Transfer the potato mixture into a piping bag. You can prepare up until this point ahead of time to make meal prep and entertaining a snap.

This Twice Baked Potato Recipe is ideal to serve as a side during the holidays, for birthdays, or for those evenings when you want a comforting meal sure to stick to your bones.

Change the oven to 350 degrees. Line up the potato skins on a cookie sheet. Pipe the potato mixture into 4 of the potato skins. You'll have 5 potato skins, but I usually make one extra in case a skin is punctured. Allow the potato mixture to overflow out the top of the potato. Cover each potato with the remaining cheese and bacon. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until hot throughout. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

This Twice Baked Potato Recipe is ideal to serve as a side during the holidays, for birthdays, or for those evenings when you want a comforting meal sure to stick to your bones.

I think I could eat potatoes every day if you made me, but my favorite way to enjoy them is probably twice baked.

What are some of your holiday must-haves when it comes to meal planning?

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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December 12, 2017

Give the Gift of Time with Jord Wood Watches

This is a sponsored post for which I have received free product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.  

Give the Gift of Time with Jord Wood Watches this holiday season. Plus save 25% instantly (through 12/15/17) with link in blog post.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family, friends, personal reflection and growth, faith, and an intense sense of nostalgia. Between baking Christmas cookies, decking the halls, and attending school Christmas pageants with little ones reenacting the real reason for the season and then joyously singing the Little Drummer Boy; it can be hard to consistently be a thoughtful gift giver. We have so many other things which preoccupy our thoughts and demanding our time and attention. Not to mention, it is easy to become jaded by all the over-the-shelf solutions for the mom, man, or teen in your life. It seems like you have to pick one of the top ten items that appear on some magazine gift list and hope your recipient falls into that preconceived box - because all moms want candles and bubble bath and all men need a beard grooming kit or a new golf club right?

Wrong!

This year gift giving doesn't need to be so stressful. At least not if you have someone on your list who needs the gift of time.

Give the Gift of Time with Jord Wood Watches this holiday season. Plus save 25% instantly (through 12/15/17) with link in blog post.

Jord Wood Watches are a classic gift option with a unique touch. They are all expertly crafted from a beautiful selection of exotic woods. The internal mechanisms are Swiss-made and self winding, so they have a timeless touch of quality which has been trusted for generations. Jord Wood Watches can be engraved which gives each timepiece an extra-special touch and sentiment. There's a great selection of wooden watch options for both men and women, so there's really something for almost everyone on your gift list this year, young and old alike.

I have been a long-time lover of Jord Wood Watches. I've been wearing my Cora watch almost every day for the last two years, and I recently got a new, larger style Frankie in Ebony and Gold. I can say whenever I wear one of my Jord Wooden Watches I get compliments on it. Most recently, I've had an older woman stop me while I was grocery shopping and then a young teenager who worked at a photo center comment on the timelessness and craftsmanship of the watch.

Give the Gift of Time with Jord Wood Watches this holiday season. Plus save 25% instantly (through 12/15/17) with link in blog post.

Jord Wood Watches come in a gorgeous wooden box, which is almost a gift in and of itself, so if you aren't the gift wrapping type, a gift from Jord is sure to impress, even without all the frilly wrapping and ribbons.

Give the Gift of Time with Jord Wood Watches this holiday season. Plus save 25% instantly (through 12/15/17) with link in blog post.

This holiday season, do not settle for a one-size-fits-all gift. Explore some of the fantastic options from Jord. 

Also, did I mention you can save 25% on your purchase between now and December 15th, just by clicking this link? So hurry and place your order now so it will arrive before Santa Clause comes down the chimney. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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December 7, 2017

Update Your Winter Wardrobe With These Key Staple Pieces

Disclosure: "Update Your Winter Wardrobe With These Key Staple Pieces" is a sponsored post from Pink Coconut Boutique, and I received compensation for publishing it. The opinions expressed in this post are not my own, but I felt like their products align with my brand and I want to make sure I'm always keeping my readers updated on the latest trends in fashion, food, parenting techniques, and prayerful practices. I hope you enjoy! 
________________________

When winter is approaching, it’s time to take a peek inside your closet. Naturally, with cooler temperatures on the way, you’re going to be swapping out your sandals, lightweight summer dresses, and shorts for warmer apparel, like sweater tops and stylish booties. 

Cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t still look chic, either. In fact, wintertime offers some unique opportunities for creative layering. And who doesn’t like an excuse to invigorate their wardrobes with some new pieces? 

If you’re ready to rotate your closet over for the winter months, make sure to incorporate these key staple pieces. To boot, we’ve included some style tips on how to wear them, no matter the occasion.


Sweater Tops
It doesn’t get much cozier than a sweater in winter — and the good news is, you can still look super stylish wearing one.

Consider a sweater with shoulder cutouts, which has a vibe that’s subtly sultry but still casual enough for daytime, especially with patterned leggings and flat booties.

A simple V-neck sweater gets a spunky upgrade with lace-up detailing at the top — and all you need are skinny jeans and over-the-knee boots to pull the whole look together.

Don’t overlook a simple wide-sleeved cardigan, either. Wear it open over a long-sleeved knit top with rolled up faded jeans and pointy flats, and then top it all off with some simple crystal or pearl stud earrings. It’s a combo that manages to be both classic and contemporary.

Dressy Leggings
Who says leggings are just for the gym? Sure, this piece is perfect for lounging, but in the right fabrics and with the right details, they can be downright dressy. 

Colored leggings, for example, have a little more intrigue than basic black. For the winter months, consider a pair in burgundy, eggplant, or a deep green. They’re stunning even with a long, slouchy sweater or blouse in a soft hue like cream, taupe, or gray. Top it all off with a belted wool coat and some ankle boots for a look that’s totally on-trend.

There’s nothing wrong with neutral leggings, either. Black is a stellar staple to have in your closet because it’s obviously ultra-versatile. You can make black leggings look instantly elegant with a lace top and pointy pumps, or dress them down with a floral blouse and flats. The bottom line is that you’re bound to get a lot of wear out of them. 

Charcoal gray is slightly less dramatic than black, and also an ideal pick for winter. Gray leggings look phenomenal with graphic tees and slip-on sneakers for a more casual look, but can also be dressed up with a white silk tunic and crimson platform heels, for example.

This winter, seek out a pair or two of leggings that have some subtle detailing on them, which have a little added visual interest. Studs, embroidery, and distressed slits or tears all make for an edgier pair of leggings that you can sport with a graphic T-shirt and blazer to strike a compromise between professional and rock ’n’ roll.

Booties
If there’s one style of shoe you’re going to want a pair (or three) of this winter, it’s booties. They’re practical in the colder months for obvious reasons, but they’re also super cute with a wide variety of ensembles. Plus, they come with an endless array of heel heights, toe shapes, materials, and details, so you’re bound to find a pair that works for every outfit and occasion.

You can’t beat a flat brown leather bootie with distressed jeans and an oversized scarf for the ultimate low-key daytime outfit. On the other hand, suede booties in charcoal gray or jet black look stunning with a sweater dress, opaque tights, and a statement necklace — and that’s an ensemble you can easily wear to work at a casual office or on a date. 


You’ll also find that moto booties add edge to just about anything, whether gray leggings and a tunic or a cowl-neck top and a midi skirt. 

Velvet tops
There’s no doubt that velvet just oozes winter charm. So this season, embrace the luxe fabric with some new velvet tops, which give any ensemble a dose of understated glamour. 


We love a long-sleeved off-the-shoulder velvet top with black skinny jeans and wedges for date night or drinks with your girlfriends, or a velvet cardigan with a basic tee and boyfriend jeans for a more laid-back, yet still fashion-forward outfit.

A flutter-sleeved velvet T-shirt has a romantic look, peeking out from under a wool parka. Pair it with leather leggings for an edgy vibe, or gray denim for a softer look.

Tunics
Talk about versatility! Depending on the length, a tunic can be worn as a top or a dress, layered over hosiery or leggings, and worn for chill daytime activities, as well as dressier evening affairs.

During winter, go for a tunic in a soft hue like dusty mauve, purple, or mocha — crochet trim or floral lace along the neck or sleeves will add even more femininity to this piece. You can sport it over leggings or tights with slouchy suede boots for a boho look, or with nude pumps when you’re going out at night.

A velvet tunic with long bell sleeves has a subtle ‘70s feel, but it feels instantly modern when worn with wedge boots and textured tights.

Florals aren’t just for spring and summer. Go ahead and slip on a tunic with a flower print — with a black, navy, or otherwise dark background, it’s still seasonally appropriate. Then pair it with knee-high riding boots and an infinity scarf, and you’re ready to roll.
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Be Blessed,
Brittany
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