Styling Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

‘Tis the season for the ever-so-hideous but necessary “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party. I can honestly say I have never have the liberty of attending. Or maybe I just never RSVP’d yes because the thought of physically putting one on repulsed me. Who knows. Anyway if you are one of the lucky ones to snag an invite this year, here are a few financially friendly picks from Walmart.

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  • If you’re going to do it, might as well do it right with this light-up Merry Christmas kitty sweater. It is the epitome of tacky and ideal for the look you are going for.

How To Style It: Throw on a cute pair of antlers, a pair of red leggings and brown booties.

And don’t forget your Christmas bulb earrings to go with.

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  • This is probably my favorite because one of my favorite Christmas movies is Elf! It’s probably one of the most acceptable of the ugliness.

How To Style It: Pleather leggings, gold heels or booties and a giant Poinsettia for your hair.

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  • Ok the style of this sweater is not so bad. It’s light and I really like the fabric. The tree is awful but the ribbon is cute.

How To Style It: Skinny jeans, brown booties and giant sparkly gold earrings or a mistletoe headband. I found mine at Francesca’s Closet.

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  • Finally, the inevitable sarcastic look for my sarcastic ladies, “Fleece Navidad” with a large, round sheep on it. I hate it. Haha.

How To Style It: Don’t wear it. JK! Black leggings, silver earrings and maybe a white pom pom pinned in your hair. I am all about hair accessories especially Christmas ones!

Good Luck! Report back!

Holiday Style for 2016

As we creep closer and closer to the holiday season I am sure most of you have been loading up your calendars with weekend parties and get-to-gethers! Not sure what to wear? Here are three of my favorite holiday party outfits!

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  1. This is classy and elegant. I would wear this one for a more formal cocktail party event. Tulle skirts are popping up everywhere right now and they are super feminine. I love that this model {or stylist} paired this with a tighter, mid-crop top to show off her waistline. Since it is black and white, throwing extra chunky jewelry on is a must. We can’t see above her neck but since she is wearing such a blinged-out necklace I would probably go with super-sized diamond studs and possibly a diamond headpiece of some sort. To top it off, a big diamond ring {real or fake is fine} and jump into your sequined pumps! That’s an outfit to die for right there! I can see it now, can you?!

**NOTE: if you want to add some color, slip into a red shoe or pop on some colored accessories.

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  1. This look is edgy and fun. We are loving the red of course. I also love when softer looking dresses are paired with a biker jacket and heels. She did this outfit right with the tights and booties. I would not wear full-on boots with this dress and be careful with the booties that you do wear, they should be a little more on the dressier side like hers, if not it will make the outfit more drab and take away from the sharpness.

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  1. The last look is for something a little lower key. You all know how I am pretty much obsessed with jeans and a blazer {be still my heart} so this is probably my favorite look out of the three. Ok and I need to find this white blazer immediately! I am crushing on this sequined top but I have a difficult time with sequined clothes. In some cases I feel like it makes me look a little chunkier than what I really am, and nobody wants that! So just make sure when you are selecting a top or a dress like this it is flattering and the sequence lay more flat instead of 3 dimensional.  I love light colors with dark blue jeans too, that’s like the whole softer side meeting a rougher edge, perfection! PICK NUMBER ONE!!

Happy Holiday-ing!!! XO
CHEERS!

A Tribute to Life for Ricky Howroyd

I will never forget the first time I met Ricky Howroyd. I don’t know the exact day but I do remember being in my apartment cooking salmon. He walked in and hugged me right away before even meeting me and sat right down at my counter. Geena, 19, my cousin who he was dating and who lived with me at the time went to change so they could go to dinner. Ricky sat and chatted with me about my cooking. He asked the kinds of questions that made me feel like he was genuinely interested in what I was doing, which in reality was just baking salmon! He told me he always tries to eat healthy and in his condition he especially does. Ricky had a very rare strand of cancer called NUT-midline carcinoma, growing rapidly throughout his body. He was in good spirits; I could tell he was really happy and appreciative to be with Geena which comforted me considering the last few guys she dated were not even close to par. The moment I knew how sincere and genuine this person sitting in front of me really was when he started going through my mail on the counter and talking to me about it. I tell his parents all the time, that was the minute I knew he was a beautiful soul. It sounds invasive and rude but not to me because that’s the type of person I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve so go through my mail and ask me 45 questions because that shows how much you really care and I will answer honestly and willfully.

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Ricky & Geena

When they left, I felt upset that I had not agreed to go with them, especially now. But, the moment Geena closed the door I sent her a text, “Well isn’t he a gem!” and her response, “are you being sarcastic?!” haha! Most of the time, I was, because I didn’t like any of the guys she dated. I am a very good judge of character and the last few guys were just not good enough, bottom line. I told her how serious I was and how happy I was that she had him in her life. After that I hung out with Ricky a few times but not as much as I should have or wish I did.

Thanksgiving week was tough for me, going through my own family heartache but also because Ricky’s condition had worsened in what felt like overnight. Geena spent most nights that week at the hospital with him but spent Thanksgiving weekend with me and my best friend from home so we could be together while we were both hurting. It was by far the most difficult, traumatic and lowest point in my entire life. Despite what I was going through, we made it through Thanksgiving weekend and things started to look up for Ricky.

Tuesday December 1 I got a text message from Geena saying that Ricky was dying and she was going to the hospital to say goodbye. My soul was crushed, my heart was slowly shattering. Ricky passed December 2, 2015 at 27 years old. When I received the text from Geena I was at my office Christmas party. I fell to the ground gasping for air, holding onto the bar chair thinking if I let go I would fall off the side of the earth. I had wonderful support around me, through the night and the next few weeks, Geena and I both did. I did not know Ricky very well at the time, but Geena being like a sister and roommate, whatever she went through, I went through too.


Geena’s birthday came & went the 10th of December, we had dinner at Ricky’s old place of employment, Ruth’s Chris and it was amazing. We felt the love and felt like he was really there right beside us.  His service was beautiful. It was held at his church, Grace Family. Hundreds of people poured into that church and in that moment I knew my gut feeling about that kind-hearted soul was absolutely accurate. You can really get an idea of the person someone is, by who they surround themselves with. What I saw and experienced, was nothing but smiling and love and support. Yes, it was horrifically and utterly one of the most heartbreaking days I have ever experienced but I felt an over pouring of light and warmth onto me that day in that church. Like our lives were about to be changed… and they were.

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In the months after Ricky’s passing I spent a lot of time with Geena supporting her and being a shoulder to cry on. I started going to Ricky’s church with her, Grace Family and became very close with Rick and Holly, his parents as well as his closest friends. We started spending every Sunday together at church, after church, praying and sharing stories about Ricky and just our daily lives. We genuinely all started caring for each other and at that point, I felt like I had never known someone better than I knew Ricky. Five of us even got baptized together; April 2 exactly 6 months after Ricky’s passing. Even though I only met that gentle-eyed, soft-hearted man a few times, and he is gone from the earth, I feel like I have known him for years. And I am pretty sure he played a hand in the miracle that changed my family’s life as well last Thanksgiving, so thank you Ricky.


It has been a year since you have been gone. Everyone misses you dearly and I wish I had gotten to spend more time with you. Geena and I have become like family to your dad and Holly and we just adore them. I don’t know what we would do without them. They are two of the strongest, most caring and generous people I have ever met in my life. They are always there when we need them, happy, sad, or angry, it doesn’t matter the time of day or condition we are in- they are there. I never hesitate for one second to pick up the phone and call. They have created something beautiful out of your story. They have started helping others to grieve and shown people like myself that even in the darkest times, God prospers and the light can still shine bright. You did this, you brought us all together and made us a family and I am sure you are here with all of us each and every day watching and smiling at your accomplishments. Your dad is very proud of the person you became in your time here but he is also proud of the miracles you have shown all of us from up there. When I wake, I am reminded to be grateful for each day because life truly is a precious gift. You have made me look at life differently; finding joy in the simple things, living presently in each moment with the people I love, finding true happiness in whatever God has presented me, to always pray first and never worry. We may not always be strong on our own, but we will always have our RICK STRONG!

 

Dining Disaster in Disney: an open letter to Tiffins

To Whom It May Concern,

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for your loved ones, the blessings in your life, and the food on your plate. Unfortunately, whether you stay home or travel for the day, there is always a chance for something to “go wrong”; this is what happened to us this year.

On this Thanksgiving, my family and I decided to make dining reservations at Disney World. We are all annual pass holders and we venture to each of the four theme parks quite often. We checked on countless menus before committing to a place everyone agreed on. Being that we were not celebrating a “traditional” Thanksgiving, we all wanted to try something new. We specifically sought out restaurants that did not have a changed menu for Thanksgiving. This left us with reservations at Tiffins, a new-ish African inspired restaurant in the Animal Kingdom. We were drawn to the menu because it had a variety of options including “Flash-fried Icy Blue Mussels” and “Whole-fried Sustainable Fish”. Everyone was excited to try something new this Thanksgiving.

We arrived for our reservations right on time at 3:00. When we proceeded to check in with the host, she told us her iPad was down and could not check us in. This was understandable as we had all owned, managed, or served in restaurants before and knew that these things can happen. We were then led to the front of Tiffins to be seated at our table and were told to wait for a text indicating that our table was ready. We all found this strange considering we had reservations and the majority of tables were empty. Once again, we were not overly disappointed, things happen in the restaurant industry. Everyone went outside to enjoy the views. We were notified our table was ready about 10 minutes later.

As we sat down and were handed a special Thanksgiving menu we noticed that many of the items were taken off. We asked our server for the regular menu to order from those items, and he said “yes, absolutely”. 15 minutes later, he came back to our table and notified us that the regular menu was actually not being served. The menu that we all had looked at on Tiffins webpage, even on Thanksgiving day, was not available to us. All of us had previously decided on what we wanted, and the majority of these items were not available. We were all disappointed to say the least. The chicken and duck were replaced with Thanksgiving turkey and the sustainable fish was nowhere to be seen. We called our waiter over again who was seemingly very frazzled despite having a handful of open tables. We explained to him why we chose this restaurant and the fact that the menu was never updated online, nor was there any indication it would be different. If every other restaurant on Disney property could handle showing there Thanksgiving menu, why couldn’t Tiffins, the Animal Kingdom’s priciest restaurant? The manager came over and told us we were out of luck and the menu was not going to change. He also said that the menu changes on a daily basis, which was obviously untrue. He then proceeded to say that he could “pull some strings and get us in” at the Rainforest Café. With all due respect, the Rainforest Café was definitely not what we had in mind for a Thanksgiving dinner. We respectfully declined and decided to stay in order to avoid eating a cheeseburger with French fries for Thanksgiving dinner. The manager then assured everyone that he would “take good care” of us.

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After the manager left, our server took 30 minutes to take our drink order in what was a seemingly empty restaurant. Another 10 minutes after initially taking our drink order, he came back to us to let us know that the beer we had ordered was actually not available either. He also brought the wrong wine to our table. At this point, everyone knew that this would be a Thanksgiving where something would “go wrong”. When he came back with the correct wine, after another 10 minutes, he went to pour the wine with no glasses on our table. He had to scramble around to muster the glasses we needed at our table. A little under an hour later, and we finally had our drinks.

Then came ordering our food, which we ordered immediately after getting our drinks to try and expedite everything. We chose the octopus for our appetizer, which consisted of about 3 tentacles for $16. We were disappointed with the price for the portion we received. Our main entrees followed about 30 minutes later. One person ordered the Thanksgiving meal, which she did not want but it seemed like the only replacement for duck. Two people settled on lamb and one other person decided on two appetizers since none of the Thanksgiving menu entrees were appetizing to him. We all finished our meals unsatisfied. Unsatisfied with the food, and unsatisfied with the service. Remember the manager that promised to “take good care” of us? We did not see him again. Considering how porous our service was, none of us were very surprised.

Our experience at Tiffins was far from the Disney label of “Fine/Signature Dining”. It was tremendously disappointing to see Disney fail at what they pride themselves on most, customer service. Having dined at countless Disney restaurants including Narcoossee’s, Artist Point, California Grill, Le Cellier, etc. I can undoubtedly say Tiffins is not on there level. I for one, will not be going back until Disney rectifies the glaring problems at Tiffins.

 

Thanksgiving in Disney World

We are headed to Disney for four wonderful, magical days over Thanksgiving! I am very delighted & merry with our travel plans, especially because the parks are covered in Christmas decorations, blaring We Wish You a Merry Christmas with everyone wearing costumes and holiday attire. It’s like a real-life heaven for me. What did I do when I found out we were going?! Of course went out and bought 5 different Disney Christmas shirts! Ok, maybe like 4 and a pair of ears! Here is what you need to pack if you are planning a Disney trip for the holidays.

In November/December in Florida during the day it’s usually mid to high 70s. Our week is actually high 70s low 80s but at night will drop to the 50s. I bought a good variety of tees, long and short sleeved.

Day 1- Thanksgiving Day in the Animal Kingdom
Weather High of 79 low of 61, Partly Cloudy

I bought a comfy cold-shoulder, cranberry colored dress to don with black leggings and flats. Obviously, dressing up in Disney is difficult because you are not going to wear heels. They are calling for a high of 79 on Thursday, so the 3-quarter-cold-shoulder dress is perfect for that weather. I also got an adorable black floppy hat that I am paring with my leopard flats to dress it up a bit. Make sure the shoes you do have are comfy and always carry a sweater or a hoodie on you for when the sun goes down. You never know if you are going to make it back to the hotel before the night-time spectaculars! 

Day 2- Hollywood Studios
Weather High of 81, low of 59

For Hollywood Studios I plan on wearing my Stitch “Yes Weekend” shirt from Walmart! I mixed up my tees a bit; a little Christmas here, a little Disney there. It will be reaching 81 however, in the morning it will be chilly. So I am of course bringing my trusty, soft-as baby’s bottom sweater! I am actually bringing two sweater-type items with me. Since I bought a bunch of super cool tees I want everyone to see, I am bringing an opened-front hooded sweatshirt along with my new fleece-feeling, soft as duckling, cow-neck sweater I scored at Bealls Outlet {my new favorite store Bee Tee Dubs}.  I will most likely change for the nighttime activities into my three-quarter sleeve“OMG Santa” Elf tee and sneaks!  My Sketcher sneaks I got for golf but they are now my Disney sneaks. They are so durable and comfortable. Make sure your shoes are ones you can wear all day and night. And I always bring my go-to Sanuk yoga mat flip flops in my backpack too just in case my feet do hurt.

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Day 3- Epcot
Weather High 80 low 55

Drinking around the world calls for a boozy shirt! Josie and I got matching tees for our Epcot day with Mickey and Friend’s Christmas ears. We grabbed these non-Disney drinky tees at Walmart, “Eat, Drink & be Merry!” what is more appropriate for Epcot?! I will be paring my tee with jeans and sneaks or flips, not sure yet! Maybe both! For nighttime I just throw on my hoodie. I also packed 2 night shirts just in case we did go to a nicer plan for dinner and a pair of dressier Vera Wang flats. Better over packed than sorry! That’s my theory!

 

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Day 4 – last day 😦 Magic Kingdom

Weather High 77 low 56

I know 77 seems pretty warm but for Floridians it’s not. I am wearing my long sleeve Mickey and Minnie kissy shirt with jeans and flips! I can always roll up the sleeves but it’s the most child-friendly Christmas shirt I bought for the trip so it’s prefect for MK. I picked this one up at Walmart as well, $9. The other tees were only $5 so Walmart is definitely the store to go & pick up your Disney gear for bargaining rates!

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Here are a few more things to remember:

  1. Water bottle (you can bring them in sealed)
  2. Comfy shoes & possibly a back-up pair
  3. Bring a backpack, it’s the easiest but keep valuables out of reach
  4. Sunscreen
  5. A hat & sunnies
  6. Don’t forget that hoodie!
  7. DO NOT WEAR WHITE! Water rides, white tees & families do not mix well!

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I hope everyone has a MAGICAL Thanksgiving and if you are headed to Disney during the holidays drench yourself in Christmas gear; you will fit right in!

Xo CHEERS

Jenn

Jeans & Jean jacket- American Eagle
Backpack- Vera Bradley
Tees- Walmart
Mistle Toe Headband-Francesca’s Closet
Flip Flops- Sanuk
Dress/Hat/Cow Neck Sweater- Bealls Outlet

Wrapping Up Fall

I am not sure if I warned you, but I am a total Christmas fanatic! Like, started listening to music in August, desk already decorated, been watching movies for weeks fanatic! So I am going to wrap up my fall fashion chapter this week with my 4 favorite looks from the season. Next week I am going to start moving into the “holiday” fashion, décor & food & DISNEY!!

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The reason I love this look is 3 fold:

  1. I need those jeans. I have been seeing these black, ripped jeans plastered on social media all over the place so I need them like yesterday.
  2. I love the color caramel with the black; it really brings out the autumn vibe in her look
  3. I love her hat. I already wrote about my big floppy hat & expressed all the love for it. I think she nailed this look!

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Um, ok I guess I just have a thing for hats in general because I am having a mini-relationship with this one right here. The over-sized sweater is just a go-to for fall as well as the booties. Again, love the camel & black combination. {For people who know me- NO THIS IS NOT BLACK & BROWN!!!}

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I love this “I’m just chillin’ tryin’ to semi look cute” outfit. First of all, I love pairing stilettos with anything to dress it up. Two, I already told you about my off-the-shoulder crush so that’s obvi. Messy bun= I looked like I didn’t try, but do you know how hard it was to perfect this?!  #GetItGirl

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Ok, save the best for last! *SIGH* I love bomber jackets, like L.O.V.E and I also love pairing leather & lace. It’s edgy, classy & makes you question her motives. I will be wearing this to a holiday party at some point in the near future!

All photo Creds to Pinterest!
XOXO cheers, Jenn

How to Wear Pleather

I bought these amazing {& expensive} Armani pleather leggings back in 2010 & I love the fact that they are still relevant in the fashion world.  These were a closet piece I wanted to invest in because I hate leggings that look cheap & you can see through & they totally ended up paying for themselves.

I am always looking for new ways to wear them. Living in Florida it’s difficult because they are thick & pretty warm, so it’s definitely not an article I wear more than 2 times a year. I am wearing them to my bestie’s dinner tomorrow night at Mise En Place.

Here is how I came up with my look. I have been hard-core crushing on off-the-shoulder shirts so found a super cute white one on Amazon {I know I have an obsession with white, I know!} for $13- SOLD! I wanted a shirt that was long enough to cover my hoo-ha because sometimes with the pleather it can be quite revealing {please keep that in mind when styling this look}.  Black & white can be very plain, I love it though because you can add some fun to it, so I am adding my Jessica Simpson gold/silver baylage pumps to dress it up! I will of course post the pic below here once I wear it. Not sure on the jewls yet, but you will see!

UPDATE ON THIS OUTFIT: while it was super cute the shirt that I got from Amazon was too big & needed to be shrunk. I did not realize this until Thursday night, the night before the dinner. Luckily on Friday after work my friend from NJ agreed to go shopping with me & I found the most amazingly perfect kick ass, suede fringe duster for $15 on clearance. Omigah! No questions, bought right away. I brought her home & tried her on with my favorite black JLo tee, the leggings & the original shoes I planned on wearing & it was a winner. I loved it & so did everyone else. I was specifically fond of it because I get so excited having last minute outfits that just rock! It’s a great feeling.  {P.S. I did shrink the OTS shit & am planning on wearing to my friend’s party on Saturday…. Wow I party a lot}.

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I never really thought too much about dressing them down but I am swooning over some of the looks I found on Pinterest.

A chunky sweater, heels & a sweet necklace

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Dress them way down with a tee, jean jacket & booties.

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Or a long dressy tee with sneaks (love this look!)

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Dress them back up with a sequin shirt & blazer.

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Here are 5 ways to rock your pleather leggings! I can’t wait to try them.

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XOXO Cheers!