Beauty Box 5: July

i think this month was my favorite Beauty Box 5 box to date. in my opinion, it has the most useful products and things that fall within my tastes. i'm especially excited about the nail polish remover pads because there's nothing more obnoxious to me than a chipped nail with no way to repair it immediately. truthfully, the only thing i won't use is the lipgloss. i've never really liked lip gloss. i don't like that it's shiny and sticky and my hair always gets caught in it. i like the color and would definitely use it if it were a balm or lipstick instead. i'm curious about the hydrating treatment because i've never used one before. i'll definitely be trying it soon! all in all, i was happy with this box and am looking forward to using these products!

to sign up to receive your own Beauty Box 5, just go here!

2 Things I Never Thought I'd Do

skirt: c/o LAmade / tank: c/o Pickwick & Weller / necklace: J Crew Factory / wedges: Target

top: c/o LAmade / pants: Old Navy / sandals: Target

so, i did a thing that i never thought i would do. well, actually i did two things i never thought i would do. first, i wore a skirt with a high-low hemline. although it's not as dramatic as some, i wasn't too sure how i felt about it when i first tried it on. truthfully, i tried it on the first time and had no idea what to wear it with, so i put it away for a couple days. when i brought it back out, i thought it would be good to pair with some wedges and waaala! much better. i like that it's a little bit different and slightly off-beat. and it's way comfortable. so, i call it a win.

the second thing that i did was buy white pants. i've always personally been against them. i've wanted to wear them because i've seen women look great in them, but could never find a pair that i felt good in. until i found these from Old Navy. for $8.99. yes, you read that right. i tried them on in the fitting room and they fit like an absolute glove. there's nothing better, in my opinion, than finding a pair of pants that feel like they were just made for your body. these are those. and they were less than ten bucks. you gotta be kiddin' me! i love the way they make this beautiful top pop and really be the centerpiece of the look. something about the crisp white combined with the royal blue and peach is just divine. like a blueberry and peach pie with fresh whipped cream on top. oh, sorry. i have dessert on the brain.

p.s. use code LAUREN20 for 20% off your purchase at LAmade!

High Five for Friday

happy friday, people! i'm headed to Chicago today for a friend's wedding and to spend some time with my man. it's been a long six weeks since i've seen him. this week has been kinda crazy, so here's a recap:

1. my sister finds out if she's having a boy or a girl today! i'm SO excited to know what the tiny one will be so that i can start buying things for him/her. i've been holding out until now, so you better believe i'll be heading straight to Target once i know.

2. kate, carrie, and i had a girl's night this past weekend and it was great. i can't even tell you the shenanigans that happen when the three of us get together.
3. my future roommate and i finally found an apartment that i think is going to work for us! i'm planning on going to check it out while i'm in the city and, assuming it's not roach-infested or falling apart, we're going to make it official! i cannot tell you what an answer to prayer this will be. i never knew finding the right apartment in the right neighborhood for the right price would be such a process.

4. as mentioned in this post, my sister's and my business has partnered with Umba Box to feature our earrings in their next round of Limited Edition boxes. i'm still kind of on cloud 9 about it.

5. it just wouldn't be a High Five for Friday post without photos of a cat, right? otis loves to snuggle with me. but i probably love to snuggle with him more.
how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it! be sure to visit all the other great bloggers that link up, too!

new to H54F and want to know more? click on the yellow "High Five for Friday" banner under my photo on the right.

Closet Questions, Part Three

in case you missed them, part one and part two.

Q: What's your go-to outfit when you feel like "you have nothing to wear" or are running short on time? -- Colleen
A: i have three outfits on retainer just for those days. the first is just a simple summer dress with a pendant necklace and sandals. i'd wear this one to run errands or if i'm absolutely pressed for time. it requires no thought and always looks great. the second is a tank top, maxi skirt, sandals, and some bright earrings to add a little interest. this one is great for lunch or running to the mall. it's simple but still looks like i  put some thought into my outfit. the third is a simple top, colored shorts, a statement necklace, and wedges. this one is great for dinner or a night out. it's fail-proof and always makes me feel good.
dress / pendant necklace / grey tank / skirt / earrings / sandals / necklace / white top / shorts / wedges
Q: Do you have any tips on trying to find "your" style? -- Faith
A: the best way to get an idea of your style is to look through your closet and see if you have a lot of repeating styles, colors, brands, etc. if you find that you have a lot of clothes from a certain store or brand, then you can kinda bet that store/brand represents your style the best. you can visit the store or website so get more ideas for other clothes that you may like. if you have a pretty solid variety of things, try to find the items that you wear most often or feel the best in. then you know what you like the most next time you go shopping. a lot of finding your style can come through searching things like Pinterest, Polyvore, or fashion blogs and seeing what your eye is drawn to. going into new stores and trying new things on can also help. don't let what an item looks like on the hanger or rack fool you. clothes can be surprisingly deceiving that way. you have to try things on in order to know if you like it, so just try it on! you may discover new colors, patterns, or styles that you never would have known you liked until you tried them. in my experience, i have kind of a split style. on one hand, i have the style that i have now and like. on the other hand, i have the style that i want to have and transform into, but it can't happen over night. unless someone plants a money tree for me. although my current style and dream style are pretty similar, my dream style is a bit more professional, has a much better variety of shoes, and i maybe a little less conventional than my current style.

Q: When wearing a maxi skirt, what is the best type of heel and where should the maxi hit with length? -- Ashlyn
A: this one is kind of a personal preference one. i'm really picky about my maxi skirts because i like them to be long enough to hit the ground and hide my feet. i don't like how maxi's look on me if they hit at the ankles or even just a 1/4" above the ground. if you're someone that feels that way, wearing a flat sandal is probably your best bet. if you're not too picky about it and like your maxis to hit at the ankle or anywhere below, have some fun with it and pair it with some platform wedges or some strappy heels. in my opinion, if you have a skirt short enough to show your shoes, at least make sure that they're cute! of course, if you're running errands in it, you can pair it with some strappy sandals that are comfortable to you.
Q: What trend do you just wish would die already? Mullet skirts? High waisted shorts? Flatforms? -- Allyson
A: i couldn't help but laugh at this question. i don't want to offend anyone because i know that there are plenty of people that wear plenty of things that i don't like or wouldn't wear myself. just like i know there are plenty of people that don't like and wouldn't wear plenty of things that i wear. that being said, i've never been a huge fan of the high-low skirt for myself. i've tried on several different dresses and skirts that have the high-low and it has never looked right. some people can pull it off and look great, but i'm not one of them and it's not my favorite. i also can say with 100% certainty that i don't like the flatforms. i just don't get it. either wear flats or wedges, ya know? personal style is supposed to be just that, personal. at the end of the day, if you feel comfortable, pretty, and stylish in your clothes then that's all i would hope for you. clothes are supposed to make you feel better and if other people don't like what you're wearing, well then it's a good thing you're wearing it and not them!

Q: What do you think about mixing navy and black? I recently bought a black and cream polka dot purse and don't know if I can wear it with navy. Am I stupid for thinking this purse will look bad when styled with other neutrals? -- Sarah
A: you're not stupid at all! if i had to guess, i bet a lot of other people wonder the same thing. in my opinion, you can absolutely wear the purse with navy. some more traditional women will be cringing at that because they would never mix the two (or brown and black!), but i'm all about it. especially since it's your handbag. if you asked about wearing a navy blazer with a black pencil skirt, i'd probably tell you know because people might think you mismatched and didn't have a chance to look in the mirror. so, when it comes to handbag colors, you can wear them with anything. i wouldn't worry about matching your purse to your outfit. in fact, that's kind of old news. i have a black and cream striped purse that i'm using right now and i wear it with white with no hesitation.

Q: I like to buy a few new wardrobe pieces at the beginning of every season. What pieces would you suggest to buy on a small budget ($100 or less)? -- Janna
A: without knowing what you currently have, it's hard to answer this question specifically for you, but i can suggest some things that i think every woman should have in her closet. first, a great blazer is a must. something that you can throw on instead of a cardigan that instantly polishes an outfit. i've found my chambray shirt(s) to be an essential part of my wardrobe. they're great for layering or making an outfit a bit preppier (if you have a preppy chambray shirt). a great pair of patterned/colored/embellished denim is also a good thing to add to your wardrobe. it's nice to have that option instead of just wearing jeans all the time. a pencil skirt or maxi skirt is a nice alternative to pants/shorts, too.
skirt / red pants / striped skirt / grey pants (Target) / chambray / black blazer / pink blazer (similar)
Q: What are 4 (or more) essentials of the shoe variety? -- Allyson
A: in my opinion, a great pair of flats, nude wedges, casual shoes (like chuck's or TOMS), a colored pump. in addition to that, i'd say any number of summer wedges, casual sandals, loafers, and printed shoes. have a variety of shoes is a great way to spice up your wardrobe and can help to pull a look together.

if you have a question you'd like to add, send me an email with subject line "Closet Questions" or tweet me @the_laureneliza!

*all items linked are either the exact item or something similar

Elisabeth Ashlie & Umba Box

i'm so excited to share some fun news with you today! my sister and i have been secretly working on a collaboration between Elisabeth Ashlie  (our etsy shop) and Umba Box. for those of you that haven't heard of Umba Box before, here's a bit of information about them:

Umba Box provides consumers with a better way to get their hands on beautiful handmade products by scouring the handmade community to find the freshest goods from a wide variety of categories including home goods, women's accessories, jewelry, stationery, and bath products. One month your Umba Box may include one large item, and the next month it could be three smaller items. They package their collections and send subscribers delightful, surprise box handmade goods. Umba Box offers month-to-month recurring subscriptions and prepaid 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions that include $25 of handmade products each month. They also have a Limited Edition version of Umba Box, which is only available as a 3-month subscription. The Limited Edition box sells out quickly and features $50 worth of handmade products each month for 3 months.

so, what exactly is the collaboration between Umba Box and our etsy shop? they're offering $10 off a Limited Edition box subscription to 20 of our readers! our earrings are being featured in their next round of boxes, which means that if you purchase the Limited Edition subscription, you'll get a pair of them! we're sworn to secrecy, so you won't know which pair you'll be getting until you open your box! all you need to do is enter code UMBAEARRINGS when subscribing to the Limited Edition box. remember, the first 20 people to do so get $10 off!

we're thrilled to be partnering with such a fabulous company that celebrates handmade products and shares them with their subscribers! you have until the end of this month to sign up in order to receive the box featuring our earrings, so head over there and sign up!

Summer Dress

is it just me or does this dress scream FALL!!! to you? fall as in the season, not the action. i bought it one fall from Francesca's and wore it with tights and usually a cardigan or open-front sweater. it's just been hanging in my closet, waiting to be worn again. i realized that i don't have a lot of casual summer dresses that i can just throw on. so, i decided to make my fall dress into a summer dress, which doesn't really require any work because most dresses can be made into summery dresses based on the sheer fact that it's a dress. with the help of my favorite new wedges, a simple necklace, and some boho-inspired hair, i turned this fall dress into an easy summer outfit. i really love when that happens. it opens up my closet to a whole host of new possibilities.
dress: Francesca's (old)
shoes: Franco Sarto via DSW (clearance)
necklace: Madewell (old)

Hair Inspiration: Lauren Conrad

i've been re-watching The Hills on Hulu recently. i remember watching Laguna Beach religiously in high school and was so excited when they introduced The Hills. and now, like 5 years later, i still love the show. it's just a good dose of nonsense.

i always loved Lauren Conrad's hair and wanted mine to look like it. now that i actually have long hair, i'm inspired by some of her styles and want to try to recreate some of her looks on myself. here's some of my favorites:
all images via Google
1. i love how there's just a slight curl to her hair. it looks really natural and easy breezy.
2. i would kill to be able to have a ponytail like that. my hair isn't quite long enough for it (and i don't have nearly as much hair as she does), but i think i could do something similar with the length i have now.
3. i love the simple twist/braid that she has to add a little flavor to her hair. it's fun to mix it up sometimes like that.
4. these loose curls might be my favorite. i also love the color in this photo.
5. i love how her ombré looks in this photo with her curls.
6. i'm determined to have long enough hair to do the crown braid one day.
7. i like this easy messy bun with a twist for rainy days or second day hair.

so, consider me inspired.

Giveaway // Lipgloss and Crayons

today's giveaway comes from Carly of Lipgloss and Crayons. Carly's blog is full of beautiful photos and personal style inspiration. and she has a pretty gorgeous blog design, too. be sure to check out her blog and follow along on Bloglovin'. she's giving one lucky reader a $25 J Crew gift card! (this is one of those times that i wish i could enter my own giveaway. actually, i pretty much always wish i could enter my own giveaways.)
how gorgeous is this photo?! i love it!

use the giveaway tool below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I Love A Cheap Wireless Plan

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are 100% my own.

as i shared with you in this post, i was on the quest to save as much money as possible this summer because i'm moving in just under a month! with my upcoming move to Chicago, i know that i'll have a lot of expenses (think moving truck, packing supplies, a new apartment, etc.) so it's important for me to cut spending in as many areas as possible. one of those was through my cell phone bill, specifically trying to obtain a cheap wireless plan. Walmart sent me a Samsung Galaxy S4 for me to use while trying out their Family Mobile Service. (for my entire shopping experience, you can check out my Google+ story.)

i've had the phone for just over a month and received my first bill last week, through the online account management system. when comparing my Walmart phone bill to my iPhone bill, i saved over 40%. i was so excited when i saw how inexpensive the bill was! and the unlimited plan is the same as i have on my iPhone. crazy!

so, what i planned to use my savings on were three things:
1. to add to my "vacation" fund for traveling back to NC after i move
2. to go back to Walmart and buy one of the Essie nail polishes that caught my eye on my first trip
3. to have some money to take my boyfriend on a fun date when we're finally living in the same place!

i'm happy to say that after just one month of savings, i am able to do 2 of the 3 things on my list! my first priority was getting that darn Essie polish that i just couldn't get out of my head. i went with a neutral shade because i have so many bright colors already. Merino Cool was calling my name.
i currently have it on my toes and it's a great neutral color.

the second thing i was able to do was use some of that saved money towards taking Mike out on a date. i'll be with him next weekend and there just so happens to be a Chicago Cubs game at home one of the days that i'll be in town, so i asked Mike if he wanted to go to the game with me!

he's not really one to say no to a date, especially if i'm payin', so we threw it in there with our other plans. i'll be honest, i don't really care for baseball. but i do care for the food that you can eat at baseball games, so naturally i'm down for going. i thought it would be something fun for us to do and a good "guy" date.

with the savings that i see over the next couple of months, i'm hoping to be able to tackle number one on my list of goals.

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop #cbias

High Five for Friday

1. my sister and i have been working on an exciting collaboration for Elisabeth Ashlie and can't wait to share it with you guys! (more details next week!)
2. i've always wanted to be one of those people that owned a pair of polka dot pants. and now i am, thanks to Target's clearance section.
3. only ONE MORE WEEK until i see mike again!
4. there's really not much to say about this one.
5. i watched a documentary on Netflix the other night called "Animal Odd Couples" and it was so cute. you should watch it.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

new to H54F and want to know what it's all about? click on the "High Five for Friday" label on the right sidebar.

Summer Neutrals

as you've probably learned by now, i have a pretty neutral wardrobe. occasionally, i'll buy something with color, but usually you can find me in the black/white/grey section picking up another grey tee that i absolutely do not need but feel totally compelled to buy. who can ever have enough grey tees? my normal self would be inclined to leave this look without the necklace and just be on my neutral and very merry way. but i'm turning over a new life and trying out this whole "wearing color" thing.

i actually picked this outfit out on Tuesday to wear (except with jean shorts) while running errands, but then my car decided not to start so i didn't run errands. instead, i got to deal with unhelpful auto service people on the phone and have a friend come over to jump my car. it was only about 973 degrees outside, so it was really pleasant. not. but, alas! my car works AND i got to wear my new wedges out in public, so that's great news.

top: Marshall's
shorts: J Crew Factory
wedges: Franco Sarto via DSW
necklace: Caroline G -- use code "laurenelizabeth" for 50% off!
bracelet: J Crew Factory

Favorite Lips

left to right: Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Shock // Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Punch //  L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm in Come By My Windows (similar) // Maybelline Vivids in Vibrant Mandarin // Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Matte Stormy Pink // front: Cover Girl Blast Flipstick in Cheeky

i've always had trouble finding lip products that i really like. i've been wearing chapstick since about 1996, so i'm one of those people that always has to have something on my lips. and if it's not gonna be donuts, you betta believe it'll be some sort of balm or lipstick. of the many different colors, brands, kinds that i've tried, these babies are my favorite. they don't dry out my lips like some lip sticks do and the color is long-lasting and works well with my skin tone.

i also really hate trying on lipsticks/balms/etc. my sister can attest to this. we went into Sephora one day and i told her i wanted a new lipstick. that was like the best news she'd ever heard. girlfriend loves to shop for makeup. so, she went around and picked out some colors that she thought i would like. after trying only three of them, i was done and wanted to leave. i just have no patience for it. needless to say, i'm happy to have found some that work for me and in a variety of colors so that i don't have to shop for any. which is weird because i love shopping.

Closet Questions, Part Two

for Part One, click here.

Q: Would love ideas on wearing navy (and what shoes to wear with it). Navy seems to be the "new black". I have navy pants and tops but want to wear them with fun colors. Any ideas? -- Nat
A: you can pretty much wear navy with any color, maybe except black. you can swap out something black, white, brown (or another neutral) with a navy piece and it should work. bright colors like coral, pink, mint, or even a sunshine yellow would look best with navy. or whites and greys, of course. the same goes for the shoes!

Q: What essential jewelry pieces should every girl own? -- Lindsey
A: i think every girl should have a great watch, a statement necklace, some fun bracelets, a pendant necklace, and a variety of earrings (if you're an earring wearer). if you like to wear rings, a collection of stacking rings or simple rings are also an easy way to add some style to your look. below you can find my most often worn jewelry. (for details on where each piece is from, check out this post.)
Q: Are jean skirts out of style? I have a fun assymetrical one, but never see people wear them anymore. -- Steph
A: mmmm, in my opinion, yes. i really haven't seen a jean skirt in stores in years, so i kind of forgot about them. of course, if you like it and want to wear it, rock it. there's nothing wrong with having your own style and wearing what you like. in fact, that's exactly what you should do!

Q: I'm moving to Seattle this September and have never lived in a cold state. I was wondering what you think every "winter closet" needs? -- Constance
A: i like chunky sweaters, sweatshirts, striped long sleeve tees, and slouchy sweaters. leggings are one of my favorite things to wear in the fall and winter paired with boots, a sweater and a scarf. i have some summer dresses that are good for transitioning into fall and winter by adding tights and a sweater or blazer. layers are my favorite, so plain tees are great to throw on under a cardigan or open-front sweater with jeans and boots. oh, and scarves! i love scarves and wear one almost every day in the cold winters.
Q: What patterns are okay to mix? Chevron, stripes, polka dots...? -- Anne
A: great question, Anne! this is one that's kind of tricky because it can depend on the scale of the patterns and what exactly you're pairing together, but i have some basic guidelines for it. in most cases, you can mix patterns. here's some things to remember: 1. don't mix patterns that are on the same scale. for example, if you want to wear polka dots and stripes, either do large polka dots with small stripes or vice versa. if you want to do two items with polka dots, make sure one on a large scale and the other item is a small scale. 2. try to stick with just two patterned items. for example, you can do a polka dot scarf and a striped shirt, but don't throw on floral pants, too. or you could do polka dot pants and a floral top, but stay away from striped shoes. 3. try to keep the color scheme similar/don't introduce two highly colorful patterned items into one look. so, if you wearing a blue and yellow polka dot top, try not to add a pink, green, and orange floral scarf. or if you're doing floral pants, stay away from a colorful striped top. you get the picture, right? keep it "simple" by having one of the patterned items neutral and the other colorful, or both of them neutral. that way you may feel more comfortable by mixing patterns because you won't also be mixing colors!

Q: How many ways can you style a jean jacket with your closet? -- Michelle
A: personally, probably a lot. i would wear a jean jacket with just about anything, except jeans/jean shorts. any colored shorts or pants, skirts,  or dresses. if you have a dress or skirt that you feel like is too dressy for everyday wear, trying throwing a jean jacket on over it to make it more casual. i also really like jean jackets with patterned shorts and a plain top. so, there's pretty much endless options!
Q: How can I decide if a piece of clothing is really necessary to keep when trying to downsize my closet? -- Haley
A: if you haven't worn in it once in the past 3-6 months, get rid of it. if you've worn it once or twice but aren't sure if you still like it or will still wear it, try it on with a couple different tops/bottoms to see if you can style it in a way that will make you continue to wear it. if not, get rid of it. if it's just not your style anymore but you didn't wear it very much or bought it recently enough that you would feel bad, i'd say you should still get rid of it and clear up some space in your closet! have a clothes swap with a girlfriend or drop it off at Goodwill for someone else to enjoy!

Most Loved Jewels

1. Kate Spade Outlet 2. J Crew 3. Kate Spade Outlet 4. Kate Spade 5. Saturday 6. J Crew Factory

1. c/o Caroline G 2. J Crew Factory 3. Saturday 4. J Crew Factory 5. J Crew Factory 6. Madewell 7. c/o Maya Brenner (similar)

**use code "laurenelizabeth" at Caroline G for 50% off!**

i've really grown into being a jewelry wearer in the past two years or so. i never liked to fuss with it before, and am still pretty minimal when i do wear it, but i have a pretty good collection going, so i figure i should probably wear some of it every day. although i have quite a few options, i definitely have my favorites that i find myself wearing time and time again. most days i wear either of those post earrings, my "M" initial necklace or one of my long necklaces, my rings, and maybe a bracelet.

in the past three months, i've become a statement necklace wearer. i know, i know. i'm waaaay late to this party, but i've finally arrived and i love it. there's nothing like a good statement necklace to round out an outfit that's just "missing something".

i realized a funny thing as i was writing this: the majority of my jewelry is from two places, J Crew and Kate Spade. i guess i have a particular style that i like. but really, i don't mind spending a little bit of money on jewels that i know i will wear almost every day. there's nothing worse than buying a necklace or ring and having it turn your skin green the next week. i mean, come on. although i can honestly say that the only thing i bought that was full price were those spade posts that i wear almost every day, so i'm okay with it.

what are your go-to jewels? do you have some that you wear almost every day?

you can also shop my sister's and my etsy shop HERE!

High Five for Friday

1. i made a trip to the outlet mall earlier this week and awarded myself (for my hard work driving, of course) with some Auntie Anne's. are there people in this world that can resist the aroma of that goodness?
2. so, here's the story. i've wanted these pumps from J Crew for what feels like years. they happened to be at the outlet and they happened to be half off. so, they happened to come home with me. the end.
3. these brothers, i tell ya. they're just perfect.
4. i've recently started watching Arrested Development on netflix and oh my goodness, i love it. so funny and one of those easily-quotable shows. like The Office and Friends. also, summer fruit and cool whip is good.
5. mike joined the rest of the modern generation and fiiiiiiinally got a smartphone that he can use to video chat with. praise the tech gods! seeing his face after 4 weeks of not seeing it was so good!

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

for all H54F information or to grab the button for your post, click on the "High Five for Friday" button on my right sidebar (under my photo).

Closet Questions, Part One

i received so many great questions from everyone and am really looking forward to answering them. due to the sheer volume of questions, i'm going to break it up into parts. i want to be able to answer fully, so there'll be a couple parts to this series :)

i'll start with questions that were asked in the comments:

Q: How can I style cute clothes and professional outfits without wearing heels? -- Sharon
A: this is a great question! although i've turned into a heel and wedge lover, before about 2 years ago i maybe owned one pair of shoes that weren't flats. my entire senior year of high school i wore a pair of gold ballet flats that i bought at Target. my entire year. so i totally understand your desire to create cute and professional looks without heels. one option is to buy a pair of really nice looking flats, maybe with some sort of embellishment that dresses them up (1) a bit or a pointed toe (2). i also really like loafers (3) as an alternative to regular flats. they're the type of shoe that can be dressed up or down. if you spend a lot of time on your feet and can't wear flats without support, look for some that have a built-in wedge (4) or have a slight wedge and peep-toe(5).
Q: I really struggle with casual cute. I always seem to wear jeans and a plain tee and just feel frumpy. But if I try to look cute but casual, I always feel like it's too much and look like I'm trying too hard. Any suggestions? -- Meagan
A: i'm the queen of jeans and a plain tee. i have at least 15 plain v necks in my closet from J Crew Factory that are on rotation. if you feel like jeans and a plain tee is too casual, try adding some jewelry or cute flats/sandals to make it look like you actually thought about your outfit that day instead of just throwing things on. for alternatives, try a cute sundress (like this one from Old Navy), a maxi dress, colored denim (which you can wear with your plain tees and not feel frumpy), or a cute patterned top with jeans. your solution could be as simple as just changing one item to make you feel less frumpy and more put together!

Q: How often do you clean out your closet? Either to change seasons (do you do this?) or give away things that you no longer like/fit? I know I don't do it as often as I should and have a lot of clothes taking up space in my closet that I'm going to "wear someday". -- Maddy
A: i do a full closet clean out every 3-4 months. which means that i take just about everything out of my closet, try it on, and decide if i want to keep it or not. if i haven't worn in it the last 3 months, i get rid of it because it's just taking up space and i know i won't wear it in the future. i also kind of clean out as i'm going along. sometimes when i'm looking for something to wear, i'll come across a top that i can't remember wearing in the past 2-3 months and then i get rid of it. i'm not much for hoarding clothes, so i like to just purge and get rid of what i know i'm not going to wear. (shameless plug: i have an instagram account for clothes that i sell @laurenelizabethcloset). i think everyone should clean out at least every 6 months. you can even do a clothes swap with some of your girlfriends to get rid of your things and maybe add some new pieces!

Q: This is such an odd question, but when I buy pencil skirts, the slit in the back is stitched at the bottom, but there is still an opening. My mother told me you're supposed to cut out the seam so the slit is completely open. Do you know anything about this? -- Mara
A: listen to your mama! she's right, you should always cut the stitching out that can be found at the bottom of a slit on a pencil skirt, dress, or blazer!

Q: Any tips to dress down work tops so I can wear them with jeans and not look overdressed compared to everyone else? -- Kalie
A: it's hard to fully answer this question because i don't know how dressy your work tops are, but i'm using a fairly plain silk blouse in my example. the easiest way to dress down a fancy top is to change your bottoms - either throw on some patterned shorts, colored denim, or slightly distressed jeans. that will quickly make your look more casual without too much work. you can also choose to go with a simple flat or sandal, or accessorize with a fedora or casual scarf (if it's chilly). also, switching to a cross-body or hobo bag can bring down the dressy a bit.
Q: Does horizontal chevron make you look wider like horizontal stripes? Is chevron still "in"?
A: i'm inclined to say that it would probably have a widening effect, like stripes do. i don't think chevron is quite "out" yet, but i definitely think it had it's heyday and we're moved on to florals it seems.

Q: What can I pair with a black maxi skirt? I'm stuck in a white tee rut! - Jen
A: oh, Jen! the possibilities are endless! i love maxi skirts for that reason. and they're ridiculously comfortable. you can go with a great patterned tee (1), which you can tuck in or belt it. i love wearing my maxi with a good graphic tee (2) like this one. also, i feel like i need that tee. another good option is a denim or chambray button up (3). for a more casual look, you can do a loose-fitting tank (4). i have a great grey one that i wear with my skirt a lot. i tuck it in so it's not total frumpsville, though. if you want to dress it up a bit, throw on a lace top (5) or layer the lace top over a colored cami. finally, if you just want to stick with the tee, pick a different color or one that has a pocket (6) or subtle pattern to change it up a bit!

Beauty Box 5

i received my second box from Beauty Box 5 last week and i love that everything is very summery and perfect for the season.

the travel-size Aveeno sunscreen is perfect to throw in my purse, in case i find myself being out in the sun without having already put some sort of protection on my skin. the eyeshadow is a beautiful pink color, but i'm not much of an eyeshadow wearer (especially in the sweltering North Carolina heat). i'm really curious to try out the body bronzer (probably on my feet to start). i've never tried any sort of self-tanner before, but it could come in handy with my whiter than white skin. especially since i'm attending a wedding in just a couple weeks and the south has turned into Seattle - it has rained every day for like 2 weeks straight. how's a girl supposed to get her tan on when the sun doesn't even show?! i'm excited about the shampoo and conditioner because they have seaweed extract in them, which is supposed to strengthen and hydrate. it's hard to put into words just how much hydration my hair needs, so these are perfect for me.

it was another good Bb5 month and i'm looking forward to next month's box already! to sign up for Beauty Box 5, go HERE.

Closet Questions

due to some weird weather and wifi problems, my earlier post was deleted. if this has happened to you before, you know how absolutely maddening it is. darn you, technology!!!

as i said in my magically disappearing post this morning, i'm now officially accepting "Closet Questions" - any style and fashion related questions that you have! i'll compile them all and answer them in a post or video.

ask the questions in the comments, email me (, tweet me (@the_laureneliza) or find me on Facebook.

(if you left a question on the other post, i still have access to it so you don't need to worry about asking again!)

4th of July Recap (+ a dance video)

i hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! i don't know about you, but i felt like the weekend was never going to end by like Friday. it was the weirdest thing - it felt so long to me. not that i'm complaining, though. on the 4th, Sam, Carrie, and I decided to brave the crowds downtown Raleigh and join in the holiday festivities. we had our share of good (read: fried and so unhealthy) food and a healthy dose of people watching (my favorite). we did a lot of standing in line and walking up and down the blocks watching weird things like wrestling matches and some amateur motocross performer. it was gettin' real festive. we even had a little dance sesh while we were there, which you get the pleasure of witnessing (if you so choose) at the end of this post. you're welcome.
dress: Target (way old), purse: Target

carrie's blog and shop

bow & knot rings: Kate Spade, L ring: Nordstrom (similar

aaaaand here ends the exposure of my lack of dancing skills and my obvious ability to crack myself up.

Giveaway // Fizz & Frosting

today's giveaway comes from Lauren of Fizz & Frosting. Lauren's blog is a life & style blog where she shares her personal style and stories from her life.
you can find her on twitter and instagram @FizzandFrosting. i love this recent style post she shared about what to wear to a cookout - such a great look! and i'm kind of dying for those sandals from Target.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway // Putting Me Together

today's giveaway comes from the beautiful Audrey over at Putting Me Together. if you haven't been to her blog before, you should probably go check it out now. she has really great outfit ideas and knows how to make the most out of the clothes in her closet. seriously, get over there and look around. here's three of my favorite recent outfits of hers:

one / two / three
use the giveaway tool below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

High Five for Friday

1. i scored these VS pants on sale for $12 and basically haven't taken them off since. there's really nothing like a good pair of sweatpants.
2. got these beauties in the mail from Carrie! (pssst! use code "laurenelizabeth" for 40% off!)
3. i woke up one day this week and realized that i get to decorate a whole new apartment soon! so, i went straight to Pinterest to see if i could find some good inspiration.
4. my roommate and i went to the driving range over the weekend and i actually had a good time. in fact, i kind of want to go again. which is strange because i always talk about how much i hate golf (mostly watching it. also, i don't exactly like competing against myself so...) but i shot it pretty good (for not having touched a club in 10+ years).
5. like i said on Instagram, i'm not really sure how to even caption this. i will tell you that he wasn't stretching for this photo, he was laying like that. i think it started as a stretch and ended as a good napping position. one could never know.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

new to H54F and want to know what it's all about? click on the "High Five for Friday" tab on the right sidebar for info and to grab the button to add to your post!

Happy Independence Day!

they pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. Happy 4th, peeps! hope you all have a fun holiday and get to see some fireworks. or set some off, if you're into that sort of thing.

Favorite TV Shows

are you a TV watcher? i kind of always have been. except during my first couple years of undergrad when i lived in a dorm. i love a good series that i can get sucked in to and feel like i'm a part of. so, i thought i'd share some of my favorite shows. well, that and the weather has been absolutely ridiculous here so i haven't had the opportunity to shoot any outfits outside. hopefully, i'll catch a break and be able to have some fresh style posts for this here blog soon. here's my list, in no particular order, of some of my favorite shows:

Chicago Fire - just discovered this one about a week ago and already watched the whole first season. good gravy, this show is great. and the firefighters aren't bad to look at either.

Pretty Little Liars - i know, i know. pretty sure this one is meant for pre-teens but my roommate got me watching it and now i have to know who A is. i mean, have to know before my life can continue as usual. unfortunately, i have no idea when and if we're actually going to find out anytime this century.

The Real Housewives - i mean, does this even need an explanation. these women are so ridiculous that it's just fascinating to me.

Scandal - if you haven't started watching yet, you must. it's a a perfect mix of drama, love story, scandal (duh), and suspense.

Suits - i can't wait for this one to return in just two weeks! such a good one.

Parenthood - i love this family. this one is the most real of the shows. it deals with actual issues and problems that families face. there's humor, drama, sadness, joy. i cried more while watching this show than any other i've watched. like ever.

Parks & Rec - i just want to be friends with Leslie Knope.

...unfortunately (for me), this isn't quite a comprehensive list. in my humble opinion, it's some of the best options out there, except maybe the Housewives and PLL. as if i don't already have enough shows to keep up with, i'm open to hearing about others that you love!

A Few of My Favorite Things

1. gold chain bracelet // Elisabeth Ashlie
2. heart midi ring // Nordstrom
3. Tada! necklace // Kate Spade
4. the best perfume // The Des Vignes by Caudalie at Sephora
5. my favorite pink lipstick // Matte Stormy Pink by Revlon
6. easy hair ties // Sephora
7. pretty crystal bracelet // J Crew Factory
8. the perfect gold polish // Good As Gold by Essie
9. the first nail polish i've used that doesn't chip within 2 days // Reliable Red by Covergirl

Polka + Jewels

i saw this top at Sears when i was searching for the perfect denim piece to style for the 4th of July and had to pick it up. polka dots, neutral colors, and a collar? you kiddin' me?! aaaaand it was on sale. pretty sure i paid $16 for it. yes, this is real life.

i'm telling you, Sears can be one of those unexpected places to find clothes, like Kohl's or Stein Mart. it may take a little hunting, but you can score some good stuff at unbeatable prices. so, yeah. that's kind of all.

psssssst! have you entered the fab giveaway from Style Mined yet?
top: Sears
bag: c/o Style Mined
shorts: J Crew Factory
sandals: Target
bangles: Kate Spade