High Five for Friday

happy friday, kitty cats! i'll be spending today and tomorrow prepping to move into my apartment on sunday! it's going to be a busy weekend, but i'm looking forward to it!
1. i can't stop wearing my North Carolina necklace from my sweet friend, Dorothy. it's a good way to keep NC close to my heart!
2. finally made the long-awaited trip to Ikea to buy new furniture for my apartment.
3. my mom and i went to the outlet mall yesterday and i may have gone on a mini shopping spree at J Crew Factory...(i bought this top and these pants, which are available online)
4. the cats have been serious troopers over the past two weeks. only a few more days until they're in their permanent home!
5. it's still really darn hot around these parts, so i wore a new top that i received in my first Le Tote box (which i'll be talking more about next week!) and i love it!

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

Closet Questions, Part Five

in case you missed them:  part one / two / three / four

Q: What would you say are absolute staples for a professional/business casual wardrobe? -- Laurie
A: blazers, patterned/colored sleeveless tops (great for layering!), cardigans, pencil skirts, sheath dresses, trousers, skinny ankle dress pants (for spring/summer), LBD's, and patterned button up shirts (great for layering under cardigans, pullovers, or blazers!).

Q: What would be your 5 essential transition pieces to take a wardrobe from "college" to "professional"? -- Meg
A: that's an easy one! blazers, pencil skirts, dress pants/trousers, easy and professional dresses, and blouses for layering under cardigans or blazers. you really can't go wrong with any of those items and they're all very transitional for different seasons. they can be mixed and matched easily, too!
dress / skirt / peplum
Q: I have the hardest time figuring out what shoes to wear with jeans in colder weather. I have the skinny jeans/boots figured out, but I also have bootcut jeans that I love to wear. I always feel like my choices look frumpy and weird...any suggestions? -- Tamara
A: i'd say to try some embellished flats (if the weather allows), ankle boots, tie-up booties, or loafers!

Q: Do you have any advice for how to mix and match jewelry together appropriately? I never know how to mix together various stone colors, sizes, etc. Lately I've been doing just earrings or just a necklace because I have no idea how to figure out if they "match" without getting too match-matchy. -- Sarah
A: i'm not much of a jewelry matcher, so i tend to mix and match a lot. if i'm doing a statement necklace, i tend to pair it with some very simple stud earrings (if i wear earrings at all). if i'm doing a pendant necklace, i'll pair it with more interesting studs or possibly earrings with a bit of movement. if i'm not doing a necklace, then i'll wear some fun statement earrings that really pop. in terms of mixing metals, i love mixing silver and gold together. i think it's a really fun way to use all of your jewelry and not get stuck in an all gold or all silver rut. for mixing colors on various different pieces of jewelry, just make sure that the colors are in the same family - i.e. pair jewel tones with jewel tones and brights with brights. you can definitely intermingle color families, it just gets a bit trickier because you still want them to go well together. for example, i would pair a deep, jewel-toned purple with a mint, but not a neon orange.

Q: What outfits do you wear booties with? I have tall boots, so I'm not sure when an outfit is "bootie worthy" or "tall boots worthy". Is it an issue of weather (like too cold for booties)? -- Jana
A: i think whether or not an outfit calls for booties totally depends on the look you're going for. to me, it's not a weather-related thing, but a style-related thing. ankle boots can go with just about anything that tall boots can go with, although i would probably stay away from wearing them with cropped jeans. what's nice about booties is that they can sometimes give an outfit more of a dressier feel (depending on the style of bootie) than a tall boot. here's a few examples of outfits that you can wear booties with:

BLACK CRANE black dress / H&M long sleeve shirt, $23 / Draped open cardigan / Forever New lined jacket, $90 / MOTHER blue jeans / Topshop black jeans / Mossimo Grey Shooties / Black boots / Mossimo Brown Booties / Hive & Honey statement necklace / Marni earrings / ALDO necklace

Q: Are flared jeans out of style? Bootcut jeans? How do you know when a jean is “too flared”? -- Tonya
A: oddly enough, it seems that flared jeans are going to try to make a comeback this fall and winter. i was walking through Gap the other week and saw some dramatically flared jeans on their "new arrivals" racks. i like a slightly flared jean and think that those are pretty much always in style. i have a pair from Banana Republic from years ago that have transitioned well through seasons of styles. if you think the jean is too flared, it probably is. stick with just a slight flare (i love Gap's "sexy boot" cut - it's the perfect bit of flare). boot cut jeans will probably always be in style. that's the classic cut of jeans, which pretty much any body type can wear.

Mocha + Lace

my goodness, i am white

oh, don't mind all those bruises on my legs. i was in a vicious fight just before this shoot. i won, clearly.

this dress reminds me of two of my favorite things: coffee and fall. something about the black lace makes me think that this dress would look fab with black tights and some heeled booties. can you picture it?

i'm so ready for fall weather now that i'm a resident of the midwest again. i'm done with these 90 degree days. i want to wear actual pants, be able to layer up, and bust out my scarf collection. but for now, this beautiful dress will just have to keep me cool in these stifling temperatures.

dress: c/o The Chic Orchid
bracelet: J.Crew Factory
heels: Marshall's
purse: Kate Spade (kinda sorta similar)

a bit about The Chic Orchid:
new featured items are posted monday-friday @ 6am MST. they sell out fast, so be sure to follow them on facebook and instagram to be in the know! in case you wondered, i'm currently swooning over these and these.

a childhood dream

raise your hand if you spent sunday night watching the VMA's!
*virtually raises hand*

i live for award show season. i love everything about it. the gorgeous gowns, the weird antics, and the television-worthy moments. oh and the awards, i guess. the VMA's are one of my favorite award shows because i usually know pretty much every nominee and why they're nominated. (things get a little messy with the golden globes and such because i don't tend to see many of the movies that get nominated). anyway, the VMA's this year may have been one of my favorites. mostly because it's where NSYNC reunited and Justin Timberlake blew my mind. i mean, honestly, the man can do no wrong. his performance made the whole show worth it. if you haven't seen it, you should look it up and watch it.
that moment when all my childhood dreams came true. again.
in other news, Miley Cyrus has officially lost her mind. i always kind of knew she was wild and a little bit crazy, but she's up there with Amanda Bynes and bald-headed Britney now. during her performance, Mike made this declaration: "if I had kids and they were watching this, I would turn it off". i kinda totally wish that Robin Thicke performed without her. the less time with her in the spotlight, the better. i fast-forwarded through Gaga's performance (she just weirds me out and i don't like any of her music) and thought Kanye's was pretty boring. i really wish he would've brought his baby and debuted her. THAT would have been good television.

i love Bruno Mars but secretly wish he would've done "Treasure" (because i can't get enough of that song) but enjoyed his performance nonetheless. Macklemore was entertaining and i was happy for him that he won a few awards. it always cracks me up when i see him because his voice/sound does not match his look at all, but i like it.

oh, and i liked Katy Perry's performance! i really like her new song and like her much more after watching her documentary on Netflix (hello, how i usually spend my Friday nights).

my favorite moment, though, was probably when Taylor swift was caught on camera speaking some profanities while her ex was announcing an award. nice move, Tay Tay.

photo source

Suburban Glam

this is my last week in the 'burbs before i move into my apartment on sunday. i haven't decided yet if this week is going to go by really fast because i have a lot to do to prepare for sunday, or if it's going to go by really slow because i'm really excited to get into my apartment. it's a tough call.

on saturday, i spent the day at our lakehouse with a bunch of my parent's friends and some of their kids. the weather couldn't have been nicer and we spent the day cruisin' around the lake in the pontoon and watching some skiers perform. it was pretty magical. okay, maybe not magical but wonderful. i always love going to the lake because i can totally and completely disconnect from the world and fully relax. the phone service isn't the best up there, so that's all the more reason to just leave my phone in my purse and enjoy myself. and that's exactly what i did.

do you have a place you can go to totally escape for a little bit? is there a certain room in your house or a particular park you like to go to and relax?
 jeans: Target
top: Target
necklace: J.Crew Factory
shoes: Marshall's
clutch: My mom's closet

Giveaway // Karly Kim

today's giveaway comes from Karly Kim of Good Enough To Read. she's got a great blog and is a pretty hilarious writer. she's one of those bloggers that makes it seem like she's actually talking to you every time she writes, which is pretty great. and let me tell you, girlfriend can rock a leather dress like you've never seen:

she's giving 2 lucky winners some pretty fab gift cards, $50 Visa card and $50 Sephora card! use the giveaway tools below to enter! (you can enter for both cards, but are only eligible to win one!)
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Giveaway // $25 Etsy Gift Card

today's giveaway comes from Lindsay of Pursuit of Pink. i love her blog and she's a regular participant in my High Five for Friday link up! oh, and she has just about the cutest baby of all time. i mean, come on!

she's giving one lucky winner a $25 Etsy gift card. i can think of about 5 things off the top of my head that i would spend that money on! Etsy is a dangerous place for me to browse.

use the giveaway tool below to enter!
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High Five for Friday

happy friday! this week has gone by pretty fast, which is a good thing because it means that i'm that much closer to getting into my apartment! here's some of my favorite things from this week:

1. Mike and i went on a bike ride last weekend on one of the most beautiful days i've experienced in awhile. we rode to a couple parks and definitely got our workout for the week day.
2. i'm heading up to my parent's lakehouse this saturday and the weather is supposed to be beautiful! it's been several months since i've been and i'm excited to enjoy the beautiful scenery again.

3. the cats have settled into their temporary home nicely. the other cats are warming up to them, too. they had a house-wide council meeting in the kitchen last night that went pretty well, minus a few hisses and punches being thrown.
4. my old roommate is currently in South Korea visiting a friend and i got to skype with her yesterday! it feels like i haven't seen her in ages, even though i was with her less than a week ago.

5. this view!
how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

Back To My Ways

i haven't even been back in the Chicago area for a week and i'm already starting to act like a real Chicagoan again. ya know, the kind of people that complain about 85 degree weather and humidity because we're used to it being about 12 degrees with a windchill of -30 and 75 mph winds blowing us around. i'm a more aggressive driver (although my family will say that i always have been. i disagree. i'm just a good driver.) i'm no-nonsense when it comes to check-out lines at stores, meaning i've quickly adopted the lets-not-talk-and-just-get-this-over-with way of dealing with people in public. no asking "how's your day been?" or "whatchya gonna be doin' with this stuff?".

the really shocking thing is that i haven't had Portillo's or Chicago-style pizza yet. i'm actually a little embarrassed to admit that. those are usually my first two meals when i'm back home and i've failed myself. however, i figure that i'll probably eat enough in the coming months to last years, so i guess i'm just pacing myself.

because the weather has been so nice (and also a little too hot for my liking. i was hoping to leave the oven of NC and come back to a nice, cooler summer.), i've been wearing some of my favorite summer dresses for running errands and browsing Ikea/Home Goods for my apartment. this dress from Gracie B is a new favorite. i love the mint with the floral pattern and the flowiness (word? not a word? who could ever know...) of it. it's one of those dresses that's easy to dress up or make more casual with some bangles and flat sandals. count me in.

dress: c/o Gracie B
necklace: J Crew Factory
clutch: Target
wedges: Franco Sarto via DSW

What I Imagine

shade / grey box / yellow box / rug / pillow / desk
i've had a pretty good idea of what i'd like my bedroom and office space in my Chicago apartment to look like for quite a while. i decided several months ago that i wanted to do all black and white, and i think that's actually going to happen. i may add a bit of color with that pillow and those storage boxes, but that's about it. there's just something really calming about a monochromatic room. i saw this rug at Ikea and fell in love with it instantly. i love that pattern and i think it will be really cool in my new room because it will cover a good portion of the floor. i can't even tell you how excited i am to have hardwood floors that require cool rugs.

i'm keeping my same sheets, duvet cover, and bed frame, so i'm thinking i want to hang a large lamp shade/light combo over the bed for lighting at night. there won't be a ton of floor space, so i probably won't have a big bedside table for a lamp. which is kind of okay because i love the look of those hanging lights.

that desk also comes in all white, which i may change my mind and end up buying. i love the simplicity of it with the slight detail in the legs. it adds just enough character to make it fit right into the look i'm going for.

so, i'm picturing lots of pattern mixing, cool details, and simplicity for my new room. we'll see how it all comes together. i cannot wait to get in that apartment and decorate. it will be like christmas, 4th of july, and labor day (yep, love that holiday) all in one!

A Life Update

guys, my life has been a little wild lately. as you know by now, i spent the past week preparing to move back to IL over the weekend. Friday was a difficult day. i thought back and counted and am proud to admit that i cried a total of 8 separate times that day. whew. i'm pretty much dried up by now.

Saturday was spent in the car with my two cats and roommate. the cats did wonderfully on the 14.5 hour trip. they slept the whole time and even ate/drank a bit at our pit stops. they quickly settled into my bedroom at my parents' and are slowly venturing out of my room to investigate the rest of the house. funny story: as i was getting ready one morning, Otis insisted on leaving the room with me, so i left the door open and let him walk out into the hallway. the family golden retriever (13 years old) was laying at the end of the hallway sleeping. Otis slowly and very gingerly crept closer to the dog, trying to figure out what that massive cat was doing just laying there. as soon as Riley noticed him, Otis felt very vulnerable and instantly puffed up like a squirrel. he stood, still as can be, trying to look tough. once he realized that he was about the size of Riley's head, he quickly turned around and sought refuge under my bed.

Sunday was spent unloading the moving truck, going on a nice 14 mile bike ride with Mike and eating dinner with his family. i can't even tell you how nice it is to live in the same zip code as him. i could definitely get used to it.

our bike ride destination. see?! the midwest CAN be beautiful! ;)
yesterday, i drove into the city to meet my roommate and check out our apartment before we move in just two weeks. the current tenant was in there getting ready for work, so we were able to see what it looks like with furniture. it's funny to me how a room looks much larger with furniture in it, i'd think it would be the opposite effect. after checking it out, we walked a block or two over to lunch and were able to catch up a bit. every 10 minutes or so one of us would say something about how we're so excited to move in and get settled. i cant believe the time has really come! i've been anticipating this transition for so long that i'm excited for it to happen!

High Five for Friday

happy friday, people! today is my last day in raleigh, so i'll be spending it packing up all of my belongings into the moving truck and soaking up as much time as possible with my sister before i leave bright and early tomorrow. here's a few highlights from my week:
1. did a little baby shopping with my sister earlier this week and it made me even more excited to finally meet the tiny man in a few months!
2. my friend Carrie sent me these macarons in the mail with her well wishes for my big move tomorrow! she's da best!
3. as i divulged on twitter/instagram, i attended a ke$ha concert wednesday night and actually had a blast. she's mostly a wild lunatic, but she also brings all the other wild lunatics out to see her perform, which means i got to do some of the best people watching around.
4. I'M FINISHED PACKING! (which is kind of key because the movers are coming at 9am to help load the truck)
5. poor little milo & otis have no idea what they're in for tomorrow. 14+ hours in the car. i think this was milo's attempt to get left behind and avoid that trauma.

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

A Quick Hello

oh, hi! i'm packing and moving and my head is spinning, so i'm go to shamelessly send you over to instagram if you want to know what's going on over the next couple days. you can follow me @the_laurenelizabeth.

p.s. i WILL be back for High Five for Friday tomorrow, don't you worry!

Oh, North Carolina

over the past couple weeks, i've become very reflective of my time spent in north carolina. i've lived here for just over 2.5 years and a lot of things in my life have happened here. i know that i will look back on my time living here with the fondest of memories and i truly believe God will use this time to continue to bless me over the coming years.

i thought i'd share some of the "firsts" and monumental life moments that i've experienced here:

+ when i moved to raleigh in january of 2011, i moved into my first apartment and lived by myself for the first time

+ i adopted milo & otis within 2 weeks of moving, and they're my first pets that i've been the sole caretaker of

+ my sister and i started our first business here, in july of 2010

+ i started blogging, which has been such a fun and exciting experience

+ i graduated from college. truthfully, there was a time in my life that i thought i would never go to college. turns out, i'm glad that i did.

+ i was able to live with my best friend for a whole year, which has been better than i could have imagined

+ it's where i had Bojangles and Cook-Out for the first time. this is kind of a joke. but MAN am i going to miss those biscuits, fries, and milkshakes.

+ it's the place that i found out i was going to be an aunt for the first time

+ this is where mike and i reconnected one weekend in august of last year and started dating soon after (i'm especially thankful for that)

+ it's where i grew up. i learned how to take care of my own place and be responsible for myself. i learned how to put air in my tires and how to change a showerhead. ya know, those really important skills in life.

+ it's where i became a huge Duke basketball fan, which helped me to grow much closer to my brother-in-law and gave us something really great to bond over

+ of course, it's the place where i was able to grow incredibly close to my sister. if for no other reason, north carolina will always be special to me because of how it's allowed Kate and i to become even better friends than we were before i lived here. i'll sure miss seeing her face every week, but i have a feeling distance will make us even more intentional in our relationship, which i'm looking forward to.

the past few years have been some of the best of my life. i could have never imagined the things that have happened and that i would be where i am today. i'm so thankful to God for bringing me here and blessing me the ways that He has. although it's a bit heartbreaking to be leaving (written as tears are falling down my cheeks...), i'm excited for what is to come and hope some more wonderful years are ahead of me.

this state has been so good to me.

Inspiring Words

source unknown
i'm in the throws of packing and wrapping up my life in NC these next couple days, so i'm just going to leave you with this. it inspired me and i hope it does the same for you!

Apartment Style Inspiration

guys. i'm moving THIS WEEK. how on earth is this happening?! i've been anticipating moving for so long that i can't believe it's finally here. i'll be staying at my parent's for a couple weeks before i can move into my new apartment, but i'm already planning on how i'd like to style the new place. i'm sensing a trend on my Apartment Style board on pinterest. apparently, i really like color, texture, and lots of stuff. i'm hoping to not have to buy too many new decorative things (and, honestly, i won't want to move them again), but probably a couple pieces of furniture. most importantly, a new desk. i'm also really excited to buy some great rugs because the new place is all hardwood floors, which i cannot express the extent of my joy about. i live for hardwood floors, people.
source unknown
so it looks like i'll be needing to add to my art/prints collection, which is embarrassingly lacking at the moment. and probably maybe some cool tables for my room and the living area. it will be immensely easier to actually plan once i get back into the space and can imagine what will go where.

i'm excited to get everything styled and share it with you in a few weeks!

happy monday!

Giveaway // Crave Jewels

today's giveaway comes from Erin of Crave Jewels. she sells beautiful necklaces and earrings and is offering 2 lucky winners a pair of these lovely Swarovski crystal drops (in their choice of gold or silver).

use the giveaway tool below to enter!
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High Five for Friday

happy friday! i hope you've had a great week! my week has been spent making jewels for Elisabeth Ashlie (ya know, adding to that "moving expenses" fund) and packing. i've managed to have a pretty good week, though. here's a few reasons why:
1. carrie treated kate and me to a delicious dinner earlier this week at Firebirds, which i highly recommend! i love spending time with these gals.
2. my sister and i decided it was kind of necessary to order the Big Daddy chocolate cake. i mean, how can you say 'no' to that?! it was the bomb, by the way.
3. i've been packing up the apartment all week and it's gone smoothly so far, so that's great news! i also rediscovered a lot of things in boxes from my last apartment and it's funny to see how much my style has changed in just a year.
4. this girl. she's pretty great. (this is how she reacts to spontaneous downpours)
5. i've always appreciated spending time with my sister, but realize just how much i appreciate it now that we only have a week left together! it's a good thing that she likes me as much as i like her, otherwise this would be awkward.

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

Just One Of Those Things

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
i decided yesterday that it might be a good idea to start packing up all of my crap since i'm moving in less than two weeks. with that and a busy weekend, i left myself no time to photograph any outfits i was planning to shoot this weekend. it happens, i guess. so, instead i'm giving you a little eye candy to drool over. these are my current BaubleBar favorites. that website is just one of those things that i shouldn't allow myself to look at. i mean, really, i want one of everything. it's rude.

Closet Questions, Part Four

in case you miss them: part one, part two, and part three.

Q: What are the easiest accessories to add oomph? - Allyson
A: a statement necklace, fancy earrings, crystal bracelet, bright clutch or bag, or patterned shoes are the things that come to mind! if it's fall or winter, you can easily add a bright or patterned scarf to your look to jazz it up a little bit.
shoes / necklace / scarf / bracelet (similar) / clutch / earrings
Q: What are your 10 closet staples - timeless pieces that you don't mind spending a little extra money on? How could you style these pieces to keep in line with current trends without spending too much money? - Kayla
A: a great pair of jeans, black or leather/faux leather pants, pencil skirt, blazer, chambray shirt, LBD, lace top, a colored dress that you could wear to a wedding or event, a pair of colored/printed pants, and a great collection of solid v-necks or tees. These pieces are all really versatile and a lot of them can be styled together. They're the classics that you'll find on Pinterest or in magazines, so I'd look there for some inspiration!

Q: I'm a petite 5'2" and never feel comfortable wearing those flawy tops that are so popular at stores like Francesca's (or even the bohemian look at J Crew). Any suggestions for us wee gals who want to pull off something other than a t-shirt? I always feel like my shape gets lost in something that isn't form-fitting. - Natalie
A: You can try belting those tops with a skinny belt, which will give you a shape without cutting your body in half (like a wide belt can do). Otherwise, go for more form-fitting blouses or those flowy tops that nip in at the waist. It seems like you know to stay away from the ones that have no shape at all, so anything that's not a total square could work for you. Also, if you're wearing something that isn't form-fitting on top, be sure to pair it with a pencil skirt or skinny pants on bottom to show off your shape. I try to balance my outfits that way. If I'm wearing a loose or shapeless top, I'll wear it with shorts or skinny jeans to show my legs. If I'm wearing a loose-fitting bottom, like a maxi skirt, I wear it with a more-fitted top to balance out the looseness.

Q: What are good pieces to carry a gal into fall? - Allyson
A: A couple great pairs of jeans and colored/printed pants, open-front sweaters that you can easily layer, striped or printed long sleeve tops to wear under a sweater or jacket, and scarves! I love scarves and wear one pretty much as soon as it's remotely "cold enough" to pull them off. My favorite go-to fall outfit probably consists of a great pair of skinny pants, a comfy graphic tee, open-front loose sweater and a chunky knit scarf to keep my neck warm. You can carry some of your summer dresses into fall by pairing them with tights and boots or booties. That's another thing I love to do in the fall before it's too cold.

Q: How would you style this jacket? I love this look but never know what to wear it with! What can I put it with to help it really make a statement whether that be patterned things, jewelry, etc. you know best! - Lindsey
A: I came up with four different ways to style this jacket that I think could work. With the feminine, you could wear a pair of skinny colored pants or a summer dress. For the glam, I'm thinking black or dark wash jeans with a sassy top. For casual, you can wear that with jeans and a plain or graphic tee. And for the edgy, you could go all black or wear skinny dark wash jeans.
Untitled #1
Old Navy patch jacket / Lauren Ralph Lauren platform wedge shoes / Accessorize bow flat / Head Over Heels by Dune brogue shoes, $54 / Jeffrey Campbell black ankle booties, $265 / Charlotte Russe flap handbag / Hive & Honey / SHOUROUK clear crystal earrings, $550 / Mint green jewelry / Black jewelry / Gold chain link bracelet / Bezel set ring / Metal jewelry / DesignSix stackable ring / Circle scarve
Q: How can I use a belt to camouflage my stomach when putting on a few pounds? - Jenn
A: I don't necessarily know that a belt is the best way to camouflage a stomach, however it can work for you. My first piece of advice is stay away from wide belts! I actually can't think of any situation where a wide belt should be used over a skinny belt, so stay away from them! They can add width and chop you in half, which is the exact opposite of what you're looking for. Skinny belts are great for a couple reasons: they draw the eye to the smallest part of you (your waist/lower ribs area), they don't add any extra bulk, and they're small enough that they can enhance the other pieces in your look instead of taking attention away. So, get some skinny belts! In terms of camouflaging your stomach, my best advice is to wear tops that are fitted on top and in the arms, but aren't tight across your stomach. However, you want to make sure that you're not wearing a baggy shirt to cover up your extra pounds, because then it can look like you put a lot of extra pounds on instead of just a few. You can easily belt those tops right at your natural waist line to show off the smallest part of you and take the attention away from the stomach area. Stick with structured pieces, like blazers, which can give you a great shape and can be buttoned to cover over that "problem" area. As much as you can, try not to "hide" your body with baggy/loose-fitting clothes just because you maybe aren't thrilled with how you look or if you've gained a little weight. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and stylish in, but also clothes that will still show off your shape and the parts that you do like, such as your legs, arms, waist, or neckline.

Q: What is a summer-y, warm weather appropriate way to not melt to death? Or what is a good short length/cut/style to not feel like I'm wearing booty shorts? I know I'm not leaving many options. Is there such a thing as a cute midi skirt?  - Allyson
A: My best advice for shorts is to shop somewhere that provides options for inseam length. J Crew Factory has a great selection of Chinos with varying inseam lengths. I bought these this summer that I absolutely love. Target has some great shorts, just not in the juniors section. Those thangs are shoooort. I believe their Mossimo brand shorts are what I own and they're a comfortable length. Other than shorts, I recommend summer dresses, maxi skirts (if it's not too toasty outside) or cute skirts. I'm not a huge skirt wearer, but I'm sure all the usual stores carry them, so it sounds like you need to do a little shopping!

Have a question you want answered in a later post? Email me at laurenelizabethblog@gmail.com!

The Next Chapter

what my apartment looks like these days
i'm such a mix of emotions these days. i'm excited, sad, anxious, afraid, curious, and happy. lemme tell you, one second i can't wait to move and the next second i'm tearing up thinking about moving. the emotions are pretty unexpected (at least the extremity of them), but i guess it's only natural. i'm about to take a step into the next chapter of my life and with that come a lot of different emotions and questions.  not all bad, but not all good. and when i say step, it feels like a huge leap into mostly a black hole. there's a small light at the end of the tunnel since i at least know where i'll be living, which is a serious answer to prayer.

can we take a second and talk about how apartment/condo/home/whatever shopping is the worst? in my opinion, it's right up there with dentist visits and stepping on a seashell on the beach. my future roommate and i finally found a place that we're really excited about and God totally made it possible for us to live there. just when i was starting to wonder if it would all come together, He reminded me that He's in control and He knows what the next phase of life holds for me, including where i'll be living. i can't tell you how thankful i am for that.

back to my emotions. so, i was having an emotional hour the other day. i have a knack for stressing myself out. like really well. i was thinking about what i'm going to do for work and how it's going to be so hard to not live near my sister anymore and how everything in my life is about to change. everything. the only thing that will stay the same is that i will still have my cats, thank goodness. so i was talking to Mike on the phone about how i'm stressed and sad and scared and he said something that totally changed my perspective on this whole move. he pointed out that this is going to be a new chapter in my life. my moving to Chicago is not just a move, it's a life change. it's my first certifiable step into adulthood, and with that comes a new season of my life. i hadn't thought of it that way before.

with every "new chapter" in life, there's going to be growing pains. it's not going to be easy and it's not necessarily going to be what you expected, but that's part of the next chapter and that's part of life. you learn, you grow, you experience things, and you hopefully come out in one piece on the other side.

i can say with absolute certainty that i believe that this next chapter is part of God's plan for my life. too many things have fallen into place for this all to just be a "coincidence". i'd be lying if i said that it takes away the fear and anxiety and sadness, but i'd also be lying if i said that i was afraid that it is the wrong decision. i feel so strongly that it's the right decision, but it definitely won't be the easiest way. but it's in those times and seasons of life that you learn and grow the most, isn't it? i have a feeling this upcoming chapter will be one that will leave a permanent stitch in the fabric of my life.

fancy poetic ending, huh? ;)

Giveaway // Caroline G

wearing one of my favorite necklaces
today's giveaway comes from my favorite little shop owner, Caroline G. or as i like to call her, Merry Carrie. because she's just about the happiest person i've ever met. and i like her, a lot. she's giving TWO lucky winners a $50 shop credit to spend in her shop.

use code LAUREN50 for 50% off your order!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway // Jay & Amy Creations

today's giveaway comes from Jay & Amy of Jay & Amy Creations. they're a husband and wife duo that sell beautiful handmade items including jewelry and handbags. what's really awesome about their shop is that 10% of proceeds go to help families to adopt. they're giving one lucky winner a $30 shop credit!

one of my favorite items in their shop is this Peas in a Pod necklace:

use the giveaway tool below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

High Five for Friday

1. i always have grand plans to read my digital magazines or watch my freshly downloaded movie on the plane and i always end up listening to music and staring out the window at the beauty of creation. that's one of the most peaceful things for me.
2. upon discovering that my bag potentially didn't make it with me to Chicago, i was stressed, to say the least. Mike picked me up from the airport and had some pretty flowers for me, which instantly lifted my mood. and then the airport called about 20 minutes later to let me know they found my bag! crisis averted.
3. if you follow me on instagram, you know that i asked for your help deciding which shoes to wear to the wedding. well, i clearly decided on these new beauties i picked up at J Crew Factory not too long ago. it was a good choice!
4. mike and i spent Tuesday hanging out in Chicago and walking around. we came upon this pretty spot and decided to relax for a bit and soak up the scenery.
5. milo decided to get some sun on his stomach. notice the totally stretched out legs.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!
(if you have trouble linking up, leave your H54F blog post link in the comments!)

Two Year Blogaversary

via Google

today, on this first day of august 2013, marks two years of having this blog. whoa.

i've loved every second of it and so enjoy sharing my life with you people. this blog has been a wonderful creative outlet, a way to connect with people i wouldn't ordinarily or geographically connect with, and something that has taught me a lot about things that i never knew about. like HTML code and what ad swapping is.

so i just want to say thanks. to the readers, the sponsors, the twitter peeps, instagram addicts, and all other social media junkies that have connected with me in some form or another. you guys are great and you make this blog that much more fun to write and put my heart into.

as a little thank you, i'm giving away TWO regular ad spots to two lucky winners. oh, and you can use the code TwoYears for 20% off any ad spot this month - you can shop for them here. to win the ad spot, leave a comment with your email address and i'll choose the winners tomorrow morning!