Wedding Photos from the Falls

Our wedding photos came in! I’m so excited to share them so that my friends, family, and you beautiful readers can see them. We had an amazing time in Seattle, and will be sharing a travel guide soon, for those of you that have asked. Our reception is this Saturday, so we will be sharing pictures from that as well.

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I Vow to Love You Forever

On July 9th, in the Cascade mountains, I said “I Do” to my best friend, my rock, my soulmate. Thank you for loving me, and for accepting every part of me including my flaws. You are everything I could have asked for, and I can’t wait to share the rest of my life with you.

We wrote our own vows, and read them to each other while struggling not to cry (we didn’t succeed!) It was a very emotional ceremony, and a moment I’ll never forget. 

We are back from our vacation and resting, enjoying every moment together before we both go back to work. It’s been a whirlwind of fun, and every moment leading up to this was so worth it. To all of our friends and family that support and love us, thank you. I can’t wait for more photos to come in so I can share them with you all. And to all my readers, thank you. I would not be where I am today without your encouragement, love, and support. I consider each of you a good friend and can’t thank you enough for wanting to be a part of my journey. More blog posts will be up shortly, now that I finally have time to write! Can’t wait to be back 🙂

Photography: Georgia Haygood. You can see more of her work here. (She’s amazing!! For any of you Seattle-area bride to be’s, I have several recommendations for wedding vendors)

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Heels // Bracelet (similar) // Earrings (similar)

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First Book Review!

Happy Fourth of July!!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday. I will be spending my afternoon by the pool reading a new book, and packing later for our vacation.

If you ask anyone that knows me what my favorite hobby is (besides styling outfits), they’ll tell you it’s reading. I am always on the hunt for a fantastic new book or author, and usually plow through more than 50 new books a year. What can I say, I adore it! 

Because of this, I usually have a lot of people asking me what books I recommend for them to read next. So I thought I’d start doing reviews and book recommendations once a month for those of you that may be on the hunt for something new. And, if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Recently Read:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

Coming soon: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. 

We leave on vacation tomorrow morning, so if anyone has an kindle book suggestions I’d love to hear them! It’s going to be a long plane ride 🙂

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Perfect Fourth of July Weekend Dress

I hope everyone has fun activities planned with friends and family for the Fourth! I’ve found the cutest dress for your weekend festivities. It’s red, white, blue, and tasseled. Even though it has three quarter sleeves, it’s lightweight and breezy- perfect for summer! ❤️🇺🇸

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Popover Maxi // Eyelet Fit n Flare // Parker Brooklyn Dress // 

OTS Dress // Gauze Maxi Romper // Stripe Tie Romper //

 

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Best New Beauty Products from Sephora

With summer finally here, I’ve done a quick roundup of the best new products Sephora has to offer that are perfect for beating this heat and staying gorgeous!

Tatcha Violet-C Radience Mask //  A creamy anti-aging mask—packed with Japanese beautyberry, two types of vitamin C, and AHAs from seven fruits—that unveils softer, glowing skin. Great for oily, dry, normal, sensitive, and combination skin types! Another amazing reason to buy this product: it’s beauty that gives back. Your purchase of a full-sized Tatcha skincare item will fund a day of school for incredible girls through their Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Futures partnership with Room to Read. 

Urban Decay Naked Palette // Urban Decay’s Naked Heat features 12 all-new, amber-hued neutrals—including warm browns, burnt oranges, and rich siennas. The most shade-driven Naked palette Urban Decay has ever created, this palette takes Naked the next level. From a super-smooth red-brown matte and a glimmering copper to a deep, shifty bronze, this palette has everything you need to create sultry daytime looks, intensely smoky nighttime looks, and everything in between.
I can’t wait to try this palette, it’s perfect for summer!

Jo Malone London Poptastic Orange Blossom // Like in a shimmering garden oasis, clementine flower sparkles over a heart of orange blossom and water lily. Warm undertones of orris and balsamic vetiver create a sensation of pure delight.

Total Coverage Sponge // A dual-ended blending sponge for effortless and expert application and blending. This sponge is intended to be used wet. The wetter the sponge, the more sheer the coverage will be. It is formulated without natural latex. This little item is a lifesaver; I can’t live without it!!

Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil // This luxurious, rose-gold Hair & Body Oil is a silicone-free fusion of nutrient-rich oils from all over the world. The perfect multitasker, the fast-absorbing formula illuminates hair and skin as it restores moisture and repairs damage. Absinthium oil rehydrates dry skin and hair, rose hip oil reduces the appearance of scars and redness, and shea oil nourishes dry, dull skin and hair. It’s also perfect for all hair types! 

Sephora Summer Hair Care Favorites // This set contains all you need to cleanse, refresh, treat, and style your hair for a summer of fabulous tresses. Dry shampoo helps effortlessly refresh and cleanse the hair. Wave Sprays help give an effortless summer wave without heat damage. Oils and deep conditioners sooth, and hydrate summer damaged hair. It’s also perfect for traveling!! What’s included: .

35 oz/ 40 mL Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
0.85 oz/ 25 mL Alterna CAVIAR CC Cream
0.5 oz/ 15 mL IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel
0.57 oz/ 17 mL Verb Ghost Oil
Invisibobble ORIGINAL the traceless hair ring in Crystal Clear
1 oz/ 29 mL Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
1 oz/ 30 mL Living Proof Perfect hair Day In-Shower Styler
1.5 oz/ 44.3 mL Devacurl Wave Maker Touchable Texture Whip
1.5 oz/ 43 g Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam
0.5 oz/ 15 mL Moroccanoil Moroccanoil Treatment
0.5 oz/ 15 mL Bumble and bumble BB. Don’t Blow It (Fine)
1.6 oz/ 47 g Drybar Triple SEC 3-in-1
0.3 oz/ 10 mL Klorane Sun Lightening Spray with Chamomile and Honey

If I missed any of your favorite new products, let me know in the comments below!

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Best Fourth of July Weekend Sales!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I hope everyone has a fun weekend planned with friends, family, great food, and fireworks! Here’s a roundup of some of the best sales this weekend that you can shop now. If I’ve missed your favorite, let me know!

Ann Taylor // 50% off site wide

Anthropologie // Extra 30% off sale items

Banana Republic // 40% off regular priced items with code BRNEW

J. Crew // Extra 50% off sale styles with code SALETIME

J. Crew Factory // 50% off everything + extra 50% off sale with code FOURTHFUN

H&M // Deals starting at $4, summer sale items up to 70% off

Loft // 50% off everything with code SPARKLER

Bloomingdales // Save 25-50% on select items

Sole Society // Up to 50% off select styles

Macy’s // Give $3 and take an extra 25% off

Nordstrom // New sale styles added; anniversary sale is coming soon! July 21-August 6

ASOS // Up to 70% off sale items

Old Navy // Entire store on sale up to 60% off; styles starting at $4

Forever 21 // Online only, BOGO sale and $5 summer must haves

Sam Edelman // 20% off sale with code 4THOFSAM20

Shopbop // New sales styles added, up to 70% off

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Body Confidence- Style Bloggers

I wanted to share with you a few photos of some of the incredible, talented, intelligent women that I have met and become friends with during my journey as a style blogger. As you may now be aware, I have started a campaign to teach women to love their bodies, and dress themselves in a way that makes them feel confident and beautiful. Of course, there is so much more to you than looks, but feeling amazing and exhibiting confidence can also help lift our confidence, and give us the courage to succeed without fear holding us back.

These amazing women come in different shapes and sizes, and we are all connected by at least one thing: our love for style. Please take a look at these incredible ladies and their blogs as they too will be helping me out along the way.

Miriam Elizabeth from Herrendezvous 

Karina from Let’s Do Chocolate!

Irina from The Fourteen Carats

Mycaila from Booty and Beauty

Mycaila says: “I think most of us girls struggle with body confidence and body image, which it shouldn’t be that way because we’re all beautiful in our own ways. I think we all try and compare ourselves to other people who we think might look great to us, and strive to be like them, when in actual fact, we could actually be those exact people that maybe someone else looks up to in the same way. With being almost 8 months pregnant, I am getting used to my bigger shape. My whole body is expanding and growing for my baby, but I’m learning everyday to accept the changes that are happening and though I might have gone up a few sizes in clothing, I am learning to love my new shape more and more every day.”

I hope these women help to inspire you on your journey with me to learn and love yourself. Please check back daily for updates, and if you would like to participate, send your story and a photo of yourself in an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and confident to styledbyconfidence@gmail.com

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Why I’m Learning to Love My Body

Hi there! My name is Renee. I’m a style blogger, and I weigh 158 pounds. I have stretch marks, scars, cellulite on my thighs, and tiny spider veins on the backs of my knees.

Does that make you think differently of me? If so, maybe you and I should part ways. If not, which I’m hoping, you’ll stick around and hear what I have to say.

Screw the scale! That’s right; to hell with it!

I dreaded getting on the scale to check my weight for that annual doctor’s appointment, a time I knew I’d be scolded because maybe I’d over indulged at brunch with my girlfriends, or helped myself to dessert after a big meal (gasp!) I was always embarrassed with the number that showed up, even when I thought I looked good and, dare I say it, even a little leaner.

But you don’t need a scale, and I’m here to tell you why.

I will be honest with you: I do own one. It’s hiding under my dresser, out of sight, but I drag it out daily to weigh myself for a medication I’m on. The number doesn’t bother me as much anymore, but there are days I wish I was smaller. Still, there was a time in my life that I was completely and utterly obsessed with the number that appeared when I stepped on the scale. That number controlled my life, and it’s not something that brings me joy. You know what does? Having a donut for breakfast because I love them, and know I’ll burn it off in spin class later. You know what isn’t fun for me? Eating salads every day for lunch and dinner and always feeling like I should pass on dessert. All I want out of life is to be happy and healthy, and enjoy the food I eat. I’m not going to deprive myself of my favorite foods. Everything in moderation, I always say.

More often than not, I compare my body to other style bloggers and other women. You know the ones: tall, gorgeous, no bigger than a size 2- and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was jealous of these women, who seemed to be born with everything I didn’t have. I always hear people complain about style bloggers not being “real sizes” or “real women” and let me tell you, that makes me angry. They are real women; real women come in every shape and size. They are beautiful human beings with feelings, hopes, and dreams, and yes, even insecurities. I know there’s a stigma that surrounds these women that they must not have insecurities, but everyone has them. Everyone is a little insecure about something, and there’s nothing wrong with this. Too often, we find ourselves comparing our bodies, our faces, and our lives to others. For me, all that ends up doing is making me feel bad. We’re all perfectly imperfect in our own ways. I’ve realized that I don’t need a scale to be happy. I’ve become so in tune with my body, I can tell when I’ve gained or lost weight simply by the way my clothes fit, or how I look in the mirror.

I’m finally getting to a place where I’m learning to accept my body, but still make healthy changes after many years of abusing it by not exercising and eating poorly. But it wasn’t always this way. In elementary school and middle school, I was average. I was no bigger and no smaller than the other girls in my classes, and size wasn’t something I really noticed back then. I was pretty fit in high school; I ran cross country and track, running 8 miles a day, 5 days a week. We had meets once a week and pasta parties the night before to fuel up with carbs. I think it’s partially why I don’t enjoy pasta much anymore!

When I was in college, I hit my heaviest weight of 175. I was so embarrassed, so miserable with the way I looked and felt. Even my skin was bad from all of the terrible food I was eating. I had stopped running too; I was so stressed all the time and never exercised. I was way overweight for my 5’3” frame. Yes, you read that correctly. I still clearly remember the day I stepped on the scale, feeling completely hopeless. My weight had always fluctuated, but I’d never come close to this heavy before. I was more upset with myself for letting this happen. I knew I was eating poorly, I knew I needed to work out, and I knew my clothes were getting smaller and smaller. Still, I did nothing. Seeing that number just made me feel worse about myself, like I was worth less because I weighed more.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to look and feel good: why define ourselves by a number on a scale or the size of our clothes? I have an hourglass figure, and the type of body that gains weight easily. I’m tired of hating what I see in the mirror; I’m tired of comparing myself and my body to others. It never accomplishes anything positive, and it makes me a nervous wreck. I get obsessive trying to eat healthy, and sometimes not eat at all. I decided to change all that.

To me, it’s more important to feel good. When I eat healthy and still let myself indulge here and there, I’m much happier than I would be if I had to count calories or avoid my favorite foods. And I’ll also let you in on a little secret: I hate working out. Hate it. Going to a gym, I mean. If you ask me to play tennis with you, go kayaking, go for a walk, or go hiking, I’m all for it. Ask me to lift weights at a gym with you or run on an elliptical, the answer is no (sorry Megan!)

I was hesitant to share my story. There’s a lot of stigma around women’s weight and size, and keeping it private. I say, who cares? Who cares if you’re a size large or an extra small? I’m a size 10 in pants, because I have wide hips. I wear a medium or large in tops because I have wide shoulders and I’m busty, but I have a small waist. Yes, this does make shopping difficult sometimes. Size does not matter. What matters is how you feel. Every woman carries her weight differently. You can line 5 women up in a row who are all the same weight, and they’d all look completely different. Most women I know have struggled with their weight, and this size they think they should be. Take this photo for example:

If I told you all of the women in this picture were 154 pounds, would you believe me? Proof that everyone carries their weight differently, and that the number really doesn’t matter.

Of course I still have moments where I struggle with how I look. It takes time to truly love yourself for who you are and all of your imperfections. I still hate my stretch marks, but I’m learning to love my hips. I may hate the way my scars look, but they have made me stronger. I want other women to learn to love their bodies the way I’m learning to love mine. I want to support you on this journey, and make you feel amazing! Please join me on my campaign and learn to love yourself along the way.

#styledbyconfidence

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Dreamy Pink Dress // Little Blue Dress

It’s been a while since my last post, and boy do I have a lot of updates for you guys!

First of all, I’m finally graduated! I successfully finished my first degree as part of the honors program, and am hoping to start classes again this fall to get my second degree. The last several weeks have been hectic trying to study for my last test, and I was so happy I passed.

 We celebrated my younger sister’s high school graduation with my family on Sunday, and went out to dinner afterwards. It was so good to see everyone and catch up, now that we’re all getting older and getting to new, exciting points in our lives.

As of this post, there’s only 27 more days until D and I tie the knot! We’re super excited to start this new chapter of our lives together. We’ve been so busy getting things prepared for our trips, and working hard on a new project that launches on the blog at the end of this week, which I’m so excited to share with everyone.

My pink dress is sold out in the color I have, but they do still have the cornflower blue and a pretty wine version. And, it’s only $27! My blue scale print dress was a great find from Marshall’s over the weekend. I had mixed feelings about the dress, so I went back to the store to return it. I had bought it at a different location than my home store with a few new tops. The man who had rung me out scanned the price tag of my $12 shirt twice, instead of the tag for the dress, so when I went to go return it they were unable to scan it. They ended up refunding me the $12 I had paid for the top when it scanned a second time, and still let me keep the dress. Considering I got it for free, I took it as it was meant to be and happily left the store with it. Just another reason why I love shopping at Marshalls! Scooore!

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Blue Dress (similar) // Pink Dress // Bag (similar) // Shoes // Bracelet // Earrings // Lipstick

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Cutest Summer Dresses and Tops for Under $40

Hey everyone! I’ve partnered with Shein to bring you some of my favorite summer tops and dresses for under $40! They have fabulous clothes, and they are super affordable- which is a bonus for me. I wanted to do a quick roundup for you, and if you see anything you like, click the images to shop the post! I’ll be updating again soon, and sharing some details for my upcoming wedding in July 🙂 I can’t believe how fast it’s coming up, and we’ve been craaazy busy trying to finish planning and getting everything together, so I’m sorry I haven’t posted as much as I usually do!

Bardot Botanical Applique Embroidered Layer Dress $18
Pink Lace Hollow Peplum Top $39

 

White Striped Crisscross Shirred Back Maxi Dress $13
Frill Detail Top $20

 

 

White V-Cut Scalloped Dress $19
Pinstripe Cold Shoulder Top $12

 

Bow Tie Open Back Fluted Sleeve High Waist Gingham Dress $18
Scallop Edge Embroidered Cami $18

 

Floral Print Flounce Layered Neckline Dress $26
Embroidered Lace Top $24
Orange off the Shoulder Tie Detail Dress $15
Layered Zip Back Cami $11

If you’ve never been to the SheIn site before, I highly encourage you to look; they have beautiful clothes at extremely affordable prices (think Forever21 and H&M) and customers can post pictures wearing their purchases in the reviews, so you can get an idea of how it may look on you. I’m STILL in desperate need of some cute summer tops and dresses, and I plan on grabbing all of the items in this post ASAP- because they can sell out quick!

Have you ever shopped at Shein before? What is your favorite item from there? Let me know in the comments below!

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