Chloe+Isabel Memorial Day Sale

Chloe+Isabel has a great sale this weekend – I haven't seen them do a promotion like this one before. With any $100 purchase, you get to choose from one of these free gifts:

free gift choices - chloe+isabel memorial day sale

These bracelets are super cute on their own or stacked with other bracelets, the gold or silver earrings are perfect basics that go with anything, and the statement earrings are a perfect summer piece that would look great with anything from a simple top to a dressy dress. AND we're offering $25 off of any $125 purchase. There are some really great, unique pieces that just came out with the new C+I summer line - check out my shop at www.shopjlw.com

chloe+isabel memorial day sale

Chloe + Isabel Jewelry

I recently took the plunge and became a merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel, an online jewelry boutique. This decision was a little spontaneous....I came across some of their jewelry online, started shopping the site and adding things to my cart, one link lead to another and.....I decided that if I loved the jewelry, why not share it with friends and enjoy a discount?! 

I was excited to get the Essential Kit in the mail to start with, as well as a few extra pieces that I ordered. I love it all and started wearing it immediately. 

To begin, my favorite: 

The Le Rococo statement ring and modern links cuff bracelet have quickly become my favorites. I love the deep amethyst color of the ring - and its fun design and size - and the simplicity of the bracelet will make it something I will wear with everything. You can search for these items right in my shop, and email me if you have any questions!

Next up, the cushion cut cocktail ring. Can you tell I love statement rings? I love this light blush color and the sparkle; can't wait to wear it for a night out:

Another piece I'm loving – the Gilded Reeds Aventurine long pendant. The photo doesn't do it justice, as this stone looks a touch darker than it is in person, and there's a touch of sparkle on the chain. I love this aqua color and having the option of a longer necklace like this one. 

Next up, the Ocean Lace drop earrings and flex bracelet - beautiful stone and silver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Palliette single drop earrings - I'm a sucker for a brushed gold finish, and I can wear these with anything I own:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last but not least, the Pearl & Crystal Floral Filigree earrings - beautiful and delicate, these would be stunning with a simple black or white dress - a perfect accessory for summer wedding attire!

That's only the tip of the iceberg! The new Summer Collection is being released tomorrow, and I can't wait to share more pieces. You can search for any of these pieces in my shop at www.shopjlw.com, and if you're interested in hosting an online pop-up shop, contact me - it's incredibly easy to be a host, and you will earn free jewelry!

Oceanside, CA Family Vacation Review

Oceanside California and Legoland travel review

Several years ago, I wrote a little review about a trip we took to Oceanside, California. The funny thing was that we just sort of accidentally ended up there when my husband was looking for hotels near Legoland. We had a great time, but didn't make our way back for several years. Turns out that family friends of ours have a vacation rental in Oceanside. My parents rent the house once or twice a year, and when we can, we tag along for a few days. We went this past year over Labor Day weekend, and had a wonderful time. 

Oceanside is a laid-back, casual beach town, not nearly as pretentious of some of its ritzy Southern California neighbors. In my book that makes it perfect for a relaxed family getaway. While we love Tucson, the east coast girl in me misses the beach and needs to see the ocean every now and then. This trip to the coast helped us to regroup and breathe a little before we jumped into a jam-packed fall full of school, homework, sports, work, and activities.

Because the house we rent is right on the beach, we spend 90% of our time there. We drink our coffee in the morning, watching the surfers until the kids decide to change into bathing suits and begin their day - digging in the sand, jumping waves, collecting shells, and meeting other kids on the beach. Notice I said nothing about watching TV or playing video games - that's the beauty of this vacation; they can keep themselves busy for hours at the beach!

At night we sometimes grill out - Fish House Vera Cruz in Carlsbad has a beautiful selection of fresh fish; this year we picked up some swordfish and threw that on the grill, baked some potatoes, and had a fantastic meal while we watched the sun set. Food really does taste better at the beach!

Oceanside, CA sunset

We also ate at Hello Betty Fish House for the first time. I loved the casual concept with the big open windows and nice selection of Baja-inspired food. I had fish tacos that were great. After dinner we took a walk on the Oceanside Pier. The pier was pretty crowded in the evening, unlike the times we'd walked it during the day. 

 

This year we decided to revisit Jake's Del Mar, a restaurant we had eaten at once before, for another dinner. It's a little drive down the coast from Oceanside, but it's fun to see the scenery down the Pacific Coast Highway if you choose not to take the freeway. The views are spectacular and the servers are very attentive despite the crowds, so all in all it was a nice evening. 

One of our days was spent at Legoland, just a few minutes down the road in Carlsbad. Truthfully, at 8 and 10, my kids are getting to be a little old for Legoland as they're starting to enjoy more daring rides at other theme parks, but my son is still a die-hard Lego fan and my daughter actually won the tickets in a coloring contest by our local TV station, so why not?! The kids found out about their MiniFigure trading program (How did we not know about this before? You can bring your MiniFigures and trade them with park employees.) so they were excited to do that, and it was fun to see the actual set of The Lego Movie in person. My son is still dreaming of the day when he can get the Lego Death Star, so he enjoyed seeing that on the Lego Movie set too. We enjoyed the gorgeous weather and fun family day, so it was a nice outing and added a little variety to the trip.

One of our favorite traditions is to end the trip with a big breakfast at Beachbreak Cafe before we load up the car for the long drive back to Tucson. This is a great local place with tons of delicious breakfast options - bring your appetite!

That's it for this trip, but we're definitely hoping a return visit to Oceanside is in the cards for 2015.

First Communion Invitations - New in the Shop!

One of the most popular categories in my Etsy shop at this time of year is First Communion invitations. I love designing items for these pretty spring celebrations, and I really enjoyed creating custom designs for my own son's First Communion a few years ago. 

I've had some pretty, simple silhouette invitations in the shop for a few years, so this year I decided to update them with a few different options of watercolor backgrounds and a modern calligraphy script. I love the way they came out, and the background is super simple to modify for customers who want different colors. You can check them out here, and I can create cupcake toppers, thank-you notes, and other printables to coordinate with these themes as well.

Squarespace Website Design for Single Thread Boutique Blog

I recently finished up another website design project; this one was the fashion & style blog for a great little boutique in Indiana - Single Thread Boutique. Read the details about this project on my work website!

Squarespace Website Design for Single Thead Boutique Blog - by jwilliamscommunications.com

Decorating for Fall

Fall is my favorite season, and I'm always ready to break out fall colors and decorations in August. This is even more comical since I've been living in Arizona for 10+ years, and fall weather begins sometime around....November. So I hold off until around late September and inevitably decide that I'm not waiting for a change in weather to change some things around the house. I don't do anything that takes tons of time or money, but I love the results when I add some little touches of fall.

First off, I pick up small pumpkins in orange and white and place them here and there. I like mixing the real ones with the rustic brown ones that I bought at Michael's years ago.

This year I balanced a few of the white pumpkins on candlesticks in front of Maggie's little abstract art canvas. I remembered that I had this black tassel garland left over from a birthday party, and threw that up on the wall since it looks sort of Halloweeny. 

My assistants wasted no time stretching fake spider webs anywhere they could. I let them have fun with it.

I also put out the canvas trick-or-treating art that Maggie made a few years ago, along with this little candy dish that my grandmother made for me when she was taking ceramics classes years ago. Still makes me smile when I look at it.

After Halloween, I'll take down the spider webs and jack-o-lanterns, leaving the pumpkins and fall leaves for Thanksgiving.

For more simple decorating ideas, seasonal or otherwise, check out The Nester's series on vignettes. I love to use her ideas - like incorporating some simple kid-made art and sentimental items - when I change things up. How do you decorate for fall? 

Joining the linkup at www.roubinek.net! Stop over and check out the ideas over there.

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix did it again with a box of clothes that were just what I wanted! This time I asked for pieces that would help me transition from summer to fall. Tucson's weather will continue to feel like summer for quite some time, but I knew I'd be tired of the tank tops, shorts, and flip flops that we seem to wear for so many months here. I was nervous when I read the initial note on my style card that explained that the stylist I'd had for my previous fixes had left, and someone new had done this one, but Carli did a great job of fulfilling my requests. Not familiar with Stitch Fix? Read more here!

First up was the Pixley Harriet Chevron Print Detail Dress, a comfortable, lightweight, and flattering dress that can definitely be dressed up or down. I love the slightly high waistline and a-line cut that is flattering without being too flared. This is cute with heels and jewelry for a dressy night out, or with sandals for a casual look. It's perfectly comfortable in the Tucson heat but can also be worn in cooler weather with a cardigan or jacket. 

Next was the Pixley Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt - I had pinned this shirt in a different color on my Pinterest style board, and my stylist mentioned that in her notes. This is a simple, cotton top that is very comfortable. I think it looks better for casual wear, although my style card included an option pairing it with a pencil skirt and boots. 

My favorite item in this fix was the Kut From the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean, shown in the photo above with the Pixley top. Jeans are so tricky for me, and this is the second time I've requested a specific fit and the second time Stitch Fix has nailed it - I don't have nearly that good of a track record when combing the mall for hours looking for new jeans. I'll take this approach over that torture any day. Several of my previous Stitch Fix style cards included boyfriend jeans with the outfits, and I didn't have any of my own that quite had that look. I saw JoAnn mention receiving boyfriend jeans in this Stitch Fix review and liked them. I wanted some that were comfortable and that I'd be able to wear in a lot of different ways. I absolutely love these - they may be my favorite item in all of my fixes to date. I've already worn these tons - they've become my weekend uniform. 

My jewelry piece in this fix was Jill Michael Montgomery Beaded Hoop Earrings, in the matte gold finish that I love. These are simple and pretty and I will get plenty of use out of them.

The piece that I was a little on the fence about in this fix was the 41Hawthron Bryan Short-Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan. It's white and simple in a t-shirt material. This item makes sense as a fall transition piece for the weather in Tucson, as it adds a lightweight layer. With it being white, it will match plenty of things. It was just not terribly exciting, but with the 5-item discount (you get 25% off your entire purchase if you keep all five pieces in a Stitch Fix) it paid to keep it rather than send it back. One note - my stylist mentioned I could pair this with the chevron dress, but this bright white cardi and the slightly off-white chevron stripe on the dress didn't match - oh well! I think it will work better with some casual jeans or shorts.

I'm happy that Stitch Fix has continued to be a great source of new clothes and accessories for me, and the items that I receive have become some of my favorites. It's really helped me to get out of my style rut, and I highly recommend trying it out - you can use my referral link here and you'll get a code of your own to share with friends for credit! And if you like any of these pieces, you can specifically request them in your style profile. Check out my other Stitch Fix Reviews for even more information.

I'll receive my next Fix in November. I requested a cute but comfortable top to wear to our casual family Thanksgiving gathering, and something a little dressier to wear to holiday parties. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

Easy and Budget-Friendly Lavender Chevron Birthday Party Theme

My daughter's birthday was in August, and this year she requested a small family birthday party, which was just fine with me! That gave me an opportunity to focus on some cute details without stressing over a big, expensive bash. 

girls'  chevron maxi dress

Maggie's favorite color is lavender, so we used that as our starting point. She asked to get a comfortable maxi dress to wear for the party, and when I came across this dress on Lolly Wolly Doodle, we decided to purchase it and use a chevron print in the decor too.  If you're looking for cute girls' clothes, whether for a party or not, I recommend checking out Lolly Wolly Doodle's website and Facebook page - I love supporting another mom-owned business, and they have a fantastic success story about how they grew their business! They'll monogram their items very inexpensively, so that adds a cute personalized touch.

I designed a simple invitation that we emailed to the family - similar to this chevron invitation I'm now carrying in my Etsy shop - I'm able to customize it for whatever color scheme my clients need, so it's a really versatile design.

We set up a little drink and snack station within easy reach for all of the little cousins, and decorated with some inexpensive and cute tissue paper flowers, crepe paper streamers, and a banner I designed to coordinate with the theme:

I got the chevron paper drinking straws from this Etsy shop - I loved that it was another Etsy seller from Arizona, and she has tons of color options and other cute items (treat bags, washi tape, twine) that are perfect for parties.

Rather than ice cream, Maggie wanted a make-your-own sundae bar like Luke had for his birthday party earlier this year. 

It was a very relaxed get-together and we all had a great time - and I had a happy eight (!!) year old.


New Squarespace website design for Seventh & Stone

Barbara Stellmach, the owner of the store Seventh & Stone, contacted me about working on her website design. A fellow Etsy seller, Barb creates beautiful and unique handmade jewelry – she incorporates Lake Superior stones into many of the designs, which are inspired by her gorgeous surroundings on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Along with her own designs, Barb carries a carefully curated selection of handmade goods, crafted by artisans – many of them from her area. 

She wanted a website that was clean and well-organized, showcasing the products with links to the individual artists – such a great way to convey the wide array of talent that goes into creating these items. Our collaboration resulted in a lovely, functional site design and its corresponding mobile version. Barb has been a pleasure to work with, and I'm so excited about the final product! You must click over and check it out (and there's a link to her Etsy shop in the navigation!) - and if you're lucky enough to live nearby, stop in and see her at Seventh and Stone!