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costa sur resort in puerto vallarta

This past week, I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my high school friends. After our first major reunion last year, we started to implement an annual girls trip. Last year, we went to Portland and this year, it was Puerto Vallarta! Gotta love a good vacation. But as I get older, the more I find myself wondering, what’s the point of taking vacations?

Is it to escape my everyday reality into an exotic locale? Is it to expand my mind and see how different cultures and peoples live everyday? Does it enhance my life or is it another distraction?

When we first picked Puerto Vallarta, I knew it would be cheap. I’ve visited Mexico a handful of times, mostly for volunteer programs, so this was the first time I visited for vacation. I knew our money would go far and we would stay at a pretty decent resort (Costa Sur). Friendly people would be catering to our every need and request. With all the hectic bustle of our lives, we went in search of relaxation where we would be treated like queens!

I got so wrapped up in that idyllic anticipation of paradise that when I arrived, I was deeply struck by the poverty of the surrounding area. The luxury resorts stood as a glaring reminder of the vast disparity between tourist wealth and local poverty. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as tourist police! They made rounds in the major areas to help make the tourists feel safe. Once we got to our resort, we felt that we should get to know some of the locals and do things that aren’t strictly geared toward tourists.

puerto vallarta street vendor

We walked around the historical district which was calmer and less touristy than the Nuevo portion. As we made an effort to listen to the people around us, we heard stories of deportation, of long distance relationships, and strained family finances. We learned that several of the staff, vendors, and entertainers used to be in America, lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and held positions in fields such as software engineering, IT, and healthcare. It was so heartbreaking to know that these people are just like us, but hard times and bad luck led them to where they are now.

Later in the evening, we happened to walk past a holiday recital of sorts. Some kids from the local school were singing holiday songs as a fundraiser for their after school English program. They made paper angels to sell and each angel was different from the next. One of my friends, a mom, remarked how there were very few parents in the audience, probably because they had to work. We listened to the speeches, a few songs, and bought a few angels to support the local cause.

Not everything was sad and depressing during our trip. There were moments of great joy and celebration! During the month of December, from the 1st to the 12th, there is a festival to celebrate the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every night, there was a parade to the downtown church with ceremonial dancers, people with lighted candles, and a entertaining night market. There was food and toys and lots going on that we were happily overwhelmed by it all. It’s amazing how the community came together to celebrate this special occasion. It makes me wonder how we, as Americans, get by without similar events that unite people together in joy and happiness.

puerto vallarta our lady of guadalupe festival parade

As we neared the end of vacation, I kept thinking, how can I help? What can I do to make things better? Sure, there will always be people who need help everywhere, but since I’m in Mexico, this is where I want to devote my attention.

On the flight home, I received an email from my mentor, Kaycee. She was the one who got me interested in missions trips to Ensenada, to help build churches and support the local community. Kaycee has been participating and leading these trips for several years to the point where she’s taking the big leap. She’s going to be a full-time missionary in Ixtapaluca, Mexico for a year starting in January 2015! As a friend, I have provided some financial support but since I have this blog with some wonderful readers, I’m hoping you’ll be in the spirit to give and help make her journey easier! I’m leaving a link to her missionary page and feel free to spread the word. It would be amazing to fund her yearly expenses so she can fully devote her time to those in need in Mexico. If we all band together, we can surely make a difference!

It’s funny how something as simple as taking a vacation can lead to something bigger, so for this holiday season, I invite you to answer the question, “What are you living for and how do you want to make a difference?”

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Striped Top + Green Wool Skirt

One of my favorite skirts is this green wool skirt that I found in my mother’s closet.

It’s a bit strange how I’m slowly accumulating items from my mom’s closet, but they’re just so awesome! Some of her items are classics which makes it last the test of time and it fits pretty well since we have similar body types. I hope I will have a enviable wardrobe when my child digs in my closet one day.

stylepint outfit: striped top, blue cardigan, green wool skirt, plaid scarf, and black booties

Martin + Osa blue cardigan || Amour Vert striped top || Vintage wool skirt || Johnston’s plaid scarf || Lucky Brand black booties

The more I look at my closet, the more I notice that I wear a lot of blues and greens. It makes sense that as I’m minimizing what I own, more patterns emerge and each item becomes more important. I can no longer get away with wearing something once a year, I must have multiple outfits with it. I guess that’s why I’m scrambling to find things to wear with this wool skirt.

I don’t always wear pencil skirts because I find them a bit restricting.  Especially after my devastating embarrassment at my friend’s wedding wearing a skirt too tight that I had to hop up the stairs, I’m not too keen on pencil skirts. However, this is one skirt that I have to make an exception. No stairs when I wear this skirt but at least it keeps me warm this winter!

Got any ideas on how to style this skirt? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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For the longest time, I wasn’t a vest person, much less a shearling vest person.

I didn’t know how to style it and I didn’t feel like it looked right on me. It’s probably just a confidence thing, but I feel quite vulnerable in vests. When I saw this vest from Splendid, I could not stop staring at it. Sure, it’s a kid’s size and I did get it one size bigger than what fits, but you know what? None of things matter as long I like it and I wear it.

The more I shop, the more I realize how little we value our clothes. We try to spend the least amount of money to get the most quantity of items. But once we get all this stuff home, I find that we often forget what we own and only wear what’s new. When we tire of it, we toss it away just as easily. Something that is so easily acquired quickly loses it value. That’s one of the reasons why I have slowed my purchases greatly. I want to make sure that I absolutely adore everything I own and that it works for my lifestyle. Clothes are meant to be worn, not only to be admired.

Winter outfit: quilted shearling vest and striped top

Splendid kids vest || Icebreaker striped top || Marc by Marc Jacobs corduroy pants || BP ankle boots

What do you wear for winter weather?

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brooke of pumps and push ups - dressing your baby bump for the holidays

Dressing a baby bump, a fun task and then sometimes a not so fun task. Add being petite on top of that and it’s a whole other story. My first pregnancy I was largely pregnant during the summer and swore up and down it was the best time to be pregnant. You could wear dresses and shorts that are fairly easy to button under a bump and of course sandals. However, with this pregnancy going through the winter months, I am quickly finding that I actually prefer dressing my bump for cooler temps rather than warmer temps for three reasons; tights, leggings and oversized sweaters. Glorious, stretchy tights and leggings. You also can’t ignore the fact that tights over a bump lift and alleviate some of the pressure you may experience with a growing belly. I’ve found that with this winter pregnancy I haven’t had to buy a lot of actual maternity clothes. Getting by with cozy oversized sweaters, leggings and stretchy basics has been a lifesaver. I hate spending money on clothes I know I will only wear for a few months, but I will make a few exceptions. I do have one pair of maternity jeans which I love from LOFT, I buy basic maternity tees because they are cheap and great for layering and I occasionally buy a maternity blouse. However, with so many tunic styles out this season, buying maternity button downs hasn’t been as necessary.

I have acquired quite a bit of experience dressing a baby bump through my pregnancies, but today in particular, I’m going to talk about dressing your bump for the holidays! Whether you’re attending parties or cozying up by the fire, I’ve got tips for any occasion.

1. The Swanky Party
When I think of a holiday parties (aside from the tacky sweater parties I like to throw) I think of sequins and sparkles. Of course with a big ol baby bump you’re going to have a hard time squeezing into sequin mini, but there are some options for us pregnant gals as well, without breaking the bank on ‘maternity’ clothes. One of my go-to items for any occasion is a stretchy basic dress or mini. You can get these literally anywhere it seems, Target, Old Navy, H&M. I prefer the H&M version. To me, the tight mini length (which is fabulous with tights) makes my short little legs look longer and highlights that I’m actually pregnant and not just packing on the pounds and makes me feel like a ‘skinny pregnant gal’. Since it’s a given that your top will be oversized you have built in protection from breaking any fashion rules (tight and short on the bottom, better cover up the top!) and they are so easy to layer under anything! I would go with one of these as your base and dress it up with a beautiful embellished cardigan, bold statement necklace or even a jeweled collar button down under a loose sweater (to accommodate that bump of course). Add some polka dot tights with your comfortable booties for a fun flair and a red plaid scarf and your outfit will scream holidays.

dressing your baby bump for a holiday party featuring booties, trench coat, mini skirt, polka dot tights and sequin tunic
1. Michael Kors Trench Coat | 2. ASOS Maternity Top (similar) | 3. Isabella Oliver Tunic Dress | 4. Nero Ankle Booties | 5. H&M Knit Mini | 6. J. Crew Factory Crystal Necklace | 7. J. Crew Factory Metallic Polka Dot Tights
2. Shopping, Wrapping & Family Dinners
This is a no brainer. With so much of the month spent running around in and out of stores, waiting in lines and then coming home and wrapping gifts, you need to be comfortable! My go to is of course leggings!! Forever 21 takes the cake for me when it comes to leggings. They are cheap ($3.00) and have a nice fit on me. I hate when you get a pair of leggings that get all loosey goosey as you wear them, blah. I like to pair my leggings with a big cozy cardigan (that covers your backside) and a basic maternity tee or an oversized sweater and scarf. The finishing touch is a warm pair of riding boots!
For family dinners, we keep it casual around here, so really, my shopping attire easily transitions to an evening spent laughing with family!

bumpstyleshop
1. ASOS Maternity Sweater | 2. Maternity Cowlneck Tunic LOFT | 3. Blanket Scarf | 4. Pearl Cluster Bracelet | 5.Anne Klein Fleece-Lined Legging | 6.M·A·C Lipstick | 7. Sam Edelman ‘Penny’ Boot

Special Guest Post by Brooke of Pumps and Push-Ups

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One of my favorite things about rainy days is catching a view of the rainbows and the dramatically moody skies.

It’s also during this time that I love breaking out some unusual patterns like this camouflage sweatshirt from J.Crew. I managed to snag it on sale for less than $20 and even though it’s a tad baggy, I like it. Though it’s a fashion sweatshirt, it’s still pretty warm and it makes a nice change from the pullover sweaters I’ve been wearing lately.

Since binge watching Doomsday Preppers, camouflage has been on my mind constantly. Doomsday Preppers is a TV show all about preparing for the “end of the world” catastrophes and camouflage is heavily utilized to avoid detection. Though I don’t have a utilitarian use for camo, I like to add a dash of unexpectedness with this J.Crew camouflage sweatshirt.

Rainy day outfit with camouflage sweatshirt and maroon pants

Land’s End anorak || J.Crew camouflage sweatshirt || Urban Outfitters maroon pants || Loeffler Randall rainboots || Tulle beanie

When it rains, I often think that I don’t have anything to wear. But it’s not true. I just have to be a little creative. A nice raincoat and boots are pretty much all you really need. If the rain isn’t torrential, I prefer wearing beanies to protect my head than the hood attached to the coat. It would be nice to have waterproof pants that look like regular pants…but I haven’t found anything yet. If you know something that I don’t, please feel free to share in the comments!

What do you wear when it rains?

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With rainstorms brewing, it’s time to test out my latest addition, the Mia Melon Granada coat!

What do I look for in a good raincoat? It has to be comfortable, breathable, and windproof. This coat does all that and more with a denim chambray fabric. There are several details that show the amount of thought that went into designing this coat.

  • Lots of pockets to store things
  • Cinched waist to define a feminine silhouette
  • An adjustable hood that doesn’t fly away when the wind blows
  • A dual direction zipper so you can sit down without bunching at the hips
  • Fashionable exterior with interior breathable mesh that helps you stay warm, dry, and stylish

Mia Melon Raincoat, outerwear, rainy day

Mia Melon Granada raincoat (now on sale!) c/o|| Land’s End leggings || Corso Como boots

Mia Melon is known for her advanced fabric technology that makes her outerwear weatherproof and after this test drive, I agree completely. Although the denim chambray fabric absorbs water, the entire interior of the jacket remains dry and breathable. Plus, it’s in my size…what’s not to like? I know I’ll be wearing this jacket constantly for many rainy days to come!

For the upcoming season, Mia Melon is expanding the collection to include a set of waterproof and weatherproof fleece hoodies via Kickstarter. If you’re looking to support an awesome fashion designer, check out Mia Melon!

Check out Mia Melon’s fleece hoodies Kickstarter project for Spring 2015 here: http://kck.st/1sN9rUH

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Looking over the 2011 outfit recap, I pushed myself to adopt more feminine silhouettes. Bright colors, more patterns…some worked and others failed.

In 2011, I pushed myself to adopt more feminine silhouettes. Bright colors, more patterns…that was what I tried to experiment with and sometimes they worked and sometimes, they failed. Reviewing some of my outfits reminds me to wear more colors and patterns. Petites can pull off all sorts of prints, patterns, and colors. It’s all a matter of balance. I was also an obsessive belter, I had to belt almost everything to maintain my waist in these looks. It wasn’t always necessary, but I guess it creates that hourglass shape that we are always told is most flattering.

I also pushed myself to wear shorts, skirts, and dresses more often this year. It worked because as much as I do love pants, showing off your legs isn’t a terrible thing.

I guess, I can pull off some more feminine looks decently.

flashback friday, 2011 outfits, personal style, 2011 outfit recap

The more I review my old photos, the more I learn from them and continue to try new looks.

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