Fourth of July

What a wonderful long weekend! I am so thankful for time spent relaxing with friends celebrating the Fourth of July. I had a unique opportunity to shoot my outfit with a blogger friend, Sandra, of An Extraordinary Affaire; I enjoyed being able to collaborate with a fellow Dallas blogger, as well as try my hand at photography (haha).

Fourth of July

Every year, there is a huge fireworks show in Addison, TX, called “Kaboom Town.” This year, I gathered a group of about 15 friends, and we brought our lawn chairs and blankets to the park to watch the show; we sat directly across the street from where they launched the fireworks, so we felt like we had the best view out of the whole park!

Fourth of July dress

My friend, Brandon Mikeal, took these photos of Sandra and I in Addison and we had the best time walking around Addison circle and people watching (rather, people were watching us awkwardly pose for pictures). Brandon does quite a bit of concert photography (so hip!) and is super talented so it was a pleasure to shoot with him.

Michael Kors Shoe

These shoes are my new favorites- the stacked chunky heel makes them easy to walk in and wear for hours at a time, perfect for walking around town.

Fourth of July bag

The dress I’m wearing is from Madewell and was perfect for a hot summer day- light and airy, easy to add a few blue accessories to for the Fourth!

Fourth of July dress

Madewell dress; Baublebar necklace (sold out, but similar); Michael Kors shoes are sold out, but they’re from Nordstrom Rack.

 

Dallas Blogger Brunch || Henry’s Majestic

This month’s #dallasbloggerbrunch was by far my favorite that I have hosted so far this year. Each of the brunches have been delicious and of course filled with good company (see past brunches at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, Smoke, Company Cafe, and Parigi), but this month I hosted brunch at Henry’s Majestic in Dallas, and it was wonderful! Everything clicked, from the food, to the girls who attended, down to the details of florals and place cards, it all came together beautifully.

If you’re new to The Skinny Arm (welcome!), here is a little brunch background: in January I started hosting a brunch each month to meet other Dallas bloggers and encourage collaboration and friendships! Since January, some of the girls who have attended have become my good friends and it is such a pleasure to attend blog events with them and bounce ideas off each other. At brunch this month, friends new and old attended, and we even talked about taking a blogger road trip together (to Marfa, of course)! I love knowing that Dallas is full of smart, beautiful, creative women who are pursuing something similar to me and they are not afraid to share their experiences to help fellow bloggers succeed!

One of my favorite things about hosting this monthly brunch is that I get to choose new restaurants to visit! I had heard great things about Henry’s Majestic and was excited to try it for the first time during brunch. The restaurant has a relaxed vibe to it, but the menu is full of interesting flavor combinations in classic dishes. I ordered the Chicken and Waffles as an appetizer for the group and the Rose Peach French Toast for my meal, and I was not disappointed. You better believe that I cleaned my plate- it was amazing. Seconds, anyone?

We sat on the patio, and even though it was a bit too windy for our place cards to stay put, the fans kept us cool under the sun on what turned out to be a gorgeous Dallas morning. The beautiful floral arrangement was by Raquel Lovern of R Love Floral Designs; I didn’t give her any direction except that I like pink, and she came up with this stunning arrangement on her own. The calligraphy was done by Lauren Essl of Blue Eye Brown Eye (named after her cute pup!); she was so sweet and even provided each of the girls with a single “hello beautiful” notecard as a party favor. (I’m looking forward to using mine soon!) If you’re looking for a daily dose of pretty inspiration, definitely follow them on Instagram @rlovefloral and @laurenessl.

I am looking forward to many more brunches in Dallas, experiencing the best food and some of the best company that Dallas has to offer!

All photos by Megan Weaver Photography.

Cold Shoulder Dress

I am officially on an all-white kick; yesterday I bought 5 new pieces of clothing…all of them are white. I think it all started with writing about capsule wardrobes, which led to my closet purge, which led to my clothing swap. Now I have a little more room in my closet, but still struggle to get dressed in the morning (I know, embarrassing). I knew that I needed to get some more basics that are easy to mix and match, and what is more basic than white?! All of those things led me to the Madewell fitting room and this Instagram photo where you can see my all-white binge in progress. 

Maybe it’s the upcoming holiday weekend and thinking about celebrating the Fourth of July that are making me want to wear things that are light and airy, but when I found this cold shoulder dress at Nordstrom, I knew it would be light enough for casual summer dinners and easy enough to throw on just to run around town. I love easy pieces; this dress might even make another appearance this weekend! I wore this dress to meet a friend for coffee and a life update- don’t you love catching up with friends who encourage you? I am so thankful for the sweet friendships in my life! Have a great week! 

Host a Clothing Swap

First, you might be wondering what a “clothing swap” entails; it’s pretty simple- instead of donating or selling your old clothing, let your friends repurpose the items you no longer wear! There are a few different ways to host a clothing swap, but I’ll explain the steps I took to host one at my house with about one week’s notice to the attendees and what I learned in the process.

I posted a few general wardrobe rules last week that I use to keep my purchases to a minimum and my closet as streamlined as possible, but inevitably I still end up with items that I fall out of love with. After doing a major closet purge, I had a lot of nice pieces that I needed to get rid of, but I couldn’t bear to just drop them into a donation bin (DVF dress, anyone?) nor did I want to spend time trying to sell them, so I came up with a clothing swap, because who doesn’t love an evening of free clothes and cupcakes with the girls?!

I started contacting girlfriends to see if they would be interested in participating and the positive response was overwhelming- everyone wanted to attend! I asked the girls to bring their unwanted pieces of clothing on hangers, along with any shoes and accessories they could part with. I had 10 girls in attendance- the ideal range is probably 8-12 participants, with at least 2 people who wear the same size of clothing to ensure that everyone has someone to swap with.

Refreshments are always nice for guests, but I kept the food simple so the clothing would be the main focus- mini cupcakes, fruit, and strawberry lemonade kept the girls happy while they shopped.

As the girls arrived, they unloaded their clothing onto rolling racks and set out their jewelry on a table for easy browsing. After we all caught up and everyone had been introduced, I let each girl draw a number to determine the order of shopping. The person who drew number one started by selecting their favorite item or trying on a few pieces until they found an item they wanted; after their selection was final, we moved on to the person who drew number two. We continued through all ten girls one at a time then repeated the entire process to ensure that everyone got at least two things that they like. Depening on your crowd, you could do the whole night in order or, like I did, after two rounds it became “shop at your own pace” style. One of my favorite parts of the process was when girls would try things on then solicit our opinions and it felt like we were all out shopping together, instead of in my dining room.

Overall, everyone left with some new pieces that they were excited to wear; one friend even wore one of her “new” dresses to a wedding later the same night! I will definitely host another clothing swap in the future, but will give my guests more time to go through their closets to find items to bring.

You can definitely host your own clothing swap party; it’s easier than a garage sale and more fun than driving to Goodwill! All you need are a few supplies: rolling racks or closet space to display clothes, a table for accessories and shoes, light snacks, bags for guests to carry their items home. I recycled paper grocery bags- nothing fancy! If you wanted to add a “goodie bag” feel to your event, you could even give away reusable totes or customize a take-home bag with some additional treats inside.

Wardrobe Rules To Live By

wardrobe rules

I shared this post about capsule wardrobes and while I don’t believe a capsule collection is right for everyone, I do believe that there are rules to live by when it comes to building a comprehensive and cohesive wardrobe. I wrote about an upcoming closet purge that I feel coming on based on the feeling of clothes and shoes piling up (outside of my two huge closets!), accumulating faster than I can even wear them! If I’m at the point where I’m using the word “purge” in the same sentence as “wardrobe,” then I think we are dealing with something a little more serious that a routine clean-out. I don’t want you to reach the point of closet frustration that I’m at right now, so to spare you the pain, I’m going to give you some preventative steps to take. These five questions below are the key to keeping your closet easy to manage and full of outfits that you love to wear! Over the last few days while I have been contemplating this wardrobe overhaul undertaking, these are the questions that I’ve been asking myself.

1. What 3 words describe my style?
Classic? Trendy? Monochromatic? Playful? Casual? Edgy? What do you want to be? These words are important! Every single piece of clothing in your closet should be described by one of these three words. If it can’t be described by one of your three words, I would bet that you never wear it or that you don’t feel your best when you do wear it. This is an easy pass/fail test to perform while shopping… does this item you’re thinking about purchasing align with at least one of those three words? This rule is particularly helpful for people who are trying to define their style. For example, if my words are feminine, classic, and romantic, what am I doing trying on a pair of Converse high-tops? Even though I think they look great on other people, they don’t fit into my style, so I’ll pass (and save my $40, thank you!).

2. What will I wear this with?
I ask my clients this all the time. I could tell them the answer, but I want them to think about it. They need to be able to come up with some outfits that this item could be worn with. If I’m trying on a sleeveless blouse, I need to think about how it looks with blue jeans, black trousers; can I tuck it into a skirt? If I can only wear it with white jeans, I might want to reconsider how much wear I will get out of the shirt and look for something a little more versatile.

3. Where will I wear this?
Another good one! Is this for work or play? Both? I rarely buy pieces that I can’t wear for work and play, which is probably why my style is a little dressier than most. However, If I’m going to spend money on a piece of clothing, I don’t want to be limited in where I can wear it! My wardrobe goes from zero to sixty really quick- it’s workout gear or work wear and not a lot in between. Your wardrobe should reflect your life; think about what do you do during the week versus on the weekends. Personally, I’m usually either dressed for work or dressed for a workout on my days off. I’ve gotten better at finding the balance, but I like to be dressed up, so that works for me.

4. Does this make me feel good?
I don’t care how long you have been looking for black pants or how many pairs of skinny jeans you have tried on; if they’re not a perfect fit, just say no! Wardrobe staples like neutral trousers or classic blue jeans should be pieces that you are most comfortable wearing, since you will likely be wearing them well into the future. It is so important that you don’t settle for a piece that doesn’t flatter you or make you feel great. I am a big proponent of tailoring clothing to fit your body well, but if you have to completely reconstruct a garment to fit you, I think we can find something more worth of an investment.

5. How long will I wear this?
Trends are fun! I have a classic style, but I love to incorporate easy trends to keep my look updated. I usually pass over clothing trends in favor of trendy accessories. One of my favorite accessory trends is the “midi ring.” They’re cheap and anybody can pull off the look of wearing stackable rings of different sizes! Let’s face it: not everyone can pull off culottes and crop-tops. If that’s not you’re style or flattering to your body, don’t worry about it- that trend will pass soon enough and you won’t have wasted any money. If you do want to partake in a trend, think about how many times you will wear it to determine what a reasonable amount of money is to spend on it. If I’m thinking about trying a crop top, but I’m not sure if I’ll really wear it for long, I might opt for a top from Topshop, rather than a designer piece.

Another one that I sometimes (always) forget to ask myself is “can I afford this?” I know, I know, who really wants to think about a budget when you’re having so much fun shopping!? Nonetheless, it’s an important one to ask yourself. If you’re in debt or if you don’t contribute to your savings account from each paycheck, we need to have a serious talk about how much you’re spending on clothes….yep, even if it’s 75% off! (That means it’s still 25% more than you should be spending, in case you can’t do that math.)

Travel || Cabo, Mexico

My recent (first-ever!) trip to Cabo was perfect (minus the tropical storm that happened while I was there- true story) I wrote this post about goals for 2015 and “travel more” was one of them- check! Earlier this year, I took a trip to Vail, Colorado to do something else I had never done before- snowboard. With each new travel experience, I am discovering more things about myself and getting to know my travel companions on a much deeper level.

This long weekend in Cabo started as an idea to take a road trip with a couple girlfriends; we were trying to decide on a place to visit and I checked plane tickets to a few fun destinations on a whim. Roundtrip tickets to Cab were cheap so we spontaneously booked them and planned a beach getaway! I love having friends who are up for an adventure! 

We stayed at the Sandos Finisterra All-Inclusive Resort in Cabo San Lucas, along “tourist corridor;” it was such a convenient location- right on the beach and just a short walk into downtown, where we were able to shop to our hearts’ content in the local markets. This was my first experience at an all-inclusive resort, which means all food and drinks were included in our stay. It was a relief not to think about paying for meals or needing to bring my wallet down to the pool; I also enjoyed being able to try multiple dishes (desserts!) on the menu. Each one of the resort restaurants we ate at was good- and the service was impressive! There was even a “cupcakery” and coffee shop that guests could visit at any time for a sweet treat or afternoon pick-me-up.

We were only in Cabo for 4 days, so we didn’t have the chance to get tired of being at the resort; I imagine that if we were there a little longer, we would have ventured out into town to experience a little more of Mexico, but relaxing at the pool was the priority on this trip! I’m already looking forward to my next vacation at an all-inclusive resort and recommend trying one if you haven’t already! For now, I’m back home in Dallas, TX, getting back into the groove of work and trying not to let my wanderlust get the best of me. Have a great week!

Black Jumpsuit

dallas blogger

I leave for Cabo tomorrow and could not be more excited! I started packing (in my head) and I’m bringing a lot of rompers on my beach vacay. What’s my favorite thing about rompers and jumpsuits? They are only one piece- no mixing and matching required! I just wrote a post about doing a closet cleanout, but I don’t have to worry about getting rid of this piece, because it is so versatile! I can wear it just like this with heels for dinner or a party, but I can also put on a blazer or leather jacket and wear it to work for a completely different professional look.

dallas blogger

This Vince jumpsuit is sold out, but this Vince Camuto and this Trina Turk jumpsuit are similar; YSL lip stainMichael Kors watchNordstrom clutchAlex and Ani bracelet; Kendra Scott earrings and rings; Michael Kors shoes (sold out, but look at these amazing Sam Edelman sandals on sale!)

dallas blogger

This clutch from Nordstrom is one of my favorites to carry for a night out. It has slots for cards amd cash plus a zipper for your phone and lip gloss- just enough room!

dallas blogger

Photos by Megan Weaver

Closet Purge (and sale?)

I have the overwhelming desire to throw away everything I own. Seriously, I just want to start over with nothing and rebuild- clothes, shoes, bedroom decor, and even my car (I want a Vespa!!)…this feeling is how I know I have too much “stuff.” I have the growing desire to live a simpler life, but I’m not quite sure where to start. I can’t remember if I told you that I want to move to Paris or not, but… I want to move to Paris (so there’s that). Like, soon. Well, moving is kind of a big deal; packing up your life is quite the task… so I want less stuff to pack!

I wouldn’t call myself a pack rat; I’m actually pretty organized, but lately I seem to be accumulating (buying!) so many things that I don’t have a place for them all and they end up in piles. Piles are not okay. So instead of buying clothes that I don’t get around to wearing, my solution will be to sell the clothes that I’m not wearing. You guys know that I like nice things; I buy nice pieces and take good care of them (dry cleaning saves time on laundry, duh!). I know there are plenty of different apps and ways to sell clothing, and I’ve even tried some of them, but at the end of the day my time is what is valuable to me, not getting top dollar for a shirt I haven’t worn in 2 years. I’m thinking a garage sale of sorts needs to take place…a Rhonda trunk show. “Everything must go.” Maybe $5 per piece no matter what it is. That’s tough to think about, but really I just need to lighten the load (of my clothing rod) and say goodbye to a lot of my wardrobe that I’ve enjoyed, but don’t have room for anymore. Well, I’m glad we had this talk- sometimes I have to process things out loud, so my friends appreciate you being there for me so they don’t have to listen to this plan unfold. Just kidding…I texted this plan to 3 friends already so that means it’s definitely happening.

This is exciting: more closet space, no more piles, more cash in my wallet (helping fund my move to Paris?!), and of course this “Rhonda trunk show” will be another fun event for me to plan. I need some help with the name if you have any ideas… I really like alliteration. You better believe I just spent 5 minutes on thesaurus.com looking at synonyms…I’ll keep working on that. You start thinking about all the goods you’re going to score at my trunk show! We’ll see if I can be patient enough to wait to purge until I return from my trip to Cabo this weekend so I can document the clean out process for you!

Dallas Blogger Brunch || Parigi

dallas blogger

Dallas Blogger Brunch is a monthly event that I have started to look forward to for a couple reasons: event planning is enjoyable for me, so it’s fun to have a small project to work on each month, but now brunch means that I am going to be seeing friends! I love that bloggers who I have “met” online are turning into real friends in Dallas. In January, when I started hosting #dallasbloggerbrunch, I was nervous to meet the girls and unsure how it would turn out, but all of the girls who have attended brunch have been so supportive and relatable that it has been easy to continue to host brunches; I know that the attendees will be a pleasure to be around. See my past brunches at: Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, Smoke, and Company Cafe. I have also been able to use Dallas Blogger Brunch as an excuse to try new restaurants in Dallas that I don’t normally eat at; on Saturday we met at Parigi on Oak Lawn and were not disappointed by their food or service. They don’t have an extensive brunch menu, but the items they serve are unique and delicious.

dallas blogger

This month I asked two talented women to be a part of brunch by showing off their creative talents! Clara Doyle Designs made our place cards and menu cards; her modern calligraphy added a playful and special element to the brunch place settings. Oh Deery Floral provided a beautiful organic floral arrangement for the table- peonies are my favorite flower so I loved the giant peonies featured in the arrangement. Showcasing two vendors was a fun way to help them grow their business and introduce them to Dallas bloggers.

dallas blogger

There are some wonderful ladies and fun blogs represented in this photo; if you’re looking for new friends to follow, check out fellow Dallas bloggers: Kari, Kailee, Elle, Emilee, Sandra, Megan, and Taylor. I am already looking forward to next month’s brunch! Thank you Megan Weaver for taking the beautiful photos!

Link Love

dallas blogger

I have some exciting news to share: yesterday I did something completely out-of-character and booked a spontaneous trip to CABO!!! Mexico! Serious. In one week from today, I will be relaxing on the beach with two of my favorite girlfriends! I only have one week to pack and get my life together, but being spontaneous is so fun! Start preparing yourself for the onslaught of beach pictures that are undoubtedly coming. I have never been to Cabo before, so I would love to hear any recommendations you have! To kick-start my beachy enthusiasm, I will leave you with a few special summer links in this week’s link love. Have a wonderful weekend!

Nordstrom’s poolside Pop-In shop just opened today!
I’m loving the one piece swimsuit movement- especially this low-back suit.

Are these 30 pieces to have by 30 already in your wardrobe?

If you like maps, you will love this dot map.
This amazing plus one dinner party is on my summer bucket list.