Wedding Wednesday: Finding the Ring

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I was recently talking to a girlfriend who confided in me that she and her boyfriend looked at engagement rings (eeeee!). The conversation was so exciting, and it brought me back to almost a year ago when Steve and I started seriously looking at rings. We went to a very fancy jeweler in Lincoln Park simply because they carried rings by the designer that I thought I wanted. Steve and I each had a glass of champagne and picked out a favorite ring. But we left a little overwhelmed and knowing there was still more ring shopping to be done! Thankfully, with the help of experienced friends and a {different} jeweler, Steve surprised me with an amazing ring!  For today’s Wedding Wednesday, I thought I’d take you through some of things we found to be helpful when engagement ring shopping.

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  1. Shop together in-person. Some couples might agree that they want the ring to be a surprise and I think that’s great. But, I found a lot of value in trying on rings in-person with Steve. It helps to see the cuts and metals on your own hand to know if what you see in magazines will resonate with you on your finger day to day. Your partner can also take notes about what you like so you can still be surprised!
  2. Follow your instincts. As I mentioned, Steve and I went to a specific jewelry store first because it carried a certain designer. Although the salesperson there was perfectly nice, we didn’t really connect with her. Thankfully, we found someone else who patiently helped Steve better understand what to look for in engagement rings, was sure to invite us to a wedding ring Trunk Show, and has kept up with us via email so we can ask any questions we may have about my ring at any time. It’s great to feel as if we’re actually in control and can trust the person we’re working with.
  3. Do. your. research. Don’t just trust the first jeweler you meet to sell you the diamond and ring. Don’t commit before talking to your parents, your friends (who’ve been there), and reading up on your options. Going in feeling knowledgeable about the four C’s will help you be more confident in your purchase. (P.S. I found a lot of great infographics on Pinterest that break down the ring shopping process.)engagement ring shopping
  4. Don’t get caught up in designer names. In the end, you are going to look at your engagement ring everyday, so you – and probably your partner – are the only ones who should have an opinion. It doesn’t matter if the ring is by a well-known designer or just something you dreamed up and a local jewelry designer helped come to life. You just need to love it.
  5. Lastly, let people spoil you. As I’m enjoying finding out, people want to make you feel special during the engagement process. So have those glasses of champagne while ring shopping, gush to your friends about it, and don’t be afraid to celebrate once the engagement finally happens. It’s just the start of many more celebrations!

Photos by Hannah Drews Photography




Secret Santa with Uncommon Goods

secret santa

It’s that time of the year again, the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the annual gift exchange with my college girlfriends! Our Secret Santa began in the dorms our freshman year of college and has since evolved to a long-distance gift exchange. Sure, we miss the fun of sneaking over to each other’s rooms and dropping off little little clues, but it’s just as nice to get a package in the mail from an old friend. Since this is a long-distance Secret Santa, we use an online website to choose each other’s names and upload a wishlist. Last year, the friend I had in the exchange asked for a unique map off of Uncommon Goods. With so many gifts to buy this year – including something for my pick in the Secret Santa gift exchange (ssshhh it’s a secret!) – I thought I’d check the site out again for handmade, recycle and organic Christmas gift ideas.

Uncommon Goods Christmas Gifts for Women

Secret Santa Christmas Gifts

Several gifts jumped out at me, and made me think of of my friends in the exchange. What I really like about the Christmas gifts on Uncommon Goods is they tell the story of who is selling them/made them, and how they’re doing it sustainably. It makes me feel all the more happy about my choices for my college girlfriends:

  1. Constitution Glass – This is kind of a joke, but two friends interned in D.C. one summer during college and when they came back they would not stop talking about how amazing the city was. They were also oddly in love with our Founding Fathers. Well, wouldn’t you know it, they both now live in D.C. and still love America.
  2. Macaron Kit – There are several world travelers in our group and several bakers. I figured either would love having the luxury of making macarons in their own kitchen.
  3. Chocolate Soaps – Ok, truthfully, these soaps really caught my eye as a gift for myself. I’m one of the biggest chocolaholics in our friend group, so much so that I wouldn’t mind bathing in it.
  4. Cheeseboard with Chalk – One of our friends very recently got married and she loves to host. (We both also very much enjoy cheese.) This slate cheese board is so unique and elegant, she should definitely consider adding it to her wishlist!
  5. Flavor Fusion Water Bottle – This water bottle could really be for any of us, as we’re all often sharing work out tips or talking about the new fitness classes we’ve tried. Why not stay hydrated with water infused with a fruit flavor?
  6. 45-second Omelet Maker – One of my girlfriends and I enjoy making breakfast together when we visit each other. Her specialty is omelets. I saw this 45-second omelet maker and immediately thought about how great it would be to have a healthy but quick breakfast option every day!
  7. Wine Pearls – Let’s be honest, we’ve come a long way since college, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy a nice chilled glass of wine. Thankfully these wine pearls keep it classy.

So those are my picks for the ladies in my life, but there are many more Christmas gifts on Uncommon Goods I didn’t even share. Take a second to browse the site by price or by interest to see what pops out at you. I bet you’ll find something even for that person who has everything!

Photo by Tonya Espy Photography | This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my side hustle.



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Cyber Monday Deals

Cyber Monday deals

Happy Cyber Monday, everyone! I’m trying to avoid anymore online shopping today because I personally that on Black Friday during the car ride to Dayton. Online shopping is dangerous, isn’t it? Even my fiancé got into it and we placed an order through Abercrombie & Fitch’s 50% off deal (which continues today). A&F recently rebranded and I was really excited to see some of their closet staples, like knit sweaters, as well as trendy parkas and metallic midis. I’m very interested to see how everything will fit. In case you are still looking for Cyber Monday deals to update your winter wardrobe, I thought I’d share my favorite recent purchases from Banana Republic that are also on sale today.

Banana Republic – scalloped skirt, lace top (check in stores) | similar navy pumps | jewelry c/o Rocksbox (sign up for a free subscription today using code “SincerelyJennieXOXO” | hair and makeup by Goldplaited

Scallop Skirt

How adorable are the scallops on this skirt? I loved them so much, in fact, that I bought the same scalloped skirt in red. I like that the colors navy and red are good for the holiday season and beyond. The top I’m wearing is sold out online, but here’s another navy and lace top that would go well with the skirt. There are plenty of other festive options on Banana Republic – and the entire site has the Cyber Monday deal of 50% off. Here are some other pieces I purchased during their Black Friday deal:

Scallop Skirt

Rocksbox Cyber Monday Deals

By the way, Rocksbox also offers Cyber Monday deals. You can sign up for a free first month anytime using the code “SincerelyJennieXOXO,” but if you do it today only you can get $15 of forever spend. Purchase a gift after you sign up and you get $15 toward purchasing jewelry from the site in the future. If you haven’t already tried a month of Rocksbox, I’d highly suggest it! Most of the jewelry I’m wearing in this post is from the service; I always love what they send me. It’s definitely a good way to treat yourself this holiday season!

Scallop Skirt

After all of this talk of shopping, it’s time for me to turn the attention from myself toward my friends and family. I’ll be back later this week with some unique gift ideas for people in your life! Happy shopping.



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It’s Boots Season

cognac boots

I’d forgotten how much I liked boots until it came time to wear them again. Looking through my closet though, I’ve noticed I should probably get rid of a few trusty favorites and add some new styles to my shopping list. Luckily, I had this pair of cognac boots that are still in decent condition and definitely fit in with the 70s vibe of this outfit, which I’ve worn on repeat. (P.S. Thanks to Thomas for pointing out that this is such a Marcia Brady look!)

The Limited – logan blouse | Express – suede vest | similar jean skirt | very similar cognac boots | hair by Goldplaited | Photos by Sarah

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Sadly I’ll likely be retiring this look for this season and need to start thinking about layering heavier clothes. The colder days are coming, but at least my boots can stick around.

cognac boots Rocksbox Kendra Scott ring

Druzy ring

BTW, just how awesome is this rose gold Kendra Scott druzy ring? I received it in my Rocksbox this month and kept it for several weeks. Rose gold is quickly creeping up my favorite of-the-moment metal. If you want the option of this ring and plenty of other jewelry, sign up for a first month free with Rocksbox using code “SincerelyJennieXOXO.” 



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shows to binge-watch on Thanksgiving

Something I’m guilty of every holiday is staying up wayyy later than I need to at night just because I don’t have to work the next day. Don’t have to set an alarm? I should stay up until 1 a.m. doing nothing of value! But let’s be honest, isn’t it fun to feel that little bit of freedom? When I’m up late, I typically binge-watch a show that I’ve been slowly working my way through or meaning to. After last year’s Making of a Murderer phenomenon, I was excited to hear I’m apparently not alone is this tradition. If you’re looking for shows to pick up (or relive) this weekend, here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Gilmore Girls a Year in the Life: Do I really need to say anything more about this? The 4-episode saga will be on Netflix Nov. 25. Thank goodness Black Friday shopping can now be done from home, and in front of the TV.
  2. The Night Of: I’m sure someone you know has told you by now to watch this HBO miniseries. It’s the tale of a seemingly good guy who somehow ends up in the middle of a murder trial. As the series evolves, it becomes an examination of the prison system and its possible wrongdoings.
  3. Broad Church: If you already watched The Night Of and liked it, then move on to this British mini-series. I thought it was *brilliant,* and well-written. Follow along as residents’ secrets are uncovered one by one after a crime rocks a small town.
  4. Gossip Girl: Last year I rewatched all of the Gossip Girl Thanksgiving episodes because I’d rather overdose on the show’s drama than pumpkin pie. Really, if you’re not going to make it through all the seasons, skip through to each Thanksgiving episode to see how much changes and what always seems to stay the same. (Dan lusting after Serena, Serena doing whatever the hell she wants, parents exerting no control, etc…)
  5. How I Met Your Mother: This will probably be the series I binge-watching over Thanksgiving this year. I just started again the middle of the series, and love being reintroduced to all of the gang’s inside jokes. They seem even more relevant as I get closer in age to the characters in the show.
  6. This Is Us: Here’s one you can binge-watch with the whole family. So seriously, introduce your mom to the art of sitting in front of the TV for hours on end, and bring the tissues.
  7. Stranger Things: Do yourself a favor and binge-watch this now so you’ll be ready for when Season 2 comes out. I just hope you share a room with a sibling, because trust me, it’ll keep you up at night.
  8. Younger: Refer to this post for the top reasons to pick up this series this weekend. And if those aren’t enough reasons to binge-watch, this guy is in it, and shirtless a lot.

So here’s to eating too much this Thanksgiving – it’s just a way to excuse yourself to your room to start, or finish, these series! Enjoy your Thanksgiving.




Make a Scene

Cat Footwear

You might not know this about me, but for two years after college I lived in a teeny rural town in southwest Michigan. I was editor of the weekly paper and got acquainted with farming quickly. I came to learn about what affects the price of milk, harvest season and yes, even a little bit about agriculture equipment like that from Caterpillar. So imagine my surprise when I received an email inviting me to a Cat Footwear event and, after researching it, learning the brand was the same owned by the farming equipment manufacturer.

Cat Footwear

However, I came to realize that while the two come from the same roots, Cat Footwear is certainly its own brand. The brunch was a part of the Make a Scene tour, events introducing people to the look of Cat Footwear. It’s obvious the shoes were made with the company’s beginnings in mind – practical and durable designs – but also with an eye for fashion and style. At the brunch we were able to browse current fall/winter 2016 styles as well as see what’s on deck for the spring/summer 2017. And wow, is Cat Footwear a far cry from the boots I was picturing!

Cat Footwear
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Category: Style


Fall Palette

cropped pants

Fall in the Midwest…it seems to have just gotten here and yet it’s already halfway over! I cannot believe next week is already going to be Thanksgiving. I usually take the changing leaves as a sign that the holiday is coming, but really the colors didn’t seem to be as vibrant this year. In fact, one friend who’s a photographer said her clients have been asking how they can get better fall colors in their family photos. Unless they want to photoshop them in, there seem to be just a few opportunities to do that. Luckily, one of the more colorful cluster of trees that I’ve seen is near my apartment.

similar cropped pants | similar white vest | Express – floral blouse| similar blue suede heels

cropped pants

By the way, I’m just loving these cropped pants I purchased from Express clearance. You might remember I wore another cropped pant option here, and I love how this wine color perfectly coordinates with the fall landscape. The white vest just tops it all off, and transitioned well from summer to fall.

cropped pantscropped pants

Hair Inspo

If you’re wondering what inspired me to do a very high top knot, it was none other than Hillary Duff! The TV Land show she’s in, Younger, is in its third season and the fashion and styles just keep getting better and better. It is the same creator as Sex and the City and costumer Patricia Fields , so I really shouldn’t have expected anything less. And so, if Hillary Duff thinks a top knot is appropriate for the office, so do I!

cropped pants



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Treat Yo Self: Goldplaited

Goldplaited

You might have heard me mention Goldplaited a lot lately on the blog or on Instagram. And if you haven’t, well, listen up! Goldplaited is a finishing salon that marries a blowout bar and makeup lounge. The first time I went there I was a little nervous because I haven’t always had the best stylist experiences. My natural hair, which you don’t see often, is curly and coarse, and new-to-me stylists can sometimes be confused by it. Thankfully, my first experience at Goldplaited left me with an amazing blowout and wanting to go back for more! Especially when I heard they do braids.

Goldplaited

Lucky for me, Goldplaited offers a “Prep Pass,” the option of one payment that unlocked unlimited blowouts and braids per month. Now, a Prep Pass isn’t always something I can see fitting into my budget, but you know I’m a sucker for trying a new subscription service. I also learned about the Goldplaited Prep Pass at a time when I was sick of trying to manage my own hair and not have it come out looking its best. So, I signed up to try the service once. Who knew I’d still be a part of it several months later?
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Shine Bright

Shine Bright mural This Shine Bright mural … how’s that for a #MondayMantra? I saw this when I was in Louisville, Kent., recently for a wedding. Steve’s and my cab drove by it downtown and I made a mental note to return to the wall across from the Science Center. (There, now you can too, if you’re in Louisville.) I loved how, well, bright the wall was and the sentiment to it. Some weeks it’s really hard, but seriously, isn’t it fun to shine bright? Externally through clothes, exuding from the inside, just shining. With this amazing fall weather we’ve been having it hasn’t been hard to shine, but I’ll definitely need to remember this Shine Bright mural once the winter months come around.

Banana Republic – similar navy blazer | Very similar button front jean skirt | Vince Camuto – lace up sandal

Shine Bright mural

Was your Monday pretty good? It’s Halloween so hopefully that shook up what can be an otherwise dreaded day. I know my office was bubbling over with Halloween spirit and friendly competition for the annual dip-or-treat. I made chocolate chip banana muffins, because I figured people needed something substantial to balance out all of those dips, right? Since we started the week off on such a good note, let’s hope it continues for the next four days!

Shine Bright mural Shine Bright mural Shine Bright mural




Custom Hair Products

Latherology

I was recently on a mission to find shampoo and conditioner that could breathe new life into my hair. I’d been using a drugstore brand and was fed up with my hair not feeling clean at the roots, yet dry at the ends. As I was scouting for products to make the switch, I never thought to look for a create-your-own subscription shampoo and conditioner. In fact, I didn’t even know that service existed until the company Latherology connected with me. I worked with them to create custom-mixed hair products that gave me everything I was missing from my other products. And, they’re some of the best smelling hair products I’ve used (if I do say so myself).

Latherology

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