A Girl’s Night Out with Gus Mayer and the Birmingham Humane Society

Last week, I attended Gus Mayer’s Fall Fashion Preview.  It was an incredibly fun event!  I didn’t get to go to New York Fashion Week again this year, but this set up and the event in general was a close second:




It was my first time getting a preview of a store’s Fall collection, so I was beyond excited to participate.  As per usual, my first reaction is always to figure out what I am going to wear.  No surprise there!  This time, I planned my outfit around a pair of earrings I won recently as part of a Society Social/Lisi Learch giveaway on Instagram.  Aren’t the just stunning?!


Here I am wearing the earrings.  In case you are wondering, they are not clip-on’s!  They are about 3.5″ in length and light enough to wear for a few hours.  Not light enough to wear all day every day. 😉


Next came the outfit styling.  I hadn’t worn this J. Crew skirt in a while, so I decided to pair it with a NY&Company flowy top and nude heels.  Since I was attending a Gus Mayer sponsored event, I also knew I had to wear the bag that I scored during their last major sale event – a chartreause, quilted, Rebecca Minkoff bag!


Top: NY and Company (old, similar here) // Skirt: J Crew (here) // Heels: BCBG Generation (old, similar here)

I actually have to thank Nancy Nagrodzki, the Gus Mayer Handbag and Accessories buyer, for this bag.  I arrived late to their previous sales event, so by the time I got there, all of the bags that were majorly discounted were gone.  Buyers in the store could only buy one bag however, so she kept an eye out for customers who were walking around with 2 bags, and when one customer decided to take another and not this one, she got it and handed it to me!  I was SO grateful!  Isn’t Nancy amazing?! I was therefore elated to see her at the Fall Fashion Preview and learn about the new bags and accessories for the Fall.  Take a peak at some of the handbags and accessories she curated Gus Mayer buyers:


For handbags, mixed media, such as shearling and leather will be popular this Fall. Bucket bags, clutches with a broaches, and backpacks in all colors will be on trend.


Jeweled embellishments on belts, handbags and headbands/combs will also be big hits.  Guess what’s also back in style??  You guessed it!  The FANNY PACK!!  Rebecca Minkoff makes a quilted version that is ALL the rage!


Scarves in floral and digital prints will be in all shapes and sizes will also be popular. Wraps, infinity scarves and cashmere scarves with fringe like the one Nancy shows us here:


Ponchos and capes are also in. Look for versatility and neutral colors. For outerwear in general, rain coats in fun prints, like polka dots or animal prints, leather jackets in all shades are going to be very popular this Fall.


Next, we heard from Cami Krablin, the Contemporary/Ready-to-wear and denim buyer.  I really loved many of the items she picked out for Gus Mayer’s Fall selection.  She described fall trends as “boho chic”, “leather and lace”, and “Janice Joplin meets 2014”.


Among some of the lines she selected for Guy Mayer is a clothing line by a new, up-and-coming designer, Benjamin Jay.  Not only were all of his clothes incredibly unique and well-made, but he is also formerly a microbiologist in training!  That’s definitely a brand that I can stand behind.  Check out the distressed tee’s I am still coveting:

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Finally, Rita Lindsey – the Cosmetics and Gifts buyer – talked to us about the new “it” Chanel nail polish hue, as well as a trapper keeper/planner of sorts made by Trish McEvoy, which comes with everything you need for lips, eyes, cheeks, and even includes foundation.  Make up trends for the fall include smokey eyes and a bold lip.  My favorite part of this presentation was learning about a fantastic new line called Royal Highnies.  It’s a line of men’s boxers and women’s sleepwear, boasting 400 thread count, soft cotton boxers and PJ’s.  What awesome stocking stuffers these would make!?

The best part of the beauty presentation was that we actually got to take some samples home with us.  I’ve since tried several Chanel and La Mer face products and am a fan!  The products not only smell amazing, but they are also effective!  Definitely going back for more of these products:


In addition to carrying a pretty amazing selection of clothes, shoes, beauty products and accessories, Gus Mayer sure knows how to host a fun event!  This one was a huge success in my opinion, but it was exclusive to bloggers.  This Tuesday, September 16th, you get a chance to shop TAX FREE and enjoy some appetizers and drinks while mingling with fellow shoppers at Gus Mayer’s Girl’s Night Out from 4-8pm.  That’s not all.  The event will benefit Greater Birmingham Humane Society with giveaways including $750, $500 and $250 Gus Mayer gift cards!  Pretty exciting, right?!  They may even have some pets on site that you can adopt.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

Here’s some additional information on the event:

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Sounds like fun, right?  AND, it’s a great cause!  If you are in the Birmingham area tomorrow, make sure to stop by Gus Mayer.  If not because you’re a shopper and lover of retail, then shop to support a worthy cause. 🙂

Until next time!  Stay Chic!

A ‘Chic and Fit 2014’

I had a relatively stressful day today.  All self-imposed, so no one to blame but me. 🙂  That said, I turned to a couple of things today that usually help me ‘de-stress’, so to speak.  Among those things, chats with friends!!  Many thanks to my amazing friends (you know who you are) who listened to me vent. 😀  The other thing I tried was…a run.  Yup, a good ‘ol run on the treadmill.

I haven’t worked out regularly in a while, mostly because I was breastfeeding my son for the past 10 months (have you ever tried running with breasts full of milk?!  PAINFUL.  Or at least it was for me!!).  But also because I didn’t HAVE to!  He’s turning 11 months this week and this past month, I’ve watched the scale climb faster that I ever knew it could!  I knew I was burning lots of calories while breastfeeding, but didn’t realize how many until I stopped (though we do have frozen stock to get us through the year, fortunately!)!

Anyhow, I forgot how good it feels to get some physical activity in my day.  The stress is not completely gone, but the endorphins appear to help me manage the stress better, I think (this, by the way is not a scientific opinion, haha!  Just my opinion. 😉 ).  So, I thought, why not engage my friends and see if we can all get a little healthier and de-stress together?!

So, I am starting ‘Chic and Fit 2014’!  The goal here is not to:

  • Get skinny
  • Try new diets
  • Workout like crazy

The goal is simply to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into my day.  If by chance I happen to lose some weight along the way, become less stressed, eat healthier, or decide that I love working out (this has never happened before, so I doubt it will happen now, but I’ll never say never, haha!), then so be it!

Want to join me?!  I will post updates here on my blog, also on Instagram, and on Twitter using hashtag #chicandfit2014.  You can post as well and use the hashtag, so we can all keep up with each other.  Sure, we may be halfway through 2014, but the year is not over yet!  So, follow along as I incorporate fitness into my attempt to stay ‘Chic in Academia’.  No gimmicks, nothing difficult, just me, a workout, and social media. 🙂

Stay Chic!

Workout Treadmill Day 1 edited

Me, my treadmill, and my phone (camera) 😉

Workout Day 1

Day 1 – A slow jog on the treadmill.

Me, who?

Once upon a time, I would make plans for the weekend.  Outings on Friday nights, sleep in Saturday morning (until noon sometimes!!), perhaps a second outing Saturday night, and a day of doing absolutely nothing on Sunday.  I would return to school/work re-energized and ready to tackle the week ahead of me.

Cut to, now.  My weekends consist of catching up on laundry, cleaning, kid birthday parties, sports practices and games, grocery shopping, catching up on leftover work from the week…the list is endless.  A postpartum woman also often takes on an additional load of responsibilities.  Nursing day and night, pumping at work, bottles to wash, hormones running amok, hairloss (yes, that’s right, hairloss!!), a body that stubbornly refuses to return to normal, and an endless sense of guilt and imperfection.  Am I feeding the right foods?  Am I raising my kid(s) properly?  Am I doing what’s best for my kid(s)??  Am I a good mom??

Amidst the chaos that is motherhood, very rarely does a mother stop to wonder, what about me?  But when she does – at least when I did – be prepared to open the flood gates; the overwhelming emotion that comes with reminiscing about times now past, years now lost, and a youth and beauty now aged, is reason enough for even the sanest of women to lose it a little.

Today, I wondered, what about me?  My body is slowly becoming increasingly foreign.  Pregnancy and birth change a woman’s body in ways she never imagined.  The time to workout is becoming less and less, so one’s body becomes more and more…soft??  Sigh.  I look at pictures now and wonder, will it ever be the same again?  Um, with surgery maybe??  Sigh, again.

My husband says, ‘you need to make time for yourself’.  Are we – mothers – then too giving of ourselves and time?  Do we, mothers, consciously make ourselves out to be the victims?  Who knows.  As far as I can tell, the to-do list in my life is endless.  But my husband is right (wait, did I just say that??).  Perhaps there are things that can go by the wayside sometimes, right?  My kid(s) can go a night without a bath.  The dishes can be left overnight without washing.  Pick the toys up off the floor and makes the beds?  What?  Why?  The toys will be played with again tomorrow, and the bed slept in again the next night, right?

Worry not, this is by no means a pity-party post.  More so, it is a reminder that although life has changed, and time is less abundant, that sometimes…you just need to stop.  Take the time to rediscover the new you and make amends with this version of yourself.  Embrace this new phase of life and make the time to take care of, well, you.

So, I herein declare this day the start of the me-time phase of my life.  To help me become a better mother, a better wife, and a better version of me.  Anyone want to join me?  Me-time can get a little lonely; I’ll need some girlfriends to join me during my me-time from time to time.

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