...because home doesn't happen overnight.

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Nitasha who is going to look fabulous in the Anthro sheath dress she poached!

levis legging

Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me (in real life and on the blog) about my jeans. They’re Levi’s. I discovered them two years ago and they’re my favorite. It only took me 30+ years to find the perfect jeans! Haha. The thing I love about Levi’s is once you find a style you like it makes shopping so much easier. I just grab my style, size and color preference and, BOOM!, they work every time.

The two styles I return to time and time again are the 535 leggings and the demi curve skinnies. I’m petite with a bit of a boyish figure and I like the way these styles give me a curvier look. I have a short torso and I like the low rise of these styles, too. They aren’t low enough to let it all hang out but they are low enough to avoid the dreaded mom jean look. They have the teensiest bit of stretch in them so they hold their shape really well wear after wear, wash after wash, year after year. I have some that are 2+ years old and they look and fit like they’re brand-new.

I like to roll the 535’s and wear them with ankle boots.

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The demi curve skinnies look great with flats or my trusty leather boots. These boots are five years old and they just keep getting better.

So, yeah, I’m always on the lookout for Levi’s. When I find a pair marked down in my style and my size, I have a hard time not scooping them up because I know I will have them for years. Just the other day I found a pair on sale thanks to PoachIt. Have you heard of PoachIt?

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PoachIt is a free service that lets you track your favorite items for price drops and it gives you access to coupon codes (that actually work) across the web. Basically, you never miss a sale again. You can follow over 5,000 merchants like Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Shopbop. Use a tracking button in your browser (much like the Pin It! button) to track specific items from other sites. When one of the items you’re tracking goes on sale, PoachIt sends you an email and saves you time, energy and money. There’s also an app to Poach on the go.

poachit

Right now I’m following Levi’s, Target, Madewell, H&M, ASOS, Forever 21 and West Elm. I’m also tracking a few cold weather-specific items like snow boots, hats and leg warmers. We got our first snow of the season last week and I realized how NOT READY I am for winter. My birthday was Saturday and I have a little money burning a hole in my pocket so I’m really hoping those Sorel boots go on sale soon. I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and I’ve never owned a decent pair of snow boots. As a kid, I always tugged on four pairs of wool socks and wore my dad’s Red Wings to play in the snow!

With Black Friday only four days away, I’m curious: do you do the Thanksgiving / Black Friday shopping thing? I used to when I was younger but it’s such a hassle now. I feel bad for the employees. I know what it’s like to work retail. I was listening to an NPR report this past weekend which revealed that many of the in-store Black Friday deals are recycled from the previous year(s)…same products, same prices. Meaning Black Friday shoppers could actually be paying more for outdated products. No thank you. Plus, I’d really rather spend the day at home with my family. This year, maybe I’ll check PoachIt to see if there are any deals to be had. Would you like to try it too? Lucky for you, PoachIt is offering up a $100 giftcard to spend on anything you want! Find entry details below.

PRIZE: one $100 American Express giftcard

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Click here and sign up for a free PoachIt account. Then leave a link in the comments section sharing what you would purchase with the $100.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 1st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, December 2nd.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: I shared my favorite jeans, now it’s your turn! What are your favorite go-to jeans? I recently introduced my friend to Levi’s. She used to buy pricey, designer jeans but all it took was one pair of Levi’s that fit her like a glove to change her mind. She was leery at first because we don’t have the same body types. She’s taller and curvy in all the right places. She found a style that suits her and now she’s a convert!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Jessica who isn’t a jewelry girl, per se, but loves the skylight disc pendant!

Do you display your jewelry at home?

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I have a porcelain egg crate on my nightstand. I use it to corral my favorite pieces.

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It also makes a great dumping zone for my everyday studs, wedding band and hair elastic at the end of the day when I’m crawling into bed.

jewelry tree 1

I recently added a jewelry tree to the top of the dresser. I love the simple, modern design. (It was an etsy find.) I had been stashing the majority of my jewelry in plastic sandwich bags in a drawer and, as a result, it wasn’t getting much wear time. I’m hoping that by displaying everything in plain sight maybe I’ll be more inclined to wear pieces I haven’t worn in years.

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The top tier is perfect for watches, bracelets and dangly earrings. The bottom tier holds necklaces galore. I was a little worried about the display looking too busy (I tend to like things uncluttered) but I think it looks so pretty!

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A trio of wood dot hooks is another fun way to display jewelry. I hung these in Mabrey’s room just this week. At two years old, she’s a little young for jewelry yet, but maybe she’ll use these to display her baubles some day. (For now, I hang her towel, sleep sack and favorite tutu from the hooks.)

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My jewelry is a mix of high and low. The red triangle choker was a flea market find. It’s very Wilma Flintstone, no? In general, I’m drawn to beaded necklaces and bracelets with a few special pieces thrown in.

 

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Speaking of special pieces…Gemvara sent me this skylight disc gem pendant to share. A small black diamond eclipses the gold disc and it’s just about the cutest thing ever. This is going to sound far-fetched and cliché but the pendant makes me think that no matter how big our problems (the black diamond) might seem, in the grand scheme of things (the gold disc) they’re just a blip. I like that this necklace can be dressed up or down. It’s perfect for day or night.

gemvara skylight disc

For years, I swore off gold jewelry but I’m having a big love affair with it at the moment. If black diamonds and gold metal aren’t your thing, no worries. Gemvara jewelry is customizable in over 20 different natural gemstones and 9 precious metals. (You just click on your preferred gemstone and metal then the site generates an image of your selections so you know exactly what to expect.) There’s no inventory. Each piece is handcrafted in the U.S.A. and shipping is always free. If something doesn’t fit (or she says no – AH!), you have 101 days to return all items – even engraved pieces.

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Does all this talk about jewelry have you itching to get your bling on? Yes? Then keep reading because Gemvara is giving away a $1,000 credit to their site! See more dazzling pieces and find the giveaway entry details below.

 

gemvara

 

gemstones by the yard stud earrings // zoe band // roxanne band // cecelia ring // emerald isle ring // gemstones by the yard solitaire necklace // gem wire earrings

PRIZE: one $1,000 credit to Gemvara

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Click here, sign up for email, then link to your favorite Gemvara piece in the comments section below.

DEADLINE: Enter before Thursday, August 7th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Saturday, August 9th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Score 15% off your Gemvara purchase over the next 72 hours by clicking here. (The discount will automatically apply. No promo code is necessary. Easy!)

Good luck! I hope you win something special.

*This post is sponsored in part by Gemvara. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Carrie who is eyeing some ballet flats!

Post title runner-up: The One Where I Have a Midlife Shoe Crisis in Front of My Elderly Garage Door (I thought it was too wordy.)

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I don’t know why but I’ve had the urge to dress a bit edgier recently. It’s not so much about following a trend but has everything to do with the desire to try something different. It all started with a new pair of black jeggings. Once I discovered how comfortable and versatile they are, I’ve been wanting to wear them every day. (Luckily, our summer has been relatively mild. I’m one of those people who chills easily at the slightest breeze and in air-conditioned spaces so wearing jeans midsummer is completely reasonable to me.)

My only problem was that I didn’t own a pair of shoes that looked right with black jeans. I have mostly nude and saddle leather sandals for summer. I’m short and one trick I’ve learned to appear taller is to match my shoes to my bare legs / pants. That way my feet, ankles and legs are one continuous line of color which gives the illusion of longer legs. I needed black kicks!

That’s where ShoeMint comes in. The free, members-only website stays on top of what’s hot in the shoe arena so busy moms like me don’t have to. Inventory is updated monthly based on current trends. Whether you’re in need of something classic or runway-esque, you’re guaranteed to find high-end, high quality options. Refined materials – such as leather and suede – abound and shipping & returns are always free.

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I found the perfect black ankle boot for summer. It’s the Dahlia and it’s part of the exclusive collection designed by ShoeMint’s co-founders, Rachel Bilson & Nicole Chavez. The perforated suede allows for plenty of ventilation and gives the boot a sexy peekaboo vibe. Gold buckles round out the edgy look. A modest 2″ heel is enough to give my (lack of) height a boost but easily walkable. I have never in my life owned such provocative shoes. They are surprisingly comfortable and I genuinely LOVE them. Who knew switching up your footwear midlife could be so fun?!

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Another little trick I’ve learned to appear taller is to show some skin up top. (Not to be confused with going topless.) It doesn’t have to be a cleavage fest. Although, if you have it by all means flaunt it and I hate you. Just kidding – about the hate part not the flaunt part. For me, bare shoulders and a swooping neckline do the trick. I’m particularly fond of sleeveless tops with racerback detailing. Pulling my hair up into a high ponytail puts my shoulders front and center and keeps me cool, too.

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I also find it helpful to draw the eye up with a brightly colored / patterned top and an interesting necklace. I prefer flowy, loose-fitting tops that fall below my natural waistline. Ironically, the wood bead necklace I’m wearing here was a purchase from our current home’s estate sale.

In summary, I’m the Jon Stewart of DIY blogs. If you met me in real life, a warranted reaction would be “I thought you’d be taller.” In case you missed ‘em, my tricks for dressing taller:

*Wear shoes similar in color to your bare legs / pants. This creates the illusion of longer legs.

*Get a boost with a little heel action. An additional one or two inches can make all the difference.

*Show some skin up top. (But keep your shirt on, folks.) Bare shoulders or a low-slung neckline visually lengthen short torsos and necks.

*Draw the eye up with interesting colors, patterns and / or jewelry. Keep your bottom half mostly solid in color then add a fun top and necklace to draw attention to your upper half.

And just like that you’re 6′ tall! Haha.

 

shoemint

But enough small talk. Whether you’re 5’2″ or 6’2″, ShoeMint is graciously offering up a new pair of kicks to one lucky reader. See entry details below.

PRIZE: one pair of shoes from ShoeMint (retail value $70-$150). The choice is yours!

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. or Canada. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Sign up for ShoeMint here. (It’s completely free and there’s no obligation to buy.) Browse the selection then leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite pair of ShoeMint shoes.

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, July 13th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, July 14th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Score $40 off your first pair of shoes by clicking here. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored in part by ShoeMint. All content, clothing, short jokes and images are my own. I do NOT earn commission on purchases made via the links above. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for dressing taller. I’ve tried dressing in a single, solid color from top to bottom but found it yawn-inducing. On a side note, the crumbling, weed-riddled driveway is getting ripped out this week. Ahhhhh!!!!!

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, sources for my entire outfit:

*racerback tank – Juniors Eyelash, Kohl’s

*hoop earrings – vintage

*wood bead necklace – vintage

*black jeggings – SO, Kohl’s

*mesh ankle boots – ShoeMint

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

02.07.14 / Made Me Smile

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The things that made me smile this week…

*An architect’s $11,000 dream house. (The most expensive thing is the toilet!)

*Fiddle leaf fig humor. #thespot

*Instagram of the week.

*My remote should arrive any day now. No more one-armed selfies! Pictures of the whole famn damily!

*A cosmetic kitchen overhaul from the designer’s viewpoint.

*Blinded by the light.

*Lots of snow = lots of reading.

*My favorite ankle boots for the 35+ crowd.

Do something that makes you smile this weekend! I’m taking five boys (!) to see The Lego Movie. Smiles all around.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking