DRESSING THE BUMP: SPRING EDITION

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I can not believe that I am at the end of my pregnancy journey! I was told that it was going to go fast, but at the time 40 weeks sounded so far away. Well, here we are! I’m still feeling good, staying active, and eating clean. Everything is ready for our little man’s arrival!

I have been debating back and forth on a newborn photoshoot. They are absolutely adorable, however, I don’t see it as a must have for us. I am sure we will be taking several pictures on our Canon Rebel.

My husband has been such a trooper throughout this entire experience. Never missed an appointment, always encouraging me, he is so supportive. I can not thank him enough for being so present and attentive as we embark on this journey called parenthood

I still haven’t purchased any maternity clothes. I pretty much live in leggings and now that it’s warming up I will be wearing more dresses. This vintage mint green dress was originally my grandma’s (who I named my website after). I found it in my closet while hopelessly searching for something comfortable to wear. The material is a loose, slinky fit which was exactly what I was searching for. I complimented this look with my icey white Nike shoes. I considered pairing this dress with sandals, but later opted for a more edgy look. 

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MY GLAM MATERNITY SESSION

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My maternity photo shoot was definitely one of the highlights of my pregnancy! With so much going on both mentally and physically it was nice to get back into my element. My photos were shot by Stephanie Richer of Stephanie Richer Photography. When Stephanie told me her vision for the shoot, I knew we were on the same page. We both envisioned a more high-end editorial shoot. The pictures were everything I anticipated and more. 

Stephanie did an amazing job capturing each image. She has a special way of creating a fun and energetic atmosphere. She understands the concept of light and used cool techniques to capture the perfect image. She also shot our breathtaking engagement pictures.

My make up was done by Kristen ‘KC’ Coleman. She provides both hair and make-up services, however we just did make-up. She did an awesome job! We didn’t even have a consultation. She went in really soft and natural which I really appreciated because I don’t wear make-up on a regular basis. I absolutely love a subtle beat!

The dress I chose to wear is a black form fitting Betsey & Adam gown with embellishment around the neck and arms. It’s not a maternity dress, however, it fits comfortably on my bump.  I wore my black Christian Louboutins to compliment such a regal gown.

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BUMPING AROUND IN STYLE

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Throughout my pregnancy I have worn clothes that are not only comfortable, but also breathable. I prefer longer tops with more of a loose fit. I wear leggings 99.9% of the time and the other very small percentage I wear my maternity jeggings or joggers. Since my belly is getting bigger it is harder to get my shoes on and off. I have been searching for a pair of comfortable mule shoes with no avail. I told my husband starting in March, I will officially be done with closed toe shoes other than working out and also inclement weather. I am so ready for some Spring weather!

I ordered this layered dress almost two years ago. Initially, I wasn’t particularly crazy about the fit and considered returning it. I am so happy I didn’t because this dress makes a super cute maternity outfit. I paired the dress with leggings and thigh high boots.

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MATERNITY CHIC

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I found the perfect dress to celebrate month six of my pregnancy journey! The brand is Pinkblush. What I love most about their line is the clothes are created to be worn before, during, and after pregnancy. This beautiful deep burgundy color is perfect for winter. The ruffle sleeves really adds detail and character.

I have more of a slender, athletic build. I was debating between a size medium which is my pre pregnancy size and a size large. I went with a size medium since my physique has not changed too much besides my little belly. This dress hugs my curves and it is still very comfortable to walk and sit in with ample room around my midsection for my little man to breath.

I was overjoyed to find maternity clothing at a reasonable price point, styles that were super chic and trendy, and a brand created with versatility in mind. There are a wide variety of fashionable maternity dresses in this collection. I would encourage ladies who appreciate stylish and well made clothing to check out Pinkblush!

***Thank you to PinkBlush for sponsoring this post.

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OUTGOING INTROVERT

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When I was younger, I was extremely shy. As I progressed through my secondary education I became a social butterfly. That's what my teachers told my parents at conferences. My dad would tell me, "you are in school to learn, not to socialize!" But, talking to people got me through that long day of learning the algebraic method, and the periodic table. Socializing was very necessary for me. I considered myself more extroverted, but still reserved around newcomers or in a group setting.

As I've gotten older, I appreciate conversations with substance and more meaningful relationships. This made me question my extrovertedness (yep, made that word up).  After reading Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, I identified with outgoing introverts, also known as ambiverts. Many people identify with this personality type. A common misconception about introverts is that they are anti-social or socially awkward, when in fact we just prefer to socialize on our own accord. 

How do you identify your personality?

I found this top at an online t-shirt store by the name of iloveapparel. When I saw this shirt I immediately thought, "that shirt is so me!" The price point was reasonable and the quality was good. I also ordered my husband a super cute shirt and a pair of socks. My skort (skirt/shorts) is BCBG and my shoes are Nike.

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ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY!

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Wow! I can’t believe it’s been ONE year since I launched V41! They say time flies when you’re having fun. Creating my blog this past year has been so exciting and self-fulfilling. I’m not sure what the future holds as far as my blogging is concerned, but I only hope for continued success. I enjoy blogging as a creative outlet. I use this platform to spread positive energy, clear my head and of course connect with other like minded individuals. I also wanted to create a space for individuals who appreciate designer and fashionable clothing on a budget.

If you’re a V41 newbie here’s a quick update about me. Last year, I quit my corporate job to start a career in the beauty industry. I took a leap of faith and followed what I felt was my purpose in life. So many doors and opportunities have opened up for me, which confirms I am heading in the right direction. I am letting God use me as a vessel to motivate, inspire and encourage people do what makes them happy and live their best life! 

This next year I plan to be more consistent with my content. Blogging is definitely a full-time job. There is so much planning that goes into each post. There's hair, make-up, location, outfit, weather plays a factor, time of day to get the best sunlight, uploading photos etc. In a perfect world, I would like to carve out a few hours a day to work solely on my blog.

There are just some colors that just make our melanin POP! And Chartreuse is one of them. This color is so vivid and electric. Chartreuse is a bold statement color. When I wear statement colors, I mute my accessories. This romper is MSGM from Neiman Marcus, my shoes are Jessica Simpson and my pewter clutch is BCBG.

I want to thank my husband for all of his assistance and support with V41. I would also like to thank all of my loyal readers who get inspired, motivated and fashion influence from my posts. I hope that you all will continue to grow with me on this amazing journey.

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DENIM JUMPSUIT

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Great shot mi amiga!

Great shot mi amiga!

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I received so many compliments and questions on where I purchased my denim jumpsuit!! My Mom and I found super cute pieces at New York and Company. This jumpsuit fits great. I'm 5'6" and length wise, it's a bit long, but small heels will definitely correct that. I chose to wear a flat sandal because I didn't mind my pants dusting the ground. I like the versatility of this jumper. It can be dressed up or down. I dressed a bit more casual for a cookout at my In-Loves.

I wore this piece to my second bridal shower here in Knoxville. My Mother-in-Love wanted to have a intimate celebration with close friends and family. My sister and brother traveled down from Raleigh to support us. Unbeknownst to me, my parents came down from Wisconsin to be apart of the festivities and the water works were in full effect. I am beyond grateful to have family and friends who love and support us!

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BLACK. NO SUGAR. NO CREAM.

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Hey there! I know it's been a minute since my last post, but I've had a lot going on. I started a new job managing an Aveda Salon. I am super excited and I feel right at home especially coming from an Aveda school. Speaking of my school, I had the opportunity to style hair at our Catwalk For Water Fashion Show. I love the fact that I am able to use my God given abilities to give back! 

I digress. Since our dress code is all black, my closet is slowing getting consumed with black blouses, pants, jeans, shoes, scarves, should I continue...? Even when I am not shopping for work, I find myself buying all black. Wearing black makes me feel powerful, stylish and sophisticated. I like the fact that black is easy to layer, it matches effortlessly, and flatters my figure. 

The title of this post is a double entendra. I want to take a moment to appreciate my melanin. The other day at work, I helped two beautiful black queens who were around 60+ years young. They were buying skincare products and neither of them had a wrinkle in sight. The young lady at the counter complimented their skin and asked what their secret was. She confidently and unapologetically replied, "Being Black!" We all laughed! That really resonated with me because too often we are expected to downplay what makes our culture unique and beautiful. This was a reminder that we are striking, complex, and extraordinary beings that were wonderfully created.

By the way, my chic hat is vintage! I remember my grandma wearing this hat with style and grace.

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HELLO CHAPTER 32

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Today I am celebrating me... It's my birthday!! I am beyond blessed to enter another chapter in my life. I feel like this day snuck up on me. I am typically eager to celebrate my birthday and just bask in the ambiance of celebrating me. This year felt a bit different. It took me a little longer to get into the birthday spirit. I've been so wrapped up in wedding planning that everything else has been put on the back burner. 

I don't have big plans for my birthday this year. I will be working today because I am grateful to be doing what I love most! As most of you know, I am now in the beauty industry. I am so happy to have made this transition because I am doing what I love daily. So often we get wrapped up in what makes up the most money that we don't stop to figure out what exactly it is we love doing and pursue that. 

I am holding five balloons. 3  in one hand 2 in the other, for my 32 years of life! It means so much to have your support throughout my career transition. It is such a blessing to receive support from coast to coast.

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S.W.A.K. (SEALED WITH A KISS)

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HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Today is the day where guys make their ladies feel extra special and ladies make their man feel extra appreciated. To some it may be just another day, but to most today is a day of love. My honey and I plan to take it easy and have a more laid back evening. We are remodeling our kitchen and had little time for rest and relaxation.

I decided to spice it up a bit today. I am wearing a faux leather mini dress from Express with Gianni Bini boots. And this lip... lets not forget about this lip...! It is Retro Matte by MAC! My mom bought it for Christmas 2 years ago. I am a Ruby Woo girl, so I never got around to wearing it. This lippie is very bold, but the pop of color compliments my black and white ensemble. 

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WINTER FRESH

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Happy Sunday!! I feel like I have not done a fashion post in a while. The weather has been pretty chilly. When it's cold, I like to snuggle up on the couch and binge watch Impractical Jokers or find something interesting on Netflix. I am in a weird transition phase and haven't been getting dressed up like I usually do. However, Today, I am serving a little European tease. 

I am wearing a cream sweater from Zara, an oversized double breasted peacoat from Express. This coat is both stylish and warm. My black pants are AG from Saks Fifth Avenue and my patent leather platform shoes are from DSW. This outfit is super chic, comfy and warm!

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PERFECTLY PLAID

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I love going shopping in my closets! I've had both my bubble vest and plaid shirt for quite sometime, but never considered pairing them together. My bubble vest is from New York and Company and my top is Rails from Saks Fifth Avenue. My shoes are Minnetonka and they match perfectly with this rustic chic look. 

I tend to gravitate towards more timeless and classic clothing. I like to mix and match and incorporate my new pieces with my more mature pieces. 

By the way, this photoshoot was done with an iPhone X. The photo quality is amazing!

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OUTFIT OF THE DAY

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Today was such a beautiful day! The sky was clear and sun was shining bright. We are finally starting to get some actual Winter weather. You know what that means, oversize sweaters and comfy boots! Contrary to popular beliefs, wearing white is perfectly fine. No one is going to stop you and give you a fine for not following "Fashion Rules."

I paired my white pants with an over-sized sweater that my honey got me from TJ Maxx. I would not have bought it for myself, but its easily one of my favorite winter sweaters. I love the soft light weight fabric. Metallic is definitely in this season. I've been seeing metallic boots, shoes, and booties from the runway to street styles. My jewelry is simple as usual, however, I do have a new bracelet from Earthbound. Thanks to my beauty school boo Christina! 

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LAYERS X LAYERS

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As Winter swiftly approaches, I find myself layering my scarves with warm sweaters and cozy cardigans. I like the creativity of layering. There are different techniques and styles when it comes to layering. Layering is the opportunity to mix and match colors, patterns and fabrics to finish a look. I always seem to find a way to incorporate a furry vest to complete my ensembles.

Do you want to know what I'm wearing?

My top is from Boohoo, my vest is from TJ Maxx (yes, I am a maxxinista), My jeans are Joe, my boots are Carlos by Carlos Santana and my handbag is Louis Vuitton.

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ANKARA FASHION

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One of my good friends custom-made this beautiful Ankara skirt for me. We picked out the fabric, she got all of my measurements, and three weeks later... pure magic!

I feel pride, empowered, and confident wearing this amazing skirt. This skirt is so bold, the pattern is very intricate with beautiful detailing, and it fits like glove. It can be difficult deciding how to pair such a statement piece. However, I chose to complement mine with a yellow portofino with minimal jewelry because I want skirt to do all the talking. The yellow top enhances the boldness of the skirt, without overpowering the overall ensemble. This beautiful skirt has a mermaid silhouette that flairs out and pleats at the bottom. 

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FALL IS HERE!

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Fall is hands down my favorite season of the year.  I always say September is the January of fashion. I love everything about Fall fashion, from layering to the deep color pallets. New York Fashion Week just past and there were some eye catching looks on the runway. I look forward to incorporating a few of those looks into my current wardrobe.

I am wearing an Express top (Express), Joe jeans, Gucci handbag (Saks Fifth Avenue), and cheetah print flats (DSW). This blouse is fun and has a great fit! This top is very flattering and tastefully exposes my décolleté. I love the puffy sleeves and bow in the front. The peplum looks great on all silhouette.

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WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY

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At some point in our lives, we all have relied on "Fashion Rules." Whether it was no white after Labor Day or believing red and pink don't match, we've all followed these rules. Not all rules are meant to be broken, however, in the world of fashion broken rules make the best fashion.

When it comes to my "Fashion Rules" I follow my own style guidelines. I will continue to wear my white pants and shoes even after Labor Day has passed. White pants are a staple item for spring and summer, but are often times tossed to the back of the closet thereafter. I plan to wear white as necessary, to complete my ensamble year-round. 

My top is Bebe, my pants are Chip & Pepper, my loafers are Vince Camuto and my tote is from Walmart... (Thanks mom).

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BLUE AND WHITE STRIPES

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Happy humpday! This is one of my favorite top this summer. What I like most is the versatility. I can pair this top with denim, white pants, or linen. I like the asymmetric neckline with the sleeveless arm. These jeans are the most comfortable jeans I own. They are very light weight with plenty of stretch. My top is Free People, my jeans are WilliamRast, and my sandals are Ristricted.

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LAST DAY OF SUMMER

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My grandma would always say "I take care of my clothes. I don't have to run out and buy something new every time I go somewhere." That ideology has stuck with me throughout the years. When I shop for clothes, I buy timeless pieces. I occasionally shop the latest trends, however, majority of the time I shop for pieces that will not go out of style. I think more of fashion longevity and less of fashion trends. 

With that being said, this is one of my more mature outfits. The top and bottom are both from Express. I love everything about this top. The bold color and the safari print. This is a prime example of taking care of my clothes. It's not always about the name brands and latest trends. Create your own lane and wear your clothes with confidence.

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