Seersucker Sass

Monday, July 25, 2016

DIY Dog Bowl Placemat Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyPetMyStar #CollectiveBias

I take a lot of pride in being a pet owner.  I rescued my beagle mix Francis about two years ago, and she is something else.  She's equal parts sweet and sassy, and there's no doubt that she runs the show at my apartment.  She sits where she wants, she sleeps where she wants, and when she's displeased, she will let you know.  She's a diva dog, and I love that about her personality.

I think one of the cutest things about Francis is the way that she eats.  She loves her food, and she loves to pick up kibble out of her bowl, and then run away to eat it somewhere else in the apartment. This can get messy, so I made Francis a little placemat for her feeding area.  It's super simple, and I'm excited to share the tutorial with you!

STEP ONE:  Gather supplies

You don't need many things for this tutorial, and you may already have some of the goodies in your craft box!  Here are the supplies that I used:
• Dish drying mat
• Felt
• Scissors
• Embroidery floss
• Tapestry needles

STEP TWO:  Cut and place shapes

I thought it would be cute to use super basic shapes, and an "F" for Francis.  I drew the duck and "F" out beforehand, and then free handed the paw print, heart, and bone.  (Remember when you would fold paper to make symmetrical hearts?  I used the same trick for the heart, bone, and paw print!)

I played with the shapes a little bit beforehand to ensure that they were arranged in the cutest possible way.  If you wanted to go a step further, you could even use safety pins or straight pins to hold them in place.

STEP THREE:  Stitch felt shapes to mat

I used a super basic running stitch because it went with the feel that I was going for.  I also used contrasting thread, but in hindsight, I wish I would have used something a little more contrasting for the "F"!

STEP FOUR:  Put placemat under dog bowl, and fill dog bowl with Purina® Dog Chow® Complete.  

 My Fran girl loves her Purina ® Dog Chow® Complete.  Francis had been at the shelter for two months when I adopted her, so I continue to do everything that I can to make up for what her life may have been like before she became a four legged member of my family.  I only want what's best for her, and that includes giving her the star treatment every day.  Purina® Dog Chow® Complete features 23 essential vitamins and minerals that your dog needs, and 100% of the nutrients dogs need to help them live a long and happy life!  It is formulated so that more nutrients are absorbed during digestion and features more than 21 grams of protein per cup, which is great for lean, strong muscles.  (They even offer a Satisfaction Guarantee!)

I love the convenience of being able to pick up the dog food while I'm doing my grocery shopping at Kroger instead of having to make a special trip to a specialty store.  Less time spent tracking down dog food means more time spent with Francis!

I want to hear from you - What do you do to spoil your four legged friends?  What's your favorite thing about their personlity?

PS - If you love coupons, come back to this link on 7/31!  There will be coupons for Purina and Tidy Cats products.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Supporting a Friend Through an Emotional Crisis

As individuals in today's world, we all encounter sensitive scenarios, whether it be personally or by watching someone close to us go through a tough time.  As a writer, my first instinct is to write.  However, there are many situations where those pieces never leave my journal, because it's not my story to tell.

Over the course of the past year, I've watched people very close to me struggle with mental health disorders and the stigmas that come along with them.  When Steve of reached out about sharing a post on the topic, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to address something so relevant to so many of our lives in a way that wasn't invasive to anyone in my life.  I hope that you will enjoy his guest post.

Last semester, I watched my best friend almost lose control of his life.

Matt has been my best friend since elementary school. We’ve seen each other through everything — bad grades, high school drama, family troubles, you name it — so when he and his girlfriend broke up recently, I could tell he was seriously hurting.  The problems only multiplied and amplified when he started drinking.

Normally outgoing, Matt stopped having much of a social life outside the bar. He occasionally went to class, but sometimes he’d skip without real reason. He wouldn’t join us for our weekly volleyball tournaments but was always ready to hit the club. Once we were out, there was no stopping him from taking countless shots and drinking until he blacked out. He usually woke up with no memory of the night before and acted less and less like himself each day.

I kept my opinions to myself for weeks until I had to pick up Matt from the bar at 3 a.m. and realized how bad the problem truly was. On the drive home, he broke down and told me how hopeless and alone he felt. He drank to feel better and ended up feeling depressed, yet still found himself turning to alcohol for comfort. I told him we’d find a solution together, and we agreed to talk the next morning.

I correctly anticipated that Matt might not remember our conversation, so I approached the subject carefully. I told him that I cared about him, that I’d noticed some worrisome behaviors, and that I was there for him if he needed to talk. I said he no longer seemed like the happy, charismatic guy I grew up with and that I was worried he was in trouble.

Though reluctant at first, Matt finally opened up to me about his struggles with depression and drinking heavily. I told him I’d go with him to talk to a counselor at our campus health care center, and that I could even help him talk to his parents. He wasn’t immediately responsive to the idea of seeking professional help, but after time and multiple conversations he finally agreed.

Matt is on the road to recovery, but we know it won’t be easy. Though sometimes I kick myself for not seeing the signs, I focus on my new duty as Matt’s best friend: supporting him on his journey.

Steve Johnson co-created with a fellow pre-med student. The availability of accurate health facts, advice, and general answers is something Steve wants for all people, not just those in the health and medical field. He continues to spread trustworthy information and resources through the website, but also enjoys tennis and adding to his record collection in his spare time.

Happy Thursday, friends!  And please know that if you ever need someone to talk to or a reminder that someone is in your corner, I'm here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hair Extension How To's with Irresistible Me

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

25 has been a year of new found confidence, and a year of really coming into my own.  I've found a career path that I love, I feel comfortable traveling alone, and I'm confident enough in my appearance to experiment with my look.  It started with balayage hair, and the addition of eyelash extensions soon followed.  So when given the chance to try out hair extensions from Irresistible Me, I jumped at the opportunity!  

Up until a couple of years ago when I chopped a foot of my hair off, I had always had long hair.  I had a really bad short hair cut early in middle school, and I vowed that I would never cut it again.  Because of this, I've never had a reason to experiment with hair extensions.  I love the idea of hair extensions because I really loved when I had crazy long mermaid hair, but I did not love the fact that it took me what felt like a lifetime just to dry it.

I will be the first to admit that I was a little overwhelmed when it came to extensions, so I enlisted back up - my hair artist, Mari Jane!  I'm really excited to share Mari's wisdom with y'all!

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

When you go to Irresistible Me's website, you will find that there are different types of extensions to choose from.  I went with the Silky Touch style of extensions.  They're affordable, 100% human hair, and Irresistible Me's top seller!  From there I chose my color, length, and weight.

Color -  Because my hair is balayage and tends to get really light in the summer on top of that, I was really stressed about choosing a hair color.  Irresistible Me has this awesome video that shows you what the colors look like.  Mari and I watched the video and ultimately decided that Silky Light Brown (#6) was my best match.

Length - I knew I wanted mermaid hair, but I also wanted the extensions to look more on the natural side.  I used this pin to determine the best length and ultimately decided on the 20" length.

Weight - Mari explained to me that the weight of the extensions is super important.  My hair is fine, but I also have a lot of hair.  If your hair isn't thick or is extremely fine, extensions that are too heavy will start to pull your hair and could even damage your hair!  For reference, the weight of my extensions are 200 grams, as that is the only option for the 20" length.

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

Once you've ordered your gorgeous Irresistible Me extensions, and they've arrived, here are some helpful hints for styling them!  Again, major kudos to Mari for teaching me all of this and making me seem smart.

Only use extensions with clean, dry hair.  I hate washing my hair, and I'm really big on second day hair.  However, Mari stressed the importance of only using extensions with clean, dry hair, and limiting product usage while using extensions.  You can wash your extensions if they get gross, but do so sparingly.

You can reinforce the clip sections with bobby pins.  The extensions that I own are clip in, and clip into my hair vertically, with the clip pointing down.  You can reinforce the clipped sections by pushing a bobby pin up the clipped section (kind of like how you create an X with bobby pins to create a secure hold.)  I really didn't even realize I had extensions in, with the exception of the large piece that goes on the back of your head.  This is the piece that I would recommend reinforcing, because I accidentally sat on my hair in the car and pulled it a little bit.  #oopsy

Style your extensions before putting them in your hair.  I'll let y'all know when I figure out a hack to doing this.  Haha.  But the importance of styling prior to putting them in your hair is so that you're not pulling on the extensions.

It's easier to blend extensions in one length hair, cut straight across, than you think!  I originally thought that I was going to need to layer the extensions, but Mari and I talked it through and decided against it for now.  One thing that you can do to blend your extensions is to curl (or create waves... what's the verb for that?) your hair and extensions, then pin the front pieces of your hair back like you would for a half bun.

What I've found works well for me is "rolling" my curls into one big curl.  On a normal, non-extension day, I typically curl my hair with a large barrel curling iron in the direction away from my face, which leads to my hair kind of falling into two mega curls.  I do the same thing when wearing extensions, but I twist the curls together with my hands, rolling the curls and extensions together in the direction away from my face.

Store the extensions the way that you received them.  When I remove the extensions, I gently brush them out with my fingers then put them back in the pouch that I received them in.    

If you're intimidated, see your stylist!  When my extensions arrived, I was super overwhelmed because there were 10 extensions in the box, and I had no idea what to do with them or where to start.  So I set up an appointment with Mari Jane, and she walked me through the entire process of which clip went where, plus tips for how to style them, plus all of the knowledge that I have shared with y'all.  (If you are in the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia area and would like a referral to Mari Jane, please let me know!  I'll be glad to make the connection for you, or you can contact her via Instagram!)  

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

summer fashion, Irresistible Me hair extensions, fashion blogger

Totally off topic, but this outfit has become one of my favorites this summer.  For casual Friday, I throw on a blazer and wear it to work, and then after work I ditch the blazer to grab drinks and see a concert downtown.  I just got these heels from the NSale, and I can't wait to pair them together.  This top is under $50 and so comfy.

Again, a huge thank you to Irresistible Me for gifting me these gorgeous hair extensions and to Mari of Marigold Salon and Photography for helping me out with this post!

What do y'all think?  Do you wear hair extensions or have you ever considered wearing them?

I received product from Irresistible Me in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting brands that support Seersucker Sass!  If you have any questions, please visit my Disclosure policy.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale on a Budget

I'm currently being a "basic blogger," but I will not apologize.  If you're a blogger on a budget like I am, the Nordstrom sale is your best friend.  Why?  Unlike most sales where the clothes are full price and then reduced, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts the clothing at a reduced price and then raises it to regular price at the conclusion of the sale.  This means you can get the hottest, trendiest pieces for fall and winter at a discounted price.  Nordstrom has become my "go to" when it comes to  shopping because I know that if I don't love something, I can easily return it without paying a small fortune for return shipping.

Sometimes sales can cause us to purchase things we don't need, so I'm sharing the game plan that I used while shopping to keep myself on track.  I'm also sharing a few of my favorite pieces from the sale!

1. Identify gaps in wardrobe.  I know I need flats, a pair of every day earrings, and a camel colored cross body.  

2. Apply for Nordstrom card.  Not only does having a Nordstrom credit or debit card give you early access to the sale, but you also get a triple points day that you can use.  I chose to use my triple points the day that I opened the card since I was purchasing a big ticket item.  

3. Shop for identified "gap" items.  I looked through flats, earrings, and handbags, as those were the gap items.

4. Browse the rest of the sale.  After looking through the "needs," I browsed the rest of the sale for "wants" in order to find a few on trend pieces to add to my wardrobe for fall.  Shopping for the things I needed first stopped me from overspending.

Here are a few of the pieces that I fell in love with while browsing.  With the exception of the shoes, all items in the collage below are under $40!

NSale Picks Under $40

Off the Shoulder Chambray Dress ($31.90) •  Two of the hottest trends for fall in one dress!  I love that it's shown styled with booties, and I would complete the look by adding a long beaded necklace.

Cowl Neck Shift Dress ($24.90) •  I have a navy cowl neck dress, and it is such an easy throw on and go piece.  This dress comes in a variety of colors and prints, including a gorgeous blush shade.

Olive Utility Vest ($37.90) •  I didn't pick one of these up last fall, and now I'm having major FOMO about not picking one up this season.  I plan to pair it with graphic tees, turtlenecks, and even basic black dresses.

Plaid Blanket Scarf ($18.90) •   I love that the base color of this scarf is cream, as that hasn't been a major blanket scarf color the past two years.  This is the cheapest I've seen blanket scarves, so definitely a good time to stock up!

Side Slit Turtleneck Tunic ($31.90) •   This will be great with my signature pixie pants at work, but I also look forward to styling it with leather leggings as a cute "drinks after work" look.

Bow Blouse ($37.90) •  I'm excited about this top, because I feel like it can be styled so many different ways - leather leggings and heels for a night out, dark skinny jeans and flats on the weekend, slacks or a pencil skirt for a board meeting - the possibilities are endless.

Hunter Rain Boot ($129.90) •  I know that everyone is going crazy over discounted Tory Burch riding boots, but I am so excited to see that Hunter boots are on sale!  I never had much of a desire to own a pair, but I watched How to Steal a Million last week, and Audrey Hepburn's black rain boots have me thinking I need a pair of my own.

Block Heel Tassel Bootie ($99.90) •  These are so fabulous and are another piece that could be worn a million different ways.  I'm seeing lots of gray leather when it comes to accessories this season, and who doesn't love tassels?

Faux Leather Bucket Bag ($31.90) •  My hunt for a designer, camel colored cross body has been unsuccessful, so I'm really leaning toward purchasing this bag.  I love how sharp camel looks with neutrals like black, navy, and cream.

Burgundy Crossbody ($32.90) •   The saddlebag style of this crossbody is really unique and seems pretty spacious.  I love the rich burgundy color for fall.

Have you shopped the sale yet?  Anything you've got your eye on?

Happy Monday, sweet friends! I hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ask Seersucker Sass

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I had planned on sharing this post yesterday, but as you can see, that didn't quite work out.  I get a lot of questions by email and via Snapchat, so I'm taking to the blog today to answer them!


What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?

If I could go back and change anything about blogging, I wish that I would have focused on photography early on.  A lot of my older posts have really awkward photos that could have been made a million times better if I had just chosen to turn on a lamp or stand in front of a different background.

I would also warn anyone starting a blog that you shouldn't let your blog take over your life.  There are nights that I stayed up working on major blog posts that I wish I would have just enjoyed that time with family instead of being glued to my laptop.

What would you like to see change about the blogging community?

I feel like there can be a sense of entitlement in the blogging community.  I think it's important for bloggers to remember that we aren't entitled to opportunities.

I also get very frustrated when bloggers find their opinion to be the end all be all and/or use pressuring tactics to sell things to their readers.

What stresses you out the most about blogging?
Creating graphics!  I have so much respect for graphic designers.  It stresses me out to no end.

Also, the fact that I don't have an "Instagram ready" living space.  My apartment is small, has horrible lighting, and is very brown. It's a lovely place to live and in a great location, just not a lovely place to take any kind of photographs!  I look forward to the day that I have a white, bright, airy apartment with natural lighting, but for now I'm reminding myself to appreciate this season of life.  (And I'm learning to appreciate the fact that my neighbor is never home, because there's amazing natural lighting in front of his apartment door. Lol)

What is your biggest pet peeve as a blogger?
When brands ask me to purchase their items and then write about them.  Still haven't figured out how this is mutually beneficial...

Do you accept guest posts?
On occasion, yes!  But I prefer guest posts that aren't content I would typically bring my readers.  (i.e. - photography tips from a photographer, skin care tips from a dermatologist, etc.)  I also love to interview women about their careers or their small businesses, so if you feel like you're a fit, shoot me an email!


Can you recommend a hair mask?
I received this hair mask a couple of years ago in exchange for a review, and I don't know if I've ever loved a hair product so much.  It's great for hair at any length, and it smells like a dreamsicle.

What is your hair routine?
Very complex ;)  I wash and condition my hair in the shower each night, don't brush my hair, and just let it air dry.  In the morning, I run a brush through it once, and if necessary, I spray down frizzy pieces around my scalp.  My hairdresser has told me that going to bed with wet hair isn't good, so I'm not advocating this, just telling you what I do.  Haha.

In April I decided to do balayage, and if you're lazy with your hair like I am, I highly recommend it.  There's very little upkeep.

(PS - My shampoo and conditioner are buy one, get one 50% off right now!)

One beauty product that you can't live without?
The "Radiance" highlighter in Ulta's Contour Kit.  Hands down, my favorite product out there right now.

What is the nail color I always see on your Snapchat?
OPI Bubble Bath gel polish.  It's neutral and goes with everything, and it's not super obvious when your manicure starts to grow out.


What has helped you manage your finances post-grad?
I really think the most helpful thing for me was moving back home for 18 months after graduation.  I was planning on going to law school at the time, so my goal was to live at home and save as much as possible.  When I decided to move into an apartment, I had a little security net.

I really don't love budgets.  Numbers and constraints and things like that just make me anxious.  But I know exactly how much I make and exactly how much my bills are, and I schedule it so that they come out of my check on pay day.  I'm also big on balance and how I spoil myself.  If I've been going out to eat every day for a week, I probably shouldn't buy myself a new Lilly dress.  I want to go to Spain in the spring, so I probably really don't need those trendy new shoes.  Focusing on quality versus quantity is a big one for me, as well.

What is your advice for someone who wants to go through sorority recruitment?
Here are three posts that I've written that you may find helpful:

Aside from that, I think it's really important to go in with an open mind.  I went into recruitment 100% set on being in a specific chapter, and on the second night, I realized that I really didn't belong there.  I will be really honest and tell y'all that I was anti-Kappa Delta before recruitment. I had heard a lot of untrue things about the chapter, and I really didn't think I would be a good fit there.  But I fell in love with Kappa Delta during recruitment, and I ended up right where I was meant to be.

Other important pieces of advice - be yourself.  And know that you don't have to wear designer clothing to get a bid.

What kind of cancer did you have?
Melanoma that spread into my lymph nodes.

What is your favorite devotional?
The Best Yes.  Hands down, it will rock your world.  There is so much pressure on women to do it all and be it all, and this book focuses on when to say no and how to say no.  I supplemented the book with the workbook, and I found it to be really helpful.

What is your favorite flavor of La Croix?
It alternates, but right now it's lemon!  I'm also a big fan of the pear flavor, but I know that pear is kind of an acquired taste.  Haha.

Hope y'all enjoyed today's post!  I'd love for you to share a little fun fact about yourself in the comments :)

If you have any questions for a future post, just send them my way!  And if you'd like to connect, my username for everything is "seersuckersass" - Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.  Happy Tuesday!