Homecoming

 

The details: Coat: Vintage via Hanna Antiques // Sweater, loafers & bracelet: J. Crew // Denim: American Eagle Outfitters // Clutch: Clare Vivier

Recently I was back in my hometown during my high school’s Homecoming. Although I’m not actually at home in these photos, the pictures kind of capture the mood I was in. I think I finally faced up to the fact that you can go home again, but the view will be quite different. I thought of all that I had hoped to find when I returned home — a feeling I needed to remember — and when it wasn’t there, I felt a little lost. It was like I’d never lived there at all, a frightening feeling for someone who orients herself by her birthplace and current residence.

I haven’t blogged much this month because I’ve been trying to reconcile making the kind of art that matters to me with publishing content people respond to.  I’m actively trying to find a “home” for what I do. But it occurred to me that I can do both, and that I’ve already created a place for myself. So you’ll see a bit more of that going forward, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

This session was shot in Norwood, one of Birmingham’s historic neighborhoods, at the site of my dream house. Yes, it’s stripped down, and no, it’s not restored to its former glory. But there’s something poignant in the possibility of what it can be, standing in the grand and proud shadow of what it was. There’s something awesome in what it is, as it is. Can you see it? As a writer/journalist I am searching for the stories in our ruined memories, looking for treasure buried by the ravages of time.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.  Somehow I think that desire was caught on film this time, with no filter. What has this house seen? What stories can it tell, and what stories does it wait to welcome? That speaks to me, and the same is true for us as people. It’s why I love what I do.

It’s also why this outfit represents Magic City classic style for me: a turtleneck sweater, suede loafers, and denim, with a classic wool and mink coat. I found the coat for $60 at Hanna Antiques in perfect condition a couple of years ago. And what I prize most is its tag from Loveman’s of Alabama (another piece of Birmingham history that we now know as the McWane Center). It’s the kind of outfit I wore when I was in college, and my taste is pretty much the same off the yard.

Knowing yourself and being true to that knowledge means you’ll always be in style.

Special thanks to Mr. Melton, the homeowner, for kindly letting me trespass to daydream.

// Alexis

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The High Roller

 

Peplum top: Forever 21 // Sequin fringe skirt: J. Crew // “Lyla” heels: Steve Madden // Clutch: Target  

Yes, I actually wear what you see me posting here. This fun (and comfortable!) white and gold look was my outfit for Saturday’s “Harlem in the ‘Ham” fundraiser, hosted by the UAB Minority Health Research Center’s Young Professional Board.

The look I was going for is “modern flapper,” in keeping with the event’s theme. The high-wattage glamour of the sequined fringe skirt is toned down by its sweater knit material and the addition of a simple cream strapless peplum. Simple hoops and a ring with a gold clutch and barely-there heels complete the look, along with sleek hair and a neutral face.

A special shout out goes to my glam squad: Kim Colvin (makeup) and James Adams, Jr. (hair). My hair and makeup held up after hours of circulating and schmoozing — but my feet were killing me by 2 a.m.! Congrats to the MHRC YPB for a fabulously executed event!

XO // Alexis

The Southern Women’s Show is here! 

Haute off the press release:

BIRMINGHAM (September 2016)— When the Southern Women’s Show returns to the BJCC September 29-October 2 it brings four days geared just for Magic City gals. Want to experience this season’s best fashion, food, fun and festivities for less? Check out our “sneak peek” video, and get the  Frugal Fashionista’s Guide to the show:

TGIF – Early Bird Gets the Swag. Being one of the first to arrive at the show comes with perks beyond getting first dibs on shopping – the first 100 guests for Girls Night Out on Friday, September 30 get Belk swag bags, a complimentary glass of wine (coupon on website) and then there’s the literal icing on the cake – free mini cupcakes from Gigi’s (while they last).

Reduced Admission. Happy hour admission is just $3 after 3 p.m. on Thursday, and $5 after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday for frugal fashionistas who want to power shop (and spend the extra savings on the show floor).

Taste Birmingham’s Best. Just in time for fall entertaining season, the Southern Women’s Show is filling up the Cooking Stage with Birmingham’s best local and regional chefs for daily cooking classes. The best part? The audience gets complimentary samples.

Rock Your Hair – for Less. Celebrity hairstylist Danny Moa and a talented team return to the Southern Women’s Show by popular demand. Some lucky guests will get a complimentary haircut, and all guests can purchase the Rock Your Hair line at a substantial discount of just $5 per full size product.

Ride, Drive and Receive. Women fuel 85 percent of car buying decisions – and at the show they get behind the wheel and test drive a fleet of new Chevrolet vehicles. Located in the circle in front the entrance, the Chevy Ride and Drive is back – and all participants get a tumbler and $10 gift cards from Amazon or Target just for taking a spin.

Show Bucks Every 20 Minutes. America’s First Federal Credit Union is giving away $20 in Show Bucks every 20 minutes that can be used right there at the show.

Fall for Free Sunnies. Saturday is Focus on Vision Day sponsored by EyeCare Associates, and the first 100 guests to stop by their booth space 126 receive a free gift bag containing a free pair of sunglasses and an eyeglass cleaning kit.

Gifts With Purchase. Belk is bringing in beauty experts every day of show to give guests a new look for fall or help discover a new yummy fragrance. The makeover is complimentary and each purchase comes with exclusive Gifts With Purchase.

Show hours are Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door, $8 in advance online, $7 in advance at participating Walgreen’s, $5 for children 6–12 years old and free for children under 6 years of age (with paying adult). Special $3 after 3pm on Thursday and $5 after 5 p.m. pricing every day. For group discount tickets and more information, call (800) 849-0248 or visit http://www.SouthernWomensShow.com. Show sponsors include Walgreen’s, Chevrolet and EyeCare Associates.

***

Want to win tickets to experience the show–and see the members of Birmingham Fire and Rescue model in Friday night’s fashion show, stop by for tips and treats from Bob Syke’s BBQ, Wink Mobile Boutique and Scottsboro’s Unclaimed Baggage Center? Comment “Send me to SWSBham” here, or on any SWSxSCDD post on Facebook or Instagram and you could win!

Calling all DIY divas!

 

Whether we’re at the pool, lake, beach or just in the backyard, we all know we should protect our faces and bodies from the sun. One way to do that is to don a sun hat. They are everywhere right now, from discount to department stores. I went shopping and fell in love with a designer one that retails for $485. This hat, by Eugenia Kim, has been seen on Beyonce and is featured in  the June issues of InStyle and O Magazines. It’s absolutely adorable, but it’s NOT in my summer style budget. So one way to get “the look for less” is to harness your creativity and recreate it using less expensive, but easily accessible items.

Ready to try it?

  1. You’ll need a straw hat with a wide brim (app. $15), sequined trim ($3 per roll), a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and chalk or a disappearing ink pen (available at your local craft store for under $5). You can often find coupons in circulars or online that reduce the price even further.
  2. Place your hat on a flat surface and decide what phrase you want to embellish on the brim. While you are tracing it onto your hat with your chalk or disappearing ink, plug your hot glue gun in to let it heat up. (Pro tip: dip the metal tip of the glue gun in petroleum jelly so the heated glue won’t get stringy!)
  3. Add glue to your handwritten outline an inch at a time and working carefully,  press your sequin trim down onto the brim, adjusting it as necessary.
  4. Once you’re done, wipe away any traces of the ink or chalk with a damp cloth.

Why “DIY”? Personalizing it is fun and makes the item one of a kind! Also, consider the price. If you bought the designer version you’d spend close to $500 for a hat you may wear a handful of times during the summer months. Making your own version can be done for well under $50. So as I always advise, evaluate the “cost per wear” and determine the better deal, especially if you have “champagne taste on a soda budget.” And maybe spend some of what you would’ve saved on a super cute swimsuit or sandals!

Images via LookLive and TheGabulousLife

Calling all gentlemen…

 
Aveda Institute Birmingham requests the pleasure of your company…

“Join us for an Aveda Men’s Barbershop Inspired Facial Event this Thursday and Friday (May 26th & 27th) from 3pm – 7pm.

Men can come in to receive Stress-Relieving Scalp and Shoulder Rituals & Mini Barber Facial Experiences.

PLUS take home a FREE skin care sample duo for men!

Don’t miss this opportunity for an Aveda experience tailored to fit men’s grooming needs.”

Erica Domesek talks DIY-chic

We had the amazing opportunity to interview fab DIY-diva Erica Domesek of the brand P.S. I Made This! Check it out in the video above, and “dive into DIY” by checking out the vast lifestyle projects Ms. Domesek repurposes, remixes and recycles into glam projects on her website!

As we explore our creative side here at SCDD, stay tuned for a DIY project you can try at home!

Luxe for less? Read on!

blackbarbievintage

Elle reports Kim Kardashian spends an estimated $1,700 on her daily makeup routine (including tools).  If you don’t have that kind of cash, there are ways to save on your beauty buys while still pampering yourself!  I find that by shopping in a variety of places, I can be more selective. And saving on certain items leaves you a few more coins to splurge on pricy moisturizer or perfume.

Here are some items straight from my vanity., as shared on Talk of Alabama today: 

  1. KISS “Shy” Lashes, $4.50 at WalGreens: Yes, J. Lo may wear mink lashes, but that doesn’t mean you should. Save by buying these, which even have tapered (vs. blunt) ends, lending to a softer look. These are a great way to make your eyes “pop” during a night out, and are easy to apply. (Incidentally, Elle says KK spends about $2.99 a pair for her lashes.)
  2. Urban Decay “All Nighter” Makeup Setting Spray, $14.00-$30.00 at Ulta: Need your look to last for hours? I swear by this spray, which is oil and paraben free and as stated, “stops makeup meltdown.”  It’s for all skin types, keeps your makeup vibrantand creates smoother-looking skin without settling into fine lines. The travel size is perfect for your purse or vanity case, and smaller sizes keep you from stockpiling more than you need.
  3. Estee Lauder Take it Away Makeup Remover, $28 at department stores: When you’re finally ready to remove your “face,” try this soothing lotion: it removes longwear and waterproof makeup. It has a light citrus scent and leaves skin soft without a greasy residue. I received it as a free gift with purchase: so don’t throw those away! They’re great opportunities to try new products, and again, smaller sizes are easier to try, travel with and toss.
  4. L’Oreal Elnett Extra-Soft Hold Hairspray, $9.99/12.99 at Target: Ladies, if you’re searching for a hairspray that holds in our hot, humid climate, this is one to try.  The smaller size is $9.99, BUT: a little goes a long way and it works! It gives hair high shine and satin finish, minus flaking–and you it doesn’t leave you with super-stiff “helmet hair.” And might I mention, it’s been around for four decades?
  5. C. Booth Mimosa Honeysuckle Shaving Oil, $5.99 at T.J. Maxx/$29.99 at Amazon: Talk about a deal! This oil softens hair, guards against ingrown hairs and enhances razor glide–plus it smells delicious! And a little goes a very long way.  Check the price tag, then head over to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for deals on major beauty brands.
  6. The Body Shop Honeymania Bath Melt and Exfoliant Creme, $5.99 each at T.J. Maxx/$13-15 each at Amazon: These are full size, super-pampering products also found at TJ Maxx, for $5.99 each. Soak in the Bath Melt bubble bath, exfoliate with the creme (before shaving with #5!) and still have money left in your wallet.

XO, Alexis

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Thursday!

Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 this THURSDAY  (8/13): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 hour! Not in the local viewing area? Try live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo,

Alexis

We love: MILLY for Kohl’s DesigNation

Boy, do I need a vacay! Since I can’t take one just yet (thanks, grad school!) I can fantasize about it….or I could shop for it via the Milly for DesigNation Collection at Kohls! Even better: available pieces are now half off!

Entertainment Tonight! correspondent Brooke Anderson picked her favorite look for us via Twitter (see above)! She chose the Striped Pleated dress (now $35).

And here are my favorite looks:

Look 8: Scuba Crop Top and Solid Midi Scuba Skirt

Look 15: Capri Graphic Tank and Solid Midi Scuba Skirt

Striped Fit and Flare Dress

Happy shopping!

Xo, Alexis

I said YES to the dress!

  

August 1, here I come! I found my graduation dress! I am finally getting excited about receiving my Master of Arts degree in Journalism, and this silk gazar strapless sheath by J. Crew is everything I’m going to need in my life when I cross the stage.

This sleek, chic stunner was originally $895, but it was purchased for just under $90 on…wait for it…eBay! 

Darlings, if you’re not shopping there – or at least browsing there – you are totally missing the party! It is as easy as creating an account (I suggest creating a PayPal account as well for secure payments), and searching for your heart’s (or wardrobe’s) desire. Whether that means entering “white cocktail dress” or something more specific including a brand and style number, it has been my go-to for years. And no, it doesn’t mean ending up with used or dirty items. You can find “New Old Stock” or items that are “New With Tags.” You can also find vintage items galore.

Even better: the more you shop, the more eBay Bucks you can accumulate to use on future purchases! Bloop!

A few caveats:

  • Ask any and all questions you may have about a garment BEFORE purchasing!
  • Make sure you know the seller’s return policy!
  • Know your size!
  • I stick with brands I’m familiar with, but random searches can turn up some jewels as well.
  • If it looks suspicious, proceed with caution!
  • EBay’s guarantee means you get what you pay for…or you get your money back!

Happy shopping!

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