Fashion Forward Fridays: My Monogram Necklace & A Winner!

For the end of the My Monogram Necklace Giveaway and today's Fashion Forward Fridays post, I figured I would show you guys some of my favorites from them to encourage you to possibly buy your favorites from them if you didn't win the giveaway. I loved working with this company and their products really are fantastic. Here's my three favorites, besides the silver necklace that I own!

So maybe this is more edgy work wear, but this outfit to me is just hot and screams powerful. I can just imagine wearing this outfit and feeling like the boss of any office! This pink monogram necklace was my second choice and if I had all of the elements of this look, I would have gone for it.

I love this simple and classic look for a wedding. And I love that tomorrow I'll be wearing something similar to a wedding that I have waited to attend since about the 10th grade! Eek! (Hi, Sara and Cory - see you kiddos tomorrow!) This necklace isn't the exact one from My Monogram Necklace but the one that is similar to this is stunning. And I must have totally missed it when I was picking mine out because this one is so lovely, I would've had a tougher choice picking out one piece.

The only reason I didn't just opt for this wall art piece from My Monogram Necklace is because I'm not living in my own place just yet, so I'd want to wait until then to get this piece. This mock up is pretty much my dream apartment living room right now...black kitten included!


Chels Wears: Double DIY

Chambray & Leggings: JCPenney's | Shirt: Mumford & Sons | Boots: Voltage | Scarf: DIY | Headband: Rue 21
Leg Warmers: DIY | Purse: Target | Bracelets & Owl Ring: Charlotte Russe

First things first, yes, I am wearing leggings for pants...again. I cannot help it you guys, they are just so comfy and they fit under boots so well. Next, you might be wondering why I often have my hair up in my Chels Wears posts. Well, if you'd guess, a) I'm lazy, b) I didn't wash my hair this day, or c) I currently hate the length of my hair, as any of your reasons why this must be, then you're correct, but mostly C. After drastically cutting my hair, I'm in between the lengths I actually like which are shoulder length and mid-back length. So in about two to three more inches, it'll be perfect and will be worn down more, just you wait.

Now onto the double DIY...the leg warmers and the scarf were made about ten minutes before I left the house for my night job at Family Video. I got the idea for the leg warmers from Pinterest (surprise) and made them (and a few other pairs) by cutting off the sleeves of some old sweaters my mom had in her closet that neither of us wanted to actually wear. And the scarf is made from a cowl neck shirt dress that I was going to donate to Goodwill. Originally I planned to just cut off the cowl neck and use that as an infinity  scarf, but it wasn't big enough for my taste, so I cut off the sleeves and used the actual dress half of it. Simply sewed up the frayed edge so there would be a smooth edge the whole way around and voila! I'm planning on making this a fringe scarf eventually since I'm in love with all things fringe and it'll make it a more unique element, but for now and for the limited time I had to do this, I like it. What do you guys think?

If you recall, this is not the first time that I've cut something up and sewed it really fast before walking out the door in it. Honestly, I've been doing this since about the 7th grade. I just know that if I'm not going to wear an item of clothing the way it was intended, I might as well try it a different way. So far I think it's worked out pretty well. And this totally makes me a fashion designer, right!? haha

Two link-ups this week - be sure to check out H&K Style Journey and Because Shanna Said So.


Books of the Summer

So this summer, I was able to get back into my "reading groove" - living back home with such a great library has done wonders for me. This summer I read A LOT. But these ones were my favorites and I hope that you guys will think about checking them out!

Incendiary by Chris Cleave - If I had to pick a favorite author, Chris Cleave would certainly make the short list. I love his ability to tie multiple story lines together and explain in depth what characters are feeling, without going overboard and Incendiary is no different. A story about a family of three, living a working-class life in London and how the mother/wife character is able to go on after losing her young son and husband by the hands of notorious criminals in an event that shakes London to the core. This summer I also so the movie based on this book and I must say, it sucked...just read the book.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - When I first picked up this book I was very skeptical about whether or not I'd like it because it seemed very "end of the world" and "unreal" to me, which I'm usually not a fan of. However, although it does have speculative fiction, it's a beautiful coming of age novel that is written beautifully and has a believable story line. This novel is from the point of view of Julia, a middle-schooler growing up in an average American suburban lifestyle, whose world is totally altered when it has become obvious that the Earth's rotation is slowing. This book is stunning.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Alright, this was THEE book of the summer. Gone Girl is fantastic. I was hooked to every word and was in love with it from beginning to the very last word. This book is about a marriage gone horribly wrong between Nick and Amy Dunne, and all it comes unraveling on the fifth wedding anniversary. The characters are rich and the plot is thick and surprising. You just must read this one for yourself.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - This one is also a must read. Especially if you're a total nerd. There is an odd subculture revealed to Clay when his life of a web-designer ends and he begins to work the overnight shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Mr. Penumbra is an interesting character who Clay cannot get enough of and soon he his immersed in a secret code-breaking club run through the way-back shelves of the bookstore. Along with this club, Clay finds true friendship and love and something much larger than his humdrum life that he'll never forget. Also, the hardback book cover glows in the dark, so there's that.

Office Girl by Joe Meno - Since this book is so different then any others I've read and there is no better way to explain it, this is what the back of the book actually says: No one dies in Office Girl. Nobody talks about the international political situation. There is no mention of any economic collapse. Nothing takes place during a World War. Instead, this novel is about young people doing interesting things in the final moments of the last century. Odile is a lovely twenty-three-year-old art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a twenty-five-year-old shirker who's most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999—just before the end of one world and the beginning of another—Office Girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life. ...andddd pretty much, read it. It's certainly interesting and unlike anything I'm sure you've read.

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith - If you're a hopeless romantic, you need to read Trains and Lovers. This novel is about four travelers heading from Edinburgh to London who all meet on the train and have beautiful love stories that tie them all to the locations of where they are coming from to where they are going. This book is just lovely. It's something you can finish in a few day and if you're a sappy girl like me, then you'll be smiling and possibly crying the whole time. It's a great book about how wonderful love can really be. 

I was told there'd be cake by Sloane Crosley - This book of personal essay's had me laughing the entire way through. Sloane's writing really is profoundly genuine and honest and I loved every minute of this book. These essay's are of Sloane's twenty-something lifestyle while living and working in the big city. I loved it all. She is the more "family friendly" version of Chelsea Handler's book(s) of essays and just as witty. After so many novels over this summer, it was good to end the summer with a hilarious book of essays by an extremely relatable woman. 


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Emily!

Today you guys are meeting a great friend of mine from Seton Hill, who I cannot wait to see at our alma mater's Homecoming tomorrow! Emily is that friend we all have who looks good no matter what. She could be having the worst and busiest day ever, and she still somehow always looks flawless. So when she jokingly said she'd want to be on Fashion Forward Fridays, I wondered why I had never asked her before already. Here she is with a simple chic, and casual Friday appropriate, outfit to inspire you. Read on to learn more about her and her style!

How would you define your style?
It is hard to define my style, as I take inspiration from many different areas and like to mix things up.  One day I may be in jeans, chucks, and v-neck tee, whereas another I may have on a blazer, pencil skirt, heels and pearls! I like to play off both current trends, but also classic timeless looks.  I guess you could say my closet is a collage of many different looks and styles.

Where are your favorite places to shop?
HA! I don't know if I can even answer this question! I LOVE to shop! I guess going off of my first answer, I would have to say The Limited (love their work clothes), Macy's, New York & Company, Kohls (LC is my fav!), GAP and who can resist Target! Marshalls also is a favorite - you never know when you might find a killer Michael Kors sweater dress :)

If someone asked you for fashion advice, what would you tell them?
If I had to give someone fashion advice, I would have to say to follow their own interest and style, not what the celebs or TV ads are "telling" them to wear.  Yes, I will admit that I follow the latest fashion trends and visit Pinterest daily (I know I have a problem), however it is still important to be unique and feel comfortable in your own skin! Be yourself and wear what makes you feel pretty!

Where did you get the pieces you're wearing in the photos?
Top - Target, Jeans - Macy's, Shoes - Target, Watch - New York & Company, Scarf - Not gonna lie, Gabe's, Jewelry - Charlotte Russe......September is an awkward month in my opinion for fashion. Its too cool for shorts and flip flops, but you aren't quite ready for the flannel and boots! So I try to combine both summer and fall pieces to create those outfits that work perfect for that Indian Summer.  Think light fabrics and fun colors mixed with some scarves or cute flats. Layering is great too!

What trend are you loving this season?
So far I am loving what I am seeing out at stores for fall fashion! I may be biased because it falls in line with what I would typically wear, but.....neutral but powerful colors, soft fabrics, cozy sweaters, infinity scarves, mixed patterns and stripes, and riding boots! And whether or not it continues to be a fall trend or fashion no no, you will still see me rocking my sock bun!

GQ named Pittsburgh the third-worst-dressed city, do you agree/disagree and why/why not?
I think Pittsburgh is a unique city. I have seen some fabulous fashion, as well as some not so great looks. We are an eclectic town, filled with various cultures, generations and interests, so I think that plays into what we see in terms of clothing and fashion. Hit up Bloomfield and you will see one set style, and then pay a visit to the Jason Aldean concert and you will think we are in Texas. Nonetheless, everyone dresses in the way that they feel best. I will admit to venturing to Walmart in sweats and hoodie from time to time, so who am I to judge?!

See you tomorrow, Miss Emily & happy weekend everyone!


Downtown Film Night - Call for Filmmakers

Photo courtesy of Future Tenant.
Since I have reviewed events held at Future Tenant before and am in support of basically anything that benefits downtown Pittsburgh, I want to share this great opportunity with you guys in hopes that it will apply to some of you and encourage you to submit your films to it! Good Luck! 

Future Tenant and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announces a call for emerging filmmakers to screen their work at Downtown Film Night to be held on October 12th, 2013.  We are looking for films made by artists local to Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and we are open to multiple short films or one longer feature film. The call is open to all film genres; 5-10 minute films are highly encouraged.

Film requirements:

  • Your film must be any length under two hours.
  • Your film must be appropriate for all ages, as this event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. If you feel your film is too risqué, chances are it is. However, if you have specific concerns please let us know with your submission.

Submission instructions: In order to be considered, please submit your interest, a short bio (500 word maximum), and brief synopsis (500 word maximum) to info@futuretenant.org by September 29th, 2013. Additionally, a DVD copy of your film must be mailed to or dropped off at the gallery: Future Tenant, 819 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

About Future Tenant: Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s cultural district, at 819 Penn Avenue, Future Tenant provides a laboratory setting for artists, arts managers and audiences to explore the limits of the creative expression, presentation and interpretation of various art forms. For more information please visit futuretenant.org or email us at info@futuretenant.org.

About Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership: Formed by Downtown businesses, professionals, civic organizations, foundations, and residents, the PDP develops and implements innovative programs and initiatives to enhance the Downtown neighborhood. We also promote and market this great urban center to millions of people as the region’s premier destination to do business, to call home, or to visit for the best in shopping, dining and entertainment. The PDP also stands as staunch advocates for all those who make Downtown part of their lives, from businesses to workers to residents. For more information please visit http://www.downtownpittsburgh.com/.

This is a partnered post but all opinions are my own.


Chels Wears: Dressy Black & Gold

Rooney's Shirt: Grand Scheme PGH | Skirt: Vera Wang | Vest: New York & Co.
Booties: Target | Mixed Bracelets: Charlotte Russe & Walmart | Metallic Purse: Wet Seal | Necklace: Forever 21

If you read my most recent post for On Her Game this week then you know that I missed the Monday night full of Pittsburgh sports (the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates all had games) because I had to work. This outfit was my way of showing my Pittsburgh sports pride while still being work-appropriate.

Over the summer, I saw a lot of fashion bloggers dressing up the graphic tee and I thought this would be the perfect outfit to test this trend out for and I have to say I love it! I also love that the high school football field is so close to my house because it made getting these pictures before running to work super convenient too! But note to self, do not wear heels in the grass again. I should have known better. Also, if you remember, this is the Vera Wang skirt that I got at Goodwill and this is the shirt I was wearing when I met Franco Harris.... double holler!


Breaking Fashion Rules & A Giveaway!

Cardigan & Khakis: JCPenney | Chambray & Purse: Target | Shoes: Sperry | Belt: Unknown
Modern Pearls Necklace: Boutique la Passerelle | CLO Necklace: My Monogram Necklace
While putting this outfit together, I originally had white pants set out to go with it and then I remembered it was after Labor Day and there is some dumb "rule" that you're not supposed to wear white after Labor Day. Blah. Blah. Blah. I don't care. I opted for these pants instead though because, while I hate khakis, I knew I'd be wearing this outfit outside and I didn't want to get my white pants dirty, but don't actually care about these guys.

Enough about that, on to the giveaway! This beautiful necklace was gifted to me by My Monogram Necklace and you have a chance to win an item from their collection, of your choice, for yourself! I'm in love with this necklace. Although I added an extender to mine, I'm sure that most of you wouldn't because it comes at a great length, I'm just weird and don't really like anything close to my neck. I had a hard time choosing which piece from the collection that I wanted because I could see so many of their pieces fitting in well with my wardrobe and other jewelry, but decided to go with this piece because it seemed the most classic. I've always been a fan of monograms and love that it's been on trend for awhile recently, so this comes to you guys at just the right time. Good luck!

*Since writing this post, I have been asked a lot about why my initials are in the "wrong order" typically with monograms, the last name letter is the largest and in the middle. Personally, I think that order is weird if the monogram is for one person, though I think that order makes sense if it's for a married couple. So since this is a 'just me' necklace, I asked this to be the order...also, when I sign my name, I always put a big fancy L for my middle name, Lee, so this is very much my style. You are welcome to order your initials in whatever order you choose if you win the giveaway.*

This is a sponsored post I received this necklace as a gift, but all opinions are my own.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Dona Jo Fitwear

So if there is one thing I know about girls, it's that we hate to look bad, even in situations where not looking are best should be is permitted. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about....the gym (or really anywhere you might workout). That internal debate always seems to go off in our heads as to whether or not we should be "dressing cute" to go work out. The answer, in my opinion, is always no, you should not be wearing makeup and no your hair should not be made perfect before you go to the gym. Your outfit however, can be "cute" or in today's case for Fashion Forward Fridays, very stylish.

Meet Ashley Ferraro, a Pittsburgh native and designer of Dona Jo Fitwear. Ashley is the answer to your prayers if you're anything like the girl described above. Or if you're just the girl who is sick of wearing her boyfriend's shorts to the gym. Read on, fashion-loving, active ladies as Ashley gives you the ins and outs of Dona Jo Fitwear through this exclusive interview!

Stylish & colorful workout clothes from Dona Jo Fitwear - all photos provided by Ashley.

Tell us about yourself and how Dona Jo Fitwear was created
I’m originally from Pittsburgh, but traveled to Florida for school – Go FGCU! I met my husband, Raphael, in college. I made my first trip to Brazil in my sophomore year of college and fell in love with the country. I wasn’t really into working out at that point, but it was my first encounter with a more stylish, sexy, and vibrant way of dressing to the gym. I was amazed how Brazilians were so confident in their own skin. The second trip to Brazil everything changed. I fell in love with the Brazilian style of workout clothing and I bought some pieces for personal use. As much as I loved everything, I knew if we wanted to see the Brazilian style of workout clothing here in the US, we were going to have to modify it! So about a year ago when we started brainstorming about the business, we knew we had to modify the cut, designs, and quality standards. We decided to create a brand that combines the Brazilian inspiration for stylish, sexy, fun designs and colors, with the American quality standards. Once we created our own identity, and the designs came to life the business was born. 

Why did you decide to design workout gear rather than anything else?
I LOVE working out, it’s such a huge part of my life. I’ve been an athlete my whole life. My husband was also an athlete when we met, and he got me into going to the gym about 4 years ago. I have been working out 4-5 days a week ever since. It changed my whole outlook on health and how I feel about myself. Looking good motivates me to work out harder, have fun and feel good about myself. This is how I want all my customers (JoJo’s) to feel when they wear Dona Jo!

Look good and feel great while working out in Dona Jo Fitwear.
What inspires your designs?
The free-spirited, confident and vibrant Brazilian culture is where most of the inspiration comes from. Brazilians want to be sexy, comfortable and sporty so I grab that inspiration in every piece we design. I am the only American on the whole team, so I “Americanize” each piece we create in our manufacturer in Brazil to ensure everyone here will LOVE it too! 

Where can readers buy your pieces?
Anyone can shop on our website www.donajofitwear.com. Or, you can email me at aferraro@donajofitwear.com for a personal styling appointment if you are in the Pittsburgh area. Also, we have wholesalers in the USA, Brazil and Ukraine…and a few more to come. 

What are your future plans for the Fitwear line?
Right now we are getting all our designs finalized for the fall/winter collection. The collection is looking beautiful and will be something totally different than anything you see in the market! We will be introducing new prints, textures, colors and designs. 

Our future goal is to have wholesalers throughout the world, and a few corporate owned stores in the biggest markets.  We want to give all women the opportunity to be motivated to live a healthy life style and feel great about themselves when they wear Dona Jo.

What is the most rewarding thing about having your own line?
I love being able to dress women to feel confident in their own skin while working out. The gym can be an intimidating place, so feeling and looking the part is SO important to achieve better results. You have to dress the part…if you want to lose those last 10 lbs, it’s important to power up your self-esteem by looking the part. Dona Jo has the right gear for that!

Anything else you'd like to add...
I <3 all my Jo Jo’s – Thank you for all the love and support! Keep being #fashionablyfit!

Hope you all check out the Dona Jo Fitwear collection 
and stay #fashionablyfit this weekend!
This is a partnered post but all opinions are my own.


Chels Wears: Layers for Autumn

Sweater, Tank & Scarf: Wal*Mart | Leggings: Sears
Boots: Voltage | Purse: Target | Queen Elizabeth Coin Bracelet: Flea Market

(In a sing-song manner) It's the most wonderful time of the year! 
Who doesn't love fall? Honestly. It is my favorite time of the year. Crunchy leaves. Back to school supplies. Pumpkin spiced everything. Scarfs and boots! Football. I could go on. I love fall and it is slowly starting to feel like it outside, which I love. Although I am not a fan of the winter and snow that comes afterwards. Here's hoping fall sticks around for a while in these parts!


Guest Post: Ashley from A Dash of Spectacular

Hope you all are enjoying this perfect, between summer and fall weather and perhaps thinking of being outside in it to enjoy it even more. Today's guest post is Ashley from A Dash of Spectacular and she's talking about biking in the 'burgh! Ashley is a Texas transplat to Pittsburgh and I really enjoy reading her blog and seeing how she enjoys discovering the city and all the new things she discovers on her adventures. Read about biking here and then check out her blog for a whole lot more!
Beginner Biking in Pittsburgh

Hi, y’all! This is Ashley from A Dash of Spectacular, and I’d love to chat with you readers about biking in and around this lovely city. 

  • Don’t have a bike? That’s ok, we’ll get you set up. Read on.  
  • Missed Bikefest 2013 in August or any other fun cycle-centric events the city puts on? No worries, it’s always prime time for bike talk. 

It’s such a great way to get some exercise and see PGH at the same time. 

I am a new cyclist {a fancy term for biker}, having just bought my first bike in May of this year.  I’d always loved riding my bike as a kid, but fell out of habit when I grew out of my ‘kid-sized bike’ around middle school.  The pink-and-white streamers on my handlebars were really cramping my style. I should have stuck with it, because I am falling back in love with cycling!  You don’t need an expensive bike to enjoy cycling – just pick something you’re comfortable with, and several spots around town have bike rentals {I’ve heard good things about Golden Bike Rentals and Bicycle Heaven}, and I hear there is going to be a Bike Share program soon.
The Happy Day. I know I’m reppin' the wrong city, but I’m biking here nonetheless!
As a novice cyclist, I’m getting to know all of the gorgeous spots to bike here in Pittsburgh.  For example, a few weekends ago I took a breezy, 10-mile ride down Beechwood Blvd., through Squirrel Hill, and back up to my apartment in Shadyside. Beechwood is super safe and lined with bike lanes. I have a few photos of this ride on my blog post from 8/22, if you need a view to convince you.  If you’re already a cyclist, I’d love to hear about some of your favorites routes! I’ll be taking notes.

If you are brave, the city itself has lots of bikes lanes.  If you’re not satisfied with the ‘beta’ bike trails on Google Maps {the little green squiggles}, Bike PGH offers maps of the aforementioned local trails to get you started, so if you see one of these:
Pick it up!! Or, you can download one here. Take some time and grab your groceries for the evening or pick up your RedBox movie while on your bike. A couple times of doing the errands by bike and you’ll be a master at PGH’s bike routes.

If you don’t want to brave the streets of PGH {potholes and all}, then a trail might be your best bet.  More well-known, paved or packed dirt routes include the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Southside Trail, the Frick Park trails, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Great Allegheny Passage, which eventually leads to Washington, D.C.  It’s more than 300 miles! That one’s going on my bucket list. 

All of the trails are ready for any level cyclist, from beginner to advanced. Once you have basic knowledge of bike maintenance, tire repair and safety {all of which you can get from any of the bike shops in town}, you’ll be set for an adventure. I’ve found that you just have to get yourself out there! 

Do you have any cycling questions? I’ll add them to my ‘beginner’ list and be posting more soon over on my blog, A Dash of Spectacular. I hope to see you out biking PGH with me! 


Are You Ready For Some Football (Blogging)?!

Heinz Field and PNC Park
Yesterday started the official season of the Pittsburgh Steelers and if you know me, then you know I'm now busy on Sundays. And you should know that I am back to blogging with On Her Game (previously named Her Game Life) as a Pittsburgh Steelers blogger.

On Her Game is a place for all of the NFL teams to be represented by female bloggers from all around the country. And I am proud to be a part of this group by representing the team I love most. On Her Game is slowly taking on more than just the NFL and that is why you'll see a little more than just Steelers coverage in my first post back, since the Pirates are doing so well, they have a mention in today's post as well.

You will be able to read my posts at On Her Game every Monday during the season and I will update you if there are more! Hope you'll follow along and hopefully the Steelers will do better in the rest of the season then they did yesterday! Here we go!

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