Chels Wears: Retired Rainboots

So yesterday's weather was odd. It poured for most of the morning, which inspired wearing these boots, but then about an hour before heading out, it was clear blue skies and as we took these, total wind storm. In case you couldn't tell by me practically blowing away in these photos. But now that I've had the chance to wear these guys, I have decided it's time to retire them. These rain boots were a Christmas gift from about five years ago, so they've had a great run but if you didn't notice there is a big cut in the front of the right one, which isn't an appealing quality in a rain boot.

In other news, I can honestly not concentrate on anything except my announcement tomorrow. Which is my excuse for posting a pretty bland outfit today too. There's still a lot of little things I need to get done today before I feel ready to launch, and those will be consuming my thoughts all day. Hopefully my morning shift at Family Video will go quickly so I can get home and get busy! Perfectionism is a problem in these parts, these days.


Five Things I've Learned Since Graduation

It has been one year since I finished my Master's degree. Technically, one year and two days. I am certainly not where I thought I would be when I was thinking about this point in my life last year. And to be honest, so many things have gone wrong this past year, but so many things have been sweet little blessings in disguise. Spoiler alert, this post gets a bit heavy. You are allowed to stop reading it if you only come to this space for the flowery and fashionable. Though I hope you keep reading. Here are the top five things I've learned since graduation.
Jeremiah 29:11 Chalkboard Print by Lily & Val.
1) Where you want to be is not always where you should be.
If I had it my way, I would still be living in downtown Pittsburgh. When my lease was up last summer, I cried. Literally. Downtown Pittsburgh might be the pits for some people and others don't understand why I loved it so much, but it was my own little slice of Heaven. However, if I was there now, I wouldn't get to have this experience of living with my brother. If you haven't caught on to this yet, Eric is seriously my best friend. We should have been twins, if only so he wouldn't have had to spend that first year without me. I wouldn't have the freedom to not be paying a ridiculously high rent payment every month on top of my student loan payments. I'm sure for those two reasons alone, I would have started to resent that location eventually and because I'm not there, it's still a little Heaven in my eyes. Do I want to move back? Of course. But now isn't the time.

2) No job is below you.
I recently took on another job of bartending just to be able to make a bit more money with tips and another little paycheck. Why? Because who doesn't want a little wiggle room when bills start rolling in? And while bartending is great, this job also has a waitressing aspect to it, which I have never done before. Do you know how awful people treat waitresses? Yeah, that's why I never waitressed before. Not like retail is much more glamorous, but at least there isn't half-eaten food involved. But not taking a job that most people would say is "below" me is stupid. Does it give me money? Do I technically get a workout in while at work because of how much running around I do? Am I physically able to do this job? Yes. So while I don't need a Master's degree to figure out how to put in an order for Chicken Alfredo and then sweetly hand it to someone, everyone could do with having a job that teaches you how to serve someone. Serving someone else and expecting little to nothing in return is honestly what everyone in this country should have to do for at least a year in my own opinion. I might as well get my year in now.

3) MJ is greater than the man of my dreams.
If you know MJ personally, then you know that he has three things in mind. Career. Family. God. Not necessarily in that order, but that's about it. From the beginning of our relationship, he has made it clear that he wants to be married and have a boat load of children, and I have made it clear that I don't want either of those things until I feel totally set and complete on my own and then after that, I'm all in. If you remember my 25 before 25 list, I wanted to get engaged this year. However, that was with the ideal in mind that I would have a steady full-time job and I would be living on my own before he proposed. Obviously he was on board for this, and we were on this track up until I was no longer employed by Dress for Success because of some unforeseen financial difficulties on their part. MJ told me on Valentine's Day about how he had planned to propose. Way to lay it on thick, right? And to make you love him more, it was going to be at the party for his parent's 40th wedding anniversary, which is the exact same way my dad proposed to my mom. Yeah. That would have been last month. But this man. THIS. MAN. My man has put me and my desires first, yet again. He knows I would not be happy being engaged without feeling complete on my own, so his dreams of a wedding and little family are set aside for my dream of a career. I am selfish and I do not deserve him. But I thank God for him everyday and always will.

4) I have the skills and power to make my dreams come true.
You guys, I am so excited to finally announce what I've been working so hard on! This Thursday, be sure to check back because everything will be explained, I will need your input, and I really hope that you are as excited as I am.

5) God has perfect timing and a plan greater than any of my own.
Thursday's announcement is a big deal for me and I don't think it would be happening if the mess of this year didn't happen. This has been a seriously rough road since graduation. From the high of graduating, to the low of leaving Pittsburgh, high of being employed by one of my favorite non-profits, to losing that job for reasons that I had no control over, to the mess of moving again to Erie, and struggling on the job hunt train, this past year has had it's great moments, but overall, it has just been rough. But through it all, I know God knows what he's doing. He has a plan for my life and while I choose my daily steps, he is guiding them and working in and in spite of them to make things happen. I trust in him to get it right when I am certainly messing it up. Is Thursday's announcement the end all, be all of God's plan? Probably not, but it is certainly his doing. I had this in mind for much, much further down the road in life and it has made it's way to the present. I also want to make clear that other ventures are not being let go because of Thursday's announcement, but they are on the back burner. This has made it's way to the front of my mind and for good reason and I'm putting my trust in God that it will work out.


Blogger Q & A: from Jess

A blogger friend of mine, Jess, has tagged me in a Q&A post, which I love! I always like when bloggers do these kind of posts because you get to learn more about the person behind the blog, which is important. So I will continue the tag as well, for any of you interested in possibly filling this out as well, the ones I've tagged will be at the end of this post! Otherwise, grab some coffee, sit back and get to know me a little more!

01// If you could live any place in the world, where would it be?
Washington D.C. - I love every time I've been to D.C. and would love to live there.

02// What do you miss most about being a kid?
Every day dance classes. I took these for granted sometimes when I was younger and I really miss them now.

03// Who or what inspires you?
Varies Bible verses. I always see them pop up in my life seemingly in a random way and know that God has a plan.

04// Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Let's see, 34. Hopefully a successful career, married to MJ and with a couple of cute little brats.

05// Your 50th birthday party- who's invited?
Anyone who wants to be there, hello, 50 and fabulous!

06// What are your strengths?
Getting to know people on a personal level, even when just meeting them. Honestly, this is my biggest strength. I don't know what it is about me, but people seem to want to tell me all of their business even when we have just met. I've been on interviews where I learn more about the interviewers extended family then I'd ever need to know. I don't judge people by the junk in their life so I think it makes them feel comfortable to talk to me about anything.

07// What are things you want to improve on?

08// Places you've traveled to?
All within the U.S. and Canada but oh, the places I wish to go!

09// What is a routine you could never do without?
Honestly, waking up and brushing my teeth is the only routine I rely on, after that, my days are never the same or have any kind of routine to them. 

10// What was an act of kindness shown towards you that caught you by surprise?
Recently a customer yelled at me at Family Video because they had a re-rental fee on their account, there is literally nothing I can do to take that off, you must pay for it. She stormed off and the guy behind her just came up to the counter and said, "some people suck, brush it off." It wasn't much, but it's what I needed in that moment.

11// List some of the best times in your life in less than one minute. ready...go! (don't cheat!) 
Sundays at Gram's house, Disney World, Niagara Falls (both times), New Orleans mission trip in 2007, Seton Hill...all of it, Living in downtown Pittsburgh, Steelers game with Eric and any Pirates game I have ever been to.

Have fun, ladies!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Reader Submitted - Meet Denise!

Happy Friday! I'm very excited to have a reader submission for today's Fashion Forward Fridays since I haven't had one for a while! Today I'm introducing to you a friend of mine from Seton Hill, Denise. She's a great girl and has recently launched her own blog, Beauty Beyond The Scale, so I was very excited when she submitted photos because I knew this would be a great time to introduce you to her blog as well. I hope you enjoy her interview and sense of style!

How would you define your style?
My style is very modest, professional, & dressy. Nothing is too formal for me. I like skirts, dresses, & fancy blouses. I especially love layering. Black leggings, cardigans, & big, chunky statement jewelry are a staple in my wardrobe. Also, I love black clothes & that's what most of my wardrobe consists of.

Where are you favorite places to shop?
Honestly, the majority of the pieces I buy come from thrift stores. I love that I can find unique things there, save money, recycle, & put my money toward charity all at the same time. There are a lot of great reasons to shop at thrift stores. Other than that, I'll shop anywhere I see something I like. I'm not picky at all.

If someone asked you for fashion advice what would you tell them?
Wear whatever you want. Do whatever makes you happy & confident. Honestly, don't ever worry about what other people think. I can't stress that enough. You don't want to live your life doing things just to please other people. There's nothing wrong with breaking "rules" when it comes to fashion, makeup, & beauty.

Tell us a little bit about your blog and why you started it.
 I love makeup, fashion, & all things beauty. I also struggle with my weight. I am currently implementing lifestyle changes to put an end to that struggle. Over the past year, I’ve lost 40 pounds and plan to continue losing weight & becoming a healthier person. In the summer of 2012, I started having health issues, no doubt because of my unhealthy lifestyle & food choices. I developed a stomach ulcer, Acid Reflux Disease, & became really depressed about the state of my health & overall self esteem. I set out to teach myself how to be a healthier person & to try & cure myself without having to start a course of scary medication at such a young age. Since then, I’m happy to say that I have cured my ulcer, have far less severe episodes of Acid Reflux, & have changed my attitude about life completely. With my blog, I want to share the things I have learned so far that have helped me, as well as things I am currently learning. I’m by no means, a health expert, but I have learned a tremendous amount of things that have helped me & my health. On my blog, I discuss healthy eating, exercise, makeup, fashion, & anything else that I have learned to help me build my self esteem & appreciate my own beauty beyond the number on the scale.

What do you hope to accomplish as a blogger?
I realize that there are so many blogs in the beauty, fashion, & health community that having your voice heard is hard. That's fine. I don't have to receive millions of views. If I can have even a few people read what I have to say & take away something positive that might help them, I've done what I'm here to do. 

Anything else you'd like to add...
Love yourself as you are now, today, just as God loves you. Express yourself & be unique. Otherwise, you're denying both yourself & everyone around you.

Hope you enjoyed reading through her interview as much as I did! Such good advice and inspiration. If you'd like to be featured on an upcoming Fashion Forward Fridays Reader Submitted post, email me at chelsandthecity(at)gmail(dot)com
- whether you're a blogger or not, I'd love to feature a fellow fashionista! 
Happy Weekend!


Chels Wears: Grown-Up Easter Bonnet

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend and the weather cooperated with all of your egg hunting plans! Since Eric is now a preacher, our parent's came up to Erie for the weekend to dye eggs on Saturday (after Eric and I went to Record Store Day, of course) and hear him preach and go out to eat on Sunday. It was a great weekend! 

These pictures were taken by my dad at a local park that has just been cleaned up for spring and, fingers crossed, I hope that spring is really here to stay now! And although this outfit is a little dark for Easter attire, I wanted to wear the hat and this little boho look seemed fitting. I actually got every piece of this outfit from the Dollar General. Holler for a bargain! Since I always wore hats growing up, especially on Easter, I felt it only proper to bring that tradition back this year. Mom has always said I have the perfect face/head for hats, cannot blame her for thinking her only daughter is cute ;)

How was your Easter weekend?


If I Become A Hipster, Blame My Brother: 2014 Edition

This is what you wear when you wake up at 8am to go buy records.
Little bit chilly while waiting outside of Graham's before it opened!
Inside Graham's - great crowd!
As some of you may or may not know, Saturday was Record Store Day. And although my brother, Eric, and I are currently living near Erie and not the vinyl-loving city of Pittsburgh, we knew we had to still celebrate.

Eric looked up where to find some goods and we took an early morning trip into Erie. This year we were serious, too. We printed out the list of all the exclusive releases, highlighted the ones we wanted and hoped for the best. We went to a family owned place, Graham's Records, first (supporting the local economy is what it's all about, right?), and found a couple things we wanted and then headed to The Exchange in Erie on the way home. Although we both brought home a lot less than last year, it was a good experience for our first time doing Record Store Day outside of Pittsburgh. Graham's had a ton of old stuff that I would love to browse through again soon, like on a day where we're not looking for specific things, and The Exchange had some great new things and surprisingly still had a good bit of Record Store Day exclusives by the time we got there around noon. Although, if you know of any other places around Erie, please let us know! We're always up for exploring music stores and local businesses.

I also realized this weekend that Eric and I have four record players, we each have two. He has an awesome turntable that is in perfect condition from a rummage sale and one from our dad. And I have a cute little green portable one that Eric got for me at that rummage sale and the one I "inherited" from our grandma...aka, the one I stole from our aunt's house during Christmas time because she wasn't using it and said I could take it. Hipsters.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Manner & Mode

Hi, friends! Today I am really excited to introduce to you, Manner & Mode! They sell beautiful accessories and are offering a special discount code to Chels & the City readers! For today's Fashion Forward Fridays I thought it'd be best to show off three of my favorite pieces from Manner & Mode with some outfit inspiration. Enjoy browsing through them and then head over to Manner & Mode to use your discount code (at the end of this post). This company also donates to a different charity next month, so you know that your purchase is going further than just to a store. Through their efforts they are helping to empower women through economic and educational development initiatives. Look good. Feel good. Do good.

This first look is for a casual day out. I love these earrings and all the colors in them and wanted them to inspire this outfit. And how could you not feel happy running around town in such a bright, spring outfit. And I'd imagine wearing this outfit with your hair up so you could really show off these beauties.

Of course, there has to be a work attire look in here somewhere! You all know I love work clothes more than anyone should. So this casual Friday look is perfect and this gorgeous necklace from Manner & Mode gives it just the right amount of sass and class.

Finally, this outfit is my favorite. I love all the bold colors and I love letting this bracelet from Manner & Mode take the lead and draw the most attention. Unfortunately, this bracelet is currently sold out, but I can understand why! It is my absolute, favorite piece from Manner & Mode.

What is your favorite piece from their collection? Go buy it! 
Use discount code chelsea20 for 20% off your order! Happy weekend!

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


Brilliant Earth: Diamond Shape Style Challenge

Okay, I usually wait until the end of a post to let you know that it's partnered or sponsored but I feel the need to say right away that this is a partnered post. Since it has to do with engagement rings, and MJ and I hear the, "So when are you getting married," question more than anyone should, I need to let you know right away that I was contacted by Brilliant Earth to do this Style Challenge! After four years of dating, people expect to see a ring on your finger, keep your shirts on, folks.

Granted, I'm currently a bridesmaid for my friend, Hannah, so I've been thinking about weddings more than usual, I'm still not ready myself. And I know that MJ has had my engagement ring picked out since our first anniversary, so I figured he wouldn't mind me warming up to the wedding idea. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm going to marry MJ, we're just not ready in my eyes to do so. (Unless one of you would like to pay for the big wedding we plan to have! That would be nice!)

Anyway, since I know my taste has changed a bit since MJ picked out a ring and then showed it to everyone but me, I agreed to do this post in hopes that what he's picked is similar to the one I've picked from Brilliant Earth, if not the one I picked. I love Brilliant Earth, and am happy to do this partnered post, because finding diamonds and making them into some of the most sought-after jewelry is not always done with the environment or people's well-being in mind. Brilliant Earth has strict labor and environmental standards, and gives back to the communities that have been harmed the most by the poor ethics of others in the jewelry industry, through the sales of their conflict-free diamonds. How good would it feel to wear a beautiful ring for the rest of your life, and know that no one was harmed in creating it?

Anyway, I narrowed down my favorites to these two out of all that Brilliant Earth has to offer. It was pretty easy to do since I know I only like square-ish looking cuts, specifically the cushion cut. I also prefer silver over gold, but both of these selections are actually white gold, which I have just decided is the prettiest.
Left: 18K White Gold Petite Shared Prong | Right: 18K White Gold Chamise Diamond
After looking over these two, I decided on the one on the right, the 18K White Gold Chamise Diamond Ring, because of the wedding band that goes with it. I know that MJ wants to get a paired wedding band for my ring and I thought that this one looked nicer paired together. Mostly because the twisted shaped looks lovely next to the scooped band, while the straight rings look like they'd be fighting for finger space.

So, as the final part of this style challenge, we're supposed to create a style board for the ring of our choice, but you guys know how obsessed with Polyvore I am, so I made two. One for a casual setting, maybe part of the engagement photo session? And one for the big day, because what else does the ring remind you of, if not the wedding?

Which Brilliant Earth ring do you like best? Browse their collection and read more about their mission!

This is a partnered post. I was asked to be a part of this challenge, but all opinions are my own.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Zooey Collection

Made on Polyvore.
I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I love Zooey Deschanel, so when I heard she was releasing a clothing line with Tommy Hilfiger this week, I was all over it. Although the collection, to Tommy from Zooey, only allows for sizes 0-14 I am still in love and wanted to be sure to make mention of it for a Fashion Forward Fridays post. Below I've included some of my favorite pieces of this beautiful, and obviously very Zooey-inspired, collection. Think mod, Peter Pan collars, pleats and nautical themes. Zooey is calling it "modical" which, you'll see, fits the collection perfectly!

All photos from Tommy Hilfiger.

What are your favorite pieces from this collection? Oh, and if you're looking for some more fashion, head on over to Sara's blog where I am guest posting today! You should remember Sara from this year's Fashion Week, and today I'm on her blog with three looks inspired by the novel, The Fault In Our Stars, so head on over and check it out! And have a great weekend!

This is NOT a partnered/sponsored post, I just really love this collection and wanted to share it.


Chels Wears: A Plus-Size "Don't"

Chambray: WalMart | Crop Top: American Eagle | Necklace: Urban Outfitters | Bracelet: Charlotte Russe
Pants: Target | Sneaker Wedges: UrbanOG

Okay. So I know that a lot of readers come to this space because I'm known as a plus-size girl with a plus-sized confidence. But I will let you in on some truth. I was worried about wearing this outfit.

I love the crop top trend, I think it is so fun and perfect for warmer weather. I have at least five crop tops, though I usually only wear them around the house or as a cover up for the beach/pool. And I also love high waisted pants because they make you look extra curvy. But as a plus-sized women, I have been told multiple times that both of these are a fashion "don't" for women like me. So I was nervous when I realized that I was putting this outfit together and actually liked it. Showing my stomach in public is not really my forte. Not just because I'm a bigger girl, but because I usually stay more on the modest side in general.

However, to be real honest. I actually like this look. I think it's sassy. I think it's a great way to show off my sneaker wedges for the first time. The only thing that I don't like is that I don't think my butt looks as cute as it normally does in any of these pictures and I seriously need a tan. But besides those two things, I don't hate it. Will I wear it again? Maybe. But I don't repeat outfits often anyway so that's not a good judgement. I guess what I'm saying is, I lacked the normal confidence I always have naturally with my clothes when I first put this outfit together. But if I don't push myself out of my own comfort zone, who would? And who will be there to tell little chubby girls that they are beautiful and can wear whatever they want to, if I'm not? Because that's really what this outfit comes down to. I was always told not to wear these things because I'm fat. But I know I'm beautiful and I appreciate my body as it is, flaws and all, so I wore these pieces anyway. Because if you ask me, I'm still rocking this look just as well as any skinny girl would. And I want younger chubby girls to know they can do the same. I don't want them to grow up in a world that tells them they cannot wear something. I want them to love fashion and love mixing different pieces together. I have always loved to do that. So why would I let a couple fat girl fashion "don'ts" stop me from doing what I love? What do you think?

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