Yours Truly

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Y’all. It has been a wild 2017 so far. Can you tell by my little leave of absence there?! Oops! Part of the reason is because work (my *real* job) has been nuts and is currently sending me all over the place – and the rest is because of some very exciting news that I can’t wait to share shortly. I don’t want to give away too much yet, but some really fun things are coming to the blog soon, so please bear with me and my scarce posts for a bit!

Now onto sweeter things – like this Valentine’s Day look. When I discovered last year that I had absolutely no pink in my closet, I made a vow right then and there to change that. This bright pink turtleneck brought me from zero to Barbie in .5 seconds, and I can’t say I hate it. Sometimes I like to go subtle with my holiday outfits, but not this time. Although I went classic with dark jeans and neutral booties, I topped off this festive Valentine’s getup with a pop of leopard (duh), big sunnies, and a pair of statement earrings.

Turtleneck: Asos | Jeans: J Brand | Booties: Aldo (similar) | Clutch: Clare V | Sunglasses: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Earrings: J. Crew | Ring: BaubleBar

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweethearts! ❤

Emerald Leather + Cozy Knits

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If there’s anything better than a classic leather jacket, it’s one that comes in one of my favorite colors: emerald. Loving this festive hue is pretty much in my DNA – not only because it relates to Christmas, but it’s also my birthstone hehe. Since leather jackets are a little badass by nature, I paired mine with a cozy sleeveless turtleneck. Is it just me, or has Target been seriously on their sweater game recently?! To top off the outfit, I went with all of my go-to accessories, my leopard clutch, neutral booties, Karen Walker sunnies, and some fun jewels. Hope y’all don’t mind that those are always on rotation, oops 🙂 This jacket was such a great purchase to wear with dresses and sweaters this fall, and is also proving to be the perfect piece to edge up my holiday looks. Can I get it in every color?

Jacket: Nordstrom | Sleeveless Sweater: Target | Jeans: J. Brand | Booties: Aldo (similar) | Clutch: Clare V | Sunglasses: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Necklace: Betsy Pittard | Ear Jackets: Forever 21 | Rings: H&M and Madewell | Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick (‘Eden’)

A Date at the Biltmore Estate

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At the top of my Asheville list was something I’ve wanted to do forever: visit the gorgeous Biltmore Estate. In fact, I was so excited to go that it was the very first stop on our trip (even before checking in at the hotel)! It was even more incredible than I thought, and I can’t wait to share all my favorite parts below.

Poncho: Loft (now 50% off!) | Jeans: c/o DL1961 | Booties: Madewell (similar) | Clutch: Clare V | Sunglasses: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Necklace: Forever 21 | Bangles: c/o Moon & Lola | Spike Bracelet: Stella & Dot | Rings: H&M | Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick (‘Eden’) | Nails: OPI Gel (‘Malaga Wine’)

When I saw the mansion for the first time, it seriously took my breath away! The different levels, winding hallways, and endless rooms could have kept me busy all day long. Although history was always my least favorite subject in school, for some reason that was not the case at the Biltmore. You have the option to listen to an audio guide as you tour the estate, and this gal could not get enough.

Can we talk about this chandelier/spiral staircase combo? There is not one square foot of this place that isn’t mesmerizingly intricate – I could have stared at the details for hours.

One of the reasons it took me so long to get to the Biltmore is because I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to go during fall or at Christmastime. Both are my favorite things ever, and both times of year are equally stunning there. Lucky for me, the Biltmore starts decorating for Christmas even earlier than I do (and my holiday season begins the day after Halloween, ha!), so I ended up getting to experience a little bit of both.

After making our way through the mansion, we went out and explored the gardens. The Conservatory was by far my favorite part, mostly because of the cactus room. It is literally a room filled with hundreds of succulents and cacti, which I’m pretty sure is every blogger’s dream!

Is anyone else having major garden envy over this rainbow of mums? Currently my “garden” is a plant on the fire escape that I’m struggling to keep alive, so I was pretty into this situation.

Next it was off to Antler Hill Village & Winery, which was about a five minute drive through the Biltmore grounds. I could not believe how large the whole estate is! The wine tasting was right up my alley because they don’t limit how many you can try – and their wine list is not small. I loved being able to taste everything, from the Christmas blend (!) to the exclusive reserve wines.

When I asked my blogger bestie, Brittany of Southern Meets Chic, about her Biltmore highlights, one thing at the top of her list was The Barn. We both share an absurd love for animals, so she gave me the essential pro tip that this stop on the map was not to be missed. Or in Britt’s words, “they let you cuddle and love on the animals as much as you want!” Which, of course, is exactly what I did.

Thanks so much to the Biltmore for having us! It was an unforgettable experience, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m back. Most likely at Christmas. ❤

Sunflower Fields Forever

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Labor Day has come and gone, which means the “unofficial” end of summer has too. But we still have a couple more weeks of official summer (and the heat that comes with it), so I’m squeezing the last drops out of the season. How, may you ask, is the best way to do this? A day at the sunflower farm, of course.

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For this little adventure, I went with a soft chambray shirtdress that has outfitted me all summer and will surely carry into fall. I can’t wait to wear it layered under cozy cardigans!

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Since the dress is pretty simple, I accessorized with a bright coral bandana, tortoiseshell sunglasses, and a good old stack of bourbons on my wrist. To top it off, I carried my favorite Madewell bag to tote around my hand-picked blooms when my basket got too heavy (oops!).

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Shirtdress: Old Navy | Bandana: Madewell | Bangles: Bourbon & Boweties | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick (‘Indie Flick’)

Special thanks to Burnside Farms for letting us basic b’s take over the farm for the afternoon!

What final summer adventures are y’all squeezing in to these last couple weeks? Comment below so I can live vicariously!

Summer Blues

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This summer I keep getting drawn to the same things: intricate embroidery, shades of blue, and comfy staples. This breezy dress not only checks off all three, but is crazy versatile as well. From work to play and summer to fall, this is one frock that’ll definitely give me my money’s worth.

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Since this dress doesn’t require much in the styling department, I went simple and summery with a navy GiGi clutch and strappy sandals. As I mentioned above, I fully plan on transitioning this piece into early autumn with some neutral booties, a felt hat, and a wine-hued lip. See? Versatile!

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Last but not least, I topped off this outfit with oversized tortoise sunnies, gold jewelry, and loose waves. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be wearing this dress for the second time this week – and yes, it’s only Wednesday. Don’t judge.

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Dress: Free People c/o Tres Carmen | Sandals: Old Navy | Clutch: GiGi New York c/o Tres Carmen | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Bangles: c/o Moon & Lola | Rings: Stylexchange

Photos by Smith Photos + Ink

All American Girl (+ Holiday Weekend Sales!)

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If you came to get a Carrie Underwood song stuck in your head (or to miss your beloved childhood Samantha doll), read my blog post title. If you just came for the 4th of July weekend sales – hey, I respect that – scroll to the bottom. For outfit deets on this festive 4th of July look, read on!

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Whether you’re going out on the boat, hanging at a backyard barbecue, or just watching fireworks with your boo, this romper can do it all. Seeing as I like to procrastinate plan-making until the very last second, I scooped up this versatile piece at Tres Carmen right when I saw it. With its ruffle hem, flattering vertical stripes, and sweet tie detail, my wallet and I didn’t stand a chance.

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To accessorize, I went with simple wedges, tortoise shell sunglasses, dainty gold jewels, and even threw some more stripes into the mix with this fun Mar Y Sol tote. Because hey, on the 4th (/always?), the stripe limit does not exist. To finish off the look, I opted for a pop of red in the form of one of my favorite NYX matte lipsticks. Just like our founding fathers intended.

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Romper: c/o Tres Carmen | Wedges: Jessica Simpson | Bag: Mar Y Sol c/o Tres Carmen | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Rings: c/o Rocksbox (use code chloexoxo for your first month free!) | Bangles: c/o Moon & Lola | Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick (‘Indie Flick’)

4th of July Weekend Sales

  • American Apparel: Extra 30% off sale.
  • Anthropologie: Extra 30% off sale.
  • ASOS: Up to 50% sale.
  • Banana Republic: Extra 50% off sale.
  • Forever 21: Up to 70% off.
  • Gap: Up to 50% off.
  • Gray Malin: 30% off all beach aerials.
  • H&M: 70% off sale with deals as low as $4.
  • J. Crew: Extra 40%-60% off.
  • J. Crew Factory: 50% in stores and online, plus extra 50% off clearance with code HAPPYSALE.
  • LOFT: 50% off everything with code JULY4TH.
  • Lord & Taylor: 20% off regular and sale items, up to 60% off already-reduced women’s swimwear and summer dresses, as well as 40% off three or more sandals, 30% off on two pairs, and 25% off one pair.
  • Madewell: Extra 20% off sale with code META20.
  • Milly: 30% off final sale items with the code JULY2016.
  • Nasty Gal: Extra 40% sale.
  • Nordstrom: Select summer dresses starting at $44.
  • Old Navy: Entire store on sale, up to 60% off.
  • Solid & Striped: 20% off the entire site and free shipping with code STRIPES.
  • Topshop: Up to 50% off sale.
  • Trina Turk: Extra 20% off the site’s sale section.
  • Urban Outfitters: Extra 30% sale.

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Hope everyone enjoys some sales, sparklers, and snacks this weekend! I’ll be mostly focused on that last one, because hot dogs. Happy 4th, friends!

Photos by Smith Photos + Ink

Pink Lady

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Recently I discovered that there is almost no pink in my wardrobe. That’s not to say it isn’t filled with lots of color and girlie pieces, but pink just happens to be absent. Because of this revelation, I decided to wear the hue head-to-toe during Charleston Fashion Week’s bridal show. What better time to wear blush pink tulle?

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Since this two piece set from Tres Carmen was already an outfit in itself, I opted for super simple accessories. Delicate gold jewelry and a neutral clutch and shoes finished off this sweet ensemble in one fell swoop. Last but not least, I topped things off with my go-to Karen Walker shades and a deep side part with soft curls to amp up the feminine vibes.

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After last year’s look, I didn’t think I could come up with a more bridal-worthy outfit but thanks to these matching separates, I was well on my way. Despite all the edginess of today’s trends (lookin’ at you, Met Ball) that I also love, I think I’ll be adding much more of this sweet shade into my closet this season.

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Separates: c/o Tres Carmen | Shoes: Steve Madden | Clutch: GiGi New York c/o Tres Carmen | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Bangles & Rings: c/o Moon & Lola

Photos by Current Visuals

Palm Party

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After I saw this skirt on the runway in Tres Carmen’s Charleston Fashion Week show, I immediately went and snatched one up for myself. With its unique blue palm print, bow detail, and incredible movement, this statement piece makes for the ultimate summer staple.

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I went for some major print mixing with this maxi, pairing it with a striped crop top and accessorizing with my favorite leopard clutch. Some may say it’s a whole lot going on, I say leopard is a neutral/so are stripes actually/LET ME LIVE. I did go subtle with my go-to delicate gold jewels and neutral nails. It’s all about balance, guys. Like girl scout cookies for breakfast, but then a salad for lunch.

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One of my favorite details on this piece is the giant bow detail on the back. It’s nice and wide so it cinches your waist in the most flattering way, and everybody (who used to work in bridal) knows that wider sashes always yield the best bows. Shoutout to my girl Jess who doubles as a photographer and professional bow maker!

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Last but not least, I finished off the look with my everyday shades and a bright coral lip. Call me a huge dork, but I’ve been known to refer to my color wheel when styling outfits, and I am such a fan of pops of orangey-reds against shades of blue and turquoise. If you don’t do this, you should try it!

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Bonus: this skirt is also prime for taking dope pics like these. ^

Crop Top: Olivaceous via Pema New York (similar here) | Maxi Skirt: c/o Tres Carmen | Shoes (which you can’t even see because #shortgirlproblems): Dolce Vita | Clutch: Clare V | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Bangles & Rings: c/o Moon & Lola | Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick (‘Indie Flick’) | Nails: Essie (‘Sand Tropez’)

Photos by Smith Photos + Ink

Plaid + Pleats

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Even though a major blizzard is about to rock the east coast, I live in sweet Charleston where the high today is 63 degrees and you can justify wearing a skirt in January (sorry everyone else). This feminine look from one of my favorite boutiques, Tres Carmen, brings a wintry twist to an otherwise warm-weather outfit.

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Although girlie pleated skirts are often best saved for spring, this blush-colored one has a subtle shimmer to it, making it the perfect winter staple. To keep it casual and add to the winter vibes, I paired this pretty midi with a plaid Rails shirt. The deep bordeaux and navy hues both edge up and offset the dainty warmth of the blush skirt, and the plaid makes the outfit feel a little more cozy.

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I accessorized with nude heels, a luxe navy antler box (hey antlers are wintry, right?), and oversized tortoiseshell Karen Walkers. As for my jewelry, I went with my go-to gold bangles and rings, then topped off the ensemble with the oh so sweet gold elephant necklace from Candy Shop Vintage.

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Lastly, I went back to the light hues with a whisper of blush on my lips and a metallic gold mani. Oh, and can’t forget the best accessory of all – this random angelic dog I befriended downtown. Thanks for the cameo, buddy!

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Unfortunately the temperature in Charleston is going to drop 20 degrees tomorrow, but until then, you can find me twirling around downtown in a skirt kissing pups along the way.

Shirt: Rails c/o Tres Carmen | Skirt: c/o Tres Carmen | Clutch: c/o Taxidermy | Necklace: c/o Candy Shop Vintage | Bracelets: c/o Moon & Lola | Rings: Gorjana and H&M | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Heels: Steve Madden (thanks Southern Meets Chic!) | Lips: NYX Butter Gloss in “Peaches & Cream” | Nails: Essie (“Penny Talk”) + OPI (“Infrared-y To Glow”)

Photos by Smith Photos + Ink

Fresh Start

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Every year, my New Year’s resolutions are pretty much the same. Exercise more, cook more, read more… But year after year, my resolutions last maybe a month or two before I go back to my naughty little ways. Instead of pretending that I’m going to be a better person with one of these cliche resolutions, I’ve decided to make a little lifestyle change with something simple, achievable, and still just as important as all my (failed) previous ones. In 2016, I am going to practice mindfulness and meditation. Learn what the heck I’m talking about (and get details on this fresh minimalist look) below!

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You know when you drive somewhere and you don’t even remember doing it? Or eat dinner in front of the TV like a zombie? If you have any kind of routine or ritual, it’s really easy to feel like your days are a blur. Sometimes I feel like I’m kind of going through life in a haze, trying to bang out my to-do list and multitasking more than is probably healthy. Then all of a sudden my day is over and I don’t even know where it went. This is where mindfulness comes in. Whether it’s focusing on a meal I’m eating or enjoying the view on my drive to work, it can help with concentration, calmness, and even stress and anxiety reduction. With the use of meditation, mindfulness can slowly train your brain – and word on the street is that it’s not that hard. There are even helpful apps to walk you through it, which is great considering I have no idea what I’m doing!

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I’m always hearing about all the incredible benefits of mindfulness and meditation, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s resolution goes. If you have experience with this or are looking into trying it out yourself, I’d love to hear from you! Comment on this post or send me an email at topknotspolkadots@gmail.com

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If you just came for the outfit deets, here they are. These OTK boots are incredible dupes for the Stuart Weitzman ones we see all over the place, but they are well below $100! Since they are so high and my legs are so short, I have to go for super short hemlines, so I went with this dress (that I think might actually just be a sweater) from StyleDwell. I accessorized with a classic Taxidermy crossbody, oversized tortoiseshell sunnies, my trusty Daniel Wellington, a few dainty gold jewels, and a red lip.

Dress: c/o StyleDwell | Boots: SIMMI Shoes | Bag: c/o Taxidermy | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto (use code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!) | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Bracelets: c/o Moon & Lola | Rings: H&M | Lips: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in “Standout” | Nails: Essie (“Penny Talk”)

Photos by Smith Photos + Ink

What are your New Year’s resolutions? I’m nosy and really wanna know, so tell me below in the comments!