Chill Treats; UniquExpressions is Heavenly

Heavenly Caramel Iced Latte
I always get so thrilled when they bring out these cups

  City; Pine Mountain, Georgia
  Stop; UniquExpressions
  Coffee; Heavenly Caramel- Caramel and Vanilla

      On a beautiful weekend of content, my partner and I returned to Pine Mountain Georgia, home of UniquExpressions. We went to try something new this time, and I gave the Heavenly Caramel iced Latte a try. This was an immensely refreshing choice. I adore caramel, and this one has it in spades. My only regret is that we never got to see the sunset while we were there, and believe me, guys. Sunset is Beautiful in Pine Mountain.

     As usual, the beautiful workers behind the counter were amazing. They have building rapport down to an art and are so nice to chat with. I love just asking them for their favorite items, and taking a chance. This time, I got some ideas that I balked at, maybe I’ll be brave down the road and try something way out of my comfort zone (the coffee soda debacle has me reluctant).

Click the link in the tweet for a spoiler to how that came out.

 
     UniquExpressions consistently makes an amazing product. This Heavenly Caramel latte was pleasantly sweet, but certainly not overly so. Though, it did toe the line for a couple of sips. I did find the overall flavor to be harmonious, but definitely more on the sweeter side. The coffee flavor lurking under the caramel was what made the drink so refreshing on a hot day.

     The coffee flavor barely lingered on my tongue, which I attribute to the sweetness of the caramel. Speaking of the caramel, it was the has the final word where the flavor is concerned. This is another drink I would highly recommend for my readers who are just getting started drinking (and enjoying) coffee. It’s one of most sweet, yet somehow mellow coffees I’ve had. I’m still definitely partial to the Prince Harry

 

 

Milk Tea and Cereal? It Makes More Sense Than You Think.

Milk Tea and Cereal? It Makes More Sense Than You Think.

Who doesn’t love cereal? It has always been an important and irreplaceable part of my diet… more so than even coffee. Fountain city has given me an excuse to merge two of my favorite things, with a twist. I visited them on #trysomethingnewtuesday, in the mood to, well, try something new. The barista gave me his personal recommendation and followed it up with the two new unique options that I try below!
 
Taro and Pops
The K-Pop Freeze in the Wild

If you follow on Instagram, you may have seen mention of the Taro bubble tea that tastes like cookies. Well, turns out, it goes great with Pops cereal, and the birthday cake Cookie Crisp. Whoever came up with this idea was absolutely inspired. These flavors work so well together- the sweet, yet somehow earthy, Taro just works with cereal. I’d like to try a Frosted flake variant, actually.

 
This freezer may blow the heath out of the water as my favorite choice from them. The caramel is mellow alongside the noticeably distinct flavor of the Pops. Not going to lie, I LOVE Pops cereal and always have. The flavor has always been so great for the times when I want just a hint of sweetness. The Taro adds a certain richness to this Freezer that’s a touch decadent and definitely more than a little filling. 
 
I used nonfat milk and luckily, it doesn’t detract from the flavor. The K-Pop is like drinking milk and cereal. I love it. I definitely recommend this for those who are young at heart or are just hardcore cereal lovers. If you grew up eating Pops Corn cereal and like nostalgia, look no further! 
 
Taro and Cooki Crisp
The Birthday Cake Freezer- AKA Sugar Cookie Freezer

I was going to do a whole second post, but honestly, it would be redundant. The Birthday Cake Freeze was similarly sweet, but not overpowering. My first taste of this one was pretty much all Taro, so I definitely recommend a brisk stirring before you enjoy this beverage! I sloshed it like a fine wine and tried again- the next try was much more cereal and milk, than Taro.

 
It (of course) quite reminds me of the K-Pop Freeze, I imagine due to the Taro in both of them. That’s not to say this one isn’t distinctive in its own way. It does lack caramel, so doesn’t mimic its partner. If I didn’t know it was Birthday Cake flavored, I’d probably think it was Sugar Cookie. That’s not a bad thing, either, I absolutely love sugar cookies. 
 
If you twisted my arm and told me to say something, not in a rave review of these drinks- I’d have to pick the really played-down color. Taro is purple, and these drinks are barely colored by it. It’s more of an aesthetic gripe than anything else. I’m all about unusually colored drinks and such, so I was hyped to try these.
 
 
 

K-Pop Freezer Taste; /5

   This Iconic and inventive nostalgia-trip deserves no less than 5/5 for flavor and bonus points for creativity. I have never seen, heard, or thought of anything like this. I can’t wait to see what the awesome folks over at Fountain City Coffee come up with next!

Birthday Cake FreezerTaste; /5

This one, while fantastic, was not completely identifiable as Birthday Cake. It didn’t really stand on it’s own as a unique drink next to its partner. It did taste much more like Sugar Cookies than anything else, which still made me really happy.

 

If you’re local to the Columbus, Georgia area be sure to drop by Fountain City Coffee to try these before they’re gone!

 

Columbus has No Shame

     No Shame is a part of an art underground here in Columbus, and what a shame I had never even heard of it. I have to give a thanks to @amanda_rad over on Instagram for making me hip to this event!

     No shame is basically a semi-latenight live art show that features the original works of 15 artists that are lucky enough to be the first to register. The art presented includes spoken word poetry, comedy, song and soliloquy- this is definitely for 18+ because some of it is definitely not for little ears. Signup starts at 10:00 pm with the show beginning at 10:30 pm, for the interested.

     They actually have a surprisingly long history, I’ll paste that below for the curious!

     The first No Shame started 28 years ago in the back of a pick-up in Iowa City, Iowa. Since then, branches have sprung up in New York, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Austin, Charlottesville and other cities. Well-known No Shame alumni include John Leguizamo (“Ice Age”), Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) Rebecca Gilman (“Spinning into Butter”), Naomi Wallace (“Things of Dry Hours”), Rick Cleveland (“Six Feet Under”) and Jonathan Larson (“Rent”).

     In less than five years, the Springer’s weekly No Shame Theatre has become the most successful in the country, premiering more than 2,500 original acts with more than 170,000 people in attendance. (Read more HERE!)

No Shame Greeter
Not what I expected with “a lady bathed in strobe light”

     I arrived much earlier than either the signup for show starting time, at 8:30 due to just being around the area and having nothing better to do to kill time. As the time ticked nearer a gaggle of excited locals congregated at the door. The gathering crowd held debates and talked about societal issues, there wasn’t too much light conversation going on. At about 9:45 pm the volunteers brought out their “lady bathed in a strobe light”, which surprisingly wasn’t what I was expecting. I think my expectation was an actual lady hanging out in a spotlight, I guess I should have paid attention to their site. To be fair, I did want to go in as blind as possible. So mission accomplished?

     At promptly 10:30 pm with several debates being in full swing, the doors opened to let us in. I was one of the first through the doors, and declined participation in the performance. I do plan to attend at a later date and share my own writing, as a personal goal.

     There’s a bar at the back wall of the entryway, for those visitors who have a designated driver. I, unfortunately couldn’t since I was driving. The throng of people made their way to the auditorium, which was nothing like the auditorium I’ve seen. In the center of the room was a setup that was perfect for an introspective piece, and luckily one of the performers took advantage of the room’s existing atmosphere. 

No Shame Waterfall
The waterfall that held my attention for a while!

    My favorite thing about the props that were accenting the room was this well-made waterfall with faux-moonlight. I spent part of the time there just admiring the folds in the fabric. Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I really think they did a phenomenal job. 

    I want to make a quick heads up to future attendees of No Shame Columbus. Despite the room being fairly sizable, the volume of people filling in and the cacophony of voices makes this a stressful place for those who have a hard time handling being around lots of people. Usually, I’m okay but honestly the noise combined with the number of people made even the large room feel so cramped. Warning aside, once the performers started and everyone was silent the room returned to its size.

     The spokesman took the stage at about 10:45 and I want to commend him on his charisma. He legitimately looked so at home in front of a nearly full house. He rang off the names of the performers with the help of the audience and called up any newcomers for a small initiation. I actually was able to convince myself to make my way up to participate, but did not have a partner for a rock-paper-scissors style game so I found myself seated quickly.

    The first couple performers were comedians. The first being stand-up while looking intentionally disheveled. some of his humor was definitely intended for 18+, so just another heads-up! My favorite part of his segment was his Three Rules of Tinder.

Be Attractive

Don’t be Unattractive

                                                                             Don’t say “Hi”

The third is definitely pretty solid advice, that I wonder if the second performer followed. He serenaded the audience with his tale of heartbreak and falling in love with no less than 3 different women having the same outcome. It was a tale of woe if ever there was one, to love someone who’s not capable of loving you because of orientation. Sadly, I can’t remember any lines from his piece, but it was quite good! At  the bottom of this post, I’ll put a slideshow of all of the performers so I don’t crowd the text or stretch the page!

     Acts 3 and 4 were a little more on the serious side. The first was a guy who stated he has only 1 or 2 more visits to No Shame before he’s gone. He gifted the audience with a thought provoking soliloquy about that which is hidden. His attire and the backdrop of tstage” was just perfect. He paced the stage and really drove a sense of urgency. He accomplished his goal wonderfully! Thankfully, I did manage to get a couple of decent pictures of him in (what I thought was) a prime location. I want to say this gentleman was my favorite act. When I go back, I’ll be saddened by his absence.

     Following him was my personal inspiration to resume poetry. A young poet that was writing imagery- she’s working on a book of poems about Columbus locations. When it comes out I plan to buy it. Her piece included two poems, one that perfectly described Fountain City, and the other that brought Kilwins to mind. She definitely inspired me to try my hand at capturing some of my favorite landmarks!

     Act 5 was there for his second time, and first time performing. Despite that, his taking the spotlight was met with a raucous barrage of cheers that was deafening. He was a comedic act, much like the earlier first 2 acts and his had a veneer of relatability. Again, this is something I don’t remember too much about, sadly. I will say that I do remember how well he composed himself, despite his nerves. I don’t know him, but I’m proud of him! Once he reclaimed his seat, a rapper made his way to the stage and was likewise charismatic. In a similar vein I can’t remember too much. But the picture I captured really shows his comfort!

 

No Shame in ending this here! 

     I don’t particularly want to make this a dauntingly long post, so I’ll cut this short here. I will say that I do recommend this for a fun night out on a Friday. At 5 dollars a head, it definitely not the most expensive thing you can do in Columbus, and it’s in the heart of our Downtown. Big thanks to the people of No Shame! Thank you for creating an environment where people feel safe to share their passions and try something new.

Hometown Cravings; First Tryday Friday!

 Midtown Coffeehouse has been a staple in my coffee habit since I discovered them about a year ago. I’ve written a bit about them previously, like the Razzle Dazzle and the Caramelnilla. Both of those are solid choices, but to bring in new interesting content for you guys, I need to branch out. What better time to branch out than a new Series that I’ve decided to dub Tryday?

              If you follow the twitter or facebook, you may have seen my curiosity about coffee soda. (< Link) The consensus when I made it at home, was not good. I didn’t like it initially and I continued to not like it after I tried to make it more “mine”. A real bummer, but I intend to revisit it and see if I can make one that I do like. Surely it exists, and I will find it.

              This evening after walking into Midtown Coffee, I noticed their chalkboard that usually has their specials had something different. It enticed me to ask about Barista’s Choice selections. Always in the spirit to test my taste buds, I obliged and was introduced to a menu outlining their personal favorites. All of them off-menu and all unique in their own way.

Coffee Soda!

              The one that especially stood out to me was the Dirty Vanilla Coke. Coffee and Soda? Where have I heard that before? Right….

It scared me and piqued my curiosity- so hesitant (and somehow excited), I ordered it. While in various stages of preparation, it foamed intensely and they had to cull some, if not, most of it. Once the drink was in my hand, I took the chance and tried it in front of the barista. And the panel says….


 

              Still not my thing. The carbonation from the coke mixed discordantly with the espresso making a very strange aftertaste. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone with the recipe and done the double shot. It’s a really unique and jarring contrast of saccharine sweetness and espresso. I don’t feel like it meshes too well. The flavors are a little too different to be able to go together in a pleasant way. I enjoy the coke flavor, but only for a split second before the espresso chimes in. It has a vaguely fruity flavor that I think is being amplified by the sugar content.

Ultimately not my thing in the least, I do want to make it clear that this is not a reflection on Midtown. You win some, you lose some when you take a gamble on a new treat and I’m going to call this one a loss. But, I will say that it tastes pretty similar to my attempt, which means that I did it right. So… win?

              BUT, I returned to the counter with my tail between my legs and admitted that I had to surrender to the Dirty Vanilla Coka. They suggested the Choddy, which is Cold Brew, Milk and Mocha. I was dubious, since I had been burned by my latest encounter with Coffee Soda.

Choddy
Midtown’s Choddy- yum!

              I’m happy to report, that while I have never been altogether too fond of cold brew, I’m happy I took the chance. They described it as “Chocolate milk with a nice coffee flavor”, which is quite accurate. It smells a bit bold and has a nice edge to the sweet smell of chocolate. The predominant flavor is much like dark chocolate. Which, is to say, it’s sweet with a little bitterness to temper it.

              Though they use the same beans in this beverage, I’m not picking up any hint of the fruitiness that I was getting from the other one and I’m almost 100% sure that it was coke over-exaggerating the undertones. I do suggest a hearty sloshing around of this one, as it does get a touch more bitter if you let it sit still for a few minutes. Definitely not one to chug, this one should sipped slow and savored.

 

Taste; /5

              For my ratings, unfortunately since I still don’t like the Coffee/Soda duo, this one gets a 1 out of 5. I’m still curious as to where that fruity undertone was coming from.

Taste; /5

              My second rating, for the strangely named Choddy is a 5/5 because I was completely in love with every drop in that cup. I was legitimately sad to look down and see that it was empty. Coffee and Chocolate milk? Amazing pairing!

Hometown Cravings: Valentines All Year Long

Iron Bank Latte and Sticker
Be Mine Latte and my sticker collection begins!

 

I finally had the opportunity to return to Iron Bank after my previous visit. I revisited my all-time favorite latte, their Be Mine specialty latte. It’s always been my favorite menu item and I’ve had it maybe 20 times, and that’s no exaggeration. That may actually be a low-ball estimate if I’m being honest.

Be Mine is nestled in with a variety of other specialty beverages, which you can see listed in the above image. I’m planning to feature another one of the delicious choices above for our Winter Surprise. 

A quick search will set this drink apart from other similarly named Lattes. A lot of the ones I found in my research include cherry in the mix, which honestly doesn’t sound too appetizing to me personally. I’m glad that Iron Bank decided to forgo the usual Valentines Mixture and go for something else.

As should be evident by now, I adore this drink. The trifecta of vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon have such a perfect harmony. It may be due to my preference to get this made a bit sweeter than usual, but in my opinion, it tastes quite a bit like chocolate milk with cinnamon thrown in. The cinnamon is the predominant flavor with the vanilla and chocolate coming in at a tie and balancing nicely. There’s a pleasant weight to the coffee that leaves a hint of espresso lingering, but nothing particularly biting. 

I honestly don’t taste any bitterness in this particular latte (probably thanks to my sweet tooth). Iron Bank has created a perfect drink for the people who aren’t too big on coffee in general. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s perfect to sip during a relaxing day just people watching, as is my habit. 

Of course, I quite enjoyed my return to Iron bank and the lovely ladies behind the counter were friendly in a genuine way. Honestly, it’s been so long that I forgot how much I love their entire aesthetic. I didn’t go crazy on describing their aesthetic here, due to the previous post. Check it out if you’re curious!

 

Taste: /5

Seriously, I just love this drink way too much. It became somewhat of an obsession for me a while ago. Revisiting this drink reminded me why. Working so close to Iron Bank may present a problem for my wallet.

 

 

 

Engaging Eats; This Chicken is Plucked Up

Are you ready to get Plucked Up?

I’ve found that I’ve recently fallen into a routine, and while some would find that comforting, I find it infuriating. This week, I decided to try something new, after eating CJs Wings and Things for 2 full weeks. I do feel a little bad for cheating on one of my new favorite places, but a change was required. In my search for change (and wi-fi) I found Plucked Up- Chicken and Biscuits.

A quick search revealed no other locations, which was enough for me to want to go in and try their namesake. When walking in, the first thing I noticed was a focus on a quaint, rustic aesthetic. They were really pushing for a homey, southern kitchen feel and it shows. It feels warm and inviting with the mellow color scheme meshing with the exposed bricks.

I’m an absolute sucker for exposed bricks, as you guys know from my raving about any interior design choices that even resemble an industrial aesthetic, like Midtown Coffee and Lizard Thicket to name a couple. They really leaned into a rustic look, and I honestly found it entirely too charming.

 

Let’s Get Plucked Up!

Chicken Up Close
Detail Shot of this DELICIOUS chicken

Before I even tried my Chicken, I was excited to get to it. It smelled amazing and I think like Italian dressing marinade? I could be wrong and it could be wishful thinking, but it was delicious either way. The chicken appears to be two white meat tenders rather than a large patty, and I do want to note that they do offer grilled chicken at this establishment if that’s more your speed.

I tried a grilled chicken biscuit with fresh spinach and goat cheese spread- it was absolutely fantastic. I was so pleasantly surprised, honestly. Goat cheese was something I never had an interest in trying past a novelty, but I found myself enjoying the tartness of the cheese in contrast with the wonderfully marinaded chicken.

This particular sandwich does come with a Tomato Jam, which I opted not to use because of personal taste. You can see the Jam pictured above, as a side in case I wanted to try it. 

The Marinade was subtle and worked well with the light spread of goat cheese that I took a chance with. All of the flavors, from the buttery biscuit to the spinach worked together wonderfully. The tang was balanced with the savory (and tender) chicken.  My poor White Cheddar Grits are so neglected in this particular post- and while I love grits, they are just grits at the end of the day. My experience so far tells me that I just love grits.

One thing I do want to note is that this biscuit is insanely fluffy and broke apart while I was eating it. I would recommend cutting it into more manageable pieces as opposed to just taking bites out of the entire thing. It definitely tried to give me issues while trying to devour it. The fight it was putting up didn’t stop me, however. It didn’t stand a chance.

 

Eat or Retreat:

  Most definitely “Eat”! The Savory mixing with the Tangy was just too good, and honestly I’ve never tried anything quite like it. I can wholeheartedly recommend Plucked Up Chicken and Biscuits if you’re in the mood for good southern comfort food. They give my recipe a run for its money with their biscuits, and this whole combination was just to die for.

Engaging Eats: CJ’s Wings N Things

Welcome to the birth of a new post series written by yours truly. I can’t always be tailed by my food-blogging-fiance, after all. What am I to do when I find a new place to stuff my face while on my lunch break? Just leave it for him? Nah. I got this! I recently found out that the little wing place conveniently placed by my work, is locally owned and operated by a family that owns two other restaurants in the area, Afterfive Bar and Ed’s Southern Cooking. Cj’s Wings -n- Things is a lovely little establishment, that has a somewhat retro feel to me, with the color scheme of ivory and red.

I feel almost like I want to order a milkshake and share it, but that’s silly. Who shares milkshakes nowadays? And, sadly milkshakes aren’t on this menu. What is on the menu is wings and burgers. Both of which are delicious, and it would be a crime for me to come here and not share the former with you. 

Though, I must confess, I’ve become somewhat of a regular here but only just considered asking about their ownership. I’m glad I asked because this place definitely deserves the exposure. I do want to commend them on their amazing and compassionate staff. These girls have been great to me every single time I’ve come in and haven’t missed a beat. I generally get my food and the check taken care of in quite short order. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but that’s to be expected. It’s generally within 15 minutes of ordering at the most, which is nice and prompt.

One of the things I frequently get for lunch is their wings, generally in mild. Today was the 8 Piece Wings with medium sauce and fries.  I decided to test myself today. The fries are fresh and hot- just the right amount of crispy and modestly seasoned, which is my favorite way. They always equip their plates with a piece of sliced bread, which I’m never sure what to do with. That confusion was quickly eclipsed by the wing sauce when I tried it. I’m definitely a bit of a sissy in the sauce department. But look at those wings, they look delicious and I can’t wait to dig in!

Two words come to mind: “hot” and “yum!”. I get the flavor of black pepper, definitely. The wings themselves were tender and succulent. I definitely needed to lean on the ranch sauce to put out the fire on my lips. The pain was worth it because once the fire was extinguished, I was left with delicious chicken.

Their pricing is also quite fair, at just shy of 8 dollars for a plate of 8 wings, a side and a drink. They do have something under 5 for those who are hungry on a budget, a grilled cheese combo with tea and fries for 4.25. You can’t go wrong here!

Eat or Retreat?

   This is definitely an “Eat” rating. The staff, the speed of service, the consistent quality of the food and the price all factor in to make this a solid recommendation. If you find yourself in the Columbus, GA area, you’d be missing out if you passed Cjs by!

 

Two for Tea and Tea for Two with Te Amo

Our amazing local tea wizard held a Tea for Two event at his shop, the aforementioned Te Amo Tea, that you can read about here.  I arrived a party of one to record the event, and enjoyed my usual Milk Tea, for simplicity’s sake. The beautiful and talented Bolera was attending as the live music and main attraction. She made the usually relaxing and mellow ambiance unusually intimate with her velvety voice. 

Not going to lie, it wasn’t what I expected but much better. The guitar paired with her voice was delightfully reminiscent of French acoustic, though I could be off the mark admittedly. I’m not a music blogger, after all, but I was definitely feeling the music and will likely be looking into any future events that host her, as well. During a brief intermission, I sat with her and found her quite lovely (and stylish!), you can follow her personal Instagram here. She performs fairly regularly at some other local businesses like our very own Iron Bank Coffee. You can see a gif below and to hear her lovely voice, I did add her to the Adventures story on the Java and Jeans instagram.

Here’s the teaser, check out our instagram story for more!

The venue buzzed with quiet conversation beneath the notes low enough that any crescendo drowned it out entirely. There was a small gathering of about 10 people seated on his various conveniently placed cushions. And the venue held some of its usual welcoming charms. Even when it’s bustling, this locale still finds it hard to feel tense. Sadly, I did have to leave at some point. It was nearly impossible for me to pull myself away, before my other stops closed.

The Tea Wizard
Toshiro, my friend, the aptly named Tea Wizard. Posted with his consent.

The hardworking tea wizard, was quite busy this evening, unsurprisingly. He was ready for the occasion with these adorable blue and white paper straws- I’m a sucker for anything aesthetic so I chose a smaller size. For the Aesthetic!
Click the image below to visit the artist on instagram. 

Milk Tea with a complimentary flower that the Tea Wizard graciously bestows upon his patrons- he switches it up sometimes.

 

Closing Thoughts: 

 

If you were unable able to come down and sample one of Te Amo Tea’s fantastic flavors, there’s always the next event and you can follow that facebook page as well to keep abreast of any updates. Toshiro always leans into the zen aesthetic. It makes for a great place to kill a few hours. He’s not only got an amazing product, which I raved about in my last post, but is a sparkling and knowledgeable conversationalist. For newcomers or veteran tea-drinkers, Te Amo is a must see. If you don’t know what to get, he can quickly make you up something new!

 

Fashionable Findings: Dear Stella

Welcome to another Fashionable Find here on my home turf! I discovered a somewhat new boutique down on Whittelsey- Dear Stella. Dear Stella has been around for 4 years, but they have been at their current location for only 2 years. (Fun fact: they may have opened shortly before or after I first moved here!) They have an impressive selection of clothes and all of them are stylish and modest! Which, is right up my alley. 

When I walked in, I was greeted with a friendly “Welcome!” and an offer for help. She was incredibly patient with me skulking around taking photos of the shop. She was absolutely lovely! So I would like to commend her for being so enthusiastic when I approached her. It really helped me feel comfortable.

They have some gorgeous jewelry displayed in front of the door, I had to force myself not to examine it too closely lest I tried to buy some. I really liked how the accessories on display were both artful and simple. Jewelry like this can literally go with just about anything. I need to return for some accessories one of these days.

They have seating by the entrance, I can picture my fiance’ camping there if I had brought him. And I can’t say I’d blame him, because the chairs look comfortable. I almost decided to take a seat, but decided against it. What if it’s too comfortable?

I think my favorite thing about Dear Stella was the dressing rooms. They had trendy wallpaper and were huge, compared to dressing rooms I’m familiar with. I had room to stretch and put my purse and original outfit under the bench for the sake of pictures. I got a picture to show you how cute they are- but it doesn’t exactly speak to the size of it. It was nice and spacious. I also want to note that the mirror was flattering! I always sort of balk when I have to take photos in dressing rooms, but not here. The lighting combined with the large mirror was altogether favorable. 

Moving on from my impressions of the store itself, I did try on 5 different outfits. Four of them worked, and one didn’t. Sadly, they didn’t have my size. But, I do want to give this dress an honorable mention because it’s adorable and I can see it working famously for someone!

           All dolled up- frontAll dolled up- back

Honestly, just look at that. It’s a gorgeous cream color, with a plunging back and that absolutely adorable bow. I would have loved to have found one that fit. Maybe one day! I’ll remain hopeful.

 

Moving on to the things that did fit, the moment I was in the dressing room I had to try this shirt. I’ve seen them all over Instagram and Pinterest, an I’m obsessed with the pastels and the little balls hanging from the fabric. Despite not being fitted the shirt does manage to be flattering. I love how the stripes do line up from the ruffle to the bodice. I hope to return to liberate this, especially. Because while I love all of the selections coming up, this shirt has a special place in my heart.

For a style with this, I can see it paired well with some 70’s bellbottoms and some fun chunky jewelry. I’m thinking really playing to the pastels and going with a slightly Harajuku aesthetic. I’d pair it with a pink bow in my hair and a pair of pastel platform sneakers. Really this shirt begs to have fun stylistically speaking. I get the urge to dress like a 12-year-old just looking at it!

The second item I tried on was this amazingly adorable two-piece checkered set. The moment I laid eyes on it I knew it was going to make it into this post for two reasons. The first of which being I loved the pop of color against the black and white. The second being that I’ve also seen so many of these two-piece sets on social p–media but never got occasion to try one on. I have to say, I understand the hype. They’re incredibly cute. Literally, my only gripe is that the fabric did seem a bit stiff right off the bat, but I can see a wash clearing up that issue.

To style this outfit, I’m picturing a playful hairstyle and some fairly simple jewelry to offset the pattern. I really like a choker with this, since the pattern is so loud you don’t want something disrupting that by dangling over it. I feel like some pink tassel earrings would complement this outfit nicely, too. And as far as the shoes go, I actually do like my converse with this. To be perfectly fair, I do kind of like my converse with everything. 

Dear Stella Dress

Number three was this adorable peach colored dress. This thing really gives me Nurse vibes. I honestly want to pair with it a white headband and some kneehigh socks. Maybe some pearl studs and a long pearl necklace to add a classical feeling. On that same aesthetic, this calls for white sneakers. I think this one may have been one size smaller than optimal for me, but it was still really cute. If I had brought it home with me, I’d have to hunt for a white cardigan, because the only thing I wasn’t feeling was the sleeves.

The fabric had very little give, but that only plays to the nurse vibes I get from it. This is one outfit that the converse just didn’t jive with… yet I didn’t take them off. Seriously, they may as well be apart of me by now. 

Dear Stella Dress

The final outfit I tried on today really feels like I ought to be on a cruise. It has to be intentional with the palm frond pattern. I can picture this billowing slightly in the sea breeze and I’m not going to lie to you, I almost tried to buy it. Unfortunately, I did decide to be responsible at the last minute, though. This is another thing my converse do not go with. This dress more calls for earthy toned leather sandals and gold jewelry. I found this amazing pair of palm tree hoops from forever 21 that I think would be fantastic when paired with this dress. While we’re accessorizing, I also actually really like this pendant, too. I almost want to say a ponytail with this, but I’m really on board with loose beachy waves. 

Apologies for not going into the makeup side, that’s something I’m taking some time to learn about at the moment and I would hate to give anyone some bad advice there. 

Closing Thoughts

 

Out of the 5 outfits I tried, the highest price was 68 dollars, if I recall correctly. This boutique has some wonderful stuff, though just a touch out of the price range that I try to stick in. The two-piece outfit was about 60 altogether, which is decent. I’d put Dear Stella at about a mid-range price point. Not unbelievably expensive, but not super cheap either. From the quality, I’d say it’s well worth it, honestly. 

I do recommend Dear Stella if you have some spending money that you can play with without guilt. You’ll find choices from staples to accent pieces with personality. They are definitely worth a look! 

Frugal Fashions: 3 Easy Summer Styles

Hey everyone! I’m back with another frugal fashion post to showcase some of my recent acquisitions. I’ve really had to tighten down on a somewhat restrictive budget, and I really try to keep my finds under 10 dollars for these posts. I’ll be compiling outfits in different ranges in the future!

I’m really quite thrilled with this particular post, and I feel like the things I found really speak to me. Two of them, I need to put some accessories with and I can’t quite make up my mind, but I’ll be sharing that too in the future! These finds come from a variety of stores, mostly thrift shops like Goodwill and Valley Rescue Mission, Plato’s Closet with one item originating from Forever 21! I was playing with a couple different styles and I’m really so thrilled with how they came together, so without further ado… Let’s get started!

Style one:

This style started with the skirt and the shoes, which I came across at one of the 2 Rescue Valley Missions that we have here. The skirt for some reason gives me tennis vibes, despite the floral pattern. Speaking of the floral, it’s proven difficult to pair. I spent an entire week hunting for a perfect shirt. The original shirt was striped, which is usually a no-no, I know. I still feel like it would have been salvageable if I’d found chunkier stripes.

I ended up settling on an offwhite off-shoulder blouse from Forever 21, which I adore for their cute, trendy and affordable fashions. And, quick note off topic, they have the most adorable graphic tees and camis right now. I almost caved and bought this charming Boba Tee, but decided to be responsible.

The teal shoes are Dollhouse brand, which I’ve been looking at for years. I’m literally so excited to have some of their adorable shoes in my collection. The best thing about this outfit though is that this skirt is a Skort, and so has loads of modesty. It also has pockets, which I’m super pleased with.

This outfit will be paired with gold layered necklaces and hoop earrings. I really aim to play more into the cute vibe that’s coming from the shoes with this one. And, honestly, different shoes would also go great. Maybe some white sneakers? 

Style Two:

I haven’t shown it lately, but I love the hippie-boh aesthetic that I can never really dress for, but always wanted to. I actually thrifted this entire outfit, essentially. The shoes came from Target, and were gifted to me by the beautiful Sincerely Southern Belle, who you guys may recognize as our own Miss Jeans. 

The Festival tank and crochet vest came from Platos Closet and the skirt was liberated from Goodwill. This outfit is so free feeling and appropriately enough would be perfect for a day at the fair. I’m so excited to wear this out and about on an adventure. Looking at the lovely blues makes me feel like finding a fair on a pier, it’s a real shame there’s nothing like that here.

This is a style I really hope to lean into in the future and channel my inner Hippy. Maybe pair it with a leather headband and a necklace like this.

Style Three:

 

 

Lately, on the tails of that gorgeous bohemian style skirt, I’ve been on a boho kick. I’ve been obsessed with soft colors and that entire aesthetic. I was really going for something different with this outfit, and wasn’t expecting to fall in love with shorts. Honestly, I was aiming for another, shorter skirt but didn’t find one. I was striking out left and right on my search for another thing to add to this list, and had gotten my heart crushed by innumerable cute skirts.

Immediately, I was completely infatuated with this shirt- the soft teal and the cursive, just thrilled me. It feels like such a cheerful outfit, really. I paired this slightly rustic feeling, lace detailed shorts. Of course, I did also pair this outfit with my infamous converse. But, it would also work with some low wedges in light earthy tones. I can totally picture some pink accent jewelry with this one. Sadly, I didn’t find any that really spoke to the aesthetic. With a charming little style like this, I’d definitely accessorize with some natural stones. 

I just wanted to share some of my favorite new styles that I’ve found recently with my beautiful readers! I’ll be back with some other news and new styles in the next update to this series, until then, stay glam!