Winter Pieces and Spring Essentials (and a blog update)

Christina’s Best Life Update

Christina's Best Life Title

Greetings, friends! And welcome to the new and improved version of Christina’s Best Life! After months of inactivity I thought a new design would motivate me to start blogging again. In the months since starting this blog I’ve found that, while super fun, blogging is a time-consuming undertaking. When I began this blog it was a much-needed source of inspiration at a time when I was disinterested in nearly everything in my life. Since Thanksgiving (which is about the time of my last entry), I’ve taken a more active role in creating my own happiness, instead of expecting others (mainly my husband) to make me happy. With my renewed sense of self-awareness has come an openness toward new experiences (which means I’ve had less free time to blog).

That being said, moving forward, the purpose of this blog will reflect my wider range of interests. While still primarily an outlet for my creative writing, Christina’s Best Life now includes samples of my freelance photography and graphic design work. I also hope that the new design makes my content more accessible for y’all. I mean…you all. (It’s official. the South is affecting my speech.)

Now, onto the more fun portion of this entry–a look at some of my favorite winter-to-spring looks from a recent trip I took to Ohio! Continue reading

#ootd [sunny days & fuzzy sweaters]

glasses//warby parker ainsworth in elderberry
blouse//lauren conrad for kohl’s (old)//similar polka dot chiffon secretary blouse
sweater//h&m (old)//similar mohair-blend sweater in light pink
pants//gap (old)//similar 1969 always skinny skimmer jeans
boots//report jesslyn harness boot [originally featured in Sweaters, dresses, and leggings–OH MY!]

I’m back from a brief hiatus. I’ve been quite busy with some freelance work, and I just haven’t had a good chunk of time to sit down and write. On the plus side, I’ve started about two or three posts that I intend to finish before Christmas! (That’s my goal, anyway.)

I’d forgotten how good pink and green look together until I created this outfit. Green’s earthiness is a nice contrast to pink’s femininity. I added a high-low polka-dotted blouse to break up the two solid colors.

I purchased this cozy pink sweater after seeing it on Lana Del Ray, the face of H&M’s 2012 holiday campaign. I don’t wear this sweater too often because it’s quite itchy. I also find it challenging to layer heavier sweaters, like this one. I don’t want to wear long-sleeves underneath because I’ll get too hot. But anything shorter than long-sleeves leaves a lot of skin exposed to the sweater’s itchy wrath! First world problems, indeed. Continue reading

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Original image from Boxy-Ladies.com (no copyright infringement intended)

I was pleasantly surprised, yesterday, to be selected as a recipient of the Liebster Award, courtesy of Thays over at Silly Crazy Love. I’d never heard of the award. Fortunately Lorraine, over at Wording Well, offers a comprehensive summary of the Liebster Award, its premise, and rules. Basically, it encourages more successful bloggers to bring attention to the lesser known blogs they love. It’s a great way for like-minded bloggers to get to know one another, and helps drive more traffic to the lesser-known blogger’s website.

11 Facts About Yours Truly
1. I have two tattoos, a cat (aka, my “cattoo”) on my left forearm, and a heart on my ankle.

2. I’ve met Gavin DeGraw four times. (Shout out to my best friend Allison for making this one of our many traditions!)

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Sweaters, dresses, and leggings–OH MY!

Fall Fashion Obsessions

I went a little crazy with my shopping, recently. I don’t regret my purchases (though I think my bank account does). As September drew to a close I felt inspired to add some new pieces to my fall wardrobe. Besides spring, fall is my favorite season, not because of the pumpkin-spiced everything but because it means layering and comfy clothes! My recent purchases include sweaters, dresses, leggings, boots, and a swim suit. (Hey, it was on sale, and it was too cute to pass up.)

I’m excited to show you my cute and cozy purchases! And, much as I’d like to keep them a secret, I’ll also be sharing with you some of my favorite online boutiques.

Free People-Gemma Tunic in Black
$68//xs
additional colors at freepeople.com

Modeled later in this post, this tunic is so rad. It’s tight and loose in all the right places, and it’s the perfect length to wear with both leggings and jeans. It can be layered and accessorized. I’m excited about the future outfits this piece will inspire.

Also, can we discuss the fact that, in addition to the shoes available, Zappos has a great clothing selection? Plus, they offer free returns for up to a year, and they’re currently offering free one-business day shipping. This tunic was listed at the same selling price as the item on Free People’s site so, unlike Amazon, you’re not as likely to get discounted brand name clothing and shoes. However, I enjoy treating myself to a Zappos purchase a few times a years. Continue reading

Fashion Throwback [Woman in a Romper]

Christina in marching band | Christina's Best Life

FOUND FOOTAGE: The only digital photographic evidence that confirms I was in band. The marching band story is not a cover up, folks.

The Back Story
In August I had the honor of being a bridesmaid at my friend Maria’s wedding. I met her in high school when I was a freshman and she was a sophomore. We both played trumpet in the marching band.

We shared a cabin at band camp in the summer of 2003 and became friends within the week. She nicknamed me gremlin. (I’d like to think it’s because I was [and still am] adorable and small, not because I resembled a reptile-like monster.)  Since then, our friendship has been one of the most authentic connections I’ve experienced.

Maria looked beautiful on her wedding day, and her twins made adorable flower girls. The parts I most enjoyed were catching up with old friends at the reception and dancing the night away in my fuchsia flip flops.

Woman in a Romper
Today’s fashion throwback features the army-green romper I wore to the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. I’m disappointed I haven’t featured this outfit sooner. However, I think it’s a look that could still be worn going into fall, especially here in Nashville since it’s still in the 70s and 80s.

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#ootd [two girls walk into a bar…]

Last Friday night comedian Ralphie May performed at The Kent Stage (in Kent, OH). While I was not in a constant state of laughter, as you would hope to be at a comedy show, May did have some some comedy gold hidden in between all the raunchy sex jokes. Joining me in intermittent laughter was my best friend, and today’s featured outfit-of-the-day-er, Allison.

With Allison at my wedding | Christina's Best Life

From my wedding this summer. Allison was my maid of honor!

Allison has certainly been an indirect influence to this blog. For years, my go-to look was always a basic v-neck tee and slim-fit jeans (and maybe a scarf if I was feeling creative). In contrast, Allison always dresses to perfection, no matter the occasion. And what I’ve always admired about her style is her ability to effortlessly and confidently combine seemingly conflicting patterns, textures, and designs. So, over the years her confidence rubbed off on me.

About a year ago I questioned why I wasn’t putting more effort into my everyday personal appearance. What Allison helped me realize is that every moment in your life is special, and that part of what helps define these moments is what we wear. When I transport myself to a cherished memory part of what I recall, apart from the awesome people involved, is how I looked and felt in that moment. We are living in a time where every detail of an outfit becomes an extension of who we are, and our style decisions help us tell our story without having to speak. (If you knew Allison, I think you’d agree that this diatribe would make her proud.)

So, everyone, please give a warm welcome to the first non-me person to be featured on my blog: Allison Khanna!

Allison’s #ootd

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The Grilled Cheeserie: Comfort Foods with a Gourmet Touch

The Grilled Cheeserie: Exterior | Christina's Best LifeI’m a comfort food junkie. I truly believe I could eat macaroni and cheese almost everyday of the week and not get bored with it. (But only Kraft’s cheddar explosion. I encourage you to try it, if you haven’t already. You will become a cheese-believer.) That being said, I’ve eaten a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches over the years. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy several of the massive sandwiches at Melt in Cleveland, and I love how Twisted Meltz, in Kent, has named it sandwiches after Northeast Ohio celebrities.

On my recent visit to The Grilled Cheeserie, undoubtedly one of Nashville’s most popular food trucks, the most important question I kept in mind as I stuffed my face with my caprese melt was “what differentiates this sandwich from the dozens of other grilled cheeses I’ve tried?” My simple answer to that question: The Grilled Cheeserie offers “gourmet homemade” soups, sandwiches, and treats.  If your mom went to culinary school she’d serve you the types of food offered at The Grilled Cheeserie. (Mom–I fondly recall all of the grilled cheeses you made for me over the years. What they lacked in gourmet ingredients you made up for with TLC!)

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Plaid Thai [Food & Fashion]

It’s official! I have bought my domain–christinasbestlife.com! The new website name does double duty. It gives a clearer picture of the type of content I am producing, and it’s a great way to promote my personal brand. I am excited to continue publishing quality content about all the fashion, food, and fun that inspires me.

Today is a combo post! I will be sharing information about both fashion and food I enjoyed on September 13.

In summary, Jesse and I enjoyed a simple night out. Plaid was worn, and Thai food was consumed. (Get it? Plaid Thai? I’m so pun-ny!)

“One tall pumpkin spice latte, please.”

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#ootd [in love with lace]

This was an important week for me, mainly because I’ve been given the opportunity to display my social media and marketing prowess in a professional setting. I don’t know how much information I can disclose since the details of this job opportunity are still being developed. But let’s just say that I will likely be consuming a lot of milkshakes (of the ice cream variety) in the foreseeable future.

Besides the unwavering support of my mom and husband something else gave me the confidence to succeed in the meetings I had this week–lace! Today’s #ootd post is a double feature, focusing on two lace-inspired looks.

Wednesday: Dressed to Impressed
For my first meeting this week I wore one of my favorite dresses–a feminine and versatile piece I purchased last spring from Girly Girl Boutique. Girly Girl Boutique has become one of my preferred online shopping destinations. I love the youthful, simple, and preppy items they sell.

necklace//h&m (current season)//similar-short silver chain necklace & short gold necklace with roses
dress//girly girl boutique (old)//similar-spring wedding dress
shoes//nine west (old)//similar-Fergalicious mesh platform wedges
***Wedges are my favorite shoe style! They give you the height of a heel without the blister-inducing discomfort.

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“Times they are a-changin’…”

Pigtail selfieA Word from the Blogger…

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has supported me during the first few months of my blogging venture. I have found the fashion community on WordPress to be very supportive. I’ve also appreciated all the feedback friends and family (hi mom!) have given me. I have confronted a great deal of stress and sadness since moving down to Nashville last August. However, this blog has been a catalyst for positive changes in the personal and professional aspects of my life.

That being said, I’ve realized that the “Polka Dots and Bows” brand doesn’t fully express what my blog has become since my first #ootd post in July. When I started this blog I felt like the only positive aspect of my life, besides my marriage, was my developing creative outfit ideas using the clothes in my closet. Since then I’ve realized I have innumerable other interests and so many experiences to be grateful for. That’s why I will be changing my blog name from “Polka Dots and Bows” to “My Best Life.” This blog has become an exercise in self-discovery; it encourages me to figure out how to live “my best life.”

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