4 Tips to Avoid a Quarantine Style Rut

By Erika, Stylist + Fashion Educator

I don’t know about you, but I have stopped counting how many days/weeks I’ve been home social distancing/self-quarantining. I just know, it’s been a LOT! I also know that when you’re working from home, eating at home, schooling at home, living at home, happy houring at home, and doing everything else at home it is really easy to give up on “outside” clothes and get into a style rut. 

On my Instagram account, I’ve been sharing style tips to help avoid a style rut. But, if you don’t follow me on Instagram, don’t feel like going back to find them, or simply want a refresher then look no further than right here! Here are 4 tips to help you avoid a quarantine style rut.

  1. Dress in Head-to-Toe Monochrome

To feel chic and streamlined at home, dress in head-to-toe monochrome. For example, a gray sweater, slate leggings, and grey socks with a long grandpa cardigan is a cute way to be comfortable but not feel like a mess. You also don’t have to save the monochrome look for neutrals. Grab a rich color like wine (pictured) or a bright color like yellow or cobalt blue. 

  1. Find Your Happy Place

Go through your closet and select a capsule of pieces you associate with happy emotional memories. Then wear them in fresh ways. These are weird times and socially isolating: at the very least, you can wear your favorite honeymoon dress to have coffee in your breakfast nook.  Personally, I’ve been breaking out my “Muva of Dragons” jacket from my maternity shoot every chance I get — you know, to the mailbox, the trash can, to grab groceries that were dropped off at the end of the driveway. I felt so beautiful and glamorous that day – it’s a fun reminder of the excitement and anticipation leading up to the arrival of baby James!

  1. Play Dress-Up

This is the perfect time to experiment with those pieces in your wardrobe that have challenged you the most. Got a dress you’ve never known how to style? Reach for it and simply play dress-up like a kid in mom’s closet. There are no stakes when you’re literally not leaving the house. The best way to figure out what you like and don’t, and why, is to try things. Just start reaching for things and assessing them in the mirror to study and learn what works and what doesn’t. Get to know your taste! The best way to develop your unique style is to understand your own eye and instincts better, which only happens with experimentation and trial & error. There has never been a better time to get to know yourself. I had a sequined jacket that had been hanging in my closet for MONTHS! I finally broke out the jacket and played dress-up until I found a couple of new ways to style it. 

  1. Challenge Your Style

Set getting-dressed themes to challenge yourself to dress creatively and push past your normal style routine. Wake up and tell yourself that next Monday you’re dressing like it’s tropical cruise ship week. Tuesdays are for all black. Woodstock (or the festival of your choice) Wednesdays. Break out your happy hour attire for Thirsty Thursdays. Then finish off the week with some Fri-yay Fashion and add something fun and festive to your work from home gear. Alternatively, set little challenges such as: “this week, I have to wear all of my denim pants a different way,” or “this week, my style challenge is to wear a vest with two outfits I put together.”⠀

The last week of my I did exactly this and it was so much fun!! Check out some of the looks I pulled together!

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Practical Ways to Embrace Sustainable Fashion

By Erika, Fashion Expert

With issues like climate change looming larger and larger, my family and I have been working to incorporate practical ways to reduce our environmental impact into our lives. With our busy schedules and three kids, we needed to find simple ways to reduce our impact. Of course, I’m the leader of the charge when it comes to style and fashion. Sustainable fashion – “a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice” – is one way our family is trying to reduce our environmental impact.

The idea of sustainable fashion often conjures up images of more expensive pieces, wildly minimalist wardrobes, or, I don’t know, walking around in a burlap sack. But take it from me, there are tons of ways that you can embrace sustainable fashion that will be easy and relatively painless for you. Below are some ways that I have embraced sustainable fashion and introduced it to my family.

Hat + Poncho: Gifted & Thrifted (New to You Consignment Shop)
T-Shirt: J.Crew
Jeans + Boots: Lane Bryant

Join a No-Buy Community

Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I joined “No Buy Baltimore,” an online community where people give away or trade items they no longer need. The group is for people to give away anything to others (furniture, appliance, etc.) so that it can have a second life; however, I primarily use it to give away clothing. I know that I can always donate clothing but I’m not always convinced it ends up in the hands of someone else; and, I usually have no way of knowing what happens to the items if they don’t get given away or sold (like at a thrift store). By giving the clothing to another member of the no-buy community, I feel good about it getting a second life. And most recipients give away anything they don’t use in the no-buy community, so things continue to be paid forward.

Of course, if you have a friend or family member who can use your things, you can always give them directly to that person. This is especially helpful for babies who grow so fast! We have given away most of the clothes James (our 4-month-old) has outgrown to a family friend who is expecting a baby this spring. The especially dirty things (think onesies riddled with spit up stains) are turned into cleaning rags. And I saved a few things for his baby box. The clothing they can’t use (it’ll be summer by the time their baby is 3 months and all of his 3 month clothes are heavy winter items) we are selling at a second-hand store. Which brings me to the second point.

Resell or Consign Items

This goes for both clothes and accessories (though lots of thrift shops take other items too!). Nowadays, it is so easy to resell and consign your items depending on how much time you have to devote to selling and how little or much you hope to make on your items. Obviously, you can take your clothing and accessories to a consignment shop where they will inspect everything, accept items that meet their conditions, and offer you a percentage of sales on the item. Some consignment shops will not pay you until the item sells (and usually return it to you or donate it if it goes past their 60-day or 90-day sale period), while others will pay you upfront for your items. Anything the consignment shop doesn’t accept is yours to keep, donate, or sell via a different avenue.

There are also online consignment and resell options as well. You could go the route of putting your things up for sale on a site like Ebay or Poshmark. With both of these sites, you’ll have to do the heavy lifting of photographing your items, keeping track of offers and sales, and packaging and shipping your items once they sell. The upside is that, because you’re doing the heavy lifting, the fees are often lower when you sell through these sites and apps. I really like Poshmark because you can negotiate with buyers and they can bundle multiple items from your store, which makes shipping so much easier for you!

If you’re like me, you might be a little short on time and an app like ThredUP will be helpful for you. It’s an online consignment shop. You simply order a closet clean-out kit, load it up with items you are trying to sell, and then mail it back to the company. They will go through each of your items and choose whether or not they accept them. Anything that they don’t accept or doesn’t sell can be donated or returned to you. If they accept them, they’ll photograph them and post them for sale. Once your items sell, you’ll get your percentage of the sale price. I really like ThreadUP because it’s ZERO work besides loading up your bag and dropping it off at the post office!

Oh, and all three sites mentioned allow you to consign women’s, men’s, children’s and baby clothes, as well as shoes and accessories. Regardless of how you go about it, reselling and consigning your clothing is an easy way to participate in sustainable fashion and make a few extra dollars!

Hit Up the Thrift Store

Thrift stores are treasure troves of pre-loved items that are just waiting for you to give them a new, loving home. A great way to be a part of the sustainable community and save a few bucks is by thrifting your clothes, shoes, or accessories.

I personally love to check out thrift stores for cool rings, brooches, and necklaces. I’ve gotten some truly awesome finds. The outfit I’m rocking in these pictures was partially thrifted from a store in Annapolis called, “New To You” and from my father-in-law’s closet.

Buy Less and Invest in More Quality Pieces

Finally, we can all make fashion more sustainable if we skip the fast fashion, invest in some better quality pieces, and buy less overall. I know that this is hard – especially with the rate of which fashion changes. But let’s be honest, a classic pair of jeans isn’t going to go out of style, a well-made white t-shirt is going to last a lot longer than one from Target, and you’re more likely to get your shoes repaired (instead of throwing them out) if you spent $700 on them.

This step is definitely the hardest and can be accomplished by taking baby steps. I started to invest in quality in my bags and shoes first. A high quality work bag, shoulder bag, cross body and clutch are staples that you can look for. Some high quality black pumps and a pair of two of reliable, stylish flats are also a great place to start. As you start to better your accessories, then turn your attention to your every day wardrobe staples – jeans, t-shirts, blazers, slacks, LBD – for your investment in quality. As older items wear out, you won’t need to run out to replace them right away. This will not only help the environment, it’ll also give you more space to see what’s actually in your closet.

Listen, I am in no way an expert on sustainable fashion. But I’m making a more conscious effort to reduce my and my family’s environmental footprint in small, manageable ways. Every little bit helps!

Every Day Make-Up Tutorial

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Happy Monday YCS Family!! A couple of weeks ago I posted a “60 Seconds of Chic” video showing how I use concealer to hide the dark circles under my eyes. After I posted the video, I had a few requests from people asking if I could post a make-up tutorial about my “every day” make-up look. Well, your wish is my command! Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide and video tutorial of how I do my every day make-up.

But first, there are a few things you should know. Number one, I’m NOT a beauty blogger. I literally shot this in my bathroom – I don’t have a full set-up for shooting this kind of video and I’m sooooooo not used to walking people through my routine step-by-step. I’m also not a make-up artist or expert. Actual MUAs will likely have different ways of doing things or different tools they recommend. This routine is simply what works for this Momma who has distilled her once 25-minute routine down to 10! And lastly, I’m not getting paid for endorsing any of the products that I use. I’ll link to everything I use or mention in the video (or at least do my best to try to!), but this isn’t an endorsement or advertisement. It’s simply what I use each day because I like it.

Now that that’s out of the way, check out the video or skip down to the step-by-step guide below!

Every Day Make-Up Guide

Step 1: Clean + Prime Your Face

It is incredibly important that you start your make-up routine with a clean face. If you guys are interested, I can do a “60 Seconds of Chic” IG video about my skincare routine – let me know! Anyway, you want to make sure that you’ve washed your face thoroughly and that, for daytime, your skin care routine has, at a minimum, a cleanser, toner, SPF, and moisturizer. You guys know that I love products from Andrelle’s Natural Skin Care but I have also been enjoying the skin care line from Lapcos, whose travel kit I highly recommend! I also recommend Clinique’s skin care line (I’m completely obsessed with their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which I use daily) or good old Neutrogena (especially their foaming cleanser).

Before make-up, after my skin care routine

A lot of people skip primer, which is fine. I like to make sure I do it because I feel that primer provides a great even base layer to apply your make-up on. It creates an extra layer between your skin and the make-up, helps your make-up last longer, and smooths your skin’s surface for make-up application. My go-to primers are Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer and Black Radiance True Complexion Shine Control Primer. You can use a sponge or your fingers to apply your primer. Truthfully, I just use my fingers because it’s faster (insert shrug emoji). Just make sure your hands are clean and dry before you do it.

Step 2: Apply Concealer + Foundation

These applications go hand-in-hand, especially, if you use my technique of applying concealer over your foundation (found here). For my concealer, I simply dab it on the areas I want to conceal, usually under my eyes, blemishes, around my lips. Lately, I’ve been using e.l.f. 160 HR Camo Concealer. I always use Laura Mercier sponges to blend my concealer and apply foundation; though the sponge I like (and use in the video) has been discontinued you can get similar ones here. For a full detailed concealer tutorial, check out this post from YCS a few years ago, where make-up guru Torrey teaches us all about different types of concealers!

After I blend my concealer in, I apply my foundation. I have been using Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation since Rihanna dropped her make-up line. I always buy 2-3 at a time and I simply love it! It’s lightweight and buildable, which I explain in the video. It also oxidizes, which means that as it dries it gets darker on your skin and blends to your tone more. So DON’T over apply it. Start light and build your way up. I usually apply my foundation and then go do my hair. By the time that’s finished, I can come back and touch up any spots that I need to.

After you’ve applied your foundation, take a look and see if there are any other spots you want to touch up again with concealer. Like I shared in my 60 Seconds of Chic video, I always touch up under my eyes.

Step 3: Set Your Foundation

People do this step at different times – some at the end of their make-up routine and others, like me, in the middle. Honestly, I do it here because I’ll forget otherwise. I use Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder and a large, round make-up brush to set my foundation.

Step 4: Eyebrows, Eyelids + Eyelashes

Next, let’s tackle the eyes. Again, some people do the eyes first so that they can remove any excess eye make-up and then apply foundation. When I’m going out at night or doing a full face beat, I’ll do this right after my primer. However, each morning when I’m doing my daily make-up routine, I do my eyes after foundation. Since I generally don’t use a ton of eye shadow for my daily routine, and it’s close to my skin complexion, , it works out just fine to apply it after my foundation.

First, I start with my eyebrows. As I mention in the video, I get them shaped at European Wax Center (Wax Passes are life!) and then touch them up on my own at home with my Flawless by Finishing Touches Eyebrow Hair Remover. I use e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil to comb, shape, and fill in my eyebrows. I use foundation sponge to clean-up any areas where I might have gotten over zealous (you’ll see in the video).

Next, I use an eye shadow, usually something close to my skin tone, on my full eyelid. This palette by BH has a ton of options for you. I then take a lighter color to highlight just under my brow bone. And, sometimes, I’ll use that same lighter color or a shimmer color on my eyelids from lashline to crease only. The reason I do this is to create depth and distinction in my eyes without having to add a step of adding a third, darker color to my crease – because, again, we’re doing this whole routine in 10 minutes!

Next, it’s time for eyeliner. I like to keep this quick and either use my e.l.f. H20 Proof Eyeliner Pen or The Body Shop Smoky Eye Definer Eyeliner Pencil. Quick little application at the lash line and then we move on to the lashes themselve.

I use Simply Naked Beauty’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and I love it because I have NO lashes and this makes it look like I do. It’s a 3-step system, but totally worth the extra time it takes to apply if you’re like me and don’t have any lashes.

Step 5: Strobe + Apply Blush

I love strobing because it’s so much faster than taking the time to contour and highlight my face. It’s so simple. I take my Fenty Beauty Match Stix: Shimmer Stick and whip that thing all over my face (it’s best if you watch the video to see how). I make a “bird foot” from the tip of my nose to my forehead, add a line on each cheekbone, and then add a smaller line from the bottom of my lip to my chin. Then, I take my beauty brush and I just blend, blend, blend! The whole point of strobing is that it basically gives you the effect of highlighting but slightly more subtle and WAY less time consuming. You want your face to be highlighted in the spots where it would look sunkissed if you took a photo outside. Again, I think I explain it a little better in the video (try starting at the 16:30 mark).

After my highlighter, I add a little blush to my cheeks. Simply get an angled blush brush (e.l.f. makes a great one for cheap), smile, and apply light amounts of blush to the apple of your cheek (the part the goes up and is rounded when you smile). You don’t want to apply too much; you’re just trying to get a bit of that rosy cheek effect. I use Milani Baked Blush (I couldn’t remember the brand in the video) in rose gold.

Step 6: Add a Lippie

We’re almost done! Next you want to add a lippie to your look! Lipstick is great because even with a simple, “no make-up, make-up” look you can use lipstick to make your face pop or keep things simple and neutral. If you want to stand out, opt for a bold lip (I’ll drop a pic below so you can see the difference lipstick makes when all things are created equal). If you’re just going for a more casual look, pick a subdued, neutral shade to rock. In the video I went for a matte lipstick with a hint of mauve in it. I don’t even know where to find it (I scooped it a Burlington) to link to it. But I also wear a TON of Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, MAC Lipsticks, and Clinique Pop Matte Lip Colours.

Step 7: Set It + Forget It

I didn’t include this in the video, but if you want to set your face, grab a setting spray (I’ve been using this MAC Prep + Prime Fix + Makeup Setting Spray for years), mist it a couple times and head out the door!

So there you have it, my routine for every day make-up (sometimes called “no make-up, make-up”). It’s simple, easy, and a I promise it only takes 1- minutes once you get the routine down.

What questions do you guys have? What other tutorials are you interested in? I’ve been thinking about taking you behind the scenes on how I build an outfit – any interest? Let me know!

What I Love Right Now (January 2020)

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I have a LOT of things I love. A lot of products I swear by. A lot of things I simply can’t live without. But my list of things I love is always growing. So, each month I’m going to share with you guys what I’m loving for that month. In the words of Andy Cohen, “here’s what three things I’m obsessed with [this month]!”

Press-On Nails

Yep. Like the kind we used as a kid. Or our moms used in the 80s. Yes, press on nails. I promise. I’m loving them these days. Here’s why:

  1. I’m on a budget. In 2020, hubs and I are laser focused on our financial goals. And my bi-weekly gel manicure with a design habit was starting to get expensive. Not to mention, it was tearing up my naturally strong and beautiful nails. Press-Ons are a cheap alternative to this. Depending on the brand you get (I’m a fan of Kiss and Static), a box will run you $7-$15. Even if you buy a box a week, you’re spending $60/month at most. That’s essentially the cost of one of my visits to the nail salon when I calculate gel, design, and tip.
  2. They’re easy. You simply file them to fit your fingernail shape and nail bed. Apply your glue, sit still for 2 or 3 minutes and you’re on your way.
  3. It’s a good way to try different nail designs and shapes without much of a commitment. Hate it? Who cares, you can take them off after a day or a week. These nails come in all shapes, colors and lengths. The are a great way to be versatile without much investment.

In fact, I am so in love with them, my first “60 Seconds of Chic” was all about them. Check it out!

Fun, Bold Sneakers

It probably comes as a surprise to exactly nobody that I haven’t always been into sneakers. For many years I didn’t own any sneakers beyond my workout shoes. That all changed when I met my husband who is a bonafide sneaker head. He quickly started converting me and helping get my sneaker game up. I am by no means a sneaker head but I do have a respectable growing collection.

Right now though, I’m living for fun and bold sneakers. My two favorite pairs are my Adidas Questar Flow sneakers (I didn’t know I needed butterflies on my sneakers until I saw these) and my Nike Star Runners in Red (purchased in Big Kids size because, hey, I have small feet!).

I’m obsessed with these shoes because they add instant style and pop to any basic outfit. Whether I’m running errands or running through the airport, these shoes add interest to my outfit.

Violet Fox Monogram Tote

I love anything with a monogram. Always have. Always will. So I am fully obsessed with this amazing tote I ordered from Violet Fox on Black Friday. It’s the perfect work tote – it fits all of my essentials – and it is classic and stylish. I love this bag. That’s it – I love it!

Check back next month for more of what I’m loving!

60 Seconds of Chic

By Erika, Fashion Expert

As you may know, I’m away from home this week. It’s our son’s second trip and the first time he took a flight. He’s a great traveler but hasn’t been sleeping well (I think the unfamiliar bed has everything to do with it). As a result, Momma has not been sleeping well (or at all).

That’s why the tip in today’s 60 Seconds of Chic is so important that I needed its own blog post and not just an Instagram post. Check out my video as I share my secret for how to hide dark under-eye circles.

Here are the products I used to achieve my look:

Primer: Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer
Concealer: ELF Cosmetics 16HR Camo Concealer
Foundation: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Powder: Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

Check out a little before and after action as well!

Before
After

I suppose if nothing else works, the conceal function on FaceTune is always an option!! Luckily for us, my double concealer technique should do the trick!

Outfit of the Week: Commanding Camo

By Erika, Fashion Expert

As the mother of an infant, getting out of the door each morning for work (it’s my first week back) doesn’t look like it used to. This is for a couple of reasons. First, there is a whole new tiny person that we also have to get ready. I’m lucky for two big reasons. One, hubby’s schedule means that he leaves a couple hours after me and so he’s home to help with the baby. And two, my mother is watching our son for us, which means there is no daycare drop off to manage and fit into our schedule. But even with all that help, my morning schedule and routine has changed drastically.

In addition to a new routine, I’m also managing a new body and navigating my wardrobe with it. I’m one of those women who is really annoying – I can already fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes. And, truth be told, some of them are even too big (huge shout out to our personal trainer who worked with me throughout the duration of my pregnancy). And even though I’ve been a plus size girl for a long while, I’m STILL getting used to my post-pregnancy body which comes complete with a squishier tummy and a less perky chest (supported by a nursing bra, which, just, NO).

A new routine and new body means that I am even more thoughtful about what I wear each day. It also means that I lean more heavily on my style uniform of a tie-neck blouse and pencil skirt to feel confident. Why? Because I know I can look good in my uniform quick, fast and in a hurry.

If you follow YCS on Instagram (if you don’t, why not? Follow along!), then you may have seen this photo of my three favorite tiny humans . . .

Our kids are often inspiring me and this week they inspired my “Outfit of the Week” – a twist on my faithful uniform.

Jacket: Dressbarn (unavailable, similar here, here, and here)
Blouse: Lane Bryant (old, similar here, here and here)
Skirt: Eloquii (old, similar here and here)

I decided to pull out a polka dot tie-neck blouse and pair it with a camouflage skirt. This is definitely a combo most people would shy away from; I’m sure most people never thought camo was work-appropriate. Yet, here we are – and it works!

The leather jacket ties the look together and tones down the patterns. Subtly patterned tights (black polka dots) and a simple black heel completes this look.

When you have a style uniform, it makes getting ready fast so much easier. And knowing what I’m going to wear gives me a few extra minutes each morning to snuggle my son and prepare for the day.

So tell me, what is your favorite look you wore this week? Do you have a style uniform? If so, what is it and why do you love it?

5 Essentials for a Chic New Mom

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Being a new mom isn’t easy. Of course, I’d read that and people told me that. But nothing fully prepares you for just how true those words are until you have a newborn baby of your own. I, of course, totally believed that I would be killing the new mom game and would be prancing around like the chic celebrities we see on TV, in magazines and on Instagram (yeah, the ones with teams of people who help and support them). But alas, when James was born, I was NOT.

In fact, when my son was born it took me the amount of time we spent in the hospital to realize that it would be some time before I was as chic as I thought I would be. Mostly because I wanted to spend my free time getting extra ZZZs, finally taking a shower, or catching up on housework. I had to decide what items were essential for me, which of those I could find and elevate, from there, I came up with my “5 Essentials for Chic New Moms.”

Baby Wrap

I was told by numerous moms that I would need a baby wrap. But, if I’m being honest, I was skeptical if it would work on me as a plus sized mom. I was wrong – it works and I can’t live without my wrap! What got me over the hump? Well, research about which ones work for plus size Mommas. And an Instagram account called @plussizebabywearing, which features plus size mommas wearing their babies in a variety of ways with different baby wraps. We ended up going with a Boba Wrap, which I love. But there are a TON of various brands and styles for you to choose from. And, because I love my baby wrap so much, I am excited to say that we sell EGMAO Baby Wraps on The Chic Boutique.

Wrap: Boba

Stylish Leggings

OK, I’ll admit, I used to be squarely on team “leggings aren’t pants.” I also only owned one pair of sweatpants until I got married. Needless to say, I have changed my ways. As a new mom who wanted to look great but who is often short on time, still recovering from childbirth and learning to embrace her postpartum body, leggings became my best friend for a while. I figured I might as well embrace leggings and rock stylish ones on the daily. I already had a ton of cute workout leggings with cut-outs, patterns, and bright colors. But I also needed some that I could wear out – like to events or just dinner with my husband. So I invested in a couple of pairs – faux leather, moto, etc. I love them. And I’m not sure how I’m ever going to go back to work since I can’t wear leggings to the office every day.

Leggings: Popfit Clothing

Backpack Diaper Bag

There is no shortage of diaper bags on the market for parents these days. But trust me, a backpack diaper bag is the way to go. When you are wrangling a baby, their car seat or stroller, your purse, and potentially whatever other crap you inevitably have as a mom, the LAST thing you feel like dealing with is a shoulder bag. With a backpack diaper bag you can sling it right over your shoulders and have both hands free to maneuver the 50 million other things you’ll have your hands full with. We scored our bag on Amazon Prime Day but I honestly wish I had taken more time to pick it out. Ours is incredibly functional with tons of pouches and pockets (and even a phone charging port) – which you’ll need – however, they sell bags exactly like ours in all sorts of cute and fun patterns. Sure, grey is neutral and always in style, but how cute are these designs? No matter what you get, I’d definitely recommend a backpack diaper bag.

Baby Brezza One-Step Bottle Sterilizer Dryer

So no, you can’t wear this one, but OMG do you need it! You’re going to be washing more bottles, nipples, pump parts and binkies than you’ll know what to do with. And now, bottles come with extra little inserts to keep babies from having gas, colic and reflux. It’s a LOT. And sterilizing them the old fashioned way is time consuming and a pain. But this Baby Brezza One-Step Bottle Sterilizer Dryer is a life saver! You can sterilize and dry your bottles and pump parts all in one-step. Or, if your like me, use the dry-only function after each wash. And it fits various bottle brands, so whether you are using Avent, Dr. Brown’s, Parent’s Choice, or something else entirely, it will work! It’s such a time saver, which is all you want when you’re short on time!

Eye Masks

As a new mom you should just go ahead and embrace the fact that you are going to be tired. Like, really tired. Even if your baby sleeps (which, they probably won’t in the beginning) you will likely still be tired. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever not be tired again. And, while coffee and other caffeinated beverages help, they cannot keep you from LOOKING tired. Which is why, over the last 16 weeks, I have become a connoisseur of eye masks. I have tried them all. Like ALL of them. If you follow me on IG, then you already know that I am incredibly impressed with Le Gushe’s 24K Gold Under Eye Mask which helps with dark circles, wrinkles, and puffiness. I’m also pleased to say we sell our own 24K gold eye masks on The Chic Boutique as well. No matter where you buy your masks from, get some. Like a lot! You’ll thank me later.

Le Gushe’s 24K Gold Under Eye Mask

I’m sure that as I continue my journey as a new mom, I’ll have tons of other products to share with you guys. But for now, these should get you started. For my pregnant YCS family, do you guys want me to share my pregnancy essentials? Let me know!!

Happy New Year! We’ve Got News . . .

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2020 my chic family. I’m so glad to be in a new year and new decade, how about you? I know it has been a literal year since we’ve been together. A LOT has happened in that year – most importantly, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family this past September!

Photo: Alicia Wiley Photography
Photo: Bella Baby Photography

I know that 2020 feels like a big year for a lot of us! A new year, new decade, fresh start. A clean slate, so to speak. I, for one, am super excited for all that 2020 will bring – both personally and professionally. And, lucky for my chic family, the excitement starts today!

The Big News

No, we’re not having another baby (people keep asking me that!!!). But I am birthing something of a different sort. It is with extreme excitement that today I launch, The Chic Boutique.

The Chic Boutique is an online boutique, personally curated by me, offering various clothing, accessories, and beauty products that are essential for stylish men and women. I’m so excited to launch the boutique because it features products that I love and things that live in my closet – like the perfect white t-shirt, stylish sneakers, and game-changing handbags.

I’m also really excited because I’ve been learning more about sustainable fashion, fashion with a message, and fashion from local artisans around the world. I can use the “Message Collection” to feature this type of fashion. Right now, the Message Collection features one of my favorite pieces on the site, the SLATE + SALT Embroidered Rainbow Clutch, produced in an ethical manner by the Hmong women of Thailand. I’m really excited to continue to do more research and bring more sustainable and ethical fashion to the site.

SLATE + SALT

Another part of the site I’m incredibly excited about is “The Chic List.” The Chic List is a quarterly collection of must-have items available at The Chic Boutique. These items are handpicked by our The Chic Boutique team and represent our favorite items in the store and our own personal closets.

I’m REALLY excited about The Chic List because I’ll be bringing in Guest Editors from time to time to help curate the list. This quarter’s list features items like a Deep Sea Caviar Black Gold Eye Mask (for just $5!!) and really cute animal print cross trainers (which are selling out fast!). Be sure to check out The Chic List when you visit the website.

As you can see, I’m incredibly excited about this new venture. The store really has many of my own personal essentials – like stylish baby burp bibs (I know you didn’t think my son had any old type of burp cloth) to cheeky t-shirts. And, I’m pleased to feature items for my plus size and curvy girls too! You know I wouldn’t have a shop where I couldn’t shop!! New products will be added to the store on a regular basis. I’m also very excited because we have a few collaborations in the works!!

Thank you in advance for visiting our site and shopping with The Chic Boutique (thechicboutique.store).

What Else is in Store for 2020?

OMG! So much! In addition to regular YCS blog content on Mondays and Thursdays, you can look forward to more video content from us on social media including 60-second and 3-minute tutorials, product reviews, and behind-the-scenes footage.

We are also launching new lookbooks, e-books and workbooks to help you elevate your style – the first of which comes out in January 2020!

Your Chic is Showing will also be launching new co-horts for “6 Weeks to a Fashionista,” “Discovering Your Signature Style,” “How to Dress Your Body Type,” and “Dress Like a Girl Boss” through our Fashion Education program.

As you can see, Your Chic is Showing has a LOT cooking for 2020. I can’t wait to share with you all, work with you all, and make 2020 our most stylish year yet!

5 Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Those Who Like to Live Dangerously and Shop at the Last Minute

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I don’t necessarily like living on the edge.  OK, I don’t like it at all.  But I know some of you do and that extreme Christmas shopping is your thing.  I’m still so tickled by the texts I get on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of December asking what I think “so and so” would like for Christmas.  Just having to come up with ideas stresses me out – so I can’t imagine having to fight off the crowds two and three days before Christmas.  Hopefully, this list will help you adrenaline junkies who love the adventure of completing your holiday shopping just under the deadline!

For the Bride or Groom that is Changing Their Name

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I have said this many times – and will keep saying – Hitchswitch is one of the very best wedding gifts I received.  Although my husband couldn’t use it, it made the process of legally changing my name relatively painless.  There are three package options; but please, splurge on the Platinum Package as your gift.  For only $89 the recipient will receive the full suite of Hitchswitch services include ready-to-ship passport photo (no post office line or awkward photos) and a personal name change concierge who will help with things like getting hotel and airline miles straightened out.  You recipient will be forever grateful!

For the Bibliophile

I’m not sure why I waited so long to get a subscription to Audible but now I can’t imagine life without it!  I love to listen to my podcasts on my drive to and from work and now I mix up my rotation with audiobooks.  There are thousands of titles to choose from plus a monthly selection of free original books that are a part of the subscription.  You can read everything from autobiographies to memoirs to the classics and everything in between.  Need a few recommendations to get started? I recommend:

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For the Sentimental Crowd

I found these little letter books and feel in love instantly! Lea Redmond’s “Letters to” series offers the buyer a chance to write meaningful notes and letters to loved ones that can be opened at the appropriate time.  For example, “Letters to Open When” allows you to write notes of encouragement, support, etc. to be opened when the recipient is having a rough time, needs a smile, or wants to be hugged by your words.  You can write letters to your parents, your children, and even your future self!  Bonus for you, two day shipping because Amazon Prime is GOAT.

For the Beauty Junky

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You may, or may not, have heard of Aztec Secret – Indian Healing Clay.  If you haven’t, now you have.  This incredible face mask has more than 19,000 reviews on Amazon and is said to work wonders for your skin.  I’ve only started using it in the last two weeks, but count me among the believers!  Any bonafide beauty junky is going to love – and swear by – the stuff!  Two-day shipping reigns supreme again when you order from Amazon.

For the Charitable Fashionista

Give the gift of a microfinance loan through Global Girlfriend and support women-owned small businesses in Africa.  Seriously, how cool is it that your donation can help break the cycle of poverty and boost economic development by providing women with business management training and financial assistance to start and grow their small businesses, specifically in Sierra Leone.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

I hope this list helps you round out your holiday shopping over the next few days!  And, of course, I’m wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and the happiest New Year!

Stay Chic,
Erika

YCS Bride Guide: The Wedding

By Erika, Fashion Expert

It’s hard to believe that almost nine months ago Roger and I tied the knot.  For a variety of reasons, I scaled back on the bride guide. But, I couldn’t leave you guys out of the big day.  And, now that I have finally committed to our final photos and ordered our wedding album (a zillion years later!!), I am happy to share some of my favorite photos from our special day with you all.

Be sure to check out the YCS Bride Guide for a list of all of our incredible wedding vendors!

Pre-Ceremony

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First Look

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Bridal Party & Family

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Bridal Portraits

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Wedding Ceremony

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The Reception

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