Saturday, December 31, 2011

seester time like whoa.

sorry i've been a little MIA these days.
first the internet and my laptop both decide to crash for me.
(guess they get tired during the holiday season, too.)
second, i've been hanging out with this pretty lady and her family.
it's been way too much fun to be hanging out with her than on the net. 

so until next year, wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
here's to a rocking 2012!

much love.
[happy new year, friend.]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jane By Design: Style Challenge #5

guess what?! someone totally creamed ABC's Jane By Design Style Challenge #4 and is now here ready to head-on Style Challenge #5. say whaaaat?! you heard it - and seriously, couldn't have done it without YOU awesome people. we are just about to round the bend and i can sense the finish line is super close so thank you, thank you, dear friends! keep those pom-poms going and those voices cheering. i totally hear ya!

so here we are with challenge #5, where we are going to lend a hand to Jane, Gray's fabulous assistant. as she has informed me (and as The Devil Wears Prada has educated me), those that are employed by the fashion world live a very busy, jam-packed life. they go from meetings to social events to dinner dates back to back to back. 

and those events do not call for throwing off the office attire and throwing on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. more like, how creative can you get from office wear to evening wear...? 

today's challenge calls out that very question with this plain white collared shirt. i especially loved this challenge since i saw the shirt similar to that of a canvas. how do i take something plain and white and turn it into something into a work of art, a masterpiece? "how did you ever do it, ilene?" you ask? my advice is this: the key to it is LAYERING.

{day/office attire.} 

using the white shirt like a base, i layered a print cropped top and a copper-toned blazer over the it. the waist-high skirt creates structure to the looser top - and a chunky, colorful necklace gives contrast and an extra punch of color. both the blazer and the black-rimmed glasses keeps things professional. shoes would stay classy, a pair of black platforms.

{night/cocktail party attire.}

the true statement piece to this outfit is that sequined black tank layered over the white tee. a fitted black blazer keeps things structured, while a hot pink mini silk skirt keeps things flirty and ready for a good time. by popping up the collar of the white tee and the blazer, you are saying it's time to let loose and have a real good time (in the words of Pitbull and Dr. Pepper).

so there you go! with a little bit of layering and pops of color, you have your ultimate day to night look for your own white t-shirt!

do you have any advice to offer Jane? she's gonna need all the help she can get as fashion season gets busy again with the brand new year! leave your day to night fashion styling tips HERE and let them know that Much Love, illy sent you! need some inspiration? Jane sent us this video for an extra ounce of help! 

like i said, we are nearing the finish line - which also means, we are super close to the premiere of ABC Family's Jane by Design! and in the midst of all the crazy style challenges and holiday happenings, did i ever mention that the winner of these challenges receives a blog mention in the premiere episode?! holla! how exciting would that be?! 

thanks for hanging in here with me, friends! 
(we will be back to the regularly scheduled program in the new year...)
you guys rock my face off each and every day - so i can't say it enough, thank YOU!

much love.
[happy friday, friend.]

p.s. don't forget the smashing giveaway happening HERE!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

sponsor love + giveaway with This Enchanted Pixie.

meet Polly of This Enchanted Pixie.

i'd have to say that when it comes to a certain style, i am a major fan of nearly any style in fashion! the bohemian look is one of my top favorites - and today's shop showcases you that exact style. *happy dance and clap of hands in unison* Polly, the amazing creator behind this lovelies, is way talented in her eye for color and variety as she puts together her whimsical, bohemian pieces!


and today, one of your  (in classic napoleon dynamite fashion) luuuuucky Much Love, illy readers get the chance to win a whopping $25 shop credit! with that, you can lay your hands on these or this. well, that's what i would do if i won - hehe.

{how to enter:}

stop by This Enchanted Pixie and comment below on what you'd spend the shop credit on if you win!

{really, really wanna win?}
additional comments - keep in separate comments to count as individual entries

-"heart" This Enchanted Pixie via Etsy (1 entry)
 -be a GFC public follower of this blog (1 entry)
- be a GFC public follower of the This Enchanted Pixie blog (1 entry)
- "like" This Enchanted Pixie's facebook page (1 entry)
- follow @pixie_polly and @muchloveilly via Twitter (1 entry)
- blog, tweet or facebook about this giveaway and include link in your comment!

feel free to copy/paste the following tweet:
crossing my fingers to win @pixie_polly's suh-weet giveaway over at @muchloveilly's bloggity-blog!

{don't wanna wait?}
use coupon code MUCHLOVEILLY for 25% off of your entire order from This Enchanted Pixie!

Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, illy readers thru January 3rd.
Winner will be announced on January 4th.

much love.
[happy wednesday, friend.]

p.s. are you Evanne of Simply FABulous (#104)?! welp, you just won the adorable Soaktree giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize! congrats to Evanne and thank YOU, Jihee of The Soaktree, for a fantastic giveaway!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jane By Design: Style Challenge #4

 granny sweater: ABC family / striped sweater: TJMaxx / jeans: Belk / Farron boots: c/o Blowfish Shoes 

grandma got hit by a reindeer - and look! i got stuck with her ugly christmas sweater! 
okay, not really (i actually think that song is mega tragic -  i do not wish that tragedy upon any grandmother!), but Gray Chandler decided that this ugly Christmas sweater would be super fitting for ABC Family's Jane By Design Style Challenge #4, so we're gonna dive in  full force with mega packed DIY post.

Challenge #4 called for us to use every single bit of creative juice in my brain, heart, and blood  and come up with 2012's most fashionable trend! what did i envision as next year's biggest trend? giant sweater bow corsages!

step 1: pick out an ugly christmas sweater like so - and pick out thread and your favorite vintage buttons.

step 2: lay the sweater our flat on the floor and cut the back into long strips. 

 step #4: take one strip and fold in half. fold a second time so that the bottoms criss-cross. sew a small knot at it's base to keep from unfolding. make 4 of these.

step #4: lay 4 finished strips on top of each other. align them in the shape of a flower or a gift bow. sew at center.

step #5: take 2 more strips and do the same as step #4, but make the folds smaller to allow 3 folds instead of the original 2. do this twice with 2 strips.

step #6: sew second sets of finished stripes together and then sew on top of sweater flower. cut out a circle from sweater and sew on top of the center to give it a more completed look.

step #7: sew vintage button of choice over the center of the flower (on top of the previously sewn circle). cutting the beads off of the ugly Christmas sweater, i sewed them around the vintage bead to create a pearl border. 

step #8: turn the sweater flower over. cut out a felt circle to cover the stitches. last but not least, glue a pin. you can cover this pin with more of the sweater material to give it a more finished, clean look.

and wah-la! 

it's your very own giant sweater flower bow corsage, 
which as i predict will be all the rage come year 2012!

 so be sure to be on the lookout for them in your next issue of Instyle or on the red carpet 'cause i assure you, it's gonna be there! *wink*

what about you, friend?! do you have any fun, stylish DIY's to share? i'd love to see and so would the awesome folks over at ABC Family's Jane By Design! be sure to post them over HERE (JBD Facebook page) and let them know i sent ya! and if you are need for some more inspiration, be sure to check out this sweet video they sent for us!

and again, you guys seriously ROCK my face off - thank YOU for your support as i've pressed on in these crazy, fun challenges. keep those pom-poms close by and cheerleader skirts on 'cause i'm hoping to make it through a few more of these Style Challenges!

much love.
[happy tuesday, friend.]

p.s. just a couple more days left to enter The Soaktree giveaway HERE!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

this is what christmas means to me, my love.

i just woke up from the best Christmas afternoon nap, lounging around in my Hello Kitty pj's (present from my sister, Ashley) with a mug of hot chocolate and A Christmas Story playing in the background. mom and dad are drinking their cup of afternoon coffee and Ashley is relaxing on the mattress residing in the middle of our living room floor. comforters and pillows are scattered about the room from last night's Christmas eve family camp-out (a yearly tradition).  and tomorrow Christmas continues with our family as my other sister and her family travel from Iowa - and we'll exchange presents, indulge in other huge family meal, and laugh more than usual.

for those of you that have read my blog for awhile now or know me in person, know that family plays a huge role in my life. i have been blessed with a tight-knit family and holidays, especially Christmas, are even more special because of these crazy awesome people in my life.

however, Christmas means even more to me and my family than the presents and the good eating and the loving family time - though those are all good things (and you know that i love all things!) - what Christmas means to me is that God sent His Son, Jesus, from heaven to be born on this earth so that He could die on a cross and then rise from the dead. he was born to die so that we could truly live. because of this, we are given the opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus and what he did for us, so that we can have a relationship with Him - and because of this reminder during this holiday, it really does make Christmastime the most wonderful time of the year! 

"...for today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:11

wishing you the very merriest of Christmas, dear friend.
you are so loved. 

much love.
[merry christmas, friend.]

Friday, December 23, 2011

mustache sticks are a must for every party.

 a couple of weeks ago, my sister and i hosted a Christmas Glove Swap partaaaaay for some of her friends - and i might have to say that i had more fun that the ladies that attended. i mean, come on - mustaches, christmas lights, hot chocolate, Elf, and sweet glove swaps (you know that i have mad love for that sort of thing - right, Sandy?!) 

besides the large amounts of hot chocolate inhaled and the glove swap, the photobooth was one of my favorite parts of the party! because of that, i've officially decided that a photobooth is a MUST for every party i host. 

and even mom and dad couldn't help but join in the fun.
so next party i host, care to grab a 'stache and prep those tastebuds for some hot chocolate goodness?! 
i expect to you there, folks.

much love.
[happy friday, friend + merry, merry christmas!]

p.s. be sure to enter The Soaktree giveaway - you don't wanna miss out!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jane By Design: Style Challenge #3

when i get excited about anything i like to celebrate it.
so join me as i happy dance for a second here as well as celebrate with some hot chocolate with extra whip cream and red/green sprinkles (i'll try not to spill the hot chocolate on the carpet - whoops!). why am i happy dancing? because YOU awesome people rock! why? for two awesome reasons: 1) i passed the Jane By Design Style Challenge #2 and am charging forward to Style Challenge #3! and 2) you guys rock with your continued support through this - thank you, thank you, and thank YOU

so with Style Challenge #3 we were asked to pull out the floral paper bag (in photo above) from the trunk, representing the challenge. we were then told to go to our closets and pick out a purse that beset described our personality. okay, i love bags - almost as much as i love shoes - so it was honestly a little bit tricky but i loved the challenge! 

dress: base exchange / jeans: Belk / hat, ring: f21 / Beams: c/o Blowfish Shoes / Rosette bag: c/o Jototes / watch: Fossil

so after much deliberation (said with *dramatic emphasis* - hehe - not really) i decided that my Jototes teal rosette bag best describes me. first off, everyone who knows what a JoTotes bag knows that it's best feature is what i love the most about it  - that it's part purse and part camera bag! i can walk around with my DSLR camera and lens and instax mini and rock out in style, as well as have all my every day essentials that any girl would have in her purse. 

anyone who knows me that i have an eager thirst for living life to the fullest. i want to experience all of it and i want to capture all of it...for me to savor and to look back on - and how i capture and express life best is through photography and writing. i have thousands of scarp-booked pages, journal entries, blog posts, photo albums, letters, etc.  where i have done the best way that i could to capture life. my camera (and notebooks!) has always been a part of me - and this bag allows me to do that.

i also am obsessed with color. i love a pop of color in any outfit or in any setting - and this bag does that very thing. this bag adds a punch of color to an outfit, just as i love keeping life colorful and full of variety. 

like my Jototes teal rosette bag, i want to soak up and capture every minute of life while living it out in color and variety, experiencing everything and anything! 

and i would love the chance to make it to Style Challenge #4, so i'd love if you can help cheer me on by visiting the Jane By Design Facebook page and leave a comment with which bag in your closet expresses YOU best - and be sure to let them know that Much Love, illy sent you! (need some inspiration? here's a clip to help you out!) 

much love.
[happy thursday, friend.]

p.s. be sure to enter the incredible Soaktree giveaway happening HERE!