A Year In Review: 2016

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I’ve had a wonderful year. There’s that quote from One Tree Hill where Nathan says “One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today”. I feel that way about this year. One day I was planning for it to start and just a day later, I’m chit chatting about it ending. In between there, I managed to accomplish a few things that I feel good about.

No. This is the year that I finally learned to say no. If I didn’t want to do it, I passed. If the dress didn’t fit properly, I took it back to the store. If my feelings were hurt, I confronted them. This was just a year of saying no to displeasure and I feel better for it.

Stretch. In addition to saying no, I have really been making an effort to stretch myself. Last December, I started a new career path which has challenged this self proclaimed introvert. Each day I’ve stretched to perform a little better, do a little more, all while making sure that I stay true to who I really am. This is a concept I have been applying not just at work but also in my day to day life. If I can be a little kinder, I am. If there is a show that isn’t necessarily the genre I would usually enjoy, I at least try to give it a chance. If I can go to the gym, if only for twenty minutes, I do.

Or. It’s also been the year of the ultimatum for me. According to every skill finder test ever, I am harmonious. I try to create harmony and peace where ever I am. This often means that I people please and in pleasing others, I rarely please myself. This year I have been doling out a lot of the word “or”. I would like to be treated this way or we can not continue this relationship… You need to pull your weight by this date or I can no longer help you… I demand this kind of love as demonstrated by… or I can no longer engage. You would be surprised at how easy it is to be met half way when you make your intentions both known and quantifiable.

Fear I feel like I’m playing double dutch in life, standing on the sideline, constantly trying to figure out when the best moment is to get in. And fear gives me such a hard time getting in. This year, I have really thrown fear out the window. If there is something I had a tingle of wanting to do, I did it and those are some of the moments I remember best.

Love. It seems all of our closest friends got engaged this year and it’s really got me thinking about how I love and how I like to be loved. This year, I have loved better than ever before especially in my own home within my own marriage. It seems my husband and I have hit our stride. Our relationship has hit this gentle streak where we are able to just coast and its wonderful.

There are tangibles a plenty from this year but like every other year, what I am really working on are the intangibles. What did you work on this year, even if you didn’t realize you were working on it at the time?

XOXO Prepfordwife

 

 

 

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New Year’s Eve LBD

The Little Black Dress is having a moment in my house. I realized a month ago I had none so quickly went out and purchased two in order to rectify that.

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Dress| Necklace| Vintage J.Crew Clutch (similar, similar, steal!) |Bracelet| Earrings | Tights| Shoes (DIY)

This Maison Jules lbd quickly rose to the level of being one of my favorites. For one, it has bows. It’s a no brainer. Two, it’s the right length in the back which is always a plus. Three, that little bit of gold sparkle on the bow won me over.

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I’m keeping the styling for this look super simple for New Year’s Eve. Pairing this simple dress with my trusty monogram necklace and gold hoop earrings.

dsc_0475I also paired it with a gold confetti clutch and my new favorite DIY Bow pumps version of the J. Crew Olive Pumps. A few post ago, I lamented how these pumps just down right bored me. Well adding a bow was the perfect solution. They are fun and cute and I find myself reaching for them a ton this holiday season. Also, if I had a dollar for every compliment I’ve received on this easy bow DIY, they shoes would have paid for themselves several times over. A total win.

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I got this clutch for a steal some time ago and it’s just now coming out of my closet. Honestly, I think I need to do less shopping and more peaking around in there, because this purse has never seen the light of day. Now that I’ve (re)discovered it, I can’t help but see all the possibilities especially with wedding season just around the corner. At least in my mind it is.

What are some of the things in your closet that desperately deserve to see the light of day?

XOXO Prepfordwife

 

Classy Last Minute Hostess Gifts

My mom has always been the “Don’t show up empty handed” kind of mom. This holiday season, if you are not staying home for the holiday, then you should be looking for hostess (or host, keeping it gender neural around these parts) gifts. If this post is the first time you have heard those words, then you definitely should be looking for hostess gifts. Chances are this is last minute for you so here’s a list of fun hostess gifts that you can snag on the way in a range of prices.

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Baked Goods Chances are there is a grocery store on your route, stop in and purchase a pie or some other generally loved dessert. Bonus points if you stop at a local bakery instead of a grocery store. If you live in an area where one is accessible, my vote is always on a cake from Publix. I’ve seen the light and I’m never going back.

Cutting board/ Cheese plate There is no such thing as too many cutting boards especially around the holiday. You can snag one with your host’s last initial from a Monogram shop or William Sonoma or if you are super last minute, a grocery store should stock a few selections.The same applies for little cheese plates.

Coffee Here’s the thing, unless your host hates coffee or is a coffee elitist, almost any bag will do. Pick the prettiest one or the one that comes pre-wrapped in fancy Christmas cellophane and go for it. If you have an absolute favorite that you are dying to share, that is a beautiful option as well. My favorite is the Costa Rican Tarrazu from Trader Joe’s. it’s affordable and delicious.

Herbs Stop at a grocery store that you know has herbs. They often come pre potted or if you know the host(ess) has crafty younger kids, those do it yourself kits would be lovely as well.

Dish soap It’s important to go for the artisan soaps here. If you pass a Target, the world is truly your oyster. My husband is obsessed with the Mrs. Meyer’s soaps. Snag a hand soap and dish soap. Place them in a cute neutral colored tea towel and bind them with a ribbon from the craft aisle. Ten dollars well spent. There are also other brands that smell and look wonderful and are readily available like Method, Seventh generation, J. R. Watkins, etc. etc.

Kitchen Linens Pot holders, tea towels, cute aprons, dish clothes. You name it, they can all be found in a grocery store or a nearby TjMaxx. We snagged a cute set with donuts and polka dots from our local Home Goods. Tailor your gift to your host and your host’s kitchen. Hostess a huge Beyoncé fan? This gorgeous Lemon set was available at our local Marshalls. Put a cute (and appropriate lyric on the tag) and credit Beyoncé and sign your name. Hostess quite the pastry chef in the making? Cute little towels like this “Fresh and Delicious” set from Target would do the trick. Don’t know your host that well? Keep it simple and go with white or neutral.

Bottle Opener Duh? People need bottle openers and wine bottle openers. Grab the cutest bottle opener like this one from J. Crew. Which brings me right to my next point…

Wine How great of a guest would you be to bring wine with the bottle? Don’t know what your host likes? Stop into wherever you get your wine usually and ask them for suggestions. They’re the experts. Also a great option is wine adjacent as I like to call it. Sparkling cider for the non-imbibers in your life or if your host is into microbrew, pick up a few local brews for them to try. Great places to dabble in often let you make your own six pack which gives them the chance to try a few things when guest leave and they need alcohol as they prepare to clean up a mess.

Vintage games Is there a game that your family loves? Bring one for your hostess. My husband and his family are really into dominoes and so a beautiful set would be fantastic to bring to family friends who we think would like them. Don’t mind starting a holiday fight? Bring a pack of brand new Uno cards to leave at the home. Target currently carries a retro set that gifts well.

Dog Treats These are obviously going to only be an option if the host has a dog. I honestly would have never thought of these as an option but last year my mother in law purchased Christmas gifts for our two pups and I thought how cute they would be to gift to a doggy parent. Make sure to get grain free just in case the puppy friend may have an allergy

Cute coasters You could absolutely find a great set of cute preppy coasters online and have them expedited to your home in time for the holidays. or you can once more stop into your local West Elm, TjMaxx or Target depending on your price point. Pick a set that is neutral or that you know would match your host’s home.

Pro tip: You can combine any of the choice from this list for a slightly more complex and decorative gift like the tea towels and the Mrs. Meyer’s. If you have time (and aren’t the driver) remove the original packaging. I keep scissors, tape, ribbons and tissue paper in my car as ebay/poshmark/gift supplies and they’ve come in super handy last minute. Want to buy the coffee from Trader Joes’s but hate the packaging? Buy a large mason jar, empty the coffee into it and then use your most beautiful handwriting to label the lid. Wrap some ribbon around the neck of the jar and go.

Or, even more useful, just buy the product that comes in the most lovely packaging in the first place. I can’t be the only person who has picked a brand based on the packaging. Marketing and presentation are everything and that includes for a hostess gift. If you are in a super market that has a locally grown section, scope out some of those items. Maybe there’s a sauce, seasoning or drink that would be appropriate.

What’s your favorite last minute hostess gift?

XOXO Prepfordwife

Little Black (and white) dress

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I’ve loved this Maison Jules dress since I first saw it on blogger, Color Me Courtney. It’s the perfect Christmas and New Year’s little black dress. The lace illusion neckline with the scalloped sleeve adds something a little special to the dress while the collar keeps me well within my daily button down uniform.

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It’s a bit shorter than knee length and let’s be honest here, much of the room is being taken up by my hips. So it may even be a bit longer on you. Still, it mom-propriate and can be worn for holidays around the family but can also be worn as a cute little New Year’s Eve dress with a sparkly shoe with friends.

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I paired this dress with a suede kitten heel that I found in the back of my closet with a tied bow at the ankle. I’m not saying a bow is going to solve world hunger or any large problems but at this time of year, I find it solving a lot of my problems. If I were going to wear this to something a bit more formal, I would pair with a much, much larger bow around the ankle.

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If black and white is not your thing (which I don’t completely understand about you) then it also comes in a vintage wine color. It’s decided. I needed it. You need it. Go get it.

What’s your favorite holiday dress right now? Shoot me a link. Maybe I need it too.

XOXO Prepford Wife

Holiday Energy Charge

 

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Pajama set (long sleevetipped, striped, great deal)

Tis the season to be… stressed. I always find myself on the brink of a break down around the holidays. It’s the fourth quarter. The weather is shifting back and forth in the South and my body is trying to decide if it wants to be sick. Christmas parties, seasonal traveling, people wearing these shoes in my house (a tidy introverts biggest woes). Compound that with the fact that I can never quite seem to get all my gifts together in time and you have the recipe for disaster.

I am learning to realize that I can’t control everything and to just breathe through the moment. Here are some things I’m doing to recharge during the holiday.

  1. More running. All of holiday eating and no sun makes me incredibly sluggish. I am using this time to make sure that I am keeping to the activities that I know make me feel good including running. I’ve also picked up water aerobics. I know it’s for the elderly but as someone with a history of swimming and bad joints, water aerobics is helping me acclimate to being in the pool and not kill my knees in the process. Plus the women are soooo sweet.
  2. Ignore the phone. If the phone rings and it isn’t a work call, I’ve been learning to say no. People will leave a voicemail if it’s important and if its just another “Happy Holiday” call, I call back when I feel comfortable (I try to do this within 48 hours).
  3. Skip the holiday parties. Unless its mandatory, I am skipping holiday parties and traditions that I don’t necessarily look forward to. My favorite thing about my husband is that he doesn’t mind just sitting home with just us and the dogs.
  4. Expedited shipping. If I can help it, I am not shopping. The mall sends my nerves into a frenzy and this time of year. I am only shopping in store if I can guarantee there won’t be a crowd which is darn near impossible this time of year so mostly I am shopping online and pay those extra few dollars to make sure my purchases arrive in a timely manner. So far so good.
  5. Eat the second cupcake. I refuse to stress about my weight this holiday season. I am just eating as well as I can and indulging when I feel the need. If I want the second cupcake, I have it.
  6. Staying spiritually in tuned. Whatever I do by way of spirituality, I am making sure that I keep to it. Whenever my life is a disarray, I can often chart it back to a lack of prayer and meditation so even with all the frenzy, I’m making sure to still to my plan.
  7. Delete the emails. I get so many sale emails and I am deleting without opening. Unless of course there is something I have already had my eye on. If there is an item, I already needed I open the email for the coupon code. Besides that, promotional emails just mean more clutter.
  8. Wearing clothes that feel good. I’ve vowed to only wear clothes that I love. If it doesn’t fit or doesn’t make me feel like the best version of myself, it can stay in the closet this season. I know my feelings of self are closely tied to my outward expressions so I am making sure to take account of that.

I think if I stick to these things, I can make it through the holiday season with my sanity intact. What are you doing to stay sane this holiday season?

XO Prepford

Insecuri-tees

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If you live on this planet, hopefully by now you’ve seen the Issa Rae HBO hit, Insecure. If you haven’t, let’s quickly get you up to speed. Insecure follows two black best friends, Issa and Molly, as they go through the awkward trials of being modern women. You can catch the half hour comedy on Sunday nights at 10:30. If that’s too late for you, just watch it on HBO Go or HBO Now like the rest of us.

Anyway, Insecure features Issa Rae and her dope wardrobe styled by herself and costume designer, Ayanna James. In an effort to keep her look authentic much of the twenty something wardrobe features, you guessed it, tees.

From the very first episode, I wanted all the tees. Give them all to me. So like a true blogger, I tracked down a few of my favorites from the show and collected them here for you guys. They would make awesome gifts for the tshirt goddess in your life.insecuritee

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Speaking of tees, today, I’m giving you guys a looksy at my favorite tshirt ever.

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How on earth could I pass on a shirt with Coretta and Cardi B. on it? That’s right, I couldn’t.

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The shirt comes from the quote “I am Whitley Gilbert. I am Cardi B. I am Coretta Scott King. I am Freddie Brooks. I’m every woman, it’s all in me.” The quote and the lovely shirt are both from self proclaimed “Glitter and Hustle Influencer”, Maura Chanz. If you are ever just needing a heavy helping of black girl excellence and fabulous hair, peruse her instagram at you leisure.

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Layered casually with a jacket and jeans but dressed up with stacked pearls, I can easily see myself putting this lilac beauty in my constant rotation. In comes in a few colors and would be a lovely gift for the Cardi B fan in your life. The shop also has a bunch of other great black girl centric shirts if this one isn’t exactly your speed.

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Present Presents

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I’m not a very good person to Christmas shop for. I have relativity expensive taste or I want items that can’t be found in a store like “Grail items”. Combine that with the fact that I always have items in my cart that I am considering pulling the trigger on, and I’m just a flat out pain in the rear to buy for.

Here are a few things that I have in my online shopping cart or *cough cough* on the way in the mail for me. Most of these would be amazing gifts for the preppy lady in your life.

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J. Crew Gayle Sweater is a sweater I fell in love with instantly. Unfortunately so did ever other blogger. Luckily they restocked my size yesterday AND it went to the sale section for $59.99 with an extra 40% AND free shipping. I heard it as a sign from God. The cherubs were practically singing in my ears. CLICK, ADD TO CART. Glad that I did because they were all sold out this morning.

External Hard drive An awesome gift for the blogger in your life or just anyone who saves a ton of pictures or information. I’ve seen the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie fails to back up just one too many times for me to not heed the warning. An external hard drive guarantees that all of your files are safe and that you don’t slow your computer way down with them.

Apple watch band While I love the red double tour band that I currently have and it’s totally appropriate for this time of year, I can’t wear it forever. The brown leather would be much more forgiving for everyday wear. Plus it’s unisex so it’s not just a good fit for me and the women in your life, it also makes for an awesome gift for the men in your life. As usual when it comes to anything that can be customized, I’m #teametsy. Etsy is a great way to buy direct and give to a small business. The amount of love that has gone into the purchases I’ve gotten on etsy is next to none.

“What would Cookie do?”  I’ve seen a number of iterations of this timeless classic mug but very few include notable black women. This shop features really cute ones with Cookie, Mary Jane and Olivia Pope. I’ve waffled back and forth on if I will purchase one of these or if I’m going to wait and see what other characters she’s going to add to the shop. I am patiently waiting for a Joan Clayton or Clair Huxtable mug. *squeals at the very thought*

Hunter Boots I have a red pair but I have been highly considering a matte green pair. They’re highly functional and one sale everywhere. Dare I pull the trigger on these?

Kate Spade Magnolia Bakery Purse This purse was way to expensive for me to justify the purchase but when it went to the Kate Spade Surprise Sale for $94, I quickly added it to my cart. Sadly it sold out while I was trying to check out. Since then I have seen a number of listings for an inflated rate and  am considering just buying them. This purse would be so cute for special occasions and as something to brighten a little black dress. All of Kate Spade’s statement purses are adorable but it’s always the ones that involve cake that leave me reeling.

HN Illustrations She makes the most beautiful prints, many of which are multi-racial. I can rarely find preppy prints with my skin tone so hers are always a win for me. And at $12 each, they are a great and pretty inexpensive gift. The one I selected is my favorite because she reminds me of the Black version of Hermione Granger that have been floating around the Harry Potter fandom.

What’s on your list to buy for yourself this holiday season?

XOXO Prepford Wife

PS Not featured gifts to myself include a few items from the Maison Jules collection from Macy’s that are on their way as we speak. What can I say, I like the gifts I buy myself the best.

Monday Means Struggle

With the holidays fast approaching, I have kind of been out of my usual routine on Sundays. And it shows. I couldn’t seem to motivate myself out of bed this morning. I was sluggish, sleepy and unprepared.

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Factor in this really gray weather and I couldn’t seem to get myself together this morning. Either way, the show must go on. In the coming weeks, I am going to do a much better job of getting myself up and prepared on Sundays so that I can do a better job of hitting the ground running for the work week. That means running all my errands early on Sundays and hopping in the bed on time so that I can be up bright and early for the work week. Especially in the new year.

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In the mean time, I’ll just keep wearing some of my favorite outfits to brighten up a gray day. This is one of my favorites and sometimes I have to ask myself if it’s a little inappropriate to wear mirrored shoes in an office environment. But you only live once (#yolo) and I think Drake and Michael Jackson would both approve of what I’m trying to do here for the metallic shoe movement.

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This skirt was one of my favorites from last season. I loved the print so much I purchased the skirt, dress, scarf and pants in it. *sheepish face*. But I love it paired with any pattern. I just make sure to keep it in the same color family to not make the look unbearable for work. Paired with this water proof navy trench to cover this look up for more conservative environments, I was (eventually) off to the races this morning.

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Shirt (thrifted, similar, similar)| Skirt (sold out, similar, similar)| Trench (sold out, similar, similar, similar!, plus size!)| Tights| Shoes (sold out, Similar, Great deal)| Umbrella

XO Prepfordwife

 

 

 

Christmas Gifts Past

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Coat| Shirt| Jeans| Socks| Boots| Bag

I’ve been thinking of what I want for this Christmas this year and it made me think of all of the amazing things I’ve received as a gift in the past. Over the next few days, I’ll be doing a Christmas Carol of sorts with gifts I’ve received in the past, what I’m buying in the present and what I hope to receive in the future.

Today’s post is a gift guide for her of all of the amazing basics, I’ve gotten in the last few years  based off of some of my tried and true favorites. I’m also going to include my husband favorites (of mine) on this list because he’s a much better gift buyer for me than I am.past-gits

Hunter boots Everyone should own a pair of good rain boots. I advocate for Hunter because not only are they on trend but they really are well made. I had a less expensive pair of rain boots and they sprung a leak  but the Hunters I own are withstanding the test of time.  I own the huntress boots in red which is always my go to for a pop of color. People seem to really love the hunter green so I guess for these I recommend that you know your audience. I’ve actually got my eye on the Bright cobalt at this moment. Don’t forget the Hunter Boot spray to avoid the boot bloom (that graying that will occur to the rubber)

Camp socks  I’m not wild about the hunter boot socks. I don’t know that they go with my aesthetic and they feel like wasted room. I always just layer my hunter boots with J. Crew’s camp socks. They make an amazing gift for anyone in your life without costing an arm and a leg. I usually buy the men’s instead of the women’s. I usually steal my husband’s because the colors and patterns are better.

Monogram necklace I finally caved and bought a monogram necklace now that my initials are permanent. It’s a wonderful gift especially if you have a new bride in your life.

Patagonia down sweater I actually have the North Face Quince sweater which is sold out everywhere. This is the Patagonia version and it  has fantastic reviews and comes in a variety of colors.

Illesteva shades I have been in love with the brand Illesteva Leonard shades since seeing Solange Knowles’ many moons ago. I tracked them down and knew they were a must have. Since then, I have gotten ample usage out of them. They are gorgeous with every outfit and the quality is next to none. They are one of the few pair of sunglasses that I have owned where they is not a single scratch.

Camel back Edy bottle  I’ve had camel backs, swell and hydroflask and I just keep coming back to Camelback. The bottle is well made and the bite tip works for me. Best of all the 0.75 L fits in my cup holder which is important for someone who spends as much time in the car as I do.

Apple watch and band If you’ve seen any of my recent outfit posts, you’ve more than likely seen my apple watch. I wear it every day with this double tour band and I am obsessed. When the series one came out I was hesitant to get it since the GPS couldn’t operate without the phone and you couldn’t technically swim with it. When they announced that the series two would offer those capabilities, I wanted to jump on it but I’m not someone who believes in pre-ordering. (Something about giving someone my money without getting anything back immediately freaks me out.) But after hunting it down, I couldn’t be more pleased. It helps me to check my notifications discreetly, track swims and runs without needing the phone. I also like the activity tracking. It isn’t something I thought that I would be very interested in because I am usually accountable to myself for working out but I have to say, it really helps to motivate me on days where I am not doing so well on my own. It definitely lives up to the hype for me.

If someone in your life already has the apple watch, then a spare band in their personal aesthetic would probably much needed. There are some amazing options on Etsy. These are a few of my favorites (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Transport tote I purchased this tote on a whim when it was on sale and it has been a fantastic buy. It has enough space for a working woman to carry all of her work needs, for moms to carry all of the baby diaper bag needs and for school aged ladies to carry a laptop, textbook and a notebook. It ages beautifully and can be personalized with a monogram or solo letter. Even better it’s 20% off today with the code SPLURGE and Madewell does free shipping. My kind of people.

Canvas Tote (pictured) is an obvious choice for me. It was an instant classic the moment I opened the package in the mail. There is obviously the LL Bean brand as well but after comparing between the two, I opted for Land’s End. If you sign up now for their email you get 40% off 1 item, plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

DIY Holiday Bow Pumps

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I’ve owned these J. Crew pumps for a little over a year now (which are 50% off now) and they’ve never been worn.  I give myself a ton of excuses like the suede is seasonal, the heels too chunky, I don’t wear much black. But if I’m just being honest with myself (and you), I find them booooring.

Cue music for very simple DIY. Attach a bow. Not once in my life has a bow ever steered me astray. So one quick visit to the fabric store and $3 later, I have a shoe that I actually love, and most importantly, wear.

It’s the perfect shoe for the season. It’s super festive and can be paired with a little black or red dress to fit right in for the holiday season  you can make the bow detachable by attaching it to a little hook that goes on the back of the shoe.  It’s not an option I was interested in because the bow goes with everything for me.

I purchased a 1 1/8 yards of fabric. I guesstimated based off of my previous experience of making bows and tying one together as a rough sketch in the store. You may want a smaller/larger bow for yourself so adjust accordingly.

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Fold your velvet strip in half and then cut. This gives you two pieces of velvet strip.

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Cut both strips in half. Then use one half of those strips to form the main part of the bow as seen below.

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After forming the main part of the bow. Glue it down with just a dab of glue. Cut the other half of the original strips by taking enough to rap around the center of the bows. See the picture below so you know exactly what I mean.

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Now you have your bows formed and those bows need tails.

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I cut one triangle first by eyeballing it. Then I used that one as a template by placing the other strips on top of it and trimming for four even triangles.

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This DIY is very simple and can be applied to any shoe. You could also add the bow to the front for a little something different. I’m also considering glittering the heel but I guess we’ll see how much wear these babies get first.

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What do you think? Will you be making your own bowed pumps any time soon?

XO Prepfordwife