j.crew new arrivals // 5 look i’m loving

Today, I’m excited to share five looks I curated from these new J.Crew arrivals. They have me itching to pack up my bags and head to the beach! Who’s coming with me?!

While I’m usually one to delete retailer emails without a second glance, there is one exception that I always look forward to. J.Crew, y’all! Whoever is in charge of their email marketing deserves a raise. Between new arrival alerts and early sale access, J.Crew seems to be my one virtual penpal these days, and I’m not mad about it.

This morning, I woke up to this subject line: “704 new arrivals!” Before I knew it, I was combing through the beautiful pieces that just hit the J.Crew website. Spoiler alert: They are so good. Spring is forever my favorite season to dress for, and I loved seeing bright colors, feminine silhouettes and even a few new swimwear styles in this new drop!

Today, I’m excited to share five looks I curated from these new J.Crew arrivals. They have me itching to pack up my bags and head to the beach! Who’s coming with me?!

 

look no. 1

Timeless glamour to the tee. I adore the pink + caramel color combination, and can’t get enough of this mix in particular. This pink paisley shift is calling my name. Also, these ballet slippers, which come in so many different color ways, look just like my Chanel pair!

 

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look no. 2

Navy or nothing, right? Add in a little rickrack trim and a bow, and you’ve got a sophisticated ensemble that packs a punch. This headband style is adorable, and I want it in every color. (The good news? There are quite a few to choose from!)

 

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look no. 3

Sugar, spice, and everything nice… this outfit is what my not-yet-spring dreams are made of! Cozy pieces in soft, rosy hues make for the happiest little look you can wear now through April. Are these pants not divine?

 

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look no. 4

White, blue and a beach! One of my favorite combinations of all time. I bought a one-piece swimsuit in this beautiful rickrack trim last year and absolutely loved it. Def wanting to add the two-piece style to my collection this year! Doesn’t J.Crew always have the best swim?!

 

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look no. 5

I never said I was one for subtlety! Dreaming of this vibrant, fabulous situation. You need to see these shorts on the model… the fit is too fun! Add some cerulean blues for an unexpected color combo that looks meant to be.

 

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If this is our first taste at spring style this year, I think we have a lot to look forward to! Question: Do you have a retailer newsletter you love?! Let me know!

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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rwanda // what i packed + pieces i found

Today, I thought I’d share a collage post with you about some items I packed for this time in Rwanda along with some of the beautiful keepsakes I found while I was there!

Here I am, sitting at my breakfast table. Typing on my laptop. Sipping my second cup of coffee and munching on a snack. (Thank you jetlag-induced 4am wake up.)

After 60+ hours of travel, meeting twelve women who would quickly turn into dear friends, spending time visiting different communities in Rwanda, learning more about the beautiful country, seeing firsthand the hunger epidemic, attempting to emotionally process at the end of each day, trying my best to carefully articulate and retell the stories I heard and so, so much more, it feels odd and surreal to be transported back to “normal life,” sitting here drinking coffee, sharing a collage post with you today.

This trip to Rwanda in an effort to help raise funds for the school lunch program of Rwandan-founded and operated organization Africa New Life has shifted something in my heart. And to be honest, I can’t yet put a finger on what that is. But I am praying the Lord continues to move and stretch and grow that something in my heart so that my life looks different than before, and that I’m able to share that change with you as it unfolds.

(Quick recap: Africa New Life is an organization founded by and operated by Rwandans, which began in the wake of the genocide of 1994 in an effort to transform lives and communities through preaching the Gospel of Christ and Acts of Compassion. Their Food For Tomorrow fund exists to supply students with a nutritious lunch every school day, so they can growing and learning regardless of what is available at home!)

I want to take a second real quick to just thank you. Friends, I am so moved by those of you who decided to stay invested in what was happening last week. (And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, please take a second to view my “Rwanda” highlights here.) There’s a weird tension in being a “fashion blogger” but wanting to your platform for things other than, and much more important, than just that. That tension, and how it would be perceived, is something I worried about for weeks leading up to the trip. So I just want to express how thankful I am for those of you who decided to tune in instead of check out. AND I am so moved by those of you who decided to give to the Food For Tomorrow campaign!!!

Here’s some AMAZING news: Collectively, you all contributed over $5,000! I’m matching $5,000, then a foundation in Austin is matching that… so all in all we have collectively raised $20,000 for this amazing cause. I can’t!!!

Today, smack in the middle of the weird tension I described above, I thought I’d share a collage post with you about some items I packed for this time in Rwanda along with some of the beautiful keepsakes I found while I was there. And there are two reasons why:

First off, I’m hopeful that if anyone didn’t have an interest in the Food for Tomorrow campaign but did have an interest in what I was wearing, they’ll learn more about the amazing movement through today’s post.

Secondly, I didn’t share details on anything I was wearing last week, and that was on purpose. I wanted to keep the focus on the story on the amazing impact that the Rwandans who operate Africa New Life are making in individuals, in families, and in entire communities. Since I did receive tons of questions about different “outfits,” I thought I’d make this a hub for those details for those who were interested.

Finally, I had the chance to visit some amazing artisans and shops in Rwanda that are creating beautiful things. It’s my joy to share them with you!

So, let’s begin with a few things I packed that were particularly helpful:

 

what i packed

 

 

details

 

1. Birkenstocks (oh my gosh… the most comfortable shoes I own) // 2. ladies who lunch tee (proceeds go directly to the Food for Tomorrow program!) // 3. hunter green midi skirt // 4. khaki midi skirt // 5. bandana // 6. hat // 7. hand wipes // 8. maxi dress (I ordered this in both the deep blue and the white and blue colorway) // 9. facial sunscreen // 10. red maxi skirt // 11. mini kind bars // 12. green and gold earrings (I purchased these in Rwanda at an amazing shop, DuHope) // 13. backpack (this was a gift from a friend and now I never travel without it) // 14. sleep gummies (these were a lifesaver on the plane and for the time change) // 15. tanktops (obsessed with the fit of these) // 16. sneakers

Dress is much more conservative in Rwanda, and since the thought of wearing jeans all day every day made me cringe, I decided to purchase a few midi skirts and maxi dresses for the trip. It felt odd buying more stuff to spend time in communities where there is much need, but at the end of the trip, our group was able to donate these to Africa New Life.

A few things I’d highly recommend if you’re visiting Rwanda anytime soon? First off: Birkenstock sandals. Oh my word. I used to make so much fun of my sister for wearing these, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to take them off! I spent zero time breaking them in, and felt comfortable in them day after day, all day long. Amazing!

Secondly? Melatonin gummies. I was skeptical, but these helped so much! I will say though… I had some odd, vivid dreams when using them, haha. Has this happened to anyone else?

Finally, I wanted to take a second to share about this Ladies Who Lunch shirt! The amazing company Milk and Honey Tees is donating 100% of the proceeds from this shirt (and the adorable pink pullover) to the Africa New Life school lunch program. Such a great way to become a part of this movement if you haven’t yet!

 

where we shopped

 

Now, I’m so excited to share with you a few of the amazing places in Rwanda we got to shop!

DuHope // This beautiful shop exists to create a safe and holistic way for Rwandan women to exit sex work. The pieces in this store were absolutely beautiful! I walked away with these gorgeous earrings and wore them throughout the trip. They were definitely my most-asked-about piece from the trip, and you can make them yours while contributing to an amazing cause for just $26! Follow DuHope on Instagram here!

Rwanda Clothing // Not only is this gorgeous store packed with everything from baskets to furniture to jewelry to clothing and more, it’s run by the most amazing #bossbabe, Joselyne Umutoniwase. We had the privilege of meeting her and seeing the below-store workshop where she manufactures her beautiful pieces. I found a stunning embroidered sheet, coffee cups, a set of beautiful earrings and much more. A must visit if you’re ever in Kigali! If not, be inspired from afar with her Instagram page.

Abraham Konga // We visited this amazing store twice during our time in Rwanda. My favorite purchase from the trip was a beautiful gold cross bracelet, but I came home with so much more! Everything from beaded headbands to colorful baskets to nativity sets and ornaments. A beautiful store operated by an incredibly talented artist. See more of his work here.

This is just a teeny bit of so much more that I’m looking forward to sharing about my time in Rwanda, and again, I’m so thankful for you taking the time to read more about it!

I’m can tell that the transition from sharing about this experience to the usual content I post here on Lonestar Southern is going to feel strange, but I’m hoping to do it one step at a time, with as much grace as possible. We’ll see how much that process is helped by the extreme jetlag I currently have going on! ;)

Wishing everyone a wonderful, short week ahead!

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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wedding wednesday // my bridal portraits

Today, I thought it would be fun to share a little history of bridal portraits, a few reasons why I loved taking them, and of course… the images!

It has been months since my last Wedding Wednesday post (not to mention over seven months since Andrew and I married… what?!?!) so needless to say I am thrilled to be back with another wedding-centric post!

When I first mentioned “bridal portraits”, I was surprised to receive many messages asking what on earth bridal portraits are. It didn’t take me long to realize that the tradition is mainly a southern thing, Who knew?!

So today, I thought it would be fun to share a little history of bridal portraits, a few reasons why I loved taking them, and of course… the images! (Along with the one we chose as the “official” portrait.)

We’ll start with the photos, then get on to the rambling below. :)

 

my bridal portrait

 

classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do

While traditionally, a bridal portrait features the entire dress, I wanted something a bit more relaxed and in-line with my personality. We decided on this black and white shot of me sitting on the stairs of Park Cities Baptist Church. There’s something classic about it that I love so much!

 

my bridals

 

Here are a few other favorites!

classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church
classic bridal portraits, bride, high-neck wedding dress, french twist, wedding up-do, sareh nouri, dallas bride, park cities baptist church

 

a brief history of bridal portraits

 

The history of bridal portraits dates back to long before cameras were around. In a nutshell, royal families would have oil portraits commissioned of a bride in her regalia to commemorate the occasion.

Fast forward to the mid-1900s. At this point, it wasn’t especially common to have a photographer at one’s wedding and reception. Brides would, therefore, dress in their full ensemble and pose for a photo at a photographer’s studio in order to capture the occasion.

This photograph was then displayed at the wedding reception near the sign-in book, a tradition that has carried through to today! Brides would also often gift this portrait to their husband for his desk. So sweet, right?

In today’s world, where nearly everyone has a camera on hand (thank you, cellphones), bridal portraits have become less of a “necessity” and more of a following of tradition. I have plenty of friends who have taken bridals, and plenty who haven’t. It seems to be a mixed bag these days.

 

why i loved taking bridal portraits

 

If I’m being honest with you, taking a bridal portrait was never really up for debate during the wedding planning process. It was something that had always been done in my family, and we (and by “we” I mean my mother and I) didn’t ever consider not taking them. I am so, so happy I did take bridal portraits, and thought it might be helpful to share why if you’re on the fence!

 

trial run

 

The day of my bridals was when we scheduled a full hair and makeup trial run with my fabulous makeup artist, Maitee. This allowed me to see my whole “look”, from head to toe, before making the final walk down the aisle. I’m so happy we did this, because after taking the bridals and seeing the images, it allowed me to make a couple of minor tweaks. For one, I realized I wanted to wear my veil a bit lower. Another small change? Making my hair a bit softer. Finally, we ended up adjusting my bow one final time in alterations to make it less “poofy” and more symmetrical. All small details, but ones I’m glad I had the chance to perfect!

 

more time in my dress

 

I also love, love, loved having a few extra hours to “play” in my dress. Just as everyone warned, our wedding day flew by. That’s why I look back on the evening of my bridal portraits and feel so thankful for the time I got to spend, on a sunny and calm evening, soaking it all in before the big day! There wasn’t a strict timeline I had to follow, nor were there hundreds of guests to greet. It was just a fun, carefree afternoon spent getting excited for the big day!

 

stress-free shots

 

Another reason I’m thankful we took bridals? What started as a sunny, bright wedding day turned into a huge rainstorm right before the ceremony! Looking back, if it had rained all day we would hardly have any photos in my dress and veil. Some of my favorite images and details of my dress and veil were captured during the bridal portrait session, and I’m so grateful we have them!

We also got to have fun. I was dying for a “cupcake shot,” and I kid you not, those were the words I used when I told John my vision. He captured it perfectly, both in his studio and at the church, and we ended up using one of them for my official portrait! My dad also handed me his sunglasses at the end of the shoot, and it resulted in one of my favorite photos:

 

special memories

 

Not only did taking bridal portraits allow me to tweak my final look and spend extra time in my dress, but they also provided me with some of the sweetest memories. It was a magical afternoon with my mother, sister, and of course, John.

I also had my dad join at the end of the session! He and I are incredibly close, and I knew we both needed to let out all of our tears before the big day. Just like we had predicted, waterworks were flowin’. Now, granted, we were still very emotional at the ceremony. But it was definitely worth it to get the initial cry-fest out of the way! (Here’s me seeing my dad right when he walked up.)

This is also one of my favorite photographs ever, and one I’ll cherish my whole life.

 

“should i take bridal portraits?”

 

I think this question really comes down to what is most important to you in terms of budgeting. Choosing not to take portraits can, on the one hand, be a great way to save money. Plus, odds are you will be able to take the same type of photos on your actual wedding day! And honestly, I don’t know that anyone truly misses seeing a portrait at the reception. The bride is right there, isn’t she?!

If, however, you love the tradition of capturing a portrait and it’s not too detrimental to your budget, it can be a great way to capture some special moments before the big day. I also think it’s a great way to take away some of your anxiety/nerves in regards to your hair and makeup for the day-of!

Hopefully this answers all of your questions regarding bridal portraits, but if not, please let me know in the comments below! Now I’d love to know… did you take bridal portraits, or do you think you will?

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

 

vendors

 

Photography  John Cain Photography // Hair & Makeup Maitee Miles // Florist The Garden Gate // Wedding Dress Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon // Wedding Dress Designer “The Brooklyn” by Sareh Nouri // Ceremony Venue Park Cities Baptist Church // Shoes Monolo Blahnik Hangisi

TRY ON // 2020 lilly pulitzer after party sale!

As promised, I’m SO excited to share a try on haul of my favorite pieces from the 2020 Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale!

As promised, I’m SO excited to share a try on haul of my favorite pieces from the 2020 lilly pulitzer after party sale!

For all the details and links for items featured, simply click through to watch this video on YouTube, then click the “show more” tab.

In the meantime, shop the Lilly Pulitzer after party sale HERE before it closes tonight!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, it would mean the world!

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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lilly pulitzer after party sale 2020 // twenty one must-haves

It’s here, it’s here! One of my favorite sales of the entire year, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale (click HERE to shop) is here!

It’s here, it’s here! One of my favorite sales of the entire year, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale (click HERE to shop) is here!

Usually, I do a much better job of prepping y’all for this sale, but with family in town the past week, I’m behind on the game. Forgive me, pretty please?! (Insert monkey covering eye emoji.)

Luckily, this year’s sale is amazing.. both in style selection and availability! Oh, and not to mention price point. So many amazing finds under $100!

I’ve rounded up twenty-one of my very favorites for this 2020 After Party Sale. I hope you enjoy shopping them below! (Just click straight on the image to shop.)

Important reminder: Lilly Pulitzer only goes on sale twice a year… once in January (this sale) and once in September. That means this is your chance to score Lilly in time for spring and summer!

 

lilly pulitzer after party sale

 

twenty one must haves

 

 

The Lilly Pulitzer team was sweet enough to send over some styles, and they should be arriving this morning. I’m going to get to work on a YouTube try-on video for y’all that will hopefully go live this afternoon or tomorrow morning! Can’t wait to share!

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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holidays in houndstooth

For today’s look, I’m wearing a lovely houndstooth jacket I picked up before my trip to Paris. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit into my suitcase and sat forgotten in the corner of my office until this week. (When I finally cleaned everything up, as you may remember from this vlog. Oops!)

COAT houndstooth coat (also available in plus sizes!) | SWEATER j.crew jeweled sweater | SKIRT cos black wool skirt | BOOTS black knee high boots | EARRINGS pearl swan earrings

Here we are, friends. The Friday before Christmas! I feel like we’ve blinked, and it’s here. How on earth did this happen?

I’m cozied up on the couch finishing up this last blog post before taking my Christmas break. Each year, I talk 1-2 weeks off to unplug and enjoy the season. It always leaves me refreshed and reinspired for the new year ahead! While I’m sure I’ll be popping onto Instagram Stories here and there, I’m planning on (key word: planning) putting away my keyboard until 2020. And goodness knows I’m excited!

Since this is our first married Christmas, and our first spent away from family at that, Andrew and I have been thinking of lots of fun new traditions to make this week feel festive and fun. A few things on the list? An upcoming white elephant exchange + pizza party with his residents, a Christmas movie marathon, and lots of holiday baking. I can’t wait!

For today’s look, I’m wearing a lovely houndstooth jacket I picked up before my trip to Paris. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit into my suitcase and sat forgotten in the corner of my office until this week. (When I finally cleaned everything up, as you may remember from this vlog. Oops!)

The bad news is it’s selling out quickly. The good news? I decided to scour the internet and find a few similar pieces. Scroll on through below!

 

 

Wishing you a hustling, bustling holiday weekend before the very best day of the near next week! I can never say it enough: I am so thankful for each of you!

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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