What To Wear When You Just Cant Even...

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
manda Lee smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

| My Chicwish Dress |

Hey everyone! Happy to be back again this week with another one of my Chicwish favorites. At this point I need to invest stock right? I can't get enough of them! I'm wearing the 'Relax in Ruffles Dolly Dress" in mint. 

Billowing, feminine, and neutral. Dresses like this are a staple to have in your wardrobe. Those days, we all have them, where we fumble through our closet for what seems like hours. We try on everything and feel like it all comes up short. The days when we want to get back in bed, eat a box of chocolates, and indulge in horrible T.V but alas we cannot. We are busy, we are driven, and sometimes well, we just don't have any other option. We are forced to throw back an espresso, put on our big girl panties and handle it. 

I present my case on why dresses like this are ideal when you just can't even:

A. You don't have to wear pants. Immediately a good start. 

B. You don't have to think.

C. You look pretty, even if you don't feel pretty. 

I particularly love my Relax in Ruffles dress because it's neutral but has gorgeous lace detail making it easy and unnecessary to add accessories. It's a great length that I could use it as a tunic into the fall. Transitionals are always a good option. The dress itself has a natural ruffled look even after being pressed so you don't have to worry about being wrinkled on an off day. The name really says it all. In my best Ryan Gosling voice, "Hey girl, you deserve to Relax in Ruffles and this bouquet of Roses I just had sent to the office." Below is more inspiration for dresses when you don't feel like getting dressed.

 

 

5 Ideas for Stylish Summer Stripes

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

| My Chicwish Top | My Chicwish Top In Blue |

Hey everyone! It's been a couple weeks since I've posted. My littles are getting to an age where our summers are relatively full. Between parties, social events, and family visiting, we've had little to no down time. But I'm back and I've partnered with Chicwish to share 5 ideas for stylish stripes this summer! 

1. The Bold Stripe: Eye-Catching. Never Boring. Always Fun. (My Chicwish Favorite)

 

2. The Feminine Stripe: Flattering. Sunday Perfection. Soft. Elegant. 

 

3. The Chic Stripe: Head Turning. Style Blogger Approved. Lust Worthy. 

4. The Boho Stripe: Comfortable. Easy To Wear. Farmers Market Ideal. 

 

5. The Accessory Stripe: Subtle. Versatile. Timeless.

 

 

 

Summer Cropped Jumpsuit

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | http://EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

| Chicwish Amour Cropped Jumpsuit |

I'm sitting, watching the ocean waves roll in and listening to the sounds of children giggling behind me at the pool. Sipping on a coconut and enjoying my new summer time glow is my idea of a good start to summer. I'm about to go back to our condo and get ready for family dinner where I'll confidently choose between a new red dress I've been anticipating wearing this trip or this Lace Amour Cropped Jumpsuit. 

I truly had fun styling this one! I paired it with a floral wrap crop top from Zara but I was tempted to do a bralette or a bandeau instead. One of the things I love about this Chicwish look was being able to drop one shoulder or both to change it up a bit. A beaded tassel earring and my MVP SW sandals paired together slightly dressing this summer sexy look up. It actually comes with a belt but, as usual, I skipped the belt. Oh and it's currently on sale for $45.92!

XO 

Perfect Summer/Vacation Dress

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

| My Chicwish Dress |

Tomorrow we leave for family vacation. I'll be offline mostly, focusing on soaking in the sunshine and my family. I spent these past few weeks realizing that I was seriously lacking more relaxed and summer appropriate outfits for the beach.  A few deliveries later, the stress of packing faded away! One of the dresses I've been really excited about is this Chicwish dress. 

 

Perfect Summer/Vacation Dress Trifecta

1. Keeps you cool with light weight material. 

2. Follows season trends. 

3. Allows you to indulge. <---- Most important ;-)

My Chicwish, Never Enough Ruffle Cotton Dress, covers all three with light weight breezy material, off the shoulder ruffle detail,  and all while leaving room for not only the lobster, but the the key lime pie too!  

I concluded the look with both a paperbraid tote and a braided sunbrim hat from San Diego Hat Company.  

 

 

Yellow Grid Dress | Styling Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Manda Lee Smith | Evocatively Chosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

| Shop Maude Yellow Grid Dress |

This yellow grid dress from Shop Maude, while fun and summer appropriate, is not the normal style I gravitate toward. Instead of going with my gut, I took a leap and jumped outside of my style comfort zone. I got it in and it shouldn't have surprised me that I felt slightly uncomfortable in a truly comfortable and cute dress. Be it my my mood, or my feelings for the day, I sat and thought now what?! Return it or take on the challenge? It's obvious what I chose and I'm glad I did. We all have had that moment when we order something and it's either not what we expected, or we purchases it on a whim and don't fall in love with it at first sight. So here's a few tips to challenge yourself and see how it feels to make something your own when you don't immediately identify with it. Where do you even begin? 

Choose A Direction And Build From It

What feeling does the piece give and does it make sense? What inspired me to choose this dress in the first place was that it was fun, easy, and bright. The definition of summer. I knew some interesting and season inspired, trendy espadrille slides would meet all three I described above. I found THESE at Zara.  I already owned this picnic basket bag and it clearly fit the genre. 

Add Layers

Most of you are well aware of the impact layers make with an outfit. If there's an area or something in particular that you don't care for on a piece, layering is a great way to cover, camouflage, or to bring definition. To add more shape to this dress I could have added a cardigan or denim jacket tied at the waist. Instead, I opted to wear my bag as cross body and have that be the focus. 

Makeup/Hair

Just as important as accessorizing. I would have loved to have worn two top knots with this but ended up feeling the moment with my hair down. I wore a muted red lip that picked up on my watermelon espadrilles and all over fit the theme. 

Brainstorm Other Style Direction

It's important to always have other style ideas in mind. The reasons being, you may not want to spend any additional money on the look and don't have the particular items that fit your genre OR the obvious choice still just doesn't feel like you. Taking my usual look and styling, I like some sort of edge. It's usually where I feel most comfortable although I do switch it up quite a bit. I could have paired this with military boots, a longer denim jacket and some Raybans...You'll likely end up seeing that look on IG.  

But if all else fails, get your return on ladies and gents! Sometimes, regardless of what you do, it's just not meant to be... And that could also totally be a relationship quote! I hope you found these suggestions hopefully and helpful if (when) you find yourself in the same situation! 

Have a great weekend everyone and come back early next week for a plant-based or vegetarian recipe post that I'm actually about to devour right now! 

 

 

Seasons Best Skin Care

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

As a style blogger I get the opportunity to try a wide variety of skin care products and brands. I don't always post about them. In all honesty, the majority of products I receive I'm not really that impressed with. However, there are the select few that I fall in love with and incorporate into my daily routine. 

So today I wanted to share with you some of the products I use on a daily basis. Just about everything I've included I've used for a significant amount of time.

Insta Natural Vit C Serum

About: Brighten the skin, lighten dark spots and address aging concerns including fine lines and wrinkles. Good for all skin types. No parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, formaldehyde releasers, MCI/MI and synthetic dyes. Price point $17.97

My Experience: I was expecting a pleasant citrus smell and was disappointed when I didn't particularly care for the scent however, it's whats inside that matters. After the first week, I began getting compliments on my skin. I set aside a couple days a week where I refrain from wearing makeup and those were the days I was receiving compliments. My skin appeared brighter and less tired. It helped areas of my skin tone that were uneven/discolored. Curious if it was in fact the serum that was making such an impact, I stopped using it to test out my theory. A week went by and my skin started to dull again. It appeared noticeably less vibrant. Luckily, I don't mind the smell now and I use it every morning after cleansing. It will remain a staple in my skin care routine! 

Tatcha Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder

About: A water-activated enzyme powder exfoliant and cleanser of rice bran, papaya and our anti-aging HADASEI-3™ Complex. Reveals skin's natural gleam.Ideal for normal or combination skin. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing.  Dermatologist tested. Created with conditioning pearl extract. Formulated without Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates. Price point $65

My Experience: I first received this is my Zoe Report box and was immediately taken back by the luxuriousness of the packaging. The first thing I always notice is scent and it smells to me a bit like a cast iron skillet. An odd thing for a face product to smell like I suppose, but I don't mind it because it reminds me of my grandmother. Upon first use it, you instantly notice a very soft silky feeling. I rinsed, expecting that feeling to diminish but, to my surprise, it remained. I ran in the office asking my husband to feel my face. After looking at me like I was CRAZY, he did and was astounded with the silky smoothness of my skin! It's a VERY gentle exfoliant and I currently use it as a part of my PM routine however, because it's so gentle you could use it multiple times a day.  Besides making my skin incredibly soft, it also creates a beautiful canvas for my makeup! I feel as though my foundation blends much better now. 

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

pHresh Deodorants

About:  Honestly pHresh’s unique formula features powerful enzymes that virtually eliminate odor-causing bacteria, while natural moisture-absorbers work quickly to keep us dry. Our 100% natural deodorants are long-lasting, pHresh-smelling, skin-soothing, cruelty-free and vegan, and contain absolutely no aluminum, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, glycol, gluten, GMOs, or synthetic fragrances. Price Point $7.99-$12.99

My Experience: Did you know that 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream? Learning this fact makes you question some of concerning unnatural and harmful ingredients that make up many beauty products and especially deodorant. I've searched for a natural deodorant for years and I've found many that help but only a select few that come close to working as well as a deodorant with aluminum in it. Since I'd rather take ten showers a day than willingly put aluminum in my body, the hunt continues.

Well UNTIL pHresh. I was able to try three different varieties and the first was a stick. It works well. However, I was not a fan on the particular floral smell that I'm sure many other ladies would love. They have many different scent options so I'll likely try this one again in a different scent.

 The second was the cream version.  It's rather difficult to put on. They give you a stick to apply it but in my experience it's just easiest use your hands! It smells lovely but does not protect all day.

The last was a winner! The roll on is perfect! It solves the issue of a waxy, hard stick that's present among many natural deodorants. Because it rolls on so smoothly, it makes it easy for my husband to use as well. It's made with natural minerals that are vital to your health on top of providing the best odor and sweat protection I've found from a natural deodorant. We just ordered two more bottles today and we're giving the mens line a whirl! Over all I would highly recommend the sea mineral roll on! 

*Also, not pictured here because I ran out but ZAK deodorant works pretty well too! My only issue with it was that it didn't glide on very well but they are supposed to have a new formula that allows for easier application. 

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

Triple Defense Brightening Complex SPF 30

About: Synergistic combination of ingredients visibly reduces appearance of dark spots and effectively brightens and evens out skin tone. Pollutant filters help protect against environmental aggressors. UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection. Moisturizes and smoothes skin. Matte finish. Price Point $85. 

My Experience: This one I've only used for two weeks. HOWEVER, I new it HAD to be on my list. The first time using it I was literally throwing my arms up in the air for an SPF as light weight and silky as this! The fact that it brightens is just an added bonus for me. I use it every day before applying my makeup and going outside! It's like a designer bag for your face! I get excited to put it on! I don't leave the house without it and it will be a staple in my beach bag later this month!

Better Skin Co Lava Magik & Mirakle Cream

About: LAVA MAGIK- A cleanser, scrub & mask. Excellent antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-yeast fighting skin cleanser. Buffs away dull surface cells creating a youthful glow. Retexturizes skin, leaving it soft, smooth and younger-looking. Helps diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars. Absorb excess skin oils. Anti-inflammatory. Helps prevent acne outbreaks. Stimulates collagen production. Helps calm rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. Rich in minerals. Minimizes pores. Minimizes blemishes. Price point: $32

MIRAKLE CREAM- Genius in a Jar. One-stop, skin-saving, problem-solving, 
all-purpose cream that transforms skin. This antioxidant-rich recipe, imported from the Republic of Uzbekistan, is handcrafted in the USA with love and natural ingredients such as coconut oil, sea buckthorn, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and soothing algae to help moisturize, soften, balance and brighten skin. Helps calm skin while protecting skin’s moisture barrier and fighting signs of age. Peptides and hyaluronic acid help skin appear smoother, more youthful and radiant. Price Point $34

My Experience: The Lava Magik smells incredible! It's a refreshing citrus scent and it's fiery color invites you to try it. It has a ver fine grain that I much love in a scrub/exfoliant. I use it once a week and I do notice most all of the above benefits after I use it. My face slightly tingled for about 5 minutes or so after I washed it off but I have very sensitive skin so that could just be me. I noticed the best results next day. The only negative thing I have to say is that I would never use it or recommend it as a daily cleanser. It's much too abrasive BUT I think it's a perfect exfoliant and I've found myself ditching my others and using this instead as I feel it overall does more for my skin. The Mirakle Cream is an ultra moisturizing and calming cream. I LOVE THIS PRODUCT! I use it mostly at night because it's so rich and nourishing. It has practically no scent and you can just tell it's truly pampering your face. My skin normally absorbs moisturizer instantly and I always feel like I need more. With Mirakle Cream, it thoroughly nourished my skin without having to apply more. I normally break out when starting a new moisturizer but that hasn't happened yet in the couple of months I've been using it! 

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

Avène YSthéAL Anti-Wrinkle Cream

About: Ingredients work synergistically to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without irritation. Improves skin's tone and texture. Restores radiance. Patented Pre-Tocopheryl, a photo-stable form of Vitamin E, provides anti-oxidant protection. Avène Thermal Spring Water soothes, softens and calms the skin. Price point $42

My Experience: Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of the entire Avène line. I just adore their Complexion Correcting Shield SPF 50+ for a tinted moisturizer that protects against the sun! It's my on the go go to! (I totally should have shot it and officially put it on the list because it so deserves a spot) 

Back to the Anti-Wrinkle Cream! It has a nice thick formula that I love. It calms my skin and has helped to reduced those late twenties, fine lines I've started to see pop up everywhere since having children! I've noticed a significant difference in the texture of my skin. It's my first official anti-wrinkle cream and it not only has a great price point for a cream that works so well,  but it also is helping to preserve my skin so I don't have to have more abrasive procedures in the future! Also, it's sold out right now so that should tell you something! 

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I hope you guys found this useful and have some new brands to try out that you can be confident in! Also, my sister and I managed to not get arrested exploring those old houses! I really thought I was going to go in Laura Croft style but ended up complaining more than I expected about the amount of bugs (mainly spiders) that we encountered! Also, in one of the houses we were hissed at and we ran out! WE ARE SO BRAVE! lol 

Season Favorite Bags

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

Hey everyone! This week is all about the season best! Starting off with some of my favorite bags! I've included both luxury and affordable options and even some great dupes! Of course I had to include the Mommy and Me collection from Hammitt LA!  Hope you all get some serious accessory inspiration! 

 

Nude Set: Date Night Approved

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Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

My Set | My Set in White | My Set in Black

Hey guys! Last week I talked about summer styling as a mom. This week I'm talking about my off duty, work that booty (for my husband obviously) styling. As a matter of fact Dustin walked into the room right as I was trying this on for the first time and he was all like, "Heyyyyyy." And I was all like, "OMG STOP." Even though I totally loved it! #marriedlife

This is actually a two-piece set from Chicwish! When it comes to building my wardrobe, I adore shopping versatile pieces like this! It's fantastic that Chicwish sells them together instead of individually, keeping it super budget friendly! This one is priced at $67 and some change which is so affordable considering the fact that you can instantly have three totally different looks. I've already styled this top with another pair of high-wasted shorts this week. What's even more grand is that, in addition to nude, Chicwish offers this set in black and then white as well. 

I paired the skirt with some vintage earrings I found out treasure hunting (favorite thing to do ever) and my ever so faithful Stuart Weitzman sandals. They really deserve a MVP award for how much use I've gotten out of them in the past 2 years! I added a print with my bag from Traffic People

I'm super excited for this weekend! My sister and her sweet babies are coming to visit us! Our plans include going to the fair, grilling, and going to explore a few really old homes that are in the woods around the corner from my house. I've been itching to explore them since we moved in. I just learned that they're panning to knock them down and build a subdivision, so time is of the essence. BOOO to progress! Anyways, there may be a teeny tiny chance that we could get arrested for trespassing. But I figure it's worth the risk to live out my childhood archeological dreams by finding some 100 year old bottles or something! 

 

*Thank you Chicwish for sponsoring this post!