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affordable plus size wedding dresses under $500

Posted in Style, Wedding by

Surprise – I’m getting married! I’ve been (sort of?) quietly dating my partner for two years, and over the summer, we got engaged. The wedding industry is toxic and wild – but that’s probably a rant for a different day. Rather than authoring another thinkpiece about it, I wanted to compile some posts I wish I’d been able to find as I started planning this out. It’s hard to find affordable dresses, plus size dresses that aren’t just cupcake-y and chiffon, and very much advice or ideas on how to plan a non-traditional wedding.

Of course David’s Bridal is always a good source of dresses for plus and straight sizes, but I found a lot of them to be pricier than I anticipated they’d be. As I continue to research and plan my wedding, I keep stumbling upon disparate lists of great plus size bridal gown choices, so I thought I’d organize some together and share them here today!


They have an online sample sale running now!

Gallery dresses: J. JonesH. Golightly | D. Prince

Florave is an online startup that thinks carefully about their designs and details, and finds inspiration in fashionable celebrities. Their full-price dresses tend to be between $1500 and $3000, but there are some in a more budget-friendly range, like the K. Switzer. If you like a more classic silhouette, check them out for some affordable plus size wedding dress options!


Their sale section often has lots of affordable, under-budget options.

Gallery dresses: Fitzwater | Bethany | Sarita | JonesTinsley

Before I started wedding dress shopping, I imagined BHLDN to be wildly overpriced, like their sister store, Anthropologie. A few months into shopping and I now know they’re actually some of the more affordable options out there! In addition to their affordability, they’re also pretty size-inclusive, which also shocked me. They have gorgeous options, a range of designers, and sizes from 00 to 30. I did two store visits (with wildly different experiences each time,) but they’re definitely worth a look – right now, their sale section has pages of gorgeous options for under $500!


Gallery dresses: Backless Mermaid Gown | Lace Mermaid Dress | Short V-Neck Dress With Applique | A-Line Beach Dress

I wish I had done more research on Amazon before buying my dress – I love it, but there are so many gorgeous options on Amazon for crazy, inexpensive prices. Many gowns are made up to size 26W and almost all sellers I’ve seen also offer custom size options. Purchasing a gown on Amazon and then getting any necessary alterations is almost certainly more inexpensive than many of the more popular plus size wedding dress lines!

Show Me Your Mumu

Check their sale section for inexpensive options!

Gallery dresses: Noelle Flutter | Jenn MaxiGrace Beaded Maxi

Show Me Your Mumu is one of my favorite stores, and their wedding lines are just as boho, California-casual as the rest of their line. With options for brides, maids, and guests up to size 3X, even their most expensive gown is under $400.


Gallery dresses: Cutout Lace Sheath | Lace Bodice JumpsuitStrapless Metallic ChiffonFields Plunge Dress | V-Neck Evening Gown

Nordstrom does have a dedicated wedding dress shop, but with some creativity, you can also find some “regular” dresses that fit the bill. Setting the filters to “white” or “ivory” in a dress search opens up lots of options in both straight and plus sizes – and since they aren’t classified as “wedding” dresses, you’ll automatically see some lower prices.

Unique Vintage

Check their sale section for gorgeous plus size gowns!

Gallery dresses: Antique Ivory | Holly Dress | Strapless Lace Crystal

With sizes up to 5X, Unique Vintage was my biggest regret as far as not finding them in advance of buying my dress. Their styles range from Hepburn-inspired, ’20’s flappers, and 50’s rockabilly, to brides wanting more modern lace and fitted mermaid gown looks. Their sale section has many dresses under $100, and they often team up with other brands like Barbie for even more unique styles!


Gallery dresses: Off Shoulder Tulle | Ponte and Chiffon Dress | Ivory Lace Formal

Torrid only recently started breaking into “special occasion” dresses for plus size women, growing their already stellar lineup of clothes. With price points below $200 and frequent discount codes, they’re a must-look for plus brides in search of a more casual wedding dress.

October 23, 2019

best hair products for blondes

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best products for blondes

I love being blonde. It’s become part of my identity, and I love it, but it sure is expensive to stay blonde. Not only are the regular salon visits pricey, but upkeep afterward can get up there in price too. It’s worth it to me, though, to extend the life of my blonde and push it as long as possible before going back under the dye cap.

I’ve been dyeing my hair for more than half my life (woof, I’m old) so I have more than a few tips and tricks to maximize that dye job. Let’s roll tape on the best hair products for blondes!

Best Shampoo for Blondes

Unite Blondia Shampoo: This is a new product for me. I picked up a travel bottle at the salon on my last appointment because I had two trips coming up and didn’t want to fuss with pouring my existing shampoo into a travel container. The instructions say to only leave it in your hair for up to 60 seconds, so I got super pumped thinking it would tint my hair lilac if I left it on long. I paired it with Aveda’s Blue Malva conditioner, and it did take out the yellow that was starting to shine through. My friend said that it had that nearly-purple tint too, so mission accomplished! (It smells like grape, so if you’re scent-sensitive, skip on down the road.)

Jhirmack Silver Brightening Shampoo: This is the lowest-price shampoo I use, so it’s become my daily shampoo. You can get it at drugstores like Walgreens, and it works pretty well! (It’s cheaper in-store than on Amazon, too.) I tend to use it more after a few weeks post-dye when I’m washing my hair more than once a week. This has been my go-to shampoo for about four years and I keep coming back, even after trying out more expensive products. I think that says something.

Drybar Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo: I decided to try out this fancy shampoo on the last Sephora VIB sale. It’s lightly scented but not too overpowering. It works fine, but I hate the bottle. The push-top doesn’t open very wide, so it’s tough to squeeze out enough product. It’s alright, but there are other more cost-effective options that work just as well (in better packaging.) I did try the matching conditioner as well, but I still like blue malva and Joico a lot more.

Kevin Murphy Blonde.Angel.Wash: A stylist friend of mine introduced me to Kevin Murphy a few months ago, and I’ve tried it a few times. I like it a lot because it doesn’t get overly bubbly – it definitely is a wash, more than a shampoo, and it hydrates hair really well. I like it, but can’t justify the cost.

Lush Daddy-O Shampoo: I love the smell of this shampoo from Lush, but I didn’t feel like it actually worked all that well. I had really high hopes, but my hair still looked a bit yellow-y after use. Don’t get me started on the companion conditioner bar either – I would scrub and rub it into my hair, and still not feel like I had even gotten any in or on my locks.

Bedhead Dirty Blonde Shampoo: Oh, memories. This was the first purple shampoo I ever used. It’s not too pigmented, so if you spend serious money coloring your hair, I’d opt for a different choice. If you’re a natural blonde just hoping to pull out some of the yellow from hard water, this is a great (and inexpensive) choice.

Tigi Catwalk Fasionista Violet Shampoo: I picked this up during an Ulta hair care sale. It’s very bubbly and soapy – it has a nice scent, but I don’t love it. Honestly, I think that the Jhirmack shampoo is better than this one. It’s inexpensive, but still not worth it.

best products for blondes

Best Blonde Conditioners

Aveda Blue Malva Conditioner: Don’t let the price tag on this one give you a heart attack. It really is worth it. Douglas J Institute has been my go-to salon for over five years, and I held off on buying any of the pricey products for a long time. In December 2015, though, I caved. I got the best dye job of my life and the stylist sold me on this conditioner. It’s the best thing I’ve ever put in my hair. It makes it feel super healthy, has that light Aveda scent, and really brightens and tones hair. I use it once or twice a month. I definitely recommend buying directly from Aveda, either online or in a salon, and joining the pureprivilege program to collect points. You can also get 15% off your first order online! I’ve not tried the blue malva shampoo, but I’m sure it works just as well.

Joico Color Endure Conditioner: This was an impulse buy when I was between blue malva treatments but my hair was starting to feel really brittle. It hydrates really well, and it’s sulfate-free, which helps keep your color healthy. It’s a great, inexpensive option to keep in your shower.

It’s a 10 Miracle Blonde Leave-In Conditioner: This is a summer gamechanger for me. Since I love being outside (no surprise) my hair cooks a little fast. (By cook, I mean drys out, obviously.) I’ve never tried the regular It’s a 10 formula, but this blonde one is a must-have. It helps with frizz, detangles, and moisturizes, and also helps to protect your color against the sun. When I first started using it, I noticed a marked difference in the brightness of my color!

best hair products for blondes

Other Hair Products To Use

Invisibobble Hair Ring: I got these in a Sephora value set, and holy, cow, you guys. These are the best hair bands ever – especially for working out. I used to use the Scunchi hair ties with the rubber, but they always stretched out and hurt my hair when pulling them out. The Invisibobbles don’t move at all, and the coils don’t leave any “bend” in your hair either. This was the only hair tie I brought to Memphis, I had it in and out of my hair over the course of four days, and I made a blowout last the entire time because there was no crease or anything in my hair. I can’t recommend or talk highly enough about these!

Wet Brush: I ordered a wet brush on a whim a few years ago, and I can’t imagine using any other kind now. It’s built to not pull or snag your hair, which keeps it from getting frizzy or frayed. This paddle version is my new favorite.

Dry Shampoo: When you aren’t washing your hair often, dry shampoo needs to be used religiously to keep your head feeling fresh. My favorite is Batiste’s Brilliant Blonde because it blends in super easily, so you don’t have to brush it in too much. (Ouai has a dry shampoo foam that I really love too, but it does take a bit of working in, depending on your tone.)

Alligator Clips: I like these for styling out my hair. They’re what cosmetologists use in salons – they don’t pull too much on your hair, and you can section it out really easily. (They’re also great for just easily throwing your hair up to get it out of your face.)

What do you think are the best products for blondes? Do you have any holy grail hair products?

July 10, 2017

#GetAGrip: Kenra Grip Trio review

Posted in Style by

I received free product from Kenra to review, but all opinions are my own.

kenra grip trio review
I have super thick, very wavy hair. Even though I have hair for days, there’s no texture to it at all. I’ll try to give it some height or volume and it will immediately fall flat. (Don’t even get me started on humidity.) For the last few years, I’d sprayed it down with sea salt spray and called my “beachy wave look” a day.

Kenra’s new line of Grip products claims that they’ll add 50% more grip and up to three times the volume, so I was excited to try them to see how it’d hold up in use. I used all three products to glue my hair into place for a long, humid Memorial Day party a few weeks ago. My first reaction was that I liked how it smells and how it feels – the Air Grip Spray has great grip without being sticky. Even the Kenra Whip Grip Mousse has a nice feel. Typically, I hate mousse because it feels so crunchy, but there’s none of that here. I put some mousse at the roots of my hair after towel drying, then took a blow dryer to it. Next, I sprayed the Air Grip in and used my fingers to scrunch it up. I finished it off with the High Grip Spray – Kenra has long been one of my favorite hair sprays, so I liked that there’s one in this line. The hairspray in this line has a matte finish, so it doesn’t add extra shine to your hair.

Kenra Grip Trio Collection

It felt like it was set pretty well, so I headed out to grab the bus in the muggy Chicago heat. A 45-minute CTA ride plus a 20-minute walk had me feeling pretty melty, but my hair held up really well! It didn’t fall flat, and anytime I reached up to scrunch the ends or “fluff” the top, the volume came right back to life.

I definitely recommend the Kenra Grip Trio Collection! It’s especially great if you have thick or fine hair that doesn’t typically work with other products.

June 26, 2017

keeping your eyes safe this summer | GlassesShop review

Posted in Style by
I recieved free product from GlassesShop for review, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

glassesshop review

I’ve been on a quest over the past few years for good quality, affordable prescription sunglasses. Warby Parker definitely has super cute frames, but their sunglasses are $200+ for prescription lenses! No thanks. I’ve been limping along squinting through my beautiful Quay sunglasses, but the older I get, the worse my vision gets, and I knew I needed to cave in and get something better. Enter GlassesShop – they’re an online eyeglass company specializing in frames and lenses (prescription or not.) Their prices are reasonable, so I was happy to give them a try!

They have a variety of different sunglass frames to choose from, and even trendy blue and green lens coatings. I opted for the Americus Aviators, which are delicate cat eye lenses with metal arms. The pads on the nose of the bridge aren’t uncomfortable (I wore these for a day at the zoo so for three hours plus, they sat there without digging in or being uncomfortable at all.) The lenses are coated nicely and don’t seem like they’ll scratch easily (but I’m not willing to test it ;)) and the quality makes me want to grab a few more prescription sunglasses! Each pair also comes with its own case and cleaning cloth to keep your shades nice and transparent.

Sunglasses aren’t just a fun accessory – they’re an important part of preventing sun damage to your eyes. (Skin isn’t the only thing that can get sunburned!) This post from the National Institute of Health outlines some of the diseases your eyes can be at risk for from sunlight, but GlassesShop’s sunglasses offer UVA and UVB coverage to protect your eyes this summer while keeping you super fashionable.

Still not sold? GlassesShop lets you order your first pair for free, so there’s no risk. Use the coupon code FIRSTFREE and it will be applied to eligible orders!

Do you wear prescription glasses? Do you use regular glasses, or have some with your prescription built in?

May 22, 2017

19 summer athleisure must haves

Posted in Style, Work Out by
This post contains affiliate links.

summer athleisure must have

Athleisure is still all the rage – thank goodness. And thanks to all the brands that are still catering to lazy girls like me (though I prefer to call it “practical” – if I wear my workout clothes all day, I’m cutting down on laundry!) If you’re looking to change up your wardrobe for summer, check out some of my favorite go-to pieces.

Mesh Panel Capris: I love mesh panels, especially for summer runs to prevent any swampiness. These plus size ones are cute too, with a fun print and pocket for a key.

Ripped Leggings: These don’t come in my size, but that isn’t stopping me from wanting to channel my inner Brie Mode. They don’t actually look like they’re all that practical, but they’d be cute for Sunday Funday!

C9 High Waisted Legging: These leggings are my everyday go-to must haves. I have four pairs, and it still doesn’t seem like enough. They’ve held up well over a year and a half, but they do tend to pick up any lint in their vicinity, so they’re not the best for someone with pets (or someone who forgets to check pant pockets before doing laundry.)

Lucy Capri Leggings: Lucy gear can be pricey, but I find it to be worth it. I had a pair of their perfect leggings for more than three years before they started to stretch and pill (and even then it was probably due to my weight gain.) They’re worth the investment, especially now that they’ve started a plus size line as well!

Criss Cross Racerback Bra: I love sports bras, and I especially love strappy, cute ones. This one would be super cute under an open back shirt, and the multiple straps can help with distributing any front heavy weight if you know what I mean.

Back Cut Out Bra: Another sports bra with fancy detailing, this one looks like it has less support but would be comfortable for lounging around the house or under a casual dress for brunch.

Criss Cross Strappy Bra: The bank on this one is still fun and creative, but it provides more support than the other two options. Perfect for HIIT workouts or long runs and still looking fab afterward.

Pizza Crop Top: Sometimes you just need a reminder of what all this working out is for. Times like that I would love to be rocking a pizza shirt – eyes on the prize. Beloved Shirts has a ton of other print tops if pizza isn’t your thing (but honestly, isn’t pizza everyone’s thing?)

Marika Dry-Knit Shirt: I’ve had a Marika shirt from TJ Maxx since 2012 or so, and it’s still in good shape. If you’re looking for something long-lasting, this is the brand for you. They dry really fast, and the ruching in the shirt isn’t uncomfortable or chafe-y at all.

adidas aeroknit Shirt: The color of this breathable shirt, plus the open armholes (to show off your cute bras) make this a winner for me. Tank tops are made for summer – sun’s out, guns out!

Goldsheep Tank: I think everyone has one of those “when I lose this much weight, I’ll let myself buy this” goal shirts. All my hours spent watching Total Divas have led me to Goldsheep Clothing, an overpriced line with lifestyle shirts and activewear leggings.

Short Stop Long Sleeve: I love to throw on a long-sleeved shirt when I leave the gym, even in the summer. This one from lululemon is cropped with a mesh panel in the back for maximum breathability while still keeping you covered up.

No Bull Women’s Trainers: I will always champion heading to your local running store to get properly fitted for shoes, but I got a pair of these No Bull shoes and I don’t regret it for a second. They’re definitely pricey, but with my documented love for buffalo plaid, I had to get them. They’re perfect for strength training workouts and very true to size.

Nike Flyknits: Really cute shoes… that I can’t wear. If these work on your feet, I’m super jealous. They’re stylish whether you’re at the gym or just hanging out.

Sun Bum sunscreen: I’m a SPF-holic, and won’t leave the house without a quick spray of sunscreen on. Sun Bum is my favorite – the spray goes on evenly and it’s pretty sweat-resistant. Don’t forget to spray the top of your head (you can thank me later when you aren’t battling the red part.) Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer is my go-to for my face.

YurBuds Wireless Headphones: When I upgraded to the iPhone 7, it meant my large collection of YurBuds could no longer easily plug in. Since my ears are a weird size, regular ear buds don’t usually fit well, so the hooks these headphones offer make them ideal. I had tried a lower cost option, but they were really uncomfortable and didn’t stick. Now that I’ve converted to wireless, it’s been so convenient – I don’t have to worry about accidentally yanking them out of my ears when moving my phone!

Quay Sunglasses: Oversized glasses are my jam, but it’s hard to find sporty-ish sunnies that fit the bill. These ones from Quay are great and I love that tortoiseshell print. I have two pairs from Quay already, so I can definitely say that they’re worth the $50!

Water Bottle: Gotta stay hydrated during the hot summer months, and I love these kinds of water bottles. The storage compartment holds your ID or credit card and a house key, so you don’t have to carry anything extra around!

Gym Bag: I will live out of a gym bag, so I need something as functional (and big) as it is fashionable. This one from Vera Bradley has a large zippered opening, plus outside compartments to easily tuck things into.

May 3, 2017