7 Gifts Under $50 for Your Lady Book Lover

So many people enjoy reading, and many of your friends may be serious readers. If you are on the hunt for an affordable (under $50 gift that is NOT a gift card) for a book lover, allow me to assist you in your search. Below I have found 7 perfect gifts that suit both your budget and that special bibliophile. Happy shopping!

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

Advice to Beginning Writers: Start By Telling Your Family Stories

family-quotes-roots-3Today in our second to last class of feature writing, the students had the opportunity to ask any remaining questions they wanted or make a comment about anything related to writing. During this session, they posed great questions, from how to find a good story angle to how to start writing in their spare time.

My answer on the latter one was simple, and it’s one of the biggest regrets I have in terms of my family’s history: you should write down your family stories.

As all of my grandparents and great-grandparents are long gone, so, too, are some of their stories. However, those stories that have lived on through my parents can still be told through their lenses. While it may not be the same as hearing from the source herself or himself, still the story lives on. However, what happens when those stories can no longer be told? Who will remember the family’s history? For some reason, this thought petrifies me, and it’s actually one of the messages in my upcoming novel.

I find now, more than ever, I want to know more about my own family’s heritage. My great-grandparents came from Italy; my great-grandfather was a landscaper. I’m not sure what my other great-grandfather’s occupation was. My grandmother was the youngest of twelve. My dad’s father was a printer and writer and published a newspaper.

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I’ve scratched the surfaceβ€”barely. These are mere specs that make up vibrant lives these people lead, and yet sadly, I don’t know more.

When I was in junior high and high school, I always wanted to write. I wrote really bad, horrific poetry, but nevertheless, I was writing. If only I’d taken some of that energy and interviewed my grandparents who were all alive at the time, I might have recorded some meaningful family history.

So to my students who want to write, start by capturing tales of your family’s history. Begin to uncover the depth and breadth of your lineage and your roots. It is not time wasted; in fact, it’s time well-spent, and you will have pages of information that you can use to craft a story of your family.

Perhaps it could even be next year’s Christmas gift to them all.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

Holidays, Miracles, Hallmark & Traditions: A Blogger’s Paradise

Hello, there.

You probably thought I fell off the planet because I haven’t been here in a while. It sort of feels that way, at least to me, anyway. I’ve been trying to take some needed time away to clear my head, focus on my teaching, and get ready for the holidays. I’ve also been dealing with a health issue that’s had me a bit sidetracked. It’s not always easy to juggle everything, is it? So often we wonder where time has gone and how we can get more of it to enjoy the things we want to be doing. The truth is, life throws us some curveballs we didn’t see coming, and we must adapt. I didn’t intend to be away for so long. In fact, I think it was my longest time away from blogging. Maybe FROCKTOBER did me in!πŸ˜‰

Instead of a long post about one particular topic, today I’m going to just chat about some random things, if that’s okay with you. It’s sort of a blogger’s paradise to talk about a variety of things.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-42-47-amAFTER YOU

I finally finished AFTER YOU for my book club book. As you may have read in a previous post, I absolutely loved ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. I can’t say the same is true for the sequel. Louisa Clark, as charming and endearing as she was in the first book, just didn’t seem like the same person in the second book. I became annoyed by her, actually. Her character is getting over the death of Will, and while that in itself is a tough bit to handle, she lost her verve and quirkiness and wasn’t nearly as funny as she was in the first book. Additionally, the plot rolled one ridiculous thing into the next, making the story lose its realness, at least to me. I almost wish I didn’t read the sequel because I loved how ME BEFORE YOU ended.

HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. and Willie Nelson

Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. and Willie Nelson

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, and it’s the only month of the year where I command the remote in our house. I’m busily watching one Hallmark movie after another, trying to keep up with the new ones the best I can. I enjoyed JOURNEY BACK TO CHRISTMAS with Candace Cameron Bure, a sweet time-travel Christmas story that harkens back to WWII. Also, ANGELS SING with Harry Connick Jr., although it is not new this year and is featured on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, is one of my daughter and my favorites. It tugs at the heartstrings, but has a great cast including Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson. I’ll let you know what else I end up loving as I watch them.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-42-11-amLast night, our family took a trip into Baltimore for dinner at Oceanaire in Harbor East, and then we headed up town to Hampden to see the famous 34th Street–replete with lights, Christmas nostalgia, and a lot of Baltimore culture. The block showcases row homes decorated to excess, with lights draped over the main street to add to the ambiance. If you haven’t visited this holiday landmark, be sure to do so. In my daughter’s words, it will leave you “absolutely speechless.”

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DECORATING THE HOUSE

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-40-57-amIn one of the Hallmark movies I watched, one of the characters says that Christmas isn’t just about the day, it’s about the traditions that surround the whole season. I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly. Our tradition of cutting down the tree the day after Thanksgiving still stands, and we still go to Pine Valley Farms in Sykesville, Maryland. We spend that day (Friday) and Saturday getting our home ready for the holidays. This year, I’m particularly excited because both sides of our families will be with us on Christmas Eve. Traditions are important to keep because long after the kids have grown and have moved away, I hope they will remember the things we did to make the season special.

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inn-significant-cover-verniINN SIGNIFICANT

Be on the lookout in January for my newest novel, INN SIGNIFICANT. I’ll be publishing it after the holidays, so if you get an AMAZON GIFT CARD…

I’ll keep you posted.

That’s it, ladies and gentleman.

I’ll see you next time.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

Political Opinion Posts and Friends

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I’ll make this as succinct as possible.

I’m very proud of myself that I didn’t write one political post on social media during this Presidential race. My parents taught me well: try to avoid discussing religion and politics at all costs if you want to keep your friendships.

Logic asks: why would we want to put off half the people we’re connected to on these platforms? We all have differing views–and we all don’t share the same ones, which became abundantly apparent. That’s what makes the world go around. A wise person recently told me, “We are all entitled to our opinions, but that doesn’t make them right.” How smart she is.

I study the political issues and educate myself. I spend hours reading articles, listening to credible news sources, and identifying the issues that speak most to me, my family, and the future of our great nation. When it comes down to decision day, I can only be responsible for my own vote. I can’t fill out the ballot for you, nor would I ever want to. Let freedom ring.

The incessant posts on Facebook led me to deactivate my account several times this year. I was completely off of it for three months this summer. Quite simply, I couldn’t take the deluge of posts and nastiness I was reading. Some folks may have been better off blogging about it so that other like-minded folks could follow them. My guess was that there was a lot of hiding and unfollowing going on over the past year, friend to friend.

In the end, the bottom line is this: do you really CARE what I think politically?

I didn’t think so.

And therein lies my discomfort that permeated social media. The plethora of political opinions, day after day and week after week.

My choice was to not offend any ofΒ my friends (even though we may differ greatly on fiscal and social issues) and keep myΒ own political views to myself.

We are Americans and we have the right to voice and post our thoughts, Β I realize that. I just think we may have taken it a little–or way too–far on Facebook, so much so, that I learned more than I needed to know about people’s opinions through this election cycle.

Someone please bring back funny pet photos and baby images. Someone please post a photo of friends from both sides of the aisle sharing a drink together to our news feeds. That would be a positive and wonderful representation of the ideals of America.

A Few Last Thoughts on Fashion

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In the midst of my month-long fashion blog, I came across this. I know it’s so important to live in the moment and not take anything for granted. So, wherever you are, be all there.πŸ™‚

***

Several people have come up to me recently and told me they enjoyed the #FROCKTOBER feature I posted over the course of the month. A few others have told me I inspired their style. These kind of comments thrill me–I am so glad I could inspire you or give you some ideas for your own style.

But here’s the thing: you are youβ€”you are not me, I am not someone else, and so onβ€”and so we should let our own personalities shape our own fashion. We should experiment and have fun with it. I remember reading a piece about “Things Not to Wear After 40” and the bottom line was that you should wear whatever the hell you want. If you want to try some new trends, purchase a new type of shoe, add some bling to your accessories and handbags, I say GO FOR IT. You only live once. Why live vicariously through someone else when you can do it for yourself?

Fashion comes and goes, but style is how you make it your own. I’m not going to be posting fashion as a regular blog item, but I will keep my eyes on fashion and post as I have in the past about interesting things that come along. And who knows…maybe I’ll give #FROCKTOBER another try next year.

In the meantime, I’ve got a novel to finish.

Below are the outfits I wore for the rest of the last week of #FROCKTOBER. I post on Instagram a lot more than I do here on the blog or on Facebook, so if you want to follow along on my next journey, you can find me on Instagram @stephverni.

Have a great week! xx

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Gotta get back to my writing...

Gotta get back to my writing…

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

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Wrapping Up October’s Month of Fashion

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I made it through the month of #Frocktober, and I have to admit, I had a good time doing it! I posted my outfits daily on Instagram, begged folks to take my photo, and felt pressure to put an ensemble together worthy of documenting. I’m not a fashion blogger, but I am a blogger who loves to include fashion into her blog. As I mentioned in the last post, fashion is a passion, and it always has been for me. I often wish I weren’t 5’1″, but instead taller so I could wear even more daring, bold, and fun clothes. I have to be careful what I put on my small stature so I don’t become overwhelmed by clothing. Also, Coco Chanel was so right when she said, “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and take one accessory off.” It’s a good tip stillβ€”you don’t want your accessories to get noticed before you do.

I’m posting my last few photos from the month. Thanks again for following along with me on my month-long fashion journey. I’m sure it’s not quite over yet.

Also, special thanks to the following people for being lovely and patient enough to take my photographs:

Ellie Verni β€’ Matt Verni β€’ Anthony Verni β€’ Leeanne Bell McManus β€’ Emily Rosenthal β€’ Kait Kirkwood β€’ Leni Parrillo β€’ Chip Rouse

#FROCTOBER | Day 31, Part 1--This is it, friends! I made it through the month of fashion. Because I taught the Internship Preparation course today, and we talked about how to dress for interviews and work, I thought I'd sport a suit from my professional wardrobe. This #ootd is an #anntaylor suit; #mossimo cranberry cami; #christiansiriano shoes; cranberry faux fur scarf from #Macy's. I'll have one last outfit later tonight to end the feature. #happyhalloween !!! πŸŽƒπŸ•ΈπŸπŸ‚

#FROCTOBER | Day 31, Part 1–This is it, friends! I made it through the month of fashion. Because I taught the Internship Preparation course today, and we talked about how to dress for interviews and work, I thought I’d sport a suit from my professional wardrobe. This #ootd is an #anntaylor suit; #mossimo cranberry cami; #christiansiriano shoes; cranberry faux fur scarf from #Macy’s. I’ll have one last outfit later tonight to end the feature. #happyhalloween !!! πŸŽƒπŸ•ΈπŸπŸ‚

LAST DAY OF #FROCKTOBER | Day 31, Part 2--Thought I'd end the series with my favorite sweater with faux leopard sleeves and collar from #INC at #macys; red pants from #whitehouseblackmarket; black boots by #CharlesDavid. I had a lot of fun doing this...so perhaps there will be more fashion to come #ontheblog. Thanks for following along for the month to see #whatiwore. Ciao, Bellas!

LAST DAY OF #FROCKTOBER | Day 31, Part 2–Thought I’d end the series with my favorite sweater with faux leopard sleeves and collar from #INC at #macys; red pants from #whitehouseblackmarket; black boots by #CharlesDavid. I had a lot of fun doing this…so perhaps there will be more fashion to come #ontheblog. Thanks for following along for the month to see #whatiwore. Ciao, Bellas!

This shot was taken by our kids in Fell's Point at the spot of our first date, The Daily Grind. Many, many coffees later, we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday.

This shot was taken by our kids in Fell’s Point at the spot of our first date, The Daily Grind. Many, many coffees later, we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday.

November 1st was also National Author's Day! Promoting my books in this outfit on social media: skirt from #AnnTaylor; black top from H&M; fringy scarf was a gift; #NineWest boots.

November 1st was also National Author’s Day! Promoting my books in this outfit on social media: skirt from #AnnTaylor; black top from H&M; fringy scarf was a gift; #NineWest boots.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

 

What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 5

We are nearing the end, my friends. For a little more than 30 days (and day number 31 remaining), I have documented what I’ve worn during the month of #FROCKTOBER. We all have vices; my vice happens to be clothes, shoes, and accessories. Ever since I was little, I’ve pretty much loved playing dress up…even now as an adult it’s something I love to do. I know there are far more important things to concern ourselves with, and besides writing, clothes and fashion and style happen to all be my favorite pastime. I enjoy playing mix and match, figuring out what my style mood is each day, and then trying to build something fun with what I’ve got in my closet…or perhaps purchasing something new I want to add to the ensemble.

A little purchasing tip I used to tell my clients was this: If you can’t wear a particular item with at least three things or in three different ways, don’t buy it. Adding versatility to a wardrobe is important, and being able to mix and match pieces is how you will get more value out of your items and extend your wardrobe.

I’ve had a lot of fun doing this month-long feature, and while I don’t think I’ll ever become a full-fledged fashion blogger, I will definitely continue to incorporate it into my blog. One thought I have is to rekindle the Fashion Fridays I used to do with features such as building a capsule wardrobe or showing how one piece can be worn six ways. I’m toying with some of this now. I’d also like to do a feature on business clothing and business casual dressing in the workplace, something I talk to my students about in the Internship Preparation course.

I’ve got one more day left, but I may just finish out the week before I hang up #FROCKTOBER. Thanks for letting me play dress up and for following along.

#FROCKTOBER | Day 23 Got the #Sunday vibes in this flannel #ootd. #soclothing flannel shirtdress; leggings and grey suede boots from #Boden. It's the start of my last week of #frocktober ... gotta pick some winners this week! The pressure's on...

#FROCKTOBER | Day 23 Got the #Sunday vibes in this flannel #ootd. #soclothing flannel shirtdress; leggings and grey suede boots from #Boden. It’s the start of my last week of #frocktober … gotta pick some winners this week! The pressure’s on…

#FROCKTOBER | Day 24 With cooler temperatures moving in this week, it was time to sport a little faux fur in today's #ootd. Sweater with fur trim from #whitehouseblackmarket; skirt--an old favorite from #mossimo; tall pointed black boots from #charlesdavid; #maddengirl hat; #coach bag. Hope you all have a good week. Looking forward to rolling into Halloween next week and to celebrating my husband and my 19th anniversary.

#FROCKTOBER | Day 24 With cooler temperatures moving in this week, it was time to sport a little faux fur in today’s #ootd. Sweater with fur trim from #whitehouseblackmarket; skirt–an old favorite from #mossimo; tall pointed black boots from #charlesdavid; #maddengirl hat; #coach bag. Hope you all have a good week. Looking forward to rolling into Halloween next week and to celebrating my husband and my 19th anniversary.

#FROCKTOBER | Day 25 Wearing #Boden from top to bottom in today's #ootd -- corduroy dress in navy and medium blue with (Elvis would be happy) blue suede (shoes) boots. #Mudd hat. It's chilly here and feels like fall. πŸπŸ‚πŸŽƒ Have a good evening, everyone!

#FROCKTOBER | Day 25 Wearing #Boden from top to bottom in today’s #ootd — corduroy dress in navy and medium blue with (Elvis would be happy) blue suede (shoes) boots. #Mudd hat. It’s chilly here and feels like fall. πŸπŸ‚πŸŽƒ Have a good evening, everyone!

#FROCTOBER | Day 26 🍁🍁 Only 5 more days remain of my month of fashion!! Today's #ootd is this ensemble--#whitehouseblackmarket cream-colored cable tunic; #anntaylor blouse; #jenniferlopez pants; #francosarto boots. Happy hump day! 🐫🐫🐫

#FROCTOBER | Day 26 🍁🍁 Only 5 more days remain of my month of fashion!! Today’s #ootd is this ensemble –#whitehouseblackmarket cream-colored cable tunic; #anntaylor blouse; #jenniferlopez pants; #francosarto boots. Happy hump day! 🐫🐫🐫

#FROCKTOBER Day 27 | Singing in the rain 🎢 as only 4 days remain of my month-long fashion feature for the blog. Today's #ootd features faux fur and lace. Dress #anntaylor; faux fur vest with thin belt by #jolt; lace-up black boots by #stevemaddenluxe. Fishnet stockings. See what I mean? Somehow I always gravitate toward black clothing. Happy Almost Friday, all! πŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

#FROCKTOBER Day 27 | Singing in the rain 🎢 as only 4 days remain of my month-long fashion feature for the blog. Today’s #ootd features faux fur and lace. Dress #anntaylor; faux fur vest with thin belt by #jolt; lace-up black boots by #stevemaddenluxe. Fishnet stockings. See what I mean? Somehow I always gravitate toward black clothing. Happy Almost Friday, all! πŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

#FROCKTOBER | Day 28 -- Three more days left! I love white pumpkins and this pink #Boden skirt in today's #ootd. Black and white leopard coat from #forever21; black knit turtleneck with shoulder buttons from #primrosestudio; #charlesdavidboots. Happy Halloween weekend, witches! XO πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸπŸ‚πŸ

#FROCKTOBER | Day 28 — Three more days left! I love white pumpkins and this pink #Boden skirt in today’s #ootd. Black and white leopard coat from #forever21; black knit turtleneck with shoulder buttons from #primrosestudio; #charlesdavidboots. Happy Halloween weekend, witches! XO πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸπŸ‚πŸ

#FROCKTOBER | Day 29 Spending the day walking, shopping, and eating in #Baltimore -- stopping off in #federalhill in today's #ootd. #michaelkors jeans; #verawang top; #tahari boots.

#FROCKTOBER | Day 29 Spending the day walking, shopping, and eating in #Baltimore — stopping off in #federalhill in today’s #ootd. #michaelkors jeans; #verawang top; #tahari boots.

#FROCKTBER | Day 30 Happy Sunday! Heading out to run some shopping errands in this #ootd -- #hiche brown ruffle top from #anthropolige; straight dark jeans (so comfortable) from #whitehouseblackmarket; scored these brown suede tassel booties at #target for a steal after almost buying a similar pair for $150 online. Tomorrow's Halloween...are you brewing up something fun? πŸŽƒπŸ•ΈπŸ

#FROCKTOBER | Day 30 Happy Sunday! Heading out to run some shopping errands in this #ootd — #hiche brown ruffle top from #anthropolige; straight dark jeans (so comfortable) from #whitehouseblackmarket; scored these brown suede tassel booties at #target for a steal after almost buying a similar pair for $150 online. Tomorrow’s Halloween…are you brewing up something fun? πŸŽƒπŸ•ΈπŸ

xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 4

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Some people my find this whole FROCKTOBER thing a little silly; after all, it is a bit materialistic and about clothing and what we wear; it’s not about saving the world or doing some good for others. However, that said, I do believe how we feel about ourselves reflects on the rest of the world and people in our lives. When we feel good about ourselves, it comes from the inside; the clothing is just a mere reflection of ourselves, our personalities, and our own personal taste. When we’re happy with ourselves, that happiness helps us in all aspects of our lives.

We all have different taste in clothing–and that’s why, luckily for us all–there are all different types of styles available to us. I classify myself as a romantic, classic dresser with a dash of trendiness and Boho thrown in for fun. I like clothes that make me feel like a lady: feminine and pretty. Others may prefer more preppy, classic clothing, while others may have a full-on Boho style, among many others. We see some trends we like, we wear some trends, and we leave some trends behind because we know they don’t work for us.

We’re meant to have fun with clothes, look professional in clothes, work in clothes, go out in clothes, exercise in clothes, and hang around the house in clothes. We have clothing that suits all our different settings β€” and the best part is, we get to choose those pieces that work especially for each of us.

Here’s what I wore this week:

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SUNDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 16 l #Sunday’s #ootd and a little over the halfway mark (thank goodness!) in this transitional fall look … #americanrag top from #macys; #anntaylorloft leggings; #charlesdavid boots; #bigbudda bag.

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MONDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 17 | It’s back to the classroom in this #ootd–navy blue dress with white piping from #boden; these navy shoes have quickly become one of my favorite pairs by #vincecamuto; bag by #merona. Hope today is a good start to the week for you!

TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today's #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.

TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today’s #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.

WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today's #ootd ... classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.

WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today’s #ootd … classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.

THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight's Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.

THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight’s Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.

FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood - All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.

FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood – All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.

SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.

SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.

xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 3

FROCKTOBER is full steam ahead this week, with lots of variations and different brands. Also, I want to talk about NEUTRALS, as some people have questions, such as, “Can I wear brown and black together?” Yes, you can. They are two neutrals. Just as you can wear grey and black, or black and tan, or even brown and grey (which can look quite elegant, actually), so can you blend neutrals. Blue is a neutral (think about your blue jeans…you wear them with anything, right?); therefore, you can mix your neutrals. Don’t be afraid to do it. It can look quite lovely.

I’m a petite person, and as such, I stay away from big patterns, large stripes, and heaviness of clothing, especially on top or around the mid-section, which will only add more weight and bulk to my already short stature. I’m quite curvy, and so I must choose the right clothes to help balance my silhouette. Darker colors on the bottom typically help this, wearing the same color on top and bottom helps you appear taller, and too much bulk will just make you look bigger than you are.

Here are the looks from the week that were posted on my Instagram. See you next Sunday.

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#Frocktober | Day 9 slipped into this #ootd for Sunday — #anntaylorloft curvy jeans; #forevertwentyone top; black booties from #mossimo. This is about as big a pattern as I will wear on top. The open neckline opens me up and lengthens me. The cinched waist helps accentuate my waist and gives that hourglass shape.

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#FROCKTOBER Day 10 | Today’s #ootd is all about comfort as my husband and I strolled @ladewgardens during my fall semester break — #Target leggings with #jeannepierre leather trimmed grey sweater from #macys, perfect for the 60 degree weather and sunny skies; #marcfisher black suede tall boots with gold detail.

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Got someone to take our photo during out outing to Ladew Topiary Gardens on Monday during my fall break from the university. It was lovely to do nothing but stroll and enjoy the spectacular weather.

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#FROCKTOBER Day 11 | Wore this #ootd to my son’s District Championship golf match today (they qualified and are heading to States!)…#Laurenconrad jeans; red sweater from #anntaylorolft; plaid jacket from #Boden; #Bandolino boots; #danabuchman bag; #Mudd hat. So proud of Matt and his team! It’s a happy Tuesday!

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#FROCKTOBER Day 12 | Today’s #ootd proves you can wear two neutrals, even when those neutrals are brown and black. Black straight leg pants by #jenniferlopez; cream colored blouse from #anntaylorloft; brown vest with fur trim from #anntaylor; black boots with gold zippers by #tahari. Photo taken in one of my favorite local shops, #homesteadgardens.

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#FROCKTOBER Day 13 | My daughter thought the previous pic was too dark, so we’re trying this again with better lighting…when this month is over, I’m going back to writing novels. This modeling thing is not for me…😘. Back to work after fall break in today’s #ootd on campus: #verawangprincess dress; #mossimo black lace-up shoes and metallic bag.

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#FROCKTOBER Day 14 | #Friday fun in this new #ootd, a lightweight, long-sleeved denim dress by #Inc from #macys and brown suede boots with tights by #ninewest … Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. Enjoy it, everyone!

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#FROCKTOBER Day 15, Part 1 | #Saturday in a suit? Yes…just for the morning for @stevensonuniversity’s Open House for prospective students. This #ootd suiting is by #AnnTaylor in brown; #ninewest cream-colored suede shoes; lace camisole by #Bordeaux; #mossimo metallic bag. Changing into something more Saturday-like now…

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#FROCKTOBER Day 15, Part 2 | Running out to do some errands in this casual #ootd — #starcity red top with ruffle; #whitehouseblackmarket black sweater and super straight legged jeans; #tahari boots; #maxxnewyork red leather bag.

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#FROCKTOBER Day 16 l #Sunday’s #ootd and a little over the halfway mark (thank goodness!) in this transitional fall look … #americanrag top from #macys; #anntaylorloft leggings; #charlesdavid boots; #bigbudda bag.

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Just a little thing about hats…I love to wear them in the fall and winter. This one’s been around for a while, but it’s one of my favorites to throw on. I have this style in black, brown, and grey. Once again, these neutrals can go with just about anything.

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xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

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FROCKTOBER Week 2 | What I Wore

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In celebration of #FROCTOBER, I’m doing a quick recap of what I wore this past week. I’ve been posting daily on my Instagram feed (stephverni), and it’s been fun. It makes me think, though, because it’s a lot of pressure to post an outfit you think is good enough to feature as a Frocktober favorite. I’m a petite, regular gal, and the correct proportions of my clothing matters; it’s one of the things I learned when I became a fashion consultant. We tend to want to wear all the latest trends whether they suit us or not, but if our body type/size/shape/height doesn’t work for that trend, we have to let it go. The key to good styleβ€”and finding your own brand of personal styleβ€”is wearing what works best on your body; you must know what fits well and makes you look your best, and it’s not always easy. I’d love to wear a lot of the big, loose fitting clothes, but it will make me look like I’m wearing a tent–they will overwhelm my small stature. Therefore, think about your proportions and always keep them in mind when buying clothes, especially when you buy clothing that you want to last a while. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter if you buy something at Nordstrom or Target or a high-end boutique, if it’s the right color and proportion, it will probably look fabulous on you. (And you will see from my collection, I buy things from everywhere…for me, it’s all about balance and proportion).

And now, on to what I wore this week, starting with what I wore on Sunday…

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Day 2 | #FROCKTOBER Sunday errands and grading at the library. Topshop top from #Nordstrom; good old fashioned #Levi’s jeans; #Kanna shoes from Spain; #Maxx red leather bag.

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Day 3 of #FROCKTOBER features this #ootd for Monday on campus. Plum long sleeved blouse from #anntaylor; black pocket skirt from #anntaylorloft; shoes from our own #Annapolis, #Maryland native and designer #christiansiriano for #paylessshoes in wine; #ralphlauren bag.

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Today’s #FROCKTOBER #ootd … Day 4 on campus … forcing myself to step away from my mostly black wardrobe and into some color. #moulinettesoeurs purple dress and #charlieandrobin sweater from #anthropologie; #vaneli grey suede button boots.

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#FROCKTOBER continues with #whatiworetoday on Day 5Β  on campus with this #ootd. Blue dress from #bananarepublic; brown tweed blazer from #thelimited; brown suede, stacked heel boots from #ninewest; one of my go-to, all-time favorite necklaces is not expensive but comes from #target; bag by #davidjonesbags. @lisarinna inspired hair (love her).

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#FROCKTOBER is rolling along on Day 6 with this #ootd — #whatiworetoday on campus? Straight legged pants from #whitehouseblackmarket; blue blouse by #xhilaration; black, fringe peep-toe booties by #sodashoes; necklace from #charmingcharlie; bag by #michaelkors. Bring on Friday and our semester fall break which begins tomorrow afternoon. Thursday smiles, all!!

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Day 7 | From earlier today before I was under the weather comes today’s boho-inspired Friday #FROCKTOBER #ootd — Wore this #laurenconrad dress with grey #boden suede boots and a hat from #maddengirl. Happy Friday!

Day 8 | Saturday feels for #frocktober in this comfy #ootd ... #laurenconradcollection top with her jeans (great fit)! Wearing my #sodashoes booties on my feet; #maddengirl hat. Ready for an evening with family. Happy rainy Saturday!

Day 8 | Saturday feels for #FROCKTOBER in this comfy #ootd … #laurenconradcollection top with her jeans (great fit)! Wearing my #sodashoes booties on my feet; #maddengirl hat. Ready for an evening with family. Happy rainy Saturday!

See you next week!

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

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An Eastern Shore Treasure: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

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As a Marylander who sometimes enjoys a quick getaway to the Eastern Shore, I recently had the privilege of once again staying at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina. Situated on the banks of the Choptank River, the resort boasts 342 acres in Cambridge, Maryland. As this was my third visit as a guestβ€”having gone once before with my husband and then again for a girls’ getaway weekendβ€”I always forget just how large, well-maintained, and picturesque it is. Unlike some resorts, it does not have an air of superiority to it; instead, it welcomes guests with open arms and invites them to walk the trails, spend time along the waterfront at the beach area or two pools, get pampered at the spa, or play a round of golf or two at the well-designed course on site. The restaurants are lovely, and we enjoyed a delectable breakfast as we sat in a terrace room that overlooks the water. Quite simply, the resort offers guests the perfect opportunity to unwind and enjoy the splendor that surrounds them.

One special touch the resort offers guests: their own bag of neatly packed s’mores to roast by the outdoor fire.

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xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

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Welcome to #Frocktober | What I Wore & Style Tips

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frock [frok] noun

def.

1. a gown or dress worn by a girl or woman.
2. a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workers; smock.

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Today begins my version of Frocktober, whereby I will showcase what I wear for the next 31 days of October. I’m an average woman who is petite in stature and who also happens to love shopping for clothes, reading about fashion, and creating a personal style. In my former life as a fashion consultant, I helped other women try to find their style. We don’t have to be runway models to feel good about ourselves; women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, and beauty truly comes from within and then is expressed on the outside. We are all capable of finding our own “brand” of style, and so much of it comes from what has shaped us and continues to shape us as people.

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I don’t have a fat wallet or shop at the finest of stores; I primarily buy things on sale, and I even hunt down goods at consignment stores (and recently scored two Nanette Lepore pieces in mint condition for a fraction of what the original retail price was). I’ll pick up things from Anthropologie to Boden to Ann Taylor, from Nordstrom and Macy*s, and from Target and Kohl’s to name a few. What really matters when finding your own personal style is finding pieces that work for you and your body type, while taking color into consideration.
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For the next month, I’ll share with you what I’ve worn during the week, where I purchased the items, and discuss tips I learned along the way as a fashion consultant. I enjoy helping others feel good about themselves and the choices they make with regard to clothing and accessories.
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As I am weeks away from publishing my third novel, I thought having Steph’s Scribe take a breather from writing articles this month (well, maybe just a few!), I would focus on fashion for #Frocktober.
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Let me know if you have any questions about what I post. I will do my best to answer anything you ask.
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Have a wonderful weekend…now…on to our October Feature.
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W H A T Β  IΒ Β  W O R E
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Wednesday, September 28 | This little black dress (LBD) is from Ann Taylor. It’s a staple in my closet. Everyone needs an LBD–that “go to” dress that can be worn dressed up or down. In this photo in front of our new building on campus, I accessorized with a black flower pin, Michael Kors watch, and Cole Hahn t-straps. Even though #Frocktober didn’t officially start until today, I started promoting the feature on Instagram on Wednesday.

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Thursday, September 29 | This bright yellow skirt brightens up any rainy day! From Boden, it features big pockets on the front; the navy blue sweater top (yes, it’s navy, not black!) is from Banana Republic; boots are navy blue suede from Boden; and the funky yellow necklace is from Target. Personally, I wouldn’t wear a lot of yellow near my face. My skin tone has yellow to it, so it would make me look even more yellow (and older). However, wearing bright colors elsewhere allows me to wear jewel tones (which tend to look best against my skin) closer to my face. As we age, it’s important to keep color in mind. The pop of yellow with the necklace is just enough and doesn’t overwhelm the skin tone.

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Friday, September 30 | Another rainy day gave me the blues. On Friday, I was going to be on campus all day, first teaching a three-hour class, and then attending a student event, so I decided to take the liberty of participating in Casual Friday. The blue top is from Nordstrom, the jeans are from White House Black Market (love the comfort of their jeans!), shoes are from Vince Camuto (just got them for my birthday), and the bag is from Ralph Lauren. A tip if you are on the short side like me: the same color on the top and bottom will keep a consistent line and make you appear taller (even with that little bit of white piping). Not breaking the line with color is a smart thing to do; however, it can be become boring always wearing the same color on top and bottom. We’ll talk about other strategies for that as we move through the month.

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Saturday, October 1 | IT’S FINALLY #FROCKTOBER!!! Here we go, people. It’s the official start of #Frocktober, and for the next 31 days, I’ll attempt to show you what an average, suburban lady wears to work and on the weekends. Hope you enjoy… Today’s Saturday outfit is brought to you by the following: Blue/green velvet top by Dolan from Anthropologie; dark wash blue, straight legged blue jeans from White House Black Market; boots by Marc Fisher from DSW; bag purchased in St. Michaels by Spartina 449. At the time the photo was taken, there was a massive downpour, but we stayed dry underneath the short roof of these shops in Severna Park.

Have a good weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by Steph’s Scribe.

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xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

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