a life with style blog

The Blueprint || Worn


In the last year I’ve shifted most of wardrobe from brand new/fast fashion to thrifted and second hand clothing. I’d like to say that it was completely intentional. However, it was much more of a subtle and subconscious thing driven mostly by my desire to have clothes that fit a heavier me without spending too much money. I keep promising myself that I will shed the weight- and that’s an entirely different and upcoming post.

Thrifting satisfies that need for immediate gratification but it’s also very hit or miss. A few weeks ago, my friend, Jessy introduced me to ThredUp. I’d browsed the site before but was seriously overwhelmed and not really sure how it worked. Seeing all of her amazing fashion finds made me determined to figure it out!

My husband and I have birthdays at the end of the month which means at least one proper grownup night out. I used to buy myself a pretty dress every year for my birthday but I haven’t done that since before I turned 40. Seriously, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I treated myself to a “pretty, possibly impractical, serving no other purpose than it makes me insanely happy” dress! Time to fix that. So, I searched ThredUp for a birthday dress and I ended up buying 6…for less than $100!!

This didn’t make the cut for our birthday night out but it’s perfect for a casual look. I suspect I’ll dress up at some point with heels for a night out and boots for the fall. Today I paired it with my wedge high tops and arm full of bracelets to channel my inner Rainbow Johnson. Tracee Ellis Ross is one of my style icons as is her character, Rainbow, on Black-ish. I’m beyond thrilled I spotted this dress (new with tags!) and took a chance on it!


If you’d like to try ThredUp, this code will get you $10 off http://www.thredup.com/r/PYE4M9 This is a referral code. I will be compensated if you decide to use it.

This or That|| Neon

this or thatcourtneeComment

Hi, I’m Courtnee and I love neon. I grew up in the 80s when neon was a big deal so my fondness for it is firmly rooted in nostalgia. These days I prefer to pair it with a neutral instead of another neon color which is what my 10 year old self would do. Because neon+neon= Totally Rad!

I found this skirt on the clearance rack marked down to $12 at JcPenny a few years ago and it’s been a favorite. What’s not to love? Chiffon, pleats, a pop of neon paired with tan…yes please! All of those details come together in an unexpectedly modern way that I love.

Anyone who knows me knows that gray is my favorite neutral. It’s not as harsh as black. Easier to wear than brown. And, pairs the easiest with other neutrals. Mixed metallic shoes are perfect for subtly tying together the gray+tan color palette. This outfit feels romantic without being fussy and I love it. Lately, I’ve been having so much fun digging through my closet, rediscovering things are years old, and styling them in completely different ways. Nothing in this outfit is new. The skirt is the newest addition and it’s probably 4 years old. I’d forgotten how much I love the creative process of putting together an outfit and it feels good to get back into that head space again!

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This is an easy look for everyday mom life. The same color palette in a super casual way that makes me look a hell of lot more pulled together than I actually am. The tee and chambray shirt are fun and recent thrift finds. I love making a casual outfit out of a piece that at first glance seems “dressy”. If I saved all of my dress up clothes for special occasions, they would literally never leave my closet! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Parenting with Depression and Anxiety

motherhoodcourtnee4 Comments

This was not the post I had planned. The post planned was supposed to be one singing the praises of a local berry farm capped with a photo of a spectacular blackberry cake! Well as close to a spectacular baked good as someone who is a terrible baker can get. But, the last two weeks I’ve really been struggling a lot with my mental health. And so, here we are.

These are the days when I worry exponentially that loving Rowan is simply not enough. I adore this kid with my whole entire heart but I don’t think I’m parenting in a way that gives him what he needs when I’m barely hanging on. Getting him ready for the day is hard. Engaging with him is harder. Y’all I’m so incredibly tired. Yesterday he asked me if I liked him and it nearly broke me. He is clearly picking up on the fact that EVERYTHING including caring for him is really a struggle for me. And, because he’s a kid it feels like mama doesn’t like him. These are also the days when even though the exhaustion from doing the things I’m supposed to do to feel better weighs me down like a brick, I fight harder. I refuse to let myself sink into the cycle of depression that is so bad I don’t want to get out of bed and anxiety so intense it literally takes my breath away. I know that despite my brain sending me messages that make me think otherwise, I have so much to live to for because this too shall pass. Just know that if you are a parent struggling with mental illness while doing your very best to give the the very best of yourself every day, you are not in this alone.

Summer Fun

family adventurescourtneeComment

We're deep into July and summer days are feeling way too long at this point! I've already started wistfully looking at the calendar and anticipating Rowan's return to school. I feel crafted and activitied out!

But, last week we rediscovered two fun new places to hang out that hit the sweet spot of being tolerable for me and fun for Rowan. And, they're F R E E (or relatively cheap!)

We visited Parky's Farm on Tuesday. It's part of the Hamilton County Parks District so I vehicle permit is required ($10 annually/$5 daily for residents of Hamilton County and $15 annually/$8 daily for non-residents) however, we've rarely encountered anyone working the gate on weekday visits. Visiting the petting zoo, walking the farm or playing on the playground are all free! And there's enough to do to occupy a full morning. After everyone is all played out, enjoy your packed lunch down by the pond.

They offer pony rides, hay rides and an indoor play area. Pony rides and the indoor play barn are $5 per kid. The hayrides are $5 per person. We spent $15 for the play barn and the hayride for Rowan and my husband. The wagon was pulled by a tractor which is his favorite so, there was no way we were leaving without seeing it up close and personal!


We also revisited one of our favorites from a few years ago! For one reason or another, The Play Library, had fallen off of our things to do list. And since our last visit they have moved from Elm Street to a much larger space on Main Street. Have no worries, none of the charm of the original space has been lost in the move! There are literally hundreds of toys and games for kids to enjoy and enough nostalgia for grown ups to appreciate!

You can drop in and play for free. However, donations are welcomed. They also have a membership package allows you to check out toys and games to enjoy at home.


Be sure to check out these places on those days when you're completely stumped about how to keep the kiddos occupied between the neverending request for snacks.

Worn|| Ordinary

worncourtnee2 Comments

I’m a stay at home mom. This means that most of my days feel like a repeat of the day before. In the haze that is created by those mundane little things set to repeat, I sometimes feel like I’ve lost me or at least the me I used to be. I know I’ve said it here so often that you’re tired of hearing it but part of my journey this year is figuring out exactly who am i am in this moment and learning to love her. And celebrate her.

In the last week or so, I’ve really been looking at lot of old images from pinterest and some of my old fashion magazines- remember them- thinking about style in general and my style specifically. I still haven’t figured out exactly what my style is anymore but this outfit has some small details that I’m always drawn to. Embroidery always makes my heart skip a beat and yellow is my forever favorite. The peep-toe heels with an ankle strap are old fashioned in the best possible way. Nothing here is new. This JCrew top and Kenzie shoes are probably 9 years old. I thrifted these jeans a year ago and while I loved the relaxed fit and the wash they were way too long to cuff. So yesterday, I hacked them off to the perfect ankle grazing length and distressed them. I'm kind of obsessed with them. This entire look made me happy as I went about my absolutely ordinary day. And sometimes, that’s all you need.


This is the face I make when I’m trying to explain to my 5 year old why I’m taking photos of myself and not him! Ha!!

This or That || Episode 2

this or thatcourtneeComment

This striped top is one of my latest thrift store finds. I was immediately drawn to the stipes and the colors. When I pulled it off the rack I was pleasantly surprised by the boat neck and the bracelet sleeve. The fabric, though polyester, feels luxurious and it was only $5.99. We were obviously meant to be!


The top lends itself to dressing up but because my life as a SAHM is pretty laid back, I needed to work out how I could dress it down a little.

So, I made it a little more casual with white jeggings and black flats. While this is more put together than I tend to be when running around with a five year old, because white pants with a kid are a disaster in the making(!), I would definitely wear this for a day date with my husband or brunch with friends.


What’s a night out without a little or in this case a LOT of leg! I wouldn’t have thought twice about wearing shorts this short a decade ago! But, few extra pounds and few more years have made question my style way too much. I fell in love with the sweet scallop detail so they came home with me even though I was unsure if I’d have the nerve to wear them. This year I promised myself to give less damns about what people think I ought to be wearing so here we are!


D E T A I L S:

B L O U S E- Banana Republic- thrifted

J E G G I N G S - American Eagle

F L A T S- find here

S H O R T S- Forever21- thrifted

P U M P S- Aldo

C L U T C H- Banana Republic

*this post may contain affiliate links

Worn|| But Fashion

worncourtnee1 Comment

Where my America’s Top Model fans?! Tyra, Ms. Jay and Mr. Jay snatched our collective edges in the early 2000s. And thanks to Al Gore’s internet, those first groundbreaking seasons are GIFS that keep giving!

The kiss of death was for the panel to declare the hopefuls “too catalog” or, Ana Wintour forbid, too commercial! One of my favorite scenes was for a swimsuit shoot. Tyra explains to the young wannabe that she has crossed a line into bad taste. They are models not centerfolds, damnit! It can be “ho but F A S H I O N”. That friends was not only epic television, it serves as my own little style mantra when getting dressed.

So when I decided to wear this cute little thrifted shirtdress instead of wearing Chucks and the cardigan I planned to wear, I thought “suburban housewife BUT FASHION!” I’m not sure if having a tiny trio of sartorial saints whisper in my ear is indicative of larger issues at play, but I’m fairly pleased with the results!


Jacket|| Forever 21

Shirtdress||(Old Navy) Thrifted

Sneakers||(Aldo) Thrifted

Belt|| Target

Worn || Game On

worncourtnee1 Comment

As of late, I’ve been really unsure of my style. Questioning what I like or whether I have any style at all. My mid 40’s has been a trippy time, my friends.

A lot of that uncertainty is tied to how I feel about my looks and body. And if I’m being 100 (as the kids say), most of the time it’s difficult for me to quiet that inner voice that screams about the weight I’ve gained in the last five years that refuses to budge, upper arms that never go uncovered, hips and thighs that are too wide and too thick, the double chin that I can’t contour away and on and on and on.

While I’m working on loving who I am right now. In this moment, In this body. I’ve tasked myself ridding my closet of anything that doesn’t make feel good when I put it on. As our favorite, new chaos coordinator, Marie Kondo would say, “does it spark joy?”

This simple look of things I’ve had for years and a new thrifted t-shirt did indeed spark a little bit of joy.

Have started Kondo-ing your wardrobe? Are you finding any old favorites or forgotten gems?

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The Pi(e) Maker

heart+home, yumcourtneeComment

Happy Pi Day!! And how else do you celebrate the world’s most famous number? With pie, of course!!

Friends, family and anyone unlucky enough to have a casual conversation with me about television knows that my most favorite show is Pushing Daisies. I’m still not over it’s untimely demise! One of my favorite parts of the show were the delicious and unusual flavor combinations of the pies offered by Ned, the pie maker. I couldn’t think of a better time to make my favorite inspired by Pushing Daisies Apple with Cheddar Cheese Crust pie! If you need me, I’ll be here watching my favorite show and eating pie for dinner! YOLO!

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recipe can be found here

Well Read|| A Quick Book Review


These two books ended up on my reading list by accident! I’ve been reading some heavy things lately. And while well written, I needed a break from all of the intense emotions I was feeling as a result. I have been making a more conscious effort to read more books by POC, more specifically WOC, but I haven’t found anything comparable to a beach read by a black female author that interested me. One afternoon I googled “black chick lit” and Jasmine Guillory popped up! I had seen The Wedding Date in Target. I made a metal note to add it to my TBR but somehow in news that would shock no one it never made it to the list(because my memory is non existent!). I picked up both The Wedding Date and The Proposal and got to reading.

I loved them both! I actually finished reading both of them within three days. They are easy reads but that doesn’t mean they are fluff. Both novels feature accomplished, independent and witty black women. I appreciated that Guillory avoided the strong black woman trope by making them vulnerable as well. Both novels also feature interracial relationships and one that we don’t typically see featured- black women with men of different races. In the Wedding Date, the main character, Alexa strikes up a romance with a handsome white doctor, Drew. While, The Proposal focuses on the romance between Nik and Carlos, a swoon worthy latino pediatrician. I liked that the the complications of interracial dating weren’t glossed over. Ms. Guillory deftly crafted stories which touched on issues gentrification, the loss of a parent, abuse, and some of the challenges of being POC in all white spaces with a skilled hand. It never overwhelmed the story or made it feel out of place in the romance. I believe these are going to be series much like Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad(but, you know without the dead bodies). which feature a group of characters instead one main protagonist. The Wedding Date features a romance between Alexa and Drew but the romantic hero in the Proposal, Carlos first appears as Drew’s best friend. In the next book, The Wedding Party, to be released this summer, the story centers around Maddie and Theo. They are both friends of Alexa and had supporting roles in The Wedding Date. I can’t wait to pick it up next!

If you need a light read, a bibliophile palette cleanser of sorts, I highly suggest both of these books!