Favorite Winter Trends

Happy Monday, everyone! Hoping you all had a great weekend and are excited for the short work week. For today's November Blogathon prompt, we're asked to share our favorite winter trends. Right up my alley! I am currently obsessed with wearing all neutrals together or beautiful deep jewel tones. I love color so the jewel tones come as no surprise, but wearing neutrals isn't usually my thing, so it's been fun to try out recently. So here are two looks I created in Polyvore based on these two trends.

Which trend do you like best?


Fashion Forward Fridays: Blanket Scarf Goodness

Happy Friday! I am already over the wintery cold and snow, but I cannot get enough of blanket scarves. I mean, who wouldn't want to wrap up in one before heading out in the cold? So for today's Fashion Forward Fridays, here are three looks I created in Polyvore for this trend! Enjoy and bundle up!

Which look do you like best? How do you wear a blanket scarf?


A Prayer Journal

We're going to get a little personal today. For the November Blogathon, today's prompt is to talk about your prayer life, if you have one. As I have mentioned on this blog before, I am a Christian and while I'm a little more liberal with my beliefs about what the church should be doing in the world today, prayer is at the center of it.

When I was younger, growing up in the church, prayer to me was very much just a "Dear God, please keep my friends and family safe and don't let anything bad happen in the world. Amen." Pretty great, right? Since then, I have grown a lot and my relationship with God is completely different.

Until I was a teenager, God was just an idea, not a real person. To be honest, around the time I was fourteen, I remember being at a summer camp and having the most amazing day and then praying that night, like I always did but feeling like God didn't hear me. Like he didn't care about what I had to say and honestly, wasn't even there. That feeling scared me and followed me for the next four years. I didn't believe in God at all. I still went to church every Sunday, I still went to summer camps, but I just didn't feel it anymore.

However, when I went to college, I knew something was missing. Then, when I went to the summer camp I grew up at as a camp counselor, I realized what it was. But it was hard to get back into a relationship with someone I had tried to avoid for the past five years. That's when a fellow staff member introduced the idea of a prayer journal. I thought she was brilliant (I still do, actually). It made perfect sense to me though! As a writer, it was easy to just write everything I was feeling and thinking and hoping for and leaving it all on the page for God. Since then, that's mostly how my prayer life has been. Prayer journals have been filled and replaced over the years but the relationship with God has only grown because of them.

I also am a big fan of the "thought prayer" idea and practice that more often than not. I know that a lot of people don't consider this "active praying" and that it's not the proper way to come to God but this isn't their relationship to judge. God knows what's between me and Him and for now, the thoughts and the journal is how we do it. I recently bought a copy of A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor (one of my favorite writers) and it's made me realize how beautiful these little letters to God are. How our relationship is growing, how it has changed and how it is fine the way it is. I might miss a day or two, but God is like one of those friends you can just pick up with where you last left off without missing a beat. And when I miss a day, that's where the thought prayers pick up for the in-between times.

What's your prayer life like?
What do you think of a prayer journal?


Chels Wears: Winter Layers

Belt & Cardigan: Target | Hat: Charlotte Russe | Chambray, Jeans & Scarf: WalMart
Ring: Old Navy | Flannel Shirt: thrifted | Leg Warmers: WalMart
Well, if you were here yesterday, then you know last night we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at one of Eric's churches for some people in need. And it went great! I'm so proud haha I was really nervous that there wouldn't be enough food and that the turkey would be awful, but everyone was fed and loved it! This was the first time I ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner and figuring out how to cook a turkey was a learning experience, to say the least. Now I feel like a real grown up.

These pictures were taken at a nearby park while I was waiting for the turkey to finish up. This was also the quickest photo session that Eric and I have ever done because it was freeeeezing outside. I'm not excited about winter officially being in Erie, but snow makes for some pretty pictures and I do love layering! But so commences the quick photo session season. Hopefully we'll get good photos on the first try like we did with these ones. Not to shabby for (literally) the only photos we took.


Chelsea Lately: November Blogathon Update

Hello, everyone! I missed yesterday's November Blogathon prompt because I just, honestly, didn't have much to say about it. It was to talk about your hometown and there's really not a lot I have to say about Ellwood City. There are a couple new little restaurants that I like but besides that, not a whole lot is going on that I felt the need to comment on here. Now that I haven't lived there for a while, I appreciate the town way more than I did while growing up there, but I was not created for small town life. So moving on today's prompt...a currently post.

I really love doing these because sometimes bloggers focus a lot on what they want to write about and forget to mention what's going on in their lives. These kind of posts are my favorite to catch up with bloggers and so you all can see what I've really been up to outside of this little space.
Brunch for Eric's birthday | Flowers from MJ for our anniversary | Lots of snow in Erie | My cat, as a record

Remembering: College. MJ and I recently celebrated our five year dating anniversary and it has really made me stop and remember who I was five years ago. I was in my junior year of college, had just been crowned Homecoming Queen and was at the top of my game academically and falling head over heels in love. Seton Hill has such a huge part of my heart and I miss it more than I ever could have imagined.

Giggling About: My crazy cat. My brother, Eric, and I have recently started our own meme-like text messages to each other about her. Pretty much whenever we find her in weird places around the house, we send a picture to each other with the phrase, "don't mind me, I'm just a (fill in the blank)." Recent things she's been: shoes, guitar amp, record, burrito.

Planning: A Thanksgiving dinner! Eek! Family Video and one of my brother's churches have decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner for some local people who don't have a place to go for the holiday and it's tonight! Family Video (like every single one in the nation) always donates turkeys to local families in need but since our store is so small, we decided to just host a dinner instead and Eric was more than willing to allow us to use the church basement for the space. But since I'm the "middle-person" between Family Video and the church, a lot of the planning has been on me. Which is fine, but I hope everything turns out alright!

Anxiously Awaiting: Upcoming craft shows for Marion Claire Stationery. I'm heading to Edinboro for one on Saturday and then doing two more in Shady Side on November 29th and December 13th. I'm hoping that these ones will do really well with Christmas coming up and my holiday cards being ready to go. Also, because the Shady Side shows will be the first two that are really in my "market" I'm hoping they will become a more regular kind of event and open me up to more "hipster-friendly" shows. Because to be honest, I'm a little hit-or-miss at smaller craft shows since they tend to draw an older crowd that doesn't always approve of my cheeky sayings.

Baking: Everything! (See: Planning) haha

Keeping a Secret: Eric's Christmas present! It came in the mail last week and I had to hide it with some other people's presents that I already bought (I'm ahead of schedule this year). But I'm reallllllly excited for what I got him. I saw it online thinking he'd like it but didn't buy it because I wasn't totally sure, then he sent me his Birthday/Christmas list and it was on there...so I swiftly purchased it.

DIYing: Some Christmas crafts for the house! Eric is allowing me to take over for decorating the house for Christmas and I've been Pinteresting a little too much lately. I've found some cute and easy crafts that I cannot wait to show off soon! I have a strict rule about not decorating until after Thanksgiving, but I'm allowed to prepare! This house was seriously designed just to decorate for Christmas, so I've got to do it justice.

What have you been up to recently?


Fashion Forward Fridays: Wearing Colored Tights

I cannot even talk about how much I love wearing tights in the winter. I don't understand why, but tights with socks and boots is just my favorite trend. And I say winter, because it has arrived in Erie. I just realized yesterday that I guess I didn't really let the general public know that I moved. After posting about the snow yesterday on Instagram and Twitter, a lot of people asked where I was that there was so much snow. So, hey everyone, I live in Erie, in case you missed that memo, I move here in January. And we have plenty of snow already.

Moving on, I love wearing tights in the winter and I currently am obsessing over colored tights. So for Fashion Forward Fridays today, I put together three looks together on Polyvore inspired by colored tights that can be worn for winter.

The casual look is my favorite and is basically what I wore to work at Family Video on Wednesday night. I love the dressy look as well because it seems so sweet and romantic with pink tights, but the work outfit would be the hardest to pull off. I think that if you hair was up and you looked polished enough, it could happen and it'd be work appropriate.

Which look is your favorite? How do you style colored tights?


New Blogger Tips & Intro to Blogging Greatness

As some of you know, I recently finished up teaching a course for beginning bloggers. It was a great experience for me, I met some awesome people and got them to revamp their blogs and some just start out. But I feel like in blogging, you are always learning. It's an every-growing community and as we established these blogs, I feel like I learned just as much from my students. Especially one student, Nan, who started writing a comedy blog for the 65+ crowd. She's hilarious and so insightful and I'm excited to see where her blog goes.

With that in mind, I think the November Blogathon prompts for Thursday and Friday (both of which I'm doing today) were right on point to what I've been thinking a lot about recently when it comes to blogging. So here we go!

If you could tell your novice blogger self 3 tips...

1 - Build a community.
I really just started writing this blog so my family and friends would read it and know that I was having fun and was safe while living in downtown Pittsburgh. I have had other blogs before and this one was not started to get lots of page views, it is not created to be SEO friendly, even though at the time that's all I was doing in work. But when the greater Pittsburgh community started to catch on to what I was writing and more people became followers, it started to find a bigger purpose for this space. Which was nice and I'm glad to see that a lot of those early followers continued to read even when I moved out of the city, because my content has certainly changed since then. But those followers, bloggers and non-bloggers, have really opened a lot of doors for me and while that wasn't my intention, I really appreciate it.

2 - Fellow bloggers are not your competition.
I do not like that a lot of bloggers are just in it now to monetize and a lot of "How to Start a Blog" posts are dedicated to making money off your blog right away. I feel like doing that leads to you being unauthentic and leads you to not make friends with other bloggers because you view them as your competition. That is dumb. Blogging is supposed to be about the community not the advertising dollars, and while those are nice, hating a fellow blogger in your niche is pretty lame.

3 - Allow yourself a break whenever you need it.
I hear about blogger burnout too much. If you've followed along here for a while, then you know that I believe in giving myself mini-breaks from blogging whenever I feel like it. I wish more bloggers were like that, because readers can tell when your heart isn't into it and I never want that feeling to come across to my readers. Give yourself time off if you want/need it.

Now skipping over to Friday's prompt - Introduce 3 bloggers you follow and why.

Sarah Hartley | Midwest Muse | Sincerely, Sara
Photos are the property of Sarah, Jessica, and Sara, respectively.
Sarah Hartley - Sarah has made an appearance here a couple times, and she will always be my first blogger pick. She's one of the first bloggers I really started to follow consistently and I like that she's built a community that has followed her from fashion blogger girlfriend to mommy of the cutest little boy, with the perfect husband. I like that she's become more open over time to sharing about herself and now I cannot even believe how transparent she is with her readers. She's really grown and it's been an amazing journey to watch unfold over the screen. She's got great style, a fresh sense of humor and plenty of baby pictures to show off her cute little man.

Midwest Muse - Jessica is amazing. She has the best style that I have ever seen, has the best taste in music and generally just doesn't give a shit what people think, and I LOVE it. Jessica takes a week off from blogging and doesn't really need to give an excuse as to why because her readers pick up right where she left off. She changes her hair drastically on a whim and still knows how to style it better than anyone who has had that hair for years. She's basically a unicorn living in Ohio and I cannot get enough of her and her blog. Also, her photographer boyfriend takes the most gorgeous pictures of her that her whole blog just looks like an indie magazine you need to be reading.

Sincerely, Sara - I found this Sara through reading Sarah Hartley's blog and have to say that I'm glad I did. Sara is someone I admire because she is so consistent and her blog reads like she wrote it just to you. She has clear goals about her future and her blog, she tells you upfront what she blogs about and when, and she is always producing quality content in her niche. She's making the rest of us mid-twenties bloggers look unorganized and I actually love it because she is just so good. She's also a bookworm, so always one to recommend good reads.

So, who are your favorite bloggers?
And what wisdom would you share with new bloggers?


Chels Wears: Super Casual

Shirt: Victoria's Secret | Pants & Sweatshirt: WalMart | Glasses: Rue21 | Shoes: Kandals | Bag: Target

Alright, this outfit is nothing special. I know that. But while I do "dress up" a lot, I wanted to show that I really do have "off" days too. I know that blogging, especially fashion blogging, can often times give a false sense of who someone is. And because I've been crazy busy lately, I don't always have time or, honestly, care enough to dress up during the day when I know I'm just going to bartend at night. (Which inevitably leads to a keg kicking and me getting splashed with beer.) So, here's a very average, as of recently, look for me. I'm sure I'll be back to my fancy pants soon, but for today, this super soft sweatshirt is really all I want. In other news...check out that serious bun head.


My 2015 Blogging Goals

Firstly, I just want to give a shout out to all the veterans. This day is too often overlooked and I am not about that. I could never imagine being a solider and I greatly appreciate those who have and are serving our country and hope that they feel appreciated today and throughout the year. Regardless of where you stand in politics, you should be supportive of those who willingly suit up and fight for us, while we don't even realize what they are doing. So to those of you who are veterans, who are currently in the military or who are a family member or friend of a military member, thank you for your willingness to serve.

Moving right along with the November Blogathon, today's prompt is to talk about three blogging goals. And while I never really "set in stone" how I want my blog to grow, I think this prompt gave me just enough of a push to think about what I really want with this space, especially within the next year.

Gain engaged followers.
This is probably on a lot of blogger's goals list but it makes sense. I really like the community I've been building through this blog, through reaching out to other bloggers on my own, link-ups and becoming a more active member of the Northeast Bloggers Network. Now I just feel like I need to maximize on that community so I can add followers to my social media sites. This past year I have noticed a pretty big leap in followers and I don't feel like I tried really hard for that to happen, so let's see what trying brings to this blog, shall we?

Figure out if I need to rebrand and do it, if so.
Since moving out of Pittsburgh and then creating Marion Claire Stationery, I have felt the need to rebrand this blog to be more cohesive to everything I'm dipped into and that really just means, my name alone. I'd ideally like to (personally) find some roots in the next year, so that will determine whether or not I'd like to keep "the City" but I'm sure that in the next few years, my name will also change. So I have to figure out whether to wait until the name change or to go for it now. But I feel like the upcoming changes in my personal and professional life will tell me whether or not that rebrand is needed, it's just a process that I'd like to narrow down in the next year.

Write more here and there.
I'd really like to up my game in the next year. I started this year off with a bang and was posting really consistently, but when I started Marion Claire Stationery, I really let myself focus on other things. At the time, that was great, obviously I started a business and have made it into something worth noting during that time. However, now that Marion Claire is up and running and has her shit together, it's time to promote that girl. I want to write more on my blog and do a lot of guest posting for other blogs either for Marion Claire or just guest posts in general. I love writing and connecting with new readers, so if you want a guest post, hit me up!

What are your blogging goals for 2015?


Chels & the City Favorites

Happy Monday, friends! For the November Blogathon, today's prompt is to share your 3 favorite posts from your archives. (You'll notice that three is the theme of the week.) So here are three posts that I think are some of my best, and oddly enough, there is one from each year that my blog has been around, which was unplanned but a nice little surprise for myself.

2014 - Bad Things Happen When You Wear Sweatpants In Public
The story of an unfortunate event that I, of course, blamed on the fact that I was wearing sweatpants in public while it happened. My one and only fashion rule is to never wear sweats/pajama pants in public and I feel like the universe was getting back at me for shaming people who do. Lesson learned.

2013 - Hazard Yet Forward
A note to the Seton Hill University community after a serious tragedy. I graduated from SHU in 2011 and it will always have my heart, so this post was important for me to write and is one of my most-viewed of all time. It was one of those posts that you promote once by posting the link on Facebook and it was shared and passed on a countless number of times. I hope that means that the women involved and their families were among those views and that it helped them heal a little bit.

2012 - Cupid: as portrayed by Chelsea
I love this post. It was one of my first posts on this blog and I think I nailed it haha It's actually a really long post but I wanted it to be worth the read. I came up with date night ideas for people in the Pittsburgh area for Valentine's Day and based each idea on the Five Love Languages. Good, right? Like, you wish you were following my blog back then good. At the time, my readers were pretty much just my friends and family and I cannot tell you how many texts/calls I've received since then about people asking me to help them plan a night out or date night in the city, and they reference this post. Thanks, friends, I'm here for you!

Do you have favorite posts from your own blog?
Or a favorite from mine that's not mentioned?


Marion Claire Stationery: 2014 Holiday Launch

Today's November Blogathon prompt is to blog about a fall craft. So I thought this would be a good time to post about the Marion Claire Stationery 2014 Holiday Launch. This collection officially launched on Saturday, November 1st, but I didn't want to overwhelm the masses with posting about it on the blog that day as well. Especially since there are so few posts on my blog done on a Saturday, I didn't think it would be natural.

I'm so unbelievably proud of this collection. I really feel like it's the perfect mix of heart and sass, which is always my goal! And I think that each of these fit in perfectly with the Marion Claire Stationery brand and what I sell throughout the year. I have to admit that it was really hard for me to think about Christmas in general while I was just watching the leaves change colors, but such is retail. I hate skipping over Thanksgiving, but I have had two Thanksgiving designs up since October, so I didn't feel too awful about launching these at the beginning of November. I'm really excited about where this company is going and the growth that has come in just a few short (and quick) months.

Also, I will be heading to three craft shows soon, if you're in the area, I welcome you to come check out Marion Claire in person and get some of your holiday shopping done. More specifics will be up soon about those shows, so stay tuned!

Which holiday card is your favorite from this collection?


Chels Wears: Floral Fringe Kimono

Kimono & Purse: Target | Pants & Scarf: Walmart | Ring: Flea Market | Wedges: Kmart | Tank: JCPenney's
I have become obsessed with kimonos recently, but hasn't everyone? I'm so glad that they are back on trend because I love flowy clothes that still keep you dressed up and comfortable. I got this one at Target and it has become my favorite. I like that it's dark, which makes it a fall/winter piece, but it's floral, which apparently makes it for spring/summer as well. I can tell that I'll be remixing this one for all seasons and you guys are going to have to just go along with it.

And while I don't really like to re-wear exact outfits, I will admit that I have worn this look before...except for the shoes. I wore this look with my lace up boots, that I probably wear too much, to go out to brunch with my mom when I was back home for my cousin's wedding in October but I thought these wedges would give it a little more sophistication. I really like how it turned out and I felt very chic in it all day. So wedges for the win.

Any new pieces to your closet that you're absolutely loving?


Thanksgiving Traditions with the Olivers

If you were here yesterday, then you know that I'm following along with Kristen's blog, the MRS and the MOMMA, and her November Blogathon posts this month. Since I'll be posting a Chels Wears post tomorrow, I decided to jump ahead and use tomorrow's prompt for today instead. Today's prompt was to write about your favorite fall recipe and I don't really have one, so I'm skipping it. However, Wednesdays prompt is to write about your fall holiday traditions.
Thanksgiving 2013 with my brother, Eric, at our uncle's house.
For as long as I can remember, we have always had Thanksgiving dinner with my dad's siblings, which I really look forward to every year. My uncle is a great cook and gets everything together for dinner and since building his beautiful log cabin home, has hosted Thanksgiving. We always joke around that I will inherit the log cabin so I always like to think of how I would decorate or host these dinners many, many, many years from now.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because of the fall season, football and the food, but I really like getting to spend the time with my family, laughing and playing board games after dinner. Eric and I will be heading back home this year for Thanksgiving and since this is the first year in a long time that I do not have to work on Black Friday, we will be heading out to support some local Pittsburgh record stores for their Black Friday Record Store Day sales. And on Saturday this year I'll be selling my greeting cards at a local "I Made It! Market" in Shadyside. So this year, I'm especially excited for old and new traditions to happen!

What do you do for Thanksgiving?


November Blogathon: 30 Things About Me

If you haven't noticed, I have been in a bit of a blogging funk. So to remedy that, I'm joining in on the November Blogathon Blog Challenge, hosted by Kristen of the MRS. & the MOMMA. She has set up prompts for every weekday of November and while I won't be using all of them (because I want to still continue with Chels Wears and Fashion Forward Fridays) for the most part, I will be following along!

Her first prompt is: There are 30 days in November, share 30 facts about yourself!
I really like this prompt because I always like to know more about who the person behind the blog is,
so here's some things about me that you might not know!

Photo by Maddie B. Photography

1. While typing this, I'm watching the Steelers game and it's really hard to pay attention to things about me, but I'll try my best.

2. Everyone says I have the wine taste of a 90 year old woman. I like the super dry stuff.

3. Three is my favorite number.

4. That is only significant because I really only like numbers that end in 0 or 5 because I have OCD.

5. Marion Claire Stationery is my pride and joy and seriously a dream come true.

6. I remember specific moments of my life by what I was wearing while they happened.

7. Pinterest has really made me start to enjoy cooking and I wish I didn't work so many nights so I could cook more.

8. I have been to Consol so many times since it opened and yet, not one of those times has been to see the Penguins play. #badyinzer

9. Every time I hear Wannabe by the Spice Girls, I think about my friend Katie from elementary school and dancing around her basement after school to that song.

10. I still have the Gettysburg Address memorized from when we had to recite it for credit in 7th grade.

11. I wish I lived closer to Seton Hill just so I could have an excuse to drive up that beautiful hill in the fall more often.

12. Anytime someone tells me they are not a feminist I feel like they really just need to be told what the word means. Equality. That's it. Not a battle of the sexes.

13. I'm a huge fan of indie movies. So much so that my Family Video staff calls single-title new releases "Chelsea movies" when explaining them to customers. (I have good taste, this usually creates a sale.)

14. MJ and I will celebrate our 5th anniversary on the 14th of this month.

15. I love roller coasters and have ever since I hit the height requirement.

16. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Let the countdown begin!

17. I started my first blog when I was 13.

18. I actually really like bartending but I wish the general public knew how to properly treat and tip anyone in the service industry.

19. My favorite part of Christmas is wrapping the presents.

20. I love wrapping presents so much that every year I consider starting a babysitting business that allows parents to drop off their kids with me to go shopping and then when they're done, drop off their presents with me and take their kids while I wrap their gifts for them. (I'll do this for people I know but if anyone steals this idea for a real business, please hire me.)

21. I tried on four outfits this morning (Sunday) before deciding on wearing the first thing I put on.

22. Facetious is my favorite word.

23. I always give a children's book with baby shower gifts.

24. I want few things more than I want to see the Pirates win the World Series.

25. Just realized I mentioned all three Pittsburgh sports teams in this.

26. I miss being a camp counselor, but could probably never live like that for a whole summer again.

27. I'm really proud of the students in Blogging Basics class and cannot wait to see how their blogs grow now that they're all ready and set up. Our last class meeting is this Thursday.

28. I almost hate to admit how much I like rap music.

29. To be fair, I love all kinds of music, I just think rap is such an art. People talk/singing really fast is impressive.

30. I hate how many of these sentences I started with I.

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