Wednesday Reads — August Wrap Up

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Hello book lovers! Well we made to the end of August and for many of y’all it is the first week of school so parents congratulations on surviving the summer with your sanity (hopefully) intact.

Didn’t get a lot of reading done this month so while I may not have read a ton of book I definitely some great books. I have to remind myself that it’s not the quantity but the quality that really matters!

How was your August? Did you make a dent in your TBR list? What are you currently reading now?

Death by Bubble Tea (L.A. Night Market Mystery) by Jennifer J. Chow

4 STARS

This is the first book in Jennifer Chow’s L.A. Night Market series that feature cousins Yale Yee and Celine Yee who are totally different but work great together. I loved this book and the cousin despite the fact that none of the cozy mystery tropes are in this series. There is no cozy companion, no small town, no love interest and yet I loved this book and hope this series has a long life.

Murder at the Blueberry Festival (Beacon Bakeshop Mystery #3) by Darci Hannah

5 STARS!

This is the third book in Darci Hannah’s Beacon Bakeshop mystery series and it is another winner! It’s August and Lindsey Bakewell is gearing up the annual Beacon Harbor Blueberry Festival but there is a prankster afoot who is creating havoc during the festival. Then Lindsey and her beau Rory Campbell stumble upon the body in a boat with a goat ( I know) and discovers it is Lars Jorgenson and his pet goat Clara. Now Lindsey and Rory along with her friend Kennedy, Betty Vanhoosen, and Lindsey’s parents are trying to discover who’s behind the pranks and who killed Lars?

This is another winner from Darci Hannah. With every book the character development is wonderful and no one is just one note but fully developed from the major characters to the side characters. The red herrings were perfect since I had no idea who the prankster was or the killer was but when the reveal happened I was so surprised and I related to the reason for the pranks and the murder.

If you are looking for a fun cozy mystery that will grab you from page one the Beacon Harbor Bakeshop mysteries are for you! I can’t wait for the fourth book in this series.

The Proof is In the Poison (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly

BOOK 2

This second book in Diane Kelly’s delightful Southern Homebrew mystery series was so good. This series is set in Chattanooga, TN and again I am really hoping this series has a long life.

Mousse and Murder (An Alaska Diner Mystery) by Elizabeth Logan

Book 1–3 STARS

This was my Facebook Book Club August pick and I was really excited to dig into this book since it would be my first cozy set in Alaska. Charlotte “Charlie” Cooke’s chef Oliver has been murdered and she is one of the suspects at first now she is determined to find out who killed the prickly chef and clear her name. I loved all the characters and how the police “deputized” everyone to help with the case and it made me want to book an Alaskan cruise. But I felt the story was just okay.

Something’s Guava Give (Trouble in Paradise) by Carrie Doyle

Book #2

I am back in Parasio with Plum Lockhart and I am really enjoying this second book even more that the 1st book which is as it should be. This book is so good I find myself staying up late because I just can’t put this book down!

I am enjoying the growth of Plum in this second book!

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Happy August!

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Happy, happy August Southernistas! It’s by God’s grace we made it through July and here we are in August! For many parents this is a month of celebration as they get ready to send their offspring back to school. My own offspring will be starting Pharmacy School this month and I am so proud I could absolutely pop! I can’t wait to attend her coat ceremony!

August is not just back to school season but it also marks the waning days of summer….big sigh. In just 50 days 5 hours 53 minutes and 38 seconds (but whos counting) summer will be no more and fall will be here in fact many retailers are starting to introduce pre-fall collections which I am loving but not ready for. I’m starting to see all the fall anticipation memes about pumpkin spice and all things fall and I say BLAH! At the same time I am planning my fall closet refresh because I am nothing if not fashionable.

Eloquii Pre-Fall Pants and Blouse yes please

August is the only month in the year in which we celebrate no major holidays unless you want to count back to school as a major holiday and I’m sure there are parents who treat it as such with that being said that means we can celebrate everyday like it’s a holiday.

Until next time Southernistas!

Book Review of Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off by Darci Hannah

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5 STARS!

Happy Friday book lovers! I usually don’t do independent book reviews because I do a mini review on my Wednesday Reads posts but of the books I’ve read that week. But this second book in Beacon Bakeshop cozy mystery series by Darci Hannah deserves its own review. I was introduced to this author last year and I added her first book Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop to my TBR but I didn’t read it until this month because as I’m sure you all understand the TBR list never shrinks and takes on a life of its own. Once I read the first book which I enjoyed so much (clink on link below for that review) that I immediately ordered the second book in this series.

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! We’re half way through the week and getting ready for the weekend! Since last week I’ve…

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As I’ve stated before I am not a fan of Christmas in July because I like to celebrated each holiday in its season and I can only do one holiday at time and Christmas is a lot! But I knew I was going to break that rule this year because I just couldn’t wait until Christmas to read Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-offDarci Hannah is such an amazing author and she doesn’t disappoint in this second book in the series (yes I have book 3). So as soon as I read my book club picks for July I immediately dived into Christmas cookie bake-off.

It’s Christmas in Beacon Harbor, MI and Lindsey Bakewell has visions of sugarplums and the perfect Christmas a la Hallmark dancing in her head. The bakeshop is doing great, her romance with Rory Campbell is going great, she has more staff to help her out, and the holiday orders are rolling in! The only problem is Lindsay has been through 3 baking assistants and when the self proclaimed Christmas expert Felicity Stewart owner of the towns year round Christmas Shoppe springs a Christmas cookie bake-off competition a week before the Christmas festival titled (kid you not) The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off in which every one must introduce a signature cookie and the top 4 will be in a live baking competition at the Christmas festival that will be judged by the famous Chicago food critic Chevy Chambers of the show Windy City Eats well Lindsay is ready to throw in the towel! How is she going to do this on top of all the baking and filling orders without a baking assistant she needs a Christmas miracle!

Chevy Chambers turns out to be a truly loathsome person creating chaos and making enemies. He is hitting on the women in the competition and making promises to each one in exchange for “favors” but Lindsey sees through the slimy Mr. Chambers and doesn’t take him up on any offers

Then during the actual live competition Chevy is murdered and everything points to Felicity will Lindsay along with Rory, her best friend Kennedy, her parents who have flown in for Christmas and the resident lighthouse ghost Captain Willy be able to find the real killer or will Lindsay’s perfect Hallmark Christmas get cancelled permanently?

I loved this book! You can see the growth in every character and from the first sentence I was hooked and just couldn’t put the book down. There were plenty of red herrings but the one thing I appreciate about the author is she never introduces anyone or anything that doesn’t move the plot along. Also there are never like a hundred suspects or a lot of subplots that can take away from the actual mystery. I was fully engaged in the plot and again the killer was not the person I thought it was but there is one scene in the story that had me dying with laughter that involves Lindsey, Kennedy and her mother Ellie. I also loved her temporary baking assistant Mrs. Nichols who is Lindsey’s Christmas miracle.

It is hard for me to find anything I didn’t like about Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off but if I have too:

  1. I was not a fan of the whole cookie napping thing because the only person who could identify them was Mrs. Nichols it worked on some level but I could have done without it
  2. I was well into the book before the murder actually happened but this is a matter of personal preference for me. I tend to like for the murder to happen at the beginning of the book again nit picking.
  3. The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off I know it was a play on The Great British Bake-off but oh my goodness what a long title and I know I’m being super nit picky but I felt this title was just too much.

Until next time book lovers!

Dealing with Rejection

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rejection: 1. the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc. 2. the spurning of a person’s affections.

Hi Southernistas I always like for my post to be uplifting, encouraging, and full of fashion so I try to avoid dark and heavy topics that may be triggering for some of you but I feel the need to talk about rejection. In this thing called life we are going to face rejection and quite frankly it sucks! We face it on our jobs when that presentation we worked so hard on or that great idea gets rejected by the boss or client, job searches, in our dating life (for those of you who have one), in familial situations, even with our friends we can face rejection I mean you want to try the new Asian fusion restaurant and everyone else wants to hang out at the same old same old.

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No one likes to be dismissed or spurned and I like to think of myself as an expert in this field. In school I was the one who was always picked last for EVERYTHING, I sat alone at lunch. Even in college I had a wide circle of friends but whenever we went out all of my friends were approached and I was just…there and I was like “hello over here.” I was always the wallflower! After college the number of thank you but no thank you letters I received in my job search really made me think “did my mom just waste thousands of dollars on my expensive college education for nothing?” Why aren’t companies breaking down my door to hire me?

As a Christian many times my well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ will say “they rejected Jesus and His apostles so expect the same” and while I know they mean well this is not always what I want or wanted to hear. I know they are trying to be encouraging but there are times I reject this because I don’t need a “cliché” I need more than a tried and true saying. I am always so much more appreciative when I can talk with a fellow believer and they don’t start with they rejected Jesus but they really pour into me with words of encouragement and when needed correction to help me deal with the rejection. They give me a Jesus perspective on the rejection that I can’t see at the time because I am so wounded by the rejection.

Inspiring Quotes

As I got older I found myself slowly withdrawing from any situation that would lead to me being rejected or saying yes to everything so I wouldn’t be rejected because a person can only take so much! Rejection hurts no matter how gently someone tells you no although there are those who take pleasure in rejecting people. When we start to fear being rejected we find ourselves in a position of always saying yes which leads to over commitment and being taking advantage of by some truly awful people who feel no guilt at using you. This fear of rejection to the point of closing yourself off from people or either saying yes to everything is called rejection sensitive dysphoria which is defined as People who have an emotional reaction to negative judgments, exclusion, or criticism beyond what most people feel. While this is not a medical or a recognized mental health issue it is a serious and real thing that can hinder your growth as a person.

So here are some of my suggestions for dealing with rejection:

  1. Know that rejection is a part of life and there is nothing you can do to avoid rejection. You are going to be rejected its how you deal with the rejection that’s important.
  2. Some of the most famous people have suffered a lot of rejection but it didn’t stop them you have to be persistent. Remember that no can lead to a greater yes in a greater career. J.K. Rowling was not an overnight success.
  3. Look at the rejection as a blessing in disguise. Sure that guy/girl turned you down but then you meet “the one” and realize you had a lucky escape. That so called dream job or promotion you didn’t get? Then you discover it was more or a nightmare than a dream…whew!
  4. You are allowed to feel and be hurt when you are rejected but not wallow in self pity. The worse advice I’ve ever received was to suck it up and move on like it never happened. NO! Give yourself permission and a time limit (I give myself 24–48 hours) to be hurt, sad, angry, or whatever you’re feeling then move on. I’m not saying when the time limit is up the feeling just disappear they don’t but you’re able to function better and have perspective. If it requires therapy seek help but don’t act like it didn’t affect you! Hear speaks the voice of experience.
  5. Reach out to your tribe! When you’ve been rejected there is nothing like having those who know you and love you best surround you with love, prayer, encouragement, and guidance! Lord knows where I’d be without my Mom, daughter, church, and besties Lisa & Laura!
  6. Be open to rejection and dare I say embrace it! Yes I said it be open to rejection be willing to approach that person, apply for that job, pitch that idea to your boss do whatever it is knowing there is a chance you will be rejected but you’ll walking away knowing you tried and that is half the battle!
  7. Turn the rejection into a positive! Some of the richest people in the world started their business because they were rejected so they struck out on their own and the rest is Microsoft history!
  8. Use that rejection to work on you and better yourself. Sometimes rejection can reveal something about you that needs improvement.
  9. I can’t say it enough and I know I’ve already said it in #4 but find a qualified and good therapist that can help you deal with rejection. They can give you the tools you need to help you deal with rejection and if you suffer with rejection sensitive dysphoria.

Last but not least try not to take every rejection so personally. It took me years to learn how to deal with rejection and see the pluses and not see it as God punishing me. I can honestly look back over my 51 years of life and see that many of the rejections I received was the best thing that ever happened to me. If I had got that job, stayed with that guy just to be in a relationship, maintained that friendship, and so many other things that were harmful to me I wouldn’t be where I am now and who I am. I don’t think I would be here. There is no doubt Jesus is infinitely more wise than I will ever be and knows what is best for me!

So just know rejection is a part of life but it doesn’t have to define your life or cause you to miss out on what’s to come!

Until next time Southernistas!

Wednesday Reads

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Hello again book lovers! Today I want to share with y’all what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what is up next in my cozy mystery reading adventures. July has been for me a month of non stop reading and yet my TBR pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

With it being so hot and know for some you the temps have been in the 100s this is the perfect time to stay inside and read a good book:).

What good books are you reading?

Finished Reading

Murder Is No Picnic (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

This is the third book in the Cape Cod foodie mystery series and I highly suggest you read the 2nd book An Eggnog to Die For before you read this book as there are references to the second book that for me at least was a slight distraction from the actual plot of this book.

Samantha Barnes the Cape Cod foodie is really excited for her 4th of July clambake she’s planning and has discovered the perfect blueberry buckle to serve. When she gets the chance to meet famed celebrity chef Clara Foster and learn how to make the blueberry buckle for her blog is beyond excited. The day was great and Sam had so much fun with Clara so she is shocked to discover the next day Clara has died in a house fire. When carelessness is believed to be the reason for the fire Sam knows that Clara was too a good a chef to leave a frying pan on a stove unattended and is determined to prove that Clara was murdered.

I found myself steadily engrossed in the plot. I definitely see growth in Samantha and all of the additional characters in this book. I never found myself getting bored with the storyline and there were not too many red herrings.

I give Murder Is No Picnic 4 stars

Murder, She Knit (A Knit & Nibbles Mystery) by Peggy Ehrhart

This was the July Cozy Mystery Book Club pick and I was looking forward to discovering a new (to me) series and author. There are nine books in this series with book 10 in the works so it is a very popular series.

Five years after Pamela Paterson became a widow she is settling into her life and career as an editor for a craft magazine and an empty nester. She runs into an old friend Amy who has moved to Arborville, NJ to teach at the local college. Pamela invites Amy to her knitting group known as knit and nibble but Amy never shows up and when everyone in the group leaves Pamela finds Amy’s body in her yard stabbed with a knitting needle when she goes looking for her cat.

This book was not for me and when the killer was revealed I just couldn’t see how the person who was the killer could have been the killer. I mean everything pointed to 1 of 2 people and it wasn’t the killer. How could everyone enter and left Pamela’s house and not see Amy’s body or hear the murder? I was also disappointed that there were knitting patterns included in the book. I never really fully connected with Pamela.

I give this book 2.5 stars

Currently Reading

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery) by Darci Hannah

I am hooked on this series! I read the first book in this series Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop quickly because I just couldn’t put the book down. Then I immediately bought the second book in the series which just so happens to be Christmas themed and I just couldn’t wait until December to read it!

Darci Hannah does not disappoint with her second book in this series and I am trying to pace myself but if work didn’t interfere with my reading I would be home right now curled up with a cup of coffee reading this book but I will be reading on my lunch break!

Next Up

Death by Bubble Tea (Night Market Mystery Series) by Jennifer J. Chow

I am very excited to read this first book in this series by Jennifer J. Chow who is also the author of The Sassy Cat series and Winston Wong series. This will be my first time reading anything by this author but I am really looking forward to reading this book especially since it takes place in Los Angeles and not in a small town. If the reviews I’ve been seeing on Instagram by bookstagrammers are anything to go by this is going to be a treat!

1st Book in a New Cozy Series

Book Blurb:

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine’s career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she’s just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.

Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine’s surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They’re quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit — literally — when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they’ll be serving is time.

The Shoe File

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Happy Thursday Southernistas and shoe lovers! In case I haven’t stated this before I have a serious love of shoes some would call it a obsession but I prefer to call it an appreciation. Shoes are the ultimate accessory and a perfect way to try a trend or a print if you don’t want to wear that print “why yes I will buy those animal print/polka dot/striped heel.” I often build a whole outfit around a pair of shoes. My shoe goal is to own a pair of (cue the harps and spotlight) Louboutins one day but my bank account tells me to keep working towards that goal.

Weather you love heels like I do, flats or you’re a sneakerhead shoes in my humble opinion shoes completes your whole look. There is nothing like finding that perfect shoe. There are many pieces in my closet I purchased based on a pair of shoes and a specific look I was going for and of course when you want to elevate your look. If you work in an office with a specific dress code you can express your personality with your shoes. I’ve lost number of the amount of times I’ve been complimented on just my shoes and not the whole outfit.

So today I want to share with y’all some of my recent shoe purchases and they are all still available and some of these go up to a size 10.

Until next time Southernistas!

Blue by Betsy Johnson from Zappos
Steve Madden Mules from Zappos
Just Fab Adele Throwback Pump (few sizes left in black and red)
Just Fab Khloy Classis Pump (comes in several colors and prints)
Just Fab Lorelai Block Heel (comes in several colors and wide width)
Just Fab Tweed Mule (no longer available)

How I am Learning to be Single

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for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Phil 4:11b

Happy Friday Southernistas and also Happy February 1st! There is nothing like starting the weekend off in a new month!

When I was thinking about content for this week’s blog I was trying to decided what I wanted to talk about regarding fashion and style but the I felt the prompted to talk about something I’m not comfortable talking about…my singleness especially in February. My martial status is something I try not to think about mostly because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about my martial status. The closer I get to 50 (I’ll be 48 this year) the more aware I am of the fact that I am still single and I mean single never been married single. I always thought that by now I would be married for a number of years and provided my daughter with siblings.

Then I realized last year that although I am single I never really learned how to be single I mean your status is single when you come into the world but then as we get older and discover the opposite sex we feel the pressure to be coupled up with someone. I remember desperately wanting a boyfriend all though high school and college (not one date in college) especially when you see everyone all lovey dovey. The month of February was torture for me but I had friends that made it bearable. Except for one brief relationship in my 20s I have been very, very, very single and for most of this time I have been very sad, lonely, and depressed about being single.

The number of times I cried on my best friend shoulder about being single are too many to count! The times I’ve spent in prayer asking God why am I still single again too many to count. My Pastor and First Lady encouraged me that it would happen for me but it just seemed that every year it never happened. One year at my church it seemed like all I did was announce upcoming nuptials! To encourage myself I would ready 1 Corinthians 7 to remind myself the benefits of being single versus being married.

I look back over those years and realize now that I wasn’t ready for a real relationship. I was needy, desperate and was looking for someone to fulfill all my emotional needs. I had a lot of baggage that needed to be unpacked and dealt with. I also realize now that I wanted to be a relationship so I could say I was in a relationship so I was more committed and in love with the idea of being in a relationship.

Then last year it happened! No I didn’t meet a man but I realized that I had to learn how to be single. I had to learn to truly appreciate being single and being happy with my state until God changes my status. I had to learn that I can go out by myself and shop, eat, visit museums and enjoy my own company. Also I also realize how great it is to have the freedom to come and go as I please without having to consider someone else. My spending choices are mine alone. Most importantly this is the time when you can really focus on God and really seek Him.

As I was thinking about what to say the latter part verse 11 from Philippians chapter 4 came to me in this last chapter the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Philippians to rejoice, not to worry and if you do what to think on to ease the worry, and then he begins to let them know that he has experienced different circumstances the one thing he has learned is to be content. Now I want say I’m content with being single but I am learning to be content. I am learning that my life is not dependent on having a man in my life but it is dependent on having Jesus in my life!

Yes I am still single but the difference now is that I am waiting for that someone that is right for me and not doing anymore is moping around discontent and depressed because I don’t have someone in my life. I know longer dread February 14th. I am learning in this phase of my life to be single and content and that has made all the difference.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Eloquii x Draper James Collection (no longer available) | Shoes from Payless

Spring has Sprung!

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Hello Southernistas and Happy Spring! At the risk of being a broken record I do so love Spring! I know this time of year can be miserable for allergy suffers and I am so sorry the pollen is making your life miserable but SPRING IS HERE…WHOO HOOO! It is just something about seeing the Earth waking up from its long winter nap that lifts my spirits. To see the trees budding, feel the sunshine, the flowers blooming, and the most important thing the Spring fashions and swimsuits my favorite brands rollout well a girl can’t help but be happy.

In this blog I’m going to post some of my favorite pieces I’m loving right now from two of my favorite brands Eloqui and Lane Bryant!

Until next time Southernistas!

Eloquii Textured Full Empire Dress
Eloquii Wrap Around Dress
Lane Bryant Cami Dress
Lane Bryant Ruffle Hem Eyelet Fit & Flare Dress

The Bodycon Dress

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Hello Southernistas! Hope you’ve had a great week and that you have an even better weekend! I confess the one article of clothing that puts me way outside my comfort zone is the bodycon dress. What is a bodycon dress you ask. Bodycon is a dress that hugs your body and trust me I realize this dress makes many plus size women uncomfortable and many avoid this dress . I understand because I was one of those women for years because of my tummy. My comfort zone is an A-line or fit and flare dress that doesn’t draw attention to my middle.

As you can see from the numerous pictures of me on this blog I carry my weight in my middle so in my mind bodycon dresses are more suited for an hourglass shape or a pear share. If you’ve wanted to try a bodycon dress but have been hesitant I recommend a sweater dress they have stretch and they tend to skim the body so they’re not too bodycon which I personally believe is the perfect dress to start with or size up the dress will not hug your curves as much. If you’re self conscious about your tummy or another part of your body you don’t want to draw attention to add a duster, cardigan, moto jacket, or blazer to give you a little more coverage. I cannot stress the importance of the right foundation garments! The right shapewear and bra with the dress will not make you slimmer but smooths everything out so the dress fits you like it should!

I promise you bodycon dresses are nothing to be afraid of and there is a dress out there for you that will make you feel sexy and a total bombshell. Don’t let the negative voices or doubts stop you from dipping your toe in this part of the fashion waters. If you’re still not ready to try full on bodycon look go with a pencil skirt to begin with and work your way up to the dress.

You have a wide selection of brands to choose from but I highly recommend Fashion to Figure they are my go to for bodycon dresses and this little red bodycon sweater dress (buttons are not functional) is FIRE! I wore a cami under it for the office and wore this red moto jacket to complete the look. This dress is sold out but click here and here for an alternate

There is a bodycon dress out there for you I promise!

Until next time Southernistas

Dress — Fashion to Figure (sold out), Moto Jacket — Eloquii (sold out) alternateShoes — Just Fab

Why I Love Shoes…especially Heels!

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“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Marilyn Monroe

Hello Southernistas! Well I hope y’all are having a great week and that you have great plans (or not) for this last weekend in February! You might not know this but I love shoes! I actually own a little over 100 pair of shoes. I’ve actually written previously about two of my favorite shoe brands Nine West and Just Fab. Now I can hear the men saying “what woman doesn’t love shoes”…LOL! But my love of shoes especially heels border on obsession okay it is an obsession. I mean I use to watch Sex and the City just to get my shoe fix. I wear heels 6 days out of 7. My motto is the higher the heel the closer to God!

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love high heel shoes it is definitely a life long love affair. I think I get my love from my grandmother who loved heels and tried to pass it on to my mother but it skipped her and passed to me. I remember going out shopping with her and how she would bypass the flats and go straight to the heels section of the store. I guess it rubbed off on me because I’ve been wearing heels since I was 13 and as I got older my heels got higher. At one point I actually owned a pair of 5 1/2 inch heels.

Why do I love heels maybe its because I’m 5’3′ and I love how “tall” I feel when I wear them. I love how great my legs look in heels and as a short girl when I wear maxi dresses, skirts, or certain pants heels assist in “lifting” the hems so I’m not tripping over my hems and I don’t have to pay a visit to my tailor. They give a little extra oomph when I walk. Heels can take a plain ordinary look and kick it up a whole level. You’re wearing a LBD (little black dress) just add a killer pair of red stilettoes, animal print, sassy pattern or a jeweled sparkly shoe and boom just sit back and watch the compliments roll in!

The best things about heels is that unlike shopping for clothes they fit regardless of dress size. I love that heels come in different heights, types, and styles. I love a wedge heel for a relaxed and causal look and they are the best type to wear if you want to wear heels and be comfortable. Block heels are right up there with wedges when it comes to comfort but are dressier and perfect for the office and church. Stilettoes are for the ultimate girly girl and when you want to totally vamp it up! I myself am personally a stiletto girl and they make up a large percentage of my shoe collection but when I want to feel sexy, fierce, and unstoppable then my go to shoe is a pair of killer stilettoes and I feel like I can take on anything or anyone!

Now I know that many of you can’t wear heels or any kind for health reasons. Some of you have had surgeries, suffered sports related injuries, are dealing with a chronic illness, back issues and other reasons. I have friends who love heels but are just not able to wear them. But for those of you who are just a teeny, tiny bit hesitant about wearing heels my best advice is to start with a kitten heel (2″) or a cute little wedge and work your way up and stop at the heel height that feels comfortable for you.

I absolutely love shoes and I’m pretty sure when I’m 95 I’ll still be wearing high heels and they will probably be orthopedic and I’ll probably be using a walker but I’ll still be wearing them and loving them!

Until next time Southernistas! Keep your head, standards, and heels high!

The Southernista

I’m a 50 something southern girl who has a passion for fashion. Join me on my fashion journey. Follow me on Instagram: @reginathesouthernista

Yes You Can!

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Hello Southernistas! As I was thinking about what I wanted to talk to y’all about the campaign slogan from President Obama’s 2008 first presidential run popped in my brain! His slogan was Yes We Can except I substituted the we for you (you get it). This also lead me to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” So many times in this life we live we are more often told no you can’t do that in one way or another but as then Senator Barack Obama proved Yes…You…Can! The Apostle Paul list a number of situations he had experienced but then followed up with verse 13 in chapter 4 which is every Christian’s go to scripture (and Romans 8:28). I think about all the times I allowed the negative words from well meaning and some not well meaning people to tell me I couldn’t do something or you can’t wear this or you shouldn’t wear that because of my size but I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to listen to the no you can’t/shouldn’t and start to listen to the yes you can Regina voices!

Today I want to let you know: YES YOU CAN! Yes you can start that business, blog, YouTube channel. Yes you can wear that swimsuit, pattern, print, color. Yes you can leave that toxic relationship weather it is a romantic, a friendship, or a work relationship. Yes you can write that book. Yes you can heal from unspeakable trauma with the help of a great therapist and Jesus. Yes you can take that trip by yourself or with your girls. Yes you can buy that house all by yourself. Yes you can take that chance on that new relationship. Yes You Can! Yes You Can! Yes You Can! YES…YOU…CAN! God will give the strength you need to make the steps you need to make.

It is so important to surround yourself — not with yes people — but with cheerleaders who will always bring out the best in you, cheer you on, encourage you, tell you the truth, help you achieve your goals. I am blessed to have some great cheerleaders in my life. People who saw my potential when I didn’t and couldn’t see it and was listening to the negative voices. People who loved me, encouraged me, pushed me, cheered me, and wouldn’t let me accept less than in my life. Who said to me yes you can until I could say if for myself. This blog exists because of my mom, a friend at work, my church (love you AHOD) especially, and my besties Lisa and Laura. When I first thought about starting a blog I talked to my cheerleaders and they helped me pick out the name of my blog and gave me really great input and not one word of negativity or discouragement was spoken.

So if you’ve been thinking about taking that first step in a new direction in life and you’re wondering if you should let me be one of your cheerleaders to tell you YES YOU CAN with the help of God (always seek God first), therapy (if needed), and great people in your life you can achieve your goals!

Until next time Southernistas!

Skirt & Top from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Faux Leather Blazer from Eloquii, Shoes from Just Fab (sold out)
Cropped Blazer, Top, Skirt from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Shoes are Just Fab (sold out)
Blazer and Jacket from Lane Bryant (old), Turtleneck from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Shoes are Torrid (old)
Faux Leather Blazer and Pants from Eloquii, Sweater from Old Navy, Booties from Just Fab

How I Handle SAD

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Hello Southernistas! Well here we are at the end of January and unless you live in the Caribbean, Canary Islands, or some other year round warm haven then you like me are in the depths of winter. I am sure that some of you like me are tired of winter and ready for the H.E.A.T! Here in NC we started last week with snow and ended with snow and now the weatherman is predicting more snow this weekend. Make…it….STOP!

So I suffer from a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a thing and it affects some 3 million people. This occurs during the winter when the days are shorter so longer nights (how do people in the Arctic Circle survive) and some of the symptoms are depression, fatigue, hopelessness and social withdrawal pile on top of this pandemic. This can be treated with therapy and in some cases medication. If you can afford it a vacation to warmer climes it is a wonderful boost.

Last week with the frigid temperatures coupled with snow and ice I really struggles. I just didn’t want to get out of bed and felt so low so I recognized the signs and knew I needed to practice my coping skills when I began to experience some symptoms.

Here is how I handle the winter blues:

  1. I lean more into my quite time with God when I get up I grab my Bible, devotional, journal and I spend time praying and letting God’s word speak to my soul. I try to spend at least an hour and when I come to the end of that hour reluctantly I feel lifted and ready for the day.
  2. Exercise! Weather it’s just 15 mins or you go full on beast research shows that exercise releases those wonderful endorphins which gives you a boost. I am by no means a morning person but when I get up and go walking at the YMCA, because hello it’s cold outside, for 45 minutes at the end of my walk I feel in the words James Brown good and I am in a better had space! So get moving
  3. Fashion (I mean you knew it was coming) I am firm believer in the Regina Brett quote “No matter how you feel get up, dress up, show up!” and that is what I do! Last week and this week has been a real struggle for me. I didn’t want to get up and do #1 or #2 but this quote would pop in my head and after my quiet time and walk after I shower and go through my morning routine I hit my closet and pull on something fabulous. By the time I dress and step into my heels I am ready and in a totally different place. Now I know there are many who don’t believe in the power of fashion but I am telling you there is nothing like putting on that dress or suit that gives you boss feelings! When you put on that outfit you know the one that puts a big smile on your face. There is indeed power in fashion and there is something to be said for the feeling you get when you see yourself dressed and ready to take on the world.

Now as I said my SAD is very mild and I am in no way a psychiatrist or therapist so please seek treatment if you are suffering from SAD. These are what work for me and hopefully along with other treatment these suggestions can be incorporated into your treatment.

Until next Southernistas! Stay Safe! Stay Warm!

Top Ashley Stewart, Faux Leather Skirt alternativealternateShoes Just Fab
Blazer, Pants, Sweater Ashley Stewart sold out
AlternateAlternate
Top, Pants & Coat — Eloquii (sold out) alternatealternate, coat alternate
Dress (sold out)— Elquii alternate, Shoes — Just Fab
Blazer & Pants — Eloquii

Sweater Dress Season

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Hello Southernistas! I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that y’all are enjoying the leftovers! If you traveled I hope you had a stress less travel holiday with no delayed flights and not (too) crazy traffic. In the next few blog posts I will be talking about sweater dresses and the brands I love. This week’s post is about Lane Bryant sweater dresses but it is not sponsored by Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant is my go to for affordable and stylish dresses and sweater dresses are included. I actually bought 6 sweater dresses (there was a sale) and I don’t regret a single purchase. I love that Lane Bryant’s sweater dresses are feminine and come in different styles from A-line to bodycon and you just can’t go wrong!

I’ve stated before and even wrote about how much I don’t like Fall but with that being said I must amend that because I do love fall fashion and I especially love when I can break out the sweater dresses…oh yeah! Fall is referred to as sweater weather, cuffing season, and cozy season but I like to refer to it as sweater dress season. I love a great sweater dress they give you a cozy feeling and warmth. Every year when I add to my sweater dress collection and this year is no different. Some are very heavy and warm and some of them are very light weight for 60 plus degree weather.

Every brand offers several dresses in every color, length, type (A-line, bodycon, sheath), and weight (heavy and light). This is the perfect time to grab them up with all the sales that are happening and if you’re not a dress girl they would make a great gift for the dress girl you know.

Until next time Southernistas!

Lane Bryant Fit & Flare Sweater Dress (Sold out) Alternate
Lane Bryant Mock Rib Sweater Dress
Lane Bryant Rib Mix Sweater Dress, Shoes — Just Fab (old)

The Southernista

I’m a 50 something southern girl who has a passion for fashion. Join me on my fashion journey. Follow me on Instagram: @reginathesouthernistaTHE SOUTHERNISTA FOLLOWS

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Sofistafunk Girl

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Hello Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and are getting ready for not only the weekend but to regain an hour of sleep as we turn back out clocks. Today I want to talk about an independent size inclusive brand that is woman and black owned and a totally cool and unique fashion brand and that is Sofistafunk the Skirt Co . I discovered this brand about 3 maybe 4 years ago thanks to an Instagram ad. Arlinda McIntosh is the owner and incredible designer of this brand and trust me when I say once you see her designs you will find yourself reaching for your credit card. 

The designs really are one of a kind I mean Arlinda elevates the denim skirt to a whole new level and believe me you’ll get nothing but compliments. I’m not going to lie to y’all some of her pieces are expensive but they are worth your dollars and she offers customization plus this brand is environmentally responsible and most of their designs produce zero waste! If you have any questions you can reach out to Arlinda and she will respond to you pretty quickly. This brand doesn’t just offer denim skirts I just love the denim skirts but you will find dresses, tops, and accessories also.

As a plus size woman independent brands are a plus size girls best friend! They really do design with a larger body in mind and they give us the fashion that we want and demand and they are worth every dollar. I have purchased two denim skirts from Sofistafunk and I have never been disappointed. 

When you order from Sofistafunk keep in mind everything is hand made so it will not ship out that same day you order it takes about 10–14 days without customization. She does offer customization which can add to how long it takes to receive your order but it is well worth the wait and Arlinda always adds some little extra goodies in your order. 

I recently purchase this lovely maxi denim skirt and it fit my 5″3 frame perfectly and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments. Don’t sleep on this brand!

Until next time Southernistas!

Sofistafunk Denim Maxi Skirt, Top — Ashley Stewart, Denim Booties — Nine West

Print Love: Houndstooth

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Hi Southernistas! Let’s talk about houndstooth! Now I know for many of you any print is scary to wear because we’ve all heard “the rules” no polka dots, no florals, no strips, and only wear black to make us look “smaller.” Well throw those rules out the window and embrace….houndstooth! I love this print in fact it’s right up there with my love of all things gingham and polka dot. If you look in my closet you will see plenty of all three prints but houndstooth to me is by far the boldest of the prints (I also call it the optical illusion print).Houndstooth is a very sophisticated print and it can make you look very pulled together and elegant. This print is as previously stated a bold print and you have to wear it with equal boldness and fierceness! This print not only comes in black and white but you can find it in other bold colors like this print from Ashley Stewart who does has really taken it up when it comes to this particular print.

I encourage you to give this print a try. If you don’t want to do a head to toe look try wearing a pant or skirt or a blazer/jacket in this print. You’ll feel elegant and trust me the compliments will come!

Until next time Southernistas! Be Bold! Be Brave! Be Beautiful!

Duster & Pants– Ashley Stewart

Created for Purpose

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesian 2:10

Hello Southernistas! I was actually working on something else as I struggled to come up with a topic for this week’s blog post then this week then I felt the Holy Spirit whisper you are created for purpose! The verse that immediately came to me is Ephesians 2:10 which has become my life verse and I often speak this verse over me when I am bombarded with self doubt.

So I abandoned the blog I was working on for this week and wanted to let you know that God has created you for purpose. There are so many self help books and gurus out here that say they can help you find your purpose but the only book you need is the Bible, God’s holy word, that speaks truth. There are times when we wonder why am I here what is my purpose? To know what your purpose is you need to know who Jesus is and once you come into relationship with Jesus and begin to walk with Him trust me you will begin to realize that you are created for purpose and He will help you to walk in your purpose and live out your purpose.

For so long I wondered what my purpose was in life I even read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren but still felt like my life had no purpose. Then one day during my quiet time with God I was lead to Ephesians 2:10 and this verse just stuck me and made me realize that I am His masterpiece and I was not created just to exist but to do and everyday I strive to live my life with purpose. I am not just talking fashion but to be that light that points others to Jesus. 

Just know that God has created you for purpose and where ever God has planted you He put you there weather it be temporary or permanent you are there for purpose. You are there to be an agent of change for good and to have a positive affect on the lives of those you come into contact with. Purpose doesn’t require wealth or celebrity status all it requires is a willing heart and faith in Jesus.

Until next time Southernistas! Live with Purpose!

Healthy at Any Size

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Hello Southernistas! The one thing I never ever talk about on my blog is weight loss or exercising or anything remotely like it but as I was wondering what to talk about I just couldn’t get away from this subject so I want to talk to y’all today about being healthy at any size. Now before you move on just hear me out first. I’ve spent most of my life on one diet or another I mean literally since I was 13 years old I’ve been dieting. I’ve lost weight and gained (more) weight. I decided in my 40s that I was getting off the diet hamster wheel and just make peace with my weight and live in my body and live my life and that is what I’ve been doing for the last 7 years.

Let me say right now before I continue that I am not getting weight loss surgery or starting a new diet in fact I’ve started a healthy lifestyle. Also I am not here to judge or put down weight loss or weight loss surgery. You have to do what is best for you! I had to make changes due to high blood pressure and I now use a CPAP machine so I knew I needed to make some changes but it took me a long time because all I heard was loose weight i.e. go on a diet.

Once I realized that getting healthy does not mean going on a diet but making life changes then I was able to realize that healthy does not equal dieting. So I’ve stopped eating fast food every day but I try to limit my fast food stops to once a week, I walk 2 miles or more 3–4 times a week, I eat at home more and bring my lunch to work but again to get to this point I had to stop looking at exercise and healthy eating as “dieting” which was a major obstacle for me. As a plus size woman diet culture it constantly pushed in my face and I constantly get unsolicited weight loss ads and suggestions on my social media sites when I block. It wasn’t easy but it helps when I go walking and I see bodies of all shapes and sizes being active, I see plus size influencers who work out not for weight loss but to take care of their bodies and I have an amazing doctor who really talks to me and not at me and treats ME the person.

Luckily there are loads of resources (listed below) out there to help you get started towards a healthy lifestyle regardless of what the scale says. Plus more and more brands are creating plus size workout wear we can be just as cute and stylish as we move our bodies. If you’re looking at being healthy as dieting just know that you are not alone in this thinking. Once we get off that diet wheel we don’t want to fine ourselves back on the weight loss/weight gain merry go round but I just want to encourage you to get moving weather it’s dancing, walking, bike riding, skating or whatever it may be just enjoy moving your body.

Until next Southernistas! The fashion will be back in the next blog…PROMISE!

If you’re wanting to start a health journey check out these websites:

Health At Every Size Community

National Eating Disorder Website

Association for Size Diversity and Health

What I’m Loving – Skincare

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Hi Southernistas! I hope y’all are staying safe, washing your hands, practicing social distancing, staying home and most importantly staying sane in the pandemic!

I have been doing a lot less shopping since I’ve been home and been tackling my quarantine reading list (if you’d like to know what I’m reading check out my IG @reginathesouthernista) but I’ve also been overhauling my skincare products. These products are inexpensive but just as effective as the more expensive brands with the most expensive product being $16.00. If your budget is stretched thin right now but you don’t want to forgo your skincare routine I hope you will find these products kinder to your pocketbook and they are vegan and natural products.

First product – Botanics All Bright Foam Cleanser

I discovered this cleanser at Walgreens and it was one of my best discoveries! I was looking to purchase my usual cleanser which is close to $20 then my eyes fell on this cleanser and it is under $10.00! It is a very light and gentle cleanser so perfect for sensitive skin and it left my skin feeling truly clean and bright.

Second Product – Burt’s Bee’s Cleansing Oil

The first time I heard about cleansing oil was on thatgirlarlene blog and I was intrigued but hesitant and one of the biggest obstacles was the price. I love Arlene’s blog but the prices for the cleansing oils were a little on the pricey side then I found Burt’s Bee’s cleansing oil and at $16.00 it is still a little pricey but compared to other cleansing oils this is truly inexpensive. I have nothing but good things to say about cleansing oil it leaves your skin clean and so soft. Don’t let the word oil scare you it is all natural and very gentle. I highly recommend.

Third Product – Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

Now I know there are some that don’t think toner needs to be a part of your skincare routine and I will admit I was in the camp for a long time but within the last few years I have reincorporated it back into my routine. Toner removes excess dirt and oil from your face and further helps open up those pores. This toner is gentle and under $10.00.

Fourth product – Cleen Beauty

I had never heard of this product but I’m so glad I found this product through a Google search. I was looking for skincare products under $10.00 and this brand popped up first in my search and imagine my delight when I found it could be purchased at Wal-mart. All of Cleen Beauty products are under $10.00 and vegan. I purchased their serum, night moisturizer, and night mask and I am happy with each of these products. My skin definitely has even more of glow then ever.

I cannot recommend these products enough! They are either natural or vegan and since I’ve been using these products I don’t suffer the slight tingling or discomfort I use to deal with when using other products because they don’t have harsh ingredients. They can be purchased from drug stores, Wal-mart, or online. My skin is smoother, brighter, and softer. It doesn’t hurt that they are extremely affordable!

Until next time Southenistas! Remember Be safe, Stay home, wash your hands, and practice social distancing!

Regina

Best Tights I’ve Ever Worn

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Hello Southernistas! Well I know I’ve been M.I.A in fact I haven’t blogged since October and I can only apologize. I decided to just enjoy the holiday season and I was really going to resume at the beginning of the year but then I took a 21 day social media fast to reconnect with God. After the fast I just got use to not blogging but those days are behind me and I am back feeling refreshed, renewed, and restored.

For my first 2020 blog I wanted to talk about as the title says the best tights I’ve ever worn and it’s all because I took a chance and responded to an Instagram ad about Snag Tights. I will admit I am very wary when it comes to Instagram and Facebook advertising because the product doesn’t always live up to the hype unless it’s an ad from an established company but with winter around the corner I decided to see if the hype was real. Snag promised that their tights are not just size inclusive but height inclusive also which was what caught my attention. At 5’3 my biggest complaint about wearing tights are that when I put them on I can literally pull them all the way up to my underarms! I always go by the size chart recommendations on my tights but I swear they make tights for Amazons and not shorties like myself or the tights I do purchase that fit I only get 1 or 2 wears out of them before I have to throw them away with the exception of Lane Bryant. Not to mention tights I’ve worn in the past have either been too big once I put them on or too small. What made up my mind to try these was Gloria Shuri Henry who is a YouTuber (glowpinkstah) and is in the add wearing their tights.

Once the decision was made to purchase the tights I went to their website and was very surprised at the variety of tights they offer but they also have chub rub shorts, fishnets, sheer pantyhose and skin tone tights. They have opaque tights, woolies (merino wool), and semi opaques too. Depending on the type you purchase they cost from $20 (woolies) to $12 and the chub rub shorts are $13 but if you order 3 pair you get a 10% discount, 5 pair 15%, and 10 pair 25% off . I ordered their short F according to the size chart in black and caramel. Snag Tights is a British company so be prepared for a wait to receive your order it was 3 weeks before I received my order but they do offer next day delivery . When they arrived I was excited to try them out and OH MY they fit my short little legs perfectly! The short F black tights fit me and stopped at my natural waist. I can’t begin to tell y’all how wonderful it was to put on a pair of tights that stop at my waist with no sagging. They are so comfortable and feel so good on my legs.

I highly recommend Snag Tights it will be the best money you spend!

Until next time remember BE BOLD! BE BEAUTIFUL! BE CONFIDENT!

This post is not sponsored by Snag Tights

Snag Tights Black| Calvin Klein White Button Down Blouse and 41 Hawthorne Skirt from Stitch Fix|Blazer from Lane Bryant (old similar here and here).

The Shape of Things

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This post is not sponsored by Lane Bryant or Catos I just really love their shapewear.

Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all enjoyed this last weekend of Summer and are ready to kick of the first day of Fall! I can’t believe Summer is over! I hope your Summer was full of fun in the sun (with sunscreen) and travel.

Today I want to talk foundation garments specifically shapewear now there are those who don’t wear it and those who want leave the house without their Spanx. I am one who wears shapewear when needed but I was also that person who wouldn’t wear shape wear. I found it uncomfortable and at times very painful plus I also believed that if I wore it I was trying to make myself look smaller but I have come to realize that is not the purpose of shapewea. Shapewear is not about trying to look “smaller” as many A list actresses wear shapewear and proudly admit that they wear shapers. I have come to realize that the purpose of shapewear is not to make you look smaller but to smooth you out and when you are wearing that body con dress or jeans/pants it gives you a smooth clean look.

Shapewear is not necessarily one size fits all and gone are the days of our grandmother’s girdle that only came in super painful. There are different types of shapewear depending on what look you are going for. There is shapewear that is very firm and really holds you in to shapewear that smooths you out with no firmness at all. I personally like Lane Bryant and Catos shapewear. Lane Bryant’s Cacique’s line comes in different levels ranging from 4 being extra hold to 1 which is no firmness and it doesn’t roll down. Catos’ is perfect to once again smooth you out especially their panties and they are not expensive whereas Lane Bryant is a little pricey. Also when purchasing shapewear do not size down or up get the shapewear in your size! So don’t be afraid of shapewear there is something out there for everyone and tons of videos on YouTube by plus size bloggers with their shapewear recommendations.

I bought this beautiful yellow body con maxi dress from Just Fab and the first time I wore it I didn’t wear shapewear as you can see but when I wore it again I made sure I wore shapewear and you can see the difference. I am wearing Lane Bryant’s Cacique #1 shapewear which is not firm and it just makes me look good in this dress.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold! Be Beautiful! Be Brave!

Dress from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate, alternate| Shoes from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate

Rock Your Runway

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all had an absolutely fabulous weekend and that you are relaxed and recharged. If you attended church on Sunday I pray you are fully restored and filled and ready for Monday.

This weekend I attended a plus size fashion show with my beautiful friend and style sister Laura of the blog wonderfullymadestyle, y’all go check out her blog. The fashion show was produced by the talented Mrs. Jenica who is the founder and CEO of Plushy Jenica and she truly put on an amazing fashion show! The models were different shapes, sizes, and heights but they were all beautiful and fierce as were the fashion they rocked. As we enjoyed the fashion show the audience was invited to rock the runway between collections and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you Laura and I were more than happy to struct our stuff on the runway!

I want to encourage you today whatever size you are to rock your runway! You may never walk in New York Fashion Week but everyday that you get up, get dressed and step outside your house you can rock your runway ladies and gents! Whether you are going to work, running errands, or keeping up with the little ones you can step out onto your own personal runway and work your style with confidence. You never know who you will inspire!

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Here are some pictures from the Plushy Jenica Fashion Show. If you would like information about any of the outfits from the fashion show check out Plushy Jenica’s Facebook page.

Laura https://wonderfullymadestyle.wordpress.com/ in Eloquii
Laura of wonderfullymadestyle and I ready for the Show
The Fabulous Jenica of Plushy Jenica

My Dress is from the Betsy Johnson x Dia & Co Collection (sold out)| Shoes from Just Fab

My Second Favorite Color

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Happy Monday Southernistas! I hope I y’all had a great weekend and that you are feeling rested, renewed, and restored and ready to conquer your week.

It is not secret that my absolutely favorite color is red! I look amazing in the color red and I feel bold, confident and sexy in red too. I mean what girl doesn’t feel a total boss babe or a sexy siren when they put on a red dress or lipstick or even a killer pair of red stilettos. But I must confess there is another color I am starting to fall in love with and that is the color green. Now don’t get me wrong it will never replace my first love red but over the last year I find myself gravitating to the color green whenever I go shopping. I discovered this beautiful green maxi dress at Ashley Stewart and it is so comfortable and stylish but alas it is sold out but I will provide links to alternates. Green always reminds of Spring and Summer and it is such a restful and peaceful color and it is a soft color. Green can also be a bold color like every color there is a shade of green for everyone.

With fall just around the corner I’ve been checking out the darker tones of the color Green and can’t wait to incorporate them in my fall closet. If you are looking in your closet and wondering what’s missing I would suggest you incorporate a little green in your closet and just enjoy all the compliments.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Ashley Stewart (sold out) alternate, alternate, alternate| Shoes from Payless Shoe Source

My New Skincare Routine

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Hello Souternistas! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you are now recharged and refreshed and ready for Monday.

If you’ve been following me for any time you’ll know that I did a post all about my skincare routine a while ago but since then my routine has changed. I was introduced a few months ago to Yeouth Skincare and since then more and more of Yeouth’s products have been replacing my other skincare products that I thought I would never let go. Yeouth is fragrance free, sulfate free, cruelty free, paraben free, and gmo free so you don’t have to worry about harsh ingredients. I started out with incorporating their Retinol Serum into my skincare routing and I quickly saw wonderful results. I now use Yeouth’s hyaluronic acid, vitamin C & E Serum, and the Glycolic Acid 30% gel peel and my skin looks great! Not only does my skin look great but I love how gentle they are on my skin also. The products I use to use could sometimes irritate my skin but since I’ve been using Yeouth I have experienced no skin irritation.

I am so glad I was introduced to Yeouth Skincare products. They are gentle on my skin and I love the results since I’ve been using these products. If you are looking for an all natural skincare line please check out Yeouth and let me know what you think of their products. To get 20% off your first order use SOCIAL20.

Until next Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Finding Inspiration

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all have had a wonderful weekend and that you stayed cool and fashionable in this heat.

I must admit that lately I’ve just felt like I’ve lost my fashion mojo. The great thing about fashion is that there is so much great plus size fashion out there and my closet reflects this the problem is there is so much great plus size fashion and my closet reflects this. I honestly don’t know how full time bloggers do it! Once upon a time I hardly had anything to wear and now I have an overwhelming selection. Usually I plan out my outfits for the week but lately I have been lacking inspiration. I have just felt so uninspired the last few weeks and I find myself looking in my closet thinking whatever my hand lands on that is what I will wear and sometimes that works.

I plan to find my inspiration by tapping into my style sisters at church, my friends, on Instagram, and the Dia Facebook community where there is sisterhood and I am always encouraged and inspired by the women in the Dia community who are fearless. These are great ways to rediscover my fashion mojo. If you’ve been feeling uninspired lately or have lost your fashion mojo tap into your community weather it is on online or in real life and rediscover you fashion inspiration.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Eloquii | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source | Bag from JustFab (sold out) alternative

Miss Dynasty

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all are having a fabulous 4th of July holiday and that hopefully you were able to have a 4 day weekend.

I want to introduce y’all to Miss Dynasty whose sizes range from XS to 4X. This is a great company with plenty of cute and affordable fashion. The sizing is junior plus so please use the size chart and check out the reviews before purchasing. When they reached out to me (my first) to give them a try I was hesitant to do so at first because my style is modest and I didn’t think I would find anything that would work with my style aesthetic but I was so wrong! I found this cute denim ruffle t-shirt dress and it checks all of my style boxes. The fit also is great for me especially in my arms and I liked how the dress moved with me. I have worn this dress multiple times and gotten so many compliments every time I’ve stepped out in this dress. I like that I can be super casual in this dress or dress it up and not sacrifice comfort. I’m sorry to say that this dress is sold out but I have linked an alternate that I think you will love.

The wonderful people at Miss Dynasty has given me a PROMO code that you can use, again a first for me, to receive 25% off your order with them which I have linked below. This discount if for you and I don’t receive any money when you use the promo code and this post is not sponsored by Miss Dynasty.

To receive 25% off your order use PROMO https://missdynasty.com/discount/REGINA

Denim Ruffle Dress (sold out) alternate

Until next Southernistas remember BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE BEAUTIFUL!

Another Year

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great weekend and that your Monday has been a good one.

Today is my birthday! That’s right today I turn 48 and I count myself blessed to see another year. In the past I’ve usually been so depressed when my birthday comes because I am so focused on the negative and what I don’t have instead of counting my blessings. Year 48 I am looking for greater blessings and even more love. I know I’m blessed to have a loving family, a beautiful daughter, awesome friends, the best church family (love you AHOD) and my fashion is ever evolving. I am embracing my natural salt and pepper hair and I have my hair stylist Angelia to thank for knowing what’s best for me even when I’m being stubborn. I changed the name of my blog and I have great things in store for the blog this year! I am also in great company in celebrating my birthday because I share it with the ah..mazing Stacey Jemison as well as Judy Garland.

To celebrate my birthday I turned to my favorite retailer Eloquii and got this beautiful strapless fringe dress I have been lusting over forever and paired it with my go to black lace bell sleeve top from Ashley Stewart for modesty. Pulled the whole look together with these cute silver shiny heels from JustFab.

So as I enter into year 48 I enter with expectation and anticipation! Who knows this could be the year I meet my husband.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident

Also I’ve included pictures of the birthday surprise from my daughter

Strapless Fringe Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) alternative, alternative, alternative| Lace Bell Sleeve from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)| Halsey Pointed Toe Shoes from Justfab.com

OMG…My Blog turned 1!

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope your week has been awesome and that you are ready for the three day weekend and remember to take time to remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started this blog! My actual blog birthday was May 6th but things got a little crazy at work. First I never thought I would ever start a blog and now I’ve blogging for a year so crazy. When I started this blog it was and still is my intention to share my fashion journey and a peek inside my life (not a lot happening) with my fellow fashion addicts. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I really thought a lot about weather to start a blog because there are so many awesome blogs out here now but with the encouragement of my Mom, my best friend Lisa, and the awesome Shelia Amir’s Blogging with Precision class I took the plunge and here I am 1 year later. So today I just want to share what I’ve learned in my first year.

First Lesson: Blogging is hard! It is one thing to say I’m going to start a blog but it’s a whole another world when you start! Blogging is a commitment and you have to be willing to commit time weather you are doing it as a hobby (me), part time, or pursuing it as a full time career you have to be committed.

Second Lesson: Blogger/Social Media Workshops are worth the money! When I decided to take that step and start a blog I had no idea where to begin (refer to lesson 1) and I was overwhelmed when I did a Google search. The great thing is I had enrolled in a social media workshop and it helped me so much and when I received an email that Shelia was offering a workshop all about blogging I gladly paid the money. It was money well spent and at the end of the blogging workshop I had the tools I needed to start my blog. Now there are free online blogging classes offered online too if the funds are just not there but if you can make the investment.

Third Lesson: Blogging requires organization! Yes you must be organized when it comes to blogging especially if you have decided to make it a career. There are so many tools available that will help you get organized and stay organized. There are blogging workshops, manuals, and every state has a blogger network you can join for a fee and YouTube is a great resource too. Seasoned bloggers who have a YouTube channel have shared great advice.

Fourth Lesson: Be You! I follow a lot of bloggers but I know that as much as I admire these bloggers I am not them and I have to be Regina and have my own voice. Make sure your blog reflects you. It is totally okay to admire and even to aspire to be like that blogger you love but don’t lose who you are because you are pretty cool yourself and the more authentic you are the more authentic your blog.

Fifth Lesson: Blogging doesn’t have to be expensive! I started my blog on Medium.com before I moved to WordPress but there are other sites you can go to and they are free. Also don’t stress over hiring a photographer. My mom takes all of my photos on my cell phone and I get asked all the time who my photographer is and when I say my mom the look on people’s face is priceless. Also I’m learning how to take my own pictures and check out my girl Laura of wonderfullymadestyle she takes her own photos! Don’t stress thinking you needs buckets of money all you need are people who love you and support you to help you make your dream come true.

Last but not least I’ve learned to have fun! Blogging can be stressful but it can also be loads of fun too especially the photo shoots.

Well those are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned this first year of blogging and I’m constantly learning and discovering something new and neat everyday.

Thank you for following me and your comments and encouragement! This blog would not exist without my Southernistas! As always remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Fullbeauty.com (no longer available)| Shoes from Venus | Bag from Justfab.com

My Skincare Routine

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Hello my lovely Southernistas! I hope your week is off to a great start. My Monday was a little rocky at work but all in all in it was a good day.

I thought in this blog post I would share my skincare routine with y’all which takes me 30 minutes from start to finish and is well worth the time. I will confess I have been pretty lazy when it comes to my skincare routine and my skin has reflected this so I decided this year I would get serious about my skin after all it is the largest organ and as I get closer and closer to 50 I realize I need to take better care of this organ. One of the first things I’ve started doing is drinking more water! That is the best thing you can do for your skin. When you hydrate you will see your skin start to look clearer and healthier. Try drinking water for 30 days and if you don’t see any results let me know but I can guarantee you will see the results.

For my morning routine I usually use L’Oreal cleanser but I’m currently using Garnier sulfate free cleanser, Burt’s Bee’s lip scrub, L’Oreal toner, L’Oreal Revialift serum, L’Oreal eye cream, L’Oreal hyaluroinc acid (new addition), collagen that I buy from Family Dollar, and a moisturizer with SPF 25 sunscreen. Sunscreen is important regardless of race!

For my night routine I add Yeouth skincare retinol serum along with a face oil or mask. After I apply the collagen I use L’Oreal’s night cream and the last item I use before I go to bed is L’Oreal’s overnight mask.



Since I’ve started drinking more water and being consistent about day and night skincare routine my skin has never looked better. My skin look healthy and I’ve gotten so any compliments! This is not a sponsored post by any of these brands I just really love their products and they have worked for me. The prices range from $20.00 – $1.00. I didn’t list any of the masks I use but I use the Global Beauty brand mask and you can buy them at Family Dollar for $1.00 and they have a variety of masks.

Southernistas it is never too late to start a skincare routine no matter the age just get started and fine what works for you! Nor does it have to drain your pocketbook.

Until next Southernista remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

My Tips for Online Shopping

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Hello Southernistas! Happy Friday to everyone. I hope everyone’s week has been a great week and not too stressful. I can’t believe it has been two weeks since my last blog post and I missed y’all. If you haven’t noticed I’ve changed the name of my blog to Regina the Southernista instead of the Southernista let me know what you think.

There is no doubt plus size fashion has come a long way and I am very happy to see the number of new fashion forward plus size designers along with the established and older brands. I love all the options that are now available to me but what I don’t love is the fact that I do the majority of my shopping online. More and more straight size brands are extending there sizes but only making it available online or in select stores (yes I’m talking about you Anthopologie and Loft). I talk to many of my friends who are hesitant to shop online because they are afraid the clothes will not fit and I totally understand that because I was nervous when I first started shopping online because lets face it there is nothing like going to the store and trying on the clothes. Plus with the inconsistencies of sizing it is better to try on everything because you could wear a size 18 at one store but a size 22 at another store.

To help you better navigate online shopping here some tips that I use when I am shopping online.

  1. Know your measurements – this is the most important thing you can do before you buy anything online. You can take your measurements, have a friend do it or go to a tailor and have your measurements taken. By knowing your measurements you can look at the sizing chart and determine what size you should purchase. Also if you like styling services like Dia & Co, Stitch Fix, Trunk Club etc you can send them your measurements for better picks.
  1. Read the reviews – Trust me reviews are very helpful. By reading the reviews it has helped me avoid some big mistakes.
  2. Bloggers – Find bloggers that are your body shape or close to your body shape. Those who are full time bloggers are very honest in their reviews of brands plus you get to see what that brand may look like on your body.
  3. Become familiar with the brand’s return policy. Some brands will give you a refund and some will give you a store credit. Some have very easy return policies and some are complicated.
  4. When in doubt size up.
  5. Learn if the brand is Junior plus or Plus trust me there is a difference. If you are ordering from an Asian company please be aware that Asian sizing runs very small so you will need to size up 2 sizes or more.

Shopping online doesn’t have to be scary and can be fun once you get the hang of it. I hope there tips help you in your online shopping adventures.

Until next time Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Lip Care

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and although you couldn’t tell by the weather Wednesday was the first day of Spring! Happy Spring everyone! I’ll do a spring fashion post soon…promise.

Today I want to talk to y’all about lip care. Last year I realized that as fanatical as I’ve been about taking care of my skin especially as I am getting closer to 50 (yikes) I have never given my lips the same attention. Our lips go though a lot! In the winter they can become dry and chapped. Lips can also become severely cracked and bleeding in the winter if they are not taken care of and due to excessive lip licking too. As you get older you will also start to see a lot of lines on your lips. At 47 I realized that I have mistreated and sadly neglected my lips but I also know it’s not too late to start caring for my lips.

To begin my lip care journey I turned to Burt’s Bee’s lip care products to develop a lip care routine now let me say this is in no way a sponsored post by Burt’s Bees I just really love the products. I have been using their lip care products for about 6 months with amazing results. The lip scrub is great, the lip mask is only five minutes and I use the ultra conditioning lip balm before I put on any lip gloss or lipstick. I find that my lip gloss or lipstick lasts longer after I put on the lip balm. At night before I go to bed I apply the overnight intensive lip treatment which feels so good on my lips. If you’re worried about chemicals don’t worry Burt’s Bees is all natural.

Since I’ve started my lip care routine I’ve gotten a lot a compliments on how great my lips have been looking and I owe it all to Burt’s Bees! Before I end this blog I just want to say that Chapstick has just introduced a lip care kit too and it is a kit that includes everything with Burt’s Bees you have to buy each item separately it doesn’t come as a kit.


Wearing Burt’s Bees tinted Lip Balm

You can purchase these products from any drugstore. Wal-mart, Ulta or you can go to their website http://www.burtsbees.com to purchase.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

The Wearing of the Green

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Happy Friday Southernistas and a early Happy Saint Patrick’s Day which is this weekend (Sunday). I hope y’all’s week has been a great week. My week started off a little rough but it got better.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner I would be remiss if I didn’t delve into my closet and pull out my green to celebrate this fun and festive holiday. For me this holiday feels like the unofficial start of Spring and I am all for that! I am so over winter! Green is such a rich a vibrant color and I can’t think of another color that represents Spring than the color green.

If you are saying that you can’t wear green first remove the can’t from your vocabulary and know that you can wear green. If you are not comfortable with a head to toe look try wearing a print with pops of green or a cute skirt or pants in celebration. Think about a cute pair of shoes, bag, or jewelry for that pop of green. There are so many ways to incorporate green into your look.

So make sure you break out your green this weekend and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) click Here and here and here for alternatives

Eulogy for Payless Shoe Source

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I know it has been a while since I’ve blogged and I ask your forgiveness but the weather here in North Carolina has not lent itself to photo shoots but the rain seems to be holding off so I can create more content for the blog! I hope everyone has had a great week and that you have a great weekend.

Today Southernistas and fellow shoe addicts as you can tell from the title this blog is a memorial for my absolute favorite shoe store Payless Shoe Source. Last month the news broke that after 62 years Payless doors are closing and I am devastated. This news came out of nowhere and to say I was blindsided would be an understatement. Payless has always been my go to store for affordable and stylish shoes for years. In 2008 they partnered with Christian Siriano and it has been a very successful partnership. Payless has appeared on the runway at NYFW and who could forget the recent commercial where bloggers pair hundreds of dollars for their shoes because they though they were designer shoes.

There is no other shoe store you could go to with a $100 and walk out with 6 pairs of shoes a cute bag and still have change! That was the beauty of Payless your dollar went a long way especially for families. I can’t count the number of times I stood in line behind families who were buying shoes for the whole family especially during buy one get one half off. When I was really strapped for cash I knew I could always go to Payless and get a few pair shoes at a really great price.

There is no doubt I am going to miss Payless Shoe Source! I am going to miss Christian Siriano’s shoe line. I am going to miss the savings there is no doubt. I am just going to miss Payless!

So thank you Payless Shoe Source for the Christina Siriano collection, the great sales, but most of all the great shoes! I am going to miss you dear friend. R.I.P


Until next time Southernistas remember Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Beautiful

The Ultimate Valentine

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Happy Valentine’s Day Southernistas! I hope you are having an awesome day and that you are sharing it with you love one(s).

I must confess that Valentine’s day has never been one of my favorite days. After Christmas I always began to the countdown to February 14th with growing dread and depression. As a single girl it is hard to see everyone getting flowers and candy and all the other romantic and sweet gestures that go along with this day and not feel some kind of way about this day. For years my friends Beth & John would always send me a beautiful gift that had all kinds of goodies in it and it just made my day. Of course my daughter and Mom also gave me gifts as well as my sister and my best friend Lisa and I did appreciate it BUT my heart ached for a special someone to give me those things.

This year is different and it’s not because I’m seeing anyone but my perspective about February 14th has changed. Today I celebrate my ultimate valentine gift which is God’s love. I know this scripture is quoted all the time but John 3:16 tells us of the best gift this world was given: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. How can we ever top that gift! This morning in my prayer time I began to thank God for his son Jesus. Jesus loves us perfectly, completely, and whole. His love is without strings and everyday He gives us gifts and again its without any strings attached. Jesus will never break your heart, abandon you or hurt you but he will heal and mend your broken heart and let you know that you are loved with an everlasting love.

So today I celebrate that I am loved by Jesus so much that he was willing to die for me so that I could have eternal life. I celebrate His resurrection and how everyday I feel his love surrounding me and filling me and I know I am never along and I am always loved. Because I know Jesus loves me I allow myself to celebrate and be my own Valentine because I know I’m not celebrating this day alone. Today I celebrate the Ultimate Valentine – JESUS!

Until next Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Lane Bryant | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source (old) | Pearls from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)


Breaking the Rules

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great work week and that you are ready for the weekend! For some of us it was a four day work week due to the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don’t know about y’all but winter has really arrived here in North Carolina and we’ve had more rainy and cloudy days then sunny days. The temperature has dropped with the exception of two days of 60+ degree weather this week. With the days being so gray I’ve taken the opportunity to wear more color and the one color I decided to wear was white. I usually don’t wear white because as a southern girl it was ingrained in me that you don’t wear white after Labor Day. This is so ingrained in me that I really don’t even think about wearing white in the winter unless it is for a church service.

On my fashion journey I am constantly pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and when I was deciding what to wear my eyes fell on this beautiful Karl Lagerfeld (yes that Karl) skirt I got from a previous Stitch Fix box I almost put it back thinking this is for Spring but then I said to myself “Regina break that no white after Labor day rule!” and so I pulled it out the closet again and paired it with my favorite white sweater from Full Beauty.

I am so glad I did because when I saw the total look it was an instant mood lifter for me and even though it is winter I felt like a beautiful Spring day! So remember to toss outdated fashion rules out the window and wear your white!

Until next time Southernistas remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Skirt Stitch Fix | Sweater Full Beauty | Shoes DSW | Denim Trench Coat Eloquii | Bag Payless Shoe Source

Suit Up!

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Hello Southernistas! I hope everyone has had a good week and that you are keeping warm. Here in North Carolina the week started out in the 60s but it is not freezing!

Southernistas there is nothing like a suit! I had forgotten how wonderful and versatile a suit can be and how timeless they are too. I think my main reason for avoiding suits for so long is because when I think of suits I think about the suits from the 80s shoulder pads and all (shudder) but that is not the case anymore. This week I rediscovered the power of a great suit. The great thing about a suit is that it instantly makes you feel stylish and pulled together. It gives you a polished and effortless look plus total girl boss vibes! You don’t have to go out a buy a suit if you have a great blazer and cute skirt voila you have a suit! Which is what I did with this outfit I paired this blazer from Lane Bryant with this cute skirt also from Lane Bryant and since we’ve had nothing but gray skies recently I wore this ultra feminine lavender floral top and I felt ready to go forth and conquer.

Suits never really go out of style but they are having their fashion moment. With a suit you can mix and match with pieces in your closet to create several different looks. So in the words of Barney from How I Met Your Mother….SUIT UP!

Unit next time Southernistas! Have a great weekend and remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Bryant Blazer from Lane Bryant, Skirt from Lane Bryant (old), Shoes from Payless (old), Pocketbook from Nine West (Old)

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR SOUTHERNISTAS! I hope that 2022 was a good year for you. If 2022 was a tough year for you I am sorry but by God’s grace you made it to 2023 and that means saying good bye to 2022 and looking forward to a do over with 2023. If you lost a loved one I am so sorry for your loss and that you are starting this year without that love one in your life.

When a new year comes I always experience a sense of excitement and look forward to all the things a new year brings. It is like hitting the reset button and getting to start over or tackle that thing you didn’t get to last year. To heal, get healthy, drop toxic people, learn something new, change careers or whatever it may be January 1 is the reset. Or like me just be even more fabulous and fashionable.

This year I have decided to have a word for 2023 and that word for me is HOPE! I’ve entered 2023 with hope in my heart and my outlook on life. I know what it is to live with no hope and as 2022 winded down this word was whispered ever so softly to me last week while I was enjoying my Christmas break. I know that it the Holy Spirit whispering the word hope to me and I do have hope for this year.

I know what is going on in this world and in my country but I have an abundance of hope and expectation regardless of what life hands me ultimately all of my hope is in Jesus. I take comfort and joy in knowing that He is with me and He is my hope.

So Happy New Year and here is to 2023 being the year of HOPE!

Dress (this color sold out) is from Eloquii

Wednesday Reads — January TBR

HAPPY NEW YEAR book lovers! I hope you had a great holiday I certainly did! It helps that my department was closed for the entire week so yesterday was my first day back at work and it wasn’t easy to get back in the grove of things LOL.

I have to say 2022 was a great reading year for me I exceeded my Goodreads goal by 48 books!

Well it’s a new year and with a new year comes new reading goals! My reading goals for 2023 is to read books that have been on my TBR for over a year. Since it is the first month of the new year I decided that I would kick off January reading the first book in series that are on my TBR. While I know I want be able to read ALL the books on my reading pile I have set an ambitious goal of 10.

What are your reading goals this year? Are you planning to binge a series you’ve been wanting to read forever?

Whatever your goals are I hope all your reads this year are 5 star reads!

Currently Reading:

There are five books in this series and I am really enjoying this first book in Debra Sennefelder’s Food Blogger mystery series.

My January TBR (these are all the first book of the series):

Wednesday Reads — Books in Review

Happy Wednesday and Happy Hanukah book lovers! Well Christmas is almost here and 2023 is coming fast I mean where did 2022 go?! For me it has been a really good reading year all around. I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorite books of the year list and I don’t want to be left out (smile).

First I met my Goodreads reading goal this year and exceeded it by 30+ books so yeah me. Second I joined two additional online book clubs which has really expanded my TBR and at the same time help me try and make a dent in my TBR. The two book clubs I joined are on Facebook and I feel like I’ve discovered even more cozy mystery lovers while still a part of the Cozy Mystery Book Club that is on YouTube I look so forward to the end of every month. Third this is in no way a conclusive list because I read so many great books this year!

This will be my last post of 2022 so I want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope your books were all 5 star reads and your adventures were exciting, magical, and wonderful.

What are some of your favorite books you read this year please share.

With that being said here are some my favorites of 2022

The Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series by Darci Hannah: Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off, and Murder at the Blueberry Festival

I discovered this series and it is definitely takes the #1 spot of my favorite books of 2022. I literally read all three books in the month of July and each one was better than the last. Darci Hannah knows how to write a mystery that will keep your attention and cause you to loose sleep. I’ve been stalking her website to see when the next book in this delightful series will be out.

Peg and Rose Solve a Murder by Laurien Berenson this is a spinoff from the very popular Melanie Travis series and it doesn’t disappoint. I love a book that features seniors who are active and living life and Melanie’s aunts Peg and Rose are that and so much more. This was a great first book and I ‘ve already pre-ordered the next book

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander I now have to binge this series!

Trouble in Paradise Series by Carrie Doyle: It Takes to Mango (Book 1), Something’s Guava Give (Book 2). Book 3 will be out in 2023

Bayou Book Thief (Vintage Cookbook Mystery #1) by Ellen Byron this was such a great debut series and it will make you want to immediately get on a plane or in your car and head to NOLA

A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery #1) by Christina Romeril

Mountain Town Murder (Jackson Holes Moose’s Bakery Mystery #1) by Sue Pepper

Crime & Punctuation (A Deadly Edits Mystery #1) by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan

Twelve Slays of Christmas (Christmas Tree Farmy Mystery #1) by Jacqueline Frost

Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider House Mystery #1) Julie Anne Lindsey

Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala

A Deadly Inside Scoop (Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1) & Body and Soul Food (A Books & Biscuits Mystery #1) by Abby Collette

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! Wow Christmas is getting closer and closer and for those of you who celebrate Hanukkah it’s even closer than Christmas!

My December kicked off with a bang with Cozy Mystery Club’s 12 Days of Cozy which is always fun. It’s a time to interact with my favorite authors, get the chance to win a book or two, and discover new authors and I absolutely love it! It’s also a chance to get in a lot of reading during the reading sprints and I’ve gotten in a lot of great reads.

I hope you are taking the time amongst all the shopping, holiday gatherings, and busyness of the Christmas seasons to kick back with a cozy hot beverage of your choice and a good book to unwind, relax, and lose yourself in a another world.

Since it is the holiday season I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the majority of the books I’ve read, am currently reading, and will be read are Christmas themed.

Until next time Happy Holiday and Happy Reading!

Read:

A Christmas Candy Killing (Killer Chocolate Mystery) by Christina Romeril was a huge 4 stars for me! I really enjoyed this debut cozy mystery. Alex and Hannah are identical twins (thank you for name that don’t rhyme) and own Murder and Mayhem a mystery bookstore that sells poison themed chocolates (um yes please). When Alex finds her friend and fellow book club member Jane murdered and the weapon of choice is the chocolates from Murder and Mayhem which put her in the eye sight of the sheriff she is determined to clear her name, save her business, and find justice for her friend all before Christmas. This is my first cozy set in Montana and as I read the book I absolutely felt like I was there in Harriston. I couldn’t put this book down which lead to a lot of late nights because I just had to know what was happening. There were heaps of suspects and plenty of red herrings and I felt at time there were too many but I did get the killer right and I loved the reveal. I can’t wait to the second book in this series.

Mistletoe Murder (Lucy Stone Mystery #1) by Leslie Meier is a cozy mystery series that has been on my to buy list forever so I was super excited when this book was selected as the December buddy read for Cozy Mystery Book Club’s 12 Days of Cozies. This is a very popular series there are 20 plus books in the Lucy Stone series. As I read I had to remind myself that this first book came out in 1991 before cell phones were owned by everyone and the internet was a thing. Lucy discovers the body of the owner of Country Cousins (think Cracker Barrell) when she was taking a break she works as a customer service representative in the call center. She finds herself investigating his death mostly out of a sense of justice and she just can’t let it go. Overall I enjoyed reading the mystery and I liked that Lucy carried out her investigation around her life as a working mother and wife. I didn’t realize who the killer was until almost the end of the book and I was completely surprised. Now there were some not cozy elements in this book: there cat was killed by someone (never solved) and there was suicide so be warned which is why I gave this book 3 stars.

The Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost (aka Julie Anne Lindsey) is the first book in Christmas Tree Farm series and it is so good. I gave it 4 BIG stars. Holly White is back home in Mistletoe, Maine after her fiancé calls off their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go helping out her parents on their Christmas tree farm during the busiest time of the year for them and the whole town. When Holly comes across the body of Margaret Fenwick head of the Historical Preservation Society on the farm and the handsome Sheriff Gray closes the farm down Holly springs into action and decides to do her own investigation. As I read this book I couldn’t help but think of this author’s other series The Sea Side Café series she writes as Bree Baker. Holly reminded me so much of Everly Swan and I found myself smiling a lot as I read. This is another book I couldn’t put down and found myself reading way, way past my bedtime. At times I felt there were too many suspects since Margaret Fenwick seems to have upset just about everybody in Mistletoe and when the killer was revealed I was blindsided by the revelation because they were such a minor character. Having said that I can’t wait to read Twas the Knife Before Christmas.

Currently Reading: An Eggnog to Die For (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #2) by Amy Pershing

I really love this series! I really enjoyed the first book A Side of Murder and the third book Murder is No Picnic (which I thought was the second book). I highly recommend reading these books in order as this book is referenced though out Murder is No Picnic.

I’ve just started reading but Samantha Barnes is just as funny as ever and I can’t wait to join her and her friends on her sleuthing journey and she if she survives her parent’s visit for the holidays.

Next:

I am excited to read books 2 and 3 of Jacqueline Frost’s Christmas Tree Farm mysteries:

Tide and Punishment (Sea Side Cafe Mystery #3) by Bree Baker I really love this series and I confess I’ve taken my time reading this series because there are seven books in this series and no more.

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #3) by Mia P. Manasala

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! Well we are seven days into December and I hope you are getting lots of reading holiday or other wise accomplished. I am off to a slow start but I’m hoping to ramp up my reading as the month goes along.

I am having nothing but fun participating in the Cozy Mystery Club’s 12 Days of Cozies and all the fun Instagram and Twitter challenges and engaging with the cozy mystery community on a different level. Discovering new authors and love all the interaction with the authors who are participating.

Until Next Time! Happy Reading, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Finished Reading:

I started reading On Skein of Death at the end of November but didn’t really finish it until December so I didn’t include it in my November wrap up since I had just started reading this first book in Allie Pleiter’s Riverside Knitting Mystery series. Libby Beckett is excited to host her first event at Y.A.R.N the main attraction is Perle Langager a celebrity knitter and everything is going great until Libby discovers Perle’s body. Perle has been strangled to death with a skein of read yarn. Libby didn’t know the young Perle very well but she feels obligated to find out who murdered Perle at her event. Overall I enjoyed this it was a well written mystery with great character development and just enough information about Libby but (you knew there was one) I knew who the killer was as soon as the body was discovered. The author tried to give red herrings but there were really only three suspects but it was obvious who the murderer of Perle was. There were really no tension as I read the book and since I already knew who the killer was it was hard for me to continue to read this book and I almost DNF’d (did not finish) it all.

Currently Reading:

A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril came out in October and I am so glad it is finally December so I could start reading this debut series and I have not been disappointed as I read this book. The amateur sleuths are Alex and Hannah identical twin sisters who own a mystery bookstore called Murder and Mayhem (love) and they sell poison themed chocolates (double love)! When Jane there elderly neighbor, member of their book club Sleuth (triple love) and friend of Alex is murdered and the murder weapon is the Veronal Chocolate from Murder and Mayhem. Alex and Hannah along with a few friends start sleuthing to clear Alex and handy man Zach from suspicion and find the actual killer. Jane had a habit of accusing various members of Harriston, MT of being a fugitive from justice after she watches a true crime show that she loves. I can’t wait for the killer to be revealed but I hope I can figure it out before then.

Future Read:

Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier is next on my Christmas cozy TBR and it is the buddy read for my book club. This is a long running cozy mystery series and one I’ve been wanting to read forever so I am really excited to read this first book.

Book blurb:

MAIL-ORDER MURDER As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift, and making her daughter’s angel costume for the church pageant weren’t enough things for Lucy Stone’s busy Christmas schedule, she’s also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn’t smell right.

Taking time out from her hectic holiday life to find out what really happened, her investigation leads to a backlog of secrets as long as Santa’s Christmas Eve route. Lucy is convinced that someone murdered Sam Miller. But who and why? With each harrowing twist she uncovers in this bizarre case, another shocking revelation is exposed. Now, as Christmas draws near and Lucy gets dangerously closer to the truth, she’s about to receive a present from Santa she didn’t ask for — a killer who won’t be satisfied until everyone on his shopping list is dead, including Lucy herself

An Eggnog to Die For (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #2) by Amy Pershing

Book Blurb:

Christmas has come to Fair Harbor, but when the town’s Santa is murdered, it will be up to Sam Barnes to find a killer in this newest installment of the Cape Cod Foodie Mysteries.

It’s Santa Claus, she says tonelessly. Santa Claus is dead.

Food writer Sam Barnes wants a lot of things: a quiet Christmas at home with her dog and the town’s handsome harbormaster, to never be in a viral video again, and to stop finding dead bodies. Unfortunately for Sam, her parents are coming to visit, she’s often around cameras for work, and she just found the town Santa dead in the storage room of the cocktail bar she was profiling.

Although she was only interviewing the owners of the Ginger Jar in hopes of getting the recipe for their Coquito Eggnog cocktail for the friends and family Christmas Eve dinner she’s hosting, Sam quickly finds herself taking on the role of investigator once again. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa — but with holiday stress already building, will Sam be able to pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?

Hello December!

Happy 1st day of December Southernistas! Let the festivities begin! It is time to sparkle and shine! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Bring on all the Christmas music, holiday specials, Holiday baking shows on the Food Network, The Great Christmas Light Fight, baked goods, eggnog, parties, Hallmark /Lifetime/UP and other channels that will be showing a ton of Christmas movies and Christmas cozy mysteries because murder never sleeps! Of course….SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING!

I am here for everything the month of December brings and so much more particularly the shopping. This is the month where everything is just over the top in every way and I love it! I also love the fact that I get to celebrate the birth of Jesus who brought light into this world. While there is much debate about weather Jesus was born in December or not doesn’t matter to me but what does matter is that “unto a child is born.” Because He lives I live and more abundantly!

This is a time unfortunately where there is a rise in suicides while the holiday season is full of joy it’s not so joyful for those who are suffering from loneliness due to separation from family, death of a loved one, mental illness. It can be hard to see all the joy and laughter and feel so left out so make sure you reach out especially to college students if you live in a city with a college or university. Not every student is able to go home for the holidays. Visit a nursing home or your elderly neighbor and stay connected with them even after the holidays have come and gone. In fact check on all your neighbors and think about sponsoring a child, a family, or a senior citizen if your finances will allow. Spread joy!

So here’s to December and all the joy and blessings of the season to y’all!

Until Next Time!

Wednesday Reads — Mid Month Reads

Hello Book Lovers! I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving! If you were traveling I pray you had safe travels and that none of your flights were cancelled and were on time! Please forgive the lateness of this post!

I set up for myself a very ambitious November TBR and I am really happy that I am making progress but there were some books I read that were not on my reading radar but I was introduced to via KU (Amazon Kindle Unlimited) hey I’m easily lead astray when it comes to books…what can I say. Overall though I’ve tried to stick to my reading pile:) and with that being said I thought it would be great to share with you what I’ve read so far.

Happy Reading!

I’m going to kick it off with my favorite (so far) A Sprinkle in Time (Shake Shop Mystery #2) by Dana Mentink I really enjoyed this second book in what will hopefully be a series with a long life. I found myself connecting even more with Trinidad and was so glad her grandfather, Papa Luis, was in this book also and hopefully he has arrived in Upper Sprocket, OR to stay and her ex’s first wife and daughter Bonnie & Felice and in this second book too. The mystery which not only included a murder but a cold case too and the author did a great job of connecting everything together so it didn’t feel like there were two completely separate plot happening.

Next The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander was so much better than the first book in this series and there are currently six books in this series. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the second book in this series but then I had to take my own advice. I always tell other bookworms don’t dismiss this first book in the series and I am glad I took my won advice! This second book was so much better than I thought it would be Sloan is finding her groove as she is adjusting to life as an almost devoiced woman and deal with her soon to be ex as best she can while working alongside Garrett at Nitro. When a murder happens Sloan finds herself investigating and the ending was much more satisifying this time around.

The first book in Sue Pepper’s Jackson Hole’s Moose’s Bakery Not So Cozy Mystery Mountain Town Murder gets a huge thumbs up! Although I must admit I found the book very cozy it had all the cozy troupes: cozy companion (dog name Tyrone), murder but not gory, small town, and in this case culinary but I think the author classified it as not so cozy because there is profanity and one slightly steamy love scene (I guess). I love Sadie Moose and the employees of her bakery and some other characters. I read this mystery pretty quickly it was just that good. There were several suspects and I definitely had no clue who the killer was but I was glued to the story and just had to find out!

Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery #3by Barbara Ross finds Julia Snowden trying to keep her BIL, Sonny, out of prison when he is suspected of murdering David Thwing “the Mussel King” who was planning to open up his own clambake business in direct competition to the Snowden Family Clambake. The problem is Sonny is not being completely truthful with the police or Julia’s sister regarding his alibi. Plus Julia has to decide if she’s going back to her old job in New York or staying put in Busman’s Harbor. This was very entertaining and can’t wait to read book 4!

Other books I’ve read this month:

A Corpse in Coldlake Creek (Elsie Cromwell Mystery #1) by Kristen Skeet (KU)

Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery #1) by Nikki Knight

Sticker Sheet Murder (A Sticker Shop Mystery #1) by Courtney Flagg (KU)

Mother’s Day Murder (A Holiday Cozy Mystery #2) by Tonya Kappes (audiobook)

Pumpkin Spice & Deadly Heist (A Nosey Paralegal Mystery #1) by Tanya R. Taylor

Holiday Glam — Part 1

Happy Thursday Southernistas! Well the holiday season is upon us and brands are rolling out their holiday collections and believe me after the past three years of no holiday get togethers or socially distanced ones I am ready for the holiday celebrations to begin! Which means it is time to FINALLY get glammed up or as I like to say sparkle and shine.

So over the next few posts I will be sharing with y’all some outfits for every get together weather it be a formal party where you will need to get glammed up which this first post will be about or a more laid back celebration there is something for everybody and at every price level.

I myself am very much a sparkle and shine girl so you know I am all about the sequins and everything that goes with an all out formal look and it makes me so happy that more and more brands are offering glam looks for different body types.

Here are some glam looks that I am loving and I hope will help you find your next glam party look and I promise there are looks for every budget.

Until Next Time Southernistas!

Plus Sequin Off the Shoulder Wrap Mini Dress — Boohoo

Sequin Contrast Midi Dress — Boohoo

Ashley Stewart Sequin Jacket and Wide Leg Pants

Comes In Black Too!

Ashley Stewart Stiped Sequin Bodycon Dress

Eloquii Dolman Sleeve Sequin Dress

Comes in Gold too

Eloquii Sequin Halter Dress

Amazon Sequin Dress — Plus

Rebdolls V-Neck Long Sleeve Sequin Jumpsuit

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November Reading Goals

Happy Friday fellow book lovers! I was going to wait until next week but I really wanted to share with ya’ll my very ambitious November reading goals and they are very ambitious. I look at November at the kick off to the Christmas/holiday season when I believe we have more time off from work than any other time of the year. As mush as I love to shop I do not get up at a ridiculous hour of the morning to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving I sleep.

So this month I have set for myself the goal of 18 books since I have a four day weekend and will not be traveling for the holiday. These books are also on my Fall TBR list with some new additions. Having said all this here are the cozy mysteries I am endeavoring to read this month.

So fellow book lover’s do you have a November reading list? What’s on your TBR? What are you reading now?

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Until Next Time…Happy Reading!

The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander (currently reading)

Moose Town Murder (Jackson Hole Moose’s Bakery #1) by Sue Pepper (currently reading)

Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan (Cozy Mystery Book Club November Pick)

Crime & Punctuation (A Deadly Edits Mystery #1) by Kaitlyn Dunnett (Cozy Mystery Reading Challenge Book Club Pick)

Isn’t this the cutest cover!

On Skein of Death (A Riverbank Knitting Mystery #1) by Allie Pleiter (Instagram Group November Buddy Read)

A Sprinkle in Time (A Shake Shop Mystery #2) by Dana Mentink

A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery #2) by Dianne Freeman

Mint Chocolate Murder (Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery #2) by Meri Allen

Pumpkin Spice & Deadly Heist (A Noisy Paralegal Mystery #1) by Tanya R. Taylor

Deserts, Driving, & Derelicts (A Campers & Criminal Mystery #2) by Tonya Kappes

Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery #3) by Barbara Ross

Because I Could Not Stop For Death (An Emily Dickinson Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

Live, Local and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery #1) by Nikki Knight

A Case of Syrah, Syrah (A Wine Country Mystery #1) by Nancy J. Parra

Murder at Blackburn Hall (A High Society Lady Detective Mystery #2) by Sara Rossett

Wine and Punishment (A Literary Pub Mystery #1) by Sarah Fox

Artifact (Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #1) by Gigi Pandian

The Accidental Alchemist (An Accidental Alchemist Myster #1) by Gigi Pandian

Wednesday Reads-Mrs. Santa and the Evil Elves by Liz Ireland Review

Happy Wednesday Book Lovers! I just finished reading the third book in Liz Ireland’s delightful Mrs. Claus mystery series and all I can say is every book keeps getting better. I give this book a huge 5 STARS!

In this third book April Claus is excited to have her best friend Claire visiting her in Santaland which is also her way of revealing that she is actually married to Santa Claus and her whole new life during Christmas Week but all it is not well in Santaland. The reindeer have gone on strike because of the drone reindeer that have started popping up everywhere and her husband Nick aka Santa Claus is trying to do all he can to end the strike before Christmas gets cancelled. Then a drone reindeer takes out the ice sculpture of Blitzen the First with an ominous message attached to it THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!

April was hoping to show Claire how wonderful Santaland is but it looks like someone has other plans. Then there is the murder or should I say elficide of Virgil which happen halfway through the book and her best elf friend Juniper is arrested for his murder. Now April has putting on her sleuthing cap to find out who framed her best friend for murder.

I found this book so much fun to read and found it so hard to put it down which made for plenty of late night reading. From the first sentence “Note to self: Elf clogging should never be the main event” to the very last sentence. Because the murder or elficide happened so late in the book I didn’t think there was going to be one and that it would be all about the chaos and havoc that is being created. At times there were way too many subplots going on with the reindeer strike, snowmen on souped up boards called snowmanuvers, a missing elf, a budding romance between Claire and Jake Frost, and a few more subplots that at times distracted me from the actual murder.

Due to all the subplots there were plenty (plenty) of red herrings and even with this I was able to guess who the killer was at least I was 1/2 right. The one thing I did miss from this book were the text messages from April’s nemesis back in Cloudberry Bay.

This series is worth your time especially if you’re looking for something fun and light hearted to read then the Mrs. Claus series is the perfect series for you!