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Fall Fashion Must Have: The Blazer

Trends may come and go, but classic pieces always remain in style.

Invest in a classic piece like a blazer, for instance, and you’ll be able to wear it for countless seasons to come. In some parts of the country, blazers are an integral part of a woman’s work wardrobe. Here in Florida, however, where business casual reigns supreme, we don’t often see blazers make an appearance until the weather cools down. Once it does, blazers can be a fall fashion powerhouse for you. That makes the blazer a fall fashion must have pour moi.

I’ve been slowly building up my blazer collection for years now and several of my favorites just so happen to be vintage scores. You’ll find everything from red corduroy to animal print numbers in my closet. No matter what the trends are, I’ve been able to make my blazers work season after season simply because of their classic silhouette. Plus, they’re great seasonal transitional pieces. I can give life to my short sleeve and sleeveless tops and dresses work long past summer by pairing them with my blazers when cooler temps prevail.

Fashion doesn’t get much more versatile than a blazer. You can rock one with a floaty frock on date night. Or you could pair a menswear-type blazer with a feminine element like lace for a fun case of fashion contradictions. You could even rock a fierce leopard blazer with a plain old tank and skinnies if you’re looking for an impossibly chic ensemble. Actually, add a pair of flats and my favorite travel outfit consists of those exact pieces. I look pulled together, yet don’t have to sacrifice comfort...which is very important, especially if I’m traveling with those crazy kiddos of mine. Mama has to be able to run!

You don’t have to go the vintage route like this girl did if that’s not your thing. There are plenty of fabulous blazers out there in the shoposphere right now. In fact, I currently have my eye on a few beauties at Gap, J. Crew and Zara. Methinks my blazer collection isn’t quite complete yet.

So, as you do your fall shopping this year, consider adding a blazer or two to your closet. I promise the cost per wear ratio will come out in your favor in no time! I know bright red corduroy and leopard might be too flashy for some of you. That’s no problem because you’ll find lots of uses for a nice neutral gray or navy blazer too. I promise!

Until we meet again, lovelies...stay stylish!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Take Red, White and Blue Beyond the Fourth

What comes to your mind when you think about red, white and blue?

Is it the Fourth of July? If so, you aren’t alone. For many, patriotic holidays are the only time they think about rockin’ that particular color palette. I’m here to tell you that these colors can work with each other all year long and especially in the summertime. Even after the Fourth of July is over, you can remix your red, white and blue pieces for lots of summertime wear!

Together these colors give off a decidedly nautical vibe. I don’t know about you lovelies, but nautical looks just scream summer to this girl! This is not the first time I’ve written about nautical chic and summer and it probably won’t be the last. Doesn’t wearing a nautically inspired look make you dream about sailing over cool blue waters on a beautiful summer day? Or am I the only one who wants to head to the marina when I go nautical? Ha!

One of my favorite ways to rock red, white and blue is by adding stripes to the mix. Pick yourself up a blue and white striped dress, or even a different blue and white print, and add a red bauble or perhaps some espadrilles and you’re ready to go. My lil’ lady bean and I both have a wardrobe that’s fairly dominated by stripes. There isn’t much on Earth that’s cuter than a little girl in a sailor dress. Am I right?

I recently scored a little two-piece red, white and blue outfit for her that’s already done the heavy lifting for me and you can bet that it won’t only be getting play on the Fourth. Just sayin’. Even if you have a striped piece that doesn’t have the accent color in it, it really is quite easy to work in that color with an accessory. For kiddos, a red bow would do the trick and for us big girls, a layered red necklace would be just fabulous.

Are you still having trouble wrapping your head around wearing red, white and blue to anything but a fireworks-filled celebration? That’s ok. You can subtract the white from your look and still capture that nautical feel I’m talking about. Try styling a navy or light blue chambray dress with red. It really is the perfect accent color for those shades! You can never go wrong by giving your look a little pizzazz with a statement color. And red is the original statement color in my humble opinion.

So when you’re looking at your summer wardrobe this season, consider giving the red, white and blue color palette more than a one-day run! There’s no reason we can’t show our American pride all summer long!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Summer Style: Prints

When spring arrives, my style veers away from edgier pieces and leans more toward pretty, feminine things.

When I think about summer style, my mind immediately goes to resort wear. While Floridians can get away with the resort look for much longer than the rest of the country, it definitely works for everyone in the summertime. We’re lucky enough to live in the Sunshine State, which most people consider a vacation destination. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m definitely appreciative that I get to call such a beautiful place my home. That’s probably why, more often than not, I’m in a vacation state of mind. When we walk outside our houses, palm trees greet us. How could I not want to regularly rock resort wear?

I recently covered a CAbi Clothing event in Oldsmar for my blog BonBon Rose Girls and I was immediately drawn to their spring collection. The line’s theme was a “vacation state of mind,” and the designs definitely evoked that mood. What struck me the most were the prints. Prints have always been a summer staple for me. From caftans to tunics and even maxi dresses, you can bet I’m wearing prints a good majority of the summer.

CAbi was kind enough to send me a striped jacket, which quickly became one of my go-to spring pieces. I will definitely be wearing it right on into summer. It’s the perfect piece to throw on over a date-night look. I don’t have to mention again how cold Florida businesses can be when they crank up the AC full force in the summer. I’m not the only one who shivers in the movie theater, am I? Make sure you always have a few pieces, like my striped jacket, that you can layer over your summer ensembles!

One of my favorite spots to score fun, printed tunics, cover-ups and maxi dresses is Crème de la Crème on South Dale Mabry Highway. I’m headed to Mexico soon, so my mama was kind enough to head over to Crème de la Crème and stock up on some printed pieces pour moi. Nothing says vacation like a flowing tropical printed maxi…am I right?

Even if stripes or tropical prints aren’t your speed, plenty of pleasing prints are available. Try a feminine floral or polka dot on for size. I’ve been having a lot of fun with those this spring, but now I’m ready to sport something bolder. So, if you happen to see me around town, I bet you won’t be able to miss my bright prints. I have tunic-and-white-skinnies pairings in mind as well as maxis and gladiator sandals. I’m sure I’ll come up with some other ways to wear prints before summer arrives!

Who’s ready to go shopping for some summer prints? You know this girl is!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring Trend Spotlight: Lace

When spring arrives, my style tends to veer away from edgier pieces and leans more toward pretty, feminine things.

It doesn’t get much more feminine than lace. The fact that lace is a big spring trend this year makes this girl very happy. When some of you think about lace, your mind might veer to your grandmother’s ancient tablecloth. While probably lovely, it’s not exactly something you want to rock on your bod. Yet lace can be quite modern and fresh. There is no shortage of fabulously fun lace pieces out there for you to choose from this year…as is the case with most trends.

I recently hosted the Spring Essentials Fashion Show at Macy’s and the lace trend was a big focus. Some of my favorite pieces in the show were the lace dresses. They ranged from sassy little numbers with daring cut-outs, to flirty, brunch-appropriate, fit-and-flare frocks.

Inspired by our presentation of the lace trend, I decided to add a few more lace pieces to my warm weather wardrobe. That included snagging a festival worthy embroidered lace dress from none other than Target. Your Coachella years may be behind you, but you can still draw inspiration from the throngs of boho princesses that flock to the spring and summer music festivals.

Boho chic will forever be a favorite look of mine. One of my celebrity style muses is Nicole Richie and nobody does boho like Nicole. I’ve been writing about my love of her style for years…and with good reason. Outfits that she rocked several years ago still look current. So, when I saw that embroidered lace dress at Target, I instantly thought of her.

Speaking of Target…the store does a great job showcasing current trends. If you’re unsure about a particular trend, you definitely don’t want to spend big bucks trying it out, so shopping for budget friendly pieces at places like Target lets you give your chosen trends a whirl without a big investment. Plus, as I mentioned in April’s article, they have the most adorable kids’ clothes. I snagged a neon lace dress for my lil’ lady bean and it’s so darn cute that I want one in my size!

If lace dresses aren’t your thing, never fear. Plenty of other ways exist to work lace into your wardrobe this season. Try a lace top on for size. I opted for a cobalt number that I plan on pairing with white skinnies, but you could also go for lace tank in a pretty pastel hue. A more fitted silhouette would look fabulous with spring’s wide legs. Relaxed bottoms are hot, hot, hot right now! And I’m certainly not complaining. You mean, I can wear a trend that feels like pajamas? Sign me up!

If you’re really brave, you could sport a pair of lace shorts. They would look darling with a chambray shirt for instance. I think this thirty-something mama might have to work in a few more lunges before I go the lace shorts route, however.

But, I bet there are plenty of you that would look just fabulous in them!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring Trend Spotlight: Floral Prints

We’ve all heard the classic saying April showers bring May flowers.

Well, I see no reason to wait until May to talk about florals! Floral prints are around for yet another season and so many fun ways exist to work them into your spring wardrobe. I have already picked up several key floral pieces…

Those of you who are old enough likely have fond (or maybe not-so-fond) memories of the bold floral prints that dominated the fashion world a couple of decades ago. We have seen various versions of florals pop in and out of popularity throughout the years since and 2014 is no exception. While floral print jean shorts might not be relevant today, plenty of other floral options abound. (I’m not the only one who rocked those, right?)

One of my favorite ways to wear florals this spring is in neon form. Neon pieces are especially fun when they’re tiny. Yep, I’m talking about kids’ clothes. Target has a super cute selection of neon florals for kids. I picked up a neon floral mixed-prints look that I can’t wait to put on my lil’ lady bean. Neon is probably easier for kids to wear, but that doesn’t mean we big kids can’t look just as fabulous in it.

If neon is a bit too bold a statement for you to rock outside the house, how about adding some neon pajamas to bedtime? I like to pick up new pajamas each time a new season rolls around.

That part of your wardrobe needs to be updated too or you’ll forever be sleeping in your honey’s college Ts. Not that I don’t sport my fair share of those too, but it doesn’t hurt to have options.

You can also choose a more subtle route and wear pretty, feminine floral prints featuring soft pinks. Remember that pastels are a big spring trend too! And a pastel pink works so well with a variety of palettes. It looks chic with black and fresh with white and brighter hues.

Mint is another pastel that looks lovely with floral prints. For instance a floral print jacket is the perfect partner for a little mint dress. It would make for a darling date night look. When the hubs and I head out for a dinner and movie night, I always end up freezing in the restaurant and movie theater. Why they turn down the air conditioner so much always boggles my mind. So, even when it’s a typical warm April day here in Tampa, I bring a jacket along for the ride.

So, are floral prints on your radar for spring, lovelies? Or have you been there, done that and don’t plan on doing it again?

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give them an opportunity to bloom again!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring Trend Spotlight: Black and White

Remember last month when I shared my affection for pink?

As much as I love the pastel trend, I’m just as enamored with black and white. Black and white proved a big spring trend last year and I’m happy to report that it’s just as relevant this season. I love it when I can repurpose pieces already in my closet. Thanks to my long standing love of black and white, I have a pretty good base to work off of this season. I bet you do too, if you dig around your closet a bit. Something as simple as a black tee and white skinnies can be the basis for a fun spring look. Let’s get back to prints for a moment though…

Black and white prints made a strong showing on the spring 2014 runways and you can use them as inspiration for your spring looks even if a bold graphic print isn’t your style. Although, I have to say, I do love a good print and have several print pieces in my wardrobe. I have a great, three-quarter sleeve black and white print dress, for instance, that I can make work for every season. It looks awesome with boots in the fall or winter and I plan on wearing it with some ankle strap sandals or mules this spring and summer. I’ve been wearing it with black foot candy, but black and white is the perfect palette to pair with a bright hue too. Cobalt looks particularly fabulous with black and white in my opinion. You’d be amazed how versatile a pair of killer cobalt heels are…but I digress.

If you like the look of black and white, but aren’t so much into prints, there are countless black and white combos you could try. Set off an all-white look with a pair of black heels or vice versa. Monochromatic outfits look très chic styled with contrasting shoes or accessories. The same goes for contrasting details. I have a white blouse with a bit of black leather trim that’s a go-to top of mine as it can be worn with a big, old variety of bottoms. And this spring said blouse will look über chic with wide legs pants, which are also a big spring trend. I would steer clear of white monochromatic looks when you’re around the kiddos though. My little cherubs always find a way to stain my white pants.

As you can see, whether you have something as simple as a black and white print tank or as bold as a black and white print scuba dress, you’ll easily be able to make black and white a part of your spring wardrobe!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring Trending Pastel

It may seem too early to be talking about spring trends.

Technically we’re still in winter’s grasp. Yet spring really is right around the corner and its arrival is about to bring some fabulous new fashion trends! One of my favorite spring 2014 fashion trends is pastels. Icy pastels in various shades showed up on the runways in spades and a dominate theme was pastel pink.

It’s probably the eighties girl in me, but I’ve always loved pale pink. Pink is truly a color that can work year ’round whether in fashion or home décor. When I shop for holiday or seasonal decorations, I look for pieces that can multitask. Pink pieces fit the bill.

Pink tumblers, for instance, are the perfect glasses for milk to accompany some sweet Valentine’s Day treats. Yet they can also work at a spring Easter brunch or in your summer pink lemonade-themed soiree. Don’t forget a fun detail like striped straws! They are the perfect finishing touch. After all, it’s all the about the details.

I picked up some pastel pink tumblers of my own at Ikea for a song the other day. While I was there, I also snagged some reusable cake liners, which instantly jazzed up my plain hammered metal platter. I can’t wait to use the liners on my cake stands too! I see some serious baking in my future…

Someone who really enjoys my baked goodies is my precious baby girl. Not only is she a sweets lover like her mama, but she’s a pink lover too. I picked up a darling pink bunny for her for Valentine’s Day but she already found and deemed it her new favorite friend.

As far as fashion goes, I’ve had no trouble working pastels into my winter looks, especially pink. It is extremely versatile and looks edgy and cool when paired with something like black or leather. On a recent weekend shopping jaunt, I visited one of my favorite vintage shops, La France, and instantly honed in on a beautiful, sheer, pink blouse. Not only is pink a big spring trend, but sheer pieces will be all over the place too. The blouse allows me to kill two birds with one stone. I immediately knew I wanted to style it with leather this winter and you can bet this look will be making an appearance during my upcoming fashion week trip.

If leather is too much for you, you can go all out with the sweet look and sport head-to-toe pastels. It may sound crazy, but it works if you do it right. Nobody wants to look like an Easter egg, obviously, but a chic blouse, skinnies and heels in the same color family can be gorgeous. Monochromatic looks are still very in! And if you would prefer a more classic route, pastel pink looks beautiful paired with camel!

So, are you ready to bust out your pastel pink for more than Easter, lovelies?

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Winter Style Inspiration: Black and Gold

Happy new year, lovelies!

As excited as I always am to see what each new year has to offer, I’m always a bit bummed when the holidays are over. There is something so magical about that time of year and it’s a bit of a letdown that all the festivities have to end. Not to mention, fall fashion is now on the backburner and holiday party style is no longer in play. Spring is a while away. As a result there isn’t exactly an abundance of fashion inspiration.

The winter months tend not to be as fun fashion-wise, but they can be! So embrace the new year and the killer style that can come with it!

Why don’t you try celebrating 2014 with edgy looks featuring one of my favorite color combos –black and gold? Before spring arrives with new trends and new colors like the Pantone color of the year – radiant orchid – make use of your darks and metallics now. Black and gold are such a luxe combination and the perfect way to showcase a glitzy statement necklace or studded jacket. And you could always add a statement color like emerald. Emerald had its moment last year, but I’m willing to let it stick around a bit longer. It doesn’t hurt that it looks killer with black and gold!

Lots of fall trends like leather, studs and moto are totally winter-perfect and oh-so-chic. Frankly, I’m not ready to let go of them yet. Moto will still be relevant come spring, but there are some other silhouettes that will be making more of a splash, so I plan on rockin’ my black and gold studded moto jacket as much as I possibly can before trading her in for a boxy cut jacket or collarless coat.

Here in Florida, we’re just now getting into the real winter weather, so I haven’t been able to wear some of my favorite fall trends much yet. As recently as mid December, I would have been sweltering in leather leggings, but now they’re actually feasible. Even if it’s not uber cold, you can pair leather leggings with a slouchy sleeveless knit top and still be perfectly comfortable. So, you can bet my leather leggings will be making several appearances before spring pays us a visit. Plus, I want to get a lot of wear out of them before I switch them out for spring’s wide legs. Yep. Wide legs are back and better than ever! Plan on picking some up to sport in a few months.

You’re also definitely going to want to invest in some of the other fabulous spring trends headed our way, but there are plenty of fall pieces that you’ll be able to make work for the upcoming season too. Try layering your sweaters under jackets now and over flirty dresses later. You can also anchor spring’s sheer pieces with substantial metals. Until then, however, let’s enjoy winter by giving our favorite fall trends life until spring!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Fall Trend Spotlight: Animal Prints

As trends have come and gone over the years, one has remained constant.

Animal prints seem to be “in” every season. In my book, that makes them more of a classic than a trend. My love affair with animal prints, particularly leopard, has been long in the works. My mama says I got the leopard fever from my auntie, who was my godmother. While we weren’t related by blood, we were so similar, it’s scary! My auntie was a leopard lover to the core and every time I wear a leopard print piece, I’m reminded of her. We lost her to breast cancer several years ago, but I still feel connected to her when I slick on some Chanel gloss or step out in a pair of animal print pumps!

If you’ve read previous editions of this column, you’ve probably seen me mention animal prints more than once. I can’t help myself. I’m hopelessly addicted to them and can find occasion to work some form of them into almost any look! It’s been particularly easy for me to add some new animal prints to my wardrobe this season as they seem to be front and center in so many of my favorite shopping haunts!

Take Gap, for instance. They’ve really stepped up their design. While I used to go there for the basics, I didn’t necessarily score statement pieces at Gap and that’s changed! This fall they have everything from leopard-print pointy toe flats to oversized clutches. I picked up an animal print jacket in an unexpected blue print. It’s proof that you don’t always have to go the literal route with your animal prints. Recently, I rocked my animal print jacket with a little black dress and multi-chain necklace. Next time I think I’ll go with a black tee and skinnies, as well as some piled up arm candy. See how easy it is to change up the look of your animal prints?

One of my friends brought home a killer leopard print dress this fall. While the thought of wearing that much leopard might sound scary, it’s actually a lot more wearable than you’d think. You could take it for a spin on date night with a pair of killer black heels or take an edgier approach and pair it with booties for a girl’s night out.

If you’re looking for a more casual look, an animal print scarf or a precious pair of ballet flats will make a fun statement! I’m all about boyfriend jeans and have been for a few seasons now, so I switch up the look of the pair I wear into the ground by wearing them with my favorite animal print pieces. When I want to dress them up a bit, a pair of leopard print heels is the ticket. At LOFT I found a cute, ankle strap pair as well as some ballet flats, but I think I need one more pair of animal print heels! I finally had to retire my beloved leopard print pumps and it was a sad, sad day indeed.

So, are you ready to rock animal prints too, lovelies?

By Kristin Swenson

Photo credit Jill Seiman, Glamamom.com. Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Unexpectedly Fun Fall Fashion Trends

Perhaps you believe that a few fall fashion trends like camo, over the knee boots and booties are things you wouldn’t wear in a million years.

I’m here to convince you that done right, and done in moderation, these trends can be all kinds of fun!

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be singing the praises of the camouflage trend, I would have told you’re nuts! Camo has never been my thing. My 5-year-old’s camo cargos are pretty cute, but put that look on my 30-something bod and cute isn’t exactly the word I would use.

When a stylist friend of mine convinced me that I had to have camo skinnies, it was a tough sell for her to say the least. I decided to take the advice I so often dole out, however, and went outside my comfort zone. You can officially color me wrong. The second I put those camo skinnies on, I fell in love. And I was amazed by their styling possibilities. I’ve worn them with everything from an Aztec print to scarlet silk. They are the perfect piece to style a casual look around. Believe it or not, they can totally be dressed up!

Now camo is definitely one of those trends that can go wrong and go wrong fast. Pick one chic camo piece and build your look from there. Head to toe camo only works on the Duck Dynasty dudes. Just sayin’.

For instance, you could play around with fashion contradictions by adding a sparkly statement necklace or layered pearls to a camo tee and boyfriend jeans. Or you could make like me and pick yourself up camo skinnies to sport with high heeled booties or pointy toe flats. Pairing masculine and feminine pieces makes for such an interesting look. If none of those ideas piques your interest, stick to accessories. Sporting a trend in accessory form is always less scary than going full force. A camo clutch worn with your favorite little black dress would be a super easy way to rock this trend.

Speaking of easy…you might find the latest footwear trends less than easy to wear. If you immediately go to a Pretty Woman kinda place when you see the words over-the-knee boots, let me put your mind at ease. Over the knee boots don’t have to read streetwalker. That being said, if you rock them with a cut-out mini dress, there isn’t much you can do to avoid the lady-of-the-night vibe. If, however, you style a flat pair of OTK boots with leggings and a slouchy knit sweater, you’ll have a chic, yet comfy look.

Ankle booties can also be fear inducing, especially for us height-challenged girls. Am I right? My trick for rockin’ ankle bootie is to wear them with tights. A pair of black tights paired with black booties won’t make your stems look shorter. In fact, it will elongate them! So, if it ever cools down here in Tampa, you can expect to see me workin’ my beautiful new Tory Burch booties with some tights and a fierce high hemline.

Who’s with me?

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Fall 2013 Fashion Trends

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I wrote my first style column for WOW.

And what a fabulous year it’s been! My first piece was all about fall fashion trends and here I am again giving you the skinny on my favorite trends for fall 2013.

This is the best time of the year to write about my passion, which is, of course, fashion. Nothing beats fall fashion in my book!

This fall is all about color and one print in particular pour moi. The Pantone color of the year, emerald, is still hot hot hot. Also, on my radar are various shades of blue, namely cobalt, plum and my current obsession…crimson!

As far as prints go, I continue to be in love with leopard. At this point, it pretty much works as a neutral for me. My favorite way to rock leopard is in footwear. I have dressy leopard-print pumps, as well as a couple pairs of decidedly more casual leopard-print moccasins. Pick yourself up some leopard-print foot candy lovelies and you won’t regret it. You will be amazed at how many things the print complements! It looks just as gorgeous with skinnies and a slouchy sweater as as it does with a little black dress.

I love trends that can be dressed up or down with ease. While we’re talking footwear…punk is experiencing a major resurgence this year, so don’t be afraid to throw some studs into the mix! A pair of sweet ballet flats adorned with studs would be a little edgy and super fun.

As far as colors go, jewel tones are definitely a fall favorite of mine. Luckily, so many of them are key fall trends this year, it should be no problem to find a new jewel-tone piece or two to add to my fall wardrobe. Cobalt will forever be my happy color and emerald and plum both look amazing with my beloved leopard print. I quite like plum and navy together as well.

If you’re looking for something a little splashier, crimson is where it’s at. An all-out red dress may be a bit too much for you, so consider sporting this spicy hue in accessory form instead. A smokin’ scarlet bag is a perfect investment piece. You can always opt for a scarlet silk blouse as well. I have one that looks just great with my new camo skinny jeans. Did I mention that you should pick up a camo piece yet? Well, you should! Just sayin’.

For you girly girls, fuchsia is having a moment right now. Several designers sent this feminine shade down their fall runways.  I’ve actually collected several pieces of fuchsia statement jewelry myself.

I really can’t get enough of statement jewelry. This year, when styling my looks, I’m all about focusing on one stand-alone statement piece. Whether, it’s a bold bracelet, large and in charge earrings or a fabulous printed scarf, statement accessories will take your wardrobe to another level!

So, there you have it. I hope I’ve inspired you to have some fun with your fall wardrobe!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Neon for Grown Ups

With fall nipping at our heels, I plan on taking full advantage of the slice of summer we have left. Bring on neon!

Certain fashion trends – like neon –  seem a bit more summery to me than others. I tend to want to rock bright colors more often in the warm weather months and neon definitely falls in the brights category.

As far as neon goes, I know there are many who think that this trend is just for youngsters. Like me, you may remember rockin’ way too much of it in the eighties and nineties. Back then I wore so much neon that I parted ways with it until only a few years ago. It then slowly crept back into my wardrobe once again. I just couldn’t resist. Fortunately there are so many grown up ways to wear neon these days. Everyone can find a piece that would fit seamlessly into their wardrobe. I promise!

When I snagged a certain multi-hued, distressed Patricia Nash neon clutch a few months ago, I just knew that it was going to be my go-to summer bag. My go-to, summer, going-out bag that is.

As I’m a busy mama, clutches have no place in my day to day life. Instead they’re a going-out-in-the-evening-sans-kiddos kinda bag. Nevertheless, a neon bag is such an easy way to add pop to your outfit without diving headfirst into the neon pool. You wouldn’t believe how versatile my neon clutch is. It works with everything from my graphic print back and white maxi to my little navy dress.

Along the same vein, neon jewelry is another great option for those of you who aren’t quite sure about this trend. A neon necklace or bracelet will stand out against a blank canvas like a little white dress. The pieces will also look darling with a plain white tee and boyfriend jeans. Plus, if you don’t want to invest in something as trendy as neon, you can find inexpensive neon jewelry all over the place. LOFT has some great options.

If you’re ready to take the neon bull by the horns, pick yourself up a few neon tees. I have several lightweight neon burnout tees that I picked up at Target and have been living in them all summer long. I like to buy mine a size too large, so they offer a roomy fit without being oversized. Then I can wear them with skinnies, boyfriends, maxi skirts…you name it! Neon tees scream summertime in my book!

I, for one, am not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. I may complain about the heat from time to time, but it’s hard not to be charmed by its magic.

So, who’s ready to throw on some neon and join me in a toast to summer?

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Style Fit for Summer Fun

It’s officially summer, lovelies!

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been having a blast! Sure, we’re dealing with the sweltering summer temps Florida throws us, but there are plenty of ways to stay cool while you’re out enjoying the summertime fun. It’s all about what you wear. Leave it to me to make fashion a vital part of my summer fun.
As silly as it sounds, I speak the truth. You can make the dog days of summer so much more enjoyable by rockin’ the right kinds of outfits. Comfort is king when we’re talking about summer style.

If you aren’t comfortable, it’s hard to have a good time – at least it is for me. That’s why maxi dresses and flat sandals are my favorite summer uniform. I’ll sing the maxi’s praises forever. There is nothing more cool and comfy and you can easily dress one up or down according to the demands of your day. As far as foot candy goes – comfortable yet chic flat sandals make it possible for me to transition from running after my kiddos to having a drink with the hubs. Nothing beats the summer fun I have with my family and I carefully select my summer wardrobe so it’s practical yet stylish!

Those pieces do exist. Practicality can co-exist with style. We girls don’t always have to suffer for fashion. I’m not going to say I haven’t hobbled around in stilettos that pinch my tootsies in the name of fashion, but you’ll rarely find me doing so in the summertime. I reserve that pain for when it’s not sweltering out.

At the top of my family’s summer fun-fest list is the beach. Tampans are so lucky to live within driving distance of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. My personal favorite is St. Pete Beach, but there are plenty to choose from and all offer opportunities for fabulous family entertainment. As much as I love the beach, I’m not a fan of what the sun’s rays can do to my skin, so an oversized hat, umbrella and a good sunscreen are definitely beach must haves pour moi!

As far as my beach goin’ ensemble goes, a cute coverup, straw bag and oversized sunnies are also necessary parts of my beach gear. The same goes for my family. I keep us as covered up as possible –in a cute way of course.

Whether you’re taking your little cherubs to the aquarium, heading out for a day trip to some sandy shores or grabbing your honey for a romantic summer evening, take comfort into consideration when you’re deciding what to wear.

You won’t regret it!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Nautical Chic for Summer

With summer upon us, I’m  excited about working one of my favorite trends into my wardrobe as well as my home.

Nautical chic has been a hot trend for so many seasons I’ve lost count. Let’s be realistic though. Has it ever really gone out of style? You can’t go wrong with classic stripes and nautical-inspired accessories come summertime. Am I right?

When I think about summer, I picture things like backyard barbecues, trips to the beach and sailing. What goes better with those wonderful experiences than nautical pieces? I’m definitely a go big or go home kinda girl, so I’ll go full throttle with the nautical trend by adding stripes, anchors, ropes, crabs and lobsters to my style arsenal. As with most trends, I wouldn’t throw them all together at once, but having a nice selection of nautical pieces that I can space throughout the summer to add to my looks is my goal.

My love affair with all things nautical started when I was a kiddo. We made the trip from Ohio to Florida each summer to see my grandparents. I have such happy memories of gliding over the ocean on their boat while the salty breeze blew over me. My mom’s affinity for lighthouses probably had something to do with it too. You could definitely find stripes, anchors and lighthouses in spades in my house when I was growing up.

Now that I have my own home, I’ve slowly tapped into my nautical obsession by inserting a coastal vibe into my rooms and my closet. Stripes have always been a favorite of mine and I especially love them this time of year. In addition to accessorizing my home in the form of striped throw pillows, I particularly enjoy adding them to my outfits. They look just darling styled with accessories like anchor-adorned belts, necklaces and bags. Pair a striped T-shirt dress with espadrilles and a nautical accessory and you’ll have a perfect summer look!

Let’s not forget that nautical-inspired pieces make for great summer gifts. I recently picked up a navy nautical clutch for my mom for Mother’s Day from Crème de la Crème in South Tampa. I was elated to find that my favorite little gift shop had a slew of nautical goodies that would surely please any lovely lady on my gift list. I, for one, wouldn’t turn down the layered anchor-accented beaded necklace, mermaid pendant or anchor-adorned frame. They would all make such fabulous gifts for someone special. (Don’t you love how I always use my column to give the hubs not so subtle hints? He hasn’t quite picked up on it yet in case you were wondering. I guess I’ll have to keep doing it until he does.) I have several birthdays to shop for this summer and my loved ones can expect to be able to rock nautical-chic very soon…just like this girl will be!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Summer Style Spotting

Summer’s first official day is June 21, but here in Tampa summer weather starts long before that.

Last month I shared some of my favorite spring trends with you. This month I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite summer looks as I’ll definitely be rockin’ them in May!
For me, it’s all about comfort in the summertime. When the temps start creeping toward the 100- degree mark, I’ll do anything to stay cool. That doesn’t mean I sacrifice style for comfort, however. Style and comfort can co-exist. My signature look is a maxi dress paired with sandals and a statement piece of jewelry.

Nothing is easier than throwing on an easy-breezy maxi, T-strap sandals and a [vulgarity] ring or cuff. It’s so easy to tie in spring trends with an outfit like this. Keep an eye out for maxis in floral prints, black and white stripes and pastel shades. A maxi made of any of these would look fabulous with metallic sandals that have long been a summer staple of mine. Gold sandals are definitely one of my summer go-tos. I’ll forever love a flowing white dress paired with gold sandals and turquoise or coral baubles! To really keep things current, invest in a pair of ankle-strap metallic sandals and rock those with your favorite summer dresses. I mentioned ankle-straps in my spring trends article and this trend definitely works for summer too, especially in metallic hues.

Another summertime favorite of mine are Bermuda shorts. Luckily Bermuda shorts are a hot spring trend, so a bevy of options exist from which to choose. You can often find me running my errands in a white tank, Bermuda shorts and flat sandals. Adding a straw fedora is a cute way to make my errand running uniform a little more interesting. I can even take Bermuda shorts from day to night by switching out the tank for an on-trend peplum top and the flat sandals for heels! I’m all about multi-purpose pieces. Mamas are short on time and having pieces in our wardrobe that serve a variety of functions is most necessary!

After you throw a maxi dress, ankle-strap metallic sandals and Bermuda shorts on your summer shopping list, don’t forget to pick up a few baubles and maybe a bag or two. A bold metal cuff, for instance, is crazy versatile. It works equally well with daytime and evening looks. And a straw clutch just screams summer. After all, every outfit can use a little accessorizing!

I stopped by one of my favorite boutiques, Crème de la Crème on South Dale Mabry Highway, in search of some summer-ready pieces to add to my wardrobe. I found several gems that would be perfect ways to set off my summer style!

Who’s ready to join me for a little shopping?

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring 2013 Fashion Trends

I just love springtime…and especially spring fashion!

This year the spring trends really are enchanting. Designers sent glorious, bold, floral prints, pretty pastels, and graphic black and white looks down the runways in spades. And they were joined by one of spring’s biggest shoe trends − the ankle-strap heel.

I’ve been updating my sandals collection the past few weeks and one of my first purchases was a pair of ankle-strap sandals. I’m totally chomping at the bit to style my new foot candy with my favorite spring trends. I’ll forever be a Florida girl at heart, so any season that calls for me to bust out my sandals collection is A-OK by me.

I always love going trend-spotting at Neiman Marcus, so I stopped by the International Plaza store to take a look at how they were interpreting the spring trends. I wasn’t disappointed! They styled their mannequins in some of spring’s hottest trends, like leather, lace, black and white, florals, pastels and global prints. It’s a good thing the hubs was with me or I might have done some serious damage with my plastic.

My favorite trend this spring, by far, is black and white. I’m definitely a color lover, but there is something so chic about a look dominated by black and white. Plus, I’m ridiculously addicted to stripes and bold black and white stripes are huge this season. Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta sent stripes down their spring runways that were so gorgeous they took my breath away. We’re talking seriously swoon-worthy stuff!

Black and white is the perfect palette to pair with a pop of color. Bright pink lipstick, a current beauty trend, would look amazing with a black and white print or stripes. Adding color in accessory or shoe form would be fabulous as well! Personally, I’m looking for a great bag in Pantone’s color of the year, emerald, to wear with my black and white outfits. My wedding anniversary is coming up next month and there is a certain emerald-hued Marc Jacobs crossbody that I’m coveting. Just sayin’. That was a not-so-subtle hint for the tall drink of water in my life.

If you’re craving head-to-toe color, a bright hued floral print might be just what you’re after. Moschino, in particular, offered up really fun, punchy florals. I also really loved the flirty florals that Rebecca Minkoff showed. Pretty pastels made an appearance in her collection as well, which brings me to another sprint trend…

I know not everyone is a fan of pastels, but I just adore them. You won’t catch me in matronly pastels, but you will find me wearing something like pastel skinnies with a leather jacket. Pastels combined with edgy pieces make for a killer combination of sweet and saucy.

With all the great options, there’s no reason not to feel inspired to try out some of these fabulous spring trends!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Spring Shopping at Seedlings

Can you believe that March is hopping in already?

Spring weather in Florida is just so beautiful. The weather isn’t the only thing I love about spring, however. I’m a total Easter fanatic too.

I’m like a broken record with this, but I always say that the holidays have become much more fun since I had my kiddos. This will be my lil’ lady bean’s first Easter, so I’m all kinds of excited about filling her first basket with goodies. Obviously, said goodies won’t include candy yet, but she can expect to find some cool, little trinkets that will help keep her entertained. That girl of mine is crazy alert and one spot where I’ve been able to find safe and engaging toys for her is Seedlings, located at 1530 S. Dale Mabry Highway.

I started shopping at Seedlings shortly after I had my son. I turned into a loyal customer almost instantly. I haven’t found any other shop in Tampa with Seedlings’ unique mix of children’s clothing, gear and toys. I can always find lots of my favorite brands like Stokke, Tea Collection, Haba, Aden + Anais, Boon and many more.  Seedlings is like a children’s product wonderland. Practically anything that your baby or young child could possibly need or want is right at your fingertips.

On a recent trip I was introduced to some of Seedlings’ new brands like Janod, a French company that makes the sweetest little play kitchen that you’ll ever see! I can so picture my lil’ lady bean pretend-cooking away while wearing an apron that matches mine− I also had to snatch up some mommy-and-me apron sets when I saw them. Having a little girl really is a trip!

Of course, having a little dude is a blast too. I had no idea that a girly gal like me could have such a good time playing cars. Seedlings stocks one of our favorite kinds of toy cars, Automoblox. The Automoblox car is such a creative toy! You can assemble and disassemble the cars for endless hours of fun. My son has nearly every color car and he loves to interchange them. I do believe the Easter Bunny will be leaving another one in his basket this year. And the lil’ lady bean will probably find some wooden Haba toys and perhaps the Manhattan Toy Stella Doll. I’ve totally been itching to buy her a doll!

If you’re expecting a little one or know a mama to be, you must check out Seedlings’ sixth annual baby shower on April 13. I went last year before my daughter was born and I had such a fabulous time. They had a ton of amazing vendors and gave away some incredible door prizes! My friend and I both walked away with some killer booty. Don’t miss out on the fun this year!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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The Place for Valentine’s Somethin’ Somethin’

It’s February…You know what that means, right?

Valentine’s Day will soon be front and center! Smart husbands everywhere will be making dinner reservations and wrapping up pretty little boxes filled with baubles. Or, if they’re like my significant other, they’ll be thinking about what kind of pizza to order and which movie to rent from On Demand.

Back off ladies −he’s taken!

Now, I’m not necessarily one of those girls that insists on a fancy pants night out on the town, but I do appreciate it when the hubs acknowledges heart day. And what better way to do that than with a little something that sparkles?

This month’s boutique spotlight is one of my favorite spots to find beautiful baubles. Zoey Bloom, located at 1710 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., is pure heaven for accessory lovers! It’s a divinely chic shop with minimalist modern décor that perfectly showcases their gorgeous jewelry, bags and more.
I’m all for inexpensive costume jewelry. In fact, I’ve found the perfect statement piece at Forever 21 more than once. Nothing, however, can compare to good quality statement jewelry. You’ll find it in spades at Zoey Bloom.

Jewelry enthusiasts can expect to find trendy pieces in the latest it colors and in materials like emerald and druzy! I picked up the most darling emerald and gold stacking rings on a recent shopping trip at Zoey Bloom. While I was there, I couldn’t help but drool over the gorgeous druzy pieces, namely a large and in charge cuff, on a nearby display.

I hope you’re reading this, darling husband. Your wifey is diggin’ druzy!

Just sayin’.

And for those who like to take the literal route when it comes to gift giving, you can’t get more Valentine’s Day perfect than Leetal Kalmanson’s heart-drop earrings! The beautiful filigree is tres exotic. I can so see them styled with a tropical vacay-worthy caftan! Who’s ready to call the travel agent? This girl is!

If handbags are more your speed, you must check out the Hammitt Los Angeles bags that can be found exclusively at Zoey Bloom in Tampa. You might have noticed Hammitt bags on the arms of the super stylish gals on shows like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. I instantly fell in love with the vibrant hues in their spring collection. A Hammitt confetti print clutch and cobalt crossbody bag are definitely on my lust list this season! It’s nice to see that my happy color, cobalt, is still relevant because my closet is pretty much dominated by it. Hey…when you find a color that makes you feel great every time you wear it, it pays to invest in said color!

So, if you’re looking for a fabulous new bag to add to your collection or you need a place to send your honey for a little Valentine’s Day somethin’ somethin’, Zoey Bloom is where it’s at!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

 

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Some Smarty Pants Shopping

Four years ago when my son was born, I struggled to find unique clothing for him outside of the typical sports or dog-adorned outfits.

While out shopping one afternoon, my mama and I stumbled upon Smarty Pants on South Dale Mabry Highway and instantly fell in love with it. It’s changed hands a couple times since we first set foot on the premises, but our loyalty hasn’t gone anywhere.
The current owner definitely has her finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest kids’ trends. Since I had my lil’ lady bean this summer, we’ve really amped up the number of our visits to Smarty Pants. Little girl clothes are ridiculously adorable, am I right?

Don’t get me wrong…I have a blast styling my son. Yet decking out my daughter in sparkles and ruffles galore is truly more fun than I ever could have imagined! I may have developed an unhealthy addiction to bow-adorned headbands. Don’t I have to make it obvious to the world that she’s a baby girl? Therefore it’s totally reasonable that she has a bin full of bows and headbands.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Some of my favorite brands that Smarty Pants stocks include Charlie Rocket, Mud Pie, Haute Baby, Trumpettes, Le Top and Toni Tierney. Not only is their selection second to none, but the artistically arranged shop makes for a pleasant shopping experience. Everything is bright and cheerful. The owner, Michelle Phillips-Nguyen, always has a smile on her face and remembers her customers by name. She has even pulled looks for us to check out because she thought of my daughter when she saw them. Quality customer service always earns my loyalty – plain and simple.

Not only can I find my favorite brands at Smarty Pants, but I’ve also scored quite a few personalized goodies there as well. From monogrammed bloomers and burp cloths to your favorite Florida college tees, Smarty Pants can do it all. Their personalized pieces also make perfect gifts. One of my favorite baby shower gifts is still the monogrammed, polka-dot trimmed burp cloth that my mama had made for me at Smarty Pants. I can’t be the only one who loves throwing a fancy burp cloth over her shoulder! (My husband thinks they’re ridiculous because of what ends up getting on them, but who said a baby can’t be chic while she’s spitting up?)

And I can’t forget their Gasparilla gear. We’ve bought my son’s Gasparilla ensembles at Smarty Pants every year since he was born. I can’t wait to dress up my pirate princess this year!

If you’re looking for skulls come January, Smarty Pants is your place. Your wee ones will rock Gasparilla in their Smarty Pants duds. You can bet my kiddos will be rockin’ theirs.

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Holiday Shopping Hot Spots

Who’s ready to talk about holiday shopping? You know this girl is!

I’m a last minute kind of shopper and while I know it would probably save me money to buy gifts throughout the year and stash them away, I just love the thrill of the traditional holiday shopping season.

My family is nuts for Black Friday, so every year we kick off our holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I enjoy a good online deal as much as anyone else, but there is just something about cupping a Peppermint Mocha java in my hands while strolling through my favorite brick and mortars. It gets me all pumped up.

A most fabulous gift boutique where I’ve found many a present for my loved ones is Tate & Tilly on North Dale Mabry Highway. You may remember the shop as The Pink Cabana’s home once upon a time. Nearly two years ago, owner Tish Difelice took over, revamped the space and renamed it Tate & Tilly.

Tate & Tilly houses vendors like The Gift Box, The Baby Boutique, Mais Ouis Fashions, Magnolia Lane, All the Craze, Smock Couture, Inspired Christian Gifts and more. You can find everything from Scout and Buckhead Betties bags to Mud Pie baby goodies and even an impressive selection of Florida college gear. (I can never pass up an opportunity to mention Gator gear!)

Not only can you find a gift for just about every lady in your life at Tate & Tilly, but you can also score personalized ornaments. I had our family’s name festooned on a “Believe” ornament just the other day. We’re big Santa lovers in our house!  I also had my lil’ lady bean’s name put on a princess ornament to commemorate her very first Christmas. It’s beyond adorable! Personalization is free, so stop by Tate & Tilly before their beautiful ornament selection runs low.

If you’re looking for some more hot spots to hit up for your holiday gift needs, here is a roundup of some of my favorite local boutiques:

• Seedlings on S. Dale Mabry Highway: for eco-friendly toys and children’s books
• Smarty Pants on S. Dale Mabry Highway: for kids holiday clothing
• The Gifted Fig on W. Bay to Bay Blvd: for decorative home goods
• Zooey Bloom on S. Dale Mabry Highway: for jewelry and accessories
• Keys Country on S. Dale Mabry Highway: for trendy gifts for teens
• KT Janes on S. Dale Mabry Highway: for personalized and monogrammed pieces

Happy holidays!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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A Gift Seeking Shopper’s Paradise

No strangers to South Tampa boutique hopping, my mama and I have covered more than our fair share on many a Saturday afternoon.

One boutique in particular, however, we return to over and over again! Crème de la Crème, located on Bay to Bay Boulevard, is a gift-seeking shopper’s paradise.

What started out as a vintage furniture store a decade ago transformed into Tampa’s cutest gift shop after a devastating fire nearly two years ago. After losing her store, its resilient owner, Sharon Yerrid Carneal, decided to pick up the pieces and try something new. Her gamble definitely paid off!

Are you on the hunt for a sweet baby gift or a beautiful birthday present for your sister? Would you like to take home a cute little tunic or some pretty new baubles? Crème de la Crème offers all that – and more.

While walking around this lovely boutique, one gets the sense that it’s dedicated to the quintessential Florida girl. There is a full selection of the ever popular SwitchFlops, as well as darling goodies from southern favorites like Mud Pie and Scout.

In the spring and summer, cover-ups and beach bags are on full display and even now, as we’re in fall’s midst, easy-breezy dresses hang from the walls. Clearly the owner knows that it takes a looooooooooong time for the temps to cool down here in Tampa and we gals just might need to stay cool in a maxi.

Our state schools are heavily represented as well. Whether you bleed orange and blue like me or prefer garnet and gold, you’ll find super fun game-day apparel options at Crème de la Crème.

It’s a rare day that I leave this adorable spot empty handed. Even if I don’t go in with an agenda, Sharon stocks her shop so full of must-have items that I have no trouble finding something that I “need.” On a recent trip, I found a dress for a bachelorette party, several bridal shower prizes and a fascinator for my Halloween costume. I even found strands of glittering butterflies to hang in my lil’ lady bean’s nursery!

One of my favorite things about shopping at small boutiques versus big brand stores is the availability of unique items. I love that I can be confident that everyone and her mother aren’t going to be walking around wearing the exact same accessories that I’m wearing or giving the same gifts to their loved ones.  Plus, there is a personalized experience that you just don’t always find at larger stores. Case in point – Crème de la Creme has a delicious candy bar and a coloring corner set up to keep the little ones occupied. I may have indulged in the candy myself a time or two.

Just sayin’.

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Shopping Spotlight: Liz Murtagh Boutique

Located in the heart of Westchase in West Park Village is a glistening gem of a shop called Liz Murtagh Boutique.

Owned by local interior designer and artist, Liz Murtagh, this darling boutique should appeal to fashion and décor lovers alike.

The boutique opened for business in February and I’m only sorry I didn’t discover it sooner. When I first entered the store, I was struck by the rich colors and feminine details that blanket the space. Vintage and new decorative accents serve double duty as décor for the shop and inventory for sale. Even the changing rooms have been dressed to the nines with shabby-chic style furnishings.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what I liked best. I was equally drawn to a tray of emerald-hued baubles as I was to a distressed side table. And if the finish on the table wasn’t to my liking, I could have had it custom refinished for an affordable price. The boutique even offers design services, as well as furniture refinishing. (It’s not every day that the words custom and affordable can be used in the same sentence!)

As a busy mama, I appreciate places that accommodate my need to multi-task. The fact that I can pick up some accessories for a night on the town and a mirror for my guest room at the same time earns Liz Murtagh Boutique a thumbs up from this girl. I also enjoyed the very personal touches, including her own artwork that Ms. Murtagh has inserted here and there. I’m not really a dog person, but one of her lovely paintings managed to make a pup look charming to this cat enthusiast. (No, I’m not a crazy cat lady! I only have one…for now.)

I brought my 3-month-old lil’ lady bean for company on my shopping trip, but if you prefer to shop with companions who can actually talk back to you, Liz Murtagh Boutique has a fabulous option for you. Not only can a girl outfit herself and her home with the boutique’s pretty trimmings, but she can party there too. Grab 10 or more of your best girlfriends and take advantage of their Girls’ Night Out events.

During your Girls’ Night Out, the boutique will open from 6:30 to 8:30 or 9 p.m. for your party alone and you will be served wine and munchies as you shop to your heart’s content. Did I mention that you’ll also receive a 10 percent discount on regularly priced items? They only ask that you book a week in advance.

Shopping with my ladies while sipping some vino definitely sounds like my kind of soiree! I’m seeing a night at home alone with the kids in my husband’s near future.

Stop by Liz Murtagh boutique at 9904 W. Linebaugh Avenue and see for yourself why it’s worthy of becoming one of your favorite shopping haunts.

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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Fall Fashion Trends Roundup

It’s that time again. Fall is in the air!

I’m a wee bit giddy as autumn is one of my very favorite seasons! College football is on the tube. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are on the menu and the September issues are delighting fashion lovers like me everywhere! Nothing beats the glorious weight of a fashion-heavy September issue. I can’t be the only girl out there who cheers on her team of choice (the Florida Gators, in case you were wondering) and flips through her Vogue at the same time, right?

Viva la fall!

After I finish pouring through my favorite glossies and once fall is officially on my radar, I head out to my favorite local boutiques, and, of course, International Plaza, to see how the latest fall trends are being displayed.  A Gator game, a cuppa Joe and a shopping excursion…that’s my idea of a perfect fall day! Who’s with me?

On a recent shopping jaunt to International Plaza, I saw many of the trends that I had drooled over when they hit the runways in February. Neiman Marcus was my first stop and it didn’t disappoint. The fall trends this year are deliciously wearable and Neiman Marcus’ gorgeous mannequins put them on full display!

Some of my favorite fall trends include snakeskin, velvet, lace, menswear-inspired pieces, animal prints, leather and sparkles. What I especially love about the trends this year is how interchangeable they are! Pick any two and you can figure out a way to style them together. Now, I probably wouldn’t put bold snakeskin and leopard prints in the same look, but that’s just me. I’m sure there is some fabulous fashionista out there who could sport them together. You just won’t find this girl doing it. I’m a thirty-something mama of two who’s willing to take fashion risks, but I can only go so far without veering toward the ridiculous side of the street.

As for trends I would style together in a second? I would rock-sequin pointed toe flats with a schoolboy blazer for the perfect mix of rakish charm and glamour, for instance. I would also pair snakeskin pumps with a feminine velvet frock. I’m all about fashion contradictions and my favorite looks combine sweetness with a healthy dose of edge.

Over at Neiman Marcus, they mixed menswear and animal prints with lace, leather with snakeskin and sparkle with just about everything, which particularly tickled me. After all, every outfit can use a bit of sparkle.

So, when you head out to update your fall wardrobe, keep in mind that trend mixing could result in some amazing ensembles.  Just don’t throw every single trend that I’ve mentioned on at once. Only Carrie Bradshaw could make that work.

Happy shopping!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson is a mother of two and co-editor of Tampa’s hottest fashion and shopping blog, http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com.

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