DIY Kentucky Derby Hat



Wow! It has been a few weeks since I have posted, but I assure you that I have been nothing but busy at working hard to accomplish goals! I am SUPER proud and excited to announce that I passed my preliminary examination defense, and I am officially now a doctoral candidate! It is so rewarding to be recognized for hard work and to know that I am one step closer towards getting my Ph.D.! The past few weeks I have been busy with prelims, finishing up coursework, grading, and managing research projects. My favorite way to take a break from the chaos and relax is by crafting! I know it’s just more work, (and trust me I definitely took some “self care” time to binge watch shows on Netflix!), but it keeps me busy and makes me happy!



The annual Kentucky Derby is always the first weekend in May. I have actually discussed with Mike that once we are both finished with school that I plan on having an annual derby party/brunch that will be a formal and classy affair. My Pinterest board is already filled with awesome recipes and ideas. My favorite part about the Kentucky Derby is the classic, preppy style that perfectly syncs with my idea of how we should always dress. All of the pastels, seersucker, florals, and sundresses are essential to derby style. Guys should deck out in seersucker and bow ties. I even made sure that my dog, Cotton, was derby ready and have him sporting a seersucker bow tie from Crew La La.



The most important piece for ladies is the derby hat. I have seen simple to extravagantly creative derby hats. Most are wide-brimmed sun hats with a sash and flowers (fascinators are another option, too!). I wanted to have a simple hat, but something that was unique and classy. If you know me, I stand by Jackie Kennedy’s quote that “pearls are always appropriate”, so although I have never seen pearls on a derby hat, I thought it would be a “pearl”fect addition to a hat! I also wanted my hat to match my dress from Vineyard Vines, so I actually had some really pretty pink pinstripe fabric lying around. I absolutely LOVE this dress, mostly because it has pockets! I don’t know what it is about a dress with pockets, but I always get so excited when they do! And no outfit is complete without pearl jewelry. My absolute favorite is from Kiel James Patrick.

Here are DIY instructions for how I made my own derby hat!


  • Sun hat (I got mine at Walmart for less than $5!)
  • Pearl strands ($1ish each at Joanne’s in the jewelry section, I bought 4 but only needed 3)
  • 6 x 50 piece of fabric (I wanted seersucker, but I already had a pink pinstripe fabric)
  • 3 x 50 piece of fusible (iron-on) interface
  • Hot glue gun
  • I used a sewing machine, but if you don’t have one, fusible glue and tape are available now and I am sure that would work just fine.
  1. First you need to iron your 6 x 50 piece of fabric in half (it should be 3 inches now).
  2. Lay the interface on top of the fabric and sew down the edges.
  3. On each end (depending on how “sharp” you want the tips to be) measure about 1-2 inches from the side and make a mark.
  4. From the tip of the edge that you just sewed, draw a diagonal line inwards towards the folded side of the fabric. Do this on both ends.
  5. Now, sew along one of the diagonal line and reverse over it to make it stable.
  6. On the other end, only sew about halfway to 3/4 of the way and leave an opening.
  7. Trim excess fabric and interface close to the sewn edge, but not too close!
  8. Now, the tricky part. I have this amazing loop-turning tool that you can just insert and hook at the end of the piece and pull it out so the seams are on the inside. I absolutely love this tool and they’re super cheap. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting a safety pin and attaching a piece of string to it. Let the safety pin drop all the way to the sewn end and hook it to the fabric. Now, just pull the string and your piece should be flipped out!
  9. Iron the “tube” to make it flat and crisp.
  10. For the small opening, I used permanent fabric glue to seal the end.
  11. Now, find the middle of your piece and fold and make a crease so you know that’s the middle. This will help to make your bow even!
  12. Think of an “awareness” ribbon (like for breast cancer awareness) and fold your piece like that. There should be a loop at the top, and the ends should be crossed.
  13. Pinch this all together to the center mark and take a small, clear rubber band to secure it all together.
  14. Pull and twist your bow to your liking.
  15. When you get the bow just how you want it, make a small middle piece of the same fabric and glue a dab on the back of the bow. Place the middle piece on this glue and wrap it around towards the front and then to the back. Glue the end down.
  16. I then just took the pearl strands and glued them to the edges of the “head” of the hat. I left a small gap where I knew the bow would be.
  17. Glue the bow to the hat.

There you have it! You’re own simple, yet classy derby hat! I can’t wait to see everyone else’s derby dresses and hats!



Live Life in Full Bloom


Happy belated Easter everyone! I can’t believe that I didn’t post sooner! So, this post will serve as a two-fer. In a recent post I talked about that Easter marks the season of wearing white, and I am SO happy! Nearly half of my closet is white, so I feel like a weight has been lifted off of having to figure out what to wear every day.

I’m going to start off with talking about spring outfits that are appropriate for work or the office. With the weather warming up and the spirit of spring and summer fashion, necklines and sleeves disappear and hemlines rise with the temperature–basically, skin is in. However, although these outfits and sundresses are adorable and to die for, and are just simply comfortable, they may not be “work appropriate”. In the work setting, you want to exude confidence and be comfortable, and nothing checks both of these boxes like spring and summer wear. But, you still need to consider, “is this outfit professional?” I get it, though. We want to show off our best assets and be trendy, but there is a time and place for everything. As young professionals, our closets aren’t filled with corporate office attire, but rather items we wore in college and on weekends. However, don’t panic if your spring and summer closet isn’t “work appropriate” because with just a few essentials, you can still wear them, be trendy, and rock them at work.

Spring style is about wearing bright, fun colors, florals, and other prints. Like I have said before, I think wearing one item that pops is key to a great outfit, and spring definitely offers so many opportunities and options for that “pop”. That “pop” also goes for physical features as well. It is my rule of thumb to only “feature” one body part in an outfit. For example, just show off your legs, cleavage, shoulders, waist, or booty (for those of you who have one!). Now, for the office, showing off too much cleavage or booty or even waist is a big no-no. But, since we all have items in our closet that do these things, you can still wear them, just be sure to layer a blazer over the top, wear cute pants, and wear flats to tone down the outfit.

Now, back to that spring “pop” of color. I’m so happy that I can officially wear white again, because it pairs SO well with bright colors, prints (Lilly prints especially), and florals. In this outfit I am wearing a floral lace shell by Kate Spade over a white tank top and I paired it with a pair of awesome pink ankle pants from J. Crew Factory (Winnie Pant Style) and flats by Frye. I got so many compliments on the color of these pants and this outfit!

Now to Easter! My best friend and I threw on our Lilly and bunny ears to celebrate spring and Easter! We had so much fun! My dress is a great example of what not to wear to work, but Hailey’s dress is perfect! What did the Easter bunny bring everyone??




Setting Sails for Spring


It’s officially the first day of Spring, and I couldn’t be happier! With Spring, comes allergies, and my favorite way to combat them is to head out on the water. It’s still a little cool, so this amazing sweater (which I have worn several times in my blog) is perfectly cozy for that cool breeze on the water. I paired it with some white shorts, classic Sperry boat shoes, and bracelet and earrings from Kiel James Patrick, which I’m obsessed with.


Nothing completes an outfit better than a smile shared with your best friend. Hailey is wearing Mike’s Ernest Shackleton shirt and her gorgeous pearl sunglasses strap from Kiel James Patrick.

I am so happy that warm weather is officially here because now I can really start breaking out my favorite outfits for the office and the weekend! Stay tuned for more working girl looks!

Cheers, Kelly








Cheers to the Weekend


There’s nothing better than spending the weekend on a boat with your favorite people, drinking champagne, and wearing Lilly and KJP.  So, we threw on our best and popped a bottle of champagne and hit the seas!

I love this super classic look. As I’ve said before, nothing goes better together than navy, white, and gold. I love this Suzette shift dress by Lilly Pulitzer because it’s classy and long enough to wear to work!

What are your favorite weekend plans?



Lilly Pulitzer Season


I’m sure you’re all familiar with the fashion rule to not wear white after Labor Day or before Easter (this goes for shoes, too!).  Southerners would even consider doing this as having bad manners.  My husband would even go as far to say that seersucker shouldn’t be worn before Easter, too.  However, if you in the South (especially Florida) warm weather comes much earlier in the year, presenting the temptation to break out my spring and summer wardrobe which consists mostly of white, seersucker, and Lilly Pulitzer.

So, the “white fashion rule” is one that I absolutely try to strictly follow (although I’m guilty of breaking it on the rare occasion), but it made me think…”When is it Lilly season?” I know true Lilly’s would say Lilly can be worn year-round, and Lilly Pulitzer herself quoted, “Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring,” and “It’s always summer somewhere,” but I feel that the bright, whimsical colors and prints used in Lilly clothes are to be worn in seasons that reflect the spirit of the brand–summer and spring. I asked my husband and best friend Hailey (who also has a Lilly packed closet–check out her blog here!) and they had different responses. My husband said that I should wait to wear Lilly Pulitzer until Easter (March 29th, 2018) or at least the first day of spring (March 20th, 2018), while Hailey said Lilly season starts on the first day of spring. Hailey and I later justified that we live in Florida and it’s already warm, so we declared March 1st as the first day Lilly season! Also, most Lilly tops, shorts, and skirts look best paired with white (other solid colors that compliment the print work, too!). With that considered, I won’t wear Lilly before Easter unless it’s a dress or if I have another solid colored item to compliment my shorts, skirts, or tops.

Lilly Pulitzer is more than just clothes–it’s a lifestyle.  Any Lilly lady can be spotted a mile away, not just by the bright, unique clothes, but by their confidence and radiant smile. I always feel so happy and confident when wearing Lilly. What’s great is that most Lilly items can be worn to work or in the office setting. As long as you make sure the length of the dress and skirts are appropriate, then break out the Lilly! I believe that the clothes you wear and how you present yourself gives you a confidence boost that you can accomplish anything. Wearing Lilly to work will turn heads and will send others’ the message that you are happy and fun, but gives you the confidence to take on any task and get work done!

So, to kick off our unofficial “First Day of Lilly” for the year, Hailey and I threw on our Lilly dresses and headed out to the pier! The dress that I am wearing is the girl’s Sophie dress in this season’s “Pier Pressure” print. I’m so happy that I can fit in the girl’s XL because it’s half the price of the Sophie dress in the ladies size. It is the same length as an XXS, but is a little wider and boxier. When buying the Sophie dress in the ladies, I go back and forth between XXS and XS. They are the same length, but the XS fits just a little looser so it’s really just whatever look you’re going for. Hailey is wearing my Marlowe dress in the Indigo Sunset Swim print in XS. She usually wears a S, but as you see the XS fits her just fine! Again, it’s all about preference and what you’re going for!

We were SO excited and happy to finally wear our Lilly this year! So, what are your thoughts on when “Lilly Season” begins? How do you style Lilly at work? What’s your favorite prints?

My Dress: Girls XL Sophie Dress by Lilly Pulitzer

Hailey’s Dress: XS Marlowe Dress by Lilly Pulitzer

All Jewelry: Kiel James Patrick

Mike’s Outfit: Shirt, Belt, & Shoes: Kiel James Patrick | Pants: Brooks Brothers












Nautical Inspiration

“There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.” And best friends who buy you awesome sweaters with ships on them are even more amazing! My best friend, Hailey (check out her blog here!), found this awesome sweater from Old Navy for me. She is always on the lookout for clothes in my size when she is shopping, and I fully appreciate the caliber of her friendship in that regard and many others.


I layered my sweater over a white poplin button up, and paired it with a khaki pencil skirt. It was pouring rain the day we took pictures, and I didn’t want to ruin my shoes! But I would usually wear a pair of brown leather flats with this outfit. Also, since my sweater made a statement, I didn’t want to overload on accessories. So, I wanted to keep it simple, yet classy, and wore my favorite pair of pearl earrings (Anchors Aweigh by Kiel James Patrick) and pearl bracelet (Anchor Atlantic by Kiel James Patrick).

Although not on purpose, a lot of my outfits have some nautical element. For whatever reason, I just feel that navys, whites, and golds are classy, sophisticated, can be dressed up or down, and (like pearls) are appropriate for any occasion–and usually this is what nautical clothes and accessories provide!

Most of my fall and winter clothes are navy or grey, and while I love these colors, I am so ready for it to warm up to start breaking out bright colors for spring and summer. Lilly Pullitzer season can’t get here soon enough!

Sweater: Old Navy| Shirt: Express | Skirt: Express | Shoes: Frye | Earrings: Kiel James Patrick | Bracelet: Kiel James Patrick





Weekend Trip: Raleigh, NC


Mike and I love to take weekend trips. Right now with both of us in school, it’s really hard to take big trips. But, we decided that we are going to try and take weekend trips as often as we can to satisfy our desire for wanderlust. This past weekend we traveled to Raleigh, NC to visit my sister to shop for her wedding dress and to check out the city.



Right now, Mike and I are scheduled to graduate at the same time, which means we will both go on the job market at the same time. We have to find a place that has both a university for me and a good legal market for Mike. We know that we want to stay in the southeast (but are willing to try other places!), and have always been interested in Raleigh. You see, the area of Raleigh is known as the “Research Triangle” which consists of Duke University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University–pretty much the holy grail for me! So, we jumped on a good opportunity to visit Raleigh to see if its the place for us.


Our main purpose for traveling? FOOD and DRINKS! We love finding the best local spots where we are visiting, and, oh boy, Raleigh did NOT disappoint! We grabbed oysters and dinner with my sister the night that we got in town, and then bar hopped and explored on Saturday. There are so many breweries and bars in Raleigh, and each one is unique! I must say my absolute favorite quality about Raleigh is that there are SO many local businesses, and they all support each other. Although common corporate businesses were there, their presence was not apparent and in your face.


On Saturday I set out on a search for macarons. My sister mentioned lucette grace, so we decided to check it out, but before then we went to brunch at Clouds Brewing. The food was so amazing, but I thought it was really neat that they had a wall of local beers that was self-serve! Afterwards we barhopped into downtown, but not before we grabbed coffee and macarons at lucette grace. Although I am completely spoiled by the always delicious macarons from Laduree in NYC and nothing could ever compete with them, these were very tasty and great! But, my favorite menu item was the coffee! Like, WOW! The coffee was amazing! My sister says that they have amazing pastries there, so next time I will have to check those out.



It was a bit chilly in Raleigh at the time we went, so I was so happy that I had my classic navy peacoat by Calvin Klein to keep me warm. But what I loved most was my sweater from Kiel James Patrick. I loved showing it off (and semi-twinning with Mike all day) everywhere I went. I have been wanting one, and I am so happy that I finally bought one. It’s absolute perfection in a sweater. It’s not too heavy or bulky, but it is incredibly cozy and keeps you so warm! I highly recommend buying one!

Our experience in Raleigh was certainly a strong and lasting one. Raleigh has such a laid-back, local feel, and also offers all of the resources and shopping of a big city without the heavy traffic!! Before leaving, we said to each other that this is the place for us and that we are going to work hard to make sure that we end up in Raleigh!



Peacoat: Calvin Klein | Sweater: Kiel James Patrick | Pants: Southern Tide