PEOPLE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW

As a blogger, I’m part of a beautiful community of creatives. We may share our ideas through a virtual network, but often times we have the opportunity to connect in person, sit down and chat, and really get the creative juices flowing! Grab your coffee and meet my friends, appearing as guest bloggers in this near-to-my-heart section.

The Cool Truth – Intimates that help Beat the Heat

There’s no need to sweat or fear, National is here. Ladies, I am sure you can recall at least one occasion when you thought you’d just die from the steamy, sticky, and sweaty results of the summer heat. Have you found yourself in a pickle, without air conditioning in 90+ degree weather lately? The very thought of this situation brings on a sweat session!

Last week, I tripped a breaker in my kitchen because I had too many things plugged in at one time. You guessed it, an older home, but very charming, i have to say. You gotta love it, right?  Oh, did I forget to mention I have the oh-so lovely privilege of ongoing ‘private summers’? I recently discovered this expression for “the change”. I told my gal friends we should start using it! LOL Within this new midlife, there are many rewards, but ladies, let me tell you, I have some serious perspiration issues. Please tell me I’m not alone! Fortunately, National saves me every time I gear up to dress up this summer.

Now is the perfect time to dress in your favorite summer cooling dresses and sassy sandals. But, the “stickies” are always soon to follow. National has the perfect ‘beat the heat’, cooling intimates. So, let your summer wardrobe foundation be full of wicking and cooling to keep you dry all day.

Here are a few selections to wet your appetite (no pun) for summer! 😊

Stay cool,

Ronelle


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Summer Sass in Sandals

The heat is on and you are sizzling-Let’s beat the heat together in the best of comfort and style. I am always excited when I know we will be getting some consistent summer rays, so I can show off my toesies! It’s the perfect pedicure weather, wouldn’t you say, ladies? The styles of summer sandals are both versatile and so much fun.

With all the summer dress styles to complete our warm weather outfits, the possibilities are simply endless! I love to pair with my light, sundresses. What favorite summer outfits do you pair with your sandals?

Here are some of my favs:

Valarie Mindi Sandals
Clarks®

Stella Suzanne Sandals
Earth Origins®

Marilyn Sandals
Ryka®

Delana Venna Sandals
Clarks®

 

From grocery store runs to glamorous evenings out on the town, let National lead the way to step into the ultimate of comfort and style.

Here’s to your Happy Feet,

Ronelle


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Interview with Blog Influencer – Amy Christensen of STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA

Recently, we had the greatest pleasure to work with Fashion Stylist and Blog Influencer, Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama 

Real Women, Real Life – A Faith & Fashion Blog

Beauty, Style & Grace with Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama

I so enjoyed reading about Amy and learning about her very unique approach to fashion, style, trends, and all things that are REAL for her lifestyle. These were some of the areas I was excited to learn more about the gal behind, STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA:

What first inspired you to craft such wonderful styles from your closet? And how do you go about selecting a “look” for the day?

What is your go-to staple style/piece and how do you like to incorporate it? 

I tend to rely on neutrals in my closet. What do you recommend for folks starting to bring bold colors into their wardrobe? (I.e. how do you add to your closet and where do you start in making sure you pick the right color for your complexion?) 

Summer is here, so, what trends do you anticipate for this year and how are those reflected in your summer wardrobe? 

___________________________________________

What first inspired me:

I grew up with two older brothers, so being a tomboy was a perfectly natural choice as a child. When I married and had children, I dressed like a typical mom…hair in a ponytail, mom jeans (which are now trendy, by the way), socks that matched my shirt…if you would have told me at that point, I would be a fashion blogger, I would have laughed in your face.

As my girls grew older, they developed their own sense of style and started to share with me things they thought were good, or more often, bad about the outfits I was wearing. I distinctly remember being at my in-laws for the holidays when my girls were both out of high school. At that point I was taking some of their fashion advice and had donned a particularly cute outfit. My younger daughter said, “Wow, mom! You are really stylin’!” I laughed and said, “Yup, that’s me! Stylin’ Granny Mama.” I had become a grandmother by that point so the name just seemed perfect.

What actually kicked me in the seat of the pants to start the blog, was my desire to write. I really want to be a published author. I was affiliated with a writing guild at the time and one of the pieces of advice that stood out to me was, start small, but get writing. I thought, why not. My older daughter was a photographer and my younger daughter a make up artist, so I had a lot of help getting started.

How do I go about selecting an outfit for the day:

In all honesty, I am a clothes horse. I love to thrift shop, or just shop in general, so I have plenty of clothes. The further I’ve gotten into this blogging adventure, the more I realize that I have a closet chuck full of sensational outfits, just waiting to be put together. I always pick my outfits out the night before, so I am not scrambling in the morning to figure out what to wear. I don’t really have a method, so most of my day to day outfits are picked out according to how I feel. On a cold drab day, I might feel the need to be cuddled in a cozy sweater and a good fitting pair of jeans. On a warm sunny day, I might choose a graphic tee and a moto jacket because I feel more confident and ready to chase after my dreams. Mood is often my main motivator for picking out an outfit. Occasionally, I’ll choose something the direct opposite of how I feel, because in doing so, it makes me feel better.

What is my go-to style piece:

Definitely jeans. I love my jeans and I wear them in all washes and all silhouettes; flares, skinnies, straight leg, you name it. I wear jeans to work and dress them up with a floral button up and a sharp blazer. I wear jeans for date nights with heeled boots, graphic tees and fun moto jackets. I wear jeans when I need to feel confident and tuck them into combat boots with a silky bomber jacket. Jeans are always my go-to.

Bringing bold colors into your closet:

If you have visited my blog, you know I love color. Each year since I have started blogging, I do a spring/summer and a fall/winter series, based on the Pantone Color Institute’s New York and London color palettes. I think the best way to bring bold colors into your wardrobe, especially if you are more of a neutral kind of gal, is to do it minimally and slowly; think accessories first. Start adding color to your closet by purchasing bright colored jewelry, scarves, bags or shoes. From there you could add a piece or two, like a bright colored sweater, say pink or yellow for spring, then a royal blue or rusty orange for fall. I am a firm believer that all women can wear all color. Sure certain shades look better on us than others, but just because one red doesn’t look good on me, doesn’t mean I can’t wear red at all. It is just a matter of finding the shade that looks right on you. My advice is go shopping with a girlfriend or someone you can trust to be honest. Compare how certain shades look on you and ask your shopping buddy what they think. Remember, the lighting in most dressing rooms is not complimentary. Buy a piece, take it home and see how it looks in natural light. You might be surprised how many colors really do suit you.

Summer Trends:

Whenever we talk about trends, I go to the web to see what is currently out there according to names like Bazaar, Vogue, or Cosmopolitan. I am not a trendy person, so what I like to do is research what the big names in fashion say and then pick the trends I find most suitable for me. Not everyone is able, nor wants to wear trends like the 80’s mini skirt or fishnet anything other than hose, but this summer offers a few trends that never go out of style: florals, bold patterns and soft pastels.

Fortunately, being the clothes horse that I am I have many of these trends currently taking up residence in my closet. Even though we are still having cool weather in the midwest, I am trying to incorporate pastels, florals and bold patterns into my clothing choices when I decide outfits for the blog and for my everyday wear.

National offers a variety of pieces that feature these trends. Florals are featured in pieces such as the Eric London Solvron Jacquard Cold Shoulder blouse (Item #20791) and the Gingham Floral Blouse (Item #20662). I love the bold patterns of the Tiered Shutter-Pleat Blouse (Item #20046), and the Aruba Print Top (Item #20730). Soft pastels are easy to find with pretty feminine pieces like the Eyelet Knit Top (Item #20733) and the UltraSofts Knit Tank (Item #8409).

I tell you what ladies, I learned so much from Amy and her creative flair for fashion styling. One thing is for sure, I will visit Stylin’ Granny Mama again and again for neat tips and tricks for all things fashion forward. I suggest you do the same! 🙂 Thanks so much Amy for working with us here at National!

Welcome new friend,

Parker

 

 


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UltraSofts® and UPF 50+ Protection

Did you hear the great news? Our exclusive UltraSofts® brand is not only one of the softest interlock knits made today, but it was recently awarded a grade of EXCELLENT by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), rating our UltraSofts® to be UPF 50+ which means that your precious skin is protected by our exclusive knit, and this makes us extra happy!

You read that right ladies, UltraSofts® provides excellent UV protection in many types of weather. Here’s some food for thought: Did you ever think you could be sunburned on a cloudy day? Or even through a window? Did you know, all skin tones need protection from the sun? Interesting, right? As summer arrives, we relish being outdoors. Sitting by the pool, laying on the beach, or walking in the park are some of the activities we all love this season. Wearing UltraSofts® and knowing your skin is protected from the sun, will make being out and about more enjoyable!

It’s important to note, a relatively new rating designation for sun protective textiles and clothing is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), which represents the ratio of sunburn-causing UV rays measured without and with the protection of the fabric composition.[i]

UPF Rating Protection Category % UV radiation Blocked
UPF 15 – 24 Good 93.3 – 95.9
UPF 25 – 39 Very Good 96.0 – 97.4
UPF 40 – 50+ Excellent 97.5 – 98+

An additional reference work by Paul Johnson at: www.sunshinefacts.com helps us to appreciate that UPF 50+ means that the garment only allows 1/50th (2%) of the sun’s harmful UV radiation to pass through the garment.  UPF 50 blocks approximately 98% of the sun’s radiation before it reaches your skin.

So, what does all of this mean for you, me, and our summer wardrobe? National’s UltraSofts® collection offers EXCELLENT UV protection in so many styles! Hooray, I love options! It’s fun to shop with National, and we offer you savings on the ultimate in comfort and style. More importantly, we can offer you the sun protection you’ll need for summer styling.

There is only one thing left to ask gals, which UltraSofts® styles will you shop for today? I’ve chosen my favorite UltraSofts® UV styles. What are your favorites? Shop the UPF 50+ Collection and shine on with National today.

Happy Summer,

Ronelle

[i] Johnson, Paul. Summer Fun Winter, Fun Sunshine Facts-An Outdoor Vacation Resource, © 2019 Sunshine Facts.

 


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Build a Better Wardrobe

Elevate. Expand. Experiment. Evolve. Welcome back ladies. Boy, have I got motivation coming your way! In a world full of trending stylists and neat, online styling programs, your personal wardrobe possibilities are infinite. Have you considered how to amp up your summer collection? I know just how to help. Let’s revisit your summer wardrobe. I say, set a date, turn on the tunes, grab your beverage of choice (I’m thinking Rosé) 😊, and have some fun.

Let’s begin by studying your closet. Get in there and find the balance. What is your ratio of tops to bottoms. Demin to knits? Work apparel to loungewear?

I love to choose one item in my wardrobe and tell a story. Starting with bottoms is always exciting. What pieces do you like to start with when putting together a summer look? Well, focus on that and…build, build, build.

Summer style possibilities with National will keep you creative juices flowing, i promise. Be confident and mix and match summer fabric choices. Why not mix your prints? Shake things up a bit, I say! Add a little seasoned with the new-you won’t believe the styles you will create.

And voile! Suddenly, you’ve turned into your own personal stylist. Build a better summer wardrobe this month ladies. National has all your styles for summer. I started with some fabulous bottoms and built great summer outfits below. Which one is your favorite? I think I’ll have to buy all three! 😊

 

 

Happy styling,

 

Ronelle

 

 


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The Fruits of our Labor – Shall We Dance?

In the past week, we’ve been blogging about gardening and the variety of harvests that come along with it. Bloom. Blooming. All things abloom. Ladies, we ourselves are a beautiful creation of someone who has bloomed. We are living images of movement and flow. I dare say, we have hiked up the steepest of mountains, we’ve swam the lengthiest of oceans, and still we stand.

We are seasoned and now it is our time to dance. The harvest of our personal gardens have grown to be the most beautiful and comfortable centers of self ever imagined. We have planted the seeds, they’ve grown, and now flown. “How ever would we get there?”, we wondered? Well, we did it ladies.

That being said, do we dance enough in celebration of this exciting, new phase of life? I, for one, am determined to twirl, swirl, spin, and kick up more than I ever have. My living room has become my personal studio [LOL]. I started thinking, “there must be more people that feel as I do”. Guess what I found? This is an awesome link to an inspiring book, Beauty is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond, which is about creating dialogue about dancing regardless of our personal trials and triumphs [because that’s what is today, a triumph].

We need all that comes with the dance. I say cool, breezy, comfy, and flowy clothes. How I love to move freely these days. Especially in spring and summer styles. We deserve timeless fashion that moves with us, don’t you agree? The work’s been done, and we have seen the fruits of our labor, so now…WE DANCE.

National makes it too easy to capture the movement of easy, classic, spring and summer styles. Beauty at its best, designed with you in mind. I started your collection below. Now, all that’s left for you to do is to find your groove and get it back-I’m getting mine. When will you exhale?

Keep Dancing,

Ronelle


Floral Kimono
LVS Collections

Side Button Skirt
National®

Lorelei Lace-Up Blouse
National®

Los Cabos Embroidered Blouse
National®

Striped Pants
National®

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The Garden Party Conversation

It is official, I’ve been inspired. Now that we are truly feeling the effects of springtime, I tend to look everywhere for all things abloom. While I may not have a “green thumb”, I enjoy watching those who do, gear up for planting their vegetable gardens. What great patience and skill it takes to follow the weather and learn the precise time to plant certain veggies for the perfect harvest. Reading Parker’s resourceful blog this week entitled, Starting Now for Later really inspired me. There is much to prepare for and joy to feel from this spring gardening activity.

This got me thinking of beautiful gardens full of gorgeous blooms. As a young girl, I loved strolling through the botanical gardens in New York City. I would allow my imagination to fly away in the soft breeze as I sat on a bench, pretending to have tea with girlfriends. The sweet aroma of beautiful flowers was heavenly. This week, I found a delightful article in Country Living entitled, 18 Garden Party Ideas for the Ultimate Spring Celebration. Ladies, you have to click through the slideshow. It’s the season for tea parties in the garden for sure!

Well, the inspiration continues. On National’s website the possibilities are endless. Boy, did I have fun gathering spring styles just for you. The spring and summer fashions that National features this season will totally inspire your own gardening state-of-mind. Whether you are planning to have a garden full of delicious veggies, a garden of beautiful blooming flowers, or planning your very own garden party, National has the perfect spring and summer styles especially for you! What kind of gardens will inspire you this season?

Keep Blooming,

Ronelle


Floral Garden Jacket
National®

Floral Dress
UltraSofts®

Embroidered Stripe Tee
National®

Sleeveless Ruched Dress
National®

Rollaway Sun Hat
Sun & Sand®

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Summer Lovin’, the Beach is Callin’

I have a confession to make. While spring has sprung, I’m in a summer state of mind. It is that glorious time of year to start thinking of coastal style creations, ladies. Picture the scene – bright blue skies, beaming sunshine, the scent of sand and sea, lounging in a comfy caftan with a wide-brimmed hat and oh, let’s not forget the most important feature here—you guessed it, a tropical drink to set the mood. I say, Vivé el Verano (translation: Live Summer). LOL

If I had it my way, I’d live on the beach all-year long. I mean, who doesn’t love beach life? Now is the perfect time to plan that trip to the beach, soak in the rays, and press pause on the hustle and bustle. Okay, while we still have a little time, I say we start looking for the best in spring and summer styles. I’m thinking cool cover-ups and caftans. National’s new spring and summer collections feature some of the most beautiful summer loungewear I have ever seen.

Tropical loungers will be perfect for all of the summer beach destinations I am adding to my list. Oh, that reminds me, have you seen Parker’s blog post this week, “Welcome to the Carolinas’? It’s a super vacation resource for summer 2019.

For summer southern comfort and cool summer evenings, I created a collection to get you in the mood to pack for a warm vacation. Feast your eyes on this gorgeous palette below. I can hear the steel drums now. The beach is callin’ my name, ladies! What summer destinations are you planning this year?

Happy Summer,

Ronelle


Calypso Caftan
National®

Sunburst Batik Lounge Dress
National®

Tropical Getaway Lounger
National®

Keilani Floral Lounger
National®

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Spring into New Neutrals

The perfect complement to spring’s arrival are soft neutral shades. Revisit warm tones that will lift your spirits and create common ground in your wardrobe. I get so excited this time of year as I feel a welcoming aura of light breezes and the scent of glorious florals in the air. Talk about fashion motivation overload!

It’s as if the earth has gifted us with hues to soothe our souls, that in-turn, brighten our moods. Who couldn’t use a little of that, eh? During this spring fashion season, I tend to flirt with style concepts that encourage whimsical dress. I found the most helpful Pantone color palette for spring and summer showcased by simpledits.com and knew I had to share it with you ladies. It is sure to be your spring fashion guide to incorporate beautiful neutrals for spring styling. With this spring color collection, you’ll be surprised what new neutrals we have to play with; Jester Red, Turmeric, Mango Mojito, and let’s not forget the ever-stunning Living Coral.

The design team at National has created the most beautiful spring fashion designs with you in mind. I know you are going to fall in love with our spring style choices. I have taken the guesswork out and started you off with the prettiest spring Side Button Sweaters. Pair these beauties with skirts, capris, pants, or your favorite denim.

Here’s to the new you in neutrals,

Elissa


Side Button Sweater
National®

Side Button Sweater
National®

Side Button Sweater
National®

Side Button Sweater
National®

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Tunic or not Tunic? If that is the question –

I have the answer, YES-tunic! Far too often, when transitioning from day-wear to evening clothes, we find ourselves wishing we had that one piece in our closet that works for both moods so we don’t necessarily have to run home for a quick wardrobe change.

If this fits your realm of styling possibilities, tunics are your thing ladies. During the day, while working at the office, running errands, or meeting friends for a lunch date, you want an easy, breezy, cool, and stylish top that flows with your every move.

These days, I like to keep my summer style choices light by day, but dramatic enough to transition into a fashion look that’ll evoke the question, “Honey, where ever did you get that___________? I’ve got to have one for myself!”

Well, now you can answer them in your glamorous, Sophia Loren voice, “Darling, this little number? Why, National, of course!”

Tunics pair beautifully with many bottoms such as skirts, shorts, trousers, and your favorite pair of denim jeans. I enjoyed reading The New York Times article, Styled to a T – Tunics. Tunics are described as a fresh approach to beat the oppressive summer heat, as well as [tunics look great] accentuating your summer styles with comfy heels or flat sandals.

There’s only one thing left to do, shop National for your own tunic spring and summer tunic collection! I have selected a few tunics to get you started. How will you style your summer tunics? Share your favorite spring and summer tunic styles with me in the comment section below.

Happy summer stylin’

Elissa


Scalloped Hem Tunic
National®

Embroidered Tunic
Top Stitch®

Criss Cross Tunic
UltraSofts®

Chevron Duster Tunic
National®

Striped Grommet Tunic
UltraSofts®

Floral Tunic Blouse
Citicraze®

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