H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

My love for H&M has everything to do with this key combo: quality x options x price.

It can be overwhelming walking into a store with dozens of sections devoted to every possible mood. It’s like being asked to choose a personality for yourself on the spot with a debit card screaming at you from your purse — which is kind of genius on their part because my inner monologue always goes something like this: “Am I preppy/outdoorsy? Yes…but I also have yet to find the perfect LBD, which means I should go to the ‘party’ section. Vintage is always fun, buuut that classic European vibe over there is something I’ve always wanted to try out.” And after a few rounds of that, the inevitable, “WHO AM I?” and then, victoriously, “WHOEVER I WANT TO BE! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT…SELF!” This whole thing happens while I’m still standing at the entrance, mind you. Fast forward 2 hours, and I’ve burrowed through all the sections, raided the dressing room and emerged with an armload of personalities to test drive in the real world.

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

Because of the awesomeness that is this style diversity, every fashionable guy or gal that comes out of H&M looks completely different. For instance, on my last shopping trip I picked up a chunky knit sweater with an adorable arrow pattern from the new arrivals section (another favorite, here), a floppy wool hat (similar here) from the impulse-buy section, and a pair of high rise skinnies from the denim wall. I took those pieces home, paired them with my old standbys, the Tamiko Oxfords by Fossil (similar here) and the Sabrina Tiered Pendant from Free People, and a gorgeous handmade leather backpack from Hiptipico. I looked like me.

On the flip side, my friend Taylor Stanley (Visual Merchandiser at H&M Cincy) came down to Lex last week so we could shoot some new gems from the Alexander Wang X H&M collection, and she arrived looking like a gorgeous Tim Burton character. From her violet/silver locks to a dark ensemble with edgy accessories and exaggerated platform boots — you never would have guessed that she and I were outfitted by the same shop.

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

She paired the Alexander Wang goodies (sports bra, bustier, socks) with some older H&M favorites, like the quilted leather jacket, a thin blouse and black high rise skinny jeans. Some killer boots brought the whole thing together.

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

When you have so many choices, it’s a challenge to conquer all the self-doubt and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. I like that. H&M is a great place to start if you’re just beginning to curate your own unique style. I say, stand at the entrance, give yourself a minute to have the unavoidable existential crisis, then go after everything that intrigues you. No exceptions. Weed stuff out in the dressing room, make sure you’re staying within your budget and purchase only what you love.

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

And here’s my last tip: don’t let what you love be influenced by anyone else’s opinion. If you really love it and you can responsibly afford it, it deserves a spot in your wardrobe. When you get in the habit of being fearless when it comes to developing your own style, what you wear will become a creative tool — something you can use to express yourself every day. Not only is this a huge confidence builder, but it’s sooo fun and you’ll look more and more like the one and only YOU.

What advice would you give to someone struggling to find their style voice? Are you experiencing your own fashion conundrum? Let’s discuss!

Follow me (@tifforelie) and Taylor (@foreverroverdressed) on Instagram for more looks and other fun stuff!

Outdoor scenes shot in downtown Lexington (#sharethelex), indoor scenes shot at National Provisions.

H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired
H&M + Fearlessly Curating Your Own Style - offbeat + inspired

Autumn Squash Strata With Elizabeth Cauvel

Autumn Squash Strata With Elizabeth Cauvel - offbeat + inspired

As promised, the delectable Autumn Squash Strata recipe as seen at the orchard brunch with Poppy Barley! This one was created by my lovely friend, Elizabeth Cauvel, at my apartment the day before the event. It was kind of funny, two tall girls, tons of food and a honkin’ DSLR crammed into my tiny kitchen — but she cooked, I photographed, and we loved it. Here’s a photo journal of the process. Recipe at the end!

Keep reading!

An Orchard Brunch with Poppy Barley

An Orchard Brunch with Poppy Barley - offbeat + inspired

I met the Poppy Barley team on a trip to Edmonton about 6 months ago. Edmonton is a sweet little city in Alberta, and I was there to experience the culture and creative community for a weekend (see the highlight video here!). When I toured the Poppy Barley studio, I fell in love instantly. PB makes extremely high quality, custom-fitted leather footwear. I went for a fitting while I was in town, and about 6 weeks later I received my beautiful boots in the mail. I’ve never worn a more comfortable pair. It was unbelievable. I wrote them an e-mail to rave a bit, and that’s when the idea of hosting a Poppy Barley gathering here in Lexington was born. I wanted to share about this wonderful company with a small group of girls, and suddenly the vision of a rustic barn wood table covered in pastries and breakfast treats, surrounded by vibrant apple trees came into focus.

Keep reading!

Crust-Lover’s Layered Apple Pie

Crust-Lover's Layered Apple Pie - offbeat + inspired

Apple pie. It’s in a league of its own. And for such a highly revered dessert, it’s very forgiving. There are thousands of recipes and renditions of “traditional” apple pie being celebrated all over the country. From the type of crust, to the variety and cut of the apples, to the spices and toppings — apple pie lends itself generously to adaptation.

Keep reading!

The Coffee Ice Cube Latte + My Steller Obsession

The Coffee Ice Cube Latte + My Steller Obsession - offbeat + inspired

First, Steller. It’s an app I started using recently, and I’m completely hooked. It’s the most visually stunning, sleek and intuitive storytelling app I’ve ever seen. The idea is to create stories with photos, video, sound and text. There are different fonts and layout options that have the look and feel of an uber-stylish coffee table magazine, flipping pages and all.

Keep reading!

Alpine Mud | A White Sage, Wild Mint, Milk, Chocolate + Bourbon Cocktail

Alpine Mud Cocktail | White Sage, Wild Mint, Milk, Chocolate + Bourbon - offbeat + inspired

The second (and final) recipe of my Juniper Ridge Wildcrafted Tea collaboration with Kristan Raines of The Broken Bread is a bourbon cocktail that I’m absolutely head over heels for — and just in time for National Bourbon Heritage Month!

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco

Clean Eating | Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco - offbeat + inspired

I’ve had to get creative with my coffee lately. I’ve done pretty well avoiding dairy ever since my Whole30 detox, probably because it wasn’t one of my main vices to begin with — but when I’m not in the mood for black coffee, I go straight for the half and half. I’ve tried substitutions like almond milk, and made bold efforts to convince myself that the flavor was similar enough…but it just plain wasn’t.

Keep reading!

Lavender-Honey Iced Latte

Lavender-Honey Iced Latte - offbeat + inspired-7

I’m a little obsessed with making flavor infused simple syrups (as evidenced by the excessive number of my recipes that include them in some form). The flavor combinations are endless and, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most fun ways to add variety to drinks like iced tea, lemonade, cocktails and of course, coffee.

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Clean Eating | Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries - offbeat + inspired

I’ve got a Whole30 update for you! It’s been a little over a month since I “started” the detox. I put that in quotes because I kinda sorta maybe cheated for the first week straight. Oops. But after that, I dove headfirst into it. I started cooking every night, stopped having frozen margaritas every time we went out for dinner (my weakness, especially at Pepe’s and Le Deauville…), and basically followed every rule I was aware of consistently for the last month. Here are my most notable results, 3 solid weeks in:

Fatigue – I had been having regular fatigue and a really hard time getting to sleep at night prior to W30, but now I have energy all day and I’m sleeping much better. I first noticed the change when I didn’t have my usual late-morning crash — the one after the coffee and breakfast wear off and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and pass out for 3 hours. There’s also much less tossing and turning at night which makes a world of difference.

Keep reading!

Clean Eating | GF Spiced Sweet Potato Baked Donuts

Clean Eating | GF Spiced Sweet Potato Baked Donuts - offbeat + inspired

I’ve been Whole30-ing for the last week now, and I’m currently straddling the line between “what was I thinking” and “I can’t believe how obscenely necessary this was”. I’m smack-dab in the middle of the hangry phase, as detailed in the official Whole30 Timeline, and a new beast has recently reared its ugly head. The giant brownie hallucination. They don’t talk about this particular monster in the W30 description, but it’s very, very real. I’m restricted from having wheat, grains, legumes (including peanuts), added sugars (including agave and honey), all dairy and any kind of baked dessert (even if it’s made with W30-compliant ingredients!). This leaves that giant, wonderful, horrifying brownie as an amalgam of absolutely everything I’m not allowed to eat right now — which is probably why it’s attacking me in my sleep.

Keep reading!