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Summer is finally happening here in Minnesota. The grass is green again, temperatures are creeping up past 60 degrees, and our pool is open! I've done my swimsuit shopping for the year and now I'm ready to soak up all that vitamin D. Every year I end up finding the cutest suites... EVERYWHERE! That's right - I don't shop in just one place for my bikinis. There are so many awesome designers out there... cute flattering cuts, fun colors and prints... I literally pick them up everywhere. Today on the blog, I'm sharing the details of my bikini picks for this summer. Where to buy, sizing, and features that I both love and are still on the fence with. So let's dive in!!

My first suit I picked up was from my 'mother ship' Nordstrom. It's no secret I am the biggest Nordy girl. They carry such a high-class selection of everything from shoes to handbags... dresses to ... you guessed it - SWIMWEAR! Every year I pick up at least one new swimsuit at Nordstrom and this year is no exception. I picked up this Becca bikini days before a trip my husband and I took to Mexico. I actually found this bikini in-store, but honestly most of my suites I end up buying online. I know this sounds scary, but once you are confident in your sizing and measurements, buying online is so easy. Plus the online selection is typically bigger then what you'll find in store.

For my becca suit, the top is your typical triangle cut. I love the minimal tan lines (I'm a Minnesota girl, so yes... in the summer I do end up getting a little tan) . The fabric has a lot of stretch which makes the fit so good. Also, I'm in love with the texture, metallic stitching, and the tassel detail. The tie bottoms fit amazing. I love a good hipster bottom and these have the bonus of the side tie details. It makes it easy to customize the fit. Also - love that these bottoms are full coverage in the back. My only complaint with this suit is that the bra pads are not removable. They are a nice thin pad, but after washing they do get bunched up and require a little TLC. Other then that - love this suit. For reference, I'm wearing my typical size small in both the top and bottoms.

Next is this killer bikini by Johanna Ortiz. I have been obsessing over her swimwear for years and this year I finally pulled the trigger. I found my bikini at Revolve. I did order a size small and the top fit a little big. To fix the problem, I brought the top into Nordstrom where they sized me with bra cups and positioned them into my top. Through alterations, they sewed in my cups and now the top is a perfect fit. This exact suit is already sold out, but I've linked some similar and equally fabulous suits by Johanna Ortiz. I may need to pull the trigger on a second!

Next let's talk about Vineyard Vines. I LOVE Vineyard Vines swimsuits. The fit is super consistent, so once you're sure of your size, you should have no qualms about ordering online. The fabric is high quality ... no need to worry about whites being see-through. And the cuts are typically more full coverage. Vineyard Vines is probably my most worn suites here at home when I'm hanging at the pool with my kids. I love this white number - the side ruffle is the cutest detail. Also - the fabric is one of my favorites at Vineyard Vines. It's called the seersucker fabric. It has a small waffle texture and the perfect amount of stretch. I already own one white bikini in the seersucker and I've worn it non-stop for the past couple years. It's held up beautifully, so I grabbed this cut as soon as I saw it. I love a cute white bikini.

The second Vineyard Vines bikini I picked up is another seersucker in a different cut. I love the idea of a square-cut top. I think it brings such an easy casual vibe to my swimwear collection. Plus - can we talk about how cute the ruffle detail is on the top and the bottoms!?! Spoiler - I do have one complaint regarding the top (don't worry - it's an easy fix!) The top of this bikini pulls on over your head. So, on the back, there's a bit of ruching for a little added stretch For my small frame, that stretch made the top a little loose. I did order this suit in my typical size small and the fit is perfect everywhere but around my ribcage (below my bust line). I'll be talking this top to Nordstrom (they honestly have the best alterations department of anywhere I've found) and I'll have them take it in. This suit was just too cute to pass up.

The next four swimsuits are all from Target. I love Target suits! The price is always super affordable and Target has really upped their quality game. I love having Target swimsuits in my collection because off all the swimming I do here at home. We have a salt water pool and eventhough it is salt water, there are still chemicals in the pool water. The chemicals (and sun) really take a toll on my family's swimwear. Color fading, elasticity... I have to get rid of suits each year because they just plain wear out. Somedays I literally jump in for 20 minutes just for a quick break. It's so nice to have cute affordable options to reach for... emphasis on the 'cute'!

First is another square-cut bikini. The fabric on this swimsuit totally reminds me of Vineyard Vines. Plus - super obsessed over the cute ties on the straps. The top on this suit has the cutest fit, and I think it's because of the sewn-in bra pads. The top gives the perfect amount of padding and lift making it so flattering. It truly has a full push-up bra insert sewn in. Also - love that the bottoms are full coverage. I'm wearing a size small in the bottoms, and a 32D in the top.

Next is another Target bikini with a built in push-up bra in the top. I Love the cut and braiding detail on this top. Because of the built-in bra, there is a double strap. Here's my complaint on this bikini. The way the straps are made, adjusting them to properly fit your body is a little tricky. While trying it on, I was having issues making the straps tight enough while keeping the bra liner hidden. What I love - the cut and color on this suit is so cute... plus, I love the braiding detailing. For the price and cute factors, I'm keeping the suit. For sizing reference, I'm wearing a 32D on the top and small bottoms.

My next Target bikini gave me all the vibes of Summersalt swimwear... but without the price. I love Summersalt and own several different swimsuits from them. When I saw this bikini, I added it to my cart immediately. Yes - I purchased this bikini (and most my Target bikinis) online. The fit and ruffle detail is so cute. I love the key-hole side detail on the bottoms. The quality of this suit is really good for Target, so if you're loving the look of Summersalt, this suit is a great option for half the price. I'm wearing a size small in both the top and bottom.

For my last Target suit, I actually spotted the top in-store. They only had a size medium, so I bought it to try. I'm so glad I did because the fit is one of my favorites of this year's haul. The top is so flattering... and the sleeve detail makes the suit. Here's my story on these sleeves... I'm a Minnesota girl who doesn't see sunlight for nearly 9 months every year. It doesn't matter how much sunscreen I slather on each summer - there will always be a day or two when my shoulders are little red from too much sun. Enter the cutest polka dot puff sleeve bikini you've ever seen. I'm not sure if you can tell by the pictures, but the fabric on this suit also sold me right away. It has the tiniest polka dot texture. Seriously, well done Target on this one! For this suit, I'm wearing a size medium on the top and small on the bottom.

I hope this post was helpful in your swimwear shopping this year. With so many cute cuts and styles out there, it's really hard to chose just one store to shop. It's almost May - time to get your swim on!! Happy styling!

Remember to check out my Instagram @smalltownme

Love Emily.

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Once upon a time there was a belt that I was obsessing over. It was so chic, it could be styled in so many ways... and it was leather! Last summer I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the 'Jessica' belt by ALLSANTAELLA. At first, I'll admit I was a little intimidated on how to wear the belt. I'm not a huge belt person to begin with, but every time I'd see the 'Jessica' belt styled, I would fall in love. I decided to jump right in and I started styling my new leather wrap belt with so many pieces I already owned. Skirts, pants, dresses... this belt was already getting the mileage it deserves. Today on the blog I'm going to show you a couple easy ways to style the ALLSANTAELLA leather wrap belt this summer. Get ready to be inspired.

First I styled my ALLSANTAELLA belt with one of my favorite slip dresses. I love how it dressed up my outfit with a little leather edge. Because my belt is one solid color, it is so easy to pair with both patterned and solid color dresses. Also - this belt comes in several different colors, so whatever your style, ALLSANTAELLA has you covered. I decided to match my shoes and clutch with the black leather on my belt, but it would be so cute to style a contrast as well. Try wearing a black leather wrap belt with camel toned accessories. Or match your shoes and belt while adding a fun contrasting bag. My rule of thumb is to match two of your three accessories for a more minimalistic look.

Next I styled my ALLSANTAELLA belt over a black mini dress and finished off my look with a camel colored suede jacket. Here, I matched my belt with my clutch and added some neutral shoes. I love how this belt added a little sophistication to my LBD. Polished, with a little conservative edge - is that a thing? I can't wait to wear this look on my next date night!

Next I layered my ALLSANTAELLA belt over a pair of high-rise jeans. This is such a fun look for a casual night out. Style with a cute short sleeve shirt, tank top, or body suit... there are literally so many options! To style with denim, make sure you are wearing a high-rise jean because the belt sits at your natural waist. Also, I tucked in my top and bloused it out a little bit. Then I went back and gave the front a re-tuck to really show off the shape of the belt. If you choose to style with a fitted top, tank or body suit, obviously there's no need to tuck. Just be sure your bottoms (whether they are denim, dress pants, or even a skirt) have that high-rise so your belt lays correctly.

Lastly I'm styling the ALLSANTAELLA belt over an oversized button-down shirt. I threw on a pair of black bikers underneath for just a little peek, as my shirt was not quite long enough to wear as a dress. I chose a blue chambray shirt, but you could style with anything from a fun pattern to a plain white. Even a traditional button-down shirt would be so cute belted over leggings or denim. Play around and shop what you already have in your closet. To finish off my look, I layered on a black leather blazer and black moto boots - talk about an edgy street style vibe! I love how the belt looks layered with a leather jacket - it adds such a chic interest to my outfit.

Also, try styling your wrap belt over the top of an oversized or traditional blazer. Pair with dress pants and you're totally office appropriate. Seriously - the styling options are endless!

I hope I've inspired you to give the 'Jessica' belt by ALLSANTAELLA a try. The belt comes in so many fun colors - black, white, nude, olive, and camel. Plus, the belt comes in two sizes which I love - regular and XL. Copy my looks and shop your closet. And remember to have fun! Happy styling!

Remember to check out my Instagram @smalltownme

Love Emily.

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The Sephora Spring Savings Event is here, and I'm so excited to stock up on all things beauty. This savings event is broken down into three waves for savings up to 20%. If you are a 'Rouge' beauty insider, the sale started yesterday and runs through April 19. If you're not part of the free VIB rewards program at Sephora, I strongly suggest you sign up. This is such an easy way to save on products you already love as well a products you've been wanting to try.

Today I'll be sharing 5 of my top picks for the sale. Some of these picks are my tried and true... This sale is such a good time to stock up on staples you usually purchase anyway. Other items are products I've had my eye on and have been wanting to try. 20% off? Yes please! Such a good excuse to stock up and update my beauty products.

Bronzing Powder

Here's the deal. I'm a sucker for bronzing powder. I have tried so many. Maybe is my Minnesota skin longing for that bronze babe look... who knows. So when I heard about Gucci's new Bronzing Powder, I couldn't wait to add it to my basket. First - can we talk about how gorgeous the packaging is? I'm always drawn to good packaging, and Gucci got me with this compact.

The reviews on this one are high! The texture is supposedly creamy to the touch which totally has me intrigued. Also, the formula is buildable so you can get that perfect glow by blending and layering. This bronzer is priced at $62, but with Gucci's quality (i've used their mascara and it's so good), I'm sure this will be worth the investment. And remember... You'll be getting up to 20% off with the Savings Event! I am super excited to give this bronzer a try.

Sunlust Lip Gloss

Lipgloss is something I always have with me. When I came across this Tom Ford Soleil Sunlust Lip Gloss, I knew I had to try it. I am a big fan of Tom Ford's Shimmering Body Oil and this lip gloss totally reminded me of it. This shimmery gloss glides on with a gold shimmer and then transforms to a rose-peach glow. Perfect for summer, right? The price is $56 which is typical for Tom Ford Beauty. I've been using Tom Ford's eyeshadows and cologne for years and the quality is so good. I can't wait to try this one!


Next is another Tom Ford favorite. The Tom Ford Lip Color Lipstick in Casablanca has been one of my beauty staples for years. When I choose to wear lipstick (I'm more of a lipgloss girl), I typically reach for Tom Ford's Casablanca. It gives me the perfect mauvey lip color. I have the Casablanca lipstick (in my bathroom, in my makeup bag...) but this limited edition pink packaging got me. With this Sephora Savings Event, I don't mind stocking up on my favorite beauty staples. This lipstick will run you $56, but again - Tom Ford's quality makes it worth every penny. I can't wait to tuck this lipstick tube in my purse this summer.

Self Tanner

Next is another beauty staple that I am stocking up on during this sale. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads. I started using these glow pads a year ago and LOVE! They give me a realistic bronzy glow and stay with me for a week or more. I will usually exfoliate and follow up with an Alpha Beta Glow Pad. The color gradually darkens the longer it sits on, so I typically apply during the day and sleep with the tanner on. You don't want to apply right before bed because you need to give the tanner time to soak in and dry. The fade on this self-tanner is gradual, so I typically layer on my favorite self tanning lotion when I feel like I'm starting to fade. Also - I have never had an issue with this tanner rubbing off on my clothing. That's a big deal! These glow pads are priced at $45 for a box of 8... that's less than $5.75 per tan. I purchased two boxes of these since they are a staple for me. I totally recommend.

Eyebrow Pencil

I have been using this Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil for going on 10 years. The chisel tip is ultra thin and let's me fill in my brows effortlessly. I love that the applicator is a twist top, so there's no need for a sharpener. The other end has an eyebrow brush for sculpting and blending. My eyebrows are very thin and this brow pencil fills them in so naturally, beefing them up a little. I wear the color 'Warm Brunette' The price is so good at $28... this pencil lasts me several months. Another one of my beauty staples I highly recommend.

Be sure to sign up to be a Sephora Beauty Insider to take advantage of the savings. When you're stocking up on your favorite beauty staples, the rewards program is totally worth it. Happy saving!

Remember to check out my Instagram @smalltownme

Love Emily.

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