Ella J Day or Similar Looks

If you live in the east bay of northern California pop in to Ella J boutique this weekend and receive 10% off on any and all items that I am wearing.  My shoes are from Nordstrom and not available at the boutique but I will link them below.  

The casual vibe of the Deconstructed Charcoal Dad cap $16 is perfect for keeping it casual.  It comes in various colors.  The ivory semi precious, cz stretch bracelet is $26 and can be worn in on it’s own or stacked with the gold horn stretch bracelet $14.


Add this essential Hutton sweater $123.00 by Wildfox to stay cozy all day.   It has a beautiful cut that is fresh will give you an updated feel.  The hood is a perfect addition that keeps it casual.  I love the lace up detail as well, it is very on trend with a modest twist.  The Paige jeans have a high waist and keep everything pretty sucked in!  They are the Julia fit and are $224.00  My lipstick is Mac lip pencil in Magenta, and Revlon Kiss balm in berry burst.


The Chaser Strappy bralette is a stylish piece that is hard to pass up.  It is perfect for staying comfortable all day long.  $42


Shop my outfit at Ella J boutique or find her on Instagram @ellajboutique and get %10 off this entire look or individual items all weekend 08/04/20017-08/06/2017  For similar items or to shop my Steve madden shoes check the links below.


Steve Madden slip on shoes 

If you can’t make it in to Ella J this weekend or find her on Instgram you can shop similar looks in the link below

hoodie, jeans, hat, bracelet, bralette

Happy Shopping!

 Stay cute and casual, xoxo Nicole


Keeping it Real Style

Hello my stylish friends!  Today, I am keeping it real with an every day outfit choice.  Not every outfit is a magical combination.  Sometimes we need to throw on a cute shirt, pop on some shoes and run out the door.  The question is how do we do that with out throwing on our workout wear?  Start with a great pair of jeans.  Your top doesn’t have to be amazing, just choose an easy style that you feel comfortable in.  The trick is to invest in a pair of trendy shoes that are comfortable.  Do not bother buying a pair if they are not because they wont be a grab and go pair.  This pair of Dolce Vita sandals are perfect to dress up a simple shirt. FullSizeRender (3)

They are so comfortable and look great with skirts, jeans, or shorts.  A perfect addition to your summer closet. I paired them with a pair of boyfriend style Mavi jeans and a shirt I bought from Francesca’s a few seasons ago.IMG_7671

So easy and simple, and I think pretty cute!  Add a belt and you are on your way out the door.  Keep in mind when you are choosing a belt that if you have a longer torso choose a wider style, if you have a  shorter waist choose a skinny version.  I am wearing a belt by Cabi and have a longer waist, hence the wider belt size.

If you need a skinny option the leopard belt by Halogen is a good choice.

FullSizeRender (4)

Now run upstairs, add that belt and some cute shoes and go!  See you next time for a  dose of keeping it real style!

xoxo, Nicole


Date Night Style Series

Happy August!  Can you believe summer break is coming to an end?  I am not sure I am ready for the routine of what back to school brings. But I am ready to slip back into our routine of having a date night once a month.  Erik and I stick around town, nothing too fancy, but nice enough to throw on a pretty shirt and brighten up my lipstick for.  With busy schedules it is nice to have one night a month to make plans for a little one on one time out of the house.

Today I am sharing a simple outfit in my Date Night Style Series.

This feminine top is pretty and simple.

I felt pretty in this blouse by Astr.  It is a Nordstrom anniversary sale find.  For $42.00 it is a perfect go to blouse.  The neck line is beautiful on its own, so you don’t need to add a necklace. Vince Camuto makes some killer shoes and these ones are not only comfortable, but give this feminine blouse just the right amount of edge to go to a trendy restaurant.  They are on sale now for $69.


Ladies, this perfect Clare V. style staple is a must have.  This beautiful clutch  is worth the splurge.  You can use it in every season.  A few of my friends have this purse, and all of ours are slightly different which makes me love it even more.


Okay lets talk about a simple accessory.  This top has a great neckline so keep your accessories to something that is understated like these earrings   These beauties are from Anthropologie and only $38.  They will literally go with everything, because they are CLEAR.  I met my friend Jen in 7th grade, she was wearing a clear belt, probably from the Wet Seal or Contempo Casual and she told me that her belt went with everything.  You know what, she was right and so am I about these beautiful, classic, go with everything earrings.  Thanks Jen for the style inspiration 23 years ago.  love you!

See ya next time for more date night style!

XOXO, Nicole


Vacationing in Nuevo Vallarta

Summer time equals a little vacation time.  I mean can we get a woo-hoo for that one?  I look forward to the escape from errands, scheduling and rushing from place to place. I love the whole process of making a trip happen.  Shopping for the vacation is probably one of the best parts.   I carefully pack the kids outfits stacked neatly so they can pull the whole folded thing out and just pop it on.  Do you know that I don’t think they have ever put the whole outfit on? I mean maybe my sweet girl but the boys, no way.  And as you will see from he pictures below we all ended up a little disheveled from our adventures.  I do still hold on to the tiny bit of hope we will someday get a color coordinated family picture while on vacation.  It is a long shot and kind of weird but hey we all have quirks!

I am not going to lie, as excited as I was for our vacation I was a little apprehensive about taking the kids to Mexico.  I pictured a spring break college scene with wild nights and wet tee-shirt contests, even though I had read otherwise.   I still had a few reservations about or destination.  Well friends,  I was pleasantly surprised.  What I found was a small resort town called Nuevo Vallarta located about 30 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta.  It is lined with hotels on a  beautiful stretch of beach. Slow paced, no real downtown just hotels and beaches.  We stayed at the Marival Resort.  We enjoyed the all inclusive part a lot. I am not sure my kids have ever eaten so much ice cream in one week! We had a suite and boy was that nice.  The best part about the suite was that it had three showers.   You guys, when you have six people waiting in line for the usual one shower in a hotel room it makes getting ready take FOREVER.  There were four pools two of them having swim up bars, guess which ones we stayed at…..wink, wink!  We had a great time playing and splashing around.  Something about vacation brings the fun mom out in me and I love it.


Snorkeling day

We had so many fun adventures.  If you take a trip to the Puerto Vallarta area one of my recommendations would be to book your day trips through Vallarta Adventures. They were professional, entertaining and we felt completely safe when we were exploring.  We took the snorkeling day trip to Yelapa.   After an hour boat ride we came to our snorkeling spot.  We saw beautiful fish, I might have clung to my husband and my kids a bit in the water.  I  swear the jaws theme song was playing loud enough in my head for all to hear.  But I did it, I jumped in and I am so glad I did.  I would have missed out on swimming with the colorful fish in the clear warm water.  Once we were back on the boat we traveled to Yelapa, a small town nestled in a cove that is the worlds seventh largest bay.  We hiked up a cobblestone street on to narrow path ways that turned with the natural landscape to reach a waterfall.  It is the villages main source of water, it was cold but magical.



You guys, this little town was my absolute favorite.  It is located 25 miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta. From our hotel it was probably a 30-40 minute taxi ride.  The village is filled with brightly colored store fronts and unique treasures.  Bring your bartering skills for this day!  My little man scored quite the pair of sun glasses.  There was no talking him out of them.  He looked like he was wearing ski googles in 100 degree weather but he was happy so we went with it.IMG_5277

If you happen to find yourself in Mexico, I repeat don’t miss this little spot.  The kids rented surf boards and played in the water for hours.  Local woman will braid your hair right on the beach.  You can rent an umbrella and a blanket for the day that allows you to escape from the sun. You don’t have to bring a lot with you, anything you need you can buy there.  We ate at a little restaurant right off the sand called Don Pedros.  The food was delicious, the restaurant was clean and the service was fantastic. This was an A+ day.


Swimming with Dolphins

This one was interesting.  I had mixed feelings about it before we even got there. Not only getting in a tank with a wild animal but that we were in a tank and not in the ocean where they are free.  To see a majestic animal up close really was a once in a lifetime experience.  They are beautiful and we did have fun with them but at the end of the day we all agreed it is just more magical to see them in their natural habitat where they belong.  Can you tell how relaxed I look in the middle picture below?  To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

Driving some jeeps in the jungle

We booked the Canopy River zip line adventure  through our hotel. Although we did not zip line because our children were not old enough we choose the jeep tour.  I drove with two kids and Erik did the same.  The tour guides were friendly and professional.  Racing through the jungle at 40 mph had the kids on cloud nine.  The bonus, my husband was pretty impressed with my driving skills. Hey hey!  We also got to see another waterfall that you could jump off of.  Erik was the only one that was up for the challenge.  Not being able to see what was in the water was a deal breaker for the rest of us.   This adventure was the overall favorite among the kids.

Deep sea fishing and a trip into Puerto Vallarta

I would say every vacation has one or two spots that you are grateful for the experience but would not necessarily revisit.  For me it was our last two excursions.  We rounded off our trip with some deep see fishing and a trip into downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Although beautiful, the deep sea fishing was a bust… no fish and our tour guide was not the best. It could have been fun without the fish, but there was little interaction with our guide even though we tried to chitchat.  Over all thumbs down on that excursion.  We did enjoy watching the sunrise on the ocean but the kids did not think it was worth the 5am wake up call.  Definitely noted!  I am just going to put this out there, I am not a big fan of Puerto Vallarta.  It was busy and there were a lot of vendors that lined the streets. The cars drove very fast, so crossing a street with kids made me feel like I was in a game of Frogger.   I wanted my kids a little closer to me.  It was crowded and felt like if they got a head of me I would not be able to easily find them.  Maybe it just happened to be a busy day there and Puerto Vallarta is not getting a clean shake from me, but that is my honest opinion of our day.   However, I am glad we went downtown and experienced it all.

Over all, Mexico surprised me.  The sunsets were breathtaking, the food delicious and the unique way of life for some people deeply humbled me. Until next time Mexico!

Cheers, NicoleIMG_5844

Soul Searching and Writing my Blog.

As the school year quickly approaches, I think a lot of us start to wonder what we will do with our time when the kids are in school. For me, my last little guy is going into kindergarten. I now have consistent time every day for myself. All this thought about what I wanted to do once all my kids were in school has now come to the present. So now I am here in my new little blog and the last has lead me to you.

IMG_6412 (002)

Being a mom is a hard job. We are so emotionally invested in the outcome of our children. I have loved this journey and it is far from over. A job that truly lasts a lifetime. But there was something for myself that had taken the back seat in this motherhood thing.  Beyond wanting something light hearted to invest in, I craved a level of professionalism that had not been fulfilled yet.  I have seen my friends achieve a  balance with their busy family life on top of a career. Although they will tell you balance is a strong word and something always gives.  Still, something intrigued me about the world of working.  The conversations about their careers  felt foreign to me. The reality was I did not have much to contribute. I would leave the conversations questioning if I was missing something in my own journey. Whatever it was that really sparked this flame caused me to do a little soul searching and to think about what more I had to offer.  What I came up with is that I still want to be home with the kids, but with a bit more balance. Because when I strip away my insecurities about not working I really am at peace with my choice. This little blog I am creating is for myself. If a few friends happen to like it, if  I can grow and learn about this new blogging world than that little peace of me that craved something for myself will be fulfilled.

When my oldest (now 13 year old) baby boy was born I went hook line and sinker into everything mommy!  As the kids got older I dabbled in a few jobs that allowed me to stay home.  Being a stylist for Stella & Dot and Stitch Fix helped me keep my hand in the fashion world. Now I am all yours for three and a half hours a day and I would love to hear your stories. I want to feel connected, laugh, and share style tips.  Please don’t hesitate to leave comments and share your style, beauty, or travel tips as well.  I can’t wait to share this journey with you.

Cheers, Nicole

My First Blog Post


Welcome to Less Than Fancy, this is my personal blog about fashion, beauty, travel and family.  True to my blog name, this is the kind of fashion that looks cute at school drop offs, soccer games, date nights, girls night outs, and vacations!  I can tell you how to make your hair look cute in a pinch and the best products to give your face a little pick me up as you are running out the door.  I am a mom of four kiddos, a wife, friend, daughter, sister.  My friends joke around and call me the mayor because they know I love chatting with people. I thought writing a blog about the things I love will connect me with people that share in my passions.

A bit about me….I have been married to the love of my life for 16 years this August. We met in college and never looked back.  We have four beautiful kids.  I chose to be a stay at home mom.  I have loved fiercely, cried, had sleepless nights, beamed with pride, felt like I was rocking this mom thing and the next day thought maybe someone should fire me.  The last 13 years of motherhood have been a journey that no one can ever prepare you for, you just have to live it to understand. I am a no judgment, no drama kinda girl.  I respect the people around me because I know we are all doing our best. Whether you nurse, bottle feed, work or choose to stay home it doesn’t matter me. If you have a good heart and try to be the best version of yourself most of the time, then you have me in your corner.  I LOVE clothes, packing for trips, coffee, Tahoe, make-up, cocktails, and feeling healthy. Welcome to Less Than Fancy!