The Leather Tote That Changes Lives

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

A leather tote that changes lives?!

Mamuye Tote 2

I promise you I’m not being overdramatic and I’m not just talking about how much you’ll love this bag for yourself. The Mamuye leather tote from fashionABLE is not just any bag to add to your collection and empty your wallet. This piece literally changes the lives of the women who make it. And your purchase makes that change happen.

Mamuye Tote 3

the wind would just not cooperate, so I didn’t fight it :)

The Mamuye leather tote is made of 100% Ethiopian leather and handcrafted by women who wouldn’t have jobs without fashionABLE. Every fashionABLE item comes with a tag that tells how you have changed one woman’s life with your purchase. I can’t help but support an amazing organization that employs women and moms just like me in a different part of the world. The tag for this tote said, “Because of you, I am able to work hard and get promoted, too!” Love. that. You can read more of Mamuye’s story here.

Mamuye Tote River 1

I have the cognac tote and I think it goes with just about everything, which is great because I carry it everywhere. It works as a purse but can also carry much more if needed. And leather is always in style. fashionABLE is now offering the tote in black and chocolate brown as well! Cognac is on backorder {not for long} because it sold out super fast, but black and chocolate brown are available now!

Oh, I almost forgot! This tote also comes with a detachable leather pouch with a snap closure! This is where I keep my lip gloss or change or other small things that I don’t want rolling around the bottom of the bag.

I know this bag is an investment, but it is also an investment in the lives of hard-working women in Africa. It provides financial stability, freedom, and purpose for these women. I see lots of leather totes all over Pinterest, but with the Mayume tote, I know it was made ethically and is changing a woman’s life.

If the leather tote isn’t your thing, make sure you check out the fabulous line of scarves and bracelets being handmade and sold through fashionABLE with the same purpose! I love EVERYTHING I have from them!

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Fashion Friday for Kids: 60% Off!

Our kids should have a little fun on Fashion Fridays as well, right?!

Cents of Style hasn’t forgotten about your little ones and today’s Fashion Friday is all about them! The whole kids’ collection is 60% off + free shipping with the code RADKIDS at checkout!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 7/18/14- Kid's Collection 60% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code RADKIDS

All custom kids’ t-shirts, available in sizes 6 months to 5T, are under $10 shipped! I’m in love with the “Stop Collaborate Listen” shirt and I think the “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” shirt is so adorable for little girls!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 7/18/14- Kid's Collection 60% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code RADKIDS

The little girl and little boy shoes are darling and just $8.00 shipped! You can also find sweet sunglasses for boys and girls at just $6 shipped, as well as jewelry for your little princess for just $5 shipped!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 7/18/14- Kid's Collection 60% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code RADKIDS

Now is a great time to stock on some hip back-to-school gear for the little ones! Remember, use the code RADKIDS today only to get 60% off and free shipping!

I have to know: which kids’ tee is your favorite?

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Join Me for the Miracle Marathon!

Before you run away because I mentioned the word “marathon,” take a minute to read about this unique and MUCH easier marathon that everyone can do!

I’m thrilled to share that I’m serving as a lead blogger for this fall’s Miracle Marathon, specifically in support of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska! Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raise funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Awesome, right?!

Miracle Marathon

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I would be excited about an event that involves running and helping children! I started running just over two years ago and it is a major part of who I am now. I love that the Miracle Marathon gives me a chance to use my love for running to benefit others! And I want you to come along with me, whether you’re a runner or not!

The Miracle Marathon is a 27-day virtual fundraising campaign in which participants run/walk (or achieve forward motion of any kind!) one mile per day at their leisure. The first 26 days are completed at your own pace—wherever and whenever you want. On Day 27, the final 1.2 miles will be started as a group at 2:27 pm EST. Get it? It’s a marathon, plus a mile, for the kids! And it’s perfect for those of us who like the idea of completing a marathon but would rather not complete all the miles at once!

Please join me and register to support Children’s Hospital & Medical Center or another Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, and tell your friends, too! And if you register as a Miracle Maker (you’ll receive fun swag!), you can use my special code MiracleErin to get a 10% discount off registration!

Did I mention we have a team?! I would love to have you join Team Home with the Boys, either as a Miracle Maker or as a donor, and help us raise $5,000 together! Just sign up here to join the team in one way or another and we’ll help kids together!

I’ll be sharing lots more about this as September 16th approaches, but let’s get the ball rolling with some donations and registrations for the kids this week!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Miracle Marathon.

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Hashtags + Community

It’s no secret that I enjoy social media and Twitter was one of the first to get me hooked. And that’s where hashtags have their origins. But even if you don’t do Twitter, hashtags have creeped into other social media platforms and even into everyday speech {ugh}.

Mandi Ehman wrote on her blog this week about the #boymom hashtag and how it is encouraging gender stereotypes. At first I was offended because I use that hashtag often, but after reading through her post, I realized it’s the not the hashtag she has a problem with, but rather how people are using it. I get that.

Here’s my take on hashtags:

Hashtags

I use hashtags to find and join a community of similar people. I know when I search through the #boymom hashtag, I’m going to find other boy moms! If I want to connect with other moms who run, I know #motherrunner will get me there. I know I can search the #packers hashtag during a game and find people commiserating about the last touchdown or missed field goal.

Some hashtags are funny, some are for contests, some are for events, but I believe in the power of hashtags to develop community if we use them well. But just like any other form of social media, we need to use these hashtags honestly to reflect the community as a whole.

Mandi makes the point in her post that most pictures and posts in the #boymom hashtag streams include dirt and cars and bugs, but that is not what EVERY boy mom experiences. My boys hate bugs. They enjoy baking with me. If we only use the #boymom hashtag on stereotypical “boy” things, we’re not really inviting a REAL, full community of all boy moms.

Does every homeschool situation look the same? No, but lots of people use the #homeschool hashtag and find a diverse community of homeschoolers there. The #motherrunner hashtag has brand new runners and experienced marathoners, but there is community found in the common ground of being mothers who run.

My MOB Society co-founder, Brooke, shared a great perspective on hashtags in the comments of Mandi’s post:

For me, using that hashtag, and creating an entire community just for #boymoms is about just that…community. When I use that hashtag it’s because I’m reaching out to the very population God has called me to stand in the gap for. It’s about bringing people in to a group of like-minded people.

I am social. I love community. I over-hashtag a lot, but I know it will bring me to more like-minded people and connecting with those new people is energizing to me. I will keep using the #boymom hashtag, but not just for “boy” things. Baking or crafting with my boys is no less of a #boymom experience that catching frogs or going fishing.

Let’s be wise and honest in our use of hashtags, but let’s also have fun with the community they bring – that was the point of hashtags in the first place, right?!

Some of my favorite hashtag communities:

  • #fridayintroductions {Instagram}
  • #Huskers {duh}
  • #mobsociety
  • #surprisedbymotherhood
  • #motherrunner
  • #amwriting
  • #fmfparty {Twitter}

What are your favorite hashtags to follow? Which hashtags have formed great community for you?

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Let’s Talk About Socks, Baby!

A post about socks? Seriously?!

Yeah, I know that’s what you’re thinking, but just hang with me here and you’ll see why I think this is worth sharing with you.

First of all, I didn’t know how much people could love socks until I met my husband. He just loves the feeling of a brand new pair of socks. I did NOT get that at all. Until I started running. Then I discovered just how magnificent the right pair of socks can be.

I can’t remember how I first heard about Mitscoots, but being a person who loves to purchase products that give back, I loved hearing the story behind Mitscoots…

WHILE VOLUNTEERING ALONG THE STREETS OF AUSTIN, TEXAS CIRCA 2008, WE DISCOVERED THAT RIGHT AFTER FOOD AND WATER, THERE WAS NO GREATER REQUEST AMONG THE LESS FORTUNATE THAN FOR A CLEAN PAIR OF SOCKS.

I was just floored by this. I had no idea how important socks were to those living on the streets, but it totally makes sense to me now why socks would be requested so often. Socks make me feel comfortable, warm, safe.

Mitscoots logo

Mitscoots is taking this lesser known need and doing something about it… and then some.

FOR EVERY PAIR PURCHASED, WE GIVE AN EQUAL QUALITY PAIR OF SOCKS TO SOMEONE IN NEED AND TAKE PRIDE IN EMPLOYING THOSE LESS FORTUNATE TO GET EACH AND EVERY PAIR OF OUR SOCKS PACKAGED UP AND READY TO GO.
MITSCOOTS ARE SOCKS WITH A MISSION:  GET + GIVE + EMPLOY

Not only does your purchase of Mitscoots socks provide socks for someone in need, but your purchase also helps to employ a man or woman who was without a job before they connected with Mitscoots. I get really excited about this kind of model.

We haven’t even talked about the socks yet! Mitscoots sent me two pair of my choosing to try out and I L.O.V.E. them both! The socks are 100% American made – just another reason to love everything Mitscoots is doing.

Mitscoots Performance

Of course I picked out a pair of their performance socks to try for running. The Margaret is a white, low-cut, moisture-wicking sock and it is currently my favorite sock for running! The fabric is breathable and lightweight, but also strong and supportive. And they have a little green detail on it and green is my favorite color, so there’s that…

The other pair I’ve been sporting is the The Linda. Well, I haven’t been able to wear them as much as I would like because it is summer and it is HOT, but I just adore these polka-dot beauties. I knew the nights would get chilly around the campfire at the lake over the Fourth of July, so I was giddy about packing these socks! They are fun and well-made and you need a pair.

Mitscoots Linda

Maybe you wouldn’t normally spend this much on a pair of socks, but I know high quality running socks can be $12 a pair or more, so I have no problem paying $13.99 for pair that will also give back to the community AND employ someone. I think Mitscoots socks would make a great gift for the athlete in your family or a fun girlfriend gift just because!

I was given two pair of Mitscoots socks to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Two Songs: When God Speaks Through the Mundane

He climbed up into his big boy bed – a new, unfamiliar, but also exciting place for him. The sheets had trains and there were no bars holding him in. The freedom was fun, but I could sense his uneasiness as we tucked him for his first night on that wooden captain’s bed. All seemed fine until, just seconds, after we closed the door, the crying began.

“I scared,” he said. These were words I had never heard from his less than two-year-old mouth, but I wasn’t totally surprised. Growing up and trying new things can be scary.

As I tried to calm him, he suddenly asked, “Mommy sing?” This former music teacher’s heart skipped a beat at the sweetness of his request. I always wanted to be the mom who sang her children sweet lullabies before bed. And I did when they were babies, but the older two boys didn’t seem to need or want the signing as part of their bedtime routine. I was thrilled to comply with his desire for a bedtime song from Mommy.

I started with the song that was playing right after he was born, “How He Loves Us” by David Crowder. That became the song he wanted every night. Until Frozen came out. Then, you guessed it, “Let It Go” was requested on repeat. And then came the night where he asked for both songs. Convinced it was a stalling tactic, I sang the chorus of each and called it good.

A chorus of “Let It Go,” the chorus and bridge of “How He Loves Us” – that became our routine every night. After a while, the sweetness of it wore off for me. I began to see singing these two songs as mundane, ordinary, even tedious and annoying.

But after a long day of kid-wrangling and house-cleaning and food/clothing/homeschool battles, I melted into that wooden rocking chair in the corner of his room at 7:30pm as usual. As I started to sing, tears fell and I felt like the Lord was making me hyper-aware of the words I was singing. The words I had sung dozens of times. They were speaking to me in that dark nursery.

Two Songs

The annoying routine suddenly became a sweet message from the Lord…

Let go of the hard stuff from the day. Give it to Me and shut the door on all of it. There are no grudges to be held. No pity parties to be thrown. Just let it go.

And do you know how much I love you? No, do you REALLY know? Even if you lost it with the kids or forgot to change the laundry or burnt dinner…I’m still head-over-heels for you, My child. You don’t have time to keep thinking about all that crummy stuff from the day because I love you and want you to move forward in that love!

I barely made it through my two-chorus standard that night as I choked back sobs. These two songs weren’t picked by my son. They were picked by my Jesus to speak to me just when I need it most – as the day ends and the perceived failures of the day pile heavy on my shoulders. He cared enough to speak through those moments I thought were just a means to getting my son to sleep.

Two songs. Songs I gladly sing now when he asks. Songs I can still barely make it through without the tears flowing because He speaks freshly these reminders into my heart every time.

Let it go and remember how much I love you.

 

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Schlitterbahn: Something for Everyone!

If you’ve watched the news or been on social media at all in the past week, you’ve heard about Verruckt. It is the world’s tallest water slide and it is set to open to the public today at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.

Verruckt is taller than the Statue of Liberty and that is just NOT my thing. I know plenty of thrill seekers who are dying to give it a try, but not me. And I’m happy to tell you, whether you’re a daredevil or a mama to littles, our visit to Schlitterbahn this month showed me there is something for everyone there!

Our whole family loves the water, so making a waterpark a part of our vacation was a no-brainer. A few other waterparks were considered, but ultimately eliminated because most of the rides and attractions had height requirements our little munchkins didn’t quite meet. That’s when Schlitterbahn caught The Hubby’s eye.

Entrance

Welcome

Although there are several “big kid” slides and rides that require riders to be 48″ or taller, Schlitterbahn is very family-friendly and we spent over six hours at the park and had more than enough thrills and fun suitable for all of us!

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For the littles, there is the Kinderhaven + Wyandotte Express train area…

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And the Pirate Ship at Henry’s Hideout {with heated water!}…

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You can step things up from there but still relax with the Kristal River lazy river…

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For a little more excitement, the King Kaw Rapids were a favorite for all of us. Just thrilling enough for the older boys, but safe enough for 2 1/2 year old Double J to enjoy with us riding in the child seat of a tube with a life jacket on. We all went back to the rapids several times!

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The Torrent River Wave Pool was tested out by Little j and The Hubby before we all decided to give it a whirl and this was another favorite! Much like the King Kaw Rapids, it was fun and safe for all of us!

Big J and The Hubby had a blast on the Storm Blaster ride, and there are much larger slides like the Twister, Cyclone, Black Knight Tube Slide, and of course, the brand new Verruckt.

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We attended the park on a Tuesday and it was busy, but not crowded. We were able to do everything we wanted with very little waiting. Schlitterbahn allows you to bring your own food + drink in, but also offers several food + drink options inside the park. We rented a locker to keep our stuff safe while we had fun and highly recommend this.

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I absolutely LOVE that life jackets and tubes are available free! On the website they say these are available in limited quantities, but there were always plenty when we needed them!

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I won’t lie: Schlitterbahn is not cheap. Thankfully, Double J was free and we got a discount for buying our tickets online. I was a little nervous about paying that much for a place we knew little about, but after a day there, I would do it again in a heartbeat for a special experience the whole family loved! I talked to a local mom who has a pass they use all summer long – if we lived in the Kansas City area, I would definitely get a pass as we would all want to go back often!

Lounging

Boys entrance

Couple park
Full park

Family entrance

If Verruckt has you excited about Schlitterbahn, then go for it! But if the opening of Verruckt made you think Schlitterbahn is for the older crowd, I’m here to assure you everyone from the littles to the bigs to the adults in your group will love this waterpark!

Does your family love waterparks? Have you visited Schlitterbahn?

This is NOT a sponsored post. Schlitterbahn has no idea who I am or that I’m writing this. We just loved our experience and I had to share!

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Most of the pictures in this post are from our new GoPro HERO 3+ camera {affiliate link}. There is no way I would have used my nice camera at the waterpark and we had a blast taking underwater pictures, videos on the rides, and not worrying about the camera getting ruined! SO MUCH FUN! If your family loves the water and loves to record their adventures, this is the camera to use! I love it so much, I’ll probably do a whole separate post on it!

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Nourish: A New Cookbook + 2 Recipe Sneak Peeks!

I know you can find SO many recipes online these days, especially with Pinterest, but I still love a beautiful, hard copy cookbook, where I can flip through the pages and put tabs on the recipes I want to try. And I found a gorgeous new cookbook that appeals to both my food-lover and fitness-lover sides!

I received Nourish: The Fit Woman’s Cookbook by Lorna Jane Clarkson to review as part of the SweatPink Ambassador program. Lorna Jane is the founder of Lorna Jane Active Living, a super stylish fitness clothing line. Her approach to health involves an active lifestyle and well-rounded, healthy eating habits.

Nourish 5

Nourish is not just a cookbook. It is a beautiful book with fantastic photos of healthy foods and inspirational moments. It is a book that will help you focus on good eating habits and break several healthy eating myths. It is a book that shows you don’t have to eat bland food to eat healthy food.

I will admit that Lorna Jane uses quite a few ingredients I don’t usually keep around, so not everything in practical for me. But every recipe is well put-together and will keep your active body fueled well with lots of real food. Despite my initial hesitations about the uncommon ingredients, I did find several recipes I was excited to try. And I had to pick a summery one to get started.

The Chocolate, Banana, and Almond Yoghurt Pops were the first to draw me in! 

Nourish 2

I love the combo of chocolate, nut butter, and banana, and I’m always a fan of adding Greek yogurt to up the protein level.

Nourish 3

These pops were relatively easy to make and the maple syrup and banana added just the right amount of natural sweetness. And here is the recipe for you to try yourself!

Nourish 4

Chocolate, Banana, and Almond Yoghurt Pops

Ingredients:

1 cup (280g) unsweetened greek-style yoghurt
2 tablespoons natural almond butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 small banana (130g), sliced thinly

Directions:

1. Combine half the yoghurt, almond butter and half the maple syrup in a small bowl.
2. Combine the remaining yoghurt with the remaining maple syrup and sifted cacao powder in another small bowl.
3. Using the tip of your fingers, carefully press banana slices on the insides of 6 x ¼-cup (60ml) ice-block moulds. Layer almond mixture and cacao mixture into moulds, alternating which mixture you start with. Push in sticks.
4. Freeze 3 hours or overnight until firm.

prep + cook time 15 minutes (+ freezing)
makes 6
nutritional count per pop protein (4.6g), carbohydrate (13.1g), total fat (6.7g), fibre (0.4g).

There are also several breakfast recipes that sound delicious to me, especially this Quinoa, Mushroom, and Spinach Frittata. I’m not always great about getting enough veggies in my day, but throwing some veggies in with eggs is the perfect way to start the day! Here is the recipe for you:

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Spinach Frittata

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil
200g (6½ ounces) swiss brown mushrooms, halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (50g) baby spinach leaves
¾ cup cooked white quinoa
6 organic free-range eggs
¼ cup (60ml) iced filtered water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan (top measurement about 20cm/8 inches); cook mushrooms with garlic, stirring, until mushrooms are browned and tender.
3. Add spinach and quinoa to pan; toss gently. Whisk eggs and the water in a medium jug until frothy. Pour the egg mixture into pan; cook frittata over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes or until about halfway set. Place pan in oven; cook frittata about 15 minutes or until browned and set. Garnish with mushrooms and spinach leaves.

prep + cook time 40 minutes
serves 2
nutritional count per serving protein (25.7g), carbohydrate (14.9g), total fat (19.2g), fibre (4.5g).

Doesn’t that sound fabulous?! There are lots more wonderful recipes where these came from – dinners and lunches and desserts and snacks and even juices for all purposes! I also love the Lorna Jane includes information about super foods and her top healthy eating habits.

Are you excited about all of this healthy eating talk like I am? Join the movement with #LiveLoveNOURISH. You have the opportunity to be 1 of 10 winners that will get their own hard copy NOURISH cookbook. The most active participant will receive a cookbook AND a $200 Gift Card to Lorna Jane!

Show us how the NOURISH cookbook works for your lifestyle – in between work, play, sweat sessions, etc! Join the live Twitter Party tomorrow night (7/9) 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. Click here to tweet and enter to win —> Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

Don’t forget to check out the Lorna Jane site for lots of awesome fitness clothing and read more about the Nourish cookbook!

 

I received this a digital copy of this cookbook to review plus a $50 gift card in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own!

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Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #1: The Memory Jar

It’s the end of June which means it’s time for the first check-in of our Summer Book Club for Moms! If you haven’t joined us yet, you can still climb on board! Find all the details here and just check in for each book on the appropriate post!

Summer Book Club for Moms

Today we’re talking about the first book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series by Tricia Goyer, The Memory Jar! I enjoyed this book SO much when I read it last year, so I loved revisiting it and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on a few of the discussion questions from the back of the book.

The Memory Jar

Let’s dig in! Whenever you are done reading The Memory Jar {before August 31st}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. What do you think is the underlying theme of The Memory Jar? How does this theme play out in the lives of the main characters of the novel?

2. Are you like Sarah? Do you have a dream that others are trying to squash? How can you follow God’s dream for your life? What is God asking you to do?

Remember, I’ll be giving away a prize package to one woman who finishes all three books and comments on each check-in post by August 31st! I’ll be back at the end of July with a check-in post for the next book, The Promise Box! Happy discussing and reading!

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50% Off Sandals at Cents of Style!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Looking for a cute pair of summer sandals that won’t bust your budget? Cents of Style has a solution for you!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 6/27/14- Sandal Sale- 50% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code SANDALSALE

Today only {6/27/14}, all sandals in the Fashion Friday collection from Cents of Style are 50% off with the code SANDALSALE at checkout! All sandals will be under $20 with some as low as $10! And shipping is FREE!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 6/27/14- Sandal Sale- 50% off & FREE SHIPPING with Code SANDALSALE

I’m loving all the fun styles and colors in sandals this year, particularly the mint green and coral colors! I always have a go-to black and brown pair, but a bright color on the feet is a great accent to a basic outfit!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 6/27/14- Upsell Scarf- $2.99

When you order sandals today from Cents of Style, you’ll also be offered this lightweight metallic scarf for just $2.99 as an add-on!

Treat your feet today with this 50% off sandal sale from Cents of Style! Get your style and size quick before they’re gone! And don’t forget the code SANDALSALE to get the discount AND free shipping!

What are your favorite pair of sandals right now?

 

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