$250 LOFT Giftcard Giveaway WINNER

Before I get to what you’re all here for, I have to say . . .


I knew this giveaway would be big and exciting, but I never could have imagined it to explode the way it did! We had a total of 21,250 entries, which I know is somewhat inflated due to how many entries each person could gain, but that number is HUGE! None of this would have been possible without the incredible contributions and support of all these women:

Elizabeth from Oak + Oats
Sara from Sincerely, Sara
Kristin from My Life as a Teacup
Whitney from Whitney à la mode
Jess from Bookworms in Dresses
Karen from Fearlessly Authentic
Danielle from A Little Bit of Wowe
Anna from The Anna Belle Blog
Aubrey from Adventures in Aubreyland
Jess from In Pursuit of Simple
Marlene from MDC Artistic Designs
Inge from This Ever Evolving Life
Jessica from Here&Now
Sam from In-Aeternum
Paulina from Color Me Brave
Kate from A Journey in Style

So a massive THANK YOU to the contributors and a THANK YOU to those who entered. It meant the world to me to celebrate this milestone with all of you. Here’s to many more years!

Enter to win a $250 LOFT Giftcard

Without further ado, the winner of the giftcard is Tarah M.! Congratulations, Tarah! You should already have an email in your inbox, so be sure to check it!

Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to check back monthly for other exciting group giveaways like this one. If you’re a blogger and would love to boost your traffic and followers, consider contributing to the July or August giveaways I have listed on my Work with Me page!

The Friday 5: v. 21

The Friday 5 is a weekly feature highlighting interesting, controversial, heart-wrenching, inspirational, and/or creative content worth reading and sharing. I always find the best blog posts, articles, outfits, and inspiration from other bloggers, so I hope I can do the same for you. Here’s to hoping something will make a difference in your weekend!


  1. You next DIY project: Painted Catch-All Bowls via Lauren Elizabeth
  2. Finding the perfect mascara is no easy feat, but Ginny assures us that it’s sitting right in your local drugstore!
  3. If I ever get the good fortune to go to my #1 destination in the world, London, I will be sure to seek out London’s Hidden Gems so I don’t fall into the typical tourist traps.
  4. How to Run Kick Butt Blog Sponsorships
  5. Need some ideas for your summer reading list? Check out the books on Sara’s reading list!

On the Blog

  1. Today is the LAST day to enter to win a $250 LOFT giftcard! You have until midnight, so be sure to get those entries in. Don’t wait!
  2. Have you shopped your favorite blogger’s closet yet?
  3. Decorate your room with literary-inspired decor.
  4. 10 Networking Tips for Recently Established Professionals
  5. If you are relatively new to The Modern Austen, read more here!

Enjoy your weekends! Be sure to stop by on Sunday for a new announcement (this is for you, fashion bloggers!).

DIY: From Dress to Peplum

My “crafting style” is all about practicality. I can appreciate the craftsmanship and hard work that goes into decorative crafts (and occasionally I will dabble in them when it comes to home decor), but I much prefer to make things that are functional, especially wearable DIYs. That’s why I end up sewing infinity scarves; not only are they incredibly easy and quick to make, but I can wear them year-round and feel proud of my “craftiness.”

I don’t usually take risks when it comes to thrift store refashions, but I recently stumbled across an incredibly easy fix that has, upon transformation, become a staple in my wardrobe.

During one of my many trips to Goodwill, I came across this striped Forever 21 cotton dress. I immediately saw its babydoll empire waist and incredibly short skirt and almost pushed past it on the rack. I took one more glance at the horizontal stripes and the waist placement and thought, “What the heck?” and scurried off to the dressing rooms with it.

Transform a too short cotton dress into a flattering peplumAre my eyes even open?  Ohh the beauty of “before” pictures.

I was absolutely spot on about it’s inappropriate length and fit, but I was also correct in thinking it would be an easy refashion into a peplum top. For under $5 and in less than 20 minutes, I managed to DIY a great new top.

It may seem just as easy as cutting the bottom and calling it a day, but here are a few tips when it comes to shortening any top, especially into a peplum.

Tips for Refashioning a Dress into a Peplum

  • Try it on first and mark where you want your ideal length to be. Give yourself several inches longer than that as an amble starting place. Seriously. You can always cut more, but you can’t get the length back.
  • Before you cut, decide how you want to finish your hem. I knew I wanted to roll the hem once and sew it down, so I had to factor this into my overall length.
  • If your top has stripes or a pattern, use that as a guide when you are cutting, but remember to keep it straight across, unless you want to achieve an asymmetrical style. Consider how your peplum may have gathers or pleats.
  • Cut your length in sections; don’t cut it all off at once. In between each cut, try it on again. Peplums that are on the short side can lay funny and gravitate toward the “maternity top” style rather than the “look at my tiny waist” style. Err on the side of caution and take your time.
  • If you don’t have a serger, consider using a double-sided bonding tape to secure your folded hem before sewing a basic stitch across the hem. If you aren’t a sewer, the tape might be a great temporary solution if you’re anxious to wear it right away.
  • Be sure to keep things like pockets, zippers, and other details in mind before taking on the project. This may deter you from refashioning the vision you have in your head. You can certainly work around them, but be prepared to put in a little extra work.

Even though I took the time to cut my dress section by section, trying it on in between, I still felt like I cut it a hair too short, especially when you look at it from the back. Luckily, with a skinny belt, I don’t have to worry about continually tugging it down and I love it!

Wear a skinny belt with a peplum to emphasize the waist even more

I paired this peplum with a pop of red and basic skinny jeans, rolled into ankle length. I loved this look because it incorporated all of my favorite things AND I felt awesome when I could tell people I “made” the top after I got a few compliments!

If you are not too confident about your crafting skills, try a quick refashion like this dress to peplum DIY and you’ll feel confident in no time. (And don’t worry if you have a few fails along the way. Just check out the last peplum I tried to make . . .)

Here’s a little before and after action:

From Dress to Peplum DIY refashion


Don’t forget: you can enter for a chance to win an ENTIRE new summer wardrobe thanks to a $250 LOFT giftcard I’m giving away to one lucky reader, thanks to some wonderful ladies. Read all about it here! Only a few days left to enter.

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayI Feel PrettyRandom WednesdaysYour Whims WednesdayWhatcha Wearing WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdaysBeautiful YouColor Brigade

The Modern Austen 2.0: The Grand Tour

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Now that you’ve taken a journey through all of my previous blog designs, I thought I’d break down all of the new features on my site so you can find your way around easier. One of the things I really love about this theme and the things I’ve implemented is its easy navigation. One of the comments I received in my survey a few weeks ago was to make older posts more accessible and I couldn’t agree more! Every blogger should make finding old posts a priority because you’ve put in too much time to let them be forgotten and unseen by new readers. Enjoy the grand tour!

The Navigation Bar

I simplified my navigation bar to include only a few categories, but they lead to a lot more posts in a streamlined and practical fashion. In addition to my typical About Me page (which has been updated!), you’ll also find a page just for new readers. It’s a great place to start if you’re visiting for the first time or if you need a refresher about what you can find here on The Modern Austen. New Reader Moving over to the Category label, you can find any post in a specific category, but if you aren’t entirely sure what you’re looking for, visually browse through the archives. screen-capture-10

Let’s Shop

I’ve also added a new tab called Let’s Shop. It’s set up like a mini Pinterest board, curated with a ton of my current loves. You can click to shop, share on social media, or pin to your own Pinterest boards. It’s a great way for us to go shopping together virtually. If you’re someone who enjoys style posts, this would be a great place for you to visit on days I’m not sharing an outfit. It will be updated occasionally to reflect new finds. screen-capture-8

Work With Me

Be sure to check out the next Work With Me tab. I’ve completely revamped my advertising options and included information for sponsorships and collaborations. I am focusing all of my attention on ONE sponsor a month and giving many individuals the cost-friendly and effective opportunity to expand their readership. You can read testimonials from former sponsors as well. screen-capture-12 In addition to all of these features, you’ll find links to some popular posts in the footer. As you can see, it’s so much easier to access posts and find something new and interesting to read.


Lastly, The Modern Austen is now responsive! You can read the blog on your mobile devices much easier than before. No more zooming in and out!

Any questions? Things not working? Other features you’d like to see? Be sure to share in the comments!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway to win BIG!