Out & About with Kustom Klutch

This week begins a new season of life for me.  For the first time in three years, I am a stay-at-home-mom.  When I went to work three years ago it was out of sheer boredom and loneliness, as we were still relatively new in town.  With Macy’s deciding to discontinue Elizabeth Arden (which eliminated my job), Audley and I decided together it was a great opportunity for me to return to our home.  My teenagers are actually thrilled over this, as is my husband, but mostly I think I’m relieved to have turned the page on that season of life.

So, I have shed the Macy’s black and brought back a little color to my life!  For me, blue and white is the quintessential color combo of summer.  Recently for an evening out with Audley to celebrate this new freedom of mine, I chose a pair of white Miss Me jeans paired with a blue and white striped top from INC (Macys… it was good for some things), and a fabulous pair of tan wedges by Steve Madden.  To complete my look I carried a denim clutch with red pom poms and a tassel from Kustom Klutch.

on the town

I can’t help but brag that I’m down to a size 8 from a 24 just a few summers back!!  I intend to be a 6 by September… just saying.

Designed by Jordan Fish, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, these cute clutches are handmade in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Once you design your clutch and place your order online (click here to check out Kustom Klutch) your custom bag arrives in just a couple of days packaged so adorably cute and included a hand-written note.

My daughters wanted to tear right into it…. Oh wait, Madeline did!!


When you purchase your clutch, not only are you supporting a small and young business (these went live in June), you are also supporting a charity.  Ten percent of each purchase goes to a charitable organization of Jordan’s choosing each month.  When I purchased both of my clutches (couldn’t make up my mind…) in June, the charity of choice was the Denny Hamlin Foundation which is “committed to raising awareness and funds for the specific needs of children with cystic fibrosis.”  For July her charity of the month is Pit Stops for Hope.


I was able to choose my bag and then added the tassel for a little whimsy.  The clutches are very well made and perfect for a night on the town.  You can easily fit your keys, a change purse with id and money, and of course a lipstick inside.

When your out for an adults night, leave the mom purse at home and go cute!


As I mentioned, I did purchase two of these fun clutches; the denim and red as well as a floral print (which looks fabulous with a royal blue sundress!).  So much fun for a summer night out!


Check out the Kustom Klutch website and find a clutch to fit your personality!



Off to the Races

Believe it or not, I am a huge fan of cars and especially cars that go really fast.  This weekend is the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of my favorite tracks without a doubt!  CMS is located in Concord, NC, just outside of Charlotte.

Bank of America 500 at CMS

Bank of America 500 at CMS

Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway

As I’m getting things together to head out for the weekend I thought that it would be fun to share a few Do’s & Don’ts of attending a race just in case you ever want to see what the exciting world of NASCAR is all about…

Do plan for a long day…. And get there early!  Parking can be a freaking nightmare challenge at almost all tracks, so you’ll want to arrive early for a decent location.  Otherwise you will be walking miles to arrive and leave.  I’d rather be close and sit in traffic than walk forever after an already long day.  Whether you are walking through the vendors and other off track activities, touring  Pit Road or sitting in the Grandstands, you will have a long day.  Walk around and catch some of the driver interviews around the track, indulge in a few of the corny games, check out the really awesome cars on display, and hang out by the broadcast area… you might see one of your favorite drivers or find yourself on TV.  It’s all a part of the NASCAR experience!

Bradley doing a Pit Road challenge

Bradley doing a Pit Road challenge

Do stay hydrated.  NASCAR may begin in February and run through early November, but long days, often extreme temps and the fact that you might drink (I do not) add up so keep your body refreshed and hydrated with plenty of water.  I can assure you, water will set better in your gut than soda and booze which will make your day much more enjoyable.

Do bring your camera.  There will be a lot of photo opportunities at the track for both you and your family.  If you like to be adventurous with you photos, try shooting the cars as they pass at 175+ mph.  That is a challenge I take EVERY time we are at the track.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Do take a large tote bag with you.  This makes it easy for carrying around extra water, a camera, light snacks, and other track “goodies”.  Oh yeah!  You can’t forget the sunscreen.  Apply when you arrive and throughout the day or you will have some crazy  lines and a painful burn!  Check the weather before you go; you may need to bring a rain jacket or poncho with you.  Most tracks don’t allow umbrellas inside so you want to be prepared.  My track bag is a Calvin Klein tote that I picked up at TJ Maxx three years ago, just for race weekends.  It’s light, has a couple of pockets, and plenty of room to stash necessities that I might need throughout the day.

Do dress appropriately. I’m amazed and often embarrassed by what people (especially women) will leave home in.  Seriously, dress appropriately.  Cowboy boots and shorts so short you cheeks hang out are NOT appropriate.  Trashy?  Absolutely.  Crop tops with your fat hanging over the sides of your shorts or pants?  Please have a little dignity!  Short little dresses with stilettos in the grandstands are NOT appropriate.  The men may like you wearing it as everyone gets a full view of your derrière as you climb the stairs…. just don’t.

And men…. Your shirtless, tattooed pot belly is not attractive.  I understand you want to buy your driver’s favorite shirt once you arrive at the track, but wear something into the track that you can throw away.  Please don’t come in half-dressed, showcasing a body that hasn’t seen the gym since middle high school PE.

Last year when Audley met Samantha Busch, wife of the #18 Kyle Busch

Last year when Audley met Samantha Busch, wife of the #18 Kyle Busch

The wives and girlfriends of NASCAR’s elite are often dressed as if they walked off the stage of fashion week; chic sundresses, heels, large framed sunglasses, hair styled perfectly so that they are camera ready with their men. It looks out-of-place for a racetrack, but I do appreciate women who dress up. With cameras in their faces all day it’s only appropriate.  While a more upscale look is acceptable for these ladies, it’s not as practical for the gal who is attending the race as a spectator (unless you are leaving your vehicle and headed straight to the air-conditioned suites for the race). So what do you wear for a long day at the track?

In the spring and fall, jeans and cute top are always appropriate. Add a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and even some cute accessories & fashionable sunglasses to finish your look. You can also layer your look as many races run into the evening. It may be warm as you tailgate and shop, but once the sun goes down (especially in late October), it can become extremely chilly. Leggings with a denim top and boots (that are made for walking) also make for comfortable fall race attire.  In the warmer months I’m all about a long sundress (If I will be on Pit Road) or a great pair of capri pants and comfortable sandals.

Shorts are acceptable, but at  40-something I just don’t wear them except to the gym or beach.  If you choose to go with shorts, be sure to bring along a beach towel to sit on as the bleachers or seats can really absorb some heat and burn your legs.  Hats are good; not a big, floppy derby style hat, but a cute monogrammed cap.  If there is a chance of rain, you will actually want a hat because your hair is going to fall flat, like it or not.

Madeline repine' Dale Jr. for race day

Madeline reppin’ Dale Jr. for race day

While there are fans who like to take things to the extreme, don’t be ashamed to rep your favorite driver.   Since Mark Martin fully retired from racing a couple of years ago I haven’t just one favorite driver anymore, but occasionally your might find me wearing a ladies-cut Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick shirt with a cute pair of capris as we are hanging at the track.  I like to dress-up a little more though when we are on Pit Road or in a suite.

Dressing up to be on Pit Road during the race.... My friend Yvonne was a NASCAR official so we've enjoyed our share of perks.

Dressing up to be on Pit Road during the race…. My friend Yvonne was a NASCAR official so we’ve enjoyed our share of perks.

Don’t drink too much.  Seriously, save yourself and those around you the embarrassment and put down the alcohol.  NASCAR can be fun for the whole family and personally I would rather my teenagers not reek of the beer you have tripped and split on them or hear your potty mouth.  Now, if you want to be made fun of, feel free to act the fool because my husband and kids will have plenty of jokes to make at your expense.

Don’t be rude.  It’s simple; everyone who is at the race is there to enjoy themselves. Don’t be that person who holds up the line at security with bags/coolers and extras that you probably should be bringing to the track.  Each track website has rules of what is and what isn’t allowed.  It takes five minutes to pull it up and read.  Take the time to do it.

Also, if you do have the opportunity to meet a driver or grab a few autographs, don’t take up all the time so no one else gets a chance and for sure let the driver move on!  With team meetings, driver meetings, media interviews, sponsor obligations and of course Driver Intos, race day is crazy busy for these guys and gals!

And have respect for those around you.  It’s that simple.  Just have fun without being uncivilized!

A few must-haves for race day:

Camera with a zoom lens

Binoculars (for an up close view of Pit Road action)

Scanner for listening to the crews communicate (Can rent at the track)

Earplugs, it gets LOUD




Snacks, although concessions are available

Tote Bag/Backpack

Lot’s of energy!

Using a scanner lets you hear the different teams communicate with the drivers and spotter; you really get a feel for the teamwork required in auto racing

Using a scanner lets you hear the different teams communicate with the drivers and spotter; you really get a feel for the teamwork required in auto racing

If you want to check out some of the ladies of NASCAR meet Samantha Busch and Whitney Kay Scott; bloggers as well as living the hectic and glamorous life of a NASCAR wife.

I love watching the teams celebrate post race ... So awesome to see the emotion!

I love watching the teams celebrate post race … So awesome to see the emotion!

Have fun and LET’S GO RACING!


Feeling Fashionable & Fit

Having spent most of my time the last thirteen years hiding behind oversized clothes, living in gym clothes and now basic black at Macy’s a couple of days a week, having the opportunity to dress-up and go out the last several weeks has been so much fun!  Granted almost all of the occasions have been related to graduation, but it was kind of nice to put on a little confidence, step out of my comfort zone into some high heels and while wearing fashionable yet still age & occasion appropriate attire.

All of this dressing up to go out is not a new concept to me, but it is one I left behind years ago when I put on all my weight.  It’s a real struggle to not see the old me in the mirror and look at all the positive changes that have occurred in this life!

 I've come a long way..... a very long way.
The old me not so long ago. I’ve come a long way….. a very long way.

Finding the right outfit to wear is often a challenge for any of us, but accepting that challenge and stepping out of our comfort zone can be fun too! Slowly I am learning to see the new me in the mirror and trust my choices when it comes to dressing up.

You see, weight loss is more than a physical journey, it is also an emotional one. Sometimes it’s easy to reach those physical goals, but the emotional ones are a wee bit harder. I am chiseling away at those each and everyday!


For the first time in a long time I felt completely confident in my choices and didn’t feel like I had to hide behind black or oversized clothes.


The first event on our agenda of activities was Graduation Sunday at our church.  After a lovely service that focused on guiding our young people down the right path and creating a spiritual legacy while honoring all of the seniors, we enjoyed a fabulous BBQ luncheon.  For this special day I wore a dress by Michael Kors for Macy’s and a fun pair of strapy heels by Steve Madden.


My girls were giving me a hard time over the purchase of such a trendy pair of shoes, but they completed this simple outfit and added just a bit of contrasting color to my very blue dress.  A simple strand of pearls and my outfit was complete.

Madden Girl

Graduation was our second big event out.  I wore an orange “shirt” dress by Sandra Darren for this evening out.  I loved the dress for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s thin so the harsh southern humidity & stickiness wasn’t amplified  by my attire.  Secondly, it’s loose, so at the end of the day when the swelling from my surgery is really bad, it’s not so obvious.


The Southern humidity was very much an issue for my hair!

You can’t see them in the picture, but I wore a pair of black wedges with the dress as graduation was originally scheduled to be on the football field and we were going to be doing a lot of walking.


Our final event out was actually just a simple spring evening in the park.  While our teenagers were enjoying time with their cousins, Audley and I were enjoying a few moments for ourselves.  Falls Park in Greenville is an absolutely beautiful location for families as well as couples.  My sister snapped this picture for us because every picture we have lately is from the gym!

Date night in the gym....

Date night in the gym….

Up until very recently, this would have totally been an occasion in which I would have worn yoga pants and an over-sized shirt, so imagine my husbands delight when I climbed into his truck dress-up for our stroll in the park!


This brown and black empire waisted sundress is from Soma Intimates.  They are the sister company of White House/Black Market and have a lovely and simple line of casual wear.  I wore a pair of brown sparkly flip-flops for walking through the park and accessorized with a pair of Jessica Simpson Sunglasses.

I tell you, it’s an awesome feeling stepping out of my comfort zone!

One of the best things about stepping out of that comfort zone was that I didn’t have to spend a fortune in order to look put-together for any of these events.  The Michael Kors dress was purchased at Macy’s using my employee discount, Macy money, & a really good coupon and cost about $30 (originally $140).  The Steve Madden shoes were found at DSW on the clearance rack for $15.00.  The orange shirt dress was about $25 on sale at Belk.   My Franco Sarto black wedges were a full-priced ($54.00) but worthwhile purchase as I can wear them with a multitude of outfits. My dress sundress from Soma was just $22.00 & the Jessica Simpson sunglasses were $12 from TJ Maxx.

I love the challenge of finding a good deal on my clothes, especially since I am still losing weight and hopefully won’t be wearing them long!

Dress-up or Dress-down?  Which do you prefer?