Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014


This year has been a wonderful one. I spent more time with friends and family, traveled to new places with people I love, celebrated big birthdays, began a rewarding project at work, and finally started a blog. Thank you so much for all of the support over the past few months. Your encouraging comments, texts, emails, and conversations mean the world to me, and fuel me to make this blog even bigger and better in 2015. Thank you!


Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Black Shirt Dress


Wearing hats has become the best thing for me lately. My boyfriend jokes that I look like Indiana Jones everytime I wear it, and it does slightly resemble the one that Pharrell adores, but I really like the look. What do you think of the trend?


This one is foldable, which is perfect for stuffing into a handbag, and also waterproof, which makes rainy days way easier to deal with, especially paired with a trench coat. I also have fine hair that drives me nuts! So it's wonderful to throw on a hat on those mornings that I don't feel like washing it and blowing it out.



This silk shirt dress from Vince has quickly become my new favorite dress. I went shopping with my boyfriend's mom and sister a couple of weekends ago in Austin, and picked it up at the Neiman Marcus designer sale. I just saw that it's still on sale at Neiman's and at Barney's, in case you like it too!


I haven't had a chance to take any new outfit pictures until this past weekend, but that hasn't stopped me from wearing it nonstop. In fact, I wore this whole outfit to work yesterday (minus the hat, plus this coat), and to our team's holiday party that afternoon. I also highly recommend it if you are looking for a killer dress to wear to an interview. Vince makes so many pieces that are a great mix of chic, professional, and fashion forward - just like you!


Vince Shirt Dress (also on sale here) | Felt Hat (similar here) | Spanx Tights (on sale!) | Vince Booties from The Real Real | Vintage Bracelet | Chanel Boy Bag | NARS Lipstick in Mayflower | Essie Nail Polish in Penny Talk (last mentioned here)

I'm heading to my hometown for the rest of the week starting tomorrow, and I'm hoping to get some quality blog time in between the delicious food and board games. Wishing you the happiest holiday season, and safe travels over the next few days. xx

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas

Since yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah, and Christmas is officially 8 days away, I thought I would share a few of my go-to gifts in case you are still looking for one. I focused on items that are thoughtful while still being affordable, and are still easy to order or pick-up within the next week. Happy Holidays!

For your best best friend who lives on the west coast and thankfully still believes in the art of letter writing...


Stationary & vintage stamps

My latest obsession is with vintage stamps. I've ordered from the Etsy shops Pack & Post and Verde Studio, and they always arrive less than three days later. They both have a great selection, but my personal faves are these, these, and these.

For stationary, I'm the biggest fan of Rifle Paper Co. Their Social Stationary is fun and comes in a pretty box, and I love everything about the Garance Dore collaboration. If you don't have time to order online, I've had great luck with Target's selection of stationary, and Paper Source is another great place to look if you are lucky enough to have one in your city!

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For your darling co-worker who you love gabbing with about the latest Essie colors...


A bottle of nail polish & a gift certificate for a manicure

See some of my top nail colors here and here. This is a super easy thing to pick up from CVS or Target, and is one of my favorite things to give and receive.

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For your best guy friend/brother/dad/boyfriend who is impossible to buy anything for...


A remote controlled helicopter

He is sure to love this more than anything you've ever given him, and at less than $20, you can't beat it. Just get him one and thank me later.
PS If you really want to win the best gift-giver award, get him two and watch him and a friend spend hours crashing them into each other.

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For anyone and everyone (and especially ME)!


chocolate chocolate chocolate

I used this idea in August and brought back a ton of chocolate from Bolivia for my co-workers, family, and friends. For something you can find a little closer to home, there is nothing better than the chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe's. They make the perfect stocking stuffer, and I highly recommend putting them in a bowl for your holiday party.

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For your mom who loves you but not until she has had her first cup of coffee in the morning...


A pretty mug so she will think of you often

Bonus points if you paint it yourself, but I also love this pretty onethis sweet one, and this funny one.

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For your love who only ignores you when he is reading a good book...


One of your favorite books with sweet and funny notes written within the chapters 

Obviously this will be a more personal one, but my first thought was how I'd love to sprinkle some one-liners through all the twists and turns of Gone Girl. Have fun with it! or make it romantic. Either way, it's a big hit.

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It can be stressful to find gifts for everyone you love around the holidays, but thankfully giving or sending someone a note that tells them how much you like them is often the most memorable gift of all. xx

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Emerald Green Coat


Acquiring a collection of great coats is the silver lining of surviving winters on the east coast. Since it's what everyone sees you wear for 4 months of the year, it is necessary to have one that you like and more importantly, keeps you warm. I found this one on sale at Nordstrom Rack last winter (it's still on sale here!), and I love the color, the fit, and the fox fur detail. I channel my inner lioness every time I wear it. RAWR.


But in all seriousness, it does keep me very warm, and that is the most important thing. I heard a quote recently that "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing," so I'm doing my best to layer up this winter. The other pieces of clothing that I swear by in the cold: Under Armour ColdGear under all of my clothing (25% off here), boots (including these, and these), Ugg ear muffs or a slouchy beanie (another super cute one here), and gloves at all times (bonus points if they are touch screen friendly).


Sachi Coat (on sale and in more colors here) | Citizens of Humanity DenimComptoir des Cotonniers Boots | Chanel Boy Bag

It's been such a crazy few weeks with the holidays and so much traveling, that I've been losing the time I usually set aside for blogging. Thanks for continuing to check out the blog, and I hope to be more consistent with my posting throughout this year and definitely into the next.

Sending lots of love and warmth your way!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Scalloped Sweater


This is what I wore last week for Thanksgiving dinner. Since we were in Texas, it was 70-80 degrees the whole weekend, and I basically lived in skirts and breezy outfits like this one. We only had time for a few pictures before heading back for turkey, but I still wanted to share.


I bought this sweater from jcrew.com a few months ago, but I was disappointed in how boxy the fit was. I dropped it off with my tailor in Oklahoma who took in about six inches on either side for a grand total of $8. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to make something wearable. I do love the uniqueness of the scalloped hem, and I think it pairs well with the drop hem of this green skirt. The top is still available on sale, but please be aware that you may need to size down and/or have it altered.


J.Crew Scalloped Sweater | J.Crew Green Skirt (last seen here) | Vintage Necklace | Merona Ballet Flats (my favorite flats) | Chanel Boy Bag | Prada Sunglasses (in black here)

These last few weeks have been incredibly busy! This morning I am heading back to Texas (Austin this time) and I'm very excited for another fun weekend with family. While it's getting quite cold here in Baltimore, I'm looking forward to enjoying the warm weather, especially since I finally picked up a Tibi skirt during Cyber Monday.

I hope you have a great weekend! Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Red Trench & Prada Boots


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I snapped these pictures before heading down to Texas last week, so it was still right in the middle of fall weather. This outfit is full of so many fall favorites: a great trench coat, the color red, dark wash skinny jeans, my first investment handbag, and the best shoes in my closet. 


While I was studying abroad, I started a blog to keep my mom up to date with all of my activities, and completely fell in love with blogging. I started reading Emily Schuman's blog daily (cupcakesandcashmere.com), and these pale pink booties kept popping up in her outfit posts. About halfway through the semester, I found a consignment store around the corner from my apartment, and Emily's booties were sitting in the window! I immediately went in, tried them on, and walked out with them. I couldn't believe my luck.


It was an outrageous purchase on my small budget, and I ended up surviving on pasta for the next month, but they make me so happy anytime I have a chance to wear them. Emily still wears them too!

The red trench was one of my first purchases after all of my clothes were stolen in college. I could only buy two coats to replace the ones I had lost, and I decided to buy a warm black peacoat and this red trench. A trench coat is a classic for a reason, and I must say I've worn this one countless times. It's waterproof, and has a removable fleece liner to make it wearable year-round, plus I love the color.


Michael Kors Trench Coat (hooded version here - I wish I could exchange mine for this one!) | J.Crew Merino Tippi Sweater (my absolute favorite sweater) | J Brand Denim | Prada Booties | Proenza Schouler PS1 via The Real Real

What's your favorite thing to wear in the fall?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Essie: Head Mistress


One of my best friends & mentors from when I lived in Nashville is a nail artist pro. She sent me a picture of her nails with this design, and I loved it so much that I had to try it myself. While it is a bit more time consuming than the usual at home mani, it's still quite easy to do:

Step 1: Use tape and a pair of scissors to create the triangles. Blue painters tape works great, but masking tape will also do. Scotch tape seems to have more seepage than the other two, but it's still an option. Try your best to make the angles similar to each other, but you can make them smaller or larger depending on your nail shape. Apply the tape so that the triangle covers 2/3 of the nail.
Step 2: Once all of the nails have been taped, apply a bottom coat on your nail, right on top of the tape. Let dry. This helps to create a barrier between the tape and the color, so it won't bleed through as much.
Step 3: Apply two coats of nail color, again right on top of the tape. Allow it to dry for a minute in between the two coats.
Step 4: Before the paint on the second coat is completely dry, carefully peel off the tape.
Step 5: My nails always look messy at this point, so don't fret if you don't have straight lines. I use some q-tips (these pointed ones are great) dipped in nail polish remover to clean up the triangle.
Step 6: Apply a quick drying top coat and allow them to finish drying.

Mine aren't 100% perfect, but they do look great from afar. It's fun to mix it up every now and then!
P.S. A big thanks to my darling mom for taking this picture for me while I was home last weekend. xx

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Necessary Luxury: Designer Sunglasses


CATEGORY
Necessary | Luxury

WHY?
I have purchased a new pair of designer sunglasses once a year since college, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. Everyone needs to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes, and there is a big difference in quality between the cheap frames + lenses and the statement designer frames with UV blocking lenses. My favorite pairs of sunnies feel heavy and substantial, and have stood the test of time (through many accidental falls from the top of my head). Ranging from $100-$400, and often going on sale, sunglasses are a great way to enter into the world of designer goods. Also, you can (and should) wear them every day, which drastically decreases their cost per wear. If you add up the amount of cheap sunglasses I bought and broke throughout my first three years of college, I could have purchased at least a pair of Ray-Bans that I'd still be wearing today.

WHERE TO BUY
Department stores are the best (Nordstrom! Dillards! Neimans!). They have so many different pairs to try on in order to find your perfect pair. After I’ve tried on a bunch and found one or two that I love, I always search online to see if they are on sale anywhere. Black Friday is a GREAT time to buy sunglasses (especially from department stores), and I’ve had a lot of luck finding great ones (including these and these) at Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth. Some of the styles that I'm loving right now are in the image at the top of this post.

DOs & DON'Ts
While trying them on, do take pictures of yourself on your phone (#selfie), just to make sure you can picture how they actually look on you (and if they photograph well). I find it impossible to look at myself in the mirror when I have a pair of dark sunglasses on inside, so the pictures help. When choosing your first pair, start with the basics: a pair of aviators, black cat eye frames or classic tortoise-shell will always look chic. Once you’ve checked those off the list, mix it up with something bold, or a twist on a classic. Try to stay away from white frames, as they often look cheap no matter how expensive they are. Also, always carry them around in their case so they don’t get scratched (don’t just throw them in your bag, naked!), and try your best not to lose them. Keeping track of them gets easier if you make it a habit to wear them everyday. Once you walk outside, it will become instinctual to put them on, so you'll notice right away if you've left them sitting on the table at the restaurant. After a year or two, you’ll have the start to an awesome collection. xx

New Series: Necessary Luxuries

The only thing I don't LOVE about fashion blogs is the materialism. Lately, it seems like every blogger sends the message of NEW NEW NEW BUY BUY BUY! which feels tiring instead of aspirational. You don't really have to have a new handbag and a $1000 pair of shoes in every outfit to be happy, but that has become the new normal. I am sensitive to this because I had all of my clothes stolen about 4 years ago, which forced me to change my mindset. Now I am all about filling my closet with essential items that I'll be able to wear and wear and wear. Those items are something you might call a...
I think other bloggers have addressed this issue before with posts around "investment pieces", but that's not really what I am going for. Some things are definitely an investment (example: a designer handbag), but my favorite black cardigan that I completely wore out was $20 on sale, and my best flats ever are from Target. It's more about spending & investing where it matters. In my opinion, that includes: designer sunglasses, leather handbags, a beautiful & well-made coat. Things that don't last for more than one season shouldn't be a big investment: flats, cardigans, a white t-shirt. Your closet needs both types of items, but you shouldn't feel like you are breaking the bank every time you need something new.

To me, it's the mix between the necessary items you need to have as your base and the luxury items that aren't critical (you can still be clothed even if you don't have a statement scarf), that help launch you into the realm of style. A necessary item may be an investment, but may not be, and the same for a luxury item. A beautiful piece of costume jewelry that makes your outfit come together may have only cost you $15 at a vintage shop or on sale at Nordstrom Rack, but it would be considered a luxury item compared to your favorite pair of jeans.

I'm really passionate about this idea (as you can tell from my blog name!), so I thought it would be fun to create a series where I go through all of the items that I consider essential to a great closet and wardrobe. I'll start today with a post in a few hours, so come back if you are interested. And as always, let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions. I hope you will love it! xx

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweater & Leather


I am writing this on an airplane as I head back to Baltimore from a weekend at home, so I thought it was only fitting to share my favorite sweater to wear while traveling. It isn't so warm that it's stifling, but it can become a full blanket if needed for a chilly flight. Plus it's Thanksgiving week! And Thanksgiving always reminds me of cozy sweaters.


Here are those leather leggings and Vince booties again.. I can't get enough of them! Plus I find a lot of satisfaction when I can find new ways to wear things that are already in my closet. The sweater and t-shirt were both from TJ Maxx a couple of years ago, and while I would usually wear this with riding boots or loafers, it feels completely fresh paired with all that leather.


One of my favorite things so far about committing to this blog is giving myself an excuse to come up with new outfits all the time. I've been keeping a notebook next to my bed because I've been thinking of new ideas in the middle of the night! It's amazing to start a new project and feel inspired, so thank you for continuing to follow along.


Calvin Klein Sweater (I bought a size large for an oversized look.. similar here) | Long Sleeve Tee (no tag but similar here) | J Brand Leather Leggings via The Real Real (last seen here) | Vince Booties via The Real Real | Chanel Boy Bag

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? I'll be heading to Texas tomorrow to spend five days with my boyfriend's family, which is sure to be a great time. Also happening tomorrow? I'll be sharing my favorite item to look for on Black Friday, so be sure to check back. xx

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hallway Update: Progress & Plans

The hallway - the first thing you notice when you walk up the stairs to our part of the house, plus we spend all of our time here in the morning getting ready. It needs to be pretty AND functional, but the progress has been slow. You can check out this post for what it looked like before, and while these are definitely not the FINAL pictures of the hallway, I’ve made some progress and I'd love to share my future plans with you. Since we’ve last talked about it, I’ve added a rug…

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Essie: After School Boy Blazer



Essie After School Boy Blazer is a true navy. It's very dark - nearly black - but I love dark nails for fall.

The only complaint I have is that it's chipping like crazy. I've had to touch it up nearly every morning since I've had it on, but I guess that's a bit better than starting from scratch.


Overall, I think the color is lovely - very dark and moody to match the weather, but not quite as harsh as black. I'm loving it with my darker ensembles lately, and it certainly makes me feel more put together than I usually am on a Tuesday morning.

What do you think? Would you rock the navy nails? xx