Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hot Pink Pop


Thanks for all of the sweet comments on Facebook and Instagram regarding this post! I am still getting the hang of having an additional 7 inches of hair to deal with, but I am loving it so far. One thing I've noticed is that I'm applying waaay more heat to my [real] hair than before, since I am washing, blow drying, and curling it almost every day to make the extensions blend... not the best. I've been trying to experiment with a few new styles - especially if it means I can go more days between washes - which lead me to the top knot. This twist on the classic ballerina bun is one look that I've long admired on long-haired girls (especially Julia and Blair), so I thought I'd give it a go.


You can see that I did eventually order the Petty boots from Sam Edelman, and they have been my go-to boots for the past month. It's been too cold for ballet flats, and my black Vince boots are too tall for long walks, so these are bridging the gap. With Piperlime's frequent sales, I managed to get these at just under $100, so definitely try to wait and get them on sale. Also as an FYI, they run a bit big, so I had to exchange them for a half size smaller than my usual size.


My boyfriend & I are finally determined to complete a gallery wall in our bedroom (14 feet, floor to ceiling!). Over the last few months, I've made progress on my own painting and have collected some antique art, but I still need to buy a few more modern pieces, print some personal photography, and find frames for everything. In fact, I wore this outfit on a long walk downtown to have a few prints framed at the art store, but it ended up being a bit of a disappointment when we were quoted $1000 for the framing of four (tiny!) pieces. Youch! Now we are going the DIY route, so I'll be sharing all of those details soon.



Zara Coat (last seen here) | Equipment Top (similar color on sale) | Prada Sunglasses (other colors here) | Rag & Bone Denim | Sam Edelman Petty Boots (They run big! I sized down by a half size) | Chanel Boy Bag

I was in Austin the weekend before last and forgot my camera (major regret), which threw off my picture-taking/posting schedule! I'll be back on track with more outfit posts and a new home series, so stay tuned. Thanks for continuing to check back. xx

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Leather Jacket & Long Hair


Hello, hello! This is my first official outfit post with long hair, and I'm super excited about it. It's been so snowy and cold these past couple of weeks that I only had a small window of time to take blog pictures this past weekend. I was rushing to get an outfit together before the sun went down, so I just relied on some old faithfuls, most of which you've seen on the blog already: my best-fitting jeans, a great white button-up tee (from one of my first posts), a bright handbag, leopard booties (last seen here), and a leather jacket.


This leather jacket was my best souvenir from my semester abroad (these shoes are a close second). I feel like a total badass whenever I'm wearing it, and it's a great topper for pretty much anything, from a t-shirt & jeans, to a party dress. The booties are a bit ridiculous to wear around in the ice and snow (I know, I know!) but I was craving a change after a week of practical snow boots.


I find myself reaching for solid black and white tops & t-shirts more often than anything else in my closet (although I only have a few tops, so maybe I just need to expand my selection?). I found this James Perse tee at TJ Maxx last year (for around $30, I think) and I love the fabric and the fit. These Madewell All-Around tees have a similar, loose-body fit in a v-neck style, and I love them just as much. I have the black and the heather indigo colors, but I'm crossing my fingers that they will come out with a white one soon.

Black Leather Jacket (similar here; less expensive here) | James Perse Top (last seen here) | Rag & Bone Denim | Leopard Booties (last seen here) | Proenza Schouler PS1

I was in NYC yesterday for a day full of meetings, so I'm writing this on the train back home. I actually wore this dress all day and felt like a million bucks (and managed to keep warm by doubling up on my tights). I've said it before, but when you find something that you like, there is no shame in wearing it over and over and over again. What are some of your go-to pieces?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, New Hair


One thing that you should know about me, is that I’ve always been dissatisfied with my hair. It’s extremely fine and stick straight, becomes greasy way too easily, and really doesn’t grow out well past my collarbone. It does have it’s perks: it dries quickly, it looks cute in a bob and I have zero frizz, but I’ve always pined after the long, luscious locks of my friends, co-workers and nearly every blogger I follow. To be honest, it’s been the one thing that I’d like to change about my appearance for the longest time.

Around the beginning of December, I started watching makeup and beauty tutorials on YouTube, and over the holidays, I randomly stumbled on some hair tutorials as well. Picture me surprised when nearly everyone with incredible hair started their tutorial with: “First, I clip in my hair extensions….” WHAT??! This isn't their real hair? I thought it was just little ole me who was born without incredible hair, but THIS IS THE SECRET, Y'ALL. If you were born with long, thick, beautiful hair, I am eternally jealous. But if you weren’t, you can have it too! Just like nearly every celebrity, model, or vlogger, apparently.

I’ve had hair extensions twice before for high school prom, but they were temporarily glued in, and so difficult to deal with. My feelings toward permanent hair extensions were that they were extremely expensive (think: thousands of dollars), harmful to your hair, and tons of upkeep, so it never seemed like a viable option. Spurred on by this newfound knowledge of CLIP-IN extensions, I stopped by Sally Beauty Supply over the weekend, and used their color swatches to find a set that matched my hair (I really wasn’t interested in getting my hair colored regularly to match extensions, so that was going to be a deal breaker for me – see the thousands of dollars comment above). I completely LUCKED OUT and jumped for joy in the store when the EuroNext Chestnut Brown color matched perfectly. I grabbed the shortest length -14”- since my hair is short to begin with, and checked out. I clipped them in as soon as I got home, and sent this picture to my mom:


I knew that they needed to blend into my hair better (you could still see the division between my hair and the extensions in person), so I scheduled an appointment with my local salon, and requested a haircut that would include the clip-in extensions. Turns out, my stylist uses clip-ins as well (I’m telling you: THEY ARE EVERYWHERE), and did a great job with trimming them and making them blend. My original plan was to cut them significantly so that the extensions would add thickness to my hair without creating a dramatic change in length, but my stylist convinced me to keep them long for at least a couple of weeks, and I’m so glad that she did!

They are still not perfectly blended when I wear them straight, but I hear that it’s almost impossible to make that happen when you have a big separation in length (like I do). Instead, curling them makes all the difference in the world, so I’ve been using this NuMe curling wand, and it’s been love ever since. 


I’m definitely still getting the hang of it – I never even curled my hair before this – and it's more of a commitment to get ready in the morning, but I’m hoping that I’ll get better and better at managing them, especially as my own hair grows out. If you are on the fence about getting hair extensions for yourself, I’d be happy to talk to you about all of the details if you contact me here! I’m loving the new look and hope you do too. All of my [hair] dreams have come true, which is such a great way to kick off 2015.

P.S. I can officially mark #15 off of my list. Only 50 more to go! xx

Monday, January 12, 2015

Essie: Big Spender



It's been awhile since I've posted a nail polish recommendation, mostly because I've been suuuper lazy with my at home manicures since the holidays. I finally painted my nails last night while I watched the Golden Globes (maybe I was inspired by E!'s mani-cam? Just kidding.. this tweet made me laugh). Anyways, hopefully I'm getting back into the swing of things.

I love this nail color from Essie: Big Spender. The purple/pink is really flattering for us pale-skinned gals, but I'm sure it would look equally lovely on darker skin, or with a tan. I had my makeup done over at NARS a couple of weeks ago, and purchased a lip color that is a very similar shade: Never Say Never. I'm looking forward to wearing this color more this winter.

Speaking of winter, does anyone have a secret for keeping your hands from completely drying out in the cold? I've been trying all sorts of different lotions/creams/oils/etc., but nothing seems to last throughout the day. Would love to know what works for you!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Black Cashmere Sweater


I've been reaching for this cashmere sweater every other day since I got it last month in Austin (I picked up this dress on the same trip!). I'm not usually a big fan of the high-low style hem, but this sweater totally converted me. I love the drape, not to mention that it is so soft and cozy. It's also extremely warm, which is perfect for the ice cold weather we've been having.


By the way, I'm still completely in love with my teal PS1. One of my great friends just bought one in the Smoke color, which is the most beautiful gray/taupe. I am so jealous! ;)

Subtle Luxury Sweater (also love the gray color; black v-neck version here) | Rag & Bone Denim (I really want this color too!) | Vince Booties from The Real Real | Proenza Schouler PS1 Bag | J.Crew Earrings (old)

What a week it has been. It was definitely hard to work five days IN A ROW after such a long holiday break, but we did it! I am really looking forward to catching up on some sleep this weekend, and watching the second Downton Abbey episode on Sunday. Is anyone else watching? xx

Thursday, January 8, 2015

51 things in 501 days

(all photos by me except for this one & this one)

Mackenzie Horan (over at Design Darling) created an awesome template for setting 101 goals in 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years) that I've been admiring for several years now. When I started my New Year's resolutions this year, it was with 101 goals in mind. However, I narrowed my version down a bit, after I realized I wasn't ready to start planning out farther than a year and a half. Below you will find 51 goals that I want to accomplish in the next 501 days.. January 8, 2015 – May 23, 2016 to be exact.

Some of these are already in progress, and others will take the whole 501 days (hello, #21), but I’m really excited to share these with you and keep you updated on the progress. I hope this inspires you to write your own list, because 2015 is YOUR YEAR to make your dreams come true.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an outfit post (to keep going strong on #1!), so be sure to check back if this isn't your thing. Thanks for continuing to follow along! xx


BLOG (0/6)
1.    Post THREE times per week in 2015
2.    Design two additional pages on necessaryluxury.co
3.    Share a "How-To" post once a month
4.    Start a new blog series (that lasts for six+ weeks)
5.    Celebrate my blog’s first anniversary
6.    Post updates as I cross things off this list


BRAINS (0/8)
7.    Take a GMAT Study Class
8.    Take the GMAT
9.    Apply to Business School
10.  Master a foreign language (Spanish or Italian)
11.  Re-read all of the Harry Potter books (maybe in the language from #10?)
12.  Organize my personal email
13.  Try out for Jeopardy!
14.  Work on three tactics to battle procrastination


BEAUTY (1/5)
15.  Change my hair in a major way (can’t wait to share this with you!) UPDATE: New Year, New Hair
16.  Master the art of beautiful waves (just like my BFF Britta)
17.  Incorporate braids in my hair rotation (loooove this and this)
18.  Wear more lipstick!
19.  Start wearing jewelry (especially rings & earrings)


BRAWN (0/7)
20.  Run an 8-minute mile
21.  Train for and complete a sprint triathlon
22.  Take another set of ski lessons
23.  Stretch every day!
24.  Wake up at 6AM every morning for two weeks
25.  Finally compile all of my favorite recipes
26.  Eat more chocolate.


BOUDOIR (0/9)
27.  Paint 2 large scale pieces of art
28.  Source photos/art & frames for a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall
29.  DIYs: Headboard, Roman Shade, Coffee Table
30.  Find the perfect pair of nightstands
31.  Figure out a solution for bedroom area rug
32.  Source art for bathroom
33.  Go to 3+ estate sales
34.  Finally finish hemming my 10’ drapery panels
35.  Have the entire space professionally photographed (for #36)
36.  See my apartment published on a major blog or online magazine


BONUS (0/8)
37.  Keep a list of good memories from 2015, to be read at the beginning of 2016
38.  Volunteer 100 hours
39.  Design & send holiday cards (I’m thinking Valentine’s Day!)
40.  Write & mail one letter a month
41.  Finally watch The Godfather series
42.  Join a club. 
43.  BE ON TIME everywhere for one month straight (hopefully #14 will help)
44.  Start collecting something other than nail polish ;)


BON VOYAGE (0/7)
45.  Plan a big trip for Summer 2016
46.  Travel outside of my city (by plane, train, or automobile) once a month
47.  Invest in a piece of grown up luggage
48.  Go to Newport, Rhode Island
49.  Go on a trip with my girlfriends (Summer 2015!)
50.  Plan a trip with my mom and sister
51.  Put $20 into Travel Savings for every goal accomplished

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter White & Navy


Back to real life today - it's the first Monday of 2015! I meant to post this first thing this morning, but I could not get myself out of bed until the absolute last second. I'm going to blame it on the cold weather here in Baltimore - I press snooze way too often unless I have a good reason to jumpstart the day. Even little things help me pull back those covers like a new lip color, or promising myself that I can listen to 1989 on repeat while I get ready. But really, nothing is more effective at getting me excited for the day than having something new to wear.


Speaking of... I'm very excited to share these Stuart Weitzman pumps that I picked up on sale last month (some colors are still on sale here)! I haven't attempted to wear them to work quite yet, but hopefully soon. My winter uniform is made up of coats, scarves, jeans, and boots, so it's fun to dress it up with heels every now and then.


While the shoes were a bit of a splurge, I'll let you in on my favorite trick for finding affordable scarves: the fabric store. A couple of years ago, I was dying for a leopard silk scarf, but I couldn't find anything great in an affordable price range. Thankfully, I stopped by Textile Fabrics in Nashville to look at materials for another project, when I found this pretty silk leopard for about $20/yard. I bought 1.5 yards so that it would drape & be a bit oversized, and I love the way it turned out (especially for $30). You can either keep the edges raw, or do a small hem on all four sides with a sewing machine like I did here (or drop it off with your tailor, for around $10). I've worn this one tons of times, and I love that no one else has the exact same one.



Banana Republic Coat (old, similar here) | Leopard Silk Scarf (1.5 yards of silk fabric) | Madewell All-Around Tee | Rag & Bone Denim (my new favorite) | Stuart Weitzman Nouveau Pumps | Essie Nail Polish in Penny Talk

I've been working on my New Year's resolutions (following this fun template), which combines a lot of my favorite things: making lists, setting high goals, and dreaming about the future. I'll hopefully share mine later this week! Join me??

Friday, January 2, 2015

Postcards from Bolivia


This past August, I traveled to South America for the first time on a trip with my boyfriend's family. We met his sister in La Paz, Bolivia, and spent a week traveling through the eastern part of the country. Although it can be a difficult place for traveling, the beauty and connection to nature was something that I feel lucky to have experienced.


Some highlights of the trip include witnessing a parade in La Paz, shopping in the markets in each city, spending a few days on Sun Island & Copacabana, going on long hikes and boat rides, eating lots and lots of quinoa, visiting the incredible salt flats, and staying in a hotel that was made entirely of salt! If you think I didn't try and eat the walls in our hotel room, you are wrong.



J.Crew Scarf (last seen here) | Prada Sunglasses | Under Armour Shirt | J Brand Denim | Proenza Schouler PS1





I really fell in love with all of the bright colors and textiles in Bolivia. I only brought a carry on for the trip since we were moving around often, but I made room to take home a beautiful piece of fabric, pouches for myself and friends (one seen here), and lots and lots of chocolate.




Overall, I was most impressed by the women that we met there. They are expected to do so much: cook, clean, rear children, carry heavy loads (as heavy as the donkey walking alongside them), tend to the animals, take care of their husbands, and help farm the land. Most of them also make and sell items to tourists in the markets, and each one was more kind and gracious than the last. It helped me appreciate the opportunities that I have as a woman in America, even though we are still working toward complete equality.






I am very much looking forward to returning to South America. Where are you most eager to go?