Monday, December 21, 2015

French Braid

This was such a productive weekend. Do you know the saying: "a Sunday well spent brings a week of content"? That is so true for me. I finally unpacked my suitcase, did six loads of laundry, made a trip to Trader Joe's, picked up the last of my Christmas gifts, and took some photos for the blog. While I love to relax on the weekend, I love to cross things off of my to-do list even more. Plus it makes the work-week a little less scary to face.

I bought this dress from Madewell over the summer, and I've worn it countless times. It's actually designed to be a swimsuit coverup, but the color and fabric are luxe enough to dress up. Especially with the greatest slingback pumps ever ($70!), and my all-time favorite leather jacket. The weather has officially turned cold, so this might be my last chance to wear a dress without tights for the next few months.

The best thing about having longer hair is the ability to wear it in different ways! I love following Amber Fillerup's blog for hair inspiration, especially when it comes to braids. This french braid is such a simple style and is perfect for those days when I wake up late and don't want to shower.

Thanks for reading! I hope your week is off to a great start. xx

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Duffy Cashmere Wrap

I am very excited to share this sweater on the blog, because it's from a new [to me] brand called Duffy. Have you heard of Duffy before? If not, please go feast your eyes on their current & previous lookbooks here. I love all of their sweaters, and their styling is incredible beautiful. I picked this wrap up at the same store in Austin, Texas where I found my favorite cashmere sweater last year: Positive Images. Both Duffy and Subtle Luxury are brands that are new to me in the last couple of seasons, but I’m a huge fan of their quality and detail. I have to keep myself from wearing either sweater every weekend and multiple times during the week! I do love the bigger brands like J.Crew and Zara for anything more straightforward, but a special sweater is something I’m always on the lookout for. 

The mild weather we’ve had so far this winter has been lovely, mostly because it's fun to get more wear from some of my favorite fall outfits. This more neutral look is definitely a favorite. The wrap is a great piece because the contrast hem & stripe down the back, paired with the luxe wool/cashmere/alpaca fabric makes it more interesting than your usual sweater. My gray suede booties from J.Crew add even more texture to the combination. I've also talked about it a few times on the blog, but I love investing in a bright colored handbag! It matches and complements any all black or neutral colored outfit, and adds the perfect pop of color. I’m currently on a freezing airplane heading back to Baltimore, and I’m feeling quite comfy because this wrap also doubles as a makeshift blanket ;). Lucky for you, The Outnet has a large selection of Duffy sweaters on sale right now. I especially love this cashmere vest and this pink tunic sweater.

So I really let my hair grow out since I last posted ;) just kidding... I decided it was time to replace my original set of hair extensions, and I went quite a bit longer (!!) and a little lighter than before (caramel instead of chestnut brown). I’m still on the fence about it. I loved the way my previous set blended so easily, and this set can sometimes make it obvious that I’m wearing extensions (especially because I love to wear them straight!). So while I do like the subtle ombre effect that the caramel color gives my hair, I may go back to the other shade once these are ready to be retired. What do you think of the new color?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Musings: A Shoe Story

Let’s talk shoes. 

I’ve always been a huge lover of handbags, but I’ve only recently started to understand the adoration for shoes. Just like a statement bag, shoes can be the accessory that ties your look together, or the exclamation point on the end of an outfit. Alternatively, a worn out or badly matching pair of shoes can take away from an otherwise awesome look. Plus, aesthetics aside, it's important to have shoes that you can comfortably walk in (limping around all day is definitely not what you are going for). Although I have several pairs of shoes that I love, I haven’t invested heavily in this part of my wardrobe, and I wanted to change that with the purchase of a classic designer pair: the black pointed toe pump.

While I was in Dallas last month, I made a stop at Neiman Marcus and tried on all of the brands I’ve heard of but never owned: Manolo Blahnik (the most comfortable), Christian Louboutin (the sexiest style), and Jimmy Choo (a mix of both). I 100% recommend doing this, because I was a different size in all three! I was all set to buy the Manolos, but decided to put them on hold and keep shopping around the mall before committing. I am so glad that I did, because I wandered into J.Crew and was very impressed with what I found! I tried on several pairs of their pumps, and noticed that the leather upper and sole were of the same quality as the others I’d tried on at Neiman’s, and were a fraction of the price. I loved the Colette style out of all of the black pumps, but I decided on a different shape altogether: these gray Adele suede booties. They are comfortable, unique, super well done with the suede covered heel, and I’m sure I’ll be wearing them for several years to come. There are limited sizes left in gray suede here & here and in black suede here, if you love them as much as I do.

Once I got back to Baltimore, I realized that I did still want what I had originally set out to find, so I started the search once again. Lucky for me, Nordstrom put these awesome Sam Edelman sling backs on sale for $70, and I ordered them in my usual size. I was honestly amazed when they came in the mail - they are the perfect pair of black pumps that I have been searching for. Truly beautiful in person and comfortable enough to walk around in all day. At this price, I cannot recommend them more! 

So at the end of the day, while I did save up with the luxury brand name in mind, I ended up with two pair of beautiful shoes of similar quality and even better style for less than half of what I would have spent on one designer pair. I am sure that I’ll splurge on a really special pair of heels someday, or even better, a beautiful pair of flats, but for now, I’m really impressed with the quality and style of what contemporary brands are offering. Sometimes it is very fun to have the name brand, and in those cases, I’ve had great luck with my favorite online retailer: The Real Real, and with my favorite brick & mortar store: UAL. This may seem like a silly or superficial experience, but it reinforced the reason that I started this blog. Buying the best quality you can find doesn’t always mean you have to break the bank, and splurging on something just for the name doesn’t always give you the style that you are looking for. With so many places to shop and so many designers with their hats in the ring, you have many options to use to your advantage! Don't spend where you can save, and put that extra $$$ toward a killer handbag :) xx H