Friday, January 30, 2015

Shearling + Houndstooth

I tend to wear skirts & dresses so much less frequently during the winter months - it's a combination of my overall disdain for tights and the fact that I have a very low tolerance for the cold.  But, in an effort to get the most out of my closet as we near the end of the season, I've decided to work these pieces back into my regular rotation.  When paired with a moto vest and low-heeled booties, this flippy houndstooth skirt is a fun departure from my usual daytime looks.

What I'm wearing:
Calvin Klein vest c/o (last seen here), Mango sweater (similar here or here), 
Ann Taylor skirt (last seen here; similar here or here), Hue tights, c/o Dorothy Perkins boots
NastyGal satchel (similar here or here), Zara bracelets (similar here and here), Etsy earrings
Lips: Revlon Black Cherry


Thursday, January 29, 2015

How To: Apply Highlighter

Mornings are usually hectic & somewhat rushed at our house (especially during the school year), I'm not inclined to add one more step into my getting ready routine unless the payoff is big.  For me, this is 100% worth the extra 30 seconds it takes because it gives me a natural-looking glow that lasts all day.  The goal with applying highlighter is to create a luminous finish without having your skin appear overly shiny.  Today I'm showing you how to do this in just a few simple steps.  Once I learned this technique, I was hooked and I never wanted to walk out the door without applying it.  But, even if you can't take the time to do it every single day, just pin the image below and pull it up to use as a guide when you're getting ready for girls' night out or a special evening.  Here are my steps to achieving a lit-from-within look using liquid highlighter:

1) Once you have applied your usual makeup, take a liquid highlighter and dab small dots as follows:
* in a crescent shape, starting at your temples and curving around to the top of your cheekbones.
* the inner corners of eyes
* just above the cupid's bow of your lips
* brow bones
* the bridge of your nose (stopping just before the tip)

2) Lightly blend with your finger - using your middle or ring finger (instead of the pointer) ensures that you won't press too hard.

3) Repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed until you reach your desired look - remember that it's easier to add more than it is to remove.

After having tried both, I personally prefer a cream highlighter on my skin.  Powder tends to look chalky and I think the liquid versions are better for beginners because they're easier to blend & essentially fool-proof.  I've broken down some of my favorite options below at varying price points (some as low as $1!).  It's important to choose one that has the right undertone for your skin so the effect is as natural-looking as possible.  I like to use a pinkish-champagne in the winter and then switch to a warm golden hue for summer.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LuLu*s Great Galentine's Giveaway: Win Free Dresses for a Year

Today I'm partnering up with LuLu*s and one of my best blogging friends to help promote an amazing giveaway! Alyson & I met for the first time when we attended Lucky FABB together back in 2012.  We shared a hotel room and instantly hit it off.  She is one of the strongest women I know: overcoming unbelievable physical challenges, starting her own PR business from the ground up, and caring for two of the cutest kids you've ever seen.  Even though she lives in FL and I live in NY, we make it a point to text & talk regularly to keep in touch across the miles + we're planning a fun girls trip for later this spring so we can (finally) hang out again in real life.

LuLu*s graciously let us both pick our favorite dresses from their site and I absolutely fell in love with the striking floral print & sophisticated cut of this one.  The style is perfect for the upcoming holiday when paired with simple heels and a red lip + it's one of those classic dresses that I can wear for years to come.  Head over to Alyson's site to how she styled this gorgeous hot pink dress & read on below for more details about how you can enter for the chance to win a year's worth of dresses from LuLu*s!

What I'm wearing:
c/o LuLu*s dress (I'm wearing a Small), Candie's jacket (similar here or here), 
Steve Madden pumps (similar), c/o JustFab clutch, Jeweliq earrings (similar), c/o InPink ring
Lips: Maybelline Red Revival

Forget the flowers, treat yourself to some fabulous frocks instead!  
LuLu*s is giving away an entire year of free dresses to one lucky gal (and her best friend) for all of 2015!
The grand prize: 12 dresses of your choice from LuLu*s for both the winner and a friend.
Approximate retail value = $1,000

1) Subscribe to email newsletter here
2) Get an additional entry by referring a friend's first name and email address
* Winner will be announced on Valentine's Day on LuLu*s blog



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

20 Under $20

After yesterday's post, so many of you left comments and sent me notes requesting more ideas for casual outfits.  So, for this month's 20 under $20, I decided to put together four different laid-back looks with denim, cozy tops & comfortable flats.  Whatever your personal style, this proves that it's completely possible to look pulled-together without spending a fortune.  Check out even more of my budget-friendly favorites in the scrolling bar below!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Sport

This weekend was the perfect balance of fun activities and relaxing down-time, which always makes the time seem to go by even faster.  Despite getting dressed up for an early morning coffee/brunch with girlfriends, I spent the rest of the weekend in really casual laid-back pieces.  I am so happy that sneakers have come back into style and are completely wearable with clothes other than workout gear.  This combination is decidedly sporty (& ridiculously comfortable)...but it still has a cool modern feel to it.

What I'm wearing:
J. Crew coat (similar here or here), Tinley Road sweater (similar here or here), 
Forever 21 shirt (similar here or here), H&M pants, NIKE sneakersDKNY bag (similar here or here), 
Olivia Burton watch (similar), J. Crew Factory sunglasses (similar here or here


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Trend Watch: Graphic Stripes

Every year I do my best to dissect the trends that are shown during fashion week - let's face it, some of them are not relatable or very realistic for everyday.  We all know that a breton top, with it's nautical & slightly preppy vibe, is a classic that will never go out of style (one of my personal wardrobe staples).  But this year's stripes have a decidedly more modern  & graphic feel to them that I'm really loving.  The strategic placement & vertical lines make for a very wearable trend that easily translates from runway to real life.  Wear these with basics to let the stripes really shine or go all out by mixing two bold pieces together, as seen at the Altuzarra show.  Here are just a few of my favorite statement-making pieces for the season:



Friday, January 23, 2015

Blanket Cape

Blanket capes have been everywhere this season.  I personally am a fan of this type of draped outerwear because it combines comfort & warmth, plus it gives a chic touch to neutral basics.  Truth be told, I've had this one for a while and am just getting around to sharing it here on the blog.  But, I've already worn it dozens of times - belted over a striped dress, thrown on with a chambray shirt & jeans...and I recently discovered that it's the ideal piece to wear when traveling (because it literally doubles as a blanket!).  The one I'm wearing here is currently on sale for just $30, but since I know these things sell out fast, I've included more affordable options below.

What I'm wearing:
c/o TopShop cape (on sale!), Merona turtleneck (also similar here), c/o Old Navy jeans
c/o Dorothy Perkins boots (also similar here), 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target bag (similar here or here), 
c/o Lydali cuffSole Society ring, By Boe Earrings (similar), Lips: Maybelline Red Revival



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spring Staple: Utility Jacket

Last year I shared a comprehensive list of basics for the season...but this year I will be further breaking down my absolute must-haves and sharing affordable options with you.  One piece for spring that I truly cannot live without is a utility jacket.  I own one in camo-printlightweight linen & a classic hooded style.  This type of topper is perfect for your casual weekend looks but also provides a nice contrast to floral dresses & lace skirts.  Whether you prefer a cargo style with a vintage lived-in feel or a more polished anorak version, this is one staple that will undoubtedly get tons of wear.  Here are my top picks at every price point (all under $90):

Row 1:  ASOS // Old Navy // H&M // Forever 21
Row 2:  Forever 21 // Gap Factory // Gap // ASOS


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Digging Deep

I have to admit that this shopping freeze has been a lot more fun than I anticipated (words I never thought I'd hear myself say).  I have a new-found sense of clarity & feel as if I'm looking at my wardrobe with a fresh pair of eyes.  At the beginning of the month, I decided to issue myself a style challenge - once a week, I have to put together an outfit comprised of pieces that I've owned for a year or more (excluding accessories).  It has forced me think about pairings differently and it's really helped me cycle through ALL of my closet, not just my recent purchases.  I've shared below how old each item is that I'm wearing here & I've also included links to past outfit posts featuring these pieces to help give some remixing ideas.  

What I'm wearing:
Warehouse coat (2 years old // last seen here; similar here or here), H&M scarf
Old Navy sweater (2 years old // last seen here; similar here or here), 
J. Crew Blouse (2 years old // last seen here; similar), 
c/o LuLu*s jeans (1 year old // similar here or here), 
c/o J. Renee pumps (2 years old // last seen here; similar here or here), 
c/o InPink ringEtsy earrings, Sonix iPhone Case
Nails: Treat Collection (Something Blue), Lips: NYX Cosmetics Honey


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pretty Polished

One of my personal style goals for this year is to wear more color.  But, until I'm able to buy some fun bright pieces, I plan on using makeup & nail polish to embrace spring hues before the weather actually turns warm.  It's a much easier & more affordable way to test out new shades on your skin tone before taking the plunge on bigger items.  So I've matched up polishes below with my favorite Pantone 2015 spring colors (see previous posts here and here).  I personally love all the blue tones here and can't wait to try them.  Which colors are you the most drawn to for the coming season?


Monday, January 19, 2015

Fringe Benefits

One of my favorite trends from the spring runways was fringe.  Though typically seen as a boho textile, I think there are ways to mix it with other classic pieces for a sophisticated modern look.  This fringe tank, for example, is a piece I bought a few months ago and stashed in the back of my closet to wait for warmer weather to wear.  But during my end-of-year wardrobe purge, I realized that it would be the ideal piece to layer under a cropped sweater for an added element of fun.  And it was the perfect choice for a casual date night out with my husband.

What I'm wearing:
Piperlime Collection Coat (last seen here; similar here or here), H&M Sweater (similar here or here), 
J. Crew Fringe Tank (runs big; I'm wearing an XXS), Paige Denim jeans (similar here or here), 


Friday, January 16, 2015

My Fitness Journey

Today I'm sharing my personal fitness story and how it has changed drastically for me over the last year.  Prior to my diagnosis in January, I would run about 15-20 miles a week and do several other strength-training & toning workouts as well.  There was a time when it wasn't uncommon for me to put in two solid hours of exercise each day and it was something I truly enjoyed - pushing my body to the limit & feeling strong.  But, after I recovered from a severe Lupus flare last winter, I noticed a significant change.  Every time I tried to go to the gym and log my usual miles on the treadmill, I would spend the rest of the day feeling overly fatigued and would sometimes even get sick afterwards.  My body was clearly telling me that it was not yet strong enough to handle such high-intensity workouts.  

Because my health is now something that I have to fight for every day, I've had to re-learn how to properly care for my body - through the foods I eat, getting a full night's sleep & doing exercises that won't exhaust me to the point of triggering another flare.  As frustrating as this realization was for me, I finally was able to let it go & embrace lower-impact workouts that were still effective, but would be gentler on my immune system.  

It's so important for each of us to understand that everyone's path to health is going to look different.  I have friends who run marathons and do Cross Fit competitions...but I have to accept that isn't what my body is capable of (for now) and that's okay.  Comparing ourselves to others will only make us feel defeated and less motivated to continue. The best thing to do is stay focused on your own journey, make an effort to get a little stronger each day & listen to what your body is telling you.  Finding the joy in your workout, whatever it may be, is the key to consistency.

Earlier this week, Old Navy invited me to head into the city to meet up with Mackenzie of Design Darling & try out an SLT fitness class.  Neither one of us had attempted this workout before so it was nice to be novices together.  If you haven't heard of SLT before (it was new to me too!), it's basically a combination of Yoga & Pilates, but all of the moves are done on the Megaformer machine.  It was probably one of the most challenging workouts I have ever done - even though the moves were more controlled & low-impact, we were definitely feeling the burn!  But it was so fun to try something new and, by the end, I left feeling not only stronger, but also relaxed & recharged.  I loved it so much that I've already begun searching to see if I can find a class near me to take again.

I've been wearing Old Navy workout gear religiously for the past few years because the price point is ideal for something you're going to regularly sweat in & they do such a good job of constructing the pieces to be durable.  I have gotten more friends (and even my daughter!) hooked on these compression capris for their flattering & comfortable fit - I own 3 pairs in different colors/prints and just rotate them during the week.  But, be warned: you may not want to take them off after your workout is over!

Maybe you are, like me, adjusting to a "new normal" and trying to learn what workouts will be best for your health. Maybe you are in the middle of intense training for a big challenge ahead.  Maybe you are just beginning & simply trying to keep a New Year's resolution.  Wherever you're at in your fitness journey, I would encourage you to remember that we are all different and that your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. 

What I'm wearing:
c/o Old Navy Sports Bra, c/o Old Navy Compression Capris

All photos: Anabella V. Photography

Special thank you to Amanda, our instructor, for so graciously teaching us the ropes & pushing us to do our best.  
If you live in the city, I highly recommend checking out her SLT class!
This post was sponsored by Old Navy
Check out Old Navy's latest fashion lineup in store or online at