Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring Style With thredUP

As my kids have gotten older & become more involved in activities, our schedules have grown exponentially busier. A few years ago, I loved taking them once a week to the local secondhand store to shop for treasures (their favorite after-school activity), but now it seems we have less and less time for those type of excursions.  So, when thredUP launched their online consignment store a few years ago, it was the perfect solution for our family. I've worked with them in the past here on PPF & I'm honored to be partnering with them again today to share my experience & to highlight some affordable upcycled spring fashion.  

With our busy schedules, I appreciate that I can browse any time from the comfort of my home and order what I want with the click of a button.  They have an extensive selection of high quality women's & kids' secondhand fashion with a range of brands from Madewell to Zara to DVF - all up to 90% off the retail price.  I have purchased several items for myself over the years and have also found some great school clothes for both my son & daughter. One of the biggest perks is that thredUP gives me access to high-end designers that I wouldn't normally be able to afford, so I can get well-made items at price points that fit within my budget.  Plus they offer free shipping on orders over $70 & free returns.

thredUP graciously provided me with an online credit and challenged me to create a transitional spring look with pieces from their site.  I was thrilled when I came across this gorgeous Joie jacquard jacket - the colors and embroidery are so luxe, making it ideal for the coming it still had the tags attached!  I'll also be wearing this with denim & flats for the weekend or layered over a LBD.  I decided to play up the pattern of the jacket with a textured skirt - the tassels on this one make it so fun & unique but the classic shape & neutral color give it versatility.  I could also see this worn with a silk cami & structured blazer for a more polished feel. I finished off the outfit with J. Crew lace-up sandals in the prettiest nude leather - I couldn't believe these were pre-owned because they look brand new!  

Because their inventory is so vast, I've found the best way to search is to create specific filters.  Just sign up for an account (quick & easy), then create a personal shop selecting the brands you are interested in, your sizing & what type of pieces you're looking for. This is particularly helpful if you're hunting for something specific like a special occasion dress, classic trench coat, etc.  You can then save that filter for easy access the next time you shop. For example, I have a few personal lists set up that are exclusively J. CrewZara and another that is all outerwear.  

In addition to buying secondhand from thredUP, you can also resell pieces you're no longer wearing. They make the process so easy - just request a thredUP Clean Out Bag, fill it with the items you want to purge from your closet & place the bag on your front step for pick up - how simple is that?!  It's a great way to earn some money for new items you want to add to your wardrobe without having to spend all of the time to list each piece individually.  I personally love the idea of upcycling, whether that means purchasing pre-owned or re-selling my own items because it's a great way to save money & shop responsibly.

What I'm wearing:
c/o Joie Jacket, Gap Top (similar here or here), c/o H&M Skirt, c/o J. Crew Heels, 
J. Crew Clutch (similar here or here), Forever 21 Necklace (similar), Madewell Earrings
Sole Society Ring (similar), Nails: Essie Fun In The Gondola

Thank you to thredUP for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Weekly Top Finds

One of my favorite places to shop for casual basics is Gap - their denim fits great and is well made, plus they always seem to strike the right balance between classic & modern silhouettes.  I chose to highlight them for this week's post because they are having an amazing online sale (today only!).  You can get 30% off your purchase using code HAPPY + free shipping on orders of $50 or more.  I've got my eye on this tencel vest, these chambray chinos & this nautical-striped sweater.

1) Chambray Dress // 2) Embroidered Tank (also in olive, denim & pink) // 3) Boyfriend Cardigan
4) Utility Jacket (also in navy, khaki & coral) // 5) Striped T-Shirt Dress // 6) Column Maxi Skirt
7) Lace-Up Ballet Flats (also in navy & olive suede) // 8) Eyelet Skirt (also in navy, olive & white)
9) Eyelet Dress (also in navy & white)


Friday, February 26, 2016

Earth Tones

Being on a two month shopping freeze has really made me appreciate the great mix of items I already have in my wardrobe.  I've still had the occasional day when I felt like I was stuck with "nothing to wear", but I was able to stand back & realize that is truly not the case...and, in reality, I have more than enough.  This outfit is a combination of pieces I've worn quite a bit in the past - I really loved the interesting blend of colors here: olive green, chocolate & pink.  You can see how I've worn this sleeveless trench before here & here and the two ways I styled this skirt in both fall & summer.  It just further proves that when you stock your closet with versatile pieces, the possibilities are endless!

What I'm wearing:
H&M Sleeveless Trench (similar; more options below), H&M Sweater
c/o Dorothy Perkins Skirt (also in tall; love this one & this one too), ShoeMint Mules (also similar here), 
Cuffs: J. Crew & Madewell (similar here & here), Nails: Essie Big Spender
Lips: Maybelline Vivid Matte (Nude Flush)



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Your Best Skin Ever

One of the questions I get asked the most frequently is about my skincare routine.  I am a firm believer in the importance of seeing a dermatologist, not just to have your skin checked regularly, but also to discuss any issues you're having.  The doctor I see has been a wealth of information and she has opened my eyes to things I was doing that were damaging my skin that I wasn't even aware of.  So, today I'm sharing some of that wisdom with you & providing six simple steps you can take to achieve your best skin ever!  These are areas that could be affecting your skin & potentially causing irritation and unwanted blemishes.  Making a few small changes can have a huge impact and might just solve your skin problems!

Clean your phone screen
There was a study conducted recently by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where they took 780 swab samples off of iPhone surfaces & discovered that 82 percent of phones had some type of bacteria on them.  This is especially important for those of you who have to be on the phone a lot for work or if you have friends & family that live far away (I spend at least an hour each week talking to my parents).  If you're noticing breakouts along your jawline, this could very well be the culprit.  The ideal option is to use ear buds instead, but you should also make it a point to clean your phone screen every week with santizing spray & a microfiber cloth just to be sure that all traces of oil & bacteria are gone for good.

Wash hands after styling hair before applying makeup
If your morning routine involves showering & styling your hair before applying makeup, you don't want to skip this important middle step.  There are so many ingredients in hair products like mousse or root lifters that can leave a residue on your hands, which you don't want to have transferred to your face.  Because my skin is fairly sensitive, my dermatologist recommended that I wash my hands with soap after styling my hair & before I put on my makeup primer to help avoid unwanted irritation from chemicals in my hair products.

Change your pillowcase regularly
Between your hair & skin, there's a lot of oil (& potentially bacteria) that can collect on your pillowcase.  Not washing yours frequently enough & continuing to sleep on it can cause breakouts, so I recommend switching yours out once a week to ensure you're resting your head on a clean surface each night.  It's now become a habit for me, but in the beginning, I found the easiest way to remember was to set a recurring event in the calendar on my phone so it would alert me every Sunday that it was time to change my pillowcase.

Cleanse skin after exercising
I've mentioned this before (here), but it's especially important if you're heading to the gym after work and you have a full face of makeup on.  Sweat mixed with makeup can dry on your skin, clog pores & cause blemishes if you don't wash your face and/or shower shortly after you exercise.  I like to take POND'S Towelettes with me to the gym, so I can use them immediately after I exercise - they clean my skin & remove any leftover traces of makeup + they are cool & soothing after a long hard workout.

Clean makeup brushes & sponges
I know it's important to wash my makeup brushes regularly, but so often I forget to make time for it or it simply slips my mind.  So, I was happy to discover a quicker way to clean mine when I'm short on time or traveling.  Using the POND'S Towelettes, I just swipe the brush back & forth on the surface of the wipe to remove any buildup until no more product is coming off of the bristles.  Then, I give it a few minutes to dry before using to apply makeup - simple, quick & effective!  For deep cleaning, I use organic Castile soap because my sensitive skin doesn't react to it. I also swear by this cleaning mat, which makes it so easy when you're doing a bunch of brushes at once.  If you place them right side up to dry, the water can run down into the handle & cause rust - so I recommend either lying them flat to dry or using a brush tower like this one that will dry & reshape them perfectly every time.  

Remove makeup before bed
It's a rule that should go without saying, but I actually have a lot of girlfriends who admit to skipping this step occasionally, so it's worth reinforcing here.  I completely understand how you can get to the end of the night and feel so exhausted that all you want to do is fall into bed.  To solve for this, I keep a stash of POND'S Towelettes on my nightstand.  Then on evenings when I'm too tired to make it to the bathroom, all I have to do is grab one while laying in bed and, in a few quick swipes, I can remove my makeup, clean my skin & then I'm off to sleep.

This post was created in connection with my appointment as Influencer for POND'S.
Visit POND'S Pinterest for more skin care tips.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Just The Basics

When putting together personal style posts, I do my best to create a good balance between inspirational looks and practical outfits.  I never want to give the impression that I'm running around town in 4 inch heels every day or just "playing dress up" (though it's fun to do every once in a while).  This outfit is made up of casual basics, which may not make it the most exciting or groundbreaking combination, but these are pieces that most of you already have in your closet...which provides an easy formula to recreate.  I wore this yesterday to a school assembly where my daughter was awarded for being on the High Honor Roll two quarters in a row (proud mama over here!).

I didn't realize until I sat down to write this post that all of the clothing items in this outfit were from LOFT (which shouldn't come as a surprise because it's one of my favorite places to shop).  I love the fact that they are always having a sale - right now you can earn $25 in LOFT Cash for every $50 you spend through March 5th!  Since I also have some Rewards Cash to spend, I'm bookmarking the items I want to pick up in March - specifically this relaxed tunic, this open-knit sweater & this striped crewneck (I'm also eyeing this tasseled cover-up & this straw tote, which would be perfect for the beach).

What I'm wearing:
LOFT Cardigan (also similar here), LOFT Chambray Shirt (similar here, here or here), 
LOFT Coated Jeans (similar here or here), Joan & David Boots (similar here or here), 
Forever 21 Scarf (similar), c/o Old Navy Bag (similar here or here), Madewell Rings (similar), 
Cuffs: J. Crew (similar) & c/o Soko, c/o InPink Earrings, Nails: Essie Big Spender


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

20 Under $20

In my opinion, it's never to early to start shopping for spring & summer.  And since I only have one week left on my shopping freeze, I'm beginning to scope out the pieces I want to purchase once it's over.  I've got my eye on breezy tops, lightweight knits and pretty patterned skirts - a soft color palette of pastels and neutrals is always a favorite of mine.  Here are a few of my top picks for the season, all priced at $20 or less!



Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Fever

Nothing makes me happier than to see the weather slowly warming up (we were in the mid 50's on Saturday!) and the new spring arrivals hitting stores. When heading into a new season, it's always a good idea to evaluate your closet, get rid of items that don't fit well (or that you no longer love) and make sure you have plenty of versatile basics you can wear over and over again.  We all know that jeans are an essential, but sometimes finding the perfect-fitting denim is a serious challenge because you want some that are affordable, flattering and will move with you without stretching out substantially through the day (there's nothing worse than saggy knees!).  

My love for Rockstar Denim is well documented, so when Old Navy came out with their new Built-In Sculpt version, I couldn't wait to give them a try.  They have the same great fit that I've always known & loved...but thanks to the addition of 3% spandex, they magically "hold you in" without feeling overly restricting.  It's like taking your favorite jeans and adding hidden shapewear into the fabric, which creates such a slimming effect!  Unlike other Rockstar jeans, I found that I didn't need to size down for these.  

For those of you who've mentioned that you don't care for distressed styles, these are a great option.  They come in three different washes & also in tall and petite + they are currently on sale!  I've paired this new denim with some of my spring favorites from Old Navy & created two casual polished looks that can be worn all season long. Right now you can get 30% off adult styles using code YOUWIN & an extra 10% off everything else using code ENJOY (today & online only) - check out more of my top picks below!

What I'm wearing:
c/o Old Navy Jacquard Jacket (wearing an XS), c/o Old Navy Tank (wearing a Small), 
c/o Old Navy Built-In Sculpt Jeans (wearing size 6), c/o Dorothy Perkins Flats (similar here or here),
c/o Old Navy Clutch (tote version here; crossbody version here), Urban Outfitters Necklace, Lips: L'Oreal Volcanic

What I'm wearing:
c/o Old Navy Quilted Jacket (wearing an XS), c/o Old Navy Pintuck Blouse (wearing an XS), 
c/o Old Navy Built-In Sculpt Jeans (wearing size 6), ShoeMint Mules (similar), J. Crew Clutch (similar),
c/o Old Navy Necklace (from last year; similar here or here), Nails: Essie Lollipop


Thank you to Old Navy for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Weekly Top Finds

This time of year it can be very difficult to decide whether to keep buying winter items or to make the transition into spring. So, sometimes the safest bet is to focus on accent pieces that will help provide that special touch to your ensembles. To that end, I'm rounding up the best affordable baubles for this week's edition. Jewelry can really help pull an outfit together or even be the center of attention for a look, so creating a well-curated collection is essential. All of my top picks here are sophisticated, versatile & under $50!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Q&A: Light Jackets

I've been getting a lot of questions lately about spring wardrobe essentials, so I'm working on a post for March that will include an updated comprehensive list (you can see previous versions here & here).  But, for now, I wanted to focus on the outerwear styles that I believe are must-haves for the season.  For me, personally, I would also add a denim jacket (love this one & this one) & a cargo vest (my picks: under $25under $30, under $35under $40). Below I've rounded up the best affordable jackets I could find in each category so you can find your favorite for less!

UTILITY:  TopShop // Sanctuary // Gap // H&M // Gap
ANORAK:  H&M // Mango // Joe Fresh // Uniqlo // Mango


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Winter Storm Olympia blew in this week and dumped a staggering 22 inches of snow on us in just 24 hours.  We are used to pretty harsh weather conditions here in NY, but even the plows couldn't keep up with this storm - the freeway shut down, the mall closed and everything came to a screeching halt.  Thankfully my kids are on break from school this week, so when the snow finally let up a bit, we decided to head out & enjoy the beauty of winter together as a family.  I'm fairly outspoken about not loving the cold weather, but even I have to admit that there's something truly magical about seeing everything covered in a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

What I'm wearing:
American Rag Parka (similar here or here), c/o a.n.a. Sweater (last seen here), 
Old Navy Turtleneck (similar), Madewell Jeans (similar for less here), 
Coach Boots (recommend going down a full size), Old Navy Beanie (similar),