March 29, 2012

Red Loft Shift Dress for Spring

I cannot get over this weather! It makes me happy -- so, I'm wearing one of my favorite pieces the Loft Mod Shift dress.  I love this dress. It's a classic style that can be paired with many different items, and the vibrant red is perfect for an early spring day.

So, this past weekend I watched the Hunger Games and there are themed party ideas all over pinterest which make me giggle. Oh, people crack me up! Are you Team Gale or Team Peeta?

Dress: Mod Shift Dress, Loft | shop -- see the orange version here, see black version here
Sweater:  Crewneck Cardigan Ann Talyor | shop
Shoes: Perfect Pumps, Ann Taylor | shop
Necklace:  Big Love  
Earrings: Forever Audrey, Jewelmint  

Linked up at the Monday Mingle.

March 28, 2012

Black & White

Rocking the classic black & white combo can sometimes make me feel like a waiter, but this floaty little skirt adds a casual+cute vibe that lessens the "May I take your order?" factor.

P.S.  I'm still rocking my shady shades, but I'm planning on picking up a pair of polarized folding sunglasses.  I've found a few potential pairs, but let me know if you have any suggestions!

Top: Banana Republic (in stores) | shop the dress
Skirt: Express | shop similar
Flats: Nine West | shop similar in narrow, medium, and wide sizes

March 27, 2012

Sam Edelman Lorissa Shoes + Ninja Tee

Aren't these shoes killer?  Literally, I think I might hurt someone or myself with these weapons! These shoes are fantastic and a bit extreme, but I like them! 

I paired this hard look with a favorite ninja tee and some skinny jeans to bring some edge to this otherwise casual look. I'm also rocking a new favorite-- my Old Navy biker jacket. I bought it a few months ago, and find it to be a great go to item when I'm headed out for the evening. It's light, but still keeps you fairly warm. 

I'm prepared for a stealthy evening with my ninja tee and dangerous kicks.

Shoes:  Lorissa shoe, Sam Edelman | shop
Jacket:  Old Navy | similar
Top:  Ninja top
Jeans:  Bullhead Black The 55 Denim Legging in Rinsed Indigo, PacSun | shop

March 26, 2012

From Day to Night

The Janes love a great shirt dress, so when I was browsing through Lands End's sale sleepwear section, this nightgown seemed to have a lot of potential as a great shirtdress.  It looked just like the crisp blue oxford shirtdress that I've been wanting, but can never seem to find, and with a $15 price tag & free returns to Sears if it didn't work out, I couldn't resist.

As sleepwear, I think this is actually a pretty nice piece; it's soft, durable, and most importantly super comfy.  I am planning on wearing this little dress primarily as a casual spring & summer-time piece; the only thing that doesn't work for me is that it has a traditional sleep shirt's curved hem, so it's a little shorter on the sides.  All in all, though, this sleep shirt is the oxford shirtdress that I've long been on the search for... and it can very easily take me from day to night.  No need to pack an extra pair of PJs with this dress.  :D

We hope your week is off to a great start!

Jacket: Gap | shop this season's version
Dress: Lands End | shop similar - I love the surprising little details found in this dress, like the gingham cuffs, etc.
Belt: Taiwan | shop similar
Bag: H&M
Shoes: Nine West | shop very similar in regular & wide sizes for only $21.99

March 22, 2012

Betsey Johnson Sweet Little Crepe Short Sleeve

Meet a college sweetie - Lisa! She is lovely. Will, Lisa & I have been friend for years.
I adore this beautiful Betsey Johnson LBD. The first time I tried it on was last September while visiting Las Vegas. I tried it on, fell in love, but almost fell over at the $338 price tag. I was in Chicago about a month ago and saw it on sale for a little over $150. I had to jump at the deep discount!

Pairing this LBD with me new favorite pink pumps makes me very happy. Have you scored any good deals lately?

Dress:  Sweet Little Crepe Short Sleeve, Betsey Johnson  | shop
Shoes:  Lilly pumps in Neon Magenta Snake, INC | shop
Earrings:  Very Audrey JewelMint | shop
Lipstick:  Revlon ColorBurst in Fushia (030) | shop
Nail Polish:  OPI California Raspberry | shop

March 21, 2012

LOFT Bow Blouse + beard papa's

I had to take a little break to eagerly await the delivery of one of my favorite treats: Beard Papa's!  I first experienced this Japanese cream puff when I was studying abroad in Taiwan, where I occasionally frequented the glorious food courts at luxury Japanese department stores.  I've never been a big fan of cream puffs, but I love these Beard Papa's.  I like the classic vanilla custard, but my sister-in-law loves the strawberry eclair.  Try 'em out if you ever have a chance.  

Blazer: JCrew
Blouse: LOFT - scored this bad boy for $4.88
Shoes: Melissa Button Boots in Cognac, Frye | shop
Pants: 1969 5-Pocket Legging Jeans, Gap | shop
Bag: H&M

March 20, 2012

"What's Up" Part II

You may have seen Ailyn's version of her "what's up" Hollister plaid shirt. This was my pick from our last Hollister adventure in the dark. This soft and comfy button up is an easy, breezy choice for a day of kicked back style. 

Most days, I prefer to overdress rather than underdress, but there is something so nice about a relaxed outfit. I'm going to lean back all day today, nod and say, "What's up" so I can be as cool as the workers at Hollister.

"What's up."

Top:  Hollister | shop
Pants:  Ponte 5 pocket, Gap | shop
Shoes:  Cece Suede Studded Ballet Flats, JCrewshop
Earrings:  Very Audrey JewelMint | shop

March 19, 2012

What's Up?

I haven't shopped at Hollister or A&F for several years, though I do like shopping Gilly Hicks online.  The sale signs outside the store sucked me in, and I was able to score this navy & green button down for $10.  It was actually so dark in the store, that I thought it was black & green... and when I walked into the store, the sales associate gave me the nod and a "what's up."

In the spirit of a Hollister employee, I'd like to give you, lovely reader, the "nod and a what's up."  Happy Monday.

Necklace: Gift
Top: Hollister
Skirt: JCrew
Bag: H&M
Shoes: Melissa Button Boots in Cognac, Frye | shop

March 15, 2012

Old Navy - Blue Rockstar pants

Orange and blue are always a lovely combination. I'm into the colored jean look; it looks preppy and chic paired with this gingam and orange combo. I think we can safely say it's SPRING! I'm incredibly pumped since we had such a mild winter. 

To long days, and sassy styles!

Pants:  The Rock Star in Blue Moon, Old Navy | shop
Shirt:  Old Navy
Sweater:  Banana Republic
Shoes:  Target versie pump | shop
Necklace:  Banana Republic
Earrings:  Very Audrey JewelMint | shop
Glasses:  Loft | shop
Nail Polish:  Frankly I Don't Give A-Dam by OPI | shop

March 14, 2012

Leather Boot & Shoe Care

I've long been inspired by menswear; I especially love reading men's style blogs and mags because the emphasis is on style, fit, & quality and how to care for those items, as as opposed to women's style magazines which are much more trend and brand-conscious.  That being said, I want to direct you to two resources: one by Aili's favorite magazine, Esquire, put together a pretty good shoe care guide and the other by menswear blog Put This On.  

Boots, in particular, can be some of the most expensive footwear you purchase, but are expected to rough it through the salt, snow, mud, and slush of fall and winter, so it's good to know how to take care of your investment.

1. Ikea Shoe Horn - My dad claims this elongated shoe horn from Ikea is the best purchase we've ever made. haha.  Ikea--making dads happy everywhere.  The shoe horn obviously protects the back of your shoe from crumpling and maintains the integrity of the shoe's shape.  I wasn't sold on the shoe horn until a trip to a traditional Korean restaurant, where customers removed their shoes and slipped them back on with the aid of the extended shoe horn. Brilliant innovation! Now there's no need to bend over when you need to slide your shoes back on. ($0.99)
2. A Soft Cloth or a sock that's lost its mate in the caverns of the dryer.
3. Wool Shoe Inserts - These inserts are dual purpose: comfort and warmth.  They can make your shoes feel a little tight, but if you're between sizes, then these might be a good option.   I picked mine up on a whim in a tran station for 1€, and they've held up pretty well.  Check out this well-rated pair on Amazon for around $13 including shipping.
4. Frye Conditioning cream & weather protectant - I picked up this one from Zappos (where it has 5 star ratings!), and I'm a big fan; it's a fairly simple product that weather protects, restores, and conditions leather.  Another plus, as far as I can tell, it's odorless.  I've used it on all of my leather shoes--from flats to heels--and I don't think it's discolored any of my own shoes; that being said, I'd caution you to test a little patch of leather and see how it looks before committing fully. ($9) | shop

I had a cobbler add a rubber sole to my the soles of a few pairs of my shoes that feature a smooth leather sole.  The extra tread is a good thing for a klutzy soul like myself.  Cobblers offer a full list of services that you might not have realized were available; among other services, they can stretch, restore, and condition shoes as well as replace zippers, soles,  heels, or heel tips.

Speaking of boots, have you checked out our winter boot picks

Finally, I'd like to turn the discussion to shoe trees and boot shapers.  

Boot Shapers - I know you can pick these up from anywhere from $8 on up, and if that's your thing, then go for it, but the poor man's boot shaper--a sturdy magazine (I especially love the Nordstrom catalogs because they're free and shipped straight to your door) or an empty wine bottle--does the job just fine.
Shoe Trees - I don't have one of these, but my favorite men's style magazines and blogs emphasize the importance of shoe trees for maintaining the integrity of the shoe's shape.  Do you have any experience with shoe trees?  Thoughts?

Finally, you might be interested in checking out this video about taking care of leather pumps, and in particular Christian Louboutins by Wendy of Wendy's Lookbook.  

I hope this wasn't too long and you found this information helpful!

March 13, 2012

Presidential Style: D.C. & the Obamas

Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue
White House

Washington Monument, Supreme Court, Lincoln Memorial, Treasury Building

Mr. & Mrs. Obama
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture 

A few weeks ago I traveled to beautiful Washington, D.C. for a work trip. I was in town for the groundbreaking of the Smithsonian's 19th museum -- the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I had the chance to see some of the sights, ate oysters at the historic Old Ebbet's Grill and saw the President & First Lady.

No big deal, right?

PSSHHH.... more like I was totally geekin' out that I got to see both of them!

President Obama spoke at the event and said the museum, “Should stand as proof that the most important things in life rarely come quickly or easily; it should remind us that although we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.” Inspiring.

The event was surreal. Mrs. O, our FLOTUS, was even more stunning in person. She looked beautiful in her green Peter Som dress coat. You can follow all of her great looks on one of our favorite blogs

It was an awesome trip & D.C. is definitely my kind of town!

Presidential Style

Shirt:  J. Crew
Vest:  The Limited
Jacket:  Banana Republic
Pants:  Drew Bootcut Pant, The Limited | shop
Purse:  Kate Spade
Earrings:  Very Audrey JewelMint | shop
Necklaces:  Thrifted
Shoes:  Orra, Nine West | shop

D.C. Sightseeing Look
Coat:  H&M
Top:  Striped Crew-neck, Old Navy | shop
Pants:  Gap 1969 Ponte 5 pocket | shop
Shoes:  Cece Suede Ballet Flats, JCrew | shop
Earrings:  Very Audrey JewelMint | shop

March 12, 2012

Magenta & Hunter Green

I come from a family that has a great love for outerwear.  So believe me when I say that I recognize the power of a great coat.  I'm notorious for being the last person in my family to be ready, and most of that slowness is spent picking out the perfect outfit for the occasion.  Often times, I never actually remove my coat, so no one sees the reason why we're running 15 minutes late.

I didn't want that to happen today, especially since vibrant mix of jewel-toned colors is among my favorites!  I chose to wore this Banana Republic coat because it's a good color match for my beloved hunter green Jenna Cardigan.  In fact, I might even like the combination of coat+top more than the cardigan+top.

We hope your week is off to a great start.  Happy Monday!

Headband: Banana Republic
Earrings: LOFT
Necklace: Gift
Cardigan: Jenna Cardigan, JCrew | shop
Coat: Banana Republic | (very similar in red one in stores)
Top: Forever 21 (old)
Skirt: Jacob Outlet
Tights: Target | shop
Shoes: Perfect Pump, Ann Taylor | shop
Nails: Lollipop, Essie | shop

Linked up at the Monday Mingle.

March 8, 2012

Orange You Glad

As I get older, my jokes get better.... :)

I have a deep affinity for orange (more orange) and found this beautiful blouse at my local Crew. I've also been experimenting with some makeup that will pair more seamlessly with orange. My pinks and red wer not doing the trick, so I visiting my local, trusty Ulta. Rows and rows of lipsticks later...I discovered Smashbox's Mandarin lipstick. I like this color because it is a cool color and not severe organge. I also gravitated toward the blush lines and found Too Faced's Full Bloom Creme Blush Prim & Poppy. I picked both up with my $3.50 off coupon. Ulta FTW!

Blouse:  Silk Lucinda Blouse, JCrew | shop
Skirt:  Chantell, Melrose Boutique
Shoes: Perfect Pumps, Ann Taylor | shop
Blush:  Full Bloom Creme Blush Prim & Poppy, Too Faced | shop
Lipstick:  Be Legendary Mandarin, Smashbox | shop

March 7, 2012

Save or Splurge: Sunglasses

Now that I'm free of prescription glasses, I'm all about rocking any and all types of sunglasses.  After LASIK, my doctor stressed the importance of always wearing sunglasses--not just because they make you look infinitely cooler--but they are "sunscreen for your eyes"

These sunglasses are terrible, though... When it gets sunny, they simply make everything appear foggy... So not exactly the best pair on the market.  Recently, I have been trying out some higher end shades, and I love the incredible quality and clarity of Maui Jim lenses (+ their general customer service policies).

For someone who is both klutzy and refuses to baby her possessions in the least (read: my iPhone doesn't live in a case.  I know, I know, I'm living on the edge), expensive sunglasses seem like a risk.  Envision this scenario: You've just been running errands and didn't want to use the public restroom, so you rush into the house and drop all of your stuff on the floor.  One misstep later and your $300 shades are done for.

This has happened to me.  Luckily, I seem to be buying my sunglasses at various gas stations and purchasing them primarily on the basis of their ability to fit over my prescription lenses.  Function trumps Style.

My stuff needs to be functional, durable, and stylish.  It's hard enough to find that combination without bringing price into the equation; I'm trying to carefully consider what is worth spending hard earned dollars on versus settling for the cheaper, but still serviceable version (i.e. Go for the name brand aspirin or generic version? They're technically the same, right?).  Just see my review on these Melissa Button Boots to see the critical consideration I gave a single pair of boots or a cheapie F21 Dress.

All that being said, an extra 20 bucks spent on a pair that doesn't make every sunny day into a hazy fog is probably worth it, right?

What are your thoughts on saving or splurging on designer sunglasses?

Sunnies: Gas station
Necklace: Gift
Cardigan: Jackie Cardigan, JCerw | shop
Shirt: Selvedge Chambray Shirt, JCrew | shop
Pants: 1969 Ponte 5-Pocket Legging Jeans, Gap | shop
Boots: Melissa Button Boots in Cognac, Frye | shop
Bag: H&M - very similar one in stores now

March 6, 2012

Winter Boot Picks and Reviews


This is a perfect time to grab a pair of discounted winter boots because department stores are generally trying to clear out winter merchandise to make way for the brighter lighter spring collections.  Check out our picks for the perfect winter boot!

I took photos of the bottom of these boots, so you could check out the shoe's sole and tread--an important factor in winter footwear.

Snowmass by Keen in Brindle/Grape Nectar & Black/Dark Shadow | shop
The pair on the far left are Ailyn's brown pair of Snowmass; she's had them for almost two years, and they've held up pretty well.  She especially loves how low maintenance these boots are and their easy sneaker-like feel.  They're warm and the best part: they're slip-on.  No need to tie laces or even bend down to adjust the tongues.  Simply slide 'em on, and you're ready to tromp around the snow.  On her recommendation, I purchased the black version, but instead of looking sleek and cool, they were clunky and clumsy.

Tivoli by Sorel in Black/Grout ($89.50) | shop
I have been looking at these boots for a few seasons. They are bright and fun, and even come with an additional pair of colored laces, which I really appreciated. I decided not to keep these as because the tongue of the shoe is completely cloth based. Though the houndstooth looks great, the practicality of the boots will not hold up to a typical midwest winter.

Neither of these boots worked for me, so I picked up two classics--a pair of Original Tall High Gloss Boots in black by Hunter the preppy cool 6" Bean Boots by L.L. Bean.  Both of these pairs arrived recently, so I'll be sure to let you know how I like them.

Coat: Banana Republic
Cardigan: JCrew
Top: Urban Outfitters
Pants: 1969 5- Pocket Legging Jean, Gap | shop similar

March 5, 2012

JCrew Jenna's Cardigan Review

I love Jenna's Cardigan by JCrew; this cardigan was designed specifically to be worn with dresses, and the cardigan+dress combo is one of my tried and true classics (see a spring appropriate version here).  Jenna's Cardigan is a little cropped, features a 3/4 sleeve, and most importantly nips in at the waist, which creates a more flattering and feminine silhouette.  I believe there's also a v-neck version of this cardigan, but I have no experience with that particular sweater.  I do love this cardi, and I even have it in a few different colors, but you have to treat it a little gently because it tends to pill. Dry clean only.

Hopefully March is bringing you warm spring weather!

Earrings: Loft
Cardigan: Jenna's Cardigan, JCrew | shop
Dress: TJ Maxx (2009?)
Purse: Jane on a Leash, Marc by Marc Jacobs | shop
Tights: JCrew | shop
Shoes: Perfect Pumps, Ann Taylor | shop
Lips: Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie (060), Revlon | shop
Nails: Lollipop, Essie | shop

March 1, 2012

Birthday Celebration - Year of 27

Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake
Roomie Will

Stellar Crew:  Will, Neil & Mitch
Neil, Andy, Vince, Lindsay, Sarah, Rachel, Brian, Scott, Jenn, Ben,
Laura, Jon, Angie, Ron Dan, Will

Birthday celebrations are always a great excuse to get people together. I had the perfect birthday party -- delicious burgers, ice cream cake and the company of some of my favorite people.  Year of 27 is off to a fantastic start!

Dress:  Banana Republic 
Boots: Erynne Boots in Black Suede, Nine West ($189 currently on sale for $94.50) | shop
Necklace:  Forever 21
Earrings:  Charlotte Russe
Rings:  Express
Lipstick:  Revlon ColorBurst in Fushia (030) | shop
Nail Polish:  OPI California Raspberry | shop