Wednesday, June 22, 2016

{ STYLING NOTES } SLIDING INTO HIGH SUMMER...


Apologies for the radio silence guys... I started a really exciting new project doing some full-time freelance work for InStyle magazine's digital fashion team. It's been amazing so far, but I've totally let my other responsibilities slack—including le blog.

But I'm back! I spent a long weekend in California celebrating my favorite bride-to-be, but now it's back to the city and back to the grind. I've been missing all that desert heat, and missing spending the whole day in fun, funky, and ultra-comfortable slide sandals. I brought a bunch of other sandals with me (I'm an over-packer, I can't help it!) but ended up only wearing two pairs: these embroidered Soludos slides (currently on sale!), and a fringe-y pair from Old Navy.

I've always loved Soludos and their affordable, practical espadrilles, and now I'm totally addicted to these slides. However, I feel a little weird wearing them in the city. Is that strange? To me their ultra-flat sole and exposure puts me rather close to the sidewalk and all its "stuff"... Ugh, I'm not going to dwell on it for now.

The point is, I've got a fever, and the only cure is more slides. I've been trolling around the interwebs looking to get my sandal fix, and found quite a few more pairs—and a ton of them are on sale. That's the beauty of this fleeting pre-4th of July time, everything is on sale and there's still 2.5 solid months of summer to wear it. (Shop a ton more sale sandals on Shopbop, right this way.) 

// SHOP MY FAVORITE FLAT SLIDES BELOW //

Thursday, June 9, 2016

{ PACKING ESSENTIALS } BACHELORETTE WEEKEND IN PALM SPRINGS...


At the ripe age of 30, I'm delighted to inform you that I am about to take off for my first-ever bachelorette party. The truth is that as a freelancer I don't always have the luxury of being able to embrace every vacation opportunity that comes my way—but this is one I couldn't miss. My dear friend Rachel is getting married here in New York in September, so a group of us girls are off to celebrate her last months of singledom in Palm Springs, California.

Though I've been out to California quite a bit since moving out East, I haven't been to Palm Springs since I was a teenager, on a road trip through the Southwest with my parents over spring break. Needless to say I'm really looking forward to experiencing this desert oasis through fresh, adult eyes, especially given what a destination it's become in the last few years thanks to all that mid-century modern eye candy on Instagram.

I know it seems a little counter-intuitive for such a sunny, hot place (temps are going to be hovering right around 100 degrees all weekend!), but almost everything I've packed is either black, white or navy. I'm particularly excited to bust out my Bridge & Burn pineapple shorts as well as this slinkly little slip dress I found at Mango (on sale for $19) a few months ago. If you're as obsessed with them too, shop more slip dresses right this way.

Since it is Palm Springs—I want to make sure I have accessories that are ready to party, so I packed my favorite mini Rachael Ruddick bucket bag and ordered BaubleBar's rather fabulous all-white tassel earrings. (Need more tassel earrings in your life? Me too.) I also invested in a new on-piece swimsuit, the 'Ann Marie' from Solid & Striped (in black, naturally). 

By the way, if you have any suggestions for can't-miss spots in Palm Springs, leave 'em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!

To keep up with all my bachelorette weekend adventures, be sure to follow along on Instagram.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE NORDSTROM HALF YEARLY SALE:
15 WHITES TO SNAG IN TIME FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND


I worked on the sales floor of Nordstrom throughout college, spending my summers and winter vacations fitting guys in 'The Rail' section with boot-cut True Religion jeans and Seven Diamonds dress shirts. It was a great college job, but always got even better during sale season. Nordstrom customers (especially in Seattle) are incredibly loyal, and they look forward to the Half Yearly sale with a fervor that is only matched when Nordstrom's other epic sale, Anniversary, comes around. Every shift was both hectic and exhilarating—we were scrambling to make our commissions and keep the floor looking somewhat presentable at the same time as customers came through the revolving doors unceasingly for hours on end.

Flash forward to 2016, when I get to be on the other side of the chaos, and a whole step removed—shopping from the peaceful place that is my computer. Even a seasoned Nordstrom employee knows it's futile to resist the charms—and 40% markdowns—of the Half Yearly sale.

So here we are, Memorial Day weekend is just days away and the sale is in full swing. Rather than wander aimlessly through the pages and pages of discounted clothes and accessories—I did the hard work for you, and I did it with a theme. I rounded up 15 white finds from Nordstrom, all of which are perfect for your #MDW wardrobe.

What, a new fluffy white robe wasn't part of your packing list? What if it rains? Perhaps you're in the market for a fresh new crossbody bag. I am completely and utterly obsessed with both the Rebecca Minkoff 'Suki' bag (reduced to $135!) and the Loeffler Randall 'Baby Rider' bag (reduced to $177!) and am currently just trying to decide if I need one or both of them.

I also included Vince Camuto's 'Court' heeled sandals, because while they come in a variety of colors, the white version makes the perfect summer wedding shoe, IMO. Speaking of summer shoes, Vince's 'Edina' espadrille sandals have backyard barbecue written all over them, and Loeffler Randall's flat 'Petra' sandals are what beach dreams are made of.

Anyway, I'll stop talking and let you shop. Just click the little arrow on the widget down there to see all 15 of my Memorial Day weekend-worthy Nordstrom Half Yearly sale picks.

// SHOP MY 15 FAVORITE WHITES BELOW //

Photo by Bekka Palmer

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 AWESOME WAYS TO ENJOY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN NYC


{ This post is basically all things you should do in addition to a stop at Grand Banks, above. }

I am almost unfailingly without plans each year on Memorial Day weekend. I feel like it usually sneaks up out of nowhere—suddenly it's the end of May and summer is "starting" and everyone is going to The Hamptons and I'm... Chillin' in my apartment? Telling myself it's great because there won't be any waits for brunch? Kay.

Surprise to literally no one, this weekend is Memorial Day and I am going to be here in New York City. I have enough fun plans and travels sprinkled throughout the rest of the summer that I'm not too upset to be here this weekend (I promise, I'm fine). Additionally, a bunch of my friends will be here too—which is really all that matters, right?

On that note, what should we do with a three-day-weekend and an ambitious desire to make the most of it? Well, as I've written about before, it really is kind of great to be in the city during holiday and typical travel weekends. (Labor Day weekend guide, Thanksgiving weekend, parents-in-town guide.) Aside from brunch and other standard weekend fare, I am determined to infuse this long weekend with some special and memorable plans that will make it feel like more than just "that one time in May I didn't have to work on a Monday."

Ahead, I've laid out my five best Memorial Day weekend in NYC ideas. I also took the liberty of breaking them down into three levels of luxury, which may or may not align with how much said activity or adventure actually costs. That means that while it says I have five ideas, I really have 15! How generous am I!?

// CLICK THROUGH FOR YOUR #MDW OF DREAMS //

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

{ PERSONAL STYLE } EMBRACING THAT OFF-THE-SHOULDER LIFE...


Right before this photo was taken, I asked Amanda (who took the photos in this post) if we should take a few shots without the DIY choker I had been wearing. I untied it then tossed it in my bag and she goes, "Whoa, you look so much more naked now for some reason!"

To me, that right there is what makes the off-the-shoulder trend so funny (but also pretty great). It looks normal in photos, but when you actually put on a shirt that shows this sort of surprising swath of skin, you become hyper-aware of just how much skin it is. The first time I put this MLM Label top on I instantly felt feminine and spring-y, but also—rather exposed.

However, any top that doesn't require killer cleavage or showing your midriff but does make you feel a little sexy? That's something I could get used to. Ahead, let's talk about the benefits of blouse-y, billowing oversized shirts that put your clavicle in high relief.

// CLICK THROUGH FOR MORE //

Monday, May 16, 2016

{ STYLING NOTES } THE SUMMER DRESS SITUATION...

If you asked my roommates and friends, they might tell you that my personal style is tomboyish, bordering on just boyish. I've discussed that a lot on the blog, too. But as with all things, a little progress, a little change—is natural.

*I would apologize for using a Sex and the City image for reference in 2016 but sometimes I am just that basic and I'm totally okay with it. Plus, how hot and actually completely on-trend for now is that dress?

Having more occasions to get dressed up (like weddings, engagement parties and fancy-ish New York social scenarios) has gently pushed me into seeking out more dresses in general. Couple that with my ever-present desire for getting dressed to be "easy," and here we are. In my mind's eye this summer is just an endless parade of beach days, trips to the farmer's market, sunset walks along the Hudson and late, sticky nights dancing on the Lower East Side—all of which happen in some amazing, pretty, perfect-for-the-occasion dress.

I've noticed that the last couple of years especially have brought out in me a (slightly) more romantic approach to dressing, and with a few summer weddings in the pipeline now, I'm craving an updated dress wardrobe more than ever.

Remember when I went through a phase where I was completely kimono obsessed? (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) Well tbh that never really ended, but now it's carried over into a craving for floaty, super-comfortable dresses like this blush mini from Yumi Kim (with a black bra and lace up sandals? C'mon.) and ASTR's floral wrap with kimono-style sleeves. (More kimono dresses, right this way.)

Speaking of which—wrap dresses are also my new obsession.What's not to love about an adjustable waist and a varyingly plunging neckline? Right now I have my eye on wraps in ultra-feminine florals like this silk maxi from Yumi Kim (perfect for wedding season) and this slightly sexier take (with kimono sleeves!) by Privacy Please. (Shop more wrap dresses.)

Per usual I'm also crushing on a few pieces from Banana Republic, and am patiently waiting for them to go on sale—especially this gorgeous pintuck maxi I want to wear with my Converse and this floral wrap that would be ideal for summer days at the office.

I'm excited to embrace this girlier side of my style as the summer starts to heat up—especially considering I've got trips lined up this summer everywhere from Palm Springs to East Hampton to Idaho. I rounded up all my dress crushes below, and am just hoping that Jesus will take the wheel and I won't end up buying them all in a Memorial Day-induced shopping blackout this weekend.

// SHOP 15 PRETTY AND VERSATILE SUMMER DRESSES BELOW //

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

5 THINGS I LEARNED FROM ATTENDING A BLACK TIE WEDDING LAST WEEKEND


Last year during wedding season, I compiled a huge post full of stories, anecdotes and advice on weddings from my friends of all ages. It was so fun to read, especially because this season of life from our mid/late twenties into our early thirties can feel like it's almost completely dominated by attending weddings and their various lead-up events.

This past weekend I attended the black tie wedding of a dear childhood friend in Washington DC. Along with being one of the best weddings I've ever been to, it was also by far the dressiest. I wrote about attending my friend Andrew's 'black tie optional' wedding back in December, but the formality of this occasion blew that one out of the water. Long gowns were the rule and not the exception, and tuxedos abounded.

Along with taking some serious style notes—yes, everyone will notice and comment if your dress is too tight or too low-cut—I further built up my mental composite of all the things that make a wedding more than just a short, expensive trip where nobody celebrates you—but a bonafide, unforgettable party.

1. THERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO DO 'BLACK TIE,' BUT FANCY IS FANCY.

Listen, if every man at this wedding is wearing a tuxedo, you need to wear something nice. That's what black tie means. We've become a much more dressed down society in general over the past few decades (which is fine most of the time), but I feel so strongly about dressing up for weddings, no matter what. I've had to write a lot about the rules of wedding guest attire over on about.com, and certainly some of those are up for interpretation. However, the one thing I keep coming back to, and that keeps me in nice dresses, tall heels and my best jewelry ceremony after ceremony is remembering that for the bride and groom, this is the most special day they have ever shared together. 

It's not about whether you have eight or nine other weddings this year; this one is theirs and it matters. Invest in one or two nice dresses and wear them over and over—no one will notice. (Not even your Instagram fans, I promise.) If for no other reason, dress up because there's nothing more fun than having an epic, wild night in the nicest thing you own (or rented).

2. DANCING BEFORE DINNER IS AWESOME.

This weekend was the first time that I went to a wedding where, after an hour of cocktails and light snacks post-ceremony, we entered the reception venue, the band struck up a Justin Timberlake song and the entire crowd was on the dance floor for an hour before we ever sat down to dinner. The bride and groom had their first dance, somebody did the worm, and the momentum never let up. There were some gripes that 10:15 p.m. was a bit late to be serving dinner, but after having a couple drinks it was nice to loosen up and dance a bit before sitting for beef tenderloin and speeches.

3. A GOOD SPEECH SHOULDN'T BE LONGER THAN 3 MINUTES.

Unlike most weddings I've been to, this one didn't have a single speech that ran more than five minutes. Not from the best man, not from the father of the bride, not from a drunk bridesmaid. Somehow every person who spoke managed to keep it short and sweet—there were no embarrassing stories of college escapades or run-ins with the law. Granted, these stories have their place and time for certain brides and grooms; I'm not here to knock the cheeky digs that reveal character and get laughs. I could tell you probably one nice thing from every, single speech I heard this weekend because they were all so brief and to-the-point. The longer you talk, the less people will remember.

4. A READING IS THE "BEST" WAY TO BE A WEDDING WEEKEND VIP.

I ask you, what could be better than being included in the rehearsal and subsequent dinner and all the other more intimate wedding weekend plans—without the matching dress and all that standing?* Find a way to be the perfect person to do a reading at your next wedding. (If it's not a Catholic ceremony you might be SOL, but it's worth asking.) The readers get to be a part of a VIP group that's sort of like the wedding party B team. You can wear whatever you want and for two minutes it's kind of like you're sharing the spotlight with the bride and groom. (Kidding! Kind of! I'm an only child!) It's true that no one usually remembers the readings, but if you do as this priest instructed our team of readers and "interpret it in your own way," you'll be showered with compliments for the rest of the night. Plus, in my experience being a reader makes it approximately 78 percent easier to cut the line at the bar.

*I've been a bridesmaid and it is a total honor and really fun, I'm just saying that being a reader is also pretty clutch.

5. THE MUSIC IS EVERYTHING.

You know what I mean. Think for a moment about what happens when everyone hears those first few bars and then that voice, "I used to go out to parties..."

Okay, okay I didn't exactly learn this over last weekend, but it is a fact that only became further solidified in my mind. Throughout the weekend—from the Thursday night moonlight monument tour to the wedding reception and after party bus—the bride's younger sister (and maid of honor) curated playlists for everything—even the band was under her guidance. She kept the mood upbeat and dance-y, and strictly enforced a list of no-play songs. (Black Eyed Peas, anyone?) From Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" to Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," and even "Uptown Funk," the songs spanned generations but they all made us want to dance until the sun came up (which we nearly did). As a result, all my memories all have an amazing soundtrack, and the entire weekend felt like a real party.