Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Style Blog Roundup

Monday Style Blog Roundup

I'm thinking of starting a new feature where I'll highlight other bloggers who write about personal style. There are so many great ones out there, and I'm always wishing we could sit down over a glass of iced mint tea and look at them together.

Last week, the always gorgeous Fifty, Not Frumpy showed off this easy, polished, ageless outfit. I was struggling to pick something to wear out to dinner with my husband and two friends we met years ago who have just moved to town. This would have been perfect!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Afternoon Sale Alert

Afternoon Sale Alert

I try not to be just a shopping promotion site, but sometimes I find deals that I want to be sure you're aware of. Here are a few in case you need an afternoon boost of prettiness!

Boden USA, home to some of my favorite dresses and tops ever, has a major sale going on right now that ends Friday at midnight.

Ann Taylor Loft isn't fooling anyone with their near-constant 40% off "sale." But, today is the last day of their 50% off deal with code FIFTY.

Ann Taylor itself is finishing up a week of 50% off with code BIG50, too.

Spotted any other sales ending today? Post in the comments, please!

Pineapple Moment

Pineapple Moment

Pineapples are having a major fashion moment. It's a trend that's been in the air, but I'm here to say that it's officially mainstream. I know that some of you will hate this idea, but for those who love its whimsy, go at it. The pineapple is in.

Shopbop styled this Sincerely, Jules tshirt with casual pants and an arm full of bracelets. Very Pineapple Goes to the Park and cute.  If you're playing along at home, try a favorite pair of jeans or shorts (like Asos did above) with a new pineapple tee or tank.

Sincerely, Jules herself styled it differently-much more Pineapple Goes to Fashion Week and Has a Ball. It would take a special type to recreate this at home, but I know you're up for the challenge! What about with a bright cropped blazer (maybe not so much texture but try a polka dot instead) and an edgier bottom. What about distressed boyfriend jeans or a mini skirt?

Feeling preppier? Go with neutrals and layer on a sweet Pineapple Goes Vintage jacket over your shoulders for a chilly restaurant or movie theater like The Style Mogul.

Feeling more daring and a little crafty? DIY a pineapple print dress at home with this free printable. Extra points for a classic shape that says Nobody Puts Pineapple in the Corner. (I say, as though I've seen Dirty Dancing).

So what do you think? Will you pineapple it up this summer?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Perfect (Gluten Free) Weekend In and Around Carrboro, NC

A Perfect (Gluten Free) Weekend In and Around Carrboro, NC

Recently, I spent a few days in and around the Chapel Hill area. While I visited Raleigh and Durham, we stayed in Carrboro (at the newly gorgeous Hampton Inn!), and it was fantastic. If you go, and I recommend that you do, here's how to have an incredible time.


As you buzz around town, wear flats to walk or ride your bike. Be sure to bring a lock since it's a busy area with lots of people coming and going. In the late spring, I wore layers (a tank under a t-shirt) because the warm days turned into chillier nights, and they blast the AC in restaurants like every good Southern town. Bring a large bag with you to carry all the treasures you'll find!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Three Fine Tees

Three Fine Tees..see how they run...

I know we've talked before about t-shirts, right? I kid! I kid! I'm always talking about them because, frankly, I love t-shirts. I love them soft and drapey and slightly middle-section hiding for those of us who don't want to suck in after we eat, frankly. And Jcrew has them. Let's run down the top contenders.

I loved this soft, linen, Jcrew t-shirt when I saw it on Ain't No Mom Jeans, and I think we might all need one. Currently on sale. Of course it will go with shorts and bottoms, but what about tying it up over a long maxi skirt? Maybe a patterned one? Throw on a hat and head out the door.

Not on sale, but still a great graphic t-shirt. I'd take it up a notch from the typical jean shorts and wear this to work tucked into a pencil skirt (polka dots? red? coral?) and top it with a slouchy menswear-inspired blazer (gray?).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday Tuesday!

I'm just back from my hometown of Burlington, Vermont from visiting my mama! I'm feeling revitalized after copious amounts of fireflies, finding gluten free things to eat at every establishment, my mom's cooking, so much green it hurts your eyes, hours and hours of QT with my mom, and what we call "The Vermont Effect" in my family, which is that feeling you get there when 6PM suddenly feels like a great bedtime. And, of course, I packed my trusty straw hat, which I clearly wear too often.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Perfect Day in Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, NC

A Perfect Day in Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, NC

Start off the morning with a trip down to the beach. We've stayed in both Corolla (more remote, low-key, farther off the grid) and Kill Devil Hills (feels more blue collar, houses are closer together, more places to eat or play mini golf). Both have gorgeous beaches. If you bring pets, the rules vary from town-to-town and by the time of year. Check out the specifics here

Getting too hot or happened to hit a rainy day? Check out the Tanger Outlets at Nags Head. Be sure to display them on the rental home's cheery bedspread when you get home! This time we rented a Kill Devil Hills home (massive! beachfront!) with a group of friends through Sun Realty, which lets you search by amenities like pet or kid friendly. If you can swing it, rent off season in mid May or the fall to get better rates and less crowded restaurants.

Or, swing by the Wright Memorial for an awe-inspiring look at the first brothers of flight. This is a family-friendly museum, but you don't need kids as an excuse to go there. Wear comfortable shoes to walk and see the monument itself.

For dinner, head over to the Blue Moon Grill. It's worth the wait. They don't have a specific gluten free menu or a dedicated kitchen, but I felt comfortable ordering there after asking a few questions. Items ordered over several visits by friends included grilled wings, the tuna BLT, incredibly gorgeous salads, and spiked lemonade and tea concoctions.

In keeping with my goal of looking (and feeling) boho chic, I packed mostly flowing, soft fabrics in happy prints. I packed only a single striped item, which is a big deal for this stripe addict, and didn't wear it once! Instead, I wore lots of straw hats, kimonos, and color.

Both shirts above are from Anthropologie, but the kimono in the bottom picture was my mom's from time spent in Japan as a child. Straw hats from Marshalls. Want more boho inspiration? Check out my Endless Boho Summer board.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My June Happiness Project Update

My June Happiness Project Update

In late May, I laid out my plan for June, and since we're midway through I thought I'd give you all and update. I know you've been waiting on the edge of your seat! Here are my goals and a quick update on each:

  • The word of the month is HEALTHY: initially, I wasn't sure about having a word of the month. I didn't have one the first time I did a Happiness Project year, and I thought it might ground me. So far, it's not adding much for me. Honestly, I forgot my word. I think I'll write it on a post it and put it on my work computer screen to remind myself of what the main goal is this month: healthy.

  • No sugar: Gretchen Rubin talks about two types of people: those who are moderators and those who abstain. I think she uses a more graceful second word, but you get the idea. I tend to be an abstainer because once I give myself permission to have "a little" of something (like sugar), I can go hog-wild and next thing I know I'm having it every day. I do much better with saying NONE and holding myself to that. In this case, true to form, I've been bending the rules. I started off with nothing, not honey, nothing sweet. Then I found that I'd stopped drinking liquids. Now I'm allowing myself honey and coconut sugar. Also? I made the most delicious cake (gluten free! dairy free! you'd never know it!) ever and ate it for breakfast. I subbed coconut sugar for the sugar and ground it up in place of the powdered sugar, too. I think I could do better, but overall I'm eating less sugar so I call this a work in progress.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The First Golden Rule of Style

The First Golden Rule of Style

My clients, readers, and friends are often asking me to talk with them about my "rules." I always feel like I'm disappointing them when I answer that I don't have any. However, I've been asked about it so many times that I'm starting to notice what I do consider to be rules. I'm going to start sharing them here in the spirit of something that The Happiness Project does. She writes about rules that she's learned about being an adult-specifically, a happy adult. For more on that, I recommend her book! 

My first golden rule?

Monochrome can be just as interesting as bold pattern.

Let me show you what I mean.

Via Tory Burch

Via To Vogue or Bust

Via Long Distance Lovely

Via Keiko Lynn
What I love about building a monochromatic outfit is how easy it is but what a big visual effect it has. If you were my styling client, I'd put together a few looks like these by first scanning your clothing and noticing what color families you have a few pieces in. Then, I'd pull those pieces out together and put them on the bed. From there, I'd layer outfits using pieces from the same family (coral dress + sherbert cardigan + pink belt on top of cardigan + muted rose shoes for example) and have you try them on. If it was too much for you all at once, I'd swap out some of the tones in the color family for neutrals like creams or metallics.

So there you have it! My first Golden Rule of Style!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tricks to Pulling Off an All White Summer Outfit

Tricks to Pulling Off an All White Summer Outfit


I once tried to put one of my closest friends into an all-white outfit. She promptly told me no, thank you, that looked like something you'd wear to a certain festival in New Orleans. I guess I should have asked her what it was before writing this, but one of you will fill in the blanks! I get what she means-I think some all white summer outfits can veer too old, too innocent, or too much like something you're wearing because you're in a choir.

But, I urge you not to dismiss the all white getup! Chances are, you have a white top in your closet and maybe even a white pair of shorts, pants, a skirt, or even a dress. Even if white is the background color, these tricks can still work. It's an easy way to wear something you already have in what might be a new way.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Let's go ride bikes. (BTW how gorgeous is my college roommate and forever friend?!)

Romantic Summer Dresses

Romantic Summer Dresses

Happy Friday! Happy date night! It's starting to be that time of year when all I want to do is be outside: eat outside, take walks, ride bikes, plan picnics, search for the few remaining drive-in movie theaters... So I'm planning as many dates with my husband as possible. One thing I like to try to do is to wear something on a date that isn't what I wore to work. Sometimes that turns into jeans (especially to a chilly movie!), but for an outdoor date I love to wear a date worthy of our special time together. Here are some dresses that caught my eye for just such a date out together!

This dress from Nordstrom is perfection. Dress it up as styled for a special event or wear flat sandals for a day date. Either way, say yes to that hat!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Updating a Chambray Shirt

Updating a Chambray Shirt

Wow. I really love this image for so many reasons. The bike, the basket, the hair, the proportions of the shirt tied up (almost a crop top!) and the full skirt that seems like she's going to ride a bike in. I want to be her friend, basically. Let's go ride bikes!

This picture is from 2011 at the height of the long-sleeved denim shirt. Here's how I think we can upgrade this vibe at home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Rules for Wearing a Crop Top After 30 or Would You Wear A Crop Top?

Two Rules for Wearing a Crop Top After 30 or Would You Wear A Crop Top?

Image via
Originally, I thought I'd write a post on "How to Wear a Crop Top." And then I started adding caveats like If You Don't Have a 6 Pack or If You're Not 21 Anymore. Then it was a question: Can Adult Women Wear Crop Tops? Here's the thing-I'm not sure. I haven't worn one since I was under 21, likely under 18. And after doing some online research, I'm not sure that I'm into the look as hard as I look.

So here's my question: would you wear one? If so, how?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide

I only just became aware of the fact that Father's Day is coming right up. I always call my mom on Father's Day (it's our bittersweet tradition) and usually my (ex) stepfather, the man who raised me. But I'm always thinking of the ever-growing list of father friends and wondering what their children, grandchildren, and partners are giving them as gifts. Here are some ideas for the types of dad guys in my life in the hopes that you'll find something fun in these last few days. I've tried to choose stores you can order quickly from or will likely find in most areas.

For the New Still Kind of Freaking Out Father of an Infant


A fun pair of swim trunks that let him know that you remember how fun and cute he once was-and you know that he'll get there again soon! Wanting to splurge and treat yourself, too? Attach a VRBO reservation for the beach weekend you planned.

Ready to spice things up again? What about a gift that's half silly, half sexy like these Adidas boxer briefs and a suggestive note sealed with a lipstick kiss making reference to "after the baby goes to sleep." And, better yet, a promise to be on duty for a few hours while he wears them to the gym the next morning.  

For the Badass Dad (or Granddad) Who Likes Good Beer and Still Misses His Motorcycle

A pair of hipster sneakers that he can wear and instantly feel cool. Or, one of these food or beverage suggestions from Cup of Jo. I know a few dads who would love to talk to you about their unusual beer selection while wearing comfy shoes that feel effortless (but aren't). Perfect.

For the Father of Dogs Who Gets Up Early to Be Pulled Around the Neighborhood

What about a lightweight hoodie that he can hang on the hook by the door and throw on over his PJs (let's be honest) for a walk around the neighborhood in the morning when it's still cool. This lightweight terry hoodie from Lululemon is a splurge, but their stuff lasts forever. Find similar (less expensive) ones at The Gap

For the Papa Who Grills in the Sun, Snow and the Rain-Always Meat, Always Delicious

A classic fedora or patriotic flip flops for grilling on the 4th of July (or all summer long). Showing a lot of love this Father's Day? Add a Professional Grade Grill Tray from Amazon. Prime eligible for fast delivery. For good measure, tie on a bottle of wine or a favorite BBQ sauce.

For the Dad Living Here Who Was Born Abroad-No Matter How Long He's Lived Here

The World Cup is coming so what about a t-shirt or jersey from his home team (if they have one)?  Help him fall even more in love with you with a bag full of foods from his country (check high end markets as well as ethnic grocery stores) to eat while watching the game. Or book a night to watch a game with him out at a rowdy sports bar.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Easy Summer Hair, Lips, and Nails

Easy Summer Hair, Lips, and Nails

Happy Monday! I'm trying to take it easy this week again because I maaay have overdone it. My rib contusion situation was feeling better near the end of the week, and on Saturday I did some weeding in my garden. I didn't weed with the bad side, but just leaning on it while I weeded put me over the edge. So it's back to pain meds and resting up for me! I hope you had a much better weekend.

I thought we'd start off the week nice and easy, then, with a few ideas for feeling as pretty as I know you are without much fuss.

Nail It

The tutorial for these nails is from 2013, but I think it's worth re-visiting. It's simple, easy to do at home, and it's not too trendy. The nail art trend is on its way out, which means that it's the perfect time to do something like this! You won't feel too trendy because it's not over-the-top, but it's still pretty and fun-and work appropriate. Give it a try!

Embrace Messy Hair-even if you have fine, straight hair like mine!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Let's go hold puppies. (That's my Jaxon last year!)

3 Black and White Outfits to Wear to an Outdoor Concert

3 Black and White Outfits to Wear to an Outdoor Concert

On Friday we're going to see a local band called Gonzo's Nose perform in Northern VA with two of our closest friends and their adorable baby. His headphones are packed, and he's ready to go! I, of course, was thinking about what to wear. In the past, I've attended similar events in whatever I was wearing during the day. Since I work at home on Fridays, that usually meant cutoff shorts and a comfy v-neck tshirt.

But, I'm often chilly after the sun goes down, and wearing my husband's hoodie after dark isn't really the fashion statement I'd like to make. Here are my thoughts for easy, cute outfit combinations if you're headed out to an outside event that will last after dark this early summer.

Maxi Dress + Straw Hat + Black & White Accessories

I like this particular combination (via Polyvore) because it's easy and, of course, because of the stripes. Pick a maxi dress (or skirt/top combo) from your closet, then look around for accessories that match the colors of the dress. If you're not into my black and white scheme, you can do this easily with color, too. See how that's what's happening in this outfit below, too?

I love to wear a maxi dress to a concert because I can sit on the blanket or in a festival chair without worrying that my skirt will ride up, and I find the extra warmth on my legs at night to be notable. A nice light scarf can sit in your bag until the sun goes down. I actually prefer a scarf that's not an infinity so that I can wrap it around my shoulders if I'm really chilly.

Denim Shirt + Black & White Pattern

I love the idea of last fall's denim shirt pulled out of your bag when the sun sets and put over the perfect flowy daytime tank top. If it's going to be quite hot during the day, the skinny jeans above could easily be shorts. If you want to mix patterns (easy to do with black and white dots!), JCrew has some fun patterns (sizes 00-16) this season (love those sailboats!) as does Loft  (sizes 00-14).  I love this paisley print and the longer length!

Black & White + A Pop of Color

It's a classic combination for an easy reason-it works! I love the print on these shorts (sizes 14-24 available) and the graphic t-shirt tucked in, and the bag! Ok, I love it all. To go with an option that could get warmer as the night goes on, though, you could swap out the yellow bag for a yellow blazer or layer a kimono in black or white and then stick with the bright accessory. 

I love the idea of this midi kimono over shorts.

What are your weekend plans? I'm hoping to hit the farmer's market in the morning and then see a movie on our outdoor screen my husband built last year on Saturday. And, of course, our summer search for places where our Bernese Mountain Dog Jaxon, the one who loves to be wet, can swim.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Etsy Made Me Do It: Five Maxi Dresses Under $80

Etsy Made Me Do It: Five Maxi Dresses Under $80

This week is mostly about great finds I've made recently while virtual shopping for you all. I hurt my ribs very badly this past weekend when I ran straight into a (triathlete) friend of mine during my husband's kickball birthday party. Let me tell you what-bruised ribs are not fun! Nor do they heal overnight.

That being said, you likely know by know that Etsy is one of my favorite places to window shop. I often come across pieces of clothing that I would love to wear or to dress you in. Some of my readers and clients are talented seamstresses, too, and so I often imagine how your take on one of these would look!

What I love in a great maxi dress is that it wears like a nightgown (read: soft) but feels more glamorous than shorts and a t-shirt or any other summer uniform. Here are a few Etsy favorites.

Kaftan, $39.99
Tank Dress, $30

The tank dress above ($52) with that incredible chevron sequin panel would be incredible worn to a summer wedding, don't you think?  And the unique shape below caught my eye, but the rest of this seller's dresses are incredible, too.
Kaftan $78
Navy Blue Maxi, $59
As far as styling a long dress, I have a few go-to styling tips. First, wear long jewelry that mimics the length of the dress. A long necklace helps you look long and lean, while long earrings lengthen the neck and add to the inherently boho feel of a maxi dress. If your arms are exposed, wear a bracelet or cuff that commands some attention. Otherwise, the great thing about a maxi dress is that it's a statement itself-don't feel obligated to dress it up too much.

People always ask me about shoes and maxi dresses. I tend to wear flats (sandals this time of year or boots during the colder months) or maybe wedges. I know that some women can successfully walk in a long dress and heels-I'm just not one of them!

Via ModCloth

If it's still chilly at night in your neck of the woods, bring along a pashmina to wear over your shoulders or layer on a jean or moto jacket or even a blazer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Petite-Friendly Fashion

Petite-Friendly Fashion

Hi there, petite readers! I'm talking to you, specifically to those of you who run braless through life, carefree and tiny in the chest region. I don't often focus on your body type here, and I'm sorry about that. I tend to shy away from the skinniest models because I worry about promoting them above all others. I know that you understand, but I don't want to ignore you entirely. You have feelings, too! Let's be friends, ok? Because I recently found a few things at Zara that I think you'll love.

This dress is darling, right? I love that it's denim! And the printed skirt below could work on anyone, but I love the length on a petite size, and I think you could really pull off the bigger print. It's unexpected, and modern!

This fringe dress breaks my general rule about not spending more than $75 at Zara, but I think it might be worth it. 

For anyone, including petites, who isn't into showing their arms during the summer, this printed top would be a good choice. I love the idea of wearing it with a camisole underneath-or no bra at all. Ah, the freedom! If only! 

Shirts and Dresses for Nursing Mamas

Shirts and Dresses for Nursing Mamas

I have a bit of an odd suggestion for my post-partum, nursing mama friends: Zara. I typically think of Zara for edgy, mid-quality items that I wouldn't spend more than $70 or so bucks on, but I recently spotted some pieces that I think have potential for you post-partum and/or nursing moms.

Here's why: they're not hugely expensive so you won't feel badly buying them, they give accessibility for breast-feeding, but they don't look like nursing tops. In fact, they look cool. Here's what I'm thinking.

I love how this t-shirt twist pulls the fabric away from the lower belly. The top could maybe be pulled down-but certainly up. I'd layer this over a nursing tank, and you're done. 

This top just looks cool. Imagine you wearing it over jeans? I love how unusual this is because it would instantly feel glamorous and not like a t-shirt. Add some lipstain and jeans. Don't make this model's scared face. Gorgeous.

I know what you're thinking-all white. Ok, so maybe this exact skirt isn't meant for you, but I love that it's not so long that you'll trip carrying the baby but long enough to feel stylish and on-trend. It also boasts an elastic waist. Look for something like this if not this exact one! Even with a t-shirt, it will feel special.

Two things are amazing about this jumpsuit: it unbuttons to allow for access to breast-feeding, and it hits above the lower belly area. I'd love you to wear this to the farmer's market, to a wedding, or just out for a family stroll.

This drape tank is another great idea for over a nursing tank. Depending on the size of your chest, it might really emphasize them, but I think it's too pretty not to mention. Lift up to breast feed.

This is another adorable skirt with an elastic waistband. I love how she's wearing it-very easy, summer casual.

This jacket/overshirt would be a great alternative to a cardigan. It would feel stylish, provide an extra layer, and also carry you into fall. 

This swingy dress really wouldn't work for breastfeeding, but I like this for a wedding or event you attend this summer without the baby (not that you can't bring a baby to a wedding, of course, but you know what I'm saying!). I love it for the emphasis on the high waist-and off the lower belly! Very post-partum friendly.

Come back later for my picks from Zara for women who don't have to wear a bra! I'm looking at you, my petites!