Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Did We Stop Just Hanging Out?

When Did We Stop Just Hanging Out?

As I sat waiting for my dear friend and weekend guest, Hannah, to arrive at my house on Friday, I started thinking...

How to Pick Great Bridesmaids Dresses-or Regular Dresses!

How to Pick Great Bridesmaids Dresses-or Regular Dresses!

I've still got weddings on the brain as I pack to head up to my cousin's baby shower and think about being a bridesmaid in her wedding in the spring! For brides-to-be, I'll leave the decision on whether you should have bridesmaids to you and your partner. Above, you can see some of my bridesmaids from our wedding as they processed into the garden where we got married. They chose their own dresses once they knew our wedding colors (rusty orange, chocolate brown, and cream, which I later realized looked familiar because they were the colors of our Bernese Mountain Dog...), and my mom sewed them each a raw silk orange sash. She also sewed vests for the groomsmen and my brother-in-law (playing the Andean flute) and nephew (not pictured).

If you decide to have bridesmaids, I have some tips I'd like to share with you. If you're not getting married (now or in the future or again), this is my first tip to consider when shopping for dresses for yourself, too.

Pick a fabric that is structured-it will be more flattering than a soft fabric.
Let's take two Anthropologie dresses as examples. This dress? It's gorgeous. The print might be a little busy for most brides, but in the rusty orange it would have fit right into my fall wedding and those of many other brides. At first glance, it's a nice choice.

You might think "Look, Ella! The waist hits nice and high, the length isn't too short, and my friends could even wear normal bras!" But wait. This is a rayon spandex dress which, while it does redeem itself slightly with the pleating across the back, will show off every bump under it. For those of us who tend to carry a little extra weight in the lower belly, we'll look pregnant. And not in an adorable way. Someone wears a lace bra or any embellishment on their undergarments? You'll see it in every picture.

Instead, choose something structured like this dress, also from Anthropologie.

It's also got spandex, which will help with fit, and it's tencel. You might think that it will cling just like the one above, but it also has a lining. This, folks, is key! The lining will keep whatever is underneath out of sight, and those box pleats will help, too, because they hold their own shape instead of conforming to your every inch. 

That's it! Consider the fabric and the shape of a dress before you order it-or even before you try it on. Instead of thinking that negative self talk about your body not being right for a dress (or all dresses if it really gets bad!), build in some success by picking a more structured dress.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Let's Do This, ok?! Airstream dreams...

Let's Do This, ok?! Airstream dreams...


I'm dying to take an airstream vacation...

Unleash Your Inner Wild Child

Unleash Your Inner Wild Child

On Saturday, I had the joy of styling the fashion for a photo shoot with my dear friends Hannah, Lauren, and Ashlynn. You see, every now and then we decide to get together with creative friends in the area for a collaboration we call You Sparkle to make some beauty together. (We hadn't done a shoot together since Valentine's Day!)

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from Hannah and my iPhones. I can't wait to share the professional shots from Lauren's camera with you! I absolutely loved the wild woman in the woods vibe we created.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trendy Tuesday: PomPon Collection

Trendy Tuesday: PomPon Collection

I'm heading to PA later this week to attend my cousin's baby shower. She's getting married soon, and I spent Saturday with another dear friend who is recently engaged! So I've got weddings on the brain, and I'll share some of my ideas with you in the coming days and weeks in case you do, too. As always, if you're planning a wedding or looking for a mother-of-the-bride outfit, feel free to reach out to me! I offer online personal shopping as well as in-person and am the queen of finding the perfect alternative to what every other woman will be wearing.

I love these interchangeable pieces from the PomPon Collection by Plum Pretty Sugar, don't you? I fell in love with Plum Pretty Sugar while searching for a beautiful dressing gown to wear while getting ready for our wedding. I decided to wear my mom's vintage kimono instead, and I hadn't visited this site in a long time.

Aside from the models being extremely skinny, I love the look of these pieces and wanted to share them with you! I can picture a set of bridesmaids wearing these easily since they mix and match and feel cohesive without being the same fabric.

I love these sort of off-kilter skirts they've got going here in this collection. They also have a huge collection of unusual dressing robes on the site, and I'd love to style a wedding party in them and have the bride wear one of the robes herself.

Like the look but want something a little more wearable as a bridesmaid or just a wedding guest? Try a more forgiving fabric like this solid maxi on Etsy or this floral stunner. I love the casual white tanks they paired the skirts with for an easy spring wedding next spring when it's already getting hot.  

Check out my Pinterest board for more bridesmaid ideas and my new Mother of the Bride-Choices You Actually Want to Wear for mother of the bride/groom ideas!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Roundup

Monday Roundup

This Virginia wedding looks gorgeous and full of life and fun, but I'm also sharing it with you because one of the brides has the most perfect back to a pixie cut you'll ever see. If you have or might ever want a pixie, save this image! For some reason, the perfect length in the back is hard to find!

Betty was sharing this image for the sunglasses, but I can't stop looking at that perfect, just-had-a-popsicle lipcolor! Divine. The key to replicating this look at home? Make sure your skin looks flawless and don't wear any blush or bronzer. Let the color shine.

You may have figured out by now that Byron Katie is one of my major gurus. I loved this from her blog! If you start listening to her podcasts, reading her books, and/or watching her videos, this will crack you up at the truth of it!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Hunt for Comfortable and Stylish Shoes Continues

The Hunt for Comfortable and Stylish Shoes Continues

For most of my life, I thought I had "easy" feet. My sister has very, very wide, flat feet, and my mom has always struggled with her feet (she's a Pisces, she'll explain). Relatively, mine seemed not that flat and pretty much, well, fine with any old shoes.

As a result of that belief combined with my general lack of funds as I went from college to a masters to a JD, I spent the first thirty years of my life wearing whatever cheap-o shoes I could find. As my husband said once, "you like shoes where your foot is flat on the ground." Flats, he meant, and cheap ones. Like these! Or these! Or these!

I've since realized that my feet are slightly wide-and in bad shape. Between the shoes and the long commute, my hips have started to act up, and it's just time to pay more attention to my sweet piggies. I'm growing up! About time, right?

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about wide summer shoes and even ordered two that were moving in the right direction. I ended up returning both, though, since they were actually not comfortable enough for my new standard.

This week, I ordered two pairs of shoes from Zappos and then got two with a coupon at Macy's. I'm keeping three for sure and am undecided about the fourth.

I grew up in Vermont, land of Naots with socks (not Berkinstocks, the story about hippie politics about Germany v. kibbutz is too long for here) and clogs. All clogs, all the time. I wore them in middle school for awhile, but mostly they were mom shoes. So it was with great trepidation that I ordered these Danskos. But, I love them! They're very comfortable, nice and medium wide around the toe box, and a great neutral that's not skin tone.

I wore them with a big, full skirt from H&M, a sweater from Loft, and my gorgeous crepe murtle. The first day of wearing something I'm worried doesn't fit my style, I try to pair it with an outfit that I love. It casts a certain "me" vibe over the new item, and then I fall in love with it.

These are the shoes that I'm not sure about, on the other hand. I liked the green and the height along with the idea of comfort, but I think the arch is too high for my feet. I wore them around the house wondering if maybe shoes should feel that supportive? But they just hurt, and I won't wear them. They're not as clunky as they look, but they are quite casual with the cork and the velcro. But, you can adjust the velcro, which is great for wider feet. And the emerald green is gorgeous!

Keeping with the jewel theme, I grabbed these sandals by Born. I wish the sides didn't have that odd wood grain look, but they're so darn comfortable! They're casual, and I needed supportive casual shoes. The open toe works well for my wider feet. Keeping these!

For Born shoes, I also really liked these. They were less casual and very comfortable, but I fell between the whole sizes on this fit and didn't get them. Macys had them in black, which I loved but can't seem to find on the website.

I also loved these red sandals, but they didn't have my size. They were a more true red in person and very comfortable. If you're looking for casual, supportive, summery shoes that are not sandals, these topsiders are incredibly comfortable. The blue striped sides seem to be sold out everywhere, though.

The pair above are very comfortable, similar to a lot of the old ballet flats I used to wear but have a solid bottom and nice support. I can't find them online and will need to do more searching for you if you're interested!

Thanks for bearing with me as I grow up and come to care for my feet. I hope you're doing the same!

And have a great weekend! I'm spending it with one of my best friends, the incredible Hannah of Love Always Hannah. We have time by my gym's pool, lots of trashy magazines, and a photo shoot with friends planned. I can't wait! Follow me on Instagram if you want sneak peeks of the shoot!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Review of the New Mango Curve Sizes Site

Mango Curve Sizes

I think we're all working through what to call sizes, and there are some alternatives to "plus size" that I really like. Personally, I wish more stores just mixed all of their sizes and models together instead of having "women" on one page and "plus size" on another. I'm often browsing the "plus size" or "curve" sections and wishing those same styles were represented in more sizes, and I know the opposite is certainly true. And I'm not sure that "curve size" really explains anything since curves occur on many sizes of women, and separating plus size or curve size from "women" implies that the women who wear those sizes are somehow, what? Not women? I have a feeling that we're getting to a better place on all of this, and I look forward to being a part of that conversation.

Mango just recently launched a line they call "curve sizes," titled Violeta. I have not seen any of their clothing in person so I'll be reviewing their site and their look today.

First, the website. It's a bit confusing because their sizes listed on the main US/English page are 40-52. If you click into the individual images of the clothing and go to select your size, you'll see American sizing (sizes 8-20) as well as a size guide. I think that could be more clear on the main page. I'm not sure most American women in a size 8 would click on the "curve size" tab, but it appears that size gets to double-dip: there are size 8 mediums in the "women" section as well as in the Violeta section. That's a bit confusing.

Next, their style. Here are a few things I'd like you to know about shopping at Mango-in all of their sizes.

First, their styling can seem a bit dowdy, especially the images they choose as their main images. I'm not sure why they do this, but it's really worth it to take the time to click on anything you might like. If you hover the mouse over each image, you'll see it off of a model, but that often doesn't tell you much. Once you click through, you'll see a few ways to wear each piece, and the second images are often much more stylish. Here's an example from Violeta.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Perfect DC Summer Weekend

The Perfect DC Summer Weekend

Last weekend, my husband and I decided, spur-of-the-moment around Thursday morning, to do a "staycation" in downtown DC. We live about nearby in Northern Virginia and are down there often for work and play, but we rarely spend the night and have never spent more than a single night downtown since moving to NOVA.

This weekend was the best! Here are some highlights in case you want to come to DC to visit or do your own getaway if you're local. Heads up-I took a lot of pictures for you!We did a mix of touristy, cheesy, and local things. I highly recommend the following.

Stay at the Hotel George. It's a Kimpton Hotel, and if you don't know that chain of hotels, thank me now.  We stayed at the Hotel Palomar, also a Kimpton, in Philadelphia a couple years ago, and we love them. Some highlights from the Hotel George include their complimentary wine hour from 5-6pm every night in the lobby, plush animal print robes, first-come-first-serve free bikes (with locks) to use around town, and really fun decor. Oh-and it's right by Union Station, which makes getting there and getting around town by Metro and on foot very easy.

I love a hotel with plenty of towels and a nice big bathtub!

The decor extended to every detail. Very tongue-in-cheek!

Eat at

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: By Theme

How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: By Theme

Yesterday, we talked about one way to pack: by color. Today, I'm excited to share with you a second way to pack the best vacation bag of your life! This is an idea I put into practice this summer when we went to the Outer Banks, and it's packing by theme. In this case, think of things like boho chic, nautical, sporty, preppy, or edgy. I find that the theme can be dictated by the type of trip you're having. If you'll be rafting or biking, a sporty style is a natural fit. For many trips, a boho look helps you to feel relaxed and at ease. I chose this style for our trip because I didn't want to wear anything constricting or anything I'd normally wear to work.

You might look through your clothes if you're not sure what theme you'd like to pick. Get a sense of what types of clothing you have that you'd like to wear. Then, follow the same practice as yesterday. First, pull out everything that you own that's right for the season that fits your theme.  

Here, a nautical/preppy theme worked well for me because I have so many stripes! This would be a great bag to pack for a weekend trip to

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: By Color

How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: By Color

My favorite way to pack for a trip, whether it's of a few days or a couple weeks, is by color. Bringing all one color grouping (think black&white, shades of orange, whites&brights, greens&blues, red, white, and blue, etc) means that everything is interchangeable. Your shoes will go with everything; your makeup will work no matter what you wear; and all accessories will work no matter which outfit feels right during the day or night. Not only is it a fun, creative way to pack, it results in a low stress way to dress during your vacation.

I know myself and know that I have a lot of black&white clothing. But, if you're not sure that you have enough clothing of one type, take a look through your drawers and closet and pull out everything that's the same color family. Then, organize it on your bed or floor by category (remember short sleeves, tank tops, a long sleeved top for nighttime, dresses, bottoms for summer).

Here, I went with black&white. I started to think about bright red or coral lipstick, about painting my toenails a color that would pop, and about the brightly colored sandals I could bring. This would be a fun trip to take pictures all in black&white, wouldn't it?

A few tips:

Monday Roundup

Monday Roundup

Good morning my sleepy bears! Don't you just feel that way on Monday morning sometimes-like the weekend was this great hibernation period, and now you're stretching and coming out into the bright sun? I can't wait to tell you more about the "staycation" that my husband and I had in DC this weekend! We stayed in a Kimpton Hotel (our favorites!) called Hotel George. I'll share pictures later this week.

Let's get down to my favorite things that happened in the style, body image, and even fashion, realm last week online. All week long when things catch my eye that I'd love to sit down over an iced (flax milk for me) chai and talk with you about on my back deck, I tag them. Then I pick my favorites and share them with you here.

I have to start with one of my very favorite people in the entire world! One of my best friends, Hannah of Love Always Hannah, is the inspiration for my business. It was through her eyes that I saw that I could take something I'd done for friends and family for years and introduce it as a personal styling business to the public. Last week I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek of some of the outfits that she planned to wear for her recent photo shoot. She's re-branding and re-launching her event styling & coordination business, Picadilly, and I can't wait to see what she's got up her sleeve.

I loved every single outfit she chose, and I can't stop looking at how gorgeous she is! You HAVE to go look at the rest of the images she shared in her sneak peek!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: the Basics

 How to Pack the Perfect Bag for Vacation: the Basics

Last week, a dear friend of mine asked me if I had any tips for her. She's heading to Hawaii in a couple weeks, and she knows that she wants to feel and look amazing without bringing every single piece of clothing that she owns.

For the next two days, I'm going to share my ideas about how you can pack for a trip in a way that will be fun while you're packing and result in stylish, stress-free dressing while you're on your trip.

The first thing I'd like to start with is the most important: what kind of traveler are you?

I know a few things about myself that help me to pack: I get cold easily if it's chilly inside a restaurant, boat, casino, airplane, whatever. If the sun goes down and it's chilly, I'm chilly. So I always pack something with long sleeves like a light sweater, a jean jacket, or even a fun blazer.

I like to wear dresses while I'm on vacation because they're so easy and they roll up so small in a suitcase. I tend to pack a variety of dresses so that I can choose to show off my legs-or not-depending on the mood.

If I'm going to the beach, I like to have t-shirts to wear when I feel like my shoulders have gotten too much sun so I pack those in addition to tank tops.

So first, I'd ask you to think about what your preferences are as far as dressing while you're away from home. What temperature do you like to be? How dressed up or relaxed do you want to feel? How many opportunities will you have to dress up or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, how many times will you need to get dirty?

Tomorrow and Tuesday I'll talk about how to pack the perfect bag by color group and then by theme. I can't wait! This can really simplify your traveling!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wearing Floral Prints (without feeling like you're going to a wedding)

Wearing Floral Prints (without feeling like you're going to a wedding)

Thanks for bearing with me on the fertility stuff. I feel honored to have such amazing people around me, and I love the chance to share some of their acts of kindness with you all. Another amazing act of kindness? One of my favorite blogs, Between Naps on the Porch, posted about me today in her Friday Fun series! I feel so famous and honored! I fell in love with her decor knock offs long ago, and it's inspired me to knock off as much as possible when I DIY for our house!

I didn't want to leave you without talking about style today, though! And I have a confession to make: I wore stripes every day last week...and most days this week. There! I said it! I feel so much better now. I do love stripes, but this was an accident. Here's a shot from the day that I realized what I was going without meaning to.

However, you shouldn't be like me. You should be one of those women who wears florals often and effortlessly. I've got a few ideas for how you can wear flower prints without feeling like it's Easter or you're headed to a wedding. Because I just don't go for the pastel, floral, girly look very often, but that doesn't mean that I can't fall in love with flowers now and then. I've got two ways for you to wear flowers that I just adore.

Bold Stripes + Bright Florals
One of my personal styling clients, Sharen, had the best striped top to wear with everything and the best floral skirts.  I'm sorry to cut her face off in this picture, but I tend to take lots of body shots when I'm doing a personal styling session so that my clients have these images later on for their own reference. I've gotten better at keeping you all in mind when I'm working since taking this picture!

Edgy Floral Prints+ Floral Accessories

If you've got something with flowers on a dark background, try something along the lines of the outfit I put together for my friend Hannah the other day.

This combines an edgier floral kimono with a graphic print tee and a floral necklace. It's a double floral, but it doesn't read as too sweet. I love it! I'd pair ripped denim shorts with this outfit, but boyfriend jeans, camo, or even a skirt would work, too. 

For shoes, try something neutral so you don't fight with all of the pattern and color you have going on. I'd especially like something a bit gritty like cowboy boots or slightly beat up sandals. 

Have a great weekend! We're doing a staycation in DC full of great food (dinners here and here and hopefully a tasting and factory tour at Dolcezza gelato-I'll bring my Lactaid!), flea markets, some live music at The Hamilton (thanks for the tip, Ashley!), and lots of hand holding and sleeping in (we're not taking the dogs!). I hope you have a wonderful, romantic weekend, too!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What to Say/Do/Not Say to Loved Ones With Fertility Issues

What to Say/Do/Not Say to Loved Ones With Fertility Issues

Image via
// My friend/aunt/mom/co-worker was just diagnosed with breast cancer. What should I say/not say/buy/don’t buy?
This is worthy of a whole article, but in general I found cliched reassurances like, “It’ll all work out” or “you’re so strong, it’ll be OK” very discouraging.  Cancer is scary, and the truth is that it may not “all work out”.  I found frequent phone calls and notes from friends (a few sent letters before every treatment) to be the best possible gift.  A good opener from a friend who called every week was, “Do you want to talk cancer, or just bullshit?”   Gift cards for takeout restaurants were gold.  And anything to make hospital/ doctors visits more comfortable were really helpful.  (Hello, pretty scarves, slippers, cute hats.)
Reading this over at The Mom Edit, formerly Ain't No Mom Jeans, spurred me to want to talk about fertility-again. You'll remember, perhaps, that I don't use the word "infertility" or "infertile" for the following reasons: we, like many couples, don't (yet?) have human children. As far as we know, we've never conceived a child. However, so many women do get pregnant and miscarry early so can you call them infertile? What if one member of a couple could conceive but the other can't? Is the entire couple infertile? Of course, I know all too well the stats about what constitutes "infertility" in the medical world (trying for 1 year+ if the woman is under 35, 6 months+ if over 35 plus some other stats if you have medical issues), but I refuse to see us-or any other person-as infertile. Come tell that to my overflowing garden or my thriving, rambunctious dogs, or my blooming business.

Now that we're on the same page, let's talk about what I want everyone to know. I have the most incredible friends and family members, and they've said beautiful, supportive things to me and to us. I've also had many uncomfortable-and even painful-moments with people who, I can only assume, meant well. I'd love to help spread the word about some of the selfless, supportive things that friends have done and said so that the positive moments increase around the world for women (and men) working to become parents.

As background, we are not some of the members of the fertility-challenged who have been trying to have a baby for 10 years with 15 IVF rounds under our belts. Phew! Im' so grateful for that! But, we've been married for nearly 3 years and would have happily gotten pregnant even before that. We have some firsthand knowledge of everything from fertility diets to ovulation strips to meditation to medical interventions to at-home options. We haven't done it all medically, but we could...we might...TBD.

Here's what I'd like you, who knows women and men who struggle to become parents even if you don't know that you do, to know because you often ask me, and I'm here to help.

Think Beyond the Cliché

Like Shauna says above, avoid Hallmark-esque assurances like "It will all work out" or even "I know you'll become a mom." I have some close friends who say the later, and I can take it from them because I know what they mean is "I so hope your dream of becoming a mom is realized SOON!" My advice? Just say that. It's hard to be vulnerable, I know, but I think it's worth it.

If you say "It will all work out," your friend will likely think "well, it might not" She's the one who knows the medical ins and outs, and you likely don't. And, as far as the dream she had of getting pregnant easily and early with that "Guess what, honey! I'm pregnant" moment, it hasn't worked out. Not like that. This comment feels dismissive, and she will say something like "Yeah..." instead of opening up like she might if you express your support for her dream.

Offer the Chance to Talk About It-or Not

Echoing Shauna again, the best thing you can say is "Do you want to talk about __________ (insert fertility-themed topic-of-the-moment here, like IVF, the failed adoption, the miscarriage, the test results, your next steps, how your partner is coping, etc.) or just chat?"

This shows that you're keeping her process in mind and that you respect her desire to talk about it sometimes and not other times. I love how open-ended this is, too, since it doesn't frame it in a small way like "How are you feeling?" This sometimes feels limited to physical symptoms, while a "do you want to talk about it" allows for a broader conversation if it's the right moment.

Keep an Ear Toward How She Might Be Feeling

As far as sharing news (good or bad) about your own children or pregnancy, a similar mindset may be wise. You could start by saying something like "I have fun news about my pregnancy! Is this a good time for me to share it with you?" or "I have some pregnancy lady complaints. Would you be open to listening to me vent for a few minutes?" or even "I got bad news. Can I talk with you about it now or would email be better?" This recognizes that it might be difficult for us to hear. Not because we aren't thrilled about your news (or worried about any hardships) and not because we're jealous of your ability to conceive (we might both have babies-it's not a limited supply!) but because hearing about how hard it is to be pregnant can be difficult for us when that's something we've dreamed of for so long. We long for the difficulties of pregnancy even while we know that they can be quite difficult, even debilitating. There comes a point when it's hard to hear about those things without some lead up or warning.

Don't Isolate, Invite!

On the other hand, please do invite us to baby showers and to come see your baby. We love babies, and we often love parties! There's nothing better than a handwritten invitation since it doesn't require a face-to-face reaction if it happens to arrive on an off day (think the day you find out the IVF didn't work and you aren't pregnant or the day the baby you were going to adopt or give birth to before a miscarriage would have been born). We can compose ourselves and decide whether we can attend in person or in spirit. You might even go beyond and write a personal note, something like "I'd love to have you here if it feels like the right timing for you."

Use the Magic Words Liberally

Here are two magic phrases that you can use liberally: How can I help? and Can I take you out for ___________ (dinner, mani/pedi, shopping for a friend's baby gift, a run, a yoga class)? If you're not local, send a gift card or make a plan to visit with the promise "we can talk as much or as little about it all as you want."

Send Sweet Things

A lot of my closest friends don't live close enough to take me out for a gluten free cupcake, and some of the most meaningful things they've done for me in the past few years have included: sending flowers (before a treatment began or in anticipation of a doctor's appointment or just because) to me with a card that said simply that they were thinking of me; going to buy secondhand baby clothes with me after we had been matched to adopt even if it might not (and ultimately did not) work out; sent me a sweet email on Mother's Day; and gave me a job in the kitchen during a baby shower in case I got choked up. You may never know how much these small things mean, but they are very much appreciated.

So many of us women have struggled with fertility-whether becoming mothers earlier than we had planned, losing little ones before ever holding them, or faced with months and months of nausea while pregnant. I'd love to hear in the comments other does and don'ts that you'd like to share.

My Gap Faux Shopping Trip

My Gap Faux Shopping Trip

The other night, I thought I'd take what I call a "faux shopping" trip for you all in the name of research. The things I do for you! Hehe. I intended to try some things on at the Banana Republic sale and let you know what I loved, but they were closed! I hit up the Gap instead, and here's what I found!

I arrived in a dress I recently purchased from Gap, in fact, on sale. It was intended to be a maxi dress, and it started out that way. Unfortunately, it shrunk to this awkward length after a single drying. I'm debating cutting it off to knee length. I'm keeping it because I love the back a lot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gluten Free Guide to Annapolis

Gluten Free Guide to Annapolis

This weekend my husband and I went to Annapolis, Maryland for a day trip. It was one of the prettiest-and the yummiest-trips we've taken in a long time. I highly recommend that you go there! And, when you do, here's how to enjoy it whether you are gluten free or not. Don't fret-this isn't going to turn into a food blog. I just love to show you the places that we gluten free folks can eat!

Eat breakfast at Miss Shirley's Cafe. There's a second location of this restaurant in Baltimore, but don't let that dissuade you. It's got a huge menu-almost overwhelming!

I'm always a fan of getting a few small plates, and you can do that here. I ordered

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blazers and Shorts for Summer

Blazers and Shorts for Summer

You know what look I really like lately? And I think it works for so many body types? Blazers and shorts! Yeah, I know, kind of an odd combination, but I think it really works for adult women who want to wear shorts but still feel a little bit covered up.

It's super easy to match up a neutral blazer (consider a suit coat!) and the same color shirt below. Here, she might even be wearing a tube or crop top you could find in a younger sister's (or daughter's) closet! 


I love this look! The bright jacket, the tucked in shirt, and the simple jewelry are perfect.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday Roundup

Monday Roundup

Happy Monday! I sometimes get blue on Sunday nights lately, not wanting the weekend to end, dreading the commute into the office. Does that happen to you? Last night I baked a peach crisp without sugar to eat this week for breakfast with a little yogurt on top. That helped me to look forward to the morning!

I've also really been enjoying rounding up my favorite style posts from the week to share with you guys! All week long I tag things that I love and can't wait to share with you. Here are some of my favorites from last week!

Jag Lever posted six fun, summer looks in How to Wear a Bandana. I loved her suspenders and menswear shirt with that perfect shade of red lipstick. 

My dear friend Love Always Hannah posted about her trip to a Lavender Farm nearby that instantly made me sign back up for Living Social. Don't worry-I'll find out where she got that adorable shirt next time I see her!

I loved the shape of this model's lips-and this was my favorite of the three orange lipsticks on Cup of Jo.

On Saturday, Lady of Style posted her Lady of the Month, and I loved her shorts outfit! This is how to wear shorts as a grown woman: nothing too tight or too short but still comfy and sexy. Well done!

Have a great start to your week! I hope you have something delicious for breakfasts to look forward to, too!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Let's play house.

Dress Week: Favorite Frock Friday

Dress Week: Favorite Frock Friday

What a fun week! I hope you've liked playing along as we faux shopped our way through dresses! I find dresses to be the easiest, most chic thing to wear all summer long, and I've loved "playing dress up" with you all! Today is all about my favorite dresses out there regardless of print, style, or price point. These are dresses that make me stop and say "Ohhh..."

Structure + Sleevless

Boden, Boden, why are you so perfect? I can't think of a day that I wouldn't want to wear this dress to work! I'd wear it with shiny black pumps to work and bright, happy heels for play. 

Effortless Kaftan

I can't talk about incredible dresses without mentioning Free People. Let's wear this.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dress Week: Thrifty Thursday

Dress Week: Thrifty Thursday

My personal styling clients have a wide range of budgets: some have in mind that they need to buy a whole new wardrobe but end up loving what they already had after a few hours with me. Others need to purchase new clothing after a pregnancy or a job transition, and I work with them to find pieces that fit their lifestyle and budget.

Similarly, on this blog I try to link to clothing that's not outrageously priced, although that's certainly dependent on each individual's budget. Today I'm looking to stores that pride themselves on being very affordable and finding dresses that you'll want to wear over and over again. I love this kind of virtual shopping for my clients-and for you!

So here's my advice. First, consider H&M this summer for affordable dresses like this emerald stunner below. For daytime, add a skinny belt (leopard? bright green?) and a cropped blazer. For date night, try a necklace that compliments the neckline or keep your hair up and add long, swingy earrings.

Speaking of date night? Hello this sexy dress!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dress Week: Way Out Wednesday

Dress Week: Way Out Wednesday

Today let's celebrate the easy, breezy, hippie feel of boho chic. As you know, I've taken a turn boho in my weekend style this summer, and I'm not looking back. Anything this comfortable has got to be good for the soul.

Urban Outfitters has so many gorgeous dresses this season, and this angelic dress is one of them. Wear this with nearly-naked sandals or toughen it up with cowboy boots or a jean jacket (on super sale!).

I think the key to boho style is picking things that feel like you're wearing pjs. This dress certainly qualifies and is gorgeous. Layer on a loose, flowy cardigan and a skinny belt to dress it up a bit or wear it just as simply as is.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dress Week: Totally Stripey Tuesday

Dress Week: Totally Stripey Tuesday

Not everyone loves horizontal stripes-or so I'm told. Over at StartCloseIn headquarters, I could probably go for weeks (months?) wearing nothing but stripes and not have to repeat outfits. When I bring something new home my husband often says "Oh, look, it's striped!"  So today's post is in honor of all of the gorgeous striped dresses out there. Let's take a look! (And happy July!)

This dress looks like something you could just live in all summer long, doesn't it? I like the big, Mod sunglasses. This dress doesn't need a lot to make it special.

I love the short sleeves on this dress. I'd suggest you wear it to work with

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Style Blog Roundup

Monday Style Blog Roundup

I've decided to start 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. Here is some of what I loved last week!

World Cup white from Where Did U Get That? made me want to replicate this exact outfit.

I loved this blush on Le Blog de Betty, don't you? And those sunglasses, and the whole outfit situation...

Her hair makes me want to dye mine dark, dark, dark. But really I've been fascinated these past few years watching how my hair changes colors, sometimes in the course of a week!

And finally, not a post on clothes but about style-and grace-nonetheless. And, I felt the same way before and after leaving Facebook.