Peplum tops for spring/summer

The first part of the Conscious Closet Challenge for me was a major purge of my closet. Numerous hauled out bags later, I’m left with things that I know I love, and a few that I’m going to give one last try before deciding to keep or discard them. The next step is figuring out where there are gaps in my wardrobe and figuring out how best to fill them.

With temperatures hitting the 80s this week (where did you go, spring?), I’m realizing that I have a definite shortage of short sleeved tops that are work-appropriate. I’ve got plenty of tees I can throw on on the weekend, but many of those are too casual to qualify as business casual. I’ve thought through what I want in any new tops (see, I’m being more conscious!) and I think I need to find a balance between not-so-fitted-that-it-shows-off-my-mommy-tummy and so-loose-that-I-look-sloppy. Peplum is one way to get there — it provides more structure, but also gives some coverage of that pesky belly area. I’ve got a couple of peplum pieces, but no short sleeved or sleeveless tops, so I’m on the hunt.

So far I’ve ordered this sleeveless Tart tank, which I’m hoping will work out well. I got an incredible deal on it from Neiman Marcus Last Call (still in stock in size medium!), but more importantly, I would have bought it at full price, so the sale was just a bonus. I don’t want to go peplum crazy, but I do want to find at least one more top that will be work-appropriate, and hopefully weekend-appropriate as well.

Below are a few more that I’m eying (some are WAY out of my price point, but good inspiration!). The off white one from THE GREAT. (via Shopbop) is seeeriously calling my name, and I love the idea of chambray peplum, like the one from Anthropologie. Decisions, decisions…

Links à la Mode, the IFB Weekly Roundup: April 30

Thanks to IFB for including my Conscious Closet Challenge post in this week’s Links à la Mode roundup! Make sure you check out the other bloggers whose content is being featured. A special shout-out to Ginger Side of Life’s post on her trip to the Galapagos — her pictures are stunning!

Links à la Mode: April 30

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{OOTD} Baby shower



Rebecca Minkoff Linda Dress // J.Crew Denim Jacket (similar here and here) // Kate Spade Gramercy Watch // Louise et Cie Wedge Sandal (similar here and here)

One of my good friends is going to have her first baby very soon, so we spent Saturday afternoon celebrating at her baby shower. I had decided well in advance that I was going to wear the Rebecca Minkoff dress that I got for Thanksgiving (and haven’t worn since). The jacket was a last minute addition thanks to the colder-than-expected temperatures.

This outfit is a perfect example on the heels of my Conscious Closet Challenge. The dress was a serious splurge, but I love it and feel great when I put it on. The jacket was bought at full price, but worth every penny, as it’s holding up extremely well and I wear it all the time in the spring/fall. And the sandals were probably the 30th pair of black flat sandals I tried on in the hunt for the perfect pair. I’m still not sure they’re perfect (or if that even exists), but they were a well thought out purchase and they work very well with my style.

The takeaway? None of these items were bought because they were on sale. None were impulse buys. They were all things that I really thought about, researched, deliberated over. And as a result, there’s no buyer’s remorse, no guilt, and no forcing myself to wear something that doesn’t really fit me or my life. Lesson learned.

Taking on the Conscious Closet Challenge

Conscious Closet Challenge

My closet is a mess, literally and figuratively. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s huge, which is a blessing and a curse. It’s also filled with a lot of pieces that I don’t wear any more. Some don’t fit. Some are no longer my style. And some just don’t fit my lifestyle. So, I decided to take on the Conscious Closet Challenge.

What does this mean to me?

  1. Purging. I’ve been doing small purges here and there, but I needed to take a much more honest look at what I really wear and what needs to go.
  2. Quality over quantity. Yes, I could go to Old Navy and probably buy an entire summer wardrobe for under $200. But those are disposable clothes, and I can do better than that.
  3. Less impulse shopping. Instead of deciding I need new summer tops and ordering the first thing I see on sale online, I need to take time to look around and find things I really love.
  4. Shopping small, shopping local. Am I planning to swear off of anything manufactured overseas or from large companies? Absolutely not. But I do like the idea of supporting companies that choose to manufacture in the U.S. and/or small, local companies. At the least, I’m paying attention to where things are made and letting that be a factor in my decision making.

How am I doing with the challenge?

Well, I spent about four hours in my closet on Saturday night (I know, party animal) organizing and clearing things out. I ended up with three bags of garbage, three bags to donate at Green Drop, and a big bag to send to ThredUp. I realized how much guilt I harbor when it comes to getting rid of “perfectly good” clothes that I spent my money on and feel like I should wear. I’m trying to let go of that guilt and just focus on making better decisions on new purchases, but it’s hard.

On the shopping front, I made a few purchases last week: Zady’s new .02 The T-Shirt (pre-ordered), Everlane’s Cotton Sweater Short Sleeve and Linen Short Sleeve Tee, and a pair of Tieks nude patent flats. Are any of these items super exciting? Maybe not. But they’re all pieces that are high quality from companies I want to support, will work with my wardrobe and my lifestyle, and are things I need (as much as any of us needs new clothes and shoes, that is).

I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m really going to try to turn over a new leaf and make more conscious closet decisions moving forward!

Structured vs. unstructured: The great work bag debate

I’m in the market for a new bag for work and I’ve narrowed it down to two options, but now I’m stuck. I keep going back and forth between the Everlane Petra Market Tote and the Tory Burch York Buckle Tote. Though they’re fairly basic styles, they both make my heart flutter in that special way reserved for a great new bag or pair of shoes. The problem is, these bags are SO different from one another that I’m having a really hard time deciding.

PicMonkey Collage

The pros of the structured bag are that it’s typically easier to slide something like a laptop into it, easy to set on the floor without it collapsing, and less likely to become a bottomless pit. Plus, a structured bag tends to look more professional if I’m bringing it to a client or sales meeting. On the other hand, the unstructured bag is naturally more casual, which means it transitions to the weekend better (and I don’t switch my bag very often). And the leather on this one just looks delicious. Plus, a slouchy bag can fit more off-sized objects, like a pair of flats to save my feet when I have to wear heels and do a lot of walking.

Short of buying both (I wish), what’s a girl to do? The answer for now, is nothing — I’m not going to buy either one until I’m sure about it.

What about you, do you go for structured or unstructured?

{Giveaway} Laura Geller Beauty goody bag

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Now that I’m attempting to get back in the blogging saddle, I thought it was about time for a giveaway! Laura Geller is an icon in the beauty world, famous for her “baked” makeup and her master classes, which she gives regularly on QVC and in special in-store appearances.

For those of you in the Philly area, Laura has an upcoming event at ULTA in North Wales. There will be master classes, makeup consultations, and an appearance by Laura herself! The event is on Friday and Saturday of this week (Laura’s appearance is Saturday at 10:30am), but you can get the full details on their Facebook page. I’m hoping to make it down to the event myself, so maybe I’ll see you there!

In the meantime, the Laura Geller team has been kind enough to send a bunch of goodies from her line for a giveaway! One lucky winner will get a Baked Marble Shadow Duo, Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush, Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator, Luscious Lips Lipstick and Fortifying Lashes Eyelash Primer.

My kids have better wardrobes than I do

PicMonkey CollageIt’s been months since I’ve last posted here (don’t all jump up at once telling me how much you’ve missed me), which is the longest I’ve gone since I created this blog in 2009. While I’m not ready to call it quits, I am facing some new realities:

  1. I have two kids. One of them is still breastfeeding, which means I’m the default parent. The other is a toddler, which, if you have kids, is enough said. So while (most nights) they’re both in bed by 8pm and I theoretically have time for blogging, at that point I usually want to do nothing but lay on the couch and stare at the television without moving.
  2. I have a fulltime job. This is nothing new — I’ve always worked, and this blog has always been a side project — but as I’ve moved up the corporate ladder, it’s meant fewer lunch breaks, and more working outside of normal business hours. This equals less blogging time.
  3. Disposable income? What disposable income? I’m not truly complaining here, because my family is extremely fortunate compared to many, but I certainly don’t have the shopping funds that I used to (see #1). And while that doesn’t mean I can’t window shop, I’m just not in the same shopping mindset that I used to be in.
  4. My kids have better wardrobes than I do. See the above Easter photos as evidence. When I do shop, it’s more likely for those two little people, who seem to have growth spurts and/or wear out their clothes about once a month. Plus, I continue to have WAY too much fun dressing Audrey.
  5. Blogging laryngitis. Call it writer’s block, call it whatever you want, but I’m finding it harder to sit down and write lately (even when I do have the time and energy). I think I’m struggling to figure out where my voice and my viewpoint fits in the vast shopping/fashion/style blogosphere. I’ve never had any illusions of becoming famous or making millions because of my blog, but I also don’t to be writing into a void.

Where does this all leave me? Great question. I hope to get back to some sort of posting cadence, even if it’s not at the pace that it used to be. I love writing, and I still love shopping, so I’m sure I’ll figure it out. That might mean writing more about what’s happening my life, broadening to talk about lifestyle topics, writing about how to repurpose a wardrobe I can’t currently afford to expand…we’ll see. If anyone’s still out there, thanks for reading and hopefully you’ll start to hear more from me soon :)

{What I Wore} February 9

If there is one blog I read religiously these days, it’s Grechen’s Closet. It’s funny — Grechen and I have very little in common other than the fact that we love shopping. We live in different parts of the country, have different family situations (aka she doesn’t have to factor breastfeeding into her wardrobe choices!), and have very different styles. And yet, I find myself drawn to her writing and willingness to talk openly about her life and her challenges.

Anyway, I love Grechen, but that’s not what this post is about. She recently decided to start putting together collages to showcase her outfits on days that she can’t take outfit photos. While she is good about posting OOTDs at least a few times a week, I am lucky to post them a few times a month these days — thanks to having to get two kids to daycare in the morning and not having anyone home to take my picture. Soooo…I’m going to take a cue and try to start posting some of my outfits in the hope of getting into a better routine.

First up…

ootd 15.2.2

Splendid Thermal Cardigan // J.Crew Signature Leggings // Hinge Jersey Tank // Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots // Rebecca Minkoff MAB Mini

This outfit has Winter Monday written all over it. Those of us in the Philadelphia area woke up last Monday morning to a lovely mess of snow/slush/ice. So, I put on the laziest, most comfortable outfit that I could get away with for work (which may having been pushing it), along with my newly-beloved Sorels. This cardigan was a Christmas gift, and it definitely falls under the category of “not the most flattering, but who cares because it’s so comfy.” Bonus: it’s long enough (don’t let the six foot tall model fool you) that I can wear it like a tunic and have no concerns over exposing my butt (I wore it completely buttoned). Which brings me to the next item of note here: while I VERY rarely wear leggings as pants, these are my go-to — I have two pairs in each black and charcoal. They’re nice and thick, but still really soft.

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Surviving the winter and #BeingBasic



Guys, winter has barely started, and I am already SO OVER IT. We literally got stuck on the side of a mountain in the middle of an ice storm on our way to visit Geoff’s grandmother last weekend (we’re all fine and eventually made it to our destination). Then there was the blizzard that never actually happened, which mostly just freaked out everyone on the East coast, and then was largely a bust and has created some SERIOUS animosity toward the local meteorologists. Plus, I just hate being cold.

Anyway, I thought this was a good excuse to tell you about some of my new outerwear that’s helping me get through. First up is my new Sorel “Joan of Arctic” boots. They’re huge. They’re furry. And they may be slightly over the top for someone with my lifestyle (I’m not exactly trekking through the wilderness much). But I don’t care — I love them. I got these for Christmas and just wore them for the first time last week, and my feet were so happy and warm.

Next up is my The North Face “Metropolis” parka (bought as a replacement for an L.L.Bean coat I got for Christmas that didn’t work out). This is taking the place of a Nautica coat that I bought on Rue La La years ago and have worn to death. I looked at a ton of options for coats like this, but settled on The North Face for a combination of good reviews and a slightly slimmer fit (I may be wearing a puffy coat, but I don’t want to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man).

Last but not least is this cute little Jack + Lucy beanie that came in the January PopSugar MustHave box. It’s super soft and non-irritating to my sensitive skin, and it’s loose enough to not give me hat hair.

Aside from the beanie (though the argument could be made that monthly subscription boxes are basic), I know that my choice of winter attire is pretty much exactly what people refer to when they call someone basic. Just stick a red Starbucks cup in my hand and I’ll be ready to be a spokesmodel for the basic movement. But you know what? I don’t care. Yes, everyone and their mother wears Sorel boots these days, and The North Face is seemingly the winter uniform for 75 percent of the women in my area. But these products are popular for a reason — they’re attractive and they’re high quality. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t take pleasure in owning/wearing things that I won’t see on a million other women walking down the street (it’s why I don’t shop at Banana Republic nearly as much as I used to), but sometimes it’s okay to wear what’s trendy.

Are you basic and proud of it, or do you try to avoid any “it” items?

{Beauty Picks} Smashbox, Korres, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Mally

PicMonkey CollageIt’s been ages since I’ve shared any of the beauty products I’ve been using, so I thought I’d do a roundup of a few.

{one} I got this Smashbox Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer in the December PopSugar MustHave box. They sent it in Bordeaux, which is right on trend with the color of the year.

{two} Eyeliner is one of the few products that I wear almost every day (plus mascara and lip gloss/stick/balm), but I really don’t have a holy grail product. That said, these Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eye Liner pencils from Mally have the potential to earn themselves a permanent home in my makeup case. I’ve been using the hunter green color with my Marc Jacobs shadow stick and it looks great together. Really nice saturated color that’s blendable, but lasts all day. Two thumbs up.

{three} Thanks to some gift cards I got for Christmas, I had an excuse to aimlessly shop at Sephora, which I don’t do very often. I picked up this Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick for no particular reason other than it looked cool. Let me tell you — this thing is my new best friend. I got it in Au Revoir, a shimmery pewter, and I’ve been throwing it on every morning on my way to work (I do my makeup at traffic lights on the way to the office. Glamorous, I know.) and it makes it look like I’ve actually taken the time to put myself together. I will definitely be buying this in another shade ASAP.

{four} I’m a big fan of Korres lip products, but hadn’t branched out to their skincare. I had the opportunity to try their new Black Pine Night Cream, which I’ve been using for a few weeks now. It’s not as heavy as my typical night creams, which I thought would be a negative, but it’s really not. It’s got a nice feel to it and my skin feels great when I wake up, which is my number one criteria for night creams. I can’t speak to its long-term impact, but I give this one a thumbs up.

I’m always looking for new products to try, so if you have any recent favorites, let me know!