Nordstrom Anniversary Sale shopping spree

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Classiques Entier Cap Sleeve Ponte Sheath Dress // Franco Sarto ‘Linden’ Leather Bootie // Vince Boyfriend Trousers // Caslon Print 3/4 Sleeve Split Neck Blouse // Pleione Mixed Media V-Neck Tunic // Kate Spade ‘Shawna’ Sunglasses

In my spa day post, I mentioned that I’ve had a stressful few weeks. The main cause of stress (aside from a very strong-willed three year old and a baby who wants to be held by mommy during all waking hours) is that after almost ten years of working at the same PR agency, I left my job. It was a big decision, but my new position is really exciting AND I cut out a ton of commuting time. So…what better time to have a little fun at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

There are a lot of great dresses in the sale this year, but I was focused on finding one that would be good for any formal meetings. I’m completely over wearing suits, but that means I need to have more business attire. This is a really basic, but really flattering LBD that I know will be in regular rotation.

I mentioned recently that a major area of need in my wardrobe right now is work-appropriate tops. My new office is business casual (including jeans, woot!), so I’m now going for things that work in that environment. This Caslon blouse is nice and flowy and looks great with my white AG jeans. This tunic is similar to a top I got during a past Anniversary Sale that I love. It’s really soft and easy to wear and long enough that I can wear it with leggings (though maybe not for work).

Sunglasses weren’t even close to on my shopping list when I headed to the store, but I fell in love with this pair from Kate Spade and the price was too good to walk away from. They’re very different than most of my other sunglasses, which is nice for the sake of diversification.

Shoes are another area of my closet that I’m working to slowly revamp to better reflect my lifestyle (i.e. fewer pumps, more flats and chunky heels). I wore my Banana Republic Tamsin booties a lot last year, but decided that I wanted a pair black booties as well. This Franco Sarto style is super comfortable and will work well with dresses, pants, jeans, etc.

Last but not least, I got a pair of Vince pants a couple of years ago and they made me never want to buy pants from certain brands (::cough::Gap::cough::) again. I didn’t really need these boyfriend trousers, but the color caught my eye and they look really cute — plus, perfect for business casual.

Have you shopped the sale yet? Picked up anything exciting? If not, you’ve still got through this weekend to hit the sale in store or online!

My spa day at The Rittenhouse

If there is a heaven, I hope it’s something like the spa at The Rittenhouse hotel.

Okay, so maybe I’m being dramatic, but I had a spa day at The Rittenhouse Spa & Club – Hair by Paul Labrecque two weeks ago and it was GLORIOUS. I’d had a pretty stressful couple of weeks (more on that in another post), so when the folks from The Rittenhouse reached out to see if I’d be interested in coming in to the spa for some services, I couldn’t have said yes any faster.

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My afternoon of relaxation consisted of a massage, a facial and a blow out. I’ve had my share of spa services at some really nice places, but there was something over the top about the experience. For example, when I walked into the massage room (wearing the softest robe ever), my therapist offered to hand blend me an aromatherapy treatment to my liking. Then there was the bed for the facial that I would have taken home with me if I thought I could get away with it. And the relaxation room that I could have happily napped in all day.

After the massage and facial, I was off to the salon for a blow out. It started with a deep sea mud conditioning treatment and an awesome scalp massage (because I hadn’t been massaged enough yet). And then I met Ettore. “What are we doing today? I’m thinking Victoria’s Secret. As soon as I saw that long hair, I thought Victoria’s Secret,” he said as I sat in his chair. Of course I was up for whatever he wanted to do. That ended up being a brush set, which, as you can see, involved sticking a whole bunch of round brushes in my hair like they were curlers. We chatted while he did his thing about his work on commercial shoots and why I started blogging (answer: I was bored).

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In the end, I don’t think I’ll be modeling lingerie anytime soon, but my hair did have more volume than it’s had in a long time. My mom told me it reminded her of when I did Glamour Shots in the mall when I was 13 — and that was a compliment, I assure you. I told Ettore that I’d be back before my next big event, and I meant it.

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Thanks to everyone at The Rittenhouse for giving this mama a much needed break! And to all of my Philly friends and readers, do yourself a favor and find an excuse to get pampered.

I received complimentary treatments but wasn’t otherwise compensated for this post; all words and opinions are my own. Trust me, it was that good!

{Outfit} Summer wedding style

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This weekend, a good friend of Geoff’s from college got married on this gorgeous estate in Wilmington, Delaware. As usual, I struggled to figure out what the heck to wear, and after buying and returning a number of options, I ended up with a floral Betsey Johnson sheath. VERY different for me, considering I usually default to LBDs for weddings, but I decided to go outside of my comfort zone.

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Betsey Johnson dress // Tommy Hilfiger Collection clutch // Nina shoes (similar here and here) // Vintage ring // Butter London ‘Teddy Girl’ nail polish

I paired the dress with a Tommy Hilfiger Collection clutch that I’ve had for years but don’t get to pull out very often. I was worried it was going to be too much, but the colors were perfect for the dress, so I went for it. I kept my jewelry simple, other than the aquamarine ring that was left to me by my grandmother — another piece that I don’t have many excuses to wear.

Overall I felt good with what I was wearing, and I got a lot more compliments than I probably would have if I was wearing another black dress. It was a good reminder that sometimes I need to take a chance with my fashion choices.

My Everlane wish list and recent purchases

Everlane recent purchases

Post-closet cleanout, I’ve been working on strategically adding pieces back in, and that’s started with some Everlane purchases. My biggest area of need is in work-appropriate tops for spring/summer, so I picked up the Cotton Sweater Short Sleeve in heather ash, and the Linen Short Sleeve Tee in dark pacific. As I mentioned in my Conscious Closet post, neither of these pieces are what I’d consider exciting, but what they are is high quality, reasonably priced, versatile and fit for my lifestyle.

The cotton sweater is a mid-weight fabric that will be good in the air conditioning, though I can’t imagine wearing it on a day that I spend much time outdoors in the summer. The fit is slightly loose, though still structured enough to look neat. My only minor quibble is that the sleeves are wider than I’d like. That said, it’s a top I know I’ll wear a lot, especially in this color, because it makes a great foundation piece to pair with fun jewelry, colored pants or cute sandals.

The linen tee (which, it’s worth noting, is $20 less than the cotton), has a similar shape, though it’s slightly more drapey. It also has drop sleeves, which I liked better than the cotton sweater sleeves. As with all linen, it’s slightly sheer, but not so much that I feel the need to wear a tank under it. This will definitely be a good one through the heat of summer, and I really like the dark pacific color. I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll pick up another color at some point.

Earlier in the spring, I also grabbed the Heavyweight Tee in grey/cream, which is a great classic striped top. As the name suggests, the fabric is thick, so it’s definitely more of a spring/fall piece, unless you work in an overly-air conditioned office. I’ve already worn this one quite a few times and it has washed really well. Highly recommended.

So what’s next on my Everlane list? Here’s what’s currently hanging around in my shopping bag waiting to be purchased…

Have you picked up anything from Everlane lately that you love?

Peplum tops for spring/summer

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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

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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.

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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.