Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

Did you have a good weekend? Here in Orlando we had a glorious cold front come through on Friday afternoon, laying the groundwork for a weekend of pretty damn perfect weather (sunny 60s during the day, cool and breezy at night). Here's how my weekend played out (spoiler alert -- it involves a lot of eating):

1. I took Friday off and enjoyed a lovely day playing hooky: a lunch date with a friend and a little shopping. I got to try out a popular and yummy Orlando spot, Pom Pom's Teahouse. They have delicious grilled sandwiches, amazing cupcakes, and a million kinds of tea. Really, what more could you want? Afterwards, I did a little shopping -- Ikea and Old Navy are surprisingly empty in the middle of a Friday afternoon! I love being able to browse and shop in relative piece. 

2. Saturday morning I went to my usual yoga class and tried to sneak a quick trip to the outlets before the crowds descended (and sadly, by 10:30am I was too late -- people in this town love a bargain). I was hoping to see a few J. Crew items I've been eyeing (this dress and this blouse), but I walked away empty-handed. They didn't have the dress and the blouse is cheaper online, so I'm placing an order. Reminder: sign up for Factory First (their email list) to get 15% your first order and some other nice perks. 

I was strongly considering a cute pair of sandals (similar to these, without the ankle strap) at J. Crew and a gorgeous pink blouse at Kate Spade (similar to the one above, without the bow), but just wasn't ready to make an impulse purchase. I'm trying to be more thoughtful about my buys (my old philosophy of buy now, return later if I change my mind wasn't resulting in a lot of returns). 24 hours later, I've nearly forgotten about the sandals but I'm still thinking about the blouse. Maybe I'll check back next weekend...

3. I finally got to check out The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt  -- I'm sure you've heard of it, it's the new Tina Fey comedy on Netflix. I'm digging it so far (lots of wackiness with a bit of heart). And I enjoyed it while shoveling handfuls of my favorite "trail mix" into my face (fine, it is just a bag of candy with a few peanuts and raisins thrown in). So good, and yet so bad.

4. Do you know about Jezebel's new beauty focused mini-blog, Millihelen? It is interesting -- these days I only read Jezebel for a daily dose of Dirt Bag (it is not the same since Dodai Stewart left), but I've enjoyed some of the Millihelen posts, including this one where an anonymous Sephora employee answered a bunch of reader questions. I spent an hour going down the rabbit hole of product recommendations -- I am in the market for a new moisturizer, I'm curious about this foundation, and this mask could be the next cult favorite.

5. I finished off the weekend enjoying the spectacular weather and some tasty food truck grub. Downtown Disney has a new food truck park and I'm quite fond of the sliders. Lunch with a view:

Feet up on the couch and getting ready for the week -- here we go, Monday!

Friday, March 27, 2015

March Budget

It is budget post time already! Where did March go? I'm happy to say this month was a success for both my wallet and my closet. 

Here's what I bought...

Starting Budget:



Merona Shortsleeve Jumpsuit ($30)
Banana Republic Sweater Sleeve Duffle Coat ($104, on sale)
F21 Windowpane Blouse ($16)
Mossimo Glitter Sandals ($10, on sale)
F21 Striped Tshirt Dress ($18)
F21 Drawstring Pants ($15)
Target Nolan Slides, Fawn and Gold ($30 each, used gift card)
Merona Envelope Clutch ($17, used gift card)
(not pictured) Jeweled t-strap heels ($18, thrifted)

Total: $211

$11 over? I'll take it!

I felt like I spent a lot of time shopping this month, so I was expecting another busted budget. Luckily I did get a few deals and found a few Forever 21 gems (and I did end up with a couple of returns), so I was able to stick pretty close to my goal.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my purchases. I'm in love with the windowpane blouse -- it is so light and airy and has a great drape-y fit. I was pleasantly surprised with my other Forever 21 purchases, too -- the wide leg pants are great for those rare occasions when I need to dress like an adult for my job and brave the sticky Florida heat (when you work from home, leggings are your best friend), and the striped dress is pretty fab.

I did buy quite a few pair of shoes, but I feel like all of them will be in heavy rotation over the next few months. You can never have too many cute and walkable sandals (especially in a year-round summer climate). I don't think I actually need another jumpsuit, but I just like this one so's OK to have one relatively cheap nonessential splurge, right? And that coat -- wow. I mentioned previously that I caught this on a super sale. This was an impulse buy for sure and I normally like to plan for major purchases like winter coats, but I was glad that I pulled the trigger when I saw a great deal.


It's never fun when you're disappointed by something you thought you'd adore. I absolutely love the look of these Target pumps, but they were just too small. Ugh. They come in a great leopard pattern, too, and I would have bought both pair in a heartbeat but I am too old to force myself into uncomfortable shoes. And the Kate Spade Constellation Sweater was a dud. I wanted a great rich navy blue sweater and I got one that was more of a dull black. It also looked a little cheap (but definitely wasn't, even on sale).

I'm hoping April will be a bit of a lighter shopping month. There aren't really many things I need, so this might be a good time to focus on quality instead of quantity and think about investing in something special...maybe even something off of my wishlist.

Linking up with Franish and the fabulous budgeting bloggers -- be sure to stop by and see what the other ladies bought this month. And let me know if you've bought anything good lately!


Now that we are (almost) in the swing of spring, stores are starting to get all of their warm weather goodies. When I see all of the gorgeous bathing suits hitting the racks right now all I can think is: cute, but not for me.

For as long as I can remember, my go-to swim option has been some variation on a basic black suit that provides plenty of coverage and hopefully flatters a bit (maybe a bit of ruching, a well-placed ruffle), perfect for swimming or just lounging. I have a drawer full of them, they last forever, and I love that getting ready for a trip to the beach or the pool is a no-brainer.

My suit may a little boring, but that doesn't mean I can't put together a cute beach look. It is all about the accessories: coverups, sandals, bags, and maybe a hint of lip color. Right now I have my eye on some great options that will make my black suit look anything but basic:

Suit: J. Crew Ruched Halter One-Piece ($98)

1. One of my life rules is that you can never go wrong with black and white. This simple striped tunic is the easiest thing in the world to throw on over your suit, and it would look great for your après-swim plans as well (is après-swim a thing? If not, shouldn't it be?). I love the print on this surprisingly great tote (I'm usually pretty unimpressed with Target bags, but I've seen this one in person and it is a steal). These glittery sandals are pricey but sooo tempting (think of all of the money I save not buying tons of bathing suits!). A bit of color would be the perfect finishing touch, so I'd toss this bright red lipstick in my bag. Très fabulous.

2. This caftan is a bit over the top, but I love it. Please feel free to invite me out on your yacht, I'll be ready. I'd also add a super glamorous straw tote (if you're looking for a deal, try TJ Maxx -- they carry lots of great Deux Lux bags) and gold strappy flats. And this is the prettiest sheer lip gloss -- instant glamour in a tube.

3. Sometimes you need a more practical beach look -- just a day out with friends or your annual family vacation. I love the colors in this gauzy shirt dress -- makes me think of those gorgeous candy-colored Victorians in Cape May. A big straw market tote has plenty of room for my beach essentials (books, snacks, and sunscreen). These simple slides are an amazing Old Navy steal. And I love this Fresh lip balm for keeping my lips pretty and protected.

4. How cute is this printed dress? OK, so a dry clean only piece may not be the best option for a bathing suit coverup, but I don't care. Just don't push me in the pool and we'll be fine. This sparkly tote is a just a perfect fun summer bag. These wedges look so comfortable, perfect for a long walk on the boardwalk (or chasing down the ice cream man). And with this pretty pink lip color, I'd feel pulled together even without another stitch of makeup on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Very Airy

Spring -- it is here! (Though if you're a Floridian like me, you know it won't last more than a brief moment.) Still, these mild temperatures have me craving easy, breezy, lightweight pieces. Luckily retailers are all about eyelet other open-weave styles. Here are a few of my current favorites:

J. Crew Collection Eyelet Dress ($250) -- this is a great twist on a classic little black dress that is perfect for warmer weather. I like how versatile it is -- a blazer would make it work-appropriate, a great statement necklace would make this perfect for a hot date night or a fancy wedding.

Gap Eyelet Bomber Jacket ($70) -- I love the combo of feminine fabric in a masculine style, and this is a great little jacket that you'd probably grab all season. 

Old Navy Eyelet Tee ($19, on sale) -- a great variation on a basic tee. I'd feel comfortable wearing this to work with slim ankle pants and some great jewelry, and I'd love it with jeans for running around on the weekend.

Michael Kors Eyelet Shorts ($765) -- perfectly sweet and adorable. Not in my budget right now (or, ever), but I'm holding out for a super sale.

Tory Burch Lattice Perforated Wedge ($250) -- a comfortable gold wedge is a wardrobe staple for me -- they are so flattering and go with almost everything. This pair would be perfect peeking out from the flare-leg jeans I'm loving right now.

T by Alexander Wang Perforated Crew Neck Tee ($160) -- just simple and perfect. I generally lean towards more feminine styles, but I love this sleek muscle shirt shape. Excuse me while I go do one million pushups and work on my Michelle Obama arms.

Forever 21 Distressed Scoop Neck Tee ($16) -- you could pay hundreds of dollars for a basic distressed tee shirt but...why? This one is great and is exactly how much I want to pay for clothing with holes in it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

1. I saw Cinderella and liked it a lot more than I expected! I really just went to see Cate Blanchett be her magnificent self (and her costumes -- amazing), but I thought the whole movie was pretty charming (Ever After is still my favorite take on this story -- if you haven't seen it, fix that ASAP). I also loved Frozen Fever and immediately got this song stuck in my head (already on my iPod -- I think it will be fun to run to tomorrow morning). Speaking of Cinderella, I just stumbled across this lipstick from MAC's movie tie-in collection -- so pretty! Sold out online, but maybe there is a tube or two in stores?

2. I took a stroll through Forever 21 -- I didn't buy anything, but a few things caught my eye: love these comfy slides for days at the pool, this hobo meets my criteria for a perfect bag, and these sparkly hair ties might make my messy bun look just a little more polished.

3. I volunteer at the best organization in the world and I got to spend a few hours doing my favorite thing -- serving ice cream for breakfast! Give Kids The World has an ice cream parlor that opens at 7:30 in the morning and hands out all of the ice cream that kids and their families can eat.

4. I'm starting to think about summer vacation plans (SoCal dreaming -- LA, San Diego, and a few days at Disneyland!). I love this sweet and airy dress -- perfect for site-seeing during the day and maybe a little dancing at night.

5. I had one six of these yesterday. Easter candy is the best. Why does everything taste better in egg form? (Don't even get me started on the Snickers ones).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Online Shopping: The Agony and Ecstasty

Last weekend was a bit of a flurry of online shopping activity. I was browsing around and stumbled across a couple of great deals. I realized that a few things that had been on my wishlist were on super sale, so I found myself pressing that magic little "Place Order" button quite a few times.

It looked a bit like Christmas at Casa Peacoat today -- now I get to sort through all of the goodies!

Target was having a pretty nice Buy 1 Get 1 50% off sale on summer clothes and accessories last week, so I decided to take advantage and order a number of things I'd had my eye on. I'd originally planned to hit a local store, but I realized that no single store had all of the things I wanted to check out in the right sizes, so it was easiest just to order everything. Somewhat annoyingly, my order shipped in 4 different packages, but still better than running all over town to collect everything.

Mossimo Shortsleeved Jumpsuit ($30) -- perfectly relaxed but not shapeless; this would be easy to throw on for a night out, but I think I'll also wear it out shopping on a Saturday or even to the office with a great blazer.

The only problem is the size, and it's my own fault -- for some reason I had it in my head that this was from the Xhiliration line, and I always size up since that's their juniors line. This runs true to size, so I'll probably do an in-store exchange (though to be honest, the larger size doesn't look terrible and would leave me plenty of room for an extra dessert or two. Hmmm....)

Sam & Libby Nolan Wedge, Gold & Fawn ($45 total, on sale) -- I almost never want to buy the same item in multiple colors but I couldn't resist here -- an easy, flattering, and super walkable shoe that you can wear all summer (and beyond, here in Florida).

Envelope Clutch Bag ($17) -- My evening bag collection is pretty lackluster, so I liked the idea of adding a great little basic bag to my collection. The size and shape of this one are great. I usually find Target bags to have a cheap look and feel -- the "leather" tends to be waxy and fake looking, but I think this one is pretty soft and supple. I never think about shopping for an evening bag until I need one, so I have a feeling I'll be glad to have this tucked away in my closet.

Lakitia Embellished Sandals ($10, on sale) -- a super simple flat that is heavily inspired by an old J. Crew favorite. I like the fit and just like everyone says, they are surprisingly comfortable for a sandal that doesn't have much to it. I was thinking about returning them because they felt a little flimsy, but for 10 bucks I won't mind if they just last one summer.

Merona Meg Pump ($30) Sigh. The only real loser of the bunch. I love these shoes, I would buy them in every color...if only they fit. Online reviews don't lie -- they run a whole size small and since I wear a 10.5, I can't size up any further. I feel like one of Cinderella's ugly stepsisters, but you small-footed lasses should order these immediately.

Constellation Sweater ($150, on sale) -- Another no-go. I thought the color of the sweater was disappointing in person -- not as rich, not as vibrant. It reads more black than blue. And this may seem like a minor detail, but online I couldn't see that some of the sequins in the star pattern were actually shaped like stars. I haven't seen star sequins since I was in second grade, and it just gave the sweater a kind of cheap look (and even on sale, this was not a cheap sweater). If I saw it hanging in Old Navy I'd probably pass it by, so back it goes.

Heritage Duffle Coat ($100, on sale) -- you may remember this coat from a past Wednesday Wishlist, where I proclaimed my love for this beauty and my sadness that it would likely never be mine. $300 is just too much for me to pay for a beautiful but impractical coat that I really don't need, and I didn't think it would ever go on enough of a sale. Until it did.

For a brief moment (seriously, was it some kind of glitch?), it was marked down to $130 and I had a coupon code for 25% off and free shipping-- so for a hundred bucks (or what I'd drop on my average Sunday morning Target run), it was on its way to me. And it's a keeper! It is just as beautiful and impractical as I'd imagined, but also so flattering -- the color is called cocoon, which might also be the best description of wearing it. You just feel snuggled into a soft, cozy cloud. Never mind that it is going to be in the 80s here for the next week six months, I absolutely love it.

This coat does run large -- most reviews suggest sizing at least one size down and I'd agree. Keep your eye out for the next super sale!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Taking a Sick Day

I'll start by saying, I don't get sick a lot (knock on all the wood). But one day this week I woke up and just I didn't want to get out of bed and when I finally did, I realized I felt nauseous and dizzy. It ended up being a strange 24-hour bug of some sort, and luckily I was able take (most) of the day off to recover.

When I'm sick, I like to pull on some of my comfiest, coziest clothes -- the perfect pieces to wear for naps and marathons of The Real Housewives of Beverly HIlls (so trashy, but kind of good). Here's what I'd wear to make myself feel a little better when I'm home sick:

Top Row
: A favorite sweater and a pair of leggings is a perfect sick day outfit. Everything is stretchy enough for lounging, and you are still ready if you need to venture out to walk the dog or pick up some ginger ale. I love this graphic J. Crew intarsia sweater, particularly because I need all black/white everything right now. This cashmere sweater is sweet and cheery -- it never hurts to keep a positive attitude, even if you're feeling crummy. And I really adore this fun stars and stripes crewneck, though the price makes me a different kind of ill.

Middle Row: I don't have too many pajama sets, but I would definitely wear this tank and shorts set. These slippers are perfect for any lazy day. And these classic piped PJs are great to throw on if your BF or BFF is coming over to take care of you. You want to look sweet and helpless but feel just a little pulled together.

Bottom Row: When I'm sick, I tend to swing violently between boiling hot and freezing cold -- a robe is the perfect thing to snuggle into or toss off accordingly. This pink fuzzy sweater will make you feel a bit like a Muppet, in a good way. This delicate robe adds a little glamour, even when you're feeling decidedly unglamorous. And I love this oatmeal belted cardi -- also great to keep at your desk during drafty winter months.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: A Litte More Sparkle

I don't know what happened to earrings. Once upon a time, they were generally found in -- or perhaps dangling from -- the earlobe. Today when I look at earrings, I see all kinds of weird shapes and sizes that are meant to adorn the non-lobe parts of your ear. Where do these strange things go? The curved part...the straight part...maybe inside the ear? Honestly, I have no idea.

This week, I'm looking at some good old-fashioned danglers that add a little more sparkle to your look.

1. Kenneth Jay Lane Dark Blue Tassel Drop Earrings ($69) -- this cobalt blue is bright but works almost like a neutral. I'd love these with a great little black dress, but they'd also be amazing with shades of green, pink, and gray (and orange, if you're a Mets fan).

2. Oscar de la Renta Starburst Drop Earrings ($250) -- I'm a sucker for a good retro star shape -- these are an investment but you'll wear them forever. I'm pretty sure my grandmother had a light fixture that looked just these.

3. BaubleBar Iridescent Nebula Drops ($32) -- who doesn't love a good sparkly door-knocker earring, right? They're almost too much, so I'd try to dress them down -- jeans and a simple tank would be perfect.

4. Lulu Frost for J. Crew Stone Crystal Disc Earrings ($125) -- my favorite of the bunch. I hope they go on super sale so I can buy a pair for myself and then maybe stash away a few for Christmas presents (because these would seriously look great on everyone!).

5. Forever 21 Filigree Tassel Earrings ($6) -- perfectly on trend, and you really can't beat the price.

6. Forever 21 Rhinestone Spike Earrings ($6) -- I love these because I feel like my mom would have worn the same style in the 80s. She wore hers with shiny fabric and big shoulders, I'll wear mine with a great blazer and boyfriend jeans.

7. BaubleBar Chanterelle Tassel Drop Earrings ($32) -- the mini tassel gives just a hint of flirtiness. They're not too much for the office and just enough for after work dinner and drinks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Blush and Bashful

I'm not sure exactly what color bashful is, but I am definitely loving all of the blush shades I'm seeing everywhere.

1. How great are these heels? I love the metallic accents and cutouts -- a great variation on a classic nude pump.

2. Pale pink is kind of an unexpected color for a leather jacket, but a nice breath of fresh air for spring. It will go with more than you might think -- definitely neutrals like black, white, gray, and camel, but also bolder colors like grass green, tomato red, and navy blue.

3. For when you just want to look at life through rose-colored glasses. Sometimes I have a hard time wearing aviators (big head, don't care), so I like these larger frames.

4. This blouse is just so pretty -- the subtle color and the intricate lace around the neckline are really flattering, and perfect for showing off a great pair of earrings (love, love, love these).

5. I've had this tassel necklace on my radar for a while, not sure why I haven't pulled the trigger. It is fairly substantial, so it is a nice way to make a statement without going the traditional bib necklace route.

6. Who would guess these classic and sophisticated quilted ballet flats are from Payless? This is a great neutral shoe when you're sick of your basic black flats.

7. I love the shape of this jacket, particularly the fact that it has short sleeves (professional dressing in Florida can be tricky, and occasionally you need to emerge from the air conditioned cocoon). This is from The Limited's Scandal collection -- wear it when you need a bit of Olivia Pope badass-ery.

8. I've seen a number of blush colored handbags and honestly, I didn't love any of them. Inexpensive bags tended to look too chalky, and the pricier ones seemed impractical. I do love this great weekend bag -- it is super chic and has great reviews. It is almost time to start planning those long weekends at the beach...

9. I like a touch of pink in my tech accessories. I've never spent more than twenty bucks on headphones, but if I felt like splurging I would definitely go with these (and you know about the major ShopBop sale happening now, so this would be a good time to pull the trigger). And I love the combo of blush and neon pinks in this iPhone case -- I'm ordering this one for myself.

10. I placed an order for these Sam and Libby slides in this color (Fawn) and also metallic gold (Target has a nice buy 1, get 1 half off sale right now). The heel height is perfect -- completely walkable with a little lift. It is surprisingly hard to find this happy medium between flats and 4" wedges -- why is that?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

1. Late last week I realized a very rare event was upon me: a completely unscheduled Friday night. Usually on Fridays I make plans with friends to celebrate the end of the week or I spend time volunteering at the best organization in the world, but this week I had nada on the calendar. As a bonus, I also had a clear Saturday morning (I almost always have an early yoga class or long run planned). So it dawned on me: I could stay in and veg! And stay up super late if I wanted! No one is the boss of me!

As luck would have it, Friday was also the release day for season three of House of Cards. Can you guess where this is going? Me + Netflix + the best ice cream (the salted caramel is just everything) + my couch = bliss. I burned through 3 episodes (which is a lot for me, I'm really terrible at binge watching) and enjoyed a super chill evening.

I know this is such a cliche thing to say, but making time for relaxing and unwinding is SO important. I love being busy - there is so much I want to do with my life and I hate wasting even a minute -- but the constant go, go, go can take a toll on you. When I say this unscheduled Friday night/Saturday morning is rare, I'm talking it has been at least a year or so. And it was nice, nicer than when I try to squeeze in relaxation around all of the busy-ness (OK, I have a window today from 3-3:50 where I don't have to be anywhere. Ready, set, RELAX! Do I feel relaxed yet? Am I relaxing enough? How much relaxation time do I have left?).

2. I got to enjoy a few rainy hours in the Magic Kingdom -- I never get tired of the magic (even if I am quite grown up).

3. I went on a long run and tried to work through some big life questions. I do some of my best thinking when I run. Lots up in the air right now -- I have to make some big decisions soon and while I think any of the options would make me happy in the short term, it is less clear what is best for my long term goals. Anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow?

4. I used this great mask while doing a bit of spring cleaning. This post made me laugh and also gave me a nice kick in the rear to get my makeup bag in order. I was able to purge my collection of some clutter and give everything a good cleaning.

And a mini-review of the mask: I'm using a sample I got from Sephora (the Beauty Insiders reward program is the best ever -- I may make VIB Rouge this year, which is exciting and somewhat horrifying!). I was curious to test out this product that's earned a fairly cult-like following -- it is just fine and made my skin quite soft. I don't see myself buying a full size version, but I'd be happy to see another sample come along.

5. I added a few products to my "must-try" list. This Clarins balm is some kind of miracle product if the testimonies here are to be believed. The Coveteur did a round up of beauty editors' favorite drugstore buys and it is a treasure trove of goodness. This L'Oreal mascara got several mentions -- I've used the classic Voluminous for years, I can't wait to see what all of the fuss is about here. It seems like everyone and their mother loves this Maybelline concealer. I'm always on the hunt for a wearable red lipstick, and this one looked so fresh and unfussy on one of my favorite bloggers.

So I have a few things on my list for future drugstore/Sephora visits. And hey, I suddenly seem to have some extra room in my makeup bag...

Falling in love with Zara again...

I discovered Zara when I moved to New York more than 10 years ago. At the time, it was one of a handful of European chains that had an outpost or two in the city (like Mango, Uniqlo -- anyone remember Mexx?). Back then only some retailers were doing the online thing, so shopping at Zara seemed kind of exotic.

It was a gorgeous Chanel-ish tweed coat that first caught my eye. I was looking for something fabulous to wear to a wedding and I loved the idea of topping off my look with this amazing coat. For some reason, I didn't buy it. It is one of those shopping mistakes that haunts me. I can't find an image online, but it was something like this (there were subtle hints of gold woven throughout -- basically the prettiest little coat ever):

At some point Zara fell off of my list of regular shopping haunts. Suddenly the European stores were popping up everywhere (seriously, there's a Mango outpost in my airport), so Zara didn't feel like my secret little source.

And of course now online shopping is easy, but I never spend more than a few minutes browsing Zara's site. Truth: I really don't like their online store. It's a little unwieldy (so much stuff...scrolling for days). But more than that, I kind of hate the way they style their clothes. The proportions are always weird, the poses are so exaggerated, the models look so miserable. It has a high fashion vibe, but it just makes their clothes feel a bit unrelatable.

On a whim, I popped into my local store last week and was kind of blown away. The experience in the store is SO different. The minimal vibe is in full effect, but you have the chance to see each piece in isolation. I found myself noticing things that I probably zipped right past online, and I could immediately see how I'd work them in with the rest of my wardrobe.

Here are some of the things that made me fall in love with Zara all over again:

As I was browsing the store, the first thing that caught my eye was this great buttery soft yellow bag (dead center, above). This is a GREAT bag -- roomy, slouchy, easy to carry. I did a double take at the price, just $40 - I've seen some pretty cheesy looking bags at Target for the same price. This one isn't real leather, but you'd never guess it. It also comes in basic black and a nice pale tan color.

Other great options include this simple clutch, a great basic if you don't have a good evening bag (very similar to this DvF bag at teeny fraction of the price). I am really considering this cobalt blue satchel -- I love the shape and feel like it would be really versatile. This colorblock shopper has a convertible shape...and since it works with both black and brown, it is kind of like getting two bags for the price of one. (It is! I'm not just trying to justify an unnecessary purchase!)

I really love this ombre tote -- so pretty, right? And I don't have a particular need for a white bag, but I like this bucket style. A year or two from now people will be stashing their overpriced Mansur Gavriel bucket bags for looking too dated, but this one will still be going strong. And sometimes it is fun to treat yourself to something silly, like this pouch. It could work on its own as a clutch, or as a place to stash your makeup or other mini essentials in your giant black hole of a tote bag.

Why you should fall in love: on trend bags you won't be sick of after one season; so cheap you can buy two!

As I was walking through the store, I found myself spending a lot of time looking at the details. I would see a blouse or a dress and immediately want to get closer to examine some delicate beading, a bit of lacework, an unusual hemline. Zara does simple pieces that are still interesting because of lovely details.

This blouse with a lace yolk and sleeves is so, so pretty -- I can't decided between the black, which is a little dramatic, and the sweeter pale pink. I love the unabashed girly-ness of this ruffled blouse, and the neckline seems super flattering. This tunic is the best version of a windowpane pattern I've seen so far (but honestly, I didn't really like any of the photos online -- you really should see it in person!). It is apparently my life's work to collect all of the striped tees, and I'm digging this one with beading on the shoulders. You definitely don't own anything like this sleeveless pleated blouse -- the shape and color are amazing. I would stand around all day looking vaguely pissed to make sure everyone saw the buttons on the sleeves of this pretty sweater.

Why you should fall in love: simple pieces with great details that you'll reach for over and over again

I fell in love with a great pair of Zara heels last month and I was thrilled to see lots of fun footwear options in store. The strap on these pretty, office-appropriate shoes is interesting and also really flattering. You'd never guess these ombre glittery flats are only $20. These retro platform heels are perfect with the wide leg jeans I am obsessed with. These are the best option I've seen if you're trying to find a dupe for those great Loeffler Randall sneakers -- the price is right, though I'm missing the bold colorblock look. There are still a few weeks of boot-wearing weather -- these are a lot sexier than your crusty old Uggs. These remind me of the shower shoes I wore in college (but so fancy) - buy them to celebrate the fact that you aren't using a communal bathroom anymore.

Why you should fall in love: you want a lower-priced version of the hottest of-the-moment shoes that won't fall apart after a few wearings.