Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Just the Tip

Black and white is my favorite color combination -- it can be bold or neutral, casual or dressy, but somehow always right. When I can't figure out to wear, I always go back to a black and white palette. This week I'm particularly drawn to solid pieces that are tipped with a hint of contrasting color. So very chic, oui?

ww: just the tip

clockwise from l to r:

J. Crew Factory Tipped Linen Blazer ($55) -- Gorgeous, timeless, perfect. This has been on my wish list for a long time and it is such a good price. Sigh.

Zara Cap Toe Ballerina Slippers ($26) -- every wardrobe needs a great pair of flats -- you'll wear these with everything.

Zara Top with Contrast Piping ($50) -- great under a suit, perfect with a pair of jeans.

H&M Fine Knit Sweater ($25) -- pretty and demure. Endless layering options.

J. Crew Collection Cashmere Tipped Polo ($228) -- I love this so much, but I have to take a moment to say this is a great example of what is wrong with J. Crew right now. Who is the audience for this lovely and extraordinarily overpriced sweater?

TKEES French Tips ($55) -- this brand is new to me, but I love this pair of simple, elegant slides.

H&M Pattern Knit Cardigan ($25) -- the subtle pattern in the knit makes this seem like a much pricier piece.

Forever 21 Contrast Trim Blouse ($17) -- a great blank canvas for your favorite necklaces.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July "Budget"

Well, there was a major Zara sale and this month isn't going to be pretty, so let's just get to it...

Stating Budget: $275 (monthly $200 + $41 for returning a May purchase and $34 for selling some clothes)

july budget

clockwise l to r:

J. Crew Perforated Drapey Crepe Dress ($65, on sale) -- does this look familiar? You may remember last month I bought this dress in a gorgeous orange-red color. I adore it and knew I needed to snag the black color as well. Simple, sophisticated, just a little sexy. I stalked it for weeks and finally caught my size on a super sale.

Zara Jacket with Patterned Lining ($80) -- the pictures don't do it justice, this is a truly beautiful piece. It has the construction and feel of a jacket 10 times the price.

Forever 21 Cat-Eye Sunglass ($5.90) -- just the right price for a fun but super trendy pair.

Merona 3/4 Sleeve Striped Tee ($5, thrifted) -- great fit, perfectly stripe-y. Very different than all of the other striped tees in my closet. I promise.

J. Crew Roxie Pumps ($300) -- yup, I bought them. My size came back in stock and before I could even think, I clicked. Boom goes the budget.

Top with Cross-Over Front ($20, on sale) Zara sale strikes again. This top is so, so pretty -- the layered front is interesting without being fussy, and the floral pattern is really vibrant (much brighter than the photo). It's so flattering -- I wore it once and several people mentioned that I looked bright and glowy. I don't get those kinds of comments when I wear my pricey highlighting creams and powders.

Ann Taylor Tipped Collarless Jacket ($65, on sale) -- a blogger favorite this month, and for good reason. This is a fantastic spring/summer blazer with simple, chic styling. I noticed on Facebook that a friend of mine wore it when she spoke before the United Nations, so now I refer to it as my "Speaking at the UN Jacket". I'm sure I'll be receiving a speaking invitation any moment.

Zara Embroidered T-Shirt ($23, on sale) -- I can't believe I'm proclaiming my love for a mesh t-shirt, but I am. I spotted this in store months ago and was thrilled to catch it in the end of season sale.

Banana Republic Factory Shorts ($16, on sale) -- just love this color so much.

Zara Rayon Sweater with Buttons ($20, on sale) -- slim fit, finely knit sweater with a pretty button detail. Great basic, perfect for layering.

J. Crew Marcie Suede Wedges ($63) -- a cute and comfy walking shoe. It is hard to find a shoe that works with equally well with shorts, ankle pants, and wide-leg jeans -- these fit the bill.

Total: $663 ($389 over budget)

So, this is bad. You could look at it and say that I was more than 100% over my monthly budget. You could say that it was really a simple shoe splurge that was to blame (because otherwise I was...pretty close?). Either way, I am left with the question of...what to do?

The whole budget exercise was really meant to serve a couple of purposes. First and foremost was to add a measure of accountability and responsibility to my spending. Sadly, I am not an heiress and therefore I have a finite amount of money to spend on clothing. I have life goals that extend beyond just looking cute, so I want to make sure I can fund all of those things.

Also important is putting some limits on my desires to spend and accumulate new things. My goal is never to have the biggest closet or the most expensive wardrobe. It is really to just have a closet full of things that serve my life -- beautiful, practical, and functional. My clothes are a way to express myself, and a way to prevent being naked in public. That's it.

I've thought it over and I'm just going to chalk this up to a bad month. I really love everything I bought and I managed to score some great deals, and forcing myself to return purchases will feel like an unnecessary punishment. I am going to need to remember that July is a great month for sales, and I should budget accordingly.

The other thing I've realized is that I am still very much programmed to follow the normal fashion cycle and gear up for a big fall shopping blitz. I'd really love to be shopping for sweaters, moto jackets, tights, and boots, but that doesn't fit my lifestyle right now. Fall in Florida looks remarkably like summer, and I don't really need a new wardrobe. So I'm going to try to make August and September light shopping months and just live vicariously through you. Just Instagram the hell out of all of your new things, OK?

Linking up with Fran and the budget bloggers -- check them out if you'd like to hear from bloggers who, you know, are good at budgeting.

PS -- if you're new here, hello! Feel free to stick around and check out some of my most popular posts this month:
Three Ways: Statement Shoes
Wednesday Wishlist: Pop of Python

Pack This: 3-Day Trip

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekend To Do

weekend to do

All week long, the weather forecast for this weekend was very clear: rain. Rain, rain, rain. All day, all night. More rain than you've ever seen in your life. Build an ark and gather the animals. It seemed like the perfect weekend to catch up on my to-do list around the house, cuddle on the couch with Netflix and my pup, read blogs, and act generally slug-like without feeling too guilty about it.

Weathermen: you sit on a throne of lies!

This weekend ended up being just about as sunny and hot as any other. It's always sunny in Orlando, apparently. And I have a really hard time hanging around the house when it is so damn nice out, so not much couch time for me. Here's how I spent my days:

1. The rain was supposed to start rolling in on Friday afternoon, but the skies just refused to open up. I thought I'd take advantage of a few final rain-free hours by heading over to EPCOT for the evening. I met a friend for a quick drink and bite to eat, and I was able to do a fun errand: picking up treats for a little friend. I'm "Aunt Alison" to a handful of cute kids, and one of my honorary nephews took a bad fall and broke his leg this week. His summer is kind of a bust, so I thought I'd surprise him with a package. I picked up all kinds of fun and silly things -- a mini piñata, an Olaf rice crispy treat, some Beaver Butt soap, and all of the yummy looking candy I could find in the Japanese pavilion. Somehow I accidentally bought too much Pocky. I wonder what I should do with it...?

2. I woke up to sunny skies on Saturday, so I decided to hit the gym and get out and run some errands "before the rain got too bad". You're sensing a theme here, right? One of my stops was Barnes and Noble where I spent some time skimming The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the blockbuster home organization bible by Marie Kondo.

I knew the basics but there's a lot more to the system than the oft-repeated "does it spark joy?" test. I am forever feeling frustrated at how quickly things in Casa Peacoat can go from neat to disaster. After learning about KonMari, I think I know why: I have too much shit.  I wanted to dive right in and start purging things immediately, but I think I'll save it for next weekend. I look forward to thanking a lot of inanimate objects for their service and sending them on their way.

3. With no rain in sight on Saturday night, I headed out for some adult fun in the Happiest Place on Earth. Dinner, fireworks, people watching, and best of all, some silly drinks. This Blue Daydream was sweet and frothy and went down way too easily. The Let It Glow was pretty adorable, too (but sadly, nonalcoholic).

4. This morning I was happy to snap up a perfect little striped tee at a local consignment shop (sold a few things so I thought it would be OK to treat myself). Marie Kondo would probably say I did not need this but for me, a good striped shirt is pure joy.

5. Finishing out my Sunday Funday with dinner and a one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Tons of laughs, a bit of heart, and some of the most outrageous dialogue ever.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I'm having one of those moments. Feeling blah. Totally uninspired. A sort of fashion ennui. Nothing looks interesting right now. Summer clothes are making their way to the clearance racks and looking wrinkled, wilted, and picked over. Fall clothes are starting to trickle into stores, and I'm feeling a bit grumpy about it.

First of all, we're only halfway through summer. I'm still enjoying the warm, sticky, ice cream-fueled evenings, the slower pace of life, the lack of anything remotely intelligent on television (so I can binge on Mad Men without guilt). I don't like the idea of being rushed through any season. Let's live in the moment, for just a moment.

Second, the idea of a fall wardrobe is kind of laughable when you live in central Florida. September rolls around and I think mayyyybe I could consider switching from tanks to short-sleeved shirts. Shorts with a 5" inseam instead of 4". Maybe. I'm still excited about fall fashion -- definitely the most exciting fashion season, and I'll devour every page of the September issues, drool over the cozy cashmere sweaters, and dream of leather boots, leather coats, maybe leather pants. But I won't be wearing any of it until January.

So how do I fix this? I have a long, rainy weekend ahead of me, so I'm going to try to get my creative sartorial juices flowing...

Great Fashion Docs

In the past few years, there have been a million great juicy fashion films that offer a tiny a peek inside the ultra-glamorous world of designers and style icons (bonus: most of them are on Netflix!). Bill Cunninham, New York is one of my favorite movies ever -- Bill is a true artist, an absolute gem, and one of the best things about NYC (getting snapped by him is a major bucket list item). The September Issue gives us a look at how the editorial sausage is made. Dior and I and Valentino: The Last Emperor celebrate two fashion geniuses. And I'm dying to see Iris -- fashion should be fun, and Iris is the absolute embodiment of that.

Good Reads

Maybe I'll dig into one of the good dishy books perpetually cluttering my nightstand. Diane von Furstenberg is an icon and a role model, and I've been dying to get my hands on The Woman I Wanted to Be.  Somehow I never got around to reading Grace Coddington's memoir, and I know she's quite a character. This book's title definitely caught my attention -- I am great at picking up bad habits. I've never been a major Alexa Chung fan girl, but I think she's had an interesting life -- hopefully those stories made it into her book. And I've had Crystal Renn's memoir on my iPad forever -- in addition to looking completely fucking gorgeous all the time, Crystal has worked hard to help change the fashion industry's definition of beauty.

Closet Rehab

I am in an endless battle with my closet, my dresser, and all of the other places I'm stuffing clothing these days. It would be smart to take a few hours and try to get things under control. I'm sure I have things ready to move on to their next home, and I've been wanting to try out some resale options other than eBay (Poshmark seems like the current blogger fave -- thoughts?).

A lot of my favorite bloggers have written great posts about wardrobe management -- I love this post from Fran about how to let things go, The Everygirl has a nice collection of basic closet cleanout rules, and The Man Repeller gives closet tough love like the big sister I always wanted.

Or maybe I just need more room! This dresser looks like it would hold a lot (and would look lovely in my bedroom)...

Hoping to snap out of my fashion funk soon. Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just me?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Favorites

We are in the dog days of summer in sticky Florida, but thanks to Nordstrom I have fall on my mind. It's Anniversary Sale time!

I love the idea of this sale -- a chance to pick up some of fall's best pieces, discounted right from the start. If you hate playing the waiting-for-the-best-price game, this is the sale for you. Today is the first day that the general public can shop the sale -- here are some of my favorite pieces:

Thinking Snow

Warm winter coats are one of the best deals to snag during this sale. I don't really have a need for one right now, but if I was in the market I'd definitely consider this pretty pink boucle coat. And I never feel like spending money on a practical coat like this long down parka, but it's a very smart buy.

Feeling Splurge-y

I'm drooling over some of the amazing bags included in this sale. This Marc Jacobs hobo is so classic -- the bright tangelo color is happy and fun. And if you are in the mood to treat yourself, this Chloe tote would be happy to oblige. 

Not-so-practical shoes

Fall is a great time to add a fabulous pair of shoes (or two) to your wardrobe. These studded Rebecca Minkoff pumps are serious enough for the office but cool enough for happy hour and beyond. And I love this sharp pair of lipstick pink heels -- work shoes don't have to be boring!

Statement Pieces 

Nordstrom has a fantastic selection of accessories, and there are some great options on sale. These oversized cat eye glasses are super cute. They may feel dated next year, so buy them for less and wear the hell out of them all fall. And I'm bored with the same old bib necklaces we've seen everywhere, but this sleek Alexis Bittar necklace is unique and just as eye-catching. (This would make a great Christmas gift, if you're ready to think ahead).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Pop of Python

I've never been a fan of animal prints. I own no leopard, no cheetah. There are no zebra stripes hiding in my closet. I don't even have one of those cute fox sweaters that everyone was crazy about a few seasons ago. So I was surprised to find that over the past few months, I've developed a fondness...for snakes.

And I'm in good company. Gwyneth Paltrow said that "python, without a doubt, is spring's standout print." Well, someone at Goop said it. Maybe because they were trying to sell a pricey python-printed dress (that I also love, of course). Anyway, my passion for a subtle but striking snake print continues to burn brightly all summer. Here are some of the pieces that have caught my eye lately:

clockwise from l to r:

DvF Abigail Jersey Wrap Dress ($300) -- OK, this might be more than a pop. A funky snake print in a bold cobalt blue color is striking without being obnoxious. A fun addition to your closet, especially if you already have a good basic black wrap dress.

DfV Suede and Python Mary Jane Heels ($300) -- It seems Diane likes a bit of python as well. Quite possibly the sexiest Mary Janes ever. Super fun peeking out from beneath a basic suit. And when I need to work out my Biba fantasies, I'd pair them with a sleek black jumpsuit and tons of smudgy eyeliner.

Topshop Faux Snake Mini Cross Body Bag ($49) -- good things come in small packages. This tiny bag will hold everyone's attention (and not much else!).

Yigal Azrouel Cuff ($298) -- even if python is a passing trend, this cuff is a classic that you'll always be glad to have in your jewelry box.

Carven Snake Print Paneled Dress ($345) -- every closet needs a perfect little waist-whittling snake print mini dress.

GUESS Python Print Classic Watch ($130) -- a playful twist on a very traditional style.

Old Navy Cross Strap Slides ($21) -- I bought these a few weeks ago and love them. An easy, chic replacement for your basic flip-flop.

Rebecca Minkoff Leo Clutch ($95) -- this would be such a wardrobe workhorse. I would also be fine with a good knockoff -- Zara, hook me up! (ETA: Target to the rescue!)

Topshop Snake Effect Makeup Bag ($6) -- cute little pouch you will use a million ways.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Weekend To Do List

New look for my regular Sunday post -- still playing around with it, but I think it is a bit of an improvement, yes?

This weekend was a bit of a blur -- I spent most of it recovering from my business trip, which was kind of fun but also kind of miserable. My flight home was cancelled because of weather, so I had to scramble to get a hotel for the night, make sure my dog was taken care of, and get myself on a new flight. Unfortunately for me, the new flight left at 6am and the airport shuttle insisted on picking me up at 3:05am to get me there. I think I crawled into bed around midnight on Thursday, so that was great planning on my part.

That glamorous business travel life, for sure.

Anyway, here's how the last few days played out:

1. Exhibitioning

On my last day in NYC I got to check out The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, a very cool exhibit showcasing costumes and sets from The Hunger Games films. I like to stay a bit anonymous so I won't say too much, but my company had a big role in one of the most fun aspects of this exhibit, so it was fun to get to see it all in person.

The costumes were really stunning. Probably not at all fun to wear, but that's why Jennifer Lawrence and company get paid so well.

2. Eating my feelings

Friday was a long, rough day. It started with a 2:30am wakeup call, a long visit in JFK's chaotic T5 terminal (the line for security was 45 minutes long and it wasn't even 5am), and the WORST seat on the plane -- by the time I collected Audrey and was headed home, I felt like I'd been through an entire day...but it was still just 9:00am and I had a full 8 hour work day ahead of me. I decided I needed a little treat and zipped through the drive-thru for a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit, one of the finest delicacies on this earth. I could eat 6 of these, but I limited myself to just one and enjoyed every morsel.

3. Window shopping

After placing a hefty Zara order earlier this month, I've been trying to reign in my spending. It doesn't help that Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale is around the corner and everyone and their mother is talking about it. I'll do a bigger post when the sale goes live to the public (because card members with early access are snapping up some of the good stuff, unfortunately!), but it has been fun to browse.

I am absolutely drooling over this gorgeous Chloe satchel, which seems to be sold out already. This Marc Jacobs hobo is similar to one that's been on my wishlist forever -- black is classic, but the bright tangelo color is fabulous. I love these studded pumps, though I don't need them at all. And this Kate Spade shirt dress is kind of sassy and fun (it has pockets!).

4. Getting the kinks out

As luck would have it, I had signed up for a Sunday morning Yin Yoga workshop focused on stretching hips and hamstrings -- as a runner these are always problem areas but after a few days of endless work meetings and cramped coach travel, all of my muscles felt tense and tied up. This 2 hour(!) class focused on holding poses for a 5-10 minutes each to reaaaaalllly loosen things up. I felt great afterwards, though the 2 hours seemed to pass a bit slowly. I guess time doesn't fly when you are gently torturing yourself.

5. Bingeing

I knew this weekend would end up being pretty chill (which you probably gathered when you saw that eating a fast food breakfast was a notable enough event to make my list...), so I was glad to have many episodes of Mad Men to entertain me. Oh, I do love this show.

I love whipping through the episodes, swallowing them in great big gulps, but there are moments that I wish I had watched in real time. Oh, the lawn mower episode! So horrific, so wonderful. And Joan is back -- I love her more with each season. And Pete Campbell is the worst! I want to talk to others about how weasel-y he is, but everyone else has moved on. Anyway, if you haven't watched it yet you should -- such a perfect summer series, I will certainly remember 2015 as the summer of Mad Men.

I might need to print out these paper dolls so I can try to infuse a bit of Joan, Betty, and Peggy into my wardrobe:

Hope your weekend was as fun and fabulous or as low-key and chill as you wanted it to be -- here's to a great week!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Chasing Joan

I am three seasons into Mad Men and fully in love. It is the perfect show for summer binge watching -- episode after episode I can get lost in the drama, gawk at the shocking behavior, and drool over the costumes.

The show features some pretty amazing female characters. Peggy Olson is ambitious, plucky, naive; Betty Draper is charming, complicated, and cool. And then there's Joan Holloway. In a sea of women who seem unable or unwilling to say what they think or do what they want, Joan is a breath of fresh air. She knows what she wants, and she usually gets it. I get distracted when she's on screen -- I want her outrageous curves and her angelic face. I want to cut my hair in a long bob and wear long flirty lashes everyday. And most of all, I want a closet full of dresses that just won't quit:
Modcloth I Think I Can Dress ($50) -- possibly the perfect dress for fall. The plum color is rich and versatile, and the side ruching and v-neckline are so flattering.

Black Halo Saldana Cap Sleeve Dress ($345) -- Black Halo makes a killer dress. This fire engine red number is not for wallflowers.

Mango Decorative Seam Dress ($80) -- it can be hard to find a sheath dress with a real sleeve (so frustrating!), but you can see how it creates an incredibly flattering shape. Combine that with a bold lipstick pink color (looks good on SO many skin tones) and you have a dress that you'll reach for again and again.

ASOS Jacquard Wiggle Dress ($118) -- this dress could have come directly from Joan's closet; the shape is perfect and the pattern screams Swinging 60s. I'd keep the jewelry and shoes sleek and modern to prevent it from looking too costume-y.

Tory Burch Edith Scallop Dress ($200) -- just the right amount of sweet and sexy.

DvF Irene Silk Belted Dress ($172) -- I think every redhead needs this in her closet. Joan would buy it a size too small and rock some serious cleavage.

DvF Gracie Colorblock Dress ($199) -- Joan would have had a closet full of DvF dresses, and I love this sporty version of a classic wrap dress. The color-blocking makes it timeless -- this is from a current collection, but it could easily be a vintage 60s or 80s piece.

ASOS Curve Midi Wiggle Dress ($60) -- the color and texture of this dress are really spectacular.

Erin Fetherston Colette Fit and Flare ($355) -- a classic shirtdress in a sexy sheer fabric. That skirt will make such a satisfying swish.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pack this: 3-day trip

I mentioned taking a few quick business trips over the past few months -- I'm no road warrior, but I do a fair amount of business travel. I've been in my current job for about 7 years, and I have to laugh a bit now thinking about those first trips. I pretty much put my whole wardrobe in a giant 30" suitcase and dragged it through unfamiliar airports and cities, only to return home with an aching back and a ton of laundry.

This week I'm headed out on a fairly typical trip -- three days of professional meetings and events and downtime with friends in the evenings. And getting ready is so easy now (I don't know if professional packer is a thing, but I'm adding it to my resume). I was able to pack everything I needed, with plenty of options, in a small carry-on and a tote (ok, a pretty generous tote).

Here are a few of the things I've learned in my transition over-packer to savvy traveler:

Let's talk toiletries...

1. Pouches are a girl's best friend -- I use a ton of them when I travel, and I love a good roomy one for my non-liquid toiletries.

2. Find non-liquid alternatives to as many products as possible -- I have a few special products that I always travel with. My favorite is a good makeup removing balm like Clinique's Take the Day Off. At home I use a facial cleanser and liquid eye makeup remover, but this one (solid) product takes care of both without taking up valuable room in my 1-gallon ziplock. A pack of cleansing wipes will take care of a million needs -- freshening up hands or face when you're trapped in your airplane seat, cleaning your grimy hotel remote control, etc. In my regular life I often use liquid eyeliner, blush, and lip gloss, but I only bring my gel eyeliner, cream blush, and solid lip products when I travel. Throw in a few single-use wipes, too -- stain remover and nail polish remover will always come in handy.

3. Streamline your routine -- When I travel, I stick to the basics. I don't need my serums, eye cream, and retinols, just a good moisturizer will do. I limit myself to one must-have hair product (this amazing Redken gloss, which makes my hair so silky). One good eyeshadow is better than a bulky palette full of shades. It won't kill you to use the hotel's shampoo and soap for a few days; if I need a guaranteed good hair day, sometimes I'll add a tiny bottle of my favorite conditioner...or I'll treat myself to a blowout on the road.

3. Hoard product samples -- I keep a big box of all kinds of product samples in my bathroom -- gifts with purchase, VIB rewards, gift bag swag -- and crack into it when I'm heading out of town.

4. Save your almost-empties -- I usually repurchase favorite products before they're completely empty for fear of running out at the worst time. I hold on to my almost-empty tubes of foundation, moisturizer, etc., and throw them in my bag when I travel because they take up much less space than full products. I'll finish them off on my trip and toss them before heading home (leaving my suitcase lighter, or with room for a few souvenirs).

Be smart about your travel day outfit....

My only rule of thumb here is: wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane.

This is key to getting all of your clothes in a tiny suitcase -- don't let shoes take up valuable space. For this trip, my bulkiest footwear was my running shoes. I knew I'd have time to change in the airport before jumping into any professional festivities, so this meant I could keep things SUPER casual and comfy for my trip. I went with a good pair of leggings and my favorite drapey tee (I usually like to avoid lounge-y clothes for traveling, but sometimes an exception needs to be made).

Packing your carry on...

Most airlines allow you to bring a small suitcase and a "small personal item" like a handbag, computer bag, or briefcase. This tote might be pushing the boundaries of a small personal item, but it easily fits under the seat so I think I'm safe.

1. Tuck a pair of shoes in your tote -- shoes take up a lot of space, so be smart about what you bring and how you pack them. I had 4 pair on my trip, which was perfect, but only 2 pair taking up space in my actual suitcase.

2. Grab a scarf -- I knew I'd be wearing this one during my trip, but I always pack at least one scarf in my carry on in case I need a blanket or a pillow, a makeshift eye mask, or even an air filter in case my seat mate forgot to bathe that day week.

3. More pouches -- to avoid losing important things in a cavernous bag, I keep another pouch right on top. I stash my passport, my boarding pass, my earbuds, and any other small thing I might need for easy access.

4. Snacks -- earlier this year I broke one of my cardinal travel rules and got on a flight without any snacks. We were stuck on the tarmac for hours and I thought I'd pass out from hunger -- never again. I also like having healthy snacks in my hotel room so I'm not tempted by the minibar. Apples, nuts, and granola bars are perfect.

Packing your bag...

1. Find the right suitcase -- I found this slim little rollerbag at TJ Maxx for $40 (I've seen it in quite a few stores in a variety of colors). It is tiny but holds SO much. I easily fit 6 tops, 3 bottoms, 1 dress, 1 jacket, 2 pair of shoes, jewelry, a hair dryer and other odds and ends (I rolled most of my clothes -- I think it maximizes space and minimizes wrinkles).

2. Maximize your options -- I'm not someone who can plan out 3 days' worth of outfits in advance. I like to have options so I can adjust for changes in weather, plans, or just mood. I know I'll need a few options for work activities and a few options for casual evening plans, so I made sure almost everything I brought could be dressed up or down as needed. I think I'll wear the green top with black pants and heels for client meetings, but I may decide to throw it on with jeans and flats for dinner with my college roommate. With a streamlined color palette (black, white, blue, and green), I can easily put together lots of different outfits. A couple of bold accessories that work with just about any look will make it super easy to get dressed for every event.

A few pieces, lots of options...

3. Don't forget to work on your fitness -- traveling can be rough on your body and spirit. Your sleep schedule gets out of whack, you don't always eat the right things, you're cramming too much into your day. The remedy for all of this is exercise. I always make sure my hotel has a gym, but if possible I head out for a walk or run (preferably in the morning, so I can get a lay of the land and check out the city) and then do some squats and lunges back in my room. So make room for some gym clothes -- it's worth it.

4. Packing cubes are genius. I used to think these were just a frivolous "extra" for people who like to throw money away, but they make a difference. If used the right way, they'll let you pack smarter by filling in every last inch of valuable space. I used this one for socks and undies on this trip, but for a longer trip I'll use a few to cram in extra tops, pants, pjs, etc.

All packed and ready to fly -- see you on the road!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three Ways: Statement Shoes

three ways: statement shoes
Love, thy name is Roxie Iridescent Foil Pumps. I stumbled across these a few days ago and I can't stop thinking about them...why I need them, how I would wear them. Of course, they are sold out in my size. Hear that, J. Crew? I would happily fork over $300 (blowing my monthly budget to smithereens) if you stocked more pair of the larger sizes. Think of the supermodels, think of the drag queens!

While I'm waiting for my size to come in, I've been dreaming up ways to justify this splurge...

These are shoes that want to be taken out dancing. They also want to be the center of attention, so an unfussy black dress (sorry if you are sick of hearing about this one but...too bad, it is perfection) is just right. I'd keep everything else pretty simple -- sparkly earrings that will catch the light when you twirl and just the right pop of color in a pretty clutch.

One of my first reactions to seeing Roxie was "those are birthday shoes!" My next birthday is still a few months away, but I already know what I want to wear to a fun dinner with friends. My night out uniform is pretty simple -- a pretty blouse, a good blazer, and boyfriend jeans. It's perfect because it never feels too dressy or too casual, and the overall effect is like an arrow drawing the eye right down to your shoes. I still love a great chunky gold watch with a black dial, and one more eye-catching piece of jewelry feels right. This clutch seems really versatile and I can't get enough snakeskin these days -- maybe I'll treat myself to an early birthday present?

I tried to come up with a way to wear these to work -- my office doesn't really have a dress code so I'm sure I could throw them on with a blazer and jeans, but I don't think I would. These party shoes just don't want to see the inside of an office, so let's take them somewhere fun. For a fab little summer get together, I'd go light and neutral -- a crisp camp shirt, leg-lengthening flare jeans, and a classic bucket bag. For just a touch of fun, I'd add a thin gold belt and big "look at me" sunglasses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Zara on Sale

Zara is trying to murder wallet right now. Everything is on sale, and I want it all. And full disclosure: I had a bad today and decided to buy the 6 things sitting in my shopping cart to make myself feel better. I mean, I can always return some things...

(I won't return anything)

I'll let you know what I end up keeping, but in the meantime here are some of my favorite sale buys:


clockwise from l to r:

Embroidered t-shirt ($23) -- you know I love a peekaboo perforated pattern. This top is sweet and sexy and I snatched it up!

T-shirt with shoulder detail ($20) -- I recognize that I do not need yet another striped shirt in my closet, but I like this one with pretty beading at the shoulder.

Multi-thread sweater ($20) -- I bought a slouchy cardigan in this pattern and I ADORE it (it is also on sale). This very relaxed sweater is a nice option for lazy Sundays with skinny jeans, or for the office with really tailored trousers.

Long cotton trench coat ($79) -- it is so hot and steamy in Florida that I can't even think about wearing a coat, but that's exactly the right time to get a deal on a classic outerwear piece. I like this one because it seems modern but not trendy.

Micro studded court shoe ($40) -- an unbelievably sexy shoe that looks about 20x more expensive than it is.

Blouse with contrast collar ($40) -- I love a Peter Pan collar, and I love this blouse because it avoids being too twee. 

Wide leg high waist jeans ($50) -- soft and slouchy and perfect. So flattering, too. 

Top with cross-over front ($20) -- I have a lot of blouses in my closet, but nothing like this.I love the pattern and the pretty layered detail.

Jumpsuit with lace back ($40) -- a classic jumpsuit with a sexy twist.