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Preview: The Cosmopolitan Clevelander

Christina Darling



Charming Everyday Style



Updated: 2018-04-17T22:15:38.337-04:00

 



Blouson Sleeve Top

2018-04-17T22:15:38.307-04:00

 CeCe by Cynthia Steffe Blouse / Banana Republic Factory Skirt / Madewell Ava Slingback FlatI'm a sucker for a dramatic sleeve and this one had me at hello. With its sweet, light blue pattern and pintuck detail, it's a nice daytime option for either work or play. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to contrast the voluminous sleeves with a more fitted silhouette like this BR Factory skirt. I love playing with proportions. The cherry on top of this outfit is really this pair of Madewell slingback flats. Aren't they fun?If you love the blouse, you maybe be able to find it at TJ Maxx. I got mine there for $24. If you can't find it there, it's also available via Nordstrom Rack at the link above for less than $35.   [...]



Work Pants

2018-04-11T21:55:24.223-04:00

 Details: Lush Blouse / BR Factory Leggings / Everlane Loafers I'm slowly starting to overhaul my wardrobe, gradually getting rid of things I don't wear anymore and replacing them with smarter choices. Getting dressed in the morning was starting to feel like a frustrating task. My wardrobe was bursting at the seams yet it felt like I had nothing to wear. This was probably because I was buying individual pieces that didn't always play well together. It was clear to me that I needed to take a more holistic approach. So I've started identifying my signature "looks," the outfits that always make me feel good when I wear them.One of my favorite looks for work is pairing leggings with my Everlane loafers. This is definitely one of my "looks" that I want to start building my wardrobe around, so I stocked up on work leggings when Banana Republic Factory was having a sale. I love this pair especially because of its herringbone pattern. They feel elevated compared to your regular pair of leggings. And right now they're only $38.99. I can see myself adding a sweater blazer, like this J.Crew factory one, to my wardrobe next to go with this look. What are your go-to looks? How do you keep your wardrobe full of options? [...]



Easter Dress

2018-03-28T21:37:07.198-04:00

Billabong Dress (Similar LuLu's Dress) / Nine West Pumps via DSW (Similar Nine West Pumps) / Target Tights / Charming Charlie Necklace  When I look at old family photos, some of my favorites to peruse are from Easter. Not because of awkward poses with the Easter bunny, although I'm sure we have some of those in a box somewhere. My favorite part about them is how my mother used to dress up me and my sisters, sometimes to match, in frilly pastel dresses, white tights, and bonnets. We looked like little Easter confections, and I honestly think this is one of the reasons I am so into fashion. My mom always created these wonderful outfits for special occasions that I loved and could not wait to wear. As an adult, I still feel that excitement picking out an outfit for a special event.Although I have moved on from white tights, I will be donning tights this Easter to stay warm. To match this year's dress, I've decided to wear navy tights. My conundrum was then what shoes  to wear. I wasn't sure at first, but I actually think these nude pumps look kind of cute with tights. I think what makes this work is that the colors of the tights and shoes can both be found in the dress itself, but aren't a perfect match. What do you think? Would you wear nude pumps with navy tights? What are you wearing this Easter? [...]



Embroidered Jeans

2018-03-21T23:10:51.656-04:00

Details: Sweater via Nordstrom (Similar BP Funnel Neck Sweater, Calson Cowl Neck Sweater, Gibson Tunic Sweater) / Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans / Halogen Boots via Nordstrom (Similar Sam Edelman Riding Boots)  I have been desperate to wear anything that resembles spring lately, and it's been one of those years when winter seems to drag on uncontrollably. These embroidered jeans are one way I'm trying to breath some life back into my wardrobe. I love the detail and color of the flowers, and although this is a lighter wash jean than I'm used to, they seem to go with all of my cozy sweaters, so I can wear them through the uncertain weather days of March. When it does finally get warmer, I can't wait to wear them with a silk camisole and espadrilles.I got these jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch of all places! I can't believe I'm shopping there again, but they have had some really cute, affordable styles lately. Don't worry! This doesn't mean I'll be endorsing the return of puka shell necklaces anytime soon. But it does make me think back to high school and simpler times when all we carried around were portable CD players as opposed to mini computers. What was the last CD in your Discman? Mine was either Blink 182 or Crazy Town. Embarrassing, but probably true! [...]



Introducing, Christina Darling

2018-03-19T22:29:47.228-04:00

When I first started blogging, close to 10 years ago, I was living in Cleveland and working as an associate editor at a medical trade magazine for ophthalmology. After years of schooling and promise of a great future, it wasn’t exactly what I had pictured. In other words, I wasn’t the Anne Hathaway, assistant turned fashion editor, in the movie of my life. But, after all of the turmoil in the financial world in 2008 and the reality of student loan payments, I was happy to be an English major who was gainfully employed and actually putting my degree to use. It became pretty clear, however, that there was a void in my life. I was looking for a way to fully exercise my creativity without holding back. Inspired by bloggers like Cupcakes and Cashmere and A Cup of Jo, I started my blog, the Cosmopolitan Clevelander. I immersed myself in the world of blogging, learning best practices and becoming a part of the community. It ended up being fulfilling in more ways than I had imagined. I was introduced to a style community in Cleveland that I wasn’t aware existed and hundreds like it all over the world, all through my computer. I felt like I was plugged into this creative, inspiring universe full of people just like me. Fast forward to 2011. I get this great opportunity to work as a copywriter at a global lab supply company based in Pittsburgh. Finally: a chance to express my creativity at my 9 to 5. So I packed my bags and moved. Over the last seven years, a lot has changed. I got my MBA, turned 30, went to Rome, got a Triple A card. Serious adulting has happened! Along the way, I’ve changed and evolved too and so has my style. I’m more drawn to classic, simple, enduring pieces that will serve me for years to come. And when I do introduce a trend, I make sure it satisfies my own personal style criteria, editing out anything that doesn’t work for me. I’ve adopted the less is more approach for more than just my wardrobe. It’s become a guiding principle for my life, and in turn, will define the type of content I’ll be sharing on my blog.Recognizing this internal shift, I felt like it was time to move my blog forward with me. Working with one of the great designers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting since I moved to Pittsburgh, I’ve refreshed the name and look of my blog to reflect the classic everyday looks I’ll be sharing. I also want to start sharing more of myself and my everyday life on the blog, which is why I’ve incorporated my name. To put it simply, I’m making the blog more, me! I hope you’ve enjoyed following The Cosmopolitan Clevelander over the years and that you’ll join me as I share charming everyday style on my new blog, Christina Darling. [...]



Cute Spring Blouse

2018-03-07T22:43:10.612-05:00

Violet and Clair Top via Marshalls / Gap Pants / Nine West Shoes via DSW (Similar)

Spring needs to get here. I am ready for dresses and sandals and walking outside without wanting to immediately walk back inside. We are unfortunately still very far from being at that place right now but a girl can dream and mix in some spring patterns along the way. I found this top at Marshalls a few weeks ago, was instantly drawn in by the pattern, and fell in love when I saw the dramatic sleeves and delicate ruffle detail on the shoulders and neck. I definitely don't have enough blouses in my wardrobe that are just as fabulous at work as they are at night or on the weekend. And this one was only $20! Marshalls had a lot of great stuff for spring, including dresses. I got a great Vince Camuto dress for wedding season for only $40! What are you loving for spring?








Three Easy Healthyish Dinners

2018-02-20T20:55:17.662-05:00

Dinner has become one of the daily rituals I look forward to the most. Cooking a meal allows me to get a little creative, have a little fun and unwind from a long day. My mind gets to let go and focus on a fairly conquerable challenge. And once at the dinner table, the beau and I get to share our days, sometimes over a glass of wine. But, planning and making time for dinner can sometimes be stressful. With all of our life commitments, making a fresh and healthy meal every night can be tricky. That's why I'm slowly but surely developing a stable of tried and true healthy yet easy weeknight dinners that I can turn to when things get crazy. And I'm hoping you can enjoy them too! Here are three that meals that I've been making lately:Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Cauliflower, and Carrot Salad Marinated Pork Tenderloin from Market District (Tuscan Herb); cook according to package instructionsCheesy Mashed Cauliflower from Skinny Taste (Add 1/3 cup of cheese to make them cheesy)Tangy Carrot Salad from Skinny Taste: peel 3 to 4 carrots into ribbons, add kosher salt, pepper, 4 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Shrimp, Tomatoes, and ZoodlesRoast shrimp with olive oil, minced garlic, pepper, salt, and tomatoes at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes Use spiralizer to make zucchini noodles and saute for about 3 minutes Tilapia, Quinoa Salad, and Brussels Sprouts  Season tilapia with salt and pepper and coat with flour; saute for 3 to 4 minutes on each side Roast Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes Cook quinoa using package directions; mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, 12 cherry tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley [...]



Valentine's Day Outfit

2018-02-13T22:22:19.305-05:00

Details: Loft Skirt / Similar Sweater / Similar Shoes Are you feeling the love this Valentine's Day or are you boycotting it this year? We don't usually make a big deal out of the holiday, opting to spend our money on travel and other experiences throughout the year. We'll be making dinner at home, including this Chocolate Fruit Dip recipe. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to wear something romantic. I got this super cute skirt at Loft right before Christmas for 40% off. Talk about love at first sight! Loft has had great skirts lately and this one has the perfect shape for twirling. What are your plans this year? Wearing anything special? Sending lots of love your way and hoping, no matter how you celebrate, it's everything you want it to be!Chocolate Fruit Dip Recipe [...]



Valentine's Day Crafts

2018-01-31T23:13:30.085-05:00

Valentine's Day always seems like the best time for handmade gifts. What better way to pour your heart out to the ones you love than with a creation all your own? Here are three things I've been working on this year that are so easy and cheap, they don't even need a tutorial. And I think the simple sweetness of each speaks for itself.Handmade cardsI bought the supplies for these handmade cards at Michael's for maybe $5 including a coupon. The only thing I had on hand already was the paint. These blank cards with envelopes are available in packs of 10 and come in a few different colors. I thought the brown would give these cards the rustic, handmade feel I was going for.To make the shapes, I found images in a Google search, put a piece of paper on my computer screen and traced the shapes with a pencil. I then cut them out so I could use them as a stencil for drawing them onto the cards or for cutting out shapes with the fancy paper. You can buy individual sheets of the sequin paper and the lace paper for a nominal value. For the lace card, I just cut off the lace edge of one of those sheets of paper and glued it on with my glue gun. I painted the heart and lips using my water colors. Bow Hair Tie This craft only cost me a $1.50 because this velvet ribbon was on clearance at Michael's. I tied a bow and pulled on the ends and the loops of the bow until it was the size I wanted. Then I cut the ribbon still attached to the spool to match the length of the other side. I glued a hair tie to the back center of the bow with my glue gun. To make it look a little more polished, I wrapped a shorter piece of the velvet ribbon around the center (and over the hair tie) and secured it with my glue gun. Heart WreathDo you ever start crafts that you don't finish? Me too! It is my goal this year to finish this heart wreath that I started a few years ago. I started it by bending a wire hanger into a heart shape using pliers. Then I cut thin strips from a yard of cheap red fabric. Using the end of the wire hanger as my needle, I poked a hole through the center of the fabric, essentially threading the wire through the fabric accordion style. I still have a long way to go and I need to buy more fabric, but until then I actually think this looks kind of artsy and cool. [...]



3 Cute Outfits for When It's Cold

2018-01-24T21:02:30.149-05:00

So far, getting dressed this winter has consisted of me finding the longest, thickest, most turtleneck sweater in my closet and pairing it with pants. There's not much else you can do with weather like this. So in an attempt to change it up and fight this winter style rut, here are three cute outfits for when it's cold.  Mia Embroidered Boots, $59.97Or go to ZuLily for more sizes and a cheaper price, $49.99I got these boots for Christmas, and I have been hesitant to wear them with all of the snow and salt. But, if you are just hopping into and out of an Uber for the night and you don't have to worry about hiking through mountains of snow, these are a nice way to add a little color and texture to the sweater and black leggings we've all been living in this winter.ASTR the Label Tie Sleeve Sweater, $19.97(Similar Nordstrom Rack tie-sleeve sweater here and here, J.Crew tie-sleeve sweater here) If you can't embellish your footwear, embellish your sweater. When I first got this sweater, I thought you were supposed to tie it the way you see above, but apparently the ties are supposed to be in the front. Personally, I think it looks good either way and it's not the only way to make your sweater game more interesting. It seems like there are an endless amount of options for sweaters. Bows, ties, fringe, pom-poms, sequins, appliques, embroidery, you name it!Thread and Supply Wubby Fleece Pullover, $78Though this pullover may be for when you made plans with your friends and then decided to stay at home instead because it's just too damn cold, I still think it's cute enough to be worn in the light of day. That is if you do decide to leave the house! The fur elevates it from an everyday pullover to something a little more special. And if you do decide to stay in, put on your leggings and slippers, grab your hot tea and just lean into it. No one will care because everyone else is just as cold. [...]



Finding balance

2018-01-18T19:30:25.926-05:00

I’ve been thinking about writing about the topic of finding balance for a long time. And since I guess you could call this my resolution for the year, I thought this might be a good time to bring it up. I’ve had this increasingly nagging feeling over the last year or so that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A feeling like not everything on my list of things had been accomplished. It felt like there was something missing that I wasn’t getting to, causing me to feel frustrated and anxious at times. And that feeling only grew over the holidays as obligations for work and even my social life began to pile up. It wasn’t until the last present was put away and the last champagne flute was cleaned that I started to feel a sense of calm and equilibrium come over me. I have suspected this for a long time and it’s clear to me now, more so than ever, looking over the past year, which was wonderful in so many regards, that I didn’t really carve out enough time for myself. My schedule became so full, so fast that I never really took the time to examine it and ask myself if this was truly the way I wanted to be spending my time. I just went with it. And now, as a full-fledged adult living on my own for officially six and a half years, it seems that I’ve finally come to the realization that I am the person who sets my priorities and decides how I spend my time. If I want it to be different, I have to change it, which is where the idea of finding balance comes in.As a former figure skater, the concept is not lost on me that even though everything can feel like it is moving really fast, if you have balance, you can achieve great things. Beautiful things. Given the fact that my life will probably stay really busy and hectic, the best thing I can do to make sure I am doing everything that I WANT to do, is to make priorities and allocate an amount of time that seems appropriate for that particular priority, whether it is spending more time with friends or reading a good book. For me, one of things I have really missed is blogging. And I made several failed attempts at blogging over the last few months. Everything else kept getting in the way. I finally realized if I wanted this to happen, I needed to schedule it. This idea didn’t click until I heard Elizabeth Gilbert, on an episode of her podcast Magic Lessons, tell a busy woman trying to write a novel that she needed to make time for her writing, even if that meant giving up something else. Thinking about all of the other priorities in my life, such as family, work and friends, blogging doesn’t really compete, but I decided it does fall somewhere on my list of priorities because it is something I enjoy. And as you know, the whole not spending time on me thing was a problem last year. So I’ve set aside time on Saturday mornings to work on my blog. I decided that little bit of time on Saturday mornings is just the right amount of time to commit to this given how it ranks in comparison to all of the other priorities in my life. I am sure there will be times when other priorities take precedence or when I spend more time on my blog than I thought I would. There may not always be balance. Psychotherapist F. Diane Barth, L.C.S.W., said in her blog post 5 ways to find balance in your life for Psychology Today, “…balance is about navigating transition - rather than trying to 'nail' a spot and (desperately...er...um) gracefully hoping to stay in it.” So I humbly recognize this is not something I will always get right. To quote my yoga teacher and something I am sure I begrudgingly learned many times during my years at the ice rink: when you fall, you learn. Finding balance takes work and practice, but I definitely think it’s something worth working on and focusing on for the next year. What do you [...]



A few of my favorite things

2018-01-10T22:52:07.916-05:00

I'd like to start the year by sharing a few of my favorite things from 2017. This is not only a way to share what I feel are great products and finds, but also a way to reflect on a year of smarter purchases. As I look through old blog posts, I seem to start every year with the goal to save more money. And that goal has morphed to not only include saving more money each paycheck, but saving more in the long run by purchasing clothing and products that I know will give me long-lasting value. As I look back at 2017, I am proud of myself for making fewer, smarter purchases. Here are the ones that I thought were worth sharing:Everlane Modern Loafer $168I bought these loafers for our trip to Rome. I wanted a shoe that could handle all of the walking while disguising my tourist status. I followed the old adage "do as the Romans do" and bough Italian leather loafers. I knew these shoes would be a wardrobe staple long after I left Rome. They have a cool, modern vibe yet a timeless quality. I thought the wine color would be a really interesting choice and something that could go with most outfits. Though I was sad to find out that not even these shoes could handle the amount of walking we did in Rome, they are still really comfortable for everyday wear. Level 99 Jeans, $89.50Finding a good pair of jeans is liking finding a really good hair dresser or dentist. You never look back. I haven't tried every brand of jean under the sun, but I've tried enough to know what I am looking for. These have a really flattering fit that doesn't seem to stretch out and a nice color that doesn't seem to fade. They are definitely on the tighter side and are more like a thinner jegging than a thick denim. The high waist makes them an unlikely candidate for wear on Thanksgiving, but I like the silhouette they create when I am not worried about fitting into my pants.Zella Leggings, $52It turns out that when you invest a little money in a nice pair of leggings they are actually quite flattering as pants. Who knew? I am still testing out the best way to wear these. It's normally with a longer top or tunic. Either way the material is thicker like a pair of athletic pants. I am guessing these could be worn to the gym. I usually wear them around the house or when I am traveling and want to be comfortable. They aren't quite Spanx, but they definitely feel more supportive than regular leggings. As I get older, I am finding that I need that support in the right places.STOREE Sweater via Nordstrom, $26.98This sweater was another purchase for Rome and although it is on the trendier side, its simplicity makes it yet another timeless option. This photo feels like a scene from a movie: charming young American having the time of her life in Rome. It's definitely the shirt that makes it. This picture will always make me glad that I bought this shirt for our trip. (Side note: I have been really impressed with Nordstrom's selection of quality clothing at mid-level prices lately. It seems like they've gone beyond stocking these options in just their junior's section and have filled this need for the 30ish crowd with brands like Halogen, Leith and ASTR the Label to name a few.)Nadri Ring, $55I am not a huge jewelry person. I have the staples: a chunky necklace, a boyfriend watch, a pearl necklace, etc. But I rarely gravitate toward jewelry purchases. This ring really caught my eye because of its simplicity and interesting criss-cross design. I wear this pretty much every day and it goes with basically everything. I sort of have a thing for rose gold, so you'll see me rocking that color on the regular. I love how delicate and dainty it is. A nice departure from some of the clunkier jewelry that has been popular lately.Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots, $99.95I bought these late[...]



On Gratitude

2017-11-22T10:25:04.400-05:00

Details: $7 Thrifted Limited Dress (Similar), Nordstrom Hinge Ankle Boots, Loft Necklace (Similar), Target Tights (Similar)On Thanksgiving, I'll be wearing this $7 striped dress from Goodwill. Cute, right? I found it while hunting for our Halloween costumes, and I knew it would be the perfect little special occasion dress and elevate-the-every-day work dress. We took these pictures at Squire's Castle, one of my favorite parks in Cleveland. It's this dress that inspired what I wanted to write about it when it came to my feelings on gratitude this year.I realize this is just a dress, but it and other things I've thrifted or repurposed over the years holds a lot of meaning for me. It represents a resourcefulness that I've discovered in myself to take what life has given me and make the most of it. I can't afford my dream wardrobe. Well, truthfully I probably can, but if I spent my money on that I would have nothing left in my savings account. And, my dream wardrobe has far too many dresses, fussy heels, and sequins for my actual day-to-day life. That’s why it’s called a “dream wardrobe.” Something to aspire to that inspires my actual wardrobe and occasionally leads me to ask for gold sequin pants for Christmas that I'll only wear once a year. We all have one or two items like that in our wardrobe, right?Just like any idealized version of reality, dreams of achieving perfection can sometimes cause us to be envious of others who we believe have achieved this sort of state of nirvana, and worst of all, it can cause us to stop being grateful for what we DO have. But the reality of the situation is that what we do have is so much better than a dream. A dream can be something that inspires you to take a leap of faith and elevate the every day, which is amazingly helpful when you need motivation. But sometimes I think we can forget that a dream is only a dream. As inspirational as it can be, it can also be fake, shallow, and two dimensional. And truthfully, reality is so much more satisfying. Because of it's twists and turns, reality challenges you to take what DO have and make it interesting, different, fun, quirky, and uniquely you.That is why I love writing a style blog so much. It doesn’t have to be about buying certain brands so that I can fit into a particular mold and get more followers. It’s taking the clothes I do have and styling them in a different way. It’s walking into a thrift store not knowing what I’ll walk out with. It’s taking something old and making it new again. It’s realizing that what you have already is exactly what you needed in the first place.I've been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcast lately, and I would highly recommend it if you are a creative soul or if you just need a nice, encouraging person to listen to. In an episode where she interviews comedian John Hodgman, he talks about how he feels when embarking on new creative endeavors. Instead of feeling fear or anxiety to try something he's never done before, he described feeling grateful for the opportunity to be creative. I loved hearing that sentiment because it is something I relate to, and I don't think that philosophy has to stop there. I would like to extend the idea of being grateful for the chance to be creative to my everyday life. Instead of getting frustrated that something isn't going the way I planned, I would like to tackle the unplanned with a little creativity and be grateful for the chance to do so.After a year that was challenging in different ways — from the political to the personal — I am grateful that with a little creativity and vision, you can make the most out of what you have, and sometimes, it can be better than what you dreamed. I think t[...]



Fall Ankle Boots

2017-10-17T22:29:42.464-04:00

Like any true romantic, fall makes me reach for dark, floral patterns and feminine details. To balance out that vibe, I occasionally drift toward something a little more rugged like these Hinge ankle boots from Nordstrom. The side slit had me at hello and is a great update to a classic boot. They look great with jeans or bare ankles. Since the weather has only just started to feel like fall, I took advantage of the opportunity to wear these boots with bare legs. And when I can top off a look with my floppy hat, I am pretty much in own personal fall heaven. I wore this outfit (sans hat) to my sorority's alumnae association founder's day celebration. It was equal parts comfy and cool-girl dressy for a relaxed yet special occasion fall brunch. Details: Hinge Angle Boots via Nordstrom (Currently 33%Off)Last Year's Billabong Dress via Nordstrom (Similar)Last Year's Hat via Pavement (Similar)Charming Charlie Necklace (Similar)Kate Spade Purse (Similar)Old Rayban Wayfarers (Similar)[...]



Cold Shoulder Top

2017-04-24T22:17:17.704-04:00

Details: A&F Top / Gap Jeans / Calvin Klein Shoes via TJ Maxx / Loft Necklace

We certainly haven't gotten to the point of the year weather-wise where removing layers or even sections of clothing seems like a sensible idea, even still I can't help but be into the cold shoulder look right now. It's provocative without being too sexy. They are just shoulders after all. And if you pair a top like this with a sensible winter coat, my theory is you should be fine, even without shoulder covers. I'm excited to wear this as a casual alternative to my usual dressy Valentine's Day attire. I found this sweater at Abercrombie and Fitch of all places. It's marked down from $44 to $26 right now. I especially love how this is a more casual take on the cold shoulder look. It's a bit slouchy and the material could not be more soft, so you can pair it with everything from a skirt to jeans.


(image)



Black and White Print Dress

2017-01-17T20:48:27.157-05:00

Details: Banana Republic Factory Dress / Gap Shirt / Halogen Flats / Target Necklace

I hope 2017 is going well for you so far. I accomplished my first "first" of the year. I went indoor rock climbing over the weekend. It was an amazing experience. I was filled with adrenaline and pride in myself for overcoming my fears. I have to admit I was really scared. I have a bad fear of heights. I could barely get up the wall at first. Putting your safety in someone else's hands when you're really scared is hard to do. The nice thing is that you get to be the person holding the rope too. Once you figure out how it all works it's a lot less scary. Over time I gained confidence and was trying some of the more challenging walls.

Luckily, getting dressed in the morning in not as stressful as rock climbing — especially when you can wear a dress to work. Dresses are the best go tos for the office because they can often times be more comfortable than pants and are much more stylish. This dress in particular is a great staple because the black and white pattern goes with any color and any season. For the colder days ahead, I wanted to try wearing my ballet flats with tights. This dress was the perfect opportunity to test out this look because of its simplicity. I love how the contrast of black and pink turned out.







Anthropologie Plaid Cape

2017-01-10T22:19:35.955-05:00

Details: Anthropologie Plaid Cape / Gap Shirt and Pants / Nine West Boots / Loft Necklace / Studebaker Metals Cuff

Happy New Year! I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I took a much needed hiatus from work, blogging, laundry and almost all other adult responsibilities the last few weeks to spend some unadulterated time with my family and friends. It was glorious!

I feel renewed and refreshed and ready to tackle 2017 with one resolution in mind: to keep it simple. So many times last year I felt overwhelmed and overworked all because I couldn't properly set priorities or I couldn't admit what was truly important and essential. I don't really have a plan yet for how to make sure I do better this year, but at least I know what I want to fix.

One of the areas where I will continue to try to make things more simple is my closet. Last year, I set the goal of trying to make fewer, larger purchases that would be game changers for my wardrobe. I for the most part followed that philosophy successfully. I will continue to refine that model of buying this year.

This Anthropologie cape, one of my Christmas gifts, is a perfect example of the type of piece that can really make an impact on your wardrobe. The pattern is classic and goes with everything yet the shape and cut make it modern and interesting. I will definitely be looking for more pieces like this in the new year and sharing them with you here. What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?







New Year's Eve Rose Gold Sequin Dress

2016-12-06T21:22:52.243-05:00

Details: Bee Darlin Dress via Nordstrom (Similar) / F21 Earrings (Old) / Nine West Shoes via Marshalls

We have a wedding to go to on New Year's Eve this year. I was so excited to get the chance to wear a sequin-encrusted dress for the festivities that I started shopping back in September. I snatched up this Bee Darlin Dress, which I think was originally geared toward the homecoming crowd, for $100 a few months ago. It has since sold out, but Nordstrom still has many similar styles up for grabs and at price points below $100. I think the best time to look for holiday party dresses is right before homecoming when all of the sequiny things start popping up.

I am still not sure how I want to accessorize this dress. I know I need nude tights to bear the cold, and I plan to borrow my sister's winter white pea coat. As far shoes and a purse I was thinking either dark maroon or silver. What do you think?







Fall Hat and Olive Tunic

2016-11-30T08:00:12.386-05:00

 Details: Jane Dress (Similar) / Pavement Hat / Old Navy Boots / H&M Necklace 

Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful and very filling Thanksgiving. Mine was especially relaxing this year so I'm thankful for that. And the food was ah-mah-zing. I think my favorite dish this year was my sister's cheesy potatoes. I had to keep going back for more. I actually wore this dress for Thanksgiving, but styled it here for work with this asymmetrical cardigan to stay warm while in the office. I also didn't wear the hat to work, but wore it for Thanksgiving so posed with it here.

I got the dress on a website called Jane.com. They feature daily deals from various boutiques and the prices are really good. This particular dress isn't available anymore, but they have many more cute dresses. They carry a variety of on-trend clothes, accessories, home decor and products for babies and kids. I am definitely going to shop from them again, especially when I am looking for a specific trend, but don't want to spend too much. What sites do you shop on? Did you score any great Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals?







Red Skinny Ankle Pants

2016-11-10T07:44:56.954-05:00

 Details: Loft Sweater / Gap Pants / Nine West Shoes via TJ Maxx / Michael Kors Watch

Although I feel incredibly disenchanted and shocked by the election results, I want to stay positive. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to make our government and the people in this country come together. One of my favorite bloggers, A Cup of Jo, puts it perfectly in her latest post. As many people have said before her, if you want to see change in the world, now is the time to donate to your favorite cause or to volunteer or just be good to each other.

With all of the excitement surrounding pant suits and Hilary Clinton this election (#pantsuitnation), I am actually not a fan of the pant suit. I would rather wear skinny pants and a blazer. Recently I found the perfect pair of skinny ankle pants for work. They seem to hug in all the right places, and they are actually comfortable. They hit at that perfect ankle length, which looks great with high heels, but they are also skinny enough to be tucked into boots and worn with tunics. And the cranberry/maroon color is the perfect complement to my fall wardrobe.







Cargo Jacket

2016-11-02T06:58:24.751-04:00

Details: Gap Cargo Jacket and Jeans / Tommy Hilfiger Shirt via Marshals / Halogen Boots / Target NecklaceI never feel like fall is long enough. I have been trying to soak up the rituals, one of which has been going to the farmer's market on Fridays. Cooking up fall dishes is another way I try to hold on to the season a little longer. I made these pumpkin cookies over the weekend and this butternut squash, smoked mozzarella and kale pizza last night for dinner. Both recipes turned out great! What are your fall rituals? It's not a ritual, but the cargo jacket has become a fall staple over the last few years. I was on a mission this fall to find the perfect cargo jacket. After trying a few options, I finally found the one. It's a nice weight, not too thin, and it's the right style and color. It's exactly what I was looking for and a good price. I waited until Gap was having one of their sales and it ended up being only $45, which was the same price as a similar jacket at Target that was a much thinner material. I just love it with this gingham shirt. It also pairs nicely with a super girly dress. Where did you get your cargo jacket? [...]



Deer Makeup and Antlers

2016-10-27T08:09:07.307-04:00

Besides a Halloween party at work, where I plan to dress up as either Eleven from Stranger Things or Pippi Longstocking, we don't have any major to-dos this year. Even still, after having so much fun doing the makeup for my Day of the Dead Skull look last year, I wanted to challenge myself with another makeup look. Maybe it's because my unruly locks lend themselves to dressing up as a wild animal, but for whatever reason I started looking at deer makeup tutorials. After a few Google searches, I was hooked on the idea of dressing up as a deer to hand out candy this year. I followed Lauren Conrad's tutorial for making the deer antlers, but instead of using faux fur for the ears, I used felt to save a little time and money. And after being inspired by a Google search for DIY deer antlers, I decided to add some fake flowers that I had on hand as well.For the makeup, I didn't follow one specific tutorial, I just looked at a bunch of examples in Google images and pulled a little inspiration from each. Here are the steps I followed:1. I started with my typical makeup that I wear to work everyday: foundation, brown eye shadow, black eyeliner and mascara.2. Next I used the same black eyeliner to extend the lines that were already there and traced a thicker line around my eyes.3. Then I rubbed a little white eyeshadow under my eyes, on my forehead and on my chin.4. Next I started applying bronzer around the edges of my face and across my cheeks.5. With white crayons from an old Halloween makeup kit, I drew small white circles on my cheeks and forehead.  7. Using a black crayon from the same Halloween makeup kit, I drew a nose and one straight line connecting the nose to my lips. I then filled in just my upper lip.  8. To complete the look, I donned my antlers and put on this tan sweater. You could wear this with anything brown to pull off the look. It's that easy! What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year? [...]



Fall Hat and Blanket Scarf

2016-10-25T07:13:59.391-04:00

Details: Pavement Hat / The Backroom at the Limited Sweater / Gap Jeans / Halogen Boots / Nordstrom ScarfI found this hat at Pavement, a boutique in Lawrenceville with a wealth of local and independent designers. Everything in that store could be worn at Coachella. It's that cute. I knew this hat would be the centerpiece of many of my fall looks. I wore it in Nashville and one of the locals told me I came well prepared. I love the 70s vibe it adds to any outfit as well as how it signals that fall is here in all of its hat and scarf glory.In sad life news, we lost my grandpa a few weeks ago. The last few weeks have been especially tough for me and my family. As is always said during times like these, I've been trying to focus on all of the good memories. One such memory of my grandpa was how he always used to wear cowboy hats. In fact, after looking through pictures of him, I found out that he was quite the trend setter himself, always wearing the latest styles. His style definitely evolved with the times. Perhaps that is where I get my love of fashion. I get a kick out of the fact that he probably would have loved this hat. If you're looking down Grandpa, I hope you are enjoying this outfit post! [...]



Layered Sweater

2016-10-20T07:59:13.138-04:00

Details: Backroom at the Limited Sweater / Banana Republic Skirt via Avalon / Old Navy Boots / Target Necklace

Hello all! I hope fall is treating you well so far. For me it's been a flurry of activity. From trips to Cleveland to a trip to Nashville last weekend for a friend's bachelorette party, it feels like I've barely been home. I'm excited to finish decorating my apartment for Halloween and finish reading my appropriately creepy book for the season: In Cold Blood.

I'm also looking forward to rocking sweaters, scarves and boots as soon as we are done with the 80-degree weather. I'm almost there with this sweater, which instantly adds interesting layers to any outfit. I especially love it with this skirt. It seems to continue the lines of the sweater perfectly. I found this sweater at Backroom at the Limited for only $30.

How has your fall been so far? What have been some of your great fall finds? What are you reading or watching that's creeping you out?







Off the Shoulder Top

2016-08-18T06:57:47.031-04:00

Goodnight Macaroon Top / Topshop Jeans / Jack Rogers Sandals / Baublebar Earrings  One of my favorite summer trends this year is the off the shoulder top. It's flirty yet sophisticated and keeps hot fabric off your shoulders, giving you a little break from the heat and a sunkissed look. I found this one at the online boutique Goodnight Macaroon. This store has so many cute and unique items. I especially love the tie sleeves of this blouse. I wore this outfit for the Feast in Little Italy in Cleveland last weekend. There are a few things that you need to know when shopping Goodnight Macaroon. The items are usually shipped from China so it takes a while for them to arrive. This top took about a month to arrive. Also, if you want to return something, it will likely cost more than the item itself so make sure to read the measurement information, which is listed for each item, very carefully and compare to your own measurements. That being said, they often have flash sales during the week so you may never have to pay full price if you time your purchase right. This top is only $34.50 for the next day or so.[...]