Fall Fashion Finds

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Judging by the abundance of pumpkin spice lattes and apple-orchard-selfies on my Instagram timeline, fall has arrived. Temperatures have even gotten cooler here in Nevada. I went from having to wear a bathing suit for survival to t-shirt weather, a major upgrade. But living in the desert has not deterred me from dreaming about scrumptious sweaters and turtlenecks so bulky, that they hide my hormonal chin breakouts. It will be another month-or-so before I start stocking up on boots and just about everything made of wool (upper lip would be drowning at the moment), but I wanted to get a head-start and share the best fall fashion trends, and my personal favorite finds, with all of you!

 

J. Crew French Girl Blazer

Blazers really made a comeback last fall, and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Gone is the formal undertone of the blazer, replaced with oversized, menswear inspired styles meant to be worn with t-shirts and over slip dresses. What was once a serious, masculine piece of clothing is now the pinnacle of every good wardrobe.  

I love the look of this one from J. Crew. It’s double-breasted and unstructured, giving it the ultimate cool, French girl vibe (hence the blazer’s name- kudos J. Crew). I’ve will live in this over a t-shirt and jeans, but I also love it over a lightweight sweater and bike shorts. YES! Bike shorts and blazers. Free blog name up for grabs.

*I found this blazer to be true to size. It’s naturally a little boxy and oversized.

Zara glitter turtlenecks

I’m a sucker for a good turtleneck. I think they’re the epitome of chic and looking put together. Also when I don’t feel like doing my hair, I can tuck it into the turtleneck, and no one has to know I didn’t have time to wash it because I stayed up all night thinking about Peter Kavinsky ( Calm down-he’s over 18. I checked.).

This turtleneck from Zara is a great basic, and sparkle was all over the runways for the season. Wear alone with jeans, skirts, or under another sweater or sweatshirt. Maybe on the one day in January that it dips below 50 degrees, I’ll wear mine with heavy white jeans and boots. Marking my calendar!!

 

Novelty/Fisherman Sweaters

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A few weeks ago, “The Cut” mentioned that Harry from “When Harry Met Sally” would be their fall style icon, and I’ll never be the same. Meg Ryan definitely has peak 90’s style in the classic film, but it’s Harry who’s quietly serving me bulky sweater CHICNESS. Paired almost too-simply with just jeans and sneakers, it’s the fall uniform. This is a unisex look, ladies and gentlemen! Honestly there’s nothing hotter to me than a man in a big bulky sweater. I really never thought I would say that Billy Crystal is a style icon, let alone a sex symbol. 2018 is wild.

I tend to either buy my sweaters one size up, or even look around in the men’s department. A slightly over-sized fit is best for a cozier, cooler look.


WESTERN-INSPIRED BOOTIES

Listen- I get that no one wants to look like Jessie from “Toy Story”- I haven’t since I was 10-years-old at least. But cowboy boots are back and better than ever. Don’t take it so literally- we’re talking stylized versions of the Western-wear. Extreme pointed toes, ankle cuts, outlandish colors like bright white (my favorite) and red. They’re a perfect update for things already in your closet- jeans, dresses and mini skirts. “80’s Western” is big for the season, further proving that Pixar really was just LIGHTYEARS ahead (PUN! INTENDED!)

Rad Plaid

A few years ago, I really wanted to be Cher Horowitz from for Halloween. I couldn’t find a plaid yellow skirt to save my life. Fast-forward to today, and I can walk into any Target and make a “Clueless” look for any day of the week. Plaid is back in a big way. Larger, exaggerated prints, mixing plaids by color and material. Tartan trousers, oversized coats in fresh colors, plaid nylon totes- I feel like a Golf icon and I’m all in.

To keep it modern, try mixing different colors of plaid, like with a scarf and blazer. My personal favorite is to mix by material. Sleek Tartan pants with a wool buffalo-plaid scarf. Will you look like a fool? As if!!!

 

Animal Print as a Neutral

I live for animal print. I don’t wear fur, so it’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a cool a$$ jungle cat. I was thrilled to see it all over the runways, mixing different leopards and cheetahs, chic zebra trench coats and sultry snakeskin boots.

My favorite version is in the form of skirts. Having an animal print skirt can be a wonderful neutral in your wardrobe. Pair a brown and black cheetah-print midi with a turtleneck, white blouse, even one of those chunky sweaters mentioned earlier. Mix two different animal prints if you’re really feeling wild.

 
This Fall, jump in some leaves for me. Enjoy some cider and overdose on doughnuts. Wake up early and take a walk in the crisp fall air. This will be the first time in my life I don’t experience a Michigan fall or winter. Right now I’m feeling nostalgic, but I know come December, I’ll be pretty pleased when the only ice I’m scraping is off my frozen margarita, poolside. PERSPECTIVE!

Pink is the New Prozac

Here we are, in that deep, depth of Winter when it seems like we are just as far into it, as we are from getting out. Cold, icy temps, dirty sloshy snow covering the sidewalks. Every day seems like a scene from “Frozen” (and not the cool, singing parts. Just the shit weather). Yup- seasonal depression is in full swing. It may be vain, but during this period, I make it through with little pick-me-ups. A mascara here, a coffee before work, etc. My bank account may hate me but my soul is (possibly falsely) nourished. But recently, I found the holy grail of all mid-winter pick-me-ups. Hear me out:

During this time of year, I do notice one thing: I am in all black, all the time. Constantly sifting through a pile of black clothing, looking for that same black turtleneck, black jeans and of course, black socks to go with my black boots. Its become routine, and frankly, it’s a little boring. This winter, I decided to challenge myself and brighten my mood by brightening my wardrobe. I wanted one universal piece I could throw on my "Wednesday Adams" inspired looks.

Enter, the Pink Coat.

 

I'm going to need everyone to stop saying “I have too many coats!!!”. No- there is no such thing. When you live in Michigan (any other cold-weather state applies here), your coat is your wardrobe, and quite literally your outfit most days. I am sitting in a Starbucks right now, black turtleneck, black sweats and PINK COAT. There’s no way I was going to come out in this blistering weather and not flex on these high schoolers ordering hot chocolates- and all it took was one, simple piece. A pink coat is the new staple, and instant outfit brightener, a fool-proof way to look like you know what you’re doing. It’s the thing you need to get you through these next few months, and the options are much, much cheaper than a therapist.

Because I believe that "more is more and less is a bore" (Iris Apfel, my idol)- I have two options I can throw on over just about any outfit: a pink faux fur from J.Crew, and a wool pea coat I got in Ireland.

For warm, wool coat, I recommend finding something in the lighter, or “Millennial Pink (Glossier did it first tho)” range. It looks expensive, chic and well put-together.

If you're a little more adventurous (or in my case, fashionably obnoxious), opt for a bright, faux fur version. There is no way to be basic in a pink faux fur, it is instant FASHUN.

Consider pink your new base. It can be worn with black, white, red, blue, stripes, pajamas, sweats- YOU NAME IT. This is the easiest cure for mid-winter outfit ruts.

Here's a few options to get you through these next few months (let's face it, Winter goes until April. Don't live in denial).

Topshop Biker Jacket (on sale for $99!)

Style Nanda Pink Overcoat with Strap Detail, Asos ($264)

Via Spiga Faux Fur Coat (on sale for $139!)

 

Improve your mood, update your wardrobe, and make sure that when you inevitably end up in some 9th grader's Snapchat background at aforementioned Starbucks, you will STAND OUT.

 

Photos by: Ava Ranger

 

Detroit Rose

WHO WE'RE GIFTING... Your Girlfriends or Sister.

(let's face it, you're going to want some too)

 

There's not much I enjoy more than beauty, skincare, candles, and Disney Channel Original Movies. When I stumbled upon Detroit Rose, and it checked three of those four boxes (the last one was out of their control)- I was instantly hooked. 

My love affair started with the candles. If I am home, I am burning a candle. I would have really thrived in the Pre-Edison days. I'm not ashamed to admit I've spent upwards of $70 on a single candle. I found Detroit Rose via Instagram, and one look at the gorgeous packaging, had me getting my credit card out faster than you could say "Shopaholics Anonymous". To my delight, these beautiful candles were only $24. AND they're made right here in Detroit? SOLD. 

But like any great candle, it needs a great scent. I can confidently say that Detroit Rose's scents are unparalleled. They fill the entire room and wrap you in comfort and peacefulness. They have somehow managed to take that perfect "Sunday morning, wrapped in a blanket, watching Harry Potter with absolutely nothing to do today" feeling, and give it life in a candle. There are so many delicious scents to choose from, but here's my favorites I have burning on repeat:

*I know it's hard to choose a candle without smelling it first. For this reason, I have associated each scent with a notable person, to make choosing easier. Or just more entertaining. 

Cinnamon & Chai:

It smells like wrapping your house in one giant, cozy blanket. A spicy but comforting scent of vanilla, cinnamon and clove. This is the candle that's going to get you through the winter.

Who would burn it: Rory Gilmore. Before the revival garbage. 

Bourbon Orange Spice:

This one is Michael's favorite. It's a rich, buttery scent, made with the zest of orange, clove and anise. It's like the candle equivalent of melted butter (the feeling, not the smell). Smooth, and so delicious.

Who would burn it: Brad Pitt. In the Jenn days.  

Fig Tree:

I light this one every morning in my "Diva Den" (this is what Michael calls the spare room we had to make into my "dressing room", because I have SO.MANY.CLOTHES.) while I'm getting ready. It's clean, simple and earthy. Instantly turns any room into an oasis.

Who would burn it: Charlotte York. While she rearranges her flowers and makes brunch plans with the girls. 

Bergamot: 

The best way to describe the scent of this candle is "bright" (no, not a candle pun). It has the most delicious citrus notes, sure to perk up any space. It's energizing and inspiring. I love to light one when I write or am getting work done around the house. Currently lit as I write this (the candle, not me. I am an old lady and boring AF).

Who would burn it: Ina Garten. I light this and fantasize that she's about to make me a Quiche. Then my timer goes off for my bagel bites. 

BONUS burner: Lin Manuel Miranda. Rumor is he had this going while writing "Hamilton". That rumor was started by me.

Neroli: 

With hints of sandalwood and musk, this is the candle to bring out your inner goddess. It's sensual, peaceful and intoxicating. Side effect is that you may never want to leave your house. It's that good. 

Who would burn it: Serena van der Woodsen. Also Blair approved (but NOT Jenny. Forget her.). 

Tobacco & Bay Leaf:

As I write this, Michael yells from the kitchen that THIS is his favorite now. It smells like we live in a Restoration Hardware catalog (aka, the DREAM). Herbal, with hints of musk and citrus, it makes me feel warm and cozy on the inside. Also makes me want a giant reclaimed-wood bookcase filled with Sylvia Plath's best works. 

Who would burn it: My idol, Emma Watson. HOW CAN ONE PERSON BE SO PERFECT.

There are multiple other scents as well: Lavender, Rosa, Moss, Mistletoe, Leather, just to name a few. Each candle is hand poured here in Detroit, made from all-natural, vegan soy wax and premium fragrance oils.

 

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! 

Detroit Rose has launched a "Ritual Line". A line of skincare products, all natural, organic and filler free. 

Rose & Coconut Milk Bath Soak ($26):

Up there with naps, baths are the most underrated childhood pastime. There is nothing like taking a bath to make you feel like you have your life together. Funny thing is- I usually take one when it seems like my life is falling apart. It is the perfect way to unwind, clear your head and get back on track. And now I know there is no better companion to bath time than this bath soak. I didn't know I needed to bathe with real rose buds UNTIL I DID. This scent of this soak alone is enough to send you into a spa-like bliss. But the coconut milk, melting into your skin is absolute nirvana. Just a few spoonfuls in the tub leaves skin impossibly soft. 

Bergamot & Lavender Oil ($28):

After taking my soul-saving bath, I thought my skin couldn't get any softer from the coconut milk. Then came this body oil. I usually can't get down with lotions- I think they're a hassle and sticky and never seem to absorb or moisturize. This oil made my skin hydrated and glowy on impact. It's easy to apply and quickly melts into skin.  And the scent....it's what I imagine Blake Lively to smell like naturally (no wonder Ryan Reynolds loves her so much, also why do I think about Blake Lively so much?). It's just a hint of sweet citrus and lavender that provides you just enough light fragrance. 

Find it! 

Let's be honest- you're ordering some for yourself. You'll get the best selection on their site, and won't have to stress about shipping times. 

Need it by Christmas? 

Lark & Co.: Birmingham

City Bird: Detroit

El Dorado General Store: Detroit

Farmers Hand: Detroit

SMPLFD: Detroit

Knot and Bow: Brooklyn, NY

Asrai Garden: Chicago

Lillstreet: Chicago

A full lists of stockists, here

 

If it wasn't already obvious, I am now a faithful follower of Detroit Rose. The entire brand is dedicated to channeling your inner goddess (Yaaasss queen, I'm in here!!!), loving and appreciating yourself, and finding peace in the shit storm of life. Whether it's a candle, body oil, face mask (next on my list to try) or a bath soak- we all could use a little something to help us find balance in the day-to-day. That, and something very chic for your bathroom shelves. 

Busted Bra Shop

WHO WE'RE GIFTING...YOU!

(this one is for the ladies...or men- it's 2016 and I'm not here to judge. YOU DO YOU.) 

 

It's no secret that I am a proud member of the itty-bitty-you-know-what-committee (keeping it G here, my future in-laws read this. Hi guys!!!). I kept waiting to grow, but eventually I realized this is as good as it's going to get. I'm not bummed about my size- after many years, I've learned to love and appreciate my body. But there was always one thing I couldn't get behind- or under, I suppose: bras. I was a Victoria's Secret, 32A, push-up ride or DIE. They measured me countless times- 32A, year after year. But if I was wearing the right size, why was I always so uncomfortable? I was constantly playing with the skin-grabbing straps, or adjusting the cups. I thought it was normal I could fit some snacks, my phone, lipstick and an ipad mini in there. I was uncomfortable, but at least I had storage, right? I accepted that bras suck, but they're a right of passage to being a woman. Then, I saw the light. 

On a bender to my favorite vintage store with a girlfriend, we were just about to leave when a trip to the ladies room ensued. Right next to it, was Busted Bra Shop. To this day, I don't know what made me go in there. It was most likely divine intervention (I really think God could be a woman sometimes, good looking out). 

Upon walking in, the first words I heard were "I bet you're wearing a 32A. And it's the wrong size". I was baffled! I wore the smallest size that existed, what's a concave girl like me supposed to be wearing? Sadly unknown to me, there is a whole other world of bras outside of the pink and white stripes. I let Lee, the owner, take me into a fitting room (my friend, waiting outside the bathroom wondering where I went, sorry girl). Less than 5 minutes later, I was standing in there, sans shirt, with my Miracle Bombshell Gorgeous Miraculous 32AAAAHHH bra in the trash. Let me tell you- you are never more vulnerable than when you are in a fitting room, girls out, having a full on conversation with a woman you just met. Trust level is at an all time high.  I think I told her things I had never told anyone- like how I used to ride my bike by my crushes house blasting Ashlee Simpson (okay, now everyone knows). BACK TO BRAS. 

Well folks, as it turns out, I am a certified 28B. A size I didn't even know existed. The second I put on my new, perfectly fitted bra, it was love at first hook. For the first time, I was comfortable- that really does something beautiful for your own body positivity. The right fit is everything, and it turns out that the majority of women do NOT fall within standard retail sizing. Busted has sizes AAA-N, and bands from 26-56. With that range of sizes, how can we honestly accept that MILLIONS of women fall within the standard FOUR sizes mass retailers carry? Secret's out- we deserve more. 

WHERE TO GO...

The Park Shelton Building- Midtown

15 East Kirby Street, suite A

Detroit, MI 48202

 

When you shop at Busted, you are not only getting top notch service, quality product and a life-changing experience, but you're supporting a locally owned, Detroit business. A bra that supports you AND the local economy? Truly, Busted Bra Shop is the gift that keeps on giving. 

 

 

*Photo credit: Man Repeller

 

Wolf Moon Mixers

WHO WE'RE GIFTING... Your Secret Santa 

You know the drill. You pull a name out of the Secret-Santa hat at work. You open it up , and see the name of a co-worker you know nothing about. What the heck are you supposed to get them? A book? What if they prefer Netflix? Socks and underwear? That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Really, there's only one thing you need to know about them- make sure they enjoy an adult beverage, and proceed with Wolf Moon Mixers. 

At a party a few weeks ago, I observed a friend mixing a green juice with Vodka. Yes, kale, grapefruit, apple, celery, and vodka- I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. In no way, shape or form was it drinkable. My poor pal just wanted a somewhat healthy alternative to the usual Diet Coke or tonic water. I thought that there had to be something better than a vodka salad. Lo and behold, right in my own city, lived a company that thought the same thing. All natural mixers, made from fruits, vegetables, cane sugar and flowers- all designed to pair perfectly with your favorite spirits. 

Hibiscus ($15):

My absolute favorite. I'm a tequila girl (I can feel your judgement from here), and Hibiscus mixed with silver tequila, makes the most delicious, fresh margarita. It's like in college, when the weather would break, and everyone would be outside on a Wednesday afternoon having a drink-I mean, STUDYING, mom!!!- That happy, satisfying taste, bottled. 

Alternate recipe: Hibiscus mixer, vodka, a splash of club soda and some fresh blueberries, muddled. 

*Not only do these mixers taste incredibly delicious, but the 32oz, aesthetically pleasing bottles look almost too good to drink. BUT WHO ARE WE KIDDING. Pop that bottle! 

Citrus ($15): 

You know that feeling when you're on vacation, laying by the pool, drink in hand without a care in the world? Citrus is that feeling in a bottle, even though you're sitting under a dozen blankets with your long johns pulled up to your bra. My go-to is to mix with some champagne, and a squeeze of an orange slice. This is Beyonce of Mimosas.

Alternate recipe: Citrus mix, vodka, a splash of club soda, and a slice of grapefruit to garnish. 

Pineapple Jalapeño ($15) :

Spicing up your life has never been easier, or more fun. The perfect mix of spicy and sweet, this flavor is ideal to mix with some tequila, a little lime and a lotta false-self confidence. For me- this mix is the party pleaser. The taste is strangely familiar, but deliciously different. Scary and Ginger would be proud.

Alternate recipe: Pineapple Jalapeño mix, gin, club soda. GINNING (take away my writing privileges)!!

* Check out two bonus flavors on the WMM site!

 

I'm no mix master. Hell, 4 years ago I drank wine out of a box and thought Smirnoff was top shelf.  The good people at Wolf Moon Mixers sympathize with me, and offer a plethora of delicious recipes, available here. At a party with no wi-fi (are you also churning butter)? Fear not- recipes are also featured on the back of the bottle.

Find It!: 

City Market: Detroit

Our/Detroit: Detroit

ML Spirits: Birmingham

Beverage Warehouse: Beverly Hills

Heights Food Center: Ferndale

Market Square: West Bloomfield

                     ...Find a full list of retailers, or shop online, here!

 

These mixers are the fun, delicious gift that keeps on giving. Not only do Wolf Moon Mixers make the perfect gift for your secret santa, but for your close friends too (they can invite you over for a drink and you can mooch off of your own gift). This cool, perfectly curated present is sure to be the talk of the office-unless Barb gets too drunk at the holiday party again and busts out a freestyle to "Silent Night"- she's got you beat. 

 

Good Jeans: Madewell

 

In a recent bender of "Laguna Beach", Season 3, I learned two things: in the early 2000's, True Religion was indeed a religion, and jeans were king. It got me thinking- I hardly ever wear jeans. And if I'm not wearing jeans, what the  $^!@ am I wearing all the time?

I am a notorious non-jeans wearer. The main reason being I hate shopping for them, and the way I look in them. I'm petite- 5 ft nothing. Every time I go to try on a pair of denim, I find myself mopping the fitting room floor with 3ft of extra fabric. Flare jeans? I look like a platypus. Capri-cut? On me- Boot Cut. It's incredibly discouraging, and a major blow to my self-confidence. 

This year, jeans reign supreme once again. Adorned with kitsch-y patches, intricate destruction, and un-finished hems, I found myself feeling left out, so I went shopping. Endless hours in fitting rooms, trying on styles that were too long, too tight and too expensive. Almost accepting my defeat, a group of girlfriends guided me to Madewell. I had always assumed Madewell was for tall, lanky girls, that like to shop at Whole Foods, listen to Vinyl and do hot yoga for fun (aka- girls way cooler than me). With nothing left to lose, I let a kind Madewell employee pick out some styles for me and corral me into a fitting room- and the rest is history. 

I tried on a few pairs of skinny jeans, and while they were undeniably good, I was looking for something different. This is the great thing about Madewell- styles that are on trend, and work on ladies 5'10 to 5'0. I walked out with three pairs that day- I even cleared out a drawer for my new collection (for comparison- I dated my Fiance for 4 years before I gave him half a drawer). 

 

The Cali-Demi Boot Cut

My favorite pair- it's been my go-to since I got them. The little "kick-hem" effect is perfect with my sneakers, even better with ankle boots that disappear under the unfinished hem. They're the ultimate cool-girl jean, with a universally flattering shape.  I love these in black, with an oversized sweater, or silk tank and leather jacket. 

BONUS: Madewell hems their jeans FOR FREE. This is usually a major expense for me, as 100% of my jeans have to be altered.

Cruiser Straight Jean

The comfiest jeans in the game. I've tried high-waisted jeans before. My Sophomore year of college, I stocked up on a bunch of cheap jeans where the waistband literally sat under my bra. Coincidentally, the extreme high-waist made me not notice that all the pizza and beer did NOT in fact disappear with my hangovers. On the Cruiser, the waist is just high enough, and the straight leg is a wonderful departure from the typical skinny-leg. Not to be confused with the Stanky-leg (still doing physical therapy as a result of that era). I love the lana wash- not too light, not too dark, just sheer denim perfection. 

 

9" High-Rise Skinny

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I figured I needed a staple-skinny jean in my arsenal. I typically stay away from skinny jeans, because they remind me of Delia's t-shirts and Etnies- circa 8th grade. However, Madewell has made skinny jeans cool again, with a leg that's not so skin tight, but skims the leg beautifully and comfortably. In another incredible feature Madewell offers, I got these monogrammed for just $10 bucks. You can get just about anything on your jeans, and while my first choice isn't appropriate for the 18-and-under audience, I decided to do a little self-promotion with mine. Other than FREE HEMMING!!, this may be my favorite feature from Madewell. It's a simple, personal touch to elevate your clothes. 

 

Although i'm on a strict wedding budget- I have my eyes on a few new styles. I can go without groceries for a month, no?

 

Cali-Demi Boot in Donovan Wash

 

 

I always thought jeans to be unnecessarily expensive, until I found the right ones. They are absolutely worth the investment, because of your cost-per-wear. I've worn each pair at least once a week since I got them, and they have yet to stretch out, fade out or give out. 

If you're like me, entering the fitting room with jeans is about as daunting as your gynecologists waiting room (Does everyone think I'm pregnant?!). But Madewell offered me a safe haven in my quest for jeans, with not just wonderful product, but exceptional customer service. Not only did they help me build on my wardrobe, but they have saved my legs from a lifetime of cold, leggings as pants, and best of all-razors. 

The Travel Series: Packing Your Carry-On

When I was younger, I used to have one of those Aladdin mini-suitcase carry ons that held one thing: beanie babies. As I got older, I started packing more practical things, like my walkman and my entire collection of burned CDs, filled with the likes of Yellowcard and Jessica Simpson (I was a complicated child). But it wasn't until I started traveling for work, that I really got the hang of what I need on a plane....other than an Xanax. 

Whether it's a quick flight or a journey to the other side of the world, your carry-on should be filled with only the necessities. Sorry beanie babies, that means you're left behind. 

THE BAG:

The aforementioned Aladdin suitcase just doesn't cut it anymore. I've learned that for me, what's best is a backpack or zippered tote, and a small purse if necessary. The key is it should zip or snap shut, so when you put it under your seat, your things don't go flying everywhere. I think this is what the kids call a "MAJOR KEY". For this trip to Ireland, I used a small backpack from Zara (currently sold out, but so many great options), as well as a zippered tote from Detroit is The New Black. It's the ideal travel bag, and only $34 bucks. 

CONTENTS: 

1) Blanket Scarf

An absolute necessity. While I'd love to invest in a good quality cashmere scarf, I know that planes can be dirty and I am prone to spilling my tomato juice and getting cookie crumbs everywhere while in-flight. I have this one from Asos, that has become a travel staple. Big, soft and cozy- and under $30. 

Blanket scarves are good for a multitude of purposes: warmth on a chilly plane, as a blanket, even rolled up as a pillow. The key to dressing for travel is to layer. I usually wear a comfortable pair of pants or jeans, t-shirt, sweater or jacket, and my scarf. A PLANE IS NOT YOUR BEDROOM. Nix the pajama pants and general sloppiness. You can be comfortable and still look put together. 

 

2) Headphones 

This is a given- however, based on my own experiences I wanted to make a note. My beloved Beats wireless were useless in-flight, as bluetooth doesn't work in airplane mode, or connect to the seat TV. Do yourself a favor and bring your regular 'ol headphones with a wire (sorry, iPhone 7).

3) Socks 

Sometimes, we wear sandals to the airport. Then, we have to go barefoot through a dirty security line. THEN we want to get on a plane and take our shoes off, and THEN you're going to get in your hotel bed with all the germs of the airport. This can all be easily avoided with a pair of socks. If you're wearing flats or sandals to the airport, pack a comfy pair of socks you can wear through security and on the plane. Your bare feet in public are like Donald Trump in a speedo- disgusting and better covered up. 

4) A Book/Magazine

I love to read, but rarely find time when I'm home. Being stuck 30,000 feet with nothing to do is an ideal time to catch up on a good book. Check out the Amazon top-sellers if you can't find one you like. If it's heavy, download it to an iPad or if you're REALLY cool- your kindle. Not me- I love the feeling of a big heavy book falling on my face when I (almost always) fall asleep reading it. But be realistic- if you're not a reader, don't take up room and weight in your bag for a book you won't read. 

5) Extra Underwear, T-shirt

When I was younger, for 5 years in a row, Northwest airlines lost my luggage on our yearly family trip. By the 4th time, I got wise. If you're going to be stuck with no clothes for a day or two, at least you'll have clean undergarments and an alternate t-shirt. If you're going somewhere tropical, pack a bathing suit-because past the age of six it's not cute to swim in your underwear in public. *NOTE: I hear this is different for Vegas. 

6) Toiletries

In the first part of this series, we went over in-flight beauty routines. On the plane, if I'm going to be using a mask that is in a bigger container, I transfer a little to a small jar. I am also sure to have face mist, face wipes, dry shampoo (or wave spray), and a rollerball perfume. If I know I'll be getting off the plane and right to seeing people, I'll bring my makeup bag as well. 

7) Wet Wipes

Call me a germaphobe, but I always wipe down the armrests, tray table and seat-belt before take-off. You can buy mini-packs of wet wipes just about anywhere (I get mine at Target) for cheap. Maybe I'm crazy, but you don't know who was sitting there before you, or before that, or before that, and now we're into a guy that sat there 3 months ago and clipped his toenails all the way to Tokyo. 

8) Medications

If you take any kind of medications daily (birth control, antibiotic, etc.), put them in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost, you'll be stuck, especially if you aren't near a pharmacy. I wonder how many babies are born from lost luggage (should this have been a private question?)?

9) Gum/Mints

If you're like me, you can fall asleep anywhere- especially planes- and church, but that's a different issue. When you wake up without access to brush your teeth, do your neighbor a favor and pop a mint. Does this need any further explanation? If so, you might need a different blog...

10) Water Bottle

You can either bring an empty plastic one through security, or a reusable option. I love BKR bottles, because they're lightweight, and made of glass, keeping water colder and fresher. It's so important to hydrate in-flight, and you can't keep pressing your call button for a refill- well, you can, but don't be that person. 

11) Wallet

This should go without saying, but it's how you pack your wallet that matters. When traveling, chances are you don't need your Nordstrom card, library card, Kroger rewards card and a store-gift card with $2.04 on it that you're not sure how to spend. Bring only the necessities: license, credit card, debit card and insurance cards. 

The key to your carry-on is to simplify and keep it light. Many times I've been running through the airport, weighed down by my 500-page book, or freezing on the plane, casually cuddling up to the person next to me. I grew up Catholic, and I'm pretty sure that's not what the Bible meant by "Love Thy Neighbor".  Then again- I only went to catechism for the snacks.

 

 

Step Aside, LBD.

Everyone knows that an LBD (Little Black Dress) is a staple to a well-rounded closet. But in the Summer months, I try to stay away from the dark section of my closet, which is tough, because that's a good 3/4 of it. I tried a LRD, little red dress, but it felt too dressy for daytime. I tried a LGC- a little grilled cheese, but was still hungry after. BESIDES THE POINT, but I'm getting there. It finally hit me that I had go-to dresses in just about every color except one- white. I became obsessed with finding an LWD, and this Halogen one from Nordstrom (similar here) was the answer to my prayers (can we work on this whole presidential mess/race inequality/home depot hot dog stand-hours now, God??). 

 

Your LWD is as versatile as any other go-to in your closet. For this look, I paired it with some Sorel sandals (yes, SOREL. Like "winter boots we're not ready to think about" Sorel) and a Glossier pink pouch, which Mike asked me if it was an accident that I was holding it in these photos. MEN. 

This is not only a lesson in expanding our closet staples, but in alterations as well. When I got this dress, it was about 3- inches too long and gaped out under my arms. However, I knew it was nothing a seamstress couldn't fix. She was able to tailor it to perfection, and I felt like a regular ol' Kimmy K having something tailored right to my body. But then later when I couldn't afford double meats on my Subway I was put back in my place. STAY GROUNDED. 

The brocade detail on this dress and the neckline gives it a solid 60's vibe, super easy for dressing up and down.  I'll wear this again with a jean or leather jacket, flats, or even a t-shirt underneath.

This dress is a staple, which means it's meant to be built upon and worn different ways. 

 

Try subbing your LBD for one of these LWDs below, and give your closet a little TLC. I'm out of abbrevs here thankfully. 

                     Leith Stretch Tank Dress:  Nordstrom  ($68)

                     Leith Stretch Tank Dress: Nordstrom ($68)

                                                       ASOS Off The Shoulder Mini Dress-  Asos  ($25)

                                                       ASOS Off The Shoulder Mini Dress- Asos ($25)

                                                                            ASOS White Shirt Dress-  Asos  ($89)

                                                                            ASOS White Shirt Dress- Asos ($89)

The Slip

It took me a long time to get on board with "lingerie dressing". I'm still bitter at the Victoria's Secret sales lady that showed me a bra when I was 7 and said, "just a few more years until you need one of these!!". I am pretty positive she cursed me "Sleeping Beauty" style, because it's 18 years later and I'm still waiting to really need one (let's be honest).

However, my belief system changed when I saw Vetements S/S '16. After seeing the most insanely gorgeous slip dress, I started seeing them as a sexy staple, instead of chincy and sleazy (and not in the good, party Ke$ha way). 

             Slip Dress: Uniqlo (similar  here ) // Sleeveless turtleneck: Asos (similar  here ) // Pink Pouch:  Glossier  packaging FTW. 

             Slip Dress: Uniqlo (similar here) // Sleeveless turtleneck: Asos (similar here) // Pink Pouch: Glossier packaging FTW. 

Here's the thing: a slip dress (or camisole dress) can go from simple and chic, to after-hours at Déjà Vu REAL QUICK. So how do you avoid looking like you just ran away from a bad rap video? Layers. Try pairing with a sleeveless turtleneck like I did here, a bodysuit, tee-shirt, or even an oversized sweater over it for a silk-skirt effect. My new dinner go-to is to pair mine with a lacey bralette, delicate necklaces and an oversized trench. 

                                             (Blogging requires a lot of walking.. does this count towards my daily steps?)

                                             (Blogging requires a lot of walking.. does this count towards my daily steps?)

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The key is to not look like you're wearing the slip dress by mistake when you woke up late from binge watching "Love It or List It" all night (SPOILER: THEY NEVER LIST IT.) They're effortless, versatile, and undeniably sexy.

If anything, slip dresses are the ultimate excuse to abuse the saying "Let me SLIP into something more comfortable". It's my most used pun at the moment, and also probably why my boyfriend is screening my calls. Looking good and feeling powerful (and having fire puns) might just be worth it. 

Friday Finds

 

I love a good find, but what I love even more is sharing it with everyone I know. When I find something new, I want to tell my girlfriends, my mother, my sister, even my mailwoman (she complimented me on a vintage Prada sweater once. I SEE YOU RHONDA). 

With Spring finally on the horizon, it was time for a product reboot. Check out my best finds below! 

 

1) Stella McCartney Pop! 

When the seasons change, I love to switch up my scent. In reality, I'll create any logic to make a trip to the beauty counter. BEING BEAUTIFUL AND SMELLING GOOD IS HARD WORK. I am typically drawn to floral and vanilla undertones, but don't like smelling like a funeral home threw up on me (IMO, funerals should be filled with pugs and bottles of Veuve instead). Stella McCartney's newest fragrance, Pop, is perfectly feminine, but not too sweet or fruity. With a delicious mixture of tuberose and sandalwood, this scent screams Spring. 

 

2) NARS Velvet Matte Tinted Moisturizer 

I am horrible at doing makeup. If I ever do a makeup tutorial, just shut down this site. That being said, I am always looking for shortcuts to look ~*FlAwLeSs*~. I was looking to take a break from my beloved mineral powder (it's not you, it's my skin of a pubescent teen), when I stumbled upon this miracle product. NARS has taken tinted moisturizer, and given it velvety smooth, matte coverage. A monkey could apply this beautifully, and trust me, I'm not far off. In just a few seconds, you have light, yet substantial coverage that stays matte, never shiny.  I know, every makeup brand claims to create "that glow!!". I've tried them all- this is the real deal

Tip from the counter: use your ring finger to blend!

 

3) NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer 

I have used the same concealer for YEARS, but lately I have been craving something with a little more natural coverage. Once I had the matte tinted moisturizer, my new beauty BFF* at the Nordstrom Nars counter suggested I stay in the family . After using this, I can only assume 50 Cent's "Magic Stick" is about this concealer. Impossibly creamy and natural, it goes on like a dream and instead of hiding your skin, highlights it beautifully while covering up everything from dark circles to acne scars. 

* I assume we are BFFs because we traded favorite moments from the Celine Dion LIVE! In Vegas DVD. 

 

4) Mario Badescu Silver Powder 

When I was 14, everyone said that acne and blackheads were just part of puberty. I am 99.9% sure I'm past that stage, yet I still have them. Hello, God? It's me, BLACKHEADS. However, I may have found the holy grail of busting these bad boys. I knew it was good when my sister, who doesn't even know what an eyelash curler is, texted me saying I needed to run out and get this ASAP. I applied the powder with a damp cotton ball, left it on for 10 minutes and then removed with my toner. The results were truly UNREAL. Blackheads completely out of sight. Use it once a week and say Sayonara to those suckers.

FIND IT: I surprisingly found Silver Powder at Urban Outfitters, hidden behind the flower crowns and overalls I had in second grade. 

 

5) Graphique Note Cards

When a trip to Marshall's for dish cloths turned into an all-out bender, I found myself in my favorite aisle- stationary. Another notepad to write my lists in? OBVIOUSLY. A journal with an inspirational quote on it? I feel like a better person already!! One thing, however, that has always proved to be a useful purchase, is thank you's and notecards. Thank you notes are the most underrated pastime. There is nothing classier or more chic than throwing a note in the mail to express your gratitude for a gift, a favor, or even just dropping in to say hello. I love to have personalized ones on deck, but stores like Marshall's always have the best inexpensive options when you need to send a quick note. Also it is probably worth noting that last year, I stockpiled Harry Potter stamps and now need an excuse to use them. 

 

Have you tried any of these products, or have any new favorites of your own? Please share below, because I haven't been to the mall in exactly 78 hours and I'm developing a twitch. If not, just leave the number of a good therapist.  

Pants-A-Make-Her-Dance

In 2006, I frequently posted statuses of " You Must Not Know 'Bout Me", as I was obsessed with Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". I was 15- what didn't "you" know 'bout me? That my mom was home making me pizza rolls, or that I had 4 more freeway-hours to log for my permit? 

It was also around this time that gauchos were a thing, and I had always assumed I was too short for the flowy silhouette. Now in 2016, we brought back a version of the gaucho, and called it a culotte. Older and wiser, I disregarded my previous rule and snagged a pair at Club Monaco (similar here, and a ton on sale!), and I am forever changed. 

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But Alex!! I'm short!! JOIN THE CLUB, SISTERS! Culottes are universally flattering, because the wide silhouette tends to slim and streamline the leg. Culotte hems can fall anywhere from the knee to mid-ankle. 

Forewarning: alterations may be necessary based on your height. Clothes are not meant to fit everyone perfectly: 

a good seamstress is the pinnacle of your wardrobe.

This Club Monaco pair was fine, but my other pairs I've had to shorten an inch or two- sometimes you gotta work for it. 

Don't worry about culottes being too "trendy", they're more of a staple to a chic wardrobe than a trend. Cardinal rule on trends: once something becomes one, it's usually already on the way out. Just always buy what you like and know you'll wear for years to come. 

Welcome your new party pants with open arms and hangers, pair them with just about anything (use the same rules as blue jeans or black pants), and get ready for Culotte-s of fun (I'm sorry. I knew I couldn't get through this post without a pant pun)!!! 

 

March (Metallic) Madness

There are countless articles in countless magazines telling you what staples you MUST HAVE to form your closet. While I can get down with the black slacks and a tailored jacket, that does not a wardrobe make. Sometimes you need to spice it up a bit, and for that, you need a new staple: say hello to metallic skirts. 

Thanks to Gucci, metallic skirts are becoming just as much a staple as a good white button-down, or in non-fashion terms, what cocktail sausages are to a good party. STAPLE. 

Metallic skirts are basically the Bernie Sanders of the closet. Loud, sensible, and always a smart choice. (Am I still talking about skirts here? #Berndownforwhat). 

Skirt: Vintage Christian Dior from The Peacock Room. Sweater: Uniqlo. Shoes: Asos

Your new skirt is just as handy as a pair of blue jeans. Pair it with an oversized sweater, a basic tee, sneakers, heels, even a crop top or bandeau in the summer. I've found midi-length and pleated work best with metallics. If you go mini and solid, you run the risk of looking like a girl who's lost at the festival just looking for a bathroom and a vodka redbull. 

A few no-fail options below: 

 

Topshop Metallic Pleated Skirt, $130 (Nordstrom)

 

Pleated Midi Skirt, $69.90 (Zara)


Asos Pleated Midi Skirt with Metallic Foil, $60 (Asos)

 

If you haven't already, you're going to be seeing metallic skirts everywhere, and trust me, you want in on this trend. GRANTED, I also said the same thing about those one-size stretchy sweaters in middle school, but I promise I've learned from that, and am much more credible now. 

 

Photos by Lauren Montgomery at the Belle Isle Conservatory.

In the Jungle

 

The top item I have been in search of for the past few years is a faux- fur leopard coat. I grew obsessed when my grandma out-chic'ed me in one in 2009 (never forget). I searched high and low, but couldn't find one that didn't look like I sewed together a bunch of stuffed animals from a bowling alley arcade. 

This past October, I stumbled upon the perfect match in TopShop in Las Vegas. Fueled by one-too-many bloody marys, I didn't hesitate to make it mine, and it has been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. 

The absolute best thing about faux fur coats is that they instantly take any outfit to the next level. I've worn mine over cropped black pants and a white blouse, and hours later over a sports-tee and destroyed denim (that pairing seemed to really resonate with a man in a Gucci bucket hat at a basketball game). 

I know Spring is on the horizon, but right now may be the most opportune time to buy. Most stores have their coats on sale, and if you've been keeping track of the F/W '16 shows in New York, you'll see that next season will have no shortage of leopard love. 

 

Via Spiga Faux Leopard Fur Topper- Was $270, now $179.90 (Nordstrom

 

Faux Fur Coat in Leopard- was $137, now $83 (Asos)

 

The Kooples Leopard Print Faux Fur Jacket- was $575, now $287 (Stylebop)

 

The biggest apprehension I hear about Faux Fur is that it's "too much" for every-day wear. I say -GOOD. Be too damn much. Be larger than life every chance you get. Wear this coat to the theatre, then to the grocery store. Wear it over a cocktail dress, then joggers and a white-tee. Never be afraid to be too much. It is far, far better than being too little (I'm 5ft tall- trust me on that one). 

 

Shot by Lauren Montgomery at the Belle Isle Conservatory in Detroit. 

Photo editing by Leah Cranston.