Friday Five: Spring Recipes

Friday Five: Spring RecipesClick here for outfit details!

Hey Guys!

Even though we're having a bit of a cool-down this weekend here in Charlotte, temps next week will be back to normal and  my spring attire is calling! I'm talking to you, open-toed sandals! I love it when the weather starts to warm up and the flowers begin to bloom. It's a beautiful reminder that God's mercies are new each morning (Lam 3:23).

Because this weekend marks the first day of spring, I've created some  "recipes" for some easy spring outfits. These are tried and true colors and patterns that always work in some of this season's hottest trends. The first row is one of my favorite mix of patterns: black & white stripes with leopard! You can NEVER go wrong with that combo, even though for some it may seem a bit much (just trust me, IT WORKS.. Because, remember, leopard is a neutral (repeat this five times). I've added a pop of red with a cute crossbody bag, which plays well with both patterns. You could also add red lipstick to this fun little mix.

Recipe #2 is a new obsession of mine: Athleisure. OK, part of the recipe, anyway. So if you take a chambray button-down and add faux leather leggings, you can really go either way with shoes - dress it up with some fringy heels (fringe is still WAY hot this season) OR go the extra mile (literally) in some black sneakers. I recently worked with a client that was travelling to Paris and in researching street style from their recent fashion week, I saw this look on so many models and bloggers. It's the perfect "walking around town comfortably but still looking awesome" outfit. And, who doesn't want a reason to wear faux leather leggings?!

The third look is a must for those who love their florals ("Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking.") -  Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada). These floral tops have an extra edge with the shoulder cutouts (aka "cold shoulder") and are great paired with jeans or crisp white pants. Another fun trend I'm seeing pop up again from last spring and summer is the raw-egde denim, but cropped iterations. I have mixed feelings about cropped pants...since I'm 5'0" I tend to stay away from cropped pants because they make me look shorter (they visually cut your legs) but sometimes I just say whatever and go with a trend. If you are under 5'4", pair them with pointed-toe heels. Otherwise, wear with flats or heels.

And to be true to the name of the post and give you a rounded out FIVE for FRIDAY, here are a few tips that would make these outfits work, date-night or church appropriate. For Recipe #1, add a pencil skirt instead of the jeans and if you work in a chilly office, a red or black  cardigan. For Recipe #2, switch out the leather pants for black or gray pants or a black pencil skirt. If you work in the creative field, you could potentially wear your sneaks to the office to show your fashionista skills, but any other field, stick to closed-toed pumps. Add a sparkly statement necklace to enhance the casual/elegant juxtaposition. Outfit #3 would look great with wide-legged beige or white pants instead of the cropped denim.

Have a great weekend! I hope you enjoy these "recipes!" As always, thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think! Are these tips helpful?

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Valentine's Day Gift List - For Him

Valentine's Day Gift List - For Him

 

Valentine's Day is right around the corner so I thought I'd share a few ideas for gifts for the guy in your life. My hubby is quite particular with clothes, although I seem to have cracked the code. I actually bought the Banana Republic two in one Donegal blazer below as a Christmas gift (still on sale in stores!) and he loved it. Beard products are great if your guy is sporting one (duh!) but if not, then cologne is always a great gift. REI has by far, hands down the BEST socks ever. My hubby's mother buys them for him every Christmas and honestly, I want to steal them! Super absorbent, low-profile and perfect arch support for running or whatever kind of fitness you are into. I just discovered Ben Sherman shoes and am LOVING them! A nice work bag is always appreciated, as is a new shaving kit. My hubby seems to use his until it's falling apart....and speaking of hubby, I'm actually rushing to post this so we can watch a movie. Oh and if you have already bought a flask, a shaker and all other beer/liquor accoutrements and Amazon gift card never fails! :)Have a great rest of the weekend, loves!

Clockwise from top:

Travel Shaving Kit

Beardsley shampoo and conditioner

Ben Sherman Mickey oxfords

REI smartwool socks

Messenger Satchel Bag

Amazon gift card

Banana Republic Donegal Two in One blazer

 

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Friday Five - Winter Neutral Must Haves

Hey Fashionistas! Winter has FINALLY arrived, even down here in the South, so I've picked out my favorite cold-weather items below. You can't go wrong with winter neutrals; it makes mixing and matching (and getting dressed in the morning!) super-simple. My favorite go-tos are a comfy sweater layered with a plaid shirt, paired with my leopard coat and a fun hat or gloves. This also makes your accessories be the stand out pieces. I'd love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below!Friday Five - Neutal Winter Must Haves

 

Pink sweater stylemoi.nu

Relaxfeel grey sweater relaxfeel.com

Black blouse shein.com

Long shirt beautifulhalo.com

Long coat romwe.com

Free Press 3D Butter Slipper nordstromrack.com

FRR brown glove furhatworld.com

Topshop black glove topshop.com

Rella red hat lordandtaylor.com

Fleece glove luxurydivas.com

Red hat amazon.com

Thanksgiving Packing list

For those of you traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, whether by car or by air, figuring out what to pack can be a real hassle! I find it really does work to follow the one (or two) color palette rule so you can mix and match everything for maximum versatility.  Personally I find packing for colder climates easier, as I can grab one or two sweater, maybe a poncho and mix them with various shirts and either jeans or leggings. Bringing a good pair of boots (rain or snow boots, depending on where you are traveling) is always a good idea, as well as a pair of flats. If you're like me, I always go shopping on Black Friday (and will DEFINITELY be posting about that soon!) so I like to wear something easy to take on and off for trying on clothes. I also opt for layers and a cardigan rather than a bulky coat on those days, it's easier to carry it or tie it around your waist or sling over your purse. On that same note, if you are flying, a good rule of thumb is to wear your largest pieces on your day of travels (boots, heavy sweaters and scarves). This not only saves room for more goodies in your suitcase but also keeps you warm on a chilly plane.  I'm actually travelling twice in the next couple weeks - once for business and another for pleasure, so I'll be sure to share any new travel tips I pick up. Be sure to check out tomorrow's FRIDAY FIVE post about my favorite travel accessories!
Thanksgiving Packing list

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Designer Crush

Hey there! Do you have a designer crush? Is there one label or store who seems to just "get" your shape or fit your curves? I know I certainly do. And as quickly as I go through color crushes, you'd think I would also cycle through designer crushes, but that just isn't the case (maybe a trip to NYFW would cure that!).

While I was attending Parsons, I had several classes that required us to use a designer as our  term project. And whether it was simply analyzing the marketing strategy, designing a new line for them or researching what it would take to open a store in an emerging market - each time I used my designer crush, Tory Burch. She has such an incredible story, albeit riddled with some difficulties during her divorce,  subsequent lawsuits with the ex's (now dufunct) company, C Wonder, or reservations from some who claim she got where she is today by coming from a wealthy family with good connections. Despite that, it's inarguable that Tory has achieved a lot in the decade or so since she first launched her brand. And while not all up and coming designers can get Oprah's stamp of approval as the "Next Big Thing", she certainly has proved that she has the intuition and perserverance to stay in the game long after the seed money and Oprah's magic wand have moved on.

So because of the fact that not everyone has the same connections,  I'd like to introduce you to a designer you may not have heard of, Angela Roi. I stumbled across this well-designed, super-affordable and chic handbag designer on an Instagram picture I liked. When I visited the website, I was literally BLOWN AWAY. Well-priced vegan materials AND they give portions of EVERY bag to a non-profit? Sign me up! Tory may well have some competition from my new crush!

Hope you enjoy checking out this amazingly talented and philanthropic designer as much as I did. Be sure to click on the Donate by Color tab to see which non-profit gets a portion of the sale of your favorite color handbags. I'm thinking one of these would make some nice Christmas or birthday gifts!

Angela Roi handbags

 

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2015 Fall Forecast

Fall 2015 "Must Haves"2015 Fall Forecast

Each Season, new fashions come out. Some are completely new (recycled from the 70s) silhouettes (hello, wide-leg jeans!) and others are just iterations of perennial favorites (black flats with some embellishment). This is sort of a mash-up list of a "Must Have" and what's trending this fall. I'm absolutely LOVING the lace-up flat trend, started by Aquazurra and now being offered at affordable prices for us working stiffs. Another great Fall trend is shirt dresses. They look great with a cardigan, flowy sweater, cargo vest, blazer or denim jacket layered over them. Wear them with heels to the office or ankle booties for weekend errands. And then there is the trenchcoat...behold, the beautiful, hand-crafted, century-old British piece of perfection of the classic Burberry. Remind me to tell you my Burberry story another day. Still too fresh...makes me sad (Cliff Notes: saw one on MEGAsale at the #NSale and passed it by, must've not been fully caffeinated or something). But alas, many good quality copycats are available at normal-people prices. Next, I chose suede over-the-knee boots. Simply because they are fabulous. You could throw on leggings, a long sweater or tunic, and those babies - BAM! Fabulosity achieved. Then there's always date night. Or impress your ex night. Or GNO...these babies go anywhere (except in the rain, do NOT wear suede in the rain, my friends).

 

2015 Fall Forecast by jengrano featuring black shoes

River Island shirt dress riverisland.com

Plaid poncho anthropologie.com

Plaid poncho $63 - urbanoutfitters.com

Kate Spade trench coat bergdorfgoodman.com

Burberry trench coat neimanmarcus.com

Kate Spade outerwear katespade.com

H&M blue jeans $63 - hm.com

Rag & bone black jeans $335 - net-a-porter.com

Chloé suede boots $1,320 - stylebop.com

Topshop black shoes topshop.com

Aquazzura flat shoes $690 - harveynichols.com

#NationalWatermelonDay

Happy National Watermelon Day! On this very momentous day, I chose to honor one of my favorite summer indulgences with some of my top watermelon fashion picks . Enjoy! #NationalWatermelonDay

 

Summer top etsy.com

Black shirt etsy.com

Maurices shorts maurices.com

Freya tankini swimsuit top $30 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Freya swimwear $18 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Summer shoes zazzle.com

Kate spade handbag katespade.com

ASOS watch $31 - asos.com

Tech accessory etsy.com

Pottery barn beach towel potterybarn.com

Casa Marias red coaster onekingslane.com

Watermelon Mojitos foodnetwork.com