Thursday, July 24, 2014

editor's eye: fall fashion ads

Looking at the ads has always been one of my favorite parts of magazine flipping. First I collaged cut-out scraps for elementary school notebooks, then framed editorials for "artsy" wall decor in college. Today, designer campaigns are still a source of inspiration, even if I'm not taking a gluestick and scissors to the glossy pages. Elle compiled a swoon-worthy assortment of this fall's fashion marketing photography, and I filtered out my favorites. Here they are, through my lens.

First thought: I hope it storms soon.
Mood: Young, beautiful and ambitious.  
Story: The city's a gray place but this coat will keep you warm—and high above the soot.  
Phillip Lim.

First thought: I will eat haggis if I have to, just take me to Scotland.  
Mood: Approachable and traditional, with hidden secrets.   
Story: Tartan is a lifestyle and it has a sexy side.  

First thought: Fall doesn't have to be dark and brooding.  
Mood: Balanced, diverse and driven.  
Story: Transcendent of time and place. 

First thought: Pistachio gelato.  
Mood: Soft, luxe and discerning.  
Story: Dress like a lady, think like a man.  

First thought: I need to buy a long trench and book a road trip.  
Mood: Easy and free, pretty masculinity.
Story: Crossing the frontier. Are you coming with? 
Cole Haan.

All photos via

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

one shoe, three ways

I bought these heeled sandals earlier this spring, but they've just recently become a top priority. I'd wanted a pair of cherry-colored kicks for a while, but it's hard to find some that aren't cheap looking or triple-stacked-platform, hooker style. SO when I saw this fairly conservative pair in the Boden catalog I pulled the trigger on the spot. At first I only wore them with a white sweater and jeans (snooze), and kind of questioned the purchase—would I really end up wearing these more than once or twice? Then when packing for Michigan last week I rediscovered my mint denim (they've been on unintentional hiatus lately) and really liked how it looked against the patent hibiscus. I had several outfits laying on the bed, ready to be stuffed into my suitcase, and looking from one to the next I slowly realized that these shiny red shoes added an interesting contrast or pop to every outfit. I stick to pretty basic silhouettes and a fun shoe like this is the perfect dose of personality for my daily uniform—classic but not boring, simple but interesting. I wore them to a casual dinner last Friday, Saturday night drinks downtown and Tuesday for work. I'm kind of on a roll. And I'm gonna keep rollin'.

The unexpected marrying of mint and hibiscus gives basic jeans a fresh, trendy feel.
I wore these with a black and white colorblock crop top for 2 for 1 cocktails and burgers at Dlux.

The neon pink pattern and juicy red clash, but in a really complementary way.
A dark teal boyfriend sweater topped off this look for an outdoor bite at the lake.

I'm obsessed with this color combo: it gives a standard t-shirt an energetic twist.
My navy Minnies completed this easy professional ensemble from 9 to 5 yesterday.

These sassy sandals are sold out, but Boden is a good destination for uncommon colors and stylish shoes that aren't over the top. Keep your eyes peeled for new arrivals throughout the season—you might find something as surprisingly universal as these. In the meantime, peruse three of my top picks for fall (right around the corner!) from the stylish British brand:

I'd get the Bronze Metallic, but Aubergine and Gray Zebra are both fresh. 
Flat boots were my number one go-to last year and these feel so chic and...British. 
Black is a smart bet, but I love the Claret, which functions almost the same, in a less basic form.
Pink Houndstooth—I'd wear these with army green—
perfect example of the unique colors, patterns and textures Boden carries.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

sorority secrets: a guide to rush (and life)

Just two weeks left in July and summer's really hitting its stride. Around Madison that means the normally overstuffed isthmus has a bit more breathing room—students are home to pad resumes and refill wallets before another wild year at the UW. For me, July no longer brings that back-to-school itch I'm sure so many are feeling by now, but living in a college town makes that lifestyle a part of my consciousness basically constantly. As young whippersnappers (I had to) around the country fill backpacks with fresh ballpoints, raid Target for bright bedding sets and stalk future roommates on social media, I'm reminded of my first week on campus: a humid streak of August days ruled by Recruitment. I'm old and wise now (ha), so read and learn from my experience. If I were a 2014 incoming freshman, here are three things I'd do differently during Rush (and—spoiler alert—each point is applicable beyond the college bubble):

Ah, the old fake it til you make it. Classes hadn't started yet, I was alone in a depressing dorm room, there were unfamiliar and intimidating faces everywhere, and I was supposed to find my way in an unfamiliar grid of residential streets to Pi Beta...Phi? Um? I let a little homesickness get the best of me mid-way through the week, while spreading glue and sprinkling glitter on an art project I had zero interest in (what is this, kindergarten?). I wasn't the best conversationalist that day and needless to say wasn't invited back. It's going to be overwhelming at first, but shrug it off, roll up your sleeves, and cut and color like you love it. It's OK to be a rookie—a reality it's easier to embrace than mask. Everyone was in your position at one point, and everyone thinks the crafts are lame. Just control what you can—smile, engage and ask questions, even if you're kind of crying inside. There will be time to let it all out on the phone with your mom later.

I wasn't sure I wanted to go Greek—and wasn't shy about saying it. That's fine, but sororities are more interested in girls who are pumped up and excited about diving right in. They want contributing members and are assessing whether you could be the next Social Chair or will lead them to victory in a philanthropy 5K. Saying you're hesitant to join translates to a deadbeat member who lies in her bed all day (whether or not that was your intention). I think my uncertainty could've been a defense mechanism against potential rejection, but put yourself out there! It pays to gush and flatter here. Actual excitement will follow once the nervousness subsides.

You may not want to hear it, but how you look will affect your Pref Night picks. I cringe thinking about the Nine West purse I carried through the week—picked up from the fashion re-sale store where I worked the summer before college (cringe cringe CRINGE). Don't give up who you are, but know the game and tailor your style accordingly, just as you'd tuck your shirt a little tighter for an interview or bust out your best running shoes for a big race. A classic and tidy crossbody and elegant but understated jewelry (a little this, a little that) will win points.

It's funny—I originally titled this post "if I could redo rush," promising insider info on what went "wrong" and how I'd go back to make it "right." But despite my missteps, I wouldn't change the outcome. I joined a house in January and it made everything about my four years (and beyond) better. And the thing about this list that reveals why signing up for sisterhood (cheesy word choice intended) is excellent prep for post-grad success? Every point can be applied to the "real world"—and is especially relevant for job interviews. Whether or not I realized it, my experience rushing has stuck with me and without a doubt affected how I've conducted myself since, in terms of meeting new people, trying new things, dealing with uncomfortable situations, thinking long-term and following through, contributing to a team and prepping for success. Yes, there were creepy chants, ridiculous choreography and excessive pomp and circumstance, but that was just one week in a full year of uncontrived fun. You'll throw away the name tags and matching t-shirts, and the overarching awkwardness of Recruitment will fade, but you won't forget the rest. AOE!

Monday, July 21, 2014

weekend recap: iron river

Apparently even five-day weekends aren't long enough. I'm hitting the coffee hard today after a relaxing few days in the Upper Peninsula. My mom grew up in Iron River, and my family and I spend time there every summer. We've always stayed with my grandma and grandpa at Sunset Lake, but they've recently moved out and my parents are in the process of building a new house at the site. In the meantime, it's definitely different to stay somewhere unfamiliar, but some things—like pizza at the Riverside—make it feel the same as it's always been. Take a break from Monday and peek inside the weekend. And in case you ever find yourself in the UP, a few pointers on how to do it right:

This is the Northwoods (Iron River is just minutes from the Wisconsin border), not Lake Geneva. A low wedge is OK for dinner at Alice's (best Italian food west of Firenze), but leave the bold baubles at home. Fleece, jeans and tees are all you need.

It can be tough to coax yourself in at first, but this is not where you go to simply sunbathe. Practice back dives off the dock, pontoon around the lake perimeter, and bring your shampoo down for an au natural shower as the sun sets. Getting IN the water is required.

Cocktail hour overlooking the lake isn't complete without Planter's Deluxe Mixed Nuts. G&Ts, cheese, sausage and crackers round out the spread. After a long day outside there's nothing better.

The decor is pure kitsch sprinkled with Packers memorabilia, but The Riverside pizza is as good as it gets, courtesy of the famous Dina Mia thin crust and special sauce. We always order a #6 (sausage, mushroom, onions, pepperoncini). Ask for "cheese out" for an extra layer of ooey-gooey goodness.

The weather isn't always ideal (understatement of the century) and cell service can be spotty—so be sure to pack a good book, cards and board games. We used to play rummy a lot, and Dominos is a family favorite. Stock your own suitcase here.

Stanley Lake sunset on Wednesday night. I arrived at the cottage a little after 5:00. My mom served skirt steak with an avocado and corn relish, seasoned home fries, grilled bread and cantaloupe.

The ultimate lakeside snack. 

Dinner at the pizzeria on Thursday night. There were sadly no leftovers.

My mom and sister enjoying the Thursday night sunset.

Nikki Nasser, UP Princess.
My dad built a fire on Thursday night—Boy Scout Bobby's still got it!

My dad

My mom and I walked to the ski hill on Friday morning. I haven't skied here in years and we're excited to start coming back over Christmas.

Live music at The Snipe after Friday night fish fry (like I said, this is the Northwoods..).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

look again: the little market

Do you follow people you don't know on Instagram? Bloggers, celebrities, brands? At first I thought it was weird, but I now have a handful of people in my feed who I don't know beyond daily photos. Former reality TV golden girl Lauren Conrad is one of them—known for her artfully filtered snaps. I've noticed a lot of her posts feature new products for The Little Market, a venture she started with a Fashion Institute classmate and friend. The business works with artisans across the globe and provides a platform to sell and market their goods. I admit I've arrogantly dismissed a lot of Conrad's entrepreneurial endeavors in the past (the Kohl's clothing line and the novels), but I took the time to look at The Little Market's mission and inventory this week and am now applauding instead of scoffing. The project is really admirable and basically my dream job. The two-person team travels to Kenya, Nepal, South Africa and Peru (to name a few), gets to know local cultures and economies, then exercises creative and business acumen to turn a profit that helps supports these artisans. I can't think of anything cooler or more rewarding, honestly. All pieces are handmade and purchased at fair trade prices that provide a living wage for the craftsmen. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the current stock! Take me on the next trip, LC!!

I like my margaritas authentic—and this aqua glass from Mexico is the real deal.
 Shop it. Get the matching pitcher.

These wood salad servers remind me of the set used so many times at my grandma's dinner table
in Michigan. I used to think they were old-fashioned, but now really like rustic, chic look.
This twisted pair is made in Kenya. Shop it.

The tribal design of this Guatemalan-made bag has a global attitude that is perfect for travel.
 Shop it.

A simple and understated beach towel that doubles as a living room throw. Yes and yes.
Made in Ethiopia. Shop it

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

emmys prep: julia louis-dreyfus

image via

When I meet new people and they ask what I do, they inevitably make either a Mad Men comment or say, "Oh, so you're Elaine!?", neither of which association I mind. But, especially after having read this article, I delight in being (however loosely associated) a twenty-first century Elaine Benes. I've always liked Julia Louis-Dreyfus—chiefly because of her role on the hilarious sitcom, which I came to know through the robust laughter emanating from my dad as he watched in our family's darkened living room late at night. I most admire that she's smart (and don't know why it's surprising whenever I discover someone who stands in front of a camera for a living is so sharp). The actress has maintained—in fact, escalated—her career since Seinfeld fame, an impressive feat after playing such a recognizable, defining role. She's the only actress to win three Emmys for three different comedy series and holds the record for nominations as Best Actress in a Comedy. It's a long article, so if you don't have the time (or stamina) to read it all, here's what stuck with me: JLD's persistent ambition despite already having "made it." An excerpt:

Louis-Dreyfus does not have to work this hard. Thanks to years of very public squabbling among the principals over Seinfeld money, most people have an exalted view of how much she earned from the show, but it did, in fact, make her independently wealthy. And then there's her family's money. The Internet has decided that her father, William Louis-Dreyfus, who works in commodities, is a billionaire. When I bring this up, she says, "He's a very wealthy man, but he's not a billionaire. There are no billions. And I'm not crying poverty or anything—and that's the other problem, because this is a very unsavory subject—but there is a perception out there that I'm, like, a Rothschild or something." She rolls her eyes. "If only." A mordant laugh. "I guess." 

When I met Louis-Dreyfus at The Four Seasons, I explained to her that we were here to look back on the great year she has had. "Oh, I see," she said with a gimlet-eyed smirk. "So we're just resting on our laurels, in other words." Another Louis-Dreyfus gem—the subtle, ironic comeback in the midst of a throwaway moment of small talk—but also perhaps a window into the very particular plight of the wildly successful sitcom star: The money rolls in, while the episodes play over and over. (Including almost every weeknight, at midnight at Channel 11.)

You and I and most people reading this aren't sitting on millions that auto-replenish with every re-run. But we've all achieved varying levels of success that make it easy to slow our speed and stop trying as hard. The conversation between the actress and her interviewer is a gentle nudge to keep on pedaling, and to find something internal that motivates and fulfills (and you can tell by JLD's probing questions about Chelsea Clinton that she is invested in her latest project, the character and the whole Washington machine)—because if the only goal is money, what keeps you going once you've got it?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows what's up (and I'm thrilled that there seem to be parts of Elaine alive and well in the talented star). I'm officially carving out time to watch VEEP before next month's Emmy Awards (see the full list of nominees here); in the meantime, tell me: Do you have a TV career twin? What's your favorite Julia Louis-Dreyfus role? Favorite Seinfeld episode? (I thought so.) To wrap up, one of Elaine's finest moments. Have a laugh-your-head-off day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

looking good: jamie chung

Keeping it light on this Monday—still riding Sunday's lazy fumes. I spotted this photo of Jamie Chung while flipping through InStyle over the weekend. Her look combines two well-established trends (mixing prints and matching separates) in a fresh way: she wears the same pattern on top and bottom, but in different scales. Sophisticated but unstuffy. Her outfit is from the Banana Republic x Marimekko collection, which hit stores in late May and I, regrettably, completely missed. I carried a tote in college cut from the same cloth as Chung's skirt and would have loved to relive those days with the signature whimsical and modern designs in pants, skirts and dresses (this peplum top + Hampton short is too good). Regardless, the look is prime fashion food and I'm biting. Choosing basic patterns like dots and stripes is the easiest way to recreate the coordinated look on your own.

image via

To get you started: 
Neiman Marcus striped shorts + Kate Spade Saturday striped top
LOFT striped shorts + LOFT striped sweater
True Religion striped denim shorts + Townsen striped top
*if you're still hooked on strict matchy-matchy: all TopShop co-ords

update 7/15: Rebecca Minkoff's Resort 2015 collection has a really similar feel! Take a peek.

Friday, July 11, 2014

discovery: mouth

Gather 'round, gather 'round! I just made the most exciting discovery that is my new FIRST STOP shop for gifts and occasions of all shapes and sizes (confession: I'm actually a little hesitant to post this because I kind of want to keep it my own little surprise-and-delight weapon, but .... sharing is caring). Mouth packages indie food products into themed bundles that are so finger-licking cute you'll create full-blown celebrations out of barely-there whispers just for an excuse to buy one. Order one-time deliveries or monthly subscriptions for your bridesmaids, gracious hostess, new crush or sweet-tooth grandpa. My parents dream in pate and dried peppercorns so (spoiler alert Mom!) one of these artisan samplers will be perfect for their anniversary next month. Maybe the Hot Stuff Taster (they'll love the spicy Bloody Mary mix) or my own handpicked curation of cheese and crackers for a weekend at the lake. I could happily spend all day and night browsing Mouth's seemingly endless supply of painfully (in a hurts-so-good way) creative assortments and reading the deliciously smart & descriptive copy—while I nibble whiskey sour pickles and sip an aperitif (courtesy of the "happy hour in a bag"), of course. The smartly-designed site even features a feed showing trending products and a location-based log of who viewed and bought what. Talk about addictive. Are you salivating yet? Have an amazing weekend! Find something to celebrate (inspiration below).

because dorm food is a little depressing: #Classof2014

because it's summer and you shall eat ice cream for dinner: Vegan Caramel Sauce

for all the headaches—happy father's day: Bourbon of the Month

for landing a new job (or being awesome at the current one): Bring Home the Bacon

support the early morning marathon training: Guatemalan Coffee

for the breakup: French Toast Chocolate Bar

all images via Mouth

Thursday, July 10, 2014

retail radar: tamara mellon

image via

One word: Yeehaw. Tamara Mellon, credited with "having built Jimmy Choo into an internationally renowned brand," is charting new territory with her own e-comm site, launched this week. The line is to die for, but the Kowboy Karlie campaign is what lassoed me in. She looks amazing. I've never been a hat girl, but the cat-eyed model smoldering all over the open plain makes me think (wish) I could actually pull off the Bad Ass Hat. TM's brand was created on a "wear now" premise, Mellon pledging to deliver seasonless fashion and calendar-relevant monthly capsules, an inspired concept I think promises to keep the fashion-savvy interested and riding back. Appropriately, the collection's signature is leather and fringe. I'm drawn to the Wild West attitude manifested in sophisticated materials, and love the edge that partnering skirts and dresses with high-shaft heels and booties creates. A roundup of my favorite pieces:

Delicate skinny straps and a trendy + effortless midi hemline.  
Cut Out Dress.

A long-sleeve dress is so sophisticated (and kept sexy by trademark cutouts).
I love that the hemline and gladiators overlap.  
Side Slit Dress.

Clean, structured lines. Always a favorite.
Wide-set straps that reveal an open back is the standout feature.
Sleeveless Leather Jumpsuit.

The excitement of the fringed skirt is balanced by a conservative length and simple white tee.
The wrapped waistline is a fun touch.
Leather Fringe Skirt.

Another high-shaft bootie: it mimics the effect of cowboy boots, but the heel and peep toe
hold on to the femininity of pumps. I love the easy, modest, youthful knee length of the dress.
Suede Fringe Cut Out Dress.

Scala Flat.

Roper Boot.

The perfect turquoise accent to the western aesthetic.  
TM Love Large Tote.

As covetable as these pieces are, they're a little out of my price range. But if you want to jump on the fringe and leather bandwagon, here are some more accessible options to go wild on (and the KateMoss x TopShop collection is another good place to start):

Tibi Fringed Tank (love! on sale!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

his style 2

I'm really into men's style. I don't claim to have an extensive knowledge of designers and fashion history, but do appreciate a well-dressed gent. Maybe it's because of my job—or maybe I enjoy my job because of the interest—chicken or egg situation here. Either way, I like a man that has a little sartorial sensibility. If he doesn't, no biggie. But it gives a guy an extra cool factor if he knows Chambray from Oxford, spreads from straights. Justin of Scout Sixteen fits the profile. I like his blog not only for his on-trend ensembles, but his on-point writing. There's substance, and his word choice shows smartness, like when deftly using 'anchor' as a verb in a post about nautical style. And that takes me from casually scrolling through pictures during downtime to becoming an invested return reader. I rounded up some recent Scout snaps as inspiration for looks (for you or your man!) to wear now and as summer transitions into fall. Which is your favorite?

A tailored fit + modern stripes make a short sleeve buttondown instantly cooler than the
billowy version your dad wears. But the classic silhouette remains, giving the look a nerdy-ness that
actually ups the trendiness. A baseball hat keeps it young and adds athletic appeal.

Sweats with a banded cuff give the traditionally sloppy style a more refined look—
so you can wear them to lunch and be as comfortable as when lounging.
The beanie gets a bad rap, but I like its relaxed, artistic attitude.

A plain oxford shirt is a staple. So versatile. But colorful embroidery makes it
more special and shows personality. You can wear this version with all the same things
you would an ordinary oxford; it just makes a stronger statement.

Casual. Timeless. Fresh. Perfection. The classic simplicity of the open cardigan
is balanced (and modernized) by sockless loafers and a v-neck tee.

Suspenders. Find a way to work them into your wardrobe immediately.
Something about the old-school businessman vibe is distinctly attractive.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

RISE AND SHINE! 5 tips for waking up earlier than the sun

image via
Today's mood ring: energized. I've been relying on runs and walks outside for workouts lately, but have really missed having access to a variety of cardio machines and weights. Last week I decided to splurge (what's $49/month for your mental and physical well-being, right?) and started going to a new gym in Butler Plaza with a plan to squeeze in 45-minute sweat sessions in the mornings before work. After a long weekend away, I gave myself Monday to sleep in (6AM—what a luxury). Today was judgment day. And I followed through! I got out of bed at the first (4:30AM) alarm, caught some CNN on the elliptical, ran to Rita Ora on the treadmill, then finished with quick sets of free weights, squats and sit-ups. It's always so worth the early wake-up call once you're done, muscles satisfyingly sore, but I love to sleep and it's often hard to see the post-exercise high through tightly sealed eyes. Here's the cheat sheet for what gets me up before the sun.

1. MAKE BELIEVE. When you have a deadline you can't miss, like an early flight, you make it out of bed. This is proof that you can, in fact, get up early and survive thrive. Fake yourself out and pretend you have somewhere really important to be. It'll get you at least out from under the covers, and hopefully your willpower can carry you from there. After a week, you'll be programmed, promise.

2. SAY YOU WANT IT. Waking up early is not a common free association for "fun." We all prefer a little extra shut-eye like we all prefer to inherit millions. But don't focus on that part. Focus on the feel-good endorphins (that you'll inevitably need as the work day progresses) and smokin' bod you're getting by waking up a little earlier. Tell yourself you want to wake up early, and it won't feel like you're being forced against your will. It'll feel like your choice.

3. EXTRA INCENTIVE. I love to watch the news, but don't get home until 6:15PM most nights, which means I always miss my beloved Brian Williams and the 5:30 Nightly News (sniff, sniff). An early workout is a chance to catch up on headlines I would miss that evening (and see other stories). If your hour at the gym is also the time you do something else you enjoy, skipping it will deprive yourself of more than just your daily toning—maybe it's forty uninterrupted minutes of your favorite podcast (browse here! I like 99% Invisible, Freakonomics and This American Life) or newest playlist (download this now), a fresh smoothie at the juice bar, the cute guys in the weight room...

4. THE RIGHT UNIFORM. This one's obvious. There's nothing worse than going out on Saturday night in an outfit you're not into, and going to the gym is the same. Modern, trendy clothes that fit well will make spinning, biking and lifting feel like a fun occasion—JUST like sipping cocktails at your favorite bar (ha). I'm all about Athleta. This top (tons of colors!), these tights (really versatile) and this hoodie (so comfy) are worth waking up for.

5. THE NEXT BIG THING. A trip to the lake, an outdoor wedding, a concert in the city—whatever your next social event is, let it be your first thought when your eyes struggle open. Everyone and their dog will be Instagramming from every angle, so plan ahead and you'll have no "bad side." If there's no set event on the horizon, no sweat. A popular quote on Pinterest reads: "Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen." Look and feel your best, and you'll be primed (and in fact, promote) for that reality.

Monday, July 7, 2014

st tropez in the mountains

I can't believe it's already July (seventh!). All sense of time (and reality) really disappears during vacation, doesn't it? I hope you had a great Fourth of July. I didn't have a typical stars-n-stripes themed weekend, but spent an equally spectacular five days in Breckenridge for a friend's Independence Day wedding. I've been to the small mountain town before, but didn't appreciate its charm as fully as I did this time. An eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and shops (wine & cheese pantries, olive oil tasting rooms, a candy factory, a cannabis club) line Main Street, parallel to the Blue River, making it really easy to navigate the area. Everything has a very rustic, quaint look and feel. Now that I've been twice in July, I HAVE to schedule my next trip during ski season—nothing better than hanging out in a cozy bar after a day on the slopes—and as beautiful as the scenery was, lit in summer sun, I'm sure it is even more idyllic draped in white. Apart from the ceremony and related activities (more on that this week!), here's the highlight reel: pecan-crusted red trout at Relish, a scenic bike ride to Frisco, and a fun little birthday bash for my friend, in from Arizona, at popular Mexican joint Mi Casa. But the point of the trip was the wedding and because I was a bridesmaid, I had planned to get a light airbrush tan. But my work and travel schedule leading up to the flight west really didn't leave time for the tanning salon—and I always dread the shock of a ten-minute transformation from Casper to Malibu Barbie. Conveniently, I'd earned a St. Tropez sample assortment from Sephora's rewards program several weeks earlier. I started using the Everyday Gradual Tan for Body a few days before leaving for Colorado, applying the white lotion to my arms and decolletage before bed (it's actually a body moisturizer enhanced with self-tanner—less intimidating and easier to apply than full-strength bronzing formulas). There was no unpleasant odor and it dried in minutes without any stickiness. My skin was brighter immediately, the bronze color built each day, and by the Friday ceremony I had a really natural glow. Not something a stranger would necessarily notice on the street, but a healthy color that looks good in pictures. Now that my sample size is gone, I'm definitely going back for the full-size bottle. Snag one before the next wedding on your calendar—or just next weekend. It's great for every day and I plan to use it regularly, regardless of social schedule. And if you want a little color on your face, try this (I mix it with my regular moisturizer because it's a stronger bronzer than the Gradual Tan lotion) or shop all St Tropez products here. Now that you've got some sun-kissed skin coming your way, enjoy some snaps from the weekend (and see more here)!

the St Tropez tan in action

the evening view at Relish
sampling olive oils
lemonade break in Frisco during our bike trip
Lauren getting her makeup done
the First Look at Ten Mile Station
Lauren and Tate
Lauren and her dad, first dance
the scene at Mi Casa, celebrating Julia's birthday
a quintessentially Colorado snap along Main Street