Tuesday, September 30, 2014

blueprint juice cleanse

By coincidence, I got a massage (perfect timing for a sore leg muscle), haircut (emergency, as always) and facial (learned my skin needs more Vitamin C) all in the course of a week. The health & beauty trifecta made me feel fresh and recharged on the outside, so it only seemed right to let my inside in on the action, too. I'd wanted to try a juice cleanse for a while, but didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars or commit to an entire week of liquid nourishment. I spotted these trendy little juices on blogger Grace Atwood's Instagram (the power of packaging!), searched her site for a testimonial (found here), then looked into BluePrint™ myself. Because I could choose the length of my cleanse (one day to get just a taste and keep cost down) and level (beginner!)—and because I'm in a no-time-like-now mood lately—I decided to drink up. I scheduled delivery so I could consume the juices on Monday (despite having more time for working out on weekends, I always seem to go to sleep Sunday feeling off track and in desperate need of detox). Today's Tuesday, and I'm happy to report a positive experience. I don't feel like a new person, but I wasn't expecting that after just one day of juice. I do feel clean and extra-inspired to stay the healthy course (at least until the weekend!). A play-by-play of the six steps:

images via

6 AM: Woke up with hot water and lemon. 
I love the purifying feeling of this most-basic beverage— 
it always makes coffee seem like muddy sludge in comparison.
Pledging to swap Folgers for citrus water
whenever I don't need  the extra kick of an Americano.

8:30 AM: Arrived at work and promptly poured
a hot peppermint-spearmint tea.

10 AM: First juice of the day: Green Juice. 
Not painful, but also not pleasant. It was hard to swallow normally
after eyeing the seaweed-y swirls of romaine, spinach and kale.
I got halfway through the bottle in an hour and left it at that.

12 PM: Time for juice #2, Pinapple/Apple/Mint. 
Delicious. I could drink this all day.

1 PM: Another peppermint-spearmint tea.

2 PM: Second Green Juice. 
I was tempted to skip it and have another tea because I wasn't
fighting any hunger, but figured I should get some of the nutrients
lurking in that dark green stew (ha). (Slowly) drank a little
over three-fourths of the bottle this time—pat on the back.

4 PM: Time for juice #4 already—Spicy Lemonade
which goes down easily. I feel like the day is flying.

6:15 PM: Got home from work and cracked open juice #5, 
Beet/Carrot concoction. This was the toughest part
of the twenty-four hours since it's normally when I have a handful
of sweet trail mix or spicy peanuts after a day resisting snacking. 
I was tempted more by habit than actual hunger.

7:30 PM: Started in on the Cashew Milk
while watching The Voice (are the judges not hilarious this season?). 
I was skeptical of the creamy white liquid, but the cinnamon
and vanilla made it a sweet treat. I went to bed satisfied.

This one-day Renovation Cleanse was pretty easy to do without any prep (no headaches, no fatigue, really no hunger), and now looking at the descriptions of Renovation versus Foundation, I realize the Foundation Cleanse is a better match for me based on my eating habits. I'll try this level next time, and maybe for—gasp—two days?! Perfect way to start October! Until then, I'll "maintain" with a Tasting Flight. Dying to try a Coffee Cashew!

Friday, September 26, 2014

eva chen + OPI nordic collection

I live for the daily Eva Chen pose. Kidding. But I do enjoy sneaking a peek at what shoes, purse and piece of fruit the Lucky EIC is flaunting in transit from designer appointment to star-studded event. The Instagram series yields familiarity mixed with anticipation, and it's a brilliant little concept that (I think) is strengthening the Lucky brand—I never buy that magazine, but 34 year-old Eva, the youngest to steer a major fashion magazine, is the only fashion editor I follow on Instagram (while I subscribe to several other titles). The building feeling of kinship with the woman at the top of the masthead has at least restored Lucky's place on my radar. And it stands to reason that if I like what she puts in her Instagrams, I'll like what she puts in the magazine. Whether or not I'm swayed by all of her sartorial choices (I will never do the "clompy" loafers she has a current affinity for), Eva's established herself as a certified style star—and has the added edge of being inside the industry. That credibility combined with her endearing confusion over the latest lingo, adorably expanding baby bump and gelato-fueled journey through fashion week keeps me coming back, and hungrily (there is a LOT of gelato) absorbing everything. She recently 'grammed a gorgeous army green nail lacquer that made me double-tap with rocket speed—and start brainstorming what shades to add to my own collection for fall. I quickly found OPI's Nordic Collection hits all the high points of this colorful time of year. A sampling:

OPI images via; donuts via; wine via
The spot in your collection: The Neutral. 
The color: Apple cider donuts. 
The look: Every season needs a go-to day shade that doesn't scream for attention. 
On fair skin, this is slightly darker than nude for a natural, 
easy-to-maintain look and Parisian-chic sophistication. 

The spot in your collection: The Pop. 
The color: A bright mix of damp leaves. 
The look: Some zing is necessary as the weather starts to cool, but pinks
feel too beach-and-boat for me. This blue-violet will light up against dark clothing,
chunky knits and luxe leather in an energizing but complementary way. 

The spot in your collection: The Date. 
The color: Plump cranberries and mulled wine. 
The look: There's something inherently seductive about red that will 
set the tone for a spicy night. This is brighter and juicier than a dull bordeaux, 
with a warm rosiness that will make you want to cuddle under the covers. 

What colors are you swiping on this season?
Favorite Eva Chen pose to date? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

save or splurge: toners

We all go through periods when our skin seems off. Stress, lack of sleep, laziness winning over washing off makeup ... been there! A couple weeks ago my complexion was feeling polluted enough for me to enlist a new product rather than wait around for things to clear and brighten. Because I've been taught to invest in quality and am (however inaccurately) trained to believe a higher retail is directly proportional to worth and effectiveness, I started searching Sephora's stock of high-end toners for a remedy. (I used Clinique's Clarifying Lotion in junior high, but haven't maintained the habit—when Mom stops paying for things, you stop "needing" things, amirite?) I was thisclose to ordering Kiehl's Clearly Corrective™ (a "high performance toner that gently re-texturizes" sounds so clinical and convincing) or Rose Floral Toner (the romantic description promising a "glowing, plump and toned" complexion is persuasive and appealing), but decided on a drugstore drive-by to give something cheap a chance before calling in the big guns. I was a fan at first swipe. Neutrogena's Pore Refining formula wipes away all lingering residue, makes my skin feel SO refreshingly clean before bed, and I've seen a reduction in pore size in my problem areas. If your skin's normal and you just need light rejuvenation, skip the luxury brands and save your dolla bills this fall for some bronde hair, new bag or boots—all things on my must-buy list ya can't pick up at Target for under $10!

1 // Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner (8.5 oz.) // $7.49
2 // Clinique Clarifying Lotion (6.7 oz.) // $13.50

images via: 1 / 2 / 3

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

his style 3

I wore an Oxford shirt to work yesterday and regretted it all the way to five o'clock—tucking in, readjusting—so uncomfortable. I'd rather wear a sweatshirt any day, and given the dominance of sport in ready-to-wear, am unsure why I'm not! Comfort and practicality are key focuses in apparel and footwear design right now. And we should all be taking advantage of the loosened-up look. Lately I'm loving the casual incarnation of traditional athletic shoes for men. Lace-up styling and a tall shaft give these hightops vintage basketball game, while leather or canvas uppers elevate the look—and extend the ground they can cover. Sweats, Chinos, jeans? Nothin'. But. Net. Sneakers were a key player on spring Milan runways (so the trend isn't slowing down), and Esquire recommends a logo-less, leather hightop as the stylish guy's go-to fall shoe. As the weather gradually cools (September already half over?!), the extra coverage you get from these guys will only make you wear them more. And BTW: the whole mature-but-playful-jock-at-heart vibe won't be lost on the ladies.

1 // Frye Chambers // $138
2 // Frye Greene // $168
3 // John Varvatos Hattan // $248
5 // GUESS Truman // $98
6 // Kenneth Cole Double Header // $158 (my favorite!)
7 // Volcom Buzzard // $80
8 // Marc Jacobs Trainer // $555
9 // Tommy Hilfiger Kerman4 // $89

All photos via Zappos.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the sleeveless mockneck

via The Coveteur

Social media is propelling a certain circle of models to elite celebrity status. Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss use Instagram and Twitter to spill behind-the-scenes scoop and personal fun facts that keep them constantly top of mind—and effectively build their brands. A sign of their success? Covering Vogue's September issue as "the Instagirls." Both ends are converging to bring renewed awareness of and interest in models, from what they eat before a big show to street style sensibility. Miranda Kerr is one such catwalk queen gaining quick traction as a fashion influencer for her consistently on-point about-town looks. It was a snap of her wearing baggy boyfriend jeans and a cropped mock that made me start thinking about the turtleneck's shorter and looser sister in a realistic and applicable way. The sleeveless mock is both youthful (in its minimalism) and modest (higher neckline)—a balance to which I'm always attracted. It's super versatile (goes casual with leggings or jeans and dresses up with drapey joggers or a quilted mini) and the unexpected cut brings edge to basic ensembles. With wintry forecasts not far off, this is a style to start rocking right now. I see some Karlie-caliber selfies in your future.

Chelsea28 // Nordstrom // $58
Ribbed // Topshop // $30
Abstract herringbone // New York & Co. // $39.95
Vince Camuto // Nordstrom // $79
Ming Wang // Nordstrom // $115
AQUA // Bloomingdale's // $48
Shaker // Pink Mascara // $34.99

Monday, September 15, 2014

transitional looks

Happy Monday! I'm starting it off by forking over forty-five dollars to the city of Madison. There was a big block party near my apartment this weekend, which made finding street parking tricky. Saturday night I pulled into a space at a seemingly-safe open corner, only to learn from the white slip on my windshield the next morning that yellow-painted curbs are code for "off limits." This is probably a super basic rule of the road, but I've never noticed the color of curbs before (woops). Lesson learned! Sneaky pop-up expenses like this are the reason I haven't started fall shopping yet. But I have been looking. Here are a few transitional pieces I'd like to purchase in lieu of paying for parking violations. What are you stocking up on as the seasons change (and what "obvious" traffic law have you overlooked)?

1. Long Sweater + Mules
The extra yardage on this ribbed sweater is reminiscent of your summer tunics
(in cozier form) while doing the job of a jacket, and the split hem makes it more
interesting than a basic pullover. Wear it with mules before sock season swallows us up! 
2. Overalls
Overalls were everywhere this summer—if you haven't snapped on a pair, 
the time is now. A dark wash will transition the look to fall, and a cashmere
tee or fitted turtleneck underneath warms up and elevates the look.
via The LoDown

3. Chunky Crew
Looks and feels like your college tailgating sweatshirt—
but won't lose its luster when you lose the PBR come Monday morning. 
If I had one of these for every day of the week, I wouldn't mind the monotony.

4. Embellished Jacket
So much more fun than a stuffy blazer, without sacrificing the chic structure.
The weight of the texture and detail balance out shorts
while it's still balmy enough for bare legs.

5. Flare Jeans
It's hard for me to stray from skinnies, but this '70s/Rachel Zoe 
look is fresh and flattering. With heeled boots, high waist flares will 
elongate legs like no other. So cute with a muscle tee before it's too chilly! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SS15 fashion week favorites

I'm right there with you, rolling my eyes at the fanatical fashionistas 'gramming and tweeting all things #nyfw all day, every day since September 2—caring can seem so bandwagon, right? But when I clicked through the collections on style.com this week, it was more of an eyes-popping-out-of-head than eyes-rolling-back-in-head situation. I couldn't deny my inner material girl, and I'm guessing all those hashtag-ers are legitimately in love with how cutouts, culottes and Camel's hair come together (or don't) each season, too. Can't bash that. (If clothes aren't your calling, maybe daily blowouts, afternoon rosé and after-parties are. Here's a day inside NYFW—and the source of major FOMO— from an NYC blogger.) While I fantasize about helping shape the seasonal creative marketing for one of these brands, scroll to see my favorite looks from the week, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Cynthia Rowley and Alice + Olivia holding top slots in my heart 'til those tulips start poppin' out of the ground. I'll take one of everything, please. Oh, and listen to this while you look!

What I love: Curved lines that soften the angles of structured separates. 
Looks that are poignantly trendy without being too unrealistic for real life. 
Designer inspiration: The bedroom.
Vibe: Effortless urbanite. 
Most Wanted: Undulating hem tank, perforated joggers. 
Report: Read it!

What I love: Puffed-sleeve mini dress, 
long sleeves layered under short sleeves, 
the proportions between an oversize blouse and long, slim, sporty flares,
general fluidity.
Designer inspiration:1960s, sport.
Vibe: Haute-retro girl on the go.
Most Wanted: Swingy trapeze dress.
Report: Read it! 

What I love: Clean, collarless coats, 
precisely nipped crop tops with draping trousers, 
contrasting patterns in saturated tones.
Designer inspiration: Palace of Versailles.
Vibe: Fun-loving socialite, a la Pippa Middleton.
Most Wanted: Wide leg trousers.
Report: Read it!

The shoes alone...
See more!
So many new pants I need..
See more!
Serious skirt + shirt game.
See more!
Need something off-the-shoulder ASAP.
See more!
Hair turban heaven.
See more!
A long layer over a hiked-up hemline
and a belt as the finishing layer = fresh to death. 
See more!

All photos via Style.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

simply balanced obsession

Hello, September! This month is all about back-to-school, fashion, the return of football—and like any flip of the calendar, a fresh start. If you're well into post-grad territory, don't quite have a NYFW budget and your team lost last night, celebrate the first signs of fall with a wholesome pantry pick-me-up courtesy Target's Simply Balanced—you'll get the same happy buzz as when you catch a glimpse of the catwalk I swear—a relationship several years in the making for me. My introduction to corporate life happened in the shining, bustling halls of Target. With headquarters connected via skyway to the downtown Minneapolis location, "store runs" (for coffee, to see the latest merch set, to pick up personal items while networking) were a regular part of the day. And with the team member discount, getting my groceries at the Big Bullseye was not only convenient, but practical. While I no longer work there, old habits die hard—and there's a familiarity with the brand and expectation for what I will find on the shelves that Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and co-ops can't quickly erase. Simply Balanced is the new (or updated) owned brand at Target, spanning a range of dairy, fresh and frozen foods free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives—many are certified organic. The brand officially launched last June, but I only noticed its prominence this summer, and lately it's been sneakily stocking my kitchen cabinets. I didn't intentionally set out to sample Simply Balanced, but the fresh packaging and tasty-looking products caught my attention. And held it. I'm hooked on everything I've tried—and my Target runs are now almost ramped up to their old frequency. Some of my favorites:

Chia seeds are said to control hunger and act as a natural energy booster. They have a mild, nutty flavor that's a light alternative to granola in yogurt and an extra bit of crunchy sustenance when sprinkled on peanut butter toast. Plus adding these to your diet will make you feel like a total Gwyneth (in a positive, health nut way).

FOR DESSERT + SNACKS: Dried Mango, Cantaloupe and Strawberries
I like a little something sweet at night, but chocolate hasn't appealed to me lately. These sweetened dried fruit chunks taste like candy—and are a great alternative to Hershey. I eat the addicting little guys right from the bag, but Target suggests adding them to salads and granola, which also sounds delicious.

AFTER THE GYM: Pineapple Coconut Water
I can't find an image of this online, but the packaging looks just like the Zico carton (different from the Simply Balanced Essence Water). Coconut water is super hydrating and packed with potassium, which makes this sweet and refreshing beverage satisfying fuel post-workout. Just swap it in any time you'd normally grab a Gatorade.

I've also put the Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage in pasta and paired with sauteed onions and peppers, and happily, it tastes just like the "real thing." Still on my shopping list to test: Coffee + Mocha Yogurt, Mint Green Tea and Sparkling Grapefruit Juice. Try some of these this weekend and start September on a high note!

Photos via Target