Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween!

I never care about picking a Halloween costume until October 30, and then inevitably wish I'd put more effort into something creative—or anything at all. This year's no different! I'll either be recycling 2012's Starbucks barista disguise or swinging by Target for some last-minute bunny ears. I also haven't given the fun size candy that's spilling off every coworker's desk the attention it deserves, so I'll be hitting the Butterfingers and Almond Joys hard today. Have a fun and spooky weekend! (P.S. That's me on the right!) 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

hot now 1

After seeing on my Sunday night Twitter feed that Taylor Swift's newest album was dropping at midnight, I popped onto iTunes the next morning for a sampling. A quick listen of "Blank Space" was enough for me to purchase the album—her official pop debut—and I've been blasting it since. Taylor's been on my radar from the beginning (I remember listening to just-released Fearless with my friend Kelsey all the way from Iowa City to Minneapolis for a football game in 2008), but I've always maintained a skepticism of her—sub-par live performances, awkward dance moves, phony surprised face—you know. But with 1989 I can't deny the girl's got game. Her ability to offer smart and articulate criticism on The Voice adds to her credibility, and this Rolling Stone article cemented her in my mind as an untouchable talent. In addition to fascinating personality details and a peek inside her surreal life, the piece reveals that when Jack Antonoff, who collaborated on the album, sent her a track for "Out of the Woods," it took her just thirty minutes to slingshot back essentially radio-ready vocals. Crafting catchy, relatable lyrics is her THING, and she does it to the tune of millions of dollars per week. So in homage to the country crossover, I rounded up six industry favorites and best-sellers to recreate her signature red kisser. I only have one true red lipstick in my makeup drawer, purchased for a specific date party in college that hasn't seen much airtime since, and most days it's just hourly application of Burt's Bees. But I love the punctuation a classic red lip adds to a night-out look, especially when worn with all black or jeans and a tee. And it always makes my eyes seem instantly bigger and brighter. As fair-skinned Swift proves, any complexion can make the fiery shade work—and her lyrics reveal that sexy celebs like Harry Styles have the hots for it (proof!). That's pretty strong incentive to swipe on some color come Saturday night. Til then, I'll be singin' along with Swift.

1 | Jouer Hydrating Lipstick in Ava
2 | Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Color in Red Carpet
3 | Shiseido Perfect Rouge in Dragon
4 | Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in Red Brick
5 | MAC Lipstick in Russian Red
6 | NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

look of the week 2

My grandpa's pretty cool. Sunk a hole-in-one in his eighties. Let me cruise around the backyard on his riding mower just for kicks. Captained countless boat rides with a constant smile, uses weird words like "crumps," made me co-accountant in recording the daily car wash profit. Even more than those things, I admire the adoring relationship he still, at 94, has with my grandma (75th anniversary is around the corner! Get ready Willard Scott!), and the underlying selflessness that has defined his whole life. He gave up studies (and who knows how many other opportunities) at the University of Michigan to serve as a bombardier in World War II. When the war ended, he followed a different path, and though it was a much more modest one than an M.D. might have carved out, never looked back. He was, and is, content to live in the same small town where he was born and when reflecting on almost-a-century-long life, his service—in addition to his family—is what makes him proudest. Veterans Day is in two weeks. Observe the federal holiday with fashionable respect this year in a style inspired by the flight jackets worn by the pilots and bombardiers who defended our freedom throughout history. Bombers blend sporty comfort with masculine, utilitarian style in a don't-mess-with-me way. A mini skirt, sculptural jewelry and cherrywood lips soften up the look and ensure you're not surrendering all femininity. And in a season when outerwear is as important as the clothes underneath, a bomber jacket adds essential, of-the-moment variety. If none of that makes you feel airborne in the best sense, get one in salute of our serviceman—consider it a patriotic high-five.

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9 | This French Connection backpack is under $100!
10 | Audacious Lipstick in Cherrywood


Monday, October 27, 2014

drybar detox dry shampoo

I have an interesting hair history. In middle school, my relationship with a blow dryer and round brush was relatively new, and I took styling very seriously. As my fifth and sixth grade yearbook pictures prove, I was dedicated to creating perfectly turned-under ends. In high school, I (somewhat surprisingly) cared less. I was more secure, I suppose, and not as willing to wake up early to perform the full wash-dry-style maintenance—my younger sister can vouch. I was late to homeroom basically every day trying to sneak in more Zzzs, and because Alex and I shared a car, she was my tortured victim, always waiting anxiously in the kitchen until I raced down the stairs and we screeched through southwest Rochester to snag literally the last spot in the Lourdes parking lot. I got a lot of eye rolls from my sisters for the disproportionate number of strands I contributed to our shared bathroom floor, and the clogged shower drain was always my fault. But I was voted Best Hair in senior superlatives, so I guess I was doing something right. These days I still prefer to sleep instead of style, but I'm also aware of the benefits of less frequent washing. At the same time, I'm not going to roll to work with crazy, greasy bedhead, because, you know, trying to be a professional and climb the ladder. I was in a pretty regular pattern of washing every other day until I found a product that really extends my blowout. Last week, I shampooed on Monday and didn't again until Saturday. A few sprays of drybar's Detox dry shampoo at my roots and nape of my neck on Thursday and Friday helped keep my hair fresh and full all week. It effectively erased any oily areas, seriously bumped up the volume AND left a pleasant scent I'm kind of obsessed with. I think my hair looked best on Thursday, but it was still clean enough to wear down every day that week—including out to Genna's Friday night. Now I'm thirsty for more. Even if the products weren't great, the creative way they're named after boozy beverages in alignment with the cocktail concept would get me. Shop the tools I currently use (and keep hitting snooze!) and the drybar "drinks" I'm dying to try below!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

weddington way style challenge

Planning a wedding—from what I've observed—is no picnic. There's composing a playlist, designing a centerpiece, choosing sea bass or steak—and that's just scraping the surface. In the whirlwind of it all, it's understandably easy to lose your sense of style when it comes to the bridesmaids' look (there's a big white dress and your own beauty strategy to focus on, after all). Retailers have designated wedding sections that can be helpful in sorting through the endless options, but also limiting. Sparkly silver shoes may scream "special occasion," but if rhinestones aren't something you'd ever wear, they shouldn't share the altar with you. When I picture the ideal wedding, I see classic, modern elegance and a feel that is more fancy party than prom. No cheesy curls, no kitten heels. Elevated, but natural.

I was really excited to mold my abstract ideas into a concrete look when Weddington Way told me about their October style challenge. I started, of course, with the dress. The online boutique hosts an insane number of curated style and color options (if you've got a ring and a date, get to this site!). A long gown is so glamorous and appropriate for cool autumn weather. This one cinches the waist at the right spot and the flowing skirt will flatter a range of body types. Delicately strappy black pumps and licorice lacquer are modern complements to the dress's deep indigo, and simple silver studs add modest sparkle. Loose waves are great for summer, but I prefer a sleek, dramatically parted mane for a fall ceremony. The neat style pairs well with the pointed heels and balances the loose nature of the dress. I mentally bookmarked Katie Holmes' stunning Bobbi Brown campaign when I first saw it in magazines, and it's perfect for this palette. Her softly smoky eye, rosy-bronze cheeks and deep blush pout look fresh and bright against the dark dress and accessories. With a lush bouquet of dynamic pinks and romantic red buds, splash of Bottega Veneta's floral-and-leather fragrance and a flute of Veuve, it's certain to be a beautiful night—for both the bride and the bridesmaids.

Extras | Perfume

All Bridesmaid Dresses at Weddington Way

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

look of the week 1

For the 4.5-hour drive from Madison to Minneapolis last Friday, I wanted to be comfortable and look somewhat polished. While tempting, that ruled out my ratty (but beloved) sweatshirts. And though it was chilly outside, I didn't want to wear a "full-on" coat in the car for several hours, which gets to be stuffy. (Dressing for a weekend away is hard, right?!) The LOFT cape I snagged a couple years ago came to the rescue: warmer than a sweater (as November approaches, it's getting more difficult to deny those wintry winds), equally cozy, and prettier than most traditional outerwear. I wore my cape again to work on Tuesday and, as it felt like being wrapped in a blanket all day, don't have plans to slow down. Comfort, ease and versatility are normally sufficient incentive for me to buy, but Burberry's Blanket Ponchothe season's it item—is also making the style hothothot. You'd think the flowing silhouette might be unflattering, but in a smooth fabric like cashmere, the look is surprisingly sleek. And worn with sharp shoes and skinny pants (I like how this distressed denim contrasts with the poncho's refinement), it's decidedly chic. Add colorful accessories for a cheerfulness not even a snow-day tow can melt away.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

shopping list 1

I don't spend too much time on Pinterest, and—try not to laugh—just recently created a "buy" board for clothes, beauty products and home goods that I actually plan to purchase (separate from the strictly inspirational fashion looks, painted faces and entertaining spaces I pin). Genius. It's so much easier to maintain my ever-evolving wish list digitally than with old-fashioned pen and paper. This season, the board helped me sift through an assortment of moto-inspired jackets and sweaters just right for transitional temperatures. The style fluidly blends edge and comfort. It's a piece I've wanted to invest in for some time—cooler and more casual than a blazer, but something you can similarly wear just about everywhere. The tweed and leather Rebecca Taylor (5) is pretty nearly perfect, I love the exaggerated draping on pick 3, and the Piperlime Collection coated version (1) has a luxe appearance for retailing under $200. But I've narrowed myself down to the styles that look most natural both indoors and out (more bang for your buck!): Anthropologie's sweater-knit paneled jacket (4) and the cotton contrast-sleeve jacket (7) do it best. Pick one for yourself because whatever you've got going this weekend—cocktails, apple orchard, Gone Girl (I'm planning on all three)—the Moto Jacket's revved up for the ride.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

weekend recap

I lived in Minneapolis for almost three years after graduating, and this weekend's visit really made me miss it. My good friend's mom was a high roller at the U of M Foundation for many years, and while she's now retired, she and her friends still tailgate like it's her job. Since the bitterly cold 2008 Thanksgiving fight for Floyd, it's been tradition to partake in the revelry. Following a Friday night bonfire and grilled kabobs, we arrived at the Maroon Lot a little past seven on Saturday morning to pitch the tent, light the grill and lay out the Goldy-printed paper plates. Hot cider, Bloodies, Grain Belt, pecan-pumpkin bars, cheesy eggs, white chili, barbecue chicken wings and cookies straight from the Betty Crocker test kitchen kept us warm and satiated until the 11:00 kickoff. I joined my parents and sister for the game, and seats in a sun-soaked corner of the stadium helped us enjoy every second of the 39-38 victory over the Boilermakers (creepiest mascot ever, right?). Later that night I had dinner at The Lowry, caught up with old friends, and generally enjoyed being in a big city again. The gorgeous fall colors, idyllic East Isles neighborhood and cinnamon French toast I woke up to Sunday made it even harder to leave. Already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

trick-or-treat at twenty-six

I hope you had a great weekend! One of my college besties was in town from Chicago, and I took her to all of my favorite haunts. We sipped chile-infused margaritas at Eldorado, snacked on cheese curds at Dlux, saw a show at The Majestic, and tailgated our way from Regent to State. We had a prime people-watching booth for lunch at Roast, and were unapologetic about scrutinizing passerby as we fueled up for the afternoon. For every predictable Sconnie tank top and neon fanny pack that stumbled past, we spotted an old-school cheerleader skirt. The sis-boom-bah style is—I suppose—a fitting choice for football Saturday, but it served as a better reminder that Halloween is around the corner. I haven't scurried from house to house reciting "trick or treat!" in years, but still think the day deserves some recognition. And any excuse to score some loot, right? King size Snickers don't really do it for me anymore, but there's plenty else I'd happily haul home in a plastic orange pumpkin pail. I live for draping scarves this time of year, and candied pecans are literally little bites of heaven. I can't figure out why I carry a basic black coffee mug when this cheery tangerine tumbler exists, a candle masquerading as a mini pumpkin is a tasteful and organic way to display some seasonal spirit, and wide-brimmed wool hats are quickly becoming the cool-girl calling card. Fill up on these treats this month because, Silly Rabbit, tricks are for kids.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

his style 4

If you're a regular around here, you know I like to pepper menswear posts throughout my female-focused content (lately: here and here). As much as I love shopping for myself, it's sometimes more fun (or pressing!) to buy for a guy. The options are comparatively limited, making focusing in and finding something great more manageable. And it's easy to be stylish while keeping the overall look simple and effortless; something as small (and low risk) as a contrast collar shows you're up to speed. Casual button-downs are wardrobe essentials all year, and a transitioning season signals it's time to reel in new recruits. The J.Crew "secret wash" gingham shirt was the star of summer, and for good reason: it's classic, ageless and easy. But as the weather gets cooler, layering warmer fabrics into the fold becomes a priority. And gingham isn't the only pattern that—to quote Crew—"every guy needs in his arsenal." Blackwatch and denim are foolproof. Unexpected horizontal stripes and pieced panels are fresh. Contrast piping and elbow patches hint of swagger. A small-scale floral print is surprisingly masculine and confident, and a bright pop of color gives a dark lumberjack flannel urban appeal. Any of these styles could be the "J.Crew Gingham Shirt" of fall. Get ahead of the Instagram feed and stock up now.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

color crush 1

Halfway through the week, guys! And tomorrow my bank account get its bi-weekly boost—two things to be happy about this Wednesday. In addition to counting down to 5 P.M. Friday and pay day (wink), I'm always looking for fresh color combinations to revive what's already in my closet. And I'll admit I have a thing for pretty pairings; my color/pattern/texture Pinterest board is by far my favorite. Sky blue and bordeaux is a match-up I love for fall. It has a rich, moody attitude while still being colorful and light—and more interesting than head-to-toe black. Wear an airy blue as your main color and work bordeaux in through accessories. I've been wanting this scarf forever, NARS lipstick in Sheer Mulberry is super sexy, and those boots (!) only look expensive. Gray jeans are a great complement to these colors, however you style them. And a glass of red? That's a welcome addition no matter what I'm wearing.

1 | Sweater 
3 | Tempranillo (available at Trader Joe's!)
4 | Scarf 
5 | Boots
6 | Satchel

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

showdown of the shades

The chilly weather in Madison this weekend was a bitter reminder that frost and flurries aren't far off. I'm going to miss having the balcony door open—and do not look forward to wearing socks and boots every day. Unlike Raggs, Sorels and all the other accessories that come with the (cold) territory, sunglasses are usually associated with summer—right there with cut-offs and bikinis. But let's not forget the blinding reflections off bright white snow banks that make a good pair of shades just as important in winter. I thought I'd pick up super-angular flat-top frames, like the ones Kim is so often hiding behind, until I saw this photo of Ashley Olsen. The poster child for large-and-in-charge sunglasses looks fab in the fluid, seventies-inspired shape that's a perfect blend of bold (lens size) and delicate (temples), and The Row is developing a best-in-the-biz reputation for the style. As is the case in almost every fashion context, I think I have to side with the better half of the Olsen twosome on this one. What about you? Circle or square?

1 | The Row 
2 | Fantas Eyes 
3 | Wildfox 

5 | Icon Eyewear 

Monday, October 6, 2014

october short list

Senior year of college I took a class called Publication Design—six to nine on Wednesday nights. Woof. I vaguely remember learning about clipping paths and layers, but mostly recall how difficult it was getting graphics to behave as desired. And sometimes, new skills don't really sink in unless I have an applicable use for them. Well, four years later, I have a pressing need for the quick commands that made my head spin on the Adler journalism building's third floor. I've been really eager to brush up on basic Photoshop techniques for a while so I can create more compelling visuals here; it pains me to have ideas that I can't bring to life! I finally bit the bullet and took the iheartblogshop online workshop over the weekend, a tutorial tailored for bloggers. I hope to apply the skills to a career some day soon, which made the splurge feel justified. So—feast your eyes on my first project (I know it's not perfect!): a series spotlighting the goods I won't get through the month without making mine. October is off to a running start—lots of fun dinners, tailgating and traveling in the next few weeks—which is just the way I like it. The short list ensures you don't miss any must-haves, must-sees or must-reads while out for dim sum or setting up the Bloody Mary bar before kickoff. So get out there. Wake up before dawn, mix a spicy batch and get wild with garnishes. I've got the shopping covered. 

Eric Hutchinson is performing in Madison next month for only twenty bucks a ticket. 
I'm newly obsessed with his music and listen to "Tell the World" and "Breakdown More"
during every morning (OK, and evening) commute. I'm currently debating whether to see him live
or go to Iowa City for the Hawkeye/Badger football game the same weekend.
Tough call, right? Help me decide! 

Banana Republic is promoting a new look and I am a fan—it's refreshing to have an 
alternative to J.Crew. The Anetta Booties are reeling me in hard and fast. I normally love a 
stacked heel and the versatility of Chelsea boots, but need something sassier in the mix. 
The quilted texture gives these character, a pointy toe and stiletto make them dressier for nights 
out, and the modest heel means I could still wear 'em comfortably at work. 

I wear a few rings daily, but am itching to stack on several more. 
I like this one's mix of simplicity and sculptural interest, 
and the midi size gives your ring game depth. 

I feel like I have a lot of expenses these days (anyone with me?), so I'm keeping clothes 
buying to a minimum this year. It's OK, though, because wearing jeans and a plain white tee
to work recently reminded me that a minimalistic look is my jam anyway. 
I'd rather shell out big money for killer shoes and accessories. Given my new M.O., I do need 
to restock on the basics, starting with white, black and gray tees. Can never have enough of these.

Anthropologie candles get me through the year, but sweater weather requires
a special scent. My mom discovered Rosy Rings in a small shop in our hometown,
and they've become a favorite among my sisters and me. Not only is the fragrance great, 
the wax-encased botanicals glow softly as the candle burns, and the substantial size 
of the pillar makes an impressive statement. 

After a facialist recommended adding Vitamin C to my nightly cleansing routine 
to calm redness, this article led me to a budget-friendly CC cream
perfect for my "problem." The vitamin- and mineral-rich formula corrects
uneven tone, improves luminosity and reduces the appearance of fine lines 
while providing natural-looking coverage and SPF. Plus—cute packaging.

Chewy, nutty, sweet—and "fashionably wholesome." I tried Karlie's Kookies 
a few weeks ago, and they tasted better and better and better
as I made my way through the tin. And because the recipe substitutes 
traditional ingredients for almond flour, gluten-free oats and agave, 
they make being a cookie monster seem okay. The best part? 
Six kookies feed 60 hungry children through FEED. Eat 'em up! 

I have no clue what my life will look like much past next week 
(realistically, I'll probably be sitting right where I am now, but generally,
the future is very fuzzy). It's a scary feeling, and it makes me interested in writers
who explore themes that face twenty-somethings in this formative decade. 
There's no doubt Dunham will tell it to us straight.