Friday, December 26, 2014

shopping list 4

Since I'm not going to a huge New Year's Eve bash next week, it seems silly to cover myself in sequins (and even if I were, that's not necessarily my style). But a little extra flair is fun and appropriate. Makeup and nail polish with extra sparkle and shine kick up a low-key night without it looking like you fell into a snow globe. I've used Bobbi Brown's shimmer brick for years (first to complete my butterfly costume for Carnival in Cádiz in 2009, but since, much more pedestrian occasions)— and layering the complementary shadow shades really makes my eyes stand out. Plus, the compact lasts forever. L'Occitane's cherry blossom lotion leaves a pretty floral scent and iridescent finish that will make you look and feel radiant, and you can't go wrong with a megawatt manicure. Shop all of my picks for a sparkly 2014 send-off below!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

hot now 4

Calvin Klein is synonymous with underwear. In the 1980s, the designer introduced a wildly successful line of men's boxer shorts, and in the '90s, larger-than-life billboards of Marky Mark (recently recreated by Nick Jonas..!) helped his underwear become known as simply Calvins. I've always considered the brand more of a guy's game, but recent photos of it models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner in the new Modern Cotton line are slapping that idea straight down. The collection features updated cotton and prominent logo bands. I'm obsessed with the nineties-nostalgic, tomboy look of the racerback bras and shorts—perfect for lounging and lazy weekends at home! I don't know about you, but I'm snagging (at least) one of every color.

Modern Cotton Shorts
also available here

Monday, December 22, 2014

look of the week 10

Just like when she picked up her own milk and eggs at the supermarket, the media's going crazy over the D of C's recent decision to wear—gasp—a hoodie. While it is a striking contrast to chiffon gowns and fascinators, it's refreshing to see a royal in such bourgeois garb. And—cue the Kate Middleton effect—no matter what she wears, we're all going to drop everything and scramble to follow suit. So dig an old sweatshirt out from your closet (yay for my overflowing collection finally coming in handy) or use this as an excuse to get a new one. Wear it with skinny jeans and sleek riding boots so you're not too sloppy and—poof—new weekend wardrobe. It's never been so easy to copy Kate.


inspiration images via: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
More ways to get the look: 

Friday, December 19, 2014

keep your nose to the grindstone

This blog is mostly about shopping, but it's also a small window into my life, and I wouldn't feel right not writing something about my grandma, who passed away the day after Thanksgiving. She would've turned ninety-four this month. I'm grateful to have had such a wonderful grandma in my life and am warmed by many happy memories. In an age of email and electronic bill pay, maintaining a correspondence with her was one of the only reasons I kept buying stamps. It was sweet the way she scoured the newspaper to find my sisters' and my names in high school sports recaps, and she never sent a card without a five-dollar bill taped securely inside. She planted evergreens for each grandchild in her sprawling backyard (it was so fun to measure the height and shape of MY tree against the others) and kept a sizable garden from which she once treated us to a snack of rhubarb dipped in sugar. I remember feeling slightly peeved at receiving something from the ground when fruit roll-ups and Oreos existed, but looking back it makes me smile. At my own house it was Barbie heaven 24/7, but at Grandma's, puzzles were the go-to toy, and we slowly chipped away at the toughest together. When we met at Michael's for family dinners, she greeted my sisters and me with Kit Kats (while my grandpa gave us pennies), and I'll never forget the taste of her chocolate chip cookies, the small glass jar in the kitchen always my first stop. She never learned to drive a car, but enjoyed walking and got around small Chatfield, Minnesota just fine on foot. Holidays were hosted at her home, and there was no feeling of content quite like when night finally fell after food and present opening. My sisters and I would change into our nightgowns and start to fall asleep as loud chatter became quieter conversation. If there's one thing that stands out the most, it's how much she thought of (and worried about) her grandkids. "Keep your nose to the grindstone," was her constant catchphrase, and whenever I assured her of something (good grades, winning a game, getting the job), she would say "Oh, good" and clasp her hands in her lap with such satisfaction. She wanted the best for all nineteen of us, and it meant everything that she was proud of me.

in loving memory Helene Spelhaug

Thursday, December 18, 2014

look of the week 9

As cute as Christmas-specific prints and patterns are, I prefer not to spend money on sleep sets I'll only wear for a few days in December. And even in winter, I like shorts—my legs need to be free! So instead of Rudolph leggings and Frosty the Snowman onesies, add holiday spirit to your present-opening ensemble with a tartan throw, playful Santa hat or red velvet bow. Banana Republic's chunky cardigans are perfect for staying warm when the fire isn't enough. This limited-edition ombre cocoon would look so good with this stretch-modal top and adorable pintucked shorts (I love the higher waist!). Sparkly but simple jewelry adds a little glamour to the day—a dazzling bracelet dangling nonchalantly from your wrist while you lounge will make you feel straight f.a.n.c.y. I think it's required to eat candy on Christmas morning, so don't hold back on this crunchy toffee—perfect with coffee. ONE WEEK TIL CHRISTMAS, BABES! I'm excited to head back to the homeland on Saturday and finally clock some time with the Christmas tree! (P.S. Because I included Williams-Sonoma in this post, have you seen this? It made me laugh.)

7 | Slippers 8 | Toffee

tree image via

A few more options:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

shopping list 3

I've been using the same makeup forever. It's an easy routine and a versatile look, but I recently had the urge to throw everything out in favor of new recruits. I wasn't loving anything in my collection (foundation felt a little off, never replaced my favorite shadow when it ran dry months ago..) and I want to start 2015 off feeling my best. I'm so in love with these rich shadows, the perfectly subtle bronzer and the refreshingly light foundation that enhances, rather than masks, my naked skin. The dent in my credit card is a little painful, but it still feels so good to clear the clutter and have fresh, pretty products in my arsenal as we flip the calendar. Are you overhauling anything as December winds down?

FACE | The best beauty looks start with good skin, 
so I invest most of my time, effort and dollars here.
1 | Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for a smooth canvas.
2 | NARS Sheer Glow Foundation for buildable coverage and a satin finish—
make sure to test on your jawline (great shades for fair tones!).
3 | MAKE UP FOR EVER Powder Foundation to eliminate midday shine.
4 | Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder for dimensional color in one compact
(go only a shade darker than your natural skintone).

EYES | Some people overlook eye shadow, but I think 
it makes a huge difference in opening, brightening and defining.
6, 7, 8 | Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Matte in Sandcastle (for low-key weekends),
Coffee Break and Morning Mocha (for work and nights out).
5 | NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is key to making color last.
9 | Sephora Collection 12hr Wear Waterproof Eye Pencil stays puts like a liquid,
but has a softer look I'm comfortable wearing even during the day
(an insane range of colors and at only $10 a pop, you can afford to get some fun ones!). 
10 | NARS Brow Perfector fills in sparse areas and creates a refined shape with natural texture.

LIPS | Keeping it fresh and minimal! 
11 | tarte Maracuja Exfoliant is a total treat for a tortured winter kisser,
scrubbing away dryness and restoring softness.
12 | Dior Créme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm
is an indulgent but natural-looking moisturizer—with a pretty scent!

Monday, December 15, 2014

his style 6

I got majorly sucked into a Vanderpump Rules marathon this weekend, and oh-em-gee that show is pure gold (in a ridiculous reality-show way). It's hard not to laugh at Stassi's insane insults and even harder to turn away from the lying, cheating, general debauchery and rampant life-destroying that is every storyline. In one episode, the boys get their eyebrows threaded—which is a little too femme for me—but indicative of a larger trend: habits and products once reserved for women are now very much coed. Bracelets are right there with moisturizer, slim-fit jeans and Sumowax. I'm not interested in seeing dainty Tiffany chains draped around a guy's wrist, but a few leather wraps or colorful cords are handsome details—and well-established accessories in the world of men's style. Many have a nautical feel, giving your look a carefree, just-docked-the-boat spirit whether worn with a sweatshirt or a suit. Shop my top picks below—great last-minute gifts—then enjoy these gems from SUR's very own Regina George.

1 | 2 | 3
4 | 5 | 6
7 | 8 | 9

*HURRY! 5 and 9 are almost sold out!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

look of the week 8

This look is a double feature because I couldn't decide what I liked more: a looser sweater and cleaner shorts (look one—how great is that red? and such an attractive complement to burgundy lips and nails) or a fitted turtleneck and statement sequins (look two—love the mix of pattern and texture! and that polish? kind of Grinch-y, in a good way!). Like jumpsuits, shorts are an unexpected and chic way to do holiday soirees—you'll stand out in a crowd of dresses and skirts. Just add tights (classic opaque or playful polka dots) if you don't want to bare your legs—so Euro. Which look would you go with? I included a few wreaths because it feels too late in the season for a full Christmas decorating feature, but if you're scrambling a little like me, you might still need to add a few touches! Wreaths are as iconic as the tree and a great way to give a small space some festive spirit. I'd love any of these in my apartment—clean and modern. Also, I'm not much of a baker, but I'm feeling motivated to buy a box of sugar cookie mix (sorry, no rolling pins in this kitchen..), frosting and sprinkles for a fun little decorating day this weekend. And I'm due for another batch of Chex mix. What treats have you been whipping up?

one | two | three | four
Look 1
one | two | three 
four | five | six | seven
*NARS lipstick in Scarlet Empress
*JINsoon nail lacquer in Audacity
Look 2
four | five | six | seven 
*Marc Jacobs nail lacquer in Lux
*Marc Jacobs lip gloss in Magic

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

holiday gift guide 4

Is anyone else struggling to understand how Christmas is two weeks away? Maybe it's because there's no snow (knock on wood), and I haven't been hitting the holiday movies and music very hard. I guess I should start! While I've only watched Home Alone once so far this season, I have been diligent about shopping (shipping times require it!). As of yesterday, I have just two people left on my list. It can be fun to hem and haw over the perfect gift for that special someone, but there comes a point in mid-December (a point I am very near!) when you just need a no-brainer. Something as simple and guaranteed-to-please as the star atop the tree. Comfy PJs that are still appropriate when staying as someone's house guest, a luxurious body wash to replace her daily Dove on date night, and an artsy wall calendar that doubles as décor are all exactly that. For him, try a travel jump rope that'll keep him fit while away on business, a teeth-whitening kit for a sparkling smile, and a patterned watch strap to give his old sweatshirt-and-jeans standby some panache. K, listening to Christmas Pop on Spotify for the rest of the day—note to coworkers: please do not disturb (kidding, of course). Have a great day! 

13 | Boxer Briefs  14 | Back-up Phone Charger (also in Camo)

Monday, December 8, 2014

hot now 3

I've wanted bright vintage-style sneakers for a while, but this image single-handedly turned a simmering maybe-I'll-buy-some idea into a pulling-out-my-credit-card need. Basically, I want to be this girl—or at least have her outfit, head to toe. The shoes are the look's linchpin, so I'm starting there. Keds and Converse used to be the only casual sneakers to choose from, but these days a wide range of brands are designing all kinds of colorful kicks intended for cobblestone streets, not basketball courts. You can't go wrong with these eight picks, perfect with leather leggings and a camel coat for weekend brunching and errand running in baller fashion.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 
5 | 6 | 7 | 8

center image via

Friday, December 5, 2014

bed makeover

As the year winds down, I naturally think about new starts. The first thing in my life that needs a refresh is my bed (justification to invest)! Shockingly, I still don't have a headboard. It wasn't a necessary or practical purchase during my mobile college years, but now I'm ready for the permanent feel and elevated look. My comforter is also on its last leg—the down used to be so fluffy my roommate was never sure if I was actually underneath, and its current pancake shape leaves something to be desired. That we spend one-third of our lives sleeping makes it a priority for me to have a bed that's a dream to fall into each night (a need that is only magnified in snuggle-and-stay-in winter months), and working as a copywriter in the Home business has taught me more about what I want in terms of fabric and thread count. I generally really like West Elm, silky cotton sateen, white or gray, and simple embroidery and texture. Scroll below to see all options I'm considering (obviously have some narrowing down yet to do!). Do you have a favorite bedding brand or store? Share your suggestions in the comments, and have a fantastic weekend—filled with blissful sleep!

via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5





Thursday, December 4, 2014

look of the week 7

I'm hoping to put a good dent in my Christmas shopping this weekend. It's a great feeling to have all the gifts wrapped and ready, with nothing to worry about except the household supply of sugar cookies and outfits for holiday shindigs. This look is perfect for December festivities and will translate into 2015. First, the cotton jersey dress is super versatile—understated, but form-fitting. It looks the part whether dressed up with glam jewels or kept casual with a hoodie (if you're anticipating an end-of-year bonus, get this one!). A longer vest has the effortless vibe of an oversized topcoat—drapey is in, my friends—and fur feels so right this time of year. And these heels? They're simple, clean and just $80. It's the only shoe I really need for nights out. The navy and black combo is a little more dimensional than black on black, but has the same sleek monochromatic effect. A croc-embossed bag adds fun color and texture, and mandarin lipstick is a confident, modern twist on your mother's red. Soooo, finish up your shopping, pop some peanut butter blossoms in the oven and join in the reindeer games. A sleek 'n cozy midi dress strikes the perfect chord. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
5 | 6 | 7 | 8

*Nail polish in Night Flight
*Lipstick in Le Orange

inspiration via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Shop similar items:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

holiday gift guide 3

While it's sometimes appropriate to spend big bucks, I typically keep it casual when it comes to friends and holiday gifting. There are certain little things a girl always needs (like long-lasting top coat—with Deborah Lippmann's, I'm chip-free for a week!), and it's always nice not to spend my own money on those "essentials." If you feel your present needs a little extra oomph, pair up a couple of smaller items to make something simple (and potentially anti-climactic) into a fun little experience that not everyone who cruises through Crate & Barrel can pick up: fill a cheeky mug with hot chocolate and gourmet grounds or loop pretty hair ties around a bottle of dry shampoo for hair-emergency mornings. It shows extra effort and creativity—which she'll enjoy—because after all, it's the thought that counts.

fly in style: 1 | Travel Sleep Mask 2 | Travel Brush Set
a hot drink for a night in: 3 | Metallic Latte Mug 4 | Wine & Cider Mulling Spices
if she's skipping the salon: 5 | Mini Mani Kit 6 | Addicted to Speed Top Coat
 for the homebody OR frequent party host: 7 | Mohawk Match Strike 8 | diptyque Tubereuse Candle
because she'll need a snack while catching up on correspondence (these almonds are to-die!): 
beauty editor faves: 11 | NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave 12 | Jouer Luminizing Tint
bar cart essentials (there are times when the cork will just not go back in the bottle!):
17 | Champagne Glasses 18 | Monogram Bottle Stopper
for when she oversleeps: 19 | Detox Dry Shampoo 20 | Elastic Hair Tie Pack
the prettiest pop of color on cold winter days: 21 | Cashmere Gloves
socks for now, sandals for later: 22 | Copper Birkenstocks 23 | Colorblock Trouser Socks

Monday, December 1, 2014

weekend recap

I know it's Cyber Monday, but deals and discounts aren't really on my radar today (suicide for a blogger to admit maybe, but it takes a girl a minute to reset after a holiday!) I got back to Madison late yesterday afternoon and stopped into my apartment just long enough to swap my sweater and jeans for a sweatshirt and leggings. It was sunny and an energizing thirty degrees, and after three hours in the car, I couldn't wait to go for a quick run along the lake before the sun set. By 6:30 I was exhausted and couldn't have charted a shopping roadmap if I tried. Instead, some glimpses into Thanksgiving weekend: stuffing ingredients mid-sauté, Christmas trees poised for purchase, and festive downtown decorations. I should be back to my old tricks tomorrow, so swing by for another gift guide!