Pom Poms

Madewell sweater, Gap jeans (similar, and on sale!), Steve Madden booties, Skagen purse (on sale), Madewell earrings

New Year’s is one of my favorite times of year, for all the cliched reasons you’d expect – a fresh start, the optimism that comes with a new beginning, the thought that this is finally the year I’m going to eat healthier/read more/become an all around better person. And of course, it’s usually not, but every year I find myself getting just a little bit closer to actually making lasting personal change. I started coming up with some tiny, achievable, open-ended goals back in December and wrote them down in a pocket-sized notebook, the idea being that if I carry my resolutions around with me, I’ll be forced to keep them in mind…maybe…

Regardless, making time to come blog here is one of my few firm resolutions. I stopped doing it because I was just so busy doing other things, and I told myself that I’d come back to it once I wasn’t busy anymore, and then I realized: I am probably always going to be busy. So I just have to do it despite a lack of time. Of course, though, I’ve been on vacation, so that makes it seem a lot more doable. We’ll see.

So here I am, with news of the best purchase I made in 2016: this pom pom sweater from Madewell. It’s the perfect winter white color, comfortably loose without being baggy, and not to mention it’s softer than any sweater has a right to be. I took it for a spin at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where I went to see their current Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibition (which was absolutely amazing, by the way – check it out if you’re in the area through March, and after that it’ll be at the SFMOMA).

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Building My Ideal Wardrobe

ideal wardrobe

Loafers | Red & White striped tee (on sale!) | Gray sweater | Black dress | Black cardigan | Pencil skirt | Bar necklace | White button-up | Lace-up flats

My style has had quite an evolution over the last year. I used to veer toward punchy prints and bright colors – in the spring and summer, at least – because of what I like to call the “ooh, shiny!” affliction. I’d walk into a store and immediately spot a pair of statement pants, or an undeniably fun blouse, and grab them without second guessing it. I’d try these clothes on and buy the ones that fit, with the misguided notion that they’d blend into my wardrobe seamlessly. But once I brought them home, they lost their appeal after a few wears – and it took me until just recently to pinpoint why. I’m not the type of person who wears day-glo brights, giant polka dots and trendy silhouettes. I admired the look on other people, sure, but I didn’t quite realize that it was important for me to have my own aesthetic.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t still find myself drawn to bold patterns or statement pieces – of course I do – it just means that now, since I’ve had this epiphany, I’m better able to process that initial reaction. Do I really love the piece and see myself wearing it day after day, for seasons to come? Or is it like something shiny you see on the sidewalk – interesting for a moment, only to be soon passed by and forgotten? It’s usually the latter. And passing over the fun clothes that I used to think were for me has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, which only reinforces the fact that these things weren’t my style. 

I’m working on defining an actual vision for my wardrobe right now, based on the things that I’ve been buying lately, and pictures I’ve found online (hello, Pinterest!) that genuinely speak to me. Right now, my summer closet has been curated to a point that I’m comfortable with – it’s not overflowing, yet I never find myself struggling to piece together an outfit, and all of the clothes I have are pieces I truly love and feel comfortable wearing. Sure, it means passing up on some trends, but in the end I’ve found a look that I feel at home in, and that’s all I could really ask for.

Of course, though, that’s just this summer. Naturally, I’ve started looking ahead to the fall and winter – and this year is especially big, since I’m moving. I’m figuring out the colder-weather basics that will serve me well through the colder months, along with some other pieces that can be in heavy rotation year-round. The things above are what I’ve come up with.

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Spring Stock-Up

madewell favorites

Button-up | Bracelet | Blouse | Jumpsuit | Jeans | Romper | Bracelet | Jacket | Shorts | Tee | Bracelet | Peplum Tee | Loafers

In the last few months, my style has changed considerably – it used to be a big mish-mash of stuff that changed from season to season, but I feel myself starting to settle into a new, comfortable rhythm when it comes to clothes. And…I must give a lot of credit to Madewell. I stopped in there on a whim one day when I was looking for winter sweaters and saw some in the store window. Fast forward a half dozen or so sweaters and a few months and I shop there way more than I probably should. I used to think their stuff was too preppy, but now it all feels like the perfect mix of classic and trendy – bold patterns, timeless shapes, not to mention stripes (!). Either I’ve changed or they’ve changed, but regardless, I love it – here’s what I have my eye on for spring. (Can we talk about that pelican shirt?!)

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Olive Jeans

olive casual 4

H&M shirt, Gap jeans, Baublebar earrings, Birkenstock sandals, vintage clutch

Unfortunately, the weather is getting a bit too chilly for me to wear this, one of my go-to fall looks, anymore (without a jacket, at least). Recently, I’ve found that I’m starting to pare down a little bit when it comes to accessories and patterns – instead of the really overworked outfits I used to go for, I’m gravitating toward simple colors and silhouettes, with the occasional graphic pattern, statement piece (like shiny gold loafers), or, more recently, cluster of cheeky pins (I am indeed a disciple of Jen Gotch). And these pants have been in heavy rotation lately – they’re just as versatile and comfortable as regular jeans, but they feel a little fresher thanks to their cool but still subdued hue. (And, I promise I’ll have some more seasonally appropriate outfits up soon – but I can’t promise that I won’t be wearing these pants in them.)

olive casual 8olive casual 3olive casual 1olive casual 2olive casual 6olive casual 7

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Fall Beauty Picks

eyeliner and lipstick 2

Almay Liquid Eyeliner in Precise Black // My number one new beauty essential: this liquid eyeliner. I haven’t had liquid eyeliner on hand for a few years, instead preferring pencils that don’t run or fade – but I thought it was time to mix it up, and I read a glowing review of one on Cupcakes and Cashmere, so I grabbed it the next time I was at Target. It’s absolutely fantastic – the felt tip is just the right size, the color is really dark, it’s easy to use, and it doesn’t budge.

NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in Candy Buttons // Over the summer, I went on a crazy cleaning spree, and realized that almost all of the lipsticks I’d been holding on to were, sadly, past their prime (read: rancid). I’ve been working on rebuilding a more streamlined collection of colors I know I’ll actually wear, and this was my first pick. I’m still getting into the habit of wearing lipstick, but this color is just the right soft pinkish-coral to make that transition easier – plus, it really does have a smooth, butter-soft consistency.

nail polish and mask

OPI Classic Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx // I’m a big fan of dark nail polishes for fall – burgundy, forest green and gray are all in heavy rotation for me. But I just realized a while ago that I was neglecting classic black lacquer, and grabbed one shortly thereafter. It feels so classic, simple and glamorous, but it’s just edgy enough to make a statement.

Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask // One habit I decided to get in the last months of summer was using a face mask once a week. I haven’t done a terrific job sticking to that schedule, but this thick mask always makes my skin feel fresher and softer after using it. It’s the perfect luxurious treat – I’ll sit with it on for 20 minutes and read or listen to music.

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