24 June 2015

DD's Style File - All Striped Up: An Ode to Ms. Kate

It's really funny that I've never heard myself say that I favor a black and white color palette and if anyone ever told me that it seemed like one of my favorites, I would've responded with a "really??"

But apparently I've been quietly oblivious to my own styling activities, despite the fact that my dining room, kitchen and upstairs hall are all punctuated or completely centered on black and white.  And recently I've found myself reaching for bold black and white more often than usual (like here and here), often punctuating with pops of color, like today.

This dress is more of an ivory and black than starch white, but the bold structured lines offer the same crisp clean feel.

I really love the classic whimsy that stripes offer, but they can sometimes be dangerous. Vertical stripes especially, if not properly proportioned they can over accentuate areas like busts, hips and bellies. Along with the stripe spacing and sizing, the cut of the dress or top can make all the difference. There are no hard and fast rules, just make sure you wear what you love and that it's not wearing you!

Dress: The Limited (sold out)
Belt: The Limited (similar)

Necklace: Target
Pumps: Amazon
Because I like to conceal the areas of my body that I don't love as much, I am typically drawn to dresses that are flowy or, like this one, have a feminine A-line shape. Adding a colorful belt allows me to still highlight my waistline.

I have a unwavering love for Kate Spade (as I expressed in Monday's easy, peasy DIY post) so I was delighted to find that my dress was likely inspired by one of Kate's lovely dresses....and I ain't mad at that!

Both of these dresses are from previous seasons, so they aren't available, but if you like the look this is a super similar style and here are a few other cute options that are similar, found here, here, here and here!

22 June 2015

The EASIEST DIY Kate Spade Inspired Necklace

Typical girly girl here! Things with bows make me swoon, but sometimes the associated price tags with those things do not. So I've got a quick down and dirty post inspired by the Swoon Inducing Extraordinaire, Kate Spade, who we know is all about that bow life.

So here are some of Kate's bow adorned necklaces:

And for my nifty inspired version the only things you'll need are:

A strand of pearls (I suggest a basic long version that can be looped 2 - 3 times)
Bow brooch 

Et voila!
Told ya it was EASY!

One little tip that I have is that to keep my brooch from flopping around through the day, I actually run the pin through a seam on my blouse before clasping the pearls in. This ensures that it will lay flat through the day. 

19 June 2015

I Saw the Light - e.l.f. Nail Polish Remover Pads

Last week I discussed my love for perfectly manicured digits. So let's take a minute to talk about the downside, that makes me cringe on my insides: chipped polish.

Now, I am not going to pretend that I have never walked around with chipped polish, but I don't like it one bit. You would think that it wouldn't require much, but sometimes life gets busy and you dash out the house only to glare down at those chippity choppity fingers gripping the steering wheel. Ugh!

I'd passed the e.l.f. Nail Polish Remover Pads in store aisles several times, wondering to myself "why in the world would I need those??" - until I finally figured it out.

The awakening moment happened while sitting at my desk at the office, preparing to head to a meeting, only to glance down at my hands and realize the horror that my manicure that seemed perfectly fine just a day ago was now a mess. I curled my fingers into a fist and kept them placed in my lap safely under the table during the meeting.

After work I headed straight to the beauty aisle to grab a package of the wipes. I actually grabbed two, just in case.

The pads were surprisingly thin, which made me wonder about their durability. And I'm not at all crazy about the "citrus" scent, but it doesn't matter. Their shame saving convenience makes up for the scent.

When I tried the pads, I had to remove two layers of pigmented polish and a top coat (usually I have a base coat as well).  I found that the wipes easily removed the polish, but I needed to use one wipe per hand. 

The final result were clean nails that were completed within minutes. These pads also have some kind of moisturizing element which I found left a lingering oily residue on my hands. But that's easily resolved just by washing your hands. I now have a container in my desk and one in my car, though because of the oil, I don't recommend using them if you can't get to a faucet, or at least a baby wipe.

I haven't had them long enough to know yet, but I'm a little leery about the how well the container will keep the pads moist.

Ultimately, for $2 a pop, I'd say it's a nifty little product worth having for quick fixes!

Overall grade: B+

17 June 2015

DD's Style File - Outfit Inspiration from Jamie Chung

I saw this super cute image of Jamie Chung in June's edition of People Stylewatch, I cut it out and pinned it to my actual inspiration board. Then I immediately thought, "Hey, I've got that stuff in my closet!"

image credit
I love when I can get inspiration to pull pieces together that I already own! Especially when it gives me an idea that I hadn't thought of. 

As much as I love scarves, instead of going with a scarf, I added a leopard print tassel and gold monogram letter to my bag.

Dress:JCPenney (similar)
Bag: Gap via Poshmark (similar)
Shoes: JCPenney (similar)
Tassle: JustFab
Where adorable Miss Jamie's dress came from Banana Republic, I snagged mine at an end of season sale at JCPenney last year for about $7.

Perfect little ensemble for weekend brunch!

This post is also a part of the Mix & Match fashion linkup!

15 June 2015

Diva DIY - Quick & Easy Storage Caddy

I know I haven't shown many pictures or done a tour yet of my closet project, but I PROMISE I'm gonna!! I'd say one of the biggest challenges with that is keeping it tidy enough until I finally get a window of time photograph/film. Sounds simple, but when I'm in and out of there 80% of the week, it's super easy for it to suddenly look like a cyclone has come through. It also doesn't help that the access to the attic is in there, so my recent roof repair efforts required some moving and disassembling of my set up. I'd say that's actually the most frustrating of all, because I'm forced to keep things "a mess" until all the repairs are done.

But I digress....

So even though I'd say that the majority of my closet is complete, I'm still working on minor aspects - adding pictures and other decorative details, and especially storage options. That area has its own design element centered on white, gold and pink. So I like everything to compliment that theme as best as possible. 

I recently managed to move my small white dresser chest out of my bedroom and into my closet. It holds all of my lingerie, some foldable clothing pieces and layering tees. But I found that I wasn't thrilled with the look of the functional storage on top. Replacing it required that it still be functional (obviously), that it blended with the decor and that it was cheap.

Here's what I used:
Target Dollar Spot Storage Caddy ($3)
Target Gold Heart Stickers ($2)
(2) Acrylic Containers (part of a larger acrylic beauty set found at Marshall's)
(2) Cardboard sleeves (I used old boxes from beauty products)
X-Acto knife

Cute and easy peasy, right?!

I do have to say that the day after uploading this video I felt compelled to make some minor tweaks to the finished product, I removed the stickers from the top area and lined the inside front storage compartments, I just liked that finished look a little better...

I'm thinking of sharing more of my fashion and home projects in the future, I'd love to hear about any DIYs you'd be interested in!

10 June 2015

DD's Style File - Sleepy Chic

This post really should be titled "I Want to Look Cute for Work, but I'm Extra Sleepy," but somehow it all came together!

So some mornings my brain just can't get it together to think up an outfit that is fashionable, office friendly, and has just the right amount of minimal chic oomph.

I think the most important thing about this is that it took very little effort yet I still feel pulled together. I think that's important because I often talk to ladies who feel they can't pull off the same thing - but yeah, boo, ya can!

Top: Kohl's via Poshmark (similar, slightly similar)
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Nine West
Bag: old
Bracelet: Zara
Earrings: Forever 21 (similar)
It really is just a matter of a simplistic formula:

a top with an interesting element - either delicate embellishments or a soft print can work
a bottom in a pop of color - skirt or pants
a nude or metallic shoe - I feel metallics are best because even as a neutral they offer a different visual interest, but this can be a heel or a flat
your choice of jewelry  - this is where you can bring in more of your personality, but just choose one statement piece

And voila! Off to the office you go!

Simple, right?! It is, I promise. And in the cooler months it can be topped off with a cardigan or blazer to make it transitionable (I totally just made me a word there).

On another note, the delicate detailing on this peter pan collared top was so adorable, but I just couldn't accurately capture it outside with the sunlight against the light color. So I'm adding this close up just to show you how pretty it is:

So purdy, right?!

If you're like me and you're not much of a morning person, I'd love to hear your formulas for your work chic sleepy head outfits!

08 June 2015

Does It Work? - Sephora Nail Protector First Impressions

I probably like the pampering of a salon grade manicure better than anyone else I know. However, when it's time to double down on the budget, that treat is the first thing to go. So when it comes to at-home manis, unless you have seriously steady hands or are ambidextrous, painting your own nails can sometimes be a tad shaky.

There are tons of DIYs and other tips and tricks from the at-home nail art gurus out on the web. And though the idea of peeling away a latex-like barrier might sound intriguing, I'm typically more interested in the quickest method possible.

I tend to do my manicures on Sunday evenings, shortly before bedtime, so glue peeling might add too many additional minutes. My right hand is the dominant hand, so my left hand typically looks great. Switch that around and occasionally things can get a little hairy...

During a late night Sephora shopping expedition, I ran into the Sephora Nail Protector and decided to try it out, despite mixed reviews. I've actually had it for a while and never used it until today.

Here's the condensed version of my first trial run...

It took me about 10 minutes to actually complete my fingers. I wasn't using a base coat, though I usually do, and I applied a top coat off camera.

I have to say, given its simplistic look, it actually worked quite well. In my rush 10 minute job, the only polish I managed to get on the skin was when I tried to not knock the polish bottle over and inadvertently painted past the cuticle.

The Nail Protector has a little curved lip, which I think actually helps guide you since your nail bed is then tilted in a slightly upward position. What I actually found most challenging was constantly maneuvering the protector and nail polish bottle around to keep it within reach while trying not to bump into it. I think that would likely get easier the more I used the protector. One other awkward thing was when it came time to paint my thumbs, you may have noticed in the clip that I had to shift to the end of the table in order to do them. I happened to be standing in the clip, but may find it a bit more difficult to do sitting down.

It says that this can also be used for pedicures...but I'm not sure I buy that one. Overall, I wasn't put off. This manicure will unlikely last a week, so I'm going to try again in a few days. For about $7, I didn't consider it to be a waste at all. I think it's a nifty little tool to have with your polish collection.

Overall grade: B-

03 June 2015

DD's Style File - Double Duty

Y'all have to know by now that I loves me a good shift dress. Like this chic leopard number here. I've also regularly discussed how most of the pieces in my closet perform multiple functions (work, play, etc.) and this dress ranks toward the top on that high performance list - because I wear it all the time.

It's funny because ladies at my office often tell me that they've never seen me in the same thing twice (trust me, I do). However inaccurate, those words could indicate both a good and bad thing...

The good: That my talent at intermingling the pieces I own to create and re-create outfits that seem fresh, even though I've had the pieces for ages, is as good as I think it is.

The bad: I shop so often that I'm almost always wearing something new, so there's little to no repeats.

I won't lie, I exist somewhere between those two extremes, often living for some period of time at one end or the other (at the present moment, I'm living mostly in the "good" zone).

And dresses like this help me stay there. I pretty much can wear this dress 75% of the year. In the office, during the winter I cover up these knees with opaque tights and toss on a black mid heel pump. And here, as we head into summer-like weather (it was kinda chilly) I can wear it yet again with some season ready heels. The one piece is an all around team player as it transitions from office wear to drinks with the girls by changing out my pumps and bag to something a bit more spicy!

Dress: (old) The Limited (similar)
Shoes: Nine West
Purse: (old) Dots (similar)
Necklace: The Limited (similar)

And here's a little #BTS (behind the scenes) coverage for ya... I'm usually channeling my serious chic face when I'm out taking photos, but there's no way I couldn't be all smiles when I have a bunch of activity and questions generating on the other side of my camera, thanks to these three!

And slowly but surely they all managed to creep from behind the camera (where they were giving me pose suggestions) to full on photo bomb positions in my shoot.

But really, no one's going to be interested in going off to play when your Auntie is outside serving it up for the camera...naturally they wanted to join in!

Do you ladies buy pieces strictly for work and strictly for play? Or do you have staple pieces that serve "double duty?"