Sunday, September 10, 2017

Double Red / Le Tote, Ann Taylor

Top: Splendid
Pants: Ann Taylor
Sunglasses: Prada

I've linked up this week to #IwillwearwhatIwant. Check out all the participants. 

I should have titled this post half and half instead of double because I really like half of this outfit and I’m just meh on the other half. Monochromatic outfits have been my go to for years, but I’m usually being all matchy matchy in all black or all grey. But lately I’ve been cleaning out the wardrobe going in the exact opposite direction of what I was trying to do when I started this blog lo these many years ago and pairing down to a more neutral set of basics. I did the color thing, and I tried, really I did, but I will always be most comfortable in black, grey, and navy blue. It’s my uniform and it’s how I see myself, so why keep trying to fight it and just go with it? 

I have decided to keep some colorful pieces if I truly love them and love wearing them. This has led me to test drive some pieces and see how I feel about them. First up was this pair of Ann Taylor pants. I love Ann Taylor. I generally know how pieces are going to fit without even trying them on. The cuts are classic, and I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to add something fresh. Oh, and they do an awful lot of neutrals. Winning. For some reason, these red pants never really felt like they fit right, however. After this night out in them, I’ve decided to let them go.

This Splendid thermal is really soft and cozy, and I do feel comfortable in it. I’ve decided to keep it for very casual outfits or to layer in the colder weather. This is a large, and I do think I could have sized down on this one, which is the reason why this piece, although it made the cut, is not something I love.

Moving on the the things I do love, these Catherine Catherine Malandrino shoes are the most comfortable shoe ever. I picked them up at Nordstrom Rack for a steal, and I’ve had them on constant repeat ever since.

I’ve had this See by Chloe bag for years now. I even included it in a post back in 2012. It went on vacation with us to France last year where I used it as our shopping bag toting around everything from groceries to souvenirs. It’s held up amazingly well and is still going strong.

I also love my Prada sunglasses. I had bifocal lenses put into them so that I can actually see while I’m driving and can keep them on to read menus or my phone when I’m outside. Best idea ever.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

August Favorites / Nuxe, Old Navy

August was all about taking care of some lingering issues for me, so most of my favorites are a product of my attempts to solve those annoying little things that just wouldn’t go away.

First up was dealing with my lingering skin rashes. Most of the over-the-counter treatments doctors have recommended have really made no difference, and by July, my hand was so severely cracked and flakey, it burned constantly. The first line of attack was La Roche Posay Cicaplast. This non-greasy ointment was created to deal with the dry, flakey skin that is a result of cosmetic procedures like chemical peels, and it did an amazing job keeping the hand soothed and the itching under control while the cracks healed.

When I had the cracks under control, I started using Burt’s Bees Hand Salve. I picked this up when we were visiting my sister in July just at the grocery store and continued use has brought my hand back to almost completely normal. The salve is very greasy, so I put it on before bed sometimes even wearing a glove over it.
La Roche Posay Cicaplast

The final product in my dry skin arsenal is the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick. I’ve used the pots of Reve de Miel for years and never knew it came in a stick, which I much prefer over sticking my fingers in the product. This has been my constant on my desk while I work for the last few weeks.

I depend on tee shirts as layering pieces, but I don’t often wear them on their own. I was picking up some new pajamas at Old Navy, and on the way out, I saw this graphic tee. I picked it up on a whim, and I’ve constantly been wearing it ever since. I really like the curved hemline.

Old Navy Tee (On sale for $7.50)

I mentioned my obsession with the Aaptiv app on the Bespoke Lifestyle blog. I’ve been incredibly busy with work and family responsibilities, so getting to the gym on time for classes has been rough and just getting on the treadmill tends to get boring. The variety of classes on Aaptiv allows me to keep my workouts interesting , which keeps me going, and I can do them when I have time for them in my schedule. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Pink // Bellagio & Rent the Runway Unlimited

Flats: Chanel

For our anniversary, we played tourist for the night and drove over to Bellagio to have dinner at Picasso’s, so it seemed like no time was better to take a picture under the huge Fiori di Como installation in the lobby. Of course, one of the things I always think about when I see it is that I’m happy I don’t have to worry about dusting it. Can you imagine how much work it is to maintain this installation and make sure it always looks spectacular because, it always does? 

I had planned on wearing this pink brocade dress by Shoshanna from Rent the Runway, but I hurt my ankle out on a hike the previous weekend so couldn’t wear heels. The Shoshanna dress just didn’t look right with my Chanel flats, so I opted for this pink dress from Dorothy Perkins. The shift style paired well with the Rebecca Taylor jacket which is also from Rent the Runway and so so comfortable. 

I only recently started using Rent the Runway Unlimited, but I really like the mix of designer clothes that are available. Honestly, there probably aren’t as many choices as you would find on Le Tote, and it does have a higher price point, but if you are on a tight budget but want to impress at the office or a formal occasion, this would be a great way to bolster your wardrobe with impressive designer pieces without breaking the bank. To be a bit cliche, you can look like a million bucks without spending a million bucks. In every shipment, you receive three items that you choose from the currently available stock. My current shipment contains three tops from Diane Von Furstenberg, Rachel Zoe and Ty-Lr. The benefit really comes from how quickly you can turn your shipments around. This week since I’m building out outfits using my own bottoms and only adding the tops, it will take me a little bit longer to send my shipment back. I had a little bit of a glitch with the shipping on my last shipment, and UPS never scanned the tracking number. Because of that I technically had to wait for Rent the Runway to receive my shipment before they would send my next shipment out. When I contacted them with a worry that the return was lost, they ensured me that this happens occasionally, and they offered to allow my next shipment to go out without having to wait for the return. Great customer service. Another great feature is their thoroughness in getting clothes to you that will be the right fit. I had my eye on a purple gingham blouse, but when I went to place it into my order, I received a message that this blouse runs small and given the measurements I had entered into my account, I would need to size up. Unfortunately the blouse was not available in my size, so I couldn’t select it. To me, this was most welcome. I would have hated to waste one of my selections on something that didn’t even fit. 

If I’ve peaked your interest, you can use this code to get $30 off of your first order from Rent the Runway. If you aren’t interested in the Unlimited option, you can still find great one time shipments for all the fancy occasions in your life. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August Empties // Racinne, Etude House, Sephora, Josie Maran

Doing good keeping the counter clear of my empties as I committed to here. This month I'm finally finishing up some makeup products.


Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm - Is it skincare or is it makeup? I don't know, but it's awesome. I believe I got this sample from Sephora, but the writing on the package was small and hard to read, and I've never used a finishing balm before, so I just let it sit. Then last week, I thought, why don't I just look it up online, and after reading the description, I became intrigued. It really seems to be a primer with the standard put it on, it will make your complexion smoother, pores smaller, makeup goes on better, etc. stuff that primers are supposed to do. However, and this is a big however, you can put this stuff on TOP of your makeup to soften the spots where everything has gone into the creases. I often use a drop of oil patted on to try to get rid of some of that stuff sitting in my wrinkles, but this is smooth and creamy not oily. Mind blown. And it works. I now have this on my list to pick up a full size.

Sephora Collection Brow Gel - You can tell by the packaging that I've had this forever, and to be honest, I didn't use it up but found it at the back of my drawer evaporated. It takes me forever to go through a tube of brow gel. As long as they don't leave clumps of goo in my brows, I don't really care which one I use. I am glad Sephora changed the packaging because I do hate looking at the gel go from clear to muddy goop as you get product on the spooky and put it back into the tube. I prefer out of sight out of mind.


Etude House Mango I Need You Mask - I've tried multiple sheet masks over the last few years and have never really fallen in love with them. Since I've been a total convert to K-beauty lately, I thought I'd give them a go again.. This mango mask made me kick myself for what I've been missing out on. Another win in the product column this month, I'll be ordering more of this firming mask from Memebox. I also used the Cherry Lip Gel Patch which is bizarre but really works too. 

And finally the Racinne Ultimate Youth Power Cream and Neck Emulsion which came in the set with the serum I mentioned here. I found the cream to be quite greasy, but the neck cream was nice and not too expensive in the realm of neck creams, but I'm not sure I would repurchase. Strivectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream is still my holy grail neck cream. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Purple // Ann Taylor

Top: Ann Taylor (no longer available but I'm eyeing this embroidered version)
Jeans: H&M ($9.99!)
Sandals: Old but these are insane
Sunglasses: Prada
Lips: Stila Beso

True confession time: I still have not unpacked all my shoes from our move last year. I can give you all the excuses, but let’s just leave it at, I haven’t unpacked all my shoes yet. I finally got around to trying to empty a box and came up with several pairs that I immediately wanted to wear including this pair of white sandals. I haven’t been wearing a lot of heels lately, so a trip to Trader Joe’s seemed like a good enough reason to break them out with a pair of jeans, right?

These are one of my favorite pairs of jeans right now. They are a super comfortable pair of skinnies from H&M that have plenty of stretch and aren’t too low on the waist. Paired with a peplum embroidered top that I got from Ann Taylor earlier this year in anticipation of warmer weather and yet had not worn yet. If you remember, last year I really struggled with weather appropriate clothing when we first moved. I simply did not have that much that could be worn on an extremely hot day mostly due to the fact that I’ve been sitting in over-air conditioned offices during the summer for the last 20 years. Now that I’m working from home, upstairs, and I’m the one responsible for paying the electric bill, it’s a little warmer in my office these days. Plus on said trip to Trader Joe’s, the car was like a thousand degrees. 

These sunglasses are my daily wear because I had prescription lenses put in them, so I use them when I’m driving, but I still love wearing them all the time. And I do find myself going back to a nude lip these days as I’ve finally found an eye makeup routine that it letting me get back to my love of a smokey eye that doesn’t look age inappropriate. But today I decided to hang with the red still, and the Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick is my go to because it lasts forever but is not really drying. It’s the perfect lip for a hot day out running errands. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

More July Empties / Vichy, Klorane, Racinne

As I mentioned in my last empties post here, I'm keeping my empties on my bathroom counter top which is forcing me to share them so that I can throw them away. So far so good as it's only been two weeks and I have more to share. Not entirely exciting this time and no makeup, but this is what I've emptied in the last two weeks.

 My consumption of dry shampoo (probably a very wrong way to use that term since I'm not eating it) has gone way down since my psoriasis on my neck has been so bad. I thought that I really didn't need to be overdoing it on hair products, but to tell you the truth, it really has made a difference, so I'm back to using products, and this one contains oat milk which is supposed to be calming for the scalp.  Klorane is not my favorite dry shampoo, but it's not the worst I've ever tried either. I have a few of these travel sizes, so this was my go to lately. It is so easy to just rip through a small can of this in nothing flat. I probably received this in a Glossybox, but to be honest, I wouldn't buy it on its own first because the Oscar Blandi (which is getting hard to find :() is still my favorite and second because this is a French drugstore brand, and it always kills me when I see how much it costs here versus there. At $10, it's not the most expensive, but I guess it's the principle.

 I have no idea where I got the Racinne 3 piece system this serum was part of as well as a face cream and neck cream. I might have bought it last year when I was looking for a new neck cream, but I knew it had been sitting in the drawer for a while, so I thought I had better use it. I do like the neck cream, but what I've emptied so far is this serum. I kept this one in my office, and on days when I am rushed in the morning,  I tend to finish my skincare at my desk. If you are unfamiliar with the brand (because I was), Racinne is a Korean line out of Canada, and describes the Ultimate Youth Power line as minimizing the look of large pores and promoting elasticity. This is a lightly scented white serum that is neither terribly sticky or silicone feeling like some serums can be. It does take a while to sink into the skin. It's a good every day serum, but it didn't leave me feeling like I couldn't live without it, so I'm moving on to try something else.

Not exciting at all but keeping it real peeps. I empties a powder fresh Secret this week. I don't usually buy the powder fresh, but D did the shopping last time I had this on the list, so this is what he picked up. I'm now using the Secret Clinical Strength just because I remember using it a few years ago, and I thought I would try it again to see if there is a noticeable difference. 

And last but definitely not least, I emptied a Vichy Micellar last week. This is my favorite Micellar, and like the Klorane, it is a French drugstore brand. I've stocked up on our last two trips because you can buy huge bottles in 2-packs there for about the same price as they sell this 6.76 ounce bottle at Target. I will capitulate and pay the price for it when I run out because I use it every night. It leaves no stickiness on my skin and does not burn the eyes at all. Even if you just use it to take off mascara, I can't recommend it highly enough.

So that's it for this week's batch. Time will tell if I can keep up the battle to keep the clutter off the countertop by getting things posted here. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By the Pool / Chanel, Le Tote, Rebecca Minkoff

Dress: Hayes via Le Tote
Flats: Chanel
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (No longer available but this is from the same collection)

If you haven't noticed, this seems to be my go-to spot for pictures since we moved. At the old house, our yard was not as nicely landscaped, so we often ended up running over to the park that was a few blocks from the house to take pictures for the blog. We live just as closely to a park now, but we've gotten used to taking them here. We really do need to work on getting out more! If you read my lifestyle blog, the area we are relandscaping would be to the left in these photos. 

I've paired down my wardrobe a bit and made a decision to stick to a more neutral palette for ease of mixing things, but at the same time, I restarted my Le Tote subscription and have been dying to try the Rent the Runway Unlimited, so signed up for that as well. Anything colorful you see here will probably have come from one of those two places for the immediate future. I also read a weight loss tip that said you should stop buying clothes in your current size and use the reward of buying new clothes in a size down as incentive for weight loss...well, I've tried everything else. Let's see how this goes. 

I just got these red Chanel flats from The Real Real. I had been stalking a pair hoping they would lower the price, when I spotted these, and they were on sale! The last time I bough Chanel flats, I sized up a half size and regretted it. I didn't do that this time, and they fit, but it would be nice if they were a bit looser.

This Rebecca Minkoff bag is a bit of a concession. I had spotted a Love bag online that I was hoping to wait until the Nordstrom Anniversary sale to pick up. Of course it was gone, but then one day I was in Nordstrom Rack and saw this one that, I think, would be from the same collection as it has the same color combo. It's a little inconvenient to open, but I like it. 

This week I've linked up for #IwillwearwhatIwant on Not Dressed as Lamb. Please go check out all the lovely ladies who have shared their links. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Empties / L'Oreal, Redken, Shiseido, Garnier

I'm trying to get out of the habit of throwing my empties into a bag underneath the sink where they grow and grow, and I never share them. I'm hoping that by keeping them on the bathroom counter, I'll see them and want to get rid of them, so maybe I'll post about them every week. So let's get going on this week's batch.


My hairdresser recommended Redken Frizz Dismiss Shampoo to me a few years ago, and I've been using it ever since. I've tried everything to control the rough texture of my hair over the years, and this is the first thing that I ever really felt worked well to control the frizz and make my hair soft after air drying.


This Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser came in a travel pack with the Softening Concentrate and the Refining Moisturizer. It was recommended by a salesperson at Sephora when I was looking for something to deal with the hard, scaliness I feel I get when my skin is overly congested. This has been my shower cleanser for use mainly in the evening and like the Redken, it will definitely be a repurchase.

Although I used the entire thing (because I'm like that), I did not love the Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. The metal rollerball tip was very cool and refreshing, but the product itself was just meh. I often felt like I need to layer other, thicker products over it.


My only makeup empty this week is the L'Oreal Butterfly Intenza Mascara. This has been rolling around in my travel makeup bag for a long time and looks really beat up. I'm not very passionate about mascara, but I do want something that either adds volume or length and doesn't just try to color my already dark lashes. This does both. I have quite a few mascaras in the drawer right now, but when I get around to buying another, I would consider this one again. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Romantic / Target White Dress

Do you ever have days that just don't go as you've planned? That was our day yesterday. We had big plans for an outing that we were all looking forward to, and had planned a few weeks ago, but then due to some things out of our control, we realized that by the time we got there, we wouldn't have very much time to spend before we would have to head for home.

We all agreed to forget about our plans, but later in the day, we all admitted that we wished we had gone with the original plans even though our time would have been limited and that at the time we canceled the plans, each of us thought the others didn't want to go, so we all said we were good with cancelling. Even though we all really wanted to still go.

We realized how crazy this turned out to be, went to brunch, went to Target to buy a new dog bed, and then went to an open house in a neighborhood we all love.

We didn't go through with our original plan, but we had a pretty great day nonetheless.

Monday, July 10, 2017

June Empties / Origins, Lush, Victoria's Secret, It Cosmetics

Another favorite, favorite product. The It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder Great product but what a name! This was the powder I kept in my travel makeup bag all year, and I realized I was running low while in Dallas in April. I made it through one more trip to LA in May and then moved it to my vanity at home to finish it off. I made sure I had a backup ready to go for this one.

I wrote about my love for the Lush Bubbly Shower Gel in my May favorites here. Unlike the Origins hair mask below, I've been rationing this knowing I wouldn't be able to get a replacement. I though the Yuzu and Cocoa would be a good fill in, but no. I'm going to try The Olive Branch instead.

This Origins Rich Rewards Moisture Treatment for Hair has been sitting in my shower for about two years – not empty – I'm not that bad. I went through a phase where I couldn't get enough of it and was wearing the mask at least twice a week. Then I started feeling like I wasn't getting the same results with it, so I started using it less and less until it just sat in the shower all neglected. I finally used it again a few weeks ago to see if I would fall in love with it again and alas no. This will be the first time in years that I don't have one open and in use.

Finally, another item hanging around on my vanity for-EVER was this Victoria's Secret Love Spell Fragrance Mist I mean just look at the packaging in my photo compared to the online product photo. Ancient. I do like to have a fragrance mist on hand for the warmer summer months, but this was a little too I don't even know what for me. It's not that it was overly floral just maybe not spicy enough? Anyway I finished it off the week that it was 117(!) here.