Friday, January 30, 2015

Tips and Trends: Fashionable Guide to SuperBowl Sunday


Superbowl Sunday is just around the corner, bringing with it the perfect opportunity to host a party in honor of football, love for Boston or Seattle, entertaining ads that cost a fortune, and how much we love Katy Perry!! Whether or not you are an avid sports fan, this is a game you do NOT want to miss. And if you love hosting a good party, this is the perfect time to enjoy a laid back get together. Here are some tips for getting Superbowl ready this weekend.

1. All about the Snacks 


Superbowl Sunday is time for snack food that you can munch on for the full length of the game. If you are hosting a party, or attending one and bringing a dish, try a few of my favorite suggestions below. Superbowl Sunday foods should be simple to eat, easily shareable, and, of course, delicious.

Chunky Guacamole - Food Network

Fancy Pigs in a Blanket - Real Simple

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs - Domestic Fits 
Healthy Chicken Salad Dip - SummerGirl Fitness

2. Decorate, Decorate, Decorate


No Superbowl party is complete without festive decorations that let everyone know which side of the field you are rooting for. Whether your home will be sporting the Patriot's red, white and blue, or Seahawk's blue and green, make sure you are game day ready with these fashionable and festive touches.

Paper Straws - Paper Source 

Crepe Paper - Paper Source 
Make your own banner - Paper Source

3. Dress the Part 


Whether you are a die-hard Patriots fan, loyal member of the 12th Man, or adopting a team for the day, make sure you dress the part. Here is a link to the women's sections of the NFL shop where you can check out all the options for attire this weekend. Your local Dick's Sporting Goods or Sport's Authority will likely have many options as well. You can also get creative and make your own fashionable Superbowl outfit wearing the colors of your favorite team.
Patriots Nike Long Sleeve - NFL.com

Seahawks Antigua V-neck - NFL.com

4. Brush Up on the Rules 


For the casual football enthusiast like myself, now might be the perfect time to brush up on the rules of football to prepare for the game on Sunday. The NFL website has a great Beginner's Guide to Football for anyone who needs a little refresher.

Avid fans will want to stay up to date on all the news for each team, updates, interviews and commentary. ESPN has blogs for each team, and you can monitor the New England Patriots Blog and the Seattle Seahawks Blog for everything football over the next 2 days.

Now just for your enjoyment...one of my favorite Superbowl commercials from this year to get a head start on the fun!  Leave your comments below - Happy Superbowl Sunday!

2015 Budweiser Superbowl Commerical - Lost Dog

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Clean Up - Pair Down Your Wardrobe


Along with overhauling our diet, embracing new flavors and challenging our minds this year - my final new year's resolution has to with, of course, fashion. Heading into spring is the perfect time for some closet spring cleaning. Reflect on the outfits you wore, recognize the ones in your closet that you never touched, and remember pieces you are still dying to add to your wardrobe. Here are some tips for cleaning up and pairing down your 2015 professional wardrobe. 

1. Clean Up 


Go through your closet and get rid of things that no longer fit, or pieces that you never actually wear. The process is always refreshing, and you can make space in your closet for the new year. Here are some great questions to ask yourself when determining if a piece should stay or go:





2. Give Away 


Once piles of clothes that no longer work fill your bedroom floor, you have to decide what to do with them. I love to give clothes away to Good Will or The Salvation Army. Not only will others benefit from your donation, but also you can take a tax deduction on your income taxes. Make sure to get a receipt when you drop the clothes off so you can receive your deduction later. You can also feel good knowing that the clothes you spent time and money on will be loved again by someone else. 

3. Sell for Cash



Another great option for old clothes is to sell them on a great consignment website ThredUp. This website makes refreshing your closet simple and fun. ThredUp will send you a bag, you fill the bag with clothes you do not want, and their online calculator helps you determine how much the clothes are worth. Make sure you look up the types of clothes ThredUp accepts before you send them in. Then drop the Clean Out bag to your local USPS carrier to be shipped for free to ThredUp.  Your clothes will be reviewed and you can choose ThredUp credit or to be paid through PayPal. A simple and effective way to clean out your closet and make room for new outfits in 2015. 


4. Remix Your Closet with the 30 x 30 Challenge 


Along with cleaning out your closet, this is also a great time to get to know your closet better. The 30 X 30 Challenge is the perfect way to do this. Take 30 pieces from your wardrobe - you can decide whether outerwear and accessories should count or not - and create 30 different outfits using only those pieces. 

Resolve not to shop for that month and use only these pieces to really get to know your wardrobe. Challenge yourself to get creative with what you have, and you will realize even more amazing ways to wear the pieces you love. The blogger who originally did this challenge, Kendi, has lots of great examples you can check out here


5. Create your 2015 Wishlist 


Once you have lots of empty hangers in your closet, now comes the fun part. Time to make your 2015 wish list of the items you most want to add to your closet this year. Stay tuned next week for a full run down on my favorite 2015 must haves, but keep in mind this will be reward for all your hard work cleaning out this week! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

What to Wear to Work: Green Sweater and Burgundy Purse



Sweater: Ann Taylor, similar colored options here, here and here
Purse: Dooney & Bourke | Boots: Ann Taylor, similar here

Brrrrr, today is cold! Weather in London is getting down to a cold 37 degrees Fahrenheit this week, so I've dug up the warmest items in my closet. This fabulous dark green sweater isn't normally a color I would buy, but I tried it on and liked the style so much that I decided to give it a try. It's been going strong now for over 5 years! The great thing about classically-cut sweaters is that, since you only wear them during the winter, as long as you treat a sweater well, you can wear it over and over again for years!

New Year's Resolutions: Challenge Your Mind

As busy professionals, we use our minds every day at the work place, but what about engaging our brains in other intellectual ways outside the office? A new year is the perfect time to resolve to read those books sitting on your night stand or finally learn a new language. Resolve to challenge your mind in new ways in 2015. Here are some tips for how to fit this into a busy schedule, and some of my favorite ways to engage the mind. 



Read New Books 

I love to read and every year I make a list of books I want to finish in the next year. If you have a busy schedule, consider buying audio books you can listen to in the car on your commute to work. You could also listen while working out at the gym, or on your lunch break. Audio books are the perfect way to fit reading into an already busy lifestyle. 

Amazon has a company called Audible that allows you to pay a monthly subscription and then download a new audiobook every month. The monthly rate is $14.95 and with that you can download any audiobook on their site. With some audiobooks costing upwards of $30-$40 dollars this membership can be a great way to save money while working through your new year's resolution booklist. 

Below are some of my favorite books in a variety of genres to give you some ideas for your reading list!
Persuasion by Jane Austen

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen 

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice, but is pushing 30 and Mr. Darcy still hasn't shown up. Jane Austen's last completed novel features a heroine who is almost 30 - the Regency period equivalent of being 50 - and is still unmarried. Her story is for all of us who are still waiting for our Mr. Right, even when all of our friends have gotten married.


Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

2. Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

The hottest finance book from last year, if you didn't read it then, you should definitely read it now. Michael Lewis explains high frequency trading in language clear enough to understand, even if the closest you get to the financial industry is balancing your personal checkbook.


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

If you missed reading this in high school or college, definitely read it now! Atwood's tale of the Harvard campus (not identified as such in the book) turned into a male-dominated society where women are valued only for their ability to have children hits closer to home than you would prefer.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Hurston

4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston

Written during the height of the Great Depression, the book explores a black woman's life in the South during the 1930s. A beautiful, moving book about finding love across a lifetime of experiences.


Hijacking The Runway by Teri Agins

5. Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers" by Teri Agins

Since this is a fashion blog, we need to have at least one fashion book!! Teri Agins spent 25 years covering fashion for the Wall Street Journal, so she definitely knows what she's talking about. In this book, she details how the spotlight has moved from the designer of the clothing to the celebrity, and how celebrities today transcend whoever they wear.


Learn a New Language 

Sacre Coeur - Paris, France
Another way to challenge the mind this year is to learn a new language. If you took French all through college but have not spoken a word of it since graduation, maybe it is time to dig out those notebooks and take a refresher course. Most communities have evening language classes you can sign up for, and larger cities may have cultural clubs that offer courses. Some places also have groups that get together where you can practice your rusty Italian or German in a "coffee hour" setting. Another option is to consider an audio course, such as Rosetta Stone, that you can listen to on the way to work and do a little at home every night. 

Give yourself an extra incentive by planning a trip to a city where that language is used, such as Paris, Munich, St. Petersburg or Bejing, and make it a goal to be conversational in the language of your choice by that time. This can be a wonderful goal to set with a friend or significant other. Plan the trip together and then practice speaking to each other to prepare in the months leading up. 


Shopping with friends in Paris
Learning a language you have always dreamed of speaking, or getting through a book you have been longing to finish, means making time for yourself. This can be a challenge for many of us with overwhelming careers, family lives and responsibilities, but part of being healthy and happy is taking care of yourself and making time for YOU. What a great New Year's Resolution! 

Let me know in the comments below - what books are you dying to read? What is the one language you would most love to learn?




Friday, January 23, 2015

What to Wear to Work: Cobalt Sweater and Grey Pencil Skirt





Skirt: Love and Be Loved | Sweater: Target
Boots: Ann Taylor, similar here

I love this beautiful shade of blue in the winter. It's the perfect color to warm up the usual boring blacks and greys! Belt the sweater with a wide elastic belt to give yourself a nice shape, and layering necklaces is also a fun way to add a touch of sparkle to an outfit!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

What to Wear to Work: Grey Skirt, Tailored Black Blazer and a Pop of Burgundy




Jacket and Skirt: custom-made by Love and Be Loved
Purse: Dooney & Bourke | Boots: Ann Taylor, similar here

This is my all-time FAVORITE outfit this winter!! The grey pencil skirt is warm and soft, and contrasts nicely with the shiny, fitted black jacket. A burgundy purse adds a pop of color, and tall black boots keep my legs warm under my desk!





Friday, January 16, 2015

Tips and Trends: Spring Jewelry Trends 2015


If you are like me, this cold January weather is making you DREAM of warm May afternoons and colorful spring fashion. In that spirit, here is a roundup of 5 jewelry trends that will make a big impact this spring.  From 70’s inspired pieces to shiny brass metals, the spring 2015 jewelry trends are exciting and fun. Take a look below and pick your favorite top trend!

1. Unbalanced Look


Earrings this spring are all about mixing it up. From earring pairs that are off in color, come in different lengths, or even different shapes, the mismatched look is one major trend from Spring 2015 runway shows. This trend could work at the office on a more subtle scale. Stick to something small and chic, and then have fun experimenting on the weekends with bolder pieces. 

Sophie Bille Brahe

Leith 'Dripping' Fringe & Stud

2. Brass Metals


Brass metals are a fun and more casual material to wear this spring. The trend is also perfect for the office as an alternative to diamond studs or silver ball earrings. Try classy brass earrings or a bracelet to pair with your spring looks for a professional and trendy pairing.


Tory Burch Logo Hoops
                 Tory Burch 'Babylon' Studs    

3. 70's Bohemian 


Spring runway shows were full of fringe and folk inspired jewelry. These fun accessories are probably more for your weekends out of the office, but get excited for hippy chic jewelry in the coming months. Start collecting some bohemian pieces to pair with jeans and add to your stylish but casual wardrobe. 


Kendra Scott Long Fringe
             
Panacea Jasper & Howlite Necklace 

4. Long Pendants 



This fabulous trend can work perfectly in a professional setting. Pendant necklaces are on trend this spring, and a long necklace looks great with a tailored suit or simple work dress. Pick a few classy and chic, long pendants to have this spring in your work wardrobe. 

St. John Collection Long Pendant
Anna Beck 'Gili' Pendant


5. Stacked Rings 


Stacked rings are one of my favorite new ring trends. Have fun layering this spring with simple and fun rings you can mix, match and stack. For the office, stick to stacking on one finger - then feel free to have fun on the weekends and load up multiple fingers. Look for rings with small details like a stone or crystal to add a unique touch. 

Ariella Collection Mixed Stackable Rings


Gorjana 'Carina' Stackable Rings





Have fun with these amazing jewelry trends this spring! Leave your comments below. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Upgrade, Explore, and Expand Your Taste in 2015



Last week I blogged about my first New Year's Resolution - getting lean and healthy in 2015. This week, though, I am talking about a resolution that is a little more fun and simple to achieve.

Resolution #2: Upgrade, Explore and Expand Your Taste in 2015. Here are 3 ways you as a busy working professional can upgrade the foods you eat, explore new flavors and expand your taste in the new year. 

Upgrade Your Food 


It can be a challenge for the busy working girl to find time to cook healthy and delicious meals. Long days at the office usually end with take out dinners, heat up meals or boring ham sandwiches. It is time to upgrade your food in 2015! Thankfully there is a simple and easy way for the working girl to cook delicious, healthy food. The secret is Blue Apron

Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients and great recipes to your doorstep every week. Each Blue Apron box comes with all natural ingredients, and the instructions you need to make a healthy and delicious meal in just 30 minutes. The best part? No grocery shopping required, and no time wasted hunting for a recipe and finding all the random ingredients. 

Discover unique recipes every week, and try new foods you never would cook or buy on your own. Blue Apron uses only the best seasonal ingredients, and with everything delivered right to you - this is perfect for the professional woman. Each meal has 500-700 calories per serving and all the ingredients are fresh, so you can upgrade your food and get healthy in the new year! 

Try Blue Apron here and learn more about upgrading your food in the new year. 


Explore New Flavors 


Along with delicious food, explore new flavors in 2015. Whole Spice is an herb and spice company  that creates freshly ground in-house herbs and spices. Located in Napa Valley, this spice company offers everything from your favorite household spices, to exotic rare spices. They have a Spice Club that you can join to help discover new flavors in 2015. 

You will receive a new spice set every 3 months with unique spices, and recipes and ideas on how to use them.  Spice club members get discounted prices on all the sets, and with these spices delivered right to your doorstep, you just sit back and wait for exciting flavors to arrive. 

For the professional woman busy at the office, joining the Four Seasons Spice Club is the perfect way to bring the flavors to you! 

Expand Your Taste 


Along with food and spices, expand your taste in wine this year as well. For those of you with a long standing relationship with Pinot Grigio and Merlot, it is time to expand and try something new in the new year. One great way to do this, is to join the brand new Club W

Club W is a unique way to buy wine online. You visit their website, answer a quick survey and they will make suggestions on new wines they think you will enjoy. Based in California, this direct to consumer company has created a unique way for people to discover and buy wine. Club W selects wines for your palette and delivers them to your doorstep every month. If you love a good glass of wine after a long day at work as much as I do...this might be the perfect club for you to join. 

No need to spend time hunting down new wines, going out to buy them and lugging bottles back to your city apartment. Just take a survey and wait for delicious wines to arrive. Sounds like a great resolution to me! 


Monday, January 12, 2015

What to Wear to Work: Black Turtleneck and Grey Pencil Skirt



Belt: Style & Co. | Necklace: Nordstrom, similar here
Pumps: Stuart Weitzman 'Power', similar 'Nouveau'

The first outfit of the year should always be something chic and classic!! Here I've paired this gorgeous, custom-made grey pencil skirt with a classic black turtleneck and pumps. A wide red belt adds a pop of color, and some silver beads add a little sparkle. This year, my resolution is to be as fashionable as possible!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tips and Trends: Happy Birthday Cocktail Party


Today is my birthday!! I'm probably the only person I know who actually still LIKES getting older, possibly because my dad always told me that a woman's best years start when she is 35 and keep getting better from then on. To celebrate this year's birthday, I'm having a classy cocktail party with my friends. I LOVE throwing cocktail parties because they are easy to pull off well, don't require a huge amount of effort, and everyone always has a good time. Here are my tips for throwing the perfect birthday cocktail party for yourself, or a friend!

Cocktail Party Food


For party food I love simple Hors d'Oeuvres that can be picked up and eaten with one hand. Start with an amazing cheese, meat and cracker tray. Pick three to four different cheeses with a variety of textures: creamy brie, chewy gouda, firm gruyere and crumbly feta. Pair the cheese with a sampling of crackers, and tasty meat rolls. 

Slice and arrange fruits and vegetables for a healthy, colorful platter.  This gives a healthy option for guests to snack on. Choose two to three hot Hors d'Oeuvres and have a friend pass them out during that party. You can make or buy these depending on how much time you have. For the busy working girl, Trader Joe's has a huge selection of tasty bite size foods that can be made in the oven in just a few minutes. 

Finish out your spread with lots of delicious sweets for guests to enjoy. A great idea is to choose a selection of cookies, chocolates, sweet dates, sugared nuts and mints for party goers to nibble on throughout the night.


Cocktail Party Drinks


For drinks, keep it simple with a selection of red and white wine, a craft beer and one signature cocktail for guests to enjoy. Make sure to also stock up on non-alcoholic options for friends who may not drink, and any younger guests. Place food and drinks in different places around your house or apartment to allow guests to flow around the house and not all congregate in the kitchen or dining room.


Cocktail Party Decor


I love simple and elegant decor for a cocktail party. Use different types of dishes for the food: glass, china or silver, and use different shaped dishes: small bowls, platters and elevated plates. This creates a unique and elegant look that does not appear too matching. Choose a simple color scheme for the table colorings, and have fresh flowers on each table. I also love using lots of candles to create a soft and warm ambiance throughout. Small touches like decorative napkins, striped paper straws, and a colorful cocktail glasses will make your party perfect. 



Cocktail Party Attire 


Cocktail party attire can sometimes be difficult to figure out and varies on the time and theme of the party you are attending. In general, an evening cocktail party will be more formal than a daytime event. Choose a knee or tea length dress that is elegant and appropriate for a variety of occasions. A little black dress, like the one I wore, is always a safe choice and can be dressed up with jewelry and an elegant clutch. 


Knowing how to throw the perfect cocktail party is a must for every polished working girl. Whether you are hosting a birthday, event for charity or a holiday party, these tips will help you throw a party everyone will remember. 

Leave your comments or questions below - tell me your favorite cocktail party tips!
 
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