Who Spot Ya?

What’s with the title? It’s my lame attempt at relating a popular fashion trend with a classic hit from the late, great Notorious BIG. Get it!?! Check out this link. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, disregard my attempt at being somewhat clever.

Now, on to why you’re actually here. It’s obviously not for my trip down hip-hop memory lane! Let’s talk about a look that you’ve probably seen ten times over by now…leopard print! I’m sure you’re probably thinking that leopard print is always around, which in essence is true. But we’re seeing it pop up in more than just a sexy dress or skirt. The print is taking over every part of our wardrobe, from cropped pants, to belts and even booties.

With so many options, where do we even begin? Leopard print is a very busy pattern. It doesn’t take much for it to become too overwhelming. The key is to take a completely neutral look and substitute one item with something that is leopard print. See a few examples below.

The Reformation – Marlon Pant

A pair of black slacks or jeans can be very predictable. That’s why I’m really loving this cropped pant paired with a basic black short sleeve tee. It just makes this look a bit more bold don’t you think? Who doesn’t want more fun? Since it’s still winter (booooo!), try pairing these pants with a black or brown blazer. You could also pull in a fitted cashmere sweater in a fun color like candy apple green or pink.

Aren’t these loafers fun? Can’t you imagine throwing them on with some cropped jeans, a basic white tea, hoop earrings and a beige boyfriend cardigan before you head out to run a few errands on a Saturday? These loafers exude just the right amount of panache and upgrade the typical “running errands” fit (short for outfit) to look effortlessly cool.

J. Crew – Demylee™ X leopard-print scarf

Since the cold weather is still upon us (if you’re an east coaster), then you know a scarf will remain an essential part of our wardrobe at least for the next couple of months. Since that’s the case, why not have a little fun with it? I know heather grey is a safe, neutral choice, but let’s take a little risk! Try pairing this scarf with a green coat or on top of a denim collar shirt.

I don’t know about you, but I think this post was ‘spot on’, if I have to say so myself. Okay, okay. I’m done trying to witty. Let me know what you think about leopard print, if you already have it in your closet, or will be doing some online shopping immediately after reading this post!

xoxo,
shannon b.

Make Room in Your Closet for These 3 Spring Trends

The time change yesterday is one of the last indicators that Spring is officially on the way! Goodbye winter coats, chunky sweaters and over-the-knee boots or OTBs. Hello Spring dresses, open-toe everything and pastel colors.

There are so many Spring trends popping up all over the place and it might be hard to figure out what trend will work best for you. Not to worry! I’ve scoured all of the latest blogs, magazines and clothing stores for you (you’re welcome) and have come up with a short list of three items that you should add to your wardrobe for Spring. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Polka dots
I know what you’re going to say. “Polka dots! Really?” Yes! Polka dots are big this season, but don’t feel like you have to go crazy and buy a whole polka dot ensemble. It’s definitely a statement making pattern, so you don’t want to go overboard. Too much can be overwhelming and a bit childish looking. Pick one polka dot piece…a blouse, pencil skirt or cigarette pants and pair it with a solid color. Maybe try polka dot accessories like a clutch bag or an umbrella (ella, ella, ella, eh) for those rainy Spring afternoons. Polka dots always seem to find their way back into the “on-trend” rotation, but this time they have returned with a twist. Instead of the traditional white dots against a black or navy blue background, we’re seeing white dots and multicolored dots against non-traditional colors like forest green and copper. Give this trend a try and after it runs its course, store them somewhere in your closet. I’m sure it will come back around as a “must-have” trend in the next few years.

2. Straw bag
Nothing says Spring/Summer more than a straw bag and this new trend comes in so many fun shapes and sizes. Up until this season, most of the straw bags I’ve seen were typically a large tote size. Now, I’m seeing them in clutch, bucket and medium size. And if you think, straw bags are only for the beach, then I beg you to think outside of the box. Straw bags are making their way into the corporate office, on brunch dates with your girlfriends and to happy hour with co-workers. Though I’m a big fan of a neutral color straw bag because they basically go with any and everything, bold colored straw bags can be the pop of color you need to break up a monochromatic ensemble.

3. Flare sleeves
I’m happy to report that flare sleeves (or bell sleeves) are still on-trend. I actually wrote about them in my last Spring trends blog and I guess they have now become sort of a classic. I don’t know if it’s the way they flow when you move your arms back and forth, but wearing flare sleeves always makes me feel really feminine and graceful. Nowadays there are so many flare sleeve options…from blouses to jumpsuits and dresses, and the flares come in various sizes from extremely voluminous to slightly narrow. Flare sleeves are the quintessential Spring piece because they normally come in light, breathable fabrics that provide enough coverage for those cool days, but not too much to where it seems like you’re dressed for a snow storm. Flare sleeves are a perfect Winter to Spring transition piece. Try pairing a flare sleeve dress with OTBs and a sleeveless duster.

Now that I’ve taken all of the hard work out of figuring out what you should wear this Spring, which piece or pieces are you going to add to your closet? Let me know below. Or if there is a trend that I didn’t mention, but you plan to wear, let me know below too.

xoxo,
shannon b.

In Case You’re Feeling Generous…

And have a few extra dollars to spend on gifts for the holiday season, I’m sharing my wish list below. We’re less than a week away from Christmas and I don’t want you to stress about what to get me, so I’m laying it all out for you. You’re welcome!

  1. Arimas Jewelry I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this handmade jewelry line, but I’ve been obsessed for months. Every piece from the Sparkling Chocolate Africa Ring II to the Africa in Bloom Earrings are absolute perfection and I can’t wait to start building up my collection. I’m super inspired by the African themes that are reflected in a lot of the pieces and hope to wear them on my trip to the Motherland next year. I’m typically drawn toward big, bold statement pieces, but I really love the subtleness of this particular line. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think! P.S. The Sparkling Chocolate Africa Ring is on back order, but don’t get discouraged (I’m talking to myself). There are still tons of other fabulous pieces that are in stock and waiting for you to purchase for me!
  2. Carmine Heel Slingback by Coach – I’ve had a pair of slingbacks on my “nice to have” list for a while now. I’ve just been holding out to find the right pair and I’m confident these are it! This slingback screams class and quality, which are two adjectives that come to mind when I think of Coach. Though it might be too cold to break these out just yet, spring is around the corner and I can’t wait to pair them with an off-the-shoulder top and skinny jeans. Also, good news to report… these slingbacks have been reduced significantly in price since I first spotted them, so I’m optimistic that they’ll magically appear under my tree. Don’t all jump at once now!
  3. Mae B. Stationery – Maybe it’s the old lady in me, but I have always collected different kinds of stationery. I am almost ashamed to admit how much money I’ve spent in Papyrus, Paper Source and Hallmark over the last several years. So, as you can imagine, when I found Mae B.’s online store I completely fell in love! From the personalized note cards to the thank you cards and the 2017 weekly calendar, I could totally add every item from the online store in my shopping cart. Since I go completely crazy for stationery, I couldn’t exactly wait for Christmas to unwrap these paper beauties, so my mom snagged a notebook and personalized note cards for my birthday. See below. I absolutely love them, but of course I want more!

So there you have it. A few items that are on my Christmas wish list. I really think this list is obtainable for you, but you have to order now so that I’ll get them in time for Christmas. Got it? Okay! Happy shopping!

XOXO,
shannon b.

How to Dress for Wishy-Washy Weather

As I was driving home last week wearing a two-piece wool ensemble in 40 degree weather, I had a quick meeting with God. It went something like this:

“Aren’t we in April? Where’s the warm weather? Why am I wearing wool in spring?”

I’m still waiting on a response from him, but I understand he’s rather busy. I’ll just be patient. In the mean time I started to question myself about how to dress for this crazy weather. And I figured, if I had questions then I’m sure you do too. So I put together a few wardrobe pieces that I think will help us weather this inconsistent season.

Medium-weight scarf

I’m sure I made up the term medium-weight scarf, but I’m trying to emphasize the importance of the material. I wouldn’t recommend a wool scarf nor would I recommend a feather-light weight scarf either. You need something right in the middle. A scarf is a great accessory, but during those confusingly cold spring days, they can provide great warmth. I recommend getting a sweater long enough to wrap around your arms. Since I’m done with stockings for the rest of the year, I even used a scarf to wrap around my legs last week while I was in the office because I’m 100 percent sure the air conditioner was on!

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ASOS Oversized Scarf In Herringbone With Tassels

 

Open-toe booties

Soooo, for many years I was really against open-toe booties. I just didn’t get the concept. Boots were made to keep your feet warm. Cutting a whole at the top, seemed oxymornish to me…until I found a pair that I really fell in love with. Now, I have more than a few open-toe booties in my closet. Now that I’m reformed, I highly recommend open-toe booties for those wishy-washy weather days because they’re perfect in the morning when it’s still rather cold outside and you need something to keep your feet warm. By the time you head out for lunch and it’s warmed up a bit, your little toesies will be grateful to feel the warmth of the sun.

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Vince Addie Sandal

Long sleeveless jacket 

I’ve admired long sleeveless jackets for the past few seasons. They provide just enough coverage on your torso to keep you warm, but don’t extend down to your wrists like a typical jacket or coat. Sleeveless jackets are versatile and allow you to mix textures and colors. For example, the sleeveless jacket might be suede and the long sleeve shirt you wear under it might be satin material. Sleeveless jackets look great with a spring dress, midi skirt, flare jeans, a silky blouse, etc.  The key word here is versatility.

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Glamorous Stone Long Sleeveless Jacket 

Fingers crossed that the weather will stabilize soon, but in the mean time, I think these three pieces will help you get through the inconsistency. What staple item are you relying on during this wishy-washy season?

XOXO,
shannon b.

Where I Like to Shop

Have you ever been out and about and you see someone wearing something really cute? You build up enough courage to walk up to them and pay them a compliment and also to ask where they purchased such beautiful clothes or accessories and they say:

“Oh, thank you! This old thing? I’ve had it for so long, I can’t even begin to remember when and where I got it. Sorry.”

Now, there might be some people out there who genuinely forget where they bought certain things. I’m not one of those people! And I hate to say it, but sometimes I’m skeptical of their, quote-on-quote, “memory loss”. To emphasize my skepticism, I had to both spell out quote-on-quote and also include quotation marks (I’m petty).

My point is, I think most people do remember where they purchased their really amazing knock-out pieces…but (the clincher), they don’t want to let you in on the deal so they fake, quote-on-quote, “memory loss”. Get it? I know I should have more trust in humanity, but typically most people have about a handful of stores that they frequent on a regular basis. All I’m saying is, it’s easy to do a quick process of elimination and narrow down where you bought something.

I definitely don’t have a problem sharing where I purchased specific items in my wardrobe and will even let someone know if I purchased it a while ago (like years) to save them from wasting their time trying to find it. Along with asking where I purchase specific wardrobe pieces, people also ask me where I shop, which is the purpose of this blog. My list of shopping “go-to’s” is below!

1. Anthropologie

Anthropologie’s brick and mortar store is literally one of my happy places. I could actually move in and live there! They have a comfy bed (don’t ask how I know), plates and forks. What else does a girl need? Okay, I digress. The scent, the furniture, the diverse collection of books are all absolutely wonderful and I haven’t even gotten to the clothes yet. Clothing from Anthropologie helps me release my inner free-spirit. Even though I wouldn’t characterize my style as bohemian, I can always find something in Anthropologie that catches my eye…from a quirky blazer to a funky skirt or trendy sunnies. I never go wrong with Anthro!

2. Asos

I’m a big fan of Asos because their prices are reasonable and they have a big inventory of petite sizes. I also like that they update their looks fairly often. I definitely peruse through Asos to find trendier pieces. I’ve scored some nice dresses for work and accessories that I almost always receive compliments on. Asos sells styles for women of all of shapes and sizes. I will warn that it does take a while for their shipment to be delivered, so brace yourself. They help me practice patience.

3. J.Crew (aka the Mecca)

Of course, this wouldn’t be my list if J.Crew was not included. It would have been number one, but I put all of the stores in alphabetical order to refrain from showing favoritism; however, if you’ve even read at least two of my blog posts, you know how absolutely obsessed I am with everything about J.Crew. Their fabrics, colors, cuts, prints, styles, shoes, accessories, cardigans, dresses, shorts, jean jackets, pants, etc. I could go on and on. They are my everything store, meaning I can shop there for all occasions…work, travel, date night, casual day, etc. I love J.Crew!

4. Lulu’s

I can’t quite remember when I stumbled upon Lulu’s website, but I have been hooked since the first visit. Lulu’s is my favorite site to buy really cute dresses, especially for weddings. I think the dresses I’m drawn to the most in my closet (besides J.Crew) are from Lulu’s. They’re fun, flirty and feminine. They also have really cute rompers, jumpers and accessories. When my mother renewed her vows last year on a beach in Bermuda, I selected a dress from Lulu’s as my matron of honor attire. I think that says a lot about how I feel about their dresses!

5. Madewell 

I think the name says it all and their close affiliation with J.Crew doesn’t hurt. I love Madewell clothing for their simplicity in design. Simple patterns, clean lines, basic colors. I also really love their stretch jeans and totes. Madewell is perfect for the person that thinks J.Crew is too preppy, but H&M is too trendy. I think Madewell falls right in the middle. I think what made me love the brand even more was when they selected Solange Knowles as their spokesmodel a few years ago. She gave the clothes extra life!

6. TJMaxx

I am ABSOLUTELY a Maxxinista and have no shame! TJMaxx is one of those stores that I walk into without a real goal, but almost 75 percent of the time I come out with a great pair of shoes, killer dress or fabulous blazer. You definitely have to be in the mood and mindset to rummage through massive amounts of clothes and leave no stone unturned to find the perfect piece, but the takeaway is totally worth it. I usually don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of clothes because I have a strategy. I hit the shoes first, make my way to dresses, over to tops/blazers, I might make a slight detour to home accents and then I’m out. Don’t overlook TJMaxx! They usually always have a few precious gems.

Now, that I’ve taken the time to review my favorite stores and the specific things I love about each of them, I’m questioning rather I’m more trendy than I care to admit. Nah! Since this is a 50-50 relationship, I’d love to read about where you like to shop. If you had a limitless clothing allowance, where would you spend all of your duckets (do people still say that)? Respond in my comments box!

xoxo,
shannon b.

My Top 3 Spring Fashion Must-Haves

Now that spring is officially here, I’m super excited to shed the long coats, black tights (I abandoned them back in February…judge me) and bulky sweaters! Hello to bare legs, open toes and sun-kissed shoulders.  So far, I’m loving all of the spring trends that have sprouted up from the cold winter soil. While my bank account won’t allow me (sigh) to purchase every new, shiny, springy item my heart desires, a girl can dream right? And a girl can whittle her wish list down to three essential spring wardrobe pieces and share it with the masses (aka my amazing readers) right?

So here goes! Here are three items I plan to invest in for the spring season.

1Bell sleeves

Every where I look I see bell sleeves and I love it! I think they are perfect for the transition from winter to spring, when the weather still fluctuates from a nice mild temperature to downright cold. The sleeves provide enough coverage for warmth, but don’t extend all the way to your wrists like most winter wear. I also love the volume and flowiness of a bell sleeve. Nothing is more feminine. Ring my bell!

 


2. Flare jeans

I missed the flared jeans era in the 60s and 70s, but I’m glad they made a comeback (like most styles). Though, I have to be careful as a petite girl in wearing them and making sure they don’t make me look even shorter. I’m still willing to take the risk! I think the trick is wearing some really high platform heels. I can’t wait to add this groovy denim look into my wardrobe rotation. I also think flare jeans go well with the third item on this list.

 


3. Off-the-shoulder top/dress

Maybe it’s me, but don’t off-the-shoulder tops/dresses seem like a mature version of a tube top/dress? My theory is that tube tops/dresses are for teenyboppers and off-the-shoulder tops/dresses are for sexy, classy grown women, right? I don’t have anything against tube tops/dresses, but I’ve never been comfortable wearing them on the account of my more than abundant bust size (ughh). I’m betting that this new off-the-shoulder trend might finally be my opportunity achieve a tube-topish kind of look!

 

As I said, there are so many new looks and trends for spring that I want to bring home, but everything in moderation I guess (sigh). What are your top essentials for spring? Please share! I’d love to see if we’re “eyeing” the same things.

Have a great week!

xoxo,
shannon b.

 

If I Had To Do It Again

As my fifth-year wedding anniversary approaches, I’m reminded that wedding season is upon us and am crossing my fingers that I will receive at least one invitation because I absolutely love going to weddings! I have to admit that I was never one of those girls that dreamed about their wedding day nor did I have a hidden stash of wedding magazines and planners that I secretly obsessed over. I was perfectly happy heading to the courthouse to exchange vows and spending the rest of the money on an over-the-top honeymoon. If I had to do it again, I would pick a courthouse or destination wedding, but one thing that I wouldn’t change was getting a wedding dress.

I absolutely loved my wedding dress!! Truth be told, my mom actually picked it out and I knew it was the one as soon as I tried it on. It was a long, full princess dress with rouching from the bust down the torso and the train was full of silk flower embellishments. It was perfect!!  And my mom (thank you) paid a pretty penny for it. You would think that with all of the love and adoration that I have for the dress, it would be in pristine condition, stored in a glass box, sitting on a pedestal, in our foyer for all to see.

Wellllllll (in my Larry David voice)…that’s not quite the case. Believe it or not, my wedding dress is hanging in a closet in my parents house. I asked them to store it when we first got married because we didn’t have a lot of space in our small one-bedroom condo. Since then, we’ve moved into a bigger place and have more than enough space to store any and everything. So you would think that going to reclaim my wedding dress would have been top priority, right? Not exactly, it’s still at my parents house and in the same condition that I left it on my wedding day five years ago. I never even got it dry-cleaned!!! Isn’t that awful? Did I mention that it rained on my wedding day and my ceremony took place outdoors, which means there was some mud on the train of my dress!?!? And five-years later I didn’t have the decency to even get it dry-cleaned? Yep, that’s pretty much my truth. The dress that I absolutely adored and still do, has sat alone, dirty and probably shivering cold in my mom’s storage closet.

So why share this pitiful, heartbreaking (exaggeration) story with you? To save anyone out there that is planning to get married this season or any season in the future and is willing to spend their life-savings on a dress. DON’T DO IT!!! Especially, when there are so many beautiful and affordable dresses out there to choose from. I found a few that I absolutely love.

All of these dresses are absolutely beautiful and won’t break the bank. You might have to factor in costs for alterations, but depending on the extent of the tailoring, the price should be minimal.

So, the big question is, if I had to do it again, would I pick the dress I wore or one of the lovely gowns above?  I have to say that I would still pick the dress I wore, as long as mom paid for it again (wink, wink). Even though my actions show otherwise, I’m still very much in love with my dress and I couldn’t imagine my special day without it. I guess the moral of this story is, I’m a walking contradiction! I do think it’s wise to get a dress that is financially practical, but I also think you should go with what you love and what makes you feel special. My dress made me feel special from the first time I put it on, through many visits with the seamstress to the last time I wore it walking down the aisle. Look at how happy I was! I mean obviously I was thrilled to marry the best guy ever, but the dress definitely made me smile too!

XOXO,
shannon b.

Kick rocks, winter!

This winter season brought great, new wardrobe pieces to my closet, like my over-the-knee black, suede boots by Sam Edelman and my sandy-colored J.Crew winter coat that I wore practically everyday, BUT, spring can’t come soon enough and this Friday is officially the first day of the new season!

Good riddance to my stockings, tights, coats, gloves and heavy scarves. Am I being a bit harsh? Probably, but I’ve never loved the winter season. Even though I’m a December baby, in my heart I was born right in the midst of the spring season when the tulips and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the sun stays out longer and the atmosphere is covered with a thick coat of pollen (sorry, I’m one of the rare breeds that doesn’t have allergies).

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of the negativity out of the way (cold weather makes me say mean things), let’s talk about some of the awesome items I’m looking forward to this spring.

White spring coats
So, I might have become a bit obsessed with white spring coats. Just earlier this week, I had two of them in my closet. I am happy to report that I returned one. Having two white coats is a bit much, unless I’m a doctor. Here are a few that I really like.


Spring dresses
I love wearing dresses all year-round, but there’s something magical about wearing them in the spring, when your bare arms and legs finally get to feel the warmth of the sun after winter’s cold grip. I can imagine myself wearing one of the following dresses while there’s a subtle breeze and the bottom of my dress sways with the wind.


Wooden platform wedges
Full disclosure…in my mind, I’m tall and statuesque like a giraffe, but in reality I am short, petite and stand five feet tall. I totally love and accept my actual height, but I’m definitely looking forward to breaking out my wooden platform sandals this spring. They elongate my profile and I love the way they look with a sundress or a pair of white or flared jeans.


XOXO,
shannon b.