Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Wore: New Year's Eve Pt. II

Yesterday Katie shared her NYE look and I absolutely loved her sequin leggings. Here's my take with a different type of sparkle. We all know that I love an all black look, so it should be no surprise that's what I chose. I also love a good statement necklace with a red lip for a pop of color.

Top // Loft (similar)
Skirt // Loft (similar)
Heels // Enzo Angiolini (similar)
Necklace // Bauble Bar (same but different color, also love this option)
Earrings // The Limited

One of the things that I absolutely love about this skirt is that it has pockets. Any skirt or dress that has pockets is infinitely better in my opinion! All of these pieces were also pulled from my capsule wardrobe, so this look gets extra points from me. 

What are your plans for the New Year? Mine are still up in the air and I'm looking for suggestions! (I put the pro in procrastinate!)


Monday, December 29, 2014

What I Wore: New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve, for me, is an excuse to get dressed up in one of my favorite things to wear: sequins (which, if it were socially and fashionably acceptable, I would wear everyday.) This year is no different. I am pairing a pair of Lucy Paris sequin leggings with a plain black tee for a laid back, yet sparkly look.

Here's what I am wearing:

Top: Nordstrom BP; Pants: Lucy Paris; Shoes: Louboutin.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gift Guide: Gifting Myself

Each year for my birthday and Christmas, I always go out and get myself a little something. I'm not sure how it started, but I have really enjoyed treating myself to something around the holidays and my birthday (Christmas Eve). The past few years it's been a new pair of boots. This year I decided to switch it up a bit and put together a little gift basket of some of the smaller things that I didn't put on my Christmas list. Here's what I'm giving to myself:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11

I'll be honest, numbers 5, 6, 7 and 9 are on my Christmas list, but they're also items that I would gladly go out and purchase for myself. All the rest are others that have caught my attention recently. They're nothing too exciting, but a great mix of practical needs and fun wants. Are you getting yourself anything for the holidays? Share what you're gifting yourself below.

Till next time,

Monday, December 22, 2014

What I Wore: Nutcracker & Tulle

I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw this weekend when I attended The Joffrey Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. I paired a gold top from Nordstrom with my favorite look for this holiday season -- a huge tulle skirt. While it definitely spilled over into the seat next to me, this skirt screams holidays and looked great paired with a wool Nanette Lepore blazer.

Here's how I wore it:

Skirt: Akira Chicago; Top: Nordstrom; Blazer: Nanette Lepore; Shoes: Louboutin.

Bag: YSL.

Tulle is my favorite look this holiday season!

XO & Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I Wore: Travel Day

Happy Wednesday! Mr. and I are in Houston this week. We arrived yesterday and I thought I'd share my travel outfit with you. And, this is the first outfit I'm sharing from my winter capsule!

Top // Gap
Cardigan // Banana Republic
Bottoms // Aritzia
Shoes // Aldo
Scarf // Francesca's Collection

These pants are the comfiest thing on earth. When I first tried them on I seriously questioned whether something so amazing could exist. They're an awesome spandex fabric that makes them really comfy to move around in. They were the perfect travel option! I always wear a cardigan and bring a scarf as I always freeze on planes. Love this Francesca's Collection scarf that doubles as a blanket. All together I love this travel outfit!

And hey! I got a haircut! I was so ready for a change and am happy with how it turned out. This is probably the shortest my hair has ever been, but I kinda want to go even shorter! Maybe next time!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Natalie's Winter Capsule Wardrobe

If you missed it, or want a refresher, you can find an introduction to my capsule wardrobe here. I started all of this because I was unhappy with what I had in my closet and getting dressed in the morning was a real pain. I had a ton of stuff that I only liked and just a few pieces that I loved. And what's the point of having something you don't love? I narrowed it down and for the next 3 months I'll be rotating 36 pieces. 19 of them I pulled from storage or rolled over from my last capsule, and the rest are new. Here's an overview...

From my trial run capsule from September - November, I learned a few things: I like feminine fabrics, clean lines, and monochrome. It's much easier to put pieces together in the morning if all of the pieces already go together. I tried to find an accent color and decided on burgundy/wine. But, I had a hard time finding things that I loved. So, I have a few burgundy, red and blush pink... kinda sticking with the pink/red family which I love for the holidays.

Here's how I put it together:

Step 1: Plan
The first thing I did was look at my calendar. Since my winter capsule will take me through Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, and multiple birthday's, I wanted to make sure I had enough holiday appropriate-ware. Then I looked a my work calendar. We're business casual M-Th, and casual on F. We have a few meetings coming up that call for full-on business, so I'm just going to switch out my pants on those days/weeks for my more business/suit trousers. Since they're not something that I'll be wearing on a weekly or even monthly basis, it didn't seem necessary to include in the entire capsule. I also know there is at least one trip to Texas in December and one to Boston in February. So keeping those in mind was important.

Then, I tried to decide on a number that worked for me. I allowed myself up to 40 pieces, but fell under that at 36. Here's how I allotted them: 20 tops, 9 bottoms, 1 dress, 4 jackets and 6 shoes. Below you can see the planner that I used. Everything that is in italics is rolled over or pulled from storage. The majority of my items are from Banana Republic, Aritzia and Loft. When shopping I looked for good sales and when I found something I really liked, I bought it in multiple colors.

Step 2: Shoes
Chicago is stupid cold, so I knew the easiest second step would be shoes - they're a no-brainer. I took my only 2 tall boots, 1 pair of booties, 1 pair of flats, and 1 pair of heels. They'll work with the weather, and they're versatile! I had wanted to add an additional pair of booties but couldn't find a pair that I loved. I think if I happen to find some while I'm out, I'll allow myself to buy those, but otherwise no shopping for me!

Bottom row (L-R): Cognac Boots*; Black Boots
*=actual item in my capsule
Step 3: Tops & Jackets
This is where the majority of my budget went for the season. I knew I wanted more sweaters and a few basic tops. One thing I absolutely wanted/needed to add was a basic black top that wasn't just a cotton t-shirt. Check. I also wanted some boxy sweaters, and lots of black and cream. Check and check! I also knew this was where I wanted to add the color. Blazers are included in this category too! I don't have images for everything that's in my capsule. If I couldn't find the exact item, then I tried to find something similar.

Step 4: Bottoms
There are only a few bottoms that I wear on a regular basis, so this was easy. Mostly because I absolutely despise shopping for pants. Probably because I'm not a stick. I've have an ass and hips (thanks mom!). Don't get me wrong, I love having curves, but they really make shopping a pain. Ya feel me? I have a professional work environment and a causal home life, so the majority of my bottoms reflect my professional work place. Casual Friday's are awesome, so I do have some jeans thrown in for that and the weekends. Also leggings with long shirts or long cardigans are okay in my book, so I have 2 pairs.

Step 5: The Extras
I wanted to include some extras, so I threw in a black shirtdress, a black skirt and the same skirt in a pink/blush color (all are pieces I don't wear regularly, but will be great with the upcoming holidays). I also hope that having them as part of my capsule will force me to be more creative in wearing them.

Note: Not Included
I haven't included my winter jacket, winter boots and workout clothes. Since Chicago is so cold, I don't typically change my jacket or boots, so those will stay the same.

In the end, there wasn't as much black and I had planned or intended. And there wasn't as much pattern as I wanted. Which is okay! I didn't find any patterned pieces that I really loved, so I passed on them.  I'm really excited about everything that I have for the next 3 months and I can't wait to share the outfits I've been putting together!

Are you doing a capsule wardrobe? Leave a link to your blog in the comments below!

Friday, December 5, 2014

What I Wore: Winter Whites

For our annual Christmas tea at The Peninsula Hotel, I chose to break the winter whites. I wore a heavy, white sweater and grey leggings with silver and gold jewelry — sticking to the holiday feel. Btw, if you haven't had tea at The Peninsula, especially during Christmas, I encourage you to try it. It's definitely one of my favorite things to do during the holidays!

Here's what I wore:

Sweater & Necklace: H&M; Leggings: Akira; Boots: Dolce Vita.

Bracelet: Henri Bendel.

My favorite holiday tradition :)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Intro to Natalie's Capsule Wardrobe

I have become obsessed with the idea of minimalism: fewer, better things.

At the end of August I was putting away laundry and realized I had absolutely no.more.room. My closet was literally bursting at the seams. I had hangers on my closet door knobs and my bedroom door knobs. And then I was moving stuff to the closet in another bedroom and I became overwhelmed. In taking a step back and really looking at what was in my closet, I realized that I had way too much crap. There were a lot of things in my closet that I didn't love. What's the point of having something that is just okay?

So, I did a major clear-out. Inspired by Caroline, I went through and got rid of the stuff that I don't wear, don't like or that doesn't fit. Pretty simple, no? Then I started narrowing it down. What did I purchase only because it was on sale? Does it fit? What is versatile? What's the quality of it? And anything that had a negative response was thrown out. I kept out what I love and what's seasonally appropriate. Anything else was put into storage. So now I have a rotation of items that I love and get tons of use out of.

I haven't narrowed it down quite as much as I'd like to, but like anything else, it's a work in progress. The idea is to have 4 capsules that you rotate every season and only add a few new pieces each time around. You carry over from season to season those pieces that are seasonally appropriate and that you still love. You pull some from storage and then fill in the gaps with new pieces.

After going through my closet, I looked at the gaps that needed to be filled (i.e. a plain black blouse - I mean, how have I not had one of those?) and went shopping. And for the past 3 months (September - November) I've only worn those. Since I have a professional work environment and very casual home environment, I have more pieces than Caroline has in her capsule (she has 37, I have 40). Since my wardrobe requirements change from work to home so drastically, I felt it was necessary to have a few extras. Having done a trail capsule and done it successful, I'm sharing this time around!

I've started applying this minimalistic idea to my entire life. I've narrowed down the amount of beauty products I have (except for the Sephora Beauty Insider sale - hello 20% off!), I cleared out my bookshelf of the books I know I'll never read and have realized I'm much more content with what I have. I don't struggle in the morning to get ready, I'm not overwhelmed by crap, and I feel good with what I have. I've invested in quality pieces that I know will last and they're pieces that I love! No more buying things just because they're on sale or are "in" for the season. And this has helped me define my style. I've realized I really love monochromatic looks and I like sleek lines. I like soft fabrics (silk and cashmere), but I like throwing in edgy accessories like black leather booties and hard, metal jewelry.

This has also really helped with my budgeting! I'm spending less because I'm strategically planning out what I'm going to be wearing ahead of time, so I'm not running out thinking, Oh, I need a black cardigan, and come back with way more than I intended to buy in the first place. Granted, I'm spending a big chunk of money in a two week period, but if I break it down, I end up spending less that way, than if I did doing normal shopping every few weeks. And, I'm guaranteed to love everything that I buy. Again, no more buying because it's on sale or "in". 

So that's my introduction to my capsule wardrobe! If you stuck through this post, congratulations - I know it was a long one! I'll share with you my capsule for December - February next week and I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Have you tried the whole capsule wardrobe thing? How is it going for you? Do you have any tips to share? Leave a link below if you're blogging about yours! I'd love to see how everyone does their capsule

Monday, November 24, 2014

Natalie's Winter Skincare Essentials

Winter in Chicago is brutal. Wind, snow, -40 temps on a regular basis... All of that definitely takes a toll on my skin. I've started feeling the effects of winter already, so I've rounded up my favorite winter essentials:

L-R: Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment, Vaseline Lip Therapy, Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Clarisonic Mia
In the winter I switch out my cleanser from the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash to something a little less drying. I love Checks and Balances - it's a really great cleanser, but I find that it really strips all the oil from my face and leaves me feeling dry and tight. The Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser is one of my all-time favorites. I use this all year round, but use it exclusively in the winter. It gets rid of all the dirt and excess oil without leaving me feeling like I just took a vacuum to my pores.

I've been trying out the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, and I'm in love! I use this in the shower about once a week to get rid of any dry/flaky skin and to smooth everything out. It's ridiculously  pricey, but it works! A little goes a long way, so this small tube will last a while. Will I repurchase it? I'm not sure. I'm all for treating my skin well, but I'm pretty sure I can find an exfoliant that doesn't break the bank. Any suggestions?

Because my skin does get so dry, I've been loving the GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment. I used this last week when I started to get red, dry patches along my jaw line. I used this in the evening and left it on for maybe 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Then, before bed, I applied a small amount to the really dry areas and they were perfect by morning! I bought this mini size as part of the Sephora Favorites Beauty Unmasked set that came with a handful of different masks. I love trying out the minis before deciding if they're worth purchasing the full size. This one is definitely worth checking out if you get dry, flaky or even red skin. It's very soothing!

We can't forget the lips now can we? Mr. appreciates that I use this, and I kinda like it too! The Vaseline Lip Therapy is one of my favorite lip treatments. I use this in the morning and evening. I put this on right after I get out of the shower in the morning so that it has time to soak in while I'm doing my makeup and hair. Then, when I'm ready to put on my lipstick, this is a really great base for sheering out any lipsticks that might be too pigmented on their own. In the evening, I apply a heavier coat so that my lips are nice and soft in the morning. The tub isn't the most hygienic way to apply this, but I love it nonetheless.

Now that we've talked about how dry my skin gets during the winter, let's talk about how oily it is during the rest of the year. I had been using a gel-based moisturizer/hydrater for eons, and decided to switch it up after thinking that maybe it was my moisturizer that was making my skin so oily. Turns out, I was right. The Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation is the best moisturizer that I've tried in a long time. I use this at night and in the morning, and it sits really well under my makeup, which is always a plus!

About once a month I'll pull out my Clarisonic Mia with the Delicate brush head. I use this with the Aveeno foaming cleanser and follow up with a generous amount of the Sheer Transformation. This is great for smoothing my skin, a deep cleanse and it perks up my skin!

I hope this was helpful! I rely on these products so much during the winter and so far, they haven't failed me. What do you use in the winter to keep your skin healthy and hydrated?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Skirt

As Thanksgiving creeps closer, I am reminded more and more that the holidays are coming and more and more that I still need to find the perfect midi skirt for all of the holiday festivities that are about to start beating down my door. Holiday is stress kicking into full gear. Ya know?

I have been obsessing over tulle lately and feel that this would make for the perfect look for the Nutcracker ballet and or a Christmas tea or two. Here are a few skirts I am currently debating on. Which one do you guys like? Help!

Nordstrom - Bailey 44 Shadow Waltz Skirt

Nordstrom ASTR Metallic Crinkle Midi

Akira - Festive Rose Skirt

Akira - Gracia Hi Low Shine Skirt


Monday, November 17, 2014

What I Wore: It's Cold Outside

It's cold in Chicago. And it's only mid-November. Ran out for a Peppermint Mocha on this Sunday morning and put on my new Rails plaid and new Dolce Vita riding boots, along with a cozy scarf, mittens and a little YSL.

Here's what I wore:

Top: Rails; Coat: Joie, Leggings: Akira Chicago; Boots: Dolce Vita.

Scarf: Nordstrom BP; Gloves: H&M; Bag: YSL.