This + That // Sales + Steals

April 29, 2016

I cannot remember the last time I felt this ready for a weekend to be upon us. This week has seemed especially long and exhausting and I have gone to sleep way past my "bedtime" every night. This happens to be the first weekend my husband and I are both in town for what seems like forever (at least a month!). To celebrate we're planning to do some fun things in the city; like a hike on Saturday and the Art Market on Sunday. Hoping to also do some sleeping in and eat a few yummy meals, too.  On top of that we may venture down town to Barneys to scout out some new perfume for me. My friend Michaela that I was with last weekend just recently got Byredo's Rose of No Man's Land, which was one on my list to look into, and she loves it.

Be sure to read this weeks favorite read, Emily Henderson's "How a Blog Post Gets Made." It's a behind the scenes view into what blogging is all about, and it may or may not blow your mind. (read on to get the sales + steals)

This + That

Some Sales

  • Ann Taylor: 50% off select full price styles! (Say hello to the most perfect dressy tank)
  • Anthropologie: Take 20% off full priced jeans for a limited time only. (I’m pretty much obsessed with this fresh take on white denim.
  • Athleta: Free 2 day shipping on orders over $75 with code SHIPFREE (Um, Athleta Girl? Who knew. Great to know of this for gifts if you have any little girls in your life! I’ve been wanting to add more workout “tees” to my collection and this one is pretty perfect. This is the cutest beach tote bag I’ve seen all season for an amazing price.)
  • Banana Republic: 40% off regular priced items with code BRSAVE – tons of new arrivals! (This tunic looks so cute on the model and it would be such a versatile piece, if you thought you were sick of the off the shoulder trend, this top will instantly change your mind)
  • Biscuit Home: the border collection is on sale! Get shams and duvets while you can before the sell out! (this Mexico cookbook is also too gorgeous to pass up)
  • Calypso St. Barth: For 2 days only enjoy an extra 60% off select sale styles! (This dress in navy is the perfect dress up or down dress for summer)
  • Charm & Chain: 40% off select styles! (where to begin…these Dannijo earrings are stunning, this Eddie Borgo bracelet is such a cool classic, love these Lulu Frost earrings, and this Vita Fede cuff is such a steal!)
  • Equipment: New styles added to the spring sale with some items up to 60% off! (this shirt dress is perfection…)
  • Furbish: fantastic final markdowns! (this pillow would be a great accent on a bed or chair, and I love this print by Dorthy Shain)
  • GAP: 40% off all dresses and polos + 35% off the rest of your purchase with code STYLE (This scarf reminds me a lot of Lemlem – would look great with an all white look. My friend Kristen had this top last weekend and it looked adorable – you know I can’t say no to a great white shirt. I also love thiswhite tank for those days when its hotter than hot outside.)
  • J.Crew: Extra 40% off sale styles and 30% off everything else with code SCORE (This is the perfect spring sweater in so many great colors – I don’t know that I could pick a favorite. I also have this tee in my cart in three different colors at the moment – at 40% off its hard to resist a classic tee.)
  • J.Crew Factory: 40 – 50% off warm weather must haves!
  • LOFT: 40% off sweet styles and 60% off all sale styles (I love all things Lou and Grey, but this might need to be my next purchase for all of my upcoming travels. Also, how great is this guy? Already in my cart)
  • H&M: Get free shipping on orders over $35 with code 3411! (this dress has it all – stripes, off-the-shoulder, and mini pom-poms! – also loving this easy maxi dress and this white top)
  • Mango: 30% off select dresses! (this is a great LBD, adoring this red off-the-shoulder number, and this flowy gingham option is adorable)
  • Old Navy: Now through Saturday, 4/30, take 30% off with code THANKYOU (The reviews on this dress are great and the fit of it looks to be super cute and flattering. I really want a pair of white denim shorts, but am not wanting to splurge on anything too pricy right now, these also have great reviews. I may just have to order! Also, this could be my chance to try a one piece bathing suit without spending too much.)
  • Shopbop: SO many great new arrivals to the sale section! (This dress is at the top of my list – I would have thrown this on today in a heartbeat. These jeans look pretty much perfect for spring – I need to retire my darker wash jeans for the season! I have these sandals from a few years back and they are some of the most comfortable I own and well worth the investment. This Tularosa dress is adorable for summertime, Fourth of July anyone?)
  • The Outnet: Extra 30% off “very important pieces” – curious? Definitely worth checking out! (this dress and this dress both caught my eye!)
  • West Elm: Massive markdowns – up to 70% off – in every category! (omg I am dying over this mirror and this mirror, this bar cart, these polkadot towels, and this mug because it’s just too hilariously cute)

Some Steals

1. Ray-Ban Highstreet Sunnies ($150 → $112) // 2. J Brand Martini Mid-Rise Flare Jeans ($224 → $89) // 3. Madewell Sol Sana Tegan Criss-cross Slide Sandals ($90 → $84 + extra 30% with code "FLASH")

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Style

Puff Blouse

The current collection and recent arrivals at H&M have completely caught our attention. From dresses like thisthis and this, to swimwear (scallops!) and shorts (tassel detailing!), there’s so many good pieces at great prices. In our baskets: this easy, breezy puff-sleeved blouse. The bock-printed pattern and contrast embroidery makes it win. Even better that it has some lace-up action!

Style

Les Sardines

Clare Vivier is a notorious Francophile and her love of French culture and history can be seen in many pieces…like this “Liberal les Sardines” flat clutch. Googling informed us that the saying (“Free the Sardines”) and sketch is common in French street art, perhaps because of the country’s fishing industry loses. Whatever the case, we adore the stripes and hand-drawn detail. Also find it here.

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

Les Bonbons + Mi Go

April 28, 2016

I'm so glad that I scooped up the Les Bonbons earrings I'm wearing in these photos back in February. Not just because I love them and wear them all the time, but also because the hand-embroidered drops by Rebecca de Ravenel are selling like hot cakes. You can currently shop them from Rebecca's site and also in "The Bridesmaid Collection" trunkshow on Moda 'Operandi (but several pairs are already sold out). What makes them so special? Well they make a big statement but are lighter than air (truly! they are hollow and wrapped in silk cording) and chic but also whimsical. I convinced my mom to get a pair for herself to wear to my younger brother's wedding in June and I cannot wait to see them on her - they will totally make her outfit! And just to show that they go with everything, I paired them with one of my favorite Mi Golondrina blouses...

 

Hand-embroidered earrings meet hand-embroidered blouse. Kind of great, right? You’d think it would all be too much but I think it works…the earrings just bring an element of fun to what is a casual, easy outfit. And I feel like I should mention that I borrowed the Soludos from my mama’s closet. Mol and I shot this look in Kansas City (on the prettiest sunny day – died for the blooming orchid-colored trees) and I couldn’t help slipping on the leather smoking slippers. I have my eye on the tan hue (Molly has them in black) and think I’ll be making that purchase soon – they are just so comfortable and practical!

Psssst: if you love this top and live in Houston, try to stop into the Mi Golondrina trunk show our friend Cristina is hosting today at Biscuit (event info)! Shopping the trunk shows is kind of the best way to get your hands on the one-of-a-kind pieces. However, there are two Mi Golondrina dresses for sale on Moda ‘O (this and this) and they are both amazing color combinations!

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Beauty

Tidal Water

We’ve all been seeing “water creams” hitting the beauty market, right? The creams are exciting because they’re great for any type of skin and deliver an intense amount of immediate hydration. If you’re looking to try a water cream, we highly suggest the Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream by Sunday Riley. We use it ourselves and love that it not only hydrates and plumps the skin, but has ingredients that gently exfoliate and target dark spots. It’s way more than the average H2° cream!

Style

Carrson Sandals

Chunky heels meet minimalism with this sandal by Steve Madden. Called the Carrson (has anyone else noticed how SM always adds extra letters when naming their products?!), the 3.75 inch height won’t be impossible to walk in thanks to a substantial heel and toe strap. It comes in multiple colors (see them all here) but we think the powder blue suede version is precious for spring and summer. Wear it as a neutral and it will go with everything or pair with contrasting hues for a pop.

Current Vibes

April 27, 2016

I move one week from today! Lots to do, lots to do. Which is why I'm going to keep this intro very brief. Because why bore you with my current list of crazy when you can read the fun list of current vibes? One thing I will say - if you're in the Houston area you should try to stop by Biscuit tomorrow from 2:00-7:00pm because my dear, sweet, talented friend Cristina is brining her fantastic Mi Golondrina collection in store for a massive trunk show. Her embroidered and hand-made Mexican pieces are an addiction and closet staples. There will also be margaritas. So I'll see ya there.

1. ENJOYING // J.CREW: I know a lot of people say that they are “over” J.Crew but I’m just not and probably never will be. It’s still a place I can walk into or visit online and find at least one thing I want or several things I need. And while that might not be a great thing for my wallet, I find comfort in the fact that it’s a reliable brand. Lately I’ve been particularly charmed by the Crew – from Mickey Drexler’s email inviting people to send him feedback via his personal email address (!), to Jenna’s 5-day gingham styling challenge on the blog (yes, I do now want the ankle-wrap sandals), the latest style guide (so. many. stripes. and re-invented classics), and new arrivals that actually feel new – I’m feeling excited about the vibes they are putting out. Which is why the brand is one of my current vibes!

2. CRUSHING // DONNI CHARM: You have all seen the monogram mania shop on Moda ‘Operandi, yes? If not, check it out because the selection is unlike any personalization I’ve ever seen. It was within this carefully curated array of products that I discovered Donni Charm – the bandanas, wraps and scarves all stood out to me with their simplicity and Americana vibe. I want one of everything (a true sign that I’ve got a crush) but would settle for the gingham bandana for now. Even better the M’O is offering them to be monogrammed. But seriously, the wonder wrap looks like the ideal spring/summer weight and in Texas you always need a layer for when you’re in the frigid air conditioning!

3. TESTING // BEAUTY DUST: Truth, I am lucky to be the recipient of some pretty cool stuff. Recently I was sent some Beauty Dust. Sounds magical…but this isn’t something you put on your skin, it’s something you drink. Made by Moon Juice, Beauty Dust is just one of several all natural “dust” blends that can be added to liquid and consumed for various healing and transformative results. If I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about it’s because I don’t. I haven’t tried the stuff yet (I have stage-fright when it comes to drinking things if I don’t know what they taste like – blame it on college and shots)! But I feel like anything “blended from alchemizing elements known for their youth-preserving and fortifying qualities” and touted as a “medical-grade formula” that will “gently increase collagen and silica production – resulting in a more glowing complexion, glossier hair and brighter eyes” can’t be a bad thing. Will report back on if I turn into an angel overnight!

4. COVERING // with TURKISH-T: I am a long-time fan of Turkish-T towels and products. There are a lot of Turkish towels in the market but to me, these guys make the softest, most durable, and prettiest versions of the ancient woven fabric. I have many a Turkish-T towel in my life (love the terry lined towel with the zipper pocket is a must-have for the pool and beach!) but I recently picked up two basic towels in the same color (I went with sky) from Biscuit to cover my couch cushions (the ones I sit on, not the ones I lean my back on). I did this because Blue is more like a human than a dog and he is allowed on all the furniture. I love having him close and comfortable but I don’t like when his sometimes muddy paws and extra fur (re: tons of shedding) gets on the cushions. The basic towels cover my sectional perfectly and I wash them once a week. They literally wear like iron, always wash clean and have only gotten softer. Thinking I need to pick up two more – maybe in light blue – for a variety. It’s a small investment that is totally improving my home life. P.S. how fabulous is the new Biscuit site?!

5. READING // THE SLEEP REVOLUTION: Hi, my name is Molly and there is rarely a night that I actually get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunate, debilitating, frustrating – I wake up and feel all the things. I’ve been doing all the things (aside from venturing into sleeping pills and sleep aids): working out, getting in bed early, exhausting myself during the day, practicing breathing techniques, no caffeine after mid-day…nothing is working and I’m literally tired of not being able to sleep. This is why Arianna Huffington’s “The Sleep Revolution” is the next book I’ll be reading. If anything, I’m sure to learn a whole host of sleep-related information from this smart woman!

6. EXCITED FOR // MOTHER’S DAY: I love a good chick flick and so does my mama. So guess what we will be doing next week when she is visiting me and helping me move? Yup, seeing Mother’s Day. A great cast line up, multiple story-lines, and the director of Pretty Woman…sold. It comes out this Friday so if anyone sees it before me do let me know what you think! And yes – I am well aware that I have the most fantastic mother in that she always helps me move and get unpacked and settled – seriously #blessed.

7. LOVING // DAWN WOLFE: Sally and I are all about art work lately. They say that when you start spending more on your home than your closet it’s a sign that you’re an adult. I actually think that may have been a butchered Lauren Conrad quote from her days on The Hills but whatever, I think it’s pretty true. With my upcoming move from the current apartment I’m in to the lower level of a duplex just around the corner, I have a list of things I want/need for the new space and I’ve been space planning on graph paper all week (my Interior Design professors would be so proud but also so confused as to where my AutoCAD skills went). Among my wish list of things to buy are a few art pieces I have my eye on…a circular print by Dawn Wolfe is on there. I love the simplistic, graphic nature of the circle motif pieces but landing on a favorite is tough (love this, this, and this). The good news is I have time – not allowing myself to purchase any art till the end of May when I can see if I really have the space for it and can give it the proper amount of thought before investing!

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Style

Gwen Tunic

Not all spring tunic-style tops have to be made of gauzy material or featuring embroidered details. Tory Burch proves this point with her Gwen Tunic. The top is made of a textural cotton-linen knit (featuring amazing fringe on the sleeves and hem!) but the shape takes on the traditional tunic shape with its loose, longer fit. We’re obsessed with its weight and think it would be perfect for transitioning into warmer temps and for breezy beach or lake summer vacations. Also find it here & here!

Lifestyle

Seletti Hybrid

Seletti has made us re-think traditional bone china with their “Hybrid” collection. Comprised of plates, bowls, serving pieces, and even cake stands – each item looks like they’ve been sliced down the middle and pieced with a mis-matched half. The result is a fun juxtaposition of scenes and themes with various cultural and classical motifs. Find more Seletti Hybrid pieces here! We want to collect the plates and think this shallow soup bowl be pretty atop a stack of books for catching matchboxes…

Dive Into Cocodune

April 26, 2016

When a company has gorgeous branding, a fantastic concept, and an incredible product - that makes a mind-blowing trifecta. Cocodune had me at hello with their website, logo, and color scheme but the genius of being the first home try on experience for swimwear is what made me did a double take and realize, this isn't just another swim brand. As a lady who lives out summers in Texas by (or in) a pool and enjoys taking as many beach trips as possible, I have bought and worn more swimsuits than I can count. I have nothing against swimsuits and the brands that design them. But like most women - I loathe the process of shopping for a new suit.

Cocodune has been called "The Warby Parker of Swimwear" by Refinery29 and while I have to agree that the home try on system is similar to that of WP, I think it may have given the world even more of a greater gift by addressing one of women's biggest annoyances. And for that reason alone the brand deserves a slow clap and maybe a round of margaritas.

Branding: A+. Concept: A+. Product: looks pretty darn good on their site. But the true test (as we all know) is when you take something from a hanger or from a website and put it on your bod. Knowing that there was little no risk involved, I ordered a Cocodune try on box for myself. Read on to see what styles I test drove, what letter grade I give the product, and what style I ended up keeping!

 

So here’s the thing that bothers me about swimsuit shopping online: It’s not that the looking is hard, it’s the wondering what size to buy, deliberating between styles and colors, and telling myself that I have to choose one because ordering several and then sending back what doesn’t fit or I don’t like is a) a huge hassle, and b) really sort of counterintuitive when I’m trying to always spend less and save more. But would I much rather shop for a suit online than in a store? Um, yes. Swimsuits and dressing rooms don’t mix. They just don’t – those mirrors and lights do weird things and you can’t cry out, “Why is my skin so translucent and do my legs really look like this?!” in public places.

Cocodune is what I wish all my shopping experiences were: a curated small selection of styles and colors with details about each fit and advice on sizing (with great notes from the designer on each piece, and a fit assistant/conciergeand you can call or email or chat for more personalized attention!!). Four styles of tops, three styles of bottoms, two one pieces. If you think you need more options you’re probably wrong. What you need is a style that’s timeless, one you won’t tire of, that fits wonderfully and will last you more than a season.

I actually had a pretty hard time deciding what I wanted to be in my home box…and because I was curious about the product as a range I decided to go with two tops (the Fizz Bralette and Punch Hi-Neck) one style of bottom that could go with either bikini top (the Score Basic) and a one piece (the Times Tank). I think that if I was being conservative with my four box choices I may have ordered the Score Basic bottom in two sizes (that’s always my issue when I order online – the bottoms are too small) but I never wear one piece suits and felt like I needed to be daring. And actually, the two bikini tops I chose were styles that I don’t own and also wanted to try. How’s that for living on the edge? Good thing I got to try on at home if the experimentation failed.

And try on I did…and then I had to sit quietly and get mad at myself because I wanted everything that came in the box and I had to pick. Or keep them all. I’ll break down my thoughts for ya:

  • Fizz Bralette in Port/Sea Salt: I love how this looks a little sporty but still elegant and that the back ties. For someone who is anti tan-lines, this is an ideal neckline to get sun while not being too skimpy. I was a little unsure about what size to go with but once you select the color and size then click “the fit” section on the item, it shows you what size you selected corresponds to in bra and bust dimensions. Super helpful. And I was reminded that I have a tiny chest. Normally I’m not drawn to deep reds but the port + sea salt looks so fresh and I love the unexpected combination and contrast.
  • Punch Hi-Neck in Persimmon: I have been having a major thing for square-neck tanks so trying this style was a must. And I’m obsessed. Because it’s not going to give me bad tan lines, it’s going to protect my chest from getting too much sun – which is a very good thing! I adore that the straps criss-cross and tie in back and that it’s not a regular halter top. The tie situation keeps it all in place and adds detail to the otherwise simple front. Similar to my first bikini top pick, orange isn’t necessarily one of my go-to colors (maybe I worry about it with my strawberry blonde hair?) but I love. it. The persimmon is actually the perfect shade because there’s a teeny spike of red in it.
  • Score Basic in Sea Salt: now if I was really living on the edge I would have tested out the Trouble Hi Waist bottom. Maybe in my next box because I really do love the way they look. But I went with the Score Basic because bottoms that don’t tie on the side are the most comfortable to me. It’s true what they say, these guys have moderate back coverage (which for me translates to: size up so as not to show too much!) but I would not say that they are too skimpy or that I felt at all uncomfortable. And because I know that white swimsuits never really stay white (sunscreen, sand, and all that stuff takes a tole) the sea salt color is genius – the perfect off-white white that’s crisp and clean but will wear better.
  • Times Tank in Mascara: why have I stayed away from one piece suits for so long? Why? Maybe I was just waiting to meet the Times Tank. I had always envisioned that me in a one piece would be like my younger self in Speedo suits (the black ones with some sort of color burst, duh)…too sporty and deeply unflattering. When I put this guy on I felt like a cool ballerina ready to hit the beach. That’s a strange description but basically the front scoop and lower back looked very elegant but classic in a “this is always in style because it’s always going to look good” kind of way. Where it hits on the hips is also perfect – not too high and not too low – and the tush has moderate coverage which definitely keeps it out of the dreaded Speedo territory. Also, all things that are the color black should be called mascara, because that is just plain adorable.

Can you understand my predicament? I want all four pieces. And the Echo Towel. I mean, the towel was obviously going to stay because pale melon and persimmon were made for each other and beach towels always fit perfectly. After a personal discussion between me and me, I that with this first try on box I needed to pick a bikini combo or the one-piece and that I could do another try on box in a month or so and pick another purchase. But only if I was good (at wearing tons of sunscreen and wearing a hat) and only if I went through my overflowing drawer of swimsuits and got rid of the ones I no longer wear.

If you’re wondering about the price associated with Cocodune’s pieces, let me tell you from personally trying stuff on and after reading all the cute and helpful infographics on the site: the prices are competitive with what’s in the swimwear market but really surpass other brands in terms of quality when you compare what you’re. The suits are all handmade (in the US, no less) with fabric that’s machine washable but also nice and thick while feeling like silk and moving with ease – that’s pretty great. The fact that the Italian-knit fabric also offers UV protection, is chlorine resistant (no fading!), and safe with sunscreen and lotion (no staining!) is icing on the cake. So unlike the other suits sitting in my closet, the ones from Cocodune will actually not deteriorate, sag, or fade. Oh, and it’s recyclable. The fabric alone took founder Matthias 5 years to design (read about it here). Mic drop, Cocodune, mic drop.

But I digress…want to know what suit I kept? The Times Tank! I love it so much that I want to wear it all the time And I might do just that, pairing it with jeans, shorts, and skirts when I’m not wearing it in the water.

That was a loooong post and a ton of writing for swimwear but I am nothing if not passionate about companies that have the triple threat trifecta (Cocodune gets an A+ for product) and there’s nothing I like more than storytelling a good great experience. If you’re thinking about ordering a new swimsuit this year, go easy on yourself and order a home try on box. Free shipping, free returns, four picks and five days to decided what you want to keep or send back – it’s the lowest risk you’ll take all summer and will probably yield you one (or more!) suits you love and feel comfortable in. So, Cocodune team, margaritas on me if y’all are ever in Houston and thank you for making swimwear that women can truly try before we buy.

P.S. I feel the need to disclose that I did wear undies while trying on each suit and in the photos you see here. But even if I was really gross and hadn’t, Cocodune has strict receiving and inspection policies on all returned items to ensure that everyone has a sanitary try-on experience every single time. Pieces that don’t pass the test to be resold are recycled and eventually become another Cocodune item.

P.P.S. Cocodune is a baby – the company literally launched a month ago – so while they don’t offer styles with underwires and cups just yet (I know you bigger busted ladies were giving me side eye) they hope to develop those styles perfectly and introduce them down the line.

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