Mock Turtleneck Must-have

January 29, 2016

TGIF. We made it. Twas a long week for this sister but I'm super excited for the weekend because I'll be spending it in New York with my fellow Biscuit babes. Also, I'm excited to me capping off the week with a low-key outfit that's ideal for the weekend. I actually wore this exact outfit while I was in Austin two weekends ago...I haven't been able to keep the Herringbone Mock Turtleneck off my body for more than a few days at a time. It's one of the softest, most comfortable things I own and I'm pleased to report that it's now on sale at Madewell!

 

So this mock turtleneck guy is like an upgraded sweatshirt. Made of supersoft brushed jersey (re: the freaking softest stuff eva) it has a really subtle herringbone print and a contrasting underside that shows when you cuff the sleeves. I originally wanted to buy it in the other available color way (a camel with light grey underside) but this one was available in my size at the Houston Madewell store and I’m really glad I went for it. The boxy shape might seem strange for anyone not used the cut and slight crop – but trust me when I say that it’s part of what adds to the magic.

There’s actually a lot of great stuff in the Madewell sale section. This fab vest, this low-v pullover, and my favorite tailored tee are all knocked down to great prices. Which means we should scoop them up, right? Happy weekend!

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ThredUp Label Love

January 28, 2016

Monday's post was all about shopping in my own closet - today's post shares one of the ways I shop for new additions. I hope you all know that I'm not trying to throw any shade at shopping, spending, or buying. It's an inevitable thing and something I do enjoy but just try not to over indulge in. I'm a money-conscious person but that doesn't mean that I don't love a good surge now and then - I just try to maintain a balance!

A great way to spend while not going overboard is by shopping consignment. I used to be intimidated by the hunt of going through like-new items even though I had heard so many stories from friends who landed amazing finds. The in-person and physical "stress" of searching turned me off till I started poking around thredUP. You might remember when I posted two looks with finds from the site (here and here) and talked about how easy the process was. I'm happy to report that both the dresses I posted then are still favorites of mine and I still love to routinely visit thredUP to see if there's anything I can't pass up. After recently finding two great tops I had to share them with you guys...read on to see the looks and learn more about the wallet-friendly shopping experience of thredUP!

 

So if you’re not familiar with thredUP, here’s my one sentence overview – it’s an amazing online resource for high-quality women’s and kid’s secondhand fashion. What makes it so useable is that unlike going into a secondhand store and going through racks/racks/racks, you can search by designer, by size, item type, etc. It makes it incredibly easy to set parameters so you don’t see something you love then realize it’s not in your size. The brands featured are expansive…Vince, J.Crew, Free People, Joie, Tory Burch, Lulu Lemon – you name it. My most recent purchase of the Equipment blouse and J.Crew Collection cashmere sweater are perfect examples of what I love most about thredUP: being able to refresh my closet with brands I already love, but might not always buy, because the price point is so low.

Look One: I already have one Equipment silk blouse (which I wear all the time) so I knew what size I needed and was really pumped to find this red color because I love a great tomato-red but don’t really have anything in the hue in my closet. Normally, these shirts are $218+. I get the high price tag given the quality and material – which is why I was so, so pumped to get the same shirt as the one I already have and love for just $43. For anyone bad at math like me, that’s a saving of 80%.

Look Two: J.Crew is a brand that I have and always will invest heavily in. I don’t care if people say it’s basic – because hello, I’m basic! Any fellow J.Crack addict will know that the Collection pieces are highly coveted and even when they go on sale (which hello, everything on the site eventually does) they often sell out quickly or are still quite pricey. If I was splurging and buying a J.Crew Collection cashmere sweater at full price ($240+) I probably would go for a neutral, practical color out of habit. But at $85, I felt like I could opt for this vibrant bubble-gum pink hue…an exciting update considering how many neutral sweaters I already have.

Here’s a little secret…these were just two of a dozen great pieces I found while I was clicking around. I put myself on a $150 spending cap so I wouldn’t go crazy – something that can easily happen when you see the discounted pricing and read the descriptions on items. Each item’s description comes with a “condition score” (landing the quality of the piece on a scale between fair – great – brand new), main points (including if the item is dry clean only), measurements (super helpful to have if you haven’t bought from a particular brand featured), material, and a few notes (100% authentic, etc.). thedUP is fully transparent about each piece so that when you get it in the mail there are no surprised. When both my tops arrived – in thredUP’s signature polka-dot packaging, perfectly folded and wrapped in tissue paper – they looked brand new. No stains, snags, strange smells…just ready-to-wear goodness. And wear them I did.

 

 

I mentioned in my Monday post that my closet was more crowded than I would like. That’s an understatement. I think I need to adopt the “bring one in, get one out” policy and start selling/donating as I continue to shop and add pieces. Donating is easy (I like to find women’s shelters that accept clothing and toiletries) but selling can be such a process. thredUP has that covered with their “Clean Out Bag” program. You just go here to start the process of requesting a Clean Out Kit. thredUP sends you a very cute polka dot bag that you fill and ship back to them for free (!). For the items deemed sellable on the site by professional buyers, you either receive payment upfront (for items listed under $60) or get paid when they sell (for things listed at over $60). You can read all the FAQs about the process here and get all the info about the buying process here. One cool fact: every Clean Out Bag sent to thredUP keeps 206lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, saves 17,916 gallons of water, and keeps 24 items out of landfills. All the more reason to use their easy kit for saying “buh bye” to the stuff you don’t want and don’t wear anymore.

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Not just a pretty face

January 27, 2016

I will readily and happily admit that I am one to buy a book based on its cover or a product due to its branding. Being a sucker for well designed items sometimes makes me, well, a sucker. If any of you are similar buyers, you know that not all things live up to the beautiful designs or branding they stand behind/next to. Usually I get a nice 360 experience and the packaging perfectly matches the rest of the experience of whatever I'm enjoying - be it a book, food, cosmetic or beauty item, etc. - but sometimes there are let downs. Today I want to highlight some seriously good-looking products that would be excellent even without their pretty exteriors.

 

.Barrel + Ink Wine: I would venture to say that for most women, picking a wine based on its label is as common as building a March Madness bracket based on team colors. Me = guilty. There are more than a handful of wines that have wicked-great branding and labels…Barrel + Ink is one of them but is especially special. A wine project based out of San Francisco and led by a team that loves delicious wine as much as they do great design, B+I was born as a way to team winemakers with designers to collaborate on and create new wines and accompanying labels. When the design is complete a limited release of the bottles is run and sold.

I got my hands on the third release – a 2013 Syrah/Grenache by natural wine maker Pax Mahle featuring a label designed by husband and wife design team Lab Partners. The bottles came in a beautiful box with a small booklet (also beautifully designed) that gave a look at the story behind the creative process and suggestions for how to enjoy the wine. And enjoy it I did. I kept one bottle on my bar cart for display (can you blame me? The label is literally like art) and the other I took my time sipping and enjoying. Since I’m not much of master for describing wine, I’ll let Pax do the talking: “This is a really fun, celebratory wine that’s maybe even a little bit rowdy. It has a lot of concentration, a lot of depth, and a lot of life.” This should go without saying, but I’m really excited to see what the next wine releases from Barrel + Ink look and taste like

.Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Oil: If you’re not familiar with the brand, Korres is a natural skincare line with roots in the oldest homeopathic pharmacy in Athens, Greece. Their products are formulated with active natural extracts that promise clinically proven results. Products with “Wild Rose” oil are fan favorites (known for brightening skin) and some of the first Korres introduced. To commemorate the their 20 year anniversary, Korres introduced a new kid on the block: The new kid on the block: Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Oil. The brand’s beloved wild rose oil contains ultra-concentrated vitamin C oil and is infused with real rose petals.

The bottle is gorgeous…I mean, there are real rose petals floating in it! But besides being pretty, the oil is super rich in omega 3, 6, 9, fatty acids, and vitamins A and C. These active ingredients make for a powerful skin brighter that helps repair the look of fine lines/wrinkles and improve skin texture. Here’s the thing…I have tried a lot (lot, lot) of skin oils and aside from the ones from Sunday Riley (love the Luna Oil), this is the only oil that I have fallen fully in love with. Let me tell you why: it absorbs into the skin. Sounds like a no-brainer but so many oils I’ve tried don’t do this and it drives me nuts! I change up my day and night skincare steps almost every other day but here’s one way I use the Wild Rose oil…after I wash my face I swipe on some of this then put a few drops of the Wild Rose Vitamin C oil in my palm and apply to my face with my fingers. After the oil sinks in I follow up with Renée Rousseau’s Vitamin C&E Treatment (vitamin C guys, it’s where it’s at!) and finish with her Daily Protection SPF 30. I’ve got to say, I think the addition of the Korres oil has made for an amazing glow and clearer skin.

.Le Labo Rose 31 Perfume: So this branding might not seem super special at first glance. I was first introduced to Le Labo when Grace visited me in Dallas and brought me Santal 26 candle from New York. The scent is seriously indescribable – “an aristocratic scent, at once gentle, smoky and leathery” – but my favorite part about the candle was seeing my name printed on the label. So cool! Grace explained that Le Labo does this with all their products.

Fast forward a year+ and I’m back with Grace in new New York apartment getting ready for an event. I ask if I can borrow a spritz of perfume before we walk out the door and she hands me Le Labo Rose 31. Guys, guys, guys. Forget about the name having “rose” in it – this fragrance is unisex and so unreal. Le Labo notes that what makes it so special is “alternating feminine/masculine with the disturbing ambiguity of the Centifolia rose, quickly picked up by a chorus of warm, spicy and woodsy notes.” I had barely landed back in Houston before calling Sally to ask if she would get me a bottle of my own from the San Francisco store. Being the good sister she is, Sal skipped over to Le Labo and waited while they hand compounded my perfume and finished it off with a label featuring my name. I love the way the bottle looks sort of humble and plain – great, simple branding in my opinion – but contains the most luxurious scent.

.Fornasetti Il Serpente Del Giardino Segreto Lidden Candle: If you happened to see this post last November featuring my bedroom, you know I collect Fornasetti plates. I just love the plates and really anything Fornasetti touches (wallpaper, someday you will be mine). The Italian designer had such a way with black and white and the Greek and Roman architectural influences are a perfect balance to the sometimes quirky motifs. A friend of mine gave me this gorgeous Fornasetti candle as a “thank you” for something and I almost fainted. After regaining my composure I wanted shake her buy the shoulders and ask, “OMG what were you thinking spending this much money on a candle? For me, no less?!?!”

I’d like to say that I think there’s a reason why this candle is so, um, pricy. First of all, it smells amazing – the scent was inspired by an idealized Italian secret garden. Secondly, it burns clean and slowly (and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to burn it for a nice, long time). Last, once I finish during it, the ceramic container is going to find a second purpose…either for makeup brushes in my bathroom or as a sculptural piece. I give major claps to this but I could be bias because of my Fornasetti obsession.

.Picador Modern Classics: No, I haven’t read these mini volumes sitting under the Korres Oil and Le Labo Rose 31 yet. But how cool are they?! Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015, Picador announced that they would be making pocket-sized versions of their popular Modern Classic titles. The first four novels to be printed in the new format were introduced in November. They are (you guessed it): The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, and Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson. What makes these tiny books so great isn’t just the well-designed covers and hand-held size but the iconic stories inside.

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