Short Hair Squad

I've been back to the short bob for almost 6 months now and am still obsessed with this sassy 'do! Since my hair is so thick and fine-textured, it takes a little help to get it to style how I'd like it to. The items below are what make the magic happen! 

As far as styling tools go, I use this hairdryer and I've been a huge fan of this flatiron -- I purchased it back in 2013 and it's still going strong! I don't really use curling irons / wands anymore now that my hair is short -- if I have waves or curls, it's done using my flatiron.

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1. Nutritive Nectar Thermique // Kérastase
My stylist recommended this product to me -- especially since I use heat on my hair every morning (hairdryer and flatiron). After combing through my freshly washed hair, I rub a dime-sized amount of this product throughout my hair.

2. Sea Salt Spray // Not Your Mother's
Next, I spray this sea salt spray all over my hair to give it a little texture.

3. Root Pump Plus // Big Sexy Hair
This is my favorite mousse of all time -- I just work a generous dollop of it into the roots of my hair before drying it.

4. Texturizing Dry Shampoo // Not Your Mother's
After drying my hair, I'll flat iron it to get it styled how I want -- then I add this texturizing dry shampoo to my roots to give it a little more volume / texture.

5. brilliant™ Humectant Pomade // Aveda
In the winter, my hair gets staticky, so just a dot of this pomade on my palms does wonders for taming the fly-aways. This product is also a dream in the summer if you live in a humid climate.

6. Spray & Play™ // Big Sexy Hair
This hairspray is perfect for spraying everything down because it holds things in place but still allows movement so your hair doesn't look stiff.

7. Spray & Stay™ // Big Sexy Hair
I use this stronger hold hairspray for teasing sections of my hair or if I need to hold a partial updo in place.

What are your favorite hair products?
How often do you wash your hair? 

My Personal Style

My personal style is definitely one that has evolved over the years and it wasn't until a year or two ago that I feel like I've defined my personal style. I remember as a kid, I went through a phase where I refused to wear jeans and only wore stirrup leggings. Remember those?! 

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I feel like my style is classic with a hint of preppy thrown in there. I tend to stick to this and really don't purchase anything that is considered a "trend." For example, the ever-popular cold shoulder sweaters are just really not my thing!

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I view my wardrobe as an investment, and would rather spend $200 on a perfect-fitting pair of jeans than to purchase 10 shirts for that same price that will only last a season or two.

A year ago, I started dressing intentionally each day and it changed my life for the better; if you're interested in reading more about that, start with this post.

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I'd say that the vast majority of my clothes come from the following retailers mainly due to sizing / style:

J.Crew (my all-time favorite)
Nordstrom
Madewell
Banana Republic 

If I wear a pattern, it's almost always gingham or stripes. I tend to stick to neutrals with a "pop" of color somewhere in my outfit -- where it be a pair of earrings, a bright vest, etc. Most of my wardrobe is gray, white, pink, and mint. I never feel comfortable in super feminine details (lace, too many ruffles, etc.) so I tend to avoid those types of items.

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Layers
I love layers -- especially when it involves a gingham button down under a classic crew-neck sweater. Fall / winter are my favorite seasons not only for the changing leaves and multiple feet of snow, but also for the clothing options that the cooler weather brings.

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Jackets
Some girls are obsessed with shoes and handbags -- for me, it's jackets. Denim, leather, military, and the most perfect J.Crew Field Jacket -- I love them all.

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Sweaters
Like jackets, sweaters are another closet staple of mine. I own way too many of these ones, also love this one, and just ordered this one and this one last week. I prefer crew-neck sweaters to v-neck and will wear a cardigan on a rare occasion; I tend to stick to pullover sweaters most days.

Tees
In the summer, I love wearing a basic tee, statement necklace, and skinny jeans. This outfit is so easy to dress up with wedges and earrings for work, or dress down with casual sneakers or slip ons for running errands. These are my favorite tees ever.

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Denim
I'm such a stickler for quality denim! There are three brands that I tend to stick to when it comes to denim: AG, J.Crew, and Elliot / Current. I almost always opt for a skinny jean, but once in awhile will wear a boyfriend fit or flared jean depending on the outfit. Favorite jeans that are on heavy rotation over here:

Elliot / The Current in "Stagecoach" -- the perfect skinny jeans to be worn with tall boots!
J.Crew Toothpick jeans in Bryson wash and Lyric wash -- great everyday denim
AG Ex-Boyfriend Slim Distressed Jeans -- these are a favorite for summer

I wear jeans probably 6 out of the 7 days of the week -- I'm just a jeans girl! I always view my denim (and other investment clothing items) through a "cost per wear" lens. Rather than seeing how I'm dropping $150 on a pair of jeans, I estimate how often I'll wear them -- if I wear them 2-3 times per week for a few years, the cost per wear is actually cheaper than than a trendy top that I bought for $45 and only wore once before donating it.

Pants
I love J.Crew's black toothpick jeans, and their Minnie pant which is sadly no longer available. I believe the Martie pant is its replacement; however, I have yet to give those ones a whirl. On the Minnie / Martie pant, I really love the side zipper since it keeps a very smooth look from the front. Other favorites are distressed white jeans, and colored skinnies (sage green -- shown below -- is one of my favorite neutral pairs).

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Vests
These puffer vests are a must for cold Minnesota winters! I have them in gray, black, navy, and bright pink. I'll wear these to work, as another layer instead of a jacket during in-between seasons, and with athletic wear as I'm running to and from the gym.

I rarely ever wear leggings other than to the gym, and when I do, they are almost always Lululemon, Athleta, or Nike. These are my favorite athletic crops -- they're so lightweight and comfortable! I own them in a few colors, but the pelt color (formally called "black cherry") is probably my favorite! 

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A few notes on my style
I'm not a huge scarf person -- I always feel so claustrophobic in them for some reason. I also prefer my clothes to be fitted because I always feel frumpy or like I'm drowning in my shirts if I wear them slightly oversized. I gravitate towards items that can easily be mixed and matched -- tops, jackets, vests, etc. make it easy to make new outfit combinations without needing to purchase anything new.

These days, I lean more towards a capsule wardrobe approach to my clothing -- I take inventory of my closet every 4 months or so -- selling / donating anything that I don't find myself wearing regularly. I prefer to keep my closet and dresser drawers neat / tidy -- making it easy to see all of my options each day.

How would you define your style?
What's your go-to outfit?

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We're coming off of another busy weekend and it was such a great one! I'm typing this post up on Sunday and I've got my essential oils diffusing, playing The Nutcracker soundtrack, and best of all -- our Christmas tree is illuminating the room! We always put our tree up crazy early and it brings me so much joy! 

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Backing up to Friday afternoon, I was chatting with my boss in the kitchen while making my shake and by the time I walked back upstairs to my desk, it looked like a snow globe outside! Big, fluffy flakes were falling steadily and it was so pretty! 

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Upon arriving home, we ate a quick dinner before heading out to the mall -- I wanted to pick up some warmer sweaters for work since I'm freezing all day!

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We headed to Nordstrom first, and I didn't really see anything that I loved -- except for this gorgeous bag! How pretty is this blush color?!

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However, upon arriving home, I remembered that I had tried on this sweater a month or so ago and then wished I had purchased it. I'm going to shop around online a bit more today (Sunday) but will probably be adding this one to my closet soon since it's 100% cashmere and so warm + cozy! 

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While at the mall, we also browsed through Athleta and Banana Republic without much luck. I loved the cute tie cuffs on this sweater but felt like it looked too big so I left empty-handed.

I also really liked this sweater (in heather gray) at BR, so I'm planning on placing an online order later this afternoon. I left the mall feeling a little discouraged -- a lot of stores don't carry my size so it can make shopping for clothes really tricky. A lot of times I'll try clothes on in stores to see if it's something I'd like, and then either have them ship the items to my house or I'll just place an online order.

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After sweater shopping, we browsed through the rest of the mall for a bit before heading out. I do a lot with hand lettering at work, so I always like to snap pictures of pretty lettering to be used as inspiration for my projects. 

After a quick jaunt through Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma (and a few Christmas gifts later), we headed out to swing by Trader Joe's and the grocery store to grab a few items for my Chex mix making afternoon with my sister and her girls the following afternoon.

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On Saturday morning, I headed over to my friend Jen's house for small group! We're still working through this book, and while it's been good -- it's not my favorite. I've found that I have a hard time relating to one of the girls so the chapters that she writes are hard to plow through.

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Afterwards, I drove over to my sister's house for an afternoon of making homemade Chex mix and muddy buddies! I had picked up the ingredients earlier in the week when I stopped at Target on the way into work. Speaking of which, shopping at Target at 8am on a weekday is the best thing ever -- the shelves are stocked and the store is totally empty! 

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We use the same recipe each year (the photo above is the mix pre-baking) and it's our favorite! 

  • 3 cups of Rice Chex
  • 3 cups of Corn Chex
  • 3 cups of Wheat Chex
  • 3 cups of Kix cereal
  • 3 cups of Cheerios
  • 3 cups of holiday-shaped pretzels
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe's Blister Peanuts
  • 12 TBSP butter, melted
  • 2 Chex brand seasoning packets (you can usually find these for free in the cereal / holiday area of your local grocery store)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees; mix all of the cereal / pretzel / peanut ingredients above in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter and stir in the seasoning packets. Slowly pour the mixture over all of the dry ingredients -- stirring to coat. Spread on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for an hour -- stirring every 15 minutes.

We made two huge batches and I'm so excited to snack on this throughout the week -- we always make this snack mix each year before Thanksgiving! 

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My sister had the brilliant idea to make muddy buddies with the remaining Chex cereal -- I hadn't had this is forever! Such a simple and delicious treat! While the Chex mix was baking, we listened to Christmas music, enjoyed a glass of red champagne, and played with the girls -- such a great afternoon! 

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 I hit the gym on the way home from Andrea's, and once I arrived home, we set up our Christmas tree! We had picked up a few Christmas gifts for our nieces the night before, so I wrapped those as well. I just love this time of year! Also, if you haven't tried this peppermint bark from Williams-Sonoma, you are missing out! It's the best!

The rest of the evening was spent watching Home Alone after we put up the tree, which is one of our favorite traditions! 

PS I'm linking up with Biana today.

When do you typically start decorating for the holidays?
Favorite holiday food?
 

Fall Fashion Finds

This past Friday, I woke up and did some work on the computer before heading off to the gym for a quick workout -- after working out outside for the majority of the summer, I'm trying to transition back to indoor workouts.

Afterwards, I showered at the gym and then headed home to make a shake, style my hair, and apply makeup before heading out again. I needed to run a couple of errands, and wanted to pop into J.Crew Mercantile since I saw this cute shirt online earlier that morning. 

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They didn't have my size, so I tried on an XS and am grabbing the extra fabric in the back. I think it'd be cute layered under a sweater, jacket, or vest, but I wasn't sure if I loved the material (it was really thin), so back on the shelf it went.

While I was there, I browsed around for a bit; they had the cutest items in their fall collection -- so many cozy sweaters, cute jackets, and tops! 

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Normally, I'm not a ruffles kind of girl, but I thought this sweater would be so perfect with a pretty statement necklace and flats. I also loved the striped version of this shirt! 

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This sweater was super cozy and I love the slits on the sides! 

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I loved the bell sleeves on this striped top -- this would be so fun to wear to a HH with girlfriends or on a date night out.

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Lastly, I came across my favorite field jacket (I own the military green version) in this pretty wine color! This will definitely be going on my wishlist once they add it online! This would be so cute with a navy striped tee underneath! 

In the photos above, I'm wearing these jeans, this basic tee, and these earrings (that match EVERYTHING).

What's one thing that's on your wishlist for fall?
What are your cold weather staples?
Jackets and vests are mine! 

My Capsule Wardrobe Staples

Word on the street is that capsule wardrobes are still going strong. What is a capsule wardrobe exactly? It is a collection of carefully curated items in one's closet that fit your body perfectly, are of high-quality, and can easily be mixed and matched with one another to create the maximum amount of outfits possible.

Over the past couple of years, I've invested time into really dialing in my personal style. I'll chat more about my signature style in an upcoming post, but today, let's talk about capsule wardrobe staples.

Just a heads up, this is what works for me personally -- your style, career, and daily activities may require a collection that looks quite different than mine and that's totally okay. I don't really classify my clothing into "work clothes" and "play clothes" since working in a design / advertising agency setting generally welcomes a casual yet stylish dress code. I also generally wear the same types of outfits on the weekends that I wear to work during the week.

I love clothes, but I don't love sifting through lots of clothes when I'm trying to get ready in the morning. Whenever I noticed an article of clothing isn't worn on a regular basis, it either gets handed off to my cousins or dropped off Plato's Closet or Goodwill. I don't own an excessive amount of clothes, but every single article of clothing in my closet + drawers is one that I truly love. Also, all of the clothes in my closet are of complimentary color palettes and patterns -- making almost everything mix and matchable.

I included links to items I own (or similar) under the checklist areas to help you stock up on staples to complete your capsule wardrobe.

TOPS

Shirts (2-3 different colors)
Button-down shirts -- I love these because you can wear them alone, wear them unbuttoned with a tee underneath, underneath a sweater, etc. Personally, I love a good gingham print because it's a fun and easy way to add a little pizazz to an ordinary sweater. 

Checklist: J.Crew has the best button-down gingham! 

Sweaters (5-10 in an assortment of cuts, materials, and sizes)
I love J.Crew's Tippi sweaters because they're fitted and so easy to layer since they aren't bulky. They're also nice and warm since they're made of merino wool. I also love Banana Republic's collection of sweaters. I like having sweaters in all different materials and lengths: cashmere, wool, cotton, 3/4 sleeve, and long-sleeved, etc. I typically only purchase sweaters that are made of quality materials (aka no polyester in my sweaters) so that they last longer and wash and (hang) dry better.

Checklist: Say hello to Tippi. Don't forget about her long-sleeved friends and cousins.

Tees (5-6)
Basic tees (v-necks) in neutral colors: white, gray, black, navy. I also love long-sleeved tee's for layering under vests, jackets, and cardigans. Adding in a few striped tees is an easy way to mix things up a bit, as well! 

Checklist: These are my favorite tees in the world. These are great for a season if you go through white tees faster than colored ones.

Tanks + Cami's (3-5)
In the summer months, I love pairing a basic solid or striped tank with jeans, shorts, or a cute skirt. Throughout the rest of the year, these tanks serve as great base layers for your favorite sweaters and tunic tops.

Checklist: I go through these quickly, so I typically purchase these inexpensive ones.

BOTTOMS

Denim (3-4 different styles and colors)
I'm very particular when it comes to denim mainly because I typically wear it at least four days out of the week. I personally prefer the boyfriend fit and skinny jeans, so I have a few pairs of those in different washes: light, medium, and dark. I love distressing on my jeans, but also have a couple pairs without any in case I need to dress up a pair of skinny jeans for an event.

Checklist: My favorite jeans ever. My go-to summer jeans. The perfect pair to wear with tall boots.

Skinnies (1-2 different color options)
I love having skinnies in a few neutral colors: black, olive green, gray, and navy. These mix and match with all of my sweaters, tees, and tanks -- which results in more outfit combinations.

Checklist: Best cropped pant that literally goes with everything. These moto jeggings.

Skirts (1-2 different fabrics and color options)
I love J.Crew's high-waisted sidewalk skirts for all seasons. I have them in a variety of fabrics -- from cotton to linen to wool, making them appropriate for any time of year. In cooler temps, I'll pair them with sweater tights, but they're also long enough to be worn with bare legs in the spring / summer. I love pairing them with a basic v-neck tee, long-sleeved tee, tank, or sweater. 

Checklist: Meet your new favorite skirt.

Jackets (2-3 different options)
Jackets are my love language. Okay, maybe not really but I love jackets like some girls love shoes. I love pairing jackets with any of my shirts to change up an outfit and be prepared for our crazy Minnesota seasons. I'm almost always freezing in the winter months, so a lot of times I'll plan my outfit with a jacket that's appropriate to wear all day (such as a soft leather jacket).

Checklist: This cute leather jacket. This is the denim jacket for all seasons. This classy little army jacket.

Note: A lot of "capsule wardrobes" include items that are recommended to the general public, but I find myself not needing a lot of the items that they recommend. For example, blazers -- I have a few of them but I don't love the blazer look, so I rarely wear them unless it's for a formal meeting with a new client or a work event. Use your best judgement and do what is best for you -- you know yourself and your style best! 

What are your wardrobe staples?
What's one item you need to add to your closet this next season?