Monday, August 31, 2009

French kiss

Now that I’m in New York, I’ve started to notice the toll big city living takes on my skin – from the sweaty subway to the swanky bars that stay open until 4 a.m., my face just can’t get a rest. But today, I got a little break from the heat (thank goodness for 75 degree weather) and a few tips from Clarins on how to keep my skin young, healthy and glowing.

They’ve just released a new product line called Multi-Active Day, made for girls who never stop. With ingredients grown in fair-trade in Madagascar, it fights that fatigued look, provides protection from the sun and even has anti-aging properties (I am entering uncharted territory with my 23rd birthday coming up). It really does seem like a great product. Luckily for me (and you) Clarins gave me a nice little sample so I can test it out and let you know if it works before you buy.

In big bonus news, they also announced that Clarins gives away free 20-minute mini-facials at every Clarins counter nation-wide. Free! The process (complete with neck massage) looked so relaxing I was just about put to sleep watching the demonstration.

I plan to stop by the Macy’s by my office immediately after my next hard day at work because walk-ins are always welcomed for this genius free pampering.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To the max

End of season sales are always calling my name. But when the pieces on the clearance rack are only wearable for a few more weeks, it can be hard to justify a purchase no matter how low the tags go. Luckily, there are several items you can cash in on right now that can be worn in the remaining warm months, and accessorized to carry into fall.

Maxi dresses are a great example. Look for ones with darker color palettes (neon pink or lemon yellow are harder to blend into autumn). You can keep a dress simple with sandals and statement jewelry in the next few weeks, and stay warm with a chic jacket, tights and flats when a chill creeps into the air.

Both looks together are under $200.

From left: Necklace, Dana Buchman, $18.20,; Maxi dress, $34.50,; Beaded sandals, $30, Volatile,; Jacket, $49,; Flats, $50,; Tights, $15,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Head over heels

Upon further inspection I realized I was not only enamored with Mathieu and Taylor’s wedding, but with the entire portfolio of SOTA Dzine who display their work on the blog Overexposed.

Model marriage

Ever since interning at The Knot last summer, I’ve loved to check out pictures from various real weddings to see how different couples make a visually stunning big day.

Some are classic, some quirky some sweet, but when I came across this shoot for Mathieu and Taylor’s real wedding on Overexposed Blog, I thought I was staring at a fashion editorial. These images are beautiful and bride, groom and the entire crew seem to know how to pose just like real models.

Click here to see the rest of the shoot.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lined up

I’m always in admiration of the bicyclists in Manhattan. They zoom in and around wild taxis and thick traffic and always make it look like a breeze.

If I ever get a bike and learn how to navigate the busy city streets I’d like to sport a breezy, preppy look like this week’s Vargas girl inspired look.

“I’m definitely a woman and I enjoy it.”
- Marilyn Monroe

Clothing from left: Striped tee, $19.50,
; Curtsy skirt, $85,; Belt, $19.50,; Peep toe sling backs, $40,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Giving you the dish

Ever since I graduated high school my parents have been switching homes on me. Over the past four years, I’ve only twice gone to visit them in the same house. As a result, you can probably imagine the confusion that has ensued in just searching for a cereal bowl – finding dishes is like playing hide and seek with their ever-changing cabinetry.

So now that I’ve got my own place, I’m going to make things very clear with these kitchen icon details from TastySuite and available on Etsy. Never again will a sip of wine have to wait a moment while I search for the glasses.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Raindrops keep falling on my head

My roommate Justine and I spent last night staring out the window at the downpour of rain that hit Manhattan. From fifth floor view we watched restaurant tables topple on patios and unprepared strollers bolt for shelter.

The storm reminded me that weather in New York City can be pretty volatile, and I better stock up on a cute pair of rain boots before a shower hits me in a toe-baring pair of sandals. Here are some of my favorite galoshes in both classic and fun patterns depending on your tastes.

From left: Canvas and rubber riding boots, $80,; Clear boots, $120, Fessura,; Yellow rain boots, $25,; Equestrian rainboot, $48,; Horse rubber wellies, $40,; Lace-up rainboot, $50,; Rain on roses boots, $119,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A hair affair

We’ve had a heat wave here in New York City and I don’t think even the chicest of city chicks’ hair can hold up in the steamy subways. I’ve been looking for some simple and pretty updos to keep my hair out of my face, but still looking professional.

Check out these fabulous ideas from some of my favorite magazines and arrive at your destination without your bangs glued to your forehead.

This “perky ponytail” with instructions available at exudes 1950’s class.

I’ve been a fan of pigtails since my mom was doing my hair, but this version from is so grown up.’s updo makes me want to twist and shout.

I’d feel like Princess Jasmine if I had hair long enough to do this ponytail.

Top image from FabSugar.Co.UK

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sunrise over sienna

Sienna Miller has a slouchy style I sometimes think only the very thin and very beautiful can pull-off. This look however, is work-day worthy – pulled together with a boyfriend blazer and perfect for any one with confidence.

This entire look head to toe is under $180.

Clothing from left: Tee, $16,; Bangle, $3.80,; Harem pants, $48, Silence and Noise,; Shoes, $40,; Blazer, $64,

Image of Sienna from

Fall for me

Blair Waldorf is the most pulled-together high school student I have ever seen. Some of her sophisticated styles are perfect for a high-powered work woman with a bit of a soft side. This autumn-toned look is inspired by the stylish Ms. Waldorf and I love how the muted colors are given new life by surprising combinations and interesting patterns.

This entire look is head to toe under $170.

From left: Shirt, $23,; Shoes, $89, Nine West,; Skirt, $50,

Image of Leighton Meester from

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sheer perfection

A sweet skirt is always a great option for a workday outfit that is girly and breathable in hot weather. Pair it with a pretty, feminine top for a look as pulled together as Cameron Diaz is here.

Skirts are also fantastic and flexible as paired with tights, they will take you right into fall.

This look is head to toe under $123.

From left: Earrings, $8,; Skirt, $15,; Sheer top, $18,; Pumps, $79, Jessica Simpson,; Tank top, $2.50,

Image of Cameron from

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Written in black and white

There is nothing more classic for a day at the office than pristine black and white. Cameron Diaz is one of my favorite stars not just for her fashion, but for the fact that her best accessory is always a dazzling smile ... nothing will make you look more beautiful.

This entire look is head to toe under $170.

From left: Shoes, $29.99,; Blazer, $48, Silence and Noise,; Trousers, $70,; Bracelet, $14.99,

Monday, August 10, 2009

The fashion grind

I start work a week from today and I’m so excited and nervous for my first day! Along with a big girl job comes a big girl wardrobe so all week I’ll be bringing you the best and cutest in 9 to 5 “looks for less.”

I recently saw a style watch on Reese Witherspoon in Allure magazine. Reese always looks so effortlessly chic so my first look is inspired by her.

This bright dress is perfect for the Monday blues, while a big bag holds a day's worth of important work items.

Clothing from left: Bag, $34,; Shoes, $70,; Dress, $34,; Belt, $17,; Earrings, $8,

Picture of Reese from

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Linked in love

Some of my favorite finds this week ...

The perfect umbrella for a manners-lovin' Midwestern gal in crowded NYC.

What on earth is this dessert and how do I get one ... immediately!

An adorable to do list from a child that should remind us all what should be last on our lists.

Like looking down from an airplane ...

I love these sandals and this top at lovely sale prices at Lulus.

images for A Cup of Jo

Friday, August 7, 2009

Smitten and delicious

I’m absolutely smitten with my new favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen. I’ve always loved to cook but until I started blogging myself, completely overlooked the possibility of searching recipes through the blogosphere, rather than through a cookbook. Smitten Kitchen not only serves up a variety of recipes but the up close and personal photography makes me drool over every virtual bite.

This weekend I tried three recipes from Deb’s fabulous postings.

Saturday morning I baked Raspberry topped lemon muffins. The recipe was pretty simple (although grating lemon peels was a bit rough on the wrists) and the final result were both beautiful and incredibly delicious. They were gone in a matter of moments! These would be a great option in a muffin basket as a gift or to bring to a brunch – I love the look of the raspberries on top!

Saturday night I made Sausage-Stuffed Potatoes for dinner. This recipe is just what every Midwestern girl loves – her meat and potatoes – and made for a comforting, delectable meal. I substituted breakfast sausage for spicy Italian sausage and loved the extra kick.

My Sunday night endeavor was quite an undertaking. I made Devil’s chicken thighs and braised leeks and confess it was the most complicated recipe I’ve cooked to date (not that the braising of leeks helped much). After much slaving and sweating (combination of the cooking and the jog I took while the leeks braised) over the stove and cutting board, the result turned out fabulous! A messy array of leeks, chicken, breadcrumbs and spices that serves up a different flavor in every bite.

Logo from the Smitten Kitchen site, image of muffins by me

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting Ahead

I’m preparing to move into my first real apartment of my own and I’m ecstatic to decorate. Granted, things may be a little easier had I an unlimited bank account and a great designer, but my own imagination and a little DIY sweat will make it all the more fun.

I’ve decided my first investment will be a mattress, essential for dreaming of my future, but now I’ve just got to pick the right headboard. I’ve found some fantastic ideas for ways to create my own headboard on a dime.

1. This headboard of vintage handkerchiefs is perfect for the thrift-store fanatic in me.

2. I love to read before bed, so why not don my headboard with books?

3. When I was a little girl I always wanted a canopy bed – this DIY version looks easy and sweet.

4. An old mantle gives shabby chic vibe and would be the perfect place for favorite photos.

5. A stretched artist canvas and some fabric make dramatic height that would be great with high ceilings.

6. Simple plywood makes the perfect backboard to showcase a pretty fabric. Anyone recognize that girl in the picture? Me! From my days as an intern at The Knot.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm on a boat

Before my parents had children, they harbored a sailboat in Chicago called the Wendy Kay (named for my mother). Now that they no longer have children to support (we officially have both entered “adulthood” no matter how young I feel) they have traded in their college graduates for another boat – this one called the Annie – named for my lovable 12-year-old family dog.

My parents have taken to spending evenings and weekends sailing the muddy Mississippi or simply docked in the sun. It reminds me that no matter how long you’ve been with your partner, a shared passion is a great way to come together. So some quick relationship advice – find something you and your significant other love to do together – it can create wonderful bonds and even greater memories.

My nautical pooch and on the boat named for her.

Captain Bill, my dad, at the helm.

First Mate Wendy on lookout.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Get pinned

Another week and another set of pin-up inspired fashions! I love the combinations of baby blue and pale yellow in this set and ruffles are such a dainty, girly detail.

And a quote from another beauty - Sophia Loren

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

From left: Treat box, 7.95,; Mesh lace panty, $4.80,; Yellow halter, $30,; Yellow pump, Betseyville, $62,; Earrings, $14,; Skirt, $110,; Quilted bag, $25,; Candle, $30,

S.O.S. #3

Stop by your local Target for 30 to 70 percent off select summer shoes. I’m partial to this fringy pair for less than $6.

Book a ticket for travel on Sun Country Airlines before August 7 and you can get 50 percent off a ticket for fall travel! A travel two-fer! Where should I go?

Now through August 4 (hurry!) get five free beauty samples when you shop online at Sephora.