Where to Splurge & Save in Your Closet

I recently wrote a post about where to splurge and save in your beauty routine and wanted to follow up with a post on splurging/saving in your closet. Every fashion blogger seems to preach the philosophy of a high-low wardrobe and I completely agree. Obviously, we each have our own values when it comes to spending money on clothing whether it's because of our personal finances or our desire not to contribute to the fast fashion industry.

I think you can strike a good balance in this area, so here are some quick tips on where to splurge and save on your wardrobe. 

Splurge

Sweaters
I recommend buying cashmere sweaters because the material is the softest you will find and they easily carry from cold temperatures to warmer ones. The material is lightweight, but warm. Some tips to keep in mind when buying cashmere are to make sure the fabric is tightly knit and doesn't feel slippery, which can indicate over-processing. But you certainly don't need to go broke buying cashmere. Brands like Vince, Everlane, J.Crew, and Equipment have some great mid-range splurges.

Nude Pumps
Because they're such a classic, a great pair of nude pumps are an excellent investment. A pair of nude Louboutins is the ultimate get, but some other great options are Loeffler Randall and Stuart Weitzmann.

Denim
High quality jeans are more comfortable and will fit you better than a cheap pair, plus they have better recovery which means you won't find the knees or butt sagging at the end of the day. My go-to for denim is Madewell and other great brands are Paige, J Brand and Frame

Blazers
If you're going to buy a blazer and can swing it, I highly recommend splurging here. One incredible blazer will take you so much further than five cheap, ill-fitting blazers. My Ralph Lauren Collection blazer is incredible. It fits perfectly without having ever been tailored and has held up wonderfully for many years. For great blazers, check out Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and Saint Laurent. I promise if you go to a great resale shop, you can even find blazers from these brands at a much lower price.

Save

Seasonal & Occasional Dresses
Since trends and the weather change so often, there's no point in splurging on seasonal and occasional dresses. For this category, I suggest picking just a few favorites from places like Mango, Nordstrom, and Zara that will last you a couple of years. 

Trendy Shoes
Shoes are a category where trends change so often that, again, it's better just to get an inexpensive version of the high-end shoe that sparked the trend. As always, Zara is great for finding the it shoe of the season for a great price as are Asos and Mango.

Workout Tops
While I do think that it's worth splurging on a great pair of leggings that fit you perfectly and don't slip down, you can stay on the inexpensive side when it comes to workout tops. Buy a few easy tops from Old Navy or Asos that will allow you to easily create several outfits from just two or three pairs of higher end leggings or shorts.

(Most) Jewelry
Unless you are majorly splurging on an heirloom type piece of jewelry from somewhere like Cartier, Tiffany, Graff, and such than I recommend skipping the mid-range jewelry brands and picking up a few costume pieces from Forever 21 or H&M. The only mid-range brand I would really recommend is Gorjana because the pieces are timeless and not very expensive.

What to Pack for a City Break This Summer

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I'm headed to New York next weekend for a little summer city break. When I interned there a few summers ago, I became so obsessed with the city in the summer because it's so much quieter and emptier than usual. I remember walking around the UES with a friend one summer weekend around 4 or 5 pm and it was completely empty and silent. 

Whether you're off to New York or Paris or Austin or London or wherever, try not to overpack! It can be a pain to pack it all back up again at the end of the weekend, so packing light will make you better off in the long run. Plus, you only need a few things anyway!

Little Black Dress
Choose a black dress that can be dressed down for daytime and dressed up at night. Since you'll be moving around a lot in the city, be sure to pick a dress that's both comfortable and practical, meaning not too long (or it will drag on the dirty sidewalk) and not too short (could be awkward when you're walking up the steep stairs in the subway). I like a black dress in a breathable fabric, like cotton or linen, that hits just above the knee.

Silk Blouses
Pack two silk blouses to switch between over the weekend. I recommend silk because it looks dressy, in case you want to stop into somewhere upscale for lunch or make a quick trip to Barney's, but still feels comfortable. My suggestion is to pack one simple, white blouse that is easy to style and one blouse that's a little more interesting and of the moment like the gingham blouse I picked below.

Skinny Jeans
Pack your favorite pair of skinny jeans to wear with both blouses you picked. I recommend a darker wash in a classic style so that the jeans can serve as a backbone to your weekend wardrobe rather than playing the starring role. Wear what is most comfortable for you, but high-waisted jeans are my favorite as they make me feel a little more pulled together.

Slides
Since it's the summer, pack a pair of pretty slides to wear with any of your outfits. I would go for a neutral tone out of preference, but if you've kept the rest of your pieces fairly neutral, you could also wear a brightly colored or printed slide to make your look a little more eccentric. Wear these slides your black dress in the daytime or with either of your blouse-and-jeans combinations.

Ankle Boots
I love ankle boots for city trips because they are comfortable for long walks yet they look super stylish. I like the Isabel Marant Dicker boots in a neutral tone for this situation. Wear it with either of your skinny jeans outfits or with the black dress if that's your vibe.

Pair of Heels
Pack one good pair of nude heels to slip on with your black dress if you decide to go out at night. If your bag is big enough, slip your slides in there for the walk home. 

Sunglasses
Sunglasses might be an obvious thing to pack, but choosing which pair can make a big difference in your overall look. I tend to go for tortoise shell sunglasses since they provide a sort-of classic, glamorous look.

Simple Metallic Necklace
Pick one, simple necklace in the metallic of your choice to go with each of your daily outfits. Gorjana makes the most beautiful, simple necklaces that are also affordable. You can't go wrong pairing a Gorjana necklace with any outfit.

Set of Pajamas
Finally, pack one pajama set for the weekend. It's likely you'll only wear the pajamas twice, so pack one pretty set to save room in your luggage.

The Weekend List {No. 11}

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Happy first Saturday of summer! I have some really exciting news coming up that I cannot wait to share with you guys. I'm also looking forward to a fun weekend trip I'm taking two weekends from now. Lots of good stuff coming up! It's been a busy week so I've felt pretty gross (maybe it's because I missed my traditional Wednesday pamper night). I need to get a sheet mask and a giant bottle of ice-water stat.

It's been really hot lately, hasn't it? I usually end up putting my hair in a top knot midway through the day, so I was happy to stumble upon this list of sixteen hairstyles for hot days.

Speaking of hot, I've been craving the most summery foods lately! Lots of big salads, fresh fruit (watermelon!!), and lemonade. Anine's lunch yesterday looked amazing.

In more Amazon-takes-over-the-world news, IKEA is now available through Amazon Prime! How amazing is that? Now I can have that cute Rens rug shipped straight to my door.

Having experience in the wedding planning world, I've always been pretty sure I want to have a tiny destination wedding, but if I were to have a traditional one, it would probably look a lot like this beautiful wedding.

Finally, I loved this list of real-life, aesthetically Wes Anderson locations. I'll have to track some of these down for photos.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Bookshelf: Understanding Other Perspectives

In the past few years, our differences as human beings have been in full view. In the news, we hear about how the "liberal elites" are living in a bubble, the ignorance of which led to the results of the 2016 election. As someone who reluctantly falls into that category, I do agree although I don't blame people for existing in these bubbles.

It can be hard to get outside yourself and your immediate circle. As a "liberal elite", I'm in a bubble. As a white, middle class woman, I'm a bubble. We all exist in our own bubbles that we should make an effort to get out of every once in awhile. I've been making an effort to read more books, articles, and essays written by or about individuals who experience life from different perspectives than mine. I truly think this is the best way to start bridging the divide, so here are a few options: 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Vance, who grew up in rural Appalachia before going on to graduate from Yale Law School, writes about his childhood and family. While this is an incredibly interesting family memoir, it also serves as a look into the people we refer to as "hillbillies", portraying them as human beings who make certain decisions and develop opinions based on their circumstances, rather than the stereotype developed in Hollywood.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This story follows a high school girl who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend by a police officer and the aftermath of the event both in her psyche and in the world, from the news coverage to the reactions from people around her to the court case that follows. This book blew me away and is incredibly timely.  

The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen
A Finnish journalist becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen and uses this book to compare and contrast the culture, values, and specific policies that make the Nordic countries so desirable to so many Americans. From maternity leave and taxes to healthcare and employment, this book provides an in-depth understanding of the specific ways in which Nordic countries are running their governments. 

The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
Senator Ben Sasse writes about what he believes to be an existential threat to America's future---a generation concerned with trigger warnings and safe spaces with overprotective, coddling parents. Sasse outlines his the ways he believes parents can raise their children to uphold the values older Americans were raised to respect. My personal belief is that millennial and younger generations are, understandably, beginning to have very different values than their parents and grandparents but in order to defend those new values, we should attempt to understand the values that came before ours.

Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Arlie Hochschild, a renowned sociologist from California, embedded herself in rural Louisiana in order to understand those who subscribe to the beliefs of the conservative right. Embedding herself into a group of people whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to her own, she digs deeper into the issues that plague their communities in order to dispel the liberal notion that poor conservatives are being "duped" into voting for people and policies that hurt them.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In his National Book Award winning essays written as letters to his son, Coates (who also writes for The Atlantic) explains to his son how race has shaped the history of the United States through personal experiences as well as historical anecdotes. Topics addressed are the murders of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and the worshipers killed in South Carolina as being part of a structural, systemic construct in American culture. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche  
This story follows a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to the United States and her lover who isn't able to follow her and ends up in post-9/11 London. The young woman is confronted in the U.S. with vastly different race politics than she experienced in Nigeria and provides an interesting perspective for those of us who exist outside of this spectrum. The story follows the young woman's experience with everything from dating as a black woman in America to the under-representation of black women in American beauty campaigns.

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
A compilation of short stories about the lives of people in "laundromats and half-way houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians". These stories will bring you into the unique stories of those who live the kind of lives you may never live. 

Round-Up: Fun Things to Try This Weekend

Can you guys believe that today is the first day of summer? To be honest, the weather has made me feel like it has been summer for a few weeks already! But, now that it is officially summer, we can all plan a bunch of fun activities and weekends. I'm going to a baseball game next week...the ultimate classic summer activity! This weekend, try some of these fun ideas to celebrate summer.

Head to the library and pick up a book from the Poolside Reading Guide.

Put on your cutest outfit and head to the Farmer's Market to pick up some fresh produce.

Use your bundles of produce to make a delicious fruit-centered breakfast.

Pack your bag and spend the afternoon by the pool.

If it's too hot to be outdoors, hide away in the movie theater and pick a fun, new film to watch.

Squeeze in a quick, outdoor workout at the park or in your backyard.

If you're feeling crafty, try making your own marbled soap.

Make a fun, summer drink to sip outdoors.