jcrew-pink-coat-black-and-white-striped-dress banana-republic-black-and-white-striped-dress black-and-white-striped-dress black-and-white-striped-dress cole-haan-ankle-boots{J. Crew Lady Coat (25% off with code HEYSPRING), Banana Republic Black and White Striped Dress (also love this one for 40% off using code BRSPRING), H&M Brooch, Hue Tights, Celine Handbag, Cole Haan Ankle Boots}

I apologize if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but… when all else fails, you really can’t go wrong with good ol’ black and white.  It’s one of my not-so-secret style techniques that has saved me on quite a few mornings when I’m short on time and need to get ready FAST.  I picked up this black and white striped dress on the clearance rack at Banana Republic a few months ago and had the hem let out a bit to add an extra inch or so in length.  It’s still short and flirty, but I definitely appreciate the extra coverage.

The first day of spring may be well behind us, but the temps have still been hovering just above freezing in my neck of the woods. So as much as I would love to have worn this outfit with bare legs and a cute pair of colorful pumps (my red patent leather pair would have worked beautifully!), I was stuck with boots and tights yet again.  To add a dash of color, I decided to throw on my bright pink coat (definitely one of my favorite sales purchases from last winter).

Last, but certainly not least, I added this striped ribbon pin that I picked up a few years ago at H&M and recently rescued from the bottom of my accessories pile.  I don’t wear it nearly often enough, but I love how it looks like it’s part of the dress. Now that it’s back in play, I’m planning to pair it with a few of my striped tees to add an extra bit of visual interest.

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wrap-coat-and-over-the-knee-boots
navajo-print-coat
sporty-sweatshirt-dress
raglan-sweatshirt-dress
vita-fede-futturo-cutout-bracelet
{Forever 21 Out West Draped Jacket, Feel The Piece Sweatshirt Dress, Kyi Kyi Hat, Hue Tights, Born ‘Cady’ Boots, Vita Fede ‘Futturo’ & ‘Mini Titan’ Bracelets, Rings via Catbird and Artists & Fleas}

Most days I’m fine with getting all gussied up, but every now and then I just want to be as comfortable as possible.  Since it’s generally frowned upon to wear pajamas and slippers outside of the house, I’m always on the lookout for pieces that are cozy without looking (too) sloppy. Enter my beloved sweatshirt dress that I picked up during the throes of winter. While it’s rare to catch my in an actual sweatshirt, a sweatshirt dress is definitely a style I can get on board with. I try to switch things up a bit and keep my outfits fresh on the blog, but trust me when I say that I basically lived in this thing on the weekends.  It’s super soft, warm and just perfect for curling up in around the house.  But the best thing about my sweatshirt dress, is that it can also be jazzed up a bit with the right shoes and accessories and be worn for ripping and running around the city.

Speaking of shoes…  I still can’t get enough of these Born ‘Cady’ boots! As you may recall, I stomped all over Italy in them during the Christmas break and they kept my tootsies very happy.  While I am certainly looking forward to sandal weather, I have to admit I’m going to be a little sad when it’s time to stow these away.

And last, but certainly not least… can we talk about my new Vita Fede Futturo bracelet? I think I may be in love!  I’ve had my mini titan for close to a year now, and I’ve been very pleased with the quality and how well it’s held up with no tarnishing. I recently decided to spring for this gorgeous gold cuff as to match.  When I find a piece of jewelry I really like, I tend to wear it nonstop for months (or years!) at a time.  So I’m always on the lookout for standout pieces that stand the test of time.

And on that note, stay tuned for my upcoming post on my favorite splurge-worthy jewelry lines!

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Hask-Argan-Oil-and-Caruso-Steam-Rollers-On-Natural-Hair

Aloha!

I’ve been experimenting with different hair products and styling techniques lately, and I wanted to share my recent results using the Hask Argan Oil Smoothing Treatment along with my trusty Caruso Steam Rollers.  Below is a step-by-step tutorial of how I achieved this style.  Enjoy!

hask-argan-oil-hair-treatment

I’m a recovering hair product junkie, but I just couldn’t resist when the lovely folks at Hask offered to send me a few products to review.  Everything came in this nifty pink shower caddy that will definitely come in handy for future use.  I received two complete 4-piece hair treatment systems:

  1. Argan Oil Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner, Intense Deep Conditioner, and Shine Oil - good for repairing, strengthening and moisturizing hair, all while taming frizz and adding shine.
  2. Keratin Protein Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, and Shine Oil - good for reviving, restoring, calming and strengthening parched, frizzy locks—wiping out the effects of heat, humidity and over-styling and helping your hair look and feel its best.

Since I’ve heard about the great benefits of Argan oil, and because winter has left my hair unbelievably dry, I decided to go with the Argan Oil hair treatment for this style. I plan to try the Kerating Protein treatment the next time I straighten my locks, and I’ll update you guys on how that goes.

Hask-Argan-Oil-Smoothing-Treatment-Natural-4B-Hair

This is my hair after washing, deep conditioning, applying the shine oil and letting it air dry overnight with my new super-awesome hair stretching technique that I promise to share with all my fellow naturalistas in another post.  If you’re curious as to how my hair normally looks after air-drying with no products or manipulation, you can check out this post.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that all of the Hask products I received are free of  sulfates, parabens, alcohols, and artificial colors. I’m somewhat picky about what I put in my hair, so this scored major points with me.  Even though the shampoo doesn’t contain sulfates, it still produced lots of lather (and smelled a little like fruit punch).  My hair and scalp definitely felt clean afterwards, but not stripped. I left the deep conditioner in for ~10 minutes while I showered and completed the rest of my bathing and exfoliating rituals. I like to detangle my hair using just my fingers while it’s full of conditioner.  The deep conditioner provided a decent amount of slip (I’d give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10), and I was able to work my fingers through my strands without much trouble.  After rinsing out the conditioner, I applied a generous amount of Shine Oil and made sure to coat my strands while playing close attention to the ends.

By the time I woke up the next morning, my hair felt pretty good.  Not a drastic difference, but definitely less parched than it was previously.  I think applying a leave-in conditioner along with the Shine Oil would have helped lock in some additional moisture. But for this review, I wanted to stick to just using the Hask products I had on-hand.

Caruso-Steam-Rollers-4B-Natural-Hair-Tutorial

Now for the real experiment: using my Caruso Molecular Steam Hairsetter on my air-dried naturally kinky hair.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve had these steam rollers for years, and I love them because they’re gentle on the hair and super quick (i.e., I can set my hair in the morning and have a head full of bouncy curls in under 10 minutes).  But in the past I’ve only ever used them on relaxed tresses or natural hair that been blow-dried and/or lightly flat-ironed.

4B-Natural-Hair-Steam-Roller-Set

Here’s how the end result came out.  I’d like to note that I added a tad more of the Dhine Oil to my hair before setting it. Using the Caruso steam rollers on air-dried hair definitely didn’t leave my hair as flowy and luscious as it does when I use a bit of heat beforehand ( as seen here and here), but I was actually pretty pleased with the results considering how little time it took and how gentle it was on my hair.  I also think the Hask Argan Oil treatment aided in taming my strands and cutting down on frizz.

At this stage, I felt like my hair was perfectly primed for an elegant curly updo.  So I grabbed one of my favorite hair tools: a Goodie Ouchless Elastic Headwrap.  I like to cut them open at the seams and prefer them to regular hair ties because my hair is quite thick, and these allow me to better control the tension on my head.

4B-Natural-Hair-Curly-Updo

Above is how I transformed my grandma curls into a chic updo in about 30 seconds flat.  I basically lay the outstretched headband around the back of my head, loop it around front, and gradually tighten it like a drawstring until I get the look I want.  After that, I tie the ends into a tiny bow in the back of my head, hide the ends under my curls, and secure it with a bobby pin or two.  If your hair is a lot finer than mine, you can also achieve the same result with these bungee bands.

This is pretty much the same method I use with my tried-and-true puff, but I love how the look is transformed with smooth, bouncy curls.

Caruso-Steam-Rollers--Natural-4B-Hair-Tutorial

And there you have it, guys!  A chic and elegant updo that’s gentle on the strands and only takes ~15 minutes to accomplish (8-10 minutes to install the rollers, 3 minutes to let them cool and set the curl, 1 minute to remove, and 1 minute to style).  I’ll make this style last all week by setting it with satin-covered foam rollers at night.  But even if I’m too lazy to do that, I can always get my curls back in the morning with my Caruso steam rollers and a few spare minutes.

***Edited on 3/19: Happy to report that my curls have lasted 3 whole days WITHOUT using the satin rollers at night.  I pretty much just fluff and go in the morning. Woohoo!***

This post is powered by BrandBackers.  Thanks so much to the team for hooking me up with these wonderful Hask product samples!

 

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Plaid Tommy Hilfiger Coat and Zara Plaid Blanket Scarf
Mixing Plaids
Old Navy Denim Jacket and J. Crew Tartan Mini
Old Navy Denim Jacket and J. Crew Tartan Mini
Ralph Lauren Wool Beanie and Old Navy Denim Jacket{Tommy Hilfiger Coat, Zara Plaid Blanket Scarf, Ralph Lauren Hat & Sweater, Old Navy Denim Jacket, J. Crew Plaid ‘City Mini’ Skirt, Hue Tights, Zara Ankle Boots}

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

For the record, the fact that I’m wearing green and a whole heap o’ tartans for today’s blog post is pure coincidence. It all started with my little plaid skirt, and the next thing you know I was all bundled up in a blackwatch plaid overcoat and a giant plaid blanket scarf! You guys know my motto: “Go plaid, or go home!”

Since spring is right around the corner, I’m currently making a mad dash to squeeze in all of my cold weather wardrobe favorites before it’s time to pack them away.  It doesn’t hurt that the temps have dipped back below freezing recently as well. As much as I would love to break out my breezy little dresses and ditch the thick tights, a gal’s gotta be practical.

I spent this past weekend doing grownup stuff like taxes and cleaning out my fridge – riveting stuff, I tell you! However, I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun with a trip to Umami Burger (where I ordered the Truffle Burger and almost died and went to beef patty heaven). Afterwards, I did a teensy bit of power shopping because there’s nothing like pawing through racks of dresses and trying on new shoes to help burn calories after a big meal… or at least that’s what I like to tell myself!

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Trina Turk Printed Skirt, Cabled Ralph Lauren Sweater, Vince Camuto Booties, C. Wonder Pearl Necklace, Wet Seal Happy Necklace
Trina Turk Printed Skirt, Cabled Ralph Lauren Sweater
Vince Camuto Ankle Boots
C. Wonder Pearl Necklace, Wet Seal Happy Necklace
{Ralph Lauren Cableknit Sweater, Trina Turk Printed Skirt (similar here and here), Vince Camuto Booties (similar), C. Wonder Pearl Choker (similar), c/o Wet Seal ‘Happy’ Necklace}

 My photographer took the day off, so I was stuck taking my own photos indoors with a self-timer and tripod.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t be too upset about it… at least not while I was wearing my ‘Happy’ necklace!  Plus, it sort of reminded me of the ‘old days’ when I often took my own photos for the blog.

I woke up the other day with this song stuck in my head (come on, you know the one I’m talking about!), so I thought it was the perfect time to debut my new bling.  I was very much smitten with the Lanvin versions of this necklace that were floating around the fashion scene late last year, but my frugal side just wouldn’t let me justify the expense for such a trendy (and let’s be honest… a wee bit obnoxious) piece of costume jewelry.  Since this necklace makes quite the statement (literally), I paired it with a chunky pearl necklace, printed skirt, and cable-knit sweater for an office-ready look.  But of course, I can’t wait to layer this baby up with a few gold chains and a bold colorful top for a casual weekend affair.

I love the power of accessories to jazz up an outfit.  So I’m curious, what’s your favorite piece standout piece that you use to  inject a bit of personality into your wardrobe?

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