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Shopping, Style, Uncategorized

Valentino-Inspired Floral Look

zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-3zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-8zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-11zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-5zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-7zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-6zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-10zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-9zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-2Top: Zara (sold out, very similar here) // Skirt: Zara (sold out, similar here) // Boots: Chinese Laundry // Bag: New Look (old, similar here)// Necklace: Julie Vos // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Bracelet: Lily Dawson // Rings: BaubleBar and Rachel Zoe (sold out, similar here)

Botanical prints are everywhere right now, yes, but none were done quite so well as the embroidered versions found at the Valentino Pre-Fall 2015 show. The classically puritanical Valentino silhouettes and Botticelli-inspired embroidery have stayed with me ever since I saw them (aren’t they stunning?), and I knew it would only be a few seasons before this trend trickled down. And so, after a bout of uncharacteristic retail patience, I finally hunted down a fast-fashion approximation of the looks I pined for the year before—on sale, no less!

One day, maybe, after I’ve earned my way to a student loan-free life and a house with a library and a rolling ladder, I’ll be able to afford the real thing. But in the very likely chance that doesn’t happen, I think I’ll still be pretty darn happy with my two-piece Zara look. Although the floral print and short skirt hem smack of springtime cheer and sunnier weather, I couldn’t bear to keep this combo in my closet for long. Out came the tights and the over-the-knee boots to save the day and keep me warm enough to brave a beautiful Iowa City winter sunset.

Shopping, Uncategorized

Not-So-Standard Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

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In case you’ve spent the last 24 hours living under a rock, I’ll repeat what pretty much every style blogger has been shouting from the rooftops: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access is live. This is not a drill.

Yes, there are really great deals on staples like the perfectly ripped pair of jeans, the only draped tunic you’ll ever need and a signature Rebecca Minkoff tote, but these are the same items I see keep popping up on every “My Picks” blog post from SF to NYC.

Don’t get me wrong, I think these classic styles are great buys and will be very practical come fall. However, I like to view this sale as an opportunity to splurge on something really fun. Something you don’t hear everyone talking about, and something you wouldn’t usually buy.

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That’s why my picks for the best of the Anniversary sale are a handful of gloriously colorful, ridiculously plush faux fur items. When I first saw this delicious Helene Burman coat, it immediately reminded me of the super-saturated Shrimps coats I’ve been drooling over for so long. At just under $240, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s marked down over a hundred dollars, and it’s still far more reasonably priced than the aforementioned Shrimps offerings.

Plus, this is about treating yourself to something you wouldn’t normally buy, right? At least that’s how I justify it…

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*Full disclosure: I work for Nordstrom, but all opinions here are my own. I really, truly just love these picks!

Clothing, Uncategorized

Going Dutch

tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-7tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-5tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-11tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-3tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-16tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-4tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-13tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-1tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-17tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-8tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-6tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-14tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-2tulip-time-polka-dot-dress-18Dress: Asos // Hat: J.Crew // Shoes: Old Navy (old) // Sunglasses: Prada // Bag: Forever 21 // Watch: Michael Kors // Bracelets: Kate Spade (old, similar) and Julie Vos

On the first weekend in May, in a very small town in Iowa, tens of thousands of people converge in a town square lined with rows of Dutch-style buildings for a little something called Tulip Time. It’s a festival of Dutch heritage, complete with a parade, delicious Dutch pastries, wooden clogs and of course, lots of tulips.

Having heard all about the tulips as well as the Vermeer Mill (the country’s tallest working windmill) on Iowa Public Radio, I was determined to make the drive to Pella to take in the sights, and I’m so glad we did. With spring in full effect here in Iowa, the tulips were out in force—and they were stunning.

There were several large plots of blooming buds in the “downtown” area, but it seemed like everywhere you looked there were different varieties in a range of vibrant shades. I especially loved the super-saturated dark purple variety pictured at the beginning of this post—so exotic!

Long story short, I can’t wait to go back to Pella, and next time, I’m going to eat some stroopwafel.

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Clothing, Shopping, Uncategorized

Black + White Windowpane

black-and-white-windowpane-1 black-and-white-windowpane-6black-and-white-windowpane-4black-and-white-windowpane-2black-and-white-windowpane-5black-and-white-windowpane-8Hat: Target // Jacket: Forever 21 // Top: J.Crew // Jeans: Old Navy // Purse: Steve Madden (similar) // Shoes: Target // Necklace: Julie Vos // Sunglasses: Prada

I love a good windowpane print. There’s something about the shadowy interplay between black and white that is at once elegantly timeless and graphically modern. I practically wore out my favorite windowpane scarf this winter, so as temperatures finally started to warm up, I began the hunt for a more lightweight iteration.

After plenty of online window shopping, I finally found exactly what I was looking for in this printed silk tee from J.Crew. Not only do I love the small-scale windowpane print, but (almost) more importantly, I love the small design details. Supple silk inhabits an oversized t-shirt silhouette, mixing high and low aesthetics with signature Lyons aplomb. Slender black piping traces the shirttail hem, furthering the fun interplay between casual and luxe. I really could go on about this shirt for awhile…I think my day job is rubbing off on me.

But, in wrapping up this post, I suppose I should mention that since my #WearMoreHats campaign of 2015 began, I’ve been stocking up on headwear in earnest. My latest acquisition—this white straw Panama hat—is miraculous in that it both fits my very large head and cost a mere fifteen dollars. Win/win/windowpane.

Accessories, Clothing, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Minty Fresh

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Jacket: Old Navy // Scarf: Asos // Jeans: Old Navy // Boots: Sam & Libby // Gloves: Target (similar) // Bag: Kate Spade // Sunglasses: Prada // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to walk the dog when it’s way below freezing outside. Not to mention the fact that Clarabelle has developed a real distain for walking on snow. Luckily, sometimes a handful of successive (relatively) warm days allows for a somewhat pleasant stroll down the banks of a partially frozen river.

Here are my cold-weather dog walking essentials: waterproof boots, chic leather gloves, a cozy coat and a big ol’ blanket scarf. I scored this fuzzy wool-bend jacket for about $25 in an epic after-Christmas sale, and I love how it provides the perfect pastel canvas for this amazing windowpane scarf (which I’ve been wearing with pretty much everything). Technically, Clarabelle has some winter walking gear of her own—think shearling trimmed dog vests—but Max won’t let her out of the house with it on. Yet.