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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.


DIY Rockstud Magnets


You know how, when you first move into a new place, there are always a few things—ok, a lot of things—that you didn’t anticipate needing? Well, for me, one of those things was magnets. You don’t realize how necessary they are until you start receiving a bunch of wedding invitations in the mail and you have nothing with which to stick them to your fridge except a lone Alamo commemorative magnet.

Much to my chagrin, a pack of regular old magnets was surprisingly hard to find. Several unsuccessful trips to Target confirmed what I already knew: it was time to take matters into my own hands. After all, if I was going to order a bunch of blank magnets online, I might as well make them pretty. This revelation may or may not have come to me while I was absentmindedly scrolling (yet again) through Valentino’s rainbow-hued spring collectionet voila! The Rockstud Magnet was born.

Things I love about these magnets: they’re strong enough to hold an invitation and RSVP card to the refrigerator door without slipping, they allow me to pretend that I own, at last, a pair of Rockstuds, and they took practically no time to make. Let’s get started, shall we?


For this project, you’ll need the following:
square craft magnets (mine were 3/4″ x 3/4″)
• leather (I bought a couple of bags of remnant leather at Hobby Lobby, but you can also order scraps on Etsy if you want to choose individual colors)
• gold pyramid nailhead studs (mine were 9mm x 9mm)
• seam ripper or small leather awl
• needle-nose pliers
• a pair of sharp scissors
• glue gun


1. First, cut out your pieces of leather by tracing the magnets in pen on the reverse side of the leather and carefully cutting out the rounded squares.


2. Center the stud on the square of leather and firmly press down for a few seconds so that the prongs leave indentations.


3. Using your seam ripper or awl, punch small holes in the leather, using the indentations as a guide.

4. Insert the prongs of the stud through the leather, and use your needle-nose pliers to flatten the prongs down, thus securing the stud.


5. Apply a pea-sized dot of hot glue to the top of the magnet (make sure you know which side attracts to the fridge!) and press the studded leather onto the magnet, holding firmly for a few seconds. Make sure you don’t use too much glue or it will seep out the sides.

6. Use your finished magnets to display pictures of bags and shoes you one day hope to own. Or, you know, the aforementioned wedding invites. The possibilities are endless!



On the Edge


Scallops. I was reminded of their humble shellfish beginnings while watching an episode of The Mind of a Chef over the weekend. The world’s best chef can do some pretty amazing things with them, but as you can see above, so can Valentino. And Jenna Lyons, apparently not surprisingly.

Ever since Ariel’s purple scalloped bikini top, I’ve loved the repeating gentle curves of a scalloped hemline. So when I watched a string of scalloped frocks go down the runway in the RTW Fall/Winter 2013–14 Valentino show, I could hardly contain my glee.

However, the closest I think I’ll be able to get to one of these creations is through the pages of a magazine (it’s only a matter of time until someone wears a cocktail-length version to a movie premier). So you can imagine my retail joy when I found this scalloped blue sheath dress at J.Crew.

I can’t wait to wear this with statement earrings and nude heels to a late-summer wedding or pair it with my favorite leather jacket and black peep-toe pumps for a day at the office—plus it’s on sale!

You just might catch me humming Under the Sea each time I catch a glimpse of my scalloped hem.

scallop-2J.Crew, $148 + 30% off // Valentino, price on request


Accessories, On the Cheapish

It’s Bow Time

bowshoesWhat: Valentino Couture Bow Platform Pump
When: One year ago
Where: Nordstrom Shoe Salon
Why: Does one really need a reason to go shoe shopping?

This time last year, a friend and I took an after-work trip to the mall for some retail therapy. While she ended up scoring some pretty Prada pumps, the shoes that really stole the show that day were these dreamy Valentinos. We both agreed they would be ideal peeking out from beneath the hem of a wedding dress. They’re that kind of shoe.

They’re also the kind of shoe that costs a very pretty penny. So when I saw these Steven by Steve Madden copycats at Nordstrom the other day, I couldn’t help but snap a picture of them to send to my friend. It’s only a matter of time until they find their way onto my feet…