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travel in style: the perfect summer packing list!

Friends, I am so in need of a summer vacation. I’m writing this while wearing a beach caftan and white jeans…in my living room. It’s time to get out of dodge!

I’m thinking if I pack myself an overnight bag now, perhaps I’ll be struck by a spur-of-the-moment inspiration and take myself out on a weekend getaway. Worth a shot, don’t you think? I have a feeling the rest of you may have actual weekend (or week-long) trips afoot, and could use a little guidance on packing the perfect weekend bag.

As usual, I have big dreams of 3 outfits a day, shoes to match, and a whole separate trunk of accessories. But really, summer trips call for minimal effort…and minimal luggage. So, rather than fantasy, this is pure practicality. Skip the fashion-conscious gear and go for versatility. Skip the giant jewels and go for simple. Skip the boring classic novel and go for the trashy celebrity magazines. This is a vacation!

Top: Striped tank, Edith A. Miller, $58 / Tissue v-neck tee, J.Crew, $30 / Callan tee, Velvet, $86 /
Denim shorts
, Joe’s Jeans, $138 / Tank dress, Three Dots, $66

Bottom: Graf + Lantz overnighter, $379 / Druzy studs, Dara Ettinger, $95 / Rope bracelet, Kiel James Patrick, $40 / Archer flat, Dolce Vita, $69 / Espadrilles, ASOS (similar here) / Cenoire electric toothbrush, $35 / Sun Protector, Kiehls, $23

 You’ll need:

* 2 tees: one basic, one fashion-forward
* 1 tank: basic is great
* 1 pair of denim cutoffs: the ultimate in versatility!
* 1 easy summer dress
* 1 pair of sandals/flip flops
* 1 pair of walking shoes
* 1 great bracelet
* 1 pair of simple earrings
* 1 swimsuit
* 1 semi-slinky nightgown (it is a vacation, after all)
* Oh, and…extra undies!

That’s it!

Add your trusty bag of toiletries and you’re set. You do keep that pre-packed, right? No? You don’t know what you’re missing…it’s a total travel game-changer! Head to Nordstrom with a list of your staple products, ask them to make up testers for you (buy something so you don’t feel guilty), and throw them in a Ziploc. I know you have extra makeup lying around, so make yourself a travel bag with the spares. Throw in a toothbrush, treat yourself to a travel flat iron, and leave the whole assembly in your bag, so you never have to go hunting when the open road calls.

Oh, and don’t forget the big bottle of SPF. My sun-phobic favorite this season is from Kiehls – it’s SPF 50, water-resistant and broad-spectrum. Done and done!

Where are you off to this summer? Maybe I can live vicariously…

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white denim: the how-to

Every so often, I find myself on a fashion mission. This year, it’s been all about white. Finding the most flattering, versatile pieces, and – most importantly – figuring out how to wear it. Especially for those of us who aren’t impossibly tall, thin and tan, white is a tricky thing. It’s sheer, so it makes underpinnings tricky, and it highlights every curve, which isn’t something we always want. But it’s time to embrace the white, friends…we can do it!

I’ve already tracked down the perfect white tee for you, and some fantastic white trousers. But really, the holy grail of summer whites is the perfect white jean. And they are tricky! Skinny styles are all but impossible to pull off, but if you go too loose, you veer into bum sag territory, which isn’t good.

Let me introduce you to Molly. She’s from Mavi Jeans (a new favorite of mine), and friends…she is perfect.

Molly straight-leg jeans, Mavi, $80

Straight-cut leg and a mid-rise, both of which are a must to keep the look tailored. A touch of stretch to make them comfortable, but plenty of structure to keep you sucked in. The denim is sturdy enough to avoid divulging bulges, without veering into thick, mom-grade territory. And they’re impossibly well-priced at $80, so you won’t blow a gasket when you inevitably stain them.

Once I’d tracked down the perfect pair, of course, the next matter was styling. First things first: you want nude, seamless boyshorts underneath. Even so, in general, I’m a fan of treating white denim a bit like leggings: keep the bum covered. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s a great place to start from, especially if you’re white-phobic like me.

From there, you have a dozen places you can go. But a couple of my favorites:

{Classic kurta, Roberta Roller Rabbit, $69 / Cyrus sandal, K.Jacques, $224 / Kyna Wise sandal, Clarks, $90)

It’s the easiest outfit you’ll put together all summer. Of course, if you want to take it up a notch:

{Diane Burnout Tunic, Alternative Apparel, $40 (size up for that slouchy fit!)}

You can stop right there – add the K.Jacques sandals from above, and you’re easy weekend perfection. But I happen to be pretty crazy for dressing up the whites. So, my favorite look?

Top: Sliver blazer, Rag & Bone, $495 / Happy crossbody bag, Dooney & Bourke, $199 / Seville espadrille, J.Crew, $98; Bottom: Trim blazer, Woodford & Co, $326 / Rope necklace, kikinyc, $195 / Sperry Top-Sider, $98

Oh, there are so many great blazers this season! I could have gone on for days picking favorites. But these two will give you such different looks, and they’re pitch-perfect for this time of year. Plus, ditch the blazer after work and you’re still stylish enough for happy hour with friends.

So, talk to me…have you already taken the white denim plunge, or are you still standing by the side of the pool?

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trend to try: pink and gold

The lovely Kimberly Brandt, of Billede Design is back with a few ideas to ensure your New Year’s celebration is festive, fashion-forward and completely fabulous. Enjoy…and I’ll see you back here next week!


Hello! I’m so excited to be back at Shopping’s My Cardio for a little holiday fun, as I’ve been itching to show off my latest find. Chilewich recently introduced this beautiful new table runner/placemat fusion called a tete-a-tete – it essentially works like an elongated placemat, which can be used either horizontally or vertically across a table.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on a set to try, and I just happened to have a photographer and a location already booked for another shoot! Fate came together and I was able to pull together a beautiful look for your New Year’s Eve dinner, or a more casual brunch the next morning:

Image by Erica Ann Photography; Styling by Billede Design

We shot this in a 19th century schoolhouse.  Isn’t the aged effect of the old wood just beautiful?  I love putting modern elements in a classic setting.  The dinnerware is from West Elm, including a dinner plate by David Stark and a salad plate in the palest dusty pink.  I love layering in an unexpected color for the holidays, and the texture from that Chilewich tete-a-tete just makes the setting so warm and festive!

Tips for putting the look together:

  • Search your local thrift store for blush pink plates.  They don’t all have to match; keep your eye out for saucers that have lost their tea cup mate.
  • Add in the metallic element by spray painting thrifted chargers and votives.  Personally, I like Krylon – but be careful to read the label to ensure it is safe for food surfaces if you’re planning to use it on any serving dishes.
  • To take get that mercury-glass look without purchasing new vessels, check out this great Pinterest page with a collection of DIY mercury glass links.
  • For the botanical element, look no further then your back yard.  I snatched these snowberries on location the morning of our shoot. Evergreen boughs, twigs, winter berries, or dormant fruit tree branches are ideal.

This table setting would be a perfect fit for an intimate New Year’s party.  Can’t you just picture ladies sitting around this table in sequins and sparkles?

Of course, if you’re not the host, you can still try out a pink and gold palette, whatever your New Year’s plans might be. It’s a fresh change from basic black, or the usual silver sequins, and is sure to make you stand out from the crowd. Need some inspiration?

Image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Happy new year!  ~Kim B.

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friday finds: spring in my step

Happy Friday, friends!  This week’s list has a definite theme, though I’m not totally ready to examine what it says about me. All of the spring shoes I’m loving lately have just the tiniest touch of granny chic. Sure, maybe I’m getting sensible in my old age (and really, doesn’t a nice moderate heel and an orthopedic comfy footbed sound really, really good right about now?), but I could also be way ahead of the fashion curve. Regardless, I’m pretty sure these just might be adorable.

I actually tried out this cute little Tova style by Naya recently. I was nervous…they definitely walk the “hippie crunchy” line, but they’re so fun in person, I’m willing to forgive them. The pale pink/lavender shade is a surprising neutral – makes a great stand-in for nude, and is ultra-flattering even if you aren’t tan ever yet. There’s enough substance to this strappy style to stand up to being worn with jeans, but the heel’s short enough that you can pull these off with shorts (without looking like a streetwalker). And ohhh, the comfy. Seriously…wearing a shoe like this reminds that maybe the hippie crowd has a point. Maybe.

Frye never lets me down…they hit it out of the park every single time. This sweet little Emma woven flat reminds me of those huarache sandals I used to wear when I was young. They come in a rainbow of fruit flavors colors, but my favorite is this red. It’s more brick than cherry in person, which tones it down just enough to make it work with, well, everything. Plus, they’re a great option for those of you who can’t wear sandals to work (or who are just in dire need of a pedicure). A little tip: I’d go down at least a half size on these.

And now we get to the really scary part. The part where I tell you that I’m pretty sure the next shoe I buy this season will be from Kork-Ease. But look how cute!

Right? I also quite like the pale grey version. And I’m sorry, but they look an awful lot like the K.Jacques I’ve been wanting for two years, but for which I refuse to shell out $250. At $99, I’m thinking these could be an excellent substitute.

This sweet little fuchsia espadrille is by a designer called Eric Michael, who I’ve never heard of. I’m having a hard time deciding whether these are Sophia Loren or Sophia from The Golden Girls…but either way, I think they’re adorable. I’m highly finicky when it comes to espadrilles – wedges in general, really – but these feel like they’re just begging to salsa their way through a street fair. Or, you know, carry me down to Starbucks for a cappuccino.

So, friends, what’s the verdict? Have I lost my mind? Been in Portland too long? Or am I just so far ahead of the trend, I’m starting one of my own?

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cheap thrills alert: 25% off sitewide at piperlime!

well, this is exciting.  how about 25% off sitewide at piperlime, today only?  use code 25SPREE to snag the deal.  and if you’re a little late, don’t despair.  you can get 20% off tomorrow, 9/22, with code 20SPREE, and 15% off on thursday, 9/23, with code 15SPREE.

the code’s good sitewide, with the teensy exceptions of frye, hunter, merrell and north face…but that leaves a whole lot of retail therapy to score for a song.

a few of my picks for this steal of a deal:

left to right, from top (prices listed pre-discount):  steve madden kinnetic in gold glitter, $59; tinley road jeweled cuff bracelet, $22; smitten sequin pocket cardigan, $143; those perfect cole haan leopard flats from last week, $168; j brand lovestory trouser jeans, $227; spun tri color scarf, $44

but enough about what i’d buy…i want to hear all about your own steals!

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tragedy strikes…


much as i love vogue, the happiest day of my month is when domino arrives in my mailbox.  literally, i have every issue for the last three years, at least.

sadly, those happy mailbox days are now over.  first blueprint, and now domino….sigh.  i know you can’t sustain a magazine on love alone, but i know i’m not the only one who’s heartbroken to see them go.

design*sponge:  domino closes

decor8:  domino folds

sfgirlbybay:  say it ain’t so

oh joy:  sadness

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