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3/27/18

Spring Style: Marigold Lace Dress for $20

Now that Spring is in full effect, I couldn't be happier! This is my favorite time of year when the weather is warm and gorgeous, everything is in bloom, and all the pretty dresses, sandals, and straw bags make their re-appearance in my daily outfit rotation. (Though, let's be honest, I'm usually wearing some variation of these pieces throughout the year anyway -- it's one of the many perks of living in So-Cal! ๐Ÿ˜Š)

One of the colors I always seem to reach for on these warm, sunny days is yellow. It's such a happy color and instantly brightens any look! Funny thing, and I think I've mentioned this before, but I never used to wear it; I thought it wasn't a very flattering color on me and steered clear of it. Fast forward several years later and it's become one of my favorite colors to wear.  I seem to be more drawn to the richer, mustard or marigold shades of yellow, which brings me to this little lace dress!
This marigold-lace dress is absolutely darling! I can't believe it's a mere $20! The lace detailing alone makes it look far more expensive than it is -- I was surprisingly impressed with the quality when I first saw it in-person! The lace is very intricate with varied floral paneling and contrasting peek-a-boo crochet trim throughout. It's really feminine and beautiful, and I just adore it! It would be perfect for Spring/Summer break vacations, weddings, bridal/baby showers, brunch, or just because! I love it as a weekend-style dress, too, and wore this look out to a Sunday lunch date where we dined al-fresco.

The color is such a pretty shade and is much richer than it photographs here. It's a true shade of marigold-yellow and is so lovely for Spring/Summer!

SHOP MARIGOLD/MUSTARD DRESSES

As I mentioned, the quality for this dress is great for the price point. It's fully-lined and zips easily up the back. It's not sheer at all except for the hem of the dress, which I like because it really showcases the scalloped lace trim along the bottom -- another pretty detail I love about it. It's such a sweet fit-and-flare style, too, and so flattering!

I'm wearing size XS and it fits nicely with still plenty of room to move freely. The lace doesn't have any stretch, so it's nice that it's not too tight or constricting. For sizing/fit reference, I'm a petite 5'2", measuring 33-24.5-35 in the bust, waist, and hips, respectively, and weigh about 100 lbs. 

The dress measurements, taken while laying flat, of size XS are:

Bust: ~15.5"
Waist: ~26"
Length: ~33" (shoulder to hem)
As you can see, the dress is a shorter length, hitting me a few inches above the knee. If you're much taller than me, it may approach mini length on you, so just something to keep in mind. Because of the length, this isn't a dress I would wear to work, but I know that office dress codes vary widely by company and industry, so if it's acceptable in your workplace, then by all means wear it! It looks darling on its own or with a jacket like I'm wearing here. A cardigan or blazer would look nice with it, too.
I love a yellow-and-blue color pairing! The colors work so well together, don't they? This lightweight denim jacket is an oldie-but-goodie from LOFT a couple of years back, but I was able to find a couple of the exact same ones online for you here and here if you're interested. I like that it's more structured than the typical denim jacket with its shoulder epaulets, front packets, and snap/zipper combo. The micro stripes are such a fun detail, too -- they really pop against the yellow lace of the dress. Another cute, lighter-wash, denim jacket is here, which would be a great, versatile option for layering, too.
A vintage wicker bag works so well with this look -- I just love this little bag so much! If you've been looking for something similar, I found a couple of really cute ones online here, here, and here! Straw and wicker bags are a must-have this time of year, and in case you missed it, I rounded up several of them in all shapes, sizes and price points on my new VACATION SHOP blog page!

To keep this look fun and pretty for my lunch date, I added a pair of gingham block-heel sandals, cat-eye sunglasses, and drop-hoop statement earrings. Since I'm in classic pumps and pearl studs most of the week, it was nice to switch things up a bit! After all, that's part of the charm of warm, Spring weekends, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My sandals, sunnies, and earrings are all older, but I found a few similar pairs of gingham sandals herehere, and here that I'm loving; similar glasses here; and similar earrings here.
Lace Dress (xs) // Denim Jacket (also here); another cute option here //
Vintage Wicker Bag (similar here, here, here) // 
Gingham Block-heel Sandals - old (similar here - on sale!, here - on sale!, here) //
Cat-eye Sunglasses - old (similar here) //
Drop-hoop Earrings - old (similar here)
Lipstick in "Creme Cup" & Lipgloss in "Tell Me Dior"

This little marigold-lace dress is definitely coming along with me on vacation! Speaking of vacation, I still have some packing to finish for me and the kids -- I better get a move on it! To see some of the other items I'm bringing with me -- outfits, accessories, makeup/beauty/toiletries, and such -- just click here and here! I shared a bunch of my current favorites and recent purchases. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you're enjoying warm and sunny temps where you are, and if not, that you will be very soon!
XO,
Sara






3/18/18

Currently Loving: Makeup, Skincare, Jewelry, Accessories & More

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

I'm sorry it's been awhile since my last post; I've had a productive month working on several of the ongoing projects I mentioned previously, including some home renovation plans, rental property renovations, work projects, ongoing organization/Spring cleaning, upcoming vacation plans (heading to Cancรบn again soon and can't wait!) and so much more. Life just has a way of getting busy, right? But, today I'm really excited to share a few of the goodies I've been loving lately, some new and some tried-and-true!

Some of these favorites you may have already seen on my Instagram, but I'm sharing again here in one large round-up post. It's a bit of a fun diversion from the usual day-to-day stuff since you'll be seeing some of my less-talked-about favorites that range from makeup, skincare, jewelry, accessories and more! Surprisingly, I get a lot of questions about these despite the majority of my posts being centered around fashion. And of course I don't mind -- I'm always happy to share my finds and tips with you!
 
Current Bloom Favorites

First, how gorgeous are these mixed pink and white blooms? I picked them up at the grocery store and arranged them myself. I can't stop admiring them! They add such a perfect burst of color to the room. I always joke with my husband that my other ancillary jobs are florist, photographer, and personal stylist. ;-) You'll find me in my kitchen clipping and arranging flowers every other weekend or so; it's a small thing but makes me happy. The "blue bells" and clusters in this arrangement are some of my favorites, and a fun fact: they're from BloomThat. I've featured their blooms a few times on my Instagram, and just adore their floral designs. Their staff is incredible, too -- always super kind and helpful. Since these blue beauties are a dried variety from previous arrangements they've sent me, I carefully removed and stored them for later use. I then just mix them in with fresh blooms whenever I want. Just a small tip for those of you who like to get creative, like me!

Ok, on to the goodies!
My Current Shoe Favorites

Let's start with these pastel-pink suede beauties that are my new favorites! The color is soft and SO beautiful in person. Finding the right shade of pink pumps can be tricky, depending on how you plan to style them, but these are the perfect, subdued pink that pair nicely with everything from white, grey, or blue skinny jeans for a dressy-casual look, to skirts and dresses for Spring workwear. They come in several other colors plus a pretty floral print I'm eyeing! They run true-to-size for this brand, and I took a size 5. Online sizing states they run narrow, but I didn't really find this to be the case. If you have wider feet, you may want to order a half-size up. The heel height is a walkable 3.5" (my preferred heel height) and though I haven't worn them all day yet, they feel comfortable and don't pinch my feet. Plus, they're a steal at just under $80! Pretty, pink pumps with a classic silhouette that are offered in small sizes and at an affordable price point = major score for this small-footed gal! I'm loving several other shoes for Spring in the widgets below, too! #shoecandy

SHOP MY SHOE FAVORITES



My Current Jewelry Favorites

Lately I've been reaching for dainty, gold necklaces that can be layered or that already come layered like this one. Isn't it cute? It's a popular one and I've seen it on a few bloggers. It looks darling with simple tees/tanks and jeans or sundresses alike -- it's one of those necklaces that's simple yet pretty and can be worn daily. Because of its popularity, it's excluded from all online promos, but the price is still not bad at around $40, especially since it will get a lot of use. I've already worn mine almost every day this week and love it! I also ordered this one (now on sale for only $5!) and this medallion one that I plan to layer as well, and will be packing both for my vacation. (Tip: use code "TSC30" for 30% off your first order!)

SHOP MY JEWELRY FAVORITES

This YSL lipstick shown above is a longtime favorite of mine and definitely deserves a mention. My go-to color is "Pink Devotion 06," which is a flattering berry color that's not nearly as fuchsia as depicted in the online stock photo. The formula is a nice, glossy finish, and the color builds so you can layer as much or as little as you want. It wears off as a subtle lip stain so that you still have a hint of color even after hours of wear, too. Plus, the ornate, gold tube itself is a work of art and looks gorgeous displayed on any vanity!

My Current Nail Polish Favorites

The OPI nail polish colors pictured above are two new favorites as well. I tend to stick to neutral colors that are versatile and that I don't have to change often, so creamy pinks and whites are always my top picks. My longtime favorite is Essie "Romper Room" but I like trying other soft shades like these ones, too. The color names of these OPI ones are so cute!  The pink one is "Getting Nadi On My Honeymoon" and the white one is "Funny Bunny." Clearly, whoever names them has one of the best jobs ever -- so cheeky and fun! (Tip: try searching your favorite shades here for even better prices! I've scored several of mine for less this way!)

SHOP MY NAIL POLISH FAVORITES

My Current Makeup Favorites

For makeup, I try to stick to the "less is more" rule, and usually only wear a lightweight, sheer-coverage foundation with sunscreen, a dusting of bronzer on the cheeks if needed, mascara, and lipstick/gloss. If I have extra time or want to look more polished or "done," I'll add neutral and smoky eye shadow colors and will lightly fill in my brows. If I'm looking more pale, I'll dust on a little blush. (Tip: in a pinch, dab your finger lightly in your lipstick, rub between two fingers and apply to the apples of your cheeks. It adds a nice, healthy glow!)

Here are my current makeup favorites, in no particular order:

Foundation with SPF 25 // Bronzer // Blush (I sometimes use this one, too) // 
Brushes (also these gold ones for only $30/set!) // Eyeshadow Palette // 
Eyebrow Pencil (I use "taupe") // Mascara // Illuminator (see photo below) // 
Lipliner // Lip Treatment // Lipstick 1, 2, 3 (my most-used) // Lip Gloss 1, 2
Lately, I've been mixing this illuminator into my foundation for a nice, dewy finish, and have been really happy with the results! I think it's an ideal combo for Spring/Summer when you want a more natural look with lighter, breathable coverage versus a heavier, more matte look. In the above photo, the illuminator is the lighter color; the foundation is the darker color. I only use the amount shown, mixing them between my fingers, and applying/blending with my fingertips. I rarely use a brush for my foundation. I've yet to try a beauty-blender sponge...but curiosity may get the best of me. ;-)

I've also been using the Rodan & Fields LashBoost eyelash conditioner/serum. A friend of mine recommended it to me after seeing amazing results in her eyelash growth. Even without mascara on, her lashes are long, wispy and beautiful! After doing the research on it and reading tons of reviews, I decided to give it a try,  and so far, I've been very pleased with the results! My lashes are noticeably longer and darker. It takes about 12 weeks or so to see optimal results, but I saw results much sooner at around 8 weeks. I did experience mild sensitivity on my upper lash line when I first started using it, but quickly learned to use less product, wiping the sides of the brush to remove the excess as you do before applying nail polish. I haven't had any issues since then, and have been quite happy with it! I don't have any before/after pictures, unfortunately (blurry and awkward...lol!), but I've definitely seen the proof firsthand. If you're interested in trying LashBoost yourself, email me and I'll get you more details and a discount from my rep! (All orders must be placed exclusively with a R&F rep.)

SHOP MY MAKEUP FAVORITES


My Current Perfume Favorites

I have to include my new favorite perfume, Gucci Bloom! I picked it up at the Rodeo Drive boutique during a fun shopping escapade last December and have been wearing it almost daily; it smells so amazing! The tuberose and jasmine high notes create the most fresh, alluring fragrance. I've actually had strangers comment/ask about it, it's that good! I love the slightly-retro look of the bottle, too -- it looks so pretty displayed on my vintage, gold mirrored tray!  (Similar tray here.) I'll probably grab the travel-sized rollerball to take with me on vacation, too. My other two favorite perfumes of all-time are this one and this one! I'm always drawn to tuberose, jasmine, orange blossoms, peonies, and freesia floral scents! (Tip: spritz perfume away from you and then walk into the mist for a more subtle scent, especially for work where some people may have perfume/cologne sensitivities or allergies.)

SHOP MY PERFUME FAVORITES

My Current Skincare Favorites

Skincare is a top priority for me, especially as I get older, so this year I decided to treat myself to the notoriously-luxurious La Mer skincare line. It's definitely a splurge, but one that has proven worthwhile for me in its results so far. I've used the signature Moisturizing Cream before, many years ago, but grew wary of the expense to maintain my daily regimen. I decided to re-visit it after a few recent cold and windy spells left my skin looking dry, lackluster, and in need of some serious moisture and TLC. The sweetest sales associate at my local Neiman Marcus rang me up for the cream above (far left in the above photo) and generously provided me this complimentary bag of travel sizes to try! I've been using this one as a serum (in the middle of the above photo) on my still-damp face immediately after washing, then applying the moisturizing cream, then the eye serum and eye cream (second from right, and far right, respectfully.) I've noticed a visible improvement in my skin already; it's more plump and moisturized, and sets a great base for my foundation, which glides on easier. Since the cream is heavier than what I'm used to normally, I'm very careful to be light-handed with it, using only a small amount that I tap onto my skin after warming it between my fingers. I think it's key to apply your skincare products to damp skin to help lock in the moisture. And in this case, sometimes the "expensive stuff" with high-quality ingredients and visible results is worth it. (Tip: if you splurge on one item, get the signature cream; it will last a long time when used sparingly. Also, if you visit a La Mer counter, ask the sales associate for samples!)
To extend the life of my La Mer products, in addition to using them sparingly, I use a couple of other skincare products interchangeably. I stumbled on the Essano line at T.J.Maxx after a search for organic, all-natural face products, and it has been such a pleasant surprise! Its products are made in New Zealand, all products are certified organic and animal-cruelty-free, and have no parabens, sulphates, silicones, phthalates, ethoxylates, mineral oils, or GMOs. My favorites have been this rosehip toner (pictured above) and this collagen-repair serum. I love that they're gentle and contain ingredients like rosehip oil, green tea, kakadu plum (high in Vitamin C) and aloe vera to help soothe and hydrate the skin. The toner smells so amazing, too, thanks to the rosehip oil! If you can find these products at your local T.J. Maxx store, they're both super affordable at only $6 each! If you've been on the hunt for organic, all-natural skincare products, definitely give this skincare line a try!

I'm pretty picky about facial cleansers, as I find most to be overly-drying on my sensitive skin. My holy-grail line for facial cleansers is Dermalogica. This brand has never failed me over the years. It  has a vast range of products that cater to every skin type from dry, oily, combination, acne-prone, and more. I find myself returning to Dermalogica after venturing out and trying different facial-cleanser brands, only to be disappointed with the results. The two cleansers I now use consistently are this pre-cleanser for gentle makeup removal first and then this one that I use immediately after. They're both from Dermalogica's AGE smart line, which help to smooth fine lines and restore moisture to the skin, which is exactly what I want! They also don't contain any artificial colors or fragrances, which is another plus. I typically pick up the small travel-sizes since I use very small amounts and find that they store easier in my makeup/toiletry bags. (Tip: when ordering these products online, check around for any "free gift with purchase" promos; I often score extra goodies this way!)

SHOP MY SKINCARE FAVORITES

My Current Favorite Deodorant

I want to give a quick mention to my current favorite deodorant, which is also pictured above. It's one of the best ones I've used and lives up to all the hype. Before you scoff at the price (I know I did) and write it off completely as a sham, sift through and read some of the 500+ online reviews and you'll see how many people love it as much as I now do! It glides on smoothly, smells lovely, and really lasts! If it can endure an intense exercise workout (hello, BBG) then it's a keeper in my book.

SHOP MY FAVORITE DEODORANT
My Current Haircare Favorites

On to hair products! I get a lot of questions (and the sweetest compliments that I always appreciate!) about my hair, so I want to answer a few of the common ones:

1.) Yes, it's all my natural hair; no extensions.
2.) I do color it. I get cool, blonde highlights every 6 - 7 weeks. The lowlights are my natural hair color, a medium brown.
3.) I've kept it long most of my life. The shortest length was just below my shoulders when I was in junior high school. When I get it trimmed, I usually ask for 2 - 3 inches to be taken off to remove dry, split-ends. I also get longer layers around my face to help frame it and to add volume.

Here are my current hair care favorites, in no particular order:

Color-Preserve Shampoo & Conditioner (great for blonde highlights) // 
Wide-tooth Comb // Brush // Blow Dryer // Curling Iron // Hairspray (smells so good!)

I use the above hair products consistently, plus varied color-preserve conditioners. I'm not really loyal to a particular brand or formula of conditioner since I find my hair gets weighed down after using the same conditioner over time, leaving my hair limp. I usually change my conditioner every month or more frequently as needed. I also try not to over-wash my hair to prevent drying and breakage. I can go about 2 days between washes, 3 tops, without feeling completely disgusting. (lol) I'm also not a fan of dry shampoos. 

I swear by the Brass Off Mask above. It really helps to tone hair color and remove any brassiness between visits to the salon. Be warned: it's a rich, saturated blue color and can stain your white shower walls and tile grout if you aren't quick to wash it off! I've never had any problems washing it off the shower walls/floor while showering, but I just want to mention it in case you're alarmed when first trying it.

I've also used the same, basic Conair curling iron and blow dryer for years! I tried the popular T3 blow dryer that I've seen other bloggers rave about, and immediately returned it; the air flow wasn't nearly as powerful as my old trusty one, and it took me much longer to dry my hair! That was the deal-breaker for me. I also prefer using a standard curling iron with a clamp instead of a wand, and usually stick to a 1.25" barrel size for pretty, bouncy curls that look soft and natural. I just take small pieces of my hair and curl away from each side of my face, and repeat until done. Then I loosely break up the curls with my finger tips and spray with hairspray to set. It's easy-peasy and usually doesn't take me more than about 5 minutes, which is perfect for this busy momma-on-the-go!

SHOP MY HAIRCARE FAVORITES

And there you have several of my current favorites and a few tips! I hope you found them helpful! Let me know if you've tried any of these and what you think. Or, if you have any favorites that you swear by and that are must-trys, I'd love to hear them -- comment below!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you have a great rest of the weekend! 

XO,
Sara






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