Monday, July 31, 2017

Glitter and Organza

Dressing up for work in a beautiful new dress is the best way to start a week.

Outfit Details

Dress: Kay Unger Navy Organza Glitter Fit and Flare Dress

I was drawn to the dress because of the neckline -- I just love how a square neckline shows off your cleavage in a more conservative way-- as well as the beautiful navy and glitter organza fabric.

You can find the dress at Bluefly and Saks, but only limited sizes are still available.

I secretly refer to the Kay Unger brand as the "mother of the bride brand," because most dresses look extremely upscale and are modestly tailored. Every once in a while, I will see a Kay Unger dress -- like this one -- that I would wear.

Unfortunately, Kay Unger dresses are extremely pricey. Today's dress cost around $500, but I nabbed it for $99 at I just had to have it, and that's a pretty good deal.

You can find Kay Unger dresses online at these and other retailers:

You can also rent Kay Unger dresses on Rent the Runway.

Sandals: Jimmy Choo Claudet 100 Lamé Sandals

Chapin and I had a relaxing weekend, which is a good thing, since I'm gearing up for a very busy week at work. We treated ourselves to breakfast at West Egg Cafe on Sunday, and Chapin made me dinner Saturday night: roasted Branzini (a whole fish) with a tomato and pesto salad. Yum! (He was so proud he took the picture below. Isn't he cute?)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Get Your Beauty Sleep

Chapin and I treated ourselves to a Sleep Number king-sized bed this past Christmas, and one of the perks of having a "smart" bed is getting updates on your sleeping behavior. Not surprisingly, I don't get eight hours of sleep every night, and I actually fall well below even Sleep Number customer averages.

I normally go to bed around 10:30 p.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. to get a workout in. That's about six hours (and change) of sleep per night. I know that's not enough. So when I have a weird/scary dream and wake myself up from a deep state of REM, I'm usually exhausted the next day. That's what happened last night... and why I look so tired today! (I dreamed there was a feral cat in the house. It was about to attack Chapin when I woke myself up. Strange, I know.)

I chose today's dress because I was in a rush and it didn't need to be ironed. The dress is also semi-casual for a Friday.

Dress: BCBGMaxAzria Val Triangle Print-Blocked Dress

I actually bought the dress over a year ago and have worn it just one other time: on the girls trip to Charleston I took with some friends and my sister, Gail, last summer. I actually forgot I had it! The lines of the dress are very flattering, and I always appreciate a fit and flare silhouette!

Sandals: Jimmy Choo Henna 100 Leather Open-Toe Ankle-Wrap Pumps

I will be excited to catch up on some sleep this weekend. I feel like Chapin and I have had a lot going on lately, and I am excited for a weekend where we can take it easy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Key to a Plump Pout

Today's dress is so easy and simple: black and white, fit and flare, perfectly tailored, and wrinkle-free. (Not having to iron or steam a new dress is a big win for me. It's so annoying when dresses you order online arrive stuffed in a small package. Thankfully, ships items in large boxes with hangers.)

Outfit Details

Dress: CeCe by Cynthia Steffe Sleeveless Contrast-Bow Dress sold out of the dress, so it's only available -- from what I could find -- at Neiman Marcus Last Call. Fortunately, it's on sale.

This brand tends to run a little big. I'm in a size four, but I think I could have easily fit in a size two.

Shoes: Prada Black and White Striped Bow Pumps (no longer available)

With a simple black and white outfit, you can easily add a pop of color via your accessories -- most notably, your shoes. Today, I decided to go with black and white pumps and adds that pop of color via my lips. I love a good red lip with a black and white dress.

Plump Up Your Lips by Brushing Them

I recently learned that "brushing" your lips before you apply lip liner and lipstick can actually irritate them enough that they puff out a bit. It really works, and also helps slough off dead skin. (I tend to pick at my lips, so that is a good tip for me.)

Step 1: Prime your lips with lip moisturizer or Vaseline.

Step 2: Use a toothbrush -- your own or that extra one they always give you at the dentist -- to actually brush your lips. I would not do it for more than 30 seconds or so.

You will see them plump up and even redden for a natural pout.

Using lip liner is also a good idea to help get your lips extra full.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Designer Doesn't Always Mean Quality

I have to admit: I was very disappointed when I put on this Diane von Furstenberg dress. It's a beautiful dress, and I love the blue and green colorblocking elements, but the dress just isn't well made. I honestly felt a little swindled. The dress doesn't fit well, and isn't lined. The material is thin and cheap. I expect more from designers like Diane von Furstenberg!

Dress: Diane von Furstenberg Sleeveless Tailored Colorblock Sheath Dress

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik BB 105 Metallic-Striped Leather Pumps (no longer available)

This week is going to be a busy one for me, so I'm glad I had a restful weekend that included taking my parents out for a special Italian dinner (I definitely recommend Colletta if you're in the Alpharetta/Johns Creek area) and finally watching the movie where Chapin and I make a brief appearance (Keeping Up with the Joneses). It was weird and surreal to see myself on screen, even if it was only for a few seconds. The movie is streaming now on HBO, and the scene where we appear takes place about 15 minutes in.

I also baked some cookies so I could give my father a sweet treat for his birthday. (I blame him entirely for my sweet tooth.) I tried a new recipe for the first time, and just modified it a little, adding semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter and substituting gluten-free flour for regular flour.

I also shared the cookies with some friends, neighbors and my staff. So far, I am hearing good things, so I'll probably make them again. If you like peanut butter, you will definitely like these Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pink Lady

It's been a very busy Friday. I didn't get to eat lunch, and I'm starving, so today's post will be short. (I signed a new client, though. Hooray! What a great way to start the weekend.)

Outfit Details

Dress: Ted Baker Taliia Embroidered Skater Dress in Fuchsia Pink

I bought the dress when I recently visited the Ted Baker store at Lenox Square Mall. I was passing by on my way to Sephora, and just sort of wandered in. Just my luck, I ended up finding a ton of beautiful dresses on sale. Normally, Ted Baker dresses are around $300 each, but I nabbed this dress for 60% off. You know I love my deals!

You can find the dress at a variety of different retailers, though some stores only have specific colors in stock. The dress is gorgeous in any color, though!

Shoes: Schutz Margo Wraparound Sandals

These Schutz sandals, in the bright pink and blue, and featuring scalloped wraparound fabric and tassels, always seem to grab a lot of attention whenever I wear them. (Unfortunately, I don't get to wear them very often, since they don't go with everything.)

I have the Margo style in the pink and blue (sadly, they are no longer available), but they also come in black and cream. You can find the Schutz Lisana Sandals in the black/cream color scheme at Nordstrom, Saks and ShopBop.

This weekend, I'll be focused on helping celebrate my father's 66th birthday. Chapin and I are taking both he and my mom out for dinner on Saturday night as a special treat. I treasure any time with my parents, since I just love them so much. (What can I say? I will always be a dorky good girl at heart.) They instilled so much in me: a belief that I could do and be anything, a love of reading and education, a strong moral core. I had such a wonderful childhood. Although their Republican ways drive me crazy sometimes, they are two of the most important people in my life.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Wear White

Summer is the best -- and some would say only -- time to wear white. While white is definitely a lighter, cooler color to wear in searing summer temperatures, white clothing does have a few drawbacks.

Here are a few tips for how to wear white:

Find a Cut That Accentuates the Positive

There is no slimming effect when it comes to white clothing. In fact, white can actually make you look wider. White tops will work well if you have a small chest and want to make it look larger, but most women won't want anything on their bottom half looking too big. The best option is to find a cut that can mask your flaws; for example, a fit and flare silhouette will downplay larger hips.

Beware the Spill

I am something of a klutz, so I try to stay away from white dresses for fear of destroying them with coffee, iced tea, or any number of things. On days when you wear white, just try to stay extra cognizant of what (and how) you're eating and drinking, brushing past, etc. A small stain can make all the difference and disrupt your all-white effect.

Effectively Use Accessories

If you want to draw the eye away from anything on your body, using colorful accessories -- bright shoes, bag, earrings -- is the best way to do that. You can also stick to a neutral palette if you want the dress to stand on its own.

Today's Outfit

This dress, to me, is the centerpiece of today's outfit. From designer Alice + Olivia, this white shirtdress is decorated with a confection of small white hearts for a super sweet (and subtle) print. The dress looks completely white in the photo, but there is actually a nude lining underneath that gives it a slight beige tone, which really helps the white hearts stand out. Combined with the collar, it's a very feminine look that still works on any age.

Dress: Alice + Olivia White Heart Shirtdress

You can find the dress at Gilt or Nordstrom Rack in very select sizes only. The dress fits me perfectly at the waist, but gapes a little on the sides and is tight in the bust. It's a very odd fit, so I may need to have it altered. The top just isn't built for women with large chests, so I do find the buttons gaping at times. I've noticed this problem with other Alice + Olivia dresses only when buttons are involved.

Sandals: Jimmy Choo Nude Tallow Sandals

With white, you can really wear anything. I had my choice of shoes today, but decided on nude sandals for two reasons: to help elongate my legs a bit, and to match the nude undertone of the dress. I didn't want to detract from the print with a pair of blinding bright shoes in a red or blue, for example. Hopefully, the look works!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Working It

It's been such a crazy day: meetings, reports, analyses, spotty Internet at the office, no time to even eat lunch. I barely have time to update this blog!

Outfit Details

Dress: Karen Millen Graphic Signature Pencil Dress in Black and White (sold out)

I chose this dress for today's busy day since I needed a piece that was ultra professional -- but still chic and comfortable. The lines of this Karen Millen sheath dress are very simple and slimming, but the cut still shows off a woman's arms, bust and waist. It's the best of both worlds.

Shoes: Jimmy Choo Lang Sandals in Flame

These sandals are very popular, and while this particular color is no longer available, you can still find the Lang style in a variety of different options.

I like finishing off a black and white dress with some color, and red or orange is the perfect pop to a neutrally colored dress. (But, really, any color would work.)

As Seen On

You may have seen this dress on a recent season of Bones. Camille Saroyan, played by Tamara Taylor, wore it in a 2016 episode.

Photo via
In Other News

I just finished reading, The Admissions, by Meg Mitchell Moore. The title is a play on words; while one character is applying early admission to Harvard, the other characters in this seemingly normal Northern California family are dealing with some (internal) admissions of their own. I became really immersed in this family, especially since there were three daughters just like my family.

I was utterly engrossed as the book follows Nora (the stressed working mom), Gabe (the businessman father), the two oldest sisters (Angela, 17, and Cecily, 10), and various other characters whose actions influence or shine a deeper light on the family's multi-faceted drama.

I highly recommend The Admissions if you're looking for some good fiction to lose yourself in. And while I was sad to see the book end, I also finished reading the last sentence and smiled. Let me assure you -- that's rare in my world.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Black for All Seasons

Many people consider black a Fall/Winter color -- it attracts the sun, so it seems like a choice better suited for the colder months of the year -- but you can really wear it all year long. It's still a color that is going to look good on everyone. 

The little black dress (LBD) is something every girl has in her closet, and it's finding unique takes on the LBD that really excite me. That's why I absolutely loved this figure flattering design from Nicole Miller. It's a fairly simple fit and flare silhouette, but the illusion panels and modest use of fringe help elevate the overall design. It's Friday, so instead of wearing high heels, I dressed it down just a tad with wedges instead of strappy sandals. I had interviews to conduct (my company is hiring) and a meeting with potential clients, so I had to look chic and professional.

Outfit Details

Dress: Nicole Miller New York Illusion Cut-Out Mikado Party Dress

I recently purchased the dress for right around $80 (original price: $228) at The site usually has some really good clearance sales during long weekends like July Fourth, so you can get 70% off (or more) on some beautiful, high-end designer pieces. But it's waiting for the right sale that's the problem; I'm in a popular size, so if I wait too long, it sells out. I wasn't going to take a chance and risk not getting this dress. (I looked, and I couldn't find it on any other retail website.)

Shoes: Jimmy Choo Baxen Chain Fabric Peep-Toe Wedge Pumps

Wedges are a nice change from higher heels, and are a little easier on my legs. These wedges from Jimmy Choo are just beautiful, and still available in select colors. Unfortunately, it looks like the black is sold out.

Oh, and did I mention the dress has pockets!

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to Wear Red

One of the most eye-catching colors you can wear is red. I'm not sure if I've gotten a lot of compliments on today's dress because people truly love the design, or because they just can't help but notice me! But it really is a beautifully crafted dress.

Wearing such a bold color, it's important to go light with your accessories. I chose a nude shoe so it would not take attention away from the red lace design. You can do the same with your makeup, but I decided on a red lip to match the color of the dress.

Dress: Diane von Furstenberg Alma Red Lace Dress

The dress is still available at a few online stores, including Neiman MarcusNet-a-Porter and Saks. Sizes are very limited, though.

The dress is actually a little big on me -- I'm wearing a size six for reference -- but I think that the bagginess actually works in my favor. You don't want a lace dress to be too tight on your frame, and the flowing fabric seems to compliment the overall design.

Diane von Furstenberg can also run very small, so it's generally better to size up if you're between sizes.

The dress has a cutout in the lower back, and the back is not lined, so you either need to wear a nude colored bra or no bra at all. I recommend a nude colored strapless bra, especially if you're wearing the dress to work.

If you like the red lacy look, and the DVF is not available in your size, here are some other dress options:

Shoes: Schutz Scalloped Lace-Cut Leather Sandals in Light Wood (Nude)

The sandals are no longer available -- I bought them several years ago from the now defunct -- but you can shop the brand on sites like Amazon. The shoes are very affordable for such a chic, celebrity beloved brand.

Our Dinner at Staplehouse

The highlight of our weekend was finally eating dinner at Staplehouse, one of Atlanta's newest and most highly rated restaurants. We took a car to the restaurant, almost hidden on Edgewood Avenue in Old Fourth Ward, so we could both drink, and pulled up right around 5:15 p.m., before the restaurant even opened. One of the first things that greeted us as we walked toward the doors was this image of John Candy:

I love 1980s movie references, so I knew I would be in for a treat.

When we arrived, a line was already forming for those who wanted a seat at the bar (and didn't have a reservation); apparently, if you get there around 4:45 p.m., you are pretty much guaranteed a seat at the bar, so we may do that next time to avoid the hassle of getting a reservation. It really is tough to get one!


We brought our own wine, a 2010 bottle of Favia, one of our favorites wines, to enjoy with dinner. We had this wine during our lunch at famed restaurant The French Laundry in Napa Valley back in 2012 with our friends Rahul and Vinnie, and it's absolutely wonderful. But be warned: Staplehouse charges a $30 corking fee.


Here is a rundown of our two-hour meal and some photos to get your mouth watering. I think there were only two dishes on the menu that we didn't order.

Course 1: Crab, sunflower, marigold, dill and leeks.

Course 2: Tomatoes, XO and holy basil. I love the presentation here with the basil.

Course 3: Chicken liver tart, peach, basil, celery.

Course 4: Carrots, hazelnut, vadouvan, sorrel.

Course 5: Grandma Lillian's potato bread.

Course 6: Potato, chanterelles, porter vinegar, fennel.

Course 7: Scallops, cucumber, lovage, butterbeans.

Course 8: Aged duck, eggplant, black turnip, onion.

Final (dessert) Course: Peach, walnut, fig leaf, koji.

The food was all prepared in ways that surprised me, and I found myself savoring items (chicken liver! carrots!) that I normally would shy away from. Our waiter, Jeremy, was very attentive, and the dishes all rolled out of the kitchen in a very staggered manner. I never felt rushed to finish a dish, or even full to bursting for that matter.

The disappointment of the night was probably the dessert, which really didn't taste much like a dessert. I would have much preferred something chocolate, since I was already splurging!


The dress at the restaurant is definitely casual. I wore this neon pink Milly dress and black Jimmy Choo ankle-strap shoes for the occasion, but Chapin and I were the most dressed up patrons in the place. Most people showed up in light sundresses or even shorts, but I think "dressing for dinner" just adds to the experience, don't you?

We couldn't get a good photo with all the weird shadows on our patio.
Will we go back to Staplehouse? Definitely! Hopefully, next time, we can bring some friends along for the ride.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Coral Fixation

Running the Peachtree Road Race -- in addition to the 90-degree temperatures Atlanta has seen this week -- have just wiped me out, so I'm super excited that it's finally the weekend. Sleep, sleep and more sleep is on the agenda.

Chapin also scored a reservation for us at famed restaurant Staplehouse on Saturday night; I can't wait to try the food I've been hearing so much about. (Bon Appétit named Staplehouse the Best New Restaurant in the Country last year.) We've been trying for months to get a reservation, and finally have one. Woo-hoo! I still can't believe it.

Today's dress is extra special because it was a birthday gift from my sister, Laura, and her family. It is more casual than some of my other dresses, since it has an open back with criss-crossing straps, so I've been waiting for the right (casual) Friday to wear it. I have no client meetings today, and things have been more low-key than usual due to a lot of clients going on vacation, so the timing was perfect.

Outfit Details:

Dress: Eva by Eva Franco Floral Nicki Dress in Coral and Blue

Shoes: SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Coral Sandals

I love the combination of the coral and light blue colors, and the overall design is fairly unique. I would just change two things if I could: add a belt (in coral or blue) to break up the print a little bit, and also sew in some pockets. Other than that, the dress is really a lot of fun to wear.

Eva Franco always produces such cute designs. You can find the brand on Amazon and other retailers like Dillard's and

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Playing It Cool

If you're looking for simple, cute, yet affordable summer dresses, then I recommend you check out the London Times brand. The dresses aren't the highest quality, but most are casual and lightweight, making them perfect for more laid back days in the office. The dress will work well for summer weekend outings, too, like brunch or shopping with friends.

Dress: London Times Cluster Rose Fit and Flare Dress

I bought this dress on Amazon for under $40, but only limited sizes are still available. You can also find the brand at retailers like Dillard's and Nordstrom, and apparel comes in regular as well as plus sizes.

Since we are just coming back from the July Fourth holiday, which fell on a Tuesday this year, I'm expecting the rest of this week to be lighter than normal in terms of workload. This dress is comfortable, but still professional enough that I wouldn't feel embarrassed should a client randomly drop by to see me.

I liked the blue floral print, and the belt helps tie it together and show off your waist. Plus, I had the perfect pair of shoes to go with it: these Loeffler Randall wedges.

Shoes: Loeffler Randall Piper Wedge Scallop Sandals

These bright blue wedges are a perfect complement to the rest of the outfit.

My calves are super sore today after running the AJC Peachtree Road Race yesterday. I had my second best time out of the five years I have run the race. It was hot, but the humidity wasn't out of control like last year, and it didn't rain like it did in 2015. I had my best time in 2014, when the weather was absolutely perfect. Part of the reason I did well this year is because I forced myself to keep running and not to stop for anything. Last year, the heat was so bad, I had to stop twice just to keep my sanity (and my breakfast in my stomach).

This photo was taken before the race, so I'm not all sweaty. (I was dripping wet by the end of the race.) I try to dress in red, white and blue every year now, and I couldn't resist adding a little pizzazz to my outfit with this obnoxious bedazzled hat and American flag themed sunglasses. But the Peachtree Road Race only comes along once a year, right? I might as well have fun.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Getting Ready for the Fourth

I wanted to wear patriotic colors today, so I chose this navy blue Donna Morgan fit and flare dress for a casual day in the office. Many people took today off, but I've been so busy lately that I just couldn't afford two days off in the same week. I even worked yesterday (Sunday)!

The dress is way too long on me, and even big at the top, but since I paid only $30 for it, I'm not complaining. (I'm wearing a size four for reference; I should have sized down.)

Dress: Donna Morgan Laser Cut Fit and Flare Dress

Shoes: Jimmy Choo Fearne Glitter Criss-Cross Wedges

Tomorrow, I'll be running the Peachtree Road Race, and 2017 marks my fifth time participating. I still remember the excitement I felt that first year, and the amazing weather we had the second time I ran it. The last two years have not been as good. It rained in 2015, and it was so hot in 2016 that I felt like I might pass out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow morning... though I'm not counting on it. The last week it's been so humid, with pop-up storms every day, and I'm sure tomorrow will be the same. Look for me in Wave C -- I'll be in red, white and blue!

Happy Fourth!