Monthly Favorite - Braided Belts

I've always been terrible about wearing belts - something about the belt is just uncomfortable.  The buckle always sticks out and if you want the belt to show you have to wear a short top.  It's so annoying!

Recently, belts have been appearing in a less traditional sense.  They are used to cinch the waist of a shapeless dress, add detail to an otherwise plain top, and are a great way to accessorized any look.  The most popular style currently is the braided belt - another throwback look that was very popular in the 70s.

I'm a big fan of the skinny belt when you use it as a simple accessory.  This Club Monaco Harper belt is great for just that.  I love how they have styled it with a feminine skirt.  It adds a little edge.

Club Monaco Harper Belt, $79

Other braided belts are used to cinch the waist when a style may not naturally define the waistline. It's a great way to make the outfit look more stylish and flattering.  To me, the dress below look so much better with this double braided belt - even on a model as skinny as she is!  

Rag & Bone Double Braid Belt, $175

Although I've shown you some more expensive options, you can always head to Target, Forever 21, and other retailers for a great selection of belts.  Just make sure you pick out the right belt for the right style.  Keep your tags on in case you have to return it!  

My Favorite Affordable and Unique Bag Line - Botkier

There are several bags that I have that I love and am always receiving compliments for.  However, when I tell people that the brand is Botkier they are unfamiliar with the brand.  What they don't realize is that Botkier is one of the most affordable, high end bag lines out there.  Botkier offers the quality of Prada at the price of Coach.  The bag line offers unique leathers with colorful patterns to your basic blacks and browns. You can always expect the best compartmentalization with lots of places to keep all of your gadgets and hardware that is truly unique.

Right now they are having their summer sale with many items 25%-50% off.  These are the bags I never get rid of, because they are classic, fun, and functional.

Botkier Howard Satchel 
Was: $475
Now: $318

Eloise Crossbody in Tobacco

Sasha Medium Duffle Handbag

Gorgeous, Fun, and Affordable!  Love! 

Up next for TOMS - Eyewear

Once again, Blake Mycoskie (the creator of the humanitarian brand TOMS) has managed to step up his game.  Since his shoe line took off in 2009 as the it shoe for anyone wanting a great, comfortable style while also wanting to give back - he has been coming up with another philanthropic concept.  Eyewear.

That's right, TOMS has just released their Italian made Sunglass Line.  Every purchase gives sight to one person in need - through medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses, or sight-saving surgery.  Ranging from $135-$145, these affordable UVA/UVB protected shades have some great classic styles that won't have you sacrificing style to give back!

TOMS Classic 101 Shades - $135

TOMS Classic 201 Shades, $135

TOMS Classic 301 Shades, $145

END OF SEASON SALE - on net-a-porter

For those of you who have been yearning for a luxurious Prada bag, a cashmere Burberry scarf, or J Brand jeans - at a fraction of the price you are in luck!  Head to net-a-porter for end of season savings of up to 50% off.  You certainly can't beat that.  Here are a few of my favorite sale items.

Burberry Studded Cashmere Scarf
Was $495
Now $247.50

Ralph Lauren Black Label Cashmere Sweater
Was $400
Now $240

Michael Kors Skorpios Leather Messenger Bag
Was: $995
Now: $497.50

Tory Burch Tevray Braided Leather Wedge Sandals
Was: $325
Now: $195

63 pages of high end sale.  Glorious! 

Monthly Favorite - White Watches

White watches have officially surpassed the "short-lived" trend phase and have emerged as a favorite summer look.

There are several different kinds of the white watch.  The most popular (and most expensive) is the ceramic band white watch.  They can range from $300+.  Although this look is gorgeous, you better be in love if you want to spend the extra dough!

Burberry, $995

Skagen, $275

For something more affordable, try the silicone or "jelly" band.  I'm a big fan of this sporty Marc Jacobs look.  It's got a classic look and looks great with the silver.  

Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Rock' Watch, $225

There's something about white that just makes me thing summer!  Heck, even the bride can rock a watch now :) 

Father's Day Gifts Dad will LOVE!

Do you ever get tired of Dad asking for a Lowe's gift card, a new golf club, or a case of beer?  I know I do!  Come on dad - think outside the box.  However, we know dad's just trying to make it easy on you.  That's why it's up to you to find something great for dad - and make him a little more snazzy in the process.  Here are some of my suggestions:

Lacoste has a great selection of colors and fits to make any dad happy!  The signature knit is soft and airy - perfect for your dad!  ($79.50)
Note: Check online to see if there are any on sale from your favorite department store.  

Anybody else tired of dad sporting the same scent since 1989?  Well, a new scent is a great way to get dad smelling fresh without offending him.  Trust me, your mom will thank you! 

Does your dad have a case of the George Costanza wallet?  Pick up something more modern like this gorgeous Ferragamo wallet.  Cole Haan, Fossil, and Ted Baker also offer great, affordable options of this slim wallet.  

Is dad still walking around with that gold Timex?  No worries - pick up something classic and up-to-date like this Michael Kors watch.  I'm a big fan of Fossil for a current look that doesn't break the bank.  

And of course, don't forget the gift receipt.  Some dads are more fickle than others.  It's the thought that counts...but some dads just want an excuse to go to Lowe's.   

Bright and Sparkly - the newest Trends in Nails

In case you've missed it - bright and sparkly nails are IN!  In the magazines and nail salons everywhere, women are opting for fun and funky color combinations in lieu of the traditional red or french manicure.

OPI recently released a Katy Perry line - filled with bold and sparkly color combos that would make your inner 13 year old shriek with delight!  I'm a big fan of the "teenage dream" pink sparkle shade.  It's over the top, just like Katy, and perfect for a girls night out or summer bash.

(Tip from the Pros: Put a light pink shade underneath to make the sparkles stand out) 

Or what about the reverse french mani?  You heard right!  One of the latest trends is to place a different color in the bottom of your nail in the "half moon shape"  It's fun and funky - and definitely unique.  

Lastly, instead of white and clear for your french, why not try a different color combo like teal and orange?  Although people have played with this stuff, this season everyone is doing it!  

So why not opt for something crazy when it comes to your nails!  Unlike some other trends, this is one that can be removed!  

Pininterest - The New Place to Post your Fashion (and other) Favorites

Don't you get tired of having to bookmark all of your favorite web pages only to find out that what you bookmarked is no longer there or not what you wanted?  Well now you don't have to!  There's pinterest to the rescue.

Pinterest is a site where you create online "pin boards" that you can place your favorites in fashion, food, housewares - whatever you fancy!  It's completely up to you how you organize your boards - the sky's the limit!

Friends can follow your boards to see your online finds and even repin them to share with other people.

Pinterest is a social networking site where you can share your favorite finds with friends and strangers.  All you do is download the "pin it" application to your toolbar.  When you go to a site where you find something you want to pin, click on the "pin it" button on your toolbar and choose the photo of the item you want to pin and the board you want to pin it on.  Easy as pie!  And now you have a reference point to go back to.

Whether you want to recommend your favorite books or beauty supplies, or want to drop some hints as to great Christmas or birthday gifts - it's a great way to share your personal interests.  I love it - and I know you will too!  Be sure to follow me :)

p.s. Mobile Gadget lovers - there's also an app for this wonderful site.  So get pinning!

Occasion Outfitting - the Summer Concert or Festival

Summer is the time when your favorite musical artist or annual festival comes up and you have three things in mind: how do I look great, feel comfortable, and stay cool during this heat wave!  Trust me, this is something I have been trying to accomplish for years.  As a "sweataholic" I know that it's hard to stay cool without showing up in your bathing suit.  Here's what I recommend.

1. A Cotton Dress - Cotton Dresses are perfect for the summer weather.  I love the maxi look, but sometimes that's not as cool as a simple shorter version.  It's a breathable fabric that's comfy and machine washable with you start to glisten or someone spills something on you.

Soft Joie Rosemary Dress, $128

Gap Strapless Ikat Dress, $64.95

Old Navy Maxi Tube Dress, $32.50

2. Flat Sandals - When you're not comfortable - it shows.  Most of these festivals and concerts will be outdoors, and you won't want to wear heels.  I recommend a sandal with a back - flip flops are great but you can easily trip on them.  You never know what kind of terrain you'll encounter or how the weather will affect it.  

UGG Nayami Sandals, $140

Old Navy Braided Rope Sandals, $22.94

3. A Fun Hat - With the UV rays, you'll want to protect your skin.  Sure, you can apply the SPF but I always get burnt on my head!  It's the worst - you try to blow dry your hair and it feels terrible and then when your skin starts to flake you look like you have a serious case of dandruff!  

Bop Basics Floppy Fedora, $70

Merona Coconut Buckle Hat, $12.99

4. Sunglasses - Sunglasses are a fun way to enhance any look.  Go for a casual look like aviators or a dramatic oversized pair.  It will look great!  

Marc by Marc Jacobs Oversized Aviators, $98

House of Harlow 1960 Carey Sunglasses, $125

Throw on some chunky jewlery and you are good to go.  You have the perfect summer outfit that looks effortless and chic.  Watch out Sienna Miller!  

Pore Purifying Black Strips - A Must!

I feel like I have tried almost every single pore refining treatment out there.  Growing up with my mother who was a zip popper extraordinaire, I have a little trouble letting "nature take it's course" and am always picking at my face.  One of the areas I am always looking at is my nose.  It just seems like those pores are always getting dirty and filling up.  Gross.  

That's why I was so excited to try the Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips.  Unlike some of the other strips that simply use a strong adhesive to try to extract those pesky black heads, these strips have a lot going on.  It used charcoal powder to help extract and detoxify the skin, silica to control excess oil, and witch hazel extract to tighten pores.  

Of course the strips are not cheap (6 strips for $15) but if you use them once a week like me, it makes a big difference.  

By now you probably think I'm a product junky, but let me tell you...when you find one you like it's well worth it!  

Monthly Favorite - Chic Backpacks

Do you remember back in the 90s when little backpacks were all the rage?  Everyone was switching out their canvas crossbody purse for a little backpack.  Your biggest question when going out was one shoulder or two?

Well...the backpacks are back.  However, this time they are looking much more chic and are the perfect bag for the airport or a trip.  Most designers, being tech geeks themselves, have realized that if it won't fit all of your gadgets - you won't be buying it.  Therefore, these bags are not only fabulous looking...but they are also functional.

Always ahead of the curve, Marc Jacobs has emerged with some great pieces that fit the backpack trend.  I'm always loving his Marc by Marc Jacobs line thanks to it's youth-inspired look and luxurious leathers and colors.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Backpack, $458 

Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnover Backpack, $299.60

And of course, when Marc Jacobs does something everybody else jumps on board. 

Juicy Couture Flap Backpack, $378

Rebecca Minkoff Studded Backpack, $385

Almost makes me wish I was back in school :) 

Kitschy Fashion Jewelry

The times of pearl studs and oversized "diamonds" are a thing of the past.  The big trend in jewelry these days is a "pop art" effect from some of your favorite designers who are emerging with fun studs and necklaces that are sure to strike up a conversation.

Brands like Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, and Juicy Couture have been perfecting bright and colorful enameled jewelry for seasons and some of the stuff is so fun and cute.  They may not be every day pieces, but they sure do add a lot to a simple dress or top.

Let's take a look at some of the most popular pieces out there...

Bing Bang Tiny Skull Earrings, $30

marc by marc jacobs zip it studs, $58

Kate Spade Double Bow Earrings, $45

Juicy Couture Watermelon Earrings, $42

So have a little fun with your earrings this season!