February Closet Additions

I didn't go too overboard with shopping this month, though I did get tempted by some discounts. A postcard from J.Crew appeared in my mailbox offering me $50 towards any purchase, which I thought was pretty generous, and I was not about to let it go to waste. It of course reminded me of one of Sean's favorite expressions "That's how they get ya", as in, send me a tempting coupon to get me in the door and then I will spend likely double that amount, because it's J.Crew after all. I did really want this silk bodysuit, but at $118 I would have spent well over my coupon. So I went with my second choice, a wrap blouse, and only had to shell out $5 from my own pocket. Who got who?

Another purchase prompted by a discount was a solid gold ring from Etsy. I saw there was an Amex offer this month for a $10 statement credit on any purchase over $40 at Etsy. Back in 2013 I purchased a gold filled ring to wear on my index finger, and you might have noticed I wear it nearly every day. These days it's been looking more dull silver than gold, and wanted to replace it with a solid gold version. I kind of wish I'd gotten one slighter thicker than I did, but at least it's nice and shiny.

While I don't typically include undergarments in my closet addition posts, I did want to mention the bralette I purchased this month. It's Cosabella's Never Say Never Curvie Bralette and it's the first bralette I've found designed for women larger breasts and smaller rib cages. While I wouldn't typically spend $55 on something I'm literally just going to wear around the house (and probably on long flights) I have to admit it's really nice to have a comfy, wireless bra to lounge in. Plus it motivates me to transition from PJs into "I could possibly leave the house in this" clothes on weekends when I don't have a.m. plans. Also Bare Necessities seems to perpetually offer 15% off, so I took advantage of that as well.

Other than that, I made a totally impulsive purchase of a cute pair of PJ pants from Ann Taylor's sale rack, and nabbed that BR wrap blouse I'd been eyeing when it was 40% off.

The Gap Friends and Family sale starts March 7th, and is a good time to stock up on denim, since it's typically excluded from sales. I'm looking to replace both my black and white skinnies as the black have faded and white are hopelessly stained. Other than that, I need to work harder at abstaining from shopping so much! My 2008 MacBook Pro is starting to show its age and I need to focus on saving for its replacement. Fingers crossed the MacBooks get a refresh this summer!

J.Crew Wrap top in foulard floral, $5 after discount and coupon
Ann Taylor Celestial PJ Pants, $25
Etsy Thin Gold Ring, $40
Banana Republic Wrap Top, $2 after credit card rewards
Cosabella Never Say Never Curvie Bralette, $47

Gifted Items
SAS Moxie Pumps in Bone
Vionic Loafer Mules in Silver
Ann Taylor Dot Chiffon Blouse (from my mom)

Clearer Skin with MD Complete

This post is sponsored by MD Complete, with the opportunity through BrandBacker, but as always my views and opinions are my own.

I've touched on my issues with acne a bit before, and while I know my skin isn't terrible, it does bother me that now being into my thirties I still breakout regularly. As I'm always open to new products that might help to banish breakouts, when I saw the opportunity to give the MD Complete system a try I jumped at it. I've now been using the four part system for one month.

Changes I've noticed
I think the biggest difference has been with my whiteheads. Normally they show up and stick around for days and days, then leave annoying scars in their wake. After two weeks of using MD Complete I noticed that the size of the whiteheads which appeared were much smaller, and were gone in a couple days, leaving a much less noticeable trace of their existence.

How it's different from what I've been using

Exfoliating: The Clarifying Cleanser contains 2% Salicylic Acid as the active ingredient. While I've used face washes with Salicylic Acid in the past, I haven't for at least the last two years. Instead I've been using a lighter everyday wash and a more powerful chemical exfoliate once or twice a week. I like this facewash as it has a silky smooth feel and a little goes a long way.

Treating: Benzoyl Peroxide has been a mainstay in my acne regime since day one, so seeing it as part of MD Complete's treatment was no surprise. While I've used various concentrations over the years, lately I've been opting for the lowest I can find. MD Complete's Breakout Treatment contains 4.5%, roughly double what I've been using. I found it too drying so I've only been applying every other day in just the evenings.

MD Complete-5.jpg

Repairing: The Citrus-C Healthy Complexion is the first product I've ever used with Retinol. Like the breakout treatment I started with every other day usage, slowly increased to everyday. This is vastly different than the essential oil blend that I've been using. I've got a few dark marks I've been keeping my eye on and I'm hoping for some noticeable fading.

MD Complete-6.jpg

Probiotics: The Healthy Skin Probiotic is the first probiotic I've taken. There were five included and the first one I accidentally dumped out because the instructions on how to properly open them were online and not included in my box (oops). The supplement is meant to reduce stress, which is a big cause of acne. While my constant anxiety likely plays a roll in my breakouts, I didn't notice much of a difference after taking the probiotics. Likely they would need to be taken regularly for a more extended period of time for results.

The Results
Overall I'm happy with the results, mainly getting fewer whiteheads is the biggest improvement. While I'm hoping more of my scars will fade with continued use of the Citrus-C, there has not been a huge difference yet.

Before Starting Treatment with MD Complete

After Four Weeks of Treatment with MD Complete

A Touch of Vintage

I think it's fun that square neck scarves are trending again, I have a small collection that belonged to my grandma as well as some I picked up at a thrift store in high school, when I definitely did not wear them. It's strange to think I'd buy something with no intention of wearing it, but just because it was made of silk and pretty, I assigned it value. A couple years ago I started tying them on my purses, still not believing I could 'pull it off' around my neck. But if I've learned one thing over these near ten years of blogging, it's that I can 'pull off' anything I want as long as I believe it.

I can't give myself alone credit for that belief. It is only through seeing other bloggers wearing pieces with confidence and beauty that I am able to see the same for myself. It is a powerful thing.

Is there anything another blogger has inspired you to wear or try?

 grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-25.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-19.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-22.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-21.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-20.jpg grey pea coat, striped tee, neck scarf, vintage fur bag-24.jpg
The Rundown
Striped Shirt L.L. Bean thrifted
Yoga Jeans Second Denim via Coco & Vera's Giveaway
Grey Wool Peacoat J.Crew Factory similar
Booties "Calixta" Cole Haan similar
Fur Bag Vintage via Roundabout similar
Polka Dot Silk Neck Scarf Thrifted similar
Thin Gold Ring Etsy
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Couture Curator" Essie


Chasing the Light

Thanks to Vionic for sponsoring this post! My style and opinions are my own.

These shoes are so nice, I had to share them twice, and when we had the most divine taste of spring weather earlier this week, I felt motivated enough to take outfit photos after work. It's funny how when you continually take photos in the same places over the years, you get to notice the nuanced changes of the sunlight at different times of the year. I mention this because the library is a frequent backdrop in my photoshoots, and where I shoot largely depends on the light.

In the late afternoon as we reach the tail end of winter, my favorite staircase is just engulfed in light, so much so that I tend to avoid it, not being a fan of direct light. There is a more favorable place, also west facing, but I can shoot with the light behind me. However, what was once a picket fence and trees is presently a construction zone with a new house springing up.

I relocated once again, to more northern spot, which looks lush and vibrant in the summer, but presently just feels barren and raw. In a few more months the trees on the eastern side of the building will be in bloom, but right now there isn't much to see. Traipsing around to the front still wasn't quite giving me the light I wanted, as well as having the disadvantage of being the main entrance - ideal for shooting on bank holidays and after hours.

I circled again, the sun was setting. I finally spotted a staircase, not as grand or pretty as the others, but secluded and with just enough of the sunlight to get that rim light, and that glow.

All I could think was, thank goodness I was shooting my flat, comfortable Vionic mules; in a different shoe, I might have given up before I found my light.

 Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-19.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-23.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-18.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-20.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-22.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-24.jpg Pink leather jacket, white silk blouse, grey denim, silver mules-15.jpg
The Rundown
White Silk Button Down J.Crew
Blush Leather Jacket Athleta similar
Grey Jeans Gap similar
Silver Regan Mule c/o Vionic
Grayson Bar Bag Linea Pelle similar
Earrings Taken for Granite similar
Diamond Chip Ring c/o Crown Jewelry
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx similar steal
Nail Color "Couture Curator" Essie

Linking up with Jeans and a Teacup's Flashback Friday (one year ago today)

Stepping into Spring

Thanks to Vionic for sponsoring this post! My style and opinions are my own.

I know I'm far from alone in my anticipation of spring, and maybe even Mother Nature is feeling a little anxious right now, having swiftly dispatched of the four inches of snow which fell on Sunday. Even if the temperatures do still hover around freezing, this is the time of year when I start to swap my black shoes and accessories for whites, brights, and metallics. Even when layered up in coats and sweaters during the chilly start to spring, ditching the black makes me feel as though I’ve mentally flipped the switch and started the transition into spring.

Plus, on the days when there isn't snow, I can slip into these super comfortable loafer slides that Vionic sent over. I think we can all agree that mules and loafers are having their moment and I can not get over how cute these are in the metallic silver! Vionic is another wonderful shoe maker who puts comfort on the same level as style, offering shoes with arch support as well as a padded footbed, and resulting in a pair of shoes I can happily wear all day. On the note of prioritizing comfort while not sacrificing style, I'm not embarrassed to admit that I do wear nude trouser socks with my flats in the winter, because every little bit helps, and I bet you can't even tell.

For sizing with Vionic's shoes, I've found they run wide enough that I can go a half size down in the flats and sandals. Though for the boots I went with my usual size.

 cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-20.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-17.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-14.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-21.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-22.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-12.jpg cream teddy coat, silver loafer mules, white denim, grey sweater-13.jpg
The Rundown
Grey Sweater Abercrombie & Fitch similar
Funnel Neck Fleece Teddy Coat Loft similar
White Jeans Old Navy
Silver Regan Mule c/o Vionic
Micro Perry Satchel Rebecca Minkoff c/o Shopbop
Leather Pom Matine
Loop Earrings Mejuri
Chevron Ring Etsy via Silver Canyon Jewelry
Stacked Rings Gorjana via TJMaxx similar
Nail Color "Caviar Bar" Essie

Linking up with Classy Yet Trendy's Trendy Wednesday

Venturing North

This weekend I met up with Courtney of Live Lovely Photography, we had coffee at Oxford Baking Company and ended up chatting for hours. She then showed me a couple of her favorite spots in Woodbury and took outfit photos for me. It's crazy to think having lived in this state my whole life, there are still so many towns I've never been to, so many cute places I haven't seen. It's easy to scroll through instagram and get hung up on all the exciting places in New York or Los Angeles, but I know if I were to take the time, I could find amazing spots right in Connecticut.

Focusing more on what my home state has to offer is something I've been trying to do more of over the last few years, not just for the sake of content, but for my own benefit! While I was chatting with Courtney she told me she had a whole list of places to visit, and I need to take a page from her and set about discovering all of Connecticut's little gems.

 burgundy sweater dress, navy coat, over the knee boots-14.jpg burgundy sweater dress, over the knee boots.jpg burgundy sweater dress, navy coat, over the knee boots-17.jpg burgundy sweater dress, over the knee boots-5.jpg burgundy sweater dress, navy coat, over the knee boots-18.jpg burgundy sweater dress, over the knee boots-4.jpg burgundy sweater dress, navy coat, over the knee boots-13.jpg burgundy sweater dress, over the knee boots-6.jpg burgundy sweater dress, navy coat, over the knee boots.jpg
The Rundown
Burgundy Sweater Dress Target similar
Navy Coat Mark New York via South Moon Under similar
Grey Over the Knee Boots Ivanka Trump similar
Fur Bag Vintage via Roundabout similar
Earrings Susan Roberts
Gold Herkimer Diamond Ring c/o Lumo
Chevron Ring Etsy via Silver Canyon Jewelry
Gold Ring Thrifted
Nail Color "Couture Curator" Essie


Friday Five Under $50

Can you tell my mind has ventured to spring? Not that it's my fault, since all the spring things are out now, taunting, tempting. All the while I'm firmly planted in winter. I know there is beauty to be had even on the grey days, but mostly I just wish I could hibernate for the next few weeks, at least until that first sign of green appears.

Last summer I was chomping at the bit to get on board the round woven bag trend, and decided it was worth a little splurge. Naturally this year the market has exploded with the bags and can now be found in more colors, and in many cases for half the price as they were last summer. The black one really caught my eye, and if I'd held off buying one, it would be under heavy consideration right now.

Also I've noticed Target has been doing great things in their shoe department. While I mostly avoid shopping there because their shoes do not get high marks for comfort from me, it's hard not to look and see all the cute footwear. These lavender flats feel like an amalgamation of five different trends, but in the best way possible.

H&M Floral Dress, $25
eBay Black Round Rattan Bag, $50
Target Lavender Sling Back Flats, $28
Mango Double Hoop Ear Jackets, $10
J.Crew Factory Denim Jacket, $43

Valentines Cynic

The list of holidays I haven't written off as frivolous wastes of calendar space has dwindled to three. Fourth of July, New Years Eve, Valentine's Day, all find themselves in my doghouse. Burned by years of expectations never living up to reality, I've come to treat them with reproach.

During my previous years of being single I tried to be nonchalant about Valentine's Day. I used to wear pink and dedicate blog posts to heart shaped confections. (Those go way back.) When I finally found myself in a relationship I fear my expectations were too grand. I clearly recall last year, the promise of getting home by 8 p.m. for a simple dinner, turned into 9, turned 10, leaving me starving, tired, and cranky. At that point no cute card or grocery store bouquet was going to remedy my mood. I accept at that point I made a choice. I could have made the best out of the delayed dinner situation, instead I chose to see the worst. But being single again, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

I know there are people out there having happy, romantic Valentine's Day celebrations. They must exist. The whole world can't just be faking it, right? Is it possible I've never really had one because I've just become to cynical towards Valentines?

This year, I've sent valentines to my nephew and niece, I'll give my mom chocolate, and perhaps in the subtlest of nods, I'll throw on this arrow necklace, because you know, cupid. But it will otherwise be a pretty unremarkable Wednesday. (And yes, I suppose I did get the cute cup at Starbucks.)

What are your Valentine's Day plans?

 scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-22.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-24.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-17.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-23.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-15.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-16.jpg scalloped cami, long cardigan, velvet pants, furry loafers-14.jpg
The Rundown
Scalloped Cami J.Crew Factory
Tan Cardigan Max Studio via TJMaxx similar
Velvet Leggings Banana Republic
Fur Trimmed Mules Target similar
Bag "Lewis Drive Michela" Kate Spade similar
Leather Pom Matine
Necklace Taken for Granite
Thin Gold Ring Etsy
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx similar steal

Linking up with Classy Yet Trendy's Trendy Wednesday