black + white


Currently listening: On the Radio | Regina Spektor


Hi there!

Kaylee and Lauren here– and we’re just having a bit too much fun navigating the world of online dating.  You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to come up with adjectives about yourself; things you like; important traits of your date. Woof.  The commentary whilst building our profiles has to be the best part.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“He’s wearing New Balance shoes….and not the cool kind.”

“Wink at him? Is there a ‘make babies with him’ button?”

“I better just delete this before…OOH! He has an airplane!”

Before this all started, I had spent the bulk of the weekend with Kast and Ali adventuring around Madison.  We went kayaking, shopping, to the movies, and had lots of delicious food.  For a day out and about, I kept it basic in black and white.  I paired a flirty lace top with a striped skirt and suede wedges.  I topped off the look with black + gold accents: Ray Bans, a basic bangle, and my Herve Leger clutch.







LOFT Lace Top | Striped Skirt (similar via Charlotte Russe) | Black Wedge Sandals (similar via Modcloth) | Herve Leger Cosmetic Bag | Ray Ban Clubmasters | Assorted Rings

I’ll be sure to give you any comical updates from our online dating profile creating.

Until next time–



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the look for less: the new navy


Currently listening:  Dirty Paws | Of Monsters and Men



My fall fashion wish list is coming along nicely, and I was able to cross yet another item off the list: drapey soft pant.  I finally gave this lazy girl’s dream of a pant a spin over the weekend and fell in love.  Seriously just as comfortable as sweatpants, this soft track pant style is refined enough for work, but easy enough for your day off.

This Sunday, Kast and I got lunch downtown and hung out at the terrace.  I was in an incredibly lazy mood, as I was sick all weekend, so I threw on my soft pants with a basic tee and wedges.  The morning was a little chilly, so I used a oversized scarf as a wrap, which definitely upped the sophistication of my easy ensemble.  Not only does the simplicity of this style bring a higher level of sophistication, but the minimalism exudes a level of luxury– which is ironic, considering what a steal this entire look is.  Shop the look below.







Old Navy Graphic Tee {$12} | Old Navy Drapey Cropped Pants {$30} | T-Strap Sandals (similar via Lulus) {$25} | Target Shimmer Scarf | Lands’ End Canvas Tote {$28} | Vintage Sunglasses | Express Pearl Studs  {$14}

Until next time–



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the better boyfriend


Currently listening to: She Loves You | The Beatles


Hey there!

It’s finally happened.  I finally found the one–the one you feel so comfortable with that never lets you down.  That’s right– I found my perfect boyfriend jean.  (Sorry for the trickery, Mom and Dad.  Don’t get your hopes up– still single).

I’ve been on the hunt for awhile after being on the fence for so long.  Being a little “hippy-er”, I figured I wouldn’t be able to pull off this looser look.  After a much-antipicated trip to Gap after they launched their fall denim, I fell in love.  I love this dark wash especially since it’s still so sophisticated, while effortlessly cool.  That’s right kids, I was able to cross off the first item on my fall wish list.

Most recently, I styled my new denim more classically with a crisp white shirt, gold sandals, and minimal jewelry.  It was one of those outfits that you feel so killer in that you use the halls as your runway.







Gap Sexy Boyfriend Jeans | White Button-Down (similar via Lands’ End) | Zooshoo Gold Sandals | Aviators (similar via Target

 Although I loved my recent styling, I’m also pretty excited to go a little grungier next time.  Have you tried out this menswear trend yet?

Until next time–



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fall wish list: 2014

Hi there friends!

It’s about that time again– fall is around the corner and I could not be more excited.  I can’t wait for mild weather, football, and of course, anything pumpkin.  But the best thing about fall by far is the fashion: ankle boots, denim, scarves, beanies, leather jackets, and sweaters.  It seriously could not get any better.

I’ve been daydreaming of fall days since they fleeted away so quickly last year.  So naturally, I’ve given my fall fashion wish list a lot of thought over the last several months.  I wanted to keep it concise, since I don’t have unlimited funds and I also wanted to ensure it was versatile, taking me from season to season.

Fall Fashion Wish List

1. Leather Ankle Boots

My fashion philosophy states that whatever your “thing” is, you can never have too much of it.  For me, my “things” are pants and ankle boots.  I have an obscene amount of pants, and an even more obscene amount of ankle boots.  Something that’s been on my wish list since I knew Madewell existed is their Charley tonal leather ankle boot.  They’re so simple and so sophisticated.  But, $200 isn’t something I would drop on something lightly.  I’ve searched for something similar and I did find some cute zippered ankle boots for less than half the price on Modcloth.  I still haven’t decided which way I’ll go on this one.

Splurge vs. Steal: Leather Ankle Boots


2. Black Chunky-Heeled Pumps

Back in high school, I wore heels everyday.  If I wasn’t in my black high-top Converse, I was in stilettos.  Most people thought I was nuts, but I loved being so tall and quite frankly, I walked better in heels than flats at that point.  I also went to a very small school, so it’s not like I had far distances to walk.  But once I went off to college, I never wore my heels, so I get rid of them.  I kept a few pairs of wedges and heeled ankle boots, but any sign of stiletto or pump was completely diminished.  Lately, I’ve been wanting an easy, black pump with a lower chunky heel.  It’s such a classic shoe that would go with everything. I’d been lusting over a pair from J.Crew for a few months, when I stumbled upon a nearly identical pair from Target for $100 less– needless to say, I know which pair I’ll be getting.

Splurge vs. Steal: Chunky-Heeled Pumps


3. Boyfriend Jeans

I’d been on the fence about boyfriend jeans since they started popping up in the market.  I have wide hips and I figured this was a disaster waiting to happen.  I mean, I did not want to draw more attention to my hips and have my thinner legs drown in fabric.  But lately, I’ve been tempted.  So many girls at work look so chic in theirs, so I’ve been dying to try them out.  And as much as I’d been lusting over Madewell’s slim boy jean, I ended up going with Gap’s sexy boyfriend jean– which I happened to buy this week!  Stay tuned for my upcoming fashion fix featuring them!

Splurge vs. Steal: Boyfriend Jean


4. Woven Soft Pants

Hello, refined– have you met lazy?  Thank God a track-pant inspired refined pant is finally trending.  Lazy girls, rejoice.  We can essentially wear our sweatpants to work now and it’s completely socially acceptable.  Need I really say more?  I will say that Old Navy does have 25% off online currently, so you’ll be able to get an even stellar deal on these.  With my Old Navy Card rewards, I paid less than $15 for them.  Talk about a win/win.

Splurge vs. Steal: Woven Soft Pant


5. Textured Sweater

Toward the end of last winter, I got on a real sweater kick.  I started buying all kinds of sweaters that were on sale at the end of the season, but didn’t really get a chance to wear many of them, as it quickly got warm outside.  This fall, I’m looking forward to wearing all of the fantastic sweaters I bought months ago, but in addition, I’d really like to add a textured sweater to complete my sweater collection.  Texture is an easy way to jazz up an otherwise simple outfit.  Although I love the simplicity of the slight texture of the J.Crew boatneck, there is something about the crosshatch Lands’ End Drifter sweater that’s so special.  I’m just going to have trouble deciding which color!

Splurge vs. Steal: Textured Sweater


6. Full Zip Fleece

Ever since I borrowed my roommate’s Northface fleece jacket four years ago, I’ve been dying to have one.  For being so lightweight, it is incredibly warm.  Great to wear on its own or underneath my peacoat when it’s particularly frigid.  There are so many flashy Northface jackets out there, but I really love the tonal grey full zip.  I’m still debating whether or not to just go for it, hoping it lasts for years, or if I want to go with a safer, less expensive option, like the Columbia zip up below.  Luckily, it’s still quite warm outside, so I’ve still got a bit of time to decide on this one.

Splurge vs. Steal: Full Zip Fleece


7. Black Felt Hat

I used to not be much of a hat person, but when I had my pixie cut, I loved wearing beanies.  I felt like such a punk, hipster, teenage boy– and what’s better than that? As I grew my hair out, I branched out and started wearing baseball hats (which I’m still absolutely obsessed with, by the way).  More recently, I’ve been wanting a fedora or felt hat.  Since summer is coming to an end, I’m prioritizing the felt hat as it’s more seasonally appropriate for fall.  It’s such a classic addition to any outfit– and I think it’d be particularly cute with a stripe sweater and midi skirt.  Am I right?

Splurge vs. Steal: Black Felt Hat

What’s on your fashion wish list for this fall? I’d love to hear!

Until next time–



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7 habits of highly effective shoppers

Hi there!

You know that friend you have who always looks fabulous?  No matter the weather, day of the week, circumstance, or personal crisis she may be going through, she always looks like she just stepped off the runway?  Jealousy of that fact alone aside, what really grinds your gears is when you find out her oh-so-chic shoes were under $50?  Or her totally on-trend trench was half off?  Girl, I feel you.  I have those friends.  We all have those friends.  But lately, I’ve found myself being that friend– the friend who knows about the best deals and where to buy the hottest items.

Want to finally be that friend?  Well, look no further.  I talked to those friends of mine and collaborated on universal habits we have.  I chatted with my personal style icons to get the dirt on what they do when it comes to shopping, thrifting, and looking down right fabulous all the time.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Shoppers

1. We Shop Around

If there is something we could all agree on, it’s that we don’t shy away from shopping around.  Although I have my favorite go-tos, when I’m looking for something specific, I shop around.  Fellow Midwest Blogger Jessi of The Stylish Print always shops online first in order to read reviews and find the best deal. “I fell in love with a pair of Steve Madden shoes… but they were $80. So I shopped around and found a pair exactly like them at Target for $25.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.59.15 PM

I did the same thing with a pair of heels from J.Crew.  I hopped on Pinterest to find something similar since I was not about to drop $198 on a pair of sandals and ended up finding the next best thing for only $24 on Zooshoo.  No, it doesn’t always work out quite as well as it did for Jessi and myself, but exploit your resources (Pinterest, word of mouth, or even a simple google search) and you’ll be amazed at what you find.

2. We Plan Ahead

At the beginning of every season, I start to make a list of “need to haves” and “nice to haves” for the upcoming season.  Amy, a fashion buyer in the Midwest, takes a similar approach. “Before I go on a major shopping trip, I go through my closet to see what I need to get rid of, what I already have, and then make a list of things I think could be added. . .this helps so I don’t end up buying stuff I already have a version of.”  This is truly key to ultimately saving you money and time.  If you want to even go the extra mile, take your wish list online and see what’s out there.  You can buy online, or pre-shop online before going to the mall to try your finalists on.  Ali, an incredibly fashionable middle school teacher, points out that before a shopping trip, she’ll look online not only for what she wants to buy, but also for coupons and discount codes to get a better deal.

3. We Know Timing is Everything

If there is one thing that I’m notorious for preaching it’s that timing is everything.  Knowing when to shop is just as important as knowing where to shop.  In general, January and July are markdown months and the best time to get a low sale price.  These sales are comprised of end of the season merchandise that usually is at least half off (depending where you shop, of course).  For me, this is my favorite time to shop, as I normally keep an eye throughout the season on items that I’ve been wanting, and as long as they seem to still have plenty of inventory, I wait it out until the end of the season to get a stellar discount.  Since it’s the end of the season, in theory, you’re buying the clothes for the same season, following year– so it’s good to buy versatile basics at this time that you can wear year after year.  Believe me, you’ll be happy you did it come 6 months from now.

Can’t wait for the markdown?  Totally fine.  Ali and I never pay full price for anything.  We’ve become sticklers about it too.  At J. Crew, we won’t just buy sale items– we’ll wait until those sale items are an additional 40% off.  Even items that aren’t on sale quite yet, you’re more than likely going to find a promotion or coupon code within 2-3 weeks if you’re willing to wait.  The key is patience and knowing that if you don’t want to pay full price, you certainly don’t have to– but you do have to be willing to wait.

4. We Focus on Fit

Although this may seem like a no-brainer, I feel like this has tripped up even the smartest shoppers over the years.  For me, I used to buy shoes too small because they were so cute and they didn’t have my actual size– but I naturally never could wear them.  This also goes for vanity sizing.  We may want to buy a shirt in a small instead of a medium, when the medium truly fits better.  And honestly, if you’re someone who has ever struggled with body image, it’s hard to accept the number/letter on the tag really doesn’t matter.  But I promise, it doesn’t.  I always grab a few sizes at the store and just pick whatever I feel best in.

California fashion intern, Mary, stresses the importance of knowing your body and what fits.  Like most smart-shoppers, Mary is aware of what things to look for in a garment in reference to her body.  For example, when shopping for blazers, she is very particular– “I don’t like them too long because I am short and I don’t like them boxy because I am broad shouldered.  How something relates to my height is very important.”  It takes awhile to really know your body and what needs you have in relation to fit.  I know I have the most trouble fitting pants in relation to my hips and tops in relation to my shoulders.  The specifics take some time to realize, but no one knows your body better than you.  Make sure you buy clothing that flatters and you feel confident in.  If you don’t feel confident, you will never wear that item no matter how cute or on-trend it is.

5. We Know When Quality Counts

For me, there are few things more important than quality when it comes to selecting a new item for my wardrobe.  When I love something and need to own it, I want to keep it for years.  Because of this, I am willing to pay for quality.  But in most cases, quality equates to a higher price and I realize that we can’t pay a high ticket on everything.  When you don’t have an unlimited shopping budget, you have to begin to pick your battles.  A rule of thumb is paying for quality basics and items that you carry from season to season and skimping a bit on trend and “fast-fashion” items.  For example, I would never skimp on shoes, jeans, or sweaters.  These items are critical for fit and are worn season after season.  On the other hand, the midi rings you’ve been obsessing over can easily be picked up at Forever 21. And speaking of Forever 21, the quality is so non-existent that you only can get a few wears out of their apparel items before they begin to snag/shrink/stretch/warp/fall apart.  There’s a reason it’s called fast-fashion, so be weary of buying anything that you plan to wear more than 4-5 times from a fast-fashion store.

6. We Embrace Individuality

There is nothing worse than going to a party/work/school/gathering and feeling on-fire until we see someone else wearing the same top.  Even when we know we styled it 10X better, the sting is still real.  As fashion and style enthusiasts, we crave individuality and desire to be completely unique.  Some of my favorite pieces I have are vintage or from thrift stores– where you’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone who has the same thing.  Eileen, current New York fashion intern and menswear enthusiast, invests in one-of-a-kind pieces.  “Even though it may be expensive, you know that no one else will have it.”  Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy designer luxury pieces in order to be unique.  Like I previously mentioned, I love thrifting and going to vintage shops.  You can find some real treasures that span across multiple decades.  Eileen also suggests supporting local businesses and brands, rather than mass-chains. “You’re less likely to have the same purchase as someone you know.”

7. We Stay Connected

Lastly, the habit that relates to each of the other 6 is staying connected.  Smart shoppers stay connected to brands, their favorite bloggers, other shoppers, their friends, and trusted style authorities through a variety of channels.  Pinterest may be one of today’s most popular avenues when it comes to trend and ultimately deciding on your wish list.  Jessi uses Pinterest to help further inform her style decisions. “If I know I want a specific item, let’s say a black blazer, but I don’t know what style I want, I usually go to Pinterest and search “black blazer.”  This allows me to see all the styles of black blazers and how different people styled them. . .Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to shopping.”

Ali is the coupon queen and signs up for everything online.  She participates in any free rewards programs retailers offer and always looks up discount codes before heading to the mall.  Websites like and compile any promo codes that are out there for individual retailers.  One great way of staying connected to your favorite retailers is following them on social media.  They often do exclusive promotions for their followers and let them in on sales first.  Nearly every retailer has a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter account– so pick your favorite channel and stay involved.  You’ll love having the scoop on the best deals at the palm of your hand.

Another way to stay connected is to follow a few fashion blogs.  Many bloggers, such as Tracy’s Notebook of Style, are constantly posting the best deals and promotions they’ve found and sharing their inside information with fellow fashionistas. Not only do these blogs provide sale and promotion information, but they also offer a wealth of style advice and inspiration to give you new ideas for the upcoming season.

It definitely takes some time, but with a bit of practice you’ll be that friend in no time.

Until next time–



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