Brand Spotlight: Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau (1931-2013)

I love Lilly! Lilly Pulitzer enjoys a cult following and a level of loyalty that every brand strives for, but few achieve. The look of Lilly Pulitzer clothing is so distinctive and feminine- and the eponymous designer behind the label created a fairytale story to accompany her pieces. The line is so detail-oriented, each print is itself a unique work of art, with a name and a purpose. As much as any other brand, Lilly Pulitzer sells a specific lifestyle through its individual pieces. Just look at a few images from the Lilly catalog:

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The story of Lilly’s clothing, the girls who wear it, and what they want their lives to be, very much began with Lilly herself. Born to New York Socialites, Lilly’s great-grandfather was a founding partner in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Her mother bred thoroughbred racehorses, and Lilly grew up attending the Chapin School, and Miss Porter’s School with a young Jacqueline Bouvier. When she married Herbert (Peter) Pulitzer Jr. as a very young woman, they escaped to the bright sub-tropical sunshine of Palm Beach. On the Lilly Pulitzer website, the brand tells the story of its own genesis:

Lilly Pulitzer: It all started with a juice standLilly certainly had connections, and once the great families of New York, and Jacqueline Kennedy herself, were spotted in Lilly’s clothing, her popularity exploded.

Lilly Pulitzer was an American princess with the world at her fingertips, and she escaped the confines of NYC to a permanent vacation. She had a philosophy of life that she shared with the world through her words and her vibrant creations, and which now seems to float around pinterest as quotes and images that are pinned and re-pinned in a constant cycle of inspiration and materialistic longing. Her clothes sell to girls that embrace the feminine, the classic, but also the fun.

The Lilly Girl

I often see such maxims as “Live a Lilly Life,” or “Life, Lilly, and the pursuit of happiness.” For many young girls, decking themselves out in Lilly is part of an attempt to live a certain kind of life a certain way, to be colorful and modern, but also willing to tip your hat to the past and act like a lady. Perhaps that’s why Lilly is always popular among Southern Sorority girls, who are not ashamed to take pride in their history and emerge as modern belles.

Personally, I can’t help but admire Lilly Pulitzer. She lived her life with pride and class, and she encouraged others to do the same. She created something entirely original and enduring: a beautiful clothing line that would continue to thrive once she was gone, and that strongly represented a way of life that she valued.

Here are few of my favorite pieces from the current line:

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Do you know the story behind your favorite brand?

Cosmetics: The perfect palette

I recently wrote about a good friend of mine who deeply influenced how I wear makeup, and really has a gift when it comes to cosmetics. Basically, she walks through life looking air-brushed. So when she endorses a specific product, I listen. A few weeks ago she went a step further, and gave me Sephora’s gorgeous “Moonshadow Baked Palette: In the Nude” for my birthday. Because of my fair coloring, I tend to avoid saturated tones and bright colors when doing my makeup, whereas she is able to pull off just about anything and prefers highly pigmented shadows that have been pressed multiple times. The palette she gave me was a happy medium between the two, while it consists primarily of natural tones that I feel comfortable wearing, the colors are very saturated and… sparkly!

Sephora Moonshadow Baked Palette: In the Nude

Sephora Moonshadow Baked Palette: In the Nude

I’ve been experimenting with application, but I know I’m only the scratching the surface of what I can do (honestly my work is a little sloppy). It would be easy with these shadows to have much more dramatic makeup, but it would probably not be daytime or work-appropriate.

Here’s one day when I played with application:

Here is another day:

In both photos I am wearing Benefit ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara and Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen. I have been told that I could have softened the harsh lines on my crease my softly swiping the made-up lids with a fluffy and clean makeup brush.

Do you have a favorite eyeshadow palette? For beauty tips and tricks, check out my Cosmetics Board on Pinterest!

No one Loves you like your Mom, Say Thank you with a Beautiful Gift

For many of us, no one will ever love us like our mom’s. She’s supportive, she thinks you are beautiful even when your hair is a bee’s nest and you’re wearing no makeup, and she was willing to literally wipe your bum when you were little-    that    is    love.  I happen to be very close with my mother. We have the same shoe size, the same cheesy sense of humor, and the same affinity for dancing around the kitchen when we do the dishes. Spending the day with her is more of a treat than an obligation. I know I’m not the only one out there who is looking forward to a day to say thank you for all of the ways our mom’s find to prove they love us. In the spirit of Mother’s Day (next Sunday) I compiled a list of gifts, both for those of us who are ready to splurge and those of us who would like to show that we care without breaking the bank.

Under $10:

You don’t have a lot of expendable income, but you love your mom! The best way to show her is with some time and effort. Spend the day with her, rent a chick flick, take her to the beach, or bake her some delicious cupcakes and decorate them with these printables from the tomcat Studio!

$10-$50:

Buy some groceries and make mom a quick meal! It doesn’t take much; one simple but delicious entrée, a few veggies for a fresh salad, and (maybe) a bottle of her favorite wine.  This Cooking Light recipe for Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken is fairly easy and always seems to be a big hit with my family, it’s a wonderful way to give your mom a night off.

$24.99 A Classic 8×11 photo book created on Snapfish. Every time I have given my mother something like this she has cried. It’s a wonderful way to tell her how much you appreciate all of the wonderful memories you have made together.

$29.50 Talbots Sterling Silver Hammered Disc Earrings. They go with everything.

$34 Mary Kay Peach Satin Hands Pampering Set– Both my mom and I have been huge fans of this particular product over the years, it makes your hands feel incredibly soft and silky, and doesn’t your Mom deserve to be pampered? If your mother isn’t a fan of heavily scented products, it also comes fragrance free!

$35.99 Museum wrap photo canvas from Snapfish- choose a photo of her with her own Mom, of you and her, or even of the entire family. It’s beautiful decor for her home or office. (They’re 25% off until May 10th with the promo code CANVASMAY).

$45 Faux-Pearl Cap Necklace at Banana Republic. Is your mom a white tee and khaki capris type-a-lady in the summer? Encourage her to add a fun pop of color to her outfit without pushing her too far outside of her comfort zone. This necklace is beautiful, delicate, and an easy way to play with the coral and sherbert color trend.

$50-$75:

$71 Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Dreaming in Portofino Eau de Toilette, 1.6 oz – Dolce and Gabbana’s bestseller Light Blue is beloved by everyone I know, but also already owned by just about everyone I know (including my mom). This limited edition version is scrumptious, and chances are all of your mom’s friends don’t already have it!

$75-$150:

$95 Tory Burch Viva Small Slouchy Cosmetic Bag– this little bag is adorable, and although it’s made to hold makeup it could easily be converted into a casual summer clutch!

$128 Kate Spade ‘Cobble Hill -Stacey’ Wallet at Nordstrom- so simple and pretty!

$129 Talbots Sterling Silver Station Necklace – lovely, elegant, 100% real sterling silver.

$150 and above:

I don’t know about your mother, but my mom is never willing to put herself first. She loves beautiful designer bags/sunglasses/shoes/you-name-it, but she’s never willing to buy one for herself. She will get me that amazing gift I’ve been dreaming of, but she feels wild when she buys the latest Essie color for herself. That’s why I do the best I can to treat my mom whenever I can. So if you have the dolla dolla bills… who better to spend them on than Mom?

$167 Tory Burch Pacey Cap-Toe Ballet Flats – A beautiful comfortable flat that can be worn through all season, it’s classic enough for a mother’s taste while still being stylish.

$248 Braided Tassel Pebbled Leather Tote at C. Wonder – Tassels, gold hardware, and a braided handle- wonderful.

$295 Tory Burch Metallic Stacked “t” Tote – A great summer bag, it’s the type of fun around-the-town piece that Mom deserves.

$298 MICHAEL Michael Kors Large Weston Pebbled Shoulder Bag – Every woman need s beautiful black leather bag.

($$$ varies) A trip for two to the spa! Many local spas have mother’s day packages that include facials, massages, pedicures, manicures, and an in-spa lunch. Check Groupon and other promotional sites for great deals in your area.

I hope everyone has an incredible Mother’s Day! What do you plan to do for your mom? Don’t forget to tell your Mom that this is HER DAY, she needs to treat ha’ self!

The perfect weekend bag: FOUND

I have been on a mad hunt for the perfect weekend bag. If you need to hop on a plane for a weekend wedding, but want to avoid the massive hassle of checked luggage, or escape to visit a friend in the city/country/foreign nation, then you need a good weekend bag.

After all, it was this very necessity that first inspired what is arguably the greatest bag of all time…

A beautiful actress boards first class on a flight to London, and attempts to store her massive bag in the over-head compartment. The bag and all of its contents fall to the floor, and the man sitting beside her advises,”You should have one with pockets.” As she stuffs her red lipstick and her sunglasses and maybe even her sandals back into her luggage, she laments that she could not find a fine leather weekend bag that met her needs both practically and stylistically. “The day,” she says, “Hermès makes one with pockets, I will have that.” Inspired, her seat-mate returns home and creates for her the perfect weekend bag: buttery leather, a tiny gold-plated lock and key, and of course- pockets. It stands unmatched. He names the bag after the beautiful actress and bequeaths it to her, so she might carry it with pride for many years. He was the incarnation of Hermès, and her name is Jane Birkin(Here is Jane’s actual account).

 

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How cool is that?! I love the story of the serendipitous spark that led to the Birkin! Jane finally got her perfect getaway bag, and until I can afford a Birkin of my own (presumably never) I may have found my own perfect bag- also designed just for me! Seriously, it’s not fancy, it’s not leather, but it is monogrammed… excellent!

Kate Spade Saturday- as designed by Modern Effulgence

Kate Spade Saturday- as designed by Modern Effulgence

 

Kate Spade recently launched a sister brand called Kate Spade Saturday, in some ways it’s quite similar to J. Crew, and at a price point about 50% below Kate Spade. Their website allows you to design and personalize your own Weekender bag. It even has a separate compartment especially for shoes- yes please!

 

 

What qualities do you look for in your perfect weekend bag? Where have you found one? Here are a few other spectacular bags I am longing for…

 

 

THE CLASSIC: The Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandoulière 55 $1600

THE CLASSIC: The Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandoulière 55 $1600

 

In my dreams, I see a bag much like this one. I have been unable to find through any vendor other than ebay (where it costs $348):

The bag itself inspires travel

The bag itself inspires travel!

What I Wore: Black, Neutral and Gold Bows

In a previous post I longed to buy every adorable item offered up in Talbots’ ongoing Friends and Family sale, and I admitted that I had already splurged a little bit. Today I could not wait to wear a few of my newest pieces, including a Tee Dress in black, and the Rhinestone Bow Necklace– both of which arrived as part of Talbots’ new May line!

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The Tee dress is a great buy because it can be thrown on with a pair of flip-flops and a tote when worn to the beach, or it can be accessorized with some eye-catching jewelry and a pair of take-no-prisoner’s heels for a night out.

100% cotton with gold button details on the shoulder, $69.50

100% cotton with gold button details on the shoulder, $69.50

I’m only 5’3″, so garments without much shape usually overwhelm my frame. Since the potato-sack look is never chic, I paired the Tee Dress with a belt to accentuate my waist and add polish. Here’s the final result:

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Really the entire look only has four pieces: the dress, the necklace, the belt, and the nude flats. It’s so simple, and more importantly… so comfortable! The gold belt is Lilly Pulitzer’s Skinny Obi Belt, and any nude flats will do, but mine were a steal at Target.

Lilly Pulitzer's Skinny Obi Belt $38

Lilly Pulitzer Skinny Obi Belt $38

Women's Mossimo Supply Co. Ona Patent Scrunch Ballet Flat - Blush $14.99 (Only in Target stores)

Women’s Mossimo Supply Co. Ona Patent Scrunch Ballet Flat – Blush $14.99 (Only in Target stores)

How would you style a simple t-shirt dress? Do you have a favorite must-have summer item that seems to work in every situation and environment?

Brand Spotlight: The Talbots Friends and Family Sale

I’ve mentioned before that Talbots is one of my favorite brands, they have a great mixture of fun and classic pieces. Their Friends and Family Sale started last week and will continue until May 6th. That means 30% off everything!

The storefront of the original Talbots in Hingham, MA - still in operation today.

The storefront of the original Talbots in Hingham, MA – still in operation today.

I may have gone a little crazy on my last shopping trip- but they honed in on my girliest weaknesses: lace, coral, mint, bows, sparkle… they have it all. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from their most recent collection:

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As shown above:

Pia Lace and Metallic Leather Peep-toe flats $119

Pineapple Basket Wrap $59.50

Cabochon Teardrop Earrings in celery $29.50

Vine-Lace Sheath in ivory $199

Rhinestone Bow necklace $59.50

Polka-Dot Wrap in cherry sorbet $59.50

Paisley Lace Top in cherry sorbet $79.50

There are so many perfect stand-out pieces for summer! I also love these little scottie-dog socks

Will you be visiting the Talbots Friends and Family Sale? Do you agree with my picks? Which of the items is your favorite?

New Brand Crush: Warby Parker

Last weekend I visited one of my all-time favorite people! He and I have been close friends since high school, and although at first glance we both seem to have completely transformed since then, I have only grown to appreciate him more. He is creative, spontaneous, and stylish. Recently one of his friends went to work for Warby Parker, and through that friend he has gotten to know the company and has become a passionate proponent of what they’re trying to do: transform the eye-glass industry.

Doesn’t sound revolutionary enough for you? Most glasses are produced by just a few powerful companies who artificially control and inflate prices. Warby Parker was founded in 2010 by several former students of the Wharton School of Business who saw that heavy-handed market control and price inflation as a problem that they wanted to solve. Not only did they decide to produce incredibly stylish glasses at a much lower price, they pledged that every pair of glasses they sold would be matched with a pair given away to someone in need through the charity VisionSpring, in their own words, “Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses. This means that 15% of the global population cannot effectively learn or work – a problem that Warby Parker is determined to address.”

I was already impressed by my friend’s endorsement and the company’s mission, then charmed by their… let’s be honest… adorable company bios, when I began looking through the actual glasses. I wasn’t disappointed. I found that different pairs were in turn, funky, classic and stylish. I am really lusting after the Liv sunglasses in Burgundy Fade, and they’re only $95!

Warby Parker Liv Sunglasses in Burgundy Fade $95

Warby Parker Liv Sunglasses in Burgundy Fade $95

While Warby Parker does the majority of their business online, they just opened a flagship store at 121 Greene St. in Soho.

Warby Parker Flagship Store in Soho- photo from the Hollywood Reporter

Warby Parker Flagship Store in Soho- photo from the Hollywood Reporter

Warby Parker has gained  popularity in an incredibly short amount of time, and you can spot their sunglasses in editorial spreads in magazines and in one of my favorite blogs, College Prep. It’s always more fun to support a company when you believe in their mission, and it’s hard not to endorse the lofty goals of Warby Parker. As Genevieve Bahrenburg wrote in her article for Vogue, Warby Parker has a simple message, “Look sharp, pay less, do good.”

Feeling your Best: Inside and Out

I think one of the greatest burdens of American women is that we often foster shame within ourselves. Over the past sixty years our society has evolved immensely, and now we are constantly sent conflicting messages about who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to feel. We should look like models but cook like Paula Deen, have ambitious professional aspirations but always put others before ourselves, act like ladies but never be high-maintenance. Sometimes I feel like the more choices we are given, the more ways there are for people to disapprove of the decisions we make.

I very much want to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sandberg seems to believe that for the most part, what’s holding women back is no longer external forces or a lack of opportunity, but an unwillingness to seize those opportunities and relinquish our cultural shame.

Lean In:

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

I have a daily battle with that shame and insecurity, and I tend to be very self-critical. I’m working hard to become a more courageous and confident person, and luckily I have incredible friends who build me up. Having command of the message I send out to the world always gives me a big confidence boost and a healthy creative outlet, and that’s one of the many reasons I love makeup and fashion.

Sometimes wearing makeup is really a placebo; when I’m having a bad day and feel like I just look awful, it shields me from the world. Other times, it allows me to explore and play. Taking pride in my appearance gives me a sense of control and self-assurance. Rather than focusing on that ugly hook in my nose or the fact that my eyes are too close together, using cosmetics is all about knowing your strengths and emphasizing your best features (don’t you listen to Carmindy on What Not to Wear?)

In that spirit, let me tell you two things that I happen to like about myself, one within and one without. 1) Although I crave approval, I never compromise my character and violate my morals in order to satisfy peer pressure. 2) I have very long eyelashes.

My eyes and eyelashes are my best feature, and I’m often asked what mascara I use. I’ve tried almost every brand. I absolutely love Covergirl Lashblast. It’s sold everywhere, and it’s only about $7. I don’t need the extra length, so I use Volume (in the orange case), while most of my friends love the Clump crusher (in the green case).

Lashblast Volume Mascara, my all-time favorite!

Lashblast Volume Mascara, my all-time favorite!

Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lashblast Mascara

Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lashblast Mascara

When I stopped by Sephora the other day I was also given a free sample of another mascara, and it’s wonderful! Of course it’s a price jump ($23), but my lashes really do look false when I use it. It’s called “They’re real!”  how can you not enjoy that sassy name?

Benefit Cosmetics: They're Real! Mascara at Sephora

Benefit Cosmetics: They’re Real! Mascara at Sephora

If you look closely all three mascaras have a wand that combs lashes rather than brushing them, this helps prevent clumps and uni-lashes.

I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours! Let me know your favorite mascara, and please, instead of focusing on all the things you wish you could change about yourself, feel pride rather than shame! What are two qualities that you like about yourself?

Cosmetics: Making-it-up as I go

Makeup! I love it, I use it every day, but I would not consider it my area of expertise.

Before college I rarely wore anything other than mascara and gloss, but I was lucky enough to be thrown into the same orbit as a girl who became one of my closest friends. She is what I would comfortably classify as a cosmetics expert. Every Friday when classes were over the girls in my dorm would begin to get ready to go out. They would turn up the speakers, turn on their flat irons, and line up at her door to beg her to do their makeup. Some people have a talent and a passion for cosmetics which elevates what they do to a plane beyond simply striving to look their best, and allows them to create a new work of art every day.

I do not have that passion and talent, but I benefited from being in the vicinity of someone who does. My friend taught me few tricks (she gently instructed me to contour before I knew what contouring was), and whatever holes were left in my basic cosmetics education have generally been filled by the steady tutelage of pinterest.

Through every other experiment I have conducted, two things have remained the same: my basic daily foundation (BareMinerals, which I really can’t ever imagine forsaking), and my blush. My attitude toward blush was basically that if it wasn’t broken, why fix it? Then,  a few weeks ago I was inspired by an article I read about coral, and I examined my makeup ritual more critically. I’ve been using the same Covergirl blush since high school, and though I once attempted to make the switch to a BareMinerals product, the result was essentially the same… and Covergirl was less expensive (in my experience Covergirl is an incredible value for the price).

Still a great buy for around $5 at any drugstore!

Still a great buy for around $5 at any drugstore!

Covergirl’s Iced Plum, a shade I have happily used for years

Well no more! I stopped by Sephora the other day and snagged a fabulous blush from NARS, a brand many of my friends swear by. To be honest, at $29 I consider it a splurge for a blush, but it’s high-quality product that I know I’ll use every day. “Torrid” is much brighter than my previous blushes, and perfect for summer! Sephora calls it “coral with shimmer.” They appear to be out, but it’s still available at Lord & Taylor.

NARS Torrid: My favorite new product!

NARS Torrid: My favorite new product!

I LOVE IT! I would highly recommend this color, but even if you are not on the market for a new blush, break out of your comfort zone and experiment with something new. Even if that something is small, you have to start somewhere!

Personally, I’m ready for suggestions. What’s your favorite blush or cosmetic product?