Savvy Stylist: The Search for a Nude Pump


My friend TW is on the hunt for a nude pump and when she asked me to send her some options, I was thrilled. Not only is a nude pump a must have shoe staple, it is an easy way to add instant glam to almost any outfit.

Ask my friends and they’ll tell you I can be a little over the top when it comes to the details. When you present me with a question, you’re sure to get a well-researched response. That said, TW, I hope I’m not making your decision even harder!

There are tons of nude pumps out there to choose from in varying styles, shades and heel heights—but here are some of my faves:

Blush Nudes


Aldo ‘Hershey’ Pump
MIA Limited Edition ‘Vixen’ Platform Pump
La Fenice ‘Gale’ Peep-Toe Slingback

I like to call a lighter nude a ‘blush nude’ because it has just barely a hint of color. This Aldo d’orsay heel and the La Fenice peep-toe slingback are both lady like and dainty—perfect for a spring date night. The MIA Vixen lives up to its name with its 5” heel and 1” platform; it is definitely the shoe to wear when you want your strut to be a little more fierce.

Darker Nudes

Michael Kors ‘York’ Platform Pump
Via Spiga ‘Evangeline’ Pump 


Darker nude shoes tend to have more of a caramel tone, which is great for giving us brown girls the appearance of a longer leg. Go classic with a Michael Kors peep-toe, or get modern with this Via Spiga peep-toe Mary Jane style.

Nude with a Twist



BCBGeneration ‘Paeyton’ Pump
Michael Kors Glitter Patent Pump
Chinese Laundry Triple Major Platform Pump


If you’re a girl who prefers everything with a little bit of extra sass, you’ll love these nudes with a twist. BCBGeneration’s ‘Paeyton’ has a nude combo happening at the heel, with a thin navy stripe detail. Many of the nudes for retail now are patent leather, but Michael Kors also has a glitter patent pump for when you want to turn up the shine. And Chinese Laundry does a play on nude with a nude upper over an exposed black platform and black heel.

All are gorgeous choices that I think would fit nicely into any shoe wardrobe. Which one would you choose?


Wish List: Madden Girl Lyons Pump



I am a sucker for a great Mary Jane and this Madden Girl Lyons Pump had me at "hello". With its neutral color; pop of pink with the polka dots and at the heel; and a little over a 5" lift--it is perfect for spring, and Chic Mommy approved. And, of course, you can't beat the $40 price tag.

What do you think? Should I take them off my "maybe" list and just snag  them already!?

Posh Tip: How to Transition Your Shoe Wardrobe from Winter to Spring

Mother Nature has been literally quite hot and cold with her affection for Maryland this season, leaving many of us clueless as to what to wear, and especially--what shoes to pair with whatever we choose. For those of you facing this temperature induced conundrum, here are four types of shoes that can help you transition your wardrobe flawlessly from winter to spring.

Booties 


Booties (or ankle boots) are an ideal shoe to help you straddle the seasons because you can wear them with tights or hose; or with a bare leg if you prefer. It encases your entire foot, giving you the feel of something substantial enough for spring rains and cool breezes; yet, the exposed leg and ankle keeps it from feeling heavy or constricting like a taller boot. Get a peep toe bootie (I love this one that I bought last year) and expose your well-manicured toes on warmer days. And booties look fabulous with both dresses and jeans, so they’re not restricted to being weekend wear. Opt for leather over suede to keep it seasonally appropriate.

To pump up the spring factor, snag them in a nude, taupe or other neutral color like this open toe bootie by Sam Edelman.

Peep-toe Pumps



Open toe shoes are a great way to dip your toe in the spring pool, without fully investing in the season. The pump says “I’m all business”, but the peek at your spring polish says “Let’s frolic!” Open toe pumps work well for both work and play; wear them with slacks or a dress for the office; or jeans and a blazer on the weekend for a smart casual look. Gwen Stefani looks amazing in black peep toe pumps with her sleeveless white top and fitted trouser.

To emphasize your transitional look, wear your pumps in vibrant colors or bold patterns—why not try a polished patent leather pair like this blue version at Nordstrom?

Flats
(open or closed toe)



Flats are always uber comfortable for errands or long days on your feet. They don’t require a lot of thought as they slip easily on and off as you move throughout your day. The open toe and anklet styles we began to see in stores a couple of spring seasons ago are a playful twist on classic comfort and an ode to warmer weather to come. The best part about flats is that they can be worn with just about anything if you style them the right way! Dresses, shorts, jeans—all look fantastic with the right accessorizing flat.

Increase the glam factor by rocking your flats in metallic, animal print or with a great accent at the toe—like these studded Valentino flats. Let’s all drool and make a wish together, shall we?



These cap toe flats at Zappos make a great statement as well.

Oxfords

The oxford isn’t just for school girls anymore. It has gotten a mature makeover, making it wearable with just about anything from skinny trousers to skirts. And with tons of colors and patterns from which to choose (Hello, florals!) there are innumerable ways to work them in with your personal style.



Steve Madden gives them a chic update with side cut-outs on this pair

What is your favorite type of shoe to wear while you transition from cold weather to warmer days?


Photos via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5



Style Savvy Weekend Rewind: Ate, Saw, Snagged and Wore

Ate

Granny’s
I attended a love fest of a birthday dinner for one of the besties at Granny’s Restaurant in Owings Mills. Granny’s is all soul food and sugar-laden iced tea and heading there for a meal made me nervous for my just instituted diet (and by diet, I mean my regular eating habits from which I’d fallen way off) and fitness plan. But I was pleasantly surprised to be able to find a broiled salmon cake dinner with a side of cabbage and a small Caesar salad (not the healthiest with the cheese and dressing, but way better—for my hips—than baked Mac and cheese. If you’re not so worried about an ever expanding waistline, you might want to try their classic chicken and waffles.

Granny’s Restaurant
10300 Mill Run Cir
Owings Mills, MD 21117
Southern/Soul, Breakfast Brunch
$15-25 per entrée

Bagby
Sunday was my monthly gathering with some of the most fabulous women in Baltimore—my LNL Book Club ladies. After our cinematic excursion, we shimmied down the block to Bagby Pizza Co. for post-movie chat, pizza and of course, wine. Bagby has several varieties of yummy thin crust pizza (the gourmet veggie is a must try for vegetable enthusiasts) and salads large enough to share. The best part about this casual restaurant is that it offers wine service. You can purchase theirs or BYOB, and sip sip sip. Our fearless leaders engineered a little Riesling wine tasting for yesterday’s affair. My favorite was Kung Fu Girl—tough name; light, sweet, sparkly taste. I recommend.



Bagby Pizza Company (Harbor East)
1006 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Pizza, BYOB
$10-15 per entrée

Saw

The Hunger Games
I’d been waiting with breath that was baited to see Katniss kick butt on the big screen! I was not disappointed. Without spoiling it for anyone who wasn’t up to braving opening weekend, I’ll say just this: it is a much more enjoyable film if you have actually read the books (you only need to have read the first one in order to relate to the movie, but once you’ve read the first you’ll want to read the rest of the trilogy immediately). I give it two thumbs up—fine holiday fun (who caught that Clueless reference??)


Jennifer Lawrence on Glamour's April cover

Snagged

I’ve been on a serious hunt for a new spring bag and finally found a darling one. Love the neutral color, the zipper accents and the double handle + strap. It’s funky, utilitarian and chic. Spring also calls for fresh lip gloss and I am a major fan of Stila lip glazes. Neon polish is back to embrace another warm season, and I’ll be sporting this gorgeous green (pictured below). My final purchase was Shea Radiance’s delicious hair butter (mentioned in this product review) which keeps my hair super soft, shiny and frizz free when I’m wearing it straight—something I’ll only be able to do for another month or so (eek), but thankfully, the butter will keep until the fall.



Bag: South Moon Under, Butter polish in ‘Slapper’, Stila gloss in ‘guava’, ‘tropica punch’
and ‘hibiscus’; Hair butter at SheaRadiance.com

Wore

I tried out one of my newest spring polishes, Zoya’s ‘Bevin’, a soft green that is perfect for this season. I love it and I got tons of compliments on it as well.



While Friday was 82 degrees and sunny, the rest of the weekend was a “rain rain go away” type of situation--but it was the perfect weather for my pink polka dot wellies to come out and play.



On Sunday I rocked this silver chain necklace with multi-colored circles that I snagged on sale last weekend at NY&CO. It was a great accent for an outfit that was otherwise very movie cazh.



How was your weekend? What did you eat, see, snag or wear?! Dish!


Kung Fu Girl Riesling photo: source

Must-Have Scent: Bvlgari BLV II


I have recently fallen in love with a new scent: Bvlgari BLV II eau de parfum. It is subtle enough to be soft and feminine, but strong enough to last all day. I discovered it in the goodie bag from the happy hour tour I attended at Towson Town Center a couple of weeks ago and have been spraying that tiny bottle ever since.

BLV II is described as:
A top of fresh and luminous violet, star anise, and frosted mandarin offers an introduction. Vibrant intensity emerges with a heart of iris absolute, jasmine petals, fresh Lily of the Valley, and precious woods. Soft, sensual benzoin, Spanish cistus flowers, and musk create a beautiful base.

With notes of:
Violet, Star Anise, Frosted Mandarin, Iris Absolute, Jasmine petals, Lily of the Valley, Precious Woods, Benzoin, Spanish Cistus Flowers, Musk.

I'm late to the party on this delicious scent (it was released in 2009), but that won't stop me from snagging it and making it my signature for spring!

What is your must-have scent for the coming season?


Photo: source

Beauty Fix: My Recent Nails

I've been having a little fun with my nails lately, and I'm super excited about all the new spring colors that have just been released. Lots of hues reminiscent of Easter eggs, in lavenders, light greens and yellows.

Sparkle
My birthday is my absolute favorite occasion for celebrating, so I thought my nails should have a party too!



Last Ode to Winter
I love OPI's 'Alpine Snow'. I used their gold shatter polish for an accent nail. It looks okay against the white, but I want to try it against a darker color to see if it stands out more.



Fashion Inspired
I was inspired by this amazing dress on my Pinterest board. These colors work beautifully on nails too and I happened to already own them. 'Gray Area' and 'Boy Toy' from last year's Ginger + Liz summer colour collection.



Hello Spring
The newest additions to my nail color line up: OPI's 'Do You Lilac It?' and Zoya Nails 'Bevin'. Can't wait to try them both!


Is spring inspiring your nail color? What are some of your new favorites?

Posh Event: Towson Town Center Happy Hour Tour

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Towson Town Center Happy Hour Tour, an exclusive tasting event for bloggers and food lovers that included stops at the mall’s “most crave-worthy” restaurants—including: T.G.I. Friday’s, P.F. Chang’s, Stoney River and The Cheesecake Factory.

T.G.I. Friday’s






The yummy tour began at T.G.I. Friday’s with cocktails and their nod to St. Patty’s Day: their sweet citrus laden Irish ‘Rita is made with Jameson Irish Whiskey; and the Guinness Milkshake—a delectable sweet delight—is comprised of Guinness Stout beer and blended with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream. Foods served included the spinach Florentine flatbread with artichoke, tomato and spinach; Cajun shrimp and chicken pasta; Jack Daniel’s rib eye & shrimp, served with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes; and the grilled salmon and lobster. With the exception of the ribs and chicken which I didn’t taste (since I maintain a mostly vegetarian diet outside of seafood) everything tasted great—and to be honest, I don’t generally enjoy Friday’s food, so this was a pleasant surprise. Mike, the manager, was on hand to mingle and answer questions, and he left this tip for you meat lovers: try adding chicken to the flatbread for an unexpected addition to the great taste (this is off menu but can be done by request).

P.F. Chang’s







Next, we rounded the corner to P.F. Chang’s where the owner, and the executive chef put together an excellent presentation in their bar area with high tables and individual servers for each table who brought out our food and drink. Among the appetizers we sampled were chicken lettuce wraps, vegetarian spring rolls (which I have been a HUGE fan of for years) served with their house sweet & sour sauce, and crab wontons. As is customary at P.F. Chang’s our server mixed his signature sauce for us at the table before we dug in. The two cocktails we got to try were the PFX (one of their best sellers) and the Asian pear mojito. I can’t recall exactly what was in each, but I can tell you that it was tough to stop sipping them both!

Stoney River





A short walk down the hallway led us to Stoney River. New to Towson Town Center, this was the one restaurant I hadn’t visited before this event, but I will definitely be returning to it. The interior, with its marble bar and exposed wood has a warm and rustic, but very modern feel. We were served by gracious host and manager, Bobby Brown (yep, that’s his real name), and creative bartender, Dan. We drank: a caramel apple martini—which initially tasted only of apple, but finished with a nice burst of caramel at the end; and a margarita float with brandy instead of tequila, which was a tasty switch. We ate: mountain of blue cheese potato chips—mounds of warm potato chips, topped with a blue cheese dressing--which were THE most surprisingly delicious thing ever; Jack Daniel’s whiskey shrimp (also yummy); and ahi tuna rolls which, in a genius twist, were rolled in Panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds instead of rice! This made me so happy—you get much more of the tuna in a bite, and fewer carbs! Another great reason to re-visit Stoney River: their daily happy hour from 4p - 7p (menu pictured above)--awesome prices for awesome food and drink.

The Cheesecake Factory



Our final stop was at The Cheesecake Factory where we had—you guessed it: cheesecake. If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, you know that they have an average of about 700 different types of cheesecake available at any given time (that number might be closer to 50—mild exaggeration—but still a heck of a lot of cheesecake) and we must have had about 15 of these presented to us. Among these were the classic fresh strawberry, red velvet and key lime pie—all of which I’d had and gorged myself on before; and I found two new varieties to love: pina colada, which was very light and airy which is rare for a cheesecake; and Dutch apple which had pieces of apple and a bit of a crunch.

The tour ended with our receiving fabulous gift bags full of swag and coupons from mall stores and restaurants like Sephora, The Body Shop, Aveda, Lush, Macy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express and more. AB and I had the best time eating and sipping. In between bites and swigs, I even managed to get in a few tweets and foursquare check-ins, using the custom hash tag #TTCHHCrawl and tagging the Towson Town Center twitter account (check out the tweets here).

There are other fabulous events happening at Towson Town Center this month, including an interactive “Cooking with Kids” workshop on Friday March 16th, and a cooking and wine-pairing seminar with local food and wine expert, Laurie Forster, on Saturday March 24th. There are also specials and discounts to take advantage of at retailers like Aeropostle, Pandora and Stride Rite. For more info, visit the Towson Town Center website.

Kid Style Diary: Off The Wall









Hat and Hoodie: Vans
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind
Frost free vest: Old Navy
Sneakers: Adidas Originals - Freemont Mid in black/lead
Backpack: Under Armour

Posh Birthday: Wine Tasting

Ready to party - Dress: Asos, Tights: Hue, Pumps: Zara, Clutch: Valerie Stevens,
Ring: Forever 21, butterfly brooch that I've had forever

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with my girlfriends and cousins with a private wine tasting at Aida Bistro & Wine Bar in Columbia. This fabulous venue was wonderfully accommodating and put together a custom menu of 6 wines for us to sample (that progressed from whites, to light reds, to heavy reds), as well as yummy paired appetizers. After the tasting we ordered dinner and lingered late into the night chatting, eating and sipping. 


guest favors for my girls: various wine glasses
custom tasting menu. the Bluefish pate was amazing!

gift: Hello Kitty watch (she's my fav!)

gift: for my impending trip to Paris in the fall!

birthday cupcakes. Yum!

My birthday celebration never quite feels complete until I have giggled and gushed with these amazing ladies. I am so grateful to have them in my life and am looking forward to the next gathering. 

How did you spend this gorgeous weekend?

This Week’s Style Inspiration + The Weekend

I’m excited for the change in season, and finding style inspiration has been a breeze this week with the weather peaking at such warm temperatures. I’m enamored with bright color and giddy over polished ladylike looks (oh wait—that’s every week). These photos in particular are my faves. They’re simple and elegant and represent the looks I can’t wait to try as the weather gets warmer.









 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Sunday was my birthday, and I traveled to NY for some quality time with the honey…but ended up sick all day on my birthday. This weekend, I’m looking forward to a celebratory do-over in the form of wine, dinner and girl-talk with my good girlfriends and favorite cousins here at home. I relish any opportunity to spend time with these lovelies and a celebration of moi seems like as good a time as any!

What fun things do you have planned this weekend?


Photos via 1, 2, 3, 4

Savvy Stylist Q&A: Animal Print Dress


I often get really great styling questions from my friends, and when I think the answer could benefit others, I try to turn it into a blog post if possible. As someone who has curves, I try to be very careful about wearing prints--being sure to opt for ones that will enhance my shape as opposed to making me look like I'm trying too hard to work a style that isn't fit for my body type. So this question was one I was more than equipped to answer!

Q:

How do I wear a zebra or leopard print dress as a bigger girl?

A:

More voluptuous or plus size women can definitely rock animal prints as well as their petite counterparts by using some really simple tips to draw the eye to the right places. Go for a larger, more substantial print as opposed to a smaller one because the proportions will work better with your curves. Choose a dress with a darker base color and lighter pattern, as the dark color will be slimming. Finish the look with tights and shoes in the same color for fall or winter; or a bare leg and a nude shoe (or other flattering color for your skin tone) for spring. This allows for your legs to appear longer and you to appear taller and more vertically stretched.

Belting the dress can either help or hurt; play that by ear depending on how tiny your waist is and the shape of the dress.



Julie Dillon, Salon Z Animal Print Dress


This Julie Dillon dress is an excellent example of when belting works: the looser fit of the dress calls for something to anchor it.

Torrid zebra sequin one-shoulder dress


Meanwhile, this zebra print dress from Torrid already has such great detail that only minor accessorizing is needed for a completely pulled together look.


Which of these looks would you wear?


Wee Chic’s 2012 Little Characters Search


If you have a little one who is so darned cute that they should modeling, then this post is for you. Wee Chic, A Baby Boutique--in partnership with Laura Black Photography, Syle Magazine and the Baltimore Jewish Times--is hosting its third annual talent search for wee ones who will appear in their annual advertising campaign. The Little Characters Search is designed to select local faces to represent the boutique and the brands it carries; the chosen talent will have their photo appear in publications like Style Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and the Baltimore Jewish Times, among other media outlets.

Heard enough to know you are SO in? You can submit your darling child’s photo at the Wee Chic website by clicking here. The photographs must be original, and boys and girls ages 6 months to 10 years will be chosen by a panel of local celebrity judges at the conclusion of the contest, which is on April 15th.

Wee Chic, a Baby Boutique, is located in Greenspring Station in Lutherville, MD and is known for carrying the coolest in kids’ clothing—including unique labels and pieces that can’t be found elsewhere in Baltimore. You can read more about Wee Chic or previous Little Characters searches by clicking here, here or here.

Best of luck to all who enter!

Wee Chic: 10751 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21093-4540


Photo: source

Posh Tip: Plan Ahead for Special Occasions


It’s so much easier to look and feel our stylish best when we plan ahead for special occasions. We’ve all been there: it’s the final 48 hours prior to an event or special occasion, and we still have nothing to wear; so we tear feverishly through malls and department stores (including some in which we wouldn't even normally shop) trying to find the perfect outfit in the least amount of time.

More often than not this kind of last minute rush fails to leave us feeling as put together as we would like—even if we’re fortunate enough to find something that remotely resembles our vision—and we end up spending more than we might have liked. So why not avoid it altogether?

We generally have a good idea of birthdays, weddings and other special events that might land on our calendar well in advance of their actually occurring. We should use this time to ensure we have the perfect, well curated pieces already on-hand. Here are some ways to do that:

Shop Out of Season

We all know that spring and summer items are on sale between August and October, and that winter items are on sale between March and May—as stores need to make room for their new seasonal inventory. So why not snag that amazing strapless dress that would be perfect for your friend’s June wedding in the fall when it is deeply discounted?



Swear by the LBD

The little black dress is a classic special event go-to. You should definitely have a great, but simple little black (or white or navy) dress in your closet that fits you perfectly and can be punched up or dressed down with accessories. Make sure it doesn’t have too many unique details that might be especially memorable, and instead make statement accessories and gorgeous makeup your standout looks, giving it a different feeling every time you wear it.

Order Online


There are so many options available online for items that you can’t get locally, and who doesn’t want to find something super unique and special? Take advantage of the interwebs to shop online vintage or specialty stores, or scope out sales on sites like Asos.com where there are always fabulous frocks available at various price points. The best part about shopping online way ahead of your event is that you have time to try things on, and return or exchange them if they don’t fit exactly the way you’d hoped.

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway (which I posted about here in 2010 when the site was just launching)  is a fabulous members only service that allows you to rent designer pieces, wear them to your event and return them. Return shipping and cleaning are included in your membership, so all you have to do post-event is pop the garment into the packaging provided and send it off! And this way you are free from the remorse that comes with overspending on that amazing designer dress that you can never wear again because the event pictures are on Facebook. Easy and cost effective, no?



Make a List

I am a list kinda gal. I have lists for everything from “to do” to “new ideas” to “meal planning”. But my favorite list is the “wish list”. Why not make a list of all the items that you would like to have for your upcoming events and keep it on hand so that you can keep your eyes peeled when you’re out shopping for other things? Then when you see that really great sale, you can make sure you’re purchasing an item you will actually wear—not something you snagged just because it was on sale. Keeping a wish list will help to keep you both on target and on budget!

What are some of the ways you prep your closet in advance for special occasions?


Photos via Pinterest: 1, 2, 3, 4

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