Weekend Bags

Summer inevitably brings on spontaneous trips that don’t involve a lot of planning.  They’re exciting and a great way to reconnect to that thrilling feeling that came during childhood in between School years.  Whether it’s a night away at a local hotel offering a great deal or an impromptu decision to drive a couple hours along the coast to a great vacation spot, I like to be able to get out of the house within an hour before the idea of actually doing it fades.  Some of my favorite daytime purses are actually larger weekend bags that are perfect for these occasions.  Big enough to fit the essentials for a different climate, but small enough so that it is easy to carry.

Weekend Bags:

West Coast Wardrobe Todos Santos Weekender $46

Urban Outfitters Ecote Bizarre Backpack $59

Rachel Zoe Weekender Belted Satchel $464.90

Gypsy 05 Lohri Gypsy Hobo $265

Rebecca Minkoff Woven Bright East/West Tote $425

Deux Lux Putty Woven Faux Leather Bowery Weekend Duffel $82.99

House of Harlow 1960 Dakota Bag $506

Urban Renewal Baja Weekender Bag $29

Diane von Furstenberg Vintage Collection Duffel Bag $115

Forever 21 Vibrant Print Backpack $34.80

Cleobella Lolita Studded Satchel $473

Topshop Large Washed Clip Backpack $72

JADETRIBE Sammi Stripe Small Beach Bag $86

Wildfox Couture Roadtrip Bag $114

Longchamp Paris Le Pliage Travel Bag $155

Rebecca Minkoff Striped Wheelie Bag $346.50

Madewell The Leather Transport Rucksack $248

Intiq for J. Crew Mochila Bag $295

A D.I.Y. I Can Handle: Candle Centerpieces

We’ve discussed here how my D.I.Y. skills are not up to par, but I try… which most of the time ends in embarrassment.  One of my goals for this year was to be a little more thrifty and to work on taking projects into my own hands.  After a few failed attempts, I’ve decided to start small.

When I found this image on Martha Stewart’s website, I instantly knew it would be the inspiration for the next outdoor Summer BBQ.  It’s inexpensive and easy!

Make Your Own:

streamers ($.79/80′ roll) – buy 4 colors in similar hues

candles ($3.99/12)

double-stick tape ($1.66)

candle holders ($3.99-$13.99 each)

**I think it could look even better with these birch tea candle holders! Love these!! ($12/set of 3 assorted)

Summer Scarves

There are times when I love trying on what seems like my whole wardrobe, testing combinations to find the perfect outfit for an event, and then there’s my normal reality when I have 15 minutes to pick out what I’m wearing.  For those days, I usually go simple (printed pants or jeans with a solid top).  I always like to top it off with something more noticeable though, like a big statement necklace, an embellished headband or my latest addiction – summer scarves.

There are so many ways to wear them (around neck or head are my favs) and they can instantly amp up what would be a pretty plain look.

Summer Scarves:

Urban Outfitters BDG Pop Stripe Scarf $24

Modcloth Mint To Be Scarf $17.99

Les Nouvelles Askilio Scarf by Malene Birger $150

Zappos Echo Design Polka Dot Wrapping $34.99

Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue Crosshatch Printed Eternity Scarf $29

J. Crew Lemlem Hilansha Gauze Scarf $125

Marc by Marc Jacobs Jacobson Stripe Scarf $178

Etsy ESEHandMade White Shawl Scarf $13.50

Boutique To You Wildfox Starshine Scarf $64

Shopbop Theodora & Playa Scarf $175

Forever 21 Bold Stripe Scarf $9.80

Urban Outfitters Deena & Ozzy Shredded Square Scarf $29

Scarves Dot Net Tess Striped Loop Scarf $12.71

Diesel 2-SLOO Scarf $88

Lori’s Shoes Bohemian Blossom Scarf $22.95

Tee-Zone Plush Love Scarf $86

French Connection Union Scarf $88

Urban Outfitters Studded Scarf $39

Gypsy 05 Joni Scarf $50

Shopbop Brightly Twisted Scarf $98

Madewell Seastripe Sarong $41.60

Forever 21 Geo Rainbow Pom Pom Scarf $10.80

Asos Heart Print Snood $16.57

Madewell Spot Dot Scarf $49.50


Novelty Watches

I’ve gotten used to wearing watches everyday.  I normally stick to a classic over-sized gold Michael Kors style, but think it’s fun to mix it up every once and a while with a fun, bright alternative.

Novelty Watches:

FUNBOY Watches in Red Crush $25

Timex Original Camper Gloss Watch $60

Flex Yellow Watch $30

Anthropologie Viscid Watch in Sky $58

Neff Flava Watch in Cyan $20

Neff Daily Watch in Purple $30

O’Clock Analogue Mirror Silicone Purple Watch $60.88

Timex Multicolor Easy Reader Watch $65

Multi-Color Block Brick Style Wrist Watch $8.39

Printed Tights

I’m obsessed with Pinterest.  I don’t have down time because of Pinterest.  I found it really funny when I was trying to explain what it was to someone and took about five minutes describing it’s complexity and she goes, “Oh, so it’s like a collage”.  UM, yeah.  Seriously forgot about collages, but yes.  An online collage.

One thing that has been all over my boards is printed tights.  They’re such a fun way to mix up a serious dress or skirt with a basic top.

There’s TONS out there, but here are some of my favorites…

BZR Ombre Tights in Sunset $50

Splash Color Tights $11

Jonathan Aston Wild Tights $18.50

ModCloth Plaid Tights $20.99

Jonathan Aston Stripe Tights $9.49

ModCloth Yellow Printed Tights $29.99

Topshop Car Print Tights $16

Jonathan Aston Plaid Tights $19.50

YSL Heart Print Tights $95

*Accessories Boutique Pink Rose Tights $11

Topshop Pastel Tie Dye Tights $20

Lord & Taylor Dot Stripe Tights $5.98

Topshop South Pacific Swirl Tights $16

Tech Accessories

I will never forget my first cell phone.  I had to have the rectangular Nokia (you know, the one with Snake on it) and still think back with pride realizing how fast of a texter I was even with 3 letters on each button.  I obsessed with changing the covers to show off different colors and prints in an effort to make a rather bulky looking device “cute”.  Things have certainly come far since then; sometimes it feels like I can’t even go a month without a new tech accessory catching my eye, which makes personalizing these things (which we spend so much time on!) fun, as well as reflect our personal style.

I recently purchased a new mouse pad from Freshly Picked ($35) and an iPhone case from J Crew ($25) to spruce up my gadget’s looks for Spring.  Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to something like this because they’ve become as much of a part of our look as our shoes or handbag!

Tech Accessories I’m Geeking Out For:

Native Union Pop Phone (plugs into your cell phone) $29

Diane von Furstenberg Ear Buds $25

Micro Gem Headphones $25.60

UrbanEars Headphones $60

Portable Speaker (plugs into your cell phone) $14.99

iPhone Desktop Headset $59.95

Heart Shaped Splitter (so two people can listen to one song/movie, etc) $14.99

Diane von Furstenberg Travel Adapter $98

Microphone Speaker (plugs into your cell phone) $24

VooMote Zapper (universal remote that plugs into your cell phone) $69.95

USB Tulip Hub $24

Poodle USB Hub $16

Nerdy Hello Kitty Flash Drive $17.95

Gold Plated Flash Drive/Key-chain $45

Rebecca Minkoff Animal Print iPhone Case $38

Jagger Edge Knocker iPhone Case $90 with Skull Charm $22 and Rabbit Charm $28

Rebecca Minkoff Tiger iPhone Case $38

Rebecca Minkoff ‘Knuckles’ iPhone Case $58

Marc by Marc Jacobs Phone Wallet $168

Cable Knit Cashmere iPad Sleeve $82

Diane von Furstenberg Floral iPad Case $136

Dannijo Reid iPad Case $105

Marc Jacobs Leather iPad Case $495

Kate Spade Stripe Laptop Case $60

Billykirk Laptop Case $209

Ted Baker Patent Leather Laptop Case $90

Speck See-Thru Case for the MacBook Pro $69.95

Anya Hindmarch Camera Case $150

Marc by Marc Jacobs Camera Case $378

Rainbow Camera Chain $65

*all photos taken from websites they are linked to

Belt Frustrations

I’ve always used belts (and most things for that matter) more for fashion than function, however there’s no doubt that the fit of a good belt can make your look polished, and most importantly – comfortable!  There are different opinions about what kind of belt should be worn with certain things, but I’ve always felt the first priority should be how it looks on your body (not on the model in an ad).  Once you get to know what kinds of shapes and sizes work for you, it is easier to buy without trying on.

The purpose of a belt should be to hold your pants in place as if you are standing up.  It’s important to know that if your pants scrunch in the back when you are wearing a belt that is fit snug on your hips – your pants are too big (at least in the waist).  Standing upright, you should not need a belt (for function) if you have the right size pants.  Belts are for sitting down and bending over.  A lot of people who are frustrated with finding belts actually don’t realize they’re buying the wrong size pants.  In that case, you can either invest in tailoring (which I would definitely suggest for a pair of jeans or work pants that get a ton of use) or… buy some new pants.

I’ve put together a compilation below, including some classic, some fun and some dream-worthy belts.  Happy shopping!

Tan Belt from Dorothy Perkins $9, Brown Leather Belt from Gap $16.50, Medium Tan Belt from Zappos $35 photos taken from websites

Saddle Belt form J Crew $24.99, Lauren by Ralph Lauren Belt from Zappos $58, Linea Pelle Belt from Zappos $99 photos taken from website

White Belt with Tassels from Dorothy Perkins $11, Linea Pelle Black Skinny Belt with Studs from Zappos $84.99, Linea Pelle Thick Belt with Holes from Zappos $92.99 photos taken from website

Hot Pink Belt from J Crew $29.99, Red Patent Leather Belt from TopShop $28, Patent Leather Green Belt from ASOS $10.91 photos taken from website

Striped Belt from ASOS $27.27, Joe’s Jeans Gold Belt from Zappos $53.99, Striped Belt from Gap $16.95 photos taken from website

Lavender Belt from ASOS $10.91, Yellow Belt with Bow from ASOS $10.91, Orange Belt from Piperlime $29 photos taken from website

Flower Print Belt from ASOS $16.36, Red + Purple Suede Belt from ASOS $27.27, Roxy Aztec Belt from Zappos $34.99 photos taken from website

Michael Kors Leopard Print Belt from Zappos $52, Linea Pelle Red Belt with Holes from Zappos $59.99, Linea Pelle Skinny Leopard Belt from Zappos $58.99 photos taken from website

Marc by Marc Jacobs Crossbody from Bloomingdales $198 (wrap this around your waist), Michael Kors Chain Belt with Pocket from Zappos $68, Belt Bag from Gucci $530 photos taken from website

See by Chloe Belt from ASOS $325.40, M Missoni Belt from Net-A-Porter $345, Salvatore Ferragamo Belt from Zappos Couture $360 photos taken from website

Dolce & Gabbana Pink Leather Belt from Net-A-Porter $275, Marni Embellished Belt from Net-A-Porter $235, Heart Buckle Belt from Diane Von Furstenberg $129.50 photos taken from website

Quick Ways to Make Your Outfit Pop

If you’re like me, you love dressing up, but don’t always have the time, energy or the dream wardrobe for that matter to create new looks day to day.  One of my favorite ways to dress on the go and still feel put together is by adding jewelry.  It instantly takes your jeans and t-shirt into something a little more polished.  I’m always surprised how a unique necklace or chunky bracelet can start conversations and make you remembered.  I have some special pieces that are a little costly, but most of my favorite pieces are $50 or less.


Top left to right: Pink and Metal Bracelet from Gap in stores only (no more than $30), Blue Beaded Bracelet from BCBG in stores only, Silver Bead Braided Bracelet from Pier 1 Imports in stores only (just a couple dollars), Gold Watch from Michael Kors $250, Elastic Gold Embellished Bracelets from BCBG in stores only

Bottom left to right: Blue Agate Necklace from Planet Blue $24, Circle Ring from Michael Kors $85, BCBG Pave Bracelet from BCBG $58, Pink Bangle from Prive (former deal site, now shut down – was around $10), Gold Bangles from Home Goods (I believe it was $5/10 bangles)


Top left to right: Pave Ring gift, Goldfill Stacking Rings and Silver Droplet Ring from Favor Jewelry $18 each, Twisted Diamond Ring gift, Delicate Love Necklace gift, Gold Hoop Earrings gift, Silver Beaded Necklace from The American Visionary Art in Baltimore (this was like $15), Gold Doubled Ring by CC Skye but find similar style here for $15, Silver Circle Necklace (I’ve had forever – find similar style here for $17.49), Gold Hourglass Necklace gift, Gold Heart Necklace gift, Swarovski Crystal Ring is no longer available, but you can find similar styles like this one on their website

Bottom left to right: Rose Gold Earrings from Rachel Roy no longer available, bought on sale for $10, Silly Bandz pack of 6 for $4, Snake Earrings from BCBG in stores only, Silver Beaded Bracelet from Tiffany & Co $200, Multicolored Ring bought on the street in Venice for $1, Gold Link Bracelet bought on sale at Gilt.com but find same style with an added flair here for $150, Rose Gold Spiked Bracelet no longer available, Silver “Believe in You” Bracelet gift, Blue and Gold Rock Ring bought at a kiosk in Baltimore for a few dollars

Some Jewels I’ve had my eye on:

Hexagon Bangle from Pink Mascara photo taken from website $55

Spike Earrings from Rachel Roy photo taken from website $42

Horn Circle Earrings from Rachel Roy photo taken from website $32

Gold and Turquoise Earrings from Shopbop photo taken from website $15

Pink Necklace from Shopbop photo taken from website $54

Colorful Bangles from Shopbop photo taken from website $89

Trina Turk bracelet from Revolve Clothing photo taken from website $70

Lucite Bangle from Opensky photo taken from website $49 once you sign up with Opensky.com

Dreamcatcher Bracelet from Planet Blue photo taken from website $8 each

Drop Ring from Favor Jewelry photo taken from website $34

Silver Watch from Nixon photo taken from website $100

Splurge of the Season!

I believe in a good investment.  My bank account and plans to save for the future do not always see me eye to eye on this one.  I do, however, invest in something from time to time that will last, can be integrated into my wardrobe a lot of different ways and is not so trendy that I’ll be thinking, “did I seriously just pay $150 for suspenders” down the road.  Don’t get me wrong, I embrace the new “have to have” items, but usually not for over $50.

All that being said, I recently decided to take the plunge (after a lot of saving) and buy the Stuart Weitzman Over the Knee 50 50 Boots.  Yes, the price still gives me convulsions, but the fact of the matter is – I LOVE them.


Photo taken from Stuart Weitzman

My guidelines to a successful splurge are what I like to call the 4 C’s:

-comfort (this for a fashion lover is anything that allows you to physically get through the night – just kidding… sort of)

-compatibility (does this fit with your lifestyle, wardrobe and personality?  I would not condone splurging on an amazing down puffer jacket for example because I live in California where I really don’t need one.  Instead I just bought the discounted version like a reasonable person at an outlet mall on the way back from Palm Springs recently, because I go to New York…. in the winter….. sometimes)

-condition (what will this look like in 5 years if I use it a lot, which you should be doing if it’s a worth while piece)

-compliments (I’m not gonna lie – if I’m paying money for something, I want return.  The way I see it, the more expensive it is, the more compliments I need to be satisfied with the price… shallow, but for a person who is tortured by a love of luxury fashion, added with an extreme proneness to buyer’s remorse – it helps.)

DISCLAIMER: I’ve broken all of these rules and have insanely impractical items in my closet at this very moment that I pretend I didn’t convince myself were worth it.  (I.E. leather driving gloves and 6 in heels – I’m 5’10” and there is no reason, under any circumstance I should be allowed out of the house coming in at 6’4″, only 2″ shorter than the average NBA player)

The fact of the matter is, these boots check out.  All of my requirements were met with flying colors.  Not only are they insanely comfortably (they are pull on – leather front, elastic back), but they are easy to wear and can be worn so many different ways (I love wearing them with something simple like a t-shirt and skinny jeans because it instantly cleans up a casual look).  They’re made well and let me tell you – I can barely leave the house without someone asking where to get them.  These sort of things are also great because just to break it down really simply – they take up 1/3 of your body, which means without even thinking, close to 1/2 of you already looks great.  In my book, that’s a win.

They come in a variety of shapes (heeled, flat, over the knee, under the knee) and ways (leather, suede), but I would recommend flat (1″), leather (called Black Nappa), over the knee.

Stuart Weitzman Over the Knee 50 50 Boot $595

Want the look at a better price?  If I hadn’t shelled out for the 50 50’s, I was also looking into the below styles as alternatives:

Image Image Image  Image  ImageImageImage

From Left to Right: Dr. Jay’s Cam Boot $32.99, Delia’s Isabella Over the Knee Boot $36.50, Type Z Woodward Boot $70.99, Aldo $104.99, Chinese Laundry Otterbein Boot $109.95, Steve Madden Hazele Boot $199.95, Frye Shirley Over-the-Knee Riding Boot $448

Can’t find your size or want something else?  I love a challenge!  Email me and I’ll do what I can to help you out: taylorbraun@mac.com

Photos of boots taken from left to right: DrJays.com, Delias.com, Zappos.com, Zappos.com, ChineseLaundry.com, SteveMadden.com, Zappos.com