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)

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Summer Skirts

I’ve mentioned before that Summer dressing, to me, should be easy and effortless, but still polished.  There’s nothing better than being able to pair a great pair of pants or a bright silk skirt with your favorite tee or tank top.  It’s the perfect balance of appearing casual, yet like you still care about your appearance.

Lately I’ve been stocking up on skirts of different lengths in preparation for warm months.  I’m going for bold colors, interesting prints and fun hemlines to wear with my best simple solid colored tanks, layered with denim shirts or a light sweater.

Summer Skirts That Transition From Spring To Summer:

Monrow Tucked Skirt $98

Lucca Couture Pleated Floral Skirt $64

Helmut Lang Wrap Skirt $185

Motel Ditsy Floral Skater Skirt $60.88

Michelle Jonas Long Hippie Skirt $299

Gypsy Junkie Studio Skirt $43

Rebecca Minkoff Femi Skirt $228

Pim + Larkin Striped Tie Skirt $44

Club Monaco Alice Skirt $149.50

Guess by Marciano Tipton Tribal Maxi Skirt $138

Antipodium Checker Skirt $154.50

Brandy Melville Cameron Hi Low Skirt $57

C & C California Zephyr Tie Dye Tube Skirt/Dress $54.60

Stem ‘Tube’ Midi Pencil Skirt $34.90

Daftbird Angle Maxi Skirt $99

Blu Moon Bias Hi Low Skirt $120

Plastic Island Chiara Skirt $74

Michael Stars Highline Stripe Maxi Skirt $98

Charlotte Russe High Waisted Stripe Skirt $24.99

Trouve Colorblock Skirt $78

Sanctuary St. Lucia Skirt $128

ASOS Collection Skater Skirt in Large Spot $48.71

French Connection Southern Summer Skirt $147.99

ASOS Collection Flippy Skirt in Animal Print $52.19

Patterson J. Kincaid Nixie Long Skirt $74

West Coast Wardrobe Scuba Skirt $36

Something Else by Natalie Wood Metamorphis Maxi Skirt $156

ASOS Collection Cotton Skater Skirt in Paisley Print $66.10

Forever 21 Maxi Length Lace Skirt $29.80

Marc by Marc Jacobs ‘Night Bird’ Silk Taffeta Skirt $348

Torn by Ronny Kobo Ronnie Skirt $168

Patterson J. Kincaid Ziggy Skirt $168

Kate Spade New York ‘Melody’ Print Silk Skirt $219.90

High Fashion Interest, Hot Mess Bank Account

I made the mistake of reading an article years ago that interviewed Cameron Diaz where she told a story about being undiscovered and choosing between paying her rent or buying an Alaia dress.  She said she still has the dress and that it remains to be one of her favorite pieces in her wardrobe.

Let’s just say I’ve been living under this mentality for five years and I’m still not a Charlie’s Angel.

Here’s to all the girls who shop online for hours, putting as many items into their “basket” as they want, only to see the final total, cry, close the window and head to H&M.

Cheap Finds (nothing over $50):

Forever 21 Cropped Neon Tee $8.80, Lulu’s Meow and Then Sleeveless Leopard Print Top $35, Etsy Motorhead T-Shirt $15.99

Lulu’s Good Sport Bright Yellow Tank Top $30, Lulu’s The Great Flutter Neon Pink Top $37, Lulu’s Kriss Kross Mint Green Top $36

Ladakh Bohemian Fur Vest $31, Sabine Embellished Bed Jacket $31.97, Aryn K. Plaid Ladylike Jacket $39.97

Forever 21 Polka Dot Blazer $21.80, Forever 21 Lace Inset Denim Vest $19.80, Lulu’s Funky Town Fuchsia Pink Blazer $44

Volcom Lime Green Lace Shorts $49.50, Delia’s Poncho Pocket Short $24.50, Forever 21 Ombre Denim Cutoffs $19.80

Forever 21 Striped Linen Blend Short With Belt $17.80, Delias Fray Hem Short With Feather Belt $24.50, Forever 21 Striped Ponte Knit Shorts $12.80

Forever 21 Ditsy Bird Skirt $19.80, Forever 21 Pleated Slit Maxi Skirt $22.80, Lulu’s Jill Frost Peach Mini Skirt $39

Forever 21 Floral Silhouette Bodycon Skirt $8.80, Lulu’s Parade-y Brunch Hot Pink Lace Mini Skirt $39, Lulu’s High Tea Black Lace Mini Skirt $34

Delia’s Rose Print Skinny Jean $39.50 (or buy one, get 1/2 off second pair), Delia’s Super-Skinny Color Ankle Crop in Orange Blossom $39.50 (or buy one, get 1/2 off second pair), Forever 21 Straight Linen Pants $19.80

Delia’s Britt Low-Rise Skinny Jean $39.50 (or buy one, get 1/2 off second pair), Forever 21 Acid Wash Skinny Jeans With Studded Belt $29.80, Forever 21 Polka Dot Print Pants $19.80

Forever 21 Lace Dress $24.80, Lulu’s Exclusive Re-Pleat After Me Lime Green Dress $45, Delia’s Pleat Front Dress $39.50

Piperlime Ya Los Angeles Ladylike Dot Dress $31.99, Forever 21 Polka Dot Shirtdress With Belt $19.80, Delia’s Neon Stripe Dress $19.50

Trends for Every Body

So much of pulling off a trend (or any article of clothing for that matter) is being real about your proportions.  How something fits or drapes on your body is the main factor in how it will appear.  Because clothes aren’t custom made for you, don’t be too discouraged if you’re having trouble fitting into one particular size – and don’t assume just because you are a certain size in one brand, you are the same in all others.

I still believe that any (ok I guess most) looks can be achieved by everyone, but you might have to get creative and adapt the season’s trends to your body.  For instance, if you are loving the nautical bold stripes that are still everywhere, but are concerned about them not be flattering, implement the idea into your beauty regime and paint a bold stripe on your nails or maybe integrate it into an accessory.

Tailoring can be your best friend here.  But, you can also make smart purchases that are geared towards maximizing your assets.  Knowing how to create illusions with your clothing will greatly benefit how you look.  Adapting any trend to your body is universally the same regardless of what piece you are trying to pull off.  Rules are made to be broken, but here are some guidelines to keep in mind…

Accomplish…

Do’s

Don’ts

Looking Taller/Thinner -Light weight clothing-Smaller prints-Vertical stripes

-V-neck tops

-Leave jackets open

-Long accessories like necklaces and scarves

-Heels

-POSTURE

-Low rise pants-Big belts-Cropped/Short pants

-Long jackets

-Tuck in your shirt

-Very oversized clothing

-Too many layers

-Finding the right undergarments

Looking Shorter/Curvier -Bold prints-Create lines/Define waistline-Fitted, tailored pieces

-Add layers/accessories to create shape

-Overly tight clothing-Baggy clothing-Find the right undergarments

Below, I broke down some of my favorite trends that are everywhere right now.  Because I can’t go over every shape/size combination (there’s a million of them!), try to combine the above methods to make them work or email me at taylorbraun@mac.com for specific direction on how to make a certain trend work for you.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun, not frustrating!  🙂

Pastels:

ASOS Pastel Pink Dress with Crochet Top $72.72, Brandy Melville Pastel Blue Tank $30, ASOS Pastel Yellow Leggings $29.09

ASOS Pastel Purple Button Up Shirt $45.45, Tibi Mint Green Pleated Skirt $225, 3.1 Phillip Lim Orange Sherbet Dress $624

Bold Prints:

Rebecca Taylor Garden Flower Dress $276.50, Current/Elliott Plaid Jeans $188, Tinley Road Sleeveless Button Down $39

Mara Hoffman Mexican Blanket Shorts $242, Tucker Backless Silk Romper $217.99, TEXTILE Elizabeth & James Printed Jeans $225

Dip Dye/Ombre/Color Blocking:

Bec & Bridge Ombre Skinny Jeans $197.40, Equipment Color Block Button Down $258, Sass & Bide Dip Dye Striped Skirt $255.50

ASOS Dip Dye Stripe Top $39.99, Diane von Furstenberg Color Block Dress $345, Velvet by Graham & Spencer Color Block Knit/Sheer Top $70.99

Neons:

Naven Petal Skirt $187, Diane von Furstenberg Lime Green Lace Dress $398, Current/Elliott Neon Orange Boyfriend Shorts $152

Forever 21 Crazy Love Neon Tank Top $11.80, Velvet Neon Pink Skirt $58, Rachel Pally Neon Yellow Dress $180

Cut Outs:

LNA Cut Out Dress $88, Forever 21 Cold Shoulder Chambray Shirt $27.80, Jeremy Scott Cut Out Dress/Tunic $134

Brian Lichtenberg Open Back Button Up $297, Mara Hoffman Keyhole Dress $330, Charlotte Russe Open Back Tee $14.99

Blast From The Past:

Free People Striped Short Overalls $148, MINKPINK Crop Tee $40, MiH Marrekesh High Waisted Flares $102.50

Marc by Marc Jacobs High Waisted Flares $228, Charlotte Russe Lace Crochet Crop Top $19.99, Kettle Black Short Overalls $149

*make crop tops modern by wearing over a maxi dress, tank or with a high waisted skirt so you are only showing a little bit of skin

*all photos taken from websites descriptions are linked to

Foodie Friday

Today was overcast and rainy in L.A. and even though that calls for even more traffic and the locals dressing up like they’re going to the Alps, I’m always a little excited at the change of pace.  Besides, this gives me unprecedented opportunity to sport scarves, rain boots and the previously mentioned giant puffer jacket I talked about in this post.  Who doesn’t love a ski bunny moment?  It is a risk, however, because more often times than not, what starts as a rainy day ends in full sunshine bliss.  I then become that person walking around in layers, sweating bullets and even though I normally straighten my hair, begin to feel it curl under my cashmere hat, which any naturally curly girl knows – when you commit to a hair accessory, you’re in it for the day.  Not a good situation.

What I can always count on, however, is my desire for a delicious treat to indulge in.  There’s something about this weather that makes you want to be comfortable and satisfied, so – I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.  I was going to be in Culver City today, a great up and coming neighborhood that houses one of my favorite restaurants – Akasha.  I’ve heard it’s great for dinner, but I go there for two reasons – they serve Intelligentsia coffee (it’s seriously like no other) and the seared albacore sandwich.  The albacore is really light and fresh and they pair it perfectly with pickled cucumber, avocado, cole slaw and wasabi mayonnaise.  I’ve heard Trader Joe’s (and I’m sure your local grocery store) carry wasabi mayo, so this would be easy to recreate with any fresh piece of fish, turkey or even just broiled veggies.

Top from left to right: Seared Albacore sandwich with zucchini and onion soup, front of Akasha, snapshot of the menu and their impeccably made cafe latte.

When I got home, I decided a treat was in order.  Cupcakes have been done countless ways and I believe the reason is because they are awesome.  They’re like a private cake and a little celebration you can have without making a scene… however you may want to hide from the outside world that you had anything more than two private cakes in one sitting – this is just advice, I’m not talking about anyone in particular.

Although I’m a chocolate fanatic, I love this recipe.  While the cupcakes were cooling, I made 3 different colors of icing and attempted to create an ombre pattern as I applied blue, then purple, then pink icing horizontally across the top of the cupcake and then smoothed it out with a knife.

I’m all about finding ways to brighten my day (especially when it’s dark outside), whether it’s a great top on sale, a new lipstick or a decadent treat.  Happy Weekend!

Here are some baking items I’m craving right now:

Wilton Re-useable Cupcake Holders from Amazon (photo taken from website) $9.90

Easy Release Cake Pan from Williams-Sonoma (photo taken from website) $52

Nonstick cookie sheets and drying rack from Williams-Sonoma (photo taken from website) $39.96

Cookie Spatula from Bed Bath & Beyond (photo taken from website) $9.99

Rose Cake Plate from Neiman Marcus (photo taken from website) $65

5 Quart Kitchen Aid Mixer from Bloomingdales – ON SALE and comes in tons of fun colors (photo taken from website) $269.99

Cute Apron from laylagrace.com (photo taken from website) $30

Lastly, my two favorite baking cookbooks:

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook from Amazon (photo taken from website) $16.30

Sugarbaby from Amazon (photo taken from website) $19.77