Orange You Glad…

…I didn’t make a pumpkin pun? 😉

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A couple of weeks ago, my friend Melissa and I went to Boston Hill Farm in North Andover. We had gone apple picking earlier in the day, but I wouldn’t rest until we fit in another fall activity on that beautiful day! As much as I miss being able to sit poolside in the middle of October (#FloridaLife), I always felt like I was missing out on fall in New England. Nothing beats wearing a cute flannel and preppy vest while the leaves crunch beneath your leather boots. Ok, except maybe wearing a bikini while a waiter brings you a strawberry daiquri. But we’re talking reality here.

For our pumpkin patch excursion I wore a faux-suede dress that I snagged at Marshall’s recently – where else?! If we’re being totally honest, I think it was maybe supposed to be a tunic. But hey, short girls gotta do what we gotta do! I paired it with more faux-suede in the form of booties I snagged last year at DSW and a felt hat I purchased at Charlotte Russe this spring. I guarantee that many of you readers would scoff at that store name out of context, but admit it – you love the hat, don’t you? 😉 My parents don’t call me a professional shopper for nothing.

After buying an adorable little family of mini pumpkins (because how could I not) we went to Maggie’s Farm in Middleton for dinner. I had heard great things about the restaurant but wasn’t totally sure what to expected. We ended up LOVING both of our meals (salad, burger, and a shared spinach artichoke dip) as well as our waiter and the ambiance. We treated ourselves to pumpkin beers with the cinnamon sugar rim because, well, FALL.

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The Colorful Details:

Dress Marshall’s // Booties Guess, DSW // Hat Charlotte Russe//Tights Asos // Photography by Melissa Pesaturo

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Denim Daze

In a Forever 21 skirt

In a Forever 21 skirt

We all remember the days when denim miniskirts ruled our middle school world. We envied the girls with the expensive Abercrombie & Fitch versions. We held our arms down by our sides to make sure our skirts reached the tips of our fingers so we could wear them to school. We fiddled with our Uggs as we decided whether the skirt/boot combo looked better with fur showing or the boots worn tall. In high school, we topped the skirts off with our cheerleading sweatshirts.

Once high school ended, though, so did the denim mini trend. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief as we realized how silly we had looked in our unofficial teen girl uniforms. We were happy to give those skirts away (or burn them) never to be seen again. I did break mine out for a themed sorority mixer in college, but mocking the old trend seemed like the only way they would ever break out of those vacuum-sealed containers in our closets.

Well, consider us wrong.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the denim skirt is back in full force. In fact, I bought one recently. If you had told me two years ago that I would willingly spend money on a denim skirt, I would’ve laughed. Or just assumed it was for another theme party.

The latest reincarnation of the denim skirt isn’t the tight, short, frayed, low riding, overall frightening image of our past. Thank goodness for that. The 2015 take is a blast from our mothers’ pasts rather than from our awkward seventh grade ones. These skirts are mid-thigh and have a bit of flare at the bottom. They feature metal buttons up the center. They often have front pockets. Their seams are finished – no strings and rips this time.

A more in-depth search will yield longer hemlines, lighter washes and plenty of other variations on the latest fad, so you don’t have to worry about looking like a clone this time around. Plus, there are so many affordable – and still adorable – options out there that you won’t have to break the bank at Abercrombie and Fitch. Uh, I mean, Nordstrom?

Take a look at my picks for cute and cheap denim skirts below. But this time, trade the Uggs for some booties!

H&M Denim Skirt, $34.99

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Forever 21 Buttoned Denim A-Line Skirt, $17.90

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Forever 21 Knee Length A-Line Skirt, $19.90

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Nasty Gal Denim Maxi Skirt, $40.60

nAR

Who What Wear for Target

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Culottes and mules? Yes, please!

On Tuesday, Target announced it’s newest collaboration.

This time, though, it’s not with a designer.

The company announced that they will be partnering with Who What Wear to launch an apparel and accessories collection.

There are two particular things about this collab that spell big change for fashionistas high and low.

First of all, this marks Target’s first collaboration with a media company as opposed to a designer. As someone who works in social media, and obviously creates my own content via this blog, this is super exciting to me. Media platforms of all shapes and sizes have been expanding beyond their origins in the past couple of years as we become more and more of a media-centric society. I think this partnership will open new doors for those inside and outside of fashion.

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Stripes and Florals and Leopard, Oh My!

Secondly, the Who What Wear for Target collection will be ongoing, rather than a limited time release as with Target’s past endeavors. New items will be released the first week of every month, beginning in February. The ladies of Who What Wear, Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, will even use feedback from Target consumers to influence the designs of the collection as it progresses.

The prices will range from $14 to $49. Count me in! The collection with be “a mix of classic and on-trend pieces” inspired by street style.

At least we have something to look forward to in the depths of a dreary winter, right? 😉

Apples & Anchors

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An outfit a day keeps the doctor away… or is it “apple?” Either way, I killed two birds with one stone this Columbus Day. I finally went apple picking, and it could not have been a more gorgeous day. It was the perfect opportunity to wear my brand new Vineyard Vines anchor skirt! The skirt and thin long sleeve tee combo kept me cool while the wool material and yellowy gold of the skirt kept me in fall mode. The antique gold shade of my monogram and nameplate necklaces from Bauble Bar was an exact match to my skirt!

My friend Melissa and I went to Smolak Farms in North Andover on our day off. We were so excited about the cider donuts that we headed straight for the bakery line once we parked. The donuts (yes, plural) were doughy, sugary perfection and a cup of hot apple cider kept me warm in the shade. We picked a peck of apples – say that five times fast – which cost us a pretty penny, but I can’t wait to bake up a storm with them. Stay tuned for recipes!

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The Colorful Details:

Top Primark // Skirt Vineyard Vines // Necklaces Bauble Bar // Bag Irresistibles // Photography by Melissa Pesaturo

Book Review: #GIRLBOSS

Photo cred to Pinterest, not me!

Photo cred to Pinterest, not me!

I’m normally more of a fiction gal, but lately I’ve been into reading some non-fiction, business-centered books.

I’ve been feeling more entrepreneurial than ever before. I obviously run this blog myself and try to keep up with it – I would love for my follower and content bases both to expand. I also have two jobs…and counting. I say and counting because I have the opportunity to take on another two roles in my field, and lately I’m in a “yes” state of mind.

However, I recently sat down with my parents and explained to them this new overwhelming feeling I’ve been experiencing. I explained that although my jobs are part time, they are full time mentally. For example, running the various social media accounts and website of a store while simultaneously running my blog’s social media accounts and website and my personal social media accounts sometimes makes me feel like I have to be three different people at once. And one of my latest opportunities would require adding a fourth persona into that mix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way sending out “whoa is me” vibes. I’m lucky to genuinely enjoy the things I’m doing.

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Super cool art from the pages of #GIRLBOSS

I just sometimes get frustrated with the fact that just because I don’t have a 9-to-5 desk job, people think I don’t work hard. The thing with most desk jobs, though, is that at the end of the day, you can leave the desk and shut off that section of your mind. You can’t do that when you essentially ARE a brand.

That’s why I finally felt the need to read Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS. I had definitely been interested in the bestseller when it hit shelves in 2014, but lately the desire to read Amoruso’s perspective on a creative, fashion-centric career seemed more relevant than ever.

For those that aren’t familiar, Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal, a huge online fashion retailer. (At the time the book was published, she had also been the only CEO of the company. She has since stepped down to focus more of her energy on the creative side of the company, ironically enough.) Amoruso went from digging through garbage for her next meal to sitting in the boardroom of a wildly successful retailer.

#GIRLBOSS is part success story, part advice-giver, and part tough-lover. The book wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it anyway – or maybe because of that. After I finished the book (in one sitting) I started looking at course catalogues of fashion schools. Needless to say my parents laughed and told me that I better make my 2.5 jobs into 8 if that’s my plan. Oops.girlboss

But regardless of what my future actually holds (probably not school, to be honest), my point is that #GIRLBOSS got me off my butt and into action mode.

Rather than reiterate all the lessons that Amoruso shares in the book, I’ve compiled my favorite quotes from the novel. Enjoy, girlbosses!

  • “You don’t get taken seriously by asking someone to take you seriously. You’ve got to show up and own it.”
  • “Fortune favors the bold who get shit done.”
  • “The more you know what you want, the less you’re willing to put up with what you don’t.”
  • “While I truly believe that you must have intentions to fulfill your dreams, I also think you have to leave room for the universe to have its way and play around a bit. Don’t get so focused on one particular opportunity that you’re blind to the other ones that come up. If you think about one thing, and talk about it all the time, you’re being too obsessive. You might ruin it. If you let yourself meander a bit, then the right things and the right people fall into place.”
  • “You have to kick people out of your head as forcefully as you’d kick someone out of your house if you didn’t want them to be there.”
  • “Your challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility.”
  • “When you begin with the finish line in mind, you miss all the fun stuff along the way.”
  • “You can have a ton of money and buy yourself all the designer goods you can stuff into the trunk of your Mercedes-Benz, but no amount of money can buy you style.”
  • “Clothing is ultimately the suit of armor in which we battle the world. When you choose your clothing right, it feels good. And there’s nothing shallow about feeling good.”

Spilling the Beans

I’ve been slacking so hard on the baking front the past few months.

I think this had to do with three things:

  1. Winter finally ending and no longer being cooped up in the house.
  2. I had been baking constantly for months, so I think I burnt myself out.
  3. My parents came home from Florida… so why work in the kitchen when I don’t have to? 😉

Anyway, the colder weather has already started to set in and and my snowbird parents have already ditched me for their winter home. Which is why the other night I FINALLY got around to baking up some guilt-free goodness again.

black bean avocado browniesOf course, living alone (albeit temporarily) means that the grocery selection in my pantry is not exactly brimming with choices. I didn’t have many fresh ingredients except for a pretty mushy avocado, but I wasn’t about to let that go to waste. I got to Pinteresting and found a recipe for Black Bean and Avocado Brownies. Don’t judge a recipe by its ingredients. Well, do, but be open minded about it.

I had a can of black beans laying around from the last cycle of my healthy baking addiction, so I decided to go for it. The picture on the Ambitious Kitchen blog looked fudgy and sinful. Sold.

The brownies were shockingly simple to make. I’m used to these healthy recipes requiring 43 different steps and a plethora of kitchen tools. This one, though, required a blender and a pan. Count me in.

When the oven timer went off and I stuck a knife in the center, the knife came out relatively clean as the instructions had said. However, as I cut into them, the consistency seemed a little off, reminiscent of the last time I made avocado brownies and failed miserably. A bit dejected, I decided to follow the Ambitious Kitchen’s suggestion of letting the brownies fully cool before enjoying them.

Patience is a virtue, my friends.

Holy addictive goodness. After the brownies had cooled down to room temperature, they were deliciously gooey and rich. I’m normally the type that needs to heat every single dessert until it gets melty, but these were perfect while cool.

I’m actually too ashamed to admit how many of these bad boys I ate in one sitting. I’ll take that to my grave. But at least I can tell myself they’re relatively healthy, right?

Give these a try, but make sure you cut them into squares and hide 75% of them from yourself instead of just digging right in with your butter knife like I did.

Let me know how they turn out! Thank you to Monique from Ambitious Kitchen for the recipe!

Happy baking!

Through Iris Colored Glasses

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“Color is so important. I mean, color can raise the dead.” — Iris Apfel

If you don’t know who Iris Apfel is, you are seriously missing out.

I’ll admit that until recently, I wasn’t quite sure who she was. I recognized her from her signature round, oversized glasses and white hair. I knew she had something to do with the fashion world. But I wasn’t exactly sure what that ‘something’ was.

Thank heavens for Netflix.

I recently came across Iris, a 2014 documentary about Apfel shot by the late legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles, on the streaming site. I always thought Ms. Apfel looked cool in photos, and of course I can appreciate a bold eyeglass frame. I decided to give the documentary a try – I could always switch to something mindless if it didn’t keep my interest.

Fast-forward to the end of the documentary, and I found myself Googling “Iris Apfel mailing address” so I could express my intense appreciation for her in writing.

While I didn’t find an address, I thought sharing the greatness that is Iris in blog form would be the next best thing.

“I don’t give a damn about going to the party or being at the party, it’s getting dressed FOR the party. And there’s truth and poetry in that.” — Iris Apfel

Through my supplementary research, I learned that the now 94-year-old has been interested in fashion since she was eight years old. Iris attended NYU and the University of Wisconsin. She even worked as a ‘copy girl’ at Women’s Wear Daily in the 1940’s. She worked for interior designer Elinor Johnson as well as illustrator Robert Goodman.

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The documentary went on to inform me that Apfel and her husband Carl opened a textile firm in 1950 called Old World Weavers. The couple created custom textiles for wealthy clients, and with continued success they went on to travel the world in search of inspiration. Iris recalls scouring souks and markets for unique, worldly pieces. The pair was even hired by nine presidents to complete restorations in the White House. In 1992, they received an offer they couldn’t refuse, and sold Old World Weavers.

Iris’s worldwide inspiration didn’t end there, though. The documentary follows the icon as she barters in African shops in Harlem and sifts through thrift store merchandise. In one flea market scene, Iris buys a bright red, studded flat brim hat for Carl – who is 100-years-old at the time of filming.

Iris’ sense of style is unlike anything I’ve seen, particularly for a woman of her age. She carries herself with such confidence and self-assuredness that people can’t help but take her seriously, even in the craziest of ensembles. She knows what she wants and does not take no for an answer. Iris recalls being one of the first women to wear jeans in the 1940’s. It was deemed inappropriate for a female to wear jeans at that time, but Iris haunted a shop owner for six weeks until he made her a pair to get her off his back.

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Iris in a Spring 2015 Kate Spade ad alongside Karlie Kloss

However, despite her strong will, Iris is anything but curmudgeonly. In one scene, she stops the procession of the red carpet to invite an old friend to dinner at her place. She ignores the flashbulbs of the cameras to bend down and affectionately rub the head of her husband, seated in a wheelchair beside her. In another scene, as she poses in front of an artistic rendering of herself, she reaches out and holds the hand of her doorman, inviting him into the frame.

When Iris meets Kanye West, she tells him that she is a big fan of his. When he tells her she looks great, she blushes. Later, when she meets Jenna Lyons, Iris talks about how impressed she is by the J.Crew Creative Director and President, although Lyons insists it is the other way around.

Part of what launched the cult-like fame around Apfel was an exhibition at the renowned Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. When the Institute’s original exhibit fell through, Iris was approached and asked if she would be willing to show off her collection of couture costume jewelry – one of the two largest collections in the country. The curators decided it would make more of an impact if they also showed some full outfits alongside the jewels to show the power of transformation in accessories. It snowballed into an unforgettable and whimsical exhibit.

And whimsical she is. The documentary peeks inside the Apfel’s Palm Beach, Florida apartment. Every inch of the space is filled with games, stuffed animals, and trippy trinkets. In anyone else’s home it would look kitschy – in Iris’, it looks high fashion. The home has a toy store feel, which alludes to the childlike personalities of both Iris and Carl – in the best way possible. The couple leaves the Christmas lights and decorations up for eight months out of the year.

Every figurine tells a story, and each is artfully placed. As she shows us around the space, she stops to say hello to a stuffed Kermit the Frog, seated atop the ostrich-statue-turned-bar. “Kermit decided he’d love to live here, and he’s become a terrible lush. See how tipsy he is?” It’s impossible not to fall in love with her wit. She shows us a large dog statue and explains how it took her years to find the right statement necklace to fit both the dog’s ceramic neck as well as his personality.

Apfel was asked to decorate one of the world-renowned Bergdorf Goodman window displays. She painstakingly styled each mannequin with layers of baubles. Nothing was an accident – she took control of everything down to the way her feather boa sat in a mannequin’s hand. Each mannequin’s face remained empty except for an oversized pair of spectacles.

Iris Apfel, Carl Apfel

Iris and Carl

Perhaps the most poignant aspect of Iris is the relationship between Iris and her husband, Carl. The pair has a silly, dry rapport. Although Iris often pretends to roll her eyes at Carl, the camera repeatedly pans down to their wrinkled, pale hands intertwined. As wheelchair-bound Carl watches Iris try on clothes in a vintage shop, he sings out of tune: “That’s where my money goes, to buy my baby’s clothes!” The love between the two is palpable. He later remarks how lucky he is to have such a talented wife – “I think I’ll keep her,” he jokes. Towards the end of the film, Iris admits that she has just had surgery but kept it a secret from her husband. He is “so devoted to me,” she reveals, with sadness in her eyes. She didn’t want to worry him. Heartbreakingly, Carl passed away on August 1st, a few days shy of his 101st birthday.

After I watched Iris, I gushed to my TV-and-film-critic brother about how the documentary – and the person – had instantly become my new favorite thing. He replied: “She’s so you. Old lady who’s super cute, sassy, and stylish. I.e. you in 65 years.” I’ve never been so flattered – I told him that if I am 1/100th as amazing as she is, my work will be done. But I won’t argue the similarities. She unapologetically says she likes “big, bold, and lots of pizzazz…[because] life is gray and dull, and you might as well have a little fun when you dress.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, sister.

“That’s what life is about – if you’re just gonna sit there and do the same damn thing all the time, you may as well jump into the box yourself.” — Iris Apfel

Head to Netflix to check out Iris and let me know what you think! I hope you love it as much as I do.