5 Summer Wardrobe Staples To Add To Your Closet

 Tee - Free People (size down, I'm wearing an XS, more colors on sale here, also available here) | Shorts - AGolde (size down, I'm wearing a 25) | Wedges - Treasure & Bond | Boots - Isabel Marant | Bag - Street Level (similar here, here and here) | Hat - Janessa Leone | Bracelet - Giles and Brother

First things first, yes I am wearing two different pairs of shoes in these photos because I couldn't make up my mind which I preferred. LOL So I decided to take pictures with both since I have worn this outfit both ways and love each look equally. Second, this outfit is comprised of every piece that is a basic in my upcoming summer wardrobe (with the exception of the ankle boots though I do wear them year round). Straw hat - yup, that is a non-negotiable for me. Denim cut-offs - I have been looking for the perfect pair that fits well, isn't too short and has the right amount of distressing. These are it! As I have mentioned before, these wedge sandals are my best shoe buy of the season. So comfortable and they go with everything (see me wearing them here, here and here). This round rattan bag sold out almost instantly, but I have found a ton of almost identical ones. The style is so versatile and can be worn with almost any spring/summer outfit (see how I styled it here and here). And finally, a good white tee is a necessity. I love that this one is a bit different with the cut out at the neck, but a simple tee is also always a good idea to have in your closet (this brand makes my favorite ones of all time).

I feel like with these pieces in my closet, so many outfits can be created around them. They are all items that can be worn over and over with various looks. In addition to the pieces that I'm wearing, I found 10-15 more styles of each item and put them in the widgets below. Be sure to scroll through to see them all as there are a variety of price points and brands included. 

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An Alternative To a Denim Skirt + The Books I've Recently Finished

Camisole - Express (wearing an XS, this is the shade Soft Ivory) | Skirt - Free People (runs large, wearing an XS, on sale here but limited sizes, also available here) | Bag - Reformation (similar here) | Sandals - Joie (old but similar here and lower heel option here) | Necklace - Nashelle

Bring me to a plant farm or nursery and I go straight for the cactus, succulent and palm tree section. It's my favorite! Stan is trying to fix up our backyard so he asked me to head here last week to pick up some vegetables to plant (just packets of seeds, I figured I could handle that LOL). My photographer and I shot here before and the lighting is so beautiful so I asked her to meet me here to take some photos. I have had this skirt in my cart for weeks and knew it would be a perfect fit. I've come to know exactly what styles of clothing look best on me before even buying them, and this wrap skirt was one of them. I liked it because while I can make it a bit dressier with heels and a nice camisole like I'm wearing in this picture, I have also worn it with a t-shirt and slides for a more casual look. It's a nice alternative to a traditional denim skirt which can be hard to dress up - this one still has that comfortable and easy to wear vibe but can be suitable for more occasions.

This post is going to be a 2 for 1 because I am adding in all the books I've recently finished and my review on each! I listen to audiobooks rather than reading so I get through a ton more now which I love. Some people have asked me when exactly I listen to them because they find it hard to focus on an audiobook while doing other things. For me the main times I listen to them are when I'm driving, putting on my makeup and walking in the evenings. This round of books were not all hits, but there were a few good ones in the mix. If you have any suggestions of great books that I should read, please leave me a comment!

1. The Dark Lake - This book was a bit too predictable for me to truly enjoy it. Gemma Woodstock is a local detective that must uncover why an old classmate that she went to high school with was found murdered.  It has the makings of a good thriller, but I figured out who the killer was halfway through so as the book progressed it lost all excitement for me.

2. Copy Cat - This is a good beach read though as with the last book, it was too predictable. Sarah Havenant receives a message from a friend on Facebook mentioning that there is another profile with her name and information on it. When Sarah goes to look, she sees an entire Facebook profile with private pictures of her family and home, many of which were taken just that very day. From this point on, someone begins terrorizing her and her family and her life begins to fall apart. I quickly figured out the culprit (not because I am a genius, but because it's a bit too obvious), and sadly the ending is too over the top for my liking. It was almost as if she wrote this hoping it would be turned into a movie.

3. Baby Doll - This was a very different kind of read because it tells the story of Lilly Riser, a young woman that escapes from her captor after being imprisoned for years. The book is different in that it begins with her escape, rather than leading up to it. The story is about how her life goes on and the challenges she faces after the nightmare ends. The man responsible is arrested within the first few chapters, which could make for a boring remainder of the story but surprisingly I found this book quite good. I loved reading how Lilly rebuilds her life, faces her captor and ultimately finds peace again after dealing with all the trauma she experienced.

4. And When She Was Good - This was my favorite book of the bunch! Heloise lives a relatively normal suburban life from the outside. She pays taxes, goes to her son's sports events and tries to remain as inconspicuous as possible. However, little does everyone know about the double life that she lives. I won't give it away since what she does for a living is the entire premise of the book. But this one was definitely a hit with me!

5. The Glass Castle - This book was made into a movie and though I didn't see it, I understand how it would translate well into a film. The book is a memoir about the author's unconventional childhood, growing up with parents that rarely had jobs, moved them around constantly and were more like the kids rather than the adults. I didn't enjoy the book at the beginning, but as the story developed I really got into it. It's truly remarkable how all of her siblings managed to escape the devastating poverty and neglect they experienced as children, and push through that adversity to become very successful adults.

6. The Passenger - It took me a bit to get into this book, but as it went on I really liked the story. Tanya Dubois is on the run after leaving her husband's body dead in their home. She didn't kill him rather he actually fell down the stairs and hit his head, but she was too worried that when the police came her real identity would be discovered. She is on the run for most of the book, taking on different aliases, living in different places and constantly trying to escape her past. What kept me interested is I wanted to know what was she truly running from. Once it was revealed, I was shocked and so mad! The ending is a bit cheesy but don't let that deter you from the rest of this story - it's a good one.

Read all my previous book reviews here.

Photos by Paula Bartosiewicz.

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Dressed Up In Shorts

Shirt - Club Monaco (old but similar here and love this one) | Shorts - L'academie (here is the matching blazer, dress option here and shirt option here) and  | Shoes - Joie (similar here and here) | Bag - Hat Attack | Sunglasses - Fendi (similar here) | Ring - Kendra Scott

I am loving the dressier shorts trend that I have been seeing everywhere. While I love a good pair of denim cut-offs (splurged on this pair and the fit is amazing!), I do enjoy dressing up even for my every day life. It's how I have always been even back in high school. I remember showing up to bowling one night with friends and everyone was in jeans and t-shirts, but I was wearing plaid trousers, a cute turtleneck, a chunky sweater and high heeled loafers. My friends never even batted an eye when I walked in because it was nothing new to them. Ha! 

Fast forward to today where I work from home running my blog and YouTube channel which is very different than my previous corporate life that I had for many years, yet I still love wearing dressier pieces when I head out of the house. Whether for a meeting, a local event, lunch with a friend, an appointment or just to go to the grocery store - I love to dress up. And since shorts are typically such a casual look, I am gravitating towards many of these high-waisted styles that are more elevated than cut-offs. This striped pair has the most flattering shape yet are still incredibly comfortable. I've shared before that I hate tucking things in so button down shirts come in so handy because I can tie them up and that solves the problem. Sadly this little trick will only work with high waisted things, but at this point almost my entire wardrobe is high waisted so I don't normally have to worry about it. I can't even remember wearing mid-rise things or even *gasp* low-rise. Eek! 

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My First Mother's Day + My Favorite Things About Miles

Dress (old from Tibi) | Miles' outfit | Miles' shoe

I just look at these photos and can hear Miles giggling. It's so amazing to be able to celebrate this Mother's Day in a different way - as a mother for the first time. Stan, Miles and I went to lunch this weekend and as I was leaving a group of ladies went out of their way to wish me a happy first Mother's Day and it was the sweetest thing ever. 

The most enjoyable thing about having Miles has truly been getting to experience raising him with my own mom who lives with us. She does so much for us and is such a vital part of Miles' life and I love that. She never misses a single moment since she is with him daily and it's been wonderful having her help, being able to get her advice and seeing how much joy he brings to her. I hear her laughing hysterically at him when I'm up in my office working, and I always have to run down and see what ridiculously silly thing he is doing to crack her up. It's a team effort in our house and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I thought I would share some of my favorite things about Miles because his personality is already beginning to emerge! 
  • His big cheesy smile that he gives whenever he sees any of us.
  • The raspberries that he has started blowing whenever he eats (and covers us with food).
  • How much he loves the car - he instantly falls asleep as soon as we start driving.
  • His little independent spirit - he can keep himself entertained in his little activity table for quite a long time now! We call it his "office". LOL
  • The hysterical giggles that he has whenever you change his clothes. As soon as you put something over his head, he begins laughing non-stop. In fact the first time I heard him laugh was when I was changing his clothes and it hasn't stopped.
  • How much he loves to eat. (Stan says he inherited this from him).
  • His easy going nature. He has his fussy moments and went through a few rough weeks around his 4 month regression, but for the most part he is a happy little dude.
  • The way he looks at Elmo. He is fascinated by him and will just stare at him for the longest time. Just the other week, Elmo was walking towards him and Miles got the biggest smile and put out his arms. It was the cutest thing.
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. We all adore this little man, and I'm so happy to be his mom. 

I know this day can be a happy one for so many, but also bring about some challenging and/or sad emotions for a number of reasons. I'm wishing everyone happiness if you are celebrating today, as well as love and peace to those that may have a hard time with today. 


Friday Finds

Dress, Sandals, Bag (similar), Sunglasses (similar)
That huge smile on my face above is because I no longer have to wear tights for the next 4+ months. Yay!!! I am instantly a happier person when the warm weather hits. Hope you enjoy this week's finds - this is always such a fun post to put together. I have a running tab on my Notes app just dedicated to Friday Finds and my camera roll is full of screenshots that I want to feature in upcoming posts. I love having a place now to share all these random things I come across! LOL 

1. I shared on my insta-stories that I preordered this fun clear tote in white and cannot wait for it to get here! It's a great price point and such a unique design, though I can see myself wearing it for years to come.

2. Since I work out a few times a week, I am always looking for great basic black sports bras to pair with colorful leggings. This one just arrived and I love the simple shape and fit of it.

3. Typically I edit all my Instagram photos with the VSCO app, but I recently downloaded A Color Story app and love how it adds a ton of color and brightness to my photos. I used it with this photo to really make the flowers and my blue dress stand out.

4. Leave it up to J.Crew to put out the cutest slides in so many great colors and prints! Here they are in leopard, rainbow stripe, glitter and red/white/blue.

5. Pajama sets are my favorite thing to ask for whenever a special occasion rolls around, and I asked for this gingham set with limes for Mother's Day!

6. Give me all the boho blouses! This blue and white embroidered number would be a great piece for summer (and is under $60 and on sale!).

7. I just finished watching the entire season of Seven Seconds on Netflix and was hooked from the first 5 minutes. It is a very emotional series with intense subject matter but very much worth watching.

8. I have heard conflicting reviews about this new complexion product, but I have two shades on their way to me so I am interested to see how it works on my skin.

9. I love the heart sunglasses trend right now, and this cute pair is only $10!

10. I've been into nail art lately and have been trying out simple designs every week when I go get my manicure. I saw these nail stickers on Instagram recently and plan on ordering all three sets to use for my summer manis!


Cleansing Balm Review: Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleanser and Jordan Samuel After Show Balm Cleanser

Cleansing balms are a staple in my routine and I love them for either removing makeup or nourishing my skin as a second cleanse. I've had my eye on these two for quite some time and finally had the opportunity to give them a proper testing. If you are trying to decide if a cleansing balm is for you, I can confidently say that any and all ages and skin types can benefit from using one. No matter how oily or dry your skin may be, using a cleansing balm can help comfort the skin, hydrate it and leave you skin feeling clean but not stripped of all the moisture it needs. Once I began to understand that cleansing oil and balms were not going to a. make me more oily or b. break me out, I kept adding more and more to my routine. Now I can't imagine my skincare regimen without them.
1. Jordan Samuel The After Show Balm Cleanser - Though this isn't an exceptionally oily balm cleanser, it still does a wonderful job of hydrating the skin. I can use this to remove my makeup, but I actually prefer it more as a second cleanse since it does require a washcloth to remove. It's a bit thicker than some of the other ones in my collection, so I like to use as more of a treatment by massaging it into damp skin and letting it sit there for 2-3 minutes. Once I remove my skin feels hydrated, plump and fresh looking.
2. Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleanser - While the texture feels as firm as the Jordan Samuel cleanser, this one is much more oily and nourishing. I can use it to remove makeup, but it also needs a washcloth to remove so because of that I like using it as a second cleanse. It performs on my skin as most cleansing balms do by hydrating my skin, comforting it and making it feel firm and supple after. One other result I saw using this was the few little bumps I had across my chin and forehead slowly began to go away after using this for a week straight. It seemed to really help decongest the skin and my pores looked much smaller. 
*pr samples included

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