Sunday, August 28, 2016

9 Fall Transition Essentials You Need

From bell sleeves to utility jackets to mules--there's an assortment of trends and fall basics that can  add some serious style and versatility to your wardrobe. I'm still loving jewel tones, camel (forever and ever) and now rusty tones for fall--and anything suede before the snow hits the midwest. 
fall essentials
1. Bell Sleeve Top
2. Tencel Utility Vest
3. Patchwork Cardigan
4. Crepe Palazzo Pants
5. MICHAEL Michael Kors Suede Saddle Bag
6. Jeffrey Campbell Mules
7. Felted Hat
8. Steven Suede Mules
9. Rebecca Minkoff Hobo Bag


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Natural

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Because I finally learned how to work with my curly/wavy hair (and out of pure laziness), I now embrace the natural texture. No heating products or tools here. I'm sharing my wash and style process over at Meijer Style along with a few of my tried and true products.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Buy Nearby Guide: Lansing

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I've claimed Lansing as my home since checking into the dorms at MSU in 2004 and so much has changed in the last 12 years. Lots of new developments along Michigan Avenue, Reo Town, Old Town and other little pockets and neighborhoods. One of my clients, Michigan Retailers Association, has launched a year-round shop local in Michigan campaign called Buy Nearby and naturally, I want to support this effort and dedicate a post to share my favorite places in Lansing.

I find myself spending the most time in Old Town since I gravitate to the shops and it's also where I live. Read below for a breakdown of the local retailers including boutiques, salons, and restaurants I love and visit the most!

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Favorite Salons & Spas


Laurel Salon: Located in Okemos, it's such a gorgeous space and I've followed my favorite esthetician there and so glad it introduced me to such a beautiful, serene salon. Camilla has been waxing and now tinting my brows since my early 20's--even when I lived in Chicago briefly, I'd come back to Lansing and have her fix the brows. Her room at Laurel has a giant window facing all things nature. This salon has a lot of great talent and experience, plus the salon is light and bright with a laidback luxe vibe. What I love about the salon is the focus on what's good for your body--inside and out.

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The Standard: The Standard focuses on hair, eyelash extensions and brows and it's the cutest space in Old Town. The owner Michelle cuts and colors my hair now and I've had a handful of the girls handle my NovaLash extensions--and each time it's amazing! They also style my hair with a braid for a great price--I'll go in and get a quick crown braid to wear through the weekend. What I personally love so much about this salon is how Michelle hires new talent and personally trains and educates them and invests so much into each stylist. They're on top of new trends and willing to do anything like take a walk-in braid appointment.

Vada's Day Spa: This is where I go for any of my other waxing needs. Vada, the owner, makes you feel so incredibly comfortable and she has years of experience. Her spa is in an office park, so initially you may be like where the hell am I? But trust that inside those doors is the best brazilian wax you'll find.


Favorite Shops & Boutiques



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Retail Therapy: Retail Therapy is my most favorite place to shop in Lansing. I worked with Retail Therapy a couple years ago for a blog opportunity and I've been hooked ever since. Celeste, the owner, is everything I want to be when I grow up. She's the most stylish woman on this planet with the biggest heart. She inspires me professionally and of course, her taste and aesthetic is bold and refined--also inspiring. She picks out such cool pieces that are mostly designed and produced in the U.S. with a small set of labels out of Europe that are impeccably made.

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Belle Row: A bit off the beaten path in East Lansing, you'll find a darling boutique carrying affordable contemporary lines of clothing and accessories. You can snag an affordable dress for an upcoming wedding or snag your basics like black leggings guilt-free. 

Bradly's Home and Garden: This store is the source of all home inspiration. From furniture to lighting to small decor pieces and gifty items, it's large and carries so many amazing pieces. I walk James past the store almost daily and do a lot of window shopping--which is always stocked with new decor accents that I feel as if I need, like the ceramic cacti I bought recently.

Favorite Restaurants


The Creole: This New Orleans inspired bar and restaurant packs a punch to each dish and cocktail offered. I've experienced this place for breakfast, lunch and dinner--and it's just a great place no matter what time of day, but this is definitely my favorite brunch spot. French press coffee, grapefruit mimosas and the best quiche--it's a great way to start a weekend.

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Strange Matter: The best coffee shop in town hands down. Think hand brewed coffees, syrups made in-house and delicious treats (like donuts!) I'm not much of a coffee connoisseur, but I can taste when that shit is real good, plus they are priced well. Can't. Beat. That. I love any of the sweet drinks like  the iced nolas and cinnamon honey lattes.

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Cheers: If you head downtown during the lunch hour, check out Cheers for a deliciously filling protein shake. This is where I go usually every day of the week for lunch. The hours are limited--10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays so it's the perfect spot to grab lunch or a late breakfast. Birthday cake, skinny mint, brownie batter and peanut butter are a few flavors I have in my current rotation. 

Thai Village: A place my co-workers crave daily and love to grab lunch downtown and a place I love to order delivery from during the weeknights. The spicy fried rice varieties blow my mind. Because I'm trying to eat much healthier, I order delivery not often and I can divide this order into plenty of meals!

Fitness Faves


FLEXcity Fitness: I've been a dedicated FLEXcitizen for just over two years now and this place has really helped me become physically fit, but transforming the way I look at health, fitness and eating right. When I think about what I love most in Lansing and what I would miss/couldn't live without if I left, it's this studio and the instructors (especially owners Jenny and Trista!) 

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[Desigual dress and Quay sunglasses from Retail Therapy, blow out by the Standard]

This is just a very short list of my favorites, but learn more about what's going in different areas of town by visiting the Old Town Commercial Association,  Downtown Lansing Inc. and Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also be sure to participate in the Buy Nearby photo contest on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Just use the hashtag #ibuynearby during the first weekend in October and you could win a $500 Discovery gift card!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cut It Out

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I styled this dress for a grand opening at Laurel Salon a few weeks ago where I snapped photos of the ribbon cutting, indulged in a delicious cupcake and was able to meet more of the team at Laurel. Plus, I love seeing Steph and Janae who own the salon. I'm pretty much in awe of both of them for their respective talents: Steph's hair coloring, creativity, laid-back attitude and sense of humor that perfectly complements Janae-- the perfect mix of creative and Type A MBA bad ass business owner. The two of them make a great team personally and professionally. Can you imagine working with your spouse? They do it flawlessly and the grand opening gave everyone a sneak peek of how amazing their talents come together and what it brings to the Lansing area. If you haven't checked out the salon yet, you definitely should come in for a tour and check out their services!
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[cut-out dress by LNA, rings c/o Autumn Lace, clutch by CHC, similar black boots, necklace by Jenny Bird]
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Photos by Ashley Howard

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Little More Sunshine

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This beauty is Ashley--you usually see her work from the other side of the camera when you're on my blog since besides being a gorgeous model, she's a talented photographer and snaps a lot of my photos! The summer light was too hard to resist for a quick photoshoot and here are just a few photos--more on her blog at Ashley Ellen Howard!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

To Fruitport and Back

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Paid my mama a visit last weekend--we have a cruise and a short stay in Florida coming up next month and she's in the zone for preparation. We found her some new luggage, light tops and shorts--and bonus it was all on major sale. We ended our shopping excursion in Fruitport to grab ice cream and then I was off to Grand Rapids to shoot a family photo session. I used to HATE coming back home and I love heading to West Michigan now as much as I can.
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[top from UO, similar Blank denim shorts, Rayban aviators, similar sandals, straw hat from Retail Therapy, rings by Katie Dean Jewelry]
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Monday, August 15, 2016

black + white

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I somehow stumbled upon a pair of perforated leather shorts I bought last summer, couldn't fit into and never wore. Tags still attached. I wondered if my ass could shimmy into them and make it work and by the beard of Zeus, they fit like a glove. I made my beautiful model friend Ashley try the shorts on too and they fit her. She's like a size 24 and some perfect model height so you can imagine my excitement when they fit her too. I'm going to let her borrow them for her trip to cali and start the sisterhood of the traveling leather shorts.
Like fate, the perfect off-the-shoulder top entered my life at the moment when I needed a perfect flowy top to fit with this tight pair of leather shorts--and I loved the balance. I wore this look for my friend's bridal shower and meet up with family for lunch. I traded out the heels for flats though--too hard to traipse around town in heels. I'm finally feeling my age. 
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[begonia top c/o People's Project LA, shorts from Banana Republic, similar black mules, choker c/o 4th Street Boutique, bag by Givenchy, stardust ring set and  sahara midi-ring (worn on pinky because I liked it there better on my hand) c/o Autumn Lace Jewelry]
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Photos by Ashley Howard