Rebecca Minkoff is one of my favorite handbag designers. Her designs are downtown cool and can hold up against the beating of everyday life. Plus, her clothes and jewelry always catch my eye. Here are a few things currently on my wish list.
Did I mention that Rebecca Minkoff is currently on sale at Shopbop? That’s right. From now until November 30th, you can save up to 25% off your purchase, including sale items. Restrictions apply, so be sure to check them out here.
Shop the Lookbook for more Rebecca Minkoff!
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This week kicks off the holiday season, and chances are you’ll be going somewhere in the next month. Wondering what to wear for holiday travel? Here are two looks that are perfect for travel by car or by plane. Since you may be traveling through snow and sunshine, these looks are all about layers that you can peel off or throw on as the temperature dictates.
If you haven’t noticed, my motto for travel is, “Comfort is king.” So, channel the Olsens and think easy flowing layers that will keep you stylish while shuffling through airport security. Don’t forget a large purse that can double as a second carry-on.
Shop the Lookbook!
P.S. Are you on Snapchat? Follow me (@Akaleistar)! Also, don’t forget to check out my Chloe + Isabel boutique for fabulous jewelry! Get 20% off Oprah’s favorite rings with code OPRAH.
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Express recently contacted me about sharing some of my favorite holiday looks from their collection as part of their blogger gift card contest. Since Express was my go-to store when I was in college, I quickly started browsing their fun party dresses. So, express yourself at your next holiday party with a fun and sassy LBD. There are so many cute options that will make dressing for events a cinch. Here are a few of my favorite little black dresses…
It’s that time of the year! The leaves are changing colors. Everything is pumpkin flavored. And, there are new books to snuggle up with next to the fireplace. It’s time for BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge! Continuing with last year’s university theme, we are in our sophomore year and will be covering a variety of topics from Manipulation Sciences to Supernatural Studies. So, grab some Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, and let’s get started!
First Line Teaser: Sylvia rolled over in the bumpy bed and tried to sleep.
Anne McFarland is a struggling artist working as a valet until she can finally get her own show. In an attempt to cheer herself up, she buys a vintage, black velvet coat at a thrift store. She soon discovers it belonged to Sylvia Van Dam, a young socialite. Fifty years earlier, Sylvia is trying to prove her independence by falling madly in love with the first guy who pays her attention. As Anne learns more about the coat’s owner, Sylvia starts to influence Anne’s work. But, Sylvia’s life is not as enchanting as it first appears.
The Black Velvet Coat is the tale of two women trying to find themselves. Sylvia’s relationship with her fiancé, Ricardo, is doomed from the start, so watching their story unfold from the beginning is a little tedious. Ricardo is so obviously bad, it’s painful to watch Sylvia make compromises to keep their relationship alive. The real question for the reader is, “What will Sylvia do after she escapes him?”
The novel alternates between Sylvia’s story in the 1960’s and Anne’s life in the present day. Anne is the quintessential starving artist, working whatever jobs she can find in order to pay (or at least try to pay) the bills. She, too, has found herself in a bad relationship when she discovers her boyfriend is actually married. Sylvia’s black velvet coat and snowflake pin were an an impulse purchase, but as Anne learns more about Sylvia, magical things start to happen.
I really like that the author was inspired by her own black velvet coat and snowflake pin. It’s always interesting to learn about what sparks a story. However, the novel did leave me feeling a little meh. Part of that is probably due to the fact that I had to read it on my phone, and the galley was full of formatting errors. Also, I’ve been in a reading slump, and this book wasn’t able to shake me out of it. The Black Velvet Coat is typical women’s fiction with a dose of magical realism. The writing is solid even if the characters are a little flat. In many ways, the novel reminded me of The Legacy of Us. So, if you liked that book or if you think the story sounds interesting, I recommend giving this a shot.
A few weeks ago Irresistible Me contacted me about reviewing their hair extensions. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had already seen posts from Kristen from See You in a Porridge and Rachel from The Daily Luxe about Irresistible Me, so I was thrilled at the chance to try them for myself.
I’ve been a long hair girl for most of my life, so when I got a pixie cut a few years ago, I felt like I was a new person. While short hair was fun for a while, I always intended to grow my hair out, and my vlog is evidence of the painful process growing out a pixie cut can be. #BadHairDayEveryDay
Before Hair Extensions
My hair is finally brushing my shoulders, and while this is an achievement, what I really want is long, flowing fairy tale locks. I giddily browsed Irresistible Me’s website and debated over length and color before settling on Royal Rosewood (#99J) in 16 inches and 200G. The hair extensions arrived and I squealed with delight at the beautiful hair nestled in the box.
After Hair Extensions
Perhaps now is a good time to mention that I have never used hair extensions in my life. But, how hard could it be? It’s intuitive, right?
Thank goodness for this video, which demonstrates how to clip in the hair extensions.
The 200 g set includes 10 pieces:
1 x 4 clips
2 x 3 clips
5 x 2 clips
2 x 1 clip
I went with 200 g since my hair is really thick; however, I didn’t end up using all of the clips for these pictures. The extensions add a lot of hair.
Royal Remy is Irresistible Me’s premium line of clip-in hair extensions made from 100% human hair. Smooth and silky sums them up. If only my natural hair could be described that way…
Royal Rosewood ended up being a bit more plum than I was expecting. Since my hair is dyed auburn it is constantly fading and changing colors. However, I ended up liking the contrast between the hair extensions and my actual hair. Kind of a punk-girl-next-door look.
I’m still playing around with these extensions, and I’m sure they will find their way into another post. Because I’m a newbie, I haven’t tried anything daring like washing or curling them yet, so that’s something to look forward to…
These extensions were sent to me by Irresistible Me in exchange for an honest review.
Friday the 13th lived up to it’s name this month. I don’t think there are words that can sum up such a tragedy, or if there are, I can’t seem to find them.
Almost half of my life has been spent in a world at war with terrorism, and there are days, like Friday, that I despair about our world.
How can we dare to live and dream in such an uncertain world?
But, then I look at history and think about all the dark times that have come before us. The World Wars must have looked like the end of the world…
We will survive because there are still good people in the world willing to fight the forces of evil.
Innocence is all too easily lost as we leave childhood behind, but that longing for innocence remains with us. Maybe that is why adult coloring books are becoming so popular. Is there a better way to escape from problems than losing yourself in a coloring book? Time seems to stand still as the colors slowly takeover the page.
Blogging for Books recently sent me The Time Garden by Daria Song to review, and I have enjoyed losing myself in its pages.
The pages are not the large illustrations of your childhood but whimsical drawings full of charming details. The coloring pages are tied together with snippets of story about a girl who enters the world of a magical cuckoo clock. I’ve only finished a few pages, but I love how coloring makes me feel like a part of the story. Each page I fill brings the book to life.
Did I mention even the cover is colorable? The attention to detail in this coloring book is fabulous. The paper is nice and thick, and the pages have not fallen out like some of the cheaper coloring books I’ve tried. There is, also, a visual index at the back of the book, which is a nice reference. The title is apt, too, since the intricate drawings will suck you in and you will lose all track of time.
Want to peek inside? You can download coloring pages from two of Daria’s books here.
Coloring may not make the world a better place, but it might just put a smile on your face. And, that’s a step in the right direction.
As you probably know, it’s National Novel Writing Month, and writers around the world are scrambling to write 50,000 words by the end of November. While I would love to someday write a novel, there is no story bursting out of me. So, I gave myself a different challenge this month. Two challenges in fact. Every morning I write a few pages in my journal about anything and everything so long as I do it every day. The second challenge is submitting my writing to contests and publications. And guess what? I have a post on SheKnows Experts!
Black Friday is one of those topics that inspires impassioned debate. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and it comes right after a day that is supposed to be about gratitude. I love shopping, as is evidenced by this blog, but the last few years have definitely changed how I think about Black Friday. Click on over to SheKnows Experts to read my Thoughts from a Recovering Black Friday Addict. Also, if you like the post, I would love it if you would share the link on social media.
In other news…
My What to Wear on Thanksgiving post was included in IFB’s Links à la Mode! If you are looking for some great posts to read this weekend, don’t miss this roundup.
Is it too soon to start talking about New Year’s Resolutions? Healthy eating during the holidays can be difficult, and let’s face it. Eating healthy food in general is difficult. So, I was quite excited to get the chance to review Go Clean, Sexy You, a book filled with recipes and seasonal detox plans. I don’t know about you, but when I think about a detox, I imagine days of fasting and only drinking juice. This is not that kind of detox.
Lisa encourages readers to cut out certain foods, such as dairy, caffeine, gluten and soy, and to eat plenty of clean produce, such as avocados and pineapple. Her book is full of soups, salads, smoothies, and other treats She, also, tells you what kitchen gear you will need and includes a menu plan and shopping list for each detox.
Since I haven’t had a lot of time with this book, I only tried a couple of recipes, but I loved the Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. So good on a cold day!
More from Booksparks…
Go Clean, Sexy You not only serves up a collection of delicious recipes, but offers a holistic approach on how to live a healthier life—putting whole foods into your body, detoxing every season to regularly cleanse your system, associating with those who fuel you not bring you down, and managing stress with activities that bring you back to balance.
A certified health and nutrition coach, author Lisa Consiglio Ryan provides straightforward guidance on how to overcome the obstacles that keep you from losing those last ten pounds, make you feel exhausted every afternoon, and compel you to indulge in unhealthy habits. Spending years struggling with a growing arsenal of health-destroying conditions that ranged from fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, candida and rosacea to cystitis and tons of allergies, Lisa decided to turn to nutrition and lifestyle to reclaim her health. Then pursuing her education with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she turned her personal quest into her vocation with the launch of Whole Health Designs.
As a nationally acclaimed wellness expert, Lisa has worked with thousands in her detox programs. Her approach incorporates easy-to-adopt eating habits, free from counting calories and fat grams. As you navigate through the seasons with Lisa’s whole food–based detox plans, you’ll be tapping into your body’s wisdom, forming sustainable habits, and developing loving, respectful relationship with your body. Not only will you feel better, you’ll look better too!
This book was sent to me by BookSparks in exchange for an honest review.
In other bookish news…
This week on the vlog, I talked about five books I haven’t finished reading.
And, in other news…
It is time for Christmas swaps!
I loved this swap last year. You and another blogger exchange 12 gifts and open one a day until Christmas. Check out Chaotic Goddess Swaps for more info.
Last week, we discussed what to wear on Thanksgiving, so it only seems fair that we now talk about what to wear on Black Friday, a.k.a. The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year.
What to Wear for Shopping Online On Black Friday
Shopping online doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look cute. Black jammies and slippers will keep you in the holiday shopping spirit while a mug of hot chocolate will take the edge off the checkout page that refuses to load.
What to Wear for Shopping at The Mall on Black Friday
Bless you for braving the crowds all in the name of getting Little Billy the “it” toy of the year. Obviously, this is not the time for heels or anything that will hurt your feet. I suggest running shoes in case your day starts to resemble Jingle All the Way… Also, layers are your friend since store temperatures vary and people packed into small spaces can make things a little too warm. If you’re planning on trying clothes on, wear clothes that are easy to take on and off. Or, better yet, wear thin layers, so you don’t even have to bother taking them off. After all, time is of the essence when it comes to hitting all the sales before the doorbusters end at noon.