December 16, 2014

{STYLE} Another Holiday LBD

I've never been one to turn down a challenge, so when Navabi asked me to be among 5-girls styling the same simple black dress for the holidays, I gladly accepted!

Photos by Lydia Hudgens

As I get ready to start packing my bags to head south to Miami for some family vacation time, I'm trying to pack smart and pick pieces that are especially versatile and can be re-styled many ways. This dress, that I received as part of a challenge, definitely fits the bill.

What are your plans for the holidays? Are you still looking for something special to wear? 

December 15, 2014

{WANDERLUST} New York Moments

Every once in a while, I need a really good New York day to renew my love for the city and reignite the magic I found when I first came here as a 17-year old. It's a really good thing that just as the weather forces me to question why I ever left Los Angeles in the first place, that the entirety of New York City also amps up its curb appeal by turning out holiday decorations, adopting a festive disposition, and balancing out the complaints about the weather with general niceties and cheer.

So, with the urge to reaffirm my life's decisions and the rising cost of living, I set out with Canon and an itinerary full of behind-the-scenes, only-in-NYC opportunities. I got an up-close-and-personal look of Marchesa's gowns during a photoshoot - with Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig in the flesh, walked up and down the aisles of an empty Broadway theater (and snuck behind the curtain, too), and wandered the stairwells of the Villard Mansion inside The New York Palace Hotel. I set out on my exploration with a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR camera in tow, easily one of the lightest cameras I've ever held, (especially as someone who so frequently carries around the amazing-but-super-heavy Canon EOS 5D Mark II!) I love my default camera and all its many lenses, but sometimes its size and weight prevents me from taking it everywhere with me. The EOS Rebel SL1 was compatible with all my lenses while being nearly weightless and far more compact - making it a lot easier to get the amazing photo quality I desire without being weighed down.

The first stop on the tour was Marchesa's studio, where I sipped on coffee while swooning my way through racks of exquisitely detailed gowns. I've loved Marchesa's collection from afar for years, but it's just impossible to fully appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every piece from photos of a runway or red-carpet appearance. Seeing them in the flesh and being able to touch and hold the dresses was beyond inspiring! Using a Canon macro lens, I was able to get close-up details from up to a few inches away from the dresses. 

Next, we visited the Walter Kerr Theater, currently running A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. It felt surreal to experience a Broadway theatre during off-hours, especially after seeing BIRDMAN the night before. The play is a period piece so all the costumes and decor were beautiful, but I couldn't get over the architectural details of the space and how special the theatre community is in New York City. It was a good reminder to go see a play! It has been way, way too long, and I have a few on my list. (Anyone have a good recommendation?) While in the theatre, I used a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens - what photo savvy people like to call a "pancake" lens. It's an almost flat, incredible light-weight fixed lens with great versatility - and because it's so small and compact (especially on top of the already-condensed Rebel SL1), it's ideal for travelers and people on-the-go... Definitely on my wishlist. 

After leaving the theatre district, we made our way cross town to the historic (and seriously swanky) New York Palace Hotel. I've, strangely, been in many of NYC's most iconic hotels, but the New York Palace was not one of them. What was inside was really extraordinary; you wouldn't know it from the outside, but the hotel was built around The Villard Mansion, built just opposite St. John's Cathedral. It's just... beyond stunning, and to remember that this was built just prior to the great depression puts all its glamour, golden ceilings, and grandeur into context. Because the space was so dark, playing with the exposure and using wider lenses to capture all the details was essential to capturing it's glamour - and it was so easy to do with the Canon DSLR. I can't believe I had never been in this space before, and while I'm definitely planning another visit (and holiday time might be the best time to go), but for now I'm happy to swoon over these photos! 

Thank you to Canon for sponsoring my blog.
This holiday season, Canon is encouraging everyone to #BringIt by bringing their Canon DSLR with them -- to their holiday parties, their winter vacations, and more. 
All opinions and content are my own.

December 14, 2014

{STYLE} 50 Shades of Grey

Top, Skirt, and Coat c/o MYNT 1792 (get 30% sitewide with the code HOL14), Stuart Weitzman Boots (now 50% off), Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
Photos by Lydia Hudgens

I've been denying the impending cold front for as long as my wardrobe (and bare legs) could stand it, and while there is a balmy 48-degree day in this week's forecast, it's about that time where I need to start bundling up. Fashion for fashion's sake is great and all, but I just don't want to be that girl wearing a completely weather inappropriate outfit for the sake of a cute look. And, why bother, when with a little effort it's possible to look great and appropriately dressed for the weather? 

I rarely wear trousers (I want to write "pants" here, but I've realized about half of my readership is British and "pants" means "underwear" to them,) so learning how to layer for my skirts-and-dresses-almost-exclusively-style has been a process of serious trial and error. Using MYNT 1792's holiday collection as the basis of my look (I couldn't resist this menswear-inspired dark charcoal overcoat, which has plenty of room to layer. Because it is wool and fully lined, it's the ideal barrier to the elements without sacrificing style, (in fact I'd say it's pretty directional, and not a style I've seen often in plus - always a deal-closer when I'm shopping!). Underneath, I wore this skirt and this button-down (the ombré pattern looks even better in person), and what makes a huge difference, and allows me to wear these in the bitter cold, are my secret winter defenses: wearing fleece-lined tights and UNIQLO's heat-tech under my blouse is a winter essential - and a total game changer. 

Mynt 1792's pre-holiday sale is still going strong (you can get 30% off the entire site with the code HOL14), and there are some great deals to be made. I'm particularly in love with this sequined dress - it's such a holiday showstopper!

December 8, 2014

{STYLE} All That Glitters

Any excuse to wear something extra sparkly and attention-getting is well worth pursuing, in my world, but an exquisitely beaded dress? That is something really special. I first spotted this one online, and thought I wasn't sure where I would wear it, I knew I wanted to make the splurge: maybe I'll wear it to ring in my birthday, or for my family's annual Jews-on-Christmas dinner when I'm down in Miami in a couple of weeks, but there was no resisting this show-stopper. There was something about it that reminded me of the Chrysler Building - the lines and the subtle architecture in the patterns the beads created that formed into a glimmering skyline... But maybe that's just me and my ability to romanticize everything.

In working predominantly in the plus-size fashion market over the last three-years, I get to see a lot of clothes, but rarely do they have this level of detail or quality. Every bead has been finely placed and creates a gorgeous Art Deco design (something that will feel right at home on Miami's South Beach), and the leg-baring hemline is something that helps me show off on of my favorite assets. Now I'm just on the hunt for the new perfect moto jacket, because I love the idea of edging up a detailed beaded frock with a whole lot of leather.


Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring my blog.
All opinions and content are my own.

November 28, 2014

{SHOPPING} Black Friday Deals You Need to See!

I hardly need to tell you that sale-season is in full force now, with many "Black Friday" sales starting as early as last week. Still, it's hard to resist the major price-cuts all over the place, (I scored big last year). I've rounded up some of the best sales happening right now that are the perfect outlets to round-up on winter-time essentials, holiday gifts, beauty staples, and home decor to freshen up your digs! 

{ASOS}30% off Sitewide with Code TGIBF

{Shopbop} 25% off Sitewide with Code GOBIG14

{Sole Society} 30% off all Footwear and Shoes - No Code Necessary!