Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a little sun, a little sparkle

This thrifted J Crew skirt is a find that I was absolutely thrilled about.  I bought it back in the summer but knew it would be a great fall and winter piece.  The metallic tweed is pretty subtle (obviously the sun helps play up the sparkle just a bit).  Speaking of the sun, I am a sunshine kind of girl.  I can handle cold... let it be 20 degrees, I don't care. But everything is just better when the sun is shining. Including this skirt. :)

If you haven't entered my giveaway (sponsored by the SUPER amazing new monster app, BeKnown), click here to see the post and enter!! It includes a limited edition Benefit cosmetic kit, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and a chic little business card holder... all part of the 'BeKnown Interview Survival Kit.' Such a fun idea and way to get the word out about this new app so I hope everyone has a chance to enter.  There will be 2 winners announced on Sunday!

Kensie blouse (not available online); JCrew thrifted metallic tweed mini (similar here on SALE!); BCBG boots (similar); old Coach bag; Michael Kors watch; Posh Boutique studded ring (similar available here at Shop Frankie's!!); F21 earrings and bangles; Anna and Ava elephant ring (similar);DG sunglasses from TJ Maxx

Monday, November 28, 2011

BeKnown sponsored GIVEAWAY!!!

I'm so thrilled to post this MAJOR giveaway opportunity for 2 READERS (!!) in support of the recent release of Monster.com’s professional networking tool, BeKnown. The giveaway consists of the “BeKnown Interview Survival Pack” that includes a limited edition beauty kit by Benefit Cosmetics, super cute (yet professional) business card holder, and a $10 Starbucks gift card!! See prize pack below (I am in LOVE with this Benefit case with the leopard accents!!... and you all know how I feel about Starbucks)

For this post, I wanted to show a few of the professional looks that I've featured on PS&L.  A mix of business professional and business casual looks, these are some of my favorites in terms of outfits that really allowed me to incorporate my style into my work wardrobe.  The entire point of this blog was to express myself as much at work in my style as I do outside of work, just in a dress-code compliant way.  I strive to look put-together, confident, chic, and trendy all at the same time.  If that sounds like a challenge, hopefully some of these looks will help inspire you to dress for yourself and your career!

More About BeKnown:
Monster.com recently launched BeKnown, a professional networking app for Facebook. Since young professionals spend more time on Facebook than any other networking site, Monster wanted to give young people the opportunity to network professionally within the world’s largest and most popular social network. BeKnown allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook that is completely separate from your personal Facebook page (think along the lines of a network within a network). It also lets you conduct a job search of Monster's database of jobs without ever leaving BeKnown or Facebook. By tapping into the networks of their Facebook friends, young professionals can easily connect, send messages, and see who among their existing contacts is connected to a company or job opportunity they are interested in.

Learn more and Follow BeKnown here:
iPhone app
Android app
Video guided tour


1) Follow Pencil Skirts & Lattes via Google Friend Connect (just click 'Join this Site' above!)
2) 'Like' BeKnown on Facebook
3) Comment below letting me know you've entered!! 

The winners will be selected randomly and announced Sunday, Dec 4. Good Luck!

Disclosure: For posting this giveaway, I will receive a similar prize pack to the one above. This giveaway is only open to US residents 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travel Attire

I have a few guidelines for outfits that I wear while I travel. Obviously, comfort is the first priority (always). I like cotton tops, jeans or leggings (in this case - jeans that are as comfy as leggings) and a comfortable pair of shoes. Another thing that I make sure of when traveling is that I incorporate lots of layers. You never know when the vehicle or plane you're in is going to be warmer or cooler than you would prefer, so layers provide more flexibility. I typically wear flats if I'm going to be flying (easiest to slip off/back on through security and make long walks through terminals a breeze), but a great pair of boots was perfect for a short road trips to Mom's for Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday weekend!!

Urban Outfitters cardigan (similar); F21 shirt, necklace, and bangles; NY&Co jeans; BCBG boots (similar); Michael Kors watch; Rebecca Minkoff bag

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Running Hurts

I still can't believe I'm training for this half-marathon.  It's just not something I thought I would commit to. As much as I like the idea of running a half-marathon, it HURTS. Good thing I have a great support system and a few amazing friends who are training with me.

After seeing a great motivational post from Kori at Blonde Episodes last night, I found this picture on Pinterest that cracked me up AND motivated me at the same time.

Off to run, hope everyone has a great Tuesday! Yaaay for a short week!! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hair necessities

When I initially thought of posting about my hair products/regimen, I was all 'oh, I don't use many products anyway so this will be a really short post.' Not so much. In all fairness, products add up quickly when you give all the juicy details of how you make a blow-out last, which hair brushes you like the best, and take the time to post the EXACT bouffant shower cap you use on your off days. Yes, I use a shower cap. Like a grandma. But let me tell you, grandma was on to something. See more embarrassing hair secrets below.

1) Aveda Brilliant Shampoo and Conditioner.  I love that this shampoo is gentle but cleans really well.
2) MOP Lemongrass Root Lift.  I have a LOT of hair. While volume isn't an issue for me, volume at the roots (where you WANT it) is hard to achieve because my hair is really heavy.  I love this product, it works AND smells heavenly.
3) Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener.  This product does exactly what it says, I have lots of curl/wave in my hair and this helps immensely when I blow dry.
4) Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother.  I use a small amount of this on the ends of my hair because I love the silky feeling.
5) Ergo TGR 3600 Hair Dryer. If ever there were a styling tool that changed my life, this is it.  It is tiny, lightweight (important for me having LOTS of hair to dry, which takes forever), and is a salon-quality professional dryer with 1600 watts of power.  I've had mine for 3 years and have never had a problem.  Plus, it comes with a cute little stand. :)
6) Cricket Technique Thermal 3 1/4" Round Brush. I LOVE THIS BRUSH.  I does absolute wonders for volume and straightening my hair.  I use this huge one so that I don't completely wear my arm out while blow drying.  If you want volume at the roots and a straight, silky smooth blowout... buy this brush. You won't be disappointed.
7) Chi Turbo Large Paddle Brush. This brush is great for blow drying the layers underneath my hair, it's also what I use to brush out my hair before I wash it (crucial for me in the detangling process after I wash it), and what I use to brush out curls underneath to give a soft, glamorous look.  Just a great brush.
8) Hot Tools Gold 1 1/4" Curling Iron.  I use this to curl the ends of my hair when I don't wear it straight.  Sometimes I curl it with the clamp (but don't close the clamp all the way to avoid creases) for big, soft curls... and sometimes I wrap my hair around the barrel without the clamp for a more undone, wavy look.  This iron gets really hot and the cord doesn't get all wrapped up when you're trying to rush to curl your hair.
9) Aveda Control Force Hairspray. I don't use much so this lasts forever.  After I curl my hair with an iron, I spray the curls with this to help set, then shake them loose after they cool.

As discussed in other recent posts, life can't be glamorous all the time.  I do not wash my hair every day. I do not have the time, energy, or need to wash my hair every day.  I typically wash it every 3 days, and these are the products that help my blowouts last.

10) Goody Hair Claw Clips.  I use these all the time.. to section my hair when blow drying, to put up my hair when I wash my face, and most importantly to pile it up on top of my head to go under the shower cap.
11) Spa Sister Bouffant Shower Cap in Lotus. This is my shower cap. My exact one. And I love it.  It does a great job of keeping the water away from my hair in the shower on days when I don't wash it.
12) Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray.  The less embarrassing of my two 'dry shampoo' alternatives, I usually use this one on day two.  As far as brand name dry shampoos go, I like this one the best.  It smells great, doesn't leave a white residue all over your hair, and gives great volume at the roots. It's not the best for absorbing oil, but we'll get to that.  I keep the small size in my purse for freshening up my hair if I go straight from work to happy hour or dinner.
13) Summer's Eve Feminine Powder in Cotton Breeze. HEAR ME OUT on this one.  So, years ago I used baby powder to help absorb some of the oil at the scalp on days between washes.  I SWEAR by this, no 'dry shampoo' can touch the effectiveness of powder to freshen a blowout between washes.  But I absolutely hate the smell of baby powder.  So, one day I was in Walgreens and I thought - it's just talc.  Surely there are other powders with talc that smell better than baby powder?  So there I was, looking at 2 very different (and equally hilarious) options: Dr. Scholls foot powder, or Summer's Eve feminine powder.  Obviously I chose the better smelling option, and while I giggle all the time when I use it, it works amazingly well.  This is one hair product that I absolutely cannot go without.  As embarrassing as it is to list this as one of my hair necessities... it's what I use.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dressing for Comfort & Thoughts on Casual Friday

Sometimes I'm more comfortable in a dress and tights than in anything else.  It's funny how often this is my go-to outfit even when I'm not feeling 'dressy' - just because it's easy and comfortable.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good pair of jeans. It's just nice that they're not my only option when it comes to more comfortable outfits.

I find that I'm almost always in skirts or dresses on the weekends.  Again, not because I'm feeling super dressy, but because I can wear jeans to work on Fridays (yes, it's exciting). But what I can't wear (and wouldn't even if I 'could') are short skirts/dresses.  Not like I'm one to walk around in super short things anyway, but I'm tall(ish), so even the length of this dress is inappropriate for my office.

Just a tip for anyone who runs into this issue: If you ever find yourself standing in front of the mirror asking yourself 'is this dress/skirt too short for work?' - the answer is YES.  If you have to question it, even for a second, YES IT IS TOO SHORT.  No matter how cute or comfortable you are in it, even if the hem is an appropriate length after all, you will worry about it all day. And on this particular day, you will undoubtedly be called into a meeting with very important people at your office.  Happens every time.

On the Casual Friday topic, let me preface by saying that I know ALL office environments are different and have varying dress codes.  Fortunately, looking like a polished and classy professional is generally expected on some level at any company.  I'm all for taking the opportunity to wear jeans and dress down a little - but if you have any interest in climbing the corporate ladder, get used to dressing every single day in something that you would be proud to have worn the day you met your _____ (insert CEO/CFO/VP of Whatever here...you get the point).  You can still wear jeans and have a more relaxed look on Fridays, just understand that 'Casual Friday' is NOT meant to be an opportunity so that all of your peers at work can see you in your jeans, t-shirts, and flip flops.  Essentially, everything else in your outfit stays the same on Fridays - you just substitute dressy trousers or skirts with denim. NOT super skinny jeans, and NOT distressed jeans.  I love them both for weekends but they are absolutely not corporate office appropriate.  You may have a bit more freedom in your work wear on Fridays, but remember that you are still at work.  Well, not for much longer... because it's Friday :)                

Blue Juice dress , Karen Millen belt, Spanx tights, Michael Shannon booties, F21 bangles, NY&Co earrings, Michael Kors watch, Anna and Ava giraffe ring, studded ring from Posh boutique

Thursday, November 17, 2011

5 Must Haves of the Moment!!

SO thrilled to be featured on The Average Girl's Guide today!! Check out my 5 Must-Haves of the moment, I'm doing some pre-game warming up for the Holidays!  

Check out the feature here and let us know what your must-haves are!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend facts

Just a few facts I'd like to acknowledge from the past weekend:

1) Brunch is my favorite meal. It's just special.  Any time I can have some of my favorite foods AND any champagne beverage before noon, I'm happy.

2) Super windy days are not good for outfit pics.  It seems like a good idea in theory, but it just isn't.

3) No matter how well I plan, even in the very best of circumstances, I can NEVER check everything off my to-do list for the weekend.  It may be impossible.

Old Navy jacket (ancient, no longer available), Zara top, TJ Maxx skirt, Hue tights, Civico10 boots, Necklace from Woo Nashville, NY&Co chain bracelet and earrings, F21 bangles, Michael Kors watch, Rebecca Minkoff bag 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shirt Dressing

I always look forward to weekends...I know everyone does. But there are weekends that I look forward to, and weekends I NEED. I know, bloggers often mis-use the term 'need' (i.e I need these boots, I need this jacket, etc). But saying that I need this weekend is pure fact.  Another fact: I need a massage.

So I've been working a lot. But I did get to wear this dress that I love (worn here and here) as a blouse this week. When you're lost in spreadsheets and presentations and meetings, funny how you'll cling to something as simple as wearing a favorite item of clothing a different way to help make you feel more chic.  #ItsTheLitteThings

Parker dress worn as a shirt (similar), Ann Taylor trousers (old), Banana Republic trenchZara pumps (no longer available), Coach bag (old), Gap belt (old), F21 earrings and bangles, Michael Kors watch, NY&Co Earrings, Ann and Ava elephant ring (similar), Lancome L'asbolu Rouge in Jezabel, Revlon nail color in Vixen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For Real

You know those fitness magazine articles where those women with their perfectly sculpted bodies - wearing the most chic workout attire - try to illustrate exercises in pictures that really just piss you off?  This post is basically my answer to those articles.  This is the anti-sculpted, anti-chic, REAL woman workout post.  This is just me, on a very typical weekend day, going to the park to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful weather.  No cute outfit, no makeup, clearly without having done anything to my hair other than getting it out of my face.  Ironically enough, this post came at a time when there has been a lot of Twitter buzz around what bloggers 'really' look like, how unglamorous our lives probably really are, etc. I had decided that I want to start documenting some things in my life that are behind the scenes of my blog that definitely contribute to it. Since mentioning weight loss in my About Me page, I've been asked lots of questions over e-mail and Twitter about how I lost weight. If you've come here looking for a weight loss secret, you will certainly be disappointed. Come to find out, there is no substitute for eating well and working out. (I know, bummer).  If it's any comfort, I struggle with this every. single. day.

Please understand: I don't like working out. Yes, I feel great afterward and of course I have more energy when I work out regularly, but I am a holy terror when it comes to exactly 2 things: 1) waking up in the morning and 2) working out. (FINE, I'm a terror when it comes to more than just those 2 things. But for the purpose of this blog post, only those 2 are relevant. Unless I think of more.)  I have tried virtually every group fitness and cult fave fitness bandwagon there is, and nothing ever really stuck. I finally found a recipe of things that work for me when it comes to maintaining the weight where I'm most comfortable being (+ or - 5 lbs.  happens to be in the +5 range right about now. ish. swimsuit season is over, give me a break.) Seriously... the main thing is that I have a great partner in this who is as invested as I am in being more healthy. He inspires me to make better choices. We have off days, and we get it back on track... together. We hold each other accountable and call each other out on our crap when we're trying to have cupcakes for breakfast. I think you have to put yourself into a situation that plays to your natural strengths.  For example, I have no willpower at all. Like - zero. It's scary.  But I am a really supportive, protective friend when it comes to certain things.  I may not always make the best decision when it comes to myself, but when I feel that someone I care about is depending on me to make better decisions - it's a game changer.

The other factor in this that is so, SO crucial for me is a personal trainer.  (If you're in Nashville, do yourself a favor and give this guy a call.  I cannot say enough great things about him.) It really isn't what I thought it would be... he doesn't bark orders at us or push us to do more than we are comfortable with.  He's just an awesome guy, who tells you what workouts to do/watches to make sure you're doing them correctly.  He tells you which foods to eat and which to avoid.  He asks what you ate recently - which actually does factor in to my decision when I'm faced with the fried food line vs the salad bar in the cafeteria at work.  He asks about your day, your family, your job, your life... and before you know it, you've been working out for an hour.  I actually find that if we cut back our workouts to less than twice a week, I'm anxious that we will have more than an hour worth of 'stuff' to update our trainer on when we see him.  I understand that having a personal trainer isn't going to work for everyone.  It is expensive - we had to decide that it was an investment we were making that is more important than paying more rent or having a nicer vehicle.  (Funny how having a nicer YOU is the last thing most people factor into their financial planning).  Also, not everyone will get as lucky as we did and find someone as a trainer who is a great match for us.

I took the opportunity to do some of the exercises that our trainer makes us do in the gym while enjoying the day at the park.  So this is me, really doing these exercises.  I have tons of room to try to keep improving, I'm just sharing what is working for me.  Hope this helps.        

Yes, I HAD to do the whole Rocky thing after running those stairs...

Park bench push ups.  PS: push ups are my least favorite thing. They hurt.

Aaaah plank pose.  It seems easy enough until you're about 20 seconds into it.  Once your whole body starts shaking, you only have about 10 more seconds to hold it ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Attempted 'How To' Post

I love the idea of wearing white after Labor Day. Sure, part of it is the rebel in me (yes, I know - whoa now)... but mostly it's just because I think white is perfect when mixed together into a palette of fall colors. This outfit was going to become a 'How To: Wear White after Labor Day' post - but it truned into something else. First let me say, I loved this outfit in person... I was very comfortable and felt stylish all at the same time (bonus). But all day I just felt like this outfit reminded me of something. Something funny. I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw the pictures...

Zara scarf and dress; Hue tights; Ann Taylor cardigan; Louis Vuitton bag; Dolce & Gabbana aviators; Michael Kors watch; F21 bangles and bracelet; Posh Boutique ring (similar from Shop Frankie's); Francesca's boots and ring

and THIS is what I realized I kept thinking of while wearing this:

Source: google.com via Star on Pinterest

BAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAA. GO ahead and laugh.  I did too :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Weekend

So... this week has been insane.  Without further ado, I'll share with you how I relieve stress and try to revive my creativity once the corporate world has tried so hard to stifle it. My happy place. After moving into a new home, I'm trying not to rush to furnish/decorate so that I don't make bad decisions that I have to live with.  Browsing Pinterest is both relaxing and stimulating for my brain, I find that I have better ideas about home decor and change my mind LOTS about what type of aesthetic I want in my home the more time I spend browsing.  I've also noticed that I'm more creative in choosing outfits to wear when I spend time on Pinterest as well.  Even if I'm not browsing fashion-related items specifically, I get inspired by so many of the textures and color combinations that I see and become more adventurous in styling outfits.  

My point is this: I believe that your style is your style, no matter where you're applying it.  The things that you chose to dress and accessorize yourself, your home, or your life in are constant reflections of that style.    

Another point to be made by this post: Pinterest.Is.Everything.  These are just a few of the lovely images that I've come across recently that have inspired my style and aesthetic for my home.

Source: ruemag.com via Sarah on Pinterest