31 October 2011

Five Minutes With {Shopping the Closet}

Happy Monday, ladies! I hope you and yours get more treats than tricks out of this hallow-day I'm sorry, I can't help it and you have your fill of choco treats, Turkish delights, high octane cocktails or whatever shakes your tail feathers.

I'd likes to introduce another favored blogger of mine in this edition of Five Minutes ... a gal who takes Halloween seriously with her fam. She is a do-it-all mom and go-getter who may appear all prepster chic on the outside, but has a rock 'n roll heart. She is a varsity-level thrifter and closet diver and I would Rachel Zoe-style D-I-E if I could have gorgeous bouncy hair like hers. Most of you already know and love her for her style and wit, but if you don't, please allow me to introduce you to Eleanor from Shopping the Closet!


1. When I want to get away from it all I like to read a book ~ I am a voracious reader! Once I start a good book I don’t stop until I am done with it!

2. My family makes me smile.

3. I hate having to decide on what to have for dinner.

4. Drinking hot chocolate is my favorite way to stay warm in the winter.

5. Most people don’t know that I was a total punk rocker through my teens and early 20s!

6. Yesterday, I should have made sure I had a quarter for the library parking meters! I drove all the way back home to get one!

7. Becoming a mom at 20 years old was the moment that changed my life.

8. I can’t live without my iPhone.

9. Miracle Whip was the worst thing I ever ate.

10. I love being asked to go shopping.


11. I hate being asked to play board games ~ BORING!

12. My childhood home (it was haunted!) scares the heck out of me.

13. I wish more people would start being accountable for their decisions/actions.

14. Sneaking out my house in the middle of the night during high school and sneaking back in before my mom would wake me up to get ready for school is the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

15. My favorite room of the house is the family room.

16. Travelling to Europe with hubby and the kids fell off my to-do list for 2011.

17. If I had a theme song, it would be Eleanor Put Your Boots On by Franz Ferdinand ~ my daughter thinks they wrote it about me! Shhh…

18. I need to stop being so controlling ~ I’m a total Type A personality!

19. Chatting and having a drink is what I am most likely to be found doing during a party.

20. It wouldn’t be the holidays without having my extended family with us.


Thanks again for playing along, Eleanor! And have a fantastic day, ladies!

29 October 2011

A Furry Jambu

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I’ve heard that furry ankle boots are all the rage (does anyone still use that term or is that just proof how out of it I am?) this fall, so of course I jumped on the bandwagon when the nice people at Jambu offered to send me a pair of boots to review.

I’ve typically shied away from this style before as I always thought ankle boots + short girl with bulky legs ≠ a good look. But I’ve seen so many great iterations of the furry ankle boot that I just had to try it.

Jambu is known for being comfort shoe brand that uses partially recycled and reusable compressed rubber on their outsoles, plus recycled materials for their packaging. I’ve worn Jambus before and can say they are super-duper comfy. But as you gals know with more comfort shoe brands, style is not typically the most important factor. So what I appreciate about Jambu’s winter collection is that most of their offerings are not only cozy-looking but are taking a nod to on-going trends.

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Pros about the Sophie boots I am wearing? They are comfortable and completely on-trend this season. I literally do not feel like I am wearing heels. In fact, barring anyone pointing and laughing at me, I think I may very well be able to conquer some trails in these babies. And even though the faux fur does not extend into the interior of the boot, I still think my toes will remain nice and cozy when it gets cold outside. Nothing bad to say about the apparent quality of the boots right out of the box except that the faux fur could use some fluffing!

Cons about the Sophie boots? I’m not sure this is a good look for me – both physically and because I don’t think I have the swagger to pull it off. And I don't know how to style them. Plus I wish the faux fur was removable somehow so they would be more versatile in case I wanted to wear these boots under jeans. And I am undecided about the metallic leather toe and heel point, I think we may borderline be entering moon boot territory here.

You can find Jambu boots at most major retailers, or online on places like Zappos or Endless.

So any help would be appreciated - how would you gals style these boots? And what cold-weather trend are you looking to rock this fall/winter? And how the heck do you "fluff" faux fur?

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Sweater: J.Crew shawl collar poncho (sim printed here, cardigan here, toggle here)
Top: H&M (worn here - sim here)
Jeans: F21 ankle skinnies (worn here - sim here)
Necklace: c/o Simply Livly via Etsy
Bracelet: F21 rhinestone tiger (sim here, more subtle here)
Shoes: c/o Jambu sophie

27 October 2011

Lipstick Jungle

I don't think it is difficult to tell that I'm not really a make-up gal. I do concealer, powder, some sort of nude lip and call it a day. I steer clear of liners and mascaras because not only do I have a bad habit jabbing myself in the eyes with them, I also end up looking like a sad clown raccoon within an hour of application.

I have about a fistful of iterations of nude lip color, but any real lip color - you know, the kind that makes it look like I really spent $14 for a tube of something and did apply it - for some reason makes me feel like a little girl playing in her mom's makeup drawer.

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I'm not sure if it is the latent tomboy in me or years of My So-Called Life-style teenage angst, but I've always been a little slow to embrace some of my "womanly rites." I seriously did not wear skirts or dresses on a regular basis until about two years ago. I always wore "sensible" shoes, even in heel form, up until a few months ago and see me now in my 4+ inch skinny heels? No teeter tottering over a metal grate to a concrete head injury yet! But let's knock on wood to be safe ... I still don't really know what to do with my hair, I don't like lacy underthings, I just started painting my nails regularly about two months ago, I don't like frilly, pastel-y, pearl-y, girlie things.

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I think the lipstick has been the biggest deal for me so far, though. To me, lipsticks means serious makeup and real-life grown-up women wear lipstick, not kids like me. But I purchased my first tube of real lip color - i.e., not nude, not close to nude - and finally got the guts to wear it. I probably could have dabbed my toes into the lip color world without going full-bore red, but you can thank the J.Crew marketing gurus for making me kick myself for missing out on their limited edition Poppy King color. This color was close enough in my book, and here's to hoping that I don't end up smearing it across my top or face later in the day.

Are there womenly accoutrements that you still don't feel ready for? What things still make you feel like you're playing dress-up sometimes?

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Top: J.Crew slouchy dolman
Skirt: J.Crew jardin
Necklace: Anthropologie gold finger (worn here - sim delicate here, fancier here)
Bracelet: F21 stretch stud (sim here, here)
Shoes: Michael Kors hamilton (worn here - sim here, plain here, peep here)
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff python mab mini (sim here, here, here)
Lips: L'Oreal colour riche in british red

25 October 2011

Oh My Me My

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In this busy non-stop world of over-time, endless appointments, practices, parties, classes, texting, Tweeting, connecting connecting connecting, do we have time for ourselves anymore?

I'm not talking about the few moments we get to spend with our families or friends - though that's special and rare in its own right - I'm talking about that completely selfish, doing something specifically for no one but myself, who benefits no one but me time.

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What do I like to do for my me time? Surprisingly, lately it has been working out - I'm more effective when I'm by myself and not worrying about looking like a complete idiot. Exercising after work has been a great stress reliever when I'm too concerned about inhaling and exhaling to worry about deadlines or projects. I also like to surf the Internet with the Real Housewives on in the background, doing my nails, reading a few pages before bed each night, even plucking my eyebrows - these are the things that take but a few moments of time but are completely self-indulgent and offer a few moments of respite in a busy week.

So what's your me time?

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Top: Zara animal print (worn here - sim here, here)
Sweater: J. Crew shawl collar poncho (sim hoodie here, sweatshirt here)
Jeans: Banana Republic classic skinny (sim here, here)
Shoes: Sam Edelman kordy (worn here - wedge here, pump here, patent here)
Shoe clip as brooch: Lilywinkel via Etsy
Bracelets: J. Crew bangle, Limited enamel, F21 stretch (sim here, here, here)
Outfit inspired by Emilie

24 October 2011

Asleep with the Eyes Open

I adore the BF, seriously. We've been together for more years than I can remember, we're engaged and on the way to be lifers, we've got a lovely pup and a lovely home together. I've got nothing to complain about. So in the tradition of being a good ole can't-help-myself human, I am going nit-pick.

For all the good things about BF, he has technically been wearing the same outfit his entire life. What's BF's standard uniform? Collared shirt, khaki slacks. I know it's classic and classic never goes out of style - but it does get old.

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BF actually has more clothes than I do partly because he has hoarder tendencies and doesn't get rid of anything and two full racks in our closet are jam packed with his stuff. One entire rack in the closet houses his collared shirts - button-downs and polos in every shade of blue and green imaginable don't even talk about introducing some new color there. The other rack is stuffed wall-to-wall with seemingly the same pair of khaki slacks in either a British tan or stone color. There is the odd suit jacket and dark trouser in the periphery, and exactly three pairs of jeans and two sweaters that are folded and stacked on the tippy top shelf in the closet, meaning they've never seen the light of day since they're been put up there. BF's one style breakout is a pair of madras shorts he wears in the summer.

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Why does BF dress like this? Because it is easy i.e., safe, it never goes out of style and he doesn't need to think about it when getting dressed in the mornings. He will never stand out in a bad way and business-casual pretty much works in almost every situation. And honestly, BF looks good wearing it - but sometimes ... sometimes it is just so YAWN ... you mean you won't even try a v-neck over the button-down, or a pair of jeans?!

Do I whine about it? Believe me, I've tried, so the only whining I'll do is to your gals. I guess I should be glad that BF knows enough about modern style to no longer reach for the pleated slacks anymore. And he is still at least wearing real pants, unlike my dad, who, now in his retirement, wears sweatpants and white sneakers everywhere. To play tennis, to go shopping, to go to dinner out - yeah, uh huh.

What do you think about the personal style of the men in your life? Would you dress them differently if you could?

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Top: Land's End Canvas poplin stretch (sim here, here)
Sweater: J. Crew sequin haya (worn here - sim here, here, muted here)
Skirt: J. Crew dorrie (worn here - sim here, wool here, cord here)
Shoes: Anthro botanist heeled / Boutique 9 night (worn here - tassel here)
Bracelet: Sweet Auburn Studio via Etsy (sim here)

21 October 2011

Five Minutes With {J. Crew Aficionada}

Over two years while doing a Google search on J. Crew stuff, I came upon J. Crew Aficionada. At that time I had heard about blogs but I didn't really get what they were or anything about them. I just remember devouring the contents of the site and then working my way through the listed blogroll. I kept going back for more, but it took several weeks before I worked up the nerve to join Blogger and set up an account so I can start following blogs. JCA, of course, became my first official followed blog.

And though that was over two years ago, to this day JCA remains one of my favorite blogs, a daily read. I consider it a great resource for my J. Crew addiction, and acts as a gathering point for other Crew lovers to come together to share tips, sales, fit information, etc. As fans of the brand, we are all "J. Crew aficionadas" and I love how the blog has remained open to allowing readers to share their honest opinion about Crew-related items, good, bad, other. I've also seen a lot of great blog friendships form. No wonder JCA is often referred to as "the mothership."

So I'm thrilled that in this installment of Five Minutes with ... I get to feature the original JCA herself,  Alexis from J. Crew Aficionada!


1. My two super-cute dogs make me smile.

2. I hate having to decide on what items to buy on a budget when I really want to buy it all!

3. Most people don’t know that I run the J.Crew Aficionada blog (I still haven't told any of my friends & extended family about it).

4. Yesterday, I should have worked on my dissertation {sigh}.

5. Finding out "Arrested Development" (Lucille 2, Mr. F., Hero Squad) got cancelled was the moment that changed my life.

6. I can’t live without my purse (it has everything I need) & a headband.

7. My latest purchase was J.Crew's Encore Trench (I am treating myself to an early birthday present!).

8. My favorite part of the day is the evening when I am finally winding down.

9. Any type of fish (just can't get myself to like it) is the worst thing I ever ate.


10. To be brave is to have fun dancing, while not caring if you look like an idiot.

11. You can tell I am angry when I stop talking to you.

12. Miranda Priestly from the "Devil Wears Prada" scares the heck out of me.

13. The first thing I do when I go home is start putting things away (I like things neat!).

14. If I could have a super power, I would be invisible (there is something nice about going anywhere without being seen).

15. I’ve always wondered why Jerry Springer is still on the air.

16. I wish I could be good at writing my dissertation!

17. My idea of a dream come true is J.Crew Corporate reaching out to the JCA blog on a collaboration of some kind (alas, this is just a dream!).

18. I love being asked to talk about entertainment, news & politics (I am a bit of a trivia junkie).

19. I hate being asked to talk about when I am having a baby (the answer is still, "I don't know!"). ;)


Thanks so much for participating, Alexis!

And please share, ladies, do you remember the blog that first got you into blogging?

20 October 2011

Frugal Glittered Plaid

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I am a known non-thrifter. I've seen the awesome steals and rare hauls some of you gals have pulled in and I am jealous. But I just can't do it - partly because when I do go to Goodwill or whatnot, I never find anything good and partly ... well, let's be honest, I have visions of grubby old clothes with yellowing around the collars and musty moth-ball-mixed-with-BO smells and I am secretly horrified.

I totally know that I am being snotty and down-right thrift-ignorant here, I get that. But I guess I need some guidance, a helping hand that can lead me to the right stores, give me the patience to sort through the racks for the gems, and the vision to see beyond what something may look like hanging on a crammed rack in a dimly lit corner.

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Of course I was thrilled when modernmom contacted me and offered up an item from one of her recent thrifting outings that didn't work out for her - this awesome Esprit skirt that she got for a song. The bright colors and flippy shape made my fashion heart sing as soon as I saw it. It's kind of schoolgirl, kind of holiday, very fun.

So check me out over at modernmom's blog, I Dream of Anthropologie! She's featuring me today and offering up some advanced thrifter advice on finding some awesome steals of your own see you there!

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Top: Ann Taylor (worn here - sim solid black here, as dress here, necklace here)
Skirt: Esprit, thanks to modernmom (sim-ish luxe here, here)
Shoes: Libby Edelman andie (blingy-er here)

18 October 2011

And the Winner is ...


After moments of arduous deliberation (OK, about as long it took to count the number of qualifying entries and plugging it into random.org), we ended up with 130 comments, 128 of them being qualifying entries - and the random number generator picked:


And that means the winner of a $50 gift card of her choice (her choice being J. Crew) is:


(Thanks much, eek, I'll be sending you an e-mail soon for your deets to send the gift card.)

And many many thanks to all your lovely readers for participating in this giveaway and enjoying my little blog. I hope you'll all sit and stay awhile!

The Grass, it is Greener Over There

Well of course I've totally thought about it before. I think anyone who writes or reads a blog has. What sounds better than to give up the daily grind in order to dress up, take outfit photos and then post them online - as a profession.

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As a full-time style blogger, I envision being able to wake up each morning around 10-ish with my adorable pug next to me. Over coffee, I peruse my walk-in closet and spend a good hour mentally debating - what mood am I in today, what kind of vibe do I want to go for, should I wear my new courtesy of designer pumps or one of the half-dozen new dresses that my sponsor sent me. After checking in with my assistant on my schedule for the day, I go out to lunch with my semi-professional photographer boyfriend and then scout some new grasslands-brickwalled locations to shoot my outfit for today's post. We head back to our sweet bungalow house and I write while BF selects the outfit pics. After a phone interview, answering some e-mails on new potential collaborations, and tinkering with my jewelry line and baking brownies, it's time to get dolled up for a soiree at a designer clothing store. There will be champagne, loads of fans, and of course me, as I will be the grand opening guest of honor. Tomorrow, heading to LA for a long relaxing weekend ...

Alright, I know it is not like this in real life. Let's just take the Leandra Medines and Chiara Ferragnis  immediately out of the picture. I know for most of those who choose to blog full-time, it is a constant hustle of getting (and keeping) sponsors, networking networking networking, looking for freelance work to supplement the affiliate income, and trying to continuously grow readership while always coming up with new exciting content, collaborations, outfits, etc.

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Plus, what's the life expectancy of a style - or any, for that matter - blog? If a blogger is hot now, will they still be on top of a style blog food chain two years from now, or will it be on to the next new blog thing? If a blog is making a set amount of money now, there's no guarantee they will be able to grow - or even maintain - that same rate for years or even months. And then what's next? I know this may vary by industry or job type, but how does "Professional Blogger, January 2010 - September 2012" look on a resume?

If it were easy, there'd be a lot more of us doing it. I, like most of the rest of you, blog as a hobby because I enjoy it. I make next to no dollars for doing this, save for money once in a blue moon from affiliate links. My regular work life is vastly different from my blog. And actually, I don't know I could do it full time - not even talking about the whole lack of talent, connections thing - I'm not sure I would still enjoy it if I had to blog, had to worry about posting about the next hot thing and pleasing my sponsors while trying to keep my voice. Plus there's this whole steady income and insurance question - I enjoy this knowing exactly how much money I have coming in every two weeks deal. It's a nice little security blanket for my piece of mind.

I'm certainly no expert, so please let me know what you ladies think. What do you think it would take to blog full time? Do you think it'd be something you'd actually want to do if you had the opportunity? Would you blog for a living?

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Sweater: J. Crew (worn here - sim luxe here, cardigan here)
Dress: Merona by Target odette (solid here, see Rosa rock it)
Shoes: Sofft ramona II (worn here - sim here, here, slingback here)
Necklace: c/o Simply Livly via Etsy

17 October 2011

Road Warrior

Hey, ladies, thanks for being so patient with me and sending me well wishes while I've been away. I wish I could say that I've been MIA for some fun off time but it was a cross-country biz trip medley. At least it was an uneventful few weeks and I'll be here at home for a while.

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So this time on the road has certainly make me think about the type of traveler I am. (Whiny aside) I'd like to consider myself an incredibly sensible air traveler. I can't pack outfits worth a darn, but I will plan my minutes from home departure to landing at the hotel. You know, the one who figures which specific ATM to use, how many minutes it takes from airport to car rental center, if I have time to go sit and eat something or need to grab and run.

I'll stick a wrap in my purse in case it gets cold on the plane, I have a little coin purse of "emergency" travel medicines, I never leave home without one or two novels to pass the time, snacks, drinks. I think seriously about the type of outfit I travel wear in order to be comfortable and fashionable - rubber soled flats, jeans and knits are my travel BFFs. I buy a small enough bottle of water to fit in the seat pocket. I eat before getting on the plane. I never clog the aisle and always have my reading materials out and ready. Yes, I am totally Ryan Bingham.

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I do have one caveat to my practicality though - I like to "reward" myself for enduring the terrible rigors of travelling. I like buy terrible gossip mags and actually read them from cover to cover (Jennifer Aniston did wha-? Oh no she di-int!). I treat myself in deliciously junky terminal fast food - like my latest obsession, Auntie Anne's hot dog pretzels. I do zero work on the plane, opting instead to read or - more preferably - pass out while we're still taxiing.

I don't know how the streamlined travelers do it. The guys who can roll in with no carry-ons, no water, no reading materials - who can sit down, close their eyes and be perfectly content for three hours with no issues. Or the exact opposite of the streamliners - you know, the ones with the required two-piece carry-on limit (plus a purse, plus a laptop bag, plus a neck roll, plus a stack of newspapers and juggling a jumbo size smoothie). The same ones who decide mid-flight to pull out a giant styrofoam container of Philly cheesesteak - extra onions - with garlic fries, and proceed to maw on it while stinking up three rows of seats (never been big on people eating on planes - I've got personal space issues here).

What kind of traveler are you? Do you like to do little things to make traveling more "bearable?" Do you reward yourself somehow for all the tedious "trouble?"

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Sweater: Old Navy 3/4 sleeve (see it all prepped out on Jean)
Skirt: J. Crew chino full (worn here - sim here, trimmed here)
Necklace: White Owl via Etsy (sim here)
Shoes: Sam Edelman kody (sim patent here, wedge here, sleek here)

+++

FYI, my giveaway ends tonight - enter here for your chance to win a $50 gift card of your choice to either Ann Taylor, Anthropologie or J. Crew!

07 October 2011

Wanna Win a $50 Gift Card to One of Your Fave Retailers?

I know this is probably ad nauseum by now, but I seriously am appreciative having all you ladies reading my blog and checking out my outfits, posts, ramblings. I love this community of strong, beautiful, passionate women who share my love for fashion and look to inspire each other in so many different ways.

 I am still going to be MIA for another week on another trip, but thought it may be fun to show you guys my appreciation while I am blog absent by offering up a little giveaway.

One of you gals will have the opportunity to win a $50 gift card of your choice to either 
Ann Taylor, Anthropologie or J. Crew!

  

Entering is easy:
  1. Be a public follower of respect the shoes on Google Friend Connect
  2. Leave a comment with which gift card you would choose
  3. Include your e-mail address if it is not easily accessible on your profile or blog
For extra entries (please leave as additional comments):
  • "Like" respect the shoes on Facebook and provide your FB name (+1)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link (+1)

Contest runs until Monday, October 17 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Winner will be selected at random shortly afterwards.

Thanks much, ladies! This contest is sponsored solely by respect the shoes.

03 October 2011

Five Minutes With {Red Soles and Red Wine}

Happy first week of October, ladies! I'm on trip two of my biz travel extravaganza and nursing a pretty incredible work event-related sunburn that involves my arms from the elbows down, nose, cheeks and chin, so I'm still going to be some blog-absent while rocking my "white-collar's" tan this week. So to make up for the lack of my outfit posts and random ramblings, I give you ladies another edition of the Five Minutes With ... blogger feature!

This week's featured blogger is a super-talented multi-tasker with a penchant for looking fantastic in designer duds and the grace to handle platform stilettos. She's got some jealous-making gorgeous locks and the talent to pull down both a full-time "real world" job and design blinged-out baubles with her sis.

This week, please meet Jen from Red Soles and Red Wine (and half of the jewelry design duo behind T+J Designs - hello, pyramid crystal bangle, I heart you):


1. Eggplant, no matter how man times I try it I still don’t like it! was the worst thing I ever ate.

2. To be brave is to live life to the fullest. Challenges are what make you grow.

3. I wish I could be friends with Rachel Zoe, she has my dream job.

4. Spiders and bugs scare the heck out of me.

5. I hate having to decide on what to cook, I’m not great cook, but love to eat.

6. The best thing I like about blogging is all the people I’ve communicated with, such great people in the blogging world.

7. My least favorite thing about blogging is negative comments. I believe in supporting women and what makes you successful is your attitude towards others and hard work. People are everything and being kind to each other is imperative in this world.

8. I would love to learn to draw, I am a horrible drawer and I see blogs with the most beautiful illustrations and I wish I could do the same!

9. Most people don’t know that I am afraid to speak in public. I’ve eased into it over the last 10 years and had to do a lot of it in my previous job, but the first time as an assistant merchandiser in presenting I had a full on panic attack.


10. Yesterday, I should have relaxed.

11. Meeting my husband was the moment that changed my life.

12. I can’t live without my dog Louis (Yorkshire terrier).

13. My latest purchase was a Trina Turk fur collared sweater.

14. My favorite useless skill is being able to shop for 10 hours a day and probably everyday. I love shopping and have been lucky enough to travel to Europe to shop for work. Shopping all day for a week when it’s not your money is the best!

15. Moving to New York without a job yet is the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

16. Modern Family cracks me up.

17. The first thing I do when I go home is hug my dog and my husband.
18. If I had a theme song, it would be a current song I’m loving “Good Life” by OneRepublic.

19. My favorite outfit is I can’t choose one! I love anything with sequins or leopard print.


Thanks so much again for participating, Jen! And stay tuned, ladies, for another blogger feature coming soon!
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