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Sick Day

I stayed up all night coughing a layer off my lungs. Good times.

Today my husband went for a hike with his best friend, and I am trying to purify the home. Laundry, change the sheets, sterilize the bathroom, a quick run of the vacuum (after watching Project Runway, of course!).

White terry robe from Land’s End. The BEST bathrobe ever! So sturdy and warm and cozy (be warned – they run large). Under it is a black ROOR tee-shirt belonginf to my husband. On the bottom is a pair of my husband’s boxers from Banana Republic. On my feet are these hideous ankle socks my mom bought me for the 4th of July – red and white stripes with a blue square of stars on the top of the foot.

Friday Favorite: Hydro Flask

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Friday Favorite but would like to start back up the series, at least once a month. Since I have been purchasing less and researching to buy better, I’ve found lots of awesome things that deserve some love.

hydro flask travel mug reviewTravel coffee mugs… I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them because they prevent me from spilling java all over my sweater on the commute to work, but I hate them because they always let me down. They leak, they don’t insulate well, they can’t handle a trip in the dishwasher. If they’re attractive they’re usually crap, if they’re sturdy they often don’t fit well in my cup holder. Karl’s sick of hearing me complain about our travel mugs and at the end of last year bought me the Hydro Flask Coffee and Tea Flask.

At first glance, it didn’t look like anything special. He did get it in orange (my favorite color), but it seemed like any other travel mug you’d get from a sporting goods store. It was a sweet gesture, I washed it, and used it the next day with my morning coffee. And then I was impressed.

The Hydro Flask was full of steaming hot coffee yet the exterior was cool… and remained cool. The top is completely spill-proof; like snap it shut and shove it in your pocket while fumbling for your keys and not a drop spill-proof. It flips open with one hand, and it’s easy to drink from (no coffee dribbling on your chin or nose). But the thing that astounded me was the coffee stayed hot… all day! At lunch I opened it and it was still drinkable warm. At the end of the day the coffee was still warmer than room temperature. The other weekend I ran around doing errands; I started the day with my Hydro Flask full of super hot green tea. It was so hot I couldn’t drink it. I went to CVS and had to wait for a prescription and then wait in a long line for the register, headed to the post office to drop off some packages and bumped into a neighbor where we chatted for at least 20 minutes. Came back in my car and the tea was still burning my tongue. Went to Target and by time I was in line for the register the tea was a drinkable temperature. Got an oil change and a manicure and still my tea was hot. Five hours after filling my Hydro Flask, I still was getting steam when I opened it up for a sip. All that, and the exterior was the same cold temperature as my car in December!

While the Hydro Flask says not dishwasher safe, I’ve put it in there a few times. However the wide mouth makes it super easy to wash and there’s no weird crevices or cheap glued-in linings that will separate with time. The powder-coated exterior won’t chip and doesn’t get sweaty with condensation. All this and the Hydro Flask has a lifetime warranty!

I know I totally sound like an infomercial, but I am mega impressed. I’ve gone through dozens of travel mugs and they’re never quite right. This one? A winner.

Shop My Closet – On Poshmark!

WardrobeOxygen on PoshmarkI’ve been saying for a while that I needed to get off my tuchus and sell all the clothes I don’t currently wear. While I may clean out my closet I do have a dirty secret… I have bins and bags full of clothes in my attic (and there were a couple full contractor bags in my home office). I regularly donate career wear to a charity and have Freecycled and donated all my maternity clothes and clothes that are in “well loved” condition, but the nicer stuff I’ve been holding on to.

No more. All this clothing is doing no one favors being boxed and bagged up in my attic. A couple weekends ago, my best friend came over and for eight hours we dug through three bags. All pieces were photographed, packed up, labeled, and ready to ship. While I have used eBay and a Shop My Closet blog in the past, this time I decided to use Poshmark. My friend Alyson has raved about it for a long time and many of you have told me you use it with great success. It seemed simpler than eBay too.

For the past two weeks I have been using Poshmark and I have become as big of a fan as my friend Alyson! It’s an app-based program; while you can visit Poshmark on your computer, to buy and sell you need to do it on your phone. As a seller, I think this makes the process uber easy – my pictures are already on my phone so I can easily upload them, write a quick description, and even answer questions and negotiate counteroffers. I’ve found the customers to be more… reasonable than on eBay. You’re not usually expected to offer 5,000 measurements for a $6 LOFT tee, people are super friendly and quick to share and comment, and while I have had a couple ridiculous counter offers (no, I will not sell that NWT original retail still in the store $250 item for $15), in general it has been a friendly and painless experience.

Tips for Selling on Poshmark by Wardrobe OxygenA couple of you saw on social media that I was on Poshmark and have joined to buy and sell. If you’re interested, if you use this link and code PMZYS you’ll get $5 off your first order and I too will receive a $5 credit (find me, I am wardrobeoxygen).  There’s no auction or bidding, you can counter-offer and some sellers (myself included) offer  “bundling” where you can purchase multiple pieces from a seller at one time and save on shipping ($4.99/order).  If you’re interested in selling on Poshmark, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Be Honest.  Like other selling sites, Poshmark has a rating system.  Buyers can give you up to five stars for orders.  It’s not worth it to ruin your reputation by trying to pass off replicas, lie about the condition of a garment, or its original price.
  • Provide Details.  Is it an XL but fits more like a L?  How did you style it?  If you recall the original style name or number or even color name, include it.  While Poshmark won’t let you write a novel, you can offer quite a lot of information.  The more details you provide, the more likely the item will sell and the more likely the buyer will get what she expected and leave you a favorable rating.
  • Take Good Photos.  I use my iPhone 6s and take the pictures in natural light near a window.  For Christmas I got this dress form; it’s not high quality (in fact I cracked the base the day my friend and I were on a Poshmark selling spree and it’s now held together with packing tape) but it gives a better idea of how an item will fit than lying a sweater on your bed or floor.  If you have a photo of you wearing the item, include that too.  I also search the internet for stock photos of the item.  A mix of all three is a great way to get an item sold.  Poshmark lets you upload four photos per item with the first photo being your cover photo.  I’ve found the most successful cover photos are those with me wearing the piece.  If you don’t have a photographer taking your picture in items for a blog, a mirror selfie in a well-lit room is still good (and you can cut off your head in the photo if you wish to be anonymous).
  • Stock Up on Free Priority Mailers.  Your post office has Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes and boxes for free; these are perfect for shipping out your orders.  Included in the cut Poshmark takes from your sales (20%, or $2.95 if the item sells for $5 or less) is a shipping label.  When you make a sale, Poshmark emails you this Priority Mail label.  You can order shipping bags and boxes from USPS.com for free but know it takes up to two weeks to receive your order.  If you have a post office nearby, grab a few to get your sales going.
  • Take Care with your Sales.  I fold nicely, wrap in tissue, tie with a bit of curling ribbon, and carefully slip into the box or bag.  I got a pack of cheap tissue paper; you only need 1-2 pieces per order.  The curling ribbon I purchased when I attended a baby shower where all presents were to be wrapped in blue.  That yet-to-be-born baby is now 5 and as you see in the photo above, there’s still plenty left even though every shower and birthday present since the shower had turquoise ribbon on it.  I bought some rolls of packing tape, and because I’m a dork like that, ordered some cheapy business cards from VistaPrint (this is a referral link that will give you $10 off your first order) that thank the buyer for her order, have my name and my Poshmark address on them.  The overall cost is minimal, but it makes the experience much nicer for the recipient.
  • Raise Your Rates.  Poshmarkers LOVE to counter-offer.  Consider this when making your prices.  It’s worth it to up the price a few dollars to be ready for a counter-offer (if you accept a counter-offer the item sells immediately to that individual).  Also, if you have stagnant items that don’t want to sell, you can then lower the price without too much heartache.  A plus to lowering the rate is anyone who “liked” the piece will end up receiving reduced shipping.
  • Be Quick with Communication.  If someone asks for additional details or makes a counter-offer, be polite and reply within 24 hours.  Since Poshmark is on your phone, it’s easy to quickly type in a response and move on with your day.
  • Follow the Rules.  Don’t accept sales through PayPal or offline.  Don’t try to sell used makeup or clutter Poshmark with items they don’t allow to be sold on their app (home goods, electronics, health and wellness products, used underwear and makeup).  Don’t label something a blouse when in fact it’s one of those belly wrap things that spam social media.  And don’t call something Chanel-esque or like Louis Vuitton – that’s a trademark violation and such names can only be used if the item is legitimately from that brand.
  • Be Part of the Community.  Share other people’s sales (I only share that which I actually like), follow other accounts, leave comments and reply to comments.  Poshmark is very social, and by being part of the community you’ll get a larger audience to see your closet, resulting in faster and more sales!

Are you on Poshmark?  I’d love to hear your experiences and feel free to share your closet in the comments!

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Dress – Eliza J (no longer available – similar. Also recently saw this dress at Ross for around $20)
Belt Another Line c/o Nordstrom Rack
Shoes – Nine West (no longer available – similar)

I miss my closet! It SUCKS trying to figure out what to wear every morning from a crowded rolling rack in my home office, with pieces monkey-hung six down. I have no clue what I own, I don’t have a mirror nearby, and I just get overwhelmed. Today they were to come and start repairing the roof, but it’s raining off and on, will be doing such for the rest of the week so I fear repairs will be delayed.

Not to be Negative Nelly all over this post, but the sound of rain falling on a tarp covering a huge hole in your roof is not pleasant. It made getting to sleep and staying asleep very difficult last night. I have been trying to stay positive about this whole experience (no one was hurt, little material damage, yadda yadda) but it’s starting to get to me. While it really isn’t a big deal (again, no one was hurt and my house is still liveable), it reminds me of when I was on bedrest for pregnancy. Everyone asks a ton of questions, constantly bringing it up, and they keep sharing their horror stories of missed water damage destroying a home, second hurricanes coming, etc. which just stresses me out more. I can’t wait until this is all over and done with (and note to all, if your friend is on bedrest while pregnant, don’t tell her stories of HELLP, placenta previa and abruption, and early labor and forced C-sections. Just bring her magazines and snacks and come by to say hi.).

This weekend I started feeling under the weather on Saturday night, by Sunday early evening I was full-blown sick. Chills, body aches, sinuses freaking out, eyes hurting, fever. Sunday Emerson woke with the same thing I had so we were sicky poos together all day on yesterday. Today I am better, though still sniffling and feeling grody. While Emerson’s nose is running like a faucet and she is pretty low-key, she too seems to be feeling better today.

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Friday

As you can see from the picture, it’s sunny out again. Still warm, no need for a coat!

Sort of ran late today. Woke up at 5:30 for yoga, did the quick shower, the contacts, the brushing and flossing of the teeth and application of a bit of Suave Professionals Healthy Curls mousse. Then the yoga instructor called to say she was sick and cancelling. I decided to get back into bed, snuggle with the hubby and enjoy an extra hour of snoozing.

The alarm went off, I hit snooze…. must have hit it five times. Hair had completely dried and was a frizz-ball. Company potluck today and i didn’t make anything. Suddenly in a tizzy. I curled what I could on my head, used some Biosilk to tame other pieces, ended up curling almost the whole head to make it look less Bon Jovi circa 1988 and more now. I thought it turned out okay, but these pictures make it look a bit like Leif Garrett back in the day and still frizzy. It is still frizzy – I ran to the grocery to get some pasta salad from the deli for the potluck, came back to the office and my hair is a ball of fuzz. I resorted to rubbing some hand cream (Philosophy’s Lemonade) on my hands and then over my hair ( I feel like a Sunsilk ad!). And WOAH does my forehead look big! i need a haircut STAT!

Outfit is tissue-weight merino v-neck from J. Crew in Black Cherry, white ribbed tank also from J. Crew, Curvy Bootcut jeans from Gap, teal suede wedges from Seychelles, silver dangle earrings, cuff and then my pocket watch necklace from Ann Taylor Loft.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3 and concealer in C1-3, Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint, Nars blush in Orgasm, Sally Hansen Diamond Lipgloss in Champagne Toast, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Black.

Oooh and a coworker who usually works at the client site was in the office today and noticed I lost weight! The first comment outside this blog! He said I looked as though I lost 20 lbs! Not quite, but THANKS!!!!

Saturday

In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. :-)

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Monday

These pictures are at the end of the day. It was a rough day. I am still sick, and I had to fly out to visit a client in another state. Worked six hours, then flew, then finally got to my hotel. Had a fever. Didn’t want to look pretty. Didn’t care. JUST. WANTED. SLEEP.

Gray CBGB tee shirt covered by charcoal shetland v-neck sweater from L.L. Bean that originally belonged to my father. Straight bootcut jeans from Gap that are a bit too big. Black boots from Enzo, silver medium hoops and cuff, turquoise pashmina as scarf/airplane blanket. Hair was finger combed, but not touched otherwise. No makeup. My face hurts, my scalp hurts and I just need to sleep and heal.

An Ode to Revlon

the most unforgettable women in the world wear revlonThis post is inspired by the Refinery 29 piece I recently shared on Wardrobe Oxygen’s Facebook page. I must say I was surprised to hear Revlon is not doing well; while their recent Love is On campaign doesn’t appeal to me, their actual product does. And unlike Refinery 29, I find Revlon’s packaging to be elegant, sturdy, and often times equal to department store brands in regard to style.

When I was first allowed to wear makeup, my mom allowed grey pencil eyeliner, mascara, and a light colored lipstick. That first lipstick was the one my mom currently wore, Revlon’s Iceblue Pink.

In college, brown lipsticks were all the rage and the best ones were by Revlon. While many adored Revlon’s Toast of New York, I preferred Coffee Bean, which had a bit of shimmer and a cooler chocolate tone.

After college, I had a job as a brand visual merchandiser and my supervisor really pushed having a polished appearance and dressing not for the job you have but the one you wanted. I began getting manicures to clean up my gnawed-on fingers, and went to get a makeover from a department store cosmetics counter. After that, I felt to be an adult, I had to leave the drugstore and enter the mall. I was a MAC loyalist for a bit, spent a good portion of my lunch break and paycheck in Sephora, and when I got married I knew I had to have the best – a face by Chanel.  But after the novelty wore off, I found myself returning to the drugstore for at first, lipsticks and then, almost everything else.

audrey-hepburn-breakfast-at-tiffanysOver the years, the drugstore brands caught up to the department store lines and in my opinion, the one at the head of the pack was Revlon. They had the most beautiful celebrities for their ad campaigns, the most beautiful packaging, the best variety of colors, and the highest quality formulas. And one thing I loved is their lipstick containers hardly changed at all over the decades. While Refinery 29 used a picture of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as an example of how the brand needs a makeover, I think it’s a selling point to use a brand that was chic then and now. I mean, look how many people still use Holly Golightly and Audrey Hepburn as style icons in 2016!

And so, I will share the current Revlon products on my dressing table and in my cosmetics bag. By doing this post it made me realize even more how much I use and trust Revlon:

I have written many times before about the awesomeness which is Revlon ColorStay foundation. I have used the liquid and the whipped formula and am amazed how it will stay on through humidity, through sob sessions, through a mega dance session at a GA concert. It never breaks me out, and whether I have a bit of a tan or am at my deathly palest, I can find a color that perfectly matches my skin.

Revlon’s Insta-Fix was something I picked up by random in early fall when I had an event after work and nothing to refresh my face. I bought it in Nude and I have never had a product so perfectly match my skintone. Lately, I use just a BB cream with Insta-Fix under the eyes, around the nose and lips and a bit between the brows to even out my skintone and add a bit more opacity. It’s awesome for travel and late in the day refreshes so I bought a second one to keep in my makeup bag.

I’ve tried a kazillion concealers over the years, but for the past several months I’ve been using Revlon’s Photoready Concealer in Light. It’s that perfect mix of creamy yet dry, so I can apply it, pat it in place, and it doesn’t fade, crease, or slide during the day. I use it under my eyes without it making my eye area look older; the formula is equal to fancy brand concealers I’ve paid twice or three times as much for (and that usually come in a smaller container).

revlon ads from the pastRevlon ColorStay eye shadow has been in my makeup drawer for over a decade. I still mourn the loss of the Neutral Khakis quad (RIP), but currently own Addictive, Adventurous, and Decadent and love how the colors truly stay, even with me constantly rubbing my allergy-prone eyes.

The only cream blush I have had success with is Revlon’s Photoready version.  Both Coral Reef (a non-sparkly creamy alternative to NARS Orgasm) and Flushed (a cool pink that can look quite pretty) are in my arsenal and are go-tos when it’s hot and sweaty or if I want a less “done” face.

I don’t think I have recommended a makeup product as much as I have Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic. I love this red, it’s a soft wash of color that makes me feel like Snow White, but it can be layered for more impact. It’s also gorgeous when worn over matte lipsticks (like Revlon’s discontinued matte lipcolors) to give a bit of shine without the original color wearing away. I also have this balm stain crayon in Smitten and Adore and always have at least one in my purse because they’re so easy to apply without a mirror (they also make great cheek color in a pinch).

I also love Revlon’s Lacquer Balms. Last summer when I was stuck in a cast up to my armpit, I decided to make the most of the situation and have it wrapped in hot pink. I matched that hot pink with Revlon’s Lacquer Balm in Vivacious and that bright bold pink was my signature color through Labor Day. While many things from my broken arm situation now make me sick to my stomach, I can still whip out Vivacious and feel like a complete badass.

Revlon’s Ultra HD lipsticks are awesome for when you want a super bold pout that is low-maintenance. The color really sticks on, is saturated, but your lips are soft and comfortable and look hydrated. Poinsettia and Gladiolus were my jams this past summer and looked amazing with just a flushed cheek and defined lashes. Another great product for bold lips with moisture is their Moon Drops lipstick. I am sorta in love with the green tube, and regularly pull out Hot Coral or Orange Flip for a bold pout with some summery warmth to it.

Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipgloss is a great alternative to high-end brands. I love applying it over the balm stain or a matte lipstick for some shine, or wearing it alone for weekends or when I have a really intense eye. Rosy Future and Fatal Apple are in my makeup bag at this very instant.

Blog_Revlon_1952_DorianLeigh_FireIce_Avedon_2010_JessicaBiel_MarioTestinoAnd of course the classic, Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick. No heavy smell, no drying formula, caps that stay put, bullets that stay strong even when you’re at the bottom of the tube (hello $26 lipsticks that crumble or gets smeary when not even halfway through the lipstick). The colors are true and there’s over 80 to choose from. I have seriously gone to four different big box and drugstores in a day to find different colors, and I likely have over 20 of these lipsticks currently in my possession. Red Lacquer and Certainly Red are regular bright reds that I rock, Cherries in the Snow is a bold pinky-red I adore, Plum Baby and Goldpearl Plum are pinky brownish nudes I regularly wear, and Teak Rose and Rosewine are warmer pinky brownish nudes I wear when I’m sporting more autumnal colors.

As for the other parts of the line, I have owned Revlon lash curlers, tweezers, and scissors and find them high quality. A Revlon brow brush is currently residing in my makeup brush cup and one of their pencil sharpeners is in my dressing table drawer. I don’t buy nailcolor often, but have found Revlon’s formula to rival trendier brands (and have just as cool of colors).

revlon magazine ads over the yearsOver the years, there have been many other Revlon products I have used and loved. But like most cosmetic brands, items (like my mom’s Iceblue Pink lipstick) end up discontinued. While I haven’t been impressed by their mascaras and haven’t tried their liners because I have a HG favorite from another brand, usually if I try anything from the line I end up liking it.

I do find their current target market with the eye and nail art products to be odd and a contrast to the rest of their line. I also wonder with their latest mascara collection’s bright tubes if they’re trying to be CoverGirl. I think what makes Revlon great is that they ARE a classic brand, a brand that focuses on quality, elegant packaging, and wearable color. I wish them the best, and hope they don’t discontinue that which makes them so great.

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Black poncho – c/o Goddis Knitwear
White tank – Caslon
JeansSofia Boot c/o Lucky Brand
BootsMiss Sixty “Jaiden”
Bracelets – eBay, boutique in Rehoboth Beach
Bag – Banana Republic (no longer available – similar)

Back to work! I went on Friday but it totally wore me out and I think made me sick again. However yesterday other than a horrible cough, I am feeling good. I still wanted to be comfortable, so I went pretty casual. I just got this poncho from Goddis and I adore it – it’s like curling up in a cozy throw but looking chic! And these jeans from Lucky Brand are so comfortable – they are full of stretch, lightweight, and really hold their shape throughout the day!

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Thursday: Real Life

Sweater: Hinge | Tee: Old Navy | Jeggings: Old Navy (similar) | Boots: DUO (similar)

I read recently on a forum that people are finding fashion blogs to become more and more false, more like catalogs. Perfectly airbrushed girls skipping through leaves drinking lattes and wearing Karen Walker sunglasses. Where’s the outfits people really wear to the grocery store, on Casual Friday, when sick?

Well here you go folks, this is what a fashion blogger wears when she has the flu yet still has to go to work. I am drugged up, hydrated, full of vitamin C and in the office even so I feel like death. And this is what I am wearing. Comfy tee shirt (yeah, I now have 6 of these tee shirts), jeggings that are so old and soft they feel like knit leggings, flat boots, and the coziest most comforting sweater in my wardrobe.  And yes, I wore this same sweater almost all day yesterday when at home, wrapped up in an afghan watching Ricki Lake and coughing my head off.

Tuesday I came to work and hardly brushed my hair or washed my face and felt and looked awful. Every time I bumped into a coworker they took a double-take, I looked so dreadful and not me. I knew I had to be at work today even though I feel worse today than Tuesday so I made some effort – I curled my hair in large sections and did my makeup. It’s amazing how much better I feel knowing I don’t look as horrible as I feel.

Many blogs show real life – what we wear to work, to the market, and when we are sick.  Not every blog is an airbrushed faux reality, you just need to dig a little deeper into the blogosphere and you can find us women in grandma sweaters and faded black jeans, sniffling through a day at the office.

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Thursday and Friday

Thursday I started the day okay but by mid-day I was super duper sick. So sick my director commanded me to head home and heal up. I left around 1:30pm. Friday I could hardly get out of bed to email my team that I was calling out. My whole body ached, I had the sniffles, sneezes, coughs, wheezes and whines. And not really and meds available for me to take. I drank lots of orange juice, water, tea and vegetable broth and slept a ton; by evening I felt around 80% back to normal.

Anyway, back to Thursday’s attire. I only have two bras that currently fit and both were dirty so I had to figure out a top that wouldn’t show my pregnancy quad-boob. On top of that, I am fitting comfortably into my leftover size 14 trousers but I really don’t have many left. My Essential jeans from The Gap still fit, but having anything that heavy of fabric pressed against my stomach right now makes me feel a bit nauseous. I am not maternity clothes size, but I am definitely a different shape and can’t deal with anything rubbing against my stomach. So expect to see these two pairs of black pants quite a lot the next several weeks! :)

Attire:
Ann Taylor: green silk blouse, black triacetate suiting trousers, gold hoops
J. Crew: Gold necklace
Mossimo: Black leather thong heels

Hair:
Washed and conditioned
Matrix Curl.life Contouring Milk
Scrunched and dried with dryer and diffuser

Beauty:
Cover Girl: Smoothers tinted moisturizer in Light/Medium, LashBlast waterproof mascara in Black
Maybelline: Brow powder in Dark Brown
Cargo: Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Philosophy: The Supernatural color correctors in Light
Benefit: Her Glossiness in Next Question Please
Revlon: ColorStay shadow quad in neutral Khakis – Olive on lid and along lash lines
Burberry London

The Flu

Yep folks, I got the flu.  Luckily I think I have the old-school version, not the N1H1.  So no tummy issues, but I do look like the Before part of a NyQuill commercial.

I started feeling off last Thursday.  Friday I was coughing at work and feeling a bit weak.  Not a great thing as that I was leaving for Charleston, SC the next day to officiate and attend a good friend’s wedding.

I woke at 3am for my 7am flight and by time I got off the plane at Charleston airport, I was sick.  I thought I would be okay – just that post-flight ickiness.  My sister picked me up (she had driven down the night prior) and we went to the hotel.  I changed, freshened up and went to meet the bride and groom to be and other friends for brunch.  I had to leave brunch early because I was feeling so ill.

I spent most of my Charleston weekend cooped up in my hotel room.  I got through the rehearsal, but ended up arriving late and leaving the rehearsal dinner early.  The next day I doped up enough on B6, Oscillococcinum and Motrin to be able to perform the ceremony and attend the reception without wanting to curl up into the fetal position.  I will have to visit Charleston again so I can see more than the interior of the Holiday Inn on Calhoun and the pharmacy aisle of the Harris Teeter!

Anyway, no real pictures of me but I did have some fabulous outfits.

Flight down: Dark Long & Lean jeans from Gap, black ribbed tank, my fuzzy gray cardigan from Kenzie, black city boots, silver jewelry and my ivory pashmina.

Brunch: Navy jersey dress from Soprano, silver flops from Havanias, silver jewlery.  It was a casual place (Poogan’s Porch).  I brought my black belt and black patent T-straps to dress it up but the flip flops were actually more appropriate for the event.
Rehearsal: Same outfit.  I was so sick, I came home from the brunch, took off the flip flops and my earrings and crashed right into the bed.  I woke up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on some mascara and Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Fig and headed out in my sick funk.  This is me sitting on the front porch of the hotel waiting for my friends to pick me up and take me to the rehearsal.
Rehearsal Dinner: I took a very hot shower and some cold medicine and thought I was feeling better so I wore my black feather print dress from Muse (I took a picture of me in it last week but it’s on my work computer), black patent T-straps from Softt, black patent clutch from Ann Taylor Loft and silver hoops and cuff.  I looked cute, but the good feeling didn’t last.  I was hot and stiff and achy and out of it.  So out of it, I walked up the stairs to the restaurant lobby where the restrooms were and passed some college kids on benches waiting for a table. I heard them say, “damn, she’s trashed!”  I didn’t at the time think they meant me until I returned and carefully maneuvered the stairs and they clapped when I got to the bottom.  It did make me giggle, though it also made me want to go back and cough on them. 😉
No picture of the FANTASTIC dress (I will be rocking the heck out of it this winter!), but here I am with my sister upon arriving at the rehearsal dinner before I felt as though I was going to die…

Breakfast: We had reservations at High Cotton and I knew I had to eat something that day so I took a hot shower and went.  I wore my red print dress from Max Studio with the black patent belt from Ann Taylor and my black patent T-straps.  The place was quite lovely, but I was still feeling poor so we made the meal short and went to Harris Teeter to stock up on drugs and Gatorade for me.  I then spent the rest of the day sleeping so I could be in decent shape for the wedding.

Wedding: I wore my black Calvin Klein maxi dress that I wore for my friend Shelly’s wedding, gold sandals from Lands End, all of my gold bangles, some gold dangly earrings and a black pashmina.  Hair was messy/curly, smoky eyes.  I wore the pashmina for the ceremony, pinned behind me so it worked like a shrug.  I took it off for the reception.

Trip home: I rode home with my sister in her car.  I was not feeling cute nor looking cute.  Wore a dark red nursing tank from Bravado so I could easily pump while on the road, my Gap jeans from the flight down, and my Kenzie cardigan.  The Havanias flip flops rounded out the sick girl look.

So I left Saturday morning, came home Monday night and have been sick ever since.  I have not been to work.  I hope to be well enough to properly work from home tomorrow, but my brain is really fuzzy, I am dizzy, achy, and exhausted from coughing.

Thursday: Pleats and Peplum

Top: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Nordstrom (similar)
Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar)
Bracelet and Necklace: c/o Lydell NYC

The whole family has been sick the past couple of days – I left work early on Tuesday and yesterday my husband and I spent almost the whole day sleeping and drinking tea to recover (my mom watches Emerson on Wednesdays). I don’t feel 100% but knew I had to get back to work; I decided to wear a fun outfit to psych myself into getting out of my pajamas. I just received this gorgeous bracelet and necklace set from Lydell NYC yesterday and felt it would be best showcased with an all-black ensemble.

This skirt is something I bought during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale but when I got it, it just felt wrong. Due to being sick and stressed out lately, I have lost some weight and now the skirt fits much better – one more item crossed off the fantasy closet wish list! Can’t wait to wear it this fall and winter with chunky sweaters and tights.

And I just HAD to share this picture of my little superstar.  While I looked a bit ridiculous in the photo cracking up at her posing, she totally killed it.  Sashay Shaunte, Emerson!

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Tuesday

So it’s not the beer, I think I am actually sick. I had the hardest time sleeping, I felt fevered. Sneezing, coughing, body aches along with the tummy issues. Good times. By this morning the last thing I wanted to do was look human and head to work. My peer at work is out so i knew it was very important to go in. Took some Advil and prayed for the best.

As I have mentioned on my other blog, I never feel that there is a justified reason to look like ass in public. Yes I am sick and feel miserable and will be spending a good portion of the day either holding my head or visiting the head, but that doesn’t mean i can wear flannel PJ’s and a scrunchie to work.

Black stretchy v-neck sweater from Banana Republic. Off-white stretch denim skirt with tan stitching from Ann Taylor Loft. Necklace of seaglass and silver wire. Silver hoops and cuff bracelet. Beaded thongs from Seychelles on my feet.

Hair is dirty. I should have taken a shower but I didn’t have the time or energy. I jsut used a round brush on it with the dryer to remove the bends from sleeping on it.

Makeup was a necessity. Bare Minerals foundation, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer, Body Shop’s Sheer Lipcolor in Sheer Caramel, Revlon’s ColorStay quad in Neutral – ivory on the brow bone and inner corners of the eyes, khaki on the lid, brown along the lash line. L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black on curled lashes.

Whew, I am exhausted! I want my bed! Seven hours to go….

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

Seasonless Black Trousers

A pair of black trousers in a seasonless fabric is a necessity to any woman’s wardrobe. What deems a fabric “seasonless?” This means the pants are not wool, they are not cotton. They are most likely a blend of fabrics, usually a good portion synthetic. Ann Taylor has a seasonless fabric they call Triacetate. Express’ seasonless fabric is called Microtwill. J.Crew (and many other brands) calls their version Gabardine. All different fabrics, all seasonless. Maintains it’s shape, often has a bit of stretch, has a slight texture or sheen (great for dressing up and dressing down!), and sort of blends into the background. Not only should these tousers be seasonless, they should be eventless (if that is a word). You want trousers that can go from work to a happy hour to a cocktail party to an interview, to a night club. What cut achieves this? A bootcut leg, not tight, but not Palazzo pants (those pants that look like a skirt on each leg). A tab waist if often a good choice. You never need to worry about a belt, it lies flat under fitted, untucked shirts, yet looks smart with a tucked in oxford. Due to a tab-wait trouser having a wider waistband, it is less likely to cut into the torso, creating a spare tire above the waistline. Very flattering on women with hips, bellies, rears, or straight shapes.

These trousers should not have front pockets. I do not care what your body shape is, front pockets ruin a smooth line and make trousers look more casual and less versatile. These pockets often bow out, wrinkle under the tousers, and look messy. They can make Kate Moss look like Kathy Bates. Back pockets are okay, as long as they are small besom pockets, and not patch pockets (again, detroy the versatility and make the trouser more dated and casual).

Examples of good trousers:

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Yes, I said these trousers should be black, but I chose a lighter color so you could see the detail. The bootcut leg adds a modern look to the pant, elongates and slims the leg. This is an example of a tab waist. See how it is a wider waistband, less likely to cut into the middle. The lack of pleats, seaming and pockets in the front minimizes a belly and gives a smooth line. The strong crease down the front elongates the leg and gives a long, lean look. See how you could see these pants with an oxford and matching blazer with pumps for work, a beaded camisole and pointy toed heels for a night club, a cotton v-neck sweater sweater and some boots for a jaunt to the mall. These pants are from Ann Taylor, and are a cotton/rayon/spandex blend (rayon gives it the seasonless fabric, strech gives it the smooth fit wear after wear).

Here is a great example from Lane Bryant:

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These pants are a seasonless nylon/rayon/spandex blend. They are cut just below the waist (reduces the look of tummy bulge), have a bootcut leg, and smooth lower torso. These pants would look great with strappy heels, a beaded shell and matching jacket for a cocktail party, or a merino turtleneck and some crocodile pointy boots for lunch with the girls. At the time of writing this, these trousers are on sale for $20, regularly $45. You really can find stylish classic pieces for a steal at your local mall. I cannot stress this point enough.

The point is that with the right black trousers, you can dress for almost any event. I have black trousers I purchased five years ago, and still wear weekly. They do not have to cost a lot, most of the trousers I buy on sale and get for less than $50.00. Do keep in mind that though a bargain is always great, black trousers is one thing you do not want to look cheap. They will be worn more than most anything else in your wardrobe, so don’t settle for a chintzy fabric with a cheap sheen, a pair that wrinkles easily, isn’t lined, isn’t the right length, the right cut, the right anything. I do believe in buying in bulk. If you find the trousers of your dreams, you may wish to invest in a second pair in black, and possibly a third pair in another versatile color (gray, brown, tan, white). Consider this especially if you buy the matching suit jacket. I purchased a pair of amazing trousers and the matching jacket at Ann Taylor four years ago. I often wore the trousers without the jacket. One day my dog jumped up to greet me as I returned home from work, his claw got caught in the fabric and ended up snagging and tearing the thigh of these coveted trousers. Ann Taylor no longer makes pieces in this same fabric, so I have a lovely well-fitting jacket and no trousers to match. Since then, I always buy two pairs of pants for every suit jacket, allowing one pair for every day wear, and one pair to preserve to wear with the jacket or for special occasions.

As for care of these pants. I will let you know ahead of time that often these pants say “Dry Clean Only.” I DESPISE spending money on dry cleaning. I end up taking my clothes to the cleaners and forget to pick them up for two weeks. Most of the knits and sweaters I purchase I ignore this “Dry Clean Only” label and wash in Woolite on the gentle cycle of my machine and hang to dry. I have tried this with trousers, and rarely have had good luck. They end up wrinkled, losing that nice front crease and long line. They look cheaper, they often get tighter, the legs shorter (often leaving the lining the same length, which is NOT a good look!), the threads weaken, leaving the potential for an embarrassment the next time you sit down. I have a stain remover I actually purchased in the lingerie department of a department store. I spot treat with that or a Shout! Wipe (always have 5 or 6 in my purse – available at your grocery store in the detergent aisle) and then take them to the local discount dry cleaners. Every so often, they get a better cleaning at the higher end dry cleaners. This may seem like a pain, especially if you have children, a busy schedule, a tight budget. I must tell you this is an investment. If you take care of your clothes correctly, they will take care of you in return, looking gorgeous and lasting for years. Though it may be more appealing to buy all clothing that can take a tumble in the washer and dryer, you lose that polished look, that classic look, the look that shows you care what you look like and others should as well. If you can’t go beyond Tumble Dry Low, you will have a hard time following the closet rules of this book.

A Holiday Gift Guide For the College Student

College-aged loved ones can be tough to shop for; no need to resort to a gift card, my blog assistant (and college Junior) Leyla is here to help with a gift guide! – Alison

With the holidays in full swing, we all may be finding ourselves struggling to find the perfect gift for a few important people in our life. For me, when it comes to buying gifts for my family, my younger brother always poses as the greatest challenge. He’s 18, is currently in his freshman year of college, and like most boys, doesn’t really care about clothes, shoes, or any of the things I would actually want to buy for him. So, when the holiday season rolls around and my brother refuses to make a wishlist (regardless of how many times my mom begs for one), I’m left clueless about what to actually get him.

Seem like a familiar challenge for some of you? Do you have college-aged students in your life and have not even the slightest clue about what to give them, or even what they like for that matter? Well, no need to fret, because I have compiled the go-to holiday gift guide for that special college student in your life. Boy or girl, freshman or senior, these gifts are sure to give all college kids a big smile.

holiday gift guide for a college student

L.L. Bean Boots, 6” – $99

Walking through campus on a rainy or snowy day is always an adventure. If you don’t have the appropriate footwear, you’re likely to wind up in class with wet socks, cold feet, or some awful combination of the two. Last Christmas, I asked for a pair of Black Matte Hunter Rain Boots and honestly, I have no idea where I’d be without them on rainy days. But sometimes, the Hunter boots are heavy, clunky, and I want some variety in my wardrobe. Well, behold, every college student’s dream: Bean Boots. Practically every student has them (except me… but don’t worry, they’re on my list this year). They’re comfortable (I’ve worn a friend’s pair before), sewn from leather, waterproof, and have a lifetime warranty with L.L. Bean. And the best part? The boots are handcrafted right here in the United States (shout out to Maine for these gems). Made for both men and women, these boots look great with some chunky socks pulled up, fleece leggings, a sweater, and a vest or scarf. The perfect footwear for a misty or snowy fall or winter day that will keep your student’s feet dry on their trek through campus.

A couple disclaimers: The boots run large, so consider ordering a full size down, and be sure to note that because these boots are very popular, they are often backordered, so check in advance before purchasing!

Spotify Premium Membership, $0.99 for Three Months or $5 per Month

If it’s something that all college students have in common, it’s listening to music. Whether we’re studying, walking to class, lounging in our rooms, or getting ready for a night out with friends, music is a staple item in all settings. But, college kids are poor, and buying songs for $1.29 each off of iTunes can get expensive. So, look into buying your college kid a Spotify premium membership. I’ve had one for two years, and it has absolutely changed my life.

The low down: Spotify premium is $10 per month, but for students (because the Spotify gods know we’re low on cash), it’s only $5 per month! And, right now, you can purchase a three-month Spotify premium membership for only $0.99. That’s a steal. Spotify is practically begging you to give it a try. But, note the fine print: the $0.99 for three months deal is only available until December 31, so hurry!

The difference between regular Spotify and premium: Regular Spotify has ads every 5 songs, only allows a certain amount of skips on mobile, and doesn’t allow songs to be played offline. Premium is ad-free, unlimited skips on mobile and desktop, and allows users to download playlists and songs to be played without WiFi.  Essentially, Spotify premium: $5 per month (for students). The number of times I have been on an airplane or a place without WiFi and have thanked myself for upgrading to premium: priceless.

Why Spotify > iTunes: Buying songs off of iTunes means that you’re stuck with the song forever. If the college student in your life is anything like how I am, they will love a song for a week, listen to it on repeat so many times they get sick of it, then move on and never listen to that song again. So, imagine if you did that once a week for the entire year. That’s $60+ you’re spending on music that you probably won’t ever listen to ever again. Or, you could spend $5 per month on Spotify to essentially buy all of the music in the world. Who’s the obvious winner here…

Scratchmap, $20

Dorm rooms are not the most cheery of places. Often times, the rooms are in old, rusty, worn out buildings with poor air circulation and walls that resemble that of a prison. For girls (especially freshman girls), decorating your first college dorm room is always an exciting time. I know that before my freshman year, I painted too many canvases, bought too many picture frames, and owned every type of command strip imaginable. Over the years however, I’ve gotten sick of the same things hanging on my walls, and I’ve been searching for something awesome to add some flair. Well, my prayers were answered, and I came across the Scratchmap.

What is it: This poster-sized map of the world is an interactive décor item. Basically, the concept revolves around scratching off where you’ve been. Track your travels by scratching off a country once you’ve visited that place and reveal the pops of color underneath. Not only is it perfect addition to a room to impress friends with how worldly and cultured you are, but it also serves as a reminder for all there is to discover in the world!

Oh the places you’ll go! Made in the UK (but available via Amazon Prime), and quickly becoming popular among young people, teachers, and all who love to travel. I keep promising myself that I’ll buy this for myself when I study abroad in Barcelona next semester, as it’ll allow me to track my travels all over Europe. A perfect addition for any room, and, bonus: it goes well with any bedspread. Extra bonus: it’s gender neutral, and definitely a good conversation starter.

Cards Against Humanity, $25

Apples to Apples goes to college. If you bring this game into any college dorm room, you will instantly be the life of the party. I guarantee this.

Tell me about it:Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people.” This game allows for creativity, which means that college students can be as despicable and awkward as they want. Not only is this behavior during the game encouraged, but it’s also sometimes the key to winning. Basically, the way this card game works is one player draws a main card, typically a sentence or a question with a blank, and all others players are to put down cards in their hand that finish the sentence. The goal is to make the sentence as crazy and weird as possible. Often times, the answers can be pretty dirty or strange, which is why this is sometimes called the PG-13 or R version of Apples to Apples. Aka: proceed with caution, parents. But let me promise you: it’s a hit among college students.

Grannies have played it: BuzzFeed had grandmothers play the game, they took a video, and it was great. Watch the video here.

Lilly Pulitzer Planner, $28-$36

College gets crazy. Not only are students expected to balance classes, but they’re also pressured to be involved in activities, have a job or internship, maintain a social life, and still somehow find time to eat and sleep. For me, I honestly have no idea where I would be if I didn’t have a planner. I schedule every single one of my days down to the minute, because that’s just how busy college can be. Because my planner is such a big part of my life, I take special pride in the book to be colorful, fun, and professional. And Lilly Pulitzer Planners do just the trick.

Each page of the planner leaves numerous lines for writing down exactly what needs to get accomplished that day (check out the website – they have multiple views of each planner), with months separated by fun designs. Over the years, I have generally stuck to the generic planner from Staples or Target, but I decided I wanted my planner to reflect more of my style more. So, I came across the Lilly planners and haven’t turned back since.

Kate Spade and other designer stores offer lots of other fun designs at a relatively low cost. I have friends who have owned some of these planners for years and they said it is definitely worth the extra $10 to spend, in comparison to other brands of planners. Cute, functional, and keeps your college student organized. What’s not to love?

Zipbuds, $24.75

I’m honestly not sure how I didn’t find these sooner, but I am so glad I did. Not only are they earbuds, but they are also earbuds that zip (zipbuds – I see what you did there with the name). Designed to not tangle in your jean pocket, backpack, or any bag, these buds provide comfort, functionality, and a quirky style. They also come in three different colors and have gotten some raving reviews on Amazon. I would be lying if I said I haven’t already added them to my Christmas 2015 wishlist.

For me, untangling my current earbuds is a daily struggle. Sometimes, I even have to untangle my earbuds more than once per day. I love to listen to music on my long walks to class, as do most college students, but when I finally arrive to lecture, I usually throw my earbuds in my backpack, and somehow when I go to take them back out, they’re in some jumbled mess that takes me a good minute or two to untangle. Obviously, this is a big waste of time. I read something once that says that the average person spends about 2 weeks of their life waiting for stoplights. And I’m convinced that I’ve already spent 24 hours of my life untangling headphones. No bueno.

Let’s make a deal: Besides never tangling, fans of these earbuds claim that not only are they comfortable, but they have good sound quality too. All of this for only $25? Seems like a great deal to me. Plus, added bonus: they’re available on Amazon prime. Aka, if you’re waiting until the last minute and only have a few days before it’s present time, these babies will come in just a couple of days. Now that’s something you can jam to.

Tuesday – Stripes and Floral

Sweater – Only Mine (similar)
Skirt – Talbots (similar)
PumpsMichael Kors “Flex”
Bag HOBO “Dove”
Necklace – c/o Ann Taylor (similar)
BangleLauren Ralph Lauren
Lipstick NARS “Heatwave”

This weather has been crazy – one day it’s 80 degrees, the next day it’s 45. I figured this sort of combination would cover both bases, and I thought it would be fun to do an unexpected mix of patterns. This outfit makes me realize I could use another pair of black leather heels – some that have a platform and a higher heel for these seem a bit demure. I tried these heels with it but the leopard was just too much.

Yesterday I was home sick – it was like allergy overload, but I think it’s more of a cold/bug for Emerson had it last week and my sister had it this weekend. While I am still sniffly and sneezy and congested today, at least my brain is functioning again!

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What I Wore and a Giveaway – Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design

Shirt: c/o Foxcroft | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Halogen (similar) | Necklace: c/o Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bag: Brahmin (similar)

Accessories can transform the most basic wardrobe staples and make pieces a cohesive outfit. I just received this necklace from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design and while it is BEGGING to be styled with an LBD for the holidays or worn with a beautiful silk blouse, I thought it could really make a statement with a simple white shirt and dark jeans. I haven’t carried my Brahmin bag in a while, and I thought the bright blue really made the emerald necklace pop!

Giveaway:

If you like this necklace and the other beautiful pieces I have featured from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design, well today’s your lucky day! One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 store credit to Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design!

Ruth Barzel makes all her unique pieces in the United States and is a local-yokel to me.  Not only that, she’s an awesome human being!  While I love the Emerald Quartz Nugget Statement Necklace I’m wearing here, I also love wearing her Blue Quartz Pendant Necklace and wear her Mixed Metal Chain Bracelet on a weekly basis. Ruth has offered all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 20% off her entire store, just use code OXYGEN20.  This discount will be in effect until the end of November, 2013.

How to Enter:
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. This contest is open to both US and international readers. Contest ends November 30, 2013 at midnight ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As a reminder, if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end and want to get yourself some jewelry from Ruth Barzel, use the code OXYGEN20 at checkout for 20% off your order!

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