Friday, September 30, 2011

good enough to eat -- fleur de sel caramels.

{my caramel-cutting weapon of choice}

There's little that I love more than salted caramel. There's something about the butter, sugar, and salt together that's just so hard to beat. And in the fall, I crave the sweet, buttery smell that fills the house when making caramel. I'm not going to lie -- this is the third time that I've tried making these caramels (via this post), as candymaking can be tricky. Watching temperatures carefully and paying attention to the color is key, pizza rollers are perfection when it comes to cutting straight, even lines, and remember that you can always add more salt (spring for Maldon; it makes all the difference). I finally nailed them and couldn't possibly be happier.

{watch temperatures carefully}

{Maldon sea salt flakes on smooth, buttery caramel}

{wrapping in pieces of parchment paper}

Wishing you all a phenomenal weekend full of tasty treats!
xo Josie

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

obsessed -- rag & bone.
ATTAINABLE: Ark & Co Red Caged Shoulder Dress; retail $45
I'm a great lover of dresses with carefully-crafted details. This little Ark & Co number is just the ticket for fall. I love the neckline and pleat detail on the bodice, and the little flutter sleeves are absolutely perfect with their lattice-style cutouts. Throw in the waist-defining bow and you have the perfect, bold fall frock that would pair brilliantly with a pair of pewter pumps and a chic smooth ponytail.

When it comes to a brand with an extensive variety of pieces, Rag & Bone is one of my all-time favorites. The obsession was set off when I first spotted these gorgeous nude oxford-style wedges on Valerie (see a similar and on-sale version here), but I love that the brand offers everything from jeans to belts to pretty jackets and chunky sweaters. I'm particularly enamored with the fall collection, which includes lots of plaid and leather, two of my all-time favorite fall trends.

Rag & Bone Moto Boots II
Rag & Bone Moto Boots II in Walnut (also in Black); retail $595
I love these adorable little motorcycle boots. I'm a big fan of boots that are chic and short due to their ability to pair nicely with dresses and fit all leg shapes perfectly. The brown color is just the right washed-out shade, and I love the extra hardware detail. Perfect for adding a little edge to a flirty fall dress or with a pair of tucked-in skinny jeans.

Rag & Bone Harvard Plaid Jacket
Rag & Bone Harvard Plaid Jacket; retail $495
This is one of those few jackets that is possibly even cuter when it's zipped. I love the color combination and the print scale is absolutely perfect. I'd love this over a cocktail dress with opaque tights and pumps or with dark skinny jeans and knee-high brown boots -- what a fantastic fall staple.

Rag & Bone Sharp Overnight Bag
Rag & Bone Sharp Overnight Bag in Olive (also in Black); retail $395
I have a more-than-minor addiction to overnight bags right now, for unknown reasons. There's just something so quaint about it for me -- being able to fit all of your essentials in a single bag isn't necessarily something that I have a lot of experience with (I tend to overpack), and they're just always so darling. I love this olive green one with its dark brown leather detail and perfect clasp pockets. And it's possibly even more chic in black, if you can imagine that.

Rag & Bone Dean Sweater Dress
Rag & Bone Dean Sweater Dress; retail $325
I love sweater dresses -- I think they're so cozy and truly do bring the dress into the colder season. And this one is so cute with it's slightly vintage-y feel and bands of neutral colors trimming the shape. Perfect with tights and wedges to stay cozy and chic in fall.

What are YOU obsessed with right now?
xo Josie
Thanks to Chloe Loves Charlie and Shopbop for the photos.

Monday, September 26, 2011

pretty things -- pleated skirts.

Milly Trompe l'Oeil Bow Sweater
COVETING: Milly Trompe l'Oeil Bow Sweater in Ivory/Black (also in Pink/Black); retail $196
I've always been a big fan of Trompe l'Oeil details. A French term, it means the use of optical illusion to create the effect of a three-dimensional object -- like this bow-printed sweater. It's just kitschy enough to be adorable but not tacky. I love it styled here, with these bold, pretty wide-leg pants, but I think it would be equally adorable slouched over a short skirt.

There's something so ladylike about pleated skirts. The detail is so feminine and delicate. Whether short, knee-length, or at the ultra-chic (but occasionally difficult to wear) mid-calf-length, these skirts are nothing short of autumn perfection, and there are so many pretty options. I especially love ones in rich fall fabrics, from leather to chiffon to wool, especially when paired with fitted cardigans.
J. Crew Merino Pleated Skirt in Black (also in Saddle); retail $128
When it comes to chic, classic femininity, J. Crew does it best. This pleated skirt is the perfect length for work and is fun without looking too young. I love the super flattering shape and the pleats are just the right width. Brilliant with a bold pair of pumps and a bright bag.
ASOS Pleat Skirt in Neoprene in Orange (also in Yellow); retail $54.89
This little ASOS skirt is too fun. I love the flirty length -- it would be perfect with tights but is darling on its own -- and the bold orange color. Even better in my opinion are the big, wide pleats. Too cute for words, and I love it styled with a tucked-in sweater.

Free People Vegan Leather Pleated Skirt
Free People Vegan Leather Skirt; retail $148
As my leather addiction continues this fall, here's the perfect pleated piece for those who are wary of real leather. It has a similar look and feel to the luxurious fabric but is animal-friendly -- love it. This little Free People skirt is simply adorable and I'd love it matched with a cozy sweater, opaque tights, and booties.
Modcloth Dusting of Sprinkles Skirt; retail $42.99
I have a slight addiction to Modcloth, and this skirt is a beautiful example of why that is. I love the tiny pleats and light chiffon fabric, and the color is simply perfect for fall. The polka dots are small enough to be ladylike rather than cartoonish and it would look simply phenomenal with a pair of nude pumps.

Will YOU be wearing pleated skirts this fall?
xo Josie
Thanks to Shopbop, J. Crew, ASOS, and Modcloth for the photos.

Friday, September 23, 2011

making a statement.

Cabi trench coat (similiar), Rachel Roy skirt (similar), Old Navy tank top, BCBG heels (similar), Banana Republic bracelet, Forever21 earrings

I'm fully aware that I've done nothing for the past several weeks but harp on pretty fall color palates, rich textures, and luxurious fabrics. We've finally gotten a little taste of autumn here over the past few weeks, and I simply couldn't be more thrilled. I'm ready to break out my newly-expanded collection of light coats and closed-toe pumps. I love the contrast between this trench and copper sequined skirt so much that I kept the rest of the look almost painfully simple to really let the sequins shimmer. Does anyone else smell leaves burning?

Wishing you all the happiest of weekends!
xo Josie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

constant search -- leather jacket.
COVETING: Paper Crown Emma Dress; retail $266
I admittedly love most things that Lauren Conrad does, but I must say that her Paper Crown line takes the cake, hands-down. It's packed with feminine, pretty pieces that flatter a huge variety of body shapes and are guaranteed to make the wearer feel incredibly ladylike. I love this Emma dress with its defined waist, chic shape, and perfect blue color. It will still be perfect with bare legs and nude pumps, but is styled so nicely with opaque tights and matching heels to make legs look positively endless.

I'm fully aware that my obsession with leather is rapidly reaching the "out of control" point. But I can't help it. It's just the greatest, richest, most luxurious fabric for fall. And while I'm crazy for just about all leather pieces these days, I don't think you can beat a killer leather jacket. It's a classic piece that works perfectly for both fall and winter, whether with jeans and a pair of booties or over a floaty, flirty chiffon cocktail dress and sky-high pumps. But since it's such a big investment, I'm always searching for the perfect one before making the big leap.

Vince Quilted Leather Jacket
Vince Quilted Leather Jacket; retail $925
I've found my leather-jacket-soulmate in Vince. Although this is the design that I REALLY crave, it's not available this year (and let's be honest, I'm sure I couldn't afford it even if it was). This pretty motorcycle-style one with its padded shoulders and durable-looking fabric is a close second, though. I love the details, the shape is perfect, and it will undoubtedly be a classic for years to come.

What are YOU constantly searching for?
xo Josie
Thanks to BoutiquetoYou and Shopbop for the photos.

Monday, September 19, 2011

get the look -- colored denim.
ATTAINABLE: Madewell Golden Nest Necklace; retail $48
It's no secret that I'm a big, big Madewell fan. I can't get enough of the pretty pieces that mix elements of femininity and toughness so perfectly, and the jewelry is always perfectly in fitting with that theme. This necklace is a tangle of fabulous gold chains that would make a perfect addition to my fall wardrobe. How chic would it be against a plaid button-down or a simple black cocktail dress? And as for the fact that there's a matching bracelet, well... I'm going to count that as a necessity too.

I am a complete denim addict. The form doesn't matter -- shirts, jeans, shorts -- I'll take a good denim piece over just about anything else any day. There's something so versatile about it that can be dressed up or down so nicely. But I tend to stick to the same colors -- perfectly-faded blues and dark, dark rinses. When I started spotting brightly-hued jeans in stores and on blogs, however, I'll admit to having some reservations. Well, no more. The trick is to keep the rest of your outfit and accessories neutral enough to allow the pants to steal the show. Skinny and sleek or wide-legged with a 70s vibe, I'm a colored-denim convert, and I'm thrilled that there's a pair of these fun, trendy pants to fit every price range.

Current/Elliott The Ankle Skinny Jeans
EXTRAVAGANCE: Current/Elliott The Ankle Skinny Jeans in Atlantic (also in a large variety of shades); retail $168
Current/Elliott is undoubtedly a godsend when it comes to denim, so it was no surprise to note that they've embraced the colored jeans trend full-force and in no small variety of hues. I love these green ones; they're the perfect shade and the fit is amazing. The color is perfectly versatile for day-to-night. Chic with a pair of ridiculously tall nude heels or brown riding boots.

DEAL: Gap 1969 Mid-Weight Legging Jeans in Bright Watermelon; retail $69.50
Bright pink pants? I say YES, please. I think that these would brighten up a blustery fall day beautifully, especially when paired with a pair of sleek boots in a neutral shade or booties and a simple, floaty top for evening. While they certainly make a bold statement, all it takes is a little confidence.
EXTRAVAGANCE: J Brand Twill Skinny in Bright Royal (also in a large variety of shades); retail $176
Another veteran denim company, J Brand never fails to produce killer pieces -- I'm especially partial to their denim leggings and skinny jeans. So when they created these darling pants in a bevy of amazing colors (from Aubergine to Truffle to everything in between), I naturally fell in love immediately. I love everything from the shades to the cut to the length -- perfect to wear with heels, flats, or tuck into boots. I love this bright electric blue shade -- how cute would they be with a simple white tee and scarf?$detail-item$
DEAL: Free People FP 5 Pocket High Rise Flares in Merlot Wash (also in Suede, Nightfall, and Easy Rider Washes); retail $78
I always look to Free People when I'm craving wearable pieces with a slight hippie vibe. These merlot-toned flares are just what I hoped to find. They're a shade of red that isn't too scary to wear in real life, and the shape is absolutely nothing short of perfection. How brilliant would they be with wedges and a crisp, tucked-in blouse?

Will YOU be wearing colored denim this fall?
xo Josie
Thanks to Madewell, Shopbop, Gap, RevolveClothing, and Free People for the photos.

Friday, September 16, 2011

indian summer.

Anthropologie dress, Vince Camuto heels, Aldo bag, Coach scarf, J. Crew belt, New York and Company bracelet, vintage earrings

I'm always ready for new seasons to begin. I'm usually tired of my wardrobe, ready for a change in activity, and just in the mood for something new by the time a fresh season rolls around. And as frustrating as the in-between period we're currently in can be, I must say that the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. I've loved being able to wear my favorite light dresses just a few last times but bringing in elements of fall with touches of leather and gray.

Have a phenomenal weekend!
xo Josie

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

seasonal love -- plaid.
ATTAINABLE: Banana Republic Sequin-Shoulder Pullover in Fresh Pistachio (also in Washed Indigo, Fatigue, and Black); retail $69.50
I must say, I'm a big fan of fall colors. This pretty little Banana Republic sweater is just adorable. The slightly-gold-slightly-green shade is absolutely perfect for autumn. It would pair perfectly with dark jeans and brown boots and would look fabulous next to a big pile of leaves -- a requirement for me in fall apparel.

For me, plaid is certainly not restricted to autumn. However, it's my go-to print when the weather turns crisp and the leaves start to fall (see here and here). There's something that feels so rustic about a simple flannel button-down, and I love that just changing the fit makes it less lumberjack and a million times more chic. Even better, in my opinion, is plaid when used unexpectedly: flats, jackets, and dresses are some of my personal favorite uses for the preppy pattern. And luckily, there's an abundance of phenomenal plaid pieces this fall to help me stay cozy and chic.
Madewell Hickory Plaid Shirtdress; retail $165
I love shirdresses, and I think that this plaid one is simply perfect for fall. The dark tones will carry through autumn and straight into winter with ease, and it has just enough shape to keep it looking feminine, especially when belted. I love it styled with opaque tights and booties but think that it would be phenomenal with a killer pair of knee-high boots as well.
Tory Burch Serena Plaid Logo Ballerina Flat; retail $235
Just when I was convinced that I couldn't love Tory Burch flats any more, I spotted this adorable plaid pair. With the charming leather cap-toe and signature gold plate, they're the epitome of classic chic. I'd love to pop these on with a simple pair of faded skinnies to add a little extra class to my fall daytime looks.
J. Crew Perfect Shirt with Bronze Buttons in Russet Plaid; retail $78
Speaking of the perfect classic plaid shirt -- it's J. Crew to the rescue yet again. There's just nothing like a little plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up paired with jeans. But I'm certainly not above dressing one up -- I'd love this particular one tucked into a camel-colored pencil skirt with sky-high pumps for work. Welcome to versatility.

Rag & bone
Rag & Bone Sackville Leather-Trimmed Wool Biker Jacket; retail $895
I have a hardcore weakness for motorcycle jackets, and the fact that this one has touches of plaid makes it even more fabulous. Every little detail on this pretty coat makes it so special -- from the gold zippers, which add a touch of edge, to the ribbed wool sleeves and panels to the killer leather elbow patches. I think I need one immediately, to say the least.

How will YOU be wearing plaid this fall?
xo Josie
Thanks to Banana Republic, Madewell, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, and Net-a-Porter for the photos.

Monday, September 12, 2011

good enough to eat -- strawberry salad.

In case you haven't noticed from my past food posts, salads aren't really my food of choice (these, this, and this are more my style, regardless of the time of day). However, with all the fresh produce that comes with summer, I do crave them from time to time. As strawberry season comes to an official end, I've been eating this particular one nonstop. Though the recipe is nothing particularly special (I omitted the dressing, subbing in raspberry balsamic, and added grilled chicken), it's a light, tasty dinner that's helping me make the most of the last days of sunshine before fall really hits.

What have YOU been cooking up lately?
xo Josie

Friday, September 9, 2011

saddle up.

Urban Outfitters dress (similar), Aldo heels, J. Crew belt, Marc Jacobs bag, vintage necklace and ring

I love routine. I love being dependable. But I sometimes fear that I'm becoming one of those people who could easily become predicable. So every once in awhile, I try to do something completely uncharacteristic. Whether it's cooking an obscenely spicy Mexican dish or trying on a dress in an unusual shape with a print that I've never worn, I try to mix it up every once in awhile. This little Urban Outfitters frock is unlike anything I've ever worn before, but I'm loving the tiered shape, preppy tiny pony print, and black-and-white contrast. When paired with simple, chic accessories and a bold turquoise necklace, it made for the perfect dinner outfit.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!
xo Josie

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

inspiration -- leather.$ENLARGE$
ATTAINABLE: Steve Madden Bellahh in Coral Multi (also in Blue Multi); sale (now) $89.95
Remember when I went on my rant about loving colorblocking for fall? Hello, colorblocked Mary-Jane-inspired pumps. How perfect are these? The base of the shoe is in my always-favorite leg-lengthening nude shade, and the platform is a bright, punchy coral color. With the tall black stiletto and sweet little strap, there's zero wrong way to wear these Steve Madden heels. I'd rock them with black dresses contrasting tights, wide-leg jeans, pleated skirts and bare legs... The possibilities are endless.

Leather is one of those fabrics that simply makes me think "FALL." In capital letters. However, it's not just restricted to jackets and gloves. The lovely Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, above, always finds such inventive, phenomenal ways to wear leather, and I've decided it's time to invest in some soft, quality pieces of my own. I'm determined, however, to make sure that it doesn't look as if I belong with the T-Birds in "Grease" or a lost member of Hell's Angels.

Chic riding boots added to every pair of my skinny jeans. Colored leather bags carried with all of my favorite fall outfits. From well-cut shorts to pretty skirts, leather can be anything but stiff and constricting. It adds a touch of bad-girl to even the most feminine of looks, keeps you warm, and looks insanely chic. As if it gets better than that.

inspiration -- leather.

What's inspiring YOU today?
xo Josie
Thanks to Steve Madden and Cupcakes and Cashmere for the photos.

Monday, September 5, 2011

get the look -- pyramid studs.

ATTAINABLE: Gap Pointelle Tie-Waist Cardigan in Charcoal (also in Heather Brown); sale (now) $44.96
It's certainly no secret that I'm a big, big fan of cardigans. And tie-waist cardigans are some of my favorites. They're pretty, flattering, and very feminine. This pretty Gap one is just what I'm craving this fall. I love the slightly contrasting belt and the pointelle cutouts on the shoulders keep it feeling fresh and special. Perfect to wear with jeans or toss over a dress on a chilly fall evening.

Something about fall always makes me want to try new things -- adding a little bit of edge to my look is on the docket this year, and I can't think of a better way than incorporating pyramid studs into my outfits. Though I don't think I'll be breaking out any major hardware, I love the idea of adding just a touch of toughness with accessories. Lucky for us all, there are plenty of pretty (and even some affordable) ways to do it.

La Mer Collections Pyramid Stud Wrap Watch
EXTRAVAGANCE: La Mer Collections Pyramid Stud Wrap Watch; retail $98
I adore La Mer watches. I think that the wrap style is so pretty and chic, but the watch face is so classic. I love that this one is gray, allowing it to match literally everything in my wardrobe, and the alternating pyramid studs with a few flat studs are too cute.

DEAL: Gap Pyramid Stud Clutch in Black (also in Olive); sale (now) $20.96
One of my favorite things about clutches and wristlets is that I can pack my everyday, absolutely-must-have-at-all-times essentials in them and transfer them from bag to bag -- and then just as easily tote them around at night on their own. Of course, this one may be too pretty to ever be tossed into a larger tote. I adore that this one is a bit edgy but the stud pattern keeps it feeling clean.

EXTRAVAGANCE: Sam Edelman Lorissa Pump in Nude Leather (in a variety of shades); retail $199.95
Sam Edelman has a seriously killer collection of studded shoes. As in, I want every single pair in a size 6.5, please. This particular pair is one of my favorites. For the more adventurous stud-wearer, this pretty pair of kicks combines bold, spiky studs with glittering crystals to create a look that is definitely nothing short of stunning. And in leg-lengthening nude leather with a perfect peep toe, I can't image a more chic fall shoe.

DEAL: Forever21 Pyramid Stud Bracelet in Gold (also in Silver); retail $3.80
Looking for just the tiniest touch of edge to add to your look for fall? Forever21 to the rescue, yet again. I love these stretchy, thin bracelets. They're perfect for layering with more feminine jewelry or chunky watches, and add just a little something extra for fall.

Will YOU be wearing pyramid studs this season?
xo Josie
Thanks to Gap, Shopbop, Zappos, and Forever21 for the photos.