Monday, May 22, 2017

Tips for the Best At Home Manicure

I've been doing my own nails for just about as long as I can remember. While it can be a fun and relaxing experience to get a mani/pedi at the salon with girl friends, I more often than not still do my own nails at home. It saves (tons of) money and comes out just as well with few simple tricks that I've learned over the years. The years of practice have lent me a steadier hand, but just knowing these few tips can make all the difference to get that professional and flawless look we all want to achieve. 

So let's dive right it. Sometimes I start with a base coat, and sometimes I don't bother. But if my nails are feeling weak and chipped I'll often do a base layer of this Nailtiques protein treatment to help my nails stay healthy and strong even while painted. Especially if I'm working with a dark color that I don't want to stain my nails, a base coat can be a great place to start.

Next comes the color. Today I'm using an Essie color I've been loving this spring called "Lady Like" which is a gorgeous muted dusty pink. It has tones of lavender and works as a lovely almost-nude that goes with everything. I always apply two coats of color to make sure each nail is evenly covered. I start with a swipe of the saturated brush up the center of the nail, and then gently spread the color up each side of the nail starting from the bottom with every stroke and making sure to evenly cover the tip of the nail. I've learned that you only need a minute or two to let one layer dry before applying the second coat.

But here's the trick I use: don't paint your thumbnails until the very end. That way, after each coat applied to your other nails you can run your thumbnail around the edge of the cuticle to remove any excess polish that has gotten onto the skin. leaving the thumbnails bare until the others are all done allows you to ensure that all of those nails are flawlessly painted with no excess color spilling over onto the skin. Because let's be real, no matter how steady your hand is you're bound to get some polish on the skin. I learned this trick by watching the ladies at the salon, who tend to use one of their own finger nails to clean polish from your cuticles as they paint, and it works like a charm. I've tried other tricks like using a polish-remover soaked q-tip to clean the cuticles, but nothing works quite as well as using a bare nail to clean up as you go.

But then, what of those unpainted thumb nails? Well, they're not forgotten. Since I'm right handed I tend to be steadier when painting with my right hand -- so I start with my weaker side and use my left hand to paint the first thumbnail. This way I can still clean the edges with the last bare nail if my weaker hand makes any mistakes. After two coats have been applied it's time for the final nail to be painted. Since I'll be using my stronger right hand at this point to paint it, chances are I can get it pretty clean and accurate on the first try. But, if I do mess up, I like to use the tip of a metal nail file to scrape away any polish from the cuticles and skin. 

The last step: a clear top coat. This is essential to prolong your manicure and prevent immediate chipping. With a top coat I can get through at least a full week with fresh-looking nails as long as I let them dry properly after painting. Recently I've been using Essie's Super Duper top coat, and I really like it. I also previously used a Deborah Lippmann "Addicted to Speed" top coat that I loved until it started to get dried out and sticky after only a few short months which was really disappointing. Either way, a top coat is necessary to keep your mani looking fresh longer, and it also adds a smooth shiny finish to your nails. As much as it may seem like an annoying extra step, don't skip it! Without a topcoat your nails will be chipping within a day or two. 

So there you have it, my process for getting salon-quality nails at home. With these few tips that I've learned over time I'm now able to produce a flawless home mani easily. No more messy nails! And no need for expensive salon appointments! Cheers to that, ladies. 

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Outfit Essentials

Spring means a chance to step up your color game and show off fun styles and silhouettes. That's just what I plan to do with this fun outfit ensemble. I wanted to highlight this outfit since it touches on all of my favorite spring essentials: flirty styles, blush pink, denim, and cute flats.

Classic nautical stripes are a great transitional print and a fun ruffle sleeve on this top I bought last year adds a flirty spring vibe. A pop of pastel pink is my go to for spring outfits, and this blush colored satchel is the perfect piece to add to a casual outfit. I tend to add touches of pink into any spring outfit when I can, it's just the perfect time of year to go overboard with pastels. I am also all about denim, no matter the season, but this time of year it starts to creep into our outfits in more unexpected ways, like these denim flats (which I am obsessed with currently!). Flats come back into play once the snow is gone for good but it might be too soon for sandals, so a pair like these is invaluable! They are super comfy and I just know I'll be pairing them with my everyday outfits all summer long for a classy touch.

Throw a few classic yet trendy pieces like these together with fun accessories like round shades and a soft pink lip and your outfit is made! I love that a look like this can be transformed by pairing it with jeans or a skirt, or even denim shorts! This look makes a statement yet remains classy and chic with a pairing of my favorite color combo: pink and blue. Seriously, how many of my outfits have incorporated this color dynamic? Quite a lot I might say!

 What are your springtime outfit favorites?

Top: J. Crew (also cute/and ruffled). Bag: French Connection (love this or this). Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: Anthropologie.

xoxo, CC

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Midnight Gingham

Last weekend was warm and beautiful and I wore this fun gingham dress for a full day of activities in the city. Starting with a breakfast run where I discovered this fun wing mural, then on to running errands, a street fair with tons of yummy food, followed by an impressive apartment rooftop party and then dinner out with my girls. I was comfy all through this fun-packed day in an off the shoulder dress and ankle strap flats. I had been on the hunt for a cute piece in a gingham print, and this adorable off the shoulder dress was exactly what I needed.

Gingham is a perfectly summery print that is casual yet chic, and I love the texture to this cotton & linen fabric and the girly ruffle along the neckline. To compliment the simple black and white pattern I added denim blue flats and a blue stone bracelet. Since the print is so bold I kept to a simple chunky bracelet and subdued color scheme. The loose shift fit was comfy to wear all day long on a hot humid day, and the shoulders stayed exactly in place the entire time. Plus, this dress has pockets. Enough said.

On our walk back from dinner we had fun snapping a few photos in the moody lighting of New York City at midnight.

Dress: Anthropologie. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff. Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: AJ Morgan. Bracelet: J. Crew (love this one).

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Happy April! Who else is pumped that it's finally officially spring!

After the teasingly warm weather we had back in February, it finally warmed up above 55º again this past weekend. I took the opportunity to wear this flowy peasant dress that I added to my spring wardrobe recently. I love the drop waist and peasant style tiers that make this dress ideal for early spring. The loose oversized fit is counterbalanced by the sheer fabric allowing your shape to show through despite the voluminous draping. I paired it with over the knee boots for a transitional look (and to hide my pale legs!), and added a faux leather jacket that was only barely necessary in the sunshine. Altogether the look is a little bit edgy yet still soft and romantic.

I spent the afternoon browsing the Affordable Art Fair in NYC and strolling in the sunshine along the highline in the sun. The wind just about blew me away when we were up on the highline getting the breeze straight off the Hudson, but in the sunshine the weather was impeccable. Perfect dress weather! The all black and white vibes of this ensemble are very city chic, but the tiered flounce and loose fit keep the look feminine and casual. The simplicity of a monotone look and comfy dress is just what I've been waiting to wear now that it's beginning to warm up! 

Dress: Scotch and Soda (similar). Jacket: Zara. Boots: Sam Edelman. Sunglasses: Anthropologie. Lip: MAC. Bracelet: similar.

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Best Beauty Finds

Recently I've discovered a few new beauty products that I can't get enough of. I wanted to share my recommendations since I always love to hear other people's opinions when trying to navigate the endless options of beauty products out there these days. These are a few products I've been using pretty much every day and only wish I had found sooner! 

The first of these finds is the Smashbox under eye primer, which I feel like I can't live with out ever since I discovered it! I first got a sample size of this from Sephora with my beauty insider rewards, and it's the best thing I've ever discovered unexpectedly. I don't know what magic is in it, but it really helps to minimize under eye dark circles and puffiness. The gel is very sheer with a slight shimmer to it that is imperceptible once it's on your skin, but certainly helps you to look more awake and under eye circles less dramatic. Even on days when I don't bother with makeup, I will usually swipe a little bit of this under my eyes to make my face look more awake and presentable.

This bareMinerals tinted hydrating gel was an impulse buy when I needed to spend a few more dollars to unlock a promo, and I don't regret it one bit. It's a great back up to have on hand for days when you don't want to put on a full face of makeup, but want to even out your skin tone a bit and add a touch of color. The shade I grabbed is probably a little darker than would be recommended for me, but it goes on pretty sheer while still delivering noticeable results for a tanned look. I've used it under my regular makeup for a touch of hydrating color, and on it's own for more casual days.

A few months back I picked up this Lancome blush to replace my favorite bareMinerals one that I talked about here last summer. I wrote about just how much I loved my favorite hot pink blush from bareMinerals, but unfortunately it was a limited edition color so when I ran out I had to find something else to replace it! After testing just about every bright pink blush in Sephora I found this gorgeous shade from Lancome. It is very similar to the Bare Minerals one I had loved for years, so I am happy to have found something that I love just as much. Something about the hot pink shade adds a glowing touch to my makeup look that soft pinks and red tones just don't achieve. I love that it makes my face look awake and adds a bit of color while still looking natural. Believe me, it's not so shocking on as it my seem!

For some reason I have the hardest time finding lipsticks that stay. Even ones recommended for their lasting quality don't seem to work on me, they fade or rub off within an hour. This Makeup For Ever Artist Lip Blush is the first red lip color I've found that actually stays in place over a long period of time without fading or rubbing off! For some reason they only make it in one color (come on Makeup For Ever, let's get on this in every shade of the rainbow!) but it's a great bright cherry red color that is perfect for a touch of drama. I seriously have never found anything else that compares in lasting time, and I couldn't be happier with how this one wears. Definitely worth a try if you're looking for a lasting red lip! (and who wouldn't be?)

I picked up this No. 7 foundation on a (genuine, non-paid) recommendation I read from one of my favorite bloggers, and I really like it! It was recommended as an all-day lasting foundation with medium coverage and a smooth no-show appearance, which is exactly what I was looking for as a beginner to liquid foundations. (I previously used bareMinerals powder foundations for years, and still switch between the two sometimes). I love that this foundation goes on easily just applying with my fingers, and doesn't leave streaks or obvious lines. As always it's important to blend at the jawline, but I find that in general this formula goes on easily and doesn't look too obvious. I always like a natural looking makeup look that's not cakey, and this one does the job. The color I got is called "cool vanilla" and is the only light yet not pale shade with a blue undertone. I was nervous to buy it without getting to try out a tester, but the color is actually perfect for me and really evens out my skin for a soft and flawless look.

Any must have makeup finds or recommendations? Let me know! I always like to hear what other people swear by so maybe I can try it myself!

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dream Closet

I have always enjoyed the styling and color coordinating that goes into home decor, which is very similar to fashion in those ways, and my recent job has me thinking about interior design on the daily. Sometimes I like to daydream about how I would decorate my future home, going through specific rooms in my mind and looking through Pinterest boards for inspiration. Of course I have always dreamed of having a walk in closet, and right now Arhaus has me imagining about how my dream closet would look fully decorated. In my imagination it would be a large walk in with plenty of hanging and shelf space for storing all my clothes and shoes, plus room for a little decor too.

My taste tends to be for bright white spaces peppered with fun colors, like hot pinks or pale blues, and always accents of gold. My ideal dressing room would have lots of light, plentiful mirrors, and a few comfy seats. I've always wanted to have a nice way to store and display my shoes, so a glass front shoe shelf or pretty shoe storage racks would be essential. I like to think of my favorite shoes as works of art that should be displayed and not hidden away in boxes! I love the idea of incorporating pretty pairs of heels into the decor, or lining them up on glass-encased shelves. 

I am a huge advocate for natural light, so I think even a walk in closet should have a window allowing light into the space. So many closets are dim and windowless, which makes it hard to get dressed and see how your outfits and colors will really look in daylight! Of course lighting fixtures are essential in the room too, so a fun geometric chandelier from Arhaus in a gold finish to match the decor is the perfect touch. My style tends to be bold and girly with distinct lines and plenty of color, so this fun angular chandelier fits right in. Colorfully framed mirrors and a bright pink chair would also be ideal in this fun, feminine space and would help me feel inspired as I put together outfits every day.

My current set up (see a peek here) is an exposed clothing rack in my bedroom, which doesn't have nearly the amount of space I would like, so dreaming of a big walk in closet is only natural. I like to keep my current closet rack color coordinated since it looks so much more appealing and organized that way, and helps my room to look clean and crisp. I would continue this color coordination even in a full walk in, since it creates such an organized look, and I'm sure we all know how cluttered closets can get!
Have you thought of how you would design your dream closet? It's so fun to "window shop" online and create inspiration boards that outline your dream!

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Out With the Old // In With the New

Warm spring weather has started creeping in and teasing us here in New York lately, and while the official start of spring is still a few weeks away, these recent warm days have me thinking ahead towards a spring wardrobe. Each year when we hit spring I get really excited about bringing out my skirts and dresses, yet in early spring it still feels too soon to reach for the bright sundresses and floaty mini skirts. This leaves a time when it can be hard to know what to wear, when spring is in the air, yet it is not quite warm enough to turn to full-blown summer styles. It can get frustrating trying to create transitional outfits and it can make me feel sick of everything in my closet, nudging me to do a wardrobe refresh. I start to realize which pieces in my closet aren't very useful and which essentials I am lacking.

There is something about the season of spring sparks the frenzy of spring cleaning. The start of a new year, new life breathing into the earth, makes us want to mimic that and start fresh ourselves. Out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. Each year I find myself wanting to go through my closet and cleanse it of items I don't see myself wearing in the future, making room for things I still need. So, not only does a change of season mark a shift in wardrobe but it's a great time to evaluate what you have, what you need, what you don't wear, and what can be put away until next year. 

I have also noticed shifts in my style over time, whether due to age, changes in larger fashion trends, or influences from where I live and who I'm around, there are noticeable differences in my style preferences as they shift over time. These shifts also call for a change of wardrobe and a re-evaluation of what's in my closet. While I tend to be nostalgic and not want to let things go, ever hopeful that it will come in handy later on, there is a time when one must get realistic and let go of the things that are no longer useful. Clearing out the old and unused makes room in your closet for new finds and necessary essentials. It's sad to say goodbye to once loved pieces that no longer fit my needs, but I like to think that they will make someone else very happy, whether I donate or sell them, someone else will find good use for these pieces that are no longer "me".

Sometimes I hold on to items that just aren't quite right since they serve some style purpose that is deemed necessary in my wardrobe. They tend to sit around mostly unused until I am able to find a replacement that better suits my style needs and fills the necessary niche. Then, I am able to let go of the older piece knowing that it is not leaving a void in my wardrobe, that something newer and better is replacing that spot.

At this point in my style journey I am finding myself gravitating towards looser silhouettes and easy, non-fussy pieces that still have something special to them. A good mix of color and neutrals, prints and solids is essential and has been at the front of my mind as I add items to my shopping list lately. I'm finding myself becoming pickier about what I like and don't like, steering away from fussy statement pieces in favor of still unique styles that I can wear on repeat. I find that I am not wearing the shorter skirts as much as I used to, and favoring work-appropriate lengths instead -- they are just more comfortable to move around in. Pieces I can style dressier and also casually get the most use, especially if they are acceptable in the office. 

Before I buy anything I check myself to make sure that the piece meets some basic requirements to ensure that it is a good investment. I look for pieces that are easy to wear without having to fuss too much with styling them to make them work, both casually and a touch dressier. Also essential is having pieces I can feel comfortable in no matter where the day takes me. This time of year I am particularly attuned to finding transitional styles for all types of weather that don't limit me to summer (like gauzy fabrics and bright summery prints) or winter (like thick knit dresses, and dark moody colors). Finding in-between styles can be tricker than it sounds, but recently I found a few transitional spring items that I am really excited about, once the weather gets above 50 again. 

My recent purchases include a loose flowy dress in a subtle black and white print, a simple chambray skirt with practical pockets and a trendy frayed hem, and a loose cozy sweater in a fresh shade of pink. All of these finds were under $45 (two were on sale) and I know that they will get lots of wear this season. With a few new pieces like this to freshen up my wardrobe for spring I also feel better about letting go of some of the items I'd only kept around to fill the gaps in my wardrobe needs. On my wish list still are casual tops with a touch of class to them, like a subtly printed bell sleeve top in a structured fabric. These new items are all on trend without being fussy, with only subtle details that make them unique so that they are special and truly "me" and yet can still be worn regularly and comfortably in new ways. What could be better than that.

Check out my poshmark page (user name ccnoordsy) to see what I'm getting rid of with this spring closet evaluation! Whether it's because a piece doesn't fit me how I'd like, has outgrown my needs, or simply doesn't work with my style anymore, there are over 50 mint-condition available listings to shop! 

xoxo, CC

Monday, February 13, 2017

Insta Winter

Every once in a while I like to take a closer look at some of my recent instagram photos here on the blog, since a lot my my daily posts don't make it over here. This way I can also share more about each photo, whatI was up to that day and details on what I was wearing!

For instance, I would have loved to get good outfit shots of this cozy sweater and lace up choker combo, I just didn't have time! I snapped this quick mirror pic in the morning on my way out the door, because I thought the look was too fun not to share. The soft blues, whites, and beige tones of this sweater make a cloud-like pattern only enhanced by it's soft fuzzy texture. For an edgier touch that played well off the muted tones I added a DIY suede tie choker (literally just a piece of suede cord from a craft store-- no need to spend $20-40 on a choker necklace when you can make it yourself!). A pop of bright pink lipstick and natural waves pulled all the the elements together for a look that's a touch sweet, a touch spicy.

These tassel earrings are my new favorite party piece. I wore them out the other night with a white off the shoulder top and just a touch of soft pink lipstick. I love the way dangly statement earrings look with an open shoulder top, since they draw attention to the neckline and seem to fill the space your off the shoulder has created. What I love about these earrings in particular is the unique marbled detail and the way the multiple color combo somehow makes them a little less fancy so that I can pair them with a variety of outfits. Of course they will dress up the look, but I don't feel that they have to be worn with a dress, a cute tee and jeans will do. So many possibilities!

How freaking cute is this collection of Jane Austen books?! I've loved this set of cute colorful covers for a while now, and finally got them as a holiday gift this year. Not only will they look darling decorating my shelves but I know they are stories I will read over and over throughout the years. And what could possibly sound more cozy than snuggling up in a big soft sweater with your favorite books and a warm mug of tea. That sounds like a perfect winter afternoon to me.

Wearing a crop top in winter may sound a little crazy, but there are ways to make it work! On this particular night I wanted an outfit that was easy, chic, and just a tiny bit edgy... so a black cropped tee with high rise black jeans seemed the perfect match. With this combo only a hint of skin shows, and when I'm outside I bundle up in a warm down coat anyway! It was a beautiful snowy night and the whole city was gently being covered in white. These fun strings of lights really enhanced the magical mood of such a quiet snowy night.

How cute is this wool skirt! I wanted it from the moment I laid eyes on it, and patiently had to wait for the holidays to come around to see if if would be wrapped up under the tree for me. Something about the rivet details and the suede lace up on a sweet wool mini skirt creates the perfect balance of refined, edgy, and chic. I've been thinking it would be cute worn with a rusty red sweater, something chunky and loose that I could just tuck in a touch at the front. What do you think? The problem there is matching the color to the suede on the skirt, but I wouldn't worry about it being too exact as long as it's not dramatically clashing! Here, I wore the skirt with a simple black top, loose jacket, and OTK boots and really let the skirt steal the show. The gold rivets really pop against the charcoal grey wool which makes this unique skirt feel really special.

Remember those earrings I mentioned above? Well, here's one way I styled them! This gorgeous golden crushed velvet dress was my pick for New Year's Eve this year, and I dressed it up with these fun statement earrings and a bit of pink lipstick. I always love metallics for NYE and this cute little shift dress was the perfect blend of holiday shimmer with a relaxed fit for a celebratory dinner out with my family. The golden tassels on the earrings continued the metallic theme while their shimmery movement really dressed up the look. I threw on a furry coat and simple booties to complete this look for the special occasion.

Big cozy sweaters and sleek tall boots are the perfect way to keep stylishly warm all winter. This outfit is simple yet chic enough for a photo, with the glossy boots and fun accessories. I love wearing cozy sweaters all winter, especially because my office is always sooooo cold! Luckily our dress code is pretty casual, so I can wear comfy sweaters like this one to stay warm and still look stylish at work. The oversized fit is balanced out best with skinny jeans and sleek boots or chic ankle booties. I added my furry earmuffs for warmth and some glittery nail polish for a touch of fun to this neutral color scheme.

Hope you're staying warm (and chic) this winter too!

xoxo, CC

Monday, February 6, 2017

Three Years

Happy Monday!
I started this little blog three years ago this week. 
In celebration I threw on a orangy-red sweater dress and matching statement earrings. Pairing it with OTK boots and a faux fur wrap makes the outfit perfectly wintery for a 40º February afternoon. 

After three years you sometimes have to revisit your motivations and evaluate what's important to put time and effort into. On a milestone like this I like to remind myself why this is important for me to keep up with. Why do I blog? Because I love clothes and I love finding different ways to style things, and I want to share that passion with others who enjoy fashion and styling. Clothing is such a fun way to express yourself, and I choose my outfit each morning based on how I feel that day and what look feels right to reflect that. I always like to pair things in new ways so my outfit is always fresh and current to my mood and not stale or repetitive. While it's always fun to have something new and exciting, lately I've been challenging myself to wear old favorites in new ways or to style unique pieces into wearable work outfits. I like being able to share my fashion adventures in this way and connect with other people who share the passion for getting dressed each day.

I haven't been posting as much the past few months as I would like to... it can be awfully hard to find time to shoot photos during the daylight, and then have time to edit them and write as well. As we are getting into the spring I will have more daylight hours to work with (yay!) and hopefully will get settled into a good work routine that will allow for me to allocate more time to a blogging schedule. I've had lots of ideas lately for posts involving other aspects of life as well, such as restaurant spotlights, "book club" posts, and home decor that I'm considering working into the rotation as well. Let's see what this next year brings!

Dress: J.Crew (similar 1/2). Boots: Sam Edelman. Faux Fur: Urban Outfitters (1/2). Earrings: J. Crew (1/2). Lip: MAC 'flamingo.

xoxo, CC