Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Sparkle

After several days of no Internet, I'm back! If you follow me on Twitter, you know I left NYC on Thursday evening to head back home with my family for two weeks. I got in late discover that there was no Internet at my parents' place. Normally, I'd enjoy the break from technology, but when there's work to do, blog posts to write and TV shows to watch (current binge: The Wire), it's a little bit disconcerting, to say the least.

Anyways, I mentioned before that I attended a few holiday parties while I was in NYC, and to me the holidays aren't complete without a little sparkle (blame it on the dancer in me—I grew up around a lot of glitter and sequins). I always hit up the Parker sample sale each season, which used to be downright dangerous when I worked in the same building. They have the most amazing silk beaded pieces, and always at a steal even when they're full price (hand beaded silk can be disgustingly expensive!). During the spring sale, I found this turquoise beaded jacket hiding in the racks between party dresses and silk prints, and I knew I had to have it. After a warm, dressed-down summer, I finally have a chance to put it to good use for a friend's dressier holiday celebration! Thankfully, it was warm enough in NYC for me to snap pics of the look before I left, too. 

Get the Look

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Christmas as an Adult

I'm going to preface this post with a quick note that I am not religious in any way, making Christmas more of a family get-together (+ presents) than any sort of religious celebration or gathering, but somehow it's long been an important date in my life. Be prepared for a slightly rambling post, but if you bear with me, I appreciate it!

Learning to celebrate Christmas as a single, childless adult is weird. This realization has been coming on for a while now, but this year I've become a little obsessive over the changes adulthood (and single-hood) brings to holiday celebrations. Growing up, Christmas was split between my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve and my dad's side on Christmas Day (which only half-counts, because those grandparents were Jehovah's Witnesses and don't believe in holidays). Over the years, celebrating with my dad's side faded away (for a lot of reasons I don't want to go into on the Internet), and Christmas with my mom's side became more important as my grandpa's health faded and we treasured each year we had with him. If you've been with me for a while, you may know my grandpa passed away this spring, and it feels a little like the strings that held the family together have unraveled a bit. My grandma is still with us and rather healthy for her age, but his passing was a catalyst  of change for family celebrations, especially as we don't have any young children left who we need to put on a happy face and play Santa for. This year, we're not even celebrating on Christmas Eve because there are too many families' schedules to work around. Last year, I ended up at a bar with friends when I had nothing else to do Christmas day...any bets on where I'll be this year?

A touch more backstory on where this is coming from (and maybe getting to the point of where it's going)—my mom's family isn't huge, but all the adults are married, engaged or in long-term relationships. One is even expecting a baby this spring—the only ones showing up stag are a recently divorced aunt, my widowed grandmother, a 19-year-old cousin in college, and myself. It makes family celebrations a little awkward, especially as I've no plans to settle down anytime soon. I've even considered traveling out of the country at the holidays (smart thinking, Hallie!) instead of freezing to death in Iowa in future years—a few days at home will more than suffice, as opposed to the two weeks I'm currently subjecting myself to.

If you celebrate the holidays as a single adult THE single adult, I'm curious—how do you make them feel special??

*image via

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Color Crush: Red (Part II)

 It's pretty evident these days that my repetitive color crush comes in shades of blue (and it's made a demi-permanent appearance in my life), but I thought I'd take my red color crush one step further, too. The red sweater & pants here both came home with me during last year's Zara sale (side note—does anyone know when this year's starts?), when I was stuck in NYC two extra days and went into the city to buy ONE coat and left with $400+ of merch. Oops? I was shopping with my feelings that day, but hey—everything I picked up has been worn multiple times (like the pants here and the sweater here). These red separates have also become my go-to look for holiday parties this season. I dressed them up with silver pumps and some clear, sparkly bling for a dressier office party, then toned it down with flat black ankle boots and a simple pendant necklace for a casual gathering at a friend's.
Zara Sweater (similar, 30% off w/ code GIFTNOW) and Pants (similar)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Color Crush: Red

If you've been following me on Pinterest, you may have noticed I started keeping color-themed boards earlier this year (and if you're not following me yet, you can find me here!). A more recent addition has been for the color red, which I've always had a mixed-feelings relationship with, despite its reputation for working well on blondes. Not only can it be tough to pull off—hello, all eyes on me color!—I'm afraid of looking too holiday when I wear it since it calls to mind Christmas, or even the 4th of July if you bring in too much white or blue. Thankfully, it being the holidays, I've got the perfect excuse to wear it head-to-toe and test out our true relationship (check back later this week to see how I pulled it off!). It's definitely a bold, statement color, but in a sea of New York City black on black looks, it's nice to stand out every once in a while.

You can check out more of my color crushes here!

*all images via

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Celebrate the Holidays with Minted

Minted is becoming well known around the web for their incredible selection of affordable artwork (which I've browsed more than once to find pieces to fill out the gallery wall for my apartment), but I was even more excited to discover recently that they have a wide array of custom stationery and cards available for any season, including the holidays—and how cool are some of their custom wrapping paper options

Since sending out hand-written, personalized cards to friends and family is on my to-do list right now, I was especially drawn to the New Year's and Holiday cards section, where you can customize your photo, font and tons of other small details (want thicker paper or gold foil accents? They have you covered). If you're worried about receiving them in time for the holidays, fret not! There's still time to order and receive them before Christmas, and you can always blame their slightly belated arrival on the weather—it has been doing something akin to blizzarding in NYC, after all. Since I don't have kids to brag about and I'm the perpetual single adult in my family (more on that later), don't be surprised if you start seeing more photos of me with my dog—or if one ends up on a card in your mailbox!

*all images via

This post was sponsored by Minted, a site I truly love and support. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Blonde in this City possible!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pattern Mixing

After seeing this scarf on at least six other bloggers in the last few weeks (although I really did see Jessica rocking it first, followed by 10 instagrams from other bloggers in the coming weeks), I feel like it should be on Sh*t Bloggers Wear, officially. Honestly, though, I picked it up because I love things that can double as blankets (no, seriously, wait til you see the other one I got the same day! Perfect for the plane home next week) and I'm also a fan of the mohair/plaid trend this season, so sue me for making you look at the same scarf one more time. 

Anyways, scarf stories aside, I've also been living in these Schutz boots I picked up on Black Friday (as mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm all about gifts for myself). Tall, black, flat and lined with faux-fur, they'll be getting me through this winter one cold, snowy day at a time—including the 12 I'm about to spend in even colder, snowier Iowa!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weekly Wants

I'm looking at the calendar while I type this and having a hard time believing it's already near mid-December. I go home for two weeks in just nine short days (more on that to come), and won't be back in NYC til after the new year! I know most blogs, websites, magazines, e-mail blasts etc. etc. etc. are taking this time to share gift guides with you, and in a way weekly wants is a gift guide—to myself. I wholeheartedly believe in buying myself gifts, frequently, as a reward for all the hard work I do for myself. Selfish? Maybe a little, but I'm also a pretty fantastic gift giver so I'm not too worried (I'd share some of the things I've picked up for friends so far but I don't want to chance them coming across this). I may post one or two with you in the coming weeks, but this weekly ode to my own shopping addiction will certainly keep on comin'. 

*if anyone is looking at this to shop for ME, that twist front dress has been on my mind for weeks now. 

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Coffee Date Casual

I shared a peek at this look a few weeks ago as I was getting dressed one morning and am not ashamed to admit it's been worn more than once this fall! A silky blouse, simple blazer and statement shoes are the easiest way for me to feel put together on days when I'm feeling a little lazy, like trips downtown for coffee with friends who live in Brooklyn (if you live in NYC you understand the pain of living in Queens and trying to hang out with your BK friends on the reg.).

Slight side note—we met up in Washington Square Park, but it was so cold we opted to head indoors for our coffee fix, stat. First, we had to stop & shoot these and just so happened to snap them on The Row, a.k.a the namesake inspiration for the Olsen twins' line of the same!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bring on the Bling: Crystal Clear

I never used to be much of a jewelry wearer or collector outside of my sterling silver rings (no reference needed as a variety of them show up in every outfit post/are part of the header to this very blog!), but then I worked for a few years for a high-end costume jewelry company and my appreciation for a great piece—statement or delicate—matured quickly. My favorite thing to do as of late is layer on a piece of clear, sparkly crystal to an otherwise simple look, especially since I can be pretty lazy about getting dressed when it's colder (read: cashmere sweaters, thick jeans and boots). A little bling & lipstick goes a loooong way on those days, you know what I'm sayin'?

Get the Look

Monday, December 2, 2013

Teenage Throwback

How is it already December? I planned to get a lot of work done this weekend, but by the time it rolled around I decided it was time to (mostly) disconnect from technology and enjoy some friend (& Soulcycle) time instead! Of course, that meant coming back to 450+ emails by Sunday afternoon...oops. Worth it, though!

 I hate to disappoint, but these pictures aren't actually from my teenage years—instead, it's a bit of an homage to my formative years, when I opted to dress in screen tees, plaid and flannel button downs and jeans that more often than not had holes worn through the knees. As you can see, I've changed it up a little bit here, but the influence is there—and all that's really missing are my Chuck Taylors and rainbow colored hair (don't worry, I'll try to dig up a photo for you all when I'm home for the holidays). In case you haven't guessed yet, I was pretty heavily influenced by Nirvana and the era of early pop-punk. Hello, Warped Tour! 
Zara Coat || Forever 21 Button-Down || Coney Island Tank || Joe's Jeans

Get the Look

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Best of Black Friday & Cyber Monday

I must admit, I've never been very crazy about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I used to work retail at a large, chain-filled shopping mall at home and spent most of my Thanksgivings after the age of 16 cutting out of dinner early so I could get some zzz's before my alarm went off at 1:30 a.m. I will admit, I volunteered for the early shifts—mostly because it meant I got a great parking spot (I ignored the rules where mall employees weren't allowed to park in the first row) and could wander the mall after if I so chose. New York City does Black Friday a little differently—or I should say, doesn't really do it. When you don't have a heated mall to wander and instead are dealing with hundreds thousands of tourists on the street & subways just to get from shop to shop, you learn to stay home and shop from the Internet, instead. As I'm sure you've now guessed, that's exactly what I'll be doing with my day, so I've rounded up some of the sales I'll be scouring below, with updates throughout the weekend!

Express: 50 percent off every single item until noon on Friday, November 29.

The Outnet: Extra 30 Percent off Weekend Shop In on Black Friday. November 30 to December 2 Free Shipping with $250 code FREESHIPWKND.

Capwell & Co: 35 percent off purchases of $50 or more! Use code HOLIDAY35 until Monday, December 2.

Otte: Extra 40 Percent off already marked down merchandise with code BLACKFRIDAY until November 29. Cyber Monday sale begins November 29, EVERYTHING will be 20% off (no code needed!).

Sephora: Loads of products for just $10 as part of Dealtopia, beginning 11/29.

Robert Lee Morris: 30 Percent off with code RLMTHIRTY on Cyber Monday

BaubleBar: On Black Friday there will be a one-day-only sitewide sale. 15 percent off two items with code FRIDAY15, 25 percent off three items with code FRIDAY25, 35 percent off four+ items with code FRIDAY 35. On Cyber Monday, BaubleBar is inviting customers to play its Cyber Savings Smash game. Using the mallet to bop crazy shoppers out of the way, customers can score one of four amazing deals.

Madewell: 25 percent off your entire purchase with code FEAST25, plus free shipping. Through Monday, December 2.

Shopbop: From November 26 to December 2, spend $250 and save 15 percent, spend $500 and save 20 percent, spend $1,000 and save 25 percent.

Gorjana & Griffin: 40 percent off sitewide plus free domestic ground shipping. 

AG: Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 1, take an extra 20 percent off already marked down styles.

Dannijo: Dannijo will be having six days of surprise sales on from Wednesday, November 27 through Monday December 2. To find out what goes on sale each day, customers can subscribe to the DANNIJO newsletter.

Bebe: Black Friday deals will begin on Thursday, November 21 ending with a free pouchette with a $125 purchase on Friday, November 29. 

Forever 21: Items as low as $3.00 starting Friday, November 29.

Alexander Wang: 40 percent off select fall and pre-fall 2013 items with code AWSALE13 for a limited time. 

Club Monaco: 30 percent off already reduced styles with code THANKS30 through November 29. 

Lord & Taylor: 20 percent off sale and clearance with code BIG.

The Reformation: Up to 60 percent off fall apparel. 

Intermix: 40 percent off sale items in store and online through Monday, December 2. 20 percent off regular price goods on Thanksgiving only; discount automatically applied at checkout.

Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent: Monday, December 2, 20 percent off full priced and sale plus free shipping with code THANKS

Cynthia Rowley: Save up to 65 percent off fall markdowns, save 50 percent off angora sweaters and 20 percent off full-price clothing through December 2.

Parker NY: Through November 29 at 11:59 pm PST, spend $200 and get 20 percent off, spend $300 and get 30 percent off, spend $400 and get 40 percent off. Enter BLACK13 at checkout. Ends November 29 at 11:59 at EST.

Scoop NYC: 25 percent off in stores and online through December 1 at 11:59 EST.

3.1 Phillip Lim: 40 percent off select pre-fall and fall 2013 items.

The Dreslyn: Through December 1, take up to 60 percent off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Elizabeth Cole Jewelry: Enter BEJEWELED for 50 percent off select items through midnight. Discount falls to 40 percent off through Monday.

Trina Turk: Take 25 percent off four black dress styles with code BLACK DRESS through December 2, in stores and online.

Kelly Wearstler: 20 percent off all jewelry and accessories November 29 through December 2 with code KWGIFT.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Make Portraits

Back in September, I had the honor of connecting with a photographer in the new era of portraits through Instagram (remember this shoot? #RIP5Pointz). When Jorge reached out to see if I was up for another shoot a few weeks back, I jumped at the opportunity—and am thrilled to share some of his photos with you! Make sure you check out all his work on his website and flickr accounts, and for a daily dose of beautiful photos in your feed, follow him on Instagram! (I'm particular partial to this shot he snapped of me while I was photographing the sunset.)
A quick aside—one of my favorite ways to discover some of the amazing artists out there on Instagram these days is to search the hashtag #makeportraits. It'll take you down the rabbit hole, for sure, but I guarantee you'll find a lot of new accounts to love!

*All images courtesy of Jorge Quinteros

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekend Reading

Time has been flying by lately—it's hard to believe it's nearly Thanksgiving, and then I only have a few weeks left in NYC before I head back to Iowa for the rest of the holidays! Later this week, my roommates & I will be having all our "orphan" friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving & Hanukkah (as I'm sure you've guessed from my photos, I am not Jewish, but two of my roommates are!). That means my weekend is going to be filled with lots of exciting apartment cleaning, but it also gives me a chance to try to get our gallery wall finally put together. I'm thinking of adding in some mirrors, à la the photo above—they really open up the space and add a little something extra to the area (ours will be running down a long, partially open hallway).

I'll be making these dinner rolls again for Thanksgiving. They've become a perennial favorite!

Have you seen this live tweeting of a break-up? There are some questions to whether it's real, but no question that it's hilarious!

I love Hallie's Postcards from New York City post—so many gorgeous photos of our beautiful city!

This jewel-toned crossbody would be perfect for the holidays.

As a pretty big film photography enthusiast, I'm in love with these colorized photos from the past that have been making their way around the web.

This hand-painted mug DIY would make great holiday gifts!

An (imaginary) letter from Michelle Obama to Kanye West.

I've been getting in touch with my punk-kid roots lately, which means I really need these gold-spattered Chuck Taylors!

Speaking of sneakers, I'm also lusting after these turquoise ones.

A tour of designer Charlotte Ronson's Manhattan apartment.

Obsessively stalking Dreams + Jeans for her interior envy posts. They are all incredibly beautiful spaces!

*image via

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lust vs. Must: Embellished Sweatshirts

Ah, the embellished sweatshirt. It's like two of my favorite things from college—cozy sweatshirts and sequined tops—got together and had a (much more sophisticated) baby. Unfortunately, sophistication is often followed by a higher price tag, which can be a little hard to justify when many of my days are spent dashing around town for work or at my desk for hours at a time. Thankfully, if I do want to get a little desk-to-dinner & drinks action in my wardrobe, there are some more affordable options out there. Doesn't mean I can't lust, though!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pre-Holiday Dressing

Midi skirts are truly the perfect all-season piece—I've been working various versions of this look all year. A great, just-below-the-knee skirt works with a silky tank & heeled sandals in the summer and a few more layers, like tights and a jacket, in colder months.  The slight sparkle in this jacket makes it a pre-holiday look, don't you think? (During the actual holidays, it's really a miracle if I get dressed—last Christmas, it was so cold in Iowa that I wore the same sweater for over 48 hours. Oops).
Dolan Clothing Jacket || Charlotte Ronson Top || Skirt (similar, on sale!)
Hue Tights || Ecco Sculptured 75 Booties

Photos: Joey DeBenedetto