Polka Dots and Leather

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Hello all! Happy Friday Eve! I hope your week has been good! Mine has been very exciting...this morning, I signed my first real lease on my own! It was so exciting and I can not wait to move in! I'm hoping to start moving stuff in this weekend and I will definitely be posting things on Instagram and eventual will have a tour of the apartment here on the blog! 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Along with my move, I am also starting my new job on Tuesday and I have some very exciting news to announce to y'all here in the next couple of days. Moral of the story, August is going to be a huge month for me and for Lefty Living Life so make sure to stay tuned! 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Although summer does make it much harder for me to layer, it does make it easier for me to wear skirts without freezing. This skirt is one of my favorite pieces because you can so easily transition it from season to season and event to event. With a blouse and a fun necklace, it's perfect for work or dinner with friends. With tights, boots, and a sweater it is perfect for winter. 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

That's all for now, but have a fabulous Thursday! Until next time, XO

Necklace: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Top: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Skirt: J.Crew; Purse: J.Crew; Ring: David Yurman; Watch: Omega; Shoes: J.Crew; Glasses: The View on Elm

Behind the Scenes of an Outfit Post

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hello all! Today's post is going to be a little different then usual as we are going to talk about the behind the scenes for my photo shoots. Obviously the main part of this blog is the outfits and the styles, but without the photos, the blog would be very boring. So, here is everything that goes into a blog photo shoot with me! 

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

First thing to know, because I get this question a lot, I don't post an outfit unless I have worn it all day and still like it when I get home. I want the outfit to be functional, but also make me feel fabulous all day. With that said, a lot of times, my photos are taken when I get home, at dinner, at lunch, or saved for a day when I have more time. You have probably noticed that a lot of my pictures have a similar background. That is because they are around my house. I try to vary it up when I go places, but sometimes that just isn't feasible. One thing I am looking forward to with my new apartment is having access to new locations. For me, I like to vary the background when I can, but I don't want too much going on because that distracts from the outfit. Sidewalks, sides of buildings, and landscaping typically make really great backdrops so that is always what I am on the search for.

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

Other than location, I am also looking for lighting. Because I am so pale and my hair is so dark, sunlight is not my friend. I need a little shade so I am not washed out. This limits me in the summer because the middle of the day isn't going to produce good photos. Honestly, overcast days are the best. There isn't too much sun, but there is enough natural light that I don't have to use flash. Flash is not my friend. It makes me look like a ghost, ha. But, typically finding a little shade isn't too hard and it helps me mix up my locations. 

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

Right now, my favorite time to take pictures is around 7:30 pm. Then, I miss the direct sunlight but there is still tons of natural light. The hardest time is during the winter. It gets dark so fast that I have to take pictures any time I possibly can. For me, the key to getting good photos is just experimenting and taking as many pictures as possible. For each post, I try and have four or five pictures, but I probably took about 30. You are never going to get the perfect shot the first time so give yourself a chance to mess up and find the right picture. It also never hurts to have good camera equipment. Light is a great resource and I would seriously consider checking them out for more mobile camera options.

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

I'm not going to lie, by far the hardest thing for me is posing. I feel so awkward normally and never know what to do with my hands. My only advice is just to practice. See what feels awkward and what feels natural. Moving always helps for me and have your photographer talk to you. You can always tell genuine happiness. I will try and post more behind the scenes post in the future and as always, I'd love your comments! Until next time, XO. 

Earrings: J.Crew; Top: J.Crew; Glasses: The View on Elm; Watch: Omega; Jeans: JBrand; Shoes: J.Crew; Purse: Kate Spade.

Summer Brights and Sparkles

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

Hello all! I hope your week is going well so far! This week has definitely been hard for me what with it being my last week at my job and I've been struggling a little with my health. As some of you know, I've been having stomach and digestion issue for almost two years now since my gallbladder stopped working. It is mostly under control, but then there are days like today, where it really bothers me and that definitely affects my mood and my day to day life.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

Typically, I am a pretty happy person. The person you see on here and who you know from reading my posts is actually what I am like most of the time. But, that doesn't mean that I don't have down days just like every one else. Whenever I am having a down day, I try and wear something that makes me feel happy and beautiful to off-set it. Today's outfit was all about my favorite things.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

First there is this fabulous purse. Pink is just one of the things that always makes me happy, especially hot pink. In addition to pink, of course, I had to have some sparkles. I just got these shoes at J.Crew and I am already obsessed. They are comfy and oh so sparkly and I love it. Finally, this dress is new and when I put it on this morning, I felt awesome. That didn't exactly translate to my photo shoot this evening, but sometimes you just don't feel good about your pictures and that's ok.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

What are your tricks for perking yourself up on a down day? If you need a little pick-me-up, check out my Instagram story. I live streamed my baking evening for the first time ever and had a blast! I'd love your feedback. Until next time...XO

Earrings: Old J.Crew, similar here; Glasses: The View on Elm; Dress: J.Crew; Purse: J.Crew; Watch: Omega; Sparkly clutch: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Shoes: J.Crew

The Taming of the Queen Book Review

Hello all! Already a new week and the end of July...I can't believe it! This week is definitely bitter sweet as it's my last week at my current job. It's going to be very hard to leave, but I am so excited about my new job and the new chapter I am starting!

So, Kate and I have been doing a good job keeping up with bookclub and we just finished our most recent book, The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. You probably recognize her name as she has written a bunch of Henry 8 related historical fiction like The Other Boleyn Girl. Typically, her books are scandalous and completely enthralling and while this book was good, it was a little different from her typical novel.  

The Taming of the Queen looks at Kathryn Parr, Henry 8's sixth and last wife. While this novel did not have the scandalous intrigue I first expected, it was still very interesting. Parr was a very intelligent woman who was ahead of her time and was one of the first women in England to publish scholarly writing under her own name. 

While I could barely put this book down the last 150 pages, the middle was a little dense as it dealt with the religious turmoil that plagued England at the end of Henry's reign. Normally I like this kind of historical level of detail, but I think because I was expecting a scandalous love affair to begin on every page, the historical aspect got a little heavy for me in the middle. 

I would very highly recommend this book as Gregory is a wonderful and engaging author. Just go into it with more realistic expectations than I did! Until next time, XO

Cookie Dough Brownies Take 2

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017, recipe, food, chocolate,

As promised last week, I remade these cookie dough bars with homemade brownies these week. I'm still not 100% happy with them because I think the brownie recipe could use some improvement, but they are definitely better than last week's box brownies! It you end up making these, I would love your feedback and if you have a good classic brownie recipe, send it my way so I can try it! 

3 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. The recipe called for greasing the pan and then lining the pan with parchment paper. I would just use the parchment paper.
For this next step, the recipe called for melting your butter and half the semisweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. You can do that or your can do it in the microwave. I did it in the microwave and it was fine, just make sure you stir it every 30 seconds until it's melted.
Once the semisweet, bittersweet chocolate, and butter are combined, set aside the mixture to cool until it's warm. If it's to hot when you add the next step, you'll curdle the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until they are just. Make sure not to over mix. Fold in the warm chocolate mixture.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk together. Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until just combined. Add the remaining chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 32 to 36 minutes. It will look slightly under done, but don't over bake it because it'll finish baking in the pan as it cools. 
Once it is completely cool, add the cookie dough. See the recipe here. Make sure it is completely cool, but not cold so that the cookie dough adheres to the brownie.

This brownie recipe is from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread. I'm definitely going to try this again and might even make a live stream video so y'all can see how I do it! Until next time, XO

A Statement Piece for my Statement Piece

Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Hello all! Happy weekend! As usual, my schedule is jam-packed, but I was able to make some time to go to the farmer's market this morning. I have to say, this might be one of my new favorite activities. Today I was busy absorbing so I didn't take any photos other than my snapchat and Instagram stories, but I think this is going to be come a regular thing for me. I'll make sure to take pictures next weekend! 
2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Anyways, I think we can all agree that style-wise, I'm not exactly quiet. I tend to wear a lot of big pieces and lots of bright colors. But that is one of the fun things about getting ready! I love experimenting with different pieces and seeing how out there I can be without going over the top. 

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Speaking of tops, I adore this top. The feathers against the brocade are so unexpected, but the dark navy tones it down a little bit. I had really only worn it with dark jeans before, but I love how it looks against these white jeans. You can really see the feathers now and I love the dark against the light.

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

With a top like this where the texture is the statement, it is easy to add in more statement pieces with neutral colored jewelry and a pop of color. Because the brocade is hard to see until you are close up, this top definitely needs a necklace or earrings to brighten up the top half of your outfit. I like the neutral colored necklace and then the loud pop of this bag. This Cambridge Satchel is one of my favorite pieces because it is so easy to add to any outfit and it always packs a punch. Until next time, XO 

Glasses: The View on Elm; Hair Clip: Chloe and Isabel; Top: Old Anthropologie, similar here and here; Necklace: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Jeans: J.Crew; Purse: Cambridge Satchel; Watch: Omega; Shoes: Jack Rogers

Stripes and Summer Turtlenecks

Thursday, July 20, 2017

2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

Hello all! I hope your Thursday has gone well. This has been the weirdest week for me at work and I am so ready for the weekend. But before we get to relaxing this weekend, let's talk about summer work wear first. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

As you probably already know, I am always a skirt or dress girl when I have the option. Sure, I love a good pair of jeans, but I gravitate towards dresses and skirts- especially when shopping. This skirt, is the newest addition to my wardrobe. You almost can't tell in the photos, but it is a very skinny pin stripe, which I love. It gives it that professional, corporate air without being too over the top. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

What initially drew me to this skirt was the cinched waist and bow. I always feel more comfortable with a defined waist tailored into my clothing. This can be difficult to find sometimes, especially with summer silhouettes. But, I knew right away that no matter how it fit, the bow would give me the definition that I was looking for. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

The best part about this skirt for me is definitely the pockets. Any skirt or dress with pockets is a winner in my book because then I don't have to worry about carrying around my phone. It can just stay in my pocket and I don't have to worry about it. Until tomorrow! And if you've been watching my Instagram story, the recipe will be up on Sunday! XO 

Glasses: The View on Elm; Necklace: J.Crew; Top: Anthropologie, similar here and here; Skirt: J.Crew; Purse: Anthropologie, similar here; Shoes: Aerin, similar here; Watch: Omega

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