Grab a Book

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 J.Brand Boyfriend jeans, Zara Chambray shirt (old but many similar options under all under $60 here), Oscar de la Renta ‘Shock’ nail lacquer, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide, Dana Rebecca ‘Lauren Joy’ necklace

I was never a huge reader growing up. Actually, I wasn’t a reader at all. You can read more about that in one of my old post, Book Worm. For some reason my sister got all the ability of reading – she was fast and she loved it. I however had to read each page slowly and sometimes multiple times. I was so scared of missing a detail that it took me ages to finish one book. I still remember the first real chapter book I ever finished: Frindle. My brother is a bit older than me so when he was in drivers ed to get his license my dad would take me to the public library and we would read. I remember thinking it was such a cool place but I could never find a book I actually wanted to finish. Until I came upon Frindle. I always chose my books by their cover. Seriously against everything they tell you but I was 10 and needed something eye catching.

It wasn’t until years later (almost 15), that I started really enjoying a good book. Isn’t that sad? I used to think so, but now I think it just takes some people longer to enjoy the art. Since I hang on to every word the author writes and become so invested in emotions and characters it is hard for me to jump from one book to the next. I swear I still think about A Girl Named Helen Keller from the 3rd grade. I  really do get that invested in characters!

The past two books I have read have been mysteries – and I think I have found my favorite genre. I absolutely love the thrill of not knowing what is coming next and getting to turn the page, only to be flabbergasted by the turn of events. If you like mysteries I recommend Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver and Gone Girl Gillian Flynn. The latter was a recommendation from my good friend, Molly, who like my sister reads all the time. She also recommended my next read: How Luxury Lost Its Luster – I start it today.

Since I mentioned trying to be inspired by people, places, and things around me, I figured I should start with myself. I am always in awe-of and kind of jealous of those who say, “Oh, have you read the latest from so and so?” or “I can’t wait to start so and so’s new book.” They always seem so intellectual – something I have never prided myself on but have always appreciated in others. I admire my sister, mother-in-law, and friends like Molly who always take the time to read and appreciate the writing or story that is being told.

I wanted to conclude this with one of my favorite quotes from Mr. Holland’s Opus. In the movie, Mr. Holland is fired because the school is cutting the art budget to save time for math and science. The conversation goes something like this –
Vice Principal Wolters: “I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I’m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division.”  
Mr. Holland: “Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want. Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.”

This has always been one of my favorite quotes because art is what gives life, life. It is what gives us all a reason to have and feel emotion. I always feel like those who appreciate art and reading take the time to do so. They are creatives and can see the small beauty in things. I may be taking it overboard but it is a quality I truly appreciate in all of my friends and family. That is why I am taking a cue from them this year and taking time to slow down to appreciate a beautiful piece of art or a really good book.

Wearing Spring Two Ways

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Look 1: J.Brand jeans, Zara blouse (similar), Wildfox Classic Fox sunnies, Johnston & Murphy loafers, Celine bag, Chanel “Pimpante” lipstick

Look 2: H&M pants (similar), YSL t-shirt, Johnston & Murphy Textured blazer, Zara heels (similar, and in silver),  Ray Ban Aviator sunnies, Chanel “Pimpante” lipstick, Emily Rosendahl “Sam” clutch

Since the weather is officially changing here in Dallas I am getting inspired by all of the new flowers popping up, warm weather, and colors around me. After a season of unusually cold weather and a wardrobe full of blacks, grey’s, and whites, I am really excited to add some “spring” into my closet. I still love my neutral base tones but I am excited about adding a pop of color into my outfits. Even though spring isn’t the first month of the year I always feel like it is a fresh start. The warmer weather, all of the new and beautiful blooms after a cold winter, birds chirping (which I am listening to while I type this), and lots of color always makes me ready to conquer the world my closet.
Since I feel inspired and rejuvenated when spring comes around I like to do what a call a, “closet assessment” each year, before the craziness that is summer. To do: Take stock of what is in my closet, clean out what is not needed (or worn in the past year), and add more basic colorful pieces. My biggest struggle for spring is usually finding pieces that are good quality, not overly floral, colorful without being obnoxious, and something I can wear for a few springs to come. The two items I wanted the most for this spring were a fun loafer and a white blazer. These are both really classic items that fit the above checklist and ones that can be styled a million different ways for spring as well as other seasons.
I was happy to find both of what I was looking for from Johnston & Murphy. I am a new fan of theirs and was extremely happy to discover their spring line. They have everything a girl could want/need. Their pieces range from bags to jackets to loafers and each piece is perfectly designed for spring. I must say, the loafers are my favorite part of their new spring collection. I am a sucker for a good loafer – I think they look really sharp and boarder the masculine/feminine look, which I think is really chic. They have such a great selection in really bright and cool color combinations – think- lilac mixed with green and mint mixed with coral. And the fit, oh the fit, they are like walking on clouds. I am guilty of using them both as a slipper around the house and a shoe for outside. They are that comfortable!
My other Johnston & Murphy find was my white textured blazer, which has already been worn a handful of times. I have styled it both edgy and feminine – Ah, the versatility of a white blazer. You can wear it with white jeans for a white on white look, black leather pants or shorts for an edgy look, over a sun dress for a tailored look, or with jeans and flats for a relaxed look. There are so many ways to wear a white blazer that every closet should have one. Since I don’t like feeling confined when I am wearing a blazer, I was instantly drawn to how light-weight the blazers were at Johnston & Murphy. They give off a nice look without making you feel like you are wearing a really heavy coat. It is also perfect for scrunching the sleeves half-way up my arms, which gives off a more modern and relaxed feel. While all of these make the blazer the perfect choice, my favorite part was the lining. Although most people don’t see this I love when a company takes the time to think about the lining and adds a special touch. This particular blazer had a beautiful coral lining with little polkadots around the inside. Super cute and really fun for spring.
I am pretty prepared for spring now, thanks to Johnston & Murphy. I only have a few more items I really want to add to my closet: white skinnies, black and white loafers, a black wedge, and colorful blouses. I still can’t believe I am saying the word spring. Can you believe it is already upon us? Since it sprung (no pun intended) up on us so quickly I hope I was able to help you fulfill your spring needs!
For more pieces and ways to style Johnston & Murphy, check out this fun gallery!
photography by Molly
This is a collaboration between Johnston & Murphy and the AOL Lifestyle Contributor Network. Compensation was provided by Johnston & Murphy via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Johnston & Murphy.

M.A.S. Beauty Favorite


Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

There are a few things I hate to do – one being, taking off my make-up. I absolutely love the feeling of not wearing make-up but the process of taking it off has always been a headache. You first have to wash your face with a cleanser, then you need to astringent it to make sure all of your  make-up is gone, and lastly you have to get another type of make-up remover designated only to your eyes to make sure all of that make-up is gone. It is a tedious process that I honestly don’t enjoy. I would rather not wear make-up then do this everyday. Knowing how much I hate the process of make-up removal I searched my options.

A few months ago I was part of Stylists Beauty Awards – (read what I said about Take The Day Off here) – where I was sent a box of products that I would test and then rate and review. I received so many amazing products (and most that I will share here in the next few weeks) that removing make-up and taking care of my skin actually became fun. In the past it was always something that I felt like I had to do to avoid the inevitable wrinkle or break-out but thanks to Stylist beauty became fun. Since I have always received positive interest in my beauty routine (here -super old and here newer), I decided it was time to share a few of my favorite products.

I wanted to start off with a bang- my favorite product I use – Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. You now know my annoyance and frustration with the entire make-up removal process.  I used to hate the process because it was long and tedious but that is no longer the case! Where I used to have to wash, astringent, and  remove eye make-up separately and with multiple products, I can now do with one. No joke! The product is a little bit intimidating the first time you see it as it looks like a giant bottle of wax but upon touching it, it dissolves right into your fingers like a cream. Once you have it in your hands, rub it all over your face and then rinse. Voila, your make-up is gone. To test how powerful this balm was I used my usual astringent routine – where normally the cotton ball would be dark with left over make-up was now clear. There was nothing left on my face. Better yet, it is so soft and moisturizing that it really does do three things in one – clean, remove, hydrate. I swear by this product and have even converted my friend Sally who just purchased it this past weekend.

This is a must have product for you beauty lovers lazy people like me who hate the loooong process of removing your make-up at night. Please always feel free to ask me any questions via e-mail or commenting below! I hope you enjoy! xx

There was no compensation for this post. I just love the product that much!!! When I review a product I try to be as accurate and honest as possible. If I don’t like something I will tell you and try to explain the reasons why.  But if I love something I hope you will trust in my opinions. Honesty is always key on this blog!

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