Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Leopard Print Heels

Jennifer and Grace Blouse via T.J. Maxx  / J.Crew Factory Skirt and Necklace / Sole Society Desi Pump via Nordstrom / Gap Cardigan

I bought a pair of leopard print heels. That may sound incredibly cliche and very fashion blogger-esque, but I promise I had good reason. I was on the mission for the perfect she for fall. It needed to compliment the various colors in my wardrobe from the brightest pinks to the most steady navys. It also needed to be comfortable and stylish. A neutral shoe of some sort was what I needed, but I didn't want to go too pale to harken back to summer.

At first I was not convinced that the leopard print would go with most of my outfits, but after I started to think about it, it made sense. Leopard print is great for pattern mixing and combines two neutrals — black and tan — into one, giving it the ultimate versatility.

I first tried the he Juli version of this shoe, which is wedge. It was two narrow in the toes so I tried the Desi in a kitten heel instead. That turned out to be much better. I am hoping that these Sole Society shoes stand the test of time because I am already obsessed with them. They look just as perfect with a skinny leg pant as they do with a really loud skirt.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Patchwork Cardigan and Tunic Blouse

Details: Sun & Shadow Sweater via Nordstrom (Now $38.40) / Lush Tunic via Nordstrom / Old Navy Jeans Similar / Old Navy Shoes Similar / Lou Lou Earrings / J.Crew Factory Necklace

I was ready for fall on approximately July 28. Yeah — I'm obsessed! I have been on the lookout since then for anything fall themed. Something that has been on my fall/winter wardrobe wish list for a while are pattern sweaters. I was specifically looking for something like this southwestern print sweater.

When I saw this sweater while shopping Nordstrom's Anniversary sale, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the different take on the fall cardigan with its interesting patchwork and asymmetrical design. In this color, I can wear it casually with a flannel or to work with dress pants. Over the weekend, when we were experiencing unusually chilly temps, I decided to layer it over this great tunic that I also scored at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Like I told my sister, she can give me a Nordstrom Gift Card for my birthday every year if she'd like. :)

The tunic is longer so it can be worn over leggings and has a nice drape to it. I didn't realize how see through it was. I probably wont wear a tank top underneath it next time since it's so noticeable.

This sweater with any top, skinny jeans or dress pants and boots is a great fall go-to!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lace-Up Ballet Flats

The number one item on my wish list for fall is a pair of lace-up ballet flats. I first fell in love with the Green Billy Ella's from Anthropologie. They are so elegant and look like a ballerina slipper, but the bright color keeps them fun and modern. A little on the pricey side though. I also found this pair of cranberry Nine West Lace-Up Flats, which are not a bad price. The deep colors gives them a very romantic, medieval look like something Sansa Stark might wear. Not sure they are my style. The Topshop Lace-Up Flats are my favorite (also available at Nordstrom). They are a great style at a great price and come in good colors. Now I just need to decide between the black or the red pair. Which lace-up flat is your favorite?

(Topshop image from The Sweetest Thing)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My New Instagram Account

I've created a new Instagram account to share my outfits, style inspiration and recipes for good food and good DIYs. I'll still be posting on the blog from time to time, but I figured this would allow me to share my outfits and inspiration with you a lot faster. Follow me @cosmocleve and let me know if you like what you see! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Typically pasta dishes are on my "Do Not Make" list. I grew up in an Italian family so pasta is a true comfort food for me, but I don't want to resort to it all the time. So if I can, I try to find something healthier to make. William Sonoma's Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage recipe is an exception, though. It's incredibly easy to make while still giving the impression of a well-prepared dinner. 

I was not accustomed to using broccoli rabe until I started making this recipe. The strong taste took a little getting used to. It's like spinach, but stronger and tougher. This makes trimming and chopping after boiling important steps as well as adding the right amount of seasoning. You get used to it the more you make it. Be sure not to skip the step of cooking the pasta in the leftover water from the broccoli rabe. It really brings out the flavor.

What's your go to fast, but polished meal? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Paisley Jumpsuit

I was slow to the jumpsuit scene and, now, I'm not sure why it took me so long to "jump" on the bandwagon. Luckily, as a birthday gift, my boyfriend saw the potential and pushed me out of my comfort zone once again (see gold sequin pants). They are comfy, create an interesting silhouette and feel a little more fashion forward than anything else in my closet. I like that they are slim through the hip and leg area and only slightly tapered so as not to completely resemble MC Hammer pants.

I thought I could pull this look off for work considering the black and white print is a little more professional. I was a little unsure of how people would react, but I have to say most people were very complimentary of the new outfit. Considering I work with mostly 20 to 30 something women this was not surprising. Most said they wished they could pull it off, but felt that they are too short for the style. I feel for them. It is a bit of a hard silhouette to work with. Not sure if there is some variation of this look that takes that into consideration. I suppose you could always have a jumpsuit altered.  

Details: Banana Republic Factory Jumpsuit (Similar) / Fergalicious Sandals / H&M Blazer/ J.Crew Factory Necklace / Francesca's Earrings

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer Reading List 2015

Every year my summer reading list is something I look forward to putting together. Perhaps its the years of participating in the Book IT! Program with the promise of greasy pizza that continues to motivate me like Pavlov's dog. I ask my friends, consult the New York Times, NPR, Amazon — any place I can find a list — and head to Half Price books. Since I love a good book recommendation, I thought I'd  share with you three of the books I read/am reading this summer.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Ever since Parks and Recreation ended, I have been looking to fill that smart/irreverent comedic void in my life. Reading this book is kind of like listening to Lesley Knope talk. Its a little wordy and rambly, but the payoff is completely worth at the end of every sentence. I think this book has more jokes per square foot than any comedian's biography I've read so far (Jokes per square foot is a rating system I've invented). It's cool to read about Amy's early years working on Upright Citizen's Brigade and SNL as well as her time on Parks and Rec. I also appreciate her advice and thoughts on relationships, parenting, work and life in general.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
I was excited to read this book as it was a gift and came highly recommended. It was named either a Best or Notable Book of 2014 by a variety of outlets. The time and place is 1920s London right after Word War I. The main character Frances and her mother who once were considered part of the high class have to take in borders to make ends meet. The book goes on to take many very unexpected twists and turns and the characters become forever changed in ways they never imagined. What starts out as a story about two proper, high-bread women becomes a suspenseful page turner in the end. What I found most interesting was the undertone of how much war changes a society.

The Gatehouse by Nelson DeMille
This book is the sequel to Nelson DeMille's book The Gold Coast. If you know anything about Nelson DeMille, you probably know that he has knack for sarcasm and suspenseful crime stories. The Gatehouse starts where John and Susan Sutter leave off after a murder, the mafia and tax evasion catch up with them. The witty banter and descriptions of incredible mansions and estates along the Gold Coast keep it a light read, while their continuous run ins with the mob and the eccentricities of this social class give it just the right amount of intrigue.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer Work Outfit: Maxi Dress with a Blazer

As we start yet another new month, the end of summer feels near. Now is the time to get as much out of the warm weather as possible (even though I can't wait for fall!!!). For me this means trying to wear as many dresses as possible. Soon I will long for the days when I didn't have to wear pants. I love to change up a maxi dress for work by throwing on a blazer. I especially love that this dress is actually backless, but because of the high-neck front can be worn in different ways. The pattern lends itself to both a bohemian flair, but also a put together look.

British Khaki Blazer / Sugar Lips Maxi Dress / Francesca's Earrings / J.Crew Factory Necklace / Fergalicious Sandals

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Outfit: Green Gingham and White

For a casual Sunday filled with church, an impromptu ice cream run and relaxing outside, I broke out the gingham and whites. I love the color of this green gingham boyfriend shirt from Gap. It fits a little looser, which is much appreciated in the hot weather. I've had the white skirt for a while, and it's such a cute way to stay cool. The green and white together create such a crisp, fresh look. This outfit could not be complete without my J.Crew straw tote.

We tried Piccadilly on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon for the first time. Piccadilly offers organic and vegan frozen yogurt options. I tried the salted caramel with cheesecake bites, berries and chocolate syrup. It was to superb! I pretty much fell in love with the decor. It's bright, cheery and little funky featuring pieces from local artists.

Outfit Details: Gap Shirt / J.Crew Tote via Goodwill / American Eagle Skirt via Avalon Exchange / Lou Lou Earrings / Unionbay Sandals / Michael Kors Watch and Cuff

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blackened Tilapia Baja Salad

After getting back from vacation, I decided it was time to start eating healthy again. Eating buttery shrimp and saying yes to dessert every night is no way to start an effective fitness plan. One of my favorite meals to make during the summer is this Blackened Tilapia Baja Taco recipe from Cooking Light. To keep it light, I put the fish and avocado over a bed of salad. I love the mix of spice finished off with a cool cilantro lime sauce.

Vacation was a blast. We go to Isle of Palms every year, which is beautiful and close to the charming city of Charleston. I managed to pack just the right amount and didn't come home with a sun burn. At 30 years old, I am finally starting to become an adult. I sat on the beach, read a few good books and tried to think as little about work, blogging and school as possible.