Designer Spotlight: M. Gemi

Shoes have the power to transform. Whether you are in jeans and a tee or your best LBD, the right shoe can truly elevate your outfit.

When I made the decision to quit fast fashion, I wasn’t worried about where I would shop for clothes - turns out there are a lot of responsibly made options. What I was worried about? Where I would buy my shoes. And not just any shoes - there are a ton of brands making ethically-made pairs - but modern, sexy, “look at me” statement shoes. The kind of shoe that can transform your basic jeans and t-shirt combination. The kind of shoe I seek out to wear (like these gladiator stunners).

And then I discovered M. Gemi.

Handcrafted by small family run factories in Italy, these ethically made shoes are luxury at a (more) affordable price. By shipping directly from the factory to your front door, you get the same quality as other high end, Italian crafted brands, but at a fraction of the cost. New styles are released in limited quantities each week, keeping the inventory fresh, but because of the small batch approach, once a style sells out, it’s gone for good.

In terms of quality, aesthetic, and company values, the brand really is unparalleled.

And because it’s a brand I believe in, I’ve teamed up with M.Gemi to offer you guys $40 off your first pair as well as free overnight shipping. Check out my favorite pairs from their current inventory and shop for yourself here. Happy shopping!

dress: old bcbg
sandals: m. gemi
clutch: clare v. 


Romp Around

I’ve seen a lot of closets and observed a lot of women’s habits around getting dressed. And one thing I consistently see is women not utilizing everything in their closet (myself included). Which means one of two things. First, she has too many clothes. Clothes that don’t fit. Clothes she doesn’t like. Clothes that are outdated. Or second, she’s grabbing the same outfit combinations day after day. Either because she’s too busy to plan or she's stuck in a style rut.

The women who don’t seem to have this issue are women who have created a capsule wardrobe. They reduce their closet to about 30-40 pieces total and that’s what they have to work with. That means they are keeping only pieces that fit, they love, and can be mixed and matched with other closet pieces. Usually they have a cohesive color scheme and they are confident in their personal style. The women who do this - and do it well - amaze me.

One day I hope to be one of these women.

I definitely gravitate towards the same outfit combinations - they usually involve neutral colors and stripes. But since I’ve stopped shopping for fast fashion (and also drastically limited all other shopping), I’ve really started to appreciate the under appreciated items in my closet. Most of those items involve prints and colors, two things I tend to buy a lot but not actually wear a lot (note to self for when I master my capsule wardrobe).

But without being able to stop in at H&M for a quick impulse outfit, I’ve started to actually wear the bright and bold pieces already hanging in my closet. I bought this printed romper last summer and didn’t wear it once. Not a single time. It sat hanging in my closet with the price tags on long after the return period had ended. It was 15 bucks at TJ Maxx and like most impulse buys, I didn’t need it, but made the purchase anyway. And because it sat for an entire season without seeing the light of day, I challenged myself to wear it this summer or let it go. So I wore it. And loved it. And wore it again. And now this crazy little printed romper is a go-to summer piece. even if it doesn’t make it through another season (you can’t expect much from a $15 polyester romper).

What are the reasons you aren't maximizing your closet? Could you ever see yourself attempting a capsule wardrobe? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And if you ever need help getting your closet in shape, I'm here to help.

romper: old tj maxx
clutch: stella and dot (similar)
sandals: old 


Red, White, & Blue

The introvert in me almost always prefers to escape the crowds of overcrowded holidays to staying in the fray, so this past weekend for the Fourth of July, I packed my bags and got out of dodge. We left town and headed a couple hours north to a friend's lakeside cottage near Port Austin, where we spent our days celebrating America with fireworks, cookouts, and boat rides.

Aside from our pit stop to Franks roadside ice cream stand, we didn't leave the cottage or the lake once. And even though I spent my days on a boat in a bikini and my nights by the bonfire in my sweatpants, I'll take any excuse to dress up in my finest red, white, and blues. And bonus points if the outfit involves red, white, and blue stripes. We all know how much I love a good stripe.

Besides, it just doesn't get more American than an ice cream stand, boats, and patriotic stripes.

shorts: old
clutch: clare v. 
sandals: banana republic


Kitchen Inspiration


I’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately. With summer in full force, I've been spending more time outdoors, but also I’ve been doing some work on my loft and have temporarily moved out of my space while the entire place gets painted. It's been a little chaotic. Once the paint is done (fingers crossed this week!), we’ll finally be finishing up our kitchen (it's only taken us 4 years).

When we first moved in to our foreclosed loft, the kitchen was half gone - I guess the old owner found some value in pieces of the kitchen. So we came in and ripped out the remaining outdated cabinets and replaced them with a more modern look - adding black lower cabinets and white quartz counter tops. We alway intended to finish the upper area - adding open shelves and a backsplash, but a lack of money and time kept us from moving forward.

But this summer we are finally completing the space. And since I am finalizing my kitchen design and have decor on the brain, I am sharing some of my favorite inspiration photos. Feel free to comment below and let me know your ideas for the space!





And for anyone who is interested in seeing our half done kitchen, here it is (please excuse the iphone quality). Any ideas on what to do with all that upper space? Right now I'm thinking of bringing in some warmth with wood shelves (to match the beams throughout the loft) and a white subway tile backsplash. What do you guys think?


4th Street Boutique

Last week I had the pleasure of co-hosting a styling event with fellow blogger, Andrea of Blonde Bedhead at the 4th Street Boutique in downtown Rochester (for all you local Michigan girls). The store - and the owner, Donna - could not be any more adorable. Complete with everything from casual summer clothes to cocktail dresses to gift items, 4th Street is a one stop shop for all your style needs. And if you're like me and are into ethical shopping, the boutique has an abundance of American made brands as well.

I had a blast with Andrea (who after lots of internet stalking, I was stoked to finally meet in person) and consumed an abundance of macaroons (because no good fashion party is complete without a tower of macaroons), and after lots of mingling, the event concluded with Andrea and I in the hot seat for a little rapid fire Q&A action.

And since I regularly get asked similar questions, I thought I'd share some of my answers with all of you who were unable to attend the event:

How difficult is it to start up a website? Setting up a website is easier than ever now. There are so many free templates, I'd suggest starting there. Some might disagree, but I wouldn't invest a ton of money in a website upfront. Figure out your groove first.
Do you own the clothes you photograph? Yep, all the clothes I photograph are my own. Occasionally, I am lucky enough to collaborate with a store or brand (like 4th Street), where I will be gifted an item. But I am extremely selective and only collaborate with items I believe in. The vast majority of my clothes are purchased myself.
Do you have any hard rules you follow for styling? For example, "No white before labor day?" Nope. I think style is so individual, I hate the idea of saying "never wear ____." I might hate a trend, but that doesn't mean it won't work for someone else.
What era is hot right now? As Andrea said, 90s are super hot right now - chockers and mom denim. But I will always love the 70s.
Boutique or department store? Boutique for sure. It's where you can find more unique items. Plus, I always prefer supporting a small business over a chain. But that being said, as a stylist, I depend on department stores for quick one shop stops for my clients. So I believe both have a place in the industry.
What are some essential style pieces? A great pair of denim - whatever style suits you best. And statement shoes - heels, flats, whatever - choose a pair that will elevate a basic look.
What is your style in one word? Inconsistent.
Do you re-wear outfits? For sure. I try and mix it up for the blog, but my real life is full of repeats.
Heels or flats? Both. I like to be a little bit more unexpected and wear heels with ripped jeans and a tee and wear flats with an evening dress.
Favorite basics? Denim, denim, and more denim. Also, I throw on a blazer over everything.
How do you add color when you are not used to wearing it? In your shoes or accessories. Let the color pop against a neutral outfit to make an impact, yet still feel comfortable.

Thanks again to 4th Street Boutique for hosting such an awesome event and to everyone who came out! Definitely check out the store if you are in Metro Detroit. And thanks to Andrea for taking these killer outfit shots at the event.

And if you guys ever have any more style questions for me, ask away. I'm always here to share.

With Andrea of Blonde Bedhead (left) and Donna, owner of 4th Street Boutique (center)

earrings: c/o 4th street boutique
sandals: banana republic


Cold Shoulder

I know it’s been a long time. Over two weeks in fact. I didn’t intend to stop blogging during this time, but the combination of life and shoddy internet forced my hand. Instead, I spent the last couple weeks traveling and visiting family on the East Coast. I got wrapped up in the fun of my 5 month old nephew (can you blame me?) and practiced my zen at the Wanderlust Festival in West Virginia.

But now I’m back.

And I’m excited to show you another look from local designer, Ann Normandy (I first showed you her work here).

This cropped cold shoulder top is one of my favorite pieces in her collection and currently on trend for the summer. Off-the-should tops have been everywhere this spring and I don't expect the fad to fade anytime soon. The shape is effortless and cool, and can be worn just as easily with a pair of pants as a great summer skirt. And unlike other off-the-shoulder tops, this version can be worn with a regular bra. Major Perk.

And like all Ann Normandy pieces, if this particular item is out of your price range, you can buy the pattern and have your own version made in a more affordable fabric, allowing you to both be on trend and support a local designer.

bottoms: thrifted
heels: target (old)
clutch: fashionABLE
necklace: thrifted