Fashion

Sporty Holiday Style: The Iconic Red Dress

There’s nothing more holiday than the iconic red dress, am I right? I had so much fun collaborating with a few of my fellow blogger babes this season on finding the perfect red dress for the holidays. Check their posts out here:

Brandi Soileau/Jadore Grace/Styled in Blue/Christine-Marie/Lots of Sass/Sassy & Dangerous

I decided to add sporty splash this season. With athleisure and the fancy sneaker trend riding a major wave this year, it’s the perfect time to add a little funk to your holiday party getups. This year, velvet has played a major role in my styling choices, making it an easy choice for the holidays as well. I rarely buy holiday dresses or any formalwear for that matter, as it’s much easier to rent as it’s not something I’d wear more than once.

I chose to pick a piece that would be versatile across all codes of dress: the blazer dress! It makes a perfect choice for office parties and happy hours alike. Additionally, you can wear this dress open, making it easy to style for the office with leggings or jeans. I’m so pumped to use it later next year as such!

To style this dress on the sporty side, I paired it with one of my favorite ball caps. If you want a more casual look, try adding a pair of statement sneakers to the mix! I’ll be swapping out my Rockstuds for my cracked patent leather Creepers for a holiday party later this evening! If you want a little more glam, go for a statement accessory! I’ve been adding this feather collar to everything this year, from sweatshirts to dresses.

 

Outfit Details

Dress: Burgundy Crushed Velvet Blazer Dress, Missguided

Shoes: Rockstud Slingback, Valentino in Black/Nude (affordable dupes here!)

Collar: Feathered Collar, Thread Lounge

Hat: Faux Leather Ball Cap, Forever 21 (OLD) similar here

Bag: Vitello Daino Leather Tote, Prada

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Fenty Beauty in 210

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

Contour: Match Stix Matte Skin Stick, Fenty Beauty in Mocha and Rum

Eyes: Eye-conic Multi-finish Eyeshadow Palette, Marc Jacobs in Frivoluxe

Lips: Rouge Pur Couture Dazzling Lights Limited Edition Lipstick, YSL

Hair: AIR DRY IT Undone Styling Creme, c/o L’Oreal

Photos by Rachel Radcliffe Photography

The Velvet Moto Jacket: The Piece Of The Season

Where are my fellow velvet lovers at? This post’s for you.

The velvet trend has shown no signs of slowing, and I couldn’t be more pumped about it! It’s a fabric that can be dressed up or down, either through booties or a pleated midi skirt. I came across this killer jacket right before I left for Moab, and was pumped to take a more casual option with me for the cooler nights out in town with the guys. If you’re looking to step up your game from the traditional black leather moto jacket, this is it. Another cool fact? It’s under $50 and comes in multiple colors.

While I usually invest in quality pieces for outerwear and shoes, I like to add a few trendy and more affordable pieces to my wardrobe each season to keep it stylish. Statement outerwear is number one on my list for winter. If you’re looking for longevity, the moto jacket is an iconic style, making it easy to style season after season. Add crushed velvet to it? You now have the piece of the season!

I’ve also had so much fun styling my Fenty Puma Ankle Strap Cleated Creepers with everything from jeans shorts to jersey dresses this summer. They’re still my number one shoe staple this fall and winter, and pair perfectly with jeans or a wool pencil skirt and a chunky sweater. Can you believe I also took them to Moab and HIKED in them? Moab is known for its fine red clay dust, and these sneakers not only held up to it, they wiped clean as soon as I got home. How’s that for versatility? There is such a thing as doing active things in style, and I’m here to help you find those pieces to do so.

Outfit Details

Jacket: Crushed Velvet Moto Jacket in Hunter Green, Forever 21

Top: Natalia Bell Tie Sleeve Plaid Flannel, BeachLunchLounge

Beanie: Pom Beanie (OLD), Forever21, similar here

Jeans: Wedgie Fit Jeans, Levi’s

Sneakers: Ankle Strap Cleated Creeper Sneaker in Black/White, Fenty x Puma

Water Bottle: Spike Jet Waterbottle, Bkr

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Fenty Beauty in 210

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

Contour: Match Stix Matte Skin Stick, Fenty Beauty in Mocha and Rum

Eyes: Lila Eyeshadow Palette, Natasha Denona

Lips: Lip Color, Tom Ford in Bare Peach

Hair: AIR DRY IT Undone Styling Creme, c/o L’Oreal

Photos by Rachel Radcliffe Photography

The Ultimate Guy Gift Guide: A Tomboy’s Hack

Struggling with finding the right and non-lame gift for your hubby, brother, or significant other? I’ve got you covered. As a tomboy, I’m in on the pulse when it comes to things guys gush about, and what’s overdone. I’m using my dude-like interests this week to give you a short list of things you may not have heard of when it comes to shopping for your favorite man. It’s even been signed off on by my brother for added peace of mind.

For the Minimalist

If the guy your buying for isn’t much of a stocking stuffer lover, there’s still hope! Instead, opt for things that will integrate into their daily routines by optimizing their time.

Thiel Aurora Home Audio: Give the gift of quality sound this Christmas! If your guy is a music lover, the Thiel Aurora is a must. Expertly crafted to deliver the sound music producers created music to sound like, it’s a huge upgrade to an iHome or even the standard Beats or Bose product. I have the home version (and have had Bose and Beats in the past) and can confidently say it’s the best speaker I’ve ever used. You can choose between the travel-friendly option or the home option depending on your guy’s needs.

MoveWith: If the man your shopping for loves to workout, and also leads a busy life or unconventional work schedule, this awesome fitness subscription app is a winner. MoveWith is offering a 3-month membership for the holidays, so it’s a great way to try it out. The best part? It’s less than $8 per month, bringing the net cost under $25. Once logged into his account, he will be able to choose from a variety of workouts from HIIT, running, yoga, meditation, and much more. All the workouts are doable most anywhere, even in their own home! You’re giving a gift of power to control his own workouts without fighting with his current professional schedule.

Cool Gel Memory Foam Pillow: Getting great sleep is always in style. If your guy hates gifts, give him something that he can use every single day! I have this particular pillow along with my Tempurpedic one and love it. It’s a staple for summer months in the city when the weather is unbearably hot.

quip Toothbrush: Great smiles are also always in style. If you haven’t seen this techie hipster toothbrush on social media yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth the hype. Several of my male co-workers have one of these and can vouch that it’s a great choice. This won’t take up tons of counter space in his city apartment either like Sonicares, so it’s easy to integrate for a minimalist.

Native Union Leather iPhone Wallet Case: This is practical and GQ as hell. This makes a great gift for any guy, and it’s only $50!

The Morph Collapsible Foam Roller: This takes up little to no room at home, and is a killer travel companion, perfect for someone active that travels or hates having extra gadgets taking up space around the house. It’s easily stored on a bookshelf or under the couch for easy storage.

For the Active Outdoorsy Guy

Would you guy rather spend his time amid the great outdoors than a fancy meal or drink out? These picks will up his game when it comes to his expeditions and how he documents them.

DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal For Smartphones: DJI is the leader when it comes to killer tech like drones, etc. If he loves making videos to document his travels, this incredible piece of gear is a must. It stabilizes video content while you run or hike, making for some killer content! It fits all phones universally, so it makes an easy fit for everyone. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require a ton of practice to get it going. It’s easy to pack too.

North Face Base Camp Duffel: The most universal and rugged bag on the market. This bag is not only resistant to tears, it’s also waterproof, making it a solid investment for travel, backpacking, and all outdoor sports. My brother has several of them in various sizes, and it’s one piece of gear that has proved it’s worth over the years. If it can withstand military deployments, countless BASE jumping expeditions, and more, it will deliver for your guy too! If he has a lot of outdoor toys, opt for the bigger option here and here.

Glossier Invisible Shield: Guys need skin care too! If you guy hates applying sunscreen because of the terrible smell, this one is bound to do the trick. It’s small too, so it’s easy to pack into his daypack or ruck. It makes a great stocking stuffer! This has been brother approved as well, so if you’re worried it seems girly, it’s not.

Smartwool Running Socks: Trade out his cotton socks for a killer wool upgrade, that will help him stay blister free during workouts and work.

For the Extra Guy

We all have an extra AF GQ gentleman in our lives. These gifts are guaranteed to impress their elevated sense of style and efficiency!

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candle: This was a gift for one of my previous relationships, and I can say it was very well received. The scent of this particular candle gives off a very classy yet masculine aroma, making it a killer piece for someone who entertains or simply likes to retreat to an extra-luxe man cave. No guy will actually buy it themselves, but when given as a gift, it’s been rated as a killer pick.

MONTBLANC Card Holder: For a slim wallet option, this piece delivers. It’s bougie yet practical and will last for years to come. It’s under $150 as well.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone: If you guy is a techie, this one is one hell of a gift. While on the pricey side, it’s a solid investment for guys that travel a lot or like to do lots of cool things outdoors. It does take a learning curve, so if they’re a gadget head, it’s perfect. I got the chance to play around with one in Moab with the guys, and have to say it’s freaking cool AF.

Porthole Alcohol Infuser: This is a killer gift for the top shelf liquor loving guy, as you can infuse literally everything from truffles to herbs for a twist on home cocktails. Give this to the guy that loves to host! This also works for iced teas and any other drink you can imagine, so if they’re not a big drinker, it’s still a solid gift. For a more price friendly option, try this one instead.

GoPro Hero+: This is a great starter GoPro for anyone looking to take their videos to the next level and right around $200. You’ll get 1080p video at up to 60fps, and connects via WiFi or Bluetooth. For an extra $100, set him up with the full starter pack of accessories!

Black Friday: The Hacker’s List

Hey hey, my fellow online shopping night owls! We’re a few hours post dinner, and now settling into our strategy for tomorrow. Am I right? If you’re overwhelmed with options, or simply a procrastinator, it’s okay, I’ve got a quick game plan for ya.

I love the thrill of Black Friday for the same reason I love video games: the thrill of the chase. However, I also love the opportunity to use strategy to make it as painless as possible. If you’re shopping from your laptop tomorrow, I’ve got you boo: to help you not only maximize your savings but also earn maximum rewards back too! In?

Before You Shop: Pro Tips

Rewards Credit Cards

If you have rewards credit cards, Black Friday is the time to use them! I do all my major shopping hauls on my airline credit card to earn rewards for new trips, perks, etc.

BUDGET. BUDGET. BUDGET.

How many times have you all felt mega buyer’s remorse? Me too. Don’t worry about it, instead be proactive about it. I like to set an overarching budget for all gifts and distribute from there. It’s super helpful and actually helps weed out the fluff and subsequent remorse.

Use Discounted Gift Cards

This is one of my best-kept secrets. Did you know that millions of dollars in gift cards go unused? Do you wish you could sell your gift card for cash? You can. For less. I often pick up (and sell!) gift cards to places I don’t use, and vice versa. Raise is a SUPER safe discount site, and if you don’t believe me, take it from the experts: they’re backed by Accel Partners.

Go Time: My Picks

Significant Others & Family

I believe in the power of quality over quantity when it comes to holiday shopping, as I find I use a well thought out gift more than just a few of my favorite stocking stuffers. Even though the price tag might be a little bit higher, it’s bound to be a thoughtful one that will last for many years to come!

Theil Audio Aurora

This is for all your music lovers or a great gift for your significant other or family. I had the pleasure of meeting the team at Thiel this past month, and after chatting with their CEO I couldn’t be more pumped to watch them disrupt the home audio vertical. Their product is meticulously engineered to deliver sound exactly as music producers worked hard to create, in real life. I couldn’t be more blown away by mine, and stay tuned for a full post about it later as I begin to test it out to learn the tips and tricks for you.

Sale runs until Sunday, and use BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to get 25% off.

Valentino Rockstud Wallet

Here’s your chance to score the hottest style of the past few years at 40%. Net-A-Porter is one of my favorite places to shop for designer items, as the deals are fantastic!

Net-A-Porter’s sale runs through Sunday, take up to 50% off sale items, no code needed.

Sam Edelman Velvet Lace Up Bootie

Loved my black tie up booties from my New Mexico trip? Look no further! This pair is only $80.

Besties

Prada Metallic Wallet

I’ve been getting so many questions about my silver Saint Laurent mini wallet, and I found this similar option for you. Guess what? It’s even under $200! Give this as a gift to your fashionista bestie, or snag one for yourself!

Touch XL Dimmable LED Makeup Mirror

Have it. F&%in’ lurrvvv it. It’s under $50 and makes a great investment into optimizing your space in your apartment as far as beauty goes.

Google Home

I’ve gotten the chance to play around with this at work, and I must say I’m impressed. This baby is on sale at Nordies, which means you can score a killer gift with an even better loyalty reward. On sale, it comes to less than $80. Remember to use your triple points day, especially if there’s more in the cart!

Swell White/ Calcutta Gold Insulated Bottle

These and Bkr bottles are my number one holiday gift this season! I love the price point, as it’s perfect for just about everyone.

Bkr Bottle

This is a great way to earn mega points back for your rewards at Sephora, or Nordies! While there isn’t a dedicated sale, the payoff you get in your direction is a killer compromise.

Black Friday Quick Browses

Because efficiency, I’ve also rounded up some of the most popular retailers we shop at today under one list for a quick easy link into each of their sale pages. Browse and choose on your own accord right from the site!

Glossier: 20% off site wide! Go fetch.

Carbon38: 30% off sitewide with HOLIDAY38

Bandier: 20% off everything.

ASOS: 30% off everything with EPIC30

Nordstrom: extra 20% off sale items

Sephora: Special edition and limited edition value packs galore! Plus. Bkr bottles. Because VIB Rouge.

All Saints: up to 40% off everything. My favorite retailer ever for sweaters and jackets.

Missguided: 50% off EVERYTHING.

SHOPBOP: 75% off sale items, and 30% off full price items sitewide.

Revolve: 50% off selected items.

Nordstrom Rack: extra 30% off clearance.

QVC: $10 off your first order with TEN4U, major deals on electronics and homeware

Now, go grab a glass of wine and settle into your Black Friday shopping sesh! I’ll be updating this list along the way with items I got and new stuff released tomorrow.

Photos by Rachel Radcliffe Photography

Music Is My Best Friend: A New Movement

For those of you that know me well, you know how important music is in my life. I’ve been surrounded by it since birth, and it’s integrated into every area of my life in some shape or form. It’s what motivates me, what helps me unwind, and what helps me see deeper into every corner of life. Before we get into the good stuff, I’ll start this post off with a couple music-related facts about myself you may not know:

Mandy + Music

  1. I trained professionally as a singer for most of my life, from high school through college.
  2. I live for all things musical theatre.
  3. I love creating new mixes of music, from the ancient mixtape back in the 90’s to today, remixing my favorite songs DJ style. Find my playlists on Spotify and Soundcloud and follow along!
  4. I love writing lyrics and sometimes even tunes.

Why music?

I’m an artist at my core. I like to integrate uncommon things to tell a story. Music has also been a way to connect deeper with my group fitness students, and a way to amp up a fun night with friends. Anyone else take a moment throughout the day to settle in with your fave song of the moment to reflect and get inspired? I’m talking about those super inspiring daydreams that motivate is to dance around in our PJs at home, or rock out to our own music video in our head. We have ALL been there. That’s where I became inspired to create this new way of sharing inspiration through a collaboration of some of the things I love most: music, fashion, and art. It’s a way to bring that daydream music video into flesh and blood.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for so many things, and one of them is music. Like family and friends, it is a best friend to me. Music at its core has always been a way to come together with others on the common ground of love. Now more than ever, we need that in life. This video was a way for me to unite some of my favorite brands that are breaking the mold of modern fashion, to a new kind of collaborative music as showcased by one of my favorite new musical artists, Sofi Tukker. Their original remix of alternative rock vibes and electronic beats inspire me in so many ways, to include the way I look at fashion. Their track Best Friend spoke to me in this way: fashion and music will be a part of my life always and speaks its own special language to me.

Meet the #OOTDnovela

Meet a new way to bring things together: the #OOTDnovela. It’s a collaboration of the things I love most, and I hope this video inspires you to collaborate with others and bring together your own love story across all avenues in life. This will become a new monthly staple on the blog, so stay tuned for more fashion and music collabs later this holiday season! I’ll leave all of you with this: is there a song that inspires you? Something you’d like to see in this style? Email me! Let’s collab.

-xx M


Video filmed by Rachel Radcliffe Photography, music by Sofi Tukker. Video produced and directed by me.

Outfit Details

Blouse: Something Borrowed Shirt, ADAY

Tank: Rose Gold/Aqua Sequin Tank, Forever21

Jacket: Distressed Denim Jacket, Forever21

Leggings: Melrose Legging, Carbon38 (almost sold out, similar here)

Boots: Sabrina Glam in Dusty Rose, Frye x GMG (SOLD OUT, similar here)

Hat: Velvet Cabby Hat, Forever21

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Fenty Beauty in 210

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

Contour: Match Stix Matte Skin Stick, Fenty Beauty in Mocha and Rum

Eyes: Lila Eyeshadow Palette, Natasha Denona

Lips: Lip Color, Tom Ford in Bare Peach

Hair: AIR DRY IT Undone Styling Creme, c/o L’Oreal

The Moto Leggings I Can’t Stop Wearing

I love a good pair of moto leggings. Anyone else? I love them even more when they’re on sale! I get most everything in my workout wardrobe from Carbon38 these days, as the selection and quality of their pieces are always on point. Since many of the brands they carry are somewhat pricey, I like to make sure I’m picking quality pieces that will not only hold up to my workouts but also not lose their trendiness after a couple seasons. That said, searching through sale pieces is not always a walk in the park with these requirements! However, when you do find a unicorn…You freaking pounce on that SH%T. I found these amazing moto leggings by happenstance, browsing the sale items a few weeks ago, and instantly added them to my cart.

I found these amazing moto leggings by Lurv Sportswear by happenstance, browsing the sale items a few weeks ago, and instantly added them to my cart. They’re only $76, and I can tell you they’re going to be a staple for many seasons to come. They’re soft enough to wear during spring and summer, but structured enough for fall and winter. The fit is incredibly flattering and was actually something I was a bit worried about when I bought them, as they were a new brand to me. They’re true to size: I take an XS in these and generally wear an XS or 2/4 in Lululemon bottoms as a reference.

We also obviously need to talk about the rose gold details too, because what isn’t trending in rose gold right now? I cannot get enough of the shiny zipper details on the hips and the ankles, as they give them an elegant twist, making them perfect for a workout, and just as perfect to wear out on the town. They come with a few other hidden pockets too, which is convenient if you’re heading out for a run or a quick trip elsewhere! If you’ve been hesitant to try the moto trend that’s taking the fashion space by storm right now, this is a great way to ease into the trend with a hint of soft pink.

The good news doesn’t stop there! Since I am one of their ambassador trainers, you get 20% off and free shipping on your first purchase. They’ve also got one of the best return policies out there, making it easy to ship back if you get the fit wrong. I trust them for a reason.

Enter my code MGRAGG50 at checkout to cash in on your new favorite leggings!

Outfit Details

Crop Top: Logo Crop V, Ivy Park via Carbon38

Leggings: Wild and Wanted Leggings, Lurv Sportswear via Carbon38

Bag: Classic Caviar Flap Bag, Chanel (affordable option here)

Shoes: Star Patch Patent Leather Platforms, ROMWE

Sunglasses: Unknown brand, similar here and here

Hat: Pom Ball Cap, Forever21 (OLD) similar here

Watch: Apple Watch 2 in Rose Gold, Studded Band by Bezels & Bytes

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Fenty Beauty in 210

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

Contour: Match Stix Matte Skin Stick, Fenty Beauty in Mocha and Rum

Eyes: Lila Eyeshadow Palette, Natasha Denona

Lips: Lip Color, Tom Ford in Bare Peach

HairHair: AIR DRY IT Undone Styling Creme, c/o L’Oreal

Photos by Shannon Righetti of Shandru Photography

Makeup by Caitlin of Sephora Union Street

Statement Accessories: Make Any Outfit Elegant

I am a lover of anything with a bold statement. That said, there’s an art form to styling a statement piece if you want it to really pop and work for you and your style. This week, I am showcasing one of my favorite statement accessories to date: the feather collar. I found this lovely gem at a local boutique, Thread Lounge, located in the Mission District of San Francisco. San Francisco is usually never synonymous with editorial fashion trends, so it came as a wonderful surprise to find this unique piece in the mix! It’s an easy piece to add to an otherwise elegant outfit, however, its a completely different feel to blend it with more casual designs.

This week, I want to talk about how to take your favorite loud statement piece and make it your own with a casual outfit of your choosing. I know my fashion looks are often rebellious and may not speak for everyone, however, that’s not my point when styling looks. What is? Teaching you to think outside the box in your own wardrobe, taking risks where you feel comfortable doing so.

Choosing The Statement Piece

The starting point to mastering this trend is to pick ONE piece that speaks to your inner self. I have always loved feather trends, from those silly yet fun feather extensions to earrings, which was an inspiration I took from Kesha back in her earlier days. I’m a free spirit at heart, and it brings my looks full circle, blending my elegance and renegade attributes to the forefront together. If feathers are your jam, try this option, and if you’re hesitant, opt for a monochrome paring like I did, black on black, letting the details shine, not just the overall piece. What’s next? Always start small: one of the biggest trends having a comeback right now are statement earrings, I’ve linked a few of my faves here, here, and here.

I started with an otherwise casual outfit, blending silk trousers with one of my favorite sporty crop tops that legit goes with everything:

Pair Your Outfit

Next, take your statement piece and add it in. Let the piece speak for itself: what I mean is to downplay your other pieces either through solids or simple designs. The solids in this outfit compliment the tones in the feather collar perfectly, bringing the whole look full circle. Still have questions? Shoot me an email, I’d love to help you strategize your statement look!

Outfit Details

Feather Collar: Thread Lounge (similar here)

Cropped Sweatshirt: Dry Versa Training Crop, Nike

Pants: New Wave Wide-Leg Pants, Nasty Gal

Shoes: Superstar, Adidas in Rose Gold

Sunglasses: Livin’ Large Mirrored Aviators, Quay Australia

Makeup Details

Primer: Ren Skin Finishing Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Your Skin But Better Illuminating CC+ Cream in Light, IT Cosmetics

Blush: Cloud Paint in Puff, Glossier

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty

Lips: Amuse Bouche Lipstick (custom Bite Lip Lab shade), Bite Beauty similar here

Brows: Dipbrow Pomade in Medium Brown, Anastasia Beverly Hills

Lashes: Ardell Wispies, Target

Hair Tools Used: BaByliss Crimper / Sultra Bombshell Wand 1 1/2 inch

Nail Art: Elegant Nails Salon, San Francisco

Photos by Lauren of Laurel Creative
Makeup by me