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

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus Sale: Insider Tips

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus sale is here guys! If you’re not super familiar with the details yet, don’t sweat it. Today’s post covers everything you need to know. For starters, this sale gives you a blanket discount on everything site and storewide (the percentage off depends on your loyalty level). During this time of year, I stock up on holiday gift sets and invest in bigger purchases. Before I get to that, let’s break down the important details.

Holiday Bonus Sale FAQs

The Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus sale runs from today through the 15th at midnight.

VIB Rouge & VIB: you receive 20% off your entire purchase at checkout, with 20FORVIB / 20FORROUGE.

Beauty Insider: you receive 15% off your entire purchase at checkout, with INSIDER15.

Most important tip? This IS THE TIME to grab those pricier items that never go on sale.

Not sure where to start? Keep reading. I’m breaking up this season’s roundup into easy to shop categories, depending on the type of holiday or personal shopping you’re geared up for this week. Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, or yourself, there’s some amazing products and tools out there that you don’t want to overlook!

Gifts for our ladies

For the wonderful women in your life, there are some serious gems this season! Across beauty and skincare, the items below are ones that are not only universal crowd pleasers but great investments.

Peter Thomas Roth 24k Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Hydra Gel Eye Patches: I’ve raved about these so many times on my Instagram stories, and there’s a reason I use these weekly, THEY WORK. These are a great gift for mom, and any friends that are stepping into the anti-aging skincare game.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: Another product that I love beating the proverbial dead horse over. This essence makes my skincare work harder, and my beauty products sit better on my skin. It’s also a lifesaver during the winter months, keeping my skin hydrated due to its magnetic properties with our season serums. Try it with a mini bottle for under $100, it lasts for at least 6 months, using it every day.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Dazzling Lights Lipstick: Best lipstick ever, hands down. I have a matte version (this one is satin), and I adore it. It has an incredible amount of pigmentation, and this limited edition version is a killer holiday gift for any lady in your life! With the sale price, it brings it down to around $30.

Drunk Elephant Volume 3 Set “Let’s Dew It”: I raved about this earlier this week, and this is seriously such a perfect winter gift. If you’ve never heard of this brand, even better! It’s gotten rave reviews from the reigning beauty experts at Allure Magazine as best of beauty. Grab this set for all your skincare loving ladies!

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial: Not sold on the full set? This is a must instead. Literally the best mask on the planet right now. I took home a sample when this was released earlier this year, and went back to buy the full bottle the same week. It’s won all sorts of awards, and I’m totally on board.

Ren Skincare Perfect Canvas Skin Finishing Serum: This primer changed my life. It will change yours too. Even if you aren’t a total makeup junkie like myself, it just makes your skin look better. Wear it bare-faced or under a full holiday party face for a serious game-changing look.

Keranique Deluxe Hair Regrowth Treatment: If you’re following along on my Instagram stories, you know I am about four months into this whole set. After years of pulling my hair into wet buns in the military and years of ponytails teaching group fitness and training clients, my hair was thinning. This stuff has completely changed the game, and I am forever grateful. My part is thick again, and my hair is growing in stronger. Have a friend or family member struggling with the same issue? This is a must.

Gifts for our men

Men’s beauty has made some serious gains this year in the grooming department, and it’s not all frivolous. The following picks are guaranteed to be loved by all of the men in your life and will save you from settling for the usual tie or alcoholic gift.

Jack Black Shave & Kiss Set: Holy OMG smooth. I actually tried this lip balm myself during a Beauty Studio consult, and it’s hands down one of the best balms on the market. This shave cream is also pretty amazing according to my male family members. I got the guys in my family hooked with samples earlier this year. It’s even under $20!

The Art of Shaving Four Elements of the Perfect Shave Kit: This brand was a gift to my brother years ago in college, and I must say it’s still a top performer these days in terms of men’s skincare. It’s under $30 too.

Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20: Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN. I preach about it all the time because it’s important. If your guy isn’t into the skincare thing or botox, this stuff will save them on fine lines and wrinkles, and keep their skin healthy.

Personal Splurge Musts

Let’s keep it real: it’s better to splurge smart. We are all guilty of picking up things for ourselves too, and that’s totally okay! If you’re in the market to make a big change in your beauty routine, this is the time to do it. Is your hair dryer on its last legs? Still on the fence about that new tool? Take the chance this week. These prices make it justifiable.

Dyson Blown A OUAI Set: I don’t really go for overly expensive tools, but some are just worth it. If you have a Dyson vacuum, you know what I’m talking about. This set is also paired with one of my favorite lines for haircare, OUAI. I’ve tried the hair oil and soft mousse and OMFG. Seriously. This dryer will literally blow yours out of the water.

GHD Platinum Professional Performance Styler: The best brand for flat irons hands down. I have owned one for nearly 10 years, and have replaced it only once, just due to the fact that I wanted a newer model. These things never die, and what’s better? Sephora’s returns guarantee you’ll love it. If it dies or isn’t for you, they’ll take it back, no questions asked. How’s that for return on investment? This goes for anything you buy here.

Clarisonic Mia Skin Perfecting Starter Kit: This is a great value and way to get yourself or someone else a leg up on their skincare. It’s totally changed the surface of my skin and makes my skincare serum investments even more effective.

Under $100 Musts

La Mer Creme De La Mer: This product is truly revolutionary when it comes to moisturizers. I always have the smallest jar which is under $100 and lasts for ages. It’s a quick fix for chapped lips during ski season, overnight masking, and all over your face for the winter season.

Jo Malone Limited Edition Candle Set: NEWS FLASH! If you’re not aware that Sephora now carries Jo Malone, cat’s out of the bag. This gift set is perfect for friends, even split it up and add them in as stocking stuffers or a part of a whole personalized gift set. Pick up the full sized candles too here: Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Peony & Blush Suede, or the Red Roses Travel Candle are front-runners from the line.

Tom Ford Lip Color: Also a mega must. This lip color is comfortable to wear and the colors are to die for. I am obsessed with the Dark and Stormy shade for fall and winter!

Armani Lip Maestro: Literally the best lip product on the market in my opinion. This creme lip stain doesn’t budge at all and is still comfortable to wear. I used it for my last two photo shoots, and am now hooked on the nude color every girl needs, 500.

Jury still out? Shop the sale directly here, and make your own picks.

Holiday Beauty: Mastering The Seasonal Glow

Hi guys! I know, it’s been a minute, and I’m spilling the reason why now.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, excitement and work have been at an all-time high and it’s been overwhelming, but in the best way possible. Why’s that, you ask? Well, I’ve hinted at it before, and this week, I’m letting the cat out of the bag: I am moving to New York City after the holidays! My lack of posts recently has been due to me orchestrating my move out of the amazing Marina apartment that has been my home for 5 years here this past weekend, while simultaneously taking on new endeavors in my professional career in technology sales (which sparked the move!). I’m also super excited to take my blog along on this adventure and have so much exciting content to share with you along the way. As always, follow along on my Instagram stories for clips of my real life and journey behind the camera!

…back to business now.

Holiday Beauty.

I fucking LOVE holiday beauty: the special edition makeup palettes, glitter, and bold lips and dark nail tips speak to my soul. I also love adding in my staple pops of neon where appropriate. This week, I wanted to give a shout out to the phenomenal glow of Fenty Beauty. I’ve been wearing it since September, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Highlighters were at the forefront of the original collection, and it was my first purchase as well. Highlighting is also going to be HUGE for the holidays this season (insider secrets from my fave beauty contacts). If you haven’t jumped on board just yet, now’s the freaking time.

For this week’s look, I also wanted to showcase a fall-friendly color scheme outside of my usual go-to’s and settled on a cool toned burnt orange at the heart of it. This tone is everywhere right now, and these two deeper matte and metallic tones on the bottom row of the Natasha Denona palette are just incredible. It paired so well with Fenty’s Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal Killawatt Highlighter.

I’m also rounding up my top picks of limited edition holiday beauty sets and colors from my favorite retailers below, so you can snag them before they sell out!

My Holiday Must-Haves

Fenty Beauty Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter: This thing is a cult fave for a reason! This glittery and tinted version got me hooked. I am obsessed with the Garnet one for the holidays!

Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette: Hourglass has paved the way for strobing, and this special holiday release has several darker hues that will be perfect for seasonal parties.

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette: I LOVE Huda Kattan, and have been obsessed with her lashes for years. This palette definitely does not disappoint either. There are so many ways to create your own personal burnt orange or red for the holidays this season!

Natasha Denona Holiday Eyeshadow Palette: Natasha Denona has created an unbelievable product when it comes to her eyeshadows. They aren’t dried out or hard to work with like some shimmery shadows. Instead, her formula is unmatched when it comes to blending. This one’s also under $50, and I used colors in the Aeris #2 palette here!

Becca Apres Ski Glow Face Palette: Holy OMG! These gorgous wintery hues are perfect for illuminating your fall and winter face.

Drunk Elephant Volume 3: Let’s Dew It Kit: You really thought you’d get out of here without a skincare recommendation? Not a chance! I am obsessed with Drunk Elephant, and now for the holidays, you get a kit of travel sized product to try out for yourself at a lower price point! I can honestly say my skin looks and feels better after using this hydrating kit over the past month as the temperatures have dropped.

Outfit Details

Tie Dye Adidas Shirt, URBNVTG

Blouse: Something Borrowed Shirt, ADAY

Hat: Faux Leather Pom Pom Cap (OLD), Forever21 (similar here)

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

Shoes: Star Patch Patent Leather Platforms, ROMWE

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

What’s In My Bag: Fall Edit + A Life Update

Alright guys, settle in for a long, juicy one.

Fall is in full swing, and just like seasons, our beauty and fashion choices shift. Needless to say, it’s been a challenge chasing the needs of my skin with the fluctuating temperatures lately! As cooler temps start to approach, it’s super important to start strategizing your own personal skincare routine. It’s also even more important to take a moment to re-center after a season of summer travels. I also found it therapeutic this week to reset, recenter, and get creative after this past season’s dust settled. This week, I’m coupling my personal seasonal shift with my product shift, hand in hand.

Many of you may not know that I also balance a career in technology sales alongside my creative space here. That said, it can be freaking insanity for your skin and life balance. That goes for many of us, blogger or not. If you’re in a slump when it comes to figuring out how to balance your passions and work schedule at the same time, I want you to know that you are not alone, and there’s a solution.

Detox for fall.

Before you roll your eyes assuming this is a basics buzzword, hear me out. Detox is the yang to our personal yin. When you stop feeling guilty for your splurges and accept the balance you seek, only then will you be able to design your own life balance. Knowing your personal limits, whether that be 12 hour work days or 2 drinks at happy hour, gives you the power to realize your potential and also what hinders it. Crazy, right?  Failing will teach you a lot. Don’t be afraid of failing, just use it to your advantage.

I learned this past year that I needed a serious balance check, in work and life. Putting all my love and labor into a professional outlet and personal relationships that did not genuinely love me or support me back was toxic. When you take a step back to stop and suck the blockers out of your immediate surroundings, you find yourself again. When I say you, here’s what I don’t mean: your social image, who your friends are, what your body type is, or even the style you prefer to rock. Instead, I’m talking about what ignites your soul and what defines your values. Detox all the way to your soul, and re-edit.

This year, I edited everything: my unbalanced lifestyle, toxic relationships, toxic environments, and found the key to designing my true potential. Toss the stuff you don’t need in life: petty hate thrown your way, other people’s surface level opinions of you, and anything that’s not working with you. My vices? Behold:

Marine Collagen Peptide Drink Powder: This shit is gold. There’s a reason the beauty world is abuzz about collagen, boasting the whole inner beauty concept as their marketing. I dig it. It really is the key to building your best you from the inside out. Since adding this HSN gem to my nutritional lineup, I’m looking and feeling like a million bucks. I some of this stuff in my purse and add it to my water before meals or to my gym water bottle. Try it. Tell me your story!

Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack: Best affordable detox mask on the market in my opinion. I go through at least one of these every season, and it’s been a game changer for my skin. I even shared it with my techie male co-workers to prove a point in statistics. Straight and gay men alike dig it, and you should too. Stay tuned for a whole series coming soon: beauty shit even guys can get behind. Yes, beauty for all.

Glossier Super Pure: If your skin sucks due to stressful work weeks or a crap diet of traveling, this serum’s for you. I lean on this for fall post-Fashion Week and summer. We have spent the last few months living life and splurging on food and drinks, so it’s time to get our skin in check.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: This has come to be a staple in my beauty edits. Why? It helps your serums work better, and makeup sit better. It’s pricey and well worth the splurge. As fall sets in, you must think about adding moisture to your skin. I pair this with my Super Bounce serum, and it’s the golden ticket to perfect skin this season and next.

Foreo Play Cleanser: This tiny tool is the shit too. If you aren’t exfoliating, you’re covering your skin with more buildup and making your face a breeding ground for toxicity. I love that this small version is an affordable way to wean yourself into the tool game, and can personally say it gets the job done. I traveled with mine to New York Fashion Week, and it was instrumental in making my skin stay sane amid a nuts work schedule.

Move. On your own terms.

My nuts schedule and normal stresses of life wrecked havoc on my skin, social life, and workout routine. It wasn’t until I started actively making time for myself (no matter where I was) that I was able to find a stride that worked for me. If you feel like you do the same workout trends day after day without anything to really show for it, DITCH it. I’ve found myself reaching for solutions instead of the dream that’s often sold, and it’s been life-changing. That said, I’m not here to shit on group fitness or other creative workouts, I’m just saying find your balance that works for you, your body, and your life. Here are the current secrets to my success:

MoveWith: This amazing San Francisco based fitness technology allows you to do your favorite workouts on your own, and more importantly on your schedule and the way you live. Ever wanted a run coach on your favorite run route around the water or across town? Sick of paying through the nose to workout? Here’s the key to your workout destiny. It’s something I also recommend to my personal training clients and take it from them, it’s the answer to their workaholic lifestyles.

Trigger Point Foot Foam Roller: This piece of gear is one of my best-kept secrets. We are on our feet most of our day, so we need to care for them properly. Between heels, high-intensity workouts, and natural stress, we need to give our feet the recovery they deserve. It’s easy to roll this under your desk at work, at home, and on the go! I keep this in my work and gym bag so it’s easy to incorporate into daily life.

Educate yourself.

I’m a firm believer in continued education, none of our learning is ever really finished. I like to keep myself up to date on everything from fashion, health, history, and technology, as it changes the way we continue to design our future. The more you understand the failures of our generation and adjust, the better of you will be to actually start doing some good in your own life, and out in the world. Here are some of my favorite sources of education:

Reddit: If you aren’t reading on this site, you are behind the power curve. Not everything is gospel here, you have to do your sifting and thinking yourself. It’s a great way to get the buzz on new products, brands, and a pulse on the world. It looks janky as fuck, but once you start bouncing around it starts to make more sense, as you search for things that matter to you. Try it out!

Fat Mascara: I fucking love this podcast. The ladies are hilarious, and the education is real. Listen along on your ride to work, at home, or while traveling! It will give you a new boost of creativity when it comes to your beauty choices, and also get you listening to some of the best in the industry when it comes to learning beauty and making it work for you.

The Balanced Blonde: I love Jordan for several reasons. One, she’s from my hometown, Sacramento, and secondly, she’s such a genuine spirit. If you haven’t read her book, you must, especially if it’s honest life balance you’re seeking. Life is about trials and errors, and finding what works for you, and her personal account and lessons learned are relatable for any of us navigating the world today.

The Skinny Confidential: I also fucking LOVE Lauryn. She’s very much my cup of tea: ballsy and smart as fuck. Have you ever wanted REAL reviews, real raw shit? Me too. I love her fresh approach to learning what works for you through trying new ways to make the world and products around you work for YOU. She’s my self-confidence muse, reminding me to stay true to myself. It’s also wonderful to spend my day reading and connecting with other like-minded gals through social media. Check her podcast and Facebook group out!

Do fucking YOU.

The sooner you start living life for you, and not the life others create for you, is when you hit your stride. That goes for the world you surround yourself with as well. Strive to fill your life with people and places that support you through tough times, not just the easy parts. I have created this blog as a way to shake up the normal stigma of navigating life, fashion, and beauty, and want to CHALLENGE each of you to TRY adding in one of these picks and pieces from any of my posts and make it yours. I’m not here to tell you how to live, dress, or simply mimic what I put together. The beauty is in the journey of designing how you approach both fashion and beauty. Try. Fail. Learn. Succeed.

Photos by Shannon Righetti of Shandru Photography

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

Parisian Urban Gothic: My Inner Lagerfeld

When it comes to my fashion loves, first, there are my favorite designers, and then there’s some that simply connect with my soul. My first experience with Karl Lagerfeld was in my early childhood, playing around in my parent’s bathroom, sampling their perfume and cologne. As long as I can remember, my dad wore Lagerfeld. Now, looking back, it’s apparent that my dad and I have more in common when it comes to fashion and what inspires us. It’s often stated that our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses, and I believe it. The original cologne by Lagerfeld will always bring back memories of special events and the holidays spent with family, and my early obsession with all things editorial. It’s a scent that was revolutionary for its time, having a very distinct edgy take on elegance.

I remember looking up his name as a kid and instantly falling in love with his style and his view on fashion. He’s an icon of Parisian fashion and style, but not a native Parisian, or even French. Crazy right? Paris is renowned for being one of the most snooty cities in the world, especially when it comes to fashion. How’d he do it? A little history lesson for you: originally from Germany, his career in French fashion began while working for Balmain. After settling into his own with his first official compilation with Jean Patou, he didn’t exactly start off on the right foot and actually got booed by the press. Did that stop him? Fuck no.

I’m a firm believer in the sentiment that well-behaved women rarely make history, and it’s true of men too, including Lagerfeld. His urban gothic approach to couture brings new life to Parisian style, and I have never been happier that he’s the creative director of Chanel these days. He’s now one of the most respected designers in French fashion, with the city of Paris standing with him season after season, and some my favorite style muses, Cara Delavigne.  Without the ability to question popular trends, we cannot evolve. The rule breakers pave the way to the future, and it’s what I love most about his essence. This past season’s Chanel show was soul captivating, bringing so much urban edge to a very soft and feminine season, Spring/Summer 2018. One of my fashion muses, Courtney of Always Judging, SLAYED this take on Chanel vibe perfectly.

Urban Gothic Pairings

Fall is my favorite season to style, as you can become more creative through transitional layers that incorporate the best of every other season (hello layering statement blouses under dresses!). I am obsessing over the entire Moto Collection by Carbon38, and was pumped to sample some of the best selling pieces this past September! I also found this amazing yet simple hat at Target and knew it would be the perfect combo to soften my usually edgy approach to styling. It plays so well with my current wardrobe, and can’t wait to add it to my outfits later this season.

Urban Gothic Accessory Pairings

Furthermore: if you’ve been on the edge about buying an Apple Watch thinking that its ROI is low due to the fact that it’s super sporty, think again. You can make technology and sportier styles both feminine and elegant, especially in today’s world of athleisure and the creation of technical fabric. I cannot get enough of my new watch bands from Bezels & Bytes. The rose gold studs instantly grabbed me and reminded me so much of Karl Lagerfeld’s take on Chanel.

Outfit Details

Sweatshirt: Olympic Sweatshirt, c/o Carbon38

Blouse: Something Borrowed Shirt, ADAY

Leggings: Abbot Kinney Legging, c/o Carbon38

Sunglasses: Chloe Sunglasses, TopFoxx

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

Hat: Cloche Hat with Fur Pom A New Day, Target

Shoes: Star Platform Wedge, MakeMeChic

Bag: Classic Small Caviar Flap Bag, Chanel

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, 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

Photos by Shannon Righetti of Shandru Photography

Makeup by Caitlin of Sephora Union Street