A Question to You: What Made You Come Back?

Hey, everyone!

I guess it is safe to officially say I have been done writing this blog. My thoughts mostly still remain with this post, if you want to read. That is, I’m proud of the content I created with this blog, and I’m entirely happy with the experience I had. It’s just time to move on to new things.

But I was thinking about this little space I created the other night, and I’ve come to you with a question, if you don’t mind. What was it about my blog that made you come back?

I’d really love to hear, if you don’t mind. No, I’m not asking for compliments upon compliments, upon compliments – rather, I’m genuinely interested on just why some of you read my blog. Just what was it that made you come back to visit every so often? I hope that makes some sort of sense.

Please feel free to share in as few or as many words as you like. I really am curious! :)

Thanks!

Bonus: It’s no secret I didn’t share much about me. Did you form your own idea of who I am? Did it bug you that I wasn’t more open?

Finally! It’s Mine!

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I’ve lead you through my sad stories of falling in love with an ASOS dress, only to have it not be available in my size. Examples: here and here.

This morning when I fell in love with one of their dresses, I was preparing myself to be let down – for them not to have my size. Sadly, this time, the story didn’t change. The smallest size they had was a six, whereas I need their smallest offering, a size two.

Image 1 of Rare Chiffon Spot Cross Back Skater Dress

That back! Swoon!!

Image 4 of Rare Chiffon Spot Cross Back Skater Dress

Though knowing I was not going to get the dress, I decided to search the name of the dress…see if I could find any bloggers rocking it so that I could tell myself even if I couldn’t wear the dress, someone was still doing it great justice. I did not find any bloggers wearing it, though my search was cut short when I clicked on a link to ShopStyle. Interestingly enough, they had two pictures of the dress. When I hovered my mouse over the top one, it listed size two as one of the sizes. Confused, I thought that ShopStyle must just list all the sizes ASOS normally carries or all the sizes an item comes in before it is sold out in those sizes. Curiously though, I decided to click the link to ASOS website.

And you know what?

The dress was magically available in every size, including a size two!!! I went back to the tab where I had originally pulled up the dress on my own, and no, it was still showing the dress only available in a size six and up! What was with this?

Honestly, I didn’t care. I quickly added the size two dress to my cart, still a bit weary that suddenly it might say the dress really wasn’t available.

But to my greater surprise and immense relief, I am now the proud owner of the dress! That is, I’ve ordered it, and I’m crossing my fingers it’ll fit and be to my liking when it arrives!

Finally! A dress from ASOS that I lust for is mine!

Note: Maybe you are interested in the dress too, and need a size four or two? Here’s a link to the ShopStyle page that brought me to my available dress.

Assymetric for A Cinco de Mayo Wedding – Styling Request

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I have another exciting styling request to share with you today! Venessa emailed me with a predicament of sorts: she purchased the Bent Stripes Assymetric Skirt (on sale now!), but wants some ideas for styling it, other than with a tucked in loose white top, nude wedges, and a gold statement necklace. Oh, and this outfit is not for just any old day – it will be worn to a wedding in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo!

I’ll start by saying I think Venessa picked the perfect starting point for this type of occassion…the skirt is festive, yet not completely in-your-face-look-at-me, and the assymetric cut of it really is stunning. I imagine walking in it looks magnificent!

Although Venessa called her styling ideas “kind of boooring,” I don’t think she had a bad idea at all! Yes, it may seem simple, but that may just be the beauty of it! Understated simplicity is definitely sometimes for the best – maybe even more so at a wedding. In fact, I will not be going as “out-there” with these stylings of the skirt, say, as I might if I was styling the skirt purely for everyday wear. 

Shall we get started?

Let’s talk color first. The skirt is primarily yellow and navy blue, with a white background of sorts behind the print. On the color wheel, yellow and blue are almost complementary, meaning they really do intensify each other. That is most certainly why the skirt feels bright and vivid, not to mention fresh, with the addition of the white.

(source)

Pairing the skirt with whites will maintain the freshness and will really put the focus on the skirt. The same goes for dark blues. Brighter blues would be a great option; they add some pizzazz yet don’t feel too out there (in the context of wedding, remember), considering that they’re just a shade of the blue on the skirt. Some light-medium purples could also work, as could some tones of orange. Honestly, most colors could work; it is just a matter of picking the right shade and what you feel comfortable with.

In terms of the silhouette of a potential top, I recommend generally picking something a little more tailored, something a little closer to the body. This type of silhouette will definitely create the most pleasing proportions. If you want something with more volume, generally going sleeveless will be key. I’m also going to recommend that you tuck the top in.

Ready for some ideas?

Product ImageSterling Silver Round Ring Band

Template Tank – $188

Anthro Skirt

Calvin Klein Vivian (via Zappos) – $119

Enameled Tab Cuff (peach) – $168

House of Harlow Triquetra Ring (via Designs by Stephene) – $50

Sterling Silver Round Ring Band (via Etsy) – $40

Tuck in this sky blue top and then accessorize with cleanly-cut, modern pieces. The shoes, and multiple jewelry pieces in tones of silver and gold keeps the look visually interesting from head-to-toe.

Product Image#

Jovial Rounds Shell – $88

Anthro Skirt

Kors Michael Kors Albury (via Zappos) – $225

A.L.C. All Metal Thin Hand Cuff Bracelet in Brass (via Forward by Elyse Walker) – $285

I’m loving the pattern play in this look; even though I cautioned to stick with more simplicity for a wedding, this print is subtle enough, but most importantly, the top being a tank means there is not an overwhelming visual sensory between the skirt and tucked in top. I kept the rest of the accessories pretty minimal too – these strappy sandals are delicate enough yet still graphic, and the bracelet is just that as well. Throw on a jean jacket, and this is a great look for day-to-day too! Bonus! :)

Theory Sleeveless Blouse, Purple (via Bergdorf Goodman) – $190

Anthro Skirt

Nine West Women’s Goinstead T-Strap Sandal (via Endless) – $79

Kris Nations Sedona Bar Necklace (via Designs by Stephene) – $80

This beautifully purple hued top will look unexpected yet lovely tucked into the skirt. A delightfully simple necklace and nude heels finish off the look.

Image 1 of ASOS Woven Pocket Front TankImage 1 of ASOS Multi Chain Long Necklace

ASOS Woven Pocket Front Top – $36.36

Anthro Skirt

KORS Michael Kors Ruby Wedges (via Bergdorf Goodman) – $225

ASOS Multi Chain Long Necklace – $16.36 (on sale!; note: this is listed under men’s, but don’t let that scare you!!)

Soft, buttery yellow is the perfect pairing for the skirt. A simple, yet layered necklace and great wedges finish off the look.

Image 1 of ASOS Woven Pocket Front Tank

ASOS Woven Pocket Front Top – $36.36

Anthro Skirt

Ann Taylor Strappy Metalic Sandals - $178

Trina Turk Sunburst Gold And Hot Pink Necklace (via Endless) – $133

No, your eyes did not deceive you – this look uses the same top as the previous styling! Note, however,  that by using more of statement necklace with the surprising addition of pink, the look has a different feel.

That wraps up this request! I hope Venessa has gotten some helpful ideas. I’m sure she’ll have a blast in whatever she ends up wearing with the skirt to the wedding!

Which look was your favorite?

P.S. Do you have a styling request?!

Lilac in the Air – Styling Request (!)

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Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming. The worst of winter is (hopefully, fingers-crossed) over. With spring time, comes fresh wardrobe options.

When Preetha contacted me in search of ideas for styling some beautiful lilac pants she got from Madewell, I naturally became quite excited. You see, these pants just might be the piece that can make your look the epitome of spring, and eventually, summer, chic.

Skinny Skinny Ankle Colorpop Jeans

The soft color really is just gorgeous. Even though colored pants seem compltely the antithesis of a neutral in many people’s minds, I think these pants really are nearly a neutral.

Let’s take a look at the trusty color wheel to examine this thought more closely. Before we look at a typical one though, let’s look at this special “pastel” color wheel:

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Preetha’s pants appear to be a shade right in between those purples or pinks, though I do think they have more white in them. Naturally, it is always a good idea to look at the color complementary (directly across on the wheel) to the color of an item you are styling. Yellow is opposite purple.  Now, immediately this pairing, as shown on the above wheel, might freak you out…Easter anyone? Pairing a pastel with these pastel lilac pants, thus, is not your best bet (or, not really my personal style, although it can work).

Instead, think of pairing bolder, richer colors with the pants. Here’s a typical color wheel:

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The color of the pants on this wheel appears to be somewhere around the very outer edge of where the label “15″ appears. Coincidentally, this color wheel also shifts the apparent complementary color to be green.

Do you notice how using these deeper colors really makes the overall color scheme more modern, and less Easter? Let’s keep that in mind.

Besides pastels, the other color to be a bit wary of would be pink. Pink and purple are classically colors associated with love, and they often, thus, take up a bit juvenile an appearance. Since the pants are lilac, this color pairing can especially take on this persona, in my opinion. Some people love that, but I personally am not a huge fan. *Red, too, can have this same “issue.”

And before I officially start with the stylings, I should probably touch on black and brown. Both, obviously, as true neutrals, will work with the pants. The difference is the feeling they have. Black is going to give more contrast, and thus a sharper look. Browns, on the other hand, are going to feel a bit more spring- and summer-like with the lilac. Both colors are great options; their differences are just important to keep in mind when putting together a look.

On to the looks….

Product Image

Anthropologie Ochres Vines Peplum Blouse - $68

Madewell Pants

DV by Dolce Vita Jude (via Zappos) – $89

Diane von Furstenberg Tonda Polka Dot Haircalf Clutch – $495 (expensive; used more for visual example…I’m sure you could find similar design, minus calf hair for much cheaper)

To me, this looks is effortless in putting together, yet packs much visual punch. The pattern play between the top and the oversized clutch is to-die-for, and the overall feel is modern, quirky, and fun, yet completely polished.

Michael Kors Skinny Stackable Bangle

Anthropologie Neo Halter Tank – $88

Madewell Pants

Elizabeth and James Selby (via Zappos) – $259.99

Michael Kors Skinny Stackable Bangle (via Nordstrom) – $85

Anthropologie The Collector’s Bracelet – $28

This look is a great going-out look. It feels very sculptural with the neckline of the top and the pointed shoes. Wearing the two types of metals together feels plain cool. Throw on a simple cardigan (black, perhaps), and this look is completely ready for work.

Cecelia buckle sandalsBrompton mini-hobo

Anthropologie Morse Code Necklace - $58

Anthropologie Muted Stripes Buttondown – $88

Madewell Pants

J. Crew Cecilia Buckle Sandals (burnished sand) - $118

J. Crew Brompton Mini-Hobo - $258

This is the quintessential weekend look, perfect for lots of errand-running. You’ll notice that there is red in this look, which I cautioned you of, but I think it really works here.

Raindrop lace top

Anthropologie Pressed Leaf Bib Necklace – $68

J. Crew Raindrop Lace Tank (apricot mist) - $110

Madewell Pants

Tahari Colette Pump (via DSW) – $59.95

Beautiful and feminine, this look is just gorgeous. The nude pumps and hints of purple, green, and orange in the necklace are just what make the look.

Raindrop lace top

J. Crew Raindrop Lace Tank (apricot mist) - $110

Madewell Pants

Anthropologie Hanako Flats – $118

Aureole Ring – $32

Yes, this top is the same on used in the previous look, but this time, it’s dressed down a bit. Simple, yet pretty, this look will make you the effortless girl you want to be.

Image 1 of ASOS Utility Blouse

ASOS Utility Blouse (yellow) – $62.67

Madewell Pants

Jones New York Trinity Leather Sandals (via Lord & Taylor; brown leather)) – $99

Pairing this great industrial silhouette yellow top definitely adds a great, unexpected edge to the lilac pants. Keep it simple with the rest of the look in order to let the intensity of the colors and pairing of the colors shine. Note too that by pairing brown shoes, as opposed to black, you keep the contrast focused just between the top and pants.

It goes without saying that there are countless more ways to style these pants. Don’t forget the always-loved basic tee, dressed up with a great statement necklace!

And lastly, a few more wonderful top options:

Image 1 of ASOS Blouse With Diagonal Pleats

ASOS Blouse with Diagonal Pleats – $53.72

Anthropologie Dual Stripes Top – $178

Great if you’re taller and can pull of the silhouette of this longer top.

Anthropologie Carolinae Top – $98

Anthropologie Tie-Front Buttondown – $78

Love the stripes…would be especially good with a pop of color (maybe an orange-y-coral?)

That officially wraps up this styling request. I sincerely hope Preetha has gotten some ideas she can make work!

Which look is your favorite?! Do tell! :)

And as always, if you have a styling request, feel free to send it to thestyleconnoisseur@gmail.com.

Rich Heart Brownies with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting Center

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Valentine’s Day snuck up. It really did.

Despite my intentions to bake up a luscious treat, it came to be 2 o’clock on Tuesday with no ingredients bought and no plan on the agenda. It probably had something to do with the fact that I had an impromptu cookie baking session on Friday and consumed practically an entire batch on my own, thus deciding I should probably nick the whole epic Valentine’s Day treat.

BUT, how would that be right??!! It just wouldn’t!

Accordingly, I decided I’d scrounge something up, no matter what. And by scrounge, I mean no trip to the store – using only what I had on hand. I’ll admit I felt like I was settling a bit, but flash forward to the end and I’ll tell you the dessert was definitely not settling. Not one bit.

Sorry for the lack of quality photos…I snapped these quickly in some pretty poor lighting.

I first was inspired by these brownies. I borrowed the idea of cutting out the center of a brownie with a cookie cutter and then filling it with something; however, I didn’t use that particular recipe. Those just got my creative juices flowing! :)

I baked up a simple, straight-forward brownie recipe with a few dark chocolate chips and white chocolate chips that I had on hand (recipe based off one from AllRecipes, but changed). Remember, I didn’t buy ingredients, so upon seeing a few left over chips from previous baking projects, I decided they would add a nice touch.

While they baked up, I whipped up – drum roll please………..that Cookie Dough Frosting I told you about! Now, I’m sure you’re all eager to hear the verdict on the frosting. I should start by saying you literally start by mixing up some cookie dough (sans a few typical ingredients) and then add it to a simple confectioner’s sugar based frosting. I am not a huge fan of frosting, so I was a tad bit disappointed that the completed frosting had more of that frosting taste than I personally would have liked. Even though it clearly is a frosting recipe, somehow I was imagining foregoing that typical flavor. Despite this slight disappointment, it still was delicious. I definitely stole my fair share of fingerfuls out of the bowl! :)

After chilling the brownies in the freezer, I used a pretty large heart shaped cookie cutter to cut two giant hearts. Then, I placed those hearts on my serving plates. Using a much smaller heart cookie cutter, I cut out hearts in the center of each giant heart shaped brownie. I filled each heart “hole” with a hefty amount of cookie dough frosting, and then sat the small cut-out heart on top of the filling. To finish, I lightly sprinkled powder sugar over the entire dessert.

Brownie pre-powdered sugar and cut-out topping, but post “filling” them with frosting.

I bake often; thus, it takes quite a bit to impress my family in the dessert department.

But let me tell you something…my family raved about these!

Even though there’s quite a few days weeks months nearly a year until next Valentine’s Day, I urge you to try this recipe out before then! After all, who doesn’t love a good, not to mention cute dessert any day of the year?! And, of course, you could always make them a different shape, too!

Rich Heart Brownies with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting Center

using the cookie cutters i used: makes 2 giant brownies with many scraps and a bit of extra frosting which can be used on some of the scraps (note: one giant brownie is equivalent to one indulgent serving, or 2 or 3 smaller portions. i won’t judge. oh, and double the frosting recipe if you want more for the [delicious] brownie scraps.)

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For the brownies (adapted from AllRecipes):

1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs, room temperature

1 generous cup flour (don’t level if off completely)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips*

1/3 cup white chocolate chips*

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a casserole dish or other large heat proof bowl, melt the butter. Add the sugars and mix until combined. Add the cocoa powder. Make sure your mixture isn’t too hot anymore, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.

Pour the batter into a prepared 13-in-by-9-in pan. Bake for around 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted a couple inches from the edge of the pan comes out nearly clean. Don’t overbake! At this point, you can get started on the cookie dough frosting filling.

Let cool completely. If needed, speed up the process by putting the brownies in the fridge or freezer. No matter what, freeze the brownies until no soft spots remain before carrying on.

*I actually didn’t measure these out…just threw some in. I’m just guessing with these measurements…so feel free to adjust to taste!

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For the cookie dough frosting filling (from Always With Butter):

Mixture 1:

1/8 cup butter, room temperature

1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

.

Mixture 2:

3/8 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tablespoon milk.

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For mixture 1: Cream the butter and sugar until sufficiently combined and fluffy. Add in the water and vanilla, then the flour and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

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For mixture 2: Mix the powdered sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and milk until combined. Add in mixture 1 to mixture 2 and stir to combine.

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To assemble:

Take your giant cookie cutter and cut out two hearts from the chilled brownies in the pan. You may have to cut away some of the scraps to get a spatula under the brownies in order to transfer them to your serving plates.

Take your small cookie cutter and cut out a heart in the center of each of your giant heart brownies. Set the cut-outs aside.

Fill each heart “hole” with cookie dough frosting. Lean the heart cut-out on top of the frosting center.

Using a sieve, top the entire dessert with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Should there be any leftovers, refrigerate them.

P.S. Hope to be back soon with some fashion week musings!

Sneak Peak

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A very happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!! If you can’t already tell, I’m not a Valentine’s Day cynic. I believe all types of love can be celebrated and that the day is a time to remember to cherish those whom you love! Yay for love!

And what did I end up making for my epic treat?! Well, for now, I’ll leave you with just a sneak peek. I’ll be back with the details soon!

P.S. It’s delicious! :)

That Quest

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So that quest in search of the perfect Valentine’s Day treat I told you about?

Ya.

Well, safe to say, I’m torn.

Countless super-duper-yummy-scrumptious-must-make-now options. Seriously, you guys. It’s a problem.

I thought I’d chronicle some of the recipes I’m looking at. That way, I’ll easily be able to come back to this post at later dates in order to try more of the recipes. I’m also thinking that perhaps I may just find a treat you can’t resist baking either. Just maybe. Wouldn’t that be a great bonus? [And remember...baking is the best therapy. The best!]

In no particular order…

Seriously, you guys…what to do?????

[And knowing me, who says I'm done looking?! :)]

Yumminess Quest

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You guys, I’m on a quest.

Yes, a quest.

You see, I want to make the most delectable treat for Valentine’s Day. After all, who doesn’t love a little sweetness, especially on that day?!

I want to find an absolutely decadent recipe that somehow has a bit of Valentine’s Day infused – whether that be color-wise, flavor-wise, or appearance-wise (hearts, anyone)? But, of course, taste is paramount.

I would love, love, love to hear suggestions from you guys…either recipes you’ve made yourself or just scrumptious desserts you’ve found on the web! I figure one of you might just know the perfect dessert! :)

Thanks in advance! Oh, and I’ll be sure to let you know the answer to my quest once it is found!

Well, Hey.

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Hey, everyone.

What’s up?!

I know, I know…there’s been quite a silence on my end here for a while. Rather than make up a bunch of excuses, I’ll just say: I don’t intend to leave you all hanging and be so sporadic with blogging. I can’t promise that I’ll go back to posting regularly either, sadly. I hope to post more – but “more” could mean with weeks in between. Hope you’ll stick with me though! :)

Don’t you think a little life update/random tidbits are in order?

  • I went to NYC for a long weekend recently. Man, that city never gets old. My weekend consisted of lots and lots and lots of eating and shopping. What else do you need?
  • On my “about” page, I mention, “I especially love Paris and New York City and hope to call each city “home” at least once in my life at some point (first I must learn French!).” Well, you guys, I’m hopefully one step closer to that Paris dream. You see, last Fall, I began taking French! Yahoo!
  • Related: “Impossible n’est pas français!” – one of my favorite quotes that has encouraged me with this whole goal, which some family members have deemed as purely a dream and a “pipe dream” at that. Nah. [If my goals eventually do change in life, I'm okay with that too!]
  • I purchased this top [exquisite detailing and a perfect fit on my petite frame]:

 

  • I’ve been taking art (drawing) classes and a photography class. One of my photos was entered into a competition. I didn’t win, but still feel greatly flattered.

What’s new with all of you? And, of course, if you have any questions for me, go for it.

I thank you all for your patience and understanding!

Casual x2

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On today’s agenda? The casual Thanksgiving stylings, as promised yesterday two days ago! Yes, I meant to post these yesterday, but I had a few finishing touches to do and then my half day of travel to get to family turned into more of a full day (no complaining though!!), and then once I got to my family…you know…everything else just kind of goes out the window! So, Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy these casual looks!

Image 1 of ASOS Blouse With Pintuck And Drop CollarImage 1 of ASOS High Waist Peg Pants with Cinch Detail

Lula jacquard ballet flats
I love pairing this sheer black blouse with the navy high-waisted trousers…the combination of black and navy is divine! some sophisticated, chic flats and a beautiful necklace complete the look!
Image 1 of Oasis Beaded Collar Sheer Sleeve TopMinnie jodhpur pantGlitterati ballet flats
J. Crew Glitterati ballet flats (metallic black) – $128
This sweet as can be retro top is roughed up a bit with these awesome pants with leather-trimmed pockets and the stone cut ring. The bit of shine in the collar of the top is further emphasized with the flats (and ring). Beautiful!
Which look is your favorite? Happy Thanksgiving!
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