15 Basic Wardrobe Essentials

Over on Positively Smitten, I wrote a post this week about the 15 pieces I think every wardrobe should have. Whether you’re just building your closet, looking for statement pieces to improve your style, or you just need a little fashion inspiration, these 15 items—a cardigan, a Little Black Dress, a scarf, a lovely bag among them—can help elevate your look.

Do you agree with my list?



Review: Ban.do Mystery Goody Goodie Bag

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It was through Lauren Conrad’s Instagram account that I discovered Ban.do, a hair accessories-turned-stationary/office supply/general cute accessories shop. My first purchase included these super-cute pens and a tumbler.

bandopenstumblerI loved both purchases (although the pens don’t write that well) and have been checking the stock on their site pretty frequently. There are so many things things I want to buy that I haven’t been buying anything for fear that I’ll never stop adding their items to my cart.

But I did indulge in the shop’s mystery gift bag item, AKA the Goody Goodie bag, which was offered for a limited time for $20. The Goody Goodie bag promised lots of fun treats worth at least $50; plus, a select few who ordered the bags would receive deluxe versions, jam-packed with fun Ban.do items.

I was really excited about my purchase. Would I get one of the journals I’d been coveting? A coffee cup? A headband (was secretly hoping for the Future Mrs. version)?

A few days later, the package arrived.

The good


The packaging! I opened up the box to see some lovely black and white polka dotted tissue paper, covered with colorful confetti. Cute! I can’t remember the last time I’ve got a more fun package.

Even the bag the items came in was great; it was a sleek, white Ban.do shopping bag, with a red heart on the outside.

The bad


While the confetti in the box was fun, it was also a mess. It got was nearly impossible to get my actual purchase out of the box without spilling the confetti everywhere, and that was a pain to clean up.

Also, as much as I hate to admit it, the items weren’t that great. I wanted to love it, but I just… didn’t.

I got:

  • Floral headband
  • Floral hair accessory
  • Barette
  • iPhone 5 case
  • Assorted candy
  • A happy face balloon
  • Raffle tickets
  • Wristband for #GirlsPopUp, their pop-up store


The best item was the iPhone 5 case, no contest. Unfortunately, I’d recently purchased an iPhone 6, so it was unusable for me. (I ended up giving it away to a coworker.) The happy face balloon was cute, but the hair accessories seemed cheap, the kind of thing I could get at the dollar store. I mean, the headband arrived broken.

The assorted candy was the kind you can buy in a gigantic package for a buck, and the raffle tickets and wristband served no purpose other than being for “FUN!” (as someone told me when I posted a photo on Instagram asking what they were for).

Overall Rating


2 out of 5 spoonfuls of sugar

This package was fun and cute. I actually really loved the photos I took of the items, but after taking the pictures, I was left feeling severely underwhelmed. I didn’t feel like my items were worth $50; I’d guess $30, tops.

The excitement of getting a mystery bag was pretty fantastic, but I think it seemed less like a “goodie goody” bag and more like a “these items are not selling, so we need to get rid of them” bag.

That said, it was only $20, and if I had extra cash and wanted a cute pick-me-up sometime in the future, I would consider buying another. They’re fun bags, if only for the air of mystery!

Have you purchased a Ban.do Goody Goodie bag? 


Friday Favorites #1

In fashion

I’m loving all of the fantastic outfits created on Hello Gorgeous! The blogger finds fun and exciting ways to pair her clothes together. I’ll be ripping a page or two out of her book for inspiration.


In food

These gingerbread lattice cookies by PureWow are to-die-for cute. Truth be told, I know I’d never have the ability (or time or patience or talent) to put these together, but I love them.


In art


I appreciate the message on this piece of art on Society6.

In nostalgia

The other day, I stumble across these cans of glitter for your hair and body. It instantly took me back to sixth grade, when I refused to step out of the house without my hair drenched in glitter. Some days, I secretly wish I could bring that style back.

In sixth grade, I wore glitter in my hair almost EVERY DAY. Good to know I can resume that pastime if I so choose.
In sixth grade, I wore glitter in my hair almost EVERY DAY. Good to know I can resume that pastime if I so choose.

What are your Friday Favorites?


5 Affordable Watches I’m Loving Right Now

Watches are back, and in a big way. I used to opt not to wear a watch, but I’ve been loving the boyfriend-inspired watches that have been coming out lately and I want to get in on the trend. Also, sometimes when I’m not wearing a watch, I’m reminded of the moment on “The Hills” when Kelly Cutrone scolds Lauren Conrad for not wearing a watch during her internship. It was kind of a defining moment for me (as so many of “The Hills” episodes are, right?).

I also love the layered look that’s popping up, which combines watches and bracelet. You can see my first attempt at it above. I thought the watched paired well with my Alex and Ani bracelets!

So, these are these 5 watches I’m coveting.

watch1This watch is at the top of my list. I love that it’s silver (my favorite metallic hue) and it’s menswear-inspired, which I think is a great look.

watch2Since all of my jewelry is silver, I’ve been hesitant to introduce rose gold into the mix, even though I love it. I think this watch would provide a nice middle ground. (Also, please reassure me it’s totally fine to mix silver and shades of gold, please.)

Large Face Slim Strap Watch, ASOS, $37.37


The thin band on this watch is to-die-for! I also love the roman numerals on the face.

Chevron Chic Watch, Charming Charlie, $15

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.10.07 PM

How cute is this chevron watch? I also like that it comes in a neutral color, which will go with anything.

Style&co. Women’s Silver-Tone Bracelet Watch, Kohl’s, $29.98


This watch combines menswear with a little sparkle. I love it!

Which watches are you into these days?


100 Years of Beauty Video

I appreciate retro fashion statements, but I hate when women of color are excluded. This video provides a peek into hairstyles that women have worn throughout the decades, starting with 1910. I appreciate that these looks are appropriate for women with different types of hair, too! My favorite featured looks are from the 1940s, 1960s, and (of course) the 2010s.

Which decade has your favorite hairstyle?


Things I Bought That I Love: Burt’s Bees Hand Creme and Elephant Earrings

Recently, on a free lunch break, I ventured over to the bookstore on campus. I used to really love the campus Co-Op at UConn, where I went to school; they had a perfect combination of things I needed and things I never knew I needed but suddenly had to have.

Even though the college where I work is a little smaller than UConn, I was excited to see that the bookstore had a great selection of items. I walked out with:

  • Burt’s Bees Hand Creme: Every week, Bill and I spend some time doing manicures. No shame in our game, okay? It’s a really great bonding experience where I do our nails, and end it by using some Burt’s Bees lime-scented cuticle cream. I ran out of the cream, so I needed a replacement and this hand creme seemed like the perfect solution. I love the packaging, it smells great, and it leaves our hands feeling smooth.
  • Elephant Earrings: You can never have too many cute pairs of earrings. I love elephants something fierce, so I saw these studs and instantly knew I needed to have them. They’re so cute!

Tell me something you’ve recently purchased that you love!


Things I Bought That a Love is a recurring column inspired by Mindy Kaling’s blog