Rompin’ around town

My favorite thing about this romper is that my almost 2-year-old, Harlowe, used to wear one just like it. Like people who can parallel park, I find adults wearing outfits suitable for toddlers fascinating.  
Romper: Lulu’s, hat: NorthFace, sunnies: RayBan, bracelets: J.Crew, JustFab, tights: Target, boots: Coach, zip wallet: Rebecca Minkoff on sale! 


Wonder Woman Wednesday: Jasmine Van Driessche

Before even shaking my hand, she opened up her adorable apartment to me and fed me wine. With that, Jasmine, the friend of a really good friend quickly became a staple girl crush. Not only was she generous with wine and an amazing decorator, she’s also wickedly entrepreneurial, altruistic and can shake her tail feather better than anyone I know. 

I’m thrilled to have this natural beauty on the blog as she opens up about the best way to get toned thighs, running her own skin care line and her humanitarian efforts which involve taking care of 19 Ugandan children. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Jasmine as much as I did!

BA: When did you start Jacara Skin Care?
JVD: Jacara Skin Care became a thought about 7 years ago and was finally launched Dec. 3rd. 2010. 

BA:  How did you get started making these products?

JVD: This company really found me…my father (Acupuncturist & Herbalist) had a client that came in with a skin condition. She had tried everything and hoped he could help her. During this time I was studying Essential Oil Therapy. We combined our knowledge, used the Fair Trade Shea Butter for the first time, and suddenly there was a demand for a product that had no name, proper container or label…through a long & beautiful process, JACARA was born. Soon after we created our slogan “Globally Aware Skin Care” and focused our efforts on making a high quality product, using NO chemicals that is 100% Organic and natural, equally good for our environment and Fair Trade. We are BIG into Fair Trade.

BA: What is your advice for other women hoping to start their own company?
JVD: Love what you do and don’t be afraid to jump. It’s terrifying and there will always be someone we can compare ourselves too, but that’s when we lose. If you believe in yourself AND love what you do, as a woman (slightly biased:) you’re unstoppable! Energy is contagious, especially when it’s the passionate, motivated and inspiring kind. 

BA: What was your background before starting Jacara?
JVD: Although it seems like another life, I used to dance professionally. My thighs may not be as toned, but the satisfaction I get when helping women from all over the world gain fair wages & provide education for their children, trumps all!

BA: What is your daily beauty routine like?

JVD: I live it with reckless abandon. I do however, always include the necessities to keep my skin young, healthy (go away crows feet!) and glowing. Apart from that, it’s really my mood. Any particular Wednesday could be glam day in my house. In which I’ll pull a sassy dress out of the back of my closet, up-do/down-do, and a beautiful shade of rouge…your fantastic blog has continued to inspire the sass!

BA: What about skin care?

JVD: I am a devoted fan of our body care line, JACARA. Not just because it’s mine, but because I get ultimate satisfaction lathering myself up with such a raw product that’s doing good for our world. Our Gardenia’s Shea Butter & Gardenia’s Body Oil kiss my skin from neck to toe daily, plus, it makes me smell & feel like a Tahitian goddess! On day’s my skin looks a little dull, I do a quick exfoliation with our Jamrosa Ginger Scrub, or our Gardenia’s Body Scrub and my lips are rarely left without a layer of our Clovebud or Peppermint lip balm. Because we don’t make face products yet, I’m a huge fan of either Dr. Hauschka or NYR Wild & Organic. Just as our products, both of those lines are free of mineral oils, synthetic colors/fragrances, parabens, silicone…the list goes on! They’re also rated very high on the EWG’s Skin Deep data base. 

BA: If I stopped you on the street, what would you be wearing?
JVD: My new leather jacket handmade by: Jan Hilmer. It’s a stunning piece of art AND I got a killer deal. I would undoubtedly accessorize with a fantastic find from my favorite vintage/thrift stores, most likely a chunky necklace, a white T, some sexy jeans & heals. I’m really into heels right now, mostly chunky. With a gorgeous lip color, that’s all I need. Though, I do love to be consistently inconsistent, so I’m always a surprise!

BA: How would you describe your style?

JVD: Eclectic, a blend of spicy & quirky with a little of a lot in between. I love to walk out in a 3″ pair of heels as much as I love a quirky outfit put together with pieces that don’t seem to fit, but somehow do. I’ve not ever followed fashion consistently (until your blog), but I secretly love it.

BA: What is in your bag right now?

JVD: A pint size CC holder, a pen, because if I’m inspired to write, I have to do so, regardless of place and time. I will also never be found without either JACARA’s Peppermint or Clove Bud lip balm & currently I have a tinted lip balm that JACARA is in the process of testing. 

BA: You have made two trips to Africa recently. Can you tell us about that?

JVD: Absolutely! My passion, above all is equality & giving back. I recently made my second trip to Uganda & Rwanda with my family, sponsored by JACARA & with the help of a huge support base we were able to work with Keirungi Children’s Village, a Ugandan orphanage. While there, I get down and dirty. It’s all about giving something more than a dollar, it’s about giving a skill or education. Teaching the children, encouraging others to go to school or working with a family/individual to create a sustainable, safe & progressive living for themselves. In a place like Uganda or Rwanda, education means freedom and that’s what I have dedicated much of my time to. Of course, I get plenty of play in with the kiddos, and when people ask me why we don’t have children yet, I tell them I have 19 in Uganda :). My blog shares it all!

BA: What is one thing not many people know about you?
JVD: I can be incredibly quirky. I love to let go, not worrying about how I look or what others think. Usually this is done in our kitchen while dinner is being prepared. My husband says I could be a comedian!


Polka dots and lace shorts

Shorts: Forever 21 blouse: Forever 21 (similar here & here) Tights: J.Crew (similar here), boots: Coach (similar on sale here), earrings: gifted, bag: Kate Spade (similar ASOS bag)
Typically, the need to incorporate lace shorts into the basic section of my wardrobe is low. But when I saw these at Forever21, I reconsidered. This is mostly due to me being mildly obsessed with lace and having a high appreciation for noncommittal price tags. Worn with tights and ‘them boots with the fur’, I stay warm and minimize the need for a spray tan.


Bare necessities

Julia from Once Upon a Blog got all the glossy messy details on how I interviewed for my job at Google while wearing a very tight belly bandit, the time God played some mean trick on my eyebrows (birth), and how I know the barometric pressure of any city that I’m in. You can get all of that riveting stuff and details on all of the hair and beauty products I’ve curated in my interview here.

Instagram Diary: Denver

Hello friends! I hope you enjoyed your weekend! I did. The Banker and I left Harlowe with my MIL for 2 days while we jetted off to Denver to visit some friends and family.

I’ve been to Denver once or twice before. The most memorable time was when I ran my first half marathon. My body was not ready for that sort of physical torture yet and was in remission for the balance of my visit. I didn’t walk around much after that!

I figured I’d make it tradition to run a race whenever I visit; this time the race was shorter. It also called for more glow-sticks. The ‘Rave Run’ was held on what I’m now certain is one of the most highly celebrated holidays in Denver: 4/20.

April 20th brings a whole melange of disconnected festivities. As you cam guess, there were some interesting outfits out there. I’ll be sharing my outfits later this week since I’m working in NYC for the next few days and blogging from my iPhone for now. Here’s my Denver experience insta-style.


Geometric cut-out situation

Crop: Tobi, skirt: Tobi necklace: Ambiance in SF (similar here), heels: old Report Signature (similar here, here here), bag: JustFab

Geometric prints don’t have to go hand-in-hand with hanging out at The Max. They’re a huge trend this season along with cut-out anything and crop tops. How best to incorporate them into your wardrobe is a question that has many answers. 
I began my experimentation with Spring’s hottest trends by investing only a marginal amount of green so that if the return was poor, I avoid being completely in the hole. Tobi is a fantastic retail outlet for this purpose. The fact that they ship items overnight is another lovely selling point. They are simply ahhhmaze.


A few lessons I’ve learned the hard way (by blogging)

Looking good is HARD. It requires preparation, lighting, timing and a focused (or conveniently blurred) camera. In the above photo, I was trying to look “sexy” in that nonchalant kind of way. Unfortunately, due to my body language and facial expression, I mostly look like I’m removing rocks from my slingbacks. Lesson learned: Save the attempts at sex appeal for the Victoria’s Secret photo shoot (still waiting for my invite!).
Know your strengths. So, you think you’re totally cute and funny? That doesn’t mean you are a shoe-in for the upcoming season of SYTYCD. This is just being irresponsible in front of a camera. That worked for Kim Kardashian, but definitely won’t work for me. 
Invest time in rehersing your facial expressions and natural poses. Every women should have 5 go-to poses regardless of whether or not she is a fashion blogger. This one just recently got crossed off my list.
Make sure you are not going to make any ‘most phallic outfits’ list. A really fantastic way to avoid this is to simply use a mirror.
I hope you learn from my mistakes. I invite you to leave comments below letting me in on any life lessons you are willing to share. Please don’t leave me hanging.  
office style

Office Style: It’s black and white

Shoes: Cole Haan, Skirt: Greylin, Top: Halogen (similar here and here), Necklace: old Macy’s find (similar on sale here and here)
Hello there! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I spent last week at a conference in Arizona and had to give a presentation to a large group. Since my goal was to be memorable, but not distracting, this black and white ensemble is what I wore. 
I’ve become partial to any combination of black and white, patterns and shorter hemlines. I find them classic with a twist of modernity. I felt particularly bold on this day and incorporated four pattern variations: crocodile embossed leather, color-blocking, stripes and polka dots. Minimalism describes my approach to accessories at the office, so I opted to add some tonal variation with a red matte lip. 
Cole Haan is offering 30% off your entire purchase until April 15th. Perfect time to stock up on their Chelsea pumps which I adore. Use code FAMILY30.

Photos by: Julia Ralston

How to: pack for business trips

best shoes for business trips, best shoes for work conferences
Wear a nice pair of jeans on the flight  both directions. I keep them moderately casual, but nice enough that I would wear them in front of a client or boss.

Pack two pairs of shoes. Think sophisticated and comfortable. Keep the heel height 4 inches or lower. 3 inch heels are ideal for conferences that will have you standing most of the day. Bring a pair of shoes for running if you like you get your workouts in. These are optional, but come in handy when you’ve been sitting all day and need to use some energy up!

Carry-on a bag of outfits appropriate for meetings, presentations, etc. Dresses work nicely as they take up less space. Lace dresses or dresses with pleats work great because wrinkles show less. Cotton-poly, cotton-Lycra blends are wrinkle resistant so look for those!

Pack a nice top you can wear out to dinner or networking events in the evening. Pair tops with jeans and a simple pair of heels. Another option is to bring a statement necklace and wear it over your day dress making it the perfect night time ensemble. 

Bring appropriate undergarments. The more nude pairs you bring the better because animal print booty shorts are the last thing you want to worry about at a conference!

Bring one-two blazers. You can wear these day and night and if you’re careful make one last for 2-3 days. Black is always a good option as it goes with everything and doesn’t show signs of wear as easily as lighter colors. 

I hope this helps you on your next trip!

Colorblock + sunblock

Dress: BCBG (similar here & here), shoes: J.Crew (similar on sale here), clutch: Lilly Pulitzer (similar here) bracelets: Baublebar, J.Crew and Gerard Yosca.
This very feminine frock is my inaugural color block piece. Before this dress, my short stature kept me from assimilating into the color block craze. I was won over by long vertical stripes that actually elongate. Major plus. 

Crisp pleats give it depth and the ability to survive wrinkle-warfare as it is tightly packed in a carry-on suitcase. The fact that it comes embellished with a contrasting sash deems it a worthy travel companion since additional accessories are completely unnecessary. Except for sunblock. Sunblock is a given. 
Photos by: Donna Hale