My Newly Discovered Go-To Brand for Affordable Sunglasses

Every summer my sunglass collection follows the same pattern: Starts strong- with a variety of amazing shades, ends weak- because most of them have ended up destroyed by my daughters or gotten left behind somewhere.  Like socks disappearing in a dryer, it is inevitable.

Based on this, I don't allow myself to buy expensive designer frames anymore. So I am always seeking out alternatives that have the styles I want (the right silhouette, unique lens options, etc.) with a price tag that won't cause me to beat myself up if something happens to them. Because something WILL happen to them. 

While trolling Instagram, I discovered QUAY Australia- an incredibly collection of sunnies that span the style spectrum from runway-inspired to surfer sporty. Immediately I ordered 3 pairs (at $50 a pop, I felt like it was worth indulging in the name of research)- and have worn them on rotation every day since. 

Check out all the styles HERE , you are going to find something you love for sure.


Sneakers That Even My Sneaker-Averse Five Year Old Will Wear

Alexa just won't wear sneakers. She is a glittery Crocs or sparkly flip flop kind of a girl, and no matter how inappropriate her go-to shoes are for an occasion (i.e. sports, a nature walk, ummmm- cold, rainy weather), any pair of sneakers I put in front of her for the past year has sat in her closet, untouched. 

But the other day, she sprinted out of her room at a speed I could tell instantly was not one she could maintain in anything other than something with a secure fit and rubber soles. Alas, as she turned the corner to meet me in the kitchen for breakfast, I saw a sight I never thought I would see: Alexa was wearing SNEAKERS.

And not just any sneakers (natch), but the ones I had been personally ogling in her closet since the day they arrived a couple of months ago, wishing they came in my size: PLAE Max Customizable High Tops in METALLIC GOLD.

The are equally as awesome on girls and boys, comfy to wear (Alexa is very picky about the way shoes feel- these are malleable and soft inside, plus the adjustable velcro gives a customized fit each and every time) and make even her most strange outfits look instantly cool.

Oh, and not to mention add an element of street-funk to her impromptu dance breaks, as evident in video below.

Why I Painted My Front Door Purple.

Before owning a home, I never understood why people cared about "curb appeal." I mean, wasn't money better spent inside the house on cozy but awesome furniture, cool art, an art deco brass bar cart, or things of that sort? Then, I became a home owner myself and realized that having a "wow factor" when you pull up someone's driveway can instantly set the tone for any at-home gathering- shaping your perception before even walking through the front door of what the energy in the house may be. (Yes, I know this is not the same definition of curb appeal that real estate agents probably use- but for me, outside of the obvious ability to enhance resale value- this is why curb appeal resonates.)

I am madly in love with our house. Initially built as a spec house, the only thing that I felt was missing was that touch of whimsy which really only comes from a home being lived in and loved. ome sweet homeHoH

Which is why I decided to paint our front door purple. 

And it changed EVERYTHING. 

While researching options (and gathering photos to show my husband as part of my informal case study on why we should totally paint our beautiful dark wood front door a light purple hue with a lacquered finish), I came across so many inspiring images of homes that transformed their entire vibe simply by doing this same thing- and there was no stopping me. No matter how many people looked at me like I was insane, the door was going to be purple- it was just a matter of how and when.

I opted for Benjamin Moore Lavender Lipstick but had it made using a Fine Paints of Europe formula to give it the crazy shiny finish and durability for outdoor use. For the sidelights, transom (that is the window thingie above the door) and garage doors, we selected Benjamin Moore Kendall Charchoal. At first, I wasn't loving it and considered changing to a lighter grey, but now, a few months in, I am in love with the contrast between the dark and pastel- to me, it reads a touch more sophisticated then sticking to a light palette. 

Oh- and in case you are wondering- I got the "Holla" door mat here, and my new go-to source for modern planters is this site called Urbilis (which is not where I got the planters pictured but, had it existed when I initially bought them, I totally would have).

Home for me means a place that is cozy, a little quirky, and always inviting- and now, every time I pull up the driveway and see the sunlight bouncing off our super shiny pastel purple front door, I instantly feel like I am HOME. 

Below are a few images I found on Pinterest that inspired the project- I debated between orange and purple for a while, but my husband is a proud University of Texas alum and anything outside the perfect burnt orange would have for sure annoyed him every time he walked into the house. But had to still throw one in because in the event you are motivated to do a little front door fixing up, it is a very strong option to keep on your radar.

My Summer Beauty Obsessions, So Far.

It is officially summer. My kids are currently both home all day and, as such, we try and get out and about as much as possible. Yeah, I know- the days are long but the years are short- but the days are ESPECIALLY long if you sit around the house with 2 stir crazy girls for hours on end. So, as often as possible, we leave the house in the morning, and don't come back until bedtime. These 5 items (and of course tons of sunblock but I'll save that for another post) are perhaps not what you would expect one to pack in her beach bag, but let me tell you- when I am pulling an all-day-er, they come very much in handy.

1- Oribe Bright Blonde Conditioner: Getting in the pool is inevitable for me- if one is within Alexa's view, the entire family must be immediately dunked. I finger-comb this through my hair and throw it up on top of my head as high as possible in an effort to minimize sun and chlorine damage, and make the post-pool hair situation slightly less scary. It keeps my color in tact and my on-the-dry-side hair smooth. Plus- can we talk about the gorgeous packaging?!

2- Rodan + Fields Lip Renewing Serum: YES, I started my own Rodan + Fields business so let's just get that out of the way right now- I do sell the product. I have been in the beauty industry for 15 (gulp!) years without personally direct selling anything. So, I would only "go there" on behalf of products from a brand that I am fully obsessed with. Hence, this Lip Renewing Serum would be high up on my favorite list. Half-way through a day outdoors, my lips always start to feel parched and crackly. I pop one of these single-serve capsule puppies open, apply the anti-oxidant, peptide and Vitamin E formula to my lips and around my mouth (it reduces the inevitable appearance of those annoying fine lines), and, knock on wood, this is the first summer in recent memory that I have not endured painfully chapped lips before the 4th of July.

3- Urban Decay NAKED Smoky Palette: It wins every beauty award for a reason- it has the best of ALL worlds. Natural hues for day, deeper shades to amp it up for evening, and a double-sided brush that can be used to create multiple looks- from a tight opaque line to a sheer splash.  Not only do I love this for travel- or beach-to-bbq-without-stopping-home-to-primp-days- but once you own this palette, you can throw out every other eyeshadow you own without thinking twice. 

4- Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas: Use it on your cheeks, dab it on your lips- it is dewy perfection and even in the blistering heat of sitting atop concrete in the blistering sun, it has yet to crack or melt. (Wish I could say the same for my daughters...and myself if I am being honest here.)

5- Suave Deodorant: I have no idea why, you guys, but this deodorant has worked better for me than anything I have ever tried. As you know if you have ever read a fashion post of mine, I sweat a lot. Not sexy, but true. And while Suave was never the name that came to mind when I was at the drugstore picking up a new deodorant, a PR person sent it to me like 2 years ago and I have used it ever since. During summer, I keep it on me at all times because it is just too risky not to. 

FOUND!: The Most Affordable, Most Perfect Beach Dress.

Qualities a perfect beach dress must have:

1- Billowy, breathable shape
2- Skinny straps that stay in place
3- Cut that works over a swimsuit with flip flops but also with wedges for evening
4- Wrinkle resistant material that somehow also doesn't suffocate your sweat glands

And I am sure there are more that I am not thinking of at this exact moment but, guess what? It doesn't matter. Because whatever criteria you have for the aforementioned item to be one of the most worshipped items in your summer closet, THIS DRESS from Lou & Grey not only meets it, but surpasses it.

I spotted it on Saturday morning in the window of Lou & Grey, which arrived in Westport a little over a year ago as a concept test store housed next to it's sister brand, LOFT.  By Saturday afternoon, it was mine. And starting today, it is on my body and likely will remain that way for many a beach day to come. 

The straps are adjustable which I like because depending on my swimsuit (or bandeau/bralette) I can make it fall exactly where it should. The low scoop of the neckline along the back shows that part of your upper back that, even if you aren't feeling at your most skinny/toned/buff, usually looks muscular and fit. The fabric is the softest, most breathable polyester ever (I thought it was gonna be silk when I first saw it and I was like oh well- there goes that potential purchase- I sweat wayyyyy too much for silk) and it has this chalky, textured finish that keeps it from ever appearing wrinkled.

Oh- and in all my excitement I realize I forgot to tell you the ZINGER: It's $69.50. Yup. 

Buy it now, wear it all summer, and join me in a silent prayer willing Lou & Grey to make like a dozen more of this exact same dress in different prints and colors so I can get rid of everything else I own until September.