A Party For A Real Housewife's Really Cute Bag Line

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Gretchen Rossi is one of my favorite Real Housewives. A few months ago, I interviewed her for A Sweat Life and I’ve been loving on her Gretchen Christine handbag line for a while now. So, I was super excited to attend the Gretchen Christine PopUpParty™ at Impressions in West Hollywood. So many celebs showed up to support her including Peggy Sulahian, Ashley Fargo, Beril Ackay, Lisa Arasheben, Craig Ramsay (From Bravo’s Newlyweds and my podcast), Caitlin O’Conner, Rachel McCord, Ali Levine and Emilia McCarthy. And yes, if you were wondering, Gretchen is absolutely beautiful, nice, and super tiny in person.

It was also great to see all of the Gretchen Christine handbags IRL. I was really surprised because we all know celeb fashion lines are either amazing or a complete disaster. Luckily, the first description applies to this one. Photos don’t really do it justice. Furthermore, every accessory comes with bonus karma points because they are made of vegan leather. 

Impressions also carries her new luggage line, which will basically make everyone at the airport jealous of you. Seriously, not kidding. Keep your eyes on your GC at the baggage claim because people will be tripping over themselves to steal it from you. My favorite bag is the Voyageur Matelassé in White Marble.

Made of quilted nylon and vegan leather, it has 360° spin roller wheels and a bumper-guard at the base. It is sold as a set with a matching purse, which is so cute it almost shouldn't be allowed. You can carry it separately or slide into the trolley handle when you are running through the airport in heels trying not to miss your flight (or is that just me?). The silver clasp also makes it easy to open and close, which is important if you are doing last minute airport shopping (and by if, I mean when). The modern marble print is so clean looking and really stands out. I really want one of these for myself (hint, hint, Gretchen, please swag me out, girl).

Gretchen also debuted her collab nail polish with Twila True. This line has a 5 free formula, which means it doesn’t contain camphor, DBP, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and toluene. But more importantly, the colors are absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to see what Grethen does next. 

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So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

I’d say happy Sunday, but Sunday is almost over. It might even be Monday where you are, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t enough time to click around and enjoy several things from around the web that I didn’t write.

Into The Gloss: Natasha Lyonne

If you didn’t know, Natasha Lyonne has been my biggest girl crush since high school. Her unique look is sexy and just a little bit gritty. In this interview, Natasha shares her beauty routine and favorite products. I’m bookmarking this post for life!

Real Simple: Frosé Recipe

If you like rosé and mixed drinks, then frosé will be your new favorite summer beverage.

Blush & Pearls: 10 Foundation Mistakes You Might Be Making

Foundation is the foundation of your look. If you are shopping for a new foundation this summer or your current one just doesn’t seem to look right anymore, Blush & Pearls has some great tips to keep in mind.

Apartment Therapy: AT Writes An Episode Of House Hunters

If you are as obsessed with the HGTV show as I am, you will actually laugh out loud reading this. Warning: don’t click on the link in a public place because strangers will stare at you.

Fashvo: Timeless Bags That Never Go Out Of Style

I want all the bags! If you’re thinking of investing in a designer handbag, any one of these is totally worth the price.

F-it Fridays: Hotel Chic Edition

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Happy Weekend and beginning of summer! Is everyone ready to GTFO? I know I am. Whether you are going for a short weekend jaunt, a day trip or an actual vacay, we all know how annoying packing and unpacking is. Here are a few of my favorite essentials to make the trip easier and more efficient. Treat yourself because F-it, It’s Friday, you deserve it!

If you’ve ever put shoes or dirty laundry in a clean suitcase and felt totally uncomfortable with it, you need to get these canvas bags from Miss A. There’s one for shoes, laundry (stop scrambling for plastic hotel bags) and lingerie/swimwear. But, my personal favorite is the bag for beauty tools. The last time I traveled I was so afraid of packing my hot curling iron in my suitcase that I (allegedly) wrapped the barrel in a washcloth I took from my hotel. Luckily, I don’t have to do that again. Did I mention all of these are just $1.00 each? Also, my apologies to the U.S. Grant in San Diego (pictured above, by the way).

I don’t care if it’s old school, I still love Longchamp Le Pliage bags. I challenge anyone to find something better for travel. These bags are light as can be, affordable, durable and available in tons of colors. You can take them to the beach or dinner in Paris, France or Paris, Texas. Take your bag as a carry-on for the plane or stuff it in your suitcase to bring extra things home.

I’m all about Sole Society’s Lacie Faux Leather Duffle Bag weekender. There are lots of reasons why I like faux leather. It’s cruelty-free (yay for bonus karma points). This material also tends to be lighter than the real thing. Isn't your stuff heavy enough? Also, leather bags make me really nervous because I am always afraid it’s going to get scratched and ruin my life. 

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Build me up Baby Buttercup. I love Drybar’s Baby Buttercup travel hair dryer. Don’t rely on your hotel to have an adequate hairdryer and risk having a bad hair vacation. By the way, If are struggling to pack all of your beauty stuff, this post will save your life, or at least your night serum.

There are so many different ways to wear Lilly Pulitzer’s colorful Seaspray wrap. You can use it as a light blanket on the plane, as a scarf with pants, as a sarong or even a dress on the beach. It’s a must-have if you are trying to pack lightly.

F-It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy (Casual AF to Causal Chic Edition)

Me with Heidi Nazarudin of  The Ambitionista  Photo by  Sabrina Hill . 

Me with Heidi Nazarudin of The Ambitionista Photo by Sabrina Hill

I know I’ve written a lot about rompers and it’s because I’m obsessed with them. I thought for this F-it Friday, I’d share one of my favorite new ones with you and how to create an entire outfit around it. You know, taking the romper from I- romped-around-until-4-in-the-moring-and-just-woke-up-so-I’m-casual-AF to Casual Chic.

So, I am not normally an American Eagle shopper. In fact, I can’t even tell you where one is. But, I was half asleep and very likely drunk on Instagram when I saw this one someone’s post. I wish I could remember whose account it was, but I don’t. I had to have it. Luckily, I didn’t even have to get out of bed to grab a credit card and buy it (which probably wasn’t going to happen anyway) because it turns out AE takes Paypal. Yay! It’s been one of my favorite pieces ever since. And it’s currently on sale

Here are some ideas to dress up and accessorize this romper or any romper.

 

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I love a classic Jack Rogers Sandal or if you need a little height, a wedge

Throw on a jean jacket, especially if you are wearing a romper at night. I love this one from Madewell. Everyone should have a classic jean jacket in their wardrobe. If you don’t have one, I can’t imagine how you stay warm on breezy summer nights or when some annoying person blasts the AC. 

Add a fun with a tote like this one from Draper James. I love this straw bag for summer. It’s causal, but put together. Because it’s roomy and more importantly lined, you can actually put things in it that aren’t your wallet, keys and half a lip gloss. I would even use it as a carry-on bag for a beach vacay. 

Consider a tassel fob to look extra put together. Nothing says, “I actually care about details,” more than this tiny accessory.

Because rompers are causal, a little jewelry will let others know you didn’t just roll out of bed, even if you did. I like a turquoise necklace for the summer, particularly this Judith Ripka Baguette Doublet Pendant Necklace

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Always have a bangle on your wrist. Kate Spade’s Feather Bangle coordinates well.

Have a great weekend! And don’t forget, F-it, it’s Friday, so buy yourself a present for getting through the week!

 

F-it Fridays: Activewear You'll Get Off The Couch For

This photo was taken by  Hayley Fisk  at  dr pilates , which is my favorite studio in Los Angeles. I love dr because it's small and boutique, so every class feels like a private session. The instructors are fun and give you an intense workout (hardcore = a hard core), but also know how to make adjustments for people at various levels. If you are in Larchmont Village, you need to stop by and take a class. If you are not in Larchmont Village, it's totally worth dealing with the traffic. I feel like very few things in Los Angeles are actually worth the traffic, so that's saying a lot!

This photo was taken by Hayley Fisk at dr pilates, which is my favorite studio in Los Angeles. I love dr because it's small and boutique, so every class feels like a private session. The instructors are fun and give you an intense workout (hardcore = a hard core), but also know how to make adjustments for people at various levels. If you are in Larchmont Village, you need to stop by and take a class. If you are not in Larchmont Village, it's totally worth dealing with the traffic. I feel like very few things in Los Angeles are actually worth the traffic, so that's saying a lot!

There are so many ways to motivate yourself to workout. Some people buy fitness trackers or join Facebook groups. Others watch The Biggest Loser to make themselves skip dessert (I feel this way about Hoarders and cleaning). But, my favorite way to motivate is buying stylish activewear. After all, who doesn't like wearing a new outfit? If you don't, I feel sorry for you. 

So I guess this F-it Friday is also Fit Friday! If you've worked out a lot this week (or even if you haven't, no judgements), you deserve a calorie-free treat! F-it and buy yourself something nice. Here are some of my favorite activewear pieces to get you off the couch and onto the reformer (or spin bike, or treadmill, or insert your favorite piece of fitness equipment here). 

DG LUXSPORT Leggings & Tank

Back in March (which wasn't that long ago, really), I  collabed with Kinx Active, which is an activewear makeup line, on a photoshoot. Several of my outfits were from Diane Gilman. If you haven't heard of her, she's dressed some of the most iconic rock stars in the world including Janis Joplin and Cher.

The comfort waist leggings are available in two different flower prints, which as you know is a huge trend this spring and not going away any time soon. (So, if you don't like flower prints, you're kind of SOL for a while because they are EVERYWHERE.) The matching tank is also available in several colors. 

Michi Dive Rash Guard Crop Top (Yes, I have no idea what's going on with the name either)

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I love this crop top by Michi. It's literally one of the sexiest pieces of activewear I've ever seen. Wear it to barre and channel your inner badass ballerina with literally any pair of leggings. 

Alo Yoga Epic Leggings

Although they are white, you can totally wear Alo Yoga’s Epic Leggings before Memorial Day.  After all, they do live up to their name. Perfect for cardio activities, even if you don't workout your hardest, at the very least, your style will be epic. 

Calvin Klein Modern Cotton Bralette

The Modern Cotton Collection Bralette by Calvin Klein is retro chic. Wear it under a black tank and let the logos show or alone (but obvs with pants or shorts because you don’t want to be creepy) during an extra hot hot yoga session. If you were wondering, I have this bra and it’s more supportive than it looks. 

Body Language Aven Pullover

I love this pullover by Body Language. First of all, it will look super cute any of the pieces featured in this post. I also really like it because it’s lightweight for those times when you don’t want to freeze, but you know a big, thick sweatshirt is going to be too warm.

Forever 21 Active Slashed Leggings

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Everyone loves a deal and these Forever 21 Active Slashed Leggings cost less than a Flywheel class. I'd seriously consider buying these in bulk. 

ban.do Water Bottle

This ban.do water bottle isn't technically clothing, but we all know how not stylish dehydration is. I love this bottle for its sheer honesty! 

BooHoo Keira Metallic Contrast Weekend Gym Bag

Say yay for this gym/weekender bag by BooHoo! Made of synthetic materials, it's the chicest place to throw your stinky grippy socks and that leaky bottle of green juice you didn't close properly. 

F- It Fridays (Singles Awareness Day Edition)

Dear Single People,

When I was single, I used to hate Valentine’s Day. Sure, there would be lots of chocolate around and my mom would always buy me a nice gift, but it just sucked. Until I met my husband, I never seemed to have a boyfriend on February 14th. Or worse, I’d have a breakup just a few weeks before. So, if you are totally hating couples right now, I feel ya. But remember, it’s only 24 hours and you have to be in a relationship with yourself for the rest of your life.

So, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to treat yourself kindly. Get dinner or have a fun right with a friend at home. Go to a singles event and give away your smooches freely. Or buy yourself a cupcake, a bottle of wine and cry on your couch. I won’t judge you. Been there. Done that. Then go drunk shopping and check out my favorite Singles Awareness Day treats. Or be productive and send me an email that says how much you love this blog. Should I add comments? Would you comment if I added them? Let me know.

Lots of Hugs,

Amanda

Jolii Cosmetics Matte Lip Glosses (Not An Oxymoron, I Promise)

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Have you ever wanted to put on a lipgloss that was matte? I swear it actually exists and Jolii Cosmetics makes it. Every lipgloss comes with bonus karma points because a portion of each sale goes towards the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Jolii's products are formulated with shea butter and jojoba oil, so they are incredibly moisturizing. Also impressive is the color selection, which is very fashion forward with shades of red (perfect reds!!!!!!), orange, purple and brown. It's like an Instagram selfie lover's dream worthy of 10000 likes.

Miss A Makeup Cases

Don't miss Miss A makeup cases. They're just a $1 (seriously, not kidding), but they look way more expensive. Fool everyone! 

Kopari

Kopari won’t be the love of your life, but it will be the love of your medicine cabinet or wherever you store your beauty products. It’s made with 100% organic coconut oil sourced from the Philippines. It contains no sulfates, silicones, parabens, toxins or GMO ingredients. Everything has a light, fresh, natural scent, as opposed to most coconut products, which can smell like a gas station air freshener.

I'm obsessed with the newly launched facial care line, particularly the Coconut Cleansing Oil. It gets all the makeup and dirt off your skin, leaving no oily residue. So, you don’t have to double cleanse, which we all know can be incredibly annoying.

Another must try is the  Coconut Lip Love, which willmake your lips so soft that if you go to a singles event on V-Day, everyone will want to make out with you.

I also love classic Coconut Sheer Oil because it’s a multitasker. You can use it to moisturize your hair and face. I use a little bit on my split ends before bed every night. And yes, you will want to sleep with Kopari way more than that dude who kept hitting on you at the party.

Sterling Forever Forever Blue Layered Bead Necklace

Buying yourself a fun accessory is an instant pick-me-up. Sterling Forever's Layered Blue Bead Necklace can dress up a t-shirt and color to any solid outfit. After all, it's called a statement necklace for a reason. 

Rebecca Minkoff Chain Heart Crossbody Bag

This Rebecca Minokoff Chain Heart Crossbody Bag will make you want to take a selfie followed by #adorbs. If you prefer your bag a little badass, it is also available in black.

Kate Spade Rose Charmeuse Teddy Romper

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Why wait for someone else to buy you cute lingerie? Treat yourself to this Kate Spade Charmeuse Teddy romper. Remember, you don't need another person to make you feel hot, sexy and wanted on February 14th. 

Ladies, Get It Together For Valentine's Day

Happy Tuesday! Did you realize while you were eating wings or cake during the Super Bowl on Sunday night that Valentine’s Day is a week away? Probably not. Have you bought your significant other a gift yet? Same answer as the first question. So, it’s time to get yourself together and start shopping. Valentine’s Day is not a good time to screw up this gift thing. But, don't worry about looking for the perfect gift because I over thought everything for you.

Also, let’s address the elephant in the room. You might be reading this because perhaps you are in a new relationship and you’re wondering if you should even buy him something. Of course you should. Think of Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show you're into him, but not that you want him to propose to you yesterday. Get him something that shows you get him.

Here are some of my favorite Valentine's Day gifts for men. 

Harry’s Truman Set

All men shave. Even the one’s with Zach Galifianakbeards. One of my favorite things about Harry’s is that everything looks more expensive than it is, especially The Truman Set. It comes with a razor in the color of your choice (navy, orange or olive), shave gel or foam (you pick), three blades and a travel cover (because not having one can lead to scary accidents). I LOVE the shave gel. Seriously, most shaving products at this price point smell like desperation, but Harry’s Shave Gel smells like a fresh forest. Between us, it’s very likely you are going to steal this product from him. If you want to upgrade, add a razor stand, which is you can have engraved. Fancy, I know!

Spank The Yeti

In December, I included Spank The Yeti in my Special Snowflake Gift Guide and now I’m bringing it back. It's an inappropriate game that is appropriate for most occasions (not including Arbor Day). Spank The Yeti is kind of like F-, Marry, Kill on crack. It’s a must have for game lovers or people who like to have fun in general. After all, why would you ever date someone who doesn’t like to have fun? If you are, you might want to re-evaluate that relationship. This gift is especially good for new couples because it helps you learn more about each other in a non-threatening, completely un-therapeutic kind of way. 

J. Crew Harwick Weekender Bag

J. Crew’s Harwick Weekender Bag is the one gift on this list that cannot possibly fail. Who doesn’t need a new weekender? It’s durable and rugged, yet sophisticated. 

Hugo Boss Marros Scarf & Beanie Set

Nothing says “I care” more than helping him not freeze this winter. Hugo Boss’ Marros Scarf & Beanie Set is simple, yet stylish and will make him feel warm, but look cool. 

Wüsthof 4-Piece Steak Knife Set with Plum Wood Handles

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Nothing says you're taking a stab at love quite like knives. If your significant other likes to cook, they will really appreciate the quality and aesthetic of this set from Wüsthof. Although these knives were designed for (you guessed it) steak, they're also useful for cutting other things.

Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit

If your man is super picky about beer, tell him it’s time to him to stop complaining and start brewing his own. A fun project and a thoughtful gift, Mr. Beer’s Homebrewing Kit is perfect for beginners. If anything, it will give him something to do when you want to have a girls night and leave him at home.

B&O H2 Leather Headphones

B&O’s H2 Leather Headphones are so stylish might want to steal them. And by might, I mean you probably will. And yes, they sound as super sweet as they look. 

Gaiam Athletic Dynamat

For the man who’s into yoga, Gaiam’s Athletic Dynamat will be received with much gratitude. It’s designed to be longer and wider than most standard yoga mats, so he can spread out completely in pigeon pose. Add a gift card to his favorite local studio and he’ll want to namaste with you forever.

Prada Saffiano Leather Card Holder

Nothing says you spent a lot of money on him quite like Prada. The Saffiano Leather Card Holder is super sophisticated and luxurious. It's an accessory any card-carrying man can appreciate. 

Tsovet Stainless Steel and Leather Watch

Before cell phones, people used to wear these things called watches to check the time. While it’s an old school kind of gift, Tvoset’s Stainless Steel and Leather Watch has a simple but modern design. 

So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Happy Holidays! My gift to you is bringing back So Last Week (I know… You were hoping you’d get a handbag, me too). From self-love and body acceptance to turtlenecks, here are some of the best posts I read last week.

Did you read or write something that needs to make So Last Week next week? Please email AmandaLauren212@gmail.com

The Cut: Why I'm Proud To Be A Size 10

I love this essay from The Cut by Nadia Aboulhosn. It’s about loving your body and not letting other people’s standards influence your life decisions. As someone who is short, has an hourglass figure and fits into clothing ranging from size XXS to size 10 (not kidding and yes, I totally should write a post about this), I have a deep appreciation for what she has to say.

Man Repeller: Monocycle Podcast Episode 44, Hi Again

In this episode of Monocycle, Leandra Medine talks about having a miscarriage and learning to have more compassion for herself. Warning: listening to this podcast will make you laugh, cry and give yourself a big hug.

A Sweat Life: A Yoga Workout To Calm Your Mind

Want to namaste sane when you visit your family? Try this workout.

Cupcakes and Cashmere: Spotlight On Statement Tights

Living in Los Angeles, I totally forgot statement tights existed, but after reading this post, I literally want to buy every pair.

Le Fashion: How To Toughen Up A Chunky Turtleneck Sweater

Turtlenecks are everywhere this season. Le Fashion shows you how to make them chic in a way you probably didn’t even think you could. 

A Gift Guide For All The Special Snowflakes In Your Life

They say it’s better to give than receive, but not when gift giving feels like a burden. We all want to give the people we care about (or the people we pretend to care about) meaningful presents, but it’s not always easy. Whether giving a gift is an act of love or simply an obligation, you don’t have to overthink about it any longer because I’ve already done that for you. Here are my favorite gifts for all the difficult people on your list. No matter what your budget is, any one of these gifts will guarantee a smile and potentially a thank you card. 

Your Significant Other’s Mom

You Hooked Up 5 Times and Have No Idea Why You’re Even At This Dinner ($)

Even if you are meeting the parents a little sooner than you would have liked to, you still need to bring a nice holiday gift. A personalized Go-Comb is perfect for those occasions when you need to make a statement that won’t affect your bank statement. For $21.99, this personalized comb has a mirror on the back and fits in any wallet. What says, “I actually care,” more than something you had personalized? The Go-Comb is my favorite budget gift for everyone on my list this year.

Sucking Up Chic ($$)

With notes of pomegranate, mandarin, pine, cloves and cinnamon, nothing smells like the holidays more than Nest’s Diffuser. Designed to fit with any décor, this reed diffuser will remind your SO’s mother of how wonderful you are every time she walks past it. 

Future Mother-In-Law ($$$)

Kate Spade’s Charlotte Street Platter is one of my favorite gifts of all time. I’ve purchased it twice, once for my mother-in-law and then for myself. If your future mother-in-law is into entertaining, she can never have too many platters. Remember, if you’re probably going to spend the holidays with this woman for the rest of her life, no gesture is too grand. 

The Man In Your Life

Dudes are the hardest to buy gifts for. You want them to think you care, but not too much. These ideas are also great for boyfriends, dads, brothers, etc.

Beyond FWB ($)

Treat him to a fancy but affordable grooming product bundle from Dollar Shave Club. While we know this is a gift for him, it’s also a gift for you because he will smell like a clean walk in the woods and not like the “drunk frat dude,” scent so many men’s products are unfortunately infused with.

Boyfriend ($$)

If he’s been carrying around the same old laptop bag since college and now he has a real job, it’s time to help him upgrade. MRKT’s Mateo Briefcase is made from durable felt and vegan micro suede. It fits a laptop and has tons of pockets to help organize his stuff. It’s a serious bag, while being stylish and so not stuffy.

Ring On It Zone ($$$)

If he’s put a ring on it (or is about to), you need to reciprocate. So, go big with a pair of shoes from Beckett Simonon. Featuring a variety of timeless styles, every pair is handcrafted in Europe or South America. Much like your love, these shoes are very high quality and designed to last for years to come. 

That Hippie/Vegan/Yogi Person In Your Life

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Feel The Love Transformation Cards are like having an entire deck of mirror messages. Because who doesn’t love positive affirmations?

Heart ($$)

Designed by #GirlBoss Peri Donch, Peri’s Ombre Everything bag is made of 100% sustainable cotton canvas and hand-dyed in Los Angeles. It’s super hippie chic and machine washable, which will be helpful when her bottle of Kombucha accidently leaks inside her pretty purse.

Namaste Friends Forever ($$$)

Mindful Mosaic’s Core Chakra Gift Box was carefully curated by creator of Core Chakra, Dani Havasy. It contains everything you need to balance your chakras (even if you have no ideas what a chakra is) from essences to crystals and even yummy treats.

Your Fashionista Friend

You know that friend whose style you equally admire and are intimated by? She’s hard to buy a gift for because you know she might judge you. But that’s why you love her.

On Fleek ($)

Even if you can’t shell out for a coveted Christian Lacroix purse, you can buy an equally stylish notebook.

Influencer ($$)

Jac Vanek knows what is important. This zip pouch speaks the truth with enough room for tweezers and at least five of her favorite eyebrow products. 

Best Dressed ($$$)

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Celebrity stylist Ali Levine’s collaboration with Sterling Forever has some of the chicest accessories this side of the red carpet. No matter what your friend’s signature style is, she will love the Roman Numeral Bracelet.

That Boring Couple Whose Party You’re Obligated To Attend

We all know that even the even the strongest booze won’t help get their party started. But you know what will? Spank The Yeti! ($25) Invented by a dirty-minded lady, think of this game as F*ck, Marry, Kill on crack, where you learn a whole lot abut the people you are playing with and laugh hysterically. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t even have to fake a reason for leaving early. If Spank the Yeti is a little too naughty for this couple’s taste or they have a kid, Schmovie is a more appropriate, but equally fun choice. 

White Elephant Party  

Picking up a Starbucks gift card along with your latte the morning of the party makes you look like a jerk. This year, buy a gift that will get stolen more than once like this Black Marble Cheese Board from CB2. 

Becky With The Not-So-Good Hair

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Do you have a friend with hair issues who is always asking to borrow a rubber band? Why doesn’t she have her own? It’s because she doesn’t have the Maria Shireen Hair Tie bracelet. Sophisticated, but sneaky, these bracelets look like trendy bangles, but are designed to hold hair ties. There are several styles starting at $35.

Your Friend Who Is Almost Annoyingly Obsessed With Her Cat

She will be equally obsessed with the LoveCats ring from Cat Bird ($32). Handmade of bronze in Brooklyn, she will be the trendiest lady outside the litter box. 

Your Friend Who Loves Her Dog So Much, It Has Its Own Instagram Account

Get her a hand-printed tea towel from Best In Shore ($15). There are a variety of breeds available (only the cute ones) and a portion of sales is donated to animal rescues. Bonus karma points included.

Your Pregnant Friend

Everyone is buying her stuff for the baby, so why not be the cool person who buys her something she can use right now? Say hello to Hello Mellow’s Mommie To Be Gift Set ($68). It contains everything her changing body needs to relax including a scrub, body oil, body butter and the brilliantly named, I Can’t See My Feet Soak. Made of entirely of safe ingredients you can actually pronounce (even if you’ve had 6 champagne punches at her baby shower), Hello Mellow was created by Tracey Feldstein, a #GirlBoss, healer, and massage therapist.

Your Friend With A New Baby

People with new babies tend to get a lot of swag, but 45 books, 37 receiving blankets and 25 onesies later, what this person really wants is a night out. Get them a gift certificate to Helpr, which is a new app where they can book a pre-screened babysitter On Demand. It costs $21 per hour (3 hour minimum), so it’s reasonable and will be much appreciated.

 Your Busy Friend Who Has No Time For Herself

Get her the Iluminage Deluxe Anti-Ageing Gift Set. It has an eye mask, gloves and socks made with patented copper technology that helps fighting aging while you sleep. Help her multi-task in ways she didn’t even know she could.

F- It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose Of Retail Therapy: (Holiday Gifts Under $25 Edition)

F- It Fridays are back! So, normally this column is about buying things for yourself, but that's kind of hard during the holidays. We all know it's better to give than receive, so here are some of my favorite gifts under $25. Give them to your friends, family, lovers or those people you pretend you like and must give an obligatory gift to. Or just shop for yourself. I won't tell anyone if you do.

Go Comb

 

The Go Comb is an affordable gift for everyone your list. For just $21.99, you get a cusomizable comb with a mirror on the back. It fits in any wallet, cosmetics case, back pocket or secret beauty stash. I can't think of one person who wouldn't be happy to receive this gift. It actually works for pretty much everyone on your list, except for bald people. 

Goodies From Shop Miss A

 

Shop Miss A is a glam girl's dream dollar store. With a selection of everything from adorable hair accessories like this Fuzzy Pom-Pom Headband to infinity scarves, makeup pouches and more. Because most items are just a buck, don't hesitate to treat yourself or pick up extra stocking stuffers. 

Christian Lacroix Ombré Notebook

While you thought the only Lacroix you could shell out for was the sparkling water, it turns out you're wrong. Christian Lacroix (totally unrelated to the water company, by the way) has an affordably chic ombré notebook. Use it to write down goals, new years resolutions, what you're grateful for, or to compose mean haikus. No matter what you write, you'll be doing it in style.

Philosophy The Gift Of Glowing Skin Set

Usually $25 doesn't get you much when it comes to skincare, but not The Gift Of Glowing Skin by Philosophy. It has a travel size Purity Face Wash, Microdelivery Exfoliating Water, Renewed Hope in a Jar and a Hands of Hope Cream worth $63. Now that's a philosophy we can all subscribe to. 

Michael Aram Rock Jigger

 

Michael Aram makes such beautiful, sophisticated collectables and this rock jigger is no exception. A perfect gift for the cocktail connoisseur or budding mixologist, it stands out on it's own or to upgrade that bottle of liquor you planned on re-gifting this year. 

Holiday Travel: Carry On Bag Necessities

Welcome to December. Is it really the most wonderful time of the year if you have to go to the airport? In any other situation, a complete stranger yelling at you to take off your clothes and shoes is considered a violation. But, there is one way to try and tame travel stress (other than a valium and a glass of wine), which is to be equipped with a large carry on bag that has everything I need to make my flight more comfortable. 

The Bag

I always travel with my MRKT Martin Travel bag. It has enough room for everything I need and more. I also use it on weekend trips. Made entirely of vegan felt and microsuede, it's stylish and durable enough to be squeezed under the seat.

Snacks Snacks Snacks

I always travel with tons of snacks because Terminal 3 at LAX, which is the only terminal I fly out of, literally has zero healthy food options. (Zero! If don’t believe me, read the Yelp reviews.)

I’m really into Perfect Bars right now. High in protein, they’re packed with superfood, non-gmo, gluten-free ingredients. They’re also filling, so I don’t end up eating junk food on the plane. My favorite flavors are Almond Butter and Maple Almond butter, which taste like spooning actual almond butter out of a jar, but in bar form. The Blueberry Cashew flavor is also pretty delicious. I usually bring extras so I can eat them for breakfast on the go.

I also love Heath Warrior Chia Bars. Between 100 and 110 calories each, these small, but mighty snacks have 1000mg of Omega-3, 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of plant-based protein. There are several flavor choices, but my favorites are coconut and dark chocolate. They’re light, but filling, so they're good for before or after working out (which is something I try to do when I travel) or for those times when you know you're going to eat dinner in an hour, but you're starving. 

Purely Elizabeth's Ancient Grain Minis are practically made for travel. Gluten-free, non-gmo and vegan, every bag has 2oz of ancient grain granola. You can mix into yogurt (which is readily available at most airports, even LAX) or pour milk right into the bag. It won’t leak, I promise. 

Cashmere Wrap

When I’m on a plane, I either sweat like I’m taking a spin class or shiver like I’m in a cyrotherapy session. So, I wear a light top and carry a cashmere wrap. It’s a blanket and fashion accessory all rolled into one. The one I'm wearing in the picture is from Vince and I’ve had it so long, it's practically vintage. 

Talbots currently has a beautiful cashmere wrap. While that store isn’t exactly one of my go-tos, there aren't many affordable cashmere wraps available this season. Cashmere doesn’t come cheap, but friends don’t let friends buy wool blends. Treat yourself. Traveling is hard enough. 

Neck Pillow

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I always try and catch a few zzzs on the flight, so a neck pillow is a must. Skip the ones they sell at the airport because they’re overpriced and generally mediocre. Instead prepare early and buy The World’s Best Neck Pillow. It’s comfortable, machine washable, cheap and apparently the world's best.

Decléor Aurabsolu Mist

Nothing makes your face feel gross quite the way re-circulated airplane air can. Decléor Aurabsolu Mist is travel friendly and smells like herbal heaven. You can also spray some on a cotton ball in place of your regular toner.

Thank you to Chin-Chin Hao for the beautiful photos. 

Reflections from Love Goodly’s Do Good Be Green Event & An Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Love Goodly’s Do Good. Be Green. Detox Your Lifestyle event. It was an intimate conference of eco-friendly #GirlBosses in a variety of industries. I connected with so many interesting women whose passion for an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle was truly inspirational. One issue that several speakers brought up is that there isn’t a perfect way to live a so-called green lifestyle. While we need to be conscious about we put into our bodies, where ingredients are sourced from, and what we’re putting out into the world,  all of us are really just trying to do the best we can. Even the experts agree that we cannot have an all or nothing approach.

One panelist who particularly moved me was supermodel Angela Lindvall, who you might remember from hosting Project Runway All Stars. Listening to her speak about becoming a mother and the effect the environment had on her boys, made me realize that trying to live a more conscious lifestyle isn’t just good for the world around me, it’s truly an extension of self-care. I felt inspired to make some changes in my life and think about things differently. 

The event was also an opportunity to learn about new eco-friendly fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. Here are a few that stood out to me along with some holiday gift suggestions. 

Love Goodly

Love Goodly is a bi-monthly subscription box service featuring vegan, eco-friendly and natural products worth at least $85, for just $29.99. Every box is hand selected by a different guest curator (the curator for the December/January box is Emily Deschanel) and features 4-6 mostly full size products in several categories including beauty, skincare, style, home, food and wellness. Love Goodly provides a easy way to try new products, which you can later purchase on their website. A Love Goodly subscription or even just one box is a perfect gift for anyone who lives a consciencious lifestyle or aspires to.  

Want 20% off your first box? Click here

Lippy Girl

Lippy Girl is a natural, organic and vegan cosmetic line created by Darcey Diehl, a model turned chemist. When I heard her speak on a panel, I was beyond impressed with her honesty about the reality of creating natural cosmetics. Lippy Girl has so many great gift options for the holidays, but my favorite is the Lip Lover Set, which comes with four lip products packaged in an adorable bag.

Hello Mellow

Hello Mellow is a natural body care line started by #GirlBoss/healer/massage therapist/brilliant lady Tracey Feldstein. Joyfully packaged, Hello Mellow offers a variety of products including butters, oils, scrubs and energy shifting sprays (see, I told you she was a healer). There are ten mood-changing scents to choose from, all of which I can only describe as heavenly. The line has a variety of gift sets, but the one that stands out the most to me is the One of Everything Please, which is pretty much self-explanatory. In addition the main line, Hello Mellow has three others formulated for men, pregnant women and kids specifically. 

LVX

LVX is a line of vegan, toxin and cruelty-free nail polish. Designed to have a gel-like texture, it’s available in tons super stylish runway-inspired colors. Perfect for a stocking stuffer.

Hipsters For Sisters

 

Hipsters For Sisters was founded by Debra Denniston and her two daughters, Rachel and Kate. Embarrassed by their mother’s fanny pack, the trio began to design belt bags that you would actually want to show off in public. Made with sustainable, environmentally friendly materials, every bag is manufactured ethically in Los Angeles. My personal favorite is the pearl grey tweed, which easily converts to a chic clutch, so it’s kind of like getting two bags for the price of one. 

Susi Shoes

Susi Shoes is a luxury shoe line that just happens to be vegan. These shoes are absolutely gorgeous. I’m completely obsessed. If you have a vegan person you have to buy a higher-priced gift for, they will beyond appreciate a pair of Susis. The Veronica Naturals and Burgundy Matilda are my personal favorites. 

So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Happy Sunday! I felt like the Internet was filled so much post-election hate last week. I desperately needed to get my mind off the negativity. And trust me, it was a challenge. Here are some posts I found that had nothing to do with the election and everything to do with the superficial. Sometimes, we all need a break. 

Yahoo Style: 5 Super Warm and Stylish Cruelty Free Parkas

Because good karma never goes out of style, Vegan fashionista Miriam Porter shows you how to stay warm, stylish and cruelty-free this winter. 

Refinery29: So You Want To Shave Your Vagina

A guide for those times you can't wax and don't want to risk injuring yourself.

The Cut: 25 Famous Women On What Makes Them Feel Pretty

This collection of quotes from The Cut is a thought-provoking read.

Apartment Therapy: 19 Super Sources for Knobs & Pulls

New knobs and pulls can completely change the look of a room. Even if you are a renter, it might be worth the investment to change out some of the hardware in your space. Apartment Therapy lists the best sources for a variety of budgets. 

Amelia Liana: Chanel Collection Libre Review

Amelia Liana reviews the new Chanel Libre cosmetics collection with an honest evaluation and absolutely stunning photography.

Kicking It With Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger (M.R.K.T) Handbags

Last July, I was invited to the Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger (M.R.K.T.) pop-up store opening party on Third Street in Los Angeles and my handbag collection hasn’t been the same since. If you haven’t heard of them, M.R.K.T. is a really innovative company that was started in 2010 by Tom Pen, who is a Harvard trained architect. His approach to design combines form and function in a really unique way. The bags are made from felt and other vegan and eco-friendly materials (so bonus karma points-yay!). They also feature lots of pockets and removable pouches so your bag doesn’t became an abyss of lost keys and lip glosses (so, annoying, right?). Another thing I like about M.R.K.T. is that all of their bags are very affordable. My favorite one is even under $100, which we all know happens pretty much never. 

Knowing how enthusiastic I am about the brand, M.R.K.T. asked me if I wanted to collaborate and do a photoshoot with them. How could I say no to that? They sent out photographer Chin-Chin Hao, who you might know from her work with Chanel (yes, that Chanel) and Violet Grey. We hit the glamorous streets of West Hollywood and Hancock Park. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the shoot.

Don't mess with my style!

Don't mess with my style!

Both M.R.K.T. and I are very serious about removable straps. 

Both M.R.K.T. and I are very serious about removable straps. 

How cute are these dogs that just stopped by to say hello?

How cute are these dogs that just stopped by to say hello?

I love that M.R.K.T. can be mixed and matched with other styles. 

I love that M.R.K.T. can be mixed and matched with other styles. 

If I had to choose a favorite M.R.K.T. bag, it would be the  Parker Tote  because it's so unique looking. I literally can't wear it without being stopped in the street by people telling me how stylish my bag is. It's seriously out of control!

If I had to choose a favorite M.R.K.T. bag, it would be the Parker Tote because it's so unique looking. I literally can't wear it without being stopped in the street by people telling me how stylish my bag is. It's seriously out of control!

Yay for grey on grey! 

Yay for grey on grey! 

I heart  Corduroy Magazine.  
M.R.K.T's  weekenders  fit so much stuff. They're also great for the gym. 

M.R.K.T's weekenders fit so much stuff. They're also great for the gym. 

I'm not over it, I'm just obsessed with Kendall Jenner.

I'm not over it, I'm just obsessed with Kendall Jenner.

Makeup By Kevin Spear

Special Thanks to Ali Levine

F- It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy (Throw Blankets Edition)

Most of us have had a really challenging week in one way or another. It’s often during these times when we want to throw in the towel, throw our electronics out of a window (but please don’t) or just throw ourselves on the couch and cry. So, for this F-It Friday post, we're going to look at some stylish throw blankets because retail therapy helps. (Oh, and if retail therapy doesn't quite do the trick, here are some other things to try.)

Lulu likes to steal my throw.

Lulu likes to steal my throw.

This Burberry throw is beyond luxurious, but in a totally subtle way. And what could be softer than cashmere?

MISSONI SIMONE THROW

Missoni’s Simone throw is one of the more reasonably priced throws made by the legendary Italian label. Fun, but sophisticated, it adds color and texture to any couch or chair. 

Fabulous, yet practical, this faux fur throw from Anthropologie is available in grey, white and navy.

NORDSTROM AT HOME GRAND CABLE THROW

No matter what style your home is, from traditional to modern, you can’t go wrong with a cable knit throw like this one from Nordstrom

THE WELL-APPOINTED HOUSE HERRINGBONE PLUSH FRINGED THROW

I love this herringbone throw from The Well-Appointed House. Available in sixteen different colors, it can be monogrammed or customized with a message. It also makes a great holiday or housewarming gift. 

Elevating Your Style With Covry Sunwear

I’ve always really loved big sunglasses because they make me feel fabulous faster than I can say “Sunshine in my eyes.” However, because I have a small face, finding a pair that actually looks good and stays on (without sliding off my nose) can be a challenge. That’s why I LOVE Covry.

If you feel like your sunnies are constantly trying to escape your face (you need to push them up every five minutes and briefly consider screaming in frustration), then Covry's signature Elevated Fit® might just be life changing. If you are wondering what I'm talking about, here's a handy dandy graphic that explains it. 

By the way, an Elevated Fit® is sometimes called an Asian fit (I promise you this expression is PC), but we all know this issue isn't limited to a specific ethnicity.

 
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Covry has sunglasses available in a variety of styles, but the Coconut Vegas are my personal favorite. Every pair of glasses comes in a vegan leather case with a soft cleaning cloth because you want to be kind to your Covrys. 

The company was founded by two amazing #GirlBosses, Florence Shin and Athina Wang. Friends since high school, they bonded over their sliding sunglasses and realized if they wanted the job done right, they were going to have to do it themselves. So they created a Kickstarter campaign and have been kicking ass in the sunglass world ever since.

Check out all of Covry’s fabulous and (seriously, not kidding, for real) comfortable styles at Shop Covry

Seasonal FOMO, Wardrobe Anxiety and Getting #OOTD Ready With My Favorite Jewelry From Sterling Forever

One thing I love about Los Angeles is that it’s warm and sunny all year round. This means I can sip coffee on my terrace almost every morning, hike on Thanksgiving, and sit out at the pool pretty much whenever I want. While I can’t say I don’t love the semi-eternal summer of this city, I have a little bit of FOMO when I see pictures of people in their Fall coats and boots. That’s just not going to happen for me, so transitioning to a seasonal wardrobe can be a bit of a challenge. While I’ll rarely look truly Fall, I do what I can by choosing darker clothes, rotating long sleeves back into my repertoire and incorporating new accessories into my ensembles.

One of my favorite accessory brands is Sterling Forever, which I recently discovered through my friend, Ali Levine, who is a celebrity stylist. She designs and curates her own collection for SF.  They have high quality, but affordable pieces (and bonus, there are always promo codes). The styles are always on trend for the season, but you’ll still want to wear them for years to come.

Great accessories do more than just complete an outfit. At least for me, they prevent me from overthinking what I’m wearing and changing approximately 400 times before I leave the house. All I need to do is coordinate an SF bracelet or necklace to the first (okay, maybe second) thing I put on and then I’m #OOTD ready.

Here are my four favorite SF pieces for fall along with how I incorporate them into my wardrobe.

I can’t get enough of this black Layered Bar Bracelet. One feature I love is the toggle clasp. Obviously, it’s beautiful, but it also makes it possible to put on the bracelet without having to ask for help. Have you ever screamed in frustration trying to put on a bracelet when there is no one around to assist? Okay, maybe that’s just me. The toggle makes the entire thing so not an ordeal and just a one-person operation. It also helps the bracelet stay secure, so you don’t have to experience that nagging anxiety about your jewelry falling off. This can be a huge problem among bracelet-wearers. I really think more bracelets in this world need toggle clasps. Designers, are you listening?

I love coordinating my bracelet with a casual dress like the one I’m wearing here or even jeans and a t-shirt. It would really compliment a pair of black leather boots or booties.

I am borderline obsessed with this gold and pink suede tassel necklace. Such a versatile piece, it’s like having at least three necklaces in one because there are so many ways to tie it. The rich-colored suede and gold are warm and sophisticated for fall. If you’re not a pink person, it’s also available in navy, aqua, cream, grey and black. I get so many compliments whenever I wear it, I might have to buy another color. Even my dog, Lulu insisted on borrowing it from me. Who wore it better?

And yes, I know I’m wearing a summer caftan in this picture, but I’m at a pool, are you expecting me to wear cashmere? Hey, at least it’s long sleeved.

Ali told me I had to get this Cobalt Mosaic Necklace. When a celeb stylist gives you advice, you listen. And I am glad I did. The epitome of a statement necklace, it really stands out. I usually wear it with a blue top, but it would also look fab with a freshly ironed white button-down shirt, making the ensemble a little more fun and slightly less conservative. 

Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger Pops Up In Los Angeles

When I was invited to the Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger (MRKT) pop-up store opening in Los Angeles, I wasreally excited. I love handbags, especially unique ones (don’t all accessories start to look alike after a while?) that aren’t just different, but also thoughtfully designed and a little bit (dare I say it), practical. 

MRKT bags are designed by Tom Pen, who is a Harvard-trained architect. Yes, I know, because if you went to Harvard, being great at one thing isn’t quite enough… As you can imagine, these bags are kind of like houses, they’re nice to look at, but also structured in a way that makes them super functional. Don’t we wish every aspect of our lives were more like that? Most of the bags and accessories are chock full of interior pockets, so you can organize your wallet, keys, phone and the eight lip glosses you absolutely must keep on you at all times (okay, maybe that is just me).

Most of the bags for Fall are made of felt and vegan leather. (Every bag is actually vegan). I love felt! It’s lighter than leather, but also durable, which is good if you have a lot to tote around or tend to be hard on your accessories. It’s also a dream fabric for Fall. Living in Los Angeles, it’s always kind of summer whether it’s fall, February or the fourth of July. I’m not complaining about that of course, but dressing for warmer seasons can be a little bit of a challenge. Creating a summer ensemble can be almost effortless, whereas dressing for fall (and especially winter) takes some thought and planning, at least for me. So, accessorizing is an easy way to dress very internationally for the season without worrying about what temperature it is outside. And obviously, if you live in a place with real seasons, MRKT’s bags look great with cashmere sweaters and wool peacoats, for example.

Another thing that sets MRKT apart is that many of the accessories are designed in a way that, at least in my opinion, can fall into the category of gender-neutral, with a little added dash of whimsy. While this style isn’t something I specifically seek out in my own wardrobe, I know this can be really important to other people.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the event. 

So, if you are in Los Angeles in July, stop by MRKT’s pop-up at Liberty Concept Space, which is located at 8366 ½ Third Street.  

 

Style Secrets With Celeb Stylist Ali Levine

A lot of Hollywood stylists tell you that you need to follow the trends to dress well, intimidate you to buy things you can’t afford, or say your body needs to fit a certain size to be beautiful. But, not Ali Levine. This celebrity stylist, who you probably recognize from Vanderpump Rules, Star Magazine, Nightline or approximately a billion other places, has worked with everyone from Lisa Vanderpump to Holly Robinson Peete, Chelsea Kane, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Lisa Edelstein and too many other fabulous people to list, is also a jewelry designer, blogger, media personality and inspirational ray of sunshine. All about confidence, she believes inner beauty has a big influence on outer beauty. 

I recently sat down with Ali to discuss how she got started in the industry and expanding her brand. She also divulged some of her favorite style secrets. Read this people! Trust me, this is stuff you need to know!!!!

How did you become a stylist? 

To be honest, it sort of just happened. I was always into fashion. After working in retail for Target as an executive of softlines, designing and working in product development for Coach, Lactose, Fragments and Talbots, I started realizing I wanted something more fast paced, trending, and constantly moving. That was the entertainment industry. I started working as a production assistant to the great Oliver Stone and Costume Designer Ellen Mirojnick, assisting on the hot show Newly Weds and much more.

Before I knew it, I was assisting and shopping for major players in the industry and eventually started my own styling business, Ali Levine Design. I've been incredibly blessed to have many celebrities to style for red carpet, television and press events. 

Why do you love what you do? 

I love making people feel good in and out. The right look does that. Myself as a person, and brand, I am about positivity and I love to spread that to my clients.

Why do you think confidence is your best accessory? 

I believe confidence is the most important accessory to your look. When you look at someone, and they are owning what they wear, standing tall, smiling and feeling themselves- that’s their confidence. Someone could be wearing the most gorgeous couture designer, if they don't feel like themselves, than the garment won't hang well on them. Their posture may be off. There are plenty of things that can happen when confidence isn't there.

Whether it’s a red carpet or your best friend’s baby shower, you want to look and feel your best. As a stylist, that is my ultimate goal for my clients. 

What are some trends you are looking forward to for the upcoming season? 

I am really excited for the spring! There are so many great trends coming about from the runways. Some of my favorite are the mirror trends and the bright color and contrasts. I love bright colors and the idea of mixing and matching. I love all of the bright patchwork prints. 

You’ve branched out your brand from styling and blogging to designing a jewelry collection with Sterling Forever. What inspires your designs? 

I love being a part of Sterling forever! They have chic, on trend jewelry that’s affordable! As a stylist, I think its really important to have the red carpet looks I style on A-list celebrities be affordable to the every day fashionista. That’s what my collections are inspired off of. I am always looking at new trends, what people are loving, what’s on the blogs and in magazines, and some of them are just ideas I've had and fallen in love with. Sterling Forever allows me to be creative with designing new ideas for them and myself, as well as my curated collections.

What is your most important style secret? 

FIT is everything! You can wear something from Target or Dolce & Gabbana, if it doesn't fit right, no dice! On that note, the tailor is your best friend. You can take a discounted blazer, tailor it for $20 and make it look brand new and custom-made. It screams quality. Who wouldn’t want that?

Where do you see your career going in the future? 

I think there are endless possibilities with my styling. It has opened me up to many avenues and amazing networks of people. My blog has taken off and I am loving blogging and sharing my every day tips with my fans and followers. From my blog and styling, more and more, I've been asked to be on camera as an expert, which I have really been enjoying! So as my career grows, I would love to further get into hosting. 

I have started hosting on an amazingly fun fashion show this past year locally in Los Angeles, Orange County and Palm Springs called Fashionista Now Boarding on Channel 63. Producer Kathy Marino has really opened my eyes into the hosting world and we been having so much fun with it! I would love to host on E! and talk fashion every day, all day. That would be on the bucket list for sure.

For more info about Ali Levine, visit her website or follow her fabulous adventures on Instragram and Twitter