A Minimalist Closet

A Minimalist Closet

Putting together outfits has become a breeze! All I need is about 3 minutes and, boom, I’m out the door. Though it was a labor of love, I used to spend about 10 minutes putting together looks. How did I cut that time by 7 minutes? The answer – creating a minimalist closet!

Let’s discuss what is a minimalist closet. According to Anuschka Rees in this mindbodygreen article, “Try to think of your closet as an exclusive, members-only club. Only pieces that you love and are truly excited to wear get an invite.” 

To transform your closet into a certified minimalist one, go through each article of clothing and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer is no, toss it. If the answer is yes, keep it. It’s that easy! The beauty of a minimalist closet is that you’ll always feel confident in the clothes you wear because you wholeheartedly love them!

Another perk of converting to a minimalist closet is that it’s cost effective. When you become pickier about the clothes you buy, you save money! And, who doesn’t love saving money?

Since I don’t have as many clothes as before, I’ve become more creative in putting my outfits together. Take this look as an example. I’ve worn my Frank & Eileen button-down with my J.Crew pants many times (maybe, too many). So, to create a different look, I added my mi ami sleavless sweater from francesca’s. It’s as easy as that!

As a friendly warning, you might feel panic while getting rid of your clothes that no longer bring you joy because you might be thinking:

A) I’m not going to have any clothes to wear!

Yes, you will! You’ll use your creativity to put outfits together. Let’s say you get rid of all your jean shorts because they no longer bring you joy. Purchase another pair that you can’t see yourself without and that you intend to have for years. Every time you wear them, they’ll bring you joy!

B) But, I got that shirt from a trip/event/concert!

When you hold it, does it bring you joy? If not, toss it. If it does, keep it! I went on an incredible trip to Israel and purchased a t-shirt to remember my experience. But, I NEVER wore it. When I converted my closet, I looked at the t-shirt for a couple moments and came to realize that the t-shirt wasn’t bringing me joy. What was? The photos I took and a piece of artwork made by an Israeli artist hanging on my wall. So, I donated my t-shirt to free up space for the things I love.

C) I feel so wasteful for getting rid of all these clothes!

Have you heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s true! The overalls you thought you’d wear, but rarely ever touch and never quite feel yourself in are going to be someone else’s favorite thing in his or her closet! Bring your clothes to a donation center, thrift store, or resale shop, so someone else can enjoy them. : )

I had these fears (plus more), too! But, once I cleaned out my closet, I felt less stressed. My morning routine has become quicker, more of my time is now dedicated to my passions, and I’ve had a good outfit day ever since!

20

With a lot of heart,

Carly

Outfit Credits: Sunglasses by Ray-Ban; jacket by J.Crew; shoes by Superga

Photography by Ali Stone

Always Look On The Bright Side

Always Look On The Bright Side

Candles are the perfect way to make your home inviting and smelling delightfully. Finding the perfect scented candle is as tedious as finding the right perfume. But, when you find THE scent, it’s magic.

During the winter, the Pumpkin Chai candle by Bright Endeavors was exactly what I needed – a comforting scent during the cool Chicago days. Now that spring is officially here (YAY!), I’m loving their Lemon Tea candle that’s pleasantly invigorating.

fullsizeoutput_406
A fresh batch of Bright Endeavor candles

But, Bright Endeavors is more than a candle maker. It’s a social enterprise that offers paid job training to young moms, so they can build the skills to land gainful employment after graduating from the program. Get this – during the 2016 fiscal year, 45 young moms were placed in permanent jobs at employers like Rivers Casino, Evanston Hospital, Loretto Hospital, Holiday Inn, and O’Hare Airport!

fullsizeoutput_404
A participant measuring hot candle wax. Photo by Genevieve Lauren.
fullsizeoutput_405
The candles aren’t the only things that can light up a room. Look at that smile! Photo by Genevieve Lauren.
fullsizeoutput_3fe
Colorful labels for the Bright Endeavor candles
fullsizeoutput_407
During my visit to Bight Endeavors

Do you want to smell the scented candles before buying? Visit Chicago retailers Greenheart ShopPlanet Access Co., and select Whole Foods Markets to get a whiff.

In addition to making candles, Bright Endeavors has even collaborated with The Little Market to make soaking salts. They make everything you need for a splendid self-care day!

fullsizeoutput_3fd
Soaking salts made by Bright Endeavors in collaboration with The Little Market

Who knew that helping out a new young mom is as easy as purchasing a candle and smells so good!

With a lot of heart,

Carly

P.S. – Thank you so much to the wonderful employees of Bright Endeavors for taking me on a tour of the facility and teaching me about the incredible organization.

Making Your 9 to 5 Style Look Chic, Feel Comfortable, and be Ethical

Making Your 9 to 5 Style Look Chic, Feel Comfortable, and be Ethical

When I dress for work, my goal is to look chic and feel comfortable. But, because I’m a conscious consumer, I make sure to buy clothes that I intend to have during my entire career.

18

My Elevenses velvet joggers from Anthropologie have been with me for years and are perfect for work. They feel comfortable like sweatpants, but they’re also professional because of the fabric. You can find a similar style on sale here!

12

To match my patterned velvet joggers, I opted for my burnt orange blouse from Handle with Care, a boutique in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. I love purchasing my clothes from local businesses like Handle with Care. Not only do they have adorable clothes and accessories, but they have the sweetest associates, too! This blouse is a wardrobe staple because I can dress it up for work and dress it down with distressed jeans and Superga sneakers.

Since my blouse and joggers were so colorful, I kept my footwear simple with my nude BP. open toe heels. Over accumulating clothes is something I avoid, so I only own one pair of nude open toe heels. Getting dressed has become so much easier since minimizing the amount of options I have in my closet!

14

This J. Crew coat has kept me toasty this winter. I needed a classic professional coat I would have for a long time. This coat by J. Crew has been ideal!

09

To accessorize, I matched my orange David Yurman bracelet with my blouse and pants. I also accessorized with my simple heart-shaped ring by WE SEE STARS from Babel Fair, a boutique in NYC, and my TOMS sunglasses.

15

With a lot of heart,

Carly

Photos by Ali Stone Photography

The First Cut Is The Deepest

The First Cut Is The Deepest

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m talking about brands I’m currently LOVING.

After learning about the online retailer IMBY, I knew it would become one of my favorite places to shop because it carries clothes that are versatile, classic, and made in the USA. I found these Joah Brown Cool Cut Loose Leggings there and love the cuts along the knees because they’re a subtle detail that add an unexpected element.

05

To keep this look comfortable, I opted for my soft Frank & Eileen button up. You can find a similar style here. Frank & Eileen has won my heart because the fabric is imported from Italy and the button ups are made in the USA.

07

To stay cozy, I layered on my Velvet by Graham & Spencer sherpa jacket. You can find similar styles here and here. I love my sherpa jacket because it’s  reverisble and makes a perfect companion for my wool Superga sneakers.

08

My ears are uber sensitive in cold weather, so I’ve been living in my hats and ear warmers this winter. My L.A.M.B. x Burton beanie has been a lifesaver for my ears. You can find a similar style here.  These TOMS sunglasses have also been a seasonal staple during the sunny winter days.

01

When I found this heart shaped ring by We See Stars at Babel Fair in NYC, it was love at first sight. I’ve accumulated a collection of gold rings from my travels to remind me of the places I’ve visited. Now, everytime I wear this ring, I remember my trip to NYC.

06

02

What brands are you loving?

With a lot of heart,

Carly

Photography by Ali Stone, blogger of Those White Walls and professional photographer

Vacation Mode In Maui

Vacation Mode In Maui

Aloha lovelies!

Vacationing in Maui has been my family’s winter tradition. Maui is one of my favorite places on planet Earth – not just because of its beauty, fresh food, and positive energy – but because of all the memories my family’s created there.

This vacation, most of the time, me and my family relaxed by the pool and took walks along the beach. While relaxing by the pool, I read A TON of magazines from the app Texture, which is one of my FAVORITE apps – it’s basically Netflix for magazines. I also read a good chunk of The Paris Architect, which is about an architect living in Paris during World War II and the unexpected, life-threatening tasks he’s asked to complete – it’s so good!

dsc_0066
Hanging out at the pool at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

One night, we spent watching a sunset at Little Beach, which I highly recommend going to if you make your way to Maui. Every Sunday evening at Little Beach, there’s a ceremony with a fun drum circle and… naked people. Yep – my family spent an evening on a nude beach. But, we were among the clothed participants. Little Beach’s a fun atmosphere where you can hang out with awesome people, see fireworks, and drink a cold one.

dsc_0052
Sparklers and fireworks light up Little Beach on Sunday evenings
dsc_0051
Cold beer and Little Beach is a great combo
dsc_0020
Taking in the view of the Hawaiin island Lanai

Another adventure I went on was with my parents. They’re one of my favorite travel companions because they love to take in almost all of the experiences a place has to offer. During one of our final days, we took a road trip to the west side of the island called, of course, West Maui. That side of the island surrounds an extinct volcano! During our drive, we watched whales, bought delicious mango bread from a roadside vendor, saw surfers, and ate at the delectable Mama’s Fish House Restaurant, which has an incredible history on the island. To end the day, we stopped at the town Pa’ia to do some shopping. I love the boutique Wings Hawaii there, which thoughtfully curates globally- and locally-made clothing, accessories, and home decor.

dsc_0109
I imagine this whale was saying to me “shaka, brah”
dsc_0134
Stopped at Honolua to take in the scenery and surfers
dsc_0160
Loved watching this surfer take this wave
dsc_0135
A surfer in West Maui
dsc_0133
Me and my Mama on a Maui road trip
dsc_0127
Me and my Faja on a Maui road trip
dsc_0167
Fell in love with Mama’s Fish House Restaurant and this sandman

To end this post, I thought it would be fitting to share an excerpt from The Law of Aloha:

“”Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. “Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. “Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. “Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.”

With a lot of mahalo and heart,

Carly

Day Off Style

Day Off Style

It’s your day off. And, as most adult day-offs go, you have errands to run! Why not do it in comfort AND style?

My Reformation LBD (little-black-dress) is SO comfortable – it’s like wearing sweatpants in the form of a dress! You can find similar styles here and here.

Little black dress by the Reformation. Reversible jacket by Velvet by Graham and Spencer. Necklace by Jimani Collections. Sneakers by Superga.

Reformation Brand Highlights: A Certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp) that makes its clothes in small quantities using eco-friendly technologies. 

Don’t forget to layer for the cooler fall weather! This reversible faux shearling jacket is like a blanket! For a different look, just reverse the jacket to show the faux suede.

Little black dress by the Reformation. Reversible jacket by Velvet by Graham and Spencer. Necklace by Jimani Collections. Sneakers by Superga.

Velvet by Graham and Spencer Brand Highlights: Manufactures primarily in the U.S.

Superga sneakers are a go-to shoe for me when I’m running errands because of their comfort, simplicity, and versatility. I love these Superga sneakers because the felt adds a fun texture, but the beige color keeps it classic.

On my off days, I like accessorizing with simple jewelry that makes a subtle statement. This Jimani Collections necklace is PERFECT for a day off with its dainty brass chain and glass beads.

Little black dress by the Reformation. Reversible jacket by Velvet by Graham and Spencer. Necklace by Jimani Collections.

Jimani Collections Brand Highlights: Partners with non-profit J127 Foundation that funds a 6-month training program for disadvantaged women to learn design from local Kenyan experts. Women earn income by using skills to create Jimani pieces.   

Now that you’re ready to have a productive day off, don’t forget to have some fun, too!

With a lot of heart,

Carly

P.S. My sincerest gratitude to Jimani Collections for the beautiful Aurora Necklace.

 

Werk Workday Style

Werk Workday Style

Gone are the days of business professional attire that’s, may I say, BLAH! We, women, live during a time when we can show our personality in professional environments with the strictest of dress codes.

Button-ups, a workday fashion staple, are now available in vibrant and subtle colors and patterns. Frank & Eileen button-ups are a favorite of mine because they’re classic in style, versatile, and offered in a variety of colors and patterns. This look features a Frank & Eileen gray and white gingham button-up that’s 100% cotton and PERFECT for colder-weather months because it has a heavier feel.

Frank & Eileen button-up

Frank & Eileen Brand Highlights: Fabric’s woven in Italy. Button-ups are made in California.

Trousers have also gotten an upgrade. This look features a pair by the Reformation that has tassels on the hems. If you want a pair of business professional trousers with a twist, the Reformation has an AWESOME selection! Here’s a similar style with ruffled hems.

Reformation trousers, Yakutti bag, and Barneys New York heels

Reformation Brand Highlights: Manufactures in small batches in L.A and throughout the U.S. Uses vintage materials and sustainable fabrics to manufacture garments.  

Another way to show your personality at work is through your bag. My forest green Chic Shega bucket bag  from Yakutti is perfect for my workday because it has a refined bohemian look – totally my style – and is large enough to carry my workday essentials and iPad, which has the latest books I’m reading.

Chic Shega bucket bag from Yakutti, Frank & Eileen button-up, Reformation trousers, Barneys New York heels

Chic Shega Brand Highlights: Products handcrafted in Ethiopia using environmentally-friendly and fair-trade practices.

Yakutti Brand Highlights: An online boutique that sells artisan-made goods. Earn shopping credits that give you access to member pricing and up to 50% off on exclusive collections by creating a member account, posting style photos, and publishing style content on your Yakutti account. 

Deciding what shoes to wear is  extremely important when putting together your workday outfit. No one wants to find themselves bandaging up their poor toes and heels because their uncomfortable – yet, probably adorable – shoes are tearing apart their feet! Be picky about the workday shoes you invest in because you CAN find flats, booties, and heels that are comfortable and stylish. I could wear my Barneys New York black heels for hours! You can find similar styles here and here.

Frank & Eileen button-up, Reformation trousers, Chic Shega bucket bag, Barneys New York heels

Barneys New York Brand Highlight: Made in Italy. 

Always remember, authenticity in the way you dress for work is the easiest and quickest way to feel comfortable and confident. Now, go conquer your workday!

With a lot of heart,

Carly

P.S. My sincerest gratitude to Yakutti for gifting me the beautiful Chic Shega bag! The opinions I’ve shared are my own.