Dolce and Gabriella

Little thoughts from the Big Apple


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Big Sur

So this week was incredible.

My mom and I took a trip up the California coast from LA to Monterey. For about seventy-five miles north of San Luis Obispo, the Pacific Coast Highway is basically cut into the edge of the Santa Lucia mountains. The landscape couldn’t be more dramatic; the jagged, rocky mountain peaks plunge directly into the Pacific Ocean.

As you drive, you feel as though your car is teetering on the edge of a cliff. At points, it is. The experience is terrifying, but also incredibly exhilarating.

For most of our trip, the road was covered in fog. It was mystical and beyond beautiful and hard to put into words. Suffice it to say that it’s a drive everyone needs to make at least once in their lifetime.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetChanneling my inner Mary-Kate Olsen in a sweater wrap by Comme (purchased at Avanti in SLO) and maxidress by Juicy Couture (similar at Nordstrom)

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetIs this view not straight out of a fairy tale?

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetAnd then the sun came out.

The trip was definitely a spiritual experience for me–I’ve never felt more in awe of our beautiful planet. I can’t wait to go back and do it again–next time, I want to go farther north past San Francisco and into the redwoods.

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For more photos and a backstory, view my Steller on our trip.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

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Quick fixes

Do you have certain combinations that you turn to again and again when getting dressed? I definitely do. My go-to errand-running outfit is a men’s sweatshirt (likely stolen from my man, otherwise thrifted) paired with cutoffs and some sandals. Did I mention I took these photos by duct taping my iPhone to the wall? Girl needs a tripod.



photo2Hanes sweatshirt, Forever 21 cutoffs (similar here), Blowfish sandals (similar here), thrifted IIIBeca West Broadway satchel (on sale at Gilt right now)

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Half up/half down is the style I turn to when I haven’t brushed my hair in a while. I gather hair from the front into a little ponytail, twist the ponytail a couple times, and secure the twist with a bobby pin.

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This time I also threw in three colored bobby pins. I’ve seen them all over Pinterest lately and decided to make my own by painting the flat side of bobby pins with nail polish–this is Tart Deco by Essie.

It took me approximately eight minutes total to get ready today. I love having go-to pieces and beauty tricks that make it easy to get out the door. What are your five-minute fixes?

Linked up with Style Elixir


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What Would Jared Do?

The latest trend to rock the hair world is the half bun, where you put the top half of your hair in a knot and leave the other half hanging. When the ultra-fashionable editorial assistant at my internship walked into the office with one earlier this summer, I dismissed it as a quirky-cool thing only she could pull off. But lately, a slew of half buns have appeared on Tumblr and Pinterest–every site from Nasty Gal to Byrdie is preaching the virtues of the “baby bun.”

We all know, though, who really started this baby bun thing.

letoPinterest, Alicia Holden.

I’m pretty cautious when it comes to trends, but I think some little part of me has always wanted to be like/be Jared Leto. So, at the risk of looking like a Teletubby, I gave the baby bun a shot.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAmerican Eagle romper (old), J. Crew Factory sunglasses (other colors on sale), IIIBeca by Joy Gryson bag (which I got for $24 at Beacon’s Closet in New York)

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I’m kind of feeling it. My hair is off my face, yet it’s still shielding my neck from the blistering sun (I missed you, sun!)

For a guaranteed improvement on your current afternoon, ogle some more glorious man buns here here and here. Apparently there’s a fervent group of man bun worshippers on Pinterest. And let’s all thank Jared Leto again for bringing this perplexingly attractive hairstyle into the public eye, although according to The New York Times, it’s been around in Brooklyn since 2012. Obviously.

Would you wear a baby bun?

(Linked up to Style Elixir, All Things Chic, Two Thirty Five Designs, Watch out for the Woestmans, Fizz & Frosting, DC In Style, Still Being Molly)


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DIY Grown-up Friendship Bracelets

As a kid, I loved making friendship bracelets with my best friend Sarah at sleepovers. She was the bracelet queen and could weave a perfectly knotted, perfectly even strand like no other. I moved away from her when I was seven. Every time I saw her after that, she’d be wearing a stack of new, pretty bracelets and would proudly present me with one of her best creations, which I treasured.

After more than ten years of living in different states and different countries, the bracelet queen and I are still BFFs. This summer, she’s a camp counselor. She posted this status on Facebook last week after attempting to make braided bracelets with her twelve-year-old campers:

I was told today that friendship bracelets “died last year.” So I put away my string and faked a conversation about One Direction for forty-five minutes. #downwiththekids

How devastating is that?! Have friendship bracelets really died?

French jewelry designer Aurélie Bidermann doesn’t think so. Her “Copacabana” collection is a fresh, grown-up take on the quintessential friendship bracelet. When I saw one of her works featured in Teen Vogue, I thought it was so cool; that is, until I saw the price. She’s passing off this baby for $440.

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as if(Tumblr, ruinedchildhood.)

But never fear–where there’s a will and a crapload of embroidery floss, there’s a way. Taking Bidermann’s bracelets as inspiration, I set out to make my own modern friendship bracelets for a fraction of the cost. It was even easier than I expected.

If you’d rather follow along with this tutorial on your phone, I made a Steller story with the same pictures and info.

friendship bracelets pin picPin me, pretty please!

The tutorial is for the purple one on the left, but the one on the right is an easy adaptation. The process isn’t hard at all, and it doesn’t take much time to complete–you can finish a bracelet in three episodes of Scandal on Netflix.

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First, get your materials. I went to Forever 21 and bought two basic cuff bracelets. The one on the right was $4.80 and the larger one on the left, $7.80. Look for a cuff that has thin bands of metal on the top and bottom around which you can loop the braids. Then, head to a craft store and pick up some embroidery floss. I’d buy three little bundles for each braid you want to do–I got 6 bundles for the purple bracelet and 9 for the blue–plus one extra for tying the braids to the cuff (I suggest gold.) For a Bidermann-inspired look, pick out colors that are in the same family but not identical. The purple bracelet is a mix of periwinkles and violets plus a few gold strands, and the blue is black, navy, slate blue, and charcoal grey. You’ll also need scissors, tape, a straight pin or needle and some clear nail polish.

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Open each little bundle of floss and unwind it, cutting it roughly in half. (This is so each of the two braids will have an equal mix of all the colors.) Then re-bundle each half, winding it around your fingers or a piece of cardboard, into new bundles that are about ten inches long (or, the distance around your cuff plus two inches of overhang on each side.) If the floss doesn’t stop perfectly at one end of the bundle, cut off the remainder. Repeat with all the bundles, then gather half of your new bundles (one of each color) into a big bundle.

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About two inches down the new big bundle, tie all the strings together tightly with a scrap piece of floss. Then, snip the loops on both ends of the bundle.

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Tape your bundle down to a table just above the tie and divide the strings into three sections, making sure that the colors are divided evenly between each section. Braid. The braid should be tight enough that the plaits are uniform, but loose enough that each section is kind of fluffed out and plump, if that makes sense. Stop braiding about two inches from the end and tie the braid with another scrap piece of floss. The braid should be the length around the cuff from one edge to the other.

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At both ends of the braid, wrap a scrap piece of floss around the original tie. Leave a 1.5-inch tail at the beginning of the wrap and stop with 1.5 inches of floss left so that you can tie the ends together.

Repeat all these steps to make another braid with the remaining floss.

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Cut a piece of gold floss about two feet long. If you have a needle with a large eye, use that for these next steps. If not, MacGyver yourself a needle like I did with a straight pin: tie a big knot in the end of the floss and stick the pin through the knot.

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Line up the end of your first braid with the edge of the cuff. Starting from the inside of the cuff/backside of the braid, insert the needle/pin (I’m just going to say “pin” from now on) in between two strands of the braid and carefully push it through, pulling the floss through the braid. Wind the floss around the cuff and then up the back of the braid. Stop pulling when there’s about three inches of floss left and tie the pin-end and the three inch-end in a knot around the cuff, securing the braid to the cuff.

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Continue using the pin to wrap the gold floss through the braid, around the cuff and up the back. To keep your wrapping consistent, always go through the braid at the same point (for instance, where the left strand crosses over the middle strand.) When sticking the pin through the braid, take care to thread the floss through an “empty spot” in between two strands of the braid. If you try to go through a strand instead, you could snag other pieces of floss with the pin and mess up the braid.

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Keep wrapping until you reach the end of your braid and the other end of the cuff. Watch the tension of your wraps–allow enough slack for the braid to stand on top of the cuff, but wrap tightly enough that the braid doesn’t flop down over the cuff.

When you get to the end, thread the remaining floss through the backside of the last loop around the cuff and tie another knot, securing the braid to the cuff on both sides. Cut the excess gold floss.

Flip the cuff over and repeat the process on the other side.

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When both braids are done, cut the ends to a uniform blunt length. Use big scissors and do it in one fast chop to get the look of Bidermann’s piece.

The last step is to secure your knots and ends. Dab clear nail polish on all the knots to help them stay in place. If having little ties (from the gold thread and the wraps on the braids) bothers you, you can tape those ends to the inside of the cuff with a piece of Scotch tape. I’d do that instead of trimming the ends short just in case a knot unravels and you have to tie it again.

bracelet 1

And there you have it–a modern, adult version of the friendship bracelets we all love. For this one, my total costs were under $10…a steal compared to $440 for Bidermann’s version.

bracelet 2-01For a different look, buy a taller bangle with multiple rows of metal. The only differences here are the number of braids I used (three) and what I did with the ends of the gold ties (frayed them and left them out instead of hiding them away.) The colors and size make this bracelet a little more edgy than the first, and I love it.

Since they’re easy and relatively cheap to make, make two like I did and send one to your best friend. The purple one is headed off to Sarah’s house as a late birthday present. After all the beautiful friendship bracelets she’s made for me over the years, I’m glad I finally have one to share with her.

Enjoy your Sunday, friends! Wishing you lots of coffee and a long walk outside after dinner.

 

Have you ever made a copycat version of something you couldn’t afford? I want to know how you did it!

(linked up to: Skip to My Lou, Join the Gossip, I Have a Degree in This, Still Being Molly, DC In Style, Fizz & Frosting, Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Style Elixir, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings, Coastal Charm, Simply Just Lovely, My Romantic Home, The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring)


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The match made in denim hell: a cautionary tale

Notice anything weird?

Look at the socks. Then the skirt.

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Madewell skirt (similar on sale), Keds sneakers (here on Amazon), BP t-shirt (at Nordstrom), Forever 21 necklace (try 1 2 or 3)

Yep, they’re matching. Nope, it was an accident. Unfortunately this happens a lot because I tend to buy clothes over and over in the same few styles (stripes, denim, leather, navy blue, gray). It works out well for me most of the time, because pretty much everything I own goes with everything else. But sometimes when I’m getting dressed on autopilot in the early morning hours, having all these similar clothes backfires on me. Take for example the time I wore an outfit of entirely black leather, from the jacket to the dress to the shoes. Or the time I groggily paired a denim shirt with a denim jacket with denim jeans with denim sneakers. Definitely too much of a good thing, but lucky for all of us my friends made sure to get lots of pictures.

 

denim tux

And the braid? I don’t even know. Let’s pretend that this happened a long time ago and the necklace in this picture is NOT the same one I’m wearing in the photo above…

I’m considering making myself some DIY Garanimals tags for grownups, thereby eliminating the need to think about planning outfits once and for all. Seriously, how much better would my mornings be if I could just match red dots to red dots and move on with my life? No more denim-on-denim (on denim-on-denim) fiascos, no more “what jacket goes with this outfit?!” moments…

New summer project.


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Wishing for pockets

Today, I’m wearing a blazer and pants: two articles of clothing that have served their purpose for men, largely unchanged, for over 100 years. Yet modern womenswear designers have rendered both of these timeless pieces completely dysfunctional by refusing to put in adequate storage compartments.

Why don’t my clothes have any pockets? I just walked into the bathroom with my phone and realized I had no place to put it. I didn’t want to set it on the sink (ew), so I ended up sticking it in my bra. Girls, we shouldn’t have to live like this.

I could get super feministy here and say the reason women’s clothes are still largely designed to be less substantial, less comfortable, and less functional then men’s is that the apparel industry is part of the PATRIARCHY MACHINE, man. The machine keeps us in place by keeping us dependent on men to hold all our shit while we pee. But that’s just a theory.

 

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Thrifted blazer, J. Crew Factory top (on sale here), H&M pants from a few years ago, Keds Champion sneakers in Navy (on Amazon.)

And my search for the perfect black blazer (with inside pockets) continues.

 

Linked up to Living in Color.


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Pattern Play Tuesday

Good morning!

I’m very, very picky when it comes to patterns. I’m a snob about stripe widths and polka dot placement. Most florals I don’t like, and don’t even get me started about plaids.

My wardrobe is probably 95% solids, which is why everyone acts really surprised and impressed when I show up wearing something patterned. I picked up this dress at Goodwill before I left California…I’m not crazy about the print, but I thought for $6 I could give it a shot. Based on the compliments I’ve gotten today, I think it’s a success! Maybe I should wear prints more often.

 

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Krina Zabete for Target dress (found at Goodwill), Dolce Vita boots on sale at Nordstrom, H&M sunnies (buy here)

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Dolce Vita boots…half off at Nordstrom right now!

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H&M sunglasses I got on Saturday in Soho

Too bad I’m not getting to use my new sunglasses yet. It’s been raining since Monday morning in NYC. Cross your fingers for sunshine soon– this California girl needs some Vitamin D!