Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

ModCloth, Desert Sands Top, $34.99
Johnston & Murphy, Signature-Print Scarf, $39.99
Blu Bijoux, Twisted Gold Earrings, $42
Michael Antonio, Tracy Sandal, $39.95
Kenneth Cole, Multistone Ring, $35

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eat Fresh

Summertime calls for easy recipes with fresh ingredients, like this one for chicken paillards with lemon-butter sauce. Martha Stewart outdid herself with this one, which is more than I can say for her in the past. The domestic diva first let me down with ham and cheese crepes (I know, I know, it even sounds bad), then with a questionable shrimp salad. Thank goodness she redeemed herself and made my monthly subscription to Martha Stewart Living worthwhile. Serve the chicken on a bed of fresh baby spinach, which wilts perfectly from the heat of the sauce.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fit to a Tee

It's not often I pay tribute to - or even wear - a humble t-shirt, but Gap has stepped up its game.

Does anyone remember Gap's tees of yesteryear? The cotton was nearly as thick as the brand's signature denim. And the v-neck version barely swooped below the collarbone. It may have been a classic, but sometimes the past is better left in the past.

And that's exactly what Gap did this season. The brand launched a revamped line of the wardrobe staple, including this burnout tee. Let me tell you, this shirt feels luxurious - and far more expensive than it is.

I won't spend more than $20 on a t-shirt. And judging by the sale frequency of brands like James Perse, not many of you are willing to shell out big bucks for a simple tee either - no matter how luxe the fabric and drape. Thank goodness for luxury brands upping the style ante for something as simple as the t-shirt.

Outfit Notes: Gap Burnout Tee; LOFT Shorts; Banana Republic Bracelet; House of Harlow Bangle

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Winner: Oufi London Handbag

Congratulations to Melissa of Oh, My Darling!

A note from Freddie Oufi of Oufi London:
"Just want to express a word of thank you for all your comments and contributions in making this giveaway such a success. It is inevitable that only one person will be the winner, but I hope with Jessica's cooperation we can jointly offer another giveaway very soon. In the meantime enjoy our site at for an ever interesting and increasing range of leather handbags." (Oufi London launches in early August.)

Readers, mark your calendars: I'm excited to share that we have another giveaway in the works for a House of Harlow statement bauble. Details coming soon!

If you'd like to partner with Style Obsession on a giveaway, please e-mail me at

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Lori's Shoes, Gauze Animal Print Scarf, $18
ASOS, Snake Arm Cuff, $13.48
Rachel Rachel Roy, Slip Dress, $18.74 (on sale)
Old Navy, Gladiator Sandals, $19.50
Banana Republic, Pyramid Stud Earrings, $19.50
Oasis Glamstock Midnight Sandstone Ring, $10.11

Monday, July 26, 2010

Green with Envy

A couple of weeks ago, I braved the Maxwell Street Day sales at Shopbop's brick and mortar location here in Madison, Wis. Designer names for $100 or less? I'm there - along with throngs of style-hungry girls. I tried on piles of Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and a $50 Halston Heritage dress I so desperately wanted to love. But only one piece made its way home with me: an emerald blouse by Velvet with a Cleopatra-esque neckline.

Outfit Notes: Velvet Blouse; Jess LC Division Chevron Earrings; Bougainvillea Boutique Bracelet

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Anthropologie, Cloudburst Tank, $49.95 (on sale)
Yochi, Glowing Gold Necklace, $36
Halston Heritage, Gold Cuff, $44
Abas, Zippered Multi-Use Coin Pouch, $45
DV by Dolce Vita, Osorno Sandal, $32.98 (on sale)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Falling For You

Mid-July marks a frustrating period on the sartorial calendar: I'll overheat if I wear anything more than a filmy dress, yet I'm daydreaming about fall's lush textures. I don't want to jump the gun, but J.Crew's fall 2010 look book has me itching for artful layers of sequins, wool, leather, and piles of baubles - oh my! It hasn't taken long to compile an autumnal wish list:

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Vanessa Bruno Athe, Turtleneck, $68
See by Chloe, Sequin Tulle Top, $250
Labour of Love, Leather and Suede Gloves, $134
Michael Kors, Chronograph Watch, $250
Steve Madden, Carnee Clogs, $129.95
McQ, Checked Wool-Blend Skirt, $148
Erickson Beamon, Dune Swarovski Crystal Earrings, $390
Newport News, Deco Pin, $15
Ann Taylor, Pearl Stud Skinny Belt, $38*
Banana Republic, Bonfire Ring, $39.50

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


When I purchased my very first leopard-print garment, I was afraid that I'd be overpowered by the feline spots. The antidote: equally bold gilt cuffs and understated shorts. Safari glam at its finest.

For a minimal investment of $25 at H&M, the blouse has serious sartorial mileage. I'll up the glamour factor this autumn by pairing it with a curve-hugging black pencil skirt.

Outfit Notes: H&M Blouse; H&M Shorts; Forever21 Cuffs; House of Harlow Bangle

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Roxy, Cliff Rose Romper, $18.99 (on sale)
Nugaard, Hoop with Leather Earring, $19.97 (on sale)
Galleon Necklace, $17.99
Forever21, Dinah Studded Sandals, $16.80
Ariella Collection, Prong Set Oval Ring, $18.90 (on sale)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Giveaway: Oufi London Handbag

Finding a stylish leather handbag is hard enough. Finding one on a budget can be nearly impossible. In just a few weeks, Oufi London will launch its e-commerce site, showcasing a well-edited selection of on-trend handbags at reasonable prices - a combination every fashionista dreams of.

My favorite bag from Oufi London's inaugural collection is the convertible tote (ARV $140). With multiple pockets and a cross-body strap, it's the perfect bag for travel. I can just imagine the wearer carefully collecting flea market finds and consulting a road map tucked into an outer pocket. I wouldn't even worry about scuffs or scratches; this is the type of bag that gets better with age.

Anyway, enough of my gushing. This is where you come in: Oufi London has graciously offered to give the tote to a lucky Style Obsession reader.

The Details
The entry period runs through Monday, July 26. The winner will be announced the following day.

For One Entry
Visit Oufi London's blog and browse the other styles. You must leave your e-mail address or blog URL so I can get in touch with you if you win.

For Additional Entries
Leave a separate comment for each of the following:
  • Follow Style Obsession via Google Friend Connect (leave a separate comment saying you "follow")
  • Blog about this giveaway (please provide link in a separate comment)
  • Tweet about this giveaway (please provide link in a separate comment)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Winner: $60 CSN Gift Certificate

Congratulations to The Dalai Mama!

Readers, mark your calendars: Stop by on Monday and enter to win a gorgeous handbag from Oufi!

If you'd like to partner with Style Obsession on a giveaway, please e-mail me at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Modcloth, Superstripe Dress, $47.99
J.Crew, Straw Trilby Hat, $40
Kate Spade, Cluster Pearl Ring, $47 (on sale)
Roxy, Hi-Light Wedges, $49
Urban Outfitters, Ostrich Turnlock Coin Purse, $14

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seeing Spots

Earlier this week, my inner fashionista squealed with delight as I paid for my first leopard-print item: a gauzy blouse from H&M - sightly sheer, slouchy in all the right spots (pun fully intended), and treads dangerously close to being a bit too much. It's particularly irresistible paired with minuscule khaki shorts and thick gold cuffs adorning each wrist. I'd like to call it "safari glam."*

It seems my animalistic instincts were spot on. Leopard print litters the August issue's pre-fall shopping guides of Harper's Bazaar. And I'm more than happy to indulge. As Sarah promised on Twitter (@ClassyFabSarah), the first leopard-print piece won't be the last.

My advice: bring a discerning eye to inexpensive leopard items. Many verge on looking a little too, well, cheap when compared to pricier alternatives.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Marchesa Notte, Leopard Silk Gown, $1,212.91 (on sale)
Tucker, Leopard-Print Silk Blouse, $280
Topshop, Leopard Tassel Cross Body Bag, $60
Casadei, Leopard-Print Satin Court Shoes, $296 (on sale)
Deena & Ozzy, Pony Belt, $20

*Don't worry, ladies! I'll post a photo of the H&M blouse soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Jonathan Adler, Helix Lotion Pump, $19.60
Forever21, Metallic Bead Trimmed Top, $16.90
Old Navy,
Studded Faux-Leather Sandals, $16.50
Zad, Wrap Bracelet, $19

Old Navy, Mid Rise Zip Pocket Shorts, $19.50

Monday, July 12, 2010

California Recap, Part Four

Monterey, CA
The City of Monterey was by far my favorite stop on the trip. The picturesque coastal city is rich with history and has a fisherman's wharf complete with sea lions. We spent an embarrassing amount of time watching the animals lounge on the rocky shore - and watching a pup eagerly follow its mother, until she went into the water. I did a bit of financial damage in Monterey, first with a necessity item: a sweatshirt. I had been shivering throughout most of the trip. I didn't realize that I'd be so cold in California with 70 degree temperatures and no humidity. (Who thought that I'd have to return to Wisconsin to warm up?) I also picked up a Tahitian pearl necklace at the wharf and a small oil painting at a local gallery.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
During the planning stages of the trip, Nate was adamant that we scout out Redwoods. We settled on a visit to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California's oldest state park, to admire the 2,000-year-old trees. After walking through the forest, I'm convinced that those who really understand the magnificence of the Redwoods are those who have seen the trees in person - photos just can't do them justice. A word of warning for those who visit Big Basin: when you drive out of the park, be aware that the two-lane road will unexpectedly narrow to one lane with traffic continuing in both directions.

Winchester Mystery House
A stop in San Jose was a last-minute addition to our itinerary when I remembered that the famed Winchester Mystery House was in California. I had a bit of fixation with the lore of haunted locations growing up and vowed to visit Sarah Winchester's mansion eventually. (Unfortunately, photos weren't allowed inside the eccentric home.)

Cold Spring Tavern, Santa Barbara, CA
After we stopped in San Jose, we turned around and headed south to arrive in time for our flight from L.A. This gave us the opportunity to dine at a former 1860s stagecoach stop: the Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara. Named as "one of the best places for a romantic getaway," I couldn't wait to bring Nate here for a rustic early-birthday meal. (I have a feeling it was one of the only places in California with venison on the menu.)

Ty Warner Sea Center
We couldn't leave Santa Barbara without a stop at Stearns Wharf and the Ty Warner Sea Center to touch a shark and play with starfish (which I should apparently called "sea stars," but I refuse).

Seal Beach, CA
Our last full day in California was spent in Seal Beach, thanks to a recommendation from Carrie at This Free Bird. Seal Beach is a small town (at least by L.A.-area standards) with around 24,000 residents. We couldn't wait to lose track of time on shore with another full day of splashing in the ocean and collecting shells. Carrie recommended that we stop at the California Seashell Company, or what I now refer to as "the best shell shop ever," for inexpensive souveniers. (I may have picked up a slightly tacky shell Christmas ornament.) When we stopped at a local bar for lunch, I noticed my alma mater's mascot on the wall but didn't think much of it. Halfway through the meal, I was startled to realize that we weren't in Wisconsin - University of Wisconsin's Bucky Badger was actually adoring the walls of Californian bar.

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