Black and White All Over

Who doesn't love stripes? Seriously, I'm obsessed. So, of course, I had to have this striped dress. When I saw that it had a defined waist and a pocket in addition to classic black and white stripes, I knew it was absolute perfection. I'll toss on a black blazer, a tailored bow belt, and a pair of flats when I need to make it work appropriate, and when I want it to be a little more fun, I'll pair it with a fun pop of color and these versatile and timeless espadrille wedges (they're so Kate Middleton) like I did below. 

Excuse the bun, my soft curls from the evening before I took these pictures turned into a giant hairsprayed mess by  morning so this was the only solution. Also, I rarely wear hoops, so I am definitely feeling like I look a bit sassy.

Sunglasses {similar} - Gold Chain Bracelet {similar

The best part about this dress? It's a super comfy knit that doesn't wrinkle easily and is machine washable. It's my new go-to dress for work and play. Plus, it's under $50 right now on the J.Crew Factory website. Check it out.


Tips and Tricks: Clothing Log

It should come as no surprise that I am a bit of clothes horse... I mean why else would I have been inspired to be a lifestyle blogger, particularly one with an emphasis on the style part?

I am never going to be a girl that can work with just a capsule wardrobe, and less is more is not exactly my mentality. However, I have a major aversion to clutter and think that it's far easier to get dressed in the morning when I love every single thing that is in my wardrobe. Seriously, nothing in my closet should be B list.

blogger desk

Regular purging and a one in, one out policy are the best things that I have ever implemented for my style, but it hasn’t stopped there. I also keep a close watch on every item I purchase and have found that keeping a spreadsheet is the best way to do this.

My Clothing Log documents, by month, each item that I buy and its price. At the end of the month, I figure in the amount that I made in purging old items and come out with the total, which I aim to keep under a certain amount (ideally $0!) Every few months I'll revisit the past tabs and ask myself whether I would still buy that item today. This has given me a far greater sense of intention in building my wardrobe and stopped me from making impulse purchases that will sit forgotten in the back of my closet.

clothing log - spreadsheet - clothing budget - blogger clothing budget
A little obsessive, maybe? But, for this type A, I love being able to have this list right in front of me so that I can feel like I am on top of everything going in and out of my closet and that each addition is purchased intentionally rather than impulsively bought on a whim. If you are someone who is looking to reign in your closet or your clothes spending, consider copying the spreadsheet above and adapting it to your own needs. Before you know it, you'll have your wardrobe under control.


Pinterest Recipe Week One: Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Maple Onions

Last week I said I would be trying one new Pinterest recipe each week in an attempt to not only utilize the recipes I spend time pinning, but also to add some new and healthy dishes into my repertoire. First up in this Pinterest recipe challenge was Brussel Sprouts with Maple Onion Confit, which I pinned from a Cupcakes and Cashmere post on Market Vegetables. Right away I realized I was going to have to put my own spin on this because Emily from C&C used a store bought maple onion confit and, not surprisingly, I didn't happen to have this on hand. Luckily, a quick google search turned up a few different variations on maple onion confit and I adapted one to suit the recipe. Also, watch your brussel sprouts closely! I walked away and assumed that the time given in Emily's recipe would work for me, but mine charred in about half the time!

brussel sprouts with maple caramelized onions

Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Maple Onions

1 lb brussel sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple onion confit

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup

Caramelized Maple Onions: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and water. Cook onions down until tender, browned, and caramelized, adding more water as needed. Continue to cook while adding maple syrup and vinegar. Allow most of the liquid to cook down.

Brussel Sprouts: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and halve the brussel sprouts. On baking sheet, toss the brussel sprouts with olive oil and salt to evenly coat. Cook until leaves start to char. Serve warm topped with caramelized maple onions. Enjoy!

brussel sprouts with maple caramelized onions

I just LOVED this recipe, so my Pinterest recipe challenge is definitely off to a strong start. The sweetness of the caramelized onions paired perfectly with the crispy, charred brussel sprouts. I definitely won't go back to my old method of sauteing brussel sprouts anytime soon!


Coffee Table Book Favorites

Coffee table books are a decorating must for every blogger, so of course I have quite the array of books ranging from fashion to interior design to food to style icons. The four books below, however, are my absolute favorites. I recently bought Elements of Style, as I mentioned in this post, and I love both this book and Domino: The Book of Decorating for their beautiful imagery that's paired with accessible and functional decorating tips. These are books that look pretty but are also wonderful to refer to again and again. Slim Aarons' Once Upon A Time is a collection of fabulous people doing fabulous things that's fun to flip through and gorgeous to have sitting out on a table. Lastly, I minored in Architectural History in college, so of course I have a favorite architectural style, which happens to be mid-century residential. The best examples came out of Florida and California, so I love this book on modern Florida houses from 1945-1970.

Look out for an upcoming post on coffee table styling. Books alone do not make a coffee table, trays, decorative objects, matchbooks, etc. are all key styling elements that create a beautiful tablescape. However it's also important to leave room for an actual cup of coffee or glass of water! Stay tuned for that post!


Instagram Lately

In case you don't already follow me on Instagram, here's a little recap of some my recent posts. And, if you want to start following along for some great outfit posts, darling details, and all the other pretty things I come across day to day - start following along! My Instagram name is @hmbien.

Top Row (left to right): I took the most fun calligraphy class last night with Blue Eye Brown Eye at Winifred Paper in Georgetown - A fun necklace from Rocksbox (remember code "pineapplesandpearlsxoxo" gets you a free month!) and a bright spring lip - One of my favorite navy and white dresses, a girly navy cardigan, a necklace I made years ago, and another favorite Rocksbox ring

Middle Row (left to right): Glammed up for a night at the Kennedy Center with red lips, a brocade top, and glitter heels - This pearl necklace is on repeat year round and I love it with a classic white button down (buy it a size big!) and field jacket for transitional days - Loving The Simply Real Health Cookbook for its easy, healthy recipes

Bottom Row (left to right): An old favorite Lilly shirt paired with a classic navy blazer, pearls, and bright pink nails - Leopard print, another Rocksbox neckalce, and a Barbie pink nail polish from Essie - Nothing like a pretty pink lightweight robe to go with my morning coffee


Clarins Spa at Pentagon City

I've raved about my love of Clarins makeup and skincare before, so I was so excited to find out that there is a Clarins Spa in the Nordstrom at Pentagon City. I had the opportunity to try out one of their 50 minute facials last week (perfect pre-birthday treat!) which, for the month of April, are $50.

While I had no idea what to expect from a spa within a department store, I was impressed with how relaxing and separate the space felt. They have created a serene spa like environment tucked away behind the bustle of a busy beauty department. The facial itself was a series of moisturizing and cleansing treatments that were just what I needed to relax and forget about my busy schedule for an hour. Afterwards, my skin felt radiant and hydrated, so much so that I didn't even think twice about doing a little shopping sans makeup when I left.

Most of the products used during the facial are a stronger grade than what you can normally buy in stores, but the aesthetician did end my facial by using two of their products that you can purchase on your own, and both of which I actually use at home. The Double Serum and the Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate are both great moisturizing and anti-aging products to use on a daily basis. 

At just $50 at Clarins spas throughout the month of April, the 50 minute facial is a small indulgence that is definitely worth it. I've never been someone who gets regular facials (in fact, I've only ever had one other in my life!), but this was definitely a treatment that I could get used to, especially when it leaves my skin feeling so supple and hydrated. There's nothing like a bit of pampering that I can squeeze in between work, errands, and pilates class!

Thank you to Clarins Spa at Pentagon City - you all were wonderful!


Favorite Links

Happy Tuesday! I had a wonderful birthday weekend with great friends that started with seeing the New York City Ballet at the Kennedy Center and ended with a day spent at two Virginia wineries. Now it's back into the normal swing of things and I've got a few of my favorite links from the past week for you.

  • Spring cleaning season is in full swing and I love this room by room guide that tackles every corner of the home, including spaces you may not immediately think of. 
  • In an effort to actually utilize all the recipes I've pinned over the years as well as cook more, I am going to attempt to cook one new Pinterest recipe each week. Blogging about it here will hopefully make me more accountable to actually following through on this plan.  
  • I've been working my way through Jess Lively's past Lively Show podcasts and after listening to her chat with Erin Gates of Elements of Style, I finally bought her book, which I must say is a stylish addition to my coffee table book collection.
  • Bangs have always been one of my favorite looks but I haven't tried them myself ever since an ill fated DIY attempt at blunt cut bangs back in college. Mara of M Loves M has me wondering if I should try them again.
  • I picked up this adorable pink and white top this past weekend at a Junior League shopping event at the Pink Palm. It's the perfect spring pick me up.
  • Speaking of which, have you seen this ad for the Lilly for Target line? Amazing.
  • This tour of Cathy from Poor Little It Girl's apartment is absolutely lovely, and I love the sofa. I'm still using an Ikea sofa that I have had for far too many years now and this looks like perfect upgrade.
This post is sponsored by Kozy Shack Enterprises LLC . All opinions are my own.


A Darling Desk

While my current apartment is spacious, there's no intuitive spot to put a desk, so when I make a move in the near future, a nook for a desk is high on my list of must have's. In an issue of Southern Living this past winter, they had an article on organizing spaces and, while I kept the entire article, the desk was my absolute favorite. I loved the idea of a garden stool next to the desk for setting down a cup of coffee, so there's no doubt I will incorporate that into my dream desk area.

With a little inspiration from my creative office spaces Pinterest board, I plan on turning this turquoise and gold desk into a reality. Of course, I'll also have to add my trusty ghost chair and either a super streamlined Parsons style desk or perhaps a white and gold campaign desk. Decisions, decisions...