Outfits: Coffee Break

2015-11-25 Coffee Break 22015-11-25 Coffee Break 1 2015-11-25 Coffee Break 32015-11-25 Coffee Break 4Outfit: tank – thrifted | sweater – See by Chloe from Clementine Consignment | jeans – H&M | boots – Atrex | bag- Cuyana | scarf – thrifted | necklace – from my grandmother

Images: Andrew

One of my favorite activities is ordering coffee from one of our million local coffee spots in Richmond. I’ll either sit and work, read, or take a walk. Here, I’ve just ordered a dirty chai from Plant Zero Cafe (whose tag line is everything) and took a quick walk around historic Manchester in Richmond. We have an abundance of old factory buildings that are slowly being turned into sleek apartments but, for now, this corner is still just old bricks and glass.


#CoffeewithStrangers: Not so Strange in RVA.

View More: http://capture-weddings.pass.us/cwssydney-page View More: http://capture-weddings.pass.us/cwssydney-page View More: http://capture-weddings.pass.us/cwssydney-page View More: http://capture-weddings.pass.us/cwssydney-pagePhoto cred: Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography

Here in Richmond, having coffee with someone is our way of saying you are pretty darn interesting. We hang out in a myriad of local coffee shops for both work and play and you can almost be guaranteed to run into someone “Richmond famous” at any of them. Coffee with Strangers RVA is RVA’s newest way of introducing all of us to those movers and shakers in Richmond, people who are doing interesting things and literally just making it happen. When Coffee with Strangers reached out to have coffee with me, I said yes without any hesitation. Besides it just being good marketing (honest blogger here), I love the creative community in Richmond and getting to think over how I live RVA, what I like, where I eat, what I do and why RVA is a great place for entrepreneurs was a very fun exercise.

Behind the scenes notes:

  • Typical Type-A, I took notes on what I wanted to say a few days before hand.
  • Coffee with Strangers was inspired by Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. As a Seinfeld and general comedy and off-beat TV fan (think Arrested Development, Always Sunny, Todd Margaret), I couldn’t help but love this idea even more.
  • Most episodes are hosted at WPA Bakery in Churchill.
  • There are four video cameras and one still camera rolling during the interviews.
  • The production team consists of 3 people who are typical RVAers: they have day gigs and side gigs. Matt does marketing for The Salvation Army, Kelli does promoting and booking for Mama J’s Kitchen and Jenny runs her photography business Capture Photography.

My video and podcast will air TODAY at 9 AM right here. Could you ask for a better way to kick off your Monday than some fun Q&A on my favorite spots in Richmond (maybe?)? And if you get addicted to Coffee with Strangers, as I did, you better block off the next hour to go back and watch the old episodes. Be warned: you may just fall in love with RVA all over again.

PS. I swear I own more clothes than this Enza Costa top and my Phillip Lim heels. But when you invest in designer goods, they are just that great that you want to wear them every day!

Friday Chic: Keeping it Real

2015.4.27Purple 2015.4.27Purple2 2015.4.27Purple3 2015.4.27Purple42015.4.27Purple5sweater – H&M | jeans – H&M | boots – Coclico from Baggio | necklace  – vintage from my grandmother | scarf – Urban Outfitters | sunglasses – thrifted | earrings – Stella and Dot | rings – Nest, Stella and Dot, vintage | Socks – Thorlo (haha!)

I am so into easy dressing as of late. Sometimes I just can’t even with heels and dresses and all that other girly stuff. Just give me some boots, jeans, an oversizse top and fun accessories to jazz it up. I obviously so can’t even be bothered with this that I wear these blue socks with my cut out boots. I should probably get some of those no show socks, but we’re keeping it real over here today. I think they add a fun little pop of color right? Ties it in with the eyes of my elephant necklace…. It’s Friday ya’ll. Happy weekend!


sweater jeans 2 shoes scarf

1. 17 Street Oversized Sweater

2. AG legging jeans | Joe’s Jeans skinny jeans 

3. DAILYLOOK scarf

4. Coclico Jory Leather boots | a.n.a. Connie Wedge boot 

5. Thorlo socks (freebie link)

Wednesday Chic: An Urban Look and How to Care for Your Shoes


top – Enza Costa from The Outnet | vest – Guess, thrifted | jeans – GAP from Ashby | heels – 3.1 Phillip Lim from The Real Real | bag – thrifted from The Clothes Rack | belt – thrifted | earrings – Clothes Mentor Short Pump | rings – Nest and Stella and Dot | cuff – thrifted from The Clothes Rack

Photo cred: Christina

 As you read in Monday’s post, I attended a fun fashion preview event for VCU’s senior fashion show this past weekend. When attending events in Richmond, one can never truly know what to wear as dress will range from old Richmond decked out in bow ties and suits to society women in Valentino Rock Stud heels that they weren’t gifted because they have a blog, to your hipster fashion scene people to me. I feel most comfortable when I am in a slightly casual yet dressed up look so I hit the event in my tried and true boyfriend jeans from Ashby, the latest wardrobe addition: my 3.1 Phillip Lims and a few of my favorite thrifted accessories: bag, belt, vest, cuff. There are very few fashion “rules” that I follow, but one that is very true is that one where they say you can have good shoes or a good bag and not even worry about the rest of your outfit. I believe that good accessories can be added here, but at the very least, get yourself some good shoes. Save up. Use your Christmas/birthday money. Or just plain buy them if that’s your situation. But get a great pair of designer shoes that you can wear for the rest of your life and then wear the heck out of them. I was so hesitant to wear these shoes when I first got them because – Phillip Lim! Suede heels! Snakeskin! They are truly gorgeous but I didn’t pay $165 for these to have them sit in my closet (yes, $165 for Phillip Lim from The Real Real). A few tricks I am using to help keep them in primo condition:

  1. Walk carefully. I am HARD on my shoes. I walk fast and tend to just walk through things. No can do with these. When wearing them, I am much more conscious of where I am walking (no grass, cobble stones, etc.) and make sure I am not about to stick a heel in a crack somewhere because that is the quickest way to rough up a heel and send it into permanent disrepair.
  2. Clean and inspect. After each wearing, I dust them off, make sure the heels are not scuffed and take a general inventory of the soles and heels.
  3. Dust bag. The Real Real sent over individual dust bags for these shoes and I immediately place them back into the dust bags after wearing (and cleaning) and onto my shelf they go. Sure, it’s not Pinterest worthy, but I would rather have shoes that look good in real life than a closet that looks good on the internet.
  4. Repair them. Last but never, never the least. The purpose of cleaning and inspecting my shoes is so that I can catch a worn sole or any small damage before it becomes lasting damage. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked around in my heels, hearing a weird clack, only later to find I had worn them down to the nail in the heel. If you are in RVA, I am currently taking my shoes to Gus’s, but many people rave about Connie’s as well.



1. Enza Costa top. Seriously, this is the best top ever.

2. DKNY Tuxedo vest

3. Current/Elliot boyfriend jeans

4. Vince Aurelian Kitten-Heel d’Orsay Pump

An Intro to Elements

Elements5I mentioned in this post that I am working with a local beauty shop, Elements. They provided me and several other bloggers (check out Christina, Whitney, Kristel and Caroline ) with a bundle of customized beauty samples for us to try and review. The world of beauty products is relatively new territory for me and I consider myself a beauty product newbie. Historically, I have never really been “into” beauty products, never really having seen the need nor wanting to put out the money for beauty products that I just didn’t use that much. Obviously I use the basics, but I have never been into that latest shade of eye shadow or the newest BB Cream. As I am starting to focus on curating a quality wardrobe, though, I have been wanting to extend that philosophy into other areas of my life. Learning about the products Elements sells has been so intriguing and I wanted to introduce you to their gorgeous shop.


Elements is a family (and specifically woman!)-owned, local business with a strong e-commerce arm that ships within the 50 United States (and Puerto Rico!). The shop’s owners, Sherry and Jeanie started Elements as an offshoot of Sherry’s over 25 years in the health care industry. They believe that we are not only what we eat and wear, but what we put on our skin and of their products are tested on animals. Besides beauty products, Elements carries an assortment of  make up products, candles and other luxurious and unique items. The Elements logo was designed by the owner’s nephew and represents the four elements in nature: air, earth, fire and water.

elements2Elements celebrated their brick and mortar two-year anniversary this past November. They are located in one of Richmond’s most historic and celebrated shopping districts, Carytown (across from the McDonald’s for you locals). Sherry and Jeanie are firm believers in their philosophy of “If we won’t use it, we won’t sell it.” They constantly evaluate their products, receive in-service training from the brands they offer and are happy to educate their customers on products that work for them and are within their price range. This is my favorite aspect of the owners – they don’t care if you know nothing about beauty products and they won’t try to up sell you. They focus on getting you products that work for you – both your skin and your budget. And (most importantly), I didn’t feel looked down upon or as a lesser customer for wanting to stick within a mid-price range.

elements4The Lather wall is probably my favorite stand in the store because it represents products that I tried and love AND are within my price range. I appreciate that the recommendations for me were targeted towards what I currently want to spend (prices for Lather are mid-range, approx. $20 ish). As I slowly get more into beauty products, I may try some of the more expensive brands (ahem Erno Lazlo), but it may take me a while to get there and justify the cost. But seeing as how I can now justify a $100 t-shirt, it may come quicker than I think (maybe)!

elements1Elements also has a whole wall dedicated to men’s products and I can’t wait to slowly introduce my husband to some of these. If you are local, be on the look out for various events that Elements will be hosting. The first is Treat Yourself on March 11, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. A rep from Somme will be in attendance as is the make up artist from TEDxRVA. I also hear there will be champagne. I will be there as will most of the other bloggers. I hope to see you there!

There is one more post in my series on Elements for this month, so tune in next week to see a customized beauty routine for those of us who want to cover the beauty basics, but still keep it short and sweet.

PS – interested in trying out some products? Use the online promo code CHICSTRIPES and get 10% off your order!

This post was created as a collaboration with and sponsored by Elements Beauty Shop. All opinions and post ideas are my own.   




Elements Beauty Shop VLOG

I have been working with Elements, a local beauty shop, on a series of posts to feature a few of their products. When they reached out, I immediately let them know I wasn’t a beauty blogger and was, in fact, pretty lazy and lax when it comes to my own beauty regime. They were so gracious when I responded to their beauty quiz with what basically amounted to: “I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to beauty products” and “I don’t want to spend a fortune.” They hand picked samples for me based on my (not so helpful) feedback and I have been testing them out over the past few weeks. I love filming VLOGs and thought you would appreciate a first impressions video. I have included all of the samples I received below along with my commentary thus far. I have gotten through all but 2 of the samples and some were clear winners, others are growing on me and some, not so much. There are two more blog posts in this Elements series, so I hope you enjoy. And let me know your own beauty routine and products you love – I can use all the pointers I can get!

 Lather Ultra Light Every Day Face Lotion – I absolutely LOVE this stuff. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t have SPF because I can see myself using this every day, morning and night., but it smells so nice, absorbs easily and quickly, leaving a clean feeling (not greasy or heavy) on your skin. I loved that a little tiny bit went a long way. I used the 3.1 ml sample 5 times before running out.

Lather Licorice Root Eye Treatment – Another winner. I was hesitant with this at first because anything that adds another step to my beauty routine is likely not gonna happen. But again, the feeling and smell of this product was so light, so airy. A little truly went a long way as I have used this 8 times and still have product left from the sample size. I haven’t been able to see a noticeable difference yet, but I like the idea that I am caring for my face, especially the delicate eye area. My husband noted that I do have bags (yikes) so hopefully this helps over time. I am also looking to Elements for something similar to this that maybe works better/faster? Will keep you posted.

Lather AHA Hand Creme with Evening Primrose – On my notes for this product, I wrote that I liked the smell, that a little goes a long way and that it felt a little greasy (not in a bad way, just didn’t absorb into my skim completely). I don’t know that I would buy a whole bottle of this, only because I tend to go through lotions on my hand quickly and I don’t think I noticed a huge difference.

Kneipp Almond Floral Body Lotion  (not exact match) – I felt that the texture of this lotion was nice, it glided on easily and absorbed quickly, but I did not like the scent. It had too much of a floral scent for what I prefer for body lotion. I love things with softer or non existent scents.

Lather Lip Green Tea – I like this product, I’m glad I got to try it, but I think I would opt to try another brand/type the next time. It felt awesome going on and helped, but I tend to have really dry/easily chapped lips and it almost felt like I would need to reapply every 10 minutes or so.

Kneipp Lemon Body Wash (not sure of exact match) – Oh. My. Gosh. This stuff was amazing! I love lemons, the smell of lemons, everything about lemons and this was the best body wash I have ever used. I tend to use Oil of Olay, Dove, etc. things that are simple/plain smelling but this was so fun and girly that I would totally buy this again just for when I wanted something fresh.

FarmHouse Fresh Sweet Cream Body Lotion – OK, so you know where I said I like body lotions that are subtle and sweet? This one is my soul mate. It smells divine (seriously, that’s what I wrote down in my testing notebook). The small 2 ml sample size was enough for just my arms, but this is totally going on my “want to spoil me, buy this lotion” list for my husband.

Lather Sweet Almond Exfoliating Cream – This I thought smelled absolutely luxurious. It was a mix of a cream base with small exfoliating beads. I used this four times from the small sample and really enjoyed it, although I would like to try a range of other exfoliating products before committing.

Lather Bamboo Silk Foaming Face Wash – I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I liked the smell but I did not like the foaming feel.

REN Reinitialize Night Creme – I was/am very excited about this product as I know a night creme is something I need to begin incorporating into my routine. I have used this twice and both times loved it – the smell is so nice, it goes on well with a very light feeling to it. I will note that the creme has a yellowish tint which can be off putting at first (I guess I just expected white?) Since I’m lazy, I hate washing my face at night (I don’t use any makeup on my face, so typically no need to do anything but remove eye makeup) and haven’t found a good toner/cleanser wipe that I can just wipe my face with (vs. washing with water/soap), so I haven’t used this as frequently as I feel like I should since I feel like I should have a clean face before applying. I have heard good things about this Thayers Witch Hazel and plan on purchasing a bottle for this purpose.  So hopefully there will be an uptick in this product as the sample is large and should last for a while.

Lather Blemish Serum – This is the stuff of gods. I have what I would consider average skin, not too oily, not to dry, but prone to blemishes from time to time (and more so when consuming dairy products). I had a blemish start to form, I dabbed on the serum, and within a day, it was less red and was diminishing in size. It has tea tree in it so it smells amazing. It goes on like a gel but doesn’t dry like most cremes tend to do. The price is similar to what I spent on my last blemish item (from Arbonne, which I still have), so I would not hesitate to pay $30 for this again based on my experiences thus far. Plus, a tiny bit will last 6-12 months depending on how often you use.

Malin + Goetz 30 SPF Face Moisturizer – I really wanted to like this product, but I just don’t, at least not for everyday use. I love that Elements included this because I asked for a face moisturizer with SPF, but this one was just too heavy and greasy for every day wear. I felt like I should be headed to the beach. I would love a travel version of this one for summer traveling, but otherwise, I would prefer something lighter and less sunscreen like.

Lather Cucumber Milk Facial Cleanser – Another one I just didn’t like. The cleanser was very thin, almost milk like (which I guess makes sense), but the cucumber smell was too weird. I tried it twice to use up the sample and both times I did not like it.

Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash – I haven’t tried this one out yet, but I have a feeling I am really going to like this if it is similar to the everyday moisturizer. *Post update – in the spirit of being accurate, I tried this this morning in my shower. Loved it! It smelled so nice (lavender) and foamed just right. I still like using exfoliating cleansers, but could see this as an alternative on days I don’t exfoliate.

Lather Honey Moisture Mask with Propolis Extract – I haven’t tried this one yet either, mainly because it says I have to let the mask sit on my face for 20 minutes and frankly that just seems like too much time/work. On the plus side, you don’t rinse this mask, but rub it in like lotion, so maybe that will work in my favor. *Post update – As I type, I am wearing this face mask. My husband kindly informed me that I had lotion all over my face and I kindly informed him it was a mask. It literally smells like honey. 5 minutes in and it’s already absorbed into my skin. I kinda like this type of mask. Put it on and you’re good to go.

I was very happy and pleased with the recommendations from the Elements team. They picked things that matched exactly what I said I wanted/thought I could use and provided products that addressed issues I have (needing SPF, having dry hands/chapped lips, wanting a night creme, etc.). I have two more fun posts in this series, so stay tuned!


This post was created in collaboration with and sponsored by Elements Beauty Shop.  All opinions and post ideas are my own. 

Shop in Style: Alton Lane


Situated in an unassuming spot off Libbie Avenue in Richmond’s Near West End sits Alton Lane, a relative newcomer, albeit one that has garnered pages of great press, to the world of menswear. There really isn’t much that I can write that you can’t easily Google or that isn’t already known, so a brief recap.

ALRichmond-FoundersAlton Lane co-founders Peyton Jenkins and Colin Hunter

Back-story: Two friends from college, each in their own post-university jobs, recognized a hole in the market for reasonably priced suits for men. In 2009, after due diligence and research, they founded Alton Lane as a way to bring completely customized suits at an affordable price point in a personalized shopping experience to their customer. Current story: In just five years, Alton Lane has achieved a national foot print with seven show rooms located in New York, Boston, Dallas, DC, Chicago, Richmond and, as of last month, their first West Coast location in San Francisco. Cool things to know: Alton Lane uses a 3-D body scanner, in addition to traditional methods, to obtain personalized measurements for each customer; their thousands of fabrics are sourced from only the best mills in Europe; you can get a completely customized suit in 4-6 weeks; and, perhaps what draws most gentlemen, is their fully stocked bar that provides libations on which to sip while deciding on fabrics, button loop colors and lapel details.

ALRichmond-TimesDispatchRichmond Showroom Manager, Richard Newcomb (photo via Richmond Times Dispatch)

Where Alton Lane picks up the thread beyond these surface details is their insistence on the personal story and touch. Interest in menswear has steadily grown over the years as men have expressed an interest in fashion, style and fit. A visit to an Alton Lane showroom is like visiting a friend’s living room (or man cave in this instance) replete with comfy chairs, leather sofas, fireplaces and, of course, the bar and television. Décor is tailed to the area and in the Richmond showroom men are greeted with the Virginia State Seal emblazoned above the bar and a special homage to co-founder Peyton Jenkin’s Richmond roots – Peyton’s great-great grandfather built the L. H. Jenkins Book Bindery located on Broad Street in 1922 (now known as the Richmond Book Bindery). Showroom manager Richard Newcomb took me on a tour of the building and the details behind every customizable option; and believe me, there are plenty. While the myriad of options may seem counterintuitive to creating an easy shopping experience for men, the knowledge that Alton Lane brings to the table can help men narrow down what they want, even if they aren’t completely sure what that is. Once your details are in the system, ordering your next suit can be as easy as sending in a text, thanks to the relationship you will have built. In addition to suits, Alton Lane offers a range of khakis and have been known to cater to clients who only purchase business casual attire and forgo suits altogether. They also outfit wedding parties and have a room with photos of client’s weddings, including one of the co-founders’ own wedding.

AL1Scenes from the Richmond Showroom. Top row left to right: Photos of the Richmond Book Bindery, the “wedding” room. Bottom row left to right: Wall of press, the showroom. All photos taken with my iphone.

Just like any other retailer, Alton Lane provides fabrics and colors that are suitable for incoming seasons. When I visited last week, Alton Lane was stocking flannels but NOT your farmer flannels; think sophisticated flannel fabric that comes in beautiful patterns and different weights (fashion speak for thickness) that look just as good on their own as they do under a suit. In addition, Alton Lane stocks overcoats to help ward off the chill of upcoming winter. I had the chance to converse with both owners of Alton Lane (Peyton in store and Colin via phone to answer some follow up questions) and it is clear that both founders care about the people they interact with: whether that is their factory owners, factory workers, a client ready to purchase a suit or a blogger who wants to write a story. It is this aspect of the personal touch that they have infused into their company from the top down that makes Alton Lane a place worth shopping; well, that and the free drinks and a smashingly well-made, custom suit.

You can read about their 12 Days of Christmas Promotion over on Whitney’s blog. I was not compensated for this article. All opinions are my own.