Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School: Dorm 101

College means many things: studying, partying, all-nighters, co-ed dorms, ramen noodles, etc.  But, you certainly cannot appreciate all of these until your dorm room is properly equipped. Sure you'll bring photos from home, posters and prints for your walls, and your trusty alarm clock and, if you're lucky like we were, your dorm will be fully furnished, leaving you to simply organize and decorate.  But, some people don't have the same luxury and will have to furnish their dorms or apartments themselves.  Whatever the case, there are some dorm room items that are essential to your survival.  Here are a few that we think really make the grade:

Don't get stuck airing your dirty laundry to your roommate or cute boys down the hall! This adorable ruffled laundry bag is the perfect addition to any dorm room, adding a bit of style, while secretly hiding your unmentionables, and serving as a great way to tote your laundry to the nearest washer!

Speaking of laundry, we remember all too well how expensive it was, how you could never fit it all in one load, and how terribly precious quarters became after just a few weeks.  Save your money (and your sweaters) by investing in a convenient, folding drying rack!

Living with another person means learning the importance of compromising and communicating.  Need to send your roommate a message or warning?  We like this dry erase memo board that you can hang on your doorknob!  It's much classier than a sock and can convey more than one message so you'll never be confused.

Reading, just jotting down some notes, researching...all these things would be much easier to do in bed if you had a comfy and practical lap desk to use.  These babies were essential for dorm room studying, making use of your bed and turning it into a functional study space!  Does studying leave you parched? No worries, this desk has a built in beverage holder!

While some dorms do come with desks, others might require you to supply your own. Now, even if you plan to do your work while lounging on your couch or bed, it is a still a good idea to have a desk and dedicated space for your studies. If you need to get your own there are plenty of affordable options from Ikea.  We like this simple desk with the built in shelves for extra storage!

Why not have a vibrant chair to go with your new desk?  Study or surf the web in style with this hot pink chair, from Ikea.  It might not be the most comfortable in the world, but it's pink so we'll just let that slide for now.

 If your dorm has communal bathrooms, like most do, then you'll need somewhere to hang those wet towels and bathrobes when you get back from your bathroom trip!  Some of the best storage solutions are over the door hooks and hangers and we love these brightly colored hangers, available at Modcloth.

While a coffee table probably is probably not something you'll see in a small dorm room, having a table by your bed to place your coffee or easy mac is pretty essential.  We love these colorful, foldable tables because they are fun and versatile (use the tray alone or on the stand as a table!) and they fold up so they are easy to store out of the way when you're in need of more floor space.

College is about being social, but what good is being social if you have nowhere for your guests to sit!  Make your dorm room comfortable and inviting with impromptu seating, like these floor pillows, that can be carefully stacked out of the way when not in use!

The micro-fridge is quite possibly the handiest thing for college students and while we hope your place comes with it many times it does not.  You may think this is an obvious one, but we figured we would just mention it because it is absolutely essential to dorm room survival.   It's space saving, compact, and convenient for those leftovers, healthy snacks, and beverages.

Fun, bright bedding is a must-have to liven up those boring flat white dorm walls. We think snuggling up with this Tiffany Blue duvet set would be a lovely way to add some of your personality, and a little color, to your space with minimal effort.

And, finally, the all important shower essentials!  No college student would be complete without these items.  First, there's the "shower shoe" because no one wants whatever crazy bacteria might be lingering on the floors of those communal showers.  Then, of course, is the plastic caddy so you can tote all your shower essentials with you. And last, but not least, the bathrobe.  Why? Because walking down the hall in a towel is never a good idea. Imagine carrying that caddy in one hand, unlocking your door with the other, and all the while trying to hold up your towel... that would be just asking for a disaster!

Jen & Saira

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School: Laptop Chic

If you're on-the-go like us, then you're used to toting everything around on your shoulders: money, makeup, cell phone, and laptop. With the ability to type your class notes (or more likely to distract yourself from a boring lecture by checking out the latest PDR post), a laptop is a fundamental accessory to just about all college students. And, to keep your laptop safe and sound as you tote it around town, you need to invest in a sturdy, but stylish, laptop sleeve. Here are some laptop sleeves that will keep your computer warm and snug, but will still look good in the process:

Nothing says girly like a pink laptop sleeve!  For all your computing on the go we like this retro looking sleeve by be.ez.

Who said class is boring?  Obviously someone who did not have this fun and stylish laptop sleeve.  Choose a fun print that expresses your personality, like this one, handmade by Etsy seller bertiescloset!  

You can never go wrong with polka dots!  The colors on the sleeve will certainly brighten even the most intense study session. Available on Amazon.

 Just because you're stuck in NJ studying for your midterms doesn't mean you can't at least pretend you are sunning yourself in the tropics.  Add a little summer to your fall with this warm and bright sleeve, available at Target.

Calling all fashionistas!  The search for a chic case that can turn your laptop into a stylish accessory is finally over thanks to our finding this beauty, exclusively available at Urban Outfitters.

Vintage charm, bold colors, and the unique Navajo print make this sleeve, from Zappos, really stand out from the crowd!

Talk about practical!  This case is fun and casual, but still fashionable enough to take you from class work to class act in no time. We especially love this designer case, for sale at Walmart, for it's separate storage pocket that can safely secure loose items.

Time to surf the interweb!


Jen & Saira

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Color Day Themes: School Days

High school sweethearts, pre-school playmates, middle school pals, whatever the case may be, we think stories of couples that met long ago in school are simply the sweetest.  And, what better way to celebrate your relationship than to re-live those school days in your wedding ,engagement party, anniversary, etc. Back to school time reminds us of many things - pencils, books, chalkboards, school busses, and more and there are many ways to bring your past into your present with style. Make your event school themed by incorporating some lovely education inspired elements.  Try a library card catalog as a table card holder, hang handmade paper heart garland, make paper airplanes serve as sweet place cards, and don't forget the chalk and fun shades like school bus yellow!

School Days: Wedding Inspiration Board

Jen & Saira

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mad for Plaid

Greetings, dolls! It's almost September which, for some, means back to school! This time of year reminds us of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, shiny red apples, and of course PLAID! We love plaid on anything from fashion to decor, and think it is the ultimate fall pattern. You don't have to be a school girl or Scottish bagpipe player to rock this autumn staple, and it's easy to incorporate this into your wardrobe. Here are a few suggestions:

Crisp fall weather means it's perfect time to invest in a cute trench coat! We love this trench from Anthropologie, not only for its bold pattern, but also because of its great fit. The ruffles, the open collar, and the fitted belt provide a great feminine touch to the classic trench, and it's stylish without being too preppy. 

If an all-plaid coat is a little too much for you, go for a more subtle look by throwing on a plaid scarf. You can opt for more traditional red and black or blue and hunter green combos, or you can go for some color with this buffalo plaid scarf available at Tilly's. It will keep you warm, add a pop of color to your neutrals, and it's on sale!  

Plaid definitely has a retro feel to it, which is why we love this vintage style v-neck dress by Mod Cloth. It screams Brit chic, and would look great paired with kitten heels and a short cardigan. It's perfect for work or play, as the dark colors are subtle enough to blend in at the office, but throw on some red lipstick and it's party time!

For a more casual approach, try this plaid shirt dress by BDG. We love the rolled sleeves and the fitted belt, and it comes in both blue or red. Pair this with some wool tights, a cropped jacket, and some booties and you are ready for some autumn fun.

BDG apparently loves plaid as much as we do, as they also have a very stylish tartan tote available at Urban Outfitters. It's large enough to fit school books, a lap top, files, and whatever else you may want to tote around. We love the brown color scheme, but if you're looking for something brighter, they also have it available in teal!

A fitted plaid shirt goes a long way. Take this button down by RVCA, for example. It would look great with a pair of jeans and boots, but would also look chic with a pencil skirt at work. Don't be afraid to think outside the box! 

If you want to wear plaid at the workplace, how about a plaid pencil skirt? It's sleek and stylish, and will look great paired with a crisp button down or cardigan. Sure it might scream "sexy librarian," but isn't that the best part?

Everybody knows that plaid is so rad!


Jen & Saira

Tips for the Bride: Bridesmaid Dresses

Weddings are all about the bride, and this post doesn't mean to take away from that. But we stand before all of you lovely brides begging that you please, please pick out bridesmaid dresses that are actually cute and pretty, and not what nightmares are made of! Here are some suggestions to ensure that your bridesmaids don't secretly hate you when you say "Aren't these dresses great? The best part is that you can shorten it and wear it again!" à la 27 Dresses:

1. One of the first decisions a bride makes is her wedding colors. Often times this decision is based on the season, what flowers are available, and overall theme, but many brides have already picked out their palette years ago. All we ask is that you steer away from clashing colors, neon shades, and colors that resemble baby food (unless it's pea green... which is a color that we actually kind of love).

Dark pink can be lovely on your bridesmaids! 

But hot pink plus multi-colored petticoats, yikes!

2. Remember Charlotte's bridesmaid dress in the first Sex and the City movie? The poor girl could barely walk! While a dramatic floor length mermaid dress may look amazing in the fitting room, walking down the aisle can end up being very dangerous for your besties. Instead, choose a dress that is pretty and comfortable, as your bridesmaids are going to spend all day and night on their feet. Also keep in mind your setting -- for instance, if you're having an outdoor wedding, then a structured floor length dress can get quite messy, so a floaty dress or a cocktail length may be more appropriate.

Try this!

Not this!

3. Most brides have an average number of 4 bridesmaids (the back of our Herbal Essence Conditioner said so), and you can be pretty sure that none of these girls have the same body type. So when picking out your dress, try to go with a style that flatters all of your bridesmaids silhouettes,  or go for the latest trend of dressing your bridesmaids in different cuts and styles of the same color.

They're all smiling because they know they look good!

4.  Don't forget about skin tones.  While a yellow might look great on darker skin it's possible your pale pink pals will look completely washed out.  Another trend these days is to let your bridesmaids wear the same dress, but in coordinating colors.  The shades not only compliment one another but also your bridesmaids skin tone so everyone will look their best.  Plus, this is a great way to incorporate multiple wedding colors and tie your dresses and theme together!

The perfect blend of shades to compliment a variety of skin tones!

5. If you love bows, giant flowers, or extra ruffles, then please be tasteful! Bows, ruffles, and the like used to be a nightmare of all brides (think 80's weddings), but nowadays many bridesmaid dresses incorporate these extra fills in a fresh and flirty way.

Giant bows don't have to be fussy!

6. Finally, we know creating a beautiful wedding can be very expensive, but that doesn't mean you can't cut some costs. Particularly, when choosing the bridesmaid dress, opt for something more affordable, or at the very least, if you go for something more pricey, then make it something that your bridesmaids will likely be able to wear again.  We are big fans of nice neutral colors like gray, black, or navy.

J. Crew's bridesmaid collection is definitely something we'd recycle!

Much love to all you blushing brides!


Jen & Saira

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Color Day: Bejeweled Bliss

Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds, oh my! Jewel tones have a unique ability to add a sense of luxury and passion to any space, wardrobe, etc. Can't decide which to use?  Use them all! These regal shades flow together and compliment each other so nicely to create a sexy, sultry, naturally glamorous atmosphere. We think this rich and luxurious looking ensemble, inspired by your favorite gemstones, is fit for a queen and certainly for any Fall wedding or event.

Jewel-toned Wedding Color Inspiration Board

Images from: Pretty Chicky, Zenadia Design, The Indie Bride, ModCloth, Wedding Paper Divas, Nelle, handmadebyemy, Real Simple, Alex Sepkus, Eco-Lovely Guide

And, PS - Can you believe this is our 100th post!?
 Oh, how the time flies! It totally snuck up on us and we didn't even have a chance to prepare a speech or celebratory photo montage.

Anyway, in the next few weeks you can look forward to some fresh posts on Fall fashion and accessories, all sorts of back to school necessities, and, of course more inspiring color days, themes, and weddings!

We love writing for you and we thank you, so very much, for reading.

Here's to the next 100!

Jen & Saira

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hair Style Look Book: Beachy Waves

We've got to admit, we love the beach babe style - that fresh out of the water, tousled and care-free, I know I have sand everywhere and I don't care kind of look.  And, not just for the day at the shore, but for any occasion! Pairing formal dresses or flirty frocks with tossled beachy waves creates a style that is casual, but still glamorous and romantic.  It's summer time, so treat yourself to a swim and let nature take it's course, transforming your locks to resemble the rolling waves of the ocean.  Sure, maybe saltwater isn't the best for your hair, and might leave you feeling a little grimy, but there's no denying that it can give it some serious texture and volume. If you're not a fan of the sun and salty seas, don't fret; you can easily get this look indoors.  One way is to use a styling product that essentially acts just as the salt water and helps texturize your hair.  But, if you do not have naturally wavy hair, we suggest wrapping some sections of your hair around the outside of a large barrel curling iron to create this care-free, bohemian look.  Here's a look at some of our favorite examples of this sexy style:

Jen & Saira

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wedding Planning: Desserts

And finally, a party wouldn't be complete without some sweet treats to enjoy.  As far as weddings go, many view the wedding cake as being the pièce de résistance, and we don't disagree -- cake is delicious. However many brides are opting for desserts other than cake, or in addition to cake, and we can't argue with that either. Like your dinner menu, your dessert menu reflects your style, theme, and budget, so don't feel constrained by tradition when deciding what to do. While we always look forward to the cake cutting ceremony (and checking out the adorable cake toppers), our motto is: Let them eat cake... and pie, and cookies, and ice cream, and souffles...

1. Assorted Pies: If you're not a cake eater, then you are probably a pie eater. Pies at weddings are one of our new favorite trends. They make a wedding seem more intimate and personal, as if the bride's grandmother is actually standing in the back kitchen preparing every single pie served at the wedding. It's a nice change of pace from wedding cake, and allows you to incorporate seasonal fruits that go with your wedding theme.  Feeling fancy? Make it a la mode!

2. Ice Cream Bar: Yes ice cream bars sound like they might be a bit juvenile, but really they are incredibly fun and delicious! You can have gourmet flavors, tons of different toppings, and serve them in mini cones or bowls. They are perfect for summer weddings, and everyone loves a little bit of nostalgia. Don't forget to put the cherry on top!

3. Cookie Station: We catered a wedding a few years back where the bride asked her close friends and family to bake two dozen of their favorite cookies for her wedding. The rules were simple: it must be homemade and it must be made with love for the bride and groom. We were touched by the sweet sentiment of having your loved ones help make your big day just a little bit sweeter, and the rows of glass cookie jars really made a beautiful sight. Even if you have the cookies catered, or bake them all yourself, we think this is a great idea -- just be sure to remember that if you give your guests a cookie, they're going to want some milk to go with it!

4. Cupcakes: We know, we know, cupcakes are "technically" mini cakes, and the point of this post is to give you ideas other than cakes. But we view cupcakes as an entirely separate entity from regular cakes. They are just the perfect amount of deliciousness that fits into the palm of our hands. We love how they look with their delicate little cupcake wrappers, small pile of frosting, and ample amount of sprinkles, and we are definitely of the school of thought that cupcakes make every gathering that much better. Cupcakes seem a bit whimsical and innocent, but that's what we love about them. Coordinate them to go with your wedding colors, experiment with gourmet flavors, and enjoy!

5. The Chocolate Fountain: Dipping your sweets in chocolate makes them, well, sweeter! Whether you choose milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate the chocolate fountain is a sure-fire way to get your guests interacting and having fun.  Marshmallows, Rice Crispy treats, pretzels, all kinds of wonderful fruits on sticks - your guests will go on a dipping frenzy and love every second of it!  

6. Candy Bar: A lot of weddings we've attended have had a candy bar on the side. While it's usually not served as the main dessert, it's fun, colorful, and very decorative. You can go for an old fashioned candy shoppe look (pictured above) or only serve candies that correspond with your wedding colors. This is a huge hit with kids, but don't be surprised to see you Great Aunt Esther filling up her bag with treats too!

7. Mini Desserts: If you love everything on the list, but don't know what to choose, why not choose everything? Have a dessert table filled with a number of different mini pies, tarts, cookies, brownies, chocolates, fruit, and everything you can possibly think of.  Not only is this a huge crowd favorite, you can finally stop stressing about having to make another decision. Just pick your top 10 favorite desserts, reduce them to miniature form, and you are all set.

Jen & Saira