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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

Christmas in California

Kristen Berry

It’s finally sweater weather in L.A.! Don’t pull out the mohair cardigans just yet, though – this weather calls for sleeve-optional, medium-thickness sweaters.

This cranberry-colored, short-sleeved tunic sweater dress from Tobi (www.tobi.com) is perfect for these warm L.A. winters. It’s quite a versatile piece, too. This weekend, I layered it over a pair of leather-accented leggings for a stroll through Beverly Hills on Saturday morning, and simply removed the leggings, belted it, and popped a black leather jacket on top for Saturday night.

Similar to the sweater situation, a big, thick scarf if still overkill here in Southern California. This thin velvet option from Zara adds just the right amount of coziness. And a floppy felt hat pulls the whole look together.

  • Fran Tunic Sweater in Wine, $48 at Tobi.com.
  • Long Velvet Scarf, $16 at Zara.com (no longer available in black online)

  • Hat, H&M, no longer available, but a similar option can be found at UrbanOutfitters.com for $20.

  • Leggings, BCBG, no longer available, but similar options can be found here, here and here for under $80.

**Tobi provided product for this post; this is not a paid post. I only agree to try products that genuinely appeal to me, and only right about products I genuinely love.** 

Pink Lady

Kristen Berry

When you think of fall/winter wardrobe colors, a pale dusty pink is probably the last shade that comes to mind. But when it comes in the form of a motorcycle jacket in a plush, velvety material, it’s unexpectedly perfect for the season.

The ultra-girly color is tempered when paired with all black pieces, like this fab tunic dress. The uneven hem gives it lots of movement, and keeps it from skewing either frumpy or skimpy.

I found both pieces on I found both pieces on Tobi (www.tobi.com). Tobi has been on my shopping radar for quite some time, but the incredibly low price points made me nervous. However, I had nothing to fear – the pieces are on par with the other fast-fashion brands I love, their cuts are true to size, and the overall shopping experience is super simple, including free shipping and returns.

I also love the fact that their clothes are designed and developed right in downtown Los Angeles, which is what inspired me to snap these pics against the backdrop of some of the gorgeous murals found in the same eclectic neighborhood.

  • Ride On Faux Suede Moto Jacket in Blush, on sale for only $44 through noon PT on 11/29 at Tobi.com; $112 regular price.
  • Solange Tunic Dress, now on sale for only $20 through noon PT on 11/29 at Tobi.com; $40 regular price. 

How do you incorporate spring/summer colors into your cold-weather wardrobe?

**Tobi provided product for this post; this is not a paid post. I only agree to try products that genuinely appeal to me, and only right about products I genuinely love.**

Why I’m Officially Obsessed with Classpass

Kristen Berry

Images Courtesy of ClassPass

Images Courtesy of ClassPass

When I last wrote about my fitness routine, I was all about YouTube workouts – so much so that I cancelled my gym membership to make these videos my sole workout, besides a once-or-twice-a-week run.

However, I recently relocated to Los Angeles from the Silicon Valley area, and while the Bay has quite a bit to offer when it comes to fitness options, nothing seems to compare to the depth and breadth of workout classes available in L.A. With so many incredible gyms, studios and classes in arm’s reach, it seems a shame not to explore them, and too daunting to commit to one choice just yet. And thanks to ClassPass, I get to play the field, fitness-wise.

Here are a few of the reasons why ClassPass has made a loyal member out of me.

I Can Create a Custom Fitness Schedule

Images Courtesy of ClassPass

Images Courtesy of ClassPass

I’d much rather take a fitness class than hit a gym on my own. I always get a much more vigorous workout from one that’s instructed by a professional than one I lead myself. However, the group workout class schedule offered by most gyms tends to be so limited – I often find that the classes available at convenient times are few and far between, and the classes I’m most interested in are often held when I need to be at or on my way to/from the office.

I love working out in the morning in particular. I’ve found that a 6 am, 45 minute to 1-hour class held at a location within a 15-minute drive of my apartment is ideal. And I like those classes to vary from a super strenuous calorie crusher to a gentle, flexibility-focused yoga class depending on how I’m feeling. That’s a lot to ask from a single gym. However, with ClassPass, even with those strict parameters I’m able to find a perfect class near me.

The Class Cancellation Policy Acts as a Built-In Accountability Partner

While I prefer working out in the early morning hours before work, that doesn’t mean that crawling out of my warm bed at 5:30 a.m. is easy. I’m often tempted to snooze through the class altogether. However, the $15 fee issued when you cancel a ClassPass-booked class less than 12 hours before the scheduled start time (or $20 if you no-show) is an effective motivator to get my ass out of bed. It’s the monetary equivalent of working out with a friend who will give you crap if you don’t show up for a regularly scheduled workout session.

It Encourages Me to Get Out of My Fitness Comfort Zone, And Try/Learn New Things

It’s so easy to fall into a fitness rut, especially when you go the typical gym route. But this is bad for multiple reasons:

A)    It’s boring, which makes it less fun, which makes it more tempting to skip.

B)    Your body grows accustomed to the workout, which makes the sessions less effective.

C)    You miss out on the opportunity to try or learn something new.

Because there are so many options available on ClassPass, and because you don’t have to commit yourself to a single gym/studio, it’s incredibly easy to try something you otherwise wouldn’t. For example, I’ve always been curious about taking a boxing class, but when I’ve researched boxing gyms in the past, I’ve always gotten intimidated. After seeing one of those boxing gyms on ClassPass last week – Prevail Los Angeles, which Claire Marshall, one of my fave bloggers/vloggers, recently featured – I decided to take the plunge. I was instantly hooked – so hooked that I ordered my own boxing gloves the moment I got home, and signed up for my next class.

One of the potential downsides of ClassPass is that you can only visit the same studio 2-3 times per month, depending on the membership you select. However, I actually find this to be a positive thing. It discourages me from falling into a fitness rut, and encourages me to keep trying new things. It’s also proving to be a great way to get to know my new city and some of the awesome people within it.

Right now ClassPass is offering its services for just $19 for the first month – which is how I got hooked. Visit ClassPass.com to learn more. Right now I take about 2-3 ClassPass classes per week, and supplement them with a run or a YouTube class once or twice a week. I couldn’t be happier or more energized to work out, and I’m super pleased with the physical results. I only hope that ClassPass continues to grow and expand to more cities!

Warm Weather Winter Clothes – And An Editor’s Note

Kristen Berry

Editor’s Note –

I have to tell you, I struggled with whether I should publish this post. Or rather, how I could publish this post, in the wake of the presidential election. Like so many others, I remain gutted by the results of the race. When I initially wrote this post, I was in a completely different headspace. I was filled with so much hope. We were on the precipice of so much greatness. We were finally nearing the end to the incredibly ugly election season. I felt things were about to return to a more civilized, more dignified, and far less hateful state. And to top it all off, I truly believed that we were about to see the first woman ever elected to the highest office in the land. And not just any woman, but an incredibly capable, experienced, hard-working, whip-smart and thoroughly deserving woman.

While I expected Tuesday night to be a nail-biter, I didn’t prepare myself for the idea that Hillary might not win. I just didn’t think America would allow that to happen. And so, like so many other Americans, I’ve been heartbroken, devastated, numb and mad as hell these past few days.

As my wise boyfriend pointed out, all of this anger that so many of us are experiencing right now can be a great thing, if we don’t forget about it in a few weeks’ time, and if we harness it in the correct manner. We should take this hurt, and this frustration, and put it toward the positive changes we’d like to see in the world.

A key lesson I’ve learned from this election is the danger of apathy. When I think of voter apathy, it’s usually in its most direct definition – describing people who are eligible to vote but simply choose not to. Because I am a dedicated voter, I tend to think this word doesn’t apply to me. But when Wednesday morning rolled around and the reality of what had transpired began to set in, all I could think of was all the things I didn’t do to help push for the outcome I so badly wanted. I now know that next time, simply voting, pushing a few dollars toward a campaign, and buying a t-shirt or two in support of the cause will not be enough. Next time, I will also be much more generous with my time, supporting the phone banks, reaching out to other Americans to ensure they are registered to vote, have a plan to vote, are informed of the importance of their vote, and the merits of the candidate I support. And I hope in the years before the next presidential election, all of us who are so hurt by this week’s outcome will direct that hurt toward positive political activism, the act of actually doing something beyond ranting about what we don’t like on Facebook. I encourage us all – myself very much included – to simply DO more.

These feelings have made many of the things I typically enjoy every day – including blogging, and scrolling through Instagram, and keeping up on fashion news – seem incredibly trite. Yet I’ve come to realize that simply marinating in my feelings of disappointment is not productive, and turning my back on the activities I love will not change what happened on Tuesday. This blog has brought me so much joy over the years. I am a person who can feel passionately about the state of the country I love as well as fashion and travel and the world of beauty – and that’s okay. In fact, I think this type of balance is needed. I think surrounding yourself with the things and people and activities you love is a great counterweight to all the hate shimmering across our nation right now. It’s not dumb or frivolous. After all, as Hillary herself so eloquently said:

That’s right – “YOUR own dreams.” Not someone else’s dreams or expectations for you, but the dreams you love, and wish for, and are striving for, whether you have a passion for politics, or poetry, or pottery.

So if you’re feeling up to a small break from the post-mortem news analysis, and you could use a respite from your planning to become an even more educated and active member of the electorate, this post is for you. Be good to yourself. Treat yourself.

And with that, I’ll move on to our regularly scheduled programming.

I was at Starbucks one day last week and was excited to find that they’d released their winter seasonal beverage menu – I’m a total sucker for the whole festive latte thing. I took a delicious sip of my first caramel brulee latte of the year, stepped outside, and was greeted by the blazing 84 degree L.A. sunshine.

While I’ve lived in California for five years now, this is my first winter in L.A. It never gets truly wintery in the SF Bay Area either, but the temp does dip enough to warrant an actual coat. It’s strange to be wearing cutoff shorts and t-shirts in L.A. while the streetlights are being wrapped in twinkle lights and snowflakes.

Fall/winter has always been my favorite fashion season, but traditional thick, bulky pieces are downright uncomfortable in warmer climates. Here are some of the ways I’m planning to adapt my fall/winter wardrobe to fit my new home. And even if you’re prepping for a frigid winter, several of these items will make for intriguing layers for the months to come.

Swap a Heavy Winter Coat for a Substantial Jacket in Luxe Materials & Autumnal Colors

Clockwise from top left:

  • BLANKNYC Suede Moto Jacket in Burgundy, $189 at Bloomingdales.com

  • Zara Metallic Leather Jacket in Pink, $149 at Zara.com

  • H&M Patterned Bomber Jacket in Dark Blue/Black, $35 at HM.com

  • ASOS Cropped Faux Shearling Jacket with Funnel Neck in Ginger, $113 at HM.com

Mix Leather Pants with a Lightweight Top or Sleeveless Knit

Clockwise from Top Left:

  • BLANK NYC Metallic Faux Leather Leggings in Copper, $98 at LordAndTaylor.com

  • DL1961 Emma Leather Pant in Burgundy, $150 at TJMaxx.com

  • H&M Imitation Leather Pants in Black, $25 at HM.com

  • The Kooples Leather Effect Short Fit Jean in Khaki, $85 at NordstromRack.com

Bring on the Bold Booties

Clockwise from Top Left:

  • Zara High Heel Leather Ankle Boots with Methacrylate Heel, $159 at Zara.com

  • Fergie Indigo Western Bootie, $90 at DSW.com

  • BCBGMAXAZRIA 'Blyss' Bootie, $150 at Nordstrom.com

  • Matisse Geo Bootie in Cognac, $130 at DSW.com

Pair Midi Skirts with T-Shirts

Clockwise from Top Left:

Feel Free to Ditch the Sleeves

Clockwise from Top Left:

Forget Gold and Platinum – Your Next Watch Should be Made of Wood

Kristen Berry

<a id="woodwatches_com_widget_article"  title="Ladies Wooden Watches">Ladies Wooden Watches</a> <script src="//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/fauxfancy/850/250"  type="text/javascript"></script>

When big, chunky, menswear-inspired watches came back into fashion a few years ago – largely popularized for the mainstream by the comparatively affordable Michael by Michael Kors range – I was immediately hooked. However, I didn’t love seeing my exact same watch on so many other wrists.

Cut to this unique, gorgeous, rich wood watch from JORD. Full disclosure, the fine folks at JORD reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in giving one of their terrific timepieces a spin. I only try/write about products I actually love – and this watch is one of those pieces.

The second I saw this particular watch – the CORA Purpleheart and Mother of Pearl watch – I knew I had to have it. The color is so unique. Despite its name, it isn’t an obvious purple – my favorite color, BTW – but more of a deep dark wood with plummy undertones, making it an incredibly chic and versatile shade. It adds a nice pop of color to a subtle neutral outfit.  And hues of pink, purple and blue accentuate the purpley hue. This moody shade is also totally perfect for the fall/winter months.

The wood also feels a bit more reflective of the largely laid-back style of my new L.A. home. A big gold watch feels wrong on the beach, but this baby works just as well with cutoffs as it does with a chic sheath.

Watches are also one of my all-time favorite gifts to give for the holidays – they’re substantial, and personal, and something the recipient will remember you by every time they wear it. JORD offers a variety of unique wood watches for men and women, meaning there are tons of options that will be perfect for your peeps this holiday season.

Between now and Nov. 20, you can enter for a chance to win a $75 voucher towards a gorgeous JORD watch of your own. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you’ll get a $20 e-gift code just for entering. Just visit www.woodwatches.com/g/fauxfancy to enter!

Happy shopping :)

- Kristen


This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches