Monday, July 28, 2014

The Everygirl and Birchbox, sitting in a tree!

We are so excited to have teamed up with Birchbox this month to offer an Everygirl box, which will contain five Affordable Luxuries – our favorite beauty products priced under $35.

We can’t believe that within an hour, 7500 already-subscribers ALREADY signed up to get this box in August; and now it’s only available to new subscribers. So click over and sign up for only $10 to get this sweet deal delivered to your door step in August!

And Danielle and I answered a short q&a with Birchbox about launching The Everygirl, our beauty routine, and the products we chose – check it out here!

photo by Stoffer Photography

Monday, July 14, 2014

#DAcoachhouse: a plan for the bedroom

I absolutely loved how my bedroom turned out in the last apartment. The custom patterned headboard, the pink lamps, the Eiffel Tower “Alaina” bedding. It was girly to the umpteenth degree and just what I needed in that home. I would have kept everything the same if my job wasn’t what it is; but of course, Danielle and I plan on featuring our new place somewhere (fingers crossed a favorite home decor mag, but we’ll see), which means I have to mix it up. Magazines and decor sites don’t want to publish something that’s already made the Pinterest rounds. “Old news” so to speak.

Before showing ya’ll the plan, I like to recap how I got to where I currently am so maybe you’ll better understand where I hope to go… (so profound)

my bedroom on move-in day

Once I was bit more settled – clearly needed a rug and curtains. Problem is the ceilings on our second floor are crazy low, hanging curtains would look a bit goofy. And all of the curtains I own are hella long from the high ceilings in my last apartments. So curtains and brass rods are sitting in a closet. Sad.

Then I rearranged… I really didn’t like how the dresser covered one of the windows. AND I ordered my dream mirror from Wisteria that I’ve been wanting for forever, and I didn’t think leaning it in front of the window would work. I kept the room like this for a couple of weeks and I quickly learned I preferred having access on and off the bed from both sides, and walking in and seeing a big blank wall was just not cutting it. 

I developed a plan to put a gallery wall there and went to Minted.com to curate a black and white look. Did you know Minted sold art? Neither did I! I saw an ad in Domino Magazine. Hmm turns out advertising does work!

It’s pretty brilliant actually. You can favorite whatever items you like and then create a mock-up of what your gallery wall will look like. Pretty fun. I knew I wanted a mixture of photography and paintings/drawings. See below:
The prints I ended up choosing were (clockwise from top left):
Landing by Neeta Sawhney
Almond Milk by Carolyn Maclaren (because almond milk is my favorite)
Desert Diptych by Annie Clark
Construction by Becky Nimoy
Embrace by R Studio

You can also add custom framing, which was relatively inexpensive compared to most custom frames.

I also found this brilliant work of art and new it was meant for the bedroom. I love things that are a little cheeky.

Moving right along… I knew the bed would have to go back against the wall it was originally on, so I moved it back a couple of days ago. Sometimes I just wake up motivated and make things happen. In an effort to keep the ball rolling in the room redesign, I went to West Elm and picked up their Jute Boucle rug in their lightest color, Ivory, to see how it would look. (It’s been a favorite for years; it looks great with any style and you can’t beat the price point.)
I came home, laid it out, and it turns out, I love it in the room. The rug looks perfect, actually. (This photo doesn’t do it justice.) It brightens the whole space and makes it much cozier.

 So here’s the new plan (which I didn’t mention, I put together back before I even rearranged the room to begin with). I am embracing this neutral-only apartment (my roommate/business partner is adverse to color). And because I didn’t really ge to appreciate the bar area in my last apartment (I put it together three days before having to pack it up and move out – solely for the purpose of a photo shoot!), I wanted to recreate something similar. Blacks, whites, gold, a smidge of gray, big gallery wall. Sleek, contemporary,  sophisticated, lived-in, and cozy at the same time. Or at least that’s the goal.
Mirror: Wisteria
Lamp: LampsPlus
Dresser: Kathy Kuo Home
Rug: West Elm
Roman shade: Pottery Barn
Nightstand: West Elm
Wall Sconce: Schoolhouse Electric
Antlers: Kathy Kuo Home
Art: (see above)
Headboard: Kathy Kuo Home
Throw pillows: Eskayel (these are sold out but I am OBSESSED and want something similar)

I love so many different styles… contemporary, graphic, cozy, rustic, frilly and feminine, French country, glam, relaxed beachy country… It’s really kinda crazy actually. So I’m attempting to kind of throw it all together in this space and just embrace it. Hence the plaid throw and antlers, paired w/ a gold gilt mirror refined dresser, and sleek wall sconces with graphic photography.

Most of the gallery wall is up. I’m still waiting on the headboard and wall sconces. But so far I love it! Here are a few sneak peeks.

After I started to hang the gallery wall, I quickly ran out of black and white art. So I flipped through an old issue of Vogue, last year’s issue w/ Tina Fey, and ripped out a favorite snapshot of one of my favorite role models. I think she works well on the wall!

And then there’s this grouping, which I lovelovelove.
All Adventurous Women Do needlepoint art from Furbish
Antler trio very reasonably priced compared to others I’ve seen from Kathy Kuo Home

So that’s that! I unfortunately won’t be able to show photos of the finished product until it’s photographed and “published,” which likely won’t be for a long while (hoping next winter).  But I’m always posting sneak peeks on my instagram, @alainakaz! Just follow the hashtag #DAcoachhouse to see snapshots of the whole place.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 Dresses for $50? That’s what I like to hear.

And I just hit “Purchase.”

I told you I like to buy the same thing in multiple colors – especially when that thing is $25. I’ll be bringing these comfy frocks with me to Europe in October!

Everything in J.Crew’s final sale section is an additional 50% off right now. USE CODE TODAYONLY at checkout Hop to it!

Here’s a few favorites:

This jacket that everyone owns and looks great in (including Claire Dumphey)

These too-perfect-for-summer shoes

Would love to wear this to a summer wedding

And a few favorite accessories like this, this, and these dazzlers

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Romp Around

I love rompers (and maxis and sundresses) so much that I asked our fashion editors at The Everygirl to do a story on these brilliant one-piece wonders. I got my first and only romper from Splendid last year, and it’s become a staple in my summer wardrobe. I realize I probably should have included it in My 10 Summer Essentials post. They just make getting ready so easy; no worrying about what to wear with what and if this top matches these bottoms. And if I’m being honest, I feel a skosh more fashionable when I wear it.

A few of the more stylish women I know rocking rompers…


So I used some leftover Shopbop credit and picked up these bebes hoping at least one works out (for anyone who doesn’t know, Shopbop offers free shipping and returns. It’s awesome.). Yes, that is technically a jumpsuit in there. I absolutely love the look and wanted to try it out. I think it looks tres sophisticated.

striped romper | black | magenta | multi pattern

Are you a fan of the romper?

image sources: black jumpsuit via With Love from Kat // floral romper via Gal Meets Glam // plant romper via Sequins and Stripes // striped romper image via The Everygirl // black romper via Kendi Everyday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The 10 Items Getting Me Through Summer 2014

Anyone who knows me and sees me often enough can attest I wear the same things on repeat with vigor. No shame in it. I find my favorites, I love them, they love me, and I get my money’s use. I usually will buy a piece that fits well in multiple colors because, well, why not? If I’m not mixing up the style, at least I can change up the color. These are the ten items I’ve been wearing on repeat all summer.

Side note: Danielle always asks me how can I wear pants in the summer? Don’t I get hot? Well, yes, but I am hot either way. And I’d rather not have the back of my thighs stick to whatever surface I’m sitting on, so light-weight pants are the preferable option (or a dress).


1. Henry and Belle light-weight denim* $184

2. J Brand white jeans $172

3. Strappy sundresses: pineapple dress $41.50 and blue dress $39.50

4. J.Crew Factory peplum tops $32.99

5. Madewell linen tees $35.50

6. Strappy leather sandals: brown $59.50 and gold $175

7. J.Crew heeled sandals $158

8. Ray-ban blue aviators $170

9. Coach white handbag $219

10. BaubleBar dazzly earrings $34

*These light blue jeans are by a local Chicago brand, Henry and Belle, and are hands-down the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn. They’re are so light-weight and stretchy, dare I say they’re almost as comfy as yoga pants?


What are your go-to pieces this summer?

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Shop This Shop: Kathy Kuo Home

Over recent months I’ve come to learn of some really great home decor brands popping up online (some aren’t new, but they’re new to me). Friends are always asking me “Where do you shop?” or “I need a mirror/sofa/rug/fill in the blank – where should I look?” I obviously have my favorites (West Elm, CB2, Joss and Main, etc.). But I really wanted to start sharing these new finds with all of you. So here’s a new little series called “Shop This Shop,” highlighting my favorite products from my favorite new stores.

First up is Kathy Kuo Home, a New York-based furniture retailer owned by designer of the same name. The RISD-educated entrepreneur has curated the most beautiful collections broken up by style:  French Country, Industrial Loft, Rustic Lodge, Coastal Beach, Global Bazaar, and Hollywood Regency (French Country and Industrial Loft are my two personal favorites). I am actually getting a couple of items from her store for my bedroom redesign (including a new headboard! more on that soon).

I literally got lost in a daze, browsing the beige, gold, and grey products for a good hour. Do I want this headboard or that headboard? Do I want this labrador silhouette or that antler trio? Then I started browsing categories I didn’t even need like chandeliers and pinning like crazy, planning my imaginary dream home. Every item on every page is lovelier than the last.


chandeliermirror | lantern | headboard | lab print | coffee table | foot stool

What’s your favorite item of the bunch?