Capitol Hill Style

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Workday Reading: October 1, 2014

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1) Forbes has an article on why women helping women is imperative for career success, not just something nice to do.

2) This week’s under-$50 work bag is a gorgeous pine green bag from Merona.  It’s a knock-off of Rebecca Minkoff’s Cupid satchel, and it’s super stylish.

3) Thought Catalog has tips on how to be a great negotiator.  The article contains lots of practical advice about common misconception about bargaining and how to let them go.

4) Saks Off 5th is offering 40%-off with code FRIENDS.  Their Wear to Work shop has gorgeous pieces in every price point.  I love their jewelry selection.  This gold Adriana Orsini bangle is phenomenal (also in silver).

5) Elle has a fascinating interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the full article is in this month’s issue of Elle.

6) Banana Republic’s new collection is causing controversy in my friend group–some love it, others don’t.  I think this cross-front dress is freakin’ fabulous.  This pinstripe suit caught my eye.  And I love this tulip-hem top that comes in six great colors.

7) 7 Affordable Resources for the Self-Employed.

8) Perricone MD’s “No Makeup” line is a favorite of one of my friends.  If you’d like to try the line’s best products, they’re offering a small boxed set at Sephora that includes their blush, lipstick, foundation, moisturizer and mascara.

9) ProPublica has long, but fascinating, article on the too-cozy relationship between federal regulators and the banks they’re supposed to be policing.  The whistleblower who brought the issue to public attention was a female regulator at Goldman Sachs leading Fortune Magazine to ask if women are more likely to be whistleblowers than men.

10) If you have some money to spend on a glamorous winter coat, there’s no better place to look than Reiss.  So many lovely things.

11) Anyone who tells you they like professional criticism is lying.  You may value it, but no one likes it.  Learnvest has a piece on how to use criticism to boost your career, because while it may be unpleasant, it is absolutely necessary.

12) H&M’s online store is so dangerous for me. It removes all of the confusion that shopping in the brick-and-mortar location, with its myriad of rounders and racks, creates.  This week, I found this affordable sheath dress with cap sleeves (so good, runs a little small).  This black and white, v-neck blouse is a great basic.  And I love this drapey, fine-knit sweater.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 by Belle

Morning Line: October 1

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It’s October, we can fight it no more, it’s time for sweater shopping.

Corner Office

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DvF Cashmere Sweater ($300)

Middle Cubicle

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C by Bloomingdale’s Crewneck Cashmere ($134 + 20%-off with code FRIENDS)

Intern Desk

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Halogen Crewneck Cashmere ($89)

*also in petite sizes

Need a v-neck?  This Splendid sweater comes in at $118.

Plus-size: Land’s End Year-Round Cashmere Crewneck ($79)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family Sale Picks

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There is nothing like a good Friends & Family sale to make giddy.  20-percent-off nearly everything in the store…yes, please.  These sales offer an opportunity to make strategic purchases.  You can replace staple pieces, pick up a better brand for a bit less money, or splurge on something you’ve been craving, but not buying, for a while.  The following are a few of the items that caught my eye.

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Cole Haan Carlyle Boots ($398)

Shoes. These boots are the primary reason why my stomach fluttered a bit when I found out about the sale.  I put them in my cart at least six times before buying them.  Because while they are beautiful, simple, elegant, and possess a 2.5 heel height, four-bills is a lot of money to spend on one pair of shoes.  A decent discount and free shipping makes the purchase a bit more palatable (hello, PBJ, my old friend).

The Carlyle boots also come in extended calf sizes.  And if you have the means, these Cole Haan Arlington boots look like the perfect riding boot.  Need a less-expensive version?  This Steve Madden Sady flat boot is a nice option (also in extended calf).

Want pumps? This MK Flex heel is a great $99 option.  If you want to splurge on versatile basics, LK Bennett is where I’d go.  Want animal print?  Ivanka Trump has a gorgeous pump and a cool flat (the sizes can run a little big).

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Vince Camuto Faux Leather Detail Dress ($99)

Dresses. Cute, stylish, under-$100?  Very nice.  This Vince Camuto dress is great for after work, or wear it on casual Friday with tights, flat boots, and a long necklace.

I also found this bold cobalt dress from Bailey 44.  This JNY sleeveless sheath in charcoal grey is also a good choice.  And if you want to pick up one of my favorites at a discount, there’s always the 3/4-sleeve Black Halo Jackie dress.

Plus-size? I love this plum Melissa Masse dress.  Petite? I like this burgundy v-neck dress from Ralph Lauren.

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Theory Drate Tee ($160)

Tops. This blouse is awesome.  I’m smitten with the gorgeous jewel tone (perfect for fall).  This style isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I think it looks great with denim or tucked into a skirt (use a shaper to smooth it out).

Another top high on my list?  This Cooper & Ella blouse with an open back and eyelet details, its modern, feminine and interesting. For silky work tops under-$100, I like this short sleeve AQUA top and this NYDJ blouse in eggplant (also in plus-size).  For a casual sweater, I love this hooded Dakota Collective number.

Plus-size? This MYNT blouse is a great basic.  Petite? Sorry, I didn’t see anything on the site that I would have bought for myself.

Miscellaneous. Nothing here that you can’t live without?  The Wear-to-Work shop is always worth a look, it has a great selection of pieces.  I’d also hit their Fall Trend Shop, and sort through their new Curated and Coveted collection, which features pieces made just for them by fabulous designers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Belle

BPGP: Foreo LUNA Mini

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Living in a drier climate during the past months has been hard on my skin.  It is drier, flares up more easily and seems unwilling to find a balance.  It’s maddening.

p387258-av-02-hero300Recently, I switched to a gentle cleanser to give my skin a break.  My skin relaxed a bit, but it didn’t feel clean.  I turned to my trusty Clarisonic, but using it more than once-per-week yielded serious dryness.  So when I cruised through Sephora to pick up a nail polish, and spotted the Foreo LUNA Mini ($139), I thought, “Well, it’s worth a try.”

The LUNA gently pulses to remove dead skin cells and release makeup and oil from the pores.  It is covered in silicone “touch points” of varying size and firmness.  The thicker points are used on oily areas like the t-zone, while the finer points are for the cheeks and forehead.  You can adjust the speed of the pulses to your liking.

It is not as powerful as the Clarisonic, and is more of a cleansing-aid than an exfoliating brush.  Even with the gentle cleanser, my skin feels very clean after using it, but not as scrubbed as with the Clarisonic.

The secondary benefit of using the LUNA is that it opens the pores and stimulates the skin, improving the absorption of serum.  My skin also seems softer and smoother after using it.

Another benefit of the LUNA is that–unlike the Clarisonic, which must be charged after a handful of uses–the battery lasts for 300 uses.  This is a great feature for frequent travelers who don’t want to tote a charger, and for forgetful people, like myself, who turn on their Clarisonic, to have it die mid-cycle.

I don’t see the LUNA as a replacement for the Clarisonic, which offers a much deeper clean and stronger exfoliation than the LUNA.  I see it instead as a product gentle enough to be used regularly even on dry skin.  I suspect that I will use the LUNA nearly every night, and the Clarisonic on Sundays.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Belle

Morning Line: September 30

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A light-neutral cashmere scarf is a cold weather staple.  It’s warm, it’s chic, and it goes with everything.

Corner Office

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Madeleine Thompson Sidney Cashmere Scarf ($415)

Middle Cubicle

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White + Warren Wrap ($149)

*Comes in 10 colors, one of the best bargains that I’ve seen this season.

Intern Desk

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“Softer Than Cashmere” Scarf ($27)

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Updated for 2014