Capitol Hill Style

Friday, January 30, 2015 by Belle

Happy Hour: Tart and Thyme

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This thyme, rhubarb and grapefruit cocktail is one of the most inventive recipes that I’ve seen in a long time.  The blogger at Top with Cinnamon has the recipe for the rhubarb-grapefruit syrup that you mix with vodka.  She also has some interesting ideas about how to turn a Mason jar into a cocktail shaker.

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Rhombus Open-work Dress ($49) 

Mango is having a huge sale.  It’s one of my places to find under-$100 dresses for special events or just everyday wear.  This open-work dress is a great choice (it also comes in black).  This burgundy, fitted dress is another stylish option.  This Mango panel contrast dress has a modern look with a faux-leather bodice.

Mango’s Violeta line, which fits sizes 10 and above, offers this gorgeous Blonda dress in midnight navy.  This cotton-blend shift is a versatile choice that you can style for day or evening.

Friday, January 30, 2015 by Belle

Belle’s Weekly Reading: January 30, 2015

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1) Sorority leaders want members at UVA to stay home on fraternity rush weekend.  Apparently, controlling women’s movements is considered a viable way to prevent sexual assault.  Or maybe they could follow Dartmouth’s lead and ban hard alcohol.  Everything old is new again.

2) Looking for inexpensive basic pumps?  These pointed-toe mid-heel pumps are a great choice.  I also love these almond-toe pumps with a cushioned insole and small platform (very comfortable).  These d’Orsay high heels are also a lovely choice.

3) Meet David Atchison, the U.S. President who served for just one day.

4) This gorgeous bag from Kate Spade Saturday has a casual-meets-chic style.  It also comes in five gorgeous colors; the blush hue is calling my name. I also love this striped jersey dress for spring and summer.  And this 3/4-sleeve split-neck tee is a long-time favorite of mine.

5) I love fresh produce, but in the winter the selection leaves a lot to be desired.  The Awl has a great piece on which veggies you should buy frozen or canned during the long winter months.

6) When I want to try a new beauty product the first thing I do is try to find it in travel size.  Nordstrom has a great selection of mini-sized products.  This NARS mini lets you try their Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer.  MAC offers a small Lipglass so you can try new lip colors for less.  And this mini-Moroccanoil is perfect for travel or curing your coifs winter blahs.

7) Jewelry made with breastmilk…things you probably neither knew, nor needed to know existed.  You.are.welcome.

8) New thing I learned this month: Net-a-Porter is pronounced net-uh-por-tay.  Thing I already new: They sell the most beautiful dresses.

9) When I was a child, the woman who owned the local video store used to give me a New York Seltzer every time we went in.  So I was feeling a little nostalgic as I read about the last seltzer man in Manhattan.  Something tells me this may be the next hipster-revived trend.

10) Zella Live-In Leggings are still my absolute favorite, but their Soul 2 Pants are a close second.  I also received their French Terry sweatshirt as a gift, and I want to wear it all the time.  It’s so cozy.

11) In Whittier, Alaska, all 300 residents live in the same building.  It’s a really interesting story about negotiating relationships in uniquely cramped quarters.

12) I am obsessed with ear cuffs–earrings that extend up the lobe.  These Gorjana cuffs are my favorite.  I also like these Elizabeth and James double-x crawlers.  For something inexpensive, these $6 Forever21 cuffs are a lovely choice.

*image found here.

Friday, January 30, 2015 by Belle

Morning Line: The Ever Collection

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M.M. Lafleur Annabel Dress ($195)

Every week, I receive dozens of “Ask Belle” e-mails.  Over the past few months, the number of readers looking for advice about maternity attire has grown exponentially.  This is not my area of expertise, but I know it’s a challenge.  So I was really excited to see that M.M. LaFleur has created a line of dresses that women can wear before, during, and after pregnancy.

The Ever Collection contains item that can stretch and flex to fit and flatter your changing shape in every phase of your life.  Of the three versatile dresses, I like the Annabel, with its ruched details and asymmetric neckline the best.  They also offer the Georgia, an a-line shape, and the Claudia, a classic shirtdress shape.  Many of the dresses are machine washable, but they’re all perfect for travel and made in New York.

Also in the collection, my favorite sweater, The Morandi.  It’s a great chunky knit that is incredibly warm, making it perfect for chilly offices.  It comes in your choice of oatmeal or charcoal.

Whether you’re currently pregnant, struggling to find flattering post-maternity wear, or just looking for a flattering, forgiving dress for every day wear, give The Ever Collection a try.

Disclaimer: I own four MML dresses–two I purchased, two were gifted to me.  I love their mission statement and their designs.  All opinions in this post are my own.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 by Belle

Two Ways: Black Blazer for Early Spring

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Blazer: H&M Fitted Blazer ($49)

From Left, Earrings: Carolee Enamel Earrings ($24) // Bag: Kate Landry Sharon Satchel ($89) // Shoes: Davosa d’Orsay Pumps ($129) // Dress: Pistachio Pencil Dress ($44)

From Right, Earrings: Rectangle Hoops ($24) // Ring: Atlantis Ring ($65) // Bag: Kelly & Katie Dome Satchel ($49) // Shoes: Makayla Mid-Heel Pump ($128) // Top: Silk Secretary Blouse ($188) // Pants: J.Crew Paley Pant ($158)

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For the Office.  A black blazer over a color block dress is a great way to add a little bit of color to your wardrobe.  This pistachio and black number is a unique choice.  This inexpensive cobalt dress from JCPenney is another chic option.  Plus-size? Try this Calvin Klein a-line dress.

I like the mix of pearl and enamel in this earring.  It gives a slightly vintage look.  Another option are these $16 mini-pearl studs.

How great is the texture on these pumps?  It’s a gorgeous faux-snakeskin.  With a mid-heel height, these are a great work shoe.  I also like this Sole Society pumps in suede, and these Nine West peep toe pumps.

Lastly, I’ve shown this bag before, and I finally saw it in person this weekend.  I think it’s the best under-$100 satchel I’ve seen.  It also comes in several other neutral colors.

For the hair, I would wear it down.  I might pin it half-up.  For the makeup, I would choose a matte grey shadow and apply it with a light hand.  I would also wear a sheer berry lip.

For Business Friday.  So what is business Friday?  It’s “casual” Friday for very conservative offices.  The kind of places where anything other than a suit is considered casual.

Black and navy is one of my favorite color combinations.  So I thought an all navy outfit topped with a black blazer could be fun.  This navy tie-neck blouse is a lovely basic.  I also like this Iris & Ink blouse in satin.  These skinny trousers are a fun option, but I like these dressier trousers from The Limited.  You could also try a sleek pencil skirt.

This Monica Vinader ring is to die for.  If you want some serious eye candy, check out the rest of her wares. For another, slightly less expensive option, I’d try this black stone Gorjana ring.

I went with grey accessories to lighten the look.  These snakeskin pumps are a good choice for that.  And the grey satchel is lovely.  You could also reverse the look with this snakeskin bag and these grey pumps.

For the hair, I would wear it up.  This sleek, low ponytail caught my eye.  For the makeup, black liner.  Black liner for days.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 by Belle

BPGP: Aveda Damage Remedy Treatment

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After a winter in the dry Western air, my hair was a bit fried.  The ends were flyaway.  The color dull.  It would barely hold a curl.

130952d14859b859227e38df5d591f4cI skipped washings.  I stopped using dry shampoo.  I slathered on olive oil.  Nothing worked.

Finally, I dropped into my local Aveda shop to see if they had something stronger than my usual Aussie 3-Minute Miracle.  After some shelf searching, I decided on their Damage Remedy Treatment ($22).

After I used it, I finished styling my hair and was disappointed to discover no change.  Hair = straw-like.  I was not amused.  I resolved to return the product the next day.  But then a funny thing happened.

The next morning, I washed and conditioned my hair using Pureology Hydrate.  My hair was definitely shinier, and softer than normal.  It was even better the next day.  By the third day, people were asking if I’d had a haircut or done something different with my hair.

Moral of the story, the Aveda Damage Treatment works.  I probably didn’t see the results the first day because I used a clarifying shampoo to remove the remnants of the olive oil from the day before.  Once I switched back to my regular shampoo and conditioner, the improvement was noticeable.  My hair is shinier, smoother, and much more manageable.

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