Braided Up Do

This weekend one of my best friends is getting married! I'm so excited to stand next to her on her big day. Today start the celebrations with a bridal luncheon and rehearsal dinner! The upcoming nuptials reminded me of this wedding hairstyle my friend and I did a few months ago. We based it off this look here but wanted to step it up with some braids. I wish I had step by step photos but I only have after pics (sorry!). The steps may seem overwhelming but its actually a lot easier than it looks!


1. Spray hair with texture spray to give it grip.
2. Separate hair from temple to ear on each side. Clip this hair out of the way.
3. Tease hair at the crown of your head. Use extra texture spray if needed. You want a lot of volume!
4. Take all of your hair (except the hair clipped back in step 2) and pull into a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Use a ponytail holder that matches your hair color. At this point you want to check the amount of volume at the crown. Loosen the hair at the crown to get more volume.
5. Next you are going to create a topsy turvy ponytail. Slide your ponytail holder down a few inches and split it down the center. Flip the ponytail up and feed it thru the split. Grab it from underneath and pull it thru. Tug the ponytail to tighten it up.
6. Now tease all of the hair in your ponytail. This volume is what you'll use to make the chignon fuller. If you have a lot of hair you may not need to tease much, use your discretion. 
7. Gather all the teased hair and starting from the bottom roll your hair up. Keep rolling until you get to the ponytail holder. Once you get there start pinning in place. Large bobby pins work best to secure the chignon to your head. Once it is secure you can use smaller bobby pins to secure any stray pieces.
8. Take the hair from step 2 and braid each side. If you want any pieces left out this is the time to do it. Add texture spray if needed. To get a fuller braid, pancake* it after you tied it off with a clear elastic.
9. Take one braid and pull it back to the chignon. Secure it with bobby pins to the top of the chignon (see the above picture). Then take the other braid and place it on top. Tuck the ends of the braid under the braid and pin. Spray with hair spray.

*pancaking- gently pulling and spreading the strands of a brand to make it thicker. Start at the beginning and slowly pull on each outside strand. Work your way slowly to the bottom of the braid. You can go back and forth thru the braid until you get the desired look.
Kara Krittenbrink

Rompers for Everyone

Every time I browse a store (online or in person) the first thing I seem to pick up is a romper. Lately I've been especially loving sleeved rompers. I like the versatility they have. They can be worn now to all your summer events. If you have some dressier occasions coming up I would recommend this one, this one and this one! With heels you can wear them to date night, a night out or even a wedding. 

If you need something for daytime activities, maybe brunch or shopping, then I would go for this one, this one or this one. A simple wedge and your favorite earrings are all the accessories you need. On even some of my most casual days, I think a romper is still a great outfit. This one and this one get you thru a long day of errands when you add your favorite pair of sneakers!

All of these rompers will also take you into early Fall. When the temp cools down a little, layer a sweater, cardigan or jacket to keep you warm. For footwear you could keep it the same as Summer if you want. I like to edge them up a bit with a bootie! If the temps are cool enough, add some tights under the romper!

How do you wear your Summer items into Fall?

Kara Krittenbrink

If the Shoe Fits

This is my last post on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I selected my favorite pieces in this post and some great men's items here. Now it's just about the foot wear!

Great shoes can be a big budget killer. The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is a great time to get some quality footwear up to 40% off! A basic pointy toe pump will forever be in style. This pump is mid-height and comes in six colors. For work or play it is a great investment! The price tag is too good to pass up.

Last fall the lace up trend was everywhere and I think it will be just as big this Fall! I have lace up flats similar to these in black and now I think I need this nude pair too. They go with everything and are the best pair of everyday shoes for Fall. The heeled lace ups look great with fall dresses! 

In the Fall and Winter, I live in booties. I wear them with absolutely everything. This peep toe pair is a version I haven't seen much of before. The peep toe will allow you to wear them sooner and you can still show off your pedicure! We need to talk about this colorblocked pair. They may be my new favorite. I love the combination of all the fall colors. This statement shoe would look great with distressed denim or tights and dresses. They come in several different colors too. 

What are your favorite Fall shoes?

Lace Up Pump - Colorblock Bootie - Cutout Wedge

Kara Krittenbrink

Best of Men's Picks for the Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale

Today is the day! The Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale is open to the public. I have done a little more shopping since I rounded up my favorite picks (here) last week. I love this turtleneck tunic and shirtdress. You can wear the dress immediately with your favorite sandals and then get out your booties when it cools down. These boot socks are also great! It's also a great time to invest in some shapewear

I've had a chance to scour the men's sale section. There are some great finds for them too!

The Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale is a time to stock up on workwear. These wool pants come in several colors and are a business casual staple. If the man in your life is in need of some dress shirts, this one and this one are classic ones. 

This sweater and jacket would pair well with these straight leg jeans. Men need a good t-shirt as much as us girls and I love these. This Patagonia quarter zip is at a great price and will be the first thing pulled out when it is Fall. 

This vest might be my favorite things! Especially since I put it twice in the collage.


Kara Krittenbrink

Striped Basics

I love finding a great new piece to add to my wardrobe. It's fun to wear something new! At the same time, there is nothing like pulling out one of your favorite items that you have had for years. Something you know you can rely on when you need an outfit. The always reliable, always fits item that will never let you down. A striped dress is definitely one of those items. 

This dress is several years old but still one of my favorites. I've worn it to work, brunch, church, showers and out to run errands and I always get compliments on it. It also works for any season. I've styled it here to wear now in the summer. In the winter I add tights, boots and a jacket to battle the cold air. The key to it's versatility is the fabric. The ponte knit fabric is light but nice enough for it to be dressed up. It is also a super flattering fabric that fits well. Since this dress is old, I've found similar dresses here, here and here

Striped Ponte Knit Dress, old - Straw Bag, old (similar here
Tassel Heels (more sizes here and here)
Aviator Sunglasses, sold out (similar here)
Kara Krittenbrink

My Skincare Routine

One of the many things my Mom passed down to me is a devotion to skin care. She always made sure I had sunscreen on. When I was a teenager she taught me about the importance of washing my face every night and using a moisturizer. Her skin always looked flawless, so I knew I needed to listen to her.

Now that I am far from being a teenager, I need more than just a few basic skin care items. Over the last year or so, I've put together a skin care routine that has my skin in the best shape possible. The concerns for my skin were anti-aging and brightening. I currently don't have an issue with acne but my complexion can be a bit dull. I've been told by my dermatologist that it is never too early to start thinking about aging. It is easier to be preventative than to treat something. 

It took some trial and error to come up with a skincare routine that addresses my issues but wasn't overly complicated. I knew I wouldn't follow a routine with too many products. 

During my skincare discovery, I started getting facials every 6 weeks to keep my skin in check. The facials combined with my new skin care routine have truly transformed my complexion. My facialist has also been a great resource. She's recommended treatments for my concerns and what ingredients to look for in my products. As I started using new products she gave feedback on how they have changed my skin. 

Morning Routine
1. Cleanser and Makeup Remover - Over a year ago, I started using Micellar Water (see here). I've switched brands and now use Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water because it also takes off my stubborn eye makeup. Micellar water cleanses thoroughly but isn't harsh or rough. My skin is softer because of it with a lot less redness. 

2. Treatment - While I don't break out easily, I do have blackheads on my nose and chin. I looked for a product with at least 2% Salicylic Acid. Philosophy's Clear Days Ahead spot treatment has decreased the number of blackheads. I use it every morning on my nose and chin. Once a week I use it all over my face. 

3. Moisturizer - SPF should be worn everyday! The problem with SPF is that no one wants to feel like they have it on. Mario Badescu's Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 feels super moisturizing and soaks in well. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has calmed some of the redness in my cheeks and forehead. It prevents the suns damaging rays from causing any problems to my skin.

Night Routine
1. Cleanser and Makeup Remover - I use Micellar water in the evenings too. I first use one cotton pad to get of my eye makeup then another to cleanse the rest of my face. 

2. Eye Cream - In the anti- aging game, eye cream is very important. Rodan + Fields REDEFINE Multi-function eye cream has brightened my eyes. It's reduced puffiness and helped with my dark circles. It also helps prevent crow's feet and other fine lines around my eyes. 

3. Night Cream - The last of my night routine is a night cream. Rodan + Fields Overnight Restorative Cream has me waking up with firmer and more radiant skin. It works overnight to prevent lines.

1. Exfoliator - To keep my skin soft and smooth, exfoliators are essential. Twice a week I use a micro-dermabrasion paste to slough off dead skin cells. Used on a regular basis, my skin feels smooth and glowing. 

2. Mask - Trying out new masks is always a treat. There are types that treat almost any issue. I posted about one of my favorite masks here last fall. The latest mask I've tried may be the best one yet! The Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalizing Mask is a mini facial. In 2o minutes it exfoliates and firms your skin. Once you rinse it off you'll realize your skin is also moisturized and radiant too. I've only been using it a few weeks but know it will become a regular in my skin care routine!

3. Lips - My love of lip colors isn't without it's costs. Many lipsticks and lip sense products dry out your lips. I've tried different chapsticks and serums but nothing could prevent chapped lips. This Lip Renewing Serum is a bit of a splurge but worth it. I use it every other night and my lips are plumper and the lines on my lips have filled in. 
Kara Krittenbrink

My Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale Picks

Sorry this post is coming so late in the day! I got up early to shop the Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale and purchased this sweater and this dress. I put together a wish list but couldn't get this post together until now. If you have a Nordstrom's debit or credit card you can access the sale now, otherwise you can access it July 22nd. Last year I bought a similar purse to this one and its become one of my most used purses. The convertible strap makes it so versatile!

There are so many great pieces from the Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale. It makes me even more excited for Fall. Most of the items here are in the neutral palette, which is what I prefer in the Fall. When I first hear Fall, I think denim and sweaters. This pullover and this lace sleeved sweater are perfect. I think capes are going to be everywhere again this Fall and I love the fringe on this one

If you are looking for a leather jacket, I love this faux moto jacket. It comes in black too. This wrap jacket is also a great Fall piece. It would look great over this caftan minidress or this colorblocked shift dress

You can't forget boots and handbags. These over the knee boots are a steal and you will wear them all Fall and Winter. These are a great walkable pair of everyday boots! This purse looks similar to the coveted Chloe saddle bag but much more affordable. 

What have you bought from the sale?


Kara Krittenbrink

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Get ready for the sale of the year! The Nordstroms Anniversary Sale is one of the best sales of the year. It is different than other sales because it is new items. For a limited time Nordstrom discounts current and new pre-Fall items. It's not like most other department store sales when you have to wait for the end of the season to get items on sale. Once the sale is over they go back up to full price and you'll regret not scooping these items. You can get all the great fall basics (booties, sweaters, jeans and outerwear) for an amazing price. Last year I snagged this Tory Burch crossbody for half off!

With the scorching temperatures, you may think it is too soon to think about Fall items. My tips below will help you make the right shopping list and score some major deals!

If you have a Nordstrom's credit or debit card you will get access to the sale on July 14, which is 8 days earlier than the public! The public gets access on July 22. If you have ever thought about getting a card I would recommend doing it now. Once the sale hits, I'll have a post of all of my favorite items from it. 

1. Check out the Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale Catalog here! This isn't all of the sale items but it will give you an idea of what types of items will be on sale. 

2. Scan your Closet - Look thru your Fall and Winter wardrobe. Assess what you need or want to add to your wardrobe. Are there items that need to be replaced? Do you need more of any certain items? Was there something last year that you didn't get that you regret?

3. Make a List. After looking thru your wardrobe decide what you need to stock up on for the Fall. Do you need more denim? Do you want any new boots or booties? Did you wish you had purchased more sweaters last Fall? What do you wear the most of for fall? Have you been wanting to invest in a designer purse? Use these questions to come up with what types of items you are searching for. The sale can be overwhelming so narrowing down a list can be helpful.

4. Budget - It's not my favorite word but is very important for this sale. Decide how much you are willing to spend on each item on your list. The 50% off can tempt you to spend more than you mean, so know your budget beforehand.

5. Consider a splurge item - This may seem to go against the other tips but consider it. Not many times can you find designer items up to 50% off.  If you have wanted a designer purse, denim or coat this would be the time to do it. 

What will you be looking for at the Nordstroms Anniversary Sale?

Kara Krittenbrink

Dresses for Summer

In the Summer heat I always look for outfits that keep me cool. That typically means I grab a dress out of my closet. For almost any occasion there is a dress that fits. For a casual day of errands,  this dress and this dress would be comfortable. You can even pair them with your favorite tennis shoes for a casual cool vibe.

If your schedule looks like mine, you have several Summer weddings coming up. For a casual weddings this dress and this dress look great with wedges. This dress and this dress are meant for romantic outside garden weddings. 

For a more formal occasion I love this dress and this dress. If you are like me and love special details, this dress is for you! The cape detail on this one is a showstopper. 

I love stripes and am always attracted to them in stores. This shirt dress walks the line between dressy and casual. Add wedges and you are ready for a shower or dressy brunch. Pair with tennis shoes and you can take it to a more casual event. This striped dress has a great bow detail. I also love the colorful stripes on this linen dress.

What is your favorite Summer dress?

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Kara Krittenbrink

Capsule Wardrobe: Business Casual (Part 2)

It’s back to the basics again! I’m focusing on the next key pieces for a business casual wardrobe. It is time for the next steps in building your closet. In my first post (here) I talked skirts and pants. Most suggested were in a neutral color scheme. While you are working on these basics, you’ll need some tops to go with them.

For tops, blouses and button downs are my go to’s! The classic button down is timeless. You definitely need a white one. An outfit consisting of a classic skirt, white button down and pumps is the epitome of work chic. It can take you to an important meeting and for happy hour drinks!

Having a few neutral tops is a good place to start. Like the pants I suggested, they are great basics. Once you have a few classics, you can start to get some with a bit more personality. 
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Button downs are great not only because they are classic, but because they flatter all body types. Depending on your bust size, some darting on the button down may be needed. You also may have to try on a few styles before you find the right one. Prevail because this is a closet must! I wear button downs outside of the workplace too! Pair with your favorite cut off jean shorts and you have a summer look ready for anything!

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Beyond button downs you need a few blouses. Tie front are flattering and pair well with pants and skirts. I also love them layered under a blazer. Neutral doesn't have to be boring. Printed tops in neutral colors are as versatile as solids but more interesting. They pair well with solid bottoms and color too! 

Now that you have both tops and bottoms covered you are getting close to a full work wardrobe!

Kara Krittenbrink

That Summer Glow

I never have and probably never will be a beauty expert. I have learned thru practice and making some mistakes what works for me and what doesn't. One thing I do is make changes in my make up routine between Winter and Summer. 

The Summer heat here can be brutal! If you aren't careful your makeup can sweat right off and all your hard work is gone. The first step in preventing that is to keep your makeup light. I tend to go back to basics in the Summer and keep my makeup routine simple! My Summer routine typically consists of a light foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, highlighter and mascara. I'll add a nude lip sometimes! The key too the look is the summer glow you get with the bronzer, blush and highlighter!

Bronzer - I may live in sunscreen and stay out of the sun but it doesn't mean I don't love a sun kissed glow. I've tried several different bronzers and I always come back to Benefit's Hoola Bronzer. The color is perfect. It doesn't have any orange in it, so it looks natural. It is also matte, which adds to the realistic bronze color. The color is super buildable too. Whether you are pale like me or have a darker tone this bronzer can work for you. 

I apply bronzer around my hair line and jaw line. Then I put a bit on my nose and cheek bones. Bronzer should be applied anywhere the sun hits you. If you face is lighter than your chest and arms, bronzer will help that too.

Blush - The first make up my mom allowed me to wear was blush and it is still one of my favorite products. Even a small amount can make a difference. Finding the right blush can be tricky. Nars Orgasm is highly recommended and well know for looking good on anyone. I use Bare Escentuals blush in Cheerful. It's a flattering pink tone that gives a lightly flushed look.

I apply a little bit of blush across the apples of my cheeks. 

Highlighter - I've recommended highlighter before (see here). Since I slim down the number of products I'm using, highlighter is even more important in the Summer. My recent favorite highlighter is Too Faced Candlelight Glow. You can use just the gold or just the pink color, I typically swirl them together. 

Highlighter can be applied anywhere you want light to reflect. I like to apply below my brow bone, on the inner corner of my eye, at the top of my cheek bone and above my cupids bow. During the day I only apply a little bit and at night I'll layer a bit more on. 

What Summer makeup products do you like to wear?
Kara Krittenbrink

2016 Summer Bucket List

Now that we are a couple weeks into Summer, I wanted to post my bucket list for the Summer. I want to take advantage of the long Summer days with lots of fun activities. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July weekend! My weekend will be filled with fireworks, barbecues, family and friends. I'll also be going with my future sister in law to help her shop for wedding dresses!

Kara Krittenbrink