Must-Have Spring Power Pieces

Spring Power PiecesSpring is here, so bring on the skirts, strappy sandals, and most importantly the brights and whites! I always find that dressing for work can be trickier during warmer months than the cooler ones. In winter I throw on a blazer over skinny jeans with a blouse and call it good. However, as temperatures warm up it can be challenging to toe the line between springtime casual and workplace professional.

Here are my three essentials for owning that lady boss style all season long.
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atlanticpacificwhiteblazer

THE WHITE BLAZER: A white blazer is the perfect transitional piece for the season. White creates a bold pop of contrast, helping you stand out from the drab masses.

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Similar: Zara Turn-Up Sleeve Blazer, Topshop Slouchy Longline Blazer, White House Black Market Ecru Trophy Blazer, Banana Republic Seersucker Double-Breasted Blazer
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dressedfordreamslaceupheels

LACE-UP BLOCK HEELS: Sandals can be challenging to pull of at work, as they often look a little too beach ready. Lace-up block heels are the perfect in-between. The lacing evokes a gladiator-style sandal, while the block heel dresses things up with a strong edge. No dainty kitten heel here.

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Similar: Public Desire Block Heeled Sandals, Honey Babe Block Heel Lace-Up Sandals, Jeffrey Campbell Cage Sandal, Hinge Peep Toe Leather Sandal
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lifewithemilymatchingseperate

COORDINATING SEPARATES: Often women adopt more masculine styles in the workplace to project an air of seriousness: power suits, starched collared shirts, monochromatic outfits. While I do love a good menswear inspired outfit, I also admire women who own their femininity in the workplace. The strongest women I know embrace their womanhood. Coordinating separates are a ladylike take on a warm weather skirt suit.

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Similar: ASOS Printed Bomber in Texture Co-ordASOS Printed Prom Midi Skirt in Texture Co-ord, Eliza J Check Satin Two-Piece Dress
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On a different note, I do want to let y’all know that I’ll be taking a break from the blog for personal reasons and will be less active on social media as well. Nothing dramatic, I’m just in serious need of some extra me-time these days. Thanks for understanding.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Image sources: 1/2/3

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An All American Road Trip (Part 2)

all american road trip destinations travel
Today I’m sharing the second part of my cross-country road trip. If you haven’t read the first part, you can get caught up here.
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Joe and Aggies Arizona Route 66 All american road
After the Grand Canyon, we ending up stopping in Holbrook, Arizona for the night which is located right along Historic Route 66. We grabbed dinner at a cute little Mexican-American diner where we tried our first Navajo Tacos. Navajo Tacos are basically just Indian fry bread topped with taco ingredients. Fry bread can be sweet or savory; most of us know it from state fairs where it’s doused in cinnamon and sugar and sold as elephant ears.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe all american road trip destinations travel
The next day, we visited Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico. It was another bucket list destination and was probably my favorite stop of the trip. Exploring the park involved a several mile hike that took us through a slot canyon. For about a half mile we walked through a narrow crevice with rock towering over us on either side.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
Once we made it through the canyon, the winding route took us through a series of large conical rock formations for which the park is named. The “tents” were formed by volcanic activity and some of them were pretty massive.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip desitnations travel
The payoff at the end of the hike was this incredible view. It was in the upper 60’s so it felt great basking in the sun while surveying the vastness of the lands surrounding us. New Mexico is a pretty pretty place. On a side note, please ignore my brother’s shirt. He has a fondness for t-shirts with weird sayings on them.
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Cafe Pasquales Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel food restaurants
That night we pushed on to Santa Fe, where we ended up spending an extra day. The town was beautiful. So much terracotta and stone. My favorite restaurant in Santa Fe was Cafe Pasqual’s, a recipient of the James Beard Foundation award for America’s Regional Classics Award. Let me tell you, that award is well deserved.
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pasquales santa fe new mexico all american road trip destinations travel
My brother ordered the mole enchiladas and they were not only beautiful to look at, they were absolutely delicious. I ordered the daily special, which was a combination plate of several salads and fancy toast.
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Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
The Museum of International Folk Art was recommended by several friends as a must stop. I’m a huge fan of folk art, so off to the museum we went. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the artifacts as well as the curation. The exhibit space itself were part of the experience, with cases of different colors and styles.  .
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Santa Fe New Mexico all american road trip destinations travel
The museum is located on Museum Hill, a hub of several cultural institutions.  This striking statue is located right in front of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. We didn’t get a chance to go inside, so I’ll have to hit it up on a return trip.
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Cadillac Ranch Amarillo Texas All american road trip destinations route 66 travel
After Santa Fe, we headed to Oklahoma City by way of Texas. As we cruised through Amarillo, Texas, we stopped to check out Cadillac Ranch, one of the quirkiest roadside attractions on Route 66. In 1974, ten Cadillacs were buried nose down in a field as a work of public art. Visitors are encouraged to spray paint the cars to contribute to the installation. As you approach the cars you can smell the paint in the air, and once you get close you can see the layers upon layers of paint just caked on.
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cadillac ranch amarillo texas all american road trip destinations travel
I couldn’t resist throwing in a second picture of this place. The sky was so beautiful that day, it almost looks faked. I brought my gold spray paint with me, but it turns out gold is not a great color for grafitti – not enough pop against day glo orange and neon green.
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After Texas, we swung through Oklahoma City, Memphis, and the Smokey Mountains on our way to our final destination: Durham, North Carolina. Unfortunately, I was under the weather for the final day or two of the trip, so I didn’t capture much. I do want to shout out Oklahoma City’s social media person though, who was super responsive with restaurant recommendations via their Twitter.
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I hope my trip has given you some ideas for an American road trip of your own. It was incredible experiencing the sweeping mountains and scrublands of the Southwest. You really don’t grasp the vastness of our country until you drive it, so I definitely encourage you to give it a try.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Linking up with Carylee from More Pieces of Me today.

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Friday Favorites

Welcome back Friday! How I’ve missed you! This weekend we’re moving into our new apartment in Durham. Long lost clothes will be recovered, furniture will be assembled, and copious amounts of pizza will inevitably be consumed. I’m super bummed because the way our move is shaking out, it looks like I may not be able to watch the Oscars. We sold our TV when we moved to North Carolina, so I’ll be dependent on updates from Mil and social media. Are you watching this weekend? Whatever you end up doing, have a great time and enjoy this week’s round-up of favorites.
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Friday Favorites Weekly Blog Round-up South by Northwest.
1. I’m all about the budget buys (who isn’t?). I’m loving several of the Old Navy picks on Glitter Guide’s list of affordable buys for February.
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2. These silly Olaf cookies made me laugh. This DIY from Handmade Charlotte is a good reminder that a fun cookie project doesn’t have to be hard.
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3. Authenticity online is something I think about a lot as I post here and on social media. Brittany, from A Healthy Slice of Life, shared some candid thoughts on the topic this week.
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4. Tassels are just so much fun! I’m pretty excited that they’re in style this season. Anna James’ style guide post on Lauren Conrad is going to be my go-to resource for ways to incorporate them into my wardrobe.
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5. February is Black History Month. While we all know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, there are so many modern civil rights activists who continue to drive progress forward. If you have some time, I encourage you to watch The Interrupters, a documentary highlighting the work of Ameena Matthews and others to end youth violence in Chicago.
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XOXO,
Jules

Brands We Love: Raven + Lily

raven + lily brands we love south by northwest @mrsmalinowskiI’m a big believer in the saying “practice what you preach.” Lately it has me thinking about where and how I choose to spend my money.

A few months ago I stumbled across the company Raven + Lily and was immediately taken by both their mission and well as their beautiful jewelry. In addition to jewelry, they also offer women’s clothing, bags, and home goods. Raven + Lily’s mission is to empower women through skill development and design. They employ over 1,500 women in more than 8 countries and their employees receive fair trade wages and are given access to health care and education.

CEO Kirsten Dickerson was quoted in the Baylor Magazine saying “I think the most effective way to alleviate cycles of poverty is through the education of children as well as the empowerment of women through skills training and sustainable income opportunities.” All I can say to that is YES. This is a company I wish I was smart enough and cool enough to have created. Since that’s not the case, I’ll just have to satisfy myself with wearing their jewelry!
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raven + lily socially responsible jewelry brand

Kirsten posing with a few of her craftswomen

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I particularly love that Raven + Lily is B Corp certified. Cause marketing is a growing trend. So many companies know that “giving back” is a great selling point for the millennial generation. However much like the difference between “natural” and “organic,” there’s a whole spectrum of companies that fall into the socially responsible category. B Corp status provides third party validation that Raven + Lily is committed to not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Their jewelry is modern and generally minimalist, but incorporates traditional artisan crafts and techniques. I’m a particular fan of their Kenya Collection, which features a lot of bold brass jewelry. I’ve shared a few of my favorite pieces below. You can learn more about their work in Kenya and shop the entire Kenya Collection here.
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raven + lily necklace socially responsible jewelry

raven + lily socially responsible jewelryraven + lily brands we love sustainable jewelry and fashion south by northwest
Isn’t that last piece, the Dani Statement necklace, just gorgeous! I love that these days it’s pretty easy to find socially responsible brands committed to sustainable sourcing and making a positive impact on the communities in which they work. The Ethical Fashion Forum is a great resource for finding brands that fit this mold.
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What do you look for in a beauty or fashion brand? Mil and I are both suckers for beautiful packaging.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Photos sources: Raven + Lily

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