Wednesday, April 25, 2018

White Crop Flare Jeans

Details: Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans and Sweater (Similar J.Crew Sweater) / Gap Factory Sandals / Anthropologie Necklace / Nordstrom Ring / Charming Charlie Earrings  

Guys, I'm loving crop flare pants! Is it just me? Sometimes I think my mind's playing tricks on me because they're kind of reminiscent of floods, but then I picture them 100 different ways for spring and summer and I'm sold. They're definitely a departure from the skinny jeans that have been dominating my closet lately. I love how they show a little ankle and a little shoe. Right now I'm wearing them with sweaters. (By the way, I wish I bought a couple of these sweaters in different colors before they sold out!) But, once it gets a little warmer, I can't wait to wear these with a t-shirt and Chuck Taylors or with a nice top for work. What are you crushing on for spring/summer?





Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blouson Sleeve Top

 CeCe by Cynthia Steffe Blouse / Banana Republic Factory Skirt / Madewell Ava Slingback Flat

I'm a sucker for a dramatic sleeve and this one had me at hello. With its sweet, light blue pattern and pintuck detail, it's a nice daytime option for either work or play. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to contrast the voluminous sleeves with a more fitted silhouette like this BR Factory skirt. I love playing with proportions. The cherry on top of this outfit is really this pair of Madewell slingback flats. Aren't they fun?

If you love the blouse, you maybe be able to find it at TJ Maxx. I got mine there for $24. If you can't find it there, it's also available via Nordstrom Rack at the link above for less than $35.
 





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Work Pants


I'm slowly starting to overhaul my wardrobe, gradually getting rid of things I don't wear anymore and replacing them with smarter choices. Getting dressed in the morning was starting to feel like a frustrating task. My wardrobe was bursting at the seams yet it felt like I had nothing to wear. This was probably because I was buying individual pieces that didn't always play well together. It was clear to me that I needed to take a more holistic approach. So I've started identifying my signature "looks," the outfits that always make me feel good when I wear them.

One of my favorite looks for work is pairing leggings with my Everlane loafers. This is definitely one of my "looks" that I want to start building my wardrobe around, so I stocked up on work leggings when Banana Republic Factory was having a sale. I love this pair especially because of its herringbone pattern. They feel elevated compared to your regular pair of leggings. And right now they're only $38.99. I can see myself adding a sweater blazer, like this J.Crew factory one, to my wardrobe next to go with this look. What are your go-to looks? How do you keep your wardrobe full of options?




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter Dress

Billabong Dress (Similar LuLu's Dress) / Nine West Pumps via DSW (Similar Nine West Pumps) / Target Tights / Charming Charlie Necklace 

When I look at old family photos, some of my favorites to peruse are from Easter. Not because of awkward poses with the Easter bunny, although I'm sure we have some of those in a box somewhere. My favorite part about them is how my mother used to dress up me and my sisters, sometimes to match, in frilly pastel dresses, white tights, and bonnets. We looked like little Easter confections, and I honestly think this is one of the reasons I am so into fashion. My mom always created these wonderful outfits for special occasions that I loved and could not wait to wear. As an adult, I still feel that excitement picking out an outfit for a special event.

Although I have moved on from white tights, I will be donning tights this Easter to stay warm. To match this year's dress, I've decided to wear navy tights. My conundrum was then what shoes  to wear. I wasn't sure at first, but I actually think these nude pumps look kind of cute with tights. I think what makes this work is that the colors of the tights and shoes can both be found in the dress itself, but aren't a perfect match. What do you think? Would you wear nude pumps with navy tights? What are you wearing this Easter?





Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Embroidered Jeans

Details: Sweater via Nordstrom (Similar BP Funnel Neck Sweater, Calson Cowl Neck Sweater, Gibson Tunic Sweater) / Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans / Halogen Boots via Nordstrom (Similar Sam Edelman Riding Boots)  

I have been desperate to wear anything that resembles spring lately, and it's been one of those years when winter seems to drag on uncontrollably. These embroidered jeans are one way I'm trying to breath some life back into my wardrobe. I love the detail and color of the flowers, and although this is a lighter wash jean than I'm used to, they seem to go with all of my cozy sweaters, so I can wear them through the uncertain weather days of March. When it does finally get warmer, I can't wait to wear them with a silk camisole and espadrilles.

I got these jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch of all places! I can't believe I'm shopping there again, but they have had some really cute, affordable styles lately. Don't worry! This doesn't mean I'll be endorsing the return of puka shell necklaces anytime soon. But it does make me think back to high school and simpler times when all we carried around were portable CD players as opposed to mini computers. What was the last CD in your Discman? Mine was either Blink 182 or Crazy Town. Embarrassing, but probably true!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Introducing, Christina Darling



When I first started blogging, close to 10 years ago, I was living in Cleveland and working as an associate editor at a medical trade magazine for ophthalmology. After years of schooling and promise of a great future, it wasn’t exactly what I had pictured. In other words, I wasn’t the Anne Hathaway, assistant turned fashion editor, in the movie of my life. But, after all of the turmoil in the financial world in 2008 and the reality of student loan payments, I was happy to be an English major who was gainfully employed and actually putting my degree to use. It became pretty clear, however, that there was a void in my life. I was looking for a way to fully exercise my creativity without holding back. Inspired by bloggers like Cupcakes and Cashmere and A Cup of Jo, I started my blog, the Cosmopolitan Clevelander. I immersed myself in the world of blogging, learning best practices and becoming a part of the community. It ended up being fulfilling in more ways than I had imagined. I was introduced to a style community in Cleveland that I wasn’t aware existed and hundreds like it all over the world, all through my computer. I felt like I was plugged into this creative, inspiring universe full of people just like me. 

Fast forward to 2011. I get this great opportunity to work as a copywriter at a global lab supply company based in Pittsburgh. Finally: a chance to express my creativity at my 9 to 5. So I packed my bags and moved. Over the last seven years, a lot has changed. I got my MBA, turned 30, went to Rome, got a Triple A card. Serious adulting has happened! Along the way, I’ve changed and evolved too and so has my style. I’m more drawn to classic, simple, enduring pieces that will serve me for years to come. And when I do introduce a trend, I make sure it satisfies my own personal style criteria, editing out anything that doesn’t work for me. I’ve adopted the less is more approach for more than just my wardrobe. It’s become a guiding principle for my life, and in turn, will define the type of content I’ll be sharing on my blog.

Recognizing this internal shift, I felt like it was time to move my blog forward with me. Working with one of the great designers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting since I moved to Pittsburgh, I’ve refreshed the name and look of my blog to reflect the classic everyday looks I’ll be sharing. I also want to start sharing more of myself and my everyday life on the blog, which is why I’ve incorporated my name. To put it simply, I’m making the blog more, me! I hope you’ve enjoyed following The Cosmopolitan Clevelander over the years and that you’ll join me as I share charming everyday style on my new blog, Christina Darling.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Cute Spring Blouse

Violet and Clair Top via Marshalls / Gap Pants / Nine West Shoes via DSW (Similar)

Spring needs to get here. I am ready for dresses and sandals and walking outside without wanting to immediately walk back inside. We are unfortunately still very far from being at that place right now but a girl can dream and mix in some spring patterns along the way. I found this top at Marshalls a few weeks ago, was instantly drawn in by the pattern, and fell in love when I saw the dramatic sleeves and delicate ruffle detail on the shoulders and neck. I definitely don't have enough blouses in my wardrobe that are just as fabulous at work as they are at night or on the weekend. And this one was only $20! Marshalls had a lot of great stuff for spring, including dresses. I got a great Vince Camuto dress for wedding season for only $40! What are you loving for spring?





Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Three Easy Healthyish Dinners

Dinner has become one of the daily rituals I look forward to the most. Cooking a meal allows me to get a little creative, have a little fun and unwind from a long day. My mind gets to let go and focus on a fairly conquerable challenge. And once at the dinner table, the beau and I get to share our days, sometimes over a glass of wine. But, planning and making time for dinner can sometimes be stressful. With all of our life commitments, making a fresh and healthy meal every night can be tricky. That's why I'm slowly but surely developing a stable of tried and true healthy yet easy weeknight dinners that I can turn to when things get crazy. And I'm hoping you can enjoy them too!

Here are three that meals that I've been making lately:


Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Cauliflower, and Carrot Salad
  • Marinated Pork Tenderloin from Market District (Tuscan Herb); cook according to package instructions
  • Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower from Skinny Taste (Add 1/3 cup of cheese to make them cheesy)
  • Tangy Carrot Salad from Skinny Taste: peel 3 to 4 carrots into ribbons, add kosher salt, pepper, 4 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Zoodles
  • Roast shrimp with olive oil, minced garlic, pepper, salt, and tomatoes at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes 
  • Use spiralizer to make zucchini noodles and saute for about 3 minutes

Tilapia, Quinoa Salad, and Brussels Sprouts 
  • Season tilapia with salt and pepper and coat with flour; saute for 3 to 4 minutes on each side 
  • Roast Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes 
  • Cook quinoa using package directions; mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, 12 cherry tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Day Outfit


Are you feeling the love this Valentine's Day or are you boycotting it this year? We don't usually make a big deal out of the holiday, opting to spend our money on travel and other experiences throughout the year. We'll be making dinner at home, including this Chocolate Fruit Dip recipe. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to wear something romantic. I got this super cute skirt at Loft right before Christmas for 40% off. Talk about love at first sight! Loft has had great skirts lately and this one has the perfect shape for twirling. What are your plans this year? Wearing anything special? Sending lots of love your way and hoping, no matter how you celebrate, it's everything you want it to be!


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Valentine's Day Crafts

Valentine's Day always seems like the best time for handmade gifts. What better way to pour your heart out to the ones you love than with a creation all your own? Here are three things I've been working on this year that are so easy and cheap, they don't even need a tutorial. And I think the simple sweetness of each speaks for itself.

Handmade cards
I bought the supplies for these handmade cards at Michael's for maybe $5 including a coupon. The only thing I had on hand already was the paint. These blank cards with envelopes are available in packs of 10 and come in a few different colors. I thought the brown would give these cards the rustic, handmade feel I was going for.

To make the shapes, I found images in a Google search, put a piece of paper on my computer screen and traced the shapes with a pencil. I then cut them out so I could use them as a stencil for drawing them onto the cards or for cutting out shapes with the fancy paper. You can buy individual sheets of the sequin paper and the lace paper for a nominal value. For the lace card, I just cut off the lace edge of one of those sheets of paper and glued it on with my glue gun. I painted the heart and lips using my water colors.

Bow Hair Tie 
This craft only cost me a $1.50 because this velvet ribbon was on clearance at Michael's. I tied a bow and pulled on the ends and the loops of the bow until it was the size I wanted. Then I cut the ribbon still attached to the spool to match the length of the other side. I glued a hair tie to the back center of the bow with my glue gun. To make it look a little more polished, I wrapped a shorter piece of the velvet ribbon around the center (and over the hair tie) and secured it with my glue gun.

Heart Wreath
Do you ever start crafts that you don't finish? Me too! It is my goal this year to finish this heart wreath that I started a few years ago. I started it by bending a wire hanger into a heart shape using pliers. Then I cut thin strips from a yard of cheap red fabric. Using the end of the wire hanger as my needle, I poked a hole through the center of the fabric, essentially threading the wire through the fabric accordion style. I still have a long way to go and I need to buy more fabric, but until then I actually think this looks kind of artsy and cool.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

3 Cute Outfits for When It's Cold

So far, getting dressed this winter has consisted of me finding the longest, thickest, most turtleneck sweater in my closet and pairing it with pants. There's not much else you can do with weather like this. So in an attempt to change it up and fight this winter style rut, here are three cute outfits for when it's cold. 

Mia Embroidered Boots, $59.97
Or go to ZuLily for more sizes and a cheaper price, $49.99

I got these boots for Christmas, and I have been hesitant to wear them with all of the snow and salt. But, if you are just hopping into and out of an Uber for the night and you don't have to worry about hiking through mountains of snow, these are a nice way to add a little color and texture to the sweater and black leggings we've all been living in this winter.


ASTR the Label Tie Sleeve Sweater, $19.97
(Similar Nordstrom Rack tie-sleeve sweater here and here, J.Crew tie-sleeve sweater here)
If you can't embellish your footwear, embellish your sweater. When I first got this sweater, I thought you were supposed to tie it the way you see above, but apparently the ties are supposed to be in the front. Personally, I think it looks good either way and it's not the only way to make your sweater game more interesting. It seems like there are an endless amount of options for sweaters. Bows, ties, fringe, pom-poms, sequins, appliques, embroidery, you name it!


Thread and Supply Wubby Fleece Pullover, $78
Though this pullover may be for when you made plans with your friends and then decided to stay at home instead because it's just too damn cold, I still think it's cute enough to be worn in the light of day. That is if you do decide to leave the house! The fur elevates it from an everyday pullover to something a little more special. And if you do decide to stay in, put on your leggings and slippers, grab your hot tea and just lean into it. No one will care because everyone else is just as cold.

White Crop Flare Jeans

  Details: Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans and Sweater ( Similar J.Crew Sweater ) / Gap Factory Sandals / Anthropologie Necklace / Nordst...