Monday, July 16, 2018

Kale Apple Salad for Lunch


Kale is one of those veggies you either love or you hate. I never had any issues with it, but it wasn't until I bought into a community-supported agriculture (CSA) from a local organic farm that I really started to embrace it. I've received kale in every share this year. To use it all, I've been packing kale salads in my lunch. The recipe is really simple, yummy, and healthy. The tangy dijon dressing really takes away any bitterness in the kale. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

For the salad:

1 cup of kale
A handful of slivered almonds and dried cranberries
Half an apple chopped up
A sprinkling of goat cheese

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of smooth dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons of honey
A pinch of salt and pepper


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Good Pair of Denim Shorts

Details: Similar Anthropologie Body Suit / J.Crew Denim Shorts and Scarf / Jack Rogers Sandals 

The last time I owned a pair of denim shorts was in high school. I still remember wearing them with my Tommy Hilfiger polo and matching Tommy Girl perfume probably on my way to go cosmic bowling. As an adult, I didn't think they were very flattering until recently. Now I like the way they look with flowy, bohemian tops or a simple striped shirt. They go with anything. I bought this pair during the J.Crew memorial sale for 50% off, and I think they're a great investment. The fit and wash are super flattering. My only regret is that I didn't buy them in a bigger size. I think I would have liked a slightly more relaxed fit. I do like how they make my legs look longer, though!




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Avocado Grapefruit Salad

I've made it a priority to make fresh meals almost every night for dinner. No packaged or frozen meals unless that's all I have time for. With these sweltering 90-degree days we've had, it's hard to want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So I've been gravitating toward simple, no-oven-required recipes. This avocado grapefruit salad is perfect for hot summer days and it's bursting with color and flavor. All you need are a few ripe avocados, grapefruit, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, and kosher salt. I made this with fish tacos one night and it was bon appetit!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tips for Shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

One of the biggest sales of the year is almost is here: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you're not familiar, I'll give you a quick rundown. Every year around this time, Nordstrom debuts its fall merchandise. Instead of waiting until the end of the season to mark it down, they launch it at sale prices. This includes designers like Tory Burch and Michael Kors, which rarely go on sale, and major brands like Nike and North Face. So if you've been eyeing those Tory Burch Reva Flats or a North Face Jacket, now is the time to pounce. You likely won't find better prices all year. 

The sale opens to the public on July 20 and runs through August 5. You can get early access starting July 12 if you sign up for a Nordstrom Credit Card or Rewards Card. You certainly don't need early access to shop the sale, but it does ensure you get access to it before the more popular items sell out. A Southern Drawl wrote a great blog post about all of the details if you're still not convinced. 

The first time I shopped the sale, I felt very overwhelmed. Nordstrom has a huge selection to sort through, which can be especially stressful when you're hunting for a great deal and hoping nothing you want sells out. Here are some tips for getting the most out of it. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fourth of July Flag Luminary

The American flag as home decor has always appealed to me. There's something so traditional about the stripes and stars, yet timeless. The colors pair just as well with deep wood tones as they do with bright whites. And the Fourth of July holiday has always held a special place in my heart since I was a young girl walking to see the fireworks display with my family and staying up late to play with sparklers in the backyard. Although I've moved away from home, the rituals remain the same. To quickly add some festive flair to the apartment this year, I made these American Flag luminaries, which double nicely as flower vases.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Loft Striped Swing Dress

 Details: Loft Dress (Similar) / Madewell Flats (Similar) / J.Crew Scarf 

Every summer my social calendar fills up with dressy occasions faster than a Target collab sells out. It's usually a mix of bridal/baby showers, graduation parties, and rehearsal dinners. And every year, I inevitably want a new dress or two to wear to all of these soirees. This year, I gravitated to this simple, but classic navy blue and white striped swing dress from Loft. Its timeless yet has a really flattering and modern fit. The nautical theme fits with the various events I have lined up, from dressed-up dinner at the beach to bridal shower brunch. And with my red flats, it definitely has potential for the fourth of July. What are you excited to wear this summer? 




Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Burrata, Tomato, Basil Pasta


The last few weekends have been pretty quiet for me, so I wanted to spend some time really indulging in the activities I enjoy when by myself. I've been painting, reading, crafting, watching movies — whatever I feel like in the moment. As part of that, I didn't want to commit myself to too many duties — cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, etc. The to-do list could go on forever. Saturday night I wanted a dinner that felt just as indulgent as spending my free time however I pleased but didn't require a lot of effort. That's where this pasta dish really shines, and it all comes down to one ingredient that really steals the show: burrata cheese. 

Burrata is essentially a mozzarella cheese pouch filled with cream and curd. It's as ridiculously good as it sounds. I first encountered this type of cheese at one of our favorite Pittsburgh restaurants, Il Pizzaiolo. It was served with basil, tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The first time I had it, I felt like I never truly understood how good cheese could be. And I loved cheese before that, so this was a big deal. When I saw that Trader Joe's carried it, I had to have it! The first time I prepared it, I copied the Il Pizzaiolo tomato salad recipe. For a homemade salad, it felt restaurant quality. When I saw this Camille Styles pasta recipe, I knew this would be the perfect easy yet indulgent Saturday night dinner. Trust me when I say, you have to try it!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pink Tassel Earrings

BaubleBar Earrings / Banana Republic Sweater and Top / Articles of Society Jeans / Everlane Loafers

The sun is out and it's getting warmer and nicer by the day, which means it's time to start adding bright colors and fun textures to your wardrobe. In preparation for the summer months, I purchased these BaubleBar Tassel Earrings because I knew they would be the perfect complement to white jeans and nautical tops and many other combinations. They're versatile enough to wear with a maxi dress for dinner and drinks or with a white t-shirt and jean shorts for strolling around town. Right now I'm slowly starting to introduce them with outfits that are yearning for a pop of color, like this navy blue sweater with jeans. What are you starting to wear more of now that the weather is nice?



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Striped Midi Skirt

 Details: Banana Republic Factory Skirt (Similar) / Gap Shirt / Nine West Sandals 

After what felt like a century-long winter and months of wearing the same sweaters and pants, this striped midi skirt is giving me and my wardrobe life. The length makes it easy to style with a tucked in t-shirt or blouse and the vertical stripe is elongating. I don't have a lot of black in my wardrobe, but I made an exception for this skirt because I loved it so much. Plus it's perfect to pair with pink heels for a little pop of color. And I definitely feel more confident and creative when I'm wearing this outfit at work. Sadly it looks like this is sold out on the Banana Republic Factory website, but I found a similar skirt at Loft and linked it above.






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.

Kale Apple Salad for Lunch

Kale is one of those veggies you either love or you hate. I never had any issues with it, but it wasn't until I bought into a communi...