7 ways to wear a leather jacket

 It is finally looking like leather jacket season in San Francisco (not to be confused with the rest of the year except for September and October, which is also leather jacket season), so in honor of my favorite time of year, I thought I'd bring you another Cheryl's Greatest Hits featuring seven ways to wear one of my favorite wardrobe workhorses, the leather moto jacket. As longtime Cheryl Shops readers know, I bought this Banana Republic moto jacket several years ago when I worked at Gap headquarters, and while I can't always advocate for Banana's clothes, this jacket is one of the best items they make, which explains why they keep bringing it back season after season. They have miraculously not raised the price since I bought mine—it's still $499, although you can usually get it on sale (never pay full price for anything at Banana!)—the leather is buttery soft, and the thing fits like a glove. A good leather jacket is totally worth the investment and you'll have it for years, so without further ado, here are seven ways to wear it. 



An honest review of Wardrobe clothing rental

Back in my late 20s and early 30s, when I had 7 or 8 weddings per year to attend, I used an Excel spreadsheet to track which dresses I wore to which events. This began in the days before social media, but I basically wanted to make sure I wasn't turning up in the same dress at every event with the each group of people. The alternative, of course, was to buy a new dress for each event, which is cost-prohibitive (and wasteful) and is what drove Jenn Hyman to found Rent the Runway. I thought RTR was an amazing idea and I know a lot of people who love it, but to this day, I've never actually used it, because the items I'd actually want to rent are way too expensive. In other words, I'd rent a designer dress for $50 or $60 (or maybe even a bit more), but not $200. There are other clothing rental companies out there (I reviewed one last year), but so far none that really piqued my interest—until now. Wardrobe is like Airbnb for clothes, shoes, and accessories: you rent items from a user's closet for 4, 10, or 20 days at a time; everything is dry-cleaned and stored in a central warehouse (and if you open a closet with Wardrobe, you can make a little extra money renting out your own clothes); and it all comes clearly labeled and nicely packaged. Most importantly, Wardrobe has everything from Alice and Olivia to Hermès, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. They were kind enough to offer me a credit to try the service for free; here's what I borrowed and my unbiased, honest review of the entire experience.



Get the look: trench coat and cropped jeans

Whew, it's been a week! Mercury is in retrograde, temperatures here have been in the 80s, and I have work coming out of my ears (which I know I shouldn't complain about). Anyway, happy Friday! Let's ease into the weekend with this month's most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board—it's casual, it's timeless, it's seasonless, it's perfect. You probably own all the pieces to re-create this look already, but if not, read on. 



A totally secondhand outfit

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year—which feels more like 10 years ago at this point—I was working on a sustainability campaign for my day job. Throughout my research, I kept coming across similar statistics about how horrible fast fashion is for the environment; it was enough for me to make sustainability my main 2020 resolution. That resolution had several parts, one of which was "no new stuff." I was doing a pretty good job until COVID came along, and with it some promo codes and sales that I was too weak to resist. I'm not beating myself up about it; I do feel like I'm being much more conscious about what I'm buying—only things I love, of the best quality I can afford. That said, I have been doing quite a bit of secondhand shopping this year, and while 2020 is almost over (THANK GOD), it's a habit I'm going to stick with. Not only is buying secondhand better for the planet, it's way more affordable than buying something new, and it's not hard to find barely (if at all) used items. So while this post is long overdue, I wanted to celebrate my progress with a totally secondhand outfit. Here's how it all came together.



Things I've bought on Amazon that I love

Amazon has finally announced that Prime Day is October 13–14 (technically two days) and while I know it's popular to boycott it, I think Prime Day is kind of fun. I love refreshing the page to see what the hourly deals are, and let's be real, the deals can be pretty amazing. I do realize that Amazon undercuts small businesses, has a rather large monopoly, and probably has more data on me that I care to think about—plus there are some tax implications that need to be addressed on a federal level—but we can also thank Amazon for making user reviews, personalization, and search capabilities so widespread. Online retail wouldn't be what it is today without Amazon. I do try to buy things locally from small businesses as much as possible, but that said, I have found some amazing things on Amazon over the years. So in honor of Prime Day, here are six things that I've bought on Amazon that I love, and that I'd highly recommend. 


What to wear with a coatigan

A what? A coatigan is a cross between a coat and a cardigan; it's longer than a swacket, or sweater jacket, and has more of a ring to it than "sweater coat." As I noted in my fall trend report, a coatigan is a must-have for fall 2020, so I wanted to show you what I'm wearing with mine ASAP, seeing as how we're already in October. (Seriously, how is it October already?!) I know this won't be the last time you'll see this one, but it's definitely the first, so let's get to it. 


Fall Trend Report

It feels a little weird writing about trends on several levels. For one, I didn't really do my annual spring trend report, because we were newly in lockdown and all anyone could think about was comfort clothing: sweatpants, sweatshirts, slippers, and so on. On a deeper level, I'm realizing there's something about fashion that almost requires you to be seen out in the world; to paraphrase that old philosophical question, if a person wears an outfit and no one sees it, is it still fashion? The good news is that things here in San Francisco are slooooowly starting to reopen: hair salons, gyms, restaurants, and even movie theaters. I'll still be working from home for the rest of the year, if not longer—and if I'm being honest, dressing for the office has a certain agenda—but I at least feel like I'm venturing out into the world again, and thus I can get out of my jeans-and-sweatshirt rut. I've been really inspired by the street-fashion photos from Copenhagen Fashion Week, and while there's definitely a hygge element to fall fashion, I'm really excited about the micro-trends I'm featuring here and to shopping again. Who knows, I might even be compelled to shop in an actual store! Here's what's on my shopping list for fall. 



What to wear with a shoulder pad tee

So apparently I missed out on a big trend this summer: the shoulder-pad tee. It's more of a muscle tank with, yes, padded shoulders. It seemed like a ridiculous fashion-victim thing at first, but the more I saw them on my Instagram feed, the more I wanted a shoulder-pad top of my own. And while summer is winding down in the rest of the country, it's just getting started here in Northern California—it's 86 degrees as I write this—so I figured better late than never and placed an order. Here's how I styled my padded shoulder top. 



An honest review of Maelove skincare

I am constantly in pursuit of what I like to call "rich-girl skin"—smooth, poreless, glowy—and I will obediently try any skincare product that promises any of those effects. Maelove had been on my radar for awhile, after I'd seen it mentioned countless times in message boards and beauty-blog comment threads; it has also popped up pretty frequently in my Instagram feed, so clearly their ad targeting is spot-on. Then, like a sign from the universe, Maelove reached out to me about trying a few of their products, so in the name of investigative journalism, I agreed. (Everything I do, I do it for you, dear readers!) I've been using the following Maelove products exclusively for the last two weeks; here's my honest and unfiltered review. 


What to wear with paperbag pants

We've been watching a lot of throwback movies lately on our weekend nights in, one of which was Pacific Heights, a 1990 thriller starring Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, and Michael Keaton. It's basically about the horrors of being a landlord in San Francisco, and in spite of being 30 years old, it strangely touches upon some very current issues, including systemic racial discrimination. What struck me the most, however, was Melanie Griffith's wardrobe, which felt very 2020 with its mix of straight-leg mom jeans, boyfriend blazers, and drawstring bags. In one pivotal scene, she wears a fabulous pair of high-waisted paperbag pants and while I know I was supposed to be focused on the plot, I immediately got on Shopstyle and started looking for a pair in black. I always say you can never have too many black pants, so here's the latest addition to my repertoire. 


Get the look: bouclé sweater and wide-leg trousers

The first day of fall is next week already, and I have a feeling it's on everyone's mind, because this month's most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board is definitely an autumnal one. The palette is minimal and so is the outfit—at only three pieces, it's one of the simplest I've ever featured in this series. But it sounds like we're all looking for a little minimalism in our lives and in our wardrobes, so let's re-create the look. 

What to wear with lace-up sandals

 This is the outfit I had intended to share last week, one that straddles summer and fall, which felt appropriate for just after Labor Day. Under normal circumstances, this would feel almost a bit too bundled up for San Francisco weather in September, which is typically the warmest time of year. But after a week of heavy smoke from wildfires and unseasonably thick fog, I’ve learned to roll with the punches. Which is a pretty apt way to describe how to handle seasonal transitions no matter where you live. Or the year 2020. So this look feels very fall from the waist up and very summer from the waist down; it’s a bit idiosyncratic, but so is life nowadays. Here’s how it all came together. 


7 ways to wear a denim jacket

In case you haven't been reading, listening to, or watching the news lately, pretty much the entire state of California is on fire at the moment. I am (thankfully) safe, but San Francisco is currently cloaked in unhealthy levels of smoke (the sky was literally orange on Wednesday) and unfortunately we can't go outside, which means we can't shoot a new post, and thus I don't have a new one for you this week. What I can offer, however, is a Cheryl's Greatest Hits featuring one of my favorite wardrobe items of all time, my Gap Icon denim jacket. The timing is actually quite good, because it's the perfect transitional piece—or, in my case, the perfect year-round layer. So without further ado, here are seven of my favorite ways to wear it. 


Wine tasting in Anderson Valley

Have you ever taken a trip that was so good, you forgot to take photos? We just spent a long weekend in Mendocino County, and that's exactly the kind of getaway it was—so relaxing, we were able to be present and not glued to our phones. (The fact that I didn't have cell reception 95% of the time definitely helped.) I meant for this post to be a sort of travel diary about our trip, but then I realized that I already did that two years ago when we went to Mendocino. Last time, we stayed in town; this time we were a bit south, in Little River, and we only went into Mendocino to grab meals (most of which were takeout, due to Covid restrictions). We also brought Zuni with us on this trip, which gave it a slightly different vibe; it was a little less romance and more quality family time. But since the air in the city has been thick with smoke for weeks due to the wildfires, we were thrilled to get out of our apartment, into the fresh, clean, coastal air. The one day we did take photos was when we went a bit inland to the town of Philo, which is where many of the Anderson Valley wineries are located. Here's where we ate and drank. 


Labor Day sale picks

 Sometimes my posts are written days in advance; sometimes I'm working up until my deadline (and sometimes a little beyond that). This post is an example of the latter. I was intending to post a bunch of ridiculously marked-down sale items for your buying pleasure, but in researching this post, I realized that the most exciting deals were the ones on fall styles. They might not be 80% off, but I'd rather spend a little bit more on things for the upcoming season, rather than ones that I can wear a few more weeks, then stow away until next year. So here are my favorite buy now, wear soon pieces, plus more Labor Day sales for your bargain-shopping pleasure, because this is a safe place. 


What to wear with a housedress

I'm going to make a bold statement: 2020 the year of the housedress. True, 2020 is not yet over (although maybe it should be) but it is already September (September!!), and while it hasn't been a big year for fashion trends, the one I've most readily embraced is the housedress. Debuting during the postwar years when housewives needed something to wear whilst cooking and doing chores, housedresses evolved into a slightly more fabulous version in the '70s, when they were geared more toward entertaining at home. Then in the '80s, women went to work in offices, and they'v been pretty much dormant ever since. Now, however, two major factors have collided to create the perfect conditions for the return of the housedress. One is that big, floaty dresses are in fashion. The other is that, obviously, we're all staying home waaaaaaay more than we have in years. And while wearing sweatpants was fun for awhile, one doesn't always feel the most pulled-together in them. Hence, the housedress. It's comfy yet pretty, functional yet feminine. I've been living in them this summer, and last week I bought my best one yet. 


Get the look: oversized tunic shirt and jeans

In recent months, I've been gravitating toward the simple things, and it sounds like you have been too, because this month's most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board is pretty classic—with a twist. The top is slightly exaggerated, the jeans are basic (but fit well), but the accessories are what make this one really stand out. (Spoiler alert: they don't come cheap.) Here's how to get the look. 



What to wear when you're in a wardrobe rut

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I'm in a bit of a wardrobe rut at the moment. I'm kind of tired of everything in my closet, and I haven't been shopping recently because of some economic uncertainty (which, thankfully, is now resolved). I'm not exactly tired of summer—the truly warm weather is just getting started here in San Francisco—but I can't enjoy it much at the moment because the air is super smoky due to the wildfires burning all over the freaking state, so we have to stay inside. Again. Alas, the show must go on, so here I am in an outfit that I actually like, although I feel the need to warn you that it's not my most original look. It is, however, one that I feel comfortable and cute in, so that will have to do for now. 

What to wear with a cargo skirt

It is finally summer here in San Francisco, and while everyone else is starting to think about transitioning to fall clothes, I'm breaking out the sundresses and bare legs. It was in the 90s last week, which is super rare; and even though I don't have air-conditioning, I won't complain. Coincidentally, we tried to shoot a version of this outfit twice before and had to scrap it because I was too hot and sweaty both times. I ended up going with a slightly different T-shirt and skirt than I had originally intended, but I like this version even better—so much so that the cargo skirt became the key piece of this look. Here's how it all came together. 

What to buy from the Sephora sale

The last few months have made me truly appreciate the simple things in life, and one of those is shopping in a store that's not Target or the grocery store. Yesterday I went to Sephora for the first time since March, and I was so happily overwhelmed that I was there for over an hour and had a conversation with every Beauty Advisor in the store. I didn't even care that I couldn't use any of the testers; being there was exciting enough. Sephora is likewise excited to welcome its clients back, and to sweeten the deal, they're running a sale now through Sunday, August 23rd: $15 off a $75 purchase or $20 off a $100 purchase. You can use code WELCOMEBACK once online, but the best part is that you can use it as many times as you want in stores. The location I went to was super clean, and I was offered hand sanitizer when I entered, plus everyone was wearing masks (which should go without saying at this point, but...); the stores are also running a giveaway game that you play on your phone. I didn't win, but I did buy a lot of stuff. Full disclosure: as I mentioned in my last Sephora post, I work for their corporate office, so I received some of these items gratis. But here are my current recommendations on what to buy during the Sephora sale. 


Nordstrom Anniversary Sale best buys 2020

Today's the day that Insiders are finally allowed to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and while many of my sale picks from last week are now sold out, the good news is that almost all of my favorites from past years are still in stock. I wear (and love) all of these pieces and highly recommend them—read on for my Anniversary Sale best buys!


What to wear with a tiered dress

 Two truly miraculous things have happened in the last week. One is that I was able to get my hair colored. Our hair salons in San Francisco are technically still closed, but it had been six months since my last appointment and I was starting to feel really depressed—call me vain, but, yes, my physical appearance does affect my mood. I cheated on my regular stylist with a friend of a friend (my color is not 100% right, but it's close enough) and I don't regret it for a second. (Sorry, Richard!) I feel like myself again and I realize the irony in that it involves artificial hair color, but whatever, I contain multitudes. Anyway, the other miraculous thing is that I went into H&M to kill time before my chiropractor appointment, and not only do they have a ton of dresses on sale (plus a bunch that are sold out on their website), but after over a year of searching, I finally found the perfect tiered dress. The best part? It was on sale.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks 2020

Retailers have been hit rather hard by Covid—layoffs, store closures, bankruptcy filings—and even Nordstrom's famous Anniversary Sale got postponed by nearly a month. Things are definitely different this year; in lieu of the catalog, which always gets me super pumped by showcasing the best items, Nordstrom offered an online preview, which, while less sexy than a beautifully art-directed catalog, is actually more practical. There are fewer designer brands participating this year, but I was able to load up my wish list with a lot of great finds—some of which, due to Nordstrom's staggered access days, are already sold out, thanks to the highest tier of Nordy Club members, who began shopping Monday. (Godspeed to Nordstrom's community managers, who have been responding to a lot of angry comments on their Instagram.) I am crossing my fingers that my favorites are still in stock by the time I'm able to shop next Thursday—here are my clothing, shoes & accessories, and beauty Anniversary Sale picks for 2020. 


1. This is probably not something I'd buy a full price, but I am intrigued nonetheless, and it's a pretty hot look. 

2. If there were ever time for this ironic T-shirt, the time is now. 

3. This cardigan looks cozy yet interesting, thanks to the flared sleeves and side tie. It's the kind of thing you live in all winter long. 

4. Will 2020 be the year I finally give in to the teddy coat trend? This striped version finally might be the one I commit to. 
Bernardo teddy coat $124.90 (reg. $210)

5. I've been looking for a chunky-knit cream funnel-neck sweater (specific, I know) for ages, and Vince's knits are worth the investment. 
Vince funnel neck sweater $199.90 (reg. $365)

6. Jeans are usually a good buy during the anniversary sale, and while Levi's no longer makes my favorite fit (the 505C), these look pretty darn close. 
Levi's 501 Crop jeans $63.90 (reg. $98)

7. One of the few designer items left, this dress is very wear-now, and considering it's silk, a pretty good deal too. 
Ba&sh Fenix midi dress $246.90 (reg. $495)

8. With nearly 3,000 five-star reviews, these faux leather leggings are definitely worth a try—you will probably live in them this winter. 
Spanx faux leather leggings $64.90 (reg. $98)



1. Oversized coin necklaces are having a moment right now, and I'm always a fan of Gorjana's jewelry. 
Gorjana palm coin necklace $35.90 (reg. $60)

2. Of all the items in this post, I am probably most excited about these slippers—with shelter in place still in full effect, I will wear them more than any other pair of shoes I own (and my current slippers are on the verge of falling apart). 
Ugg Fluffette slippers $59.90 (reg. $89.95)

3. I scoured London for a pair of earrings just like this back in March and, well, here they are. 

4. I truly don't need another pair of sneakers but...I totally want these retro velcro-strap kicks. 
Veja Esplar sneakers $97.50 (reg. $135)

5. One of the few departments where you can find big-name items is the sunglasses department; these seem like an incredibly good deal at that. 
Celine rectangle sunglasses $344.90 (reg. $500)

6. I've been wanting a pair of knee-high snakeskin-print boots for awhile, and while I'm not totally convinced that they're "me," these also come in a nice taupe suede. 
Vince Camuto Beaanna boots $159.90 (reg. $239.95)

7. I had no idea Missoni scarves were so (relatively) affordable! It's definitely a statement piece, but a not-pass-up-able one. 
Missoni zigzag scarf $123.90 (reg. $185)

8. I've had my eye on this particular bag for ages, and while I don't have any use for it at the moment, the price is tempting. 
Clare V leopard bag  $299.90 (reg. $545)




1. I'm on an eternal search for a product that will make my lashes look like extensions, naturally. This may be worth a try. 

2. This is a great way to sample Diptyque's best candles before committing to a full-size one (and for the record, Feu de Bois is my favorite). 
Diptyque travel candles $55 ($75 value) 

3. This clean-beauty brand has a cult following, and even though I'm not the biggest fan of body wash (I prefer bar soap), I'm eager to try this duo. 
Nécessaire the body duo $35 ($50 value)

4. I've been trying to find an alternative to cotton pads, and I'm very intrigued by this reusable set. 

5. Word on the street is that this hot brush is even better than the Revlon one, and this comes with a bunch of full- and travel-size products too. 
Drybar the Brush Crush set $165 ($243 value) 

6. Hands-down my favorite primer and setting powder—I recently ran out of the primer and my pores look like swimming pools without it. 
Hourglass Veil duo $65 ($74 value) 

7. I will do whatever it takes to get rid of my wrinkles, including waving this ridiculous-looking thing over my face for minutes at a time. 
LightStim for wrinkles $167 (reg. $249) 

8. This seems like a crazy amount of money to pay for hand soap, and yet I've found that a little luxury goes a long way, especially when you're washing your hands a gazillion times a day. 



What to wear with a leopard-print coat

Ermigahd, how is it August already! Spring seemed to drag and now we are blitzing through summer, which is actually fine with me, because I can't wait for autumn. September and October are generally the warmest, clearest, most glorious months here in San Francisco, but first we have to make it through Fogust. And in case you were wondering why I'm wearing a coat (albeit a lightweight one) in the middle of summer, that's why. Generally, it's foggy until midday, at which point the sun comes out for a few hours, then by mid-afternoon, the wind picks up and the fog rolls back in. And now that you know way more about San Francisco's weather conditions than you ever wanted to, let's delve into the outfit. 

The best face masks

Here we are, five months into the Covid-19 pandemic, and since things are not getting better, more than 30 states are now requiring that masks be worn in public. Yes, they are slightly uncomfortable and not as easy to breathe in as you'd prefer, but wouldn't it be nice if everyone just wore one for the next month or so and then we'd have the virus contained and life could go back to normal? Since April, I have been wearing a mask every time I leave the house—even to walk my dog or ride a bike—and while I keep trying new ones in search of my holy grail mask, I've found that the key is figuring out what's most comfortable for you. Here's what I look for in a face mask. 

How to wear all black in summer

Let me guess: you're thinking, "You don't look dressed for summer," which could be true if I lived anywhere else in the country but San Francisco, where summer means fog, wind, and temperatures that hit the mid-60s if we're lucky. Earlier in the day when we shot this, it was glorious and sunny (we ate brunch outside and I actually got a little sweaty), but sure enough, late afternoon rolled around and so did the clouds. So long story short, always bring a sweater, which thankfully I did. That said, even if you don't live in San Francisco and, say, have to deal with blasting air-conditioning all season, this outfit will also work. While it's definitely a little dressier than what I've been wearing lately, it's also incredibly comfy (and can be even more laid-back with a change of shoes). Here's how to put it all together.

Yosemite travel diary

When I was a kid, we mostly went to the beach or lake for vacation—my family was not super outdoorsy, and we definitely weren't campers. I still love a good beach vacation, and living in California, it may seem like a pretty obvious choice, but with all the Covid craziness still in full effect, we wanted to stay away from people and be outdoors as much as possible. Neither Sean nor I had ever been to Yosemite, so when it reopened with limited capacity, we decided to tack it on to our Big Sur trip. So while we got a week-long pass, we ended up going only three days; you could definitely hit the major sights all in one day if you got an early enough start, or you could spend an entire week in the park—there's so much to see and do there. Oh, and did I mention how insanely beautiful it is? It's kind of surreal to see in real life things you've seen in so many photographs and movies—sort of like the first time you go to Paris or New York, but it's all nature. Now that I sound like a total city slicker (which, of course, I am), here's how we spent our three days in Yosemite. 

What to wear when you've gained weight


I recently heard someone refer to jeans as “hard pants,” which made me literally laugh out loud. We’ve obviously been wearing a lot of “soft pants,” i.e. leggings and sweatpants, the last few months, and if you’ve been eating and drinking like I have, the thought of putting on anything without a lot of give may seem daunting. So today I’m not only sharing the most flattering (and comfy!) pair of jeans I’ve put on in ages, but also how to gloss over the fact that you may have put on a little weight. Yes, you should love yourself at whatever weight you are—and I do—but I think it’s also important to feel confident because you look good. So here are my tips on how to accentuate the positive. 

Get the look: white flowy dress

House dresses are having a moment, which makes sense, because we are, for the most part, literally housebound. But as I noted in Monday's post, just because you're staying at home doesn't mean you can't look pretty. This month's most repinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board manages to feel both comfy and feminine, which pretty much explains why it's so popular. And who can say no to a little white dress at this time of year? 


What to wear with a boho dress

For most of the year, I'd like to think that I dress in a pretty polished, minimalist-classic-yet-casual kind of way, but in summer, I've always gravitated toward a more boho look. There's something so effortless and appealing about light fabrics and a carefree vibe. This year, of course, things are a little different—for one, life is not so carefree, and pretending it is feels like a state of denial. But on the other hand, I'm dressing more casually than I ever have before, now that I don't have to go into an office, and while comfort is typically my number-one concern, I still want to look and feel pretty. So I've found myself gravitating toward midi and maxi dresses. They're super flowy and thus comfortable, but I don't feel like I'm letting myself go or succumbing to wearing athleisure all day (which I do do sometimes, so no judgment). I had hoped that this dress would arrive in time for my vacation, while it unfortunately did not, I found it worked just as well as a daytime dress to wear while working from home. Here's how I wore this boho dress out to dinner on Friday night. 

Big Sur travel diary

In spite of the fact that I'm not a textbook outdoorsy person, Big Sur is one of my favorite places on earth. I've day-tripped or driven through it multiple times, but had never actually spent the night there. So when my company announced that we had to take a mandatory week off—and flying anywhere was out of the question—Sean and I decided to take a road trip, and Big Sur seemed like the perfect place to hit first. Depending on traffic, it's about three and a half hours by car from San Francisco, and I highly recommend taking the scenic route, Highway 1, which goes along the Pacific. Big Sur is a magical place; it's surrounded by mountains, heavily forested, with a river running through it, and it stretches along some of the most gorgeous parts of the coastline. It's also incredibly peaceful and relaxing; on a usual vacation, it generally takes me a couple days to totally relax, but I felt completely mellow by the end of our first night. We spent four nights in Big Sur, but whether you're spending an entire week or only one night (considering we had a different neighbor every night, I think that's what most people tend to do), there are a gazillion things to do. Here's what we did in Big Sur.

This is the Bixby Creek Bridge, a must-stop on the way into (or out of) Big Sur 

What to wear on a road trip

I will preface this post by noting that it features a much more casual vibe than you're used to seeing here. I obviously like to bring more low-key pieces into the mix on a regular basis, but I rarely tend to wear them all at once. But when you're on a road trip, comfort is truly key, and when you're choosing to stop in very outdoorsy locations like we did, function and practicality are essential. My general packing philosophy is that (almost) everything you bring can ideally be worn together, so you have multiple outfit options out of fewer pieces (more on this here)—you'll see several items repeated throughout this post. We didn't capture every outfit I wore (you'll see a few more in my travel diaries, coming soon), but here are some of my favorites from our California road trip last week. 

The joy of treats

This post is sponsored by WellPet, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

As I alluded to in last week's post, having a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience on many levels, but you also need to put in a lot of work. There's the physical work, like exercising your dog, and there's mental work, which is often the more challenging kind. In order to make life easier for you and your dog, a certain level of training is in order. The most basic is housebreaking, followed by sit, stay, and come; you can get fancy and teach your dog tricks, and if they have the right temperament, they can be trained to be a service animal. However you train your dog, repetition and reinforcement are key—we practice training Zuni every single day—and in order to make it stick, you need to reward your dog. Some dogs respond better to action-based rewards, like getting to play with a favorite toy, whereas others respond best to treats. Zuni falls into the treat-based category, and when she's being stubborn (which is fairly frequently) it helps to have some that are really rewarding. Thankfully we've discovered Old Mother Hubbard, and Zuni loves them so much, she'll do just about anything for one. 

How to dress like a French woman in summer

I will preface this post by noting that this is probably the spendiest outfit I've ever featured here, although as you read on, I will detail how it can be had for much less than the retail price. Now that we've taken care of that, this is one of my favorite outfits I've ever featured on this blog, because every piece is meaningful and was carefully considered. One of my big goals for 2020 was to be more thoughtful about what I buy, and several of the key items here were long-planned and saved up for, while others are just some of my all-time favorites. So to set the scene, let's go back in time to my birthday trip to Paris back in March...

Why you should get a dog

This post is sponsored by Wellness, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Anecdotally speaking, people have been adopting dogs in record numbers over the last few months, and they're onto something. For one, since we've been staying at home more, it's an ideal situation to both focus on training your dog and bonding with it. For another, having a dog brings a sense of normalcy and stability to your life: you have to feed and exercise it on a very regular schedule, which forces you to take much-needed breaks—and for me, especially, walking my dog, Zuni, has been critical in terms of both my physical and mental health. But most importantly, Zuni and I have an emotional bond that's hard to put into words that don't sound cheesy. But I will try. 

Must-have summer dresses

I didn't do a trend report this season for multiple reasons. For one, I didn't feel like (or have the need to go) shopping for new things this spring, because I've been staying at home since mid-March. For another, I'm trying to buy less, so following trends kind of seems like a recipe for disaster. That said, I have been shopping a bit, and now that it's finally summer and I am starting to venture out into the world, I've had one thing on my mind, and that's dresses. I will probably never tire of buying summer dresses—they look great, they're comfortable (even more so than sweats, I believe!), and they're just so effortless. There are some trends emerging this year, and basically, the key look is a boho prairie thing, with puffy sleeves, a voluminous tiered shape, and a ditsy floral print here and there. You can often find more than one of those elements in a single dress, if you want to get even more bang for your buck. So without further ado, my top summer dress picks are below, plus I'm trying new widgets that let you shop even more of my favorite styles—let me know what you think! 


Smocked

The square-neck, smocked-bust trend has been happening since last year, and this year there are even more great options: with or without sleeves, printed or solid, mini or maxi. I love this style because it flexes for all bust sizes, and empire waists can accommodate a food baby (or a real one). 



More smocked dresses:



Wrap

It's hard to call wrap dresses a trend because they've been around forever, but this season's wraps tend to be longer and more drapey, and pretty much feel like glorified bathrobes, which I'm totally okay with. This is also a great silhouette to combine with puff sleeves and/or ditsy prints. 



More wrap dresses:



Puff sleeve

Sometimes actual puffs, other times more like giant balloons, this season's sleeves are all about the volume, which is awesome if, like me, you have a little arm dingle-dangle that you prefer to keep covered. Plus, lengths can vary from full to short, accommodating a range of summer weather. 



More puff sleeve dresses: 



Ditsy print

Of all the summer trends, this can be one of the trickier ones to wear, because it can look juvenile if the style of the dress is too precious. So stay away from too many ruffles or cutesy details for this one and look for more chic, streamlined shapes—it's all about contrast. 



More ditsy print dresses:



Tiered

The tiered babydoll kick started last summer—when I was in Scandinavia in July, it's what all the women were wearing—and it's still going strong this year. This can also be a tricky one to wear; I've found that sizing down tends to help tame the volume. 


More tiered dresses: 


White

Okay, white dresses aren't exactly a trend either—I tend to buy a new one every year—but they're a great way to incorporate more than one of the above elements. For example, this LPA dress has puffy sleeves, smocking, and tiers. 


More white dresses: