The most popular posts of 2021

 As I noted last week, I'm changing things up a bit with my year-end recaps for 2021. I've shared my favorite outfits of 2021, so now it's time for your favorite posts of 2021. I was not super surprised to see that 6 of the 10 posts were from my honest review series—they tend to attract a lot of search traffic, but hopefully they're helpful for my regular readers as well. I have a whole new bunch of reviews planned for 2022, so stay tuned for those! I am going to take next week off to spend some quality time with my family and friends, but I'll be back in January with one last 2021 recap, featuring everything you guys bought this year. In the meantime, here's a look at the top 10 most popular posts of 2021, according to you!


My favorite outfits of 2021

Spotify's year-in-review posts came out last week, so you know what that means: time for the year-end wrap ups! I'm changing things up a bit this time; it's always hard to pick a favorite outfit of the year, so I thought I'd do something different and pick 10. This was actually harder to do than I expected; turns out I liked a lot of what I featured here (although I did have some duds, TBH). Still, it's funny to see some trends emerge: I still love neutrals, but I did try a little (soft) color here and there, and clearly I have some favorite accessories! In no particular order, here are my 10 favorite outfits of 2021—tell me your favorites in the comments below!

French pharmacy beauty finds on Amazon (that make amazing gifts)

One of my favorite places on earth is Paris, and one of my favorite things to do there is to raid the pharmacy, particularly Citypharma in the 6th arrondissement. If you are a beauty junkie like me, it's like being a kid in a candy shop—French pharmacy beauty brands tend to be natural (or "clean" as we call them here), effective, and affordable, and while mainstays like Caudalie are easy to find at places like Sephora, some of my favorite brands like Nuxe and Panier des Sens are much harder to track down, particularly in U.S. stores. So in between trips to Europe, I've found that Amazon is actually a great place to score French pharmacy beauty products, since they work with smaller-scale importers and distributors. It's not quite the same experience as a wine-fueled haul in a foreign country, but it's a convenient way to replenish your favorite products. As a bonus, all of the products I'm featuring in this post make great gifts—obviously I'm writing this post during the holidays, but file it away in case you need birthday, anniversary, Mother's day, or even thank-you gift ideas. Here are my favorite French pharmacy beauty finds on Amazon—oh, and did I mention they're all under $30? (They are!)

What to wear in December

Historically speaking, I've featured party outfits in December, and omicron variant be damned, I do plan to do my fair share of partying this month. But I also thought I'd end the year with a more true picture of where my wardrobe is at the moment. I had a bit of an identity crisis earlier this year; after months of wearing little more than sweats, I was like I NEED FUN CLOTHES and ended up buying a bunch of stuff that just wasn't me. Not that I'm not fun, but I can be fun without looking like I'm in a funhouse. Anyway, I like neutrals—always have, probably always will—and while I might not have the most interesting wardrobe in the world, it's the right one for me. So with that in mind, here's to ending 2021 on an authentic note. 

The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

Black Friday seems to be coming earlier and earlier every year, and I'm definitely not mad at it—this year, with all of the supply-chain uncertainty, I'm doing my holiday shopping (a.k.a. me shopping) early. In fact, I've already made quite a dent, but I'm just getting started. And BTW, you should too (you've earned it!). Without further ado, here are the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year. 

What I wore in New York City

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I used to live in NYC for a long time (13 years, to be exact) and it will always have a big part of my heart. I normally go back for a visit at least once a year, but thanks to the pandemic, I hadn't been there since January 2020. When I've been gone for too long, I can almost feel it in my bones; spending even a couple of days in New York is like a defibrillator for my soul, in the best possible way. Even though he's never lived there, Sean loves NYC as much as I do, so convincing him to go there for a long weekend in celebration of his birthday required only minimal arm-twisting. Of course, after having been away for so long, I had no idea how New Yorkers were dressing, and if you've been reading my newsletter, you know that I've been panicking about what to pack. I may not have totally blended in—I've been a West Coaster for 8 years now, after all—but I could at least hang in this outfit.


The Cheryl Shops Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Grab some hot chocolate and crank up "All I Want for Christmas Is You," because the Cheryl Shops Holiday Gift Guide 2021 is here! You may notice that this is the earliest I've ever posted a holiday gift guide; I had actually been planning to do that since so many of the items I had wanted to feature last year had already sold out by December. But now perhaps you've heard of the global supply chain crisis, which has been impacting retail inventory since the summer, and has every news outlet urging people to do their holiday shopping early, lest our economy (and the retail industry) suffer! If you are a last-minute shopper, fret not, I'm sure there will still be presents out there. But if you're a get-'er-done-early shopper like I am, it may be wise to take advantage of all the Singles' Day, early Black Friday, and various other sales hitting your inbox. Because once you're done shopping for other people, you get to shop for yourself! So without further ado, here are my favorite gifts for 2021. 

What to wear in November

Now that Halloween is over, can we talk about the holidays? I am really looking forward to celebrating them this year, because last year ended up being a big bummer. I'm not going to rehash the events of late 2020 because I'm sure most of us would rather forget them and whoops, I'm already being overdramatic about what was, in the end, a fairly minor inconvenience. That said, I'm planning on accepting every social invitation that comes my way over the next two months, so that means I'll need a lot of outfits to wear. I decided to take one for a trial run last weekend, and I feel like it was a hit. Here's how it came together.

An honest review of the Inkey List

The number-one question I get from friends, family, and readers is "What skincare products should I be using?" I'm flattered that people come to me for advice (I do work in the beauty industry and like to think that I've learned something), but the bigger issue is that there are so many products out there and people are overwhelmed by the options, plus finding the right mixture of ingredients to target your skin's needs can be a challenge. I have favorites that I tend to recommend, but not all products work for every skin type—something that's good for my dry, redness-prone skin might not be effective on your sensitive, acne-prone skin. Enter The Inkey List. It's a company that's all about personalizing your skincare routine down to the ingredients that work specifically for you and your skin's needs, in a very accessible way—nearly all of their products are under $15. To get started, you answer 5 questions (it takes only a couple minutes), and Inkey List will create a personalized regimen. Here's my honest review of what they sent me.

7 ways to wear a quilted jacket

Of all the pieces of clothing worth investing in, outerwear is definitely at the top. They're what you tend to wear the most, yet they can last the longest. If properly cared for, jackets and coats can be worn upwards of 20 years, and of course even longer—I have several vintage coats from the 1960s that have aged like fine wine. I tend to feature my outerwear over and over again here on this blog because it's what I actually wear in real life, but also to point out how versatile the pieces I love are. Case in point: I've worn my J.Crew quilted downtown field jacket with everything from denim to dresses. It's funny to think I hesitated to buy it because I was worried it was too close to my other favorite J.Crew outerwear, the downtown field jacket; instead, I like to think of it as the downtown's cooler-weather counterpart. It's the perfect jacket for fall (or spring), when you need something warmer than a denim or army jacket, but you're not quite ready for wool or a puffer. It's so good, J.Crew keeps bringing it back year after year. Here are seven of my favorite ways to wear it. 

What to wear in October

As soon as I typed the title of this post, I thought, "how is it already October?!" Then I realized, "whoa, it's already October 13th," which made me wonder where the first half of this month has gone. The funny thing is, I feel like I haven't done that much this year, other than work my tush off, but that is quickly starting to change. Now that delta variant is on the decline (knock on wood), my social calendar is finally picking up, plus Sean has a bunch of conferences this fall that I'm going to tag along on. Then before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Year's, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait for 2022 (according to Susan Miller, it's supposed to be my best year ever). That said, I am very happy it's autumn—I am one of those Fall People who loves turning leaves, pumpkin-flavored everything, and most importantly, fall clothes. October is really the sweet spot in fall dressing, because it's still warm enough to get away with a sweater and a light jacket. So in celebration of that, here's what I'm wearing in October.

An honest review of Sarah Flint shoes

If you follow a lot of influencers on Instagram, chances are you've heard of Sarah Flint shoes. Their brand ambassadors include some of my favorite content creators—Brooklyn Blonde, Grace Atwood, and my friend Kim—so when Sarah herself reached out to me on IG, I was incredibly flattered to join their ranks. And since everyone raves about how comfortable and luxurious Sarah Flint shoes are, I couldn't wait to try a pair for myself. They sent me a pair of Rosie loafers; here's my honest and unfiltered opinion.


An honest review of Spanx jeans

It's funny to think that I started wearing Spanx pants only a year ago, because my collection has grown exponentially in that time—it started with perfect black ankle pants, then the faux leather leggings, every pant in navy, and even activewear. I wear Spanx pants several days a week on average; I love that they're comfy but polished-looking, e.g. it's not totally obvious that I'm wearing leggings. But now I'm starting to go out more and want to look like I'm not wearing leggings, however I'm also carrying around 5 extra pounds of pandemic weight and wearing hard pants is, well, hard. Enter Spanx jeans. They look like traditional denim but definitely don't fit like it. If anything, they're even better than jeans—they're a gift from the gods. Here's my honest and unfiltered review of Spanx flare jeans and Spanx skinny jeans.

Our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii

In case you missed last week’s post, we recently spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii and it was pretty much amazing. We had booked the trip months ago, soon after I started a new job that was a bit more stressful than I'd anticipated, and to be honest, the thought of a relaxing week at the beach got me through some pretty rough weeks. Of course, a week before we were due to leave, the governor of Hawaii issued a plea for tourists to stay home until later in the fall due to rising Covid rates and full hospitals; after some thorough investigation and a pledge to spend as much time outdoors as possible, we decided to go anyway. (We were far from alone, by the way.) Here’s what we did on our blissful trip to the Big Island.


What I wore in Hawaii

If you've subscribed to my newsletter, you know that I'd been looking forward to our Hawaii trip for a long time. You also probably know that I've been on a pre-vacay spending spree. For one, it had been a year and a half since we'd taken a proper vacation, and over three years since we'd gone somewhere tropical. I also think, deep down, I miss not spending money on dress-up clothes for specific things and I had a lot of pent-up money to burn. I tried to shop (somewhat) responsibly, but may have gone a weee bit overboard. At least—fingers crossed—I'll be able to wear everything on our long-postponed trip to Europe next summer. But in the meantime, here's what I wore on our Big Island vacation. 

The best Labor Day sales

There are two kinds of people: those who get excited for fall in August and those who don't. When I lived in NYC, I was in the former group—by August, the city would get unbearably muggy and smell like hot garbage—but now that I'm on the West Coast, I'm the the latter, mostly because September and October are usually the warmest months here. That said, I do love fall clothes and shoes, and my point in all this is that Labor Day sales are generally a good time to get an early deal on fall-forward clothes and accessories. The silver lining is that it might be a month or two before you can wear them, but aren't some things are worth waiting for? I'd say yes. Here are some Labor Day sales worth checking out. 

Nothing I'm wearing here is on sale, but my bag is a pretty good deal ;)

My bedroom makeover + an honest review of my Winkbed mattress

Like many of you, I'm sure, I've spent more time inside my apartment in the last year and a half than I had in the previous six years I lived there combined. I realize this is a luxury and a privilege, as not everyone has a job that allows them to work from home, and I'm thankful that I'm in such a position. (I'm also not even remotely eager to go back to working in an office, but that's another topic for another day.) Spending so much time at home, however, allowed me to pinpoint what was and wasn't working in my space. For example, after doing little more than binging Netflix night after night, I realized that having our TV mounted above the fireplace was too high and straining our necks; we ended up completely rearranging the living room, and now it feels way more open and welcoming. Also, I finally got around to changing my kitchen hardware, swapping out the cheap-looking builder-grade knobs for a nice matte bronze. There are many areas of the apartment that are still a work in progress—I want to paint the office a lighter color, and I really want to renovate the bathroom—but so far, I'm the most pleased with our bedroom. Here's how we upgraded our bedroom during the pandemic.

What I wore at Car Week

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer; while I had intended to show everything I wore at Car Week, we were having so much fun, we kind of forgot to shoot it all. Alas, I'm only featuring one outfit in this post, and it's what I wore on our last morning in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We decided not to go to the Concours d'Elegance, which is kind of the main event that ends Car Week, because we were worried about crowds, and I'm glad we didn't go, because our friends who did said they felt a little overwhelmed and unsafe, and they left pretty quickly. That said, we were happy to be back at Car Week (it was canceled last year). We saw a bunch of friends and cars, of course, and I will never turn down a getaway to Carmel. So here's what I wore on the last day of our trip.

What to buy at Everlane

I have shopped at Everlane for years—the oldest receipt I found in my Gmail is from 2014, but l'm pretty sure we go back even further. I've stuck around all these years because they make pretty decent luxury basics at incredibly appealing prices, in a (mostly) ethical way. As someone who works in retail marketing, I appreciate their boundary-pushing ways of doing business (product waitlists and drops to build anticipation; sharing cost breakdowns and factory information; their choose-what-you-pay sales), however I think they sometimes come across as a little high on their own supply, and turns out they weren't so "radically transparent" about certain things. But, hey, people make mistakes, and I appreciate when companies take responsibility for their missteps and do try to make things better. So I'll keep shopping and advocating for Everlane, which is, after all, a local (albeit rapidly expanding) business based in San Francisco. While I'm not a superfan, I have bought quite a lot at Everlane over the years. Here are my favorite pieces. 

What to wear in August

August, otherwise known as Fogust, is a weird time of year in San Francisco. Elsewhere in the world, people are beginning to grow tired of their summer clothes, but we're just getting ready to break them out. Even if it isn't always warm here in the actual summer (hence why I'm wearing a jacket in some of these photos), I do like to wear lighter colors. So I've been gravitating toward lots of white, ivory, and beige lately, often mixing them all together in one outfit. It's hard to match light neutrals, so the key is to embrace multiple shades and wear them all together. Really, there's no wrong way to do it. Here's my go-to outfit of the moment, featuring some of my favorite new (and old) pieces. 

A weekend trip to Chicago

Earlier this month, I took my first flight since the beginning of the pandemic and went home to Chicago to see my mom for the first time in a year and a half—the longest I've gone without seeing her in my entire life. For those of you who haven't flown anywhere yet, the plane trip felt completely safe and drama-free, and seeing my family and friends after so long felt amazingly good. It felt strangely normal to be home, possibly because Chicago felt very "What Covid?!" to me, which was equally refreshing and alarming. So after a few days of quality family time in the 'burbs, we headed downtown for a couple nights in the city. We were happy to see that Michigan Avenue was packed, restaurants and bars were crowded (but not overwhelmingly so), and all weekend long, people were dressed up—maybe that roaring '20s thing is indeed happening. Here's what we did on our weekend in Chicago.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale top 10 2021

Lots of people have been pooping on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year, and I can kind of see why. As blogger/influencers, we often feel a lot of pressure to cover it, although I do so because there are actually some amazing deals to be had, as I mentioned in my post last week. I do agree, however, that the sale selection has gotten "safer" over the last few years, with an emphasis on more classic, tried-and-true basics versus more adventurous, fashion-y pieces. But I'd argue that those are exactly what you should be buying during the sale—I've found it's a great time to stock up on wardrobe workhorses, specifically in three major categories: jeans, leggings, and sweaters. Here are 10 must-haves that are currently part of the Nordstrom sale (and still available). 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks 2021

I've often referred to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale as Christmas in July; for years, it's been an ingenious way to stock up on fall clothes & shoes early, at a rare pre-season discount. In the last few years, influencers and bloggers have really hyped up the event, and yes, I am totally guilty of that, but in my case at least, it's coming from a genuine place. So while I'm being honest, last year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale kind of sucked. Due to the pandemic, it happened a month later than normal; due to conservative planning on Nordstrom's part, they sold out of a lot of the best items on the first day, before most of its customers were able to shop. For my part, I bought one pair of slippers—I had to do curbside pickup because my local Nordstrom was still closed to customers—that I ended up returning because the sole was so flimsy. Major fail. But I am feeling much more optimistic about this year's sale. The highest tier of Nordy Club members began shopping on Monday and, as of the time I'm writing this post, all of the items I wanted to feature are still in stock, which is a good sign. No, there aren't as many designer pieces as in years past (this seems to be a year-over-year trend). But there are some great finds, plus Nordstrom has pumped up its home offerings so much that I had to create a new category this year—I guess I'm not the only one investing in my home lately! So without further ado, here are my Anniversary Sale clothing, shoes & accessories, beauty, and home picks for this year. 

The first pair of shorts I bought in 20 years

I have never been a big shorts person, although I did wear them a bit more when I was younger. It has always seemed just as easy to wear a dress, which has the added benefit of making it look like you tried  a bit harder. But the main reason I tend to stay away from shorts is that they tend to fit me oddly and get all bunched up in front. I blame this on my body's perplexing combination of narrow hips and meaty thighs, which feel more or less equalized in a full or A-line skirt. But in the last few years, I've noticed more and more of my summertime Instagram feed filling up with all manner of shorts but primarily those of the cutoff denim variety. Add in one very long, very casual-izing pandemic plus a summer that's already been ridiculously hot and now it seems like literally everyone is in shorts. But there's more to it than an "everyone else is doing it, so I will too" mindset—I think that in this unprecedented (and welcome) age of body positivity, people are caring less about having "perfect" legs and instead focusing on wearing whatever they want, for whatever reason they want. So that's what convinced me to buy my first pair of shorts in 20 years. Here's how I wore them in Chicago last weekend.

An honest review of Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

The first pricey jar of skin cream I ever bought was Crème de la Mer. It did not deliver the Rich Girl Skin I was hoping for, but that hasn't stopped me from trying every fancy potion that has come along since. So far, the closest thing I've found to a magical elixir is Vintner's Daughter, but it's not quite mind-blowing enough to convince me to keep paying $185 every month or two. I've been reading the most rapturous reviews in years, however, for Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, so when a bottle showed up on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to try it. Here's my honest, unfiltered review.

My favorite summer dresses for 2021

I read a recent theory that we're conditioned as children to "love" summer because of the three-month break we get from school; in actuality, it's hot and miserable, so what is there really to love? For one, I enjoy that it's still light after 8pm. But more importantly, summer is dress season. I tend to wear one nearly every day—nothing is easier, more comfortable (and breathable), or cuter in warm weather—and I always scoop up several new ones at the start of the season, because, hey, my name is Cheryl Shops. So on that note, here are my favorite dresses for summer 2021.

A weekend trip to Calistoga

It had only been a few months since we last took a weekend trip to Santa Barbara, but after the stress of the last month (we're ok, really!), not to mention the ridiculously cold and windy spring weather we've been having, Sean & I decided that we were in need of a long weekend of rest and relaxation. Our goal: to lounge by a pool, bask in the sunshine, and maybe roll out to a winery or nice dinner (or a few). With that in mind, we were lucky enough to snag a last-minute hotel reservation in Calistoga, which is one of our favorite little towns in Napa County. Here's where we went and what we did over Memorial Day weekend.

What to wear in June

Whoa, how is it June already?! This year is flying by, which I guess is a good thing—I feel like every day, week, and month, we get closer to normal life again. Case in point: We stayed in a hotel for the first time in over a year last weekend. We spent the long weekend in Calistoga, which is a town in northern Napa County—I'll share more details about that trip in next week's post—and aside from a few moments of mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, and wavier-signing, it felt pretty much like a normal getaway. It also finally feels like summer, at least in Napa, so finally the weather is cooperating with my strong desire to wear a sundress. I've been on a dress binge lately, and while I love everything I've bought so far this year (don't worry, they'll all be making an appearance here soon enough), this Ganni dress is my favorite. Here's how I wore it in wine country.

Memorial Day sale picks

Time is something that I feel I've completely lost sense of in the last year, when days bled into weeks into months into yikes, it's nearly a year and a half into this pandemic. So I probably shouldn't be surprised that it's already Memorial Day, but somehow I am. (Maybe because we've had an unusually cool spring here in San Francisco?) Time to start living in the present: I'm fully vaccinated, ready to get out in the world again, and thus need to start wearing real clothes again. Let's make up for lost time with a little Memorial Day sale shopping, shall we? The jeans I'm wearing in this photo are 30% off; keep reading for deets.

GIVEAWAY + read this if you subscribe to my blog via email

Back in the golden days of blogging, I used to follow all of my favorites via Google Reader, an RSS feed. As it does with many of its (presumably money-losing) free products, Google shut down Reader in 2013. And as long as there've been RSS feeds, I've relied on Feedburner, another free Google product, to publish mine. The good news is that Feedburner is not (yet) going away entirely—if you follow this blog on a traditional RSS feeder like Feedly or on Bloglovin, you can still continue to do so. But, if you subscribe to my posts via email, sadly, that service will be going away in July. 

An honest review of Hermès Oasis sandals

When it comes to French luxury houses, Louis Vuitton and Chanel tend to have the best name recognition and while I wouldn't turn down a bag from either, my favorite has always been Hermès. What I love about Hermès is that for almost 200 years, they've stayed true to their artisanal roots, and unlike their competitors, Hermès still manufactures the majority of its products in France. Of course, Hermès is more expensive than Chanel or Louis Vuitton, especially when it comes to handbags; the Birkin is their most famous, but the Constance—a bag so exclusive, you are only allowed to purchase it if you've already bought another Hermès handbag—is my favorite. So while I'm still a few years away from that milestone, I've been establishing myself as a customer for when the time comes. Jewelry is a great place to start (my first purchase was a Clic-H bracelet in Bordeaux in 2016), as are shoes, and both have the distinction of being designed by accessory mastermind Pierre Hardy. If you follow any influencers on Instagram, chances are you've seen the flat Oran sandal, but as someone who prefers a little heel, I think the Oasis is the way to go. Here's my honest and unfiltered opinion of the Hermès Oasis sandal. 

What to wear in May

Well, dear readers, it's been a week. I'm not at liberty to discuss exactly what happened or why, but thankfully I am healthy and safe, as are my loved ones, and that's the most important thing. This post almost didn't happen, but by one of many miracles this week, it did, and I'm glad, because I really like this outfit. I realize that it's nearly identical to this one from a few years ago—even down to the accessories—but hey, I like what I like. And since I'm all about listening to my inner lizard brain these days, here's what it told me to wear. 

The best Mother's Day gifts

As I mentioned last month, I'm making some changes around here and featuring more things I've actually bought. In this particular case, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things that would make great Mother's Day gifts. So considering Mother's Day is less than two weeks away (early this year, yikes!), let's dive in. Step into my living room, and pardon the clutter...

What to wear with a tie-dye sweater

I subscribe to a lot—I mean, a lotttt—of email lists. Much of it is for competitive research (I'm an editorial director at a major retailer by day), but really, a lot of it is just because I like to shop. After all, my name is Cheryl Shops! Opening hundreds of emails a day does have its benefits, and one of my favorites is the bounty of happy birthday promo codes I receive every March. If you time it right, you can really score a good deal, which is what happened with this sweater I bought from Madewell. I was kind of on the fence about it—was I too late to the tie-dye trend?—but my indecision had a price, and that was an extra 25% off sale. So while I got a very good deal on a pretty cute sweater, I got something I wasn't even expecting, which was pure joy. I can't quite explain it, but this sweater makes me feel hopeful and alive and also peaceful. If spring 2021 were a sweater, this would be it. Let's unpack that, shall we? 

What to buy during the Sephora sale

April can be kind of a weird month, but one of the highlights for me is always the Sephora Spring Savings event for their Beauty Insiders. If you're in the Rouge tier, you get 20% off your order (and you've already had a head start); starting today, VIBs get 15% off, and regular old Beauty Insiders get 10% off—still nothing to sneeze at. The event runs through the 19th and what's really noteworthy in my opinion is that Sephora has added a bunch of new brands that I'm really excited about. So here are 10 of my favorite products right now—read on for details. 

10 ways to wear white jeans

 When I do a Cheryl's Greatest Hits post, I generally go for 7 ways to wear something, but I love my white jeans so much—and feature them so often here—that I've decided to go for 10 solid outfit ideas (I even had to edit some out). The key piece here is obviously a good pair of white jeans, and my all-around favorite is the power slim straight from Old Navy, which I'm wearing in most of these photos. It's a fit that sadly does not come in white at the moment, but as an alternative, I'd highly recommend the best-selling OG Straight—it's basically the same fit minus the hidden shaping pockets. I love that the denim is thick enough to not be see-through but stretchy enough to be comfy, and I think the straight-leg cut is super flattering. Plus, the price is totally reasonable. Here are all the ways I've styled mine. 

What to wear in April

I know I've made quite a production in my last several outfit posts about how I'm trying to move beyond the whole Dress Like a French Woman™ thing, so I don't want to seem totally hypocritical in sharing an outfit that's completely designed around the pair of Chanel ballet flats I bought myself for my birthday. But it is, and I'm happy with how it came out, so sit back and enjoy as I attempt to rationalize my irrational choices. For one, this is actually a very lizard-brain outfit because it has 1) leopard print, 2) camel, 3) the cashmere maxi cardigan I pretty much live in, and, most importantly, 4) the shoes I've been obsessed with since I was a child. I finally, at the ripe old age of 43, decided to buy a pair, and I love them so much, they may be dictating how I dress for the rest of the season (or at least the entire month of April). Here's how it all came together. 

A letter from the editor

In case you were wondering, the editor is me! Hi, dear readers. I feel compelled to warn you that this is going to be a somewhat introspective and very personal post, but hopefully one that you'll appreciate. I know what you're probably thinking and no, I am not going to stop writing this blog, at least not anytime remotely soon. I feel just as inspired as ever, and restarting Cheryl Shops nearly five (!!!) years ago has given me a wonderful creative outlet that I wouldn't give up for the world. Not to mention, I've met a bunch of friends both IRL and on the Internet, and I love the support I receive from my fellow bloggers, Pinners, and Instagrammers (sorry not sorry, I'm not going to use the I-word). The past year has been the strangest one of my life thus far, and I don't think I would have made it through without you. It has also given me a lot of time to think about where it—and my life—is going, and to become very conscious of how I'm spending my time and energy. So I'm going to make a few changes around here. 

What to wear with a maxi cardigan

As I've mentioned recently, I've been in what feels like a year-long wardrobe rut but maybe that's just been a year-long global pandemic. Either way, I decided I needed some new Instagram inspiration and on the recommendation of an IG friend, I started following @frisky-gatos. She's a thirtysomething nurse in Minneapolis, and she dresses with a quirky yet very strong sense of personal style. Her theory is that you should listen to your most primal "lizard brain" and buy the things you absolutely WANT to wear. It seems very simple and even obvious, but I've found over the years that I've always been chasing some ideal of how I should be dressing—in my very specific case, like a "French woman." Faced with a very black-white-and-gray closet that all of a sudden feels very sad to me, I've come to the conclusion that "dressing like a French woman" is boring, and that such stark neutrals are not actually very flattering against my fortysomething skin. So this post marks a turning point for me. I'm going to start dressing for me—for real this time.

An honest review of Golden Goose Superstar sneakers

I first discovered Golden Goose Deluxe Brand on a trip to Venice back in 2014. If you’ve never been, Venice is like a big circular maze, and while you can generally find your way back (it’s also very tiny), you can also manage to get a little lost, in a good way. So I remember popping into the store and thinking, “These are very cool yet incredibly expensive sneakers,” and going on my merry way. Of course, then I started seeing the shoes EVERYWHERE. I eventually caved and bought a pair, and while I’ve had my Superstars for several years now, they remain one of the most-worn shoes in my closet (and most-featured here on Cheryl Shops). I absolutely love my Golden Goose sneakers, and here’s why.

What to wear on your birthday in quarantine

As I wrote the title of this post, I thought, "Hopefully it will be the last birthday I'll ever have so spend in quarantine." Granted, as far as quarantine goes, it was a pretty glamorous one. In case you missed it, we spent a weekend in Santa Barbara to celebrate my birthday, and it was so nice to get out of our apartment and have a change of scenery. The weather was pretty much perfect, Santa Barbara is a gorgeous place, and I felt very grateful to be able to take a road trip there, safely. We also did a bit of celebrating (e.g. wine tasting) before we took these photos, so let me preface this post by saying that I look a little more, er, relaxed than usual. Then again, maybe it's just because I love my outfit so much ;) 

A weekend trip to Santa Barbara

My birthday is in early March, and exactly a year ago, we spent it in Paris and London. Since that trip—which now feels like a million lifetimes ago—we took a road trip to Big Sur and Yosemite last summer but haven't traveled at all since then. So not only were we both going stir-crazy in our apartment, we were really just wanting a change of scenery for a few days. Luckily, restrictions in California are starting to loosen, so Sean surprised me with a weekend trip to Santa Barbara. It's a town I'd visited a few times for a day trip, but I'd never spent a lot of quality time there. After two full days and three nights, I now understand why Harry and Meghan landed in nearby Montecito. Here's what we did on our long weekend trip to Santa Barbara.

What to wear with a designer hoodie

I know everyone has been wearing hoodies for the last year, and while I've resisted them for the most part, I had a revelation a few weeks ago. I was out walking Zuni when it started to lightly rain, and I happened to have been wearing my Cuddl Duds hooded tee; I didn't have a hat, but I pulled the hood over my head and saved my freshly washed hair from frizzing out. Considering I've lived for more than 7 years in a city that's frequently cloaked in drippy fog, it's kind of amazing that it took me this long to realize the practical applications of a hoodie. But now that I have, I've gone a little hoodie-happy. This is the first of several new hoodies I've purchased, so apologies in advance for the barrage of hoodie-themed posts coming up. Up first is this Isabel Marant hoodie, which I am completely obsessed with right now. Here's how I've been wearing it. 

Get the look: Amal Clooney's moto jacket and skinny jeans

There's been a lot of Gen Z. vs. Millennial beef lately, especially concerning skinny jeans. I'm not sure where or how it all started (maybe TikTok?) but I must say, I found it kind of amusing. I'm a Gen Xer who's always preferred slim or straight-leg jeans (I do own one true skinny pair in black), as well as a firm believer that you should wear whatever you feel good in, so if you're a millennial who loves skinny jeans, then by all means, you should continue to wear them and not listen to a generation that eats Tide Pods and wants to be Internet-famous for a living. Ahem. So, my skinny-jeans-wearing readers, this post is for you. It features none other than international style icon and accomplished lawyer Amal Clooney (otherwise known as Mrs. George Clooney) and it's this month's most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board. Let's do it. 

My 2021 birthday wishlist

My birthday is next Tuesday, and it is kind of comically tragic to think that exactly a year ago, I left for a trip to London and Paris. This year, we are spending the upcoming weekend in Santa Barbara, which is about as glamorous as things get nowadays, but I'm very thankful nonetheless. Pandemic aside, the other big difference with my birthday this year is that while I always treat myself to something extra nice, I don't have anything specific in mind this year—yet. Maybe it's because last year's present has not exactly been put to good use (although I'm bringing it this weekend!), or maybe it's because the pandemic has made me realize that I already have everything I need. Kidding! I think it's more that I've been so busy with my new job, I haven't had a lot of time to think about it. But here are a few ideas I've been kicking around—let me know in the comments which one(s) you think I should get!

An honest review of all the Spanx pants

My honest review of Spanx perfect black pants continues to be one of the most popular posts here on Cheryl Shops, and since Spanx just sent me several pairs of their best-selling pants in navy, I thought it would be helpful to do a side-by-side comparison of their top four fits, especially since you can see the details even better. So think of this as a companion piece to my previous Spanx reviews, but please note that while I received these pants for free, the following reviews are my 100% honest opinion, with absolutely no feedback or editing from Spanx. So without further ado, here's my honest review the four most popular Spanx pants. 

How to make your home smell like Santal 33 (for less)

For the last year, I've been spending a small fortune on candles. For whatever reason, burning them—and being enveloped in a gorgeous scent—has brought me comfort. But I've also realized that I'm quite literally burning through money, and also that having an open flame in my apartment for 16 hours a day is probably not the best for one's lungs. We had received a diffuser as a gift (thanks, Christine!) a few years ago, but I've found that most essential oils are either too basic and/or not strong enough for my taste—until I discovered Santal oil from Doratelier on a tip from another blogger (thanks, Katwalk!). This tiny vial of delight has brought me so much joy that I couldn't wait to share all the ways I'm using it to scent my home. 

What to wear on an afternoon date

I recently came to the conclusion that I really miss making an effort to get dressed. My outfits have devolved into this sadly repetitive basic place, which is partly because it's winter but probably more because the days blur together and I feel like I'm in a much more mundane version of Groundhog Day. I miss getting creative with my outfits, and I miss wearing things that bring me joy rather than just comfort. So last Sunday, I decided not only to make an effort, but to wear a carefully planned outfit that made me feel good because I looked good. Yes, it was Valentine's Day, and we went to a fancy restaurant, and yes, I wanted to look good for Sean. But more importantly, I wanted to look good for me, because as big of a cliché as this is, truly you can't pour from an empty cup. So here's how I filled mine.

My favorite Amazon beauty products that you can't find at Sephora

That's a rather long title for a post, I know, but it's what this one is all about. Now, I love Sephora (and worked there for several years), so this is not a dig at them. But Amazon does carry a lot of great beauty products from harder-to-find lines, many of them international, and when you throw in free two-day Prime shipping, that makes them pretty much irresistible. Here are my favorite beauty products from Amazon that I love and use regularly. 

What to wear in February

It's only the second week of February, but it's the time in the season when I start to get bored with my winter clothes. I also tend to get into a big sweaters-and-jeans rut this time of year, and while that's what I'm wearing in these photos, I decided to lighten up my palette with some springier colors. The result was something fresher and more mood-lifting than anything I've worn in weeks. So just a reminder, especially to myself: just because it's dark and dreary outside doesn't mean your outfit has to be too.