What to wear in San Francisco in fall

Happy first day of autumn! For many of you, it's the time of year that a cold nip starts creeping in at night, and you start thinking about boots, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. Unless you live in San Francisco—then it's finally summer. After months of getting pummeled with wind and fog, we now get consistently sunny days and temperatures in the 70s, and it's glorious. Of course, it's also a little weird, because it's fall and you don't necessarily want to be parading around in bright colors and airy fabrics as you would in actual summer. Thankfully, I've devised an outfit formula that feels seasonally appropriate yet warm-weather friendly. Here's what to wear in San Francisco in fall. 



How to smell like Baccarat Rouge 540 for less

Right around the time Maison Kurkdijan's Baccarat Rouge 540 scent went viral on TikTok, I received a bottle as a gift. It's been called the next Santal 33 in terms of how intoxicating—and popular—its scent is, and judging by how many dupes there are on the market, I'd say Baccarat Rouge 540 has even eclipsed Santal in terms of popularity. That might also be because BR540 is $325 for a 2.6 oz. bottle, and as much as I am willing to splurge on fragrance, I don't know that I would actually pay that much for it. It's a very unique scent—the notes are a very appealing-sounding combination of jasmine, saffron, cedarwood, and ambergris—and on me, it comes across as very sweet, very expensive cotton candy. Scent is a very subjective thing, and your own body chemistry can affect the way a fragrance smells (Glossier You, for example, is amazing on everyone but me); I am honestly more a fan of Santal 33, but that's just a matter of personal taste. In the name of service journalism, however, I decided to seek out some dupes, because I know you love them. Here are a few ways to smell like Baccarat Rouge 540 for less.


What to wear with a caftan

Hi, remember me? I feel like I've been slacking a lot on this blog, and literally the last thing I want to do is turn into that blogger who tapers off into nothingness. (Um, like when I ended up taking a three-year break awhile back.) The truth is that I have been working my heinie off, partly because we're neck-deep in holiday at the moment, and partly because I'm about to take the longest vacation I've had in probably 7 years. So to give you fair warning, I am going to take the first two weeks of September off and really unplug—like, not-take-my-laptop unplug. But in the meantime, I've got a few posts planned, and in the spirit of vacations, this one is all about the caftan. Caftan? Kaftan? I'm going with a C for Cheryl. Caftan it is! Here's my favorite one and how I'm wearing it. 



How to wear Barbiecore

I've found myself inexplicably drawn to the color pink this summer, and turns out I'm not alone: Barbiecore is everywhere at the moment. As Vogue explains, it's a little Valentino fall 2020 runway, a little excitement over the upcoming Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling (!!), and a little summer dopamine dressing. Pink comes in all different kinds of shades—my last pink outfit was definitely in the bright category—and while there's a Kardashian way to wear Barbiecore, here's how I'm doing it.

 


An honest review of True Botanicals Chebula Active Immunity Serum and Renew Pure Radiance Oil

I write about skincare quite a bit for my day job, so when I got Jessica DeFino's newsletter a few weeks ago, I stopped dead in my tracks. I realized how many times I've written copy along the lines of "yes, it actually works"...and the thing is, shouldn't all skincare? The sad reality is that a lot of it doesn't—or at least, it doesn't produce the results you're looking for. Again, I don't tell you about most of the products I receive for free, but when I find something that, yes, actually works, I get very evangelistic about it. My last rave review was quite spendy, so I'm happy to report that while this week's duo is not exactly a bargain, it's definitely more palatable. Read on for my unfiltered thoughts on True Botanicals Chebula Serum and Pure Radiance Oil.


Yes, this is my actual skin, in good lighting. I am not wearing any foundation. 

How to wear a cutout dress

If the words "cutout dress" give you anxiety, you are not alone. I have never had rock-hard abs, and so I've always avoided cropped tops, cutouts, deep sides, or anything else that could potentially reveal my jiggly bits. To be honest, I'd never even considered trying anything with cutouts until I saw Grace Atwood, one of my blogging heroes, in a Farm Rio dress that looked so doable—and flattering—that I had to order it. Cue "A Whole New World" because I've discovered...maybe I can wear cutouts? Here's how I wore my Farm Rio dress.



Top 10 things to buy on Amazon Prime Day (and 10 more things I bought)

So, I was planning on not covering Prime Day at all—sifting through over a million deals is a lot of work in a very short period of time—but then I saw how good the prices were on some of my all-time favorite items, so I thought what the heck? I realize I am a little late to the game, but you've got another full day of shopping ahead of you. Here are 10 products on sale for Prime Day that I own and highly recommend, 10 that I bought today, and there are even more in my Prime Day shop



Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2022 Picks

Every year, I ask myself whether I should be covering the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It feels like Groundhog Day in a way—many of the same items are included year after year, so much so that I always reference the previous year's post to make sure I'm not repeating the same recommendations. It also feels that every year, there are more of Nordstrom's private-label brands present and fewer designer brands. And now, this year, it looks like the discounts aren't as deep on certain items (thanks, inflation!). Can we catch a break? In a word, yes. As much as we all love to complain about how the sale isn't as good as it used to be, there are still some great deals to be had—I know because I went through literally every product that's included in this year's sale (except for kids and men's stuff, sorry). Here are my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks for 2022. 




What I wore in NYC

Have you ever meticulously packed for a trip, only to arrive and experience a sudden change in weather? That's what happened to me last week. I had been checking the forecast for a week and having lived on the East Coast for years, knew I was in for humid, mid-80s temperatures with lots of sunshine. Except I forgot the biggest rule of East Coast summertime weather, which is that it can change at any minute, and that's exactly what happened, whoops. Thankfully I did bring layers and a few warmer things, so while this outfit didn't turn out quite like how I had planned it—in fact, it shares over half of its elements with what I wore in this recent post—I'm still pretty happy with it. Here's how it all came together.



How to pack for a trip

Now that the pandemic is endemic, restrictions are being lifted, and we can take travel once again, it seems like we are all THIRSTY for a vacation. Anecdotally speaking, the airports were packed when I flew last week, and based on an elementary understanding of supply and demand, ticket prices are definitely reflecting that. (I'm not going to tell you what I spent on my flight to NYC, but on a normal day, it would have bought me a flight to Paris.) Having not done much air travel in the last few years, I'm a little rusty, but so far I've found it's just like riding a bike—muscle memory kicks in right away. And of all the aspects of traveling, I think I'm a particularly good packer; this may be a surprise, but I actually tend to pack light. Over the years, I've perfected my formula, and since so many of you have asked me about it over the years, here's how I pack for a trip. 



Amazon cult favorite beauty products

Amazon is many things to many people: incredibly convenient, possibly evil, a source of income, an undeniable and almost unavoidable force. It also happens to be a great source for hard-to-find yet amazing beauty products from around the world. Here are 9 of my favorite beauty products with a cult following, and you can find them all on Amazon



7 ways to wear Birkenstocks

It's summer, and that means it's Birkenstock season. Well, that means it's Birkenstock sandal season, because if you're like me, you own what I call Winter Birkenstocks (aka the shearling-lined variety) as well. Then again, you can always wear Birkenstock sandals with socks year-round, so maybe let me backtrack again and say it's sockless Birkenstock sandal season. Whew, glad we cleared that up! I own Birkenstocks in all shapes, colors, and warmths, but my favorite pair to wear in the summertime is the Arizona EVA sandal in black. I actually think they're more comfortable than the traditional cork footbed—the foamy EVA material is more cushiony and absorbs impact better—and they have the added benefit of being much more affordable than traditional leather or suede. (They're also vegan, if that's important to you.) I own them in black and am strongly contemplating a pair in white, because as I'm about to prove, they're one of the most versatile pairs of shoes in my closet. The fact that they're a single color makes them a little more streamlined and sophisticated-looking than the traditional leather-and-cork combination, and I pair mine with pretty much anything. Here are 7 ways to wear the Birkenstock Arizona EVA sandals.



5 summer must-haves

It finally (finally) feels like summer here in the Bay Area: the weather is warming up, my workweek ends at 1pm on Fridays, and we have a bunch of fun trips planned. I also really look forward to wearing some of my favorite key pieces every summer—they're simple yet there's something about them that just makes me feel happy and carefree. Here are my 5 summer go-tos for 2022 (and every year).



Coastal grandmother style with Margaret O'Leary

There is a Thing happening on the internet at the moment, and it's the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic. Think of a heroine in a Nancy Myers movie: book clubs, farmers markets, Carole King, a glass of white wine (or three), and airy linen clothing. As someone who enjoys all of the above, it's a lifestyle I can definitely get behind, especially when it comes to the clothing part. When the weather gets hot, I love a loose-fitting linen dress that the air can just breeze right through, and of course it gets chilly along the coast at night, so you'll want to have an organic cotton sweater on hand. I'll take loose and relaxed over short and tight any day—the better to eat my heirloom tomato and burrata salad in, right? Thankfully I live in a city where the Coastal Grandmother game is strong, and there's no better place to shop for it than Margaret O'Leary, which opened its first store on Claude Lane in San Francisco over 25 years ago and can now be found across the country (including in my hometown, Chicago). They invited me to pick out a few of my favorite pieces, and as soon as I put them on, it was like a glass of sauvignon blanc showed up in my well-moisturized hand and "This Will Be an Everlasting Love" started playing. Here's my interpretation of the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic.



An honest review of Spanx straight leg jeans

It can safely be said that y'all love Spanx. I certainly do too—my jeans, faux leather joggers, and pants are among the most worn pieces in my wardrobe. But I recently acquired a pair of their new ankle straight leg jeans, and let me tell you, I think I have a new favorite. And while I just did an honest review last week, I figured it's never too soon for another one (especially since you, dear readers, seem to particularly love them). Spanx sent these jeans to me for free, but as always, the opinions in this review are 100% my own. Here are my honest and unfiltered thoughts on Spanx straight leg jeans



An honest review of Eighth Day Regenerative Serum and Reparative Moisturizer

One of the perks of being a blogger is that I get sent a lot of skincare products—often more than even an entire family can use. Conventional wisdom says that you should try a product at least 28 days before you judge its results, but ain't nobody got time for that here. I generally give a new product a week (or less if it irritates my skin), and if it's not doing anything for me, it goes into my friends and family pile. For the record, I don't write about 75% of the things I receive—generally I believe that if I don't have something nice to say. I shouldn't put it in writing—but when something comes along that's noteworthy, that's when I decide to tell you about it. And you definitely need to know about Eighth Day skincare. Full disclosure: they sent me a full-size Regenerative Serum  and Reparative Moisturizer to try, and I was under no obligation to write about either product, but the results were so instantly, visibly amazing, I knew I had to give them a proper review. So without further ado, here's my honest, unfiltered opinion of Eighth Day Regenerative Serum and Reparative Moisturizer



What to wear in wine country in spring

One of my favorite parts of living in San Francisco is that it's so close to wine country. If you time it right, you can be in Sonoma County in under an hour, or a little longer for Napa County, but not by much. While wine tasting is obviously a big part of the experience, for me, the best parts is getting outside, breathing in some fresh country air, and enjoying the weather, which is usually 10–20 degrees warmer than in the city. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I go to wine country quite a bit (I call my outings #SundayWineChurch), so I feel like I've perfected dressing for the nuances in weather. Here's what I recommend wearing in wine country in late spring. 



An honest review of Chicwish

Chicwish provided me with all of the clothing in this post for free, however all of the opinions in the following post are 100% my own. 


If you've been scrolling on Instagram recently, chances are you've seen ads for Chicwish—and if you're me, chances are those ads have followed you all around the Internet. I actually bought a Chicwish skirt on Amazon and featured it in my birthday outfit post last month; Chicwish saw that and graciously reached out with an offer to review some products of my choice. Of course I was curious to try more from this brand, so I jumped at the chance. Here's a little background on Chicwish, plus an honest review of everything I bought.


Mother's Day Gift Guide 2022

Mothers: we've all got one—possibly two, and maybe a mother-in-law, a stepmom, a couple grandmas, or even a mother figure. And while I may not be a mom, I certainly know how to shop for them, as I have a lot of them in my life. Since May 8th will be here before you know it, here are 10 Mother's Day gifts that your Mom will love. 


How to depuff your face

I've noticed a certain thing happening to my face recently, and that's if I've had anything alcoholic to drink the night before, I wake up in the morning with an alarmingly puffy face. If I've had, say, three glasses of red wine, my face looks like a pillow that someone sat on. This never used to happen to me, so I think we have dehydration, both the kind that happens naturally from aging and the kind that happens from drinking too much, to blame. While there's not a lot that you can do to prevent your skin becoming dehydrated as you age, you could, in theory, not drink—and I know plenty of women who have done that, or have at least seriously cut back. But I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or with friends, and, as the saying goes, I'm not a quitter. Plus, your face can become puffy from eating too much salt, from allergies, and from a bunch of other things. Thankfully for all of us, I have devised a formula to combat puffiness, no sobriety required. Here's how to to depuff your face in 8 easy steps. 



What to buy from the Amazon Aware collection

The fashion industry is slowly acknowledging that it's terrible for the environment. Of course, the best solution to that problem would be for everyone to buy less clothing, but we all know that's probably not going to happen (at least not anytime soon). The silver lining is that many fashion companies are shifting to more sustainable processes, and while there is a certain level of greenwashing going on in terms of marketing these "eco-conscious" products, at least it's a step in the right direction. Perhaps to draw attention away from its gazillion environmentally harmful practices, Amazon recently launched its Amazon Aware collection of fashion, beauty, and home products that are carbon neutral (offset through carbon credits) and feature various Climate Pledge Friendly certifications, one of which is Amazon's own certification (insert eye roll here). Full disclosure: Amazon sent me four items from the collection to try for free. My take: they're of much higher quality of any other clothing I've ordered from Amazon, and if that bodes well for the future of fashion on Amazon, I'm all for making every line adhere to these standards. (After all, if we can make some fast fashion more sustainable, can't we do that for all of it?) I already featured the sweater and button-down shirt in my Amazon tops post, and the other two pieces I got were so good, I had to give them a separate post. Here are my favorite items from the Amazon Aware collection. 



Everything to buy during the Sephora sale

Yep, it's that time: Sephora's Beauty Insider event starts Friday, April 1st. Rouge members get 20% off starting on the 1st. VIBs get 15% off starting on the 5th, and Insiders get 10% off starting on the 7th, all with code SAVESPRING through April 11th. It's a great time to stock up on your favorites or to try something new, and since it's been awhile since I've shared my full routine, now seemed like a good time to give you mini-reviews all of my favorite Sephora products. Here are my recommendations for everything to buy during the Sephora Beauty Insider sale. 



7 ways to wear a camel blazer

We've had several false starts over the last few years, but it seems like a lot of us are returning to the office, at least a few days per week. As much as I love how productive (and calmer) I feel at home, I miss gossiping with my coworkers and seeing what they're wearing. And when it comes to what I'll be wearing, I have a feeling it won't be a complete return to my pre-pandemic wardrobe—for one, I don't think I can manage a heel higher than two inches—however there are certain pieces that I can't wait to wear regularly again, especially blazers. As I've said many times before, I love a good blazer. Nothing makes me feel more like I have my act together. I haven't been wearing mine nearly as frequently as I'd like to, with the exception of my trusty J.Crew camel sweater blazer. Because this blazer is knit, it feels softer and more relaxed like a cardigan; but because it has a notched lapel and more of a tailored structure, it feels a little more polished than a sweater. One thing to note: this style used to be called the Sophie; it's now the Eloise, and while he collar has been slightly updated and the fabric is a little more lightweight, it's basically the same piece—and a wise investment. Here are 7 ways to wear it. 



The best Amazon tops under $40

I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon—vitamins, home gadgets, French beauty products—but I am late to the fashion game. Which is probably because like everything else on Amazon, it helps to know exactly what you're searching for, and in the case of clothing, I don't always know. I'm more of browser than a searcher, and while I am not one to get easily overwhelmed by choice while shopping, I almost always do while looking for clothes on Amazon. So when Amazon recently asked me to join their influencer program, I seized the opportunity to sharpen my search skills, wade through the thousands and thousands of products out there, and find the best ones. Here are my 5 favorite tops that I've found (so far) on Amazon. Bonus: they're all under $40. 



An honest review of Olaplex

I first started coloring my hair in high school with Nice 'N Easy or one of those semi-permanent at-home kits; I believe it was some sort of deep red color that no one is actually born with but that appealed to me in my (thankfully short-lived) grunge-goth phase. In college, I graduated to highlights, and that's where my troubles began. I've now been bleaching my hair for close to 25 years, and all that hydrogen peroxide has taken its toll. My hair was not thick to begin with, but over the years, it has become so thin and brittle that it started to break. I really noticed this back in 2020 after six months of not coloring my hair due to the pandemic, when a much healthier root started to grow in. Of course, as soon as I was back on the bleach, my breakage returned too. So when my new stylist recommended Olaplex, I was willing to try anything. After six months of using the system religiously, I can assure you that the hype is real. Here's my honest review of the four Olaplex products I've been using: No. 3 Hair Perfector, No. 4 Bond Maintentance Shampoo, No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, and No. 6 Bond Smoother. 



What to wear on your birthday

As I mentioned in my newsletter last week, I've been hearing a lot about dopamine dressing, which is basically wearing clothes that bring you joy because the last two years have been all about sad sweatpants and scuzzy slippers, and we're all OVER IT. So as I enter my 44th year on this planet—yes, today is my actual birthday—I am fully embracing that concept. This week's outfit feels very "me" on several levels. For one, it includes some of my favorite pieces. On another, it pays homage to one of my favorite Peter Lindbergh editorials from Vogue, featuring all of the supermodels draped over motorcycles in Dumbo, dressed in a mix of Chanel and Schott. But on the deepest level, this is how my inner child would like to dress, ballerina skirt and all. And I'm totally embracing it. 



My 2022 birthday wishlist

Just about a year ago, I pledged to cut down on the Canva-collage posts and feature more original content here, and while I think I've been doing a pretty good job of that, there have been some extenuating circumstances in my life recently. I am making this sound way more dramatic than it actually is—long story short, Sean had surgery a few weeks ago and is on crutches and thus we can't do a proper photo shoot at the moment, but hopefully we'll have a new one very, very soon (e.g. next week). In the meantime, my birthday is next week and to be honest, I really enjoy writing these birthday wishlist posts. They're a little self-indulgent, yes, but hey, it's my birthday.  So for old time's sake, here's what I really, really, really want for my birthday this year. 



My office makeover: before and after

On a Friday afternoon in March 2020, I grabbed my laptop and a few files from my desk, thinking I'd be working from home for a week or two until the whole Coronavirus thing calmed down. And here I am, two years later, still working from home. I miss seeing my coworkers' outfits and gossiping with them after meetings, but I really don't miss commuting downtown in a packed bus every day, nor do I miss my tiny cubicle with zero privacy. At first, I worked from our living room—it's nice and sunny there, plus our couch is super comfy—but when it became clear that I'd be working from home for much longer than a week or two, I decided a more permanent setup was necessary. I am lucky enough to have a two-bedroom apartment, and in the nearly eight years I've lived here, our second bedroom has functioned as a kind of multipurpose space—part guest room, part game room, part office. But as I noted in my bedroom makeover post last year, spending so much time inside has caused me to re-look at all the rooms in my home with razor-sharp focus. Since I'll be working from home indefinitely—and at least half the time once my office reopens—I decided that the second bedroom needed to be a dedicated office space (sorry, visitors, you can stay at the hotel down the street!). Here's how I gave my office a complete makeover. 



An honest review of the Spanx Leather-Like Jogger

Yep, I'm back with yet another review of Spanx pants because you know you love them. Up next is the Leather-Like Jogger, otherwise known as the faux leather jogger, which is one of Spanx's bestselling styles. I was a little apprehensive about trying this pair because I was a little disappointed with the Faux Leather Leggings—TLDR: while they suck you in like a vacuum, they don't look anything like actual leather. But after seeing these all over social media, I decided to cave and take a chance on them. Here's my honest and unfiltered review of the Spanx Leather-Like Jogger. 



What to wear on Galentine's Day

February means many different things to different people; it's Black History month, my best friend's birthday, Super Bowl Sunday, Presidents' Day weekend, Groundhog Day, and, of course, Valentine's Day, which, even though I'm in a relationship, is kind of the worst made-up holiday of them all. I've decided not to do any formal Valentine's Day content this year; you dear readers tend not to be very interested in it, and since every other content creator is doing V-Day gift guides and outfits and such, you have many other places to find ideas, should you need them. That said, this could pass for a date-night look, although I feel like it's an outfit my girlfriends would appreciate more than my partner. I always dress for myself first, but when I go out with friends, I do find myself reaching for something that I think they'd like, whether it's a fun dress, a power blazer, killer shoes, or all of the above, as in this look. Since Galentine's Day is coming up on February 13th, here's what I'd wear. 


A weekend trip to Miami Beach

My first trip to Miami Beach, a.k.a. South Beach, was 15 years ago for my friend's bachelorette party. Four of us crammed into a tiny room with two queen-size beds, but we barely spent any time there, because we were too busy having the time of our lives. I've been back many times since, for long-weekend getaways, girls' trips, and even a wedding, and I will rarely turn down the chance to go. To those who have never been to Miami, I like to describe it as Vegas on the beach. Like Las Vegas, people go there to party— they dress to the nines and the people-watching is off the charts—and there are a bunch of amazing restaurants from top chefs like José Andrés and Francis Mallmann. Unlike Vegas, there is no gambling nor ridiculous manmade spectacles (unless you count all of the exotic cars driving up and down Collins Avenue); instead, there's a glorious beach and some amazing Art Deco architecture. It had been four years since my last visit, so when Sean found out he had a business trip, I decided to tag along and get there a few days early to take advantage of the holiday weekend. Here's what we did on our weekend trip to Miami Beach.


It can be a little chilly at night—bring a jacket!

An honest review of the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer

I have a semi-firm belief that you’re either good at doing hair or makeup but generally not both. I fall into the latter category, which I attribute to years of doing stage makeup when I used to dance; over the years, I’ve learned to style my hair in an adequate manner, but it never looks remotely as good as when a professional does it. I feel like this is generally a positioning thing: in doing one’s own hair, you can’t get quite into the ideal angle as when someone else styles your hair, plus your arms are generally raised above your head and thus requite more muscle stamina, particularly if you have a lot of hair (which I don’t, but we’re still talking a significant amount of time). So even while I’ve honed my blowout skills with my Dyson over the years, I’ve been intrigued by the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer, which has over 262,100 reviews (and counting) on Amazon. Is it idiot-proof enough to deliver a just-from-the-salon blowout, or is it all hype? Here’s my honest review.



What to wear in 2022

Just before the new year, there was a meme going around the Internet alluding to how 2022 sounds like "2020 two," e.g. "the sequel," e.g. dear god, not again. But Sean interpreted it as "2020 take two," e.g. a do-over, and that optimism is one of the many reasons why I love him. Yes, things may be less than ideal right now, with closures and quarantines and yet another rampant strain of Covid, but maybe, just maybe this is the year we move on from this @#$% virus. I didn't realize how much I was craving my old routines until our back-to-office date got pushed back for the gazillionth time—and this time I was actually disappointed about it. I had been thinking about easing back into office wear (and really looking forward to wearing my blazers again), but since that won't be happening just yet, I've come up with a happy medium: pieces that are comfortable and casual enough to wear around the house, but polished enough to wear out to after-work drinks (outside, of course). So here's what I'm wearing in 2022...for now.



The top products of 2021

Happy new year, and welcome to 2022! But first, one more post about 2021. This blog is called Cheryl Shops for good reason, but obviously you do a lot of shopping too. Once again, thank you for doing so—when you make a purchase using my links, I get a small finder's fee (at no cost to you), and that income helps me continue to create more free content for you. Everyone wins! Speaking of wins, I always like to look back and see what the most popular items of the year were, both out of curiosity and in the interest of featuring more of what you like. Based on this year's bestsellers, that would be cashmere sweaters, Spanx pants, and skincare. Here are the top products that Cheryl Shops readers bought in 2021.