2023 year in review

The other day, someone asked about my holiday travel plans, and as I responded that I was leaving "a week from next Saturday" I realized that, no, I was leaving Saturday. As in this week. As in Christmas is now less than a week away. I don't know what happened to my sense of time—maybe it's just that I'm getting older and time seems to be moving more quickly—but yikes, how is it already the end of the year?! I had every intention to break this into several posts, but now that the clock is ticking (and, to be honest, IRL priorities have been taking precedence), here's a look back at the highs, the lows, the best sellers, the worst fails, and more highlights from 2023. 

It was 27 degrees and snowing, and I was coming down with Covid when we shot this photo, as you can probably tell from my face

What to wear with red tights

I am finally at the age where I don't feel compelled to try every trend, however I do give them a whirl when the mood strikes. Earlier this year, red tights staged a comeback—I tend to think of them as very '80s, but they definitely had a Gossip Girl (the original) season 1 moment in the early 2000s—and while I wasn't quite ready then, a display at my local Target caught my eye (I know, right?!) and all of a sudden, they seemed like the perfect thing to wear right now. Here's how I styled my red tights for a holiday party. 

The Cheryl Shops 2023 Holiday Gift Guide

Cue up "All I Want for Christmas Is You" because Black Friday is mere days away, the sales have already started, and it's high holiday shopping time. My family has really dialed back our gift exchanges over the last few years, which makes putting these gift guides together kind of fun—it's like shopping for imaginary friends and family without actually spending any money. That said, a lot of these gifts are on my own wish list (especially the splurges section), and I already own—and highly recommend—many of the others. So without further ado, here's my holiday gift guide for 2023!

An honest review of Cocokind skincare

People often ask me if more expensive skincare products are worth the price, and my answer is sometimes. The most important thing is finding something that works for your skin type, and there are usually solutions at all price points. While there are very expensive products out there that I begrudgingly admit work very well, the truth is that when it comes to your skin's basic needs—cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection—you don't have to spend a fortune. (If you are going to splurge, I recommend doing it on a serum, which is where you usually find the most potent, and active, ingredients.) You also don't have to settle for mass-market formula loaded with phthalates if you're on a budget; in recent years, there have been a bunch of clean and environmentally conscious brands to hit the market. One of which is Cocokind, so when they offered to send me a bunch of products to try, I gladly accepted. While I did receive these products free of charge, the following review contains my honest and unfiltered opinions. Here's my assessment of three of Cocokind's top products.

Spanx faux leather leggings vs. an Amazon dupe

 Yes, it’s yet another Spanx review, but this time with a new twist. Just as Spanx contacted me to see if I’d like to try their new fleece-lined version of their signature Faux Leather Legging (yes, of course), an Amazon brand reached out to me to see if I’d like to try their Spanx dupe. For context, I get contacted a lot by Amazon brands, and I turn most of them down, because in my experience, most of it is total crap. But Spanx leggings aren’t getting any cheaper and inflation doesn’t seem to be improving, so in the name of journalism, I decided to give both a try. While both Spanx and Santiny sent me these leggings for free, the following are my honest and unfiltered thoughts. Here’s a head-to-head comparison of Spanx Faux Leather Fleece-Lined Legging and Santiny Faux Leather Leggings

The Sephora sale masterlist

Updated April 5, 2024.

It's that time again for the Sephora Savings Event, which seems to be creeping up earlier and earlier every year. And now that it's been a full year since I left Sephora and am no longer getting showered with new product on a regular basis, I've found I've become much more particular about what I spend my own money on. So instead of recommending a whole bunch of new stuff, I thought I'd focus on my all-time favorite products from Sephora. If you don't know what to buy during the event, hopefully this list will help! The sale started today with 20% off for Rouge members, and VIBs and Insiders get 15% and 10% off respectively starting Tuesday, 10/31. Plus all Sephora Collection is 30% off for the entire event, which runs through 11/6. Here are the products I'd recommend trying.

Things I've learned in 20 years of blogging

Hi, my name is Cheryl, and with my right sidebar as proof, I've been writing this blog for 20 years. Here's how it all began: Picture me, a 25-year-old living out her Carrie Bradshaw fantasies in early 2000s New York City and working in magazine publishing as a copy editor who'd rather be writing about fashion than proofreading stories about beer and football (I worked at a men's magazine). I knew people who had LiveJournal pages (remember those?), but then I heard about a platform called Blogger, so I decided to give it a try. I didn't quite know what I was doing at first—to save you the embarrassment (on my part) of having to read my cringey old writing, I'll provide a high-level recap—but after dabbling in commenting on other writers' work and doing TV recaps, I hit my stride listing all of the sample sales in NYC every week, as well as reporting on the ones I went to. I then expanded into shopping guides and halfway through 2006 (lol better late than never) I finally started incorporating photos. In September 2006, I was among the first group of bloggers ever given press passes to New York Fashion Week; I attended every subsequent season until I moved to San Francisco in 2013. I fostered relationships with PR agencies, got invited to all manner of events, and developed somewhat of a following. I started a partnership with The Find, a shopping search engine that was eventually acquired by Facebook. Internet shopping was growing by leaps and bounds, and I was spending hours every week compiling all of the sales, online and in person, and to be honest, I was getting a little burned out, both from the blog and from my day job and from the general battle that is living in New York City. A new social platform called Instagram started to take off. I took a new job in San Francisco, moved across the country, and pretty much blew up my life. When I wrote an ode to a pair of sweatpants, I knew that, after 10 years of blogging, I had lost the spark. I stopped blogging, and I didn't think I'd start again, until I realized I was about to turn 40 and had no idea how I was supposed to dress anymore. I went to Vegas, won big at the blackjack tables, drank far too many vodka-sodas, and decided to stage a comeback. Blogging had changed since I left—it was starting to be called influencing, and it was shifting heavily to video and social media—but I decided to confront my fears, put myself in front of the camera, and get more personal. That was 7 years ago, and now here we are. Being a wise Blogging Elder who's reached the introspective point of her career, I thought I'd share what I've learned in 20 years of blogging. 

My 10 favorite outfits of all time

I've been feeling a little introspective lately, for good reason: This month marks 20 years (!!!) of Cheryl Shops. I'm planning to go into more detail about this next week, but in the meantime, before I start to look forward, I thought I'd take another look back, this time at my favorite outfits of all time. An important thing to note: I started Cheryl Shops back in 2003 as a way of sharing things that I bought or wanted to buy, as well as sample sales and general thoughts on fashion; back then, this blog didn't have photos, and even so, I didn't start sharing photos of myself until 2017, when I decided to restart it after a three-year break. So while this blog has been around for 20 years, I've only been doing outfit photos for 7 of those years. Now that that's out of the way, I truly enjoyed my walk down memory lane, and I hope you do too. In no particular order, here are my top 10 outfits of all time. 

The 10 things I wear the most

 It's a new season, and that always seems to bring talk of creating a capsule wardrobe. In theory, I think capsule wardrobes are an excellent idea; we all have way more clothes than we truly need, and there's something so efficient about being able to create a bunch of different outfits out of a handful of pieces. Back in the day, Lucky Magazine truly excelled at this, in an incredibly inspiring way. The reality, however, is when you ask people to commit to a limited number of items they tend to play it safe and go for more classic things. That's not necessarily bad—classics tend to be worth the investment in terms of quality and longevity—but too much tastefulness can be a little...boring. I've never been a maximalist, but I'm a firm believer that every wardrobe—even a capsule—needs a balance between statement pieces and basics. In fact, I have a few go-to statement pieces that are among the most-worn items in my entire closet. So while this post isn't a capsule wardrobe per se, I did want to gather my top 10 most worn items. Some are basic, some definitely not, and not everything goes together, but these are the best buys I've ever made.

An honest review of Madewell The '90s Straight Jean

Ever since the Gen Z-ers decided that skinny jeans are out and straight-leg jeans are in (kidding! sort of...) I've been on the hunt for the perfect pair of '90s supermodel jeans. (Side note: if you have not yet watched The Supermodels on AppleTV, please do so now. It's well worth the $6.99 you have to pay for your first month.) This is the iconic look I'm going for (thank you, Peter Lindbergh) however it should be noted that my body is nothing close to that of a supermodel. I have tried on so many pairs of straight-leg jeans in the last few years, I can't even begin to tell you, and of those, two have made it to the blog: this Re/Done pair, which I have since sold on Poshmark, and this Agolde pair, which is incredibly comfortable yet does not inspire supermodel feelings. I am not one to give up however, so when I wandered into Madewell recently, I decided to try on all of their straight-leg fits, knowing that their jeans have quite a cult following (I have several pairs myself). One fit emerged triumphant: the '90s Straight Jean. Here's my honest and unfiltered review. 

5 fall must-haves

Saturday is officially the first day of fall, and based on what I've been seeing on social media, it seems like everyone is pretty ready for it. It's definitely my favorite season—what's not to love about sweaters, boots, hot drinks, and a general feeling of coziness that's not being ruined by adverse weather conditions outside? As I've been noting for a few seasons now, the challenge is that we're amidst a major silhouette shift from long over skinny to oversized over wide; I don't know about you, but I admit I haven't completely figured out how to wear it, and I'm ok with that. It's all part of the journey. I am excited about the newer, looser way of dressing, though—as someone who prefers to be more covered up, I love how comfortable wide-leg pants are and I'm always up for cocooning in anything oversized. Wearing all of these things together is a delicate balancing act but I think it somehow works? Here are the five things I'm most excited to wear this fall.

3 days in Kyoto

After the hustle and bustle of our 5 days in Tokyo, I was looking forward to taking it down a notch in Kyoto, which while still a city of 1.4 million people, is much smaller and calmer than Tokyo. Kyoto was the capital of Japan until the late 1800s and still remains a spiritual center—there are roughly 2,000 religious sites, several of which are UNESCO heritage sites. What makes Kyoto special in my mind is that it was virtually untouched during World War II, so unlike Tokyo with its gazillion skyscrapers, it feels very traditional, with low wooden buildings and majestic temples that have been around for centuries. Much like Tokyo, Kyoto is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of city: you can spend the entire time temple-hopping, you can eat exclusively in Michelin-starred restaurants, you can tour the imperial palace, you can party with the locals in all manner of nightclubs, you can go hiking in the mountains,  you can go sake- or tea-tasting, you can shop in high-end boutiques....you get the point. We tried to do a little bit of everything, but with not quite three full days, we definitely didn't do it all. (Pro tip: I'd recommend at least three, if not four full days in Kyoto if you can swing it, ideally during the week.) Here's what we did during our 3 days in Kyoto. 

5 days in Tokyo

Have you ever traveled somewhere and almost instantly started plotting how and when you can return? That's how I felt about Tokyo. It was not an immediate feeling—Tokyo has 38 million (!!!) residents, and it can seem incredibly overwhelming at first—but halfway through our second day there, I started to get a sense of the different neighborhoods and their unique character, finding the quiet moments of discovery amidst all the hustle and bustle. Having several Japanese (and Japan-loving) friends, we were armed with a wealth of recommendations for where to eat, what to do, and how to get around, and we barely scratched the surface. So obviously a return trip is in order (and next time, maybe not in summer when the temperatures are above 90 degrees every day)! But until then, here's everything we did during our 5-day stay in Tokyo. 

What quiet luxury looks like to me

Fashion is always cyclical, and after the maximalism of revenge dressing, dopamine dressing, and Barbiecore, 2023 has felt like a shift back to minimalism. If you want to get deep, part of it can be seen as a reaction to economic trends (high inflation, high interest rates, general panic about signs of a recession, etc.), when people get more conservative about how they dress and tend toward the classics versus pieces that shout luxury. But on a more surface level, I think people just get tired of their clothes and want to try something new. The thing about quiet luxury is that it's positioned as an uber-rich thing, like how the characters on Succession dress. Anecdotally, there is some truth in that; I have known some incredibly wealthy people who exclusively wear threadbare clothes from L.L. Bean and wouldn't be caught dead in a designer logo. I have also known heiresses (I'm talking literal future billionaires) who'd never say no to a rhinestone, bright color, or bandage dress. It's true that money can't buy taste, but taste is also subjective. Quiet luxury is still wealth-signaling; it just depends on what your flavor of wealth-signaling is. That said, my style has always leaned more toward minimalism than maximalism, so if this quiet luxury trend means I have more viable clothing options out there, I'm all for it. Here's what quiet luxury looks like to me. 

An honest review of Elemis Pro-Collagen

It's been awhile since I've done an honest review of any skincare, for several reasons. I got a series of IPL facials earlier this year, which I would not entirely recommend because they've made my already reactive skin sensitive AF, and literally every new product I've tried since then has given me a rash. This bummed me out on many levels, because, one, no one wants to go through life with splotchy, irritated skin, and two, I really enjoy finding skincare products I love and telling you about them. So it was with an understandable amount of trepidation that I cracked into a box that Elemis sent me earlier this year. Elemis is a high-end British skincare brand that's been around for years; while not impossible to find in the U.S., it's a little more under-the-radar, e.g. not in Sephora or most department stores. But it turns out that, like many foreign brands, Elemis feels like a little secret that Britain has been keeping for themselves. In other words, this is a really good skincare line. Here are my honest, unfiltered thoughts about the three products I've been using nonstop lately.

This is my actual skin, in good lighting, with no filter. I am wearing only mascara and lip gloss.  

A tour of my living room

I've lived in my San Francisco apartment for nine years, making it the longest I've ever lived anywhere as an adult. While I've definitely experienced some life changes here—my ex moved out, I lived here alone for several years, then Sean moved in almost five years ago—I hadn't done much to update the décor that entire time. We kind of absorbed much of Sean's furniture and bought some new things over the years, but what really set things in motion was the Jenni Kayne rug I bought myself for my birthday earlier this year. (And yes, you know you're in your 40s when your birthday present to yourself is a rug.) While I had been obsessed with this rug for months, I hadn't considered how it would make everything else in the room look...not quite right. In other words, instead of pulling the room together, it kind of tore it apart. But that turned out to be a good thing. I decided to completely overhaul my living room design and make it the cozy, cohesive, intentional space I've always wanted. Here's a tour of my new and improved living room.

My 5 favorite vacation dresses

 It's peak summer travel season and hopefully you've got a big trip coming up. (I do next month!) When I vacation in the summer—or anytime I go somewhere warm—I tend to pack mostly dresses. I don't want to think too much about putting outfits together when I'm trying to relax and decompress, so there's something so easy about throwing on a dress and going about your day (or night). I definitely dress a little differently when I'm on vacation, but there's something kind of glamorously escapist about embracing the fabulousness of resort wear. Think more carefree boho vibes, less polished minimalism. I have several go-to brands that capture that sprit so well; here are my 5 favorite dresses to wear on vacation. 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2023 picks

Ok, I really got burned last year with my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks—after hours of poring over everything on the website, making collages, and writing careful assessments, nearly everything I featured sold out on the first day, before I was even allowed to shop. (I guess that means I have good taste?)  I was so irritated that I vowed never to cover the sale again...until the catalogue arrived and I thought, Ok, I'm giving this one last shot, but doing things a little differently this time. Instead of diving deep into every category, I picked my top 8 items that I am actually hoping to buy. And since the NSale is usually a good time to stock up on tried-and-true wardrobe classics and beauty essentials, I'm sharing my top 10 items that I actually own and highly recommend. Icons, Ambassadors, and Influencers (e.g. Nordstrom cardholders) get to shop now through the 16th of July, and the sale opens up to the public on July 17th. Let's hope everything stays in stock until then!

5 summer must-haves

In recent years we've had Hot Girl summer, Hot Vaxx summer, Hot Coastal Grandmother summer....am I missing anything? I don't know what the trending Hot buzzword is this year; maybe it's just Hot Hot summer, based on the heatwave that's hitting most of the country at the moment, thanks to global warming. Of course, here in San Francisco, it's more like Hot Cold summer—I am wearing a wool sweater as I write this, as it's 53 degrees outside today, I kid you not—but a girl can dream...or at least travel to warmer parts of the country, which I will be doing next week. Here are 5 summer must-haves I'll be taking with me. 

What to wear with Bermuda shorts

Back in the early '90s when I was a grunge-loving teenager who shopped equally at Salvation Army and Contempo Casuals, I remember my mom favoring a type of shorts that were long, pleated, and occasionally decorated with a bold floral print. I was perhaps a bit embarrassed when she wore them (sorry, Mom!). Thirty years later, this exact style has flooded my Instagram feed, and to the mortification of my inner 15-year-old, I found myself wanting a pair. The funny thing is, I saw lots of chic young women wearing them, not just 40-somethings, so maybe that's what really made me go for it, or at least justify it. Maybe we really do turn into our mothers after all? Regardless, read on for a mini review of the shorts I ordered and some styling tips. 

What I wore in New York

A very dear friend of mine always jokes that she never makes it into my IG stories whenever I visit New York, and I always respond that it's because I'm so present and having so much fun with her that I don't even think to pull out my phone and take pictures. The same thing goes for this post—I had every intention of shooting a different outfit every day of our five-day trip last week, but...we were having too much fun and kind of forgot to. The good news is that we did manage to capture two of them (I'll re-create the others sooner or later), and coincidentally enough, they both kind of reflect the areas of the city in which I wore them. Here are some of the things wore last week in NYC.

Get the look: white tiered dress

As I noted a few weeks ago, there's no such thing as too many little white dresses as far as I'm concerned. Seems like you're on a white dress kick too, because the most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board features one prominently. Since it's now peak LWD season, let's re-create the look for less. 

An honest review of Spanx Thinstincts 2.0 Girl Shorts

I have reviewed a lot of Spanx over the last few years—jeans, pants, leggings—but never what made the company famous in the first place: shapewear. I'm guessing most of us own some shapewear, but how frequently we wear ours depends on what type of clothing we gravitate toward and our pain tolerance. Ok, I'm kind of kidding on the second point; shapewear is much more comfortable than what the girdles that our mothers and grandmothers wore, although, to be fair, it's not quite as comfortable as a pair of sweatpants. With a few exceptions, I generally don't wear very clingy clothing on a daily basis, but when I do want to wear some of the more body-conscious pieces in my wardrobe, shapewear is my secret weapon. I've had a pair of Spanx Thinstincts Girl Shorts that I've worn for years under my most clingy dresses, but the innovations in shapewear have grown in leaps and bounds over the last several years. Spanx recently updated their entire Thinstincts line, and when they asked me to try the new Girl Short, of course I said yes. While I received this product for free, the following is my entirely honest and unfiltered review.

The best white dresses under $200

I love a good white dress (or nine); there's nothing I like to wear more in summer. A little (or not-so-little) white dress has the same timeless, chic appeal as a little black dress, but it feels a little brighter and more optimistic. Plus, white looks better with a tan. After a recent closet clean-out, I've already bought two new white dresses so far this year, and because I just can't help myself, I have eight more saved in various shopping carts. Best part? They're all under $200. But first, let's talk about my newest one.

7 ways to wear a double-breasted black blazer

One of the many reasons I'm glad it's finally spring is that it's now warm enough to wear a blazer as a jacket. (You can normally get away with doing this most of the year in San Francisco, however we just had one of the coldest, wettest winters since I've lived here.) As I've said many times before, nothing makes me feel more pulled together than a blazer. If you're going to invest in an item of clothing, I always recommend channeling your funds toward a good one. That said, a few years ago when I was looking for the perfect double-breasted blazer, I discovered that even the mid-range designers (like Veronica Beard and L'Agence) made theirs in polyester. So when I found my Zara double-breasted blazer, which was a very reasonable $90, I thought, why bother spending $800 for practically the same thing? I am clearly not alone in loving this blazer, because Zara is still selling the exact same style more than a year and a half after I bought mine; in fact, they've even added more colors. I wear mine all the time IRL, and it literally goes with everything, but here are 7 of my favorite ways to wear it. 


An honest review of the Sarah Flint Perfect Riding boot

Boot trends may come and go—ankle versus midcalf, square-toe versus pointy—but a classic knee-high riding boot is always in style. I've been looking for the perfect pair for several years now, and what's that they say about the very thing you've been looking for being right under your nose? I've been working with Sarah Flint as an ambassador for awhile now, and when it came time to pick out a new pair, I saw her Perfect Riding Boot and it was like my prayers had been answered. It's a tall order to call something "perfect" in the official name, but as far as these boots go, it's pretty accurate—spoiler alert, they are indeed perfect. I was given this pair as a gift for referring so many new customers to Sarah Flint, but the following review is my honest and unfiltered opinion. 


Sephora sale picks & what's in my bag

Now that it's been over six months since I left Sephora, I'm slowly adjusting to normal civilian life where I'm not constantly showered with free products (although I do still receive quite a bit for the blog). I've also found I'm a lot pickier when I actually have to buy something myself—it's amazing what not having a discount will do. That said, Sephora's Spring Savings Event starts today for Rouge, on the 18th for VIBs and Insiders, plus all Sephora Collection is 30% off for the entire event, now through the 24th. If you want to try something new, here are my recent favorites, plus what I'm planning to buy for myself. 


What to wear with wide-leg pants

My love of black pants probably began when I was in college. I had a pair in a stretchy boot-cut polyester from Contempo Casuals, where I worked, and they made me feel very chic and grown-up. I wore them out to parties and bars, with going-out tops of course, or with a more demure sweater or blouse when I needed to look polished. Conservatively speaking, I probably own about 10 pairs of black pants at the moment, and yes, I wear them all. Some of them are skinny—a silhouette that I truly don't think will ever go fully out of style—some are straight leg, but what my closet has been missing is a true menswear-inspired wide-leg trouser. I've been searching for the right pair for awhile and have had some misfires, but I've finally found The One, and it's so good, I've been living in this pair for the last month or so. Styling wide-leg pants can be a little tricky, especially if your closet is heavy on longer tops (which look better proportionally with skinnier pants), but I'm here to help. Here's what I'm wearing with my wide-leg trousers.

Get the look: black blazer and white denim maxi skirt

While the weather hasn't quite gotten the memo that it's officially spring, I'm at least starting to think about what I want my wardrobe to look like this season. One of the most surprising yet welcome developments is that denim maxi skirts appear to be making a comeback. So how serendipitous that this month's most-repinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board features that very thing! Coincidentally, as I was putting this collage together, I realized that this look is pretty much a skirt version of the last Get the Look post I featured, so clearly you all are on a black-and-white kick. Hey, if it ain't broke...let's break it down (see what I did there?!).

5 spring must-haves

Inevitably, toward the end of each season, I start to get completely tired of all my clothes and am seized with an overwhelming urge to go buy a bunch of new things. The older (and wiser) I get, the more I try to be as pragmatic as possible about this. I want to make sure I'm investing wisely, and that I'm not going to buy something, wear it for a season, then never wear it again. So before I buy anything new, I've been asking myself three questions: 1) Would I wear this even if it weren't "on trend"? 2) Is it the best quality I can afford at the moment? 3) If it truly doesn't work for me in the end, can I resell it? These three questions have definitely made me slow down and be more conscious about what I'm buying, and that said, everything in this post obviously passed the test. Here are the 5 spring must-haves I'm most excited about.

What I wore in Honolulu

If it seems like I'm traveling a lot lately, well, I am. I have always loved to travel, and the pandemic pretty much brought that to a screeching halt, so now that life has (pretty much) gone back to normal, I'm making up for lost time. My day job is also 100% remote, which means I can work from anywhere, so when Sean has a business trip in an interesting location, I tag along. And lucky him, he had a work conference in Honolulu last week! Flights from San Francisco to Honolulu were very reasonable and I had a free place to stay (thanks, Sean's work!), so it was kind of a no-brainer. (Although, to be fair, my workdays started at 6:30 a.m., which was an adjustment to say the least.) I mean, who's going to turn down a trip to Hawaii? (Not me!) Here's what I wore.

An honest review of RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner

One of the things I get asked to review most by readers is eyebrow growth serum. Coincidentally, it's one of the items I get pitched most frequently by brands. In the interest of investigative journalism, I have tried many products intended to help brows grow; most of them have made little to no difference. There are all manner of brow serums on the market, at all price points (The Ordinary just came out with a version that's a very accessible $14.50), and if you read the reviews, for every rave, there's another that claims the product did absolutely nothing for them. It's a lot to sort through, so that's why I'm here to share what's given me the best results so far: RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner. This product was provided to me for free by RevitaLash with no obligation to review, however everything shared in this post is my honest and unfiltered opinion. Read on to see what I thought.

My 2023 birthday outfit

Today is my birthday and I'm 45 years young. I say that because strangely enough, I don't feel like I'm in my mid-40s—I still kind of feel like I'm in my late 20s—and in terms of looks, well, let's say I'm making the most of it. When I was turning 30 (which I was freaking out about at the time, hahahaha), a friend asked me what 18-year-old Cheryl would think of 30-year-old Cheryl, which made me put things in perspective. While many things have changed since then, I remain pretty damn happy with my life overall, and I hope that shows, inside and out. Tonight I'll be celebrating with friends, followed by dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, and here's what I plan to wear. 

What I wore in Palm Springs

People tend to picture L.A. or San Francisco when they think of California, but one of my favorite things about living in this vast state is that there are a bunch of quirky, singular towns. Carmel, Mendocino, and Big Sur are several of my favorites, and the longer I live here, the more I realize there are so many more to see. I had only been to Palm Springs once before—in 2006, years before I lived here—but when a friend mentioned he was going to Modernism Week this year, we decided to make a long weekend out of it and join him. There's plenty to do in Palm Springs when there's not a festival or big event happening, but if you're at all interested in architecture or design—particularly midcentury modern—I'd highly recommend going. It was also a completely different experience being in Palm Springs in the winter versus the summer, when I'd been there before. The weather was kind of all over the place, but I went with it. Here's what I wore in Palm Springs. 

My 2023 birthday wishlist

Two miraculous things happened with my birthday wishlist last year: one, it was one of the most-viewed posts of the year. Two, due to the incredible generosity of my friends and family, I ended up receiving everything on the list with the exception of the Céline bag, which I had intended to buy for myself (in the interest of fiscal responsibility, I went for a secondhand Chloé Faye instead). I am not quite as optimistic about this year’s wishlist—especially since the stakes are a little higher price-wise—but a girl can dream. Here’s what’s on my radar this year. 

What to wear on date night

 Is it me or has all of the marketing around Valentine's Day gotten a little toned down recently? I feel like I used to be inundated with emails and sponsored posts and pitches and ads—and I still see them, of course—but now, if anything, the tone seems to have shifted to an empowered one (buy your own diamonds!) and/or a more low-key one (date night looks to love). I realize I've done a lot of Valentine's Day outfit posts, including a Galentine's Day last year, and since it's been a whopping six years since I've done a date-night post (and oof is that one outdated!) I thought now would be a good time for an update. Also, we rarely go out on Valentine's Day; if anything, we tend to stay in and cook a nice meal at home since restaurants tend to be a sh*tshow on V-day. So since it's still February—and still cold here—this one is on the cozy side. Here's what I'm wearing on date night. 

5 ways to wear white jeans in winter

It's been a very rainy winter so far here in California, and when it rains, I tend to get into a wardrobe rut of skinny black pants and sweaters. (Case in point: this post.) Last week's Get the Look, however, got me thinking—as long as it's not raining, why not change it up with white jeans? I've found that wearing lighter colors in cold, dark weather really helps brighten my mood, and a little pop of white can go a long way. So with a little serotonin boost in mind, here are 5 ways to wear white jeans in winter. 

Get the look: black blazer and boots with white jeans

When I realized that one of the most-bought items last year was a coat I featured in a Get the Look post from 2021, I asked if I should bring back back this series and heard from a lot of you that I should...so here it is! To bring everyone up to speed, it's where I take one of the most repinned looks from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board and break it into pieces so you can re-create the look for yourself. When possible, I try to ID the exact items, but more often than not, it ends up being a "get the look for less" spin, which I know everyone loves anyway. S now that we got that out of the way, let's get straight into breaking down this month's most-pinned look.  

7 ways to wear Chloe Susanna boots

I came across a comment thread recently where a woman around my age (slightly younger) was asking what to wear on a trip to NYC and was promptly cut down by someone who probably moved there six years ago from Ohio, who declared that skinny jeans with ankle boots were "a no-go" and implored the woman to trade up to rigid straight-leg jeans with platform boots. Which made me think, "You can pry my ankle boots off of my cold, dead feet," and no pair more so than my Chloe Susanna boots. A version of this style first debuted way back in 2008 but was wisely brought back in 2011 by Hannah MacGibbon, a Phoebe Philo disciple (remember, Phoebe Philo took over as Chloe's head designer after working under Stella McCartney in the early 2000s!). That's when the style really took off—I remember seeing a pair on Sienna Miller—and Chloe has brought it back every year since, cementing its status as a straight-up footwear icon. I bought my pair of Susanna boots back in 2016 (full disclosure: when they were well under $1,000; I still think they're well worth the investment) and to this day, they're one of my favorite and most worn shoes in my wardrobe. I get compliments from a wide range of people every single time I wear them, but more importantly, they just make whatever your'e wearing look that much cooler. So with that in mind, here are 7 different ways to wear Chloe Susanna boots.

How to shop in 2023

Do you make new year's resolutions? If so, do you stick to them? I've always found resolutions to be a little punishing, albeit beneficial—lose 10 pounds, stop smoking, cut carbs, exercise more—so I frame mine as goals and make sure they are things that will bring me joy. In the past, I've set a goal of two cultural events per month (which I've kept up with, and then some), supporting journalism by paying for subscriptions (still doing that), and lowering my carbon footprint (going strong with composting, menstrual cups, offsetting all my flights, meatless Monday, and bar soap only). Last year, in a fit of mid-pandemic helplessness, I set way too many goals for myself, most of which were neither pleasurable nor attainable, and—shocker—I did not accomplish most of them, which left me feeling somewhat useless and unhappy. So this year, I've pared it down to three big goals, which in the spirit of vulnerability (and accountability), I'm going to share here. One is to strengthen my friendships; the pandemic did a number on my social life, and I'm still recovering from that. The second—which is a little more relevant here—is to improve my relationship with money, because I'm realizing that I could be in a better financial position than I am. As part of that, I made a budget for the first time in my life (I'm using You Need A Budget) and whew, has that been a humbling and eye-opening experience. Which brings me to my third and hopefully most relevant goal: to invest wisely in beautiful things. Real talk: I have frequently bought things just to feature here on the blog, and those are not items that have truly brought me joy; instead, I end up reselling or donating them, which is better than throwing them away, but still, I'd rather have one nice sweater that I love and will wear for years versus 10 crappy sweaters that pill and I can only wear a few times before I'm utterly disgusted by them. So with that in mind, I've set a few parameters for myself for what I purchase (and wear) in 2023—let's be honest, this blog is called Cheryl Shops, and while I have no intention of stopping, I can at least be more conscious about what I buy. So here are my shopping guidelines for 2023. 

What you bought in 2022

Happy new year! And yes, I think it's still within the acceptable timeframe to say that ;) I have definitely moved on to 2023 mentally but wanted to take one last look at 2022—specifically, what you bought. But first, I'd like to thank you for doing so, because when you buy something from one of my links, I get a small finder's fee from each purchase (at no cost to you), and that income helps fund me and all of the magic elves (e.g. people and software services) that keep Cheryl Shops up and running. Think of it as supporting a micro-economy. And speaking of the economy, here's how you voted with your dollars in 2022.