The Zara Edit: Three Cities, Three Styles

It’s nearly Summertime, can you believe it?! The daylight hours now stretch into the late evening, we’re upping the SPF on our faces and dreaming of our soon-to-come beachside getaways.   In the midst of all this glorious transition, we’ve hit a little wall in the getting-dressed department.  No more staring blankly into the void of our closets each morning – it’s time to add a few key pieces to our wardrobes! We thought it would be interesting to choose a super affordable brand that all three of us has access to, shop the current collection, and see what each of us comes up with.   We like the Spanish brand Zara for their price point, their focus on both basics and trends, and better quality relative to other “fast-fashion” retailers.  We also appreciate that Zara has resisted transferring production to low-cost countries and has recently banned harmful toxins from their clothing production.

Our three edits are completely varied and it was fun to see what each other chose!  Hallie came up with a romantic, colorful, Cali-boho ensemble that nods to the current 70’s trend in fashion that we are so on board with.  Over in NYC, Jenna went for an unexpected pattern play, but kept it refined and tailored for a look that is both work and cocktail apropos.  Brooke found the perfect denim she’d been searching all around London for and paired it with a white linen button down, a summer staple that will double as a beach coverup.  What would you have chosen?  We’d love to hear how you’re planning to update your summer wardrobe – please share your ideas in the comments below!

Hallie’s Picks

Zara Items: top // jeans // shoes
Other Items: necklace

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Jenna’s Picks
Zara Items: Top // Skirt // Shoes (Similar)
Other Items: Sunglasses // Watch

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Brooke’s Picks
Zara Items: top // jeans
Other Items: shoes // scarf // jacket




Videndaessential: The White Shirtdress

White Shirt Dresses

Nothing says effortless style like a crisp, menswear-inspired shirtdress. Extremely versatile, it can be worn alone, belted, layered with bold accessories, dressed up or even worn as a beach cover up. There are so many different styles out there to choose from, so finding the right one for You is key. We are loving all eight of these variations – any of which would be a perfect addition to your summer wardrobe!

1. Maud Heline – Aziristik Shirtdress – $395

2. Bailey 44 – Court Shirt Dress – $200

3. Crippen – Circular Shirdress – $575

4. Eileen Fisher – Linen Hi-Lo Shirtdress – $248

5. Madewell – Courtyard Shirtdress – $98.00 (currently on sale $74.50)

6. MCQ Alexander McQueen – Drape Shirt Dress – $595  

7. Current Elliot – The Long Shirt Dress – $268

8. Acne Studios – Lash Long Shirt Dress – $480

Friday Link Love

Friday Link Love

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend everyone! I don’t know about you, but it has been one heck of a busy week for me and I am beyond happy it’s Friday! This weekend I am so excited to slow down a bit, celebrate my lovely Mother, and enjoy the warmer temps we have been having in NYC! I also need to catch up on some much needed spring organizing!  Without further adieu, here are our favorite links from around the web this week!

1. Six easy bookshelf styling tips!

2. Nine benefits of starting your day with warm water and lemon.

3. How to make the perfect bed.

4. Wet styling tips for post workout hair.

5. Eight destinations to inspire your summer vacation!

6. Anna Wintour: Comedy Icon

7. Love this instagram account poking fun at high-end dining! Brilliant.

8. Lake Michigan shipwrecks visible from the air

9. Loving these Mother’s Day Brunch recipes!

Homemade Chips and Guacamole

Chips and Guacamole

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If there is any time of year to load up on chips and guacamole (and maybe a few margaritas), it’s today. My mom makes the meanest guacamole in town but over the years I have taken her recipe and made a few additions (cilantro and jalapeño) and subtractions (tomatoes) to better suit my preferences. I recently tried making my own baked chips and was shocked at how simple and delicious they were. Try my guac tonight and let me know what ingredients you add to yours in the comments section below!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients (guacamole): 

3 avocados
1 red onion
1 jalapeño
1 – 2 limes
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste

Ingredients (chips):

15 – 20 small corn tortillas
vegetable oil
sea salt to taste

Chips and Guacamole

Steps (guacamole):
1. Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avocado from the peel and place it in a mixing bowl.
2. Mash the avocado with a fork. Add the cilantro, lime juice, red onion, jalapeño, salt and pepper and continue to mix well.
3. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve immediately.

Chips and Guacamole

Chips and Guacamole

Steps (chips):
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Brush each tortilla lightly with vegetable oil.
3. Slice the tortillas into 4ths.
4. Using 2 baking sheets, distribute half the chips onto each sheet, making sure they are evenly spread out and not overlapping.
5. Bake until golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and season with salt.
7. Serve immediately.

Chips and Guacamole
1. An easy way to get the pit out of the avocado (and look like a pro while doing it).
2. Lay the pits of the avocados in your guacamole until you are ready to serve. This will prevent the guacamole from browning.
3. If your eyes water while cutting onions, try holding an unlit match between your teeth.

The Wisest Woman We Know: Pema Chödrön


Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author.  I was first introduced to her work by my Aunt Robin in a time when I was seeking perspective and needed advice.  Pema’s teachings and books span topics such as developing patience, kindness, joy, fearlessness, seeing yourself for who you truly are, breaking destructive patterns, and unlocking your potential.  She is credited with having spread concepts of Buddhism and meditation to a broad Western audience, I think largely because her words and writings are so approachable and relatable.  Her wisdom is bite-sized and immediately useful.  Below are three short passages I particularly love from her book I carry with me,  The Pocket Pema Chödrön.

A More Adventurous Way to Live

There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable.   You can see this even in insects and animals and birds.  All of us are the same.

A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.  To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.

Move Toward Difficulty 

We are told from childhood that something is wrong with us, with the world, and with everything that comes along; it’s not perfect, it has rough edges, it has a bitter taste, it’s too loud, too soft, too sharp, too wishy-washy.  We cultivate a sense of trying to make things better because something is bad here, something is a mistake here, something is a problem here.  The main point of the Buddhist teachings is to dissolve the dualistic struggle, our habitual tendency to struggle against what’s happening to us or in us.  These teachings instruct us to move toward difficulties rather than backing away.  We don’t get this kind of encouragement very often.

Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself.  We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up.  We can use everything that occurs – whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts of our seemingly outer situation – to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations.

Cultivate Loving-Kindness Toward Yourself

Some people find the teachings I offer helpful because I encourage them to be kind to themselves.  The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish so much to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being.  the qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us.  Maitri, or loving-kindness, means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser.  And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness with others.

More resources:

1.  Book:  The Pocket Pema Chödrön (pocket-sized)

2.  Book: Awakening Loving Kindness (pocket-sized)

3.  Video: Interview with Pema Chödrön by Bill Moyers

4.  Biography: About Pema at Gampo Abbey

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