Effortlessly Casual

Looking effortlessly casual takes a little more work than one might imagine, but this weekend outfit is perfect for an early Saturday morning brunch or a lazy Sunday or maybe even watching the Superbowl this weekend.

Denim on denim can be a total faux pas, but when it's paired with a gorgeous tan cashmere cardigan and sumptuous brown leather booties it totally elevates the look of chambray and denim while keeping its casual roots. Since my stick straight hair often doesn't look fabulous on the second day, a baseball cap is a perfect weekend accessory. This waxed tartan one is just a bit more intentional than your average college sports cap. My style secret for adding a touch of polish to any casual outfit is to wear just one piece of beautiful, but understated, jewelry. Keep it to one, though, to make sure the look stays low key and effortless.

What's your go to weekend uniform? Leggings? A sequined sweatshirt? A cozy pullover or a soft shift dress? Or maybe a quilted sweater? Check out all my casual weekend picks below!



Last week when I had my makeup done, I walked out with more than a few new tips and tricks as well as some new favorite products. One of those products was the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien. This gorgeous pink is perfect for both day and evening. It's subtle yet clearly adds a pop of rosey color to your lips. The makeup artist told me she uses this color for most weddings that she does which drives home the point that it's a simply beautiful, natural flush of color.

I've raved about the long lasting power of lip crayon style color before, but this one from NARS seems to last even longer than the lip stains I've tried previously. It's moisturizing, yet stays on for hours. I love that it has the control of a lip pencil and doesn't bleed, yet the smooth color of a lipstick. It's truly the best of all lip color words.


Other products I tried and loved? The Urban Decay Naked3 palette which is a gorgeous set of rose golds that really warm up your face, Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Plushie" which is described as a rich, smoky matte purple, the perfectly lightweight Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder (I learned to pat powder rather than brush it on), and Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil. The only thing I didn't love? Bronzer. This fair skinned girl still can't be convinced to pretend to have a tan.


Weekend Packing in Style

This winter, it seems that every time I unpack my bag for a short trip, I'm packing it back up again. I can't complain and it certainly makes these cold winter weeks pass by faster when I've got something to look forward to each weekend. However, I have been lusting over the idea of shiny new weekender luggage for some time now.

Lo & Sons makes the most classic and functional bags out there and the combination of the T.T. bag for carrying a laptop and essentials paired with the O.G. bag for all of your overnight needs, including a pair of shoes in a side pocket, seems like the ideal way to travel in style. Water resistant nylon makes for a durable, easy to clean exterior and the leather handle and trims with light gold hardware are timeless for travel.

The O.G. - 2 The T.T. 
The O.M.G. bag is a smaller version of the O.G. and is a great option for an everyday work bag. All styles of the Lo & Sons bags also come in olive, navy, and brown. The website does note that there are currently slight delays in order due to high demand, but they are certainly worth the wait.


Caudalie Beauty Elixir

I'm a sucker for adding new lotions and potions into my beauty routine and Caudalie's Beauty Elixir is my latest obsession. While I was a little apprehensive of it at first since it seemed just like an overpriced water spray, it was explained to me that it's actually an elixir made of essential oils that functions the same way my favorite setting spray does, except it also adds a bit of dewy radiance to your skin.

I'm holding the 1 oz. size in the image above. 

It has the refreshing properties of a toner, the skin nourishing elements of a serum, and can be applied before moisturizer to help ready the face or as a final step to set makeup. The smell is an absolutely luxurious combination of rosemary and peppermint that feels like a spa treatment every time you spritz it.

It's definitely a splurge at $49 for the large 3.4 oz size, however there's also a smaller 1 oz size that's only $18, perfect for giving it a try and also ideal for tossing in your purse while traveling. This is a wonderful product to keep on hand for a quick spray post flight to refresh skin that feels dry and tired or to wake up your face when going from day to night. Check out the Beauty Elixir or Caudalie's entire line of luxurious skin care here.


December Birchbox Recap

Hopefully you all got the day off Monday and had a nice long weekend! I went home to Richmond for a couple days and then took Monday to just relax. I went to a gentle yoga class, got my makeup done with a friend so that we could try out some new products (I'm obsessed with my Naked Basics palette so I've been dying to try this one), and then had my ultimate Monday splurge - watching The Bachelor. Ugh, I seriously do not watch TV, but somehow I happened to be home the night that this season premiered, turned it on because my mom and sisters were group texting about it, and now I'm hooked. These girls are all just so crazy that it's absolutely addicting. So much for being productive on Mondays evenings for the next few weeks.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've recapped a Birchbox on here, but last month's box had some winners so I thought I'd share those with you.

I actually bought one of the products featured in December's Birchbox and have been using another two of the samples on a regular basis (sometimes these samples go a LONG way!) Here's the rundown on everything:
  • Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner: The shampoo sample was fabulous! So often you just get the little tear off package sample, so this was a great size for actually getting a feel for the product. As per usual, my hair doesn't need any special shampoo or conditioning but this was a nice product to try. It's just a bit pricier than anything I would normally buy. And by a bit, I mean like 30 times more expensive than what I would buy.
  • Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream: Not gonna lie, I hated the packaging of this. It seemed like some bizarre off brand product you'd buy while traveling because you couldn't find what you actually need, and the medicinal smell is not helping its cause. I was pleasantly surprised however to find that it works. Any dry patch that crops up during the winter is instantly healed with a touch of this. It gives Aquaphor a run for its money. 
  • Miracle Skin Transformer Mud: This is what I ended up buying this month. It is hands down the best face mask I've ever used. Oftentimes, my face can get way too dry and irritated from mud masks, but this one leaves my skin soft and hydrated. It's a wonderfully refreshing indulgence that has become my twice weekly routine.
  • Ojon Rare Blend Oil Rejuvenating Therapy: I was not impressed with this at all. It made my hair feel oily and weighed down. I wanted to wash it as soon as I got home. 
  • Manna Kadar Lip Locked: This is my new favorite lip gloss in the color "All of Me". It's a gorgeous pink neutral that is somewhere between a gloss, a stain, and a lipstick. I've been wearing it to work, out in the evenings, everywhere. It's a truly versatile and long lasting color.
  • Well People Bio Brightener Stick: I use highlighter for pretty much any occasion and this one is a nice addition to my collection. It's a gold and pink tinted subtle highlighter that adds a soft glow. Plus, it's free of synthetic chemicals and parabens. 
With the exception of the hair oil, December's Birchbox was full of products that I would use again and again. You can sign up for Birchbox here or shop all the products below. 


Splurge or Save: Printed Vest

For years I've wanted a plaid quilted vest. I vividly remember roughly 8 years ago, one afternoon after a football game, hanging out at a fraternity party, and obsessing over an acquaintance's plaid puffy vest. It was so perfectly outdoorsy and autumnal and looked adorable with jeans and bean boots (funny enough, bean boots are apparently all the rage this year). Each fall, I've kept my eyes peeled for a plaid vest to add to my wardrobe and this year J.Crew had the vest I had been looking for... except it kept selling out and it's $138. (You've already seen it in my Christmas themed gift guide.)

Luckily, J.Crew Factory came to the rescue and released a similar version of the J.Crew vest except it's even better. While I loved the buffalo check on the J.Crew version, I wasn't totally sold on the red and navy combo. 99% of the time, I'm wearing black or gray in the winter so navy kind of throws me for a loop. The J.Crew Factory version is black and red, so between the price (over 50% less) and the colors, it's a winner.


Zhush Inspired

A blog called The Zhush recently debuted their new home and the pictures have been making the rounds all over the internet. The entire home is stunning, but I was particularly smitten with the image below. The bright bold and white graphic wallpaper with gold accents is right up my alley.

The color combo inspired me to create my own blue and white oasis. I would love to see this look in a desk area where the contrasting blue and white with metallic accents and pops of pink would make every day feel fresh and get you in the mood to GSD. This desk is such a timeless piece that works perfectly with both the classic look of the ginger jars and the more youthful feel of the gold figurines and the agate embellished lacquer box. I'd love to see this rounded out with a pink bow back chair from Society Social. While I didn't set out to do an entirely One Kings Lane collage, somehow that's what happened, which isn't surprising since it's one of my absolute favorite resources for fabulously curated home goods. 

If you haven't checked out the colorful home tour of The Zhush's new Connecticut home, you can find it on her blog. While you're there, also check out her online shop, Zhush, that has an array of wonderful gifts that go beyond just the home. 


Wednesday Links

I've always loved the posts that some bloggers do where they round up some of their favorite links, but for some reason I had never actually done it myself. Well, consider this the first of a series of anything interesting or noteworthy that I find to share with you, but that doesn't merit an entire post. It may not be every week, but I'll try to make it a regular thing.

Some of my recent Instagrams - follow me @hmbien

  • My New Year's health goals are off to a strong start as I'm in my fourth month of ClassPass. I'm resolving to try new studios and maybe even incorporate some spin into my regular routine of barre, yoga, and pilates. ClassPass is now in 20 cities across the country and if you sign up by 1/17, you'll get $50 to join. Check it out here!
  • I have been reading Jess Lively's blog for a few years now, but just started listening to her podcasts this week and am obsessed. Her website has a great aesthetic and her podcasts on living life with intention are insightful and relatable.  
  • If you are looking to get some great deals, some of my favorite designers are having post-holiday sales. Get 60% off Elizabeth McKay or 50% off at Kayce Hughes

That's it for my first Wednesday Links post, hope you found something interesting for your day!