My Valentine’s Sweet Theory

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means lots of Hallmark cards and Fifty Shades Darker trailers. It also means that there is yet another excuse coming up to eat horribly delicious food, and this time in shades of pink! I absolutely love Valentine’s Day for no reason other than that I love candy hearts and boxed chocolates. I buy them for myself and binge watch movies with friends under the excuse that I’m “single and sad”, even though I’m really just “single and hungry”. Whatever.

With so many different sweets to decide from, besides the previously mentioned candies, I decided to help you all out and rave about my absolute favorite bakery. Located in Jacksonville, FL is none other than Sweet Theory. I don’t even know where to begin with Sweet Theory, from their gluten free/vegan options, to their organic ingredients, to the adorably retro environment. It’s all amazing. Also, no, this post isn’t sponsored! I’m just overly obsessed with them and wanted an excuse to tell people without being judged… Or at least with only being partially judged. However, Sweet Theory: if you ever want to give me a lifetime supply of doughnuts, you know where to find me.

This is my absolute favorite cake I’ve had done by them. The elegant simplicity and feminine touch would be perfect for a Galentine’s celebration with friends!

Here’s the link to their Facebook page, you guys must check them out.

They’re generally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but I know they’re doing special order cookie cakes available for pick up after Sunday at 2PM according to Instagram.

Remember, no one can judge you for ordering a cookie cake and eating the whole thing if no one sees you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Chanel Spring 2017 Haute Couture

While the general population’s four seasons have been greatly affected by Climate Change, there is a magical world of seasons we can look to that simply never changes. Each and every fashion week comes consistently and never disappoints. Paris Haute Couture is perhaps my favorite week of all because it is truly filled with beautifully crafted pieces that transport us to an alternate reality where couture is the norm. I’m not sure how I can get to this reality, but if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears. I would love to wake up every morning and slip on a sheer tulle dress, but who wouldn’t?

Although I am admiring the shows from overseas, distance has never stopped me from investing fully in the process before. Dior and Chanel will eternally be two of my absolute favorite designers, so it is no surprise that I took special interest in what they had to offer this time around. Both shows featured pieces that were equally as dreamy as they were bad ass. Although this article’s focus is on the Chanel show, I would like to note that the Dior ball had unicorns, and that is seriously so cool.

Karl Lagerfeld has never missed an opportunity to provide social commentary through a general, bold statement over his collections. So with Spring 2017’s Haute Couture line it came to no one’s surprise that Chanel has tipped its hat off to politics, and more importantly, to girl power. The chunky waist belts, done in a medium-width with a square buckle that dawned may of the outfits, emphasized the celebration of a woman’s silhouette. This carried through alongside their 80’s inspired power looks with bold shoulders and knee length skirt hemlines that frequented both power suits and evening wear alike. Sorry Hillary, the return of the skirt suit seems to have finally arrived. Although with such an iconic look, I doubt she’ll change it up, even for Chanel.

Overall, the color palette was magical and ultra feminine. There were pastels, hushed tones, silvers, and sparkles. The fabrics were effortlessly glamorous and girlie, not to mentioned varied. Of course there is a special place in my heart for the feathers (long live Scream Queens). Now, here are some of my favorite looks from the show:

images via

Obviously I included the finale bridal look twice because I mean… Hello, who wouldn’t want to get married in a high fashion version of a Barbie wedding dress?

 

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The Off-Duty Model: Kendall Jenner Edition

Off-duty model wear has become increasingly popular in the fashion world as people turn to social media for outfit inspiration and often see their favorite models looking amazing in casual paparazzi shots. The cool girl vibes and absolute casual comfort that coincide with adopting the ‘model look’ for your next ootd are enough to make anyone swoon. KENGI (Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid for those of you who are clueless) are perhaps the ultimate stars of this movement, as they are totally #goals in every way possible.

Both girls do an amazing job at setting trends that are doable and take a unique perspective that says “raised in LA but born for NYC”. Even better, however, is the fact that while their looks are fabulous, they are equally versatile and can help you play it safe with your clothing choices. Gigi often opts for an integration of more classic pieces, which I generally relate to, but yesterday I subconsciously channeled my inner Kenny J. I’d have to say that she is the ultimate cool girl right now, as I feel like she’s always wearing black and just downright slaying.

Now over the past few years we’ve seen graphic tees take home a lot of wins, and the key to all of that, is finding unique ones that represent something you love (whether it be a political statement or one about brunch). I opted for a Keith Haring t-shirt because, as one of my dad’s favorite artists, I’ve grown up loving him. It sort of has a slight edge that could almost resemble a band tee I could envision Kendall wearing. Pairing it with a mid rise straight leg pant that was soft as ever, some pointed booties, and a hoop earring, I was ready to go.

For this look I decided to finally wear pants other than my boyfriend jeans, but I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to integrate menswear inspiration (one of my eternal favorite trends). So, my belt is actually a Coach men’s belt. I call it the “boyfriend belt”, or the “stole it from my dad’s closet because it looked cool and I don’t have a boyfriend belt”, whichever you prefer.

A fun way to make your look a little more girly in this scenario is simple: your sunglass. I opted for my favorite Dior cat eye; the shape reminds me of Audrey Hepburn and the floral pattern of Swarovski crystals on the sides give it an ultra feminine touch. My outfit doesn’t have too much rock ‘n roll to it, so the different styles were able to blend together really cohesively and I could maintain my own twist on it all!

As usual, I tagged the original brands on my Instagram @zoebrine and am supplying you with some similar items below to create this look, since my specific pieces are no longer for sale. I always try to maintain similar quality/price range when selecting alternative items, but even better for this look, I was able to keep to the original brands and stores for the most part as well!

 

Shirt | Jeans 1 | Jeans 2 | Belt | Boot 1 | Boot 2 | Earrings | Bag | Sunglasses

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Spotted: Leopard Printed Coats

While most Floridians spend the miscellaneous cold days of our ‘winters’ bundled up inside, under layers of blankets and fuzzy socks, I am quite different. The other day was a low of 20º and a high of 40º, and personally, I was eager to finally embrace a true moment of my favorite season. After ordering bagel sandwiches at Delicomb, and then having many failed attempts at grabbing some coffee and a study table at one of the multiple Bold Beans in Jacksonville, my friend Meghan and I perched ourselves on steps outdoors to enjoy our 2PM breakfast and cappuccinos. We then, in good fashion, proceeded to disregard our academic pursuits of the day.

This outfit transitioned perfectly from my afternoon to an evening at the mall, and then later for when I went out to dinner. As you can see in the quick snaps we managed to grab, my look was a lot of layering and bold mixing. I do, however, tend to like risks so I was up for the challenge. There are so many ways that animal print can go wrong, making finding a classically cut coat and simultaneously maintaining adequate skin coverage key. I tied together pink, the statement sleeve, and the anti-cleavage (aka turtlenecks) to really show my love for the recent trends and also give a hat’s off to my eternal style icon: Twiggy.

All of the items I’m wearing are no longer for sale, so I’ve created a spread with alternatives that create a similar look while also maintaining similar quality and pricing! I’ve tagged the original brands in my Instagram post on @zoebrine.

Coat: Rebecca Minkoff  | Turtleneck: Madewell | Dress: Lord and Taylor | Boots: Tory Burch  | Tights: Urban Outfitters | Bag: Coach | Watch: Kate Spade

I live for these random cold fronts, and can’t wait until the day that NYC kidnaps me and makes me a slave to the fashion community and cold weather… I will gladly accept the torture.

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Sex and The College Town

• not quite as romantic as Carrie Bradshaw would want it to be •

It was 2AM and I was curled up in bed binge watching Sex and The City, after recently learning six seasons are available on Amazon Prime, when I experienced an uh-oh moment that made me think. Season 1, Episode 7 “The Monogamist”. Or as I like to call it, the time I read the word ‘monogamist’ five times before stupidly realizing what the word was. As someone who has spent her entire existence toting on about English being her favorite subject, you can only imagine that this was not my finest moment.

It dawned on me that there was only one thing to blame for this atrocious slip of intelligence… College. Before you assume that public universities have let my generation down with online courses and overflowing lecture halls, let me correct you. I am not referring to my academic experience at college, I’m referring to boys in college. What some may call modern dating, I call an assemblage of boys with one objective.

I’m not writing from a place of scorn or judgement, in fact, I think it’s important for people to live out their lives the way they want to. I’m really just stating the truth of the matter, which is that monogamy is a foreign topic in the general terms of dating in college. We dance around commitment with one night stands, occasional hook-ups, and friends with benefits. Oftentimes, someone in the “relationship” overanalyzes, assigns untrue labels, and gets much too attached. Or, let’s say, things do work out. You two start talking, maybe you become exclusive, maybe you even enter what you think is a real relationship.

I have watched so many unhealthy college relationships ensue that I’ve lost faith in them. There is jealousy, emotional cheating, physical cheating, ongoing unfaithfulness that has been deemed acceptable by our peers, and control issues. I’ve had countless friends write off dating in college and completely close themselves off to the idea of finding something real. On the other hand, I’ve had friends so hopeful that they will find something real that they then swim around endlessly in the pool of frat stars hoping to be able to stop, find someone, and catch a deep breath. Either way, these girls begin to enter the cycle unknowingly.

Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with the cycle, it just is what it is. We’ve all contributed to it. We’re all guilty of it. Because when we aren’t contributing to it, we’re binge watching a Netflix series with our best friends, eating ice cream and wearing fuzzy socks. So I’m not sure which sinking point is lower, the number of calories I consume on a girls night in, or the number of people I’ve wasted my time on when on a girls night out.

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A Midlife Crisis, College Edition

• It’s like I’m balding at 20! •

 

You know that guy in the movies who epitomizes the tacky cliche of a midlife crisis? 40, red sports car, has an affair? That guy is the equivalent of 20 year old me. Young adults are constantly depicted as lost children with the responsibilities of a real person. We don’t know what we want but we are desperately, and often aimlessly, searching to find ourselves.

Some of us have life plans instilled within us from a young age, whether from our parents or ourselves, and we fiercely cling to these ideals as if our lives depend on them… Which frankly, oftentimes they do. Now others started off lost, dazed, and confused. Their horizons were always blurry. Perhaps they felt a bleak sense of belonging or perhaps they were encouraged to follow their dreams and simply had too many. I find myself in an odd predicament as I am categorized as the former, yet I have strayed from the golden path and find myself wondering what I’m going to do with my life. I crave a greater purpose, and the path to that purpose is no longer crystal clear.

Suddenly, the years of mock trial, interning, and volunteering don’t speak to me. I created a rigid path for myself, meticulously planned. Except now it isn’t so appealing. I confined myself into a box created by societal standards, logic, and personal goals. Now, I know you’re thinking I’ve gone all free-spirit on you, but never fear, I haven’t. Maybe it’s the real world and inevitable darkness having smacked me in the face a few times, or maybe this was bound to eventually happen. Regardless, I feel like my life is unwinding and I can rebuild it in about 100 different directions. I pursue a new direction wholeheartedly nearly every day. I create lists, vision boards, goals, and tactics to achieve them. Now all I need to do is find one to stick with, and really figure it out.

I probably could retreat quietly back to my original plan. I would find ample success, but at what cost?

(Do you see what I mean? I mine as well be balding and sleeping with my secretary!)

So for those of you in a similar situation, and I know there are many of you out there, all we can do is keep trying. The question you have to ask yourself is: are you the person who would rather reach for the stars and fail, or are you the person who is content with reaching for the 9-5 and staying fairly stagnant in that place? There’s nothing wrong with either life, it’s about what will make you happy. I guess the struggle is, deciding which life will be enough for you so you can sleep at night.

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Intro to Fall ft. Climate Change

• Guess it really is a Nashville party •

For as long as I can remember, Florida weather has been a major buzz kill on my favorite season. So naturally, I was beyond enthused to take a road trip to Nashville with my friends. A temporary cold front came in and was able to ever-so-slightly kick climate change in the butt, which resulted in some moderately fall weather. Dressing for in-between seasons can be challenging, but girls, don’t kid me and say you don’t like a challenge.

My absolute go-to for this faux fall is using either darker colors, this season’s patterns, or this season’s fabrics to achieve a look that feels like summer but looks like pumpkin spice lattes. For an instant season upgrade, I’m really in love with the pointed-toe booties and skin tight thigh highs. I’m praying these boot trends stay for the rest of my life. The booties make me feel instantly cooler and the thigh highs make everyone’s legs look amazing.

So, here’s what I wore to explore the downtown Nashville area. It’s really simple and low-key a little scandalous to be touring the Parthenon replica, but whatever. Oh, and PSA, this is the only full-size replica of the Parthenon in the world. So if you visit Nashville and gag at country music 99% of the time, this is a great tourist alternative.

 

Choker: ASOS | Top: LA Hearts | Skirt: Kendall & Kylie for Pac Sun | Boots: Steve Madden
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Summer Lovin’

• It happened so fast •

Okay, so maybe we don’t all have some magical summer fling to sing about at school. However, the start of fall means a season change, AKA, a fashion change! I’m so incredibly excited about pumpkin spiced lattes, thigh high boots, and chunky sweaters, but I am also feeling a little reminiscent today on how my summer went. So, in honor of the entrance of fall and new beginnings, here is a throwback look to summer. Oh, and PSA, it’s still so hot in Florida this type of look remains the only sane option. Although, beauty is pain, fashion is a sacrifice, blah blah blah. Can’t wait to sweat bullets in my leather boots!!

 

 

Dress: TOBI // Shoes: MISSGUIDED // Sunglasses: BANANA REPUBLIC

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Let it Glow Baby

• A tan Gigi would be proud of •

In an effort to look a little less like Elsa from frozen, I’ve decided to stop letting it go and start letting it glow. (Feel free to vomit right now at my dad joke, or you can admit that it was low key funny.) So, we all know that getting into the sunlight and embracing mother nature is very crucial. However, we also know that the sun can have lasting, damaging effects on us both superficially and in regards to our health. Wrinkles, unnecessary aging, sunspots, skin cancer… These are very real things that we shouldn’t ignore.

Although I live in Florida, and am fortunate enough to go to the beach year round, most people aren’t this fortunate. Instead, they result to using tanning beds. Eeeeep! Full disclosure: I have attempted to use them before because getting a tan takes so much more effort for me, and being young and reckless is incredibly real. It’s also incredibly real that my decision to ever step foot into one was STUPID.

I’m not encouraging you to forgo outdoor activities, or turn into one of those people terrified of the sunlight. That’s unrealistic. I am, however, going to offer you an affordable solution to your Edward Cullen skin! Don’t get me wrong, pale is beautiful. Sometimes, though, it can be a confidence boost to have a nice bronzed look. Or perhaps, you want to wear a shade that normally would wash you out. Regardless of your reasoning behind wanting to faux tan, I am saying more power to you and welcome aboard!

I’ve tried nearly every self-tanning on the market. Self-tanning can be time consuming, expensive, and full of lots of trial and error. Getting a glow from someone who does airbrush is always the easiest, but not necessarily feasible for most people on a day-to-day basis of upkeep. I’ve found that I love mouses for the best at home application. St. Moriz is my personal favorite for those seeking longevity, easy application, a streak-free look, and a price that won’t break the bank. It’s a great doupe for St. Tropez, and I’ve been using it consistently for the past year and a half. I prefer it in the dark shade, and even on my snow white skin, I’ve found it still comes out naturally if you leave it on for the right amount of time.

Here are some tips about the product:

• St. Moriz can be found at Ulta for BOGO 50% off at times, so keep a look out!

• When deciding between the sponge applicators, opt for the mini face mitt and the double sided mitt from the Ulta brand. These should be conveniently located right by the product, making this purchase a quick one.

• Follow the instructions! While I find this product to be low key wonderful for the lazy girl (AKA me), the tan does work best if you exfoliate at the proper time prior to. Remember to use circular motions when applying, and to take cool showers in order to keep the color on for longer.

• It will make you look like a green monster if you have the product sitting around for too long in your closet, BUT, this color should wash away once you shower off the guide color. It will alarm you, and will inhibit you from going anywhere while it is setting in. So, I suggest not going too crazy and buying in bulk if you’re not going to consistently use it. (You may laugh now, but we’ll see who’s laughing when you see the sale sign.)

 

I absolutely love this product and will continue to use it as a safe, affordable option until something better comes along! I have had great experiences with St. Tropez and Loving Tan as well. These products are sadly in much higher price ranges, and that just doesn’t tend to work with my college girl budget and self tanning obsession.

Feel free to DM me on Instagram @zoebrine or on Twitter @zoebrine with any questions on application, etc. regarding this product! Also, definitely let me know what you think and/or any self tanning suggestions you may have.

Remember, just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean you should look like a pumpkin too! So, don’t go overboard.

Happy self tanning. xx

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Highlight Brighter Than Your Future

• I’m sorry, did it blind you? •

You know those moments when you and your friends force one another to list the single makeup item that you each can’t live without? Mine used to be mascara, but recently I’m 99% sure it’s highlighter. I don’t know where I would be without it honestly. Highlighter instantly transforms your confidence from mediocre at best to Victoria’s Secret Angel status.

I am really excited to share a highlighter that I was sent with all of you. These new highlighters come in two different shades, and so far I have had the opportunity to try “Egypt”. This highlight is a gorgeous golden tone and can work on a variety of skin types. To prove that you can still rock this look when pale and simultaneously trying to achieve a natural look, I didn’t self tan today, and I did more casual makeup. The results are gorgeous and effortless.

This product is versatile because you can build the pigment to go from day to night. I even brushed a little over my eyeshadow and really liked the results. Not only are these products handmade, making them boutique AF, but they are cruelty free which is so amazing and so rare in the makeup world.

Here are some selfies I snapped while wearing “Egypt” for you guys to see. Oh, and PSA, even with a Lumee case and bomb natural light I still struggled at the whole solo/glam selfie. So to the next person who says Kim Kardashian doesn’t have a real job, I will beg to differ. Someone please buy me her selfie book for Christmas; I need all the help I can get.

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