a personal blog by erin whitlock brown

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Rope-a-Dope Style

Happy Friday, guys! The weekend is here and I don't know about you, but I am ready for a little fun in the sun to kick my 4th of July celebration in gear. And since I'm feeling all patriotic and whatnot, I thought I should introduce you to a great line of accessories made here in the good ole USA.

The ROPES Maine is the brainchild of Shana Aldrich Ready, a designer hailing from the 39th state (natch) who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD for those in the know!). According to her site, she started designing pieces after being inspired by her surroundings to explore new materials. The handcrafted bracelets are constructed from marine ropes and hardware, similar to what you'd find on a fabulous yacht!

I've long followed Shana and The ROPES on Facebook (and I'm currently stalking them on Pinterest), and needless to say her pieces are nothing short of amazing. Prices start at just $30, which is a good buy for something so unique. Take a look at a few more styles:

Arm party approved. For where to buy info, visit TheROPESMaine.com

All photos courtesy of The ROPES Maine/Pinterest.

Styling Mama

Yesterday I had the pleasure of arranging a personal shopping session for my mom with the incredible Victor Rogers of Victorious, Inc. Image Consulting. Mama Whitlock is in town for an HR conference all week, so what better time to set her up with a pro to help edit and update her wardrobe!

Mama Whitlock + Victor Rogers of Victorious, Inc.

We met at Macy's Lenox Square and had an absolute ball. Just from a style questionnaire and a few cell phone photos, Victor was able to gauge my mom's style preferences and pulled about 30-40 amazing pieces for her to choose from...and she loved just about every one!

Now, let me give you a little background on my mama's style. She loves pantsuits. In black and grey. Just about everything in her closet is black and grey. No, seriously. Walking into her closet is like experiencing a lunar eclipse--everything is dark. Therefore, Victor's main challenge was to find her lots of dresses, preferably ones in bright colors.

. . . And what a great job he did!

Here are a few photos from yesterday's session:

Victor walking me through the pulls

If you're looking for plus-size clothing, Macy's has an AMAZING selection. Brands like Jones New York, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari and Jessica Simpson all feature fantastic offerings in lots of sizes, fits and colors. Here are some of my fave summer dresses found in the woman's wear section:

I even got in on the shopping action!

All in all, it was a great experience. If you live in the metro Atlanta area and you're looking for a talented stylist, check out my new friend Victor Rogers. Visit his Website HERE, and make sure you like him on Facebook!


Monoi Oil: Nars vs. The Body Shop

Ok, so who else has been researching this Monoi de Tahiti oil phenomenon? On a recent Gchat convo with the bestie DCT, we were lamenting (as usual) about how our paychecks do not balance out with our spending habits. A few minutes later she then asked if I knew anything about NARS' Monoi Body Glow II.

Sephora.com | $59

I'll admit, I am a HUGE fan of anything NARS. But sometimes, I gotta give them the side-eye with the price points. I get it, I get it...premium product = premium price tag. But goodness gracious. . . paying $60 for a 3.9oz bottle of body oil is a little out of my comfort zone (3.4 is considered travel size by the TSA).

So I took to almighty Google to find dupes, and this is the most linked dupe to the product above:
The Body Shop's Spa Wisdom™ Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil | $20

Here is a side-by-side of the product ingredients:

Spa Wisdom: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (Emollient), Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil (Emollient), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (Emollient/Hair Conditioner), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Fragrance (Fragrance), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Hexyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Ingredient), Tiare (Gardenia Tahitensis) Flower Extract (Skin-Conditioning Agent)

Nars: Cocos Nucifera [Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil], Dicaprylyl Ether, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Cinnamate, Gardenia Tahitensis (Gardenia Tahitensis Flower), Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Propylparaben

Since I'm not a chemist, I had to look up the majority of the ingredients in the NARS oil. Safe to say, Spa Wisdom won out due to its low price and ingredients I could easily identify. But as for eyeshadows, gloss pots and multi-use color sticks, NARS is still a hands-down fave.

Have you guys tried either NARS or Spa Wisdom for Monoi oil? Let me know what you think of both by leaving a comment below!


Crocodile Lady: F21 Faux Croco Bowler

I was strolling through the mall this afternoon during lunch and I couldn't help but to take a peek inside Forever 21. {Truth moment: Although I am clearly over the age 21 (ahem, just a tad) and quite possibly their target demographic, F21 is still one of my fave stores for of-the-moment items.} I don't believe in paying lots of money on trendy pieces, so this store is a great option for conscientious fashion fans.

I can usually leave with one or two fun itemes under $20 bucks whenever I stop in, but today's buy is in a whole.'notha.stratosphere.

Introducing: The Faux Croco Bowler | $26.80

I've been saying for months now that I want need a new bag. Nothing too elaborate or expensive, but something trendy and ladylike that can hold my phone, makeup bag(s), a pair of flats and a sundry other items that most 9-to-5 gals keep on them at all times.

And this beauty hits the nail on the head.

Pros: The bag is roomy, the color is great (comes in black, too), the bowler style is classic chic, and the hardware is gold and shiny...just how I like it. I can wear it to work, to church and a nice dinner out with The Mr.

Cons: Not sure how long the stitching will keep up. I saw the thread unraveling on a couple of the display bags.

But not for nothing, the bag is only $26 dollars. So if you ruin it, you won't be too pissed about it. For the summer season, consider it a winner.

Croc on.


Happy Birthday, Vera Wang!

Photo via handmadeweddinginvites.blogspot.com

The ultimate queen of bridal (turned queen of beauty, apparel, accessories and home) Vera Wang, is celebrating her 63rd birthday today!

The designer and popular Kohl's collaborator is probably somewhere right now luxuriating in style with a glass of Perrier-Jou√ęt, wearing a ridiculously chic monochromatic ensemble.

Since we can't be in NYC to help you blow out the candles, Ms. Wang, we'll do the next best thing: shop. Here's a look at a few of her handsomely priced summer ensembles from the Simply Vera Wang collection.

Splatter Pintuck Dress | $40.60

High-low Tanks, $37.80 | Cuffed Denmi Capris, $21

Silk scarf | $22.80

Splatter Chiffon Tank, $30.80 | "Anjelique" Colorblock Tote, $71.40

For more shopping deets, visit Kohls.com


As Seen on TV: Ted Baker London "Bessh" Top

Today I took a quick trip to Bloomingdales to check out their pre-sale goodies...and they didn't disappoint! I found a couple great things that I'm going back to pick up on Friday once the sale actually starts, especially in the Ted Baker section!

There were great dresses, skirts and accessories...all at a discount. But this little baby below is what caught my eye:

Ted Baker London "Bessh" Tee | $99

Coincidentally, I also spotted the top on last night's episode of Tia & Tamera in the scene where Tamera and her BFF Andrea were out dining in Napa. I thought to myself, "That shirt is pretty cute!" . . . so imagine my surprise when I saw it on the rack this afternoon! My eyes immediately lit up! So I figure that seeing the top on TV the night before and then spotting it in store means I have to get it, right? It's fate!

Can you see the sleeve detail poking out from the rack? It's in yellow and aqua.

Sidebar: I would've taken more photos, but companies like Bloomies and Neiman's strictly forbid the use of photography in-store (learned this embarassing valuable lesson while working on assignment with Deborah Lippmann). **kanye shrug**

Not sure how much the top will be once the pre-sale starts. But if it's under $50, consider it sold.


Diy Trend Worth Trying: Bleached Denim

I have to be honest--I'm a little afraid of bleach. Yes, the household cleanser that can kill just about every disease and germ known to man. I guess it's because I've had such awful interactions with it in the past. The smell is darn near impossible to get off your hands, and I've ruined perfectly good clothes and linens with the heavy duty laundry aid. Suede boots (don't ask), bath towels, bedding--you name it, I've messed it up.

However, style staking on the Interwebs the other day, I ran across a DIY bleached denim tutorial from one of my blogger buddies and former high school classmates, Nikki of KNottiNikki.com, that's pretty cool.

Image via KNottiNikki.com

Check her out on her blog and get the deets on how to breathe new life into a pair of discarded denim!

And if that's not enough, here's another great tutorial on the Rebecca Minkoff blog, Minkette, where they fancy up a pair of cutoffs and a jacket.

Image courtesy of Minkette.RebeccaMinkoff.com

NOW THIS makes me want to conquer my fear of Clorox! Talk about great ways to save a buck! Guess what I'll be up to this evening...


Deal of the Day: Up to Half off on Erin Fetherston via Refinery29

This juicy little tidbit arrived in my inbox this morning...and was welcomed with loud squeals of delight! Refinery29 is offering up to half off on designer darling Erin Fetherston's entire collection. Yup, that's not a typo. H-A-L-F, O-F-F! I missed out on her capsule collection at Target some years back, so there is NO WAY that I'm passing up on this deal.

If you're not familiar with Fetherston, here's a quick + dirty on her design aesthetic: romantic dresses, lots of lace, frilly tops, luxe fabrics and over-the-top go-out glamour. Still not convinced? Check these out:

You can't really see them, but the white bugle beads on this dress are ah-mazing!

Totes amaze! For more deal details, head on over to Refinery29s Reserve.


Carol Hannah Party Dresses + A Shopping Discount Code!

This weekend I'll be returning to my hometown for a birthday party. The Mr.'s best friend's mom is turning 60 and her family is throwing her a big shindig...southern style! I've been mentally shopping for a dress for about 3 weeks now, and after editing bridal photos at my FTJ (full-time job) I think I found a winner. I stumbled upon a lovely collection of party dresses from designer Carol Hannah that would be AWESOME for this weekend's celebration.

You might remember CH from Project Runway (season 6), as she was a finalist and fan favorite. And judging by her recent bridal collections, we can totes see why! Take a look at a few of the designs from her spring 2013 collection that I'm currently crushing on.

"Delaford" | $325

"Manderley" | $295

"Bouquet" | $335

Super-cute, right? Plus, if you visit Carol Hannah's online store between now and June 28th, you can use the shopping code “iheartsummer” to get 20% off everything online! Don't say I never did anything for ya!


Sunday Style

Happy Sunday! While you're out and about running errands and enjoying brunch, here's a little style inspiration via Pinterest to move you throughout the day!


Style Crush: Jemima Kirke of "Girls"

I was a little late to the party for HBOs breakout hit, GIRLS. But I'm here now, and I'm not leaving.
(Kirke in Green)

This show is hilarious. Like, cackle-out-loud funny. And other than the fact that most of the characters are Jewish white chicks living in Brooklyn, I can totally relate to each of them. Although everyone keeps comparing the series to the Holy Grail of Chick Shows (SATC), I think the characters are much more multi-dimensional and realistic.

But my fave fashionable filly of the bunch has to be Jemima Kirke's free-spirited "Jessa Johansson." Get into this girl. Not only is she born from rock royalty (her dad was a member of British rock groups Free/Bad Company), but her mom owns the uber-popular  West Village NYC consignment shop Geminola (Hello, Pat Field borrowed clothes from this store for SATCs Wardrobe!!). So it's no surprise that this chick has style coming out the wazoo.

Check out some of my favorite "Jessa" looks from season 1:

Clearly a master of vintage shopping. I bet it's safe to assume that Jessa's fashion choices are closely aligned with Jemima's. Cannot wait for season 2.