February 2017 - Sensible Stylista

Find of the Day: The Plunge Pencil Dress ($20)

I can't even begin to tell you guys how much I LOVE my new dress from ASOS.  This piece is seriously fire!  I dressed it down for today's OOTD, but you can wear it pretty much anywhere as long as you don't feel self-conscious sporting the plunge neckline.  Whether it's a fancy cocktail party or a GNO, you'll be breaking necks left and right. 

Made of a polyester & elastane blend, this item flatters like whoa and is super smooth to the touch. It contains a boned v-shape insert that helps keep everything in place, giving the neckline structure. Also, for those of you wondering, I'm wearing a US 4, and it fits me like a glove!  Care is easy - simply machine wash after wear.  As always, let me know if you have any questions! I'm always happy to hear from you guys.
For my latest, I paired my dress with BAMF custom-made boots from Two Perfect Souls.  I've been wearing them on repeat 'cause I just can't get enough of them - #sorrynotsorry.  Yes, they're on the pricy side, but they're ridiculously cute and comfortable so that'd make it totally worth it in my book. To top things off, I threw on an edgy jacket and carried by Chanel boy.  The bag was definitely a splurge, but you can get it for less!  Several brands offer similar designs for a fraction of the price - I've linked one for you in the widget below so get your scroll on.
 Shop my look:

 Dress:  ASOS ($20) || Boots:  Two Perfect Souls || Jacket:  Spiegel ($54)
Photos shot by the amazing Sung Shin.

International Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Card to Sincerely Sweet Boutique!

It's time for free swag again, everyone! I've partnered up with Sincerely Sweet Boutique today for a fabulous international giveaway.  One very lucky winner will score a $50 gift card to buy whatever his or her heart desires. For those of you unfamiliar with their brand, they're all about chic, unique and affordable fashion.  They provide apparel + accessories that are super cute, fun, flirty and feminine!  I actually featured one of their pieces recently on SS in honor of Valentine's Day - if you missed it, click to see what I wore.
Anywho,  entering is easy as always - simply follow them on instagram via rafflecopter below.  Also, there are several bonus entries available to up your chances of winning so make sure you take full advantage.  This giveaway is open to residents worldwide and ends on March 20th.  Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Editorial: The Sexy Two-Piece

I'm pumped to share my second collab with Voulez Boudoir with you all today on SS.  I centered my latest around a sexy two-piece I got from amiclubwear a while back - available for $27.  They're known for "scandalous" rave garb, but they actually carry a lot of everyday stuff, too!  I've gotten a bunch of adorable sweater dresses, tops, and skirts here.  Many of their cocktail + maxi dresses are on point, too!  What do you guys think of their collection?
Other fabulous options for your browsing pleasure:

I don't know about you guys, but I will forever love two-piece outfit sets.  This design's perfect for GNO or date night.  It's bodycon so it pulls my body in in all the right places.  This outfit highlights the small of my waist creating the illusion of a fabulous hourglass figure and elongating my stems. I'm all about fashion illusions so this ensemble is a do on several different levels!  My confidence skyrockets every time I wear this out.  Do you have a go-to outfit when you're looking to impress?
Two-piece:  c/o amiclubwear ($27) || Jacket:  Off Saks Fifth || Bag:  YSL
Photos shot by the amazing Veronica Campbell of Voulez Boudoir.

SS Eats: Shake Shack's Limited Edition BBQ

Last week, Natalie (one of my besties) and I hit up the Shake Shack in Baltimore, MD to try their limited edition BBQ menu.  We sampled everything, which was all sorts of awesomesauce.  Here are the items we devoured: BBQ ShackMeister Burger, BBQ Chick'n Shack, BBQ Bacon Cheese Fries, and three different seasonal shakes.  
Crinkle-cut fries with bacon, cheese, and Shack BBQ sauce? Um, I think yes.  This was ridiculously tasty, but I may or may not be biased because fries can do no wrong in my book.  I mean, let's be real though.  How could that combo NOT slay? 
Our three shakes:  Mint Cookies & Cream, Mud Pie, and Salted Vanilla Toffee.  The mint flavor was by far the best in my opinion - it was refreshing and just the right amount of sweet.  Quite possibly the best shake I've had in a while!  It contained mint frozen custard and chocolate wafer cookie crumbles.  Mud Pie, marshmallow custard blended with fudge and coffee, was way too sweet for me, but Salted Vanilla Toffee was pretty good.  All three drinks were topped with whipped cream, but you can definitely get it without!
 A closer look at the Chick'n Shack - contains antibiotic-free chicken breast, BBQ sauce and pickles.
The ShackMeister burger was on point!  Made of 100% all-natural Angus beef, it was topped with cheese, crispy ale-marinated shallots and BBQ sauce.  We also got an extra 'Shroom burger for good measure.  For those of you wondering, it's a fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce.
The food was awesome as per usual! If you haven't tried their new menu out yet, you need to go STAT!  You really can't go wrong with anything, but like I mentioned, if you decide to get a shake, the mint is a must-try.  These noms are available at all US Shacks with the exception of airports, stadiums and ballparks.  

Exploring R. House with DCFoodPorn

I'm SO beyond pumped to tell you guys all about my latest adventure at R. House with DCFoodPorn. Located in Remington, this space is, hands down, one of the COOLEST places I've ever been to. A few years back, Seawall assembled a group of ten BAMF chefs to launch new restaurants while transforming an old auto body shop into a 350-seat food hall.  

The decor was on point, and the food was impeccable.  Justin and I got to try dishes from several different stalls, and we were beyond impressed with it all.  We started with Hilo, a delish joint specializing in poke bowls and sushi.  Everything looked ridiculously yummy, but we decided to go with a sushi burrito with all sorts of nomtastic ingredients inside.  Unfortunately, I don't eat raw fish anymore so I passed on this, but Justin told me he really enjoyed it. 
Then we hit up White Envelope to try one of their famous arepas (crisp cornbread pockets).  I think this one was called the queen!  I don't remember everything in it exactly, but I believe it contained chicken thigh, beet, cilantro, and peas.  It came out piping hot, and each bite was a flavor explosion in my mouth.

Next, we hit up Blk // Sugar to try one of their ube croissants!  This pastry was seriously to DIE for, and the purple filling was such a fun surprise.  They also had cute cookie shots, macarons, and other nom delights!  
 Just look at that gooey goodness oozing out!
You'd think we'd be stuffed at this point, but we were still going strong.  We headed over to Stall 11 to check out their menu and ended up ordering a beautiful smoothie bowl to share!  If you're into clean eating, this is THE place for you.  They have fresh juices, locally-sourced vegetarian dishes, and lots more.
We finally ended our food adventure at Little Baby's Ice Cream where we each got two double-scoop cones.  They specialize in unique flavor combinations + non-dairy & vegan ice creams so there's something for everyone.  I got cucumber dill and chocolate salt malt; both were yum, but I really, REALLY want to go back and try earl grey sriracha, thai iced tea, and balsamic banana.  
Anywho, that's it for today.  If you're looking for a cool new place to work, hang or eat, make sure you check out R. House STAT.  It's like Union Market except homier!  Andddd I can pretty much guarantee you'll have a good time here so grab your lover or frand and head on over. Also, parking's free so that's a huge plus.

Fighting the Cold in Houndstooth

The weather has been SO all over the place - it's 75 degrees one day, and 30 the next.  I mean, I'm all for warm weather and all, but this is giving me serious whiplash.  Luckily, I have a large selection of winter coats to choose from to battle the cold when it's freezing out.  
I got this adorable houndstooth coat from Chicwish a few years ago, and it's still one of my absolute favorites.  I like it because it instantly adds personality to any and every ensemble.  See how it elevates my simple jeans + turtleneck combo?
A shot of my outfit sans coat!
Necklace:  c/o JWholesale || Bag:  Chanel (look for less) || Jeans:  Aeropostale || Top:  Design History (similar) || Coat: Chicwish (similar) || Shoes:  Two Perfect Souls
Photos shot by the wonderful Sung Shin.

My Current Beauty Faves

1.  Make Up Forever Invisible Cover Stick Foundation ($43): Screw liquid foundation, this is my new go-to.  I can't even begin to tell you guys how awesome this stick foundation is.  I own it in Sand, and it matches my complexion perfectly, like I'm talking second skin perfect.  I simply swipe it onto my cheeks, forehead and chin and blend it all in with a sponge.  The coverage is SO good that I don't even need concealer anymore.  Needless to say, I'll definitely be re-purchasing this product.

2.  Hottie By Nature ($19.95):  If you're a fan of essential oils, this baby's a total must-have.  The spray contains rosewood and citrus tones for a scent that soothes your spirit and boosts your confidence.  Spray it into cupped hands and inhale deeply for calming aromatherapy benefits or spritz it on post-shower as a lightweight perfume.  Available at ApolloBox! Use code KIM15 to get an extra 15% off.

3-4. Pixi Beauty Strobe & Bronze Palette by MaryamMaquillage ($20) + Strobe & Sculpt Brush ($14): This is, hands down, my current favorite face palette - andddd that's saying a LOT because I've been all about Anastasia's Contour Kit for a good 2 years now.  The kit comes with 3 highlighters and 3 bronzers that are to die for gorgeous, but I've been using Lex (to highlight) and Statuesque (to contour) together on the daily. I really can't recommend this enough - I can pretty much guarantee that you'll LOVE this item so pick one up STAT!

Now, I listed 3-4 together because they're a pair.  Pixi's Strobe & Sculpt brush is seriously magic! Made out of synthetic fiber, it does an incredible job blending your face to perfection.  The tapered side's ideal for applying highlighters while the other brush is designed for buffing and blending.  It's literally the ONLY brush I use now on my face.  Do yourself a favor and give it a try!

5-6.  Aveda Nourish-mint Lip Definer ($20) + Maybelline Vivid Matte Lip Gloss ($7.99):  Let's be real, there's nothing sexier than a killer red lip, and these products help you achieve just that.  I've always been a big fan of Maybelline's matte lippie line, but they totally hit it out of the park with Red Punch.  Pair it with Aveda's Tarragona liner for a bomb date night look!  

7.  Palmer's FlipBalm ($3.99):  If you're looking for a fun new lip balm, scoop this item up ASAP. Available in three amazing scents, this product will moisturize your pucker like nobody's business.  I have Juicy Watermelon, and it almost smells good enough to eat!  Plus, the packaging's really cute - I love that it flips open - so I'm a fan.


Remixing My Favorite Velvet Heart Top

Alright guys, it's time for another remix!  I'm beyond pumped to restyle my Velvet Heart top for you all today on SS.  I don't know if you remember, but I featured it HERE a while back.  For my latest OOTD, I paired it with skinny jeans and a cropped bomber jacket.  I was in a sporty mood so I threw on my fave sneaker wedges before running out the door!
Other fabulous bombers under $50: 
Sung and I finished shooting mad early andddd we were both hangry so we decided to grab an early dinner at Ted's Bulletin.  I was ITCHING for a splurge meal so I ended up getting fried chicken tenders with coleslaw and french fries - their early bird specials are bomb BTW.  I know I sound like an old lady saying that, but hey, I'm a sucker for all good deals.  Don't judge, ha!  For dessert, I devoured a brown sugar pop tart in less than 30 seconds - they're famous for 'em so you need to get 1 (or 5) when you come to get your nom on.
Top:  Velvet Heart || Jeans:  Aeropostale || Shoes: Rock & Candy || Jacket:  Charlotte Russe (similar) || Bag: Chanel (look for less)
Photos shot by the wonderful Sung Shin.

SS Eats: Matcha Time Cafe

I'm all sorts of pumped to tell you guys about Matcha Time Cafe today on SS.  I discovered this gem on yelp and couldn't resist featuring it!  Located in Historic Ellicott City, MD, this Japanese cafe + gift shop was seriously the cutest ever, AND there was a huge free lot out front so parking was easy peasy.  A definite plus for me because my parallel parking skills = not so hot.
My bf and I came here last week to try their desserts, and we were pleasantly surprised by everything. The interior was on point, the staff was super friendly, and the food was delish!  We got a matcha latte, green tea waffle ice cream (pictured above), and homemade mochi with red bean to share. Note: make sure you check out their hanging menu w/ specials before placing your order.  I totally missed it at first so I wanted to give you guys a heads up.

Our drink was made with almond milk - you can get it with soy if you prefer - and although tasty, it was a little too sweet for me.  The green tea waffle ice cream was $5.99, and the presentation was super on point.  It was cut into four pieces and coated in dark chocolate (!!!!) It was then drizzled with chocolate sauce and garnished with strawberries and whipped cream.  The homemade mochi had a nice texture, but you MUST get it with red bean.  It makes all the difference in the world!
A shot of Japanese goodies + drinks.
Also available: a variety of award-winning teas, in-house made pastries, sushi, and ramen.
Cute origami decor!
Their gift shop featuring items from Japan along with adorable crafts made in the US by Japanese and American artisans.
Alright guys, that's it for today! I'm planning on featuring more local joints in the near future so keep your eyes peeled. I'm all about supporting small businesses so I'm extra excited for what's to come. What do you guys think of Matcha Time Cafe? Are you a fan of asian pastries and desserts?


Love is in the Air: My V-day Outfit

Alright everyone, I'm super pumped to share the first of 4 collabs I did with the wonderful Veronica Campbell of Voulez Boudoir.  We shot these in her beautiful studio in Maryland, and I'm so beyond impressed with her work! Didn't she do an amazing job?
Anywho, for today's featured post, I styled a glam look for you all in honor of Valentine's day.  I centered everything around my new mini-dress from Sincerely Sweet Boutique.  I stumbled upon it online and just knew I have to style it for you guys.  

The piece creates the illusion of a flattering hourglass with its tapered waist and flared skirt.  It also features an open back with a cut-out front that oozes flirty!  The best part of the dress though? The gorgeous color - it's a fabulous, shimmery sea green that changes color under different lights. Heads up, I know I mentioned this earlier, but the skirt's all sorts of dramatic so keep that in mind before purchasing, and as always, let me know if you have any questions.
I wanted to have some fun so I accessorized with a playful piano clutch.  I bought this baby at Kate Spade years ago, and I still can't get over how adorable it is.  I'm a pianist by day so I couldn't resist purchasing this piece, especially since it was on sale at their factory outlet in Hagerstown, MD.  To finish things off, I wore a moto jacket for some edge and threw on black heels to match!
Other fabulous Kate Spade clutches:

Dress:  c/o Sincerely Sweet Boutique ($54.99) || Jacket:  Ann Taylor Factory Outlet (similar) || Clutch:  Kate Spade (similar) || Shoes:  Qupid
Shot by the amazing Voulez Boudoir.

My First Juice Cleanse Ever

I've been wanting to try a juice cleanse for years now, but I never got around to doing so because I didn't want to be hangry at work or school.  It took some serious self-control on my part, but Jus by Julie made the whole process pretty dang easy.  I went with her 3 day juice + soup cleanse because I wasn't down to skip food entirely.  Here's a detailed breakdown of what I did:

Day 1:
Sweet Spin Juice
Split Pea Soup
Spicy Pomegranate Juice
Carrot Ginger Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
Chia Berry Juice

Day 2:
Sweet Spin Juice
Red Lentil Soup
Spicy Pomegranate Juice
Detox Broth
Pumpkin Coconut Bisque
Chia Berry Juice

Day 3:
Sweet Spin Juice
Carrot Turmeric Soup
Spicy Pomegranate Juice
Roasted Tomato Gazpacho
Hearty Potato Leek Soup
Chia Berry Juice

Her juices are blended (as opposed to cold pressed) so they have a smoothie-like consistency.  Note: if you dislike pulp, pass on this!  However, do keep in mind that their special blending process makes sure you get 100% of the whole fruits + veggies that go into their products aka all the good stuffs like antioxidants, fiber, and live enzymes.
I personally didn't have to do much prep for the cleanse because I was already eating clean, but if you're not, Julie recommends cutting out heavy foods like meat, dairy and sugar a few days beforehand.    You can eat as many fruits/veggies as you want, but go easy on rich foods like burgers.

The cleanse itself was easy because in addition to juice, I was having soup 3x a day.  Serious props to Jus by Julie because everything was on point!  I was VERY pleasantly surprised with the taste of it all.  The soups were legit good - like I would eat them for an actual meal...and enjoy it!  My favorites were the hearty potato leek, carrot ginger, and butternut squash soups.  The drinks were also really great - I could straight up drink spicy pomegranate all day, every day.  

FYI: their juices have a refrigeration shelf life of up to 4 days and a 3 week frozen shelf life.  Soups have a 2 week refrigeration shelf life and a 3 week frozen shelf life.  If you're looking to start your cleanse right when you receive your delivery, make sure you store everything in the fridge STAT and start with Jus 1.  If you want to do it all later, freeze everything!  The night before your cleanse, leave one day's worth out overnight at room temperature - they'll be ready in the morning.  Do NOT thaw in your fridge.
Anywho, I didn't find myself getting hungry throughout any of this, BUT if you want to munch on something during, you can have raw or steamed green veggies, egg whites at dinnertime, or 1-2 cups of coffee or green tea. Afterwards, you want to make sure to very SLOWLY integrate heartier foods into your diet.  

Now, would I do this again? Yes, but only a juice and soup cleanse like this.  I can't imagine cutting food out entirely.  I'll probably try a hardcore one like that at some point, but for now, this works perfectly fine!  I didn't lose a ton of weight or anything, but I'm not really surprised.  If I did, I have a feeling it would've been temporary, ha. I did, however, feel refreshed (and healthier) afterwards.  This cleanse costs $120, and if you subscribe to their mailing list you can get an extra 10% off your purchase.  Have any of you guys tried a cleanse? If yes, which one? Was it worth it?  

Checking Out the Baltimore Aquarium

I can't even begin to tell you guys how much I loved exploring the National Aquarium!  It's hands down one of the most amazing places I've ever visited.  With close to 20,000 animals (including birds, frogs, sharks, and dolphins), you'll spend a good three hours just walking around.  
The building itself was super impressive - I was definitely a huge fan of their architecture.  I loved that they had a big area with "open water," and I may or may not have spent a good 20 minutes or so watching a giant 3-finned sea turtle swim around.
...this wasn't him, but isn't he ridiculously cute?
I totally found Nemo here, but he was swam away before I could get a good shot of him.  You can kind of see him at the bottom though!
The aquarium had SO many amazing exhibits, but my favorites were Blacktip Reef, Shark Alley, Upland Tropical Rainforest, and Jellies Invasion.  You can read all about them here if you'd like! They also live stream videos of their inhabitants so you can get a sneak peek from home if that tickles your fancy.
Here's a shot of the adorable jellies I got to touch!  For those of you interested, you can "pet" different animals here (ie. stingrays, crabs, and the like).
Fossilized creatures!
A golden lion tamarin (my new bestie) from the tropical rainforest exhibit!
I didn't get to check out the 4-D films this time around, but I hope to do so next time!  They're apparently 3-D films brought to life with multi-sensory effects like leg ticklers, scents, enhanced lighting + seat vibrations. They're currently playing Happy Feet and Coastal Predators.  

If you're looking to have a fun day with the fam or a date, head on over to the aquarium.  There's SO much to do, and you'll enjoy it regardless of your age/gender.  Tickets are $39.95, and they're open 10-4 Mondays through Thursdays, 10-8 on Fridays, and 10-5 on weekends.  For the best possible experience, visit before 11 or after 3 to avoid the rush.