Summertime Office Eco-Chic

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Simple, layered outfits are key for Northern California summers. Mother Nature can easily span 20° in one day herself, and add the extremes of frigid-A/C-conference-room and after-meeting-hot-parked-car, and you can easily go from loving your outfit to hating it in the span of a few seconds. Layers allow effortless temperature management, and look oh-so-chic no matter the weather!

This H&M blouse and its sister version in black have been on heavy rotation in my wardrobe. Not only are they made from 70% post-consumer recycled content, they are cut to fit with a perfectly loose flutter. I really hope their CONSCIOUS collection stays in stores, and that other retailers follow suit! Have you seen ASOS’ Green Room Eco Edit? Pretty neat.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Snakeskin print top H&M CONSCIOUS, made from 70% recycled content A
Faux leather shorts Zara, old, similar here via ASOS C
Frayed duster jacket Vintage Dolce & Gabbana via Encore in Burlingame A
Black heels Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack B+
Round sunglasses Old, love these by Karl Lagerfeld via ASOS C (for alt.)
White handbag Zara, sold out, similar here via ASOS C
Stone pendant necklace Gift from husband, love this Etsy version made from recycled metal A (for alt.)

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The past few weeks of work have been demanding, and I’m really looking forward to taking some time off for the Fourth of July. Friday maybe feels a mite bit closer knowing it will include some BBQ and bubbly.

Xo, Sarah

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Melted Red Lipstick

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This floaty Zara top is one of those things I can’t stop wearing. It’s become one of those situations in which one may attempt to invent scenarios that make it totally ok to wear it five days in a row. Did I mention you can just throw it in the washing machine? So good.

This lipstick is next-level good, too – not only is Too Faced cruelty-free, it’s also made in the US and the quality is luxuriously refined. “Melted” is in the title, but it’s more of “melded” into my beauty routine.

My handbag is also a recent Zara find. The style is clearly, shall we say, “inspired” by Prada, but the fact that it’s faux leather has me ok with the resemblance. My quest to live eco-chic has me seriously considering going leather-free with purchases of new items. I know I’ll only be purchasing faux leather jackets, but handbags and shoes have me wavering, since I have noticed a stark difference in quality and comfort. Stay tuned for further developments on my philosophies here.

Stella McCartney has a gorgeous line of accessories that are entirely leather-free, and is the only major designer to do so. I have my eye on the new quilted Falabella, but that is a faux leather handbag that – rightfully so – requires a bit more penny-pinching before purchase compared to this $80 Zara find. It’s also a major frustration for me that, at 5’11”, I wear a true size 11 shoe, which is not an Italian 41, where many designers cap their lines – Stella included. If I can find some faux leather shoes that fit and have impressive quality, you can bet your gumdrop buttons I’ll be singing it from the rooftops.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Pleated cream tunic Zara (now on sale!) C
Faux leather leggings Old, gorgeous Helmut Lang option here and inexpensive ASOS option here C (for alt.)
Message-in-a-bottle necklace Old, this Etsy option is so sweet A (for alt.)
Oversized sunglasses Dior via Nordstrom B+
Flax heels Old, adore these Stella McCartney sandals A (for alt.)
Neutral handbag Zara (really into the shape and the vegan leather) C
Cream infinity bracelet Banana Republic, old, cute Etsy version here B+ (A for alt.)
Red lipstick Too Faced “Melted” in “Melted Ruby” A

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Here’s to tackling this week with style and poise! Sending you a caffeinated wink from across the internet. ;)

Xo, Sarah

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Fashion Blogger Living Room

 

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

Just before our move, I shot these photos of our living room. Between here and my office, this is where we spent all our time and made so many memories.

My favorite things about this space were the open concept living area and the all-white palette. Coco and Chanel’s favorite thing was the roomy floor plan, which was big enough for our large couch and chaise lounge, where they loved to snuggle – and ample space for games of chase and catch.

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A picture rail from IKEA held the current framed inspirations above the couch, with a central coffee table to display faux blooms and the latest reading materials. I love having all-white fake flowers in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

 

A favorite memory is one we will hopefully never be able to recreate: we had some noisy neighbors who were in the habit of cranking their subwoofers and banging around for hours at all hours of the day. One night, we were about to go to bed when the banging started again. After 15 minutes, we decided to just embrace the noise, and started putting up a couple pictures we’d wanted to get on the wall. It’s not like we were going to wake anyone, we thought.

Thirty seconds later, our neighbors were banging on our door, asking why we were making so much noise. “We are just chopping nuts, so why are you banging around so rudely?!” Hahaha! At least every time they were really loud after that, we knew why: they had a lot of nuts to chop. #isthisreallife

 

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

Metal-and-glass shelves from IKEA held mementos, like the wine and champagne bottles from our wedding and honeymoon, my wedding shoes and the dried first bouquet of roses David ever gave me.

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The dogs loved these oversized pillows so much. They would shove them in the corners, stack them on top of each other and nap on top of the pile.

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

This Crate & Barrel mini bar was the perfect size to hold our favorite drinks, and the side racks put pretty barware on display.

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

If I could figure out how to simply paint canvases and dress up all day – and still have a functioning bank account – I would. I actually hardly painted the entire time we lived here, which is something I intend to turn around soon.

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

Sliding glass doors to the balcony let it plenty of light and gave us that “quintessential California” indoor-outdoor living flow. These IKEA chairs were a second-hand find from a previous apartment, and have followed us all along the San Francisco Peninsula!

Faux greenery for patios is my favorite, adding pretty colors and textures without worrying about them needing water or causing allergies – or trips to the emergency vet.

Sarah's Ambitions | Fashion Blogger Living Room

 

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Going through these photos again has me excited to finish settling into our new place. It seems like such a simple task, but everything takes much longer than anticipated with a move!

Xo, Sarah

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Date Night Jeans

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I wore this for a super romantic date night to Chipotle and IKEA. We’ve been so busy between work and our recent move, so we are taking what we can get! Oh, and don’t worry, I didn’t walk a million-mile, DIY furniture warehouse in heels. The glam factor of flaxen pumps was just a fun touch to make dinner feel a little more fancy.

We are so close to being done with decorating our new place. This past weekend, I finished our master closet, which finally got our clothes off the floor from their “sorted” stacks [read: agitating piles with wrinkles and disorder] and into beautiful shelves. Can you hear the ethereal chorus coming from the ultra pure white walls?

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Cream long-sleeve top Zara, old, similar J.Crew here C
Light “boy” jeans Zara C
Black faux leather moto Old, chic Zara version I’m eyeing C (for alt.)
Oversized sunglasses Dior via Nordstrom B+
Flax heels Old, adore these Stella McCartney sandals C (for alt.)
Gold “loveyou” necklace Etsy, sold out A
Black flap handbag J.Crew, purchased last year on sale C

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Once we cool it on the home update purchases (#somuchlandscaping #somuchpaint #somuchIKEAassembly), I’m really looking forward to getting a new faux leather jacket and flax heels. Mine are well worn and almost four years old, and I wear them so much that I don’t want to be caught without a replacement once they inevitably fall apart. I would love to get the gorgeous Stella McCartney’s Kappor sandals. I just saw an article on Harper’s Bazaar about fashion “gateway” purchases. As much as I love fashion, don’t let me go too far down the rabbit hole! ;)

Xo, Sarah

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’90s Gone Chic

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Lately, I can’t get enough of these high-waist, semi-destroyed jeans. They are extremely comfortable – almost like wearing my lazy-day leggings – but they have ten times the cool factor compared to anything else in my closet this comfy.

My favorite part about this outfit, though, is that my top is made from organic cotton and I bought it from Zara for only $9.90. Companies that make ethical fashion accessible and attractive are exactly what I like to see.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
White organic cotton tank Zara C
Black high-waist denim ASOS C
Spiky silver necklace Old, beautiful, handmade option here via Etsy A (for alt.)
Cateye sunglasses Old, similar ASOS here and here C (for alt.)
Nude lace-up sandals Old, similar here – love Ted Baker’s ethical statement here C (for alt.)
White handbag Zara, get it before it’s discontinued! C

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The scenery in our new neighborhood is amazing. I mean, look at the background here! Just gorgeous. Walking the sidewalks with Coco and Chanel feels like a treat.

We are settling into the house, and the puppies love having our own space, rather than shared walls on every side. I feel like we had a great stroke of luck in finding this rental and I never want to let it go! We’re in the “final touches” stage after figuring out a layout that works, and I am so excited to have it looking good. A peaceful, pretty home centers me. :)

Xo, Sarah

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Dolce & Gabbana

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All things lace have had my attention the past few months and I am so glad I finally jumped on board with this dress. The fabric detail and cut are so spectacular I keep wanting to wear it every day. Luckily, blogging more has inadvertently encouraged me to get more creative with my closet and stop cycling through the same outfits for client meetings. No more playing the game of, “Did I wear this to our last meeting or was that a different client?” Ha!

This vintage Dolce & Gabbana jacket is one of the best purchases I have ever made. It elevates every outfit and is so versatile. Now that we live near a number of fantastic vintage shops, I can’t wait to incorporate more of these beautifully ethical finds into my wardrobe.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Black jacket Vintage Dolce & Gabbana (also like this one on sale) A
Lace dress Zara C
Black infinity bracelet Banana Republic (old, cute Etsy option here and recycled metal here) A (for alt.)
Round sunglasses Old, love these from ASOS and still want these Prada via Nordstrom B+
Nude heels Old and very worn so saving up – maybe these vegan Stella McCartney pumps or some amazing Jimmy Choos? C
Black tote Coach (old), love this one from Ann Taylor C

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We’re building out our new master closet this weekend – and I’ll be dreaming of stocking it with pretty much the entire Dolce & Gabbana collection.

I’m also expanding my business soon and can’t wait to dive into things! Biz dev and renos? Let’s do this. #getitgirl

Xo, Sarah

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Snake Print Pencil Skirt

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Finding outfits that express your personal style but still feel like they go with the flow of my clients’ offices can be tricky. Enter: layering. A floaty, cropped tank paired with a chic, statement pencil skirt, and I’m in love.

Walking Coco and Chanel is one of my favorite things to do, especially at the end of the work day because by then, their puppy energy is beginning to wear off and we can focus more on exploring our new neighborhood rather than burning off steam. This often results in a lot of practice with “drop it,” haha.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Floaty crop top Zara (sold out, very similar) C
Snake print pencil skirt Ann Taylor (sold out, love this one or this ASOS option) C
Encrusted necklace Zara (similar via Nordstrom) C
Reflective sunglasses H&M (old, similar ASOS here and here) C
Black heels Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack (fab Cole Haan here and here) B+
White handbag Zara, get it before it’s discontinued! C

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After learning about Ann Taylor’s work to support women’s rights and ethical business with their “Responsibly Ann” initiative, I was smitten with the brand. Supporting brands that make it easy to look good and do good is what this is all about.

Xo, Sarah

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Black Outfit, Green Fashion

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Organic cotton top and pants with 60% recycled content? Yes, please. This comfortable outfit was perfect for a day of packing up our old place just before the big move.

Incorporating ethical shopping into my everyday living has been a challenge, but a worthy one. Little by little, I’ve been able to find my new favorite brands and stores and am learning where to look to find what I need. This outfit is a great showcase of that, and the growing trend of more transparency in corporate ethics and the increasing availability of eco-friendly options.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Organic cotton tank top Zara, only $9.90 C
60%-recycled-content pants H&M Conscious, only $19.99 C
Pavé links bracelet Old Baublebar, cute Etsy option here to support small biz A (for alt.)
Infinity bracelet Banana Republic, love this Etsy option made with recycled metal B+
Gold “love you” necklace Gift from my husband via Etsy (sold out), similar here via Nordstrom A
Red nail polish Mineral Fusion in Crimson Clay via Whole Foods A

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(Get 20% off these ASOS options with code WEBEGRILLIN)

Finds like these makes me feel like I am making a difference. I am currently building a page to make it easy to find favorite stores and will be sharing one of my most challenging projects soon: the switch to eco-friendly, cruelty-free, luxurious beauty products.

It shouldn’t be difficult to make ethical shopping choices – we all face plenty of hard decisions in life anyway. Let’s support the brands and retailers who are doing their best to be good to the world.

Xo, Sarah

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Fashion Blogger Office

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

A peaceful, pretty home centers me. We just moved to our new place (guys – we got the rental house!), but I wanted to share some snippets of the design I created in our old apartment. First up, my office: the true hub of the home.

This is where I spend sometimes over 80 hours a week. My office needs to be functional, comfortable and beautiful. I am a real estate marketing and business development consultant, which is a lot of fun for me. Working in a field that requires both analytical and creative capabilities, I need my office space to offer both focus and inspiration.

Seeing these pictures has me antsy to settle into our new home! I value a lovely living space above any other luxury. As stated by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright, “If you wisely invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

All-white desk furniture keeps things simple and chic, letting me easily add pops of color and edit the palette in an instant.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

This magnetic mood board makes it easy to change out my inspirational pieces. Just before our move, I had a sketch I’d drawn, a test Polaroid, my feature in the San Francisco Chronicle from last year and a personal #getitgirl quote I love.

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A simple picture rail from IKEA displays my favorite pictures, sketches and books of the moment. There is also a box from favorite candy bar – strawberries & champagne – that I purchased at Dylan’s Candy Bar on a trip to LA.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

The definition of a #getitgirl.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

My husband gave me this book of “Pep Talks & Picker-Uppers” when I launched my marketing career, just after moving to California. I kept it in my first office desk, and it’s a happy reminder of how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

Having a chaise lounge next to the balcony window creates a perfect spot for the puppies to nap (and stockpile toys). This is a must-have for my new space and I can’t wait to style it.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

I added a touch of green just inside the balcony with these fake plants and used this as an opportunity to display a family heirloom, the rolling pin my grandma used in the parish kitchen where she raised her eleven children in rural Minnesota. It makes me feel like I have a little piece of my heritage with me.

Since the chaise lounge provided a perfect viewing perch for my puppies to see over the balcony and catch a glimpse of “intruders!!!” in the parking lot across the street, I used a tension rod and café curtains halfway up the window to keep us all safe and still sunlit. ;)

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These are a few of my favorite things: this dresser is half client samples and half art supplies, stationery and photography equipment.

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

These custom Bow & Drape sweatshirts for Coco and Chanel are so perfect I almost can’t. I pinned these tiny tops to the wall with some of my sewing pins – smaller holes that are easier to fill upon move-out :)

Sarah's Ambitions | Blogger at Home: Office Style

Now that we are starting to settle into our new place, I can’t wait to incorporate some of my favorite décor pieces and add personalized touches. My office still has all of the non-essentials in boxes, but my desk and the puppies’ chaise lounge are obviously in place.

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Stay tuned for more interior style! Now that we have an entire home to decorate, I am so excited to dive into design.

Xo, Sarah

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Striped Shift Dress

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Honestly, the past few weeks have been a doozy. Sometimes, the best thing to do in response to  opposition – whether it be the unpredictable forces of life, a colleague that disappoints you, the checklist that grows by five every time you cross off two – is to just GSD. Get stuff done.

Take that moment to cry because sometimes the world isn’t fair in people’s lives. Momentarily furrow your brow, then let it melt away. Sigh in frustration, but then take a deep breath in and fill your reserves once more. And then, press on.

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Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

WHAT I WORE BRAND GRADE
Striped shift dress Zara C
Black jacket Vintage Dolce & Gabbana via Encore in Burlingame A
Pointed-toe heels Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack (sold out, similarly cut shoe here via J.Crew) C
Black and lime sunglasses Banana Republic (get 40% off today online and in stores with code BRFORTY) B+
Black, semi-structured, faux leather handbag Zara (yes, I bought it in black and in white – it’s only $36!) C
Gold “love you” necklace Gift from my husband via Etsy, similar here via Nordstrom A
Rich pink lip gloss NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in “Tea Rose” via Nordstrom Rack B+
Men’s silver and gold watch Old Invicta, similar here from Burberry, and so many great ones at Nordstrom C+

Learn how I grade my purchases with The Better World Shopping Guide

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Well, Edison, I’ll take my overalls as a striped shift dress with a side of coffee and at-my-desk puppy snuggles. And I’m equally unafraid of trying over 1,600 times to get it right. ;) #getitgirl

Xo, Sarah

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