January 2017 - Sensible Stylista

International Giveaway: Win a $100 Gift Card to Ankit!

Partnering up with Ankit today on SS for a fabulous international giveaway!  One very lucky winner will score a $100 gift card to purchase whatever his or her heart desires.  I've featured them on here several times already because their online store is the epitome of awesomesauce.  I get most all of my [very witty] mugs here, and their emoji slippers are everything.  I wear them 24/7, and I totally feel like I'm on walking on clouds because they're so comfy.  They carry all things adorable from cute statement bags to fab interior decor so do yourself a solid and enter this giveaway STAT!
As always, entering is super easy!  All you have to do is follow Ankit on instagram via rafflecopter below.  There are also several bonus entries to up your chances of winning.  Good luck, everyone. This giveaway ends on February 20th, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wearing Stripes to Work

I'm beyond pumped to share photos from my 2nd shoot with Katelyn Mariko with y'all today on SS! I styled a cute but (very) comfy work-friendly look for you guys featuring all new pieces.  I started with a simple base for a classic office ensemble:  a flattering striped tank dress from Laila Jayde
This piece oozes sophistication with it's mock-neck, and its solid side panels visually slim one's figure.  If you prefer a lower neckline, check this design out!  It's basically the same silhouette, and it's available in both B&W and navy/white.
I styled the dress with a fitted jacket (courtesy of Donna Degnan) for a polished vibe and accessorized with an elegant pendant necklace to top things off.  For those of you wondering, this necklace is a long-time favorite of mine.  I bought it at Talbots a few years back, and I still wear it on a regular basis. They (very surprisingly) carry a ton of cute accessories! I've bought a fair amount of jewelry, shoes, AND scarves there.  I used to be obsessed with their skirts as well, but I kind of grew out of that phase - at least for the time being!
A closer look at my shoes!  I wanted to incorporate a splash of color so I did so with my heels.
Dress: Laila Jade || Shoes:  Steve by Steve Madden via Stitch Fix || Jacket:  Donna Degnan || Necklace:  Talbots
Photos shot by the amazing Katelyn Mariko.

Modeling for Main Street Ballroom

I'm super excited to tell you guys all about my latest adventure with Main Street Ballroom!  If you follow me on instagram, you've probably already seen behind-the-scene snaps via instastories.  I've been WAY more active with it all lately so make sure you come say hello.
Anywho, I had a really great time modeling for MSB - the building was absolutely beautiful and the creatives were all so ridiculously talented.  It was truly an honor to be involved!  For those of you located in the DMV + looking to rent event/wedding space, you need to check out Main Street Ballroom stat.
Based in historic Ellicott City, MD, Main Street Ballroom is the result of years of dreaming.  Owner Kate Ansari was planning her own wedding and was looking for a venue that felt like home.  She never did find a place with the perfect mix of style and flexibility, but six years after her big day, she finally found the venue she would have chosen.  Now, she's making it a reality for brides across Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  ALL couples are welcome at Main Street Ballroom, regardless of race, religion or gender.
MSB combines the charm and character of a historic building with modern amenities, including a salon-style bridal suite with built in hair and makeup statements, a state of the art catering kitchen and newly constructed bathrooms.  Your special event will be 200% stress free with their policies. YOU are the only even on your special day aka you'll have access to the Ballroom all day long, no overage charges for extra hours, no hidden fees.  To book MSB, call 301.742.0399 or email them at hello@mainstballroom.com to book a tour.
BTW, they have a list of amazing vendors who offer clients a discount!  Many preferred vendor lists are simply lists of companies who give kickbacks to spaces for recommending them.  MSB's cultivating the same list, but instead of keeping $$$ for themselves, they're passing 100% of that to their clients to get you the BEST deal possible.
Last but not least, a HUGE thanks to everyone involved in this shoot.  L.A. Birdie Photography, Mobtown Florals, Jewel Hair Design, Beauty by Jackie D, Elizabeth Cooper Design and Susie Saltzman.  Also, for those of you wondering, the other model is Andrea Youniss - such a gorgeous girl!

SS Eats: Encantada

I don't even know where to start.  I was totally blown away by my experience here!  Encantada is foodie paradise for real - if you live within driving distance and haven't visited yet, you're seriously missing out. Everything from decor to flavor is on point, and by "on point," I mean ridiculously amazing.

They partner up with local ranchers and farmers to offer the freshest products possible on the daily so their dishes reflect what's in season.  They choose their animal proteins carefully (those who have been raised humanely with a GMO free diet) and offer a "starring" role to veggies, grains and fruits! Many dishes are gluten free + vegan friendly so your vegetarian friends will have PLENTY to choose from.  
Anywho, for today's lunch, my bf and I got fresh juice to start.  He ordered Carrot Top (carrots, apple, ginger, lemon) and I went with Mean Green (kale, cucumber, kiwi, ginger, apple, parsley).  Both drinks were tasty + refreshing, AND they came with cute straws (!!!)  What can I say? I'm a sucker for presentation, and Encantada does NOT disappoint when it comes to aesthetic.  Everything looks as good as it tastes!
We got the following apps to start:  Deviled Turnips (think faux eggs w/ smoked paprika), Mussels (with herbs, butter, and pesto toast), and Buffalo Cauliflower (with pickles, drizzled with vegan ranch).  Each dish was nomtastic, but my fave was, hands down, the cauliflower.
Just look at all that deliciousness!  I seriously need to go back and get my fix STAT.  
For entrees, Robby and I got three dishes and shared.  We ordered the Roasted Portobello Mushroom burger, the Grilled Cheese sandwich, and the Grains & Greens salad.  Everything was (unsurprisingly) amazing!  
The salad was a giant mix of greens, farro, quinoa, tomatoes, goat cheese, and sliced pears topped with a light apple cider vinaigrette.  It was the perfect flavor combination, and as you can see, the serving size was ginormous!
A closer look at our mushroom burger.  These photos just don't do it justice!  It came stacked high with several portobellos, zucchini, and tomato with fontina cheese oozing out of the sides.  Everything was cooked to perfection!  If you're a fan of vegetarian sandwiches (or even if you're not), you NEED to try this dish out for yourself.  Trust me, your tastebuds will thank you!
Last but certainly not least, we're going to talk about my FAVE dish from today's meal: their asiago, gruyere, and cheddar grilled cheese with tomato and zucchini.  Words can't even express how amazingly nomtastic this sandwich was.  Each bite was gooey magic, and the accompanying sweet potato fries were incredible.  They were super crispy and had a barbecue-y taste to them, which I loved!
We finished our meal off with their chocolate cake, and it was the perfect ending to a truly spectacular meal.  I can't wait to go back and try their vegan carrot cake!  Anywho, if you guys are looking to try a new restaurant in the DMV, head on over ASAP.  Take a few hours out of your day to explore the American Visionary Art Museum and grab lunch afterwards.  You're welcome in advance!
A huge thanks to Encantada for hosting us!

How-to Transform Your Everyday Look in Seconds

I don't know about you guys, but I'm all about cute outfits that are comfy as hell.  I understand that looking fine entails at least a bit of pain sometimes, but when it comes to daily getups, comfort trumps all especially if I'm out running errands like a crazy person.  So, that brings me to today's post: two easy ways to elevate your everyday look.
1.  Throw on a fierce statement necklace!  I mean, it's really as easy as that, and it makes all the difference in the world.  Transform a potentially blah look into something much cuter in 2 seconds tops.  I get all my baubles from JWholesale because they have an amazing selection for a fraction of the price.  I have a giant collection of necklaces from them in varying styles and colors!  What can I say? I love having options.
2.  Wear cute boots over jeans!  I swear, this combo's a total godsend.  Personally, I prefer OTK boots, but tall ones work well, too.  Tuck your pants into these babies for a casual vibe that oozes polish and sophistication.  I own several different pairs, both expensive AND affordable, and I wear them equally depending on the weather.  
Today's boots are from Boohoo.  I got them a few years ago, and they're super comfy!  They were on sale for like $15 so I couldn't resist picking up a pair.  I wore them with my favorite skinny jeans from Aeropostale for today's low-key look.  My top's from Stitchfix, and my necklace, as I mentioned earlier, is from JWholesale.  To finish things off, I threw on my Style & Co moto jacket.
Shot by the amazing Sung Shin.

Keeping it Fresh with Secret!

After 10,000+ hours of research with over 500 noses across multiple countries, Secret learned that 70 percent of women switch deodorants because they believe their bodies have grown accustomed to their everyday product. What's really happening is that the nose can go blind to the scent of deodorant over time, which makes some women feel less protected, and sometimes, less confident. 
This March, they're introducing The Secret Fresh Collection, the first beauty product to ever feature the brand new patented fade-resistant scent technology.  It combats nose-blindness by resisting scent fade, while also providing long-lasting fragrance benefits for up to 48 hours.  The line features 11 dynamic scents and is available in both invisible solid and clear gel forms.  It's specially designed to last throughout your day, providing you with reassurance that your deodorant is working as hard as you do.  

The all new Cool Waterlily scent smells absolutely heavenly - it's a sheer, clean fragrance mixing the nuanced floracy of the lily with unique green lily pad middle notes for the ultimate, upscale spa0like experience.  Invisible solid form features a proprietary sweat-activated technology that captures odor and releases fragrance, keeping you smelling fresh for up to 48 hours.
I'm beyond pumped to partner up with Secret for my latest beauty post on SS.  They sent me a box of awesome goodies, and I can't wait to tell y'all how they help me keep things fresh on the daily. Soooo without further ado, let's get started with La Fresh's limited edition waterproof makeup remover wipes.  In honor of their 10th birthday, they released special wipes that are gentle enough for all skin types and remove everything like a boss.  Generously sized, each pack contains 100!  Get 25% off your first purchase with code BabbleBoxx until 4/30.

Next up is my gorgeous FTD Bouquet.  Flowers are one of life's special pleasures for real, and FTD creates moments that lets those closet to you know how much you care.  Hit them up for all your special floral delivery needs whether it be a birthday, anniversary or just because.  Whether it's a dozen roses, lilies, or orchids, you'll be sending the absolute best!  
Moving on!  Tree Hut's Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil pampers like no other.  Jojoba oil and grape seed oil help seal in moisture, promoting healthy skin all day every day!  It's uniquely formulated to provide enhanced contact between the razor and your skin for a smooth shave without nicks or cuts. This is seriously one of the most amazing products I've ever used.  Your body will feel SUPER smooth afterwards! Hashtag treat yoself.
Last but not least, 21 Drops' Detox Essential Oil Blend.  They've pioneered the modern experience in essential oil therapy, offering one a healthier way of living every day.  Their solution is pre-blended with distinct essential oils that come together in organic jojoba oil to uniquely treat a particular concern or aspiration.  These blends work in synergy to deliver on their targeted promise for a healthier mind and body!  Cardamom refreshes, geranium purifies, juniper flushes out toxins, and lavender soothes nerves.  Purchase a vial for yourself here!

A huge thanks to Secret Fresh Scents Deodorant for sponsoring this post.

My Latest Designer Find: Obsessed with Alexis

Alright guys, by now, you all know that I was in Naples, FL for Christmas vacay - see my trip recaps here and here. While I was there, I got my shop on at Saks and bought a few things for myself - hashtag treat yoself!  I was beyond thrilled to find Alexis hanging in their sale racks.  I'm a huge fan of their designs so I was over the moon when I discovered this gorgeous dress!
Everything about this dress is a do.  It fits me like a glove and oozes quality! I seriously can't get over how fabulous the design is.  I mean, just look at the sleeves - aren't they ridiculously adorable?  Who else loves Alexis?  
 Other fabulous Alexis piece I'm currently lusting for:

Shot by the amazingly talented Jared Wolfe.

4 Ways to Work Out at Home on the Cheap

If you're looking to get fit in 2017, you can easily do so in the comfort of your own home.  You don't need fancy machines or expensive gym memberships to get in the best shape of your life.  Here are 4 ways you can work up a sweat without breaking the bank.

1. Beachbody Streaming

If you've been keeping up with my fitness updates - you can access my full archive here by the way - you know that I'm in the process of completing T25.  I seriously can't recommend the series enough! Results come quick, as long as you eat clean, and it's time efficient because it only takes 25 minutes; hence the name T25.  

I finished Alpha not too long ago (a 5 week program), and I'm in the process of completing week 2 of Beta.  I purchased the entire set on Amazon a few months ago, BUT I really wish I hadn't because Beachbody's now streaming their entire collection (over 700 programs) online for $9.99 a month.  If you enroll for the entire year, you save $55.  I'm subscribing the SECOND I finish T25 - I've been dying to try a bunch of their other programs so this is freaking awesome.  Try it out for yourself free of charge here for 30 days.

2.  Phone apps

The app store pretty much sells everything I need to keep my life together so it's no surprise that their fitness programs are on point as well.  I'm excited to tell y'all about my personal favorite, Freeletics Bodyweight.  It offers TOUGH workouts named after greek mythological figures.  You get to try 11 of them for free, but you have to pay to unlock the other ones.  Each one has 3 different levels:  endurance, standard, and strength, all of which have a varying number of rounds.  Let's take a look at one of them - I'm going to break down Aphrodite for you.  You have 5 rounds total, and they feature 3 different exercises.  Round 1 is 50 burpees, 50 squats, and 50 situps, round 2 is 40 burpees, 40 squats, and 40 situps, and so on and so forth until you reach round 5, which is 10 burpees, 10 squats, and 10 situps.  

You can watch a video demo of each exercise beforehand to double check your form!  What I love most about this app is that you're encouraged to compete with YOURSELF.  Each segment is timed so when you go back to re-tackle whatever workout you're assigned to do that day, your challenge is to beat your previous time/s.  If you decide to commit to this app, you can purchase it for $3.07/week for 3 months, $2.68/week for 6 months, or $1.73/week for 12 months.  You'll get a customized weekly training plan and unlock all 900+ workouts.

Obviously, there are a TON of other effective apps out there, but I haven't had a chance to try them because I already have a ton on my plate fitness wise.  I have friends that swear by You Are Your Own Gym and Sweat with Kayla though so those are worth checking out. 

3.  Pinterest Exercise Routines

I'm a huge fan of pinterest for more reasons than one, but it just so conveniently happens to be a fitness goldmine.  There are a ton of workouts available on there so get your search on STAT.  If you need help finding some good ones, browse my "Get Your Off Your Butt & Exercise" board.  Other relevant boards include: "Bodily Perfection" and "Want Some Fitspo" for inspiration, "Healthy Body, Healthy Soul" for helpful tips on maintaining your overall wellness, and "Let's Eat Clean" for delicious but healthy recipes.

4.  YouTube videos

YouTube's a great resource for all things entertaining and informative, and fitness is no exception. There are a bunch of different channels on there that offer free workouts that'll help you shed fat like no other.  My personal favorites are Fitness Blender, Popsugar Fitness and Blogilates.  

Fitness Blender was created by Daniel and Kelli, an adorable yet totally badass husband and wife team.  They've been at it since 2010 and have amassed a following of 3+ million.  Their success is well deserved though. Their channel features 500+ FREE full length workouts, and they share new ones weekly so you always have something fresh to try.  

Popsugar Fitness offers a variety of different tutorials, workouts, and exercises.  Browse their playlist to see what tickles your fancy. They're divided into clear subcategories for your browsing ease!  Also, they have a do-it-along-with-us real time workout show called Class FitSugar hosted by Anna Renderer.  On it, they cover popular workout classes and trends including the Victoria's Secret workout, Bar Method, and more.

Blogilates aka Cassey Ho is the founder of POP Pilates.  She's a superstar youtuber who's become a household name.  She's inspiring for a variety of reasons, but I'm featuring her today on SS because her routines are fun and effective.  She's released several workout DVDS (you can purchase them on Amazon if you're interested), but you can access a bunch of free videos (300+) on her channel.

So there you guys go!  I hope this post is helpful, and I wish you all the best for your fitness journey in the new year.  How are y'all planning to stay in shape? Do any of these options sound appealing to you? If yes, which one/s?

The Pleated Minidress: V-day Edition

It's time for another one of my v-day outfit posts.  If you missed my first ensemble with Trollbeads, click here. Anywho, for today's blast, I centered my look around a fab dress from Lifestyle Clothiers.  Isn't the color perfect for the occasion?  There's just something about deep burgundy.  It'll always be a do in my book.
On top of it all, the design's comfortable yet super flattering.  The piece highlights the small of my waist which creates a sexy hourglass figure + elongates my legs.  Yay for visual illusions! Sidebar: I actually wrote an article on 'em a while back on how to look 10lbs lighter with fashion so make sure you guys clicky.
Anywho, I paired my dress with a faux-leather moto jacket to add edge and carried a lace clutch to up my texture game.  To top things off, I accessorized with pearl pieces from Trollbeads' Falling in Love collection.
Other fabulous v-day dress options:

Dress:  c/o Lifestyle Clothiers || Necklace + Rings:  Trollbeads || Jacket:  Ann Taylor (similar) || Shoes:  Deb (similar)
 Shot by the awesome Sung Shin.

SS Eats: Choolaah

Sharing yet another fabulous food adventure with you guys today on SS.  If you follow me on IG + watch my instastories, you've probably already seen my coverage on Choolaah...BUT just in case you missed it and don't know what they're all about, they're a fabulous fine-casual Indian restaurant that just opened in Fairfax, VA's Mosaic District.  
I can't even begin to tell you guys how much I loved this restaurant!  I'm so beyond impressed with their entire operation.  Their food is a-MA-zing, and their decor is unique, fun, and impeccably clean. Justin aka DCFoodPorn - did I mention that my friends are all really ridiculously good-looking - and I got to watch the chefs in action, and it was super cool.  They made fresh naan and tandoori chicken right before our eyes!
See?  The naan making process begins...
They stick the naan to the sides of the tandoori oven to cook 'em...
...and whip them out after a few minutes after they're cooked to perfection.
A shot of their amazingly delish chicken cooking.
A slew of incredibly nomtastic bowls for your viewing pleasure!  Choolaah has these awesome build-a-bowl BBQ meals that appeal to pretty much everyone.  Whether you're a vegetarian or whatevs, you'll be more than satisfied with whatever grub you get here.  I got a chicken tikka masala bowl with brown rice + wheat naan.  The chicken and rice come separately with the curry on the side so you control how much or little you have.  

The other curry options are as follow:  chickpea masala, black lentil, yellow lentil or veggie masala. In addition to chicken, they offer 5 other proteins:  lamb, salmon, paneer cheese, veggie croquette, and tofu + veggie.
Paneer cheese + veggies? Um, I think yes.
A shot of their samosa chaat.  So. Freaking. Tasty!  They're topped with chickpea masala and drizzled with yogurt, sweet & tangy sauces with savory crispy noodles.
Mmm, why is lamb so good?
Now, in addition to these yummy bowls, they also sell different salads, lettuce wraps, naan wraps, and biryanis.  I've tried both the chicken + veggie biryani, and they are ridiculous in the best way possible.  I'm talking about a serious flavor explosion in your mouth!  Trust me, you'll be blown away.  Andddd while you're at it, get a mango lassi and choolaah chai.  Both of them are straight up amazeballs.  OH, and I almost forgot about dessert.  I didn't have a chance to try the kulfi, but their chocolate truffles are to DIE for!  Rich, creamy morsels of goodness that'll have you salivating for days on end.  

One last thing before I leave y'all.  Remember to take full advantage of their kickass sauce station. Like all their food here, their sauces pack serious flavor.  I tried their mint yogurt sauce, their choolaah fire sauce, and their choolaah lava sauce and loved each and every one of them!

A huge thanks to Choolaah for having me and the wonderful DCFoodporn.