NCJW Pittsburgh Designer Days 2015

Any girl in her early 20’s who tries to be stylish while staying on budget knows that doing so is no easy feat. When I stumbled upon the National Council of Jewish Women’s (NCJW) Pittsburgh Designer Days event, I was pleasantly surprised. New and gently used designer label clothing, shoes and accessories for an affordable price is every girl’s dream. Seriously, where can we all sign up?!  

I was lucky enough to be able to take a break from the stresses of college life to attend the NCJW #epicstyle kickoff VIP patron event on Wednesday night. This weekend long event is housed at the soon-to-be-home of the new Thriftique boutique in Lawrenceville, one of the trendier and more accessible neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Besides featuring incredibly generous deals on top-designer labels such as Christian Louboutin, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Calvin Klein and Eileen Fisher, the event also offered beauty and style tips from some of Pittsburgh’s top stylists! 

But why just tell you about it, when I can show you?

I’ve always been super into scarves, so I was in heaven! 


The food at the event was phenomenal. It was catered by a few of Pittsburgh’s favorite local eateries, including: Crazy Mocha, Hambones, La Gourmandine, Square Café, and a few others! 

Women’s clothing as far as the eye can see… 

I think anyone can appreciate the power of a nicely tailored suit jacket, so why not save a lot on something that can last him a long time?

(Some of the featured brands above: Prada, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Calvin Klein)

Designer Days offers apparel, shoes and accessories for men, women, and children! Some of your finds could make for some seriously interesting Christmas gifts.

A few of my favorite menswear finds: an olive Burberry trench, Brooks Brothers ties, and leather driving gloves

Some of the featured (and best!) items can be found all over the event in and alongside their displays!

Wadria Tyler, (right) creator and director of Style Week Pittsburgh and founder of Style & Steel, demonstrating her styling skills on a model while showcasing some of the items being sold at Designer Days.

Women get serious about their shopping at Designer Days!

So many great options to “shoe-se” from! 

OOTN: Top // Skirt // Heels (similar)

Purse (old, similar) // Necklace

At the end of the night, I was a very happy camper. I found some amazing deals on some really awesome items, including: an emerald green swing coat, a Chanel crossbody (which cost me less than $50!) , a Ralph Lauren blazer, a few ties for my boyfriend, and a few wool-cashmere Burberry-inspired scarves! So, what was the grand total you may ask? Exactly $146.00. 

If you’re a college student in need of some new additions to your wardrobe, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to look fabulous, seriously consider stopping by the Designer Days event. Your closet will thank you, not to mention, the event is a fundraiser for a great cause. Proceeds from the Patron Event and the entire weekend sale will support NCJW’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of women, children and families through advocacy and many nonsectarian community sevice projects. 

Designer Days continues on Thursday the 5th with a 3-day free admission public sale! On Sunday, for $10 admission, you can get access to all of the remaining merchandise, which will then be discounted an additional 50% off! Shoppers will also receive coupons to shop at Thriftique post-Designer Days!

For more information about the Designer Days sale, visit the event’s Facebook page (, the NCJW website ( or contact NCJW at 412-421-6118

20 Things I Learned Before Turning 20

Wow, I’ve been alive for TWO DECADES! That actually blows my mind. As one of my first entries after my posting hiatus, I decided to share some of the life lessons I’ve learned in the past year! 

ONE // You are what you do. Not what you say you’ll do. 

Do you want people to respect you? Put your all into one task at a time. Do the job, and do it well. Nobody (especially a potential employer) will want someone who can complete a few tasks carelessly and quickly. Quality > quantity in almost every regard.

TWO // Wake up early, but never understimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

You’ll be so surprised as to how much you can get accomplished in a day with a few extra hours attached! Even if you have nothing significant planned for the day, waking up early to have a little you-time is always beneficial. 

THREE // Always make your bed first thing in the morning.

In his speech at the University of Texas in 2014, U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven spoke about how important it is to make your bed each and every morning, as soon as you wake up. “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed”. Plus, it makes your room appear cleaner, and most people perform at higher levels of efficiency in a clean environment.

FOUR // Eliminate self-hate one step at a time.

You will always be your harshest critic, and your worst enemy. Start by trying to control your negativity one thought at a time. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference that can make! 

FIVE // Stop comparing yourself to other people – OWN YOURSELF!

After discussing this in a few of my classes, I’ve ultimately come to believe that social media has killed self-esteem. Everywhere you scroll, you’ll see the bits and pieces of everyone’s life that makes them appear to be so interesting. Well, you can’t compare your normal life to everyone else’s highlight reel! It happens to me all the time. But, no matter how many likes she gets, you aren’t her. 

SIX // Eliminating the negative people from your life is hard, but ultimately so worth it.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is realize who your true friends are. You’ll never need anyone who tears you down, laughs at your expense, or makes you feel inferior. Seriously, cut them out. I know, it probably sounds a bit daunting but I promise it isn’t as hard as you’d assume.

SEVEN // Never try and change yourself for others.

Your friends, signifcant other, parents, everyone will love you so much more for being yourself. That’s the reason they stay around (well, the parents have no choice, but you know.) 

EIGHT // If you have to even consider something as being a bad idea, it probably is.

This was something my parents drilled into my head as a child. Eliminate second guessing- go with your gut instinct and you’ll make a better choice every time. 

NINE // Fall in love with yourself first, and others second. 

You’ve definitely heard the old cliché; you can’t fall in love with someone until you love yourself. In my experience, you need to have some stable sense of self before you can let someone else in. You shouldn’t always have to depend on someone besides yourself when the goings get rough. 

TEN // Exercising and eating well is important, but losing weight isn’t everything.

As a girl in today’s society, it’s really hard not to get caught up in obsessing over your weight. Wake up early, go for a run, and run for the sake of learning to love what your body can accomplish. After a while, it won’t be a chore anymore, and you might love how you start to feel. But never feel guilty for eating an extra piece of pizza. Don’t deprive yourself of happiness! 

ELEVEN // Count your blessings everyday.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the trials and tribulations of everyday life. When you start to get down on yourself, or things start to feel like they’re going downhill, write out what you appreciate about your life. Grab a PostIt, and jot down what makes you happy. Good health, family, love. Appreciate what you have; as cliché as it sounds, there are so many people out there with significantly worse than you. If you’re reading this on your laptop or your phone, you should consider yourself so lucky.

TWELVE // Stop worrying so much, go with the flow, and everything will fall into place.

Take a deep breath. The second you stop fighting for ultimate control of every aspect of your life, the happier you’ll be. Coming from a self-proclaimed control freak, this might be one of the best things that you can do for yourself! 

THIRTEEN // To do lists will always be your best friend.

As someone who has always struggled with time management, to do lists will always be the best thing you can do for yourself. Make them the night before so you know exactly what to expect with tomorrow. It’ll keep you in line, and future you will thank you after all of the items are checked off. Start with some easy little tasks that can be accomplished without much effort, and move up to the bigger ones!

FOURTEEN // You don’t always have to be the “yes man”. 

You. Don’t. Always. Have. To. Do. Everything. You’re allowed to be selfish, you’re allowed to say no. You’ll 100% overwhelm yourself if you help everyone or take up every task that comes your way!

FIFTEEN // Always make time to voice your affirmations.

If you appreciate something that someone does, tell them. You don’t know how much little comments and compliments can make someone’s day. Always stress your “I love you’s” and make sure people know that you appreciate them and what they do for you. 

SIXTEEN // Nobody needs to know everything.

I’m obsessed with social media. THANK GOD that society as a whole isn’t as obsessed with posting every little detail and thought of their lives as they used to be. But keep that in mind, you should value your independent thoughts and privacy offline as well. Keep things to yourself, nobody needs to know every part of your life! It makes some situations more special.

SEVENTEEN // Try to make someone’s day everyday.

This is so much easier than most people realize. Something as small as a genuine compliment on someone’s outfit, going out of your way to voice your affirmations, or even something little for a stranger can make someone feel that much better. My personal favorite is the idea of paying it forward for strangers. If you aren’t familiar with “paying it forward”, it’s basically returning the favor of someone’s kind gesture by going out of your way to do another nice thing for someone else.  If you have a few extra dollars, pay for the person behind you in line at the drive thru at Starbucks. And if you don’t, even smiling at a stranger can help. You’ll never know how much that person needed a kind gesture!

EIGHTEEN // Stop asking for opinions. Just do. 

I struggle with this a lot. I’m an incredibly indecisive person, and sometimes it makes my life easier when I can talk situations out when weighing my options. Just go for it. You’ll learn how to be independent and how to live through your own reasoning. 

NINETEEN // Experience is so much more important than material things.

I can’t stress this enough. Put your phone down. Experience all of the times you have with your loved ones, especially on dates, at dinner, etc. Value the time you have with the people around you. I’ve learned lately that the best thing you can have in life is the presence of the people who mean the world to you. It shouldn’t matter how much your date costs. You shouldn’t expect expensive things from other people. Meaning is so much more important than cost when it comes to any present, or experience. 

TWENTY // Try to switch out “sorry” for “thank you” as much as possible.  

Don’t apologize for who you are, or how you feel. You are who you are, and the second you stop saying “sorry” you begin to accept yourself wholeheartedly. Instead of feeling sorry for feeling a certain way, own your opinion! WORK IT.

What is the one life lesson that you’ve learned that you’re always willing to pass onto someone else? 

Fort Ligonier Days

It’s no secret; if you grew up in southwestern PA, or at least in the greater Pittsburgh area, you’ve probably heard of Fort Ligonier Days at one point or another. And for all of you out-of-state readers, it’s probably one of the highlights of the fall season for many people in my surrounding area. This huge celebration that engulfs the entirety of downtown Ligonier commemorates not only the battle, but the local history as well. 

It’s an entire weekend revolving around food, crafts, and shopping (a.k.a. 3 of my favorite things) so who couldn’t resist? According to my best friend Annie, Ligonier resembles Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls; needless to say, she was more than thrilled to spend an entire afternoon basking in its cute quaintness. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this photoset of my day trip to Fort Days, which I unofficially call, “When you give an Annie a camera”.

Preparing for battle. But no, literally. 


I heart craft fairs (if only I would ever actually committ to buying something)

Best. Kettlecorn. EVER.

Come away with me

Everybody loves a good live band! 

  Small town charm + amazing food 

My favorite dessert @ Ft. Days – Sand Hill Berries’ Raspberry Shortcake.

Annie decided to try the Strawberry Sundae

We also discovered that it is borderline impossible to take cute candid pictures of someone eating without making them look absolutely deranged. 

What are your town’s favorite traditions? Comment below and let me know!

Styling Summer Whites for Day + Night

I’ll be honest, this is the first summer i’ve tried to work an abundance of whites into my wardrobe. I never thought I would jump on that bandwagon, but after seeing tons of bloggers and celebs embrace the trend, I had to find the perfect way to make it happen. While white on white isn’t practical for everyday wear, I wanted to incorporate some bright whites and take them from a day to night look with the help of the fabulous Miss.Glambition. 


Top / Skirt (on sale!) / Sandals 

Sunglasses / BagBracelets (123) / Pearl Bracelet

For the first outfit, I definitely wanted to incorporate the feeling of summer into my ensemble. It should be light, breezy, and pretty organic. Pairing a basic cami from express with a textured and organic skirt with a light color palette is not only easy on the eyes, but simply chic. Bright and light colors tend to look really clean together, but I wanted to stay away from looking too “crisp” for my the a warm day. Not only does it look a lot softer on the eyes than harsher bold tones, but the thin fabrics will also keep you cool throughout the day! My go-to makeup for summer is also perfect for date night: skip out on the bold lip and liquid eyeliner for the daytime. Instead, opt for a light eyeliner (like the plum shade that I’m wearing which accentuates my hazel eyes) and a rose nude lip! It’s soft, femine, and really highlights your natural features. 


Top / Jeans (on sale!) / Wedges

Sweater Blazer / Necklace / Sunglasses

Bracelets (123) / Pearl Bracelet / Bag (similar)

When describing my style, the word “tomboyish” never really makes an appearance. Sure, I love to take some tips from the guys with button-downs and some J.Crew-esque styling tips, but that’s about as far as I go. I love white jeans, but sometimes they can be a bit bold for my liking. After finding this sporty tank and purchasing these bold wedges, I decided the theme of this outfit would be contrast. Black and white with pops of red has been my go-to combination since high school. Even today, my mom stopped me in the middle of the store to say, “Sarah, don’t you have enough black, white and navy blue?” An outfit created from some basic pieces definitely calls for a bold yet feminine statement piece, so I opted for my favorite statement necklace to add a bit of structure. I almost always carry a jacket with me when going out, (I’m the girl that’s always cold) so I decided to stick with the relaxed and tomboy-ish vibe and throw on a relaxed sweater blazer.  I came to the conclusion that a teased pony-tail would be a perfect fit with the sporty tank while still helping me remain a little cool when outside. I stuck with the same plum eyeliner and neutral makeup, but instead decided to match my lipstick to my wedges for a little contrast against my black and white ensemble. What’s black and white and red all over? This outfit. (ha ha ha…)

What are your favorite pieces or trends to transition between day and night? Comment below and let me know!

July Favorites 2015

My mind is honestly blown that July has already come and gone. With college move-in day happening in less than a month, (who all’s been counting down?) you could probably say that I’m a little excited. While I have a while until I can actually talk about going back to school, I’m thrilled to be off of my writing hiatus to bring you a few of my favorites from July!

1. Madewell Transport Tote 

I love this bag. It’s gone through the cycle of being my school bag, a pool bag, my overnight bag, and now my purse! It’s roomy enough that I can even throw in my lunch bag for work and still have room for other things!

2. Keds Champion Sneaker

If you couldn’t tell by how dirty my Keds are, I wear them all the time. From backyard picnics to city adventures, they’re the perfect shoe for staying casual while still remaining polished!

3. LOFT Striped Strappy Flare Dress 

My favorite purchase of the summer (thus far)! And it’s on sale! Snag this pretty little number and the rest of clearance for 50% off with the code Heatwave

4. LOFT Statement Necklace (old)

5. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
The perfect book to add to your summer reading list! 

6. Ray-Ban “Youngster” Sunglasses
I’m pretty sure my love of large sunglasses roots from my Jackie O. obsession, which is probably why I fell in love with these at first sight. (ha ha, get it?) They’re a modern take on an old classic, with thin metal temples and a matte tortiseshell finish! I highly recommend jumping on the Ray-Ban bandwagon. You definitely won’t be disappointed!

7. Mophie Portable Charger
Okay, let’s be honest here. iPhone batteries probably aren’t the greatest. I highly recommend splurging a little on a portable charger to keep in your purse at all times. They’re especially handy for nights out on the town and summer concerts!

8. Dove Dry Spray Deodorant
I wear a lot of dark colors, especially to work. I love how this dries clear, and it makes getting ready so much easier because you don’t have to wait for your deodorant to dry. I keep this in my purse or in my car at all times, (an old trick that I learned from my sister) because you never know when you’ll need it. Plus, it’s really lightweight, and I definitely recommend trying it. 

9. The Wet Brush
Everyone needs this brush; it’s totally worth the hype. As someone with extremely thick hair, it makes my life so much easier while cutting my brushing time after a shower down probably around 5 minutes. 

10. MAC “The Matte Lip” Lipstick (in Please Me)
I’m currently obsessed with matte lipsticks, especially light pink and rose lipsticks for summer. 

11. Alex and Ani Bracelets (1, 2, 3)
Okay, fine. I jumped on the bandwagon. I was never really a huge fan of bracelets or wearing stacks of bangles until I bought my first Alex and Ani in Disney. They’re understated but so cute, which makes them perfect for wearing with other statement jewelry!

12. NARS Luminous Foundation
Lightweight and medium coverage? The perfect formula for a summer foundation. I typically find myself opting for tinted moisturizers, but I’ve been having more breakouts than usual, I decided to go with something with a little more to it. It makes your skin look flawless, and a little goes a long way. 

13. Benefit the POREfessional Primer
If you didn’t realize this already by how much I talk about it, this is my holy grail primer. Go get it. You won’t regret it.

14. Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray
I’ll be honest, I bought this with low expectations. I picked a travel size up to keep in my makeup bag for our Disney trip, and it is life changing. Even while walking around (sweating) in 97 degree weather, my makeup stayed pretty matte and generally in place. It’s a great product to keep in your purse or school bag!

15. Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit (in Light to Medium)
I watch so many makeup tutorials on YouTube that it might be borderline ridiculous. I needed to try this palette as my first real experience with contouring. I love it. I set my under-eye concealer with Banana (top middle), and contour with a blend of the bottom three shades. The highlights (which I also occasionally blend together) are gorgeous. I’ve honestly been so excited to talk about it! Let me know if you want to see a contouring tutorial (hint hint) or more about it!

What are a few of your favorites from July? Comment below and let me know! (I’m always up for trying out new products!)