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Neutral Sweater

Life isn’t all diamonds and rosé, and it shouldn’t be. Life is raw, emotional, real, and, well, life. That doesn’t always come across on your favorite blogs (including this one) and it especially doesn’t come across on most Instagram accounts (again, including mine). But where is this all coming from, Julia? Let me back up.

Last week I had dinner with a friend (let’s call her M) who is a successful marketer and an ex-blogger. She had a lifestyle blog back in the day before lifestyle blogging was a thing. She gave it up a few years ago when she saw the direction in which the industry was headed. You’ve definitely noticed this direction in one way or another. Allow me to explain . . . 

It’s the fact that everything is covered in a shiny gloss, a manicured exterior. That there always seem to be fresh flowers and perfect hair and meticulously styled tablescapes and pretty girls easily balancing on heels on cobblestone streets and fancy events with fabulous people and expensive colorful meals. We all enjoy looking at photos of such wonderful things, but it’s so far removed from most of our realities that it’s good to remind ourselves of what is actually real every once in a while.

I fully admit that I do the same thing. My Instagram is chock full of photos that match the descriptions above. M’s question to me was, “Why do you do it”? I can’t speak for other bloggers but for me, it’s three-fold:

1. I started Lemon Stripes with an intention of making other people smile every day. I try really hard to do that and some of the more “real” moments in my life will not accomplish that, I promise you that. I just can’t imagine anyone wanting to see me and my husband eating take-out on the couch watching a House of Cards marathon. 

2. It’s a weird form of escapism. If I’m having a stressful day at work or if my husband is annoying the crap out of me (love you, baby!), it’s nice to be able to create something beautiful. It takes my mind off of whatever is making me feel less than 100% in that moment.

3. At the end of the day, my blog is my brand and I want to partner with other brands that appreciate a positive outlook. What I’m trying to say (in a horribly roundabout way) is that as much as we bloggers hate to say this out loud, blogging makes money and I’m hoping to buy a house and start a family in the next few years so yeah, making money to do all of that is important for me! I have chosen to also have a career in marketing but many bloggers rely solely on their blogs for income. 

All of that being said, I can see why people like M get frustrated with us bloggers for all posting the same Diptyque candles and pink flowers and outfits laden with LiketoKnowIt links. I get it. Just remember that on the other side of that photo or that blog post is a real person surviving real life like everyone else.

I try really hard to write posts like this one amidst all of the pretty outfits and paleo cookies and throw pillow updates. Check out a few:

Body Dysmorphia

Tough Times in the Suburbs

The Nose Diaries

In the spirit of being real, my college friends were appalled that I didn’t mention the late night bubble gum shots we took in New Orleans in my healthy travel tips post so let me shout from the highest of mountaintops I took a pink bubble gum vodka shot and it was gross and I didn’t write about it but now I am (I hope they’re happy!). 

While I’m at it, I want to say one more thing: Sites like GOMI have been created to hate on people who put themselves out there every day and share their thoughts and feelings with the world. I’m all for constructive criticism but hatred and bullying is unnecessary. 

Preppy Living Room Design

I’ve shared photos of my living room with you before but I have a history of redecorating rooms at every change I get. That is not exactly in our budget, so I compromise by investing in classic pieces that I know I’ll love for a long time and then changing up my throw pillows fairly often. 

This has become infinitely easier because of my friend Roxy who started Society Social, a design company that allows you to create totally pieces at realistic prices. I asked her if she could make me a blue and white striped chair and voila, she created a masterpiece.

Before you read the rest of this post, I should probably tell you that I’m not being paid to write this but it might seem like an ad. That’s only because I legit love her stuff more than anything and Roxy is a talented, amazing lady and I love supporting badass business women!

(Pssst scroll all the way down for a chance to win your choice of 2 ahhhh-mazing throw pillows).

Pattern Mixing at Home

I wanted to make a tweak to the room so I asked her if she could create pillows out of the same fabric that she had used for my chair (you can find them here). I love how they make the room totally cohesive on the couch right next to it. I knew I wanted to keep my palm pillows but needed one more pattern to round out the look so she recommended this modern blue and white throw pillow that adds another unexpected twist. . . Nothing like pattern mixing in fashion and at home, am I right?

What I love about her designs is that they look super high end but the price point is more affordable than a lot of other options. Each piece that she and her team makes is created individually just for you. So if you want a hot pink twill sofa, a classic ivory linen arm chair, or a lacquered orange bar cart, they have it covered!

Flowers in Diptique Candles

A fun new feature on her site that I just played around with for way too long is the shop by room feature. She styled up 7 drool-worthy spaces and lets you shop them in one place. The “Turks & Traditional” is basically my dream summer home look. Ha, yeah right. A girl can dream though!

Striped Chair

Side Table Styling

Navy Throw Pillows

Tulips copy

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congratulations to Jessica M! Want to win a pair of Society Social throw pillows for your own home? Comment below letting us know which 2 pillows you would want and how you would style them. Roxy and I will pick a winner on Thursday at 12:00pm EST. Good luck!

Post Details:

Sofa, chair (custom fabric), palm pillows, striped pillows, ming pillow // Society Social

Ginger jar // Williams Sonoma

Side Table // Z Gallerie

Glass vase // H&M home

Beach Print // Gray Malin

Coffee Table // West Elm

Spring Tote

c/o Vineyard Vines shirt, c/o DL1961 jeans, c/o Land’s End tote,  c/o Tieks flats, Karen Walker sunglasses

This weekend was a godsend. I was just starting to doubt our decision to move to the suburbs when the temperature finally gave a little. My new life advice for anyone who is thinking of leaving a big city to move to the ‘burbs is to wait until the spring or summer so that the first hard months of change are at least soaked in sunshine.

On Saturday night, Anel and I drove upstate to visit our friends’ new home where we took these photos with no jacket required (isn’t that a novel idea?)! My friend Shannon is the most amazing cook and she made us incredible tacos that we ate paired with one too many bottles of wine for one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a long time.

I wore this outfit for the casual evening and both Shannon and my husband commented multiple times on how great these DL1961 jeans looked on me. I don’t know if you can tell from the photos but they are probably the most flattering pair that I own and the thickness of the denim is on fleek (is that actually a thing though?). I kind of need them in every color.

The next day, we visited Tod’s Point beach for the first time which got me seriously excited for summer. We spent the afternoon walking along the beach as we passed kids flying kites and families eating picnics in the sand. It was a magical site that helped me begin to forget about this snowy winter.

Overall, the weekend was incredibly restorative and something that I needed after a rough week in my personal life. 

Ripped Knees Denim on Denim

DL 1961 Jeans

Spring

Spring Look

Simple White Shirt

After living in New York for so many years, I’ve developed a strong aversion to tourists. They tend to be slow moving and in my way, and that drives me (and most New Yorkers) insane. When I travel, I’m hyper aware of acting “too touristy” and try to enjoy the sites without getting in anyone’s way.

We played tourist all over New Orleans last week from the French Quarter to Magazine Street and back. We didn’t have set plans for the days and I never knew where we would end up so I dressed up enough for impromptu dinner or drinks.

This silk “wedge shirt” from AYR (Bonobos’ sister company if you haven’t discovered it already), is the perfect staple layering shirt and I plan to get it in black as well. It was great and comfortable for walking around the city but still dressy enough for our evening plans. AND it’s 25% off this week with code SPRING25!

I always bring a cross-body bag for touristing in any city. My sister gave me this classic Coach one a few years ago and although they don’t make it anymore (a travesty!), this version is pretty darn close.

This whole look, in fact, has kind of become my go-to for spring: Jeans, sandals or flats, a flowy simple shirt, and statement jewelry. As I get older, I find that I’m drawn to different versions of the same pieces because I know what works for my body. 

New Orleans

New Orleans Tourist

Turquoise Tassel Earrings

Classic Tourist Look

Photos by Anel Dzafic.