February 2015 – A Little Leopard
February 2015 – A Little Leopard

February 2015 – A Little Leopard

I am so excited (+ a teensy bit nervous!!) to share my first personal style post here on A Little Leopard, and super grateful to Nicky for the fabulous photos. Nicky shoots film, and we ran into a small snag with the camera during this shoot – which means less photos, but the super-cool dual layer effect in the first one. You win some, you lose some, I guess?

I decided to feature this little ensemble first because it’s a pretty good representation of my style generally: super-neutral and slightly preppy with a dash of French vocabulary. I have a thing for clothes with French words on them, okay?

I like to think of myself as a minimalist prep. You’ll never see me go full Lilly Pulitzer – in fact, I rarely wear color at all. Navy is pretty wild for me, if I’m being completely honest. I just feel like I’ve got enough color on my head, I suppose!

Sunglasses: Target / “Bien Fait” Sweatshirt: Madewell (old; similar)  / Chambray shirt: J.Crew Factory (similar here and here) / Fluted skirt: J.Crew (old; Factory version here) / Tights: Express (H&M also has great tights) / Flats: J.Crew Factory

In other news, the lovely Janette Amelia nominated me for a Liebster Award this week. Some quick Googling reveals this is an award for bloggers by bloggers, designed to help discover new and growing blogs – I am all for that! You answer a set of questions about your blog/your life and then nominate other bloggers to keep the chain going. Here are Janette’s questions, and my answers:

  1. How did you get into blogging?
    This is a bit embarrassing, but I totally had a LiveJournal back in the day. I’ve always been a bit geeky and into computers, writing, and the internet – blogging was a perfect way to marry those interests with my love of all things lifestyle!
  2. What’s your favorite topic to blog about?
    Though I ostensibly started A Little Leopard as a fashion blog first, I’m finding I really love writing about decor and interior design – probably because I am in the midst of decorating my own apartment!
  3. What’s your favorite time of the day?
    Okay, I am so not a morning person. That fact was even part of my Twitter bio for awhile. But, once I’ve gotten out of bed, I find I really love the morning hours. Not only am I more productive, the day is just full of possibility at that point. There’s something optimistic about that, no?
  4. Do you have any pets?
    None that live with me, but my family has got two dogs and a cat – all rescues. I love animals and am a massive supporter of organizations like the Humane Society and ASCPA. Mutts are the best!
  5. What is the last song you listened to?
    “What Kind Of Man” – Florence + The Machine. Obsessed. I’ve also been listening to a lot of “Shut Up And Dance” by Walk The Moon lately, too.
  6. Best movie you watched in the last year?
    The Grand Budapest Hotel – I just love Wes Anderson. As a huge Marvel nerd, Guardians of the Galaxy is up there too.
  7. What’s one life lesson you’ve learned over the years?
    The necessity of a thick skin, in work and in life. Taking things personally is a waste of time and energy. The world simply does not care that much – it sounds harsh, but I find it sort of liberating, actually. This took me years to learn and I am still learning it, but that’s what life is about, right?
  8. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
    A safari and Giraffe Manor in Kenya! I would absolutely love to honeymoon there. You know, whenever I get married, eventually.
  9. Who is your celebrity crush?
    Tom Hiddleston, that charming British devil – although he had me at F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, where he totally had an American accent.
  10. Favorite sports team?
    Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy about the Chicago Blackhawks. Any other sport I can take or leave, but I get sort of fanatical about hockey. For example, I don’t have cable, so I listen to the games I can’t get on TV… #dedication. You’re also likely to find me talking to the tv/radio and tweeting up a storm at any given point during a Hawks game. It’s probably embarrassing, but whatever.

I am going to nominate a few of the lovely ladies I linked up with last week: Jordana and Kate, and my friend Stephanie because I really want her to start blogging again! Keep reading for your questions…

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I love decor blogs – Domaine is one of my daily reads and I’m always thrilled when The Everygirl posts a new home tour. Having just moved into my first big-girl apartment a few months ago, I’m constantly scouring these sites for inspiration and ideas for my own place.

One thing these sites don’t show, however, is that (usually) the decorating process takes time…especially if you do what I did and move out on your own pretty much right away. I’ve got enough right now for a comfortable, livable space, but it is by no means finished. I do most of my blogging at a card table stolen from my dad’s attic, which featured exactly one chair. I have no couch. My bedside table consists of some stackable plastic Umbra drawers I used throughout college (see above photo!). As much as I would have liked to, I wasn’t able to move in and create a fully-designed, 100% Pinterest-worthy apartment…but that’s okay!

Because buying everything at once usually ends up making a place look a little like a catalog. Sure, I’d still love to run out and buy a couch, a rug, and a table and chairs all at once, but embracing the process allows me to discover what I really love and make smart purchases that will fit my life now and (hopefully) for a few years to come, too.

So, in the meantime, I am collecting and curating inspiring studios, small spaces and apartments featuring products or motifs I’d like to incorporate into my own space as it comes together:

Oh My Dear’s Living Room

I just discovered Oh My Dear‘s gorgeous white, bright living room on Pinterest and it’s been one of my main sources of inspiration lately. Who knew a cool color palette could be so cozy and calming? Plus, it’s full of great IKEA finds, including a Karlstad couch similar to the one I plan on picking up for my own place as soon as I get my tax refund. Seeing the Karlstad in multiple decor blogs, including Young House Love, solidified my decision to purchase one – gotta love IKEA!

Tiffany Leigh’s Studio

Tiffany Leigh’s Toronto studio has been a consistent source of inspiration since I discovered her space on The Everygirl – can you believe this is student housing?? I love her color palette, mix of patterns (including, of course, pops of leopard) and the fact that we have the same IKEA bedding. It’s always interesting to see how different bloggers and designers style pieces to suit their own taste and space. You can find more details and photographs from Tiffany’s lovely apartment on her blog.

Kat Tanita’s Studio

That exposed brick wall! I love the way Kat mixes more traditional pieces, like that fabulous Shabby Chic settee, with modern ones like the lucite coffee table and chairs. A true example of stylish small-space living. This is also another instance of “hey, I have that too!”-love; in this case, it’s the PBTeen dress form. Although Kat styles hers a lot better than what I’m currently doing, which is burying the form under scarves… what? It’s winter in Chicago!

Alaina Kaczmarski’s Lincoln Park One Bedroom

Alaina Kaczmarski: co-founder of The Everygirl and master of the gallery wall. Her former Lincoln Park one bedroom is the stuff of my Chicago apartment dreams. Plus, she dropped a total truth-bomb in her interview on The Everygirl that basically sums up the point of this post:

I know it’s difficult to look at a lot of lovely, styled homes on blogs and Pinterest and think, “Why doesn’t my home look like that?” I know I regularly feel that way about larger, lovelier homes! Well, just remember that your home, income, and circumstances change a lot from when you’re 22 to 28 to 35 and older. … I will just go ahead and say my home did not look like this when I was 23. It took a lot of time, effort, DIY, selling, thrifting, saving store credit/coupons/gift cards, accruing store credit like I said, and eventually even brand partnerships (once my blog traffic picked up) to get it to where it is today.

So, where are you in the decor process? Are you a bit impatient, like me, or embracing it? And have you found any great tips or tricks to making a place feel truly yours? Let me know in the comments!

images: Oh My Dear / The Everygirl / With Love From Kat / The Everygirl

Fun fact: Yesterday the high was a whopping 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago. The high. We broke records for cold. It was brutal.

As a practical Midwestern gal, I’m a little sick of seeing articles with titles like “How to look fabulous when it’s freezing!” featuring street style stars at NYFW with, like, a trench coat and no gloves. That will simply not fly in Chicago – unless of course you’d like your fingers to fall off.

I love Chicago, don’t get me wrong. It just really tests us with this weather. Yesterday, I wore a puffer vest under my puffer coat, leggings under my jeans and Ugg boots all day (not great in the snow, but warm!). Sure, I work in an office most of the day and may have over-layered for being inside, but my commute was actually not that bad and my fingers only got slightly numb – high praise given the temps and wind chill.

So, if you, too are tasked with the challenge of facing extreme temperatures, below are some winter survival tips and necessities:

  1. Get a puffer coat – every time I see someone in single-digit temperatures that doesn’t look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man I think, “Oh, you poor soul.” They look ridiculous but they keep you warm. I scored a DKNY puffer at Nordstrom Rack for less than $200; if you want to invest, apparently Canada Goose coats are amazing.
  2. Also grab a pair of snow boots – even if you have to change out of them at work. For me, this year’s Big Winter Purchase was a puffer coat, but you can bet that next year I’ll be scooping up some Sorels. While my Uggs keep my feet nice and toasty warm, they are not waterproof and the traction is awful on icy sidewalks and streets.
  3. Puffer vests are cute on their own in the fall and even better layered under coats on super-cold winter days – not joking when I say I wore a puffer under a puffer yesterday. Extra layers are your friend!
  4. Speaking of extra layers, don’t be afraid to wear tights or leggings under your pants. Or two pairs of tights, for that matter. I do this pretty much every time I wear a skirt from December-March. If you’re going to buy new winter tights, a higher denier is better, as are wool or fleece-lined options. Splurge item? Wolfords, for sure.
  5. Wear the proper accessories: a warm scarf (blanket scarves are perfect for this), a good hat or earmuffs and gloves that keep your hands warm and, ideally, also allow you to text.

Shop the post below:


I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for stylish new Instagram accounts to follow. Scrolling through my feed is such a nice break in the day, and sometimes I even end the day by checking on Instagram before bed (bad habit? maybe).

This month, The B Bar‘s link-up topic is your three favorite Instagrammers and why. I can’t wait to see who everyone else picked, and, not going to lie, it was super hard for me to narrow down my picks. But I did, and you’ll see the one thing they have in common is a consistent, inspiring, visually stunning brand. So, without further ado (and in alphabetical order by username, to be fair)…

lucylaucht: Lucy does digital and social media at J.Crew (dream job, right?) – apparently in between her fabulous travels to all kinds of destinations. She is a master of the shoe-on-interesting-floor shot and the flat lay, and also the reason I discovered VSCO Cam.

thenicc: AKA my incredibly talented photographer and graphic designer friend Nicky Mazur. Case in point: she actually shot one of my favorite Instagrams on my own profile…and let me share it.  What a sweetheart. (We also joke that Nicky is my “blogger boyfriend”…eventually you will start to see more style posts on A Little Leopard, featuring photography by Nicky!)

whitv: I could not do a post on favorite Instagrammers without a shout-out to the fabulous lady who helped me step up my own Instagram game, Whitney Blake of Heart & Arrow. Her branding is so consistent without ever veering into boring, and I always look forward to seeing what she posts. Reminder: girl offers a bomb Instagram class if you’re interested!

Looking for even more Instagrammers to follow? Check out who the other link-up participants picked:
The B Bar / Annie Reeves / Alyssa J Freitas / Cake & Lilies / Liska Monet / The Not Quite Adult / Equal Parts of a Whole / Carrie Loves / A Loyal Love / Paper and Skyscrapers / Glitter, Inc. / SKC Marketing / Shenanigan-ska / Elana Lyn / Sponsored by Coffee / Always Craving / All The Pretty Stars / Business Betties / Perfect Enough For Us / Always Anita / A Little Leopard / A Girl for Granted / Tortoise in the Sun / The Yuppie Files / Healthfully Ever After / Urban Pixxels / Roam + Golightly / Preppy Panache / Brikasia / White Cabana / Idalia Photography / Little Wild Heart / Wearing Pearls / The Everyday Adventurer / Splendor in Spanglish / Life Modifier / Post Grad in Pumps / Alessandra Marie / Random Little Faves / PR Girl Diaries / Caitlin Cawley / Modish & Main / 26 and Not Counting / Pretty Much Design Studio / Grace Notes / Girl in Betsey / Something Good / Life with the Champions / Pattern Me Pretty / Simply Nicole / The Fashionable Wife / Cassandra Monroe / I Am Amber Nicole / Southland Avenue / English Mamma / Cake Over Steak / York Avenue / Jenn Inspired / Hitha on the Go / Beauty and the Pitch / Cedar and Rush / Luv in the Bubble / Des Moines Darling / Cheyenne Mojica / Step Brightly / Soak and Simmer / A Touch of Teal / Paris vs The World / Style and Free / Lovely Friend / A Few of My Favorite Things / The Blue Bijou / PR Blonde / Leigh Clair / Moonlight Chai / Meg Biram / Victoria McGinley