January 2015 – A Little Leopard
January 2015 – A Little Leopard

January 2015 – A Little Leopard

A peek at life, as told by Instagram…

A busy week at work calls for (lots of) Starbucks & color-coding with Le Pens.

A very Chicago tribute to Ernie Banks, taken while driving (passenger!) back to Chicago after a day spent visiting and presenting at my alma mater.

Pausing to notice lovely little details at The Bourgeois Pig Cafe while blogging – one of my favorite coffeehouses in Chicago (so far!).

 What’s on my bookshelf, & reading list lately. I highly recommend anything and everything by Simon Doonan. I want to be him when I grow up.

Styling my bed with pillows from PBTeen and Anthropologie gifted at Christmas. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places in the whole world, along with Disneyland and the Victoria & Albert museum.

Speaking of Instagram, I took Whitney Blake of Heart & Arrow‘s Instagram class last night and it was the bomb dot com. I cannot wait to implement the tips & tricks she shared to improve my iPhotography skills and Insta game. The class was so worth it and there are still seats available for February 26 if you are interested!

Update: I want to caveat that this is in no way a sponsored/affiliate post. Whitney just rocks and I truly want to spread the word about her fab services – she’s one of my biz-lady role models, to be quite honest. Plus, all these pictures are pre-class…so look for improvements in the coming weeks. 😉

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that feel the most luxurious. The phrase “life’s little pleasures” exists for a reason, right? For instance, Tom Ford’s definition of luxury is “sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. Just a great bed and sleeping.”

(He goes on to say, “And you know what would be great? Not a single email. No emails,” which I must say sounds wonderful after some days at work.)

Here are five things that I think help make life a little more luxurious:

  1. Huggable hangers. It seems to me like people who have their closets together are just way more likely to have their entire lives together – plus it’s so much chicer than that icky plastic option. (Or, God forbid, wire!)
  2. A nice pair of pajamas to upgrade your weekend lounging, mornings working/reading/Pinterest-ing in bed and Netflix sessions.
  3. A good moisturizer. I’m much more into skincare than I am makeup (my sister is the makeup guru of the family). While there are some tried-and-true staples in my routine, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect face and body moisturizers. There’s something so lovely about really nourishing your skin – this Kiehl’s one is next on my splurge list.
  4. Candles. My sister gave me two Diptyque candles for Christmas, but there are so many yummy-smelling ones out there for a fraction of the price that feel just as luxurious.
  5. A cup of tea. Proper English breakfast tea, with milk and sugar. Decaf is acceptable if it’s evening. A cute mug and cuppa will solve all your problems.

1. huggable hangers / 2. eberjey pjs / 3. kiehl’s lotion / 4. diptyque candle / 5. anthropologie mug / 6. boots no. 7 day cream

Shop the post below, with splurge & save options:

What are some of your favorite little luxuries?

Welcome to Makeup Mondays, a semi-regular series on A Little Leopard featuring my little sister Emma, a licensed cosmetologist, makeup artist, and all-around beauty guru. On Mondays when we can both get our acts together, we’ll pick a topic that I’ll write about and she’ll vlog about, and both share it. First up: our best of beauty picks for 2014 (and yes, I realize we’re nearly a month into 2015 already).

So as I was thinking about what to include on my list, I realized half of the products were oil-based – so I either really have a thing for oil, or it’s a trendy beauty ingredient/product lately. Probably a bit of both. Anyway, without further ado, six of my favorite beauty products discovered in the last year:

1. MAC Cleanse Off Oil / 2. Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil / 3. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil / 4. tarte BB Tinted Treatment / 5. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara / 6. stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner

  1. MAC Cleanse Off Oil – I discovered this product at the MAC store in the Denver airport, of all places. I bought the travel-sized to try as a makeup remover, and ended up working it into my routine as my nightly cleanser. I use it after taking off my eye makeup to really break down all the stuff on my face before moisturizing and heading off to bed.
  2. Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil – Once you get past the novel of a name, this is a wonderful product for someone with dry, sensitive skin like me. The “infinity” is because there are endless uses for this oil – I’ve used it as a moisturizer, lip conditioner, hand cream and flyaway tamer so far.
  3. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil – I have super thick, coarse, dry hair and I am always looking for ways to help tame that. This oil is one of the best products I’ve found so far – I use it on the days in-between washes to add softness and shine.
  4. tarte BB Tinted Treatment – I finally tried that Sephora Skin IQ thing where they find your exact Pantone match, and the fairest shade of this product was it. It ended up being absolutely perfect for my dry, sensitive skin too, providing the perfect amount of moisture and coverage.
  5. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – Until I discovered this product, I was perpetually on the hunt for the perfect mascara. This is as close as I’ve found, and the packaging is beautiful. I use it with a primer (lately, Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum). One day while wearing Better Than Sex, one of my friends asked me if my lashes were natural. If that’s not high praise for a mascara, I don’t know what is.
  6. stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner – I had heard about this liner for years and finally gave it a try. It lives up to the hype.

Em went above and beyond and picked fourteen favorites from the last year (I guess this is why she’s the makeup guru and I’m not). Check out her picks here or watch the video below! You can also make a fun game of “spot the third sister” when you watch. Hi, Hannah!

Products mentioned: 1. LUSH Ultrabland Cleanser / 2. Alterna Caviar Repair RX Lengthening Hair & Scalp Elixir / 3. Drybar Products: Lemon Drop Daily Detangler, Southern Belle Volumizing Mousse, 100 Proof Treatment Oil and The Chaser Shine Pomade / 4. Philosophy Fresh Cream Lotion / 5. Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Palette / 6. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer / 7. Morphe Brushes / 8. NARS Bronzer in ‘Casino’ / 9. NARS Illuminator in ‘Orgasm’  / 10. Korres Lip Gloss / 11. MAC Lip Liners in ‘Boldly Bare’ and ‘Chicory’ / 12. MAC Lipstick in ‘Chili’ and ‘Sin’ / 13. MAC Fluidline Gel Liner in ‘Blacktrack’ / 14. Jo Malone Cologne in ‘Nectarine Blossom & Honey’ 


Did you have any beauty standouts of the past year? What were they?

Even though I moved into my studio over a month ago, I haven’t actually hung my art yet (shh… don’t judge). I have, however, curated a small selection over the years, including this recent addition from the lovely Blair at The Fox & She that I cannot wait to hang up!

I’ve been saving prints and pieces I really love for awhile on a Pinterest board – slowly but surely, I hope to actually buy them and add to my collection. I’ve noticed tend to gravitate to text-based pieces, but there are only so many quotes one can include in a gallery wall…

Still, there are no hard and fast rules to hanging your own gallery wall, except that it should make you happy! Here are some guidelines I like to keep in mind when thinking about my own gallery wall-in-progress, though:

  • Mix a variety of materials – prints, quotes, photos, paintings, mirrors and even three-dimensional pieces.
  • I always love when a gallery wall includes personal pieces, whether they are photographs or mementos.
  • When it’s time to hang your pieces, you have a couple of options. If you’re a planner, you can measure things out on the floor ahead of time and use washi tape to mark their place on the wall. If you’re like me (read: impatient), just start with a bigger piece in the center and work your way out!

Check out some of my top art picks below (or swing by my Pinterest board for the full range!)

mirror / heels print / “non je ne regrette rien” print / Chicago map print / Paris photograph / wishbone

For some great, reasonably priced art options, check out sources like Etsy (endless possibilities!), Society 6, Minted, Garance Dore, Lulu & Georgia, Buddy Editions and Rifle Paper Co.

Don’t forget the frames! Frames make all the difference in a gallery wall. The IKEA Ribba series is a wonderful and affordable solution, but if you’re feeling splurgey I just love the gallery frames at West Elm and CB2.

Are you a fan of gallery walls? What are some of your favorite art pieces in your home?

Have you got that one essential item in your closet? The workhorse, the piece your reach for day after day, year after year? The one you can’t imagine life before, and can’t imagine yourself without?

For me, that piece is my pair of black Sam & Libby Chelsea Boots. Yes, Sam & Libby – as in Target Sam & Libby. These babies cost me a whopping $45, but I honestly can’t remember a life before Chelsea.

So what inspired the sudden Chelsea love fest? Well, a few things. I’d been toying with the idea of a post about Chelsea boots for awhile. Then, separately and seemingly unrelatedly, Meg + Victoria of The B Bar announced a monthly post linkup series and I just couldn’t wait to participate. I seriously admire both these ladies for their success and blogging know-how. I scrolled excitedly and saw the first month’s theme:

What did you purchase in the past year that became invaluable to you? Something that makes you think “How did I live without this item!?!”

Well, I thought, I have lots of things that are invaluable to me! But I was stumped. What did I buy in the last year, specifically? And then I looked down…

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But since purchasing these lovely little boots, I’ve found countless ways to work them into my wardrobe. They work with jeans, they work with leggings, they work for work, they work for errands. They add a certain Brit-girl cool factor to an outfit without sacrificing comfort. You can fold your jeans above them, scrunch them or tuck in a skinnier pant. There are seemingly endless options.

While sadly this exact pair are no longer available, I’ve rounded up some options if you’d like to go snag a pair of Chelseas for yourself, from budget-friendly to splurge-ier investment pairs:

So…is there an item you’ve purchased in the past year you can’t live without? A wardrobe workhorse, or perhaps something for your home or beauty routine? Let me know in the comments!

I mentioned earlier that this was a link-up; curious what other bloggers can’t live without? Check out posts in this series from:
Girl in Betsey / Glitter & Bow / Pretty Much / White Cabana / Healthfully Ever After / Boulevard House / Always Craving / Southern Charm & Prints / Perfect Enough For Us / Modish & Main / Alessandra Marie / Jenn Inspired / Luv in the Bubble / All the Pretty Stars / York Avenue / PR Blonde / Alyssa J Freitas / A Loyal Love / The College Prepster / Burlap & Lace / Brunch on Chestnut / Average Girl’s Guide / The Yuppie Files / Cassandra Monroe / Always Anita / PR Girl Diaries / Life Modifier / Business Betties / Cake & Lilies / Little Wild Heart / The Not Quite Adult / Annie Reeves / Rossetto / Lemon Stripes / Meg Biram / Victoria McGinley / The B Bar

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for the site when a purchase is made. You can read more at my Disclosure Policy page.