Fashion Week: Meet Sara of Sincerely, Sara!

Let's get it started! I'm so excited to bring you the 2nd Annual Chels & the City Fashion Week! In honor of two years of Fashion Forward Fridays, there are some fabulous ladies lined up to be featured this week and I hope you come back every day to meet them! Along with meeting some fabulous ladies, you have the opportunity to win a $50 Target gift card, so that you can get a jump start on your spring wardrobe - after being inspired with this week of fashionistas I'm sure you won't have a hard time spending it. So sit back, grab some coffee, enter the giveaway and enjoy meeting some great bloggers!

To start us off is Sara of Sincerely, Sara. I've been following Sara's blog for a little over a year and love her comfy-chic style. She always makes fabulous inspiration boards of outfits based on popular books and movies and is such a down to earth lady, you cannot help but want to follow along with her blog. Every time I visit her page I feel like I'm sitting down for a coffee date with a friend. I really value her opinion when she does product reviews because she seems so honest and up front with her readers. And she's also in the process of writing a novel (or two, or three) so you know her writing is fun to read too! Enjoy!

All photos provided by Sara.

How would you define your style?
It’s so hard to put into words what my style is even though I know it so well! I would say that it’s colorful, comfortable, simple, and has a dash of nerdy chic! I do mix it up sometimes and can lean towards feminine, boho, and urban styles, but in a way that’s me.

Where are your favorite places to shop?
Since I just graduated from grad school and only work part-time at the moment, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes, so my favorite places to shop are Target, Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy, American Eagle, T.J. Maxx, and Marshall's. But even if I made a million dollars I would still shop at these stores.

What are some of your favorite pieces or go-to pieces in your closet?
I seem to have an endless amount of cardigans in various colors! An endless amount of something is probably too many! When I don’t know what to wear, my go-to outfit is a cardigan, blouse, jeans, and flats. For me, it works every time and never fails to make me feel put together.
My other go-to pieces are scoop neck tees, dark wash jeans, blue dresses, and flats.

Where does the inspiration for your outfits come from?
I generally get outfit ideas from other bloggers because these girls are just so chic! If it’s not from bloggers, then it’s from what I find on Pinterest, or in magazines, or just out and about in the world. I also love finding inspiration from the characters I see on TV or in movies because they’re styled so well (Jess from New Girl and Mindy from The Mindy Project for instance).

If someone asked you for style advice, what would you tell them?
Be true to yourself and what you like! When I was in high school, I didn’t branch out and try new styles because I was afraid of what people would think. I thought that they would believe that I was being fake by not wearing what I normally wore, so I wish I’d had more fun with my clothes then. Fashion is supposed to be fun and make you feel good, so wear what makes you feel like you!

When and why did you start fashion blogging?
I started blogging in November of 2011 initially because everyone kept telling me I should do it because I’m a writer and writers are supposed to have blogs. Well, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about at first, but then after a few months I decided to blog about the things that I really love, so now I write about fashion, books, inspiration, and sometimes my thoughts.

How has your style grown or changed since you began fashion blogging?
I don’t think my style has changed all that much since I started blogging, but I would say that I’m more willing to take some fashion risks and try new things now. I’ve also learned the importance of accessories (scarves, necklaces, bracelets, belts). They really do finish an outfit and make it look more put together.

What advice do you have for bloggers just starting out?
Make a list of the things that you love and would be happy to talk about endlessly. The top 3-5 things are what you should blog about, whether it’s architecture, shoes, beauty, science, or all of the above. When you love something people respond to that; we all just wanted to find like-minded people. There’s a big chance that someone else loves the same thing you do, and would be more than happy to have the chance to talk to you about it. What I’m really saying is: be you because you’re awesome and other awesome people want to be your friend!

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2nd Annual Chels & the City Fashion Week!

Calling all fashion lovers! This week you are in for a treat! Welcome to the start of the 2nd Annual Chels & the City Fashion Week! In honor of two lovely years of Fashion Forward Fridays, I am celebrating by hosting some lovely ladies and of course putting the cherry on top with a giveaway of a $50 gift card to Target. Because who doesn't love Target?

Two years ago, I started Fashion Forward Fridays after reading a GQ article that named Pittsburgh the third-worst-dressed city in America. In the pursuit of showing that Pittsburgh is a fashionable city, I went out on Fridays in search of fashionistas to host on my blog. I literally, stopped random people walking around downtown, asked them some questions about their style and took pictures of them to post on my blog. To be honest, this idea was part genius, part insanity. Genius because Fashion Forward Fridays has consistently brought the most page views to my blog since it's introduction and I'm always told that it is the favorite part of my blog by a lot of readers. But it was insane because I was nervous every Friday morning that, that would be the Friday I wouldn't be able to find someone to post on my blog.  

For last year's Fashion Week, I hosted all Pittsburgh bloggers and ModCloth sponsored a giveaway - but this year, we're making it bigger. Since I am so thankful about the growth spurt my blog has had in the past year, I decided to reach out to bloggers from all over, who I admire, to feature this week. And together we are bringing you the opportunity to win a Target gift card so you can get a jump start on your spring wardrobe! I am so excited to be able to continue Fashion Week this year and by the success of Fashion Forward Fridays in general, and am humbled by the growth this series has brought to my blog.

Thank you for supporting this series and my blog and I hope you enjoy meeting some other fabulous fashion bloggers and take advantage of winning the giveaway! Good luck!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Inspired by Mad Men

Happy Friday! For today's Fashion Forward Fridays I decided to create looks based on one of my favorite TV shows, Mad Men. I did get my Master's in advertising and PR after all, I think it would be a sin not to love Mad Men, it was practically written into my coursework haha So here are three modern day looks inspired by the leading ladies of this great show, all of which I made on Polyvore.

First up, is Peggy Olson, who is played by Elisabeth Moss. Peggy starts out as Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) secretary and moves up to a copywriter. She seems very serious and Don is the creative director and a junior partner (eventually becoming partner) at Sterling Cooper, an ad agency. Peggy is a hard worker and probably the most straight-laced out of all the ladies. Think, lots of peter pan collars and patterns if you're going for a look like hers. I'd also imagine the modern-day Peggy would have copies of her resume on her at all times, so a bag that would be able to hold a folder nicely is a must.
Next is Betty Francis (formerly Draper) who is portrayed by January Jones. Betty is Don's ex-wife and the mother to his three children and looks the classiest of all the ladies. And while I don't know any stay-at-home moms who don't actually like their children and who would sit around the house in pearls, drinking wine and reading magazines all day, that's what I imagine the modern-day Betty would do. Looking classy is important to this woman, though she doesn't always act classy.

Finally, Joan Holloway (later Harris) played by Christina Hendricks. I love Christina and she is flawless in this character, who is the office manager and the head of the secretarial pool at Sterling Cooper. Joan is often pushing the boundaries of work appropriate attire and always looks powerful. I think her character is the most fashion forward of all the ladies on the show and she has mega sex appeal in anything she wears. But a bright lipstick is a must...as well as a fabulous up-do. Joan knows what she wants and just how to get it so if you're going to do a modern day version of her look, don't forget to take your ego and some extra confidence with you that day!

Which Mad Men lady are you most like? Which outfit most inspires you?


Chels Wears: Cobalt & Sass

Alright, alright, we know I always wear sass, but how about these pants! I just bought them (from Walmart, no less) and am already obsessed with them. Cobalt is one of my favorite colors to wear. I have approximately 300 shirts in cobalt but these are my first pair of pants in the bright blue and I love them. I also got this gray shirt in green as well because it's so soft and comfortable and so easy to dress up or down. I had to seriously refrain myself from getting the purple on too. But when lightweight shirts are on sale that means spring is here! So I'm not letting the snow that is clearly still on the ground to get me down!

What's your favorite way to wear cobalt?


Bloggers: Here's What I Really Think About You

Like I said yesterday, most of the posts this week were inspired by recent posts I've seen from other blogging ladies. This one, I saw on Elizabeth of Undeniably, Me. And it's about, obviously, how I really feel about certain bloggers. In this community of bloggers, you really start to favor some and get to know the ladies behind the blog more than you would think. So specific things tend to stick out about those women and I want to share this list of favorites today! Enjoy & go make some friends!
Made with Polyvore.
Comes Up With The Most Unique Ways to Have Fun: Jessica of Midwest Muse. Whether it's planning a city-wide clothing swap, attending local concerts, being a thrifting pro and showing off her looks on the runway, or hosting her own party, Jessica has got it going on. I'm always so impressed (and jealous) of her adventures! She makes Ohio actually seem cool ;)

Prettiest Smile: Sarah of Coming Unstitched. You've seen Sarah around here before and I'm sure you'd agree that this lady has got a pretty smile. I love that you can tell how genuine it is in her daily outfit posts too.

Never Fails to Leave Me Hungry: Setarra of Quaintrelle. First of all, I should mention that I feel like if Setarra and I ever met in real life, we'd be besties. We have too much in common, literally right down to when we tore our ACL's, that it's hard for me not to want to be her real-life friend. But her blog talks a lot of her travels and restaurant reviews. And she takes such gorgeous pictures of her meals and describes them in such detail that I cannot help but leave her blog drooling and heading to my refrigerator.

Most Gorgeous Home: Maddie of Maddie Richardson - A Lifestyle Blog. Every post that has a picture of her home makes me swoon. The space just looks so bright, airy, comfortable and not overly styled. Gorgeous space. Plus she shares it with a cute puppy...and hubby.

My Favorite Hair Color: Robyn of Cleverly, Yours. You have more than likely seen Robyn if you are a fan of Pinterest. I'm pretty sure that her outfits are pinned more than anything else on that site. But she also has the greatest hair ever. Super long and dark brown. All kinds of jealousy running through my veins when I visit her blog haha

Crazy Cat Lady: Elizabeth of Undeniably, Me. You know this is out of love! The girl who inspired this post and the girl who is the mommy to Khalifa's brother, Oliver. What a great name he has! My whole family approves haha Anyway, Elizabeth posts hilarious stories about Oliver and he's even guest-posted on her blog before, so there's that.

What do you really think of some bloggers? Tell me who you'd name for these!


If My Blog Were An Outfit

This week, except for Friday, I'm going to be "copying" posts that I've seen from other bloggers. Right now, I've hit a bit of writer's block. And while I've been concentrating on some other things and really going hard with them, my mojo seems a little off for the first time ever in the writing department. So to give a little nod to bloggers who I think are cool and posts they've done, and to still keep my blog going while I'm in this little funk, I hope you enjoy these posts and visit the ladies who inspired them!

First up is an idea that has been floating around between a few bloggers, but that I first saw on The Anna Belle Blog. I really like the idea of, "If your blog was a person, what would she wear?" I think this is exactly what my blog would be wearing, and I approve because I have basically all these things in my closet as well. So I guess that means my blog is a good reflection of the real me? I always try to make it that way at least!
Made with Polyvore.
Dark wash skinny jeans are my best friend, as they should be with all curvy girls! I have about 500 pairs of them. A pretty, yet flowy top in a bold color...I probably have 500 of them as well because they look dressy while you can actually be feeling comfortable in them. Pink heels, come on guys, you know me. White blazer, I think I have a blazer in every color thanks to working for Dress for Success. A blazer just pulls a look together for me and I think completes it without going too far overboard. Then a grey cross body bag, I actually have been lusting over this one from Kate Spade so I had to add it in. An ampersand necklace because I'm obsessed with the ampersand, in case you haven't noticed. It is an underused and interestingly beautiful part of the keyboard haha. And I added glasses because I've actually been wearing mine a lot more now that I pretty much stare at a computer screen all day. And then my essentials of grey nail polish (note the accent of grey throughout my blog design) and eos strawberry sorbet lip balm because it's my favorite and the pink matches my blog.

Do you think this is a good representation of my blog? What would your blog wear?


Fashion Forward Fridays: White Out

Happy Friday, everyone! For today's Fashion Forward Fridays I'm going with another trend that I'm currently loving for spring and that is wearing head-to-toe white. I know that if I tried this in real life, I would be a magnet for pizza sauce and grass stains somehow. But since clothes cannot get dirty in Polyvore, here are three looks of how I would wear all white if I wasn't actually afraid to do so.

Are you brave enough to try this all white trend? Which look would you try out?


Choosing A Great Read

If you follow me on Twitter, than you know there's been a lot of book talk lately. I've always been a big fan of the written word and actual books are still my favorite...although my iPad library has a nice collection too. And as a self-proclaimed writer, with book ideas of my own floating around my brain and Word docs on my computer, books are important to me. So I thought I'd share with you all how I decide on which books to read, since I think it's a bit unique or weird, however you want to look at it!

1. If it's recommended, consider the source and then more than likely read it right away.
A lot of my friends are big readers too, and I always like to know what great books they've recently finished and I take these recommendations very seriously. People don't usually recommend books that don't make you feel something or that just flat out suck. I've got a great group of friends, and none of them are anything like the next one, so this always makes for an interesting selection of books. From new age stuff to deep theology, and the current best seller to some trashy romance novel, my friends have read them all. And it's always nice to read something from a new or interesting perspective. Although I admit that I'm behind on this list of recommendations.

2. Judge the cover.
Yep. You read that right. I judge the cover of books. I'm part graphic designer, how could I not? If I don't like the design or if I think I could have made it better in an easy way, I don't read it. Or I look to see if there are other cover designs for it...thank you Amazon! Also, if a book was made into a movie and the actors are on the cover, that is not the one I pick. I like the original art better, although I did make an exception for my copy of The Help. And if it's an old book without the cover sleeve...even better! Nothing to judge if it's not there!

3. Feel it up. 
This kind of goes along with the design in general but if I book is awkward to hold or just doesn't feel right, I'll look for it in a different form. I prefer books in soft covers simply because they are easier to hold and seem more comfortable. Packaging is important, people!

4. Read the first paragraph.
If you're not drawn in after that first paragraph, you're not going to want to continue reading the whole book. Authors kill themselves over that first paragraph, it's obviously one of the most important pieces.

5. Read the last sentence.
I'm serious. It gives you just enough of a juicy stopping point that you wonder what happened to lead up to that moment and it's just as important as that first paragraph...if not more. And if you end up getting the book, you'll more than likely forget what it said by the time you finish reading the book anyway. Since it's so short it's not like you are ruining the ending for yourself.

6. Turn to a page and read a random paragraph.
I stole this one from one of my favorite professors at Seton Hill who has actually recommended books to me that are now some of my favorites. He always picked page 58 (if I'm remembering correctly) but I've decided to pick the page with my age. So until July, every author better hope that their 24th page is a knockout. And again, it's not like you're giving anything away, reading a couple sentences from a random page isn't going to tell you everything about the characters or give up a major plot twist and you will more than likely forget what you've read once you get into it. But if you're hooked because of those few sentences, you'll more than likely be hooked through the whole book.

It's not science, but it helps. Especially if you're choosing between two random books you found at the library that you've never heard of - like me earlier this week, when all the books recommended to me were checked out at the library. How do you decide on what to read?

Book reviews previously posted:


Chels Wears: Menswear

Pants & Shirt: JCPenney | Blazer: Target | Tie: Macy's | Heels: Wet Seal | Glasses: Ralph Lauren

I have a confession. This outfit is really just to get MJ to look at my blog for once. While I usually don't mind that he doesn't come to this space often, because I like us to have our different things, I don't know the last time he's seen this space.

MJ is a little but more obsessed with the menswear for women than I am, which I find hard to believe sometimes. We both really like that women rock button ups and blazers and then can wear heels with them. Something about that kind of combo just says powerful. So while it was much nicer outside than it has been recently, I still felt layers were appropriate and then I realized, Eric had a tie that went with this look and I stole it for the day. Red is my color, right?

How do you feel about menswear for women? 



This week marks the first anniversary of an organization that I fully support and want to share with you. This is in no way a sponsored, or even partnered, post. I truly just want to share this organization with you and hope that you support the cause and participate in some of the social media activities they are hosting throughout the week.

Make your own message by downloading the poster and post your photo using #NOMOREweek 

NO MORE is an organization passionate about ending domestic violence and sexual assault. It hopes the blue zero symbol (as in zero incidents of domestic violence) will become the type of symbol that the pink ribbon has become for breast cancer and red ribbon is for HIV/AIDS. This is an important organization to support because it is shedding new light on an under-talked-about issue. We all know someone who is facing this issue, we just might not know that they are. There shouldn't be a stigma for being a victim and we need to stop making excuses for the people who commit these crimes.

Think about these numbers: 

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
  • 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

"These are not numbers. They're our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. They're the person you confide in most at work, the guy you play basketball with, the people in your book club, your poker buddy, your teenager's best friend - or your teen, herself. The silence and shame must end for good." - NOMORE.org

I hope you consider checking out the NO MORE campaign throughout this anniversary week and learn about how we all can make a difference and get involved until there really are NO MORE acts of domestic violence and sexual assault. 


Fashion Forward Fridays: Wearing Red Pants

Happy Friday, everyone! I have gotten a lot of emails and messages recently about how to style colored denim. I love that I'm getting asked more and more for style advice, especially when it comes to my favorite trend. You guys know that I love my red skinny jeans more than any item in my closet and I wear them any chance I get, so I'm focusing on them today. Red jeans seem to be the most intimidating because it's such a bold color, but I have always been told that red is "my color" so this trend just seemed natural to me.

Here are three different looks I created in Polyvore for today's Fashion Forward Fridays. My main tip for people who are just starting out with colored denim, especially red, is to start with neutrals and black and white. This way you get used to styling them, become more comfortable with how to wear them and really figure out what looks good. So these three looks reflect that first step in getting acquainted with your red jeans. I hope they inspire you and get you ready to break out the red jeans yourself!

Which style do you like best? Would you try out any of these looks?


Pinspiration Station

Remember when I told you guys that I would have some big news for you soon? Well, it's still a secret and it's still on it's way, but right now I'm in the middle of it and just want to launch. But I cannot because it's not perfect and not ready and not enough. Why do we put ourselves down so much? I know that this project is going to take a lot out of me for quite a while, but every time I get to work on it, I'm in heaven, so why don't I focus on that instead of the nitpicking of the tiniest details?

Easier said than done. I know that this will be a huge endeavor, that I really want it to be long-term and successful. I know that this takes time and energy and that it's not going to be exactly what I want right from the get-go, but instead of letting that fuel me, I sometimes let it be a block in my path. Why? Do any of you do this too? I  feel like this is where Pinterest becomes a problem because we so easily get trapped in comparing ourselves to others, but I've been trying to use it as a motivator. Beautiful designs and inspirational words. Trying to help it fuel me today, and hopefully it'll help you guys out too. I don't feel like I'm in a rut, which is a great. But I just feel like I'm right on the edge of where I want to be before launch and it's killing me to keep pushing to get there. I know all of what I have to do before then and I know things will fall into place and happen as long as I keep guiding it and working hard. Blood, sweat, and tears pay off, right?


Chels Wears: Hopes for Spring!

Jeans: Target | Chambray: WalMart | T-Shirt: JCPenney | Boots: URBANOG | Scarf: Forever 21

I told you guys this outfit was coming. Since it was so warm outside on Tuesday (like 35 degrees) I thought it was okay to break out the peach pants, but since there's still snow on the ground, the boots were necessary. Especially since I got these boots, I have been obsessed with them. If you have seen me off of the Internet, you've probably seen these boots. Hope you like them, because I'm in love. Okay, so here's some truth, I've really got nothing else to say. So...do you like this outfit?

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