Green Machine

Green Machine



In case you haven't guessed, yes, I do have Irish in my blood (I mean, look at my skintone), but I also love St. Patrick's Day because I just love a good theme. Green is such a bright, happy color, that I usually wear garish green outfits the whole week leading up to the day. However, this year, in my current pregnant state, there's not a whole lot in my wardrobe that fits, and I didn't really want to buy a maternity shirt just for the occasion. 


Enter this green bodycon dress I pulled out of storage. It may not show off my waistline in the same way it used to, but I think silhouette-hugging shapes are super fun to show off my growing bump! I've just hit 30 weeks, so I'm in the home stretch now, but I've also got a couple of months to go!

For a little sprinkle of gold, I paired the dress with hammered gold earrings, which are the perfect mix of vintage and trendy, and nod to the whole pot of gold theme as well. 


Is there a more perfect place to snap pics of a floral green dress than in an actual greenhouse? Cafe Equinox, a new coffee shop located within Family Tree Nursery, an extensive lawn, garden, and plant center that we can't wait to go back to when we're ready to plant for spring. You can grab your coffee and sit right by the cafe, or there are tons of tables and chairs in the greenhouse itself. 





For a cold, windy day, this was the perfect little tropical escape in the middle of Kansas City. And, it's getting me in the St. Pat's spirit!


Unfortunately, this exact dress is sold out, but I've linked some of my favorite bright green floral dresses below. I'm also all about gold hammered earrings, which I've also linked my favs of below!






Read more »
Call of the Styled Blog
1 Comments
Pregnancy Safe Skincare

Pregnancy Safe Skincare





(Disclaimer: I didn't filter, blur, or make any edits to my face for these photos. I used a little bit of concealer under my eyes because pregnancy has amped up dark circles to make me look like a creature from the dead, and I swiped on some mascara because my eyelashes are sad and tiny without it. Otherwise, what you see is what you get!)

One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was to take a look at all of my skincare and makeup and basically overhaul all of it to go green and clean. (And cleaning supplies, and nail polish, and plastic Tupperware.) Maybe I went overboard, and this is totally a personal decision for anyone who's pregnant, but I figured I'd rather err on the safe side, especially in the first trimester when the baby's organs are forming. That meant I had to do a lot of research (and purchasing) quickly!

However, finding pregnancy-safe skincare is waaaaay harder than it sounds! There seems to be no one brand that has pregnancy-safe ingredients across the board. Even clean and green makeup lines have some items that use ingredients that are not recommended for pregnant women. (Granted, there are some high end brands that do, but I can't be paying $275 for eye cream when I have a baby on the way!) Every single site you read says something different (parabens are evil vs. parabens are totally fine) and it's incredibly overwhelming to make sense of it all. 


I found the blog 15-Minute Beauty Fanatic and her pregnancy skincare and makeup resources invaluable in trying to figure out what exact items were safe for pregnancy and which weren't. She's a doctor and is extremely thorough in reviewing ingredient lists for thousands of products. She does approve some items that might not pass muster elsewhere (the ThinkDirty app, which is also a great resource, counts out anything with fragrance, but I'm glad they give you a breakdown of why certain products aren't "clean" so I can see that no, that fragrance is not a concern since it's not an irritant to my skin), but she explains in detail where she draws the line and why. 


This is basically the first first time of many in pregnancy that you see that there are NO right answers and you have to draw a line in the sand you're comfortable with that your budget affords, and then do your best to stick to it.


So, first of all, if you need to know nothing else: the two biggest skincare no-nos during pregnancy are retinol and chemical sunscreen. So, you're giving up retinol, or Vitamin A, which is the magic ingredient to fight fine lines and wrinkles that was found in most skincare items. Chemical sunscreens are found in lots of skincare and makeup that contain SPF. On top of these, there are many other things to avoid, but those right there rule out a lot. And, not only are you giving up retinol, but your skin is becoming less elastic in preparation for stretching you out to accommodate a growing baby. I basically aged 5 years in my fist month of pregnancy. No joke. 

So, for me, finding green skin care is all good and fine, but spending an arm and a leg on good-for-you products that aren't very effective was very frustrating. At this point, I've found a skincare routine I'm really happy with, so I figured I'd share it for those of you in the same boat: looking for clean solutions that are effective and don't break the bank. 


So, this is not only a guide if you're pregnant, but hopefully also helpful if you're looking for some cleaner beauty solutions that really work! Let's get to it!




Alba Botanica Volcanic Clay Face Scrub 

Before pregnancy, I used St. Ives Apricot Scrub every morning. I loved it, but it contains some iffy chemicals, and I've found this Volcanic Clay Face Scrub to be a great replacement that's great for me! If you like a serious exfoliator (if I don't use one, I have little raised dots on my face), this is an awesome option. The consistency is a bit thin, so you have to be careful you don't lose too much when you dispense it, but you get used to that quickly!

Alba Botanica Volcanic Clay Cleanser

A sister product to the scrub, I use this cleanser at night to remove makeup, and it leaves my face squeaky clean without drying it. 

Alba Botanica Mini Peel

This stuff is amazing for the price! This mini peel is perfect detox for a mid-week pick-me-up. It's incredibly inexpensive and makes my skin ridiculously soft. It doesn't actually peel off, it's just a gel you leave on for a few minutes after cleansing and rinse off. It tightens pores and is made with fruit acid, so it's natural and smells refreshing!

Witch Hazel Toner

Pore-minimizing toner has always been a must-have for me after cleansing but for the past year or so, I've exclusively used witch hazel and I love that it's natural and still does the job. The smell is a little funny at first, but once you get used to it, you don't even think about it. 

Micellar Water Makeup Remover

This is my favorite eye makeup remover.  (Just be sure to not get the version with oil added, that has chemicals that aren't good for you!) It has no smell and it's super gentle on sensitive skin around the eyes, without leaving an oily residue. This stuff also removes Lipsense and waterproof makeup better than anything else I've found. I've bought it time and time again and will keep purchasing!

Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray

After reading interviews with skincare experts, they all had one thing in common in their beauty routine: rosewater spray. To be honest, I didn't notice a huge difference right away when I started using it after toning my face. However, when I used up the bottle and it left my routine, I missed it immensely.

I won't go without it now. I mist my face with 3 spritzes after toning, and I feel like it really seals in moisture before I put on moisturizer. The rosewater also acts as a disinfectant and anti-inflammatory agent, clearing pores and reducing redness. It can also be used to set makeup, or just as a refresher throughout the day. And it smells great! PS-it's like $7, so what have you got to lose?


Juice Beauty Serum

I feel like this has been great for my skin texture. I wanted to find a serum that didn't have retinol in it, and I'm pretty happy with it, but it definitely doesn't fight fine lines like a product with retinol in it would. The serum is a good weight when you apply it, but the surface can be a little sticky. That honestly makes it a great primer, though!

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

If you take one thing away from this post, make it that YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT. I've been hearing about the miracle of Vitamin C oil for a while, but was always petrified by the price tag (many are anywhere from $80 upwards for 1 oz). Everyone goes on and on about how it makes your skin glow, and honestly that just seemed like a pretty abstract concept to me. However, after I bit the bullet to get this serum, just a few weeks ago, I have never looked back. All you need is 3-4 drops for your face every other night (so this will probably last me at least a year) and it's helped with fine lines, my skin's texture, and I seriously just feel like I'm glowing, dangit! Someone told me that not everyone gets it, but that I really did seem to have gotten that pregnancy glow. The joke is on them, because I'd started using this the week before. This, and not my pregnancy hormones are what got me to #glowup, I'm sure about that.





Burt's Bee's Eye Cream 

This is a pretty decent eye cream for the price. I do think it's helped with fine lines around my eyes, and keeping my eye area moisturized. One thing it hasn't helped with? Dark under eye circles. But, everything is different in pregnancy (my hair, my skin, my leg hair grows super slow now: Hallelujah!) so maybe they'd be way worse without it. One thing I really do love about it is that makeup sits very well on top of it. So, I may be caking on under-eye concealer, but it doesn't settle into lines and it sticks well on top of this. Will I be switching back to more effective retinol eye cream after baby is here? Yes, probably, but this is a great green option that won't break the bank. 

Mario Badescu Daily Moisturizer

This moisturizer is pretty straightforward. It's great! A little dot goes a long way. It sits well under makeup and keeps my face nice and moisturized even in this ridiculously dry winter we're having this year. However, it's light and doesn't feel heavy or greasy at all. Would definitely recommend. 

My biggest complaint? The little spout on the bottle top repeatedly dries out product, and the next time you squeeze the bottle, everything is backed up until out shoots a clump of blue gunk followed by way too much product. 


Mario Badescu Night Cream

This stuff is so strange, but I love it! This night cream has the absolute weirdest texture, kind of jelly and sticky, I've never seen anything quite like it. It's very thick, so a tiny little bit goes a long way. It does go on pretty thick, but for a nighttime moisturizer I don' mind. My skin is so hydrated when I wake up! I have seriously never woken up with such hydrated skin in the wintertime, no dry spots, no peeling. It's kind of a miracle. 

Tarte BB Cream

This BB cream is a great primer and leaves skin silky smooth, but does provide less coverage than other BB creams I've used. I use this on a lot of weekends in place of foundation or powder if I'm running to workout and run errands. It smooths your skin, evens your skintone, and has SPF in it, which is great if you're out running around and will see the sun. 



Again, here's the complete list of products, if you don't want to scan through them all again to find what you're looking for: 




Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and also if you'd be interested in pregnancy-safe makeup as well, and I can put together a post on that too!


Read more »
Call of the Styled Blog
0 Comments
My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine



Did you make homemade valentines growing up? There's not much I loved more than my mom pulling out those craft boxes and getting to work making them for my entire class from scratch. From writing new "roses are red..." poems every year to painstakingly cutting out victorian characters and gluing them onto doilies, then onto folded red cardstock, making these unique creations were SO FUN. Basically every one had to be embellished with little pearls, glitter, little foam hearts or flowers.


That's kind of the approach I took with this outfit I put together: ruffles, sparkles, and lots of embellishments! Layer it on like you're a third grader doing crafts! I picked up a vintage metallic pleated maxi skirt and drop heart earrings on our recent trip to Tampa, and I knew immediately they'd be perfect styled for the holiday of love! 


I also love, love, love this frilly pink top, which is now too short for me to wear over my ever-growing bump with pants, but it works tucked into this super high-waisted skirt. Obviously, I needed a red beret, because berets are my life right now, and they add a fun trendy retro flair to anything. That's like the puffy heart embellishment atop the valentine that is my outfit.

nice red lip and pink-tinted sunglasses are just a nice added layer, like doilies and glitter. More is more here, people!

Oh, and white booties are my go-to for everything and I think are just so perfect and lovely for winter. 










Do you dress up for Valentine's Day? I definitely commit a whole week to decking myself out. If nothing else, it infuses a little fun into an otherwise dreary and cold month! 💕

And now, I leave you with this year's poem: 

Roses are red
My bump is growing
I love taking photos
When it is snowing

(I think I'm a little rusty, ha!)

XOXO,
Molly



Outfit Details: 
Top (similar)
Skirt (similar)
Red Beret (similar)
Earrings (similar)
Pink Sunglasses (similar)
White Booties (similar)
Red Lipstick

Or, scroll through to shop my post here: 




Read more »
Call of the Styled Blog
0 Comments
A Guide to 48 Hours in Tampa/St. Pete

A Guide to 48 Hours in Tampa/St. Pete




If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen that I've been posting about our little babymoon to Tampa/St. Pete for the last couple of weeks, and I'm SO excited to finally share a guide of what to do there with only 48 hours!

I will have to say, Tampa was never on our list of places to visit, but when my husband had a work conference there and we had enough Southwest points to cover my flight and credit card points to cover the Air Bnb? Well, we jumped at the chance for this little babymoon, because, come May, who knows when we'll be traveling again. The more research I did into the area, the more excited I got planning our trip. Now, having been there, I can now enthusiastically say I would love to go back!

If you're like us, and only have a couple of days, I've narrowed down the must-dos. We were there for 3 1/2 days, but I'll say in all honesty, not everything we did was a winner, so this won't just be a list of everything we did, just the places we really loved and would recommend. It should fit perfectly in a 48-Hour window.

I feel like I should also preface this post with saying my husband and I aren't really beach people. Number one: we're just super pale (our poor child may come out transparent). Number two: a vacation to us is not sitting and relaxing. We can do that at home on our couch. (Yes, I know this sounds insane to some people.) But, we want to be out eating good local food, seeing art, culture, eating good food, learning about history, and eating good food (see a pattern there?). You could easily spend two days in Tampa doing beach-centered relaxing stuff, but that's not really our jam. I've included a couple of great beach walks though, because you should definitely at least walk on a beach when you're in the area.

As cool as Tampa is, we realllly loved the nearby St. Pete, which is less than a 30 minute drive, so I would recommend doing one day in each! We did rent a car, and highly recommend that, but everything is fairly close together, so you could visit without one.

ST. PETE

Intermezzo/Baum Ave Market

This is a great place to kick off your trip! Intermezzo is a very cool little coffee/cocktail place with really well done drinks and classic pastries. It's connected with Baum Ave Market, so you can walk freely between the two. Baum Ave Market, an airy, plant filled food hall currently houses Valhalla Bakery, an all-vegan bakery with a killer strawberries and cream tart (I 100% would have taken the s'mores bars to go if they wouldn't have melted in the car), Serene Smoothie Bar, and Avocado Valley Mediterranean Eatery. 

Saturday Morning Market

If you're in St. Pete on a Saturday, don't miss the Saturday morning market! This local market is a like a farmer's market on steroids. From fresh produce to tamales, to fresh juices, crafts, and everything in between, it's as much fun to wander and people-watch as it is to check out the wares. There's also live music and an area by the beach to walk along as you sip your fresh juice and mingle with the locals. 

Sunken Gardens

The Sunken Gardens in St. Pete is a really cool stop! It's kind of just right in the middle of the city, but features a 100-year old park with over 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. It also houses flamingoes, turtles, birds, and other small critters. For going on a beautiful Saturday morning, we were surprised at how not busy it was. Yes, there were lots of other people there, but there was no standing and fighting for a spot to see birds, or elbowing people out of the way. It's set up as a network of paths that you kind of follow in your own order, so it was nice to leisurely stroll as we marveled at the beautiful trees and learned about the species and history of the plants and animals we were surrounded by. And, ok, can we just take a moment to appreciate their amazing retro road sign?










The Library

The Library, until recently known as The Peabody, is housed in a hospital, but is neither a library nor a hospital. It's a fun and unique restaurant that's just perfect for a late lunch stop! From hundreds upon hundreds of blue books lining the shelf, to lush navy details everywhere, you may feel like you've walked straight into a movie set. I wanted something light and fresh and the avocado toast and fruit were perfect. (Yes, they serve brunch late on Saturdays!). My husband got the burger and it was great, too. Go for the ambiance, stay for the great food and service!





Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

So, there's no actual arboretum building, which really confused us at first, but it's instead just a little pathway right near the beach with about 500 palms and little descriptions of each of them. It's a quick walk, but a lovely one, and the whole area next to it, Vinoy Park Beach, is great. It was filled with people rollerblading, playing volleyball, and hanging in hammocks. That top photo of me with the palm trees? Taken right on that beach. A quick stop, but a really lovely one.



Murals

As you're making your way around St. Pete, one thing will really stand out: an abundance of murals! Driving around, I said you could probably make one full day of photographing the murals of St. Pete, which vary from more classic, to street art, to retro, and everything in between. Clicking the link above gives you a map of some of the best street art to check out, but every neighborhood is covered with gorgeous painted brick, so be sure to hop out and snap pics as you go throughout your day!






The Don CeSar

This retro classic hotel looks like it's out of an old-timey movie set, but this is real life and you can run around snapping photos in front of it! They also have a bar and restaurant, so you can walk into and out of the hotel, and then along the beach there as well. It started getting cool and windy as we were walking, but it was a gorgeous way to watch the sun set by this gorgeous building!









Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops

Where do I begin on my love for these ice pops? From blackberry lime, to cilantro jalapeno, to mango chia seed, and dark chocolate avocado, they have something for every palate. And yes, we visited three different locations three times while we were there. I'm pregnant, so please withhold your judgement. And get yourself to one of the Hyppo locations. 





TAMPA

Grain and Berry

I will say, we had every intention of going to Datz for breakfast, which we'd heard great things about, but this preggo gal wanted something light with cold fruit and lots of it! This smoothie bowl stop was delicious! I got the dragonfruit bowl and my husband got the spirulina bowl, and we were able to learn all about the health benefits in each of those while we sat an munched away. Highly recommend!




Oxford Exchange

This was basically everyone's recommendation of what to do in Tampa, and with good reason! It's a hybrid restaurant/coffee shop/tea shop/retail space/bookstore/Warby Parker. We ate at the restaurant and I had the best French toast of my life! Not even kidding. It has a fun old world cosmopolitan feel and the retail area has some really unique, well curated items that are fun to peruse. Even if you just stop by for a coffee, be sure to stop by!







Wat Temple Sunday Market

If you happen to be in Tampa on a Sunday, and you're up for some good Thai food, you should probably go out to the Thai Sunday market. All sorts of Thai vendors are selling food in a short window from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, with everything from jerky to fruit desserts to pho. The line for pho was incredibly long, so we knew we had to get some! You can eat your food in a large sparse food hall, but it was quite tasty, and there's plenty of outdoor seating if the weather is a little nicer. 



Ybor City Museum State Park

I'd heard we'd needed to check out Ybor City, a historic part of Tampa with a rich history in cigar-making. Chickens run around on the streets and it feels like something out of a movie. There were a couple of really neat vintage stores that had loads to look at. But, I'll be honest, walking through on a Sunday afternoon, we were just bombarded with drunk people. From like every direction. It was gritty and not really what we'd expected. However, the highlight was the most quaint historical tour at the State Park building. The museum tour likely hasn't been updated since the mid-80s and it included a VHS video in it, but it was so informative and really added a lot of historical context to Tampa and immigration into the area. It was really cheap, and if you're curious about Ybor or history, I would highly recommend it!





Hyde Park Village

This outdoor shopping center has a lot of classics you can find in most cities, from Pottery Barn to Anthropologie, to West Elm. However, there are lots of local shops mixed in as well, and there are fun murals everywhere. There's definitely lots of construction popping up, so it's still up-and-coming. A nice place for a stroll and a peruse around the lovely residential Hyde Park. Also, another Hyppo location. So, that's a no-brainer.

Buddy Brew

This coffee shop has a few locations in Tampa, including inside the Oxford Exchange! However, the tiles an ambiance at this one in Hyde Park really beat out the others in my opinion. Maybe I did it for the 'gram, but how can you not stop to take a pic of this floor?

Hall on Franklin

This would be a great stop for lunch! This food hall makes it easy on you, because there's just on waiter or waitress for all the different restaurants, and you can order things from all different places at one time. We were in Tampa the week before Gasparilla, a historic pirate festival, and I was surprised with an amazing Pirate latte!

Mandarin Hide

This cool bar and cocktail place would have been even cooler if it wasn't so cool outside the day we were there. Their outdoor area is decked out with faux greenery, flamingoes, and gorgeous tilework. The inside was comfy-cozy and well-decorated with leather, fun light fixtures and a gold garage door for the bar to open up to outdoors. They make their own bitters and other cocktail components and the mocktail they whipped up was also spectacular. Great drinks, great photo ops, all we needed was a nice, sunny day!



Tampa Museum of Art

This art museum is actually fairly small, as far as art museums go. We were easily able to get in and out in an hour. I was bummed that we arrived too late to get into the Yayoi Kusama Love is Calling Exhibit I'd seen advertised. So, if you want to get any special exhibit tickets, be sure you don't wait until afternoon to go, or get them online ahead of time. There was a great Robert Indiana exhibit as well, but that was the bulk of what was at the museum. For a busy day, about an hour there was just the perfect amount of time!






We stopped here for cocktails, and it looks like an amazing spot for dinner as well. Everything, from the decor, to the food, to the service, was just well done. And, they made an amazing strawberry shrub mocktail too! It's easy to make dumbed-down overly sweet mocktails, so I knew they were the real deal when they treated this preggo chick to something tart, complex, and delicious.

Taco Dirty

This taco place served some seriously good tacos. I could have eaten 234 more at least, but I had to draw the line somewhere. On top of stellar food, they have a couple of really stellar murals and an overall fun vibe. I also wanted to visit their sister restaurants, Sweet Soul Soho and Fresh Kitchen, but we only had so much time. If they're anywhere as good as Taco Dirty, I can recommend those with gusto without even having been there. You an also just stop by here for an afternoon snack and grab a single taco!





Shop my Black Dress/Pink Jacket look HERE
Shop my Overalls Outfit HERE
Shop my Colorful Striped Sweater HERE
Shop my Sheer Pink Ruffle Top HERE

We had so many things on our list to do, we weren't able to make it to all of them (when you have 45 restaurants you want to try in 3 days, that's just not possible), but here's a list of other stops we've heard good things about as well:

The Dali Museum, St. Pete: I've heard great things about this. However, my husband has already been and I've been to the Dali Museum in Barcelona, (I know, I know, it's not exactly the same thing), and I've heard how crazy crowded it can get. Honestly we just didn't want to brave it on a Saturday, but probably would have on a weekday. 

The Chihuly Collection, St. Pete: I've heard this is great too! We spent a long time going through a Chihuly museum in Seattle a couple of years ago, so we didn't feel the need to go, but if you haven't seen Chihuly's amazing glasswork, it would be worth a visit!

Have you been to Tampa/St. Pete? Let me know what your favorites were that I have to hit up next time!

Check out my other 48 Hours in city guides here:

Barcelona

Provence

Paris


Read more »
Call of the Styled Blog
0 Comments