Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Fall Crush Is Faux Real Luxe

With the weather finally looking like it's turning a corner, the time changing so it's dark much earlier and  fall slowly fading making way for winter, it's no wonder I've got lush faux fur and gorgeous baubles on the brain. It's not exactly a secret I've been obsessed with faux fur everything lately. Follow me on Instagram,you'll see first hand how it's gotten out of control in the last few weeks and seems to follow me wherever I go. I dreamed about it, talked about it
(is it really practical for my lifestyle +  so cal ?) and then I made the mistake of trying something on and it was like hook line and sinker. Even the ones I wasn't in love with, I kinda dug.
I blame my late night obsession/nemesis: Pinterest. There is definitely a recurring theme in the majority of my style Pins as of late and that's gotten me on a low key quest to acquire a few of the items. Most looks consist of basics pieces with a subtle edge, some kind of added sparkle and good shoes but that makes sense for my everyday 'mom life'.

Fall Crush

As I mentioned last week I'm a Stella & Dot Stylist and am therefore quite obsessed with fabulous jewelry. For real obsessed. I've been rocking these jewels day and night since they arrived on my door step. These accessories are everything. No really. It's amazing how they've changed how I look at my wardrobe. They've stepped my casual chic + lazy cute game up a few notches and I'm convinced the addition of faux fur will send it into the stratosphere. I kid. Not really. 
Sure I live in So Cal and it generally doesn't warrant any kind of "real" winter jacket most days, but for some reason I dig the idea with looking like some kind of  boho chic mafia wife in the suburbs of So Cal. #housewifethuglife The struggle is real. Maybe reading Rachel Zoe is also having an affect, who knows. Either way I can't get enough of leopard, faux fur everything and tons of jewelry.

* The first look has actually been brought to life as I wore a similar outfit for date night this past weekend. And it was totally husband approved. The faux leather leggings and show stopping Phoenix necklace combined with the luxe vest is just the right amount of bling and sophistication while the delicate On The Mark chain and Nancy studs keep it soft. Of course I had to add a little funk with the spiked booties but they're just fun and it was date night!

* I've been channeling my inner rocker mom chic and this look is definitely something I would wear to the farmers/flea market and shopping/ lunching with the kids or friends. It's functional thanks to the jeans and chucks but the studs on the shoes, and the statement necklace give it both edge and elegance. And because you never know how the weather may wreak havoc on you hair, a hat is always a good idea.

* Oh the leopard coat. How I long for thee. I just know it would take things to the next level and I vow to make it mine. The Allegra necklace , Renegade bracelet and Gilded Arrow ring keep things polished with the torn denim and over the knee boots suggest a hint of badass-ery (totally made that up). I would wear this everywhere.

Notice there is not a single long sleeved top in this collection. That's pretty much because I don't own any and generally just layer if necessary.

Fall Crush by carpools2cocktails 

Shop the set:

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Style Me Friday // All Black Errythang

I almost didn't' participate in this week's challenge for Style Me Friday. Not for a lack of anything to wear because, let's just be honest, 80% of my closet is black. No, it was more like "It's still so bloody hot that I'm just not in the mood to sweat through a photo shoot." No matter how quick that shoot might be. But then while I was staring at my closet this morning trying to plan my look for the day, it hit me about what I could wear.

I quickly finished my hair and makeup, peeled Baby Ninja from around my ankles and recruited Sweet Pea to take some quick photos with my phone before she left for school. Yes folks, I used the camera on my phone. Necessity is the mother of invention and we were short on time. Sure I have a fancy Nikon D60 that I love and usually use for my 'style photos' but it was in the car, in the case and that was too man steps. Besides, I'm a CAU girl and we "find a way or make one" ya dig? So I did just that. All before 9 am. Cuz I like to live on the edge.

Once again these shorts have more than paid for themselves. I can't believe I was ever on the fence about buying them and have to give myself snaps for scooping them up when I did. I remember when I first got them and was styling looks (in the sweltering summer heat) I thought about rocking them with this particular sweater, a steal from Forever 21 last holiday season, should we have a 'fall date night'.
Screw date night because I would totally wear this to lunch with friends and or picking up the kids from school.

Sweater: Forever 21 (similar) / Shorts: Free People via T.J. Maxx / Shoes: Kelsi Dagger (similar) / Necklace: Stella & Dot 

The shorts are so easy breezy and light weight that they pair perfectly with the sequin sweater. I also like the mixture of textures on this outfit that help break up the black and give it some kind of depth.
And y'all know I love these ankle boots. They just work with pretty much everything.

This Phoenix necklace? It is EVERYTHING. I can't even tell you how many compliments I've gotten and I've worn it almost everyday since it arrived last week. It's the perfect amount of bling and sophistication and just takes this look to the next level. You need this in your life. For reals. Get into it.

Linking up with Eboni for Style Me Friday!!


How do you do "all black everything" ?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

She Who Hustles

For awhile now I've had my eye on branching out into the styling side of things. I love makeup/beauty and all things stylish and nothing brings me greater joy than helping a woman to discover her inner bad ass / haute mama through fashion or makeup. But I was hesitant to pursue it because hey, what the hell do I know right? And then I realized, well, maybe I do know a little something. I mean, hello, I write this here blog, worked for one of the top e-commerce sites and I seem to do okay in the shopping department. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had stepped up my basics by adding a fabulous necklace and how one of my sartorial goals was to bring jewelry back into my wardrobe. I've realized that's sort of what I've been missing the last few years to really pull a look together. Sure I would tell myself that 'less is more' but in reality, when you're rocking a wife beater and cut-offs sometimes all you need is some dope jewels to go from raggedy to fly.  Enter Stella + Dot.

Somehow I got on their mailing list whilst pregnant and even received a whole start up booklet and information packet but as a new mom for the second time the last thing I was thinking about was starting a new business venture. And then this past spring an online blogging buddy brought it back to my attention but I was still skeptical as was the hubs. The initial investment seemed like a lot (not really) as I was just getting ready to be officially unemployed and we were kind of afraid of how all that would work. Combined with a nursing baby and a few other extenuating circumstances things just weren't "right".
Then, still yet another blogging bud mentioned she was a stylist and I asked her a few questions and was still unsure. I just didn't know if I could do it although it did seem right up my alley. I kept telling myself 'I have too much on my plate right now' , How will that work with the baby? and a million other excuses to keep from trying something new.  And then there was past experience. See in another lifetime I was a PartyLite Candle chick. I loved the candles and tried being a rep and failed miserably.
Mainly because it was expensive to start ( I basically started out in the red) and I was unsure of myself and the products. Who was I to try and sway someone to buy a $30 candle? Marketing myself was very hard for me at that point in my life as I was still learning who I was. I thought it would be a great gig to make extra money super fast and easy. But the timing was off and I was no where near as successful as I thought I would be.
Life lesson learned.

Flash forward to a few months ago and my discovery of Melinda on Insta. Here was a woman who represented everything I thought. She got it. She's a mommy and a creative soul with wicked style. And I dug that. I would always comment on her jewels and she always said the same thing " Stella & Dot. Get into it" but again, I was letting my fear of failure take hold so I would just brush it off. 
I knew I needed to bring I some extra money, the weddings have been fewer and we have things we'd like to do for our family that require cash flow and I knew I couldn't go back to a 9-5. I had completed eclipsed that notion but I didn't know what to do. I was kind of stuck. Or so it seemed.
Then something happened, I can't quite pinpoint what it was but there was a change in the air and the voice inside stopped asking why and began to ask "why not?" 
So I invited Melinda to come do a party at my home for breast cancer awareness in honor of my mother and saw how easy it really was.
The jewelry is AWESOMENESS and all kinds of legit. I literally loved everything I tried on and was trying to convince Melinda to leave some of the pieces behind. 
I'm tired of spending money on cheap jewels that don't last. Particularly when I have a child who has a penchant for shiny things. The same way I want to invest in my clothes I have to invest in my accessories. Quality over quantity and all that. So I took a leap of faith and signed up. As soon as I did I could hear the negative self talk begin but I prayed on it and talked to my advice counsel and suddenly the voices inside became quiet. I could do this. 
For real. I began to see how I could style each piece in my own unique way and in ways that made sense to other women like me. 
Of course when I meantime it to a few friends I'm sure there were re some eye rolls and a few " people are broke. They want things they need and not stuff they want" type of comments. And I can understand, but I was determined to give it a go. What's the worst that can happen? I end up with some great jewelry? Not a total loss. 
I received my samples last week and it was like Christmas. Between Sweet Pea and I , I don't know who was more excited about the packaging! Right away I posted to Insta and got a booking! I literally jumped up and down in my kitchen and then two more bookings immediately followed and I knew that I was on the right track.

Phoenix necklace, Renegade cluster bracelet + Gilded Arrow bracelet
On The Mark - arrow necklace
This falls right in line with my vision for my future and for the Carpools To Cocktails brand. My whole mission is to inspire other women to try new things, get out of their personal style ruts and show how easy it is to go from Carpool to Cocktails with a few simple updates. It's like this was meant to happen and that Melinda happened to be some kind of catalyst was just serendipitous. She is a kindred for real and we don't have to become BFFs or talk everday, knowing that she supports me and understands my hustle and struggle makes me feel good. She is beyond legit and exactly what and who I needed in my life right now.

So head on over and check out my site. Feel free to poke around and place an order if you'd like. Need suggestions for styling or just gift ideas. I'm your girl.
If you want to host a Trunk Show either at your home or online I can make that happen.  Or if you want to know more about the opportunity to become a stylist I can help with that too. 
I'm all about empowering women on all levels and being a Stella & Dot stylist makes me ever so happy. 
And who doesn't like getting packages in the mail?

all my goodies! go here for product details

So GO! Check it out and let me know what you think!

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C2C Eats // Dinner Got Turnt Up!!

I love Fresh and Easy. This is no secret to anyone who knows me. I pretty much live in that store and am guaranteed to run into someone I know being that I go about 2-3 times a week. In fact I even made a new friend in the dairy section and spent the summer having play dates with our kids!
But I digress. I love that they provide fresh ingredients and affordable prices and have a wicked Rewards program that allows you to convert points into cash money! Holla!
It's also no secret that I love pizza. Particularly pepperoni pizza but a few years back I tried my hand at a Margherita Pizza and loved it. It's a great week night meal and it's so quick that I don't mind making it often! I then found PW's recipe for CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza and thought.....why not?
The first time it was pretty good but I had a hard time rolling out the crust 'just right'. However, I kept at it and now....it's pretty much perfection.

Now her, recipe calls for you to make your own dough but I have an active toddler and "aint nobody got time for that"! So I go with the 'easy' option. Pre-made dough from F&E. I like to use the whole wheat dough for me and the Mr so we feel like we're eating a little bit better.

Normally I 'd just use whatever bbq sauce I had on hand but as usual I was meandering through the store and purchased a new Chipotle BBQ sauce I was eager to see how that would taste.

The Mr thoroughly enjoyed his pizza with much gusto as did the Baby Ninja (Sweet Pea sticks with plain cheese thankyouverymuch) Even I was super impressed. I had a lot of folks on FB and IG ask me to share the recipe so here it is:

BBQ Chipotle Chicken Pizza on Whole Wheat Dough via Pioneer Woman and adapted by me.

  • 1 Package of Whole Wheat Dough (Fresh & Easy)
  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts ( chicken tenders work just as well)
  • 1/2 cup Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
  •  Olive Oil, For Drizzling
  •  Salt For Sprinkling
  • 8- 16 ounces shredded Mozzarella
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Cut In Half And Sliced Very Thin ( I chop mine)
  •  Chopped Cilantro, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
Roll/stretch out one pizza crust. Lay it on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.
Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut and serve immediately. Repeat with other crust and other ingredients, or save for another time.

In other words - dinner got #turntup for the night. I think next time I might try grilling it!

What's your favorite go to  meal? Do you ever make your own pizza? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

That Time I Got Worked At The Barre

I've been slacking in the fitness department as of late so when I came across a deal a few months ago for a new Xtend Barre Studio not too far from my house I was intrigued. However, I failed to pull the trigger since none of my girlfriends had heard of it or were as interested as I was to check it out and I was too chicken to go by myself so I missed out. Dumb. But I still had it in my mind as something I'd like to try. Then in a fit of 'needing to grab the bull by the horns' and get out of my dark slump I did some research and discovered this particular studio offered a free trial class. Great! Now I all had to do was get somebody to tag along. I posted the studio's link on my FB and asked if anyone was interested in going with. Lucky for me, one lovely lady did. My new friend Lynette (one of the mom's from school) was all about it. She's a former dancer so she was into the idea of working it out with a ballet barre. I've heard such great things about this kind of workout so I was super pumped. And I've danced, cheered and high jumped so I was like "I got this".  Little did I know what was in store.

We planned to work out in the morning on a Thursday (Halloween) and both rationalized it was a great way to justify all the candy we were going to score from our kids later that evening. I mean that's the point right? We got to the studio bright and early with smiles and mascara + eyeliner (cuz I am NOT leaving the house without it) and were ready to go.
Our instructor Rebecca was super nice and quite upbeat but not overly perky the way some instructors can be. She asked if we had any old injuries she should know about , told us what equipment to grab, and then launched right into the class. Fifteen minutes later Lynette looked like she wanted to kill me and I was starting to realize 55 minutes was a REALLY long time.
I have done some rigorous workouts. I mean - Jillian Michaels kicked my postpartum ass all up and down my living room but the Barre class? Good gravy.

We began with a warm up and launched full into resistance exercise's using only our body weight and light hand weights (1/2/3 lbs). I chose the 2lbs because hey, I've done Jillian with 3lbs and survived. Minutes later I was regretting my choice. I used muscles I'd forgotten I even had and stretched others I hadn't used in awhile.
We used the weights, the barre , the mat and a small ball for a full body workout. I mean head to toe.
By the end of the class both Lynette and I thought our legs were going to fall off but the two 60 year old's in front of us made us feel the need to finish. She had to run out and get back to school for room parties so I was left to stretch it out on my own.

My legs were wobbling as I walked out to the car and it took everything I had to make it up the stairs to change Baby Ninja once I got home but I couldn't shake unmistakable high that comes with working out. Granted I was dragging ass by 3pm and even fell asleep while the Tiny Tornado played Lego's and watched a movie (not to worry the Sweet Pea was home in case he got cranky) but I was happy I had tried something new.  Even if my legs hated me. At 6am the next morning when I got up to pee I wanted to cry when I tried to sit down but no pain no gain 'eh?

Overall I liked the workout and am would love to do it again. Maybe Santa will bring me a class bundle for Christmas.
I realized how much I missed working out and taking the time to really do something for me. Sure I see my girlfriends on occasion and we all know shopping is my usual cardio but I generally have one of the kids with me at all times so it was nice to escape "mom life" for a bit and just focus on the workout. And since I've never really worked out in a gym (I don't really like to sweat in front of strangers) this was for sure a new experience and one I think I can repeat. Just not more than once a week. My body would hate me.

Thanks Lynette for braving the barre with me! I hope it wasn't too terrible and we can still be friends after this!

Have you ever taken a barre class? How did you like it? If not, what's your go to workout of choice?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Links + Love + Libations // Stylist Edition

Happy Friday y'all ! We've made it through another week and it I have to say this week has been AWESOME. I've finally started to come out of my dark place and managed to pull off posting, getting dressed and being present all week long so that makes me happy. Things are definitely on the upswing and I can feel change in the air.

Monday I took the plunge and ignored all the doubting voices in my head and signed up to be a Stella and Dot stylist. I have Melinda to thank for finally pushing me over the edge. She and several other friends have been nothing but encouraging and supportive and I can't wait to get started. I've already booked my first show and I don't even have samples yet! I'll have a full post up next week with all the behind the scenes details and also be hosting an online trunk show later in the month but you can check out my site here:  http://www.stelladot.com/sites/amberdorsey 

Tuesday I talked about how I've discovered my personal style through blogging and taking daily outfit photos. Even the looks that don't make it to the blog have helped me hone my style.

Wednesday I gave the finger to what has commonly been known as the standard for beauty in this country. I think it's one of my better pieces.

In other news I wore leopard leggings twice in the same week (shh I only photographed them once) and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to keep my little guy wearing pants.  And because I'm an awesome parent and always 'present' I bribed him with a sucker so I could get a few things done. That totally backfired.

Photo: Because I'm not above bribery and I just need 5 minutes to send an email. #ikeepitreal #momlife #toddlerlife #fromcarpools2cocktails


* This video is everything for me. I laughed, I cried (happy tears) and I got bodied. I dare you not to smile and shake your money maker a little.

* Pinned and shared . 11 Things I wish I Knew When Starting My Business. So, so good.

* Huff Post Women was killing it this week and Why I'm Not Here For #WhiteGirlsRock is just the tip of the iceberg. No matter your race it's an excellent read.

* Suddenly I'm 16 again and feel the need to check my pager and rock some platform sneakers.

* Californians will get this like nobody's business. L.A. neighborhood's broken down by stereotypes. Hilarious.


This looks so delicious and I want to make it this weekend. And if I can't then maybe one of y'all can and invite me over to taste test mmkay?

Rosemary Peach Maple Leaf Cocktail

Makes 1 strong drink

1/4 of a peach, chopped, plus a few slices for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary maple simple syrup (below)
1 tablespoon strained lemon juice
1/4 cup rye whiskey (preferably Redemption Rye)
tiny pinch smoked sea salt
rosemary sprig for garnish
sparkling water or club soda, optional

Muddle together the chopped peach, rosemary maple simple syrup, lemon juice, rye, and salt in a measuring cup or glass. Strain the mixture into a tumbler filled with ice, pressing on the fruit pulp to get out all the good stuff. Garnish with the peach slices and rosemary sprig. If you like your drink a little lighter, top it with a splash of sparkling water or club soda.

Rosemary Maple Simple Syrup

Makes about 1 cup, enough for 10 drinks

3/4 cup lightly packed rosemary leaves (from about 10 sprigs), roughly chopped
1/2 cup (5 3/4 ounces by weight) maple syrup
1/2 cup water

Combine the rosemary, maple syrup, and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover and steep for at least 15 - 30 minutes. Strain the mixture though a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the rosemary to extract all the liquid. Discard the rosemary. Chill the syrup until cold, 1 hour (or mix your drinks right away if you just can't wait). The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for at least several weeks.

Cheers to the weekend!!

Style Me Friday // Leather Leggings Edition

I'm a huge fan of The Fashionista Next Door. She's a doll and I love that her style is so versatile and she's honest about how life sometimes get's in the way of blogging and photo taking.
The fact that she's from Cali but lives in the ATL is all kinds of awesome since that was my life for a bit as well. She always has a great link up every Friday and it's generally my intent to participate but we all know that the style posts have gotten away from me a bit now that my photog is back to her day job.
However, this week I happened to catch the style challenge early and because I already had an outfit planned around my faux leather leggings it seemed like it was just kismet.
Below is a collage she put together as  her inspiration for the challenge.  I love all the ways these ladies styled their leather. If you're not into the full on rocker chick look, coated denim is another way to go.  

I personally am a huge fan of leather pants. Real or faux, there's something about them that kind of makes me feel like a badass rock mom. Like I'm channeling my inner Gwen Stefani. You might remember the great "can a real mama wear leather leggings" debate from earlier this year. After quite the search (and internal debate) I finally found a pair of faux leather leggings at CottonOn  earlier this year and happily rocked them at Blissdom and Lucky FABB. However, I haven't really had a chance to bring them out to play again as spring turned into summer and that turned into the dog days of hades and now.....well now it looks like winter because it's dark so early but still feels like summer (it was 80 today. no joke)

However I was bound and determined to wear these pants in some way shape or form. So while I didn't get to rock them in 'everyday style' I still threw them on to take some outfit photos.
I mean. That's part of the fun of being a style blogger. I get to play with trends.
I love these pants because not only are they comfortable they offer just the right amount of sheen to keep them looking like real leather but not like a street walker. Also, they were under $30 so that's a huge bonus.

pants: Cotton On (similar/ similar) / sweatshirt: Forever 21 (similar) / shoes: Jessica Simpson (similar) / clutch: H&M / bracelets: H&M + Just Fab Online

And can we just talk about this sweatshirt? I knew from the moment  I rolled into Forever 21 last week that I had to have it. It practically screamed my name. I can't wait until I get my Stella and Dot Phoenix necklace as I know that would be the perfect statement piece to set off this look entirely. And since I didn't go out in this there's a strong possibility I will be rocking a version of this look next weekend for date night. But that's a whole other post.

I honestly haven't worn these heels in about 2-3 years and I'd forgotten what they looked like on. I must say I'm going to have to take them out for a spin as they matched my lipstick perfectly and are quite sexy. If I hadn't had to go back to wrangling a toddler I might have just spent the rest of the afternoon in them. But alas , real life mom duty called.
Head on over to Fashionista Next Door to see more looks and get some inspiration of your own! I know I will!

So how do you feel about the leather pants trend? Over it? Never into it? And if you're not into leather, how do you feel about coated denim? 

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