• Style by Joanie

    a list of what I love this year

    I didn’t really make Christmas or Birthday lists until I married my husband, and like clockwork every year my mother-in-law asks me for my list. And then when Christmas roles around I genuinely feel shocked and excited when I get to open up everything I’ve wanted and forgot I had asked for. My mom always gives us money to buy something we like for our birthday but often I’d end up putting it into my bank account and never spending it on something that felt like a gift. So now, I’m a fan of the list. I like to ask for things that I wouldn’t normally buy myself. The nice face oil, a gift card for a massage, totally unnecessary but fun tennis skirt, a membership to a wine club, pink dutch oven, +$100 pair of sneakers, a face mask that’s overpriced but really works; things that aren’t required but that are fun. Isn’t that what a gift should be?

    I keep a note on my iPhone of ideas throughout the year. Things I see and love but don’t buy because they aren’t needed or feel indulgent. Here are some things on my list!

    [This is a guest style post by my sister Joanie. Links are affiliate where applicable. Thank you Joanie!]

    It’s fun to ask for experience gifts. I got a facial membership one year from my mom and it was such a treat and felt like the gift that kept on giving. My aunt gives me a case of champagne for my birthday and I look forward to it every year. We share it with lots of people and it’s fun to have a bottle on hand to open on a random Wednesday. I also love Helen’s Wine Club she has the best taste and was the first person who really got me into wine. She’s a wealth of knowledge and has a great wine club! Also, a coffee club is an excellent gift that keeps on giving! Go Get Em Tiger is a local favorite of ours that ships. (Editor’s note: Carrier Roasting is a Vermont brand that we love that ships as well.)

    Radiance Face Oil


    dutch oven

    lunya sweatpants


    tennis skirt

    Every year I get a bottle of the radiance face oil from True Botanicals. They have a Black Friday sale that brings the price down and (in my opinion) it’s the best face oil out there.

    I got a set of these glasses for my birthday last year and love them. Upgrading your barware is definitely not a need but makes hosting cocktails with your neighbors more fun.

    Add this absolutely unnecessary but beautiful Dutch oven to your list. Cooking with color is more fun!

    I highly recommend these sweatpants. They were on my Christmas list three years ago and I wore them so much and have since told about 10 people to buy a pair. They are something I wouldn’t buy myself because of the $$ but they are worth it. So comfortable and cute for running outside to walk the dog or a quick stop at the grocery store. I think investing in great sleep/lounge ware is underrated! (Editor’s note: my sister-in-law Hannah and I have both given these sweatpants are early postpartum lounge wear. The waist can be worn high or low. They are much loved.)

    I don’t play tennis enough to need a tennis skirt but it sure does make playing more fun. I got this for my birthday this year and love it. So chic!

    This sweater was on my birthday list this year and I have barely taken it off since I got it. I sized up (normally a small and got a medium) and i would say it’s really oversized so maybe stick with your normal size unless you want it big.


    Clare V


    A bag that you’d never buy for yourself. Most of us carry a purse every single day so having something you love to carry is well worth it. I have a yellow crossbody bag that I wear all the time and even though the color might seem hard to coordinate with it mixes surprisingly well with many things. I love this one by Mansur, this beautiful blue woven bag by Clare V, this silver option is the perfect day and night bag, and my dream wishlist item, Celine, this one is stunning.

    perfume oil

    lightening paw perfume

    fly by jing

    Perfume is something I never buy for myself but love to receive. I currently have two favorites, this Malin + Goetz cannabis one smells SO good, you’ll never get more compliments on a scent. I’m currently out of it and need a re-stock! Also, this one by Olo is amazing.

    I love Fly by Jing so much. Their trio pack is the best gift to give or receive. The Mala Spice Mix on popcorn is SO good. Would make an excellent hostess gift.

  • Style by Joanie

    coats to love

    Banana Republic


    The Curated




    J Brand


    Alex Mill

    I wait all year for fall to hit so I can work on a coat/jacket round up! In my opinion, we should be paying more attention to our outerwear as it’s a primary styling piece for two seasons out of the year. It doesn’t feel good to pull on the same boring coat to face another grey day. Even though I live in California, I am very familiar with Michigan winters and the day in and day out darkness that can start to drag you down. When it comes to coats and boots, there is a lot of age old wisdom circling around, “buy something practical!”, “make sure it’s sturdy!”, “it should last you a lifetime”, “it can’t be too thin!”, “it should be a neutral color!” and my personal favorite which is the “can you easily lift your hands over your head test” while wearing it which is just not an actual way to measure if any article of clothing works or not. What if when it came time to pull down the ole’ winter bins, you felt excited to take out your coat and hang it up for another season? I’d like us all to be able to have that feeling. Our winter-selves deserve a little style thrill!

    A guest style post by my sister Joanie. Love her points here, she’s right–I’ll be wearing these coats every day for the next six months! Thanks Joanie!

    Coats and outerwear can be an investment but they truly are a cost per wear item, much more than many of the clothing items we spend a lot of $ on. And, when you buy quality they truly last a lifetime. My Mom has coats that are 30 years old that I love and wear when I visit. But, on the other side of that coin, I am also an advocate for buying something impractical that might not be the most high quality piece but that feels fun and lively. Like the neon orange coat I bought from Zara years ago and love to wear and get a zillion compliments. It’s all about balance. Here are some favorites from around the web.

    Banana Republic


    The Curated

    I know I’ve mentioned this several times before by Banana Republic has really been stepping up their game. It’s thrilling to me if I can find BR pieces from the 80’s + 90’s while I’m thrifting but they really lost their way in the 2000’s. Going in there felt like stepping into a fast fashion store. But, I think they’re starting to find their way again. Things feel more quality, styling is way up and the overall vibe is elevated classics which is what they should stick to. I love this jacket. It’s a great length and the blue is fresh but still very versatile.

    I have this Uniqlo jacket in the pink. It’s super lightweight, the kind of coat you can shove in your carry on bag or purse as a “just in case it gets cold” option. And yet very warm. It’s also a great layering option too.

    Rachael bought The Curated camel coat and I loved it so much on her I bought the same one in green. It is expensive but it really is so stunning, feels like Max Mara. It’s a female-founded company and they are very transparent with their pricing and manufacturing practices. If you are between sizes I highly recommend sizing up! I wish I would have gotten a medium instead of a small so I could wear sweaters under it.

    It’s hard to find a classic raincoat. There are lots of “water resistant” options but that’s not the same as something that will keep you really dry. J.Crew just has an insane amount of good coats and jackets right now. Stutterheim also makes a great durable rain jacket. The price is high but it’s a great coat that i own and love.




    Sandro is one of my favorite designers, the quality is amazing. Their pieces can be expensive which is why I look to by it second-hand which usually means at The RealReal. A long wool peacoat by them is a great buy. The perfect thing to wear to a dinner out or to an event where you don’t want your outerwear to detract from the look you’re wearing. Would also be very cute during the day with jeans, flat boots and a sweater under it. I also love this deep camel colored one from them. The fringe is an unexpected fun detail.

    I got one of the faux shearling options from H&M last year and I wear it all the time. I love how cozy it is and it looks great worn over workout gear to make it a bit more chic. And it’s remarkably warm. This cropped version is cute too.

    I adore this perfectly modern checkered coat from DKNY. So chic!

    J Brand


    Alex Mill

    This wool/cashmere coat is a great buy. The wide color and two button closure make it a timeless piece.

    We bought this Alex Mill sherpa wool jacket for my mother-in-law for Christmas last year and it was a hit. I saw it person and immediately wanted one, but they were sold out for the season. Happy to see they’re back!

    I could go on and on because there are so many cute options out there right now! But I’ll end on this one from Vince. If you haven’t tried a long wool/wool blend coat I encourage you to do so. If you usually stick to shorter jackets, give a long coat a try. It might take a minute to get used to but there is something about them that makes you feel a bit more put together, glamorous even when you put it on. Even worn over sweats you somehow feel pulled together.

  • Style by Joanie

    dressing monochromatically

    Let’s discuss dressing monochromatically! It happens to one of my favorite ways to pull together an outfit and I find it to be very chic. I love to layer lots of white/creams together (as you can see in the photo below), or a tonal blue outfit with navy pants and a light blue sweater, a soft pink paired with a brighter one. I think there is some confusion as to how it’s done and if the idea is to pair the same exact shades of a color together. Which does work, but unless you bought the pieces as a set you will have a hard time finding an exact match. To me, it’s more fun to lean into the shades of a color. I like to match the undertones, so if a red is warm (leans orange) I wouldn’t pair if with a cool tone (that has a blue feeling to it). If the undertones are the same, they’ll work well together. I’m also pro denim on denim and neutrals on neutrals together like brown and black.

    Notice how often these monochrome looks include mixing different textures. For example, a thick pair of denim with a light chambray top is going to work better than thin jeans with that same top. A sleek red leather skirt looks good with a chunky red sweater, thin silk pants looks pretty with a cotton button down shirt, etc.

    (This is a post by my sister Joanie! All links are affiliate where applicable.)

    Let’s look at a few looks and why they work.

    This first one has three shades of white and they are also mixing textures, denim with a t-shirt and some type of linen blazer. I really love pairing a white t-shirt with a pair of cream pants. It feels simple but very pulled together. (photo from J.Crew)

    This second one in yellows gives you an instant calm when you look at her and that’s because tonally the outfit makes sense. If you were pulling together a look and laid two items side by side you could tell by looking at them if they worked together. Let your eye lead you. (photo from J.Crew)

    One way to rework our wardrobes when we’re getting tired of everything we own is to pull out a piece and pair with something you’ve never worn it with before. We tend to revisit the same looks over and over because it feels comfortable to us. Give yourself a challenge of creating a monochrome look with what’s in your closet, no buying required. You can start with a neutral, like shades of brown (see below) or white.

    Meghan Markle often dresses monochromatically. Notice here how her stylist pulled in different textures, a woven top, satin skirt and velvet pumps. Mixing the textures keeps it interesting and keeping it all in the same color family keeps it sophisticated which is crucial for the type of functions she attends.

    We’re going to be seeing a lot of these looks this fall. Here are a few I’ve noticed around the web.




    #1. Also, note the sweater vest. They’re coming back in a big way.
    #2. Always going to be drawn to a green on green look.
    #3. Pretty shades of grey.




    #4. I know I’ve mentioned this before but H&M really does have great knits and this chunky one is very versatile.
    #5. Sweats elevated by wearing them as a matching set.
    #6. These pants are a favorite. They run true to classic sizing, which for me is one size bigger than Madewell or J.Crew.




    #7. I like the addition of the belt with this look.
    #8. Love love love this purple look. Would be perfect for the holidays, a departure from the classic darker color we tend towards in the winter.
    #9. Okay and this very ice princess look to end on! I guess my next post should be a satin skirt round up because they’re everywhere and so versatile.

    XO, Joanie

  • Style by Joanie

    Skin & Beauty Post

    A reader emailed me a request to do a post on skincare which I thought was interesting because I feel like my approach to skin is almost non-existent. {editor’s note: this is a post by my sister, Joanie, from whom I get all my self-care inspiration! Enjoy-Rachael} Especially when you compare it to the current world of youtubers and bloggers who show their skin care cabinets packed to the gills with products. I felt under qualified to give tips but then I thought maybe it would be helpful to hear what a normal(ish) person is doing for their skin/hair/makeup routine and to talk about things like botox and aging. I feel like everyone has their little beauty secrets and I like knowing what works for people and the strange things they love. I like to keep things simple when it comes to beauty so that means anything I buy/keep around needs to pack a punch. I think that the idea of skincare can get wrapped into the idea of makeup, that they are one in the same, but for me, skincare is foundational and makeup is a far second. I’d much rather invest in a good face oil that keeps my skin feeling hydrated than in a foundation that covers my skin. I also think that our eyes might be used to seeing people made up, but I love a makeup less face. It feels so youthful. My sister and I definitely inherited my Mom’s sense of simplicity when it comes to these things. She taught us to wash our face with water, to put rubbing alcohol on a zit (which really works!) and that we didn’t need to shave above our knees.

    When we were younger, she took us to have a makeup lesson where they showed us simple techniques for doing our own makeup and the less is more approach which I stand by today. One of the most important thing they taught was how to tell which colors look good on us, how to compliment our personal complexion and coloring. This is something that I still use and think about today, especially when it comes to clothing. Understanding our coloring and what makes your eye pop and your skin glow is a fun part of personal style and gives us an appreciation for our own specific combination of hair, skin, eyes.

    My first memory of makeup (pre-makeup lesson mentioned above) is going to the Bobbie Brown counter at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, MI. I was browsing the products and they asked if I wanted my makeup done, I agreed and sat down. The only thing I really remember is that she told me that my foundation color was the second to the lightest they carry and that they name was “porcelain”. I can tell you that as an 8th grader, this was bad news. There are few things less cool than having porcelain skin which was why we were all hitting the tanning beds on the regular. Growing up, we all wanted to be tan which was not ideal for a very fair skinned Irish girl living in the Midwest where the sun doesn’t shine for 3 months straight. With age, I’ve grown to appreciate my very pale, freckled skin. I have freckles, lots and lots of them especially in the summer months. I’ve been told and taught how to cover them up but I actually love them.

    The point being, is that the pressure to look a certain way isn’t something that comes with age, it’s something that comes with birth. The specific societal demands we feel around our beauty might change as we get older but the messaging is consistent, it is most desirable to look one way, youthful and glowing and we should do whatever it takes to stay that way. We can’t talk about skincare without talking about the ever increasing presence of cosmetic work, botox, fillers, etc. Aging skin is something that I’m coming to learn about, I look in the mirror and see more fine lines than I used to, most of my friends are getting botox or talking about getting it. And the truth is, the ones that are getting it, look amazing. Their skin is tight and glowing and I am not above wanting my skin to look radiant. It can feel hard to live in a city like Los Angeles where every 45 year old looks 25 because of the work of their demonologist. We have started to distort and misunderstand what it means when we say, “they look great for their age.” We don’t understand what age really looks like anymore. Our eyes have been tricked by what we’re seeing. And we all feel that pressure to look “great” as we age too, whether we know it or not. Acknowledging that pressure that’s on us is actually part of what helps us process it.

    I am always all for everyone doing what feels right to them but understanding what we really want to do takes some digging. I think there is a fine line between doing something for ourselves and doing something because we feel like we need/have to, to stay young and desirable. It’s hard to push past the societal and internal pressures we feel. It takes pushing beyond the scary feeling of what if I get older and don’t get the work and I feel invisible? Or, what if all my friends do it and when we’re together I look older than all of them? Why not just do it now, when it’s available and it’s not too late? All of these are real questions and I don’t think it’s about doing or not the botox/fillers/cosmetic work. I think the most important part is doing what feels most honoring to you. And that can take some time to understand. I know it’s something I’m still working on.

    For me personally, I have currently chosen to not get botox or any work/injections done on my face. There are two reasons for that, one is that I don’t like the idea of injecting anything into my body. I’m hesitant to take Tylenol so getting botox feels like it’s going against that strong personal feeling. And the second is that I have seen people who get work and how it has aged on them. These people are in their 60’s now and of course that means that they were getting work years ago and things have improved and gotten better. But there is a common thread with all of them and that is they all think they look like they haven’t had any work done. To the outside eye, anyone could tell in a moment that they’ve had work but because it’s been so many years and they see their face everyday, they don’t see it anymore. And somehow, that idea of losing sight of myself feels like the biggest deterrent. This isn’t to say that someday I won’t change my mind on the subject. And if I do, I’l be sure to let you know.

    In the mean time, below are some makeup/beauty/hair products that I love and use.

    #1. There are two things I put on automatic subscriptions and have never regretted. One was my razor with Billie and the other is tampons with Lola. Both were items that I would run out of/forget to replace and would end up making an inconvenient trip to the store or an expensive CVS. I have the least frequent re-stock option for Billie and that works for me because I’m a recreational shaver, aka, I don’t always do it.

    #2. Dry brushing is one of my favorite ways to care for my skin. The sensation can feel intense at first but after a while you almost get addicted to it. I start at my toes and go in a circular motion up my body. I do it quickly once or twice a week before I shower and I find that my skin feels really soft and smooth. I don’t do this on my face.

    #3. I work at a blog so we get a lot of skin care and I’ve tried many a mask that has been sent our way. For me, there are two standouts. #1. is the Tata Harper Clarifying mask I’ve been having more breakouts lately then I normally do (might be the junk food) and this mask works wonders. It’s expensive but I’ve had it for a year and still have some left. To me, this one is worth it because I see a noticeable difference right away. #2. This is from Leahlani. It smells so good you almost want to eat it. This is less for breakouts and more for when my skin feels tired and dry. I use it for a glow and it works.

    #4. My husband and I share shower products which is interesting because we have very different hair but I like the idea of not having a cluttered shower and sharing means that we aren’t over-buying products and letting things go to waste. We both use and love this face cleaner. I don’t wash my face with it every day, if I’m not wearing makeup I mostly just splash water on it, but a couple times a week I’ll use it and I really like it. It makes your skin feel clean and fresh and never dries me out.

    #5. I wish it wasn’t the case but the face oil from True Botanicals is the best thing for my skin. I hate how expensive it is and I’ve tried a lot of the cheaper ones but they don’t have the same results. I ask for one for my birthday and I buy one at their black friday sale and those two carry me through for a year. I don’t wear makeup most days so I want my skin to feel hydrated and plump with just being moisturized, no makeup needed. I put it on morning and night and really rub it in which is maybe not recommended but I like giving my face a good massage. I have tried many of their products and to me, this is one only one that it really worth the price. But that’s my personal opinion!

    #6. The most intense beauty treatment I have ever done was microblading my eyebrows. My friend Kristie was about to launch her service and she offered to do them for free. It was too good of a deal to pass up and I ended up loving them. You can see the before and after here. It’s not something I can keep up because of the price but it made me a big believer in eyebrows. I now use Hour Glass Brow Gel and fill them in with Glossier Brow Flick.

    #7. Saie Beauty is definitely my go-to for any makeup related products. I like their Slip Cover that has SPF in it and gives the slightest bit of coverage. And I also love their liquid blush. I don’t use them daily but they would be great daily go-to’s if you wanted a 30 second makeup routine to give you a little lift.

    #8. Lipstick is tricky for me, they never end up staying on right and I worry that I have lipstick on my teeth and no one is telling me. When I got married, I wanted very natural makeup and I was worried about the lip. I wanted it to look pretty in photos but to still feel natural and like me. The makeup artist used “Boy” by Chanel and it has since been my go-to. It’s a beautiful flattering shade and I get a ton of compliments on it. It seems to have a bit of a cult following and for good reason.

    #9. I’m not a big body lotion person. I know I should moisturize but it somehow falls low on my priority list. I recently got this Coco Rose Body Oil and have been throughly enjoying it. I put it on after a shower when my skin is damp. A little goes a long way, it glides on and makes my skin feel smooth.

    #10. It might sound strange but I love my tongue scrapper. I’ve been using it for 5+ years and I have to use it every morning or it doesn’t feel right. I use it right when I wake up to scrape off all the gunk on your tongue from sleeping, rinse out my mouth and then drink coffee.

    P.S. Here is a picture of my face, just as it is. I had to resist the urge to stand in the good light, to fix my unruly eyebrows and to moisturize so my fine lines are less visible. I thought, well I look tired, maybe I should take a picture tomorrow but it’s just a normal face, being normal no Paris filter included.

    A face I know and love very dearly! Thank you Joanie!

  • Style by Joanie

    wedding + party attire


    & other stories

    Banana Republic




    Banana Republic

    Clare V


    just a time, a little inspiration for those social (gasp!) events this summer. Thanks Joanie! All links are affiliate.-Rachael

    Have you ever had this experience: you don’t have an event or party to go to and you see 50 fancy things you’d love to wear to party. but as soon as you have a reason to buy something fancy, suddenly not an item in sight interests you?

    This nameless phenomenon has happened to me more times than I can count (which is why I’m an advocate for always buying something you love, even if you don’t have a specific occasion for it!). However, there are some tips that can help with the major outfit block that can happen around events that have a looming deadline, i.e. ‘I have to have something to wear for a July 15th wedding.’ If you’re attending a wedding/party this summer and are looking for some ideas on how to find something to wear, this post is for you! – Joanie

    For starters, I always like to have some frame of reference for what I’m looking for before I start shopping. Even if it’s vague. If you have no idea what you want, it can seem like an endless fruitless scroll. Reference points can be anything, here are some ideas:
    – It can be the shape of the dress, maybe you want long and flow-y, or short and straight, or fitted at the waist with a skirt. Knowing the style of dress you’re looking for is helpful because you can narrow searching down by maxi, midi, mini, etc.
    – If you have something you’ve worn before and want a different version of that, maybe you wore an off the shoulder dress and felt like a million bucks and want something similar. Or you know you have a yellow dress that you always love in photos. Those are great jumping points. You can search by those key words too, i.e. yellow maxi dress.
    – Using other people as inspiration is also fun. I’ll often clock something that I see someone wearing and make a note to myself to visit it in my own life at some point. This could be someone in real life or a pinterest photo you saw. Recreating a look you love is fun and can narrow down your choices quickly which is great.

    It also helps to shop broadly and early. It can feel tempting to put the task off hoping that something will just magically fall into your lap to wear. Unfortunately, that will most likely not be the case and you’ll end up panic shopping closer to the date which usually ends up being more expensive and less satisfying.

    Borrowing a dress from someone is also a great option especially if you remember something they’ve worn that you’ve loved. “Hey, remember that green dress with sleeves you wore? Can I borrow that please.” I’ve loaned clothing to countless friends and I’m always happy to do so and I’m pretty sure the friends in your life will be happy to as well. It’s a compliment, you like their style!

    I also want to recommend pushing yourself just a little bit and trying things outside your comfort zone. It can feel soothing to wear something familiar but it can also feel liberating to wear something outside of your norm. If there is something you’ve always loved and thought you can’t pull off now is the time to give it a try. We didn’t live through a global pandemic to come out on the other side wearing black knee length dresses to every party!

    Here are somethings I’d wear to celebrations this summer!

    a/ Banana Republic

    b/ & other stories


    a/ Hot pink is the color I love to see anyone in. It’s vibrant, fun and looks great on everyone. Banana Republic has some really great dress choices right now. I love this dress and the fact that it’s an extra 30% off right now.

    b/ If you feel like trying out the oversized trend, this yellow dress is such a cute option. Also a great one for high heat days as nothing sticks to the skin. I recommend ordering one to two sizes up with items from & other stories. This dress from Free People is also a very pretty oversized easy fit option.

    c/ This linen dress with sequin detailing is so beautiful. I love the dramatic sleeve and the color palette. An outside the box option!

    d/ DVF


    f/ Sika

    d/I have a soft spot for DVF dresses. There is a reason she’s such a legend, she really knows how to cut a flattering dress. They are classics and something you’ll keep in your closet forever and also hold their value if you want to resell it. I love the bodice detailing on this one and the print. So much of what we’re shown these days is the same cut and style over and over so anything that branches from that is welcomed.

    e/ Short and structured is a great option, especially if you like to show some leg. When you’re shopping it’s nice to think about what body part you want to show off. That can help to narrow your options and buy something that feels fun and exciting to wear.

    f/ This is a great style if you like to show collarbone but don’t want any cleavage, something I’m always looking to find. This has a very structured bodice with a full skirt which makes it a great dancing dress. Make sure to read size chart as it’s in UK sizes. Also love this one shoulder option.

    g/ Banana Republic

    h/ Clare V

    i/ Mango

    g/ I love that Banana has two bias cut dresses, it’s a surprisingly hard cut to find. A slip dress should only exist in bias cut. It shouldn’t be cut straight up and down, it doesn’t lay right against the body correctly. This dress is beautiful and if you want the bra friendly one get this version. These dresses are easy to dress up or down, you can tie a sweater around your waist and head out for the day or pair it with a shawl and strappy shoes for evening.

    By the way, for a good strapless event bra, this is a good option!

    h/ I have to throw in one accessory because I love this Clare V. strawberry print bag as your party bag of the summer. I have this style in purple and it fits all the important things like phone, lipstick and wallet and has a very chic chain strap which make is a great evening option.

    i/ Let’s not forget separates! I personally plan to wear wide leg pants with a a high opened toed shoe to some parties this summer. I also love a good skirt moment, something with a soft drape that you can wear with a t-shit and a sparkly or denim jacket depending on the occasion. Like this one.

  • Style by Joanie

    Summer Staples







    Old Navy



    (a style guide post by my sister Joanie. All links are affiliate. Thanks Joanie!)

    What are the 10ish piece that you can reach for over and over again this summer? The simple sandal that’s great for the beach/pool but can be worn with a long dress to a fancy party. The swimsuit that works as a top paired with shorts or a skirt. The stripped button down shirt that is equally as cool as a cover up or half tucked into jeans when the sun goes down. A great pair of sunglasses that will be in style forever. I’m all for heavy hitting pieces, especially this summer when most of us are going to be traveling for the first time in a while.  




    To begin: a-go-with-everything sandal. When I travel in the summer I like to pack only two shoes: a running shoe and one sandal that can be worn for every occasion and this one fits the bill. 

    Remember when I mentioned that I was on a big Gap kick? I still am. I love their updated basics. This striped shirt is the perfect summer staple, I’d order up one to two sizes. Wear the heck out of it, it’s 100% cotton and can handle it. If you’re looking for a solid color option, I like this one

    It’s not all shorts and skirts for summer. An easy breezy pair of pants will get a lot of wear. I like to pair them with a bathing suit or a slim tank top. If I’m wearing it with something oversized you can full or half tuck it in to give the outfit some shape. They shouldn’t be tight so if they are, go up a size. People should look at you and think, “Wow, that girl looks so comfortable.” I love the white, flax, navy and green. 



    Old Navy

    A lot of summer things can be semi-sheer or you might want to undo a few buttons as the temps increase showing a bit more skin. When something is sheer or showing, our first thought can be to pair it with a flesh colored bra, which is fine but I think that pairing it with a white bra can be really pretty. Especially a lace one like this that can peek out from under your striped shirt. 

    I have a big soft spot for J.Crew swim. I’ve been wearing them since high school and they just fit. Their underwire option needs a call out. Swimsuit two pieces can be so tricky to fit in the top but this once goes by bra size and fits so well. This is also great to pair under your clothes if you know it’s going to show a bit. 

    A plus of a smocked dress is that I wear them bra-less which is especially nice when it’s hot and sticky in the summer. I like this one in black which might seem like not a summer color but I think it’s very chic paired with a classic sandal or a pair of sneakers. You can also wear this with a button down and tie it at the waist, a very 90’s move that is currently in vogue. This is also another great black dress option




    If you haven’t embraced summer as the time of the sun hat, it’s time to start now. Not only are they fun and chic to wear but they protect your face and shoulders when you’re running around outside all day. I love that this one is canvas which makes it really durable. I have some beautiful straw ones but they are impossible to pack and therefore don’t end up getting as much use. And this one comes in head sizes which is such a gift for large headed people like myself. I just ordered it! 

    I love a lightweight sweatshirt that you can stuff into your bag or leave in the back of your car for those unexpectedly cool evenings. I have one very similar to this and I wear it all the time. It’s slightly oversized and looks cute thrown over a dress, with shorts or pants. I love the grey and the purple. Order your normal size, it is cut to slightly oversized. 

    I am a proponent of investing in a pair of sunglasses that you love. They are basically the only accessory of the warmer months. You wear them everyday and having a pair you feel great in feels really good. I’ve had these Ray Bans for 5+ years and they are timeless. Order several pairs from a place with easy returns like Nordstrom and find your pair. If you’re looking for the polarized version you can find those here for only slightly more money. 

    Let’s pack in carry ons, throw together beach bags without too much thought, and embrace returning to life that is calling us out from our living rooms! -Joanie

  • Style by Joanie

    What Will We Wear This Summer?



    Iris & Ink


    BB Dakota


    Three Dots

    James Perse



    lemlem x H&M

    Farm Rio

    a style post by my sister Joanie. I usually try to post in between Joanie’s style updates, but she had this done and I thought it had such gems, it couldn’t be delayed.

    We’re entering post-covid life and if your world feels anything like mine here in LA, the energy and excitement is electric. This summer and fall are going to have more weddings, outings, beach trips and vacations than we’ve seen in a while and I’m ready for it. Most of us have probably spent the last year not getting dressed up and not buying many clothes but that’s about to change. My brother is getting married this summer which means a great excuse to buy a fun dress and I’m also looking forward to wearing lots of color and patterns. Below is a collection of some fun things I’m into and are fit for everything from a wedding to sitting poolside. Also, as a follow-up to the last Everlane post, the bike shorts and the barrel pants are both stand out items that I’ve been wearing often. The bike shorts feel like the lululemon align shorts, which I also love, but at a better price.



    Iris & Ink

    My friend Julie was wearing this dress a couple of weeks ago and it looks even better in person than it does online. A total steal at $25. It is meant to be oversized, almost mumu like so know that going in. I bought my normal size, small, and it has a great oversized fit PLUS pockets! I also like the vibrant purple of this dress.

    I know everyone is hesitant to buy from an online shop you haven’t purchased from before but there is a reason I always like the outnet, it’s such a great digital shopping experience. I love the elegance of this velvet trimmed dress and it can be worn all year long. It has a really beautiful pleating detail, a timeless dress.


    BB Dakota


    Ganni is known for their flattering wrap dresses and I love the sweet green print on this one. These dresses are very wearable, meaning they are comfortable and simple to throw on and you can wear them on a Wednesday with sneakers or a fancy sandal for a wedding/party. I also love the same print but in this version with buttons down the front, there is something very chic about buttons.

    Hard to resist the combo of blue and white stripes in the summertime. This dress is a classic that you can wear a hundred different ways. Those long vertical stripes will also make you look very tall!

    Am I the only one who has noticed how many cute things Gap has right now? This skirt is a combo of two trends that are in full force: tiered and gingham. It is currently on major sale and would be an example of something you can pair with one of the simple tanks below. Also, while we are at it – this linen shirt dress is ace.

    Three Dots

    James Perse


    I’m planning to wear lots of separates this summer and I’m always on the hunt for simple tanks that I can tuck into skirts and pants. Investing $50 in a simple top might seem crazy but they will become one of your most worn items and a great fitting basic is worth a little investment. I like this one because it would be easy to wear a bra with it, this is jersey so it’s going to feel fitted which will give you a nice clean line, and this ribbed option that comes in a pretty neutral shade.


    lemlem x H&M

    Farm Rio

    Captivated by this red dress! Great color, good price, 100% cotton and has the nice detailing of the laced up back.

    Lemlem did a colorful (and affordable) collaboration with H&M. This slip dress is under $20 and can be worn as a swim cover up or dressed up.

    My cousin introduced me to the brand Farm Rio and now I’m hooked. I love their bright colors. This is the happiest mini dress.

    Thank you Joanie! Another thing I love that Joanie does–she also (ironically?) writes a finance column on instagram for designlovefest.

  • Style by Joanie

    everything Everlane

    a style guest post, from my sister Joanie.

    I have never done an entire post dedicated to one brand but Everlane is a favorite of mine, and judging by these columns, a big favorite of yours as well. They recently launched swim which sent me down a rabbit hole of looking at all their new releases and there are a lot of good pieces right now. i ordered a bunch of things to try and i’m excited about many things but especially two new pants. Do you have a favorite Everlane item that you swear by? Do tell.

    a/ For starters, this black square neck one piece. i love swim in classic colors like white, black, red and navy. A square line is always very chic and i appreciate the full coverage underarm. i don’t like pulling and adjusting my suit for side boob and full coverage will solve that problem.

    b/ This is a great classic top option. Again, they nailed it with the under arm coverage. I can’t tell you how many suits have too much center coverage and not enough on the sides. I also like that this is a tie-back which will let you adjust as needed. Excited for this one to arrive. I got the black.

    c/ Better act fast on this one, limited sizes left because of the deep discounted price! This reminds me of the denim jacket I have and love from Sezane. A wear with everything all year round kinda coat.




    d/ I was shocked to see that these boots went to the sale rack because I own them and absolutely love them but then I remembered that the sizing is off and that’s definitely why they got discounted. Sizing aside they are an excellent boot and I highly recommend them. I ordered a half size up. I’m wearing them in the photo below along with the super straight jean.

    e/ I’m very excited about these pants and ordered them in the bone and cashew color. I ordered a size 2 and 4 to try. I don’t want them to be tight. I’m hoping for fitted in the waist, loose in the leg and tapered at the ankle. I’m always looking for a pant alternatives that aren’t denim and these are perfect.

    f/ Also very excited about these barrel pants. To me, a green pant is as versatile as any pair of jeans you own. I am looking forward to trying them in the green and black. I love a lightweight black pant for summer. These are cotton/linen which makes them perfect. Black with a pair of tan sandals, is timeless.

    g/ From the men’s section, I’m into this deep brown half zip sweater. I like the structure of a half zip, the collar really stays in place and this one is a great weight. I like it oversized and half tucked into pants or paired with denim shorts. Many of the sweaters I own are from the men’s section.

    h/ Half zip mentioned above would be very cute with these bike shorts. Bike shorts are the summer version of leggings. They are a bit on the nose as far as trend but they are so comfortable and surprisingly flattering.

    i/ The detailing on this white henley is very similar to the one sold by Doen. Both are strongly inspired by 1970’s long underwear, and I love them both! A white long sleeve shirt is great for warmer months when you want something to wear after a day at the beach that isn’t heavy and feels fresh.

    All links are affiliate. Thank you Joanie!

  • Style by Joanie

    Simple Principles for What to Wear on TV

    I received a request to do a post on things that look good on camera which I thought was an excellent question. It’s a subject that I know first hand as I was once on a TV show and wore absolutely everything that shouldn’t be worn and had to learn the hard way by watching myself on screen while shaking my head in horror.

    [This is a new post by my sister Joanie, who writes a regular style column for me. All links are affiliate. I love her thoughts on this question -Rachael]

    This isn’t just a post for people who will be on TV. We live in a digital age and there are a variety of ways that you may encounter some camera time, be it still images or video. These tips even apply to things like family portraits, etc. Have you ever worn something you thought was amazing only to see photos afterwards and want to burn them? Only me? 

    So first a couple of rules.

    #1: it is very tempting when presented with a fun opportunity to film something or take some photos to rush out and buy new clothes. I would highly caution against this, there is something that happens with new items where were are blinded by the newness of it and we can’t yet see it clearly. Which means, because it’s new you might think, “Wow, I look amazing.” and then decide in two weeks that in fact, you hate it. It’s best to go with something you’ve owned for at least a month and worn several times, minimum. 

    #2, this is not the time to pull out your trendiest outfit that you’d wear to interview at a fashion magazine. This is the time to wear something that feels like you. Looking comfortable is better than looking hip. Along that same line, no wacky/wild prints, stripes, etc. And nothing too flow-y, if you wear a flow-y top, balance it with something fitted on the bottom and vice versa. 

    #3, if you invest in anything, make it tailoring. Instead of buying a heap of new clothes, get somethings altered to perfection. Get the waist of a dress pulled in by an 1”, hem the pant to hit at the right spot of you ankle, shorten the sleeve of a blouse, etc. Also, shy away from anything too tight or too loose. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with your body, don’t give into the feeling that hiding in a large oversized dress will make you feel better. It won’t, I’ve tried it. Instead go to a full length mirror and tell yourself “I love you and you’re perfect just the way you are” 10x, even if you don’t believe it, say it (I’m not joking). 

    I’m going to suggest some pieces below that would be great on camera. They may seem boring to you but that’s intentional. And if you’re not going to be on camera, these are all great closet staples. Look up someone who is on TV a lot, like Joanna Gaines, notice what she’s wearing, essentially elevated basics, all the time. You never look at her and think, “wow, what a bore, mix it up would ya”. You think, “gosh, she looks incredible!” because she does and you will too. 

    a/ Banana Republic

    b/ Banana Republic


    a/ This is a great dress, it has really clean lines, it’s not too low cut so you won’t be pulling it up all the time. Color is really important on camera, pay attention to shades you know look good on you. I like all three of these colors but not the nude, it could make you look like your naked on TV.

    b/ Another winner. If you feel uncomfortable showing your arms (and many woman do!) opt for something with a fitted sleeve. This blue is beautiful, highly recommend this one. 

    c/ I have a top from Ulla Johnson that I adore but photographs terribly. It’s because it has a big dramatic sleeve and a high neck. Unless you’re wearing something really fitted like a tight turtleneck which generally looks good in photos/video. I recommend balancing a top with some skin. open a few buttons at the neck can really help break things up. Otherwise, it might feel like your top part looks like one big block. This is an example of a perfect top, I’d recommend a full tuck in if you wear it. This and this are also chic and great options. 

    d. LOFT

    e. LOFT

    f. J.Crew

    d/ For pants, keep them simple. Fitted, not too much fabric. Straight and skinny jeans are great options. I like these pants from LOFT. They’d be great with the white button down shirt from Everlane. 

    e/ I know I said no prints but this one is tonal (meaning the print is the same color as the top itself) so it works. I like how delicate it is and the vibrant color. This is an example of a top that is very cute but I would NOT recommend wearing on camera, it’s too loud and busy. 

    f/ This one wouldn’t work for me (I have a large bust) but if you don’t this is also a great option. I wouldn’t wear it if your skin is too pale but it’s a simple cut and would be cute with a pair of sneakers or flat sandal, no heels!

    g. J.Crew

    h. Vince

    i. Lacusa

    g. This whole outfit is a great on-camera look. Neutrals, not too tight, no prints, delicate jewelry, well tailored… It’s also worth noting that if you sweat a lot, which I do, to wear a dark color. Nothing worse than stressing about sweating and that stress making you sweat. 

    h. The same rule we talked about with blouses applies for pants. If you want to wear a wider, looser pant, balance it with a fitted top. Vince makes amazing basics and these pants are a great option. I would tuck in whatever top you wear with it. Something simple like this would look great tucked in to them. 

    i. A slip dress is also a good option. If you wear one, pair it with a denim jacket or a longer blazer. It can be too much skin for camera on its own but there is something very relaxed and easy about a slip dress. This is my favorite, I wear it all the time. 

  • Style by Joanie,  Vermont


    Tartan Blanket Co.




    Happy Habitat

    Hawkins New York

    Kaufmann Mercantile



    a style post by my sister, Joanie Cusack

    Rachael suggested blankets and I instantly had five favorites that I wanted to share. I use my throw blankets every single day, I love rotating them to mix things up. I like to throw (literally) them on my bed or wrap them around my shoulders while I read. A blanket and a candle go a long way to making a weekday evening of reading feel more like a trip to the spa. I always keep one in my car for outdoor occasions and you would be surprised by how often a car blanket comes in handy. I (along with the rest of instagram) am into quilts right now, the more colors the better. I don’t require all of my blanket to be super soft and cuddly. I also like the heavier ones too that lay nicely and can be used with vigor.

    Here is a collection of some favorites:

    a. Tartan Blanket Co.


    c. CB2

    a. Somehow this blanket manages to be waterproof which makes it the ideal thing to stash in your car for park and beach trips. And you can’t go wrong with a tartan blanket, it will forever be in style. Also, I love this shop in general, they are a florist in New York and have great curation.

    b. Hay is a favorite shop, they have a fun mix of things and it’s a great spot to find gifts. This wool blanket is a on sale right now and I love the deep green.

    c. If you haven’t noticed yet, checkered print anything is all the rage right now and this blanket is really working it. It’s alpaca which means it’s very soft but don’t make the mistake I made and wash it, you will end up with a very small baby blanket.

    d. Parachute

    e. Happy Habitat

    f. Hawkins New York

    d. I love all things ribbed and this blanket looks like a very glamorous sweater. Everything I own from Parachute Home has held up really well, I recommend.

    e. I really love happy habitat blankets. They have an incredible selection so many fun prints and colors. Their blankets really hold up and they are machine washable which means you can bring them to the park and get them dirty without stress. Hard for me to pick a favorite but I like this happy print.

    f. A more expensive option but it this more of a bed spread. I love Hawkins New York, they have the prettiest things. This terra cotta quilt is 100% linen and would be a happy addition to your bed in the warmer summer months.

    g. Kaufmann Mercantile

    h. Vintage

    i. Vintage

    g. I’ve already confessed my love for pint and i think this tonal blanket is very chic. We have a very conservative gray couch in our house that could benefit from the splash of color.

    h &i: My ebay obsession is the perfect match for finding vintage quilts. We recently got one and it has been my blanket of choice for movie watching. There are so many good ones but here are a couple favorites, this one is pricy but that color is so vibrant and remember, always make an offer when that option is available! I like how classic this one and this are, they’re both asking to be used at a summer cottage, left in stack by the door for picnics and fireside chats.

    I don’t think there’s a blanket in my house that isn’t regularly dragged out and cuddled with. They are all so loved! Thank you Joanie!