Clothes to Sweat In

{by alexis} I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I love to work out. The truth is, I don’t. It eats up part of my day and you guys, it’s HARD. But I do love the feeling I get when I finish whatever idiotic workout kick I’m currently on: I have energy, I’m happier, and I feel good about myself. These are the reasons I exercise.

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve got a membership with ClassPass, a new way to exercise around the city. We’re having a great time picking classes and trying new things (like HOW IMPOSSIBLE PURE BARRE IS), so I’ve been building up my gym wardrobe considerably in the last few weeks.

Whether you’re getting back into the swing of things after the holiday eating contest (what, just my family?) or whether you’re trying to make good on those new year’s resolutions, you’re going to need something to wear. My stance on fitness fashion is that it should be inexpensive and comfortable. That’s it. You’re not going to find any $100 pair of Lululemon leggings on my list. I’d rather spend money on clothes I’m happy to wear. You know, like blardigans. So check out the places that I bargain shop for gym basics.

fitness fashion | wander & whineNordstrom skews on the more expensive side of my spectrum, but I legitimately cannot live without my Zella leggings. They’re super supportive and hold everything in and smooth it out. They look equally great paired with sneakers and a tee and riding boots and a chunky sweater. These are a must.

Alicia is a fan of the active wear collection at Old Navy. And who can argue with their price point! This funnel neck pullover is a great layering piece for in and out of class, or for a brisk dog walk. The ruching detail on the tee is cute but not too much.

Gap is a no brainer. There stuff is also priced reasonably and you can almost ALWAYS find a coupon code. I own these pants, and they’re a great alternative to the tight or legging. And this tank is cute without being obnoxious.

Amazon is a little trickier. Their stock is so large, you have to use a million filters just to get to a manageable amount of products. They’re good if you know what brand you’re looking for. These Soybu yoga pants are a new addition to my collection, and I’ll tell you the fabric is SO SOFT.

Target is obvious, right? It should be. You can snap up stuff from the clearance section or for full-price and you’ll never pay too much. A perennial favorite of mine is the boyfriend tee, available in a rainbow of colors. I also favor these sports bras for weekend wear. They’re not the most supportive, so I wouldn’t recommend them for running.

Finally, Victoria’s Secret is also a solid choice for active wear. They have plenty of cute pieces like this baseball tee or this scoop top, but they also have inexpensive basics. Wait till they offer a free shipping coupon and stock up.

There you have it! Almost all of my active wear was purchased from the retailers you see above. You don’t need to blow your paycheck on clothes to wear to the gym. Wear what makes you happy and comfortable, and enjoy the burn!

Presents to Self

{by alicia + alexis} It’s the time of year for the gift guide, no? We’ve posted one, and some of our favorite bloggers have posted their own versions, too. But what you don’t often see is what the bloggers are buying themselves. In this post, we’ll both list the treasures we picked up for ourselves while shopping for the other folks in our lives.

{Alexis’ List}

things I bought myself | wander & whine

one. This is the season for warm, over-sized sweaters, and, in my opinion, no one does it better than Vince. I picked this up on Gilt during Black Friday sales and paid next to nothing. Pro tip: do NOT size up. Not a member of Gilt Groupe yet? If you’re curious enough to give it a go, consider using my invite link; then I could buy more sweaters!

two. These are the Dannie pants from J.Crew. You hear a lot about the Minnies, and even the Curators, but these are the true unsung heros. In total, I’ve got four pairs of these pants, including a version with leather details. I like a work pant that’s slim, but not tight around the ankle. They come in three flattering dark colors, and the best part? They’re machine washable!

three. Ask Alicia: I’ve been hunting for a planner for MONTHS. After all the searching, I ended up buying the first one I looked at, which is this spiral bound beauty from Paper Source. It’s got enough room to write, and keeps the monthly calendars together and separate from the weeklies.

four. Anthropologie is my kryptonite. I was NOT disappointed by this beautiful blazer, though it needed a good steaming once it arrived.

five. I’ve been trying to hold off on buying any home goods till we buy a house (STILL LOOKING), but I couldn’t resist this gold constellation tray from C. Wonder. It can catch jewelry, nightstand minutiae, or even mail.

six. This is the Kate Spade cupcake skirt I’ve been lusting after forever, and I can’t wait to wear it on Christmas eve! Don’t worry — I did not pay as much as you see on the link. This was another one of my Gilt finds.

seven. Sephora has been running a good amount of deals this month, and I’m always more than happy to pick out a present for myself. I’ve been into masks lately, and here’s a collection of trial sized goodies that won’t break the bank.

eight. Speaking of breaking the bank…I have been coveting this Tory Burch York Buckle tote, but it has been excluded from literally every sale she’s run on her site. Cue dramatic tantrums and epic frustration. But! Shopbop saved the day with their sitewide discount, and I saved myself a cool $50. (Still expensive, I know but it’s something.) This bag is the workday BOMB.

nine. Another Paper Source purchase! This personalized notebook is perfect for throwing in my bag for on-the-spot notes. I chose the “bombshell” font for a more whimsical look. No, I didn’t order one with the name Jeremiah Potter on the cover.

ten. Anthropologie strikes again. This removable fur collar won me over, and it’s coziness earned it some space in my closet. It will be perfect Christmas morning present-opening and pup-snuggling.

{Alicia’s List}

things i buy | wander & whine

one. Since I’m all about comfort these days, I have been living in this furry hooded parka from ASOS. It’s warm without being bulky, and I got it for an absolute steal during the madness of Black Friday.

two. Francesca’s is my go-to shop for statement necklaces, and it didn’t disappoint when I was looking for some sort of bauble to jazz up my holiday frock. I especially like this one because of the multicolor beads–it complements so many outfits! It’s also great for ramping up your everyday look without being too dressy.

three. My skin is hideously dry in the winter, and this light cleansing oil from The Face Shop gives me an extra surge of moisture while melting every inch of makeup off my face. Don’t be afraid of putting oil on your face. This cleanser doesn’t clog your pores in the slightest, especially when you follow up with a gentle foam wash.

four. I work at a startup, so the dress code is pretty lax. Though I try not to be a total slob, I took my footwear a step further and adapted these moccasins into an office slip on. The furry lining keeps my feet extra warm which is great for those of us with poor circulation, and I’m cozy all day long!

five. Do I even need to explain this one? It combines all of my favorite things into one perfect shoe. Cake! Polka dots! Pink! Conversation starter! I can’t wait until spring when it’s warm enough to bust them out every single day.

six. My mother is Korean, therefore my skin regimen is super Korean (she’s in her fifties and her skin is to die for, so my night routine is like 10+ steps). This also applies to my makeup regimen. There is a total difference between real BB cream imported from Korea, and the stuff I find in the states (which is more like tinted moisturizer). So, I tend to sway towards Korean brands like Skin Food and Tony Moly for my fix. Target is now carrying Laniege (another awesome brand), so I had to try their BB Cushion. This handy compact makes it easy to swipe on in the morning and touch up during the day. PLUS, it has SPF 50! Bonus!

seven. I love how this watch from Rakani is reminiscent of Dali’s melting clocks. Plus, I wanted a cheerful color for these gray winter days and this pink and rose gold combo fits the bill nicely!

eight. Philosophy’s  3-in-1 washes are the best. Not only do they smell delicious (I always want to eat the bottle), but they multitask, and take up less space in the shower. When I saw the Pink Frosted Animal Cracker scent (I almost wrote “flavor”), I had to have it!

nine. Blanket scarves are a game changer. Between these and my sweater cape, I am authorized to go into public swathed in a throw. You guys, blankets are parading as clothing and it’s socially acceptable! What’s crazier is that I get daily compliments on my said blanket outfits. Comfort fashion for the win!

ten. Adult onesies are genius. Don’t we all secretly want to revert back to childhood? Sure we do! I unabashedly rock a plush, cat-print version on the weekend (no shame), and it’s like I’m a cozy bear. I hear you laughing. Don’t knock it until you try it!

A Visit to Ivy Bridal Studio

{by alexis} A few weeks ago, I was invited to come and check out Ivy Bridal Studio, a wedding gown salon in Dublin. How could I resist! As I mentioned in my wedding recap, bridal gowns are the absolute best part of planning a wedding. And when would a poor, married lady like me ever get a chance to skip about in the tulle and lace wonderland that is a bridal salon? I jumped at the chance to spend some time gawking at the dresses, and getting to know owner Jackie Trucco.

Calling this place bridal heaven is by no means an exaggeration. You’re welcomed into a big room with tall ceilings, and the walls are lined with rack after rack of diaphanous and silky fabrics, that beg you to touch them. I only wish they had been open when I was shopping for my dress. Instead, they opened their doors in March 2013.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineivy bridal studio | wander & whine The space is carefully and artfully put together, with soothing greys and sophisticated muted pinks and purples. All the better to make the dresses truly pop.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineOnce I stopped running from corner to corner gushing about this dress and that one (seriously, LOOK AT THE SKIRT ON THAT). I let Jackie get a word in on what sets their salon apart from others around town. In case the pictures aren’t hint enough, it’s clear that Ivy Bridal offers a vast variety of types of gown. Yes, you’ll find your lace v-neck…

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineBut also the frothy pink beaded number you thought didn’t exist in real life. It does, and it is GLORIOUS.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineJackie explained that she did an ungodly amount of research before opening, even visiting bridal fashion week in NYC, before picking the designers she wished to work with. She only stocks what she likes. Turns out, I don’t mind it so much either! She did confess to being drawn to this strapless striped number, and you can see why.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineWhere have you seen this before?! Do you not want to crawl in from the bottom and find a fancy party to flounce off to? Can you really ONLY wear this dresses at your own wedding?

And check out this ball gown.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineAre you dead? Have I killed you? If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of my favorite dress in the store.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineThough simple, the details on this dress were so well-done, so sweet I couldn’t stop photographing it. Here’s the front.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineThe raw-edged lace at the bust! The cummerbund! The teeny-tiny straps! It is all too much for me. Jackie is lucky I didn’t INSIST on putting this bad boy on.

After reminding myself that this wasn’t play time, I asked Jackie what advice she has for brides just beginning their dress shopping, and she suggests staying open to all types of dresses. Convinced you’ll wind up in a sleeved number? Try it on, but don’t forget that dresses like this EXIST:

ivy bridal studio | wander & whine

Jackie also warns against that dress epiphany, the moment that “Say Yes to the Dress” has capitalized on over the years (and YES OF COURSE I WATCH IT). Don’t be discouraged if your heart doesn’t immediately go THAT ONE, THAT ONE. You’ve got a lot to think about: time of day, venue, season — all of these things effect the dress selection.

If you do head into Ivy Bridal Studio, you can expect an intimate experience. They only take one appointment at a time! Just think: You’ve got ALL that hardwood on which to spin! And I absolutely endorse a practicing your dance moves in anything you’re seriously considering. Oh, and they let you take pictures in the dress!

Of course, Jackie does more than just dresses. You can find veils, jewelry, bridesmaid dresses, and the most INSANE (read: amazing) BEJEWELED BOLERO I have ever seen.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whine ivy bridal studio | wander & whine ivy bridal studio | wander & whineI can’t say enough good things about Jackie and the store. The stock is the bomb, and the service is great.

And if you go, can you take me with you? I promise to sit politely on the purple davenport and gush over how lovely you look! I just want to be where the gowns are!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Compensation was provided by Ivy Bridal, but all opinions are my own.

Ivy Bridal Studio is located at 4441 W Dublin Granville Rd in Dublin, Ohio. Hours are by appointment only, but generally Tues-Thurs 11am-7pm; Fri-Sat 10am-5pm; closed Sun-Mon.

For Him and Her Gift Guides

{by alexis} Somehow, Thanksgiving is behind us already, and before us we have the glorious gift-giving holidays, characterized by a frenzied shopping season and long list of those you have to buy for. Here at Wander & Whine, we are great fans of shopping all year round. In fact, I legitimately consider shopping to be one of my most beloved hobbies. So let me help you! What follows is a fool-proof gift guide. First, we have a guide for him.

for him gift guide | wander & whineSee, there’s plenty to choose from!

one. I’m not suggesting you try to buy Schmidt’s the building, but grab a logo tee or a package of sausages and he’ll love you forever.

two. Homage never fails. He wants to go to football games and you want him to not look like he just picked himself up off the floor of the frat house. If he insists that that old shirt with the holes and the mysterious yellow stain is lucky, assure him that this new one will be lucky after a few short games, too. I mean, he trusts his team, right?

three. Booze is always welcome in most places. Try some old scotch, or a new favorite like our own locally distilled Watershed or Oyo. Throw a bow around the neck, and done!

four. Again with the sports. Autographed memorabilia isn’t cheap, but you have so many options. Be sure to find one with a hologram or certificate of authenticity.

five. All of the men in my life love to grill, so you can’t go wrong with a gift set of precisely mixed spice rubs. Check out Etsy if you want something special.

six. Smart watches are perfect for gadget-y guys. This new one from Asus is getting great reviews, and I’ll bet money that the James Bond vibe he gets from this will have him grinning from ear to ear.

seven. Oh, look, we’re drinking again. Buy him fancy cocktail glasses for his new bottle of whiskey, so he can look out the window and pretend he’s Don Draper.

eight. Touch gloves may be unoriginal but I promise he’ll use them. I can’t be the only one who can’t find both gloves after stashing them away for the summer.

nine. Cashmere is another classic gift. He’ll most likely never buy this for himself, but he’ll love wearing it. This is kind of like Mammy’s red petticoat.

ten. Merge his two favorite things, college sports and Star Wars in this t-shirt.

for her gift guide | wander & whineShe’s a tad easier because, well, I’m a she!

one. In my head, I throw a million fancy parties and need to have a million ice buckets for a million bottles of champagne. Help a sister out.

two. Bangles from here to eternity! They go with everything. Buy a few sets for mixing and matching.

three. Why have we only now started putting faux fur on everything? Every year I ask for a giant furry blanket because they are the most wonderful thing to curl up with. Bonus points for a machine washable version.

four. Maybe she’ll want to be more organized if she has pretty things with which to work! Enter this adorable jewelry box.

five. If she’s more of a scatter-everything-everywhere type woman (I can relate), perhaps a tray is the better choice. This will catch jewelry, mail, hand lotion — possibilities are endless!

six. You guys, I’m here to tell you that slippers AREN’T BORING. Cold feet are the WORST side effect of winter, and a nice pair will keep your tootsies toasty.

seven. Though we associate wellies with rain, these warm socks outfit them for snow, too.

eight. Paper Source is the bomb. These wall calendars showcase some of the most original, whimsical patterns and posters I’ve seen. And points for functionality!

nine. If she’s a minimalist, don’t mess up her groove. Grab some geometric post earrings to add a little edge to her look.

ten. Seriously, buy her an infinity scarf. YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MANY SCARVES. The fur versions are the most attractive to me at the moment, but you can’t go wrong with a cable knit either. The chunkier the better.

eleven. Behold, the blardigan. This magnificent piece combines a blanket and a comfy wrap sweater. I own this in the merlot color and I swear I wear it every day. Clothiers, please continue to make clothing that doubles as bedding. I’ll buy it all.

And there you have it! Hopefully, this will get those gears grinding and you can find something for everyone on your list. Check out some other gift guides from us, too, in case you need more ideas.

I can’t let you go without reminding you to ALWAYS google for a coupon code before you purchase. There’s no reason to pay full price, ever!

What are some of your favorite gifts to give or receive?

Marmi Grand Opening at Easton

{alexis & alicia}

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This week, we were kindly invited to the grand opening of Marmi Shoes. So together, we let the balloon bouquet lead the way and we popped in to see the selection. First I must say how kind everyone there is: we got a lovely tour, and a great description of the products. Here is just one wall of the store.

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A lovely set-up, no? Okay, real talk. Shoes are hard for me. I happen to have really wide feet, thanks to my bizarre, born-with-’em bunions. All those delicate, strappy sandals? They make my feet look like jungle beasts that were tied down to prevent escape. Stiletto heels? Not happening. I’m about as graceful as a lumberjack. To make a long story short, looking for shoes is a great labor of my life. But Marmi is great for that: They specialize in carrying uncommon sizes (4-13), and most of their shoes come in varying widths (HALLELUJAH).

Looking around, you’ll see shoes meant for all age groups. And, before Alicia pipes in, I thought I’d show you some of my favorites.

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Given the foot problems I described above (charming, aren’t I?), ballet flats are my go-to. But I love the little heel on these: the height is so flattering, and the material gives it a modern update.

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Driving moccasins are always a favorite of mine. They look so polished and can be so comfortable! I’m always looking for a good pair of these for traveling–and these would be ideal. They have a sturdy rubber sole for gripping, and a super cushy foot pad.

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And then there’s these beauties! I could hardly put them down to take the picture. I know I just whined about heels, but we all know that wedges don’t count. I’m obsessed with all things metallic, and don’t these just scream summer to you? The wide band near the toe is also super-flattering for bunions (this word is so hideous, I’m sorry); that part of the foot is shielded without being constricted too much. And, with wear, the leather will give a little to fit juuuust right. Also: that clutch in the background? So cute.

{alicia}

I have to second the clutch situation at Marmi. I lost count of how many little bags I wanted for my very own.

Exhibit A. AMIRITE?

Exhibit A. AMIRITE?

This bright clutch, that Alexis so kindly modeled for me, was one of my favorite things in the store. Strips of wood banded with colorful stripes makes for a unique statement piece you can carry both day and night. It also comes with a chain, so you can can wear it as a cross body or as a shoulder bag. Versatility is our friend, guys.

Speaking of which, I suppose if I had to describe this place in one word, versatility would be it. Anyone, whether they are in their twenties or fifties, can find their perfect (and comfortable) shoe. They have a wide range of styles, sizes, widths, and materials. I’m talking from sensible loafers to something a bit more avant garde:

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Or casual options for spring (it’s bound to be warm someday, right??):
IMG_9241And even formal pieces:IMG_9227

Comfort is key at Marmi, but you won’t be strolling out with a pair of bizarre, orthopedic whatnots. Style is not sacrificed for the sake of being comfortable. There is a happy marriage between both, and as someone who ruined her feet in stilettos during college, it’s a welcome concept.

IMG_9197Marmi will be celebrating its grand opening through Sunday with 10% off for customers who donate a pair of gently-used shoes for the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless (in addition, 10% of the sales will go to the cause).

Marmi is located at the Easton Town Center (right by C. Wonder) at 4026 The Strand East. Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10:00 AM-9:00 PM, Friday-Saturday: 10:00 AM-10:00 PM, Sunday: Noon-6:00 PM.

BHLDN in Chicago

{alexis}

Last weekend, husband and I packed our bags and jetted off Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day. But I had something to do first. Upon landing, and planting husband firmly in front of a TV for the Buckeye game, I headed off to meet one of my best friends for a bridal appointment at BHLDN Chicago. This had always been our plan, and, thanks to my intuition, a surprise appointment, and a healthy amount of peer pressure, we were making it happen.

I walked into a beautiful space across the street from the Waldorf Astoria. I checked in and started wandering around, taking it in; I was in a bridal wonderland.

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Upstairs, every nook was filled with the stuff of wedding dreams: engraved forks, books on every subject, hangers from every decade. The decor was different in each room — here was a ceiling floral arrangement, there sculptural birds soaring from one corner of the room to another. Milk jars, and place cards; cake stands and bunting. It was Pinterest on fairy dust and crack.

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Each case held a different collection of jewelry, belts, hair clips, tiaras — every beautiful artifact a bride could ever want. Throughout the store were racks of dresses for every event: mother-of-the-bride, bridesmaids, bathing gowns, rehearsal dresses, shower dresses.

Finally, I stumbled into the gown gallery. Every dress that I saw online lived here, on these mannequins. I love bridal gowns more than your average bear, sure, but this room was breathtaking. See?

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The dresses were so different in person. Some of them hardly caught my eye online, but in person I could hardly bring myself to leave their side. Helpfully, each gown has a tag with its name and price.

This is where the bride found me. After the requisite hugging and yelping over rings (I refuse to be embarrassed — we were in a BRIDAL store), we were led by our stylist into our own suite.

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The stylist gave us flutes of champagne and I happily settled into the vintage couch that I swear came straight from a neighboring Anthropologie. She was an all-business bride — in a dress for a mere moment before declaring that, though it was beautiful, it wasn’t hers. She was halfway into the next one before the words left her mouth.

Until, of course, she found what may be the dress. There was a good deal of accessorizing, toasting, and even a little bit of crying. (Yes, women really cry about this.) She even did a practice aisle-walk in the hall outside. Really, the hallway was made for this.

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All in all, it was a lovely experience. BHLDN is a different kind of bridal salon. Their business model is vastly different than most: Once you’ve ordered, your dress ships in five business days, and you have up to thirty days to make a return. They buy a limited number of gowns, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. This could be perfect for my friend, who has an opportunity to show the dress, in person, to her mom in Michigan, with room for a return.

The stores aren’t everywhere, but if you can get near one, I can’t recommend stopping in enough. The gowns are exquisite, and so different. Frankly, it was a miracle that I didn’t sneak one into an empty dressing room for a go, but, you know, it’s all about the bride.

BHLDN Chicago is located at 8 E. Walton Street in Chicago, IL. Appointments necessary to try on gowns. Sun, 12-6pm; Mon-Thurs, 10am-7pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-8pm.