Fall Neutrals

Even though it doesn’t feel like Fall, at least we can dress like it.

At first glance wearing neutrals may seem a little boring or (god forbid) even basic, but the trick to elevate your look is to pick and pair interesting shapes and textures together.

Scroll down to read my outfit formulas for three anything-but-basic neutral looks for transitioning into Fall.

Pleated pants + Crop Top + Sandals + Blazer

I like to juxtapose masculine pleated dad-pants with a fitted crop knit top and some dainty footwear. Catch a breeze in this not quite Fall weather in some kitten heeled sandals and a crop knit top, but keep a blazer on hand for when the sun goes down. If you aren’t a crop type of gal, just tuck in your top and you are set.

Turtleneck + Black Denim (on Sale!) + Boots (on Sale!) + Leather Jacket

I always feel instantly cooler in a ‘model off duty’ type of way when I wear nearly all black, combat boots, and a leather jacket.

Feminine Top + High Waist Jeans (similar under $100) + Slide Pumps

A pretty blouse and high waist denim is timeless and chic. These nude pumps are actually slides with a twist detail that adds interest – (and also makes them easier to kick off at the end of a long day)

Thank you for visiting!

XO,

Zahra

SUBSCRIBE

Video: Get Ready With Me ~ Home Decor Plans + Summer Makeup

My favorite summer makeup look and the city that is the inspiration for ALL of my future home decor

Hey guys! After a brief hiatus, I’m back on YouTube! I’m a little rusty though it seems, because in this video I forgot to turn on my microphone – whoops! Anyone who shoots video with a DLSR knows how terrible the camera audio can be. I freak out a little bit at the end of the video when I realized it, but after watching the whole thing, I realized it wasn’t all that bad! (I didn’t edit out my freak out, so I hope you can at least get a laugh out of my pain.)

In this video I’m sharing my summer makeup favorites, including the foundation that I get asked about constantly, a new blush that gives the perfect pop of orangey pink to the apples of your cheeks, and my pick for best summer lipstick.

I hope you enjoy! If you do, don’t forget to hit that like button, and subscribe to my channel so you never miss a new video.

Some of the products used:

12 Easy Outfit Ideas To Copy Now + Introducing the #shoppedmycloset challenge

About a month ago while unpacking yet another box of clothes that I haven’t worn in years but also can’t seem to part with, I realized I had been wearing the same yoga pants for days on end while letting so many of my gorgeous real clothes stay folded away, untouched and unloved. I read somewhere that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe – and for me and my yoga pant addiction, that even sounds a little generous. I think it stems from childhood, when my mom used to save our ‘nice clothes’ for special occasions, and we wore only our crappy play clothes every day. Sometimes, we would outgrow the nice clothes before even getting a chance to wear them!

As a style enthusiast, I enjoy getting dressed and wearing nice clothing. I also feel much better when I’ve taken the time to put on a nice outfit on, and do a little hair and makeup. I’m right there with Tom Ford when he said ‘dressing well is a form of good manners’.

The Challenge

To solve my dilemma of feeling blah in my everyday yoga pants, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not wearing my real clothes – I challenged myself to shop my closet and wear a new outfit every single day. For anyone who doesn’t work in an office, you know how difficult this challenge can be. The outfits aren’t at all fancy, my only rule is: no workout clothes. Check out the slideshow below to see a few of my recent outfits, and read the caption for details on the look and styling tips.

The Result

Overall I *loved* doing this challenge and I am going to keep it up as long as I can. It’s sort of like working out, there were some days I wasn’t in the mood at all, but once I did it I was glad that I did. If you want to join me and shop your own closet, do it! If you decide to post it, use the #shoppedmycloset hashtag too – I’ll be looking out for it!

(To catch up on all of my daily #shoppedmycloset outfits, follow me on Instagram and check out the ‘Style’ highlight.)

Thanks so much for visiting as always! Be sure to subscribe so that you never miss a post

xx – Z

  • black-skinny-jeans-gold-slides-olive-green-jacket
  • white-eyelet-dress

    Five Simple Ways To Practice Self-Care

    Today’s post was inspired by mental health awareness month back in may, which is when this post would have been extremely relevant and timely, but as goes my life motto these days, its better late than never!

    We live in this world full of people and circumstances that are out of our control, and we can’t exactly isolate ourselves from every thing or person that gets us down, right? So that is why its critical we need to make time for self-care. Self-care may be a trendy word at the moment, but it has always been a basic human need, and it always will be.

    I often get messages asking me how I balance it all and how do I always seem so happy and relaxed. My answer to that is, I don’t balance it all, and I’m not always happy and relaxed – but I do my best! 

    So here are some of the things I do:

    1. Go for a walk. I love getting outside and breathing fresh air, it instantly improves my mood. I go in the mornings with my dog, before the kids wake up. It is like a meditation for me to be outside when it is so quiet all I hear are the birds chirping.
    2. Journaling – Writing down my feelings, especially the difficult ones, at the very least helps me figure out how to handle whatever it is I’m going through. It has given me major insight into my own self, what motivates me and what fears I have. One particularly rough day, I wrote down all of the thoughts I had about myself that moment, and some of them were such harsh criticisms that when I read it again I actually felt bad for me. Journaling helps me look at myself from the outside in, giving me a whole different perspective to consider.
    3. Exercise – Sweating and pushing myself is the best way to get out of my own head and clear my mind. Most of this year I’ve been slacking in the workout area, getting back into it now feels amazing. I honestly forgot how good I feel after. I wake up early before the kids and do about 30-45 minute workout. Per week I aim for 2-3 days of resistance training using body weight and dumbells. If I am able to, I like to add two days of yoga, dance, or any other movement I enjoy. I found I am able to stay motivated after I joined a few girlfriends together in an instagram group dedicated to wellness – we message each other every time we do something good for ourselves – like a workout, a walk, or meditation. Even when I wasn’t adding to their conversation, just reading their notes made me want to be a part of it!
    4. Grooming – Taking care of my outward appearance is important for my self-image. Getting my hair done, nails done, facials, all of it is important to me.  As women we aren’t supposed to act like we care about our looks, or else we are considered shallow and self-centered by society.  However, we are also just supposed to look like we magically woke up like Beyonce in a snapchat filter. Taking out some time to feel like a princess is something I do for me regularly, without any guilt or shame attached.
    5. Date Night – Making time for dates and romance. It is so easy to let life, kids, work get in the way of your relationship – especially when you’ve been with the same person for a while. Making time for you and your significant other a real priority is such an important way to care for yourself – we all need to feel loved right?! Every time Tom and I make time to go out to dinner alone, or go to a concert or movie, we remember how much we actually enjoy each other’s company.

    My Favorite Dainty Gold Earrings

    My love of fine jewelry was genetically inherited from my mother. As a kid I remember going to visit her safe deposit box every time there was an event that called for jewelry, (and there were many!). I would drool over all of the shiny gold and sparkly baubles she owned. Each piece in her collection of vintage and new jewelry had a story behind it, each one special and unique. I even got my ears pierced as a baby and wore the same dainty gold hoop earrings for most of my childhood. That was the first piece in my growing collection that I hope to share with my Sophia one day.

    The newest addition to my jewelry collection are these gorgeous gold earrings by New York based sustainable jewelry line AU-Rate. They are sophisticated, elegant, and truly unique. I love that you can style them a few ways by pulling the earring shorter or longer, creating multiple looks. The entire line is absolutely stunning, and if that weren’t enough, they are also ethically sourced and sustainably produced, with a strong emphasis put on both the quality and design.

    I took my new bling out for a spin on a date night a few nights ago, and I think it really elevated my otherwise simple outfit – even Tom admired them and asked me how they keep from falling out of my ears! I think no outfit is truly complete without a little jewelry. It’s like the icing on the proverbial cake – which also just so happens to be my favorite part of cake!

    Let me know in the comments below if you are more of a clothes, bags, shoes, or jewelry person (like me!)

    Links to everything else I’m wearing can be found below the images.

    Thank you for stopping by, as always! If you like this post, consider subscribing so you can receive updates every time a new post is live. (I’ll never spam you, promise!)You can also follow me on instagram for more!

    Note: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal 

    Necklace | Pants: Iro (thrifted from Material World but here is a similar style) | Cami: Rebecca Taylor (Similar Style) | Shoes

    More similar styles:

    Our New Forever Home + 7 Moving Tips I Wish I Knew

    I can’t even believe I am actually typing this but, as of now we have officially moved in to our new home! Moving an entire house is hard enough, but moving with kids is chaos. When we first started looking for homes, Tom and I had two completely different ideas of what we wanted. I wanted to live in the city or very close to it, and Tom is a complete suburban boy who hates to deal with city traffic and parking. I wanted an old home with tons of character and I was willing to give up on square footage for a piece of history, and Tom was set on having a spacious open concept home. Tom wanted lots of nature, a big yard, and a quiet street, something I liked too, but not enough to live far away from civilization (Chicago).

    After we sold our home in less than a week, we were in a huge rush to find a place to move. We saw tons of homes and we didn’t agree on anything. We argued a ton, and there may have also been some silent treatment going on. We were packing up and looking at potential homes non-stop, all this going on while fasting during Ramadan. One day after a particularly long day of house hunting, I literally broke down and just cried out of frustration, and probably a little bit of hunger too. I cried and prayed to find something we both loved and that we could make our forever home. After all that crying, I felt a wave of relief and I decided I’m just not going to stress about it any more.

    We found our dream home the next day. 

    The place we ended up with wasn’t in the city but it is walking distance to a train station and a cute downtown area. It was built in 1916 but it was completely renovated (with historical accuracy) so we got additional space and the convenience of new windows, plumbing, and hvac. We are on a quiet street right next to a nature trail. I’m completely thrilled with the space, but it is going to be a while before we are fully unpacked and each room is personalized to our tastes. Since we don’t plan on moving ever again (if we can help it!) we are going to take our time and do it right. I’ll be sharing my room makeovers as we go – stay tuned!  For a tour of our new home, visit the ‘Home’ Highlight on my instagram page.

    I learned a lot from this move, mostly what I could have done better to make the transition smoother. Read on for seven tips I have for your next move!

    Moving Tips (that I learned the hard way):

    1. Pack a box of Kitchen Essentials with things you use daily and bring that with you, in your own car, on your move-in date. In a sea of moving boxes, that one box you desperately need will be impossible to find. Include a frying pan, a few glasses, bowls, plates, spoons, etc. Basically anything you’d find in an extended stay hotel kitchen. After a week of take out three times a day because we couldn’t find silverware or a frying pan, we couldn’t wait to be able to cook our own meals.
    2. Label everything clearly. This one is obvious but somehow we still had boxes that said ‘Master Bedroom’ without any hint of what was inside. When there are 20 boxes that say the same thing, you can imagine the frustration. Especially necessities like bedding, put an entire bed in one box so you aren’t looking for a sheet from one box and a pillow in another.
    3. Declutter as much as humanly possible before you even start to pack. I spent an entire *year* Marie Kondo’ing my place and I still have way too much junk I don’t need. I sold quite a bit of my stuff on Facebook Marketplace, and I even donated a lot of things. Yet I still have tubs of miscellaneous items from my old basement storage that is now in my new basement storage. Le sigh.
    4. For parents, plan ahead for childcare on moving day, and for at least the first few days in the new home while you get settled in. Unpacking and running errands like school registrations are much easier when you don’t have a toddler getting into unsafe boxes of tools, or trying to run outside all day long.
    5. Ask for a fixed bid. Most moving companies charge hourly, and we ended up paying significantly more than our quoted price. Note: You do have to have an idea of what your cost would be in order to go this route. If you are doing the hourly rate, save yourself some time and money by disassembling your beds and tables ahead of time and wrapping everything up together with stretch wrap.
    6. For packing materials, check facebook marketplace – where we ended up giving away all of ours. We didn’t realize we could do that and we bought everything ourselves. Facebook can be a hit or miss so if you are buying, we found we got the best deals from Amazon and Home Depot.
    7. Be sure to measure your new place and any furniture you are bringing with you to ensure it will fit. Do not ‘eyeball it’ or say you will ‘figure it out later’ like we did. Not only did the move take longer because of our error, we currently have a 4 piece sectional sofa that doesn’t fit, an extra sofa from our basement that didn’t fit through the stairs, and ANOTHER sofa that was in our den, something we don’t have here- so 3 sofas that we DO NOT WANT are currently in our living room. Don’t be like us.

    What other moving tips do you swear by? Share below!

    Ramadan Reflections

    Top | Jeans | Shoes

    For the approximately 1.6 Billion Muslims around the world, this is the Holy month of Ramadan, where Muslims abstain from food and drink from sun up to sun down for 30 days. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam – the others are Faith, Prayer, Charity, and the Pilgrimage to Mecca. This year I’ve been journaling a little every morning after Sehri (the morning meal) and I thought it would be fun to share with you some reflections I’ve made from fasting in Ramadan, now that we are finally in the home stretch.

     For me the hardest part about fasting isn’t the lack of food and water, but the mental challenges that go with it. First of all just waking up at the crack of dawn to eat before fasting all day shakes me out of my normal routine. I notice all of my mindless habits, like snacking to procrastinate dealing with something, or snacking out of boredom, or sadness, or happiness (I snack a lot). The point is I am forced to become much more aware and intentional in my actions.

    On the same note, I’ve noticed my mental attitude has a direct effect on how easy or difficult fasting is for me. If I go about my day begrudgingly fasting, in victim mode thinking about how hard it is, I will really struggle. If I do it with positive intention, and a goal of getting stronger spiritually, it honestly becomes a pleasure. It has taken me years to get to this stage where I can actually enjoy and find pleasure in fasting. Knowing that ultimately I am the one in control of how I feel, is incredibly empowering. This mind over matter attitude could improve so many other aspects of my life – fitness, work, relationships, money, everything.

    One of the things I struggle with most while fasting is trying not to lose my temper, and avoiding negativity and gossip. The other day my kids were driving me up the wall but I was so wiped out from fasting I didn’t even have the energy to yell at them so I took some deep breaths and turned on a podcast I liked and just immersed myself in other stuff. What happened after that was they eventually stopped doing whatever it was that made me crazy, (like they always do) and I didn’t have to go in to full on psycho mom mode, which is something that I always regret later. Gossip is also something that is so hard to avoid, but I’ve learned when I keep quiet and don’t add any fuel to the fire, the people gossiping with me usually lose interest and change the subject.

    After the initial excitement of Ramadan wears off and it’s just day after day of sitting with myself, slightly weaker trying to be as productive as possible (and failing miserably), this is the hardest time for me. It forces me to humble myself and slow down, when my ego just wants to keep achieving. My ego is constantly being challenged this month, when I’m not able to distract myself with food and drink for long stretches, I find myself feeling uncomfortable, emotional, and vulnerable. Learning to sit with myself and feel all the feelings gives me the space to really work on myself and become more conscious.

    I first heard the statement ‘you consume much more than food’ a while ago from Deepak Chopra but it really set in the other day while I was fasting. Eating is just one of the many things we consume. Everything you see, hear, touch, or smell, you are consuming. When I’m focusing on consuming things that will raise my spiritual vibration like laughing with my friends or family, praying, mediating, or taking a walk outside feeling the warm sunshine or smelling the flowers  – I feel way more ‘full’ in every sense of the word.

    I’m definitely looking forward to going back to enjoying all of life’s indulgences again soon – but this month of Ramadan has given me a lot of gifts I will hold on to forever.

     

    Living Room Makeover: Before + After

    Sharing my living room makeover with you all today! I started this project a couple of months ago, with plans to make some serious changes – (read all about my original design plan in this post). But, as the saying goes – we make plans, God laughs… The fresh paint had barely even dried on the walls before we decided to move out of the house we’ve called home for the last eight years! At this point I had only painted the room in Dolphin Fin by Behr, and I had swapped out the (boring) old couches for this gorgeous luxe green chesterfield from Anthropologie.

    I wanted to do minimal additional work in the room since I knew I’d have to leave it behind, so I just worked on staging the room for showings. It’s a good thing I did because the same week we listed our house, it sold!

    I have to say, I think the new paint, gorgeous sofa, and pretty decor really made the room look much more fresh, elegant, and put together than before.

    What do you think? Scroll all the way down for the before, and for links to paint and products!

    Before:

    After:

    Wall Paint: Behr Dolphin Fin

    Sofa: Anthropologie

    Chairs: Thanks to The Room Place

    Pillows: Kelly Wearstler Graffito in Salmon Cream (Purchased from Dekowe but I would NOT recommend buying from them – I had a horrible experience)

    Rug: Villa Rug

    Sconces: Thrifted

    Wall Art: Z Gallerie

    End Tables: Right West Elm (no longer available, but here is a similar style) Left: West Elm 

    Candles & Table decor: HomeGoods

    Life Lately…

    Bralette  | Pants |(similar) Cardigan | Art | Pillows (L&R)

    Hey guys, its been a minute. I almost didn’t write that because honestly I hate it when bloggers start a post by apologizing for being away so long, as if anyone even really noticed – haha. That being said, I feel I do owe it to those who have noticed, to let you know why its been a little quiet around here.

    I started 2019 with the intention to take a step back from blogging – something I go into a little more detail on The Demureist podcast, called Of Woman Nature -which you can find anywhere you get your favorite podcasts. To sum it up, I was a bit burnt out, frustrated, and unsure of my future in this social media world because its such a new and ever-changing industry. I didn’t want to just keep doing it because I’ve been doing it for so long, especially if it was stressing me out. I started feeling this way a while back, at the beginning of 2018, and thats when I decided to branch out and take some comedy and photography classes, read more books, and just dabble in anything that interested me.

    I’ve always had a competitive streak, and throughout my life I’ve usually been successful at anything I put my mind to – but for some reason my audience wasn’t growing as fast as I wanted and – to be quite honest I did feel like a failure. At one point I was editing a thrift haul Youtube video, and I noticed all I was doing in the video was complaining and making excuses for myself, which really put me off. That person isn’t me, I thought – and I knew I had to figure my shit out quickly or I was about to continue to be miserable. So, i took time off and spent the first quarter of the year really just taking it easy, focusing on family and having fun. We also took a couple of trips, and spending time in nature was just really, really good for me. I actually started missing all of the creative stuff I did with the blog, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

    While on my break, I thought why not try another side hustle? So I started applying for some part-time jobs where I could work remote – but nothing panned out, which was a good thing because I wasn’t excited about any of them. But I figured I might as well build some skills in another industry if I’m going to be quitting blogging for good. Then something really amazing happened. A few weeks ago, I interviewed for an opportunity that is a *dream* career move – I can’t share what it is yet because I still don’t know if I got it or not (sorry!). The project-based job would require me to travel for a few weeks – and I would have to come up with a childcare solution and do all kinds of finagling to make it actually work. And I was/am willing to do all of that, just for the chance to have this dream career move.

    Then it hit me like a ton of bricks – all this time, the seven years since starting Love Zahra, I realized I’ve been waiting for someone else to discover me and give me an opportunity to shine, before I would come out of my own comfort zone. I was willing to go way above and beyond for something I perceived as a great opportunity, but for myself I’ve been putting in the bare minimum. I’m not saying I didn’t put in a lot of effort in creating this space, but I know in my heart I could do so much more. I was focusing on things I couldn’t control, like how many followers I had, when I should have been focused on creating and doing the things that bring me joy. Realizing how much I actually do enjoy what I do here, and knowing that I’ve only just scratched the surface in what is possible – makes me so excited I could scream. So now if I get that dream job or not, I’m just fine because I’m going to be having a grand old time doing what I love already.

    So here’s to believing in yourself, finding your joy, and makin’ moves!

    xx

    Zahra

     

     

     

    Spring Refresh: What’s In My Cart…

    Spring is here (finally!) and there are a few things I am planning on getting to freshen up my basics. These are the pieces I wear over and over with some of my more statement pieces in my wardrobe. Take a look at what is currently in my cart!

    Most of these are a part of the current Shopbop Sale – where you get 20% off order under $500 and 25% off order over $500 using Promotion Code: EVENT19.

    1. High-waist white denim. For me, there is no Spring (or summer for that matter) without white jeans. This season I’m in the market for some super high-rise ones like these because I’ve decided I never want to *not* wear high-rise jeans and I need them in every wash. 
    2. Fresh T-shirts. I’m always either spilling something on my white tees or if I don’t, one of my kids definitely will. So replacing my old with fresh bright white tees is a must. One of my favorite classic outfits is a great blazer with a t-shirt and a few dainty necklaces, a pair of jeans, and flats. 
    3. Cute jewels. I’m a sucker for fashion jewelry, and I mix it easily with some of my fine pieces. I just bought this necklace and I can’t wait to wear it alone as a choker or layered with another longer necklace. 
    4. Updated basics. Like a basic tee, I love adding a few staples that have a little something extra. I love the exaggerated shoulders in this style, that would look perfect tucked in to anything from a wrap skirt to denim.5. Rayban Hexagon sunglasses. Confession – I’ve already bought these so they aren’t technically in my cart, but they are new and they are my favorite and they are on SALE so I just had to share.

    Affiliations

    Windy City Blogger Collective Member

    Terms

    all images and content, unless otherwise noted, are property of zahra sandberg. Please request permission prior to use of any of my images. if you have further questions, email me at zahra{at}lovezahra{dot}com.