Invest in the Dress

Little Black Dress and Pearl Necklace

A few days ago, a good friend of mine asked me over a plate of portobello mushroom fries and a glass of overpriced sparkling water, “When you go shopping for clothes, what do you look for?”

After a moment’s thought, I told her, “Quality. I like to keep my closet lean and invest in beautiful pieces that I know will last a few solid years.”

Custom Made Office Dress

Rewind to my college days when I gravitated towards trendy, flimsy pieces that broke down after 3 nights out (ahem, Forever21). Granted, at that time it was all I could afford but as soon as I started earning a decent paycheck, I found myself becoming more critical of the things I bought.

Black Sheath LBD

I wanted clothing that lasted and reflected my newfound sophisticated taste. Now, the more I learn about the manufacturing process, the more I make it a point to never consume mindlessly.

Little Black Dress Details

Quality over quantity became my tried and true, albeit cliché, shopping motto. So beautiful fabrics, impeccable stitching and carefully thought out silhouettes became must-have qualities.

Tailored Black PIOL Dress

A year ago, I discovered  PIOL — makers of custom-made dresses — a company that makes all kinds of LBDs (Little Black Dresses)  with an attention to detail that would make even Miss Hepburn proud.

Black Cat Eye Nina RIcci Sunglasses

I spy with my little eye… the perfect LBD!

Opera Length Pearls

Of course, it’s an investment and each tailored dress will cost you a pretty penny: $550 to $650. But when you can tailor a dress to your exact measurement and tastes — from the neckline to the pattern — and unique shape — from your bust to your height, it’s an investment that pays itself off in the years to come.

Plus, it’s versatile enough to look killer at work and play.

Classic LBD Dress

Style Notes
PIOL black sheath LBD
Nina Ricci black cat eye sunglasses similar here
Christian Louboutin black patent leather pumps similar here
Opera length pearls similar here
Helen Kaminski straw clutch similar here

Beauty Notes
Giorgio Armani red lippie

Photos by The Amazing Sabrina Hill of Party With No Cake


My Favorite Skin Products to Live and Die By in Cold Weather

work-glasses

Want to know how I wore these sunglasses with a pair of leather culottes for the office? Peek here.

Cold weather has a way of taking it out on your your skin, leaving it flaky, dry and parched. The worst is when you hop into your car before work, do a quick “check” in the rear-view mirror (we all do it) and to your dismay, the chilly air has already done it’s damage. Your cheeks feel like sandpaper and the pesky corners of your nose are already chapped.

To avoid this skin faux pas when you’re on the go, here are my favorite winter-ready skin products that will keep your face hydrated and healthy.

Skin Products for the Winter

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliating at least once a week removes dead skin cells and helps other products, like your moisturizer, absorb into your skin. You can either use a buffer or an exfoliator to gently slough off dead skin cells and get that polished glow. I love the Mia 2 by Clarisonic—it’s a splurge, but worth every penny.

2. Moisturize

Before applying moisturizer, keep the bathroom door shut. The humidity from the warm shower (FYI: hot waters dries out your skin)  helps lock in moisture, which is why it’s also best to apply lotion when you’re skin is still damp.

3. Hydrate

Treat yourself to a hydrating mask once a week to give your skin some much-need love. I currently adore Irish Moor Mud, an odorless mask that decongests and draws out all the icky dirt from a long week, replacing it with vitamins and fresh-looking skin.

4. Lip Care

As a notorious lip biter, my lips get especially chapped during the frosty season. To combat this, I swipe on some Champagne Cocktail lip balm. The plant oils and cocoa butters keep them soft without being greasy. Plus, the hint of sweet champagne doesn’t hurt.

5. Sunscreen

A common misconception is that since summer has passed, you can toss out your sunscreen. Don’t make this mistake: the sun’s rays are just as damaging as ever (especially if you’re exposed to snow glare). Protect yourself with sunscreen before you walk out the door, rain or shine, hot or cold.


I like BB cream by Dr. Brandt, since it doubles as foundation and sunscreen. Great for when I’m in a rush.


Say It With Cupcakes

Cozy Winter Ready Outfit

This Valentine’s Day, I’m skipping the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and reaching for a sweet, seductive cupcake instead. If that petite treat just so happens to be from Sprinkle’s magical Cupcake ATM (uh, genius?) , who’s going to stop me?

Luckily, said Cupcake ATM just so happens to be near my neighborhood and I headed to the one in Beverly Hills. Confession: I’m a cupcake die-hard and this may or may not have been my 1787 time here.

brown-balmain-sunglasses
cupcakes-sprinkles

Automatic cupcakes? Hint: the answer is yes.

chocolate-cupcakes

I’ll take one of each, thank you very much.

Cupcake-ATM
Sprinkles-ATM-machine

Sweet, tasty Sprinkles for lunch > Boring salad.

Winter Boots
cupcake-atm-machine
palm-trees

Nothing beats LA’s blue skies.

Winter Office Jacket
cupcakes-sprinkles

A quick peek inside their boutique: delicious human cupcakes on the left; adorable mini cupcakes for your furry friends on the right.

Ferragamo Clutch

Pairing my cupcake with a healthy dose of Ferragamo.

BCBG Jacket

Snacked on a couple when I got back to work (oops!) but brought home a week’s worth of cupcakes for By. Love is in the air, after all.

Dark Chocolate Sprinkles Cupcake

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day, Ambitionistas? Romantic dinner for two?
Cocktails with the girls? Do tell in the comments below.

Style Notes
Balmain Brown Sunglasses similar here
BCBG Black Wrap Cardigan similar here
Ann Taylor White Shirt similar here
Ferragamo Calf Hair Clutch similar here

Photos By Sabrina Hill of Party With No Cake
Special Thanks To Sprinkles Cupcakes Beverly Hills


Stress-Free Tax Season Tips

It’s that time of the year again: tax season. While the fateful day can be cause for fits of anxiety and stress, I’ve learned that being organized helps to make April 15th less “Week of Total Chaos” and more “Week of Mild Annoyance.”

So, how can you, my dear Ambitionista, no longer be at the mercy of a few pages of paper?

I thought you’d never ask.

taxes-april

1. Know Your Tax Status

Life happens. Did you get married this year? (Or, divorced?) Kids enter the picture? Dad move in to live with the family? Did all this happen this year? These might be situations that affect your tax status and make you eligible for more than one. Before you file your return, think about the past life events and any exemptions you may have.

2. Designate a place to keep your documents.

Half the battle of tax season is sifting through all the messy paperwork. So, gather all your receipts, expense forms, sources of income (1098, W-2 or 1099 forms), deductions such as receipts, property tax documents, etc. and records of any investments.

Having one place for all these important documents will save you time and that migraine that seems to hit as April looms closer.

I recommend these apps to help you with organizing:

Expensify: a quick solution to capturing cash expenses, mileage, reimbursements, etc. and importing all card transactions.

Shoeboxed: a ridiculously simple way receipts and create expense reports

IDonatedIt: an app that keeps track of non-cash donations

3. DIY or Hire a Professional?

Are you going to be filing your own taxes this year? If so, it’s especially important to be aware of changing tax laws and to double check information you include — putting in the wrong social security number can delay the process and even cause you to file your papers late.

If you’ll be hiring a tax professional to do your papers, make sure you contact them at least a month ahead of the deadline. Tax season is huge for them and they get swamped with people who wait until the last minute. So don’t try to call an accountant three days before the 15th — chances are they’ll tell you to get in line. How to get a good tax accountant? Look for someone who seems like she’s got her s**t together < cough cough> and ask for a recommendation. You can go on Yelp (no seriously) or Google and look up 3-4 potential candidates. The best tax accountant is someone who has experience working with people in your profession. So, if you own a restaurant, for example, look for an accountant with a lot of restaurateur clients. Mainly because they can give you all kinds of advice on how to manage your finances based on similar experience.

FYI: While trying to file your own taxes may save you money upfront, a tax professional who does this for a living might save you a lot more money in the long run. If you’re a small business, a contractor or own several properties, you’ll be spending a lot of time sweating the small stuff. A pro, however, gets paid to do these tedious tasks and can help you pay less in taxes or maximize deductions.

how-to-file-taxes

4. You Waited Until the Last Minute. Don’t Panic.

When filing online, the return won’t be considered on time until the IRS formally accepts it for processing. So, make sure you file at least two days before the deadline. If you’re going the snail mail route, there’s a list of IRS-designated private delivery services to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These include:

Federal Express (FedEx):

FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.

United Parcel Service (UPS):
UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

For tax returns to be considered on time, the papers must be postmarked by April 15, 2015. If it comes down to the day-of and there’s no possible way you can get your returns in on time, then file for an extension. The penalty for not filing or getting an extension by the deadline is harsh — 5 percent to a max 25 percent per month of the amount due on the late return.


We’d love to hear your own tips for making tax season easier. Let us know in the comments!


Knock ’em Dead Valentine’s Day Accessories

This year, Valentine’s Day crept up on me and all of a sudden, we’re less than a week away from a holiday associated with lacy lingerie and romantic candlelight dinners. The only problem? I’ve been so knee-deep in emails and meetings this past month, that I haven’t had a chance to come up with a killer look for date night with the beau. For those Ambitionistas in the same boat, I put together Valentine essentials for the working woman.

So whether your style is classic, contemporary or casual, here’s everything you need to wow this weekend. Just pair a flattering black or red dress (or suit!) with one or more of these handpicked accessories.

date-night-accessories

Dolce & Gabbana red semi-sheer lipstick
Kendra Scott 14k cat’s eye black stud earrings
DVF metallic clutch
Yves Saint Laurent iconic rouge nail polish
Juliet & Company winged crystal earrings
Fendi fuchsia leather envelope clutch