How do Dress from Work to Party

Recently I had a chance to style a segment for the zulily blog on how to take your daytime look to evening in a pinch by Claire Magruder, zulily’s in-house style expert. Here it is!

Ok ladies, November has arrived, and we all know what that means: Holiday parties, gift giving extravaganzas, piles and piles of cookies to bake, and all of this on top of your everyday workload!  All of the social events that come along with the holidays are such fun, but can seem a bit daunting when you think about your daily routine, and how to possibly fit it all in.  To make life a breeze from the office to a night out on the town, here are a few ways I stay organized day to night.

But first, the bag…

work to party bag

Make sure you have a designated tote bag with a simple makeup/hair kit, room for a great pair of heels, jewelry, dry shampoo, and a sparkly layer.  Carry this to work with you, or leave some of these little extras stashed in your desk.  You never know what events might pop up on the agenda at the last minute, and being able to do a simple prep to get party ready at the end of the work day makes life so much easier.

Rouge the night away

cherry red lip for going out

Cherry Red is the color of the season.  I’ve seen it all over the runways and in the pages of every magazine, and what I love about the color is that it’s easy to incorporate into your everyday routine. It can be as simple an addition to your work attire as a glossy red lip and red suede pumps.  Or,  try wearing a pretty red dress and blazer to work, then remove the jacket for night, add metallic heels and a clutch, throw your hair up in a casual French twist and you’re ready to hit the town!

It’s all in the details

work to party black pencil skirt

Most of us need to look polished, serious, and professional on the job, which often means basic black pencil skirts or A-line dresses and blazers.  If you don’t have much time to get ready for an after-work function, try something as simple as packing a pair of stockings that have some flair and detail to them.  My favorites right now are sheer black with a lace pattern, or anything with embellishments like little pearls or rhinestones.  I love how easy this makes dressing up… sometimes it’s just a little touch that really makes the outfit!

Smaller is better!

maroon skirt party outfit

Always pack a smaller purse to bring out at night.  I suggest a cross body bag that you can fit the essentials in… house keys, credit cards, phone, lipstick of course, and leave your work items at the office.  That way you’re not lugging a big bag around all night, and you can bring everything else home the next day.

Don’t forget to add eyeliner!

eyeliner for after work event

Nothing says party like a smoky eye, and what an easy update this is.  I don’t go overboard here, just a little extra liner to define the eyes do the trick.  Smudge it in a bit, add a shimmery highlight right below the brows, and you’re all set.

Add a little sparkle

sequined skirt party outfit

Sequins are my major holiday go-to because they’re such a seasonal fashion item.  I love sequined pencil skirts paired with a flowy blouse, or cozy lightweight crew neck sweater.  Again, stay simple with this trend and wear just one piece that incorporates sparkle.  I always try to balance the whole look, so that I’m on trend and look festive, but still approachable.

Channel your inner rocker with a moto jacket

moto jacket party look

Office holiday parties are always the hardest to dress for.  You want to look festive and pretty, but it’s important that you maintain a sense of professionalism… maybe save the mini skirt for girl’s night out?  My go-to are always black pants, with a bunch of sparkly bling.  Statement necklaces or chandelier earrings brighten up that basic, and a leather moto jacket is the perfect topper to stay warm while out and about.

Remember to have fun with it all and that the holidays only come once a year.  I try to revel in the business, and enjoy the hustle and bustle while it lasts… soon the festivities will die down, and we’ll all be back to our regular routine in the New Year.  Celebrate now with a little extra festive fashion thrown in for good measure and check out our work to party event from 11/10/2015 to 11/12/2015.

zulily Trend Expert- Claire Magruder

claire magruder

As zulily’s trend and fashion expert, Claire constantly has her eye on what’s next. Whether it’s the best new look for an upcoming event, that necklace you just have to have, or a bigger picture look at this season’s trends, Claire is our go-to for fashion and style advice.

Claire has a background in styling and design, with published work in the likes of Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, OK Magazine, Seattle Magazine, and more.  She has worked on such television series and feature films as Boardwalk Empire, The Big C, The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, Winter’s Tale, and more. Claire is the founder and author of the blog, That Pleasant Surprise, which focuses on finding the beauty in our everyday lives.

Claire lives in Seattle with her husband and Black Lab, “Scout”, and loves exploring the beautiful Northwest with weekend hikes, ski trips in the mountains, and boat rides on the Puget Sound.  Traveling to new places is a passion, and her favorite way to discover the newest and greatest next thing.  Sharing all of this, and life’s great experiences with friends and family is the icing on the cake!


Unique Gift Ideas for Christmas

Gift ImageChristmas shopping for me last year was beyond stressful.  My loved ones had supported me emotionally, mentally, and more all year.  But what could I give them that would say, “Hey, I love you”? What could I possibly get that either, a) they didn’t already have or b) that would not be just another thing for them to put in their closet or house and be forgotten?

I was tired of giving away “things” to other people, things that did not matter and had little significance to them other than another addition to their pile of “stuff.” As I was pondering gift ideas, I remembered a date night idea I had a few months earlier: a cooking class. I began to look at different events taking place in my city and realized that the perfect gift was:

The gift of experience. 

My husband and I decided to buy a cooking class for his parents who were experimenting with being vegan. They loved it! In fact, everyone we gave a gift to last year were beyond happy. In order to spread the Christmas joy, I would like to share with you ten unique gift ideas that would make your family and friends think of you as their Santa Claus.

  1. A cooking class. There are various types of cooking classes you can take, with focuses on appetizers, desserts, spices, Thai food, meatless dishes, etc. While some classes can be expensive, if you shop around, you can find different classes that fit your budget.
  2.  A crafts/design class (sewing, jewelry making, upholstery, decoration). For my sister-in-law’s birthday, I gave her a short class on making jewelry.  I brought the tools and jewelry making books and she took to it quickly and beautifully.
  3. A concert. What better present could you get or give than a night relaxing while enjoying some of your favorite music? Make this an extra special night by including dinner.
  4. A day at the spa/massage (a couple’s massage works too). I love going to the spa. I go in with all this tension I did not know I had and come out feeling relaxed, beautiful, and happy.
  5. An activity such as a Zip line. Have you ever Zip lined across a valley? Wow! What a rush! At first you’re scared because of the heights or the newness of it, but then you start going and it’s a pure adrenaline rush. This could be the perfect gift for the adrenaline junkie in your life.
  6. A personal trainer. Most people gain weight or become their unhealthiest during the holiday season. Although I believe you can enjoy the holidays without overindulging, I know it’s hard to resist all the goodies around you.  What better way for them to start the New Year than to hit the ground running.  Get them a personal trainer at their gym or find one through your local classified ads.
  7.  A chocolate/cheese tasting event. Chocolate and cheese; need I say more?
  8. A dance class. This is one gift I would love to receive.  I love to dance and would not mind learning a few new steps.  Dancing makes me feel alive, sexy, and beautiful.
  9. A trip. This need not break the bank.  If you book a trip far enough in advance, a trip can be pretty affordable.  Alternatively, a cruise is cheaper the closer to the trip you get your tickets as they are trying to fill up all their cabins.
  10. Time. Time is the most precious commodity we have.  What better way can you show someone you love them than by giving them the gift of your time? Take the time to do something they enjoy with them.  It could be as simple as dinner.  My sister is an extremely busy woman and so nothing means more to me than when she takes the time to just be with me.  I know it’s a sacrifice for her but she makes me feel like she would rather be there in the moment with me than anywhere else.  If you are going to take the time for them, then take the time. Be mentally as well as physically there with your loved ones.

What experience have you enjoyed or have given as a gift?

laureen headshotBIO: Laureen is a freelance writer with a background in medicine. Although writing has always been her passion it was not until she was having a “how we want to raise our children” discussion with her husband that she came to an interesting realization; how could she teach her children to follow their dreams ambitiously when she was not living her own? At that point she started her writing career.  She recently started a website to help others gain clarity for their lives and business at

Rustic back yard wedding | wedding stylist


At the end of the summer, Joseph and Felicia had a rustic back yard wedding reception in Vancouver, Canada and I had the pleasure of being the event stylist and calligrapher. It was such a perfect day for a back yard wedding! The low light was so lovely and romantic.


They had a vintage, shabby chic vision with burlap, hay bales, twine covered Mason jars, ferns, and chalkboard sign accents.

backyard reception by dave choo

Photo by Dave Choo

Here’s to the happy hipster couple!