May 31, 2011

Slow Start.

Hey y'all!  Did you have a good long weekend?  J and I went down to visit my family in Florida, and we had a blast.  We're all worn out from the water and the sun, so I've gotten kind of a slow start on my week.  But while I was relaxing, I finally got the chance to flip through the latest issue of Rue Magazine, and, as usual, came away with tons of inspiration for our own little house.

*Images via Rue Magazine.

I've been so stuck on the idea of a bar cart for our dining room, but I'm really loving the set up in the first picture, and we have a ton of "counter space" on top of our sideboard.  And those glass shelves would be a really cool alternative to the bookshelves I have been thinking about in the living room.  Hmmmm.... too many ideas!

May 27, 2011

Retail Therapy: Chance.

So y'all this is a new series I'm thinking about starting - I come across a lot of cool online stores and sites when I'm putting together posts, but sometimes I only end up featuring one item and if you don't click on that particular link, you could be missing out a really great new (to you) resource.  I don't know about you, but I sometimes need a little ::hrrrm:: distraction to get me through til the end of the day on Fridays, so I thought this would be a good day for it.  Hope you like!

First up is Chance.  I've featured their striped shirts before, but they also have tons of cute accessories and jewelry.  If you're looking for classic, preppy staples, definitely check this site out.

May 26, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Leighelena Wide Buckle Bracelet

I've been drooling over these gorgeous bracelets ever since Erin posted them on Elements of Style earlier this week.  There are so many fun colors, but I think the orange is my favorite.  It's one of the seasons hottest colors and it would look great with any of this season's OTHER hottest colors - turquoise, honeysuckle, neon yellow.

{Leighelena Wide Buckle Bracelet - $110.00}

May 25, 2011

Book Report, Vol. 4.

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, and thus the official start of the summer season, I thought y'all might want some summer reading recommendations.  

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - Keep one thing in mind if (when) you read this book: it's NONfiction.  It's hard to remember that at times because the story is so remarkable.  Louis Zamperini was a record-setting Olympic athlete who was training for the the 1944 Olympics when the United States got involved in WWII.  He was as a B-24 bomber navigator flying missions in the Pacific.  When his plane was shot down, he survived 47 days on a raft at sea only to be captured and held as a POW by the Japanese.  I read this book in about 2 days while we were down at Pawley's.  The writing is some of the best I've ever read, and the story is beyond compelling.  If you only read one book this summer, I would say make it this one.  (And to top it all off, Zamperini is still alive and kicking at 94 - he just threw out the first pitch at the Sox/Cubs game a few days ago.)

2.  Little Bee by Chris Cleave - Oh man, this book.  It's hard to talk about it without giving away too much, but it's essentially the story of two women, a 16-year old Nigerian orphan and an upper-middle class British journalist, and it's narrated by alternating between their points of view.  The whole crux of the story is how their lives collide and what happens in the aftermath.  It is a heartbreaking, brutal story but don't let that deter you - it's incredibly well written and so, so good.  And if you do read it (or already have), come back and tell me what you think happened on the beach.  

3. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch - This book tells the story of Jakob Kuisl and his daughter Magdalena.  Set in the 1600s in a small Bavarian town, Kuisl is the town's executioner, but with a twist - he has a conscience. (In another interesting twist, the author is actually a descendant of the Kuisl clan).  When a boy turns up murdered with a mysterious tattoo, a townswoman is arrested and held as a witch.  Kuisl believes she is innocent and sets out to solve the mystery before he has to torture her and put her to death.  There are tons of action scenes and plot twists to keep you guessing, and the author does a good job providing historical details and context without making it boring.  I found the ending to be slightly far fetched and at times the writing is a little clunky (it's from a German translation), but overall, it was a really fun read.  

4. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - Keep one thing in mind when you read this book: it's fiction (but it is based in fact and extensively researched).  The Paris Wife is the story of Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's first wife, and the early days of Ernest's career when the couple was living in Paris and rubbing elbows with the likes of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and the Fitzgeralds.  Even though the marriage fails, in a totally gut-wrenching way that will have you screaming, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" at Hadley, it is essentially a love story.  After all, the author got the idea to write it from Hemingway's own memoir, A Moveable Feast, in which he wrote about Hadley, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."  Gah.  How sad is that?

5. Ape House by Sara Gruen - This one is the "beach read" of the bunch; I flew through it because the action is quick and the background is really interesting.  The story starts with the bombing of a university research lab which is studying language and communication in Bonobo apes.  The bombing injures the head scientist, Isabel Duncan, and traumatizes the apes.  In a panic, the university sells the apes and they eventually surface on a smash-hit reality TV show.  Isabel ends up working with John Thigpen, a journalist who had visited the lab and interviewed her the day before the bombing, to help get the apes back.  This one ends a little too neatly, and overall it isn't as good as Water For Elephants, but if you want a fast-paced, easy-to-read book for the pool or beach, this is a solid choice.  (Way better than, say, Something Borrowed, which I so strongly disliked I can't even bother to review it.)

What are y'all reading lately?  I always need recommendations, so leave me a comment!

May 24, 2011

Knife Edge.

So apparently all the cool girls are rocking knife pleated skirts.  I love this look for summer - it's easy breezy, but ladylike and super easy to take from day to night.  What do y'all think?  Do you have pleated skirt?  (If you do, please leave a comment and tell where you got it because I want one like yesterday.)

*Image via B. Jones Style.

*Image via My Style Pill.

*Image via Sterling Style.

May 23, 2011

Day Date.

Yesterday I decided to take a page from Carrie Bradshaw's book and take myself on a date with my city.  First, I went to Columbia's art museum to see the new Rembrandt exhibit, which was AMAZING.  I am seriously impressed with the museum - in addition to the Rembrandts, it also has a gorgeous Chihuly chandelier, a collection of Tiffany stained glass, a Monet, and a Botticelli.  Pretty impressive for ol' South Carolina, huh?  Then, after the museum I went to Cupcake to get myself some red velvet goodness.  Yum, yum.

I was going to really dress up, but then I realized it was 96 degrees outside, so I opted for some casual shorts and a loose blouse instead.  I usually hate how I look in shorts, which is really inconvenient since SC has one temperature (steamy) for eight months of the year.  But I found these last year, and if I wear them with tall shoes, I actually kind of like them.

Shorts - LOFT (last year); Shirt - J.Crew (thrifted); Wedges - Cynthia Rowley for Target; Necklace - Premier; Wrap bracelet - ?? (store in Chas); Yellow bracelet - Handpicked (gift); Bag - Lands End Canvas (gift)

May 20, 2011

Copycat: Emma Roberts.

This could be my summer uniform: cute maxi dress, leather belt, a jean jacket for breezy nights, and casually tousled hair.  

*Image via People.

If you want this to be your uniform too, I can get you everything but the hair.  (Actually, I can probably get you that too - try this.)

May 19, 2011

Sweet Sheaths.

A sheath is my favorite dress silhouette.  It's so chic and flattering, and if you choose a dress in a solid color, you can make hundreds of different outfits with the other pieces (jackets, jewelry, etc.) that you already have in your arsenal.  Plus, because the sheath is such a classic, there are tons of options every season, and you can easily find one with the right length and neckline for you - not to mention the right price.

*All images via People.

 1. Calvin Klein Stretch Luxe Belted Sheath Dress - $118.00 via Nordstrom
2. Tahari Pleat Trim Woven Sheath - $108.00 via Nordstrom
3. White House Black Market Faille Sheath Dress - $79.99

Thirsty Thursday: Lauren Merkin Juliette Bag.

I've featured Lauren Merkin in Thirsty Thursday before, and I'm doing it again because this bag is just so perfect, I had to share.  

{Lauren Merkin Juliette Bag - $450.00}

May 18, 2011


So I think my love of leopard print has been well documented on this blog, but lately, I've been noticing tons of snake print.  I'm not sure I've decided how I feel about it yet - I think I like it best when it's monochromatic and not quite so life like.

1. Parker Cami Dress - $264.00 via Boutique To You
2. MICHAEL Michael Kors Python Embossed Belt - $65.00
3. BCBG Max Azria Molly Flats - $98.00 via Zappos
4. Kenneth Jay Lane Snake Print Bangle - $60.00 via Endless
5. Lauren Merkin Louise Python Clutch - $200.00
6. Kate Spade Licorice Roccia Pump - $298.00 via Footnotesonline
7. Gigi Chic Oval Cutout Python Bracelet - $!50.00 via Max & Chloe
8. By Malene Birger Roisin Snake Print Skirt - $265.00 via Net-A-Porter

What do y'all think?  Would you wear a python print?

May 17, 2011


This past weekend, J and I went down to Pawleys Island for little beach time at his family's vacation house, Seapost.  It was a really fun, completely relaxing weekend, and I can't wait to go back again.

This is the outfit that I wore on Friday - I needed to be running around doing last minute errands before we left Columbia, and I wanted to be comfortable on the three hour car ride.  Plus, we ended up going to meet everyone for dinner before we even went to the house, so I was really glad that I hadn't just thrown on some sweatpants.

Skirt - TJ Maxx; Camisole - Banana Republic (old); Chambray shirt - J.Crew; Necklace - JewelMint; Sunnies - Marc Jacobs; Sandals - Target

While we were there, the moon was only a day or two away from being full, and it rose right off the house's main deck.  It was so bright on Sunday night, it was like daytime.

Now,let me just say a few things.  First, doing outfit pictures is something that I've wanted to do since the very beginning of Penny Loves Charlie.  In fact, it's the whole reason I started the blog, but then I got intimidated.  I'm not a size two.  I don't live in NYC or California, which is where all of the big bloggers seem to be.  I don't have a professional photographer husband to take my pictures - although I think J did a great job.  And because of the flood/bar/job situation, my clothing budget is pretty tiny.  But I finally decided that it's time to stop making excuses and get out of my own way.  So, I'm going to start slowly with one or two posts a week and see how it goes for a little while.  If y'all like it, please leave a comment and let me know.

May 16, 2011

On The Fringe.

I love fringe because it's such a playful detail - certainly it adds interest when you're moving, but it looks just as good when you're standing still.  Plus it's versatile; in suede or leather it's totally boho chic, but in a silky or sequined material it can be totally polished.

1. Hype Ellie Fringe Clutch - $97.99 via Macy's
2. Topshop Cream Beaded Tank Top - $90.00
3. Winter Kate Gypsy Rose Vest - $289.00 via Shop The Trend Boutique
4. Hive and Honey Fringed Bib Necklace - $13.97 via Piperlime
5. Candie's Tassel Fringe Flip Flops - $22.00 via Kohl's
6. Juicy Couture Laurel Canyon Woven & Fringe Dipdye Bracelet - $62.40 via Zappos Couture
7. Pieces Leather Tassel Belt - $59.09 via ASOS
8. DVF Fringed Silk-Chiffon Dress - $565 via Net-A-Porter

Did y'all have a good weekend?  J and I are still down at the beach - it has been a gorgeous weekend, and I am very sad to have to come home today.  Oh woe is me. 

PS - I jumped the gun on Twitter yesterday, so I'll say it again: Congrats to J and C and all of the other kids graduating from Wake Law today!

May 13, 2011


Hey y'all! Happy Friday!  I'm sure you've heard by now about the Blogger outage of the past 24 hours.  Since the site was down last night, I couldn't write a post for today, and, as you can see, my posts from yesterday have been erased as well (though hopefully only temporarily).  Very soon, I hope to be something like this...

...since J and I are trying to get out of town to head to Pawelys Island for the weekend.  I've been working, packing, and cleaning this morning so there won't be a real post today, but I hope that by Monday everything will be back to normal around here!

If you just can't go three whole days without some Penny Loves Charlie in your life, you can always follow me on Twitter.

Hope y'all have a great weekend... see you Monday!

May 11, 2011

Southern (Interior) Style.

The latest issue of Lonny is chock full of gorgeous interior design in two of my very favorite cities: New Orleans and Charleston.  These are just a few of my favorite images; as always, there is lots more gorgeousness to be found in the rest of the issue.

Umm... hello black walls and amazing Greek key tile.  In my dream house, I am definitely having a black wall somewhere.  So glamorous.

Speaking of glamour... yowza! My dream living room in my aforementioned dream house will definitely have a sofa with a chaise.  And that bar cart is soooo perfect.  I hope that my quest to find one for our dining room pays off soon.

In addition to the sofa and chaise in this room, I also love the art wall.  I'm still hoping we can do one lining our staircase.

 Oh man, so many cool details here.  I love the modern bright green upholstery on the antique sofa, the architectural elements on the walls and ceiling, and the gorgeous patterned wood floor.  Swooooooon!

 J and I are scoping out chairs to create a small reading nook that will give us some extra seating in our living room.  I love the wall color here, and I am totally digging the combination of the traditional wingback chairs with the modern lucite tables.

This room is probably my favorite of them all (obviously, it's in Chas).... the deep jewel tone rug, the adorable settees with the lucite coffee table, and of course, those bookshelves!  Not to mention the super fun chevron pattern on the mirror.  Ahhh...
*All images via Lonny.

Do y'all have any favorites from the issue?

Thirsty Thursday: Cerulean Dome Ring

Yesterday my friend and oh-so-patient graphic designer Melina emailed me an invitation to BaubleBar.  Since you get a free (plus $4 shipping) piece of jewelry just for signing up, I figured why not.  And then I spent about two hours obsessing over all their gorgeous designs, like this pretty ring.

{Cerulean Dome Ring - $120.00 via BaubleBar}

If you're interested in checking it out, you can use the link above.  It's not a subscription, so if just want your $4 piece of jewelry and you never buy anything, that's totally cool.  But I'm betting that'll you buy something... there's just too much prettiness over there to avoid the temptation forever.

Food for Thought.

I have been seeing so much great food photography lately - tons of great citrusy bright colors that are so similar to all of the neon we're seeing in the fashion world for summer.  Look for more food/fashion inspiration coming soon!

May 10, 2011

Geometry Class.

School's in session kiddos.  What do y'all think of this mini trend?  I am kind of in love with those Calvin Klein heels.

1. Foxy Original Estate Necklace - $50.00 via Max & Chloe
2. Calvin Klein Alex Platform Sandals - $178.00 via Bloomingdale's
3. Alessi La Stanza Dello Scirocco Centerpiece - $120.00 via Barney's
4. Dries Van Noten Silk Geometric Print Shorts - $235.00 via My Theresa
5. Nautica Clearwater Square Toss Pillow - $24.99 via Bed Bath & Beyond
6. Givenchy Logo Printed Silk Bandana - $98.00 via Forzieri
7. Topshop Geometric Shape Ring - $25.00 
8. Rebecca Minkoff Allie - $750.00

May 9, 2011

Arco Iris.

"Arco iris" is my favorite Spanish word, and it means rainbow.  As in, you need to get yourself some denim in a rainbow of colors because apparently it's a thing.  

*All images via People.

Normally, I would not suggest copying anything Kim Kardashian does, but in this case, I am liking her jeans, and this colored denim trend in general.  While you can never go wrong with basic dark jeans, I think choosing a bright pair is a fun alternative for the summer.  

1. Gap Cropped Legging Jean - $29.99
2. MOTO Coral Jamie Ultimate Skinny Jeans - $80.00 via Topshop
3. Rag & Bone Skinny Jeans - $165.00 via Shopbop
4. BDG Cigarette High-Rise Jean - $58.00 via Urban Outfitters

What do y'all think?  Would you wear this trend?

May 6, 2011

Derby Day.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year: Derby day!  If you've never been to the Derby, you should put it on your list.  Seeing the races live at Churchill Downs is one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.  I mean, it's a whole day dedicated to cute dresses, fun hats, beautiful horses, and of course, frosty mint juleps.  Luckily it's very easy to recreate that particular part of the Derby experience, even if you can't make it to Louisville.  Although, I should warn you... nothing really compares to the juleps they serve at Churchill Downs.

Mint Julep

Fresh mint
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Kentucky Bourbon
Crushed ice
Metal (preferably silver) julep cup

1. Make a simple syrup.  Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring to keep sugar from burning, until the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool at least 1 hour.

2. Take 3-4 sprigs of mint leaves - leaves only, NO STEMS - and muddle them in the bottom of your julep cup.
3. Heap the crushed ice on top of the mint.  Be generous with the ice, like enough that you think there's no room for the bourbon, and for the love of Pete, DO NOT use anything except crushed or shaved ice.  To make your own crushed ice, dump some ice cubes in clean cotton dish towel, beat them with a kitchen mallet, and immediately dump into your cup while the ice is still dry.

4. Add about 2 tsp of the simple syrup and 3 oz of bourbon. You can adjust this depending on how sweet you want yours to be, and you can refrigerate any left over syrup for up to a year.

5. Stir gently with your straw until the julep cup is nice and frosted.  

6. Go find yourself a TV tuned to the race, sip, and enjoy.

*NOTE: There are lots of ways to make a mint julep.  Some people don't use simple syrup at all - they just muddle mint, sugar, and water then add the ice and bourbon.  Other people add the mint leaves to the simple syrup mixture and let it steep overnight.  However you like to do it, all julep aficionados will tell you, you must ALWAYS use bourbon.  All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon.  And while bourbon CAN be made outside of Kentucky, your best bet is to go with a true Kentucky bourbon.  You have plenty of choices : Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, and several more.  Despite what people might try to tell you, Jack Daniels is not bourbon.  Please do not make a julep with it; you'll ruin the durn thing.

Summer Colors: White.

White is obvious, but it's THE quintessential summer color, so I couldn't leave it out.  And one of the only fashion "rules" that I follow is wearing white only between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so I have to take advantage of it when I can.  Plus, let's be honest, white looks best again tan skin.  And while you can certainly fake tan yourself in the middle of January, it will look weird and no one will believe it.  So here's to summer and white, white, white...

1. Tinley Road Seed Bead Knot Earring - $14.00 via Piperlime
2. BCBG Feather Clutch - $138.00 via Nordstrom
3. Ballard Designs Brighton Chair - $779.00
4. NARS Summer 2011 Ecume Nail Polish - $17.00 via Lord & Taylor
5. Marc by Marc Jacobs Eyelet Lace Dress - $385.00 via MyTheresa
6. Banana Republic Maris T-strap Sandal - $59.50
7. Horchow 20 Piece Coral Flatware Service - $230.00
8. White House/Black House Market Short Neutral Bauble Necklace - $78.00 

May 5, 2011

Summer Colors: Navy.

Ok so now that you've (hopefully) gotten yourself some brights to pep up your summer wardrobe, you need something to pair them with.  Black and white might seem like the obvious neutrals, but I like gray or navy better.  And I'm betting that you probably already have some pieces in your closet that will work great.

1. Thomas Paul Navy Anchor Pillow - $80.00 via Velocity
2. Lenox Independence Cup - $71.00 via Bloomingdale's
3. Rag & Bone Devon Tank - $255.00
4. RSVP Freida Pump - $66.50 via Zappos
5. Jess LC Lake Shore Navy Tote - $120.00 
6. Theory True Navy Pleated Silk Skirt - $245.00
7. House Of Harlow Navy Aztec Bangle - $80.00 via Charm & Chain
8. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner - $21.00

Make sure you go to the Jess LC website and check out her brand new, just launched handbag line.  The designs are practical AND cute AND affordable, and those suckers are going fast. 

PS - Unrelated, but have you heard this AMAZING news??

Thirsty Thursday: Kate Spade Palace Of Mirrors Necklace.

I found this yesterday... and it's not quite "grass green" but it's a beautiful green nonetheless, don't you think?  Definitely a wishlist item.

{Kate Spade Palace of Mirrors Bib Necklace - $476.00}

PS - On this day a long, long time ago, in an exotic land far, far away (Miami), my fantastic sweet incredible mama was born.  I know she reads every day because she's cool like that, so... Happy Birthday Mom, love you!

May 4, 2011

Summer Colors: Grass Green.

Ok, so I kind of made up the name of this color.  I think the official name is "spring green" but, since these are supposed summer colors, I decided that "grass green" is more appropriate.  It's the color version of that fresh cut grass smell, which, mixed with a hint of jasmine, a smidge of sunscreen, and a dash of lake water, is exactly what summer smells like to me.  It's a very scientific and exact formula.

1. Kate Spade Dot To Dot Stud Earrings - $48.00 via Zappos Couture
2. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Scarf Silk Dress - $238.00 via The Outnet
3. Crate & Barrel Ziggy Green Vase - $9.95
4. Ibiza Collection Ice Bucket - $86.99 via
5. Hobo International Belinda Wallet - $100.00 via Zappos
6. Bulgari Green Tea Eau Parfumee - $62.00 via Sephora
7. Lacoste Goa Stripes Watch - $95.00
8. Hunter Original High Gloss Wellies - $125.00 via Zappos

Wanderlust Wednesday: Dublin

An Ireland/Scotland trip is definitely on my travel wishlist.  Both mine and J's families are of Scottish descent (hello... McCallister), and let's be honest - the Irish and the Scots have pretty sexy accents, don't you think?  And speaking of sexy, the Hampton Hotel in Dublin is super cool with it's pink, black, white, and green color scheme.  And check out that crazy stairway - love, love, love that wallpaper.

*Images via Hampton Hotel; Jetsetter.

I ordered that same clutch in emerald green last week with some birthday money, and I am dying for it to get here.  Hopefully it will come by this weekend.

PS - It's a two-post day.  Come back for another colors post later this afternoon.

May 3, 2011

Summer Colors: Lemon.

I almost didn't do another yellow post, since I did one only a month ago, but citrus-y lemon hues are so big right now.  You can find them everywhere - sundresses, nail polish, even furniture.  Since there are so many cute options out there, I had to put together another fun collage for you.

1. Jonathan Adler Oslo Double Diamond Placemat - $18.00 (each) via Lord & Taylor
2. Kartell La Marie Chair - $310.00 via Velocity
3. Wendy Mink Yellow Calcite Ring - $123.00 via Max & Chloe
4. Kate Spade Stripe Hat - $75.00
5. DKNY Striped Large Beach Tote - $65.00 via Zappos
6. Timex Modern Camper - $50.00 via Piperlime
7. Pomeroy Yellow Candle Pot - $9.95 via Crate & Barrel
8. Michael Antonio Faux Suede Natural Wedge - $59.00 via Arden B.
9. Deborah Lippmann Yellow Brick Road Nail Color - $16.00 via Barney's 
10. Boden Pool Party Tunic - $78.00