what it is: Sam Edelman Yelena sandals

why i love it: Form, meet function. These sandals are pretty much the ideal hybrid of the two. The on-trend metallic and neutral combo and their simplistic style make them a great foundation for virtually any outfit, day or night. While I usually stick to 4 inches or higher when I wear heels (the taller the better!), these slightly lower, chunky heels mean your feet will comfortably survive a full day at the office or even a night out - or perhaps both. Sam Edelman, you've done it again!

where to get it: shopbop.com, $98 (on sale!)
-S
 
 
I've said it before, I'll say it again: I think of myself as beauty daredevil. And I think this post brings me one giant step closer to becoming the Evel Knievel of beauty (a prized and coveted title). It's pretty simple: I was bored, so I ombré'd my own hair (yes, that's now a verb). I think it actually turned out pretty close to the desired results - meaning my hair didn't all fall out - so I thought I'd share some how-to tips with you. To clarify, I have naturally dark brown hair that was virtually unprocessed and free from other dyes before I began. This tutorial explains how to go from dark hair to ombré, so if you have light hair, this is not the how-to for you!

But first, a DISCLAIMER: I am not a hair stylist or colorist and I have absolutely no experience or training doing this. I can't guarantee that these steps or products will work on your hair, all I can tell you is that they worked for me. If you're inspired to try this on your own hair, PLEASE make sure you follow all of the instructions on the hair color you use and you take into consideration your own hair type, past hair coloring/chemical processing on your hair and safety issues that go along with using the chemicals involved. In other words, follow these steps at your own risk!

You'll need: 
-Two boxes of hair color (make sure it's a blonding product designed to strip color from hair). I used Clairol Born Blonde by Nice 'n Easy Maxi, knowing that it wouldn't actually lighten my dark hair to the very light shade shown on the box.
-An old t-shirt you don't mind getting bleach on (to wear during the process)
-Some old towels (to spread out on your work space and around you in case of any drips)
-A wide paint brush with stiff bristles you don't mind getting bleach on

Step-by-step instructions continued after the jump...

 
 
what it is: Sachajuan Ocean Mist

why i love it: In the summer I have a tendency to avoid any and all forms of heat styling. I really see no reason to torture myself (or my hair) that way. A good sea salt spray like this one is the easiest way to get perfectly-imperfect, just-stepped-off-the-beach  hair with close to no effort. Just spray it liberally on damp hair, tousle with your fingers, and you're done. It adds natural wave and volume to hair instantly, no heat styling or excessive torture necessary. 

where to get it: sephora.com, $28 
-S
 
 
For my latest lots-of-trends-at-once manicure, I decided to combine sophisticated navy with gold glitter for an ombré effect. Too much? True, this manicure may have a lot going on, but I think the results are actually really pretty and totally wearable. Besides, we can all use a little more glitter in our lives, right? 
To get this look, I started with a base coat and then applied navy polish (I used OPI Road House Blues). I used two coats, and after letting them dry completely, I began to layer gold glitter polish (I used the gold glitter shade from the UO Nail Polish - Sparkle Collection from Urban Outfitters), starting with a thin layer over the whole nail, then a second coat of glitter starting halfway down the nail, and finally a third coat on just the top portion of the nail. It's really important to let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next one. Otherwise, you'll end up with a gloppy, bubbly mess, as this manicure takes a lot of polish. Finish with a top coat and you're done! 
-S
 
 
what it is: Thorny jewelry, aka the latest in semi-dangerous looking accessories

why i love it: Here at The Fixation Files, we're fairly obsessed with jewelry that looks like it has the potential to be used as some sort of weapon. The more spikes, studs and rivets, the better.  Jewelry with thorns is a new take on this same idea, and I love how these bracelets meld toughness with delicacy in a way that spikes simply can't. 

where to get it: See below

Alkemie Thorn Bangles, $99/each, alkemie.com
JewelMint Wild Thorn Bracelet, $29.99, jewelmint.com
Elizabeth & James Thorn ID Bracelet with White Sapphire, $175, shopbop.com
-S
 
 
Picture
Photo via GQ.com.
While women have their earrings, bracelets necklaces and rings, men really only have their watches. Yes, there are an assortment of other accessories men can choose from, but I don't see many men sporting a tie bar on a regular basis, and I bet most can count the number of times they break out their cuff links in a year. The watch is the only every day accessory a man gets to have, and every man should have one.

Your watch is a pretty important decision. You'll have to see it most days, and it has to work with everything from a suit to shorts and a t-shirt. While in a perfect world, every man would have several watches for different occasions, that can get pretty pricey. I believe that watches, like all menswear, are not about how much they cost, but about how they look and how you like them. In my semi-limited experience with watch consulting, I haven't found an expensive, aspirational watch that doesn't have a satisfactory affordable counterpart.*

So for your one watch, pick well and don't settle. It's one of the few places you really get to distinguish yourself in an outfit. If it takes a little more time to find the one you want, it's okay, it's worth it for the amount of time you'll wear it. And don't be daunted by the choice, with just a few easy steps (below, the whole point of this post), your wrist will no longer be naked, and you'll have no excuse to pull out your phone when someone asks you for the time.

 
 
He may have a disturbing penchant for orange Crocs, but I'll give him this: Mario Batali knows a thing or two about good food.  I was recently craving some rustic Italian deliciousness, but I unfortunately wasn't able to stop by Eataly for the best focaccia I've ever tasted (and the most reasonably-priced thing you can buy there, I might add). Instead, I decided to try out this Batali recipe from Food & Wine

Simple, elegant, a tad garlicky and of course, fried. Delicious. This dish makes a great appetizer - I'd recommend squeezing a bit of  fresh lemon juice over it just before eating, or pairing it with a side of spicy marinara sauce for dipping. 

zucchini-ricotta fritters
makes 20 fritters

1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used fat-free and it still tasted delicious!)
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
2 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces each), coarsely shredded
olive oil for frying
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

 
 
Fact: you could put a poached egg on virtually anything and I'd eat it. I'm always drawn to eggs florentine when I see it on a brunch menu, but one thing I don't like about the dish is the not-at-all-healthy hollandaise sauce it usually comes drowning in. 

This recipe is not only really easy and quick to make, but it's also much healthier. Instead of a butter and cream based sauce, fat-free (or low-fat) ricotta melts beautifully into cooked spinach for a much lighter - yet completely satisfying - version of the indulgent brunch staple. Just add a mimosa for the perfect at-home brunch experience.
six-minute eggs florentine
makes one serving

1 large egg
2 tbsp white vinegar
cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (you can also use chopped frozen spinach here)
3 tablespoons low- or non-fat ricotta
2 slices baguette or good whole grain bread, toasted
salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

 
 
I've wanted to try out an ombré manicure for a while, but the trick was choosing a color scheme to work with and somehow accumulating five different hues of that color polish. It's not surprising that I ended up choosing purple; along with blue, it's one of those polish colors that I think is wearable in its lightest and darkest incarnations, as well as every shade in between. 

Thanks to my Pinterest addiction (follow me!), I'm constantly finding new nail art ideas I want to try out. Take it from me, this is pretty much the easiest way to achieve an interesting, trendy manicure without having to fumble with a tiny paintbrush or place individual specks of glitter with tweezers (ugh). 
Polish colors: Essie Nail Color in Lilacism, $8; Sephora by OPI Nail Color in Iris I Was Thinner, $9.50; Sonia Kashuk Nail Color in Violeta, $4.79; Dolce & Gabbana The Nail Lacquer in Amethyst, $20; Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Purple Mix, $23
-S
 
 
Picture
This is bold. And he's carrying a murse. Probably don't do this for a first impression.

odds + ends

There are a lot of other things to consider when polishing off your outfit, once you've got the basics down. Pending your destination, not all apply, but for the final post in the series, here are some last little details to consider before stepping out the door.

socks
Socks have become a thing these days, but for an interview, keep them toned down. If you want to go fun, keep your socks in a dress color and go with a pattern. If your place of interview is a little more relaxed or creative, you might be able to get away with a fun red, yellow or other bright under the pant. Wear this trend with caution. What would be fun for a daytime summer wedding might not impress your future boss.

watch
Just yes. You should always wear one. Always. The intricacies of the right or wrong watch are far too long for this post, if there is even a right or wrong. Watches are a personal preference and there are a lot of really nice and a lot of really questionable options out there. Just know that your suit will seem pretty incomplete without the watch, whether it's the only accessory you're wearing or not. It doesn't have to be a Rolex, but it should be on your wrist.

belt
I'm of the belief that a belt isn't an absolute necessity, but a lot of people would disagree with me. I also don't necessarily believe that your belt has to match your shoes (especially if you go with an oxblood or lighter brown), but people might yell at me then, too. For these purposes, I'm going to say, if you feel like you need to wear a belt, make it match and keep it simple. The buckle should be minimalistic and should not attract attention to your waist, and neither should the hue of the belt, especially if it's because it doesn't appropriately complement your shoe color.

tie bar
If you have a nice one, go for it! Nothing too showy or cheesy, but this little detail might tell your interviewer that you pay attention to the little things and care about polishing yourself up. If it's not your style, don't sweat it, it's definitely a take-it-or-leave-it accessory.

cuff links
In the off chance you're wearing a french cuff shirt, keep the cuff links simple and understated. You don't want to send the wrong message at the first handshake, and too much glitz by your wrist might do that if the light strikes your cuff links just right. Opt for your plainest pair and don't think too hard about it, they're a means to an end in this case.

the bag
If you want to bring one, keep it sleek and nice-looking. An interview is no place for your dirty, nylon messenger bag. Opt for a leather choice that complements the other leather aspects of your suit and isn't so ambiguous in style that it will cause questions. A briefcase or simple messenger are going to be your safest bets. If you're bag-averse, go with a traditional padfolio. This is another matter of personal preference. There's a standard, but not a rule, so meet the standard and you're good to go.

a few last words

a don't
Jewelry. Take it off for an interview, or make sure it is completely and permanently out of sight. Jewelry will most definitely be part of a first impression, and apart from a wedding band, there is no reason it should be, because it will nearly always make you stick out in the wrong way.  

And after all this preaching, you might be wondering what I ended up telling my brother to wear. His options were limited, so we went with a navy, 3-button suit (middle button only buttoned), a light blue button down and yellow tie with dark and light blue check pattern. He only had black dress shoes (I would have gone with something different if I had the choice), and of course a watch. His has a metal band, yours doesn't have to.

He got hired on the spot, so I'm not going to not say that my advice leads you in the right direction. When you're suiting up, use your head, look in the mirror and wear your interview look with confidence.
-E