The Look

Houston Style Setter: Nicole Kestenbaum

The Lipstick and Brunch blogger on her earring obsession, her maternity faves and how growing up in Honduras influenced her style.

By Emily Juhasz April 26, 2017

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Nicole Kestenbaum radiates happiness. The Lipstick and Brunch lifestyle blogger and mom-to-be has a penchant for all things bold and colorful, and she chatted with Houstonia about her go-to (pregnancy-approved) products and how she’s putting a fresh spin on "dressing the bump."

How would you describe your style?

My style is fun, very approachable and very affordable. I’ve had people tell me in the past that when they see how I’m dressed it makes them happy and I like to hear that. I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to fashion.

I really enjoy seasonal trends and spring is my favorite. This season to me means ruffles, bright colors and obviously florals. I also love wacky accessories and I think they have the ability to completely change an outfit. I’m mainly obsessed with earrings as they are probably the one thing I wear most. I also collect vintage pairs. The first thing people see when they meet you is your face so I wear what I like to call attention-grabbers. One of my favorite pairs now are these tassel style earrings by Genie Mack. She is a local jeweler who is also a painter. Her pieces are full of color, which give me life!

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You are pregnant with your first baby, congratulations! Has being pregnant influenced or changed your style at all?

Thank you! We’re really excited and can’t wait to meet him! I’m usually always wearing pink as it is one of my favorite colors, however, since we found out we’re having a boy, I’ve been wearing a lot more blue!

Comfort has been my number one thing when dressing the bump. My main focus has been buying outfits that go beyond the temporary use of maternity clothes. Instead I’ve opted to purchase pieces that I can wear now as well as when the baby arrives—it’s an investment. I’ve opted for loose-fitting tunics and dresses from brands with great crossover pieces for maternity and post-maternity such as Ingrid and Isabel out of San Francisco and Lalabu. The latter is great because it [sells what] looks like a simple T-shirt but it has a baby carrier and it’s good for nursing moms. They even make a shirt for dads! I’ve also swapped high heels for comfy flats. I recently purchased a pair of silver Steve Madden slip-on sneakers—cute and comfy!

What are some of your favorite places to shop?      

There is a local thrift store, Cottage Shop, off Westheimer and Montrose that I love to go to. I found a pair of vintage shoes there that are in perfect condition, and whenever you purchase something from the Cottage Shop, a percentage of proceeds go to The Women’s Home. I also find a lot of great stuff at Target, Motherhood Maternity, JCPenney and ASOS.

What personal experiences have molded your style?

I was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and I moved to Houston when I was 25 years old. Growing up in a tropical country, I would always dress colorfully throughout the year. I always used to see my mom wear really bright and bold colors too. I think a lot of my style was molded from those experiences. I’ve always just been really attracted to color and I think it is because it is a direct reflection of how I feel most of the time—happy.

Weating genie mack earrings available locally at renovate houston hbesf7

Lipstick and Brunch blogger Nicole Kestenbaum and her Houston-made earrings by Genie Mack.

What is one product you always carry on you?

One thing that has been really helpful throughout my pregnancy that I always have with me is a CC cream with SPF. My favorite has been from IT cosmetics. It has great coverage, anti-aging serum and SPF 50. What more could you want from a CC cream? I also always carry a lip gloss and/or lipstick. My favorites right now are the Jouer Lip Topper in Rose Gold and ELF Day to Night lipstick duo in I Love Pinks. The ELF lipstick is essentially three-in-one because you can wear each color on its own or layer them. This product is super creamy, affordable and it smells like vanilla. The Jouer you can use by itself but it also looks amazing on top of lipstick and it smells like cake.

For my skin I have been sticking with my moisturizers and sunscreen. I also use Derma-E—an all-natural brand. They have a great charcoal scrub and face wash. As a self-proclaimed nail snob, I usually always have a manicure, however, I thought soaking my fingers in acetone was not the best thing to do, especially while pregnant. So I looked into alternatives and found a nail polish remover made out of soy, Glam Rock Nails. It smells so good and it doesn't have acetone. 

Who are some of your biggest style inspirations?

I love Kate Hudson’s chic yet effortless style. Also local blogger Valerie Dittner of Adorn Yourself Accordingly—her style is super colorful and I love that she mixes vintage with contemporary pieces. I’m also inspired by Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam. She is really feminine and I think her sense of style is amazing.

What is the best advice you can give to readers about style?

I always tell people you just have to try new things. Don’t be scared and don’t take fashion so seriously—have fun with it! Life is too short. You have to have fun with your clothes and let people know how you feel with how you dress. 

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