Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 for 30 Day 18: Will someone please disengage now? Or, how to cheer yourself up

This past week was one of those where I kept expecting some B-list celebrity to jump onto the scene with a camera and scream, "You've just been punk'd--all week long!" Alas, no. Instead, my week ended with proverbial "bang" when the control panel of my life was infiltrated, had the reins ripped from my hands, and "kamikaze mode" was engaged without my permission. I think it was the gremlins.

I face the approaching Monday with all the enthusiasm of a baby cow being lead to slaughter.

But enough of acting like this blog is a thirteen year old's Xanga. Its supposed to be about fashion, and fashion makes me happy, so I dragged myself out from under a rock yesterday morning and put on my favorite colors and photographed outside for a delightful change of pace.

I also highly recommend listening to your favorite music when you're photographing, even if it means bringing your laptop outside in the snow and setting it on your coat on the ground. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday Questions: Blogging Tools of the Trade

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...) My trusty camera (Nikon D5000) is my most important tool. Although I suppose my computer is also important, because without which I would have no way to blog. Also, because I'm not lucky enough to have a photographer boyfriend/husband/friend I also need my tripod and remote to take photos of myself. 

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..) I use Blogger because the majority of the blogs I followed before I started blogging were Blogger-based. I've recently downloaded Disqus which has made such a major difference in being able to comment and reply to comments. The whole point of blogging (I think) is to have the ability to create discussion and dialogue, and I was frustrated with Blogger's commenting format (or lack thereof) for a long time. 

As much as I long for the ability/cash to use/buy Photoshop, I rely almost solely on iPhoto which came with my Mac. Although for being a basic, "bare bones" kind of photo editing software it gets the job done pretty well. I can adjust exposure, color saturation, etc. and even remove the occasional pimple pretty well :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fabulous Finds: Moonstone necklace from Circe's House

I'd love to start doing segments where I can highlight pieces I've found from some lesser known designers and artists. To start off, I found Circe's House while trolling Etsy looking for a Christmas present for my best friend.

***Also, before I go any further, I am not being paid to write this review. Actually, I contacted them to ask them if it was alright to post about their shop on my blog because I was so thrilled with the two necklaces I bought from them.

I found a beautiful moonstone pendant for  my bestie (Katie!), and loved it so much I bought a similar one for myself. Here's the one I purchased for myself:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

30 for 30 Day 17: Keep on keepin' on, with meow makeup!

I decided my 30 for 30 is really a 30 for 90, or so. I've really got to get this challenge done before Kendi and everyone starts the next 30 challenge!!

And this skirt is what I made in my sewing class this fall! I'm so excited about it, and I'm itching to go make more clothes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friend Friday: The Authentic Blogger

Some very thought provoking questions this Friday.

1. Most readers and fellow fashion bloggers value authenticity in the blogs they read. How would you describe blog/blogger authenticity? "Authentic" can be a tricky word: I don't want to use "authentic" and "unique" in the same sentence here. Google dictionary/Princeton WordNet defines authentic as "conforming to fact and therefore worth of belief." In this light, I consider authentic blogs to be ones that are true to their bloggers: they post material that is a true and accurate representation of their lives/sense of style/interests. Unique blogs I consider to be ones that stand out from the crowd, are original and fresh, and offer a different perspective from the norm. 

2. When it comes to your blog how to you infuse it with that true/authentic feeling? I strive to make my blog very "me." I started it for myself, to be my own creative outlet, and I want to fill it solely with things that interest and excite me. I'm still kind of new at this, but I'm trying to be a little more "out there" with my fashion than I have been in the past. No more being shy and trying to blend into the crowd for me! Um, but with very tiny baby steps at a time...

3. Have you stopped following a blog in the last three months? What  made you lose interest?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friend Friday: Let's roll out of bed and get dressed!

More Friend Friday questions!!

1. How do you determine what you will wear that day? Weather plays a big roll, whether I like it or not (no pun intended). Particularly living in Chicago this time of year, I need to be considerate of how flippin' cold it can get, and what shoes can stand walking in the snow (although I often cheat and wear snow boots, bringing pretty shoes to put on once I get to the office). 
I really hate to admit this, but it I feel like I'm having a "fat" day, I will often opt out of the skinny jeans and choose for something I feel better in. 
It also really depends on my mood. Somedays I want to feel really girly and pretty, other days I feel more eccentric, and sometimes I want to do the masculine look with a men's shirt and cowboy boots. Whatever strikes me when I wake up. :)

2. Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

30 for 30 Day 16: DVF Love

Like any common-sensed woman of this age, I adore Diane von Furstenberg's classic shapes and fun patterns. I have one dress by DVF bought on super sale (I'm waiting to shave off those last few college lbs to squeeze back into it  >_<), and then this beautiful wrap top, also purchased ridiculously on sale.

During the summer two years ago I saw this orange top on a mannequin in the window of Mark Shale, and instantly fell in love. Its something about the color that just gets me. At that time I was working in the same mall as the Mark Shale store and would walk by it everyday during my break. I desperately wanted the wrap top but it was way too much money for my strapped budget and would be a totally frivolous purchase.

But have no fear, for in such times of rapture I can summon a patience likened to that of wised, reverent monk, or perhaps a very conniving Disney villain. Oh yes, that orange top would be mine, that top would be mine...

Anyway, summer became fall became winter and I skipped on into Mark Shale as soon as their big, Final Sale sign went up. I snatched up this pretty little top for around $40, down from well over $100. Holler!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

30 for 30 Day 15: Sun light, sun bright

Another post of my very-late 30 for 30. In the middle of winter when its crazy depressing outside I like to pull out this sweater. I like it even better because of the sweet ruffle that runs down the sides.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How a 6 year old helped me make a New Year's resolution

I'm not a huge fan of making New Year's resolutions: I'd rather think of general goals  I have a hard time sticking to them, and, not to sound like a Debbie Downer, but does anyone ever really think about what resolutions they made in the beginning of the year when June rolls around?

But I changed my mind yesterday. I was in Pottery Barn of all places, and there was a little girl with her parents and baby brother also in the store. She looked about 6 years old, and was cute as a button. She was decked out in pink, with matching Hello Kitty shirt, pants and hat. On her feet were pink sneakers bedazzled in pink rhinestones. She bounced around, mostly ignoring her mother's requests that she not touch so many things, and it seemed as if her sweet aura was glittering like her shoes. Such a cutie!

I exchanged smile with her mom and commented how cute her two children were, and told the little girl I loved her Hello Kitty outfit. She informed me that she had a 2011 resolution, with a huge grin on her face.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friends Friday: Blogging up to Standards, or, "Let's Discuss"

I've been following and reading everyone's Fashion Beauty Friend Friday posts for a while now and finally decided to join. I really like the dialogue that blogging can create between people, so I'm excited to be participating!

1. Have you ever looked at someone's blog and thought yours will never measure up? Absolutely, I think everyone probably has.  There are some really impressive writers, bloggers and blogs out there! When you're starting from scratch it can seem like a mighty steep mountain to climb. But I've realized recently how important it can be to do things for yourself in life, and this blog is first and foremost for my own pleasure! It doesn't matter how it compares to others as long as I'm happy with it :)

2. Do you (did you) feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers? Yes, and I still do from time to time. There are a million different uncertainties you can have as a (fashion) blogger: I don't have any photoshopping or photo editing skills, graphic design skills, photography skills or connections of any kind in the fashion industry. Is my fashion sense too bland? Too preppy? Too J. Crew? Don't I need to be funkier, more out-there to gain some attention? And I don't have a professional photographer as a boyfriend/husband/sibling/friend/coworker to take my pictures for me. But this blog is not my life, my career, or my source of income. I started it so I could enjoy fashion and meet other lovers of clothes and pretty things!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

30 for 30 Day 14: Bow-Chicka-Woaw-Woaw

OK, now this was a much better outfit than my last one. At least, to me it was. Hence, this post title.

I feel sublimely French in a pencil skirt and heels, especially with these cute polka dot tights! And I like the boyish mix with the lumber-jack-y shirt. This outfit makes me feel pretty, and I like feeling pretty. That's why there are so many more photos of this outfit than my last one. Huzzah!

30 for 30 Days 13: My Waning Resolve

I am so incredibly determined to finish my 30 for 30, but I'm also so incredibly tired by the end of the work day, and then I just don't want to do anything on the weekend...I really need to get used to this whole grownup schedule thing...

I have a horrible habit of starting things with great excitement and then my determination and resolve will steadily's not that I don't want to finish this challenge, its just that my mind keeps flitting over to my closet and other outfit ideas, with other pieces not in my 30 picks. I think I do best with impulse-style fashion decisions. I've never planned out my outfits more than a day at a time, and I find myself repeating my 30 pieces and thinking "oh no, I already did that look, now I have to plan something instead of just letting it come to me..."

I think I'm going to end up being that embarrassingly last-place contender in this challenge, limping across the finish line like I would always do in those terrible fitness tests they made us do in middle school. Maybe I just need to buy the Rocky soundtrack to get this mother running again...

So, in order to avoid boring all you readers out there who have moved on, celebrated the New Year and are now participating in the ReStyle challenge or the No Repeats Challenge, I'm hoping to whip through these last outfits and get them up here. Instead of making one super huge post, I think I will post a couple outfits a day, in separate posts. I suppose you could consider that a New Year's resolution...

Day 13

Ugh, this is probably my least favorite outfit I've created so far with my 30 pieces. I've worn more flattering outfits in my life...But live and learn, and then post about it so you're sure you'll never make those mistakes again. Maybe its because 13 is an unlucky number.

Pants, jacket, purse, plaid shirt: J. Crew
Shoes: Converse

Things I've learned from this 30 challenge: This jacket and these shoes were perfect for the late fall weather that was around when this challenge started. Now? Not so much.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Latest Obsession/Newest Purchase: Elliott Lucca bag

I've talked before about my love for a great quality bag at a reasonable price. You don't need to spend $800 and up (and up, and up...) to find a fabulous leather bag. If I'm planning to throw down some cold cash for a very nice bag that I want to last for years to come, I try to look at those in the $300 (max) range. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten bags from garage sales, Salvation Army, Old Navy, Target, H&M, you name it. But I can't deny that the sweet, sweet smell of designer leather really gets me salivating... and if you really take care of a great quality piece of clothing, accessory or shoe, it can last for a lifetime.

Some of my favorite brands that are tried and true for fantastic quality, colors, design, comfort, and style are Furla, Fossil, Coach and Cole Haan (Coach and Cole Haan can run a bit high depending on the bag, but that's why I love discount sites like RueLaLa and Gilt and stores like TJ Maxx). After today, however, I can add a new designer to this repertoire: Elliott Lucca.

I also love Nordstrom. Nordstrom and I are good friends, and it hardly ever lets me down. Today was no exception when I was walking through the Old Orchard mall in Skokie, IL (holler, anyone?) and saw this lovely staring at me from the sale bin.  It was one of those "I have to have" moments:

Messanger bag!


The straps clip on and off 

Shoulder bag!

And the coolest of all...


It's a convertible, Portobello colored leather tote bag. Its a great neutral brown/grey color that will go with everything, and is I don't have any bag like it in my closet: these were my justifications for wanting to buy it. But the cincher? The price. The Elliott Lucca website says that it is originally priced at $268. Nordstrom's sale price? $98.  Booyah. 

I love this bag because its versatile, comfortable, affordable and goes with tons of things in my closet. I rounded out my day by buying a badass AllClad cooking pot set for $150 that was originally priced at $450. Booyah. I'm also a firm believer in quality cookware: if you invest and take care of it, it will last you your lifetime. Thanks for the tip, Mom. ;)

What fantastic deals have you gotten before??