Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review

Welcome to the largest post in the history of Orchid Grey. Steel yourselves...

This year has been- to date- the craziest year of my life. I usually find myself debating whether or not to do a re-cap at the close of each year, but this time there was no question at all. I mean, holy crap. Did I think last January that I would be living in Pittsburgh by October? Noididnot. So, without further chatter, for those of you brave or bored enough: here it is.


Chris and I spent last New Years literally in the middle of the woods. I was honored to be a guest ModStylist for ModCloth. I celebrated National Swap Day with Jen and Punky. And celebrated my 27th birthday.


In February I traveled to NYC for the IFB Conference with Jen and Punky where I caught the worst cold ever. We creeped on Lady Gaga. The Delightful Dozen launched a new blog. I started volunteering at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum running a ship-themed scavenger hunt and teaching simple machines, as I searched for a full time job.


In March, Punky and I attended the TjMaxx spring preview. We had Buddy Brunch with some of our favorite friends. And Visited home more as we ramped up our wedding plans.


In April, I volunteered at the Earth Day Clothing Exchange, where I won tickets to Wine Riot for putting on a mint colored snow-suit and dancing like a robot. We also attended the Whiskey Plank party for the schooner being built next to the Shipbuilding Museum. I was volunteering a lot for the Swapaholics and the Shipbuilding Museum at this time as I continued my job search.


In April, Chris and I celebrated our seven year anniversary! We spent the night in Portland and saw Steve Martin and the Canyon River Band, which was one of our best dates ever. Our friend Hans moved to California and we welcomed his sweet cat, Louie, into our home. We also went to Brimfield for the first time. And helped out at the Canal District Swap & Shop.


June had us traveling back and forth to Maine almost every weekend as we scrambled to plan our wedding. Somewhere in there I landed a contract position at with the Swapaholics and left my retail job for a barista position at a local coffee shop. After this move, things improved significantly. I was working for a company I love, drinking way too much coffee, and enjoying summer.


July began on a sad note with the sudden passing of Louie.We celebrated the 4th of July with our wonderful group of friends. I participated in ModCloth's Dear Creatures/Be The Buyer collaboration (my dress was picked!). Took some photobooth pictures with my husband-to-be. And saw Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood. I was also running around like a chicken with my head cut off because we were getting married in one month.


August was the best, most friend filled month ever. Chris and I received our engagement photos. I had an amazing bridal shower. We saw Alison Krauss and Union Station at Meadowbrook. Even though all our wedding photos were posted in September, we were actually married on August 20th. Looking back, I'm so glad we decided not to elope (something we had discussed). Now that we find ourselves 1,000 miles away from home, the days spent with friends and family leading up to our wedding day hold so much love and meaning for us, those days made all the stress worth every second.

I actually never finished posting about our wedding. But it was the most amazing time. The love showed by our friends and family still gets me a little "verclempt".


We rolled right into September with the start of NYFW and the Lucky FABB conference. The Swapaholics hosted ModSwap with ModCloth. I attended the Lulu' brunch. And announced the blogger jewelry collaboration with ModCloth! The Orchid Grey Bracelet is still available! My contract with the Swapaholics also came to a close.


October was the slowest month blog-wise, but quite the opposite life-wise. In early October, after many, many interviews I received some of the most exciting and anxiety producing news ever: I got a position at ModCloth as a Blog & Fashion Writer and would be starting in...THREE WEEKS! Bold, italic, capital. Needless to saw, we were excited. and terrified. We also needed to find a place to live, immediately. After an extremely tough year and a half looking for a full-time job, I never expected to find it in Pennsylvania. All of our energy went into finding a place to live in a city we'd never even seen, and spending as much time with our friends and family as humanly possible (included in this was a night of re-living high school at a NOFX/Anti-Flag show and having the greatest time ever). It didn't seem real, and I admit that I shut out blogging a little. After so many close calls with job interviews, I felt like I was walking on eggshells with this news. That if I talked about it, everything would be taken away. So, that's why I dissappeared a little in October, and the explanation for the hinting tweets, etc. Thanks for sticking with me.


In November, we started settling into our new home of Pittsburgh. We explored parks and new places, and I started getting back into the habit of blogging again. Through my job, we started meeting new friends. We also spent our first holiday ever with just the two of us. Thanksgiving was the most perfect this year, with a hike, the Muppet Movie, and too much food.


And now it's December. We're still settling in to our new city, and think of New England probably too often. We traveled home for the holidays. And I found some new places to thrift. Life feels like it has slowed down a bit, but I know it's just because we're settling in.

I know that each year brings it's lessons, and this year's lesson was all about looking forward. There were times of panic, of being unsure of what the following day, week, or month would being. I started 2011 by giving myself an ultimatum, that I would either figure my life out, or else just go to trade school. I felt bleak at the beginning of 2011. The last few months of 2010 had been rough, I had been chewed up and spat out and I just wanted things to get easier or at least better. But the thing about ultimatums is: they're unrealistic. It's ridiculous to put a time-line on your life. Somehow the puzzle pieces started coming together though, and even the bad experiences that I'd had began to take new meaning and I noticed how those experiences contributed to the possibility of success. I hope I'm making sense. I guess I'm just glad that we kept looking forward and pushing forward.

I'm very interested to see what 2012 has in store for us. 2011, you were a real doozy, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Thanks for the memories.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this blog, I have exciting plans for Orchid Grey in 2012, and I can't wait to have you all along for the ride! Please have a happy and safe New Years! See you next year (har har har).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

There's no place like home for the Holiday's

Top row: From PGH to BOS, Our feet firmly planted on New England soil (concrete), A very sleepy drive to Maine
Bottom row: Finally home!, Afternoon sun streaming through the trees, Chris's Grandparent's wedding photo

Well after a glorious four-ish day trip North, Chris and I are back in Pittsburgh. It was definitely hard to leave, especially after being greeted with a white Christmas. This was really our first time having to travel a long distance home, and it went surprisingly smooth, we met my Dad and Step-mom at Logan airport in Boston, and then drove to Maine/New Hampshire.

We made a conscious decision to keep things more low key this year, our typical holiday has always been incredibly stressful, so since we were already coming a great distance too see everyone, we just wanted to relax. We spent Christmas eve with both our families at Chris's grandparents house (that's their incredible wedding photo above), which was lovely. There were lots of walks in the woods, catching up with friends, and movie watching.

The gift giving was light, which I prefer. I received a sweater and some gloves, and Chris got some whiskey. We haven't given each other gifts yet, and will probably wait until the first week of January to do so. And now we are home, we definitely miss New England, but at the same time, it's nice to return to our own space (and cats!).

Top row: The woods, my boots, messy driving
Bottom row: More woods, rabbit tracks across a frozen pond, the woods

Did you have a nice holiday? Receive anything special?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friday on Wednesday

New Hampshire

Please forgive me as I play a little game of "catch-up". I know, I know "the holidays", blah, blah, blah. I'll have a little re-cap of our trip up tomorrow morning, but until then, here's what I'm loving, despite the fact that it feels wring, wrong, wrong to talk about shopping so soon after Christmas and Hanukkah. We can still look and like things right? Right.

1. A cute zodiac print from Ruche (I'm an Aquarius).
2. A smart idea from Blowfish. Receive 15% off your order with the code BFORCHID15
3. These lace Lita's totally won me over, so pretty! Lulu's always offers free shipping!
4. Dalaga's having a mega holiday dress sale! I love this one.
5. Pretty geode necklaces from Noble Town Vintage. NTV is offering free shipping on all orders!
6. This leopard dress/coat is pretty amazing. Bluesville, USA is offering 15% off orders with the code orchidgrey

Re-cap and outfit post tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shake! Shake! Shake!

Dress: Thrifted
Tights: Hue via TjMaxx
Shoes: ModCloth

OK, so I admit that these photos are from a couple of weeks ago. Because the holidays completely ambushed me, I have quite a few outfit posts on the backburner, BUT now that all that insanity is over, back to business! On this particular day at work, we were instructed to wear something with sequins. Easy, done. Or so I thought. Turns out, this dress is the only item I owned that remotely resembles having sequins (at the time- I have recently acquired a glittery shirt). I thrifted this sweet dress back when we were living in Beverly, put it in my closet, and pretty much forgot about it. It was perfect for a day of sequins though, especially because it's super fun to do this:

(imagine lots of manic shaking)
Did you have a nice holiday? We're back in Pittsburgh from our trip North, and I'm sadly home sick today. I'll be posting photos from our trip tomorrow though!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

...And Happy Holidays!

xoxo Julie & Chris

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do Good

This year Christmas really snuck up on us, I'm not sure if it was due to the move, or the distance from family, but we were a little blindsided. The holidays for us have a history of being incredibly stressful, because Chris and I grew up only about 20 minutes apart, we usually have six or seven houses to visit, and have always bought everyone in those houses gifts. It finally got to the point that this year, we decided to do something different.

So here's our new tradition: Each year we'll choose a different charitable organization to donate to in the names of the children in our close circle of family and friends. They'll receive a certificate saying that a donation was made in their name, and I'll also make them a little "commemorative" ornament to go along with it:

This year we chose the Humane Society of the United States. I made little kitty ornaments (because I can pretty much only make cats), and I printed out the mini certificates to include in the envelops.

I strongly believe in supporting organizations year round, but during the holidays, donations can make simple and meaningful gifts, especially to children.

Below are a few more organizations worth supporting:

Find more info on:
Heifer International
The ASPCA (depressing Sarah Maclaughlin commercial not included)
Charity : Water

Do you have a favorite charitable organization?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Day in the Sun

Dress: ModCloth
Flannel shirt: Thrifted Ralph Lauren
Tights: American Apparel
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell (2010)
Coat: Thrifted vintage

For those of you who follow my Instagram, I had to push the post with the little kitty ornaments to tomorrow. With the holiday's pretty much here, I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Anyone else feel that way? Yeah, a little overwhelming.

With that out of the way,
lately I've found my little dress collection lacking in the warmth department so I've been on the hunt for wintery dresses. A wintery dress for me translates to something made of warm material that I can easily transform with layers and/or accessories. This forest green, wool dress fit the bill perfectly. While I love the challenge of making a summery dress work for the cold, I also love the ease of just wearing something made for the specific season.

Expect to see a whole lot of this coat this winter:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Win a Vintage Hat From Bluesville, USA!

Today's giveaway comes to us from the lovely Amber of Bluesville, USA. She's offering one lucky winner this vintage, camel colored hat from her shop with the tag: "The Hats Company by Filippo Catarzi"! This is a super versatile accessory, perfect for pairing with black or dark brown winter coats!

To Enter: visit Bluesville, USA and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item from the shop is! Good Luck!

Tiny print: One comment per person. This contest is open to ALL. be sure to leave me an email address if you do not have a blog where I can easily reach you. Giveaway ends Monday December 26th at 10PM EST. This contest is open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis' the Season

I think I'm in denial about the holidays. Can you believe that Hanukkah and Christmas are only a few days away? I certainly can't. Chris and I are flying to Boston for a short visit with family next weekend and I couldn't be more excited to see everyone for Christmas. These are a few things from my lovely sponsors that I think would make great gifts, either for yourself or for someone special:

1. A cute colorblock clutch that would work for all seasons.
2. A pretty patterned sheer shirt, for adding a bit of glamour to New Years Eve.
3. The must-have book for any interior design-loving friends.
4. Something to make you smell divine, and perhaps remind you of home.
5. A versatile, go with everything bootie, for exploring new places in style.
6. A cute, knit cap, for chilly mornings.
7. Some statement earrings to wear with a high bun and a simple dress.

Don't forget:
Blowfish Shoes is offering 15% off orders with the code BFORCHID15
Bluesville, USA is offering 15% off orders with the code orchidgrey
Noble Town Vintage is offering Free Shipping on all orders, including international!

I'll be back to regular posting next week, in the meantime have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

American Living 12 Days of Giving: Holiday Picks

Well, my mom has officially found out about her gift, darn! I guess that's what I get for posting about it on the internet. But, she is really excited about it, it's always nice to know your gifts are well received. I thought I would show you all a few things from the American Living collection that I think would make perfect holiday presents:

Cozy pajamas are always a great holiday gift, a tradition in our family.
The perfect, socially acceptable, holiday sweater.
This rustic plaid jacket would be perfect for a husband or brother (Chris has one very similar)
This quilt would be perfectly cozy for a wintertime nap.

Find more great gifting ideas here!


Shirt/ Tights/ Belt: American Apparel
Skirt: Vintage/ thrifted
Shoes: Irregular Choice

I love the simple power of an easy outfit dressed up with a statement shoe, the easiest thing ever. You all know how much I love the combination of blue, black, and brown, but this day my favorite conglomeration needed something...more. So, I added my most insane shoes, which I assure you, I can not walk in for the life of me.

I've been on the fence lately with my hair. On the one hand, when I take the time to style it, I love it, but of course, when I don't, I can't stand it. It gets caught in car doors, wraps around my neck when I sleep (yeah), etc. I don't know. Maybe it's just this time of year. Or maybe the joy of waking up with my freakishly long hair wrapped around my neck is wearing off. Life is full of mysteries.

This is serious business:

Friday, December 9, 2011

American Living 12 Days of Giving: Day 9

As I mentioned here, I was so excited when American Living invited me to choose a gift from their collection to give to someone close to me. I knew exactly what I'd choose: The Fletcher Quilt, and exactly who to give it to: my Mom. I have always loved purchasing gifts for my family, finding the perfect thing for them, and I felt like a quilt would be the perfect thing for her this year. A quilt is a practical gift for sure, which is perfect for my no nonsense, New Englander Mother, but a quilt is also warm and comforting. See, my Mom has had a few bad weeks recently, she lost both her dog, as well as our family cat, so, while I can't be there to comfort her, I can still send a little warmth in the mail, all the way from Pittsburgh.

And Mom, if you're reading this...please try to act surprised on Christmas morning?

What are you gifting your loved ones this season?

Happy Friday!

So, I finally got one of those rolls of film developed I mentioned a few weeks ago, above you'll see a couple of images from summer 2010. Yep, I really need to get it together when it comes to my film and actually get it developed on time. It was a nice surprise to see some pictures of the ocean and Halibut Point State Park though. I'm really missing the ocean these days.

Do you have any fun weekend plans? I'm looking forward to finally getting a Christmas tree this weekend, and hopefully getting into the Holiday spirit with some crafting.

Do you have a wish list this year? We're not doing big gifts, but here are some things I'm loving:

1. This lime colored skirt from Ruche would be the perfect way to brighten up the dark winter months.
2. I'm loving the Hat Field boots from Blowfish, wouldn't they be perfect for tromping around the snowy city? Don't forget, you can receive 15% off your order by entering BFORCHID15
3. This striped top from Lulu's would be so easy to dress up or down, I'd pair it with a suede skirt and booties.
4. Dalaga carries such a great selection of pretty dresses, this one would be perfect for a holiday date.
5. I love this copper penny charm from Noble Town Vintage, the perfect simple necklace.
6. This might be the most perfect Holiday dress, Bluesville, USA always has the cutest things and you can get 15% off your order by entering orchidgrey at checkout!
7. Are we friends on Pinterest yet? I've been looking for hair-inspiration and it's the perfect place to find so many ideas!
8. This dress would be lovely for New Years!

How do you all feel about gift guides? Would you be interested to see my take on gifting? or are you already experiencing gift-guide overload?

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nearly Winter

Top: Thrifted
Sweater: Swapped
Pants: J.Brand
Shoes: Matiko
Purse: Dear Golden VIntage
Earrings c/o Noble Town Vintage
Bracelet: Forever 21

Photos: Christen

This bag was a little Christmas gift to myself last week, although I'll admit to not feeling very wintery, or having much Holiday spirit at all. The weather here has been unseasonably warm, which just makes listening to holiday songs feel unnatural. Chris and I have decided to try out a tree this year, as we finally have the space for a small one. We've been cautious in the past because of our cat's penchant for destroying things, so we'll see, it could be perfectly fine. Or it could be a total disaster.

Anyways, last Saturday while Chris was at work I did a little exploring: hitting up an amazing Estate Sale and a Gabriel Brothers (which is like Reny's for those of you who live in Maine...or Building 19 for those of you who live in Massachusetts...anywhere else I don't have a comparison) where I found these J.Brand riding pants for a scant $20, I'm pretty excited about them. I usually shy away from non-denim pants, but I couldn't resist the velvet knee patches.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You're Standing On My Neck

Vest: Thrifted
Skirt: UO (old)
Tights: AA
Shoes: Thrifted
T-shirt: Madewell
Bracelets: F21, Swapped, ModCloth

I mentioned last week that Mandy took me thrift shopping a couple of weekends ago, the thing I love about thrifting that always has me coming back (no matter how many times I say I'm taking a break from the bargains) is that, if you look hard enough, you find the things that have been on your "want" list forever. I'd been pining for a little jean vest to throw over t-shirts and dresses for the longest time, there was a nice one from J.Crew awhile back, but I just couldn't shell out $70 for something that, stylistically, I wasn't totally sure about. $3.99 on the other hand is much more reasonable. I found these Doc Martin mary janes at the same place, they're so comfortable and they remind me of 1997 and middle school.