Friday, March 30, 2012

Art Notes: In the Pit


Yeah! Let's give a hand for the return of Art Notes! If any of you have been reading my blog since the beginning- and if you have, I commend and thank you, you've got chutzpah, you- you may remember that art was a recurring theme in those early days. Eventually, I got busy, really really busy, and admittedly, a little tired of art. As a former admissions counselor for a fine arts college who reviewed hundereds (thousands?) of student pieces each year for three years, I had had my fill of looking at art and those recurring posts slowly faded into the background. After spending last weekend with Bea and Emily, I realized that I needed that time away. Like a pallet cleanse of my artless soul. I feel like I'm ready to at least talk about it again, and maybe someday soon, I'll feel like I'm ready to make again.

Anyways, drawing and painting have never been my forte. I mean if you need a cartoon cat, I'm your girl, but there is no mastery to be found here. Especially with painting, I always wanted too much control over the medium. So when I see work like the pieces above, I can't help but be deeply appreciative, along with very familiar. Like- I'm sure- many of you, I started going to punk shows in high school, and while I enjoyed myself, I never found the tangle of- mostly- male bodies in the pit alluring. I was a wallflower, and a wallflower I would stay through college when Chris and I would go to hard-core and psychobilly shows every weekend. There was nothing you could do to get me in there, and I could never understand it. It reminds me of the ball that fish make to protect themselves. I know that might be the weirdest reference ever, we've been watching a lot of nature documentaries because we're old like that.

I love the way Dan Witz was able to capture the undulating sea of bodies, the small groups within minding their own business like nothing's happening, those protecting themselves with outstretched arms, and helping the injured to the edge. It's a weird scene, but one that deserves to be studied.

What artists are you inspired by right now?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sugar Magnolia

In this outfit:
Top: Thrifted ($3-ish)
Skirt: Madewell ($30- sale)
Belt: AA
Shoes: ModCloth (c. 2011)
Beaded bracelets: Gift from Punky
Gold cuff: Thrifted ($2)
Earrings c/o Noble Town Vintage

Whoa! A different background! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. Something I've been looking forward to with the days being longer and warmer is having the time to take pictures with Chris again. I seem to have lost my camera remote in our move, so Mandy and I have spent the cold dark months of winter taking photos around the office. While I love taking photos with new friends, the backgrounds were getting a little monotonous. So, after Chris and I were out of work last Wednesday, we found this beautiful tree to take pictures with.

This outfit is pretty much the opposite of what I'm wearing now- a wool sweater, long sleeve top, jeans, and loafers- who would have guessed that one week later the temperature would have dropped by half- from 80 to 40! Ugh. I know we were spoiled with warm weather at the beginning of the month, but that just made our "real" March weather seem even colder. Silk tops are kind of my thrifting weakness, my closet is full of them. You can see how I last wore this patterned silk top here.

Thank you for reading

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Little Warmth

In This Outfit:
Vest: Thrifted ($3)
Boots: Thrifted ($7-ish)
Sunglasses: Store in TX ($14)
Bracelets: All over

Last week, Pittsburgh decided it wanted summer and it wasn't going to wait. After a chilly and rainy weekend in Texas, I wasn't going to complain about it either. Sometimes I hate how much the weather affects my mood, I love being in a good mood- don't get me wrong- but the difference a little sun and warmth make is sometimes shocking- both my mood and my productivity level skyrocket (I cleaned my car!).

Along with a good mood, the warm weather brought with it plenty of new inspiration. This black dress has long been a favorite of mine, and I'm always looking for new ways to mix it up. I love it because it's comfortable, easy to wear, and makes me feel a little like Stevie Nicks-lite. I received this high-low hem skirt-thing at the Lulu's Swap in Austin, and have been playing around with how to wear it- layering it over pants, skirts, and dresses-and the two just fit together perfectly. I've been hemming and hawing over whether or not to keep these boots- I thrifted them a year ago and have only worn them twice- but actually really loved how they looked with a long sheer skirt. It was just incredibly refreshing to wear something different, and shed some layers.

Have you tried anything new style-wise lately?

Monday, March 26, 2012

What I'm Loving (This Week)

4. Military Jacket save 15% with the code orchidgrey
6. Aubrey Clutch save 10% with the code grey10

Lately I've found myself drawn more and more to midi and maxi dresses, not necessarily for the modesty factor, more so  because longer lengths are just easier to move around in. Maybe it's me getting older, those granny tendencies kicking in? Either way, I like not having to worry about whether or not I'm flashing the world.

Here are a few more things I'm into this week:

1. The Pretenders and Fleetwood Mac Pandora stations, so good!
2. Ruche has a new bridal collection and it's so lovely (and affordable!).
3. A cat shirt. It looks like Zephyr.
4. I just can't not love these, dream shoes if there ever were any.
5. I've been pouring over Moorea's Paint Your Love Posts, and while I'm not a fan of nail polish, I love the idea behind PYL: a daily reminder of your worth.
6. I spend too much time staring at this. Also, this is perfect.
7. A co-worker introduced me to this, a great song and Pittsburgh!
8. Dear Golden is killing it lately.

Over the Weekend: MA meets PA!

I've been sitting in front of my keyboard for a while, trying to find the words to sum up how wonderful and needed this past weekend was, and those are exactly the words: wonderful and needed. On Friday morning my two favorite Massachusetts ladies, Bea and Emily, rolled in to town for a weekend of catching up and exploring Pittsburgh. We had some beautiful weather for it, too! After five long, dark, months, it was great to get outside in the sun and visit places that none of us have seen before- like the Monongahela Incline, Mt. Washington, and The Mattress Factory- and a few of my personal favorites- Frick Park, Construction Junction (they have autopsy tables right now!), Phipps. Construction Junction may seem like a weird place to bring visitors that drove 12 hours to see us, but it turned out to be a highlight for all of us. It is sort of magical.

Honestly, up until this weekend, I really hadn't done much exploring of our new city. Our move was a whirlwind- we arrived with 48 hours to spare before I went off to my new job- and Chris now finds himself working most weekends. While I have no problem doing things by myself, touristy things are more fun with two or more people. One of the strangest aspects of living somewhere we'd never even visited is the feeling of being both a tourist and *kind of* a local at the same time (I know I'm not a local, but I do live here on a permanent basis). But I loved showing them the places I knew, and experiencing new things with them as well, and I feel like this weekend was the first that I really appreciated Pittsburgh. Maybe it was seeing it through the eyes of our friends, and not through my own. I think when you move to a place for a job, rather than out of a personal desire to live somewhere, it takes some time to get to know it. To start to like it. It's all too easy to draw comparisons to where we're from, states that we know back to front after nearly three decades of living in them. We still haven't found mature spinach and Teddy brand peanut butter at the grocery store, traffic patterns confuse and annoy, and the whole liquer store/beer store thing is still found to be bizarre, but we're starting to settle in. I know those things may seem incredibly trivial to many of you, but I also know I'm not the only one who finds comfort in the everyday.

It's a weird feeling, being so far away from the people we're closest with, a feeling I've never really had before and one I'm not entirely comfortable with. I shock myself when I realize that I haven't actually seen my mother or brother and most of our friends- who are also like family- since the Holidays. Having Bea and Emily with us for a couple of days was comforting, knowing that we can catch right back up and fall in to step again.

On a completely separate note:
In this outfit: Everything vintage from head to toe, all bought at thrift stores in ME, NH, MA, & PA, all under $5

On Sunday morning, I was scheduled to be a background extra in a photo-shoot for work. There was a certain theme that I was instructed to dress for, along with being instructed to wear dark colors. These pieces are all from different eras, but came together in a unified outfit. Mostly though, for being over-tired, I'm just really proud of  how my hair came out.

Thank you for reading, 
xo -Julie.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TXSC: South Congress Style

In This Outfit:
T-Shirt: J.Crew ($10 old)
Jeans: Madewell 
Wedges: Blowfish (old)
Sunglasses: Bought in S. Congress boutique ($14)

I know. I'm deeming jeans and a stretched out t-shirt worthy of a style file? Man, I've really let myself go. But this is real life, and I don't always dress up. In fact, more often than not this is what I feel best in, because jeans and a t-shirt are easy. Maybe not news-worthy, but there are some photos below to make up for it. Why aren't I smiling? There was a car parking next to me. There is no other reasoning behind this outfit other than: my t-shirt was comfortable, and so were the jeans, and these glasses shielded my delicate retinas from that elusive burning orb in the sky (and shielded the public from my massive under-eye half moons). Sleep evaded me during our trip, and it certainly showed by the time we left.

Chris and I woke up and scooted out early Monday morning to take advantage of the Texas sun (the sun!) and what few hours we had until we had to depart for Pittsburgh. This was my third time visiting Austin, and Chris's first, and I was so excited to at least have the chance to show him S. Congress Street, grab a migas at Jo's, and do a little shopping before we left. Austin is one of my all-time-favorite cities, a city that after visiting with Chris, we hope to live for a little while someday. Fun fact: the last time I was in Austin, I stayed at The Austin Motel and my room was painted like a sunset.
We explored Uncommon Objects, I died a little over Feather's selection of 70's vintage (and vintage Playboy's), and Chris got his hands on some classic Levi's at Stag (if you ever find yourself in Austin and in need of some manly goods, I can't recommend Stag enough). All too soon it was time to depart. Due to me being a terrible planner, Chris flew out of San Antonio and I flew out of Houston, and we both almost missed our planes...altogether I drove over 600 miles over the weekend, a drive which we've dubbed "Julie's Tour de Texas". Yeah, I may be many things, but a planner I am not.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I'm Loving


When we made our Austin plans, all I could dream of was warm weather. Shedding the layers of a miserable winter and letting the sun shine on my skin, getting some much needed vitamin D. Boy was I completely wrong. We left sunny, 60 degree Pittsburgh, for rainy, 45 degree Austin! We did get a day and a half of good weather though, which was enough to awaken the spring/summer shopping bug in me, below are a few things on my list, and a few things I'm loving...

I love the pairing of a crop top with a high-waisted, full skirt for summer. This patterned piece would look perfect with a chambray skirt and big earrings.

Speaking of earrings, I've recently rediscovered what an amazing accessory they are, especially for summer when you may not want to feel encumbered by a necklace. I love this fringed pair.

While I love my platform heels, I hate feeling like I can't move around easily- especially when it's warm out. This flat-form style would be a happy medium.

I'm in desperate need of some new sneakers this year, I wore holes in every pair when I worked at the cafe! I'm planning on adding these, these, and these to my closet this summer. (I wear my Toms like slippers around the house).

I was able to try the Bonnie & Clyde by BonLook on while in Texas, and they're now on my list. Glasses can be so pricy, BonLook is a great option starting at $99 a pair with lenses.

 I'm in serious need of a case for my phone, it's been floating around my bag, unprotected for months. This case is handmade, super unique, and only $10!

If you looked in my closet right now, you would find an embarrassingly large collection of 80's silk shirts, I can't get enough! This teal top would be a perfect addition to that collection, I love a good, vibrant hue.

If you're looking for the perfect summer sandal, I can not recommend enough Salt Water's. I bought a pair last week, and they're amazing. Seriously. Plus, they're made in the US!

I've been adding a lot of prints to my summer wardrobe lately. I love the mix of blue, brick, and yellow of this dress, plus it's on sale!

Have you joined FAB yet? It's a flash sale site that features tons of modern home decor, and-most notably for me at least- lots of unique jewelry.

What's on your list for the warm weather?

TXSC: What I Wore & What I Said

I know I usually start my posts off with images, but this time words are more important. I can't even begin to describe my gratitude for the outpouring of kind words, support, advice, and commiseration left on Friday's post. I often feel very guarded when it comes to what I write on my blog, over the past couple of years my life has had a fair share of ups and downs (like anyone's would), and most of the time, I just didn't know how to put those "downs" in to words. I've been reading each and every comment left, taking them all in, and all I can say is: you are some pretty incredible ladies. Seriously, seriously, incredible ladies.

And now to undertake the task of recapping all that was Texas. This will not be in order, let's start on a more positive note with the one fully sunny day we had. White-ass legs, meet world:
In This Outfit:
Dress: Dear Creatures (ModCloth super sale)
Belt: J.Crew (oooold)
Bracelets: various friendship bracelets
Shoes c/o Lulu's

Every time I pack a new suitcase, I think to myself "this is it, Julie. This is the time you pack a perfect suitcase". It never is. I always end up with a weird assortment of things that don't exactly match, and then a big bag of big shoes that I'm sure airport security finds suspicious. However, I did manage to keep my wits about me and pack a simple outfit for Sunday's Social Media Symposium. It was perfect because it worked, my sleep deprived self could throw it together and go: chambray dress, pop of accessories, mega-shoes. Done. No rocket science required. That pink stripe is fake, by the way, hair chalk! It's awesome!

When Indiana contacted me back in January about speaking this year at the Texas Style Counsel Conference, I felt incredibly honored, and totally freaked out. Despite having spoken in front of thousands of high school and college students during my admissions days, there was something... intimidating about speaking in front of fellow bloggers. THE TWEETS! And what if I started to sweat? Got shakey? Babbled about my cats? Well, have no fear...because I managed to do all of those things.

The panel I spoke on was titled Blog Balance: Why Your Blog is not Your Life, I was paired with three other amazing bloggers: Veronica of Tick Tock Vintage, Diya of In Her Stilettos, and Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly, all moderated by Macala of Fashionably Marketing Me. Live Life in Style was kind enough to film an excerpt of our talk (this isn't the whole thing):

Want to know what I was really afraid of? Offending someone. I know, I wish I had gotten over it. There was SO much I wish I had the guts to say, especially when asked our first question: why we choose to not blog full-time. Also, yes, I'm completely contradicting myself when I start talking about stepping back and not stressing yourself out, again, see Friday's post where I implode.

What do you think of full-time blogging? Is your blog your hobby? Do you aspire to blog full-time? Why do or don't you? At one point- after I had left Admissions- I considered blogging full-time for a hot second, but realized that, like photography (what my degree is in), blogging was a hobby that I loved, but not the career I wanted. 

If anyone has questions for me about the panel, I would be happy to answer them either in the comments section or on Orchid Grey's Facebook page (link on the side bar above).

Have a great Tuesday and thank you for reading xo

Friday, March 16, 2012


I feel like I start every end of the week post with “Man, I’m so happy it’s Friday”, but really, man, I’m SO happy that it’s Friday. I needed to step away this week and readjust and refocus, and I’m looking forward to having two glorious days to get things a straightened out around here. 

 I didn’t realize how much of an affect the Texas Style Counsel Conference had on me until I left, most notably the mentoring breakfast on Saturday. Jen and I discussed the topic of balancing your life with your blog, we extolled advice on stepping away, not getting crazy, readjusting, etc. This was all well and good, but I had a realization this week: I am terrible at taking my own advice. Seriously, why is it so hard? My main realization (among many):  I’ve been trying to keep things relatively the same around here since we moved and that’s not realistic at all. Seriously, at all. If we were talking in real life I’d be waving my arms around and slapping my forehead, because it seems so obvious. Our lives are completely different, we live in a different city, we’re on totally new schedules, and I’ve been running myself into the ground trying to hold it all together and go on with life as usual. But even then, I haven’t been living much of a life the past few months, admittedly I’ve been really down (I hesitate to use the word depressed, but close to it).  I’ve been hiding behind my outfit posts, using them as a crutch to not delve deeper; and while I still enjoy doing those outfit posts, I do want to delve deeper, improve my writing, talk about what matters to me and show you what I love. For my own well-being, I need to get out more and push myself to reclaim the other passions that have fallen by the wayside over the past three years (art, anyone? coughcough).

Since I started Orchid Grey back in 2009, my life and the blog itself have seen a lot of major changes, and I feel like I’m at a point where some changes need to occur again. My goal is to improve the quality of my posting, I feel as though, so many times, I have a great idea for a post but run out of time, so I just throw up an outfit and be done with it. Not the best strategy. I could be taking that little extra time to work on something more meaningful or connecting more with you. I’m not going to try and stick to some new blogging schedule, and I’ll still be here each week, but there will be a shift towards quality (or some attempt at it), rather than quantity. My life has been out of balance, and I need to get that balance back.

If you’ve made it this far, I seriously applaud you. There is a split box spring sitting in front of me as I type this, and Chris and I have big plans to put our bed together tonight, I can’t tell you enough how excited I am about sleeping this weekend. In a bed. That’s not on the floor (a mattress-nest on the floor seemed romantic at 18, now as a 28 year old, it’s just making my joints hurt and causing insomnia).

Anyways, if you have any thoughts on balance, life, anything, I’d love to hear it. And you can always easily connect with me on Facebook, especially if you have a question. I plan on installing Disqus soon so we’ll actually be able to have a conversation on here, won’t that be nice?

I hope you have an inspiring and productive weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TXSC: Where to Start


 I'm back! Tired, feeling a bit like I've been hit by a truck, and waaaay behind! I'm going to try my best to re-cap all the was Texas over the next few days.

What a whirlwind this was! We kicked off TXSC with a little karaoke, and when I say a little, I really mean a lot (there may have been a headbanging rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody). Conveniently, there was a guy in a van offering free photobooth photos right outside the bar....and when a guy in a van offers you free photos, you don't turn him down right? Right?

Top photo: Punky, Me, Jen
Bottom photo: Jentine, Amanda, Me, Jen, Merl

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Change Your Spots

In this outfit:
Dress: Target (old)
Shirt: AA (old)
Tights: AA (old)
Shoes: ModCloth/Jeffrey Campbell
Watch c/o Kenneth Cole
Bracelets: various

This dress is one of those items in my closet I doubt I will ever part with. For a leopard print dress, it's surprisingly versatile. I'll admit though, that the idea to layer a collared shirt underneath isn't mine. My work-friend wore a very similar outfit a couple of months ago, and I ripped it off. Do you take inspiration from your coworkers or friends?

I'm in a little bit of a rush out the door today, but if you're curious, you can check out how I wore this dress in February 2010, and October 2010!

It's devastatingly beautiful outside today, go out and enjoy it!

PS- Texas tomorrow! I have an interview up on the Texas Style Counsel blog, you can hop on over there to read more about me if you want!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In the Clutch

Photos by Mandy
In This Outfit:
Coat: Vintage/Thrifted ($25)
Dress: Vintage/Thrifted ($6)
Belt: Vintage/Thrifted ($1-ish?)
Clutch: Vintage/Thrifted ($2)

When I think about how the next couple of week's worth of outfit photos will most likely be the last of winter, I sort of can't believe it. When we moved to Pittsburgh, we had no idea what to expect in terms of winter weather. I know this year was far milder than most (according to my coworkers), but compared to even the mildest New England winter, this has been a cake walk. I know part of it has to do with being back in an office: I can trudge in in the morning wearing my sensible Sorel's, and change into not-so-sensible footwear at my desk. But then we had days like this too, where the winter sun shone a little warmer, and there were glimpses of spring beneath it all.

I've been thrifting a lot lately. It helps to work in an office full of ladies who appreciate the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping, lots of shopping buddies. I found this dress and clutch in the same day, two things I have been looking for: a great sweater-dress and an envelop clutch. I love it when the thrift gods align!

In other news: I'm stressing out over what to pack for Austin (I know, first world problems), I can't wait for warm weather (like anyone can wait for it), I am SO excited to get my hair done at Do or Dye in Houston on Thursday afternoon!

How is your Tuesday morning going?

Oh, also, I've had a few people comment asking what kind of bun this is/is it a sock bun. Well, it's just my hair, in a high ponytail, wrapped around itself. :) Tutorial soon?