Monday, April 30, 2012

Over the Weekend: A Simple Sunday

A Sunday well spent: snoozing cats, lots of Fleetwood Mac, a trip to the Library (I'm currently reading: Then, Again by Diane Keaton and Devil in the White City by Erik Larson), a long walk through Schenley Park, and a late lunch at Church Brew Works. Not pictured: a batch of the worst cookies I've ever made (still trying to figure out what went wrong, barometric pressure?), and one of the best quiches I've ever baked (pat on the back). We had hoped to get out to Ohiopyle for some hiking, but it's been so rainy that we decided to stick around town. Not too shabby of a weekend if I do say so. How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What I'm Loving

Vintage Leather Jacket (15% off w/ orchidgrey) . Leather BraceletsCyd Clutch (10% off w/ grey10)

It's still cold, it's still grey, but dammit I'm craving bright colors! Let's go summer, you can't get here fast enough. 

A few more things I'm loving:

1. The most amazing IPhone case.
2. The perfect beach tote.
3. I need to refresh my macrame skills.
4. A beautiful blue ring.
5. I wish these were my size.
6. Pretty tapestry boots.
7. I would love to add this to my closet, perfect over maxi dresses.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Layer Cake

In this outfit:
Dress: 8000 Nerves/ModCloth
Cardigan: J.Crew outlet ($20 ish)
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell 2010
Bag: Vintage Coach/Thrifted ($6)
Bracelets: Thrifted/ Swapped/ Gifted
Purple Necklace: Swapped
Bird skull & crystal necklace: various
Cicada Earrings: Erica Weiner/ ModCloth
Belt: AA ($16)

I'm sorry for the excessive photos today, I know it's many people's pet peeves. But, truthfully, I couldn't help it, these photos are some of my favorites in a long time. You may have noticed the general lack of outfit pictures lately, it's not that I'm trying to scale back, but more of a combination of wanting to wait until I get home to find a fun location (let's face it, the office park where I work isn't very exciting), and then just feeling haggard by the time I walk in the door. I guess I'm still working out my schedule, finding the best way to still fit everything in.

Has your weather been crazy lately? The temperature has been so up and down, I'm pretty sure that it's the main contributor to my feeling uninspired. I hate how much the weather affects my mood (to the blogger/reader who suggested vitamin D, thank you!). After a series of crap-tastic mornings, I woke up yesterday determined to break the cycle: I got up on time, ate a breakfast that wasn't just a yogurt, played with the cats (always a mood booster), took the time to iron this amazing dress, and put together an outfit I felt good in. I hate ironing, but I did it anyway, and it was worth it. This dress is just it, I'm in love. The color, the cut, the layers, it's perfection, and when I put it on I felt great. Sometimes if you can't make yourself feel good, you need a piece of clothing that can do it for you. Maybe that sounds weird, but you catch my drift, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hair Do How-To #6: Beachy Waves 2.0

I might own the oldest curling iron known to man, I have no idea where it came from, but it's served me well over the many years I've had it. This is a great technique for those of you looking to achieve beachy, undone waves, but want to avoid the "Shirley Temple" effect that traditional curling irons are known to cause. Unlike most of my tutorials, I recommend starting with clean hair, simply because it's easier to break apart the curls once they're set. This is my go-to hairstyle lately, if I'm running low on time in the morning- which, let's face it, is always- I can throw in a few curls in the top layer and curl the ends and I'm done. Happy styling!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Rules of Shopping

No 'Over the Weekend' post today, it was cold and gloomy and I stayed inside and did indoor things: cleaned, read, sewed, baked, snuggled cats. Instead, I've been thinking that it would be great to gather up your comments and suggestions in a weekly advice-type post (not to replace my weekend posts, but this works for today). Whether I'm asking for advice on managing stress, shopping, or how to calm down, you- readers and fellow bloggers- always have inspiring and helpful things to share!

In this post, I asked what your shopping "rules" were, or if you had any at all. As I mentioned in that post, if I can't imagine three different ways of styling a piece with wardrobe items I already own, I typically don't purchase it. I don't always apply this to thrifting because I usually find my 'statement' pieces in a thrift store. Like many other avid thrifters, I also use second-hand shopping as a way to try out trends before buying into them (hello, midi skirts). My other shopping rules? I don't purchase basics second hand (they're usually gnarly), and when shopping new, I try to purchase the majority of my clothes second hand and try to avoid H&M and F21. Now, I said try- I don't always succeed- It is so easy to get sucked in! When I do find myself in those stores, before I purchase something I envision all of the items I have bought previously from those stores, and remind myself how few of them are actually still in my closet. So much of that stuff ends up being donated after only a few months, and in my book, that's just not worth it.

Here's what you had to say about shopping:

Kulter und Stil: "I normally have a list with things that I miss in my closet - but that doesn't mean that I only allow myself to buy these things, it's just something for me to have better in mind what I need. and then, yes, my biggest rule is: before buying something I go through my closet and put together at least 5 (different) outfits with the "new" item, and if I don't have any things to combine with the new thing, I normally leave it in the shop or I buy it and go once more through my closet at home and then either keep it or bring it back. I really don't want things "sleeping" in my closet, only because I have nothing to wear with them...

Nautical Owl: "...Generally speaking, I like to go out with an outfit in mind, something I might of seen on a blog, and then try to find a similar match. If I don't really have a "list", then I end up spending way too much and stuff just ends up sitting in my closet..."

Charmaine: "My rule is to only buy 1 item. I've bought 2 & 3 items at a time before & I always end up liking the first one & then the other ones are a waste of space & money. So, now I force myself to decide on my favourite in the more wasted money & wasted clothes."

Sweet Harvest Moon: "Before buying an item, I must think of at least 4 outfits!"

A Stylized Hysteria: "I don't think I have any shopping rules except trying to avoid paying full-price for anything!"

Evolution of a Wallflower: "When I'm shopping in "real stores" (I mostly thrift), I tend to think about the versatility of pieces, and whether or not I could find something similar and cheaper at a thrift store. Most of the time, the thrift store wins. When it comes to thrifting, though, I don't really have any rules. Thrifting just makes it easier to try out trends for super cheap."

Lady a la Mode: "I try to not be [swayed] by other opinions - if I love something, that's all that matters. I also ask myself if I can see myself wearing the piece with at least 5 things I already have... if I can't I do my best to leave it behind, but on those certain occasions I just have to take it home regardless"

Jasie Plays at Adulthood: "As far as my own rules of utility, my entire aesthetic is based on uniform-building. Pretty much EVERYTHING in my closet is utilitarian in nature. To some it may be boring, but for a fat girl on a budget who wants to look amazing and who can't shop in most stores, that basic uniform formula is a real life-saver."

Suits and Skirts: "It's funny, I have similar rules about purchasing full-price, non-thrifted, particularly more expensive items.... it needs to be a classic, or, I feel very unique without being too trendy. my other big rule, which ties in with being classic, is if I can style it for the office, as well as for play. Then it is a golden piece and I move forward!"

2 or 3 Things: "I only have a few rules: unless something is hugely on sale, I try to avoid places whose business models I have issue with, like UO or Anthropologie or Free People (the CEO of the three companies contributes loads of money to the Republican party), but I'm not so good at following this rule since the brands are all marketed towards the exact demographic the CEO probably finds abhorrent. One really important rule, however, is bikeability: would I be able to bike in the outfit? This sounds silly but since I bike to and from work/campus every day, I wouldn't want to own that many clothes I'm not able to bike in. Thankfully I bike in all kinds of clothes, even skirts and dresses, as long as I can move my lefts comfortably!"

Thank you all for your great advice!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Few Things I'm Loving

Maybe it's the cold, rainy day outside, or the fact that I've just now stopped moving after a day of cleaning the hell out of our apartment, but man, all I want to be wearing right now are those paisley pants and a sweater. The weather has been so up and down lately, yesterday it was 82 and today it's 45, blahhhhh.

Here's what else I'm digging this week:

1. The Sonics Pandora station (I'm going on hour 5 and it's still SO good!)
2. DIY cut offs, I want to make the white lace pair!
3. These wind chimes would look pretty on our porch.
4. 3D Cats.
5. I'm not one for super fancy bags, but this one's pretty.
6. A floral DIY, by yours truly.
7. I'm in love with this cat dress.
8. This book is on my wishlist.
9. You can still enter the Poshlocket giveaway!
10. I'm seriously so enamored with this dress, light blue and yellow is so pretty together!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seeking Utility

In This Outfit: 
Dress: Dear Creatures (super sale from ModCloth)
Belt: AA ($16)
Shoes c/o Lulu's (restocked!)
Tights: UO ($4 super old)
Necklace: Vintage
Bracelets: Vintage/ Thrifted

It's Thursday. My taxes are done, I'm working from home, the sun is shining! After two plus weeks of what seemed like insanity- but was really just an f-ed up schedule and tax time- life is getting back to normal. As much as I'd like to think I'm the spontaneous type, I'm not. I need balance, I need warning when some kind of something is going to mess up my expectations for my day or week. For times like this- when I'm low on sleep and short on patience, I turn to the basics in my wardrobe to get me through. And what few basics I seem to have! With the majority of my closet being thrifted or vintage or some kind of mix, it's a clash of pattern and color, but, there are the few pieces like this dress that make life easy in times of stress and sleeping past all my alarms.

Stressful days and busy weekends are what I had in mind when I clicked 'purchase' on this dress. It's one color, a classic silhouette, and is some kind of mix between blue, black, and grey (in my brain, I tell myself that it can be all three depending on the accessories- don't tell me otherwise). The last time I wore it, I was in Texas and needed a quick outfit, and it worked.

Utility is what I look for in the new items I purchase for myself. As a general rule (though, not always), if I can't envision three different ways to style something, I typically won't follow through. I don't always apply this when thrifting, but do keep it in mind, it's a good way to ensure maximum wear out of the things I purchase, and cuts down on the 'completely ridiculous' that I can so easily fall prey to.

I'm curious: do you have any shopping rules?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Win a Bracelet from Poshlocket!

I'm so excited to announce today's giveaway with Poshlocket! They are kindly offering one lucky winner a Naralle Zig Zag Enamel Bracelet in the colorway of their choice! Poshlocket is a great site, with most items running between $20-$30, plus their bracelets are perfect for small wristed ladies.

To Enter: (You can pin or tweet directly from the product page)
1. Follow Poshlocket on Pinterest and pin your favorite item from the store.
2. Don't have Pinterest? That's OK! You can follow them on Twitter and send a tweet about this giveaway.
3. Leave a comment here telling me which option you chose! Good luck!

Tiny print: One entry per person. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers. Be sure to leave me an email address if you do not have a blog where I can easily reach you. Giveaway ends Monday April 23rd at 10PM EST. Winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Over The Weekend: Flowers and Antiques


Oh Monday, I am not ready for you! Just one more day, please? I had such a great weekend! Our friend Jake was down from Mass visiting family and met up with me on Saturday afternoon, we didn't have the best weather, but the rain was perfect for having a huge breakfast at Pamela's and then a walk around Phipps. When Chris got out of work, we went to Kelly's for beers and pierogies. Sunday brought with it an early morning drive to the airport, where we said goodbye to our friend. Sunday also brought 80 degree weather! We took advantage and explored Miller Antique Mall in Verona, the Oakmont Bakery, Mellon Park, and the Phipps Garden Center.

Short and sweet today. How was your weekend?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Life Lately...

Top Row: flowers, the tiniest sunbather, more flowers
Bottom Row: Drama, more flowers, Zephyr pretty much gives it away

Top Row: Advice from a coaster, finally found Rumors on vinyl, accessories shed as soon as I get to work
Bottom Row: Life Magazine 1965 (sugar! It's Good For Kids!), Road Trip Planning, Life Magazine 1965 (A girl-size pen, finally!) 

Dudes. It's Friday. Thank freaking god, where's there a pillow I can face-plant into? Thanks to an overly ambitious workout paired with a surprise arthritis flare-up, I feel as though I've been hit by a bus. Whining aside, I'm ready for a weekend filled with relaxing and eating and maybe a slightly less ambitious trip to the gym (we'll see, we'll see). Oh yeah, and a whole lot of sleep. A Massachusetts friend is coming to visit us on Saturday, too, and I'm looking forward to more Pittsburgh exploration with him.

I've been pinning lots of DIY ideas lately, and I would love to set aside some time this weekend to actually DO one or two. I think that's one of my biggest goals after I get our workspace in order, to actually have some projects in the works again. What are you working on right now? Anything exciting? I'd love to recreate these.

Oh, and maybe you're wondering what's with all the flowers? I have a super exciting post for my work coming up next week! I'm so proud of how the whole thing came out and I can't wait to share it with you. And can I just say how much I loved having fresh flowers in the house? We rarely buy them because the cats like to nibble, so the flowers usually end up shut in the bathroom or some other weird and inconvenient place, but I kept a bouquet of ranunculus and they were beautiful. 

Here's what caught my attention this week:  

1. Bearded ladies. I can't pick a favorite. It might be Princess Beatrice. Or Michelle Rodriguez, who manages to be both incredibly intimidating yet alluring.

2. What happens to 3 out of 4 girls after leafing through a fashion mag for 3 minutes. When I see stuff like this, it makes me incredibly thankful that I grew up in a relatively isolated community, in a- nearly media-less household, with no cell phones or internet. I can't imagine being a young person in 2012. But that's another post for another day.

3. This retro swimsuit reminds me of the suit that Barbie originally wore, I love how simple but eye-catching it is.

4. This makes me laugh so hard, these two cats are exactly like Zeb and Zephyr. One desires cheeseburgers, while the other longs for freedom and dignity.

5. I'm not usually one for cut-out shoulders, but I'm willing to compromise for the studded collar of this pretty top

6. Pink skull beads? Gold chain? Yes please.

7. Minty brogues, get in my closet. Now I just need $210. They're awfully pretty to look at though, le sigh.

8. I'm in love with this enamel bracelet. Plus, from what I've experienced so far, the sizing of these hinge bracelets is perfect for wimpy- er, I mean delicate- wristed ladies like myself. 

9. This. Except it's the last picture, all the time. I got gums and I know how to use 'em.

10. Leopard print maxi skirt. In. Love.  (enter Grey10 at checkout for 10% off)

11. I want to get married again just so I can wear this vintage dress. LOOK AT THAT NECKLINE?! 

12. These. With a sheer floral dress. (enter orchidgrey at checkout for 15% off)

13. Sadly, the Facebook timeline was forced on me last week. What a bummer. On the upside however, you can now send me a direct message on FB! So, if you've ever had terrible luck emailing me, I'm much less dodgy on FB!

 Have a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Medium

In This Outfit:
Sweater: J.Crew ($30-ish?)
Top: Thrifted ($3)
Skirt: Thrifted ($5)
Shoes: Thrifted ($4)
Necklace: Swapped
Gold Cuff: Thrifted ($2)
Tights: AA
B&W Bangle c/o Poshlocket

Do you ever put on an outfit, only to realize that it's not quite "you", even if it's one that you've worn before? That's how I felt yesterday when I attempted to recreate this outfit from 2011. See, after working from home in jeans and a tee shirt all day yesterday, I had to find some sort of "professional-ish" outfit for an evening networking event. Or rather, I felt like I had to dress somewhat professionally (in the long run, I don't think it mattered). The downside of an incredibly lax dress-code at work is that all that knowledge I used to have- which wasn't that much, really- of professional wear from college admissions has completely flown out the window and I'm left flapping my hands in front of a closet filled with flow-y summer things (I may have packed away all my more structured winter stuff a bit too soon)...

When I put on the first version of this outfit, I felt so uncomfortable. Like I wanted to jump out of my skin. I'm sure it looked fine, I mean it was exactly the same as before, but it's kind of amazing how your emotions can affect the way you feel. After throwing on this denim top and some jewelry, I felt somewhat better, but still not exactly myself.

How do you feel about "professional wear"? Are you an expert? Or are you like me, completely stumped?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Art Notes: Gabriella

All work by GabriellaRitar

Does that first picture look familiar? When Gabriella emailed me a couple of weeks ago saying that she had drawn up an illustration inspired by this post of mine, I was incredibly flattered, and then I visited her blog and was really, really flattered. Her work is exactly the kind of illustration that I love: simple, loose, and expressive. Plus, how could you possibly resist a cat pattern? Thank you so much Gabriella!