Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Hair!

It was time. I guess my current thirst for color isn't limited to just clothing and just fuchsia (spelled it right the first tiiiime). There is no way I would go fuchsia on my hair. At least. Not all over my head. But the point is: my color craze has manifested itself in a new way!

Ombré highlights might not seem crazy to you, but as a hair color virgin, let me tell you this is the result of a year's worth of me hemming and hawing. I know, it's a little wimpy of me. But I did it, and I love it. Kind of liberating.

Up dork factor to 10, I know.

Excuse me while I freak a little and do a happy dance. And bring on 2013! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Collage: All Kinds of Stars

This was a "quick, I'm feeling inspired!" collage I made one afternoon a few months ago.

The feeling I wanted to evoke was watching shooting stars through a skylight, in bed (it's a little dream of mine to have a skylight in my bedroom). I used the following details to follow through on this theme:
  • Shooting stars are "Lucky" and used to make "wishes"
  • The navys/blacks with the contrast of oranges/sunflare yellows create a night sky feel, plus a day/night contrast
  • "Sun is better" -- the sun is the biggest star / provides a day/night contrast
  • The tribal textiles evoke the idea of bed & blankets, along with the picture of the skylights
  • Plus multiple kinds of star shapes (duh)
I know, it's not exactly airtight. But I think that's part of what art is: a mixture of things that provoke a specific associations for the artist. These things connect for me, based on my experience and what I want to communicate. Putting them together in a collage is my attempt to help you see and feel the same experience.

Friday, December 28, 2012

And Color of the Year Goes to...

Let's keep talking color, shall we?

I found out a few years ago that every year, Pantone names and claims a Color of the Year. This is a real thing. The color for 2011 was "Honeysuckle" and in 2012, it was "Tangerine Tango":
And, drum roll please... the Color of the Year for 2013 is "Emerald":

Pantone states that Emerald is "the color of growth, renewal and prosperity -- no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity..." (quote via Design Taxi).

So we'll be seeing a lot of Emerald green in both fashion and home decorating schemes over the next few months. If you're eager to begin collecting Oz-appropriate pieces for your closet, here are some pretty picks to get you started:


And, if you're curious, here's a little background on the Color of the Year, via Wikipedia:
"Annually Pantone declares a particular color "Color of the Year." Twice a year the company hosts, in a European capital, a secret meeting of representatives from various nations' color standards groups. After two days of presentations and debate, they choose a color for the following year; for example, the color for summer 2013 was chosen in London in the spring of 2012. The color purportedly connects with the zeitgeist; for example the press release declaring Honeysuckle the color of 2011 said "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues." The results of the meeting are published in Pantone View ($750), which fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies purchase to help guide their designs and planning for future products."
Kind of crazy and kind of cool, right? Pantone also produces seasonal color palettes -- here are the other colors that will be popular this coming spring!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Pink Upgrade.

We've spent most of the past month talking about holidays and all they bring: sparkles, red, gold, etc. blah blah blah. I have to admit... I'm on holiday outfit overload at this point. Anyone else? Ready for a switch up? Upgrade? Trade in?
(via Purse Blog)
Please come now, Spring.

Underneath the veneer of holiday blogging, I've been secretly longing for warm breezes and bright colors (like fuschia fucshia fuchsia. Drat. Someday I'll spell "fuchsia" correctly on the first try. Today is not that day). This happens around January 1 every year... After the holidays, I have no use for Winter and its gray, dreary, shivery existence.
(via Viva Luxury)

I'm ready to pack away my browns & grays & creams and bust out the color! Which is probably why I've been wearing my fuschia fuchsia (DANG IT) loafers most days. I haven't gone so far as to binge on pictures of tropical locations yet, but the only clothes I seem to be able to see currently are brights.
(via Atlantic-Pacific)

April? May? June? Are we there yet?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry & Bright

Here's wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas!

We're still hoping for some snow... we saw some flurries Saturday, but we're holding out for the real deal. Vi is doing her part to encourage it: she's got the boots. She's got the sparkly pom-pom hat. She's got the attitude. And she got her Christmas present (a doll stroller) 3 weeks early because I couldn't wait any longer...
Now all she needs is a white Christmas. How can the Universe say no to that face?

I'm off to make a coffee cake... merry merry.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve

Happy Friday! We made it to December 21 without the world ending. Those prankster Mayans.

Any fun weekend plans? Ours kicked off yesterday (if you count Thursday as a little pre-weekend)... I went up to my mom's and made seven different kinds of Christmas cookies with my siblings all day. We made the classics (for us, anyway): sugar cookies, chocolate chip walnut, orange glazed, cranberry white chocolate chip, ginger, raspberry jam thumbprints, and the family favorite -- chocolate blossoms. Last night we visited the Downtown Holiday Market in DC with friends after a warm dinner of pho (my first time trying it... and Violet's. She downed that stuff like it was candy). Tomorrow we get to catch up with my long-lost brother who's home from college for the holidays, and then before we know it, it'll be Christmas Eve, which brings a buttload of presents to wrap because traditionally, I leave wrapping for Christmas Eve. In between all that, we'll be wishing real hard that this dratted rain will somehow turn into snow before the 25th. Or just sometime before March. We're not that picky.

On serious note, whatever you end up doing this weekend, take some time to love on your close friends and family. A week ago today, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred. Those sweet children and their families are very much on my mind, especially as the holidays approach... instead of wrapping and cookies this weekend, they're facing the task of burying their 6- and 7-year-olds. I know... it's such a harsh reality. But I really feel that, even as the headlines grow smaller, we should continue offering our support and love. If you pray, pray for them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

People Watching: Holiday Party

My friend Meaghan showed up to a holiday gathering wearing a simple but elegant black peplum top with a pair of flattering red jeans, and I loved how festive and trendy her outfit was. I recreated the look here, pairing the top & pants with some glittery flats and necklace (she wore patent black flats -- also a great choice!). Perfect for a holiday party with friends and family.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wearing Plaid Chic-ly

Hannah left a comment saying: "So any tips for wearing plaid chicly? I end up wearing long-sleeve plaid shirts a lot in the winter, and I'm NOT going for the lumberjill look."

Fun question! Especially because I used to write plaid off because I too didn't want to look like a lumberjill. Probably had something to do with the fact that when I was ages 10-12, I wore my older brother's hand-me-down plaid shirts day in and day out. They were masculine in both color and shape, but I loved the warmth of the flannel and the awesomeness of the plaid even then. I've since learned how to style plaid in classy ways -- it can be done!

A few thoughts:

Choose your plaid carefully. Classic plaids like the ones pictured below are safe bets. This isn't to say you can't pick something with pink or teal or yellow in it (although that color palette would lend itself better to a skater/boarder look)! But you're guaranteed chic when you go classic:

In terms of styling a plaid shirt, the key is mixing it with chic textures, colors, and accessories (with some feminine touches, to contrast the masculine plaid print). And I will now list my chic standbys: think black, gold, pearls, leather, tweed, chiffon, tulle, denim, boots, heels/flats, etc. Avoid wearing the shirt hanging open (unbuttoned all the way), or with chunky layers or anything that's too earthy or wooly if you're really trying to completely steer clear of lumberjack.

If you're working with a more modern plaid like the ones pictured below (i.e. a pattern with more "unorthodox" colors), keep the rest of your outfit more neutral so you maintain a streamlined look. Tuck it in, rather than wearing it un-tucked or open. Focus on the accessories/shoes: flats & jewelry can do a lot to chic it up.
Side note: While there's a danger of going too lumberjack, there's also a danger of going too "mom-ish" -- be careful when you pick a gingham or a newer multicolored plaid.

Any other ideas for chic ways to wear a plaid shirt? Do tell!

The middle pic in the second set above (blonde hair/sunglasses/watch) is via Happily Grey.

Monday, December 17, 2012



Just a few things I'm wishing for this Christmas...

1: UO Rug: Something bright and colorful to put at the foot of our big armchair. 

2: Sequin skirt: For outfits like this. 

3: Amour necklace: You can never have too many circle gold pendants. Plus this one spins! 

4: AE Tank: Sadly, no longer available. But isn't it pretty? Perfect under a cozy cardigan. 

5: Lemon Zester: It's what my kitchen is missing. And I hate washing out my grater. 

6: Striped Washi Tape: For collaging and wrapping and stuff. 

7: Essie's Beyond Cozy & Mango Bango: Neutral + sparkly & bright coral nailpolish for gray winter days. 

8: Anorak jacket: Styled with jeans, socks, and boots... a great throw-on Fall/Winter/Spring jacket. 

What are you hoping for this December? Share a link in the comments if you've made a wishlist too so we can all see the pretty things you love.

Friday, December 14, 2012

People Watching: Dinner Out in Ballston

Mindys outfit

My friend Mindy showed up to dinner the other night wearing the above outfit (or an outfit comprised of similar pieces). I asked her pretty much immediately if I could put it on my blog (yeeeah... my friends put up with a lot). She looked fashionable but comfortable and cozy at the same time. Perfect for a nice dinner with friends at Rustico. The sweater skirt plus the cable tights complemented each other really well, and the outfit was a good representation of how to style a chambray shirt into the winter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inspiration Board: December

I have two huge bulletin boards hung in my "foyer" (aka the piece of wall that you see when you enter our apartment, the end). I use them as a place to display my monthly or seasonal inspiration board -- it's like rotating wall art (i.e. a big collage) designed according to my mood and the month of the year.

I always look forward to hanging pieces for the December/January/holiday board, because it adds an extra wintery decoration to our little place. Below are the beginnings the current design, made up of magazine scraps, catalog pages, some wrapping supplies, and old Christmas cards. I've been adding on as I've collected things that inspire me throughout the month. What's inspiring your holidays?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shorts & Tights: Rules & Thoughts

Jackie asked, "What are the rules and thoughts for tights with shorts?"

(My) Rules:
  • The shorts should cover your rear sufficiently.
  • The shorts should hit no lower than your mid-thigh or directly under your thigh (i.e. Bermuda shorts are not ideal. Teehee). Keep the hem at least few inches above the knee.
  • Don't use just any shorts -- they should be made of material that's cold weather appropriate, like tweed, denim, flannel, wool, etc. Linen and even chino shorts aren't ideal (if they're dark chinos, you might just be able to get away with them, if you style them correctly).
  • The tights can be opaque or sheer -- as long as your behind is covered well!
  • If your tights are patterned or colored, opt for a neutral pair of shorts and a solid or subtly patterned top.
  • Because shorts with tights (or leggings) could easily track toward more juvenile depending on the shorts and the style/color of the tights, I recommend keeping your color scheme fairly tame. My preference is darker tights with neutral shorts. 
  • For shoes, I recommend flats, heels/wedges, or nice leather boots. Pretty much any type of boot would work well... riding, suede, ankle, or wedge, as long as they're matched with the right type of shorts/top.
  • If fun colored tights are your thing, just be sure to keep the rest of the outfit more mature: match them with a nicer top, and definitely pair with heels or leather boots.
  • If you have a concern about keeping warm, wear your shorts with a thick sweater or a cardigan. If you plan to wear taller boots, you can also layer knee socks on top of the leggings or tights for an extra pop of cute (just make sure your color scheme doesn't get too out of hand... again, keep a good portion of your outfit neutral if you plan to add more elements, like boot socks). 
1: Atlantic-Pacific  //  2: Pinterest  //  3: Kendi Everyday

1: Pinterest  //  2: Twenties Girl Style  //  3: To Brighten My Day

I personally love this look... it's one of my favorites for Fall/Winter. Actually, just last night I paired a nice blouse with cuffed denim cut-offs, black tights, and my black wedge booties. It was comfortable, a little unexpected, and kind of artsy. I also love chunky sweaters with tights, socks, and boots. It's a fun alternative to a skirt/tights, and, depending on how you style it, can have a very classic vibe (tweed shorts, sweet blouse, high heels) or a rocker vibe (cut offs, flannel shirt, a hoodie, black lace up boots).

Have you given this look a try? Do you have a go-to winter shorts outfit?

Monday, December 10, 2012

"A Party Is a Party..."

"...but a Christmas party...!"

Thanks for your help last Friday with my shoes dilemma! I ended up going with the wedges. It came down to wanting to dress for the setting (art gallery) and I just felt like going more classic. I really do appreciate your help thinking through it!

I don't know about your December, but ours is still chock-full of festivities and holiday celebrations (probably due to the fact that there are 7 family birthdays this month). It's the perfect month to pull out the sequins, heavy & cozy fabrics, and deep wintery colors (okay... try to get past the fact that I just inadvertently described costumes from The Phantom of the Opera).

Here are a few of my favorite holiday party outfit ideas, brought to you by Pinterest finds:
Sequins. I know they're "in" and maybe you're sick of their mini disco-gleams burning your retinas. But if there's one time of the year where it's perfectly acceptable to wear some sparkle, it's the holidays! New Years Eve begs for sequins. Also, so do December 1st-30th. Just make sure the sequins are tempered: think neutral colors (I love how pairing a gray sweater or sweatshirt with a sequin skirt tones it down, and keeps the look comfy), non-hoochie lengths, and no Vegas-meets-the-wardrobe-of-your-great-aunt-Mildred-from-Miami.
Two classy dress options for two different functions. The sweater dress and tights would work for snowy hometown parties, and something like the LBD on the right would be perfect for a more formal Christmas party or holiday concert (pairing it with red heels ups the "festive").
Don't forget the details! If you're not down with wearing sequins, maybe carry a sparkly purse instead. Match leather with sweet gold polka dots for a tough-girl-still-loves-Christmas look. The deep green of that satiny maxi skirt is the perfect color for winter. And a bun with smokey eye makeup and ornate earrings would be perfect for any party you've got on the calendar.

Are you planning festive yuletide outfits? Share!

For original sources for all of these pictures, please click through to my style board on Pinterest. 
Sequin clutch pic: via Brunch at Saks
Gold polka dots/leather skirt pic: via With an IE 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Company Christmas Party (aka, I Need Help)

(via Pinterest)

Make yourself some hot chocolate and maybe even lace it with something because we've made it to Friday. Here's hoping you've got fun plans for the weekend!

We're off to David's company Christmas party tonight (at the Corcoran Gallery of Art -- ooooh) so I'm trying to figure out what to wear. At 17 weeks pregnant, I'm in that awkward "well, she's put on a few" stage, so my cocktail party options are limited. Wish me luck: I'm currently planning to wear the olive green silk Banana Republic dress I found for cheap a few months ago (it's fairly forgiving). But it's a toss up on the shoes:


What do you think? Should I go for classic cocktail party with the wedges, or edgy urban with the booties? Help!

/// Edit: Although in the pic above the dress is styled with booties and socks, I have absolutely no intention of rocking grandpa socks to David's company Christmas party. I will not bring shame upon him. Like I did that one time on his birthday when I made him cupcakes to take into the office to share with everyone like he was in 3rd grade. (I kid. But I did think about it.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

People Watching: Christmas Shopping in Arlington

While out doing some Christmas shopping last week, I spotted a girl in something similar to the outfit above. I loved the contrast of the pretty, bright blue coat with the jean shorts, and she styled the shorter lace-up boots with socks -- a look I'd been a little skeptical of, but am now eager to try. The overall effect was artsy and cozy.

I think the holiday season is going to be prime outfit/people watching.

More on how to wear shorts with tights/leggings next week!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Collage: The Human Torch DOES Use His Firepower to Light a Match

This card was for a fun-loving kid type.

I've found that the best way to start a collage is to sort through my box of scraps, match up colors and patterns, and then see if I can sift a story out of what I found. This one came easily: the bright colors easily divided into a sky and grass background, with the silly comic strip providing the focal point, humor, and interest. Because of the dialogue on the comic, I went back into my box and found a candle & flame, and the card's story was complete: the Human Torch's firepower has been ironically used to light the birthday candle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Black Friday Shopping: All December Long

(via AzBusiness)
Black Friday is over, but what if you've still got a buttload of Christmas gifts to get? What if you decided to sleep in on the day after Thanksgiving and then have a leisurely pumpkin pie breakfast in bed? What if, instead of shopping, you decided to spend Black Friday sitting in one of those massage chairs in the middle of the mall with a Cinnabon, people watching in awestruck wonder as the masses trampled themselves?

Now what?

I'm Luke Skywalker -- I'm here to rescue you.

Here are a few of my favorite thrifty, coupony, discounty shopping tips -- both for the holiday season and all year round:

My favorite online shopping tip: Before you hit "process order" on anything, go to Google and type in "*store name* discount code" or "*store name* coupon." Most likely, something will come up. My favorite online coupon code sites are RetailMeNot, Dealigg, and DealsPlus. All three of these typically offer reliable coupon codes for many popular retailers. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to save $5-$10 or have gotten free shipping on an order because I ran a quick online search for possible discounts first.

Second favorite online shopping tip: Subscribe to the retailer's email updates. Most of the time, when you sign up to receive their newsletter or deal digest, they'll send you a thank you or welcome coupon (which sometimes can even be used in store as well as online). After you've printed or copied or used the coupon code, you can unsubscribe from the email list.

Check the store's Facebook page or Twitter feed: many times they'll have limited time discount codes or extra coupons that can be used online or are printable for in store use.

Sign up for a free trial: Amazon is now offering month-by-month Amazon Prime memberships. One month costs $7.99... which is typically what you'd spend on shipping for one item, making it worth the money. The even better news is, they're currently running an offer for a free trial of Prime for a month -- I just signed up and now won't have to pay for 2-day shipping for the month of December, making Christmas shopping that much cheaper! If you do take advantage of this, be sure to go into your Amazon account settings and select "do not auto renew" right after you sign up so your credit card isn't automatically charged after the free trial/your month of Amazon Prime ends.

Sign up for or switch your credit card service to one with a rewards program: We needed to build our credit, so we signed up for the Capital One Venture card, and it's been great. You get a 1.5 points for every dollar you spend, and once you accrue 2,500 points, you can redeem those points for a $25 gift card (and if you have 5,000 points, you can get a $50 gift card, etc.). Gift card options include common retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, iTunes, Target, and Old Navy, as well as a number of restaurants and home stores. Free clothes, date nights, and gifts? What's not to love?! (Side note: Not to be your mom or anything, but I'd only recommend going the credit card route if you're able to reliably pay it off each month... no sense getting into debt all for the sake of "free" gift cards, right?)

Do you have any helpful/sneaky/amazing shopping tips you'd like to share? Leave a comment! I'd love to add more deals secrets to my arsenal. In the meantime, happy shopping!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Clothes for Cheap: Sweaters, the Continuing Story.

So we recently discussed critter sweaters and whether or not we'd wear them, why they make us (okay, me) uncomfortable, and also how sheep are noble and the fashion industry thinks they deserve to be displayed across the chest of the world.
How about some more sweaters? It's nearly winter, so I figure we should talk about sweaters as much as we can. Here are some sheepless cozy patterned ones I can endorse, with no awkward feelings:
Heart // Star // Dot
I like these because they're a grown up version of patterns I wore when I was little. They're reminiscent and cozy, just like the holiday season. Plus that star sweater reminds me of this tee from Madewell, so that's cool.
Plus look... all of the sweaters above are less than $30 each... and are knock offs of the following garments from J.Crew & Madewell (all of which will cost you more than $85):
Heart // Dot
Heart // Dot
Of course, if hearts and stars and polka dots make you feel as uncomfortable... this isn't exactly a respite from the critter sweaters, is it?