Monday, December 31, 2012


I've been struck by inspiration the past few days.  I've been beading up a storm with Chenille, my mom, and by myself.  When inspiration strikes, the creative process feels so good, and I've been struck.

Dress, thrifted; long sleeve t-shirt, Victoria's Secret; tights, Target; boots, Payless Shoes; necklace and earrings, handmade by me.

I was less inspired while I was getting dressed yesterday.  The dress is my closet challenge component for the day.  For some reason I thought this long-sleeve t-shirt was about the same color as these tights.  Luckily over-the-knee boots hide a multitude of fashion missteps while providing snuggly warmth.  I love this dress.  It is so versatile.  It feels great for a super casual Sunday like yesterday or for work (especially if I add the coordinating jacket that came with it).

The necklace and earrings are an homage to yarn.  I found the main focal bead some time ago.  It is made with wrapped wire that reminded me of a ball of yarn.  I then looked through my stash of random metal beads until I found enough to complete the necklace.  The earrings are asymmetrical because I like asymmetrical earrings and because I didn't have enough matching beads to complete two matching earrings.  I'll share more of my many creations in coming posts, and look for some to be added to my etsy site!

We'll have a quite New Year's Eve this year, but I'll be sure to wear something pretty anyway.  It's always necessary to start the year off pretty.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gentle Leopard

I couldn't wait until Tuesday to start on my January Challenge, and this dress was the very first one hanging in my closet.  I like that the pink has a less-harsh feel than red would have.  Pink plus leopard creates the kinder, gentler leopard.

Cardigan, thrifted; lace t-shirt, Younkers; dress, Younkers; belt, Rue 21; boots, Rack Room Shoes; earrings, handmade by me; necklace, Goody Two Shoes.

I've actually avoided wearing leopard print for the past  week or so because I realized after this post that I've been using it as a crutch as much as a signature.

Today I'm back in a big way with three leopard prints including these earrings that I made over my hiatus.  They are made with leopard print flowers that were sold for scrap booking.  I used a tiny dab of hot glue to attach them to post earring bases.

I'll be wearing animal prints for the next few days since I'm planning on mostly working from left to right down the closet.

Day 1 of closet excavation, check!

Closet Excavation Challenge

There are treasures hiding in there.
It has been a while since I challenged myself on this blog.  Too long, really.  One of the main reasons I maintain this blog is as a reminder to step out of my sartorial comfort zone on a regular basis.

The idea for my January challenge was hatched when Chenille helped me clean out my closet.  She gave me a second opinion on what should stay, what should go, and what has been forgotten for too long.  I sent some closet orphans home with Chenille, some went to Goodwill, and some remained in my closet with a vow to wear them more often.

I've decided that the best way to make sure that I am making good use of my wardrobe is by working my way through my closet systematically.  I plan on mostly working from front to back, with exceptions made for special-occasion clothes and the few items I have that are on the snug side right now.

I'm looking forward to this challenge because it takes some of the thought out of choosing what to wear while also challenging me to make the next item in line fit the day I have ahead.

I anticipate that this challenge will take more than one month.  I have a lot of clothes.  To save my memory and help me keep track I will mark the tags of clothes I've already worn with tiny safety pins.  I won't prohibit wearing the same piece twice (it could be the focal piece in one outfit and supporting player in another), but the more variety I have the quicker this challenge will go.

My clothes are organized by color and garment-type, so look forward to a slow progression of rainbow shades in the coming weeks.  I'll make sure to point out which piece of the outfit is the main event.

I'm so excited about this challenge that I'm starting today.  Who knows what I'll find deep down in the recesses of my closet.  Wish me luck!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oops! I Did It Again

I have such a hard time posting when I'm out of my normal routine.  Once again I had every intention of posting over the past week, but it wasn't to be.  I carefully planned the clothes and jewelry that I would wear while we were traveling over Christmas, then I left about half of the clothes I was planning on wearing in the dryer at home.  I spent much of the week in yoga pants and fleece sweatshirts.  It was highly uncharacteristic, but highly restorative.  It was a reminder that it is ok to not get dressed on occasion.  This was these were the only photos I managed to take.

Sweater, Walmart; Cowl neck t-shirt, Younkers; jeans, Target; boots, Younkers; pin, handmade and gifted by an old lady; earrings, handmade by me.

I hope all of my readers who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope,
The spirit of Christmas which is peace,
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~Ada V. Hendricks

May the hope, peace, and love of the Christmas season stay with you throughout the year to come.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Casual

I don't do casual very well.  I am trying to incorporate a few more casual elements into my style, but I'm mostly content with this being my casual look.  The socks peeking out of the boots up the casual quotient.  This outfit isn't slovenly, but it certainly isn't dressy either.

Dress, thrifted; belt, thrifted; tights, Target; socks, Target; boots, Rack Room Shoes; necklace, thrifted; earrings, handmade by me; trench coat, c/o

I made these Christmas light earrings yesterday.  I found the two beads came in a mixed box of buttons, but there was only one of each color.  I tried to make the asymmetry look intentional by reversing the color combinations from one earring to the other.  I like how they turned out and I look forward to wearing them for many Christmases to come.

My favorite method of dressing for Christmas by wearing primarily either red or green and then adding a few pops of the other color with accessories.  I think it is a little less overpowering than a full-on red and green combo.

It was cold and windy today, so I added my eShakti trench coat for running errands.  The trench reversed the proportions of the colors in the outfit in a way that I found kind of fun.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Serious Note

I interrupt my normal frivolity to encourage you to check out this post from The Bloggess.

I love the Jenny Lawson's writing.  She is so funny and irreverent that when I read her posts I sometimes laugh until I cry.  The conversations she has with her husband are often unnervingly similar to those I have with Stephen.  She is so brave and poignant in her struggles and her advocacy that sometimes I just cry.

Many people will struggle with depression at some point in their lives, and many others will have someone they love face this demon.  Jenny constantly reminds those people that depression lies, and life gets better.

If you don't read Jenny's blog, check it out.  You too can laugh, cry, and see pictures of Wil Wheaton collating papers.

Fave Five: Gift Ideas Under $5

It really is the thought that counts, and truly thoughtful gifts don't need to cost a lot of money.  We still have a few days to check those last few people off our lists.

Image Credit: Target
These are so cool.
  • Lip Balm: Cold, dry winter air makes chapped lips.  Chapped lips are miserable.  Save your friends from misery by including a nice lip balm with their card or other gifts.  This year I'm giving Chapstickto many of the men on my list because men get chapped lips too, people.  I've given Softlips to my female coworkers many years.  
  • Ornaments: Many of the ornaments on our Christmas tree were gifts from friends and family members.  Every time I receive an ornament as a gift I write the year and the person's name in an inconspicuous place, then I think of that person as I decorate the tree every year after.  Ornaments can be found to perfectly suit any taste, interest, and budget, and perfectly matching the present to the recipient is the key to any thoughtful gift.
  • Goody Double Wear Hair Elastics: Those of us with long hair know it can be a hassle sometimes.  Goody Double Wear Hair Elastics are terrific because they do double duty as jewelry and hair accessory.  When you are enjoying your long locks, the elastic plays the role of necklace or bracelet.  When your mane is making you insane, you can wear them as headbands or ponytailers.  Target has a wide selection.  That is a lot of accessory power starting at just $4.99.
  • Office Accessories: Michaels and Target both routinely have cool stationary in their dollar sections.  I find a few coordinating pieces and package them together.  Lovely note pads, stationary, and the like make the home and office a little brighter all year long.  Sometimes Target even has some manly note pads.  I stock up on note cards for myself and as gifts.
  • Keychain Flashlight: I wouldn't have thought to give these, but I received on as a gift and I use it all the time.  You may have to do a little searching, but you can find fairly nice ones for under $5.  Look for models that are ultra compact and use LEDs for the optimum in size, weight, and brightness.
I like to package my small gifts like these with a card and a few pieces of festive candy in a small cellophane gift bag.  

*This post contains affiliate links.  This is not a sponsored post.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fave Five: Quick Handmade Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching, but there is still time for last-minute handmade gifts.  As I mentioned in my quick crocheted gifts post, I love giving gifts, and I love that handmade gifts let me show that I care while stretching my gifting dollars.

Here are five more ideas for quick, easy handmade gifts. These are perfect for friends, coworkers, or as stocking stuffers.
  • Instant Russian Tea: I like giving consumable gifts.  If the recipient enjoys them, you can gift the same thing again and again, and they don't have to give the gift a permanent space in their lives.  That can be key for many of us who have too much stuff already.  Russian Tea is a hot beverage that I was introduced to by Stephen and his family.  It is a mysterious concoction of orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juices, tea, and cloves.  An instant version of the brew is perfect for gifting.

    Instant Russian Tea Mix:
    1 1/3 c. Orange Flavored Tang
    1/3 c. instant tea with lemon
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves

    Mix all ingredients.  Store in a tightly sealed container.  To gift, portion the mix into mason jars.  To prepare, mix about 2 tablespoons of powder (or to taste) with 8 oz hot water.

    If Russian Tea isn't your thing, try instant chai tea mix.  Either mix could be tweaked to reduce the sugar content for friends and family with dietary restrictions.
  • Wood, glass, metal, and acrylic beads
    combine for a one-of-a-kind bracelet
    Memory Wire Bracelets:
    Memory wire bracelets make great gifts.  They fit virtually any wrist.  They do not have clasps, so they are perfect for people who might not be able to fasten a bracelet (such as seniors).  They can be made in any color or pattern to suit any taste.  I like making memory wire bracelets with mismatched beads.  I sort them by color then, when I have enough, I thread them onto a spool of memory wire.
    Memory wire bracelets are also nice because they don't require a lot of equipment to make.  If you have a pair of multi-use jewelry pliers, some beads, and a spool of memory wire you're set.
  • Fishing Lure Earrings: I've had many compliments from friends and strangers on the fishing lure earrings I made during my Crafty New Year month in January.  They are perfect for outdoors-women or friends with a funky aesthetic.
  •  Acorn Earrings: Acorn earrings are another Crafty New Year project that would make an excellent Christmas present.  Nature lovers on your list will appreciate the earthy feel.
  • Embroidered Gifts: You can combine the ease of a store-bought gift with the sentiment of a hand crafted one by embellishing purchased items with embroidery.  I have embroidered canvas totes, towels, clothing, and more for myself and friends.  I particularly enjoy personalized gifts, so I often embroider the recipient's name.  I start by drawing my design in pencil on the item to be embroidered.  The pencil should come out once the item is washed.  Once I have a pattern I like, I stitch over the design.  This is another crafted gift that you can customize to the recipient.  Your design can be anything from subversive to traditional.  Embroidery is easy, low-stress, and requires a minimum of investment in supplies and equipment.  If you're new to embroidery, Sublime Stitching has excellent tutorials for a variety of techniques.
Embroidered kitchen towels are a store-bought
gift with a personal touch.
Tomorrow I'll share a few of my favorite inexpensive, store-bought gift ideas for the craft-impaired.

Happy crafting!

* This post contains affiliate links.

Never Too Cool for Yule

I can hardly believe this is my first Christmas-inspired outfit of the year.  This skirt is another find from my trip to Vintage by the Pound with Gracey from Fashion for Giants.  It appears to be handmade.

Sweater, thrifted; skirt, thrifted; boots, Rack Room Shoes; necklace, Charming Charlie; earrings, Younkers.
For once I intentionally posed with Gadget.
He was already sitting on the bench.

I like how the long skirt elongates my silhouette.  I don't wear long skirts or dresses often, but when I do I always feel pretty and feminine.  The length of the skirt is also nice because I didn't feel like dealing with tights today.  I added the large tribal-ish necklace to add a little edge to the sweetness of the sweater and skirt, and finished the outfit with small, dark pearl earrings to balance the heft of the necklace.

Check back later on today for more ideas for quick crafted gifts!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance

I didn't mean to dress like a weather forecast today, but that is how it turned out.  I look like I'm mostly cloudy with a chance of rain.  Usually when I make myself a human diorama it is intentional.  Today I was profoundly uninspired.

Chambray shirt, thrifted; skirt, Walmart; tank, Old Navy; tights, Younkers; shoes, Younkers; necklace, Charming Charlie.

I grabbed the skirt because I haven't worn it in a long, long time.  The shirt made it because it is a similar color to the blue in the skirt.  The tank, tights, and shoes are grey because I didn't have any other colors that would compliment the shirt and skirt.  The necklace is blue and new from my trip to Portland, so I added it too.  It is playing the part of the rain drops.

Any outfit would have been a disappointment today after how much I enjoyed yesterday's dress.  Not every outfit can be triple-patterned paisley, just like not every day can be sunshine and warm breezes.

Today is my friend Angie's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Angie!

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Piece Pattern Mixing

Today's outfit combines my two favorite finds from my shopping expedition to Vintage by the Pound with Gracey from Fashion for Giants: a fitted denim jacket and a wild paisley dress.  I love them for completely different reasons.  The jacket is classic, fits perfectly, and can be paired with almost anything.  The dress does its own pattern mixing and the white paisley sections remind me of animal print.  Of course I paired the dress with animal print.
Denim jacket, thrifted; paisley dress, thrifted; belt, Walmart; tights, Walmart; boots, Rack Room Shoes; earrings,

I can't even put into words how much I like this dress.  Thank you, Gracey, for letting it come home with me instead of snatching it up for yourself like I would have done if I were you.


I kept my accessories subtle to avoid competing with the dress.  Anything competing with this dress is bound to lose.  I chose small garnet stud earrings and skipped wearing a necklace.

This wonderful dress probably isn't for everyone, but it is perfect for me. I feel like it's working overtime by mixing three paisley patterns before I even added the belt.  Paisley pattern mixing is a win in my book!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Put a Leopard on It

I don't mind being a caricature of myself.  There are some elements that I use again and again as short hand for my personal style.  The most pervasive of those elements is leopard print.  When in doubt, I put a leopard on it.

Dress, thrifted; cowl, handmade by me; belt, Walmart; tights, Target; boots, Rack Room Shoes; earrings, Charming Charlie; necklace, Etsy.

I found these leopard print earrings at Charming Charlie in Portland.  I'm tickled to finally have leopard earrings.  The leopard tights are a little subtle, and the leopard belt is obscured by the length of the cowl.

I pulled my hair into an easy half updo with Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins (c/o Influenster).  I like how pretty this style looks considering that it took less than a minute to create.

Unfortunately looking at the back of my head makes me realize I need to do something about all those split ends...

* This post contains affiliate links.