Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fave Five: Souvenirs

I love travel.  You can learn a lot about yourself when you step out of your routine and your comfort zone and experience new places.
  • Experiences: The best things you can bring back from any trip aren't "things" at all, they are memories.  Vacations are a perfect time to try something new.  Stephen and I fell in love with snorkeling on our first trip to Cozumel, and I treasure the memories (and photos) of seeing fish and coral up close.  
    I bought this coffee on my first trip to
  • Coffee or Tea: When you buy coffee or tea as a souvenir you can revisit the trip every time you brew up a pot.  Coffee, tea, and other consumables are also good because you don't have to devote space in your life to them indefinitely.  
  • Jewelry: You may have noticed that much of my jewelry was purchased on trips.  I love that jewelry takes up so little physical space, but can instantly provide a tangible connection to great memories.
  • Beads and Craft Supplies: I bought fabric in India, beads on one trip to Portland, and yarn on another Portland trip.  Craft supplies are a wonderful souvenir because you get to re-live the joys of the trip while you use the supplies and then re-live it again when you wear or use your finished project.
  • Clothing: One of the best souvenirs I've bought recently is a fleece jacket with Las Vegas embroidered on the chest.  I've worn it dozens and dozens of times since that trip to the gym or just running around.  Every time I wear it I think of our fun weekend in Vegas.

I enjoyed reminiscing about the trip while I
made these earrings and again every time I
wear them.
Every time I wear this necklace and earrings set
it brings happy memories of first trip to
I use souvenirs sort of like a string tied around my finger.  They are physical reminders of happy memories.  In the past I have had trouble with buying too many of those reminders, but now I try to settle on  just one or two.  That way each item is special and meaningful.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pack Rat: Is This Heaven? Edition

I'm headed to visit friends and family in Iowa, and I am at a loss with what to pack.  You'd think that after living there for over a quarter of a century I could easily prepare for a visit of a few days, but I've gotten out of the habit of dressing for cold.  I don't think too many people would confuse Iowa with heaven this time of year... I don't imagine heaven is filled with frozen slush and barren winter fields.

The clip above is from Field of Dreams.

I am planning on continuing my Closet Excavation Challenge, so I will be packing blue dresses.   I don't have a lot of room to spare, so I will try to include warm items that pack down and can be worn multiple times.  I will have access to a washer and dryer, so I'll have to really resist the urge to over pack this time.

So far I'm thinking of bringing...

  • Four dresses (all are shades of blue)
  • Three sweaters (two cashmere)
  • Two tank tops
  • One pair of jeans
  • One wool jacket
  • Two scarves
  • One pair of boots
  • One pair of shoes
  • Workout clothes and shoes
This selection of clothes should more than get me through the coffees and dinners that await me as long as I can resist the urge add "just one more thing" two dozen times like I often do.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


This jacket was a real find.  I dug it up at Vintage by the Pound in Portland on my shopping trip with Gracey in December.  I love the lines, the slightly puffed sleeves, and the Mandarin (?) collar.  It is the denim jacket elevated.  The downside?  I like it so much that wearing it has become a crutch on days that I don't feel like thinking about what to add to warm up a chilly outfit.

Jacket, thrifted; dress, swapped; tights, Target; shoes, Younkers; necklace, earrings, bracelet, and ring, gifted.
It's always funny to open a photo only to see that I
look completely deranged.
The dress is from the clothing swap hosted by Sally Ann back in September.  The light weight is perfect for summer, but not for the unseasonably cold temperatures we're having right now.  Tights and the jacket barely made it tolerable.

I had originally planned on topping this dress with a red polka dotted shirt.  I absolutely will wear that outfit once the weather warms up a bit, but for now it is just too cold to wear this gauzy dress with such a light topper.
Next time!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Down Time

Sometimes you need a warm, cozy outfit on a cold, windy day.  This is that outfit.  Today is that day.  Today's challenge item, a blue sweater dress (worn as a shirt), is always on the cusp of being kicked out of my closet.  It is good for layering because it is warm (a wool blend) and fits close to the body, but it is too short to wear often as a dress and I don't think turtlenecks are the most flattering style for me.

Sweater vest, thrifted; sweater dress, thrifted; jeans, thrifted; socks, handmade and gifted (thank you, Mary Ann!); shoes, Younkers; earrings, purchased in Cozumel; necklace, craft bazaar.
Ka pow!  Photobomber!

Gadget rushed in to see what I was doing every time I leaned down to take a photo of the lovely hand-knitted socks.  I have three pairs of socks that my mother-in-law knitted for me, and they are always the first socks I grab out of the drawer.  They are warm and so comfortable.

The necklace was made by residents at a nursing home.  It is a decoupaged metal washer.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Perfect Timing

I purchased this jersey knit dress from to replace another green jersey dress in my closest.    Now I don't feel a bit bad about sending the old dress to Goodwill.  This new dress is perfect, and I received it at the perfect time to wear with the green dresses in my Closet Excavation Challenge.

Dress,; jacket, thrifted; tights, Target; shoes, Younkers; necklace and earrings, purchased in the Dominican Republic.

It was really too cold to be outside without covering my arms, so I added this oft-worn denim jacket.  I love that this dress has pockets, and the skirt is full enough that I could put quite a few things in the pockets without making any weird bulges.

The necklace and earrings came from our trip to the Dominican Republic.  They were made by a charming American girl who lives, works, and writes young-adult novels on the island.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Squeezing in Suede

I'm trying to squeeze a few more cold-weather items into my outfits before spring truly arrives in Georgia.  I was planning on wearing a green suede skirt today, but it has developed mysterious condition issues so this brown skirt took its place.

Dress, swapped, skirt, thrifted; belt, thrifted; tights, Target; shoes, Younkers; necklace, bracelet, and earrings, handmade by me.

The dress is greener than it looks in these pictures.  It is my second to last green dress before I move onto blue dresses.  I added a fabric belt in a similar colorway for some pattern mixing fun.

It is chilly today, so it worked to wear the suede skirt, unfortunately I don't think the skirt does much of anything for my figure.  That's too bad because I like it in concept quite a lot.  Adios, suede skirt.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dressed Up Jeans

This outfit is for Kate.  When I was last in Oregon she was laughing at the past trend of wearing a dress over jeans, so that's what I'm doing today.  Somewhere between the outfit and the bangs this developed into a '80s-style.

Dress, Ross Dress for Less; jeans, Target; belt, thrifted; socks, Target; shoes, Younkers; necklace and earrings, purchased in Cozumel.

This dress wasn't hard to wear with jeans.  It's short to start with, and I pulled the waist up a few inches and then belted over the fold.  This is the first time I've worn this type of jeans with anything other than knee-high or over-the-knee boots.  I had somehow forgotten about these wonderful oxford-style shoes.  I'm glad they resurfaced.

This necklace and earring set is from my first trip to Cozumel.  They are some of my favorite pieces of jewelry because they remind me of that wonderful trip.

With or without the belt and jeans, I like this little dress.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring in the Air

This green, vintage dress has a hold on me.  By itself it looks like a nightgown, but I love the print and the buttons.  I added an avocado-colored corduroy Talbots skirt.  The time for wearing corduroy is coming to an end, so I figured I'd better squeeze it in while I can.

Dress, thrifted; skirt, thrifted; cami, thrifted; tights, Target; boots, Rack Room Shoes; necklace, Charming Charlie; earrings, Claire's.

This skirt has the unfortunate tendency to bunch around the tummy, making my stomach look bigger than it actually is.  I just rescued the skirt from my "clothes that are too small box."  Maybe by the time it's corduroy season again it will fit a little better.

I added a beaded, bib-style necklace from Charming Charlie, and styled my hair in a side braid.  I've been liking side braids and low, side pony tails the past few weeks.  It must be because I'm a child of the '80s/ early '90s.

This dress certainly needs something to add structure to its shape, though I'm not sure the skirt was it. I'll be mixing more cool-weather pieces into my challenge in the coming weeks because (contrary to what I've heard from the Starks) spring is coming.  I need to wear my jackets, suede, corduroy, and leather quickly before it is too warm.

Today is the last day to use the coupon code DREMFJENNE to get 20% off your entire purchase at and the last day of the eShakti buy one, get one 50% off promotion.  I did a review of an eShakti dress last week, and you can check it out here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Today's challenge item is the olive green sweater dress, but the long wrap skirt is the star of the show. It is one of the pieces I got in India.  The long black and gold-tone necklace also came from my India trip.

Sweater dress, Victoria's Secret; skirt, purchased in India; belt, Ross Dress for Less; leopard flats, Payless Shoes; earrings, etsy; necklace, purchased in India.

The full skirt has great movement when I walk.  The a-line of the skirt creates a nice hourglass effect between my shoulders and hips.

Monday, March 18, 2013


These two dresses go perfectly together, but I'm not sure that is a good thing.  The colors in the multi-colored dress are kind of weird and muddy: pink, olive green, and navy blue.  The olive of the shirt dress is a near match.

Shirt dress, Walmart; multi-colored dress, thrifted; belt, thrifted; tights, Target; boots, Rack Room Shoes; earrings, etsy.

Both dresses are actually a little too big these days.  I'm not sure when to draw the line for when "a little too big" crosses the line into just "too big."  Shirt dresses are especially tough for me.  I like layering a shirt dress over a second dress, so definitely want them to fit through the upper body. By the time a shirt dress fits my lower body, it is too big for my upper body.  This shirt dress is a prime example.
Here's how I wore the same two dresses last year.