Archive for August, 2011

August 29, 2011

Not So Appalling Retail Therapy

It’s been exactly two months since my wardrobe journey began. I’ve been immersed in a crash course of high fashion, beauty tips and working within a strict shopping budget. I tell my students ‘My expectations of you have exceeded beyond the scope of this class!’ Well, as a budding fashionista, I’m patting myself on the back today for exceeding my own expectations in such a short time. Never did I think I could come so far and I’m only getting started.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but this post is bittersweet for me. Today is August 29, 2011 and six years ago on this date, I sat in my brother’s LSU apartment, with my parents, and my now sister-in-law, Tiffany, as we watched our beloved city of New Orleans flood. We sat there empty of all material possessions but as a family. I thought I was only going away for 48 hours, not 3 weeks, so I didn’t take anything. I had the clothes on my back, which late August in New Orleans, means as little as possible. Prior to that date, life was fearless and I shopped and celebrated life with not a care in the world. I was invincible and had never experienced much pain and heartbreak. I didn’t know what it was like to feel loss. That day marked a huge change in my life. I began to look at everything differently. Life became sad to me. But I also looked at each day glad to be alive and somehow having no material possessions became a liberating experience. It felt unnecessary to have anything of value and as I moved forward, I tried to get by with the bare minimum. Clothes were no longer a personal statement, but a necessity so I refused to buy anything of value, in fear that it could all be taken away without a moment’s notice. But healing takes time and I eventually woke up one day and realized life could pass me by and I didn’t want to miss out on one of my favorite past times: Retail Therapy! Nothing extravagant, just a boost of confidence of owning something new. And it has taken six years to finally get to that point again.

I spent Sunday afternoon in Lenox Mall, with the attitude that it is okay to splurge on myself from time to time. After three hours, some great deals and trips in and out almost every store, I walked away with some new basics to help me move forward for the next six years! Today’s post originally started off with different intentions, but I got a little off track and self-reflective instead. Thanks for listening and in return I would love to share with you my latest spree!

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August 23, 2011

Knit One, Buy One

If you are a knitter like me, terms like bobble stitch or cable or even k1p1 make perfect sense to you. And if you are a knitter like me, you probably have a decent size stash for all the fun things you planned to make from free patterns on Ravelry. And if you are a knitter like me, you have made numerous attempts at knitting a sweater with no success! Ah! Knitting a sweater! For the most part, I like to knit and finish something over the course of a weekend. I love to make hats and I’m pretty good at it. I have a decent collection of hats with earflaps, fair isle hats, popcorn stitched hats, scratchy cheap hats, even a Wonder Woman inspired hat!

However, knitting a sweater is a different beast. First of all, you have to create a swatch, a 4×4″ sample just to make sure you are using the right size needles. And if not, you create another 4×4″ swatch with a different size needle and so forth, until you get it right. Now I know that most hats that I make are right around 8 inches so having to knit more than one swatch is a whole lot of wasted time! I could have a hat in that period. Not for me! I do know that I’ve purchased vintage knitting magazines, Vogue Knitting and scoured the web for easy free sweaters, purchased the yarn and sat down only to be unamused by the amount of dedication it takes to make a sweater. The average knitted sweater with decent yarn, the right needles and labor is priceless. Yet there are always those goody-two shoes girls who ‘make new sweaters every fall!’

Why am I telling you all this? Because up until now, I have refused to buy sweaters over the last few years with the intent that I will make my own. However, fall and winter over the last 4 years have proven fruitless and my only warmth comes from the steam coming out of my ears as I stare at the stashes of yarn in my closet, money wasted! I know that a good sweater, whether machine or hand knit, takes some time and is worth paying for!

I have found a few fun sweaters that I’m interested in for this upcoming fall season and wanted to share. My favorite is this Chevron Sweater from Topshop but my size is already sold out. I’m debating on going up and size knowing I’ll probably wear something underneath, but a well fitted sweater can look sharp! haha I also understand a little about yarn and know that generally acrylic sweaters are not going to be as warm as something wool or angora but also a little less expensive. A little Yarn 101 for ya!

August 22, 2011

Crushin’ On Some Vintage

I’m often a few steps behind when it comes to almost everything! But once I get there I’m on a roll. My husband and I do not have cable television. In fact we don’t even get a local signal. We’re just too stubborn about that, but we do enjoy movies and of course, Netflix: Watch Instantly. A few weeks ago, we finally discovered Mad Men. And I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan. For the most part, the characters are a bit empty and forgettable. See, I’m snobby when it comes to TV! I even work in the animation industry, so the work environment on the show hits a nerve. However, that lack of substance is made up in the lifestyle portrayed in the show. Regardless of what’s going on, I do love watching Joan Holloway walk across the office just to see what sort of accessories she’ll be flaunting, whether it’s a brooch on her sweater, long necklaces, handbags, gloves, earrings, I’m starstruck! Plus, who doesn’t want an endless supply of cigarettes and scotch?

The style of the show’s characters has become so influential, many of those vintage trends are popping up in this fall’s fashion. Banana Republic is even coming out with an entire line of Mad Men inspired pieces. But!!! Jumping on this bandwagon and watching tutorials on how to wear the perfect beehive, just doesn’t seem to be my style. I’m choosing to opt out of this trend. Mainly because an attempt at this look will appear more Halloween costume than lifestyle. It’s lovely and feminine  but not me! However, there is no doubt that there are some really cute and fun things out there and adding a few Mad Men-inspired accessories is a cheaper alternative than tweed skirts and long red fingernails. I put together a little crush list of fun vintage stuff that I hope you love as much as I do! Happy Monday!

August 18, 2011

Skulls and a Shameless Plug

Skulls! I think the general consensus when it comes to skulls is that they are morbid and gothic. The type of imagery you see tattooed on the arms of Harley-Davidson riders or kids listening to The Pretty Reckless. Am I showing my age? I spent many a college day hanging outside of Trent Reznor’s house in New Orleans’ Garden District, waiting to catch a glimpse. Ah youth! but let’s focus.

Skulls, it’s starting to pop up here and there on shoes, scarves and other high fashion items thanks to Alexander McQueen. It’s one of those icons that is becoming trendy to own on a piece of silk. But what do those folks who are really into skull jewelry feel about their territory being invaded by fashion royalty? Well, I happen to have a little inside scoop on skull jewelry. Unexpected, right? My husband is in fact a skull jewelry designer. He goes by MT Maloney and he is one talented man. He prides himself on really understanding how to design a custom piece of jewelry that will wind up being an heirloom, a symbol of mortality, that when this life is all over with, regardless of what social class you belonged to or what kind of car you drove, we are all the same underneath, and we’ve got the skulls to prove it. Here’s a great read straight from MT Maloney, regarding McQueen and the skull trend. (Link after the jump)

MT’s latest post on skull jewelry and the pop culture invasion – Skull Tide – Here it Comes

While some may say that skull jewelry is not for the faint at heart, he creates some fantastic pieces for women too. Check out the custom work that my sister-in-law is sporting. A woman not afraid to wear her heart on her fingers!

August 15, 2011

Learn To Wear Fall’s Latest Trend: Color Blocking

The weather outside is a cool 70° in Atlanta! Does this mean fall is on its way? I sure do hope so! I’m ready for cooler temperatures, sweaters and fall’s latest trend: Color Blocking! As someone with two art degrees, I remember learning about color block painting as a movement in the mid 20th century. One painting that particularly stands out to in my mind is Hans Hoffman’s The Golden Wall.

Interesting as art but as fashion trend? A few concerns: How it will affect those of us who are standing on the shorter end of the spectrum. I’m 4’11” so I’m afraid that wearing large blocks of color aren’t going to be right proportionally. Next concern: Is this trend indeed a trend, and will it be gone the moment I hand over my cash to the salesgirl? Are these pieces worth spending the money on? Where is Stacey London when you need her? I have made a few studious attempts to try and educate myself on these concerns.

I am not one to be too fashion forward, but I guess better late than never! Wearing color blocking does not necessarily have to mean, large stripes of color. You can choose large areas of solid colors to create the color block look. For example, you can wear a neutral pair of pants and add a bright hot pink tank underneath a bold orange sweater, or something to that effect. And for those like me, who are afraid of looking too crazy, when you often only wear neutrals, start with neutral colors closest to your face and get a little bolder with your color choices as you move down. Isn’t that cool? A little fashion trend 101 for ya!

I’ve put together a few items that may be purchase worthy and still fit the trend. Not sure if I will actually go through with it or not. But if I do, I plan on shopping on the low end, just in case the ship sails away quickly. And do not worry, you’ll be the first to hear if I submit!

August 11, 2011

Shop It To ME!!! Yes, please

Okay, I’ve been scouring the web feeding into my shopping obsession, when I discovered this:

Have you heard of this????? A website dedicated to finding sales based on your size (worth it’s weight in gold!!!), designers, items and places you like to shop. And….It’s FREE!!! So Shop It To Me is acting as your free personal shopper, they point you to the sale and then you take it from there. I’ve pretty much halted all work I’m supposed to complete for the day in order to focus on this. I’ve already created the perfect wish list. Plus, the more friends you refer to the site, GIFT CARDS are involved. Holy Cow!

I’m so excited to share this with you. And if I’m the last to know, well I am psyched to be so informed. I feel like I’ve joined a secret club!!! So here are a few items that I’ve discovered only within the last hour and I’m CRUSHIN’. I’ll be going through this site with a fine tooth comb and hopefully making a few purchases very soon. Just have to get two monthly student loan payments out the door. But I think some stuff might be worth starving over until next paycheck! Whoo HOO!!! What a great day. Off to DC tomorrow morning for a Saturday wedding. I’ll give a full report on the wedding fashion I observe.

Check out what I plan to wear too! 

Pave Ring – Ann Taylor Loft

Jackie O Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters

Sasha Patent Satchel – Banana Republic

August 11, 2011

Crushin’ on some Glitter!!!

I love glitter! What girl doesn’t?? I’d even suspect guys like it too! One of my favorite albums to listen to is Tom Waits, Glitter and Doom Live. Could it be because it’s got the word glitter in the title and I imagine he’s singing in front of a gold glitter curtain in a smoky jazz hall? Don’t worry you are in the right place.

I love when trends involve glitter. I’ve been sporting blue glitter nails since my Catholic High School days when it was considered shocking and a bit gothic! I carried a black glittery purse on a string in 1995 and put my Marilyn Manson ticket stubs in it. But in the last few years, glitter has become more acceptable to wear on a daily basis and I’m thrilled!! No longer do you need Halloween or Mardi Gras as an excuse to wear glitter.

I visited the grocery on the way to work this morning to pick up some lunch but instead my eyes wandered elsewhere. Standing in front of me were two of the most beautiful shades of nail polish I’ve ever seen! It’s like it called me out of the aisles and said, ‘look how pretty we’d look together?’ Being a girl that is trying to stick to a budget, I did not buy them, but it did inspire me to make a beautiful little crushing graphic! Have a look and see!

Milani Specialty Nail Lacquer Jewelry FX in Gems and Gold

So looking forward to the coming months where I know I’ll be looking shiny and sparkly!!! Have a great day!


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August 10, 2011

Crushin’ Beauty

I’m crushin on some beauty products right now. I don’t have much of a beauty routine. It’s more that I just like to play around in makeup. I’ve been afraid of makeup for so long, mainly in the application of eyeshadows and eyeliners but the more I practice, the more comfortable I’m getting. Plus, I’ve gone without makeup for most of my life so if I do wear it, all of a sudden it’s obvious. I’m slowly starting to incorporate a natural makeup routine into my lifestyle. But let’s have a look at some of the fun stuff that I’m currently lovin’!

Sephora Colorista Custom Makeup Palette

This was $19!!! For someone who is new to makeup and experimenting with colors, this is ideal! 44 eyeshadows, 5 eyeliner options, 15 different lip glosses, 4 blush and 2 bronzer palettes! Yowza. And it comes with a travel size palette that you allows you to mix and match different colors. So far I’ve played with the different shades and they last pretty well throughout the day. Just like McDonald’s, I’m Lovin It!

L’Oreal Infallible Lip Gloss in Rebel Red

I really wanted something red. I really would like to go for a pinup red but I’m just not that comfortable sporting that right now. I love the way this stains my lips like I just had a red popsicle! It lasts a good portion of the day and application is easy. Glides on nicely too. I have a horrible habit of biting my lips so when I’m not wearing anything, I keep my lips hydrated throughout the day with a small tube of Vaseline Lip Therapy. It’s made a huge difference. Reminds me I lost it on Monday so I’ll buy a fourth one next time I’m in the grocery.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptous Mascara

Mascara is a staple. I always put some on even if I don’t do much else. And mascara can be hit or miss. I read reviews and they are always about 50/50 when it comes to success. I work for an animation studio and when this new Lash Stiletto Mascara unveiled, our studio created a web game for it. I didn’t work on it, but I do remember how much fun the branding for it was. A year and some change later and I finally purchased it. To me, great packaging is a good enough gimmick for me to buy into it! It is fabulous though. It doesn’t give me the spider eyes and it doesn’t really feel like I’m wearing anything. BONUS!

Manic Panic Hair Dye in Hot Hot Pink!

Okay! How does this fit? Wasn’t I supposed to be creating the wardrobe of a French sophisticated woman? I know Anna Karina never sported hot pink hair, but this is something I’ve dreamed of for years. I finally went to a friend who is a stylist and begged for some hot pink hair and of course she obliged. I have dark dark brown hair! So the bleaching process took a really long time. And I didn’t do my whole head! Just underneath. In fact, I loved it so much, last night I had my husband do some more of it. Yes, we are crazy and the process deserves its own posting. I have to say, the at home bleaching process wasn’t as strong as the salon process but I still got great results. Check out the salon dyed pic! The latest pic isn’t up due to the fact that it was almost midnight when we finished and I really wanted to go to sleep!

Nice purple strap right? A little tacky but I’m working on it! haha

August 8, 2011

Crushin’

I sure do have one expensive obsession on my hands. But that’s okay. I’m not splurging. I’ve got my sweet husband to thank for that one, otherwise I’d be broke as a joke, but styling! I thought I’d share what I’m crushing on at this moment.

Lombard Glasses from Eyefly!

A part of Bluefly, now for $99 a pair you can purchase prescription lenses at an affordable price. I got my eyes checked out last weekend and fortunately I need new glasses! YES! I have an oval shaped face and I keep reading that this style wouldn’t work on me but I’m not interested in conventional glasses. I love the vintage feel of these.

Velvet Blazer from JCrew!

I’m looking for an everyday warm and stylish blazer for the fall. This dark blue blazer is perfect, but it’s a bit expensive for my budget. I’ve been looking around for similar ones but this seems to be the cheaper of velvet blazers out there. Not sure if this blazer is in my future or not.

3/4 sleeve Little Black Dress from Topshop!

What a sophisticated LBD! I don’t really have anything to wear this to in my future but I just love it. I don’t think I can buy it without an excuse right now. I’m sure as soon as I think of one, they will be out of my size. Hmmm.

Vintage Beaded Clutch from ebay!

My mom had one of these. I believe it belonged to her mom. When I used to play dress up, I used to put fake credit cards in it. I can feel it and smell it, just like my grandma’s house. Unfortunately, it was one of those things lost in Katrina. I even know which drawer it was in, in my mom’s house. Every once in a while I remember items that I wish we would have gone in and saved. Anyway, don’t want to be Debbie Downer. There are a ton on ebay and fairly affordable.

Christian Louboutin Classic Black Pumps!

Who doesn’t want these?! I’ve been looking on ebay for a pair but I feel like this is a purchase that I have to go in to Saks or some fancy place like that to try on. Too many factors at risk for such a large purchase. I’m thinking I’ll get a pair within the next two years.

Hope you are crushing on what I’m crushing! thanks for checking it out!

August 8, 2011

Wedding Fashion

Ah Weddings! They are a ton of fun if you are not the bride. No just kidding. I enjoyed almost every minute of planning my December 2010 wedding. The weather was perfectly chilly, blue skies and just magical when we said I Do in the beautiful French Quarter! But I digress. This week I’m going to an out of town wedding in Washington DC and weddings are the perfect opportunity to play dress up. I don’t have too many dress wearing opportunities but I love to buy them! One of my favorite places to buy affordable dresses is Modcloth. They are hit or miss and I probably return 25% of what I buy from them. Modcloth has tons of designers on consignment, so sizes vary and I have fit issues from time to time. But when they fit, they are excellent and I usually can find super cute well made dresses for around $50. I thought I’d share with you my weekend wedding fashion. All things I’ve worn before and love. I really wish I were wearing a fascinator like the Brits, but I’ll settle for this cute hat just in case we are outdoors.

Nine West Packable Straw Microbrim Hat – Macy’s

Shoes – Zara

Fluid Dynamics Dress in Hydro – Modcloth

OPI Nail Lacquer – Big Apple Red