Archive for January, 2011

Jumping bean!

31 Jan
Jumping for joy!

Add caption

Tomorrow officially kicks off day one of Kendi’s 30 for 30 remix, Winter edition. I’m excited about it. I’m going to be even more excited the day I get this site moved over to WordPress. Currently, the magical blogging elves seem to be on strike and I’m having to do all the grunt work on my own. I know why it’s called grunt work. Let’s just say I’m not singing any songs over here while I try to sort this whole thing out. Nope, no songs.

Such is life. This old dog is going to have to learn some new tricks, I tell ya. Back to the drawing board and see you tomorrow!

This jumping bean moment brought to you by one fine vintage ebay sweater purchase. I wasn’t sure how to make it work, it’s just shy of covering the entire mid-section. It seems that I had a red t-shirt the exact shade of the stripes. I love happy surprises!

Deets: Vintage 70′s sweater/ebay, black ankle cigarette pants/BDG, red t-shirt/Club Monaco, kimono cuff/re4m, silver ring/Lois Hill, necklace/Alexis Bittar, fishnet knee-highs/We Love Colors, black ballet flats/Ecco.


Posted in Fashion


FBFF Q&A: Waving the magic blogging wand

27 Jan
Green, green and green

This is my bedroom wall. Someday, hopefully soon, it will be painted the middle shade of green. After six months of talking about it, it’s practically a reality. I’ve taken endless shots to make my case. I’ve changed the wall colors digitally to express my vision.

Technology rocks! We explored the options digitally until we got a place where we narrowed down our options to two. Mix them together to create a third and most perfect shade of green and Voila! Consider it done.

It’s Friend Friday and the topic we’re discussing this week is blogging technology. Because technology rocks.

FBFF: What technology do you use in blogging? (Computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc…)
FJ: I use my mac laptop, my Canon S95 camera and my dad’s old tripod.

FBFF: What computer and online technology do you use? (Blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc…)
FJ: I run Chrome as my browser, currently use blogger but am migrating to WordPress soon, and do all my photo editing on Photoshop CS4. My photo archives are stored in iPhoto.

FBFF: What is your process for taking pictures?
FJ: Generally, I’ve got all of five to ten minutes tops to get the photos taken in the morning before my husband and I carpool to work. I grab the camera, set it up on the tripod, look around for the best location based on the light and go for it. I use the self-timer, taking two photos at a time. I often end up with about ten to fifteen photos. Most get dumped immediately.

I review them in the car on the way to work and dump all the ones that don’t make the cut. Once I return home in the evenings, I transfer them to iPhoto, flag the ones with potential, export two or three, tops. I use Photoshop to adjust levels, hue and saturation. I don’t got overboard since I need to keep it simple enough to do regularly. I crop, sometimes adding a little shadow for depth, and export for web, using the same exact size every time for consistency.

Sometimes on a weekend I might explore using the camera’s more advanced functions and take certain photos, like the most recent ones a few days ago of the daisy necklace and ring. I’m learning how to use this new camera beyond the basics, it’s fun but time consuming. There are a lot of trial and errors along the way.

FBFF: When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily? 
FJ: I notice locations all the time but I know that often my only opportunity will be in the morning. I try to mix it up, they are almost always in my yard. To me, the backdrop is important but secondary. I want it to either enhance or be neutral to the photos, preferably enhancing and never detracting. I still focus on making the outfit be the hero, enhanced by the interesting surroundings.

I’m about to start working with a photographer friend once a week to get a different take on it. I want to keep the photos interesting and explore different backdrops. When they’re done well, they add so much. 

FBFF: If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment, what would you be buying?
FB: Have we reached that point in the future where I could buy more sleep? That’s the only thing I need at this point! If anyone comes across that technology, please let me know.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic and Colleen’s suggestions for putting together these questions. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!


Favorite body parts

26 Jan
A windy morning in the hills
The thrifted scarf was such a find

What is your definition of beautiful?

Merriam-Webster states: The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the sense or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.

A while back I read a thoughtful post on body image by Sal, from Already Pretty, which brought back to mind a topic of conversation I’d had this summer with some friends. When it comes to our personal assessment of beautiful it can be fleeting and subjective. How do we define our beauty? Is it spirit? Is it physical? Is it emotional? Can it be contained? It is likely to be all of those things and more.

I challenge each and every one of you to assess yourself; how are you defining your beauty? We are bombarded with how-to’s, tips, tricks, fixes and examples of ways to improve. One can’t improve upon something that does not exist; how can we define our beauty when there are so many messages reinforcing the ways with which we are falling short and require outside interference?

How are you using your eyes and mind to view yourself? Are they kind?

As I age I find myself navigating different phases of my body, mind and heart. Fascination has slowly replaced negative association. Nurturing has replaced self-deprecation. It has taken years to get here; it is not foolproof. We all have our days, after all. If we were to throw away every metric we use to judge physical beauty, would we still find the tonal changes of skin that come with age undesirable or would it just be different?


We strive to be unique and yet we want to belong. This is another example of an “either/or” scenario that clearly functions better as an “and”. After all, we’re just human. I checked in with some of my favorite humans not too long ago and asked them to share with me their favorite body parts. I asked that they not waste space in this post with humility, excuses or deflection; just name it.

I was impressed with the amount of attributes each person shared. We all inherently like certain, if not many, things about our bodies yet we’ve been conditioned to focus on the negatives. There’s a misconception out there that liking and appreciating ourselves is the great evil that is vanity. Here’s a sampling of what I heard, starting with my own.

“My butt. There, I said it. The shelf. It’s round! I like my skin, especially as it changes. I like the color and I have inverted freckles now, there’s a pattern of three on my right arm that always makes me think of dominos. I like my eyes and my smile. When I smile I feel more attractive. I get freckles and age spots on my face that one of my friends said looked like a heart shape. I like that! I love my legs, they’re really strong. I like my stomach area, too. And my hair. It’s naturally unruly but behaves really well with a little love” – Fabienne

“My moles. A lucky-placed one left and above my lip, a-la Marilyn, and three that form a triangle above my heart. My face. I use it all the time! It’s so expressive & zany ^,.^ The skin on my back and arms.  I’ve been told it’s soft, and therefore I get pet a lot by my friends and loved ones :)- Telene

“When it comes to describing just one particular body part that I like the most about me, I struggle to name one. Instead a number of body lines converging together come to my mind: especially the rear view of my arms, shoulders, hips and buns that melt together into my waistline. And as I’m writing this paragraph, I go through a list of my body parts again: hips, shoulders, arms, small of my back, my belly, etc. and  I’m realizing that, as a result of your survey, I’m getting closer to that ONE thing. So, I have to say that my waistline is my favorite body part because it is the place where my curvy hip and bun lines narrow down to a “deep valley” and then widen up again towards my shoulders and arms creating flowing curves of my female body. Now, put all that in motion with a sound of music and imagine it dancing!” – Barbie

“The obvious are my breasts. (Yes, I like them too) and my face, skin, eyes and hair.  I like my body shape as well although I tend to be critical about extra weight.  I like my hands and my fingers, feet and toes too. Wow. I didn’t realize I liked so much!” – Donna

“I like my hair, wrists, ankles and eyes. My hair (as you know) is wild and easy to wear. My wrists and ankles are actually fairly tiny and dainty. I need that since I’m fairly muscular (and round) and need the extra feminine touch. My eyes I’ve received compliments on over the years. Being almond shaped with brown into green (when exposed to the sun), they give me a little more of my Middle Eastern pizzazz-lol! Windows to my crazy soul!” – Ingrid

I have to admit I almost got teary-eyed reading my friends’ comments. I understand what a long road it was to get to this place of just liking who they were. I was surprised at my own list, I never thought it would contain so much. Did any of these comments resonate with you? Did any inspire you to see yourself differently? We’re never going to be completely above self-criticism but what if we changed the way we saw ourselves to be more realistic? What if we leveled our personal beauty playing field? 

Because you can dress it and undress and dress it back up again but you can’t detach yourself from your body. Why would we ever want to? The human body is an amazing organic machine. What are your favorite body parts? Make a mental or physical list and keep it handy. Refer to it every time you doubt yourself, any time you are comparing yourself to another. If you only make one resolution this year, change the way you see yourself before trying to change yourself.

There’s only one you: Fascinating, unique, one-of-a-kind beautiful you. I would love it if you shared with me and other readers what your favorite body parts are below. Say it loud and proud!

A special thanks to my girlfriends who made time in their busy schedules to participate. An additional thanks to Sal from Already Pretty for encouraging positive body image regularly. If you haven’t already checked out her site, I encourage you to do so.

Deets: Hot pink dress/H&M, scarf/thrifted, grey patterned tights/Hue, faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver belt/unknown, silver cuff and ring/Lois Hill, black gingko earrings/Braindrops.



Too close for comfort

24 Jan
Troublemaking shoes

Hello there! My dignity is still intact, I haven’t yet taken the tumble.

Vintage hand-carved daisy necklace
Vintage button-turned-ring

Apparently, there’s no more trouble in paradise regarding the color of the year post. I didn’t even have to do too much about it. That’s a win in my book.

Here’s a little story about today’s picture taking moment. The cool brisk air is still. I’ve got a breathtaking view of the bay to my left. The birds are chirping, one is different and I can’t identify it. The resident pigeon, Petie, (he’s handsome and intelligent), flies up to the wire and watches. I tool around with the camera, try to work on the settings. This camera is new, I’m still figuring it out one photo at a time. I could read the manual but this hands-on approach seems to be working for me. I pick up the tripod, walk backwards slowly, slowly, looking at the screen, making sure I’m going to get both my head and my feet in the next shot, when…

…BAM! Left foot in dirt! Balance lost! Arms flapping about! Almost bit the dust! All of this was fine and dandy except for the part about my wearing the NEW shoes!! I’ve never hopped out of flower bed and dusted dirt off a suede shoe so fast in my life. This was a proper shoe emergency just waiting to happen.


(Don’t listen, Petie.) Some choice words were uttered while concurrently brushing the dirt right off, we were back in business. That was just too close for comfort, my friends.

I picked up the red daisy ring Saturday, I don’t have a lot of accessories and tend not to shop for jewelry. I made an exception for this cute little thing. The necklace I got a few weeks back at my local thrift shop.

Today, everyone at work kept complimenting me on my necklace and saying how apropos it was, (ok, they said “appropriate”), for me to wear a daisy. “Like the Green Works daisy”, they exclaimed all day. This would mean nothing special except for this little bit of trivia: I designed the Green Works brand and packaging. Now you know.

(Ouch. I think I just sprained my arm.)

Deets: Dress/H&M, tights/unknown, brand-spankin’ new sage suede shoes/Tsubo, burgundy boyfriend cardi/BDG, Urban Outfitters, vintage daisy necklace/thrifted, daisy ring/Re4m, balance and grace/my parents.


Posted in Fashion


Trouble in paradise

24 Jan

It’s been brought to my attention that today’s post is not loading right on some computers. I tried a few quick fixes to no avail. I apologize for the inconvenience and I’ll troubleshoot tonight when I get home from work.

No Comments

Posted in Fashion


Envelope Please! The 2011 Pantone Color Of The Year…

24 Jan
Today I’m featuring guest blogger JTwisdom from Bubbling with Elegance and Grace:

Honeysuckle via
It’s my pleasure to be swapping post with Fabienne on her blog “The House in the Clouds,” to briefly discuss the Pantone Color of the Year, Honeysuckle. The color looks like a bright pink to me but I guess the Pantone folks have to be different. Please check out Fabienne on my blog,
The winning color for 2011 is Honeysuckle. At first I was thinking of the yellow orange buds that smell so fragrantly in my backyard and trailing along my tall fence but to my chagrin it’s not yellow at all it’s a fuchsia pink.  Honeysuckle is a vibrant burst of color that screams attention. The color I think will also make your complexion look brighter if the focus is toward your face.
On the color is described and I quote.
“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,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

When I seen this color I see beautiful dresses in various styles such as in the snapshots below.
The Honeysuckle color can work with an elegant bridesmaid gown to a pencil skirt worn with a cardigan sweater and pearls in the office.  The color is effortless and makes everyone smile.

Visa even has the color on their card.  It’s everywhere now!
At this past Golden Globes:
Sophia Vergara, Best Actress nominee for the 2011 Golden Globe Awards on Last Sunday was wearing a Honeysuckle dress by Vera Wang on  The color is simply stunning but maybe not on the red carpet.  The gown looks as if it fades right into the carpet because of the red hues in the Honeysuckle, nevertheless it’s still a beautiful dress.

Ways to add Honeysuckle in to your Home
1. Add a pillow.  If you don’t want to go overboard exchange some pillows for some Honeysuckle ones to give the sofa and the room some spice.

2.  Put up some curtains with Honeysuckle colored designs. The fabric below is from a window panel and it would fit anywhere in your home.

3. This chair could be added into a room if you do not want to add Honeysuckle to your window treatments.

Wingback chair via
4. Paint one part of the room Honeysuckle to create a warm tone in the space.

5. Add a lamp to your bedroom or living room introducing in gingerly the Honeysuckle color.

Via Amazon
This lamp above would be so chic in a bedroom. Honeysuckle does not need to cover the entire room.  So if this is a color for you see if you can find it at a local store in your area. If you don’t want to overload on Honeysuckle start with just adding a little bit in your space. Add a pillow or add some curtains, it will make such a difference and a punch of color to your space. I have always loved vibrant colors because they work for fashion and home decor. In either venue it will add some punch and energy to your life.
Congrats to Honeysuckle because it’s going to be an awesome year!


Posted in Fashion


Oops, I’m doing it again

22 Jan
Of all the outfits I’ve ever worn to work, this was the one that got attention

I’m sporting my beautiful new hand-knitted scarf, gifted by a lovely coworker

Twenty-six items, thirty-five combinations, I’ve taken the next 30 for 30 remix to a whole new level. I’ve tapped into the dusty area formerly known as Fabienne’s highly organized compulsive behavior and totally outdone myself. I have pictures to prove it.

My hubby was utterly perplexed that I spent two hours this afternoon creating all the combinations. “Why would anyone want to do this?” he asked with only the slightest hint of disapproval as clothes spilled out of the kitchen, into the hallway and around the other side to the dining room. What can I say, when I make a mess I go all out.

The answer is simple. I’m determined to include a couple new ebay purchases, which I haven’t worn yet, along with a few more items that I picked up or were gifted in the past couple of months. I have little to no history with those items I’m referring to, therefore, I needed to make sure they could be remixed.

Four items were omitted from the final count for the time being. Those are technically my wild cards; last time the weather changing surprised me. You don’t need to tell me twice, this Girl Scout’s prepared.

If you haven’t ever taken Kendi’s 30 for 30 Remix Challenge, I encourage you to give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose, you will not be ostracized for dropping out. It’s an incredible way to push your creative boundaries using the items in your very own closet. It’s fun checking out how others are coming up with ways to remix; I learned a lot of new ways to work with what I already had and I made friends along the way.

The shopping ban during the remix makes it that much more enticing to me, I’m saving up to go to Las Vegas in March for the Style Nation meet-up. That’s just a win on win on win situation. That’s right.

Deets: Mustard dress/ModCloth, rust tights/We Love Colors, burgundy boyfriend cardi/BDG, Urban Outfitters, hand-knitted scarf/gifted, black ballet flats/Ecco, peridot ring/Ambiance, headband/Anthropologie, necklace/Linkel Designs.


Posted in Fashion


Quick, shoe break!

21 Jan

My enthusiasm can no longer be contained! My shoes came in! Last week, Sal from Already Pretty mentioned that Tsubos were 75% off on A girl needs to exercise her free impulse shopping pass once in a while. These beauties were $36. You know what I did, I nabbed ‘em.

Keep in mind I never buy shoes. Most of my shoes need to fit my orthotics, I have arthritis in both feet, (enter snarky age comments here.) But I got a gamblin’ heart. Actually, I read how ergonomic they were supposed to be and thought I could wear them at work or on a date night, (hint, hint, hubby), just as long as I didn’t have to do any serious walking.

You know I’m wearing them right now. Yup. Just sittin’ in front of the computer wearin’ my new shoes. I’m gonna get up, make dinner and eat, wearin’ my new shoes. That’s just how I roll.

And you know what else? They look hot with what I wore to work today. ‘K, bye.


Posted in Fashion


FBFF Q&A: Blogger authenticity

21 Jan
Some authentic love and bad helmet hair from last weekend’s trip

Our favorite run of the day

Will the real Fabienne please stand up? 

Readers value authenticity in a blog but defining what makes it authentic varies greatly. Who are we? How are we coming across? Who’s doing it well? Am I trying too hard? Does this blog make my butt look big? (Oh, I just couldn’t help myself!)

It’s Friend Friday and the topic this week is about what we deem authentic and how we express that quality in our blogs.

FBFF: Most readers and fellow fashion bloggers value authenticity in the blogs they read. How would you describe blog/blogger authenticity?
FJ: I would say there’s a level of humility that comes through somehow. I don’t mean self-deprecation, but rather a sense that the voice used to speak to me as a reader conveys friendliness and a desire to connect. This also something that consistency brings with time. I often check out a blog several times before deciding to follow. 

There’s a lot going on these days about authentic products, authentic experiences and behavior, it’s the latest in marketing jargon. Honestly, staying true to your character is as authentic as you can get. If someone is a super sharp dresser with the discretionary income one only dreams of it’s not any more authentic of them to try to play it down just appear “authentic”. Work what you’ve got, don’t apologize. If you’re flashy by nature, be flashy. If you’re a mom, be a mom.

FBFF: When it comes to your blog how do you infuse it with that true authentic feeling?
FB: Firstly, I will say that I definitely censor myself. What sounds funny when you’re with close friends does not always translate in the written word. Nor do I want to be remembered for the bad day I had or the like. 

That being said, everything you get is 100% me. My goofy sense of humor. My propensity for storytelling, my love of colors, nature, food, and let’s not forget snowboarding! I choose to represent myself accurately and also mindfully. I don’t mind having a good laugh at what I wore ten years from now but it would upset me greatly if a vignette of a bad day remained in the blogosphere to haunt me forever, especially out of context.

FBFF: Have you stopped following a blog in the last three months? What made you lose interest?
FJ: Yes. The blogger seemed to have a lot of negative energy. Maybe it was a bad or difficult time for her. By no means do I expect everyone to be a Pollyanna, that would be disingenuous, but the impression I got was that person’s outlook on life had a negative bent to it. Not only could I not do anything to help but it started bumming me out. I think it would have been different if she had reached out. Who doesn’t want to help a sister? 

FBFF: We can’t communicate effectively on our blogs, something we don’t live in real life… what are some ways you try to live an authentic life?
FJ: I don’t know if I can sum it up in just a few words! I’ll try. Honestly, I don’t find it too difficult to be genuine, I don’t let convention or assumptions bog me down. I’m probably a rebel in disguise! A rebel who can see both sides of the story. I try to live the life I believe in, I try not to pass judgment without in-depth knowledge, I try to stand up for myself when necessary and I’m not afraid of being super affectionate and letting those I care about know it. Lastly, I’m not afraid of being wrong, it happens to all of us once in a while. I think those are pretty good starting points. And I surround myself with quality people. Your peeps say a lot about who you are, I happen to think mine are the bomb!

FBFF: Give a shout-out… Which bloggers do you think are truly genuine and why?
FJ: Lol! How many of us are going to say “Katy”? Ok, there are quite a few so off the top of my head:

Katy (YOU!) from ModlyChic. Why? Your personality shines through even while you’re giving us advice and sharing your know-how with the community. At no point do you come across as authoritative yet you are so well respected. That says a lot about your authenticity.

Jodi from day2daywear. I just love her personality and enthusiasm. I enjoy all the little life tidbits she throws into her posts. You get the sense that even if she has a bad day she’s going to find something to laugh about. And you’re invited to laugh along.

Kendi from Kendi Everyday. I love the one post where she describes the sound of her voice. I swear it changed how I read her posts now.

Emma from Daily Clothes Fix. So much of her character comes across in the photos and her outfits. It feels so genuine. She’s got great ethics but has never appeared preachy. It inspires me.

Rose from Lovely Ladypants McGee. Her voice comes across genuinely. She’s creative, funny, eloquent. She, too, shares aspects of her life that just make me like her more!

Mackenzie from Whatever, Gatsby. I don’t know how she wouldn’t come across as authentic, seriously! If only I were that cool when I was twenty. Or that fearless!

Yvonne from Fashnlvr. I just started following her after signing up for Style Nation. I feel like I can basically say the same things about all of these ladies. I dig how they come across: intelligent, inquisitive, fun, personable, creative. They’re all different but share a lot of the same traits on their blogs.

I could keep going on and on: Collette from Statements in Fashion, Vahni from Grit and Glamour, Sal from Already Pretty…) The coolest thing is that I will keep discovering more bloggers that will inspire me, and so the cycle will continue. Yay for blogging!

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic, a very authentic blogger, for putting together these questions. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!


Where’s Waldo?

20 Jan

A little bit of red for contrast via my Old Navy t-shirt worn backwards

Add a poncho and gloves for warmth

And where’s my camera battery charger? I’m sure it’s in the back room along with two loads of laundry that I let air dry when I forgot to put them in the dryer on time Sunday night. Have you ever hung up two loads of laundry? In your house? In just one room? It looks as bad as it sounds. But that’s not all, folks. With today’s purchase you also get three bags of snowboarding gear strewn about. Apparently, to do all that laundry, I had to take everything out of the bags from the weekend trip, and, well, not all of this was done with any grace. Okay, not any of it was done with any grace.

I know what fun, exciting thing is in store for me this weekend. It’s going to be like a treasure hunt in there, I’m going to need some good music to dance fold laundry, search for the charger and clean up to. Any good recommendations?

Today, I wore the new dress I got from Dotty which I mentioned yesterday. Voila! One more little treasure for my closet, I can barely stand how cute it is. I’ve never owned a plaid dress before. I had to shoot inside because the supernatural wind tearing up my little ‘hood in the hills meant business.

I just wasn’t psychologically prepared.

Poncho and scarf photo: Fil Jach

Deets: Plaid dress/gifted, purple tights/unknown, red t-shirt/Old Navy, grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, poncho/unknown, angora scarf/gifted, necklace/Anthropologie, earrings/Braindrops, peridot ring/Ambiance, gloves/Nordstrom’s.


Posted in Fashion