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Archive for January, 2011

Coming up roses!

19 Jan
I love colors, We Love Colors!

Not much to report on this front, I regret to say. Our household got hit with food poisoning a few days ago and I’ve decided there’s only one thing worse than one person getting it: two people getting it.

I’ll spare you the diatribe I’ve had running through my mind, I’m still soured on the experience. Let’s fast forward to the goodies I just got in the mail.

I couldn’t exactly tell the shade of red I was going to get while placing my tights order online with We Love Colors so I ordered a range. Extravagant, perhaps. Clever, definitely. I will wear them all and now have the right shade for the job when the time comes.

I realize one of these is not like the other but it gives us a starting point. Clockwise from the Dusty Green are Scarlet Red, Red and Rust. Red is closer to a Rhodamine red than a true blue red but they’re all fantastic and I can’t wait to wear them. Overall, the colors are more vibrant than the photo conveys.

That’s not all I got in the mail. I also received a dress that Dotty from DashDotDotty was giving away; it happens to be extra cute and fits me perfectly. Ok, Dotty, I’m ready to accept the rest of your wardrobe! If you haven’t checked her site out, you should. She’s super stylish and classy, you’ll find yourself inspired.

From my vantage point, things are coming up roses again. I’m happy to be able to eat again, even if just a little bit at a time.

I haven’t forgotten that I teased you last Friday with some food for thought regarding favorite body parts. I still want you to think about yours while I finish crafting it. I apologize for delay, that pesky food incident put my life on hold for a few days. I will post it next week. Scout’s honor.

 
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Coming soon…

15 Jan
Snuck this picture in at work. I wish my office looked like this. I love this room.
The tights seemed black until closer inspection. I love doubling them up. Tricky!

One of my numerous Threadless t-shirts

Your favorite body parts. Think about it. Right here. Next week.

Stay tuned.

Photos: Jose Rodriguez

Deets: Recycled sweater skirt/Urban Outfitters, Times Square t-shirt/Threadless, necklace/Anthropologie, black shoes/Aravon, teal tights/Hue, black tights/unknown.

 
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FBFF Q&A: Avoiding the clothes hurricane.

13 Jan
This was my 1.11.11 outfit

Standing in front of my open closet doors the other day I hollered to no one in particular that I don’t know what to wear, I have too many cute clothes to choose from. (I know!) I was actually saying this to the hubby but it’s like that saying about if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, did it actually make any noise? If I’m squawking away in front of my closet but he only hears sweet melodic background noise, am I actually saying anything? (Don’t answer.)

This claim is actually an advanced version of the old “I have nothing to wear” proclamation. I had tons to wear, just no idea what. I was tired the night before and didn’t do what I normally do. What’s that, you ask? Continue reading and you shall have your answer.

It’s Friend Friday and the topic this week is about how we determine what we’re going to wear. What’s your magic process?

FBFF: How do you determine what you will wear that day?
FJ: Often I already have something in mind. Either it’s a style I’m in the mood for, or a color. More often than not, I know what color I’m in the mood for. Isn’t that funny? I do this the night before. Every once in a blue moon, by morning I may no longer want to wear that color but usually I do. The other wild card is that sometimes I may have an accessory or shoes in mind and will create an outfit around that one single thing.

FBFF: Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend?
FJ: No, planning that far ahead stresses me out. I’m too much of a perfectionist to want to do that to myself! Just the night before, or maybe something I’ll want to wear in the next day or two. 

FBFF: Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don’t repeat?
FJ: Gosh no! I’m a chronic repeater. If I love an outfit, I’ll wear it every week. Worse yet, I’ll wear it on the same day which makes it worse. I never worried about it before, I don’t think anyone at work had ever noticed but now that I’m documenting my outfits almost daily, I’ve become really aware of it. That’s the reason I don’t think I can document daily. I WANT to repeat those outfits I love. Things are going to start looking more and more familiar in no time. I’m going to do my best to shelter you from this!


I’ve decided to indulge my chronic repetition on days I don’t post and try to mix it up a little more when I’m showing pix. I want to give extra big props to Emma of Daily Clothes Fix who today just completed 365 days of no repeats. This is huge! As a chronic repeater, I’m in awe. 

FBFF: How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons? Hanging items together?)
FJ: Definitely try-ons. I’ve made the mistake a few times of not actually trying all the pieces on because they looked good together on the hanger and it’s not a pretty scene when I get stumped in the morning. I don’t like to rush and I hate being late. Mess with the system and you’ve got a clothes hurricane in the bedroom!


In fact, one of my favorite things to do when I buy something new is to go through my closet and find all the cute possible ways to wear it. The hubby avoids the warzone and I play dress-up for an hour. That really is my idea of a good time.


Last year, some friends were visiting from San Diego. I don’t know what got into us but she and I left our men downstairs and went up to my closet. We literally did a fashion show with all my clothes for the guys. It was totally random and fun. 

FBFF: To streamline the process for 2011 what is the one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time?
FJ: Actually getting dressed takes very little time since I have it worked out the night before. The thing I started doing, which I will continue to do is always have tights in perfect condition and have enough no-show undergarments in basic colors, including full dress slips. I can’t tell you how many times I slip on the only clean pair of black tights to discover that they were damaged and my other pairs are in the hamper. Next thing I know, I’ve blanked out on what to wear and I’m trapped in the middle of a clothes hurricane. My hubby is impressed with the kind of damage I can do in a limited amount of time. Heck, I’m impressed.


Last year, I bit the bullet and bought two Commando brand full dress slips, one in nude and one in black. All of a sudden, I could wear every dress in my closet! They were sooooo expensive, though. I have dresses that cost maybe twenty dollars and I’m wearing an eighty dollar slip underneath. It was so worth it. They don’t have any seams, they don’t puckers, the straps are adjustable and they’ll last forever. I don’t have a single dress that sits in my closet because it’s too shear or needs a shirt or tank top underneath or my underwear is too visible. That purchase relieved me of so much frustration.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic 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!


Deets: Burgundy dress/unknown, cherry sweater shrug/Moth, belt/Anthropologie, brown tights/Hue, brown man-made suede boots/Munro, necklace/gifted, cloche hat/Goorin Bros.

 
 

Adventure on ebay

12 Jan
I’m laughing because I just saw my hubby sneeze through the kitchen widow.

This was my birthday present from sneezing hubby last November.

Feeling adventurous led me to dabble in my very first ebay auction last night. I’ll spare you the details of my real first ebay auction. It was almost ten years ago and involved an unattractive pair of Burkenstock sandals the color of a small field critter. Actually, two small field critters. Small and wide, one for each foot. I could practically see you cringe at the mere thought, I knew you didn’t want to hear about it.

Quick, fast forward!

The physical results of my winning bid remains to be seen as it so happens that I was notified this morning. I should be receiving my brand-new-to-me vintage sweater in a few days.

I love orange!

I was inspired by reading Emma’s tips for using ebay, perfect for a newbie like me. Given the level of affection I have for clothes this had all the makings of a good time: Suspense, measuring tape (of course!), competition, rules, self-control, surprise and a potential reward. All this fun for under $17, including shipping.

I believe dragging our expired Christmas tree through the house, down the walkway alongside the house and up our even longer, very steep driveway for pick-up tomorrow means I earned that little number!*

I’ll model as soon as it arrives.

* Those were the rules about getting a tree, remember? Truthfully, hubby was sick tonight.

Deets: Black dress/MaxStudio, leggings/Lulus.com, burgundy boyfriend cardigan/BDG, Urban Outfitters, merlot mohair scarf/gifted, grey faux cowboy boots/modcloth, necklace/Alexis Bittar.

 
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Back in the saddle again

10 Jan
I’m probably wondering why my ankles feel drafty. I know why. My pants are short.

I want pom-poms on everything! It’s like happiness on a string of yarn.

Ladies, and perhaps a gentleman or two, I’m back. Not with a vengeance or anything. Look, we did the right thing by cleaning out the fridge before leaving for ten days. Then we did what any self-respecting couple returning from vacation would do: We returned relaxed and invigorated without any groceries.

Know what that means? No milk. No milk equals no coffee. No coffee means slightly dysfunctional behavior by yours truly. No, I didn’t do anything to that weird dog that barks all the time down the hill. It just means I had a hard time getting dressed.

I really, really wanted to wear my reindeer “dress”, (questionable at best. That’s not a dress, that’s a tunic, baby!*) I really wanted to wear it as an ode to the last ten days spent in a chalet, whish-ing and whir-ring down the snowy slopes. Fine, it was just a house. And did I just make up a couple words? My blog, my grammatical liberties. That’s adrenaline talking to you, my friend. (Just got done running, yay!)

Back to our little problem this morning. Oh, never mind. I changed pants a bunch, and shoes, then finally got the stern lecture about getting to work late on my first day back from vacation from one hubby. I shoved the camera into his hand with the same intensity as said lecture and commanded my picture be taken. Quickly.

Done!

Frankly, I can’t believe my hair looked so good. That’s the kind of stuff that goes through my head. Upon closer inspection, I’ve decided that I don’t think I’ll wear those boots with those pants again. Another case of decaffeinated fashion decision gone awry. Unless I’m prepared for that high tide I used to hear about in elementary school. (I was prepared then, too.)


* “That’s not your mother, that’s a man, baby!” – Austin Powers


Photos: Fil Jach

Deets: Reindeer dress/ModCloth, cargo denim jeans/Rich & Skinny, black ankle boots/Munro, silver and mother of pearl necklace and cuff/Lois hill, black ginkgo earrings/Braindrops.

 
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Avalanche Lounge

09 Jan

Vacations have a way of, well, being vacations. I had hoped to get more done while away from home but that really defeats the purpose of what a vacation is. Frankly, my desire to get stuff done while on vacation is exactly why I needed one. You’re not supposed to do anything on vacation. You’re supposed to play and have fun, sleep in, wear the same t-shirt six times, (done). It’s coming to a close and I’m sad to be leaving the snow and living with my best friends for ten days.

I have to confess, I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed again!

Makeup and Jeans girl had a Glam It Up Project going for the holidays. Sadly, a realistic assessment of my schedule and this trip made it impossible for me to meet the deadline. I want to give the project props even though I couldn’t participate. I think we can all use a little glamour sometime. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work, chores, gym (when we’re lucky), personal time. Oh, and sleep. It’s not always easy to pamper and nurture ourselves and remember how glamorous and fabulous we can be.

Glamour is good. I’m a big fan of getting dolled up. I love seeing my friends shine and shimmer. I love a good drapey fabric and some over-the-top accessories. Shiny shoes add bonus points. Especially when I’ve spent the better part of the last week or so wearing a helmet and goggles. My friends and I gave ourselves this opportunity recently with Avalanche Lounge. You got a sneak peak a couple days ago.

Avalanche Lounge is the brainchild of my hubby, Fil, who has a passion for classic and specialty cocktails. We get dressed to the nines, sip cocktails from his custom menu, and enjoy being fabulous for one night.

Today’s my day to deliver the goods! My incredibly talented friend, Peter, set up his lights and took glamorous pictures of us all. I had to share the results with you to make up for all the snowboarding posts. Thanks for hanging in there! I’ll be back home in a couple of days.

Photos: Peter Molettiere

Deets: Black sheer dress/Georgiou, black cloche hat, Goorin Bros., drop earrings/gifted, necklace/Claire’s Boutique, shearling scarf/unknown in Paris, black gloves/Nordstrom’s.

 
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Paying it forward, or giving back?

08 Jan
The view of Lake Tahoe at Diamond Peak is epic! 

Snowbunnies!

Last night, I grabbed my very first of three snowboards, a Burton Custom, and outfitted it with my friend’s bindings. I tracked back to everything I knew to make sure she would be set up optimally for where she is with her riding. This board is dear to me, it was the board that defined my commitment to the sport when I was still gripped with fear. This was a guy’s sport and I was thirty-two at the time. I made a financial investment, I owned my own gear. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do this.

I still didn’t really know anything other than I loved this sport. I had no idea that overcoming the fear of trusting my body and my gear would shape my confidence into the next decade. Today was a day I got to give back. After I set up the bindings, I dropped it off to get waxed so it would be ready to move into the next phase of its life. It had been gathering dust for a few years, I’d outgrown it a while back. I didn’t want to sell this board, I wanted to pass it on.

I spent the day on the mountain with my friend Donna. I followed her lines, we would stop and break, take a few pictures and discuss what to focus on next. I got to give back. Or pay forward. Does it matter? The heart doesn’t need justification.

There are moments in life where it’s more rewarding to give than to receive. The greatest gift is watching someone find their confidence, their fire. Seeing the light and joy in their eyes as they start discovering their potential. I had seen her potential a while back and knew at some point the time would be right for this. Today was the day.

I celebrate her potential, I celebrate our friendship. This friendship is not one-sided, this just happened to be my day to give back. Or pay forward.

Does it matter?

 

FBFF Q&A: Comparing ourselves

07 Jan
Une Very Stylish Fille and I, making friends with the camera.

My husband played his “Best Hubby” card today and took me to Diamond Peak. Though still on vacation, I was ho-humming my way around our cabin this morning. He decided to cheer me up by taking me snowboarding, which totally worked, of course. That kind of sacrifice deserved action on my part so I spent the better part of two hours practicing riding switch, (backwards), doing 180′s and taking as many small jumps as possible.

Did I mention how much I love my new board? Yes, it’s love. True love.

But wait, there’s more. I’ve resolved to getting bolder about asking people if I can take pictures of their street style, even on the slopes. There was a Japanese gal in front of our car wearing the most awesome jeggings, and trust me, I’m not one to match up “awesome” and “jeggings” often in a single sentence but these were reminiscent of a dark, starry night. Indigo blue with gold sparkles in the fabric, a simple pocket detail and a matching cap in a fat sparkly deep grey knit. I want a pair, or at least the cap.

A couple nights ago was Avalanche Lounge at the cabin. We got all dressed up and drank fancy cocktails, all prepared by my very own hubby, Fil. He plans the menu weeks in advance, buys the freshest ingredients and spends the afternoon preparing the garnishes. This is as fancy I got this week. It was pretty fancy!

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Moving along to Friend Friday. This is my opportunity to think about and answer some questions. The theme this week is about how and whether we compare our blogs to others. How do we measure up? Let’s see.

FBFF: have you ever looked at someone’s blog and thought yours would never measure up?
FJ: No, I have two thoughts on that. The first is that there’s nothing I can’t do, only what I don’t yet know how to do. I know, it sounds arrogant. Look, I learned how to snowboard well and it was not pretty at first. I can get twenty people to testify that I didn’t stand a chance when I started. And some hospital visits to back that statement. I stuck with it and it gave me a confidence that can never be erased.


The second is that I think in the same way that there is someone for everyone, there’s an audience for any blog. Having said that, I let the blogs that I respect inspire me. I’m not trying to be them, I want to be my very own version of that excellence.

FBFF: Do you, or did you, feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers?
FJ: At first I wasn’t sure what readers would be interested in but getting my feet wet with the 30 for 30 remix gave me thirty days to get a feel for it. I’m a perfectionist by nature but I’ve learned to be easier on myself. I see so much diversity in the world of blogging, I equate this with opportunity. The older I get, the less I worry about being awesome or cool. I’m me, you’re either on board or you’re not. I hope readers dig what I’m sharing, because that’s all I’m doing: Sharing. And I like it.  It’s really fun being an absolute beginner!*

FBFF: Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all these things to be successful at blogging.
FJ: No. I think all you need to express your passion in the most personally eloquent manner possible. Keep your standards high but be realistic. I’m always amazed at those women who can do everything. They raise the bar so high! It’s fantastic inspiration but I don’t feel the pressure to live someone else’s definition of great. There’s a lot in my life that doesn’t make it to my blog that keeps my life awesome so it’s ok if I’m not out there knitting a car cozy in the spare time I don’t have. (How awesome would that be, though? A car cozy = awesome!) I’ve learned that doing a little all the time is a much more effective way to be satisfied with how much I accomplish over the course of my life. That’s what is working for me at the moment. Just focusing on the journey, baby!

FBFF: The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice – how are you developing your voice or did you find yours?
FJ: Anyone who knows me would say that this would probably not be a challenge for me. I’m pretty outgoing and feel like my personality is the most ownable asset I have. I can copy anyone, I can focus on perfecting my grammar but if you don’t get a sense of my silliness, my sense of humor, my personal take on life, it’s not me. Defining how that comes across through a blog is the greater challenge, but you know, I’m always up for a good challenge. 

FBFF: Toot your own horn… What’s the one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?
FJ: I wouldn’t call it an edge, but there’s only one of me. You get a taste of life through my eyes, it may not be for everyone but it’s not likely to get boring any time soon. I’m always up to something and I’ve always got a tale to tell.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic 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!

* I just had to go there, Bowie defined my teens. He might actually have been one of my very first style icons.


Deets: Black sheer dress/Georgiou, black cloche hat, Goorin bros., drop earrings/gifted, necklace/Claire’s Boutique, shearling scarf/unknown in Paris, black gloves/Nordstrom’s, Telene with pink hair/friend!

 

Q & A: Daily Clothes Fix

06 Jan

Not long after I first started my blog to document my 30 for 30 remix I discovered another blogger who piqued my interest. The creativity behind her style choices, the themes and the purpose with which she worked color really made an impression on me. Since then, I’ve made it a point to stay up to date with her posts, they inspire me and often bring a smile to my face.


I soon found out that her mission was no outfit repeats for an entire year. Wow! As the end of her mission nears, I thought it would be interesting to get her thoughts on the past year. She was gracious enough to accept my request to interview her. Readers, I bring you Emma Clark of Daily Clothes Fix. I hope you enjoy learning more about her as much as I did, she’s the bomb!

 
 
 
 
 

FJ: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
EC: My name is Emma and I live in Newcastle in the north of England. I love clothes and have a bad shopping habit but I am worried about how much we consume and how ethical our fashion industry is. Having worked in fair trade, I think that people should be paid a living wage and that we should consider where our clothes come from. For me, this means getting clothes secondhand or shopping at places that I believe have a good record with their suppliers.

FJ: What spurned the whole concept?
EC: My blog started because of a dare. One of my friends bet me that I couldn’t create a blog and post what I wore online every day. I’m now 12 months down the line and can’t believe I have got this far and how much has changed for me.

There’s now a secondary challenge with the blog, as I haven’t yet repeated an outfit. With less than one month left, I think I should be able to finish the year without wearing the same look twice.

FJ: Do you have any outfits that shone for you? A combination that you can’t wait to repeat?
EC: It’s so hard to pick my favourites, it would be like choosing a favourite child. I post a “best of” each month so this gives a good reflection of what I love. But my style and taste continues to change and I love how everything evolves, so there is nothing in particular I want to repeat. It’s all about moving forward.

FJ: How about an outfit that was not a winner in your book? Care to share which?
EC: I try to push the boundaries with what I wear, so inevitably some things don’t work. One of the biggest learnings from looking at outfits is seeing which silhouettes don’t work. The other one is not to try too hard – when I try to force things, you can usually tell, so I just let things happen now.

Probably my least favourite outfit are the ones where the proportions are wrong. The last ones I didn’t like much were Hair-raising and Mongolian Chic. But it’s all a learning process and those mistakes help to create better outfit in the future.

FJ: What was the most valuable thing you learned from doing this?
EC: That there is a wonderful community of bloggers out there, all of whom share a love of creativity and clothes. I have been overwhelmed by how positive, supportive and welcoming the blog community is. It’s a wonderful way to connect with people who share a love of the same things and that’s something I would never have anticipated when I started this.

FJ: Which outfit was the most humorous to you? I have to ask this question because you’re incredibly creative and take risks, you must have a fantastic sense of humor to fuel this at times.
EC: My outfit for 30 for 30 where I wore the patterned tights (Wow!) amused me no end. I think it was people’s reactions, whether they were amused, confused or gobsmacked. I suspected that it might have that effect and do have a bit of a tendency to try to provoke a reaction. 

I’ve also gone out in a pair of pyjama bottoms because I thought it was ridiculous to buy a pair of silk trousers. In my view that’s what creativity is about. Why be dull?

FJ: What were some of the challenges?
EC: The biggest challenge at the moment is trying to take photos. Before work it’s too dark and the sun sets before I finish. That combined with the very cold weather at the moment is a big issue. I try to choose backdrops that are interesting and match the outfit, but it’s challenging to do that at the moment. I miss exploring and finding the perfect spot, so I’m looking forward to spring.

FJ: Did you ever think to yourself that now you’d done it, that the outfit of the day really pushed you limits or boundaries? Or you just found humor in it?
EC: I think the answer is both. I look back at some of the things I wore at the beginning of the blog and know that my style has changed a lot and some of my followers have said the same thing. I know that blogging has made me look at my clothes in a different way. Taking inspiration from other people means I often push my boundaries by wearing things that I otherwise wouldn’t (faux fur gilets, shorts, etc).

But I also enjoy other people’s reactions to a look, which can be very funny. I love reading the comments I receive and I also find it entertaining to hear what my colleagues think. The best comment I ever got at work was “It’s a fashion show, not a freak show”. That made me laugh so much.

FJ: If you did this again, what would you do differently?
EC: That is such a hard question to answer. I look back on some of the mistakes I have made (like poor photography, terrible backdrops, etc) and cringe. But all of it helped me become a better blogger (and I continue to learn from the mistakes I still make).

On a superficial level, I might have called the blog something else. I would love a day off once the challenge is over but with a blog called Daily Clothes Fix there seems to be a bit of a branding issue. Doh!

FJ: Favorite piece of advice to women?
EC: Wear what you love. If you feel great in an outfit, it shows. And I don’t hold with keeping things for best. I have worn a cocktail dress to work (11th August) and no one noticed. I think people should dress to please themselves and no worry about what other people think. You’re only here once so have fun and make the most of it.
 
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Cool things will happen.

03 Jan
Burton LipStick + snow = happiness

At 9,000 feet elevation, I’m standing above the cloud line

Just a little eye candy for you while I’m still on vacation. To be fair, it’s only eye candy if you’re into snowboarding, but let’s pretend, shall we? We hit the slopes at Mt. Rose in Nevada today. It was a great warm-up day on my new board. Check this baby out! I am officially even happier than when I was posing with my other board.

This little number is the Burton LipStick that I’ve been coveting for months. It’s a little stiffer than last year’s model which means I’m not compromising on speed. But she’s a little gal, this one: light, flexible and nimble. I found her so easy to ride, quick to pop, even quicker to turn through the trees, and this is just my first day of the season. I’ll be reporting back on all the cool new things I learn to do on it because cool things will definitely happen.

Tagine served with spicy chickpeas over quinoa

Last night, I made a root vegetable tagine with spiced chickpeas over quinoa for dinner. This is my second attempt, I made some modifications to the recipe which I think improved it considerably. Half the lemon, no olives for the hubby, twice the spices and I added potatoes to the mix. I still think I could improve upon it but I’m ambitious that way. It was a hit. I got to use my new 8 quart grass green Chantal dutch oven, which was a steal at T.J.Maxx, which made me very happy.