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Archive for March, 2011

FBFF Q&A: The rules of engagement

31 Mar
Official facebook House in the Clouds page
Check out The House in the Clouds on facebook

 

Guess what? I’m really excited about this, I finally set up an official facebook page for The House in the Clouds. I’m still trying to figure out how to integrate a widget in a way that I find aesthetically pleasing. It feels painfully slow to be hindered by the reality of a full-time job and personal life, not to mention the stack of laundry decorating my office space, formerly known as the dining room. Check it out!

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tips, wearing blue and coral pattern blouse with navy skirt and gold belt
Snuck away from a desk for a few to snap these on a beautiful afternoon
Daily outfit and style tips, wearing blue and coral pattern blouse with navy skirt and gold belt
We call this pose “looking for snails”

 

{ friend friday: }

We want our blogs to succeed however we have chosen to define that success. Most likely, we want to gain followers, fans, loyalty, even acclaim of some sort. We want to be recognized, we want to influence. It’s a daunting task at best, completely overwhelming to digest as a whole.

Our mothers warned us not to be too boastful, to play nice and to say “thank you.” Where is that fine line that we are supposed to ride, one that engages and encourages without becoming as annoying as a late night infomercial? How do we get there? What are the rules?

This is this weeks Fashion Beauty Friend Friday’s topic. Read on.

FBFF: Guest posts are a good way to gain exposure. What do you think is the appropriate way to go about securing a spot?

FJ: Personally, I’m a big fan of developing and nurturing connections. I make the most effort with those whose persona and voice appeal to me, those I would have just as likely been inclined to get to know in person. Once I feel that I have this type of rapport, discussing anything is easy. A dialogue and friendship already exists. I treat my online friendships with the same courtesy I extend everyone else, I don’t really have a specific tactic.

FBFF: Leaving comments is essential to growing your blog. But how can you leave a comment without coming across as “Follow Me. Follow Me!”?

FJ: Don’t make it your objective. It’s assumed you want to grow your blog but be cool, be genuine. People can tell when you’re not really into what their blog is about. Honestly, it’s just plain ol’ weird. We’re not little kids anymore. I would never walk up to a total stranger and ask them to be my friend and offer to be their friend. Where else in life is this acceptable for adults? It strips integrity from the action.

FBFF: We’ve all gotten a mass email at one time or another asking for blog exposure, a link exchange, etc… But the mass emails don’t work. How do you make your email stand out from the crowd?

FJ: There’s a huge difference between spam and a conversation. An email blast purely to promote my blog is marketing, more specifically, the worst kind of spam. I care to foster community or have a conversations, not be detached or irrelevant in the context of a group. It would be disrespectful in that context. Tweeting to people who have independently chosen to follow my blog is acceptable. Spamming within the confines of a group is using that group disrespectfully.

Here’s an example of how I did recently ask for support from some friends for my facebook page. Firstly, I had an easy, realistic goal: to reach over 25 “likes” in order to claim my name. Secondly, I sent an email to my best friends. Not everyone in my address book, that would have been really uncool. I sent an email to my absolute closest friends, those who have a vested interest in my success and would not be put out in helping me out in this fashion. I don’t make it a habit to do this so I didn’t worry that my actions would be interpreted as annoying and careless. They came through. Fantastic!

Why did this work? They know me, they like me, they support me. I laid out what I was hoping to achieve and how they could help. I made it clear and I only sent out one email. Why would a group of people who don’t know me want to help me? What’s in it for them if I have not made any attempt at developing a rapport with them? That’s reality. If I want support, I create and become an active participant in that group or community. Being purely self-serving is shallow and easy to ignore, it’s certainly not a likable trait.

FBFF: In interacting with other bloggers, where do you draw the line between seeking support and begging for exposure?

FJ: Seeking support is valid, we all benefit from a helping hand. We help, we get help, it’s a nice way for the world to go around. There’s really no line to draw, they may seem similar from afar but I know the difference between the two and I would never confuse one for the other. My actions speak to that very clear distinction.

I’ll speak loudly on this: there’s no integrity in begging. DON’T. GO. THERE. Don’t beg, Don’t plead. You want advice or support, just ask for it. Be genuine with your request. One hundred people is no more or less valuable than a single one. That is my absolute truth. It’s easy to get caught up, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others’ successes and failures in order to assess ourselves. Every follower, every person who digs what I’m doing is an individual with their own worth, they’re not lumped in some category and boxed up to go. So why beg for exposure? I have it. It’s right here. If only two folks read my blog today, guess what? That’s two valuable humans. People aren’t numbers. There’s never a good reason to compromise ones self-esteem over anything.

FBFF: What’s one rule of engagement error you made and how have you remedied that?

FJ: I don’t recall making any. I took my time observing and learning before dipping my toes in the water. That just happens to be the kind of person I am. I might be all kinds of things but one would be hard-pressed to call me clueless. I pay attention, listen to others and I learn well. And no, I’m not going to point out my flaws to counterbalance that statement.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting 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!

 

{ style tip: }

I matched my belt and tights to one of the colors in the pattern of my blouse. It provided contrast nicely without being jarring or too matchy-matchy. It was a way to keep the outfit colorful without introducing yet another color. The somewhat sheer tights are a sparkly ochre yellow which made them fun, but the sheerness kept the sparkle from becoming overwhelming.

 

{ deets: }

Blouse/ModCloth, navy blue skirt/MaxStudio, elastic belt/Anthropologie, sparkly tights/Urban Outfitters, brown vegan suede boots/Munro, necklace/Linkel Designs.

Photos: Filip Jach

 

Go take a hike!

31 Mar
Pink flower
Everything’s in bloom
Daily outfit and style tip, wearing purple pattern dress with grey boots
Fun with purple
Daily outfit and style tips, wearing purple dress with purple belt
Fun with patterns
Daily outfit and style tips, lavender velvet cut-out shawl
Delicious lavender velvet cut-out shawl

Rather than go running this evening, my hubby and I went for a hike. Remember those t-shirts that said “Go Take A Hike”? You don’t? It’s probably because it goes back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth terrorized by the likes of me and my two sisters. In any case, I totally want one. Hiking is awesome.

There are a bunch of trails by my house that smell like fresh earth and trees. Overgrown happiness stretch out onto the path and brush the legs of runners, hikers and dogs. Any contact will do, that stuff grows wild and doesn’t care about anything else. If it gets too big it just falls over.

We talked about everything and nothing, time slowed under the spell of the canopy. Dogs ran past and smiled. My ears, eyes, heart and mind were happy.

 

 

 

 

Deets: Purple dress/Brass Plum, Nordstrom’s, purple tights/unknown, grey vegan faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, purple silk belt/The Gap, lavender cut-velvet shawl/thrifted.

 
17 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

Spring has sprung

29 Mar
Daily outfit white tuxedo shirt, burgundy boyfriend cardigan and obi belt
Formal. But casual.

Some days feel like a rebirth of sorts. Some weeks are bullies pushing their sunshine way into my heart and soul. This happens to be one of those weeks. Patience finds itself at the end of a road, motivation runs at an all-time high. I have things I want to do and I’m going to start doing them now.

Daily outfit white tuxedo shirt, burgundy boyfriend cardigan
Spring has sprung

I’ve been coming home these past few weeks to a sun-filled living room, spring bursting through the windows without permission. I picked up a magazine tonight while grocery shopping. I sat on my bed and read for twenty minutes. For the first time in months I didn’t feel like I was running behind.

Daily outfit white tuxedo shirt, burgundy boyfriend cardigan
Obi belt restyled from old neckties, a tip from Angie of Fashion Me Blog

I still aspire to read for hours and hours, flipping switches and turning on lights while the light changes around me. But you know what? I’ll take those twenty minutes, I’ll laugh at the silly antics occurring in my household and it will feel really, really good. Spring is finally here in my world. How do you like that hot pink lip gloss from Joe Fresh? Spring landed right here on my face!

Daily outfit white tuxedo shirt, burgundy boyfriend cardigan and obi belt with black skinny jeans.
Coworker looks at my shoes and says “new wheels?” Me: “yes”

How is spring treating you? Do you find yourself emerging? Do you find yourself recharged? I’m dedicating this post to Bella of The Citizen Rosebud. We have had very different objectives for our Northern California weather. I want storm after storm, it means snowboarding.

Bella, this sunshine is for you, honey.

 

Deets: Tuxedo shirt/Nordstrom’s, obi belt/restyled, black skinny jeans/BDG, Urban Outfitters, fishnets/We Love Colors, red suede shoes/thrifted Dansko, mother-of-pearl silver necklace and cuff/Lois Hill, gifted.

 
26 Comments

Posted in DIY, Fashion

 

Stormy weather

29 Mar

 

Burton LipStick at Kirkwood
LipStick girl

This, my friends, is the reason why it gets quiet around here on the weekends during winter. We had another epic storm this past week which resulted in an insane amount of snow, which, if you happen to subscribe to my kind of math, equals instant happiness.

snow + fabienne = instant happiness
Instant happiness

I had a breakthrough weekend, I did my first 180 off a kicker, (small jump). I then proceeded to do as many as frontside and backside 180′s possible in the last remaining runs of the day. The snow was soft, thankfully, as not all landings were, um, graceful.

I woke up this morning and all of my jumping and landing muscles were sore. I only have one thing to say about that: Totally worth it!

Daily outfit of navy polka dot dress with black blazer and yellow tights
Sunshine legs and polka dots
Daily outfit wearing vintage daisy necklace
Vintage daisy necklace
Daily outfit wearing yellow tights with black ballet flats
Cute bows and tiny studs

 

 

Deets: Navy blue polka dot dress/ModCloth, black boyfriend blazer/Sparkle & Fade, Urban Outfitters, yellow tights/Urban Outfitters, vintage daisy necklace/thrifted, beige pashmina scarf/Nordstrom’s, black bow ballet flats/Ecco.

 

FBFF Q&A: What does a feminist wear?

25 Mar
Daily outfit black dress with blue bows and blue tights.
Bows and boots, perfect for a feminist
Daily outfit wearing orange ombre scarf
Wearing my Style Nation swag from Cheeky Boutique

Feminism and fashion have been a hot topic lately, one I touched on briefly a few days ago. What does being a feminist have to do with anything? If the way I dress gets attention, more specifically male attention, does it revoke my license for gender equality? Am I to be taken less seriously because I’m deemed feminine or sexy? Am I taken to be taken more seriously for hiding my body? This week’s questions revolve around this exact topic.

FBFF: Do you think there is an incompatibility between feminism and a love for fashion?

FJ: No. It’s a matter of perception. I would turn the question around and ask, what would make you believe that there is? Does my love for a male dominated sport make me less feminine? These are all stereotypes and perceptions. I believe that the point of feminism is not just gender equality but freedom from gender-based behavior and obligations. In fact, I would add to this and say there is no obligation to equate fashion to stereotypical femininity. What if my love for fashion was simple, masculine lines? Would it suddenly be deemed appropriate feminist garb? Of course not.

FBFF: There is more to each of us than a love for fashion, how do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?

FJ: I don’t, nor do I feel the need to. I bring up different topics that I’m passionate about and speak in my own voice but my blog is mostly about my fashion so it will not feature every aspect of my personality or interests. I might loosely cover unrelated topics which will shed light on my personality, of course, but my assumption is that most readers didn’t come here to read about how things are going at work or my family dynamics, for that matter.

FBFF: With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role?

FJ: I don’t know. I’d like to think that there would be more emphasis on comfort but what we purchase and how we choose to dress ourselves is still a personal decision at the end of the day. Therefore, who’s to say that anything would change? Frankly, I don’t know enough about the fashion industry to understand what goes into it. I can say that perhaps the same changes we’ve seen as a society by having women in the workplace and in power would be reflected within the fashion industry. Would there be more compassion in the industry? Would we have realistic models, realistic size? I would like to think so.

FBFF: How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself informed by your beliefs?

FJ: I believe I’m free to carry myself any which way I choose. It is my choice to be androgynous or glamorous, sexy or covered up, feminine or not. I’m not naïve and understand that each choice I make carries with it an impression, people will see me and judge me. It doesn’t matter what I wear, we’re human animals looking to identify and understand. We do this by categorizing, stereotyping and judging. Hopefully we take it further by looking at the entire picture in and not just the first aesthetic impression.

It would be false to say we don’t judge a book by its cover, we do. Then we continue to create this judgement or impression by reading the title. Perhaps the author’s name lends an additional amount of information, the description on the back cover, the content of the story. The point is that it is up to us to remain open and continue taking information in with the understanding that our first impression is still only a portion of the whole. It’s up to me to communicate other aspects of my personality as I go through life, it is up to others to remain open from the time of their first judgement.

FBFF: Do you think clothing/makeup/hair helps communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons?

FJ: Both. They are decorations but we live in a society where such decorations are the norm. If I were the only person in the entire state to fancy makeup, perhaps I’d only wear it once in a while, or perhaps never but I’m not. I may not consciously apply makeup every morning thinking to myself I must compete with other women, I must blend in, but these are subliminal and primal actions. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I have no problem leaving the house without makeup but it is a choice not a pressure I feel to do so. Everything I do, every way that I decorate myself is appropriate for the context of living in this society but ultimately I do it so that when I look in the mirror I like what I see.

I feel it does reflect the truth about myself. It says I take pride in how I present myself. I could expound further by using examples of inner dialogue versus public discourse, it’s all a choice. This is how I want to be seen. I exercise the freedom to choose how I want to be perceived every day. Exercising our freedom of choice is what defines our character and separates us from other animals.

I wear what I want.

 

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting 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!

If feminism and fashion have piqued your interest, check out Feminist Fashion Bloggers for more information on getting involved.

 

Deets: Black dress with blue bows/ModCloth, butterknit pumpkin shawl/Cheeky Boutique, blue tights/We Love Colors, black boots/Nordstrom’s, bracelets/H&M.

 

 
 

It’s all in the details

22 Mar
The subtlety of details, neutral lace sweater with lace scarf
Lace details
Denim with the subtlety of neutrals and lace
Denim and lace

I recently picked up this cropped sweater having no idea how to make it work. It’s short. Really short. With cut-out lace panels. I knew that until I invested in a pair of high-waisted pants, I’d have to get creative so as not to flash my middrift at work. Enter tank tops. Two of them, in fact. I’ve discovered that the key to making a lot of things work is in the subtlety of details; the contrast of layering neutral tank tops of different lengths, lace patterns under a lace panel sweater topped off with a lace scarf.

Ready to be cited for wearing just too much lace, I braved another windy day in Downtown Oakland in denim and classic black ankle boots. It’s hard to believe that I once lived in jeans; however comfortable they may be I much prefer dresses these days. It’s a completely different look for me especially as I ponder what it means to be a feminist with regard to my fashion choices. It’s been a hot topic lately, check out what these Feminist Fashion Bloggers have to say if your interest has been piqued. On Friday, I’ll be participating on a smaller scale about said topic.

Nail polish iridescent like scarab beetles
For my love of scarab beetles

Speaking of details, I was complimented yesterday on my nail polish while grocery shopping. I thought I’d share. I was drawn to this color because it reminded me of a childhood family vacation we took when we still lived in Lebanon. My dad drove us through Syria, Turkey, Greece and into Bulgaria. I have very distinct memories of playing with scarab beetles in Turkey. They were black with a mesmerizing green iridescence. Just like my nail polish.

 

Deets: Cropped sweater/ModCloth, tank tops/Nordstrom’s, scarf/Urban Outfitters, denim/Calvin Klein, black leather ankle boots/Munro, necklace/Claire’s Boutique.

 
14 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

Awesome!

20 Mar
Daily outfit of t-shirt dress, waving hello in my garden
Hello there!
Daily outfit colorful scarf with t-shirt dress, laughing
A striped scarf added a touch color

The house is calm , the rain has stopped and the air is fresh. The sunshine is casting a warm glow on the trees outside my window. I celebrated the birthday of one my dearest friends, Coley, last night. Today, I had two chocolate chip cookies courtesy of the birthday girl. She is the true definition of awesome.

Some days are just perfect like that.

I wore this simple t-shirt dress the previous weekend in Las Vegas. It was lightweight enough to throw on with nothing more than casual shoes on a hot day. I’ve since discovered that it’s also versatile enough to dress up with tights and a belt for work. The image on the dress is pretty absurd. It’s a black and white photo of a couple sitting by the water’s edge. It makes no sense which makes me even fonder of it.

 

Deets: T-shirt dress/ModCloth, red skinny belt/Georgiou, aqua tights/unknown, black mary-jane shoes/Aravon, scarf/thrifted.

 
25 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

For Japan, with love

18 Mar

Today’s regular programming will be postponed until tomorrow while I join other bloggers in a Day of Silence. Many of us have joined forces with Utterly Engaged‘s fundraising efforts. While I may not have mentioned the tragedy on my blog this week, it has weighed heavily in my heart. It was the last piece of news I read last Thursday before going to bed. While Friday would bring the excitement of going to Las Vegas for Style Nation, it was bittersweet as I never completely lost touch with those who suffered and those who lost their lives.

Please join me if you feel so inclined.

Sincerly,

f

For Japan with love fundraiser
Click on image to help
 

Gee, your hair looks terrific!

17 Mar
Great hair by Nicole Goodman from Sakura Salon
Hair success by Nicole Goodman

If you’re wondering why my hair looks so good, (weren’t you?), it’s because I just had the most wonderful and talented Nicole Goodman from Sakura work her magic. But you say my hair has always looked pretty good. Yes, and that’s my point. She waved her magic wand scissors over The Mop™ shortly before I started blogging. You just don’t know what it used to look like and we’re going to keep it that way.

Great hair by Nicole Goodman of Sakura Salon in Oakland, Ca.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Let’s just say I don’t have straight hair, I don’t have curly hair and I don’t have blond hair but I’ve maximized the heck out The Mop’s™ potential and I’m quite pleased with the results. So if you live in the San Francisco/Oakland area and you finally succumbed to the truth that your hair needs a miracle, or just a trim and some highlights, do not wait any longer. Really.

Check out her blog for style tips and inspiration. It’s chock-full of ideas. Here’s the full scoop:

Nicole Goodman
Sakura Salon
4287 Piedmont Ave., Ste 101
(between Echo Ave & Glenwood Ave)
Oakland, CA 94611
Neighborhoods: North Oakland, Piedmont Ave
(510) 390-4922

Make-up kit from Joe Fresh Style
Sample kit

As I mentioned yesterday, Style Nation had some pretty awesome sponsors. I wanted to review the goodies I got from Joe Fresh. I received a kit with two lip glosses, a pink lipstick, a gold cream eyeshadow, a cream blush and two nail polishes: orchid lavender and orange. I’m wearing all but the clear gloss and nail polishes, which I tried on earlier. The colors were bright and vibrant, I can’t wait to paint all my fingers rather than just two!

The cream eyeshadow glided on easily and stayed put all day. It felt light, never greasy. I love gold eyeshadow, it makes my inner magpie happy. The cream blusher was equally easy to apply. It passed the test, my cheeks still look pink and dewy. While I thought the pink coral color might be more complimentary on a creamy white skin tone, it blended well into my olive skin. The pink lipstick was bright and a bit too opaque for my liking, I prefer sheer with golden undertones. I applied lipgloss over it. While the effect was a nice gloss, it felt too heavy, I’m a lip balm girl. Overall, I would say that the products live up to the name: Fresh. Perfect for the young and young at heart, (that’s me!) The palette I received will be perfect through spring and summer.

Good news for The House in the Clouds, I’m going to be around this weekend! After over a month and a half of being out of town every weekend, I have made peace with being home. This might mean missing one of the most epic snow weekends this season, I could have only gone one day anyway. Don’t worry, there’s next weekend, I’m not completely crazy. I’m pretty sure my body will be happy to sleep in past 7 A.M. at least once this winter. Yeah, pretty sure. And I wore green shoes today. You saw that, right?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Deets: Plaid dress/Old Navy, gifted from Dotty of Dash, Dot, Dotty, mocha tights/gifted by We Love Colors, sage green shoes/Tsubo, necklace/Anthropologie, silver and mother-of-pearl cuff/Lois Hill, belt/Anthropologie, hand-carved wood earrings/Chicago.

 
8 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

Vegas baby! Style Nation 2011

16 Mar
Style Nation 2011
Two days of fun!

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas for a style blogger meet-up with eight other ladies, including Beverly of Style Underdog, Stephanie of The Loudmouth and Yvonne of Fashion Recon. It was fabulous fun! I hopped on a plane right after work. Things looked up immediately as I made friends and chatted with my plane neighbor the entire flight. I had won a limo ride to the Flamingo, too, which my newfound friend and I shared. This girl got to travel in style.

Yvonne and Fabienne at Margaritaville for Style Nation 2011
Yvonne and I at Margaritaville

I was the last one to arrive and join the girls at Margaritaville. Yvonne spotted me first, we immediately recognized each other! She had brought me a special gift, a skirt she made me as a thank you gift for helping her with her blog header. This incredibly hot woman has the biggest heart.

Style bloggers all dressed up to go out in Vegas
Yvonne, Stephanie, me and Bryn

I was introduced to the rest of the crew: Stephanie, who’s just as beautiful and delightful in person, her equally adorable friend, Bryn, the incredibly witty glamazon, Beverly and her wonderful friends, Cynthia, Melissa and Stephanie, and Yvonne’s sweetest friend, Sissie. I’ll admit right now that I got caught up in the excitement and did not take nearly enough photos. An outfit change later, we were given the VIP treatment at Marquee by Bryn’s friend, Troy.

Style bloggers having lunch in Vegas at Mon Ami Gabi
Stephanie, Melissa, Beverly, me, Cynthia, Yvonne and Sissie

The next day we reconvened for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi. Thankfully, I do have a single photo of most us together. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for sitting outside and people watching.

H&M in Las Vegas
H&M in Las Vegas

Afterwards, we strolled and shopped, stopping in to experience the new flagship H&M at Caesar’s Forum shops. After a short rest, we separated into smaller groups and got dinner. Some of us hit Voodoo Lounge for a spell before joining others at Jet for the rest of the night. I even got to run into my new plane friend again, we had a great time!

It was so much fun to experience these blog personalities in real life. The women were beautiful, witty, adorable, glamorous, fun and intelligent. Everyone had their own distinct style. We enjoyed a fair amount of camaraderie. The weekend ended much too soon but this girl eventually had to get her sleep!

Mad props to all those who participated in making this happen, including the wonderful Vahni, which is how I found out about this event in the first place. Thank you Beverly, Yvonne and Tairalyn, who couldn’t attend due to being pregnant.

Our swag sponsors really came through, too. Thanks to: Westover JewelryYou Be CheekyBentley’s TeasJoe FreshWe Love Colors, and Darling Digits.

Following are a few additional photos I took that captured Vegas through my eyes.

Glittery shoe
The shoe
Looking up into the chandelier
Chandelier Bar
Sequined pants
Bev’s sequins
Sitting at Caesar's Forum
Self-portrait
The view from the plane above the clouds
Flying high
 
26 Comments

Posted in Fashion