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Archive for March, 2011

Starry and foggy nights: A little San Francisco history

15 Mar
Wearing ModCloth starry night dress in garden
Airy starry night dress

I’m listening to old New Model Army for old times’ sake. They were one of my favorite bands growing up. Justin Sullivan was one of my heroes, I managed to see them quite a few times at the I-Beam in the Haight in the 80′s. Oh yes, I did managed to get in underage. I also managed to meet him. It took about two minutes for me to realize that I was in the company of an intellectual and had absolutely no business making any kind of conversation, but hey, I’ve always been a good sport and I just rolled with it. I wasn’t starstruck as much as I was elated not to be disappointed by the encounter.

The I-Beam was the place to go back then. It eventually closed, I don’t think it was deemed safe any longer after the Loma Prieta earthquake in ’89. The last time I was there was for my twenty-first birthday. My friend Harry took me to see Ministry. I still remember what I wore; a skintight black scoop neck top with a red flower flouncy mini-skirt, very high heels. Not your typical Ministry-appropriate style, I always did march to the beat of my own drummer. That was a birthday I would never forget. All those years spent in San Francisco before I could actually call it my home, getting around by foot, cab or bus.

Oh, how I got to know my city; every neighborhood, every block, which Victorian had the most beautiful detail, which had the most fragrant flowers growing in the little gardens, which streets were the smoothest and easiest to cycle uphill at midnight coming home from a show. Playing chicken with the ocean waves, a harvest moon on the horizon and stars barely visible through the fog; other times playing hide-and-seek at the Palace of Fine Arts after the clubs closed.

Mondo patent leather creepers
Image via www.tukshoes.com

I was struck by the unabashed individuality of ordinary people walking down the street. Mixing vintage with modern, fueling my imagination and inspiring me to push boundaries. My love of Goth style then was reflected in my red patent leather mondo creepers similar to the black ones shown, they were my statement walking shoe of choice. Those days and nights were magical, now I may live twenty minutes outside San Francisco but it will always be my home.

 

 

Deets: Sheer mauve and velvet cut-out dress/ModCloth, black tights/unknown, plum shoes/Dansko, purple scarf/Georgiou.

 
 

30 for 30 Winter, final roundup

12 Mar
Wearing ivory lace dress with black lace tights and obi belt for 30 for 30 roundup

Lace on lace over tights

Wearing burgundy sweater dress with brown shirt for 30 for 30 roundup

Coffee and wine, oh my!

Wearing DKNY wrap over black turtleneck and skinny jeans for 30 for 30 roundup

Not one of my finer creations

Wearing plaid dress over black turtleneck and skinny jeans for 30 for 30 roundup

Feeling a little bit country

Wearing soft pink shirt with tie over black skinny jeans for 30 for 30 roundup

Schoolhouse rock

Wearing red ruffle sweater shrug over black turtleneck and skinny jeans for 30 for 30 roundup

Ruffles ahoy!

 

This won’t be the first time I’m demonstrated my finer ability to count. I just realized that I never got around to wearing item 30. Technically, what we have hear, folks, is a 29  for 29. Since I’m probably the last living remixer at this point, for the sake of just gettin’ it done, I’m calling it a done deal. It’s been fun but I’m ready to chronically repeat again. And wear some new things, too!

It was a little quiet this weekend because I joined some fine ladies in Las Vegas for Style Nation 2011. It was very exciting! Typically, I’d be snowboarding but what’s life when it’s always predictable? The lovely Loudmouth has elaborated a little on the company we’re keeping. Don’t worry, there will be a full report shortly.

Ciao!

 

 

 

 
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Posted in Fashion

 

FBFF Q&A: Just breathe… Blogging vs. life

11 Mar
Wearing my 30 for 30 remix outfit, wearing burgundy dress in garden

30 for 30 remix, day 23

I blog therefore I am… busy, tired and sometimes a little overwhelmed. When does the wheel stop spinning? Yoga might help but that would be yet another thing I would have to cram into an already busy schedule. So, how is this done? How much sleep do I really need, anyway?

This topic could not have come at a better time. I had been coasting nicely along until snowboarding season. All of a sudden, my schedule looks like this:

  • Monday night – Run 30 min., stretch 30 min., get home later. Blog.
  • Tuesday night – Catch up and blog. The weekly grocery shopping trip is often squeezed in here.
  • Wednesday night – Run 1 hr., stretch 45 min., get home pretty late. Blog.
  • Thursday night – Pack for snowboarding. Blog.
  • Friday night – Make the 4 hour pilgrimage to the slopes. Arrive late.
  • Saturday – Wake up early, spend all day at the slopes.
  • Sunday – Wake up early, spend all day at the slopes, make the 4 hour drive back home. Unpack.

 

To add to the precarious navigation of said schedule, my hubby and I commute together to and from work. Up until recently, we lived in urban areas where the need for a car was next to none and our schedules were totally independent of each other. Now, if one of us has an early meeting it means that both of us have an early meeting. We only have one car to share, there are regular negotiations about who gets the car when, who gets picked up from the train station at what time. All in all, everything we choose to do affects the other.

I’ve been progressively feeling like I’m falling behind; I have to ask myself why do I feel this way? My schedule has changed on purpose, acknowledging this is key. Am I going to let it stress me out or am I going to modify my game plan? After all, snowboarding is not a chore, it’s my passion. I dream about it all summer, I can’t wait for the snow to fall every year. You know what else is not a chore? Blogging. It’s evidently also a passion. What’s a girl to do? Plan better. Be more efficient. And just breathe…

This week we’re discussing the delicate balancing act of blogging versus life.

FBFF: When it comes to prioritizing your life, in what place does blogging fall?

FJ: After my health, fitness, adequate sleep and marriage and before socializing, reading books and resting. I know how that sounds, I put blogging before rest. I’ve been known to stay up right until bedtime which has led to thinking about blogging in bed when I ought to be mentally preparing myself for slumber. While it is not stressful, it’s also less than ideal. The mind should be shutting down, I’m aware that this habit needs to change. It’s cool to be this excited about something but it’s not sustainable to operate at this pace.

FBFF: We all wish we had more free time to dedicate to blogging and all it entails. What are your tricks for taking advantage of the time you do have to be as productive as possible?

FJ: I jot notes down every time I think of something I want to remember. I’ll also send myself emails, too, if I don’t have my notebook around. I click on links from my twitter feed and quickly check out a post at work while I’m on hold or waiting for a file to upload or print. I can read very quickly, it’s probably one of my most underrated abilities.

FBFF: Have you discovered any short-cuts that makes blogging easier or more time efficient?

FJ: Not getting sidetracked is key. I joke around that my brain is run by a tribe of rogue ants, all trying to make stuff happen at once. I literally have to list my top three goals on a piece of paper, number them and keep referring to them every time my mind, eyes or body dart elsewhere. I kid you not. I use a black Sharpie marker and make my list on the back of an envelope. It has to be obnoxiously noticeable to work. I know how my brain functions.

The other thing is that I’m always thinking, constantly mapping out how and what I want to do so that by the time I have a free moment I have already figured it out as efficiently as possible. My actions are bite-size! I’m always improving one little thing at a time. I let go of trying to be perfect out the gate a long time ago. It’s paralyzing. Instead, I’m constantly assessing how I can improve one little thing or another. No one really notices the changes but the experience is perpetually improving one little evolutionary step at a time.

FBFF: Do you have an editorial calendar or something similar that helps you plan ahead?

FJ: Lol! No and boy is that ever going to change soon! I’ve been kicking the idea around for a while. Before I even started hearing about editorial calendars I had already put in certain things in my gmail calendar with reminders. I just need to flush out the system realistically, I wanted to sit with it a little while before implementing it. I’ve been thinking of ways to create a sustainable schedule. I don’t want to blog every single day, it feels unhealthy to be in front of the computer like this all the time. I need to create a schedule that allows for pre-posting so that I can take a few days off a week.

FBFF:  If time wasn’t an issue what you would be doing on your blog/for your blog that you aren’t doing now?

FJ: About a gazillion things! I would have already practiced making a vlog, or two! I’d have read the manual to my new camera so that I could take better pictures, I’d have more posts written for the future. I’d have set up a facebook page. I’d read more blogs, spend more time getting to know fellow bloggers better. That’s just for starters.

As you can see, I’ve been thinking about this long and hard. What have I learned? Ultimately, the choice to do this is mine, I own the schedule, the content and the stress. As long as I remind myself that I’ve chosen freely to do this because I enjoy it I cannot give it so much power over me that it creates a heightened level of anxiety. I love doing this! If I don’t have the capacity for it some night, it’s ok. I take a break. To be frank, I’m a perfectionist so this is something I have really focus on, I have to give myself permission to rest. The internet is not going to die if I skip a day or two. Really! (That’s going to be my new mantra.)

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!

 

Deets: Burgundy sweater dress/unknown, leggings/Lulu’s, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, infinity scarf/hand knitted by me, cap/unknown, red leather belt/Wilson’s Leather, green abalone bracelet/gifted, silver three kitties ring/gifted*

* The background on this ring is that my youngest sister bought my other sister and me the same ring. The three kitties represent the three of us so I think of both of them every time I wear it.

 

Feminist fashion posts roundup

10 Mar
Feminist icon

We can do it!

I’ve been unfortunately too busy to participate in this week’s feminist fashion group post but that’s not stopping me from sharing the love. Check out what these fabulous ladies have to say on the topic.

 

Adventures in Refashioning – Soldering in Heels

Aly en France – My Body Entirely

Alexa Wasielewski – Some Feminists Need to Spartan Up!

EBSnare [The Magic Square Foundation] : Body Policing/Fashion/Feminism

Fishmonkey – The Man Repeller and The Male Gaze

Interrobangs Anonymous- Millie’s Take on Modesty

Jean of all Trades- Qiu Jin: Modern China’s First Feminist

Knitting up the ravelled sleeve of care – Knitting a Better World

Mrs Bossa – In Bad Company: Girl Tribes

Northwest is Best – Why 1940s style is not a fashion trend

One Techie’s Search for Something resembling Style – Feminism and the Slave Leia Costume

Oranges and Apples – Some Thoughts on Marthette’s, blogging about ‘feminine’ stuff, and perfection

Sidewalk Chic – Reclaiming leather skirts and other ‘provocative’ clothing

What Are Years? – FFB Post #2: My thoughts on the CBC documentary, The F-Word

 
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Not just for experts only—Getting your blog off the ground.

09 Mar
Kirkwood, The Wall, snowboarding, skiing, blogging tips

The Wall at Kirkwood. Our favorite run of the day

A couple days ago it dawned on me that although my commenting system was greatly improved since my move from Blogger to WordPress, it was still missing a crucial element. I had been taking the time to reply to many of the comments left by you for naught. Without a reply notification plug-in, you would never know I had done so. On one hand, it seemed so trivial, on the other, it was a glaringly obvious how much more I had to learn.

I reflected on the fact that it was barely six months ago when I thought starting a blog would be fun. Well, it’s been a lot of fun. And it’s been a lot of hard work. Blogging is not limited to experts only, fortunately, there are some wonderful souls out there who have taken the care and time to share their experiences and knowledge base with the rest of us.

30 for 30 remix challenge, day 22. Ivory lace dress, vintage sweater and cowboy boots.

Birds making a pleasant commotion on day 22 of the 30 for 30 remix challenge.

Without them, this blog would not be what it is today. My success here and anywhere else, is and always has been, the result of collaboration and support. I would like to share a few of the resources I turned to in the past few months. By no means is this list complete, it’s merely a sampling of the information out there. If you’re already blogging, or are thinking of starting, check out some of these links. I have relied on the first seven at different times, the rest I think you might find useful.

What you need to know to be an outfit of the day blogger

Introduction: So you want to leave Blogger for WordPress?

 

Trademarks–What you need to know

Blog Analytics

Independent Fashion Bloggers – (Community resource)

FBFF – Friend Friday – (Community group)

Killer fashion blogging: 50 ways to take your fashion blog to the next level

How to make failed outfit pictures work (Photoshop tutorial)

Build a better blog

While I couldn’t remember the original site I turned to for grammatical assistance, I did find this one which is equally helpful. You may be the smartest cookie around but if you are misspelling regularly and don’t have the basics of English grammar down, your readers are going to think you’re dumb. Or worse yet, that you just don’t care. Like I said, blogging is fun but it’s also hard work.

Last but not least, last week I wrote about the correlation between your blog and branding. It’s a topic I’ve reflected upon on this journey and believe it’s good food for thought. While I may still have a long way to go, I’m confident that I’m headed in the right direction. I’m enjoying the journey and hope you are, too.

 

Deets: Vintage sweater/eBay, ivory lace dress/Jeremy’s, lace tights/Hue, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, owl necklace/Urban Outfitters.

 

30 for 30 Winter, Day 21

07 Mar
Sitting in my garden

Sitting pretty in aqua

Standing against the fence

The outfit in its entirety

An obi belt I made myself

The obi belt I made with two silk ties

Bracelets from H&M

Love the color of these dainty bracelets!

Patterned tights and cool bag from Argentina

My purse against the pattern of the tights

I’m officially behind on getting pictures up but, on the other hand, I’ve got a slew of cool snowboarding photos. I’ll spare you most, but do stay tuned for my favorite. It has to do with a sign, a skull and crossbones, and me and the hubby. Grinning.

Fine, twist my arm, I’ll just tell you all about it. We posed like tourists in front of the “Experts Only” sign for the double black diamond run we did six times. Cheesy, yes, but in a good way. I’ll get it up soon for your viewing pleasure. We look silly, I’m warning you.

 

Deets: Aqua cashmere cardi/Bloomingdale’s, black dress/MaxStudio, patterned tights/Cynthia Crowley, obi belt/ReStyled as shown here, black leather ankle boots/Munro, teal and silver tone bracelets/H&M, hand-made glass bead necklace/gifted, purse/gifted from Argentina.

 
8 Comments

Posted in DIY, Fashion

 

FBFF Q&A: Make me pretty!

04 Mar

Infinity scarf

My first every giveaway winner announced! Last week I promised that I would knit an infinity scarf identical to the one shown above to thank my followers for hanging around and returning. You guys make me so happy! So without further ado, I bring you the lucky winner:

We have our winner!

*** Mackenzie, looks like you got yourself a scarf! Come on down and claim it, little lady! ***

It’s Friday and time to talk about beauty. We each have our personal routines, in some cases we find it acceptable to spend a pretty penny on some items and in others we head to the local drugstore. You’re lookin’ good, what are your secrets? Here are mine:

FBFF: What’s your favorite drugstore make-up product and your favorite higher-end product?

FJ: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Shimmers and Chanel eye-shadow. I also use Neutrogena eye make-up remover but prefer the Chanel one. The $20 difference keeps me using Neutrogena.

FBFF: Is there one type of product that is your go-to, that you can’t live without?

FJ: Burt’s Bees Lip balm. I love the pomegranate, mango and the new açai in addition to the original minty balm. I’ve been really lucky to have normal skin, it’s very low maintenance.

FBFF: What’s the best hair product you’ve ever used?

FJ: Hands down, Aveda and Kérastase. I’ve strayed and always return.

FBFF: Fess up, what’s the worst beauty look you’ve tried to rock and look back at now with a little shame or apprehension that you actually did that?

FJ: Oh the horror! Seriously? A tight perm when I was in high school. And that’s saying something because I had long hair, short hair, rocker hair, bi-level, (A.K.A. a mullet), bleached, red, maroon, blue-black but that perm takes home the Hair of Shame Medal of Honor. My best friend permed my hair for me.

FBFF: When it comes to beauty products, we all use the same basic products. What do you use that helps show off your personal flare and personality?

FJ: “Mermaid” Trucco eyeshadow. It’s two parts, one side is shimmery golden grassy green, the other is shimmery aqua. The company no longer exists and I’m going to be sad the day that I scrape the last dredges of eyeshadow from the container. It’s a wacky color but I only put it on my lower lid. I have big eyes and eyelids and for daily wear,  I find that it’s often overkill to wear eye-shadow all the way up the lid. I wear it almost every day but it feels just subtle enough to keep me from looking clownish.

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!

 
 

30 for 30 Winter, days 17-20. Catching up

03 Mar
Rosette belt, black skinny jeans and vegan brown boots

Rockin’ the rosettes

rosette, belt, dusty rose

Dusty pink and brown rosette belt

Sparrow and rose

It appears to be that I’ve signed myself up for so many different events that it’s been a challenge to get all my outfits up, but who can resist? So much fun to be had! Between that and being out of town from Friday night to Sunday night every week doesn’t help matters, either. I bring you four days worth of outfits with a highlight on my favorite accessories. Thanks for hanging in there!

red bean bag chair, white capelet

Going red for women

I couldn’t resist having my hubby take my photo in his office. Yes! His office! He really does have an oversized bean bag chair like that, and we really do work at the same company. (We had to meet somewhere seven years ago.) I told you I’d bring the red for last Friday’s Go Red for Women. It’s here at last!

vintage sweater, plaid flannel skirt

Mixing patterns like there’s no tomorrow

mustard dress with leggings and shawl

Hanging out in the stairwell again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outfit #1: Dusty rose blouse/ModCloth, black cigarette ankle jeans/BDG, rosette belt/ModCloth, sparrow necklace/Linkel Designs, brown suede cuff/restyled, vegan brown suede boots/Munro.

Outfit #2: Black dress/MaxStudio, white capelet/BCBG, red brooch/H&M, red tights/We Love Colors, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl cuff/Lois Hill, tree of life necklace/gifted.

Outfit #3: Vintage sweater/eBay, plaid flannel skirt/Urban Outfitters, off-white knitted tights/unknown, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl cuff/Lois Hill.

Outfit #4: Mustard yellow dress/ModCloth, slate shawl collar cardigan/You Be Cheeky, black leggings/Hue, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl necklace/Lois Hill.

 
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Posted in Fashion

 

My chosen feminist style icon

02 Mar
beach, smoking

Sitting together at the beach

As a child I had very strong likes and dislikes. My propensity for all things bright and colorful turned my mother into a very concerned citizen. I’m only paraphrasing slightly when I say that she would swear I dressed myself up like a Christmas tree when left to my own devices, having taken after my grandmother, the family magpie. I realize now that the analogy of the Christmas tree must have made more sense in French because it doesn’t really hold much drama when uttered in English.

That said, she meant I had too great of an enthusiasm for color and textures to meet the criteria of a lady, classy and tasteful. She had me pegged right. I still think fondly of my mémé Nadia (Najla) Bittar as my inspiration with regards to fashion. Stories of her eccentric behavior and questionable moral fiber flit about here and there, as a child I knew a very different woman.

It was 1972, a Parisian living in Lebanon. She was a woman who would not rely on a single man, she lived a fabulous life. The rose pink baroque velvet sofa, the glass-topped dining table and chandelier, the fox stole, the sequined dresses. Last but not least, the caribou bedroom slippers with the kitten heel. As child of five I was mesmerized by the magical natural of this opulence. Oh, my mémé must have been Liberace’s fantasy muse. She was a free spirit and she never turned down anything that glittered or shined.

She traveled and brought back trinkets from faraway places, she regaled tales with the theatrical intensity of Gloria Swanson, one captivating story after another. While adults might have tsk’ed-tsk’ed, she was my hero. Dressed to the nines every time she left the house, she drank Johnny Walker Red, smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes, straightened and bleached her curly black hair blond, outfitted her golden arms and fingers in costume jewelry and wore a lot of heavy eye make-up.

She carried herself with a glamour to inspire and mesmerize the young and innocent. She broke every rule about the expectations of women’s roles along the way. I’m not saying everything she did was right but she certainly did it her own way. While no one may have ever heard of her, Nadia Bittar is my chosen feminist style icon.

Check out these additional contributing Fashionable Feminist Icon posts for inspiration:
Hedy Lamarr – Adventures in Refashioning

Björk – Oranges and Apples

Christine Lagarde– Rags Against the Machine

Cindy Sherman – Mrs Bossa Does the Do

Claude Cahun – Cervixosaurus

Diane Von Furstenberg – For Those About to Shop

Elizabeth Smith Miller – Techie Style

Ellen Page – SK{ru}SH

Frida Kahlo – La Historiadora de Moda from Fashionable Academics

Frida Kahlo – Knitting Up the Ravelled Sleeve of Care

Gloria Steinem – Ef for Effort

Gloria Steinem – What If No-One’s Watching?

Gloria Trevi – Feministified

Grandmother – The House in the Clouds

Griselda Pollock – Magic Square Foundation

Marjane Satrapi – Jean of all Trades

Joan of Arc – Interrobangs Anonymous

Julia de Burgos – Mad Dress Game

Margaret Cho – What Are Years?

Rachel Carson – Aly en France

Siouxsie Sioux – Yo Ladies

Sydney Fox – My Illustrative Life

Vivienne Westwood – Seamstress Stories

 
 

Developing your brand. Why does it matter?

01 Mar
brand, face

Am I a brand?

Pepsi is a brand, Madonna is a brand, even President Obama is a brand.

Beautifully Invisible gave me inspiration for this topic. Observing and participating in conversations in a community group confirmed the need to touch briefly on this topic. Many new bloggers struggle with this as they navigate their way around developing their content, voice, image, style and character.

What does branding have to do with blogging? Everything. Marty Neumeier defines a brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s a gut feeling because we’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational.” I will take it a step further and add “person” along with “product, service, or company.” We believe that the brands we love are unique, being true to what they stand for makes them appear so. We connect to those brands emotionally and feel a sense of pride for having that connection. You are your brand, therefore, your blog is your brand regardless of whether you are style or tech blogger.

It’s important to have a sense of who you are, what you are providing and why anyone would care. The goal is to express something that solicits a reaction or response, you’re looking to engage your audience and develop a connection. A blog can be beautiful but uninteresting, if your content is not king no one will keep coming back. When I say content is king, I don’t mean to imply that every post must be brilliant. I only mean this: You are writing your content. Emphasis on “you.” People come back because they connected with it. You don’t need to blow their minds but you do need to present yourself and your content in a compelling and genuine manner.

So how do we figure out all this out? Make a list of what makes you “you”. Now make a list of how others see you, how they would describe you. People’s impressions of you make up part of what defines you. The two lists should have a lot of in common. Do you see the correlation? Too much disparity and you’ve got a perception problem. Blogs are personal by nature, in most cases your blog is an extension of yourself and not a completely different persona. Your top attributes should be reflected in how you present yourself leading to how others perceive you. We want confirmation that supports why we love a brand. Apple is innovative. Nike is encouraging us to get out there and just do it. They might pleasantly surprise and delight us at times but they don’t send mixed signals. We love them for who they are.

No one is going to assume you lack dimensionality or creativity for being focused, they will be pleased that they got what they came for. Who is your target, who is it your speaking to? What are they looking for? Why would they come back for more? Understanding your demographic is key to giving them what they want. You’re looking to bridge the gap between what you offer and what your target wants. Is she a mother with kids who’s looking to connect and share ideas with other mothers, or is she a woman who also happens to be a mother with kids? The differences may be subtle but making the distinction is very important in how you choose to speak to one or the other.

You are the primary authority of your brand, express it through your blog with conviction. Know your audience, be focused, remain true to yourself. In the words of Stella Adler, “don’t act, behave.”

I give credit to Primo Angeli for being such a leader and influence on me. Understanding the relationships we have with brands and each other, how those perceptions trigger emotional responses, has given me so much valuable insight. The three years I worked at his design firm were pivotal to my ongoing personal and professional development. Marty Neumeier is author of The Brand Gap.

Photo: Jose Rodriguez

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Deets: Mustard dress/ModCloth, slate shawl collar cardigan/You Be Cheeky, black leggings/Hue, vegan faux grey cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl necklace/Lois Hill, hand-carved wood earrings/Chicago.

 
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Posted in Fashion