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Archive for the ‘FBFF Q&A’ Category

FBFF Q&A: Outside influences

13 May

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing beige skirt and dusty rose blouse with black boyfriend blazer
Schoolgirl
Daily outfit and style tip, wearing beige skirt and dusty rose blouse with black belt
Better defined

{ fbff: }

What made you think of putting these pieces together? What keeps you coveting that particular brand? The topic this week on Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is outside influences. We draw inspiration from other style bloggers but that can’t be all. What gives?

FBFF: What magazines do you subscribe to?

FJ: Vogue, Lucky, More, O, The New Yorker. I like Vogue for the interpretive and artistic element of the themed pictorials most. I like Lucky because it speaks to the average gal out there, that’s me! More and O focus more on lifestyle topics specific to women over forty, (yes, life goes on!), and developing a stronger mind-to-heart connection in your daily life, respectively. The New Yorker is a pillar, I can be captivated by a topic that holds no interest to me because it is written so well, I lose myself in each story.

FBFF: Do you watch any fashion TV shows?

FJ: I watch almost no television, believe or not, just a few Showtime and HBO shows.

FBFF: Beyond blogs, what websites do you frequent for fashion inspiration?

FJ: None for specific fashion inspiration. I’m in a creative field so my ordinary day probably exposes me to a lot of stimuli most don’t get without specifically seeking it out. I’ve also just always played “dress up” on my own. I observe everything around me, I’m primarily a visual person with a strong analytical streak. I notice what other people do with their style and let it inspire me.

FBFF: Advertisements play a huge role in forming public opinion about a product or brand… what ads do you like and why?

FJ: Chanel comes to mind. They’ve always been consistent and their related media reaffirms my belief that they have high standards and deliver a quality product. I realize that without facts it’s an assumption based on impression. But they do such a good job selling me on that idea, that’s the consistent part that draws me in. I can attest to the quality since becoming a consumer. Old Navy does a great job really targeting their audience in a way that is ownable to them.

FBFF: Do you own any fashion books?

JF: A few, I’m just now starting to buy them. (Is it too early to starting putting in a request, Santa?) I only recently acknowledged my fascination with fashion. I know how absurd that sounds but I was raised to believe it was frivolous. While I spent money of fashion and read fashion magazines, I subconsciously believed that spending any money outside of the practical aspects of this particular passion was out of the question. I’m pretty sure I was the last one to acknowledge the obvious. I’ve always been more into fashion and personal style than most people I interact with.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting this topic. 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: }

Made a blunder? Own to it and fix it. I took the first photo in the morning. I had the cute little black bow, the boyfriend blazer, basically, I looked like an oversized kid. The proportions of the baggy top over the baggy skirt with a bow looked all wrong. I got to work cursing myself for ever getting dressed without giving a trial run the day before. Yes, sometimes I do that. It’s not always sunshine and roses in my closet.

Emergency action plan: I took a quick break to run to the trusty Dress Barn around the corner from where I work and picked up a big black wide belt. I tucked the blouse in, lost the jacket and bow and voila! A figure better defined. Never be afraid to rethink an outfit if it’s not sitting well with you. You’re going to look great when you feel great!

Have you saved an outfit on the fly? What was the problem and what solution did you come up with?

{ deets: }

Dusty rose blouse/ModCloth, beige skirt/Urban Outfitters, black boyfriend blazer/BDG, Urban Outfitters, floral pattern tights/Nordstrom’s, black ballet flats/Ecco, silver and mother-of-pearl cuff/Lois Hill, cat eye sunglasses/Michael Kors.

 

 
 

FBFF Q&A: Lookin’ good, baby

29 Apr

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing navy blue satin babydoll dress
Rockin’ the babydoll!

{ fbff: }

Sitting on Mt. Whitney summit

Sitting on the summit on Mt. Whitney with Fil

Have I been hitting the gym lately? (I missed a few weeks.) Do I take walks during my lunch break? (No. I get too hot and sweating at my desk is not my thing.) Is health, vanity or both? How am I staying in shape and why? The topic this week for Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday is just about that. I’ve mentioned snowboarding and running a few times, here’s a sneak peak into a completely different part of my life.

FBFF: Do you keep some kind of fitness routine? Why?

FJ: Yes. I run regularly. I snowboard all winter, I cycle here and there and hike regularly. I do it for sanity, physical benefits, health and fun. I also like the challenge of keeping it up. I’m in better shape and have better stamina now than I ever have before. Even with asthma, even with arthritis in my feet. Let’s face it, I like knowing I kick butt. Being outdoors brings me peace, running is especially zen for me, it focuses me. I start getting cranky when I don’t get exercise regularly. I have too much energy not to have an outlet. It also helps keep my metabolism the way that it has always been, I’ve been consistent for most of my life.

Bay 2 Breakers
My third or fourth Bay2Breakers with my friend Telene

FBFF: Has working out, maybe training for a marathon or something of that nature, helped with your own perception of body image?

FJ: Sure. I like being strong and fit. I don’t mind all the other physical quirks that are unique to me as long as I feel healthy. I’m proud of who am I which is defined by what I do. I had a couple ladies at work once tell me I was lucky that I could eat anything because I was so skinny. Well, I’m not skinny, I’m slender and in good shape. I wouldn’t refer to getting up at six A.M. to go running “luck”. I would call that hard work. Luck and good genes only take you so far, when you’re in your forties, you get there by earning it. I don’t know anyone my age who can eat whatever they want because they’re lucky.

Climbing clinic at Pinnacles National Park
Climbing clinic at Pinnacles National Park. I’m secretly a spider monkey

FBFF: When you are hitting the gym or just going out for a long walk what do you wear? Is it about functionality or fashion?

FJ: In a perfect world, it would be both. In my world, it’s gear. I want great gear. I want it to breathe, to move with me, not shift, not sag, not rip, not be itchy, not ride up. I want it to wick moisture, resist odor. I want to wash it a million times and have it last forever. I have technical gear for all my sports. For running, in summer I wear shorts and short sleeve shirts, in winter I wear Yoga/running pants and long-sleeve wool shirts. For hiking, I have hiking pants and tops but if it’s in the park by my house and it’s only for an hour or two, I might wear my Yoga/running pants and a breathable top. For cycling, I have cycling shorts and shirts. Snowboarding has its own set of gear.

White water rafting on the American River
White water rafting on the American River

FBFF: Do you feel there is a cultural perception of what you ‘should’ be doing for your own physical fitness?

FJ: Lol! Yes! I think it’s funny because even though I usually run three to four times a week, hike regularly and have one-off’s on the weekends, such as cycling or snowboarding, I think I should be doing more. More weight and core training, Yoga, too. I’m not doing those things. I’d like to but I can’t imagine when I’d fit that into my schedule. I also sometimes have to take a week or two off for sanity’s sake, I’m not hard on myself about it anymore, but I used to be.

Landing in the terrain park at Kirkwood
Landing in the terrain park at Kirkwood

I’m going to add that being in great shape has some additional benefits that I wanted to make sure and cover. Primarily, the confidence that endurance and physical strength has brought me in has translated into other areas of my life. You can’t buy that kind of feeling. The other is that having endurance allows me to be in places not for the faint of heart. I’ve gone white water rafting, kayaking, I’ve climbed Mt. Whitney, which was just amazing! I’ve seen parts of nature that are not easily accessible to the general public. Being able to be in those places is precious, I don’t take it for granted. It re-affirms my core belief that we are all connected and to always try and be the best person I can be.

When I’m able to hike to a pristine area in the snow and I sit and survey, I’m overcome with appreciation for being alive. The beauty I get to see, the perspective these places bring to my state of mind, to me, that’s worth every boring run on a treadmill. Sure I like to look good, but I like to feel good even more than that. When I feel good, it doesn’t matter what I look like, I’m radiating from the inside out. That’s the one thing no outfit, no make-up, no procedure can buy. That stuff comes from the heart.The coolest thing is that I didn’t start doing any of these things until my early thirties. Getting older rocks!

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting this topic. 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 wore mocha tights with this navy blue babydoll dress. Mocha is an unlikely color to consider with navy blue yet it made for a very interesting take as a neutral in this case. Not all neutrals need to be uninteresting. It allowed the dress to take center stage while still providing a hint of color.

Have you every used an unusual color as a neutral in an outfit? What did you do? What color was it?

{ deets: }

Navy blue babydoll dress/ModCloth, mocha microfiber tights/courtesy of We Love Colors, black sandals/Dansko, steampunk inspired necklace/gifted.

 
 

Happy Anniversary, FBFF!

14 Apr

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing a brown plaid shift with mocha tights and brown boots
Mad for plaid

{ fbff: }

This is the official one-year anniversary of FBFF! In the spirit of gratitude, participating bloggers have been asked to share the love. I like to share. I wish I had tea and cookies to offer you. Come in, sit down and kick off your shoes. It’s Friday, after all.

FBFF: When it comes to me personally, I owe a lot of who I am to:

FJ: My best friends, both male and female. They’ve been such good role models of compassion, optimism, friendship; they’re good people, they’re caring, funny, silly and know how to have a great time without getting self-conscious. They’re beautiful and supportive, curious and intelligent. They’re generous of spirit, they don’t shy away from telling the ones they love “I love you.” How can I not evolve into a better human around them? I feel their love and support in my heart 24/7.

FBFF: When it comes to me professionally, I owe a lot of who I am to:

FJ: My dad, for expecting the best from me always and my friend and former employer, Inez H. She’s an incredible force to be reckoned with and wasn’t going to let me get away with not living up to my potential. She taught me in my very early 20′s to have a voice, an opinion, to stand up for myself, do my research, question everything and always try harder. The credits are complete without giving credit to my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Paluzzi. I knew someday I’d have the opportunity to thank him. He believed in my writing and pushed me. I wrote my first poem “Flying Forever, Forever Free” in his class and got the highest grade for it. If you’re familiar with my moniker, Flyingfabu, you can see the connection.

FBFF: When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots:

FJ: I don’t know where to start or who to pick out. I’ll say that reading about other bloggers struggling with a lot of the same issues I have had here and there has helped me connect to them and feel their support. In a lot of ways, participating in this group has shed a lot of light on the similarities between us all. I can start by saying, “thanks, Katy!”

My hubby has also been an incredible source of tech support, I definitely have to give him props, too.

FBFF: One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was:

FJ: Kendi’s 30 for 30 challenge. It kick-started it all. Let me tell you, I felt very self-conscious at first. I quickly learned to get my act together, start thinking about what I was doing, finding my voice, defining my online presence. I learned something new in a short period of time that will carry over to other avenues. I do feel stronger.

FFBB:  To my readers, I’d like to say:

FJ: A big humongous THANK YOU! I read every comment, I listen to you and feel your support. I honestly wish I had the time to reply to every single one but it doesn’t mean any less that I don’t. I do take the time every chance I get to visit your blogs, I’m always interested in the faces and characters behind the names and comments. I feel like I’ve gotten to know many of you and it has enriched my life.

You keep me inspired and keep me from getting lazy. I feel like the luckiest woman; I’m so grateful to have a healthy, fun and creative outlet that is also an avenue for connecting with others, (that’s YOU!)

 

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting this topic. 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: }

A straight shift can be boxy, even on the curviest figure. The dress I’m wearing today works because it’s short and keeps the proportions in balance. The added height of my low-heeled boots elongate my legs just enough. Rather than wear tights the same shade of espresso brown as my boots, I wore mocha tights to add more dimensionality to an otherwise monochromatic palette.

{ deets: }

Brown plaid shift/ModCloth, courtesy of Ana of Better in Sepia, mocha microfiber tights/courtesy of We Love Colors, beige pashmina shawl/Nordstrom’s, brown vegan suede boots/Munro, coral rose and sparrow necklace/Linkel Designs.

 
 

FBFF Five

07 Apr

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing faux fur vest, hot pink cardigan, black skinny jeans
Something’s always funny around here

{ fbff: }

I’ve got twenty tabs open on any given computer, dog-eared magazines are strewn about, there are incomprehensible scribbles in several notebooks, lists of items coveted and I window shop with the precision eye tracking of a true professional.

What does it all mean?

This week, Fashion Beauty Friend Friday offers a simple question: What are the top five trends for spring that you have been looking forward to?

FBFF spring trends, lace
Lace
FBFF Spring trends, neutrals and wide leg pants
Neutrals and wide leg pants
FBFF Spring trends, botanical print dress and statement ring
Botanical print dresses and statement rings

In order of appearance:

Lace blouse, Unknown
Lace cuff, WhiteOwl, Etsy
Neutral dress, ModCloth
Wide leg pants, Nanette Lepore
Botanical print dress, Anthropologie
Statement ring, Alexis Bittar

I covet these. They reflect a time of renewal, a gentleness with which to ease into this next season. I want to feel a warm breeze on my skin, I want to smell the flowers in bloom. Perfect for spring, perfect for me.

 

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting this question. 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: }

Faux fur vests are one of the most fun trends we’ve seen this past season. They’re warm and soft and are great for layering. They look best over a slim line because they add so much bulk. Keep the shape of your dress simple or your slacks sleek and uncomplicated. Naturally, they’re perfect with jeans.

Do you own any faux fur? How are you wearing it? Is it a vest or a coat? Do you wear it indoors or outdoors? How does it make you feel?

{ deets: }

Hot pink cashmere cardigan/Bloomingdale’s, yellow owl t-shirt/Shana Logic, faux fur vest/Urban Outfitters, black ankle cigarette jeans/BDG, Urban Outfitters, brown embroidered boots, Aersoles.

 
 

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

 

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.

 

 
 

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.

 

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!

 
 

FBFF Q&A: Blog Awards

24 Feb

R u doin’ it rite?

Some bloggers are doin it rite. They stand out just a little ahead of the pack. They inspire and challenge us to bring our best to the table. We cruise and peruse and think to ourselves, I want to be just like that when I grow up. This week we’re recognizing some of those bloggers. We’re nominating one for each category. Afterwards, the top five will be culled and there will be a vote to determine the champs for the FBFF Blog Awards.

You know who else wins in this? You and I do. We get exposed to some top quality blogging action, that’s a win in my book. To be clear, this was not easy to do at all. I had more than one outstanding blogger for each category. Sometimes even two or three. With the help of one hubby’s famous Manhattan’s I bring you my nominees:

1. Creative Juices – Most creative

I nominate Emma Clark from Daily Clothes Fix for blowing my mind one too many times with those unbelievable outfits. This is a woman who thrifts and swishes many of her finds and then just for kicks challenged herself not to repeat a single outfit for a whole year. A whole year! That’s pretty darn creative right here.

2. The Real Deal – Authenticity

Aye! Aye! Aye! Really? Ok, here it goes. Anika. Of By Anika fame. I can name at least five or more qualifying bloggers in two seconds flat but Anika’s name floated to the top. You go to her blog and the very first thing you encounter is her heart. That thing is out there beating to some awesome rhythm ready to give you some love, fix you a hot drink and sit you down in the most comfortable chair in the house. It’s not particularly easy to be this authentic even behind the screen of carefully chosen words. You have to be ok allowing yourself to be vulnerable. FOR THE WORLD TO SEE! You just want to give that girl and hug and share some laughs and hang out.

3. Spark Notes – Most helpful

I recently made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. In the meantime, I threatened the sanctity of my marriage by abusing matrimonial tech support. I might have even gotten teary-eyed at some point, that was a low point and I was desperate. I think I even wore my pajamas for twelve hours straight. My one and only saving grace came from this woman: I nominate Beautifully Invisible for her tutorial for making the switch. If it’s the only helpful thing she ever brings into my life, it is still a noble feat. I’m still married.

4. Newbie – Best blogger less than a year old

This hot gal has been around as long as I have and guess what? That’s not very long at all. In those few months I saw Yvonne’s blog, now called Fashion Recon, metamorphosize. She polished it, defined her persona, buttoned it all up and got her ducks in a row. I’ve always wanted to say that, by the way. Ducks! It didn’t take long for this woman to put together a vision, clear as day. She’s just started this feature called Wednesday Webbies and I look forward to reading it and getting my learn on. Yep. She’s one smart and stylish cookie. And you know what else? She actually referred to a Chilton’s manual on her blog. Do you guys even know what that is? I can’t wait to meet her at Style Nation in Las Vegas in two weeks!

5. Can You Hear Me Now – Most connected

Oh man Oh man Oh man! I’m so not happy about having to answer to this one. Really. Blast! Drats! Dang! On December 2, 2010, I stopped by her blog for the first time and practically memorized this quote: “leopard print is the polka dot of the animal kingdom”. BELLA, GET YER BUTT OUT HERE! I’m really getting carried away but The Citizen Rosebud has connected me to some beautiful souls, (Sacramento? Ofelia?… Too many to mention.) So, yes, this was THE HARDEST! I want a sister category for Collette of Statements in Fashion. I have so much respect for her and had to go back and forth and back and forth on this one. Don’t hate me, Collette, I was literally splitting hairs. Next year, I’m going to create a category just for you, darlin’. We’ll just call it “Awesome” because you also know how to bring people together.

6. If I had a Hammer – Best DIY

A Beautiful Mess. I painted some boots with glitter paint because of this woman. Elsie is what the creative part of my brain wants to be when it grows up. Maybe I could just move in with her and be her apprentice.

7. Tribe Leader – Blogger who leads others and brings bloggers together

Oh what would we do without the lovely miss Katy Rose? I wouldn’t be typing up these questions, I would not have made a lot of new friends. Heck, I’d still be trying to come up with original content for every Friday’s post. Don’t you know, I’m going to give props to Katy of Modly Chic for putting this party together. In my friend Safy’s words, she’s “making it happen.”

8. Practically Perfect – Most Fashionable

Puhleeze. Check out what this woman wore to shop at Target and tell me she’s not the most fashionable. You go push a cart around in that outfit and fill it with 12-packs of toilet paper. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I recognize Vahni of Grit and Glamour because she’s kicking fashion’s little toosh intercontinentally. And she’s intelligent. And talented. And eloquent. Oh snap! That just made her practically perfect!

9. Paint by Numbers – Best beauty blogger

Okay, I’m kind of cheating here. But not really. It’s just that I’ve not really followed any beauty blogs but today I checked out Ali & Perdi’s blog, 365 Fashion Rehab, (thanks IFB),and I quite enjoyed it. I guess it counts!

10. Renaissance Woman – Best all around blogger, fashion, beauty, lifestyle

Well, see here I finally had to get creative. When you say “woman”, do you mean it like this: “woman”? Because right now I’m kind of drawn to Arash of Arash Mazinani’s blog for providing content relevant to both men and woman. But if you must be a stickler about it being a woman, then Erin’s of Design for Mankind is my girl. All those pretty pictures!


Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting these questions based Courtney of Those Graces‘ suggestion. 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!

 

All’s well in the stairwell

Bringing new meaning to afternoon coffee break

Look who I found! Hi Joe!

As I mentioned earlier, it’s Go Red for Women month. Some of us bloggers were inspired by fellow blogger Andie to participate in bringing awareness to heart disease in women by wearing red on Fridays. I’m wearing red today but the photos featured are of Thursday, how I wore red on Friday remains to be seen. Don’t you just love a little mystery?

 

Deets: Black turtleneck/Benetton, black cigarette ankle pants/BDG, slate shawl collar cardigan/You Be Cheeky, skinny black belt/Nordstrom’s, teal legwarmers/unknown, grey vegan faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, necklace/Alexis Bittar, blue topaz ring/unknown.

Photos: Euan Rannachan

 

 
 

FBFF Q&A: Body Image

17 Feb

Pounding rain means indoor photos

Make mine a mini

Hoo, hoo…

We hide behind our computers, our faces lit by the light of the screen while we type first thing in the morning, after work and before bed. Sometimes encroaching on that treasured sleep. Then, some of us post pictures of ourselves; we edit, scrutinize and approve how the world will see us. The phenomenon of blogging is fascinating. This genre, this tiny niche of style bloggers is varied and diverse. We oscillate between the written word and imagery, sometimes showing preference to one over the other. How does it all add up? What role does it play in how we see ourselves?

This is the topic of this week’s discussion.

FBFF: Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?

FJ: Yes. Taking pictures of myself almost every day made me realize that my perception of myself is a little skewed. The mirror doesn’t capture me in an active state. While I may be posing, the camera is capturing me when I can’t actually see myself, it doesn’t care what I’m doing, it just captures it. Sometimes it’s worse than what I see, other times it’s better.

FBFF: Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?

FJ: Yes, but I accept it for the most part. I don’t draw attention to it by calling it out on my blog because the same way that I don’t notice what other people are often self-conscious about, I assume most people don’t notice what I’m self-conscious about. Why draw attention to it? I wouldn’t necessarily call it being self-conscious, more like self-aware. I don’t care that my teeth are crooked and I have an impressive overbite and that sometimes it makes my lips look funny. (See, now I told you!)

I will not post a picture where those attributes distract from what I do like. Do you want to look at my teeth or my outfit? Besides, those traits exists. They’re the way my friends see my face, everyone is used to it. I’m the only one who cares and gets surprised by it over and over again. “Hey! That’s not really how I look!” Actually, it is. When the camera takes a picture of me with that stupid expression, guess what? I make that face all the time and just can’t see it. You just gotta laugh about stuff like that, what can you do?

FBFF: Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image?

FJ: I’m fascinated by the changes. I sometimes try to imagine what I will look like when I’m much older. I think I will have the same happy eyes, the same strong nose, lots of sun spots and happy wrinkles. I hope I always give myself the nutrition, sleep, love and lifestyle that keeps my perspective healthy. I think my perspective is pretty good now.

FBFF: Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision?

FJ: I’ve gotten a lot less self-conscious about it pretty fast. In a way, blogging is license to pose. If I’m in public, well, of course I’m posing for a shot, I have a blog. Little mind games are funny that way. But seriously, I try to have a sense of humor about it. I know that when I don’t photograph well it’s when I’m not feeling well either in my body or my head. The remedy is almost always more sleep and exercise. It’s also made me more accepting of what my good and bad attributes are. I was already that way but the process is definitely an accelerant.

FBFF: What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?

FJ: No one is perfect, no one is above self-scrutiny. If you strive to improve, do it with a gentle loving touch because you’re going to be at it all your life. Self-improvement, body image perception, these are not phases. We live with our bodies until we expire. Be accepting of what you can’t change. Those differences are what set us apart and make us unique. Be cool and enjoy yourself. Your life is good.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting these questions based on my suggestion (yay!). 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!

As I mentioned earlier, it’s Go Red for Women month. Some of us bloggers were inspired by fellow blogger Andie to participate in bringing awareness to heart disease in women by wearing red on Fridays. I finally got my red in on time. This 80′s dress from eBay was such a find. I wore it previously like this, this time I wore it with the cowl neck hanging asymmetrically and the waist belted. I made this dress a mini-dress! I put it in the challenge because I knew it would be a challenge to find different ways to wear it. It’s so unique. And I always like a good challenge.

Deets: vintage dress/eBay, black tights/unknown, vegan faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, owl necklace/Urban Outfitters, black belt/unknown.

Photos: Euan Rannachan