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Posts Tagged ‘black’

Looking good and being practical

20 Aug

{ personal: }

When I first started running about 10 years ago, the only real gear I owned were proper running shoes. I asked for them for my birthday. At least I had my priorities straight. But seriously people, heavyweight track pants? Long-sleeve cotton t-shirts? It’s no wonder I overheated regularly, though I’m sure having old ladies pass me up had nothing to do with it.

Thankfully, things have changed a lot. Old ladies no longer pass me up and I’ve upgraded my wardrobe to reflect my evolving athletic needs, comfort and style. Yes, style! Just because I’m going to get my blood pumping doesn’t mean I’ve resigned myself to oversized baggy t-shirts and frumpy shorts. Not only does it not look good at all, it’s not practical.

I need my clothes to breathe well and move with me. Call me demanding but I don’t want seams to chafe, I want small discreet pockets for the most necessary items, I want to be able to wash these garments hundreds of time without showing signs of wear and tear. Oh, right, and I want all this to look fabulous. Enter Lululemon. We go back a couple years, I’m still running in the first pants I bought. Both pairs look practically new. You just can’t argue with quality and comfort.

lululemon purple shirt, black marathon running skirt

I recently completed the SF Marathon, it was my first full. I’ll admit it was not my best run, I got a stress fracture and IT band injury in my right knee at mile 12. With sheer determination, and perhaps a tiny dose of poor judgment, I hobbled my way to the finish line anyway. I’m proud to have completed it, injury and time notwithstanding. Thankfully, my outfit didn’t give up on me, either.

The running skirt with built-in shorts was perfectly cute. The shorts stayed put, never riding up or down. I thought there might be a chance of getting chaffed on the inner thighs, it was never a problem. The waistband held and didn’t shift, the pockets on the outer thighs of the shorts held a couple gels so nicely that I almost forgot about them. The shirt breathed more easily than I did at times and the headband stayed put.

I can’t wait for my knee to heal so I can run again. In that cute skirt, of course.

xo, f

 

{ deets: }

Purple shirt, black 7-pocket running skirt, headband/Lululemon.

 
 

Favorite shoes

03 Mar

{ personal: }

Trail running shoes Saucony

These are my favorite shoes. Let’s define what makes a shoe a favorite. My personal criteria is as follows: They should make me feel confident, strong and sexy. They should be comfortable. I want to feel like a badass wearing them. Bonus points for style and unique qualities. Alright then, no bonus points on this round but if I was tasked with having to save the world, I’d grab these as I ran out the door. They practically possess magical qualities.

They are my trail running shoes. No real style or personality to them. I wish they looked cooler, really. They’re not particularly attractive or memorable. In fact, I couldn’t remember the brand the first few times I wore them. But I didn’t buy them for style or make, I bought them for quality and fit. I bought them so that when I ran on dirt and rocks and roots jutting up I could keep going and going and going. And I do. Come talk to me when my face is red and I’m drenched in sweat, stretching after a good run, and ask me how I feel about myself and my body. I feel like a million bucks.

I love my body because it’s mine, not because it’s perfect. It’s my physical best friend. I treat it with love and care. Running is my peace, it’s where I get my strength after a hard day. Every bad thought and emotion gets shaken off to the rhythm of my breath and stride. It isn’t for everyone and doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of avenues for that same experience, I have friends that practice Yoga, others that dance. My ultimate purpose for having this in my life is that it makes me a better person.

I’m calmer. I’m healthier and more fit. I’m happier. I get to be alone in nature. My senses are completely engaged. I feel more connected to the world. I’m more confident. I feel good about myself. It’s proof that I can do it, day after day, week after week, and year after year. I worked really hard at first, I was not a natural. Asthma and arthritis in my feet attempted and failed to sabotage my initial efforts, they only taught me patience and determination. They taught me to pace myself, to be kind to myself physically and mentally. I have grown stronger.

The day after a good run I’m on top of the world, wearing my second favorite pair of shoes, which happen to be black over-the-knee boots, and feeling like a badass. What are you favorite shoes?

{ daily outfit: }

Black over-the-knee boots with avocado dress

Black over-the-knee boots with recycled sweater skirt, purple shimmery turtleneck

Black over-the-knee boots with mustard dress, black boyfriend blazer

Black over-the-knee boots with versace for h&m skirt, black button-down shirt

{ last note: }

You might have noticed my Google Friend Connect widget has been taken down. I found out that Google is discontinuing this product soon, I figured I might as well get used to no longer relying on it. There are still a variety of ways to subscribe to updates for this blog. In the meantime, I’d be delighted if you left me your url in the comment box, I’ll do my best to visit.

xo, f

 
12 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

Becoming invisible

17 Jan

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit wearing magenta t-shirt, violet cardigan, black skinny jeans, black knee-high boots

{ personal: }

I just read an article about aging and becoming invisible. Yes, I think about this sometimes. I don’t dwell on it much but there are times I worry. There is nothing anyone can say about my current state that guarantees that I will not become invisible with time. Invisible to younger people, invisible to men. Just invisible. We live in a youth-centric culture and this is the reality.

I look in the mirror and I’m confused. I see the changes on my skin, I’m mostly fascinated with it. It, the skin of a 44 year old woman. It’s different. We’re all different but I what I mean is that my skin is different than it used to be. If you’re not there yet, get used to the idea, you’ll see when you get there. If you’re there, or you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s fine, really. But there is this small voice in my head that asks a lot of questions. Like, will I be equally surprised with my appearance at 60 as I am now? Will I ever feel that my insides and my outsides match again? When did that stop? How will others continue to see me? When will I stop looking as sprite as I feel? Will it make me sad? I’ve enjoyed it this far, will I even be bothered to care? I’m inclined to think I’ll care some.

I don’t want to become invisible. I think it’s more than vanity, I think it’s primal. The old and the weak got left behind because they no longer served the purpose of procreating or hunting and gathering. No one wants to be left behind. No woman, no man. What’s my plan? I have to have a plan, I can’t just plow through my 40′s and 50′s with reckless abandon and wake up to the shock of having become invisible. I’m really comfortable with the gradual changes taking place, let’s keep it that way. Besides, when I turn 60 I probably won’t think that’s very old at all and I’ll be confused by the whole damn experience.

Not long ago, I would walk to the train station everyday by myself the five blocks from my house. Every once in a while, a total stranger would say something very nice to me as I made my way with purse, lunch bag and gym bag in tow. Every single time it took me by surprise. It’s not that I don’t think I look nice, it’s that they made an effort and went out of their way. The kindness of strangers. And I would wonder, what did they see? I just doesn’t matter how good I look, how young one might think I appear, there is no doubt in my mind that some things cannot be falsified, such as the fact that I’m not 25, or even 30. I see my face, my body, every morning. I know what I look like. It doesn’t matter. Even if I embodied absolute physical perfection, they were compelled to go out of their way. They had no obligation to verbally express what they experienced. I would have been none the wiser.

I lived in San Francisco, a city teaming with young beautiful women walking down the same streets as me. What made me different?

It’s not that I don’t accept that some might find me attractive, it’s that I truly believe that something else made me stand out. The kindness within. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more and more comfortable being nice. Not polite. Nice. I will stop and ask if someone needs help. This next part is actually more significant. If, and when, I hear my judgmental inner voice spout something I don’t like about anyone, I will correct it. I check myself. Why did I make that judgment? Has a button been pushed? It’s not what I think, it’s what I do with that thought, that judgement. It’s static noise that has no power if I ignore or correct it. And guess what? It’s made me nicer. I’ve always been that person but I haven’t always given that person power. Now I have and I think others see it.

Kindness. Fairness. Generosity. As I’ve been changing how I see the world, I’ve been changing how the world sees me. So if you want to know what I intend do about becoming invisible with age, I just shared with you the only trick I have up my sleeve.

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

{ deets: }

Magenta t-shirt/Urban Outfitters, violet cardigan/Anthropologie, leopard-spotted jacket/Sandro, black skinny jeans/Urban Outfitters, knee-high snake-skin pattern boots/Kelsi Dagger, multi-color scarf/gifted.

{ last note: }

You might have noticed my Google Friend Connect widget has been taken down. I found out that Google is discontinuing this product soon, I figured I might as well get used to no longer relying on it. There are still a variety of ways to subscribe to updates for this blog. In the meantime, I’d be delighted if you left me your url in the comment box, I’ll do my best to visit.

 

Show & Tell

27 Dec

{ the story: }

There are those days when nothing seems to go right. Then, there are days when every single little detail falls into place, when the universe conspires to help you get everything right; it was one of those days. In my last post I wore I a navy blue pencil skirt that I picked up from a small, independently-owned shop that had just opened by my work in Downtown Oakland. I mentioned wanting to make more mindful purchasing decisions. I’m not looking for a revolution but I believe that paying just a little more attention will present opportunities for me to make the small changes necessary to live more closely to my heart, while looking fabulous the whole time, of course.

Let’s see exactly what happened on that fateful day. I happened to be in the dressing room of Show & Tell when I overheard the owner talk about their store’s philosophy to another customer. I loved what I heard, that they support local designers and fair trade practices with a focus on being paperless and sustainable; I wanted to help them thrive. It didn’t hurt that their clothes were really cute and the owners really nice. That stuck with me all day until I came up with the idea of taking pictures of different outfits in their store to promote them on The House in the Clouds. Nothing fancy, just me, my tripod and the overhead fluorescent lights. I approached them with the idea, they seemed happy and pleasantly surprised. I had the green light.

That same afternoon, I was directing a photo shoot at work and was telling the photographer of my plan. He offered to do an entire fashion shoot on location for us for the same reasons I wanted to do it: for support and for fun. I let the the shop owners Alyah and Nichole know, this suddenly went up a few notches and we were all totally thrilled. The very next Sunday, or as I like to refer to it, on the coldest day of the year so far, four of us walked around Downtown Oakland and had a blast taking pictures while curious onlookers checked out the scene.

The following is the result of our collective enthusiasm. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, stop by the shop sometime and check out what they have. It goes without saying the clothes are adorable and flattering.

Daily outfit, wearing grey pencil skirt, long black tunic, downtown Oakland

Daily outfit, wearing grey and pink floral skirt, pink t-shirt, pink infinity scarf in downtown Oakland

Daily outfit, wearing blue and white checked skirt, lavender button-down shirt, colorful bowtie, in downtown Oakland

Daily outfit, wearing purple lace detail black sheer blouse, black tulip mini skirt, over-the-knee-boots, in downtown Oakland

Daily outfit, wearing purple lace detail black sheer blouse, black tulip mini skirt, over-the-knee-boots, in downtown Oakland

Daily outfit, wearing purple lace detail black sheer blouse, black tulip mini skirt, over-the-knee-boots, in downtown Oakland

{ info: }

Show & Tell is owned by Alyah Baker and Nichole Payton and is located at 500 12th Street in the Oakland City Center Plaza. All clothes shown are from their store; jewelry, tights and shoes are my own. Check out their facebook page for updates. These fantastic photos were taken by Ron Essex in beautiful Downtown Oakland, California.

 
 

‘Tis the season to be green

08 Dec

{ shopping: }

Daily outfit wearing burgundy boyfriend sweater, navy pencil skirt, black booties

Things that are green: Christmas trees. Also, cash money. I’m a consumer, a machine that uses stuff up and then buys more. While my heart may lie somewhere more utopian I cannot lie about my habits. I consumed when I had very little money. Hello, consignment shops and second-hand stores. I consumed even more when I had more money to burn. Blouses from Paris whose cost I could only justify by wearing year-round for four years in a row. And then there’s that place in the middle where I landed comfortably with time, (still consuming.)

As an idealistic teen entering her twenties, I had a set of core beliefs that I firmly put into action. I recycled years before my city had a recycling program, I adhered firmly to a plant-based diet, I passed on my used goods and gave them a second life elsewhere. I shopped locally with a strong emphasis on shopping. Herein lies the weakest link. As much as I wanted to love the organic cotton t-shirt dress and socks whose story pulled on my heart strings, I admit the styles left me yearning for more.

Through time, I’ve had to re-examine some of those core beliefs out of necessity. While my heart liked being vegan, my body did not. Having celiac along with being soy and dairy intolerant left me with difficult decisions to make, I made them mindfully. I’m proud of the way I have managed most of my life choices but I’ve always felt I could do more. How does a woman manage her idealistic fantasies after years of brutal reality, challenges, and sometimes, a primal desire for things to just be easy?

When I started blogging a year ago I quickly realized that I am on public record for my compulsive consumption. I’ve gone cold turkey a few times by participating in Kendi’s 30 for 30 remix challenge. It proved to be easier than I thought but my interest in bringing new things home to adorn myself never waned. I did, however, start to think longer and harder about the choices I was making. To be clear, I have no interest in stopping. I like clothes and accessories. I like new things. What I want is to make decisions around what I’m already doing that feel stronger. I want to live harmoniously with my youthful ideals.

I’m going on record here to say that I will be making more of an effort to pay attention to those purchases, to be more mindful of who and what I’m supporting. My goal is to participate in a cycle that feels good rather than one-sided. I’m not here to preach, I’m more interested in sharing what I discover on this journey. I’m more interested in getting your suggestions and recommendations. Do not expect an overnight revolution, I make my changes at a comfortable pace because I like them to stick. I give a lot of credit to the bloggers out there who have inspired me by shopping second-hand, altering vintage pieces to fit and creating their own fashion such as Bella, Michelle and Anika.

If you follow The House in the Clouds on facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I’m plugging local and eco-chic options during this holiday shopping seasons. If you haven’t looked recently, check it out.

Feeling good on the inside makes you beautiful on the outside; this I believe with all my heart.

{ hat love: }

Daily outfit wearing navy blue and cream baby doll dress, black cloche hat, over-the-knee snake pattern boots

Daily outfit wearing blue bows dress, black Versace for H&M bolero, black Victor Osborne handcrafted hat

{ deets: }

1: Burgundy boyfriend cardigan/Urban Outfitters, vintage pins/gifted, infinity scarf/hand-knitted by me, black skinny belt/Nordstrom’s, navy pencil skirt/Show & Tell, black tights/unknown, black leather ankle boots/Munro.

2: Blue and cream babydoll dress/ModCloth, black boyfriend blazer/Urban Outfitters, nude floral fishnets/Nordstrom’s, black snake pattern over-the-knee boots/Kelsi Dagger, cloche hat/Goorin Bros. Heritage Collection.

3: Blue bows dress/ModCloth, black multi-colored bolero/Versace for H&M, swirl cap/Victor Osborne.

 
 

The unexpected

29 Nov

{ shopping: }

Daily outfit, Versace for H&M silk skirt, black blouse, black tights, black sandals

Let’s face it, this look is pretty hot. This would be my fall-back outfit if I couldn’t find a way to make this new skirt work. My new Versace for H&M skirt. There, I said it. I was one of those people who made the trek and tested her luck. Here’s how it all went down. My husband and I had taken a red-eye to New York; we were going to stay in the East Village and spend Thanksgiving week with one of our best friends and have dinner with his family. A few days earlier I was telling a friend of mine at work that I was excited about the upcoming release Friday, I thought I might check out the store before going to work. Here is where the first part of the adventure starts. I had the date wrong. The release was set for the Saturday of my early morning arrival.

Next thing I know, I’m contemplating whether I could have the cab detour on the way from the airport to the closest store to my friend’s place after landing. Anyone who’s taken a red-eye topped nicely with a sleeping pill knows that couldn’t possibly happen. I slept through the flight, as expected, remaining only moderately coherent for the next few hours while the successful attempt at managing my slumber wore off. I was in no condition to face a crowd, let alone handle any type of monetary transaction with precision. Or trying pants on. So I laid my head down and slept.

I woke up around 11:00am and decided that once properly fed and showered, I might investigate the idea. I had reneged on my previous commitment to actually go, I was now in a contemplative state while sipping hot coffee. It might sound like I took a few steps back on this whole thing but stay with me. Around 1:00pm, a quick internet search revealed that the nearest store in SoHo was indeed walking distance. I knew I was getting a late start, I’d heard about the lines; I also knew I had nothing to lose. What I knew most of all was that I was not going to subscribe to any kind of frenzy. I was willing to check it out but if it looked like a zoo, I would turn back and leave. Honestly, I assumed that I had missed my chance. Still, I walked down the five flights of stairs, made a left and headed out into the brisk November air.

I spotted H&M easily enough; I popped in and found nothing. A little disappointed that there wasn’t even a trace of a display, I quickly realized this store had probably not carried the line and that the store listing online had been erroneous. Nonetheless, I asked a dressing room attendant where the nearest store carrying Versace was only to be told it was right down the street. A block away, maybe two at most. I strolled over while the clocked ticked. A few minutes later, I walked down a flight of stairs to a line of people and started asking, “is this the…” to which an affirmative nod told me all I needed to know. So I got in line. It was that easy.

It was that easy! There were maybe twenty-five people ahead. It turned out they were letting people into the gated area as others left which kept things incredibly civilized. I had missed the rush, the time slots, everything. The woman in front of me and I chatted to pass the time. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Before I knew it, my turn was up. I picked through and found a few things I liked and made my way to the dressing room, elated and a little giddy.

Look, I’m just as surprised as you are how this whole thing went down. I had no expectations, if anything, I was madly curious. I wanted to see the clothes first-hand. Versace’s style isn’t even right for me, it’s completely over the top. But like any curious and adventurous fashion lover I had to see. Fast-forward to the present. It’s safe to assume I tried every possible suitable combination in my wardrobe to come up with a way to personalize the skirt. And so while the look at the top is hot and perfect for a night out, it’s also predictably safe. I want to wear this skirt to work; this is how I’m going to do it.

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit, Versace for H&M silk skirt, rust tights, green cashmere sweater, vintage necklace

Vintage Vendome crystal necklace

{ deets: }

Black top/Laundry by Shelli Segal, paradise skirt/Versace for H&M, black tights/unknown, sandals/Franco Sarto, green cashmere sweater/Bloomingdale’s, rust tights/WeLoveColors.com, brown studded booties/Dolce Vita via Poshmark, vintage crystal necklace/Hell’s Kitchen flea market.

{ promo: }

I have a confession to make. I’ve become completely addicted to Poshmark. It’s an iPhone app that allows you to take pictures of your clothes to sell and follow other sellers to buy their clothes and accessories. It’s a much classier solution to ebay, complete with fun photo filters and the approachability of apps like Instagram. Check it out and tell me what you think. You’re going to be seeing a lot more cute things that I bought via Poshmark in the near future. Check out their facebook page for more info. I was one of their early beta testers and am absolutely loving it.

 
 

Personal shopper

17 Oct

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit, wearing watercolor mauve, grey, black sheer blouse over skinny jeans

Daily outfit, Daily outfit, wearing watercolor mauve, grey, black sheer blouse, Alexis Bittar necklace

{ personal: }

On Monday, October 10 at 7:03pm I received a text from a friend. I was sitting at a hair salon with violet, magenta and mahogany in my hair while my husband was getting his hair cut. She wanted to know if I would wear a fully lined, chartreuse jacket with ruffles. TJMaxx had one in my size for $29.99 and she thought of me. Several texts followed announcing other miscellaneous items that were apparently perfect for me. Not quite knowing what I was in for I gave her the green light. I didn’t ask for pictures, I like surprises.

The next morning I arrived at a photo studio at the crack of dawn to be greeted by smiling faces and a bag very full with clothes. While the first shot was getting set up I modeled my new finds. Almost everything fit flatteringly. For perspective, I will add that she’s at least four or five inches taller than me, very lean with fair skin and blond hair. We could not look more different, yet she was incredibly successful with her choices. That’s quite a talent. As I wrote her a check I realized how special this was. Not only did she think of me, she acted without hesitation and had made peace in advance with handling any returns. She was surprised that I kept most of her finds, I was surprised at her thoughtfulness.

How often do we think of our friends? How often does a certain life magic occur that allows us to act on that thought? Perhaps a text or an email. Sometimes that thought results in a purchase, a card or a gift. Some of those thoughts graduate from words to action. I had been feeling a little down recently. A lot of work and some minor, yet chronic, health issues had been sapping my energy. I stated loud and clear to myself that feeling depleted had given the clarity to realize that at this time I must only put energy into relationships that give back.

Another friend of mine has made the forty-five minute drive to have lunch with me several times in the last year. She checks in with me regularly, it always takes me too long to get back to her. I’ve never gone to meet her in her neck of the woods. She’s a musician and composer yet I had never seen her play. Something has always come up. Maybe I have never made the effort. Last week I drove after work to see her perform for the first time. I had made an agreement with myself that I would not flake.

I drove by myself into the sunset, Mill Valley is west from where I live. The black silhouette of Mt. Tamalpais against the green-hued sunset was surrounded by the icy blue reflection of the San Francisco Bay. I drove over the Richmond bridge during my favorite time of day. The imprint of dusk filled me with peace, I arrived at my destination forty-five minutes later. At eight, she and her band-mates took the stage. She’s a small woman with a very calm energy, this was her band, these were songs. This was her moment.

The first thing I realized is that I had not been a particularly good friend to her. I had not been bad but I could not claim to have been good. I had dismissed the effort it had taken her to keep us connected regularly. The second thing I realized is that she is incredibly talented, her complex timing and melodic jazz compositions were enveloping me, body and soul. Fortunately, bad behavior, once recognized, can be amended. I left the performance lifted.

A couple years ago, ready to celebrate another friend’s birthday, I found myself presented with a gift instead. The birthday girl’s sister had sent her a t-shirt. She liked so much she bought me an identical one. Random, unexpected, unabashed love. Driving home from the performance that night I was warmed by the thoughts of love and friendship in my life. I have thoughtful friends everywhere, in and outside work, in my sisters, in my husband, in the blogosphere. When arrived home last Tuesday after the photo shoot, the first thing I did was try on my new clothes all over again. I enthusiastically assembled outfits, as I am fond of doing, deciding to wear a diaphanous mauve, grey and black patterned blouse over black skinny jeans the very next day.

The May before last, I salvaged a bright pink t-shirt with black kitties all over it from a bag on its way to the nearest Goodwill. One of my friends had talked me into running Bay to Breakers with her in the sunny spin of a margarita-filled afternoon the day before. After crossing the finish line, we walked back to her car, sweaty, filled with adrenaline and a sense of completion. She offered me a t-shirt as the coastal winds picked up, I grabbed the one that had been a favorite of hers a few years back and I gave it a new home.

I wear it with my raspberry pink pajama bottoms when I’m drinking coffee in the mornings. Not a single wear goes by that I don’t think of her. Friendships are fluid, constantly shifting and evolving. Sometimes they happen while we’re not paying attention, such as with my lunchtime friend, others delight and surprise when we least expect it. The common thread that connects and strengthens friendships, that creates relationships that give back, is a thoughtfulness that extends beyond expectations, such as when a friend randomly decides to act as your personal shopper. It would seem that I need not look further than my own closet for a little love.

{ hair: }

Daily outfit, violet and magenta haircolor

It was time to touch up the roots so I did what any respectable adventurous, color-loving girl would do. I had my friend and stylist, Nicole,  add violet and magenta. And as my father-in-law, unknowingly quoting Ministry, said, “every day is Halloween.”

{ deets: }

Watercolor pattern blouse/TJMaxx, black skinny jeans/Urban Outfitters, black camisole/unknown, cocktail ring/Ariella, watch/DKNY gifted, Alexis Bittar necklace/gifted, black sandals/Dansko.

 
 

Missoni and me.

27 Sep

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing Missoni for Target blouse, black skinny jeans

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing Missoni for Target blouse, black skinny jeans

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing Missoni for Target blouse, black skinny jeans, Jillery ring

A couple of weeks ago I walked down the sunny plaza where I work to pick up the September issue of Vogue. Sitting quietly with my lunch in Oakland’s historic Rotunda building, I methodically flipped through, dog-earring pages of interest with predictability. The launch of Missoni for Target caught my eye, I made a mental note to drive over the following week at lunch.

On September 14 I had lunch with a friend whose baby girl was stylishly sporting a violet knit dress with the trademark zig-zag in citron yellow and green. Over soup I heard a first-hand account of items maddeningly becoming out of stock in her shopping cart while online two days earlier. A visit to the store provided further proof of the mayhem in process. In my naïveté I had believed I could casually swing by Target in the following week or two and decide in person which knit dress I would buy for myself.

Against my desire to succumb to the frenzy I still found myself online a few hours later scanning every item until I could find something not yet out of stock. I found two blouses in my size. I did not hesitate. I bought both of them with the precision maneuver of a professional online shopper. I would decide later if I liked them. Now was not the time to waffle and question whether I needed either, both or whether they even matched anything else I owned. I had gotten caught up in the moment I had been trying to avoid. Why?

I later found myself reflecting on what had happened. I will most likely never be able to afford a full-priced Missoni dress. I’ve walked by them in Nordstrom’s, I’ve touched the knit, the combination of silky and nubby calls to me. The patterns and colors remind me of my childhood, my mother crocheted and knitted her fair share of little dresses and sweaters for us girls in the 70′s. I love color, I love good and unexpected color combinations, I’ve coveted Missoni dresses for years. I could save up for one, sure, but I’m better off paying a bill or taking a vacation.

Target gave me and others like me the opportunity to have a little something special. The playing field, however competitive, was leveled briefly. This doesn’t cheapen the brand, it allows the rest of us to touch the untouchable. My new blouses are polyester, not silk. The hem is unfinished as a reminder that I may own a little part of a dream but I don’t have the real thing. That’s fine by me, I’m not out to fool anyone.

The decision for a designer label to choose to be more accessible is in part economic. But the idealistic dreamer in me also hopes that there is a nobler goal; that letting the rest of us get a taste of something usually reserved for the elite not only brings us pleasure, it is also sharing its art and vision with us. My economic status doesn’t drive how and what I am able to appreciate, it only affects what I can call my own. Hype or not, the blouses are beautiful. I’m keeping them both.

{ style tip: }

Missoni has always been a pioneer of bold color combinations. Deep rust, pale chick yellow, aqua blue, soft peach, sandy beige. Reflex blue, grey, ivory, bright minty green, soft purple, brown, cream. It’s absolute madness! While most of us are inclined to leave these color combinations to the experts, here’s a hint why they work: The values and hues compliment each other.

I encourage everyone to play with color, my trick is that I assess whether certain shades look good together in daylight, in advance of getting dressed. Indoor lighting can be misleading but indirect daylight provides the perfect lighting environment to determine how well colors work together.

{ deets: }

Multicolored blouse/Missoni for Target, black skinny jeans/Urban Outfitters, black studded belt/unknown, black sandals/Dansko, spike ring/Jillery.

 
15 Comments

Posted in Fashion

 

Taking lessons

22 Sep

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfits and style tips, mixing patterns wearing red skirt, red striped top

{ personal: }

I’m certain that my husband has an advanced degree in relaxing. Chillin’. Chillaxin’. Call it what you will, he’s got it down and I could learn a thing or two from him. When I lived in the Upper Haight in San Francisco I had a routine. I worked from home and would leave the house every afternoon to walk to the store and buy a cookie. I really did this for years. What can I say, I like a routine. Three blocks each way, one cookie and fresh produce for dinner. I would cross the panhandle, slowly, taking it all in; the dogs, the cyclists, friendly faces and neighbors.

I also started my day with a soy latté just around the corner, journaling and daydreaming. I spent an hour in the quiet hush of early morning orders by myself documenting every thought and emotion, turning stream of consciousness into poetry, day after day. My neighborhood cafe played great music, I rediscovered my love for electronic music. I once told a group of somewhat younger women about my morning routine. “You must really love yourself,” one said. Actually, yes.

Fast forward ten years. I no longer work from home. I have very little control over the kind of demands making their way across my day; I have some control over how I deal with the stress. Running, sometimes a drink after work, sometimes not. The most draining days require prescription strength television watching. We don’t even have cable. My husband and I met at work and carpool together, sharing one car. The routine is gone. It’s been replaced with coordinating schedules, grocery shopping, laundry days. Oh, and blogging.

I was washing the first batch of dusty Burning Man bins on Sunday when said husband exclaimed that he was going to chill for a while, complete with beer in hand. Envious, perhaps, I asked if he hadn’t just been relaxing. (This conversation can now go two ways.) Yes! He was going to relax again he proudly announced. He asked me to join him. Uncharacteristically, I put down what I was doing and grabbed my own beer. We sat and appreciated the million dollar view we’ve been blessed with and listened to hummingbirds whir.

View of San Francisco Bay from Oakland hills

LIke I said, I could learn a thing or two. The impressive stack of laundry that needs to be put away sitting in the back room is not going anywhere. Does it matter if I deprive myself of relaxing with my best friend only to put it away three days earlier? Of course it doesn’t. What matters is this: Carpe Diem. When I’m relaxed I photograph better. I write better. I dress myself better. I’m more creative. I’m nicer to myself and everyone around me. I would bet money that I will age less quickly if I subscribe to my husband’s plan. He’s not lazy. He gets things done. I try to get even more done and then beat myself up for not having done enough. I must be taking funny pills because that kind of math does not add up, does it?

Daily outfits and style tips, mixing patterns wearing red skirt, red striped top

What you see above is proof, actual photographic proof, that I came home tonight, popped open a hard cider and enjoyed our warm summer evening. After a day of such intense pattern mixing who wouldn’t need to unwind?

{ style tip: }

Ah, mixing patterns. The old taboo. This one is not always easy to pull off. It’s easier when there are elements in common. In this case, the color red and the graphic nature of the clovers versus the stripes worked. One didn’t overpower the other which kept the outfit balanced, this is key. There are many tips out there on how to do this well. The Chic Fashionista has some good advice.

Don’t be afraid to give it a shot, it takes guts to step outside our comfort zones. There will be misses but there are sure to be hits, too.

{ deets: }

Red clover skirt/Urban Outfitters, striped shirt/Michael Kors, daisy ring/Hatch, red leather cuff watch/Nixon, red jacket/Precious Boutique, black sandals/Dansko

{ giveaway: } 

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway. I’ve got a lightweight scarf straight from Paris just begging to go home with you. Male or female, it matters not. This scarf is genderless and will flatter everyone. Check out The House in the Clouds on facebook to enter.

 
 

Back from the burn

12 Sep

{ personal: }

That’s right, I’m back from Burning Man. While it’s unlike any other life experience and it provides an insurmountable of fun, let no one tell you it’s easy. There’s a ton of prepping involved and just as much effort into settling back in. I must have done at least eight loads of laundry in the last three days. Seven days, two people, two sets of clothes, one for the heat and one for the cold. The back yard is host to two dusty bikes and the remaining five bins that need to be emptied upon which all contents will then be thoroughly washed.

But was it fun? Was it worth it? I’ll let the pictures do the talking. In the meantime, I’m starting to test out the Fall colors.

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tips, wearing black blazer, pumpkin tights, black flower dress

Daily outfit and style tips, wearing pumpkin tights, black flower dress

I love that the days are still long enough to catch the golden light when I get home from work. I did some gardening this past Sunday for sanity’s sake. I’m standing in front of what used to be a tiny little flower garden less than a year ago. Watch those cannas grow!

Daily outfit and style tip, wearing branch and skull earrings from farfetch.com

I couldn’t resist wearing these earrings from farfetch.com. I love the play on nature between the branch and the tiny skull. I can’t resist a little edge amongst the flowers.

{ burning man: }

Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011

This is just a visual sampling of the landscape and scene. Want to see more? Say the word and I’ll share my flickr album.

{ deets: }

Black flower pattern dress/H&M, pumpkin tights/WeLoveColors.com, black ballet flats/Ecco, dragonfly steampunk necklace/gifted, branch and skull earrings/courtesy of farfetch.com, teal wood cuff/Costa Brava, silver three kitties ring/gifted.