Friday, January 31, 2014






 I'm off celebrating with friends

See you next week!

Heading to a celebration of your own? Have short hair? 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arm Party

Arm Party

There are some trends that I just skip over. In my twenties, I was more likely to fall for every look, believing many of them were new! Now, I giggle to myself thinking of my mom saying "nothing in fashion is ever new" when I was growing up as I see overalls, tie die, crop tops, and even Doc Martins in style again. I will be passing them by this round. 

But, sometimes a style catches my eye and sticks with me, time and again. Over the past few years, a cringe-worthy phrase has been used for piling a bunch of bracelets on your wrist: the arm party. If we didn't have to call it this, I would feel much happier. What about...lots of bracelets? bracelet layering? Can't we just call it stacking bracelets like when Madonna did it back in the '80s? 

Regardless, I went with it the second third time around. The first time, my sisters and I wore black jelly bracelets that my mom's cool friend Johnny wore and we coveted. I think we got some from those plastic eggs you paid a quarter for at the Ames. In Vermont, everything is "the" something because there's usually only one. The second time, in college, I wore neon jellies on both wrists, for some reason, likely purchased on South Street. It must have been a thing. 

And although it's less trendy than awhile ago, I still find myself doing it, just a bit differently. At the very bottom, you'll see how I...stacked my bracelets...last summer. In the middle, a thinner, more unified look in the fall, and just below, how I'm currently using the cuffs of my jacket (the inside is green) along with a bi-colored sweater and my Target men's watch to create a similar layered effect without having so many individual pieces on.  I also found that the clanking on my computer at work drove me nuts so this softer approach works better. 

What I love about this is how it feels, actually. I feel very powerful, kind of Sheerah-esque, when I wear a lot of bracelets on one arm. And for me, that won't change regardless of the trends so I'll probably continue to play around with this look for awhile. I just hope next time it has a less annoying name than "arm party." There! I said it.

What's Black and White

What's Black and White and Neutral All Over?




The striped "top" here is actually a dress tucked into a skirt-genius.

My take lately? Layers.

Black and white are good, long-time, call-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night, sleepovers and clothes-sharing type friends. They're in it for the long haul. But that doesn't mean they can make other friends, like brown. Yup, I said it. I didn't think I had to, actually; I thought we all knew that black and white could be friends with brown, but I've had a few clients comment lately that they didn't think you "could" wear black and white with brown.

I'm here to encourage you: do it. It's a natural fit, a way to spruce up the same old same old, and you'll never look back. So grab something black from your dresser and pair it with something white, then look around for a brown piece: boots, belt, leopard, scarf, wood bracelets? And you're done.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Shoe Find

A Shoe Find

I did something that I have never done before. I clicked on an ad on Facebook. I never have before because when I go on Facebook, I would like to be free of advertising, or at least ads mixed in with my news feed as though they are my friends. Something about it rubs me the wrong way. But this ad was too good, and am I ever glad I clicked on it!

Right? Has everyone heard of Sole Society except me? Please tell me if their quality is awful or their free shipping is a lie because they do seem too-good-to-be-true!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup

I realized on Saturday that I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to post here every day. I'm going to stop doing that. I'd also like to take more time to share some of the things that inspire me or make me think from around the internet. Here are a few from last week!

10 Tips for Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping (also great tips for tall or petite women here, too!)


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Allison from The Golden Sycamore

Allison from The Golden Sycamore

I recently had a virtual personal styling session with Allison from The Golden Sycamore. I reached out to her after falling in love with her blog-her home! her color choices for painted furniture! her projects!-last fall. She's a busy mom (that's redundant!), and I had the sense that she might enjoy a style pick-me-up and some girl time spent "together." 

Here's some of what she had to say about our time together and a few sneak peek pictures from her blog! 

A few months ago, Marian (aka Miss Mustard Seed) shared her styling date with Ella from Start Close In.  When I read her post, I felt that tugging.  I felt like I needed to do this for myself, too.  I haven’t felt stylish since before I had kids and I just needed a little help.
But Ella lives on the east coast, how would she be able to help me from all the way over there?
Well maybe I could look for someone local who could help me out?
But, really, when am I going to make the time for that when I can barely get myself to make hair appointments!

And then one day, out of the blue, Ella emailed me!  She said she’d found my blog last fall and wanted to know if I’d like to set up a virtual styling appointment!  I was thrilled to say the least!  This could work with the help of technology! 
Read the rest here

Friday, January 24, 2014

Oh, Boden!

Oh, Boden! 

That's what I say to every single page of the Boden USA catalog, every season. "Oh, Boden! You did it again! Oh, Boden! Look at you! Look at that!" My dogs must think they tuck treats in between the pages; I'm that excited. Here are a few of my favorites, understanding that choosing favorites is like choosing among favorite coconut milk ice cream: it's nearly impossible. I love their patterns, their quality, their fit, and I love that they offer sizes 2P-18L on almost all items. No, they're not a sponsor of this blog, by the way.


This time of year, think about what you want to wear now-and what will carry you into the spring and early summer. It's pretty unrealistic in places where it gets cold, like here, to think you can buy something now and wear it through the summer when it comes to pants. However, Boden comes close.

Pants Galore!

The thing to keep in mind about Boden is that they sometimes highlight the craziest version of what they're selling. For example, the image that comes up on their website and in print is this one:

Very fun, but not likely something most of us want to wear. However, if you ignore the print and click through to the different patterns based on liking the potential shape of the pants (although they don't do a great job here of showing that off, either), you'll see much more appealing patterns do exist!

Much better, right? I can imagine these paired with a simple black shirt and a blazer over it or a red shirt under a stripe, while the striped pants above just made me wonder how those stripes would, ahem, highlight my rear end. What about this blazer, on sale, with a striped t-shirt under it?

Sizes available vary by color
Or this beauty, also on sale?

Ditto on the sizes varying

As far as basics, those are covered, too, and tend to be less expensive than some of the statement pieces that Boden is known for.

7/8 chino
These chinos are gorgeous. They come in sizes 2-18L. They come in a variety of colors that make me think spring could be just around the corner, but I could also see immediately putting them into my winter rotation with low boots and my emerald green Loft sweater or t-shirt and moto jacket. For the spring, I imagine myself skipping through fields of daisies wearing these, a simple t-shirt, and a pair of soft sneakers, ideally made by Toms but more comfortable....sorry, I got a little off track! These would be good to buy now.

Dresses to Wear For Months Ahead

On the other hand, you might wait to see if you can get this Ella dress (love the name!) on sale. Although Boden stuff is good quality that lasts, I understand that it might be too pricey.

Ella dress, Sizes 2P-18L
However, this is also a dress that is long enough that you could wear it to work, you could wear it with tights this time of year (what about a gray instead of black?), and you could layer it up with a cardigan or blazer. The waistline is exactly right, and the print is a classic that won't be too trendy anytime soon. You would wear it during the summer without a doubt, especially since it's a dress that you can actually wear a regular bra with! Considering the cost-per-wear, it might be a good purchase.

Similarly, at first glance a long-sleeved dress like this one wouldn't be a good buy at this time of year, since you'd likely only wear it for a few months before retiring it for the summer. However, if you work in a freezing cold office, you might consider buying it knowing that you'll wear it all summer long, especially in that bright color! I'd love this dress with a dark navy belt this time of year.

But boy, oh boy, the sale section has some great dresses, too! Some I've loved for months, like this one that allows for a bigger bust and bra straps while also feeling modern and fresh, or this incredible one with the cut outs, or this one that I want my friend Erika to own so much, or this one that looks so boring in the black the model is wearing but really cute in the patterns, or any of these maternity dresses if you're expecting or want to send a friend a sweet gift during her pregnancy,

Bags for Days

I've never purchased a bag from Boden simply because their clothing is so good that my cart is usually overfull by the time I either abandon it all together or check myself out before I spend more than I budgeted for. However, their accessories are great, and I assume the quality is similar to that of the clothing, which is to say excellent. Maybe starting in the clearance section would help ease the burden? Here's a favorite.

$35.20 from $88
Also, I have these boots but in a wedge, and I got oil on them while cooking that won't come out despite all of the Martha Stewart and Real Simple tricks I try. I still kick myself for it-and I still wear them. I would marry them if I could, they're that comfortable and cute.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Orchid and Black

Orchid and Black

A bit ago, I talked about orchid, Pantone's 2014 color of the year. This weekend, many of the guests at the baby shower I co-hosted were wearing this color, including a friend's adorable baby! I love how versatile this color is, and I also love it with my favorite color: black. I don't typically wear pinks, especially light pinks, but this version of a pink is so rich that I think even those of us who are truly devoted to black could warm up to this color.

My nails this year for the trip we took to Manayunk to celebrate my Halloween birthday!

An orchid door in Manayunk.

I stepped inside this fashion truck and bought, you guessed it, a black sweater.

I love orchid as a top with black pants, in a blazer with all winter white underneath it, and even in a sweater or scarf with your favorite pair of jeans. Why not give it a try? I might...I really might! I'm not typically a pink wearer, but this deeper hue could be my way in. Now that I think of it, the only pink thing I own is a bright pink pair of pants! I'm wearing them in the photo of me on the righthand side of my blog! I'm in, guys, I'm in.

If you want more inspiration, check out my Orchid-themed Pinterest board here for more inspiration on deep pink and its sister colors.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Secondhand Shopping with My Mom

Secondhand Shopping with My Mom

My mom is many things, and one of them is an avid secondhand shopper. She's also an incredibly talented seamstress who can make even the most worn, sad items into exactly the things you want to wear. Oh, and she's silly! I love that.

A few months ago, she came to visit me, and we went to a secondhand store near my house. I had never been there before, but of course my mom sniffed it out as having great items-and prices! Here are some of the things I tried on and lessons I've learned over the years from her.  You might know some of them already, or you might still be learning, like I am!

Try on anything you might possibly like.  

The worst that can happen is that you feel frustrated and leave empty handed. The best that can happen is that you go home with new clothes at a low price! If there's something that catches your eye, bring it into the changing room with you and give it a try!

Try on all sizes that look relatively close to yours. 

In stores that sell new clothing, I typically recommend that you go into the fitting room with clothes that are your size, plus one size up and down, especially if it's a store you don't typically shop at or if you are unsure of your size. For secondhand shopping, that rule goes out the window. Eyeball it and bring it in if it's at all close. As you likely know, sizes have changed a lot, and you might end up with a size that is a lot bigger than your current size! I typically try on anything from a 4 to a 10 or even a 12P while secondhand shopping. See the tags above? S, M, and L.

Use the trick of measuring the waistband around your neck to see if pants or skirts will come close to fitting you. Quality material is worth having altered (or altering yourself) if the size is close-but-not-quite-right. 

Try secondhand pieces on with clothing you already own and like-or find something that works.

When I plan ahead, I like to wear something simple that fits me well to go secondhand shopping so that I can try on everything else with it. If you end up there with a bright patterned shirt or a dress or something less than ideal, grab a simple top and try that on with everything else.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guest Post: The Girl with the Curl

Guest Post: The Girl with the Curl

I'm so thrilled on this snowy evening to bring you a guest post from the one and only Love Always Hannah. And if you visit her site, you'll see a sneak peek of the Valentine's Day shoot that we did together this weekend with some incredibly creative women from around DC. Here's Hannah (who I've proud to call my own close girlfriend for about ten years now)! UPDATE: Enter Hannah's giveaway to win the curlers that created this gorgeous look! And read my true feelings about my hair in the comment section.

girl talk

Having girlfriends is the best.thing.ever.  Someone with whom you can swap stories, giggle and share life’s wonderful moments. There’s so much wisdom that I have gained from the amazing women in my life; whether about the best product to get rid of dreaded frizz or advice on how to live my life with passion.  My life is better because of the girlfriends in it.  That’s why I started “Girl Talk“.

This is my beautiful friend, Ashlynn.  You probably know her from here, here and here (ok so maybe she’s something of a celebrity around here).

View More:

She has amazing hair.  I mean, clearly.  I asked her to share how she gets her drool-worthy curls on today’s “Girl Talk”.  Take it away Ashlynn! Read the rest here.

Meet Jillian!

Meet Jillian!

I know a lot of you will identify with Jillian. She called me to her home because she has a closet full of great clothes, but many of them didn't fit her. She's recently met her goal of losing a significant amount of weight, and she found herself wearing the same things, the same way. We spent about half of our time together figuring out what was too big and needed to be donated and what should be altered and the other half putting together outfits that reflected her polished, professional, beautiful look.

Fake Your Suits

Jillian likes to feel "put together," and she works in an environment that allows her to show off her personality, but she also needs to look polished. I loved the way she looked in what I think of as a faux suit: a black blazer (in this case it's velvet, but you can't see that very well in my not-great iPhone photos) with a black bottom and a pattern breaking the two up instead of wearing a traditional suit, which can feel more stuffy.

It's not as formal as a suit, but the eye reads it as cohesive and put together. I also played around with a black sweater on top and jewel tone on the bottom.

Do Jewel on Jewel

She has a lot of beautiful, rich, jewel tones, and I loved the look of them together! Once I got going with the jewel tone on jewel tone, I found several other ways to do the same, just with different combinations. It's easy for her to put on a pair of pants or a skirt with either of these combinations, and she can just as easily swap in jeans for a more casual feel on the weekend or in the evening.

In my own home, I also find it easiest to put together outfits on the bed first. It lets me play with colors and shapes before getting them on my body. I'm more creative about color and texture when I'm not thinking about how I look in something.

Go with Monochrome

Here, I had Jillian put on several blue tones together. She was nervous to try on blues that didn't "match" exactly, but I think the result is beautiful, don't you? I took her snapping a picture of herself in one to remember later as a good sign!

Here, looking down at the adorable dog, I piled on the pink, playing around with texture and pattern. You can spot the growing pile of "to-be-altered" items hanging on the door behind her!

Here's how it ended up! We chose items that were well-made and worth altering.

I could tell she was enjoying it when she ran off and came back with a favorite necklace to add to this pink outfit!

 Play with Details

Speaking of necklaces, we had a lot of fun with details like this gorgeous necklace against the pattern of the shirt. I love this outfit!

 Break Up Those Suits

Above, I suggested creating a "faux suit" from a blazer and pants. On the other hand, you can also break up a suit for a modern, polished look. From years of wearing them, Jillian has lots of suits. But, in her current position she doesn't need to wear them as suits. Since they fit her well, we had her break them up and wear them as blazers over black pants, skinny jeans (with a sweater underneath!), and even dresses.

Know Your Limits

There were a few outfits I tried that were just not working. This one looked good on the bed, but the proportions were clearly off. Instead, Jillian could wear the top with jeans or other long pants. But, I loved that she was willing to play!

 Similarly, after so much color, I thought this all-black outfit could be a fun change!

But, once she had it on, the boots felt far too stiff for her, and we nixed it! We had a good laugh, though!

Thanks, Jillian, for being so open to trying new things! I'd love to see which of your new outfits you're wearing most!

 Here's how I left Jillian's closet: full outfits hanging together on the left, individual pieces on the right.