Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: All Dressed Up

Okay, okay.  I’m going to be the first to admit how hypocritical this post may seem after yesterday’s post.  But I will remind you that I’m not against the idea of dressing up altogether.  Even though I have just really started to take a fascination with fashion in only the last few years doesn’t mean that I like to present myself poorly.  And I do like dressing up when the occasion calls for it.

That being said, I maintain that my idea of dressing up is different from others’ idea of dressing up.  I’ve never been the type to wear revealing clothes, and I think that is evident through all my dresses.

Also, I may need to reintroduce all of you to my clothing inventory project, which, by taking a quick glance at my blog posts, I haven’t updated since June.  Whoops.  I guess the new year’s as good of a time as any to continue.  Besides, I’ll actually get to use my checkmarks again, and that’s almost always a good thing in my book!

blavatar 2Clothing Inventory to Complete (own all things on list and take pics of them):  Dresses

__2 weekend dresses (for summer)
*Own 0, need 2.  Like, badly.  I really want some fun summer dresses!
blavatar 21 weekend dress (for winter)
FF5
Gray sweater dress:  Robbie Bee (gifted).

Who doesn’t love a good sweater dress?  So this may look boring, but this is just one of the ways I styled it, and I love the way it looks and that the dress is so versatile:

FF6

blavatar 2 1 evening dress (for summer)

FF7
Black dress with purple flowers: connected apparel (thrifted 2010).

blavatar 21 evening dress (for winter)
FF11

Black dress with handkerchief hem and taupe flowers:  S.L. fashions (bought at JCPenney 2009)

__1 daytime party dress (for summer)
*Own 0, need 1.

Extras (dresses that I own that are in addition to those on the “you’re covered if…” list):
Okay, fashion readers.  Here’s where I need your help.  Seriously, I didn’t really think I had a lot of dresses.  And I still don’t think I do, compared to others.  In the Lucky manual, it actually lists 4 additional dresses to what I’ve listed here (2 work dresses for summer & 2 work dresses for winter), but I’m not much for wearing a dress to work.  I feel a little uncomfortable in a dress at work; I’m more of a slacks and shirt kinda gal.  I wear skirts to work on occasion, but even that’s pushing my boundaries.  But I do like having dresses in my arsenal.  Problem is, these extra dresses don’t fit into any category listed in my clothing inventory list.  I don’t really know where to wear them; I’ve worn them as being a party hostess, to family dinners, and I think to my birthday party, but they don’t really fit in neatly anywhere because they’re all sort of fall-like–neither winter nor summer.  If you disagree with me, feel free to let me know.  But here they are:

FF1 FF2

Strappy star-print dress (with POCKETS!!!):  Torrid.
I’m in absolute love with this dress and wear it every day if I could.  I’ve already worn it three different times to three completely different things:  an outing to a movie with friends (casual), our Halloween Housewarming Party (pictured above.  I was the night sky.), and a semi-formal date with the husband.  Once in the summer, once in the fall, and once in the winter.  So I’m not quite sure where to place the dress and whether or not it’s daytime or evening or party or weekend.  It’s quite versatile!

  FF3aFF3 FF4

Leopard-print dress:  MNG by Mango (gifted, but I’m pretty sure it’s from Macy’s, 2012).  Shirt & belt:  Too lazy to look up.  Robot ring:  Charming Charlie (bought 2012).  Turquoise necklace:  ??? (thrifted).
I may or may not have mentioned it before, but it’s my mother that introduces “scandalous/risque” items into my wardrobe.  I’m the prim and proper one, and she’s the one who wants me to sex it up a bit.  The irony is definitely not lost on me.  Anyhow, she had a mischievous little giggle when she handed me this leopard-print number.  I didn’t think I was sassy enough to wear it, but it was a few weeks before my 30th birthday party that I was gifted it, so I thought it would make the perfect “Dirty 30” ensemble.  Because a leopard-print dress is about as dirty as I’m daring to dress.  😉  I know, I know, I’m a coward.  Anyhow, I ran across a website (can’t recall what it is now) that gave tips on how to style leopard print so that it worked more as a neutral than as a wild print.  It suggested pairing it with red, much as you would pair red with anything brown or black and white.  I had fun with this outfit, but haven’t had the courage to wear it out yet.  What do you guys think?  I also want to be able to wear this dress more often, but am still too shy to.  Hopefully I’ll get over it soon.  Again, though, it’s more of a fall item and I can’t figure out which category it fits in.

FF8 FF9

Black dress:  J.B.S. Ltd. (thrifted 2010).
Ah, the trusty LBD that you can take into any season and any occasion.  Just doesn’t fit neatly anywhere, and that’s okay by me.

FF10

Black dress with brown spangles:  R&K Originals (bought 2007??? from JCPenney???).
This dress makes frequent appearances because I think it’s a really neutral dress and I reach for it when I want to throw on something semi-fancy and don’t know what to wear.  It’s been featured at many a Thanksgiving dinner and, most memorably, my own bachelorette party.  I wouldn’t wear it in the summer, but it doesn’t seem like a weekend or party dress, either.  I don’t know.

FF12

Dress with blousy top and black skirt:  connected (gifted 2012).
If I wore work dresses, I think this would be my ultimate work dress.  The only problem is I think the top is too provocatively cut.  I do like the way it looks at me, but can’t for the life of me think of a place to wear it.

FF13 FF14

Black/gray/green plaid dress (pattern shown in second picture):  ??? (gifted 2011).
Again, if I wore work dresses, this would be top contender.  But I can’t think of where to wear it right now.  I feel (shocker!) that this is actually much too conservative to be worn anywhere else.

  FF15aFF15

Brown ruched front dress:  elementz (bought at Ross??? in 2007???).
Again, like the brown spangled dress, this is a catch-all dress.  The second picture is of me at my 28th birthday party, but I’ve also worn this to a lot of Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners.  I don’t quite know what to do with it otherwise.

Dress I ended up donating:
FF16
Brown and white polka dot dress:  American Living (bought at JCPenney 2009).
I was in denial about this dress.  It was a really really cute dress with a retro vibe to it, and for a few years I fooled myself into thinking it looked good on me.  But during my major wardrobe rehaul of 2011, I realized the bust line didn’t hit me in the right place, and the sleeves fit awkwardly on me.  It served me good while it did, but alas, I had to let it go.

What I’ve learned:
*I have entirely way too much black and brown in my dress collection and not nearly enough color!  Shocking for me, as the rest of my wardrobe is filled with bright colors that make me happy.  That needs to change.  Also, I’m due for a good sundress sometime.  The other thing is that I believe little black dresses are overrated.  I would actually love to see a shift to a little (navy) blue dress.  It’s such a flattering color on everyone, and the blue lends itself to be mixed and matched with a variety of great pop colors such as yellow, pink, turquoise, burgundy, or gray.  Those colors with black, while they match, just don’t seem as fun.

Dresses I haven’t worn yet:
Leopard print dress (not in public, anyway);  blousy-topped, black-skirted dress; and black/gray/green “work” dress.  I really want to work up the nerve to wear the leopard print one, and I think I do want to try to wear the black/gray/green work one, but the blousy-topped one, I think I may have to donate.  I just can’t see myself wearing it anywhere, much as I love the way it looks on me.

Final dresses shopping list:
__2 weekend dresses (for summer)
__1 daytime party dress (for summer)

These are the kind I’d want to buy that would fit the bill for the above (I didn’t end up buying the first one because it rode up way too much in the back, and didn’t do the second one because both of the people I tried it on in front of agreed that it didn’t look good on my body type):

FF17
Blue floral-printed dress with yellow belt:  Jason Wu for Target.  (On a side, vain note:  my hair looks AWESOME in this picture.  I wish it would look like that more often!)
FF18

Multicolored feather print dress with orange belt:  American Living???, JCPenney 2012.

If you’re still reading by now, I’d like to send you a big thank you and hug for letting me indulge in this clothing inventory.  I owe you a big, shiny gold star (and if I know you personally, possibly a coffee or beer or glass of wine)  🙂  .  It feels really good to finally be doing this again, because this is huge on my to-do list and it’ll be a great accomplishment for me when I finally get it all done.  I’ve been wanting to organize and catalog my wardrobe for years.

And finally, if you wish, here are the usual questions to answer:

1)  What is your favorite dress out of the above?  Your least favorite?  (As in, do you have any “what was she thinking?!?” impressions of any of the above?)

2) Aside from what is noted above that I need to add to a shopping list, is there anything glaringly missing from my collection?  Is there anything you would suggest to round out/compliment what I already have?

3) After seeing the pictures, do you think I’ve miscategorized anything?

4)  Do you have dresses that are strictly for the fall or spring?  And if so, how do they differ from winter or summer dresses?  Or do you think every dress you own should be able to span all four seasons?

5) Do you think any of these dresses are out of place in my wardrobe (i.e., does one or more dress(es)) not fit the fashion profile/personality of the others)?

Hoping You’re Making Good Progress on Getting a Big Item Crossed Off Your To-Do List Too!  🙂
Violet

Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Color Me Happy and the Definition of Fun

Crafting Projects I Want to Do:
48) Ombre Nails

&
38) Dictionary Shoes

Together, you get this!  🙂

Hi Readers!
As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been off the radar for a little while.  For two weeks, to be exact.  It’s been a stressful and busy time for me, but I’m hoping to start posting on a more regular basis now.
A couple of days ago, after a long string of exhausting days, I decided nothing would cheer me up more than seeing some bright, pretty colors.  I love colors with an almost-obsessive passion.  I’ve probably mentioned it before, but getting me Crayola crayons can pretty much guarantee a huge grin from me.  So naturally I looked to painting my nails so that smiles could literally come from the palm of my hand (okay, fine, the nails of my hand).  Originally I wanted to paint them a nice, bright, sunshiny yellow, but then on a particularly eventful Pinterest session I ran across this link and knew right then and there that I HAD to replicate it.
I actually couldn’t find the yellow I was originally looking for (Sinful Colors “Unicorn”, if you must know.  Being that I’m obsessed with unicorns, I thought colors plus unicorn was just the epitome of cheering up-dom.  Alas, it didn’t happen.), so I opted for turquoise since I had also been itching for a bluish color, and I’m so glad I did!  (Next on my list is a rich royal blue color.)  I already had some greens, so I decided to combine those three:

Sinful Colors Professional nail polish colors from left to right:
#944 “Innocent”, #946 “Happy Ending” (save comments from peanut gallery, please), #801 “Love Nails”.

You’ll also need a triangle makeup sponge, a small bowl of water, nail polish remover, and a paintbrush or cotton swab (or you can just stick tape around the nails if you don’t want to have to deal with the nail polish remover).

I don’t actually have any pictures of the process, but I just followed the instructions on the link.

Some pointers from me:
At first when I tried this, I was disappointed that it wasn’t working because the colors weren’t transferring to my nails.  In fact, it seemed the harder I dabbed the sponge on my nails, the more the color started coming off rather than going on.  Don’t despair!  Here’s how I finally got it to work:

1) Don’t let the color soak into the sponge.  The blog author was correct when she said you have to work fast.  If you can’t see a thick line of polish sitting ABOVE the sponge, then it has soaked in too much already.  You may have to put three or four coats on just to make sure.
2) Don’t dab too hard at first.  Dab lightly and quickly (I was able to hit all five of my nails on my hand without having to reload).  That will give the second coating round something to stick to.  Then dab lightly but repetitively (I had to dab each nail about five/six times).  As mentioned in the link, don’t worry about dabbing it in the exact same spot every time.  In fact, the more you dab it in slightly different spots, the more blended the effect is.  Trust me on this one.  🙂

Have fun, and if you try it, I would love to see pictures!  😀

Here are more pictures of how mine turned out:

Rings:  My own engagement ring and wedding band.  Beaded necklace:  Handmade gift from a friend.

I’m happy to report that my nails have done a wonderful job of cheering me up these last few days.  I catch myself looking down at them when I need a little pick me up.  In fact, I may or may not have spent 20 whole minutes yesterday just staring at them in wonderment and glee immediately upon waking up.  😉
*~*~*
As for the dictionary shoes, if you know me well, you know me I love me some good words!  I’ve been wanting to post pictures of these for awhile, but aforementioned stressful and busy days left me no time to actually finish them.  Full disclosure?  I’m actually still not finished with them, but I am oh so close.  I’ll probably finish them tomorrow and update this post.  But I so desperately wanted to claim that I finished two awesome projects that I’ll just pretend they’re done.  If you could be so kind, please don’t take me out of my fake accomplished bubble just yet, okay?  🙂  Also, hubby gently asked me today how long it’s been since I crafted, and I sadly replied, “Too long.”  So he suggested I work on my dictionary shoes and I only too happily obliged, so I wanted to show something for him being so sweet to me.  So here’s a quick (I’m getting tired and running out of stamina) pictoral journal of my steps.  I’m really proud of these shoes because my husband actually remarked that they look professionally made and that I could probably make money making personalized ones for people and selling them.  It’s super duper rare that he shows a genuine interest in my crafts (he’s always supportive of them, but being a guy’s guy, it’s hard for him to get excited about frills and fluff), so that was a huge compliment to me.  Anyhow, if you want detailed instructions, the link I got it from is here.  In fact, if you’re looking to kill some time, I recommend checking out the rest of the blog.  I think it’s pretty awesome.  🙂

I have to do a special segment on the amazing dictionary that I cut the words out of.  I found it at an antique store on my birthday and my mother was kind enough to buy it for me.  Let’s take a closer look at this swoon-inducing (at least for the word-lovers and learning geeks among us) find, shall we?


(They did, for the record, also have Volume One.  It was a tough choice, but this one had more information on poetry, as you can see below, so this was the winner.)

And some entertaining pictures from the dictionary:

So Reagan was president when this book was published.  Oh, how so much has changed since then!  But now I feel old…a book published a year before I was born is at an ANTIQUES store?  I’m hardly antique-aged, thankyouverymuch.  Also, I just thought the fire hydrant dressed as a bald eagle for the Bicentennial was just too funny to not post.


Top to bottom:
1) $5 canvas shoes from Walmart.  Before you judge, I’m not usually one that frequents Walmart for personal reasons.  But I couldn’t justify buying expensive canvas shoes only to cover them up, so this was my solution.
2) My crude tracing of my shoe so I could start laying out words to see how they’d look.  (Looks a bit like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting now that I look at it closer.  Completely unintentional, but cool nonetheless.)
3) Some of the words I cut out.  I was very deliberate in which words I chose, careful to pick some of my favorite things.  Notable words that made the shoe list are unicorn, purple, eight (my favorite number), Pennsylvania Dutch (while I’m not PA Dutch, I’ve been in love with the designs they use on their art for as long as I can remember), contemplate (my favorite “smart-sounding” word), and constellation (which I originally chose because I love to look at constellations in the sky, but have consequently learned it also means “a group of similar thoughts or objects”!  Yay for learning new definitions from a dictionary!).
4) The first dictionary entry Mod Podged onto the shoe.  Yay, it’s working!
5) Mod Podging more words on top.
6) A view of the shoe after the Mod Podge dries.

So there you have it, a glimpse into the world of what cheers me up.  I’m pretty easy to please.  🙂
What about you guys?  What are some things that cheer you up when you’re feeling blue?  Let me know in the comments below!

To Enjoying Your Own Version of Bliss,

Posted in Uncategorized

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Sunshine on My Feetsies Make Me Happy…

My favorite color has been purple for awhile now, but before that, I loved a very specific bright watermelon pink, sea green, lime green, and hunter green (looking back on this list, I never realized I was such a green fan).  In general, I’m a big fan of colors, and I really don’t discriminate.  Emerald greens, rich burgundies, silver, turquoise, and royal blue have all been known to make me ooh and aah.  My entire month was made just by the single purchase of a 150-count Crayola crayon telescoping tower.  Put succinctly (and mildly):  I love me some colors!

This spring, I watched with part horrifying flashbacks, part awed amusement, as fluorescent colors reminiscent of my favorite flower of highlighter pens made a comeback.  Now, I’m not completely clueless when it comes to fashion.  I realize that all fashion recycles itself.  But for some reason, I thought 80s fashion was dead and buried with my coveted slap bracelet.  Alas, to my unsuspecting eyes’ dismay, I was wrong.  I’m not quite sure why it had to be neon that recycled itself.  Couldn’t it have been jelly shoes instead?  I would’ve totally jumped onto that bandwagon.  What is it about bright colors that prompts fashion designers to think, “Yes!  THAT color must be in my new collection!”?

Oh, but the joke’s on me now.  Because I loved those bright colors in the 80s, and I secretly love them now.  And when I wear my neutrals and darks in this sea of Day-Glo colors, the light beckons me.  I go toward it slowly, mesmerized and slightly entranced.  I’ve always been one who needed to have a pop of color in order for my outfit to feel complete, whether it be earrings or a scarf or an article of clothing.  Indeed, it’s written into my personal fashion profile, which I’ve defined as “sophisticated and colorful with a little bit of quirk.”  But it’s usually been a pop of turquoise or jewel tones.  Not these colors that sing to me happily while being worn by peppy dancers who groove to Alouette (yes, I love that commercial).

But the more that I looked at my wardrobe, the more I wanted to introduce a new pop of color.  I saw the amount of gray clothing I was accumulating and decided that yellow would be a great complement to it.  And once that thought entered my mind, it ran wild.  I realized that yellow would also look spectacular with the dark blues of my jeans, and would provide a good pop of color to black slacks.  So then and there I made it my mission to have yellow in my wardrobe.  I have since bought a yellow top (with gray, black, and white) and a solid yellow tee, and they’ve become two of my very favorite staples.  I feel happy every time I wear either one of those.  It’s like an instant dose of happiness.  (Side note:  I also fell prey to bright cobalt-y blue.  Looks wonderful with yellow and also with pink!)

So when I ran across this how-to on one of my favorite crafting blogs (admittedly, I clicked on it as a digression from my original want to do dictionary shoes…which I think will be next week’s Ta-Da Tuesday project) and realized I still had yellow spray paint leftover from my word transfer art, I put two and two together and decided to make myself a pair of yellow shoes.  Here’s how it turned out:

I’m not satisfied with them, since I ran out of spray paint to sufficiently cover the shoes, so I think I’ll make a run to the craft store for some more so I can finish it.  But they’re not horrible, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to wear them as is.  I still don’t think I’ve gotten the hang of spray painting yet, so I guess I’ll have to add a few more spray painting crafts to my list so I can perfect it.

I pretty much followed the same steps as the blog did, using old black Partners shoes (they were super-old and starting to fade so I didn’t mind at all coloring over them) and Krylon spray paint in “Bright Idea.”:
 

Just apply several thin layers, letting each layer dry about 2 minutes in between.  That’s it!  🙂

Wishes for Your Own Pop of Happiness,