Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Wrap Up, A Giveaway, and the Shoes that Weren't

DSCN4151-1 Although it has been weeks since I completed the 30 for 30 challenge, I am only just now getting around to wrapping things up in a nice little bow. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the challenge and trying to gather up my feelings about it. They are mixed. I think it’s a super great idea. I love the creativity and appreciation of one’s own closet that it fosters. I think that my issues with the experience lay not with the actual challenge so much as with the outside circumstances that affected both my mood and my ability to participate in the way that I would like. Doing this challenge exactly during the point of winter where the season has begun to eat my soul was both a blessing and a mild form of torture. I very likely would not have dressed myself in Outfits with a capital O during that time if I hadn’t had only my challenge items to work with. As it was, I still managed to skimp on the Outfitness of many of my combinations. When waking up is a chore, getting dressed is like climbing a steep and rocky mountain. Winter is not my season. Winter also offers a very limited timeframe in which to enjoy the Sun. Being that I work for a living and am thus doing so during the vast majority of those precious few daylight hours, taking outfit photos became difficult – a race at the end of a very dreary day. I missed photographing many outfits because of this, and as I mentioned in my last post ended up wearing around 40 different outfits, never knowing which day I would be able to squeeze in a quick photo session. To add to all of this, I chose a pair of fun heels (pictured above – preview of the next outfit post!) because up until that point it had been a relatively dry winter and I thought I would be able to wear them at least a few times. Of course, that is when it started snowing en masse about every other day for the rest of the month. So that took my 30 items down to 29. Soon after I wore a beautiful blouse that added a touch of color to my mostly neutral choices, and a seam ripped open during the course of the day. This really bummed me out as that was its first outing and I really loved the blouse. Thankfully, when I emailed the company, they immediately looked into getting me a replacement and when they couldn’t, sent my money back. So now my wardrobe choices were down to 28. 28 items, 40 outfits, in the center of an unending Winter. What I learned about my choices? The green H&M dress is one of the most versatile pieces I own. The black Nine West boots were a worthy purchase (I wasn’t sure when I bought them). I’m so glad that I started wearing that amazing purple suede pencil skirt! As much as I love my neutrals, color is a good thing. DSCN4206 I feel like I deserve some sort of medal. But of course, I don’t. So instead I’m giving you all the opportunity to win a pair of very bright, shiny, medal-y bangles by C.C. Skye! I am also extending the deadline to next Sunday, April 10, 2011. This should give all five of you who read this time to think of a very amusing limerick. I would love to see these go to a good home. Place your poetic goodness in this post and I will pick a winner bright and early Monday, April 11! Tomorrow I will be back with an outfit full of color and the 30 for 30 item that never got a chance.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Momentous Occasion

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That's right, folks. I am FINALLY posting the thirtieth outfit of the 30 for 30 challenge. I bet you didn't think I would make it. But here I am. At the end and out of breath. And just to show you that there are no hard feelings, I decided to do a giveaway to mark this momentous occasion! I bought these CC Skye gold and yellow enamel bangles from Billion Dollar Babes quite a while back because they were a good price and so so pretty. But I should have known better. I have the wrists of a malnourished five-year-old. Why on earth I thought I could buy bangles online, I will never know. I've tried to wear them on several occasions, because hello, pretty, but each time I get frustrated and take them off before too long as they just won't stay on my wrists. So, I have decided to send them to the person who writes me the best limerick. Your chances of winning are pretty good too, since all of about three people actually read this here blog. So write away, and may the best limerick win! A winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

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Dress: Calvin Klein (Marshalls)
Skirt: Converse One Star (Target)
Boots: Nine West
Bangles: CC Skye (Billion Dollar Babes)
Umbrella: H&M

Friday, March 25, 2011

There's Nothing Else I Can Say

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I have nothing to say today. But I did wear some clothes the other day. Hooray! It's also possible that I was falling asleep while these pictures were being taken. I'm not sure what that's about. I hope you have a bright and cheery day filled with smiles and chocolate drops. :)

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It was very cold and windy when we took these pictures. Today is actually kind of similar. It's almost as if the weather is playing into my outfit posts...

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Sweater: Mossimo (Target)
Dress: H&M
Belt: H&M
Boots: Nine West
Scarf: Target

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Does it Always Rain on Me?

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When we took this pictures, I was excited that it was raining instead of snowing. Then a couple of days passed and it actually got WARM. Today the weather is about the same as then, but I'm not finding it nearly as exciting. Being so ready for the warm weather to come, this final (I hope) assault of Winter is less than welcome. But I should have known it was coming. Winter never lets go that easily.

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Cardigan: BDG (Urban Outfitters)
Blouse: H&M
Skirt: American Apparel
Boots: Nine West
Umbrella: Urban Outfitters

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Remembering Your Bright Eyes

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During the formative years from about 18-22, the band Bright Eyes played an integral role in my musical upbringing. I would lay on my bed for hours listening to the albums on repeat, in succession, one song at a time. I was melancholy and Conor Oberst made it okay to be melancholy. More than okay. He made it right, perfect, and beautiful to be melancholy in that moment. Despite the inner turmoil I was going though, I felt supported and validated - two things that I needed desperately at that time in my life. As the years went by, I grew up, got better, developed healthier coping mechanisms, and drifted from Conor and Bright Eyes. The music always held a dear place in my heart, and I continued to buy and listen to every album that was released, but it didn't hold the same place. I didn't need it the way that I had before.

When another friend of mine, who had loved Bright Eyes right along with me, and I found out that Conor was releasing his final album under the moniker Bright Eyes and going on one final tour, we knew that we had to go. It was the end of an era and we needed to be a part of it. The show was this past Monday, and it was fantastic. It didn't hold the same thrill as the first show that we had gone together to see, but it was exactly right. It was perfect to hear the old songs along with the new, and hearing the growth, and seeing the man again, verified that he was doing the right thing. Bright Eyes was Conor's youth alongside my own, and it only makes sense that he would wrap up this period of his life and move on to the next. I am happy to preserve the memories that I have of that period and to see where Conor goes next with his career.

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Blazer: Paul & Joe (Target)
Top: Proenza Schouler (Target)
Dress: Sparkle & Fade (Urban Outfitters)
Boots: Nine West

Friday, March 18, 2011

White Out

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As I pull together these photos that were taken a mere 10 days ago, I remember the old saying about Michigan: "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes." In this case, it took a tad longer than 10 minutes, but I am currently sitting in my apartment with all of the windows wide open, happily welcoming the balmy 60 degree breezes. So freakin' lovely I can hardly stand it. There are only a few small patches of snow remaining from the mountainous piles that existed only days ago, reminding us how quickly things can change.

On the note of life-altering changes, I am keeping Japan in my prayers these days. And if you wanted to donate something to relief in Japan, but haven't had a chance to do so yet, I've compiled a small list of links for various ways to donate.

American Red Cross

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Alexis Bittar is donating 100% of proceeds from sales next week 3/21-3/27 to relief in Japan.

Kelly Framel of The Glamourai is donating 10% of sales from her shop to American Red Cross relief.

There are of course many other ways to donate, and I encourage you to do so in any way that you see fit.

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Sweater: Christian Dior (Freecycle)
Button Up: Mossimo (Target)
Trousers: Merona (Target)
Boots: Ecco (Von Maur)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grandma Chic

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On the whole, I love my new hair. However, every once in a while, I will see a picture of myself and be reminded strongly of my grandmother. This is not a terrible thing. My grandmother is a beautiful woman, and I am honored to carry on her genes. It is just something that struck me. Once you pull all of the hair out of my face, the similarities become more striking. And when I wear an outfit like this, well, let's just say that I'm embracing a Grandma Chic look. And I'm perfectly content with that.

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Blazer: Gap
Blouse: H&M
Trousers: Merona (Target)
Boots: Ecco (Von Maur)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rounding the Corner

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I'm going to be honest with you. The 30 for 30 is exhausting me right now. And I think this has much less to do with the actual challenge than the weather. Winter is exhausting me right now. Therefore getting up and getting dressed in the morning seems like more of a chore than it should. I still have amazing outfit combinations to try with my 30 items. More than I will get to during the course of the challenge and so, I am sure, will end up trying some other time. But I just don't want to. I just want to pull on all of my coziest clothes and call it a day. I guess in a way, this challenge has simply forced me to get dressed in the morning each day in some semblance of an Outfit with a capital O for the past 30 days. I'm positive I would have been much more lazy otherwise. Not that I haven't figured out ways to be lazy within my 30 items... Where there's a will, there's a way, I suppose. Anyway, I can feel myself rounding the corner and preparing to sprint down the home stretch. I'm ready for the rest of my closet. But more than that, I'm ready to feel the sun on my skin again.

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Sweater: Sarah Spencer (Clothing Exchange)
Skirt: Converse One Star (Target)
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Thrifted

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Last of the Snow...I Hope.

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Although I have lived my entire life in the fine state of Michigan, I have little to no tolerance for Winter. I think it's sort of okay for the first couple of weeks, but quickly grow weary. This year, I managed to simply resign myself to the grey and the cold and got on with my business in a regular sort of manner, mostly ignoring the unpleasant weather. This worked very well for me up until a couple of weeks ago, when my body, brain, and soul gave a resounding cry of misery. My energy for Winter has been completely depleted, and at the moment everything feels like suffocating a little bit. But just as the snow from this very hill has melted more and more each day from last Tuesday until it almost being completely gone today, my hopes for the end of snow and the beginning of Life are growing larger each day.

Soon.

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Last Tuesday, to get my mind off of the Winteriness of the Outdoors, my friend and I took to the warm indoor alleys for Bowling! And you know what that means? Another double post!! Yaaaaaayyy!

From Business Casual to Bowling Chic this Dove Blouse does it all.

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Business Casual
Maxi Dress: Sparkle & Fade (Urban Outfitters)
Blouse: Erin Fetherston (Gilt)
Blazer: Gap
Boots: Nine West
Belt: PTO Thrift

Bowling Chic
Blouse: Erin Fetherston (Gilt)
Cardigan: BDG (Urban Outfitters)
Jeans: Tara Jarmon (Target)
Shoes: On Loan from Bowling Alley
Belt: Relic from my Youth


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

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I am so far behind on posting. Oy vey. This weekend I was out of town again - this time in Waterloo, Ontario for a tango workshop weekend. I was hoping to have an internet connection to continue posting my backlog of outfit photos, but there was no such connection. Nor was there much time had there been a connection. I will tell you what there was though. Dancing and laughing, in abundance. Friday, directly after work, five of us piled into a car, and began our four hour journey to Waterloo. Although it was close quarters, packed three deep in the back seat of a Honda Civic, we had an absolute blast, giggling over the finer points of stamps in passports, and dancegagements - none of which would seem even remotely funny if I attempted to type them out here, in that obnoxiously "you had to be there" sort of way - and fueling up on goldfish, doritos, gummy bears, and pretzels. The four hours passed quickly and happily and soon we were pulling up to the Button Factory and trundling up the stairs, carried by the melodies of DiSarli. And from that moment, the weekend whirled in a way that only days full of activity and joy can. There were workshops, and catching up with old friends, music, dancing, and making new friends, and miles and miles of laughter resounding in our wake. It was a joyful weekend and all too soon it was the Sunday evening milonga, and the end. Piling back into the car, the five of us had bonded so much during the weekend, that the giggling came even easier and with more frequency than on the ride up, and we learned that the fellow at Tim Horton's was even more scattered than we, which seems impossible, yet it is true. Pulling into Ann Arbor around midnight, we were blissed out on tango and friends, and I have to believe that sleep came easy for all of us that night.

Monday morning however, was tough. As was the rest of the day. One should never be required to work the day after a tango weekend. It's just too much to ask.

This coming weekend will be another tango filled weekend, but this time it will be here in Ann Arbor. I can't wait.

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These pictures were taken last Monday behind the Chipotle, right after we ate there. It was frigid and incredibly windy. Bitterly cold and bloated on burrito is probably not the best way to take photos, but I am committed to this 30 for 30. You hear that? Committed. Or perhaps by the end of this, I should be.

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Sweater: Mossimo (Target)
Boots: Nine West
Necklaces: Gifts
Bracelets: Vintage

Friday, March 4, 2011

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Rather than driving the two hours back to Ann Arbor late Friday night after the fashion show and drinks, I took Tieka up on her generous offer to stay at her place. Heather also took her up on this offer and the three of us trekked back to her adorable apartment and crashed. After a long hard night's work playing, sleep was welcome and blissful. And the morning was lazily spent chatting and watching Conan with Tieka, her husband, and Heather. Once we'd all fully woken up and dressed for the day. Tieka, Heather, and I headed back to Grand Rapids to meet up with some of the other ladies for brunch followed by a little shopping. There is nothing better than eggs, hash browns, and chattery girls on a Saturday midmorning.

After shopping, where I scored some awesome heart earrings, and Kate snatched up an AMAZING unused Dooney and Bourke bag - the really classy kind, not the covered in candy colored monogram kind - we all received the Tieka treatment again for our outfit photos.

This set of photos rounds out my weekend remix of the sweater. And looking back at these pictures, I think I definitely should have worn a belt. Oh well. Live and learn.

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Photos courtesy of Tieka

Sweater: BDG (Urban Outfitters)
Dress: H&M
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Cooperative (Urban Outfitters)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

*It Means Tango Dance Party

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The incredible guilt I felt for creating an almost identical remix for this sweater as a previous outfit, caused me to give the sweater it's own little weekend remix. You've seen Friday's version, when it was taken to Grand Rapids for the Michigan Blogger Meet-up. This is Sunday's version. (I'll post Saturday's as soon as I have the pictures in my grubby little paws.)

Sunday I threw a Birthday Milonga* for my roommate. This means I needed to get dressed in the morning and have that outfit be able to carry me through the entire day of church and running last minute errands to and through the milonga in the evening. There's no rest for the wicked, don't ya know? This means that not only did I do the final weekend remix of the sweater, but this is another two in one post! Hurrah!

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Despite all of the last minute running around, the milonga* went off without a hitch and we all had a blast. I think the Birthday Girl liked it too.

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Ever since I started dancing tango, I've shied away from red shoes. I found them very intimidating. They're just so SO. I stuck to the neutrals that I love, black, tan, and metallics all the way. In the past year, I started dabbling in the world of colored tango shoes. Green, purple, pink, they were all suddenly finding a home in my shoe collection. But still no red. Red was still scary. Until I found these beauties. The deep crimson made them so wearable and covet-able. I knew they would be mine. Sunday was their debut and I couldn't be happier with them. Welcome to my feet, Red. It was so nice of you to join the party.

Sweater: BDG (Urban Outfitters)
Dress: Merona (Target)
Belt: Lands End (Sears)
Tights: Merona (Target)
Boots: Ecco (Von Maur)
Bag: Gift from Michigan Blogger Meet-up!
Tango Shoes: Comme il Faut