Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I See a White Wall and I Want to Paint it Blue

I mentioned beforehand that I wouldn't always write about fashion. I'm keeping to my word with this post (kinda).

For almost ten years we have had white walls in our bedroom. Scratch that. We've had wood paneling painted white. We decided to remove the paneling and check out the walls underneath. They weren't perfect but didn't warrant being knocked out and replaced with new drywall. We patched up as necessary and decided to do a spray texture and choose a darker color to paint.

Not really lovely underneath it all
Can you see the texture?

I wanted a blue/gray color but ended up with more of blue, not so much a gray. It's pretty dark but I like it.

It looks darker than it is
I picked out a light gray paint with a tinge of blue for the trim. Well, it's more of a gray not so much blue at all.

Gray base moulding. I should have taken a picture
of the door. I'm sleepy. Probably the gray day.

So this post isn't very witty or interesting. I'm sleepy. I think I'll go lie down in my blue not gray room with gray not blue trim.

Wait! I have to tie this to fashion. Well, I don't have to but I want to. The lesson in all this is that if it ain't completely broke, fix it. No need to toss away the old and replace with new all the time. Got a hole in your favorite skirt? Patch it up with a cool button (I sense a future post). No need to throw it out and try to replace it with something similar. Okay, not the best tie to fashion. I'd probably patch my skirt and buy a new one. 

Tomorrow: Mix-and-Match  

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rings That Rock

In the 90s when I was in college and into grunge (Seattleites don't really love that term), I wore a ring on nearly every finger. That was part of the look. After I got married (and much after my flannel and "Docs" phase), I only wore my wedding set. It took almost 13 years before I wore an additional ring. It takes a big ring--literally--to make that happen.

I bought this at a jewelry show displaying
creations from different friends. This ring is by
Rudy & Tuge, my friend Tunisha's company.
Should the pointier end point up?

A few of my friend's have some pretty awesome big rings.


Ann has a few more. I'll have to capture those later.

Jaime again

Most of the rings I wore back in the day were thin sterling silver. I could have kept them and melded them together into one ginormous ring. I could have had a beauteous blingity bling bling ring, or something like a mini junkyard. Instead I have this pearl of a ring. Well, it's not a pearl, but it is quite a gem.

Tomorrow: Color Palette     

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pick Pockets!

Many years ago when I didn't carry a big handbag, I would put things in my pockets. At one point a friend told me that she would start calling me "Pockets" because my pockets would bulge and eventually burst at the seams--or through the material, especially in the case of keys. The name didn't take but I still filled my pockets. 

I carry a bigger handbag now--and even a tote for my book, bottle of water, umbrella and change of shoes when I take the bus--but I still like pockets. When I see a skirt or dress that has pockets, I get excited because these articles of clothing don't usually have these small sections of storage magnificence. That's why I love this skirt!

I decided to keep my head in the pic this time.
Not that I think I look good. (I think I looked better
in the picks where I cropped out my head).
I look suspicious or something. (Who's this kid
taking my picture? Oh, it's my 8-year-old son)
Rather, I wanted to capture my earrings and
flower in my hair. Those items added an island look.

Hopefully you can see the pocket flaps
when zoomed in. (So much better without my head)
One article of clothing that I used to laugh about when I'd see pockets is pajamas. I wondered why they were needed when you wear them when you're just sleeping. Do people keep change in them in case they want to fill their tires with air in the middle of the night? Maybe a sandwich in case they get hungry? Then I realized how I could put them to use. My lip balm! Sometimes my lips are so dry it's nice to have it handy. (I'll spare you a picture of me in pajamas)

Tomorrow: Ring Bling    

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great Lengths

The other day as I was stepping out into the cool gray morning, I realized my desire--no need--for coffee. It's not that the breeze wasn't enough to shock me awake. I just imagined warming up with a tall extra hot coconut latté. I also imagined this latté in an oversized round mug cupped in my hands and wearing a lightweight sweater with extra-long sleeves to buffer the extreme heat of the mug.

I'm not sure why I envisioned that scene. Not that we don't have coffee shops on every corner around these parts. For some reason I think I have a thin ivory v-neck cashmere sweater with extra long sleeves that bell out. I might be thinking of a sweater my friend Jaime has. Maybe I secretly want her clothes. 

I took this pic of her today after I wrote this.
It doesn't fit this specific post but gives you an
idea of her wardrobe. She wanted this pic
to be headless like my pics so far.
I took this one at a funtastic barbecue
later in the day. Her casual is not that casual.
She's so fashionabulous! My ma-in-law even
asked if we were supposed to be dressed up.
(Convinced her not to go headless for this pic
so I could capture her necklace better)
When I thought of extra-long sleeves, I thought of my friend Mackenzie. I believe she has a few tops with extra-long sleeves. I seem to recall her extending them and holding her arms to her bodice and keeping herself warm. Is it weird to notice or even recall such things?  

I like the look of extra-long sleeves and am adding that to my list of wardrobe wants. You'd think that since I'm only 4'11" (I'm a broken record), every long-sleeved top I purchase has extra-long sleeves for me. But again, I tend to run hot so I don't have a whole lot of long-sleeve shirts. I do get cold sometimes so I have been trying to buy more longer sleeve tops when I shop.

Almost there, but I want something more continuous
rather than a stop at the wrist then a ruffling out.
Closer but it still stops at the wrist then comes
the cuff. And, they work with cocktails, too!

Tomorrow: Pockets

Friday, August 27, 2010

Too Big for My Britches?

Does writing a fashion blog mean that I need to be a fashionable person? Or can it be like being in Finance but not having the best personal finances? (Amazing how I come up with these analogies) Or how about going to a barbershop and choosing the barber with the bad haircut to cut your hair because in theory he cut the hair of the barber with the nice haircut and vice versa? Okay, that was out in left-field.

The first time I heard the saying "Those who can do, those who can't teach" was in the movie The Wedding Planner. I don't know that I agree with that because it underscores the dedication teachers make to our children. Does this imply they teach because they can't do the tasks themselves? Isn't it hard to teach someone how to do something if you don't know how to do it yourself?  

I'd say someone would need to know how to cook in order to write a cooking blog. Which is why I am not writing a cooking blog. Not to be to confused with writing a food blog because I think that requires being able to eat food and I love to eat. So, in that respect, someone would need to know how to design, sew, hem, alter, etc., in order to write a blog on designing. But it's okay for me to write a fashion blog because I like fashion and work for a retail company (behind the scenes though, remember).

In the aforementioned movie, J. Lo's character applied the saying to herself further stating, "Those who can wed, those who can't plan." Or maybe it's those who can do, those who can't blog? I don't think there are any rules. 

Everything considered, I wear clothes so I have some credentials. I will keep on keeping on, and someday I may be more consistent about when I post each day (for the two of you reading).
Tomorrow: Extra-long sleeves  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Confession: I'm a Bargain Shopper

In my teaser yesterday, I was going to say "Shopping on a Budget," but I decided against it because being on a budget and being a bargain shopper are not necessarily one-and-the same. It's not always about a lack of money, but rather lack of wanting to spend too much money on something.  


• Shopper A has a $150 wardrobe budget for the month. She sees a pair of Rich & Skinny jeans that she falls in love with and buys them for ~$144 including taxes. She stayed within budget. She only bought one thing, but she stayed within budget. 

• Shopper B is a bargain shopper with a $150 wardrobe budget for the month. She sees the same Rich & Skinny jeans which she thinks are smashing but isn't sure that she wants to spend the $$ for them. She sees a rounder of camis at 2/$15 nearby and realizes how practical and feminine they are. She walks over and picks out two versatile colors: black and cream. She sees multiple styles of cardigans on sale for $24 (where is this girl shopping?) one table over, so she picks out two boyfriend cardis in fun but not too daring colors; charcoal and camel. She starts to walk away but realizes how crazy good this price is so she turns around and picks out a subtle jewel-button cardi in pale yellow, then grabs a turquoise one to add some kick to her neutral picks. Lastly, she picks up a cream/sage floral one. She stayed within budget--spent the same amount as Shopper A--and got two camis and five cardis. 

• Shopper C is a shopper with no particular budget and somewhat deep pockets, but is a bargain shopper. She sees the jeans as Shopper A is holding them up and decides to check them out for herself. Someone had told her to try skinny jeans. These were the pair! She sees the camis, grabs one in blush which completes her full array of cami colors and realizes the price is for two so grabs a basic black. She also sees the cardigans and chooses an assymetrical heather gray one with floral appliqués on one side. She has spent more than both A and B but got a whole outfit and purchased bargain and not-so-bargain items.      

(Sorry for the long examples. It was sure fun spending others' $$ though fictional)

Of course there also exist Shoppers D, E, Q, etc. However, from these examples I would resemble Shopper B most except I don't have a $150 monthly wardrobe budget. I have lots of clothes, not because I make lots of money but because I stretch my money lots. I will buy five items I 'like enough' instead of the one thing that I really, absolutely want. Is that smart and practical? Or just keeps me in want? 

I'm trying not always to buy things on sale just because they're on sale because then I just end up with what was the best for less. I might end up spending more because I found such great deals and the items just multiply. I justify it because of the volume of my purchase. I have to remember it's not always quantity, but quality. Then again, if I succeeded at this sooner, I might not have gotten these finds.   

I picked out my outfit today based on my idea for today's post.

Dress: Under $10
Was having a bad skin day


Open-front cardigan: Under $10
Bandage on neck: pennies

I wouldn't usually choose white to go with this but it's what I had. I usually would have worn my favorite pair of Söfft strappy heels which are called brown but have a burgundy undertone (see yesterday's post) and would match perfectly. But, I'm trying to get away from being too matchy matchy (future post), and I had just worn them two days in-a-row (another future post?). So, I wore these goldish/champagne extra strappy Söfft heels and matched my earrings with them. Go figure.

Tomorrow: Blog Week One done, am I qualified to do this?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A-Pealin' Skirt

Did you think I was going to write about cropped pants? Wrong! 

Yesterday I picked out a wheat tank and teal shrug and wasn't sure if I was going to wear jeans, slacks or a skirt. I decided on a skirt because laundry dictated it. I was going to grab a black skirt because I have a closet full of them. Can never have too many, just like black shoes. Then I saw a skirt that would match my tank and shrug (maybe too much matchy?).

See teal embroidery?

Too matchy? (I was having a bad head day. See my scraggly hair?)

I love this skirt! I got it from Anthropologie years ago and still get compliments on it when I wear it a few times a year. I endearingly call it my potato sack skirt because my brother (I believe) said it looked like a burlap sack. This is awesome in many ways:

• For some reason, over a year ago my boys started asking people, "Do you like potatoes?" Sometimes it was out of the blue. Other times it was in response to "How are you doing today?" Sometimes they would add, "I like potatoes!" (they are soooooo my children)

• Earlier this year a local nursery was having a potato class for their Junior Gardeners. I asked the boys if they were interested in signing up for a potato class. I think my older son repeated my question in a tone that implied "Have you not been listening to our potato question?" We went. We enjoyed potato chips and planted potatoes in starter boxes, and this is what we harvested little over a week ago.

The biggest one is smaller than my fist. I like potatoes!

• We were watching an episode of a cartoon recently where a character was peeling potatoes. What he was saying cracked me up. One thing he said mentioned apples. I told the boys that in French, potato is 'pommes de terre' which translates literally to 'apples of (the) earth.'

If I call this skirt 'le sac pommes de terre' would it sound more fashionable?

Tomorrow: Fashion and spending

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

These Boots are Made for . . . Cold Weather? 

A couple of posts ago I mentioned not wanting to wear boots in warmer weather. I haven't heard of any rule about when to wear boots, but I tend not to wear them in the summer because I tend to run hot. My feet don't take too kindly to that so I wear open-/peep-toes, sandals or flip flops. In other words, footwear with ventilation.   

Last week we had weather in the 80s and 90s and as usual we Northwesteners were wimps. (Am I just speaking for myself?) When it snows 1" the region closes down. But when it rains, we're in our element. Saturday evening some rain came, and Sunday started out with rain. I still wore my strappy heels with my Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique dress, no jacket and left the umbrella behind.  

While I didn't let the change in weather affect my outfit on Sunday, another day I might have. We have wardrobes for this gray, drizzly, wet weather, so one rainy day in the middle of weeks of dry weather is a good opportunity to break out a cowl neck sweater and A-line skirt. But I didn't. A couple of my friends did dress for the drizzle--including knee-high boots (fashion boots, not rain boots although those can be fashionable nowadays)! I didn't get pics though 

On Monday I had about five minutes to get dressed and out the door. I decided it was a denim day and thought I'd change things up a bit and wear mid-calf boots instead of my platform huaraches (of three years ago).

I'm holding up my pant leg to show my boot. Affordable mid-calf boots by Chinese Laundry

 This is where the hem falls

This is where I would like to have had the hem fall (I'm suddenly thinking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

My friend Jaime was doing some footwear down-sizing (don't be hatin'!) and I'm bummed because we're about the same size and she had a pair of slouchy knee-high boots that I would like to have snagged. The consolation is that my feet are probably too wide for them. Need breathing room whatever the weather! Plus, don't forget my soccer player calves (width, not muscle). I guess I'll have to pick up a new pair (after my ankle cuff pair, after I feed my children).

Tomorrow: Crop appeal  


Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Kind of Wonder Woman

The first time I saw a pair of flats with minimal material over the foot but a big cuff around the ankle, I wasn't so sure of it. To me it looked like the cobbler was working with a design that had material evenly distributed on the shoe but then fell backwards and all of the material shifted to the cuff. Kind of in the vain of a mullet: minimal up front and heavy in back. But in this case it would be party up front, business in the back.

Then I saw my friend wearing a pair that worked. (I apologize for the poor quality of my photos. For now they are taken via my phone, and zoomed in) 
Another friend was wearing a pair of heels with more material in the front and a cuff.

(I thought the way she was standing was perfect for a pic so I snapped away. She didn't know I was taking this picture but I've gotten permission to post. I think.)

I don't know if this style grew on me since it has been a trend for a while. Or, like many things it could have been a matter of liking the concept but not liking a particular delivery. That's probably more like it. It's like being fine with the cupcake craze but not so much a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free one. But then my friends show up with moist yellow cake cupcakes with decadent chocolate frosting. I'm in. (my shout out to Melissa M.).

Now of course I'd like to get a pair, but my shoe budget is low. I bought a pair of gladiator-ish shoes and now I need to feed my children. Not the shoes, although they sometimes eat hamburgers. I just need to shift my spending for now. I digress as usual but have an idea for a future blog. I may not have wrist cuffs that can deflect bullets and save the day, but someday I may have ankle-cuffed shoes to save an outfit.

Tomorrow: Boots weather

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Grandma's Got It

I've been so absorbed in this blog since I started it (okay, it's only been a few days), so it's amazing that I was at a bridal shower with ~45 women and I wasn't focused on taking pictures of different styles. It wasn't for lack of fashionable outfits present, I just finally got out of the zone and was able to concentrate on something else and was able to enjoy the shower.

Then I was in a conversation with a small group of friends when one complemented another on her earrings. My friend said that she bought them because she thought they matched her scarf nicely. I agreed and she asked if they were too match matchy and I responded no. I was back in the zone. I asked if I could take a picture for my new blog. I would like to have taken her picture right then and there in the moment with the group of women in a condo club house serving as a nice background setting. But it was a little too much so we went outside.

Grandma "Née Née" (not sure of spelling)

So, the initial inspiration for taking this pic was her earrings but then I forgot to take a close up to get her earrings. Her scarf is from Africa, but I'm not sure which country and I know she has visited a few. Way to ask questions and do research, right? Her scarf has little discs that look like coins. Her earrings do as well, with a little dangly chain.

I should have asked more about each piece of her outfit; however, I don't always plan to itemize an ensemble. I might sometimes, but other times I will comment on the outfit as a whole. Either way, I feel I'll be better able to describe my thoughts without pre-conceived ideas. (way to justify not asking more questions)

Renée picks up great items in her travels around the country and the world, but she also scores great finds at consignment shops in town. What's great about this tank is that the design on the bib and trim make it versatile to wear alone or wear with a fun patterned cardigan, colorful shrug or a funky short-sleeved or 3/4-length jacket. I'm still not ready to wear leggings with my soccer legs, but she's got them down.

Speaking of patterned cardigans, I was determined to take a pic of Renée today regardless of what she was wearing. I knew it would be cute. She had on a cute yellow floral cardigan with a gray turtleneck. I plan on posting a pic of her holding her 6-month-old granddaughter. Stay tuned! Baby is pretty fashionable rocking some pink knit leggings. Not tights--leg warmers!  

Tomorrow: Ankle-cuffed footwear

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hemming and Hawing (is there an echo?)

My husband and I came up with a laundry list of names for my blog--including "Laundry List." Most were play-on words/cliché phrases related to fashion and clothing (but one I threw in to see if he was paying attention). I knew I wouldn't write solely about fashion so I wasn't so sure of those names. Here's the exact list from my notepad:

Ideas for blog names

Random Stylings by Jen
Random Stylings
Clad in madness
War with my wardrobe (sounds like a blog entry)
Walk-out closet (sounds like coming out?)
Since I can't go naked
Dressing up to sit down: Tales of a typing monkey
All dressed up and everywhere to go
Dressed to the 9s-to-5s
More clothes less laundry
More clothes more laundry
More laundry
Laundry in the making
Grilled cheese sandwich

Added after sent Jesh

Laundry list
Gentle cycle

We went back-and-forth with suggestions. He added other names of washer cycles like Permanent Press and others that in the wrong context could be misconstrued as bigoted (think about it). I really wanted to start my blog and not procrastinate. Here I've been saying how I want to get back into copywriting but not doing anything about it. A Copy Manager with my company was so kind as to meet with me and recommended I start a blog. I didn't want to have left all motivated just to slowly slip back into lethargy and keep saying I want to write but not write.  

I needed to decide on a name and get started. No, I didn't think of "Hemming and Hawing" because of the fact that I was doing just that. We had thought of laundry cycles; I moved on to sewing. I thought of 'thread.' It relates to clothing and e-mails which is related to the worldwideInterwebcomputer stuff which houses blogs. But, I thought it was too e-maily. Plus, back in the 90s when some friends were trying to put a band together, I suggested that name because they practiced in the drummer's mom's sewing room. Only I suggested they spell it with two 'D's to add an edge. I moved on.

Another one I thought of also relates to clothing and the fact that I'm hoping my blog includes some hilarity and keeps you . . . (wait for it) . . . 'in stitches.' But, that is the name of a few websites and I believe a blog or two as well. I could look it up but I'm much too lazy.

Then I thought of having my jeans hemmed. As I mentioned, I'm 4'11" so I almost always have to get my jeans/slacks/pants hemmed. I thought of "Hemming and Hawing." A lightbulb went on over my head. (I think one literally did because it was late and everyone was going to bed so I often turn on the hallway light so the house isn't all dark) That was it! Hemming is related to clothing. I have to get things hemmed. Also, I'm often indecisive and wavering. (I think those mean the same thing but I couldn't chose between the two) A blog was born!

Okay, so my two entries so far have been explanations of stuff. I should talk fashion a little.

As if having to buy a step stool to be able to reach the top shelf of my closet isn't punishment enough for being short, I have to pay to get things hemmed. Finding an awesome deal on a pair of jeans is less satisfying when I have to pay another $7, $14, possibly even $21 to get them hemmed. It's sad when even petites sizes are too long. Petites technically go up to 5'4" which from what I see of people around me is actually more of an average height. I suppose if I wore a size 4P, the length might be a little closer to perfect for me. But that size was 13 years and 35 pounds ago.

I did mention that I almost always need to get things hemmed. That's because sometimes I find pants that are the perfect length. Okay, they're usually meant to be cropped pants for someone taller. Sometimes the cropped pants have hems meant for lengths around the knee and look awkward lower. Most times I don't care. I found a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs cropped jeans that were kinda tapered and met right at my ankles. I had heard that all lengths are acceptable nowadays so I bought them.

Once I had them home and on again, I wasn't so sure. I decided to wear them tucked in cute mid-calf boots. It seemed to work even though the jeans weren't tapered enough to look right. Remember, they were meant to go to the knees of a taller gal. Once warmer weather came and I didn't want to wear boots anymore, I tried wearing them with flats. The combination looked Audrey Hepburn-esque. At least I think so. Someday I will add pics of the jeans with the boots and the flats.

Tomorrow: Fashionable New Grandmas

Friday, August 20, 2010

My first post

I'll be honest. I'm not starting this blog because I think I have anything important to say. I don't claim to have amazing insight into fashion, or anything else for that matter. Well, except maybe second-guessing myself and prefacing things with way too much explanation. I'm starting this blog because someone suggested it. I know, I know, "If someone told you to blah, blah, blah . . . would you do it?" If it were free, painless and involved ice cream or a nap, quite possibly. 

The suggestion was based on the fact that I want to get back into copywriting. I studied Journalism in college and my first job after graduation was in Accounts Payable. Is that a typo? I thought I was a Journalist. No, it's not a typo and I'm not a Journalist. I am in Finance. But I said "get back into copywriting," so something is missing from this puzzle if I was in Accounts Payable and I'm now in Finance. Seems like a continuous career path, right?  

Well, a few years into AP I decided that I wanted to do something related to my degree. Okay, so I studied Broadcast Journalism. Journalism nonetheless. I decided that the five years and thousands of dollars I spent in college accomplished something other than getting me out of a small town. I pursued copywriting courses. I got a job in my company writing direct mail pieces. A little over a year later and having survived two lay offs, I didn't escape the third layoff when 1/3 of our department had been cut in a downsizing.

Then came a baby. I later got back into freelance fragrance work which I did in college. I was a "Fragrance Model." Not a model model by any means at my 4'11" stature. A former AP Manager saw me and long story hopefully short, I went back to AP with the same company from which I was laid off. I worked a few days a week. Then came another baby. Then fragrance again. Then Finance. Dizzy yet? Or just bored? With all this back-and-forth, I'm bound to get back into copywriting. It's got to cycle back around.

So why did I mention fashion earlier on? That's because I work for a fashion retailer, so I need to think fashion if I want to write for the company. I don't say I work in "the fashion industry" because I'm not a salesperson surrounded by all the fabulousness and doing all of the hard work. Again, I'm in Finance so I'm behind-the scenes. If I were a copywriter, I'd still be behind-the-scenes, but a little closer to the merchandise. The salespeople are in the forefront so-to-speak, copywriters help make their cause look attractive, and I'm sitting on my rocker knitting socks. Actually, if I could knit I'd be that much closer to earning the use of "fashion industry." 

So here is how my blog will go:
• I will try to write awesome posts about fashion
• I will use lots of adjectives because those are my favorite parts of speech. I will probably even make up some
• I will go off on tangents because that's what I do, so not everything will be about fashion
• I will write long posts, I will write short posts. Some days I will probably forget to post but will play my word app so I will get some words in somewhere that day
• I will have typos and excess punctuation. That's what proofreaders are for but I don't have one (editors are good for when I go off on tangents and get wordy but I don't have one of those either)    
• I will sound like I'm trying too hard to be funny, and I will be trying too hard. I will sound like I'm trying to be a goofball, but I don't need to try because I am one
• Lastly, I will be eternally grateful to the two of you for reading my blog
Tomorrow: How I came up with the name of my blog (although you've probably figured out that one)