Friday, 29 July 2011

Today...I played paper dolls. Without the dolls.

Today I decided to "try out", which for me, means becoming immediately addicted/obsessed and tooling around on it all day.  It's exactly like playing paper dolls, but with an endless amount of clothing, and without the dumb dolls.  I've ALWAYS wanted something where I could put clothes together.  I hoped for a computer program like the rich girl had in the movie Clueless, which put together an outfit for her every morning.  Well, Polyvore will have to do. It's even practical in that you can find clothing items you already own, and see what other people would pair it with.  Instant inspiration!  Not to mention, the most fun you'll have since the last time you played with paper dolls.

To see a breakdown of the items showcased in the above picture, check out the set on Polyvore.  My account name there is ThatLadyWithTheDog.  If you have one or get one, let me know!  I'll check out your ensembles.  

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Layering, Dressing For Your Body Type, and OOTD

This outfit of the day shows what I wore for some quick family pictures taken the other day.  My husband's sister, Sabrina, is leaving for college TODAY and we are sure going to miss her.  Such an exciting time for her, though, I really hope she has a blast as she embarks on this new adventure.

Oddly enough, this was what I was planning on wearing before I knew we were doing pictures - I had decided I better do a more polished look for an OOTD post, since this has been my primary go-to style and I haven't shown it to my readers yet.  When I found out about the pictures, I freaked out and tried on tons of things in my closet, but ended up wearing my original plan, anyway.  This was even the first time I wore this ensemble!  Sometimes, what you picture in your head actually does work.  

So the big deal about this outfit is that the adorable "top" that I'm wearing is actually a dress!  That's something I've been wanting to try, to get more mileage out of my wardrobe, and this was the first time I've tried it.  In the following picture I bent over to try and show what the top of the dress is like - it isn't tucked in and bloused, it's basically just a long, hanging ruffle of sorts.  
Skirt: RW & co. Shirt: dress worn as top from American Eagle Shrug: don't remember, and I took the tag out Belt: The Limited Wrap Bracelet: headband worn as bracelet from Walmart Necklace:Jmundodesigns @ Etsy

 I really love that dress (worn as a top) from American Eagle.  I'll have to show a picture of it by itself so that you can see it.  I think it's a good example of shopping for your body type.  Normally I'm not hugely into shopping for your body type, I don't know why that is, and it's probably bad.  My body type is either pear or rectangle.  My hips are the largest part of me, so I'm supposed to select pieces that emphasize my upper body to balance myself out.  This dress has a soft, hanging "ruffle" that falls to just above my natural waist line.  Meanwhile, the rest of the dress is a jersey fabric that is form fitting in the waist with more of an A-line skirt.  It makes my chest look more normal sized (read here: makes it look as if I actually have one) and my waist look tiny.  In other words, it gives me that ideal "hour glass figure."  I feel divine in this dress, and I bought it in two colors.  I guess I should shop for my body type more often, eh?  

Family pictures coming soon.  

P.S.  Want to start shopping for your body type, or looking for dresses to layer?  The very cute blog, Kendi Everday, is having a terrific giveaway of a $200 gift card to Karen Kane!  All you have to do is comment on her blog post.  Go get on that, folks.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Date Night, Marriage, and Memories

 Last night, we went to the movies, as we do every Tuesday night.  We got a (practically) flat tire, and had to go put air in it before we went home.  I decided I ought to take a picture of my wonderful man.  While he was refilling the tires, he reminded me of the time that we had to do the same to our previous car while on a cross-country road trip.  He had forgotten to put the caps back on and drove away, scattering the caps across the parking lot.  In his defence, I was just sitting in the car being useless as usual.  He realized what had happened and we drove back and hunted for the caps.  At the time, it probably wasn't the most fun thing ever.  Yet we laughed to remember it, and honestly, it just...took me back.

Derek and I have been through a lot together, and though we've only been married for two years, already it feels like a life time.  I think that's a good thing, but it can also have its downsides in that if all you can remember is now, then you forget the things that led you to now.  Spontaneously remembering that random, minor, silly misfortune that befell us nearly three years ago did something strange to me.  As if I had become numb without knowing it, something opened and I fell even more in love with my husband in that second.  Just like how the best memories are often the ones you didn't even intend to make, it's funny that the best part of my date night was an unscheduled and inconvenient stop.  Life is strange like that.
Cardigan: Dynamite Shirt: Charlotte Russe Tank Top: American Eagle Wrap Bracelet: headband worn as bracelet from Walmart Jeans: Fidelity Denim

Monday, 25 July 2011

Drool List: Comfortably Girly, and Giveaways!

This is a list of all the things I am currently hankering for.  Join me in drooling, why don'tcha'? 
 (Click to see full-size!)

1.  Nautical Wrap Cork Wedges from Sperry $60
Most of my shoes have heels, the reason being that whenever I go shoe-shopping, those are the ones that look the prettiest!  However, high-heels aren't that comfortable.  This is not true of wedges.  I actually find them to be more comfortable than flats, although perhaps that's because I don't have good arches in my feet.  Unfortunately, the only wedges I own are ancient and from Payless.  Time for an update.  I love these, but maybe I should get something that would match more than these stripey ones would?

2.  Floral Flats $28
Even my pair of "flats" have a little bitty wedge heel on them.  Honestly.  I should be ashamed of myself.  So, I'm in the market for some real flats, and these lovely floral ones are truly beautiful.  As impractical as white shoes can be, one of my favorite, most-worn shoes ever were a pair of white sequinned slip-ons.  They definitely quickly turned into more of a cream color, but I still loved them.  I even think these would match a lot of clothes...

3.  Flower Sandals by Chelsea Crew $50
Since I don't yet own a pair of cute sandals, I'm stuck wearing flip-flops in the summer time.  These look like a great mix of sandal and flat, and with how they strap on, sturdy enough even for bike riding.  Plus, they're gorgeous.

4. Racerback Tunic from Threadsence $27
I love how this is light, airy, sporty, and romantic all at the same time.  Also, not only does it have stripes on it, but the stripes are brown (AKA best color ever).  So it's pretty much hard to get any better than that.

5.  Whistle Necklace from Forever21 $3.80
Functional necklaces are the coolness.  They're extra rad if you add additional charms onto them.  At just under $4, this is the perfect piece to start with.

6.  Striped Romper $13.50
Rompers are incredibly in right now, and I will probably cry when this fashion trend goes away.  Get in on this action right now!  Dressing has never been any easier.  As simple to throw on as a dress, but far more functional, and at under $14, this is THE ONE.  I was going to make myself one out of more sensible (read here: less fun) black, but I doubt I can get comfortable fabric for less than $14.  I need to get my booty to a Forever21 ASAP.

7.  Never-Ending Beaded Bag $65
No drool list is complete without my current fanatical obsession.  (As seen in this previous post.)  This adorable "clutch" bag is deceptively, and appropriately, huge.  I am currently trying to get someone to custom-make it for me on a craft site for a lot less.  So far, no dice.

8.  Lacey Shorts $28
Lace-trimmed shorts for wearing alone or as a tomboyish, practical slip substitute under a skirt or dress, seems like a fantastic idea, and I plan to get on board with that.  It occurred to me that they would also make a super cute and unique swimsuit cover-up.  These ones are darling, but you can also make your own by trimming white fabric shorts or boxers with lace.

9.  Jade Maxi Skirt from Ruche $35
Maxi skirts are wayyy more comfortable than jeans, and you don't even have to shave to wear them!  They are also surprisingly cool in the summer.  This one, in its thirst-quenching, drinkable turquoise shade, is completely lust-worthy.  The fold-over waist also makes for supreme comfort.  Although this is priced quite reasonably, you could also try making your own, using this tutorial (just make your skirt a bit longer for maxi length).  I just doubt I would find a color of fabric I would love as much as this one from Ruche.

10.  Umbrellas Tank $29
I have a thing for umbrellas.  This breezy tank top is ah-dore-ah-ble!  It's a quirky, cheerful way to kiss summer goodbye.

P.S.  Feeling blue because you can't afford any of that terrific stuff?  Well how about a give-a-way to cheer you up?  I love give aways where all you have to do is comment or like something on Facebook.  Sure, sometimes the odds are as steep as 500 to one, but as I blithely tell Derek, the odds just simply don't apply to me.  It's a happy thought, frankly, and I suggest you adopt it!
This adorable fashion blog that I am currently addicted to, Rose A La Mode, is having one of those give aways, for TWO pairs of fantastically fantastic Hunter's boots!  So go enter!

P.P.S.  If one giveaway isn't enough for you (greedy you) check out the giveaway going on at The Man Repeller blog, here.  Not only is she giving away one super sexy dress, but the giveaway post is one of the funniest pieces of blogging comedy I've ever seen.  As long as you're not easily offended, go read it nooooow.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Harry Potter and Fashion

Last night, husband and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Wow.  It was incredible. It ruined me for life, in so many ways.  Haha.  As we were getting ready to go to the movie, I said to Derek, "This is probably going to be the most epic film we will ever see in our lifetime."  Naturally, we subtly dressed to match certain characters.  I love the fashion in HP - especially in the later films - because it is so achievable.  Anyone can dress like the characters with clothes they already have lying around, or that they can purchase cheaply.  Neither Derek nor I have a ton of pieces that match the last two movies, so our look alike-ing is by no means perfect.  What do you think?

I love the fashion in Harry Potter, because it's so simple, basic, comfortable, and yet it looks GREAT.

They've got me hankering for chinos, sensible shoes, warm, cozy shirts, and plaids.  I'd love to get Ron's coat for Derek, I'm totally in love with it.  Speaking of totally in love...
I'm crushing on Hermione's bag so hard that I might not survive if I don't get it.  I'm just sayin'.  Thoughts?  Harry Potter fashion, yea or nay?  Hermione's bag = lustworthy, right?  Do you like this whole style or is it too casual?  How about the movie itself?  I'd love your thoughts!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Camping Trip Preview

Some quick, smallish pics of our camping trip.  Hopefully I'll get the larger-format sizes to show you guys later.  As you can see, though, it was really beautiful!

My sexy husband.  The last pic taken of him before he got rid of his farmer's tan.  

It looks like I have a giant, personal black raincloud.  No, it's just a sun umbrella.  :P

Haha I love how Linus is looking the wrong way in that photo.

That's all you get for now because husband and I are going to go see Harry Potter tonight, and I'm dressing up like Hermione from the last movie, while I'm going to try and get Derek to dress up like Harry, although the sweltering heat is against us.  Pics of that tomorrow, of course!  Cheerio!  I am about to embark on the most epic film adventure of all time.  I can already feel the sense of loss, knowing that it's over...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Back From Camping

We survived!  Yeah!  It was pretty fun, saw some gorgeous sights, stayed in a camp site that was routinely raided by biggie.  :D  It was in Owen Sound, which is a really beautiful place, so hopefully I can put some pictures up soon.  We were glad to get home to our cat, Casey, who was holding down the fort for us.  Besides puking all over the bathroom, she did well.
Linus, of course, LOVED camping.  Being with a group of people constantly, finding contraband sticks and table scraps, biking and seeing other dogs everywhere, is probably heaven for him.  He was so tired out that whenever we were at the campsite, he was sprawled out on his side in the dirt, asleep.  Even with me brushing him several times a day, he was a walking pile of debris.  I hope we got a picture of him covered in dust and broken up leaf bits (unlikely, though, since we don't have a camera, and husband used up the phone battery doing stupid work-related stuff).   

I didn't take to camping with the ease that my dog did, but overall I had a good time.  It didn't hurt that we were leant this giant tent and divine blow-up mattress.  Sooo comfortable.  If I owned that thing, I would still be sleeping on it.  I certainly was no poster child of style while camping.  Derek literally said to me: "you look really unfashionable."  -_-  Gone are the good old days when husbands knew nothing about clothes, let me tell you.  I couldn't even remember where I had packed my deodorant, clearly looking halfway presentable was also lightyears out of my reach.  I'll just blame it on the fact that I had to get up with Linus at five in the morning on the first day.  I hope that excuse is sufficient.  Besides those things, and the dog getting some diarrhoea courtesy of table scraps, there were no major mishaps, and it might have even been worth the four days of not showering.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Living With A Dog (especially a long-haired one)

I have recently realized that being single and owning a dog would be an entirely different experience than being married and owning a dog.  When you're married and you own a dog, you can just make your significant other do all the things you don't want to do.  It's great.  It's also very character-building...for the other person, that is.  Your unlucky partner can pick up after the dog, give him baths, take him outside in inclement weather (or just all the time, if you're super lazy like me) lint roll the car interior, brush the dog, the list is totally endless, as my dear Derek can attest to.  I just figure that my big strong manly husband is looking for ways to rescue me from the dragons of gross stuff and inconvenience.  (For example, Derek kills all the insects in our house.  If I shriek for him from the other room, he comes running and proceeds to slay said minuscule beast.  If he's not home I just pop a cup over the sentenced individual and leave it to await its doom until hubby comes home.)

Of course, all of this doing-nothing-and-making-your-husband-do-everything can have its downsides.  Your husband can actually start to believe that you can't do any of this stuff (when really you're just being nice and pandering to his macho self-image, but whatever :).  Case in point, the other day I was going to go for a walk with my mother-in-law, Marion, and I said to Derek, "I'm taking Linus."  Derek stopped what he was doing and gave me an unflatteringly nervous look.  "Are you sure?" he said.  That's right.  My husband thought I was incapable of walking my own dog.  So of course I ranted at him and complained to Marion and off she, the dog, and I went.  And we were fine.  I mean, maybe I did let him off leash on a no-off-leash path, because he was pulling on my arm too hard, and maybe I did make poor Marion stop every five minutes to put him back on the leash whenever someone was coming.  Maybe I continually interrupted our conversation by shouting "LINUS!" or "Heel!" as if I had dog-owner's Turrets syndrome.  But the point is, I managed.
(There I am having trouble walking Linus)

Yet there are some situations which would have been very difficult to handle on my own.  Like, for example, the time that Linus brought twenty-five ticks into our house.  Now, living with a long-haired dog presents even more challenges than living with a short-haired one.  Just like a big dog presents some different challenges than a smaller one.  (Even though I assured my husband that there would be no difference.  As it turns out, there is a very, very big difference.  For example, not hardly being able to walk my own dog or bathe him because he's stronger than me.  Also massive poos.  But that's neither here nor there.)  Some of the fun aspects of living with a long-haired dog are: constant brushing, hair everywhere (and I'm not talking discreet hair, I'm talking hairs over four inches long snaking all over your clothing) said dog getting clumps of hair stuck in his mouth which his toys picked up from the carpet.  Another epic tale of long-hair woe is how he started to reek no matter how often we bathed him, and we had to inflict a hygene-clip upon him ourselves.  Let's just say I was scissoring in gross places while strangers looked on...  But that's a story for another time.  Right now I'm going to tell you about the time he brought twenty-five ticks into our house.  At least twenty-five.

I had drug Derek out on a walk after he had worked a long and exhausting day, because our gigantic dog needed some exercise.  We went to this wetlands conservation trail that is very pretty and was completely abandoned.  We were walking along, having one of those red-flag perfect moments, with Linus trotting through long grasses looking like his movie star doppelganger (Lassie, of course).  We were over halfway back when Derek noticed a tick on his sock.  He began to freak out a little bit and...I laughed at him.  (I'm ashamed to say, considering what happened.)  Normally I'm horrified of ticks.  But at that moment, I was just being stupid like one of those unsuspecting girls in a horror flick.  I think we made Linus get out of the grass by then and hurried back to our car.  We searched ourselves and Linus carefully (I think we found about ten on him at that point...and keep in mind that when I say we I mean Derek, because obviously there was no way I was going to willingly touch a tick).  We drove home, and I was still all chipper, blissfully and ditzily unaware of the waking nightmare that was about to become my life.  We were about to go to sleep that night, and I turned on the light I think because Derek found a tick on his neck.  There were ticks everywhere.  On our walls, in our bed, on the floor, and as time would tell still on the dog.

Let me reassure my readers that Linus is on a good flea and tick medication, and always has been.  We used to live in Tennessee, which, as anyone who has ever lived there knows, is where ticks hang out.  Ticks are a perpetual fear in the south.  In the north, they're a laughing matter, as far as I'm concerned.  Well, disaster strikes when you're least expecting it, usually.  Even though Linus was banned from our room for awhile, we kept finding ticks, for days.  Oh, and our car?  Also a tomb of horror.  Even after Derek vacuumed and sprayed it, a tick would fall on my shoulder and I would be trapped in that cab of the truck with no where to run.  I refused to ride in the car for a good week, I think.  Oh, and we bathed Linus.  "They'll drown!"  I insisted.  Well, no ticks drowned and none fell off, either, despite his body being submerged underwater.  Days afterword, I kept finding ticks crawling on Linus (but not biting) or hanging out on the walls.  I slept, cocooned tightly in blankets and horrified.  Finally, after a couple of days of no tick sightings, while lulled into a false sense of security, two final ticks made their last stand by crawling onto Linus' nose and biting below his eye.  After awhile, I put on my husband's robe because I thought the war of the ticks was over, but when I took it off I brushed a tick off my back.  That might have been as long as a month after the tick infestation began.

Understandably, I am mentally and emotionally scarred from that experience.  Every time I feel the teensiest tingle in my skin, I jump and start pawing at the spot in paranoia.  Honestly, though, I think just below thirty ticks is the maximum amount of ticks that one dog can bring into the house at one time.  Even a long-haired dog.  So we should be safe.  Now, Derek doesn't allow Linus to go in tall grass.  It was rather dumb of us to let him do so in a marshy area, but hey, live and learn, right?  We are leaving to go camping tomorrow, and we'll be extra vigilant in the tick-department.  Last time we went camping with Linus, he chewed on a stick, got his gum infected, developed a tennis-ball sized lump beneath his lip, and $200 later, was fit as a fiddle again.  So I'll be trying to keep all the sticks in the great outdoors away from our high-maintenance, but entirely worth it, dog.

(I'm going camping with these lovely people, my in-laws.  Derek and I are at the top of the photo.)

I won't be posting until I get back (so maybe on Monday) but when I do, expect pictures, funny stories, and hopefully no tales of woe.  After that, I'll be doing my first "Drool List," which will be filled with drool-worthy items you're going to want to buy.  There will also be another OOTD post.  Wish us luck!

Oh, and if you have a funny (or horrifying, or sweet, for that matter) pet story to tell, do share!

Hairstyles That Inspire Me

I realized after I posted my last entry, "A Walk Down Hair...I mean memory lane," it could have seemed as though I was advising people to follow in my footsteps.  That was not my intent, as I have made a lot of hair choices that have been less than ideal, that I would not encourage people to emulate.  I was showing the past pictures for fun, and also wanted to make the point that change can be good.  To give better proof to my argument than my often hair-raising pics did, here is a compilation of hairstyles (usually not my own) which inspire me...and might just inspire you!
(Click for full size)

1... Short hair, to me, is beautiful, and so feminine.  Long hair is safer and typically considered by the populace to be more girly, but whenever I see a young woman with a short hairstyle, I always stop and stare (enviously).  Long hair is very beautiful, but I feel like what's beautiful is the hair, and it takes the attention off of glorious, radiant you.  Short hair shows off your facial features, it makes your eyes look huge, your bones look delicate, it just shines this big beautiful spotlight on your face.  It's also super easy to care for, and it looks good with everything.  For Success:  try and keep it soft.  A little volume or swoopiness goes a long way to keeping this look ulta-feminine.  (Though I love short hair, this look didn't work for me because my hair is very coarse and stiff, with TONS of cowlicks on my head.  It made one mean faux-hawk, but it refused to lay down flat and dociley, as this look requires.)  Take your face shape into account, you may need a little more length framing your cheeks (it can still be super short in the back) or side bangs.  Also think about the work.  For example, I found that I had to shower every morning because sleeping on a pixie cut makes it stand up funny.  If your hair is more soft, a simple misting (if anything) might work.  Also, I felt compelled to wear more makeup, and always keep my clothes very girly, to compensate for the lack of locks.

2 I did shave my head at one point, partially just to try it, partially to push myself out of my comfort zone and to not be vain, but also partially because I was addicted to the movie V for Vendetta starring Natalie Portman, who looks ridiculously gorgeous with a shaved head.  She is one of the world's most beautiful women with a head of hair, yet she amazed me even further without hair.  I feel like it did for her what short hair does for a girl with a pixie-ish face.  It made her incredible.  That's not really what it did for me, but I did have a very cool faux-hawk once it grew out a little bit.  For Success:  Do not do this unless you are comfortable (and usually) have very short hair.  Considerations for having super short hair should be taken into account here, even more so.

3 Bobs are beautiful, flattering, and very modern.  They come in every style and shape to suit tastes from edgy to conservative.  Whether it be an A-line bob, a basic above-shoulder haircut, or an asymmetrical bob, you just really cannot go wrong with a bob.  This is definitely the hair cut I would have if I could get my hair to straighten or be really curly (it sort of is the hair cut I have right now, regardless).  I think it is the best haircut I've ever seen on both Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow.  I love it when they're really sleek, have a lot of swing, and sometimes are a little bit messy.  Super curly is also an adorable bob look.   There are so many different ways you can wear the same bob!  Gwyneth's is even long enough to put in a ponytail.  I envy the fact that her hair straightens.  For Success:  Consult your face shape, and whether you need or want any kind of bangs.  Think about whether you want it long enough to put into a ponytail or not.  Think about how else you will wear it, i.e. straightened or not, parted in the middle or on the side, messy and artistic or smooth.  Research the different kinds and communicate with your hair dresser.

4.... Short bangs are cute, low maintenance, and a way to soften up your look.  They need virtually no styling, and make pulling your hair back into a ponytail with flattering detail as easy as can be!  For Success: Realize that they will take a long time to grow out.  Make sure that you don't have a cowlick at your forehead, and that your hair isn't too stiff when short - mine was both, and so my little short bangs wouldn't lay flat!  Have a stylist cut them - don't cut your own.  It is way too easy to make them too short.

5  Above-shoulder length wavy/curly hair, also technically a bob.   This is elegant and easy.  It's also my favorite look for the hair-chamelion Victoria Beckham.  Since she has an exquisite face, she is a bomb shell with a pixie cut, but I think that this look softens up an expression that typically looks a little bit harsh to me.  It gives her infallible old Hollywood glamor, too.  For Success:  Keep it polished.  It's still very styled and smooth even though it's curly and low-maintenance.  I also love the backward-direction of the styling.  Put lots of mouse in there and keep the curls/waves big and frizz free.  Don't forget to add a flattering side part!

6....  Oh man.  I just love afros.  They are so BEAUTIFUL and natural!  They look beautiful when they are healthy and shiny.  Typically, the more defined the curl, the better.  I prefer them in a shape that isn't a huge sphere - I think less of a globe is more modern nowadays.  It can even be parted down the middle and hang near your shoulders.  And look, it can even be worn by white women!  Sign me up, holy gosh.  For Success:  Give it a definite shape.  It doesn't have to be a sphere, and the curls don't have to be tightly-packed, but don't let it became some weirdly layered frizzy flyaway past-the-shoulders thing.  The yoga mom organic look.  You know what I'm talking about.  Keep it groomed, clean, and healthy.  Don't let it get streaked with grey hairs, either.  But most importantly of all...embrace your beautiful curly hair, and know that here's at least one sad girl who envies you.  ;D

7  Red hair.  It's my favorite hair color, in any shade and in any hair is just the best.  I mean there's really not a lot of debate here, guys.  For Success:  If you have red hair...ROCK IT LIKE IT'S HOT.  Because it is.  If you don't, find a shade that will complement your skin tone (try asking your stylist).  Also, in my personal opinion, don't go too dark or too close to brown.  It might be easier to pull off, but it's not what we adore about eye-catching red, is it?  On the flipside, keep it a very natural looking red.  Only a select few can pull off a vibrant true red.

8  Hair pulled back severely off the face is rarely very flattering.  Braids (think french braids starting at a deep side-part that frame your face) are extremely in this season.  They are so "in" that I almost don't want to do them...because everyone who knows anything is doing them.  But they are so darn flattering, I can't pass them up!  My husband loves when I pull my hair back with a braid.  Also, think outside the box.  Do two braids and put your hair in a low gather or bun instead of a ponytail.  There's something more nostalgic and feminine about it, don't you think?  For Success:  Keep the braid neat.  Don't allow too many flyaways.  It might take a few times to get it right.  This look is very worth the extra couple of minutes it takes to put your hair back - and it's surprisingly easy.

9. Creamy blonde hair is my second favorite hair color.  Kate Hudson usually sports this beautiful color, and the movie How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days showcases it (I also love how she dresses in khaki colors a lot to complement it).  For Success:  Use the lightest color of Loreal dye-at-home hair color, or, better yet, go to a professional salon.  Do your touch ups religiously!  Shampoo and condition with product for blonde hair.  If it is blue or purple tinted, don't use it every time and watch your hair closely...mine got a pink tinge after using purple shampoo for too long!

10...  Long brown hair with bangs is a look I always love.  It's so simple and looks smashing on anyone. As a plus side, you need so little makeup with it!  This sounds kinda' bad, but if you want to hide your face/self, this is a good way to do it.  Just make the bangs extra long, and your hair extra voluminous.  This also looks adorable with shorter bangs or pulled back into a ponytail.  Zooey Deschanel is the poster child of this look.  For Success:  Make sure your hair is thick, or add voluminous layers.  Don't make the bangs too long if you like the spotlight to be on yours eyes.  Really, though, there's no way to fail at this look.  It's fool proof.

11...  Long hair with body (especially brown).  This is a bit of a continuation from no. 10, but you don't need bangs for this one.  I love hair with volume.  It doesn't have to be curly or even wavy, though you will need layers if it isn't.  There's so much movement, it's so forgiving and flattering.  It can be polished or downright frumpy, and it still looks awesome!  For Success:  I prefer a light to medium brown for this look, for whatever reason.  Add volume with curlers, layers, product, and fluffing with your fingers.  Blow dry with a diffuser to keep hair light, airy, and not pin-straight.

12  Super straight, sleek, shining hair.  I prefer this in a medium brown color, and it looks best if your hair is thick.  It should also be cut to have a subtle but polished shape.  Pantene commercials seem to showcase this style a lot.  For Success:  Your hair needs to be extremely healthy for this look.  Split ends need to NOT exist.  Even if your hair is very straight, you may still need to straighten it.  I recommend having gloss-coating color put on your hair, and treat your hair to deep conditioning.

13..  Updos.  I like them smooth and elegant or messy and romantic.  Keep them full for best results.  If your hair is too short to go back much, curl it and pin up the curls to fake it (as mine is on the first updo). For Success:  Do whatever suits your taste.  It should look good from every angle, and it's best if the pins don't show.  If you have dark hair, add a white peacock feather or a glittering faux diamond hair clip.  If you have light hair, try a blue peacock feather or black glass bling.  To add volume if your hair isn't very long or thick, tease hair backwards in sections before wrapping it around in a bun.  To finish it off smoothly, lightly brush the exposed parts with a short-bristled brush before wrapping it up.

So what do you guys think?  What are YOUR favorite hairstyles?  Do you/have you had one of these and either hate it or love it?  Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A Walk Down Hair Lane...I mean memory lane.

Nearly every hairstyle I've ever had.  Click to view it real size!
I was going to go through and explain each picture...but then...I thought better of it.  Instead, I'll just overview it.  My hair has been every color of the hair-spectrum rainbow, from various shades of red to various shades of brown.  I've also tried several shades of blonde and even had blue ends in my hair once (unfortunately, not pictured).  I've had it down to my butt (for about half of my life or more) and I've shaved my head to less than half an inch long.  My hair has been curly and straight, but it's usually some annoying quasi state in between where it refuses to be either.  It's been fauxhawked, swooped, worn with bangs and without.  In short, there's very little I haven't done.  I haven't dyed my hair pink (I still sort of want to) or done dreadlocks (still really want to) but I have done...almost everything else.

The pictures are pretty nearly in order.  From the top left picture, I doubt I had ever really cut my hair before then and I had certainly never dyed it.  I'm younger than I look there.  To the bottom right corner, which is somewhat how my hair looks now, although it isn't as dark as the picture makes it appear.  From here, my plan is to grow it out to mid-back, leaving it natural color and relatively unlayered until I reach that point, wearing it curly.  Once I reach that length, I want to bleach it blonde again.  Woohoo!  Once I get there, I will probably change my mind again.  The point is that hair is fun, have fun with it!  Sometimes making a small change like adding subtle highlights or getting a hardly-there shaping (heck, even just having it professionally styled for a day) can make you fall in love with your hair again.  Buy hair products, do some research on how to care for your hair type or style it.  And if you've had the same hair for years and years...why not change it, just a little bit?  Grow it a little longer with layers or get a modern, asymmetrical bob.  Have your hair darkened slightly or add sun-kissed highlights.  I've heard it said that hair is the accessory you wear every day.  It's your most important one!

OOTD: Boyfriend Flannel

My poll indicates that what you guys want to hear more about is marriage, by a slight margin.  Of course, I know one of those votes was my husband, who was not aware that the 'marriage content' I was referring to could be better named as 'jokes at husband's expense.'  (Clearly this is not the place to come for marriage advice.  ;) Anyway, to satisfy the cravings of my readers and to excuse the fact that this Outfit Of The Day (ootd) post is neither very fashionable nor enlightening, I bring you: boyfriend flannel.  Which is me raiding Derek's closet.  It was so comfortable, I loved it.  I feel a dangerous tradition in the making.  Don't worry, I have ideas for more stylish ways to wear boys' shirts, which you will see later.

Also, Derek really liked this outfit.  A COMFORTABLE OUTFIT THAT A MALE LIKES?!  A BAGGY comfortable outfit that a man likes?  I might as well close this blog.  You have no need for me, I leave you with the only piece of advice you'll ever need: go steal your significant other's clothes and live in comfort all of your days.  I'm just kidding, but in all seriousness, why is it that men love it when their ladyfriend wears their clothing?  It's funny, and great.
 Softest, yummiest flannel shirt ever: American Eagle for guys
 Shorts:  Hydraulic (possibly purchased at Target?)  Skinny braided leather belt: Forever21 Ribbed tank: Hand-me-down NecklaceJmundoDesigns
Sunglasses: somewhere embarrassing like Claires Lips: Maybelline ColorSensation lip stain in Cherry Pop Random Straps: handmade purse

Have I revolutionized your life?  You're welcome.

Sewing Projects: Stuff I've Made

Mostly bags, since they are so easy-peasey, but also a dress.  I also made the skirt shown in my OOTD: Nautical post.

Here is the dress I made, from a sheer polka-dot fabric I had lying around forever.  I think I splurge-bought it at a fabric store many, many years ago.  I had to buy lining and a pattern, and although both were on sale, it came to over $20 with zipper, thread, and elastic.  And I already had the overlay fabric!  Craziness.
I accessorized it with a wide belt (Guess) to provide more shape and mature-funkiness, and a flower headband (homemade) to obliterate all maturity and play up the color in the fabric.

The following is a purse I custom made for someone on Etsy who was looking for an orange cross-body bag.  I hunted down the fabric for her and made this little beauty, complete with lining and hidden seams!
I have to give a shout-out of thanks to my sweet friend Hannah R. for helping me figure out how to make it.  She basically held my hand through the entire process.  Thank you, Lovely!  You've created a purse-making junkie.  ;D
 Umbrella: some store in Old Quebec City Zip-Up: Old Navy Skirt and Top: Banana Republic Flats: Aldo

Then I made a purse for my sister-in-law, Sabrina.  I LOVE the fabrics she picked out.  Deep royal purple with a soft grey lining.  Gorgeous.  
 Sweater: Dynamite Top: American Eagle Coin Pearls: Ben Moss Jewellers Jeans: Fidelity Denim

I also made this purse, more about it and what I am wearing in my OOTD: Nautical post.
 I even added a pocket for the first time ever!  It was super easy.  I really enjoyed making shorter straps, too, as opposed to the uber long ones I had made before.

The following is a drawstring backpack I made using this tutorial.  It was really easy and the results are great!  
I really needed a bag for toting things when biking, and this one is perfect!  I barely feel it, the straps don't slip off, and it can carry a lot of stuff.  I made the straps myself by cording the fabric, but I wouldn't recommend it.  While the finished product looks cool, it was really difficult and time-consuming, and used a ton of fabric.  Finally, the handmade cording doesn't slide very well.  I definitely recommend purchasing your own cord.  Also, if you follow that tutorial, I would add one thing to the directions: when trimming the sides, leave the top untrimmed and then fold in the extra and hem it to make neat edges where the cords enter and exit.  Happy trails!

To Sew Or Not To Sew, And How?

I really enjoy making my own clothes because a) it's fun, b) you can do a bit of your own designing and get creative (which I love) and c) it's sometimes cheaper.  I would not say that sewing is typically cost-effective.  Fabric costs about as much as a typical bargain find in itself, a pattern AT BEST will cost you another $5 (and at worst $14-$17...what!?) and then you've still got thread, zippers, elastic, buttons, etc.  In addition, chances are you are not an extremely accomplished seamstress.  If you're not, what you make won't come out fact, it might not even fit!  (Usually it does, I'm just saying that you're taking a slight gamble, like buying something without trying on that you can't return.)  If you sew and are on a tight budget, don't ever buy anything that isn't on sale.  Patterns should be at least half off or below $5, fabric should be at least 30% off.  Even with that, you're looking at spending upwards of $20-$30, not counting, of course, your valuable time.

One thing that I think is cost effective to sew would be fabric purses.  They can often be made from fabric scraps or cheaply bought fabric, because they tend not to need as much fabric as clothing requires.  They are so easy and you don't need a pattern.  It's fairly self-explanatory.  Cut out squares, leaving extra space for seam allowance, and piece them together.  For the straps, cut long rectangles slightly bigger than twice as wide as you want the finished straps to be.  Sew the long ends together, inside out, and then turn them right-side out and iron them.  I should make a tutorial about this.  But really, it's quite easy.  If you want a lining, you can do that, it's just a bit more labor, and it isn't really necessary.  One other thing that might be cost effective to make yourself would be flowy skirts without a pattern.  You will still need about two yards of fabric, though, which can get costly.  (For a skirt-making tutorial, see here.)

Ways To Save On Sewing

1.  Always shop sales, and wait for the big ones.
2.  Sew things that you can't buy - for example, sew with a fabric you adore, or make something you can't find or afford in stores.  That way you're sewing smart, meaning you'll have to sew less, and the items you sew, you'll wear and appreciate more.

3.  Scrap/fabric swap.  To do this you need to find a sewing friend.  Every time you make something, there is usually fabric left over.  But matching-fabric purses are a thing of the past.  You'll find yourself with excess fabric, which, even if you love, you don't want to have two things of the same pattern in your closet.  So trade!  You can trade online or with anyone you know who sews or wants to learn to sew.

4.  Sew with a buddy.  Patterns can be confusing, sewing can get dull, or you might just need a second opinion on something.  It's a lot more fun with another person, it keeps you accountable to finish your project, and you can be a lot of help to each other!  You can also take a look through your friend's patterns and see if you want to use one of them (if you are different sizes, you can add inches on around the outside of the pattern pieces, or fold the pattern in if you are smaller - don't cut down your friend's pattern).

5.  Look outside the sewing store for cheap raw materials.  Patterns can be found at garage sales or online, fabric can come from garage sales, or pre-existing clothes from the thrift store can be transformed easily and extremely cheaply.

6.  Be aware of what you can sew without using a pattern.  There are a lot of great online tutorials which are sufficient.  I find videos to be especially helpful, since I'm a more visual learner.  If you don't need a video, though, then clear, written instructions can be easier, since you don't have to start, stop, and jump around in the video.  Things you typically don't need patterns for are purses, A-line skirts, aprons, shawls/wraps, capelets, blankets (of course) dog beds, leashes, collars, etc.

7.  Find free patterns.  Besides borrowing from a friend, sites like BurdaStyle have free patterns available!  Of course, you have to print them off yourself.  If you use your home printer, you have to piece together sheets of paper to make the pattern.  If you take the file to a larger printer to get printed off for you, I hear it can be somewhat costly.  Still, I think either is worth a shot!  If you do purchase a pattern, get one that is basic, easy to change up, and won't go out of style.  Simple dress and skirt patterns will prove themselves useful throughout your life.  I recommend not cutting it down past the pattern's largest size - just fold in.  You never know, you might want to make a different size for a friend, child, relative, etc.

8.  Get creative with existing patterns.  A dress pattern could be converted into either a skirt or top.  Add or subtract elements to create an entirely different look.  Ruffles, bows, pockets, etc, can all be added or taken away so that, when combined with a different fabric, it will make two projects from the same pattern look nothing alike!  If your pattern has simple straps, you're in luck.  Make them wider or more narrow, make it strapless, or convert it into a halter top (tie in the back or in a cute oversized bow over one collar bone).  Add double straps and criss cross them in the back.  The options are truly endless.

9.  No need for sewing classes...check out youtube videos!  Sewing machines and how to operate them can be mystifying, especially if you haven't sewn for awhile.  Don't despair, just look up your sewing machine's make and model (it's written on the machine) with what you need to learn (i.e. how to fill the bobbin on a...).

10.  Relax.  Have fun!  Every mistake can be undone (the seam ripper tool is my best friend) except for cutting.  If you make it too big, just take it in a little at a time until it's right.  If you make it too small, just give it away to a grateful recipient!  If you mess up beyond repair, don't worry about it.  It was a valuable learning experience, and you contributed to the success of a future project (don't give up).  Chances are, you can still re-use the fabric for something else, even if it has to be a project which requires less fabric.  Be forgiving of yourself and your finished project.  If it looks homemade, chances are, you're the only one who can tell.  No one really cares.  And if you tell them that you made it yourself, they will be very impressed!  So wear your finished product loud and proud.
Take your time, don't rush, and finish what you start.  It is so gratifying to make something for yourself!

Monday, 11 July 2011

OOTD: Nautical

Outfit Of The Day

Skirt: homemade Shirt: American Eagle Cardigan: Dynamite Belt: Forever21 Purse: homemade Wrap Bracelet: headband worn as bracelet from Walmart Earrings: Gift; purchased from stall in Europe Necklace: Jmundodesigns @ Etsy

I love nautical things (hence the necklace which I wear near-constantly...the whistle also doubles as a dog whistle!) stripes, cardigans, and belts worn at the natural waist line.  Finally, I whipped up this tote because I desperately needed a larger fabric purse for carrying dog stuff in.  Viola!  You'd never guess dog stuff was in that tote, right?  ;)

About Me

As unlikely as it is that anybody that I don't know well is going to be reading this yet, I am going to do an about me post anyway.  My first name is Elizabeth and I hate all nicknames for it besides Eliza.  I am rather hypocritical with this because I love nicknaming other people.  (My good friends can attest to this. Please-do-not-leave-comments-telling-the-embarrassing-and-stupid-nickname-I-gave-you.  And above all  do not tell what my nickname for myself was.  Do not.  There will be retribution.)  My middle name is Rose, which I rather like.  I'm not telling you my last name if you don't already know it, so enjoy that mystery.  So:  the story.
I was born.  
And then I started to grow up.
And then I grew up all the way.
Then I cut my hair off.  (Yes, I did wait that long.)  
And then, after growing up some more, I lucked out and married the man of my dreams.
Then, we prepared to have a fur-child.
When our fur child arrived, it started an epidemic of happiness, even though we were already very happy.  Here is a picture of me looking mentally challenged, I was so happy.

That's my life story, in a nutshell.