Rain, Challenges and Tags

It's still raining.
It has been all week, and I have been so unhappy about it. Not a single sunny photo with my new lens. And it's supposed to get worse tomorrow.

Today I wanted to participate in some challenges proposed by other bloggers --
Iris at 260 Days No Repeats is having a "You've Got This" Fall fashion trends challenge; to participate you must simply wear an outfit inspired by the 2010 Fall trends using only what you already own.

I had been planning on wearing this fur trimmed vest, and after I spent 20 minutes digging it out from the back of the closet where my winter clothes are still packed away, I decided I didn't like it with the skirt.

Fall Trendyness

Anyway, this look utilizes many of the Fall trends; a lace top in a jewel tone paired with a longer skirt. And both these items were anxious to be worn again, as I've only worn them once each.
The shoes are on their first outing, they were won in a giveaway from Astamundi!

Full of Fall

This necklace was made by my friend Klara, and if you like it, you should definitely check out her shop -- her jewelry is so gorgeous!

Full of Fall

At Lorena's Every Day Wear, she is spending this week taking a look at labels and seeing where all her clothes are being made. She's also looking at makeup, food, and well, everything -- But I've just analyzed my outfit for you here:

Full of Fall

The Rundown
Lace Top TJMaxx - Black Cammi TJMaxx - Printed Skirt Kohls - Shoes Gabriella Rocha - Necklace Klara Design Jewelry - Belt Nine West

I don't forget when people tag me, but sometimes it just takes me a long time to remember.
I have a few I've been meaning to do.

I got the Versatile Blogger award from The Pink Boudior, Thanks Monica!

I got this set of questions from The Antique Pearl

1.) why did you start blogging?
To have a creative outlet and to help inspire me.

2.) do you prefer spring/summer or autumn/winter?
Definitely summer, I love the warm weather!!!

3.) what do you notice first: smokey eye make-up or bright lips?
I'm really fond of bright lips, they are simple, but make a big impression.

4.) who are your style icons?
Any woman who can get dressed everyday and have an understated fabulousness no matter what.

5.) describe your personality in three words?
Classic Meets Quirky

6.) if you had to leave the house with only one item of make-up what would it be?
Lip gloss

7.) Which era do you think influenced fashion the most?
It's tough to say, but I feel the 60's did.

8.) what beauty product do you always repurchase?
I don't really have one favorite, I like to try new things when I run out!

I got a tag from Style En Mi Opinion and I have to list ten things I love:
Cute shoes that don't hurt your feet
My dog Chloe
Really big hard drives, like several terabytes
Old cameras
New iPhone
Extra hot latt├ęs
Thick, glossy magazines

Full of Fall

Wishlist Wednesday (Ready for Fall)

It's officially Autumn, and I'm (mostly) ready to face the cooler temperatures. Having these might help.

Red Felt Cloche Hat, $32 at Kohls
I tried this on in the store. It's super cute. I want it to go on sale, and then to get an additional 30% off, because that is the only way to shop at Kohls.

Faux Fur Vest, $29.50 at Old Navy
It would seem this is one of the must-have items this season. They are everywhere. And at every price point. But I ask, is the acrylic fiber of the $700 vest really that much better than $30 vest? I know not all faux furs are made equal, but I've felt the cheap vest - it's soft, it's cozy, I like it!

Brown 'leather' satchel, $58 at Urban Outfitters
This is not the brown leather bag of my dreams. It's not even leather. The bag I want is tough, but beautiful, the kind you could throw your life into and have an adventure. The kind of bag that would somehow save your life one day. You know the bag. I feel like I've been looking forever (or maybe since last winter) and I think I may have found it, but it 'aint cheap.

I found my way to Saddleback Leather the other day and started to look around. They have some very beautiful leather bags. I read all about how they make the leather, about how the company got started, about the owners dog (which made me cry, because animal stories always do). This might be the bag, and considering it's meant to last for a hundred years, the price tag of $335 might be worth it.
We'll see.

Leopard Pumps by Steve Madden, $50 at Amazon
Do I need more leopard in my closet? Probably not. Do I need a pair of leopard pumps in addition to the flats I already have? Probably not. But this is a wishlist, after all, and I can't seem to get enough animal print to satisfy me.

Wedge Booties by Nine West, $99 at Amazon
While these are available in four colors  - the other three being the sensible ones - I was really drawn to the green. They make me think of robin hood. In a good way.

Not on the list because I can't find any:
Red wool pants, like the ones seen in Lucky's October issue.

I know Gap has some red cords, but that's not the same. If you find any, let me know!

Not on the list because they still aren't available:
Studded Suede Wonda Oxfords from G by Guess. 

Only been wanting them since June...

Breaking my own rules

I wore leggings. As pants. To work.

Breaking my own rules

Aren't I awful? I am a firm believer that leggings are not pants. And the line between what is and is not acceptable is very thin. The top has to have significant length and appropriate amounts of bagginess.
This top might be iffy. But I'm curious to know what you think, so I've created a poll.

I got my new lens! It has a much more substantial feel to it than the 1.8 did, and the photos should be looking crisper. Do they look crisper?

I like to shoot with the lens wide open, and when relying on the auto focus this often results in images not being focused on the spot you would like them to be focused on.
Such as this one, where my shoulder is in focus and not my face. But since my face is always super oily and tired looking at the end of the day, I don't mind being a bit blurry.

Breaking my own rules

In the interest of full disclosure, a photo from the back, proving that there is rear coverage.

Breaking my own rules

The Rundown
Top Gap - Blazer Kohls - Leggins TJMaxx - Pumps Areosoles - Earrings Aldo

So I'll leave this up to the jury to decide if I need to be arrested by the fashion police.
In my defense, I'd like to mention that one of my coworkers complimented the outfit today. And that almost never happens.

Does this leggins-as-pants look work?

Jewelry at f/1.4
The new lens, wide open at f/1.4

If I were in Stockholm

It's Sunday again. How did that happen? And the last weekend in September no less. Christmas things are already out in stores, which is really not helping!

This morning I spent a while on the pages of Stockholm Street Style, and I wanted so badly to have that effortless, messy hair, fabulousness of many of the girls who you find there.

If I were in Stockholm

I really want to plan another trip to Europe. Badly. Who wants to come with me?

If I were in Stockholm

The only truly productive thing I managed to accomplish this weekend was to make Harvest Loaf, a spiced pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. Probably my favorite thing to bake in the fall, this bread is unbelievably moist and delicious!

Harvest Loaf

I wanted to share the recipe, but I wasn't in the mood to type it up, so here is a scan of my yellow, food covered recipe.

If I were in Stockholm

The Rundown
Skirt TJMaxx - Top Too old to remember - Jacket H&M - Boots Migliorini - Necklace Gap - Sunnies Aldo

The seasons change was a conduit

Autumn is officially here. Only I'm not ready to give up white pants just yet. Or sandals.

Strokes of summer

I've decided to follow everyone's advice and get the 1.4 50mm lens to replace the 1.8. I'm going to try and sell the broken lens on ebay, because I looked and people are actually buying them for about $30.

Strokes of summer

Have you noticed my red lips lately? I've decided I love bright red lipstick! Actually, it isn't lipstick, it's a gloss from Avon called Lots of Lacquer in Fever. Do you think it's okay to wear bright red everyday, or should I reserve it for particular looks only?

Strokes of summer

Weardrobe finally decided to let me in to their super special website (I tried to join a few months ago and was sent a rejection email). So if you are there, we should be friends!

Strokes of summer
The Rundown
Top Macys - Pants TJMaxx - Vest-Cardigan Express - Sandals Onex - Belt Thrifted - Bracelet The Cavernous Jewerly Box

I died so I could haunt you

If you visit me on Flickr, than you've heard this story already but otherwise...
About a week ago my camera was on my tripod when it fell face down to the ground. I can't tell you how, did I bump into it? Did the dog? The wind? All I know is the sheer panic when I saw it plummeting to the ground. And then the complete relief when I picked it up and everything was fine. No broken glass, still taking photos, still auto-focusing.
Little did I know, I was just on borrowed time. Yesterday I noticed my photos were looking a bit distorted, and not getting in focus. Confused, I went to look at the lens, when it fell into two pieces!
The little plastic bits which hold it together were clearly damaged in the fall, and after a few days, just broke off completely and caused the lens to separate.

I'm really upset about this, not even so much over the lens, but the fact that it happened to me. I'm not supposed to be this clumsy forgetful person. I have friends like that, ones who lose every cell phone they get or have broken half a dozen cameras.


Since I've had this camera I have lost* it, and now I've broken [a part of] it. WHO AM I?

Panda Scarf

The lens can't be fixed, it's plastic, and you can't just stick little plastic bits back together again. If I replace it, I have three choices.
1) the f1.8, the same lens for $100 which is cheap, and I've been generally happy with it.
2) the f1.4, for $350 with the biggest difference (as far as I'm concerned) being in regards to the bokeh. The bokeh on the 1.8 appears as hexagons, while the 1.4 has pretty, circular bokeh.
3) the f1.2, for $1,459 which is an actual, professional lens, and if I were somehow profiting from my photography, this would be a wonderful lens to have. Anyone want to give me money?

My brother thinks this is a good reason to get the f1.4, but I'm tempted to just re-buy the 1.8. Based on the plethora of bad reviews on Amazon, this is a common problem, second only to the auto focus failing after a year. That seems to be the life span of the this lens. So mine has lasted 9 months.

You are probably super bored, and not even reading anymore. Sorry!!!

I'll talk about the clothes now and stop sobbing.

Losing Daylight

I'm wearing two dresses again, I really like using the shirt dress as a layering piece now, which is so much better than having it sit around in my closet collecting lint. And this printed dress -- I never thought I would get so much use out of it, but this is the fifth time I've worn it this year. (Does that not sound like very much? Well I think it is. Especially for a dress with such a bold print.)

Panda Scarf

I'm trying to start wearing scarves more, since I have so many and it's starting to get cooler. This one I picked up in Italy for one euro. I should have gotten a bunch more to give as gifts, but I guess I wasn't thinking that far in advance.

It's also too soon for tights. I think I'm resisting until at least October, which will be here sooner than I think. Wearing tights will mean summer is truly gone. But boots are okay for now :)

The Rundown
Shirt Dress DKNY - Printed Dress Avon - Booties Steve Madden - Scarf Market in Italy

Panda Scarf

*I was taking a train home from New Haven, and in the station, the board said my train was on track 10. I go to the track, the train is there, I sit down, take off my bags, get settled - then a conductor tells me the train I'm on isn't leaving for half an hour and my train is on track 8! So I grab my things and RUN to track 8, make the train, get settled again, but, WHERE IS THE CAMERA BAG? Before I have a complete melt down, I go and find the conductor and tell him what happened. He calls the other train, and tells me to just wait at my stop, the other train will be by in half an hour. So I endure a painful 30 minutes and the other train pulls in, the door opens, the conductor has my camera bag. I almost give her a huge hug, but just thank her profusely.
And that is how I lost my camera.

Lesson in Impermanence

I can't decide what to talk about.
Yesterday I thought about making a skirt to go with my J. Crew antler tee. I had purchased some mustard plaid wool from the thrift store over a year ago and never done anything with it. So I folded it and held it up to me and started to pin it with straight pins.

I was really liking it, and that broach covered blazer from the J. Crew fall look book came to mind and I started swapping pins for broaches and arranging and rearranging until I had everything just so.

Lesson in Impermanence

But now that the 'skirt' is off and unpinned, I know I'll never quite be able to recreate it into something permanent. I'll just have to make the pencil skirt I'd originally intended and forget about this ruched ruffled one time only hodgepodge.

plaid and broaches
The Rundown
Top J. Crew - Sandals Nine West - Broaches and Bracelet The Cavernous Jewelry Box

Saturday I ventured into the Gap to seek out my tulip skirt. They had big sale signs in the window and I was hopeful.

I somehow managed to bring an armload of items into the dressing room...

 Tulip Skirt in Grey

Tulip Skirt in Black with the Boyfriend Button down

 Grey Striped Sweater Dress

Tweed Jacket

I am completely smitten with the boyfriend button down, which is currently reduced to $32, and the Jacket, currently $98 (aka no way is this happening until I can get it for 60% off).
I was certain that I was going to prefer the tulip skirt in the grey, but ended up getting the black. It had not been marked down, but the list of $34.50 wasn't too treacherous. Especially since I had rewards and a gift card!

While I was trying things on, one of the sales associates and I started talking, and she was really great. I was kind of wishing she were my friend. I wonder if that could be possible.

Oh--- the straw fedora was there. One size small is left. And it's finally been reduced to $16. But I already have a fedora. And summer is pretty much over. But I still want it. I think it's because I've got two dozen photos in my inspiration folder of fabulous outfits that include them. Do you think I should go back, or let it go?

As for my total, after all my rewards and gift certificate, I got the skirt for $7.97. I was pleased.

My outfit was pretty awesome too, I think.

"My humble assault on the commonplace."


The Rundown
Top Gap - Skirt TJMaxx - Jacket NY&Co. - Sandals Onex - Fedora Market in Italy - Bag Big Buddha - Ring American Eagle - Pin and Necklace The Cavernous Jewelry Box

We all know how to be Chic on the Cheap

Last week I asked you all to share with me your greatest steals, because what better way to celebrate my blog than sharing your stories?!

A huge thanks to all you lovely ladies who did; here they are!

"This was my formal dress last year. Not a typical formal dress (they're usually rather tacky over here, if I'm being honest) which is why I chose it. It was AUD$60 (or maybe it was 40?) which is about USD$55. Absolute steal as far as I'm concerned (especially considering the year before I'd spent almost 300 on my dress)! It was the first and only dress I tried on, and knew it was for me. "

- Romany of The Robins

"Joe (husband's) cousin was getting married, and I had nothing appropriate to wear, so rather than buy something, I convinced my mom to help me sew a dress. I bought a reproduction vintage pattern on sale, and fabric that was also on sale, and made the dress for about $30-40. The sweater and shoes I already owned, and they matched perfectly.

This was also my very first official outfit post on my blog, with me in the photo!

It was one of the first times I was very proud of spending little on something, with an awesome end result."

- Suze of MissVinylAhoy

"Ohoh! Amazing find! I found these Jeffrey Campbell shoes last week. They were $102.00 on Modcloth (the "Fashion is Art Heel"). Then, I did super searching and found them for $60.00 at another place, and with a coupon, got free shipping. Happy? YES SO MUCH, especially since my parents said they would buy them for me for homecoming, and that's strange since clothing is the one thing I have to buy myself. They came in the mail today. I LOVE THEM and literally flopped a bit when I saw the box, opened the box, licked the box, did inappropriate poses with the box and shoes, etc. :DDDD we both got our first pair of Jeffreys this year, Lyddie! yayay!~ "

- Ali of The Drawing Mannequin

"One day at Marshall's, I spotted a lone Giuseppe Zanotti shoe sitting on the shelf. Even with a price tag of $200, I tried it on to admire the beauty before reluctantly putting it back. I came back to Marshall's a few times after that and kept seeing the neglected heel without its mate - and getting one sale sticker after another added to it. The next time I stopped in, the clouds parted and angels sang - there it was, the missing shoe perched next to the original one. Now with a sale sticker for $40! Those babies were mine. And while I never did find the original retail price online, GZ shoes normally run around $700!"

- Jessica of Style Obsession

"Best steal? ER. I guess getting a shirt for free wasn't bad. Hahah. I actually like it; it's not one of those crappy tourist t-shirts, or anything!"

- Lexy of Quirky Explosion

"I think my favroite thrift store steal was a J. Crew animal print cardigan I got last for about $5, and it's in excellent shape. It;s one of my favorite items in my closet, and it's J. Crew - woot!"

- Mandy of .Clothes Coquette.

"I found a genuine leather vintage cowboy boots at Value Village for 9 dollars!

It was pretty special!"

- ML of Twenty York Street

"My fave cheap on the chic purchase as of recently has got to be the trench coat I just bought a few weeks ago - baby blue French Connection for $35, originally priced over $200."

- Ashley of Free Honey

"I do love finding rare treasures on the sales racks, even if the size is too big, you can always customize."

- Gypsy

"I've actually been finding some great finds on F21... although those aren't a hidden gem really are they? x"

- Jamie-Lee of Pagesixxx

As for my favorite steal, it's too tough to say, but the one which sparked the creation of this blog and is my first post, is probably worth retelling:

"I was in TJMaxx, (as I so often am, hehe) and I found this beautiful turquoise handbag by Charm and Luck for $80, with an original price tag of $376. While completely enamored with it, I knew I couldn't bring it home with me.
I hated leaving it. I thought about it constantly, and went back the following week thinking I was just going to have to buy it. But it was gone.
Then, two months later, in a different TJMaxx, we were reunited, and now the bag was marked down to $60!"

So I brought it home, and decided to blog about it.
And here we are.

The color of the yearLongest Day of the Year

The thrill of the deal is a feeling so elating it can become addicting, as I'm sure you well know.
So keep on shopping, bargain hunting, and sharing!!!

Things in real life

Another photo in the rain. And dark, it was sooo dark!

dont much care for rain

The Rundown
Skirt Desigual - Top TJMaxx - Jacket TJMaxx - Booties Steve Madden - Earrings Market in Italy

I'm beginning to worry about what I am going to do about outfit photos once it's dark at 6 pm when I get home from work. Last winter, I just didn't take any. But ever since March 16th I've been taking them every day (okay, I might have missed a few) and I don't really want to stop.

But I hate taking photos inside. And on camera flash is so unflattering! Morning photos...? I'm not usually that organized, and it's so much harder to get up when it's cold! What to do??

I'm really proud of this outfit, in the respect that I thought it up while drifting off to sleep last night, and when I put it on this morning, the reality matched my imagination. I know we've all had those outfits that seem like a great idea in our minds but just don't translate into reality. It's refreshing to see that they do work sometimes.

Something I've been thinking about today....

I spotted this over at Uber Chic for Cheap a few weeks ago.
I wish I were brave enough to make some changes, take some chances and you know, live.
Hope this will inspire someone.


This was not the outfit I was planning to wear today.

Favorite Floral

My debut for the new khaki pants was meant to be with something else, but things fell apart rather quickly when something I thought was clean was not to be found in the closet. Which is why even if you decide what you are going to wear the night before, it's still important to actually retrieve the items and have them at the ready.

The Rundown
Pants TJMaxx - Cardigan Gap - Cammi Gap - Sandals Nine West - Necklace Avon - Sunnies Kohls

But enough about the 'disappointment', when I have yesterday's outfit to talk about. As it was decidedly chilly and a bit rainy I had to make some kind of peace with pseudo-Fall and pulled out my favorite fall coat.

military inspiration

Navy, military inspired, and made of sweatshirt material, so it's wearable window is very small. With it, out came the red purse. Cranberry and Navy just feel right, and much as I love the tan cross-body bag, I've been schlepping it all spring and summer; the other bags were beginning to get jealous.

While digging through layers of cardigans tucked away in drawers, I happened upon the olive shirt, clearly out of place and begging to be among the other rich fall colors.

military inspiration

I wasn't going to put on tights. It's far too soon for tights. While I must confess, I adore every J. Crew model who rocks this look, I wonder about it on myself.

I was even feeling like going for a walk, and decided to use the old factory as my backdrop. I was really hoping I wouldn't encounter any pedestrians, but of course I did. I spied their approach and quickly crouched by the camera and peered through the view finder, fired off a few shots for good measure and hoped they would just keep walking.
But I was forced into having a conversion:
"Are you a photographer?"
"Do you work for the newspaper?"
no, just a hobby.
"What are you photographing?"
the old factory.
"For the newspaper?"

Military inspiration

There was no way I was going to say I was a fashion blogger. (The explanation would be far too lengthy). But I suppose it's hard for someone to wrap their brain around the idea that some girl in a skirt and ballet flats is wandering around with a tripod photographing old buildings.

Military inspiration
The Rundown
Coat Marshalls - Top Gap - Skirt NY&Co. - Shoes Tahari - Socks Kohls - Necklace Gap - Bag Big Buddha - Earrings TJMaxx - Broach Thrifted

Yes, I'm Cold

I'm just not ready for Fall. This cold feels so foreign and undesired. I know most of you are rejoicing, excitedly piling on cardigans and boots. But the frigid cool blowing in through my still open windows is making me depressed.

Yesterday I ventured out and did things, but not today. I stared longingly at my summer clothes and felt betrayed.  It took several cups of coffee and twice through my September magazines before I forced myself into clothing at a late and unmentionable hour of the day.

Just can't get there

Even still, the best I could manage was an outfit that might as well be pajamas -- leggings, long loose top, long loose wrap cardigan.

black and brown flats

Don't be fooled by the presence of footwear, these were only on during my brief time outdoors for taking these photos and walking the dog.
new belt

And after finally getting out of bed, I relocated to the couch and watched Breakfast at Tiffany's. So good. I cry at the end. And her style. Sigh... 

I also had an extended battle with blogger and my desire for a second sidebar. It was more challenging than I'd anticipated and now I don't know if I like it. But I suppose any change takes a bit to get used to, so we'll give it a go. Do let me know if it isn't laying out properly for you. I thought it might be nice to have a space to track my purchases and keep track of my monthly budget.

I have a few items to go up there!
Saturday I went to a church fair/tag sale and found a few things at the jewerly table I had to take home. Apparently I have a thing for gold lions, as I instantly fell for this lion crest pin for $1 (going to be so fabulous on my navy blazer!)

and these lion earrings for $3, which I'm not sure I will actually wear as earrings, but rather turn into something else.

I also picked up this skinny grey belt for 20 cents. How could I not?

My most expensive purchase at the fair was a huge bowl of peach shortcake for $5 -- so yummy!!

Then I went to TJMaxx and you will not believe my self restraint!! I only took four things into the dressing room and then only let myself buy two of them. I ended up with a pair of khaki pants for $15,

and this glittery burnout tee for $13.

I'm sad, I wasn't though with my summer wardrobe and am having trouble feeling excited for fall. I did see lots of red pants, fur, and animal prints, which I did rather enjoy. Maybe in a few more weeks I can start to embrace fall, but fingers still tightly crossed for another heat wave.