Friday, 31 May 2013

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 25-31

Here's what I wore this week! For more WIWW, please click here and here :)

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 25-May 31st

Why is it that work weeks following holiday weekends always seem twice as long? I swear it should have been Friday on Wednesday.....hope you all have a great weekend!

Truth in blogging: I've tried to show what I actually own, but if those items aren't available I've replaced them with visually similar items. I actually own: Saturday/Sunday/Monday's sandals, Tuesday's heels, Wednesday's scarf, Thursday's pants, and Friday's skirt and shrug.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hot Pink Madness Continues: Flowy Trousers 4 Ways

Yesterday I posted on a hot pink flowy dress, so it seems only appropriate to continue the theme with today's hot pink flowy sarong trousers from Zara.

These pants are a recent impulse purchase that I bought out of love before really thinking about what I had to wear with them. They arrived today...and I LOVE them. So comfy and chic! But as soon as I put them on, I was stumped as to how to wear them.

Luckily, I have on hand a growing polyvore collection of items in my closet (I use it for my What I'm Wearing Weekly posts). So I decided to play around with those items to see if the admittedly somewhat crazy trousers are a good addition to my closet. Here's what I've come up with:

Hot Pink Sarong Trousers

I think I've successfully convinced myself that these standout pants are remix-able enough to keep :) I even wore one of these outfits today!

If hot pink isn't your jam but you love the shape and the idea of basically going to work in your pajamas....they also come in green, ecru, black, and a fun boho print! I'm also tempted to add those beautiful maroon pants and the silky ecru pair with the unique pant hem to my shopping cart...

Zara Flowing Sarong Trouser options

Which outfit is your favorite?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hot Pink Summer Style: Four Ways

As noted previously, this funky spring weather has me all tie up in knots about summer, and all I want to do is bust out flirty fun flouncy summer dresses. Topping my list is this great hot-pink dress from Asos. 

It's breezy, loose but not frumpy, and it can be dressed up or down in so many ways:

Hot pink dress 4 ways

What are you craving lately?

Friday, 24 May 2013

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 18-24

Here's a representative of what I wore this week! For a past edition of my weekly wardrobe, click here.

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 18-24

Lots of repeat items throughout the week and from last week. My favorite outfits this week were Monday and Tuesday--both were so comfortable and I received nice complements. Warning: if you're contemplating buying those crazy awesome floral pants, be prepared for middle-aged men to stop you in the cafeteria to tell you they 'like your style' and that you remind them of the 'bottom half of a kimono'... :)

Truth in blogging: I own the following exact items (the rest are all just the closest matches I was able to find): Saturday's tank top, Sunday's chambray shirt, Monday's yellow top and shoes, Tuesdays's top, pants, and shoes, Wednesday's necklace, Thursday's shoes, and Friday's tank. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Real Life Decorating: Progress in our Basement

You know what the internet is awesome for? Discovering the work of new-to-you designers, gleaning inspiration from projects posted from around the world, and brainstorming new solutions to your problems based on the genius of others.

You know what the internet sucks for? Making you feel like your projects will never be as great as ones you see on your favorite blogs, making you wonder how others have the resources, finances, and time to create these dream homes seemingly in days, and creating a vicious cycle of little green monsters.

So I think it's time that I post on progress to my house, so I can keep things in perspective for myself. Although it seems like we're progressing at a turtle's pace on the projects we'd like to accomplish, when I look back at pictures I can appreciate how far we've come.

Here are some shots from our basement today:

Basement Progress, May 21, 2013

Yes, there are lots of projects left to do (no curtains or art, for one), but when I look back at where we started, I'm really proud of our progress:

Entry to Basement Progress:
Progress: Stairwall hallay

The entryway to the basement has become so much more welcoming with the addition of new floors, doors enclosing the laundry area, and a fun dresser and pretty artwork.

Future plans for this area:

  • Add trim to floorboards
  • Replace dresser with a more functional/less broken piece 
  • Add tray to top of dresser to corral small items
  • Replace closet curtain with real door
  • Add curtain to the window (not seen, but to the left directly across from dresser)

Fireplace Progress:

Basement Fireplace Progress

Our fireplace has seen the most dramatic change of the whole room. It started out lopsided, with more space to the left than to the right of the fireplace. It was wallpapered (??!) with an ugly brown faux-wood print, and the fireplace surround was a sooty, faux-marble mess. All that got ripped out and replaced with a cleaner, symmetrical drywall and paint job plus some pretty fireplace tile. We added a TV over the fireplace and fixed the janky ceiling.

Future plans:

  • Add a built-in bookcase to the right of the fireplace (hard to tell, but the right side is much deeper than the left).
  • Add a console table and artwork to the left of the fireplace
  • Finish the tile job (it has no caulk) and add a simple floating wood mantle
  • Add a slate or other stone slab to the hearth; cement the sides
  • Add a door to the side of the fireplace (where the hole currently is)
  • Add trim to the floor

Miscellaneous Progress:

Progress: Misc shots

Side note: I love how you can see how long it's been between the top right two photos because our puppy is so much larger now!

As you can see, we painted the entire room and fireplace. I wish the grey walls were a little warmer and less cement-y, but what're you gonna do. We finished the floors in a nice laminate, fixed the ceiling, and brought in our furniture.

Future plans:

  • Add artwork!
  • Add a top to the desk 
  • Get side tables for the sofa, or add a console table behind it
  • Add lamps to the sofa and a floor lamp for the chair
  • Add curtains to the window
  • Get an appropriately-sized rug
  • Replace the awful overhead lighting either with can lighting or just more lamps
So, although this is far, far from being published in any magazine or top design blog, I think it's important to take time to recognize the design for the average person does not happen overnight, and to acknowledge your own successes. I'd encourage you to photograph your own places periodically, because I really was shocked in looking back at these photos how much we HAVE accomplished. 

Now, tell me: most of our furniture in the basement consists of beige hand-me-downs that are much-appreciated and very comfortable. I love our sofa but hate its color. Would you pay to have it reupholstered, or work with it for now and just add color elsewhere?  And for the love of all that is holy, someone find me the perfect rug for this space. I'm so tired of trolling the interwebs....HELP!

Pricey vs. Plagiarized: Between a rock and a hard place?

I'm a big advocate for identifying the styles that you love and then filling your closet with items to make that style a reality. Since I'm not in a position to buy everything I love from Shopbop, Net-a-Porter, or Revolve Clothing, I often look to these stores for inspiration then find alternatives whose prices I can actually afford.

However, lately I've been noticing that some of my 'alternative' options are just a little toooooo close to the pricey inspiration item to be coincidence. Having been in school for the vast majority of my life, it's been drilled into my head that plagiarism is badbadbad. So how do designers get away with it?  Let's take a look:
Pricey vs. Plagiarized: Hudson booties, Lauren Hope necklace, DV dress

In each of these examples, I love the pricey version more than the ripoff, but not enough that I'd be willing to pay the ticket prices for the items on the left. But should I really be giving my hard-earned cash to the companies on the right, whose items are easier to stomach from a cost perspective but whose ethics in blatantly copying designs make my stomach turn just as much as the pricetags on the left?

Interestingly, the dress on the left was designed by the same company as the boots on the right, so perhaps designers all just borrow from each other and call it a draw on the concept that borrowing is circular and what goes around comes around?

What would you do? Suck up the pricetag for the original designs out of respect for the designers' originality (and, likely, superior quality), or save some cash on a stolen design?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Basement Bathroom Design Board

Since posting my bedroom design board a couple weeks ago, I've moved full-steam ahead on our bedroom. Sometimes it just takes a clear vision of what you'd like to see changed to really inspire you to make those changes!

So, with that concept in mind, I've put together an update to a past tentative plan for our basement bathroom.

I can't believe I'm even posting this picture, it's so disgusting. But hey, all in the name of truth and honesty in blogging, right?

Here's what we're working with:

This bathroom is tiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnny, and while it needs major upgrades to become less-embarassing, we're also not sure how much longer we'll be in this house, so it doesn't make sense to pour big bucks into a quasi-temporary living situation. 

The problems with this bathroom include (and definitely are not limited to):
  • Small size means limited storage space
  • Only one window, off-center on the wall
  • No matter how much it gets scrubbed it never feels clean
  • Vanity, shower, and shelving (not shown, to the left of the shower) are all grimy and falling apart
  • There's no way to reconfigure the space without major reconstruction
  • There are two bedrooms downstairs and usually 4 people using the bathroom
With those problems in mind, this is what I'm thinking to make this bathroom functional and pretty:

Plan for Basement Bathroom

In case this board isn't clear, here are the general plans:

  • Rip out the tile, shower, vanity with mirror, and not-pictured shelving to the left of the shower
  • Replace shower with tile and shower curtain
  • Replace vanity with Ikea's Hemnes set (already bought the sink on super sale)
  • Replace shelving with some sort of free-standing shelving/furniture piece, like Ikea's Fabrikor; add storage containers like these Container Store bins
  • Replace gross green tile with wood-look ceramic tile that matches the laminate flooring in the rest of the basement
  • Paint the walls a very light blue
  • Add storage between the studs over the toilet; conceal the storage with frames on hinges like above
  • Add the three Claire Elsaesser prints (already in our bathroom!) to the frames
  • Add rustic nails below the window for hanging towels (already purchase!)
  • Remove the hideous green blinds (like, seriously?! Who LIKES those things?!?!) and replace either with simple white or bamboo shades or frost the window
  • Style the toilet with a plant, candle, and matches
  • Tile the toilet/vanity wall on the lower half; add wood shelf across that whole wall on top of the tile below the mirror
The basic idea is to make the room feel as large as possible, with lots of storage (sneaky storage behind the framed stud dealios, normal storage in the vanity, open storage in the shelving). We want to design the shower so that when not in use, we can just pull the curtain to the side, make the room much larger. And a fresh paint job will do wonders, especially in a clean, light color like the light blue above.

Here's what it's going to take:

Purchase list for bathroom

What are your thoughts? How do you make the most of a tiny bathroom on a budget?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 12-17

I'm a fan of style blogs and street style images to help jumpstart my creativity with my own wardrobe. But sometimes, I look at what style bloggers are posting and just think, WHERE could they possibly be wearing that?!

Case in point: 

Blazer, distressed boyfriend jeans, heels, grey tee, fancy statement necklace. I actually really like this outfit, so I'm not trying to dog on the style--but where in the world would one wear it? Not at my work, and it's too dressy to take in a game and too uncomfortable to run errands in. No. Not happening.

I get that a lot of style bloggers work in the creative field where more casual/creative dressing is perfectly acceptable...but a lot of us don't work in a similar environment and yet we still want to dress cute and creatively.

Sooooo for anyone who works in a work environment like mine, I've decided to start posting what I wear on a regular basis*. I work in a hospital, where matching pant suits are not the norm, nor are jeans or Tshirts. Most of my female coworkers wear dress skirts or pants and a nice top, or simple dresses. Most of my male coworkers where slacks and a dress shirt, with or without a tie.

The goals of posting my outfits are 3-fold and mostly selfish: 1) To give readers a closer glimpse at my own style, because I always like to read blogs where you get a sense of who the author is; 2) to provide some outfit ideas for those of us that work in a slightly more restrictive environment than many style bloggers; and 3) to give me a working library of outfits I've worn, so that on those mornings when nottttttthhhhhing is working, I can just pull up one of these posts and recreate a look that's worked for me in the past. Lazylazylazy!

Here's what I put together this week:

What I'm Wearing Weekly: May 12

Another thing that is sometimes frustrating when reading style blogs is how many times you see "c/o," meaning that the item was gifted. Most of us don't have that blessed side-effect of our jobs, so we tend to work with a set wardrobe that needs to be remixed to get the best use. I think it will be interesting for me to see which items I wear the most and least, and to challenge myself not to repeat outfits just because I'm lazy.

What's your favorite outfit this week?

*Confession: I don't actually own all of the exact items on this board, but I own most of them and have found items that look similar to those that I have that are no longer available. This week, I actually own the following exact items shown: Monday's dress and boots, Tuesday's chambray shirt, Wednesday's dress (I've removed the ruffle) and heels, Thursday's shoes and skirt, and Friday's tank, pencil skirt, and heels.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

How To: Remove Tarnish from Metal Lamps

Recently I snagged a pair of lamps from a new-to-me Etsy shop Ramona Morningbird. The listing photos looked like this:

I was so excited to find these lamps, as I've been searching high and low for a matching pair of square-based metal lamps for our bedroom, as seen in this post.

I knew from the photos that I'd be needing to polish the brass lamps to remove some of the tarnish. The lamps arrived quickly and were very well-packaged (kudos to the shop owner!), but as suspected they were a bit grimier than I would like for something I'll be sleeping next to.

So I found this tutorial on how to polish brass lamps. I adapted the 'beauty mask' recipe they provide--I didn't have white vinegar on hand, so I used some apple cider vinegar. Therefore, my recipe for the beauty mask was: 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 cup salt.

The instructions on the tutorial say to leave the paste on for a few hours, but I found that it stripped the grime within minutes, if not seconds, after application of the paste. Don't believe me? Here are the results:

Cameo appearance credit: my puppy Charli :)

This looks like shadow effect, but it's not--the left side is the 'before' and the right side is after applying the mask for a couple minutes.

The biggest surprise, other than how quickly and well the mask worked, is that my lamps are actually copper, not brass!


Aren't they gorgeous!?! I wasn't actually able to remove all of the marks that I had planned, but I like them flaws and all--gives them character! Now I just need to buy a couple of these rectangular shades, trim the shades in a dark ribbon, and plug these bad boys in :)

What's been your latest, greatest Etsy find??

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Flirty Summer Dress Roundup

It was 90 degrees in the Utah desert today, and I've been craving flirty, loose, breezy dresses. Here are some of my favorites!

Flirty Summer Dresses

Which one's your favorite?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Weekly Wishlist: Rainbow Bright

This week's Weekly Wishlist is composed of a bunch of items I used in last week's posts that I'm still drooling a gorgeous dress from Modcloth that is a serious contender for a college reunion and a wedding I have coming up this summer:

Weekly Wishlist: Technicolor Goodness

If I bought the dress and earrings, I could use existing items in my wardrobe (bangles, leather clutch, similar wedges) and rock the outfit on the left to my summer events. Then, to get more mileage out of that beauty, I'd wear the dress with a jean jacket and sandals for a weekend soiree!


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Remixing Wardrobe: Red skirt and patterned tank

Like I said in a recent post, I think that has been killing it recently. I just put in an order for two items from this past week's weekly wishlist, so I decided to virtually imagine how I'll be able to mix them into my wardrobe.

Luckily, the two pieces, a patterned tank and a flirty red skirt, play together nicely. So it's easy to imagine the two together, either at work with a blazer and briefcase, or as a more casual outfit with flat sandals and a fun bag.

New Clothes Two Ways

Each piece is really versatile on its own, too. The red skirt can be dressed up or down and paired with lots of fun colors:

Red Skirt 4 Ways

Top left: I'd wear this to a fun party--those shoes deserve to go somewhere special!
Top right: Lately I'm loving lavender and red together. I'd wear this to work with a white jacket or out to a nice dinner with my man :)
Bottom left: A couple boho-inspired items make the skirt casual. I'd wear this to a concert!
Bottom right: I actually bought this polkadot/giraffe shirt (I find it hilarious) and returned it...because I didn't think I had enough outfits/places to wear it. Stupidstupidstupid, I could wear it shopping with my red skirt!

The tank I bought is a fun mix of patterns and a flattering shape. I thought up a few ways I want to wear it:

Tribal tank 4 ways

Top left: Dress the shirt down with flat T-strap sandals (so much more chic than flipflops, and just as comfy!), cutoffs with lace, and some simple earrings and a bag.
Top right: Surprisingly, the fact that the shirt already has a couple patterns makes it even easier to mix with MORE patterns. Although these white dotted jeans are meant for skinny-minnies, not ladies with junk in the trunk like myself, I still want to wear this whole outfit out for drinks with the girls!
Bottom left: The tank can be easily dressed up for work with a white blazer, black heets, and black pants with a special accent stripe.
Bottom right: Casual skinny jeans, rolled on the bottom, look so cute with fun wedges. Cinch your waist with a red belt and add a studded tote, and you're ready for anything.

What do you think? How would you wear these pieces?

Friday, 10 May 2013

Daisy Buchanan Circa 1922/2013

Well my last post certainly drew a crowd! Glad to see so many people are product nerds like me :) If you're new to my blog, welcome! Happy to have you.

I'm sure many of you are just as excited as I am for the new Gatsby movie (and, like me, many of you are probably equally excited for the costumes as the story!). In honor of that great novel that everyone reads in English lit, I've rounded up some beauuuuuutiful jewelry from Bauble Bar.

Here's what I think Daisy Buchanan would be rocking back in 1922, and how she'd reimagine her style if she were transported 91 (!!) years in the future:

Daisy Buchanan Circa 1922/2013

I personally would love to own any of these beautiful pieces, but have my eye especially set on the gold aztec neckalce and the cuff on the lower right!

Annnnnnd, in celebration of the weekend, I've put together 3 outfits inspired by these lovely gems. I have plans to go out with the girls tonight, and this is what I'd love to wear, if only I could be so lucky:

Bar Hopping with Daisy Buchanan