Sunday, May 29, 2016

Channeling My Inner, "Dude"

   Lately I’ve been forced to relearn a hard lesson.  As of about two weeks ago I decided it was time for a career change.  Sometimes you just know when it’s time to move on.  For someone who has absolute disdain for anything different, this is a major happening.  On the other hand, I’m beginning to realize there’s a certain freedom that comes with change that is truly awesome.  Basically, I’m learning to let go.
   If you know me personally you’re aware of the fact that I love listening to music on my turntable.  I even have a special room in my house devoted specifically to this activity.  This room consists of a vintage record player, many crates full of my treasured albums, and one lovely Indian carpet that I lie on.  In fact, I think there’s probably a worn section in the shape of my silhouette on this rug's surface.  Now I'll admit there's been several times I’ve considered investing in a piece of furniture, in order to enjoy my music more comfortably.  As time goes by it seems to be getting progressively harder to relax on a hardwood floor and not have, "dead legs," upon standing.  However, I just can’t seem to take the leap to legitimate seating.  I guess I've always liked lying on the floor.  It just seems so bohemian,…so not adult-like…so, “Dude...ish."
   Yes, I’ll admit it.  I’m one of the MANY individuals who adore the movie, “The Big Lebowski.”  Not only does this film have one of the finest soundtracks, it contains possibly the most inspiring character I’ve ever been introduced to.  “The Dude,” is one of those personalities I’ve always aspired to be.  For God’s sake the man walks around in public wearing Cowichan sweaters and Jelly shoes!  He unabashedly writes checks for under a dollar and seems to never get bent out of shape about anything…unless it has to do with someone peeing on his favorite rug…because as we all know, “That rug really tied the room together!”  Basically, what it comes down to is, “The Dude,” possesses a version of Zen that almost seems attainable when one is lying on their favorite Indian carpet while listening to Bob Dylan.  In addition, combine this with the fact that I now find myself temporarily between jobs and I feel like I may have finally unlocked the door to, “The Dude’s,” universe!  
   As a result of my recent change of pace, I’ve noticed my wardrobe altering.  I find myself drawn to the, “ugly,” pants in my closet.  They’re just so darn comfortable!  I also seem to be wearing a wallet chain.  What tha?!  Lastly, I've finally unearthed my Jelly shoes, which seem like a real no-brainer now.  One won’t find a more comfortable option for footwear out there…except when a rock gets stuck in the sole of them.  Yep, that sucked when it happened in fourth grade and it still sucks now!  Upon taking pictures of this ensemble I gasped at the realization that, “I’m starting to transform into, “The Dude!”  One would think that a 36 year old female style blogger would be horrified by this thought, but I must admit I was excited.
   I find great comfort in letting the quest for perfection go.  For as long as I can remember I’ve always tried to create a facade of faultlessness.  I seem to need people to like me.  I want others to refer to me as, “That witty girl who never stops making me laugh.  You know the one who always wears the fantastic outfits, and can you believe she’s in her late 30’s?!” 
   Of course, looking at these pictures now and reflecting on my favorite movie character I find myself asking, “What would, “The Dude,” want others to say about him?"  The only answer I can come up with is, “The Dude,” would never think of something as trivial as that.”  It now seems clear that, “The Dude,” is only concerned with HIS daily interests and of course, the condition of his rug.  Lying here now on my rug, wearing my Jelly shoes, I find myself only concerned with whether to put Stevie Wonder or Fleetwood Mac on the old turntable.  I look down at my beloved carpet and find myself smiling at the idea that, “Boy, this rug really does tie the room together.”

T Shirt:  Junk Food
Jeans:  Thrifted
Shoes:  Thrifted
Purse:  Frye
Wallet Chain:  (Gift from a friend)
Bracelet:  Thrifted

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Haute Hang-Up (Project Lydia)

   It occurred to me the other day that it’s been quite a while since I’ve written specifically about what I’m interested in.  In fact, I’ll take that statement even further by clarifying it’s been a long time since I’ve even had time to consider what I like.  Rather suddenly, I find myself with a lot of free time.  In the past this has proven to be a negative thing for this admitted worry wart.  However, this time I'm committed to treating this period of down time as a gift.  I mean, "Hey, most gifts are surprises, right?"
   I think it’s pretty obvious that blogging is something I really enjoy.  During this last week it's been a most welcome distraction from the questions that lie ahead.  I can’t tell you what a luxury it’s been to be able to turn off my brain and think of frivolous things like, “What is my new Haute Hang-Up?”  I was surprised to identify this as something I’ve been overlooking for quite some time.  I’m pleased by the fact that I’ve taken notice of an accessory that I wear so often I simply forget about it.  Maybe I’ve finally found one of those style items that inherently defines me.  See, down time philosophizing can be full of gifts.
   As a result of all this deep thinking, I decided that my new, "Haute Hang-Up," is the fair trade jewelry of Project Lydia.  Let me explain that Project Lydia is an organization that helps East African women, who have been abandoned or widowed, overcome adversity.  Not only does Project Lydia teach a skilled trade to these women, it allows them to form a support system among their peers.  Through purchasing this jewelry, made from vibrantly colorful recycled paper, an individual can feel confident about contributing to a group of people in great need.  Not only that, but these pieces are just so cool!
   Sitting here now I question why I haven’t previously featured the jewelry of Project Lydia on this blog.  I hate to admit it but I can’t get away from the idea that I felt like fair trade jewelry is just not glamorous enough for a fashion blogger.  I guess I’ve always had it in my head that a real style blogger is required to spend major, "moolah," on their accessories.  However, lately with all the unexpected events happening, I find myself questioning a lot of things.  I've come to the conclusion that life doesn’t have to be a certain way just because I’m used to it being that way.  Change can be positive, even if it’s unexpected.  Simultaneously, just because things have altered doesn’t mean one has to completely abandon their previous perspectives.  Basically the philosophy is, new is good but that doesn’t mean that the old was bad.  Whew, why do I get the feeling that wasn’t just about jewelry? 
   Anyway, I chose Project Lydia’s jewelry as my new, "Haute Hang-Up," because I wear a piece of it almost every day.  Is it the most impressive accessories I own?  No.  However, it’s probably the most diverse.  I recommend Project Lydia pieces as a base item.  As you can see in the pictures above, their bracelets are fantastic for stacking and easy to combine with any other jewelry one may own.  For example, I chose to combine one of my more expensive bracelets into the mix to help give a higher end feel to this look, while still creating a lot of volume at a low cost.  While I featured only the bracelets of Project Lydia in this post I believe it’s worth mentioning they have an awesome assortment of recycled paper necklaces as well.  I'm absolutely addicted to a blue one I purchased a while back and plan to use the same technique of combining pieces in order to give it a more expensive feel.
   In conclusion, here I sit loaded down with jewelry and nowhere to go.  I contemplate why it took me so long to realize how much I like the pieces of Project Lydia.  I also question where I may have it on in the future.  The only thing I do know is I have some wonderful memories of wearing it in the past.  With all the changes that have been going on lately in my life it's comforting to know that these good memories are one thing that will always remain constant.

Outfit #1
Vest:  Thrifted 
Jeans:  Liverpool
Moccasins:  Minnetonka
Sunglasses:  Vintage  (Anne Klein)

Outfit #2
Jumpsuit:  Anne Taylor LOFT  (Lou & Grey)

Both Outfits Include
Stacked Bracelets:  Project Lydia
Statement Bracelet:  Johnny Loves June
Purse:  Vintage  (Sharif)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Well Has Run Dry

   Lately, the wonderful world of thrifting has left me unsatisfied.  I’m happy to report that this is something that rarely occurs.  Usually, I’m able to find at least one treasure each time I explore the local thrift store circuit.  However, recently I’ve ended up empty handed more often than not.  Now, I understand the joys of thrifting heavily revolve around the hunt.  Unfortunately, the hunt really sucks when you find yourself leaving, "the field," with nada.  I find myself wondering, “Am I just wearing the wrong kind of camouflage?”
   I can confidently state that, I don’t believe the problem lies with a decline in my thrifting skills.  Yes, I wrote, “skills.”  Like any other sport, the activity of thrifting requires a certain level of expertise.  The first thing one must master is the art of patience.  Reading this post now, you must be thinking that this is something I need to work on.  However, I would argue that patience is one of my strongest attributes when regarding shopping.  Especially when I'm in search of one of a kind vintage items that have a, “Made In Italy,” tag on them.  Yep, there’s no better motivation to march onward than that.
   The second thing needed for a successful thrifting trip is an undiscriminating eye.  What I mean by this is one can't walk into a Goodwill store without expecting to encounter some pretty hideous stuff.  Now remember people, these are garments that other individuals have given away.  Not only does it take patience to sort through the, “outcasts,” of other people, it also takes a certain level of tolerance to mentally makeover some of these items.  For example, when you pull a shirt off the $3.00 rack at St. Vinny’s and you think, “My God! It’s like this brand tried to copy Ralph Lauren’s nautical line by having an actual drunken sailor make this shirt!”  Seriously people, I own a shirt that I believe was a result of this type of thing.  Now, I could have picked this item up, laughed heartily, and returned it to its’ undoubtedly doomed existence among other musty misfits.  However, that shirt had no idea who it was dealing with.  I removed it gingerly from its’ rack, unsure whether to laugh or gag, and instantly started planning how I was going to style it.  Basically the lesson to be learned here is, a true thrifter never walks away from a challenge.
   Lastly, I believe thrifting requires a certain amount of intuition.  Okay, lets get real here.  I like to think of myself as kind of psychic when it comes to finding treasures.  “That’s crazy!” you think.  “Ha!”…Okay, yeah it probably is.  However, I don’t care.  I can’t help but believe that I seem to have some kind of special talent for knowing when something is waiting for me at the thrift store.  It’s like I’ll be driving somewhere else and my, “sixth shopping sense,” will flare up and command me to hang an immediate U-turn and head back towards Savers because someone gave up all their vintage western wear!
   I guess the point of this post revolves around the fact that I’m proud of my ability to successfully thrift most of my wardrobe.  Unfortunately, as of late, I have had absolutely no luck while shopping secondhand.  It had gotten to the point where I had actually started considering buying NEW clothing.  However, I was majorly dismayed to come to the conclusion that I don’t like the new clothing I see in the boutiques.  What can I say, nothing looks like it was constructed by an intoxicated hairy dude with an anchor tattooed on his chest.  I was starting to feel a bit panicked until last night.  I was driving to meet my parents and suddenly I got that tingle.  Despite the fact I was going to be late for our meeting, I went out of my way to dodge into the old Goodwill.  I walked in the door and straight to the counter where… “Hallelujah!”  There they were waiting for me, a never been worn pair of, Made In Italy, Via Spiga sandals size 8.5.  Now when I hit my next dry spell I have an amazing pair of shoes to do a rain dance in.

(All items pre-owned except for the shoes and purse.)
Jacket:  Gap
Shirt:  Mossimo Supply Co.
Pants:  Ann Taylor LOFT
Sneakers:  New Balance
Purse:  Ivanka Trump 
Earrings:  Vintage
Necklace:  Vintage (Avon)
Sunglasses:  Vintage

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nailed it with the Necklace!

   It feels kind of odd to be posting pictures that show snow on the ground when those of us in South Dakota are finally experiencing spring weather.  However, that’s the world of blogging.  Unfortunately, at this time my life consists of nothing but work and Starbucks so the last time I really had a chance to take any photographs of myself was quite a while ago.  Heck, the last time I wore actual civilian clothing seems like eons ago.  These days if I’m not wearing a polo shirt with a logo on it, I feel glamorous.  Sometimes it takes very little to make me happy.
   Returning to the topic at hand, I hope to be able to have a chance to take some pictures soon.  It would be a nice change to show a little bare arm in a photograph…or at least a wrist.  Yes, a wrist would be excellent, considering I have a fairly large collection of bracelets that I would like to feature on this blog.  Of course, I haven’t had the chance to do so, due to bulky sweater season.  Yep, it’s time to justify all those bangle purchases at Goodwill.  Bracelet season here I come!
   However, as far as the above photographs are concerned, my jewelry options were a bit limited.  This is really unfortunate considering I often find the right accessories can totally, "make," an otherwise boring ensemble.  Yeah, it may be cheating, but sometimes I just can’t muster the enthusiasm to construct an interesting outfit.  It’s just so much easier to throw on a nice statement necklace and wait for the compliments to come.  “Wow, I like that necklace!” you may hear and suddenly other individuals remember a, “Ho, Hum,” look as, “That really cool necklace!” 
   Does this so-called style blogger feel guilty relying on one impressive accessory to carry her entire look?  Nah, when you really think about it, women do this all the time.  Ask yourself, “How often do I see an individual decked out in yoga pants and Louis Vuitton?  It’s like these people think, “Yeah, my outfit sucks, but I dare you to say that to my purse.” 
   While I don't indulge in the knit pant craze, I'm extremely partial to wearing jeans.  I can truthfully say this goes double when there’s snow on the ground.  Of course, now that I’ve made that statement I feel pressure not to wear jeans anytime in the near future, considering I believe we’re finally in the clear as far as that white stuff goes.  Hey, maybe snow isn’t so bad.  It allows me to freely indulge in my favorite fashion crutch, while simultaneously giving me the perfect excuse to continue buying more jewelry.
   Keeping all of this in mind, I wanted to write a post regarding the necklace I’m wearing in the above photographs.  On the two recent occasions I wore it I was feeling rather underwhelmed by my ensembles.  I guess I felt like the best part of both these looks was my necklace.  I want to clarify, as of now this piece is a favorite in my collection.  Honestly, it darn well should be since I ended up nearly risking life and limb just to obtain it.  It's a fact I actually purchased it during a surprise deluge that had me stranded in my car for about three hours after I left the store.  What we won’t do for fashion, right?
   In closing, I take comfort in the idea that my outfit can basically be crappy as long as I have one, “Wow,” piece on.  Interestingly enough, while looking at these photographs I do acknowledge the fact that my necklace is not all that visible in these pictures.  Presently, I find myself thinking, “Hey, those outfits weren’t as bad as I thought they were.”  I wonder, “Maybe the power of this necklace isn’t based on its' ability to perfect a look.  Maybe its’ magic has more to do with how it makes me feel."  If this hypothesis is true just think how awesome my self-esteem will be when I add about five bracelets into the mix.  Yep, I’m building armor out of jewelry.  A warrior never looked so good. 

Outfit #1
Coat:  London Fog
Vest:  Flying Tomato
Jeans:  Kasil Workshop
Moccasins:  Lucky Brand
Hat:  Wooden Ships
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade

Outfit #2
Coat:  Nick & Mo
Jeans:  Liverpool 
Boots:  Juicy Couture
Purse:  Jonathan Adler

  Necklace:  Vintage  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sewing the Seeds of Style

   I’m a big fan of theme dressing.  Often I construct my wardrobe around recent interests.  Of course these topics are likely to change at the drop of a hat, (a very stylish hat, of course.)  Yes, it would be accurate to define me as a, “flavor of the month,” fashionista.  I may be fickle regarding each of my obsessions, however this makes me no less passionate in regards to my enthusiasm towards them.
    By the looks of the above photographs, my current fixation seems centered on the topic of spring.  "Despite these interests, how does one end up wearing a tacky sweater covered in embroidered seed packets and define themselves a style conscious individual?” you wonder.  “Well, I’ll tell you how,” I answer.  Basically, there are certain themes I’m constantly drawn to in regards to clothing.  Simultaneously, I’m not proud to admit I’ve temporarily fallen victim to many unflattering trends.  For example, "Damn you Pepperidge Farm for destroying skinny jeans!"  Wait, I didn’t mean that.  I love your cookies more than any glamour shot in tight denim.  Besides, it's a fact this throwback was meant to wear bell bottoms from birth.  Keeping this last statement in mind, it wouldn't be uncommon for a flighty individual like me to get heavily interested in Goth music for a few weeks, sparking the decision to only wear black for the rest of the month.  Of course considering my often over the top behavior, I'd probably opt for a look combining not only lots of black, but also multiple bejeweled cross necklaces and black leather fingerless gloves.  Wait, how did I transform the Goth scene into 1980's Madonna?  Easy, I’ve been staring at pictures of her for months now so don’t be surprised if reminiscent images start sneaking into my blog photos.  Like I said, "I’m fickle."  One day it’s granola and tattered Levi’s, the next it’s espresso and rabbit fur coats. the way, make that coffee a decaf, please.
   Returning to the topic at hand, my present passion seems to revolve around the subject of spring.  This is not surprising considering I’m an individual who works in the horticulture industry and currently my life is consumed by this season.  Basically, I’m surrounded by flowers constantly and I can’t seem to get them off my mind!  I know, an existence that revolves around the varied topics of Madonna, cookies, and Mother Nature is just no way to live…unless, one has a crazy seed packet sweater to openly advertise their idiosyncrasies!  I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that even though I have constantly evolving interests, my main passion has always revolved around the truly strange.  Basically, if I pull something from a thrift store rack and think, “What the heck is this?!,” it’s most likely going home with me.  Of course, lately if this happens and the item in question possesses traits remotely related to anything green and growing it’s undoubtedly my new favorite thing.  I mean, I work at a greenhouse.  I have every excuse to own a sweater with needlepoint eggplants on it.
   I have to admit the real reason I purchased the sweater I’m wearing in the above photographs was to wear during the children's tours I guide at my workplace.  In fact, I’ve bought several eccentric nature inspired pieces over the years based on the intention of amusing kids.  I reasoned if my often boring and robotic speeches can’t hold their attention, my clothing ought to.  However, it’s not uncommon for me to obtain one of these, “crazy,” articles of clothing only to realize, “Hey, I think I bought this sweater for myself!  This is way too cute to wear to work, only to get dirty.”  All of a sudden, I’ve got a closet full of plant inspired patterns and no inkling of how they got there.  “Does this wardrobe really say Madonna?” I ponder.
   Despite my doubts, I stand by my growing collection of nature inspired clothing.  I figure, “Yeah I’m a flower child, in more ways than one.”  Besides, those black leather fingerless gloves I bought during Goth week only made my hands hot anyway.  Who wants to eat Pepperidge Farm cookies with sweaty fingers?

Sweater:  Thrifted  (Ugly sweater rack at Savers)
Skirt:  Ann Taylor LOFT
Boots:  J. Jill
Purse:  Frye
Necklace:  Thrifted
Ring:  Purchased at a craft fair
Sunglasses:  Kenzo