Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- Metallic Wingtip Oxfords

Are you all getting sick of reading about my obsession with oxfords? Well, then, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you have to endure yet ANOTHER post about a fabulous pair of oxfords that may or may not have made their way into my closet on Black Friday. I swear, I went out looking for tights and belts and I came home with shoes and belts instead. (As well as some funky jewelry from Forever 21 and some really incredible make-up from Sephora.) Anyway, these shoes are so fun and funky and I can't wait to wear them!

Metallic Wingtip Oxfords, Charlotte Russe, $27*

*I actually paid $20.25 for them because there was a special 25% discount on Black Friday. Whoo-hoo! 

And since it's SHOESDAY TUESDAY, you all know the drill- TWEET! And use the hashtag #ShoesdayTuesday. It's all one word with a # in front of it (nospaces). No specific theme today- just shoes in general.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Alert: New Item for Sale in My ETSY Shop!

I took advantage of the extra time I had over the Thanksgiving holiday to knit a few things. I decided to put at least one of them in my Etsy shop since my hand-knit items have been the most popular things there. My mom was nice enough to model this neck warmer for me:

As you can see from the photos, there are two distinct ways to fasten the buttons for two completely different styles. I prefer option #1 with the buttons fastened horizontally, but my mom preferred the vertical button method with the bottom 2 buttons left un-done. Honestly, they're both great looks, but this warmer is versatile not only because of the buttons, but also because it's completely unisex. 

The neck warmer is knit using a wool/acrylic blend of super chunky yarn which makes it very warm and cozy. The color is pretty neutral, so it will go with just about anything. It's a great layering piece to wear either under a warm winter coat or over a cozy sweater. It will also make an excellent Christmas present! Act fast- there's currently only one available in my Etsy Shop! 

If you love the style, but you would like a different color, you can email me to discuss the details. If you love it as it is and would like to purchase it, just visit the listing in my Etsy Shop

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Studio Nouveau ROCKS my world!

I know you all have been dying to see the new dresses that I made for myself before starting my new job. I wanted to wait to show them to you because my stupendously talented friend Kate from Studio Nouveau took pictures of me in each of them and I wanted to save the "reveal" for when I had HER photos, not the cheesy ones I take by myself with my tripod. I have to be honest- I don't think I have EVER look this good in a photograph, professional or otherwise:

There is something magical that I love about the combination of cool grey and warm yellow. It melts my heart and makes me drool a little bit. When we had our photo session, the foliage was literally at its peak. I even checked online to find out the actual dates of peak foliage for our area and the day we took these photos was smack in the middle of the "peak" week for southern New Hampshire. In addition, on this particular day, the sun was shining and the air was crisp, but not cold. We ended up shooting at a local library- both inside and out. 

I will reveal more of these amazing photos soon, so you can see not only my latest creations, but also Kate's amazing talent. She really is incredible. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

CVS is turning me into a HOARDER!

I love CVS. I've had an ExtraCare card for as long as I can remember. And my name on it has been spelled "Mr. Remnee Bochard" for as long as I've had it. Tragic, I know. But I tolerate the butchering of my (quite elegant and very French) name because they hook a girl up with some serious discounts. Friends, if you do not have an ExtraCare card, get on it! Here are some examples:

A few weeks ago, I stopped in to pick up some shampoo. I'm a fan of Pantene's Color Preserve Volume shampoo and conditioner. I like to buy the large bottles when I see them on sale. On this particular day, they were discounted from $7.99 to $5.99. Unfortunately, the only thing left on the shelves was the conditioner. No problem- I stocked up on two large bottles and then got a rain check for the shampoo. In addition, my favorite toothpaste (Sensodyne) was on special. If I spent $10 on that brand of toothpaste, I would receive 5 "Extra Bucks." In the world of CVS, that's literally 5 free dollars. In addition, my facial moisturizer of choice- Skin Effects- was ALSO on special- if I spent $20 on that brand, I would receive an addition 5 "Extra Bucks." Oh, and I almost forgot- I had scanned my ExtraCare card when I first entered the store and got a coupon for 2 "Extra Bucks" to be used on anything in the store.

So, here's what I did- I first went to the register and bought the moisturizer and the toothpaste. Ding-ding! Two coupons for 5 Extra Bucks was handed right over. I then used those Bucks to pay for the already discounted conditioner. Fully stocked on conditioner, moisturizer and toothpaste, I went on my merry way with a rain check in my pocket to boot!

Some might have waited a while and gone back with the rain check after a week or so. Not me! The next day, I hit a different CVS that happened to have my shampoo in stock, so I got it at the discounted price without even using the rain check! Cha-ching!

Total saved from those two trips? $20! Yes, I spent about $40 in order to get that discount, but I purchased the products and brands that I prefer to use every day. I didn't compromise and get the discounted "generic" version, which often isn't nearly as good as the real thing and also not THAT much less expensive. And a $20 savings isn't too shabby- instead of spending around $60, I only spent about $40.

If you aren't impressed with that story, let me tell you another CVS shopping tale that might cause you to raise and eyebrow (or two). Tonight, on my way home from work, I swung into the original CVS where I got the rain check. The sale had passed and my Pantene was back to the normal $7.99/bottle price. I got a couple of bottles with the plan to use my rain check. I also swung by the hair dye section where I normally purchase a box of Revlon's dark brown hair dye. It's an inexpensive brand, but after experimenting with many different versions of "dark brown," it just so happened that one of the less expensive brands was the one I liked best. It normally sells for about $5/box. However, about once a year, CVS sells the dye in 2-box sets for only $5 each. We're talking a 50% discount right there. Finally, I needed some new lip color. L'Oreal is one of my every-day lip color favorites, and there happened to be a sale on the Endless lipstick line- 75% off. What is normally a $12 tube of color was suddenly less than $3!

Here's the breakdown from that trip:

Money saved due to rain check: $4
Money saved due to packaging discount- $10
Money saved due to make-up special- $17. 70

But it doesn't stop there! I had also received an email offering me a discount of $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. Even with my discounts listed above, I still qualified for the additional coupon which brought my total down from about $60 to $22.85! (Side note: the coolest part about the email coupon is that they scan the bar code straight off the screen on my smartphone- how cool is that?!?!Technology just blows my mind sometimes!)

To sum up, in the last two weeks, I have spent about $63 at CVS on products that I need and use every single day and I have also saved a total of $55 thanks to special discounts, coupons and smart shopping. Are you impressed? I hope so- I know I was!

The thing about the Extra Bucks is that it helps to know when you're going to get them. That way you can plan multiple transactions all at once. It's not always predictable, but there are often signs by the products that state, "Spend $X and get X Extra Bucks." You have to keep an eye out for them, and be prepared to possibly have to stock up on it to get the discount. Finally, in regards to the Extra Bucks, plan the order of your purchases and make multiple transactions in the most cost-effective order. The cashiers are always very accommodating when I ask them to please ring up certain items first. It may take an extra minute or two, but if it means saving about 50% every time I shop there, I'll put in the extra time. Wouldn't you?

Renee's Guide to the Holidays- Part 2: The Office Holiday Party

One thing I will miss about AMT is the annual Christmas party. Everyone gets so dressed up and the food is always incredible. There are usually very generous gifts from the company owners. I once won a free hot-air-balloon ride for two. If you recall, last year I made this dress for the company party:

It was quite a project, but ultimately I was thrilled with the final product. I've since worn the dress (without the petticoat) a few different ways, and I hope to post them on the blog eventually. I've been really terrible about taking photos lately. But I digress... the point here is to talk about the office Christmas party. 

You may remember my post this past summer about dressing for a company event like a summer picnic, but often the annual Holiday party is a whole different ballgame. Even so, I want to offer you much of the same advice I offered for the summer post. 

First consider the venue- where is the event being held and what type of attire is generally required at that venue? Is it a swank hotel ballroom that your company rents out for the night? A fancy sit-down dinner at a nice local restaurant? Or a potluck meal around the copy machine? The venue helps dictate the attire. If your company actually sends out a formal invitation, it's likely the event itself will also be quite formal. Ask your coworkers what they have worn to the past parties. (Note: ask more than one coworker. Take an informal survey to get a true idea of what is expected.) Much like the summer picnic, this event is still work-related, so you should exercise a level of professionalism even with a party outfit. Ladies, don't wear a micro-mini with a low-cut top. Keep it tasteful. However, feel free to let your personality show through your sartorial choices. If you work at a company with an extremely strict dress code, the holiday party is your chance to break free from that, if only for a night. 

One safe bet for any fancy event is the LBD. Need some ideas? Try these: 

You can never fail with an LBD. Choosing an LBD is something I could dedicate MULTIPLE blog posts to and still not cover everything there is to know. The one thing I can cover, though, is how great the LBD works for just about everything. Sure, there are variations upon variations and the accessories can take it to an entirely different level, but for just about any situation, an LBD will do the job. 

Not everyone wants to go with a standard LBD, though. In that case, you might consider a bold party dress. Whether it's a bright color, or covered in beads and sequins, a party dress tells the world that you are there to be noticed. This is not a look for the wallflower, but rather for the woman who wants to stand out from the crowd.

Of course, dresses aren't for everyone. I understand that. Some people are just more comfortable in separates- they'd rather wear a nice pair of pants with a festive top, or mix and match their favorite party pieces like a full skirt and a sequin top. There's nothing wrong with that at all. 

Although I didn't accessorize much (if at all) in these picture sets, that doesn't mean I think you should do the same. I love the way accessories can completely change the tone of an outfit. For example, the tulle skirt and sequin top in the last set would be completely transformed with a pair of edgy ankle boots or cage sandals. And while the black tuxedo pant and satin top seems very tame on its own, it can take on an entirely different vibe depending on the accessory choices. Layers upon layers of long beaded necklaces is one option, but someone else might prefer to keep the jewelry to a minimum and instead wear a pair of cool zebra-print shoes. The lame skirt on the left is super fun and bright, but the tuxedo-style shirt I've paired with it helps balance the look out a bit. You could play with that idea even more by mixing more masculine and feminine pieces together like a heavy man's watch along with a dozen or so thin bangles. 

I hope you have fun putting together your outfit for the company holiday party- it's something I will definitely miss doing this year. If you have a great outfit idea for an event like this, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email- I always like hearing from you guys! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday- THANKSGIVEAWAY winner

Black Friday- the biggest shopping day of the year. I'll was at the shop all day for a HUGE wedding gown sale. No joke- lots of these samples were up to 80% off! Did you spend the day shopping for Christmas? Are you a die-hard who hits the stores at 4:00 AM? I've done the midnight madness, the early bird sales, I've even ventured out later in the day hoping the crowds might have thinned. Only once did I ever really feel it was worth the trip and that was back when I was in college. Since then, I've been disappointed- either the prices weren't good enough to justify getting up that early, or the crowds were just unmanageable. Regardless, I was happy to be on the other side of it at the shop today. It certainly wasn't the insanity of the "Running of the Brides," but it was busy and we sold quite a few sample gowns.

But that's not why you're checking the blog today, is it? Nope- you're here to find out who won the coveted THANKSGIVEAWAY prize- this "Autumn Kiss" necklace by Etsy artisan Tina Tarnoff:

I will email the winner to notify that person. If I do not hear back from him/her within 48 hours, I will select a new winner. 

I have used the random.org number generator to determine the winner  and it is (drumroll, please)....

MELANIE!!! Congratulations, Melanie! Your comment was randomly selected as the WINNER! I will email you to confirm your mailing address and this necklace will be yours! 

On another note- I wanted to reply to several of the comments that were left on the THANKSGIVEAWAY post, but I didn't want to post comments to do it for fear of messing up someone's chances of winning when I did the random number generation. So, I'll address them here instead!

1.) Melanie- Thanks for the kind words about my Etsy Shop- you'll see a new item in it soon that's very similar to your scarflet! 
2.) Speaking of your scarflet- please feel free to send me a picture of you wearing it- I'd LOVE to post that on the blog! Yay! 
3.) Jenna- I love the idea of using the "Autumn Kiss" cards as wedding invites, or even for an engagement party or a shower- I'm going to have to steal that idea! Or at least share it with my brides at work! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Reason I Love Fair Indigo

While my inbox was flooded with email after email of sale announcements, Black Friday bargains, coupons and all sorts of other consumption-driven spam, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this email from Fair Indigo:

"As we express gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  -John F Kennedy

No sale announcement here.  No door buster or dancing reindeer.

But today, a sincere thank you for supporting Fair Indigo over the past four years.  Years economically unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.  In the late 2008 financial crisis, as a fledgling startup, we were told by very smart people, "it will be a miracle if you survive this."  Apparently, miracles don't happen only on 34th Street.  For this, thank you.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we'd like to suggest there are more meaningful things to do on Black Friday than lining up at 4am for the latest gadget or firing up the credit card online. While most of us who can afford to make website purchases can be grateful for that ability in itself, for many, the simple act of preparing dinner is a financial challenge. Day in, day out.

May we suggest donating to a local food bank on Black Friday?  Share this act of generosity with children.  As the song says, "teach your children well."

Other ideas.  Call an estranged relative or friend and thank them for a past kindness.  Thank the clerks you come across for working on a holiday, most likely without overtime pay.   In the very least, meditate on the bounty in your life, however modest or grand.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Fair Indigo.

Now THAT was classy

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you are all having an amazing (and delicious) turkey day. I just want to remind you that somewhere between the stuffing and the Macy's parade and the football game, you might want to hop on over to the THANKSGIVEAWAY post and leave one last comment to be considered for the fabulous prize. But be sure to get right back to the pumpkin pie- I'd hate to have you miss out on dessert because of me. 

Gobble 'til you wobble, friends! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Accessories Anonymous: Bridal Accessories

At my new job, one of my favorite responsibilities is helping brides select the accessories that finish their wedding day look. As a fan of fascinators and interesting hair accessories, you can imagine how fun that part of my job can be. In addition, I like taking a few minutes out of my day to create interesting head pieces of my own design. Like these: 

Organza Flower Duo Headpiece

Organza Single Flower Headpiece

Peacock Feather and Rhinestone Ribbon Headband

While the first two are distinctly bridal, the headband is a bit more out-there. It might be more appropriate for a fun night out or maybe as a quirky look for a wedding reception. Working in the bridal industry gets me thinking about what choices I would make if I were in the middle of planning my own wedding. I like to think I'd be low-maintenance, but you never know until you're in the thick of it, do you? I think I would definitely be the kind of bride who would wear the traditional white floral headpiece like the ones pictured above for the ceremony, but then I'd bring out something bold and even a little whacky for the reception. I am a huge fan of peacock feathers, so I might even consider something as bold as the headband above. What about you? Leave a comment- if you've been married, tell me about your wedding accessories. If not, tell me what you think you might like. 

On a side note, the last picture is an amazing shot of one of my favorite earrings. Bonus! And speaking of bonuses, today is one of the last days for you to enter the THANKSGIVEAWAY, so don't forget to leave your comments on that post! You might win an amazing necklace by Tina Tarnoff. I can't think of a much better bonus than that! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- My BOGO Boots in Action

Last week, I showed you guys my new boots purchased at Payless for cheap- BOGO! I love BOGO sales, unless I find myself with an odd number of items that I like. Then I usually end up either putting one back and regretting it, or adding a fourth that I don't really need and then I regret that. It's a lose-lose. That's why I'm always happy when I find just two items that I love and there is a BOGO sale. That was the case with my new boots. I wanted grey and brown flat boots for work. I don't mind that I bought the exact same pair in two different colors because I figure that if I really like something, I'll wear it. And rather than try to find a different but really similar pair elsewhere, why not just get them both at the bargain price they were offering, right? Right!

Anyway, I wore the grey ones twice in the last few days. First, I helped my brother move into a new apartment and I figured they would be comfortable for trekking up and down a lot of stairs- he now lives on the third floor (no elevator). They worked out great:

I realized after the fact that this outfit would have been even better if I'd topped it off with a cute hat. Oh, well- hindsight is 20/20, right? I liked the bright combination of the turquoise top and the hot pink scarf- it's unexpected and a little bit quirky. The sweater was purchased the same night I got the boots. I had a 30% off coupon for Old Navy, and knowing I needed some black separates for work, I decided to shop there. I was pretty successful- I left with two skirts, a top and a sweater, all for about $55! Between that and the boots, I had quite the bargain shopping night. And I purchased quite a few staples that are versatile and comfortable- I know I'll wear them all a LOT! If you like the sweater, it's available on Old Navy's website here, although I have to tell you that the online price is MUCH higher than the price in stores. Mine was marked down to $14.99 BEFORE my 30% off coupon. 

The next day I was dressing for work and decided I wanted to give the boots another spin. I paired them with one of the cute skirts I got on my Old Navy shopping spree: 

It was a warm day and I didn't need a heavy coat, so my Ann Taylor denim jacket did the job just fine. (P.S. Don't you love how the color-blocking on my skirt is just like the paint job on the side of this building I'm standing in front of? Me, too!) One unfortunate thing is that my skirt is super wrinkled in the photo. I have a 45 minute commute and I'm having trouble figuring out how to avoid wrinkles on the drive. Any suggestions? All I can come up with is driving bottom-less. 

Anyway, since it was warm, I took off the jacket for a few photos, figuring you'd want to see the whole outfit: 

You can see my earrings a lot better in this photo. I'm also wearing my Scrabble ring, but with my hands in my pockets, how would you know? This may not be the most creative looks I've ever worn, but it certainly is one of the most comfortable. 

Next up is an outfit that incorporates the brown version of these boots: 

First of all, you should note that because of the high placement of the belt, even in flats, this outfit has an elongating effect. For more on that subject, visit this post, where I explain the concept in detail. That's not the focus of the outfit today, though. Today, I have a story about this outfit. While driving on an errand the other day, I saw a tree with leaves that were a vibrant red. It's strange to see a tree at its peak right now- most of the leaves have fallen and the ones that remain are mostly brown. But that one tree, still holding onto its color made me smile. It was absolutely gorgeous, especially when surrounded by the bare trees and fallen leaves all around it. It made me want to wear a bold, red dress- something that would make me stand out. Sometimes it's easy to blend in to the way everyone else is doing things. Whether it's the status quo with your fashion choices, or even something bigger like the way you behave in your relationship or your professionalism at work. Why not take a moment (or a day) to stand out from the crowd? Show off your colors when everyone else is fading into the background. Think of an aspect of your life where you tend to let yourself shy away and then make the choice to stand out from the crowd. 

And if you can do it in cute flat boots, more power to you. 

Happy #ShoesdayTuesday, everyone! Don't forget to tweet!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Handbags that you will DROOL over more than your Thanksgiving Turkey

Yes- these bags are nothing short of DROOL-worthy. In the words of Liz Lemon, "I-want-to-go-to-there."

Beth- this post (and the 30 Rock reference) is dedicated to you. 

Rate My Look- Black Saturday

As you know from this previous post, Saturday is the day we are required to wear black at the shop. I went shopping on Wednesday with my fabulous friend Beth and actually managed to find some major deals at Macy's. They happened to be having a one-day sale, so lots of items were marked down 50% or more. I got two black pencil skirts (one with tiered lace, the other pretty basic except for some adorable kick pleats), a black lace/ribbon/sequin dress and a fabulous lime-ish green faux-silk blouse. While I aimed to purchase only black items, I couldn't resist the green top- the price and the style were too much to ignore. For all four of those fabulous items, I only spent about $75. I also snagged an amazing pair of teal faux-suede high heels at a gem of a shoe store in Jamaica Plain. You are going to DIE for them when you see them, but you'll have to wait until next week's Shoesday Tuesday for that.

This past Saturday, I decided it would be a perfect day to try out the new dress. It has an elastic waist, which is great for comfort, but not so great for style. I covered it with a small black patent belt and then finished the look with black tights, my flat black boots, black flower cocktail ring and big, bold black earrings. I got plenty of compliments throughout the day from my coworkers. Since they are all such fashionistas, I was happy to get their seals of approval. But what about your seal of approval- do I have it?

Leave a comment! And then go to the THANKSGIVEAWAY post and leave up to three comments there for a chance to win an amazing papercut necklace. Happy Monday! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Featured Outfit: Jason of Salmagundi

Whenever I visit Beth in Jamaica Plain, we inevitably end up shopping. Last Wednesday was no exception. There is a shop in J.P. that I adore because it is full of the most interesting and unique accessories, bags and clothes. They also happen to have one of the best hat selections I've ever come across. Salmagundi never fails to  provide me with a new, interesting and unique accessory. Last week when I was there, it was a wooden cocktail ring that caught my eye. I had to have it- it's going to make a great addition to my collection. What else caught my eye? Jason, one of their very stylish employees:

Things about Jason that I think are SUPER cool: 

1.) He rides a Vespa. A red one. 
2.) He moonlights as a DJ on the weekends. 
3.) His middle name is Wednesday.
4.) He has impeccably manicured sideburns. 
5.) He has great personal style. Great.  

I really appreciate his polished look- it's almost as if he is dressed for another decade, for a time in the past when people "dressed" for something as simple as running to the grocery store. It's modern-hipster-meets-Don-Draper with a distinct sophistication to the overall look. I'd buy a hat from him in a heartbeat. Wouldn't you? 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Alert: Don't forget the THANKSGIVEAWAY!!!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to remind you to enter the THANKSGIVEAWAY.

You have six more days.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yes, I am a NERD. Deal with it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 opened at midnight last night and I am absolutely DYING to see it. Tonight after work, I'll be heading to the cinema for a viewing and I'm sure it won't be the only time I see it. I have loved the story of Harry Potter for quite a while- I remember reading the books as they came out. When the seventh book was released, I had the day off work. I picked up my copy first thing in the morning and literally spent the entire day reading it. I finished it in about ten hours (stopping for meals and bathroom breaks, of course), and immediately flipped back to the beginning and read it again, this time a little more slowly. I think that J.K. Rowling is an absolute GENIUS. The movies have been pretty good, for the most part, although Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was disappointing to me as a film. It is one of the most exciting books in the entire series, with amazing scenes from Voldemort's past. The film, on the other hand, was boring and extremely slow-moving. I was very disappointed in it. Based on the trailers for the final two movies, I think I will be anything but bored. In honor of the film, here are some outfits inspired by the three main characters: Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. Enjoy!

Hermione's daily style is pretty understated. Much like her personality, her clothes are practical and logical. In the winter, she keeps warm in fitted but interesting sweaters and basic corduroy pants. Although her taste is simple, it doesn't lack style and there is always something interesting about the choices in her clothing. She rarely sports any jewelry or accessories, aside from a time turner, of course.

Ron's style is hardly that- his clothes are likely all second hand, or in the case of his sweaters, knit by his mother for him. His clothes tend to be ill-fitting, likely due to the fact that they are hand-me-downs from his (many) older brothers. They also tend to be in fairly poor taste, not really sure why that is.

Harry, in the books, is often described as wearing ill-fitting clothing that has been passed down from his cousin Dudley. In the films, this isn't the case at all. Harry's clothes fit well and look far from worn. His look is decidedly more athletic than Ron's, but still casual and comfortable.

Even though we've watched them grown up into adults, I'll still always remember the three of them as they were in the first movie.

Ron with his chipmunk cheeks:

Hermione's ridiculous bushy hair:

And Harry's wide-eyed innocence:

Thanks for the memories, kids- it's been a great ride! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY! Yippee!!!

I call it: Thanksgiveaway.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember the amazing brooch that I bought as a birthday present to myself earlier this year. It is called "Autumn Kiss" and it is by an artisan on Etsy whose work I greatly admire. TinaTarnoff is an artist whose mediums include the intricate and ancient art of Papercut. I stumbled upon her Etsy shop one day and fell in love. There are some pieces of art that you see that touch you and draw you to them. That is how I feel with her artwork, especially the "Autumn Kiss" piece. As you know, I ended up purchasing the "Autumn Kiss" brooch for myself and I've worn it several times since then. I always receive many compliments on it and when people find out how it is a miniature work of papercut art, they are even more enamored of it.

Fortunately for all those admirers of the brooch, Tina has been generous enough to let me host a giveaway in which the prize is the necklace version of the piece:

The rules are as follows: 

1.) The giveaway is open to all US residents. 
2.) You may enter up to three times by commenting on THIS POST. 
3.) Of your three comments, one of them must tell me your favorite item in Tina's Etsy Shop
4.) The deadline to post your comments is midnight on Thanksgiving Day. I will announce the winner on Black Friday here on the blog. I will also email the winner (if possible). 
5.) If I do not hear confirmation from the winner within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner. 

Any questions? Happy Thanksgiveaway! 

Accessories Anonymous: Headbands

My coworker, Cheryl, gave me an amazing feather that I am so excited to use to create a gorgeous headband for myself. She had the idea of sewing it to a ribbon rather than an actual headband and I may have to steal that idea. When I actually go through with creating the headband, I'll be sure to post it on here. In the meantime, I've been seeking inspiration on Etsy. Where better to do that, right? Here's what I found:

Braided Faux-Leather Headband, FunnyPeopleCo, $8.75

Harvest Headband, BlackSatinShoes, $19.50 

Something I learned about headbands is that if you are going for an interesting design, but you don't want it to overpower you, select one that is similar in color to your hair. If you have pale blonde hair, but you want to wear a peacock feather, look for a bleached peacock feather headband instead, like this one: 

See what I mean? It's enough of a statement because it's made with peacock feathers, so a bold color on top of that isn't entirely necessary. Look at the difference when the feathers are a bright color: 

Hot Pink Peacock Feather Headband, Naughteebits, $21.12

I am the kind of person who can't resist a bold color- more is more in my world, and I don't really follow the rules of moderation when it comes to fashion. Don't get me wrong- this is often to my detriment, but I can't always help myself. I am someone who SHOULD choose the interesting headband in a blend-able color. However, all too often what I end up being is the person who bought the bright pink feather headband instead. That being said, headbands are one of the few accessories that I feel can truly overwhelm me, so I tend to wear darker colored ones when I do choose the option of color. 

What about you? What are your thoughts on headbands in general? Or specifically regarding the color? Do you like them with feathers? Flowers? Rhinestones? Leave a comment and tell me what you think! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saturday Dress Code: Black

I feel as though nearly ever profession I've worked in, I've been required in some way to wear black. When I worked as a musician, black was required for performances. When I worked in theatre, black was required when working backstage. Now, at my new job at the bridal shop, black is required on the weekends. I don't mind it, but even with all those black clothing requirements throughout the years, I haven't really amassed much that's suitable for my current needs. My musician clothing was mostly formal wear. My backstage attire consisted mainly of t-shirts and black sweatpants or yoga pants (they're the most comfortable for running around backstage). Now, I need black clothing that's comfortable, but professional. I don't need to wear a suit or anything really fancy, but what I wear does need to be all black. Some of the sales consultants push the boundaries by wearing grey or adding pops of color here and there. I'm not sure how I feel about that, so for now I'm going to try to stick with all black. I did a bit of shopping last Friday and got a handful of black items from Old Navy. My plan moving forward is to try to find black separates rather than black dresses. (Although, if I find some great casual/professional LBD's, I won't turn 'em down!) Regardless of whether it's separates or dresses, my main goal is to keep black from being an ultra boring snooze-fest.

For starters, I got this skirt from Old Navy:

High Waist Skirt, $25 (It has a cute exposed zipper in the back- fun!)

I also bought this sweater at the bargain price of $9, although on the website it appears to be quite a bit more than that: 

I also got a cute scoop-neck tee with a satin trim along the neckline. I can't find it on Old Navy's website, so I'll have to take a picture with an outfit at some point to show you. I think it's going to be a versatile top for me because it's long enough to wear untucked, but it also looks good tucked into the new skirt. I have a handful of other basic black tops to incorporate into my black weekend uniform, but I'm also going to keep an eye out for some comfortable, but flattering and stylish black pants as well as some interesting black accessories. 

I kind of like these other options, also from Old Navy: 

Maybe I'll allow myself a smidge of leeway in the accessories department , or at least in the jewelry department. Any thoughts? Do you have a dress code for your job? What does it entail? Leave a comment and tell me all about it! 

I've got my high heel MOJO back!

I did it! I survived an ENTIRE day at work in a pair of heels! I honestly didn't know if it was going to happen for me, but I did it! I intended to stick it out from at least 9:00 to 3:00, but I had some down time where my feet got a rest, and with that second wind, I made it all the way to closing time at 5:00! I definitely have to plan my days for wearing heels very strategically, and I will always be sure to have a pair of flats waiting in the wings in case it's too hard, but it's exciting to know I can do it! I've done it once, so I figure I can do it again! And again! And again!

I know by now you are dying to know which heels, so I'll show you. Actually, I'll show you the whole outfit since it's not only cute (in my opinion), but it also incorporates the trend I wrote about last week- the tie-neck blouse! 

My blouse is completely sheer and I unfortunately could not find a clean white cami to wear underneath it. The black looked fine, but I would have preferred the white. The skirt is the one I got at Ann Taylor Loft at a super bargain price. The cardigan is so old, I have no idea where it came from and the shoes are one of my favorite pair- the high heel lace-up oxfords. They have a fabulous wing-tip style detail on them and the laces are ribbon. I have had them for a few years, actually and they've really held up. It's funny how a cheap shoe can sometimes end up in your closet for years, huh? They came from Burlington Coat Factory and I'm pretty sure I only paid $19.99 for them. You can see a close-up of them here, if you like. As for the blouse, you can see how well it works as a layering piece in this outfit- even though the top is flowy, I've made it a structured outfit by topping it off with a fitted cardigan. The pencil skirt also helps to keep the look trim and sleek. The monochromatic color scheme of the dark denim with the black tights, shoes and cardigan also helps create a long line and allows the polka-dot blouse to be the focal point. 

I did my photo shoot close to where my new job is located. There is an old, closed-down movie theatre close to the bridal shop and the morning sun was hitting it hard on this particular day. I could barely keep my eyes open in the blazing sun! I liked the bricks on the side of the building as well as the faded graffiti: 

I don't know if any of my coworkers saw me with my tripod, posing in front of the graffiti-tagged movie theatre, but they'll know about it soon enough. Well, one of them will, anyway- Gigi. The very next day after I took these photos, Gigi came to work ALSO wearing a black and white sheer polka-dot tie-neck blouse. She was not at work the day I wore the above outfit, so she wasn't copying me- it was just pure coincidence that we both wore our nearly identical tops back to back! 

Gigi was completely on-trend with her outfit selection, so I just had to get her picture for the blog. She obliged and I'm so glad she did: 

I can't believe she can look that great even under fluorescent lighting! It's just not fair! I'm afraid to take my picture in the shop because of those lights. It was very brave of her to let me take her picture, knowing I'd be posting it on the interwebs, so please leave a comment and let her know how fabulous she looks! Maybe then she (and all my other stylish co-workers) will be more than willing to let me post them on the blog. That's my master plan, anyway- help me achieve it! Comment! 
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