Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Can Happen in a Year...

Exactly one year ago today, I wrote this post and took the leap of faith that I needed. I quit my job with no plan other than moving back home to New Hampshire. At first, I was terrified, not knowing what the future held for me. But I'm a firm believer in faith and in a higher power and shortly after I gave notice to AMT, my current job practically landed in my lap. My friend Danielle called me to say that her sister Nicole had given notice at her job, too. While that may seem like an interesting coincidence- two acquaintances quitting their jobs within hours of each other- to me it was much more significant. I'd mentioned to some friends months prior to quitting my own job that the field I was interested in pursuing was the bridal industry. After a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that I was most suited to alterations. My background in design and sewing seemed to have prepared me most for that and I knew I would find it far more interesting and challenging than anything else. So back to that coincidence? Nicole's job that she had resigned from was the job that I currently have- the Alterations Manager for an amazing bridal boutique.

Now that I've been back in New Hampshire and working a new job for nearly a year, I'm completely blown away by how fortunate I am. Yes, I worked hard to get here and I'm currently working hard to get through my first wedding season, but I also feel so fortunate to be able to work for such an amazing company with incredible co-workers doing interesting and challenging work. I've had an amazing year, and I've been able to spend a lot of time with some of the best friends I know- new and old. There are days that are tough- days when a "bridezilla" or her mom decides to say something mean or nasty to me. There are long days and hard days and sometimes sad days- like when I hear that a bride will not be picking up her dress as scheduled because the wedding has been canceled. But at the end of every day, I look back and reflect on all I said and did and I walk away knowing I did the best job I could handling any given situation. And most of the time, I get to have a blast helping lots of incredible women look absolutely stunning for one of the most important days of their lives. See what I mean? I'm incredibly fortunate.

It's amazing to me what can happen in a year. But it did take a little bit of courage to start the ball rolling. So if you are in a situation like I was- a situation that is making you unhappy, whether it be your job, or where you live or a friendship or relationship that isn't working out- DO something about it. I have always said that I do not want to be the type of person who is unhappy and does nothing about it. If you've ever met someone like that, you'll know what I mean. So don't be that person- make a change. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday- Jelly Flats for Amy

While on the cape a couple of weekends ago, my friend Amy found dozens of tiny little jelly fish washed up on the shore. Using a child's beach spade, she diligently scooped each one up and helped them all back into the ocean. And while I'm sure many of them ended up washed up on the shore again, I think we were all proud of Amy for trying to save the jellies.

For me, the only kind of jellies I care to have in my life are these:

Melissa Campana Jelly Ballet Flats, Saks Fifth Avenue, $80

I'm not saying I wish the baby jellies an ill will, but I'd rather focus on the retro trend of jelly shoes. After all, the jellies at the beach can sting you! These ones just make your feet look pretty. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Watch It!

I've been wearing the same watch for a couple of years now and it occurred to me recently that it might not be a bad idea to have more than one watch. As it is now, if I break the one watch I own (and I've done that before), then I'm stuck without a watch at all. For some reason, I rarely think of my watch as a fashion choice aside from the fact that I tried to select one that looked and worked more like jewelry in terms of appearance. My current watch was selected for how well it works with my Tiffany's bracelet, a piece of jewelry I rarely remove.

Perhaps it's time to find a new watch (or two) to broaden my horizons a bit. I found a few that are quite striking:

There is something about rose gold lately that just sucks me in. It is so warm and rich and feminine. I love it! Sometimes true gold is just too harsh and bright, but rose gold has such a soft look to it. It's perfect. 

I love how this watch could pass so easily for just a pretty, sparkly bracelet. It's not an "every day" kind of watch, but it really could add a touch of funk to an outfit. 

Stuhrling Original Women's Fashion Watch, $78.99

This watch is so fun, I can hardly stand it! I love the wide look with the fabulous artwork on the clock face. It would be fun just to look at it all day! But alas, I don't think my boss would appreciate that type of work ethic.

Having lots of watches can be just like having lots of shoes or lots of  any fun accessory. Use it to enhance or complete your outfit and you can't go wrong! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Fashion for my Nook

I recently entered the ranks of the e-reader elite. Yup, I bought a Nook. I did not go for the new Nook Color, but instead opted for the Nook 1st Edition for several reasons. First, I compared the Nook to the Kindle and various other e-readers. I also tested out reading a book on both the Kindle and the Nook once I knew I'd narrowed it down to one of those two devices. In the end, there were a few distinct features that helped me make my decision:

I knew I wanted an e-reader mostly for books and the occasional newspaper, but not magazines.
I knew I did NOT want anything with a backlit/LED-type screen, but rather the e-Ink black and white screen that is not lit in any way.
I knew I wanted 3G so that I could download new books anywhere anytime.

I compared pricing on the different devices and also on the books available for each device. The Nook 1st Edition was more expensive than the Kindle, but I preferred the touch screen on the Nook 1st Edition to the keypad of the Kindle. Truly, I preferred the size and touch screen of the Nook Touch, but unfortunately that device was only available with Wi-Fi, not 3G. In reading all sorts of reviews of all the different devices, the bottom line was this: the Nook 1st Edition has 3G and a more user-friendly navigation (in my opinion) than the Kindle and since the other Nook options don't include 3G, it made for a simple decision.

But far and away the most exciting part of outfitting my Nook was selecting the cover for it. Honestly, between Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler, etc., there are quite a few stylish options for a Nook case. In the end, I went with JavoEdge in a fabulous bright floral print:

Honestly, I wouldn't mind a cute skirt or sundress in this print, either. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to make sure my Nook is fully charged before the worst of Hurricane Irene hits my town. 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and if you're on the east coast, stay safe! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 5

I feel bad for this model:

Anthony Ryan's Look

And I want to BE this model: 

Viktor's Look

Viktor has been NAILING it throughout this season, at least for me. He had a bit of a rough time when he had to work with Bert, but other than that, he's been making some pretty stellar clothes. Unlike Josh M. whose attitude seems bigger than his talent, Viktor's quiet demeanor alongside stellar sewing and design is a refreshing change for the show. And once again he's my pick for the "Would I Wear It?" prize. This is the third look of his that has earned that honor. (Episodes 1, 4 and 5) 

There were some really amazing quotes this week, but one that I found particularly offensive. Anthony Ryan's remark about "not being this pissed since I had cancer" was beyond ridiculous. I'm going to chalk it up to sleep deprivation and team-leader stress making him crack under the pressure. As someone who has not had cancer, I can only imagine how offensive that statement must feel to anyone actually living with a fatal condition like that. I can't think of an excuse that would make it okay for him to trivialize it that way. I suppose I may be over-reacting, but I just can't condone an attitude in which fashion is compared to an actual life-or-death situation. That's all. 

As for the judges decisions, the only thing I don't agree with is the maxi-dress win. But since Viktor's look also secured a win, I can live with it. What do you think of this look?

Anya/Becky/Josh M's Look

I suppose part of me has an issue with the maxi-dress winning because I hate maxi dresses. I hate the way they look. I hate the idea of a maxi with sneakers. I hate pretty much everything about them. But since it's Heidi's opinion that matters, there's not much I can do. 

What do YOU think of the designs this episode? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Houndstooth of the Baskervilles

No, this post has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes. I stink at word play.

Anyway, I've noticed over the last few seasons that oversized houndstooth is everywhere. And I think I love it! Check out these fabulously bold pieces:

Clutch in Large Houndstooth, Tamra's Bag (Etsy), $25

Sequin Houndstooth Skirt, ASOS, $100.62

While I like the interesting color combinations of some oversize houndstooth prints out there, I have to say that given the boldness of the print itself, it's often best to stick with the classic black and white or grey and white version. Too much print plus a bold color can be very overwhelming. Try on different size versions of this print to see which one works best on your body's proportion. Or if you're unsure about wearing a top or dress in the print, try just an accessory like a scarf or a shoe or even a hat. The exaggerated print is what makes it trendy, though, so be sure to select a version of the houndstooth that is clearly oversize and not the classic version. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: To Infinity and Beyond!

It's kind of sad, but I've already noticed a distinct drop in temperature around here. Fall will be here before we know it, and after that, many snowy days. I spent the day at the beach yesterday, trying to catch a few more rays before it's too cold for a bathing suit. But when it does turn cold enough for sweaters and wool tights and scarves, there is a great accessory I will be using: the infinity scarf. This idea has been around for a while and was quite popular last year during the colder months. Fortunately, it is a trend that has been able to survive another season. Infinity scarves are simply scarves that are connected at both ends, forming a circle. They are great for layering with a warm coat or to add a touch of style to an outfit and keep the chill off. Here are some great ones you may want to snatch up before the temperature really drop down:

The light floral print will keep that touch of summer that we all want to cling to as fall approaches. Pair it as pictured with a striped top to be even more trendy or keep it simple with a solid-print dress instead. 

Because of the oversize, bold print of this scarf, keep the top of your outfit simple and sleek- a classic blazer or scoop-neck top will look great with a pencil skirt and this scarf. 

Tie- Dyed Infinity Scarf, Old Navy, $10.99

The infinity scarf doesn't need to be bundled close around your neck all the time- drape it long and it acts as a soft, necklace-esque accessory. You can even layer some actual necklaces on top of it for added style. 

Striped Infinity Scarf, Erica's One Man Band (Etsy), $28

I love the bold punch of color and pattern this scarf offers. And to purchase something handmade is even more special, if you ask me. Much like the way it's styled on the model, this piece will look best against a solid backdrop of a black tee or sweater. 

Infinity scarves aren't solely for cold times of year- there are plenty of feather-weight options in lovely summery prints that help take the chill off when your boss cranks to AC at the office. Don't just wrap yourself in a boring poncho or cardigan- use a cool scarf to stay warm AND look fabulous. 

Exciting News...

... Stella and Dot has HANDBAGS!!! I was really excited when I first heard the news of this new S&D venture and I have to say that they've done a great job. Since it's so new, I wasn't expecting a huge collection and I was right about that. This set includes about 5 different designs, most of which are available in at least two colors/textiles. My personal favorite is the La Coco Clutch:

Isn't it fabulous? I'm in love, especially when it's dressed up with a little more pizzazz: 

The clutch is even designed for a brooch embellishment. There are grommets behind the center pleat that make adding or changing a brooch incredibly simple AND there's no damage to the purse from poking holes with the brooch pin! Awesome! 

Take a few moments to check out the handbag collection from S&D and then leave me a comment telling me what you think of it. I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 4

This particular episode was a lot of fun to watch. I love Nina's brutal honesty throughout the entire process. And somehow with her beautiful lilting accent, even the harshest comments sound lovely. I suppose there is no agreeing or disagreeing with the winner of this episode, since it really comes down to what Nina would like to wear. But they said it best when the judges pointed out how Kimberly's look was great because of her simple styling. It showed off the fact that the outfit could speak for itself:

Kimberly's Look

Another personal favorite of mine (which also happened to be a favorite of Nina's) was Victor's design. Unlike Bert's LBD, this one was interesting and very striking. Bert's dress, while pretty, was a snooze-fest if I ever saw one. But let's not focus on that. Instead, let's focus on the beautiful details and tailoring of Victor's little black look. As you know, he did make separates, but in the same fabric so it looked like a dress: 

Viktor's Look

The only other thing I feel compelled to mention is the "accidental" purchase of the same fabric by Anthony Ryan and Becky. While neither scored high or low enough to be in the top or bottom, I was still disappointed that the judges didn't at least acknowledge the strange phenomenon. 

I personally prefer Becky's look: 

over Anthony Ryan's look: 

Becky's use of the fabric was more interesting and chic. Anthony Ryan's look was dated and other than the interesting shape of the skirt, pretty dull. Becky even turned the fabric on the bias so that the gradual ombre effect was in line with the diagonal charcoal stripe, whereas the most interesting thing Anthony Ryan did with it was to reverse the pattern on the collar. Overall, I just wasn't that impressed with him, but Becky's was a favorite. 

And now, the designers in the bottom- Cecilia, Julie and Danielle:
Cecilia's Look

Julie's Look

Danielle's Look

Cecilia and Danielle suffered from looks that were boring at best. Danielle's saving grace was probably that the garments were at least well-made, whereas Cecilia's dress was a wreck in terms of construction and fit. But then again, so was Bryce's dress: 
Bryce's Look

In my humble opinion, Bryce should have been in the bottom as well. The judges were probably just sick of giving him the same feedback and decided to just let him through. As for Julie, I feel bad for her because her dress was definitely in line with her aesthetic and it was fairly well made. Unfortunately, Nina hated it (and so did Michael), so she was auf'd. If it had been me, Bryce would have gone home for a boring dress and a botched hem. I have been surprised by the judges this season in terms of what they consider an auf-able offense. Sometimes you get through if you're crazy (Bryce) while other times you get through with poor construction (Bryce) and still other times you get through if you've made the voluminous half of a stilt-walking-dancer outfit (Bryce). Hmm.... I'm noticing a pattern here... 

But enough about that- I'm sure you're wondering who wins for the "Would I Wear It?" prize. This week, I would LOVE to wear Viktor's dress, which wins over Becky's by just a hair. Which one would YOU wear? Leave a comment and tell me! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday- Wedge Sandals

A few months ago, I was on a quest to find the perfect shoes for this summer at work. I wanted to wear feminine sandals with a slight wedge. Most of what I found was either a little too gladiator-esque or too flat or just too-something to make me really want to buy them. Of course, now that fall is just around the corner, I've not only found the exact style I was so desperately seeking, but they are a fabulous price:

Hanalei Holiday Wedge, Modcloth, $32.99

What did I do to deserve such bad shoe karma? Why couldn't I have found these perfect shoes in May? Now that it's the end of August, there aren't going to be many more opportunities for sandals. Soon it will be boots and tights and close-toed everything. I suppose I'll find the perfect leather knee-high boots in April. 

Navy on the Cape

This past weekend, I was with some amazing girlfriends and we had one of the nicest, most relaxing weekends I can remember. On Friday night, we enjoyed a lobster and New England clam chowder dinner with fresh summer corn and a cobbler for dessert. Saturday was spent lying around on the beach followed by a nice dinner out. On Sunday, we had a lovely brunch and then spent the afternoon shopping before heading back to our various homes. For me, it was the first Saturday I've had off since starting my new job and I really enjoyed the break. I think I might make a point of always taking a little mini-vacation in mid-August as long as I'm working in the bridal industry. It really helped me re-charge and I know this little bit of down-time will help me through the last few weeks of wedding season.

While on this fabulously relaxing mini-break, we spent most of our time in casual attire, primarily bathing suits or shorts and t-shirts. However, when we did get "dressed," there was a theme that seemed to dominate all of our outfits: navy. Of the five of us ladies in attendance, I believe all but one of us wore an outfit of navy when "out." It made me realize what a great color it is and how under-utilized it is, at least in my wardrobe. So, in honor of the fashionable women in attendance this weekend, may I present several navy outfits inspired by each of our navy outfits:

Beth- Navy

Beth wore a solid navy, feminine dress to dinner and accessorized with a lush brown leather handbag, and fabulous open-toe, high heeled sandals. A simple necklace finished off the look, but I mixed it up with a cool bracelet instead.


Amy- NAVY by rtboo featuring a mini skirt

Beth's sister Amy rocked a navy mini-skirt, fitted top and a flowy vest with really cool crochet details. Her open-weave flats kept the super-fitted mini in the PG-13 range and her funky yellow bag added a pop of color to the outfit.


Renee-NAVY by rtboo featuring an oval ring

With my combination of navy, white and a pop of yellow, you might think that Amy and I coordinated our outfits. But the truth is that we both just happen to have fabulous yellow handbags. Instead of a mini and cool vest, my navy and white combination involved a cool, striped halter dress and some tall wedges. I felt very feminine and cool in this look.

Adele- NAVY

If Amy and I were on a fashion wave-length together, Beth and Adele seemed to be channeling each others sartorial vibes as well. Adele's breezy, navy dress was perfect for our afternoon shopping excursion. She turned a simple dress into a luxurious look with an awesome belt and a Marc Jacobs handbag.

I, of course, did not take a single photograph all weekend. I was far too focused on relaxing and spending time with amazing women, and didn't take my camera out once during the entire trip. So, you'll have to take my word for it that we all looked as fabulous as these Polyvore sets imply. Do you have a fabulous outfit centered around a navy piece? Be it a dress, skirt, top or jacket, I'd love to see how you styled it. Send me a photo and I'll post it here on the blog!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beauty Product Review:

Not too long ago, I stocked up on some make-up while Sephora was having a huge sale. One new product I decided to try was the Stila One Step Primecolor:

I purchased it in "Kitten" which happened to be the color that was on sale at the time. It's also a color of Stila's that I love for eye and lip color, so I figured it would work for me. This product is intended to be used for pretty much any area of the face- lips, eyes, cheeks, etc. I've been using it on my cheeks and eyes as a base for blush and shadow. It is amazing! Because the color is fairly neutral on my fair skin, it just adds a touch of shimmer and a great base for the blush or shadow to cling to. On my cheeks, the effect is like a dewy glow. On my eyes, it's a gentle shimmer. This product will definitely be a part of my regular make-up routine from now on- I'm completely hooked! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Etsy Find- River of Romansk

I was perusing some items on Etsy the other day and discovered the most fabulous Etsy store- River of Romansk. I just fell in love with all the dresses- the colors, the fabrics, everything about them, really! They are also perfect for this time of year- the weather is still warm enough for light, flow-y dresses like these:

I love all the shades of nude, pink, ivory, etc.- they are all so romantic! Chiffon can be a tough fabric to pull off, but when the dress has a nice structure to it (as these appear to), it's a little bit easier. My favorite is the Rose Tea Party Dress- I would LOVE to wear it to just about anything- a bridal shower, a dinner out, or even to work! Maybe I'll have to order one for myself... 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Go Graphic

I've written before on this blog about the importance of selecting a print that is in proportion to your body. Click here if you would like to read that post (it's still relevant and useful, after all). However, if you still struggle with that concept, or just have difficulty executing it, may I offer you another option: rather than purchasing clothing with an all-over print, go for something that has one well-placed graphic design. Here are some great options:

Not only is this technique great for solving the issue of "what size print can I wear?" but it also helps balance out your body if need be. For example, if you are top heavy, choose a garment that has a bold design on the bottom half. The reverse also works, or if you want to draw the eye up to your face, then select a garment with the design close to the neckline. 

Questions? Comments? I always want to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday- Amazing Louboutins

At least now I understand my attraction to the Shoe Dazzle "Amour" shoe from a couple of weeks ago. They are a pretty blatant knock-off of these amazing Louboutins. 

Happy Shoesday Tuesday! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 3

Wow. I don't really have a lot to say about this episode except to say that is was whacked. Seriously- there were a lot of "huh?" moments for me. First, let's talk about how it's apparently impossible to walk even close to normal when you're on stilts. So, even the winning look, as elegant as it is, was awkward in motion because the model clearly HAS to walk with her legs spread apart. I laughed out loud when I saw it! At least it was pretty and as the judges said, it looked like a really great dress that had just been "stretched." Anyone could see how this would translate to ready-to-wear:

Laura and Anthony Ryan's Look

I'm not sure how I would feel if I'd won a challenge like this. It's just so bizarre. I really love the fact that the challenges are so creative and out-of-the-box, though. Kudos to the producers for keeping it interesting! 

Anyway, since I don't really feel able to discuss the many monstrosities that walked the runway this week, I'll focus on some other "looks." 

1.) I totally own this dress Becky is wearing (it's Target circa 2007) and I can't wait to pair it with a yellow cardigan: 

2.) Olivier's outfit reminds me of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. He wore his chambray prison shirt buttoned all the way up, too:

3.) Do you notice something interesting about this photo? 

I did. I see not 6, but 7 "stilt" models on the stage and one of them (to the left of Heidi) was never seen on the episode. Since this episode's runway show took place outdoors in front of a live audience, we have to assume that the two designers who have already been "auf'd" were part of the challenge as well. Or at least that's how it must have appeared to the live audience. This is common practice with PR, although up until now it's only happened for the final runway shows. Typically, when the finale is filmed at fashion week, the show has only aired to a certain point. The producers have some of the designers who have already been "auf'd" and they create decoy runway shows, too. That way, no one in the audience can know if they are seeing an actual competitor's show or just a decoy. It's kind of amazing, actually. What's not amazing is that horrific decoy design! 

Well, folks- that's all I've got this week, aside from saying that I mostly agree with the judges' decision this week. But I wouldn't have been upset if Bryce had gone home instead of Fallene. If he snarled his lip one more time and complained about how she didn't cut the fabric "on the grain," I think I might have thrown something at the TV in complete exasperation. I think he deserved to go home for being snide. I suppose it's a good thing I'm not a PR judge if I want to send people home for being rude and annoying. 

What about you? What did you think of the episode? Leave a comment and tell me! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: A Fabulous Fascinator!

You all know how much I love a great fascinator, right? Well, this weekend, there was an absolutely PERFECT new accessory at work and I am seriously considering purchasing it! It's available as pictured below, but also in black. Isn't it amazing?

I am seriously in LOVE with it. The design is by Sara Gabriel, who makes some really gorgeous veils and headpieces. I love this fascinator as it is in a creamy ivory, but wouldn't it also be amazing in black? I may just have to splurge on it.... 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Air Force Inspired

In honor of the Portsmouth Air Show happening this weekend, I want to focus this post on clothing and accessories inspired by the military, specifically the Air Force.

I love the simple clean lines of a shirt dress, but I especially enjoy when there are military details like epaulets and pockets. The green reminds me more of the army, but the crispness of the look is military all the way. 

The idea of military-inspired fashion is not a new one. It's a trend that comes and goes very frequently, in fact. This jacket pictured above is a vintage 1960's jacket with amazing details. I love the huge collar (very 60's), but I especially love the button detailing on the sides. It's unexpected and striking, but still has that very polished look that we expect from military-inspired clothing. 

A-Line Denim Skirt, Forever 21, $19.80 

Finally, a little bit of blue, although in this case it's denim. I like the silhouette of this skirt and the fact that it goes with just about anything. Dress is up, dress it down- that's actually one of the great things about military- you can go dressy or casual with it, depending on the accessories you choose. 

I've never actually attended an air show, but I imagine they are pretty exciting- the power of the aircrafts as well as the skill of the pilots likely makes for quite a spectacle. Unfortunately, I'll be working, so there won't be any air show viewing for me this weekend. If you happen to go, please leave me a comment and tell me all about it- I'd love to hear all about it!
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