Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Don't worry Wendy, if I'm ever nominated for an Oscar, there won't be a trace of this color in my outfit! Deep scarlet, flame orange, or emerald green perhaps, but I most certainly will not be strutting down the red carpet in cement.
Since Wendy inspired the outfit, it was only fitting that I topped it off with my fabulous swear rings. I liked the pairing of the flashy silver rings with the prominent brass buttons on the jacket. Mixing metals makes me feel like such a rebel.
Jacket: F21, modified by me
Skirt: a gift from mom
Tulle-trimmed slip: Glam Garb by Gunlis
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Charlie is a Chuckwalla lizard, and is native to the American southwest desert regions. I'm not entirely sure of his origins, though my assumption is that he was originally wild caught in Nevada. Having been purchased at a pet store, he belonged to a friend's son when I lived out in Minnesota, and when the son went away to college I adopted Charlie. That was in the winter of 1998, which would make Charlie at least 12 or 13 years old (they can live up to 25 years).
Charlie is a smallish lizard, measuring about 11 or 12 inches from nose to tail. However, he resides in an enclosure of epic proportions, which is roughly 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. He inherited this palatial residence from my beloved iguana Pet, who passed away a few years ago. At first I wanted to get rid of the enclosure because the reminder of Pet was too painful, but in the end I decided that upgrading Charlie's living quarters was a more fitting tribute. So there it sits, taking up an enormous amount of space in my studio apartment. Watching Charlie, a rock-dwelling species, clamber clumsily up and down on the branches is entertainment that more than makes up for the oversized footprint of the enclosure. And more importantly, he really seems to enjoy having all that space.
You might not think it by looking at him, but underneath Charlie's harmless looking exterior lies the heart of a killer...
...of flowers. Yes, this diminutive reptile has an insatiable appetite for anything sweet smelling and brightly-colored. Nasturtiums are one of his favorite treats, and he's ruthless in devouring them. He's so enthusiastic when he gets a treat that you'd think he was a Komodo Dragon going in for the kill. He's especially attracted to the color yellow, and once he even tried to eat my DeWalt drill when Mark and I were making some repair on his enclosure.
The coolest thing about Charlie is his ability to inflate his body with air when he's scared or pissed off. In the wild, Chuckwallas inflate in order to squeeze themselves into rock crevices and prevent predators from extracting them, but after living predator-free for all these years, Charlie is pretty relaxed and rarely does it anymore. The only time he does is when he gets a bath, which then causes him to bob around in the water like a buoy. If I weren't afraid of stressing him out too much, I'd probably bathe him more often just to giggle at the sight of him floating in the tub.
Do you have any exotic or unusual pets?
Monday, March 29, 2010
This was my St. Patrick's Day outfit; I kept the jacket on all day, not for fear of being pinched so much as not wanting to get hypothermia in my overly-air-conditioned office. I shouldn't really complain; I have a beautiful view of the bay and can see the airplanes coming and going from SFO, and these days the visibility is great and the water is especially blue. So there's that. But it's still too damn cold in there.
I love the subtle details in this outfit, particularly the way the raw edge of the skirt goes so well with the tattered edges of the jacket, and how both pieces have contrasting topstitching. I also love the dark tie-dye print of the tank top; I'm not typically a fan of tie dye, but I'm liking these muted dark-on-dark prints I'm seeing lately, because the print looks smoky and mysterious. In this outfit the tank adds some contrast while still following the purple color scheme.
Cowl top: thrifted
Tank top: Rhapsodia
Necklace: World Market
Skirt: Fiorini Wichmacki
Boots: All Black
Friday, March 26, 2010
I was a day early for St. Patrick's Day with this oufit, but I just really felt like wearing green that day. I assure you that I did wear it again on the actual holiday, as will be evidenced by the next outfit post.
I loved how this outfit felt very springtime to me without being too pastel. The pattern across the shoulders of this cardigan saves it from washing me out, because it puts some color up near my face. Adding the belt was a great way to bring in some brown with which to tie in the shoes. I realize that this cardigan is really more of a winter pattern, but despite our recent glorious weather this time of year is still chilly enough overall that I'm calling it a spring item. Hell, I might try it on a foggy summer day too.
Cardigan, skirt: thrifted
Hoodie: from a local import store
Tights: MP (via Sock Dreams)
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I always layer this blue dress over something because of the wrap skirt, which flies open with pretty much zero provocation. This time it was my new orange and burgundy skirt, which added just a little bit of pattern and provided a good separation between the black tights and the dark dress. The shoes, with their white piping, felt really perfect to pair with the white-accented skirt.
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This jacket gave me the perfect opportunity to wear this never-before-seen-at-work ruffled top; in fact the only time it's even been seen on this blog was in the outfit I wore to the Edwardian Ball. The jacket covered the super-fancy ruffled bust and let just the bottom ruffle peek out at the waist, as well as the beautiful high collar, which protruded elegantly at the neckline.
The suede skirt is one I've had for ages and rarely wear, but for some reason keep hanging onto. I like the textural similarity between the velvet jacket and the suede; to me the bottom half of the outfit needed to have the same richness as the top but without so much detail. The skirt worked wonderfully, which I guess explains why I've kept it all this time.
Thanks again Sal, I adore the jacket and plan on giving it tons of love!
Top: Sequioa and Gita
Skirt: Anne Taylor Loft
Necklace: sadly, I don't know; it was a gift
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The other thing I did with this outfit was to throw in the scarf for a splash of unexpected color. This is one of the easiest ways to jazz up a casual outfit -- anyone could see that pairing the purple top with brown pants and purple boots would work, but adding the green scarf is a bit more adventurous and interesting.
This outfit isn't a super exciting one; it was a comfortable, casual look that I threw together in the morning when I was running around trying to get everything together for meeting with my tax guy. But I wanted to show it to you because it features this beautiful suede jacket that I found while out thrifting with my mom in Oregon last month. This jacket is a perfect illustration of patchwork done really well; the patches have subtle variations in texture and color, giving the jacket depth without making it look like it was just thrown together from a bunch of scraps. It also looks like it has never been worn, which is unusual for a suede piece found in a thrift store.
Top: Just Angels
Boots: Fly London
Bracelet: Betsey Johnson
Monday, March 22, 2010
The back of the outfit looks better than the front, I think. Again, probably because there are no stripes. I love the little scroll pattern that's embroidered on the back of the vest.
Vest: Steam Trunk
Dress: All Saints
Skirt: Noa Noa
Boots: John Fluevog
Friday, March 19, 2010
There's a lot of black going on in this outfit, but if you look closely you'll see that the vest is actually charcoal gray with a subtle plaid pattern in it. The vest is part of my convertible flight suit; a closer photo and different configurations of this piece are shown in this post.
Happy weekend! I'm off to enjoy the sun before it goes away again!
Vest (flight suit): Shawna Hoffman
Floral dress: vintage 90's; altered from a romper Skirt: a hand-me-up from my sister
Boots: Dr. Marten's
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was limited in my choices for yellow items, so I was stuck with the vest to work with. To bring in some more yellow tones I added the skirt, and then built around those two pieces with various brown items. As it turned out, I had olive green as an accent color because of the detailing on the skirt and the ties on the obi belt. For that reason I went with dark brown legs instead of black, because I felt the look was more harmonious that way.
The cardigan is actually longer than the skirt, so as an added bonus I ended up with an outfit that looked really different from the back. All the detailing of the skirt and the complicated layering of the tops and belt are saved for the "surprise" front view.
Brown top: Noa Noa
Cardigan: Max Studio
Skirt: Attila Design
Belt: Audra Jean
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I softened the wrinkled fabric background using my limited Photoshop skills, and despite my lack of tech savvy I think they turned out pretty well. Granted, it took me a good 3 hours just to edit a handful of photos, but still.
These photos feature a few new items in the shop. The Annie 19-buckle spats are newly listed, and boy are these suckers badass to wear. To me they feel very Edward Scissorhands, an aesthetic that I truly adore. The small black homburg hat I'm wearing above is a new style that I haven't even listed yet because I'm still perfecting the design. The prototype is just trimmed with a basic black grosgrain ribbon, and I made it for Mark (though I'm planning on stealing it every now and then because I think it looks pretty cute on me too).
In the photo on the left I'm wearing one of my new bridal hat designs, which I'm planning on offering via the shop and possibly also through Dark Garden. These hats will be mostly custom-made but will follow the same basic designs. I'm expecting a few new hat blocks any day now, so there will be more styles coming for these Edwardian-styled mini hats. I can make these in either straw or felt in pretty much any color you can think of, and there will be fancier, more bride-y hats as well as ones that would be suitable for bridesmaids or guests.
Since we're on the topic of the shop, I should also point you to a few places that our designs have appeared recently. The first is in a steampunk boudoir photoshoot by Kamilla Harris; scroll down a few photos and you'll see the beautiful Lucille underbust harness in action. And check out gorgeous blogger Style of a Fashionista rocking a Selena underbust harness. Finally, Mark and I loaned a couple of pieces to the makers of indie web movie Perpetual Steam Punk for use in one of the episodes. Next we're planning world domination, with mandatory hats and leatherwear for everyone. Resistance is futile!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I just adore this vintage jacket, which I found in a shop in Montmartre in 2008. It's structured and professional-looking, and yet the vintage styling also makes it unique and fun; I'm certain that LPC would endorse this kind of piece for incorporation into traditional corporate wear, though certainly with less eye-catching tights. Classic vintage pieces can be a fun alternative to a suit, and a great way to add personality to corporate wear.
Dress: Carolina Herrera, thrifted
Bracelet: sadly, I don't know
Monday, March 15, 2010
I started with my argyle sweaterdress from All Saints, and although it looked great with the vest, the outfit had more of a going-out dressy vibe and felt wrong for work, so I chose this tunic instead. But the tunic is just a little too short to be worn without something underneath, so I added the skirt. In the end my outfit didn't really look anything like Sal's, but no matter; it was the inspiration for a starting point that was important.
This little vest works perfectly on my figure because I have narrow shoulders, so it fills out my top half and balances the flared bottom half of the tunic, which I accentuated even more by adding the tulle skirt. I'm excited to find other ways to wear the vest because it's unlike anything else in my closet. Being made entirely of lace, it has the potential to dress up even a very casual outfit, and it's light enough that I can wear it as the weather gets warmer.
Vest: a gift from my sister
Shirt: J. Crew, thrifted
Tights: Sock Dreams
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have to admit that the heavy tulle skirt stuffed underneath the form-fitting olive one was a bit daunting at first, because it felt very thick. But since the fullness at the bottom of the skirt made a nice contrast with the nipped-in waist of the jacket, I went with it. In the end I was glad I did, because the whole outfit had the vibe I was going for, and the two skirts together made the most pleasing swishing sound when I walked, which really enhanced the feel of the whole thing.
Outfit details: Jacket - F21, camisole: Papillon, Olive skirt: Skingraft, tulle skit: Noa Noa, boots: Mia
First up for the travel wrap-up part of the post, I thought I'd share the results of the survey I conducted, and how I plan to handle travel-related posts based on the results. Out of 97 responses, here's the breakdown:
- 66% would like to see me feature more travel posts
- 24% think they're ok once in awhile but not as a regular feature
- 10% say just stick to fashion
- Of those who like the travel posts, 75% would like to see them once a month and 16% say maybe once every 3 months.
Here's the breakdown of what topics you'd like to see me cover:
- Travel how-to's: 70%
- Destinations: 68%
- Budget Travel: 63%
- Travel-related links: 35%
- Other: 10%
In order to strike the best balance, here's my plan: I'll make the travel posts a regular feature, and post as often as I have topics; I'll shoot for roughly once a month but realistically it will probably turn out to be more sporadic than that. However, since some of you don't enjoy the travel posts at all, I'll post them on the weekends so that the number of fashion posts remains the same; those of you who aren't interested in the travel posts can then easily skip over them.
As for topics, the numbers that came up in the survey pretty much reflect the relative frequency of the topics I'd choose anyway, so the proportions should come out to mostly travel tips, destinations, and budget travel, with a few links and other tidbits thrown in from time to time as I find them. Several of you commented that you'd like to see me explore the relationship between travel and style, either as it relates to style in different destinations or to looking stylish while traveling; I will definitely weave these ideas into the posts as frequently as possible, since this is a style blog after all. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey; it was very helpful feedback!
And now, I'll circle back to some of the topics covered in my series, and see if I can answer a few of your questions as well as share some of your input with everyone else. Here are some additional thoughts based on the comments I received on my posts:
Renting a condo, apartment, or house: This is a great option if you're traveling with friends. I've rented apartments in Prague and Riga that I split with friends, and they came out to just slightly more than a sparsely-equipped hostel, and with a lot more privacy, security, and amenities. The gorgeous villa that my friends and I rented in Mexico in 2008 cost each person under $300 for the entire stay. This is a great way to have more luxurious lodgings on a budget.
Bed and Breakfasts are another great option for inexpensive lodging that offers a bit more comfort and charm than hostels. Airbnb.com is a resource I wasn't familiar with, but sounds like a great way to rent a room on the cheap, as is Couchsurfer.com. Fare Compare is a good resource for finding cheap flights.
Travel insurance: This is a great idea if your plans are at all uncertain, and particularly if you don't have medical insurance that will cover you while traveling. The cost is usually modest and can save you thousands if you need to cancel or have mishaps while abroad.
Studying abroad: If you are still a student, SERIOUSLY CONSIDER this possibility. You will not regret it! I'll tell you a little story about this. In college when I was studying herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians, not the herpes virus!), my class was offered an opportunity to do some field work in a remote region of Africa, which I passed up because I had a boyfriend, who I later married. I could've had an obscure species of frog named after me, and possibly my own Discovery Channel show; instead I got an ex-husband. Think about it.
A great example of how to think creatively about your options for travel (from Ali): "Last year, for example, I was waiting for my next job to begin and planned to move to a cheaper apartment. In the interim, I put everything in storage, and I spent a month and a half in Asia for the same price it would cost to barely survive here in California. In the end, I didn't sacrifice a dime more than I would've spent had I not gone. And I got an incredible experience in return." I just love stories like this; thank you for sharing, Ali!
If you travel for work, find out if you have the option of building in some extra vacation time at your destination. I did this in 2008 when I had a conference in Germany; my company covered the airfare and I ended up with one of my long flight days being built into the business part of the trip rather than eating up any of my vacation time.
Some additional thoughts on traveling with kids: Small-to-medium sized European cities such as Salzburg and Krakow got the thumbs-up from several readers. Camping was mentioned as a great low-cost option, and a good strategy seems to be to choose a central location and take day trips from there, which is far easier than packing up several times and traveling to a new destination. Regions with good local produce and hearty regional foods -- think France, Portugal, Italy, and Spain -- are great places to save money by buying produce, bread, and fresh cheeses from local markets and making your own meals.
Security: A couple of people mentioned this, so I'll spend some time on this one. I know that money belts are often touted as a travel must-have, but I have to admit that I generally don't use one. Why? Well, they're uncomfortable and they look bulky under my clothes, plain and simple. Plus it's a pain to get things out, and it usually means exposing my midriff to do so. But I'm a city gal and I'm used to city ways, so I figure I'll be fine in any other city I go to. That said, I was pickpocketed in Rome, however all the thief got was about 20 euros and a couple of useless cards, because I made sure not to carry anything irreplaceable in any conspicuous place like a purse. It all comes down to being alert, avoiding overly-crowded places, not being too bogged down with bags and luggage (which was my mistake in Rome), keeping track of your purse or wallet, and not getting suckered by con artists. Common sense is really all it takes, and honestly, getting a few things stolen is only the end of the world if you let it be.
As for violence or other safety concerns, do not let the media's sensationalism of isolated cases blow things out of proportion for you. Right now Columbia is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous places to travel, and yet it's also quickly becoming one of the hottest new destinations (and in fact, a friend of mine just went there and had no problems). It's my feeling that pretty much any place can be safe (though obviously I wouldn't recommend going somewhere like Haiti or Sudan), just as any place can be unsafe if you don't exercise good judgement. Most countries have some sort of travel warnings associated with them; in fact, the good old USA seems like a hotbed of terrorist activities according to the Australian government. It's important to keep some perspective.
Destinations: There were several people who chimed in with some great suggestions for destinations; I'll point you to the comments, particularly on Part III, for those. Among the cities mentioned were Istanbul (which is on my short list already), Marrakesh (ditto on the short list), Edinburgh (headed there this year, among other places), Languedoc, Gdańsk, and a few others.
Finally, I'll do my best to answer a few specific questions that were raised. I'd love to hear what the rest of you have to contribute!
Natalia from Poland asked about travel in the United States. I haven't traveled too extensively around the US, so I'm looking to my readers for more input on this one. But what I can tell you, Natalia, is that the US is HUGE and you will have to do a lot of flying if you want to see more than just the Eastern seabord. A good sampling of the different regions might include New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and San Francisco (C'mon, you KNEW I'd have to list my beloved SF; it's the best city in the nation!). But you're talking about a lot of flights, so it's going to depend on how much time you've got. Obviously from Europe, the east coast is going to be a lot easier to get to than the west, but as someone who is very partial to the west, I'd say it's a must-see. Readers, what places would you suggest?
H to the izzo asked which countries are on the cheaper side. This is a tough one to answer, because these days your single biggest expense in any trip is probably going to be the airfare, and oftentimes places that are cheaper to travel in aren't necessarily cheaper to travel to. Take Argentina for instance; you can have an amazing steak dinner with appetizers, wine, and dessert for around $30 per person, and yet good luck finding airfare from the US for under $800. On the other hand you can often find cheap flights to London and Paris, two of Europe's most expensive cities. So you really have to take the whole trip into consideration here. I'd start with finding the cheapest airfares, and then worry about exchange rates and all that. As long as you keep your airfare low and stay in hostels, you can make pretty much any destination work for your budget.
And finally, Sara from New York hit me with this rather tricky one: "If you had a small, small budget (of about $2,000 total) and could only travel from January to March, for about a week to 10 days, where would you go?" First off, the weather at that time of year is going to be an issue in much of the Northern Hemisphere, and I'm assuming that the Southern Hemisphere is going to be too far to travel for such a short trip. Unless you really love darkness and cold, you'll definitely want to avoid Scandinavia (plus it's an expensive destination anyway) and the rest of Northern Europe. So if I'm assuming correctly and you're interested in not freezing, then I'd start with places like Spain, Mexico, Belize, and so on. The weather won't necessarily be ideal at that time of year, but it'll be better than say, Denmark or Poland. Definitely start with the airfare to narrow down your choices. If you can keep your airfare low then you're in pretty good shape already. Assume you'll be able to find hostel or B&B-style lodging for $10-20 per person per night, which puts your total lodging expenditure at $400 tops. If you can then find a destination that keeps your airfare around $400 per person or less, you'll still have about $800 to play with, or $80/day for a 10-day trip. It'll be very tight, but you can do it. Finding the cheapest hostels can free up a little more cash for meals and other expenses. Good luck; I'd love to hear back from you as you're making your plans!
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this series; it was a lot of fun to put together. Feel free to stop in and make requests for future travel topics at any time!
I loved how the pendant went so perfectly with the sweater, adding a different pattern but several of the same colors.
Sweater, top: thrifted
Pendant: Foxy Originals
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Dress: Red Dress Shoppe
Sweater, skirt: Noa Noa
Socks: Sock Dreams
Boots: Fly London