Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#13 A Day at the Beach

Something I used to dread: getting in a bathing suit. I'd always find ways to keep my body covered or jump as quickly as possible in the water so no one could see me. I was so self-conscious about my tummy and my thick thighs. Thanks to fatshion blogs (and a very devoted boyfriend), I've come to see my body in a new and different way and I'm no longer ashamed to be in a bathing suit. In fact, I love my new cute bathing suit and try to wear it as much and as creatively as possible-- you might remember this outfit from July 4!

We went to the beach yesterday at Jacob Riis Park. It was such an incredibly beautiful day and I really loved swimming in the waves. Here are some bathing suit pics.

BATHING SUIT Striped Vintage Style One Piece, J Crew | GLASSES Aviators, Ray Ban

My make-up free cheesy face in the first pic looks pretty happy! It was a great day. I love the striped pattern and underwire cups of this suit, giving it a vintage feel. It runs a little bit big and I would have loved more support in the bust-- I'll have to remember that when I buy my next suit from J Crew! I also would have loved some vintage Ray Ban frames like these to complete the look, but those are on my wish list for upcoming purchases!

What bathing suits are you wearing this summer? I would love to see everyone's beachy looks!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

#12 GILT! Heavily Discounted Designer Labels

Yes, that's GILT, not guilt, the feeling you get when you inhale a box of Goya dulce du leche wafers... not that I did that recently or anything... Anyway, how many of you have heard of GILT? I have recently been patrolling GILT and I'm obsessed.

Here's the description of GILT from their website:

Members Only Shopping
Gilt Groupe provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels, at up to 60% off retail. Become a member and find something new every day for women, men, kids and home as well as exclusive local services and experiences, and one-of-a-kind travel packages. Sign in and see what inspires you today.

It's kind of amazing. I'm about to get some Pour La Victoire sandals on there for 50% off! It's also somewhat addictive... they have new sales every day (that begin at different times, but usually at noon) and a limited amount of merchandise. So you have to log on quickly to see what they have and get your size when it's gone! I'm mostly using this for amazing shoes and accessories, but they occasionally have clothes that might fit us curvaceous ladies. It's a great option for those of us who want to dip our feet into designer labels without demolishing our bank accounts in the process.

The catch is, you have to get a GILT account by invite. Trying to do it without an invitation can sometimes takes weeks to get your account and password (I know, I tried!). If anyone would like an invite to this awesome site, please leave a comment below with your email, and I'll try and get you signed up!

Monday, July 18, 2011

#11 - Repurposing A Romper

I love rompers. They're cute, they're charming, and they're comfortable-- it's sort of like a skort, except less tennis-y. I recently bought an olive green one from Old Navy and liked it a lot when I bought it, yet somehow liked it a lot less a month later when I actually tried to wear it. Has that ever happened to you? Apparently likability is inversely proportionate to the amount of time you wait to wear a piece of clothing. There's my nerd coming out. Anyway, although I loved the color and the drapy-ness of the top, I liked the fit a lot less and needed to find a way to repurpose the piece. Exhibit A:

TOP Olive Green Romper, Old Navy | SKIRT Taupe Bodycon Textured Skirt, H&M | EARRINGS Origami Paper Crane Earrings, stand at Comfest | NECKLACE Ohio Charm, Tiger Tree Columbus | SANDALS Studded and Jeweled Sandals, Sam Edelman | BRACELET Tribal Silver Cuff, Target

I'm indifferent towards this romper, but I loved how I was able to repurpose it as a top. It's great when you can find one piece you can wear in multiple ways, getting more bang for your buck. I only wish the lighting was better in this room so you could see the beautiful neutral colors together (olive green romper, taupe skirt) combined with a pop of color from my glasses and earrings. Stylistically, that's something I love to do: take a classic piece and make it pop with an eccentric and unique accessory that makes everyone go, "Where did you get that?!" I hear that all the time with my glasses and got lots of compliments on my earrings and of course, my totally rebellious sandals. It's fantastic!

I also can't sew particularly well and don't own a sewing machine. It's something I'd like to learn some day, but if I may, I'd like to recommend something incredibly inexpensive and useful to have in your style arsenal: the safety pin. They're cheap and can completely change the look of a piece of clothing. This romper is wide open, exposing my entire chest (I guess it's supposed to be a swim suit cover up) and is a bit too blousey/baggy when worn with a skirt. I took a safety pin to the chest to make it less revealing and took another to sweep the top flap further over the side, making it look more fitted. When you don't have time to sew: safety pins!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#10 - SOMETHING AMAZING! Etsy Living Fashion

I'm just chilling in the apartment today and didn't plan on posting an outfit post or really posting at all, until I stumbled upon something really incredible from Etsy. After I was able to get my jaw back up from off the ground, I decided that every few weeks, I will be posting a segment called "Something Amazing!" featuring a piece of fashion that is truly amazing, yet also affordable.

Today's "Something Amazing!" comes from one of my favorite places to shop and gain inspiration, Etsy. Many of us may have heard hype of living fashion (remember the diamond tarantulas from Next Top Model?), where bedazzled little icky crawly things walk around on the hands, arms, lapels, and even faces of models. Since Next Top Model, I never thought living fashion could make me squeel with glee instead of horror. That is, until I stumbled upon Colleen Jordan's Etsy shop, Made by Colleen.

Colleen's shtick (pardon my Yiddish) is turning tiny potted plants in jewelry, making your earrings, necklace, or pin a mobile miniature greenhouse. Here are some examples below:


A pin.

The living jewelry ranges from about $15-$55 bucks, making it extremely affordable. The catch: they don't come with plants ready to go in them, so you'll have to have a bit of a green thumb and a little patience to really make your jewelry come alive. Still, I'm just really blown away at the charm, the whimsy, and the creativity of these pieces. I'll be picking up my planter necklace from Made by Colleen immediately! I hope you enjoyed my first segment of "Something Amazing!"

Friday, July 15, 2011

#9 Brushstrokes

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity." -John F. Kennedy, Jr.

JFK was so eloquent. I love this quote because it puts such a positive spin on the negative-- very typical of JFK and one of the many reasons why so many people loved him-- and it has a little bit to do with my outfit today! I wore this dress covered in brushstrokes around Manhattan to study at the library, walk around Rockefeller Center, and eat some delicious Nonna Maria pizza at Bleeker Street Pizza! AMAZING!

DRESS Brushstroke Blouson Dress, ECI via Nordstroms | WEDGES Red Gladiator Platform Wedges, H&M | GLASSES Green Prescription Glasses, Vintage | BAG Zebra Print Hobo Bag, H&M

I absolutely LOVE this dress. If you like it too, they have some left in a size 12 and it's a bit large, especially in the bust, so it might fit a 14-16 (I'm wearing a 16). I salivated over it for weeks, but sadly, it was $150. Thanks to Nordstrom's amazing end of season sale, I picked it up eventually for only $88! I was so excited! I love the silk, the stretchy waist, the convenient but subtle front pockets, and the gorgeous colors. It looks great in the photo, but even better in person. I got a lot of approving nods and looks from some of NYC's stylish hipsters on the streets.

These are also my favorite wedges because they are so unique and bright. The red suede and the front zipper puts an awesome spin on the bandaged/gladiator wedge style. I picked them up at H&M last year and I seriously regret not getting them in black as well, as they are insanely comfortable and light. I walked around them all day, even carrying my heavy H&M zebra bag (pictured sitting on the bench) full of books, a laptop, and a large Nikon camera.

Praise the fashion gods for wedges, am I right!? They are so fashionable, yet comfortable. They give you the height to elongate your legs and sexify your outfit without the pain of stilettos or pumps. I love high-heeled shoes but I HATE to wear them. I can never walk in them and they make me feel uncomfortable, and being uncomfortable just sucks the confidence right out me. How about you? Are you able to walk in heels comfortably? And if so, will you teach me how!? :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#8 "Little" Bumblebee

As you may or may not know, I'm a teacher. It's one of the most important things in my life (yes, even more important than fashion!) and part of the reason I'm visiting NYC is to improve my craft. Yesterday, I visited an amazing school in NYC to observe what they do during summer school. This school is such an incredible place and the teachers are so invaluable for what they do. It reminds me how lucky I am to be a teacher and have the opportunity to watch other great teachers! As I promised a day or two ago, today I'm posting something in yellow for the Everybody Everywear challenge, but my outfit has a bit of a professional spin.

Hot and cranky!

One of my favorite simple necklaces.

A close up of my stretched ears. I know some find it gross, but I love them! These are beautiful cubic zirconia tunnels that look like real diamonds. The pic doesn't do them justice.

A close up of the daisy pattern.

TOP Black Draping Body Suit, Urban Outfitters | SKIRT Yellow Daisy Lace Pencil Skirt, Talbots | PUMPS Black Patent Leather Peep Toe Pumps, Nine West | NECKLACE Beaded and Jeweled Necklace, J Crew

I'm not too happy with the way the photos turned out because the lighting in our apartment is pretty atrocious. However, it was almost 100 degrees today in NYC and after a two-hour commute to and from Harlem, I couldn't bear to be outside any longer!

I definitely want to take a second to hype one of my favorite professional labels, Talbots. For a long time, I used to think this was kind of an old lady store and not for stylish 20-somethings. However, for those of us who are in professional (non-fashion) careers, it's a great store to shop at if you want to look stylish at work and if you appreciate classic but colorful pieces. They have a "regular" line that goes up to a size 18-20 and they have a "woman" line for plus-sized ladies that goes up to 24. They also have a petites line and a line for plus-sized petites. I really appreciate how they called their plus-size line "woman."

I'm a bit obsessed with pencil skirts and they often carry these in a huge variety of styles, colors, and patterns. Obviously, my yellow daisy print one is from Talbots and I just bought a beautiful bright green one and a deep purple one for the fall! My other favorite thing about them is that they regularly have pretty good sales and it's easy to find coupon codes online. In fact, they're having a end of season sale right now. And I know what you're thinking... I WISH they paid me to say all that! Just wanted to rep one of my favorite professional clothing lines for women of all sizes. How about you? What's your favorite place to shop for work/interview clothing?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#7 And They Were All Yellow

I heard about this site called "Everybody Everywear" that creates challenges for fashionable people to participate in. They give a new style or piece that you have to wear for that month. I love it! I'll definitely be participating from now on. It's such a fun way to encourage people to try new things with their fashion. You can even submit your photos and get some PR for your blog on their website! And of course, get inspired by how others worked their challenge.

This July, the challenge is to wear yellow in your outfits. I love yellow! It's such a cheerful color and is perfect for summer. I think the most challenging part of wearing yellow is finding one that flatters your skin tone. I'm really, really pale, so sometimes yellow can make me look washed out or sickly. Nonetheless, yellow is still one of my favorite colors to rock. Here are some yellow pieces I've found floating around on that crazy world wide web that I'm really feeling for this month.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Floral Dress, Dorothy Perkins | Necklace, ASOS | Skirt, Dorothy Perkins | Resin Bangle, J Crew | Ikat Dress, J Crew | Shirred Tank Dress, ASOS | Color Block Sweater, Forever 21 | Stone Necklace, ASOS | Asian Inspired Purse, ASOS | Daisy Chain Necklace, Forever 21 | Portfolio Purse, ASOS | Yellow Chino Shorts 3", J Crew | Patterned Dress, Diane Von Furstenberg | Ochre Belted Tunic, Dorothy Perkins | Yellow Lipstick, Lime Crime | Midi Heel Orly Pumps, Sam Edelman | Aztec Dress, Forever 21 | Chiffon One Shoulder Dress, Dorothy Perkins | Yellow Oxfords, ASOS | Patterned Kimono Dress, Forever 21 | Lace Sleeveless Dress, Dorothy Perkins | Mid Heel Loafers, ASOS

Whew! That was a mouthful. That yellow lipstick from Lime Crime is FIERCE! I also love the one-shouldered dress. It's such a beautiful yellow-orange and the chiffon is so delicate. Hopefully I will have a yellow outfit of me tomorrow featuring a really special piece in my suitcase. How about you? Are you wearing yellow this July?

Monday, July 11, 2011

#6 Mintastic

Sorry about the absence everyone! I haven't been feeling well lately and needed a short break from posting. I'm also struggling to put together outfits you haven't seen yet via my suitcase (I'm visiting NYC for a month), so it's been a challenge to create outfit posts. Not to mention it's been SWELTERING hot in NYC, which unfortunately doesn't make me in the mood for pictures. I always get one of those sexy sweat mustaches that doesn't exactly scream to be photographed! AWESOME!

Anyway, I had an amazing day on Saturday. My boyfriend took me to the incredible High Line Park, which if you don't know, is an old metro station they remade into a gorgeous park. There's so many beautiful wild flowers, patches of bright green grass, stunning views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan Skyline, and picturesque views of bridges and old train tracks. He also surprised me with a fantastic champagne cruise around Manhattan! Such a lucky lady. Here's what I wore for the day:

Amazing citrus slushie with mango mix-in from the Kelvin Slushie truck. Perfect for a hot summer day. I look so serious with my slush, ha!

Taken at High Line park.

No makeup, sweaty face! Liberating!

My glitter black TOMS! So comfortable and perfect for walking around or even for work.

This is only a fraction of how beautiful this place is!

Gorgeous view of the city.

Vanna White, showing off the name of our boat, the "Manhattan." So happy!

This is my model goofy pose in front of the boat.

DRESS Mint Tee Dress, American Apparel | NECKLACE Beaded and Jeweled Chain, J Crew | SHOES Black Glitter, TOMS | PURSE Vietnam War-Era Gas Mask Bag, Vintage | BRACELETS Gold Bangles, Forever 21 | SUNGLASSES Prescription Aviators, Ray Ban

What an awesome day. I love how these photos came out! As you can see from the outfit, this dress doesn't exactly hide one's "imperfections." But it's all about me learning to love my body and no longer trying to hide or diminish things others (or society) might view as bad or ugly. In fact, I think my belly looks cute! I also love my legs in these photos. All this walking does a body good!

A year ago, my first thought upon seeing these photos would probably have been, "UGH! Why didn't I wear shapewear?" But as I'm reading fat acceptance blogs and changing my mind about what it means to be beautiful, I'm realizing I have some qualms with shapewear anyway. Firstly, it's incredibly uncomfortable. If I'm not comfortable, I don't feel good about myself. Secondly, it's WAY too hot to wear shapewear or any other layers underneath the dress. Thirdly, it's not realistic. I have a belly and shapewear doesn't hide it, it just smooths it out. Not wearing shapewear is part of me embracing fat acceptance, not apologizing or hiding who I am, and wearing what I want to wear and what is comfortable to wear, regardless of my size or what others think.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you wear shapewear? Why or why not?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#5 Alexander McQueen & High Fashion

Today was an incredibly magical day. Not only did I get to walk through basically ALL of Central Park, eat at the Shake Shack AND Magnolia Bakery (both on Columbus Avenue), I was lucky enough to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and cut in front of the huge line with a member's card, thanks to my brother's girlfriend). Not to sound like a fashion freak, but I was literally brought to tears by the exhibit. Never have I seen so many incredible costumes, pieces, works of art. The level of craftsmanship, each intricate detail, the subtle (and not so subtle) commentary on the world around us, the immense passion woven into every stitch-- this is what truly made Alexander McQueen a genius. Consider my mind changed about high fashion.

I had always believed that high fashion was some pretentious form of clothing that could never be worn in "normal" life and certainly could never be afforded by "normal" people. While that may or may not be true, today I've come to understand that fashion can truly be an art form meant to express emotion, criticism, history, and beauty, like any other art form that can be appreciated. If you are in the NYC area or if you are planning on visiting before the end of August, I highly HIGHLY recommend you check out this exhibit. It is truly mind blowing.

“There is no way back for me now. I am going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.” – Alexander McQueen

Sadly, no photos were allowed in the exhibit, but there is a whole article about the exhibit with photos on The Met Blog. Here are some photos from that article:

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” —Alexander McQueen

“I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. . . . That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.” —Alexander McQueen

“I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look." —Alexander McQueen

“I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.” —Alexander McQueen

So I may have just dug myself into a hole, posting all those Alexander McQueen photos BEFORE I posted my outfit for the day, which sadly pales in comparison...

DRESS Pussybow Polka Dot Navy & Green Dress, Forever 21| SHOES Bling Leather Gladiators, Sam Edelman | BAG Vietnam War Era Gas Mask Bag, Vintage

Pardon the quality of the photos, especially the cell phone photo! I left my camera at home today, but my boyfriend was kind enough to lend me his. Since I'm traveling out of town, I have limited access to accessories, shoes, and outfits and it's getting harder to vary my combinations each day. However, I'm kind of enjoying the challenge! I love, love, love this dress and I'm looking forward to wearing it to work as well-- it's so hard to find stylish work-appropriate clothes (no cleavage, not too short) and this dress is perfect and affordable!

Hope you all enjoyed the Alexander McQueen photos as much as I enjoyed the exhibit. I'm feeling truly inspired!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#4 Ancient Meets Modern

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I wandered around the financial district of NYC as well as Battery Park. The diversity of this city is amazing. Though I wasn't too impressed with the area, seeing the sunset over the Statue of Liberty on the waterfront of Battery Park was inspiring and beautiful.

I tried to wear something a bit more comfortable today as I knew we were going to be walking around a lot. Living in the Midwest, you sadly aren't accustomed to walking that much (I drive EVERYWHERE), but I'm enjoying the exercise and the sight-seeing. I tried to attempt "comfortable chic" and I think it worked out pretty well. I'm also happy to say I've figured out how to make my photos bigger-- hope you enjoy them!

TOP Gold "Crop" Top, Forever 21 | SHORTS Black Denim Cut-Off Shorts, Old Navy | EARRINGS Aztec Dangling Earrings, Forever 21 | SHOES Aztec Sneakers, Urban Outfitters | BAG Vietnam-Era Gas Mask Bag, Vintage | GLASSES Green Prescription Glasses, Vintage

I love these Aztec shoes I got from Urban Outfitters. They have lots of different styles, colors, and patterns and they're currently selling them 2 for $30, which is a great deal. They're a little snug so I suggest wearing them out or sizing up before you go on long walks like I did-- my feet were EXHAUSTED by the end of our long trip around the city.

The Native American/Aztec/tribal inspired looks are incredible this summer. I love the patterns on t-shirts, dresses, and sneaks. The jewelry is also so beautiful-- these are some of my favorite earrings I own! Feathers, turquoise, and tribal patterns are so whimsical and I can't wait to find more tribal-inspired items in NYC. I love pairing this trend with more modern style, like this gold top from F21.

I'm a little grumpy about the hanger loops sticking out in the pics-- Forever 21 is notorious for those (as is H&M) and I don't want to get rid of them because they're somewhat functional. Any ideas on how to fix that problem? I've been really impressed with F21's plus line this year. I never am too excited by the website, but I often find the actual stores are filled with some amazing inexpensive finds. I've packed quite a few F21 items on this NYC trip, so you'll definitely see some of their styles on display here. How do you feel about the tribal trend? Are you rocking it this summer?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Happy belated America Day everyone. Did you know that America's Independence did not really happen officially on July 4th? It's true! The text of the Declaration of Independence was finalized on July 4th, but all those lovely old white men did not actually sign the Declaration until about a month later on August 2. Sorry-- that's the history nerd/teacher in me coming out!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. I did a bit of a color play on the typical red, white, and blue, and I hope you enjoy it!

TOP Striped Underwire Bathing Suit, J Crew | SKIRT Military Style Royal Blue Pencil Skirt, ASOS | SHOES Ionia Flamingo Flats, Sam Edelman | GLASSES Vintage from Fabulous Fannies on the Lower East Side NYC | NECKLACE Handmade Ohio Pendant, Tiger Tree Columbus

I thought wearing coral shoes instead of red ones would be a fun way to spice up the American color palette and I love the pin-up styling of my outfit with the pencil skirt and vintage style gold buttons down the front. Pin-up girls of the 40's and 50's are definitely a huge style inspiration for me!

Corset tops are very in this summer. I've found that they rarely come in my size, so I've substituted an underwire bathing suit to create a similar effect. They have some REALLY cute ones at J Crew right now (in many different sizes) that I suggest you try. The best part is you're getting double the look for your money-- you're getting a gorgeous corset top to layer underneath jeans and skirts, as well as a cute bathing suit to wear at the beach/pool this summer!

I snapped this photo of a garage in Sunnyside, NYC. That's some American pride right there! I love the colors and the unique style of this neighborhood. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. How did you use American colors to celebrate this July 4th?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

#2: Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts

Today has been an incredibly lazy Sunday-- just lying around eating, watching bad TV, playing video games, and snuggling with cats. I only got out of my pajamas (see below for proof) to make a quick run to the grocery store for some spaghetti and salad for dinner.

SHIRT Denim Button-Up, Jessica London | SHORTS Black Denim Cut-Offs, Old Navy | SHOES The Exie Sandal, Sam Edelman | GLASSES Prescription Green Glasses, Vintage @ Fabulous Fanny's in East Village NYC | NECKLACE Handmade Ohio Pendant, Tiger Tree Columbus | LIPSTICK Schiap, NARS

I call this look "book smarts vs. street smarts" because I think those two polar opposites meet in this outfit. The "book smarts" come from a classic button up shirt and a pair of thick vintage glasses. The "street smarts" come from my studded/spiked Sam Edelman sandals and bright pink NARS lipstick. I also think that book smart and street smart is a great way to describe the youth of NYC: bright, educated, and well-versed about this hugely complex city. Maybe someday I will be amongst them!

While I've been inspired by the hot weather and lack of central air in my apartment to put on short shorts, I've also been inspired by the many fashion bloggers I've been reading to find the confidence to don these short shorts. I'm really happy with the way I look in them (really starting to love my legs!) and wasn't sweating the length (literally and figuratively). What clothes make you feel confident?