Saturday, August 29, 2009

happy saturday!

Here are some more pages from my book!
Mainly fashion related stuff - and a few other random things. Hope you are all having a nice weekend. Stay tuned for a follow-up to my fall fashion basics post. My friend Amy, who is a mom to four lovely kiddies, commented that she loved that she could link up to the websites through my blog to find the items I suggested. So, for my next post, I will be scouring the world wide web for MORE options and the links to take you right to them. Plan to do some online shopping ladies!!


p.s. you can click on these images for bigger/close-up views!





Wednesday, August 26, 2009

wisconsin

My BF and I drove to Prairie du Chien over the weekend for some burgers (we really love a good burger) and I brought along my camera to capture some Wisconsin beauty.  I love the subtle, understated beauty of the midwest with its wide open spaces, winding rivers, old red barns, and rows of corn.  It is less obvious than mountains and oceans; it takes a minute to notice all the different shades of green that spread back into the horizon and the way the sun hits the water as it starts to lower in the sky.  The windmills were a bonus - huge and majestic, they provided a striking contrast with the flatness of the countryside.  Enjoy!









Wednesday, August 19, 2009

fall fashion basics

hesitating beauty
hesitating beauty by @chloe featuring American Eagle Outfitters

Well, I finally put together another polyvore with some styling ideas for the ladies following my blog (sorry to the few fellas who are reading ... share with lady friends if you want!).  This time around I kept in mind that you and I both are on limited budgets and kept all items under $100.  Also, they are all available in stores we have in Madison or easy-to-order websites.  Since we are moving into late summer and the weather will be turning cooler I tried to find pieces that were good for this transition time.  Usually this time of year I put a moratorium on buying anymore summer clothes and start looking for some good fall staples that I can wear now through late fall.  And then of course we hit mid-November and it's a parka and boots for the next six months ... oh, midwest winters, how we love (and by love I mean hate) you!  

Below are a few things that you should think about working into your wardrobe if you are looking for some options for this time of year.

1.  Grandpa cardigans.  My favorites come in lightweight knits that I can throw over a dress or a tank top for cool evenings in the summer.  And then when it starts to get cool they work well over long sleeve tees or button downs with a scarf and jeans.  The long line of the sweater is slimming and and they can't be beat for comfort!  The brands I have found that I like are Splendid (shopbop.com or Anthropologie carries this brand), BDG from Urban Outfitters, Gap, and J. Crew).  The one shown below is from topshop.com - I love it and they have a lot of others to choose from!

2. Jeans.  Okay, ladies, I know that finding jeans can be a seriously painful process.  The right rise, perfect length, your favorite wash, how your butt looks.  There are so many things that have to come together in the one piece of clothing that none of us can live without!  Oh, the pressure ...  I wish I had an easy answer to the eternal quest for the perfect jean but I will at least try to make a couple of suggestions on things to keep in mind: [1] I have found that if you are a little thicker around the middle a lower rise is better.  I used to think that a higher waist would hide my middle but honestly it just made me look thicker when I wore a fitted shirt.  A lower rise (and I don't mean Britney Spears low) creates a smoother silhouette (just make sure it doesn't give you a muffin top).  [2] Go with a darker rinse.  It is slimming and easier to dress up if you want to.  [3] Most jeans are made fairly long these days so be prepared to get them hemmed.  Make sure you have one pair hemmed for a heel and another for flats.  Bring your shoes with you to the tailor (Campus Tailors is the best and she charges about $15). Places like the Gap and American Eagle often do a long length and an ankle length if you don't want to pay an extra $15. [4] I generally feel that a wider leg or trouser jean is very flattering for girls with hips.  [5] I know most people cringe at the thought of the "skinny" jean but consider getting a pair just for wearing under boots.  It will be worth it because it is a great fall/winter look and you need a narrow jean to pull it off. [6] Avoid small back pockets.  Pockets that are a little bigger and wider set make your butt look better. [7]  Finally, I highly encourage everyone to save their bucks and invest in a pair of expensive jeans.  They are better made, a better fit, and you will wear them so much that you will get your moneys worth, trust me.  Some of my faves are Citizens of Humanity, Seven for All Mankind, Paige Premium Denim, and J. Brand.

3.  Scarves.  Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE scarves.  They are hands down the easiest way to create interest in an otherwise basic outfit.  I have them in a bunch of colors and patterns and wear them pretty much all year round ... unless it is 90 degrees.  If you find one you like buy one in every color.  H&M has really inexpensive ones.

4.  Tall boots.  You can wear them with a skirt and bare legs while it is still warm and then add tights in the fall.  Also, like I said above, they are great over jeans or leggings.  Yes, leggings. Don't be afraid.  As long as you are wearing something long enough to cover your butt (and I prefer even a little longer than that) they are practically tights just a little heavier (which means warmer) and frankly, more comfortable than tights.  Boots can be expensive, but check the zappos.com boot store and organize by price and I am sure there will be something to fit you budget.

5.  Tunics.  They work now with shorts or a pencil skirt.  And come fall, they are perfect with jeans (look for a 3/4 or full length sleeve for warmth).  Or you can wear them over a slim-fitting turtleneck when it gets really chilly.  The fact that they generally have a looser fit is great for covering up your middle.  There are cute tunics everywhere but the plaid one below (which I am going to buy!) is from American Eagle.

6.  A denim jacket.  Denim jackets may seem eighties but they really are timeless.  Just think of it like you would any other cool-weather jacket.  Wearing it with a dress toughens the look up a bit but you can also just wear it with a tee-shirt and shorts, pants, or a pretty full skirt (don't forget a scarf!). Though the fashion mags say you can wear denim on denim, I would avoid that ... too tough to pull off. 

7.  Pencil skirt.  If you wear skirts definitely invest in a pencil skirt.  They are super flattering and come in all kinds of fabrics.  I have a black heavy jersey one that I got from H&M that I wore all summer.  I also have a great denim one from Anthropologie that has cool fabric covered buttons down the front.  They are great if you have to dress up for work or can be worn with a tee for when you want to be casual.  They also are super sexy with heels and a blousy top for going out!  

8.  Bright colored accessories.  Handbags, earrings, necklaces, shoes ... the easiest way to use bright colors that you might not generally wear.  Target, H&M, and Forever 21 (coming soon to West Towne mall) have tons of inexpensive jewelry and bags.  Also, look for vintage jewelry at antique shops or even Goodwill.  Some of my best jewelry is stuff handed down to me from my elders and things that I have found at vintage shops (Annie's Vintage in Milwaukee is great!).  I generally think it is good to drop a little more cash on shoes if  you can, they last longer and are more comfortable. I like Seychelles (seychellesfootwear.com) for comfy wedges and J. Crew flats - both come in lots of fun colors.  Also, if you are on your feet a lot, Dansko clogs can't be beat and they have them in lots of colors (and patterns)!  Look for fun details in shoes too like ruffles, buckles, zippers, beading, or buttons!  

So, as you can see I am all about basics.  I think they are really the foundation for a great wardrobe and easier to pull together than a lot of trendy stuff.  I think trends are great (for the most part) but you kind of have to figure out what works for you (and don't spend a lot of money on them).  For example, I am into the oh-so-trendy plaid that is everywhere right now! But, it is the accessories that really make an outfit unique.  So, have fun with them.  Wear a lot or a little, but know that when you are keeping everything else simple you can't go wrong! 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a few photos

I saw this building about a week ago on a walk and was intrigued - went back yesterday to take some photos. The close-ups are of the large square paned window in the middle - does anyone know what this type of glass is called? Can't remember ...







Friday, August 14, 2009

movie imitating life

I went to see Julie & Julia a couple of nights ago. LOVE. Of course, the fact that it was about someone doing a 365 day blog probably biased me a little. Julie is very neurotic, yet totally lovable.... feeling stuck in her life with her unfullfilling job (wishing she was a writer) and living in a ratty apartment above a pizza place in Queens. Julia is hilarious, passionate, and happy - but searching for something to do with her time. Her contagious exuberance for life inspiring! Julie decides (at her boyfriend's suggestion) to do a blog about cooking, combining her two loves - writing and cooking. Using Julia's iconic Mastering the Art of French Cooking she decides to cook all 524 recipes in 365 days and blog about it. She sets the deadline of 365 days because without it she is certain she will not follow through. Sounds familiar ... Meanwhile, Julia, living in Paris with her adorable husband, is trying new things. Hat-making anyone? Eventually she decides to go to cooking school - Le Cordon Bleu to be specific. She is competitive and stubborn with her male classmates but wins them over with her humor and skills. She is fearless and does not doubt her ability to get where she wants to be. She's not only going to learn how to cook, she is going to be the best cook! Julie, on the other hand, is doubtful from the beginning. Will anyone read her blog? Why would anyone want to read her blog? While Julie is a glass half-empty type of girl, Julia is a glass half-full type of woman! The story unfolds beautifully as the two women discover their abilities and limitations, and ultimately themselves.

Wrapping this up, I would like to reflect on these two women. Identifying with both women's desire to find a way to channel their passion into a career, I definitely found myself more familiar with Julie's down-in-the-dumps, doubtful outlook on life than Julia's never-say-never, determined optimism. But after watching them travel down their paths I felt like maybe I could begin to look at life a little more like Julia. Her sense of humor reminded me of my own, laughing at herself and relishing silliness. But she also used humor to get through challenges and to ignore her haters. I think it propelled her through her life, allowing her to take risks and move on from failure. I don't know that I will ever shake off my general sense of pessimism (let's not get carried away), but I do think that I could use my own sense of humor to help me take a few risks and take control of my life!

Hang tight through the first 30 seconds of this video - the official trailer will come on shortly!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

inspiration

Happy Wednesday!

Well, I have definitely fallen off the wagon in the last few days. It is more difficult than I thought to blog everyday or even to just get some little tidbit posted. Some days I am uninspired, or tired, or have other things on my mind. So, I guess I will do my best and that's about all I can do right? With that said, I am proud to announce that I am the owner of a $35 scanner that I bought on craigslist! I have been wanting to get one since I started my blog so that I could share more than just stuff I have on my computer. For years I have been cutting things out of magazines and putting them into what I call my "inspiration book" - things I find that I love or are beautiful or are interesting to me. So, I thought I would start sharing some of it on here! I hope you like!


Friday, August 7, 2009

casual chic

One of the things I have been thinking about doing on my blog is a regular fashion styling "feature" (once a week?).  I am obsessed with styling clothes (for myself, but I really love to do it for other people).  My new discovery, polyvore.com, is a great way to do some cyber-styling for you all and anyone you decide to share it with -  please do! 

I like to call my personal style "casual chic" (term stolen from shopbop.com).  Since I like to be comfortable I go for natural fabrics like cotton and linen.  And I usually am wearing fairly neutral colors like gray, white, navy, green, and some brown. Because I love to accessorize, I generally stick with solids.  I like to keep my looks simple so prints sometimes get to be too much. But, I don't ever rule out a great print - stripes, small florals, and plaids being my faves. As much as I like to style clothes, I don't like to spend a lot of time deciding what to wear in the morning - there is nothing worse than not being able to decide what to wear, am I right?  So, I always make sure I have a few pieces that I really, really love and know that every time I put them on I will feel good.  This summer I have been living in soft knit dresses, skirts, and cutoffs with tees and floaty tops. I usually throw on some big earrings (gold being my preference), vintage beads, or my 'C' necklace.  I live in flip flops but also have a pair of gladiators from Old Navy that I LOVE (and that will probably fall apart by the end of the summer).

With that said, here are some styling ideas based off of my personal style.  You can click on the picture for more details about the items.  I should forewarn you though, I didn't put this together with price in mind and polyvore has a range of cheap to very, very expensive items. But, everything here can easily be replicated at any of the stores within our budgets.  Enjoy!  

my style by @chloe featuring Old Navy


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

Like most people, I love music.  As a kid I would put my tape recorder (see right) up to the speaker of my radio and record my favorite songs, creating some very amateur "mix tapes".  Over the years my mix tapes have become more technologically advanced (now I guess you would call them "mix cds") but I still haven't lost my love for putting my favorite tunes together onto one album. One of the best things about mix tapes is sharing my favorite music with friends and family.  So, I thought I would start creating some cyber-mix tapes for this blog as a way to keep sharing all the tunes that I love.  The following are songs that I am listening to at the moment (a mini-mix, if you will):

Details In the Fabric > Jason Mraz (feat. James Morrison) - generally it is hit or miss for me with Jason but I was won over by Morrison's throaty vocals and the message for healing a broken heart.
Human > The Killers - the beat of this song is fantastic and I love Brandon Flowers' voice.
Black Flowers > Yo La Tengo - I first heard Yo La Tengo while I was working at Good Blue Monday (my first barista job).  I loved their sound then and am in love with the horns in this song.
Quiet Dog > Mos Def - I dare you not to shake your bootie!
Towards the Sun > Alexi Murdoch - I have only a couple of Alexi Murdoch songs in my iTunes library but after seeing 'Away We Go' (which features a lot of his music) I was inspired to get some more.  It is so peaceful. 
Who You Gonna Turn To > Trevor Hall - I discovered this artist last fall and immediately was obsessed with his voice and reggae vibe.  I have read that he has many religious influences (buddhism, christianity, and judaism) which is often reflected in his music.  This song definitely has a spiritual feel to it.
Empire > Trampled By Turtles - I may be biased, since my cousin Tim is the bass player for TBT, but man, these guys make seriously great music.  I love their twist on traditional bluegrass and this song is perfect for singing along.
Born Again > Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons - I first time I saw/heard Cory Chisel was by accident at Cafe Montmartre (R.I.P.).  They were playing and I was there drinking some wine and they blew me away.  This song is a perfect example of his amazing vocals and intense lyrics.
Forever> Chris Brown - so, this is my guilty pleasure right now (that I am loathe to admit) but you'll understand when you watch this video that my BFF Tracy posted on FB:



Oh God, it never gets old (and I can't help but love the song)!  

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a little something

When I started this blog I wanted to post something everyday but have found that some of the things I am working on take a fair amount of time to write and edit. Not to mention getting the photos organized. But my friend Rena told me today that I should try to post everyday!  So, after talking with her, I decided that if I don't have something ready then I will just post something little.  A quote, a picture, a thought, or whatever presents itself during my day that is interesting. So, today I decided to post the piece of art that I bought at Madison's Art Fair on the Square a few weeks ago.  I posted the artist's link on Facebook recently but I wanted to show you all what I bought! Mine actually has an olive green background and blond hair but otherwise this is it!

The artist is Dolan Geiman and his website is: www.dolangeiman.com

Check it out!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

passion for fashion

Thanks to my friend Catherine (thelifestyled.blogspot.com) I have a new addiction!  So fun ...