Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"...you look absolutely beautiful the way you are."

I don’t mind to look older. I don’t have this urge that so many people have that they’ve always got to look young all their lives. I think you should be the age you are and enjoy it. And I think there’s lot of people that have plastic surgery who quite honestly looked better before, so that’s just my feeling. But if you want to have it, go ahead and have it, but take a good look before you do because, just maybe, you look absolutely beautiful the way you are.

- Grace Coddington, Creative Director at Vogue Magazine

Monday, November 19, 2012

some days...


cardigan, tights, and belt: Target, chambray: American Eagle, crochet skirt: F21, boots: Kenneth Cole via eBay 

 Ah yes, the dreaded iPhone photos.  Yes, that is a bathroom I'm taking photos of myself in (don't judge).  I know the quality isn't great, but you get the gist, right?  You probably can't really tell that those tights are a deep burgundy, that the cardigan is navy, and that those boots are a rich cognac, but I assure you that they are.  Just trust me, y'all.  Some days it's seems like it'll be fine to simply take a few quick shots of myself on my way from the gym to work, but then I see what they look like.  Lesson learned.

In any case, I actually loved this outfit in all its western glory and even wanted to wear my Justin boots with it originally.  Not that wearing riding boots instead makes it much less country-fied, but I consider not wearing my cowboy boots here to be a serious exercise in restraint.  Where was that restraint this morning when I, upon dropping off my loving boyfriend at the airport, spotted the nearest Chick-fil-a and bought myself a chicken biscuit?  No idea, dear reader (s?).  Making sartorial choices is sometimes easier than gastronomical ones, I suppose.  Then again, you guys won't be seeing the photographic evidence of today's mismatched jacket/outfit situation.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

on my face.

daily makeup routine

daily makeup routine

After much trial and error and a heavy dose of experimentation over the past decade or so, I think I have finally settled on a daily routine with makeup.  Like what I clothe myself in, there's a nice mix of inexpensive buys with more expensive products.  Here's a breakdown:

Thanks to a recent Birchbox sample, I found this BB cream.  Man, oh man, have I fallen in love with this stuff.  I like that it contains SPF, has moisturizing qualities, acts as a primer, and provides moderate coverage for my fair skin.  I've also noticed that it acts as a mattifier for the better part of the day, which is great for my super oily skin! 

I should probably be more discriminating with my concealer, but this one tends to do a decent job of covering my under-eye circles and masking blemishes.  I like products that can multitask, but am open to recommendations if anyone has them.

This stuff is dirt cheap and has just about the same pigmentation as most drugstore brands, but it doesn't break me out!  I have fairly sensitive skin, so I have to be careful about blushes.  I used to be a big fan of the Sally Hansen Carmindy line of mineral blushes, but I can't seem to find it anywhere in stores anymore, much to my chagrin.
For the longest time, I never truly understood the purpose of eyeshadow primer.  I should've known better, especially since I have oily, hooded eyelids.  It's a no-brainer now: I throw it on and my shadow lasts all.day.long.
THIS.  This palette made me a believer in eyeshadow, y'all.  All of the shadows included truly compliment my "warm autumn" coloring, and I have found quite a few combinations with the colors included.  Also, since the pigmentation is quite concentrated, I don't have to use very much to achieve the look I want.  
I love the ease with which this goes on, and it is infinitely smudgable.  Those two things should be prerequisites of any good eyeliner.  

This is the only Ulta brand eyeliner I have, but it is the perfect plum color and truly enhances the green in my eyes.
When I'm in the mood for a cat eye, I swipe this stuff on.  I've also heard some good things about a few Cover Girl liquid eyeliners, so I might be changing this up soon.
First of all, this stuff lives up to the hype of helping to make your lashes longer and stronger.  I've been using it for a year and my lashes have never been this long or thick.  I love the huge brush as it helps to add volume to my lashes.  
A classic and the only thing that keeps my lips soft.  Most other balms dry out my lips, but this stuff is just perfect.  I can also use it as a cuticle cream in a jam, too!

I still keep this stuff on hand to throw on at the end of the day if I'm looking a bit shiny.  It's light, goes on without drying the skin, and mattifies things right away.  

Soon, I'd like to do posts on skincare and hair, so keep an eye out for those.  Also: my awesome friend/roommate Jennie will be doing a guest post soon on lipstick and lip stain, and you should all be waiting with bated breath for what she'll share with all of us! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012



weekender by paleandmild 

Despite my affinity for all fall colors, sometimes I really just want to throw on several neutrals with pops of color instead of bathing myself in it all.  I actually have all of the elements posted here in my closet (in some variation or another) and would most certainly throw something like this on for a day of brunch, running errands, studying French, and/or watching my alma mater (Texas Tech University -- GUNS UP!) play.  There's just something about head to toe denim (in varying washes) and a cozy scarf that screams relaxation to me.  

Also, let me just say that up until about a year ago, I NEVER would've paired cognac boots with black.  I am not sure what changed, but I find myself doing it more and more.  Here's to mixing neutrals!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


shirt/skirt: F21, scarf: old Marshall's, tights: Target, lace-up oxfords: Etienne Aigner via Marshall's

The one thing I think about on crisp October mornings is how much I can get away with looking like the trees with their brightly colored leaves.  Is there such a thing as too much with these colors?  I LOVE wearing mustard, burgundy, rust, teal, and cognac, and this time of year I can get away with wearing some combination of those colors all at once...while eating things made with pumpkin and apple.

Growing up in West Texas didn't afford me a real fall season.  It is usually warm until the beginning of November, and at that point the leaves just shrivel up and fall off the trees.  I will never forget my first fall in Maryland and the feeling of being overcome by color.  I was stunned by the shocking yellow of the Ginkgo trees, the electric orange of Maple leaves, and the wine colored red leaves found on countless other trees in this area.  I love that I don't have to look very far to find outfit inspiration here.  It's right outside my window.

**all photography by Sarah Culver

Thursday, August 30, 2012

mixing things up.

Photo by Sarah Culver

shirt: Old Navy; skirt: Forever 21 (it is a silk blend!); wedges: DSW; belt: thrifted Coach

Photo by Sarah Culver

Photo by Sarah Culver
I will never forget the first day I realized that the colors in this shirt matched some featured in the skirt.  I think there might've been an audible, "oh YEAH!", muttered under my breath, like I had just read something that seemed true but that I hadn't yet been able to put into words.  It took me a while to work up the courage to actually wear this out in public, however.  It is one thing to mix patterns in a way that seems grown-up, and most people use the word "whimsical" to describe the sorts of outfits that execute pattern mixing well (think Anthropologie or even J. Crew).  It is another thing entirely to look like a five-year-old picked out your outfit, and I suppose I wondered if this particular mixture skewed in that direction.

Either way, I threw it on one day and ventured off to work.  And I adore the way I feel on the days that I wear these pieces together.  I feel fun and alive, youthful but not immature.  It's a good feeling to relish in, and sometimes we all need a bit of whimsy in life, don't you think?

**All photos taken by the SUPER talented Sarah Culver, who I am lucky to call a friend.  :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

“I think hairstyle is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself.”
                                                                                                             - Hubert de Givenchy

Monday, August 20, 2012

the hair.

Ever since I was a little girl, my hair has been kind of a big deal.  People would stop my mom at the grocery store to comment on the girls with the "thick, red hair".  My sister and I lucked out in the recessive gene department (she has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes, I got the auburn hair and green eyes -- thanks Mom and Dad!), and there has been no end to the comments about it since we were kids.

The hair is a mixed blessing, however.  Mine is very thick and wavy, and is riddled with awkward cowlicks.  It took me for-eh-verrrr to learn how to tame it in the slightest, which was especially difficult at a longer length.  It soaked up hair products like a plant that hadn't been watered in weeks.  The natural body and texture can at times make my hair poofy; the cowlicks can make it difficult for stylists to cut.  That said, I have had many different cuts ranging from almost elbow length hair with terrible bangs curled under with a 1" curling iron to collar bone length hair with a center part (bad choice!).

Here, follow me on an adventure through styles past:

This is how my hair was styled throughout most of my undergraduate experience.  I believe I instructed the stylist to give me long layers.  I stupidly washed this everyday, which meant that it was always dry and a little frizzy.  Do you see that slight bump at the crown?  That is natural, folks.  I did not tease my hair.  I brushed it.  On a side note, I really miss those frames.

This is the natural texture of my hair, y'all.  And yes, I do miss having hair this length sometimes.  I kept this angled bob for a while in my last year of undergrad. 

Here I am making an awful face, but my hair is straight.  I had just moved to the east coast to start graduate school and was spending lots of time alone reading, hence the terrifying facial expression here.  
I finally chopped my hair in the winter of 2008 and for some reason started to feel more like myself.  I kept enough length to still wear my hear in its natural state and was reassured in the feeling I had by compliments about how the haircut "looks just right for you".  
This was essentially the same cut as above but with my hair straightened.  Why, yes!  Those are fox "ears"! 
In December of 2008, I decided it was time to go even shorter, so I went in with an asymmetrical cut in mind.  I really liked this cut, but found it difficult to keep up with, so it really only lasted for about three months before I changed things up again.
Every time my hair grows out a little, it gets what I lovingly call "flippy things" around my ears.  In fall of 2009, I was decidedly dealing with hair of a flippy nature.
And this photo begins the quick progression (regression?) to ever shorter hair.  Once I made it here, all I wanted was shorter hair for the ease of styling it.
By the fall of 2010, I was sporting an actual "pixie" cut, which started a strong move towards a different style than I had been sporting before.  Everything I chose was more tailored and much more feminine, probably to offset the boyishness of my hair.  I also started experimenting much more with makeup at this point.
This photo documents the shortest my hair had ever been (up to that point!).  I loved the ease of getting ready but was admittedly self-conscious about exposing so much of my face.
My hair vacillated in between the length in the former photo and what you see here for quite a while.  Around November of 2011, I decided to see what growing out my hair would yield...
And this was as far as I got before deciding that I hated it.  It didn't suit the aesthetic I was going for in my style at all, and despite compliments I was getting from folks, I chopped it all off again in June. 

I am not sure if I will get bored and try to grow it out again in the future.  I cannot imagine cutting it shorter than it is now, but we'll see...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

so, I went shopping.

Oh, Tax-Free Week...I simultaneously love and hate you.  You always cause me to spend more than I thought I would, but I LOVE what I snapped up today, so I guess it's alright.

We're all on a budget these days, and while I have my share of nicely tailored pieces (mostly found via consignment, eBay, or purchased after months of saving), I can't seem to help picking up items from checking account friendly places like Old Navy, Forever 21, and H&M.  If you know what to look for in terms of construction, material, and cut, I feel like it is possible to make items from these stores last more than one season.  My favorite ponte knit black pencil skirt is something I paid $13 for 3 years ago at F21.  And it looks pretty cute with my grey J.Crew wool blazer, I must say.  

I've been thinking for the last while about what sorts of items I'd like to add to my closet for my favorite season.  My fall wardrobe tends to fall heavily in favor of teals, mustards, wines, and tans, and I kept that in mind as I picked up the items you see above.  I can't wait to mix and match these pieces with what I already have!

Without further ado, here is what I snagged up (clockwise from top left):

Old Navy Rockstar Jeans in Camp Fire wash
Old Navy Rockstar Cords in Aniseed
- I have loved this particular fit in this pant since I discovered it last fall, as they're perfect for tucking into boots or wearing with heels or flats.  They have so many colors in this pant right now -- I encourage you to go try them on for size!
Old Navy Boat-Neck sweater in black/white stripe
F21 basic cream sweater
F21 Essential Sueded Shift Dress
- This dress has the potential to be very versatile.
F21 Double Breasted Knit Blazer (I can't find a link to this...)
F21/Love21 Knee-Length Bodycon Skirt
- So, I'm not sure how work-appropriate this skirt is, but that doesn't mean that I won't try to wear it there.  It's lined and the color is great with browns, greys, or blacks.
F21/Love21 Pintucked Pleats Shirt
F21/Love21 Oversized Y-Neck Top
- I was very excited to find both of these blouses!   I've been looking to incorporate more of these into my wardrobe, and this is a great way to get two colors I adore into further rotation.

I'll likely be purchasing a few other items (like shoes!) in the next couple of months, but I'm really excited about this start to my fall wardrobe!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

what I need to be wearing

Earlier this year, I made a promise to myself to at least try all of the things I'd wanted to try but had been too scared/intimidated/nervous about trying before.  For too long, I had let the "I can't" in my mind rule me and had sequestered myself away in my room.  So, I got a tattoo (more on that later).  I went to electronic music concerts and danced my little heart out.  I went ice skating twice and didn't fall either time.  I tried to make new female friends (why is this always difficult?) and made it a point to be more social.  I started a style blog.  I decided to take a summer class.  I also started doing CrossFit with a local group 4-5 times a week.

CrossFit has been a great thing for me physically.  I have done things that I never thought I'd be able to do and met people who challenge and inspire me on a daily basis.  I feel healthier and know that I will continue to grow in strength, skill, and ability as time wears on.  But...I still fight myself on a daily basis.  I am often beating up on myself mentally for the things I cannot do well or cannot do at full strength yet.  As inspiring as my friends are, it is hard for me to watch them lift heavier things than me at a faster pace.  I am embarrassed and often frustrated that I am not faster/stronger/more agile/able to endure more.

But hold on....isn't doing this regularly going to improve all of those things?  Yes, absolutely.  It would sure be a hell of a lot easier to improve if I wasn't constantly criticizing myself, though.  So what if I can't do a strict pull-up yet?  I will eventually, and for now I should be proud of my ability to do those that I can.  So what if I'm lifting 30-40 pounds less than women of similar size?  I'll get there in my own time and now is the time to focus on proper form and technique.  So what if I run slower than someone else?  At least I am showing up and putting in the work.

I need to show up to my morning workout with a smile on my face, grateful that I am healthy and capable of taking this on.  I need to keep going even when I think I can't.  I need to tell the "I can't/you're too slow/you're too weak" voice to shove it and get on with what I'm doing.

Annie Thorisdottir just won the women's competition of the CrossFit Games for the second consecutive year.  As impressive as her strength and endurance are, what impresses me most about her is that she smiles ALL.THE.TIME.  During the workouts?  Yep.  Once she's completed a WOD and perhaps not placed first?  Yep.  She has an amazing attitude about all of it.

I'm hoping that something like that can be learned, even after 28 years of being hard on myself.

‎"Let me think about the people I care about the most and how when they fail or disappoint me, I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them. Let me extend that generosity to myself." - Frank Ze

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

let's hear it for New York


dress: H&M, shoes: Steve Madden via Nordstrom Rack, shades: Michael Kors via T.J. Maxx
There is now a photo that exists where I am singing "Empire State of Mind", the song made famous by Alicia Keys and one Jay-Z, while posing in this very dress on this very rooftop.  Did I post that here?  No. Why?  I look like a fool, that's why.  And besides, aren't a couple of these shots dramatic and hammy enough on their own?  New York City apparently brings out my propensity for over-acting, dahhhhling.  I figured I'd spare you guys. 

After the Fourth, I took a couple of days off from work to enjoy a long weekend in the city with my loving boyfriend, and wore this on a day where we explored Central Park, the Lower West Side, and the East Village.  It was a hot one, y'all, and I might've forgotten to put sunblock on my pasty white shoulders (sorry Mom!).  Let's just say that it now looks like I am wearing a shirt with the same neckline as this dress regardless of what I'm actually wearing. 

This is the only dress I have in my closet with the ever-so-trendy high-low hemline, and I have to say I love the subtle version this particular iteration offers.  I'm not always sure I can pull off things like this, and I doubt I'd be comfortable in some of the more exaggerated versions I've seen on others, but this worked out well for me.  Anyone else out there tried this trend on for size?  If so, what are your feelings about it?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

devil with a blue dress on?

dress/necklace: Forever 21, shoes: Seychelles via DSW

my normal state of existence.
Summer date night outfits are all about simplicity.  If the fabric even threatens to be cloying and uncomfortable, I leave it on the hanger.  Now that we're in the throes of oppressive heat and humidity, I have to consider several things:

- will it wrinkle immediately in the damp air?
- will it show sweat? (seriously.)
- am I going to want to claw it off my body five minutes after putting it on?

Enter this sheer, flowy thing of beauty.  Its classic cut and periwinkle-like color called out to me from the overstuffed rack.  Once I had it on in the dressing room, I knew it was coming home with me.  It's easy to wear, easy to accessorize, and it doesn't stick to me when I'm outside!  This time around, I went very light on accessories and chose to throw on my favorite vintage-y heels for a sweetly sexy feel.  I can't wait to play around with some edgier accessories with this one.

**Again, all photos taken by the extremely talented Sarah Culver.  Please visit her site!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

what I won't be wearing this weekend

photo by Sarah Culver

chambray: American Eagle, colored jeans: Old Navy, sandals: Target (suuuuper old) 

photo by Sarah Culver
photo by Sarah Culver

Alright, y'all.  It's been too long, and it's time I got back on this horse.  So here I am.

And nope...I won't be wearing this outfit this weekend.  Why?  It's pretty cute, I know, but it's just going to be too dang hot out for pants.  If it wasn't going to be nearing 100*, you'd bet I'd throw this on.  My boyfriend is probably sick of seeing me pair these items together, but I just can't get over how comfy it all is. None of it needs to be ironed (hooray!).  It's a throw-it-on-to-go-eat-at-the-diner kind of outfit, and you just can't go wrong with that...especially considering how often I actually do go to the diner.

If you'd asked me a year ago about wearing a denim (ahem...chambray) shirt, I'd have laughed in your face.  Something about shirts of this sort takes me back to a time in the sixth grade when wearing my mom's denim shirts with oversized khaki pants was cool (or at least I convinced myself it was...).  But this version, with it's feminine shape and pearl buttons (TEXAS GIRL ALERT), is certainly something I can get behind.  The colored jeans are actually jeggings (I know, I know...), but I love their flattering shape and the fact that I can wear them tucked into boots or with flat sandals.

I should mention that all of the photos in this post were taken by Sarah Culver, an extremely talented photographer and friend of mine.  She shoots the loveliest engagement and wedding photos, in addition to doing photography like what you see here.  I hope you'll take a moment to swing by her site!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


It's been a long month, folks.  The combination of graduation and parents in town and settling into summer has left me with little time to take outfit photos, although I assure you I've been getting dressed.  I've spent some time recently thinking about how I don't necessarily want to put outfits together for the sole benefit of this blog but also because I find some small bit of joy in it.  So often what I wear reflects how I feel that day or how I want to feel, and sometimes that just doesn't make for interesting outfit photos.

What I'm wondering is this: do I blog what I actually wear everyday (or 3-4 days a week), even if that means I repeat outfits?  Or should I take this platform as a challenge to ensure that I don't wear the same things over and over?  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This spring for me so far has meant bright pops of color and fun prints.  I decided to take things down a notch today with this outfit.  I like the subdued tones together, and feel like the black actually pops here because of how stark it is against the other colors.

shirt: LOFT, skirt: J.Crew, belt: F21, wedges: Target
I feel like I learn something new every time I post outfit photos.  Slowly, I'm beginning to figure out which silhouettes work best for my shape, and I'm not quite sure I hit the mark here.  A sleeker shape on bottom would be something to try next time.

Anyone else out there struggle with finding what suits their shape?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Everything is a diary."

"Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self portrait. Everything is a diary."
- Chuck Palahniuk
This sort of thinking seems to me to also extend to how you choose to dress yourself.  Sydney's post yesterday really got me thinking about why and how I clothe my body.  There will always be societal and professional considerations to make, but I strive to mesh those things with what makes me feel like ME.  When people meet me, I don't want for them to merely see the outfit I put together but instead hope that they see some outward expression of my personality.  After all, if it is a self portrait, why not make it as accurate an expression as possible?     

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Two days worth of outfits in one post?  Why not?  I realize that I'm just getting warmed up here, but the end of April is hellishly busy.  Working in higher education in the capacity that I do means that there are three times of the year where things are truly moving at a breakneck pace: April - June, August - September, and December - January.  I'm getting less sleep these days, and I actually don't mind it because the weather is nice enough to put me in a cheerful mood.

Well.....the weather is nice enough most days.  As you can see, I had to pull out my tights for this outfit, and despite the smiles you see here, I was none too pleased about that fact.  Who wants to wake up to a 46 degree morning when you've already tasted the sweetness of 70 degrees at 8am?  Not me.

In an effort to fight against the black tights and boots, I tried to go for a pop of color and a subtle pattern mixture.  It might not show up well in these photographs, but the coral top has a burnt-out polka dot pattern which I opted to pair with a charcoal grey striped cardigan.  I don't know that it works so well, but I can say that having that color close to my face all day did help soothe my desire for breezy skirts and wedge sandals.
cardigan: hand-me-down Old Navy, top: F21, skirt: Michael Kors via TJ Maxx, boots: Via Spiga via eBay

 Today, the weather was a bit more aligned with my notions of "spring".  There was still a bit of a chill this morning, so I opted for pants.  These are the pink cousin to the khaki pants I wore in an earlier outfit. 
I have to say, I felt so confident today wearing these, which was a bit of a surprise given my neutral loving ways.  The shape is classic and flattering and the color really punches up the outfit.  I'm not quite sure about the shoe choice here (despite my deep and abiding love for those heels), but I'm quite pleased with everything else from the ankle up.
cardigan: Lands End Canvas, striped tee: old F21, hot pink pants: H&M, heels: Seychelles

Sunday, April 22, 2012

rain can't get me down

top: J. Crew Factory, colored jeans: H&M, boots: Hunter via Gilt

just being my gangly, awkward self...

I actually found it difficult to muster the willpower to get dressed today, as we've suffered a return to cold, rainy weather here in Annapolis.  My tendency on days like this is to roll on the leggings and sweatshirt and call it good.  I fought that urge by pulling out these cornflower blue jeans and one of my favorite breton striped shirts (I have three...!) and added the purple Hunters for venturing out onto the rain-drenched bricks of the historic district.  Here's hoping I only get to wear them once more this week!