summer inspiration: cut it all off!

One of my greatest summer temptations has always been a pixie cut. How great would it be to just chop it all off? You'd never get bogged down and sweaty with all that hair on your neck, no time needed to dry and style--just go! I did cut my hair off once, going from mid-back to chin-length my senior year of high school, but I've never been able to go really short. Because of my curls, I'm pretty sure that I would look like a dandelion with a frizzy halo of fuzz if I cut my hair short enough. But my own little sister made the leap today, and she's got me lusting for a pixie cut again!

Tres chic, am I right? We just celebrated our respective graduations with family and friends this weekend, and then Julie shed that old life (and a good 10" of hair!) just in time for us to hit up Summerfest this weekend. It's the world's largest outdoor music festival, held right here in Milwaukee, in case you didn't know! I still don't think that a cut that short would work on my hair, but I do have the itch to mix things up this summer in the hair department. Maybe I'll put a little more practice into my victory rolls and add some retro flair to my summer look!

What's your summer daydream? Do you always hope to find the perfect pair of cut-offs or buy those designer sunglasses? Do you yearn to never wear a single pair of socks, from June to September?

review: "so chaud" by mac

Yesterday was a stressful day, but sometimes the world sends you a little ray of sunshine just when you need it most. I got a little black box from Mac Cosmetics!

For the past week or so, I have been obsessed with orange lipstick. It seems so fun and funky, such a bright summer color. My usual summer lips are from the Buxom "Sailor Girls" lipgloss set, but I've been wanting to incorporate a matte color. Orange lips have totally captivated me, and I spent late night hours scouring swatches and reviews, trying to find the orange that was right for me. I didn't want to go too bright; neon orange is a pretty big leap to take. My initial choice was Lady Danger from Mac (love that name!): I loved the idea of a red-orange that would work with a daytime retro feel, but from the swatches I saw, it didn't look quite orange enough for me. The alternate, and the lipstick I ended up ordering, was Lady Danger's sister in color, So Chaud.

First off, I'd just like to say that Mac sends you about 5 pounds of black tissue paper to go with one itty-bitty lipstick box. It was like a treasure hunt!

This is exactly the color I was looking for, and I'm really pleased with it. It's got a lot of red to it, but it's definitely recognizably orange. It looks very orange in the tube, and I was happy that it followed through on my lips. I think with another coat it would look even oranger (photos are done with just a single application). I'm a huge fan of Mac's lipsticks: the wear and color is incredible, and I personally have never had the drying problems that some wearers report. Additionally, I always think of Mac as being at the top of my price range but while it certainly isn't cheap, at $14.50 Mac's permanent collection lipsticks are actually considerably more wallet-friendly than comparable brands (most of the lipsticks at Sephora clock in $18-$22). And yes, I adore the sleek minimalist packaging. They're like little bullets! I would love to have a bandolier of Mac lipsticks. I'm so easy for branding--that sleek M-A-C makes me all dreamy.

So Chaud gets an A+ from me and a beeline directly into my summer makeup kit. I'm already excited to try out new looks with it...I'm guessing it'll look great with some gold eyeshadow, although my rebel color-fiend heart is telling me to try teal!

operation update: before (or "neutral")

This weekend was a big project weekend in my house! My parents repainted our bathroom, ferns and hostas were planted in the yard, and I whipped my room into shape! It would a bit of a misnomer to say it's "clean" because there's still an intense dusting to be done, but everything is much tidier than it's been in years (considering the state of my closet).

I wanted to show you some before pictures of my room, but I didn't take any actual befores because I still want you to like and respect me. So I waited until all the clutter was tucked away to take pictures of what I like to consider "neutral" mode. Everything is stripped to the bare necessities, mostly because my grandparents will be staying in my room during their visit. But that means that everything is ready to be maneuvered...that's right, Operation Update is going to actually start occurring after they leave next week! So here's the lowdown on what my room looks like now, in its neutral state.

The view from the door. Yes, I know, my Hello Kitty mirror is pretty fabulous.

From the opposite corner. Here are my wonderfully high school bulletin boards in all their glory. The fan + crate are obviously getting axed as soon as it gets cooler/hot enough to turn on the air conditioning.

And from the corner I just pictured! My closet and the nightstand, which is off adrift. I've been using that blue crate as a nightstand of sorts, but I think it's time for the bed and nightstand to get over their differences and come back together.

Here are some detail shots:

The nightstand, current home to my jewelry and a bunch of oversized books.

My bookcase, featuring most of the books I took to school with me, a few extras, and a drumstick I caught at Summerfest last year. Good times. It's a really dark piece of furniture (obviously, it's black), but I don't know if it's worth a repaint job just yet. I'm planning to get some decals to stick on the sides to tie it in more with the bedding.

Dresser, so stripped down that I barely even recognize it (and ugh, so dusty! Sorry!). I made a little nest for my cosmetics under the mirror, but I would really like to get some kind of cute vanity tray for them. I was using a decorative mail tray at school, but I think that'll have to migrate to my desk (if I ever find it in all my boxes!)

And the chair. Oh, chair. It's a nice chair, really, perfectly sittable,'s wicker. Painted wicker. So far from my aesthetic that it's kind of shocking. Most of the time this chair is a depository for laundry, which is all the more reason to get rid of it...I don't need more excuses for making a mess! So once the grandparents go home, that chair is going to have to find a new home (possibly on the porch, possibly in the basement) and give up its space so my wonderful desk can fit.

Sorry for subjecting you all to my dust; I just knew that if I didn't take pictures now, I would completely forget.

Do you have any thoughts/suggestions? Now is the time for me to start some serious planning!

inspiration: in the movies

I'm sure those of you with your interests lying crosswise in the fields of fashion and film have heard abut the amazing auction of Debbie Reynolds' collection of Hollywood memorabilia. The auction begins today, and while most of us are probably not in a position to actually bid on any of the items, the mix of eye candy and nostalgia is a great diversion on a summer weekend.

You can download a free PDF catalog of the auction here, and the marvelous Tom and Lorenzo have a post displaying many of the star pieces, so I won't retread too much on that. But needless to say, this is real Hollywood history. Gorgeous costume pieces, iconic accessories, letters, contracts,'s fascinating.

The whole thing is enchanting to me. To own a piece of history, like that--I don't even know what I would do with, say, Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat, or Dorothy's pinafore, or Marilyn Monroe's white dress (all pieces in the auction). I would want to tuck it close to me, keep it safe and mine, but I would also want to put it in my living room, so that everyone could see and enjoy it with me. I wish that these pieces could be all in one museum, like Debbie Reynolds wanted them to be. As enticing as the idea of owning a piece of the movies all your own, it also makes me really sad to think of all these wonderful things and all those years of collecting being scattered.

...that was a lot more serious than I planned this entry to be! Let's talk pretty! If you could pick a piece from the auction to take home with you, which would it be? i haven't made it all the way through the booklet yet (and the booklet itself is a prize, I highly recommend downloading a copy), but for now I'm torn between the Ascot Races dress from My Fair Lady and the Do-Re-Mi dress from The Sound of Music

Images via

The Ascot dress is obviously more visually striking, but both of these musicals were huge favorites growing up, The Sound of Music particularly. And how could I choose between two of my absolute favorite film ladies of all time, Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews? Maybe it's a good thing I don't have (ugh) $200,000 to throw around. (That's the starting bid on the Ascot dress, for the morbidly curious. The jumper starts at far more "affordable" $40,000). To be honest, I would probably actually try to walk away with some of those gorgeous vintage movie posters. But those of us without the discretionary funds can still roll around in the beautiful photos, lush descriptions, and wonderful daydreams :)

operation update: revving up again

The job I had been interviewed for didn't end up panning out. It's disappointing, but I still have applications places I would really love to work (and ones that are more suited to my long-term goals), so I'm not heartbroken. The only real change is that now that I know I won't be asked to pack up and move in the next two weeks, my update project is back on the rails. It's been in stasis, really, since I got home, unsure of where I would be next. It didn't make much sense to lug all my stuff down to the basement/unpack the other stuff if I would need to lug it back up/pack it all up in a week or so. But my other prospects are within commuting distance of my house, so I'll probably be here for a good long while. It's time to get the ball rolling again!

Today, in a spurt of energy, I took the last of my "stuff" boxes down to the basement (except one I can't lift). Perhaps tomorrow I'll start cleaning out my closet to make room to store all the other stuff I don't want to put in the basement (mostly my kitchen/cooking supplies. also, shoes). Whatever the schedule, it's time to get a move on.

That said, I have accomplished a few of my update goals!

1. Bedding

A new "grown up" bedding set was at the top of my list, so it was the first thing I bought! This is the Jeslyn Comforter Set from Springmaid. I got it at Target, because Target has cute home goods! I was initially waffling on the color but now I absolutely love it and, yes, it's got birds on it. My plan was to go with a sort of baroque/damask theme to the room, but now I'm going a little more light/naturey. I'm hoping to get some branch/bird decals to go on my bookcase in order to lighten it up (it's black as night).

And yes, I got a Kleenex box to match. Couldn't resist!

2. Desk!

You might recall my obsession with a desk as real "grown-up" furniture. Well, I finally got one!

I first found a desk at Pier One. It was a lovely little white sawhorse number, and I was immediately smitten. We went to World Market after, and I found a very similar desk, but it was smaller and had a laquered finish that I didn't like. There was another desk that looked interesting, but it was much more expensive than the other desk (which was already at the top of my price range), so I passed it by.

My mom and I went back to Pier One later that week so we didn't miss out on the desk, which was on sale! Except when we went back, we realized that it wasn't on sale, so there was no special rush on it. I decided to wait.

Meanwhile, life went on. I scrubbed off my mom's old director's chairs, and she remembered seeing some replacement canvas for them at World Market. It would be a great way to spice up our porch! We went back to World Market, and I decided to poke around the desks again, just in case. I always love to shop for furniture! And I discovered that the desk that was too expensive for me was now marked down to cheaper than the Pier One desk! I gave it a good look and...well.

The Charles Sawhorse Desk from World Market

The desk is still packed in a box in the garage, but I'll get a good picture of it once I have it set up and in the room. I was drawn to the timelessness of the warm natural wood, the shelving space on the bottom (the Pier One desk had zero storage space), and how solid it was. This is a desk that I could probably use as a kitchen table if I needed to. It's definitely big kid furniture.

That's my progress so far! It's not much, but my two major purchases have been made. The rest is cleaning, accessorizing, and arranging!

Now, if you'll excuse me, my $10 thrift sale bread machine is beeping...and that bread smells good!

summer shopping list: accessories

Last time I talked about shoes and promised to take a look at some accessories. I actually lived up to my own plans (for once) and purchased some new jewelry...although that hasn't kept me from drooling over more summery pieces in the days that followed!

I always feel a bit at a loss for accessories when I'm putting an outfit together. They can really make a look, but I tend to put my money into the actual clothes. Why buy a necklace when I could get a skirt? Well, because it'll make multiple outfits even awesomer, that's why! Summer time is a good time for me to buy accessories, because I spend a lot of it in the same tanktops and shorts. The thing that's great about summer jewelery, to me, is that the whole span, from glam to kitsch, can really work. I gravitate towards light colors, cute little miniatures, and plenty of silver. While I was out on the town, I got myself a few new shinies:

Sorry for the webcam pics! My camera is out of batteries and these were already on my computer...

The lovely leaf headband is from Kohl's. It's already made a debut at the wedding I went to on a whim this weekend, and I got quite a few compliments! I love it because it's the first headband I've found (let alone a metal one) that I can actually wear without pain; if you recall, I have a big head, and most headbands squeeze tightly enough that I end up with a headache after half an hour of wear. I picked up the necklace and ring at a consignment store that, sadly, mostly stocked junior's sizes, so there were no clothes for me. But jewelry is much more forgiving! I also wore the wing necklace to the wedding; I've been in the market for one forever, but was always shy to buy one that wasn't "perfect." Lo and behold, I found one that was pretty much perfect and only $3! The cameo ring I gravitated toward immediately. Statement rings are totally in right now, and, much more relevantly, I am kind of obsessed with them. I love cameos, and the fancy silver gives it a little bit of a sassy boost.

But enough about the things I already own! What is a style blog if not a place to lust over things you do not yet have? I took a browse of "summer" on Etsy and pinned a few of my favorites.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Little birds, cliche as they are, are always adorable. There's something so light about this necklace.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Another big crazy ring! You know me. The only thing I love more than big crazy rings are those gorgeous rose cabochons. Speaking of...

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

This one is a bit pricier than the others, but look at it. It's incredibly gorgeous, and the colors say summer like nothing else.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Bookworm necklace! Lockets are so darling, and what could be better than a book-shaped locket? A book-shaped locket with a teeny-tiny pair of glasses on it!

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Okay, this is really the Etsy store that captured my heart from this search. The Snocone earrings were my favorite summer pick, but it's a shop full of tiny little fake food jewelry! If you hadn't guessed, tiny things make me coo. Literally. You don't want to know the sounds I made over the tiny little desserts at the wedding.

How do you show your summer style with your accessories? (And what do you think of using the Pinterest embeds? It's a little easier for me because they do all the coding!)

inspiration: colorful fridges

Stainless steel is the thing now in kitchens, and I'll admit, I too am often swept up in its solemn stylishness. This, I can see, is a refrigerator that's really serious about keeping my food cold. Stainless steel is definitely the Iron Chef of appliance material, and I love it.


I...I think I'm in love. And I don't even like orange. I've been getting very fond of colorful kitchens, but a colorful fridge is another step farther. I know there are some European retailers that make them (Smeg comes to mind), but I've always seen retro-inspired pastels, nothing this intense.

What do you think? Would you cheat on stainless steal with a deliciously kitschy brightly colored fridge?

awarded (again!): versatile blogger

I am apparently so versatile that I received another Versatile Blogger award! I was given one in the early days of the blog by Angela, and I've been lucky enough to receive another from Hannah! I really appreciate being thought of, and since the set up is a little different this time around (and Hannah herself made a cool new graphic), I thought I'd make another post.

As a recipient of the award, I've been asked (by the Blogging Awards Academy* of course) to share seven things about myself. Here we go!

  • I love hardwood floors more than just about anything. I'm resigned to live with carpeting in a future apartment, at least for a while, but I will always come back to hardwood.
  • I minored in Women's and Gender Studies in college, and though it gets a lot less airtime than my Creative Writing degree, it's something I value just as much and am equally passionate about! Actually, I'm pretty sure the only thing that kept me from being a double major was not completing an internship, I definitely had plenty of WGST class credits!
  • I slept with a nightlight all through high school! Ridiculous, I know, but I really felt better with a little bit of light. Now, of course, I must have pitch black or I can't fall asleep. Life!
  • I love theater. I did a lot of acting in high school, a little in college, and I hope that wherever I end up has a thriving community theater that I could be a part of. I also love seeing shows.
  • I'm terrible at unpacking. Not only have I not unpacked my one tiny suitcase from my interview trip last week, I really haven't unpacked most of what I brought home from school last month. I have a hard time carving out the time to really focus and work on a project like that.
  • I'm an avowed doodler. I'd never claim to be an artist, but I love to draw and sketch, and I've dabbled in painting and would love to do more.
  • I tend to shop on a palette without realizing it. I'll go to show off my purchases and go "...oh, I bought four things the same shade of purple/teal/green." So, apparently I'm drawn to particular colors at particular times!

Next, I'd like to pass the award on to a deserving blogger. Disdainbrook is run by my very dear friend Kaitlin, but fear not: there is (little to) no nepotism in this pick! She's new on the blogging scene, but she has a great voice and writes about YA lit, her own writing projects, playing the ukulele, and life in general. Plus, mustaches!

Thank you again, Hannah!

*Not an actual organization

face painting extravaganza

Sometimes I actually do things in my day-to-day life besides watch HGTV and make food for people! My sister is graduating from high school next weekend (yikes! and congrats!), so on Saturday, the school threw a sort of senior party. It was carnival themed, and there were games, inflatables, food, and yours truly supplied the face painting.

To be perfectly frank, face painting was not exactly the hit of the night...there wasn't a ton of interest, so I spent most of the night drawing on myself. But the kids who did come through seemed happy with what I gave them, and that's what matters! I replicated a wrestler's mask from a photo on a kid's phone, drew a cupcake, a couple dragons, some flowers, and even a few name tattoos. I didn't get photos of most of what I drew (even on me), but here's a little sample.

An octopus for my fabulous sister!

Obviously the sea was on my mind last night. I kind of gave myself an ocean-themed leg, with the squid, anchor, and my mermaid. (Excuse my terrifying monkey toes! I get them from my grandpa.) I didn't get a shot of my arm, but it had some fancy swirly designs and a peacock. It's also harder than you might expect to draw on your own legs without contorting into non school-appropriate positions, so I'm pretty pleased with how my work turned out! Sadly, they all had to go before I got into my bed with its white sheets and all.

All in all, a good night. Congratulations to the (baby) Class of 2011! A big kid Class of 11er salutes you.

All photos were taken by my snazzy little sister and shamelessly hijacked from her Facebook. Thanks, sis!

super summer looks: inspiration superheroes

I had a lovely minication going to my interview this week! Madison is a lovely city, and the weather was gorgeous. I got to test drive my very first pair of wedges (success!), as well as interview for a great position at a great company. We'll see what happens!

Something you may not know about me (but probably do) is that I'm a big geek. I love superheroes and comics, and summer is the time of superhero movies! I haven't seen Thor or X-Men: First Class yet, but you can bet I'll catch both of them before they leave theaters. And thinking about superheroes reminded me of my Buffy Summers Fictional Fashion Icons post. Why, I ask myself, shouldn't I dress like a superhero in everyday life? Now, a cape and spandex panties might not be the most cool (or cooling...all that spandex would get hot) look for summer, but comic book stars can still be a style inspiration.

wonder woman beachwear

With this Wonder Woman inspired outfit, you're ready for a day frolicking on the beach! It's pretty much impossible not to look like an American flag when you're inspired by Wonder Woman, so I didn't really try. You've got her trademark gold jewelry, and the hat with yellow bands to mimic her tiara. Strappy red sandals are much more summer-friendly (and subtle) than her usual red boots. If you can pair the look with an invisible convertible, all the better!

the dark knight on the boardwalk

A Batman inspired look has to be for nighttime; there's no way you would stay comfortable wearing that much black during the day in the summer! So hit the club or the boardwalk in a slinky dress (with a nice yellow stripe to call to mind the trademark utility belt without being too obvious). It wouldn't be Batman without a little bit of hardware, so I picked some hardcore boots (for fighting baddies obviously) and brass knuckles inspired rings. A pair of shades, because a mask is kind of like wearing sunglasses at night. Add a nice but useful black bag to keep all your various crime fighting accoutrement, and off you go!

harley quinn goes to the mall

Not actually a hero, but when I saw that shirt, I couldn't help but think of Harley Quinn, one of my favorite comic villainesses. Update her slinky red-and-black look for daywear by pairing a red t-shirt with black leggings or skinny jeans. A pair of sneakers keeps things bright and fun, and a variety of jewelry and accessory pulls in both the violence of villainy and a subtle nod to a playing card theme (spades on the earrings and heart sunglasses). A kicky purse, and you're ready for a casual day at the mall or somewhere else air-conditioned.

This barely scratches the surface of superhero-themed outfits, and there are a million ways to pick up inspiration and do a subtle everyday cosplay! I would definitely recommend the gorgeous superhero outfit sketches by Katrina Navarro. Her take is a little bit more literal than I was aiming for, but they're also a ton of fun!

Which superhero would you want to dress like for a day?


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