cuckoo for rococo

Remember when I posted about Marie Antoinette as a style inspiration? It was way back in March, but I'm still crazy for the baroque/rococo look! I found a new set of photos and fell in love all over again.

I'm not 100% sure about the event these photos are from, since the blog is (understandably) mostly in French, but it appears to be the "Carnival of Versailles" and is incredibly gorgeous. I'm totally digging the play of the over-the-top decadence of the dresses, wigs, and makeup with the sleek glimpses of modern technology. The past and the present meet in such a delicious way:

I know it's hard to believe, but I just picked my very favorites. The full set of photos is here, and well worth viewing. The last photo of course reminds me of this one from the Marie Antoinette film set:

I'm still cuckoo for rococo, though it's admittedly a more difficult style to work into my every day life. Vintage/mid-century style is popular enough right now that it doesn't seem too strange to get a little 50s/60s drag on, but a powdered wig isn't exactly the height of today's fashion world! Still, I find inspiration in the feel of decadence, and I think I'd like looking like a marvelous frothy dessert. More accessories, prettier accessories, and maybe (just maybe), I'll figure out a way to stick some birds into my hair!

How would you work the baroque in every day style? Be inspired by the feeling, work a few pieces into an otherwise modern ensemble, or just go for (wait for it) baroque? (I couldn't help myself!)

bike chic

My little sister has now officially spent her first day at college. But before she moved in, there was one thing she needed to do: learn how to ride a bike. It's true, she never learned and though I learned, I never really got into riding. I didn't want to just watch her ride, however, so I asked my dad to bring my pink Huffy down from the workshop and pump up my tires too! I'll admit I was suspicious of the old saying, but it looks like you don't forget how--I didn't, at least! And, against all odds...I kind of want to do it again!

Of course, because it's still summer (for now!) and I'm definitely not in bike marathon shape (or bike most anywhere shape), I'll be wearing an oversized t-shirt and a pair of lazy day shorts when I go riding around my yard. But I have an idea of what I would rather wear:

bike chic

A light stripey dress paired with plenty of color. I love mixing and matching colored accessories, and I do so with a lot more bravado than I would dare with actual pieces of clothing. Maybe I should mix it up more often, but for now, I'm happy with a pretty coral flower and yellow shoes. Plus, of course, adorably summery earrings. Tiny food! Tiny food is always amazing. And a beautiful floppy hat, to feel fabulous and French (hats with bows always make me think of the Madeline books, can't help it.)

If I wore this biking, I like to think that I would ride up to Starbucks (or wherever people with bikes go) with my make up perfect instead running down my red blotchy face. My hair would cascade over my shoulders in delicate waves and curls and would definitely not be lank and sweaty. No bugs would go after my exposed limbs, no awkward sunburns. Just easy breezy bike riding.

For now, I think my goal will be to one day bike to the library. The magical bike-riding outfit will have to come with time.

Any biking fans? Are you cute & stylish bikers, serious spandex bikers, or casual cool bikers? Is anyone else picturing motorcyclists that fit any of the previous descriptions right now? Just me? Okay.

inspiration: gray grey gray

I am all about grey lately. Or gray. I've always spelled it "gray" but recently it's started to look a bit less sophisticated than its UK counterpart. (Yes, I am the type of person concerned about the aesthetic quality of the words I use.) But from the grey dresses you saw me feature in my last post to gunmetal eyeshadow to those dreamy grey bedrooms, I have a fixation. There's something so wonderfully serene about the right shade of grey, and I have a real thing about pops of color. What better to pop off of than the delicate neutral tones of grey? Grey/yellow is definitely my favorite pairing, although grey and blue also make lovely partners. Plus, I've always had a tender spot in my heart for the industrial look, and grey makes me think of big ol' ducts and metal fittings.

I went on a bit of a mad pinning spree tonight and filtered through most of the grey/gray tagged items on there. I'll only share a few of my very favorites, but please do follow the link and see all of them if you're as fond as grey as I am.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

I will definitely keep adding to this board when I come across more fabulous greys!

On the fashion side, I obviously love grey dresses. Pair them with a fabulous bright shoe to get the fun pop I talked about above:

grey lady

Or, if all-over grey is a little bit much for you, why not try a pair of grey tights or socks to add some contrast to a bright dress? I used the same color combos here as above, because I like parallelism like that:

grey legs

Are you a grey fan or does it just make you feel like you're stuck inside on a rainy day? (also, I switched up the Polyvore you like having the separate pieces clickable on the bottom or no?)

dress up/dress down: making dresses work for work

When you're just starting out in your professional life, it can be hard to figure out how to make up a stylish outfit every day out of the same pieces.
It's really important to me (and I'm sure most of you!) to be stylish as well as professional, and as I'm learning how to dress for work, I want to share the tips and tricks that have helped me be cute while copying. Layering is a great option overall, but it can also be useful in integrating a wider range of clothing into your working wardrobe. I finally have a pair of slacks that I like, but in general, I prefer skirts and dresses as far as professional wear goes. However, the sweet spot of a "professional" dress that doesn't feel too casual or too fancy can be difficult to hit. And hey, who wants clothes that only fits one venue?

One of the other problems with dresses is that they tend to be memorable pieces, which means you can't just wear it every week or so without someone noticing your wardrobe is repeating (if you're me, and you worry about things like that). Luckily, there's a way to solve both of these problems, and it is called layering!

This is a very basic gray dress. It was fine for throwing on for spring days or running to class but is a little bit too casual for the office. Not to mention that it's pretty boring all on it's own. Now, because it's so light and casual, it wouldn't make sense to dress it up too far; I couldn't transform this into an ultra-sleek look. It just doesn't have the shape/material for it. What I can do is give it just enough style to make it work:

Dress: Target
Cardigan: Kohl's
Belt: JC Penny's

I bought this long cardigan last summer, and I didn't wear it too often. But now it's becoming one of my favorite pieces: it's light enough for summer, with short sleeves that cover up bare shoulders (most of my dresses are sleeveless) without being too hot, and the length makes it great to wear with dresses. The belt I liberated from another dress to add a little bit of color to the neutral look; besides, two of my favorite combinations are yellow/blue and yellow/gray, so it made me happy to get both of them in the same look! Through the power of layering, I was able to dress up this basic dress enough to make it a fairly breezy work-appropriate look.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? Can you make a party dress work-ready?

Heck yes, I can! Because this dress (which is new, and I love it) was a little bit fancier than the first one, I wanted to dress it "down" to a more corporate-appropriate style. But I didn't want to go too far; the first dress was more of a casual chic...this one has more intrinsic style, so I wanted to go a little more full-on professional with it.

Dress: Jones New York
Blazer: Charlotte Russe
Necklace: Lia Sophia (comped)

Instead of a cardigan, which would have made the dress a lot more casual, I paired it with a new blazer. I wanted to add a little subtle color and interest, so I grabbed a necklace that was provided to me when I worked a Lia Sophia event earlier this summer. It's just slightly purple, which played well with the pale gray.

And that's how I made two different gray dresses appropriate for work! I'm actually kind of digging reaching the end of my wardrobe: off the edge of the map is where the dragons are, right? I love dragons. Layering is one of those things that I knew was awesome and I should do but never actually managed to get together. Now I just want to buy all of the belts and cardigans and blazers, so I can make so many new ~ensembles~.

How do you keep your work wardrobe fresh, week after week? Is layering as much of a wonder to you as it is to me, or do I just sound like a total dube*?

Thanks to my lovely assistant sister for letting me drag her upstairs on a Sunday afternoon to take a bunch of pictures of me. And I just noticed the random hanger laying mournfully on the floor in the you've probably noticed it all too. Pretend that's not there!

*"Dube" is apparently slang for idiot/dope that was popular in a small Minnesotan town in the 70s. Kaitlin and I are on a mission to bring it back.

places to eat: milwaukee

I had a great time adventuring in Chicago with my dear Kaitlin this Saturday. We got very very lost and very very wet, but the shows were great and we had a darn good time. It was also a day of firsts for me; I rode the subway without a parent for the first time, hailed my first cab, and braved my first outdoor concert in the rain.

But the good times weren't about to stop rolling yet; on Tuesday, I had another adventure, this time in Milwaukee with Gail, my best friend from high school. Since she moved further north for school, we don't see each other as often, but when we do it's just like old times! While in Milwaukee, we hit up three awesome places to get a bite to eat that I thought I would share with you.

Image via Serious Eats

First up was Northpoint Custard on Bradford Beach. This old-school custard/burger stand is run by one of Milwaukee's premier restauranting families, the Bartolotta's. They put a slightly more upscale twist on classic beach stand food, but for the most part, it's just great food to eat sitting at their picnic tables, on the rocks along Lake Michigan, or (as we did) sitting in the trunk of your car. I had the Old School burger with cheese (ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles) which was a bit mustard-heavy for my tastes (but I don't actually like mustard except for mixed in with other condiments on burgers) and beer-battered onion rings, which were awesome. Gail got the Seagull (sauteed onions, Merkt's cheese spread) and cheese fries, both of which got a thumbs up from her. The burgers are the expected thin chargrilled type -- I'm personally a fan of big thick burgers, but I knew that wasn't what a place like this offered.

The food is great, especially paired with the view. We were lucky enough to have a gorgeous day, warm with a nice cool breeze off the lake, and it felt pretty amazing to sit outside and eat our food. We did get mobbed by seagulls after the rather ill-contemplated plan to just let fallen french fries lie, but a small child clutching an Angry Birds plushie chased them away for us.

I only really regret not getting a chance to try out their custard. (If you aren't familiar with frozen custard, get thee to a Culver's ASAP! It seems to be a particularly Wisconsin-based dessert, and it's amazing. Richer and creamier than ice cream, frozen custard is a boon to the world.) But I couldn't have sweets at Northpoint, because our next stop was...

Image via

Another first: my first visit to a cupcake bakery! As trendy as they are and as much as I love cupcakes, I haven't found an actual cupcake bakery before visiting Classy Girl Cupcakes. One of their specialties are their "cheesecake cupcakes" which, although delicious, felt like a little bit of a misnomer to me. I was expecting something more...cupcakey, I suppose, when what I got was a paper cup filled with cheesecake. That was probably just my own preconceived notions, fueled by an amazing cheesecake/cupcake mash-up that roomie Elise used to make.

I ordered a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake cupcake and a Ghiradelli chocolate cupcake. Gail had a hazelnut nutella cheesecake cupcake and went classic with Red Velvet for her standard cupcake. They were all very good, though I don't know if they were necessarily the best cupcakes I've ever had. There's a full-service bakery/baking supply store not far from my house that makes the most incredible cupcakes; I wanted a place that focused entirely on cupcakes to meet or surpass them, but no such luck. Still, the cheesecake cupcakes are a lot of fun and felt fresh and different to me. The store itself is great, with a girly-meets-industrial look, and some really cute cupcake-inspired accessories and t-shirts for sale. I would go back for the experience...and because with 20 flavors offered every day, there are so many more I want to try!

What could we do after burgers and cupcakes? It seemed like it was time to get something a little bit healthier, so we headed out down to the Milwaukee Public Market.


The Public Market is a great piece of Milwaukee food culture; the building houses a number of independent artisan vendors, offering both grocery products (seafood, spices, artisan breads and cheeses) and dine-in options (sandwiches, wine bar, salads). It's a ton of fun to poke around and see what nifty stuff is up for sale. Gail and I stopped at The Green Kitchen, which offers artisan sandwiches, made-to-order salads, and raw fresh juice. When we stopped at the stand, I didn't realize that they would be slicing and juicing all of the fruits for my juice right there and then! I had a Pink Flamingo (orange, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberry) that was delicious, and Gail thoroughly enjoyed her Obango (orange, banana, mango). They offer a number of combinations, both fruit-based and with vegetable influence, as well as shots of wheatgrass.

I was thoroughly tempted by the artisan breads and the number of candy stores in the market, but alas, our parking meter was about to run out, so it was time to return to the car and head out of the city. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon in Milwaukee; even though I've lived just outside it for the majority of my life, I haven't had a chance to experience most of what it has to offer. My time in Milwaukee has mostly been through trips to the museums or the theater, often through school. It feels like time to explore the city as an adult!

Are there places in your "home" city that you've always wanted to check out? Where would you take friends to eat to show them what your city is?

(Northpoint is only open in the summer, but the other two are available year round, in case you want to check them out next time you head up to Dairyland!)

weekend adventure

This weekend is going to consist of these people:

going here

to see him

and him

Yay! Have a great weekend, everyone :)

glasses redux

The last time I got new glasses was freshman year of college. That was when I switched from wire frames to the chunky plastic frames I'm so drawn to now; in a way, it was a whole new me. So it feels pretty poetic to be getting a new pair now, as I'm entering the working world! I wrote about my love of glasses in my very first post of the year: I would never get contacts. I'm a glasses girl through and through.

I've been in love with this pair of Ray-Bans for a long time...they're so retrofab and dramatic.

I simply had to get my hands on them, and luckily, there was a pair at my local Lenscrafters. Unluckily, these amazing glasses just weren't right for me. They were a little too intensely retro for my day to day life, and the shape of the frames sat a tad too narrowly on my face (which enhanced the roundness of it, no thanks). I tried on piles of other glasses in the store, but I ended up coming back to the wall of Ray-Bans to find my winner.

Without further ado, behold, my new glasses:

So, I love these a lot! They have the retro-inspired flair that I wanted, without being too costumey for me to feel comfortable wearing them day in and day out. They're black and chunky, which was pretty much a bygone conclusion--black and chunky is the summation of my glasses preferences. They're a real brand and sad as it is, that makes me feel just a little bit cooler. Why you gotta do me like that, consumerism? (I did try on a pair of $400 Tiffany frames. They were pretty cute, but not $400 worth of cute.)

I'm adjusting to them...there's always that funky period with new glasses when you put them on and PART OF YOUR FACE IS WRONG. The lenses on these are bigger than my last pair, so it's strange not to have a literal frame around my vision. And though my prescription didn't change much, these are way cleaner than my glasses have been since...well, the first day I got them, probably!

Of course, as much as I love these, now is also the time I plan to experiment with the world of online glasses. There is a place that I can get ARGYLE GLASSES for a mere $10. You think I'm not going to order a pair? You don't know me.

five little ways to sass up your day

Whether you work or not, it's easy for days to fall into a monotonous drone. Call them what you will, habit or rut, doing the same thing day after day after day can make life lose a little bit of that spark.

So mix it up! Here are five little things I do when I need to kickstart my life a bit.

one: part your hair differently
This sounds ridiculous, I know, but on Monday, I totally lost control, and parted my hair a few inches over from where I normally do. What a difference! It was like someone else's hair had attached itself to my head! Okay, not really, but I did get a different kind of body, and my little faux-bang locks lay in a new way that I kind of dug. I felt very sassy, like I had gotten a little change without ever having to yield to the ill-advised instinct to pick up that pair of scissors and just go for it.

two: paint your nails

Some of you probably paint your nails every day and think this is a ridiculous tip. But some of you probably haven't painted your nails in a long time and would greatly benefit from the simple pleasure of being surprised and faintly pleased every time you glimpse your own fingertips. Pick the sassiest color you have (mine are a kind of deep metallic teal right now) and spice up your life!

three: change up your jewelry
A lot of us have pieces of jewelry we wear every day, whether for personal meaning or plain old personal flair. Try switching it up. Wear a ring you only wear on special occasions, or use a favorite brooch as a hair accessory. The possibilities are endless!

four: cook (or bake, or order) something special

I made a pan-fried steak for dinner this week and you can bet my Wednesday felt a lot brighter than usual! Try a recipe you've had sitting in your digital recipe box for a while or make a cake in the middle of the week. If you're not a culinary type, order out from somewhere new. Adding a little special something to the week can help you feel refreshed. The above recipe has definitely caught my eye and, as a crock pot dish, shouldn't be too much effort to make on a week night.

five: start a project

When you're tired and feeling blah, starting something new feels like the last thing you want to do. But having a special project, something different can feel incredibly refreshing. It might be a new story, if you're the writerly type, or maybe a new craft. Myself, I decided that I want to start doing some paper crafting and it's all I can think of lately! I need to get myself an exacto knife, and then look out world--paper fun is coming your way!

What do you do when you're feeling blah about life? How do you mix it up?


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