Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings!

Hello Readers!

Welcome to 2013! This is one of my favorite times of the year because it is a time that (more often than not) seems filled with hope and optimism. The hardships and heartaches of last year, and the years past, are behind you. The new year, with all of its possibilities of, lies ahead.

This time of year also happens to coincide with my birthday. And, this year it also coincides with a new job. As many of you already know, I've been faithfully and ardently searching for a new job for quite some time. And, as a few of you know, I accepted a position with a company near home. And not just any position, a position that I am so excited about! I am eager to learn and be stretched through this career opportunity, to become a more effective communicator, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills that I've been studying for so long! This job is an answer to prayers in so many ways!

This career change will undoubtedly lead to a few changes in my wardrobe. My narration of self, at least through clothing, is already in the process of being altered. My love of feminine and somewhat quirky dresses will remain, I'm sure, but in different ways. It will be interesting to see how my style changes as I adjust to a corporate culture...

I imagine that the next week will be a bit hectic, but I will try my best to keep you all updated!

Thanks for reading, and happy 2013!

Happy 2013 and Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Maya the Malamute: Get ready for cuteness. . .

Happy New Year, Readers!

Are you ready for an overdose of cute?

Ok, here you go!

This is my dog, Maya Lani. This spunky Alaskan Malamute goes by Maya, Moo Moo, Little Bear, and "No! Drop that!" She became a part of my family in August after the death of our last Malamute, Sophie (she is actually her half sister!) Maya is a pretty good dog, so far, but WOW- puppies are hard work! She is only 6 months old, but already over 50 lbs and can almost stretch up to my shoulders when jumping up (which she is not supposed to do).

Her favorite pastimes include throwing toys and balls to herself, following me and my family around the house, barking at visitors, stealing socks, sitting on my feet, and learning new tricks (come, stay, wait, shake, high five, sit, down, park it, circles, jump up, watch me, and peace/stop biting). She also enjoys watching zombie tv shows/movies (she loves the noises they make!), football games (she watches my dad watching the games), and people walking/running down our street.

I will probably talk more about her in the future- but I realize that she hasn't been featured on this blog! To make up for that absence, here is a collection of Maya photos. 

she LOVES photo time, as you can see!

She was a show dog for Halloween!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Did Helena's Character Shop at Anthro?

Hello Readers,

This week I had the opportunity to see Les Miserables with my dad. While I enjoyed the movie and the actors' performances, I couldn't help but notice something about Madame Thénardier's wardrobe, worn by Helena Bonham Carter.

photo taken from here
photo from (here)

Take a look at her outfit. If her character (or costume designer) were to buy that jacket, where do you think they would find something like that?

from guess where

you guessed it
Yes, anthropologie bears a striking resemblance to Madame Thenardier's wardrobe

Case in point.

You all know that I love Anthropologie. Some of my favorite items in my wardrobe are from that store. But. . . sometimes their offerings are a bit too theatrical and out there (for my taste, anyway). I have no conclusion on this matter, just a simple observation.

The end.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dreaming of Dresses. . .

Hello Readers,

I'm not sure how the weather is where you are, but here in Central Illinois it is foggy, rainy, and chilly. Not terrible weather (I actually enjoy it. . . most of the time), but not the best of conditions either. As much as I enjoy donning a trench coat and a scarf, there are times when I miss wearing a dress or a skirt without the threat of treacherous winds. This is one of those times.

To escape the chill and the bluster happening outside, I decided to browse the web for dresses to wear on days with more hospitable weather. Dresses to wear to work, weddings, special occasions, or any occasions.

I ventured onto the Sarah Seven website (have you been there? check it out!) and found these dreamy dresses from her Fall 2012 and Spring 2012 Ready to Wear Collection. Aren't they gorgeous?

I think I would wear this one to a work party. . . or maybe even to work with a cardigan or blazer.

I don't know where I would wear this one, but I know it would be to someplace fabulous!

Stunning! And, I'm in the market for a new LBD.

This would also be a great dress for work. I love the classic shape and feminine lace. So chic!

Again, I don't know where I would wear this. . . maybe I could invent an occasion!

Throw on a blazer and a pair of tights. . . work outfit?

This would be a great dress to wear to weddings. . . as a guest or a bridesmaid!

Friday, October 26, 2012

In the Midst of Inspiration

Hey Friends,

I haven't much felt like blogging lately- well, since Sophie's passing- but tonight I am sitting in a place very dear to my heart [Adam Brother's Cafe] on the eve of what I am sure will be a very lovely wedding. . .

And I feel inspired!

My life lately has been a miscellany [a favorite word of mine- also inspiring!] of teaching swimming lessons, filling out applications, and going to job interviews. I've either been in workout gear, pajamas, or my interview suits. A not so interesting, or inspiring, history of outfits. . . The good news, though, is my discovery that aerie carries work out pants, a.k.a. "slim gyms," in their online store.

But, as much as I love wearing work out pants, I didn't find very much motivation to photograph or write about my descent into ultra casual wear, or repeat my many [actually, not so many] iterations of an interview outfit over and over and over again.

But lately, even before I stepped into this cafe, my style has been more inspired.

Here is a sample of one of my latest inspirations:

blinking. . .

As many of you know, I have an Etsy shop, Eclectic And Elegant, that has remained dormant for the past few months- but it is back in business! I've been on the lookout for cool things to add to my store, and this burnt sienna (dark orange?) wool skirt is one of my favorite finds so far! I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take it for a spin before listing it in my store.

The skirt seems to be from the 60s- there's something very Mad Men about its shape, color, and construction. What I love most about the skirt, besides all of the compliments I received while wearing it, is its origin. I had to do a bit of linguistic research via Google Translate, but from the words on the tag I discovered that this darling skirt is far from home! The skirt was made in Bucharest, Romania and somehow made its way to Central Illinois! Woah! 

I think I may need to wear this burnt sienna stunner once or twice more before I list it in my shop. . . so irresistible!

Not blinking! Much better!
Retail Details:
White Cardigan: Abercrombie & Fitch
Floral Top: Anthropologie
Copper Beaded Belt: Anthropologie
Dark Orange Wool Skirt: Vintage (from Romania!)
Dark Purple Cabled Tights: Anthropologie
Raspberry Flats: Old Navy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Absence and Loss

Hello Readers!

I haven't been on here for a while. Some of you may already know why, but for those of you who may have wondered what the cause of my absence has been, now you will know.

Sophie: 2011-2012
A few weeks ago, my sweet and energetic dog, Sophie (a 1 year old Alaskan Malamute) crossed her Invisible Fence line and ran into the path of a moving vehicle and was killed. The entire incident occurred in my front yard. I heard my poor puppy screaming, heard my mom run out and scream, and soon after I ran down the stairs to a sight I wish to forget but will always remember.

When I ran out, I could see Sophie struggling to stand up, and I reached out to try to stop her from moving (to prevent further injury) and in confusion she bit into my right hand and left arm. I won't go into all of the gory details of the morning- but there was blood everywhere. I didn't know how much of the blood on my arms was from Sophie or from the bites. After a neighbor with a heart of gold responded to the situation and drove my mom, Sophie, and I to the vet's office I had to go to a prompt  care center to have my wounds taken care of. When my brother (who drove me) and I returned home, Sophie was gone.

Sophie loved the snow!
Since that day, my wounds from the bites have been healing with the help of antibiotics, lots of Neosporin, many yards of gauze and bandages. But, my heart seems to be healing at a much slower rate. Even though the driver of the vehicle didn't mean to hit my dog, and even though eyewitnesses of the accident have told me that there was nothing the driver could do when Sophie ran out, it's been really difficult for me to forgive him. It's never been this hard for me to love my neighbor- even though this neighbor is a person who literally resides in a house down the street from my own.

Sophie's tongue always stuck out, just a little bit. 

Grief is a response that can turn into anger- and when it does we can be fooled (or at least I was fooled) into believing that anger is an easier burden to carry than forgiveness. This is a lie. Anger is a far heavier and taxing burden to carry than forgiveness. How did I realize this?

Last week, I started praying for the driver. Praying for wounds to heal (who was also bitten by Sophie while trying to help her) and praying for emotional healing helped me to see this person as a person who was also in pain. Praying for the strength for me to forgive him for this terrible accident, and praying for him to forgive me for yelling at him when I ran outside to the mess of that morning.

She always tried to lick my face! What a sweetheart!

Something else that has helped me move forward from this tangled mess, is a new puppy. After Sophie's death, I was not ready for another dog- but a few members of my family started searching online for Malamute puppies, and they discovered that Sophie's mom had a litter of puppies ready to go to new homes. We met the puppies, and chose one. Less than a week later, my house will the home of another black and white ball of fur and fury who we named Maya Lani. She is still very young, but she has quite a personality! While she will never replace Sophie or any other dog that's ever been a part of my life, she is turning out to be a wonderful blessing to me and to my family.

In the future I look forward to sharing more pictures of Maya, and maybe even a few outfits here and there :)

Thank you to my friends and family (and readers!) for your continued support and love during this difficult time!

We will miss you Sophie!

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Eensy Weensy Ounce of Bravery

Hello Readers!

This morning I did something brave. Something very brave that I haven't done in a v.e.r.y. l.o.n.g. t.i.m.e. I'm not even sure when I last did this. . . maybe the summer of 2009?

I woke up this morning to blue skies, warm (but not too warm!) weather, and a slight breeze. A wonderful setting for a brave endeavor. I decided to go to the pool wearing a bikini.

As a swimmer, wearing a swimsuit is no big deal. But usually I wear a one-piece, a garment that affords relief from a midsection of pale insecurities. When I'm feeling adventurous, I wear a tankini. But  every time I open my top dresser drawer and see the bandeaus and halters of nearly forgotten bikini tops, I am hit by a wave of guilt and fear. Today I realized that this wave was one I could conquer.

Getting ready for my swim/sun session this morning, I reached into my drawer and pulled out a white and red paisley halter top (purchased between my sophomore and junior year of high school!) and a brown pair of bottoms and resolved to conquer my fear and guilt associated with wearing bikinis.

I didn't look like my 16 year old self, which makes sense because I am no longer on the swim team or track team, but the bikini still fit. I didn't look perfect- but I looked good and I felt confident. And I think it was my confidence that convinced me that I looked good.

So. . . with that confidence and an eensy weensy ounce of bravery, I drove up to my neighborhood pool rocking my bikini! I swam a few laps and basked in the success of my Monday morning bikini adventure. A small but significant triumph over body image insecurities and a victory in self-confidence!

I think this is going to be a good week!

Just keep swimming! Photo taken by me at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in 2010