Everyday Inspirations

 
 

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I've spent part of this weekend preparing for an upcoming business trip to Florida. One of my most important tasks was to buy a new pair of black shoes to wear to my meetings and dinners. I would bring my current pair of black pumps, but I may or may not have worn them so often that one now has a tear running along the material that sits next to the ball of my foot.

I also may or may not have worn those heels while they looked like that. Hey, I needed black shoes for that outfit and my pants were long enough to cover the tear. Mostly.

I follow a pattern with shoes: every so often, I buy a pair that I love and wear them day in, day out for months until I inevitably tear them, wear down the heel, or scuff them beyond recognition. What can I say? I love my shoes to death. But because I can be so very hard on shoes, I follow a specific pattern for buying them: 1) I always, always, always buy great (read: not cheaply made) shoes on sale (not a difficult thing to do if you're willing to look); and 2) I always buy a pair that can go with everything. When I'm getting ready in the morning, having a go-to pair of shoes (that look perfect with any outfit) saves my sanity. Best of all, buying a versatile pair of shoes for a business trip means I don't need to cram two or three pairs of heels into my carry-on bag (something I would not be surprised to find myself doing).

I found the shoes above in the clearance section at DSW -- for 40% off. (Oh, by the way, they're MUCH blacker in person... there isn't that much contrast between the faux scales. I just became waaaay too happy with the photo edit feature and saved the changes before I realized that I had deleted the original file on my camera.) I can't wait to wear them as I meet my colleagues from around the world.
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A few of you may remember my post about my favorite earrings. I am so very sad to report that I now have only one favorite earring.

It really was a bummer, that moment when I realized I was wearing only one beloved earring. I had dropped the other in some dressing room after a night of shopping. I mourned a bit in the car (really, I did), then decided I'd have to just turn the earring into something else...
One lonely earring plus one unused chain equals a new piece of jewelry!

Since I'm in no way a jewelry making expert, I just used stuff hanging around my house to twist the earring post into a loop to thread through the chain.
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Um, I don't think this is what this tool was intended to do...
I formed the earring post into a kind of cursive S-shaped loop:
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I then easily slid the earring-turned-charm onto the chain. Voila!

Three reasons why this project rocked:
- I saved my favorite earring from a life of sitting alone in my jewelry box.
- I found a job for an unused chain.
- I spent no money and have a new necklace. Woohoo!
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Welcome to the season of floral prints. Sometimes, though, you want to ditch the prints for a subtle tribute to the season. Consider topping off your outfit with a pair of flower earrings. They're a beautiful, simple accessory for this time of year (especially if spring hasn't quite decided if she is going to unpack her bags).
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I love shopping for spring. It is so refreshing.

This year, I've banned dark colors (read: all that black I own) from my wardrobe and am embracing light, sweet colors, fabrics, and accessories. Best of all, I'm doing so on the cheap. If you should know anything about how I shop, it should be that I never pay full price for anything. Seriously. I am a big believer in clearance racks (and discount coupons), sales, and special events. I believe it's totally possible to shop at the stores you love without going broke. If there's one thing that is more refreshing than adding fun spring pieces to your wardrobe, it is knowing that you saved a LOT of money doing it. (And I just adore the receipts that tell you exactly how much!)

In honor of the first official day of spring (March 20), here are a few of my favorite spring wardrobe additions:
two-tone watch.
This watch was actually a Christmas gift from Dan, so I've been wearing it for a few months now. I love how it works so beautifully with my spring wardrobe. The rose gold is the perfect accent to this light colors.

peach striped tee
I have a major soft spot for nautical stripes -- show me a navy-and-cream-striped shirt or sweater, and I guarantee I'll fall in love. I picked out this soft tee because it's a spring version of a classic. The peach stripes are such a perfect color.

green beaded necklace
I love green. Though I suppose this is more mint, right? This necklace is beautiful and flirty, and goes with everything (it totally pops next to that peach striped tee). I'll be getting a lot of wear out of this.

short sleeve cardigan
If I could wear a cardigan every day, I totally would. I love how versatile they are. I swooned when I found short sleeve versions of them and bought three great, neutral colors (ivory, light navy blue, and light gray). These babies will get more wear than that necklace, guaranteed.

vanilla sugar frosting lotion
Funny enough, this is another Christmas gift that is proving to be quite useful for spring. I only just rediscovered this lotion in my cabinet and have used it ever since. It's a surprisingly light, sweet scent that works for spring.

an ivory bag
I carried a big black bag through fall and winter, so adding this ivory handbag to my wardrobe made an instant difference. I also love that it goes with everything -- any color shoe, any color outfit (I'm definitely a one-bag-at-a-time woman).
 

~ fashion ~


Valentine's Day fashion
{angie}
Valentine's Day fashion makes me think of luscious pinks, intricate lace and delicate jewelry. Maybe it's because it's that time of year when my skin hasn't seen the sun for all too long, but I'm drawn to the elegant color scheme of pale pink paired with black and white accents. On Valentine's I want to feel delicious, so I picked this delicate little gold cupcake to pair with pink lace and a satin ribbon. Top it off with the alluring scent of Sexy Little Things Noir from Victoria's Secret and I'm feeling romantic already.
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~ fashion ~


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Have I written this post before? I feel like I have... or perhaps Angie has. But I went through our fashion archives and found no other cold weather accessories post. So maybe I'm losing it (quite possibly true). And if I'm repeating a post, perhaps you'll forgive me since I'm sharing so much cuteness.

Today I have two fun accessories to share with you... because if winter insists on sticking around, then I'll just have to keep wearing cute things to stay warm. To start, a pair of out-of-this-world adorable gloves Angie gave me for my birthday. They're actually a fingerless glove/mitten mix and, to be honest, were purchased to keep my hands warm while typing away at work (she knows me so well!). They're so darn cute I proudly wear them at my desk. And out in the cold. Can I wear them to bed too? Maybe to the gym? Okay, too far.
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Second, may I please present for your consideration the world's cutest beanie? (Another gift, this time from Dan for Christmas. I have very sweet people in my life.) This isn't one of those boring beanies your mama made you wear on the walk to school. This is a beautiful, crocheted beanie, complete with silver thread running through it. Yum. Maybe winter can stay for a little while longer.
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~ fashion ~


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I was embarassed to ask Dan to take pics of my hair in the yard... so I threw on some shades. Instant disguise.
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The other day I realized we don't have near enough hair posts on EI. Not that I'm any sort of hair expert, but I do experiment a lot. Some days my straight hair just needs more texture. I have several techniques in my back pocket, so today I thought I'd share one on how to create simple, sassy waves.

{what you'll need}
extra hold gel ~ curl enhancing gel ~ hair dryer ~ 0.5" curling iron ~ 1" curling iron ~ clips ~ comb ~ hairspray

{instructions}
1. While hair is damp, part in the middle. Add extra hold gel (just what you'd use every day). Add a couple sprays of the curl enhancing gel to your palm and apply to hair, starting at the tips (don't apply to your roots -- you want body). Because I like to avoid using the dryer while my hair is super wet, I put on makeup while I wait for it to dry a bit.

2. Blow dry hair like normal. No worries about doing anything special at this point.

3. Run a comb through dry hair to get out any snarls. Using a clip, pull up all but your bottom layer of hair. Now, here is my favorite trick: lightly spritz your hair with hairspray, then comb it out while it's still damp. (If you have hair that's less than cooperative when it comes to holding curl, the hair spray gives it a hand without making it crunchy and stiff.) Using your curling irons, curl medium to large sections of hair into spiral curls (the two sizes add a nice texture, plus the 1" iron is much better on those bottom layers no one is going to see). Lightly spritz each layer with hairspray as you go. Repeat all over your head.

4. Once your head is filled with spiral curls, it's time to have fun (though you could stop at this point if you want). Turn your head over and, using your finger tips, massage your roots to start breaking up the curls. Lift your head and use your finger tips to gently shake loose the curls at the roots (it's best to make your hands into claws for this step). Spritz with hairspray to hold, shaking your head to avoid crunchy, immobile strands. Hello, sassy!
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~ fashion ~


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My very fashionable grandmother (VFG) gave me this leather beaded cuff for Christmas and I'm pretty much obsessed. It manages to be both fun and feminine while still being somewhat edgy. I love experimenting with this bracelet, especially since I probably wouldn't have thought of purchasing for myself. Now I know better.

Best of all, the bracelet can be paired with any outfit (I especially adore the contrast between the cuff and a floral print). I'm going to have fun with this...
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~ fashion ~


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{angie}

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I don't know about you, but I go through phases with colors. Ask me my favorite color. At any given time I might tell you it's pink, purple, red, green, yellow, turquoise...the list goes on. For me colors are the way I am inspired and ever since I got this plum purple pea coat, I am totally re-inspired by the color purple. Purple represents royalty, intuition, luxury, and has a beautiful sophistication. Plus, purple in this deep purple color is simply gorgeous paired with other rich winter colors like olive and crimson.

And to go with the theme, Daisy would like to show you her purple ball she got for Christmas (or what's left of it.)

 

~ fashion ~


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Aaand just like that, the Christmas weekend ends and we are looking ahead to New Years Eve and the start of 2011. No matter what you'll be up to Friday night, it's always fun to get dressed up. But after all the money you've spent this month, you probably want avoid buying yet another outfit. Here are four dress ideas that come directly from your closet... everything shown in this post include clothes I was either given for Christmas or already own. That's right. Nothing new bought for Friday night... and so many options! All these outfits can be paired with your favorite pair of tights and some sassy heels or boots (pretty much the best combination ever).
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Party type: Elegant cocktails
Pieces: Your favorite LBD (little black dress) + a sassy coat

Everyone should go to an elegant New Years Eve party at least once in her life... after all, that's just one reason why each woman recommends investing in one beautiful, classic black dress. My LBD includes a gorgeous low back, perfect for warm nights inside. And for the run to the car after midnight? A warm, sassy leopard print coat. Add red lipstick and a glass of champagne... ooh la la, chica!

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Party type: Celebratory dinner
Pieces: Summer tank dress (seriously) + sweater

What's the point of having warm weather cute dresses hanging in your closet mocking you? Warm 'em up for New Years Eve by pairing them with a favorite casual sweater, and you're ready to go out for your last dinner of 2010. Add your favorite sparkling accessories and have a blast.

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Party type: Casual house party
Pieces: Laid-back weekend dress + long cardigan

So you're headed to a friend's house but don't want to go the jeans-and-tee route? Try pulling out a weekend dress and pairing it with a long cardigan. Can I just say how much I ADORE cardigans that are the same length as my dress? Gorgeous!

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Party type: Work to party
Pieces: Professional sweater dress + silk belt

No worries if you have to work New Years Eve. You can look chic and party-ready even if you're going to a party straight from the office. Grab a professional winter dress in a dark color that will work in both settings. Accentuate your cute waist with a silk belt tied in a bow. Don't forget some pretty bracelets.

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