Monday, May 31, 2010

Birthday Snapshots

Thank you all for your birthday wishes yesterday - each one means a lot!

Nate brought over a wrapped birthday gift a couple of weeks ago and left it tantalizingly on my desk. If I followed in my mother's footsteps, I would have carefully untied the ribbon and peeked inside the package the moment he left. I resisted and patiently waited for the gift snuggled inside: a pair of Jess LC's Chevron Earrings.

I had teasingly asked Nate about my birthday card Saturday evening after noticing he didn't have one in hand. So you can imagine my surprise when I stepped out of the shower Sunday morning to see one perched on my desk. Hours later, over shakes from Steak 'n Shake, he admitted that while I was showering, he sneaked out of apartment and hurriedly went to Walgreens. He came back and shut the door just as I was shutting off the water. (And now I'm even more paranoid that I wouldn't hear an intruder break in.)

After a rowdy outing Friday night, I was looking forward to a low key celebration. We spent most of the day at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Raphael's The Woman with the Veil was on exhibit during our visit - and it's by far one of the most exquisite works I've seen. Of course photos of the masterpiece were prohibited, so you'll have to settle for The Last of the Spartans by Gaetano Trentanove.

Yep, 27 years old and still splashing in fountains.

At 8 o'clock last night, we realized that I still hadn't blown out a candle. Unacceptable birthday behavior, I tell ya. We promptly sought out Middleton, Wisconsin's Hubbard Avenue Diner - home of decadent cheesecakes and mouthwatering pies - to make a birthday wish.

Outfit Notes: Forever21 Tank; Gap Sweater; H&M Shorts; Banana Republic Sandals; Jess LC Chevron Earrings; CC Skye Bag

Sunday, May 30, 2010

27 Candles

Time to celebrate another birthday! Today we're heading out for breakfast, to the Milwaukee art museum, antiquing along the way, and I'll finally be able to tear into the birthday gift Nate's been taunting me with for weeks! (Photos tomorrow!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

MM Couture, Sheer Overlay Cami with Gold Placket, $41.99 (on sale)
West Elm,
Dip-Dye Pillow Cover, $24 each
Deborah Grivas Designs, Mother of Pearl and Crystal Earrings, $50
House of Harlow 1960, Tigers Eye Cocktail Ring, $50
Leather Bracelet with Gold Chain, $36

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coral Reef

My grandmother's faux coral necklace circa 1960 paired with a vintage starfish brooch picked up at an antique shop.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Make a Statement

Nothing sets a girl's heart afire in quite the same way a jewelry box does - or maybe it's just my magpie-like tendencies. But if you're anything like me, you'll be thrilled to know there's a new resource for statement-making costume jewels. LuShae Jewelry offers a selection of affordable rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets. In fact, I think everything on the site is under $100!

Their website is easy to navigate with in-depth product specifications to help you with your purchase, including a ruler on the product image to ensure sizing is judged accurately.

Sarah at LuShae Jewelry kindly offered to send me a piece from their collection for review. I immediately gravitated toward the Anatomy earrings for their nod to the art deco period.

The earrings arrived less than week after placing the order. When I spied them in my mailbox, I was running late for an event. Against my better judgment, I tore open the box and gasped at the ultra-elegant earrings tucked inside. I immediately slipped them on, went back to my closet to choose a complementary outfit and arrived at the event fashionably late. And you know what? It was worth it.

LuShae's stock images just don't do the earrings justice. The starbursts feature cubic zirconia accents set in 14k bonded gold, and are set atop generous white onyx discs. Onyx is one of my favorite stones, but I must warn you that these earrings are heavy. I would have preferred a slimmer onyx disc to reduce some of the weight tugging at my earlobes. However, it's not stopping me from moving these to the front of my jewelry box.

The quality of the earrings seems much better than that of mass retailers like J.Crew or Banana Republic. And let's not forget another important attribute: aesthetics. Few color combinations are more elegant than gold and white. The earrings are just begging for a luxurious gown and a handsome escort.

FTC-Required Disclaimer: LuShae Jewelry provided product free of charge for editorial review. All opinions stated within are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Collection Eighteen, Pleated Chiffon Scarf in Dark Wheat, $12
Fred Flare, Mini Elephant Earrings, $8
Avon, Slip Into This Dress, $16.99
Forever21, Textured Bangle Set, $6.80
Bamboo 54, Pandanus Clutch, $19.19 (on promotion for a limited time)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin'

It's easy to romanticize rainy days when you're comfortably indoors, watching the drops tap against the window. But for many of us, precipitation poses a sartorial challenge to remain stylish and dry. Fortunately, däv, a California-based retailer, achieves the nearly impossible task of making rain gear fashionable.

I was especially eager to try däv's new flats after a string of soggy mornings. When there are just a few sprinkles in the sky, rain boots can add too much bulk and warmth. Yet, I grudgingly pull them on to save my favorite footwear from water stains. That's where these flats come in.

I expected the rubber to be uncomfortable, but I was happily mistaken. The shoes are soft, flexible and breathable with a generously-padded insole. I slipped these on to avoid puddles while running errands. A few hours later, my feet felt great: no blisters and no aches. In fact, I didn't even realize I was wearing them. For a nominal investment of $29, I urge you to pick up a pair for spring days, or even just working in the garden. (Sizing note: I normally wear a size 7 or 7.5. The size 7 in these fit perfectly.)

What's a rainy day without an umbrella? I've amassed quite a collection of printed versions, but the däv starburst umbrella has stolen my heart. The umbrella retails for $30 and comes in three colorways including the on-trend combination of black and cream.

With a generously-sized, starburst-shaped canopy and sturdy wood handle, this is easily the chicest umbrella I've ever used. Beyond aesthetics, the umbrella feels sturdy and well-made. (It's a shame to tuck it in the closet between rainfalls. Perhaps it's time to invest in a glamorous umbrella stand?)

I don't think I've ever been this excited for a rainy forecast.

FTC-Required Disclaimer: däv provided products free of charge for editorial review. All opinions stated within are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Outfit Notes: Forever21 Top; Old Navy Shorts; Banana Republic Necklace and Bracelet

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Roxy, Sand Shore Dress, $44.50
Danielle Stevens, Gold and Leather Bracelet, $42
ABS, Gold Chain Crystal Stud, $40
Dollhouse, Tunally Wedge Sandal, $44.95
LOFT, Zebra Clutch, $44.50

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pseudo Boho

Lately I haven't had the desire to zip up a pencil skirt or clasp on a statement necklace, leaving me sartorially stumped. It seems that once the mercury rises, so does the propensity to embrace my inner hippie in breezy silhouettes.

With its ethnic-inspired embellishment, this H&M top will undoubtedly become a summer staple - and the first thing packed for next month's Californian vacation, right next to the Banana Republic dress with similar bead work. (Are you sensing a bit of an obsession here?)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zigging and Zagging

I don't know what it is about the geometric perfection of chevron, but I just can't get over zigzag stripes. All willpower was officially abandoned when I purchased this Diane von Furstenberg blouse mere minutes ago. While I wait for it to arrive, I'll continue daydreaming about other pieces adorned with jagged lines.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Jess LC, Division Chevron Earrings, $74*
Missoni, Folgaria Woven Swimsuit, $229.50
Twinkle Living,
Zigzag Throw Pillow, $50
House of Harlow 1960, Sunburst Necklace, $65
Jonathan Adler, Chevron Pen, $18.95
Diane von Furstenberg, Della Silk Dress, $443.33

*I'm positive these are snuggled in the wrapped box Nate's been taunting me with. Only 12 more days until my birthday and I can finally wear them!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Arden B., Cold Shoulder Voluminous Top, $17.50
Aldo, Depuy Bracelet, $20
Wet Seal, Braided Strap Sandal, $19.50
Cuffed Linen Short, $14.80
Urban Outfitters,
Seed Bead Knot Stud, $14

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Snapshots

The details are the best part of a wedding celebration - and the wedding outfit. I piled on a collection of baubles including my grandmother's white and goldtone bracelet, a vintage rhinestone bracelet discovered at a local antique shop, and an inexpensive watch from New York & Co.

I packed in a flu-ridden stupor, neglecting to include a few of Nate's dress-up essentials: a white undershirt and a black belt. Thirty minutes before the event, he was racing to Walmart as I leisurely finished getting ready.

Much to our surprise, we matched the floral arrangements ... and I committed a fashion faux pas. The watermelon-pink color of my dress perfectly matched that of the bridesmaid.

Nothing could hold a candle to the best part of the weekend: brandy old fashioneds. The cocktail may not get much recognition outside of Wisconsin's borders, but the rest of America is simply missing out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

Thank you all so much for your well wishes yesterday. I think those healthy vibes helped alleviate some of my flu symptoms. I'm feeling much better today with only muscle aches and exhaustion to reckon with. And a slight recovery couldn't have come at a better time. I was an absolute mess the past few days becoming teary-eyed at "A Baby Story" on TLC and exhibiting questionable driving skills en route to Walgreens (and disregarding the parking stall lines - oops).

I need to be in full-recovery mode for my cousin's wedding reception tomorrow evening where I plan to debut the pink party frock from Banana Republic. However, there's one downside to dressing up for the event: it makes me yearn for the next occasion! Here are some of my top picks for a special night out.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Nine West, Wenda Feather Clutch, $39.99
Arden B., Embellished Blousant Tunic, $20
Kelly & Katie, Elle Satin Platform Pump, $49.95
Banana Republic,
Audrey Stud, $25

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out Sick

photo via ffffound

Please excuse my blogging (and commenting) absence. I'm quite sick with the flu. Even a tried-and-true combination of chicken noodle soup, sherbet and Tylenol isn't helping things.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

ASOS, Oval Wood & Metal Earrings, $8.45
ASOS, Oversized Opaque Stone Ring, $6.76
Forever21, Embroidered Woven Top, $11.5o
Old Navy, Embellished Leather T-Strap Sandals, $19.50
Nor Pro, Rainbow Wood Bowl, $16.59

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekend Snapshots

After a whirlwind week at the office, I indulged in a three-day weekend kicking things off with the adoption of a pair of shoes. These Steve Madden booties have quickly earned the moniker of "my new favorites."

On the way to Nate's house on Saturday, we passed a sign marking a Wisconsin "Rustic Road." While I'm usually one to happily pass on the rustic life, we couldn't pass up a new Wisconsin experience.

I quickly discovered that "rustic road" merely means "overgrown," creating a wooded canopy over the highway.

The sight of a cow lounging on a family-owned farm is a dime a dozen on Wisconsin's rural roads, but brown and white cows are my favorite.

That evening, I snipped a few lilac branches to enjoy the sweet fragrance wafting through the apartment - a sure sign of spring.

I also began fantasizing about the perfect summer wardrobe: billowy blouses and dresses with ethnic-inspired baubles. This year, I plan to accessorize exclusively with ornate earrings like these from Francesca's Collections.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

SR Squared by Sondra Roberts, Snake Print Clutch, $30.25
Topshop, Tie Dye Swing Cover Up, $50
Zigi Soho, Philia Flat Coin Sandal, $49.95
House of Harlow 1960, Sunburst Button Earrings, $28
Blu Bijoux, Serpent Bracelet, $46 (on sale)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Liberty Bell

That's it. I'm simply not to be trusted around the Liberty of London for Target line. Even the menswear isn't safe around me. After all, is there anything more effortless than an oversize men's shirt? I think not.

Liberty of London for Target Men's Shirt; H&M Shorts, Vintage Bracelets; Cole Haan Loafers

My weekend garb risked looking a little too androgynous. The anecdote? A wrist full of vintage bracelets lovingly pilfered from my grandmother's jewelry box.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Living Room Renovation: Making Progress

Nearly every weekend for the last few months, I've been playing This Old House at my boyfriend's place. We've made small strides in putting the finishing touches on the bathroom, like hanging the closet door and choosing a shower curtain, but we've turned most of our attention to another area in desperate need of a pick-me-up: the living room.

The living room wasn't much to speak of with white walls and stained carpet. While we were pulling the trim off the walls, I asked Nate why he hadn't painted when he moved in. He did. He chose white. Sigh.

I can't adequately describe how disgusting the carpet was - and how poorly it was installed. The previous owner must have measured incorrectly, requiring a 10-inch wide strip of carpeting to be pieced in along the wall. No matter; we were planning to pull up the beast anyway.

But first we addressed the need for color. After countless trips to Menards and Home Depot, I've assembled quite the collection of paint samples. I was originally leaning toward green, but we couldn't agree on a shade. I wanted something bold and vibrant. He preferred a muted, subtle shade. This left us with a selection of institutional gray-green hues to choose from.

So, we changed direction and went with a soft gray-blue paint. However, this does mean that the entire house will be painted in essentially the same color scheme: turquoise for the bathroom, navy in the bedroom, and gray in the kitchen and dining room.

Then came the most satisfying part: ripping up the carpet. This lead to the most unsatisfying part: discovering that the carpet pad was glued to the floor. I can't even report back on the hours spent peeling up the disintegrated carpet pad and chipping off hunks of glue.

Add in hours upon hours of sanding and we had a fresh hardwood floor to finish. We were a little concerned about all of the stains and discolorations in the wood from years of spilled beverages and foot traffic, but it adds character. I prefer imperfect wood floors anyway.

While Nate tackled the unpleasant task of coating the floor with polyurethane, I headed outside to stain the trim. (This also resulted in the inhalation of too many chemicals - and a bout with laryngitis a couple of weeks ago.)

Ailments aside, the floor is done and we nailed in the baseboards this weekend. Believe it or not, I'm actually wielding a nail gun and using it - not just posing for a photo!

There's still a fair amount of work to be done with putting up trim around the windows and ceiling, then purchasing window treatments and light fixtures.

But until that happens, I'm obsessing over our refinished floor.
Related Posts with Thumbnails