Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I meant to do a wrap up last year but was too lazy and never got around to it, this year how, I endeavored to do better!  Looking back I see a lot of progress in how I put outfits to together, in figuring out my personal style and how to fix my closet. And I do mean it, that disaster did me no favors.  I've made it a goal for 2014 to really pare down my closet, figure out the holes and also, to not buy as much stuff.  A big   closet do not mean better style, it just means more stuff and Id like to get to the place where I have a sharp, cohesive closet that's smaller.

All of that said, I thought Id do a round up.  I totally stole this from Franish(who you should totally read and I mean now) but as I've been going through a similar thing with my closet and style, I felt like this would be a good way to sum up the year for me.  Above are my favorite outfits for the year.  They were fairly simple, mostly neural colors but all were looks that I really enjoyed wearing and felt good in.

 Ugh, the worst outfits.  I feel like this would be most of the first half of the year but rather than put together a huge collection of pictures that would crash out everyone's computers, I just choose these three.  I feel like they sum up the biggest mistakes i've made with y closet and getting dressed in general.  First off, WHOA on the patterns!  I kept trying to do too much at once and since then I've tried to wear simpler outfits.  The last picture illustrates something I've been trying to work on, fit.  This just looks so sloppy to me now, the fit on the jacket is so off and then the tights, the shoes, the scarf and hat, it's just a big, steaming pile of noooo.   The lessons I've learned this year is to focus on fit, pare down an outfit and don't pile on the colors and patterns.  Less is more in my case.

Since working on building my closet out of the disaster it was, I've tried to be better about saving up for items I really, really love.  I stopped say "that's out of my price range" when really what I'm saying is "I don't want to save up for it."  I don't have $500 dollar to drop on boots at any point in time but by backing off shopping and just giving myself a few dollars to spend at the thrift store and staying away from shopping in general, I was able to save up for the Rag & Bone Harrow boots that I'd wanted for so long.  (I also shopped smart and was patient, I waited until a pair popped up on ebay that was in a price range I felt good about.)   I haven't worn the boots as much this winter because I'm worried about wreaking but I did wear them a ton during the fall.  The Rag & Bone leather pants were the same, I really wanted a pair of leather pants, I saved up and I got these for about 1/5th of the retail price by waiting for them to show up on ebay.  I freaking love these pants and they've been one of my favorite purchases.  The Seychelles boots however were the first time I really focused on starting to spend my money of better fitting, better quality items.  I'd worn out my cheap black ankle boots and was look around for a replacement pair.  These boots really stood out to me and I waited for a while, not wanting to spend that much on them.  Eventually I started saving for them and when they went on sale, I got them and I have been so happy with these boots.  I really like the Seychelles brand, their shoes fit my wide feet and they're just about the most comfortable shoes I've found in a long time.  I've worn these boots everywhere and they only have a tiny bit of wear.

 Not every purchase that I've bought and loved has been an expensive one though and I think that's really important.  You don't have to spend tons of money to have clothes you love, you just have to really like it.  This American Eagle Outfitters jacket was an impulse buy for me but it has gotten so much wear, it's been very versatile and really fits in with my style.  It was $35 when I bought it and it's really held up well.  The Old Navy Parka is amazing!  Id originally bought a similar parka at Old Navy but the fit was awful and it really wasn't quite what I want but I bought it anyways.  This parka is the replacement for it and while I had thought about not buying it because it seemed at the time terrible to admit to such a buying mistake in the first place, I'm really happy I did.  It's taken me a while to learn the lesson it taught me, wait for what you REALLY want and don't settle, but I think I'm finally getting it.  This purse was a cheap thrift store buy but it has been such a constant in my outfits, it would be awful not to include it.
I forgot to mention my lovely Jones Jeans Wool coat, I bought it recently but it's been in almost all of my outfits lately.  I love the longer style and the fit and it's caused me to really focus on where I want my style to be.
 Okay, I just really love this purse.  so much that it needed it's own set of photos.  I think it's a good case for waiting until you find exactly what you want, regardless of the price.  I'd really been wanting a tapestry, woven bag but the only one I'd found was a Free People purse.  The FP one was nice but it wasn't really what I wanted and it was crazy expensive, $249 on sale and I just couldn't bring myself to start saving for it.  I'm glad I didn't because I found this American Eagle Outfitters bag for $24 and it's just about perfect.  I don't usually like to buy cheap bags because they fall apart most of the time but this one is so nicely made and the woven material is really beautifully done.  Lesson here, expensive isn't always better.

The least favorite purchases.  Again, there was a lot of these at the begging of the year and even later on.  They were cheap buys that were versions of what I wanted but weren't quite right.  The fit on this parka, as mentioned above, was AWFUL and it just looked sloppy.  These AE jegging actually were really cute but aside from the one way I could think of to wear them, I was lost.  Maybe if I was a more creative stylist I could have made them work but for me, they just didn't.  This vest was actually a replacement for a vest I'd thrifted the year before that didn't work but because I didn't sit down and figure out exactly what I wanted in a denim vest, I bought this one.  It's not bad, it's just not right for me.  I don't really like the pale color,the fit or the length and after wearing it twice, I donated it.

I will say that one place I felt strong in this year was accepting c/o's.   As in, I really didn't.  I think it can be a dangerous thing to one's style and closet to endlessly accept clothing from retailers and I've been very careful about this.  To date I've accepted clothing only fro H&M, a few things that they sent me and a few things that I bought with a gift card that they provided for me.  The things that were sent to me were all garments I liked and were pretty true to my own style but I don't want to do a lot of blindly accepting stuff.  With the gift card I applied my own shopping method of picking buying quality over quantity, "spending" a little more for fewer items that I loved.  All of the items have been pretty constant in my wardrobe and I feel pretty good about that.  I don't mind accepting c/o's, I just don't want to do very much of it. (And I will say that H&M was awesome to work with.  they made it a real pleasure and I have nothing but good things to say about them.)

For 2014 I really want to figure out what I need in my closet and more important, what I need out.  I've been working on cleaning it out for the past 6 months and while its better, its nowhere near where I want it to be.  A large part of figuring out what items I will put into this year is figuring out what I want in fit and style of a garment and more importantly, versatility.  you know that whole thing, think of three ways to wear something before you buy it?  Huge failure on my part here.  I'll see something, think of one great way to wear it and then....that's it.   These past few months I've been better and have passed on quite a few items I like and that were pretty but didn't into my closet or hit the "three ways to wear rule.

So how about you guys?  I just really like talking about this closet thing and I like seeing the change that's happening with fashion/style bloggers lately.  A lot of people are starting to talk less about what they want to buy and more of what they want to throw out and I think that's kinda awesome.  It's easy both in real life and in blogging to see something other people wear, want it, buy it and then realize it's not something you really want. (Herd mentality?)   I really don't want to be such a consumer this year, I want to save my money, buy maybe a few things I love and then, novel concept here, remix them.   I'm excited about this and making more progress in 2014.

Past Reflections Haunt Our Every Move

Old Navy Coat (gift)
French Connection For Sears Dress
Leather Belt (thrifted)
Leather Bag (gift)
Jeffery Campbell Heels (thrifted)
(These pictures are not what I'm wearing for fireworks tonight, this was actually my Christmas outfit.  Sparkly....)

Well, Happy Belated Christmas all!  It's been a busy week, we had a big Christmas Eve party with family and old friends, compete with Santa giving away stockings to all of the kids(my brother has inherited this position from my dad, he finally got to be Santa this year and he didn't even fall off the roof!) and Christmas Izzy and Gunnar opened presents at our house before going over to Nana and Pop-pop's house to open presents and spend Christmas with my family.   right before Christmas the fuel filter on my car died and while repairing it, Ev broke the fuel line and since it's now considered an obsolete part(heaven forbid anyone keep their cars for longer than five years now!) we've been waiting for the part to come in and now waiting for the temps to get a little better.  Christmas was quite cold with -45 below zero at our place and the next day dawned -52 below so yeah, it's kinda a pain to work outside on the car in that weather.   We ended up getting better tires on the Vic so there would be no more sliding backwards down hills and yup, the pipes in the house froze again.  The heat tape is suppose to be good for up to -40 below zero and then everything is insulated but the pipes just couldn't quite make it in the -50 below.  Yay, bull diving for the next week.   Actually, bull diving isn't that bad, I'm pretty use to have no water or the whole pipes freezing so it's not a huge deal to me but Ev's a city boy so this is kinda new to him.

Other than that, it's been work, work, work with a little more work mixed in.  It warmed up today to only -15 below and man, it feels amazing, I've been wearing just a light coat most of the day.  We just bought some fireworks for tonight, mostly sparklers for the kids because sparklers are the best thing ever but we got a few rockets as well.  Not many, the dog looses his marbles over fireworks so we got mostly quite fireworks so he won't get too worked up.  He's getting to be old, he'll be 14 this summer and Id hate to end up giving him a heart attack or something over something as stupid as fireworks.

I really slacked off this past month on the blog, it's been colder this month and with work and family I really haven't had much by the way of spare time.  That's kinda how it goes at this time of year though, you just have to enjoy life as it comes and not get too worried about "documenting" it. That sorta takes all the fun out of it.

Anyways, A Happy New Year to All!  So long 2013, you've been awesome in some ways but you've also seriously sucked in about the most soul crushing ways.   Don't let the door hit you on the way out 2013 and here's to a better, more positive 2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Solstice

Vintage Leather Jacket (gift)
George Cashmere Sweater (thrifted)
Old Navy Scarf
Paige Jeans (thrifted)
Fergie Boots
Leather Bag (thrifted)

The Winter Solstice was actually the other day but with the solstice we now stop losing daylight every day and start gaining it.  It's mostly mental at this point because I cant really see the difference but it's lovely to think that the days are slowly growing longer.  This'll continue until June when we'll have almost 24 hours of sunlight, how wonderful to think about long summer nights and hot days ahead!  I might be jumping the jump a little but I am ready for summer!  It's been an easy year so far and we only have another two months in which the really brutal cold will occur in and even though March and April are still cold, Fairbanks usually get 80 degrees by the end of May.  Man, I am looking forward to that!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Don't Fear The Stillness

American Eagle Outfitters Scarf and Bag
Jones Jeans Coat (thrifted)
Blouse c/o H&M
Pacsun Skirt
Leather Studded Boots (thrifted)

Well, I guess I wear this coat often enough, it's been in pretty constant rotation since I thrifted it.  I do like having a longer coat that's more of a menswear look but still fitted enough in the shoulders and arms that I don't look like I'm playing dress up in some dude's closet.  It's also fun to try some new things with proportion, I've always really liked the look of a long, lean coat over a maxi dress and while that look usually works better on super tall people (i.e. - not a shrimp like me) I think it worked better than the last time I tried a look like this.

Winter vacation just started for Gunnar so we've been doing fun little things like making donuts and Christmas decorations for the house.  Let me just say, homemade donuts are awesome.  The batter is really simple,
1 1/2 flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking power(not baking soda, those two are not interchangeable!  If you, you'll end up with a cake even the dog won't eat, as I found out one day when I had little baking supplies.)
1/2 cup sugar(I used half and half brown and white sugar but the recipe does call for white only, I just like the taste and texture drown sugar adds)
9 teaspoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients then mix in the wet ingredients.  You can add whatever spices and extras you want from here, this is just the basic recipe.  We added a little bit of canned apples, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger and the donuts came out really delicious. (We did use a donuts maker so I don't know if this would work  frying them, I'm going to try a batch next time in the fryer just to see if it does work.)

I don't ever post recipes even though I cook pretty much everything from scratch, I'm not a food blogger and while I love food and cooking/baking, it's not something that'll be a regular part of the blog.  I have enough of an outlet in real life with cooking that it's not something I want to talk about all the time on the blog but it was fun to make donuts.  It seems like a dangerous thing to know how to make, sorta like cheesecake.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

As Our Breath Hangs In The Still Air

Old Navy Parka
Hat c/o H&M
French Connection for Sears Jacket
Scarf (gift)
American Eagle Outfitters Waxed Jeans and Blouse
Leather Cowboy Boots (thrifted)
Elephant Bag (thrifted)

I don't get affected by the lack of real sunlight during the winter but after nearly a month of twilight-y light, getting a few rays of actual sunshine felt amazing.   The warmer weather and the sunshine feels so wonderful, I go outside and I just feel a huge burst of energy. (Good for the never ending chore of firewood!)  

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Like a Pop Of Color!

J.Crew Coat (thrifted)
Scarf (thrifted)
Cashmere Sweater (thrifted)
Elizabeth and James Silk Dress (Ebay)
Michael-Michael Kors Boots (thrifted)
Dooney and Bourke Bag (thrifted)

Warmer winter weather definitely makes winter outfits a little easier!  When it gets to the super cold I just want to wear pants and snow pants but with the above zero and warmer temps, it's been nice to wear cute dresses with regular tights.  I'm just continuing the trend of black or brown tights, I haven't been very adventurous this winter with colors.  Maybe because most tight colors either look really "young" on me, i.e.pastel blue, or just way too bright.  American Apparel does have some really beautiful shades of tights, lots of cinnamon browns and stuff.  I keep wanting to order a pair but then I go to the website and it's....like soft core porn or something.  Like the clothes but woooow, the styling and photos o the sight always make me feel like a lecherous old man.    Is that their thing, nice, USA made clothes but really smutty stock photos of really young looking girls?    Kinda hard to get behind that.

When You're So Far Away

Calvin Klein Wool and Cashmere Coat (thrifted)
J.Crew Wool Cardigan (thrifted)
Madewell Dress (Ebay)
Leather Boots (thrifted)
Leather Bag (thrifted)
Fred Meyer "Better Than Cashmere Scarf"

I've been trying to be better about my shopping habits.  Rather than just "buy" I've been trying to streamline my wardrobe.  I did a purge when we moved this summer but since then I've realized that I have far more clothes than I really need. (Seriously, how many white dress does one need?) I don't WANT a gigantic closet but rather a selection of stuff I love, I can throw on with ease and that works with each other.  I love stand out garments but as I've been going through my closet I've realized that I have a lot of stuff that just doesn't work.  Sure, I love a fun pair of patterned pants but I have trouble styling them and since realizing this, I've donated all of my patterned and colored pants aside from a few I really love. I like browns and reds for bottom and those colors work better with the tops I have in my closet and classic blue jeans that fit work better in my wardrobe than a ton of bright pink, polka dotted pants do.  I always want to be better about remixing.  One reason I started reading blogs was because I liked having ideas for  different ways to wear items and unfortunately I really have kinda failed at that.  I never wanted this to be a "shopping" blog, there's other blogs with bigger budgets who do a way better job of that, I want this to be a remixing blog with an  emphasis on remixing my wardrobe.

All of that said now, here's my new dress.  It's white, which seems to be my foil when it comes to dresses but as I'm going through my wardrobe and cleaning out, I'm trying to take note of what I want my ideal wardrobe to look like and this dress is one item I've wanted.  It can lean either towards a sweet or a rebellious look and seeing as I go through periods of both, it fits in well.    As I clean out and pare down my wardrobe I'm always going to be saving up for items that will fit into it but overall, I'm going to try really hard not to be such a consumer this year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tis The Season To Panic

American Eagle Outfitters Coat and Bag
Banana Republic Cashmere Cardigan (thrifted)
Urban Vibe Lace Top/Old Navy Cami
J.Brand Jeans (gift)
Rampage Boots
Old Navy Scarf and Deer ring

Man, this past week was so warm, everything was melting like crazy and even with a light jacket I was still roasting.  Ahhh, if only that could go on forever.... We have been very lucky with our winter so far, after the winter-that-would-never-end last year, this has been a nice change of pace!  We just finished up with Christmas presents and mailed everything off.  The kids and I made little bird houses, painted them and sent them as gifts.  While it's easy to just buy things it's kinda nice and sweet to make something for someone. (Plus, they're super cute little houses.  Gunnar and Izzy did a pretty awesome job of painting them!)  I suppose I should amend that, it isn't easier just to buy stuff, I always have such a hard time buying gifts for people!  After buying the Harry Potter series for a friend years ago and having her parents freak, I tend to really over-think gifts now and end up just getting safe, non controversial gifts.