Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rainy Day Essentials

Spring has officially sprung! And with that means lots of April Showers. 

Now, you all know I'm a massive fan of my Hunter Boots because they've made more than one appearance on the blog (and more frequently in my life). I will say that when I bought them in 2012 I was a tad bit disappointed that the iconic British rain boots were now made in China. Honestly, I thought when the description said, "imported" it meant they would come from the UK.  Oh how I was mistaken. 

And, I have found myself stuck on warmer rainy days with the dilemma - Hunters or no Hunters? Keep my legs dry from the rain, but potentially risk sweating like a crazy person because it's 70+ degrees outside and 90+ humidity? I'm heading out for work next week and it looks like rain is in the forecast and I can't justify taking my massive boots with me on the chance it rains. That's way too much prime real estate taken up in my carryon suitcase for just one pair of shoes. 

Enter Oka-B flats. Made in the USA, in more colors to count, and with added embellishments if you're so inclined, dishwasher safe (yeah, you read that correctly) and recyclable.  The reason I don't own a pair yet is because I can't make a decision on a color. #firstworldproblems 

What's your go-to rainy day attire?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Burgers & Brews

Made in USA: Gingham Top: Tradlands // Tee: American Apparel // Jeans: James Jeans (on super sale!)// Belt: c/o Chicago Belt Company // Shoes: Julie Bee's // Necklace: Loren Hope (on sale!) // Shades: Oakley (similar) // Watch: La Mer Collections // Nails: Essie 'Marathin' // Purse:  old Luciana Verde (similar)

It isn't much of a surprise, but in case you haven't picked up on it I kind of like beer. As in I avoid gluten as much as possible just so I can indulge in a beer or two and keep my mainly gluten-free lifestyle in tact. Yes, I love me some hard apple cider/vodka/whiskey, but there is just something about beer that I can't give up, nor do I want to give it up. 

I know wine may have that fancy street cred, but there's just something about a good craft beer that feels more natural to me. Although I've certainly met my fair share of pretentious beer peeps in my life who can go on and on about hops the way some folks can go on and on about grapes. Whatever, the more they're talking, the less they're drinking and then that means there's more booze for me to consume. 

However, this past weekend it was my turn to act as the responsible adult and play the role of  designated driver for the Heavy Seas Burgers and Brews festival. It was my fault, I was the one who signed up for a 10 mile race the next morning. So dearest hubs, you're on deck to be the designated driver for the next beer festival that rolls into town. 

But the festival was not a total loss, I made it through 7 of the 12 available  gourmet sliders to sample. I didn't have the nickname, "Heidi Cheese Burger" for nothing growing up!  I stayed away from the beer infused ice cream and fries just so I could chow down on more burgers.  I sported a serious food belly the rest of the day, but don't worry I'm certain I burned it off the next morning. At least that's what I tell myself.

I milked the daylights out of my one tasting! Thanks to Heavy Seas for offering free water and soda throughout the event.  Here's to the upcoming festival season. May you have fun, avoid sunburn, make ever lasting memories, indulge in some good food, and enjoy even better company, but please always remember to designate a responsible driver. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Electric Blue

Made in USA: Blouse: Amanda Uprichard (on sale!) // Coat: Fleurette (in black) // Tights: Hue 
Imported/Unknown:  Skirt: old Banana Republic (made in USA option) // Shoes: via Goodwill // Bracelet: Derng (made in USA option

I was going to write this post and take the typical, "I am so over this winter cold" stance. The evidence fully supported the decision. There was yet another snow storm this week. I fell flat on my bum on a sheet of ice. I had to hurdle more snow piles during a weekday run. And my eyes seem to be permanently red from either allergies or windburn (I don't own sunglasses to wear while running, nor is it bright enough to warrant them while I run). 

The weather has been brutal this winter. It's made life difficult.

But, c'est la vie. The snow has been beautiful. Each and every time a new dusting of snow falls I count my blessings. It's as if the world has a much needed fresh start, even if for just a few fleeting minutes. I actually enjoy that electric shock that strikes when you take that first deep breath in arctic air.  Granted, I run like crap in cold air because my lungs rebel against me, but I do rather enjoy that first breath! 

The cold has been shocking this year both in terms of the Polar Vortex and the length in which the snow has stuck around. But you know what - I'll be the first to miss it once warmer weather rolls in. 

Since we're all looking forward to spring - what are you going to miss about the winter? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gallery Wall Inspiration

Source: Dezeen 

Source: Lauren Liess 

Source: Style By Emily Henderson 

Our blank living room.

My living room walls are blank and they're crying out for embellishments. However, not one to make any rash decisions when it comes to nailing holes through a freshly painted wall, I'm taking my time planning a gallery wall. I've given myself a deadline of August because that's when my family will be back in town and I function better with deadlines. 

The problem I'm having is the atheistic I'm striving to achieve with the space. The couch is massive, 98 inches wide to be exact, and I want the gallery wall to take away slightly from the size of the couch.  I want the frames to navigate the balance between looking cohesive, yet not overly planned (ha!). I want to be able to add additional pieces of art down the road, so I need an initial cluster that allows the arrangement to organically grow.  It's a tall order. Or at least it seems that way in my head. 

Yet, I do have my anchor piece. A faded city planning map of Baltimore from 1872 that I had framed years ago in a custom barn wood frame with a gilded gold insert. It's been sitting on the floor of my office, covered in protective paper, for well over two years. It's the only thing in the house, besides my camera or shoes, that I would grab in case of an emergency. 

I don't know exactly what I'll come up with for this space, but I know a bunch of pre-matched frames isn't going to work. I think my best bit is to start visiting antique stores to see if I can mix and match frames that way.  I do know that I'll be taking tiny pieces of each of the inspiration pieces above into the final outcome. 

Any suggestions for hanging a gallery wall? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rebecca Minkoff Friends & Family Sale

One of my absolute favorite brands, Rebecca Minkoff, is having a pretty sweet Friends and Family sale right now. Even better is that the sale includes the limited edition Made in NYC line of handbags, which as you may have guessed are made in NYC. Better act fast because the black version of the classic mini M.A.C. bag already sold out. I had it in my cart, changed my mind, and after a single episode of House of Cards it was gone for good. 

Also made in the USA is the entire Rebecca Minkoff Denim Shop. Each and every piece is made in Los Angeles. This is not a sale to miss! Stock up on denim staples.  Those white jeans are in my cart right now! 

Get shopping because these babies are going quick! Sale ends Monday, March 24th.  May the deals be ever in your favor. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wedding Season: ModCloth to the rescue

Get ready people! Wedding season is nearly upon us! The hubs and I thought we were past the multiple-weddings-in-a-season phase of our lives, but I guess all those articles you read about people getting married later in life are somewhat true. Our early 30s are beginning to rival the peak wedding season years of 25-27.

ModCloth reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in participating in their Uniquely You campaign. At first I thought, "why me?" but then I realized that this could be a lot of fun.  The challenge was to style a ModCloth party dress. As soon as I saw the dress I thought, "that's perfect to wear to a wedding." The hubs is slightly old school and said, "I thought women weren't supposed to wear black dresses to weddings."

Um, no. Unless you're wearing a sign that says, "I am wearing black to protest this union," I am firmly in the camp that feels you can absolutely wear a gorgeous black dress to a wedding.

Insert legalese here that this is not a sponsored post. ModCloth didn't provide me any form of monetary compensation and all opinions are my own (obviously).

The black dress is imported, but the rest of the items shown above are made in the USA.

When I saw this black dress I thought it was perfect for weddings. But, knowing myself and my upcoming wedding schedule this year I immediately thought of how this dress could be styled differently in order to give it a different look for different occasions.  Being able to style a special occasion dress is an absolute must for me. You guys know I'm always trying to get that cost/per/wear down to a realistic number!  Even just adding lace tights gives this dress a different look.  I might be in the minority here, but I love layering a peplum top over a dress. I find that many peplum tops are slightly cropped in the waist and work better with dresses/skirts rather than lower waisted pants. The cinched waist on the dress would be the perfect base for a peplum top. That would instantly give this dress a completely different look. Throw on multiple gold accessories and you're good to go to more than one party!

I've been a fan of ModCloth for years and that's actually how I came across one of my favorite American made designers - Eva Franco. ModCloth has a wide variety of items that are made in the USA (over 1500 during a search today) and many of them are very reasonably priced. I actually had a gorgeous cream polka dot dress from ModCloth back in grad school that unfortunately had a bit too much fun near a glass of red wine :(  If you're looking for other dresses to wear this summer for any event, including any weddings here are a few more of my favorites. And they're all made in the USA.

 My question to you - how would you style these dresses to be Uniquely You?  How do you re-style more formal dresses so you can wear them to more than one event?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Green

Made in USA: Jeans: old James Jeans (coated version on sale for $54!) // Pumps: Julie Bee's // Watch: LaMer Collections // Nails: Essie 'Eternal Optimist' // Belt: vintage Coach 

Ah St. Patrick's Day - the Valentine's Day of religious holidays. A day in which my life has been summarized as the following equation:

Ginger + Catholic = you must be Irish

Actually, no. But since it's also common misconception that there is a special bond and form of telepathy between all red heads I'll gladly take that free whiskey at the bar.  I've rebelled against St. Patrick's Day most of my life and I usually abstain from the color green two weeks prior and after this lovely holiday. However, now that I'm married to an Irishman (okay fine, half Irish with a ridiculously difficulty Polish last name to spell) I'm a bit more receptive towards the holiday. 

Plus, any occasion to sip aged whiskey in the afternoon with a few friends is a good day in my book. My family was in town this weekend and I gladly gave up Saturday night pseudo-holiday-festivities at the bar in order to spend precious moments with my family.  The hubs and I headed out for a quick drink with friends later on Sunday which allowed me to numb my sadness that my family had returned to their northern states. I can't go older than 12 year old whiskeys because after that point their experience is lost on me, but I have heard from a few whiskey men that whiskey is meant to be taken neat. That's it. Don't sully your sipping drink with water. 

If you're going out tonight arrange a designated driver and throw on some green -even if you aren't Irish like me.