Thursday, March 31, 2011

Addicted (See Jane Wear)

Club Monaco blouse (worn here), thrifted cardigan, Theory pants (very old), Chanel flats, no-name necklace, sister's Raen sunglasses
I'm currently not traveling for work right now (I miss you, though, San Francisco!) so I'm able to take pictures during the week; thus, another work outfit is on display for you.  What's even better is that it stays light so much later so I'm able to take the photos after I get home.  Although I'll most likely be traveling again soon, a break from the airport and hotels is a welcome break, indeed.

Ever since I first experimented with the B Jones 'Carrie bun,' I became addicted (case in point here and here).  Sure, I like to wear my hair up in various ways, but this discovery was some sort of awakening for me.  I wear my hair up a few times during the work week so I don't have to wash it so often (keeps color in tact and I just feel like it's better to wash it less) and this is easily my new favorite 'do.

Would you like to see more of my work-friendly outfits or are they putting you to sleep?  Disclaimer:  you have no idea how much I wish I didn't have to adhere to a business-casual dress code.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charlie by Matthew Zink (See Jane Interview)

charlie + vogue
I had the recent pleasure of connecting with Matthew Zink, the creator of Charlie by Matthew Zink (check out the facebook page here). If you haven't heard of it quite yet, it's an up and coming swimwear line that is 1970s centric, full of brightly colored bikinis and feminine silhouettes.  From studying Matthew's designs, it's clear that he understands how to accentuate the best part of a woman's body and loves to celebrate it rather than covering everything up.  People are definitely catching on to his eye for swimwear design, too--he was recently featured in the March issue of Vogue (page 410).  Here's a few questions I was able to ask Matthew about himself (he's a fellow Ohioan, like me!) and his line:

Q.  Tell me a little bit about you and your fashion background. I was born and raised in Ohio where I earned my BFA in Fashion Design at Kent State University.  I am also fortunate to be surrounded by a very supportive and talented group of friends and family. 

I moved to New York in 2003 and have had the fortunate opportunity to work some amazing designers including Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, and Stefano Pilati.  I was the Design Director for Victoria's Secret Swimwear for the past 5 years and left last April to launch Charlie. 

Q:  How did you start designing swimwear?

I have always loved bikinis, but I got into swimwear design a bit by coincidence. A friend of mine suggested me for a position at Victoria's Secret Swimwear and I instantly fell in love.  

Q:  You've mentioned that the 1970s was an inspiration for your designs; what draws you in about that decade and who are some your icons and inspirations?
I am a very inspired designer and I am always trying to celebrate the muses in my life. It's no secret that I am a slave to the 1970's and early 1980's.  I am absolutely seduced by the joy and sexual celebration it represents. There is definitely a level of constance in my inspiration, but each season I always start with an iconic woman who has helped define and shape me as a designer.  For my first collection I paid tribute to Barbara Hulanicki, Biba, and Jerry Hall.

Q:  Do you have any interest to start a Charlie line featuring any other clothing items?
Our ultimate goal is to offer as much as possible for the "Charlie customer", including sportswear, denim, shoes, jewelry, watches, sunglasses.....  Regardless of what other categories Charlie branches into, I want to celebrate the joy, beauty, and confidence that seems to define the decade of the 1970's.  I want men and women to love the excitement of wearing clothes.   We should enjoy our bodies, instead of focusing on how to hide our "flaws".

Q:  Can you give any insight to some upcoming collections?
For Resort 2012, I'm looking to Stephanie Seymour, 70's denim, and the "the scarf".  I can't wait to show you a preview.....

Charlie is sold at Barneys, Intermix, Saks, and if you're in Chicago, Ikram boutique.  Be sure to check it out soon as bathing suit season is sneaking up on us!  As for me, I can't wait to wear the stunner 'Jerry' bikini in citron (below) Mexico in most definitely to come.

What do you think of Charlie?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dark Ages (See Jane Wear)

Zara jacket + boots + scarf, Madewell jeggings, Forever 21 sweater, Banana Republic necklace, Chloe bag
It's the end of March, so I can't believe that I'm wearing all black and loads of layers.  Alas, temperatures have plummeted and I have no choice but to bundle up, yet again.  I don't necessarily need to be wearing the dark colors, but I'm a huge fan of black and it never seems to fail me.  I wore this for what was supposed to be a casual, early night out with friends (but it turned out to be a late, fun night!).  Wearing a light sweater, jacket, and scarf together kept me warm outside, but I was able to easily peel off a layer or two once indoors.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Street Smart (See Jane Wear)

                                                               H&M sweater, UO striped top, J Brand jeans, Bakers shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses
I used to tell my family growing up that I was "street smart."  I honestly thought of myself that way and I'm guessing it was my wild imagination.  In reality, I was raised on the mean streets of rural Ohio.  My "street" growing up was actually a long, winding road until we moved to a cul-de-sac.  Now that I've lived in a big city for a few years, I can once again (truthfully) claim that I have street smarts.  Now, please know that this doesn't necessarily equate to having common sense--case in point: I left my coat in the car on this blustery day.

(Note that I'm wearing the Carrie bun thanks to B Jones Style again--I'm addicted!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reasons (See Jane Reflect)


I generally don't delve that deep into my personal life as I like to keep things light here on the blog.  However, as I realize that I've been doing this for just a few weeks over a year now, my mind wanders back to that time when I started this blog.  It began on a whim when I was home visiting my parents for the weekend when my sister was asking for help in buying a new purse and I thought I'd start documenting events such as that, along with other aspects of life I was interested in, such as fashion, food, travel--anything.

I spent a lot of weekends at my parents house throughout 2010 as my dad became ill and I frequented home as much as I could.  I started the blog not really knowing what I wanted to emerge from it, thus, I didn't talk about it much with others.  I treated it as a way for me to channel the little creative energy I had and also to decompress from work and escape the worries that swirled around in my head throughout the day.  I continued on writing it, ultimately, because I knew that my parents enjoyed reading it--specifically my dad, while he was stuck at home all day, not feeling well.  When we'd chat on the phone and he'd give the usual, parental words of encouragement, one time he ended with, "seriously, you're good at this and it's fun to read.  You should keep at it."

Now here we are, well into 2011, where my dad is in remission and I'm still blogging.  If you would have told me in late 2009 what the months ahead would bring, I would have broken down and never left the house.  It's true that we'll never know what the world has in store for us and as with all things in life, we must keep at it.  Or so my dad says.

Thanks so much for reading.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Biscotti (See Jane Bake)

stacks of biscotti

Did you know that biscotti means "twice-baked cake" in Italian?  Neither did I until I was looking up recipes for it last week (recipe here).  In fact, it came as a huge shock to me that I would need to bake something twice that I almost didn't go through with it.  I only bake on occasion and the fact that I'd have to do it twice in a row made me let out an exasperated sigh.  However, the dough/batter/whatever was already made so I kept on keeping on.  Fatal flaw:  I never read the instructions before I start to cook/bake--I only look to see what ingredients are needed.

over-floured that poor, top log
looks done to me, but wait, I have to bake it again?  yes, I do.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day Off (See Jane Wear)

J Brand jeans, Steven Alan top (via GILT, sign up here), Burberry trench, Bakers shoes, Rebecca Minkoff bag

As much as I wanted to loaf on the couch yesterday, I went out for a bit in order to distract myself from the dreaded 'Sunday Blues.'  It's no surprise that a little fresh air and walking around can do wonders for your mood and ultimately, I'm glad I peeled myself off the couch.  Minimal makeup, an oxford shirt and jeans--all you need for a day off.

Also, if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me talk about the Refinery29 Style Blogger challenge video I shot a month ago.  Well, it's now live and can be seen here.   If you like what you see, be sure to vote for me (click the heart near my name).

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blending In (See Jane Wear)

Zara sweater, H&M blouse, J Crew pants, Kohls heels, LV bag
Remember how I spoke of bold, bright colors yesterday?  Well, here is a prime example of how I'm not quite giving up my love for neutrals just yet.  This is actually a real-life work outfit--computer bag and all.  It's a little safe, a tad boring, but that's what one must sacrifice when employed at a conservative workplace.  I'd be lying if I said looking great at work was a top priority for me; I like to sleep in as much as I possibly can.  Because of this affinity for sleep, I opted to try Beth Jones' "Carrie Bun" which was super quick and easy (it doesn't look as good as hers...I have finer hair and I imagine it would work better for gals with thicker locks).  I used to keep my ponytails as work on the lower end, but now I'm venturing out and going higher and higher.  It's my own little way of rebelling against the strict tendencies of corporate America.

Do you get gussied up for work?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bright Stuff (See Jane Color)

If anyone's guilty of overdoing one color palette, it's me.  In winter, I'm all about blacks and greys; during spring, I'm obsess with tans, light pinks, and camel palettes.  I like a pop of color once in a while, but my short-term plan is to start incorporating brights into my wardrobe.  I'm truly inspired by all you bloggers out there (and Anna Dell Russo, of course) and how you manage to wear color so well.  I'd like to start my journey outside my comfort zone by pledging to buy a super-bright clutch and also by going back to get those $10 red pants at H&M I tried on last week (unfortunately, they didn't have my size at that store or within a 60 mile radius--but I will find them!).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wedding Invitations (See Jane Compile)

invitation + response card wrapped in a tidy bundle
Spring is slowly emerging, which to me, can only mean one thing:  the wedding is nigh.  In fact, at the beginning of the month, the day finally arrived when wedding invitations absolutely had to be sent (hell or high water).  When I initially chose the invitations, I knew I wanted letterpress (I used Aerialist Press) and for a map to somehow be involved.  After I checked those off my list, I wanted to put my own spin on the process without it being too time consuming.  For example, I wrapped the contents in baker's twine and used brown, paper bag-like envelopes to make the invitation more package-esque.  Also, to play up the destination wedding factor, I opted to use old, vintage stamps to make it appear that the envelope was coming from a far off land.  (Note:  vintage stamps are usually marked up in value, making it more expensive that traditional postage but you can usually find some good deals on eBay.  Also, plan ahead because I ran out before the invitations were finished.) 

a roll of baker's twine

hope you mexiCAN make it!
signed, sealed, delivered

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb (See Jane Wear)

J Brand jeans (via Gilt), Kenna-T jacket (worn here), Club Monaco top, J Crew belt, Zara booties (worn here)

Not quite spring, but not really winter--March is a difficult time to dress yourself in the Midwest.  While my California counterparts are already bare-legged and buying sandals, I'm having to wear another coat ATOP outfits like these.  Luckily, it's supposed to warm up in the upcoming weeks, so here's to hoping that I can wear this outfit again, sans overcoat (but most likely still with a huge scarf).

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stars 'N Stripes (See Jane Wear ..A While Back)

H&M dress (worn as shirt), J Crew skirt + shoes

These pictures are from a few weeks back from when the Refinery29 came to Chicago to shoot a short video with me.  I bypassed posting these due to lack of lighting, but after a bit of editing, I was able to brighten them up enough to show you all.  Although I'm trying to phase black out of my wardrobe in preparation for spring, I may attempt to get one more wear out of this skirt before I stow it away with the rest of the winter clothes.  Although it was a total impulse purchase (to wear for a Christmas party, shown here), I have no regrets about buying it whatsoever.  In fact, because I consider it a "statement piece," I want to hold onto this skirt until I can pass it on to my future daughter or niece; I think it will definitely be one of those items that they'll laugh at me about and ask to borrow for "Retro Day" during Spirit Week in high school.

Which, by the way, my future children may also laugh at me for being dead last in the Refinery29 Style Blogger (if you can) please vote for me!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tomato Tart (See Jane Make)

culinary colorblocking
I had never made a tart before.  One day,  I decided I'd make one, when what I was really hankering for was a quiche.  I knew I wanted something bright and colorful (read: to perk up my winter SAD) and since I'm always in the mood for basil and tomatoes, I was pleased when I stumbled upon this recipe.  It was savory because of the cheese, yet fresh due to the roma tomatoes and basil, which is a hard combination to achieve.  Now that I've gotten my first tart out of the way, I can't wait to try to make another.  French apple with cheddar cheese, anyone?

the mixture that goes atop the basil + tomatoes
letting the tomatoes out to dry

final product

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wedding Shoes (See Jane Choose)

Kate Spade 'Maribeth'
I had a few prerequisites when choosing wedding shoes that included:  suitable for the outdoors, not too high of a heel, and pretty.  While browsing in Kate Spade after work last week, I spotted the Maribeth shoe:   subtle, glittery goodness.  The heel isn't too high (and I wore them to my fitting last weekend and they're the perfect height--no need to hem the dress!) and I feel confident that I will able to dance the night away in them without needing to remove them.

For all those who may be wedding shoe shopping in the future, here are some of my favorites (perfect for the bride or a guest!):

Also, another idea to consider is buying simpler shoes and jazzing them up with pompoms, crystals, and bow shoe clips found at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monochromatic (See Jane Wear...One Color)

                                                       H&M jacket + scarf, c/o top, Zara skirt + boots, Ray Ban sunglasses, Chloé bag

When I last wore this skirt, it was 80 degrees and sunny; I wondered if I could pull it off in Ohio, where it was 35 degrees and slushy from the freshly fallen snow.  It turned out alright, but it was a little too breezy for my liking--my legs will cold most of the day.  I may have to wait for temperatures in the 50-60 range until I wear it again.  The cold, however, won't stop me from dressing for spring.  The monochromatic palette worn here feels very fresh and spring-like to me and is a much needed break from my all-black winter looks.

saying goodbye to my dad, expert snow shoveler, after a great weekend.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 4, 2011

True Prep (See Jane Wear)

BR shirt, J Crew cardigan, French Connection skirt (via a friend--thanks Mar!), ? necklace, Gap tights, UO heels, Chloé bag

I wouldn't categorize myself in the preppy category, but after looking at this outfit, it's clear that I'm conveying a very collegiate-prep feel.  I continue to wear this chambray shirt to death and I don't see myself stopping any time soon; it seems to go with just about everything no matter what the season.  Note:  I had to throw out the tights because after my sister finished taking the photos, she pointed out a huge run in the back.  RIP, dotty, Gap tights.

It's been a fun but tiring week for me.  I spent time with Alicia, met Tara and Caitlin, and had a drink with Anh.  Work has been a bit crazy so I'm looking forward to decompressing at my parents' house this weekend in Ohio.  I'm actually going home for my first wedding dress fitting, so I'll be sure and let you know how it goes.  If you follow me on twitter, you know that I bought my shoes and I can't wait to share them with you!

Be sure to check out my post on Refinery29 and vote for me if you like what you read!