Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Day in the Smalltown Metropolis

laura visit

laura visit

laura visit
works cited: ruche dress and necklace (dress is c/o), urban outfitters flats and belt

One of my best friends from college is in town for a few days and we're heading off today to check out some of the sights my little town has to offer. She is super-stylish so I'll see if I can get her in front of the camera while she's here. In the meantime, we have a very busy agenda of places to visit in this bustling metropolis:
Cornfields? Check.
Thrift stores filled with old lady skirts? Check.
Bookstores with teetering shelves? Check.
Air-conditioned movie theaters (very unique, I know)? Check.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mind Over Mesh Shorts

Mind Over Mesh Shorts

Mind Over Mesh Shorts

Mind Over Mesh Shorts
works cited: out of print tee shirt; skirt c/o spotted moth; urban outfitters flats

I am a big proponent of the get-dressed-to-get-stuff-done school. As much as I try to cajole myself into thinking I will be really productive in an old pair of Christopher's basketball shorts, when I am wearing pajamas, my brain is on vacation. Because my job this summer will involve a lot of work from home and coffee shops, I know it will be particularly important that I motivate myself to put on real clothes to put my head in work-mode. Yesterday morning, for example, I lazed around the house reading the newspaper in pajamas thinking "I'll start working in ten minutes..." for about forty minutes. When I finally wrangled myself into this outfit (a literary tee shirt for good measure), I found it was easy to lock myself in my study and work efficiently. Now comes the problem that's more difficult to solve--how to convince myself to take my own advice in the morning.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Megan Nielsen Collection!

megan nielsen

megan nielsen

megan nielsen

I've mentioned my friend, Megan, several times this past year. She is one of the sweetest people I've ever met and also a wicked talented clothing designer--she made one of my all-time favorite skirts (worn here, here, here, here). She just released her new spring/summer collection, which is romantic and beautiful--see some of the pieces above and more here (I just got the desert dress). If you like to support small, independent designers, there is no one more wonderful or more talented than Megan. And--woohoo!--she's also offering all my readers a 15% discount with the code "WWANW15" and she always has free shipping. Find the new collection here.




works cited: h&m dress; wedges c/o ruche

Having a blog has encouraged me to wear things I might have been wary of earlier. Sometimes it works and I'm delighted and sometimes it's not quite right. I loved the idea of mixing polka-dots and a floral print, and of keeping this dress loose but the silhouette long. But altogether, I think this came out looking a bit too sweet with the braids. While I think it's kind of pretty, I don't know if I completely like it. Weirdly enough, even the camera and the light seemed to feel a little romantic--the sun-spots are imperfect but also kind of pretty.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

[CLOSED] Giveaway: Win a Shabby Apple Dress!


This week, you have a chance to win the Azure dress from Shabby Apple, an online vintage-inspired dress boutique. Their dresses are really well-made and would be great for summer weddings or parties. To enter, check out the store and leave a comment below. I'll pick a winner next Thursday!
P.S. Shabby Apple is also offering all readers 10% off with the discount code "shabbynerd10off" until June 25 :)

Update: The winner is #295, anonymous--I'll be emailing you straight away.

Freshly Printed

Freshly Printed

Freshly Printed
works cited: dress c/o spotted moth; hunter boots; target cardigan

It seems like I've been having a long, happy reunion with various printed dresses in my closet (exhibit A, B, C). Though I'm sure I'll be sick of them by the end of the summer, right now I'm thrilled to give the cold shoulder to winter's wool and just put on a dress in the morning. The truth is, most of my creative energy is being siphoned off by my soul-crushing dissertation prospectus, so I've been more than usually reliant on pretty prints to seem put together. The good news is I am almost finished (hurrah) at which point I'll surely return to my usual closet-indecision-angst in the morning :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Emily Influence

The Emily Influence

The Emily Influence

The Emily Influence
works cited: h&m dress, thrifted belt; target cardigan; volcom sandals; necklace c/o little o by wolfbrother

I have long been skeptical of maxi dresses, and have eschewed the trend until a few weeks ago when I visited Chicago. Under the influence of Emily (sartoriography) and--ahem--a lunchtime glass of wine, I was persuaded to buy this dress at H&M. She reminded me that a different Emily (the other emily) owns and rocks the same dress (see here, here, here). How many Emilys need to tell you a $15 dress looks good before you take the plunge? (For me, evidently, two). And while I really like the look of this dress, I can't say I'm completely converted yet, if only because I feel like I can't walk in it yet. It feels like a constraining mermaid tail at times and I spent most of the day hiking it up so I could walk and bicycle better. But maybe there is a third Emily out there willing to teach me how to walk in a long dress, and I'll finally be sold?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All I Need is a Walker

All I Need is a Walker

All I Need is a Walker

All I Need is a Walker
works cited: tucker for target dress; urban outfitters flats and clutch; anthropologie earrings

There is a really, really good barbecue place only a few blocks from where I live. And by "good," I mean really addictively good. The only problem is that other people know about it now--lots and lots of other people--and it's insanely crowded at all manner of hours. So Christopher and I have taken to going for what we call "geriatric dinner" around...4:30. It is slightly embarrassing to show up when 85-year-olds eat dinner but there is certainly no shame in being the first to get to the limited quantities of mac and cheese, am I right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The time has come to announce the winner of the amazing five bamboo giveaway. Thank you so much to those of you who entered for your amazing comments; I was blown away! It was tricky to pick a winner, but I especially loved one of the styling suggestions...



works cited: dress c/o five bamboo; ruche necklace; thrifted belt; steve madden boots

Emily (of the other emily) wrote, "One of my favorite things to wear as the weather warms up is a bright dress, so I'd definitely start with the Artemis dress in Papaya. I think it would look great with a pair of cognac boots (with gray knee-socks peeking over the top), a braided leather belt, and a chunky gold necklace - all topped off with the signature messy blogger bun, of course." An easy dress, necklace and boots was just what I was in the mood for this weekend, for a lazy day of farmer's market, seeing Bridesmaids with friends, and tacos eaten on the front porch so I did the best that I could with Emily's suggestion (minus the blogger bun because my hair was clean for once yesterday :).
It was so kind of you all to enter and share your terrific styling suggestions--I will surely be mooching off them for months. And I have to give an honorary second-place to Maggie's amazing entry, which knocked my socks off.
P.S. Don't forget that you can still get 20% off anything you like at five bamboo with the discount code: sustainablenerds (among my favorites are the mini and the elusive dress).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May's Book Recommendations


This post comes a little late this month because to be honest, I've been reading a lot more student papers and journal articles than books I'd recommend. But fear not! here are a few of my favorite summer reads from the past few years:

Blindness (Jose Saramago)--a philosophical and political Nobel-prize winning novel, but still an amazingly quick read. It's a story about an epidemic of sudden, apparently causeless blindness and what results.

The Untouchable (John Banville)--One of my very favorite books of the past ten years. It's about spies. Enough said :)

Youth in Revolt (C.D. Payne)--A thousand times funnier than the movie (no offense to Michael Cera fans), this is an extremely light, perversely-funny book about foolish high school boys. I read this years ago and I laughed so hard I cried. It's not high literature but it's the funniest beach read you could imagine.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recent Guest Posts

Picnik collage
(left-hand outfit blogged here; right-hand outfit blogged here)

It's been hectic at the end of this semester--between lots of travels for Christopher's job search and graduations and the papers to write and grade, I've majorly fallen down on linking to a few blogs that have been kind enough to ask me to guest post lately. So here are some recent guest posts, including today's outfit posts, if you're interested:

*"5 spring trends" on Lady M
*"christopher and tania's bike dates around the country" on Simply Bike
* outfit guest post on Dwelling and Telling
* lookbook guest post on M Loves M

Thursday, May 19, 2011

[CLOSED] Giveaway: Scarf from Le Mode Accessories

ransom note

This week's giveaway is from Le Mode Accessories, a one-stop shop for all manner of bags, wallets, and accessories (my sister bought a bag from them last semester and loves it). Le Mode is offering readers a chance to win the gorgeous floral scarf I was wearing today. It's a great weight for spring and summer and an easy way to dress up a closet full of basics. To enter, check out Le Mode's new lookbook and leave a comment below (with your email address, please).
I'll pick a winner next week!
Update: the lucky winner is Danielle!

This is a Ransom Note

ransom note

ransom note

ransom note
works cited: j. crew tee and skirt; clarks wedges; scarf c/o le mode; belt from my mom (but "borrowed" from my sister, who is currently its possessor)

My mom has a great collection of vintage belts from the 70's that my sister and I ransacked a few years back. Rachel came away with this one (it's vintage Coach) and I've since coveted it. So this weekend while I was "helping" my sister pack, I "borrowed" this belt from her. It's not just my greed and older-sister-bossiness that made me swoop down on this belt; I have other, more sinister plans for it. I will hold it at ransom until she books a plane ticket to come visit me. Hear that, Rachie?--if you want to see your belt alive, you better come visit, because I miss you already.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sister Style

(rachel's dress from banana republic; my cardigan from target and dress from emersonmade)

My little sister graduated from college this weekend (CONGRATULATIONS!!). My eyes leaked through most of the ceremony because I am a sentimental mother-hen. My sister, Rachel, is super-stylish and I had big plans to share some of her outfits along with my own but sadly, we only managed to get one shot of what we wore all weekend:

(rachel's dress is forever 21, her flats from urban outfitters, and her cardigan j. crew outlet; my tee is urban outfitters, flats target, skirt j. crew, belt from our mom)

However, among the pictures our dad took was this hilarious one--like men in black crossed with a J. Crew catalog :)


It was a great weekend but I'm excited to start catching up this week with new outfit posts, new giveaways, and a book recommendation post. And, ahem, tackling my email account.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two Great Tutorials for Heidi Braids

I got a few questions today about how to do the Heidi braids I have in today's post--they are super, super simple and many bloggers have done better tutorials than I could about how to do them. Here are two great ones:

For shorter hair:
the other emily's milkmaid braid tutorial

For longer hair:
Orchid Grey's heidi braid tutorial




works cited: spotted moth dress; thrifted belt; volcom sandals

When I was little, I had lots of stripey things from Hanna Anderson--stripey pajamas, stripey swimsuit, stripey dress--which I wore into tatters. I've been looking for a perfect adult version of the stripey dress for years. This dress is a pretty good approximation, but a little short to be all-purpose (i.e. teaching). Naturally, I can't say no to stripes in any form, so I'll keep it for weekends, but meanwhile the hunt for The World's Most Perfect Striped Tee Shirt Dress will continue.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Only Fools Take Pictures After a Huge Dinner


works cited: dress c/o spotted moth; j. crew belt; steve madden flats; forever 21 necklace; old navy trench

Um, I think the title says it all. I love this dress, but it is not very forgiving about lumps and bumps. While I felt passably good before dinner, I foolishly decided that an enormous dinner at avec in Chicago would be a great prologue to outfit shots. By the time we got to taking these photos, I joked that I felt like I was about 5 months along with a flatbread pizza baby (let's be real: there might be a chrorizo-stuffed-date baby in there, as well). YUM. Now I just hope avec caters food-baby showers...hee.
P.S. An update on the giveaway: if you entered on Thursday when the post was first put up, blogger ate your comment--so I'd love if you would re-enter so I can consider you to win! Thanks, and sorry about the technical difficulties :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Five Bamboo Giveaway: Style It and Win It!


This week, I have a really exciting giveaway from Five Bamboo, an amazing Seattle-based company that produces environmentally-sustainable, beautiful wardrobe basics. I’m lucky enough to have quite a few pieces from Five Bamboo, and I highly recommend them, both on aesthetic and ethical grounds. (I should also mention that they sent Christopher a pair of their bamboxer briefs and he luurves them--but for some bizarre reason, he won't let me post a picture of him in his undies on the internet :).


This week, Five Bamboo is offering one reader an entire outfit of her choice from their store! The catch is: I’ll also be wearing the winning combination. To enter, check out Five Bamboo and leave a comment telling me how you might style any of the pieces here or from their store. The more specific the comment, the better.

Next week, I pick the winning comment, I’ll wear the suggested ensemble and you’ll win all the Five Bamboo items from the outfit (in the colors and size of your choice, of course). Best of all: the winner and I will be twinsies. Please leave a valid email address in the comments if you’re not easy to find. Good luck--I'm excited to mooch off see your styling ideas :)

P.S. Five Bamboo is also offering readers a 20% discount using the code "sustainablenerds" and it is valid until May 31st.

My Future on Reality Television


works cited: j. crew striped shirt; bow skirt c/o spotted moth; steve madden flats; necklace c/o le mode accessories

I definitely do not need any more striped shirts, but the flawed logic of the collector poured poison into my ears and convinced me to buy yet another one one a few weekends ago--it's 75% off, and it's partly linen--so cool for the summer, and you don't have a navy and white one, and it has three-quarter sleeves that are a little different from your other 75 striped shirts and just look at that flattering scoopneck. Nevertheless, I think I will get a lot of wear out of it, even if I am fated to be on an episode of Hoarders because I can't get out of my own bedroom thanks to the overflowing pile of striped shirts blocking the exits, about which I'm shrieking "But they have sentimental value! And they're each so different!"
P.S. Update: Blogger ate this post when it had a conniption fit last week...and sadly it ate all of your very funny comments so the best part of the post is gone :(

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tourist Time



works cited: urban outfitters sweater; skirt c/o five bamboo; steve madden flats; forever 21 necklace; h&m bag

I know these are about the most cliche tourist photos you could take, but I think millenium park is unbelievably gorgeous and I couldn't resist the lure of the reflective-bean-whose-real-name-I-can-never-remember. Christopher and I spent a really fun morning walking around taking pictures. In the afternoon, I geeked out over an architectural boat tour. One of the areas I'm studying about for my dissertation is lived spaces, so I was thrilled to hear so much about the architecture of various buildings around Chicago. It was also amazing that the guide could remember hundreds of dates, names, and architects. Have you ever done a boat tour?--I know they're kind of cheesy, but I loved learning all the history.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sale at Spotted Moth!


Just a little heads up that one of my sponsors, Spotted Moth, is having a big sale to celebrate their one year anniversary and they are offering 30% off everything in the store! I just bought this striped dress for summer and now I have my eye on this pretty pleated skirt. But hurry--the sale ends Friday!
P.S. If you have questions about fit or anything else, you're welcome to email me.