Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'Tis the Season to Don Beanies!

It happened. It wasn't intentional, but it happened. I listened to a Christmas song before Thanksgiving, and it felt so wrong, but so right all at the same time.

I got all pre-holidayed out, and went a little crazy looking for winter clothes, regardless of the fact that it's 70 degrees here and I feel uncomfortable in a sweater. What did I find? Beanies. And hats. 

First off, here's a beanie with the entire arsenal of a Bedazzler from H&M.
Then, if bling ain't your thing, the Sailor Cap Beanie from Free People comes in tons of colors and is pure awesomeness. 

Need ideas on how to rock a beanie? Check these out from my Accessorizing board

Structure seekers should get in on the wide-brim fedora trend, in a universal grey, also from Free People. I have one in navy and I wear it every fall/winter without fail. 

Or give yourself a $10 treat with a leather baseball cap from Forever 21.

If you need further proof that baseball caps are cool, I direct you to J.Crew's version, below. There's a whole lot of cool in this picture. I mean, come on, Jenna Lyons knows cool.

And now that we're on the subject of baseball, I can get to my real point. The St. Louis Cardinals play in Game 6 of the World Series tonight, and if you feel like cheering on my team with me, you're not just relegated to the standard jeans and t-shirt. 

Put on a pair of leather-coated skinny jeans, the requisite Cardinals t-shirt, an army jacket and metallic sneakers for a look that's a little luxe, a little "take me out to the ballgame."

Go Cards!

Go Cardinals

Book Club: Now Press Repeat

My family has always been a reading family. "Never go anywhere without something to read," should be tattooed on each of our arms. We dive headlong into novels, biographies, plays, short stories, magazine articles... you name it, we're reading it. But in the midst of this reading frenzy, we host one anomaly: my mom never reads any book twice. She doesn't keep a list with a ranking system like my dad, who can tell you where any book in the house is after just a moment's thought, she just files the book away in her awesome brain and holds onto those stories, never repeating a read. With one exception.

Aside from the Bible, the one book my mom has read twice is Exodus, by Leon Uris. The summary, according to Goodreads:  Here is the tale that swept the world with its fury: the story of an American nurse, an Israeli freedom fighter caught up in a glorious, heartbreaking, triumphant era.  Here is Exodus --one of the great best-selling novels of all time. 

My dad, on the other hand, rereads books he truly loves unabashedly, namely the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. He can quote dialogue from memory.

So, what are the books so good I've read them twice? Apart from The Great Gatsby, required by not one, not two, but four English classes spanning junior high through college, and assorted plays by William Shakespeare, there are a few books that I've turned to time and again to relive the stories inside their pages. 

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - I read this book for the first time in high school, and then reread it in college, each time completely absorbed by the stories of each individual character.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Recommended to me as a "must-read" by my manager back when I was waiting tables, One Hundred Years transports me to another time and place, pulled together by the last sentence on the last page. I know what's coming and I'm still driven to reread it again and again.

What books have you reread? What are you reading now? Spill and stay tuned for my latest reading list, coming soon! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Gimme Options

'Tis the season to wear jackets! Cover up your arms, uncover your toes and rock out with some tribal-inspired wear. Of course, you don't have to rush out and get these Kelsi Dagger heels if you're already wading through snowbanks, but all of this will look just as awesome with some ankle boots, lace-up heels, or full-out riding boots. You know what they say, just do you.

Aztec Options

Aztec Options by jlrey featuring a red jacket

The new HAIM album is meant for your ears. Make it happen. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dupe It Up

Unfortunately, I am not made of money. I'm sure this is quite a revelation, as you may have expected silver dollars to be flying off my fingers as I type, but the whole concept of "Shopping My Closet" came from a need to cut back on shopping expenditures and really evaluate how to wear what I already had at my disposal. That being said, the covetous urge rears its fashionable head pretty frequently. It's impossible to scroll through page after page of blogs and pins and not think, "Oh my goodness, I need that (insert shoe/sweater/pant/wide-brimmed wool fedora here) right this minute," as you whip out your credit card and, regardless of the current balance, start typing out the numbers that will send your closet to style heaven and everything else into a tailspin.

Personally, I have internal numbers that I just won't pass when it comes to purchasing so-called, "must-haves," and since none of those numbers match the rates on designer price tags, I started searching for carefully crafted duplicates, or items that were inspired by designer items I craved. I would be remiss if I didn't point you in the direction of my inspirations, Penny Chic and Penny Pincher Fashion. These girls have got it down.

Allow me to regale you with an instance in which Penny Pincher Fashion just about saved my life. For months, nay, years, I have been obsessed with lace-up sandals. The Altuzarra versions feature prominently on Man Repeller's blog, here, here and here, and on Pinterest, all over the dang place. My envy for these go-with-everything shields of awesomeness only grew with every photo I passed. The pictures below are all skirted examples, but these babies go with jeans, leather pants, white pants, dresses, tunics, your mom's bathrobe... everything. Ev-er-y-th-ing.

I was one click away from purchasing a pair of close-but-not-quite Zara heels that would have run me about $90 when I stumbled across this post from Penny Pincher Fashion. 

The bells rang, the skies opened up with sunshine and the people rejoiced. Lace-up heels for under $50? I clicked buy and have worn them with everything, absolutely everything. Love is in the pre-holiday air, and it comes in the form of black lace-up heels. 

Now go get your Monday on. Put on your boogie shoes!

Redesign your desktop and be more productive with these great ideas from Buzzfeed

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites #4

There's nothing like the glory of a beautiful Friday without the shadow of work lording over every cup of coffee (I might be on my 5th mug of "go juice," but that's irrelevant). When you get an extra day to spend on your weekend, everything is wonderful, but as we move from workday to weekend, treat yourself to some Friday Favorites!

I'm obsessed with fall's makeup trends of wine-stained lips, bronze cheekbones and minimal eye makeup. I even went out and bought "brownish-black" mascara today, and that hasn't graced my little eyelashes since the first foray into makeup way back in high school. You can't look at this picture and tell me you're not jumping out of the airplane with me, red lips and all, can you?

I'm also desperately trying to replicate the hairstyle that everyone but me seems to be able to execute... curls via a straightener. I can get one tiny section of my hair to curl like I want it to, but then I clamp too hard, run it through too fast or don't bend it enough, but this is the best tutorial I've seen yet. If I have to prop my iPad up in front of the sink while I work step-by-step, that's what's gonna happen.

Here are my favorite products going into this weekend.

I didn't realize I'd made such a Benefit haul until I started writing this post, but let me tell you, these products are just about all I need to make myself look presentable every morning. Gimme Brow turns my blonde eyebrows into actual facial features, Hoola Bronzer gives me cheekbones without summertime shimmer, and the classic Benetint shade can be layered from a slightly rose-hued tint to a full-on red lip. 

I picked up these awesome loafers on sale at Old Navy. They're the only emerald item I've picked up in 2013 to honor Pantone's color choice, but they're so comfortable that I'm wearing them with everything. Unfortunately they're out of stock online, but check your local Old Navy for options in fuschia, emerald and a deep mocha brown.

 And for your weekend jams, I highly recommend Typhoon's White Lighter album. Get it on iTunes, get it on Amazon, but get it and hit "repeat."

Now party on, weekenders!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Club: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

You Read Me?

I've always wanted to be part of a book club. I was an English Literature major in college, and I spent 15 out of my 18 hours per semester studying, dissecting, discussing and interpreting novels with professors and classmates. It's been years since graduation, but I was born with an intense desire to mull over the written word and I'll drag whoever has ears (eyes, in this case) down with me. These days, I work writing ad copy for an e-commerce company, meaning that I sit at a desk and stare at the Internet all day, and the tendency to write, read and think in advertising clips can be quieted by putting bound paper in hand and trading the digital glow for black text on honest-to-goodness bleached trees.

From the moment I saw this book in my sister's car, I desperately wanted to read it, but she told me I was explicitly banned from stealing, Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt before she'd had a chance to read it. I put it off, since I had a pile of library books to tackle in my own time, but this summer at a lake house in Maine I woke up before everyone else and found the cover beckoning to me from our host's shelves. 

I started Tell the Wolves I'm Home without knowing any part of the story. I hadn't read the back, hadn't studied any reviews... heck, I hadn't even put it on my "to read" list. I just sat down with a whoopie pie (hello, vacation breakfast) and a steaming cup of coffee, curled up in a chair and started reading. 

This story of a family torn apart by their own love for each other will make your heart hurt, and the description of the novel doesn't do it justice. Simply put, I wept. 

I don't remember the last time I read a book that made me leak tears like a faulty kitchen faucet, but I sat in a chair in the light of a Maine morning and let tear after tear fall into my lap. Maybe it was the similarities to my own family history that tugged at my tear ducts, maybe it was the power of the prose, but I felt as though I was walking through an exploration of the author's multi-faceted self reflected in each character. 

Have you read Tell the Wolves I'm Home? Is it on your to-read list? What did you think? Let's discuss. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Wednesday's Trench Coat

When I said I was outfit planning for the week, I meant it. Most mornings I lay in bed avoiding the snooze button, scrolling through Pinterest until I figure out what I want to wear. But of course, it sometimes ends with me panicking at how much time I've wasted, piling on black and running out the door. Today I took a look from Monday's inspiration post, and recreated it for a cold, rainy Wednesday.

The inspiration:

And here's my take:

I'm wearing a trench coat from Gap, a striped sweatshirt from J.Crew, AE jeans and Madewell Bobbie Oxfords in black patent.

Wednesday Fall Layers

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Tuesday's Fall Layers

Spinning off of Monday's outfit planning post, today I shopped my closet for a good graphic tee, a shirt and coat to pile on layers for a pretty radical weather change. I wore an Atlas Shrugged t-shirt from Out of Print Clothing, a green utility shirt and black BDG jeans from Urban Outfitters, a navy utility jacket from the now-defunct Martin + Osa (gosh, I miss that store), and a pair of motorcycle boots from Calvin Klein, scored during a HauteLook sale.

Here's the inspiration:

And here's an example of how to get the look at home. Happy layering!

Tuesday Fall Layers

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Outfit Planning

I plan outfits like some people plan meals. Granted, someone's mandolining of fresh veggies into crunchable discs to be munched on all week long may generate a hearty hand-clap from nutrition nuts everywhere, but what are they wearing? #couldhavehadaV8 

The heavens have finally opened up and drenched us with rain, bringing with it a beautiful cold front that will drop our collective temperature down 20 degrees over the course of the day tomorrow. In other words, it's time for LAYERS, people! What are you going to wear?

I submit, for your consideration, outfit inspiration for the rest of the week. Make it your own, make it functional. Pull out your favorite coat (leather, pea, trench, what have you), some sneakers, some brogues... scarves and sleeves, because it's fall, glorious fall.

Tuesday: T-shirt with a denim shirt, layered with a coat. Black jeans, black shoes, black bag... Sullen expression optional.

Wednesday: Sneakers, always a good idea. With newly-found leather joggers (more on that later)? Nobody can tell you no.

Thursday: Red lips and coffee not optional. It'll be Pre-Friday, so do what you want. 

Friday: Lest you think I have an undiagnosed aversion to color, I give you this... Pick a color, any color. Pick your most exciting shoes. Pick a graphic t-shirt. Wear with aplomb. 

Photos via Pinterest

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Foolproof

Some mornings just don't work out the way you want them to. When you wake up with zero time to get ready and a long To Do list ahead of you, it helps to have a foolproof outfit in your closet that you can slap on and feel confident bolting out the door in. For me, it's a go-to tank that can be layered with whatever jacket or office cardigan I have at my disposal, easy, ankle-length pants from H&M, and an easy pair of nude ballet flats picked up on major sale from Gap. With those pieces, I can have my hair in a topknot and swipe on a good lip color, and I'm ready to go from work to bridesmaid dress shopping, to dinner and finally back home at the end of a long day.

Trust me, I'm always running late.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Crossfit: Outside the Box

Right up until our vacation, I had been attending CrossFit classes at a gym down the road from our home. Over the course of my first three weeks at the gym, the classes I was able to attend trickled down from five per week to two, with talk of eliminating morning classes altogether, as the bulk of their members attended evening classes. Weighing price and class availability to ascertain the value I was getting out of this particular CrossFit experience led to this decision: I had to find a new CrossFit family.

While I'm in transition, I didn't want to let my workouts slip. So on this past Thursday, I did an "outside the Box" (pun intended) workout with my awesome friend Alana, incorporating CrossFit movements with runs. Here's what we did:

Warm Up:
Walk into the park
Light 400m run

Work Out:
10 push-ups (x2)
10 box jumps (x2)
10 sit-ups (x2)
15 squats (x2)
200 m run

Cool Down:
Light 200m run
15 sit ups

I'm still itching to get back into a CrossFit box, but until then, I'm following WODs from the main CrossFit website, and modifying them to fit what equipment I have available.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shopping My Closet: Who I Want to Be

One of the great things about being a woman is that there are so many options for getting dressed in the morning. Jeans, pants, ponte pants, distressed denim, wide-leg, skinny, boyfriend-style dress pants, skirts, minis, shorts, t-shirts, button-downs, cardigans, blouses, tanks... the list literally goes on. And on.

But with all of these choices at our disposal (depending on your closet style and proclivities for non-essential item storage, sequester pun intended) how in the world is it possible to stare into the depths of a walk-in and declare that the age-old problem has come to plague you; in short,how is it possible that you have nothing to wear?

I came across a quote by Caitlin Moran that sums up this feeling quite succinctly.

If we're being honest here, I don't remember what I wore on Monday. I could sit here and make something up for you, but it would be a false memory. I know precisely what I wore yesterday, because I can tell you precisely who I wanted to be yesterday. I wanted to be a slouchy college student again. I wanted to be comfortable, and I dressed to fit. 

Lazy Tuesday
Lazy Tuesday by jlrey

A while back, I mentioned that during the whole "Shopping My Closet" experiment, there exists in my closet, a pair of Free People jeans that were purchased when I thought I was 5'10" and had big plans to wear heels all the time (full disclosure: I'm not 5'10", and heels make an appearance once a week on Sundays). I could say "wide leg," I could even say, "extreme wide leg," but unless you see it, you won't believe me.

These are real, I own them, but I did not pay sticker price for them (come on, now). And last night, I was determined to make these jeans work into a really cute, boho-hippie-chic outfit for today, but it didn't happen. One failed attempt at recreating a "sleep in it overnight and wake up with gorgeous hair in the morning" from Refinery29 (I don't blame you guys, really), and I spent 45 minutes getting my hair back to normal, leaving exactly two minutes to pull on a foolproof outfit and run out the door. So today, this is what I wore, because aggravation and disinterest is, of course, communicated best in black. 
Black Wednesday
Black Wednesday by jlrey

Last night, inspired by my initial idea to pull off what was either going to be a really great or un-postable outfit (daring either way, kids), I tried out a black matte manicure. I bought a bottle of Essie's Matte About You back when the matte thing really became a trend, but literally never used it. But inspired by Pinterest (where else, really?), I think I like the matte black better than a glossy black. See for yourself. 

So, let's chat. Who are you going to be today? Tomorrow? What are you wearing to make it happen?