Birthday Party in Chicago

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[image taken by Miss Katie Barthelow, Sept. 26 2010]

Shirt: Target
Tank: Gap Body
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: Banana Republic
Shoes: thrifted
Necklaces: J Crew
Ring: Banana Republic
Earrings: vintage/gift (thanks Gram)

My 23rd birthday celebrations began this Sunday evening with a wonderful party thrown by my wonderful roommates. I came home from an exhausting day to find candles everywhere, fresh flowers, streamers, spice babycakes, bowls of fall candy and cider with rum brewing away on the stove. It was perfect and I'm so so thankful.

I wanted to wear something unnecessarily dressy (if you can't dress up for your own birthday party then when can you?!), and I've been waiting for an unnecessarily dressy moment to wear this awesome top I found at Target a couple of months ago. I also love black and white ensembles in general - I think I've worn black and white for every birthday I've had for the past four years.

This little ensemble was designed around the shoes (I found them thrifting with my Mom in Ann Arbor for $10!!). They're flashy and fun, the perfect balance of futuristic and 80s new wave. And the little heels were comfortable to walk around in all night long.

Even though the army green necklace breaks up the black/white pattern I thought it looked so lovely over the lace. A nice touch of a color that would ordinarily be as neutral as white or black, except that it was the brightest color in the whole ensemble!

(That little tail you see creeping out from under my skirt belongs to Olive, the newest member of our little house. She's about 2 months old and needless to say makes taking pictures a little bit difficult. She's so cute that I don't even care.)

I'll be heading to New York City in a couple days for a massive reunion/birthday party with some of my best friends in the world, so look forward to lots more pictures of the celebrations!

Bits and pieces + Giveaway news!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blueberry lemonade, Nov. 09 in Chicago
[crushed blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, torn mint leaves]

Good morning!

I'll be working most of the weekend, and spending any spare minutes planning my typically last-minute birthday celebration for Sunday evening. But I wanted to share some cool news:

1) I'm featured as an Up-And-Coming Blogger on Bloglovin' again, for the third time! Feels good! You can find me here on Bloglovin'.

2) I am planning my first-ever giveaway! More news of it will be coming soon. I'll probably be going through my Google Friend Connect followers to pick the winner, so feel free to click on the "Follow" button to be considered!

Oh it's summer again?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shirt: The Limited
Cardigan: Forever 21
Pants: Banana Republic
Shoes: BCBG
Bracelet: vintage/gift (thanks Gram)
Necklace: J Crew
Hair pins: Forever 21
Eyeshadow: Colorlab (thanks Marie)

I was planning on wearing this ensemble to work today, until I got a look at the 91 degree forecast! So instead I'll be wearing a sundress and my Sam Edelman sandals, perhaps for the last time this year. I'll hold this one for another day further into fall and savor the sun while I still can.

This outfit was built around the cardigan - I saw it in a magazine this spring and RAN to the nearest Forever 21 to get it. As fate would have it, I grabbed the last one in the store. It's an extra small but I don't care, I love the little roses so much that I squish into it anyway. The shirt is a favorite I found in final sale at the Limited this winter. It's little stripey ruffles remind me (in the most cliched way imaginable) of an afternoon in Paris. The shoes were a recent find and I can't wait to break them in. The pants are a fantastic staple, and are pretty much the only pants I wear.

OH, the hairpins - - these cost me exactly $1.80 and I'm OBSESSED with them. They go with everything. They are the best bad hair day accessory you could imagine - when my hair is being poufy and unruly I just stick them in and suddenly I'm all, "oh my, I just wandered into this city from a freshly dewed secret garden full of baby's breath and fairies." So worth the two dollars.

Flow sweetly, hang heavy

[image via stereogum]

I don't know much about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They've been a consistent favorite of some cooler-than-me friends for years, but my knowledge of the band stops around Karen O's occasional wardrobe choices. I never delved further because they were a little more gritty than my typical taste, but a fortunate iTunes shuffle trip has just yielded what I'm sure will be one my favorite songs of the season.

Though "Zero" was the big hit of 2009's It's Blitz (and rightly so - - its raucous and beautiful at once, not an easy balance to strike), I am finding myself drawn to the quieter "Hysteric", a surprisingly loveydovey expression from such an edgy band. The sparse drum beat and hollow guitar octaves lead you in and out of some disconnected thoughts about old love coming back. It's not necessarily telling a story or delivering a message - it seems more like reflection for the beauty of this particular reflection's sake.

Trust me, it works. (If you like it, I also recommend the acoustic version at the end of the Deluxe Edition of the album. It turns into a very earnest late 90s love song, in the best possible way.)

"Hysteric" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(scroll to the bottom & click the orange download link)

T-t-t-tip on the tightrope

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Everything about Janelle Monáe is badass. Her voice, her hair, her personal style, her dancing, her incredible blend of musical genres. The music video for "Tightrope" is so cool to look at - muted colors, awesome clothes, and some of the sweetest dancing I've seen in a while.

I'm hoping Janelle picks up the fan base she deserves soon - she is so good at bending expectations and mixing styles that I don't think there was a ready-made fanbase waiting for her when she broke out. No doubt this video will bring her loads of new listeners.

Check it out below, buy her music here.

Fall foliage + jewels

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweater: J Crew
Blouse: J Crew
Camisole: American Apparel
Belt: Calvin Klein
Shorts: Old Navy (thanks Emma)
Tights: Gap
Shoes: Forever 21 by way of a thrift store ($10!)
Earrings: bought on the street in NYC
Necklaces: J Crew
Purse: vintage/gift (thanks Mom)

I went home to see my parents in Michigan this weekend and found some incredible gems (including several old leather belts that my Mom wore in college!). Totally inspired by leaves turning different colors, hot tea, and Alice in Wonderland.

The blouse, sweater, and necklaces are all from J Crew, and most of them are from the sale rack. The color of the sweater is this unbelievable mustardy-army green, with adorable enamel buttons and silver seed beads on the inside fabric. The whole outfit was based around the color of this cardigan. I'm obsessed. The purse was a gift from my Mom, I'm not sure where she found it, but I can't wait to attach a colorful strap to it and carry it over my shoulder.

I love how deeply layered the colors & effects are. Ruffles, beads, jewels, silk, all calls to mind a certain decadence that only fall really captures.

The tights, shorts and belt have already made at least one appearance on the blog, but I like to work pieces into as many outfits as possible. When you've got a ridiculously limited budget it's crucial to be able to wear things multiple ways. And after all, isn't mixing and matching what fall is all about?

Apple pie

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Made my Mom's apple pie for the first time this fall! It was a delicious success. The crust was doughy in the middle and flaky on the outside, the apples were sweet and delightfully browned. Recipe below!
[Just a warning, I bake like I cook: I am inexact, messy, and often accident-prone. My directions are imperfect and at times vague, but I hope you can make some sense of them.]

Preheat oven: 350

4 cups flour
1 cup butter
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
1 beaten egg
1 tbs. vinegar
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1. Sift & mix in large bowl: flour, baking power, salt, sugar
2. Cut in butter and shortening with a knife until mixture is crumbly
3. Slowly mix in water, egg and vinegar

6-8 Gala apples, peeled
Brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Cut up apples into various sized pieces
2. Place apples in mixing bowl and add all other ingredients to taste! (I use TONS of cinnamon)

1. Divide dough into two 3/4 and 1/4 pieces
2. Smush or roll the 3/4 piece until it's about a quarter inch thick
3. Place crust in bottom of pan, pour in the apples
4. Use the remaining 1/4 piece to create braids, lines, circles, hearts, whatever you want!
5. Place in preheated oven for 35-50 minutes


Cool night out on Southport

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Jacket: Bagatelle
T-shirt: Banana Republic
Belt: J. Crew
Skirt: thrifted/gift (thanks Mai)
Shoes: Lela Rose for Payless
Tights: Gap
Earrings: Claire's
Scarf: Banana Republic
Nail polish: Anna Sui

Last weekend was my friend Ashley's birthday bar crawl, and it was also my first night out in cool weather clothes! All summer I've been sticking to easy, light-weight dresses and braided hair, so it was awesome to wear tights, a jacket, and a scarf.

One of my oldest friends also came to visit for the weekend and brought me the cutest little skirt. She found it at a thrift store - it has a slightly uneven bottom, and some tiny navy buttons up the back. It's too short on me without tights, so I added some of my favorite yellow ones to make it all work together. (I always feel like I have alien legs when I wear these tights - they're a lot of fun.)

The nail polish is Anna Sui. It has no name written on it other than "71D", so I suppose that's what it's called. I almost never wear it because it takes ages to get off, but I figured it'd be pretty against the skirt.

I hesitated with this belt - - I wasn't sure if I could pull off putting two starkly different pieces on top of each other - but it ended up working perfectly. You almost couldn't even see the belt except for it's patent-y shine. Besides, I honestly think I wear this belt with everything, regardless of whether or not it "matches". Who wants to match anyway?

I'm looking forward to wearing variations of this outfit all season long.

Playlist - Sigh

Uptown Skyline Sunset, Chicago. Nov 09.

The days are getting shorter, I finally need blankets on my bed, people are going back to school, and Fashion Week is right around the corner. All this means one thing: IT'S AUTUMN! Finally!

In celebration, here is a playlist entitled "Sigh." with some of my favorite fall music. Its admittedly heavy on the old school jazz - Billie and Chet and Louis are so perfectly suited to cooler weather. I plan on listening to this playlist on Saturday while I make my first apple pie of the season (I absolutely cannot wait!!!). I also listened to it this morning while I drank mint tea and read September's In Style.

Hope you enjoy!

1. Any Old Time - Billie Holiday
2. Solitude - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
3. They Can't Take That Away From Me - Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
4. Veraline - Charles Trenet
5. These Foolish Things - Oscar Peterson
6. Star Dust - Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra
7. Begin the Beguine - Cole Porter
8. Rockin' Chair - Louis Armstrong
9. La Vie En Rose - Edith Piaf
10. You Send Me - Sam Cooke
11. I Fall In Love Too Easily - Chet Baker
12. Moon River - Henry Mancini
13. Falling In Love - Count Basie & His Orchestra
14. La Mer - Charles Trenet
15. J'ai Deux Amours - Madeleine Peyroux
16. Love Is Here To Stay - Ella Fitzgerald
17. Sparrows Over Birmingham - Josh Rouse

"Sigh.", an autumn playlist. [scroll to the bottom and click the orange download link]

A note: I have strict rules about mix composition, but this one flies in the face of all of them. Multiple songs by the same artist...a similar mood between all the songs...inexact key-to-key/song-to-song cohesion. It's just funny that this is the first mix I'm posting and it happens to be the one that breaks all my rules :)