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Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Fall Edit: Shoes

In the Midwest, cold weather is a little like falling in love and falling asleep...slowly, and then all at once. (Thank you John Green for the inspiration). Mother Nature tends to dabble in the chilly temps once or twice just to test the waters, then BAM! Snow, sub-zero temps and a short-lived open toe bootie season.

This is why Mother Nature gave us chunky knits, leather (vegan or otherwise), and knee-high boots.

I love Fall. I love the crisp weather, sleeping with the windows open and snuggling under a down duvet. The best part? THE FASHION. My cold weather wardrobe hibernates in decorated file boxes on the top shelves of my closet until that day when I decide the Fall Edit is in order. Ladies and...ladies, the day has come. There should be a holiday for this, right? Like, a day off work to stay home and get wardrobe ready for the upcoming big chill?

Here is what I purchased, and what I am swooning over. If you like it, copy my whole damn wardrobe. I don't care. If you aren't a fan, silent judgment works for me!

P.S. This is a series...I will be posting oh, almost a dozen Fall Edits with different components of my wardrobe. Shoes first, then bags, accessories, dresses, sweaters, pants, you get the idea.

The Shoes

Shoes and boots are always a toughie- I want to get gorgeous suede knee-high stunners, but really? Suede and salt just DO. NOT. MIX. Here is what I added to my mix this year:

The Fall Edit: Open Toe Booties
Nine West Open Toe Leather Booties- $39.99 @ T.J. Maxx (Similar Nine West Graphiphoto Bootie here at
(To learn all about the NEW T.J. Maxx on Michigan Avenue, read my post on The Little Style File here!)

And here is what I am pulling in from last year for my Fall Edit:

The Fall Edit: Must Have Boots
Hunter Boots in Military Red- $148 @Nordstrom, Circus by Sam Edelman Gillian Tall Boot- $90.93 @, Kelly & Katie Bootie (similar here: Splendid Rodeo Bootie- $99.95 at DSW)
Out of all these, my must-haves are Hunter Boots for splashing in those massive puddles that creep in the gutter at school pick-up and the Circus combat boots. Here are some notes:

Hunter Boots
  • Not wonderful for the snow, a bit slippery
  • Make sure to get cute boot liners so you can use then when it gets chilly- you don't need to get Hunter brand boot liners, check Etsy for less expensive options or make your own with my tutorial here!
  • DO NOT purchase these through the Hunter website. Their return/exchange policy is totally wack- it took me months to exchange a pair, and their inventory changes on a daily basis. Purchase through Nordstrom- free shipping, free returns, no hassle. Same price.
  • They also have a packable version if you are into taking them on trips, check it out! They are lighter weight.

Combat Boots

I looked for the perfect pair of knee high combats, and THESE are it. They are comfortable (and I am old so I put inserts in), real leather, have a zip on the side so you don't have to actually lace them, and go with everything. The only issue is that they have these adorable studs on the side of the heel that I have a) scratched the crap out of my wood floor with and b) accidentally impaled my child with...he is fine, no worries. But I love the boots, I wear them with tights and skirts/dresses, skinny jeans, you name it. They tame a too formal dress, and toughen up/add edge to a basic look.

HAPPY SHOPPING!! Tell me what you picked up for fall, I really want to know!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sewing for Two: A Non-Cheesy Mom/Daughter Look

I am not a fan of dressing the same as your children, but when I came across Burberry plaid fleece at the fabric store I wanted a piece of the action as well. I made my 9 month old a circle skirt- incredibly easy, took about 20 minutes. Since I had leftover fabric, I decided to make Hunter boot toppers for when the weather turns miserable (any time now...). Cute or creepy, you decide, but I think plaid is a versatile pattern that is universal for all ages! Saying that, I will probably consult Charlotte so we don't wear our pieces on the same day.

DIY Fleece Circle Skirt for Infants/Toddlers
  • Measure your gal for skirt length and add a few inches for elastic casing.
  • Figure out how wide you want your skirt- 30"-40" is average. Just make sure it is wider than your little one, with enough material to bunch.
  • Measure her for elastic- make sure it is a little tight.
  • Put like sides together and sew the side seam.
  • Fold over the top for elastic casing, making sure to leave enough room for the size of your elastic. I used 1/2", so folded down 3/4".
  • Sew the casing and leave 2" to slip the elastic in.
  • Add a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread through the casing (just make sure the other end doesn't sneak in as well!)
  • Sew the two elastic ends together and sew the casing gap.

DIY Boot Topper
  • Determine the length and width you want your boot topper and cut to size.
  • Grab a pair of knee-length warm socks.
  • Pin the topper to the sock- right side to outside of the sock. Pin in four places.
  • Sew, making sure to stretch the sock in between each pin.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Outdoor Movie Party: Splash & Overboard Double Feature

My husband and I love throwing parties. We will find any excuse to throw one- holidays, random last minute get-togethers, because I have been spending too much time on name it. Our last big bash was an outdoor movie night, featuring and inspired by two of my favorite movies growing up: Splash with Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks and Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. I searched for two movies with a common theme so, of course, I could design a menu and signature cocktail around them!

I purchased the Pocket Projector Pro from Brookstone as my summer gift to myself. It retails for $449, and don't bother getting the screen- just use a white bed sheet tacked to a wall! The projector is about a 5" square, only 1" thick. It can project a clear image up to 100" diagonal and the LED lamp lasts 20,000 hours (compare to my previous projector whose bulb lasted a few hundred hours and cost $400 to replace). You can connect it to your computer, phone, anything with an HDMI cable (grab the convertor for Apple products).

I designed the invites to resemble vintage movie tickets:

Outdoor Movie Party: DIY Ticket Invites

As for the food, you know I couldn't just pick up a veggie tray from the store and call it a day. Here are photos of the hors d'ouevres; everything is either homemade or home-assembled (my favorite way to do it):

Outdoor Movie Party: Under the Sea Snacks!

Outdoor Movie Party: Crab Croissants

Outdoor Movie Party: Shrimp Orzo with Dill & Cilantro

Outdoor Movie Party: Sea Cucumber Tzatziki

Outdoor Movie Party: Shrimp Cocktail

And desserts, because my sweet tooth is unrivaled:

Outdoor Movie Party: White Chocolate Coral

Outdoor Movie Party: Cheesecake Sand Pails and Madeleine Clams

How about a signature cocktail? My friend Wendy came into town recently and introduced me to Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, or heaven in a bottle. I concocted this drink especially for our party, it is dangerously delicious. I also made life saver ice cubes in white, green and blue using a silicone mold.

Outdoor Movie Party: Signature Cocktail- Deep Sea Breeze featuring Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka

Outdoor Movie Party: Deep Sea Breeze in a mason jar with paper straws

Outdoor Movie Party: Life Saver Ice Cubes

Outdoor Movie Party: Beverage Station

Decor was pretty simple- white tablecloths, fishing nets, and lanterns in blue, green and white. For the lanterns, I crushed graham crackers to resemble sand and placed battery-operated votives in. Our deck resembled a ship and the movie played on in the yard. I assembled a semi-circle of chairs and side tables in the lawn around the screen so people could migrate during the party. I added crates of movie theater candy spread around the party so people could nibble on their favorites, and our full size popcorn machine provided the mandatory salty snacks with customizable toppings.

Outdoor Movie Party: Splash and Overboard Double Feature

Outdoor Movie Party: Movie Theater Candy

Outdoor Movie Party: Popcorn with customizable toppings

And my outfit? It was totally inspired by Goldie Hawn in Splash- sequins galore! I paired a rose gold sequin skirt from The Limited with a simple black v-neck t-shirt from Old Navy and thew on black Reef flip flops in addition to a double rose gold chain with beachy-chic hair. I love the fact that I can dress this skirt up or down- a silk top makes it cocktail party worthy while a t-shirt could bring it into daytime wear.

Outdoor Movie Party: Rose Gold Sequin Skirt with Black V-Neck T-shirt

Everyone had a great time, partially due to the industrial strength signature cocktail, partly due to the fact that my friends always have a good time wherever we are ;) If you want recipes, how-to instructions, or DIY info for a similar outdoor movie party, just e-mail me or leave a message below! I am always happy to share!