Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good Rivers Make Good Neighbors

I'm headed over to Minnesota on this fine day for a productive and fun excursion. I've got a meeting right away once I get to The Cities and then we're off shopping! I've got Mom, Dad, and Abby in tow. It's so wonderful living in Western Wisconsin, because I sometimes get that small town feel, but we're really very close to some fantastic metropolitan areas, like the Cities and Chicago. I think this shirt is just adorable. It made me laugh out loud a bit. The only two states I've ever inhabited and they're both so wonderful. Friend rivals, which is fun!

Even though we get along like butter and toast, MN & WI love to get after each other. Do you have a friendly rivalry with a neighboring state, or is it a Midwestern thing? We love to tease each other, but we wouldn't know what to do without 'em!

Monday, July 30, 2012


It's something so simple and beautiful to remember. We've talked about how change can be hard. This is to make it easier. Send this card from Etsy to your best girlfriend when she's feeling overwhelmed by the transitions in life. It's the perfect reminder that she is resilient and wonderful.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And Boom Goes the Dynamite

Bang! And just like that, life can change. 

I apologize for my short commercial break. Things have been pretty crazy lately. I'm always amazed how easily our lives can transform. Every day appears to be utterly redundant, and we soon lose sight of things. We don't realize how different things can (or could) be until something makes us stop. And once something grabs out attention, we take a moment to look around. Suddenly, the scenery is different. Perhaps it's the same thing, but we're looking at it in a different way. It can be good thing, and sometimes it can be a bad thing. 

It's no surprise that change is hard for everyone. I should be a poster child for this common issue. I like things to go according to plan, and when they don't, life gets tricky. It would be nice if our lives went smoothly. If nothing ever exploded, there wouldn't be a mess, there would't be a ruckus. But if things didn't get raucous every once in a while, we wouldn't notice the potential in life. We wouldn't see the changes. 

Let's try to work on that. I'll do it too. Because sometimes when life explodes, it glows. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Denim Delight

Yesterday we talked about American Sportswear making a statement this fall. This week we'll be covering some fall fashion headliners and shopping tips. Sportswear is a casual interpretation of men's meets women's clothing. Along with variated silhouettes, certain fabrics accompany the different seasons. For fall we're seeing a lot of denim! Righteous. Not only denim, but layers of denim. Denim is a woven fabric with little stretch (occasionally incorporating a little spandex for give) so you'll need to try lots of sizes on. 

Something I'm really excited about is dyed denim, chambray shirts, and denim jackets. There are so many options beyond the traditional bootcut.

Top photo via 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sporty with a Chance of Navy

3.1 Phillip Lim
If there's one thing that gets my blood tingling (and thickening), it's the anticipation of a new season. In the Midwest, we're some lucky ducks who get to experience all sorts of weather, and the wonderful variation of fashion that tags along. 

This fall, we're seeing an assortment of classic looks including inky navy blue, all black, full on winter whites, and crimson. Notice that all of these hues have a very varsity, if not patriotic, association? They're classic colors for college teams, and the U.S. I'm predicting American Sportswear to make a big scene this coming season, considering the Olympics are taking place. A heightened sense of patriotism (along with some fabulous uniforms by sportswear prep designer Ralph Lauren) might lead us to a lovely road of classic American Sportswear. A timeless look for which I'm totally jazzed!

Photos via my Pinterest

Monday, July 23, 2012

{Weekend Update}...Simple Things

Some of the best weekends are the ones spent doing simple chores. It's relaxing, but you feel as though you've accomplished something. With my mom, I froze and bagged over sixty cups of blueberries. I had a revelation, too. I never like blueberries until this weekend! I went flower hunting with Abby and the girls for our lovely bride-to-be, Becca! Those glorious sprigs of green, and bunches of flowers! I also traveled over the central Wisconsin to visit my grandma and thoroughly enjoyed gossiping, grocery shopping and flipping through photos of our Florida trip

Bonus? Grandma Esther has the coolest house, filled with amazing knick-knacks that span over a century! (Like these hat pins and broaches) I hope your weekend was filled with simple pleasures. Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, July 20, 2012


It's the long-lived question. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Everybody craves the answer, but will we really ever find it? The search for truth is in such high demand, even TIME featured a quiz.

To me, this begs the real question: who cares?

The sentiment, no one knows you better than yourself, should be applicable here. At the end of the day, we know we're comfortable in some situations, and uncomfortable in others. Does it really need to be analyzed?


Through the investigation of our personality and social behaviors, there's a chance that we may be able to create a comfortable environment all the time. Work with what you're given, right? But then we're also quirky. We may exhibit characteristics associated to both extremes.

For example: When I'm surrounded by peers who are unfamiliar or acquaintances, I become reserved and sometimes timid. In this setting, I appear to be introverted. But once the previous acquaintances become friends, I am the bubbly life of the party.  On the flip side, in a setting where I'm surrounded by adults, even those that are new to me, I am quite at ease and sociable.

Looking at what I know, I'm generally extroverted with a sense of humor, a little poise, and a never ending list of topics for discussion. Interspersed for variety, I will sometimes be quite shy. I like being around people, but often, nothing sounds better than staying home to read and drink tea. Perhaps there needs to be some sort of compensation?

Ultimately, if I was forced to declare a personality, it would be a mix. I'm dominantly extroverted with introverted like tendencies. Will we ever know, or rather, need to know? Probably not. But for discussion's sake, it can be interesting. After all, how would dating sites, horoscopes, room mate matches work with out this concept?

What are your thoughts? Are you introverted or extroverted? A mix? Or don't you really care?

Fall Face-off: Knits vs Wovens

It should come as no surprise that fall fashion is being talked of. The trends are hitting stores, summer sales abound, and if you're like me, you're starting to get that itch.

The itch of fall clothing! It's my favorite time of year for my wardrobe, since I live in the Midwest. Although, with the neons, it's going to difficult to say goodbye to summer. But there might be another itch with fall fashion...

When shopping, just keep in mind some basics. Some people often complain that their sweaters are scratchy, or their blouses don't have any give, their khakis aren't flexible enough, their cute tee shrinks.

In terms of flexibility, feel, and fit, here's what you should know: 

Knits are any fabrics that are made by knitting loose loops together, creating rows. Think of a scarf. But it doesn't just have to be a chunky sweater. Most basic tees, camisoles, tanks, pajamas, etc. are knits. They will have give and stretch, allowing you to move freely, with a wide range of motion and position.

When looking at what material your clothing is, knits will generally be cotton, rayon, nylon, spandex, and jersey. Be careful, if an article of clothing is one hundred percent rayon, it will likely shrink. Also, if a sweater has acrylic, it will pill like crazy. Same goes for wool (will pill less, and will actually look alright), and angora.

Woven fabrics have little give or stretch and are created on a loom. They have a liner, under/over crossing of threads. Items such as jeans, blouses, and some dresses are usually woven. 

Fabrics that are woven are denim (but spandex is now usually incorporated for some stretch), chiffon, silk, satin, and twill.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Therapeutic

Princess and the Pea lies on the therapist couch.

Although life is generally quite good to all of us (we mostly all have refrigerators, shelter, jobs, friends), there are those heinous days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months, where our world simply flips. I've had moments when it rotated 180 degrees and I was suddenly looking at the future I had definitely not been planning. Other times, life has shifted a little to the left and things are frustratingly "off".

It's undeniably stress inducing when things just don't go our way. I'm a creature of planning. The List Queen, you can call me. I rely on structure & often predictability. Therefore, when my life flips, I stubbornly try to refuse it, making everything worse. 

So how do you cope? 

I often admit that retail therapy often helps me. Seriously. It may sound bizarre and financially irresponsible, but I enjoy it. I feel better afterwards, and isn't that what counts? I'm not saying I blow my entire paycheck on a spree. I usually get a few things I've really been wanting, but for some reason just haven't purchased them. In general, what makes me feel better is just being out. Looking at the colors, feeling the textures of everything. I don't have to know anyone that's around me at the mall, as long as there are other people. 

It's therapeutic. Being around other life.

I usually try burrowing myself in blankets, eating ice cream, watching TV in the basement searching for mind-numbing escapism, feeling sorry for myself. No matter how much I want it to work, it doesn't. I feel like a slob, and feel even worse. It's true that a shower can make all the difference. I get up, shower, put on my favorite outfit and do something with other people. Even if it means I'm watching television and eating ice cream with my girlfriends in their basement. 

In general, I'm shy when I first meet people and the life of the party once I know everyone. But that may be residue from high school (aren't we glad that's over.) and is slowing fading. Ultimately, I thrive from the exchange of energy between people. So when I'm feeling down, I go out. 

What do you do to feel better? Do you feel relaxed in big public spaces like the mall? Or is shopping annoying to you? What is your ultimate "feel-good" boost? I'd love to know!

Illustration via


Isn't this necklace just the sweetest? I think it's a darling, simple piece of jewelry you could dress up or down. 

This makes me wonder... Do you like hugs or kisses more? Here's my take on the kiss/hug face-off. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

{Curious}...On Affection

I'm a really big fan of hugs. There is something so comforting when an dear friend, lovely mom, or adorable niece envelopes you in a sweet embrace. Coming from the midwest, I see lots of people  giving the Minnesotan hug, which is a wimpy one-armed side hug. Boring! I'll admit, I used to be an offender. But I've warmed up. A bit.

Mom sometimes warms me, though, not to be a cold fish. I'll give hugs, but I don't kiss Nick in front of others. Is that strange? I never thought so, but perhaps common culture requires public kisses. Kissing is indeed a more intimate act of affection. I've always been a bit of a stickler when it comes to PDA; I have very little tolerance. 

Despite my dislike for public mating, I've noticed we do live in a world that romanticizes and exploits the concept of love. It's as though we should always be showering our significant others in kisses. All the time. So although we seem to love kisses, I never feel like I get enough hugs. After all, the box office won't boom if Hollywood produces a movie filled with common, heart warming hugs, as opposed to steamy smooches. The old axiom rings true here; sex sells. Although overzealous with the saliva exchange program, our culture, in other respects, seems to be staunchly no touching. 

Humans love a hefty person bubble, though. Even in video games, avatars exhibit similar behaviors when it comes to proxemics. We like our "my space", but advertise intimate sex. It's a little paradoxical. 

So, if my vote counts, more hugs! They're versatile! Anyone can give you a hug and it makes your feel good. (Remember health class? We need ten good touches each day.) What are your thoughts? Do you prefer hugs or kisses? 

Illustration via

The Olympic Games

The Olympics! I'm not an overly enthusiastic athlete. I dance, sometimes do yoga, enjoy the occasional (and the leisurely) bike ride. Like a bad Wisconsinite, I don't take a lot of pleasure in watching Packers football every Sunday, nor do I really follow the Brewers (sorry, Dad!).

But every two years, I'm sucked into the biggest, most exhilarating competition. The Olympics. I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't like them. In the winter, I hum along to the music as I watch the graceful figure skaters, admiring their ease and their costumes. The summer? Well gymnastics is right at the top of my favorites! I am perplexed by them! So strong. So agile. So delicate.

I thought these vintage posters were totally sweet. If you had a game room (those can be difficult to decorate) these would offer a totally sweet visual interest!

What are your favorite events?
Here's a great coffee table book. A century of Olympic posters!
And a fun list of Olympic events no longer played.
Vintage Olympic tees for the family at Gap! (This one has the same graphic as the poster above!)

Photos via

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{Splurge or Save}...Celebrity Edition Pt. 1

Confession: I watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I know, I know. . . But let's move on.
Kim wore this interesting two piece ensemble for the Cannes Film Festival. Do you remember who Gwenyth also wore it? (I'd love to know who you think wore it best!) Some people loved this, others did not. While I'm not a huge fan of its entirety, There are a few parts I love. . . Let's see how you can get this look for a lot cheaper!

1. Black mesh and lace over a nude sheath. Black is, like always, very on trend for the fall. The hint of "skin" really jazzes it up, though.

2. The emphasis on the waist is phenomenal with this skirt/top combination. Although it could flirt with the icky side, since it covers the navel and bares only 1.5-2 inches, it's simply sexy. The Dorothy Perkins dress I've selected does the opposite and features a lovely, black sash to emphasize your waist. 

3. I usually love a cap sleeve, but on this, I don't really care for it. It's interesting, but for our purposes, the sleeves are a tad impractical. So the save dress that you can wear is sleeveless. It'll be great for transition between all seasons. 

Splurge: Emilio Pucci Lace

Photo of Kim via

Monday, July 16, 2012

{Weekend Update}...Work n' Stuff

This weekend was busy. You know those busy weekends that feel like they drag, and then suddenly, it's Monday? And you're like woah, it's not the weekend anymore. That was this weekend. Old Navy is having their big "Stuff and Save" sale, it's crazy right now! Although I worked quite a bit, I had plenty of time to think (and start Mad Men!). 

When I'm at work, I love seeing all the people milling about. I so often wonder about their lives. People always appear so happy when they shop; at least I do. Some people get crabby and I wonder if they're always this snappy. Who knows? I am a person that likes people. But it's confusing, because sometimes, my intuition tells me otherwise. We'll have more on this this week, so stay tuned. Let's get you interested, though....

Are you outgoing, or are you an introvert? 
When you're feeling blue, what's therapy for you?
Are you creative? Mathematical and linear? Can you be both?

I hope you had a wonderfully thoughtful weekend! Happy Monday, all!

Photo via

Friday, July 13, 2012

{Florida}...Canoeing Video Special

Sorry, folks! This isn't an after school special made just for you. I thought I'd finish up this week with a fun little video from a canoeing trip we took when we were at New Smryna Beach. This is the most beautiful place from all of Florida. The guided tour of the estuary was free (yay!), informative, and tons of fun. We learned about local vegetation, like Red Mangroves, fought through rough waters, and saw manatees! They swam along next to, and under, us! We had a fabulous guide and enjoyed the day in the sun! If you're ever near New Smyrna, check it out! I'm promising you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Dad and me our first night on Lake Smyrna
You've seen the beach, you've seen the parks. Now it's time to see the family! There isn't much to say about these photos, as they are random pictures, outtakes, and family memories! You can probably tell from the pictures that we had a ton of fun! I wanted share some of the less orchestrated moments with you! Enjoy! 

p.s. I love my family.
Got luggage?

Airport rhymes.

Beautiful flowers in the beach house. 

Night palms.

My daily outfit.

Cool seafood joint right on the water. You don't park your car, you dock your boat!


Nick and me for birthday dinner.

Jacob,  Matt & me for my birthday. At Pinstripes.

Birthday cheesecake.

The kids at Hogsmead.

Sisters on the beach.

The whole family. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

{Florida}...Park by Park

Six parks in six days. Yes, you read that correctly. After the beach, our family trekked to Orlando for a marathon of parks. We visited all four Disney parks and the two Universal parks. It was exhausting, but the memories from the nonstop rides, park food, and ponchos are hilarious and lovable. Right, ponchos...it rained. Hard. The first two and half days were not just overcast, it was pretty much a wash. The downpour didn't stop us, though. We pulled on our really attractive ponchos and enjoyed our days. It cleared up (yay!) midweek and we really had some fun. I never used to be a rides person, but on this trip I went crazy and did everything. Even the ones with your feet dangling! Yikes! 
RockIt Roller Coaster. Amazing!
Each person picks the music to which the listen for the duration of the ride! Sweet!

Cinderella's castle. Obviously.

The Tower of Terror. One of my favorites. 

Disney Hollywood Studios.

Honeydukes! Harry Potter Park at Universal.


Hogwarts. HP FTW.

Disney Animal Kingdom safari. We were this close to the giraffe! 

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