Checking in

I haven’t posted in forever! I know! I’m sorry! I’ve been very busy. I went to a film festival, I turned 21, I went out dancing, I’ve done a lot of things at work, I’ve been taking midterms, I’ve been watching a lot of college basketball. I’m also leaving for Europe in 3 days. It’s a busy time! But give me two weeks and I’ll be on Spring Break, and I have plenty of fun posts I’ve been saving up for you. I promise.

To hold you over, here’s a very pretty picture of some redwood trees I saw near Santa Cruz, Calif. this summer.

Petite Fashion Challenge #13: Stylish for under $100

This month’s Petite Fashion Challenge, hosted by Really Petite (thanks for hosting!), was to put together a professional outfit for under $100, with bonus points if you included shoes and accessories in the price. I managed to meet the challenge, shoes and all!

I’m including two photos, but they’re basically the same outfit. I got these beautiful argyle-knit cardigans from New York & Company several weeks ago, and I’m enjoying trying to figure out how to wear them. I couldn’t decide what looked best here, so I thought I’d include both and ask for opinions. What do you like better? Blue or Yellow? Tucked or untucked?

Outfit Breakdown

Cardigans: New York & Company Pointelle Argyle Pattern Cardigan in Olympic Blue and Yellow (yellow is sold out online now). Originally $49.95 each, but on sale at buy one, get one half off, and I also had a 30 percent off coupon, making each one $26.25.

Skirt: Banana Republic pencil skirt. Found at Goodwill for $5; total cost with alterations about $20.

Tank top: Old Navy Jersey-Stretch Tank in Russian Navy, $10.

Pumps: Payless (old), $20.

Earrings: Cracker Barrel, of all places, approximately $6.

Necklace: Gifted, $0.

Total outfit cost: $82.25.

I had a great time with this challenge. I know I try to shop smart, price-wise, but I never really think about how much an entire outfit costs. Because I’m a college student, most of my clothes are inexpensive, but I guess it all adds up! A fun learning experience. Can’t wait for the next challenge!

Oscar Sunday!

Happy Oscar night, everyone! One of my favorite nights of the year, mostly because I love seeing the dresses.

I saw six of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, so I had seen enough to have opinions as to who should win. I was pretty happy with most of the results — “The Artist” was my favorite, by far, so I was thrilled that it won.

The dresses were lovely this year! It’s hard for me to remember all of my favorites without looking at them, but the ones I remember most are Jessica Chastain’s, Natalie Portman’s and Ellie Kemper’s (though I had to look her up to figure out who she was!). I don’t remember too many horrendous fails, either, which is good.

I dream of someday snagging an invite to the Oscars, but for this year I contented myself with throwing a party at a friend’s house. I demanded that it be a formal event — my guy friends were told that it was okay if they wore normal clothes as long as they added a tie, but I would love for them to wear actual suits. And you know what? Every single one of the five who came to the party did. How blessed am I to have friends who will dress up to sit on couches and eat cake with me? That’s a better prize than any Oscar.

Practicing my red-carpet pose, with my Oscar for Best Reporter. Someday.

Tiny shoe find: Payless Girls’ Fynn Ballet Flat

How long have I been looking for a new pair of black flats? Probably no fewer than a million and a half years. My search grew more active in the past few weeks because I’m going to Ireland in less than a month and I really needed to find flats that would be comfortable enough to wear sightseeing but decent enough to wear out for a night on the town. Also important? I wanted the cheapest pair I could find. Yes, black flats are a staple and worth investing in, but I wanted a pair that I wouldn’t mind ruining in the mud that comes with Ireland’s near-daily rain, or, to be honest, leaving behind to make more room in my suitcase for souvenirs!

I went Ireland-shoe hunting last week and struck out at Target, Dillard’s, Macy’s and a few other stores before finding the perfect pair in the most unexpected place: The kids’ aisle of Payless.

These flats are pretty much everything I wanted. They’re the rare pair of children’s flats that are not boxy and awkward but rather fit like normal women’s shoes. They’re simple, but I love the pleats, and they’re cut high enough to avoid unsightly “toe cleavage.” They have a great, sturdy non-skid rubber sole, which should keep me grounded on slick streets and not wear out like the soles of some flats (I’m looking at you, Missoni for Target). And, at $14.99, they’re completely mud-friendly! Awesome.

It’s hard for me to give you an idea of how these run, size-wize, because I wear anywhere between a 5 and a 6 in adult sizes, but I can tell you, definitively, that I am a size 3 in children’s shoes. Here’s the Fynn flat next to one of my (new!) Converse All-Stars, also a children’s size 3. Hope that’s some help for figuring out how they would fit you!

You can buy these in black here, and the site has them in white and brown, too. They also have the same shoes in adult sizes, 5 and up, here, but they’re pricier at $24.99. Still, though, a steal for a cute, comfortable pair of flats!

Late to Breakfast (at Tiffany’s!)

I’ve been late to the party on a lot of movies. I didn’t see “Titanic” until 2006; I didn’t see “Lord of the Rings” until weeks before “Return of the King” came out; I still haven’t seen the complete “Star Wars” series. Since I got my Netflix account a year ago, though, I’ve been trying to fill some of the holes in my “movie education.”

Here at school, every other girl in the dorms has a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” poster. Two of my three roommates have them! After 2.5 years of looking at her pearls, updo, sunglasses, tiara, giant cigarette and whatever else, I finally decided to check the movie out for myself a few nights ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very different from what I thought it would be, in a good way. I liked it a lot — I laughed, I got sad, I fell in love with the characters.

And, of course, like every other girl in the dorms, I fell a little bit in love with everything Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly wore. The dresses! The coats! The skirts! The jewelry! She always looked beautiful, but she made it look so effortless. I just wanted to steal her entire wardrobe.

The next morning, I woke up feeling completely inspired. I took a cue from a simple outfit from the movie that I couldn’t find a picture of because you only see it for a short time: the day she goes to the library with Paul in that awesome reddish pea coat, she wears a polo tucked into a pencil skirt. I didn’t quite want to go all the way to a pencil skirt for my campus job, but I at least put on a formal skirt.

It’s a shamefully amateur attempt, I know, but it made me smile, and all of my coworkers loved it, too (“What are you dressed up for?” “Oh, nothing, just saw ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ last night!”). I don’t think anyone would look at this outfit and say, “Oh, totally inspired by Audrey Hepburn,” but I think I got the overall concept I took away from admiring how she dressed: You don’t need to wait for a formal occasion to break out your formal skirt, and even a basic day should be an opportunity to dress up a little. If Holly Golightly can dress up to go to the library, I can dress up to go to class.

Nail polishes that rock: Essie Shine of the Times

I’ve developed a fondness lately for mind-blowing, color-changing nail polishes. Not exactly the best fondness to develop at a point in my life at which I’m trying to look like a grown-up, but what can I say?

I first saw Essie’s Shine of the Times topcoat on my nail blogger friend several months ago, and I’ve been meaning to buy a bottle of my own since. I finally managed to snag one on a trip to Walgreens with my mom last week (thanks, Mom!), and let me tell you, it’s so worth the wait.

Shine of the Times doesn’t look like anything special in the bottle, but when you paint it on (I used two coats!), the flakes all clump together to form something that I can only describe as a foil-like coat. Like the Forever 21 polish I wrote about a few weeks ago, this topcoat is impossible to adequately describe with words or capture with a photo. Depending on how the light hits it, it’s red, copper, gold or green. Layer it over an indigo solid like I did and you’ve got a complete rainbow. Amazing, right?

I’ve been wearing this polish for a week now, and I’m still impressed by it, as is everyone who notices it. So cool. If you like distractingly shiny polishes as much as I do you, Shine of the Times is definitely the way to go!

I couldn’t find a good link to buy Shine of the Times online, but it’s available at some Walgreens and Walmart stores for about $8. I wore it over an old Forever 21 Indigo polish, just to get every color involved, but I’ve also seen it recommended over a dark red. If you try it out, let me know what you think looks best!

Belatedly, a Valentine’s Day post

Sorry for the lengthy absence! It’s been a crazy two weeks — traveling, schoolwork, work-work, sporting events, bad weather, the usual. But, don’t worry — I have some good posts coming up! I have a few new sweaters and nail polishes and styling tricks to show off. Stay tuned.

Before I get to the good stuff, though, I have to post my Valentine’s Day outfit, just because I liked it. It’s nothing crazy, I didn’t go full-out heart-spangled, but I never pass up an opportunity to dress for a holiday, even in college, so I had to go somewhat pink and flouncy. I tried to tone it down with brown accessories, and eventually I added a light gray cardigan, too. I don’t think I’ve ever belted this skirt before, and I’ll do it again, for sure — I really like the shape it creates.

Look at that flawless hand heart. You’re impressed.

I had a low-key but fun Valentine’s Day; four of my friends and I had  “Singles Awareness Soiree,” where we baked cake, watched a movie and laughed a lot. Overall a great night. How did you celebrate? And at what age do you think I have to give up dressing up for holidays? ;)

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