Wednesday, November 5, 2014

(Not So) Ready For Fall

I'm starting to get excited about fall. It's taking me a while, but I'm getting there. There is this huge part of me that feels like I should be sitting on a beach drinking a margarita right now. Then I remember that it is November. 

What I do love about fall is throwing together outfits like this. It's kind of this weird mix of summer and fall clothes that you can only get away with in warmer parts of the country. I keep seeing other bloggers wearing puffy vests and boots with tall socks and I'm like......what? Then I remember that these bloggers probably live in a place where it already feels like the dead of winter. And I'm still in gladiator sandals. What what, Memphis! I could probably wear these babies on Christmas day. And I probably will.

Shirt: J. Crew (men's), Scarf: Gap, Jeans and Sandals: Urban Outfitters, Clutch: Kate Spade, Sunglasses: Wal-Mart in Florida? Possibly a gas station in Florida? Why am I not still in Florida!?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Style and Wisdom

Content is of great importance, but we must not underrate the value of style. That is, attention must be paid to not only what is said but how it is said; to what we wear, as well as how we wear it. In fact, we should be aware of all we do and of how we do all that we do.

Manners and a respect for style can be developed if one is eager and has an accomplished teacher. On the other hand, any observant person can acquire the same results without a teacher simply by carefully watching the steady march of the human parade.

Never try to take the manners of another as your own, for the theft will be immediately evident and the thief will appear as ridiculous as a robin with peacock feathers hastily stuck on. Style is as unique and nontransferable and perfectly personal as a fingerprint. It is wise to take time to develop one's own way of being, increasing those things one does well and eliminating the elements in one's character which can hinder and diminish the good personality.

Any person who has charm and some confidence can move in and through societies ranging from the most privileged to the most needy. Style allows the person to appear neither inferior in one location nor superior in the other. Good manners and tolerance, which are the highest manifestation of style, can often transform disaster into good fortune. Many people utter insults or disparaging remarks without thinking, but a wise or stylish person takes the time to consider the positive as well as negative possibilities in each situation. The judicious response to a gibe can disarm the rude person, removing the power to  injure. 

This is not another admonition to turn the other cheek, although I do think that that can be an effective ploy on certain occasions. Rather, this is an encouragement to meet adverse situations with the intent and style to control  them. Falling into an entaglement with brutes will usually result in nothing more conclusive than a stimulated nervous system and an upset digestive tract.
                                                                                                    -Style, Maya Angelou

Something to chew on.

Dress: Juicy Couture via Plato's Closet, Pants: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Target via Plato's Closet

Monday, September 29, 2014

Memphis Curb Couture Trashion Show

Yesterday was the Memphis Curb Couture Trashion Show, put on by Memphis City Beautiful. This was my first time participating in this event, and it was so much fun! It was a huge undertaking, but it was so rewarding to see a dress that I designed/fabricated go down the runway. My husband took some great photos, so I thought I'd give you guys some highlights.

This was my dress. My model, Lizzie Daws, was incredible. Look at that hair! The hair stylist kept making it bigger and bigger as I kept nodding and smiling and giving the thumbs up. I wanted her to look a little wild. The dress itself was hand woven out of paper twine made from newspaper ads. I've been making paper twine for about two and a half months now, and I'm starting to lose the fingerprints on my left thumb and forefinger. Now, I can begin my criminal career (kidding, kidding). This was actually my first time making an article of clothing. I had no idea what I was doing, but I dove in head first! For a first attempt, I must say, I was exceptionally pleased with the result. 
 I have to admit, I got a bit of a thrill when I read "designer: Meredith Olinger." It made me feel very official.

This was probably my favorite piece, although it didn't place. It was made out of pages torn from 4 Memphis magazines, and the designer, Stephanie Beliles, is an editor at 4 Memphis Magazine. Honestly, I don't know how they chose the winners, there were some really fantastic designs (keep scrolling for more!).
This was the backdrop for the show. Couldn't resist a quick photo op!
Hello! Amazing!
Ballet Memphis performed. Incredible. 
Lizzie on the runway. She moved really well in the dress. 
The final walk through. 

This won Best in Show. The picture really doesn't give the full effect of how awesome this dress was.

A big thanks goes to City Beautiful for putting on this event, and especially Eldra White for all the work she put into it! It was such an inspiring night! Great designs, dancing, food, beer (did I mention the beer? Great beer choices) and lots of fun people. Can't wait til next year!

All photos by Andrew Olinger.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beer To Pick Up This Weekend: Workman Common Lager

Ok, I know it's not the weekend. And to be honest....these pictures were taken yesterday. In no part of the world is Wednesday considered the weekend. But my weekend starts early this week (I'm off tomorrow, booyah!). And it's been a bit of a sad week. If you wanted to start your weekend early, I think the world will understand.

I picked this beer up randomly about a month ago. I'm not a big lager person. I mean - I'll drink a lager, don't get me wrong! I'll drink a Bud Light. Or a Yuengling. Not a huge Boston Lager person (everyone is collectively scoffing at me). But something made me pick up a 6-pack of this Workman Common Lager by Blue Pants Brewery. I think it was the packaging (another collective scoff). What can I say? I'm an artist, I like cute packaging (though that guy needs to be careful - drinking while using a chain saw! For shame!)

What a surprise this beer turned out to be! What a very un-lager-y lager (un-lager-y?). It has a great bite on the end and a really pleasing piney-ness. It's a bit like.....dare I IPA? I think we all know how I feel about IPA's.

I'd love to know what other people think of this beer. Especially people that love lagers. Too piney? Or perfectly piney?

Give it a try and let me know how you feel about it! Have a great weekend! I've officially decided today is the weekend. We deserve it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chicks With Books

I remember seeing this picture of Blake Lively about a year ago. When I saw it I thought that it might be one of the sexiest images I've ever seen. For a moment, I couldn't figure out why. It's a simple enough look - messy bun, evening gown, a bit too much boob. And then it hit me. The book! I love that instead of a clutch, or a date, Blake Lively is carrying a book. It really completes the whole look. It wouldn't be the same without it.

I used to be an avid reader. You couldn't separate me from whatever book I was reading. Oftentimes, I'd have two books going at once - one for school and one for home.

And then....I don't know what happened. Friends with cars and boyfriends and blogs: I got distracted. Which in a way was probably a good thing, I read a bit too much. But recently I've picked up the habit again and I'm loving it.

Reading is like yoga for your brain. It stretches it in ways you didn't know it could stretch. When I'm reading I find myself saying the most ridiculous words. The other day I said, "this bag is so cumbersome." I thought I was so cool. When was the last time you said cumbersome?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also recently got a smart phone. This may seem like no big deal, everyone has a smart phone. But I've been holding out for years. I don't like the way people behave with their phones. Please stop taking selfies. Please stop texting and look at me while I am talking to you. Please stop liking everything on Facebook. Manners and smart phones don't seem to go together. So I held down the fort. I wasn't going to do it. I didn't need a smart phone.

I caved about a month ago. I bought a new iPhone and got a teeny tiny data plan. I was so worried that my phone would change me, but thankfully nothing has really changed. I do like being able to look at my bank account whenever I want. And I like the GPS (I wish I had a dollar for every time I've gotten lost. Olie and I could both retire). Ok, and Instagram is pretty cool. But no selfies for this girl.

I think that books may be the cure for the smart phone. Chicks with books are the sexiest. Chicks with their eyes glued to their phones? Not so much. I think about this image every day when I pack my book into my purse. It's my new favorite accessory (despite the new phone) and honestly it makes me feel incredibly chic.

So what are we reading ladies?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tips For Second Hand Style

I've become a bit of a second hand shopper. I'm pretty obsessed actually. There is nothing like the thrill of the hunt. And the big payoff when you find that great dress/top/whatever for next to nothing! I mainly do my second hand shopping at Plato's Closet: it's close to my house, I have great luck there, and I can sell back some things that I don't wear anymore (a big thanks to SaidMelanie for encouraging me to give it a try). I used to be a big thrifter as well, and I have found that the same skills apply. So if you've never done any second hand shopping, or you get overwhelmed when you do, here are a few tips that should help you find some great pieces!

1. You don't have to look at everything. Some people look through item after item, one at a time. I never do this. I let my eyes do the work. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you look at everything.

2. Look for quality. In a sea of fake chiffon, real silk is easy to spot. That's how I found a beautiful, 100% silk top the other day for $6. Quality fabrics stick out.

3. Look for interesting patterns. You can really find unique things second-hand, and a crazy awesome pattern is easy to spot.

4. Limit what you buy. I usually only allow myself to buy four things at one time. If you buy too much, you aren't really getting good stuff. There is a lot of crap at a second hand store (usually). We're looking for diamonds in the rough.

5. If you are unsure, don't get it. This stuff is cheap, so it's easy to justify making a purchase. But there is no point in buying things you will never wear. The same rules apply when shopping second hand as shopping full price stuff. If you don't need it or won't wear it, don't buy it!

6. Quality, quality, quality! Buying second hand is a great way to buy quality items you normally couldn't afford. I've bought Cynthia Rowley, BCBG, Nine West and many more higher end brands all second hand. This is stuff I would normally never buy, it's too expensive. Don't buy a Forever 21 top second hand. Go to Forever 21 instead.

Any second hand shoppers out there? What are your tips? Oh and yes, this dress is from Plato's Closet! It's Cynthia Rowley and it was $12. Need I say more?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Strawberry And Almond Quick Bread

I've been on a quick bread kick. I'm normally more of a muffin girl. But I like that I can make a quick bread, wrap it in plastic wrap, and keep it fresh for most of the week. That definitely fits into my lazy summer schedule.

I came across this recipe first as a blueberry quick bread. I was really blown away by its texture and how well it kept. So I decided to play with it a little bit. I replaced the milk with sour cream (always a good idea) and swapped the blueberries with strawberries. And added some almonds. More to make myself feel better about eating quick bread everyday of the week. Adding almonds makes it a health food. Right?

This recipe comes together very quickly. No mixer required. Which is nice. Sometimes I want to bake without the whole song and dance. Dump this into this and shove it in the oven. That's my idea of baking in the summer.

As this bakes, your kitchen will smell like a strawberry paradise. Try not to immediately cut into the loaf when it comes out of the oven. But I didn't succeed in this, so you probably won't either. Maybe you have willpower, but I'm fresh out.

Strawberry and Almond Quick Bread (adapted from this recipe by Barbara Williams)

2 eggs
1cup sugar
1 cup sour cream (full fat please, what's the point otherwise?)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl. Mix together with a fork. Once fully combined, mix in sour cream and vegetable oil.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.

Combine the two mixtures. Fold in strawberries and almonds. Pour into your greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until nice and golden brown on the top.

That's it. Seriously. This is the easiest recipe I've made in a while. The texture is soft and spongey and awesome and the strawberries get super sweet in the baking process. The best part about this recipe is that it seems like it took a lot of baking prowess to make, which it most certainly does not. I'm always a fan of recipes that look more impressive than they actually are.

Happy Baking!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Geek Chic By The Pool

A quick post today. I'm busy around the house today. What you see above is pretty much all I've been doing this summer. It's been awesome. So now it's time to clean.

Glasses by the pool? Weird but I like it.

Bathing Suit Top: Old Navy, Bottoms: Assets, Cover-up: Urban Outfitters

Monday, July 7, 2014

Back To Black

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! It's been nuts around here: I had a hole in my ceiling for 3 weeks, I was without internet for a week, I've been out of town the last two weekends, and now I have a horrid cold. But you know what they say: when it rains it pours.

I went to Kansas City, Missouri for a wedding this weekend. It was quite a to-do! When we weren't at one of the many wedding events, we were all chilling by the hotel pool drinking spicy margaritas (I got the recipe from the bartender, I can't wait to share it!). I snapped these photos on my hotel balcony before we went to a bar-b-q. Not the best pics ever, but my battery died right after and I forgot the charger! Like I said....when it rains it pours.

This is definitely one of my favorite dresses. Everybody needs a good LBD. This one is my go-to. Best part about it? It never has to be ironed.

I hope everyone had a great 4th!

Friday, June 20, 2014

DIY Ripped Denim Shorts

Remember how I was thinking denim shorts? (I've been thinking about a lot of things lately). Well, I came to a decision; I finally found my favorite pair. Too bad they were made by Rag and Bone and were $209.

No. Way. 

So I did a bit of investigating into DIY-ing ripped denim shorts (diy-ing? is that a word?). To be honest, every time I've made a pair of cut-offs, it's been pretty disasterous. I don't know why, other super savvy ladies make cut-offs all the time. But mine always turn out really wonky. But I figured I'd give it another go. Because, insanely, I was actually slightly temped to drop the $209. 

I found this great tutorial on distressing denim (click here!).You basically just make lots of horizontal cuts in the denim using an X-ACTO knife. The knife cuts away the blue part of the fabric and leaves nice big patches of stringy white holes. It took me about an hour to complete my pair. Very worth my effort. And the bits of denim fuzz all over my house.

Pro tip: find a picture of a pair of distressed denims that you love and use that as a guide to where to place the holes. I, of course, used the Rag and Bone shorts I was in love with. I actually pulled up Damsel in Dior's Rag and Bones': she's had them for a while so they are even more lived-in. Which I love.

I think I need a roomier and shorter pair. And with traditional pockets so that the pockets show throught the holes. But I'm very happy with my first effort! And I didn't spend $209 on a pair of ripped shorts. Someone slap me in the face if I ever do that.

Shirt and Shoes: Old Navy

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm Thinking Statement Necklaces

I'm Thinking Statement Necklaces

Normally, I'm a chunky bracelet girl. But right now, I'm really digging statement necklaces. I need about seven, so I can make a different statement every day of the week! Here are a few I'm really loving. All you need is a little summer dress and you are good to go!

Necklaces Top to bottom and left to right: Boticca, Debenhams, BCBGMaxazria, Henri Bendel, Humble Chic, JCPenny

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thrill Of The Hunt

I'm officially obsessed with Plato's Closet. I think it's the thrill of the hunt. Especially when the payoff is this good. I bought this little red dress for $8. Oh, and did I mention it is BCBG? Huge savings. Like.....ridiculous savings. It was perfect to take me from church to a Father's Day pool party yesterday. I got about a billion compliments on it. Plus it's so breezy and cool. Great for a high of 91 degrees.

I also scored these bracelets at a yard sale for $1.50. I'm killing it with the bargains lately.

Dress: BCBG via Plato's Closet, Shoes: Old Navy, Hat: Dollar Tree (wow, I'm so cheap. I love it)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Staples

Ok, I know it isn't officially summer yet, but it's close enough (and hot enough!). I have a feeling this is what I'm going to be wearing all summer: a cute dress and great sandals. I've been wanting a pair of gladiator sandals for about three years now, so I figured it was time to just give in and buy myself a pair. I've already worn them so much. They just go with everything. Even preppy J.Crew dresses.

Dress: J.Crew Factory, Sandals: Urban Outfitters, Assorted Jewels