Monday, September 30, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 6

Shirt: LA Made,  Dress: c/o KOKOON,  Boots (similar): Madden Girl
Scarf, Socks, Bracelet: Hot Mama,  Glasses: Northern Spark freebie

Ingredients for a successful remix: layers, accessories, and a healthy dose of curiosity.  I was sure layering a long-sleeve, crew-neck tee under the dress would look really dumb.  And even more convinced that I couldn't put a scarf over the cowl.   I tried it anyway and surprise! - it's one of my favorite looks.  I sent my style instinct to the corner for a time out - tsk-tsk.

This is the last in my LBD remix series.  It sure was fun.  A big ol' THANK YOU to KOKOON for providing the dress and for being so amazing to work with.  I had the opportunity to meet designer Laine and her daughter Tess at their show last Monday - wow.  Beautiful people inside and out.

One last chance to enter the giveaway ($100 gift card, hello), before I announce the winner later today!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 5

Dress (as top): c/o KOKOON
Everything else: Target

I've been a loner since last Friday.  Steve is traveling to China for work.  He left me with $200 in cash that was supposed to last the whole 10 days.  I thought this was more than enough.  If I'm really frugal, there should be some left over for a little shopping what I thought.  Boy, was I wrong.

Gas, food, more gas, other necessities.   Most exciting purchase: underwear.  I had to dip in to a secret stash (shame).  I have 3 days to work on my confession speech before Steve comes home.  Being hyper-aware of outgoing funds is such a bummer.  I want my credit card back, but this is a good lesson for me...or so I tell myself.

Since I can't shop, I'm confined to the couch.  The pugs have been sweet company and I discovered Dr. Quinn reruns on cable (happy place).  This, while hubs tours the Great Wall and decides which Happy Buddha to buy.

Yikes!  Just a few more days to enter the giveaway.  Better get up on that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 4

Earrings: Target,  Dress: c/o KOKOON,  Tunic: Prairie Underground
Leggings: ?,  Shoes: Seychelles, Watch: c/o Lolly

I just got home from The Shows.  It's challenging for me to get on board with Spring/Summer 2014 collections when what I want to wear NOW is Fall/Skipwinterplease 2013.  According to what I saw on the runway tonight, we have a lot of white and floral to look forward to come April.  How that's different from any other year, I have no idea.  It is Spring, after all.  When in doubt, dress like a Birch tree.  You'll be right on trend.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 3

Hat & Belt: Hot Mama,  Tunic Tank: Nikibiki,  Cardi: Bobi
Dress: c/o KOKOON,  Boots: DSW

Layer up, people!  And never be afraid to mix black and brown - it's especially fall-like.  Oliver is reminding me that it's also very Pug-like.  He's so smart...and telepathic.

Super excited to be hangin' with my bestie at KOKOON's event tonight.  I'm dressing up this skirt.

Don't forget about the giveaway!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 2 + EVENTS

Continuing the remix in a simple jean jacket and jelly flats. 
Because I don't believe in dressing up all the time.
So there.

Necklace: thrifted via My Sister's Closet,  Dress: c/o KOKOON,
Jacket: Kut from the Kloth,  Shoes: Chinease Laundry via DSW

Happy Friday, everyone!  And a happy MN Fashion Week to you too.  One of the major downsides of being a blogger while trying to maintain a day job is schedule limitations.  I have to be very pick-n-choosey about what events to attend.  This year, my agenda includes:

Macy's Fashion Show with Vloggers Elle & Blair Fowler
When: Saturday, September 21
Where: Macy's Court Stage, Mall of America
Price: FREE
What: Fashion Show (fall & homecoming looks), book signing
           *Following the fashion show, meet Elle & Blair in the mstylelab department. Spend $50 to receive a free copy of their new book, "Where Beauty Lies" - includes VIP access to meet Elle & Blair + get your book signed!

KOKOON 25th Anniversary Celebration
When: Monday, September 23
Where: Aria - 105 North First Street, Minneapolis, 55401
Price: FREE (RSVP) - $25
What: Pop-up boutique, Vintage KOKOON design installation, fashion show
          *Benefiting Randy Shaver Cancer Research Fund
When: Thursday, September 26
            Doors open at 6:30, first runway show at 7:45
Where: Aria - 105 North First Street, Minneapolis, 55401
Price: $25-$75
What: Runway shows featuring Idle Child, Emily Trevor, Caroline Hayden and Lindsey Hopkins
Hope to see you around!
Oh yeah, and don't forget about the giveaway.  :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Little Black Dress Remix - Day 1

Dress (red): c/o KOKOON,  Necklace (similar): Hot Mama,  Shoes: Macy's

I wouldn't dare attempt a remix without the help of my puggy accessories.  Unfortunately, this is the only outfit where Daisy makes an appearance.  My baby had surgery today.  After all we went through with Miles, visits to the vet are never easy, no matter how routine.  I knew she'd be fine, but I was really glad to have a fun project to distract me while I waited.

This dress is the perfect blank canvas.  I did all sorts of funky things with it - 6 times.  This one isn't so funky, but I figured it was a necessary place to start.  Any great LBD can easily stand on it's own.  But then we wouldn't have a remix, would we?

While you anxiously await the next look, go enter the giveaway.  $100 gift card never hurt anybody.

Monday, September 16, 2013

KOKOON Event & Giveaway!

Necklace: Hot Mama, Tee & Shoes: Target,
Skirt (similar): c/o Kokoon,  Backpack: Urban Junket

Do you prefer to invest in basics or statement pieces?  Personally, I'm really into basics that make a statement (catch what I did there? sneaky).  I received a couple of pieces from KOKOON, and that's exactly what they are.  

I pulled this skirt out of the package, and because I talk to my clothing, said aloud, "Hmm, that's cool."  Then I slipped it on, did a little half-spin in the mirror, and said, "Wow.  I really love this."  It's the flattering design and deliciously soft, jersey fabric that makes all the difference.  And it's insanely versatile - dress it up with a blazer and heels, dress it down with a t-shirt and flats or boots.

See the red dress below?  That also came to me in black.  Meow.  It's so killer, it deserves it's own post...or remix.  Save that idea for later...

KOKOON scores extra points with me because it's based in Minneapolis - high five from across of the river!  You won't find KOKOON in stores, which I also love.  Host a trunk show in the privacy of your own home (WAY different than other home parties: no presentation, recruiting or pressure - hallelujah), buy online, OR attend the 25th Anniversary event on September 23rd, which will include a pop-up boutique.  General admission is free, but you must RSVP.  I'll be there!

And now, time for a giveaway!  How does a $100 gift card sound?  Feel free to do a little happy dance, I won't judge. You know the drill:

1. Visit KOKOON and leave a comment on this post telling me what item(s) you love most.
2. For an extra entry, like KOKOON on Facebook - let me know in a separate comment.
3. For an extra EXTRA entry, tweet about this giveaway - again, separate comment please.

***open to US and Canada residents only 

Winner will be announced Monday, September 30th.  I'm already excited for you, whoever you are!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Photo Shoot, Part 2

From the moment I laid eyes on that incredible fountain, I've wanted to get in it.  

Dream come true.

Shirt: TJMaxx
Jeans: Joe's Jeans

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In the Fields - Author Interview & Giveaway

Not too long ago, I mentioned how I met author Willow Aster at a book signing for her newly released novel True Love Story.  She's so nice, humble, and delightfully unique.  It was like we had known each other for years...

WELL. She just came out with her second masterpiece, In The Fields!  I had the ultimate privilege of reading it in advance.  Super-crazy-cool, I know.

At some point in this whole process, I totally landed Willow Aster's phone number (creeper alert).  And then I texted her in an emotionally compromised state after reading chapter 24 to tell her that I was weeping, that I loved the book SO much, and that one precious character makes my ovaries ache.  Ok, maybe I didn't use those exact words, but close.  She responded very kindly, thank goodness.  She probably gets messages like that all time.

I don't always have such strong reactions to fictional people and their circumstances, but it definitely happened with this book.  The characters and their relationships go deep and seem so real.  I was not ready for their story to end. OMG!  I just had an idea for a sequel...texting that to Willow now!

I enlisted in In the Fields blog tour and snatched an interview with the author herself.  

About the book:

Where did you get the idea/inspiration for In The Fields? 
I know a lot of the characters in this book. The good and the bad. Some are my family, some are my friends, some are people I've met along the way and tried to avoid running into ever again. I've cringed my whole life about the ways people think and talk about others who aren't like they are. 

How long had you been working on this book? 
I've worked on this book—on and off—for seven years. Eek.

You tackle some heavy subjects in both True Love Story and In the Fields.  Is there a specific motivation behind the topics you choose? 
I don't know why I'm compelled to write about the uncomfortable subjects. I'm not a confrontational person at all. That old saying 'there are two sides to every story'...I just seem to be driven to delve into those. For now anyway. Maybe next year, I'll write about rainbows and jellybeans. I think maybe it's simply that I want to write the truth, and the truth can be ugly and gross and beautiful. 

In what ways do you identify with the main character? 
I identify with Caroline a lot. I gave her my hair, for one thing. It is a wild beast that cannot (usually) be tamed. Her independence. The way her mind never stops running. I identify with her relationship with her grandparents, in particular. My grandpa is basically Grandpaw. And for my formative years, I grew up in a small southern town. A lot of my family still lives a few hours away from there. I LOVE so much about the south~the food, the beauty, the culture—so I tried to have that woven throughout the book.    

Was there a character or scene that you struggled to write?
Oh yes. Chapter 12 and 16 nearly did me in, for completely different reasons. And I bawled while writing a later'll know which one when you get there. I don't usually do that while writing, but I couldn't stop. Sometimes it's like these characters just have a mind of their own. :) I couldn't stop typing, even though I didn't like where it was going. 

What made you switch genres from New Adult to Southern Romance?  What can we expect of your future projects?  (Steve is hoping for Fantasy.)  
Ha! Steve will have to teach me a few things then! I will be writing more of both New Adult and Southern Romance. I have one brewing in each genre right now, that I've already started. Southern Romance is probably where I'm most comfortable, but I still want to tell the New Adult or Contemporary Romance stories too. I've always been a square who can't fit in a round hole. 

About Willow:

When we met, you were rocking a fabulous, retro look.  How would you describe your personal style in real life?

Ooo, thank you! That means a lot coming from you of the awesome fashion-ness. In real life, I don't stick with just retro, but am drawn to it a LOT. I like the funky. Mixing old and new, things that shouldn't go together, but making them somehow work. 

If you could live someone else's life (past or present) for a day, who would you choose and why?
That's a great question. I'd pick lots of people if it were just a day. But the first one who comes to mind is Johnny Depp when he's in the middle of an intense movie. I'd like to see how far his mind really IS the other character. I'd need another day of him too, I guess, so I could live in his Johnny mind too. :)

If you could have any super-power, what would it be?
Well, she's not exactly a superhero, but I wish I had Jeanie's powers from I Dream of Jeanie. I'd love to disappear the dirty dishes in the sink and disappear myself when I wanted to take a nap. But as far as superheroes go, if I could just have all their tools, I'd be set...I mean, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth? Yes, please! 

I know you're a music junkie.  Who are you into right now?
I'm deep into Justin Timberlake. And The Civil Wars. Two extremes. Welcome to my brain. 

Items on your nightstand?
I just so happened to rearrange it last night! I have a fairly large table by my bed, so this will sound like a ton, but it works. :) I have a pretty box that holds earplugs, chapstick, notepad, pens, small flashlight and fingernail file. A frame of my husband and me. A lamp. A candle. And a list of books that I make myself keep down to no more than three. 

Guilty pleasure(s)?

See above: Justin. Ahem. Anything involving chocolate and peanut butter. And reading during every crack of time possible...

Now that you've fallen madly in love with Willow and are dying to read In the Fields, here's a giveaway for you!

a Rafflecopter iPad Mini giveaway

Buy it:
Barnes and Noble
CreateSpace (paperback - I had to have it too!)

*** The details described in this book may not be suitable for readers below the age of 18 as descriptions of rape, alcoholism, child neglect, and abuse are depicted.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Family Photo Shoot, Part 1

We were long overdo for family photos.  Of all the beautiful places in the world, no location holds as much meaning for us as Irvine Park.  It's where Steve and I officially started our lives together 7 years ago.  The kids pugs are full-grown now, and in the prime of their cuteness, so the timing was perfect.

We enlisted our talented photographer friend Mari Schumann and she did a great job.  She was so patient with the dogs and went along with all our silly ideas.  There are a few pictures Steve took before the shoot mixed in here as well.

It wasn't until the last second that we decided what to wear.  I didn't really want to buy anything new, but did want to compliment our antique surroundings.  I found this teal necklace on clearance at Anthro ($6!) and that settled it.  Steve played along by picking coordinating colors and a vintage tie.  We did a casual set too, which I'll post later this week.

Necklace: Anthropologie
Dress: Vintage, thrifted via Valu Thrift
Shoes: Oh Deer!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Philosophy, Fall 2013

Philosophy brought some serious drama to the runway at Glamorama.  The formal-wear looked straight out of Gatsby, without crossing the line into costume-y.  And I love winter white, no matter how impractical it may be to wear in the street slush of Minnesota.  

What showed on the runway here was a bit too mature for my taste (why so I'm drawn to bib-overalls and flannel shirts, I'll never know), but there were a few inspirational ensembles (see: last 2 white outfits on right).  

I liked a lot more of this collection seen at NY Fashion Week, particularly the "ugly" sweaters (to go with my overalls and flannel). I also liked the use of knee-high stockings - we saw this in Tommy Hilfiger's line too, and I heartily approve.

photos courtesy of Macy's

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Target Beauty Concierge

Have you seen this sign?

Target has launched a new Beauty Concierge program in the Twin Cities!

What does this mean?  I met with Beauty Concierge, Collette, and Communications Manager, Erika, to find out.

WHY a Beauty Concierge at Target?  

Collette: This can be a really overwhelming department.  There are thousands of SKUs! I'm here to help you find what you're looking for and answer your questions.  We're given mini ipads, so if I don't have the answer, or we're out of something, I can figure it out or look it up at another Target.

What makes this program unique?

Erika: As I've watched the concierges interact, it's interesting to hear all the questions.  They take the time to figure out what you need. "What are you using now?", "What's working?", "What do you NOT like?".  It's never "I'm pushing this product on you".   It's totally brand agnostic. She can really listen and understand in order to give advice that's truly helpful.

Collette: I used to work behind a counter at a department store, and that brand agnostic thing is GREAT.  When you work for a brand, you end up pushing things that people may not need or want, and you're not supposed to care so long as they're buying.  It's different here.  When people ask who I work for and I tell them "I work for the whole department", I think people are surprised and relieved.  They're more trusting because it's so non-pressure.  Sometimes it takes a minute for people to realize that I'm just here to help.

So do you try out a lot of different products?

Collette: Oh-eyeyeye.  I'm a make-up junkie. There is never enough make up - or shoes.  Yes, I try it all out.  I need make-up like another hole in the head.  My paychecks go right back into the department! But it's a great way for me to sell what I know.  I buy things to try them so that I have that knowledge to share with people.  I also do a lot of research online so I have an idea of how products differ from one another.

One example of someone who would really benefit from this service:

Erika:  When we tested the program in Chicago this spring, we saw a lot of girls coming in for prom.  It's an easy way to try out new looks without having to go to a department store and spend a lot money.  Or - I don't know if you've maybe had the girls who are just getting into makeup....?

Collette:  Oh yes!  And I have a story about that!  When I was young - like 13 - I went to Dayton's at a brand counter.  I stood there for a long time.  They looked around me and around me.  Finally, the saleslady asked if I needed something.  I said I needed some mascara.  She asked what kind and I told her I wasn't sure - I was really new to wearing make-up.  She said, "Like clumpy, like what you have on now?"  I never forgot that.  When I see younger girls in this area, I love to help them out.  I don't want them to feel intimidated.  I like to joke around and make people feel comfortable.

How long have you been doing this at Target?

Collette: 3 weeks.  And I loooooove it.  I get my exercise.  I love learning a lot from people too.  A lady came in the other day looking for paraben-free products.  I did some research and discovered that paraben has been linked to cancer.  I found out that grapefruit is a natural alternative if you want to avoid paraben.  So I know what she bought that is paraben-free and when I get that question again, I'll know what to recommend.

How far does your domain extend?

Collette: All of cosmetics, skincare, bath products, toothpaste, shampoos, hair color.  But if someone has questions about, say...bandaids - which isn't technically my area - I can help them with that too.  I know a lot about bandaids.

Do you find that higher end lines are better quality?

Collette: I wouldn't say they're better.  Every line has something they do really well and that works differently.  I just tried out some products from e.l.f. - it's inexpensive, and it's really good.  Then you have the more expensive lines like Pixi.  Sonia Kashuk is more middle of the road.  Every line offers something great that I will recommend depending on what the need is.

What make-up trend do you love for fall?

Collette: I'm loving colored mascaras.  Mabelline has purple, blue, red and two different greens.  Make-up is fun.  It doesn't have to be serious.  Play with it.  I put my regular mascara on first and then do one swipe with a color.

Thanks, ladies!  I had so much fun chatting with you and finding yet another reason to be obsessed with Target.

***Find participating stores currently in Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Chicago and St. Paul/Minneapolis areas.  Beauty Concierge hours vary per store.