Wearing: Recycled T-Straps

Today I am wearing one of my favorite pairs of shoes for fall. I wear them frequently with pants or skirts. Even though they are high heels they are so comfortable because...
... they used to be tap shoes! Since they were built to withstand kick lines I know they'll get me through a day at the office. Last winter I took off the taps then had them dyed and resoled. The transformation cost $50, but I think that's more than reasonable knowing how much I wear these bad boys when it's cold.
On a sentimental note, I love that I can incorporate something from my past into my current life. I took 10 years of dance lessons and tap was always my favorite. I was a member of the award winning audition tap company, the Precisionettes, and these t-straps were a big part of some great memories. I don't dance anymore, but I often notice myself absent-mindedly doing tap warm-ups when I'm bored.

Wearing: 1 Skirt 3 Ways

During one of my recent thrifting trips I bought this beautiful piece - a brown tweed pencil skirt with flecks of red, yellow and purple. This is such a classic, I can wear this with so much of my existing wardrobe.

In fact, by changing out my shirt, shoes and accessories I can create 3 distinct looks with the same skirt.

Look #1
Top: brown fitted t-shirt
Shoes: gold ballet flats
Accessories: brown button ring, gold oak leaf necklace
Where I Would Wear It: grabbing brunch, running errands
This Looks Says: I'm casual and comfortable without sacrificing style.

Look #2
Top: white ruffled button up
Shoes: brown peep-toe pumps
Accessories: brown cocktail ring, chunky pearls
Where I Would Wear It: important business lunch, meeting his folks for the first time
This Looks Says: I'm serious without being bland. I deserve attention and respect.

Look #3
Top: cream camisole, raspberry cardigan
Shoes: brown boots
Accessories: yellow glass ring, caramel braided belt
Where I Would Wear It: casual work day, dinner with friends
This Looks Says: I'm classic yet stylish, and well put together.

Tell me, what wardrobe staple do you like to dress up or down?

Watching: Amazing Proposals

These proposals are the stuff of dreams. Not likely to happen to the average girl, but it did for these two lucky ladies. The grooms-to-be put a lot of thought, effort and planning into these never-to-be forgotten moments.

I love the first one because the woman has no idea it's coming. This guy even manages to get down on one knee without raising suspicions.

The second one is a wee bit over the top and the bride immediately knows what's up. But would you expect anything less from a Disneyland proposal?

Both videos were found via Smitten.

I love this sort of thing as a spectator but I would hate it if that were me getting proposed to. You see, when I am the center of attention* I turn bright red and start sweating because I know all eyes are on me. It is particularly bad if the focus is on me when I'm not actually doing anything (wedding toasts, for example). I am terrible at acting amused and charming for more than 30 seconds. I learned this when the hubby wrote and played me a song for my birthday many years ago. He was looking at me lovingly and singing wonderful lyrics, but MY GOD, that was the most awkward 2 minutes of my life. I told him it was a sweet gesture, but please never do that again.

Anyway... My neuroses aside, those are darn cute proposals. I hope this brightens your morning!

*Oddly this doesn't happen when I am acting on stage. I only get nervous if I am 'playing myself' so to speak.

Buying: Thrifted Delights

With the temperatures dropping, I have been beefing up my fall wardrobe. I could have spent lots of money on new threads but I chose to hit up various second hand stores to get lots of style for a fraction of the price.

First I stopped in the GCF Store on Hargett Street. I walked through the door and immediately spotted this tartan scarf. It is medium weight, not too bulky. It will be perfect for fall, and the pop of color will look so good with my white wool trench coat. I might wear this beauty clear into spring!

While waiting to use the dressing room, idly flipping through the womens' sweaters, I came across this find. Banana Republic... extra-fine merino wool... in my size! With all womens' sweaters only $4.50 there was nothing to think twice about. Who could resist the button front or full sleeves?

A few days later I paid a visit to the Bargain Box in Cameron Village. This store has a large selection of 'VIP' brands: Ann Taylor, J Crew, Banana Republic, etc. I scored this soft blue cashmere sweater for only $10. I like cashmere, but I love getting cashmere for next to nothing.

My last stop was Get Dressed For Less on West Street. I picked up these brown leather boots for only $12! From the looks of them they had hardly been worn. That's about to change big time because I'm going to wear these babies with jeans, skirts and dresses all season long.

Shopping thrift stores is the ultimate way to go green. You pay a fraction of retail cost, so you're keeping money in your wallet and you give an old piece a new life, keeping it out of a landfill and reducing the need for newly produced goods.

What interesting finds have you gotten from a thrift store?

Living: Happy Friday

After the dreary weather this week, all I can do is quote The Cure.

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday I'm in love

image by me
Happy Friday dear readers!

Watching: I And Love And You [a music video]

With only 5 days to go before their new album is released, the Avett Brothers have been making videos and clips to share with their fans. Today's offering* is a full-length music video for the title track 'I And Love And You.'
The video tells the story of the band packing up and saying their good-byes as they leave for a New York show. You see moments that are mundane yet touching: the brothers stacking hay bales, Seth cuddling his cat, Scott writing his wife a love note. I don't know who directed it but the visuals are as good as the music. It feels as if you are watching old home movies. Just like their music, it feels intimate and instantly familiar.
* Get it? You know, Offering? Only their best song ever!

In Focus: Pets On Furniture

This should brighten your morning (unless you hate cats - in that case avert your eyes).
image by Oscar

For more see the Pets on Furniture post at Desire to Inspire.

Wearing: Tights + Boots

Yesterday Raleigh was rainy and gross. Inspired by the weather, and to prepare for fall, I bought some new tights from Old Navy.

First of all, I am loving the new retro graphics. I am well aware only a dork photographs packaging for tights, but I couldn't resist.

Here are the two of us, me and Tights, enjoying the early morning light while getting dressed for work.

Here we are fully dressed, ready for another gross and rainy day. Tights and Boots hit it off immediately and are now BFFs.
For me, this pair of boots looks ridiculous with pants but looks cute with skirts and dresses for the fall. Under pants you lose the pleating and cuff detail, and who wants that?
Boots are by Diba from 2007.

Coveting: Linen Case for iThings

When I can finally get my iphone I must have this super-swanky case to protect my precious.* My favorite feature is the pocket for earbuds (or cash, or ID, or whatever). I have seen lots of cute cases but very have a place for earbuds that isn't the bottom of my purse. I also want the coordinating clutch to keep track of all my Weight Watchers stuff.**

I was worried about the white fabric getting dingy and gross but the seller assured me it was machine washable, and that I could Scotchgard it. I love Etsy - I can actually communicate with a designer before I shell out my money.

*I'm weird and I name my stuff. I am seriously considering 'my precious' for my future iphone.
**Yes, I've gotten a bit fat but I'm doing something about it. I just figured you guys don't want to hear about that, AT ALL.

Decorating: My Bedroom

I finally have my bedroom arranged and decorated so I think it’s time to share it with my readers.

The vanity is my favorite piece of furniture in the room. I have wanted a vanity for quite some time. The hubby told me I could have one for my birthday (which isn’t until October) but I am quite impatient so I started shopping immediately. After an exhaustive search I realized I didn’t like anything on the market, new or used. All I wanted was a vanity that wasn’t black with a drawer base - not just a table with a lap drawer. After lots of searching I didn’t like anything I found. Then my mom said I could have her vanity. It had drawers, a light finish and interesting details. Bonus: I could pick it up immediately and I could have it for free. It doesn’t get any better than that. It had a bench that came with it but it was too wide to tuck into the vanity so I replaced it with a brown tweed storage cube. I love the idea of hidden storage and this piece of furniture hides our “go to Goodwill” pile.

Vanity Top

The main reason I wanted a vanity was to display my jewelry and get rid of my old Victorian style jewelry chest. My chunky necklaces hang from the jewelry branch and my small necklaces hang from the necklace board. I have projects in the works to store my rings and earrings but they’re not finished yet. I have always heard that it is better to store pearls laying down rather than hanging them – something about pearls are usually strung on silk, which could break if the strand is stressed – so I draped them across a necklace bust. Even if the pearls aren't actually strung on silk, I think it adds a bit of interest. Lastly I put a ceramic bowl on my vanity to hold my iphone fund. I can upgrade my phone in November and I think I will be better at saving if I can see the money piling up.


I don’t love my dresser, so I didn’t take any full photos of it. Someday I will replace it but the immediate goal is to save for a house down payment. Because of my love for owls I bought this lamp as soon as I saw it. It looked a little lonely on the dresser by itself so I grabbed an old bowl and threw some necklaces into it. Instant decoration!


As I have already explained here, the bed is simple, contemporary and big enough for ample wallowing. When we bought the bigger bed we upgraded to a down comforter and I love it! It's so fluffy and crisp, there is no going back for us!

Hubby’s Bedside

His nightstand is another piece from my old bedroom suite. In time it will be replaced, but it serves its purpose. Also, if you stand in the doorway of our room the bed blocks it from view and you hardly see it.

My Bedside

To avoid a symmetrical and overly matchy layout I chose to use mismatched nightstands. I repurposed the original vanity bench as a place to hold books, remotes and other bedtime necessities. The fabric had seen better days so I bought a pashmina to drape across it. This way if I ever decide to recover the bench, I can use the pashmina for something else. I put my items on the bench but they looked disorganized – not to mention they begged for my cats to knock them on the floor - so I corralled everything in a woven basket. I grabbed an old floor lamp from our office to use as a reading lamp and put a large photo in the void on the wall. The two bedside areas aren’t symmetrical but the items are similar in function, scale and height so it still feels balanced.


This chair was another piece that I instantly gravitated toward. I was milling around the Habitat Home Store with my mom, not really shopping for myself, and I spotted this chair. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but I know it wasn’t much. Eventually I will have it recovered – pink tweed isn’t really my thing – but that’s not in the budget right now.

Closet Wall

This area speaks for itself. A laundry hamper is a necessary evil, and the wall above it was boring, so I hung some art.


VANITY vanity vintage / storage stool Target / necklace branch Urban Outfitters / ceramic bowl Crate & Barrel / vase gift / necklace bust Michael’s / necklace board DIY

DRESSER dresser piece from childhood bedroom suite / lamp Urban Outfitters / lampshade Target / glass bowl thrifted / bead necklaces thrifted

BED bed frame Rooms to Go / mattress Sealy / bedding Bed Bath & Beyond / sheer curtains Wal-Mart

HUBBY'S BEDSIDE nightstand piece from childhood bedroom suite / lamp Target / lampshade Target / photo frame Michael’s

MY BEDSIDE bench vintage / brown pashmina Target / photo frame Target / floor lamp Target / basket Target

CHAIR chair Habitat For Humanity Home Store / pillow Bed Bath & Beyond

LAUNDRY WALL linen hamper Bed Bath & Beyond / art DIY / frame Michael's

Making: Going Away Cookbook

Yesterday I wrote about my best friend moving away. Well, tonight is her impromptu going away party. Cydney and I wanted to give her a going away gift but we didn't want to give her something useless that would just take up space on the moving truck. Since my friend loves to bake Cydney had the idea of making her a blank cookbook for her cake recipes.

The book itself if the simple part: tiny binder + tiny page sleeves + blank index cards = cookbook. The adornment is where the genius comes in. Cydney, being the better seamstress, whipped together a book cover with green and white striped fabric. On the inside cover she whip stitched a short but sweet inscription. I took on the task of embroidering a cupcake with an orange fabric base and button icing. Without directly intending to, Cydney and I put our signature elements into this project: I frequently craft with buttons and Cydney loves anything orange.

Having only a few hours to put together a going away gift, Cydney and I did a great job, if I do say so myself. This proves it doesn't always take lots of time or money to make something meaningful and memorable.

Laughing: Ninjas

How funny is this t-shirt? I have to have it.
Happy Friday!
image via snorg tees

Living: High/Low

Dear Readers:

Normally I try to keep my content fun and impersonal - I don't want to bore you by talking about me and my life. However, this is not one of those posts.

Yesterday the hubby and I went to look at a house. It was the first house showing for us and I had nervous excitement - six year old on Christmas Eve excitement - all day at work and I could barely focus. We saw the house and it was adorable. Not our dream home, not our forever home, but something we could see ourselves calling "home." Even my reserved hubby was over the moon for this little house. We stopped by his parents house to talk strategy - do we like it enough to put in an offer? if so, how do we do that? are we really doing this? - all the typical questions flying around the minds of two maybe-first time home buyers.

Still giddy on the ride home we called our best friends. We had plans to get together but we got so wrapped up with the house we needed a rain check. In the middle of the conversation they dropped a bomb: they're moving... in 9 days. All I could say was a startled "oh!"

When I hung up I wasn't sure how to feel. I know no one talks about grief in this way, but I have to say I'm feeling it. It's like when you and your high school boyfriend part ways for college. You say "we can still see each other" and sometimes that works out. But more often than not you drift apart. You find new ways to fill your time, new people to tell your stories to. Sometimes your relationship evolves into being friends, even best friends, but you know things will never be the same. What I'm saying is if Hallmark made a "I'm sorry your best friend is moving away" card - and they totally should - I could use one right about now.

So that's my life right now. A wonderful, exciting leap forward along with a sad, staggering step back. Like I said, high and low.


Making: DIY Cameos

I like to take pictures of my cats but I don’t want framed pictures of them all over my apartment. I also don’t want all of my images to languish unseen on my hard drive. What’s a girl to do? I decided to take the classic silhouette and put my crazy cat lady spin on it.

This project couldn’t be simpler. It only took me two hours to complete, not including the time it took me to get my cats to pose for the camera.

TIP #1: This project will be much simpler for those working with dogs or people. Cats aren’t exactly cooperative.*


profile photo(s)
decorative background paper
cardstock or thick paper
tracing paper
picture frame
painters tape
elmer's glue


x-acto knife and cutting surface
metal edged ruler

TIP #2: To maximize textural contrast I chose linen cardstock in ivory for the silhouettes and a soft green art paper with a raised floral pattern for the background.

1) Since I was using two profiles I first opened the images in my photo editing program and scaled them to the same size before I printed them.

2) Take the picture frame apart and set the glass and frame aside. Lay the backboard of the frame onto your decorative paper and cut it so that you have a one inch border around the backboard.

3) Folding like you would wrap a package, bring the border of the paper onto the backboard and secure with tape. This will probably look a bit sloppy but it's ok because it won’t be seen. Set all frame components aside.

4) Use a pencil to trace your image on tracing paper. Once you are satisfied with your outline, go over it again with your pencil to ensure a thick, heavy line.

5) Place your image on the cardstock, drawing side down, and tape to secure. NOTE: If your cardstock is textured or patterned, make sure you tape the tracing paper to the “back” of the cardstock.

6) Transfer the pencil lead from the tracing paper to the cardstock. You can either re-trace your outline with a ballpoint pen or rub over the paper with a hard object (I used the rounded end of my x-acto knife handle). Lift your tracing paper occasionally to make sure the image is fully transferred. It doesn’t need to look perfect, just have enough of an outline to cut out.

7) Using your x-acto knife, carefully cut out your silhouette.

8) Glue the silhouette onto the paper-wrapped backboard, applying glue to the “back” of the cardstock. Allow a few minutes to dry. NOTE: I thought the silhouettes alone looked a little sparse, so I cut out two cardstock borders to add a little structure. This is optional.

9) Reassemble the picture frame with the paper-wrapped backboard. Do this gently so as not to tear your paper.

10) Enjoy your handywork!

As you can see, Yo-Yo likes the finished product.

*When I was trying to photograph him for the silhouette I got quite frustrated. He wouldn't sit still, he kept walking over to sniff and/or bat at the camera. I literally stalked him around my apartment for an hour with a camera in one hand and a bag of cat treats in the other. Later when I was trying to photograph my finished product he wanted to be in the picture. I would set up my shot only to end up with a black and white blur in the foreground. Move cat, adjust focus, cat ruins shot, repeat. Like I said, uncooperative.

Remembering: Patrick Swayze

Patrick W. Swayze

There is a special place in my heart for Patrick Swayze movies. He was ruggedly handsome, masculine yet tender and a bad-boy that your mother would love anyway. And don't forget he could dance, sing and looked fabulous in drag.

I challenge you to find a girl that didn't want to go on family vacations in the mountains on the off chance the dance instructor looked like this*:
And who never got inspired to buy a pottery wheel?**

I can honestly say I have Ghost and Dirty Dancing memorized word for word. Sit me down with my old VHS tapes and I can't help but quote the whole movie. During my angsty teen years I couldn't get enough of The Outsiders. I thought Holden Caulfield was a whiny brat, but Johnny and Pony Boy were more my speed. What would they have done without Darrel looking out for them?

Although I have to say one of my favorite characters was Jim, motivational speaker turned creepster in Donnie Darko. Some speak of Road House as being his most defining role, but that movie never spoke to me like these others. What is for certain is that with Mr. Swayze's passing the world has lost a true legend.

*That is if hoky, family-oriented resorts still existed and had ballroom dance lessons.

**Sadly, hunky man and Righteous Brothers not included.

Watching: 9

Over the weekend the hubby and I went to see the movie 9. The plot was alright* but the animation and art direction were wonderful. If you're not willing to hand over your hard earned cash for a full-priced ticket I would recommend catching this later at a $1 theater. It is worth it to see this eye candy on the big screen.

See the official trailer here.

*To be fair, this is a children's movie. Post-apocalyptic fiction can be overwhelming and I'm not sure how easily a child could follow an adult-level plot.
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