As usual, I left things till the last minute…I don’t know how to do it any other way. Under pressure is usually when I am most motivated and inspired. I got a little carried away with my Gold Leaf paint and pens and painted just about everything in it last night.
I really, really love the midi dress look and I emphasis the word look because the way a midi dress looks on a model (stunning) is not how a midi LOOKS on me. The models’ curves (or lack of them) are perfectly highlighted in the form fitting style of a midi and the length accentuates their slim legs. I don’t know if I really thought that I would look the same as the 100 pound 5ft 9 model did in the same midi.
Here is the midi dress I purchased:
but…SURPRISE! I didn’t look anything like the model. It accentuated my curves alright, every friggin nook and cranny was on display. It probably didn’t help that the midi I bought was thin jersey fabric, which is probably one of the least forgiving fabrics there is. So I buried the dress in the back of my closet and tried to forget I ever thought I could pull the look off.
The thing is…I’ve never liked my body, but I also think most women in America have struggled with loving and accepting their bodies at some point. I’ve been working up to writing about the journey I am on to loving myself and it’s been a long, bloody battle for me but….(and I swear all this has to it has to do with the midi dress!)
But since I turning 30 this year, it really hit me how much of life I have wasted and how many experiences I missed out on because I’ve been to busy disliking myself and caring to much what people think.Doing these self-absorbed, materialistic Personal Style posts was a coconscious decision of mine to do what makes me happy and to (try) not to worry about whether or not people like it. Also, it’s nice to actually start caring about myself again 🙂
So, when cleaning up my closet, I stumbling on the crumpled up midi dress of disappointment and gave it another go (outfitted in my spanx body armor) and decided to give it another try and I came up with a few different ways to wear a form fitting midi with more confidence.
Wearing a big, drapey cardigan helps me feel like I have a layer of protection and it keeps all my lumpy areas that I am self-conscious about covered. But the open front still shows off the cute length and style of the midi.
#2 Wearing shoes with heels (booties are my favorite for winter) add much needed length to your frame.
Here are a few pair of booties that give me the warm fuzzies and that I think would look good with a a casual style midi dress:
Most midis cut off at around calf-level (depending on height) which I love but also has the tendency to make legs look shorter and bulkier.
#3 Layer it up to create different looks.
A midi is fun to play around with different looks and is a versatile dress that can be simple and classic or fun and trendy. Adding colorful layers, like my favorite crazy plaid pants, creates lines, and helps to “distract” the eye from those worry areas.
A split sided basic top is perfect to throw over a midi because it covers my least favorite areas (my tummy and the booty) and I like the look it creates.
#4: Spanx is also your friend.
Good ole trusty spanx, instilling confidence into the self-conscious since the dawning of time.
I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper, mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…
I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.
Here is everything you will need to make it:
1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)
I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)
or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.
2) Watercolor Paper Pad
For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon:
3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.
4) Scissors and a gluestick!
The How To:
The steps to making this DIY project are super simple. But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.
1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America). because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.
* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.
2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.
3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.
I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…
4) admire, frame and hang!
Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!
You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to use that title!
Maybe turning 30 brought some maturity to me finally, as seen in my new found love of all things plaid.
I don’t know.
But I do know that before this winter I have never preferred Plaid or any other “Classic” styles. But as in most things with me, I always go overboard with any new interest of mine, Whether it’s: painting, DIY projects, yoga, or clothing, I suck all the fun out of whatever it is I like, until I am sick of it. That’s probably how my new love of “Plaid” will end up, but for now, me and plaid are BFFs.
I have seen so many cute plaid scarfs, hats, and ect. on my friends and people I see out and about, this winter that I wish I could have taken pictures of some people I saw who inspired my new obsession for plaid. If anyone has any pics of them wearing their favorite plaid accessory or clothing item to add to this post, or your opinion on plaid, my email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add it!
But For now, here are some of my favorite plaidy plaids…
I’ve got a little pooch belly, but hey that’s okay!
Skirt is from Charlotte Russe ($19.99 or buy 1 get 1 for $10.00) which I bought in store and couldn’t find online but they have a similar one online (for $19.99):
Knit short sleeve white top is from H&M from this summer but I found a similar top from H&M that I actually think would look better with the plaid skirt. Their Heavy Jersey Fabric Short Sleeve Top available online in black or light grey for only $17.95:
The boots I bought at Target, probably 2 winters ago, and are still my tried and true favorites (plus the heels are about 2″ so I can actually go wear them out without walking like I am on stilts ) I love the contrasting brown leather ankle strappy things that make it okay for me to wear with black or brown (at least thats what I tell myself..fashion experts would probably say different). But I found a very similar pair by Dv by Dolce Vita Brand, called their Jaxen Suede Booties available at Lord and Taylor online and on sale for only $64.48 (marked down from $128):
My second “Plaid” winter outfit, is mainly just these pants I found at Forever21. I bought them online, (Got super excited and actually bought two of the same exact pair..so if anyone is interested in a free pair of pants…email me!) A lot of my style decision thought process goes something like this: “Should I really be considering wearing this?” “I look ridiculous.” and finally “Oh well, who cares!” and then proceed to checkout. And so it was with these pants:
These Gingham plaid pants are available at Forever 21 currently on sale for only $16.99. But aren’t for the faint of heart, I’ve got some junk in my trunks and these pants def. don’t help to conceal that. But they are red plaid pants for under $20 so…
As a kid, I loved going through my fabulous grandma’s costume jewelry collection. I could never narrow it down to one or even two favorite accessories, and instead piled as many necklaces on as my little kid neck would allow.
So, once I became aware that layered statement necklaces were an actual trend and saw necklaces like Dylanex’s Falkor ($890):
I have been trying to create my own cheaper “DIY” version. I quickly realized it’s not quite as easy as throwing on every silver necklace I own and walking out the door. I feel like I am constantly walking a fine line between “fashionable” and “mentally unstable homeless person”, when it comes to my personal style. It was actually pretty difficult to mix and match pieces together to create something tasteful and stylish (and doesn’t look like I raided my Grandma’s costume jewelry with my eyes closed). I ended up with two layered statement pieces: one silver and one gold…Usually, I prefer gold colored jewelry but there are a lot of awesome silver metal boho statement necklaces out there to choose from.
Last week, I visited the absolutely amazing Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan with some friends for the first time to attend a workshop called How to Build A Terrarium. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, you have to visit the Downtown Market. They have the indoor Market Hall, a “culinary collective” of artisan products including a Bakery, Juice Bar, Coffee Bar, Wine Bar, Meat Market, Bake Shoppe, AND gourmet restaurants including: Fish Lads, Rak Thai, Sushi Maki, Tacos El Cunado AND even a Creperie.
In the summer, they have an Outdoor Market three times a week and in the Fall, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
Finally, they also offer a full schedule of classes, programs and workshops which include everything from: yoga, cheese making, Introduction to Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Cooking Classes, Mommy and Me Activities, to Greenhouse workshops. Click Here to see their schedule of upcoming classes. This is where I went with two of my friends to do the How to Build a Terrarium Workshop. I put together a cheat sheet of the ingredients you will need based on what I learned at the workshop to share with you:
1. First, start by putting about 1 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of your container, to fill up space in the jar and to keep the soil from being to damp.
2. On top of the gravel, put approximately .5in to 1.5in layer of activated charcoal, also to help soak up extra water.
3. Add your cactus/succulent potting soil. The amount of soil you want to use really depends on the size and shape of your container. You want a nice, thick layer so that the soil comes up about to the bottom of your opening.
4. Plant your succulents in the soil. Give them space to breathe.
5. Add your decorative items on the top of the soil after you planted your succulents. This will help weigh the soil down.
* Most succulents need about 6 hours a day of indirect sunlight. Make sure your terrarium is in a cool, well ventilated area.
* It helps to place your terrarium near a south or east facing windows in the winter in order to get maximum sunlight exposure.
* Observe your succulents when they are by windows, as sunlight may be magnified in the glass and can scorch leaves. Adjust accordingly.
* In the winter, you may water just once every 2-3 weeks.
* In the summer, it is closer to once a week. Water in the morning.
* If you are unsure, poke your finger in the soil and if it is completely dry then it’s probably a good idea to water it.
And voila! You have a start on a green thumb with a lovely & easy and organic terrarium, all your own. Does anyone have any other tips for making terrariums? If you have one, or make one, I would love to see pictures of them!! succulent
I meant to get this post in before the Holiday Season ended but didn’t have enough time, or it might be because I was to busy eating chocolate, reading, and taking naps
Using stamps that I have carved from rubber, (except for the gnome stamp which I bought at Paper Source), paper grocery bags, ribbon and colorful paper, I was able to wrap some gifts. I love doing this, whenever I have the time, because the gift wrapping becomes like an extra gift. It’s a nice way for me to show people I care about them, even though I may not be able to afford an extravagant present (at least that is what I tell myself).
I recommend using a pigment based (or thicker) ink for the stamp so it really stands out against the brown of the bag. Color Box stamp ink is my absolute favorite.
I have been struggling with an inner conflict in the past several months that has zapped me of any creative energy. I am easily inspired by so many artists and their styles but I always feel like I am copying or stealing from others when I make anything. I always feel that everything has already been done before and nothing I do will be original or thought provoking. I hesitate even labeling myself an “Artist” because most of what I create originates from an idea or a piece of work that I have been inspired by. Lately though, I have decided to just create whatever makes me happy because that is the reason why I love art.
Nothing calms my soul and brings me a feeling of contentedness than when I am creating something. Often though, my OCD tendencies take over and I am usually unhappy with the end result..I find it too busy or scattered. I have begun to accept that while I may not love everything I make, it is a reflection of who I am and what I am feeling, and that is all the encouragement I need to get on with it.
I love the brightly colored maps she used. They are the most vibrant map hearts I have found so far.
So, for Valentine’s Day, I decided to go all out for my colleagues and make mini-heart cards- I love when friends give me beautiful cards that double as art- so I thought this might be a nice gesture…turns out I love making them…
and of course..super easy to make. All you need is some patterned paper (I got mine from Paperchase).
and some blank note cards. (and scissors and glue). They are quick DIY projects with big impact!
There are alot of fun and lovely ideas using cut out hearts. Here are a couple more that I want to try soon…although I think I should invest in a heart shaped whole punch, to save myself some extra time!
Like this one by Katie Mccaw at KatieMccaw.com:
Using a heart punch, she cut out hearts from every card she received from her wedding shower and wedding.
And, this upcycled heart garland I found via etsy.com:
I lurrrv t-shirt necklaces! These are two that I’ve made. They are super easy to do and make a big impact. I also use them as scarves in the winter. Here is a tutorial. Just need old t-shirts and scissors.