Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Cold.

This morning as I write this post, the temperature outside is in the low 20's. So I can think of nothing more appropriate to write about than outerwear. It's obvious, I know, but I promise to include lots of pretty looks.

I've said before here on the blog that I love winter because with the outerwear look, you're essentially getting to put together two outfits every day. It's double the fashion! How can that be bad, right? So, today I just want to show some fabulous outwear pieces to jazz up your closet this winter.

For starters, get yourself something with fur. Faux or real, whatever you prefer, although real is always SO incredibly warm. I know a lot of people take issue with real fur for the cruelty aspect, but fortunately there is a LOT of really great faux fur out there right now. Shop around- you'll see what I mean.

If you're new to fur, go for accents of it as an introduction. It will seem far less overwhelming:


A fur collar, or trim on your cuffs, or even a fur hat will all add a touch of elegance and opulence to your winter outerwear. Even a scarf or head wrap added to a basic wool coat can completely transform your look.

My second favorite choice for this season is the quilted look. It's been around for a few seasons now, but it's more streamlined and sporty than ever. There are also some more sophisticated quilted options out there so you don't have to feel too dressed-down in them. There are poly-fil options as well as down and other feather options, so pick your fave.


Quilted by rtboo featuring a j.crew vest

I love how geometric the quilting can be- which, by the way, is another trend for this season- linear, geometric patterns will be everywhere.

What's your go-to outerwear look? Do you have a collection of coats and accessories, or do you have one classic staple that you wear just about every day? Leave a comment and tell me!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shoesday Tuesday: Bows!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers showed up wearing these:


Of course I told her this, but it was pretty obvious how much I loved them when I squealed as she walked in the door. She knew immediately why I was squealing and said, "I thought of you when I bought these!" While I'm happy to inspire someone's sartorial choices, I have to admit I was a little jealous that these bad boys aren't in MY closet. Then she told me that they were also available in a cobalt blue: 

It's like a knife in my heart that the only size left on DSW's website is 6.5! If that's not tragic, I don't know what is. Well, actually, I do understand that a shoe not being available in your size is actually the furthest thing from being truly tragic, so forgive my melodrama, friends. But can't you just see those amazing heels in my closet? I think I would actually prefer the black ones- I'd get a lot more use out of them. But I suppose it's not meant to me. Seeing these shoes did make me go on a hunt for anything with an amazing bow on it.

I thought these were pretty fabulous:

Mojo Moxy Bettie Pump, DSW, $49.95

And then I found all of these: 


BOWS! by rtboo featuring red boots

And then I remembered that these are already in my closet:

You may or may not remember them from Beth's wedding. They were excruciating, but worth the pain for sure. Also, as far as bows go, these are far and away the best bow I've ever encountered on a shoe and after realizing that, I felt surprisingly content despite not being able to buy the ones from DSW above. Shocking, I know. Although, I can't promise that I won't be stalking those shoes online for the next few months, hoping and praying that they become available in an 8.5. Don't judge me. 

Happy Shoesday Tuesday everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stylish Coworker: Jess

Remember my post about persimmon pants? Well, my oh-so-stylish coworker Jess showed up wearing the most fabulous burgundy pair of pants and as soon as I saw her, I snapped her photo to share with you all.

Seriously, she's the cutest thing ever, am I right? 

So there you have it- someone totally rocking the colored pants trend right there in real life. Have you found your perfect pair of red pants yet? If not, get out there and do it! You will not regret it. I promise. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wear This: Leopard and Cream

Leopard print, oh leopard print. You are sometimes so tricky to wear, aren't you? I have some leopard print heels that I wear every now and then and a fabulous leopard print dress that will be great for a date night one of these days. But aside from that, I don't often head in the leopard print direction when I'm out shopping. Here's why: it's a tricky print to wear. Seriously tricky. Why so tricky? Because if the garment is just a smidge too tight, or the top is on the borderline of being too low-cut, or the hemline on the dress is just a half inch too short, then your leopard print look is suddenly SLUTTY. We try not to do slutty here on S...tNB, so I'm going to tell you how to wear leopard so that you ALWAYS look classy. We're classy here on S...tNB, okay?

For starters, all of those things I just mentioned- low cut top, too tight anything, too short skirt or dress- avoid them all when wearing leopard print. And that goes for anything you pair WITH something leopard print. (By the way, this goes for cheetah and zebra and basically any animal print, but since leopard is far and away the most popular, I'll be using it in this post.) By this I mean that if you are wearing a leopard-print skirt that is an appropriate fit and length, you should still be careful not to wear a top with it that is too low cut, etc.

Second, try to pair leopard with something other than black. Black is so harsh and also such an obvious choice for a neutral. Think outside the box and wear something else- camel, chocolate brown, or my personal favorite neutral for leopard: CREAM. It's the perfect combination of soft and edgy.

Leopard and Cream

As you can see from the polyvore set above, it works for casual outfits as well as dressy looks. You can wear this to the office or out on a date. It's just as good a look for lunch with your girlfriends as it is for parent/teacher night.

A final tip when wearing leopard print is to keep your accessories minimal. It's fine to add a pop of color with your shoes, a bag or even a statement necklace, but if you do so, stop there. Don't over-accessorize and definitely don't wear multiple bold pieces. After all, the leopard print is pretty bold on its own, so too many other bold, eye-catching pieces along with it and you'll just end up looking like a mess. Trust me on this.

I think I may have just inspired myself to go shopping for more leopard print pieces for my wardrobe. Having a style blog is really not good for my checking account.

Anyway, enjoy your day, everyone and as always- thank you for stopping by and reading!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mixing Prints Like a Boss

My friends Kate and Mike got married earlier this month and while it typically goes without saying that the bride looked gorgeous (she totally did), it's not often that the groom's outfit is anything special. A black tux, a grey tux, a brown suit, a grey suit... meh. Right? Well, Kate and Mike were not having that. They put together what I think it quite possibly the best groom's look I've ever seen, so even though Kate was positively radiant in her ivory lace Vera Wang gown, I'm going to focus on Mike for this post. And you will now see why:

Friends, this is how you mix prints. Just look at that shirt and tie combo! It's flawless. The scale of prints, the color combination, the way it works so well with the suit. Seriously, I've been raving about it since I saw it!

I stole all these photos from Facebook, but saved the best for last- and these are from the pros over at Rodeo and Co. Photography:

I'm proud to say I made Kate's veil and I think it came out pretty fabulous. Almost as fabulous as Mike's outfit. 

Seriously, how cute is this couple?!?!

So, gentlemen AND ladies, take note of how to mix prints like a boss. This is how it's done. End of story.

Enjoy the rest of your day, friends! And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Persimmon Pants

I'm the absolute worst when it comes to dry cleaning. I hate dealing with it, so I usually wait until the end of a season to bring everything in. Then I promptly forget that I've got clothes waiting to be picked up until months later and suddenly I'm getting phone calls from the cleaners saying, "Come get your stuff!" I did that recently, I'm ashamed to admit. But the great part about doing that is seeing what fabulous stuff I forgot that I own! I picked up a few things this week and among them was my oh-so-stellar pair of red velvet pants! I love these pants!

Anyway, rediscovering these pants reminded me of a conversation I had with Beth a little over a week ago. We were walking down to the SoWa vintage market in South Boston (more on that soon) and a woman walked by in a pair of bright green pants. We started talking about this fabulous new trend of brightly colored jeans and pants and Beth mentioned that she's been wanting a pair of fabulous red pants for a while now. But not true red, more like persimmon or rust. Something that works for fall, but that could also be somewhat season-less. And let's face it, doesn't everyone need a pair of completely fabulous persimmon pants? No doubt.

So, to inspire all you lovelies out there, here are my picks in a range from dark orange to deep burgundy, from skinny to wide-leg, high-waist to hipster, there's a pant here for anyone and everyone, I promise:

Persimmon Pants

"But just how do you wear such a bold pant, Renee?" you ask. I know, it can be tricky.

For starters, the fit has to be impeccable. Take them to a tailor and get the length just right. Nip the waist, the thigh, the ankle- whatever it is that needs tweaking, have them do it and make sure these pants perfectly tailored. There is no other way, truly.

Next, find some rich, neutral pieces to layer onto the look- colors like chocolate brown, charcoal grey and creamy white will all work beautifully. Go with whatever compliments your skin tone, or what you like best. You can't go wrong. As long as your shade of pants isn't too close to pumpkin orange, you could even pair them with black. But be careful- too pumpkin-y and then combination with black just screams, "I love HALLOWEEN!" And I, personally HATE Halloween. But regardless of your feelings towards the holiday, you probably don't want your sartorial choices to be telling the world that you love Halloween. Just sayin'. Also, avoid a bold print. You want the pants to be the focal point, so any eye-catching print will likely just compete with them. So not cool.

Finally, add some complimentary accessories and head out the door confident in the knowledge that you are seriously ROCKING red pants. Then leave a comment here and tell me how awesome it felt. No, seriously. Leave me a comment- you know how I love them!

If you're having trouble picturing the look, here's some inspiration for you:

More Persimmon Pants

I think I've inspired myself to wear my red pants this week! Off to the closet I go- gotta plan the outfit!

Have an awesome day, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Healthy Choice, Perhaps? (Warning: It's a long post)

On this day in 2011, I was flying down to North Carolina to meet the Professor for the first time face-to-face. We'd been "dating" for just over two months via phone, email and Skype by then, so it seemed like the next logical step. That was the day he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said, "Yes!"

Fast forward to today- November 5, 2013 and I've been single for just over two months. Over Labor Day weekend the Professor and I called it quits. It wasn't an easy decision to make and there were lots of tears from both of us. I don't really want to go into all the details, as it still stings, but the bottom line is that just because you love someone doesn't mean you're meant to be with them. We probably would have figured that out a lot sooner had we lived closer to each other in the beginning of our relationship. I don't have any regrets with regard to my relationship- the time I spent on/in it and the eventual ending of it. After all, it helped shape who I am today and that's not so bad, right?

My coworker McKenzie went on maternity leave early in August and at the time, the Professor and I were having serious conversations about my moving down to North Carolina to be there full time. We talked about where I would live, what kind of job I could get, how I would fit into his life and also make my own, etc. When she came back from her maternity leave a little over two months later, she said she hardly recognized me. I was now a single girl, who'd moved into a new apartment on the seacoast of New Hampshire instead of the mountains of North Carolina and who had also suddenly started running. Yup, I've started running. Who knows how long it will last, but right now I'm training for a Turkey Trot 5K and I'm only up to about 1.6 miles. Yikes! I've got a ways to go and only a few weeks to get there!

Since the break-up, I've tried to remain focused on things that make me happy, things that are healthy and things that keep me busy and distracted. First up, a new apartment. I decided to move closer to work and in doing so, reduced my daily commute by a little over 60 minutes. No joke. Such a great decision!

Seriously cute, right? When I first looked at the apartment, the only thing I didn't love was the wallpaper in the kitchen. The owners had done such a great job on everything else and I still don't understand why they left it. Anyway, I figured if I made everything in the kitchen as bright and cheerful as possible, you'd really just notice all the bright, cheerful things and the wallpaper would fade into the background. So, what's the verdict? Did I succeed? I made the curtains myself and painted the table, too. Here's the "before":

Obviously, it's in two pieces in the photos, but isn't it just the prettiest darn pedestal table you've ever seen? My friend Amy scored it on craigslist- she saw the ad and inquired about it for herself, and only afterwards found out they were actually selling TWO of them! At the time, I hadn't signed a lease, but how on earth could I have passed on this gorgeous table? Honestly, try to find a prettier pedestal table than this and you'll absolutely struggle. The best part? I paid $65 for it! I spent an afternoon painting it the following week and I'm quite proud of the end result: 

The color on top is called "Spiced Butternut" and the bottom is "Powdered Snow." It's actually the leftover white paint from when I renovated Juhree's office a few months ago. I used the same primer for this project as well. I think the color is perfect and works so well with the salmon curtains! 

There's more art on the walls now and I've moved a few things around, but I'm really happy with the end result of the kitchen. The thing about moving was that most of what I own has been in storage for the last three years. I sold the majority of my furniture when I moved from PA back to NH, but I kept all the little bits- books, music, kitchen stuff, artwork, etc. When I was unpacking in the new place, it felt a little like Christmas Day- I kept saying things like, "Ooh! A toaster!" and "Wow! I forgot I have this!" But as for the furniture, I was basically starting all over. I basically owned my bedroom set and not much more in the way of furniture. I scouted craigslist, Goodwill, Salvation Army and lots of second-hand furniture stores. I also hit Target, Marshalls and Home Goods pretty hard for some basic decor pieces to add a little character. Here's the end result...

The bedroom:

I still have to make valances for the windows, but I haven't found fabric that's quite what I'm looking for. I'm thinking grey and white stripes, but that's proving difficult to find, so I may have to come up with an alternate plan. We'll see...

Oh, I almost forgot the best part of the bedroom- the CLOSET!

I literally need a step stool to get to the top shelves! 

My friends have been calling me "Imelda." I'm not ashamed. I love shoes. Also, I don't even own a tenth of what she did, so there. :) 

Now for my favorite room, the living room, or as I've taken to calling it, "The Parlor":

When I first started planning for the apartment, I pictured a pristine white sofa. Then I saw that glorious lime green one and my world was shaken. As I lay on it, trying to picture my new living room design and attempting to wrap my brain around the idea of a lime green sofa, I suddenly felt happy and inspired by the challenge. And I have to say that these photos are really not doing the color justice. It's really lime-y! And in the end, I found a fabulous cream-colored chair-and-a-half with a matching ottoman that I'm using as a coffee table. In the end, I didn't have to choose! Oh, and yes, that's a turquoise blue piano. Because a lime green sofa isn't quite enough color, I had to turn my piano from this: 

Side note: Strongman Piano Movers are worth EVERY PENNY. 

To this:

More of that fabulous Zinsser primer! 

And finally to this: 

I'm quite proud of the paint job I did. I took the day off work when I had the piano moved and decided to spend the afternoon painting it BLUE! I couldn't be happier with the result and it is truly a great conversation piece. I bought the piano second hand from a very nice gentleman on craigslist. Much like the kitchen table, I hadn't yet signed a lease when I bought it. Fortunately, the original owner of the piano was an absolute sweetheart and offered to hold onto it until I was ready to move. He kept it for nearly a month and then was wonderfully flexible and accommodating when it came time to move it. I know that craigslist has a bad reputation (for legitimate reasons), but the last two months, craigslist has been a source of friendliness, kindness and fabulously cheap furniture! No joke, I've met some really nice people there lately, so while I still encourage people to be cautious and careful when meeting up with strangers, I absolutely recommend New Hampshire craigslist without reservation. 

Finally, the last room to come together was the sewing room: 

Believe it or not, this tiny room took the longest to unpack and set up. I still have yet to use it, but that will be changing very soon as I have some sewing projects to complete ASAP. 

So, there you have it- a little tour of my new home. I'm very comfortable and happy here, although if you'd told me a year ago that I would be living in a place like this, in this town, I would have said you were crazy. In addition to moving, I've been re-defining my daily life. It used to revolve around nightly Skype dates and countdowns to the next flight south. Now, I'm.... running. But seriously, all you can do after a tough break-up is wake up every morning knowing that it's all for a reason and there's something better out there (for both of you). I'm past the point of feeling sad all the time and I'm ready for what the future has in store. I wish nothing but good things for the Professor and I know he feels the same way towards me. Is there a better way to break up? I don't think so. 

So, in addition to running, I'm resolving to blog more! I still love fashion and style and this blog has always been something so fun for me to do. It's an ideal hobby, really. So, check back again soon! I've got lots to show and tell! :) 
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