Casual (Everything)

Last week, I gave you a look for a fancy night out on the town. In the comments, I was asked by Mimi to do one on how to look good in sweats. Done and done. Because if there's any look I like the most, it's casual chic. 90% of the time I'm in tight jeans, nice boots (usually my Uggs...it's like walking through the world in slippers), a white t-shirt and a tunic sweater or a tunic top, and a colorful scarf. That's easy. If my Stripes Every Day photos prove anything, it's that I dress super casual 95% of the time. It's how I live.

In making these boards, I tried to keep a couple of things in mind: 1. How can you look chic and be comfortable? (The answer is leggings and tunics.) and 2. How can you transition that look into nighttime and still be comfortable? (The answer is shoes and a good blazer.) Here are two takes on casual day, and a transition of one into a nighttime look. Mimi, you're welcome.

First up is a look I call Casual (Mama). It's perfect for if you're running errands, leaving the house for five minutes to go rent a movie, or whatever, really. I put Mama in parentheses because this is also totally an outfit I feel I would wear if I was at home with a baby and had to leave quickly to go run some errands. In fact, this was what I wore when I nannied. It's quick, comfortable, pee-proof (or easily cleaned), and easily dressed up with accessories. I also tried to pick items that were cheap, because let's face it, we all could use a break on our wallet. And if you're a new parent, you have diapers to buy, not $700 sweatpants.

The next two boards are really two-in-one. The first board is a daytime look and the second one takes the first's staple pieces and dresses them up for a night on the town. I picture both of these looks with the same hairstyle, specifically some sort of braided bun that falls right above the nape of your neck. Something like this:

This is an easy hairstyle to take from day to night. You can wear the fedora over it for a casual daytime look that hides the sun, and it can be your sophisticated updo for your night on the town!

Here's Casual (Day)! This is perfect for running errands, having lunch, working from home, or taking the little ones to the park. Again I aimed for less expensive pieces, with only the watch and the shoes costing a little more money. I figure that those are pieces you would invest a bit more money in anyway. I also couldn't help but throw in the funny "Arg!" necklace, which perfectly sums up how I feel about once an hour.

And here's Casual (Night). Perfect for a night on the town with your significant other, your gal pals, or your bad self. Again, the most expensive pieces are the shoes and the blazer, both simple, classic pieces that would be an investment.

Hope you enjoyed looking at these boards as much as I enjoyed making them! If you desire more looks, leave requests in the comments. I'm addicted to Polyvore, and need fuel for my fire.

(1st Braid Updo Photo via Heart and Sew; 2nd Braid Updo Photo by Ali Bosworth; All Fashion Boards Created by Me via Polyvore)


Marriage Mondays: Time Alone

Sorry this post is late! But let's face it. It's Memorial Day, and half of you are probably shoving burgers and hot dogs in your mouth. Unless you're me. If you're me, today is all about the Law & Order marathon on TNT and a pile of work. Plus a couple of errands thrown in for good measure. And perhaps a nap somewhere around 4ish.

Yesterday, I hung out in the bedroom all day watching movies while A.P. was in the living room watching cable and hanging out with the dog. Which made me think, "People who saw this right now would think we hate each other!" A whole day off, and we spend it in separate rooms doing things alone. In fact, a lot of people make fun of us because we spend so much time together, but alone. For instance, most nights, A.P. comes home from work, and I am on the couch. I'm either working on real work, or working on blogging. I usually put that aside for an hour or two and hang out with him. We talk about our day and whatever else. Then, he walks the dog, makes phone calls to his family, and I get back into work. We watch some TV, or just have it on as background noise and we're each on our laptops (We did this in Florida a couple of times, and A.P.'s father made fun of us.). Sometimes this setup annoys me. Sometimes I want A.P.'s attention and I get angry that he gets sucked into his computer and the internet and seems to ignore me. Most of the time, though, I like our lives. I like that we live together, but do things separately.

There are some couples who wouldn't be able to handle this, but I think a lot of couples are like this. Maybe they don't spend time on their computers, but they spend time separately...together. They have other hobbies: crafting, knitting, web design, whatever. They are together for some portion of their night, but the rest of the time is spent separately, working on things that make them happy.

I sometimes see those huggy, kissy couples on the town. They are fawning all over each other, and giggling. I don't get it. It's not in my DNA, I think, to be that girl. I dated one guy who I was like that with, and it felt fun, but immature. This feels real. It feels grownup, and our time alone helps make that successful. I wouldn't be able to be in a relationship with someone who demanded 100% of my attention, 100% of the time. The only way that would work is if the other person in the relationship was a child, and even then, I'd be passing off that child to the husband a lot of the time, too.

When I first moved in with A.P., this setup bothered me. It felt like we were drifting apart. Then I realized: I will always need some time alone, and I will always have other interests besides work and my boyfriend/husband that will fill that time. Not only is this time important, but it makes me feel satisfied with my life.

Years ago, I was reading an article in a magazine about couples who were living their marriages their way. There was one woman who was renting a studio apartment. She wasn't divorcing her husband, or leaving him. She just wanted space separate from her husband and family. I remember thinking that was crazy, that they were doomed to fail. Now, I am jealous of that woman! A whole apartment of her own personal space? And her husband was okay with that? Sign me up! This is also why, btw, I think I enjoyed the second Sex and the City movie so much, while the critics panned it. I related to that strong desire to figure out how to be alone and together. I loved that Carrie still has her apartment, too! How fabulous! And I loved Big's idea of some time alone, some together. Though spending the night apart wouldn't have appealed to me.

Do/Did/Will you spend time alone or apart from your significant other? How do you feel about it? Take the poll below to see how you compare to other NTMK readers!


Summer Dance

Hello, lovelies! Is anyone else ecstatic it is Memorial Day weekend?? I need the three day weekend badly! I'm super excited for the extra day because I will feel like I actually have a weekend instead of half of one. Now if only the weather would cooperate. This has been the coldest spring ever and all of us in Chicago are SICK. OF. IT! We need warm weather, and this weekend promises to deliver. In honor of the impending warm weather, I thought I would give you this lovely summer Up inspired wedding.

I've posted about Up inspired parties before, and A.P. wore a grape soda pin instead of a boutonniere on our wedding day. Still, this wedding takes the cake! This couple had an Up inspired engagement shoot, and the writer and producer of the film saw it! They ended up sending them an autographed book with a sweet note and a little hand drawing based on the adorable couple! But my favorite part of the wedding is the picnic seating. This would be the ultimate chill summer wedding seating arrangement!

Don't you love how much thought was put into that wedding? And doesn't that couple look as in love as Carl and Ellie? Le sigh.

Well, this weekend we have plans to see a movie with my dad, chill out, and hopefully get out to enjoy the weather a bit with a friend. Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I will be back on Monday with a new Marriage Monday post!

Until then, here are your dance moves this week:

Love this height ruler from one of my favorite artists, Rob Ryan!

You MUST read this surprise engagement story! Husbands and future husbands take note!

These paper flags would make awesome swizzle sticks for Memorial Day cocktails!

In honor of the end of Stripes Every Day for the Month of May (of which I am still updating photos! Takes forever, man!), listen to this catchy version of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army by Ben L'Oncle Soul.

Confession of a Soon-to-be Mom

I think we've finally found a silverware set we like, but I'd be equally inclined to thrift cool silverware and color them like this!

The perfect red, white, and blue dessert for Memorial Day weekend!

What prostitutes, TSA agents, and doctors have in common.

The prettiest fort ever.

(Friday Dance Photo by Me; Up Inspired Wedding Photos via Wedding Chicks)


Dreaming a Reality

With two friends getting married, I've been grilled a lot about my own wedding experiences. One friend is a bit of a hot mess and seems to have no real vision for her wedding. The other friend is so set in her vision that she's unwilling to listen to advice, even though she asks for it. For the most part, I try not to say too much. Weddings are so personal that more often than not, you don't really want to hear what other people have to say. Nevertheless, it's interesting to be on the other side of it after having done it myself. These are the first friends that I've had who have gotten married since A.P. and I tied the knot last year and so I've gotten to really reflect on which things I did well and which things I could have done better.

One of the things I did early on, maybe even before we got engaged, was make inspiration boards. I did this because A.P. and I entered a wedding photography contest that Feather Love had a few years back. Sadly, we didn't win. But that contest forced me to really comb through things I'd been bookmarking, downloading, etc. and really decide how I wanted our wedding to look. I see a lot of weddings where there doesn't seem to be an overall vision, just a lot of details thrown together. You wouldn't think it's important, but making inspiration boards really does help you figure out how you want your wedding to look. Heck, you could even put photos in a folder and lay them out on a table! The point is, for any successful, large-scale event including weddings, you must look at all those images together.

One of the things I've always wanted to do was show these inspiration boards that I did way, way in advance as compared to actual elements from our wedding. I remember when the Budget Savvy Bride did this type of post after she got married (btw, that link took me forever to find! Geesh!). So, without further ado, here is my version of that post, three years later.

Okay, so this first inspiration board had several elements that I ended up incorporating. First, I bought the yellow teapot:

Of course I incorporated a ton of birds, and wooden ones, too, albeit not those up above in particular. Instead, here was my take on those bird tags. I made these based on a DIY tutorial on Scissor Variations, the blog for Papier Valise.

My love of the mason jar/vintage hankie flower vases was definitely reflected in the favors we made for our guests: homemade cake mix and a box of sparklers, because that's what we did on our first date.

The felt ring pillow adorned with birds was definitely something I was inspired to do. My take on this pillow was actually based on the same birds that appeared on our invitations:

The green tea tin was a fluke! I found this picture on some wedding site, and then randomly found the exact same tin on eBay. Of course I snapped it up and put it in the head table's centerpiece:

I did not wear a veil. The reason for this is because I didn't get to finish making mine. I was totally making one JUST LIKE THAT, too! I didn't finish, and my friend tried to finish it for me, but she didn't get to finish it either. So, I didn't wear one. Sometimes I get bummed, but I'm mostly okay with it. Honestly, I only get sad because it just seemed like such fun to wear one! When do you ever get to wear a veil again??

We did have a birdie cake topper, though we opted for one based on a DIY tutorial I saw on Once Wed:

The vintage soda crates for escort cards with the moss and clipped cards was totally what I ended up doing. We used gold paper clips instead of clothespins since we used those same gold paperclips on our wedding invitations. Here's our take:

Finally, my dress was handmade, but totally based on the J. Crew Daphne dress, something I've blogged about many, many times. Here's my version of the famous Daphne:

Now, here's my second inspiration board:

The pictures in the top and bottom left-hand corners are of Lovely, which is where we got married, so check that off the list. I did not wear green heels, but I did wear green shoes!

And my bouquet? Well I pretty much ripped that one right off! It was from a wedding I saw on Once Wed, and I fell in LOVE with it (and the wedding...it's where I got the idea for the bell jars, too). It was so unique looking, and I loved that it had Spanish Moss, which is quite possibly the only thing I love about Florida, and which we had throughout the wedding.

We didn't do picnic baskets, but I totally incorporated covering the mason jars into those favors up above. As for the pictures with the bell jars and glass apothecary jars, well, I used those in almost every centerpiece:

The point is, ladies, if you dream it, it will come. You just have to map it out. I've thrown a lot of really awesome, super pretty parties, my wedding being the biggest of them all. The key to any beautiful event/party/wedding is to have a vision. So, I've given a lot of advice about a lot of different wedding-related topics, but the advice I have about the look of a wedding is to build a coherent vision for your event. It's nice to have a bunch of great ideas, but it's even better when they're narrowed down to one look, feel, and some recurring elements used in different, beautiful ways.

Did you use inspiration boards? Do you use inspiration boards for other things? I also like them for fashion!

(Inspiration Boards Made by me 2 years ago...I do not have the links for the photos anymore, those some were posted here ages ago; Yellow teapot photo by the Half-breed Swede; All other photos by our Chicago-based wedding photographer, Theresa Scarbrough)


Wedding Wednesday: Unique Wedding Invitations

There are so many beautiful ways to invite your guests to your big day. When we got married, we tried very hard to personalize our wedding invitations. I loved the idea of having poster-sized invitations, something my mother abhorred at first, but loved in the end. I loved our invitations and wouldn't change a thing, but these creative couples blow everyone out of the water. They may not be your style, but you have to admit they're pretty cool!

Paper Record Player from kellianderson on Vimeo.

What do/did/will your invitations look like?

PS. Our LOVELY wedding invitations!

(Love Feast Photo via Chewing the Cud; Message in a Bottle, Film Roll, Woodland Wheel, Tea Towel, and Airplane Ticket Photos via Swoon; Record Player Invite Video via Design*Sponge)


Marriage Mondays: Figuring Out Finances

A.P. and I pay bills. I know. Shocker. When we first moved in together, I gave A.P. checks for the bills every month. Before we got married, we decided that things needed to change with our finances, so we opened a joint checking and savings account. We decided to use the checking to pay our bills, and the savings for any money we both received (e.g. a monetary gift to the two of us). We kept our personal accounts. In other words, we are a yours, mine, and ours couple.

This type of financial setup is difficult for so many reasons, but also rewarding. It's hard simply because it's a lot of accounts and money to keep track of. It's also impossible to cover all our costs entirely, since as a couple, you often get a lot of unexpected bills (car mechanic, ginormous tax bill, etc.) which means that sometimes we each feel like we're paying more than the other. Though more often than not, it feels pretty fair. Also, it means that we're, in some ways, allowed to keep our different attitudes about money and never come to an agreement about some important issues. It's great, though, because I never have to ask permission to spend the money I've earned. Nor do I have to feel angry about someone spending the money I've earned.

My biggest problem with our finances, though, has been how to manage them. I've tried using various money management software (Mint, HelloWallet, Quicken etc.), all with mixed results. It seems that there is no good program to manage this type of financial situation, even though according to The Wall Street Journal, this is the best way for couples to handle their finances.

Also, I am good about spending, saving, and dealing with debt, but I am pretty clueless when it comes to retirement funds, purchasing a home, etc. It's research I know I should do, and a topic I know I should learn about, but it soooo doesn't interest me. One of the things that makes me happy about A.P. is that he understands these things much, much better than I do. However, he's not super proactive about dealing with our finances. I was, but because I never can seem to catch him at a time when he wants to sit down and work on our finances, I've become lazy about things, too.

Now, we have some big financial goals, and some family problems to deal with, and the state of our finances has moved its way to the top of my priority list. We are going to see a financial planner soon, who I hope will help me to make sense of things. If someone could sit down with me and explain things to me, I know I could manage things successfully.

I just think that finances in a marriage are complicated. There is so much to think about that I never had to think about when I was single. And it's not just finances! It's everything. Getting married means officially becoming a grownup when it comes to money and your "estate." You have to make a will, and get life insurance, and save for joint financial goals (babies, homes, cars, vacations, and oh, so much more). And please don't misunderstand, I probably would have gotten to this same point as a single person, but marriage somehow snaps things into place much more quickly.

We're constantly working on our finances, and even though we don't always agree, I am happy that our fights are never deal breakers. We're learning as we go, as I'm sure most young couples do, but it's tough, and it makes me feel stupid sometimes. I know things will get better, but it's definitely challenging in that I'm contemplating things I've never had to worry about before. You're officially a grownup when words like "deductible" and "money market" enter your lexicon.

How do/did/will you deal with finances in your relationship? And if you have know of any good money management software for yours/mine/ours account setups, please let me know in the comments! I'm dying for a good recommendation!


Dance and Shout

Guys, it has been a week! I had a huge open house for my garden/greenhouse yesterday, and of course I've been dealing with my father and my brother all week. It's been taking its toll and I'm officially exhausted. Life is getting the better of me. I didn't get home from work/chauffeuring my brother around/making sure he was okay until almost 9:30 last night, which means no Friday dance until after 9:30 tonight. Nevertheless, I got it done. I can't believe that I contemplate blogging more than once a day sometimes.

I'm taking some time off work in about a month and I am so, so counting down the days! Summers are always easier, both in this second career and when I worked in advertising, but my goal is to take it easy this summer and put myself first. Plus, A.P and I may be working on some big projects this summer, and I don't want work to cloud those. So, I'm going to try to make sure my weekends are filled to the brim with life...

...Kind of like this bit of wedding inspiration from Love and Lavender. I remember seeing this a while back and wishing I had planned a bold, beautiful wedding like this! The problem with these wedding inspirations is that without a wedding planner, people just don't have time to pull this kind of thing off. Or at least not if you work a full time job and have a budget. If you have a millionaire father and therefore do not have a job, you could do this yourself. The rest of us will make our attempts and hope for something nearly as awesome.

Don't you love the "Diets are for losers" sign? Gorgeous shoot! And here are your dance moves for the week:

I would have worn this to prom, too.

Forget rainbow cake, I'm in love with this entire color spectrum of frostings!

One of the things that sometimes makes me sad about my wedding experience is that no one threw me a shower. I didn't even want one necessarily, I was just kind of bummed that my mother didn't even think to throw me one. If I had had one though, I think I would have wanted it like this. And it would have been all about the desserts. Especially knowing now that I wouldn't get to eat any at my actual wedding.

Love this feather necklace!

I believe in this every day!

I'm thinking about getting my new glasses from here! What a deal! And I love the virtual try-on and the free shipping/returns! Sweet!

It's not about the size, it's about the style.

And here are some more NTMK posts you might have missed!

Have a wedding dress like Kate Middleton for a fraction of the cost and the same perfect fit!

Skateboard Art

Past/Present Perfect

And proof that happy endings do exist!

(Dance Friday Photo by me; Seaside Wedding Inspiration Photos via Love and Lavender)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...