Quick Change: From Work to Glam in 20 Minutes

How often does this happen to you: you’re scheduled to work in a booth at an expo across town all day, and then you have to immediately go to a wedding 4 blocks away? All the time, right?! Ok, maybe not, but this time of year, maybe you have to get to a holiday party right after work or something. Right? That’s a thing that happens? Magazines are always running “day to night!” fashion spreads, and I never thought it would apply to me… but it DID.

Have you ever been to a Women’s Expo? When I was in high school, I thought it was so cool that my mom wanted to excuse me from classes for the day so we could have a girl power bonding day in downtown Milwaukee. The expectation: an empowering day full of awesome women doing awesome things!! The reality: “are you an autumn, or a spring? Let’s do your colors!” *sad trombone* We were so disappointed that we ditched the expo and spent the rest of the day people watching at the mall, snarking over an appetizer sampler platter…. actually that was a pretty great afternoon. BUT! My point is, Women’s Expos are THE WORST. Luckily this time around, I had an amazing crew to keep me entertained and sane (and run for vodka samples) throughout the day.

On the Saturday of the expo, I needed to tap into my rarely seen ability to plan ahead (I’m much more of a last minute scrambler, which often leads to lunches that consist of a banana and a bag of nuts, or getting to hot yoga without anything dry to change into after, so you’d think I would learn, but no). MB and I were invited to a super fun wedding that was happening within a mile of the convention center, and cocktail hour started right as I would be finishing up. Obviously, it wouldn’t make sense for me to haul all the way back home to change, plus then we’d be very late. So MB agreed to take a cab to the ceremony and wait for me there. The night before, I prepped my outfit:

wardrobeSource: jess
The theme here was “easy”. The dress (super cute (and cheap!!) from H&M) was not very wrinkle-able, so it was easy to roll up and stuff inside one of my boots.  Black tights and black boots, again, easy for a fall wedding (it was like 5 degrees that day). I also packed some accessories to add a little sparkle.

The morning of the expo, I made sure to start preparing. I “set” my damp hair with some styling creme in a low side braid, hoping for some bold waves by 5:00. I also got my face ready. That sounds weird, right? Anyway, BB cream, concealer, and a light dusting of foundation powder, then I did a simple eye with a trick: I planned to do a heavy winged liner at night, so by day, I took a forgiving casual brown liner and prepped a winged template for later. Brilliant! But thanks to a hot pink uniform shirt, super dry expo air, and lovely fluorescent lighting, I looked pretty dead during the day:

beforeSource: jess
In the morning, I packed a bag of essentials:

makeup kitSource: jess
With 20 minutes on the clock once we shut down our booth for the day, I made a mad dash for the expo hall bathroom: a sad, grey, poorly lit, no counter space-having den of despair. Apologizing in my head to anyone truly needing it, I commandeered the handicapped stall to change my clothes (sorry!!). After my quick-change, I dried out a sink and dumped my supplies in it. I shook out my hair and tousled it into a jaunty side pony. I touched up my face with a quick sweep of Kat von D’s foundation powder (I’m obsessed with everything in her line, btw) and added some color to my cheeks to un-dead-ify my face. My eyes got a quick sweep of gold shadow (half baked) from the Naked palette, and my brows were filled in with…. naked? buck? I can’t remember. Every 4 minutes, a girl from the flavored vodka booth was dumping out samples in the sink next to me, leaving me in a cloud of boozy raspberries. I took a deep breath anyway, and focused on the hardest part of my quick change: the liquid liner. Even though I still had my template from earlier, liquid liner always goes like this: the first eye turns out perfect!! The second eye turns out like it’s derpy sister. I couldn’t afford to screw it up (read: I didn’t bring any q-tips), so I hunkered down and went for it. Then probably went back and forth a few times creating thicker lines than I intended, but it’s ok! Glamour! (KvD wins again- her liner is THE BEST.)

Once that ordeal was… good enough, I went back over my lids with gold glitter. Why not? It’s fun and how often do you get to be a disco ball? Lashes were re-curled and re-mascaraed, then my whole face was locked down for the night with a spritz of all-nighter. Finally: the lips. This evening called for nothing other than a perfect red, supplied by Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick (in Icon). This lip color is the PERFECT product. It’s the perfect blue-red, it dries to a gorgeous matte, doesn’t transfer, doesn’t dry out your lips. It just sits there, knowing it’s better than everything else in your arsenal, but doesn’t make a big deal about it. Also they have a mini version in the impulse bins at Sephora right now for only 10 bucks. GET IT!!

ta da!Source: jess

ta da!

Ok! Ready to hit the dance floor!! My husband went above and beyond by a) having on an amazing outfit and b) handing me 3 Advil and a glass of wine as soon as I walked into the reception hall.

you can't take us anywhere.Source: jess

you can’t take us anywhere.

Do you have any events coming up for the holidays that will require you to switch up your look right quick? What’s your go-to strategy??

Fashion Kills… Or At Least Tries To, Very Slowly…

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself walking through Dick’s Sporting Goods. See, I was popping into the mall quick to get a very cute dress from H&M for an upcoming wedding, and Dick’s is in the same wing, and always has easy parking. Usually I just keep my head down and plow through, since Dick’s is terrible. But on this occasion, a pair of fancy new winter running tights on a mannequin caught my eye. I had, in fact, just signed up for a New Year’s Day 5 miler, and had therefore resigned myself to awful, awful, cold-weather running. Obviously, a new pair of winter tights was exactly what I needed! Then I started poking around the Nike section looking for… ??? (Nike owns my soul- I never meant for it to happen, but it did)

I happened upon a rack of sloppily hung, reduced priced, black Nike cardigans. Nike cardigans!! But there was something off about them- a band of fabric that wasn’t quite a hood and wasn’t quite a cape-holder… ah ha! It was meant to be looped around your neck, creating a closure and kind of acting as a scarf. I felt smug in the fact that I had figured out this fashion conundrum, and then felt sorry for the rack of misunderstood sweaters. I tried it on, and it was… ok. I didn’t love it. I sent a picture to Pamela, and she couldn’t tell either if it was cute or not. I was on a bit of a time crunch, so I decided to leave it behind.

Two weeks later, I had a long work day, and for some reason caught myself dreaming of this piece. It had thumb holes! It was like a hoodie that I could get away with wearing to work! It would keep me warm AND cool (it’s made of space-age dri-fit material). It would be so chic with some cute tights- just look at it on the Nike model!

photoSource: http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/twist-styled-wrap-training-top/pid-723728/pgid-1316482

So, after I wrapped up my last client, I dashed back over to Dick’s to find that they still had an entire rack of these babies. I didn’t even try it on again- I had my mind made up that this would make me SO HAPPY. I got home and threw it on over a t-shirt and jeans which received a solid “….huh.” from my husband. This should have been my first clue.

The next morning, I got ready for my longest day of the week- I see 5 clients Monday morning, then dash over to school to teach class for 5 hours with about an hour in between. I need to be versatile, functional, and obvs, cute. I twisted my wrap on over a tank top and some thick leggings, and sleepily bolted for the door. Right before putting my coat on, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and had a tinge of doubt. In a move completely out of character for me, I decided to dig the tags out of the garbage and put them in my purse, but otherwise convinced myself that I was totally cute and this was going to be a great addition to my winter wardrobe.

Within 45 minutes of work, I wanted to burn this wrap. I wanted to throw it on the ground, punch it in the face, loan it to Bruce Banner right before he Hulked out, GET IT OFF OF ME.

See, when you first put it on, it’s cute, right? Open on the left, twisted on the right:

photo 1Source: jess

And then you move around for 10 minutes and it all falls apart. Stupid on the left, slowly strangling me to death on the right:


photo 2Source: jess

I even tried wearing it like this very misinformed Russian model:

photoSource: jess
photo 3Source: www.wildberries.ru








WHAT IS THIS?!?!?! How did this possibly pass Nike’s testing??? No wonder it was discounted and alone!! I went back and forth all day- could I make it work? I’d catch myself in the mirror and think “just try harder. Ok, yeah, this works”, and then 2 seconds later I would be pulling it down from my throat. I would think “ok, I’ve been working in this for several hours. I should probably keep it. I could wear it to yoga? Would I wear it to yoga?? NO YOU WILL NOT YOU KNOW YOURSELF TOO WELL”. Also, NO ONE complimented me on it.

The minute I was done with work, I tore it off, stuffed it into my purse, and high-tailed it across town to the mall. I imagined all kinds of fights the customer service rep would give me: the tags are off. It’s obviously been worn. Is this cat hair? But Pamela convinced me to at least try, so I got really really brave and…. they took it back, no questions asked, and barely looked at me.

And then I exchanged it for a very open-necked sweater.

What fashion mis-steps have you taken recently? What risks am I missing out on? Let me know in the comments!

No Love for 90s Fashion

So apparently it’s time for 1990s styles to start coming back, thanks to our 20-year cycles of “those who fail to learn from the past are doomed repeat it” fashion.  Jess, Lyn Marie and Pamela are all thinking about revisiting these looks, and I’ll admit to feeling a certain amount of nostalgia for 1990s fashion when I catch re-runs of Boy Meets World (spoiler alert – Cory’s a lot harder to sympathize with as an adult) and early Buffy the Vampire Slayer (thanks, Jess, for getting me hooked!).

But while that’s all well and good, here’s why I won’t be joining in on the fun…

Exhibit A – 1996 Yearbook Club photo

I’m third from the right in the top row, wearing a baggy t-shirt and leggings (which, as you’ll see, is a recurring theme…).

Exhibit B – 1996 Oboe & Flutes photo

That’s me, again, second from the right in the middle row, rocking a terrible shirt, an awful haircut and the world’s most duck-sounding instrument.  But the real icing on the cake is…

Exhibit C – 1996 Knowledge Master team photo

Yep, ladies and gentlemen – that’s a full-on unibrow.  (Not that the scraggly hair, giant-ass softball shirt and enthusiastic participation on the nerd squad are doing 90s-me any favors…).

I’d say that I wish I could find more pictures of my 1990s style to show you beyond my 1996 middle school yearbook, but that’s a lie.  If I do find them, I going to burn them so that my future children won’t look back on them and assume they’re genetically-predisposed to sartorial failure.

I swear, I’m normal-looking now.  I’m not going to be winning any “Best Dressed” awards, but at least the clothing I wear demonstrates that my body shape is something other than “rectangle” and my hair doesn’t so closely resemble Lindsey Lohan’s extensions (on most days, that is).

So while the rest of y’all can go on and experiment with the “new” 90s fashions, I respectfully decline to participate.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here writing about internet stuff and getting out of work, as I’m obviously disqualified from offering this blog fashion advice 🙂


How to rock your Lululemon vinyasa scarf

(as requested by jess)

Step 1.    Purchase overpriced vinyasa scarf from Lululemon.  (Seriously, I love Lululemon, but they are pricey, and we could probably make this ourselves.  Truth:  we never actually make things when we say, “we could make that ourselves!”)

Step 2.    Ok. So this scarf is seriously huge, and I honestly was just winging it the first time I put it on and it looked pretty good!  It’s basically a really big “infinity scarf” (which seems to be the big thing this year, I guess – google it and see what I mean – everyone is selling them) with snaps.  What I did was drape it around my neck, snaps done and toward the bottom and off to the side a little.

Then I just wrangled it up into a second loop and popped it over my head.  Which would be pretty easy with a regular scarf that isn’t the size of a blanket.  This one is the size of a blanket, so it takes some playing around with.  I also unsnapped a snap or two to make it lay more flat and wide at the bottom.  I think it looks the best this way.
You could also unsnap all snaps and wear it as a regular style scarf.   I feel meh about this.  It’s kinda boring.  This scarf is cooler than that.
You could as well wear it as a scarf/hood combo.  I don’t like it like this all that much either.  I feel like I look biblical?  Or just plain ridiculous.   But if you were somewhere cold without a hat, it would be a good option.
Step 3.    Go about your grocery shopping and Target wandering looking damn fabulous!
Side note:  If this isn’t working for you, I guess you have a new really expensive and fancy blanket….. or you could use it for this.  Because it is huge.  HUGE.

My so-called 90’s

The 90’s were a weird time, amirite?? When you look back on your 90’s, what do you see? Half shirts? Dark lipstick? Cross Colors? Babydoll dresses? The best thing about the 90’s, I think, is that we all lived our own version.

I’m having mixed emotions about the decade defined simultaneously by grunge and Saved by the Bell coming back into fashion. Lyn Marie has a hard and fast rule about purchasing new items that you already owned the first time a trend went around, which is probably a good plan, but how bad would it be, really, to dip back into your own fashion past? Let’s break it down by analyzing actual images of myself circa 1995:

Ok. In this first photo, we have a typical hanging-out-in-the-dorms look. Are those carpenter pants? HOT. Remember when work-wear was a thing? Sadly, I couldn’t find a picture of myself in one of my favorite shirts that was, seriously, a Dickees work-shirt with a name patch on it. Like I worked in a garage or something? I didn’t. We all remember thrifting flannel shirts in the 90’s, but work wear was also a thing- I bought many a pair of pants at hardware stores. Ok, back to the picture: a thermal top (??) probably purchased in the men’s underwear section, and a necklace I made myself in high school art class. Score: 5 (points taken off for eyebrows, but points added for Angela Chase hair.)

Ok- what is going on here? I’m having some kind of Walgreens parking lot celebration, obviously. Can I admit that those jeans are kind of amazing? The 90’s didn’t care about having new things- those were probably from Goodwill or just an ancient member of my own jeans family that naturally degraded. At least I had the decency to wear black tights under them. PS, it was summer. And what is that, dangling from my pocket? A fancy watch perhaps? No way- it’s my bad-ass biker chain wallet. And while I don’t have that hoodie anymore, I certainly have a hoodie, or 5. Ignoring my Cost Cutters Toad the Wet Sprocket hair cut, I would actually wear some of this again. I give it a 7. Hoodies for life!

Photo 3 is AMAZING. I was really hitting my stride during my goth phase, and on a weekend trip to Madison with my club friends and BFF, I was pulling out all the stops! I have no idea what I’m wearing as far as a…skirt? Probably? But look- I wore those black tights every day! IT WAS SUMMER. I am also wearing my favorite why-did-I-ever-throw-it-out Cure T-shirt. (Should’ve kept it- even if I didn’t want to wear it, it could score some cash on Ebay. Maybe it got smelly??) My accessories in this picture capture a special moment in time: pre-Hot Topic. That is an actual length of chain, purchased from a hardware store, secured with an actual lock. I had to remove it every night with a KEY. Maybe my clausterphobia has gotten worse, but that sounds kind of terrifying to me now. Other gems from the hardware store: you can’t see it, but I’m pretty sure I am also wearing a “ring” that is actually a hose clamp. Super industrial. Also worth noting is my spiked collar, which is a re-purposed boot-strap, because you couldn’t just buy spiked collars easily then. Obviously, the best part about this look is my classic, saved all my money from my summer job, had to road-trip to Chicago to buy them, 8 hole 1460 Dr. Martens. Sigh…. can we just… I need a moment.

Score: 9

Let’s not forget my go-to makeup of the time:

I’m sure this all did wonders for my skin.

The 90’s were a time of self-discovery, and as a girl transitioning into adulthood, the era will always have a special imprint on my heart. Black and grey are still my wardrobe staples, but you’ll be happy to know that I now embrace putting color on my face. If I could bring one thing back, it would be… my skinny legs!! But while I work on that, can I pleeeeeease buy these boots, Lyn??








Birkenstocks. Yes.

Believe what I say to be true.  Birkenstocks are making a comeback.  I really believe this.  In fact, I believe it so much, I am all set to back this up and head out to purchase my very own pair.  Lies, you say?  I give you my evidence –  as shot by street style photographers Tommy Ton and Mister Mort.  Additionally, if these two pieces are not compelling enough, here is a little something of a prediction by the lovely Garance Dore.  You guys, if she’s pulling them off, we all can.  SO!  Who’s with me?  Anyone?

Oh etsy–why can’t you help me find a new bag?

There is such a thing as too many choices. I’m looking at you, etsy.  I am desperately in need of a new messenger bag. Or a very deep hobo like this one found by citizenjess (did you get the last one in the universe?!). But 29,663 items is 29,600 too many for me to negotiate. Etsy–help a girl out and add more sort features! How about “not-leather” and “without a bird on it”? Maybe try sorting by closure type: latch, zip, buckle, flap. Even by color so I can knock out all the army-greens. And while we’re at it–let’s make a rule that all bag listings include a look inside (well done, Zappos!) Until then–I guess I got some work to do or Santa might be bringing me this.