Freckles in April: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh Look, I Still Own Pants

Wearing Hanes t-shirt, Gap jeans, thrifted shoes, necklace by me, grocery store sunglasses

For the past three-ish weeks I have worn pants exactly twice. Otherwise it has been all skirts and dresses all the time.

Seriously, WHAT is with my camera and the fuzzy pictures??

And then I was trying to figure out what to wear today and it went as follows: "I wore that skirt yesterday. That dress needs to be washed. That skirt needs that button fixed. That dress needs that slip which is dirty...WHAT ON EARTH DO I WEAR??" And then it was like, "Oh right. Pants."

I'm very proud that I've gotten to the point where jeans are not my default.

My sunglasses match my shoes! I planned that (no I didn't).
See? Matchy! I always loved saddle shoes as a kid but never owned a pair. When I saw these at GW 50% off day I couldn't pass them up

Also, on Monday there was A BIRD IN MY HOUSE. I went outside to talk on the phone (sleeping babies, gotta keep it down and all) and when I came back inside the open back door there was this weird loud noise. I looked around for a second and there was this BIRD going all crazy at the window above our front door trying to get back out.

I've never thought of birds as scary or anything but this freaked. me. out. I ran through the house screaming at Aaron that there was A BIRD IN THE HOUSE A BIRD IN THE HOUSE AAAAAROOOOONAAAGGGHHHHH.

To recap:
-child has a seizure and goes blue and unresponsive less than 3 days prior
-child brought home from the hospital less than 24 hours prior
-I'm running through the house screaming for Aaron

Aaron hears me freaking out and he comes tearing out of the office thinking Baby 2 is seizing again.

A: There's a BURGLAR in the house?!?!?
Me: Wait what? No, a BIIIIIRDDDDD!

I'm lucky I survived that particular exchange. I hid in the office with the door closed while Aaron shooed the bird out with a broom.

He is finally talking to me again, just so you know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The History of Fashion Blogging

A couple weeks ago, Erica wrote a post about how there's this disconnect between the mirror and the camera. I noticed it big time during my first 30 for 30 and it's part of the reason I stuck with fashion blogging. What you see in the mirror is oftentimes not even close to what comes out on the camera. And the camera is usually the one you should trust. The mirror likes to fudge the truth a bit.

Erica and I were emailing about this phenomenon when I said,

It reminds me of Clueless when Cher says she doesn't trust mirrors so she uses polaroids. I totally get that now.
 And Erica replied,

Holy crap, Cher was the original fashion blogger. Who knew?

So now you know.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Last of the Sweater Weather

Wearing Old Navy dress, Mervyn's sweater, Target shoes, thrifted belt

Oh mercy, I am not ready for summer. The heat can be so oppressive. You walk outside and feel like you can't breathe, which makes it hard to feel motivated to do anything that doesn't involve laying on your bed under a high speed fan. We all start to go a little stir-crazy within a few weeks and the heat lasts for MONTHS. Thank goodness for swimming pools, otherwise I'm not sure how we'd survive.

This is my "I just took a 2 hour nap" hair. Bliss.

We got a reprieve last week. The sky was overcast and the temperature was 54 degrees when I got dressed and it was like that most of the week. Sure, it hit 80 in the afternoon, but for a couple hours I was able to pretend that summer is not impending.

However! Summer does mean swimsuit weather and I am seriously in love with Shabby Apple's new Amalfi Coast line. I usually just like one or two things from each collection but I love this whole thing end to end. Well done, S.A., well done.

If I absolutely had to choose, I love these three:

1, 2, 3
But I'd probably have to go with that middle one. It has Kayla written all over it.

If you're in the market, I saw that Shabby Apple is offering 10% off. Just enter 'Amalfi' at checkout.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fashion Blogger (for a day): Nikki

Freckles in April Fashion Blogger for a day

I've known Nikki for a long time. A looooong long time. Since July of 1986, in fact, when she destroyed my "only child" status. She has always been darling, with blue eyes and blonde ringlets as a child and now a fabulous set of dimples and a killer curvaceous figure (I'm like her figural inverse. Genetics are unfair). She swears she is not stylish but every time we get together I love what she's wearing. She knows how to dress her body type and has a great sense of what colors work on her. Her wardrobe is really functional and is perfect for where she is in life right now (ie stay at home mother of my crazy-pants nephew).

I love this's amazing what one really easy-to-wear and versatile piece can do for your closet (and your sanity as a stay at home mama).


When Kayla first asked me if I would be a guest fashion blogger I almost said no. I feel like I have no fashion, and I often use being a stay-at-home mom (who has no car and thus doesn’t usually go anywhere) as an excuse to be lazy and not try to look cute. But because I am so nice (and because Kayla is my sister), I said I would give it a go. And I really do need to start trying to look good every day. It always makes me feel better.

I looked through my closet probably 20 times before deciding on something. Then I remembered my awesome green Alpine skirt/dress from Sports Authority (I know – of all the places to get a dress…). I haven’t worn it in a while because I completely forgot about it, but now it is found and my love is renewed. This will definitely be a staple in my spring and summer wardrobes. 

For me, having one or two staple items is crucial. Typically it is a pair of jeans. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I recently lost some weight and none of my jeans fit quite right anymore. I'll need to remedy that some time but, until then, skirts and dresses are my go-to items.  

Why do I love this skirt so much? First, it is possibly the most comfortable item of clothing I own. It is a polyester/spandex blend, which means it feels like a super soft, stretchy piece of flowy awesomeness. It is so comfortable I could sleep in it. Second, it is extremely versatile. It can be worn as a dress and fancied up with heels-

Dress: Sports Authority. Undershirt: Downeast Basics. Shoes: Payless.

As a skirt it can be high-waisted (if you have the right shirt, which I don't) or low-

Skirt: Sports Authority. Shirt: Ross, old. Shoes: SO from Kohl's.

And it was amazing while I was pregnant with my son. I could fold it down below my belly, or flip it up for full panel belly support.

Also, post pregnancy, it falls just right so that I can still get down on the floor and play with my 1-year-old son without fearing I am flashing the world.

It's the perfect wardrobe staple for me!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Thank you so much for the kind comments, email and phone calls from my last post. Baby 2 was released from the hospital late this afternoon and there are not words for how happy we are to be HOME.

It will probably be a long week filled with doctor visits and antibiotics and constant monitoring (as if I could take my eyes off him anyway) but today he has been very much his normal, busy self. Thank heavens.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baby 2

Last night we went to dinner with my family. Before we had the chance to order, Baby 2 became unresponsive. Aaron called 911 while he turned blue and my dad tried to get my baby to breathe. Firefighters were there within minutes to take his limp frame from my hands and we had our first ambulance ride. A couple hours, some fever reducer, and a bag of saline later, Baby 2 was happily trying to rip the IV port out of his arm but I don't think I will ever forget those horrifying minutes when I thought he was dying in front of me.

Aaron spent last night in the hospital with Baby 2 and tonight it's my turn. Hopefully we'll be home tomorrow. But in the meantime, please keep my sweet little boy in your thoughts and prayers. It looks like he's got pneumonia and we've had trouble keeping fluids in him and his fever down today.

Mamas, hug your babies tight today. Life can change in a moment.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Whole Foods Resources

Knowing WHERE to find good, organic produce and other whole foods is half the battle. Here's where I get my stuff:

Surprisingly, Costco has been a really good resource for me. They carry a wide range of organic food for cheap, which helps keep my budget in check. There are probably quite a few things I haven't discovered yet in that vast warehouse, but here's what I usually get:
  • Kirkland Organic Creamy Peanut Butter. Organic and only two ingredients, which was nearly impossible to find at my local grocery store [edit: they no longer carry this PB! So sad. I found a decent alternative at Winco, which just came to Mesa]
  • Kirkland Organic Butter. Sometimes organic butter tastes really weird to me and this is one of the best tasting affordable options I've found.
  • Shamrock Farms Organic Milk. I actually haven't seen it there but I have two friends who swear it's there and it's cheaper and I'm just blind. [edit: my Costco still doesn't carry milk and my friend still swears hers does. I get my milk at Winco]
  • Triscuits. Way cheaper to buy them in bulk than by the individual box at the regular grocery store [edit: my store stopped carrying them. I buy them at Winco]
  • Organic Pink Lady Apples. These are my favorite apples and we go through them SO fast. [edit: my store ALSO stopped carrying these. It breaks my heart. I haven't found a good alternative source for organic apples.]
  • Quaker Quick Oats. Oatmeal is a whole food no matter how you get it (unless it's the prepackaged flavored versions, obviously), so go ahead and buy whatever kind of oatmeal you like best.
  • Cheese (including string cheese). In theory we should be eating organic cheese but that junk is expensive and really hard to find. I just read the label and make sure it has less than five ingredients and don't worry about it too much.
  • Maple syrup. As I mentioned in my previous post, organic doesn't matter too much in maple syrup so just make sure you're getting 100% real maple syrup. Costco has a yummy affordable option.
  • Hard white wheat. I didn't get mine at Costco BUT it's the same kind at the same price. Lehi Roller Mills hard white wheat. Great for grinding and making your own tortillas, pasta, etc.
  • Garofalo organic pasta. For when I don't feel like making my own (Aaron refuses to eat whole wheat pasta so this is the next best option. Organic and only one ingredient)
  • Pistachios. WAY cheaper at Costco. As in half the price per pound compared to Sprouts.
  • I've also seen organic quinoa, organic soy milk and organic olive oil but haven't tried them. [edit: the organic olive oil has become a staple and we love it!
  • [Edited to add] Coconut oil. Organic, virgin, cold pressed! It's still pricey but it's LESS pricey than other places, Wal Mart included.
  • [ETA] Organic Antioxidant Fruit Blend. This frozen fruit is my FAVORITE to put in smoothies. 
  • [ETA] Fage yogurt. It's hard to find yogurt with so few ingredients. Costco carries Fage for cheaper.

    Whole Foods. I shop here really sparingly because A. can be a little pricey and B. FAR.
    • Organic chicken and grass fed beef. For the most part we just eat the junky hormone laden stuff you can buy at a regular grocery store (sparingly. A single Costco bag lasts us for over two months) but sometimes I'll spring for the good stuff.
    • Produce, milk, cheese, butter, etc. They've got it all and it's all organic and usually pretty delicious. Beware the packaged foods though! They may be organic but NOT whole foods.

      Amazon. You can find everything else there, why not whole food groceries? There are a lot of good options available (including coconut oil, which I've been meaning to try), but this is what we get:
      • Organic steel cut oats. We LOVE steel cut oatmeal in the mornings but it's surprisingly expensive at the grocery store. This kind is cheap and tastes great. PLUS it's eligible for free shipping.
      • My wheat grinder. This is a newer thing for us and I love it. Homemade tortillas made with fresh ground wheat = to die for.

      • Steel cut oats. We usually get the kind I linked above from Amazon but they're cheap at Sprouts too.
      • Organic produce. For when I need something that Backyard Farmer isn't offering.
      • Lara Bars. I like to keep one or two in my bag for when I'm out and about and starving and fast food is starting to look good. Also, Stinky thinks they are candy bars, so they work for bribes.
      • Bulk craisins/nuts/etc. for granola
      • Organic dairy. They've got a few good milk/yogurt/etc. options

          Great Harvest Bread Company. They're all over and they make their bread with whole grains.

          J. Crow. $2 vanilla beans with free shipping. I use these when I make my own yogurt and occasionally in baking and whatnot and this is the cheapest I've found. I want to try putting some in my next batch of granola (yum!)

          If you're local:

          Backyard Farmer. Delicious produce at good prices. Find them here . Create an account then order away! Submit your order by Sunday night and your produce will be delivered on Wednesday or Thursday. They stock local, raw honey, local grass-fed beef, local and seasonal produce, and lots of other amazing things. Backyard Farmer is my secret weapon to eating well.

          Save Your Dairy. I haven't tried their raw milk yet but apparently it's amazing. I just haven't persuaded myself to drive 30 minutes to pay $10 a gallon for milk yet. Someday...

          Whole Grain Bread Co. Because I am not good at bread baking and they are. Plus they're locally owned. And they give me free samples when I'm in there (they always give Stinky a chunk of cinnamon roll and I had a slice of delicious pumpkin walnut bread last week). We love their honey whole wheat bread and we recently tried their tortillas when I was feeling too lazy to make my own. We love it (even Aaron, who is super picky about his bread)

          Ready and Well Raw Honey. I think they're based in Tempe and I've heard their honey is amazing. There are also rumors that Backyard Farmer will be carrying local desert honey at some point in the coming year too, which would be awesome. [Edit: BYF does carry raw honey now...not sure if it's from Ready and Well, but it's good!]

          Superstition Ranch Market. When I forget to turn in my Backyard Farmer order form or when, like last week, I just want some produce that isn't yet in season locally I'll go to Superstition. SO cheap. I filled my cart last week and the total was less than $22. They do occasionally have some organic options but sometimes I decide I don't care and go crazy with the cheap conventionally grown strawberries and bell peppers.

          Anyone else have some good resources to share?

          Thursday, March 24, 2011

          Shopping My Closet

          Wearing Macy's dress, Old Navy shoes, Etsy earrings, thrifted belt

          I think I've worn this pinstripe dress twice. I bought it several years ago when I was 10 pounds heavier and feeling like it was probably only upwards from there. Which means that when I lost the weight a few months later it was too big. Not WAY too big, but big enough to look kind of awkward.

          The other day I was contemplating tossing it when I realized it had probably never been through the dryer. One quick load of laundry later and ta-da! It just about fits. A quick belting and we're in business. No sewing required.

          I also haven't worn these shoes in about 2 years. The cumulative effect was that I felt like I was wearing a brand new outfit when really it was all stuff that has been languishing in my closet for ages. It kind of makes me wonder what else I've got lurking in there.

          Wednesday, March 23, 2011

          The Wednesday Want

          Syd from The Daybook is hosting a gift card giveaway for Frock Candy which got me perusing their website. I love their shoe selection but these red glitter flats really caught my eye-

          So very Wizard of Oz in the best possible way.

          Plus, on sale for $18! Sadly, there are no more in my size. Blergh. If you're a 6, 6.5 or 9 you're in luck though!

          Tuesday, March 22, 2011

          Guest Post!

          Yes! Again! It was just luck of the draw that these guest posts ended up so close to each other. I'm not really this popular.

          Dianna of Whatever Dee-Dee Wants asked me to put together a spring fashion post for her Bloggers Spring Fling series.

          Legitimacy checklist:

          Get trolled
          Get asked to do a fashion guest post

          Dudes. I have arrived. Check me out.

          Monday, March 21, 2011

          Fashion Blogger (for a day): Caitlin

          Freckles in April Fashion Blogger for a day

          The super cute (and talented!) Caitlin of Hue & Hum e-mailed me last week and mentioned some of the refashions she's done for her husband, Robbie, who is an honest-to-goodness rock star. He's a member of a band called Fictionist that is currently in the running to get on the cover of Rolling Stone (for reals. craaazy stuff, that. Read Caitlin's take here). They've already advanced to round 2!

          I've admitted here to having the world's most boring taste in music but I actually kind of like these guys. I've had them playing ever since Caitlin introduced me. Give them a little listen below:

          (if you have a feed reader you may have to hop out real quick so you can use the nifty widget)

          If you like them, would you take .2 seconds and give them a 5 star rating and help these Provo, Utah boys get their cover? Extra karma points for liking them on facebook (I did!) or doing that tweet thing (I'm so behind the times on that one).

          I was so impressed by the refashion stuff Caitlin has done for Robbie that I asked if she'd be willing to send over some pictures and write a bit about how she outfits her own personal rock star. And now I'm totally inspired to make some awesome shirts for my boys (I wonder if they could grow fros like his??).


          I was the kind of teenager that lived at the thrift store... well not lived, ew - just had a visual and that would be super sketchy.  Anyway, 10 years ago most people just thought that was gross... not cool.  Good thing thrifting is now hip because that deems me way cool instead of a sick-o! {teasing :) ... well, sort of...}  I would come home with bags of "treasures" and my mom would so kindly remind me that "one thing from the thrift store saves you money... but multiple things from the thrift store might be a waste of money...".  Well, yes, that is true.  Wise words.  I tried to be a little more selective, but it didn't stop me from finding treasures and dreaming up creative outfits.  It was just another fun outlet to express my creativity.  I actually met my future mr. wonderful in high school {we were kind of awkward}, and we would venture together after school to find cool belts and funny shirts to wear.  I guess this was just the beginning of us working together on lots of creative projects!

          Years later... wedding bells ring, yahda yahda yahda {insert shmoozy details}... I am a painter and explorer of all things creative.  He is a guitarist and plays in a band called Fictionist.  We have a good time - we laugh a lot, cry occasionally, travel on the road, hang out in our studio/garage, and play with our little dog Albus.  I still love thrifting and find myself collecting {seemingly useless} odds and ends.  They usually sit around and collect dust until I find the perfect "ah-ha!" idea to put them to use.  
          I started making my man custom clothes this past year to save some moolah and because there were seriously no options for cool men's clothing!  You know what I'm talking about... right!?  I'm thinking about the "navy polo shirt, grey hoodie, boring kahki's, brown shoes" experience... bleh.  He practices his guitar like crazy to make sure he sounds like a rock star... and I design him clothes to make sure he looks like a rock star! :)

          Here are a few of our favorites.  I've been pretty influenced by the "Srgt. Pepper" look and vibey retro blazers.  
          I like to treat each tee like a wearable piece of art with color and composition choice.

          a) a personal favorite {heathered grey v neck - Urban Outfitters} plus some cool gold piping {is that what it is called?}.  I use that in a lot of my projects... as you can see
          b) a cool design, Rob picked out the buttons himself... he was very proud of that.  They were the perfect touch{Seafoam v-neck - Urban Outfitters}

          c) oh man, probably my favorite project.  This teal blazer sat in our costume box for a handful of years... pretty sure it was meant for a 12 yr old boy in the 80's.  I chopped the sleeves and modified it for his very tall and lean self, flipped the collar, added some baby blue silk, and my favorite trim.   

          d) He had this black cardigan {Urban Outfitters} for years and never wore it.  I think it was a little too girlishly-slimming and boring.  So I added some detail to make it feel more masculine and uber-hip... colorful arm band, new red buttons, trim, and my personal favorite - the fabric tabs and buttons across the shoulders.

          to keep in touch, follow us at!  We like you, let's be bff's for the rest of our blogging lives.
          xox - hue

          Sunday, March 20, 2011

          A Sunday Share

          I've been silent on Japan largely because I just don't know what to say. I'm overwhelmed and horrified and when I think about it I just get really upset. The tsunami videos have inspired some recurring nightmares. I can't help but put myself in the shoes of all the mothers who must have tried to save their children from that wall of water. There are going to be so many sad stories coming out of this.

          Which is why I cling to the good stories.

          Like this article about a family who has survived TWO tsunamis in the past 6 years.

          And this one about a four month old baby and a 70 year old woman who were both found alive.

          And you have to read the first six paragraphs in this article. Class acts, I tell you. The whole lot of them.

          As bad as the devastation has been, there have been a surprising number of uplifting stories that give a small measure of peace in the midst of a lot of sadness.

          Saturday, March 19, 2011

          Creativity is Lacking. Insert Title Here.

          Wearing Simply Vera top from Kohls, cardigan from NY&Co, Gap skinnies
          I got no fewer than six compliments on this outfit while out running errands. All of those compliments came from women over the age of 65. I don't know if I should be flattered or concerned.

          Several of those compliments came while I was at Costco. I have a serious love/hate relationship with that place. I haaate that they don't take credit cards. WHO DOES NOT TAKE VISA IN THIS DAY AND AGE?!? I never have my checkbook on me and I don't have a debit card (long story which boils down to: I lost it) so half the time I'll be almost there and realize I have to turn around and go home to get my checkbook. Or, one very memorable time, I was standing AT THE REGISTER and had no way to pay. Lovely.

          Ignore the stupid face and focus on my new shirt, which I love

          Also, they move things around. Which is fine if you make a practice of going up and down every single aisle each time you go. But I don't. I just want to get my mozzarella and my baby wipes and get out of there. I spent 20 minutes last week trying to figure out where they had relocated the graham crackers to. So annoying.

          BUT! It saves me a ton of money and mostly I love it (when we walk inside Stinky always looks around and goes, "Ooooh, this is a nice place!" We're so white trash). So I will keep going (and forgetting my checkbook).

          Oh, AND one of those old ladies who liked my shirt told me that she had never been to Costco before. And, prior to last week, she had never even HEARD of Costco. I was speechless.

          Friday, March 18, 2011

          Guest Post!

          Sumo's Sweet Stuff

          I've got a fun framing tutorial going on today over at Sumo's Sweet Stuff, a crafty type blog run by my sister's sister-in-law (you catch that?).

          Nudity warning: Stinky's darling baby bum makes an appearance.

          Thursday, March 17, 2011

          Spring Skirt Number 3

          That's right. Suspenders.

          Wearing Wal Mart shirt, Wal Mart suspenders (probably the only 2 clothing items I own from WM), skirt by me, Toms wedges

          I took one look at this skirt when I finished it and said, "This needs suspenders." I actually finished it before Skirt 2 but it took me to find the stupid suspenders. And the longer I looked the more stuck I got on the idea and refused to photograph it without them. What I want to know is: who are all these stingy old men who are refusing to donate their suspenders to Goodwill??

          I finally found some at Wal Mart yesterday for $6.50. And I'm afraid you're going to be seeing a lot of these around here because, as it turns out, I love suspenders.

          I used this tutorial from Adventures in Dressmaking and I'm really pleased with the results. I used one of Aaron's old shirts and a button from my stash (came as an extra with a peacoat I bought 2 years ago) so I didn't have to buy anything. Plus, this skirt marks my first waistband* and my very first buttonhole. Exciting times, my friends. Exciting times.

          Waistband and button awesomeness.

          *This website had the best step by step waistband tutorial ever. She mentions it in the original tutorial I linked to above but go to "Sewing Techniques", then click "waistlines" then "straight waistband" and prepare to make a perfect waistband on the very first try.

          Spring Skirt Number 2

          Wearing Downeast Basics shirt, skirt by me, thrifted shoes

          When I asked for skirt and dress suggestions Anne left a comment with a link to J. Crew's Dorrie skirt. I fell in love with the topstitch detail on the waistband and pockets and decided to give it a try.

          I found a great cream colored linen blend at SAS (my faaavorite place for fabric and notions) for $2.99 a yard. Score.

          It's just a gathered rectangle (60x22. Should have done more like 54x22 so the skirt would have hung a little straighter), patch pockets, and a waistband (go to sewing techniques > waistlines > straight waistband) with several rows of topstitching.

          I am not pregnant, despite what this photo would have you believe.

          I actually made 2 versions. Skirt 1.0 was high waisted and I decided I didn't like the rise. But it came together so easily I was like, "I'll make another one! No big deal!" And then Skirt 2.0 was nearly the death of me. Every. single. seam. had to be picked out at least once. The pockets gave me fits. The fabric snagged.

          Sometimes the sewing gods shine down upon you and sometimes they spit in your face and stomp on your project and make you say bad words. BUT! In the end, I triumphed. Mostly. If I were to tackle this again I wouldn't do a tabbed waistband (I think it looks unintentional) and I'd make the pockets bigger (they always seem so big before you take out the seam allowance!). But otherwise I'm really happy with it! It's a great lightweight skirt for the warmer weather we have coming at us this week!

          Wednesday, March 16, 2011


          I love this little handwriting meme. It's kind of neat to see what all my blog friends' handwriting looks like. Erica of North Meets South tagged me, so here's mine-

          The questions:
          1. what's your name and blogger name?
          2. what's your blog's URL?
          3. Write, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
          4. Favorite quote?
          5. Favorite song?
          6. Favorite band/singers?
          7. Anything else you want to say?
          My answers:

          Necesita imaginer hay un accento sobre "Ramon"

           I love my handwriting. It's bouncy and a little cramped but I think it's pretty. Especially for a lefty! I would love to learn (HA I typed "lurn" and it took me a second to figure out what was wrong. I need to go back to school. Or get some sleep. One of the two) calligraphy. Melissa's writing fills me right up with envy.

          I'm supposed to tag a bunch of people but I'm the meme killer who never tags people. I'm allergic. So if you haven't done it then do it! I want to see your handwriting. Leave a comment if you do so I can make sure to hop over and see.

          *comments now closed due to a weirdly high number of spam comments.

          Tuesday, March 15, 2011

          How She Wore It / How I Wore It

          As it turns out, the hilarious Meredith of Yours, Mine and Ours and I have the very same Target maxi dress. I got mine for $10 on the clearance rack and she got hers for even cheaper at the thrift store. That right there is a woman after my own penny-pinching heart.

          Once we discovered we were dress twins we decided a joint post was in order.

          How she wore it:

          I bought this Target maxi dress from the SPCA even though it was two sizes too big. This thrifter can't be a chooser and the racer back/price/color were the "it" factors for me. It's my "haven't shaved me legs in forev" go-to dress. Hot, right? 

          How I wore it:

          to park day, errands, etc. Wearing Target dress, Wal-Mart shirt, thrifted belt, Soda sandals
          Quick change for date night! Wearing Target dress and cardigan, thrfited belt, Old Navy necklace, thrifted wedges (which you can't see because our lawn needs mowing...)

          Monday, March 14, 2011

          Fashion Blogger (for a day): Elisa

          Freckles in April Fashion Blogger for a day

          I met Elisa in 2003 in the dorms at BYU. We were brand-spankin' new freshmen and she lived just down the hall. She did the first 30 for 30 with me, much to my delight, and we have an annual shopping date each December when she comes to my neck of the woods to visit her mom. Needless to say, I very very much look forward it (only 9 more months!).

          When I asked Elisa to be one of my guest posters I didn't tell her I was hoping she'd write about her curves. She read my mind though and totally delivered. I'm a little horrified by her post (you'll see why. Fortunately, she has forgiven me) but I love it and her.

          Elisa's fabulous photos are courtesy of Judith Rinehart at the Foster White Gallery


          Allow me to begin with a word: BOOBS!*

          One of the pivotal moments in my fashion existence actually happened because Kayla made a comment about my boobs. I have never blogged about this and I doubt she remembers this conversation, but it changed my life.

          First, a little background. I would describe myself as a tomboy, but that would imply that I’m good at sports, and I’m not. If there were a word for a geeky tomboy (Gameboy?) I would be that. I am not a girly girl. I don’t wear much make-up, I have short hippie hair, and I wore sandals with socks until alarmingly recently.

          I was also one of those unfortunate kids who started puberty really early, before it was cool. I was a C-cup by the time I was ten. My best friend’s mom asked me, at the age of sixteen, to be on deck as a surrogate, should said BFF be unable to conceive (no lie). I was a finished woman before most of my friends had started. I felt like a freak, so I did my best to wear clothes that hid my body, and/or made it clear that I so did not care about clothes. This look works for no one. 

          Back to Kayla. It was freshman year. We lived on the same floor in the dorms at BYU. We were forced to eat cafeteria style on a regular basis, which made me feel younger but also forced me to make friends, so overall a good thing. Kayla, our mutual friend Rachel, and a couple of guys were sitting around, eating and talking. I don’t remember exactly the topic of conversation, but I think it had something to do with Halloween. I mentioned needing, for whatever weird costume I was planning, a white sweater.

          Kayla mentioned, “I have a white cardigan,” and I responded, jokingly, “Well, maybe I’ll borrow it sometime.”

          To which my dear blunt friend replied, “Um, I don’t think it would fit. You are a LOT bustier than I am.”

          What she said didn’t hurt my feelings, let me be clear. It’s just that I had NO IDEA that such a female-sounding word could be applied to me. I knew my boobs were there, obviously. I’m not an idiot. But when I was talking to Rachel later that day and mentioned how silly I felt that Kayla had said I was busty in front of a boy, the equally blunt Rachel said, “Well, c’mon, I’m sure they’ve noticed.” 

          That revelation was akin to Jor-El appearing to Clark Kent for the first time and explaining to him his extraterrestrial origins on the Planet Krypton—a simultaneous revelation as to why he had always felt different, and the source of his superpowers.**

          It’s hard to describe how much this conversation changed how I feel about my body. I genuinely had no idea that as a woman, having hips and breasts is perfectly normal. Some men even (gasp!) like them. It blew my mind. And from then on, I stopped trying to hide my body in clothes that don’t fit or resemble tarpaulins.

          Black skinny pants, Target. Pink t-shirt, also Target. Black fake leather jacket, Target (WHICH IS APPARENTLY MY FAVORITE STORE). Black pumps, thrifted

          Nowadays, I enjoy shopping for clothes and coming up with outfits. I find clothing that emphasizes things I like about myself. After years of sports bras and baggy t-shirts, I now enjoy my bustiness (is that a word?). I also enjoy my legs, even though they are oddly short. I try to find things that make my curves look like I meant them to be there, not like I wish they were dead.

          Also, I try to think of clothing as art. Some people like Rothko, some don’t. Not a big deal. Accordingly, if a piece of clothing does not fit or does not look good, that is not a negative statement about me. It doesn’t mean that I am freakishly shaped or fat or whatever. It means that the piece of clothing is wrong. That’s it. There is no single item of clothing that was manufactured to fit everyone and look fabulous. Find the things that were made for your body and rock them, sister.

          Your curves are here. Get used to it.

          Here are some things I wear a lot:

          1. I wear a lot of black. I also wear a lot of bright colors. I try to mix it up a little bit, to avoid looking like a squashed Morticia Adams or a carnie. 

          2. The more I thrift, the more I discover what I really like to wear, as opposed to what THE MAN is TELLING me I should wear. Also, I am cheap. 

            Turquoise blazer, thrifted

          3. For a vegetarian, I wear an awful lot of “leather.” 

            Brown fake leather jacket, Target

          4. Never wear anything that you cannot easily wash in case you get baby puke or muddy doggy paws on it.
          Black pumps, thrifted.

          *Sorry if that alienates half your readership, K.
          **Sorry if that alienates the other half of your readership.

          Sunday, March 13, 2011

          A Sunday Share

          My friend Ashley shared this sweet video on her blog last month. It's of her sister Olivia and (now) brother-in-law Justin. I watched it like 3 times, which is kind of creepy of me since I think I've only met Olivia once like 7 years ago. But it's just so cute!

          Olivia & Justin from Haugen Creative on Vimeo.

          Also, I wanted to share this post and this post from Definitely RA. They are both beautifully poignant reminders to be kind. You never know what other people are going through.

          Hope you are having a lovely Sunday!

          Saturday, March 12, 2011

          Spring Skirt Number 1

          Wearing: Hanes t-shirt, skirt by me, thrifted shoes. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure this whole outfit cost less than $10

          Operation Make a Whole Bunch of Skirts has commenced. I got like 5 yards of this fabric on super clearance at Joanns forever ago and wasn't sure what to do with it. It was a great "ah-HA!" moment when I pulled it out of my stash while looking for a good skirt fabric.

          I used this skirt tutorial from Freshly Picked. My fabric is a stretchy knit and it worked fabulously (plus: no hemming!) so I'd say it's a good tutorial that will work with whatever type of fabric you have on hand.

          I think it makes me look a little wide but eh. It's super comfortable, it has a pocket and I love it. I've got like 3 or 4 more fabrics that are lookin' good for this pattern.

          Also, I'd say the Skirt Party is a go! I'm super excited. I'm going to try and pin down details via e-mail, so if you're interested in coming make sure you get your e-mail address to me!

          Thursday, March 10, 2011

          Whole Foods and Your Budget

          The question I probably get asked the most about our whole foods diet is what it has done to our grocery bill. Honestly, it has been all over the place.

          At first, with regular meal planning and just kind of doing the same things I always did but with different types of meals, it basically stayed the same. A little higher than I'd like but still under the budget number Aaron had given me, just like always.

          And then came October. I don't know if it was because we were moving and meal planning was hard or because I was in a food storage frame of mind or what but we (...ok, I) spent an embarrassingly huge amount of money on groceries. I did a lot of stocking up, which was nice, but there was some serious sticker shock going on around here. Like, whoa.

          So for the month of November I decided to see if we could eat whole foods on $50 a week. I did this knowing that October left me with a well-stocked pantry. We had plenty of maple syrup, chicken broth, canned pumpkin, peanut butter, etc. so grocery shopping every week was pretty much going to be the perishable stuff that you always end up getting every week- milk, eggs, produce. I don't know if this is something you could do every week forever, but I was able to do it for a month and it was a really valuable learning experience.

          Here's what I learned:

          1. Plan meals around produce

          Here's where I have to admit to being completely spoiled. There's a local business that provides (non FDA-certified) organic produce. They're a group of people who are passionate about healthy, organic foods and want to share. Each week they send out an order form via email. You fill it out and send it back and on Wednesdays they drop off a box full of fresh, local, seasonal produce at your house. Including farm fresh eggs, if you want. It's cheaper than the grocery store organic section and their produce is amazing.

          But even without your own personal local produce source it's still cheaper to plan meals around fruits and veggies than meat. I go through the order form each week, pick out what sounds good, then plan meals around that stuff. I use the ingredients function to find recipes for new veggies. I try to plan simple meals that involve things that I can make cheaply like pasta and tortillas. I make kitchen-sink fried rice or pasta dishes to use up whatever is left at the end of the week so nothing goes to waste.

          2. Know when to buy organic

          It can really help your grocery bill to know what you should buy organic and when it doesn't really matter. Go here to download a pocket guide .pdf (or the iPhone app) of fruits and veggies listed in order of pesticide concentration. Or go here for the full list of 49. For me, if it's in the top 15 (the "clean 15") I buy conventionally grown. For 15-20 I buy organic if it's an option but if it's not then I just go with conventionally grown. Anything below 20 I buy organic. If it's not available then I do without.

          For the first couple months of doing whole foods I was selling kidneys to pay for organic maple syrup. It was amazingly delicious, which meant Aaron DOUSED his pancakes with it. Every morning we had pancakes (which was like 4 mornings a week) I watched in horror as Aaron gulped down dollar bills. I usually topped my pancakes with yogurt, but when I did use maple syrup I kept myself to a very conservative drizzle.

          Finally, I decided to see if organic really mattered when it came to maple syrup. In my very scientific and extensive research (meaning like 4 minutes of Googling) it appears that the difference is fairly minimal and the reason a lot of growers choose to get organic certification is because they can charge a lot more for the same product. So I bid adieu to the fancy expensive organic maple syrup and got the large 2-pack from Costco. The taste is pretty much the same but the monetary savings are ridiculous.

          A little bit of research can go a long way and the nice thing about living in the information age is that you have easy access to a lot of the kind of information you need to make good decisions about what you eat.

          3. Distinguish between needs and wants and bring your calculator with you.

          I don't do it quite this way now that I'm not on such a strict budget, but it worked really well for November.

          Once upon a time my grocery list was organized according to the store layout because it always had so many items I had to plan my route so as not to miss anything. Whole foods is a rather simpler way of eating so (after produce), my list is usually pretty short and I divided it into two columns: Need and Want.

          The Need column always had milk in it and then a few things for specific meals for the week. Fresh mozzarella for some pizza and a salad. Bread, because I can't make a decent whole wheat loaf to safe my life.

          In the want column I put things that would be nice but weren't necessary if they didn't fit in the budget. Graham crackers for the kids. Triscuits for snacking. Steel cut oats (we had tons of regular oatmeal on hand so we weren't going oatmeal-less if we couldn't fit in the steel cut kind).

          I made a quick round of the store and got the things from my "Need" list (if I had to buy my produce at the grocery store I would have started there). As I put them in the cart I wrote the price next to the item on my list and kept a running total on my calculator. And then I made another round and started picking up things from my want list. This sometimes required a little juggling as I ended up prioritizing and deciding what I really wanted and what we could live without.

          This was an incredibly effective method of keeping to my budget. The most I went over was 75 cents. One week I was under by a couple dollars.

          4. Make friends with your freezer

          Some weeks my budgetary saving grace was that I had a frozen meal that I could use. Freezer meals are awesome for when you don't feel like cooking AND that's one less meal you have to plan and buy ingredients for. Win win.

          Thing that can bust your budget:
          • Meat. I made these pan-seared steak rolls once with organic grass-fed beef. It was amazing. And the beef was $15 a pound. Fortunately, the recipe only calls for half a pound, but still. That right there is a special occasion splurge.
          • Packed snacks. Just steer clear of packaged foods. Even if it's "organic" it may not be a "whole food" (they are not synonymous!) and you just end up paying a premium for fancy junk food.
          How to save your budget:
          • If a recipe calls for meat I usually halve the meat and double the veggies. We very rarely eat red meat anymore. A bag of frozen chicken from Costco (far from the best option but definitely the most affordable) lasts us for ages.
          • Sadly, we don't like beans. BUT! They are a really cheap source of protein, so if you DO like them then have at it. I'm not sure how I feel about lentils but they're a really affordable healthy filler type food as well.
          • Kitchen sink meals. I've learned that a lot of veggies are interchangeable in a lot of recipes. At the end of the week I take whatever we've got left and throw it all together and serve it over rice or tortillas or pasta. You squeeze an extra meal out of what you've got and nothing goes to waste.
          • Snack on Triscuits, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, sliced veggies, and string cheese.

          These days I'm comfortably feeding our family a modified whole foods type diet on an average of $75-$100 a week. That number includes non-grocery items like diapers and plastic wrap, so I'm pretty happy with it.

          Next: I'll share my favorite resources to make it easier for you to FIND whole foods!

          Wednesday, March 9, 2011

          The Wednesday Want


          Oh my goodness gracious. Liz of Say Yes to Hoboken posted about this scallop skirt yesterday and I diiiied. So pretty and springy and I think I have to try it (sadly, I had literally JUST walked in the door from a visit to JoAnn's when I saw this. As in, the bag containing elastic and new pins was still in my hand. Why could I not have seen it BEFORE visiting the fabric store??).

          Tutorial over at BurdaStyle.

          Bonus: tulle is usually super cheap!
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