Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Going Somewhere

Cardi: Target hand-me-down,  Shirt & Shorts: H&M,  Boots: Coconuts via DSW

Ho hum.  What exactly am I doing with this blog?  This is the question I've asked myself for a few years now.  I love that it's here.  I think about it everyday - post or no post.  I have no intention of shutting it down.  It's become a strange extension of me - like a neglected child, waiting for my attention.  When I first stopped posting consistently, I felt guilty.  This mental image of style blogger Jenga, my piece wiggling it's way out of the stack.  The dream of becoming a foundational piece in the game was never going to happen.

I am not a fashion blogger.  There, I said it.  I am a blogger who has an interest in fashion, among many other interests.  You know all those blogging how-to's that say there should be a clear focus?  I'm going to ignore all that.  Because the fact is, my life is not very focused.  I like it that way.  And this is about me, right?  Yes.  Shopping and fashion will always be my go-to, but I'm not going to allow myself to feel weird if I want to share something different.  Such as...

The Pugs that run my life and take over my Instagram feed.  Heaven help me that I should want to talk about them more, but I totally do.  I want to obsess over Ollie's pawsiness and Daisy's snorts.  I want to post dog park reviews in their own words.  Ollie will say things like, "Everything is Awesome!".  Daisy will be all, "I kept up with Ollie the whole time, even though I couldn't breath!".

My paid work revolves around two local boutiques.  Teeny Bee recently raised funds to open a play space downstairs - the Bloom Room.  Think baby play dates, music class, yoga, and art.  It's the happiest little place in the Twin Cities.  Then there's Sisu - the thing that keeps me fashionably afloat.  We have some events and endeavors coming up that I'm so excited about - hello, fall fashion!  The success of these small businesses is important to me, so I will plug them whenever I can.

I hope to travel more in the coming months/year, but I also love exploring home.  Minnesota is full of things to do and see.  I want to do and see all of it.  Steve and I will be adventuring in the Boundary Waters next week!   We're hard core like that.

I'm grateful to be surrounded by some seriously talented friends.  People who pursue their passions - music, writing, photography, film making, designing, and all other forms of creativity.  It all has a place here, in my little cyber space called Spoils of Wear, even if it isn't wearable, but just because I say so.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fashionable Minnesota Events

Mark your calendars!  There are lots of fashionable events coming up in the Twin Cities that you do not want to miss.  I'm sad to be opting out of several due to travel plans, but I will surely be present where I can.  And if you have nothing to wear to these fabulous parties, come see me at Sisu so I can live/dress vicariously through your outfit.

F21 Red Grand Opening 
When: Saturday, July 12 (tomorrow!) - starts at 10am
Where: The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove

Macy's Glamorama 2014 - Fashion Rocks
When: Friday, August 1 - 8pm
Where: State Theater - 805 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

ICONS: Film, Fashion, Rock 'n' Roll
When: Saturday, August 9 - 8pm
Where: secret, Twin Cities location announced to ticket holders 1 week before the event

Wild Ruffle Pop-Up Market
When:  Sunday, August 24 from 4-8pm
Where: Main Avenue, downtown Prior Lake

Minnesota Fashion Week
When: Friday, September 12th - 19th
Where: various events/locations

Angel and Divas Fashion Show
When: Thursday, September 18 - 6-10pm
Where: A'BULAE - 255 East 6th Street, St. Paul

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

FMSC Sports Fan

Hat: JCP,  Necklace: Sisu,  Shirt: FMSC Marketplace
Skirt: H&M,  Shoes: Kohl's

At least once a year, I organize a volunteer session at Feed My Starving Children's packing facility in Eagan, MN.  I always buy a shirt from the Marketplace (shirt = 65 meals) and have already gotten some use out of this baseball tee.

I'm all aboard the sporty trend.  "Sporty Chic" is what we're calling it.  It all started with the resurgence of the Snedge Weaker Wedge Sneaker.  This look is accomplished by juxtaposing traditional sportswear with dressier items.  Go shopping in your man-friend's closet, throw on some bling, and you're good to go.  Easy, cheap, comfortable, fun - sums up my life in fashion.

Even though I don't consistently play or follow any sport, I do enjoy trying.  Golf (clarification: "ball golf" - not to be confused with Disc Golf), is my favorite sport.  As a kid, I played 3 years of softball and 1 year of soccer.  I was never on a winning team.  It's ok though - learning how to lose builds character.  I used to think that's just what people said to make losers feel better, but as an adult I realize it's actually true.  Go team!

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Steps to Looking Cool

Sunglasses: c/o Firmoo,  Vest: Big Star via Sisu

Bet you never thought you'd see THAT headline on this blog, huh?   Haha ha.  Hmm.

Step 1:  Find a collar.  Pop it.
Step 2:  Do "big hair".  In my case, the biggest hair I can accomplish in Minnesota humidity.
Step 3:  Wear big sunglasses.
Step 4:  Make friends with a photographer.
Step 5:  Pretend like it's no big deal and you look this great all the time.

Bonus Step:  Adopt a Pug.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rockin' Shades

Glasses: c/o Firmoo,  Shirt: JCP,  Pants: Gap,  Shoes: vintage

I go through a lot of sunglasses.  Probably because I tend to choose fashion over function.  I think I can tolerate them a little too tight around my ears, or a bit too loose on my nose.  It's all fine for a second, and then I'm miserable.  My face strains to be comfortable and I end up with a headache.  Knowing that I'm never fully satisfied with sunglasses, I usually buy them cheap.

Free is also good.  Which is why I agreed to try a pair from Firmoo.  Being that these are online and I couldn't try them on, my expectations were fairly low.  How often do I try on my first choice at the store for a good fit/feel?....like, never.

Crazily enough, the Firmoo glasses are awesome.  I wasn't familiar with wrap-around sunglasses until I realized the difference with Firmoo. They're light-weight, comfortable, and don't pinch or slide anywhere.   They don't get tangled in my hair when I put them on my head, nor do they make deep, sweaty indents in my nose.  Dare I say, they are a perfect fit.  Ah-mazing.

They came with both a soft and hard case, so I have no excuse but to keep them in pristine condition (sunglasses + roller coaster = how I lost my last favorite pair).  Should I ever need to replace them, I will most definitely spend a little extra and buy from Firmoo.  They have a good variety of styles without overwhelming, and prices are very reasonable for the quality ($39-79).  Given my great first experience,  I trust that I'd be happy with just about any pair.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Reading List

It's weird for me to say this, but there's nothing on TV.  Rather, there's nothing on TV that I'm stuck on or look forward to.  Don't get me wrong.  I TiVo Fashion Police.  I love Big Bang Theory past and present.  I'm always up for syndicated How I Met Your Mother, What Not to Wear, and the occasional Seinfeld.  Survivor is the reality show of choice, but it's not on again until fall.  I'm obsessed with BBC Sherlock and Downton Abbey, but their seasons are over in the blink of an eye.

So I read.  It's better this way.  My reading list is extensive.  Now I'm deep in the world of Goodreads (let's be friends).  I have the best of intentions with self help and biographies, but I can't seem to break away from juicy fiction novels.  Since my last bookish post, I managed to complete The Hunger Games series, Divergent, In the Fields (for the 2nd time),  The Fault in Our Stars, Love Me with Lies series + Mud Vein,  Gone Girl, The Book Thief, Outlander, AND got a sneak peek at Maybe Maby, which I will be buying in paperback the moment it's released on July 13th.  I have this thing about holding good literature in true, paper form.

Willow Aster on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, June 2, 2014

Legging Love

Jacket: Vintage - thrifted,  Shirt: Tea n Rose,  Leggings: M. Rena c/o Shop Adorn
Shoes: DSW,  Jewelry: Sisu

I think this jacket was once part of a uniform.  I originally thought food industry, but it's 1- too clean, and 2 - canary yellow.  Department store cosmetic counter, maybe?  I could see Clinique making their reps wear yellow.  Other ideas?

Now, you need to know about M. Rena.  I own two 3/4 sleeve dresses in black and brown (worn here), one tank dress in ivory (I wear as a slip), and these tummy tuck leggings in blue/ink.  They are easily the most worn basics in my closet.  The regular tanks are reversible - v-neck on one side, scoop on the other (genius).  Fabric is soft and durable, doesn't roll, and washes better than any other brand I've tried.

These leggings are as perfect as leggings get.  They're completely opaque.  I don't personally believe in leggings as pants, but should the tunic ever take a vacation from my rear, there would still be coverage.

M. Rena does have a midrise option if the tummy panel isn't for you, but man-oh-man, I love it.  Smoothes everything out, holds everything in, without that suffocating shapewear feeling.  They are pro-burrito.  Chipotle, here I come.

Shop Adorn has many M. Rena options available online.  Most styles are one size (aka "super stretchy"), so that's one less thing to worry about.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Choir Story

Remember when I wrote about why Tuesday is my favorite day of the week?  And you were all confused surprised impressed that I sing in a church choir?  Not like it was the first time I'd mentioned it, but it's not something that comes up often on a style blog.  It's actually been a major part of my existence for the last 18 years.  Probably time to elaborate on that, huh?

I could be addicted to worse things.  Spend every Sunday and Tuesday at the bar or casino or The Gap (wink).  But nope - I'm like one of those Glee kids, only it's a gospel "youth" choir and I've been officially not-a-youth for quite a few years now.  Even if I thought I could shake it off (which has been proven impossible - keep reading), I wouldn't want to.  Pretty sure it's imprinted on my DNA by now. Steve's too - two years after his graduation from Choir Director to Media Ministry, the platform still feels most like home.

We've made a few albums.  Been on a few tours.  Experienced some major highs, few lows, and a lot of in betweens.  The reasons I've stuck with it so long depends on what era we're talking about.  I joined because it was the funnest thing a 13 year old Christian girl could do and all the cool kids were in it.  I stayed because I genuinely like to sing and worship - things you can do louder in a choir.  It became like a second family. I couldn't imagine sitting in the congregation.  And then, because I was playing kissy-face with the director.

Then just a few years ago, when Steve wasn't going to be directing any longer, it seemed like a good time to make a career change that might prevent me from attending consistently - phase out, classy-like.

It didn't work.  I've never been more unsettled, unhappy, empty.  I suppose it would be hard to pull the plug on a decade of anything, but the job - not choir - had to go.  After thinking I could be ok without, I realized the opposite was what I really needed.  I've come to consider the choir a calling.  Through a divine set of circumstances I was planted, soprano side.  Turns out the roots run too deep to be tampered with.

I'm glad it remains such a big part of my life.  I'm proud and grateful for the phase the choir is in right now.  We're small, but mighty.  We truly love and support one another as individuals - it's beautiful.  Our current director, Debbie, is awesome - in a completely different, yet equally valid way than Steve.  The focus is less performance, more worship.  And unless I'm totally clueless, we are drama-free (though I still like to feign rivalry with the altos).

So there it is, My ABC Youth Choir story.

Click on the video to enjoy another (much funnier) story - G! True Hollywood Story.

True Hollywood Story - ABC Youth Choir from Grace Place on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Squishy Things

Necklace: JCP,  Jacket: Kut via Sisu,  Dress: Wet Seal,  Shoes: MIA Girl via DSW,
Black, squishy thing: Daisy the Pug

Today, my friend and owner of Sisu, Heidi, is experiencing the loss of Lewis, her 12 year old Springer Spaniel.  I keep having flashbacks to the morning Steve and I said goodbye to Miles.  Heidi and I were working together then too.  I had never dealt with grief like that before.  I went into work, seeking distraction, hoping to rid myself of the pain as quickly as possible.  That's not really the best way to deal with the death of a pet.  Heidi sent me home to crumble and grieve.  It was awful, but necessary.

More than 2 years later, I still choke a little on Miles' memory.  He was so young, but we went through so much together it almost feels like we had him for a full doggy lifetime.  He was such a big deal, we had to supplement him with TWO Pugs  - ha!

Oliver and Daisy are pure joy.  They are also HEALTHY, thank goodness.  After hearing about sweet Lewis, I snuggled those velvety wrinkles extra long this morning.  I imagine Miles and Lewis have already found each other, made introductions, and are feasting together at a table of heavenly protein.

Squish them (lovingly) while you have them.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tribut Apparel

Two gifts represented in this post:

1.  Photography by Joanna Grace Photography - We met as a result of modeling for Sisu.  Joanna works next door at Energy Pilates (and has the body to prove it).  She also has a photography business and an interest in fashion.  Yay!  Now we're friends.  On the days that our Sisu/Energy schedules intersect, she takes my picture.  Blogger dream come true.

2.  T-shirt from Tribut Apparel - I received an introductory email from this line a while back, and they were kind enough to send me a shirt.  I love it.  I'll never deny a music-centric graphic tee, especially one with an earphone-wearing pig on it.

Shirt: c/o Tribut Apparel,  Tank: NikiBiki,  Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Charles David via 6pm.com