A Year in Review: 2015

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What to say about 2015? Looking back on my 2014 wrap-up post I can say things have remained remarkably the same. I still love my job, I still love clothes, and I can't say I've done any better at being circumspect about the number of new pieces I buy. BUT. I can say that I've continued to curate my wardrobe pretty aggressively throughout the year and I'm proud of that.

I've sold some things, given away a number of pieces to friends, and donated even more. My apartment is still small (ugh, studio life) and I'd like to remain at a level where I'm not forced to rotate my closet seasonally.  And I'm still financially at a place where I can add/subtract pieces without guilt. There are things I am going to get rid of at a loss and you know what? That's life. My style and feelings about what I wear/want to wear change constantly and rather than regretting the $$ I spent on a top or a dress I'm just going to feel good about letting it go.

I think 2016 is going to be about continuing to declutter, determining what I want in my personal space (& what I'm willing to give up to get it), and feeling good about whatever purchases I do make.

Here's to a great 2016 everyone- thank you for reading and being on this journey with me!
(Outfits: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve)

Season's Greetings

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So it's apparently going to be almost 70 degrees on Christmas (with a high of 75 on Christmas Eve) and I have to admit it's putting me in a crappy mood. I like my seasons seasonal dammit, which includes chilly weather and sweaters on Christmas.


Since it's still one of my favorite holidays, I plan to spend the day cooking in my hot apartment (yay no AC >.<) listening to and watching the movies and specials I fell in love with as a child. I hope that each one of you gets to spend the day as you choose to, doing whatever makes you happy, and enjoying the long weekend.


Blazer: TJ Maxx (similar) ~ Top: J.Crew Factory ~ Jeans: Joe's ~ Shoes: Vince Camuto ~ Necklace: Banana Republic (old) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade ~ Bag: BP.

Geek of the Week #31

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// Is anyone actually surprised by this? I pretty much never shop at Bed, Bath & Beyond without at least 2 coupons.

// Yes, I bought the album and yes I'm freakishly excited for this special. I DON'T CARE OK?!

// I don't know how I missed the Kickstarter for this but LOOK.

//Mail me these and I will LOVE YOU FOREVER (platonically).
// No one is going to convince me Love Actually isn't one of the best Christmas movies of all time. Even 12 years later.

// You can't tell me this meal doesn't look awesome.

// Just in case you didn't notice, the season has made me want all the carbs all the time.

// On my to-do list for when I get back from vacation.

Fun Posts & Random Finds: I was already upset when I heard Jezebel was going to be retooled into a celebrity gossip/pop culture site, but this article just makes me even more angry at this whole debacle. //  I don't own any plants - yet - but who cares? These things are adorable! // Sydney's family is so freaking adorable I can't take it. //I ain't mad at you, guy who voiced Arnold. Phew!

Clothing & Jewelry: All the holiday dresses! This one. And this one. This one has a beautiful print. A classic in green. This is a lovely cocktail appropriate dress with wonderful lace applique. //  Anyone need a new evening clutch? // Some of the cutest pajamas ever. // Some scarves I've bought this season include this one (so comfy!) and this one. // And out of character for me, I really like this puffball hat but it's stupid expensive.

black on black

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I'm not going to say (yet) that this is going to be the only holiday dress I purchase this year but I think it's a damn good one for a variety of events. The higher neck and lace accent make it unique from the other black dresses in my closet, and the fun flare skirt keeps it feeling young (plus I can eat in it, always a top priority for me). I've also worn this with tights and flats to work already, so I'd say it's pretty versatile for a fancy-ish black dress!

(Note: Dress runs a bit small in my opinion, I'm wearing a size 10 here.)

Dress: Tracy Reese (also available from Nordstrom) ~ Shoes: ASOS (similar here and here) ~ Clutch: Vince Camuto (old, similar from Sole Society) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade ~ Watch: Ebay (similar) ~ Bracelet: The Limited ~ Earrings: ASOS

IMAGE Skincare Review

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Let me start this review with the same disclaimer my esthetician gave me when she recommended these products: the serum is HORRIBLY named and she's repeatedly suggested they change it, but no such luck. Like a lot of Asian "whitening" products, the "bleaching" serum is meant to lighten hyperpigmentation, whether from age spots, sun spots, or healing acne scars (which is why I'm trying it). She did not recommend using it all over my face but only in the specific places where I've broken out and I'm working to lighten any brown spots. Ok? I'm sorry it sounds so terrible but... here we are.


Now that we're over that hurdle, let's get down to business. For months I've been working to find a new SPF, knowing that I needed to wear one everyday, but my oily, medium complexion, skin makes this a hard thing to find. If a product doesn't a have a white cast or break me out, it ends up leaving me oily as hell and in the middle of a humid DC summer I just can't have that.  I wasn't able to try this on my face before I bought it, but I swatched it on my arm and liked the way it quickly absorbed into the skin without anything sticky or shiny on the surface. And at ~$35 for 3.2oz it's significantly less expensive than the La Prairie moisturizer I used last year so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Final thoughts? Generally feeling quite positive about this! It does the same thing on my face that it did on my arm, absoring quickly with no white cast. I also feel like it's doing something to control my oily skin because my foundation and blush are staying on my face better, especially on my chin where I always have the most issues. Unfortunately it has a really strong bubble gum smell, which I can detect even after I've rubbed it in, though thankfully not after I've applied foundation.

Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The bleach serum is a bit harder to judge. It has a good percentage (2%) of hydroquinone, along with a mix of glycolic acid and azelic acid, all working to exfoliate the top layer of skin and reduce inflammation. Good stuff right? I haven't been using it long enough to say definitively, but I do think it's helping and since I'm not experiencing any new breakouts I'm happy enough to keep using it. Especially because again, at the $35 price point, as a spot treatment this little bottle is guaranteed to last me a loooooong time.

Final Thoughts? Also positive! It's got a nice texture, goes on clear and doesn't seem to be reacting badly to anything else in my routine. Sadly this does have the same strong bubblegum scent but I use so little (& I only apply this at night) that it doesn't bother me much.

Score: 4 out of 5 stars.

(Serum on top, unblended moisturizer on the bottom)

Have any of you tried the IMAGE Skincare line? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

and finally, a sweater

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DC has been doing its damnedest to resist cooler temperatures, but finally they have come and with them all the sweater-y things I've been dying to wear.

This is one of those great pieces that looks like you put a lot of effort into your outfit but really, you just wanted to wear a sweatshirt. Win!

Tunic: Anthropologie (I sized up for a little bit of extra length) ~ Tights: We Love Colors ~ Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (also worn here) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade ~ Watch: Ebay (similar) ~ Bracelets: Etsy & Kate Spade Saturday ~ Purse: H&M (old)

Geek of the Week #30

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// Ok, StudioDIY got me. These are two are SO CUTE and talented.

//I made these muffins for a recent work event and they were a big hit. Possibly the best ones I've made to date!

// I've followed Gary Pepper for probably a couple years now. I don't think I've ever truly seen her as aspirational because her posts are so artistic. She has an incredible eye and the privilege to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world. I've never gotten the feeling form her blog that she takes any of that for granted, so it was interesting to read about some of the flack she's gotten from readers over the years.

// Why did no one tell me about these things?! They're definitely going on the to-buy list for Asia.

//I can't lay claim to finding this one, but MAKE YOUR OWN RAMN machine!

// I actually haven't bothered to watch all those "100 years of ____" videos, but this in order cut and style of men's grooming choices is actually really cool! (And I admit the model's pretty damn cute too.)

Fun Posts & Random Finds: Bored Now. //Jeremy Renner should probably just be quiet unless he can take a page from Daniel Craig's book. // To be honest my lashes are fine as they are but I *still* want to try these! // Gabi Gregg's Halloween costume was the OPPOSITE of a total Monet. // Sam is one of my favorite xoVain contributors these days, and while I wait for her to post her next article I like to check in on her blog too! // I read the first two books in this series and I'm excited to get my hands on the third!

Clothing & Jewelry: ModCloth sold out of this dress in my size and I'm a little bit devastated. // Kendi wore these boots in brown and I love them. I have no need for them mind you, but I love them anyway. // Next year's July 4th outfit? Very, very possible.

perfect together

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Despite DC's determination to take this jacket from me (damn you 79 degrees - really?!) it's one of my favorite Fall purchases. The knit arms and slim cut make it perfect to layer up for cooler temperatures, but it also goes great on top of just a plain t-shirt.

Also, just in case you're like me, these are my favorite plaid shirts this season - pretty much anywhere. I've looked in all my usual places (J.Crew, Madewell, Nordstrom, H&M) and just haven't been able to find anything that's both the right texture and not boxy as hell. I bought two of these shirts and they're soft enough to wear to bed (you know, if you were so inclined) with a fun back detail. Plus, if you keep your eye out, you can score them on sale (I bought mine at 40% off).

Jacket: Anthropologie ~ Top: Lucky Brand ~ Jeans: Target ~ Shoes: DSW ~ Purse: Aldo (old) ~ Sunglasses & Necklace: Kate Spade

Apple Picking?

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What do you do when you go apple picking but there's no apples? Talk about the latest zombie-centric DC activities and eat apple cider donuts of course!

The consensus? Tiffany (far left) may have already done it but none of the rest of us are interested #proudwhimps.

And if you're me and lucky enough to be in a ridiculously scenic area in Maryland you bother your photographer friend into taking a few outfit shots ;). 

Sweater: Banana Republic (old) ~ Jeans: Levi's ~ Boots: Old Navy ~ Scarf: Nordstrom Rack (old, but similar scarf here) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade

All photos courtesy of Nadine Singh Photography

as 70's as we're going to get

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Unlike a lot of previous seasons, I'm really not feeling what's in stores right now. I don't do mini shapeless dresses, muted florals, culottes, or pretty much any of that hippie thing either.

So, friends and readers, what I have for you today is as "current" as I'm going to get: super flare jeans and a suede crossbody. They work with what I currently own but are a serious enough departure from my typical style that I feel special when I wear them. Don't know how much tucking in I'll do on a regular basis though, lol.

Top: Lucky Brand (also worn here) ~ Jeans: Free People ~ Crossbody: Anthropologie ~ Earrings: Lou Lou Boutiques ~ Sunglasses & Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Belt: Nordstrom Rack ~ Shoes: R2 (old)

a simple statement

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Can a pair of shoes be lucky? I'm not sure I'm the superstitious type but finding these Stuart Weitzman heels on super extra duper sale earlier this Summer was at the very least serendipitous.

I fell in love with them last year after seeing them on Atlantic Pacific (here or here), but I just couldn't justify the price for 5 inch heels that would be impossible to wear outside of work and/or special events that involved a lot of sitting.  But for a little less than $70 I'm ecstatic to keep these as shoes that make me happy to wear or just to look at in my closet, lol.

Top: J.Crew Factory ~ Skirt: Anthropologie ~ Shoes: Stuart Weitzman ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Sunglasses & Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Watch: Ebay (similar)

Geek of the Week #29

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// I see you Demi!

// To continue with the music theme this week, I'm a big fan of Madilyn Bailey

// Joel Santana creates some beautiful art, and I kind of wish now he'd been at DragonCon so I could buy a print in person...

// I'm not sure how I would have reacted in this situation but I can only hope it would have been with extreme violence.


Fun Posts & Random Finds: Stephen Colbert continues to be the best. // Uh I need these prints on a skirt stat. // ALL THE KITTEHS. // Katie is killing it in this outfit. //I loved this cute anniversary post from Amanda. // StudioDIY is creating some amazing Halloween costumes and I love seeing how her brain works. // Jalapeno Pillows anyone? //YESSS GILMORE GIRLS. // Can Xena just be my spirit animal? // If you're ok with ebooks then take my word for it and go buy Robin McKinley's Sunshine (it's on sale for $1.99). You won't regret it. //

Clothing & Jewelry:  These boots man. I want them. // And this bag, which already SOLD OUT in brown :( // This purse is awesome. // I wish I could pull off these shoes but I think it's unlikely... // Eventually this shirt will be mine. // I can't wait until I can try this dress on in-person. // This shirt dress looked terrible on me but it was SO COMFORTABLE. Someone else get it? // I've been on a cable knit sweater kick lately and these were/are the top contenders: one, two, three. // This dress from H&M is actually really pretty (in theory at least) //


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Take the girl away from DragonCon...

And nothing really changes ;).

Top: Patty Boutik (via Amazon, Long Sleeve Version) ~ Skirt: Custom ~ Petticoat: Etsy (but I won't link the shop since the quality is only 'eh') ~ Shoes: Urban Outfitters ~ Purse: Anthropologie ~ Sunglasses & Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Watch: Ebay (similar)

Fall 2015 - What Am I Working With?

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Happy Friday Everyone!

Despite Wednesday being the first day of Fall I wasn't one of those people prepped and ready to post about their new favorite sweater. Mostly because DC is doing that cool in the morning hot in the afternoon thing and I'm just not in the sweater wearing mood yet. I *am* apparently in the mood to window shop for things though, and I noticed that I'm leaning towards a very particular color palette this season. Since actual OOTD posts will come later I thought it'd be fun to talk about the common themes I seem to be gravitating to right now, and the pieces I think I'm going to add to my closet:

Olive Green
I have been hunting for that perfect Olive Green piece for what feels like years, and this time I'm determined to one pair of pants and at least one top to my wardrobe..and probably a hat.

Surprisingly I don't have a lot of grey in my closet. I think I bought one causal shirt last year from Banana Republic, but this year it's turning into a neutral I just really enjoy pairing with other neutrals, especially black. And how cute is that polar bear sweater?! I'm not sure I can justify it's $138 price tag at the moment, but I enjoy admiring it from afar.

Not very interesting, but the ubiquitous brown and black are big parts of my Fall wardrobe, especially in the shoe department. Booties have been impossible for me to find, as in I've been looking for literally years and haven't found any I like, but these Blowfish ones from DSW turned out to be unexpectedly cute. And the Michael Kors boots, if they fit my calf, I'm hoping will be my perfect (& slightly more budget friendly) OTK option.
1) French Connection Sweater (I saw this in TJ Maxx so no link, but here's a beautiful olive green cowl neck sweater at Anthropologie) 2) Marra Bootie 3) Old Navy Fedora 4) Etsy Shirt 5) Ellis Blazer  6) Skinny Stretch Cargo Pants 7) Animal Intarsia Sweater  8) Joanie Boot 

And that's it! I don't have a specific budget in mind for the season but I'm hoping to only add pieces to my closet that are unique and make me happy, which I think is a resonable goal.

What about you, do you have anything you'd really like add to your fall wardrobe?

DragonCon 2015 Recap - Vol. 2

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1) Left Shark and two Katy Perrys. Super original (in my opinion) and they even carried their own jukebox around to keep the party bumping.
2) This gender bent Maleficent was AWESOME and he accurately identified each of us in our Justice League Athens costumes on the first try. Major props.
3) RJ Haddy as Mrs. Doubtfire just never gets old.
4) Unsurprisingly, Mad Max: Fury Road was super popular this year, and the gender bent takes on Immortan Joe were always incredible true to the character itself. 
5) I totally stole this picture from my friend because I AM SO JEALOUS I DIDN'T THIS. 
6) Junebugs and Georgia Peaches! These lovely ladies spotted me in the Hyatt and made my day by introducing themselves. I'd tried to unobtrusively stalk them at the Con but a serious lack of cell service (on pretty much every network) made this hard.

Ok so I'm not *totally* done with this recap post because LOOK AT THIS AWESOME PICTURE. Jen from Epbot always takes some of the best ones and I think this is my favorite of all of us. 

Dragon 2015 Recap - Vol. 1

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How do you sum up a simply spectacular weekend of geeky goodness in one post?

You don't.

I've had varying levels of success trying to do longer, Epbot style, recap posts of DragonCon and this year I'm just saying no. Between today and Thursday I'm going to post a couple collages of some of the best things/people I saw (or that my friends took pictures of) and I hope it gives you a better idea of what makes DragonCon so wonderful.

It was an epic weekend and if you get the opportunity to go I highly recommend it. Eight years later and I have absolutely no regrets. 

1) Jen from Epbot/Cake Wrecks! Love her and her husband John, so I'm really happy I ran into them a couple times this year.
2) "The State of Black Science Fiction" - one of the best panels I attended this year, and resulted in great conversation about what books are being written/published right now, what books we need, and how people can support their development.
3) Oogie Boogie! This amazing creator took first in the Horror Category at the costume contest.
4) Guys, those layers are outlined in Ramen wrappers. This woman is literally a variety of flavors of Ramen walking around and it was fantastic
5) DragonCon Barbie, now with real sound effects! I wish I had room to show more of the angles of this costume because it was so creative and fun.
6) Best Ariel I've ever seen. Hands down. And one of my friends overheard her saying she'd auditioned for Disney before? 


If anyone has a strong opinion about this dress I'm taking votes. Despite the fit being so similar to other dresses I own I can't decide if it's actually flattering or not, so I'm wondering if I should just call it quits and try re-selling it.

Dress: Retrolicious ~ Shoes: ASOS ~ Bag: Marshall's ~ Belt: J.Crew (old) ~ Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples ~ Watch: Ebay (similar)

fall what?

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It may be September but Fall has just barely started to be felt in the DC area. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 90's this week so I'm just going to keep wearing my fun colors, full skirts, and ridiculous purses for as long as possible.

And guess what? I leave for DragonCon tomorrow! I can't wait!

Top: H&M (also worn here) ~ Skirt: eShakti (also worn here and here) ~ Purse: ASOS (Sold out unfortunately, but this is an adorable alternative!) ~ Shoes: Jessica Simpson ~ Necklace: Borrowed ~ Watch: Ebay (similar) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade