Zip it off

I see the world top to bottom. 

Literally, in that order. I've got my head in the clouds, my eyes in the skies. It's always been this way:

Plans so big that I miss the details of the day, until I come down to earth and become consumed by them. 

Ben sees the world from the outside in: The light is coming from this direction, the wind is 

blowing that way. There's a shadow from this building here,

There, stand right there. 

He scans left to right, finds the pieces that make the whole, and puts them together.

I expected #1yearNoShopping to teach me the meaning of the word "enough", that I am, and have, enough.

But I didn't expect it would show me the world though his eyes, and in such an exceptionally detailed way. 

We learned a lot.

Ben picked up a camera and spent nights reading how to use it. We tested patience, learning together, and working together and got in a lot of fights. We also learned how to get out of those fights. I learned how to approach brand partnerships, how to build a website, and we learned how to edit.

I started writing again.

Sleepless nights by the glow of my phone, I wrote, and this is how the Lucid Dreaming series was born.

The writing just came. Not peacefully, nor beautifully;

not over an instagram scene of expensive coffee and pretty notebooks, but painfully, sleeplessly, and sometimes tearfully through long nights. 

I lost sleep.

I developed dark circles under my eyes for the first time in my life. The kind that stay.

I let my mind wander to the depths, knowing I'd have to wake up in 4 hours for work,

come home to prep for photos, shoot, write, edit, post, and climb back in bed to start it all over again. 

It sounds miserable, and at times it was, 

but in this effort of creation, we felt wonderfully, exceptionally, free.

So we chased it. 

We kept learning, I kept writing, we kept creating, and we're not done yet. 

I can't wait to share what's in store for 2016. 

There will be one more post in 2015, New Year's Eve, and we'll share it there. 

In the meantime, it's time for the final Quarterly Pick:

It's no secret that I will usually pick form over function, but when the two come together in a beautiful way I just about lose it.

That's what happened with this long-line blazer: I lost all composure and just gushed!

It's a bit heavier weight than a standard blazer so it works perfectly for some extra warmth this time of year, and can also serve as a coat on warmer days. 

But the best part is the zipper: A beautiful detail that allows the bottom half to detach, transforming this long line into a cropped jacket. 

It's a 2-in-1, perfect for day-to-night, travel, work, dates, you name it and this baby's got you covered. 

And, bonus: IT'S ON SALE.

Go ahead, snatch it up, zip it off, and wear the heck out of it.

holiday casual

Last post, we talked holiday party wear, and how to make your old black dress work like new. 

But, not all holiday gatherings are formal. Some are casual, with the predicament of still wanting to be festive, right? 

Enter, the blazer-denim combo.

I love a deep red blazer this time of year, dressed up with a patterned scarf, dressed down with a casual zippered or ripped skinny jean, a basic tee, and anchored with a neutral heel. 

Voila! 

This is what some friends and I call "Casual Cool". It's that difficult blend of dressed up and dressed down, that just makes you think "cool".

Harder than it looks, but this is my ultimate combo: 

Blazer, scarf, tee, skinnies, heel. 

One of my favorite brands for basic, quality tees is Three Dots, and a solid spot for great heels is Stuart Weitzman. I've linked some great outfit options below. 

Enjoy! And, party on... We're not done yet, Cheers!

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Old dress, new party

Holiday parties are in full swing like a train you can't stop, so hop on board. 

I've already had 2 this week, and in the next 10 days we're looking at 5 more. Hold on, sisters, we can do this.

If you're feeling like you can't even get all your gifts shopped and wrapped, let alone find an outfit for the party, fear not! If you have a black dress hanging somewhere, you've already got the most important part. Just add two little twists:

Patterned tights, and a bright or metallic clutch. 

That's it! Easy. Now go dance.

Remember, it's okay to jump off the train for a minute, decline a few invites, rest up and pull yourself together so when you do get back on the party train, you can be your best self and have the best time. 

Now, excuse me while I dance around in these party worthy tights.  

Happy Holiday-ing!

Blanket Scarf How To

Let's talk blanket scarves.

I know, I know, everyone's wearing them, and most look like they're drowning. However, executed well, a blanket scarf can be not only cozy, but voluminous and a statement upgrade layered on something old.

This is not your ordinary blanket scarf, this is the #1yearNoShopping version of a blanket scarf. We're getting a little scrappy.

I know you're curious, so let's get to it. Read on for the step by step.

Step 1:

Because of #1yearNoShopping I have not run out and snatched up the latest, biggest, scarf I could find, so we are working with what we have. You can too! 

What makes a blanket scarf is not it's weight (though some are quite thick), but rather it's SIZE. They're huge, almost the length and width of a... BLANKET! Weird! 

To fake length, grab opposite corners for the longest length, and fold your scarf in half to a triangle. Then, offset those corners a little (below) to get a little more width.

Step 2:

Wrap the scarf, keeping the offset triangle corners in front, and crossing the long tails behind your head.

Step 3: 

Pull the tails around, and fluff! 

Ta-Da!

Not quite a blanket scarf, but more voluminous than your average scarf.  A pretty quick upgrade for that after work, running late, daylight fading, kind of night.

Which is exactly what this was.

Off you go. Try for yourself! Let me know how it goes, in the comments below. 

Lucid Dreaming: Snowfall

They'll tell you that a snowy forest sleeps, but I know better: 

The trees sigh, stretching their arms in a quiet yawn like a child taking a brief break from a long settled nap. 

A restless stir, their branches bow with the wind, then tuck back in. 

The trees don't sleep, they dream. 

Snowflakes dance down with a whisper, telling secrets where they land, and a sparkling, gossiping forest grows. 

You can hear them, turn and listen. 

Wind blows in with a startling strum, wishing only to be acknowledged, 

and in its drift, long grasses tangle in quiet laughter. 

The sun sings high notes, bouncing between snowflakes 

while grounded boulders and fallen logs hold low notes, growing deeper with each new layer of snow. 

At the edge of the forest and lifting from the depths, the lake joins in this harmonious hum, 

as a skim of ice forms in resonant timbre.

No, this snowy forest does not sleep. 

It sighs, dreams, whispers, laughs, hums, and sings.

Turn, listen.

Thankful

Black Friday is upon us.

Do I look calm and collected here? 

Well, cool, fooled you, because I am like an addict who just found the stash.

Want to know what it's like to be in the final stretch of #1yearNoShopping when Black Friday rolls around? 

Let me give you the scoop:

This is my time of year

Yes, I love the Fa-la-la and the Starbucks holiday cups just as much as the next girl, but it's the sales that bring the serious cheer. 

In fact, this time of year, I refer to "shopping" as "Fa-la-la-ing". 

The world is a tizzy of frosted window displays, candy cane everything, bell ringers, bright lights, and sales to die for. 

You should know, pre- #1yearNoShopping, almost 50% of my clothes (and nearly all of my shoes) were purchased during holiday sale time. THIS IS MY TIME.

You're probably expecting to hear that I feel empty inside. A craving unfulfilled. 

Strangely, it's quite the opposite. I've happened upon a different kind of gold mine.

I've hit the point where I have enough. This is enough.

This black blazer -my first black blazer- which I've replaced three times to a grand total of FOUR black blazers,

is still enough.

Don't get me wrong, I will never stop buying beautiful black blazers, but it will not be because of unfilled emptiness. Conversely, (barring a few highly anticipated updates) my closet feels quite full, and so do I. Dare I say, even "thankful"?   

So for this post, I am not wearing my most holiday of things, but I am wearing my most confident of things. Because, confidence-in-the-current is what this year has been all about. 

And, I am not linking any Black Friday deals because I do not want to be tempted by things.

For now, I'm resting in this new-found space of enough, and finding room for thankfulness. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends. I hope yours is beautiful, and more than enough.

Buffalo Plaid

I've got north woods on my mind: We are headed north the day after Thanksgiving, and I. Can't. Wait. 

Christmas tree cutting in the woods, soup on the stove, s'mores, books, 

wine, lots of blankets and even more merriment to kick off this holiday season.

I'm a Minnesota girl at heart, and though I'm usually running around in heels these days, I did

 basically grow up stomping around the Boundary Waters in Teva's. 

So what I'm trying to say is, while I'm not quite a northwoods-er through and through, I do

reserve the right to rock buffalo plaid and Swiss boots without falling into desperate hipster territory. 

I grew up with this stuff. I know how to layer up like a pro. I just add 4 inch heels now. 

I'm taking some time before the craziness of the season starts to think back to my sure-footed, teva-stomping, nature-loving roots. 

And I hope you can too, whatever/wherever those roots may be. 

Lucid Dreaming: Village Lights

Faux fur is having a moment, and it's a moment that takes me back to one beautiful winter, chasing snow. 

After full days on the mountain -working, playing, it didn't matter, it was all the same-

I'd whip my skis over a shoulder and pass women in fur under twinkling village lights as the sun dropped low. Adults. I remember thinking, they were so adult. 

Do you dream of those days too? Even if just for a minute?

Do you dream of the girl who dropped everything under the guise of careful planning, who you picked up at the airport with nothing but her skis, a box, and a bundled up blanket, because you had no bedding? 

We were kids. Fiercely, apologetically, kids.

We didn't pretend to be adults when we ate sitting on the counter top. We began to wonder why anyone would need a chair at all. 

We didn't pretend to be adults when we chased each other down the mountain, stared breathless at the bottom, 

wide eyed and smiling, scooting close in the lift line. 

We didn't pretend to be adults, but are we now? Pretending? Or, adult?

Have we lost that red lipped and rosy cheeked girl at the arrivals curb? 

I see the mountains in your eyes sometimes, the wildness of them, tucked behind your steady blue stare.

I see you dream of those days too, and I wonder if I've lost you to dreams of wild, dreams of free, dreams of you and me. 

Do you dream of those days too?

Trick Wrap

Remember this vest from my Fall Pick post?

I promised you'd see it again, worn different ways, and here I am to deliver: A vest wrapped into a dress. 

And all it took was one pin. ONE!

A few things of note, if you want to try this at home:

Make sure you're working with something sturdy, like boiled wool. For two reasons: 1. So it can stand up to being pinned without ruining the knit and 2. To avoid looking like you're wearing a bathrobe. A bit of structure is important here. 

Layer something form fitting. I like this stretchy top from Nikibiki (link to shop below!). I layer it all winter long. It fits close to skin, doesn't add bulk, and keeps you pretty warm.

Last but not least, carry a clutch. Why? To casually, strategically, hold in front when you're walking and the wind picks up. I'm serious. Tricky -but also kinda fun.  

Have a beautiful Saturday, friends!