Thursday, May 31, 2012

a guide to pattern mixing

I shared this over at love stitched last week so you may have seen it already. If not here is my very own take on pattern mixing. 

Pattern mixing can be simplified to fit your everyday needs quite easily. Plus, it is a ton of fun :) Most of you are probably already "beginning pattern mixers". A floral dress with a striped handbag, a striped skirt, white tee and a dotted scarf? 
These are outfits most of us pair up on a daily basis and yes, they are considered pattern mixing. If you’re really apprehensive about mixing your patterns and haven’t even done these before, this is probably the best way for you to start. The effect is subtle but it's there and you don't have to worry that you're overdoing it. And as a bonus, you probably already have everything you need to pattern mix in that closet of yours. Don't you love it when you don't have to go out and spend any money to create a few new outfits? 

If you’re already bored of the beginning pattern mixing stage, how about taking it a step further with these options? 
floral blouse, leopard flats by John Lewis, skirt from topshop, striped tank from general pants co., vivian polka dot satchel from brahmin

Pair your favorite jeans with a flowy, floral top and add a twist with an animal print belt and flats. Not into the animal print thing? How about your favorite skirt a striped tank and a patterned bag? Make sure to stick to 2-3 colors to keep your outfit cohesive. 
A boldly patterned handbag that ties in the same color of the skirt you’re wearing will do just that. Also make sure to keep your textures to a minimum. A pleated skirt shouldn’t be paired with a heavy knit cardigan or a ruched blouse when you’re pattern mixing.

Even though I like to be creative when it comes to my own outfits I am also one to stick to the shapes and patterns that I know look good on me. Anyone else addicted to stripes? Well, my closet includes an overabundance of stripes so I like to pattern mix different stripes together. 

If you’re not really comfortable with pattern mixing (yet) but want to give it a try, make sure to stick to the shapes and patterns that you love and that flatter you most. You will feel so much more comfortable and be able to wear you new look with confidence. 

floral dress by romwe, striped bag from debenhams, tsumori chisato striped skirt "cats"

Another basic principle that works for me when it comes to pattern mixing is to stay away from too many accessories. I am more of minimalistic dresser and don’t wear much jewelry at all. When pattern mixing, you want those patterns to speak for themselves instead of having the focus diverted to a bright necklace and big earrings on top of that attention grabbing handbag.
If you are really into accessories make sure to make them part of your pattern mixing and don't go overboard - less is more. 

One final rule I always follow: Never wear more then 3 patterns in the same outfit!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

the perfect end to a perfect day

This story has a long introduction but the mushy ending is coming, I promise!

Last Wednesday was one of those days you remember for years to come, one of those days you make great memories. We spent the day as a family, just the three of us, no stress and no obligations, away from all the things that needed done back at home. Jason has been working so hard lately and between all the road trips, different time zones and busy home stands we barely get to spend any time together. So when the first off day in 3 weeks finally rolled around we had great plans to go see the baseball game (how ironic!), stroll through the city, stop wherever looked good, eat great food and finally, instead of driving home, to just spend the night at a downtown hotel.

We made it through 8 innings of the game no problem but then the missed nap time really started to show its evil face. So we made our way to the hotel, a brand new stuffed animal parrot in hand and took a little break before heading back out into the city. We strolled around, bought groceries, stopped for coffee and tea with a sleeping toddler in the stroller and soaked in lots of sunshine along the way. On the way back we had dinner at Atrias and sat outside right by the river while the sun slowly started to set. By the time we got back to the hotel with our full bellies and aching feet it was just past bedtime for the little man. Bath time in the hotel tub turned out to be more of an adventure than in our boring old tub at home and soon our dirty little guy tuned back into that clean, deliciously smelling babe.
Hopeful for a quite night we lowered our usually perfect sleeper down into the hotel crib but quickly realized that he wasn't having any of it. Different bed, new smells and alone in a strange place - not the perfect combination for a quiet night.

After taking the "he probably just needs to cry for 10 minutes then he'll be asleep" route for a while and the hubby trying to rock him to sleep for 15 minutes, I ended up on the hotel couch, with a tired babe on my chest. As we laid there and I was watching him fight so hard to keep those big blue eyes open, staring intently at his mama and making sure she didn't decide to leave I realized how much I had missed these moments over the last months. Oh the warmth that ran through my entire body just holding him like I used to after he was first born and what now feels like a million years ago.

When he finally gave in to sleep and closed his eyes I watched him relax every muscle in his tiny body and even though I could have easily put him down into the crib at that point, I stayed exactly where I was, just holding him for a little while longer, while he actually let me. I started thinking about the past year and remembered the anticipation we felt at that same time just a year ago, how blessed we are to have him in our lives. Sure, times were tough once in a while but through it all we have grown closer as a family and received so much love from such a small person.

When I eventually put him down to sleep and closed that awful squealing door behind me it was late and the hubby and I hadn't gotten to have that quiet evening to ourselves. It really didn't matter though because for me it was still the perfect ending to a perfect day in every way imaginable.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

instagram fashion round up

sorry for a no post yesterday. the hubby had a couple of off days, the first in a few weeks and we spent the day at a baseball game and then picked up my mama from the airport yesterday.

i thought i'd share some of my outfit shots from instagram today. can you tell i have a thing for stripes and polka dots? and how about that essie tart deco nail polish - the perfect peachy color for me. i wish i had time and most of all a photographer on hand to take more pictures for outfit posts but a lot of the time i don't. these are the instagrams i take everyday so you also get the evidence of the days i spend at home, in sweats, chasing after a toddler and wishing i had time to take a shower. not very glamorous, just keepin' it real folks.

if you want to follow me on instagram, i am @theforgestyle

speaking of that toddler, he is having a birthday this weekend and we are in full on preparation mode over here. i will do a post on his party next week.

until then i'm wishing you all a wonderful weekend :)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

how-to: a guide to organizing and cleaning out your closet

the trouble with shopping is...

well, i guess most of you probably know just as well as i do what the trouble with shopping is, right?
if you're like me you love to shop and you love a good bargain. a combination that can be quite dangerous if you're not careful.
over the last 10 years or so i accumulated quite the collection in my closet.
a collection of things that even made it through a move from one continent to another
(no kidding, i sent about 4 big boxes of stuff which surprisingly all made it) and another move from one house to another.

now you'd think that moving may be a good time to go through your things and throw away or donate what you no longer use or wear, since you're already boxing things up anyway. well, i have a slight problem with throwing things away. they usually accumulate in a corner somewhere until one day i finally sit down to go through them, sort, throw things away and most likely create another pile somewhere else. it's not that i have a real emotional connection with these things or that i really need them but i have a need to make sure i spent the time to inspect carefully and make a conscious decision to let things go.

of course over the years i have gotten rid of clothing, given it away and even removed old high school and college t-shirts from my husbands closet. still, i always felt overwhelmed when it came to cleaning out my own mess of a closet. one time the shelving on the one side of my walk-in closet actually came off the wall and with it a big jumbled mess of fabric and hangers. so that was the first time i truly realized i probably had way too many clothes and started to fill a bag for donations and another bag to sell. another big indicator for me was that i started feeling lost and frustrated in my own closet when it came to picking outfits. i never felt that i liked most of the things i owned or that i was truly in love with a lot of my purchases.

it has taken me a lot of time to admit to myself that i need to be a more thoughtful shopper. i know what i like but sometimes that means that i have to spend more time researching where to buy and how much money to spend. i love places that offer trendy clothing for only a few bucks but i have also come to realize that those items are the ones that i hardly ever wear or that quickly end up with seams unravelling or ripping.

so last week i  got down to business once again and really cleaned out.
this time i filled up three bags, took them to goodwill and threw away a good bit as well.
i have kept my system of color coordinating so things are easier to find and you know where to look.
i have to admit that i felt such relief once all of these things were gone. i now walk into my closet and i don't feel lost and frustrated anymore.
i still have to go through most of my pants and there are a ton of purses i haven't even touched yet but i made progress and that's all that counts.

here are some pointers and rules i followed on how to clean out your closet to make it more manageable:

  • if you haven't worn it in 3 months it needs to go
  • if it's not in season it should be stored in a container in your attic, basement, another closet or under your bed (space bags are your best friend)
  • if it has your high school/college name/team on it keep a couple of favorites and toss the rest (or make a memory quilt)
  • organize your closet by color and style. that way you will see exactly where you need to lighten the load
  • if it doesn't fit or you don't feel comfortable in it, donate it - don't keep it because you may one day lose those extra 5 pounds 
  • if it has holes or stains that you can't fix or remove, it needs to go
  • keep your favorite wardrobe staples such as the little black dress, blazer, a great fitting white t-shirt, skinny jeans etc. but be selective - you don't need 10 of the same!
  • donate or give things away to friends/family - it will make you feel good and brighten their day
  • sell items on auction platforms such as ebay to make a little bit of extra cash but make sure to only sell items that people want to buy
  • sell things at a yard sale or consignment store/sale in your area
  • leave enough room between clothes for you to move them easily, it'll help you when putting outfits together and shows you where there may be room for those items that are still missing in your closet 
  • buy things you truly love that are of high quality and will last you a long time
  • when buying into trends you are not 100% sure about be careful not to spend a ton of money 

so that's how i got my closet back under control. of course i still love to shop and always will :)
i would love to hear  from you on how you keep your closet under control. do you budget your shopping? do you clean out several times a year? what tips or directions do you follow? share them in the comments section, i would love to add to this list.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

style files: pastel blue paper bag skirt

paper bag skirt: vintage (thrifted), tshirt: tresics, wedges: mootsies tootsies at kohls, watch: michael kors, nails: essie tart deco

so i had a really great weekend that included

lost of sunshine 
a slight tan due to that sunshine
logan making such progress in the walking department
rolling around in freshly mowed grass
making $80 selling clothes and a few other things at a yard sale
yummy summer food like corn on the cob
an ikea shopping trip 
ice cream
a nice talk with the sister-in-law
the hubby coming home from his week long road trip
a movie night
yard work
and best of all, getting everything ready for my mom's visit this week :) 

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Monday, May 21, 2012

shabby apple giveaway

this giveaway has ended and winner has been notified. in order to make your monday mood a little better and because my last giveaway just ended, let's jump right into another giveaway, shall we? 

this time you can win a $50 gift card to the lovely shabby apple website!!!

if you haven't heard of shabby apple yet, go visit their website and be blown away by all their wonderful vintage inspired dresses. they even offer vintage inspired swim suits now. 

here are a few of my favorites

to enter the giveaway here is what you need to do:

(mandatory entry) 

like shabby apple on facebook
visit their website and leave me a comment telling me what item you would spend the $50 on 
be a gfc follower of the forge (if you already are please follow another way)
leave your email in your comment

(for additional entries you may)

subscribe to the forge via email 
follow the forge via bloglovin'
like the forge on facebook
follow the forge on twitter @theforgestyle
follow the forge on instagram @theforgestyle
follow the forge on pinterest
tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link in your comment
post this giveaway to your facebook page and leave me the link in your comment

you must leave a separate comment for each one you do!

Dresses from Shabby Apple

and for all of you who just can't wait to order some awesomeness from shabby apple you can click on this lovely button right here and use discount code theforgestyle10off to receive 10% off your entire purchase (good until June 22nd). So what are you waiting for??

This giveaway is sponsored by shabby apple and the winner will receive their gift card directly from Shabby Apple. No purchase necessary. Must have a US shipping address in order to enter. Must be over 18. Giveaway will end on June 1st 2012 at 12am EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. The Forge and Shabby Apple are not responsible for lost or undelivered emails.

good luck :) 

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winner of the clutch giveaway is Janelle at Photography4TheCreator.
congrats and thanks for entering everyone! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

style files: striped maxi dress

dress: tjmaxx, jacket: zara, shoes: chloe, earrings: bought in germany, lipstick: maybelline fuchsia fever, watch: michael kors

what a busy week we've had. sometimes i feel like i don't even know where the time went. i cleaned out my closet and donated about 3 big bags of clothes to goodwill. there is still more stuff i want to get rid of but for now it's a good start. i organized everything i kept but that's a whole other post on its own...

the weather finally came around again too and we are in for a gorgeous weekend. my brother and sister-in-law are coming over tonight because they won't be able to make it to Logan's birthday party next weekend. yes, next weekend my little baby turns one!!! i doesn't even seem real to me! 
last year at this time i looked like this YIKES!! 

tomorrow i'll be doing the same thing again as well, going to pike days yard sales all day and hoping to score some goodies. 
i'm looking forward to next week with 4 amazing off days for the hubs, a baseball game, my mom coming in from germany and a birthday party on sunday. and now i'm off to ikea.

yes, life is good :)

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

diy: neon and gold fashion bracelet

yup, another diy today. i am seriously dragging this week with the hubs gone and having to do everything myself. at the end of the day all i want to do is curl up in bed, have some tea and watch tv. you know what that's like, right?

so anyway... while i went through my stash to make the earrings last week, I found some left-over gold chain and neon pink mason line that I had bought for a completely different project (haven't gotten to that one yet).

so I decided to make a bracelet...

you'll need:

larger size gold chain
neon mason line from your local home store (about $2-$3) 
a lobster clasp
some hot glue 
any tool that will help you open the chain links

measure the chain around your wrist take at least three times that length in doubled up mason line (so 6 times the length of your chain). 

loop the string through one end of the chain as you can see in the picture.

slide the loop to one side and start threading it through the chain links from underneath. i eventually added a tiny bit of hot glue to the end of my string so it would stop unravelling. that helped tremendously and also finishes off the string nicely. 

you want to go through each chain link from underneath and then stick your string back down through the loop you created. It's really easy to do just hard to explain ;) 

at the end of the chain I just tied a double knot and left some extra string. you can of course also cut it all off. Attach a lobster clasp to the other side and you are done. this seriously only takes about 15-20 minutes. super easy and super cute :) 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

giveaway reminder

just a little reminder that you can still enter the giveaway for this lovely color blocked neon clutch.
it ends on friday at midnight ET. winner will be announced on monday :)

so go click on the giveaway button in the top right corner!!

good luck!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

one of those days #3

today was one of those days...

where your toddler awakes at 7.30 on the dot and you are sending prayers that he will change his mind about wanting to get this day started

where those prayers aren't answered and let's be honest, there are more important ones to be answered anyway

where the rain and general grayness of the last few days is starting to get a little bit depressing

where a yummy breakfast makes things a lot better

where nothing really happens all day and you start asking yourself if you should make an effort and go somewhere?

where you decide that a nice warm bath at 1 in the afternoon is just what is needed for the little mister and his mama (including lots of splashing and bewildered stares at that mini watering can from target - what does it do?)

where a naked babe in a clean, white towel is just about the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes upon

where for the rest of the day you have to keep smelling that perfectly clean little head every few minutes

where this mama's cooking skills are once again being tested by one very picky eater

where a surprise visit from a certain brother in law who wants to use your internet makes you feel a little less lonely

where you decide that bath time gets moved back to evenings, after dinner, for the very obvious reasons...

where books are being dragged all over the room, cleaned up and pulled out again and again and that little person sitting in your lap wanting to read them makes you want to burst with love

where wet, open mouthed, good night baby kisses say: you may not be getting out as much as you'd like, you may feel like you're cut off from the world but really, you're right where you're supposed to be, taking it all in and not missing a second of it.

yes, today was one of those days.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

style files: summer neon greens

dress: on, cardigan: express, shoes: madeleine stuart (tjmaxx), watch: michael kors, ring: bossy sprockets on etsy 

did you all have a nice mother's day weekend? 
mine was rather uneventful since the hubs worked all day sunday and then went on another road trip. i was left with a really sweet card and my present that had already been delivered and much anticipated during the week. 
so i made my own mother's day breakfast and shared it with the boy who, lucky for me, decided i would make a great mom. and man does he love pancakes and do i love him :) 

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Friday, May 11, 2012

diy: geometric earrings

i thought i'd share this tutorial on how to make some geometric earrings made from polymer clay. i originally came up with this as a contributer post for love stitched so you may have seen this already over there. the neon trend is still going strong and I've been accessorizing with it like crazy. there are so many cute items I would love to own but don't have the money for. so instead, i went though my stash of jewelry making supplies (i am a bad craft hoarder) and pulled out some earring backs and fimo modeling clay i picked up on clearance a few months ago. with some different craft paints i created these cute little geometric post earrings all during one nap time, hey, this mama's got to be efficient :) 

here is what you'll need:

modeling clay (i used white and painted it but it is even quicker if you just buy your favorite color)
earring backs
a small sharp knife
paint brushes
hot glue gun or other strong glue

the earring backs i already had on hand turned out to be too big for the small shapes i wanted to make so I had to cut them down first (big big pain). make sure you buy the smallest ones you can find. all they need to hold is a tiny dab of glue. 

then just go ahead and form a small ball with the modeling clay, about 1/2" or even less in diameter. use your knife to cut away small chunks of the clay with the knife leaving smooth planes all across the shape. save your scraps to use for the other stud. 

once you're done making the shapes stick them in the oven as per the directions on your package of clay and bake them. mine took 30 minutes at 265F. Once they have cooled you are ready to paint. i used some regular acrylic craft paints and patio paint as well. it will take a few coats of paint to completely cover the shapes. let everything dry really well. i painted the base color first, let it dry and then attached the shapes to the earring backs with some hot glue. it doesn't take very much glue at all so be careful! then I painted parts of my studs with coordinating colors for a cute pop of color. 

once the second color is all dry you are done and ready to wear your new earrings :) 

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