Thursday, February 28, 2013

Giveaway: Gage Huntley Designs $75 Peruvian Bangles

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will already know about the amazing jewelry 
from Gage Huntley Designs. Amanda creates one of a kind pieces of jewelry that truly speak to everyone's taste because there is such great variety. I also love having her on my Instagram feed and getting to see all the new pieces she puts out on a regular basis. Plus, it helps me stay in the loop for sales and special offers. 

Her one of a kind pieces sell super fast and I've unfortunately found myself missing out on a few of them because I waited too long :(

Check out the Gage Huntley Designs shop right here

Amanda is once again so kind to give one of you lucky readers out there a set of 5 of her best-selling Peruvian bangles. That is a $75 value, folks!!!
She is currently trying to get to 1000 Instagram followers and will be hosting an amazing giveaway once that milestone has been reached :) Let's help her reach that goal!

To enter to win this super cute set of bangles, all you need to do is the following:

Be a GFC (google friend connect) follower of The Forge.

Follow Gage Huntley Designs (@amandalovesgage) on Instagram. 
If you don't have Instagram please make sure to follow on Facebook instead. 


Giveaway is open to all US and Canada residents. Giveaway ends at 12 am EST March 8th. Winner will be announced on this post and contaced via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize before another winner will be picked. Prize will be provided by Gage Huntley Designs. 

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

because you asked: how I shop



Leggings: Aerie, T-Shirt: Tresics, Cardigan: Urban Outfitters, Leather Jacket: Target, Necklace: Aerie, Moccasins: Minnetonka, Hat: Suzanna


First things first: yes, I know this hat makes me look like a martian with a huge head. I still like it anyway. Huge head = big brain. Right? Right! 

Moving on...

Like I announced in this post on Monday about purging my closet, today I want to share a little bit about how I shop. I've been getting this question more and more recently so i figured I'd just make it a post and share some of my tips and tricks for a successful shopping trip. 

I love to shop but since purging my closet and realizing what I truly like, I now make a conscious effort to ask myself a few basic questions every time I think about making a purchase.

Do I LOVE it?

This is a hard one because I love a lot of things. I am a very visual person, I love good design and I 
am very anal about my typography (I know, totally unrelated). I pay attention to details and I am 
a perfectionist.
So when I shop I try to go out looking for something specific because I did my "research" and I 
already know I am in love with it. This can quickly change though once I hold the item in my hands 
or try it on ;) 

Can I pair it with at least 3 things from my existing wardrobe?

This one is important because if I don't already have at least 3 pieces to wear it with I am looking at 
either buying an entire outfit now or having the new item hang in my closet without getting worn. 
No fun, right? 
You may not always be able to come up with all the options in your head while shopping, especially 
if you're like me and have an impatient toddler with you. That's when you make sure the store has 
a great return policy ;) 

Is it too trendy? 

If an item is too trendy, you may not get very much use out of it before you can't see it anymore or 
the trend has died. Trends are great and I definitely give into them as well but I try to buy those 
pieces for cheap whenever I can.

Can it be a wardrobe staple?

If you find a basic white t-shirt at JCrew for $5, buy it! A classic black blazer at Ralph Lauren for 
a steal? Go for it! Simple leather riding boots for under $100? Don't let them get away!
Quality wardrobe staples at good prices shouldn't be ignored. Of course limit yourself because no 
one needs 5 black blazers ;) 
Wardrobe staples that I will wear for years to come are the only pieces I ever consider 
spending a little bit more money on. 

Is the price right?

The most important question. I admit it, I am a cheap shopper. I love a good bargain and I am not afraid to hunt it down. Thrift stores, discount stores, sample sales, clearance racks, coupons, you name it!!
I rarely pay full price for any item but I also don't limit myself to thrift stores only.
When you plan a shopping trip, prepare yourself by printing online coupons and finding out about sales. Weekends and holidays are great times to find a good sale but usually busy. I like to go on Friday mornings when the sales have already started but I avoid the crowds and get the best selection. 

Do I have it (or something similar) already? 

I have an obsession with gray, gray t-shirts in particular, so whenever I pull out another gray something at a store I remind myself that I really don't need another one. Instead I look for the same item in a different color that may look even better. If I don't like it anymore then I just walk away.
Variety makes it much easier to put outfits together, so remember to branch out from what you're used to. 

Know your stores and know your fits.

There are certain stores that I know I will find something great before I even walk in. Of course we all have our favorite stores. What's more important is to know your sizes and what fits are flattering and which ones to stay away from. If you find a great pair of denim that fit like a glove and you can afford it, buy a second pair. 
When it comes to denim: try on, try on, try on!! If you know what brands cut them just right for you it will become a go-to store. 
Try new brands. I just recently tried a new denim brand and it turns out I like them even better than my previous go-to :)

Don't be afraid to fail or cheat. 

Yes, now we get all philosophical! Or not. But really, it's ok not to follow all of the rules, all of the time. Shopping should be fun and so should getting dressed every day. 
If you bought something and a week later you regret it, return it. if you can't return it, give it to a friend, sell it on ebay or donate it. Get over it quickly, learn from it and move on. 

and lastly...

Be adventurous. Be you!

In every sense of the word. Nothing is off limits when it come to fashion, right?
If you've never thrifted before, I highly recommend you start. Just don't raid my stomping grounds, k? ;)
That dingy looking discount store down the road may be the source of some hidden treasures just waiting to find a new home in your closet.

So, I hope this answered some of your questions!? Anything else, ask away. 

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Monday, February 25, 2013

a pop of coral and how I purged my closet



Leggings: BDG at UO, T-Shirt: CottonOn, Sweater: Gap Outlet, Blazer: Ralph Lauren, Shoes: BDG at UO, Gloves: Target, Hat: Pieces, Bag: Liebeskind Berlin
I want to take a minute to talk about my closet today. A totally serious investigation into the depths and the how's and why's of my closet. Because every once in a while the truth has to be revealed...

Over the past 6 months I have gotten rid of more clothing than ever before. The reason being that almost every time I went to pick out an outfit I got overwhelmed with the decision making process, to a point where I got frustrated and unhappy with a lot of my outfit choices.
So I trashed, donated, sold and reorganized that closet of mine, and even took the time to unearth some boxes from the attic. When you open a box of shoes that you didn't even remember you had and suddenly it feels like you're shopping your own closet, you know it's time to let some things go...

I was going through a phase that changed my outlook on fashion completely. 
I wasn't happy with how certain things fit but I didn't want to get rid of them because of something or someone I had seen wearing something similar and well, it sure looked great on them.
So I kept holding on in the hopes of one day figuring out the trick to making this work or adding a piece to my wardrobe that would magically pull the look together.
I was fooling myself. 

I realized that what I want most when it comes to dressing myself is to be comfortable yet stylish in a subtle way that allows me to chase after a toddler and not constantly worry about breaking an ankle or flashing too much skin. 

I discovered that certain materials and cuts don't suit me in my day-to-day life. I like oversized clothing but have to be careful not to drown myself in them and loose all shape. It has been a fun and frustrating learning process and I am more careful now about what I choose to buy in the store.
I definitely have a much easier time putting together outfits with what I have kept and the new pieces I have added to my closet over the past few months. Taking outfit pictures also helps me evaluate each outfit I wear and make possible changes or totally scrap a combo. 

The outfits I post here are not always my favorites but I don't think it'd be very honest of me to only post the ones I am in love with. I am a mom, I am busy and I don't always have time to pick out an amazing outfit. What I want to share is the evolution of my style and the constant learning process that goes along with that.

I'll be sharing more about how and where I shop (because it's still my favorite), what I look for and how I decide what to buy in a post on Wednesday. 

Have you ever purged your closet? Did it make you feel better or did you regret it? 

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Friday, February 22, 2013

do the pattern mix & giveaway link-up 5

Pants: Gap Outlet, T-Shirt: UO, Plaid Shirt: Old Navy Men's, Leather Jacket: Mango, Boots: Hunter  












































We've had a pretty mixed week this week. It's been freezing and we didn't get to leave the house much. Instead we had a fire going almost every day, drank lots of tea and coffee while catching up on some shows like House of Cards and Sherlock. I highly recommend both!!
Jason has been taking a lot of road trips for work over the last couple of months and even though it helps me prepare for when he's gone even more, during baseball season, it also makes things so much more difficult.

When he's home we work together like a well oiled machine. We split up chores, making meals and taking care of Logan. We don't make charts or plans or anything, it just happens. It's simply the best feeling in the world to have my little family home, watch them play and learn from each other.
Sharing so many of the milestones and simply breathtaking moments that parenthood has brought us is like pure gold.

However, when he's gone, I pressure myself so much more, trying to do the work of two. I catch myself loosing my cool with Logan a lot more, especially now that he seems to be testing his limits (and mine) every 5 minutes. I seriously bow my head to all you single mamas out there!!

On top of everything else, Jason's grandfather's health has taken a drastic turn for the worse over the past week and he may not make it through the weekend.
So for now I am trying to set all of my lists and to-do's aside and take the weekend to be with and support my family.

Wishing you all a much happier weekend to enjoy :)



Giveaway Link-Up 5

- Please only link up giveaways, you may link up giveaways that are not yours because you think they are just so rad and need to be shared!
- Link up as many as you'd like from the current week.
- Come back next Friday to link up again.
- Please, please, please link back to me from your giveaway post or sidebar, or share in some other way.
Enter a few giveaways :)
Thank you!  







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Disclaimer: The Forge is not responsible for content linked in this widget or prize distribution. This link-up is simply a collection of third party giveaways which are not in any way affiliated with or sponsored by The Forge. 


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

one outfit to wear for the rest of my life

Jeans: BDG at UO, Turtleneck Sweater: H&M, Jacket: F21, Ankle Boots: UO, Necklace: Aerie, Ring: Claires 
If I had to choose and outfit to live in for the rest of my life I think this would be it. You know, except for on those hot summer days maybe but other than that this thing works 3 seasons long. 
Add some thicker socks and a big scarf in the Winter, take that coat off in the Spring :)
I got that lovely jacket at Forever 21 for $15!!! All the clearance was 50% off, it was Thursday evening, the store was nearly empty, wonderfully clean and picked up aaaaand I had a tired, cranky, crying toddler with me.
Yeah great timing you clearance gods you! 
Of course such a thing always happens when you have no time to come back to the store that is also about 35 minutes from your house anyway, anytime in the near future. 
I figured by the time that weekend was over all the good stuff would have been picked over anyway, so I grabbed this coat and a sweater ($8) without even trying them on and left.

I got over it, I promise ;) especially since that jacket fits like a glove. 

Then I wore this Monday afternoon while it was 45 degrees warm. Yes, i say warm because compared to what we've had I'd say it pretty much felt like Summer to me. 
It's snowing again now by the way... How about that early Spring groundhog Phil??

Any good sales you've perused lately? Do share :) 

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DIY: how to make a vintage lace dreamcatcher


I've been wanting to make a dreamcatcher for months now and let me tell you, it's really super easy to do and doesn't take more time than watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy! I know this isn't the most traditional dreamcatcher but it sure is pretty, isn't it? I love looking at all the different vintage lace, buttons and feathers. 

Months ago, when there wasn't any snow on the ground yet and we were cleaning up the last piles of sticks and leaves in the yard, I asked Jason to cut me a few skinny branches off of that tree that had gotten cut down in the Spring and had since just been chilling in our yard. 
He cut up the tree for firewood and left a few assorted branches on the porch for me to do whatever with. Most of the time he doesn't even ask about my intentions anymore... ;)

Of course I had a project in mind but for a few more weeks those branches just peered up at me every time I went outside like "are you gonna pick us up anytime soon or not?" 
So one evening I finally picked out one of those branches, brought it inside and decided it was time to start working on that dreamcatcher I had been imagining in my mind for so long.

If you'd like to make a similar dreamcatcher you will need the following:

a fresh, thin branch
cotton string 
(packaging string works fine, martha stewart makes cotton hemp string in various colors as well)
lace trim 
(I used mostly vintage trim I bought at an antiques shop in a big bag for like $3, you can also find it online for pretty cheap, lace heaven is a great place I've ordered from before) 
feathers 
(any craft store will have a variety)
suede cord 
(craft store or etsy)
wool
buttons 
(again, I used vintage buttons from the thrift store I've collected over time)

You can add whatever you like to this. Make it your own. Check out the trim section at your local craft store as well. 

First you'll need to bend your branch into a circular shape and use some of the cotton string to tie it with. A second person can be very helpful with this. Once you've got it tied nice and tight, cut another extra long piece of string for the net or web you want to create on the inside.
I didn't measure mine and it will depend on the hoop size but if you're unsure just be generous with the length. 

Tie one end to the hoop and then just start wrapping it around the entire hoop leaving about 1.5"-2" between each loop you make. Don't pull the string too tight. Once you get back around to your first loop you want to guide the string through that loop and then through the next and so on.
If you keep doing that you will automatically create a net that will get smaller to the inside of the hoop.
Because the hoop isn't perfectly round, my net also doesn't look even and like the traditional dreamcatcher net. 

If this just confused you a heck ton (yes, you can say that) please refer to the diagram below ;) 

source

I used the end of the string to tie a button but you could also just cut it off or string beads into your net while you're working on it. Wooden beads would look amazing!

Once the net is all done, simply tie all of the decorations onto the branch. I tied a few feathers together with the suede cord which worked great, no glue needed. Whenever you're satisfied with the way your dreamcatcher looks, hang it up and admire your work!! 


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Outfit Additions Jewelry Giveaway



Jewelry is one of those things a girl can never have enough of, am I right? I don't know how many times statement necklaces or a great pair of earrings have saved an outfit of mine from drifting into that "boring" category no one wants to be in. 
A statement necklace is also my go-to piece for dressing up a plain white t-shirt when I want to feel a little bit glamorous, while performing all of my mommy duties. Good thing they're strong and sturdy enough to handle grabby little hands :) 
Being a mom, you sometimes just can't do much more than throw your hair in a bun and hope that people will stare at those amazing earrings you're wearing instead of the juice stains on your shirt. 

So whether you're a mom or not, today my sponsor Outfit Additions is letting one lucky giveaway winner choose their one favorite piece out of their entire jewelry collection!!! How awesome is that?

Not only do their statement necklaces rock (I own this, worn here) but they also just got in some pretty cool bracelets for Spring. Make sure to check out all of the jewelry they have to offer and choose carefully :)

If you simply can't wait to see if you won the giveaway or not (can't blame ya!) then just use discount code FORGE to save 15% off your entire oder. Best of all, if you win the giveaway you can either get another piece or the lovely folks over at Outfit Additions will refund you for your most expensive item. So shop with confidence. I told you they rock! 

To enter simply complete the following two mandatory steps: 

Visit Outfit Additions and pick out the item you'd like to win. Then come back here and leave a blog post comment letting us know which item you chose. 

Follow The Forge via GFC. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway runs for 7 consecutive days. Winner will be picked at random and announced on this post as well as contacted via email. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. 
Open to US residents only! 

This is a sponsored post.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Little Boogaweezin Giveaway & Giveaway Link-Up 4

Today I have something very special for you, something that is also very near and dear to my heart. My wonderful friend Jen, whom I sadly haven't met in person yet but hope to someday very soon (oh internets... the amazing people you make me miss in my daily life), is launching her baby&toddler clothing line, LITTLE BOOGAWEEZIN today!!! 

I met Jen on Instagram and it felt like we just instantly connected. Her little boy Dylan is such a cutie and seems to have this sweet spirit that reminds me a lot of Logan. A few months ago, Jen started posting pictures of the most adorable onesie designs that had me instantly hooked and wanting more. 
I was ready to buy each and every one. 

With a ton of reinforcement from the Instagram community and I am sure from her friends and family as well, she finally decided to turn this hobby into a business. 
Jen's designs are hand drawn and then screen printed onto quality onesies and t-shirts for littles.

Logan's onesie touches my heart every single time he wears it. I know Jen has put a ton of love into the creation of these designs while drawing ideas from motherhood and the love and admiration she has for her son Dylan.

I am so happy for Jen and admire her for taking this big step into small business ownership. I know she is passionate about bringing fresh designs with a handmade quality to you and the little people in your life. 

Here is what Jen has to say about Little Boogaweezin in her very own words:

Half mom / Half son.

Together we make up Little Boogaweezin, a baby and toddler 
line of hand drawn, screen printed designs. He inspires and I draw.
What first started as a creative outlet while being at home with 
my son has now become a little online shop where we can share
our designs and celebrate all the precious little boogaweezins 
in the world!


You can find Little Boogaweezin here:

WEBSITE  www.littleboogaweezin.com



To celebrate the launch of the Little Boogaweezin website and shop today, we are giving away a onesie to one lucky winner :)

The winner will choose from the following 3 designs and also have the choice of sizes 3-6-9-12 or 18 months.



To enter, simply do the following:

1. Follow Little Boogaweezin on Instagram (if you don't have Instagram, follow them on Twitter or Facebook instead).
2. Follow The Forge via GFC (google friend connect)


Giveaway open to US&Canada residents only! Winner will be drawn and contacted via email. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Good luck! 

Now link up your own giveaways as we do every Friday :)

Giveaway Link-Up 4

- Please only link up giveaways, you may link up giveaways that are not yours because you think they are just so rad and need to be shared!
- Link up as many as you'd like from the current week.
- Come back next Friday to link up again.
- Please, please, please link back to me from your giveaway post or sidebar, or share in some other way.
Enter a few giveaways :)
Thank you!  






Thursday, February 14, 2013

toddler style: chevron military pant DIY


Whoever said dressing a little boy wasn't as much fun as dressing a little girl?
Yes, I admit it is harder to find stylish and modern clothing for the little men in your life and it can be quite frustrating when you're not really in the market for another one of those overly cutesy, bright, not so funny saying across the chest, chain store from your local mall, outfits.
Of course there are a ton of wonderful independent kids fashion labels and Etsy handmade shops that sell the most drool worthy clothing for little ones. Most of the time though, these options can be quite pricey compared to your local mall stores.

When it comes to dressing Logan I like to keep a good balance between these different options.
When he was smaller I got tons of onesies from places like Carter's and Oshkosh. I try to stick to the most basic ones and get plain white or gray t-shirts, socks and sleepers there quite frequently.
I also like to pick up a few things for him every time we're in Germany because I just can't get them here.

A few of my favorite places to shop for him include but are not limited to:

H&M
Zara
77kids (they just changed into RUUM and aren't quite the same anymore. bummer)
Gap Kids (awesome clearance)
Timberland (shoes)
Minnetonka (shoes)
Converse (shoes)
Next UK
Cotton On
Target
Oshkosh

Splurging on children's clothes is something I don't usually do. I am in love with Freshly Picked moccasins or Bobo Choses but I just can't justify spending $60 on something he will only wear for a few months. My husband is frantically nodding his head while reading this ;)

So what to do when you're looking for something different and unique without the hefty price tag?
If you have basic skills using a sewing machine then the following little tutorial is for you.

In just about 30 minutes you can make this pair of military style, chevron appliqued khaki pants for your little guy and all it will cost you is about $10!!

I recently picked up this pair of khaki green pants from the Oshkosh clearance for $8. I already knew I was going to spruce them up a little bit to make them less boring. When it comes to kids clothing, comfort is key so I avoid any major adjustments as well as all itchy fabrics or unnecessary zippers and the like.


To do what i did with these khakis you will need the following:
  • A pair of basic khaki pants in your child's size. I recommend you not go smaller than a 2T (what I used) for sewing purposes, unless you're sewing the pants as well. Then just applique the different parts before sewing them together.
  • Fabric for the appliques. I used a corduroy.
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • Thread in your color of choice.
  • Heatbond Iron-On material
  • Sewing machine
First, trace your shape of choice on the back side of the fabric and cut out the pieces. Then cut the same shapes from your heatbond material. Another option is to first iron a piece of fabric onto the heatbond material and then trace and cut out the shapes. Either way works fine.

Remove the backing paper from all of the fabric pieces. Then find the perfect placement of your pieces of fabric on the clothing item. Make sure they stay close to a leg opening or the waist because you won't be able to pull the pant legs over your sewing machine very well. Knee patches wouldn't have worked for me or I'd have sewn the front and back of the pant leg together ;) Carefully iron each piece in place. Make sure to leave some room in between the pieces (like my chevron) to allow for the zigzag stitch. 

Now comes the hardest part and you'll be happy you used the heatbond instead of just pinning the pieces down. Depending on your machine, bunch up and pull your fabric over the plate as well as you can, make sure the backside fabric isn't in the way so you don't sow the pieces together. 
Slowly sew down all the sides of the corduroy fabric. Just take your time and don't forget to sink your needle into the fabric at each turn. 


As you can tell, the sewing is a tiny bit wonky but that really won't be noticeable once your busy boy wears them. The bigger the size pants you use, the easier this sewing process will be. 

Now here are some more pictures of Logan "posing" in his new pants. Excuse the picture quality but with the lighting situation and trying to get this 20 month old to stand still for two seconds... well, let's say these are actually pretty amazing given the circumstances :) 


pants: oshkosh (appliqued by me), shirt: the children's place, bandana bib: bambinos and bunny, beanie: 77kids

The reality of photo shoots with toddlers! 

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