Monday, January 31, 2011

January Guest Post! Robbie!

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. I'm currently in the process of celebrating my boyfriend's birthday away from home, which, apparently, is synonymous with eating twice my body weight in strawberry shortcake. And bread. Lots and lots of bread. And now for something completely different: a guest post! Since I've been pimping it out on my blog quite a lot, I'm guessing most people know about the Guest Post Group. This month, my guest post partner is the fabulous Robbie from The Other Side of the Pond My Dear (check out her blog right now to see the post I wrote for her in action)! Thanks to Robbie for this fantastic post!

Ashley herself states that she is a 'realist who just happens to appreciate the art of dressing up.' This is probably true for the majority of us. I mean, who actually dresses like they do on the catwalks? For my guest post I have taken one of my favourite trends (romance) and pieces (the maxi) of the forthcoming season and looked at them with a realistic approach; how can we take what we see on the catwalk and incorporate it into our wardrobes?

Romance: lace, ruffles and all shades of pastels is a look that we return to year after year. As soon as the sun appears, we all seem to want to dress ourselves in every manner of whimsical delights. This year it has definitely been more popular than ever with sheer and floaty fabrics seen everywhere from Lanvin to Thakoon.

How to wear it:

* One of the most simple ways to incorporate this trend is the blouse. Be it cream or vibrantly coloured, the soft movement of fabric and slight see-through texture definitely spells romance. Pair it with a high waisted skirt to add definition to your shape.

* For those more daring amongst us, wearing pastels head to toe (seen above on Gary Pepper Vintage) or even a full length dress lace dress (seen on 5 Inch and Up) will definitely draw the attention of many and make you feel you're living in a capricious dream!

Just when you thought the mini or even the midi was here to stay, the fashion world has become captivated by a new length: the maxi. Many deem it to be a direct result of the falling economy - as the banks fail, so skirt lengths tumble down. Whatever the reason, this is definitely one of trends I am most excited about.

How to wear it:

* The key to this look lies in the shapes. A baggy lower half calls for a tighter top or added definition to your waist, perhaps a belt or scarf tied to draw you in at the middle. Look at the girl photographed for Stockholm StreetStyle - the waist belt completes the outfit and creates a lovely shape. After all this is one look that could leave you resembling a sack of potatoes.

* For those of you who are more adventurous, experiment with block colours (seen at Jill Sander) and sheer numbers - a fail safe way to capture the attention of many.

Thanks again, Robbie! Be sure to check out her blog if you liked this post. I know I'm seriously looking forward to wearing all my maxi skirts this spring, how about you?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sno wai!

Falling snow + photographs sound like the ultimate combination in theory, but in execution? Not so much. If I wasn't forced to use auto-focus, I think it would have worked beautifully, but woe is the life of the self-photographer. Not very many of my pictures were useable, so I chose these and called it a day. Yes, snow is pretty and all, but it's a pain in the ass when a big flake of it replaces your mouth, or your eyeball, or creates a big, weird white blur on your crotch in photos. I mean, I'm pretty good at Photoshop, but have you ever tried to edit out a beam of light coming from your bathing suit area? Oh? You have? My bad...

I bought this scarf-thing back in September and wore it here. I saw it this morning and my first instinct was to throw it on with black tights and boots like before, but you know what? You gotta change it up a little bit, or you start to get boring. Plus I wouldn't last a day in those heels in this kind of weather.

Scarf: Free People
Jeans: Abercrombie
Boots: Steven by Steve Madden
Belt: Urban Outfitters

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Backwards with a denim vest

This dress is part of a clothes swap, so it'll be off to another fabulous blogger in the next couple of days! I'm the first one to get it, so I can't show you how anyone else styled it, but I wore it backwards and with a denim vest. I can't wait to see how all ma other ladies wear it!

I also wore my gorgeous new Jeffrey Campbell boots! I got them from Free People, for more than 50% off their original price. I didn't even realize they were Jeffrey Campbell until they were delivered yesterday...that company owns my soul. Really.

The weather was so nice here today! Birds chirping. Sun shining. I almost went out without a coat, but decided against it since it's still quite nippy out. I hit up Savers again today and found a Pendleton duffle coat for $20 (and some other stuff...of course...). I'm going to wash it, clean it, delouse it, whatever, and debut it this weekend!

Dress: courtesy of Modcloth, via The Lovely Ones
Vest: Levi's
Boots: Jeffrey Campbell
Sunnies: Gucci
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Monday, January 24, 2011

Northwoods trollop

This skirt is short. Like, I will show you my cooter for a fifty cent piece short. It's not very flattering, either. I really have no idea why I still own it. It's been in my giveaway pile more than a few times, but I keep taking it out and putting it back into my closet. I guess I just knew that one day I'd want to dress up like a slutty lumberjack. Get me some suspenders and a rubber axe and I think I'm ready for Halloween!

It's finally starting to warm up here and I'm quite excited about that. I mean, I know winter is far from over, but it's a nice feeling to assume that the worst is behind us. I'm celebrating by wearing all my winter stuff this week. I love this shirt, but I generally think that buffalo plaid is a no-go after February, unless you're one of those emo kids with too much damn eyeliner and ear gauges. Yes, I stereotype here, but what is the appeal of having a giant, random hole in the middle of one's ear lobe? Kids these days.

Shirt: Wal-Mart
Skirt: Urban Outfitters
Jacket: Eddie Bauer
Shoes: Blowfish

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Germaphobe's Thrifted Finds

Denim vest--$3.99

Crop top--$1.99

Hideous yet still awesome thing--$2.99

Temperatures dropped to arctic-like numbers recently (-30°F when I woke up yesterday), so I decided it was a perfect time to stay inside and show y'all some of my recent thrifted finds. Yes, all three of them. And yes, that is a sheet that I skillfully taped up over my red wall to look like a white background. I thought about photoshoppping the red parts out, but I decided against it. I kind of like the "look" my make-shift background gives these pictures. You know, the shitty look.

As I mentioned before, I've never really shopped at second-hand stores before because I'm a germaphobe. I went in Savers a week or two ago, though, and found some really awesome things. I mean, really, I suppose most of my finds are kind of ugly by conventional measures, but there's just something about ugly clothes that warms my little heart. I live in a smaller town where no one is very stylin', so there's a ton of ugly stuff to choose from.

I am most excited about the last one. I'm in love with the pattern. The shape, however? Not so flattering. I took the shoulder pads out (which were oh-so-nicely attached with velcro) and it still has way too much structure up top. The sleeves are too big, and I'm contemplating cutting them off completely, but I'm not quite sure yet. What do you think?

P.S. OH! And thank you for all your lovely comments and feedback on my hair! If you were wondering--at first, I didn't really like it and thought it was too dark. Now, I'm getting used to it and think I'm going to enjoy being a red head very much! I think I'm going to get some more highlights put in next month.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Hairventure

Who has one visible thumb and a new hair color? This girl!

My hair has been every natural shade in its young life. I was a platinum blonde toddler, but eventually my hair darkened and was the shade my roots used to be. In my pre-teens, I did the ol' sneaky trick in the summer of putting lemon juice on my head and sitting out in the sun. This gave me a fabulous shade of yellow. When I was 13, I got tired of all this blonde B.S. and dyed it dark. For the next three years, I was nearly every shade of brown imaginable, along with auburn and fire-engine red. I dyed it back to blonde when I was 16 (yup, I did it myself, and yup, it looked horrible). It's stayed a lighter shade of blonde ever since then. I'll be 21 in about a month. Needless to say, something needed to be done. Nearly five years of the same hair gets old.

Recently, I hadn't dyed my hair in over a year, which gave me those great roots (thank God the ombre look was trendy). I knew sooner or later I was going to have to do something with it. After much debate, I decided that it was going to be sooner.

And when I say much debate, I mean much. debate. In the end, I decided that I should dye it red because A) I'm not sure if blonde looks that good on me, anyway, B) Change is progression...if I can't change, I'll never progress, and therefore remain boring all throughout my live long days, C) I could be bald, but I'm not, so I might as well celebrate, and D) Emma Stone looks much better with red hair, and therefore, I probably do too.

I'm not going to tell you what I think of it because I don't want your opinion to be biased. I'll just tell you that I either love it or I hate it, and if you really know me well, I think you already know which one of those it is. So, give it to me. What do you think of my new 'do? Tell me in the comments!

I also want to thank Angela for answering all my hair emails. It was with her help that I decided to go red. I only wish I could have flown to Texas to have her do it for me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Faceless Nameless

This is not my kind of outfit at all. I don't typically wear florals, and I sure as hell don't wear them with big granny knits at the same time. But, whatever, you know. I'm all about trying new things.*

This is also the first time ever that I've posted a look wearing something that I found at a thrift store. I rarely go to thrift stores (I'm a germaphobe), but I was in a weird mood a few days ago and hit up Savers. I found some fun things, including this belt! It was only $3. I didn't even Lysol it yet. Oops.

I was making cold girl face in all of these pictures, so I made an executive decision and cropped myself. I find myself making a lot of executive decisions in life, some more appropriate than others. I realize this statement should come with an example to back it up, but I'm tired, so Imma pass on that one.

Thanks for the feedback on my last post! I LOVED reading all your comments and will be responding to everyone soon.

* This is foreshadowing at its finest. Check back soon: I have a surprise for you!

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Scarf: H&M
Belt: Thrifted
Boots: Nordstrom

Friday, January 14, 2011

10 reasons why I unsubscribed from your fashion/style blog

For the record, I'm not unsubscribing from anyone's blog myself, so you don't have to get your knickers in a knot over that. Also, I am not an expert pro-blogger, either, so really, who am I to give you these friendly, light-hearted blog tips?!

#01. Your posts are too long. Fashion blogs are like kids books: the more pictures, the better. I can read and I enjoy doing so, but if I wanted to read a novel, I'd go to Barnes & Noble. So please, don't make me read paragraph after paragraph (after paragraph) of text. I'm a wordy person, so I know it's hard, but trust me--you do not need to write a 5 page, single-spaced essay every time you blog. Also: don't post 10+ pictures of your outfit in every post. I've seen it from the right side, so chances are, it's going to look the same from the left side, too. Please don't overdo it--it's a waste of bandwidth.

#02. Your posts are too frequent. Post once a day? Sweet! I wish I had the time to do that. Post five times a day? I mean this in the nicest way possible: find yourself a life ASAP. If you have all this time on your hands and really want to put it toward your blog, then use it to expand it qualitatively. Network. Or, maybe consider guest posting (yes, folks, that was a shameless plug. Oh snap!).

#03. You're MIA. I understand that life gets in the way some times. But, nine times out of ten, there's no reason you couldn't give us a head's up as to what's going on. An announced hiatus is totally acceptable: I'll bid you adieu for now and welcome you back when you return. But if you disappear out of the blue for three months, I'm going to assume you lost interest and won't be coming back. Ever.

#04. You lost yourself along the way. I get it: you're a fancy, popular fashion blogger, and now you've got all these companies who want to sponsor you. But when the the majority of your content is paid content, you tend to lose your own style, and with it goes the reason I liked your blog in the first place. Be original and be yourself!

#05. I literally cannot view your blog anymore. This happened to me recently: I kept trying to visit a blog, but the author had added that falling snowflake script to her site. The script basically froze my computer, so, needless to say, I wasn't able to even read the blog. Keep your layout simple and let your content do the talking.

#06. There's no option to comment. I like to talk. If you post an entry on your blog, chances are, I'm going to want to talk about it. When you take the comment option away from me, you've taken my fun along with it.

#07. You don't acknowledge me. If I comment and ask you a question, it would be nice if you answered it. Interacting with your visitors is key for building a strong readership...if you don't, it looks like you just don't care. So why should I care about your blog?

#08. You complain about people unsubscribing from your blog. If you ain't got nothin' more important to blog about than, "I lost a follower on my blog today, woe is me!" Imma take a wild guess here and say that your blog must be pretty uninteresting already.

#09. You asked me to follow you, I did, and since then, you've asked me to follow you three more times. I even left a comment saying I followed you. What gives? Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, asking someone to follow you usually makes them want to do the opposite. So don't do it. And certainly don't do it like this girl.

#10. You tell me! What causes you to unsubscribe from someone's blog?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I look so good without you

I got a letter from my school yesterday congratulating me on completing all my degree credits. They sent along a final transcript, and it confirmed my worst nightmare. Accompanying my final grades came the two little words I feared the most: cum laude. Notice I said two words. As in, not summa cum laude. Not magna cum laude. Cum laude.

Now, my friends, I suppose some (perhaps most?) people would be happy with cum laude. I, however, am not. I think I was cheated. Robbed. Screwed. 3.76 was the GPA cut-off for magna cum laude. My GPA is 3.755. As in, I missed magna cum laude by 0.005 freaking points. Whatever happened to rounding up? What's even more maddening is they didn't configure in my transfer credits (I completed my first two years of college at a different institution). If you count those credits in, my GPA is well beyond 3.76.

After yelling some profanities and having a good cry and seriously contemplating sinking into a deep depression for a few weeks (I'm overly dramatic, sometimes), I decided no. Hellz no. Instead of letting it get to me, I'm going to treat this like a bad ex. Homeboy just cheated on me. Am I going to sit here and wallow in self pity? No. Is it even my fault? No. I tried the best I could. This is just enough ammunition for me to realize that hey! My undergraduate days are done. Finished. So there will be no more of this, "OMG, I'm so bored now that I don't have school anymore! What ever should I do?" No. Yeah, I've got some extra time on my hands. Most people would kill to have it. So instead of wandering around "bored," I'm going to make the most of my time. And I'm going to enjoy doing it, goddamnit. Or else.

So tell me: if you had an excess of free time on your hands for an undefined amount of time (and you can't go traveling because you have a job), what would you do?

Leather jacket: Doma
Dress: Shopbop
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Fun-day

I am throughly enjoying my day off today by dressing up in one of my favorite vests ever. It makes me feel like a crazy cat lady like no other article of clothing does. It's a keeper!

Excuse my short absence the past few days: I've been working like a crazy woman. I worked a bridal show* booth for my place of employment on Saturday, went to work my normal closing shift, followed by an early-morning shift the next day, followed by an EXTREME tension headache last night. I don't mind though. With no school to go to anymore, I feel like a bit of a lost soul and need to be kept busy from getting moody and depressed (Fun fact #838: I get moody and depressed when I don't have enough things to do).

What are you up to this week? Are you going back to school? If so, can I live vicariously through you?

AND, shout-outs to Laura for a blog award and tagging me, and I was featured along with a few other kick-ass bloggers at Prada for Breakfast recently. Thanks you two! Be sure to check them out.

* I had never been to a bridal show before, and let me tell you: them some crazy bitchez. About 2,500 brides, all ready to attack. I was really surprised by how young everyone looked. I mean, I'm an open and accepting person, but shit. If you look younger than me, you officially are not allowed to get married. My first wisdom tooth hasn't even come in all the way yet. I did sneak the most delicious cupcake I've ever eaten off one of the exhibitor's tables, though, which I am about to go try and replicate in a minute (Fun fact #839: I am a damn good baker). It made the whole day worthwhile.

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Sunnies: Fred Flare
Vest: Old Navy
Shoes: Steve Madden
Bag: Steven by Steve Madden

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I'm pretty sure this is the first set of indoor photos I've posted on this blog. I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: I don't really know how to take indoor photos. In fact, indoor photos scare me. That's why I've been braving the cold up until now, all in the name of "Two Eyes in the Mirror." But I took one look at the five-day weather forecast and said, "oh HELLZ no." Fact: no matter how much midwestern blood you have in you, no matter how much you love your blog, no matter how goddamn insane you are, single digit temperatures suck balls. So screw it, I'm staying inside.

I think the photos are do-able. They aren't kick-ass, but back off. I'm a sociologist, for feck's sake, not Annie Leibovitz.

And you know, really, this outfit is kind of boring. But all I did today was clean my house, and I'm sorry, but if you get dressed to the nines to clean your house, you weird, yo. I love you, but you weird.

Top: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: Banana Republic
Shorts: American Eagle

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just throw it! Cleaning out your cosmetic drawer

One of my goals for this year is to get organized. I think that, deep down, I am an organized person, but right now I have no way to be organized because I have so. much. stuff. So, mission one on my way to organizational bliss is to get rid of things I don't absolutely need. I started off with cosmetics and found myself wanting to throw a lot of it away, but I always came up with some crazy justification for why I should keep it. However, I stuck to my guns and remained rational. My make-up is now contained to one drawer and cosmetic bag, as opposed to an overflowing drawer, two cosmetic bags, and a random box. It feels so much better to not have so much junk laying around. Here's my journey in blog-form and some lessons I learned:

I remember buying this gel eyeliner pot in 2006. 2006 as in five years ago. It was my go to product back then, but I'm assuming sometime around early 2007 I found something that I liked better and stopped using it. I've seen it sitting around in my make-up drawer forever, but my nostalgia kept me from having the heart to toss it. I'm not sure what kind of person gets nostalgic over a pot of eyeliner, but let's save that for another day. Needless to say, the years it sat rotting away in my drawer did not treat it well: it completely dried up. Lesson: if it's been sitting untouched for years, it's probably not worth saving. Especially when it looks like this.

I bought these false eyelashes last spring. I was listening to a lot of Lady Gaga and decided I could use some falsies myself. I have a very unsteady hand and quickly got frustrated when trying to apply them, so they've sat in a box ever since. My instinct was to keep them since someday I might decide to play around with them again. I know myself better than that, though: if I don't have the burning desire to put fake eyelashes on today, then I probably never will. And if I do, I'll just buy another pair. They aren't that expensive! Lesson: if you don't see yourself using/wearing something in the near future, get rid of it.

Inside the mind of Ashley: I bought it. I used it. Then, I stopped, and now I can't remember when I actually got it. I know I should throw it away. It's seen its better days, clearly. But it's Chanel! Chanel might be my favorite designer, besides Marc Jacobs of course. Maybe I should keep it...but I probably won't use maybe I should toss it...but it's Chanel! Lesson: yes, it was expensive, and yes, it's a prestigious brand. But if you can't remember when you got it, it's probably been too long! Get rid of it, already!

I liked this powder, but it smelled absolutely awful! It's always smelled like that, so I don't think it had gone bad. I've used it before and I know it works well, but I clearly remember my boyfriend getting a whiff of my face and saying I smelled bad. Other people probably smelled me too, but were too polite to say anything. Lesson: if it's stinky, throw it away! I ran into a few other products like this, too...they were way too old and smelled rancid.

I used both of these products quite a bit. They work well, and yes, they were expensive, but they make me break out! I had a hard time getting rid of them since they are quite costly (the Chanel foundation was $60!), but I'd rather waste money than risk getting zits. Lesson: if you're allergic to it, for God's sake, toss it!

For additional motivation, here are the average shelf lifes for various cosmetics. I'll be the first to admit that I don't follow these guidelines to a tee, but it's a good thing to keep in mind.

  • Foundation: 1 year
  • Concealer: 1 year
  • Powder: 2 years
  • Blush: 2 years
  • Powder Eye Shadow: 2 years
  • Cream Eye Shadow: 1 year
  • Eyeliner: 2 years
  • Liquid eyeliner: 3-6 months
  • Mascara: 3-4 months
  • Lipstick: 2 years
  • Lip gloss: 1-2 years
  • Nail polish: 1 year

Do you follow these shelf life guidelines? Do you also have a hard time throwing away make-up, even if you don't use it anymore? Am I totally insane? Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project Scarf: the Headband

I've been in what one might refer to as a "funk" lately, and I'm not quite sure why. I think it's a combination of many factors: 1) the crappy weather (another snowstorm just rolled through, whoop whoop), 2) the lack of school in my life, and 3) having to wear the same thing everyday. In reference to number 3: my job requires employees to wear a black company t-shirt whenever we're at work. Since I've been working recently, this shirt rarely leaves my boday.

I know, it could be a lot worse. The shirt isn't even that bad--it's fitted, almost is a v-neck, and is made of nicer material than your average tee. And we can wear basically anything else we want as long as we've got the shirt. But there's just something about waking up and knowing I have to put on a goddamn black t-shirt again that just sucks the life right out of me. I used to try to work with it and style it fashionably, but recently I have given up and given in. Today I wore that damn t-shirt, a sweatshirt (I never wear sweatshirts anymore), jeans, and some new Sorel boots I got for Christmas because it was about 0°F out when I left the house. The boots kick ass in this weather, but they are not the most stylish. Oh, and on top of that, I wore an oversized red coat and brown knit gloves that clashed like Lindsay Lohan and sobriety.

But, the good news is that on the random days when I am not working, I dress up like nobody's business. You know. Like in neon pink socks and a voluminous (and very wrinkled) trench.

So, hopefully I'll be over my Negative Nellie ways soon. You'd think the new year (actually, new decade, biatches!) would inspire me somehow, but who knows.

Trench: H&M
Dress & Socks: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: My Grandma's
Scarf: Madewell
Shoes: Betsey Johnson