The Dresses I Didn’t Pick

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I know I said I didn’t want to overwhelm this blog with all kinds of wedding stuff, and that’s why I started Twyf Becomes Wife. However, since Joni was here for this excursion, I thought I would share my experience finding my wedding dress. As you may know, I have been working as a Wedding Consultant, helping other brides find the dress of their dreams for their big days. But, due to Valentine’s Day being a particularly slow day at work, I had the opportunity to try on a few dresses. I have known since January what the dress for me would be, but since I don’t plan on having to shop for another wedding dress ever again, I figured I might as well put on a few that weren’t really my style. I will say this: I didn’t pick any of these dresses for myself. As I often tell my brides, each of these dresses is beautiful, but they belong with someone else.

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This was the first dress. From the Vera Wang White Collection, this ivory ballgown has 100 yards of tulle(!), which is about 10 times more than I can deal with. It has always reminded me of a very extravagant ballet tutu. Its an absolutely gorgeous dress, but I feel like I could have camped out under it. I just don’t have the personality to pull off this kind of gown, and I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near Brian.

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Ugh. Please ignore the weird claw thing I’m doing with my hand. I don’t know what to do with my hands in pictures; you’re lucky most of these aren’t in Madonna-esque “Vogue” poses.

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The champagne embroidery on this dress is really nice, and I love the shape the corset gives me, but I wasn’t feeling how the back was split… or how long the train was in general. This was getting closer to what I wanted (nothing poofy), but still not it.

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Then there was this dress. I absolutely love the illusion back, especially with the lace and the buttons — my consultant didn’t button all of them, that would have taken quite a long time because they’re tiny and there’s a bunch of them. The ruching on the front was nice, and it also helped emphasize an hourglass figure, but I felt like the heavily beaded lace on top was a little too much. It emphasized a little too much, if you catch my drift. I like how it looked from the front, but then, there was the back…

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Um… I just don’t think I care too much for the train on this. I would have wanted it bustled up for the entire ceremony, because that line down the center just doesn’t look right to me. The longer I look at it, it kind of reminds me of something from Star Trek… Sorry. Its a lovely dress, and if it weren’t for that train, it would have been a very serious contender.

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Maybe I’ll be able to actually pull of this whole “bridal” look…

So,what does my dress look like? Well… it doesn’t look like any of these dresses. I waited until I could come back with my mom and sister to order it, because there was no way I was doing that till my mom got to see it. I will tell you that its soft white, not super white. I don’t want to channel Casper the Friendly Ghost. I’ll have a color accent to match my Maids of Honor and my BridesDames. Its very me. If you want to read more about my adventures in wedding planning, and other wedding-related topics, please check out Twyf Becomes Wife! However, I plan on being able to reveal my dress in about… oh.. 13 months. 🙂

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The Best DIY Project for Your Fall Wardobe: Infinity Scarf

Sweater weather. Those are my two favorite words to hear in late September. However, with the weather we’ve been having in northeast Ohio, real fall weather hasn’t really appeared until the last week or so, and it’s still not consistent. It’s supposed to be in the mid 70s this afternoon. I’m hoping the fall temperatures become more reliable soon. Fall is, hands down, the best season in my book, and it always has been. Even though January 1 traditionally rings in the new year, I always feel like fall brings a fresh start with a new school year, or a second try if your year didn’t begin as you’d hoped it would. (At least this year it did for me, since I wasn’t heading back to class for the first time in 20-some years this fall. I just really like buying school supplies and picking out my “first day of school” outfit, ok?) Fall means great September thunderstorms, mugs of hot chocolate or hot apple cider (apple anything, really), watching the leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange, new seasons of my favorite television shows, pumpkin ice cream, football and marching bands, and cozy scarves. Actually, I love all staples of a fall wardrobe, but cardigans and scarves are really at the top of the list.

I’ve already shared super-simple tutorials for DIY makeovers for your summer and winter wardrobes, and now I’d like to give you one to top off your fall looks. Infinity scarves have been popular for a few years now, and while I love my cute floral patterned ones from Charming Charlie’s, this scarf will take you through fall and into winter, and is much cheaper than anything you can get in stores. You should be able to make two scarves for less than $6 — keep an eye out for JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts coupons! If you’re using a sewing machine, this project should only take you less than a half hour. If you’re hand-sewing like I did, get comfy with your Hulu Plus queue — I’d suggest 2-3 episodes of Downton Abbey. (Not “Downtown Abbie,” as Brian referred to it.) I started watching this a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need to get started with your new accessory:

1.75 yds of medium-weight plaid/flannel fabric
Mine isn’t very thick and not very fleece-like. Consider that it will be doubled over and then wrapped around your neck twice.
Spool of thread
Any color that coordinates with your fabric will do.
Straight pins
These are so much more helpful than I ever realized… I wish I’d used them for other projects I did this summer.

Step 1.

Put on moccasin slippers and refresh your mug of cocoa. Lay the fabric out flat on the floor or a long table, lengthwise. Cut the fabric on the folded edge along the entire length, giving you two identical pieces. Toss one piece off the the side and use it to make a gift for a friend later! Fold your piece of fabric lengthwise with the right side of it facing in. It should be about 10-ish inches wide now.

Step 2.

Pin your fabric together on the “open” edges, leaving about 3/4″ for a hem. Sew along the entire length of the fabric to close the open edges and create a tube. For this part, it was nice to have a straight line on the fabric to follow with my stitches. Once you’re done sewing the edges together, be sure to remove all of the pins.

Step 3.

Turn the fabric right-side out and lay the tube out flat. (It will be the same way it was when you were sewing the open edges together, except now the edges have been hemmed inside. On one end of the tube, fold the edge down about 1″ to create an even hem. It should look like a shirt sleeve at this point.

Step 4.

This part is a little tricky to explain, so I drew a little diagram to make it easier to understand. (I promise it’s easy to do.) Keeping all of the fabric flat, insert the open edges (cut end) from the opposite end of the tube between the folded down edges (hem end). It will be helpful here to pin everything together. Now, you’ll sew through all 6 layers of fabric, as shown in my handy little drawing. Make sure you’re getting all of the layers, since this is how you join the edges and close up the loop.

Step 5.

It doesn’t exactly matter where you tie the knot at the end, since no one is going to see it anyway. For my scarf, however, just so I didn’t snag it on anything, I flipped over the little flap created by the hem and tied my knot underneath.

And you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? Now go show your new fall scarf off to your friends and see if they believe you only had to sew two straight lines. Make a mistake? That’s ok, these scarves are very forgiving. After all, it’s just a piece of fabric wrapped around your neck. 🙂

If you liked this post, be sure to check out:

“Fashion is an art. You express who you are through what you’re wearing.”

Lets face it, fashion is important. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and probably everyday to come. Although some people choose not to fall prey to the latest fashion trends that invade our lives as one season changes to the next, others are right there in front leading the pack. I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. Although I try to wear clothes that are ‘in’ during a particular season, I am often a little late to catch on and often refuse to give up some of my old favorites (I mean, really-leather pants will come back in style…right?)

Regardless, how you look is important-from the way you wear your hair, to the outfit and accessories you choose, all the way down to the shoes you have on. While I’m certainly not the most fashionable person anywhere I go, I think I know a thing or two aboutit. From hair to makeup to nail polish, these are some of my favorite fashion items/products.

Hair

As a baby and little girl, my mom often put headbands in my hair much to my dismay. Think about it-how often are you out and see a little girl with a goofy flower strapped on her head? My guess is, pretty frequently. I don’t know if most girls go through this as they grow up or if it just wasn’t fashionable at the time, but I didn’t wear a lot of headbands in my adolescence. However, in the past few years, I’ve found myself wearing more and more headbands and scarves (in fact, I wore a scarf in my hair for every speech tournament my senior year). It’s fast and easy and instantly transforms a bad hair today to something sophisticated. You could wear it with your hair up or down, braided, or in an updo. I’m actually a little sad I was so late to jump on the bandwagon. There are headbands for every occasion-from a sophisticated look in the office, to a fancy event, or to a night on the town-there’s a headband for everyone 🙂

Nails 

I admit, I spend most of my days without my fingernails painted. Although I love how my nails ultimately look when I take the time to do them, I’m usually not willing to spend the time it takes to keep up with chipped nails. However, I do love OPI nail polish when I actually do invest time in doing them.

They offer a variety of colors for everyone and have different lines that come out relatively frequently. My favorite line is the Muppets Nail Polish Collection. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wear the Fresh Frog of Bel-Air, Excuse Moi!, or Gettin’ Piggy with it?

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Clothing 

Although I rarely wear them right now, I am a big fan of dresses. I love the feeling of wearing a dress whether it be to go out for the night, to go to class, or just to go shopping-dresses are fun =) I have quite a collection of dresses at home that I need to transport to my current apartment. I think dresses are very in right now…at least they are to me.


Our Ohio Success Stories, Revisited

Of all the fashion articles, in all the online women’s magazines, in all the Internet, I found another Youngstown blogger who wrote about Nanette Lepore this past fall. While perusing Glamour’s Slaves to Fashion blog last night, I found this article about Youngstown’s favorite fashionista and her “Made in the USA” values. It includes photos from inside her NYC Garment District studio and factory, where all of her pieces are designed and assembled.

I want this dress in my closet, stat.

I wish I knew how to wear these colors! (Photo from Glamour article.)

I posted a comment about how I’m sure Ms. Lepore’s work ethic is a reflection of her Rust Belt roots, and posted a link for Joni’s article featuring the fashion designer. This afternoon when I went to see if anyone had replied to my comment, I found two lovely surprises: 1. Nanette Lepore is bringing her line to JCPenney (although, it’s a junior’s line, which I read as, “Not so much for you, curvy girl” —  however, accessories like bags and necklaces are one size fits all!); and 2. Someone had responded to my comment! Natasha, another Youngstowner, posts about fashion on her blog, Cardigancouture. It turns out, she also wrote a post last fall about this hometown success story. What are the odds? Anyway, I highly suggest you check her out. Her most recent post about brightly colored denim is a a territory I’m not sure I could ever approach, but I love her creative suggestions!

Last fall, I also wrote a post about my personal favorite Ohio success story: a little rock and roll band from Columbus, Ohio, called Red Wanting Blue. Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since the start of last semester is just about here. Tomorrow, they will be performing at the first Penguin Pre-Party at YSU, and I have to try to not turn into a total fan girl.  Yesterday, the band released the first music video to accompany their new album. Their song, “Audition,” is a remade version of the same song which appeared several years ago on one of their early albums. The structure and sound are still generally the same, which just goes to show that this fan favorite is a solid tune. At live performances, they add in a throwback to Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” (do, do do, do do, do-do-do…). And speaking of those live performances, tomorrow also kicks off a 3 concerts in 9 days streak for myself, my sister, and her fiance. Though they can’t make it tomorrow night, we’re all going to Cedar’s this Saturday night for their show. I also bought Carmen and Josh tickets to their House of Blues show in Cleveland for next Saturday. Like I said in my original post, not all people can afford to go see their favorite band multiple times a year, and its even more unlikely that their favorite band makes multiple appearances in the same region in a year.

Here’s the video for “Audition,” filmed at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus. They asked for fans to send in the videos they took that night of the performance to be included in the video. I think it turned out pretty well.

Red Wanting Blue – Audition (Official Music Video) from Red Wanting Blue on Vimeo.

The Best DIY Makeover You Can Give Your Wardrobe This Winter

This could have easily become another non-buyer’s regret post, and it almost did. That is, until I got a little crafty. I wanted to do at least one more awesome craft project before the semester started. Actually, today is my last “first day of school” for probably a few years. Considering I’ve been in school for 21 years straight, pre-school to grad school, adjusting to life outside of the classroom will probably be a challenge for me. But I digress.

I found these ahhh-maazing shoes at Old Navy, and instantly fell head over heels, if you’ll pardon the bad pun. They were perfect. Except they don’t carry half sizes in stores (just like their short-inseam jeans… I can never win in stores). I debated back and forth about just going ahead and ordering them, since I’d tried on a pair of 8s and a pair of 9s in the stores, finding that 8.5 would be the right fit. The only thing was, Christmas was quickly approaching, and I couldn’t justify plopping down $35 (+ $7 in S&H) for these shoes. I would take Brian into the store to find jeans and ended up looking at the shoes for a few minutes. Finally, just before Christmas, he offered to buy them for me. After having seen all the presents he had wrapped up for me, I couldn’t ask him for more. I told him that I didn’t really need them right now and I’d just wait for the price to drop and buy them on sale.

It never happened. So, there I was, minus these awesome glitter shoes and starting to feel non-buyer’s regret yet again. Having seen a few tutorials on Pinterest, I decided that whipping up my own DIY version would be a cinch for a seasoned craft pro like myself. With a Jo-Ann Fabrics gift card in hand, I set out to find my glitter. I had originally planned to use a very fine grain glitter by Martha Stewart, but after looking at the cost/benefit analysis (I’d have to buy probably three or four small tubes of it and end up wasting at least one), I settled on Jo-Ann Craft Essentials Glitter Glue in Silver, which was only $4 a bottle. (The link shows the variety pack, which is also $4, but I don’t think one bottle would hold enough to cover a pair of shoes in the same color.) The next step was finding a pair of heels I already owned to carry out my makeover plans. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in a field where one frequently needs to dress up a bit, I had no trouble finding a pair of black heels that would suit this project.

Nothing special. Actually, closer to Civil War widow than super cute.

I started by using masking tape to cover up the patent-esque edge and to tape the bow up so it wouldn’t be in the way. Then I started painting on the glitter glue in a thin to moderate layer, covering the entire outside of the shoe. I didn’t do the inside of the heel. It takes a while to dry, so give yourself a few days to work on this. Give them at least overnight before you start to handle them.

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Getting there. Brian now has a "no glitter products in the apartment" rule...

This is with one coat of glitter glue. It looks more interesting, but they still don’t have the “wow” factor I was going for. Be sure to clean your brush out frequently, since it’ll make it easier for you to paint on more glitter glue. For the second coat, you can be more generous with your layers. I made sure I didn’t have any large lumps of glitter anywhere by turning the shoe sideways to look at the different angles and make sure everything was still generally flat. After two coats of glitter glue (and a healthy coat of Modge Podge, every crafter’s best friend), I wound up with these babies…

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Ta da! Something special and totally awesome. Now to dress up that box. Pretty shoes deserve pretty packaging.

How much were they, you ask? Well, since I had the shoes already, it came out to $4! Four whole American dollars, which I paid with a gift card, so they were technically free. Plus, since the glitter was already mixed in glue, and I covered it with Modge Podge, it’s not coming off. I walked around all morning in them for a student leadership summit, and it didn’t look like following my trail would lead you to a pot of gold. I’m starting to wonder what else can be reasonably glitter-ized, although I think it would be best to leave it to one nice statement piece like these shoes. I plan on wearing them to my graduation, since no one will see whatever killer dress I come up with under that tent-like gown.

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What girl doesn't love a little sparkle in her life?