Feb 27, 2015

$50 Holliday June Giveaway!


Elissa has always had a yen to travel- and when the woman puts her mind to something she does it right. She tackled over 30 countries in her lifetime, everywhere from Australia to Morocco. One can only imagine how wonderful her passport looks- just imagine the stamps. And everywhere she went she'd visit bazaars and markets, hunting for vintage treasures, art, and fashions in exotic lands. 

While she now lives in L.A., she was never able to quite shake the love for her jet setting ways. Which is how Holliday June was born. Elissa explains:

The name Holliday was chosen for the classic elegance it invokes and June for it's simplicity. However, Holliday June has become more than a name and is now a persona of her own in our minds. She's that elegant lady we'd love to be in the airport stepping off a long haul flight looking chic and composed when everyone around her is a frazzled mess.  
Holliday June is comprised of collections, influenced by the look and feel of iconic destinations. From the "put-together" east coast, the relaxed west coast and exotic international locales, every collection is made up of new and vintage pieces that inspire us.
And they'd love to send along some of that inspiration your way! Today they're offering one lucky reader $50 giftcard to go channel Ms. June on their own. To enter is easy, all you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Follow Holliday June on Instagram and comment with your favorite item.
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow Holliday June on Facebook
This will run for one week- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts


Two weeks til my poetry book is published on Barnes & Noble and Amazon!! If you'd like to visit my poems in one spot, check out my Ugly People Beautiful Hearts page. And if you'd like poetry every morning with your breakfast coffee, join my poetry newsletter.

If you like it, help me spread the word and tweet and pin it :)

To see more entries from the book, read:

6 Outfits to Try This Weekend: Chicago Bar Guide Edition

Weekends are meant for playing and exploring, and when one does that she needs to dress the part. You can't just wear any old dress to that new underground speakeasy bar. And will pants or a jumpsuit work better to that one book reading you heard about last week? In the spirit of that, here's a series offering you fun ideas to try out this weekend, as well as suggestions on what to wear to them. And this one in particular? A Chicago bar guide!

Chicago readers- these are real events/ place you can go to this weekend. And everyone outside our area, go find these in your own town! I want to read all about it come Monday :)

Six Outfits to Try This Weekend- Chicago Bar Edition

  • Pile on a cozy blanket scarf over your maxi summer dress to give it a winter appropriate amount of coziness, and head to The Brass Monkey in the Fulton Market. A '70s style bar and restaurant, it's got all the disco balls and tequila sunsets your heart could want. Some drinks that you can look forward to? The "Buzz Aldrin" with Vodka, Lemon, Spiced Pear, and Cherry Heering, or the "Hugh Hefner" with Gin, Cherry Heering, Hibiscus, Lime, and Bitters.

  • Get your lacy summer tops back into rotation by layering them underneath a sweater, and head to a border-line divey bar in Lincoln Park called Hook & Ladder. Fireman themed (bare with me) it's got that ratchet Saturday night feel, but is still quite and laid back enough to actually hear what your friends are saying. Some drinks to look forward to? $2 drafts from Sunday to Wednesday and a healthy amount of craft beers on tap.

  • Go minimalist with your vintage by pairing an unfussy smock dress with a duster vest and spend your evening at The Drifter in River North. An actual speakeasy from the 1930's, it's got a secret door an everything. They have a live performance nightly, ranging from everything from solo jazz singers to a troope of burlesque dancers. Drinks to look forward to? It changes nightly. They choose eight tarot cards from a deck and then craft cocktails around those themes. And to choose your drink? You have to pick a card.  

  • Give your overalls life during the winter by popping a pussybow top underneath and mosey on over to Beermiscuous in Lake View. A bar that looks and feels like a cafe (love seats included!), this place might lull you with its coziness but make no mistake- they're real serious about their beers With 12 different types on tap and over 300 (!!) bottles brews to choose from, there's a little something for everyone here. But the nice thing is that it really does feel like a cafe. So feel free to bring your work and set up shop while you sip on some something saucy. Some drinks to look forward to? They carry over 72 Chicago breweries. So, beers. You have lots and lots of beers to look forward to. 

  • Dress down a full evening skirt with an unassuming cardi and make your way to Andersonville for Joie de Vine, a primo wine bar. While it's all loungey and has a great wine list, it's also special in the fact that it doesn't have a cocktail list. Instead, they pass you a card explaining that if you tell the bartenders what type of tastes you like, they'll craft you a drink especially tailored around them. Can you imagine the concoctions? 

Feb 26, 2015

The Tartan Skirt Trick You Don't Know About


It's no secret that we all love plaid during the colder season. It's almost border-line cliche, like saying you love cozying up by a fire or drinking something peperminty while it lightly snows outside. Yes, you like doing winter things during winter. We're all there with you.

But as you're doing these winter things over and over, it's easy to get your fill of them and reach your limit. Is anyone else at the point where they can't handle anything close to the word "nutmeg" anymore? Or found that the fisherman sweaters lost all their charm in the store windows?

I'm right there with you sister friend. But seeing how some of us still have to navigate piles of slush for another month or so, we can't really afford to pack up the winter gear just yet. Instead, we have to find new ways to wear it in order to keep our inspiration levels somewhat stable. While I'm not sure I can think of new ways to wear those sweaters we've been wearing to an inch of their lives, I do have some thoughts on tartan skirts. Read on to see what I've cooked up!


All those thoughts revolve around some clever layering. The best way to give new life to old pieces is to rework them in a way that might be unexpected. Like turning dresses into tops by pairing them with skirts. Or sleeveless frocks into vests by layering them on top of long sleeve blouses and then throwing a skirt on top of it all. You have to think outside of the box to stretch your pieces a little further, and I think I've stumbled upon something new here when it comes to plaid.

Specifically, plaid wrap skirts like this one from Fiery Finish Vintage. What if, instead of using the piece as a skirt, we use it as an accent? For example, in this look I took one of my favorite wool dresses and styled it with a turtleneck for some extra warmth. Not exactly over the moon with the simple pairing, I took the plaid wrap skirt and, folding the hem in like a triangle, I created an angular slit. I then safety pinned the piece into place, and shifted it on my waist til it hit a spot where you'd usually see a slit in a dress.

And there we go! This added a splash of color and pattern into my look, and helped stretch two pieces a little further.

But seriously though: I can't wait to feel what bare arms feel like again. Spring, come soon!


PS: Want more inspiration on how to style your tartan or plaid pieces? Try reading:



Feb 25, 2015

The Coolest Way to Drown In Layers This Winter


Volume on volume can be a scary thing. Images of Marie Antoinette outfits come to mind, where a person would have to turn sideways just to make it through the doorway in their big hoop skirt. Since most of us can't pull off a powdered wig like we used to, we usually stay away from the full skirts paired with the full shirts paired with the paper sail boats in our up-do-ed hair. But just because we do, doesn't mean we should. What if there's a way to wear all that bulk and not look, well, bulky? I think I've figured out just how. Read on to see!


The trick, I've found, is to define the waist. You can have skirts and sweaters and lengths tumbling all over each other this way and that, but it all makes sense as long as your eye has a definite waist to land on. It's like your anchoring point: if there's a divide that clearly lets the eye know "this is what we decided is the middle!" the rest sort of starts to make sense around it.


This realization came to me when I started to play with this full black midi skirt from Sheinside. It was one of those pieces that I just needed in my wardrobe (I mean, when doesn't a black skirt come in handy?) but once I had it I had absolutely nothing to pair it with. It turns out that I don't like the color black. Everything I threw at it was either a) too fancy or b) looked uninspired against the dark hue. I was verging on pouting, people. 

But then I had a crazy thought: what if...well, God, okay. What if I paired this very poofy skirt with- um- a very intense turtleneck? 

I frowned as I glanced at my closet, testing. It wouldn't work. There'd be no way that a heavy knit would look good with such a full skirt. But what's the harm in trying? Humoring myself, I slipped it on.

And immediately got hearts in my eyes. This is now one of my favorite winter looks: just a classic, full skirt, a tucked in cable-knit, and a pompom cap. So simple, yet so, so good. It's classic but still interesting. Cozy but polished. 

And now I'm curious: have you ever paired two pieces together just knowing they'd be a disaster, but ended up pleasantly surprised? I'd love to hear!


PS: If you'd like more full skirt styling tips, why don't you read:

outfit details
SKIRT: c/o Sheinside (only $20!)
POM POM CAP: TJ Maxx, originally from BCBG

 photo divider_zps9a1dedc9.jpg

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts

Two weeks til my poetry book is published on Barnes & Noble and Amazon! If you'd like to visit my poems in one spot, check out my Ugly People Beautiful Hearts page. And if you'd like poetry every morning with your breakfast coffee, join my poetry newsletter.

To see more entries from the book, read:

Feb 24, 2015

What to Wear to a...

Want some bread spreads and shmears, but the way the Eastern Europeans would have them? Well, you can either come over to my house and I can make you a little plate or we head to the Istanbul deli and get ourselves a little spread of open faced sandwiches. I'll get the salami and hard boiled egg option, and you get the cheese, radish, and grape tomato setup. While we're pretending lunching on the streets of Vienna, we can look the part by wearing long sleeve, floral vintage dresses and shearling-lined coats. Add a gem colored hat to add an interesting pop to the look, and then add some cheek by pairing the soft ensemble with some heavy Dr. Martens oxfords. Now, should you go and request a tray of tea or should I?

  1. Voyeur Vintage floral dress
  2. Mango faux-shearling lined jacket
  3. Mango bucket bag
  4. Rag and Bone wide brim fedora
  5. Dr. Martens 1461 shoes


Coffee is the only thing that gets most of us through the day, but spiked coffee makes it ten times better. No, I'm not talking about pouring some of the good stuff in your mug all sneaky like behind your desk. I'm talking about putting on a vintage plaid skirt and thick sandals and heading out for some coffee infused cocktails. Mix your sweet vermouth and bitters with some dark coffee, and order a round of candied bacon for the table. To add a chic touch to your industrial-skewed outfit, add a structured crop top and a sharp duster vest to add some polish to the grungy look.

  1. Duncan Loves Tess plaid skirt
  2. Topshop tall raw edges sleeveless jacket
  3. Topshop textured shell top
  4. Mango faux leather backpack
  5. Dr. Martens clarissa sandal


It's already been a long week and you don't want your Tuesday to end with just the usual slice of pizza. You need something to pep you up. Something like spiced pineapple and herb-fried chicken on you pie. Or dijon dill cream and tabasco carnitas. Wash that down with some good beer and put your name on the ping pong table waiting list- that should turn your evening around! As to what to wear, go sporty but sweet by pairing your vintage letterman jacket with a pleated leather skirt. Add a peter pan collar to tie in the feminine vibes, and then balance out the look with some clunky Zara sandals and a masculine bag. Work those contrasts. 

  1. Calvin Klein pleated leather skirt
  2. New Old Fashion Vintage 80s letterman jacket
  3. Zara shirt with contrasting collar
  4. Zara leather platform sandal
  5. Black Pagan Vintage leather backpack (only $33!)


Sometime a girl doesn't know if she wants a blood orange pie, a meat pie, or just a warm biscuit with some jam. Don't make yourself choose and instead visit your neighborhood bakery that serves both sweet and savory. Plan ahead for the inevitable "I can't choose" moment and the subsequent "I'll have both" head nod and put yourself into a minimalist smock dress. We're pros at this- we're not going to mess around with the nonsense of pants and buttons. Give the sweet denim dress and urban feel by pairing it with a longline bomber jacket and chelsea rubber boots, but then add some softness to it with a light hued felt fedora and tinted sunnies. 

  1. Lucy Blue Vintage minimalist smock dress
  2. Topshop longline bomber jacket
  3. Express wool felt fedora
  4. J Crew chelsea rain boots (only $34!)

PS: Want more ideas on what to wear to winter shindigs? Then wy don't you read:

Feb 23, 2015

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts


Two weeks til my poetry book is published! If you'd like to visit my poems in one spot, check out my Ugly People Beautiful Hearts page. And if you'd like poetry every morning with your breakfast coffee, join my poetry newsletter.

Layering 101: 9 Ways to Fight Winter Boredom with Layers

This is it, folks. That time of year where the city streets are filled with boring black coats, bowed heads, and nothing but sweaters and fleece tights underneath jeans. Winter can make for some boring people watching, but if you're some of the few that refuse to think that "stylishly warm" is an oxymoron, than you've come to the right place. There are ways to layer up and wear double the amount of clothes and still resemble a stylish lady. Read on to see just how!


For more layering inspiration, check out the sources!: ONE| TWO| THREE| FOUR| FIVE| SIX| SEVEN| EIGHT| NINE|

Feb 22, 2015

$40 Little French Dress Giveaway

little-french-dress-vintage-giveaway little-french-dress-vintage-giveaway-1 little-french-dress-vintage-giveaway-3

While we're all moping about winter, let's start looking forward to sunny dresses and swingy skirts with a bit of help from Little French Dress. Katie, the owner, is a lover of many things modern and new, vintage and used, classic and timeless, and she wants to dress you up in the best frocks the past has to offer. She's been stocking her store with white pleated dresses and a-line skirts with roomy pockets just for this occasion, and to get us excited about Spring she's offering one lucky reader a $40 giftcard to go play in her store! To enter is easy, all you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Favorite the shop on Etsy and like them on Facebook
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Instagram
  3. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Pinterest
  4. Bonus Entry: Comment with your favorite item from Little French Dress

This will run for a week- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 21, 2015

Poetry Book!


So I'm getting closer to the end with the launch of my ebook! All the pesky formatting has been finished, all the font options have been tormented over and picked, and now I'm just waiting for the cover to be polished up and finished. I'm aiming for Ugly People Beautiful Hearts to be up by the first week of March, but if you're anything like me you're terrible at waiting.

We're not patient people, no. So to tide us all over, I'll be sharing my favorite poems every other day: words from me to you. Do what you'd like with them. Save them. Smile over them. Let them fix you. Turn them to gold. Share them. Fold them and stow them. I just hope the way I see the world will help brighten yours.

This whole process has been a revelation for me. If you have a dream, do it. Seriously, start now. Right now. Your failure is only as strong as your excuse to stop. I really can't believe I didn't do this years before.

If you'd like to visit my poems in one spot, check out my Ugly People Beautiful Hearts page. And if you'd like poetry every morning with your breakfast coffee, join my poetry newsletter.

 I love you all for supporting me, and just know, I have your back equally as much :)

Feb 20, 2015

This Is How to Take Dress Layering to the Next Level


We've all had those days where we've looked in our closet, shuffled a hanger or two around, and then, stepping back, decide with much gusto, I  need to go shopping. You've made every outfit you could possibly make, repeated every look you could get away with repeating. There's nothing there left for you. Someone- quickly- take it away from your sight!

But what if, before all your grocery money gets exchanged for cropped sweaters, I bring your attention towards the workhorse pieces of your closet that you didn't necessarily know are workhorses? What if we look at a few items and notice, with some surprise, they can be layered and mixed in ways you weren't aware of before? Think of all the new looks you could create! Think of all the non-Ramen meals you will get to eat! Read on and see just how. 


That one piece that you've overlooked in your wardrobe is a sneaky one for sure: it's the sleeveless dress. Plain, simple, unassuming; you'd never think of the exciting styling potential behind this number. While my usual go-to move with this type of piece is to add a long sleeve blouse underneath for a splash of color or pattern, my world opened up after I discovered another use for it: to wear it as a vest.


It completely changed my skirt-game after the breakthrough. No longer did I have to rely on cardigans and blouses to mix and match and make my bottoms feel different- I could completely change the feel by adding a sleeveless dress underneath. Take this plaid skirt and white collared shirt combo as an example. It's sweet, but in a summery type of way. To darken the tones and add more winter-appropriate layers, I added this navy Lone Pony Vintage dress (seen in this post) to give a sense of more coverage and warmth. The extra layer helped nudge the look along towards the realm of chillier months.

The sleeveless dress also changed the vibe of the outfit, where it gave it a more of a '60s college kid feel, what with its color-blocking and now-accented shirt collar. Give me a pair of penny loafers and knee highs, and I'd be ready to head to my noon Philosophy class on campus. If I took off the dress, I'd have the same look but the tone would come across completely different, giving me two outfits without all that much thought or effort. 

You see? No need to overhaul your whole closet just yet. I don't know whether to say you're welcome or I'm sorry.


Want more dress-as-a-vest layering inspiration? Why don't you read:


Feb 18, 2015

How We Wore It: 10 Ways to Wear Berets This Season

Ever seen a trend, liked it, but weren't necessarily sure if you could style it in a "you" kind of way? "How We Wore It" will show you how different women braved the trend and played with it until they got it to fit in with their styles- and hopefully that'll inspire us to poke a toe out of our comfort zones and try something new, too! Today's trend will be berets. Happy creating!

how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret-1 how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret how-we-wore-it-how-to-style-beret

Want more styling inspiration? Visit the sources!: ONE| TWO| THREE| FOUR| FIVE| SIX| SEVEN| EIGHT| NINE| TEN

PS: If you want more "How We Wore It" posts, check out:

© Messages on a Napkin.Maira Gall.