Jul 30, 2014



I have been loving all the Mexican embroidery pieces that have been popping up all over the place lately- the cheery thread colors are so summery and playful, and it's fun to find ways to incorporate it into your wardrobe in a modern way. Like, say, underneath overalls perhaps? ;) And while there are many places to get them, I'd really like to point you towards my friend's store, Mitla Moda. Dus is the mastermind behind it, and she actually operates the store at a loss. She travels down to Mexico herself with her husband, meets the artisans herself, learns about their process, and then buys their pieces to sell back here in the States. Then once she does sell the item, she gives 100% of the profits back to the artisans. She's passionate about giving the designers all that they're due and upholding fair-trade, and that kind of dedication is inspiring. So if you have been keeping an eye out for an embroidery piece of your own, consider checking out Mitla Moda and helping her fair-trade cause! 


And here are some of my favorite picks from Mitla Moda, to give you an idea of what they have:


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BLOUSE: c/o Mitla Moda
SANDALS: Urban Outfitters

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Jul 28, 2014



Monday morning has my brain all foggy, so instead of me writing to you let's let someone else do it. I hope that you take the time to be happy today:

“Promise yourself, to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

— Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them


And while we're marinating in the feeling of how wonderful this Monday is going to be (because we're amazing), let's also die a little inside over this outfit. Tropical prints plus straw clutches equals my power outfit. I feel unstoppable in this. It is my new belief that every girl should own swishy pants and a vintage wicker handbag, just so they can feel as happy as I do walking down the street. If you're looking for a shop that has them- as well as a heck of a lot of other vintage delights- I'd recommend New Old Fashion Vintage. I have a ton of dresses and skirts from them that are seriously my go-to favorite items, so if you're in a shopping mood hop on over and say hi to Amelia (the brains behind the operation)! And to give you an idea of the summery goods they have in stock right now, I chose three of my favorite items below- enjoy!


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$40 Whhttt Vintage Giveaway


Today's exciting giveaway is from a huge favorite of mine, Whhttt Vintage! Texas based, the store itself is like a massive collage of vintage finds from various decades and genres. Timeless beauty is a given but they also strive to find the diamond in the rough items- they love taking the trite, tacky and decidedly undesirable and giving it new life- which I think we can agree fits right in to most of our styles ;)

And today, Whhttt is offering one lucky reader a $40 gift card to their shop! To enter, all you have to do is:

  1. Mandatory Entry: Like Whhttt on Facebook, and comment with your favorite item from their store
  2. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Twitter
  3. Bonus Entry: Follow them on Pinterest

This is open internationally and will run for a week- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 26, 2014


It seems that I've made it my summer goal not to do anything typical with my warm evenings out and about. Go out for drinks? Sure, but let's do it at a prohibition era bar. Catch a movie? Only if it's on a blanket at the park (with wine sneakily hidden in our bag). And one of my favorite parts of finding these quirky activities is deciding what to wear to them. I mean, are pants or skirts more appropriate to go eat beignets and drink Pimms Cups on restaurant patio decks? So in the spirit of that, here's a new series offering you fun ideas to play with during this weekend, as well as suggestions on what to wear to them. 

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

  1. Pair your polka dot dress with a sleeveless turtleneck and wear it to a coffee 101 brewing workshop- then come back here and tell me how to mix honey and cayenne pepper into my morning cup!
  2. Top off your high waisted pants with a loose, knotted blouse and watch a Sunday night movie at one of downtown's swankiest rooftop bars. Watching The Lego Movie with skyscrapers lit up around you? Don't mind if I do.
  3. Tuck in a long vest into your skirt to create a dress-like look and go to that ice cream pop-up just around the corner. Now the only question is: do you get the scoop with blueberry waffle pieces or strawberry shortcake bits?
  4.  Throw on some cat eyes and your best straw hat for a lazy, summer-lovin' feel as you take your friends out to the new underground tequila bar in town. Sip on spicy, strong concoctions and watch  the bartenders put on a show with their bottle flips and potion lookin' viles. I think that's a solid Saturday afternoon.
  5. Match your light chambray shirt with some dark-wash high waist jeans and make it a girls day by going to this fun, bar themed salon. They specialize in blowouts, and each style is named after a drink that you choose from a menu (ex: the Cosmopolitan has tons of loose curls, while the Mai Tai is messy and beachy). But fear not- there's still booze involved! They offer you mimosas while your sit in the chair ;)
  6. Pop a chambray top underneath your loose smock dress and head over to the local library book fair. Fitzgerald and Green books for under $3? Yea, I'm there.

Jul 25, 2014


Back when I was in India I remember meeting this older traveler- a Swedish old man colored by the life of a vagabond. Tan, weathered skin, with wrinkles that ran happy rather than sad under his eyes and around his mouth. Like lines of poetry that promised how beautiful life was if only you noticed. Long silver hair swept up into a messy ponytail similar to mine. Scars and tattoos running up his arms like torn pages out of a story and not quite covered by his sleeves. And the reason I remembered him was because we were both waiting to hear about information on a bus, and were sitting there quietly side by side, just enjoying the fact that we were somewhere uncertain and new. And he turned and said to me, "It's nice not having to do anything, isn't it? Not having to occupy yourself every moment, not trying to sweep past boredom while you wait with a book or a conversation. Sometimes it's nice just to sit and be completely aware that right this moment you're living, and your life is pretty fucking beautiful. Just sit and just be. I like that me and you don't have to talk right now."

And then he turned back in his seat, and sat with his arms crossed staring out the window.

Last night, as I missed my train back home and had to wait two hours for the next one, I sat down and had every intention of whittling away the time. I had a backpack full of books, I had enough money for a magazine or a coffee. But for some reason or other I just sat there, with my legs crossed at the ankles, playing with the hem of my shirt, thinking of nothing and everything at the same time, and feeling content. Thinking of the old Swedish man back in India.

For a moment, everything inside me turned beautiful.


As for this outfit, say hellooo to my new favorite fall look. I'll be wearing this down to the ground once the temperature turns slightly nippy (which, if we're honest, already has. Damn you Midwest, damn you.) A couple of weeks ago I wore this Wayfarer dress in more of a Gatsby inspired garden party type of way, but this time around I wanted to go for more of a cozy look. I really like pairing long sweaters with maxi hems because it gives a very relaxed slightly lazy vibe, and then I topped it off with a sharp looking hat and minimalist sandals to balance out the slightly bag-lady proportions. I love how it turned out! What are some other ways that you dress up your maxis?


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DRESS: c/o Wayfarer Vintage (similar: herehereherehere)
SWEATER: Banana Republic
HAT: Urban Outfitters
NECKLACE: Urban Outfitters
WATCH: thrifted

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Jul 23, 2014



We've entered that delicious part of summer where the days are long and blended together, with the weekend coming up right behind you just as you thought the week started. The sun comes down in bleached rays, the wind blows through the leaves like it's carrying the sound of crashing waves, and I seem to have found a permanent spot on my patio deck, doing nothing but sitting with my eyes closed and feeling happy. 

And when one feels so untethered and free spirited, a girl doesn't have much use with complicated froo-froo looks. With this outfit I took a thrifted denim pinafore and tried to make it a little more modern by popping a flowy crop on top of it. I like the silhouette it creates, and how the proportions make me appear longer (hint hint to all my short girls!) Add in a few dangly necklaces, and some sharp, minimalist sandals and you're ready to go play!


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DRESS: thrifted (similar: here, here)
SHIRT: H&M (but hemmed into a crop top) (similar: here, here)
SUNNIES: Forever 21
NECKLACE: Urban Outfitters and Cocorrina

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Jul 21, 2014


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Remember how last week I said I was going to go build a house by a waterfall, and you could visit me once I'm settled in and I'll serve you sub-par tea and Jimmy Johns? Well this is the place. I haven't gotten the logistics down on which side of the waterfall to build it on- left or right, left or right?- but the prints are being drafted. 

For a field of daisies I would leave the city without any regret.

And for all my Chicago readers- this state park is called Starved Rock and it's just two hours out of the city. Come visit it and I guarantee you we'll end up neighbors.

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Jul 20, 2014


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 jumpsuits. Happy creating!


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© Messages on a Napkin.Maira Gall.