Author Archives: Ruth

Changing Times

How did it get to be fall already?! As Hannah mentioned in her previous post, fall is our favorite season. Growing up in Upstate, NY we always experienced beautiful, color autumns, we were spoiled with delightfully cool (but comfortable) days and bright red, yellow and orange leaves everywhere you looked. While we always embraced fall, we knew it was a transition (sometimes a quick one – there were many Halloweens spent in snow!). As we shift into this ever-changing and unpredictable season, here are few transition pieces to guide you through. The best part: these pieces can be used year round! Stock up now and you’ll be able to save a few pennies come June.

Nothing is as versatile as a cute, quirky sweater. Layer this over more and more bases as the seasons get colder. When warm weather finally appears waaaay down the road, be sure to take it with you when you head out in the evening (movie theaters always seem to be cold, don’t they?).

I love these printed pants. While it’s still warm, show those ankles with cute shoes. When the chill sets in, pull on some boots or layer up with tights!

I love these wedges! Great colors for year round wear. Pair them with some thick tights in the coming months, then show them off with bare legs and a cute sundress in warmer temps.

Hannah and I both own this scarf. It’s large enough to wear it like a shawl, letting the breeze come through the linen, but also can be wrapped to keep your neck warm. And it comes in tons of great brights!

Ask any girl – regardless of her style – and she probably has a cardigan in her closet. I love this classic simple one – worn around your shoulders over a sundress in summer but also perfect for layering to go apple picking and on fall hayrides!

What are your transition pieces?

Memorial Weekend sales list!

Three cheers for long weekends, the start of summer, and new additions to your closet. Here’s a list of just a sample of the sales that are happening over the next few days.

And *please* take time to remember what this holiday is truly about.

Elevated Style

Fashion has gotten expensive. This isn’t exactly news, but it sometimes still blows my mind how much things cost – $900 for a tee-shirt? $500 for a pair of flats? In this day, when one item in your outfit can cost almost as much as a month of rent, more and more companies that were once viewed as less-than-trendy are designing products that are affordable and stylish. Here are a couple to check out:

1. Birkenstock – Once known for simple 2-strap sandals, this company has grown to make some of the cutest and most comfortable sandals. I’ve had 2 fun pairs for a few years now and STILL get compliments. People are always surprised to find out that my metallic silver toe-wrap sandals or my t-strap black patent sandals are made by Birkenstock. They also have many veg-friendly options! (All options below found here and here.)

2. Land’s End. The source of many grade school backpacks and plain turtlenecks has developed a younger, more stylish line called Canvas. They have many cute options including fun dresses and comfy chambray shirts!

Where have you found affordable, stylish pieces?

On the Road

Many of my colleagues travel a lot (I’m relatively new to my job and will hopefully be jet setting soon!), all over the world throughout the year. This requires a lot of careful planning. With many tight travel regulations (ahem, 3 oz. liquids), it pushes us all to be organized, thoughtful globetrotters.

While I haven’t traveled much for my job, I have traveled since before I can even remember. I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken all sorts of trips, everything from the short drive to Toronto from my home town, to 24 hours+ trips to Africa. There are a number of items and tips that I have:

1. First of all, make yourself comfortable. I usually have an eye mask, blanket and neck pillow (the ones airplanes give out aren’t nearly as soft and comfy as I’d like), and cozy socks since planes are usually chilly.

Cute sleep mask $22

Socks $5

Blanket (this has foot pockets!) $19.99 (on sale!)

2. Make sure that if you’re not checking a bag, all your liquids are the proper size. Many of the go-to places for toiletries have special sections on websites and in stores with mini sizes of your favorite products. Sephora has a whole section including products you wouldn’t think would need to be small (ie. mascara).

Bliss Starter Series: Fabulous $36

3. Even if you’re traveling for work, you’ll want to make sure that you document your trip. Take some time – even if it’s just an hour or 2 – to document what you see. We sometimes forget to take in what’s around us, especially when we’re on business trips and not in the true travel mindset. While I’m not advocating blowing off your work duties, I bet most of us could squeeze in some sightseeing.

Muji sketchbook $3.95

Tivoli Audio – Songbook global radio $199.99

Canon PowerShot $169

4. Traveling doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style either. So many great pieces are comfy, cute and perfect for long hours in a car or on a plane. I love leggings, slip on shoes (so easy for going through airport security!), and a wrap (to again combat that problem of chilly planes).

American Apparel Leggings (they come in SO many colors!) $28

Love Quotes scarf (also so many color choices) $88

TOMS ballet flats $74

Do you have any great travel tips?

Weekend Wear

{Top: Elizabeth and James, Jeans: True Religion, Sunnies: Ray-Ban, Shoes: TOMS, Necklaces: Lulubug Jewelry, Bag: Handmade by me}

Temperatures are really on the rise here in the District. If you’ve ever been here between May and September, you’ll know why this place is nicknamed “The Swamp.” Steamy temperatures prompt the need for loose blouses, cropped pants, and slip-on sneakers. And of course, my favorite pair of sunglasses.

Have a great weekend!

Print Love

{Dress: Zachary’s Smile for Anthropologie, Shoes: Corso Como, Sunnies: Theory, Clutch: vintage Coach, Bracelets: Etsy/Tai/Dogeared/handmade from Africa, Cocktail ring: vintage (my grandma’s)}

I am a big fan of prints, especially for dresses. I’ve had this cute little number for a few years now and it never fails to disappoint. Comfortable (with pockets!), classic (a very flattering shape) and fun (the African print fabric makes me nostalgic for Cape Town). I like to pair it with fun accessories – great for work or going out!

Feed Your Brain

If I could do one thing all summer, it would probably be sit outside in the sunshine (preferably on the beach!) and just read book after book. Reading has always been a great love of mine, even during busy stressful times in my life when I had plenty to read already (like graduate school). I still try to read a little bit each night before I go to sleep, as it always helps me unwind. I’ve had a Kindle for about a year now and love it, especially for commuting and traveling! I will always have a special place in my heart for physical books (you should see our bookshelves…) too.

Here are a few of the books I’ve slated for the coming months ahead:

The Beginner’s Goodbye – Anne Tyler is one of my all-time favorite writers. Her characters are varied, complex, but seem completely real. They’re usually the stories of average people facing common struggles. This one looks like it won’t disappoint.

A Natural Woman: A Memoir – I have vivid memories of singing along to “Really Rosie” with my parents in our old Woody station wagon as a kid. As I got older, I moved on to loving Carole King’s classic songs and somewhat imperfect voice. I’m psyched to read this autobiography. If it’s written even half as well as her song lyrics, it’ll be a great book!

All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps – One of my favorite short segments on NPR, I love hearing from the real lives of people who enter the StoryCorps booths, especially the sweet love stories. The producer compiled a book of love-themed stories that will be one I’m sure I’ll go back to many times.

Mockingjay – Yes, I too have succumbed to the world of the Hunger Games. I NEVER liked books like this at all but after all the hype, I figured I’d see what all the excitement was about (and my fiance read the first one and really liked it). I breezed through the second book in about a day and now am anxious to see what happens in the final chapter.

What are you excited to read?

Like us on Facebook!

Hey all – we’re branching out across the web. Check out our Facebook page here. We’ll keep it updated with our posts, open up discussions, and pictures!

Handmade Wardrobe

During my last semester of graduate school I got a sewing machine (which was a wonderful distraction while I was trying not to panic about entering the real world). I have always been a crafty person, growing up with lots of markers, rubber stamps, and other projects (Hannah and I each had official drafting tables that we dubbed our “art tables”) so it was only natural to work in a new medium. I have been knitting for over half my life – it was only a matter of time before adding more textile crafts to my repertoire. My sewing now mostly consists of quilts (you can check out my craft-focused blog here) but I have recently started sewing clothes. Nowadays, so many of the styles that I’m drawn to are fairly simple silhouettes featuring fun prints and bright colors. Why not try making my own clothes? I don’t expect to revolutionize the classic DVF wrap dress, but I think I can handle a simple tank or an a-line skirt.

Armed with lots of inspiration (just search for “handmade clothing” on Flickr), some great resources for instructions (thanks Etsy and YouTube!) and a tight budget, I decided to have a go at garment sewing. I purchased this pattern which came in PDF form (you print the pattern pieces and tape them together), purchased 2.5 yards of fabric (this beautiful flower print voile is by my favorite fabric designer, Anna Maria Horner), and in one afternoon, I made a top that is now in my usual clothing rotation! Hannah bought me this book and it was a great guide – it’ll definitely be my go-to as I learn new techniques.

Do you have a sewing machine, or access to one? If yes, I highly recommend getting acquainted with the wonderful world of garment sewing! One of the best resources I’ve found is the online mecca of tutorials and patterns, Burda Style. It’s a great community with how-to’s, patterns (and reviews) and much more. These are not your grandma’s sewing patterns! There are tons of options, including trendy tunics, cute sun dresses, and even bags.

Here are a few fabrics that I love and think would be perfect for clothes (a simple tank or a sweet skirt, perhaps?) All fabrics can be found on one of my go-to online shops, Hawthorne Threads.

Washi Tape in Beige (Washi by Rashida Coleman Hale)

Starcomb in Silver (Parson Gray by David Butler)

Rivera in Blue (Maya by Leah Duncan)

Mara - Blue (Maasai Mara by Dear Stella House Designer)

Words of wisdom

It’s been a particularly tough week for me at work (deadlines, difficult colleagues, etc. – you know what I mean, we’ve all been there!). Fortunately, things are getting back to normal.

One of the simplest ways that I try to manage my stress level and keep a positive attitude is to go back to inspiration. As cheesy as it may sound, a good quote can make me smile and give me perspective. Thanks to Pinterest, there seems to be an endless amount of inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites.

Where do you find inspiration? Have a great weekend!