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?


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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)

Rain Shoes

Image from Pinterest

I have never been one to like the rain. My dislike for it increased when I realized that I am forced to walk through it on my way to work – or if I ever want to do anything outside my tiny apartment. When I first moved to New York, I underestimated the need for rain boots. After a few ruined flats and many days shivering in my cubicle thanks to cold, wet feet, I finally purchased a pair of the popular Hunter rain boots. Don’t get me wrong, I love how they resemble a chic yet effective way to stay dry. However, as the days get warmer – my desire to pull on a tall clunky boot diminishes. Thus, I have researched other cute ways to block the rain that go better with spring and summer styles. The great thing about these shoes is that many of them come in all sorts of colors! (I still have my Hunters on hand for those raining cats and dogs kind of days.)

  1. Bogs Charlot Rain Chukka
  2. Sperry Top-Sider Ran Drop Boot
  3. Chooka Duck Skimmer Flat
  4. Sperry Top-Sider Cormorant
  5. LLBean Coastal Rain Skimmer
  6. JCrew Rainy Day Bow Ballet Flat

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!

I Love the 90’s

I recently went to go see a 90’s cover band with some friends one Friday night. In preparation, I decided to do some googling to get reacquainted with the highs and lows of the decade. I had forgotten all the great movies, shows, and songs come out of those fabulous years – Saved by the Bell, Friends, Clueless, Spice Girls, (this list could go on and on). While searching, I couldn’t help but notice some reoccurring fashion styles that seem to be popping up today.  I guess everyone really does love the 90’s! Here are some of the major trends I picked up on:

  1. THEN – Platform sneakers
  2. NOW – Flatform sandals
  3. THEN – Doc Marten “1460” boots
  4. NOW – Frye “Engineer” boots
  5. THEN – Jean buckle overalls
  6. NOW – Chambray romper
  7. THEN – Cropped tight sweater
  8. NOW – Loose hi-low sweater

What trends from past decades do you notice are in style today?

Spring in bloom

One of my favorite trends for spring is the flower printed pants that seem to be popping up everywhere! As a kid who wore a pair of flower printed stretch leggings until they were filled with holes, I’m psyched to see this bright and fun option. And you don’t have to spend a ton (if you’re worried that by next year, blooms will no longer be big) – I recently purchased a great pair from H&M for less than $20 (seen in the bottom row, far left pic)!

Tell us – would you rock this trend? What other trends are you loving?

(For image sources, check out my Pinterest Fashion board!)

Real Girl Style

One of the topics we want to focus on with this blog is what we’ll call “real girl style.” We don’t work in fashion, but love it and we want to share with you our styles!

One of the ways that we’ll share with you is pics like the ones below: quick ones, taken with a phone, before leaving for work. Doesn’t get more real than that! No extra time putting on make-up, doing styling, etc. Yep, I’m sitting here, typing this, keeping my eye on the clock to make sure that I end up at my desk in time! There will be days when we can spend more time putting together looks and offering a bit more about how to creatively demonstrate your style (and taking better quality pics), but we also want to keep this as true to reality as possible!

Look: Rule Breaker

I like to call this look a “Rule Breaker” look, in homage to the outdated (in my opinion) rule of not wearing white until after Memorial Day.

{Blazer: J. Crew, Pants: Anthropologie, Tee shirt: Gap (Red)}

{Shoes: Corso Como}

Tell us about your style!


I’ve recently been introduced to the amazing savings account website called SmartyPig. Not only does it have a higher interest rate compared to most of the big banks, but it lets you break up your savings into different goals. As a young person living in a big city, I cherish every possible extra dollar I can, but sometimes I feel bad saving just for the sake of saving. Being able to assign a goal to my money helps me focus on an end result. Whether it be a tropical vacation, a pair of new killer (but pricey) heels, or a starting off point for a future adventure (such as new business venture or grad school), you have the ability to choose how you want to save.  They also have a reloadable cash rewards card that you can get which gives you 1% cash back on every purchase where MasterCard is accepted. You can put money on it from one of your goal accounts or from another funding source. This is a great way to make sure you never go over your budget!

Check it out here!

~ H

Now and Later – Spend and Save

One of the challenges with fashion trends is where to spend your hard earned cash. Certain trends come and go with seasons while others hang around for years. So when should you spend a lot on a trendy item? One of the ways that I make this decision is in thinking about how well and item will a) go with the rest of my wardrobe b) how many seasons can I wear it (living in DC means we get the full range of seasons and temperatures) and c) can this still be stylish once the so-called “trend” has passed?

One recent example of this is brightly colored pants. This season bright colored, skinny (sometimes cropped and cuffed) pants are everywhere. But will you really want to rock those coral capris again in summer 2013? My advice is to refer to the 3 points I listed above. It might be worth your while to purchase one slightly nicer pair that will last you years to come but if you feel drawn to collecting all colors of the rainbow, I would refrain or get a few cheaper pairs. Case in point: I splurged an bought myself a pair of saturated purple Minnie’s from J. Crew. I love everything purple and know that I’ll continue to wear these. Also, J. Crew’s clothes are well made and since they carry petites (yay!), I can find an almost custom fit. So, this is where I decided to lay down a little more cash. I also thought it would be fun to have another bright pair but didn’t want to spend as much, so I looked to Boden, armed with a discount code, and ordered a coral-ish hued pair.

What are you spending and splurging on this season?

~ Ruth