Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not quite resolutions

I've gone back and forth over the years on setting New Year's resolutions - from having a super long list that I've actually looked at later to track progress... to being too cool for them because 'no one sticks to them anyway.'  Turns out, I prefer to start the new year with a few goals.  Some serious and some silly, it makes me happy to just have a few things documented and try to hold myself accountable.  Here goes, my random list of goals and resolutions for 2012....

1) Run the half

Source: via Vickie on Pinterest

2) Call Mom more

3) Be more organized

4) Practice yoga at least once per week

5) Stand up straight (hoping #4 will help with this one)

6) Go BLONDE(ish).  My stylist and I discussed this look, and I made my next appt for March to start the process :)

7) Shop Smarter

8) Be a better listener

9) Eat CLEAN food

10) Shop more flea markets and antique stores

11) Buy a dining room table

12) .... and chairs (currently liking these as one option)

13) Do more DIYs.  I'm excited about this because I already have a few planned.

14) Stress less

15) Buy my first pair of Louboutins. It's gotta happen.

Source: via Andrea on Pinterest

Wishing everyone a healthiest and happiest 2012!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Need a little color

Clearly a tan is out of the question, but I needed to perk up my entirely too predictable black/grey ensemble with at least a little color. How do we feel about fuchsia? Good? Great. I'm so glad that all of the messy rain and gloom is gone... even though it's still cold, I'm LOVING this sunshine. Let's hope it stays around for a bit!

Express tank dress (old), Cynthia Rowley jacket from TJ Maxx (similar for 75% off!), Charming Charlie's scarf, Seychelles boots (similar), NY&Co earrings and bracelet, Michael Kors watch, Francesca's clutch, DG sunglasses

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Still here

I'm alive and well.. and completely caught up with the holidays this year.  Between the standard Christmas plans with family, out of town guests (FUN!), and time off work... I have had little to no creativity left for the blog.  Add this to the fact that I've been spending most of my spare time for the past few months perusing every possible internet site, magazine, and television broadcast for home decor in addition to fashion inspiration.  I truly admire bloggers who do it all.  Fashion, beauty, home decor, DIYs, etc... I don't know how you all do it (as I get anxious at the thought of having more than one thing on which to focus my efforts).  The good news is - I have lots of home decor DIYs to document in the next few months.  Also, I may actually get dressed and out of the house BEFORE it gets dark at least once while I'm off work and get some outfit pictures taken.

A few pretty home decor inspiration pics I'm loving...

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Guest Post by The Photog: Life with a Fashionista - Day 4

Here we are yet again.  Needless to say, life with a fashionista is....interesting (remind me to tell you sometime why I use that word).  But you already know that.  Because those of you reading either are a fashionista or you're connected to one in some form or fashion (pun intended).

Let's recap where we've been so far.  Day 1 gave us no space.  Day 2 gave us whining.  Day 3 gave us acceptance.  Day 4 gives us the unexpected - hope.

I give you Day 4: It's Gonna Happen

Session 1: Stuck in a room of fashionistas

No guy wants to be in this situation.  An event or party or show or shopping or some sort of activity where it's not just your fashionista but a whole gaggle of them.  Chatting.  Texting.  Instagraming.  Pinning.  Admiring each others' clothes.  (And is it just me or do they all have to state a) where they bought the item and b) how much it cost?)  Is there a way to avoid this predicament?  Absolutely.  Should you avoid this predicament?  Not necessarily.  Let me explain.

Engaging in these social events with your fashionista (even though you're the only guy there) is a necessary evil.  She gets to frolic with others of her kind, practice a language no one else cares to understand, and build a network of other fashionistas.  I know, it really doesn't sound like you're getting anything out of this situation at all, but you're dead wrong.  There is light at the end of this tunnel, gents.  And it's so bright, you'll need SPF 5000.

It's gonna happen.

Session 2: At least there's alcohol

The capstone event that became the foundation for this training session was very similar to the situation above.  Dinner was going to be several of our friends and colleagues to celebrate another's rather lucrative business venture.  Food and friends?  I'm game.  And then we get there.  

So there I am sitting at dinner with 8 women including my fashionista.  Are you kidding me?  Where are the guys?  Where are the bad jokes?  Where is the testosterone to balance out the sea of estrogen?  Sigh.  Nothing.  But there is a positive.  Because while your fashionista is engaged in idle banter with others of her kind, you can whip out your smartphone, play Angry Birds, and drink. May not seem that exciting, but this is a good thing!  You begin to realize as you sit there swigging on a good brew while watching the yellow bird fly across the screen that you are not being pulled into a conversation on the new Louis Vuitton collection or a vintage Chanel dress or (even worse) the myriad of items scored at the recent Ann Taylor sale.  No, my friends, your so called expert opinion doesn't matter.  And it is good.

It's gonna happen.

Session 3: Did I mention there's alcohol?

Back in the summer, my fashionista and I were graced with the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Crystal, another fashionista, visiting from California.  Had a great lunch at Tavern.  Took some photos.  And then the shopping started.  Hill Center Green Hills in Nashville has a lot of women's boutiques.  Hemline.  H. Audrey.  Monkee's.  And Posh.  Oh Posh.

The folks at Posh boutique are getting a Christmas card.  They know how to make a guy feel welcome.  Now keep in mind it was obvious I wasn't there looking for clothes of my own.  No, I was the guy trailing behind the two fashionistas in search of the perfect [insert article of clothing here].  The folks at Posh knew this.  They understood my situation.  And they greeted me with drink.  Not just once.  Not even twice.  But as many as I needed to make it through that afternoon.  Yes, folks, I got to sit back while my fashionista and her fashionista friend chatted and shopped and tried on clothes while I relaxed on a rather comfy couch with drink in hand crashing big red bird through stacks of timber on my smartphone.  The key to life with a fashionista was dangling in front of my face.  And then I had a thought...

It's gonna happen.


Gentlemen, time to break out the shades, lather up the sunscreen, and head for the beach.  It's about to get bright up in here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Out and about

This is definitely my winter uniform. At least for casual days. I wore this while out over the weekend with all of the Christmas shopping craziness. In the midst of shopping and getting everything else done for Christmas - which I didn't even start on until this weekend - I've also decided to paint 2 rooms in the new loft (done), get the guest room ready for guests (done - remarkable considering that it didn't even have a bed in it until last week), make baked goods for my team at work (done), get a sudden horrific migraine that took up an entire day that I didn't have to give up (done - not that I 'wanted' to do that one). Have I mentioned that one of the worst times of the year for my job is year-end? Fun. But as of Thursday I can check that one off the list too!

Why am I the kind of person who a) needs everything to be 'perfect' before anyone comes over and b)ADDS UNNECESSARY THINGS TO HER PLATE DURING ALREADY STRESSFUL TIMES LIKE THE HOLIDAYS??? Gaaaah. Glutton for punishment, I suppose. I have a mile-long list of things to do while I'm off work but know at this rate I'll probably be asleep most of that time. :)

How do you plan to unwind during/after the holidays??

Ann Taylor sweater, Wal Mart jeans (yes, 2 outfit posts in a row!), BCBG boots (similar), Rebecca Minkoff bag, NY&Co earrings, Charming Charlies bracelet and rings, Michael Kors watch, F21 bangles

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More rain

Rain. ALL THE TIME lately. And cold. Friday was a stupid cold, rainy mess. My cure for this is more cow bell Hunter boots.

I am a creature who needs the sun. As soon as the weather was nice on Saturday, I was out and about to enjoy it (those pics to be posted later). Of course, all of the crazies were out on Saturday also... doing last minute Christmas shopping (I was actually doing the FIRST of my Christmas shopping. sigh). Chaos EVERYWHERE. People driving crazy. People lined up for miles to checkout at stores. People running into things with their shopping carts (okay, that last one was me). It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Ann Taylor cardigan, Gap shirt, Wal Mart jeans, DIY boot socks, Hunter boots, Louis Vuitton bag, Michael Kors watch, Forever 21 earrings and bangles, AT Loft necklace and ring

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Those 'other' days

Not long after I started this blog, a good friend at work asked 'does having this blog now make you feel pressure to dress better for work every day?'  Hmmm.  What a great question.  My answer is yes and no.  (This is completely on par with my typical, non-committal responses for just about any other question in life).  Most days I think I do try to represent my blog and why I started this in the first place.  I actually plan what to wear, down to the accessories, and plan to take pictures before work.  I try to wear outfits that are more creative than simply 'meeting' the dress code, and that reflect my style and personality outside of work.

But then there are those other days.  You know those kind of days I'm talking about... the ones where you're doing your best just to get out of bed and get to work at a time that isn't downright professionally unacceptable.  The days when you look at all of your shoes and opt, again, for comfortable flats over your best 4.5 inch platform-yet-still-appropriate-for-work-heels.  The days when you're thinking about how much you have to do once you get to the office, and every minute you spend getting ready takes away from getting those things done at work.  These are rarely blog-worthy outfit days.  

Because I've had several of those days lately... I decided to post an outfit from one of them.  Once again, a less glamorous side of me as a fashion blogger.  Truthfully though - while this post won't get as many comments as one when I'm perfectly accessorized, layered, unwrinkled, and wearing the go-to bold lip color of the moment - if I'm being true to myself and why I started this blog, I should post this.  This is just part of who I am.  I LOVE to dress up, but I also love to just be comfortable some days.  Hell, some mornings I just don't have enough brain cells firing to think about what I'm wearing enough to look cute.  I could live in these flats.  I love the fact that this sweater (that was like $15 at AT Loft on sale) feels as comfortable as a sweatshirt.  Also, these are the kind of pants that fit just fine when you put them on in the morning, then are at least one size too big by mid-afternoon (when I took these pics, obviously a baggy mess).  But they're comfortable.

Some days I just choose comfort, especially those other days.        

AT Loft sweater; Ann Taylor pants; Tory Burch flats; Michael Kors watch; Posh boutique ring; necklace from Woo Nashville (similar here only $35!); D&G aviators; old earrings

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Post by The Photog: Life with a Fashionista - Day 3

Over the past couple of weeks, I've provided two days of my abridged training program on Life with a Fashionista (Day 1 here; Day 2 here).  You might ask how any of my stories thus far can actually be considered training. Well, they aren't.  At least not on their own.  Today, we train.

For the gents reading this: I promise you will want to soak up the information on Days 3 and 4.  You will hate it.  You will resent me.  You will want to throw yourself off a building.  But TRUST ME.  You will need this information if you are to capitalize on Day 5.  And you WILL want to capitalize on Day 5.

So without further delay, Day 3: Acceptance without Assimilation*.

* - In other words, understanding them without becoming one of them.

Session 1: Basics of Fashionista Language

I'm a Southern guy.  I say "y'all," "fixin' to," and "over yonder".  Everyone knows what those words mean and how to use them in a sentence.  "Hey y'all, we're fixin' to go over yonder and have some dinner."  See what I mean.  You know exactly what I said.  Doesn't matter where you're from.  Southern = Universal language.  Why fashionistas cannot use Southern as their official language is beyond me.  Seriously.  You're not an elf in Middle Earth.  Speak English!


It's bad enough that women confuse everyone with words we already know (e.g. "You know what you did to piss me off." [note for all women that make this statement - no we don't!])  Fashionistas use some unknown, made-up crap to make things even worse.  They use words like "chic" (pronounced sheek - not chick), "obvi" (ob-vee), and "buh-nanas" (buh - [pause for 5 seconds] - nanas).  Several things wrong with these words: 1) no one knows what they mean; 2) apparently they can be used in many different ways; 3) can you say high maintenance? (see Day 1: Session 2)

How bad can it get?  Bad.  Real bad.  For example, there is one thing every guy needs to watch if only just one episode (and I can't believe I'm even recommending this...) - The Rachel Zoe Project.  I will tell you up front - you will be lost.  That's ok.  Understanding what is being said is not the goal (good thing, right?).  The key to session one is simply realizing that fashionistas add yet another layer of complexity to the otherwise already confusing world in which we live in.  Remember...

Acceptance without assimilation.

Session 2: How to not get Hurt

Shopping sucks.  It really does.  Don't care if it's for food, for clothes, at the store, online, whatever, whenever - shopping sucks.  But, alas, it's inevitable.  We can't starve.  For the fashionista, shopping is life.  Luckily, they don't even have to buy anything.  The act of shopping - also known as browsing - is just as vital.  (Pinterest, anyone?  I rest my case, Your Honor.)

There's a good chance the day will come when your fashionista will want you to go shopping with her.  Gents, this will be as painful for you to do as it is for your wife to birth a baby, but resist the urge to decline her offer. I know, I know.  It seems nothing good can come of this.  But I promise, there's an end-game.  So man up, grab your smartphone and go with her.

Smartphones.  Good for games.  Good for music.  Good for networking.  Also good for taking notes.  No, I would never ask you to document your entire shopping experience and all of your fashionista's wants/needs.  Ridiculous.  All I ask is that you note the names of the stores and, if you can swing it, the store managers.  Seems trivial now, but you will thank me later.  Let her relish the time with you and opportunity she's getting to be your guide.

Acceptance without assimilation.

Oh, and make sure you're wearing your Dr. Scholl's inserts.  You don't want to get hurt.

Session 3: Dodging the Bullet

Guys, we've all been there.  Caught in the trap.  Your fashionista just asked you a question.  Bam.  You feel like that deer you spotlighted at 3am.  Fret not, my friends, help is on the way.  I've got some tips and tricks to help you dodge those bullets.  You're welcome.

Bullet 1 - "Does this go together?"  Pleading ignorance here means you don't listen to/care about anything she says/does.  And if you can answer the question, you've been assimilated and there's no turning back for you anyways.  Instead, respond with "I love that color on you.  It really highlights how much weight you've lost."

Bullet 2 - "Does my hair look like I haven't washed it?"  Seems innocent, but this one can be tricky.  Saying yes means dinner plans just got delayed by two hours.  (I don't care if you're Bear Grylls himself - no man can last that long without food.  Just sayin')  Saying no means you don't care if she looks like a slob at dinner.  Instead, "I love that color on you.  It really highlights how much weight you've lost."

Bullet 3 - "Does this make me look fat?"  Do not answer this question.  Do not answer this question.  Do not answer this question.  Instead, channel your inner Neo "Did you see how big Rachel Zoe's son is getting?"  See what I did there?

Acceptance without assimilation.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Fashion Books

1) Vogue: The Covers
2) Balenciaga by Marie-Andrée Jouve
3) Prada
4) Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture
5) American Dior
6) Lanvin by Elisabeth Barille
7) Gucci: The Making Of
8) Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People
9) Chanel and Her World: Friends, Fashion, and Fame
10) The World in Vogue: People, Parties, Places
11) Yves Saint Laurent
12) Inspirations Dior

This being one of few opportunities I have to mix fashion and home decor in such a beautiful way - you can bet that ALL of these lovely books are on my wish list this year.  I love the stories of all of the famous fashion houses and perusing some of their most beautiful covers.  Any fashionista would appreciate receiving the fashion books listed above to start her coffee table book collection! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

I miss clothes

So, for a while now (seems like forever, but it's only been about 3 months), I've had to shift focus from fashion to home decor.  Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOVE home decor.  After I got past most of the furniture selection process and got over my commitment issues with that (ish), it's been smooth sailing.  The loft is coming along nicely and I can envision what it will look like when it's all done.

The thing about moving into a new place -especially moving into a new place where you decide to sell all of your old stuff and start from scratch with new stuff - is that is takes so many resources in your life.  Time, money, energy... all things that I don't have any excess to spare.  So it feels an AWFUL lot like cheating on my wardrobe.  And as much as I miss buying clothes, every single time I find a cute pair of jeans or shoes or a dress... I immediately calculate in my head the cost of those items.  NOT just in terms of $ though, I'm talking opportunity cost.  (Let the finance profession nerdiness begin.)  I calculate what I would be giving up in home furnishings and decor to buy that dress or pair of shoes.  So, as much as I want these Louboutins (so bad it hurts)... I need a dining room table.  Sigh. And as my mom would most definitely remind me after reading this, please Lord - let these be my biggest problems today.

Here are more of the images from Pinterest that keep me inspired to focus on the loft for now.  I'll post pictures of the new place soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Post by The Photog: Life with a Fashionista - Day 2

Well.  I'm back.  What I learned from last week's post is that obviously what I experience on a daily basis is quite common.  Guess that means I'm not the only lucky guy sucker out there.  Sigh.

Before I begin today's lessons, I must tell you a funny story.  It was just the other day when my fashionista was walking across the room in what could only be described as some kind of rodeo clown getup (sweatshirt over nightgown over leggings with bright pink and orange socks).  I laughed.  Hard.  I got glared at too.
The Fashionista: Oh good, you can this as material for your blog post. 
Me: Hon, you really don't need to feed me any material for that.  I've got enough as it is.

And so the saga continues.  I welcome you to Day 2: Whining.

Session 1: "I have no clothes"

Several readers of Pencil Skirts & Lattes are mothers.  While I have no kids of my own, I often feel like I can relate to those that do.  But before I go down that road, let's take a trip down memory lane.  So to speak.

If you recall from Day 1, I have been challenged.  Challenged with a rather large closet and no space for my simple set of clothes.  There's no need to guess what occupies that space.  You all are just alike.  Every fashionista needs an exorbitant amount of clothes.  And shoes.  Can't forget the shoes.  While this seems like it  would make getting dressed in the morning that much easier (it's like shopping every morning!), apparently it has the opposite affect.

Back to my 'child.'  There she stands.  Gazing down an endless sea of silk, cashmere, cotton, and (let's be real) polyester.  Thousands upon thousands of fashion combinations.  And then I hear it.  "I have no clothes."  Are you kidding me?  Either she's looking in my drawer (I've recently branched out to 2, by the way.  Not sure what I'm going to put in there, though.), or her cataracts are acting up on her.  Surely she's not looking in the closet.  Actually, she isn't.  She doesn't have to.  Because every stitch of clothing this woman has is hanging on every door frame or strewn across the bed.  Where's the fashionista?  In the closet.  On the floor.  Like a 2 year old.


Session 2: "I have no money for clothes"

Nashville is an amazing city.  It has all the small-town feel in a metropolitan area.  For the fashionista, it even has some amazing shopping.  Lots of boutiques that she loves like Posh, Blush, and Festivity as well as some more well-known stores like Nordstrom, Tory Burch, and Louis Vuitton.  A wide range to suit any designer preference.  Or so I thought.

I like travelling.  Love it, actually.  I've been to some amazing places.  Seen some amazing things.  Hell, drove from Houston to Nashville and back with no radio or music of any sort.  Just me and the open road.  So when the question came up - "Wanna go to Atlanta this weekend?"  "Sure," I said.  Why not?  I'm up for a good road trip.  I'll book the hotel now.  Oh wait.  The hotel has to be right by...the mall?  Whew.  Not the mall.  I'm sorry?  Did you just say TWO malls??  Yes, folks.  From the hotel room, you could see not just one but TWO rather large shopping malls.  No swimming with the dolphins on this beach excursion.  Instead, it was Jeffery, Saks, Intermix, Bloomingdales...  The prime steak dinners were the only things keeping me going after 11 straight hours of walking around two different malls searching for the right dress only to look at the price tag and hear that phrase (let's all say it together, kids) "I have no money for clothes."  But we didn't leave empty handed.  No way I was going to let that happen.  So she got a belt.  And (more) shoes.  And we went home.  Four more hours in the car.


(and... proof of the '2 mall view' incident for your viewing pleasure. I know you like pictures.)

Session 3: "Buy me some clothes"

Jim Carrey cracks me up.  Seriously.  His stuff is gold.  Not sure what happened with Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, though.  Could have lived without that one.  But ya gotta give it to the guy.  Very unique comedy.  I mean, who doesn't think of Jim Carrey when they think of the Grinch?

We were out one sunny afternoon when my fashionista was doing what she does best - shop.  We had already enjoyed some delectable brisket tacos and some scrumptious cheesecake (if you haven't noticed by now, I expect great food if I'm going to endure any type of shopping).  Several stores later, I was carrying bags in each hand containing what had to be at least forty pounds of shoes.  Her bank account looked like it had gone a few rounds with Rocky Balboa.

I'm convinced Ann Taylor's marketing department has a whole division who's sole purpose it is to lure in my fashionista.  No matter how hard I tried and how far away we were from the sign, she still saw it.  40% Off Everything In The Store.  Her eyes lit up, and I knew my arms were about to feel pain like they had never felt before.  But she new the predicament she was in with her spending.  With a look of sheer desperation, she uttered the words "Buy me some clothes."  I suddenly felt like I was sitting in the movie theater all those years ago watching a classic Jim Carrey movie - Dumb and Dumber.  Only this time, Jim had it wrong.  Because there was my fashionista.  Making the most annoying sound in the world.


Gents, we all know we're stuck in this situation.  There is no light at the end of the tunnel.  There is no rest for the weary.  But it doesn't mean we can't take advantage of it.  Next week:  Day 3: Acceptance Without Assimilation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why so windy?

SO much wind. Every time I take outfit pics lately. The best part is that my hair does some hilarious things in the wind. Someday, I will post a gag reel/outtakes of pics for this blog that include some intense wind-blown hair, a few encounters with bugs (I HATE bugs), and some unfortunate poses we've captured. Someday.

Some outfits make you feel more like a fashionista than others. This one wasn't over the top for me, so I felt encouraged when a few people commented on it while I was at the mall. Isn't that just the ultimate validation of an outfit... retail clothing associates commenting on how cute it is? Always makes me happy.

Target sweater; Michael Kors shirt (thrifted) and watch; NY&Co Jeans and earrings; Zara pumps; Cynthia Rowley handbag; F21 bracelet and red ring; AT Loft ring; Woo Nashville necklace; Loreal lip color in Volcanic

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eye Envy and Giveaway Winners!!

I've come to so many realizations since Pinterest has crept into my life and taken it over.  A few are as follows:

1) I don't love Nutella, but apparently everyone else is obsessed with it
2) I am so much less creative and artsy than other people. But am considering DIYs for the first time ever. (This is huge)
3) I fail at eye makeup.  I SO want to be good at this, I'm just not. YET. But I will be.

In the spirit of this FABULOUS giveaway (including this Limited Edition Beauty kit from Benefit Cosmetics), I decided to share some of the amazing eye makeup inspiration pics I've seen on Pinterest.  Side Note: I understand and accept the fact that I will be making a significant investment in false lashes to pull off any of these looks.  

I like the smokey yet subtle look of this one...
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Hello, Drama! This would be great for a SUPER glam special event. but I'm most scared of this one.

The next 3 are just fun AND gorgeous looking.  Love the different colors/textures on each shadow.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I'll be attempting this 'cranberry smokey eye' look for a fancy holiday dinner party in a few weeks. Wish me luck.

Now, drumroll..................

The WINNERS of the 'BeKown Interview Survival Kit' are:

#12: Jen from Red Soles & Red Wine
#31: Courtney from Sassy Jeweler

Congrats, Ladies!!!  I'll be in touch with you both today about your contact/mailing info!! :)