via
Dago pointed out the other day that it might be time for my purse to bite the dust. I've been carrying the same tan American Eagle crossbody bag for like three years. I love this bag. I searched for months to find the perfect tan crossbody bag and "splurged" ($30 was a lot for a purse at the time!) to get it. It has an adjustable strap and fits all of my things nicely. We've been through so much together. I've taken her to concerts and parties, interviews and networking events, work, class, and of course, shopping. I love having my arms free and not having to worry about lugging around some big tote when I'm running errands or out and about.

The first big hit it took was when the magnetic snap came off. It was a pretty powerful magnet, which was apparently too powerful for the fabric it was attached to. So, bye bye went the snap. But that was okay because the top flap was long and heavy enough to stay closed anyway.

Next the strap started to look worn. The edges of the tan 'leather' peeled away exposing the dull under-layer. Eventually the side of the top flap that rubs against my arm when I wear it began to show some heavy wear as well. The whole bag ranges in its shades of tan and doesn't look as nice as it once did. I guess I was trying to deny it for as long as possible to prolong the purse shopping process.

So here we are. I'm awfully picky about purses. My mom is the kind of woman who changes her purse every time she changes her outfit, but I don't play like that. I want one purse that I can wear to any venue or occasion, with any outfit. I want to be as hands free as possible. I want to be able to carry my wallet and my business card pouch, my phone and my many lipsticks, my keys and my collection of loose bobby pins. I want a strap that doesn't hurt my shoulder and that hangs the bag at the perfect length across my bum.

I've been dreaming of bags in shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow. No matter what I'm wearing, I think a bag in any of these colors would make a statement, but could still be worn as a sort of neutral. Turns out purses really only have a splurge or save option, so I've divided my wishlist accordingly. Maybe I can find one of these splurge bags on Ebay, right?


(clockwise from top left)  Marc Jacobs Classic Q Natasha Cross Body Bag // Marc Jacobs Washed Up Cross Body Bag // J.Crew Teeny Edie Purse // Kate Spade Bow Terrace Leigh //  Marc Jacobs Classic Q Isabelle Cross Body Bag // J.Crew Mini Bag


(clockwise from top left) Charlotte Russe Mini Chain Strap Evening Bag // Coopertive Inverted Arrow Crossbody Bag // Forever 21 Metal Trimmed Crossbody // Top Shop Pushlock Crossbody Bag // Merona Turnkey Crossbody Handbag // Forever 21 Heart Lock Shoulder Bag

What's your criteria for a new purse?

bag it up

converse: thrifted // jeans: Gap // chambray: American Eagle // blazer: stolen from brother // lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous in Black Cherry
Never in my life have I embodied so much swagger. I thrifted these beautiful red high top cons at Savers on Tuesday for $7.50. Am I the princess of poppin' tags or what? Many of you don't know this because they've never appeared on the blog, but I also thrifted a pair of red TOMS from the same Savers for like $16 around this time last year. I'm not sure what it is about red shoes and Savers, but I'm a lucky girl. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that Contessa loves these shoes as much as I do.

I wear the rest of this outfit, minus the blazer, at least once a week. I know it's pretty simple--denim on denim--but it always looks more put together than norts or jeans and a t-shirt. I haven't worn it on the blog because I feel like I can only wear the most special of outfits here. I've come to terms with the fact that being stylish has more to do with knowing how to look good on an off day than looking great on an on day.

Since I had a coffee date with my new friend and big-time wedding blogger this morning, I threw on my trusty navy blazer for good measure. Oh, and I've been rocking this partially-braided side pony for the last couple of days. I like it because it keeps the back of my hair from entering full-on rat's nest territory when I wear collared shirts, and because the braid gives me just a little volume on top (which I always desperately need). 

PS. If you're not sure where the title of this post is from, it's one of Dago's favorite songs.
PPS. Yesterday is the first weekday of 2013 that I haven't posted. I'm feeling really guilty, but sometimes you have to take a day off in order to get ahead. My friend Chris calls that a trade off. He said it has something to do with economics. Either way, I appreciate the support.

angels wanna wear my red shoes

via
remember that time i said i wanted to get ahead in my blog posts again? it didn't really happen. i've been working every day and busy every night, so i haven't had time to write anything or take photos of my outfits.

last night i went to seder with my family. i completely recycled this outfit, so there wasn't any reason to photograph it again. i had planned on wearing something new and exciting, but the darn weather got so cold that i wanted to get one more wear out of my boots and sweater dress before i pack it away for next november.

today i'm feeling hungover from the criticisms of my grandparents reverberating in my mind and coping with some yucky food-borne illness i took home with me from the seder. good times.

tuesdays are usually the best. step it up, march 26th.

in other news, i'm wearing red today to show support for marriage equality. maybe you'll be graced with an outfit post tomorrow, depending on how this food poisoning plays out today.

tell me something good?

frazzled tuesday

peplum: DIY // sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (similar) // skirt: Cotton On // shoes: LuLu's (same) // bag: Buffalo Exchange
I'm like stupid-excited about this outfit, y'all. It's one of my favorite outfits of all time, I think. 

Exciting things about this look:
// This is the first center-part hairstyle I've attempted. I surprisingly really like it. What do you think? (Be brutal!)
// This is the clutch I took to senior prom. It's the only clutch I own.
// This is my first black mini skirt. I know. I'm so glad I finally found one!
// This is the first time I've actually worn my peplum DIY on the blog. Dark denim is surprisingly hard to pair with other things. How would you style it?
// I threw on the cardigan for the sake of primary colors. I think it looks fab.
// I wore this outfit to the opening of a graphic design agency. It was the hippest party I've probably ever been to. Dago and I stood together and judged all of the outfits in the room for an hour and a half and then went home to watch Community. It was a good night.
// I'm excited to repeat this outfit a bunch. I try not to be a repeat outfit offender, but I can't wait to wear it again.

What would you wear to a hip design party?

primary colors

Y'all. 200 posts. What? How did I get here? I feel like, because my blogging was a little sporadic for a while there, my 200th post is more of a milestone than an anniversary or blog birthday. I've worn 44 outfits, shared 8 guest posts, and written about everything from Sisterhood to Instagram, mental health to celebrities I can't help but love, and recent purchases to growing up. This blog is my wellness as much as it is my ambition. I write for me, but I blog for my community. I care so much about the people who have shared in the last 200 posts, whether they read them, commented on them, or shared them. Thanks for your continued support.

In honor of my 200th post, I've decided to post a vlog. Well, not really decided so much as my girl Kristina tagged me in her vlog post and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate. I apologize profusely for the quality of this video. I wish I could make a cool vlog like Bri, but this is what y'all get. Cats and arm dancing and an unsolicited explanation of my favorite number. So go watch and enjoy. Also, eat some cake. I know I will be.

(ps. way to make the most awesome frozen video face, nic...)
Questions:
oo1. Do you have a cat and can you show her to us? (asked by Danielle of Goodwillista)
oo2. If you could learn any type of dance, would it be swing, salsa, or tap? (asked by Kristina of Kristina in Retroworter)
oo3. How do you keep a budget? (asked by Sarah of The Dorrohs)
oo4. What is the meaning of [your] life? (asked by Kate)

For the sake of Sisterhood (but no pressure to post), I'm tagging:
Jess of Animated Cardigan
Toyosi of Standard T
Danielle of Goodwillista
Elissa of Style Wire
Jenn of With Luck

If you saw this, consider yourself tagged!

200th post

you know that song that goes "i can ride my bike with no handlebars?" something about that song always makes me really emotional. in a good way. i recognize that a lot of it is the actual arrangement of the music, but for me, i am struck by repeating "i can..., i can..." again and again. how often do we really talk about the things we can do? i know i tend to define myself by the things i can't do. this seems like kind of a silly post because, like, obviously there are lots of things i can do. i can walk and talk and read and count and tie my shoes. but not everyone can. and there's a lot of advanced things i can't do, but there are some i can, too, which is pretty cool. here's a little list.

// i can make french toast.
// i can write a perfect email.
// i can put on mascara without opening my mouth.
// i can sew on a button.
// i can sing in public and not have people throw things at me.
// i can write poems that people like to read and that get published places.
// i can hula hoop for a long time.
// i can eat a snow cone and drive at the same time.
// i can meow like a real cat.
// i can educate about healthy relationship behaviors.
// i can recite the preamble.
// i can eat a dozen donuts by myself.
// i can think critically about tv shows.
// i can tell you all the lyrics to footloose.
// i can blog without looking at the keys.
// i can steam milk.
// i can name all of the members of one direction.

wow. so this post ended up being really hard to write. turns out i have no idea what i can do. isn't that weird? definitely something i want to be more aware of.

what can you do? share in the comments!

ps. Kristina tagged me to make a vlog post. tomorrow is my 200th post and i think it would be fun to answer some questions in vlog form for that. leave your questions in the comments!

i can

This is a pretty big week for me. My psychiatrist okay-ed me to stop taking anxiety and depression medicine. After nearly three years of struggling with various medicines and the sometimes horrible side-effects that went along with it.

I've talked about my mental health a little here and there on this blog, but I'd sort of moved away from the subject as I didn't feel like the day-to-day was as important to talk about. However, I think this is a good time for me to write about some mental health related stuff again because I know I can't be the only person going through it. I know this blog is sometimes all outfit posts and wish lists, but growing up is a big aspect of this space for me, so I feel like this falls into the category.

A little background: I've struggled with anxiety and depression for several years, but didn't go to see a doctor about anything until my sophomore year of college. I was put on this and that medicine and had a hard time finding one that worked for me, so I finally settled on one that worked well enough, but was definitely not right for me for a lot of reasons. The biggest challenge was the crazy-awful withdrawals from the drug, which would begin if I even took the pill a couple of hours late. I'd tried to get off of it a couple of times and became really sick and ended up taking the pills again just to feel better. This makes me sound like I had a drug problem, but I guess I sort of did. This is why it's so important that you find the right medicine for you instead of settling on one that just does part of the job.

So at this point I knew I needed outside help. I hadn't yet seen a psychiatrist because my insurance is really complicated. Seriously, though, don't make an already anxious and depressed person make a ton of phone calls to strangers and assign their experiences to little check boxes on an e-form. Step it up, world. I'll skip that part of my journey for your and my sanity both.

Anyway, the psychiatrist is great and didn't talk down to me and make me feel like I knew what I was talking about because, you know, it is my body and my experience. But really, she's great. She helped me get off the evil medicine of terror and onto something else in under a month with hardly any crazy-awful withdrawal side-effects.

Except that I didn't much like the new pill I was on. I didn't feel present. I couldn't remember to take it. I had headaches and wasn't sleeping. My anxiety and depression were showing up more sporadically, but I decided that had more to do with time than the medication. 

I went back to my psychiatrist this week and asked what she thought about me stopping medication. When I first started seeing her, she mentioned that the goal was for me to only take meds for another year before stopping and using therapy to learn to cope with any remaining depression or anxiety I felt. After talking about how I've been feeling and my intentions for moving forward, she agreed and said it was okay to stop medication, unless something changes.

Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself, but I really feel ready for this step in my wellness. I've had some traumatic counseling experiences, but I feel more prepared for the process of finding the right person this time. Someone who gets where I'm coming from and where I want to be. 

I'm really looking forward to not having to kick myself every day for forgetting to take a pill. I'm excited to start a new kind of healing where I feel more in control.

mental health is always in style

leggings & collar necklace: Forever 21 // chambray: American Eagle // flats, headband & cardigan: Old Navy
Do you remember this wall? Probably not. Let's just say it's my happy wall. Because I take photos here while walking from having my favorite margaritas in town to a banana stand. Because let's just say I need that walk...for reasons. And also frozen bananas covered in peanut butter and oreos are delicious.

This wall is actually part of a car wash, but it's smack dab in the middle of the tipsy trek and makes for a lovely back drop. While tequila may not make my leopard cardi fall off, it does make me a little lot hilarious, which isn't always conducive to cute outfit photos.

I now present to you a few of the outtakes...

the happiest wall

dress & necklace: thrifted // jacket: Nordy Rack // oxfords: Aldo
Lily of Fifth Freedom Fashion does this cool feature on her blog called Last Chance where she wears a few pieces she's on the fence about getting rid of to give them one more shot at salvation. She's inspired me to take a closer look at my closet and commit to give up of those things I just never wear.

This dress is another piece I bought a long time ago and never really figured out how to wear.  I got it for just a couple of bucks because there were a couple buttons missing, which I later found in the pocket and sewed on myself (it never hurts to ask for a discount on 'damaged' items!). the straps are a little too tall for my shoulders, so the whole bodice of the dress fits me kind of wonky. Then, there wasn't originally a button right at the waistline, which made an awkward gape behind the sash. 

The dress is too pretty to give up, but I think it might be time to pass it on to someone who . I think of this dress as being a bit longer, but I think because of the torso issues, it still falls quite a bit above my knee, at a pretty unflattering place. As much as I love orange, I don't know that these colors are so cute on me either. I honestly felt pretty uncomfortable all day in this dress, which should be the number one indicator that an item has run its course in my closet.

Ugh, I just realized that in the last photo it looks like a little jumpsuit on me. I'm still loving the stripes and oxfords look, but it's time for this dress to sashay away.

I'm working on setting up a shop my closet, where this dress will certainly be hanging for anyone who wants it. You know, now that I've done such a great job selling it to you...

oxfords + stripes | round three

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As spring starts to warm up my little city, I can feel the real heat coming soon enough. I've loved wearing my denim jacket since I bought it at the end of last summer. It gives feminine outfits a little edge, too put-together outfits a little charm, and totally dressed down items a final touch. With a summer full of music festivals and playing in the sunshine ahead of me, I'm thinking that a denim vest might be a worthy replacement for my jacket during the scorching summer months in Texas.

Is a denim vest a worthy investment? Should I try to thrift one (or even a jacket and lop off the sleeves)? If I thrift my own, I might just have to polka dot it myself because that's too cute to pass up. Or are you loving one of these ready-to-wear styles above? Should I do dark, light, or printed denim? Or none at all?

a worthy investment?

1. Spiral Notebook - J.Crew
5. Frayed Utility Vest - Forever 21

Because money is so very, very tight around these parts, I'm not even interested in pieces that wouldn't be staples in my life. I'm loving the utility vest trend, especially with a touch of neon, and think it would last much longer than the trend-setters intend. I'm always on the lookout for boyfriend jeans that fit just right and this Gap pair has been on my list to try on for some time. And what better way to accessorize them than a leopard print belt? If there is a more useful accessory out there, I don't know about it. Animal print is classic and my favorite neutral. A yellow dress would get so much wear in the spring and summer, especially if it was tailor-made for my body. Finally, I'm looking for a rad notebook to use for Here Comes the Brand, as well as for this blog and for all the other things I do. A place to jot down outfit ideas, take notes at client meetings, and make many to do lists. I saw this notebook at J.Crew a few weeks ago when Dago dragged me there to purchase his dream shoes and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Besides these closet staples, I'm searching hard for my dream overalls and the perfect maxi skirt. If I knew where to find either of these things, they would surely appear in my wishlist and later in my closet, but I'm still a-huntin'. After Bridget of Deer Circus picked up this pair of overalls in the little boys' section of a thrift store, I'm convinced I can do the same. Do you have a go-to store to buy overalls or maxis? I'd love to know where!

Speaking of wishes and wants, eShakti is doing a really cool contest in honor of International Women's Day last week. In 45 words or less, share what you think women want and be entered to win a $150 gift card for eShakti. Your entry can be about anything you think (or know, duh, since you're a woman and you want it!) women want. Go enter! Send your entry to contest@eshakti.com by March 15.

march wishlist

group photo taken at the Domain by @styleem
 getting my photo snapped at LOFT by @styleem
treats for the bloggers special people, courtesy of CUSP for Neiman Marcus
me and my girl Toyosi of Standard T
my very first step-and-repeat!
(from left to right) Liz of Dressing to the Nines, Amanda of Dragonflight Dreams, Miranda of Fashioneur, Kara of TailoredLA (photo taken by Blaine of Orange Chair Wardrobe)
pile of pretty biz cards i collected over the weekend

I seriously had so much fun meeting all of the lady bloggers who came to day two of the TXSC mixers. Indiana of Adored Austin knows how to throw a bangin' party and she's such a treat to be around. It seemed like every few minutes she floated to a new group and shared some exciting realization or info learned from the last. She's the most charming, yet humble woman I've ever encountered. If she doesn't win the Mrs. Texas pageant, I'll be incredibly surprised.

Megan of Greetings from Texas, Kirsten of Triple Max Tons, and Linda of Little Tin Soldier got all the girls checked in at LOFT and we all chatted about blogging in the greatest state on the planet. From there we took a group photo and headed over to Neiman Marcus for treats and some of the most beautiful fashion I've ever seen, courtesy of CUSP. I was too terrified to touch anything, so I didn't try anything on, but let's just say there were some Kate Spade and Alice + Olivia dresses I would have given my kidney for.

Again, I went a little crazy fawning over some bloggers I've long admired and was so thrilled to make a bunch of new bloggy friends. A lot of the girls recently moved to Austin or have only been here a few years, so it was fun to learn about how their blogs have changed with the move and share with them some of my favorite thrift spots and eateries in town.

Indiana spilled some really exciting news about the Texas Style Council Conference in August (sounds like the website will be updated soon!). I am sososososo going this year and I hope to see you all there!

The rest of the mixer was focused around shop-hopping, so I snuck out early to eat dinner with the fam for my brother's birthday. And then I made my brother take some outfit photos of me for his birthday. Cos I'm an awesome big sister.

skirt: thrifted // shirt: Forever 21 // sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (similar) // oxfords: Aldo
I actually bought this skirt last year at a pop-up-shop during SXSW and only wore it once because I wasn't sure what to wear with a really loud flower skirt. I knew chambray would work (because when doesn't it?), but it felt like a cop out, so I went for the more interesting sleeveless version. I threw on a bright sweater due to the drizzly weather and my new trusty oxfords and headed out for a day of stylish fun.

How would you style this skirt? Does your city do blogger meet ups? Are you planning to come to Austin for the TXSCC (*nudge nudge*)?

txsc mixer | part two

I've been collecting MOO cards for the last couple of years because I found them to be so high-quality and unique. When I graduated from college, I thought I might become a freelance writer, so I made up a batch of cards that matched my online portfolio. The orange printed so vibrantly and I have been so pleased with my cards. Unfortunately, my blog link never made it onto these cards because I thought I wanted to differentiate myself as a writer versus a blogger. I knew that eventually I would need a new card.

With SXSW and the TxSC meet ups coming up, I knew I needed to make some new cards. I went through a bunch of designs over the last six months as I've changed my blog design around, but I wasn't ever 100% happy with what I came up with. Luckily, I waited til the very last minute on these because it finally hit me that my cards should match my blog button. Duh. Anyway, I uploaded the image, typed in my info, and showed the proofs to a couple of people before hitting the priority shipping option and sending my cards on their merry way from Rhode Island (the cards arrived even faster than they were estimated!).

The card stock feels so nice that people regularly rub my card on their face and smile. I love having the option to choose rounded corners because, of course I want rounded corners. The design template is ridiculously easy to use and ensures that even users without an eye for design don't screw up their cards.

Oh, and if you happen to make a mistake, MOO has the greatest customer service in the world. My area code and the first three digits of my phone number are almost identical and I mistyped them in the design template. Even though I checked the cards myself several times and sent them to a couple of people to look over, we all missed the error until I had the cards in front of me and was texting a photo to my Dad. Great catch, pops.

So I immediately start freaking out and feeling awful and not knowing what to do. I pull up MOO's website and find the reprints and returns page and write an honest email about what happened and asked what steps I could take to reprint them, knowing I would probably have to pay for my mistake. This was a Friday evening, so I didn't expect a response until at least Monday. Saturday morning I got a pleasant little email from a MOO customer service rep who told me that "mistakes happen" and that they would be happy to reprint my cards, correctly, free of charge.

Y'all, it doesn't get better than this. Not only is MOO's product absolutely the best, but their customer service is easy-to-use, prompt, understanding, and so helpful. Plus, the cards aren't super pricey to begin with, so I never feel guilty for making an investment in my business.

I not only plan to use MOO for any of my own printing needs in the future, but I also intend to use them for clients of Here Comes the Brand. I can't say enough awesome things about MOO, so just go and design a pack for yourself.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, I received no compensation from MOO.com,  and all of the opinions stated are my own.

MOO cards are the greatest

denim jacket: Nordy Rack (similar) // dress: Francesca's (similar) // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace & belt: Target
This is what I wore to the first Texas Style Council mixer (minus the belt).

So, I'm a terrible blogger and didn't manage to snap any photos during this first blogger mixer. I was a ball of nerves and felt much calmer deep in conversation than trying to survey the event through my iPhone. This is probably a good thing socially, but it means I don't have much to share from the actual event.

The mixer took place at Langford Market, one of my favorite 2nd Street shopping spots. I met so many lovely girls, some of whom I've followed for a while (and proceeded to fangirl) and some who I'm stoked to start following and get together with in the near future.

I've never been to a blogger mixer, so I didn't really know what to expect. I thought it would be really intense and that all of these incredible and well-known bloggers would totally ignore me because they've never heard of me. This was totally not the case. Everyone was super friendly and talked openly about why they blog and how great it is to meet like-minded ladies.

I was most impressed with the rush of feminism in the room. It was International Women's Day, which I thought was really special, but I didn't really expect to find a lot of bloggers who share my feminist mindset. I talked with a lot of faith & fashion bloggers and each of them proceeded to tell me about how important feminism is to them being a person of faith and a blogger. I was blown away and felt so at home with these women. Austin seriously has the best bloggers.

Here are a few of the fab ladies I met on day one:
Indiana of Adored Austin
Fran + Aurelia (sister-in-laws!) of You Frill Me
Michelle of MJP Style
Nikki of Chanel Wears
Gina of Keystone 54
Camille of Pretty and Punk

txsc mixer | part one

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