Coyote Pretty: DIY Decal Sweater

'Twas the night before (the night before) Christmas, and all through the house, fashion was on the brain and I wanted a new blouse. 
With Ruby in tow, Brian and I hopped in the car. Unique and stylish options for us all weren't far. 
At our favorite antique mall, we made the rounds. I couldn't wait to show my family what I had found!
Amidst the peculiar items on the shelves, were materials to a sweet look I could make myself: 
A vintage sweater with a lovely rust hue and a sparkly coyote patch too.
Ruby's eyes grew big and Brian beamed. As I looked at my family I thought, life is but a dream.

DIY Decal Sweater
I knew the coyote patch would be perfect to create my own animal motif sweater, especially since the the hunt for such a sweater in traditional stores was such a bust. I would rate this project's level of difficulty at a 1 or 2. It took less than an hour - even with an intermittently crying baby. No sewing machine needed. Want to create your own cute decal sweater? Here's how I did it:
Vintage sweater: Janet's Vintage Planet

1. Gather the materials. You'll need a patch or decal, a sweater/t-shirt/sweatshirt, a sturdy needle, thread that is a similar color to the top, and an iron. The most crucial part is finding the right patch. Luckily, they are laying in wait for a creative-minded individual to repurpose in vintage stores, etsy, ebay, estate sales, etc.
2. Lay the top on a flat surface and place the decal where you'd like it to go. Pin it in place. If you're not sure how it will look, try the top on with the pinned patch.
3. Using the standard over-under (AKA running) stitch, sew the patch on. Tip: have a glass of water handy in case the needle gets a little sticky.
4. Turn the top inside-out and iron over the decal to ensure that it sticks. (If you get an iron-on patch, you may be able to skip the sewing altogether. I sewed mine on too because wool isn't the easiest fabric for adherence. You can always iron it on first and then see how well it sticks.)
5. Wear your new top with pride!
This little coyote is howling at the moon! Decal: Green Shag Market
So, what do ya think?

PS - The poem in this post was inspired by another local blogger's tale of Christmas Eve outfit antics, Oh, Julia Ann .

Drop It Like It's Hot, 1920s Style

If I could be reborn into any fashion era, I would probably pick the 1920s! With its free-spirited and sparkly vibe, it's no surprise that the Roaring 20s is a popular theme for holiday parties. The easiest (and admittedly, super-fun) way to look like you stepped out of a Gatsby party is to don the iconic fringed flapper dress. But if you want to up the ante and not look as costumey, here are some other ideas on how to channel the era:

1. Drop-waist: The 1920s introduced the drop-waist silhouette. Featuring a longer torso and shorter skirt, the looser fit takes the focus off your waistline. Instead, it lets you flaunt your arms, legs, and chest.

2. On the Fringe: Rather than head-to-toe fringe, why not shimmy your way into a skirt?

3. Beautiful baubles: You can never go wrong with a long, classic string of pearls. The 1920s also featured fun Art Deco jewelry. What exactly constitutes "Art Deco"? Well. . .look for bright colors, gemstomes, and geometric shapes to fit in with the Gatsby crew. Add drama with a beaded headband, sequin clutch, or chic cloche hat.

4. Fancy Feet: Dance the night away in a pair of feminine t-strap heels! Look for vintage details like bows or cutouts. A smart pair of oxfords also great if you're going for a more casual look.

Check out my 1920s look:
Dress: Bar III; Cardigan: Gap; Tights: Hue; Oxfords: Urban Outfitters; Hat: Vintage (family heirloom)
The waistline is a couple of inches below my natural waist, and the skirt has pockets!
To drop it like it's hot when it's actually freezing, add some thick tights and a sweater!
This hat belonged to my grandma, who roared in the 1920s!

Artemis Vintage Shop

There are few things, aside from Ruby's *sweet* cries of hunger or need to freshen up, that will get me out of my cozy bed on a blustery Saturday morning. However, I was invited by local blogger Jillian of A Little Slice of Pye to check out the newest location of Artemis Shop. As soon as I learned that the store carried vintage-inspired merchandise, I was so there. I put Brian on Ruby-duty and made the 35-minute trek from St. Louis to the quaint town of Lebanon, Illinois.

Artemis Shop's inception resulted from an eclectic box of yard sale treasures. About a month (!) after the owner, Kris Mack, visited the fateful sale, she opened a small vintage store in Spokane, WA stocked with hand-picked items from all over the world. Within two years, Kris and fellow dreamer Stacy Kraby expanded the store to a curated mix of new and antique fashion and home décor. Very inspiring!

I received a warm welcome at the boutique, complete with a musical serenade broadcast on the town's main street. (They must have known I was coming.) Most of the shop's items are from creative indie artists, so they have that one-of-a-kind, higher-quality-than-the-mall flavor. Although I saw lots of jewelry, purses, trinkets, books and clothing that I wanted, I showed incredible restraint. I can't walk into a boutique that cute and not buy something, so I purchased a mini-book of dog poetry for my sister's birthday gift and some incredibly comfortable leggings. The rest of my wish list will be outlined in detail for Santa (AKA my husband) to "accidentally" find. He won't even have to travel far, since most items from the store are available online! Here are some pics from my visit and in-store fashion show: 
Look 1: Knitted Dove Dress  (in store only); Look 2: Freeway Santa Fe Cardigan $118 (here); Look 3: Knitted Dove Moose Terry Top $48 (here) + Kling skirt $48 (in store only)
Zany prints? I'm in love.
Corey Calter Geometric Dress, $165 (order here)
Artemis Shop, located at 2088 Saint Louis St., Lebanon, IL 62254 www, 

Gonna Make You Sweat

OK, so I know I said I didn't like wearing sweats. And in their pure form, that's true. However, I am loving the chic sweatshirt trend! I found this sweatshirt dress at the Goodwill when I was looking for functional-but-still-cute garments to pack in my pregnancy suitcase. The grey dress didn't make the hospital bag because I had bigger plans for it than a maternity ward fashion show. Instead, I knew it would be much more fun and unexpected to wear it as a jumper. I paired it with a studded button-up shirt, patterned tights, and knee-high boots to wear to a special blogger event at Artemis Shop. Have you found a sweatshirt that you can glam up?
Blouse: Forever 21; Sweatshirt Dress: Goodwill ($4!!!); Necklace: Vintage
There's something quite sweet about butterflies in the snow. Purse: Retro 101; Tights: Hue; Boots: Carlos Santana

Stripe It Up

Since I get bored with most of my clothes so quick, I'm constantly looking for ways to keep my garments looking fresh. My striped black and red maxidress has been in heavy outfit rotation for the last few years since I love its edgy vibe. Today, I decided to wear the dress as a skirt by topping it with a simple black tee and black moto jacket. I added my all-time favorite piece of jewelry, a silver vintage necklace that was a gift from my late aunt to my mother. It's my go-to jewelry piece when I want to add rock-star flavor to an outfit!

Jacket: F21; Tee: Pitaya; Maxidress: Target; Shoes: Steve Madden; Necklace: Vintage (family heirloom)

(Undone) The Sweater Post

If you want to destroy my sweater. . .
The Great Sweater Quest began on around 4am on Black Friday. Excited about Macy's annual "buy one, get one free" sweater doorbuster, I was confident that I would leave the mall with at least two animal motif sweaters. But shockingly, Macy's did not get the memo that I was coming. None of the critter sweaters featured in their holiday ad were actually in the store. Grrr!
Hold this thread as I walk away. . .
I picked myself up, dusted myself off and weaved through the mall traffic with a laser focus. I was going to find "the" sweater if it was the last thing I did! And the more it eluded me, the more determined and nutty I became. By 9am, still sweater-less, my shopping spirit was on empty. The fact that I hadn't eaten since Thanksgiving dinner was also impossible to ignore.

Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked. . .
Reluctantly, I succumbed to hunger and went home, obsessing over the obscure sweater as I drove. I crafted Plan B: Kohl's and/or Old Navy. Both stores had awesome Black Friday deals and promising statement sweaters in their ads. The mere sight of my couch, however, quickly nixed that plan.

Lying on the floor, I've come undone. . .
After a long nap, I found renewed strength to do one more search for my quintessential winter sweater. I hit pay dirt at 3 sweaters that I had to have! Oblivious to the fact that I still looked like a hot mess from the morning's fiasco, I kissed Ruby and Brian goodbye and hopped in the car. The sweaters were even cuter up close, and the online prices were amazing - about $13 for each one! But, the customer service rep informed me that Target does not price-match on Black Friday. On the couch once again, I prepared to order my sweaters online. I could barely contain myself. Victory was only seconds away! Until. . .the sweaters were all out of stock online. I stared at the screen in disbelief and disgust. Sweater gods, what did I do to deserve to be cursed like this?!

So, the Great Sweater Quest continues. Do you have any suggestions on where I can find an imaginative sweater with the perfect mix of cute, quirk, and warmth? Or will I have to suffer in sweater-less silence all winter long? J

Another Blazer of Glory

Blazers are one of my favorite pieces of clothing! They make even a simple top look fresh and can work-ify a borderline too-cute-for-the-office look. Although my navy blazer will always hold the top spot on my most-loved blazers list, this striped jacket from this year's Black Friday excursion is a close second. I'm not (too) embarrassed to admit that I am one of the Black Friday nuts who gets to the mall at 4:30am to ensure that I'm one of the first 100 people in line for an H&M gift card. After a 90-minute wait behind 2 girls who came straight from the club to line-jump for their scratch-off card, I was rewarded with a mere $10. (The party girls got $25 - go figure!) Luckily at H&M, ten bucks can go very far. Case in point: this blazer was marked down to a ridiculous $7.95 from $24.95, so it was basically free! It's so cute and versatile that I would have paid full price for it. I wore this blazer-tee-jeans combo to a party with my hubbie and daughter. How do you rock a blazer? 

Blazer: H&M; Tee: Gap; Jeans: Levi's; Shoes: Charlotte Russe; Clutch: Thrifted; Eyewear: Miu Miu; Necklace: from Mexico
These jeans are also a Black Friday find. $15 for Levi's! Worth the hour it took trying on jeans to find a well-fitting pair. The Magic of Macy's.

I can button something over my belly again. Yay!