Don't Punk With Me

As Ruby and I rocked out to some Rancid (she loves the song "Ruby Soho" for some odd reason), I was shocked and disappointed to learn via Facebook that one of the coolest stores in the U. City Loop, Ziezo, was closing its doors after over 30 years. The funky, vintage-inspired, sometimes weird but always colorful merchandise was very welcome in my closet. But, my uber-tight clothing budget usually forced me to put my picks back on the rack (insert sad face). I perked up when I saw that the store was having a crazy-huge, everything-must-go sale. A few hours later, a bundled-up Ruby looked on as I sifted through the scarce garments. (For the record, Ruby has quickly become my favorite shopping partner. She lets me pick the stores, appears to approve of what I try on, and doesn't mind that I'm an almost annoyingly slow, meticulous shopper. And no, I refuse to believe that this is only because she can sleep through the trips.) As I walked towards the dressing room with an armload of possibilities, I saw them: a pair of amazing, ode-to-punk-rock wedges. Um, yes. I styled a punk-chic look to go with the shoes:

This was the last pair in the store. Before I even tried them on, I decided that I was going to squeeze my feet into them no matter what I had to do. Miraculously, the shoes were in my size.
Sweatshirt: Material Girl; Pencil Skirt (maxidress): H&M; Belt: Hot Topic; Tights: Hue; Shoes: Ziezo; Necklace: Vintage
Anyone who likes alternative music probably owns this  studded "punk" belt. Who cares? I still love it. :)
The shoes are such standouts, I kept the rest of my outfit relatively simple. A few studded accents and funky tights keep the look cool and not overdone.
Don't punk with me. I like crossword puzzles.
P.S. For a bittersweet tribute to Ziezo, check out local blogger The Wicked Wallflower's post here. I'm proud to own a few pieces of St. Louis fashion history!

The Magic's In the Makeup

One of my New Year's resolutions is to upgrade my makeup collection. Even though I try new fashion trends without hesitation, my makeup game is not nearly as on point. I've probably been wearing the same makeup, applied in the same way for years. Sure, I can do the basics - lipstick, mascara, brows, a bit of eyeliner and the occasional colorful eyeshadow. But my makeup artistry skills are limited to shoddily executed techniques from magazines and a few quick mall "makeovers." Lucky for me, I recently got some help from a true professional, Vincent Longo. (For those of you unfamiliar with his magic touch, he has worked with the likes of Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell.) Soft Surroundings at The Boulevard St. Louis hosted a special event to launch Vincent's makeup line, Vincent Longo Cosmetics. In between sipping champagne and perusing the store's eclectic merchandise, I watched women become even more beautiful with subtle and dramatic new looks.

When Vincent worked with me (yes, lil' old, non-celebrity me), I learned 2 cool tricks of the trade that I've already started using: 
1. Apply a few dots of lipstick, lipgloss or liquid blush to your checks and then apply your foundation. You're left with a pretty, rosy glow.
2. When filling in your eyebrows with powder, start from the middle and work your way in (not the other way around.) According to Vincent, that gives a more natural look since less product is on the innermost part of the brows. 

For more beauty tips, visit here
Pre-makeover: Jacket & Dress: H&M; Purse: Vintage; Necklace: Vintage

Post-makeover with local bloggers Psyche of Economy of Style and Julia of Oh, Julia Ann
How come my eyebrows never look like that when I do them?

So ALIVE - Love & Wedding Gowns

The year I got married, I was one of at least 6 brides among our friends. Prior to that, I had already attended 10+ weddings, including 3 as a bridesmaid. But since then, Cupid's aim has been off. I've only been to 1 wedding in the last 2 years. Just when complete wedding withdrawal threatened to put "4 Weddings" back in my DVR queue, I attended ALIVE Bride. Held at the hip Lumen Private Event Space, it showcased all the things I love about weddings: gorgeous dresses, decadent food, beautiful flowers, and gorgeous dresses (oh, did I say that already?). The event also reminded me that it's the small details that take a wedding from "wow" to "WOW!" To add a personal touch to a buffet, a local party-planning vendor, Pink Picker Party, had the most adorable handmade wooden utensils. I never thought to serve frozen treats at my wedding reception, but the organic fresh fruit popsicles from Native Pops would be very refreshing at a summer event! And even though the bride rarely has much time to eat (sorry, ladies), guests are happy to load up on munchies. The mini burgers I sampled from Ces & Judy's were quite tasty.

I still get a little misty-eyed when I see my own wedding photos, taken by Memories Are Forever.
Brian and I got married at The Conservatory, an amazing indoor greenhouse in St. Charles, MO.
I got my dress and veil from  Robin's Bridal Mart.
I am still in love with my gown and plan to wear it at our 50th anniversary party! ;)
Here's my dad walking me down the aisle. For the ceremony, I wore the dress without straps. 
The gardens at The Conservatory felt like a fairy tale! It was so convenient to be able to take pics right at the venue.
I LOVED my bouquet from Lawrence Florist. The brooch is my "something old," as it was my grandmother's.
Our reception was at The Heart of St. Charles. We had a dessert buffet in addition to the traditional cake. For the reception, I added sleeves to my gown and wore a feathery headdress.
We all had so much fun that day, the groomsmen didn't even balk at wearing their fuchsia accents. Didn't my bridesmaids look fabulous in their dresses?

Forever 21?

As I stood in front of the mirror, congratulating myself on being showered and dressed by 8:30am thanks to Ruby's newfound, semi-consistent talent of sleeping through the night, I realized that the entire top half of my outfit was from Forever 21. This was not planned of course, but it got me thinking about F21. Some of us love the store with its trendy and affordable finds, some of us think it's OK to throw some F21 pieces into the mix if you're also wearing high-end stuff, and some of us would never deign to wear the cheap, fast fashion pieces. Where do you stand?

I will take the bold, probably unpopular stance of leaning more towards the "love" category. Granted, I've never understood how the brick-and-mortar F21 stores are organized. I may see a sweet shirt on a random rack but can't locate another one anywhere in the store. (The salespeople usually can't either.) And my days of giggling in the dressing rooms over possible mixer outfits are gloriously over. (Although, when I was that age there was no Forever 21. Anybody else remember the store 5-7-9?) Nevertheless, whenever I want to know what's "on trend," I find myself painstakingly going over the garments and accessories on the F21 web site. I'm also a sucker for a deal, and F21's prices are tough to beat. Stores like F21 accommodate my mercurial fashion moods. I have no guilt only wearing a $5 impulse skirt once before it's recycled. I guess when it comes down to it, for me it doesn't matter where something is from. If it's cute, it's cute. So, am I "Forever 21?" On paper, no way. In real life, sometimes. In my heart? Well, most of the time. ;)
Blouse, Necklace, Sweater: Forever 21; Jeans: Material Girl; Eyewear: Miu Miu

Revenge Wears Prada

I recently watched one of my favorite movies for the upteenth time: The Devil Wears Prada. Watching Andy's transformation into the couture outfits is truly inspiring. I got really excited when I realized that I could re-create one of the looks: the black and white outfit she wears while contemplating going to Paris. OK, my outfit is not Chanel (or any designer for that matter) but it's pure Carmen. :)
Shirt: H&M; Sweater: Macy's; Leggings: Hue; Shoes: Steve Madden; Earrings: Claire's; Neckace: Vintage
This summer, Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada came to St. Louis to promote the juicy sequel, Revenge Wears Prada! The event was sponsored by Alive Magazine and Left Bank Books. Despite having their name in her bestselling book titles, Weisberger admitted that she is still awaiting her swag from Prada. Spoilers are one of my pet peeves so I won't give anything away except to say this: the old characters' lives - even Miranda Priestly's - take unexpected turns in Revenge Wears Prada.

Ms. Weisberger was sweet enough to sign my book and dedicate it to Ruby (AKA Future Fashionista) while she was still in my belly!

ALIVE Bride - Signature Drink

Before the birth of my daughter, the best day of my life was my wedding day. With only 6 months to plan it, I dutifully followed the steps in my bridal binder (venue? check!; registry? check!) and logged a ridiculous number of hours watching every bridal show possible. (I will never watch "Bridezillas" again.) I put my heart and soul into each aspect of the wedding and reception; just picking out the guest favors took days weeks. I really wanted the "signature drink" served at my reception to be perfect. I stressed about it for hours, wanting the drink to have a clever name and snappy ingredients. My then-fiancé couldn't understand why I was torturing myself over such a "minor" detail, but if you've ever planned a wedding, you get it. Eventually, I had to move on and focus on the equally, majorly important task of crafting centerpieces. We ended up serving the tasty but admittedly un-clever "Sweetheart Martini," a mix of vodka and peach juice.

In honor of ALIVE Magazine's upcoming bridal showcase, ALIVE Bride, I was invited to create a new signature drink with Pinnacle Vodka and Skinny Girl Prosecco. I call this drink - wait for it - The Ruby Sipper! (Get it?) Here's how you can make one:

2 parts Ruby Red grapefruit juice + 1 part Pinnacle Vodka + 1.5 parts Skinnygirl Prosecco champagne + a splash of cinnamon schappes to give the drink some extra spice! Be careful though - too much of this can make the drink too sugary.

Mix it up and enjoy! My husband thought his Ruby Sipper was "girlie" but mostly good. He's not a big fan of cinnamon, though. I would love to hear what you think of your Ruby Sipper!
P.S. - Going to a bridal showcase was an extremely helpful part of my wedding planning. At ALIVE Bride, there will be 30+ merchants including local photographers, florists, and special event venues. (Tell your life-partner-to-be there will be cocktail and culinary samples if they need a little encouragement.) Exclusive promo for The Ruby Zipper readers: enter coupon code RUBY50 for 50% off VIP tickets!

'Unicorns Are Lame,' Said Nobody, Ever

Ever since I was a child, I have always loved unicorns. There's something so magical and whimsical about them. The fact that they have only one horn instead of two like most animals fascinates me. Like, unicorns don't need two horns; they are cool and strong enough to just need one. Unicorns are beacons of independence! I've been very close on multiple occasions to getting a unicorn tattoo, but then start to think it's too. . .uncool? I don't know - I love them despite my age or what anyone thinks, so perhaps one day I'll get one inked on my arm or something. Even as I type this, I'm starting to get that urge again. . . For now, I'm loving my new unicorn sweater!
My "skirt" is actually a dress topped with the sweater.
Sweater: Wet Seal; Denim Shirt: J. Crew; Skirt: Femme Boutique; Tights: Hue; Shoes: Steve Madden;
Eyewear: Versace; Earrings: Forever 21

P.S. - The title in this post is borrowed from a T-shirt that may soon be part of my wardrobe from Skip N' Whistle, a neat online boutique I learned about from local blogger Rachel of Style Every Day.

A Plaid Attitude

In the intersection of plaid's lines lies everything I appreciate in fashion: bold hues versus organized patterns, rock star edge versus timeless appeal, feminine versus masculine, modern versus vintage. I was inspired by a cleverly paired leather and plaid outfit on Stilettos &Sequins and decided to recreate the look with my mom's vintage plaid shirt for Christmas dinner. She was so touched that I wore her shirt, which she described as "very expensive" at the time (1970s). It's one of the only garments she saved from that time period, so I plan to carry on the tradition and save it for Ruby to wear. Who knows? Maybe by the time she's old enough, ruffled plaid shirts may have cycled right back on trend.
Shirt: Vintage (Mom's); Skirt: Hello Kitty from Target; Tights: Hue; Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Patterned tights are always fun!

Fashion Accessory Forecast

One of my 2014 resolutions is already underway: my first published article as a freelance fashion writer is officially in print and online! Writing for my blog is amazing, but there's something very exciting about seeing my byline and work published by someone who, well, isn't me. My article, Fashion Accessory Forecast is on, the web's premier news source for independent retailers and the official web site of Independent Retailer magazine.You can read it right here! The article is geared towards retailers, but the trend info is for everyone. Enjoy!
I'm on page 48. . .
. . .and page 50!

14 Fashion Resolutions for 2014

Coolest New Year's Eve shirt ever: Goodwill, $4

In 2014, I resolve to do the following:

1. I will wear more plaid. Because it's rad. (UPDATE: Check out this blazer.)

2. I will dress like "me" everyday.

3. I will sew my own tulle party skirt. The materials are bought, so now I just have to do it! If it turns out sweet, I will post pics. (UPDATE: It turned out mega-sweet. See it here!)

4. I will buy a hot red dress, and then find somewhere to wear it!

5. I will wear a colorful scarf when I'm stumped for outfit ideas.

6. I will shop my closet more when I think I have "nothing to wear." Discovering some long-forgotten cute skirt makes me giddy.

7. I will try a new makeup color in my lipstick and eye shadow.

8. I will go to as many fashion shows and events as I can. (UPDATE: Totally nailed this resolution. I went to New York Fashion Week and Saint Louis Fashion Week, among many other awesome events. Can't wait for 2015!)

9. I will compliment another woman's outfit when she wears something I think is fabulous.

10. I will seek out work as a freelance fashion writer and move closer to my fashion editor dream job. (UPDATE: I got work published in Independent Retailer and on The and Alive Yeah!)

11. I will continue taking courses in Fashion Merchandising to learn more about the industry.

12. I will not let my fingernail polish get chipped. (Of all my resolutions, this one is probably the least likely to happen.)

13. I will save up for an amazing, overpriced boutique outfit.

14. I will love the skin I'm in. As long as I'm healthy, I will remind myself that I still rock!

What are you planning to do, style-wise, in 2014?