Anyone who knows me, knows that if my home is one degree less than 73, I'm "freezing." So, I should love summer, right? Well, I do. . .but not when it's technically supposed to be fall - or winter, for that matter. Purely for fashion purposes, I like cooler weather. Don't get me wrong - it is nice not to worry about a bulky coat. Now that I'm managing 3 wardrobes - mine, Ruby's, and Flora's - fewer layers makes outfit planning a wee bit faster. But when mid-November hit and the highs were still in the 60s, I'd had enough.
|Vest: Avalon Exchange; Pants: c/o Tobi; Necklaces: Thrifted; Cropped Turtleneck: Nordstrom; Shoes: Luichiny|
|Dress: c/o Tobi; Booties: Luichiny; Purse: Thrifted; Earrings: Claire's|
'Outdoorsy' is not typically a word people use to describe me. Sure, I love being outside when the weather is nice (read: at least 70 degrees). Chilling on a sandy beach somewhere is my idea of heaven. But the ‘let’s-go-on-a-5-mile-hike’ type of outdoorsy? Not so much. I haven’t been camping since 6th grade. The tent Brian got a “great deal” on 2 years ago remains in its original packaging. But, I’ve spent more time outdoors since having kids than I probably have in my whole life, except perhaps when I was a kid. And you know what? I love it.
|Dress: c/o Tobi; Shoes: Diba True; Choker: Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet|
|Denim top & Skirt: Thrifted from Avalon Exchange; Heels: Luichiny|
|Smiley Vest: Avalon; Choker: Hot Topic; Jeans: Forever 21; Off-shoulder Top: H&M; Shoes: Luichiny|
It’s 2am, or something like that. You gave up on looking at the clock a long time ago, since it doesn’t really matter. You haven’t slept more than 3 hours at a time in weeks. Your body feels as if it’s been hit by a truck. You head hurts. You’re hungry, but too tired to eat. You want to wear something cute to work the next day, but are too exhausted to plan an outfit. You feel like crying because you can’t see any reprieve in sight. When you’re a parent, there are no “days off.” Not that you especially want one, because you miss your kids like crazy when you’re not with them. What you want is for time to stop, for you to be able to get some real, restorative sleep for as long as necessary, and then to resume your life, with energy to have fun with your family. You start to wonder how much money you would pay someone for sleep. You have a stroke of genius about an idea for a new business: a service that allows you to “buy” sleep. You start practicing your Shark Tank pitch for the sleep-buying company. You start drifting off. . .
I’ll never forget the summer I was pregnant with Ruby. In addition to getting my blog up and running, my goal was to become an expert Guitar Hero player. I couldn’t believe it when a friend introduced me to the game. It was incredible! Two of my most beloved activities – listening to rock music and playing video games – fused together? Aw, yeah. I loaded up on every Guitar Hero (and its MTV twin, Rock Band) I could find at the used video game stores. (I did my gaming on a PS2. And yes, Guitar Hero had already been out for a several years before I “discovered” it. Don’t judge.)
If you've been on pins and needles waiting for another fashion event to hit St. Louis, you can exhale. The 8th annual Pins and Needles Design Competition hosted by Brainchild Events is coming up on August 11, 2016. It will take place at the brand-spanking-new venue called the Majorette. This year's crop of designers includes the aptly dubbed the Emerging 6: Andrew Clancy (Nashville, TN), Marcel Coleman, Jr. (St. Louis, MO), Richard Cotto (St. Louis, MO), Laila Fattal (Brooklyn, NY), Morgan Mason (St. Louis, MO), and Wiki Wang (St. Louis, MO). One artist will take home a $15,000 prize package to help launch his or her career. I was fortunate to get the backstory on one of the artists, Marcel Coleman, Jr. His road to the competition took a shocking, awful turn, but no doubt helped him create even more incredible work. Read on. . .
|Dress: Goodwill; Belt: Rue 21; Necklace: Flea Market; Shoes: Diba True|
|Jumpsuit: Forever 21; Choker: Rue 21; Shoes: Just Fab; Purse & Earrings: Thrifted; Shades: Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet|
|Missouri History Museum Lindell & DeBaliviere in Forest Park, St. Louis MO|
(314) 746-4599 www.mohistory.org
|The epitome of photobombing!|
"So, when are you due?" a coworker asked me. I get that question a lot now that the baby bump is large and in charge, so I was unfazed. "Just a few more weeks to go," I said with a smile. Most people say such nice or encouraging things once I answer that I was floored by her response. "I figured," she replied matter-of-factly. "I was watching you walk by my desk and thought, 'she's starting to waddle.'"
|Jumpsuit: Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet; Necklace: Rung Boutique; Shoes: Goodwill|
All photos c/o Elizabeth Wiseman Photography
You are cordially invited to a private tour and viewing of the Little Black Dress: From Mourning To Night exhibit at the Missouri History Museum. My eyes lit up as I read the details of the event. I had been invited to look at a collection of gorgeous dresses with some of my favorite local bloggers. Um, of course I was going! As I kept reading, I noticed the suggested dress code: "creative cocktail." No problem - until I read further. Each blogger was asked to wear her favorite little black dress. Easy enough and definitely apropos for the viewing. Assuming you're not 32 weeks pregnant. My smile started to fade. . .
For my final week as an electroforming goddess at Craft Alliance, I had every intention of going out with a bang. The instructor encouraged us to bring in whatever we chose for our last project, and my plan was to metallicize an origami dress or button-down shirt. (That would have been majorly cool, right?) Per usual since I’ve begun juggling full-time work and motherhood and pregnancy, my last minute planning was not conducive to any origami projects. Never fear – I had a Plan B: a mini umbrella, like one you put in a cocktail (or mocktail, as is the case for moi). Here are the before and after pics:
|I drilled a tiny hole in the top of the umbrella so I can wear it on a necklace or hang it from somewhere.|
|After their first runs in the bath, the pinkish part turned to metal while the brown part did not on the bottle. Only the stork's feet got a good dose of metal.|
|See how it now looks fully covered? 2nd time was the charm!|
|This one came out much better the second time, too. Perfect? No. But interesting, conversation starter? Perhaps.|
|I would be happy to wear this on a headband or pin.|
|Freshly painted projects waiting to go into the electrolyte bath.|
|Students carefully cleaning off their electroformed pieces.|
Thanks again, Craft Alliance and ALIVE Influencer Network for giving me the tools to develop my delightful new artwork.
|Craft Alliance is located at 6640 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130; 314-725-1177|
Photo credit here
The class began with a look at last week’s projects. They looked amazing! We got a brief math lesson on how many amps we needed to course through the rectifier based on how much space our items took up in the bath. The instructor then placed each one carefully in the electrolyte bath, hooked up the necessary wires and anodes, and turned on the machine. My baby bottle and stork decided to float rather than immerse themselves in the bath, but Jen assured me that once the process started, they would start to fall into the bath.
|Insects were a popular theme.|
This week, our task was to use something porous, which is a bit more difficult to work with. My creative classmates brought in everything from bones to pasta to dried flowers. I was delighted that my miniature calla lilies were perfect for electroforming, and one classmate had a brilliant idea: why not make a hairpin out of it? I plucked one of the million bobby pins hidden in my hair, attached it to the bouquet, and got to work. We first coated every nook and cranny of our piece with a protective sealant. Once that dried, we put on 2 coats of the copper paint. As you can see, my calla lilies looked pretty frickin’ cool:
How did it turn out after being electroformed? Stay tuned. . .I’ve got one recap left, and I’ll be live tweeting during the final class.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about my rumbling belly, the goldfish didn't cut it. I made a pit stop at White Castle on the way home. I got a veggie burger, so cut me some slack. (It was strange, but decent.) Baby #2 won't get any more White Castle again for several years. Right? We'll go with that. I mean, Pizza Hut is so much healthier anyway.
St. Louis friends, do you want to take a jewelry-making or some other incredibly crafty course? Check out the Craft Alliance web site and stay in the loop by following them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
P.S. Thanks, ALIVE Influencer Network and Craft Alliance for helping me realize my jewelry-designer dreams!
This next series of blog posts will be a trilogy, as I’ve signed up to take a 3-week crash course in Electroforming at Craft Alliance. Electroforming can be described as a process that lets you create metal jewelry elements out of an organic object or keepsake. Cool, right? (I had originally planned to take a class on Wood and Found Objects Jewelry that was cancelled at the last minute. All of the metals classes sounded fun, so finding a replacement wasn't tough.) I had no clue what to expect, but brought a bunch of random trinkets to my first class to see what could be electroformed.
The class was small – only about 5 ladies of various ages and experience in jewelry-making. The teacher, Jen Bradford, immediately put everybody at ease with her disarming, quirky personality. She has years of experience in all types of jewelry-making (her earthy, handmade pieces are amazing). Although she described electroforming as “finicky,” she said it’s her favorite medium. If it’s not obvious from the name (which is wasn’t to me – preggo brain, perhaps), electroforming involves electricity. A device called a rectifier converts alternating electric currents. You suspend an object that’s been painted with metal into a “bath” of copper solution. The wires from the rectifier run electric currents through the bath and several hours later, you’ve got a custom piece of metal jewelry. (If this still sounds confusing, I feel you. Simple version? I painted an object with copperizing paint, let it dry, and then had it suspended into the bath. When I come back next week, we’ll retrieve the items from the bath and see how they look all Metallica’d out.)
|The white radio-looking box is the rectifier. The cooler will house our jewelry materials while the rectifier does its thing.|
|Our pieces are going to look something like these, hopefully,|
|Lots of machinery in here. A crafty gal could get into lots of trouble here. LOL|
P.S. - Thank you, Craft Alliance and ALIVE Influencer Network for making my crafty dreams come true!
platform wedges, heart-shaped sunglasses, and silver sparkly cross-body purse. (Trust me - she was rocking those platforms.) My heart swelled with pride. Not just because she is quickly becoming a mini-fashionista in her own way. Because, even though she likes to wear my clothes, she is not afraid to be her own person. She always wants to live life to its fullest and isn't afraid to take risks. Ruby, at the tender age of 2, inspires me.
My favorite little photobomber crashed the shoot - and added a mega-dose of cute!
So, as my pregnancy progresses and my baby bump gets bigger (7 months and counting), I am committed to continuing to live my life to the fullest, too. And that includes sticking with my signature style. Leggings have become my go-to wardrobe staple for 2 reasons: 1. They are comfortable. 2. Leggings fit nicely under my bump. 3. Leggings hug my legs, unlike my "skinny" maternity jeans. That may just be a problem for someone with bird legs like myself, but leggings nonetheless are something every pregnant woman should embrace.
What makes leggings even cooler? Sparkles. Lots and lots of sparkles. Add a rock tee, a kimono, and choker, and me and my bump are ready to roll!
|Kimono: Savers Thrift Store; Tank: Target; Leggings: Thrifted (bebe); Shoes: Just Fab; Choker: Rue 21|
|"I want picture, Mommy!"|
|Dress: Forever 21; Tights: Hue; Necklace & Hat: Vintage heirlooms; Choker: Rue 21|
The Thaxton Speakeasy, for those of you who have yet to experience it, is described as a modern-day, underground lounge. True to the days of prohibition, the Thaxton is only open to the public on weekends, and a secret password is needed for admission. I was recently treated to a tour of the historic building and a mini-cocktail lesson. (Out of respect for my daughter-to-be, I declined to sample anything, but they looked extremely tasty.) The building has 3 levels prime for unique pictures and private events. (And, any time a bar's owner rocks a zoot suit, you know it's a fun place.)
|Thaxton Speakeasy, 1009 Olive St., St. Louis, MO|
Photo c/o Judd Demaline
|On the upper level, they have a bathtub-turned-bar. Gives a new meaning to "bathtub gin."|
|What could be better than sleigh ride accompanied by a snowman?|
After lunch, we reluctantly skipped the massive line to take a picture with Anna and Elsa, and instead headed to the Country Store and Garden Center to have a photo shoot with Olaf and Sven. The old-time store was so cute that I wanted to do some shopping, but of course Ruby made a beeline for the impressive toy section. While my husband kindly stood in the reasonably-long line for photos, Ruby and I got a kick out of the small petting zoo. Our photo op with Olaf bordered on disastrous until Ruby's mood inexplicably shifted and she sat in the sleigh long enough for the photographer to snap a pic. (She created such an initial fuss that I was surprised the rest of the people in line didn't clap for us after our photo was done!)
We saw some kids getting their faces painted which looked fun, but the excitement proved too much for Ruby and we took her home. Despite the mini-meltdowns, the squeals of delight as Ruby saw the animals, princess, and queen assured us that she had a wonderful time. And, despite spending much of it running after her (par for the course with an adventurous daughter), so did we. The entire experience was chock-full of opportunities to make joyful family memories.
Want to bring your little ones to join in on the fun? Register here. Have you been to Eckert's Farm? What did you think?
|My lil' princess.|
|Blue jello is always a hit.|
|All photos by Ashley Jewels Kuenstler|
P.S. Thank you to Eckert's Farm and the Midwest Influencer Network for sponsoring this post.