DIY tie dye loose cardigan

Do you ever just get a bug in your brain that says, "I HAVE to have something, this thing needs to exist and be mine?" That's how I felt after watching LaurDIY's awesome DIY kimono tutorial. I suddenly had to have one ... but tie dyed. Can you believe I'd never, ever done tie dye before? Crazy.

I bought four yards (I really only needed maybe two) of cotton and, after work, got to cutting and hand-sewing this kimono-inspired cardigan. Let me be totally honest — I did the worst, laziest sewing job. I may or may not own a sewing machine (if it's in this house and I didn't sell it on Craigslist, I have no idea where it actually is). When I tossed this in the dryer after rinsing out the dye, I had to actually redo a sleeve because it completely unraveled. I love the final result enough that I'll probably re-hem it with a sewing machine or ask someone who knows what they're doing with a sewing machine to do it for me. But lack of skill/willingness to make a full-assed effort aside, this was a fun, easy project and it's so on-trend.

I love the Blanche Devereaux goes to Coachella and has taken a part-time job as your eccentric art teacher vibe of this. 

Spring vibes

I'm feeling major flower-child vibes for spring after really leaning into edgier fashions during winter.

Let's break down some of my Pinspiration for my spring sartorial choices:

Floral (and printed) everything: I really want a pair of floral high-waisted shorts. I'm loving prints on everything. I just DIY'ed floral white jeans and sewed up and tie-dyed a kimono inspired cardigan. That's one silhouette I'm really digging and I could see myself getting a few of the drapey pieces and wearing them with cutoffs and gladiators sandals.

Skin-baring cutouts and crop tops: I'm on this body-positive journey and I really want to get comfortable showing a little more skin. That means cutouts, maybe some crop tops paired with higher waistlines to show just a sexy inch or so, and lower necklines perfect for showing off strappy bralettes a la Ilana on Broad City.

High-impact shoes: Fun story. I bought a pair of Chelsea boots and wore them for the first time on the day of a blizzard. I was just sitting in my chair at the office when, suddenly, I heard a loud rip, and the bobo AF elastic had just broken off. I still want a pair of those boots, because I think they'll go with everything and add that rocker touch I like. Less attainable? The Arabian Night Tieks I'm lusting after. I can't really justify dropping $345 on a pair of shoes. Or can I?

Nude lip: I've been leaning toward more natural makeup looks, but want to step my eyeshadow game back up with bright colors paired with nude lipstick.

Hair jewelry and accessories: Can you tell I'm really into florals right now? I've worn a flower in my hair a few times and loved the ethereal, "I'm just dancing through a field" look. And hair jewelry really elevates simple looks like buns. Maybe I'll throw a floppy hat into the rotation, too.

Rose gold hair: I'm flirting with the idea of this as my next hue. That or maybe going caramel blonde, so then I'll be light enough to possibly go bright red when fall comes around. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Rompers and full skirts and colored denim!: I want to incorporate really fun statement pieces into my spring wardrobe and wear them in a super casual, "I just threw this on" sort of way.

What are you coveting for your spring wardrobe?


Video: BIG Ulta Haul! Skincare, Brushes, Makeup!

I hauled ALL THE THINGS at Ulta and decided to film it for you guys! I'm so happy with my finds.

Products mentioned:

Real Techniques Sculpting Set

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser

NYX HD Blush in Taupe

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone

NYX Shine Killer Primer

NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Black

Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer

Every day is a good day for sequins

A sequin skirt goes with everything. Period. You can dress it up or dress it down. This one is from Love, Alana on Etsy. (FYI if you're interested in buying — the skirt is super well-made, but the lining keeps riding up, so just be mindful of that.) I like contrasts and wearing stuff that does not go together at all and making it go together, so I wore it with this adorable Wonder Woman shirt, which I knotted to the side (my new favorite wardrobe hack) and winterized it with opaque tights and my little librarian booties. I think this would be really cute with a boyfriend shirt and you can make it smaller with the knot. Another wardrobe hack I love, especially with boatneck tops? Double-sided fashion tape. I stick it onto my bra straps, press the shirt on, and boom, no having to pull the shirt up constantly to hide my bra straps.

I took a bunch of other shots to show how versatile a sequin skirt is. You can make it look preppy cool with stripes and a cardigan, cozy it up with a sweater, go casual and edgy with a denim shirt or pair it with plaid and accent your waist. 

Are you ready to be daring and add a sequin skirt to your wardrobe?


What failing at a diet program taught me about body image, pleasure and health

I'm writing this while eating a chunk of fondant with a side of pink moscato. Earlier today, I had General Tso's chicken with California rolls and sweet potato tempura.

I've been dieting. Poorly.

My side job in fashion has contributed to me adding to my wardrobe and thinking more about my personal style and how things fit. So I've been shopping. And I've found myself needing to shop — for bigger pants. When waistbands cut through you like fishing line, it's not comfortable, and it's not a good look, and I've been finding high-waisted super-stretch jeans to be a gift from God.

So I wasn't loving how I looked in clothes, or how I looked out of clothes, and I decided to try NutriSystem. None of my failure is because of NutriSystem — I didn't do the program right, and the food is fine, doable as far as taste goes, but the tiny portions left me feeling so deprived, and even for someone used to frozen food, I was still feeling very bad about all my food coming in plastic packages. Again, part of that is on me, because I should have been adding fresh vegetables to my meals.

I failed because I'm not good at structure. I failed because I enjoy being spontaneous and splitting a bottle of wine and having pad Thai with a girlfriend. I failed because, as much as I get bummed when I'm in a Target fitting room and the mirrors make it really easy to check out my bra fat, I don't want to be thin bad enough to give up things that bring me pleasure. I don't really think about my size or weight much or intensely, except when I get in these phases when I just don't like what I see in the mirror.

There's nothing wrong with my body. My curves are bangin', and while the weight has slowly crept up over the years, I've only really gone up a pant size or so. Which happens. What I really need to worry about is my health, because I know I'm out of shape and would feel so much better — and look better in my tight pants — if I exercised. I used to be super into yoga and it really centered me and made me feel strong and in my body, and it calmed my anxiety. And at the time, I ate whatever I wanted. Clearly, what my body needs is movement, not a restrictive diet of packaged foods.

I may never be the girl who wears a crop top on Instagram. I may never have a "bikini body" or be a size 2 like I was in college ever again. But who cares? I'm a girl who bakes and eats cakes, who enjoys ordering pizza at the end of a long day and whose body is whole and free of illness. I'm also a girl who is whip smart, gives great advice, can tear through craft projects like a boss bitch and who tries to make everyone around her feel great about themselves. So what if I have cellulite and a bit of tummy pudge? There's so much more to me than my weight.

And fuck beauty standards that say you have to be a walking hanger and that's the only option for being beautiful. We're all beautiful, and all can get it.

I think I'm done dieting. I'm not done with trying to improve my habits, but when I want a milkshake and fries, I will damn well have a milkshake and fries, and the extra shake that comes with that? I'm OK with being a little bootylicious.

I think you're ready for this jelly.


ModCloth meets Black Milk Clothing

I've been wanting a brand new pair of wet-look leggings to replace my beloved American Apparel ones, which have lost their sheen and, frankly, were getting pretty tight. I've been watching a lot of SuperMaryFace on YouTube (I discovered her via Guy Tang, who I mentioned in my hair post — she's one of his clients) and she did a haul from Black Milk Clothing. They have great, nerd-themed leggings and are known for their wet look leggings. The ones I'm wearing are the wet-look pocket leggings, which have hip pockets that surprisingly stretch to accommodate your phone. They're a great price, they are super shiny in person, and they do stretch a fair bit. These are a bit tight on the waistband because I am in between sizes and chose the smaller size, but aside from that they're pretty great, opaque even when I bend over, and they come up over my bellybutton easily for maximum tummy minimizing.

I bought two long tops from ModCloth to wear with them. The first is the Secret of Whim top in Charcoal. This is a long, flowy, super soft top and my first venture into on-trend shoulder cutouts. I think it's super sexy yet still modest. The second is the Trusty Travel top in Green Plaid. It also feels really nice, has a more fitted look with a drawstring tie in the back, and is just slightly sheer, so I wore a tank underneath it.

It should be noted that I have a pathological fear of leggings ripping right up the butt and being fully exposed, so even though these feel pretty well-made, I pulled on a pair of fleece leggings under these just in case. But they do feel very high quality, the stitching doesn't seemed strained by my bootyliciousness despite them being a bit too small, and they're decently warm on their own without the second layer.

What do you guys think? I think these outfits are so great and reasonably priced, and I know I'll get a lot of use from these pieces.

Oil slick hair! My first (but certainly not last) foray into fashion colors

If you don't want to see a million iPhone selfies of my hair, look away now!

I recently went to Salon Ivy in Pittsburgh (shoutout to Chelsea, the miracle worker!) with a bunch of Pinterest pics and a sort of vague request for oil slick hair. I looked at swatches of Pravana hair colors, picked magenta, green, blue and purple, and proceeded to get my ends bleached in a sliced ombre then wrapped in foils. Chelsea mixed her own blend of the colors (I think the blue may have been a different brand than Pravana that I don't know the name of, or a mixture of Pravana and something else)
I apologize for the quality of the photos, because like I said, they are iPhone selfies, and if I get time one of these days and great lighting, I'll try to capture the color with my big girl camera.
Me with an ombre fro. Think I could rock this


Final result, backlit

Colorful updo

Through the miracle of Olaplex, my hair is super soft, even more manageable than before I bleached it, and I've experienced zero breakage.

My stylist placed the pink at the bottom because I wanted the look to be subtle for work, then did a layer of green, then blue, then purple. Between, on the sides, we did another slice of pink and another slice of green. That's really evident when my hair is straight, which gives the color a completely different vibe. I love that in some lights you can't really tell and maybe just see a tinge of purple, and in others, it's ba-BAM!

I love this do and it's kind of set off an addiction. I blame Guy Tang on YouTube. I'm all over Pinterest saving ideas. Next I think I'll do rose gold, or maybe that same green all over because I love it much more than I expected. But for now, I'm digging this beautiful set of colors.

OOTD: Matter of timing

Way back in 2013, Prabal Gurung released a collection for Target, and I snagged this vibrant floral blazer while shopping late at night during the launch between website crashes. But when it arrived, I didn't love it on. It was too ... something. So back it went.

I've been thinking about it recently and found multiple listings for it on eBay, including some at three times the price. But I was so lucky to find one for the original $50, with the tags still on, and the small fit! And now I feel like I can pull it off. Maybe it's because I'm more adventurous now. Maybe I just know how to style things better now and know what to do with a piece like this. But for whatever reason, now I feel like I can wear this jacket without it wearing me.

I wore it with my Loveappella top from Stitch Fix (that's my referral link, so go sign up!). Originally I thought I'd wear it with a black shirt, but I think wearing it with another colorful top sort of balances it out so that it doesn't overwhelm the rest of the outfit. I wore my Gorjana necklace, my Koolertron bag, my Sofia Vergara for Kmart jeans and ... um, I think these boots were from Shoe Dazzle but I'm not totally sure. It's kinda like a rocker girl on a romantic date look.

Even more Stitch Fix outfits

I've got a nice little wardrobe going with my Stitch Fix buys, and I decided to compile some outfits with pieces from my Fixes.

Details clockwise from top left: 

1. I combined my Absolutely sweater with jeggings, my Target riding boots and boot toppers for a cozy look. This sweater doesn't exactly make me look svelte, but I love how it feels. It look great with the cargo vest I'll mention later.

2. I knotted my Pixley Edmond top and wore it with my Margaret M faux leather skirt, my Clarks and burgundy tights that I literally picked up at the grocery store.

3. The Market & Spruce Corinna dolman sleeve top is super soft looks awesome with my Forever 21 blazer, my Bancroft Winona medallion necklace, the Wal-Mart jeggings I got for my Ms. Marvel costume and my Target moto boots.

4. In the bottom three pictures, I'm wearing the Liverpool Mira skinny jeans, which have a high, elastic waistband that's actually super flattering. These are much thicker and more substantial than my Liverpool Madonna jeggings or the Wal-Mart ones I have a few pairs of. I paired my leopard print cardigan from The Limited with the Brixon Ivy Clifton embellished tank. Honestly, I like how the leopard looks with the embellishment, but I think this would look better with a draped cardigan so the neckline of the cardigan doesn't clash with the embellishment.

5. I wore my Market & Spruce Brentwood top with the jeans, my Target cargo vest and an infinity scarf from Echo.

6. The pattern of the Loveappella Ames slit back top is gorgeous and I thought it looked really cool paired with the Blank NYC Lettie faux leather and knit drape jacket. I wore this outfit with jewelry I got from Gorjana during the brand's 70% off holiday hangover sale. I'm normally not a yellow gold person, but I've been branching out.

That shorter necklace is actually longer than the bottom one. I tied it to be shorter with a clear rubber band. #lifehacker #wardrobewizard

My bag is from Koolertron. It's actually a camera bag I saw on Amazon while looking for a dupe of a bag I fell in love with on a blog, and my husband got it for me for Christmas. It fits everything, and and I love the color and the retro shape.

If you love any of the pieces in these outfits as much as I do, make sure you use my referral link to sign up, and I'll buy you a unicorn! Not really, but you'll get awesome fashion, and I'll get a credit.


Book review: "Cam Girl" by Leah Raeder

“Hate is when you love someone but wish you didn't.” 

Guys, are you aware that I love Leah Raeder? You should be by now. And as an aside, I'm so happy and proud for him as he transitions to his truest self, Elliot Wake, who is a snappy and dapper AF dresser, FYI.

Raeder's latest is Cam Girl, and as usual, it's a doozy. Cam Girl has all the hallmarks of a Raeder novel — obsessive love, lyrical and hallucinogenic prose, flawed heroines. But this is my favorite Raeder book. There's a million reasons why. For one thing, Vada Bergen, the narrator, is a Latina, and even as a Latina and a minority, I've only just recently begun to appreciate how important representation is (how weird is it that I'm a minority and I still find myself having to remind myself to include non-white characters, just because whiteness is so prevalent in literature? It's so telling).

"My love is savage and rapacious. It isn’t content to touch. It wants to be inside, crawl into the marrow, caress each vein until the cells are all mixed up and there is no you and me anymore, no secrets or shadows sliding between our skin."

For another thing, Vada is kind of an asshole. Which I so relate to. I should back up at this point and give a synopsis of the plot, right? OK. Plot. Vada Bergen is an artist whose entire reality is torn apart in a tragic car accident that causes her to lose function in her drawing hand and that wrecks the fraught relationship between her and her best friend/soulmate/sparring partner Ellis. Ellis and Vada clearly belong together, but like I said, Vada is an asshole, and she thinks that their intense sexual connection is just experimentation and hopes to one day have an idyllic, superhetero wedding in which poor Ellis will serve as the maid of honor (like I said — she's an asshole. But I still love her).

So Vada loses everything and everyone, and she's broke, and she's an outcast in her family, so when she's evicted from her place and approached by some sexy entrepreneurs who want to make her a cam girl, she thinks, hey, why not? Little does she know that camming will bring her face to face with the darkest recesses of herself, reunite her with Ellis, and introduce her to Blue, a patron who wants her all to himself.

“Was that what I’d have to do? Pry my ribs open and see whose hands fit, whose fingers were stained with the same red inside me?”

Cam Girl is about so many things, like every Raeder novel. It's about complicated love. It's a love triangle — but like any Raeder book, not like the kind of love triangle you expect. It's about disability, marginalization, reinvention, gender identity, sexual identity. You can't characterize Vada and Ellis as a healthy relationship, but something about it is just right. And Blue helps Vada heal, but how real can a relationship be behind a screen?

I loved going into the world of a cam girl, a profession full of taboo that most of us wouldn't even dare entertain venturing into. You can tell Raeder really researched the profession and managed to capture the sexiness of it without sensationalizing it.

Cam Girl is romantic as hell and probably the gooey-ooeyist of Raeder novels. Unteachable was stunning but gave me the squicks because it's about a teacher and a student, duh. Black Iris was violent and gave me nightmares, but like really interesting nightmares. Cam Girl, no spoilers, has the cutest and happiest of endings and is the first Raeder novel where I really rooted for the main character and love interest (and I won't tell you which of the two love interests!).

Who should read Cam Girl? Anyone interested in learning about people on the trans spectrum, anyone who appreciates steamy romance, anyone who loves damn good writing. Anyone, really. Raeder/Wake groupie for life, yo.