Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Road to Fabulous

Hey there followers! Do any of you have that one friend who always manages to look absolutely fabulous? You know, that one girl that has the perfect look everyday, leaving you look like you just rolled out of bed? Well I do, and I have a sad little story about my struggle going from sloppy to sensational, and how my fashionable friend inspired me.
Over New Years, I traveled 3,000 miles to visit my very best friend, Katie. We met when I lived in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. It's the tiniest, cutest little surfer town you ever saw, just north of San Diego. When Katie and I became friends, there were obvious differences between the two of us. Her mother raised here to always look well-kept whenever she left the house. She always had her nails painted, no scuffs on her shoes, and hair shiny and clean. My mother just wanted to make sure my tee shirt didn't say anything offensive. All I ever wore were band shirts and denim jeans that never fit right. I wore skate shoes and never did anything with my hair, it was just a perpetual poof. Walking down the street together, the two of us looked like day and night. She said she loved that I didn't feel a need to impress anyone when I was out. I was just me. Though, I admitted I admired her care for the way she presented herself, something I never really knew much about.
One day, I was at the mall with a friend, and a stranger mistook me for a boy! At the time I thought it was funny, but then it happened again and again. I said to myself, "this needs to stop, but what can I do?" I didn't know how to go about making myself look pretty while still dressing the way I wanted it.
Time went by, and I moved back to the D.C. area. I had lived there before I moved to California, and I was excited to see my old friends again, but boy, what a let down! I don't know if I was just used to Katie's clean style, but my old friends looked like slobs! Many of them had greasy hair, holes in all their clothes, and wore nothing but flip flops all the time. It really made me realize how important your visual impression is. From then on, I made strides to create a marvelous style all my own.
Since then, I've expanded my wardrobe at least 75%. I said to myself, "I can still like the way I look without dressing like a 15-year-old metal head from the 80's." I save the band shirts for concerts, I gave my confused jeans to Goodwill, and I wear my skate shoes only when I'm actually skateboarding. Today, I own enough dresses to play Eeny Meeny Miny Moe when I can't decide what to wear. Before, I owned one (hideous) dress for special occasions. I have more pumps than I'd ever imagine, (and I wear them all, too!) I have a variety of nail polish and makeup, which, for me, was the biggest leap into a feminine style. I never wore makeup until about 6 months ago!
When I returned to California for my visit, Katie looked great, as usual. The perfect outfit with the perfect shoes, ya know, the whole nine yards. I didn't really get to whip out my new look until we went out for a fancy dinner that night. I put on a high-waisted skirt with Aztec print, a white tank with lace on the neck, and suede t-top black flats. I applied some light, natural-looking makeup and finished it all with a cropped leather jacket. When we were ready to go she gave me the once-over and with these wide eyes said, "Oh my God, you look FABULOUS!" That was it. That was all I needed to know I took my style in the right direction.
I used be afraid of so many things; mascara, open-toed shoes, v-necks, the list goes on. Now, my world is open in a way I never thought possible, and I owe it all to Katie. She taught me not to fear to unknown, just give it a try! So followers, if you're ever apprehensive about changing up your style or taking on a new look, just go for it! You may end up loving it.

By: Laura Sullivan

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Swap til you drop!

Happy New Year! I know many of us are extremely excited to be able to say we made it to 2012. This year things are going to be different, or so most say. One way to switch things up is to have a clothing swap, especially if you're dying to get rid of that holiday sweater that really just isn't your style.

Last year I attended a swap at a friends house, in which some lovely ladies and a couple stylish guys brought clothing and accessories they were ready to say "Sayonara!" to. My good friend Chelsea was a wonderful hostess, offering up a tasty spread of veggies, chips, dips and sweets. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed wading through racks and piles of apparel. I snagged myself a sweet summer dress and an oversized plaid button down from one of the gents. After all was said and done anything left was donated to those in need.

Today I attended another swap, but due to the last minute nature it was just my friend Annemarie and myself. As I'm trying to be very conscious of the clothing I add to my wardrobe this year, I decided to pass on the holiday gifts that were made in China. I also got rid of some brand new panties I'd gotten with Victoria's Secret gift card, after I read that the organic cotton used to make them was picked by child laborers in Africa. Annemarie picked a handful of items from my box and I picked two items from her pile. We decided to schedule another swap so more girls can participate next time around.

I'm totally in love with the concept of swapping. Why spend hard earned money when you can get what you need for free? This is also a fabulous way to do your part in helping our environment. Clothing production is a long, typically dirty and wasteful process. Swapping helps you get what you need without having to add to the problem of pollution. Keeping all that in mind, I feel that in order to have a highly successful swap one should focus on a few key componants:

A mix of body types - Most people know what it's like to feel left out of something fun - it sucks. Make sure you invite enough friends so as to have a variety of sizes and styles available.

Nutrition - A good host/hostess should provide at least some sort of snack for participants. The more people you invite the longer the swap is likely to take, so you friends will appreciate something to tide them over. To make things more interesting serve some cocktails, or turn it into a pizza party!

Plans for the clothes nobody wants - Once everyone has picked through the options there's probably going to be a few leftovers that didn't tickle anyone's fancy. This is the perfect time to discuss with friends where would be an appropriate place to take these items. Consider donating the remainder to a shelter, church, Salvation Army, thrift store, etc. If you're strapped for cash you could also look into a consignment store.

If you find yourself in the Rockville, MD area one store to check out is My Best Friend's Closet. Aimed towards preteen to adult women, they offer customers the chance to bring in any gently used, stylish items that are in season to receive cash. They also don't have a problem with you buying an item to wear for a specific event and then selling it back to them.

So the next time you feel your wardrobe needs something different, try organizing a swap with friends. Remember, you can swap anything - toys, books, movies, etc. Anything goes!

By: Sara Moline