A Tale of Two Outfits

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

Much like most little girls, when I was little I really wanted to be a ballerina. I loved the costumes, the pirouettes, the grace, the glamour, the ballet shoes; I would have loved to have joined the ranks of fluffy tutus and ribbons around my ankles to learn how to move my body with such precision and elegance. But I grew up poor – though I never knew it – and my parents couldn’t afford to put me in dance. So I read my ballet books, put on my fluffiest skirts, and just pretended.

When the year came in our church’s Christmas play that they asked myself and another girl to be Angels in the play, a role that included tights, ballet shoes, and white tutus, I was thrilled. I loved that role, and I distinctly remember that I was so into it I got irritated that the other girl didn’t keep time properly. Even at the age of 6 or 7, I had the rhythm. And she may have been more expressive and convincing, but I was going to do it right, or so help me.

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

As I grew up, my yearning for dance never quite faded. I participated yearly in our church Christmas musicals, always as a backup dancer, loved learning every new move, wished that every dance would go longer, and thrived in the moment of song and movement. Every year, I wished more and more that I could take proper lessons.

For a few months after my 21st birthday, I did get to take lessons of a sort, by way of swing dancing at a local gym where a hundred or so people gathered to dance, some dressed in 50’s garb as they tapped away on the floor. But that was altogether too short lived. And back then, I didn’t dress like I do now; I admired the stylish men and women who committed to their theme, but I was a jeans-and-tees girl wearing dresses only on the weekends and for special occasions.

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

I never expected that one day I would be looking very like those people dancing the night away in the gym, and even before I found this skirt I never thought I would really be a ballerina-esque-clothing type girl. But here we are with this pastel pink tulle skirt that I have so far worn three ways in the short time that I’ve had it, that I already have styled in five more ways in my head, emulating the Lindy-Boppers I admired from afar just a few short years ago.

I still don’t know how to dance aside from the few Swing steps I learned, which are fast fading in my mind, but I like to pretend. This skirt makes me feel like the dancer that I never got  to be. I think I could have been a good dancer; I have the muscular legs for it, I have rhythm, music moves my heart and emotions, and the most common word people (amusingly, to me) use to describe me is “graceful.”(I mean, I might choose something else, something a bit more relaxed and definitely silly, but I know me too well.)

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

Originally, as you can see, I styled this top/skirt combo MUCH differently. I thought I liked it, but the more I looked at the pictures the less it really felt “me”. There’s something a bit too busy and almost aging about that first outfit — I had on too many accessories on my head (flower, dangly earrings, curly updo, glasses), the shoes and belt aren’t quite tied in, the ruffles on the shirt needed a bit more simplicity… altogether it’s a nice outfit, but not… right.

So yesterday I decided to try again after Hannah sent me a few polka-dot treasures that she had decided to part with. The headband was all the inspiration I needed, and suddenly I knew the perfect Valentine’s way to style the whole thing! Polka-dots really are magic. I ended up with a simpler, much more cohesive outfit that felt so much more like myself even without glasses.

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

I rarely go without my glasses for a blog post these days. They have become so much a part of me and my style that it feels odd not to wear them, and I found myself more than once going to push up lenses that were not there. I feel more confident with glasses on… probably because it’s a bit harder to be confident when you can’t see clearly further than 2 feet from your face.

But this outfit felt right without them. For once I wanted to actually see the cat-eye makeup I wear every day; glasses obscure my eye makeup. I wanted to not war with the headband going over my glasses, because sometimes that makes them stick in a funny position. And sometimes I just don’t have the right frames to go with an outfit. Not cat-eye enough, not dark enough, something like that.

A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com A Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.comA Tale of Two Outfits | www.eccentricowl.com

Entire outfit, thrifted, vintage, or gift

This ensemble is currently my top running to wear for Valentine’s day. I’m hoping to post a few more Valentine’s-inspired looks before the 14th, but it’s been a crazy week and the weather is currently crappy, so we will see! This is the first year that I’ve really, really actually started to plan outfits ahead of time. Are you an outfit planner, or do you just wake up in the morning and decide right then what you want to wear? Usually, I fall in the latter category, but I have found that the more I hone down my wardrobe, the easier it is to plan and the less I’ll change my mind the next day.

Today I am also posting a How We Wore it Valentine’s Day edition roundup of all the SBS gals; if you want some Valentine’s Day inspiration, hop over and check it out!

Happy Thursday!

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Cherry, Cherry

Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.comCherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

Yesterday I got to meet the wonderful Sara Lily (aka my BBRBF – best book-reading blog friend), and we have a few posts all scheduled later to talk about that, but one thing I noticed is that she is excellent at posing. Like, girl just knows how to work it! When I pose, I tend to think I have to change it all up and have my feet, hands, and head all in different positions for each new photo. This means that usually I start to repeat poses because I just can’t think of any other whole-body ways to stand.

Sara Lily, though, is an expert at doing that thing that I think I heard Tyra say once on ANTM — just tweak it. Pose, then move one hand, then the other, then look up, then look down, then move your foot, then your other one, quirk your fingers, tilt your head; tweak every bit of your pose so that instead of inventing an entirely different stance each time, you are essentially creating a slow dance that is fluid movement from one photo to the next.

Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

Since its February 1st, I decided to go with a Valentine’s-day-esque theme for the next few posts. Because bloggers love a theme, right? I mean, it’s basically a waste to not dress in a theme when celebrating a holiday or going to Disney Land (and while I do giggle at the concept, I also mean that wholeheartedly. I am the person who made a Star Wars skirt specifically to wear to see The Force Awakens, so…), so I’m basically just going to wear pink and red for the next two weeks until you’re sick of seeing pinup Valentine looks.

This first outfit features one of my favorite dresses, which was part of one of my favorite outfits (here), and which made its way to a few of the Shaped by Style girls last year. I thought it was the perfect candidate to pair with this heart cardigan. I tried really, really  hard to separate it from the previously mentioned favorite styling, but… same tights, same shoes… oops.Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.comCherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

This brooch  belonged to my grandma – she always wore it on her coat, and I don’t think I ever remember it not being pinned to her itchy woolen lapel. In fact, after she died, my dad brought me her coat and the brooch was still pinned to it. So, since the coat was not in my style in the least, I removed the pin and I hope to one day have a go-to coat that I can leave the brooch on in her memory. Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com     Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

I have been trying to wear my hair down more lately – I realized that I have defaulted to what I like to call the “lazy retro mom” hairstyle. Headscarf, bun, and a victory roll or two. That way my  hair is done with minimal effort, but looks like I cared that day. Ha! So, I’m experimenting with hair-down styles that still feel pinup or retro. I’ve never really considered myself a pinup — I think pinup is a very “done” style and my style is usually… as easy as I can make it. But I love the aesthetic, and I feel myself moving more and more towards it all the time.

And with a headscarf, red lips, and a good hairstyle, it is much easier to morph into that style than I had imagined! I always think of pinup-style bloggers as spending hours on hair and makeup, but this entire look took me maybe 15 minutes. It’s something I should do a tutorial on, because I know I’m not the only one who loves the aesthetic but was intimidated by the perceived time it takes to get there!

Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.comCherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

Seriously, though, if you can do a good victory roll (easier than you think!) and a cat-eye (also easier with the right tools), you’re pretty much there.

I ended up really liking the way my hair looked down in the back with just one roll in the front, and for once I went with lipstick. Surprisingly, because I am really girly and I do love makeup, I hate wearing lipstick. It gets all over everything when you have two kids who smush their little fingers all over your lips and chin (usually unintentionally). And if I’m wearing lipstick my husband will not kiss me.

I know people who just wear it anyway, but guys… I like kisses. And also I don’t like keeping up the color. So if anyone has recommendations for drugstore lipsticks that stay on, don’t smudge, and can’t be smeared by little hands, please let me know!

Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

Back to Sara Lily- when I was posing for my solo shots (yes, we did a photoshoot together! We’re fashion bloggers, it’s what you do!) she asked if I ever tried to do the Disney Princess pose, and… well, you’ll see my reaction to that question in a post later (it was not pretty), but I think I’ve perfected it. This is totally a Disney Princess pose. Heel popped, pinky raised, displaying my skirt. Which leads me to really, really want to do a pinup Disney outfits series.

I need to start a “blog this” list. Seriously.

Cherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.comCherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.comCherry, Cherry | www.eccentricowl.com

Tights and earrings, Target | everything else, thrifted/vintage

I apologize for the rambling nature of this post; it’s one of those days! I’m off to clean my house, figure out what dinner will be, and start in on my February reading list. Don’t forget to suggest books if you have a novel I must read this year. (Here’s my reading list so far)

Happy Monday!

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Landline | Book Review + Inspired Outfit

Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

Well, I didn’t do my 4 books this month, but I DID get three checked off my list! Landline  by Rainbow Rowell was, again, sent to me by Sara Lily (who is basically fueling my book list right now, ha!) and it has been my favorite so far.

But before I get into the review, of course, here is the synopsis (via the back of the book):

“Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply – but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?”Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

I have never read anything by Rainbow Rowell, and honestly… I didn’t think it would be my thing. The summary certainly sounds like something I would like, but the first few parts were a little bit shaky and I wasn’t convinced that the story would be carried out well. To be frank, I found the first chapter (or part…? The chapters are broken up into days, occasionally) to be boring and I wasn’t too interested in anyone. But for the sake of at least getting three books read in January, I soldiered on!

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

It begins with Georgie arriving home late again from work, and wandering through the house to find her husband,Neal, putting their girls to bed and letting one of them stay up a little late to watch cartoons. There is some background explanation, some reminiscing, and a little bit of setup as to how life goes in the house. It’s a very quiet, unassuming way to open a book, and almost too familiar to begin; I needed more to relate to the characters before I started out in a quiet night in their house.

But it picks up quickly after Neal leaves for Christmas at his mom’s house with their two girls, leaving Georgie behind to work on the TV deal she’s been waiting for her entire life. He’s mad, she’s uncertain and a bit selfish, and everything is up in the air.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

We follow Georgie through life, to work, where she is partner to her best friend, Seth, in working on the big TV deal they’ve been dreaming of forever.  Seth is quickly established as the pretty boy, the guy that Georgie met and somewhat categorized as her soul mate. In the early years of their friendship, she expected that she would just have to wait out his youthful and foolish years through the string of girls he dated/slept with, and someday they’d be a thing. It never happened.

I half expected something to happen between them as the story progressed, even though it’s increasingly obvious that Neal is Georgie’s soul mate through and through, and I was… well, happily surprised and also sort of right. I won’t spoil it for you, but… y’know. Read the book.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

As the story progresses, Georgie is reluctant to return to her cold, empty home so she instead starts to stay with her mom under the excuse that it’s closer to work. After Neal ignores all of her phonecalls, she gets frustrated with her always-dead iPhone (whose battery  no longer works, thus it has to be plugged in to be on) and resorts to using her old landline that still operates perfectly. And that’s when she gets a surprise. Somehow, by some twist of time, the landline calls Neal… before they were married. Right after she thought they broke up.

Georgie spends the next few days calling Neal over and over again, talking for hours on end, struggling at work, trying to figure out how to balance Seth and Neal — because both are semi-jealous of the other — and trying to figure out what she is supposed to do with this fortuitous magical phone. Because Neal-of-the-now is unhappy. He has never said it, but she knows he’s unhappy. They are living her life, in a place he’s not too fond of, doing all the things she dreamed of doing, and she’s been taking advantage of Neal’s nature to do what pleases her. So, she struggles to decide; is this magic phone meant to have her break it off with Neal before it started? To heal up the wounds she’s created? To somehow change their relationship for the better? As she works it over and talks to Neal, you can see her struggle, see how much she loves him, and also see how much he loves her.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

I was more and more enchanted by the simple problem and the deep love story as Rowell wrote about their past, how they met, how things went wrong, and how Georgie felt through it all. At the core, Landline is just a love story. A simple boy-meets-girl (or in this case, girl-stalks-boy-and-takes-over), couple-falls-in-love, and things-go-wrong story. But the way it’s written was absolutely captivating and I am not kidding you, I could not stop reading it. I started two days ago and finished most of it today.

Probably the highest compliment I could pay this book is that Landline is the type of book that makes me want to write.  And not because I want to do better (which can be the case a lot), but because I want to do to others what this book did to me. I love stories like this. Because at the heart, it’s not actually a romance; it’s the story of life. Real, messy, funny, heartbreaking, beautiful life.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

As for the outfit, the back of the book is the exact color of this skirt so obviously I had to wear it. I decided to cut out the lining that the skirt came with because it was all tight and bunchy and weird; thankfully I have a pink slip, which works perfectly! Once again, I never really would have thought to put all of these items together (maybe the belt and skirt) until I saw the book cover. I think reading 52 books this year might just be the catalyst to getting more creative with my wardrobe again!

I’ll be honest: this belt is actually just a bit too small — it belts, but doesn’t stay belted because my waist isn’t back to normal yet so it doesn’t have enough wrapping around to stay put. I may or may not have pinned it and made a hole in it. But… it was a 50 cent belt, so… oh well.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

Flower crown (old) c/o Choies | Tights and Tee, Target | Vintage brooch, skirt, and heels, thrifted

So now I am off to write, and then tomorrow I get to meet the very person who has sent me so many fantastic books! I am beyond thrilled, you guys! Sara Lily will be the third blogger I’ve met in person — first was Marlen, second Hilary — and I’m hoping that we can possibly do a little secret project I’ve had in the back of my mind for whenever I meet bloggers. You’ll only see what it is if I get it done with her and Hilary.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Happy (very late) Saturday!

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Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry In Candles

Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.comRetro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com

Tarts and jewelry were provided free-of-charge in return for my honest opinions.

Lately I have been scaling back big time on sponsored items/posts – I started to get really, really tired of working with brands who sold fast fashion, which seems to be all the offers I get these days, and realized that many of the items I’d accepted, I was only accepting because it was offered and sort of cute. I removed all my sponsor info because at this point, I’m not sure if I can keep up with the things I would like to offer someone who buys an ad in my sidebar. Being a mom of two kids 2 and under doesn’t leave me much time to create the type of quality posts I’d like to offer sponsors.

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However, I do still pick and choose, and when I come across an offer from someone local, you bet I’ll support them! A few weeks ago (last year, ha!) a lovely woman contacted me to see if I’d be interested in sharing about Jewelry In Candles. There were so many things I immediately liked about this: one, she lives in Washington and maybe an hour away from me. Two, jewelry. Three, candles. Four, supporting a small business person who is local! It was basically a win-win-win-win situation.

Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.comRetro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com

Jewelry in Candles is a really fun product whose name basically explains itself: pick a candle, choose your jewelry size, burn, and wait for the goods to appear! The candles are hand poured, 100% wax, and made in the US. The jewelry is all range of prices, and as you can see, it is gorgeous!

I was a little bit wary of the soy-base candles — I used to work in Hallmark, and I hated the smell of the soy-base candles they carried. To me, any soy candle I’d previously smelled had a really odd after-scent. But the tarts Sarah sent me? None of that! They smell amazing. Like, I didn’t even have to melt one for it to fill our living room with a glorious fragrance. They are so good. Price wise, they’re a little bit more expensive than your average Yankee candle, but if you factor in that you’re getting a pretty piece of jewelry with each candle, it’s actually quite affordable. And if you also consider the heavenly scents, well. Worth it.

Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.comRetro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com

I also love that the jewelry is all very classic in cut and shape. The ring and the necklace are both things I would definitely choose for myself; not too flashy, but still sparkly and elegant. It’s really nice that you can choose your ring size when the jewelry in the candle is a ring- since these were surprises, the ring is a bit big on me, but I have quite small fingers so even a standard size 7 ring isn’t going to fit. (My wedding ring is a 5-1/2 band.) But, you can choose both mens and womens rings (sizes 9-13 and 5-11 respectively), and there’s even a warranty for the jewelry!

The necklaces are adjustable, which is just like… perfect! I tend to wear higher necklines, so I like shorter necklaces and it is a huge plus to me when a necklace is adjustable!

Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com12

Overall, as you can tell, I really really love Jewelry In Candles. I am impressed especially by the quality and smell of the candles, and when my tarts run out I am probably going to tell my husband to buy me a candle. These would be the perfect Valentine’s day gift, and hey, they have a Valentine’s collection right now! Thank you, Sarah, for sending me some samples!

Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.comRetro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com Retro Cowgirl + Jewelry in Candles | www.eccentricowl.com

Dress, vintage/thrifted | shoes, thrifted | jewelry from tarts, $15.95/6pk, provided by Sarah from Jewelry in Candles

I hope you are all having a good week! I hear my toddler knocking on his door because he just got up from his nap, apparently, so I’m off to play with him, have some coffee, and get my house cleaned up!

Happy Thursday!

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette? | Book Review + Inspired Outfit

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.comWhere'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

And we’re here for another book review! I must confess, I haven’t read 4 books yet this month as I’d hoped, but I’m on my way to finishing the 3rd one, so that’s not too bad! I created a book list page and will link to each review + outfit when I’m done reading all the books. As you can see, I still have a lot of room on my list. So if you have a favorite book (no series/trilogies, please!) let me know! (I also haven’t added all the books I want to read, but I’ll get there!) I particularly enjoy fiction, romance, and fairytales.

This week’s book is, as you can see, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and it was written by a fellow Washingtonian! I’ve seen the cover of this book all over the place for its art, and I’ve always been intrigued. So when SaraLily sent it (along with a few others) for me to read, I was pretty excited!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.comWhere'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

The synopsis (via Goodreads):

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.”

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

I didn’t know anything about this book before reading it, so when it opened up in the document-style writing of a report card and on to emails, I wasn’t too sure. I actually thought “I hope it doesn’t continue like this” because I felt that writing an entire story in the form of letters, emails, official documents, and the like would remove the personal touch or somehow make it feel like there was no focus. I thought it might be a bit incoherent to go between so many voices in a book.

But the further I got in, the better it got. And the more hilarious it got! The book’s villain, Audrey Griffin, is a holier-than-thou school mom whose plans against Bernadette catapult things into chaos. The feud between Bernadette and the “gnats of Galer street” (aka the other school moms) is expertly woven so that, from an outside perspective, it might seem like Bernadette is making rash and horrible decisions that put herself and others in (hilarious) danger. But from the inside, you see a completely different story, and as Bernadette is driven further and further into her reclusiveness you begin to see that she is brilliant, a little off-kilter, and totally lost.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

You also 100% feel for Bee and Bernadette, and even the husband/dad Elgin, whose decisions are very misled and a bit wrong, but mostly motivated by a concern for the good of his wife and his family. Semple does a fantastic job of digging into each character to create a story that is human, hilarious, and heartwarming. Where’d You Go, Bernadette may just be on my very short “Favorite Books” list now!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com  Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.comWhere'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

As for the outfit, I never would have put these colors together until I read the book; I don’t have a yellow headscarf (surprisingly, because I have a TON) but I knew I had to wear this skirt and especially these sunglasses! I had forgotten I also wanted to wear red lips like Bernadette on the cover, but in my hurry to get dressed while both kids were happy, I totally forgot.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | www.eccentricowl.com

Sunglasses, vintage, gift | everything else, thrifted

I am so glad SaraLily sent me this book, and I’m excited to read the others that she sent! Have you read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? What did you think?

Happy Monday!

P.S. Asa photobombed me quite a few times. As you can see here. He also stole my sunglasses, the little stinker.

PPS – if you’re not following my Facebook page or Twitter, you should! I am trying to use them both to share more things that you won’t see here on the blog. As well as Instagram, which is basically overrun with my kids. 😉

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