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A Tale of Two Boots

Instead of being like a normal person and posting holiday outfit ideas, I’m going in a completely opposite direction and posting a rather long story about shoes. I always have been a little different. I hope you all enjoy and have a great Christmas (or day off work, if you don’t celebrate Christmas)!

The year was 1996. A teenage Amber and her family went to an outlet mall that they rarely got to visit. Amber, already a shop-a-holic at age 13, wanted to go into a shoe store and check out the offerings. She was at that awkward stage of not really knowing her style (oh, who am I kidding, I’m still there nearly 20 years later…), so her latest foray into fashion was inspired by the “grunge look” that the 1990s have become known for. As she walked around the shoe store, she was relatively unimpressed by their offerings until her young eyes spotted these…

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She had to have them. Sadly, her funds were limited and she didn’t have enough to buy them that day. However, she was persistent in both saving her money and annoying begging asking her parents nicely to drive her back to the store. The persistence paid off and the shoes were hers!

She wore them quite frequently during her 8th and 9th grade years, then as she ventured into other looks and styles, they didn’t grace her feet nearly as often. They sat in her closet, gathering dust and only being worn on the rare occasion when she felt like making a statement with her feet. When she entered the world of full-time employment and grown up married life, they became yet another pair of shoes on her closet floor that she had to make sure the dog didn’t attack. Were they doomed to a life of being second-class citizens, relegated to a showpiece of days gone by? Or, could Amber somehow sneak them back into her shoe rotation, especially after seeing a resurgence in Doc Martens and subsequent knockoffs at places such as Target?

Here, my good readers, is the answer to those burning questions…

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Cardigan: Walmart (its last go around b/c it had a hole in the sleeve…boooooo)
Chevron tank top: Walmart
Black tank top (unseen): Old Navy
Jeans: Old Navy
Boots: Old

And, for good measure, she decided to give another nod to 90s fashion by wearing safety pin earrings, approved by the dog, of course.

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Amber, feeling a bit daring and a dash inspired, may even try the shoes with a dress and tights soon. There is a particular dress from Old Navy that lends itself to a recreation of a glorious 90s inspired outfit, and perhaps, if Amber asks nicely enough, Santa will bring it to her this Christmas (three more days!!).

And now, the tale of two boots will draw to a close. Rest assured, these will be seen again sooner rather than later.

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No Shop Summer and the Tiny Closet Challenge

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I recently did a closet inventory and discovered that I have around 375 items. I was shocked! Plus, that doesn’t even include all of the items that are in storage as I’m working to lose my “newlywed spread.” For that reason, I want to institute “no shop summer” for myself. From June 21 to September 23, I will be giving up clothes, shoes, and accessory shopping, even if I receive gift cards for my birthday!

If you’re a longtime reader or have an elephant-like memory, you may recall that I determined to stop shopping last summer. I didn’t stay disciplined or committed to that plan at all! There are a few reasons why I think I’m going to be successful this year. First, this is a shorter time frame. It was unrealistic to think that I was going to go from shopping like crazy to cold turkey. That may work for some people, but I don’t operate that way. Second, I’m more disciplined overall this year. I still have a long way to go and grow, but the act of getting up and working out 4-5 times a week has made me more focused in other areas. Third, we REALLY need to save money because we want to buy a house! There’s nothing like knowing that a mortgage company is going to be looking at your financial history that makes you question how many times you want retail establishments appearing on your bank statements!

(I also have written a few times about shopping more ethically and have been failing at that as well. I have a couple of ideas about why I’m having trouble in that arena that I may share soon).

After I counted all of my clothes, I started thinking more about remixing. During my research, I started reading about the Tiny Closet Challenge from Alison Sherwood at fresh. The challenge runs from June 1 to July 12 and involves remixing 33 items (including shoes and jewelry- but not including jewelry you wear regularly, like your wedding ring) during this 6 week period. It took me a few days to figure out my items, but this is what I settled upon:

The jewelry

Not a great shot but my entire wardrobe!

The breakdown:

TN necklace
silver hoops
silver studs
garnet ring
silver ring
plain white tank
plain white tanks
gray lace tank
black lace tank
chevron tank
chambray tank
lacy t-shirt
graphic t-shirt
black and purple polka dot shirt
white 3/4 shirt
light red button down
chambray tunic
white cardigan
purple cardigan
black cardigan
pink shorts
green shorts
white capris
green capris
black capris
denim capris
black and white polka dot skirt
black and white maxi skirt
anchor dress
tan sandals
silver sandals
black sandals
flowered TOMS

Here’s the first outfit. It was super windy, so this isn’t the best picture!

Summer to-do list:
Pressure wash house
Learn to apply self tanner to legs

I am going to try to take pictures daily, but if I don’t, I will at least keep a list of what I wear and have a breakdown at the end of the challenge. I’m excited about this (and a little nervous). Wish me luck! =)

Poison Ivy and Poison Teeth

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Poison teeth may be a little bit of a stretch, but I liked the way it sounded together when I wrote it!

My husband had his wisdom teeth removed this morning. It was a very quick decision made by his dentist when he went in for a cleaning last week. I’m still trying to think of something to do to embarrass him while he’s knocked out on painkillers! 😉

I’ve got the poison ivy…lucky me! I think I got it from a co-worker’s pet pig that he brought into the library last Friday. She was adorable, but as soon as she left, I had a rash on my arm. No fun!

How about some pictures of me without poison ivy…

My husband told me to turn around and model.
Also notice the dog booty in this picture!

I wore the same white cropped cardigan that I did in the last outfit post, but it was so warm when we took these pictures that I couldn’t stand the extra layer! The cardigan made it look a little bit more professional…well, as professional as a denim shirt and TOMS can look!

Sprite Skirt

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Warning: you’re about to see my face again. Heh. After not posting an actual outfit picture since December 20, I was ready to post something again. For some reason, I’m going a little link up crazy today too!
First, there’s Inspiration Monday at two birds:
Printed, belted, swifted.
Second, I’m a little late to this party, but there’s the Style Me April challenge at Dean Street Society:
Sunshine. Got it.
And finally, there’s Style Imitating Art, hosted by Salazaar at 14 Shades of Grey this round: 
“Spring Rain” by Erté

Wait. Sunshine and rain? It’s like a spring day in Tennessee!

So how do we combine all of those challenges into a super challenge? We use the Sprite skirt!
What is the Sprite skirt? It’s a skirt that has the color and shapes found in Sprite’s logo. I know it’s random, but it’s the only image I get when I see this rarely-worn skirt!
Judge for yourself:
Sprite Skirt, 3
See the lemon shapes in the skirt and the yellow/green tones? Or do you just see the skirt of a crazy person? 😉
Here’s the skirt and the rest of my outfit:
Sprite Skirt, 1
Smartphone pictures in the office during lunch. Sweet! I also tried to get a better shot of my green shoes. One of our maintenance men said he needs a pair! 
Sprite Skirt, 2

I match the painting in my office also. How’s that for Style Imitating Art?

Sprite Skirt, 4

I’ve got my Inspiration Monday look going with the printed skirt and belted look. I’ve got my Style Me April look going with the yellow in my skirt, yellow earrings (that I didn’t get a good shot of), and the overall spring/sunshiny look. I’ve got my Style Imitating Art look going with the lines in the skirt imitating the rain in the picture and the green (and by matching my painting ha ha). Are any of those too much of a stretch? I had all three of the linkups in mind when I was choosing my clothes last night. Any thoughts?
I’ve missed blogging! I got a few tips from Danielle at A Little Bit of WoWe about how to make the picture process easier (and how to have better quality pictures since they won’t be taken with a phone camera under fluorescent lights!). If anyone else has tips about how they make blogging easier on themselves, please pass them along!
Now go enjoy a Sprite!

Hibernation Mode: Activate

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It’s cold. 
I know, I’m not telling anyone anything that they don’t know, but I thought I would add to the extensive Internet literature that already exists and refers to the cold December weather. I’m more insulated than I would like to be, but I’m still not built for this type of weather. All I want to do is hibernate! Unfortunately, I don’t have a job that allows that, and the groceries and Christmas presents aren’t going to buy themselves. So, I layer up and maybe rely on an extra warm, caffeinated drink from a certain place to help warm me from the inside. And ladies and gentlemen, I may have figured out where some of that extra insulation came from!
In other news, it’s Inspiration Monday. Here’s the picture:

I went for an interpretation- scarf, sweater, leggings, boots:

Hibernation: Full and hidden visitor

Ugh, grainy cell phone picture. I tried to edit it a little to make it more crisp, but that didn’t really work! It’s been raining for approximately 35 years now, so I’ve been stuck taking pictures inside. Meh. I should’ve at least used my camera! 
Hibernation: Close

I just liked how this one looked for some reason. This was when I was setting up my phone/self-timer. A little soft-focus action for ya today.
Also, I brought this up earlier in the fall, then my life evidently blew up with work, family, etc, but I’d like to try it again! If any of you ever read Fab Finds Under 50, then you may remember the Outfit Inspiration Calendar. She has since stopped blogging, but before she did, I asked for permission to take this over. To submit a look for the January calendar, just fill out the form below by Friday, December 27. This will be a new experience for me, so I’ll try to make it as smooth as possible! =)

Linking up with:
Inspiration Monday and Thrifters Anonymous (since my sweater was thrifted! Woo hoo!)

What kind of animal is that?!?

Today I’m linking up with Bri at Work Clothes, I Suppose for hehr Third Thursday Threads: Animal Prints feature. I have a pair of leopard print flats, but I wanted to wear a new-to-me pair of black wedges that my boss gave me earlier this week. I don’t have any other animal print clothes, so I went for something that looks animal print-ish.

What kind of animal: Full body
I’m still getting the hang of lighting when I take outside pictures, so hopefully this isn’t too over-processed! 
Here’s a close-up of the print of the shirt:
What kind of animal: Shirt close up
It’s kind of leopard-y, right? It also reminds me of our puppy’s fur, so I could say I’m puppy-printed! 
I also wore actual animals with my elephant earrings, so I’m good to participate, in my opinion! =)
What kind of animal: Earring
(How did I just find out about Flickr’s photo editing software? Prepare for my future postings to have an onslaught of edited pictures. Focus + blurring, ftw!)
Finally, here’s my “model pose”. I always enjoy seeing some of the faces I make!

What kind of animal: Drama pose
Watch out, Zoolander! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! It’s only supposed to be 38 degrees on Sunday! I want to hibernate!!

Style Imitating Art: What’s Black and White and Re(a)d All Over?

Does anyone remember the old joke about what’s black and white and red (or read) all over? There were a couple of different answers- a newspaper, a zebra with a sunburn. I think there was another one too, but those were the only ones I could remember on this crazy Monday!

I’m excited to be participating in Jen from Librarian for Life and Style’s first Style Imitating Art selection. You can read more about the selection and why she chose it here, but here’s the inspiration:

Here’s my interpretation:

SIA: BWR (What I Submitted)
I tried to take pictures outside this morning, but the light was too bright, and they kept being washed out. Instead, you get to see my after-work blah hair and part of my bedroom, including the Employees Only sign on the door. 😉
I went with a black, white, and red (more maroon actually) color scheme. No stripes on this outfit, but the flowers on my cardigan kind of echo the wallpaper behind him. Clearly, I excelled in my art appreciation class in undergrad!
Here are a couple of closeups of the cardigan:
SIA: BWR (Back of Cardigan)
SIA: BWR (Sequin Closeup)
It should be fun to see how others interpreted this painting!