Saturday, June 30, 2012

Style Blogs

drawing by Brittany Fuson
One thing I've discovered that both helps & hinders the shopping is reading/following other style/fashion blogs.

I've found that reading what others are wearing and loving, and often pinning their styles on Pinterest, helps me keep "a record" of what I love about others' styles, as well as adding to that "virtual closet" of mine.....but it has also helped with finding those pieces that I love, and can't stop thinking about 3 days later, and then find myself adding to my "real" closet!!

What I love about many Style Bloggers is that they will tell you what EXACTLY they are wearing, most often with a link to where you can get it!  LOVE that!!!  I always hate seeing a pin or a blog post with a fabulous piece, but no clue as to what it is or where it's from--so frustrating!!

I've always somewhat wanted to create more of my own "style blog," but I never seem to have the time, or the right place/space to take those photos of my "outfit of the day." I know my husband would take some fabulous photos, as I've noticed that many bloggers' photographers are their significant others, but again, WHEN is there time?!  If I didn't have a full time job, and many other daily tasks to do, perhaps it could happen...

But for now, I'll continue to enjoy reading and perusing those style blogs of others, always inspired and excited to see what new pieces they are wearing and styling!

Here is a list of my Current Favs: (the "favorites" list on my browser is SO much longer, so this is just a brief list of those that I try to read most often!)

Sincerely, Jules
This Time Tomorrow
Cheetah is the New Black
J's Everyday Fashion

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Paris is always a good idea. 
~Audrey Hepburn

With Day 21 coming to a close, and one more week left in my "shopaholic challenge," I am excited in looking ahead to a year from now, and planning a trip to Europe, most specifically, Paris!!!
After taking 7 years of French, and never being able to actually use the language, I am finally heading to the one European city I have longed to visit.  

Nothing is yet set in stone, and more than likely we will visit a few other cities, possibly London, Venice, Florence, and Rome, but again, we haven't solidified our itinerary yet....

We are looking at spending perhaps a total of 14 days exploring a small section of Europe, with 4-5 of those days in the "city of love," PARIS!  I am more than excited, and find that this trip is yet another reason to keep my spending at bay.....not only to be able to afford this trip, but also just thinking of the SHOPPING in EUROPE!!!  HELLO??!!  What is not to LOVE about that idea??!!!!  ooh la la

I have no clue what to expect when it comes to Europe-from the people to the shopping. The only other places outside of the US I have traveled (besides Mexico & Canada) have been New Zealand, Australia, and Bali.....which I believe to be quite different from Europe?!
Have any of you been to Europe, or more specifically Paris?  What have been your favorite places to shop? Have you found things to be more expensive than here in the US?

I'd love to hear your suggestions for places to make sure we visit, whether it's to shop or just to sightsee!!  We have plenty of time, so I can do all the "research" necessary to feel somewhat prepared for this trip.....but any advice from you "fashionista" readers is always welcome!!!

I will keep you posted on our plans and what I learn as I research for this huge trip....I am more than excited & can't wait to share what we experience and perhaps even purchase while in Europe!  
Bonne nuit & Au revoir... for now!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Successful Junking

If you didn't make it to downtown Duluth this past weekend for the first annual Duluth Junk Hunt, you missed out!  It was a complete success!  The space was filled with junk of every kind....from larger pieces of furniture, home decor, fabulous planters (with flowers already planted for you) made from old mailboxes, to gorgeous jewelry, clothing and more!

All the vendors restocked after Friday, bringing in more fabulous antiques, furniture, and vintage items for day 2.

We can't wait for next year....and there's even talk about having TWO Junk Hunts....perhaps one in the Spring and then another in the Fall!  Keep watching the Duluth Junk Hunt's website and make sure you  "like" the Junk Hunt's facebook page to keep up on information and details for next year's won't want to miss it!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What's on your nightstand?

This was a question that a friend shared with me that was either used in an interview or a random questionnaire she saw or read. I think it's quite an interesting question that can really tell you quite a lot about a person!

Most often, the answer to this question includes at least one book, either currently being read or next in line on the "to read list." As a teacher who puts 200% into her teaching job during the school year, I often find that I am working on school work or reading "professional development" types of things rather than my own "choice books" late into the evening. Thus when 10pm (or later) rolls around, all I am hoping for is at least 7 hours of sleep! So those "want to read" titles get pushed aside and begin collecting dust from September-June. The book I started reading in November, on my honeymoon, is still left, half-finished, in such a pile. Seriously??!! 

So on my nightstand, I currently have a stack of books at least 5-6 high! 
And yes, the pile definitely says a lot about me and my varied interests....
This stack includes 1984, The Night Circus, The Disappearing Spoon, and yes, the oh-so-talked about 50 Shades of Grey. Quite a variety, I know. The teacher in me is represented by The Disappearing Spoon, a chemistry novel (nerd-alert!), and 1984, which my students were reading in order to get into Honors English, and a book that I never read in high school! I thought I could guide them better as they were working on their projects if I read it too, but yet my copy still sits on the nightstand, dusty & unopened. The Night Circus was recommended by friends in a book club that I don't have time to actively join, so I just ask them for a list of their favorites every now and then, and this was one of them. And then, the infamous, 50 Shades of Grey. Well, curiosity got the best of me, and I just want to know what all the "talk" is about! Don't you??!!

With this "shopaholic challenge," I have decided to try to spend less time reading blogs, browsing pinterest, and online shopping, and get back into the reading that I love. I am hoping that I can catch up on this stack of books during these summer weeks where I don't have to think about teaching junior high science!

I wrote a post about a "fashion-related" book I read last year, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean. I later read a similar book called, A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. Both books were about women owning and working in vintage shops and the experiences that come their way. I enjoyed both of them, and hope to find even more books that fall into the "fashion" category. 
Perhaps at school, or recommended by another teacher or friend, I heard about a website, titled, What should I read next? Perfect!! I entered in A Vintage Affair, and sure enough, what is on the list, but this title: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison. Is that some kind of sign or what??!  Crazy!  Here is the synopsis that I then found on
Helene Zaharis's politician husband keeps her on a tight leash and cancels her credit cards as a way of controlling her. Lorna Rafferty is up to her eyeballs in debt and can't stop her addiction to Ebay. Sandra Vanderslice, battling agoraphobia, pays her shoe bills by working as a phone sex operator. And Jocelyn Bowen is a nanny for the family from hell (who barely knows a sole from a heel but who will do anything to get out of the house). 
On Tuesday nights, these women meet to trade shoes, and, in the process, form friendships that will help them each triumph over their problems—from secret pasts to blackmail, bankrupcy, and dating.  Funny, emotional, and powerful, Shoe Addicts Anonymous is the perfect read for any woman who has ever struggled to find the perfect fit.

I think it sounds like a fun read. I may have to see if I can find a cheap copy on amazon or ebay and add it to my ever-growing nightstand stack!
...and hey, this purchase is allowed, as I can't "wear" a book, and those were the rules: 
"If I can wear it, I can't buy it!"

I know there must be other fashion-related novels and books out just takes time to find them! I've blogged about reading those written by Nina Garcia and the Dreaming of Dior series, but I am hoping to find others.

What are you reading these days?
...and what is currently sitting on your nightstand??
(does it say a little something about who you are?!!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Junk Hunt

The first annual Duluth Junk Hunt 
will be held this Friday & Saturday from 9-5!  

I am SO excited for this event. It is planned & modeled after the Twin Cities' Junk Bonanza that happens every fall at Canterbury Park (which I LOVE).

There are over 10 vendors that will be selling all things vintage, antique, re-purposed, shabby-chic, retro, jewelry, and more!!! There will also be coffee, scones, ice cream, and other treats available to snack on while you peruse the "junk"!

I will be there selling realia by Jen, so stop by & see me....I'd be glad to help you find a new "bauble" to add to your jewelry wardrobe!!  She has such fabulous pieces, from her refined vintage collection to her current Spring gaijin collection, which is to die for (see a few photos below)!!

Come out & shop "vintage" this Friday & Saturday, 9-5, at the Encounter: 201 E. 1st Street, downtown Duluth. Check out the website for specific vendor lists or if you need more details!
It will be an event you don't want to miss!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Day 12 & still going strong!
I have yet to be tempted by anything, which actually does impress even myself!!
Although, it may be the fact that I've been so incredibly busy that I haven't had time to hit the mall, check pinterest, read my daily blogs, or do any kind of online shopping!!!

Speaking of pinterest....that has been one "tool" that has both helped the non-shopping, but perhaps also led to the need for this challenge & my acquired shopaholic tendencies!

Some of you might be reading & asking, "what is this PINTEREST?"  
Pinterest, which started in 2009, is an online pinboard where you can create different boards with themes or categories and add pictures of places, things, and people by "pinning" them to a board. It's like having multiple cork-boards at your fingertips. You can also "follow" other people's boards, thus seeing what they are pinning. I found it as a great tool to use when I was planning my wedding. I could read through blogs and websites and then "pin" pictures of DIY ideas, decorating themes, and even dresses for my wedding party. I then had all this information in one place that I could refer to at any time.  It was fabulous, and I did end up finding a great DIY centerpiece idea that we used!
I have also created boards with links to new recipes to try, places I have visited, broadway shows I've seen, baseball parks I've been to, and several more. The ideas and possibilities are endless!

I have found that I use "my Style" pinboard as almost a "virtual closet"....pinning those items I love and would like to own. This then has sometimes stopped me from shopping, as I know it's "there," in that virtual closet, where I can go back to it and make sure I still love it and even check to see if it's been marked down/put on sale.
But I also find that when I see that 10 people "like it" and 14 people have "repinned" it, I sometimes think, oh gosh, if they all love it so much, then I do really "need" it and what if all these people have gone and bought it and now it's gone! Sadly, our society does that to us, doesn't it?  We always want what others have....

In an npr article written in February 2012 about pinterest, one woman interviewed talked about pinterest as a place where you can realize you actually do have style, A lot of people don't know what their style is, and when they use Pinterest, they can start pinning things that they see on blogs or on the site itself, and then they go back and visit what they've pinned and they realize they have a style, Rutherford says. Even if that style is a borrowed one.

I completely agree with the statement from the article, I think that everyone does have their own style, they just may not realize it. 
Using pinterest as a way to find that style makes it an even more fabulous tool!

If you click on any of the links above, they will take you to the pinterest main page to login or request an invite, all of my boards, and my style pinboard, and the npr article. Check out my style pinboard and see what I'm pinning these days....maybe it will inspire you to create your own "virtual closet/style" pinboard, or to just start pinning! It can become addicting, so make sure you have some time before you sit down and log in!
Happy pinning!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

30 Jeans many pairs of jeans do you own?

That's the question that ultimately led to this "shopaholic challenge!"
...when I started to list them, and then tried to write them all down, and then eventually just went through my drawers and counted, I ended up with 30!!  Is 30 pairs of jeans "too many?"  
Is there such a thing as "too many jeans??"  
This quote by the infamous YSL, just sums it up for me completely:

I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes.   ~Yves Saint-Laurent

My only "defense" to this is: I don't have to "dress up" for work. I wear jeans every day, thus I have 30 pairs of jeans & only 3 pairs of "dress pants" -for those occasional events that jeans or a dress won't work for. 30 still just too many?  I did realize that 5 of those 30 I haven't worn in almost a year, and probably need to take at least 3 & consign them....which could mean that during this "challenge" I might actually be making some money??!!

I know that my body has changed, unfortunately, after passing the age 31 mark, thus my choice in style, fit, and brand of jeans has also changed. I have also worked at a retail store over this past year that specializes in fitting denim, so I have been exposed to more brands and styles than I had tried on in the past, and have found to love so many more than I could have imagined!  Even though you think you have "enough," the next style of AG or James or Joe's comes in and you fall "in love" again!  Am I crazy?

I have also fallen in love with the colored and print denim "trend" that we've seen more and more of over the past year....of those "30 Jeans," 8 of them fall into this category, including: mint, white, cobalt blue, polka dot, floral, and others. Here are links to a few of my current favs for spring/summer.  I do know I will be able to transition almost all of them (except for the white & mint) into fall....just by adding a chunky sweater and boots I can wear many of them year round!

My most recent addition: the floral denim from citizens of humanity....I LOVE them!! There aren't many available on piperlime or at, but searching ebay can often result in finding a brand new pair for even less than retail price. The link I attached to the photo will bring you to piperlime's wide selection of floral denim (just click on the photo to get to the website)...which does include a NEW version of these same jeans, but with a light blue or a darker tan background = also fabulous!

I also am IN LOVE with MINT this season....I just cannot seem to get enough!  Perhaps it's because it's a shade of green, and we all know green looks fabulous on redheads, or maybe not, who knows??!! And even though I've never been much of a pastel color girl, mint just does it for me! 
I love my mint JCrew crops, especially the zipper detail-so 80s!

Have any of you succumbed to the print/colored denim "trend?"  If so....what are your favorites?

As I continue through this "shopaholic challenge," and examine my wardrobe, I will say that of those 25 pairs of jeans that I do have and wear, I LOVE just about every one of them. I have now established a denim wardrobe that is made up of pairs of jeans that fit me well-both my body and my personality, which is exciting and creates the basis to establishing the perfect "Mara Wardrobe"!!!

I will leave you with this fabulous quote I stumbled upon in my search for my denim quotes & photos. (Rita Kumar is an Indian designer I had never before heard of, but I love her take on denim!)

When women wear denim it (the derriere) must look elegant. It's the second thing every woman looks at in the mirror, but it's the first thing she cares about. She does that half twirl, her back arched and her head craned around. If the jeans are right, the experience is transforming, like putting on a magic cloak.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


It's been awhile.....
....and this first return post is all about a challenge!

I have always been a lover of clothing, style, shopping, and all that falls under the umbrella of fashion. But it has occurred to me recently that perhaps I would also fall into that category of a "shopaholic."  My closet(s) and dresser are all of a sudden busting at the seams, and yet I still find myself constantly online shopping, checking ebay, reading blogs & browsing pinterest to see what other "fashionistas" are wearing now, and of course heading to the mall during my free time.  

I seem to have fallen into the same mindset as Carrie, from Sex and the City,
I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.

Hey....the first step is admitting it, right??!!  I must be well on my way to "recovery!"

Now, if I perhaps had a job making 6 figures, or didn't want a bigger house, a family, and to visit several cities around the world, then maybe it wouldn't matter as much....but I want all those things too!

So, for me, living on a teacher's salary and now married to the man of my dreams, it only makes sense to take a step back, examine my spending habits, appreciate and have fun with the wardrobe that I have created for myself.
Thus, I thought that a "challenge" (and putting it in writing here on the blog) might help me stop adding to my closet, all the while enjoying the pieces I do own.  

THE CHALLENGE: I plan to go 30 days (and who knows, maybe longer??!!) without purchasing a single accessory or piece of clothing. This includes jewelry, bags, name it. If you can wear it, I can't buy it!!!  Both of my sisters, as well as my husband & a few of my colleagues aren't so sure I can complete this challenge, so for me, that makes it even better!

Yesterday was actually the first day of the challenge, as I "declared" it to my family & friends. So as of now, I have completed 2 of the 30 days! 

I plan to blog about what I find to do instead of shopping and spending $$, a little about how this idea came about, as well as sharing how I'm wearing and re-styling the pieces I love that currently do exist in my wardrobe.

I hope you all enjoy reading and hearing about my experiences as I attempt to become at least a little less of a shopaholic.
...and perhaps I can inspire you, if not to take on a "shopaholic challenge," but maybe to create your own personal challenge that fits with your current lifestyle??!!

And by the way....I by no means plan to completely quit shopping all together, as I will always enjoy the ever changing world of fashion. I do hope to truly come to love EVERY piece in my wardrobe, especially as I have invested some serious $$$. I have found that I would rather have quality pieces than items that I'm tired of after a month or two and end up in the consignment pile! 

In the end, I would really like to establish a wardrobe that is made up of the "perfect" collection of pieces that fit the "fashionista" that I am!

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