Crop It

I went through a phase in high school when I kept buying jeans that were too big and not realizing it until it was too late to return them. Just one of the many dumb things I did between the ages of 14 and 18. One of the last remnants from this era is a pair of over-priced, over-rated and overly long Abercrombie jeans in 4 short. I was swimming in them at the time. I specifically remember wearing these pants to school without a belt one day and not being able to play the clarinet in marching band because I had to use one hand to keep my pants from literally falling off. (Did I mention I was really cool in high school?) The glory days.

Anyway, these pants went to college with me, I still thought Abercrombie was really cool, and they quickly became my going out jeans. As a result, these pants got paired with some unfortunate black heels one too many times and ended up looking like this:

I hadn’t worn these pants since I moved out of the dorms. I found them the other day and put them on, and surprisingly, they fit like dream! At 23, it is very exciting to put on a pair of jeans from high school and have them still fit. They still had a notch taken out of the bottom, but I knew just how to fix that: crop ’em. So I did.

I know this is not really a profound craft project, but it’s handy and everyone should know how to do it.

Step 1: Put on your old denim and fold up the pant leg to mark the length you’d like your carpis to be. Gently take them off, careful to not move the fold.

Step 2: Cut off a majority of the extra fabric, leaving just more than you would like to use to make the “cuff.”

Step 3: Fold back the excess fabric to make a cuff that hides any of the cut hem.

Step 4: Use a light thread and stitch a hem about 1/4″ from the top of the cuff.

And you’re done! Now your pants are carpis! I have to stitch these by hand, so it’s going to take me a little bit, but I will add a photo of the final product ASAP!

Taxes and Toms

I did my own taxes this year for the first time ever. I filed them three days before they were due, my TurboTax froze every 13 seconds, the “Print & File” portion took over an hour and it ruined two perfectly good TV-watching evenings. When I was asked how likely I was to refer Turbo Tax to a friend, I quickly entered a “0.” When they asked me why, I realized that my primary frustration was the IRS, no so much TurboTax, but I didn’t change my review. My advice for anyone doing taxes is to freaking hire someone — which is exactly what I plan to do every April for the rest of my life.

The only comforting thing about the whole experience was that I made just about $600 on the deal. Stress and frustration plus extra income is a deadly combination, particularly when there’s an open sticky note on my desktop titled “Things I Want.” I realize that it’s never a good idea to spend money before I make it, so I plan to only buy one of these things immediately and then indulge in the rest when the money is actually in my account.

Must-haves:

Black TOMS

Black TOMS - Copyright TOMS

Other than loving the one-for-one campaign, I’m just obsessed with these comfy, go-to slip-ons. I currently have them in navy and sparkly burlap and wear them all the time. I need the black pair to replace my fur-lined black Sperry boat shoes as my summer everyday work shoes. Thank goodness for my business casual dress code! You can buy them from TOMS online, but I recommend ordering from Nordstrom; they’re the same price but Nordstrom offers free shipping.

Sequin Shorts

Sequin Shorts - Copyright Your Stuff Work (and every celeb gossip site ever)

If you follow me on Facebook (which you totally should; find me here), you know that I’m really hooked on the idea of sequin shorts (or sequence shorts if you caught my typo on FB #embarrassing!). I’m sure I’d wear them maybe five times all summer, but I just think they’re absolutely adorable! Plus, I’m still 13 and think Selena Gomez is freaking adorable (and hilarious is the Disney show “Wizards of Waverly Place”) and pulled these off perfectly. They would also be stunning with some sheer black sheer tights in the winter. I can’t quite find the pair I’m in love with, but I’m leaning toward these black ones from Express or these Raspberry ones from Nordstrom.

Navy Dress Pants

Navy Dress Pants - Copyright Victoria's Secret

My poor friend has had to listen to me talk about how I want navy dress pants for the past two months. I want them so bad but just can’t find the perfect pair! I have actually bought a pair of navy pants from Loft on two separate occasions only to convince myself that they’re just not right. This pair, that I first found in the VS catalog, look like they might just be the ones. Unfortunately, VS is tricky because when everything is on tall, busy, tan pretty people, everything is extremely, deceivingly perfect. I might have to give these ones a shot. They’re $50 online at Victoria Secret, which I didn’t think was too bad for dress pants.

Leather Jacket

Leather Jacket - Copyright Zimbio

I’m not positive that I’m edgy/cool/gutsy enough to wear a leather jacket, but I’d really like to give it a try! I just love the tough look! I think it would mesh well with my girly undertones! This is kind of like the sequin short problem: I’m not sure what kind to buy! Consider my quest officially started! I will totally let you know what I end up buying!

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How are you spending your tax refund?! Please don’t tell me you’re saving it. I’m not sure I could handle that.

Cheers!

Fashion Limbo

It’s a really awkward time for shopping. Bright spring colors adorn the window displays, while winter clothes sit on the clearance racks. Who wants to buy a cable-knit sweater when a bright floral sundress is looking stunning on the mannequin? Not me — although I’m sure come next fall, I will wish that I had. It’s frustrating because I want to buy those hot, new spring clothes, but I also hate spending money on things that I’m not going to be able to wear for several months. A few weeks ago, Ann Taylor Loft had a Style Closet feature on just this problem. Their solution was to make your spring clothes work twice as hard. They featured several spring staples and showed how you could wear them in winter and spring by just changing a few parts of your outfit. That is what inspired this post.

I found two staples at Forever 21 the other day that I just loved. They where part of their spring line, but since they were from Forever 21, I could afford to buy them and play around with them. Take a look at how I changed a couple things to make both things work for winter and summer. (Please ignore the MySpace photography … I don’t have a timer function on my phone.)

 

Black and White Striped Mini-Dress – $11.50

Winter:
Paired with a gold chain belt, black tights and high heals. Top it off with a classic peacoat, and you’re set for a winter night out.

Summer:
Add a white denim jacket with a touch of colorful embroidery to brighten the outfit up a bit. Throw on a pair of black flat sandals and a loose braid, and you have a perfect outfit for a summer night bonfire.

 

Sheer Woven Blouse in Vanilla – $13.50

Winter:
Wear this blouse over a black tank, with black tights and a high-wasted skirt. Add a necklace with something loud and black to tie the outfit together, and this darling outfit can play sexy and sweet for a chic date night or night out.

Summer:
Swap out the black skirt and tank for bright peach colors, lose the tights and sub in a pair of wedges or summery heals. Top this outfit off with a brightly colored beaded necklace and you’re all set for an outdoor luncheon or a day out shopping with the girls.

What are your staples that know no seasonal lines?

Silk Ends

Trimming my excessive amount of split ends has become a kind of gross past time of mine. I thought that a cheap haircut at Hair Cuttery might trim those problems away. I was wrong. In fact, my $13 hair cut ended up costing me $35 because mid-cut, I got the harsh reality check of just how shot my hair really was. I probably got had because I’m sure there was an acceptable conditioner for less than $20, but she inspired me to take better care of my hair so I thought she could use the sale. 

Anyway, I bought the expensive conditioner and few other products, and I can’t believe how incredible my hair is lately! It’s stronger, shinier and softer than ever before! I’m not normally a big beauty product person, but I did want to make a point to share my new products with you because I’ve been so incredibly happy with the results. None of it’s too pricy and all of it you should be able to find at CVS or a hair salon. 

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Shampoo
Herbal essences Touchably Smooth Smoothing Shampoo
$3 

 

Not sure this really had much to do with the recent results, as I’ve been using it for years, but I thought it was worth sharing.

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Conditioner
Redken Real Control Intense Renewal 
$12

 

I use this every other day. I put it in right after I shampoo and leave it in while I shave my legs, so about 5 – 10 minutes. (The other days, I use the matching conditioner to the Herbal essences Touchably Soft collection.) 

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Heat Protectant
got2b crazysleek hot smooth flat iron & blow dry lotion
 $3

Before my haircare product binge, this was the only product I ever used. I can’t say that I absolutely love it, but it certainly does the job. I think it is definitely an important addition to the regimen. This particular kind is running low, and I may or may not purchase the same brand. I’ll keep you posted.

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Split End Protection
Herbal essences Touchably Smooth Split End Protector
$4

I LOVE this stuff! So freaking much. This stuff is what really added the silkiness and strength. I’m obsessed with it. Since I have pretty long hair, I rub it into most of my length and stop a few inches from my scalp. If you buy any of these things, buy this! (No, I’m not being paid to say that.)

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And that’s it! Small price to pay for beautiful hair! I hope this was helpful!

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a love it or hate it kind of holiday. For some people, it’s this truly magical evening. A time when you can put behind all that’s wrong with the world and replace it with hopes and dreams and ambition for the future. It’s a fresh start. To others, it’s just another night but more crowded and with expensive cover. I’m without a doubt, a lover of the holiday.

I believe that New Year’s Eve is for black dresses with silver accents, obnoxious noise makers, curly hair and sparkly eye shadow. I believe that New Year’s Eve is a night to celebrate the end of an era and toast to the birth of something new. I believe that New Year’s Eve is meant to be spent with good champaign and great friends. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to have a fancy night on the town, which is something that I’ve never done before! Since I’ve turned 21, I’ve never been out to a bar for New Year’s Eve! I mean, that’s no real surprise, since I just turned 23, but regardless, I’m excited about it! Check out the details!

The Destination
We’re going to be ringing in the New Year at Mystic Celt, an Irish bar on the north side.

The People
I’ll be partying it up with Kenny, my friend Chrissy and 12 of Chrissy’s other friends (she’s so much cooler than me!). I have a group! I haven’t had a group in years!

The Outfit 
To say that I love my dress would be the understatement of the year! It was a Forever 21 steal that only cost me $20! It’s this sassy little black thing with a low v-neck and long sleeves with slits up the arms. I love it! To top it off, I’ll be completing the look with a pair of black, Steve Madden rhinestone tights and my fave black pumps!

I’ll totally post picks ASAP!

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The city of Chicago has so much potential for a fabulous New Year’s Eve, and I’m sure every city across the country and the world has something great to offer! I hope that you can see all that New Year’s Eve has to offer, even if you are a hater. I truly hope that you can find room in your heart for a last bit of holiday magic! I’ll see you all in 2012!

Cheers!

XOXO EmJoyable

Before today, I hadn’t seen an episode of Gossip Girl since January, when I was sleeping on a blowup mattress in my brother’s basement in NYC. So when I stumbled upon Season 4 on NetFlix this evening as my man was on his way out the door for the night, I knew exactly what was in store for my night: several solid hours of trashy TV served along with a side of cold pizza and a frosty glass of Grey Goose and Crystal Light.

As tempted as I was to push my blog aside for the night and indulge in a few of my guilty pleasures, I figured I’d just capitalize on my hours spent in front of the TV and post it here. I’ve decided to share with you the five most important things I learned from Gossip Girl over the years. 

5. Almonds with Yogurt 
I had heard of yogurt with granola, but yogurt with almonds was a GG gift. I never would have thought of the combo if it wasn’t for the episode when Jenny starts going crazy and sends her minions off to get her skinless almonds on her yogurt that she ends up dumping or Eric’s head. Either way, I came out with my new favorite breakfast — probably the best thing Jenny ever did for anyone.

4. Fashion 
I’ve never claimed to be very fashionable. I like simple things, like solids, stripes and bows. However, GG confirmed my beliefs that high-fashion isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes seeing the things these girls sport makes me feel like my navy cable-knit sweater (however boring it may be) reins superior. 

3. Tights
We all know how I feel about tights (and if you don’t, catch up here). So while I’ve always had a thing for this darling winter accessory, GG taught me to be a little more saucy with them. On top of my standard black, grey and sweater-knit tights, GG gave me the inspiration to add red, plaid and dark purple to the line-up. 

2. Fancy Cocktails
Since the GG bunch were sophomores in high school, they were sipping on top-shelf martinis in long-stem glasses on the steps of the Met. I’ve never quite had the pleasure of doing quite that, but I am such a sucker for anything that ends in -ini: appletini, frostini, flirtini, etc. A perfect night out requires a pair of black heels, freshly applied mascara and a drink with at least 3 different fruit-flavored liquors. 

1. Good friends
I know as well as anyone that best friends fight, sometimes even more than good friends. I have had my share of stay-up-crying-till-2AM, call-each-other-every-name-in-the-book, stomach-wrenching fights with really, really great friends, but it happens. But it shouldn’t happen weekly for five years. Even though Serena and Blair have had some really great friend moments, I would never push my best friend in a fountain. Sometimes you need to be around really crappy people just to feel better about your own life, and GG really fills that role for me. 

Fave Fall Fashion: TIGHTS

I am a lot of things — but “fashionista” has never been one of them. Despite some of my best attempts to be fashionable, I very rarely stray too far from my skinny jeans and a solid top. But when the air gets crisp and trees burn red, it’s hard to come between me and a good pair of tights. I LOVE tights. (I find this only kind of odd considering one day as a child, I actually threw away every pair of tights I owned because I wanted nothing to do with them — I’m sure glad I got over that.)

Nothing pairs with a Starbucks caramel apple spice from better than a silky pair of tights, adorable heels and a flowy skirt. And I always dress to the occasion! While I do carry tights into the winter months, I prefer to get the majority of my tights wearing out of my system early. Not because I get sick of them, but simply because I hate being cold. As cute as tights are, they’re definitely not the most practical thing to wear when there’s snow up to your knees (and let’s be real, I live off Lake Michigan — that happens, alot). So I try to capitalize on my favorite trend between the temperatures of 35 and 60 degrees. I’m a fair-weather tights fan, I suppose.

So you can image my delight when I turned on Gossip Girl Season 1 last year (because I’m way behind in pop culture) and saw that the lovely Blair Waldorf adorned tights on a nearly weekly basis! Jackpot! I was officially “in.” And lucky for me, tights have been trending for the past few seasons, so I can only hope I’m still up to par this fall. But either way, I have every intention of wearing them every other day regardless.

I sported my second favorite fall outfit to work today. A high-waisted black skirt (Miley Cyrus’ line to be exact), solid black tights, my all-time favorite flats (courtesy of the lovely Kayiu), and tucked-in plain white T. Why my second fave outfit, you ask? Because Saturday is October 1 — my favorite non-holiday day of the year. It’s my annual day to idolize fall and all of its loveliness…straight down to the tights! So I’m saving my number one for Saturday. But more on that later!