Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween {frocktober, day 28+29+30}

Outfit 1: Dress (remixed 1 / 2 / 3): Modcloth, Lace Top: LOFT
Outfit 2: Dress: gifted, Denim (remixed 1 / 2): Old Navy
Outfit 3: Dress (shop!): Sheinside

A collection of Frocktober days to prepare for the very last!
I just purchased the third dress from an online shop called Sheinside! I ordered some fun things for my birthday, and just received them this week. The clothes are inexpensive and super cute, but they also ship from China and are sometimes not very well represented in the shop photos, details and reviews. It's kind of a gamble! I went ahead and just went for it, hoping the clothes fit! This dress pattern is incredibly vibrant and fun (see it online here), and it actually has 3-quarter length sleeves. It's really comfortable, too. My only qualm with it is that the waist seam is very oddly placed. I'm hoping to wear it again soon and get better photos of it, but the actual seam is about 2 inches below where I belted it. It's not low enough to be intentionally drop-waisted, so it creates a rather strange poof unless you belt it. But all in all I'm excited about playing around with it!

It's Halloween, which means that today is my last day of intentional dress-wearing.
I will be celebrating by wearing another dress to a wedding tomorrow!

I love Halloween. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to love Halloween as an adult, because most of the fun is either of the over-the-top horror variety or from trying to be a kid again by going trick-or-treating, which you always regret because 1.) you look creepy amongst the neighborhood children 2.) all that candy just ends up making your adult body sick and unhappy.

But I actually love Halloween for very real, appropriate reasons.

1. Harry Potter

All Hogwarts holidays are fantastic, but there's something incredibly cheerful, festive, and magical about Hogwarts Halloweens. It's probably second only to a Hogwarts Christmas. They're legitimate witches and wizards, so they obviously have every right and reason to have floating candles, elaborate feasts, black garments, witch hats, and obviously copious amounts of butterbeer and pumpkin juice. When you're in the world of Harry Potter, the holiday ceases to have that foreboding, silly, American style of cheesy Halloweeniness.

2. Dressing up

I still love costumes. I love dressing up with my husband at a harvest festival, working a booth or a trunk for trunk-or-treat. The last two years we have been Disney couples (Carl and Ellie, and Gnomeo and Juliet) and it has been so fun. I'm a big fan of make believe and stories, and having a day where you can be silly and dress up is totally okay with me.
I'm currently wearing a black and white striped sweater, a black beanie, a black mask, and a tote bag filled with books...any guesses? :)

3. Carving pumpkins

I've accidentally carved cat-themed pumpkins for the last two years in a row, which means it should probably just be a solid tradition at this point. We had our pumpkin carving get-together with friends last night, and we deviated a bit from cats and carved ours into Pikachu. Close enough!

4. It's finally Fall

This wasn't true when we lived in Virginia, but I have definite memories as a kid of growing up in Arizona and feeling like Halloween was the first experience with a lovely, chilly fall evening each year. We would be walking around outside with our candy buckets and it would finally be in the upper 60's or 70's, and it would feel so grand. Sometimes we'd even be shivering (we're pretty wimpy about the cold out here). It would usher in November and all of the holiday dreams and festivities, and Arizona would finally begin to cool down!

I'll even confess to enjoying a few scary movies here and there, and liking some of the creepiness that always accompanies Halloween time. I'm the kid that loved weird dark movies like The Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, etc.

But mostly I just enjoy friends and the simple festivities of October's end.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

reign: put on your queen face

On Thursdays we watch Reign!

Welcome, my dahlings, to another Reign post. 
Honestly I just can't help it. Not only is this show completely intoxicating in its wardrobe choices, it also just has that nitty gritty addictive ingredient that keeps me obsessed. It also occasionally gives me a toothache, because of the extra-sweet things like #Frary, beardless Nostradamus, and Bash's courage.

I know and understand and accept that this show is absurd, but I can't help but care about it. I want to post rants about Lola (UGH LOLA) and comment on the uppage of leather usage and talk about how angry everyone is and how much the plague sucks.

So join with me if you will - and if you don't care a flying hoot about this crazy show, at least you can ooh and aah at all the outfits because lookit. 

I want to start with saying that gold is obviously the new black, and black is obviously the new gold. It makes sense in my head but the bottom line is that a plague-infested France means lots of dark colors and brooding. Although the brooding may also have something to do with assassinations and illegitimate children and plotting and marital issues and GHOSTS but that's a whole different conversation. 

Apparently all of those things are just really encouraging for dark leather.

Unless you're a villain then RED LEATHER IT IS. 
Because red = evil. 

(Is it weird that I kind of want him and Lola to get together? Seeing them hovering over a dead body together just screams chemistry. Maybe the red leather actually stands for "evil but secretly has a heart of gold"). 

Also, look at Nosty. I kind of hate the nickname "Nosty" but his new baby-face just begs to be nicknamed. Maybe "little Damus?" Or maybe I'll just start calling him Gandalf. The point being, Nostradamus is a hunky giant wizard man. I think I knew he was tall, but he's really tall.

I'm becoming increasingly concerned for his character, though. Last we saw him he was riding away like the Hunchback of Notre Dame after being almost drawn and quartered, and we have yet to know his fate. He can't possibly stay away forever! Considering Catherine tried to kill-by-snake the love of his life mere episodes ago to keep him from leaving, I can hardly stand it that she hasn't even mentioned his mysterious disappearance. We sort of need him to keep the doomsday visions up-to-date. Or I suppose they could just bring in more ghosts, which I'm totally okay with because that nurse was amazing at being the horrifying, eyebrow wielding Henry! As soon as this season started I remember thinking, "I hope Henry comes back as a ghost. That would be fun."
Except that it wouldn't be fun for anybody because he was the worst.

I'll say again: brooding abounds. Nobody is happy. Everyone is scowling, glaring, worrying, pouting, whimpering, crying, yelling or worse. (The "worse" being dying of plague).
This is the Reign of full-on stink faces.

Side note: I want Francis and Mary to be matching all of the time. Cuties.

It's a good thing all of these people are beautiful because even despairing, they're nice to look at. Mary rocks at wearing furry coats and wearing her QUEEN FACE.

Black and gold, guys, black and gold everywhere. Mary totally had that combo down pat all throughout season 1 (before it was cool to be sad), but the beginning of season 2 brought the entire kingdom into these sombre tones. A symbol of the heavy Darkness. Even though Darkness was just a creepy, sharp-toothed guy, he was apparently right on the money because the plague actually did come, nasty sores were seen, people died, and worst of all, Leith got his land taken away from him! Oh the injustice!

Let's go back to that red-leather guy for a sec. His name is Narcisse and he's trying to swoop in and take over all the cray cray that's up for grabs in the wake of king Henry's death. (And maybe to take Lola as bride numero quatro?)
I can handle a lot of his snark and greediness, but taking Leith's land away was grade A jerk level. I'm hoping Francis can come up with a mighty replacement for good-hearted Leith because he deserves way better. You know who doesn't deserve better? Greer, for breaking his heart in the first place.
(It's okay, I understand you, Greer. But really. Love or money? Which one lasts longer? Also, side note, your father is a tool.)

I'm now giggling because if you don't watch this show this is just a bunch of babbling nonsense.

Here's some more pretty clothes:

Anyway, my favorite thing about these dark beginnings is that by the time the Coronation arrives, the shocking, vibrant red that takes over the screen is breathtaking. Everyone is still wearing black and gold, but then Mary and Francis, the crowned King and Queen, are rocking the red.
It's a punch to the senses after so much dreariness, and I absolutely love it.

And thus began the new era of color! 

The new queen and king were crowned and in love and happy as clams, and the plague was over, so color could finally be granted at the castle once again. Florals were encouraged. Lace capelets were passed out like candy. Bejeweled bodices were honored guests!

I think, if I may be so bold, my favorite episode clothes-wise so far has been The Lamb and The Slaughter. I don't think I've ever seen the ladies of the show so beautifully dressed, and all fluttering together like butterflies. Post-plague days are all happiness and champagne. (But don't worry, there is also still plenty of intrigue, including demon horsemen and murder and more restless spirits).

I adore Greer's green velvet dress (which is really saying something, because I don't like velvet), and these are a few of my other favorites:


Leith and Greer has been one of my favorite side stories since the show first introduced it. I have always rooted for them and hoped that, somehow, they could be together. I always laughed a bit when Greer was sidled up with silly, more "appropriate" suitors that would provide her the security and status she so desperately needs. I laughed at poor Mr. Castleroy, whom she called Lord Peppercorn, who seemed like just another little sidetrack to her real romance with Leith.
But then bam! Peppercorn grew some healthy stubble on his face and put some product in his hair, and all of a sudden he's sultry and interesting and totally perfect for her!
Now I don't know what to do!

Ooh la la!

Okay - I loved this next outfit for several reasons. 
First of all, Mary is gorgeous in pink and gold. Secondly, I love sweet moments between Mary and Francis so much I can't stand it - especially when they're short-lived. I just want them to be happy for Pete's sake. Lastly, I recognized Mary's unique earrings from one of her season 1 outfits, which always makes me really excited for some reason.
This show actually reuses things here and there, and I enjoy spotting them. I've noticed them repeating items like earrings, belts, blouses, and other accessories throughout the 25+ episodes. I covet so much of their fashion that I have started to notice when something makes a reprise appearance. I love when they re-wear clothing and accessories because it feels more authentic. And when absolutely nothing else about the show is authentic, it makes for a funny and enjoyable little surprise!

Do you remember the season 1 outfit featuring these earrings? Hint: go here!)

I take that back - the show is authentic. Not authentically historical, but authentically Reign. It's a fantasy. They definitely know what they're doing. They're purposeful and creative and have made their own beautifully-clothed fiction. And we're all happier for it.
Except, as I mentioned, when bad men wear red leather and Leith gets his farm stolen.
But I digress.

This episode in particular made me cry. Not because of the demon horses, I might add.
I thought the ending of the episode was one of the saddest and most beautiful of them all, and it made me heartily curse the darn history books for revealing to me that Francis will die within a year of their marriage.
I'm just so glad they're in love and working together and that Mary is so kind and forgiving, and that Francis is sweet again and flying lanterns. I want their remaining time together to be good.
I'm also so hoping Reign can continue to create their own history so that Francis can just live and they can have babies and be happy forever and ever.

P.S. I have realized, after going through my first two Reign posts, that I have devoted entirely too little time to the wickedly talented and devious queen Catherine. I love her heartily, and I feel like her fashion has really come into its own these last several episodes. She has always had copious amounts of gorgeous jewels and crowns, but I think post-Henry life has been really freeing for her and her wardrobe. I promise to carve out a special Catherine portion in my next Reign post which, I fear, will be rather soon.

I just hope Nostradamus is back by then!

Major credit to Fashima's Fashion of Reign Tumblr, which is one of my favorite sources for Reign details! Check out her page for exact outfit and accessories info, as well as countless Reign-inspired conversations and inspirations. She's fantastic!

p.s. see all reign posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

the cat dress {frocktober, day 27}

Cat Dress (remixed 1, 2, 3): LOFT, Skirt: gifted, Cardigan: J. Crew 

Just a simple Frocktober post on this lovely Tuesday.

I love this little cat dress more and more every time I wear it. This is the first time I've ever tucked it into a skirt, but since it's a shift dress it works really nicely.

My color tip for outfits like this is to utilize complementary colors. Normally I might wear a neutral cardigan with a fun patterned dress, but because I already paired the dress with a white skirt I went with the teal. Red and green are complimentary colors, so that makes pink and teal besties too, right? I think so.

Monday, October 27, 2014

all is Fair {frocktober, day 26}

Dress (remixed 1, 2, 3, 4): Zulily
Lace Top (remixed 1, 2): Ruche, Vest (remixed 1, 2): Kohl's

Yesterday's post was all about laziness, so it's only natural to follow it up with a very colorful day at the Fair!

The last two summers saw us gleefully attending the North Carolina State Fair, which was actually my husband's first experience with a State Fair. It was such a joy to hop alongside him as he discovered all of the blinging glee of the fairgrounds. We ate way too much and played way too many games and had a total blast. Although I grew up occasionally attending the Arizona State Fair, I have to say that the one in North Carolina is pretty special. There's just something really grand about it that invites tradition. It somehow feels cleaner while also being more condensed, and there are many exceptional stands of sweets and treats that the true local fair-goers know and love. We were lucky to have gone with friends who had been going to the State Fair since they were little, and they showed us all of the greatest places to go!

Although we knew it was going to be different, as soon as we moved back here to AZ we knew that the Arizona State Fair was high on our list of October activities. We finally got to go yesterday with some friends, and I couldn't help but think and wonder at what traditions we might form over the next few years. Will our kids grow up going to this Fair? Will we always get little freshly fried mini donuts tossed in cinnamon and sugar? (I know I will). It's fun to think about, because after all, traditions have to start somewhere.

I did notice that our fair tastes and priorities have definitely been refined.
The last two years taught us not to play the games (waste of money, cause of frustration) and to really prioritize fair food. You can only handle so many stand specialties before you feel like you're going to hurl. (Is there a classier way to say that?)
I'm definitely more salt-focused. I want twirly spears of kettle-fried potatoes, spicy corn on the cob, bouquets of french fry ringlets with dollops of ketchup, crispy egg rolls on a stick.
Dustin is all about the fried candy bars and, ew, fried pop tarts. He loads up on the sweet stuff and, I can tell you right now, he regrets it heartily afterwards.

I'm not saying I didn't unceremoniously scarf down a baker's dozen of freshly fried mini donuts in cinnamon and sugar; I'm just saying the struggle is real and it will destroy you.

The Fair can be a big drain on your funds for not a whole lot of return, but I think there are many ways to go to a Fair and really enjoy yourself without spending so much. Avoid the games. If you must play, play one and set limits to how many times you can play. Suckers will literally spend $50 on one frustrating game for a stuffed animal that maybe costs $5. (I say "suckers" with great affection for my husband).

As I said earlier, prioritize the food. Choose a few must-haves and remind yourself that you weren't even hungry when you entered the park. There's no need to eat 7-10 times. I'm convinced that Fair food is bewitched, though, because you constantly feel like you need more which makes no sense. My tummy can't possibly be big enough for another bacon-wrapped, deep-fried turkey leg.

There are sometimes free concerts and other fun events to go to, so it's good to check those things out before you go. We were pleasantly surprised last night when we stumbled up to the stadium at the center of the Fair and realized Josh Turner was playing! We went in for a few of our favorite songs of his and rested our feet in the air-conditioning. It was such a nice surprise!

You can also check out all of the indoor aisles of demonstrations, samples, and lame displays. They're silly but they're fun! Also, the animals! Any State Fair of repute will have barns of cows (and maybe even cow hats!), goats, chickens, and sometimes even super weird-chested pigeons that end up creeping you out. Because seriously, who breeds pigeons? And why do they look like that?

The point is, enjoy walking around. Enjoy the lights and the screaming of happy fair-goers that reminds you of hours of playing RollerCoaster Tycoon. Watch your feet because the ground is filthy. Watch the crowds because people-watching is fun number 1!

Eat and watch and laugh and eat and go home happy.