Category: Bonne Vie Birdie
If you and I are friends on Twitter, you’ll remember the INSANE amount of Instagram photos I posted (along with my friend David Hoang) from my east coast trips. I tried to capture snaps from my favorite places and document as much as possible – so I remember where to go for my next trip!
One thing I loved was people watching – either while wandering around, or while riding the Subway. There are a lot of super super chic ladies who ride the subway – which means a lot of outfit inspiration (and also some Vice-worthy “Don’t's”. Would it have been super creepy to snap photos? We’re talking denim vest, no bra, hot pants + a garter belt, with sparkly high tops and a teeeeeeeeny backpack. David will totally agree on the weirdness factor.) .
I felt like there was some truth in saying that in New York, you can really work a “look” – style is on display and if you ever want to try a look, NYC is the place to do it. That said, I saw a lot of “Fashion for the rest of us”. Easy, go-to outfits for when you’re sipping an iced Americano at Vineapple in Brooklyn. In fact, Brooklyn is where I saw this look – a look I liked so much I had to go out and find the most colorful farmer shirt I could to recreate it. Brooklyn girls are babes.
The recipe: one super colorful checked shirt (Old Navy. Not my usual, but this shirt was perfect), one pair of slim (black) trousers (Vivienne Tam), one pair of little white flats (Vintage from Sustalux), add jewelry and accessories as needed.
I’ve been lazy and my hair is long enough now to toss it up in a messy… something.
Add a couple funny faces, and light, summertime makeup (tinted moisturizer, a little eyeliner, a little lipgloss, mascara, and a peachy bronzer).
Voila! I like the vintagey look of this top tucked into slim pants (it feels very mid-century to me). I also love the white-white-white accessories. White flats, white bag, white watch, white sunnies. High contrast, low effort.
I know someone’s wondering “How the EFF are you wearing that in the middle of summer?!” Lucky us, it’s 65 degrees right now. Our little secret is that Seattle summers mean temperatures anywhere from 65-93 on any given day. Most of the time it’s between 75-80. Of course, we only get sun for 3 months out of the year. Hooray! (I love it, but I know sun-lovers don’t.)
What do you think of this Brooklyn-inspired outfit? I say, “Thank you random subway girl for showin’ me how it’s done.”
It feels like it’s not yet summer here in the Emerald City. I woke up this morning to clouds and cold, and put on a staple long skirt, tee and sweater to work in. My project has been putting together photo-albums for a family friend – this time, their Switzerland trip. I was really feeling the chill, looking through all the photos of glaciers and gray skies.
Stepping outside about mid-project, I realized the sun had come out and the temperature had risen at least 10 degrees. I strapped on a pair of shoes and prepared to run some errands -snapping a few photos first.
I don’t need the sweater anymore… apparently.
Also, let’s talk about this necklace. I received a giant box of amazing granny jewelry from a friend as a gift. I kind of love amazing granny jewelry – and this box had some real gems! (HA!) Of course, one of my favorite little pieces was this clip on earring, which posed 2 problems. A) Clip on earrings hurt. And B) I was missing the other half of the set. Of course, you can be creative and clip them onto other things though – shoes, skirts, belts, tops… But since there was only one earring, I looped the clip over a spare chain I had, and have been wearing it as a pendant. A little JB Weld under the clip will hold the clip down, so the earring doesn’t slide off the clip. Voila! Instant jewel party.
The entire outfit feels very nautical. For my trek outside, I paired it with this white Céline bag (from Rice and Beans Vintage – she does layaway so I can afford nice things) and a pair of silver Saltwater sandals.
What I wore:
- Striped Top – Forever 21
- Maxi Skirt – Nordstrom BP (Pre-anniversary sale. There was a haul. More on that later)
- Necklace – assembled by me! Thrifty!
- Cleves Ring – Wendy Brandes (LOOOVE!)
- Sweater – Erin Brinié Online
- Bag – Céline from Rice and Beans Vintage
I love the maxi-skirts because they’re light for summer, but since our summers are so fickle they’re still warm enough to brave our cloudy mornings. Also, I just love the silhouette of a long, slim skirt. They’re one of my favorite summer pieces right now, along with this white bag, and Saltwater sandals.
Oh, by the way, Gustav says hi!
What’s your current favorite summer piece?
PS – Tweet this for a chance to win a Honey Bronze set from the Body Shop (You have until Friday!)! Help @birdiee and @thebodyshopusa stop Sex Trafficking! Sign the petition (& comment, to win a Honey Bronze set). http://bit.ly/j6VYsK
It’s been a whirlwind year already. I look back at goals I had set for myself and miraculously watch as they’re each ticked off the list. This year has been like a lesson in personal manifestation – the more tuned-in you are to your goals, the more you work consciously and subconsciously to achieve them.
This year I got the boot from my “safe” job that was slowly wearing away at my nerves. This was probably the best gift-in-disguise I’d ever received. I felt safe, and totally relied on the paychecks that came in on the regular. I had motivation to leave, but I didn’t have the cojones. You know when you are stuck in a rut and there’s reason to leave but you’re afraid to take that plunge? That was me. When it did happen, I packed up my things, walked out to my car and did a Saved-By-The-Bell-style, jump and “Woohooo!” I never thought I’d be so relieved to be laid off (for “restructuring” apparently…)
This year I found a new job doing work that I love, and inevitably find myself doing. I work with a Web Design, SEO and Social Media company: RoryMartin.com. I’m their Campaign Genius (that’s what my cards say) and we specialize in thinking outside the box. Being able to creatively think about the work I have is a huge bonus, and everyone I work with is incredibly cool. Oh and did I mention I get to work from the comfort of my own office, write creatively every day and set my own hours? Productivity is bliss!
Oh and I got into school! The pursuit of that magic piece of paper from an esteemed university somewhere has been my goal for… well… ages. I’m a brain. I like learning stuff and I finally felt it was a good time to get with it. I hadn’t previously, because former job frowned on my educational goals. For real. Like they told me I could not work and go to school (nevermind that I’ve been taking evening classes for like 3 years). I was pretty appalled that they’d tell me I couldn’t go to school – most employers are thrilled because they can mold your education to their needs. So I put in an application at UW (hard school to get into) and they laid me off, and then last Friday I got the acceptance letter. I’ll be studying French (something I love) at an amazing school. And my new employer is totally stoked for me.
Other goals have been connecting and maintaining relationships with amazing people and making sure Deco Modiste is off to a good start. It’s amazing to watch all this stuff just fall into place. I generally don’t give a whole lot of credit to magical manifestation, but I really feel like when you want something badly enough, your whole being goes into overdrive to get there (whether you realize it or not).
Little things are: Being more creative about my ensembles. Attending fun events like Haute Summer Night and the Body Shop Honey Bronze event (more on that soon). Learning from those with experience. Gym-related endorphins. Being able to walk the pup around the neighborhood in the sun. Buying my ever-coveted white Chanel sunglasses (COVETCOVET). Summer travels. Gettin’ shit done!
How are your goals for the year going (so far)? Is there anything you want to achieve in the next 6 months? I’d love to hear about it
I bought Style Statement as the ultimate lifestyle guide/workbook. Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy put a lot of time and effort into this book and gal pals raved about it. Nothing but glowing reviews and two-word revelations about how people I knew had found their true selves. So when I became so suddenly unemployed, I thought, “Let’s give it a try!” I wasn’t sure where I was headed or why… and I was hoping this book would put that all into perspective.
I sat down with the book and a notepad, and diligently followed a few of the exercises. Was I “this” or “that”? Was I “matte” or “glossy”? Was I “round” or “square”? How do I feel in a bookstore? How do I spend my free time?
As I wrote, I began to notice that I was writing the same things over and over – not one or two words, but whole lists of words written out like punishment on a chalkboard. Soon enough, I stopped writing. I would gloss over the questions, and read others’ responses. Playful Casual… I liked the sound of that. Dramatic Contemporary… I like the sound of that! Cultivated, Magic, Frivolous, Vintage, Connected, Cherished, Feminine, Cosmopolitan, Treasure, Vibrant, Curated… Full-time Dreamer. Motherfucking Starchild Odyssey.
And as so many of these words kept popping up, I realized that I just like words for words, and that I couldn’t boil my life and experiences down to just 2 words. Sometimes I feel like Cultivated Magic. Sometimes I feel like Connected Treasure. Sometimes I feel like Frivolous Vintage. I looked at my closet, I looked at my house. I looked at my art, I looked at the treasures I collect. I looked at these little slices of my life and all of them were different, and intertwined and just as much a part of me as the next.
At this point, I haven’t been able to nail down two words that define me. 80% here, 20% there. I haven’t been able to hit that magic number and I think it’s because I often feel like I’m more than a ratio. The whole “trying to fit my existence into two words” felt a little like surpressing all the other words I wanted to or could possibly be. And I know that that’s the point – once you figure out those magic two words, your life falls into place, you realize who you are and what path you’re on and all the sudden the Universe magically opens and you can rename your blog and your cat and your purpose in life.
Unless you’re like me… in which case, all of that happens without having just two goddamn words.
I have to give it to Style Statement’s authors. They genuinely made me think, and I’m not sorry I bought and read over half the book. And I think someday, I’ll probably plow through the rest and realize what I’ve been missing. Eventually, maybe, I’ll find that magic definition (Ooh… that’s a good one, right? Magic Definition?!) that I can’t quite nail down because my brain is a maze of letters and pictures and stars and numbers. I tried so hard to want one of these statements but the Childlike Wild-Thing (Is that one? I dunno… I think that’s 3 words) inside me cannot commit to one set of ideas. Objets Magiques, Strange Treasure, Random Clarity… my brain fills up with all the words I could be – words just spilling right out of my ears, there are so many – and somehow I’m comforted in knowing that somewhere inside my head I’m already defined.
As my Notes from the Universe said the other day: “Insisting on details, Birdie, always limits you.”
Normally, it’s not something I’d admit, but I’m loving all things white right now. Of course, trying to work white into my closet can be quite a challenge. I admit, I’m a fan of stripes, and I definitely embrace white when it’s mixed with other colors in my wardrobe. But white – solid white – makes a bold statement that I’ve never really been able to use. Solid white would be a great graphic addition to the darker colors I wear, but the color itself is intimidating. White makes you instantly visible. I worry that wearing white will make me look ruddy, or will wash me out. I worry about looking sallow and sick, or that my makeup will look overdone while wearing white.
White is virginal and I have a tendency to sometimes be a slop. White is prone to stains and spills. I’ve seen a lot of white done wrong – especially in too-light trousers. In the past, it’s been easier to not buy white, just to avoid the challenge of keeping it clean. I’ve often opted for light grays, light blues, light greens, even black and white or red and white stripes – anything to avoid committing myself to a solid color that makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
But there have been a few accessories I’ve coveted this spring that have made white a little more accessible in my wardrobe. Along with the accessories, the second Bloggers Do It Better challenge really turned me on to the idea of white done well. There were lovely lace skirts, slim trousers, and ladylike dressing. It’s still intimidating (and I’ll admit, I bowed out of the white-out challenge)… but I’m working my way up to wearing white.
For example, this pair of Chanel sunglasses did me in. I spied them while wandering around Nordstrom, waiting for a friend. The sunnies were a little out of my budget but ultimately gorgeous. I tried a pair on and was hooked. They’re not too wide, not too hip; it was love at first glance. And they looked great with the red and gray outfit I was wearing.
And since then, I’ve found myself drawn to things like this white crackled leather bowler bag at Rice and Beans Vintage…
Seeing all this white done well gives me a desire to do away with all the winter black and gray – or at least use white to add contrast to darker outfits through accessories and wardrobe staples. I’ll be adding large ropes of white or ivory pearls to everything. I want white, dangly crystal earrings to complement little black blazers, and big white sandals to stomp around town in. In my fashionable day-dreams, I would love to rock white cigarette pants with a loose, darker-colored top.
Are you embracing the white-trend this spring? How are you wearing it?
Not having a whole lot of extra spending money, I’m constantly trying to look for ways to update what I have for cheap. I still love the thrill of a purchase, but I have to be very choosy when it comes to what I’m buying. I’m looking for quality items that work with what I have (I’m trying not to bring home wardrobe “orphans”). Lately, this is how I’ve updated my wardrobe:
I’m looking for two things: Boldness and Versatility. Sometimes, if it’s versatile or bold enough I will forgo a little quality to buy these pieces – especially unique, handmade pieces at street fairs, craft fairs, etc. (FYI, if you’re in Seattle, the University Street fair is coming up and features all manners of artisans + crafts). I do consider quality in terms of, “can I fix it if it breaks” – and I have a spending limit for that kind of thing.
Bold but Versatile Example: Chain + Crystal earrings from Heart Of Glass Designs on Etsy
Speaking of repairs: “Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail – upgrade it…” Some of the best pieces I own were once broken jewelry pieces I picked up at Goodwill and put back together in new/better ways. I have a Gap tee with a hole in the sleeve that I shredded and “laddered”, giving it a new life as the ultimate grunge tee. I constantly re-hem skirts, add embellishments, play DIY designer when it comes to shoes… Whatever it is – before you toss it and look for a replacement item for your wardrobe, consider giving that item a new life… whether it’s a simple repair, or completely reworking it.
Look to your fellow bloggers. There have been a couple lust-worthy pieces that I have picked up in various bloggers’ “Shop My Closet” sales. For instance, the Rodarte for Target dress I wore to last week’s Hollyhood came from The Clothes Horse. It garnered a lot of “oohs & aahs” and wasn’t a strain on my budget. Another example – I picked up this little tweed cropped jacket from Tiffany of I am Style-ish – it’s my light, go-to jacket when I want something fresh that will bring a lot of structure to an outfit.
I know, you can’t see a whole lot of the jacket, but it was the only photo I had of me that didn’t have a goofy face. You get the picture though – studded epaulettes, tweed, satin binding, slim zippered sleeves – oh and did I mention it’s cropped? It was a great find and works well in my wardrobe. And it wasn’t expensive.
Shop my closets can be difficult considering we’re all different sizes, but if you can find a blogger with a style you like who does them regularly, this is a great place to pick stuff up!
And then there’s the old-fashioned way: Layaway. I’ve found one store that does this – which is great news for those of us who can pay in increments, but don’t wan’t to do it with plastic. Need a spendy new pair of ‘Vogs? They offer layaway as an affordable option – which is great because they offer such limited quantities. It’s also great because they’re some of the most comfortable shoes I own and I’m happy when my feet are happy. Which is how these babies became mine:
Mmmm… Shoes. I had to have cash in hand to take them home, and that was a good way to do it. However, if the stores don’t offer layaway, I have a little pile of cash that I’ve saved so that I can buy when I want to. And then I pay myself back – every penny, plus a little extra.
So what are your secrets? How do you keep your wardrobe fresh on the cheap? Let me know!
Friday was party-night; we celebrated Jess Estrada’s birthday at Hollyhood! I was under the weather most of last week (hence the lack of posts), but it sounded like too much fun to miss out on. I was waiting till the very last minute to pick something to wear, when I remembered this little frock the Clothes Horse sent over when she was cleaning out her closet! It was the perfect party dress ….
Why yes – I am wearing a frilly dress with black tights and my Doc Marten Darcies! I seriously wear these boots all the time. They gave this dress a 90′s grunge rock, babydoll-dress-with-boots-vibe. I was going to be taking photos – I wanted stability in my shoes.
The dress itself is interesting. It’s three different textures in the same color – which I’m a big fan of. The mesh top is so subtle, that accessorising was an interesting feat and I didn’t want to cut into that subtlety too much. I opted for hair bling, pairing feathers and bold glitter in a light gray that almost matched. I just happened to forget I was sporting that spoon necklace.
This is the point where I lament the fact that I didn’t have a tough moto-jacket to toss over the top. I went with a long gray cardigan and Mister told me I looked like something out of Clueless. Like, Woah. I attempted to wear a cute little blazer with studded epaulettes (for lack of a better description) but Mister told me I probably shouldn’t leave the house looking like I did. Unfortunately, no photos of the entire outfit. It was warm in the club that night, and I had to bribe a pretty lady to snap my photo.
I admired all the party girls out that night in their cutest club outfits. Pictured here, Birdie Royale in a striped bustier and gray pencil skirt, and Katie Marie in an amazing animal print number. Me-yow!
- Rodarte for Target Blue lace dress
- Doc Marten Darcie boots
- Black sweater tights from Sockdreams
- Spoon necklace found on Etsy
- Sparkly feather headband from CharlotteRusse
- Not Pictured: Gray cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft, Asymmetric coat from Allsaints
It was fun and hilarity. And champagne and cupcakes. My favorite kind of party. If you were there, you can check out the photos on the Bonne Vie Facebook page! Give us a like, little kittens!
Okay… so looking at the photos, they’re not that bold, but these stripes are daring! I happened to stumble across the Pretty Shiny Sparkly posts, Bloggers Do It Better calling on bloggers to show off their daring style. In her post, Kristina says:
Part of the fabulousness of this digital age we all live in and enjoy today comes from theamazing connection we as an audience and consumer have with the business world. Now, we can talk to our favorite designers, brands, and retailers via Twitter, and Real People are modeling the latest trends for big name brands, showcasing their Real Style.
So in honor of Bloggers Do It Better, bloggers around the world were asked to put together an outfit chosen from the following: Colorblocking or Bold Stripes. Stripes being prevalent in my closet, I decided on this little number:
Part of being on a “helluva budget” is reworking the things you have with quality things that you are able to spend cash on, at the best deal possible. In this case, a $25 dress from H&M is worked into an early-spring outfit with pieces I already own. And to make the outfit work, I picked up a $5 belt that can be worn at the waist (Why don’t I already own this piece, you ask – I have no idea).
To make this outfit seasonally appropriate I put on a long boyfriend cardigan and a pair of sweater tights. Paired with my favorite Doc Marten Darcie boots, I was more than ready to trudge around in the rain!
I paired in some geometric jewelry; a Paloma Picasso bangle that was a gift from the Mister and some oversized round earrings my world-traveler friend Kirsten had picked up on her journeys. The desired effect was bold but wearable, cute but concise.
- Red and white striped dress: H&M
- Black sweater tights: Sockdreams
- Darcie boots: Doc Marten
- Gray long sweater: Urban Outfitters
- Black waist belt: H&M
- Black geometric bangle: Paloma Picasso for Tiffanys
- Black geometric earrings: a gift!
The reason I felt these stripes were so bold was because I felt like the horizontal stripes made my body look wider than normal. I felt a little va-va-voom in this dress! And since I don’t wear that much red, I was a little nervous about the color. BUT! On seeing these photos, I am definitely proud of my personal style.
So did any of you participate in Bloggers Do It Better? Link me to your outfits! And if you haven’t signed up, go to the Bloggers Do It Better post on Pretty Shiny Sparkly to find out all the details.
This little bird’s nest is in the middle of some heavy duty spring cleaning! You may have noticed the blog page changed (after it… broke… mysteriously last week), and is now more open. I’ve also been working on improving my work areas – keeping junk off my desk, working out better ways to efficiently store things in my office. I’m in the middle of cleaning out closets, I found a new way to organize my container garden. I’ve been busy purchasing a few items here and there to try to keep all my stuff organized…
Last year I took on a couple new projects – Totally Blown Glassworks, Recycled LOOT! and Bird & Belle to name a few. The work load was agreeable, but these projects required space. I needed a worktable to set up my sewing machine, I needed a space for my light box, I had to have somewhere to store the catalogue items pre- and post- photo. I needed a place to stack photographed items.
I made do as I could – things I didn’t need right away were shoved in the closet, trays of suncatchers were stacked in the corner. I took in a bust form to take photos of the pieces for LOOT. All the Bird & Belle goodies were stacked in bags under my worktable. All of the sudden my workspace had grown out of control. I had knit goods to store, I had craft bins out that I couldn’t put back in the closet because I couldn’t get to the closet. It seemed like almost overnight, our office space became unusable. There were shoe boxes spilling out of the closet, and bins pulled out with old paperwork piled on top.
So one day, after not being able to find the bin that stored my pliers, I decided we REALLY needed to do something about our workspace. We zipped down to IKEA, picked up a shelving system and a couple bins, and got to work.
How we improved our work area in almost 5 steps:
- Sort everything out! We realized that we had piles of this, mixed in with piles of that. Important paperwork was mixed in with crap that comes in the mail. We sorted out all the junk from the good stuff, and started a recycle bin. Anything that looked important went into a pile to sort through a second time…
- Once everything’s sorted, decide if it’s important to keep. Do we really need all the light bills for the past year? Probably not – I kept the most recent copy that said our bill was up to date, and shredded the rest. I went through the sorted piles and did this same thing. Credit card statements from closed accounts? As long as I have the account closed/paid in full sheet, I really don’t need to keep the statements. I pared down 2 divider boxes of “semi important paperwork” into one. That left one box free for other stuff – like my sewing kit!
- Stackable bins, shelf storage systems, tupperwares, etc – these are great for organizing small stuff that you use regularly! We got a GORM storage system from IKEA – we can stain or paint the pine shelving to match the furniture in the room we’re storing it in. We also got some of their folding media boxes because when you’re not using them, they fold right up! They also look nice, if you’re going to have company over, or use the room for anything but work. Clear tackle boxes are great for storing miscellaneous nails, craft tools and other small items. The cables we decided to keep (ethernet cables, cable wire) went in a small clear tupperware bin. All our paint supplies went in another small clear tupperware bin. Everything was stored on a closet shelf, or on the shelving unit if it needed to be easily accessible. If the boxes you use aren’t clear, an index card taped to the outside will give you a good idea of what’s in it.
- Create a system. In our space, it’s best if I can see all the glass goods so that I don’t have to dig through a box to ship out a candle holder. We created tall shelves for the suncatcher trays, and some not-so-tall shelves for single items. All the glass sits on one set of shelves, craft goods were on another shelf, shipping supplies were on another shelf. All the glass that hasn’t been photographed is marked, and has its own shelf. Bird & Belle items, got a tall clear tupperware for storage. Everything got labelled so it was easy to find.
- Maximize your large work areas. My sewing machine sits next to our shelving unit, when it’s not on my worktable, so that I have my worktable if I need to cut patterns, box up items, or set up the lightbox. The only necessity I need on that table is a good desk lamp – nothing else is stored there.
- Toss anything that isn’t necessary to keep – optional. I know some people are stackers, and some people are tossers (haha) – and by that I mean, there are people who keep things, because they have some sentimental value, and there are people who say “this isn’t useful” and throw all the non-essentials out. I’m somewhere in between – but generally if it’s not a photo and not SUPER essential, I don’t need it. That’s not to say I throw everything out; I have a couple small trinkets like a little Eiffel tower statuette on my dresser. BUT! Any books we’d already read that didn’t have some sentimental value went in a box to be taken and sold or traded. Old textbooks were re-sold. Clutter was eradicated and the room felt much more open.
We created space, created a system, used creative storage bins, and made sure everything was organized. It was really just that simple. We only spent about $70 at IKEA and have an organized system where we’re able to use our office again. Next giant organization project? My closet. DUNN DUNN DUNNNNN! It will be exciting. I will tell you all about it when it happens.
I recently re-enrolled in French classes – it’s been a long time since I’ve studied the language, but it’s a labor of love and I feel the need to refresh my brain a little on the finer points of French conjugation. To wash away my nerves, I decided to don a plucky little outfit and sip some café au lait while perusing my brand new textbook.
Luckily it was sunny and warm; perfect for cute little skirts, still paired with knee-high boots. This outfit seems so fall-like, but since spring in the Emerald City is so much like fall (and winter for that matter), I figured I’d be fine just this once.
I definitely felt a little “Francophone” in my knit beret and striped top. Oh, hello! Do not mind the mess, or little G’s dog bed in the background. As for my outfit, I jazzed it up with my red Fluevog boots, and this crazy beaded granny-necklace. The great part is all the red matched the lining of my blazer.
The color combo felt a little strange when I originally pulled it out, but with a few finishing touches, I think it came together well.
What I wore:
- Striped sweater top: Banana Republic
- Gray tank: J Crew
- Gray skirt: Papaya
- Black knee socks: Sockdreams
- Red embroidered leather boots: Fluevog
- Denim blazer: Thrifted
- Red beaded necklace: Vintage – from Mr.’s Granny
- Blue crochet beret: Bird & Belle (AKA: Made by Me!)
The weather held, and class was great! I was a little nervous, but my nerves were swept under the rug toute de suite. It turns out I’d actually forgotten less than I originally thought!
Unfortunately, the weather was not as kind, and the very next day was rainy and gray. I stashed my little skirt away for the moment – until the sun comes back out and the rain goes away.