Friday, April 29, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 04.29.11

Good advice (though not technically a fortune).

Happy Last-Friday-of-April. Can you believe it's almost May? I much prefer flowers to showers.

I've been thinking a lot about what direction this blog is going in. I'm happily plugging away with outfit and advice posts, but feel like I've lost a little momentum since the shopping diet ended. I'm not considering starting another challenge like that, but would like to push my blog to be better in other ways. Hmm...any ideas?

Lots of good reads this week (and a whole new category--it just seemed appropriate).

Fashion and style
Career and office
After hours
Blogging bits
What good reads did you find this week? Online? In print?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Speed shopping

sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual banana republic factory skirt loft tank hm cardigan target mossimo heels
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual banana republic factory skirt loft tank hm cardigan target mossimo heels
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual banana republic factory skirt loft tank hm cardigan
H&M Cardigan - 2009 - $30 (similar) / LOFT tank - 2010 - gift (similar) / BR Factory skirt - 2011 - $20 on sale (similar) / Mossimo pumps via Target - 2010 - $10 (similar) / AE outlet necklace - 2011 - $4 on sale (similar)

So remember the Saturday full of shopping I had planned this weekend? Well, it was quite the success! I headed to the outlets first thing in the morning (they open at 10 and I was in BR by 10:10) and in 1.5 hours I visited 6 stores, including 2 dressing rooms. I'm telling you--I'm fast. I go by my rules, and if there's nothing in a store that I need at a price I'm willing to pay, I'm outta there.

My favorite purchase by far was this skirt from the Banana Republic Factory Store. I mean, how much prettier can it get? It's got a gorgeous print, has a paper-bag-like waist (without being too trendy), is fully lined, and the fabric is so soft and isn't too wrinkle-prone (just a few made it through the day). It was one of only two in the store and the only one in my size. And all for $20 after the 50% off sale and my 15% off coupon. Alas, it is one of those items made just for the outlet, but I wish I could link you all to it.

I also made out like a bandit at the swap. My fave find: a fancy Anna Sui tulle and embroidered skirt. I don't know where I'll wear it, but I'll find a way.

What worked
The skirt! The skirt! The skirt! Can you tell I love this skirt? This color combo is pretty unusual for me, what with its pastels and softness. I'm more of a primary, saturated color person. I've also come to a peaceful existence with these heels. I wouldn't say they're comfortable, but they're certainly not painful anymore.

What didn't
I wasn't so thrilled with the top half of this outfit, but I wanted to keep it simple and let the skirt really shine. This tank is really a little skimpy for the office, and I was actually adjusting it all day long. Not a good sign. Thinking this is going into the weekend pile (or for layering under more covered items) in the future.

Do you shop the outlets? What tips do you have for getting through them quickly?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Working with what you've got | Shoe edition

Months and months ago, I talked about how to care for your clothes and help them last longer.  It's one thing to keep a pair of slacks for five years, wearing them just a few times a month, but what about shoes? Due to the very nature of their purpose—protecting your feet—they're subjected to tons of wear and tear.

I don't know about you, but my kicks get quite the beating.  While I have quite the assortment of work shoes, the classics (black pumps, peep-toes, lower-heeled pumps) really get the workout, often making it into the rotations more than once per week.  Frequent wear, coupled with my walking schedule (a few blocks a few times a day) and surface (usually uneven asphalt near work and paving stones all around my apartment) really wear shoes down quickly.

Heel tips
Replacing the worn down tips of your heels is by far the easiest and cheapest way to keep your shoes lasting a long time. I get mine done usually 2-3 times a year.  You can do it at home (see Real Simple's real simple instructions here) or go to any local cobbler.  The shop I frequent only charges $8 per pair to do tips, which works for me. I usually go the second I see any nail poking through on the bottom—walking directly on the nail can do some damage to the rest of the heel.

The second most common problem I have is the soles at the toes of my shoes wearing down...something about how I drag my feet when I walk and the fact that I often wear pointy-toed shoes really optimizes this problem.  This is a quick and easy fix for any cobbler, and I usually just assess the toes when I take my shoes in for their heel tips.

Every so often it is also a good idea to resole your whole shoe. I'm not exactly sure when to do this, but I've had it done twice—once when it was recommended by the cobbler (the shoes were three years old, so I trusted they probably needed it) and another time when I'd somehow gotten a hole in the sole.

Most of my work shoes are leather or suede, which can be pretty pricey. Since nearly everything else can be replaced, the condition of a shoe's upper is what can either drive me to keep an old shoe or toss it.  Keep your leather clean and conditioned to lengthen the life of the shoe.  Leather (non-suede) can be cleaned with a damp cloth (see Weatherproofing below for how to get rid of salt stains), and conditioned with a clear product like Leather Lube (stop giggling).

Suede is a bit of a different beast.  If your suede is matted, rub a dry terry towel to restore some of the nap.  Dry stains can be cleaned with a pencil eraser.  Since this type of leather isn't smooth, conditioning is not necessary.

If you have canvas or other fabric shoes, ScotchGard can help weatherproof the shoe (make sure you have a well-ventilated space before you do this).  But what if your leather shoes have already gotten water or salt-stained (for those of you that live in areas where it snows). To get those unsightly water and salt marks off your leather, mix together equal parts distilled white vinegar and water; dampen a cloth with the mixture and wipe the salt stains off the shoe. Make sure to wipe off the liquid with a dry cloth afterward, and condition the leather (like above). 

While the above care tips also apply to boots, tall boots have an added challenge: ensuring the shaft of the boot keeps its shape. The easiest way I've found to do this is keeping rolled up magazines in my shoes and standing them up. Stuffing newspaper into them is also helpful (but who really gets the newspaper delivered anymore?). Paper in the shoe also soaks up any moisture and keeps your shoes from smelling less than fresh.

What are your shoe care secrets?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Faux bag

sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog nine west boots oneill skirt vintage belt
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog nine west boots oneill skirt vintage belt
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog nine west boots oneill skirt vintage belt
Three-quarter sleeve blazer via Gottschalk's - 2009 - $12 on sale (similar) / Cream tee - 2010 - swapped (similar) / O'Neill skirt via Ross - 2007 - cheap (similar) / Nine West outlet boots - 2009 - $50 (similar) / Vintage belt via Bows and Arrows - 2010 - $12 (similar) / Leaf necklace via Vanity Lounge Salon - 2010 - $22 (similar)

Ever since I saw Faith at Love Fox Vintage belt my red skirt into a paper-bag-esque waist with my own belt, I've been dying to try it. The red skirt is currently in the hamper, so I grabbed my brown skirt and gave it a go. The result was a little less convincing, but not too bad.

I have to confess that lately I've been a bit wiped—drained, pooped, beat, whatever you want to call it. It's a mix of bipolar weather (the dreary parts really get to me) and the general busyness of a life in transition (more on that later).

What I am, though, is motivated and full of life, at work, at home, and with this blog.

Now I've just gotta get those two to jive. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

What worked
I love piling on the neutrals...this outfit has beige, brown, tan, and gray/silver. I tried on a few different blazers with this (including the green one), but this is the one that worked.

What didn't
I'm not sure this was the best skirt to try the paper bag on. I did score a real paper bag skirt (as in it was meant to be worn that way) this weekend at the BR Factory sale, so maybe I should just stop being a poser and wear the real thing.

What season of life are you in? How are you handling it?

Monday, April 25, 2011

In the moment

Things I love right now:

Day Dresses by Jessica Simpson at ShopStyle
Jessica Simpson Dropping Daisies dress

Wedges by Calvin Klein at ShopStyle
Calvin Klein Yana pump

Serving Pieces by Nambe at ShopStyle
Nambe Scoop server

Anthropologie at ShopStyle
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

What are you loving right now?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 04.22.11

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, where we went for my college roommate's bachelorette party last weekend. We got massages as the spa, lounged by the pool, enjoyed amazing food (and cupcakes), and all around just chilled with our senior year apartment mates (the first time we'd done so since college, minus my wedding). Beautiful.

Weekend! (Almost.) This weekend is going to be awesome for four reasons:
  • Swap Asana. I have several bags of clothes to get rid of...and hopefully someone is bringing good clothes for me, too!
  • Citizens of Rosebud. If you know Bella, you love her. I can't wait to see her vintage finds. She's open every Friday and Saturday from 12-6 this month.
  • Banana Republic and Ann Taylor factory store sales. And the outlets are just as far from me as the malls.
  • And last, but definitely not least, it's EASTER!!! My favorite holiday of the year. We're hosting Easter for a bunch of friends this year, and I'm super-excited.
So while I'm off having a grrreat weekend, I hope you enjoy these links (or have your own great weekend--these links will still be here when you get back).

Fashion and style

Career and office
After hours
What are your weekend plans?

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Simple with a twist

    sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual mossimo dress target gap corsage cardigan sale nine west peeptoe pumps american eagle necklace belt
    sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual mossimo dress target gap corsage cardigan sale nine west peeptoe pumps american eagle necklace belt
    sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional blog business casual mossimo dress target gap corsage cardigan sale american eagle necklace
    Gap corsage cardigan - 2011 - $20 on sale (available) / Mossimo dress via Target - 2011 - $20 on sale (similar) / Nine West peep-toes via Ross - 2009 - $25 (similar) / American Eagle outlet necklace - 2011 - $4 on sale (similar) / Target silver ball stud earrings - 2010 - $5 for two pairs (similar) / Belt taken off an old suit (similar)

    The first time I wore this dress I went super-simple. I just wanted to see how it fit and lasted the day. Now that I know, I'm having some fun with it. And I just love how this turned out! Have you ever had one of those days? I just did. And I don't know if there's actually some look good, work hard cause-effect going on, but this was a productive day!

    A note to those who suggested the straight iron Monday--I almost forgot I owned one! And boy were y'all right. This wonderful hair day is thanks to you (and the straight iron). I'm still wary of too much heat styling (my hair was traumatized by the body wave perm I did four years ago and I'm babying it to get it back to health), but I do think I'll be using the straight iron more often.

    What worked
    The dress. The cardigan. The belt. The shoes (showing off my pedicure from this weekend). The hair. The jewels.

    What didn't
    Nada. Zilch. There, I said it.

    Do you think there is a tangible look good - feel good/work hard/great day effect? Does it work the other way, too?

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Lunch break

    It's no secret that food is the way to my heart (just ask K). So it's no surprise that I've already posted on eating etiquette and breakfast options. Today's topic is one close to my heart: lunch.

    I love lunch not only because of the food options, but also because of the social aspect. If you ask me to lunch, I'll probably accept (hint hint, Sacto folks). It's just a great mental break to the workday and, if you're a cubicle dweller like me, gets you out of the office. On days I bring my lunch, it's not uncommon for me to spend all nine hours (eight hours of work + one hour of lunch) inside the building. Sure, I have a window, but it's just not the same as the fresh air and vitamin D. Balance is key.

    Eating out
    Hoofing it over to your fave restaurant is a great way to take a break, but constant eating out can stretch your wallet and your waistline. I'm lucky enough to have a coffee shop in my building (which I count as "eating out" since I didn't bring it in), so I can sometimes end up buying lunch up to 4 times a week. A few tips for counting the calories (and your spare change).
    • Eat half and stash half in the work fridge for tomorrow. It's like eating out twice!
    • Split a meal with a friend. Oftentimes a full plate can give me food coma, but half is perfect size to avoid feeling gross for the rest of the day.
    • Buy half, bring half. Sometimes I'll go a little hybrid. If I have a small serving of pasta (or something else super-starchy), I'll swing by the coffee shop and pick up a small house salad for $3 (hold the dressing). It's perfect for filling the void in a small lunch and getting my veggies in.
    • A salad isn't always healthier. Especially if you're eating only half, a regular meal can be just as few calories as a salad. Unless it's a salad with creamy dressing and cheese, in which case it's probably just as bad, if not worse, than non-salad.

    Brown bagging
    Bringing your own lunch is a more economical way to eat, and can sometimes be healthier.  I have to admit--I'm a bit of a sandwich snob (meaning I like mine freshly made, usually heated, with ingredients I don't keep at home), and I don't cook as often as I'd like to, so brown-bagging it isn't as easy for me to adopt. Here is how I've managed:
    • Frozen dinners. Sure, some taste like cardboard. Many aren't even all that healthy. Try them out and find one you like. I recently discovered these and I'm in love. (I've previously been really into these and these.)
    • Leftovers. Whether they're leftovers from lunch the day before or from a dinner out, it's usually relatively easy to make a purchased meal last two sittings.
    • Overcook. If you (or your roommate or partner) is down to cook, make more than you know you can eat. In our household of two, I often cook the full recipe that serves four and pack the extra servings away for lunch the next day (or a few days later--I'm not picky).
    These last two carry the stipulation that you aren't picky about eating leftovers. They work even better if you're flexible within a few days.  Some of the best reheatable items: lasagna, enchiladas, meat loaf, pot stickers.

      Do you typically eat out or bring your own lunch? What tips do you have for lessening the impact on your wallet and waistline?

      Tuesday, April 19, 2011

      Tried and true

      As I mentioned yesterday in my packing post, I didn't end up wearing everything that I packed. While I try to keep my day-to-day wardrobe fresh, for a conference I like to keep things easy by using some tried and true combos, with a slight twist.

      This conference had a business casual dress code, which is the same as my usual. And having gone to another conference put on by the same organization before, I knew jeans would be a no go (except for Friday). Knowing is half the battle.

       Day 1
         Swapped in Mossimo heels

      Day 2
          Swapped in J.Crew belt

      Day 3
         Swapped in BR blazer 

      Are you adventurous with your conference wear or do you play it safe away from home?

      Plain white tee

      sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans business casual friday the new professional blog agaci blazer merona trouser jeans gap t-shirt enzo angiolini maylie pumps hm leather duffel
      sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans business casual friday the new professional blog agaci blazer merona trouser jeans gap t-shirt enzo angiolini maylie pumps hm leather duffel
      A'gaci blazer - 2011 - $26 (available) / Gap favorite T - 2011 - $6 on sale (available) / Merona trouser jeans via Target - 2011 - $18 on sale (similar) / Enzo Angiolini Maylie pumps via Nordstrom - 2007 - $70 on sale (similar) / H&M leather mini-duffel - 2007 - $45 on sale (similar) / Natural pearls - 2007 - gift (similar)

      Finally back at home, which means back to work. I slightly altered my hours at work today so I could get some extra sleep (didn't get home from my weekend trip until 1 a.m.), but even with a little extra sleep, I still wasn't completely up to getting fully dressed. I knew it would be a quiet day (a lot of folks were out of the office), so I pulled out my trusty trouser jeans and plain white tee for comfort.

      What worked
      This is a perfect Casual Friday outfit (or Casual Monday, as it were).  The blazer and heels help dress up the plain t-shirt. The pearls instead of my usual layered long necklaces is a little more classy (versus the usual boho/rock vibe). Love.

      What didn't
      My hair is in the weird growing-out stage. I blow-dried it this morning with a round brush, pulling the ends under, but as you can see, they didn't feel like staying there. Trying to wait out the growing period, but I'm thinking a quick trim and shape is in order.

      Do you work plain t-shirts into your work wardrobe? How do you style them?

      Pardon the pics...forgot my point-and-shoot at home today and had a post-work date night w/ K, so I had him snap these shots on his new smartphone (it has an 8MP camera). Not too shabby, but not as good as the DSLR.

      Monday, April 18, 2011

      Packing by the numbers

      If y'all don't already know by now, I love to travel. I don't go to exotic places, but I do like to go normal places pretty often. And as you may have heard, one of the things I take a lot of pride in (in a good way, I think), is my ability to pack lightly.  I've been meaning to get some photos of my packing process, but usually it only takes me about 15 minutes (and includes K's clothes), but I lucked out last week! I went a little liberal on the toiletries (no plan means no liquid limits), so this is actually packing "heavy" for me.

      Trip details
      • Conference for work (business casual): Wednesday-Friday
      • College roomie's bachelorette (massages, dinner/drinks): Friday-Sunday
      • Method of transportation: Driving (Sac-SF, SF-So Cal, So Cal-Sac)

      What I brought (includes my Wednesday clothes)
      • 3 pairs of shoes
      • 2 pairs of pants
      • 1 dress
      • 2 skirts
      • 1 blazer
      • 2 cardigans
      • 1 short-sleeve shirt
      • 2 sleeveless tops
      • 2 belts
      • 2 bikinis
      • 5 days of unders (in the bag)
      • 4 toiletry bags (one for lotions, one for contact lens stuff, one for makeup, one for supplies)
      • 1 jewelry pouch
      • 1 tech pouch (chargers, headphones, travel mouse, etc.)
      Not shown: Laptop bag (laptop, portfolio, laptop charger, external hard drive) and purse

      While some people stand firmly behind rolling their clothes, I am a flat packer. I actually ended up with extra space and so I threw in my skinnies, an extra blouse, and an extra belt...just in case.

      Some tips on packing:
      • I lay my shoes on their sides and then in a plastic bag. Unless I'm carrying anything heavy-ish, shoes go toward the bottom of the suitcase (when it's upright). That way they don't press down on the clothes and wrinkle them as badly.
      • Many little bags are easier to pack than a few large bags.
      • This suitcase doesn't have a garment area, so I folded the blazer with the lapels out and laid it on top. First thing I did in the hotel was take it out and hang it up.
      • If you wear pajamas, I recommend placing them in last. Usually they're the first thing you'll want to grab.
      • I had mostly sleeveless tops, but if you have long sleeves, I leave the sleeves hanging over and fold them over on top at the end. Almost like your tops are hugging everything else on top of them.
      While it doesn't seem like a lot, there really is no way I could go through all of these clothes even once in my five days of travel (although some pieces are likely to get reworn). But I always like to have a few wildcards just in case I feel like mixing it up!

      What did I end up wearing and what got left behind? Check back tomorrow. :)

      Are you a heavy or light packer? Any tips?

      Friday, April 15, 2011

      Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 04.15.11

      View from my hotel room in San Francisco. Went to a social media conference this week...learned just as much for myself as I did for work. Win-win! Can you tell I have a soft spot for skylines (check here and here for least I made it out of Chicago this time).

      You want to know what's surprisingly draining? Social media. Especially social media with about 100 other folks. I've had three days full of tweeting, talking about tweeting, and then tweeting again (check my Twitter feed if you don't believe me). Plus I get on this crazy conference adrenaline rush. By the time you read this, I'll be done with the conference and on my way to a relaxing weekend for my college roommate Cari's bachelorette party (well, at this point we're thinking relaxing, but we'll see if C changes her mind ;)

      Have you seen how Faith at Love Fox Vintage styled my swap items? I'm thinking I may have to try that skirt treatment when it comes back my way.

      I have to admit, I did not have as much time as usual to scour the web for a ton of weekend reads, but the ones I found were GOOD! Enjoy!

      Fashion and style
      Career and office
      After hours
      Do you find yourself more relaxed or more frazzled during business travel and conferences?

      Won't you be my neighbor?

      LOFT cardigan - 2010 - gift (similar) / J.Crew blouse - 2009 - $20 (similar) / Merona trouser pants via Target - 2011 - $18 (similar) / Enzo Angiolini Maylie pumps via Nordstrom - 2007 - $70 (similar) / Banana Republic necklace - 2010 - $12 (similar) / Vintage braided belt - 2010 - $7 (similar) got cold again! I really love this sweater, but struggle to wear it since it's so loose. I've been in a flowy mood lately, so I went with the trouser jeans anyway, but I think the tucking and belting helped. I wonder what it would have looked like if I hadn't tucked but just belted the shirt like a tunic? Hmm....ideas, ideas.

      What worked
      I love the color of the shirt, which helped break up all the neutrals. I also liked how the necklace peeked out, although it is actually a little lower (see full-length photos for how it looked most of the day).

      What didn't
      Ehh...something about this outfit feels a little off. It also looks a bit old and frumpy. There's something very Mr. Roger's about it. Maybe skinny jeans next time?

      How do you keep yourself from looking frumptastic? Suggestions for what you can do before you leave the house would be great (as opposed to when you take photos 12 hours later).

      Thursday, April 14, 2011

      Going with the flow

      A'gaci top - 2011 - $20 (similar) / Old Navy trousers - 2006 - $6 (similar) / Enzo Angiolini Maylie peep-toes via Nordstrom - 2007 - $70 (similar) / New York & Co bangle - 2010 - gift (similar) / Necklace: bone-ish looking thing from bead store + ball chain

      If you've worn a flowy top on your blog lately, I'm sure you've seen my comment on it about how much I want a flowy, loose, preferably print, shirt. (I'm looking at you Kileen and Brittany). I've heard about A'gaci before, mostly from Lindsay's blog, so when I saw one around the corner from my hotel in Chicago earlier this month, I knew I had to go. I have to say, it was interesting, and I did find a few gems. I guess clubbing tops just really don't have much of a place in my wardrobe anymore. I guess I could have gotten a hint from the fact that their website says "Teen clothing," but heck, it was more affordable than hitting up Ann Taylor (which we have all over California, anyway). And now I have a flowy top.

      What the heck do you wear with a top so flowy? Since I haven't quite found the right pair of skinny trousers yet, and my straight leg pants were recently out of the laundry and yet-to-be-ironed, I went for the volume on volume look. Sort of like how I did it here. The belting (in this case built-in) keeps it from being too frumpy.

      What worked
      I love that this top is not only flowy, but has some color and print to it. It will be a perfect beach-y top when summer comes, too!

      What didn't
      The shirt is a bit gaping on the sides (under the arms) but it's nothing a regular cami can't fix.

      How do you feel about pairing volume on top with volume on bottom? Do you embrace it or do you avoid it?

      Wednesday, April 13, 2011

      Wear and Wear Again | Cowl neck shell

      It's time to play how-many-times-has-Angeline-worn-the-same-item again! Like last time, this item is a top. I would ask you to guess which one it is, but the post title sort of gives it away.

      Much like the ruffle neck, the cowl neck is a closet staple of mine. In addition to this blue shell, I have a cream-colored sleeveless cowl and a black cowl-neck sweater. This simple drape adds a touch of elegance to the most basic of shapes.

      Out of the cowl-necks I own, my dark blue Ann Taylor cowl-neck is my favorite. Purchased in 2008 for about $20, it is a silk-nylon-rayon-spandex blend that's dry-clean only. But it's worth it. Three years of wearing this pretty regularly and it's held its shape and quality very nicely.

      Notes on cowls:
      • Make sure it doesn't go too low, or that it has some structure on the main shirt area that keeps it from getting too droopy. You don't want to flash anyone.
      • Thicker fabric will keep your cowl drape falling nicely and help prevent scrunchy wrinkles (because it would be awkward to try ironing a cowl).
      • Don't be afraid to wear a necklace with a cowl-neck. It's perfect for showcasing a great piece of jewelry!

      Here are some ways I've featured this top on my blog:

      What's your favorite way to style a cowl-neck top?

      Tuesday, April 12, 2011

      Black and white clown

      sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional business casual old navy ruffle gap limited skirt steve madden mary janes hue herringbone tights jcrew belt
      sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional business casual old navy ruffle gap limited skirt steve madden mary janes hue herringbone tights jcrew belt
      Old Navy ruffled top - Linley's (similar) / Gap outlet sweater - 2008 - $20 (similar) / The Limited tulip skirt - 2009 - $20 (similar) / Hue herringbone tights via Macy's - 2010 - $10 (similar) / Steve Madden mary janes - 2003 or 2004 - $20 (similar) / J. Crew outlet belt - 2011 - $5 (similar) / BR Factory knot necklace - 2010 - $10 (similar)

      I have to say, I felt fabulous in this outfit. I wanted to style Linley's ruffled top a little differently than I had before, so I paired it with a skirt. Except for the fact that Sacramento apparently decided it should be winter again. So on came the sweater and tights. It actually hailed (almost looked like snow) in Fairfield (about 45 minutes away) this day. Spring is a freakin' tease.

      I also decided to tie the neck-ties of the top together this time. I left them open last time, but the strings looked messy hanging down over the sweater, so I tried tying them. Not too shabby, but now that I look at it, it does look a little like a clown collar. Oh well.

      What worked
      I loved the subtle mixed prints here. Sure, it's only a toe in the water (keeping the same color scheme in prints that aren't even touching each other), but it's a start.

      What didn't
      The tie neck turned out a little awkward due to the v-neck being higher than the ruffles. Here is what it is supposed to look like tied. Pretty big difference.

      Is it spring yet in your area? Please tell me some nice warm stories.

      Monday, April 11, 2011

      Office Supply of the Month | Pushpins

      I love a good bulletin board for its utility and versatility, and no bulletin board would be complete without pushpins to secure things on it! Also known as thumbtacks, map pins, or drawing pins, these small supplies pack a lot of punch into a tiny piece of metal. It is basically a short pin or nail with a rounded or otherwise enlarged head for easy insert and removal using your fingers. They work best when used on a porous but somewhat dense surface (not great for those padded cubicle walls).

      There are a few notable differences between thumbtacks and pushpins, and even among pushpins there are several varieties (map pins being among those). In daily vocabulary, however, they're often rather interchangeable (unless you work in the office supply business, I suspect).
      • Thumbtacks generally lie flat. You push them in with your thumb.
      • Pushpins usually have a plastic handle of some sort.

      The invention of the pushpin is usually credited to Edwin Moore of Pennsylvania, and dates back to 1900, although some reports identify his invention as what we now call the map pin. The modern pushpin is often credited to Heinrich Sachs of Austria (1888), Johann Kirsten of Germany (1902), or Mick Clay of England (1903). Mass production began shortly after, and the rest is history!

      Posting things on walls, bulletin boards, and other pin-able surfaces
      Making nail-head lined things (using the single nail head-type pins, not the trim that comes in a strip)
      Making art
      Jewelry display
      Mark places you've been on a map

      Fun with thumbtacks

      Or make your own decorative thumb tacks [Project Orange].

      What are your favorite uses for pushpins? Favorite types?


      Completely unrelated
      Sweet Cassie over at Oh, Say Can You Say? gave me the Versatile Blogger award last week! I'm supposed to share seven random facts about myself and tag 15 other bloggers to do the same. Since I've shared facts on here several times already, I'll be doing my (all new) things on Facebook this time and instead of tagging other bloggers, I'd like you to share something each day in response to my fact! If you'd like to see which bloggers I enjoy the most, just click on over to my blogroll--I could never narrow it down to just 15.