//What I'm About / Vol. 2

Brooches and pins...I can't seem to get enough! My favorite places to buy from are eBay and Etsy because I can enter a search term and scroll endlessly until I find something that catches my fancy. Since we're talking costume jewelry here, I don't really spend too much per item and if there is free shipping, it's as good as sold in my eyes. In terms of pins, we're talking enamel or lapel pins. There are various shops I have discovered through Instagram and I especially love the cheekier ones.
Speaking of brooches, I ordered this beauty from Erstwilder. It's the Je Ne Sais Quoi design and I knew it had to be mine.

It would be my 6th piece from there, as I love the quality of the pieces so much. Unfortunately, this one arrived damaged with the top portion snapped off :( I promptly contact customer service and let them know about my issue. They sent a replacement, no questions asked (even though I was all ready to send a half dozen photos showing the damage haha) and were aware that shipping sometimes posed a problem for this particularly delicate design.

Sadly for me, the replacement arrived damaged, too, and I was REALLY bummed. I tried to glue it back on but perhaps due to the surface being too slick and the connecting piece being too small, it didn't work. So I reached out again and let them know the issue. They worked with me until the problem was remedied and I could not be any happier with the customer service I received. Natalie was my contact person and she was so prompt and sincere, I literally cried.

It's a shame that not all retailers value customer service this much (doubly so because I used to work retail for several years and always made sure I was polite, courteous, and as helpful as possible). I can honestly say they have a customer for life now <3

Some of my favorite Erstwilder designs that I don't yet own (but likely will soon, at this rate!) are:

//Combing for Compliments hair comb//

//Family of Flasks brooch//

//Femme Fatale brooch//

//Now, Prancer brooch//

//Roxy's Ray Gun brooch//

//Toil and Trouble brooch//

The Dress Code Cracker podcast has been streaming through my car's radio for a few days now. My commute to one of our offices is about 40 minutes one way, so I get to enjoy a couple episodes of this on those days. Conducted by Sarah Innis from Toronto, these interviews are casual and interesting and I always manage to getgood tips from the folks being interviewed. I'll hear about a book to check out or a vintage boutique online I hadn't known about. I'm just bummed that this is no longer an ongoing podcast (the most recent episode is from June 2016). But who knows? Maybe she'll bring it back someday! Some of my favorite people that Sarah interviewed are Gigi Castorina, Sam Conover, and Liza Kelly.

The Whurl app. How have I not heard of this before?! It's basically a dating site that matches up buyers and sellers of vintage haha. The way it works (if you're a buyer) is you post a photo of something you're in search of and then sellers reply to your post with their offerings that match your search! I dusted off my old iPad to use this app since it's only available through Apple and I have an Android phone. It's worth it, though, since I don't have many local opportunities to thrift or buy vintage.

This Modcloth dress is awesome. I ordered my size according to the size chart and I could have stood to size down, but I ain't mad about it. The color is great, the neckline and length are A+ for the office, and the bow belt is such an adorable touch. The fabric has a good amount of stretch in it, so it's VERY comfortable to wear. I just wish it came in multiple colors because this is one of those dresses I'll be wearing to work every other week. The only downside is it seems to wrinkle fairly easily.

//My Favorite Red Lipsticks

//wearing Bésame lipstick in Red Velvet//

Without turning this into a memoir, I have always had an obsession with makeup. I haven't and don't wear it every day, but about 75-80% of the time you can find me sporting (at the very least) foundation and/or powder and lipstick. To be more precise, RED lipstick. From the moment I put on a face of dark green eyeshadow and violet lipstick when playing around with my mom's cosmetics at the age of 9, I have been drawn to bold looks--and none is bolder or easier than swiping on some red lipstick.

Is it a pain? Sometimes. You have to be more careful about not touching your mouth, removing it before you go to smooch your little baby, and more selective in what you eat (a greasy cheeseburger will always result in smeared lipstick no matter how carefully you try to eat it, trust me), but the glamorous and put-together effect of red lips makes it all worth it. And if any of the above is what is keeping you from wearing red, then go for one of the many, many liquid lipsticks available on the market, a couple of which are mentioned below.

I think red lipstick is for everyone and you just have to find the shade that works for you! Go to a local cosmetics counter and try some on. MAC is a great choice for this because they have a TON of reds to choose from and in my experience, their artists were the most helpful in choosing one. If you don't feel more elegant, more glamorous, more BADASS after putting on red lipstick, well, then, I'll eat my hat. (*Note: I will not actually be engaging in any hat-eating behavior, but I will admit defeat).

Another reason red has always been a go-to is because of its connections to vintage fashion. Look at photos of actual women from that era or women who are enthusiasts (Dita von Teese, anyone?!) and you will see a sea of red lipstick. The simplest vintage/retro-inspired makeup look is winged eyeliner and red lipstick and voila! I've been rocking this look for at least 12 years because it freaking works, people! And once you practice, practice, practice with the eyeliner, it's the quickest and easiest look I can do. That's a whole 'nother post, so I'll save it for a different time. Moving on...

Here are my favorite reds! I'm not a makeup expert or anything, but I have included notes where I felt they were appropriate. I have also linked each lipstick to their corresponding article on Temptalia (if available) because I feel they have some stellar information and photos (most of the swatch photos are from Temptalia, as well). So click each photo to be taken to its page on Tempalia, if you like. 

Red Velvet - Bésame Cosmetics / $22.00

I have written about this brand before because I love their formulation and the fact that almost every color is a replica of a vintage lipstick shade. Everything from the packaging to the shades is spot on and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up owning every shade they produce (still waiting for Bésame Red to come back in stock. Le sigh.).

Victory Red - Bésame Cosmetics (comes with a cool pin!) / $28.00

Von Teese - MAC (although it is no longer available, please refer to this article for similar shades)

When I learned that the Queen was putting out her own lipstick shade with MAC, I jumped on that like you wouldn't believe. Since it's no longer available through MAC, I'm careful with how much I use it because I'm going to be sad when it's all gone.

American Doll - Anastasia Beverly Hills / $20.00

The first liquid lipstick I'm featuring. I am quite a fan of the formula. The red POPS and the product is fairly long-lasting.

Mrs. Mia Wallace - Urban Decay / $17.00

Probably one of the creamier lipsticks I wear. I am happy that they made this color a permanent one, especially because it makes me feel awesome while drinking a milkshake ;)

Lady Danger - MAC / $17.00

Not *exactly* a red since it's a warm orange, but it looks close enough ;) This one is very attention-getting but so fun when I want to change it up a little.

Vampira - Kat von D / $20.00

Another liquid lipstick, although the main complaint of her liquid lipsticks stands true--the pigmentation sucks on her darker shades. It requires a few coats to get a full-coverage look, but the color is worth it.

Russian Red - MAC / $17.00

Talk about a classic red. Everyone from Madonna to Dita has worn this color and for good reason. It is universally flattering on all kinds of folks and the pigmentation (like most MAC lipsticks I own) is awesome.

Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Lip Stain in No. 9 Rouge Lacque - Yves Saint Laurent / $36.00

This is one of two of the pricier lip products that I have and really like. This is one is also *technically* not a lipstick, but I really enjoy it when I want more shine. It's supposed to be a gloss/stain combo, but I think it's more gloss than stain, which is fine with me. Plus, the scent is heavenly. Sidenote: apparently you can only purchase this product online, which is weird to me since I originally bought it in-store. Oh well.

Le Rouge in  No. 307 Grenat Initié - Givenchy / $36.00

This is the other pricier item, but hello! The leather lipstick case makes it all worth it! ;)

Looking at this, you'd think I'm being sponsored by MAC (I'm not, but I gladly would take the offer! ha). Anywho, since my preferred finish is matte, matte, semi-matte, and matte, I really enjoy using a lip balm or similar product underneath my lipstick. The Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer is one of my favorites because it doesn't make my lips all slick like many other balms do, allowing the lipstick to adhere a little better. It sort of smoothes out my lips so the matte lip products look better. And there is a sharpener in the bottom of the pencil, too!

Speaking of matte, if you have some lipsticks that you love but wish you had in a matte finish, the Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer by Smashbox is pretty nifty. You do have to pat it on with your finger, though, so it's a little messier than I like, but it definitely works. 

//Insta Roundup / Jan. 16 to 22

Unsurprisingly, my Instagram the past week is a lot of my face and my beautiful little girl, Hazel. I started work on the 16th after being on maternity leave for three months. It was a strangely stressful and emotional week and something I was not expecting. I didn't cry (kind of shocked about that, actually), but I did feel odd for not being around my daughter all freaking day. Coming home to her was this very sweet and relieving feeling. I think it will get a little easier as time goes on...in the meantime, I'm forcing my mom to send me periodic photos throughout the day ;)

Hazel turned 3 months old just before I went back to work and she JUST turned 14 weeks old this past Friday. I put her in the cutest vintage yellow dress for her milestone photo, and she apparently thought it was mighty tasty, too, as you can see in the 4th row all the way to the right.

The black and white photo of her pouting with her cheeks all puffed out? That's a new thing she's doing and it cracks me up! My mom makes this face when she's displeased and it looks a lot like that pout, minus the cheeks.

For more information behind these photos, please visit my Instagram.

Oh, P.S., can you tell I'm a fan of red lipstick? No? Maybe I should make that more obvious then.

P.P.S. I am aware that a photo was used here twice. Oops. I guess that's what I get for wanting perfect squares in a rectangle like this. Whomp whomp.

//What I'm About / Vol. 1

As a HUGE fan of red lipstick (the amount of different ones I have numbers in probably the 30s...), I was tickled by the history of red lipstick as recounted in this Bustle article (Gabriela Hernandez, founder of Bésame Cosmetics, contributed!). Swipe on your favorite red and kick some ass!

Speaking of Besame, I am so about this lately. I only own two colors so far--Red Velvet (the color worn by Agent Carter on the show) and Victory Red. The Victory Red even comes with an amazing lapel pin! Although Besame offers other cosmetics, their lipsticks are some of my favorites ever. Most colors are replicas of actual vintage colors and are so well made--even the packaging is spot on!

The Vickie Dress by Tatyana is amazing!! SO flattering! I first ordered the green one and loved it so much, I ended up getting the other two colors, as well. I'm an attorney and so these fit in very well into my professional wardrobe.

I am OBSESSED with my current manicure! I have admired Dita von Teese's nails for so long but wasn't sure if I could pull it off--turns out I can! It looks so chic and totally works at work! I feel so glamorous <3 It's called a half-moon manicure, so Google it and take it to your nail salon because you are going to love it.

There is an antique store in my hometown that I like to scour every now and again and sometimes I find some great stuff. This Christmas apron, red handbag, and wedding photo are giving me heart eyes for days. There is something so romantic about these old wedding photos. And while the handbag is too small for my wallet, IDGAF. Imma rock it anyway.

I avoid blogging too much about politics because it's frustrating to me, so I'm just going to say that I'm not happy with our current administration. These pins allow me to be passive aggressive and express my opinions without being too in your face. Yay! The Nasty Woman pin is by The Tempestuous Teacup (I have a mint-colored one they released) and the D.G.M.P. is by 1-2-3 Pins & Collectibles, and both pins help support charities!

Finally, I am LOVING my new Rifle Paper Co. 12-month agenda! It's clothbound hardcover (so it looks like a book!) and has copper foil on the front and back, as well as two ribbon bookmarks. I am definitely a "paper" gal and I have probably 3 planners that I use simultaneously, along with a huge wall calendar.

//You Are What You Wear...and Read

I am so pleased to announce that today I joined a fun book club called the Best Book Reading Blogger Friend Book Club (BBRBF Book Club, for short)!! It's a group of stylish bookworms with a similar taste in vintage and vintage-inspired style. Once a month, we choose a book and then write a review, accompanied by an outfit inspired by that selection.

Since one of my goals of 2017 is to embrace my love of vintage-inspired fashion and really focus on putting myself together, as well as blogging about it, I couldn't be happier about this serendipitous venture!!

Below are the five other amazingly cool gals, modeling outfits for the January selection--"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman. I can't wait to participate in February, where the book will be "The Bette Davis Club" by Jane Lotter.

Sara of In a Nutshell

Noelle of The Classy Junk

Kristina of The Eyre Effect

Laci of Laci Fay

//Sunday Scrap / December Daily / Days 24 through 31 + Thoughts On It All

Hello, folks! I finally finished up my album...can I get a hallelooo?! Below you will find photos of December 24 through 31 (video with commentary to come a little later...it's hard recording a voiceover with a chatty or crying baby) and if you keep reading, I'll share my thoughts on doing this project for the first time and tips I've picked up along the way. Enjoy!

For other posts regarding December Daily, check out this link and view all of my pages!

So, does this make you interested in trying December Daily in 2017? I'll be honest, this was the first project I've done that required such frequent scrapbooking, but I love the result so much that I think this has to be an annual thing. Here are some things I've learned along the way:

  • WRITE STUFF DOWN! Keep a notepad or a file in the memo app of your phone to jot down things that happened each day. You think you'll remember everything but trust me, you'll start to forget things if you don't scrapbook daily.
  • If possible, print from home. I found this integral to my success with this project because it kept me from getting too behind waiting for photos. I also utilized my Walgreens' 1-hour photo service a number of times, especially when my printer was out of ink. Do what you gotta do. If you can't print your photos, then use Post-It notes to mark which photos go where and at least do your journaling so when your photos arrive you only have to stick them in pockets. Bam.
  • Think outside the box in terms of filler material. This is true in terms of both content and materials you work with. I bought gift tags from Target that fit perfectly in the 2"x2" pockets and was so happy that I had another item to include! In regards to content, not everything has to remain in a pocket page. I LOVE to stick loose items in my albums because it's visually interesting and it's also fun to touch and play with. Plus, there are some items that are odd-shaped and won't fit well into a pocket--so I punch holes in it and stick it in my album as is!
  • Foundation pages aren't my thing. I think on the fly and I prefer it that way. So while it may work for some, I can't do anything ahead of time.
  • It's okay if you don't have a color scheme or theme picked out. I didn't, and I happen to love how my album came out. Also, it's perfectly okay if a color scheme is your jam. I think I might try that for 2017.
  • I combined a daily diary as well as story approach for my album, meaning that on days where nothing really happened and I have no photos, I just chose a topic like "traditions" and journaled about that. Also, some days I had only a "date marker" journaling card and a photo, and that's okay, too!
  • Get your family or friends in on the action. For December 10, I listed my and my husband's favorite things about the season. He gave me a few things and I turned it into that day's layout. Super simple. You could also get family and friends to take photos for you, give you ephemera, or write letters that you can include in your album.
  • This kind of goes along with the previous point, but use your friends' and family's social media accounts to grab photos to use! On Christmas, I knew my aunt posted several pics on her Facebook, so I put them in my album. This gave me photos and perspectives I wouldn't have had otherwise (like the photo of my mom, aunt, and cousin) and it's that much more special.
  • As tempting as it is, don't get too far behind. Unless you're a superhuman, of course. If I got more than a handful of days behind in my album, my enthusiasm for the project really began to wan. This project is for December, after all, and for me, the thrill of it all was doing it contemporaneously. 
  • Last, and most importantly, don't give a hoot about what others are doing! It's one thing to be inspired by others, but if looking at the beautiful work that other memory keepers are doing makes you feel inadequate about your own album, then stop it. This instant. The most important thing about scrapbooking is that you're doing it.