Obsession: Neutral Shoes

Neutral Shoes

This year I have been evolving my style. If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I began wearing pants again (!!)  and that heels have become a normal part of my wardrobe, especially the three pairs above. Perhaps it was boredom, or that I’m approaching my 40’s, or that I’m fitter than I have been on a long time or that I finally acclimated to Texas temperatures and have either stopped sweating so much, or am used to it. Whatever the reason, I have been open to trying all sorts of new looks and LOVING every minute of it.

By far, my biggest obsession has been neutral colored heels. For the past few years, I have been wearing mostly ballet flats in bright hues. I kept peeking at nude/neutral shoes but the color was always too pink or putty like. Then I found the pair of nude (ish) pumps on the left and I was instantly smitten. So when I next came across the platform in a light brown, I figured that as the pumps have done me so well and were such a similar color that these would too. I have been constantly wearing them, I’m so in love! The third pair were purchased for a wedding in the Hamptons at a home, where I know I would be standing in grass and would therefore be the happiest in a wedge. I would be wearing a bright and busy patterned dress, so I wanted close to flesh as well. Recalling how evening dew in NY can destroy shoes, I didn’t want to spend too much in case the shoes didn’t fare well. It took months to find the right shoes, but the second I saw these, I knew they were perfect. Fortunately they survived the night, because these shoes fast became my go to shoe!

After a summer of such love for shoes that I normally would shy away from becoming my absolute favorite, I already have been excited (and maybe pre hoarding) for fall. I approached the situation the exact opposite of how I normally would…I tried on all of the styles I normally avoid. I can’t to see what I end up wearing!

Shoes (left to right): BCBG Generation; Hinge; Charles David

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Top 5 Favorite Things Right Now

A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it's new basket.
A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it’s new basket.

I was inspired to make this list by John and Sherry from their Young House Love podcast. They end each week with what they have been loving lately and it always make me think about what I am loving too. As I usually get excited about what they love, I thought that you may appreciate my favs too…so here we go:

1. Command Strips in brushed nickel for bathrooms. You guys…hooks for the shower that match the fixtures and don’t fall down!! I started with 4 but once I discovered how amazing these were, added 2 more. Who knew I needed 6 hooks in the shower?? What hangs on these hooks you may be wondering? Wash cloth, scrubby gloves, shower cap, squeegee and 2 for drying bathing suits (we swim often and I rinse and hang them to dry).

2. Mini Grocery Carts. If you’ve been to a large grocery store recently, chances are you have used the smaller cart option. If you have not, I am sad for you because they are FUN to use. Although they are too small for a weeks worth of groceries for two people, I will make it work if they’re available. These little carts zip around and make me feel like I’m in super market sweep. I may have run into a few people taking the corners too fast, but once you tell them how you feel like you’re in super market sweep, they are usually amused enough to forgive you.

3. Sale duvet covers from Pottery Barn. I think all but one duvet cover out of the 8 or so duvet covers I have owned have been from Pottery Barn and most of them I found on sale. The quality is great, they are beautiful and if you strike at the right time can be scored for a great deal. I ordered one this morning for the 2nd guest room which I found on the teen site (by the way, always check the teen and kids sites for sheets smaller than king beds!), it’s exactly what I wanted for that bed, was marked down and had  free shipping. It was $42.22 for a queen duvet cover including tax. Boom!

4. Dyson cordless stick vacuum. It’s cord free, people. Imagine this scenario: white stone floors and 2 dogs who have all or some black hair. As you can imagine, I use this vacuum at least 3 times a day. Its light weight and powerful. I grab it, run through the room that I can feel or see specks of dirt or hair in and it’s all gone within minutes. The downside is that being cordless and light, the battery only lasts about 15 minutes. If I need to vacuum the whole house, I have to do it in segments. But the pluses far outweigh that single con. I never thought I could love a vacuum so much!

5. Baskets for plants. We recently went a little plant crazy. Adam has been obsessed with turning the patio into a jungle and I got overly excited in the tropical indoor plant section. We asked countless questions about how to keep them all alive, one of the tips was to not repot them for at least 4 months. If we wanted them to look prettier, to drop them potted into a larger container until then. Well, for some reason the containers I kept bringing home were not the right shape to “drop” into. I was also getting frustrated as I didn’t like the look of many of the pots that were big enough. I was also getting worried that we would buy all of these expensive pots and then need bigger ones in 4 months. So when I walked into Michael’s to get a few frames the other day, I got really excited when I laid my eyes on these bucket shaped baskets that were pretty and 70% off. I bought all of the blue ones in the small and medium sizes that they had. I patted myself on the back for not bringing home the fuchsia ones as they wouldn’t match at all. Fuchsia is still hard for me to resist even though Manic Trout pink no longer exists, so that was a big accomplishment. Once I got them home and saw how well they worked, that I actually went back and bought all of the large ones too. Not only do the pots drop in perfectly height wise, but plastic saucers fit perfectly in them as liners. They work so well that this may end up being a more permanent solution than we intended. Even if we replace them with different pots in 4 months, it was under $70 for 6 large plants so I’m not stressed about it. If you are on the lookout for plant baskets, check your local Michaels! Although if that means the one on Brodie Lane in Austin, all the blue ones are gone. #sorrynotsorry

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News for Curly Girls

Wet Brush

Attn fellow girls with curls!! When I was getting my hair cut last week by the amazing Becky (who gives ME the good hair, lolololol) she noticed that the ends of a chunk of my hair looked like they were attacked by a weed wacker or garbage disposal or something. After a few minutes of deductive speculation, we realized the problem. Now that I am behaving myself and have broken the daily washing of my hair habit (its so hard when you work out in Texas to not do this!) the ends of my hair are snarlier than usual and combing it out in the shower (even with conditioner in it) is ripping up the ends. When Becky heard I was still using a wide tooth comb for this task she said that I needed to get my hands on a Wet Brush pronto! I went on amazon and ordered one via prime right there on the spot and by my next hair wash, I had it.

Why is the Wet Brush amazing? Well it has ultra soft bristles that bend and give before your hair breaks. AKA: Magic powers. Kuddos to this company for capitalizing on the product range they are able to push because there are so many options!! Big, little, palm, countless colors, patterns and materials…a SELFIE version (what?!), it’s ridiculous. But hey, they’re super inexpensive, so feel free to collect them all. Becky had me order a paddle shape as she feels it works the best. I went with silver because I was over whelmed with the selection and was on Amazon which shows them in a different order. After just checking out there site, I’m kind of sad by this, but it’s really just a hairbrush which lives in my shower…so NBD. I’m secretly wishing that the paddle shape comes out in the neon colors above though becauseI’ll totally buy a send one if they do.

I have only been using the brush for a couple of weeks but the ends of my hair look better already. It did take some getting used to as its at first difficult to actually brush through the snarls in the manner I was used to (ripping through them with a comb). You have to start at the bottom and slowly work your way up but I’m pretty sure this is a good thing. Bottom line, I highly recommend one of these if you have curly hair. Hope this helps you fellow curly girls, happy brushing!

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White Jeans

WhiteJeans

I recently inquired on IG why I seemed to be all of a sudden have a style crisis and immediately upon posting, realized that I had done this many times before. Not the asking part, but the completely changing my style part. A vivid memory of a prep school friend of mine telling me about a decade ago that every time he ran into me since I was 16, he has had to a double take as I have looked like an entirely different person from my hair down to my toes. After I remembered that, I went with the flow and embraced this new version of me who apparently really wants to wear white jeans.

GreenHeels

This winter, I was shopping with Gretchen (my MIL) and found a pair of jeans that fit so well it made me want to wear pants again. On my birthday (I typically shop for clothes twice a year, before Christmas and after my birthday in March, after which have no desire to buy a stitch of clothing for months) I wandered into a store and saw the same brand of jeans in white and dropped everything to put them on. The perks of wearing skirts is that I did just that right in the middle of the store. They fit perfectly and I was happy. Then I realized I needed something to wear on top and had a vision of brightly colored, flow-y silk tops. So far I found two silk blouses which are perfect and I love them, yay. I however seem to want to wear white jeans often so I need more. But I have realized that due to my tiny upper body and really high waist, that I have issues finding shirts like this which are properly proportioned and fit well. So for now I’m happy that I found two that I love so much and deal with it.

WhiteJeans_2

In addition to flow-y tops, the white jeans have also inspired me to wear heels during the day, something that I very rarely want to do. And now I’m all, lets buy chartreuse cha cha ankle strap stilettos and wear them every day!!! I’m a bit nervous to find out what they will want me to wear next…but I’ll admit that I have been wearing those nude heels everywhere and with all different outfits and adore them, so win for the white jeans on that one!

NudeHeels

Speaking of what I’ve been wearing, I wanted to do more of a “what I have been wearing this month” type post but realized today that these were the only full outfit shots that I have taken all month. This is both sad and inspiring. I hope that by the end of next month, I get it together and snap a few more.

What I’m wearing: Jeans – AG (The Legging Ankle); Blue top – Vince; Floral Top – Megan Park; Green Shoes – Joie; Nude Shoes – BCBG; Black Bag – Kayu; Jewelry – Manic Trout 

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SSB: Single Sexy Behavior

Big shocker: candy is often procured during these late night SSB episodes
Big shocker: candy is often procured during these late night SSB occurrences

Remember that episode of Sex and The City where Carrie talked about Single Sexy Behavior, that totally weird thing you do when you’re single (or alone at home)? Carrie ate saltines in stack, with grape jelly. Standing in her kitchen, reading Vogue. Miranda watched infomercials with luxe moisturizer mittens on her hands. Charlotte inspected her pores in a lit magnifying mirror and Samantha had some sort of actual sexy going on. Well I have developed a weird SSB in the past few years. It does involve leaving the house, but usually in my jammies. It happens at about 10pm, only on nights when Adam is working and mostly in the winter, I think because it gets dark so early. I for some reason feel an intense need to go to target. I hardly ever buy anything on the missions. I just feel really calmed strolling the aisles in the mostly quiet store, looking at things. I’ll pick up maybe a pair of fun knee socks or festive boxers for Adam, typically I spend under $30 on these excursions, but I feel so nice after. No idea why. What’s you single sexy behavior?

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Happy New Calendar Day!!

Rifle Paper 2015 Calendar in the Manic Trout Studio
Hanging over the shipping station

I despise New Years Day. There I said it. The whole, “now is your chance to finally be a great person” aspect of the new year is beyond annoying. As are the goals made that no one accomplishes. Ever. Personally, I prefer to take this one day to reflect on how much I did not accomplish in the last 365 days and wallow in it. As most of the world is hungover, and no one does anything of importance on this day, its a nice time for this type of behavior. By tomorrow, I’ll be back to my effervescent self and ready to take on the world, but today: I grumble.

The 5 of the 6 calendars around my desk necessary for managing Manic Trout
The 5 of the 6 calendars around my desk necessary for managing Manic Trout

The only good part of January 1st is that its the day to break out new calendars. As I admitted last year, I really enjoy calendars. Thank you to Thea gifting me the beautiful Rifle Paper 2015 calendar, I have topped 2014 and now have 7 calendars in the studio. Now that is a reason to get excited today!

The 7 Calendars of 2015
6 of the calendars for 2015

In case you are wondering why on earth I need 7 calendars:

1. Austin Events Calendar: For the obvious reasons, also to see holidays and I mark when I go running or work out with red dots to give me a bit of visual encourangement to fill it up with red dots. It hangs on the wall behind my computer so I look up and see it.

2. Rifle Paper Calendar: An unexpected gift from my sister as she knows how much I love both calendars and pretty things. Its hanging above the shipping station which is useful for obvious reasons.

3. Desk Pad Calendar: A recent obsession after I discovered these last year. Great for jotting down notes for the entire week. Sits on my desk to my right.

4: Single page printouts of 2015 and each quarter: Noted are the dates for design and production according to the PR and wholesale schedules. These hang to my right.

5. Social Media Calendar: I actually made this one out of a covered corkboard, paper and post its. I have blog posts, facebook posts, newsletters, twitter and instagram posts all planned out a month in advnace on this. It hangs to my left above the production calendars.

6: Spiral Desk Calendar from Sugar Paper: Where I pencil in appointments, meetings, workouts, lunches, trips etc.  I have given up on the electronic version, I prefer paper. I also keep a paper version of Manic Trout sales in it, I find it easier to flip though to see how the month is going than opening a spreadsheet. Sits on the top left corner of my desk, open to the current month.

7: Pocket Calendar: I am going back to a paper version of what I carry with me too. I can look through and schedule so much faster in paper than I can in my phone. Hangs out in the studio when I’m at home, goes in my bag when I’m not.

*8: Doesn’t really count as its not in the studio, but we keep a big magnet dry erase calendar on the fridge too with all meetings, travel and important dates. Adam still forgets everything anyway, but at least I can say that it was up there.

Hope you are enjoying New Years Day the way you want to and Happy New Calendar Day!!

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Which Whale?

Whale

I’m having a decor dilemma at the moment and I need input. For about 14 months I have been lusting after this large whale for the stone wall in the living room. I have’t pulled the trigger yet because I can’t decide on what color to order. There are 28 possible options, all slightly distressed on wood, and I have it down to 4. Well, 3 really, I don’t think I like the grey. I posted the straight on shot on IG, but then made another mock up for a second round with my mom and sisters and confused myself all over again.  The whale is 48″ long by 14″ tall so it will have quite the impact.

Whale2

The room is the main room in the house, so I’ll see this thing constantly. I love the black but worry it will draw attention to the only other black in the room, the tv. Most of the small accents in the room are ivory and gold (there is another table behind the couch that is not seen in the photos and is white with ivory and gold lamps and things on it), so I thought gold might be a good way to go without drawing all the attention in the room to it. However, if I want to draw attention…and keep it “real”, then I think navy is the way to go. Navy also goes well with the paintings in the dining room which is technically in the same huge open space.

House

What are your thoughts? Keep in mind that the colors are all mocked up in photoshop, except the black, so I’m sure they will look better in person.

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Taking your closet to the next level

Apparel tags

Being a wearer of dresses and skirts, I find that keeping track of the dry cleaning/laundry cycle is a bit of a dilemma. Especially as I work from home and therefore will often wear a dress for only a two hour period and then back on the hanger it goes. This is due to my having a bunch of skirts that are my “studio skirts” that I wear with plain white t’s when in the studio as when I make rings, the wire has been known to attack my arms and clothes as it flies around in the wrapping process. Anyway, I have a system with the skirts that whatever I have worn gets moved all the way to the left and back to the right when clean but the dresses are more organized (by color and level of formality) so I don’t have a useful system in place, only a pretty one. Being the neurotic organized person that I am, I have had “create a method to track what dresses have worn” on my to do list for a few years. I have thought of using a few methods such as the turning the hanger around trick. But I know that would drive me crazy as I have an all matching hangers, equally spaced apart situation and could not handle a backwards hanger. Well that and does it really work with shaped wood hangers? I also though of attaching colored yarn to the hanger but that would also only indicate it was worn once and the thought of multiple colors made my eyes twitch for the same reason the turned hanger concept did.

Apparel tags

A few weeks ago I was over at Knock Knock, picking up a new grocery list pad (if you are a list maker, this company will be your new BFF. I found them waaaay back when they were a baby company in the early 2000’s and instantly was smitten, they have remained awesome as they have grown and I own ALOT of their stuff) and I could’t believe but they had my solution. Apparel tags made to loop on the hanger with places to note things such as when it was last worn, if it needs to be washed and other important fyi’s. Lets also not overlook a key factor here, that they are designed beautifully. I almost fell over they were so perfect. I’ll admit that I have yet to implement my new system though as part of me is struggling with everything not being laundered first so everything starts from the same base. Btw, it’s very difficult dealing with needs like this, as I feel crazy even thinking them but I know I’m not alone in thinking these thoughts so thats helpful. I also know that I’m overdue for a good clean out of what I haven’t worn this year, and have been waiting for temps to drop from the 90’s first. So you know, it might not happen for another month, but then…oh then, my world will be a happier place!

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Being a guest on a TV show

Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout on Studio 512, kxan
Photo of the TV while watching myself on it…how could I not do that?

Friday was an exciting day, I was invited to be a guest on studio 512, a lifestyle show here in Austin on KXAN (NBC) hosted by Amanda Tatom. It was for an episode of favorite things, and my jewelry was Amanda’s favorite things, so I thought the best thing to do was to debut the FW14 Collection right there on TV, it was so much fun! I’ll admit that one of the highlights was that John Lewis, who’s barbecue I recently gushed about was also on the show. This meant that I not only ate La Barbecue after filming, but was taking celeb crush selfies with him in the green room before we started taping.

Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout on Studio 512, kxan
Waiting off camera and watching John dish barbecue secrets with Amanda.

 The show is taped live to tape, which meant that I would be able to watch the show when it aired not long after we wrapped up. I was in the last segment and was off to lunch with my friend Michele. I made it to her house just in time to see the show which included a once in a lifetime moment when her husband walked in and saw me on the tv, while sitting on the couch in the same thing I was wearing while on tv and had a look of complete confusion for a few moments, it was great…but maybe you had to be there.

Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout on Studio 512, kxan
During the show, taken off set.

Two things should be noted here. One, that I finally realized I need to wear heels when standing next to women in important photos/on tv, because they will be wearing heels. Two that I’m wearing 4″ heels with a stacked toe here and am still a foot shorter than Amanda.

Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout on Studio 512, kxan
Goofing around on the kxan set, just because we can.

Cisco and the rest of the crew for the show were wonderful to work with and really made it a delight to be on the show. We were encouraged to pose on the news set and have our photos taken just for fun. I texted Adam this photo and he sent to people telling them I had a new job, and they believed him, ha!!

Back at home after all the fun, requisite selfie as I loved what I wore. It was Faye approved.
Back at home after all the fun, requisite selfie as I loved what I wore. It was Faye approved.

As I was asked a few times, outfit details: Kate Spade New York dress from Nordstrom (I love that they tailor on site, which they did for me super fast), Gucci shoes from Neiman Marcus, Manic Trout necklace, earrings and ring (not shown) from www.manictrout.com.

You can watch the video below (or if its not working correctly, watch it on the Studio512 site.)

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Dress codes for grown ups

A peek at a few of my dresses and skirts...I apparently enjoy patterns and non white clothes.
A peek at a few of my dresses and skirts…I apparently enjoy patterns and non white clothes.

Twice in the last few weeks I have been given a dress code for an event. This had made me realize 2 things. 1. that I hate being told what to wear and 2. that oddly, I have very few pieces of clothing that adhere to color codes. I was pretty surprised that I really didn’t have anything that was a fit either event. I fudged the first, but the second, as you’ll see is worth dress shopping for.

The first was for a white party. It was downtown on a Thursday night and not that much of a big deal, so after freaking out about it for three days, I ended up wearing a white-ish tshirt and yellow skirt. I say white-ish because a very annoying side effect of Texas summers is that there is no cold water. Which means that there is no option and all of your laundry is done in warm. I’m really into separating my clothes by color so this is normally no big deal, however, our dryer likes to wrinkle my white t shirts as they are such a tiny load. So a few weeks ago I threw Adams grey sweatpants in with whites to bulk it up and forgot there was a red band around the ankle. Even though these pants are over a year old, that one little band still turned all of my whites the lightest pink. As Rachel from friends said best, all of my whites look like jammies now.

The second event is a TV appearance, which incidentally is one of the things I was referencing yesterday, and I can now at least tell you about it. This Friday, I will appearing on a local show, Studio512 on kxan. I was asked to come on the show and share my jewelry with the viewers as the host is a major Manic Trout fan, yay! It will also be on the website, so I’ll be able to share it, but anyway…I need to wear something solid in color and not white. Which, rules out skirts as I always wear them with white (and I prefer dresses anyway). Most of my solid colored dresses are cocktail dresses and as this is Austin, would look ridiculous. I do have a green strapless day dress, but I have over worn it, including in my current headshot, so that is my “in case of desperate emergency” back up. In the meantime, I am off to shop. Thank goodness for the online versions of stores as I had to rule out Anthro right off the bat as there doesn’t seem to be a solid dress in its stock. I already popped into my favorite local boutique, Maya Star, but they seemed to have changed their direction and I hated everything in there. Next up is Nordstrom, which from looking online, seems like my best bet and Neimans tomorrow if need be.

Wish me luck!

 

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