fall fashion treatise

I work from home. I have been doing it full time for over two years. I know that many home workers recommend setting a strict schedule, waking up early, showering, and getting dressed and prepared the same as you would for an office job. I choose to do the opposite.

One of the luxuries of working for yourself is setting your own schedule, so I do. I wake up a little after Travis, do some house chores, then get right to the computer and start working. I don’t get dressed up in business clothes in order to sit at my computer all day alone. I am usually wearing workout clothes or jeans. Due to this very lenient dress code and my year-long marathon training adventure, the majority of my recent clothing budget has been spent at Lululemon.

I am fine with my casual wardrobe. It means I don’t have to do a lot of ironing or spend a bunch on dry cleaning. But this fall things may need to change a bit. I have a number of professional events coming up that will require some nicer outfits. Because I dress professionally so infrequently, it wouldn’t be smart to invest in trends. I need just a few quality, basic pieces that I can pack for conferences or wear to networking events.

One of my goals is to look like Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) from Covert Affairs. I’ve only seen two episode of the show, but she always looks professional, yet hip and pretty. Plus, as far as celebrities go, I think Perabo is a reasonable equivalent to my coloring and (goal) body shape.

These photos of her aren’t very impressive (they are all I could find online), but her outfits are always basic, but with just a tiny bit of style (like a colored blouse or belt, or cool jacket) and great shoes. Annie Walker was my inspiration for this set of J.Crew basics I wrote about for Ace recently:

Very plain, but slightly updated with the cropped trousers and silk blouse. I think I could pull off any of these pieces and mix and match them with what I already have in endless ways. Practical!

A huge trend for fall is leopard print. I am usually not an animal print girl, but I am trying to be open minded. I put together this collection of possible leopard accent items for a post on Ace:

So, as you can see, I have been doing my research, and last weekend, I put it to the test. Travis kindly accompanied me on a shopping trip with the goal of getting a few nice outfits that I could wear to the upcoming BlogHer Handmade conference. I focused most of my shopping energy on J.Crew and I found a few key pieces that I absolutely love!

The NY Times style section listed their five things you need for fall. Here are my suggestions:

  • High-waisted skinny jean – These jeans sound like the most unflatterning thing ever — skinny & high wasted? sounds terrible — and I never would have bought them if I hadn’t tried them on and been blown away. My legs look nothing like the girl in this photo, but these jeans are amazingly flattering and comfortable! They look great with a tucked in shirt and heels. I am pretty sure I am going to be wearing them every day, plus they can be dressed up for casual business attire.
  • CafĂ© capri in wool – These were the pants that I set out originally to get. I was not sure if they would be flattering on me, but I was thrilled when they looked great and I didn’t even have to go up a size! These pants end at the ankle, so they are great for showing off cute shoes.
  • Blythe blouse in silk – Everywhere you look this season you’ll find silk blouses, and there is no way anyone could go wrong with a classic white one. I love this shirt. So pretty and it goes with everything. I love it tucked into the jeans, with a jacket, or under a sweater. I think I should have bought multiple, but I’m just not that smart.
  • Pia calf hair pumps – I went a little out of my mind and bought these leopard pumps. They are way outside my comfort zone, style-wise, but they just look so fantastic! Great with jeans and skirts and trousers. Since my entire wardrobe is so basic, these pumps are my one item of flair!
  • Skinny leather belt – Belting at the waist is still right on trend. Lady-like silhouettes are in for fall and a nipped in waist helps achieve the look. More adventurous dressers will go with a flashier style, but I am sticking to a basic brown belt with everything.

Such basic pieces, but I am a basic girl. I’ll add some flair with some jewelry or a jacket and pair the pants with tops I already own. Lady-like and refined is the goal.

What are your suggestions or top picks for your fall wardrobe?


FYI: I know that I am a bore for sticking with J.Crew, but it is just so easy! If you visit the Soho store, ask for Caitlin. She is one of the personal shoppers there and she is amazing. She helped me with sizes and was the one who suggested the high wasted jeans. I never considered myself as someone who would utilize a personal shopper, but she was very helpful (and her services are free).

workin’ it


Yesterday was Swap-bot’s first foray into craft show sponsorship. We were one of the main sponsor of the Handmade Cavalcade, a yearly show organized by The {NewNew} Etsy Street Team. Our sponsorship package included a booth space at the event. Our table was definitely amateurish compared to the amazing artists’ booths, but we had a lot of fun meeting creative people and handing out Swap-bot swag. Sometimes it is hard to describe exactly what Swap-bot is, but I think we definitely attracted a few new members over the course of the day. It felt great to be a part of the local “handmade” community!

(I plan to write a more detailed report about the event on the Swap-bot blog, but for now you can see a bunch of great photos from the event on MetroMix.)

Thanksgiving Eve

Soooo tired. I spent the morning doing a little turkey prep and working on Swap-bot a bit. Then, Seth and I went and explored Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We ate knish’s, egg creams, more cupcakes, handmade candy, and Crusher’s favorite, JPan, for dinner. Fun times. Now, I am headed to bed early because we are waking up super-early to head to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I’ll take pictures!

more good stuff

  • Why do I always do this? I always fall in love with all of the holiday craft/scrapbook supplies. Ugh. I have plenty of holiday stuff in my craft stash, but I still want the new stuff, like this Swell Noel glitter paper and these love, elsie festive stickers. I am a weirdo.
  • Have you seen all of the new “flavors” of philosophy shower gel? I was trying to transition away from philosphy products toward something more natural, but all of the yummy choices draw me back in! I mean, Orange Cranberry, Snickerdoodle, Black Licorice, and Cherry Cola. All the different flavors make me so curious… and hungry.
  • Aren’t these red MoovBoots cool?! They are waterproof and warm – perfect for Oregon winters. (found via ljcfyi)
  • I am just about sick with envy over this studio. It is owned by Nicole Balch of Pink Loves Brown and the blog, Making it Lovely. Man, do I ever need to get myself organized!
  • Do you like Gwyneth Paltrow? Who doesn’t. Well, it turns out she is trying to transition into being some sort of lifestyle guru and she has a website, Goop. I signed up for the newsletter. I couldn’t help myself.

kitchen renovation of my dreams

This post should go on Eugene Cottage, but I have neglected that poor site for so long I don’t want to send this post over there to die. Maybe I will revive that blog soon…

Anyhoo, my winter issue of Cottage Living arrived yesterday and I immediately found a kitchen renovation article that made my heart flutter. The pictures online (and seen above) are not as good as the ones in the mag, but they give you an idea. I want to copy this kitchen almost entirely in our house! Do you think I could do most of it myself?

The things I love about this kitchen:

  • The white subway tile. I am definitely going to use white subway tile as a backsplash in our kitchen. I also want to do the entire wall behind the stove in white subway tile – from floor to ceiling.
  • The darker greenish cabinets on the bottom and white cabinets on the top. Love this!
  • The black counter top and deep under-mounted sink. They used granite, but I would settle for a dark Corian or other synthetic material. We desperately need a new sink and plumbing in the kitchen. I also really love farmhouse sinks and think one would work in our space.
  • The wide drawer pull hardware seems sohisticated and I don’t think it will become as dated as the more popular bin pull hardware.
  • The vintage-inspired lighting fixtures in oil-rubbed bronze finish. They really finish the space and give it a custom, industrial feel.
  • New appliances! Ugh. We need new appliances bad. Our stove top caught on fire the other day and the refrigerator cannot keep a constant temperature. The only issue is that we need somewhat custom, smaller appliances to fit in our spaces. They exist, but of course, they are pricey! We also need a range hood, and maybe a dishwasher and microwave.

Things I would do differently:

  • The top cabinets were raised to the ceiling in the kitchen renovation, but I like the space above our cabinets. I would have cabinet doors with glass panes made for the top shelf in our kitchen.
  • They installed wood floors in the kitchen, but we already have wood flooring under the tile (and layers of linoleum) in our kitchen. I would rip up the current floor, sand the wood, and then paint and varnish it. I want to do a white & beige diamond pattern!
  • I really love the crown molding, but I think that it might be too fancy for our home.
  • We have a little window nook in our kitchen and I want to have a built-in bench seat put against the window wall and an open shelf hung over the window wrapping around all three walls of the space. Those are pretty ambitious plans that would require a carpenter, but it would be a great use of the space!

Here is an old photo of our kitchen to give you an idea what we are working with:

p.s. We probably aren’t actually going to do any of this any time soon….

911 emergency!

poor crusher

Well, maybe not 911, but we did take a trip to the puppy ER today. Sweet, little Crusher got stung by a bee in our backyard and then proceeded to have a nasty allergic reaction. His little muzzle and eyes got all swollen. I was so worried! (I cried a little.) He was also acting really sick and shaking, so we decided to take him to the 24-hour veterinary hospital. The photo above was taken after he got his medicine shots (hence the green bandage) and the swelling had gone down a bit, but you can still see it around his eye and lip. Poor guy! He is resting and doing much better now. Whew!

crusher mania

A Swap-bot friend made the above graphic to announce Crusher’s status as the official Swap-bot mascot. I think it is very cute. I also finally added Crusher to the LambleFamily.com banner… so I think that means he will be sticking around.