Top (Limited): Skirt & Earrings (Nordstrom); Hat (Marshalls);
Flip Flops (JCPenney)

This look is exactly what fashion should be.... fun!  I wore this to a local Farmer's Market - they are popping up everywhere and really are a must go for anyone who hasn't paid a visit to one.  It's the easiest way to eat locally - and it's a great weekend activity that can introduce you to new and fabulous foods (I just tried kohlrabi for the first time and LOVED it!).  And they have the most beautiful flowers - a huge bouquet for under $5- tell your boyfriends and husbands immediately :)


Blues & BBQ

Tank (H&M); Scarf (Target); Skirt (Gap); Flip Flops (JCPenney)

I wore this outfit to a Blues & Barbecue event at a nearby bandshell on one of the 10,000 lakes here in Minnesota. It's hard to beat free live music on a nice summer night... There are so many outdoor activities going on in the short months of summer - it was a really fun change of pace!  Sometimes I forget there is life outside the Real Housewives of Jersey/Orange County/New York (and yes, I watch them all... please don't judge!) :)


Friday Find

Author Karen Salmansohn

I love this quote (the rest of it is below) - it's inspirational, motivating, and a much needed reminder that 
you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change...

"The first step to living the life you want is leaving the life you don’t want.
Taking the first step forward is always the hardest.
But then each step forward gets easier and easier.
And each step forward gets you closer and closer until eventually, what had once been invisible starts to be visible.
And what once felt impossible starts to feel possible."

Happy Friday :)


Channeling Katniss

Dress & Belt (Calvin Klein find at TJMaxx); Necklace (Limited);
Shoes (Nine West); Bracelets & Earrings (Nordstrom)
Ryan Seidel Photography

Maybe it's the braid... maybe it's the District-like scenery... or maybe it's the desire to be a kick ass heroine who saves the world...  But I'm feeling very Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games in these pictures (post Capitol makeover). Instead of a fire dress I'm wearing a LBD.. and nothing makes me feel more commanding than a black dress (well, maybe my Packers jersey). In my book, the power of the little black dress trumps  a bow and arrow anytime ;)


Garden Party

Top & Earrings (Nordstrom); Skirt (Gap); Shoes (Naturalizer); Watch (Fossil)

Garden party is the first thing that comes to mind when I look at this skirt.  Where's Waldo is what comes to mind when I look at this skirt against the greenery.  Actually it's a lot like those Highlights magazines I used to read in the dentist office waiting room as a kid... remember the "Hidden Picture" puzzle?  Can you spot the floral skirt hiding in the ivy?  Fast forward many years and now it's the People magazines I look forward to in the waiting room.. and now the game is matching the celebrity body part to the celebrity. So much has changed, yet much remains the same :)


Red Hat Society

Top (Metro City find at Marshalls); Skirt (Limited); Shoes (Jessica Simpson)
Bryan B Photography

There are certain color combinations that are like uniforms. Navy and white literally takes me back to my uniform days in middle school.. Red and khaki instantly makes me feel like a Target employee... And today's red and purple makes me feel like a member of the Red Hat Society.  Although if I was a member, I'd have to wear pink and lavender to the society's events until reaching my 50th birthday.  I've seen these groups out before and they always look like they are having the best time...  A society for women that celebrates sisterhood while wearing fabulous hats? Count me in :)


Friday Find

Owl Contact Lens Case by Kikkerland (Amazon, Patina)

For those of us who wear contacts... nothing about it is fun.  Your eyes get itchy and dry... you can't see the clock when you wake up in the morning...  and there are times you rub your eyes only to realize you've rubbed your contacts right off your eyeball.  But these insanely adorable owl contact lens cases make the inconveniences slightly more worth it.  Get them for yourself, or as a gift for your contact lens wearing friend.  They are seriously too cute,  and make the daily grind of wearing contacts a hoot :)


Arm Party Envy

Dress (JCPenney); Bracelets (Mix of JCPenney, Nordstrom & Target);
Shoes (Kohls); Earrings (Nordstrom); Rings (Love Ring - Etsy, others were gifts)
Photography (David R. Martinson)

I've seen some impressive arm parties... bracelet after fabulous bracelet after multiple bangle that take up half a forearm.  When I try to layer that many bracelets I end up feeling awkward and looking like a shackled prisoner.  And when I stack bracelets only on one arm, I feel lopsided...  shortly after my anal retentiveness kicks in and I feel the strong need to create symmetry.  It's very possible/highly likely that I'm over thinking my accessorizing.  So here is my mini party - more like a small gathering... Who knew an arm party could be so exclusive?  :)


The Ugly Dress

Dress (Carole Little find at Marshalls); Shoes (Nine West); Sunglasses (Charming Charlie)
Ryan Seidel Photography

When I first saw this dress all I could think of was my grandparent's hideous 1970's plaid couch. And then I noticed the button up/short sleeve style that I love... and how much I like black and brown together... And maybe it was the association with my grandparents, but even the pattern started to grow on me. Since no one was looking, I threw it in my "try on" pile - and when I put it on, everything about it just worked. Apparently hideous 1970's couch is a good look on me! And that is the story of the ugly dress. It certainly wasn't love at first sight... but we were meant to be together :)


Outlet Success

Blouse (Limited): Skirt (Banana Republic Outlet); Shoes (BCBG find at TJMaxx);
Bryan B Photography

Going to the outlet mall can be a lot like a first date... it's exciting, you have all high expectations, and you don't want to waste your time.  And I've been burned in the past... I've walked into Gap outlet encouraged by a window display to find everything inside boring, and I wonder if the prices truly are better.  But I had a fabulous first date experience at the Banana Republic outlet store where I found this skirt. It's completely my type and came at a perfect price ($12).  And like successful first dates, this experience gave me hope for my future of outlet shopping.  And if you must know, the date did end with kiss :)


Friday Find

Helen Ficalora Necklace Charms

I've been a fan of Helen Ficalora for years... She designs some of the most unique, simple, and elegant jewelry.  The necklace charms are my favorite, and are around $50 each. A few Christmases ago, I bought the "S" charm for both myself and my mom (her name is Susan, and so is my middle name).  From the classic letter charms to ones with a heart shape, a breast cancer ribbon, or words of inspiration - these charms are an easy and beautiful way to make a statement. 



Top & Skirt (Limited); Heels (Tahari Find at Marshalls); Dogearded Karma
Necklace  & Earrings (Nordstrom); Watch (Fossil)

There are a few items that create a look that will not let you down 99.99% of the time (and the other .01% you should probably just stay in bed).  A pencil skirt is your secret weapon - any body type can pull off this piece and it always looks sleek and polished. On top, a bright color will play nicely off a solid or subtle pattern (my skirt is a navy pinstripe).  Last and equally as important, every girl should own a pair of leopard heels... they are the quintessential fashion statement that never goes out of style.  So if you are ever in an outfit malfunction situation - remember this fail-safe :) 



Shirt (Banana Republic Outlet); Shorts (Loft); Shoes (Jessica Simpson
find at Marshalls); Earrings (Limited)

These shorts are a Mai Tai and Lei away from getting their own Beach Boys theme song (preferably Kokomo).  Since these shorts enter a room long before I do, I kept the shirt and shoes neutral with minimal accessories. And now the aforementioned drink has made me very thirsty.  Not to mention a Mai Tai's sunset colors would have complimented this outfit nicely... as would a tan Cabana boy ;)



Fishtale braid compliments of my brother's girlfriend 

The South End Blues Band at Summerfest!

My old man playing the harmonica

Family picture

Me and my guy :)

Dress (Max Studio find at Marshalls); Hat & Earrings (Target);  Shoes (Kohls)

On any given weekend in the summer you can find a concert series, fair, or festival... and an easy look for these events that combines fashion and function is a dress, hat, and braid. The biggest summer party in Milwaukee WI is called Summerfest, and my Dad's blues band played on one of the main stages this year!  They put on a great show, and it was one of those rare times the family was all together for something other than a holiday - although I'm sure my Dad would count the event as holiday worthy ;)