BirdFashion Road Trip Essentials

I don’t know about your part of the world, but it certainly feels like summer here in Texas. What better time than now for a good old-fashioned road trip? It’s a summer staple in America; we have books and movies and songs about the event, and to my mind, it’s an excellent chance to experience something new without ever having to get in a TSA line.

I just got through with a wonderful road trip with my parents and sister. We drove from Texas to Massachusetts, and it was incredible. On this trip, I not only saw some gorgeous sights, ate amazing food, and talked to friendly people, but I was inspired to blog about what I wore and took with me that made my road trip even better. If you’re hitting the road this summer, here are some suggestions on what you can bring along to enjoy the journey just a little bit more.

  • Clothing that isn’t restrictive – It wouldn’t be a road trip without hours spent in the car, so your clothing choice is going to determine a lot of your comfort on this trip. Structured waistbands are probably not your friend here; opt for sundresses, maxi skirts, or leggings and tunic tops. Nobody looks good after ten hours in a packed car, so embrace it and get comfy! For undergarments, bust out your comfiest sports bra or t-shirt bra. You don’t need underwires trying to shank you while you’re napping against the car window. When you consider shoes, consider the weather, but have one pair of slides or flip-flops that you can wear while you’re actually in the car. Sitting for a long time makes your feet swell, so you need something you can kick off. You can pack your comfy or cute shoes in the trunk for sightseeing once you stop for the day.
  • Some way to be alone – This sounds counter-intuitive, since you’re going on a road trip to go somewhere *with people* right? But let’s be realistic here: after a couple days on the road, you’re gonna run out of things to talk about, or people’s normal habits are going to get annoying. You can create some privacy for yourself even when you’re crammed into a vehicle together, but it takes some preparation. If you like to read (and can do so without getting carsick), pack a novel or two to get lost in, or bring your Kindle. Does music soothe your soul? Bring an external charger for your phone and some comfortable earbuds so you can get your groove on without a dead phone ruining your day. Coloring books (like my personal favorite) or small craft projects are good options too, as long as you have plenty of sealable storage options for your supplies. Losing a 64-pack of colored pencils under the seats wouldn’t go over well with the driver.
  • A way to record the journey – You’re going to want to celebrate and remember this epic trip you’re taking, so bring along a way to memorialize it! Ditch the phone-camera and bring a legit video camera along if you have (or can borrow) one. Or if you want to travel light and aren’t going for an HD movie experience, keep your phone and post some good moments to Facebook Live or Snapchat so your friends can follow along. Of course, if you’re feeling lo-fi and a little artsy, you can always go for a journal or a sketchbook. Bonus with those last two: you never need to charge them.
  • Car-appropriate skin care – Long car rides to places with different elevations, weather, and allergens can do a number on your precious skin, and leave you looking like the road you came in on when you disembark. In addition to your regular morning and nighttime skin routines when you get to your AirBnB, consider an in-car skincare pack. You can use this for skin emergencies, or boredom emergencies (car spa party for the passengers?). Pack a small bag with moisturizing face mist, sheet masks, cleansing wipes, body lotion, and a travel-friendly refreshing eye cream. Depending on what your skin does in the car, you’ll have a chance to address it on the go without making a mess. Don’t forget to put that sunscreen on everyday!
  • A sense of adventure! – There is no such thing as a perfect road trip. You might get lost, have a flat, get into an argument with your car-mates, or find out when you get there that the art gallery you really wanted to see is closed for renovation. It’s disappointing, and it’s *completely* okay to feel bad when things go wrong. But road trips are about having an adventure, and those disappointments can either be just disappointing, or they can be part of the adventure. Getting lost may take you through countryside you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That argument could end in one of those deep, soul-searching conversations you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Your favorite gallery might have been closed, but what else is in that town that might similarly blow your mind? I can’t guarantee you road-trip success, Fledglings, but I can say with some certainty that if you practice optimism and gratitude the whole way, it will be much easier to roll with any surprises that come your way, pleasant or not-so-much.

Safe travels! Comment with some photos or stories about your own road trips and what products you can’t leave home without.


Dressing for the Dog Days

It’s hot, Fledglings. I mean, it is burn-your-ass-on-your-seatbelt hot, or at least it is here in west Texas. I’m already weeping for our electric bill with all these 100-degree days.

My skin is also weeping.

So what’s a girl to do, when it’s hot enough to melt the very trees in the yards, but we still have to be in public sometimes and nudity is frowned upon in those kinds of places?

Maximum airflow, people. Take a page from the books of Earthlings who live their whole lives in, say, Saudi Arabia, or India. It gets waaaaay hotter there, and yet the people who live there largely manage to leave the house in clothing. How, you ask? Think about the clothing in those regions. One word describes it: FLOWY. You don’t want tight, structured clothing right now – you’ll cook inside your skinny jeans! No, this weather is made for some wardrobe staples that are light and airy and that are just made to get you through these dog days without melting into a puddle in your office parking lot.

  1. Maxi skirts. You might think that shorts or a short skirt would be more breezy, but a couple of factors interfere with comfort here: 1) Too-short clothing might run you afoul of HR, who is unlikely to appreciate how sweaty you are. 2) If you sit in an office chair all day, the last thing you want is your sweaty thighs getting stuck to said chair. Not breezy. Even if maxis aren’t your jam, light cotton or cotton-blend skirts that fit loosely are going to be your friend when it’s scorching out. Go for knee-length or longer, to prevent stickage or unfortunate run-ins with HR, and make sure that if your skirt is really thin, you’ve got on solid-colored undies. Trust me here.
  2. Tank tops. Wait, didn’t I just talk about not showing a ton of skin at work? Yes, but bear with me, the next suggestion has that covered – literally. Loose-fitting tank tops can be paired with any number of bottoms, from the aforementioned maxi skirts, to your short-shorts for non-work hours. They’re versatile, and as long as they’re not clingy, they’ll keep you cool. I like Lane Bryant’s tanks when I can afford them, because they’re actually long enough to cover my waistband, something other tank tops seem fail at repeatedly. Their lace trim cami is my favorite.
  3. Scarves and shawls. Told you I’d get you around that tank-top thing! You don’t want a scarf that will add warmth here, obviously. You want something as thin and gauzy as possible, but a light wrap will cover your shoulders to fend off sunburns outside and the dreaded Office Chill inside, so they’re really invaluable. Opt for thin cottons, lacy fabrics, or maybe even repurpose a sarong from your last beach trip as a summery wrap to keep your arms covered at the office. You might also find kimono cardigans or lightweight button-up shirts that will do the job. Get that airflow going!
  4. T-shirt dresses. You know those mornings where you slept for crap, and you just know you’re going to be late? These are the PERFECT days to throw on a t-shirt dress and some flat sandals and go to work. No matching, no worrying about mixing the wrong patterns – it’s one piece, it’s light and airy, and it’ll give you that casual Parisienne off-duty-model look that we should all be going for, because being over-styled takes way too much time. T-shirt dress too short? Pair it with capri-length leggings for the office, and ditch them on the weekend.

Got it? Good. Now go out there and keep cool, my Fledglings! We’re all in this together. Well, except for the Australians. Those guys get winter now.

Wedding Attendee FAQ’s

So you’ve been invited to a wedding. Or five. Adulthood, right guys? Now, before we all get lost in a fog of despair over all the prep needed, let your friendly Fashion Bird set your minds at ease on at least a few points. That anxiety you’re feeling is likely stemming from not knowing what’s expected of you, and it’s possible you’re worried you’ll embarrass yourself or cause trouble for the couple on their big day by not knowing WTF is going on. So let’s get some things nailed down about what you need to do in order to be a good wedding guest.

Wedding Ecard
Step One.
  1. Do I have to buy new clothes? Only, and I do mean ONLY, if you want to, or if you don’t own anything that fits the dress code. For really formal stuff, you can also consider renting an outfit from a formal shop, or borrowing from a friend if your budget is a little skint with all these weddings to go to. For formal dresses, also try thrift and consignment shops – I’ve given every formal and bridesmaid dress I’ve ever worn to Goodwill, so there’s at least a handful out there for sale.
  2. I have like four weddings to go to this summer – do I need a different outfit for each? Only if Vogue is asking you to cover these weddings, darling. Again, if you don’t want to buy new clothes, and you have an LBD that will work just fine for all these weddings, by all means, rock that dress. Try changing up your hair and jewelry, and maybe even your shoes, so that you feel like you’re in a whole new outfit. I bet you fool anybody who sees you at more than one event.
  3. I don’t really do much with my hair, but this wedding is formal. Halp? No worries, Fledgling, I got you. First off, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple – the 2016 trend is toward very natural locks, without a lot of styling. So if you just wash and dry your hair as you normally do and leave it down, you’ll look runway-ready. However, if you want your hair up and are befuddled at the instructions for those fancy updos, try going to anywhere that does haircuts and asking if you can book an appointment for a wash, blowdry, and updo the day of your event. It’ll cost a little money, but not a ton more than a good haircut and style, and if it makes you feel like you’re ready to attend the crap outta that wedding, then it’s probably worth it. Bring a pic of what you want done, so the stylist knows how to proceed.
  4. Do I have to get them a gift? In general, yes, you should get the happy couple a gift if you’re attending their wedding. Considering that they’re spending around $70 just on feeding you – not counting favors, cake, linens, DJ, flowers, tables and chairs, multiplied by however many people RSVP – you should really get them a gift to wish them well, and to thank them for spending literally tens of thousands of dollars to host this event. A considerate couple will have a range of prices on items in their registry, and if you have a group of friends who all know the happy couple, you can all chip in on something more expensive.
  5. I got invited to a bunch of showers and bachelorette parties and I LITERALLY CANNOT. How do I get out of these? Fledglings, you are NOT required to attend ANYthing. That’s one of the few perks of being a grownup, yanno – if you can’t afford to fly to LA, get a hotel room, rent a car, AND attend a wedding…don’t. RSVP no, and move on with your life. If it’s someone you care deeply about, like a relative or a bestie, use some of the money you didn’t have to spend on cross-country travel to get them something great off their registry. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand that we can’t all afford that kind of travel. If you have social anxiety and the very concept of a bachelorette party makes you want to hide under the bed, there’s a very good chance your friends know this about you already, and that they invited you to be nice and to let you know you’re welcome IF you feel up to coming. Remember, these are your friends. They’re not suddenly not-your-friends, and they haven’t forgotten who you are or what’s going on in your life. Give your loved ones some credit; they know you have a life.

So there you have it. I hope you feel better-equipped to attend (or not!) all these upcoming events and to celebrate with your friends. Remember that if you’re stumped on anything wedding-related, the best person to ask is someone close to the bride, but not the bride herself, because she’s busy. No no, don’t argue with me – she’s busy.

A Comment on Native-Inspired Style

This is a little late to the game, because I write posts early and schedule them out for future post dates, but 2016 has seen this confluence of fashion factors that’s led to a lot of Native American-inspired beauty and fashion products hitting the markets. You’ve got Southwestern patterns on clothes, there are accessories that sport feathers and beads, and there are ‘music festival-inspired’ beauty lines that are very clearly pulling from Native American culture (Yeah, I’m looking at you, MAC – get your act together).

So let’s get into this, because it’s a complicated subject. First things first, I can only talk about my own culture here, and I can only give my own opinion. Natives don’t have some hive-mind, where we all share the same social and political views. Our lives and opinions are just as diverse as that of any other group, which is one of the issues with a lot of festival fashion – it views Natives as a monolith, one single people with one single worldview, which couldn’t be further from the truth and is honestly a pretty dismissive take on any culture. Compare ‘all Natives wear feathers’ to ‘all black people like watermelon’ – if the latter sounds really offensive and rude, the former should too. There’s no reason to lump people into groups by race or heritage; there’s too many people in those groups for them to have all had the same lives and formed the same opinions.

My family is Okla Chahta – we are members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. There are other Choctaw in the U.S., as well as other Native tribes, and all of them have had different experiences. My tribe was subjected to the Indian Removal Act and walked the Trail of Tears. The Southwestern and Pacific-Northwest tribes weren’t subjected to that, although they’ve certainly experienced their own struggles.

Are you getting some idea of the complicated histories of these various tribes now? There are entire graduate degree programs devoted to Native American studies; you can’t just walk up and say ‘Natives do/look like/think this,’ because an informed person’s response would be, ‘which Natives?’

So when I see white festival-goers wearing Native headdresses (cheap, tacky versions of the war bonnets worn by various Plains tribes, like the Sioux), my first thought is, “What an idiot.” Even if they were Native, and a member of a tribe that has war bonnets as a part of their culture, AND had the tribal standing to be allowed to wear one – they wouldn’t wear it to Coachella.

Native clothing is riddled with history and symbolism; nothing we put on our bodies as far as tribal dress is ‘just a thing to cover us up.’ Before European contact, most Native tribes in the southern U.S. didn’t wear much clothing at all, because those tribes weren’t Christian and had no concept of bodily shame to need to deal with. Clothes were for keeping warm in winter, or keeping the sun off. After European contact, and especially post-Removal, when Native kids were taken from their families and raised in European-style boarding schools (and adults were sent to hell-holes like this) where they were forced to wear ridiculous Victorian clothing and forbidden to speak their native language, traditional clothing moved forward as something Native people could claim as their own. Native clothing was something that honored who they were as they continued to fight for better living conditions and to keep their language and culture from being diluted. Nowadays, that symbolism holds strong, and it serves as a reminder of who we are and how we’re connected to our tribe.

So when I see white people put on random beads and feathers and run around at a music festival getting drunk and high, or when I see a massive makeup brand like MAC going, ‘Noooo, this makeup TOTES isn’t Native-inspired!’ I get annoyed. The drunk festival-goers could have worn literally anything else to watch 21 Pilots perform, and MAC could have brought in a Native designer like B Yellowtail to consult on their line, rather than making a bunch of fake-Native makeup and trying to claim it isn’t that. The problem isn’t that the makeup is ugly or that it’s not Native-looking – it’s that ‘Vibe Tribe’ is makeup made by white people, and marketed to white people, with Native-looking designs and names on it to make it more appealing…to white people. We Natives are left completely out of the equation here, but these products are clearly Native-inspired! Are we seeing the problem yet? Either don’t make products representing other cultures, OR bring those other cultures into the production process so that we benefit from you using our culture. That’s the issue with appropriation: one group of people co-opts another group’s culture, AND the other group doesn’t get any input or benefit from that co-opting. This is OUR culture; it’s not for other people to profit off of. We had quite enough of that in the 1830’s, thanks.

So how to wear Native-inspired clothing respectfully? That is the question, because all these geometric patterns and bright colors are speaking to my heart, and I hope they’re speaking to yours. There’s no reason not to wear beautiful clothing that has ethnic designs on it, but be aware of a few things while you’re shopping:

  1. Don’t accidentally wear sacred clothes for everyday stuff. It’s like the war bonnet thing: those are ceremonial, and really important to the tribes who wear them. They’re not decorations for your sweaty head. B Yellowtail makes some stunning scarves, and much as I would like one, I wouldn’t wear it because I’m not from a Plains tribe. I might put it up as art, something to talk about Native culture with people who see it, but I wouldn’t wear it, because it depicts a sacred ritual for a tribe I don’t belong to. It would be rude of me to look at that and go, ‘This is purdy!’ and then wear it around like the importance of the design doesn’t matter to me, when if you read the description, it’s clearly important to the designer and the people she’s representing. This dress, on the other hand, is a gorgeous pattern that was designed by Native designers specifically to make dresses out of – it was designed to be a fashion piece, not to represent a sacred ritual. Do you see the difference? There’s nothing wrong with wearing Native-looking clothes, but make sure they’re meant to be sold and worn as fashion, not as part of an important cultural event.
  2. Avoid costume/joke clothing. Nothing makes you look stupid faster than slapping on some leather fringe and saying, ‘Look, I’m an injun!’ It’s not funny. It’s definitely not clever. And it’s really not worth supporting the people who make jokey, stereotypical costumes making fun of Native people (or any people). So maybe just skip that entirely.
  3. If you really appreciate a culture, learn about them. Slapping on some clothes or jewelry with no understanding of the influences behind them is just lazy. Instead of taking the clothing at face value, use your purchases as an opportunity to learn more about other cultures and their beliefs and values. Being a more-informed person never hurt anybody, and if you have pretty clothes that now have more meaning for you because you understand and appreciate the cultural influences behind them, then you’re just winning all around, really. And then you can shut down other people when they spout ignorant BS about cultures they don’t understand. We need more people like that in the world.

Please notice that I’m not telling anybody to avoid any of the gorgeous Native-inspired or Southwestern clothing going around right now (although that ‘Vibe Tribe’ thing still annoys me). I’m saying don’t use it as an excuse to act like a moron, or to co-opt something that’s supposed to be sacred and make it your latest fashion find. I’m saying learn about other cultures and appreciate their differences. Own the fact that these designs are, in fact, inspired by Native tribes and cultures, and you the non-Native are borrowing those designs from someone else’s culture because you think they’re pretty. That’s okay – not acknowledging that fact is what’s not okay.

What I Learned Planning a Wedding

When I was an actor at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, we would make ‘What I Learned’ or WIL posts on the Mondays after Faire weekends, to sort of recap our experiences and share our growth and knowledge from the weekend. I’m going to do that here, but instead of Faire, I’m going to enumerate what I learned planning a wedding – my wedding, actually, which is kicking off June 11th, 2016. I’ve been planning this thing for the past year-and-change, and hoo boy, has it been a learning experience. If you’re planning a wedding, in a wedding, or attending a wedding, I think you can benefit from my experience.

  1. You HAVE TO get your venue sorted out first. Like, it’s not optional – everything else depends on where the wedding will be. We saved a ton by having it at the church where we’re members, so our ‘venue fee’ consists of a donation to the church. The other venue spaces we checked out ran from $4,000 to $6,000, not counting the fact that we would be required to use their caterers, DJ, and servers/bartenders, AND we’d have to rent tables, chairs, and linens from the venue itself, meaning no shopping around or negotiating the price. I’m glad we went with the church, and the reception is going to be in the Parish Hall, which already has tables and chairs. Saves a bundle right there.
  2. There’s no such thing as ‘requirements’ for a wedding. Seriously, if you’re married by the end, don’t let anybody tell you that you ‘have to’ do whatever – you don’t ‘have to’ do anything you don’t want to do. We decided that dealing with caterers and bartenders and music was going to stress us both out, so you know what we did? We skipped it. We’re having cake and champagne after the reception, and then we’re all going to clean up and go rest. I can’t tell you how much that thrills me.
  3. It’s gonna get stressful. No matter how on-budget you are, no matter how much everything goes right, it’s just damned stressful because there are so many moving parts and deadlines and things that are out of your control. Don’t be afraid to see your doc, like I did, and get some anti-anxiety meds to get through that last rough bit. I wasn’t sleeping well, and was having trouble going out in public, so getting some medication from the doctor was a good call for me. You may not feel that anxiety, and I’m so glad there’s a chance you won’t. But if you do – don’t be afraid to get some help.
  4. Attendants need to be ready to work. This is something I’ve learned from other people’s weddings – your attendants are not there to party and to look good and to hit on groomsmen. They gots to get stuff DONE. This is your get-stuff-done TEAM, and when you pick your wedding party, you should pick ladies who have your back, who are willing to spend time helping you with tedious wedding stuff, and who can help you handle the pressure. A bunch of flighty party girls aren’t going to come through for you in the clutch, and that’s what you need for your wedding. Choose wisely, Fledglings.
  5. If in doubt, delegate. This is one of those times where it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses and, as far as possible, put emotions aside when making decisions. Personally, I’m not super great with money, and I don’t have much of it. So while I made up a budget estimate, actually acquiring the funds and paying for all those million wedding things fell to my fiance. He’s a finance wizard, so I felt confident letting him do that, and we’ve stayed informed on what we’re both doing the whole time, so there haven’t been any budgetary kerfuffles like there would be if I’d been trying to handle that. Likewise, I told my bridesmaids to find dresses they liked. I don’t live in their bodies, and I don’t know their finances, so I don’t necessarily know what they’d like to wear. I purposely let go of the concept that I needed to make other people look a certain way for my wedding, because that’s creepy and weird, and I’m so glad I did. They found gorgeous dresses from EShakti, and I couldn’t be happier with them.
  6. It’s hard to not need to control everything – but it’s also crucial. Real talk: some parts of wedding planning are just uncontrollable. Vendors may not be available. The price of something is the price, and it’s rude to try and haggle with vendors. Some people won’t be able to make it. Relatives will have ~opinions~ and you’ll want to tell them off. But you can’t control what other people do or think. Wedding planning is an exercise in self-knowledge and self-control, and it is HARD. Be nice to yourself, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a vendor or situation that isn’t giving you what you want – but also realize that the world is not a wish-granting factory, and compromise will soothe your mind more than trying to shoehorn everything into going one specific way. Wish Granting Factory
  7. People do NOT know how to RSVP. I wish they did, but they don’t. People – yes, even your closest friends – can be gigantic flakes who wait until the last minute and make you go bug them for an answer, and they’re going to lose your invitation and not know what they need to do, and you’re going to wonder if they secretly hate you because they can’t commit to going or not going to a thing that’s on a Saturday and they’re STRESSING YOU OUT BECAUSE YOU NEED A HEAD COUNT. *pant pant* You can either blow up and lose friendships, or you can vent to your intended and your attendants and handle it as best you can. What I had to do was set a firm close date for the guest list, and everyone who didn’t respond by then (we had about six) were assumed to not be attending. A month before it closed, my attendants, fiance, and I started calling, e-mailing, and FB Messaging people to get them to respond. ‘RSVP’ is French for ‘please respond’ – if someone needs you to RSVP, they need AN ANSWER, not just an answer if you’re coming. Once you plan a wedding, you’ll have a new appreciation for the importance of figuring out your life and committing to an RSVP one way or the other in a timely manner. I would hope.
  8. Big-box bridal places are kinda crappy. I get that sometimes it’s your only option, but OMG I’ve had so much frustration with some of the bridal chains in the past. I decided to avoid that by going to a boutique wedding dress store for mine – yes, my dress cost a good chunk of the budget, but it’s also perfectly-fitted and ready on time, two things that were not the case for the brides I’ve seen go through the chain stores. If it’s in your budget, go to a higher-end bridal shop with good reviews. It’ll save you a ton of stress and you’ll get a lot more of a custom look. Again, try online and try your higher-end department stores for bridesmaid dresses – you never know what you’ll find, but I guarantee you’ll have more options than you will at a bridal chain store.
  9. Prioritizing is key. Turns out, unless you have some kind of unlimited slush fund (and if you do, please contact me about advertising on my blog), it is literally impossible to afford the perfect wedding. Getting things custom-made costs more, getting things rush-ordered costs more, getting out-of-season flowers costs more, getting things from independent artisans costs more. It’s super easy to blow a wedding budget, because there’s always, ALWAYS ‘just one more thing’ that you ‘have to have.’ My fiance and I really had to look at what we wanted to get out of our wedding, and then spend our money accordingly. For most of my friends, they wanted a great reception, but for us, we’ve ended up spending the vast majority of our budget on the ceremony itself. It turns out, that’s where our heart was, so we went with it, and went understated with the reception. If it’s the wedding you want, your loved ones will be thrilled with it, and if they’re all that concerned about whether or not you hire caterers, inform them that they can shell out the five grand for that vendor.
  10. You find out who your friends are when you plan a wedding. I have had so many people help with this wedding. Not just my party – our Best Man’s fiancee offered to be my day-of coordinator! What an absolute gem she is. I’ve had friends send me links, advice, offer to show up early and help set things up, not to mention donating to our Honeyfund to help pay for the Hawaii trip. People came out of the woodwork with their generosity and offers of help and support. Planning this wedding has also reminded me how great my fiance is – he’s been cool under pressure like no other, and he’s had my back every step of the way. If that’s not a great start to a life together, I don’t know what is.

Suffice it to say, I’ve learned quite a lot through this wedding. I’ve learned things about myself, my partner, my friends, and yeah, about the bridal industry and all its foibles. It’s been a growing-up experience for me, to be sure. If you get married in the future, whether it’s a near future or a far one, I hope you have a similar experience to mine. I hope you weather the stresses well, I hope you learn things, and I hope you end up grateful for the whole process, but especially for the end result.

Product Review: Shovava Wings Scarf

Okay, we’re gonna talk about skin care next weekend, but I had to interject to tell you about this amazing artist I found.

Ever since I saw these scarves, I thought to myself, “I need one of these in my life.” Through the power of Google, I found Shovava’s Etsy Shop. You can just feel the love she puts into these scarves.

Tax refund in hand, I ordered one, and asked her if I could make a blog post about the scarf once it came in, to which she readily assented. I have a lot of ‘meh’ purchasing experiences (don’t we all), so when I come across a really fantastic product, I want to give its creator credit so that they can keep creating. As the economy trends toward casual labor, like temps and part-time workers, we should all be pulling to spend our dollars on quality and service, not on cheap, breakable crap.

Just look at those colors.

I went with the browns and greens because I wanted a light wrap to go over spring and summer dresses, although she makes scarves in deep blues and reds as well. She can’t do tracking on overseas packages, but mine arrived with zero issues, and I’d order from her again even with the no-tracking thing. It ships from Australia, so us American ladies just have to wait for the mail to come in, which takes a good couple of weeks.

But man, is it worth it. I got the cotton one, and it’s light enough to be comfortable in hot weather, but it adds just enough warmth and coverage to an outfit. West Texas can be cool and breezy in the mornings, but ramp up to searing-hot by afternoon, so thin layers are a must in this climate. I’ve already worn it with a maxi dress, and I fully anticipate wearing it over shorts and a tank top in the near future.

Style tip: wear it with your favorite pug shirt.
Don’t let it get rained on, and don’t toss it in the washing machine – this baby is a work of art, so following the care instructions is important. Of course, I’ve already snagged one teeny-tiny thread on the back of a chair, but I think I got it worked back in. Just my luck, of course.

The flowier the better for summer, guys.
In short, go to the link up top and give Shovava some love (and money). Also, follow her Insta because pretty much everything she does is gorgeous.

Okay, next weekend is definitely skin care! I’m gonna tell you all about my oily, oily face. You don’t want to miss that, now do you?

Accessorizing for Work


Wow, this turned into a two-month project on getting dressed for work! I hope breaking it down into sections like this is helping you build a work wardrobe that’s Affordable, Appropriate, Comfortable, and Beneficial. Accessories – that’s your jewelry, belts, scarves, and shiny hair-things – are the icing on the cake, and a good way to add personality to what might be a bland dress code. Changing up your accessories is a cheap way to update your wardrobe when you don’t have the budget for new clothes, as a lot of the things I’m going to talk about can be had for cheap, both at retail stores and thrift shops. Here’s a tip: if your neighborhood or town tends to have good garage sales, get some cash out and hit them up one weekend. I bet you come away with a ton of new accessories for a handful of couch change.

Let’s go over some rules for keeping your accessories from getting in your way while you’re working – if they’re a pain to manage all day, they’re not Beneficial.

  • Consider Your Earrings. If you work in an office, there’s a chance you’re on the phone a lot. If you’re wearing large, heavy earrings, there’s a good chance every phone call you make starts with a loud clacking noise as your earrings collide with your phone’s receiver. Consider small earrings to circumvent that, and also to keep them from getting caught in your headset or headphones if you use those. Why make it harder on yourself to do your daily work?
  • Watch The Bling. You love shiny things? Me too! Just remember that too much sparkle can be distracting, and you might be giving off an ‘I’m here to party’ vibe as opposed to an ‘I’m here to work’ vibe. There’s no reason to be boring, but a whole arm full of sparkly bangles is likely better for Da Club than it is for giving a PowerPoint presentation to your boss. Much like with your hairstyle, you want your accessories to help draw attention to you and what you’re saying, not to themselves. Make sure your look is working to showcase you, not cover you up.
  • Hair Accessories and Hairstyles Have the Same Rules. If your adorable hair clip is falling out all day, it’s neither Beneficial nor Comfortable. If your headband gives you a headache after an hour of wearing it, it’s not Comfortable. Give your new hair accessories a trial run on the weekend to make sure they’ll survive the work day and not drive you crazy or have you fixing your hair at your desk all day.
  • Safety First. We all work in different settings, and some of our work environments can make certain types of jewelry a safety hazard. Is your job shredding papers all day? Your flowy scarf might just get snagged in the shredder if you’re not careful. Do you work around animals or kids? Both of those things loooooove to yank on jewelry, so anything dangling and shiny puts you in danger of a certain amount of pain if one of them decides they want to play with your necklace or, God forbid, earrings. If you ever have to get supplies from a warehouse, rings can get caught on warehouse shelving and cause, um, terrifying injuries. It’s important to adjust your look to fit the work you’re doing, so you’re not setting yourself up for a painful or embarrassing experience, or dealing with broken jewelry that was special to you.
  • No Hats! Yeah, I said it. But style maven Lauren Conrad said it way before I did. Hats are pretty much always too casual for a business-casual office. Wearing a beanie because it’s cold or raining is fine, but don’t wear it in the office (even if it’s cold), and make sure you either have your hair pulled back or can run your fingers through it before you start working so you don’t have moppy hat-hair all day.

The main idea here is that you should think about how functional your accessories are, as well as how good they look. If you have a simpler look for work, that’s just fine – jazz it up after hours and really enjoy your off time.

So what should the non-blingy professional lady wear to her business-casual office? Try this: get together one or two of each type of jewelry you like, and rotate through those during the work week. Personally, I hate wearing bracelets, so I don’t have those in my work rotation, but if you do, go for it! Just make sure they’re not getting in the way of your work.

For earrings, I have a pair of pearl studs and a pair of little drop earrings made of sea glass that I got in Del Mar, California, and I pretty much just rotate those two pairs depending on my mood and outfit. Every once in a while I’ll bust out the beautiful Kendra Scott earrings I got last Christmas, but they’re a little heavy and, as I mentioned before, they clack against the phone when I’m making calls, so they’re not my go-to earrings for work (although they are my go-to earrings for everything else because I love them).

One accessory I dearly love is necklaces. In case you haven’t caught on, I get my jewelry from all over the place – half my stash is vintage and belonged to my grandmothers, some of it I picked up while traveling, and quite a lot were gifts. Don’t overlook the chance to score some adorable jewelry at street fairs or tiny local shops when you’re out and about – the ones with stories attached to them are the best, and jewelry is a really easy souvenir to pack in your carry-on.

As for how to style your jewelry, there’s a lot of advice out there, and I highly encourage you to do some research, see what the ‘rules’ are, and then break them as you see fit. Yeah, even my ‘rules’ – none of this is hard and fast, because personal style is just that: personal. It made me feel better at first to learn the guidelines of what necklaces to pair with what neckline, and what hairstyles go best with what size of earrings, but once you have those basics down, don’t be afraid to mix it up and break some rules. As long as you think you look great, that’s all that matters.

So now you’re completely dressed and accessorized for work! Doesn’t that feel good? Next week we’ll talk about makeup…as much as I can talk about makeup, seeing as I hardly ever wear it. If you’re not a makeup person either, but you might want to try it out just for fun, you should check out next week’s post. I’m gonna make it easy on you.