Sometimes you have grand plans but they don’t come to fruition. Sometimes that’s because you didn’t work to make them happen (hello, laziness) and other times it’s because forces out of your control make it so your plans have to change. I had some of both this past week which ultimately lead to me not getting this week’s Style Imitating Art outfit photo in front of my inspiration: The Bean.
Downtown Chicago is a wonderful mix of architecture, from the round contours of Cloud Gate to the straight, sometimes harsh, lines of the buildings. I added a bit of both to my outfit. The sweater/cardigan/poncho thing has the lines and my earrings (although difficult to see) are silver balls.
And Chewie, of course. Always have to get in a Chewie photo.
I actually wore this outfit to work a few weeks ago. The cardigan is from Le Tote and I liked it so much that I wanted to get an outfit photo with it! This first opportunity, though, was this weekend. Which means that it can now go back in the mail.
How about you? What did you do this weekend? Did you take an outfit photo for the SIA challenge? No? It’s okay! There’s still time! Just snap a photo and send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) before Tuesday at 8PM Central Time. That way you can be included in the round-up on Wednesday.
Last week I managed exactly one blog post: announcing this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge. Why so little blogging? Well, I was on a work trip to Oakville, Ontario (just outside Toronto) and we worked hard and played hard. Thankfully, I was still able to get my life back on track somewhat this past weekend and managed to get some time in with friends.
That’s where we took this week’s outfit photo: at the entrance to a friend’s neighborhood. The things you see in the suburbs!
For my interpretation outfit, I went with tan and a navy blue accent scarf. I recently purchased this scarf at a local craft show. Not local to Chicago? No worries. You can find them on Etsy from Jaclyn Faye.
Actually, when I first saw this week’s art, I was tempted to wear my cobalt blue top that has a gold zipper. But, believe it or not, I wore that this time last year for an SIA challenge!
So, instead, I went for my tan sweater and my new scarf.
On Monday I took the day off to attend a LuLaRoe training with Annabelle, since I’ve become her right-hand-woman as she starts her own business. We’re even becoming a “brand” in her VIP group on Facebook due to our shenanigans during FB Live sales (join the group so you can experience it for yourself).
Anyway, while some of the training was kind of cheesy and some was downright weird, I fully admit that when we were asked to write down our big hairy dream, I was a bit stumped. But then Annabelle asked me what mine was…and I started crying.
All I’ve ever wanted was to work a job where I felt like I was wanted and needed. Like I wasn’t fighting against the tide. Like I wasn’t trying to change everyone’s mind all the time. Like I wasn’t begging people to want to work with me.
Weird that I’d want to start helping out with what is basically a retail sales gig, right?
But I love customer service. I love helping people. I love connecting people with the information, people, or items that will enrich their lives or help them out in some way. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s one of the reasons I went to library school.
Unfortunately, because I didn’t know it at the time, I went a completely different way with my career and ended up in positions where I was managing change. Where I was moving people’s cheese and trying to get them to like it. And it wears you down, you know?
Do I want to be my own boss? I honestly don’t know if I have the hustle for that. One of my favorite jobs was actually processing criminal case files at the county courthouse because it was fun for me and didn’t require me to do any kind of change management. It just didn’t take as much time as they thought it would (or I’m just really, really efficient) so I was bored a lot. I hate being bored.
I don’t know exactly what my big dream is. I don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up. I just know that I want to do something that helps other people without me having to tell them how much it will help them if they just stop resisting change. And maybe it includes some data entry. Because I weirdly like that.
In the meantime, I’ll help out Annabelle, cry occasionally, and try and figure it out.
What’s your big hairy dream? What do you want to be when you grow up?
Oh, and if you want, I’m hosting a shindig at my house in June where you can shop for these exact Stella & Dot pieces in person. If you want an invite, just leave a comment and I’ll send it to you!
I have a friend. Her name is Annabelle. She’s one of the nicest, most interesting, hardworking people I know. I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten to know her a bit better recently since I’ve ended up behind the scenes of her latest endeavor to raise money for services and create jobs for adults with disabilities.
She recently became a LuLaRoe consultant, which, if you don’t know what that is, is a clothing line that is sold online via Facebook groups or at houses during pop-up shops. Yes, a lot of women sell it to make extra money but Annabelle is hoping to use her side business as a way to create jobs for adults with developmental disabilities. She’s even donating part of her proceeds to her “day job” employer, Garden Center Services.
Because I think this is so awesome, I’ve been helping her out when I can. And spending my own money on things like this dress. It’s called a Julia and it’s basically stretchy t-shirt material.
The thing about LuLaRoe is that when you see a pattern and style you like, you’d better grab it. Consultants order sizes and styles but don’t get to pick patterns. Which means that what they have is always a surprise! I was helping Annabelle unbox her initial inventory shipment when I spotted this dress. Lucky me!
The best way to shop Annabelle’s inventory is either via her Facebook group or at her pop-up shop in Lincoln Park, Chicago. In fact, she’s got one coming up on March 10th from 6 to 10 PM that will coincide with another fundraiser for Garden Center Services – the growARTS art show! So, you can shop for art or you can shop for clothes and either way you’ll be helping fund Garden Center Services.
I did both at the February art show and not only came home with the dress, I also came home with some lovely art.
Art for sale is either painted by adults in the growARTS program or is donated by their family or friends. The artists in the program also get paid a commission for each piece that sells. There is truly something for everyone, though, and I had a difficult time sticking to just this one piece.
Same thing with sticking to just one dress. I have a feeling that if I continue to help out Annabelle behind the scenes I’ll own a lot more “LuLa”.
Oh, and speaking of art, there is so much street art in our new neighborhood! All three of these photos were taken within a 5 minute walk of our house. So fun! And, yes, it’s been warm enough in Chicago to dress like this. I’m loving this weather, too!
For the first time in the history of my Style Imitating Art participation I’ve had to resort to a “flat lay” of my outfit instead of a regular full-body photo.
Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Top – Le Tote (same) | Pants – Le Tote (same) | Earrings – Le Tote (same) | Booties – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same)
I went with stripes, black, white and red to echo the sunset and the silhouette in the painting. And, of course, crescent moon earrings because what comes right after sunset? The moon!
However, as I mentioned, I wasn’t able to get a full outfit photo. Why? Because my life is a mess right now. Currently I am:
Training for the Miami Marathon, which takes place on January 29th
Working for the F3 Half Marathon, which takes place on January 28th
Volunteering for the Good Life Race 5K which has their first meeting this week
Trying to get ready for a trip to Santa Fe on Thursday
Cleaning up our apartment so it can get ready for showings
Packing up our apartment so we can move in January
Trying to buy Christmas gifts for family
Attempting to keep the dog from going stir-crazy while we get several inches of snow and the temperatures drop to below freezing
Doing my day job
So, yeah, blogging is taking a back seat. And, honestly, I don’t know when I’ll have the time or energy to blog regularly in the near future. Especially with our move coming up. And trying to find someone to take over our current lease. And and and. Something’s gotta give.
All that said, I’m taking a break from blogging for the rest of the year. I’ll still be around on Instagram, though, if you want to follow me there.
Have a wonderful holiday/December/winter and I’ll see you in 2017!
I have this habit of wearing something 100 times right after I buy it because it’s foremost on my mind. Currently it’s either these flats or, since it’s gotten colder, these boots.
Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – Paige c/o Shopbop (same) | Booties – Steven c/o Shopbop (same)
I enjoy buying shoes from Shopbop because they carry my two favorite brands: Sam Edelman and STEVEN. They even restocked my favorite Sam Edelman riding boots.
These jeans are also my favorite black jeans I’ve ever bought. Highly, highly recommended.
And, guess what? It’s all on sale, just in time for holiday shopping for yourself or someone else.
Sale ends 11:59 PM Pacific on Monday, 11/28
Last year during this sale I bought my leather cross-body tote bag. This year? I haven’t decided yet. I’m debating either another pair of the Sam Edelman flats because they are SUPER comfortable. Or maybe a pair of Sperry duck boots. Or maybe I’ll be generous and buy some Christmas gifts. Anything you want me to pick up for you?
Who’s ready for Monday?? I’m still battling a cold that hit me hard last week and I ended up spending most of Saturday afternoon in bed napping. It was glorious!
However, that didn’t leave me much time to snap photos, even though I’ve worn some variation of this outfit approximately three times in the last week and a half. I attempted to get a snapshot for this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge but I used the wrong lens and the photos came out blurry and grainy. You can’t even see that my earrings are feather shaped!
Scarf – c/o Moonfish | Vest- Gap (similar) | Shirt – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – Paige c/o Shopbop (same) | Boots – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Earrings – Le Tote (same)
I went with grays and blacks since those are the main colors in this week’s pick. And, of course, my brown riding boots for the tan/orange accent, See, people have been pairing black and brown together for decades!
I was able to get my brown boots shined at last week’s Shoe Drop event and it really made a huge difference! I’ll be writing a whole post on the experience and the event later this week. Let’s just say, though, I think everyone who attended was pretty impressed and is looking forward to seeing what Shoe Drop can do for them.
I received this dress in my latest Le Tote and I LOVED it. Super comfy, interesting pattern, and I figured it would work well for late summer and early fall.
The only downside? I didn’t have the perfect shoes to wear with it for fall. I tried these gray booties but I wasn’t so sure about the outcome.
Dress – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Shoes – H by Hudson c/o Shopbop (similar) | Jacket – Velvet c/o Shopbop (same and on sale!)
Even though the dress has gray in it, I wanted to wear it with brown/tan booties. However, I don’t have any! I have my cheetah wedges but I wasn’t feeling the pattern mixing.
Thankfully, though, Shopbop is having a sale and I’ve got my eye on a few pairs!
The sale ends at midnight Pacific Time on Wednesday, October 14th. So, you can bet I’ll be walking on over to my computer ASAP today to order a pair (or two!) of booties. I’ve linked to my favorites at the bottom of this post.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was meeting to chat with one of the men who started Shoe Drop and I asked you all if you had any questions for me. I was surprised that several of you mentioned that you hadn’t even realized you could get shoes repaired! To be honest, being able to get shoes repaired is one of my favorite parts of living in a big city. I’m hard on my shoes. Because I walk at least half a mile every day as part of my commute they get scuffed, the heels get caught in sidewalk cracks and tear or gouge, and the heel tips of my high heels get worn down.
Since I’ve lived in Chicago I’ve gotten several pairs of shoes repaired but it was always a chore. Finding a place that got good reviews that was also convenient, trying to communicate with the guy behind the counter, not having any idea how much I was going to get charged, getting my shoes back with masking tape stuck inside that I couldn’t remove without leaving a sticky residue.
Overall, while it certainly extended the life of my shoes, it wasn’t always the most pleasant experience.
Enter Shoe Drop. Started by Duncan and Brandon, two self-described shoe lovers, Shoe Drop aims to bring shoe repair into the 21st century. Shoe Drop started with 40 Shoe Drop-specific drop off locations and 110 Pressbox partner locations around Chicago. One of which is in my apartment building! I’d used Shoe Drop before and didn’t even realize it! Anyway, create an account in their app, drop off your shoes at a designated drop off location, fill out the form in the app, and you’re done! They come pick up your shoes, repair them, charge your credit card, and then return your shoes in about 5 days to where you dropped them off. And they text you when they’re ready!
In June of this year they opened their first physical location at 353 N Clark Street where you can not only talk to a cobbler and drop off shoes for repair, you can also get them shined. I wanted to know what happens if I show up with my blush pink leather flats and Duncan told me that was no problem. They have hundreds of colors of polish or they can even shine them with a clear polish that helps hide scuff marks.
Photo courtesy of Shoe Drop
If you do drop your shoes off with them they go to a 4000 square foot facility near the United Center where their team of cobblers work on them. Duncan said that the people in the shoe repair business in Chicago love being able to just fix shoes and not have to worry about running a business. It’s a win-win!
My other personal favorite is that they have a price list and only take credit card (and no need to tip!)
I left my favorite black heeled sandals with them when I visited. They needed new heel tips, a shine, and the heel coverings repaired. When I got them back I swear they looked better than the day I bought them! Plus, they were returned to me in a bag that I can use to drop off more shoes!
Shoe repair might be a little pricey for some people but if you have a pair of shoes you love I say go for it. It sure beats trying to find a replacement pair!
Photo courtesy of Shoe Drop
Shoe Drop’s goal is to open more physical locations where you can stop in for a shine or just drop off all your shoes for repair at once. In the meantime, if you’re in Chicago, check out their locations map and then head on out to bring your sad shoes back to life!
P.S. I’m working with them to put together an event that would offer FREE (or discounted) shoe shines and repairs. Stay tuned!
When I picked out items for my latest Le Tote I didn’t have anything on my calendar that would require a cute dress, but I added one to my shipment anyway. Turns out I then added the Pump Room summer menu preview event at the Public Hotel to my schedule and, voila! A place to wear a cute dress.
Dress – Le Tote (same) | Jacket – Langford Market (similar) | Necklace – New York & Co (similar) | Shoes – Vince Camuto (similar) | Purse – Le Tote (same)
When this dress arrived I realized that I had the perfect shoes to go with it. And I was happy that I’d added the clutch to my Le Tote at the last minute, too. It all went so well together. And, yes, when we took this photo we made sure I was holding the Strawberry Royale since it matched my outfit, too.
Strawberry Royale on the left, Curious Satisfaction on the right
I also tried two other drinks and all were so different! The bartenders at the Pump Room are super creative and come up with some awesome concoctions and were excited to show us how they were made. We also had some wonderful food but, let’s be honest, I’m really just there for the beverages. Although, their Salmon on Crispy Rice with Chipotle Aioli might be my favorite appetizer in the city. I could eat my weight in those. So good!
Anyway, I made Jason take a few more photos when I got home since I was too busy chatting with Emily and Kit while eating and drinking all the things to really get photos.
I’m very lucky to not only live in a city that has so many great places to try but also to belong to a blogger collective that affords us these opportunities.