Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dressing Up for Sunday Brunch

Everyone loves a good brunch with friends, but for Washingtonians, it's a weekly occurrence. After a long hard work week, a Sunday brunch is just what you need to cap off a great weekend of social affairs. Whether you're going to a nearby restaurant after church, inviting friends over for a home cooked meal, or having a potluck with too many delicious foods to choose from, don't forget about your outfit!

There's practically nothing more appropriate for the occasion than a girly, floral dress. Find a great pair of sweater tights (it's still winter after all) and pull out your favorite detailed cardi (everyone should have one already). Put a lovely vintage locket around your neck and wear a pair of oxfords or cute flats. A statement clutch is all you need to make your brunch look a hit!

Get the Look:
1) Dress by Nadinoo - $168 - Anthropologie; 2) Sweater Tights by HUE - $20 - Bare Necessities; 3) Beaded Cardi - $70 - Topshop; 4) Oxfords (in olive) - $69.95 - DSW; 5) Jane Austen's Emma Clutch - $325 - Kate Spade; 6) Vintage Locket - $35 - vgvintage

As an added bonus, I wanted to share a recipe for French Toast that I cooked for all my friends a few weeks ago when we had brunch. My mom made it for my family on Christmas morning, and I've already had another friend snag the recipe for his recent brunch, so it's taste-tested and approved with flying colors. Enjoy!

1 one-pound loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 3/4- to 1-inch slices
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (use up to 1 tsp if you'd like)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup or pancake syrup

Directions: Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Serves 12.

Happy brunching!


P.S. A quick note on the dress I chose for the look, it was designed by Nadia Izruna of Nadinoo. She's an independent designer based in London, and I had the honor of interviewing her a few years back for Dedicated Follower of Fashion and then again for N.E.E.T. Magazine. She was still getting her start and gaining notoriety back then, so I actually screamed when I saw her designs in Anthropologie. I always thought Nadinoo would fit in there, so it's wonderful to see the brand in stores! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

What I Wore: On a Lazy Sunday

Now that I'm supposedly a grownup, I appreciate Sundays more than ever. Halfway through each week, I start longing for my Sunday afternoon nap. By Friday and Saturday, I forget I'm tired and need to rest because the weekend fun draws me in. However, by Sunday morning after church and brunch, exhaustion catches up with me once again, and it's time to pull the covers over my head, shut the curtains, forget about my cares, and sleep it all off.
This long weekend (thank you, President's Day!) has provided a double dose of relaxation, and I have taken full advantage. I needed time to truly relax and catch up with life, give myself a chance to ponder everything that has transpired.
While I've always enjoyed the quick pace out here, I think it's important for one to stop and just think--appreciate or re-evaluate life's events. Too often, we let things come and go without the smallest care, or we don't make time for pursuit of our dreams. Maybe I'm just sentimental or don't want to miss out on an important lesson. Who knows?  
I guess I keep going back to the theme I named for this year: What will you make of yourself? For some reason, it's been coming up constantly, and I know there's a reason for it. All I know is I want to be ready for whatever God is doing in my life and not miss out on it, so that must be why I find myself appreciating and pondering in times of solitude.
On a different topic, I wish I could've snapped a few of these photos outside, as it was so bright and sunny! However, that sun was just a tease because the cold air was too much to bear, so I stayed in the warmth of my cute kitchen. 

Speaking of my house, my friends say that I live in a cottage. It's quaint, cozy, and eclectic--complete with a spiral staircase. More photos to come later on. Since I just moved in about three months ago, I still have some decorating and organizing to do.
Hope you enjoy what is left of this glorious weekend!

What I Wore:
Fringed Cowlneck Sweater - Anthropologie
Jeans by Cult of Individuality - Blue Seven (Oklahoma City boutique!)
Riding Boots by Arturo Chiang - Shoe Gallery (best kept secret in OKC?)
Earrings - Forever 21


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Design School: Color Blocking

Moving forward with Fashionable Conversation, I have some exciting things in the works! First thing you can expect from the blog is more voices. I've always been a huge fan of collaboration because I thrive around others, and I like sharing things I enjoy with my friends (and people in general). To create an even larger "conversation" here on the blog, I'll be bringing in guest writers this year. Partly because I have really hip friends with great things to say and also because I'm a social girl who likes having her friends around. 

Mary: sister and guest writer
That being said, I am very pleased to introduce my first guest writer for Fashionable Conversation during today's post! She is none other than my beautiful sister and best friend: Mary. If you followed my blog during the summer, we did a few outfit posts together, so you probably remember how cute she is. Mary is currently finishing up her last semester of college where she is studying graphic design, and I can't brag enough about how incredibly talented she is and look ahead to how she'll impact the world (side note: I convinced Mary that graphic design was her calling before she chose a degree, and I was right). Welcome, Mary. It's all you today! - Sarah

DESIGN SCHOOL: Color Blocking
Brought to you by Mary

I love color blocking. Apparently, it is trendy.

As a graphic designer, I am picky when choosing prints or garments because I can’t shake my training in trying to rationalize every detail of a design. Why did they put that shape there? Is that a tasteful typeface choice? What about the kerning? Enough of my nerdy-ness. This is a fashion blog. All this to say, I am pleased with the current trend of graphic shapes found in fashion today. From color blocking to geometric-patterned woven sweaters, a well-designed graphic element on a garment always catches my eye.

Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge
My love for color blocking comes from three incredible art and design movements: Constructivism, Bauhaus, and De Stjil. You’ve probably heard of Bauhaus (the British goth-rock band used this term for their name) or De Stjil (The White Stripes used this moniker for their second album).

Constructivism was a design style that utilized basic shapes and color as a means of communicating a feeling. It was most popular in Russia during the early 1900s and vastly used in propaganda style posters, including El Lissitzky's "Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge."

Bauhaus was a radical design school in Berlin, Germany from 1919 till 1933 and was eventually shut down by the Nazis. This didn't keep the artists down though, as they relocated to Chicago, eventually resulting in the awesome art culture that is still there today.

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930
De Stjil, Dutch for “the style,” was a design style that sought abstraction of elements until they became their purest, simplest geometric forms, using mostly or only primary colors. Piet Mondrian, the most well-known artist from this movement, popularized square and rectangular blocks through a series of art pieces, each called composition (see Composition II at left).

What I love about these art movements is that each were visually similar subcultures in three different countries. Rebelling against the conventional art and design at the time, they utilized simple geometric shapes and color as their primary design elements. It's pretty incredible that the style is still fresh and modern in 2013--evidence that good design never dies.

So indulge yourself in color blocking, but please appreciate the roots of this style.

Part One:
1) Jumper - $131.55 - ASOS; 2) Felt iPad Case - $25.50 - MyFeltAttic; 3) Patchwork Clutch - $36 - ASOS; 4) Black & White Dress - $276 - SHOPBOP

Part Two:
5) Blouse by Vince Camuto - $60 - Shoebox; 6) Geometric Brooch Set - $18 - ClairAshley; 7) Skirt by Kate Spade - $178 - Saks Fifth Avenue; 8) Color Block Manicure via New York Times

Mary Alexandra

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dressing Up for Valentine's Day

Arguably the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day is just a day away!

This means two things. First, if you don't have a Valentine, the good news is you still have time...though it IS crunch time. Second, you're going to need a fabulous outfit regardless of whether you go out for a fancy dinner or cook up a little something at home (made with love of course). Take your pick!

Let's say your man has reservations at that new restaurant you've been just dying to try. He also made plans for you both to see your favorite play that happens to be showing on special engagement downtown. What could be better than a red Valentino dress, especially on Valentine's Day?

Valentino brings the elegance factor, a stretchy belt with a heart buckle adds a little spunk, and black pumps lengthen those legs. Create a soft smokey eye with a neutral palette (work that black shadow in the corners of your lid) and paint on a thin flick using liquid eyeliner. Finish it all off with simple, glittery gold topcoat on your fingernails and bright red lipstick to draw attention to that kisser. Keep those locks down around your shoulders in loose, pretty waves. Find a cute little vintage bag to store essentials (powder, lipstick, phone, gum, etc.) while you're out for the night. 

Get the Look: Red silk dress by Valentino - $2,295 - Farfetch; Vintage purse by Edouard Rambaud - $195 - A Cabinet of Curiosity; Black suede pumps with ankle strap - $100 - ALDO; Valentine hearts belt - $24 - Vintage Biffann; Eyeshadow palette - $27 - Urban Decay; Lipstick by NARS (in "heat wave") - $26 - Sephora; Glitter topcoat by OPI (in "I found a pot of gold") - $9.50 - Sephora

Maybe you don't feel like the glitz and glam of a Valentine's Day out about town. Perhaps you prefer letting him cook a full course meal, eating by romantic candlelight, and cuddling during your favorite chick flick.

By all means, don't let the fact that you're relaxed and comfortable keep you from dressing for the occasion. Find a heart-printed blouse (or red top with a heart locket) and pair it with bright skinny jeans and oxfords. Adorn your hair with a sparkly headband and wear some simple studs in your ears. Keep those lips soft and colorful with tinted lip balm; the rest of your makeup should be natural with light eyeshadow, just a touch of eyeliner at the outer corner of your eyelids, and a few brushes of mascara.  

Get the Look: Heart print blouse - $378 - Farfetch; Sequin headband - $35 -; Red skinnies by Rag & Bone - $198 - Intermix; Tinted lip balm - $7 - Burt's Bees; Oxfords - $185 - Madewell; Heart studs - PetitBlue- $10; Valentine's Day movie (rent or buy) - $2 to $6 - Amazon

Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Word of the Day: Vivacious

One time a coworker told me I am "vivacious," which I consider a huge compliment.

Vivacious - Attractively lively and animated; lively in temper, conduct, or spirit.
That outgoing, vivacious girl is going to be famous one day. You should be her friend.

lively - sprightly - spirited - brisk - animated - bubbly - ALIVE

If you ask me, this cute, bouncy melody by Irish songbird, Lisa Hannigan, is a perfect example of what it means to be vivacious...and colorful. 

Check out "What'll I Do" as well. I love happy music!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I Wore: Inauguration Weekend

Inauguration has come and gone, and it was a full weekend of fancy events and fabulous memories. I wanted to share some of fun here. Enjoy!

State Society Gala - Saturday night

There's nothing like the bond with friends from your own state when you no longer live there. In transient DC, state societies are a great way to make fast, lasting friends. Some of my dearest friends in Washington, DC, have been from my home state. I guess we're just drawn to each other.

Our State Society was my favorite event in the getting ready department. I was absolutely in love with my dress, and everything else end up coming together perfectly. I had my hair blown out by Drybar in Georgetown and will forever be a customer. They were pretty behind on all their appointments that day (no surprises since it was Inauguration weekend), and it took quite a while to get me in even with an appointment. When my blowout was complete and beautiful, I went to pay, and they told me it was on them because of my wait. I wasn't expecting it at all, but I do love good customer service. They've got it down.

What I Wore:
Cinderella blue cocktail dress - Adrianna Papell
Sequin clutch - Marshall's
Silver heels - DSW
Floral drop earrings - Forever21

What Katie Wore:
Black cocktail dress - Nicole Miller
Statement necklace - Stella & Dot

What Chelsea Wore: 
Black floor length dress - David's Bridal
Chandelier earrings - her mom's store

The Ceremony - Monday morning
I had a really wonderful seat for the ceremony and could see the President as he gave his Inaugural address! Having the opportunity to observe this historic occasion was worth the cold weather and early morning wake-up call. 

Agriculture Inaugural Grand Ball - Monday night
This was the last of Inaugural events that I attended, and I had a great time dressing up. I was a little tired after the long morning watching the actual ceremony, but after a quick nap and sleeping too long, I was ready to get fancy again--complete with fake eyelashes and bright red lipstick. Chelsea Girl (aka, best friend) and I snapped a few fun photos

What I Wore:
Black floor length dress - Jil Sander
Statement necklace - Accessorize

What Chelsea Wore:
Blue Grecian-like dress - borrowed from a friend
Necklace - her mom's store

Doesn't Chels look like Marilyn Monroe in the second to last photo? Usually, I'm told that I channel  Zooey Deschanel, so I guess we both just look like movie stars. Fine with me.

It's certainly been an unforgettable past few days, more memories made that I'll treasure forever!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inauguration Ready: The Ceremony

Like the Olympics, the Presidential Inauguration only comes once every four years. Come Monday, it will be that time again, and I am very much looking forward to it. Politics aside, this is a historic occasion worth experiencing, especially if, like me, you happen to live in the same city as the President of the United States.

The entire city practically shuts down and security is even tighter than usual for the swearing-in of the country's highest leader. Thousands of visitors from all over the country and world journey to Capitol Hill and gather along the National Mall to watch. It's usually cold and wet, with the threat of snow likely at any moment, but that has never stopped anyone from participating.

The key things to remember when dressing appropriately and fashionably is layering, layering, layering. Find a warm wool sweater (turtlenecks keep cold wind out) and some kind of long-sleeve undershirt for your base. Throw on some leggings under your favorite skinny corduroys. Invest in a comfortable pair of leather boots; flats are best, as you'll be doing a LOT of walking and standing. Buy a pair of earmuffs or a cute knit beret to keep your ears warm and bring some fun bright-colored gloves for those fingers. But most importantly, make sure your coat is classy, fits well, and has some sort of interesting detail (like the bows above). Top it all off with a pair of binoculars around your neck!

Get the Look:
Coat - $132 - ASOS
1) Turtleneck sweater by J. Crew - $85 - Net-A-Porter; 2) Skinny cords - $122 - Stylebop; 3) Leather boots by Frye (in spice) - $325 - Zappo's; 4) Fur earmuffs - $28 - SimplyFurs; 5) Mini cross body bag by Tusk - $182 - Amazon; 6) Yellow knit gloves - $18 - Banana Republic; 7) Vintage binoculars - $34.95 - arcadecache


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inauguration Ready: Grand Ball

While I might not attend a full-blown inaugural ball this weekend, there are plenty of events that absolutely warrant a beautiful gown. If money were no object, I would love to wear the gorgeous combination above. The moment I saw that dress, I knew it was made for a 20-something Washingtonian like myself. What more could I ask for? Vibrant color that is sure to make my eyes pop, accordion pleated skirt that references the 70s, deep yet elegant neckline that begs for a long, icey necklace... Combine all those things with a loose low bun or knot (especially if you have long hair like me), as not to cover up the front or back of the dress, and this dress is ready to be showcased!

It certainly might not be the usual choice for a ball gown, but its flowy elegance would make any girl a standout at the ball. Besides, wouldn't you rather wear something a little unexpected and be the one everyone is talking about?

Get the Look: Pleated gown by Halston Heritage - $495 - Neiman Marcus
1) Vintage evening cape - $60 - 75Studios; 2) Beaded clutch - $126 - Nordstrom; 3) Eyeshadow palette by Shiseido (Snow Shadow) - $33 - Sephora; 4) Geneve lace necklace - $98 - Stella & Dot; 5) Geneve lace earrings - $44 - Stella & Dot; 6) Geneve lace ring - $49 - Stella & Dot; 7) Sparkly silver pumps - $280 - BHLDN


Monday, January 14, 2013

Inauguration Ready: Cocktail Gala

It's an exciting week here in our nation's capital! There is much anticipation and preparation happening for the fancy inaugural events that will be taking place in less than a week. Not surprisingly, I am incredibly excited about these events, not just because it's historic and only happens every four years. Like any stylish, fashion-obsessed girl, inaugural parties can only mean one thing: an opportunity to dress up and probably (and when I say "probably," I mean "absolutely") buy a new dress or two.

As I prepare my inaugural wardrobe, I decided it would be fun to have a short series and let you in on what I might be wearing as I participate in history.

First on the list, I will be attending a fabulous inaugural gala (cocktail attire) this Saturday, and while I haven't landed the perfect dress yet, I dream of something just as elegant as the dress above. Lately, I have been drawn to light-colored slip dresses with a darker lace or sequin overlay. These dresses are everywhere, so you're certain to find one that fits your style. Don't forget to finish off your look with bright red lipstick!

Get the Look: Dress by Sue Wong - $488 - Nordstrom
1) Black fur coat - $840 - Farfetch; 2) Gold silk pumps - $260 - BHLDN; 3) Teardrop earrings - $16 - Accessorize; 4) Clutch - $278 - Kate Spade; 5) Lipstick by NARS (in orange red) - $24 - Sephora


Thursday, January 10, 2013

What will you make of yourself?

New Year's Eve - 2012

A new year.

I can hardly believe it every time I write "2013." I'm amazed at how much time has gone by since I graduated college and moved to this fabulous place I call home. There isn't one moment or memory I would trade.

We all know a new year wouldn't be a new year without goals, so I'd like to share a few of mine moving forward to 2013. 

Uncover old dreams.
However funny it might sound, I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. A re-evaluation of sorts, thinking back on the path that brought me where I am today. While I'm not quite sure what it all means yet, I do know that God puts dreams in your heart for a reason, and your dreams are rarely the same as someone else. Some dreams may never come to pass, some are fulfilled later, and some come about before you can blink twice. Sometimes new dreams are even born from broken dreams.

All good and right things require hard work. This year, I want to pay careful attention to the effort I am putting forth (not just at my job) and make sure that I'm still giving more than my all. If my dreams are worth pursuing and worth having, they deserve my utmost attention and effort. 

Pour into others.
If you know me, you know I love people and will usually choose socializing over sitting at home, even after a full work day/week. I guess you could say the theme of the last two years has been, "Always say yes" (channeling a little Yes Man). I love making new friends and discovering what I can learn from them. Yes, I actually enjoy networking. But sometimes I wonder how much I'm really investing in my friends. How am I showing that I care about them? What am I doing for them? How am I helping meet their needs? I want to find more lasting ways to invest in people--beyond the surface. That could mean sending a note of encouragement, giving a book away that influenced me for the better, mentoring a younger friend, or simply actively listening to one who is hurting (really being there, not just in the room).  

Plan ahead with my wardrobe.
I want to take a day, once or twice a month, to evaluate what I have and what I need. Upon each evaluation, I'll do a fashion inventory and make a list of things (dubbed "essentials" or "desires") to keep on hand when I'm out window shopping (we all know I never just window shop though). During inventory, I'll pull together new outfit combinations, snap a photo, and save everything for future use. Currently, I have a reminder on my calendar to prepare outfits a week in advance, and having a database of all my outfits will be helpful in this success! 

Blog at least once a week. 
Long post, short post, whatever I long as it HAPPENS. I miss blogging a lot, and I feel like a part of myself is missing without regularly writing about fashion. So I'm going to devote time every week to brainstorming ideas, writing up posts, and being inspired by other fabulous bloggers. IFB is a great resource, and I need to use it more often for ideas and blog development. No need to re-invent the wheel! In addition, I'd really like to get connected with other fashion bloggers in my area. There are some really stylish people around here!

Continue living a healthy lifestyle. Body, mind, and spirit.
Body: Overall, I feel like I did a great job being active last year. I easily walked up to 25 miles per week, just during my commute to and from places (the perks of living in a walking city). I also started running regularly and occasionally did Insanity with my best friend Chelsea (girl in the blue dress). This year, I want to continue all of these habits, get more rest, and add Pilates DVDs to the mix.

Mind: I had wonderful plans for my intellectual health last year, and I did okay. I read and watched the news every day, constantly got lost in Relevant Magazine articles, and attempted reading several books for book club. I just need to do more of all of that and actually finish books.

Spirit: Reading the Bible and going to church impacts my life. I need both, and when I throw them to the wayside, my life suffers and I lose my sense of purpose. I need to invest more in these things this year.

Okay, this turned into a novel of a post. Glad to be back though. We'll be talking more soon!