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!