The Latest Craze: Nail Art

I’ve been seeing a lot of crazy, decorative nails everywhere, especially on fashion blogs and Pinterest. I’ve loosened up a lot about nail polish over the years, getting older AND more liberal and open-minded :), but the craziest thing I ever did was paint my toenails blue and pink before my sister had her first baby, Anna Jane.

{My sister and her husband didn’t find out what they were having, and when my mom, sister, and I got our second pedicures before my niece was born (she was two weeks late – my poor sister), we each got our toenails painted to show our prediction about the baby’s gender: my sister got blue, my mom got pink (a grandmother’s intuition!), and I did pink and blue. I wish I had a picture, but suffice it to say, it was very daring for me at the time.}

The nail art craze pushes the boundaries even further; I’m not sure if I’m ready to embrace the trend, though. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing neon blue or purple or green, but I’m afraid that might look a little silly on a 42-year old, so I’ve held off. I never get polish on my fingernails – I hate it when it chips and end up taking if off most of the time – but I love a good pedicure. Now that we’re solidly in flip-flop weather in Houston, it’s time to make those regular pedicure appointments!

Here’s a round-up of some of the nail art tutorials I’ve found:

What about you? Thumbs up or thumbs down? (Get it? Thumbs? Never mind.) Do you get wild with your nail polish or stick to the classic colors? Let me know in the comments!

Third Time’s a Charm: One Necklace, Three Ways

For this Thursday’s Third Time’s a Charm post, I’m styling our Third Time’s a Charm Necklace three different ways.

Take a look!

Sheath dress with red flats

Sheath dress with red flats

Red and white striped shirt and boyfriend jeans

Graphic dots wrap top and red pencil skirt

For the first and last sets, I like the way the necklace gives each outfit a bit of an edge. You can look professional and pulled together but keep it light and fun with a touch of the unexpected. The middle set is a classic: comfy boyfriend jeans, a cozy sweater, and espadrilles. Perfect for window shopping on a weekend and holding hands with said boyfriend. :)

Which set is your favorite? Which one is closet to your personal style? Do you have a junk charm necklace you can add to your favorite work or weekend outfit to give it a little kick? Experiment with your jewelry – wear something classic and feminine with boyfriend jeans and a white t-shirt. Spice up a skirt-and-blouse combo with a trendy necklace. Mix metals!  It’s okay – I promise!

P. S. I didn’t realize I used red in each set until I finished the last one. I must be having a red letter day!

P. P. S. You can find the Third Time’s a Charm Necklace and both pairs of earrings on my website.

Happiness is…

…colorful jewelry! This showed up on the landing page of my personal website today. I want to put it all on right now! Instead, I’ll style some outfits for your viewing pleasure:

Spring Wedding

{necklace, bracelets, earrings, dress, shoes, Chanel handbag}

Ladies Who Lunch

{necklace, earrings, ring, dress, shoes}

{P. S. If the style of the green dress looks familiar, it’s because it’s by ISSA, one of Kate Middleton’s favorite designers!}

Reset Button

Political ramifications notwithstanding, I like kind of like Eric Fehrnstorm’s idea of starting over:

“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign,” Fehrnstrom said. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

Have you ever had an Etch-a-Sketch moment, a time when you wished you could turn your life over, shake it up, and start drawing a new picture? I had mine last year when I decided to quit teaching. It was an emotional decision – I started teaching when I was 23, and before that, I babysat, volunteered in the church nursery on Sunday mornings, and had a summer job as a teacher’s assistant at our church’s Child’s Day In program. My mother was a teacher; so was my great-grandfather.

My friends and family thought I should major in education at Trinity University, but I stubbornly clung to the idea that I could do something besides work with children (I am a Leo after all) and pursued sociology and psychology as my major and minor, respectively. I loved studying group and individual behavior but had no idea how to apply my knowledge of Death and Dying, Sociology of Sex Roles (thanks, O. Z. White, for introducing me to my first transgendered person), and Insanity in a Troubled Society in the real world -could I get a job as a gender roles watchdog? Wisely, I decided to wait a few years to apply to grad school, and I put my Trinity education to good use as a cocktail waitress and professional picture framer (I’m not kidding.)

After a car accident necessitated a move back to Houston, I spent my recuperation cross-stitching, playing handbells in our church bell choir, and contemplating my future. I reluctantly concluded what everyone else knew all along: I was meant to be a teacher. I got a job at the preschool I attended as a precocious 4-year-old (someday I’ll tell you about the Barbie doll incident) and applied to the teacher certification program at the University of Houston.

It was Dr. Mountain, my Foundations of Reading Instruction professor, who encouraged me to go to graduate school, and after two and a half years, I received my Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (with a 4.0 GPA, thankyouverymuch, which had absolutely no impact on anything but made up for my occasionally lackadaisical approach to academics at Trinity and was a source of pride for me and my sweet grandmother, Oma, who paid for graduate school with the caveat that I would have to pay her back if I didn’t finish the program.) I got my first job at Liestman Elementary in Alief ISD, the school at which I did my student teaching and began 15 years of dedication to the children and families at Liestman, Smith, Briargrove, and, finally, Presbyterian School.

My passion for education was all-consuming – I worked late and on the weekends and spent countless hours and thousands of dollars buying books and educational materials for my classroom. When I packed everything up last May, I had hundreds of boxes of books, games, resources, manipulatives, and school supplies, most of which I donated to Presbyterian School. I stacked the boxes on either side of the hallway, and as I left, walking past 15 years of my life, I pretended I was Sam Malone, closing down the bar for the last time.

MaryAnn’s Wardrobe Makeover

I did my first virtual wardrobe consultation for my friend, MA. She lost weight recently (go, MA!) and wanted to replace some of the basics in her wardrobe as well as buy new pieces for her work as a pastor and writer and her home life as a busy wife and mother of 3 children. She had black and khaki cropped pants, black and khaki slacks, a flared black skirt, a black blazer, and some new black riding boots. I recommended buying a pair of trouser jeans and a black pencil skirt, and I focused on adding tops, sweaters, and dresses to create a variety of casual and professional outfits.

MA’s style is classic, tailored, and unfussy, so I wanted to inject a bit of color, pattern, and modernity into her wardrobe. She will be able to mix and match the separates, depending on her activity (leading worship, facilitating a meeting, presenting at a conference, working at home, or shuttling children to lessons and playdates.) Knowing MA, she does not want to spend a lot of time figuring out what to wear each day, but I want her to look polished and feel confident when she walks out the door.

The basic formula is this:

  • 1 bottom (skirt or pants)  + 1 top (tank or printed blouse) + 1 layer (sweater or jacket) = an outfit
  • Add shoes (boots, pumps, or flats) and accessories (I couldn’t resist sneaking some Stella & Dot in!) and you have an effortless look!
  • dress functions as a top and bottom; wear alone or with a sweater or blazer.
  • Remix and rotate the pieces as often as you like!
With this wardrobe, MA can easily go from cold or chilly weather to warm weather – she can wear a light cardigan and flats in lieu of a heavy sweater and boots, and when it gets really hot, she can wear the middle layers (tanks, blouses, dresses) without something over them. I’m happy with my first virtual wardrobe consultation, but I wish I could shop with MA in person!