22 June 2011

To Say Adios

The following post was originally published in May over at A FOREIGN LAND my other blog...
Feel free to come visit whenever you'd like!

Last Fall I was feeling ambitious and not particularly stylish. In fact I was feeling frumpy. I had recently started teaching dance classes. The classes left me sweaty and sweatpantsed. I had a full closet with "nothing to wear." And frankly I was bored. Bored with my clothes. Bored with my style. In some ways, bored with my life. So, I decided to start THIS personal style blog. It was creative outlet and a new adventure.

After seven months and 120 something different outfits, I took a break. The break turned into a hiatus. And during the past month and a half hiatus I've contemplated the things that I've learned thus far in my career as a personal style blogger.

What you are about to read is the post where I share those things with you. You're welcome.

I DO have something to Wear
During my tenure as a style blogger I participated in not one but two 30 for 30 challenges. During those challenges I learned the fine art of re-mixing my wardrobe. I started to discover that pieces I owned could be worn in unexpected ways and in unexpected combinations. I am no longer tied to the same outfits and the same looks over and over in a stale and repetitive cycle.

{this is a skirt OVER a dress with 2 pairs of layered tights...
I wouldn't have tried something like that before the blogger days}

Personal Style/Fashion Bloggers are some of the Nicest People in the Cyber-Universe
Never in my life have I encountered such a supportive, encouraging & vocal group of people. Style bloggers are a fantastic community. Period.

It is not easy to look "natural" in front of a camera EVERY day
Necessary parts of a personal style blog are pictures. You gots to show the wears. And in order to post the pictures you have to take the pictures. This means I had to get real comfortable taking pictures of myself real fast. I learned how to manipulate a tri-pod in a public place without drawing too much attention. I learned how to get the lighting right (or at least almost right). But, some days you just don't feel like having your picture taken. I'm telling you, it is not easy to look natural in front of a camera every day. And truth be told, those photo shoots are preeeety time consuming. Especially if you're me and hoping for a handful of pictures in which you look attractive.

{more often than you'd like, you just kind of look possessed.}

Personal Style Bloggers can get lots of FREE Swag if they work hard enough
It's true. I had a very small blog and even I got free swag. I'm telling you, there is swag to be gotten if you have the time, inclination and wherewithal to put in the work.

As I began to re-mix the pieces in my wardrobe, I looked at shopping totally differently. I was no longer drawn to the trendy pieces that I could wear one way for one season. I discovered that it makes MUCH more sense to find pieces that work with the rest of your closet. Why not buy a piece that makes 3 outfits rather than just one look? It seems like a "duh" idea, I know. But I'm telling you that is NOT how I used to shop.

Country Strooooooooong
{this skirt can be remixed into at least 10 different outfits in my closet. I kid you not!

I'm A Fashion Follower Not Leader
When it comes to fashion I love a trend. I love to see a look in a magazine or on a blog and try to recreate it with things in my own closet. But I am not too awfully daring if left to my own devices. Generally speaking I've never been one that's ahead of the trends. I don't innovate, I interpret. Simply put, I'm a big old follower. So, I occasionally feel like kind of a poser posting outfits that are heavily inspired by others rather than innovative or cutting edge in their own right.

{Consider this the quintessential personal style blogger outfit. Check HERE for details explaining why.}

I Don't Want to do it anymore

Even though there has been much fun along the way, it is time for this project to end. Lest you think I'm leaving with bad memories, know that some good stuff has come out of this seemingly frivolous hobby. I fell back in love with my closet. I got to cross something (get 100 followers on a blog) off my list. I made some new friends. Plus, I discovered a few lessons about myself - and not just fashiony things, though I learned some of that too. Probably the ultimate lesson I learned is that I don't want to be a full time personal style blogger forever and ever, amen. It was a fun project and I'm glad I tackled it. But I'm saying, "Adiós," to Leaving the House in THIS?!? It has been a fun ride. Now please make sure to take all of your belongings as you exit the car to your right.

Before you go though, I'm still playing bloggy games over at A FOREIGN LAND.  Please stop by and say, "Hello!" whenever you'd like.  The door is always open.

29 April 2011

We're Just Fine

Thank you all for your sweet concern.

We were largely unaffected by the crazy storms that hit most of the Southeast earlier this week.

I explain the whole deal HERE.


08 April 2011

Someone Should Have Told Her...

As much as I love that trench - its cut and color are fantastic...
As much as I love Renee Zellweger in that trench - she is striking a fierce pose here, no?
As much as I love the cause she's obviously supporting...

Someone should have told Ms. Zellweger to move a few inches to the side to avoid the unfortunate "devil horns" effect that Breast Health International Logo is having.  Oopsy.

Happy Friday, all!!

07 April 2011

To Pretend

I'm obsessed with tutus. There, I said it.  
Blame it on the fact that I grew up in a dance studio...
But I think a tutu is about the most beautiful piece of clothing a woman could ever wear.
Recently I've been trying on the trendy tutu-skirts like mad. Unfortunately, when I look in the mirror I always discover a 30 something woman who looks like she's playing dress up. It's pitiful.


So you can imagine how excited I was to open my birthday gift from Lisa and find this skirt inside!
In my mind, it is the perfect example of a grown up tutu.

Tutu Elegant

The red and white stripes make it look almost ballet pink.


It has several layers of twirl inducing material.


It's ultra feminine and the epitome of lady-like.


And it doesn't make me look like I'm playing dress up.

Tutu Elegant
White Top (Gap); Tutu-esque Skirt (Gifted)
Red Heels (Payless); Faux Python Belt (Charlotte Russe)
Pink Ring ("Junk" Sale); Pink Necklace (Express)

Even though, in my mind, I am.

Have you included any pieces of clothing in your wardrobe that are reminiscent of the "dress up" clothes of your youth?

05 April 2011

To Make an Introduction

Readers, I would like to make a very special introduction on the blog today.
I'm pleased to present to you, the perfect skirt.

Country Strooooooooong

Remember back here when I mentioned that I might be returning some of my birthday purchases?
(Go ahead and click the link to remember... we'll wait for you.)


Well, I did return the pale pink embellished top (ONLY because it didn't play well with other clothes in my closet).  In its place, I brought home this most perfect skirt.


The moment I hung it up there were multiple pieces leaping off hangers begging to be paired with it.  It was quite a scene, I tell ya.


To date, I have envisioned eleventy million looks using this skirt and the other clothes already quite at home in my closet.
I mean, talk about playing well with others... It has fit right in like it belongs there.


See now why I call it "perfect?"

Country Strooooooooong
Floral Eyelet Skirt (F21); Chambray Shirt (Thrifted)
Polka Dot Flats (DSW years ago); Handkerchief (Grandpa's - literally)

Have you ever brought home a piece of clothing so "perfect" for your wardrobe that you wondered where it had been all of your life?

01 April 2011

To Laugh

Last month I celebrated my birthday with a few moments of, "I'm getting OLD," panic.


Yesterday, I decided to smack that panic in the chops by wearing a dress that just might make me look 12.


Well, "12" if you ignore the WELL EARNED and much loved laugh lines around my face.

Striped Dress (2nd Hand); Black tights (Express)
Ankle Strap Flats (Payless); Rose Earrings (F21)

Wanna know something? It totally worked.
This dress actually helped to change my perspective.
What do you think about that?
Just another reason to put a big smile (and possibly a few more laugh lines) on my mug!
Happy Friday, guys! Hope your weekend is chock full of lots of laugh-line-inducing events.

29 March 2011

To Show You What's Behind the Curtain

Like most personal style bloggers, I sift through dozens of pictures before each outfit post to find the chosen few that are worthy of sharing with you, my bloggy community.  (wait we ALL do this, right?)  I pour over each image agonizing (that might be a bit dramatic) whether or not it will make the cut.  There's cropping and tuning and the occasional retouch all to ensure that the clothes and I look our best.

Well, today's post is going to blow all that work out of the water.  What I have for you (for only the 2nd time in Leaving the House in THIS?!? history) is a batch of unedited outtakes.  Every so often, a picture is so awesomely BAD I stick it in a little folder entitled "bloopers." I keep that folder around for the days I'm getting a little too big for my britches.  It ensures that I remain humble.  

Today, I share a few of those gems with you.
Consider it a Giveaway where EVERYBODY wins!



Occasionally after smiling for 20 something pictures, my face starts to look plastic.  This is me trying to relax the muscles in my face so I don't look weird.  Mission accomplished.



Oh, wait, you wanted me IN the picture? My bad.

"Snow Diva"


Apparently winter weather makes me bossy!

"Just Plain Unattractive"


This is my attempt at "blue steel." To me it looks a bit more like "something smells really bad."

"Not so AUTO Focus"


Move on, this one makes you dizzy if you stare at it too long.

"Narrow Escape"


BLOGGER EATING SHRUB!!! Man, I barely got out of that photo session alive...



Enough. Said.

Favorites? Anyone?

28 March 2011

The Muse Project - Volume 4

Remember back here, when I wondered how I had stumbled onto my last muse, Caitlin? Well, Emily sweetly reminded me that I discovered Caitlin's blog through her blog Ruby Slipper Journeys!!!! Well, duh. That makes total and perfect sense because Emily is one stylish lady herself. Of course she would introduce to me to other stylish ladies! It got me thinking, why haven't I featured Emily in my Muse Project? The answer was, "Gosh, I just don't know." Today I change that.

Emily is a writer, a world traveler and fashion forward blogger. Not only do I visit Ruby Slipper Journeys to beg, borrow and steal from her eclectic and feminine stylings, I'm also curious where her pictures will be taken. You never know where she'll be next!! I have to admit, I've been known to live vicariously through her travels.

Emily is not one to shy away from color and that absolutely inspires me. I love her collection of beautiful brights. She styles vintage pieces with ease and always looks fresh and fun. Emily has a way of putting an outfit together that's feminine and flirty but completely practical and appropriate for real life.
Thankfully she agreed to answer a few questions. Here's what she had to say:

Q: What motivated the creation of Ruby Slipper Journeys?
A: I had just moved to Mexico for six months, I was a bit bored, I didn't think it was worth working for very little money for such a short amount of time so I was writing a book instead... and obviously I needed a way to procrastinate! I'd only discovered personal style blogs a few months before, and it seemed like fun, a creative outlet, a way to maximize my small suitcase and get a bit more techy all in one.

Q: With so many personal style bloggers around the Internet there's never a shortage of inspiration to be found. Which style blogs do you find most inspirational? Any "hidden" gems you'd be willing to share?
A: I read a ridiculous number of blogs, and the "most inspirational" ones are always changing depending on the season and how I feel about fashion. At the moment I'm loving two opposite extremes, Liebemarlene for being 100% true to a very simple but pretty style all the time, and The Dainty Squid for a rioutous rainbow of colour and awesomely cute animal pictures. And I'm also loving Idée Géniale at the moment which I guess fits somewhere in the middle.

Some "hidden gems" I'm recently loving are Lion Heart Vintage and Tipa Tipa.

Q: How have your globetrotting influenced your sense of style?
A: By limiting how much stuff I can accumulate--or ensuring I have to pay loads of money and throw my back out trying to get it home. Bah! (Can you tell I'm grumpily contemplating a move)? On a more positive note, I would say that living in other countries expands your ideas of "normal" clothes for any given activity. For instance, in Canada, cyclists are usually all kitted out in sports clothes, whereas in Europe it's quite normal to ride in a pretty dress. I've probably become dressier on the whole as a result of living abroad.  You realize that other cultures really haven't embraced the culture of sweatpants the way North Americans have!

Q: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
A: Oh dear. My best friend's mom, who's from Peru, once told me "Never marry a Latin." I never did, but after a few "entanglements" I can see why that might have been good advice!

Q: Congratulations! You've just won a totally fictional, all expense paid, month long trip to the destination of your choice. The only catch is that you'll have to bring everything you plan to wear in a backpack. Where would you go and what are some of things you would pack?
A: I would go to Berlin, which is a city I've always longed to live in and never even visited. Luckily, I think they're pretty cool and laid back there, so I'd take a couple of dresses (black and white), some yellow sandals, a few slouchy cardigans and some black lace up ankle boots. And a straw hat. And looking back at that list, I've realized that I don't own any of those things, and that's why style blogging is pretty bad for people on a budget! However, this "totally fictional" holiday sounds like fun, so I may need to plan for one!

Thank you so much, Emily, for willingly participating in the Muse Project!
More importantly though, thank you for your fearless style and fabulous blog.

Have you checked out Ruby Slipper Journeys yet?

27 March 2011

New in My Closet

On Friday, six girlfriends and I spent three hours shopping in our brand new Forever 21 finally.  We were celebrating a birthday and getting a little bit of retail therapy together.  It was a complete and total blast. But even with all that time, I still feel like I haven't gotten my fill of the enormous new store.  I plan to spend a little bit of time there to tomorrow on my own... I tend to be a more productive shopper when I'm shopping solo.  But there's no way I'll have near the fun I had with my girlies on Friday.

Here's what I brought home.

Forever21 Bed of Florals Top

I found this top in taupe, and plan to tie the sash in much less of a bow-in-my-belly-button kind of way.

Forever21 Peacock Teardrop Earrings

I had to get on the peacock bandwagon with these lovelies.

Forever21 Shimmery Beaded Top

I actually bought this top in "nude" which is an ultra pale pink.  It's beautiful but it might get returned because I'm not sure it works the rest of my closet.

In other news... da, de, da, da, da, daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
And the winner is:

Congratulations, Olivia!

Be sure to check out Miss Olivia's fantastic Fashion Wednesday Feature!  Who knows, you may see the prize featured around there sometime soon??