Strawberry Fields Forever (ft Sara from In A Nutshell Blog)

This past weekend, guess who came to visit? Obviously you can see by the photo: my best blogger friend Sara, cohost of the BBRBF Book Club! A month or two ago, she texted me that she might be in Seattle for work, and I immediately got excited. When we met up last year it was as if we were already old friends, and I had been dying to meet up again. Lucky for me, she travels a lot for work! This time she was able to stay over for a weekend, crashing on our couch (or pull out bed), playing with Asa (who is totally obsessed with her and now asks for her every day), and going on blogging adventures with me! It was the best weekend and I’m crossing my fingers that she gets to travel this way again soon.

For our first post together, we originally planned to style our twin Strawberry skirts. Hers is from Tatyana, mine is from Amazon. But when the day came and I tried on the outfit I’d put together, it just didn’t work for me. Luckily I have this 1940’s strawberry apron that I intend to make into an actual dress (it closes all the way in the back anyway!), and I love how we look together!  

There were a lot of bloopers during our photoshoots, which made it all the better. I am not good at stopping my giggles, and Sara is very good at making remarks that crack me up.

What was even more fun, we got to go see Beauty and the Beast together with my mom, and Sara’s wit and giggles kept me from bawling my eyes out. While she enjoys Disney and Beauty and the Beast, she’s not quite the hardcore fan like I am. I teared up several times (and likely will cry this weekend when I go to see it with my husband) but didn’t full out cry the first time around. I am not obsessed with Disney princesses other than just liking the old Disney films in general, but Beauty and the Beast is one story I’ve always been in love with.

I wrote my own version of the fairytale in my teen years, played Tale as old as Time on the piano at four years old (shortly after having watched the movie for the first time), and scouted out every version of the movie I could find (including the 80’s TV show.)

I had so much dread when I heard they were making a live action version. I wasn’t sure whether they’d cast the right people, make the dress perfect, do a big enough library, a grand enough musical… I was so afraid it would be ruined!

But everything about it was perfect. Perhaps my one nitpick, and this is fairly small, is the autotune used on Emma Watson’s voice. I wish they would have had her lip sync to someone with a stronger voice rather than autotune the voice she does have. But I liked her overall, so I’m not too annoyed by it. Everyone else was absolutely perfect in casting; Luke Evans was an even better Gaston than I could have imagined, Dan Stevens rose above my expectations to play the perfect Beast (and that reveal at the end!!!), and Josh Gad was a great LeFou. There was not one miscast person, in my opinion!

I had planned to wear a dress from Amazon that mimics the iconic yellow dress, but when it came time to wear it, I discovered the dress doesn’t quite fit right! So I ended up just wearing a vintage dress I’d gotten that week that I was eager to wear, and my Disney Beauty and the Beast pin instead. Not every outing can be a perfectly matched theme, I guess! 

Hopefully come Saturday I will have figured out some sort of Belle inspired outfit, though, because I dearly want to see the movie dressed like my favorite Princess. Though it won’t be quite as special because Sara won’t be with us. 😉

Have you seen Beauty and the Beast? What did you think?

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Vintage parrot sweater, vintage sweater skirt, and blogging more

Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.comBirds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

Birds of a Feather

I almost didn’t post these photos today. This morning I was thinking that, since it’s the first day of spring, I would put on a floral dress in spring colors and be a vintage spring vision. But this sweater called my name. And then as I was taking photos and reviewing them in my camera, I started to feel extremely insecure about the silhouette. I rarely wear fitted silhouettes or waistlines that are lower than my natural waist, and what looked awesome in a mirror seemed to look a bit clunky and odd on camera.

I started to feel bad about my figure and my clothing choice, and the sun left, and it threatened rain, and I figured today’s photoshoot would just be a bust.Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

But then as I opened up the images in Lightroom and began to edit, I gave myself a pep talk. I noted how cute the sweater looks, and that I like my makeup, and my tiny waist, and by the time editing was done I was feeling good about it all again so here we are! Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of looking at yourself and saying “you ARE a cute human shut up brain pointing out the burger-baby-belly.”

Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

Lately I have been thinking about how I used to post outfits five times a week, and that I really miss that habit. While I certainly have more things to think about now than I did when I was posting every day, I still think that it’s doable if I lessen my expectations for each post. Is daily style something you all would be interested in, given that I may only post one or two shots of daily outfits (and longer posts from weekend photoshoots) along with minimal text? Or do you prefer the longer posts and more photos?Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

As silly as it sounds, blogging is what helps me get “dressed up” most days. If I’m not blogging, I’m in yoga pants, and I really want to break out of that habit. It’s not hard to wear a skirt or dress daily, and I don’t own much that can’t be easily washed. But if I don’t have to take photos, sometimes I forget that getting dressed like this is a form of my personal self care, and I just don’t bother.

So, would you all be interested in shorter, quick daily-outfit-snap posts mixed in with my longer more “professional” photoshoots? If so, I may start trying to do that again! I need to have less expectations of what I “have” to do blogging. I often get hung up on not having the right detail shots, or not being in a fancy location, or not getting enough full body shots for a post, and that’s just silly! Blogging has always been a fun way to share my style, so whether or not I have all the shots I’m “supposed” to have, I would love to post more. Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.comBirds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

This post is a good example of a photoshoot that didn’t get every shot I usually take; I didn’t photograph ANY detail shots in my frustration. Cropping is all I have for details today!

Please let me know if daily style snapshot posts interest you!

Vintage parrot sweater bought online | vintage headscarf and earrings, gift | bracelets and vintage sweater skirt, thrifted | shoes, Chelsea Crew (here)Birds of a Feather | eyreeffect.com

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Vintage 70’s does 40’s dress, dated values, and International Women’s Day

International Women's Day | eyreeffect.comInternational Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

International Women’s Day

Today, as I’m sure everyone knows, is International Women’s Day. Originally called International Working Women’s Day, IWD began in 1909 in New York and was organized by the Socialist Party of America. Then in 1917 in Petrograd, Russia, a demonstration of women textile workers began over the whole city, and this was the beginning of the Russian revolution. A week later, the Emperor Nicholas II granted women the right to vote, and March 8 was named a national holiday in soviet Russia.

However, until it was adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the day was predominantly celebrated by socialist communities.

International Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

History has always fascinated me, and the origins of this holiday are no different. As I read more about it, I discovered that the original protest was the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which is a tag I often look for when searching for vintage. The presence of an ILGWU label often indicates age in a garment, and is the easiest (though not foolproof) way to separate vintage from modern.

It’s amazing to me that the very tag I’m so familiar with has a story intertwined in helping women with equal rights. Because of the ILGWU strike, women got to vote in Russia. Could they even have imagined what that protest would begin? Women all over the world still fight for basic rights still, but at the same time we have come so far! International Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

Vintage Style, Modern Values

It’s always interesting to me to hear of my fellow vintage wearers and their encounters with people who think that because they wear vintage, they must also want to live in that era with those values. It’s such an odd idea to me. While I have often idolized the 1950’s, the corsets, the dresses, the all-American ideal… I wouldn’t want to live in the past. History is fascinating and beautiful, but I’m glad it’s history.

I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I did not have freedom of speech, where I couldn’t have worked the places I worked because I am a woman, where I would possibly have been under the thumb of an oppressive marriage, expected to be seen and not heard, where my sole purpose and value was my ability to birth a child and not much else. International Women's Day | eyreeffect.comInternational Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

I am sure many people had wonderful lives, married fantastic people, and lived relatively peaceful and good lives back then. But I know there are also things that went on that I can’t even imagine, since I grew up in a country where the growth of basic human rights escalated quickly, where I could vote when I turned of age, where I could have any job I wanted, go to college if I wanted to, where I wasn’t pressured into marriage and told that was my only value.

While I certainly may live a life that is very similar to the ideal all-American 1950’s dream, it’s also so very different. I am a wife and a stay-at-home mother and I love wearing dresses all the time, yes. I cook and clean in our home. I do not work an outside job. All of these things are very 1950’s. International Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

But, while dated values stated that a woman’s duty is to provide a warm meal, to be a little more upbeat (even if we aren’t feeling it), to listen rather than speak, to cater to his personal satisfaction, to keep the children quiet and minimise noise… my husband treats me with every bit of care as I treat him. Sometimes he gets home and I’m not feeling great, or I’ve had a bad day, so he cooks dinner. Sometimes he takes the kids so I can have a quiet moment. He lets me talk about my day every bit as much as I listen to him about his. He prepares the fire to keep us warm, tries to cheer me up, grooms himself in ways that I like.

Perhaps that sort of equality existed then, but it’s certainly not apparent in any documents of the time and from all I can gather, women were still very much to cater to men, and were viewed as objects rather than people.

I don’t want that. International Women's Day | eyreeffect.comInternational Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

Often I hesitate to post more political/religious thoughts, as I like to keep this blog a safe, happy place. But today I thought it would be apt to share my thoughts on International Women’s Day, on equality, on modern values versus dated ones.

I think especially as a woman with Biblical beliefs as well, I am expected to have dated values. Yet the Bible itself is for equality. Women are to submit to their husbands, yes, but husbands also are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her. I think often the misconception is that Christian wives must just be trampled all over by their husbands, letting themselves basically be a doormat. Much like the misconception that a vintage-wearing gal will want those same vintage doormat values.

But if I submit to a husband who loves me more than his own life, who gives his all to me just as Christ gave His all to the church… that doesn’t make me a doormat. That makes me a woman who discusses our decisions equally with my husband, and trusts that if he makes a decision I don’t agree with, he’s doing it because he cares for me more than life itself. I am thankful every day that God has given me a man who sacrifices a lot for me, who I can turn to in trust with big decisions, and who will protect and provide for us because he puts our needs before his own desires. He empowers me to be a better person, a stronger woman, to work harder towards my dreams, to improve myself every day.International Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

And if I’m wearing a dress, it’s not because I want some dated value and I’m dressing myself for the viewing pleasure of men (husband excepted. I totally dress for him sometimes.) I wear a dress because it makes me feel confident and powerful. I wear this dress because it’s red for women everywhere, and because I wanted to take back a silhouette that often scares me. Because I feel empowered, not hiding body flaws that society tells me are undesirable. Because I want to encourage other mothers not to be ashamed of their post-baby bodies. Because I am working hard towards having a healthy and strong body, and I don’t need to hide it away until I reach some acceptable ideal.

Today I hope that you can celebrate the women in your life, or celebrate yourself as a woman. I hope you find ways to conquer the things that scare you, to feel more confident, to feel empowered. Happy International Women’s Day!

Dress and headscarf, vintage/thrifted | shoes and bracelets, thrifted | earrings, mom’s

International Women's Day | eyreeffect.com

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Dangerfield Milkshake Skirt, Black Top, and How to Dress Confidently

Dangerfield Milkshake Skirt

I first saw this skirt on Sammi back in September last year, and adored it. What isn’t there to love about the sweet print, the gentle sweep of the skirt, and the delicious colors? I never got around to purchasing from Dangerfield, though, mainly because I completely forgot. Then about a month ago, she posted it in a buy-sell-trade group I’m part of on Facebook, right at the end of my clothing budget for the month. I was despondent, sure that someone would snatch it up before I could get to it.

Lo and behold, a few weeks later she bumped her post (which I had again forgotten about!) and I had a new clothing budget for the month, and it was mine! I don’t know how nobody grabbed it before me; it is the prettiest skirt, and will go with so many looks! I know that it’s technically a more spring and summer print, but I couldn’t resist wearing it right away, especially after discovering that Sara had bought the dress version!

The next time we see each other, we have vowed to do a twinning post, whether it be in these milkshake items or in our matching floral dresses. When you’re friends and fashion bloggers, it’s always imperative you collaborate on photos, obviously!

How to Wear a Dress Confidently

Speaking of dresses, I’ve been asked frequently how I wear what I wear with such confidence, so I finally made a video about it. If you’re not the video-watching type, don’t worry! I’ll summarize my points here for you. But if you are, you can pretty much skip the text in the rest of this post because you can watch everything I’m about to say right here:

Before I started fashion blogging, I basically hid myself in jeans and baggy tee shirts. I was not very confident, I had no style direction, and I didn’t think I could pull off the style that I wear today. But after a weeklong challenge to myself to wear skirts or dresses every day for a week in the middle of December, when it’s rainy and cold and mushy out, I realized… it wasn’t as scary as I had thought! And eight years later, here I am barely giving jeans a glance in favor of my usual dress or skirt outfit. So here are the five things over the years that have helped me gain confidence in changing my style:

One: Just Do It

The absolute most important thing is to just DO IT. Wear what you want to wear wherever you go, whenever you can, however you can. And you don’t have to start big: start with a simple skirt and a cute tee, if that feels more comfortable. You don’t have to go from jeans to pinup all in one day; it took me eight years! But I never would have become who I am today if I hadn’t just… done it. And I’m so glad that I got over all the insecurities and worries I had about changing my style, because I’m so much happier in a dress than I ever was in pants!

Two: Don’t Worry About Other Peoples’ Opinions

Sure, you can ask a friend for input, or get some help if you’re stuck on an outfit and how it goes together. But don’t worry what people are thinking about you. Where I live, wearing skirts all the time isn’t really done that much, and wearing vintage and retro styles is definitely a rarity. And when I first started really getting into the style I wear now, I was so afraid people would think I was trying to be better than them, or that I was being fake, or that I would just get unwanted attention.

But the more I wear what I love, the more people come to me and tell me they wish they had the guts to wear what I wear, or they wish they could pull off this look. And I always tell them: that’s what I thought, and then I just did it.

Three: Find What Makes You Feel Confident

Even in wearing dresses all the time, I have a comfort zone: that is, full, knee-length skirts and fitted tops. While I love to try other looks and silhouettes, my go-to thing day in and day out is a circle skirt and a comfortable stretchy shirt. Once you find the comfort zone within the new change, you will start to feel like it’s more doable. And you’ll start to feel more confident, and then less afraid to add another thing you want to try. I started out just wearing whatever skirts and tops I found. For a long time, I wore retro-cute, shorter skirts, things that were still semi-trendy. Then, I started wearing more vintage. Then, I started to do retro makeup and hair. Then, I added hats and headscarves. And now I’m basically wearing the exact vintage style that, eight years ago, I had no idea how to pull off.

It’s all about finding your confidence and comfort zone!

Four: Don’t Worry About Flattering

Don’t worry about what other people say is flattering on you, find what YOU think is flattering on you. Find something that you LOVE to wear, and wear it. Who cares if it emphasizes the “wrong” part of your body, there is no right or wrong in fashion. Wear what makes you happy, and what makes you feel like the best part of yourself. With my pear shape and my baby belly, all the magazines say I shouldn’t wear a pencil skirt. But you know what? I’ve done it and I loved it. It’s your body, and they’re your clothes. Wear what you love.

Five: Don’t Worry About the Size

And finally, don’t worry about what size is printed on your tag. Believe me, I know how hard this is. I have gained 50lbs in the last five years, I’ve been very pregnant twice. I used to wear a size 4 dress, and now I wear a size 12. I totally understand that it’s hard not to care. But here’s the thing: nobody can see that tag except you. Nobody will know if you’re wearing a size up except you. And if you’re wearing the size that fits perfectly and makes you look AMAZING… that’s what everyone sees. But if you’re wearing something that’s too small and the buttons gape or you can’t get it zipped or you can’t eat anything for fear of popping a seam, you’re not going to feel good about yourself. And that will show!

I am currently the heaviest I’ve ever been. And the most confident. I wear what fits, I wear what makes me feel awesome, and I work on being healthy even as I love who I am right now.

I hope you find something that encourages you to take a step towards wearing what you love!

 

Skirt, from Sammi via Dangerfield | Top, c/o Tobi (similar here)| shoes, thrifted | earrings and bracelet, vintage | headscarf, eBay (vintage)

1950’s vintage dress, 1950’s hat, and the epiphany of new yoga pants

We Love Colors sent me tights for review, but all opinions are my own. I strive to provide honest and reputable reviews on everything I post here, whether I paid for it with my own money, or whether I work for it with my time and energy through blogging.
We Love Colors | eyreeffect.comWe Love Colors | eyreeffect.comWe Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

We Love Colors

This weekend we went to an old military base, and I got to test the wearability and warmth of a pair of tights from We Love Colors. I had reached out to We Love Colors because, of course, I wear a lot of tights and had heard a lot of good things, and I was so excited when they responded positively! They sent me two pairs: dark navy, as worn, and golden yellow.

Colorful tights are getting harder and harder to pick up these days. I used to swarm Target around fall for their rack of colorful $5 pairs, but this year it seems they’ve done away with that plentiful hoard of legwear in favor of sedate maroon and navy and black. I couldn’t find a single red or yellow pair of tights in the entire store, and I was sorely disappointed. And then, once I resigned myself to grabbing a few pairs, my size was rare to be seen.

We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

As it stands, I currently wear a 1X pair of tights. Most selections come in Small, Medium, or Large; and the bigger-hipped and thicker-thighed sizes are few and far between. Reduced to a choice between gray and black, no patterns or colors to be found, I looked online.

I’ve heard of We Love Colors for quite a while; years, in fact. I’ve always meant to purchase a few pairs, but being as I have sharp nails even when they’re short, and tend to put a run in most tights, I was hesitant. Plus, sizing is always tricky. I can’t wear low-rise tights at all; my bum is far too plentiful for that. Even a 1X pair, if low rise, will fall and become uncomfortable. So I was happy to see that We Love Colors carries tights that are high waisted, and whose sizes go up far enough for someone 6′ tall and 335lbs.

The two pairs I received are, however, labeled two different things and fit differently, though I assume they’re both meant for someone of my approximate size. We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

This pair is labeled a 1-3x size, and is of the solid lycra/microfiber type. While I love the feel and they proved more than able to endure a day full of walking, hiking, sweating, and generally not being gentle (no pilling, tearing, or chafing to be seen!) they did fall a few times and needed to be hiked up despite being fairly stretchy and not at all strained over any part of my body.

The other pair, which I will be wearing later on in another post, are labeled “A-B” size, were long enough in the waist to pull entirely over my chest, and don’t fall at all when worn all day. After a little searching, it looks like those are the plus-size lycra/nylon tights, and I much prefer them! The material is a bit thicker and more opaque, and overall the wear is much more comfortable.   We Love Colors | eyreeffect.comWe Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

I will definitely be purchasing quite a few pairs of tights from We Love Colors, and am so thankful I was able to “test” them as it were before taking the plunge. Now I know that right now, as my body stands, the plus-size tights will be a better fit for my hips and general activity! And I am so excited to find a plethora of colors in such good quality. The opacity and softness is so far unparalleled by any other tights I’ve ever tried.

Have you tried We Love Colors? What do you think of them?We Love Colors | eyreeffect.comWe Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

The Epiphany of New Yoga Pants

And that brings us to a little update on the health journey that I had mentioned a while ago. As some of you know, I have a fitness account of sorts on Instagram where I had been religiously tracking the food that I ate. For about a month, I ate a steady and healthy diet and lost about ten pounds. And then… there’s always the and then.

I got lazy, slipped up, and fell into a cycle of being sort of okay but not excelling. I was eating an okay diet, I was getting okay movement in, I was okay with the plateau of non-progress. I made a lot of excuses and put off trying harder because Evie didn’t sleep through the night, or we all got sick, or I didn’t have a car, or I didn’t have weights, or yoga pants, or the right bra… the list goes on.  We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

And then… Friday I started to realize I was letting food be my escape again. Saturday my husband reminded me that he was doing no sugar, and hoped I’d join in too. Sunday I realized something big: I wasn’t fighting for myself. I wasn’t rooting for myself. I wasn’t looking forward to success. I wasn’t doing anything, really, except just trying to pass. I’d eat healthy meals, but also fruit snacks and Goldfish and anything I fed my kids even after I’d already eaten. I’d go on hikes and activities on the weekends, but do nothing more active than housework during the week.

I was just coasting.  We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

And that’s not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to just be okay. I want to be excellent. I want to thrive, to fight, to push for it, to have something I can be proud of and not something that’s just kind of mediocre.

So this morning, I started a 90 day challenge, pushed myself out of that little comfort zone (and the mindset of “hey well, I’m not GAINING weight…”), got all wobbly and sore, and went out to buy myself three important things: a set of 5lb weights, a new sports bra, and a revolutionizing pair of yoga pants.

It’s not really the pants that are revolutionary though, but the realization that I need to invest in something if I want anything out of that thing. When I invest my skills (and yes, money) in blogging, I see the most return. When I invest my mind in a subject, I learn and grow. When I invest my time and love into my kids, I see them thrive.

And in the same way, I had never thought about it until Sunday… I needed to tangibly invest in my health, and in myself. We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

Putting money into my health, even though it was only about $30, completely changed my perspective and motivation around working out and making good food choices. Money has always been something I’ve been extremely conscious of, because I was raised in a fairly poor household and work to budget and be wise with our money so that we can afford to live (and then some). And I have seen so many women lately investing in their health; in programs and workouts and shakes and diets that do so much for them, but they’re always things I can’t afford. I can’t afford a $200-per-month program, a $40-per-month gym membership, a $150-per-month supply of shakes.

But I can afford $30 worth of workout clothes and dumbells and a free workout on YouTube, and that little bit of money made me realize how worth it my health is. Sure, I could do that YouTube workout in old pants and a tee shirt, with sand-filled water-bottles to replace the 5lb weights. I could have done it completely free. Yet investing that little bit in myself added a sense of worth, to the program I’m doing, to the time I’m spending on it, to… what I think of myself. In 90 days I hope to be stronger, healthier, slimmer, and happier with what I can accomplish.

Much like a beautiful dress and the perfect accessories boost my mood and make me generally more productive throughout the day, a new pair of yoga pants and a sports bra that match my personality, that are brand new just for me, completely revolutionize my attitude towards workouts. Because now, unlike any other time I’ve ever tried sticking to a plan and changing my diet, I’ve told myself I’m worth it. And now… I look forward to the burn.

1950’s dress, Lotty Dotty Vintage | 1950’s hat, gift from Skye | boots, Breckelles on Amazon | tights, c/o We Love Colors | belt, thrifted | earrings, vintage | brooch, Erstwilder | petticoat, Amazon

We Love Colors | eyreeffect.com

If you want to follow me and cheer me on or be an accountability or weight loss buddy, I have a private Instagram for it: @kristinasuko. I am restricting the account to women only, as I’ll be posting progress shots that I’d prefer to be more private, however I’d love to encourage all of you any way I can to reach your own goals!

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