Back to the Future Day

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com  Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

Happy Back to the Future Day! In true nerd form, I gathered up my Back to the Future paraphernalia — which, right now, is only two things but hey — and incorporated them into my outfit. If we were doing a Doctor Who day, I could present you with many more nerdy items, but as it is so far I’ve only ever found this tee shirt (you can see the full shirt here) and painted this coffee mug for my husband, so I am sadly lacking in other things from this franchise. I should rectify that soon.

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

Lately I have been thinking more about my style and overall aesthetic, and more specifically what I feel most “me” while wearing — as you know, my style can be all over the place, from hippie to grandma to modern to retro — and I decided to clear out my closet. I recently discovered the blog Finding Femme, and just fell in love with Liana’s overall vibe. While reading her post on posing for photos, something she wrote at the very beginning of the post struck me — in speaking of knowing your blog’s style, she said she likes hers to “reflect elegance and a depth of character”, and that all of her photos are chosen to hit that goal.

And it made me wonder: what is my blog’s style? What do I want to reflect not only in posing and choosing photos, but also how I am dressing my body? I absolutely adore emulating very era-specific looks, those don’t always make me feel 100% myself. The artist part of me loves the drama and flow of wearing flutter sleeves and creating an earth-mother goddess photoshoot, but the everyday part of me knows that’s just for fun. So at the beginning of this week, I pulled every last stitch of clothing from my closet and dresser drawers, tossed it all on my bed, and took a hard look at it all. I asked myself what five words best described what I wanted from my wardrobe, and I set to work putting anything that didn’t emulate those five words (more or less) into a pile to sell or donate.

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

It’s always been hard for me to give someone five words that best describe my style, because I love so many different eras and things that it used to be hard to narrow it down. But thanks to Liana and, I think, a sense of growing more into myself as I get older, I can finally give a solid answer to that question. My five words are:

Elegant, quirky, feminine, retro/vintage, practical.

It wasn’t until Liana mentioned she likes her photos to evoke elegance that I realized that was my missing piece. I love to bring a fun, quirky flare to my outfits, but I still want them to retain a sense of elegance — of being grown up without being too stuffy, of simplicity without being minimalistic, of ease without being lazy. I don’t want the elements of femininity, quirkiness, and retro appeal to come across as little-girl or twee; I want it to reflect the grown-up, married, mother-of-two woman that I am. And while there’s nothing wrong with looking twee if that’s what you want, it’s just not me. I love being feminine as much as the next girl, but I don’t want to look like a child.

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

But even in elegance, I want to keep my outfits fun, a bit nerdy, definitely vintage or retro, and most of all practical. See the aforementioned two kids: being a stay-at-home mom means my daily fashion posts have to stand up against peanut butter sandwiches, spit-up, dirt, bending over, getting pulled on, being slept on, and all sorts of other things.

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

So I’ve cleared out my closet, and I am planning to have an Instagram sale because there’s a lot of vintage and retro-inspired stuff that I’ve finally decided to let go. And, some of it is stuff that I held onto hoping I’d lose just one more inch around the waist or five more pounds from the hips… and that never happened. If you want to take a peek at my closet and see if there’s anything you want, follow @eccentricowlcloset on Instagram — I’m hoping to start posting sometime this week. Today, if I can get to it before the kids wake up from their naps.  And that account may eventually turn into an account solely for selling items that I find or own that I can’t sell in my Etsy store — vintage and gently used but slightly damaged/in need of easy repairs, or items I’ve curated that are vintage-inspired that I’m not wearing any more.

Back to the Future Day | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt and tights, Target | heels, skirt, headscarf, and belt, Thrifted | ring, c/o Rocksbox| mug, painted myself at Java and Clay Cafe

I feel quite a bit happier knowing that now when I peer into my closet every day, the items are more cohesive towards how I want to look. I will probably still do photoshoots in clothes that are not 100% me simply because I love doing those things, but those items will now go up to my Etsy shop for someone who will wear them on a regular basis. Versus sitting in my closet for five years because I couldn’t bear to part with pretty things.

What five words describe your style, or how you want to look eventually?

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Have you tried out Rocksbox yet? Rocksbox is a subscription service that provides you with your own personal stylist who will grant wishes from a wishlist of gorgeous designer jewelry that you choose yourself. Every month, you receive a boxes that contain 3 pretty pieces chosen specifically for you, and when you’re done trying them out you can send them back to try more (as many times in a month as you want!) or buy them at an insider’s price! It’s the perfect way to incorporate new jewelry into your look without breaking the bank if it doesn’t end up working for you. And you can get a free month by using the code eccentricowlblogxoxo! So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

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Grown Up Minnie

Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com

Growing up, I didn’t read a lot of superhero comic books or watch many cartoons. I remember most often grabbing the latest edition of Archie from the library or, occasionally, buying it at the grocery store as we went through checkout, and my family would commonly watch the Muppets together. Beyond that, and the occasional Disney movie, most of my childhood memories are of playing outside — rollerblading, swimming, climbing trees, building mud sculptures, running through the woods. Instead of reading superhero stories, I made up my own. Instead of watching comedic routines, I had brothers to entertain me.

But I do remember that my favorite blanket had Minnie Mouse on it, and that I was particularly jealous that my brothers got G.I Joes, which were distinctly cooler than dollhouse dolls. Not that I didn’t love my dollhouse mother and father and daughter and baby, but my brothers’ toys were just better. The legos, the action figures, the building toys, the guns that came with their cowboy costumes. And I absolutely did love my Polly Pockets, my Cupcake Dolls, and the plethora of princess dresses I had. But I also loved the boy things. I grew up a healthy mix of girly frills and tomboy desire to play in the mud.

Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com   Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com

And in my pre-teen and teen years up until I was about fifteen, I loved dressing up in costumes and wearing a pretty dress on Sundays, but I was equally interested in climbing the tree that was taller than our house, digging tunnels through the dirt pile our neighbors had for yard work, or dashing through the woods and hiding in bushes while avoiding imaginary bad guys. I was not 100% a tomboy, but jeans and a tee shirt usually sufficed much better than skirts. I would never have envisioned myself as I am today, wearing dresses or skirts most days of the week and applying daily makeup. In fact, once I was allowed to wear makeup, I didn’t like the way it looked at all.

Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com

This outfit serves as a perfect meld between the little girl who loved frilly dresses and all things girly and the tomboy who would have rather climbed trees and played with her brothers’ G.I. Joes and Legos. I still have an affinity for things that used to be stereotyped as “boy” things — superhero comic books, exploring the outdoors, collecting certain nerdy action figures — but my femininity definitely took over as I grew and I’m no longer the jeans-and-sneakers wearing 11 year old who rarely brushed her hair and only ever dressed up for Sundays.

Well, I still am guilty of rarely brushing my hair, but I attribute this bad habit to my years sporting a pixie cut, when brushing was unnecessary.

Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com

I love that today, girls can love nerdy things and it’s no longer a gender stereotype to be into superheroes, Doctor Who, or Lord of the Rings. I love that we can mix super feminine with incredibly geeky, and it’s considered cool. I hope that my daughter grows up with a love for the nerdy and the feminine, for playing outside every bit as much as she loves dressing up in princess costumes, for comic books and Minnie Mouse.

But if she doesn’t, that’s okay too. I want her to cultivate her own interests and loves, and not just be a photocopy of her mother. Because, as the daughter of a woman who grew up a tomboy and rarely wore makeup, I love that I was almost the polar opposite of my mother, yet we have rubbed off on each other over the years. She wears makeup more now, and I am not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Grown Up Minnie | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt, Target | heels, belt, scarf, and vintage skirt, thrifted | earrings, c/o Oasap | glasses, c/o Firmoo

What about you? Were you totally different as a kid, or did some essence of your child self grow up with you?

On a totally different vein, I realized the other day that I very well may be able to wear polka dots for at least a week and never repeat a polka dot garment, so this week that is my goal. And when my husband saw this skirt, he said “what are you, Minnie Mouse?” So if my whole Cinderella-for-Halloween idea doesn’t work out, at least I have a backup plan.

I hope you are all having a lovely day!

Happy Tuesday!

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Polka dot dress and striped headscarf

Polka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.comPolka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.com Lately, I have realized something about myself: I don’t like making new friends.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t like people. I love people! I loved growing up next to my uncle who had nine kids; I love my in-laws and their huge family; I loved working as a barista and a secretary and chatting to new customers daily; I love throwing big parties and being the recipient of big parties.

But making new friends is something else. Maintaining a new relationship past the awkward “how much do I share/we need to hang out often” stage and into the “I will tell you everything/we could go months without seeing each other and be okay” flow is just… hard. Making new friends totally drains me. And to be honest, so does staying at big parties without my “anchor” person (my husband, best friend, or friends I’ve known for ages), being expected to socialize with people I rarely see, or, sometimes, being at family events from either side when there are many children running around with minimum supervision. (All the kids are fairly well behaved, mind you, but still.)

Polka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.comPolka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.com I’m not sure why this is. I’m a friendly person. I’m known for liking to talk. I don’t find it hard to converse; in fact, I find it hard to stop talking sometimes. However, that’s my “mask”; some people retreat into themselves when faced with strangers, I talk about anything and everything to hide the fact that I feel awkward and nervous. Perhaps that’s part of why I always feel drained in new friendships; I feel as though I have to fill the silence so nobody feels awkward, because I’ve been in so many situations where there was silence and I felt awkward.

Perhaps it’s my tendency to take charge. Kids need corralling? I will head them off. Dishes need clearing? I’ll take those. People want attention? I’ll try to make them feel comfortable if I can. New friends aren’t talking much? I’ll make up for it by oversharing! And by the end, I’m just craving alone time, to sit by myself and not be spoken to or needed, to recharge in the quiet, to not have to talk or entertain. Polka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.com Polka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.com

I told my husband once that making new friends is hard, and he laughed at me. I am very much the more outwardly social person in our relationship, and someone on the outside might classify me as the extrovert and him as the introvert. But after reading articles about extroverts and introverts, how they gain energy, what they need, what they hate, what they like… I think really, I’m just an outgoing introvert, and my husband is a shy extrovert. I need quiet and alone time to recharge — introvert status. He loves big groups and gets energy from a crowd — extrovert all the way. I would gladly entertain myself with a book all day and not have to talk to anyone — definite introvert. He needs to see people and do things to pass the time — definite extrovert. He considers everyone his friend. I only consider people I actually hang out with consistently my friends (everyone else? acquaintances.)Polka dot dress and striped headscarf | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt, dress, and belt, thrifted | boots, Kohl’s | headscarf, Modcloth | glasses, c/o Firmoo | earrings, Target

And, though I am the “talkative” one, I actually prefer friends who talk more than I do, because then I don’t feel as though I have to entertain them, while he prefers people who let him talk too. So while outwardly, I look more social and he’s the quiet one, inwardly, I think our roles are flipped. At home, with just him I tend to be the quiet one while he is the talkative one. I tend to sit in my corner at well-known friends’ parties, while he’s the one hanging out and talking and being the social butterfly (of sorts; his talkative is not like my talkative.) When I’m really comfortable with people, I tend to observe and listen rather than talk and entertain.

It’s been quite eye-opening to me; it explains why I like blog friendships (on my terms, in my pajamas, no pressure to chat on the spot) and why I can talk to anyone at church or, in the past, work, but feel less comfortable pursuing relationships outside of those areas. It explains why I, the “social” one, don’t like going places where there will be new people I have to talk to. It explains why I preferred my job as a barista, where no customer could befriend me outside of work and there were no holiday events, to my job at Hallmark, where there were holiday parties with employees I had to attend that felt too intimate for a work relationship.

And I know labels are beginning to be old news, that people redefine who they are every day, but I like “fitting” a certain mold. Maybe I’m not an obvious one, but knowing I am more an introvert than extrovert is comforting. I’m not just really weird for being social but not liking having to make new friends.

What about you? Do you consider yourself to be more of an extrovert or an introvert? Shy or outgoing? No label? In between? I am curious to know if there are more people like me.

Happy Wednesday!

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Graphic cardigan and star-print tights

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comGraphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

The stars in her eyes
Reflect the grandiose dreams of
One who has seen it all, yet
Desperately hopes for more

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Dreamer, is she
Creator of worlds beyond the seen
Harbinger of the doom or success
Of fictional creatures she hoards
In the depths of her mind’s palaces

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comGraphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Dreamer,
Lost and found again
Rejecting the hard cold truth for
A prison of faeries’ making
Buried deep beneath the intoxication
Of voraciously consuming words

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Breathing in the scent of
Pages long since penned by
Authors whose bodies rot
And feed the needs of the earth’s fauna
And flora

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comDress and tights, Target | cardigan and necklace, c/o Oasap | boots, Kohl’s

Eternity swirling and glowing in the
Hopeless depths
Of her eyes.
Dreamer, is she

Bone-raw fingertips pounding
At keys too real to express
The desperation of her mind.

Um… I didn’t know what to talk about today, so I wrote you a poem inspired by these star-and-moon print tights, which you have to admit are pretty awesome. I feel like a chameleon and/or a rockstar today, because this entire outfit is not my usual vintage or retro, and… lots of black.

Happy Monday!

(P.S. If you happen to get these tights, size up. These SAY they fit 5’5-5’11 and 140-190lbs, but… if these were meant to be waist-high, they only came to barely over my rear-end. With lots of stretching and struggling.)

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Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method)

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com My mom and I have been doing the No Poo method for exactly two weeks now, and we have had drastically different results, which emphasizes to me how there is no “magic formula” that works for everyone.

As I’ve been doing the No Poo, I’ve had no greasy transition (the linked post, which has a wealth of info in the post itself as well as a ton of answers to questions in the comments, says you’ll experience a “greasy period” as your scalp tries to reset itself). Quite contrary, I feel as though I get LESS greasy between washes.

My mom, on the other hand, feels as though her hair is unbearably greasy on the second day, and is having a hard time sticking to only two washes a week (recommended, as more might dry out your hair). However, she was used to washing her hair daily, and she has a very oily scalp naturally. She has noticed that she doesn’t really need the vinegar rinse — that her hair is soft and less greasy without it (the vinegar is a conditioner, and perhaps if you have super greasy hair, you may not need it). She’ll be following a few of the suggestions for oily hair, or perhaps going the Low Poo way if she continues to have greasy hair after a few more weeks.Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com

As for me, though, I have had a ton of success with this method, and only one or two issues that are incredibly minor.

Before I get into why it’s working out for me, though, here’s my scalp stats: I have a naturally dry scalp, very thick and long hair (as you can see) and previous to going No Poo, I shampooed at MOST twice a week, sometimes once a week, and sometimes… well, this mama of a one year old didn’t get a chance to shower. So my scalp was probably pretty prime for working with the No Poo method.

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com Since going No Poo these are the pros I’ve noticed:

  • Softer hair — with shampoo, it was okay, but usually just tangly
  • MUCH easier to brush through — like, almost no tangles with brushing, unless I’ve used massive amounts of hairspray. With shampoo and conditioner, it was always a struggle to brush my hair, wet OR dry, unless I used the mega-super-hydrating stuff that comes with hair dye.
  • My usually flaky scalp is no longer flaky
  • Way, way less fallout in the shower — like, 2-3 hairs vs the previous 10-15, and much less hair in my brush after brushing
  • My terrible in-need-of-trimming ends break off less
  • Split ends are smoother and less noticeable
  • Overall, ends are less crispy, smoother, and less brittle
  • More volume at my roots, which previously just fell flat due to (I thought) the weight of my hair.
  • Easier to curl and style than before, when curls would fall flat in a matter of hours.
  • Thicker-feeling hair overall, which could be partially due to new growth that I suspect is partially because of pregnancy
  • BETTER smelling hair than when I was using shampoo (I always got a whiff of wet dog with shampoo, but now my hair smells a bit sweet, thanks to the black tea bag I stuck in my ACV solution (suggested by a comment I found somewhere — black tea for dark hair, chamomile for light, berry for reds)
  • No more body welts from my allergy to shampoo!

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com

Cons:

  • My hair can get SO FLUFFY, and as a girl used to flat, straight hair, this has been… interesting. A very tiny dab of coconut oil run over the ends fixes that, though
  • Not a con for me personally, but it could be for many — the smell of ACV in the shower is very strong. It doesn’t stay on your hair after rinsing, but to some people (who don’t like the smell of vinegar), it could get overpowering. You can, however, use a citric rinse instead, which is also listed towards the bottom of this post.
  • Also not really a con, but my hair looks less shiny and smooth which I am guessing is due to lack of silicone and heavy conditioners — it doesn’t bother me, and I’ve noticed that after using coconut oil to help with flyaways and then running a curling iron over wibbly spots, those spots shine more. I think the less shiny is due to more volume and hair not “sticking” to itself as much.

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com Side note, these pictures aren’t the best representation of how my hair looks after No Poo, because I had it up in a very messy and haphazard bun while it was wet, which resulted in unruly waves. That were easy to brush, but didn’t lose their wave at all. So, y’know. Normally, after washing and letting it dry, my hair is fuller but still pretty much straight. Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt, Target | vintage skirt and belt, thrifted | boots, JC Penney | glasses, c/o Firmoo

A few questions I’ve been asked about this:

1. Do I rinse with cold water? Nope; I shower nice and warm. Cold water DOES close the cuticles on your hair shaft and make it look shinier, so you can, but so far as I’ve read it’s not actually mandatory.

2. Is it color safe? I have dark brown dye in my hair to cover up the red, and so far, no color stripping. I have read from hairstylists that permanent dyes (of any color) should not be affected, and if anything, the baking soda is the culprit as the vinegar is a solution that is very diluted. But, for reds or blondes, I’ve also seen experiences that are half and half — some have had reds turn more orange, or blondes get lighter, and some have had no changes. It may just depend on the strength of your solution, how much junk was in your hair, or even your hair type. So you’ll have to do lots of research before you try it on dyed hair.

3. Do I use any shampoo any more? NO. Thus, it’s called “No Shampoo” because… I don’t use any shampoo.

4. How often do you wash your hair?  I wash my hair the same amount as I did with shampoo, so pretty much every four days or so. (Twice a week, ish.)

5. Will it damage your hair to wash more than twice a week? The No Poo method is NOT meant for daily use, just as you shouldn’t shampoo every day, and the entire point of going No Poo is to allow your scalp to self-regulate its oils. I don’t know whether doing three times a week (which might help oilier scalps) will hurt anything, though, and I’ve seen advice saying if you really can’t STAND the oiliness, every other day is okay as long as you are able to taper off. The goal is to wash 2 times a week (or less, if you get to the water-only stage.)

6. Does your hair get greasy? Well, I don’t have a naturally oily scalp, so no. I’m on day three after wash day, and my hair is just BARELY starting to feel a bit oily if I rub my fingers along my scalp. It still looks as clean as it did on day one, though. If you have a naturally oily scalp, like my mom, then yes. Your scalp will get greasy, and if like her you shampooed daily, your “transition” period can take as long as six weeks before your scalp calms down.

7. You use this in the shower, right? Yes. It’s meant to replace shampoo and conditioner.

8. Has your hair gotten longer since starting this? Ha, well, it’s not Miracle Gro, so as far as I’ve noticed, my hair has stayed at its normal growth rate of somewhere around 1/2 inch a month. However, it does feel thicker and I do have new growth (which, like I said, could partially be pregnancy), and the No Poo method does promote new hair growth due to unclogging your pores and allowing more hair through your scalp. (here’s an example of my hair about a month ago, vs what you see in this post.)

9. Does it wash out hair product (hairspray, gel, defining agents, etc)? Yes! I’ve used a boatload of hairspray while doing this, and it all comes out in the shower.

So those are the questions I got from friends; if you have more, ask away! I’ll do another update once it’s been a month, and we’ll see how my mom does with adjustments and her oilier scalp. If you’re thinking about jumping in, read this post about No Poo to get started. And if you are looking for a homemade conditioner for dry hair, here’s a recipe!

And remember, you will probably have to adjust the levels of what you’re using for your particular scalp. So what works for me may not work for you (as proven by my mom and I using the same method with far different results.). Experiment!

Happy Wednesday!

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