New Year’s Day

New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.com New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.com  The first day of a new year is such a strange and wonderful thing. It feels almost like any other day, but you know that it has begun an entire new set of events that have yet to happen. You look forward with anticipation, hope, resolve, and perhaps even a little bit of fear, yet you also look back with memory, fondness, sadness, and bittersweet longing for things that will never be again.

You feel as though you should do something to begin the year with a head start, but on such a day as this, when there are so many resolutions made and so many things to move into, where do you begin?

New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.com New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.comFor me, the first day of the new year doesn’t really have the fanfare and excitement of other holidays. There are no presents to open, no chocolates or flowers, no church service to attend at dawn; we’ve never had a tradition for this day. It just begins, like any other day, with a quiet sunrise, and suddenly it’s a fresh year that will inevitably fill up before I know where my days went.

This year, though, I am trying to begin my new year in the spirit of improvement, and I am already living a few of my resolutions out. I think perhaps even if there is no huge celebration for the first day of a new year, simply choosing one thing to better yourself that day, and all of the following days, is the perfect way to celebrate the blank slate of the coming days.

New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.comNew Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.com Today I am living out a few of my resolutions already; I am already amidst the first week of a Whole30; I’m wearing lipstick; I’m dressed in the retro/vintage look I hope to stick with for at least six months, and I’ve also carried out a resolution I didn’t add to my list: this year, I plan to give over control of the photography in my outfit posts to my husband.

It’s hard for me to admit that he takes better pictures of me than I do, because I have quite the independent streak. But even if you all don’t notice, I see such a huge difference in the photography when he takes the camera over. Of course, a person will likely always take better photos than a tripod and a self-timer, but somehow I felt as though I had to do it by myself. Which is silly, considering most bloggers out there tend to prefer another human to photograph them versus having to take their own pictures.New Year's Day | www.eccentricowl.comCardigan, skirt, and belt, thrifted | shirt, tights, and shoes, Target | glasses, c/o Firmoo | headband, modcloth | earrings, gift

And in letting him take over my outfit photography, I am in turn also working on cultivating our relationship. I always feel as though it must be a bother to him whenever I ask him to take my outfit photos, but time and time again he tells me that he likes to do it.

This month I am excited to add to my cultivation of relationships by meeting Myranda, a fellow mama who, funny enough, I only know through my blog (and also Facebook) although I’ve met and known all of her siblings over the last ten years or so. I am so excited to finally meet her. And I’m very excited to finally have a car, so that I can do things like this again!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and have a wonderful New Year’s Day! Our celebration was incredibly low key (aka, we watched Doctor Who, played Mario, and barely made it past midnight), but today we plan to go out for lunch and see a movie. What are you all doing for the New Year?

Happy Thursday!

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Christmas Cocktail Party: Get Ready With Me!

First of all, please take this survey as I am striving to improve the blog in the new year and would love to know what you’d like to see more of, what you think could improve, and any other feedback you might have!Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com I gotta warn you guys, today’s post is going to be very photo-heavy. But since there are only a few days until Christmas, I thought I’d do at least one Christmas-themed outfit/makeup post.

A few weekends ago, one of our friends hosted a Christmas party that was Cocktail-dress required, and I didn’t realize that until we were almost to the party. So I didn’t get to go full cocktail; my husband and I ran to Target on the way and grabbed the maroon peplum dress I’m wearing in this post and some silver flats, and I had to make do with a few bobby pins I found in my purse… and that was it. I actually changed in the car. Yeah. That really happens.

So today I thought I’d do the outfit proper, with what I would have looked like if I had realized beforehand that it was a cocktail party. I shot a photo tutorial for some fun makeup, showed you how I did a quick and easy holiday hairstyle, AND photographed my outfit, all for one post.

Ready? Yes? Yay!

First up, makeup. We’ll call this look Sugarplums Dancing. Because you’ll see why. As always, begin with a clean, moisturized face. I’ll admit I slept in my makeup last night and only washed it off right before this picture, but uh… pretend I woke up with a fresh face, ok?Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Apply your regular routine of foundation, blush, and powder, applying a bit of extra powder beneath your eyes as this will make it easier to brush away any falldown eyeshadow later.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com I prefer to do my brows before I apply eyeshadow, but this is because I use the same brush for dark liner shadows as I do for my brows, so… if you’re lazy about changing brushes like me, fill in your brows as you please.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Next, taking a shimmery shadow that is a few shades lighter than your skin, apply it to your browbone and the inner corner of your eye to catch all that light from the Christmas tree. Then with a light gold shadow, cover your lid from your lash line to just above your crease. Use the same gold shadow all the way beneath your lower lash line. Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Taking a dark plum shadow (and now you see where the makeup name came from), create a vee shape from mid-lash line, up and out to the crease, and inwards again. Apply the same shadow on the outer half of your lower lash line.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com With a dark brown shadow, deepen the plum color only on the outer edges of your eye, and apply dark brown just at the very outside of your lower lash line. And then, with a darker gold shadow, pop some color on the middle of your lid. Just for fun.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Blend it all because that’s how they say you should. (I’m feeling facetious today, can you tell?)Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.comWith dark brown or black liner, create a cat-eye shape (or whatever liner shape suits you the best. I like cat-eye because it’s a bit retro and universally flattering.) If you like, set the liner with shadow in the same color.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Now for some fun! With a wet shadow brush, grab yourself some straight gold glitter and dab it on wherever you want. I applied it just above the liner line from the inner corner out to where the darker shadow begins.   Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Curl your lashes, if you need to (I have to because otherwise they hit my glasses.), and add a few layers of mascara. My current favorite is L’oreal Original Voluminous. It’s kind of amazing stuff. Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com Now, with some plummy liner, line your lips to prevent feathered edges, and first apply a plum-colored lipstick, followed by a pinkish-red lipstick. Mixing lip colors adds dimension and also creates custom colors; this made my lips match the dress I’m going to wear.  Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.comNow your face is pretty. (Well, it probably was before. Now it’s… more pretty.)

Next up, the easiest, laziest fancy hairstyle known to woman. Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.comCurl your hair loosely (or as curly as you like, actually). I took pretty large sections of hair and was done in about five minutes because I hate spending hours on my hair. Be sure your hair is parted on one side or the other.

Then, taking a large section on the side that your hair is parted away from, pull your hair straight out from your head and curl it under with your fingers, from halfway down the shaft of your hair. This will create some volume instead of slickly-pulled-back-hair. Pin the rest of your hair on that side up in the back, so that you’ve got all the hair to one side of your head. On the other side, loosely bring your hair back from your face in a small section, and pin it back over the hair that’s already tumbling over your shoulder. And… you’re done.

Get yourself into a pretty holiday outfit, and go party!Christmas Cocktail Party | www.eccentricowl.com See more of the outfit after the jump! Continue reading “Christmas Cocktail Party: Get Ready With Me!”

Let’s Pretend

Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.comDressember DaysLet's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com Do you ever imagine what it might be like if you were a celebrity?

I do. Often, even though I can’t act worth beans and I don’t actually think I would like the life of fame, I imagine walking the red carpet and being interviewed; and mostly, it’s because of the clothes. I would love to be a woman who had access to sweeping gowns made by brilliant designers, to be fitted perfectly to my body; I would love to have someone professionally touch up my makeup — or learn how to do it myself, since I have a thing against other people touching my face — and fix my hair.

It would be an interesting and fun experience, to live that glamorously if only for a day. Of course, as with any profession, there are challenges and hardships. But, you know, it would still be fun!

Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com Today I felt like a movie star. This dress makes me feel every bit as glamorous as if I’d had professional hair and makeup done and was styled by a famous designer.

I think, based on one of my favorite fashion-of-the-stars website, I would probably be one of the few celebrities who actually wore nonstop color and pattern. I might be one of those stars who occasionally steps into the world of kookiness with a crazy 1970’s caftan or 80’s dress, but at least I’d be having fun! I’ve always noticed that people in the public eye tend to dress in neutrals, reds, or dark colors, (as well as the crazy-revealing, or those garments that can’t really be classified as “clothing”) and you don’t see a lot of pattern. I don’t know if this is a modern trend, or if they go for simple because they’re told it’s more flattering… I don’t know. But I always appreciate people like Emily Blunt or Zooey Deschanel or Mindy Kaling who wear interesting and beautiful and colorful clothes; people who aren’t caught in the world of nude shoes and black dresses. Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.comLet's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com Obviously there is a practical side to being clothed, but also… why not have fun with it?

I think I was asked once or saw the question once a long time ago whether Christianity/modesty and fashion blogging are at war with each other; whether it goes against a Christian’s call to be modest to photograph one’s self quite often in order to post those pictures on the internet and garner fans ans followers. (And when you put it that way, maybe it does sound vain.) But the thing is… I don’t do this for attention. It’s nice to get comments, yes, although I appreciate those more for the friendships I have made.

But at the core, fashion blogging is just… fun. I love wearing pretty things and I always have; I love creating something that is beautiful to the eye, whether it be a painting, a sketch, a photograph, an outfit, and sharing it with others in hopes they might share the joy.  I love creating outfits that are physically modest but also truly fashionable to encourage other women who want to dress modestly that you can wear attractive outfits that are decent without having to look like a homeschooler (you know what I’m talking about. And I can say that; I was homeschooled.)Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com I believe that fashion blogging and modesty — of attitude, pocket, and appearance — are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts. My brother-in-law pointed out once that when it speaks of women being called to be modest in the church in the Bible in one instance, its’ not even talking about modesty of clothing in the sense of being revealing; it’s talking about the fact that these women were dressing outlandishly and elaborately and going to church in order to get attention for themselves, instead of coming to church to worship God.  Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.com So really, it depends on why I do this. If I were blogging only to shout to the world “look how beautiful I am, look at me, I’m so fashionable, I’m so thrifty, I’m so fantastic!” (which, sadly, one or two of my posts have been misread that way) then yes, I would not be blogging in a very modest way. But I do this as a hobby; it’s fun, I like creating art — and clothing can be a form of art –, I love to meet new people, I hope to encourage others, and blogging is my way to journal life. Since I was never very good at keeping a paper journal. Let's Pretend | www.eccentricowl.comBelt and vintage dress, thrifted | heels, Kohl’s | earrings, c/o Oasap | bracelet, Target

And also sometimes I think people in the religious world can get really legalistic with what you can and cannot do, which can go overboard. Obviously I believe there should be limits, as with anything in life; too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. (Hello, chocolate.) But I also believe that you should use your talents to encourage others, which is what I hope I am doing!

What are your thoughts on fashion blogging, vanity, and modesty (of the heart)?

P.S. If you are wondering whether this dress is possibly that bright in real life… the answer is yes. It is. I LOVE IT. Happy Sunday!
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Stripes and Beehives

Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comDressember DaysStripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.com  Happy Saturday! You guys! Five days until Christmas!!! AH!

Today we are going to a family Christmas party at my dad’s cousin’s house. I don’t know how many people will be there, but it’s always fun to gather with my dad’s side of the family; they’re a very food-centric family, so I know there will be a wealth of delicious foods to eat. Which is always a plus. This season I’ve sort of given up being healthy just for the holidays. Because it’s the holidays.

This is how people end up five (or ten) pounds heavier by the end of the year, haha! So many cookies. Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comI’ve been thinking about some resolutions for the new year — I don’t normally really care about resolutions, but I already have some goals I would like to meet and I think starting them off in the new year is a great way to have a fresh beginning. Some things, like eating healthier and exercising, and pretty much a given; everyone makes those resolutions in the new year. Did you know that only around 88% of people who make these resolutions fail by the end of the year?

I think that the biggest reason for this is probably lack of planning, and not going back to your list of resolutions on a regular basis to remind yourself of what you hope to achieve. Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.com I’ll be writing a more detailed resolutions post at the end of the year, but as far as health goes, my main hope is to have a better schedule and more consistency. I want to be able to go on hikes with my husband and not be exhausted halfway through; to look and feel better overall; to eliminate sugar cravings and just… be healthy. I am probably moderately healthy right now, but there is a lot to improve.  Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.com Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comI saw this little guy on our doorstep today as I went outside to take pictures; he’s got itty bitty little droplets of water all over him since it’s rainy today. We call these caterpillars Fuzzy Wuzzies, and I don’t know if that’s just a family thing, a regional thing, or… I don’t know! What do you call fuzzy black and orange caterpillars? Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.com Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.com I am continuing my run of dressing from the past, as you can see, with this sixties inspired look. Funny enough, though, it’s all modern with the exception of the headscarf. I think what really  makes an outfit look more retro or modern really is what you do with your head. Imagine this sans the beehive; it would immediately look like it was from this era.

Another one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to stick with this retro style for at least six months, and weed out any clothes that don’t fit the theme. I plan to just box up anything that isn’t working with the style I’m going for (anything from 1940-1970), and commit to a real vintage/retro fashion run for a while, to see if it really suits me as much as I suspect it does. I’ve been afraid to really commit to a set style for a while because I’m afraid I’ll get bored of it,  but every time I go more retro, I’m immediately happier. Stripes and Beehives | www.eccentricowl.comDress and tights, Target | boots, JC Penney | headscarf, thrifted | belt, ??? | earrings, c/o Oasap | glasses, c/o Firmoo

Do you guys have any resolutions?

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Happy almost Christmas!
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