Cheshire Garden

Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comDressember DaysCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comToday, my brain has gone blank. I feel that sort of cloud-induced grogginess that one feels when the weather is overcast, the house is very warm, there’s been a good amount of food, and everything is quiet. Asa and I just got back from a baby play place with one of my friends and her baby, and the activities has worn both of us out!

That, and the fact that he got his very first fat lip this morning while standing up to the coffee table in order to get food. Only his foot slipped on a toy, and instead of a good mouthful of banana, he got a bite of the table and his own lip. There was a lot of blood, since his teeth took chunks from the inside of his lip and the table took a slice from the outside of his lip, but he only cried for about a minute.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.com In true little boy fashion, after crying a bit and telling me in his worried voice all about it (which he frequently does after a bump/scare), he was ready to get down and play. Thankfully, I am not a worrier; I did call my mom right away because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with a little boy who’d just bit it for the first time (baby Tylenol? Ice?) and I initially thought that he’d bitten through his lip. But, he hadn’t, and after checking his mouth to be sure he hadn’t broken or jarred any teeth, we both relaxed a bit. And I may have started laughing at him.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.com  I’ve realized that laughing in the face of a scare is becoming my go-to emotion. It’s either laugh or cry these days, and I’d much rather laugh! My husband and I agreed that we should probably never attend a funeral together, because we are the people who will begin laughing at the most inappropriate times, and then not be able to quit laughing.

I remember one time in church, we were sitting behind a row that was taken up by a family who had six kids. The youngest of their boys, who was probably about four or five at the time, announced quietly enough that he needed to use the restroom. He was let out, and he toddled off to get his business done… but five minutes later he was back, doing a dance, and announced a little bit more loudly something like “I can’t poop all by myself!”

Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.com And of course, this was right before prayer. So there we stood, trying and failing miserably not to completely lose it while everyone else was behaving and being utterly quiet. Yeah. We’re adults.

I hope we never lose our senses of humor. The other day as we were browsing Target, I saw that someone had rearranged some letter ornaments to spell “FART” right above the display of snowflakes and beside the Santa and Snowman figurines. And like the grown-up that I am, I giggled and then I Instagrammed it. I blame my brothers and my husband for my growing appreciation for toilet humor.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comI know. My hair is three different colors right now. I’m having a hard time deciding which color to go with. So we’ll pretend I meant to have it look like upside-down fire on coals.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.com So I am not usually one to wear the buttoned-up-to-the-neck styles, but today while I was trying to figure out how to winterize this dress a little bit, I decided that my Alice in Wonderland shirt would work quite nicely as an over layer. I had the collar of the dress unbuttoned, but somehow it just doesn’t work quite as well. And surprisingly, because I don’t like the look of super-covered necks usually, I like the way it works.

Also, this dress is my favorite ever. I’ve started to realize lately that my favorite florals are bright flowers on a dark or black background. I’m not as fond of white/light dresses with flowers on them, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I just like the drama of a black dress with bright flowers on it. At any rate, this dress combines quite a few of my favorite colors, and I LOVE the way it looks with these tights and shoes!Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comVintage dress and belt, thrifted | Target tights | Modcloth wedges | Alice in Wonderland shirt c/o Choies | glasses c/o Firmoo

If you notice that I’m not wearing my wedding ring in these pictures, don’t worry. I just forgot to put it back on last night after I washed the dishes, and somehow spaced out about putting it on (all day; I still don’t have it on) this morning. It’s funny how you get so used to wearing a ring that suddenly when you don’t have it, you can feel its absence! Currently I have another ring in its place.

Can you believe December is half over already? As the year is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking about maybe starting off my blog in the new year with a slightly different schedule and more than just fashion. I don’t know, though; part of me really loves doing daily fashion with weekend baby pictures, but the other part of me wants to get more into lifestyle-type posts. It’s hard for me to do lifestyle posts, though, because we live in a house that isn’t ours, and doesn’t reflect my style at all, and has kind of bad lighting.

And I promise you I haven’t forgotten about making videos — I had polled Facebook for an idea of what types of videos you guys want to see most, and all two (yay) comments said makeup/hair. However, I filmed a video and had a TON of issues cutting it together and getting it exported, and eventually got sick of looking at myself, so… we’ll try again in the new year. Let me know if there’s a particular subject (makeup, hair, rambling, writing, mom stuff, outfit video, thrift hauls, whatever) you’re most interested in and I’ll try my best to figure out the whole video thing and get something going.

I hope you’re all having a good week so far! I’m off to start some laundry and then maybe take a nap.

Happy Tuesday!

(P.S. I have yesterday’s dress all ready to go, but it’s a book review outfit and I didn’t feel like doing a book review today, so it’s going to go up somewhere out of order.)

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Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.comExcuse the horrible photoshop. I was being lazy and trying to go fast.

As you can see, I’ve just finished reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and it’s time for a review!

I had planned to be inspired by one of the photographs other than the cover, but… did I mention lazy? As well, it’s probably the most recognizable of all of the images, seeing as it’s on the cover, and it’s the closest thing I have to an outfit out of any of the peculiars. So, here we are. Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.comBook Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com I have actually been wanting to read this book ever since Salazar reviewed it, and I was not disappointed! The cover really appealed to me (I’m a visual person!), and while I wasn’t quite satisfied with the ending after all of the buildup, it was good enough.(And I guess there’s a sequel coming, so that makes me feel better about  the end.)

But first, the synopsis.Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com Jacob’s grandfather Abe has always told him fantastic stories of his childhood and shown him old pictures of peculiar children — the floating girl, the slender boy who could lift boulders, the man with a mouth on the back of his head, the invisible boy — but as time went on and Jacob grew up, he stopped believing his grandfather’s tales.

Until one night, when his grandfather is murdered, and on finding his grandfather at the scene, Jacob sees something from his nightmares.

After some time seeing a psychiatrist to deal with his trauma, Jacob is encouraged to find the island and the house for peculiar children that his grandfather often spoke of. He arrives… and finds a horribly marred house that was bombed in the war, leaving no survivors.

Or so they thought.

Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com As Jacob explores the overgrown, long-forgotten house, he is discovered by a group of children who, when he spots them, scatter off into a bog. Jacob gives chase… and somehow finds himself thrown back in time, to the very day that the house was bombed. And he discovers that his grandfather’s stories were not just stories.

The children are still alive, caught in a time-loop that resets the day over and over and over again just before the bomb strikes. He learns that they are in perilous danger, that the nightmare he saw on the night of his grandfather’s death is real, and that he is one of them.Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.comBook Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com It’s a pretty fascinating story, and Riggs writes it fantastically well. I was captured from the first page, and when I turned the last I was sad. I didn’t want the story to end — partially because it’s not really a conclusive ending, partially because I could have happily spent many more hours exploring the curious world Riggs created between reality and fantasy.

Throughout the entire book, I was dreading that Riggs would write an ending that was a complete letdown; that perhaps he would take the cheap way out, or that Jacob’s entire adventure was an episode because of his trauma, or the monsters he saw would never really be revealed… but thankfully none of this happened. While the ending was not absolutely conclusive, it left you with a sense of triumph that they would conquer the problems the book left them with.

The last few chapters were the most intense. I kid you not, I was reading it at night in bed and I still got the heebie jeebies when I had to quit mid-scene because my husband wanted to go to sleep. Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com I loved each and every character in the book; each peculiar child, however small their part, had an interesting background and a perfect personality for their peculiarity. The monsters were perfectly creepy and intense (which is hard to do in a book, I think). It’s the first book that has really scared me since I read the scene with Shelob in Lord of the Rings.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a quick read and good fairytale with a twist! Book Review/Inspired Outfit: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children | www.eccentricowl.com

Vintage headscarf and dress, thrifted | tights and cardigan, Target | shoes, Modcloth | necklace c/o Oasap (similar) | glasses c/o Firmoo | lipstick, Rimmel London Kate Moss collection shade 01

Well, you guys, it is absolutely frozen today! I feel like I say this with every season’s beginning, but I LOVE this weather. I feel like Fall/Winter might be my favorite, because it’s all frosty and pretty, and you get to wear fun layers and the grass sparkles and it’s just beautiful. Plus there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to, and… ah, I just love it!

What are you looking forward to this season? And can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK???

I can’t. Happy Tuesday!

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When Love is Not a Dream

When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen my husband and I kissed for the first time, it brought about the sole largest crisis of our relationship. In my case, anyway.

Growing up in a more conservative family as a romantic, day-dreaming girl, I had always imagined and vowed that my first kiss would be on my wedding day. As a young woman who read many novels and watched many Austen/Bronte films, I imagined that kissing was a tender, wonderful, breathtaking thing. So, I thought, we would wait through however long it took to date and be engaged, and our first kiss would be incredibly special, a sign of our new life together, almost magical in its properties.

My husband, however, was not a fan of this idea. Being almost painfully shy in front of people he does not know, he didn’t want his first kiss to be a face-bump in front of strangers under a spotlight for everyone to see and record, awkward and tentative. And being pretty easily swayed by his coaxing and logic, I thought about it for a week or two, and decided giving up that wedding-day first-kiss was okay with me.When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

Or so I thought. I told him that I had never wanted to kiss a man I wasn’t going to marry, so if he was going to marry me, he could kiss me. He asked what that even meant, and I shrugged. It meant what it meant, he could take it how he wanted, whether that meant he would eventually kiss me after we were engaged, or whether he definitely saw us being married at some point and took the jump early.

What I didn’t tell him was that I had dreamed and waited for that perfect day, my first kiss, which I had envisioned being on a special day in a romantic setting, symbolizing a new life, after years and years of waiting for the perfect person to do it. I didn’t tell him that I was afraid of disappointing my parents, who had raised us to be more reserved, and focus on personality and friendship, not physicality and romance. I merely left it at the statement of marriage, and hoped it would all work out okay.

So, a month after we had started dating, and a week after I had realized I loved him, our first kiss came in an unexpected-yet-expected way, and it was… nothing, really. It came and went so quickly I barely knew what he had done; standing in the cold, huddled together on a late ferry back from Seattle, watching the lights twinkle and shine in the blackness of the night, I looked up at him, he looked down at me, and with one swift peck, he touched his lips to mine and pulled away. When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

It was not tender, or romantic; it was fleeting, tentative, awkward, barely even felt. I remember thinking — and maybe even vocalizing — “what was that?” and acting like it was no big deal. The next day, wandering the woods, he admitted he felt like he had gypped me, and maybe we should try again. So under dark, towering trees, standing on a muddy path where mushrooms sprouted about our feet and up the bark of the pines, he kissed me again.

I expected to feel a rush, butterflies, tingles, warmth, anything. I felt nothing. Nothing except slight confusion and the thought “are we even doing this right?” We kissed a few more times, and he admitted he felt the butterflies, the tingles, the excitement… but me? Nada. My heart didn’t skip a beat, my skin didn’t flush, my thoughts didn’t fall into a jumble. In fact, my thoughts were very, very clear: I felt nothing, did this mean he wasn’t right for me?When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

I have never been a believer in the whole “make sure you’re sexually compatible before you get married” stuff. Honestly, I believed (and still believe) that if this was the right person for you, you didn’t have to worry about the sex. God had created this person for you, why would you not be compatible in every area?  But in that moment I realized perhaps I at least believed that kissing, something so simple and romantic, would not be a complicated thing you had to figure out. Kissing the person you loved should have been easy, right?

That Monday perhaps two days after our first kiss and a day after our second try, I was a mess. I didn’t like kissing. And not for more obvious reasons — I didn’t find it gross, I didn’t find him unattractive, I didn’t find the entire idea repulsive. It just did nothing for me, and I wanted it to. I was dying for a kiss that stirred something in me, that twisted my stomach into pleasing knots, or made my heart skip a beat, or sent a rush to my head. But no, I just didn’t feel it.When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com So I decided that perhaps I really wasn’t ready, and I met up with him to tell him so. I regretted letting him kiss me so early, when clearly I didn’t know what I wanted and I wasn’t sure if I had been ready. I told him as much, through welling sad emotions, and we spent the entire day talking about it, drinking coffee, sitting on the couch and just being with each other. The entire time, I silently wondered if I had made a grave mistake, if perhaps he wasn’t the one for me. I never said as much to him, but I was terrified that this man, whom I had admitted to myself just a week before that I loved, was not the love of my life. I was heartbroken that I didn’t feel anything, that the person I had finally met who felt so right in every single other area, who I got along with and who shared my interests and made me feel like the most important girl in the world… was not the one.

Because of a kiss.

At the end of that day, which was the sole largest crisis of the relationship in my mind, I decided to try once more. We kissed again, awkwardly, tentatively, with no previous practice or experience, and I still didn’t get it. But I decided to go home, to breathe, and think, and pray… and I Googled it. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents so early in the relationship; I didn’t feel like I could talk to my mom about it (I wish I had; when I finally admitted we kissed to her, months and months later, it wasn’t even an issue), and I didn’t want to admit to anyone else that  we had kissed; everyone I knew was aware that I had determined to wait until my wedding day. What if I was suddenly a hypocrite for changing my mind?When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

To my relief, Google brought me a slew of young women out there who had experienced this lack of feeling about kissing, and a plethora of answers saying that it sometimes didn’t click right away; sometimes it took practice, sometimes one or the other was just a bad kisser. Sometimes, things just don’t work quite the way you expected and dreamed the first time.

So, reassured by Google search and answer, I went to bed with only subtle worries about whether he was really “the one.” I reminded myself that I loved him, that I couldn’t imagine life without him, that he loved me, and that hey, even if I wasn’t getting it, he certainly enjoyed it, and I went to sleep. We continued kissing; stolen kisses, unsure whether our relatively conservative families would approve of these little trysts — and perhaps that was part of my overall displeasure with the process — and I let it go. I reminded myself that kissing was definitely not the most important thing in a relationship. I reminded myself that I still loved to hold hands, cuddle, and talk to him, and that we fit together better than I had ever imagined aside from the kissing.When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

Had I been a little less serious about relationships in general, it might have ended right there. I might have decided I wanted to find a man that fluttered my heart with his lips, and I might never have had the life I have now. But I know, and subconsciously knew, that love is not always how it’s portrayed in novels and Hollywood. Nothing ever is. Love, for me, was not a wild and passionate thing; it was slow and sure, steady and calm, confident and unmoving.

And the physical side of us would not always be around; someday, I knew, we would get old and no longer care. What mattered most was that we got along, that we had a solid love, that we had similar values.

A week after our first kiss and The Crisis, though, it clicked. Suddenly I felt that warming of the heart, the excitement of a really good kiss, and everything was okay.When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.com

Scarf, c/o Quotation Marks | shirt, ??? | skirt, self-made | tights, Target | belt, thrifted | shoes, Modcloth

Kissing is undoubtedly one of my favorite pastimes now. That and, well… other things we won’t discuss. Ha! The point is… love is not always what you think it will be. It’s not always a fairytale, a romance novel, a chick flick. Kissing, sex, physical attraction, relationships… they’re not always perfect, or perhaps they’re never perfect. They’re not Hollywood wonderful, they’re real. Messy, emotional, amazing, confusing, sometimes painful, ultimately… beautiful.

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A plaid skirt and Modcloth shoe review

Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.comVintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com So let me tell you the story of these shoes. I may have already blogged a little about it a while ago, but you’ll forgive me for slightly repeating myself, right?

I have been searching for a good pair of shoes for winter and fall here, which means close-toed because it’s wet all the time, flat or slightly wedged because high heels with a baby are not entirely practical, and in a retro style and definitely a color because I’m tired of neutral shoes and all of my cute retro shoes basically fell apart on the same day.Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com

After a long, long search, I found these on Modcloth a month ago, and I was so ecstatic! Cute color, great style, a bit of a wedge, close toed… basically perfect. And reviews were pretty good, although some said they were too big, some said they were slightly small, and some said they were the perfect size. After a little bit of deliberation, I ordered a size 8, because I can be anywhere from 7.5 to 8.5 depending on the width of the shoe. Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.comVintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com When they arrived, I hurriedly tried them on… and they were a smidge too tight. And they’re not leather, so I wasn’t sure if they would stretch or not. I debated keeping them, because my husband said they might stretch and they weren’t so tight they were super uncomfortable, but I spent enough money on them that I didn’t want to chance it. So after thinking it over and checking to see whether my size was still in stock, I decided to get the half-size up, because I knew I’d be wearing them with tights a lot, and didn’t want to suffer too-tight shoes if it happened that they didn’t stretch at all.

Modcloth now processes exchange/returns online, so you can tell them what size you want right then and there, and since all of the sizes were available when I made my return, I assumed it would be an easy exchange, no trouble! I popped my shoes back in the box, unworn, and put them back in the mail the day after I got them.Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com

And then two weeks later, after checking online a ton to see where the returned box was, I got an email on the day I had not slept much, my child was a mess, I was a mess… saying that they were very sorry, but AFTER receiving the pair of shoes and noting the size I needed online and processing the return, the size I wanted was no longer in stock, so I could sign up on the off chance that it got restocked, and that’s that.

No shoes, after a very long search, after already processing the return, after having checked multiple times online to be sure my size was still in stock. And it was the worst day to find that out, which is not Modcloth’s fault. I had a slight (huge) emotional breakdown over it. Highly influenced by lack of sleep and a teething, refusing-to-nap, crying child. Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com I felt kind of childish about that, but my hopes were SO dashed. If I had known that it would happen that way, I would have kept the pair of shoes I returned, and just made do. They were sort of tight in the toes, and just relatively snug all over, but they might have stretched, and I would have been semi okay with too-tight shoes anyway.

And I know that there are probably way too many difficulties to figure out, lots of technical things, stocking problems, etc, but I had a whole rant about how if Modcloth is now processing returns and noting the size you want online, shouldn’t they reserve that pair until they receive the returned shoes, so that you can actually get the size you need regardless? Honestly, I think Modcloth just has too many customers to realistically do that – they can’t reserve every size up or size down for every exchange because they’d probably lose a lot of money and run into a lot of problems. But, you know, it would be nice if they could.Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com So, despondent and mentally ranting about how I really needed a pair of shoes for fall (because actually I did, I have no practical shoes that aren’t full of holes or have soles falling off), I put in my email, said I needed a half size up, and despaired that I’d probably never get these shoes and they’d never re-stock them and woe is me. (I’m totally making fun of myself for this, because I have NEVER been this upset over clothing or shoes, and I was definitely over-tired and way too emotional about it.)

And then, surprise, after a month of waiting… they restocked! I literally bought the half size up 5 minutes after I got the email. No joke. I impatiently waited the week or so that it took for them to get to me, and of course had to try them on as soon as they got here (which was last night.) Now, they’re not a perfect fit, but I’m pretty happy with them.

I think the biggest thing with these shoes is that the toe box is pretty wide and roomy, so they feel a little oversized if you get a half size up even though they fit everywhere else. They aren’t super long on me; my toes come to about an inch away from the point, which I think is normal for pointed-toe shoes, and the heel and width at the widest part all fit my foot just fine. So I think if someone has narrow feet, they’d probably have to size down; wide feet, size up, and otherwise the true size would be perfect. Vintage plaid and mustard Modcloth wedges | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt, c/o Oasap | skirt, vintage | belt, thrifted | tights, Nordstrom rack | shoes, Modcloth

If they do stretch, though, they will be too big. So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that they don’t stretch (I’ve never had man-made uppers stretch), because if they do, I’ll be sad that I didn’t keep the size 8’s to break in.

Otherwise, though, I’m really happy with them! The color is exactly how it looks online (or maybe just a tad lighter) and the quality is relatively good. It’s not excellent quality, from the feel of them, but I think they’ll last me a while. They do mark up easily, but marks rub right off as well, so that’s not an issue. And comfort wise, I think they’ll be all-day wear shoes. I’ll let you know once I’ve worn them for a good amount of walking!

I read one review that said they fell apart a month after use, when worn 2 times a week, and I’m hoping that’s not the case with mine. Then again, I stay at home most of the time and probably won’t have the chance to wear these more than once a week for a few hours each wear.

Anyway! I didn’t mean to make this post entirely about shoes, but y’know. Now you are wholly and fully informed if you plan to purchase this pair of shoes from Modcloth!

Happy Friday!


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