Monthly Archives: May 2013

Achieve the Most from your Active Wear by Mixing & Matching

Last week I showed you how I made my own yoga mat sac out of an old alfalfa seed sac and in my post I mentioned it was just in time for yoga to start. (click here to read that blog!)

Curated & Carried - Yoga Mat Seed Sac

Well, awhile back I bought a Groupon for one month of unlimited yoga classes at Core Power Yoga for $59.00 (a $175 value). Not only was I super excited to start this new fitness regimen (something different from my typical cardio & weights gym sessions), but it also meant I got to go shopping for a new workout wardrobe!

I usually wear an American Apparel deep-V cotton tee and yoga pants when I work out, but with the thermostat set at 105° in the yoga studio, that’s a bit too much fabric. I’ve done yoga a few times in the past, enough to know loose clothing is a no-no (try doing downward dog in a drapey top and tell me how it goes); but I’ve never done hot yoga before. I can only imagine that when you crank the temperature up a notch – less is more when it comes to clothing.

In an effort to help me not look like the amateur I am, I went out and bought a few fun new tank tops & legging to practice my poses in.  I didn’t want to invest too much into new active wear (after all, it is only a month), so I bought some coordinating pieces that can easily be mixed & matched in order to make the most of what I have. Check out the stylish stuff I have to choose from to wear to the studio…

I’ve had these two tank top & hot short sets from PH8 tucked away in my dresser draw for quite a while.

PH8 Active Wear Outfits

**Side note: When I say ‘quite a while’ I actually mean years! I must’ve have bought these pieces back in 2010, when PH8 still existed. PH8 (pronounced ‘fate’) was Bebe’s short-lived attempt at active wear. The company replaced its Bebe Sport brand with their new retail concept – PH8, offering “playfully sexy fashion-forward” active street wear at the end of 2009. But less than a year after launching the new line, PH8’s fate was doomed – the division was discontinued and doors were closed.

Since I already had these pieces, I went out and bought a couple separates within the same color schemes so I could create different combinations for each class. I picked up a bright salmon tank top with white & gray side stripes and a pair of charcoal grey leggings from Forever 21 (I told you I wasn’t going to invest much!) that can either be worn together, or mixed with the PH8 pieces.

Yoga Outfit: Pink Striped Tank & Grey Leggings

Mix & Match Combo - Pink & Grey Yoga Sets

A plain white Champion tank I had on hand can also be paired with the PH8 short shorts which have a thin white stripe along the side.

Stylish Yoga Sets: White Tank & Grey Shorts

The bright turquoise blue tank top pulls the vibrant hue from the mosaic print shorts when worn together; but when put with a robin’s egg blue top from Forever 21 – it’s that hue that pops! And the florescent yellow trim on the tank coordinates with the colorful shorts as well.

Mix & Match Combo - Mosaic Motif Shorts Yoga Outfits

Again, my basic white tank also goes with the bold bottoms.

Stylish Yoga Sets: White Tank & Mosaic Motif Shorts

Now I have lots of options when it comes to what I want to wear to yoga! And even though my stylish new spandex sets might not make me look like a beginner…I’m pretty sure my wobbly knees while in ‘Warrior 3’ give me away :) Oh, well! I’ve got a month to perfect my posture.

Mix & Match Combo with Mosaic Shorts

Mix & Match Yoga Combo - Grey Base

Namaste.

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Memorial Day Weekend with my Fam!

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! My family came down from Minnesota for the extended Holiday weekend and we spent it exploring the city of Chicago. On Saturday we went down to my Division street market in the morning to get some fresh pastries for breakfast. Then we walked through Lincoln Park to the zoo so my niece could see all the animals.

Strolling through Lincoln Park

Strolling through Lincoln ParkSally the Camel had 2 humps

At the Zoo - LionSimba

Me As an AnimalGoofing off in the gift shop :)

At night we rode the Ferris wheel overlooking the lit up city skyline and caught the first fireworks show of the summer at Navy Pier.

Family in Front of Ferris Wheel

City Skyline at NightSuch a pretty city!

Fireworks

On Sunday I took them to the Randolph Street Market. They’ve heard me talk about my market a lot, so I was very excited that they got to experience it themselves; plus, this was the first month it was indoors and outdoors so there was twice as much stuff! I think they fell in love with the flea market just like I did – in fact, my mom even said, “We better slow down, we’ve only been here for five minutes and we’ve already bought folding chairs & a bird cage!” She was right! We spent a couple hours strolling the aisles of stuff and I got a chance to catch up with some of the outdoor vendors I met last summer to hear about their worldly travels and exciting new stuff they have for this season.

At Randolph Street Market

In the evening we walked to Grant Park to see the geyser shoot up from Buckingham Fountain and found our reflections in ‘the Bean’ at Millennium Park.

Running in Grant Park GardensRunning in Grant Park Gardens

Being Silly by the fountainJumping…

Skipping by the FountainSkipping…

Me Gargling the GieserGargling…

Hanging in the ParkWaiting for the Geyser to start!

At Buckingham Fountain (3)

At the Bean (2)Find us in the Bean

Me in the Bean

At Millenium Park Gardens

Cow in the CityProving to Papa there are cows in the city!

Yesterday, we went to brunch at one of my favorite spots, Orange with A Peel; every time I have visitors in town I always take them to Orange for breakfast. The Fruity Pebble pancakes are my personal fav, but they also have their famous “Frushi” (fruit sushi) and a weekly flight series of four specialty pancakes. The theme this time was “At the Movies”:  1. Popcorn – pancakes topped with home-made popcorn topped with white & dark chocolate ganache & caramel whipped cream, 2. Icee – cherry pancakes topped with cherry whipped cream & a chocolate wafer roll, 3. Treats – Pancakes with crunch bits inside topped with cookies & cream whipped cream, and 4. Nachos – Pancakes topped with mango glaze, diced kiwi and cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips. Anyone who knows me knows I have a giant sweet tooth, so this was an obvious choice for me! But for once, I just couldn’t ingest another ounce of sugar and after a couple bites, I had to order a side of scrambled eggs instead.

IMAG5711

I think the poppy seed pastry, bag of cotton candy at the zoo, cheesecake, salt water taffies, and cannoli I had over the weekend might have had something to do with it!

Eating Cotton Candy

After we ate I sent my family on their way and went home to clean up the aftermath of 3 adults & a 3-year-old staying in my studio apartment :) I had so much fun time spending the weekend with my family! I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend as well!

Sewing the Seed to Wellness: Turning an Old Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac

My rooftop pool opened up for the season and judging by the amount of time that I’ve already spent up there this last week, I think it’s safe to say that’s where I’ll be spending most of my free time this summer! Now, for others with the same agenda, this could potentially lead to a pretty unproductive next few months (I don’t think you can consider a perfectly bronze bod much of an accomplishment), but for me that’s not the case, I surprisingly get a lot done while sitting up there under the sun! Whether it’s drafting up blogs I intend to post (even though I have an entire notebook full of unpublished posts from last summer that I still haven’t gotten to), reading one of my many styling books, or working on a tedious project (insert embroidery here), I still manage to accomplish something while soaking up the sun. The first poolside project that I completed over the last couple days was turning an old alfalfa seed sac into a new yoga mat sac!

DIY: Redesigning an Old Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac

Redesigning an Old Alfalfa Seed Sac

Here’s what I was working on…

What I used:

  • An old cloth bag (long and narrow)
  • Coordinating heavy-weight fabric
  • 2 D-rings
  • Suede string
  • Heavy-duty thread
  • A shoulder strap from a handbag I don’t use

DIY Project: Turning an old Alfalfa Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac:

What I did:

Step 1: Fold the fabric along the top of the bag approximately ½ inch in width (this may vary depending on what you are using as your drawstring)

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 1 - Fold & pin the top seam

Step 2: Hand-stitch along the lower fold to create a seam. Start and stop where you intend to have the opening for your drawstring. I chose to use pink suede string as my drawstring, which I inserted underneath the fold before sewing my seam (so I wouldn’t have to feed it through afterwards).

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 2 - Hand-stitch Seam

Step 3: Before you finish stitching the seam completely, cut a small hole in the middle of the band and whip-stitch around the edge to prevent the fabric from fraying. Then pull the drawstring through the hole and finish off the seam.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 3 - Whip-Stitch Drawstring Hole

Step 4: Usually I don’t have a problem with mixing metals (in fact, I do it all the time), but in this instance I didn’t like that the gunmetal D-rings I had didn’t coordinate with the antique gold metal hardware of the shoulder strap I was using. So, I tightly wrapped the D-rings in pink suede string and secured it with hot glue to cover them. Petty, I know, but problem solved. :) And it brought the element of the pink suede to another area of the bag (which I also wanted to do).

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 4 - Wrap D-rings in Suede String

Step 5: Cut a long strip of a matching heavy-weight fabric (I used ada cloth) the width of the straight edge of the D-ring.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 5 - Cut Fabric Tabs

Step 6: Determine where you want to attach the shoulder strap onto the bag and mark it with a disappearing ink pen. Then, cut a slit in the side seam of bag equal to the length of the fabric tabs.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 6 - Slit Seams for Shoulder Strap

Step 6 - Slit Seams for Shoulder Strap (3)

Step 7: With the D-ring in between, insert both ends of the fabric tab into the seam slits and secure it in place with pins. Then, stitch the seam shut again.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 7 - Pin D-Rings into Place

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 7 - Stitch D-Rings into Place

Step 8: Simply attach the shoulder straps to the D-rings and tahhhh-dahhhhh! My new yoga mat sac is done!

Curated & Carried - Yoga Mat Seed Sac

This is the second bag I’ve created in my new collection, curated & carried. curated & carried is a collection of thoughtfully constructed handbags made from distinctive textiles that have been curated from antique stores, vintage shops, and flea markets around the country, then custom-made into bags to be carried around today. If you haven’t checked out my Facebook page yet, please do!  (You can by clicking this link –  and why not just like it too?!

I had such an enjoyable time sewing under the sun!…I did commit a party foul by spilling my stick pins on the ground – oops :/ I hope I picked them all up (would hate to step on one of those while getting into the pool!)

Sewing under the Sun!!!

Party Foul - Spilled the Stick Pins!!!

I like to think I’m “sewing the seed to wellness” with this old alfalfa seed sac turned into a yoga mat sac. And I finished it just in time to start my month of hot yoga!

DIY Project: An Old Seed Sac into Yoga Mat Sac:

What do you think of my redesigned old farmer’s fabric sac? Would you use it?

Opposites Attract: Sheer Shirts & Bold Bottoms

I’ve always been a fan of mixing delicate fabrics with harsher opposites – and that’s exactly what I’ve done in these next three outfits! Even though the Free People pants are vegan leather, a heavier material more suitable for the fall/winter season, the sheer fabric and pastel colors that I’ve paired with them help transition them into the spring/summer season. Have a look…

Outfit #1:

Urban Outfitters Sheer Pink Shirt, Free People Bronze Embroidered Pants & Jeffrey Campbell Floral Wedges

Pastel Pink Shirt & Bronze Vegan Leather Bottoms

Sheer Pink Shirt, Embroidered Pants, Hammered Stone Necklace & Floral Print Wedges

A Closer Look: Sheer Fabrics, Feminine Floral & Intricate Embroidery

My Jeffrey Campbell floral print platform wedges are the basis of which I created this outfit around. The bronze leather pants coincide with the light brown background of the sandals, while my pale pink button-down shirt from Urban Outfitters and light green hammered-stone necklace from Anthropologie bring out the pastel flowers that bloom on the vintage floral motif.

Outfit #2:

Urban Outfitters Sheer Mint Shirt, Anthropologie Purple Plaid Sweater & Free People Bronze Embroidered Pants

Mint Green Shirt, Purple Plaid Sweater & Bronze Vegan Leather Pants

Mint Green Shirt, Purple Plaid Sweater, Embroidered Pants, Amethyst Stone Necklace & Feather Pendant

A Closer Look: Playing with Pastels, Feminine Fabrics & Intricate Embroidery

My lightweight lavender plaid wrap sweater from Anthropologie is ideal for early spring; during those first few weeks after the initial warm-up when you can go without a jacket, but it’s still nice to have something to shield yourself from the cool breeze at times. When you take it off, layered underneath is Spring/Summer 2013’s hottest hue – mint!

Pastels are popular for spring in general, but it seems as though lighter shades of green – such as mint, sea foam, and pistachio have taken the #1 spot this season. Here I’ve paired a mint green sheer button-down shirt from Urban Outfitters with the iridescent bronze bottoms. An oversized amethyst stone necklace accessorizes the outfit and ties together the adorable combo.

*Yes, it’s the exact same shirt as the pale pink one in the outfit above, just in another color. Don’t judge me that I bought multiples of the same style – when it’s a basic silhouette and fits well, why not buy a couple! Plus, I got them on sale for only $17.95 apiece; it only makes sense to stock up on the timeless styles when they’re that cheap!

P.S. I have the same style shirt in black as well :)

P.P.S. Actually…make that 2 in black :P

Outfit #3:

Anthropologie Sheer Pleated Shirt, Free People Bronze Embroidered Pants & Jeffrey Campbell Patchwork Leather Booties

Ivory Anthro Pleated Shirt & Bronze Free People Embroidered Pants

Sheer Pleated Shirt, Embroidered Pants, Patchwork Leather 'Lita' Booties

A Closer Look: A Pleathora of Pleats, Patchwork & Leather

Just like the first outfit, statement footwear sets the foundation for this next outfit as well. Here, my bold Jeffrey Campbell ‘Lita Booties’ not only stand out, but also set the color scheme for the rest of the ensemble. The multi-colored patchwork leather booties incorporate the neutral hues of my ivory pleated blouse from Anthropologie and the bronze with gold embroidery bottoms.

Do you ever mix feminine fabrics with heavy weight opposites? Out of the contrasting combos I created here, which one is your favorite?

A Special Gift: My Mother’s Day Tote

My mother is the most thoughtful, kind-hearted, loving person I’ve ever known. Whether it was traveling around the state for horse shows or gymnastics meets when growing up, moving me to Chicago so I could pursue my passion for fashion, or happily helping me with my latest hobby, she has always supported me with whatever I want to do in life. That’s why, this Mother’s Day I was super excited to give my mom the first finished handbag from my new collection, curated & carried, the latest project I’ve been working on.

Curated & carried is a collection of thoughtfully constructed handbags made from an eclectic mix of intricate embroideries, hand-woven textiles, and vintage fabrics. Every design is one-of-a-kind; individually created from a combination of unique pieces then expertly hand-crafted.

Hand-woven rugs, meticulously-stitched needlepoints, distinctive dish towels, tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and quilts have been curated from antique stores, vintage shops, and flea markets around the country, then custom-made into contemporary handbags to be carried around today. Family heirlooms that have been forgotten over the years have now been found and turned into fashionable carry-alls that can be admired once again.

With a vintage leather belt as a strap and a personalized hand-stitched interior label, curated & carried handbags are artistic & authentic. In an era of fast-fashion and mass-production, it’s humbling to have something a grandma worked so hard on, so many generations ago. Click here to link to my curated & carried Facebook page to see other handbags I’m working on…(and ‘like’ it while you’re at it) :)

This is the tote I designed for my mom from a colorful scenic church embroidery and hand-woven rug…

Mother's Day - Colorful Church Tote Colorful Embroidery Mother's Day Tote

Curated & Carried Handbag

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Your compassionate soul & caring heart inspires me every single day. I love you!!!