Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

While motivation in some parts of my life has been strong (starting school and fitness goals), other areas (ie. my blog) not so much.  It was my intention so many times to give you an update of whats going on in the world of the Clothed Commuter but the intentions never seemed to grow into anything more than that.  Here is a super quick recap:

September: Got ready for Europe Trip, and left for Europe Trip
October: Returned home from trip.Started a fitness/weightloss challenge and committed to improving my health. Started seriously researching cosmetology or esthetics as a career change.
November: Continued my work out regime and tried to eat as clean as possible during Thanksgiving. Decided to start school to become an esthetician with the help and encouragement from friends and family - started school on November 29.
December: Got a bit of a sinus thing which really slowed down my work outs but I managed to lose 10 lbs during between October 15-Deceber 15!  Continued with school. Got to enjoy some quality time with lil sis Mimi.

I'm excited to be commuting again!  Even if I'm not commuting to work, I'm commuting to school and lacing up my sneaks to commute around the neighborhood regularly.  I'm hoping to start documenting outfits again but I have to warn you: there may only be two per week.  At school, the dress code is black from the waist down and a black or white top.  This doesn't leave a whole lot of room for creativity.  You may have to deal with photos like the one below once in a while too! 

Since New Year's is a time for resolutions I guess I'm going to resolve to pay more attention to my blog.  I love it, I learn a lot from it, and I've even heard that I occasionally amuse one or two of you!  I'm also resolving to keep the fitness routine going.  It is much harder now that I'm back in school but I feel so much better now that I'm taking care of myself and I can't let that fall to the wayside!

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season.  Hug the ones you love, enjoys a day off here and there, and treat yourself to a yummy holiday treat - but don't go overboard :o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go!

Excited (and a little nervous) doesn't even begin to express how I'm feeling about my trip. On September 22 - TOMORROW, I'll be leaving for a 10 day trip to Europe... Brussels, Belgium - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Munich, Germany.  I'll be flying out by myself and meeting my friend Erika in Brussels.
One of the things that has me a little nervous is what to pack.  Will I be warm enough?  Will I be too hot?  What if I manage to spill something on a piece I intended to wear more than once? Do I have appropriate clothing for the activities we planned? -There are many other things that I've thought about but com'on, this is a blog about what I wear so I'm just listing those things.

Let me tell you, it is really hard packing for cooler weather when we are experiencing weather in the high 90's!  I broke a sweat more than once trying things on for the trip.  I bet you are wondering what I've packed... here are a few pictures. 

Cardigans, Short-Sleeve Tops, Tanks and Camis, Long Sleeve Tops

Pants and skirt and leggings, Nice Top and PJ's, Unmentionables, Shoes
Hats, Scarves, and other things that'll make traveling a little more comfortable.
And it all fits in here!
I have a few last minute things that I'll be putting in there but for now, I have ample room and my bag isn't anywhere near the 50lb weight limit... hooray! They way I look at it, more room for shopping while I'm there! 

Erika and I just finished Skyping and I feel so much better.  We've worked out where we will be meeting once I get there and what sort of things I need to make sure to have with me.  In less than 24 hours I'll be sitting in the airport in Washington, DC getting ready to board my plane for Belgium.  

I have to go run a few errands before the day is done so toodles!  Don't be worried about me if you don't see another post for about two weeks.  If I get a chance I'll send out little updates.  Enjoy yourselves and behave while I'm gone traipsing around the world.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Since I've Been Gone...

Wow, I'm out of the swing of things!  I figured I would give you a little recap of what I've been up to since the last post.

I was the winner of the "Wear No Black" challenge hosted by Urban Darling.  I got my Jill Milan clutch and it is beautiful!  Thank you so much Urban Darling.  Not only did I learn that I can do without black for extended amounts of time, but I got a fabulous clutch out of the learning experience.
Tank Top/The Loft, Skirt/White House Black Market via Chic Boutique, Black Sandals/Bass Outlet, Belt/Target, Necklace/Cookie Lee

I got dressed a few times.  Truth be told, I've had clothes on everyday... they just haven't all been this exciting.  I liked the animal-print feeling of the skirt paired with the safari looking belt.  If I'm ever on safari, remind me to grab this outfit!

Boyfriend and I went to Las Vegas for his brother's wedding.  It was a great weekend spent with family and everything that Vegas has to offer.  On our way home we came up the back side of the Sierra Nevada's and then dropped down in to Yosemite.  If you've never had a chance to get there, make plans to visit.  No matter how many times I've been, I can never get over the magnitude of everything in the park.  It was really just a very short drive down the mountain, into the valley and back out again but it was well worth it!

Lace Top/Target, Black Crops/The Loft, Floral Heals/Madden Girl, Jewelry/Cookie Lee
I've really been focusing a lot of time on my Cookie Lee business. In case you've haven't noticed, the majority of the jewelry I wear is by Cookie Lee.  I've been a consultant for three years now.  The first year I started my business took off like wild fire!  Since moving to the foothills, I just haven't put much effort in.  Now, I'm back on it!  You can check out the jewerly at http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/tiffanymorris.  If you would like to place an order, you can email me at blingandsparkle(at)gmail(dot)com or you can do so on the website.  If place the order by emailing me, mention The Clothed Commuter and you can take advantage of Buy one, get one 1/2 off if you order before September 30.

Conni, one of the hostesses of the evening - Some of the fantastic CAbi clothing - One of the guests and myself modeling
My friend Erin and her mother Conni hosted a CAbi party earlier in the week.  Although I look at the site regularly, I'd never been to a home show.  It was great to see the pieces in person.  My pictures don't do the colors justice and the fabrics felt wonderful.  If you'd like to check out the collection... the pieces are really timeless and well made. If you are in the Nevada or Placer County area, contact Melissa Parrett.  She was great about answering questions and suggesting styles.
And that, my friends, is just a small recap of what I've been up to over the last month!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Better Late: FBFF - Dreams

It takes a certain level of aspiration before one can take advantage of opportunities that are clearly offered. --Michael Harrington

I haven't been participating in the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday topics religiously lately.  Honestly, I tend to be forgetful and just haven't been checking out the topics ahead of time.  I was on the road for most of Friday and checked in on a few of my favorite bloggers on my phone and almost fell out of the car when I read the topic. Ok, that's a little dramatic - but the topic really hit close to home - dreams and aspirations.

Now, onto why this topic touched me and a super personal update on my life:

On August 5th, I was let go from my job.  I can say that I definitely experienced (and might still be) going through multiple stages of grief: Shock & Denial, Pain & Guilt, Anger & Bargaining, Depression, and  Acceptance.  While this isn't the death of a friend or family member, it is a loss like I've never experienced before.   I've grown accustomed to getting up and going to work day in and day out - now when I get up, there isn't anywhere to go.  I'm not contributing to my household the way I did previously and this change brings on a financial burden.  How am I going to continue doing a blog called The Clothed Commuter when I'm not getting out of the house on a daily basis?  The blog name feels like a sham right now - am I supposed to change it???

This change is a mixed blessing in so many ways and I think I can really see so many more of the positives in this situation.  As you've noticed from some of my recent posts I can be creative.  I love sewing, creating, designing and turning blah things into great things.  I've never found an 8-5 job that really fosters my creativity and it can feel so suffocating to look at spreadsheets all day long when that is sooo not my passion. 

I'm a firm believer that if you really want something, you should put it out there. Announce it, share it with God, the universe, anyone that will listen. Sometimes you get a responses to those dreams. Sometimes it can be hard to decipher how that response fits in to your aspirations.  I've been talking about wanting more time to focus on all of these creative ideas I have floating around my head.  I've thinking about teaching basic sewing lessons to children and doing some research on how to get that started. 

I never would have quit my job to pursue any of this - way to many scary variables!  At first I felt as if I was shoved out of the door at my job. But I quickly reminded myself that "When one door closes another one opens." And if I don't find another door, who is to stop me from creating one?  I'm taking this time to reflect on what I'm supposed to be doing.  What kind of job or career is going to make me happy and feel fulfilled?  I open to the idea that it may not be in a office, store or business.  My eyes are wide open and I'm really trying to listen to my heart during this time.

Thank you Katy for these FBFF questions.  I'm really enjoyed reading everyone's responses and they are really inspiring me to dig deep and think about what life has in store for me in the next couple of months.

1. Fess up – if you could do anything professionally what would it be?
Design and create children's clothing.

2. What draws you to this? 
Kids have a fantastic sense of whimsy and they are willing to wear some crazy things that adults may not be brave enough wear.  Children love color, patterns and fun designs.  These are all things I love and things that I love to design. 

3. When did you first start dreaming about this ideal? I started sewing at 11 or 12 and took to it naturally.  I still have a ton to learn but I've always enjoyed buying fun fabric and creating hand-bags, quilts, and accessories.  Over the past 10 years, I've sold hand-bags and a few other things but never really thought about doing much more with it.  Now that I have a little niece, I'm really enjoying looking at her clothing and figuring out how to make similar things for her. And now that I have more free time (upside to being unemployed) I'm thinking of making a serious go of it!

4. What’s holding you back from going all in?
Money I guess, now that time isn't a factor.  Thankfully I'm creating kids clothing from really affordable fabrics and cast-off clothing pieces from family members.  Now I just need to convince a boutique or two of the cuteness of my creations!

5. Sometimes the first step is the hardest… what’s one step you can take now on the way to realizing your dream?
It feels so great to let you know that I'm taking those steps.  I'm getting up and sewing many days a week.  I'm taking time to sketch out designs.  I'm talking to everyone I know to find out how I can make this work. 

My friend's and family have been so incredibly supportive during this time.  My sister sends me style inspirations for clothing designs regularly.  My cousin is scouring thrift stores for unique things for me to refashion.  My mom and dad have both let me cry on their shoulders.  Countless friends have seen my designs and not only encouraged me in my creativity, but given me thoughts on how to expand and improve my ideas!  Thank you again for your love and support!

With love,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Fallin' For You!

I decided to go super casual for my visit with my sister and niece today so I went with these super stretchy cropped jeans and white tank.  The whole thing felt so plain-jane so I grabbed this t-shirt scarf I made a few months back. 

While going up the walkway to the front door I tripped and biffed it big time.  Clumsy isn't a word I would use to describe myself, but I felt like such a klutz as I was falling toward the cement.  My sister lives on a pretty busy street and while I was laying on the ground (thankfully behind a hedge) I kept thinking "Maybe I should just stay here for a minute so that anyone that might have seen me fall will be way down the street by the time I get up." 

The teal and white striped shirt I used to make this scarf had become a little warn looking over time.  I liked the colors but couldn't see myself wearing this shirt any longer in its current state.  I made the scarf in early March and in late March, Indiana at Adored Austin posted this tutorial.   Coinsindence or another case of great minds thinking alike?

Thankfully, I was mostly unscathed by the fall.  I scratched up my knee a bit and chipped a nail (really frustrating).  My sister had a beautiful shiny teal nail polish and a sharpie handy so guess who has a new leopard print manicure?  I dabbed a bit of the teal polish right over the chip and no one is the wiser - except for those of you that are reading this of course!

Outfit Details
White Tank: Gap Outlet
Jean Cropped Pants: Gap
Shiny Sparkly Sandals: Bass Outlet
Scarf: I Made It! (out of an Old Navy t-shirt)
Bronze Bracelet: Cookie Lee
Turquoise Earrings: Cookie Lee

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Were you a fan of Strawberry Shortcake as a child?  I loved everything about that wonderful smelling character.  This outfit reminded me of something she might have pulled out of the closet.


This is one of the skirts I picked up on a recent trip to Goodwill.  I gravitated toward the pattern immediately.  The combination of pink, green and red is so festive and goes with so many things in my closet - yummy!  And at $5.99 for a DKNY City skirt, the price was right on the mark!

Outfit Details
Pink Tank: The Loft ($8)
Striped Skirt: DKNY City via Goodwill ($5.99)
Brown Nautical Wedges: Franco Sarto via Ebay ($10)
White Woven Belt: New York & Co via Ross ($5)
Necklace: Cookie Lee
Leather and Sivler Bangle: Cookie Lee

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wear No Black Week: The Recap

Almost two weeks later I'm finally getting around to writing the recap for Wear No Black week hosted by Urban Darling.  Believe it or not, I went a full 6 days after the challenge and still hadn't worn black - I'm just not gravitating toward it since the challenge!  Over the weekend was at the County fair in my home town and Iso many people I haven't seen in quite a while - the first thing I heard over and over was "You're wearing black, I'm telling!"

By the way, did I mention - I won the challenge???  I'm anxiously awaiting my Jill Milan clutch thanks to Urban Darling!

There was a time, not so long ago, that every outfit I wore contained some black (ok, mostly black).  It could have been as simple as my shoes, or as much as the majority of my outfit with just a splash of color.  I was a drone and often fell in to the black slacks and dress shirt slump that so many of us experience.  Right around that time I was talking with a friend/coworker and somehow the conversation came around to the fact that I didn't own anything in brown - not ONE thing in brown.  No shoes, no jewelry, not one item of clothing in brown.  I know I'm not the only one out there.  I worked for the State for over 6 years and I was surrounded by a sea of black pants and dress shirts.  During the challenge I didn't showcase any brown but I bring up this story for a reason.  I was avoiding color certain colors because I thought everything matched black.  I thought by sticking with tops in colors I was expanding my wardrobe because everything goes with black... right?

So how does one go about altering that mostly black wardrobe? 

1. Find your favorite color. 
Remember when you were a kid and you knew your favorite color?  Well pick your favorite color (black doesn't count) and start adding it to your wardrobe.  It might not be in your budget to run right out and purchase a top in that color, but how about adding a scarf or a statement necklace in that color? A pop of color can do so much for an outfit. 
Teal is one of my favorite colors and I love that this scarf adds that pop of color the outfit needed!

2.Choose a colorful pattern.
Adding a colorful pattern to your wardrobe gives you  multiple options of what you can wear with that piece.  The designer put those colors together because they look great together - use color patterns as a base for other outfits. 
I don't like the way these pants fit but I love the pattern in the top.  I can easily pair it with burgundy, purple, green or grey.

3. Restyle the items in your closet.
Perhaps you've already ventured into the realm of patterns.  Maybe you've already picked up a few things in beautiful colors.  Take a look at your non-black clothes to see what pieces might play well together.  Maybe you have a gingham top and a fun floral skirt... take a look at the two together.  You'll be amazed by the combinations you can come up with when you put certain colors next to others. 
I never thought the stripes and floral skirt would pair well but check it out!
4. Go with a different neutral.
I'm not against neutrals at all.  I think they play an important role in the wardrobe.  But if black is your only neutral, then you might be stuck in a rut.  Try adding beige, brown or navy.  You will be surprised how well these other neutrals will to with your colorful patterns or your statement pieces.
Grey is a great neutral that allowed me to easily avoid black.  And look at that unexpected pop of pink in the belt!
5. Know which black pieces your really need in your wardrobe.
The black things that I really value in my wardrobe are a cardigan, dress pants, skirt, "little black dress", a casual tank top and a dressy camisole - wow, that seems like a lot now that I've written it down.  I personally don't feel the need to have multiple black items unless they have a fun detail distinguishing them from the other black items in my closet.
Black skirt - a wardrobe staple!
Believe me, the transition from mostly black was not easy for me. I made a conscious decision to pick up something other than black when I went shopping.  I challenged myself to come home with colors and patterns.  It took me a while to accumulate enough non-black items to make a challenge like this possible.  I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone once a week and decide to wear no black!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fancy Fingers: Visual Friend, Beauty, Fashion Friday

As far as fingernails are concerned, I'm usually a fan of muted or neutral colors.  I'm one that gets easily distracted and believe it or not, fancy little fingers can be a distraction for me.  But when I saw this tutorial at SRSLYLIZ, I had to give it a shot. 

Katy at Modly Chic organizes Friend, Beauty Fashion Friday topics for bloggers to share their interests and style.  I was so excited when I saw that today's FBFF topic was creative manicures because, thanks to Liz's tutorial, I have one to show you!

You bet these nails have been distracting this week!  While I was getting a coffee in the drive through the other day, the gal in the window asked me where I got my nails done.  I was so thrilled to tell her that I'd done it myself with nail polish and... a sharpie!

Lately, my favorite nail polish has been Sally Hansen Hard Nails Xtreme Wear - it is super budget friendly (coming in under $3 a pop) and the colors are vibrant!  I used Twisted Pink as the base color and Posh Plum for the spots. 

So what do you think of these fun animal spotted nails? 
And can someone please explain the difference between Leopard and Cheetah spots???

Thank you to Kendra from Thrifty and Shameless for the great topic.  Head over and check out her fantastic manicure that I'm dubbing "The Rainbow Sherbert."  You'll aslo find links to many other bloggers who are participating by showing their fancy fingers.  What are you wearing on your nails this week?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Made It! -- Skirt Refashioned From Men's Dress Shirts

On a recent trip to the thrift store I picked up a few men's dress shirts. 

I tried to choose shirts that color coordinated with one another so I could combine the different fabrics in one project if I wanted - blues and greens for my first project.  I wasn't sure how many shirts I might need so I picked up 5 at $3.99 each and left Goodwill spending less than $20.

Another look at the patterns of the shirts.
With my recent skirt obsession, I decided that would be my first project with the shirts.  I used the pattern from the skirt I made a few weeks ago and modified it by folding each of the pattern pieces in about an inch - I did this to make the skirt less full.  Then I chose the two shirts on the left (see above picture) for the skirt.  For the front and back panel I used the blue shirt and for the side panels I used the green shirt.  It was looking a little plain so I added the blue ruffles to the lower portion of the green side panels.

I then sewed the front panels to the side panels in blue/green/blue/green order.

I finished up the hemline and added and elastic waist to the skirt.

I have a skirt refashioned from men's dress shirts!

I love my new skirt!  It was breezy and airy for a hot summer day.  I can't wait to make another.

Outfit Details
Navy Ribbed Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: I Made It!
White Flippy Floppies: Old Navy
Necklace: Cookie Lee

Wear No Black Week: Day 7 - Blue, Orange and White

Day seven of the Wear No Black Week challenge hosted by Urban Darling.

This top found its way into my fitting room on a recent trip to Chic Boutique in Auburn, Ca.  I liked the airy feeling of the cut and the blue on blue gingham.  As I looked at the top, I kept thinking I could possibly make something similar myself. 

I headed up to my mom's house (in the middle of no-where) so I wanted to be comfortable for the 45 min car ride and then just lounging around her house for the day.  I probably should have avoided the white shorts in hind sight.  With the little dogs jumping on and off of my lap, the shorts were a little dingy by the end of the night. 

And do you know what this ridiculous face means?  It means that I've completed my Wear No Black Week challenge successfully!  Look forward to a recap and some suggestions about how to incorporate more color into your wardrobe.

Outfit Details
Blue Gingham Top: Cecico via Chic Boutique
Orange Ribbed Tank: Old Navy
White Shorts: Old Navy
White Flippy Floppies: Old Navy
Necklace: Cookie Lee

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wear No Black Week: Day 6 - Yellow and Grey and a Night at Naggiar

Day six of the Wear No Black Week challenge hosted by Urban Darling.

Our friends recently visited a winery off of the beaten path in Nevada County and had nothing but great reviews. They suggested we all head out to Naggiar Vineyards to enjoy some music and wine on Saturday night.  It was a beautiful evening in the foothills of Northern California.  The heat wasn't staggering, the music was nice and the scenery was fantastic. 

Knowing it would be pretty warm, I grabbed my flowy yellow top and grey cropped pants... and of course, my favorite yellow shoes!  I find that drinking white wine is always a safer option while wearing a light colored top so I had a crisp glass of blended white wine - La Contessa Sylvana.  The one on the left was the Barbera - also delicious!  I'd highly recommend the drive out the Naggiar Vineyards if you are looking for something to do on a Saturday night before the warm weather leaves us.  It is was definitely out of the way but the property is gorgeous and the wine is tasty.

2008 Barbera and 2009 La Contessa Sylvanna

How fantastic is this view?  There were children running up and down the hill by the lake, groups with picnic baskets enjoying their snacks, and couples dancing the the music.  I think I may have found a new favorite spot to enjoy summer evenings!

Outfit Details
Yellow Top: Gap Outlet
White Tank: Target
Grey Cropped Pants: New York & Co
Yellow Wedge Sandals: Steve Madden
Necklace: Cookie Lee
Bracelet: Beach Vendor in Cabo San Lucas

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wear No Black Week: Day 5 - Fit to be Tied

Day five of the Wear No Black Week challenge hosted by Urban Darling.


I started the day in denim and this brown ruffle detailed top.  I spilled something on the front of the shirt causing a grease stain.  I went in to the kitchen at work and attempted to get the stain out by putting a little water and soap on the spot.  Within a few moments there was a wet spot (basically, the size of the lower half of the shirt).  Thankfully the black hole known as my trunk had a spare shirt, a tie-dyed shirt, so I decided to go a little more casual than normal rather than wearing a soaking wet shirt.

Last summer a load of white clothes was infiltrated by a black sock and the load was washed on hot.  I won't name any names or point any fingers but most of the load was this terrible color, dingy, grey color and a few of the items had big splotches of grey. This top was one of the victims.  My sister had plans to tie-dye a few things so I brought along this shirt.  I was really pleased when we untied the shirt and looked at the pattern and the vibrancy of the colors.   

Have you done any refashions on items that were damaged in a wash-load gone wrong?

Outfit Details
Brown Ruffle Front Shirt: Down East Basics
Tie-Dyed Tank: Old Navy -- dyed by me!
Denim Crops: Gap
Brown Wedge Sandals: Bass Outlet
Abalone Shell Necklace: Cookie Lee

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Busy gal

I was a busy gal last night. 
  • I finished a skirt that I started over the weekend.  More on this project later...
    Made entirely of men's dress shirts!
  • I finished my boyfriend's daughter's skirt (that we started a few weeks ago).  We only had thin elastic and I wanted thicker elastic for the waistband. 
  • I fixed the sleeves and then ironed a dress I bought over two years ago.  The sleeves had a cute cuff but they were far too tight on my super muscular ample upper arms.  I chopped off the cuffs and finished the edges. I also ran a seam along the neckline of the dress.  After I washed it the first time, I couldn't get the neckline to lay flat.  I'll teach you, you unruly colar!
  •  I washed two of the skirts from my earlier trip to the thrift store - the third one is silk so I wasn't about to throw it in the wash!  Bummer, the third one doesn't fit so I need to think of a way to refashion the garmet into something I like.
 What did you do last night???

Wear No Black Week: Day 4 - Teal and Floral

Day four of the Wear No Black Week challenge hosted by Urban Darling.

I've been dying to wear this dress for quite a while.  And by "quite a while" I mean, since I bought it... over two years ago!  I got it at Gottschalk's in Auburn before the chain went under. Come to think of it, I did wear it one time but the arms were so uncomfortable that I walked around like a Tyrannosaurus Rex for the whole day in fear that I would rip the sleeves off if I made any grand gestures with my arms (such as reaching for a door handle, pencil or simply brushing the hair out of my face).

Two years later I got out the scissors and cut the band of the sleeve off.  I think it freaked the boyfriend out just a little when I walked in to the bedroom at 11pm with a sharp set of sheers and an intense look on my face.  He probably breathed a sigh of relief as I passed him and went straight toward the closet, took hold of the cuff on one of the sleeves of this dress and started cutting like a crazy lady.  He still looked a little puzzled until I explained that I could never wear this dress until I took the cuffs off.  Boyfriend actually had to help me take it off the one time I wore it (get your mind out of the gutter) when I literally couldn't get the darned thing off because the cuffs were stuck on my upper arm. Only slightly embarrassing.

Last night while I was in a project sort of mood, I grabbed this dress and finally finished it off! I thought this bright and cheery color would be great for a week in which I could wear no black!  Often when I'm wearing a monochromatic outfit, I feel like there are more liberties to grab the crazier or more colorful accessories... so these shoes seemed like a great match up!

Outfit Details
Dress: Susan Lawrence via Gottschalk's (long gone)
Floral Peep Toe Heals: Madden Girl via TJ Maxx
Silver Sparkly Disc Necklace: Cookie Lee