Casual Knits and Rubber Soles

Astonishing as it may sound, I am actually still trying to swiftly catch up with some New Year’s projects and mails from last week. Since January was not going to wait for anyone, it's definitely been a full-on packed week.

As an avid boot buying fashionista, when it comes to boots of all styles I am quite selective. This is primarily because even with high heeled boots I really need to be comfortable. And, specifics are a little bit different for me when selecting boots than when buying a stiletto shoe.
Wearing boots from my wardrobe generally requires me to be in them for extended periods far more than wearing my heelsrain or shine. These rubber ankle booties were too adorable, so I chose to style them casually with a fleece insulated jacket. I am not typically one for wearing hoodies (I think I own one that’s attached to a leather jacket), but I thought I'd take on the challenge and try this one sent to me by Sammydress.

I wanted something that I could wear a cable knit top or multiple layers over, so this worked well. The overall fit was agreeable, as well as the hand of the fabric—it’s very soft inside and out to touch. The occasion: it was an easy compromise since we were only heading off to a café and picking up parcels.

As for taking a risk with my style and trying an even more casual version of weekend layering, I’d say that it wasn't at all too bad. But, to be honest, I did miss my high heeled boots a couple of times throughout the day.

Have you taken any risks with your style lately? What recent item is in your wardrobe that you love, and normally would not wear?

The goods: Fleece jacket and Bow booties-c/o Sammydress, Denim-H&M, Striped socks-Gudrun Sjödén, Tank-H&M, Jewellery: African wooden beads, Pearl layered necklace-Express, Bracelet-Oasap, Sequins Bag-eBay.

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The Cuppa Catch Up

As I type this I am on my way to a late meeting and then off to shoot a few goodies to share with you soon. Earlier I had an extended break time, which typically means it's the moment that I can refill my cuppa, check messages, browse online for great deals (think, summer holiday), and continue reading chapters from books that are currently holding my interests.

Here are a few links and things that have made the week brighter—funnily enough, even inspiration coming from familiar and unlikely places.

Wear: 
warm pieces
Other than my latest DIY, which you may have seen, I have been constantly donning an older hand-knitted scarf made by a friend, which has some of my favourite colours. 

Drink: organic tea by Teatulia
Teatulia Teas
One great thing about receiving gifts from best friends who really pay attention to what you love is the fact that they really pay attention! I was fortunate to have some wonderful teas by Teatulia and loved them. Recommended favourites: Earl of Bengal, and Bengal Breakfast tea.

Teatulia produces 100% organic tea, coming from their garden in Bangladesh, and they have a genuine heart of social responsibility as well. Their eco-packaging from compostable materials is just one of many reasons to appreciate the brand. Read more here.

Look: online beauty buys 
Beauty Blogger Real Techniques Makeup Tools
“Ahem, dear late-night internet advert … you had me at ULTA! ” I don’t normally post many beauty hauls, but over the holidays I did manage to purchase a few new beauty tools, including these Real Techniques brushes that I’m very pleased with. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly feeling complete until I purchased more than three with the online deal that I got!

Read: art and enlightenment
I often stash a few old books in my carryall when I travel, even though they might be pamphlets or books that I have read before. As a result, there’s always some division of newness that I absorb from them. After a recent trip, here are two books that I took with me for inspiration: Marc Chagall and Maya Angelou. 

Eat: homemade Greek fries & mushroom soup
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/70298444156588681/  
 Click images to view

In the past week I have made both of these tasty foods. My Wednesday weakness might be delicious homemade chanterelle mushroom soup, and my weekend indulgence was amazing Greek fries. Sometimes trusting to your instincts is hearing straight from your belly! Good food seems to taste better when you make it yourself.


Listen:  Moon Landing
james Blunt Moon Landing Music 
Image: Rolling Stone

Music has always been an essential element in my life just as art, but to be honest, I have never been an overtly crazed fan of James Blunt …  I've always respected his music, however I never actually acquired an album or thought about it.  And, despite mixed reviews, I did enjoy songs from his latest album, ‘Moon Landing,’ released back in October of 2013. If you’re up for heartfelt/whisper-sounding emotional songs, do have a listen. Perhaps, add a couple of tracks to your rainy day playlist.

Have you ever heard a song in a café or local grocer, and kept hearing that song so much that it made you not like it? Then, later on, you find yourself singing said song(s) or even buying the album, why? Because, now you actually really listened to it. Yes, this is the exact feeling and situation that happened. So, let it be.



Support: the arts in 3D
3d printing art shapeways
 1-Steroediamond necklace, 2-Crown ring, 3-Umbrella girls earrings, 4-Woven purse

As an artist myself and an avid devotee to technology and emerging talent, I thought I had shared about this before. But, it turns out, that triggered memory was an old conversation that I had with a co-worker. I had forgotten about this clever site, Shapeways, which I came across a while back as I was doing online research. With technology advancing as fast as we can order a "Venti" cuppa or anything, at least it seems to me, 3D printing design certainly is the future. Shapeways is essentially a brilliant social marketplace that allows a designer, independent artist or anyone with a great idea to upload their design—to then have it 3D printed and sold across the globe is simply perfect! 

Don’t fret, if you’re not much of an artist yourself, there’s plenty of captivating products for you to purchase and view. From fashion to gadgets, created by people from all over the world, the site makes possessing a 3D printed product affordable for everyone.


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Winter Style: DIY Earmuffs

I have been wanting to make earmuffs for quite some time, even before the spring of last year, but I finally decided to create two different versions for the new year. In my initial mock-up, I created ear warmers that I could also use with my earphones. These were basically ear covers, but then I just wanted to design a less complicated DIY version to share with you.

Here’s a simplified version of the earmuffs that I made—a softer and versatile style that will keep your ears warm through winter’s windy breezes.

Materials:
Vintage fur or faux fur fabric (2 pcs.)
Jersey fabric  (2 pcs.)
Headband (1)
Batting or flannel for lining filling (2 pcs.)
Studs or snap trim
Epoxy or Heavy duty fabric glue
Glue stick and glue gun for trim (optional)
Scissors
Sewing machine
Needle and thread

First, I used the outline of my headphones to create a pattern, (you may also measure and adjust the shape however you want your earmuffs to look, i.e., oval or circular, etc.). Next, I cut two pieces of vintage fur from my pattern, which will be large enough to cover my ears. Next, cut two pieces of jersey fabric, and two pieces of flannel or batting fabric layers (this will be smaller than the fur pieces), approx. 2 to 4 cm smaller.
*Helpful tip: If you don’t have headphones, measure your ear length and width (circumference) and add approx. 7 to 8 cm+ around entirely shape, then add seam allowance. Cut same amount of pieces as stated above.

Start sewing the edges of one fur piece to one jersey piece together (with fabric face to face, leaving a small opening left to insert lining filling later. Turn inside out and finger press seams open as you turn it out, making certain to go along the entire seam. Cut excess threads and fabric. Now, insert your lining (I used thin flannel fabric), but if you don't want your earmuffs as thick you can use thinner cotton fabric, etc.

I made my padding pieces rectangular because of the shape of my earmuffs, which are oval. Because of the shape, I found it to work best when I folded the fabric in half, this way it also gave the earmuffs a fluffier result.So, the lining/padding pieces may vary, depending on the shape of your earmuffs. You can make it easier and just cut (two padding) pieces in the same shape and slightly smaller than your jersey lining fabric piece if you don't want to fold it.
After adding lining, I closed the seam by hand-stitching for a clean finish; you may also fold in each end of the fur and jersey (where the opening is), joining them by pressing close, and then top-stitch them together instead. 

After trial and error, I had the novel idea of using a headband for the second version that I made, which split the designing time in half. With a ruler or measuring tape, make a mark (with a pin) for a reference point that's in the center of each fur piece; carefully attach each fur piece to each end of the headband separately with heavy duty glue. To do this, position each headband end approx. 4 to 5 cm down from the top edge of each fur piece. Press. Hold, and let dry completely. Lastly, I added trimming to the ends of the headband for a custom touch. Now, the earmuffs are ready to wear in style! See the result here and below. 

If you love this DIY share and link me! 
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Accessories and Jewelled Interiors

Before heading back from my holiday I met up with a friend for coffee on the weekend. It was also a nice time to play catch up with her since she always has such great stories about her travels and work-life. We actually did a bit of window shopping, and since both of us work on the business side of fashion—it was a nice break away to do that. But, this time the window gazing was focused more on interiors, as she’s renovating her home.

Fashion-wise, she’s very modern and edgy with, so I gave her inspiration from my outfit. My scarf colours and the accessories that I was wearing were just starter elements of impact. Later on, after a visit from a featured interior design dwelling, we viewed fabrics for upholstery revamping—my thought was to also infuse studs and golden hardware in some of her furniture pieces and tufted framing.
born pretty watches: style=Winter layering prints vintage Style blogger Born pretty fashion
I had almost forgotten about the lovely wrap bracelet watch styles that I received after Christmas from Born Pretty, which you may now grab an extra 10% discount by using the code: “MADISONC10” in the Born Pretty store here. The studded watch that I was wearing was a great help with my friend’s interior home inspiration.

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first before trying these out, but I’m happy with my selections. After I wore the watches out, I received several compliments about them as well. But, the only thing that’s a bit maddening is that since my wrists are very small, I will need to make another two snaps on the end of one of them.

 (Above) Images: Amazon.com trendir.com, Ladyofashion, Overstock.com, Bellescape.com. 

As you may know, I am often inspired by interiors and architecture, therefore it was very natural to grab from those areas of design when we were out. Here’s some interior inspiration that I loved (above), featuring studded furniture design. I’m sure that there’s a DIY in there somewhere in the future, so do stay tuned.

Has your fashion style ever influenced your home or interior decor before?

The goods: Wrap Bow and Love wrist watches-c/o Born Pretty, Scarf-Liz Claiborne, Jacket-H&M, Patchwork dress-Selfridges, Denim-Southpole, Knit hat-Express, Boots-Vintage, Leather wristlet clutch-c/o Mary Lai. *All opinions expressed are my own. 

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http://bornprettystore.com
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Weekend Casual

For many people the return from their holiday or what I call, back to reality mode officially had set in this past week. I was amongst a few of the masses at my work that had to also finally experience that almost bracing shout of “welcome back” greetings the other day.

From over the phone messages to a plethora of e-mails (battling one another just for a wave of the high priority flag) in the inbox, all letting me know that playtime … is over. Well, maybe not entirely, but at least the sleeping-in bit would definitely have to be adjusted to my “wake-up” alarm setting of normality much sooner rather than later.

It’s wonderful to have time off, but there’s always a small part of me that gets excited to step back into the swing of things. As I looked around the airport people watching, which is often fascinating, I also saw other professionals with either one or two expressions as they passed me.Style blogger winter layering 
Look #1:  the “brace yourself” face: an extremely long deep breath taken in, one that also involves a slight shaking of the head when checking a smartphone (frown: optional). Or, Look #2: the “it’s a new day” face: a deep breath taken in simultaneously stretching your back or cracking your neck to help you get into that work-mode game face. Smartphone, preferably held in one hand, as you sip on your favourite cuppa (confident grin: optional).

I chose a “not to worry face,” which involved much of Look#2, and a lot happiness, with just simply being excited for what’s in store for me in 2014. Do you have any changes that you’re looking forward to?

Now, on to the outfit …
Ever since I can remember, I have adored animals, including animal jewellery and animal-inspired apparel. I initially saw this cropped jumper some time ago, but finally decided to grab it because of all of its 3D-like elements. The movable furry wing, the buttons for eyes, and even herringbone fabric for the owl’s body alone was enough to love how creative and unique this piece was.

So, how was your first week back to work or how was your Christmas/New Year’s Eve?
Fashion Tales Owl Jumper
The goods: Owl ribbed sweater, Bangles, and Bow knot hat-c/o Oasap, Old scarf-gifted, Leather boots-Sardini-Italy, Gloves and Layered dress-Target, Hosiery-Capezio New York, Layered tank-F21.

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The Versatile LBD

Having a little black dress (LBD) is always a great addition to any woman’s wardrobe. And, let’s be honest, a woman can never have too many, especially when it’s a versatile silhouette.

Fashion Tales is delighted to partner with Kohl’s to share with you flexible and affordable style, featuring none other than the LBDChristmas has come and left, and a brand new year has ascended right before us. Will you be taking risks with your style this year? Even in the slightest way, there are easy ways to do it with a little black dress.

Whether you’re dressing for a night out with the girls or date night, having a little black dress that can take you into multiple occasions is just … smart fashion!
http://kohls.com
For ladies living a fashionable life in the fast-lane to the vintage lover; when it comes to a little black dress, it’s one of the best hanger moments in a stylish closet. You know, those moments when options are effortlessly welcomed and never outdated in shade? That’s when a key LBD comes into play. In my opinion, it’s always fine for any season.

If you’re not entirely an all-over sequins addict or a fluffy dress-wearing darling, perhaps going for a black minimal style might be the answer!

Here’s a fit and flare silhouette by Jennifer Lopez’s January 2014 collection. Her sassy collection has surprisingly very workable pieces that are both lady-like and flattering to wear. This Ponte dress is a testament to that. You can easily look elegant without breaking the bank. 

The finish on the fabric (a personal favourite), has an almost leatherette aesthetic, which makes it feel very modern and easy to transition from day-to-night. And, adding the matching bow jewellery simply gave the look an extra touch of sophistication.

What do you think of these Kohl’s pieces? What’s your favourite versatile LBD to wear? 
Kohls stylst blogger press
http://www.kohls.com
The goods: Provided by Kohl’s. Fit and Flare Ponte Dress-Jennifer Lopez, Jewellery: Tone Simulated Pearl NecklaceSilver Tone Simulated Pearl and Crystal Bracelet, Simulated Pearl and Crystal Drop Earrings-Croft & Barrow® (similar). Shop Croft & Barrow®, hereSequins beaded clutch-Macy's (buy similar here). *All opinions expressed are my own.

Kohls jennifer lopez collection

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Vibrant Sportswear

Happy New Year!

With the holiday season comes massive treats, and perhaps even an overabundance of delectable table feasts at your leisure to enjoy. I am one of those people who loves to eat good food, however I also regularly workout to keep it that way! But, that doesn't mean that if you're an avid exercising devotee (or attempting to go toward a healthier route) that you have to wear boring workout gear!

My main motivation for hitting the gym comes from a multitude of ways, including wearing bright colours in workout clothing. That, in addition to an excellent music playlist helps me to stay inspired.

I chose these colours in this jacket and tank from Babalú. I styled them together because it suits my bold style, but also because it was far different from donning my usual solid hued yoga-wear and Pilates threads.

There are many times when I may not be in the area of my local gym and just want to go on a simple run or walk. So, this was a great alternative to my sport attire without having to actually look like I am still in the gym. I wore this before the holidays initially during a workout, and it was very timely as a wonderful sportswear (travel) companion in the suitcase as well. As for enjoying time-off, I am almost back, but not quite yet. See you next week!

Do you work out? How do you stay stylishly motivated for the winter season?

The goods: Printed mesh nylon jacket with tech panels, and Nylon Mesh Tank/Top-c/o Babalú, Stretch pant-Express, Sport trainers-Puma.

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