Sartorial Saturday–Breeze Blocks

Today I’m taking a look at the new “Breeze Blocks” collection from The Oblong Box Shop. It’s the perfect mid-century modern design in style, color, and pattern!

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “breeze blocks,” it refers to a mid-century architectural style (which is based on older Japanese designs), of patterned concrete blocks which provide privacy, shade, and circulation, and were especially popular in areas with warm climates like Palm Springs. The patterns varied, and they were found on homes as well as larger-scale buildings like department stores. The Oblong Box Shop collection, which features the colors orange and turquoise (great mid-century shades!), includes pieces such as skirts, dresses, sweaters, caftans, and even a cool handbag. I chose the skirt in orange (which has the standard moveable button that I’ve come to love on skirts from The Oblong Box Shop!), as well as the bag, which is well-made, a nice size, and has both a handle and a removable strap:

This was a fun outfit to accessorize, especially since I don’t usually have a lot of reasons to wear a fully orange Splendette stack!

I love how obviously in-your-face the mid-century look of the outfit is!

I know orange can be intimidating to some people, but I really love this shade!

I’m looking forward to styling this in different ways, and trying some bold color pairings!

Sartorial Saturday–Swingin’ Stripes

New year, new dress!

I was so excited when this beautiful purple solstice stripe Stephanie swing dress appeared on Pinup Girl Clothing’s website, and even more excited when it was still available for the “Pink Friday” sale after Thanksgiving. The colors are amazing, and I love the contrast trim on the neckline…I’ve wanted a dress with that particular detail for a long time!

I accessorized with a black Yemak cropped cardigan, a purple and silver/grey Splendette Duchess bangles stack, a black bow belt, my standard “pearl” necklace, and my Spiffy the Sausage Dog brooch from Erstwilder:

I love a swing dress!

My only other Black Friday purchase (or was it Cyber Monday?), was this beautiful faux fur stole from The Oblong Box Shop, and it goes perfectly with the dress!

I seriously feel so fancy in this outfit!

I still don’t know when we’ll really be going anywhere, but hopefully I’ll get to wear this beautiful dress somewhere this year!

Sartorial Saturday–Have Yourself a Kitschy Little Christmas

A few years ago, I was thrilled to order the “Kitschy Christmas” skirt from The Oblong Box Shop, my first Christmas print piece. This year, when they previewed a new version of the skirt in green, I knew I needed to add it to my wardrobe, even though I normally wouldn’t buy a duplicate print, despite the colorway being vastly different.

In the time since I bought the red version of the skirt, the material has changed slightly. It’s still polyester (my least favorite thing about the skirt), but the weave is far superior, and the skirt flows much better.

Of course, accessories are important. I decided to run with the pink and green theme, which is perfect, because I have a lovely new Erstwilder brooch, that reminds me of Lucy’s request in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “A great, big, shiny, aluminum Christmas tree…maybe painted pink!” It’s even more beautiful than you can imagine, with lovely silver threads garlanding across it. As always, I added a stack of Splendette Duchess Bangles, this time in green and pink, plus pink earrings, a favorite necklace, and my new favorite belt, featuring a bow:

I love how perfectly my mint Sabrina top from Pinup Girl Clothing goes with the skirt!

This is definitely a new favorite Christmas look, and I’m going to wear it as often as possible in the coming weeks!

Christmas Fashion Wrap-Up

This year, more than ever before, I’ve had a lot of fun planning Christmas-inspired outfits. I’ve shared a lot of them over the last month…here’s a wrap-up of all of my Christmas fashion.

I finally got to wear several red and green outfits I had been saving (because I knew they’d look too Christmas-y at any other time of the year):

I also put together two monochromatic outfits in Christmas green and red:

I wore my Christmas tree skirt as much as possible:

And I also got a lot of use out of my blue and white harlequin skirt (which I’m looking forward to continuing to wear all winter!):

I even have two brooches appropriate for the season:

Christmas and fashion are two of my favorite things, as is evidenced by how much I write about each on my blog. I’m glad I found a way to put the two together!

Christmas Greens

I may have run out of red and green outfits, but I’m still looking for ensembles that scream “Christmas!” Since I very rarely wear so much green, I think this one does the trick!

I’m always impressed with how well my tops from Pinup Girl Clothing go with skirts from the Oblong Box Shop, too…the lighter green in this skirt is almost identical to the color of the top!

Christmas Queen

You know how, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy tells Charlie Brown, “We’ve even got a Christmas Queen!”? Well, that’s me…the Christmas Queen. And now I even have the perfect Christmas skirt, from the Oblong Box Shop, that has the same mid-century modern feel as the aluminum trees that the Christmas Queen in the special favored! Instead of aluminum trees, however, this skirt features the ceramic trees that were so popular with everyone’s grandma!

I think my favorite way to wear the skirt is with a green peasant top from Pinup Girl Clothing…the colors are perfect together!

It also looks great with white (also from Pinup Girl):

And I’m still trying to break free of my wariness about wearing red and pink together…this pink top (another staple from Pinup Girl!) goes so well with the Sputnik lamp ornaments “hanging” from the waistband of the skirt!

Did I mention that the Oblong Box Shop even has a Sputnik lamp brooch to coordinate with the ornaments on the skirt?

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This is my most Christmas-y piece of clothing yet, and I love wearing it every chance I get!

Ten Years

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day we closed on and got the keys to our house!

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It is almost impossible for me to believe that it’s been that long…there are days when I walk downstairs, and I still catch a whiff of that “new house” smell. But 10 years it’s been, and a great 10 years at that!

So much has happened since we moved in here. Five of us moved in that day (although Ladybug was already a stowaway), and we had so much less stuff. The house seemed huge after living in cramped apartments. And my very own laundry room! I still stop and marvel over that occasionally.

Of course, things do change over the course of 10 years. There are now two more people living in this house than the day we moved in…and yet, I can’t really remember what it was like before Ladybug, and then Chickadee, joined our family. And we have so much more stuff. More furniture, more clothes, more shoes, more books…so many more books. Homeschooling wasn’t even on our radar back then, and yet today, an entire room of our home is dedicated to it!

There have been so many happy days…and a few sad ones, as well. So many holidays and birthdays celebrated here. So many guests we have welcomed into our home. So much music and laughter that has echoed off the walls. When we moved in, I told Ryan that he could bury me in the backyard someday, and I still feel that way. While I sometimes wish our house was a little bigger, had another bathroom, or was located a little more conveniently to this location or that, there is still no place I’d rather be after all these years!

Of course, I had the perfect skirt to wear for the occasion…one featuring houses! And I wore this very denim shrug the day we closed on the house…it’s probably the oldest piece in my wardrobe that’s still in regular use!

Since it’s our house’s “birthday,” we had to have a family feast. I don’t remember the very first meal I made here, but Turkey and I both remember one of the earliest dinners prepared in our kitchen…slow-cooked beef and mushrooms served over buttered egg noodles. I remember it because, as I was pregnant with Ladybug at the time, I didn’t get to enjoy it due to “morning” sickness, and instead went and laid down on an air mattress in our den, surrounded by boxes that still needed to be unpacked. I don’t know why Turkey remembers it, because he didn’t even like it much back then, but it’s a popular meal now, so we enjoyed having it for dinner today. Since I cooked the beef in Boulevard’s Funky Pumpkin beer, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to also try out Funkier Pumpkin, which was delicious with the meal. I also added the children’s two favorite vegetables, roast carrots and brussels sprouts, to the menu.

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Of course, no Markel family  birthday celebration is complete without a cake, so I looked back and found the first dessert recipe I published on my blog (that didn’t include nuts), and made that. The children insisted we get some candles for the occasion, as well.

We’ve had a great decade in this house, and I look forward to many more…happy birthday, house!

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The Subject of Brooches

I’m not exactly new to wearing brooches. I remember in the fall of 2004, when Bunny was just a few months old, they were quite popular in mainstream fashion. I had a few (very cheap) brooches then, and I loved wearing them on jackets and in multiples.

My brooch taste has gotten a bit more specialized since then, however. I do have two nice brooches made with Swarovski crystals…one that is a replica of a brooch worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and another that was a Christmas gift from Ryan several years ago:

I have quite a few vintage inspired brooches, from several different companies, as well.

Luxulite makes really cool 1940s style brooches that look like the bakelite models that were popular then:

Tangerine Menagerie specializes in handmade plexiglass brooches in a variety of styles:

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The Oblong Box Shop is selling a few styles (some in mirror acrylic) to coordinate with their skirts, made for them by Sparkle Monster:

Deer Arrow has a wide range of brooches in mid-century designs (including a cool Pyrex-inspired one), but my favorite is one they made to coordinate with a Pinup Girl dress I own:

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My favorite brooch company of all is Erstwilder. They have a wide variety of designs…animals, flowers, beauty, and novelty pieces. Their brooches are also available in pretty much every color imaginable, so they coordinate with everything!

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Many of these brands, as well as some others that I haven’t tried yet, are available through Pinup Girl Clothing. I’m always on the lookout for cool new brooch designs. They’re one of my favorite ways to accessorize an outfit!

His & Hers Fashion

No one is safe from my love of vintage-style fashion, including Ryan!

The Oblong Box Shop, which makes some really fun, novelty print skirts, also has some men’s shirts that match the patterns on the skirts. Fortunately for me, Ryan is a big fan of the bowling-style shirt anyway, so it wasn’t hard to convince him that he should have a tipsy elephant shirt to go with my only satin skirt, as well as a “Moais in Space” shirt to match my “Jetsons” skirt!

Tipsy Elephants

Surely you didn’t think I had only one skirt with elephants on it?

The Oblong Box Shop’s take on the classic Disney tipsy elephant scene is fantastic. The satin material of the skirt dresses up the whimsical pattern a bit, and the colors are gorgeous. I can’t believe how well it goes with the baby blue Harley top from Pinup Girl that I also like to wear with my circus elephants skirt! And there’s even a matching brooch by Sparkle Monster (and a matching men’s bowling-style shirt is in the works, too!):

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I will say that this skirt runs smaller than the other two Oblong Box Shop skirts I have in the same style. Luckily, the skirts are designed with a movable button, that gives (or takes) about an extra inch in the waist, so I was still able to make it work.