Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Style Staples | The Camel Coat


A good camel coat is something that everyone should have in their wardrobe, especially New Englanders. They're a classic; marrying both function and style. We can have some brutally bitter cold days and nights, but you don't always want to throw on an unflattering puffer coat. Sometimes you want to look a little more polished. A camel coat is the perfect choice for those situations. These coats versatile enough to wear them over a fancy dress or jeans and a t-shirt. They can also be layered with scarves and sweaters for extra warmth. I always recommend sizing up for outerwear so that you can layer without feeling like the kid in A Christmas Story if you want to wear your coat over a couple layers. 

There are so many different versions of the camel coat that you're sure to find one to match your personal style. They also come at all different price points, although I think it's better to invest in a good quality one that will last you for years. That's not to say that you have to drop $500-$2000 on one. You can find good ones at lower prices, just watch the quality so you don't have to replace it after a season or two. My exact coat is a couple of years old, but I've linked some similar ones below along with the rest of my outfit details. 

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Also featured in this post is the West Cornwall Covered Bridge in Sharon, Connecticut. This lovely covered bridge spans 172 feet over the Housatonic River. The bridge is believed to have been constructed in 1841 after the previous bridge was washed away by a flood in 1837. This is the second oldest covered bridge in the state of Connecticut and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Behind the Blog: What Goes Into an Outfit Post


There is a very common misconception about what bloggers do, especially with the trend of people just doing the Instagram thing. I know I'm preaching to the choir to all of you fellow bloggers! My focus is and has always been my blog. I own my blog and I am in control of it. It's not going to change the algorithm on me or get sold and shut down. I view social media as complementary and supplementary. That is part of why I wanted to give a little behind the scenes look at what I put into a post.

The Beginning Stages 

If you have been a reader for a while you know that I do different kinds of posts; mainly outfit and lifestyle content but here I'm just talking about outfit posts. An outfit post begins when I run across something that I want to share either online or in person at a store. I'm not one to follow and care about trends, I care more about my personal style than what's "in" and "trendy" so I don't pay attention to that stuff and only share what's "trending" with all of you. It just comes down to what I like. Next, I figure out how I am going to style the item I want to feature.

Once I figure out how I'm going to style something I need to find a location to photograph it. I like my photos to invoke a feeling rather than take them in front of a garage door my front stops, so I'm always looking for interesting locations I can photograph an outfit. I actually have a Google Doc with a list of places, contact information, and notes. I also have a few staple locations I use, mainly parks by where I live if I can't get somewhere further away or if it's a more casual look.

Making My Vision Come to Life

My mom takes all of my outfit pictures for me. We generally take about an hour and anywhere from 400 - 1,000 photos. I'm always self-conscious about my photos and trying to learn, grow, and create more beautiful images. I don't have a wicked expensive camera, I shoot on a little Canon Rebel that is a few years old with this lens. While I would love to invest in a really fantastic camera body and lens, I can't justify the cost at this moment in time. Maybe one day! Since good light is the most important aspect of photography, we try to shoot at golden hour on sunny days. Cloudy days we can shoot anytime so we usually do it earlier. I do a test shot and adjust all the settings on the camera and explain to my mom how I want the photos to look. As we are going along I stop and check the camera to see how everything is photographing and see what's working, what do I like and what do I not like and I make adjustments accordingly. I also always try to do something new, a new pose or a new way of doing something so I'm always learning.

Next, it's time to edit, I edit all of my photos myself. The first thing I do is pull them all off the camera. Once they are loaded onto the computer I go through each and every one and slide all the ones that came out the best into a folder. Once I have the images narrowed down I import them into Lightroom and begin editing. As I'm editing I narrow down the photos again into just that will end up being the final post. A lot of people are doing the overly bright, blown out highlights look that they describe as "bright and airy" but I try to stay away from that and go for more of a vintage look. This can take hours so I'm not going to go into details about how I edit the photos today. If you want to know more about my process, let me know and I can do that in a separate post.

Laying it Out

Next, it's time to lay it all out in a blog post. I play with the arrangement of the images until I get it just the way I want it. Then I link up everything and figure out if I have anything, in particular, I want to say in the text part of the post. If I don't, I kind of just type as I think. I read over everything and check the preview then make any final changes and finally, I publish the post and hope that you guys enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sweater Weather

What I'm Wearing: 

Sweater: Loft | Bracelet: Touchstone Crystal c/o | Sunglasses: Francesca's | Jeans: Old Navy

It seems as if we are finally done with the 80 degree days for the year, so it's officially sweater weather! I always size up at least one size for sweaters because I feel that the roomier they are, the cozier. Anyone else? I also love to add sweaters with special details like crystals or ruffles to my wardrobe since they are such a staple in the fall and winter months. In addition to the one I'm wearing, I've shared some of the other sweaters that I'm loving lately below. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

4 Sinister Wines Under $20 to Serve at Your Halloween Gatherings


Halloween and wine, two of my favorite things! A couple weeks ago I spent about an hour walking up and down the aisles at a local packy looking at every single bottle of wine looking for anything that could be considered Halloween-themed. And they're all budget-friendly, coming in at under $20. These would be great to serve for a Halloween party you're having with some spooky Pinterest-worthy appetizers, or you could just grab a bottle for yourself to enjoy this October. Another fun idea might be to host a Halloween themed wine tasting.

If you're local, all of these are available at Table & Vine in West Springfield, which is where I picked them up. If not, I've also linked them online so you can have them delivered.

Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a nice dry but well-balanced and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the kind of wine I love so it's no surprise that it was my favorite of the bunch. It's bold and offers deep fruit flavors with a hint of vanilla. This was the dryest of the wines that I picked up. Ghost Pines also has a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend, and Zinfandel if those are more your speed. You can see all the wines they offer and order here.

Spellbound Petite Sirah 

I also really liked this wine. It's rich, but not as full-bodied as the Cabernet Sauvignon and was slightly sweeter. This is a great choice for under $15. Other Spellbound varieties include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. You can see them all here

Cashmere Black Magic Red Blend 

This was my second favorite of the wines I tried. It's a dark and rich red blend with notes of berries, chocolate, black pepper, and plum. It's a nicely balanced blend that is both velvety and smooth. You can order online here.

Bogle Phantom Chardonnay 

I wanted to include one white wine for you guys since I know some people just exclusively drink it. This was the only spooky white I ran across in the store but I'm sure there are others. It was also my least favorite of all the wines I picked up, but I'm not a huge Chardonnay fan in general, so if you are I'm sure you'll love it. This is a full-bodied Chardonnay described, "green apple and pear transform into spicy flavors of freshly baked apple pie, while barrel fermentation impacts a creamy, luscious mouthfeel."

Not Pictured But Other Options :

The Walking Dead Wines
The Velvet Devil Merlot


Have you tried any of these, or do you know of any other Halloween-themed wines? If so, let me know down in the comments!

Monday, October 8, 2018

An Early October Stroll


What I'm Wearing: 

Dress: Gal Meets Glam | Heels: Sam Edelman | Ring: Antique, similar here and here | Earrings: Vintage, similar here

I know I just featured another Gal Meets Glam dress but that one wasn't super new and I just couldn't help myself with this dress. I learned a long time ago what looks good on my body type and all of the dresses are cut that way. They hug the curves of my body and flare in all the right spots. Every time I put one on I just want to twirl like a five-year-old. The one thing I wish is that some of the fabrics had a little stretch because I tend to have to size up to accommodate my boobs. For example, here I'm wearing a six when I can normally fit in a four. 

The leaves are beginning to change here where I live. I just came back from a drive through Deerfield and the Berkshires (north and west of me) where they are a bit more turned. It's a cool and drizzly day here in New England and I can't wait to curl up with a good horror movie and a glass of wine. I've had the Diabolique DVD for a couple of weeks and just haven't had time to watch it. It's a French film from the 50's about a woman who teams up with her husband's mistress to murder him and then the body disappears. It's listed mainly as a psychological thriller, but I've seen it on several lists of the best horror movies. Keep your eyes on the blog for a post about budget-friendly Halloween themed wines later this week! 

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Halloween Favorites


It's no secret that I love Halloween and all things spooky year-round but since it's officially the season I wanted to share some of my favorite films, tv shows, and podcasts that are perfect to indulge in at this time of year. Some of these are classics that I'm sure you've seen or at least heard of, and some are a little bit more obscure or have a cult following and maybe you haven't. 

Films 

Les Yeux Sans Visage - A newer favorite of mine, you may have heard of this film with the English title Eyes Without a Face. If you haven't, this is a black and white French horror film from 1960. It was originally released in the U.S. in 1962 and was dubbed in English (although I recommend the original French version). It's the story of a girl who was disfigured in a car accident and her plastic surgeon father who is determined to give her a face transplant. While this could have easily been just another "mad scientist" flick it transcends that. The film is absolutely stunning to look at and has this dreamy, nightmare poetry element that is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying.

The House on Haunted Hill - My favorite Vincent Price film, the story follows an eccentric millionaire who invites guests to stay the night in a haunted house as a party for his wife and offers them all $10,000 if they can stay the night. It's a little campy, but gosh I love it. 

Halloween - I'm talking about the first and original John Carpenter film from 1978 here, not the other 87 of them. The camera work is really great and it's just a classic perfect for this time of year.

The Innocents - This is another black and white foreign film from the 60's, although this one is in English if you're not into subtitles. Based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the film is creepy and atmospheric without relying on gore to shock you; something that is lacking in most horror movies today. They're making a new version of this film called The Turning with Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, but I'm waiting to at least see a trailer to reserve judgment. 

Psycho - Yet another classic, no matter how many times I've seen this film I find Norman Bates equally fascinating and terrifying. The eerie similarity to the real-life serial killer Ed Gein, and the rumor that Bates was actually based on him makes it even more horrifying. 

The Shining - I think the older I get, the more I identify with Jack. When I was in Oregon I visited the hotel they used for the exterior shots for the film and I'm dying to go to the Stanley Hotel that the original story was based on. 


Not So Scary Films 

The Watcher in the Woods - This is definitely not the greatest movie I've ever seen, but it has a certain je ne sais quoi that I find endearing. It was made in the 80's when Disney was trying to target young adults. They recently remade it on Lifetime, but I recommend the original.

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Another classic Disney film based on Ray Bradbury's novel of the same name, this movie has such a beautiful aesthetic (some of it was filmed in Vermont) and while it definitely has a spooky vibe, it's okay for kids or people who hate slasher films.

Hocus Pocus - A staple at this time of year! I've gone on the walking tours of where they filmed in Salem. This movie is just a ton of fun.

Tower of Terror - I don't know why I love this one so much but I do. Every now and then I find it online to rewatch and I enjoy it just as much now as I did when I was 7.

Halloweentown - While I like a lot of the Disney Channel Original Movies that are Halloween-themed this one is probably my favorite.

The Nightmare Before Christmas - As far as I'm concerned this film is appropriate from September - January 1, and it's another one that's a bundle of fun. 


Podcasts

Lore - This is the podcast that got me into podcasts. If you like history, magnificent storytelling, or spooky stories this is a podcast for you. Based on the premise that the scariest stories are true, episodes are released every other Monday, except during October when we get them every Monday and they're around 30 minutes. A lot of the stories are based in New England, so if you're from here you'll have a special appreciation for it. If podcasts aren't your thing but this sounds interesting to you the podcast also has an accompanying book and television series so you can enjoy the same stories as different forms of media. If you don't like longer podcasts, there is a sister podcast that has shorter stories called Aaron Mahnke's Cabinet of Curiosities. I personally wasn't a fan of this one because I like the more in-depth stories on Lore. I'm also interested in the newest of Aaron Mahnke's podcasts, Unobscured, that he has described as "Lore on steroids" and is a deep dive historical documentary series that is covering one topic over a season of 12 episodes starting with the Salem Witch Trials. 

TV Shows

The Addams Family - I'm referring to the show from the 60's here. Lighthearted and full of dark humor, this is a year-round favorite for me (like most of the things on this list). 

The X-Files - I grew up watching The X-Files, and I still think Fox Mulder is a babe. The show doesn't overtly scream Halloween, but it's just spooky enough for me to include it. 

Stranger Things - A good conspiracy theory and a love letter to some of my favorite 80's films, and I'm so here for it. I originally really wanted to hate Stranger Things since everyone was talking about it, but I'm glad I gave it a fair shot. I had heard of The Montauk Project and the surrounding conspiracy before the series came out and I 100% believe it. The storytelling, acting, directing, and camera work are superb. The amount of thought and care that is put into every little detail of the show doesn't go unnoticed by me. I'll give you an example in case you don't notice little details, there was an episode of Cheers playing in the background of an episode and I double checked the air date of that episode and it is indeed the episode that would have aired on that day in 1984. I just hope they don't mess up season 3. I even applied to be an extra and got several emails that they wanted to check my availability but they were super short notice and filming is in Atlanta. 

Supernatural - The early seasons of Supernatural were something special, and probably the reason the show has been on for so long. I highly recommend seasons 1-5 as that was where the story was originally supposed to end. There's still a good new episode every now and then, but I don't watch it religiously anymore. Although, I do revisit the old seasons on Netflix quite often.

Are You Afraid of the Dark - Another show I grew up watching and one of the most iconic tv show openings for me. Some of the episodes are super creepy and some are a little campy. I'm curious about the movie they're making and if it will be directed toward the original audience of the show or younger kids.

Tales from the Crypt - Like a more adult version of Are You Afraid of the Dark, some of the episodes are downright terrifying. You can find a lot of them on YouTube.



I'd love to hear your Halloween favorites down in the comments! 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fall in an Enchanted Garden


What I'm Wearing: 

Dress: Shoshanna (Similar) (Similar

Well, I officially have my first cold of the season so I'll be drinking lots of tea and hot toddies until it goes away. Speaking of tea, I was finally able to find some of the Tea Guys Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon, which one of the best teas I've ever had. Especially in the fall and winter. They're local so some grocery stores around here carry it, but you can also order online. I find that most of the pumpkin spice products are artificially flavored, and they taste that way so I'm not a huge fan but this is so good and warming. If you like pumpkin spice, try it and you won't be disappointed.

Over the weekend I headed to check out the new casino in Springfield. I'm not a gambler, but I wanted to see the restaurants and bars inside and get a feel for the vibe of the place. The hotel lobby bar was probably the best part with the most character, the rest of it was just kind of a typical casino and there weren't many food options that were gluten-free at the sitdown restaurants. I am hoping we get some good entertainment close to home though! Next weekend I'm headed to the Hudson Valley in New York again to do some fall things with a friend of mine, so be sure you're following along on Instagram. We will be doing the Headless Horseman Haunted House and the Jack-O-Lantern Blaze, which you may remember from last year.

A quick note about this dress; apparently all the retailers are having a hard time keeping it in stock so I did link to the original dress and you can request a notification if it comes back in stock in your size but I also linked to two similar options. 

Also, if there is any specific content you'd like to see this October, please let me know in comments, emails, or DMs. I hope everyone has a fabulous week! 
 

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