Outfit: Johnny Thunder

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Here’s a secret: I keep a list of poses and photo ideas that I come across on Instagram, and every time I go out to take pictures, I try to incorporate one of those little inspirations.  In case you can’t tell, the goal of this shoot was to get a decent jumping shot.  I discovered that the easiest way to do it is to keep jumping until the camera goes off–trying to time a single jump was way too hard for me!  Unfortunately, I did not master my facial expressions, but I guess that’s something to work on for next time!

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Anyway, in addition to getting that silly jump shot, I was also racing against time.  I don’t think you can really tell by the pictures, but I was shooting during a break in a terrible summer storm.  The whole time, I could see lightning fork through the sky followed by claps of thunder, but somehow I was able to manage a good hour of pictures without any disruption!

The things we do for blogging, amirite??

Bag: old, Gap

Necklace: old, Forever 21

Watch: Olivia Burton

Dress: ModCloth

Shoes: ModCloth

Belt: old, ModCloth

What’s in my July Ipsy Bag?

lrm_export_20160724_095700.jpgYou know how sometimes I get an Ipsy bag and I freak out over how great something is?  Yeah, this isn’t one of those times.  Don’t get me wrong–the stuff I got this month wasn’t bad, but I’m sure not going to write home about any of it.  Here’s what I got in this month’s pouch:

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Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre

This is an all-in-one type of product, sort of like a BB cream without the tint.  It’s supposed to be a moisturizer, primer, makeup remover, Pikachu lure, etc.  Initial thought: “Holy crap, this smells like an old lady!”  Unfortunately, it’s hard to get past that odor.  I didn’t think this stuff was anything special.  I mostly used it as a moisturizer, and it worked about as well as my usual Neutrogena cream.  As far as its makeup removal properties, well, I didn’t think it really delivered.

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Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

I’m not really the type who drinks very much, so I haven’t had a hangover in a loooong time.  However, I do often stay up past my bedtime, and I have to say that this stuff does help my skin look fresh and dewy even when I haven’t gotten 40 winks.  Today I went without this primer, and I really noticed how dull my skin looked.

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OFRA Cosmetics Lip Liner in Silk

I was extremely skeptical when this liner rolled out of my bag this month.  Lip liner?  What, am I 70?  It turns out that this stuff is actually great as a base for my pink-toned lipsticks.  If I draw on my lips first and then apply a color, it stays much longer than usual–I’d say from morning to lunch.  Good deal!lrm_export_20160726_181035.jpg

theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony Eye Shadow in Matt Kumar

Vasanti Cosmetics Professional Contour Eye Shadow Brush

Well, the eye shadow isn’t what I normally go for.  Instead of being light and and easy to build up, it’s much more pigmented than I’m used to.  I’m still deciding if it’s something I like or not.  I think this is something I should really just use for my creases.  As for the shadow brush, I wasn’t a fan of how feathery it is–that led to a lot of eye shadow being flicked onto my cheeks!  I definitely prefer something a little stiffer.  (Like a good Manhattan!)

Outfit: Can’t Quite Pin it Down

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Sometimes, you just gotta go with the flow, amirite?

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One thing I’ve been doing lately to cool it with my overzealous blogging fervor is doing a big shoot and a little shoot each week.  A big shoot takes 45 minutes to an hour, and the result is a full-blown outfit post here on the blog.  A little shoot takes more like 20 minutes and results in two good Instagram pictures.

This was supposed to be a little shoot, but I ended up having so much fun that the end result is kind of a hybrid.  A shoot that’s “just right.”

I’ve never done any kind of pinup shoot before, but I felt like this outfit called for some kitschy poses, right?  There’s something about high-waisted shorts, heels, and a hairband that really calls for a wink or two.  Never mind the fact that I was in a public park for all of this.  I guess blogging for a year and a half teaches you to leave your shame at home.

Having taken these pictures, I kind of want to do something like this again!  Sometimes I forget just how fun it is to be a ham.

Hairband: old

Top: Thrifted

Shorts: ModCloth (I think they’re sold out now)

Shoes: old, ModCloth

 

Outfit: Garden Variety

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One of my pet projects has been to see every forest preserve in my county, and I often use them as settings for my pictures.  I’ve been following an alphabetical list of each place, and so far, I’ve already gotten up to the D’s!  (In fact, I’m at Danada in these pictures.)

Over the weekend, though, I went a little out of order.  I skipped all the way to the W’s and spent my Saturday hiking at Waterfall Glen.  It’s been years since I visited, but I recently joined a Meetup group for hikers, and I decided that a lap around the preserve would be great for my first outing…

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DSC_0695And it totally was!  Despite being a little late for the hike, I met up with four other stragglers, and we set off at a quick pace to try and catch up with the rest of the group.  While we never did, it was still so much fun to get to know everyone and take in the sights.  The trail winds around the Argonne National Lab and is buzzing with all kinds of wildlife.  One mile could be dense forest, the next could be open prairie, and the next could be a marshland!

The whole trail is about ten miles long, which was definitely a challenge for me, but the miles seemed to slip past so quickly.  The other hikers and I chatted about everything from the best vegetarian food in Chicago to seeing the northern lights in Alaska to rescuing the perfect pet.  Now and then, we stopped for pictures and to share snacks.  In fact, I was a little sad when we finished the hike!  Thankfully, there are plenty more to walk, and I’m already signed up for another one next month.

What about you?  Have you recently taken up any new hobbies?

Earrings: old, ModCloth

Dress: old, ModCloth

Shoes: old, ModCloth

Clutch: old, ModCloth

Petite Blogger Spotlight: In A Nutshell

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I am thrilled to feature Sara of In a Nutshell today for the Petite Blogger Series!  There are few who can hold a candle to her drool-worthy collection of dresses, and I could spend forever just flipping through her outfit pics.  Apart from her fabulous sense of style, Sara is also a very talented portrait photographer, an avid reader with tons of great book suggestions, and a kitchen wizard (try her glazed donut ice cream this weekend!)  Today, she’s sharing her thoughts on size and fit for some of the most popular retro-style brands.  Take notes–I sure did!

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I have always loved being petite!  5’2” is like my lucky number (though at my most recent physical, the nurse said I was 5’3” and I nearly laughed in her face – no way did I grow an inch. I am a 28 year old woman!) and I rather enjoy feeling small among the rest (although not being able to reach things on the top shelves of the cabinet gets rather old when I’m doing dishes…).

While I’ve never had much of a problem with clothes fitting me growing up (I have never been a skinny girl but was always pretty proportionate to my height, which always helped with shopping), I struggle with it more now. I have a short torso and long legs. I mean, not that long if I barely make it over the 5 foot mark, but you know what I mean. I am not flat chested these days (thanks 20lb weight gain in recent years!) but certainly my bust isn’t what stereotypically matches my other measurements.Photo 10

So with my short torso and short stature, some brands just don’t fit me right. There is seriously nothing more disappointing than finding a REALLY cute dress online, buying it, putting it on, and seeing that dreaded 1-2 inch gap on the shoulders or in the bust or the misaligned waist seam due to your short stature. It’s happened so often to me – sometimes I can get away with it by belting the waist nicely and just making due with a baggy bust area, but other times it’s just a waste of time and money.

Pinup Girl Clothing is sadly one of those brands for me. The waists on their dresses fall too low on me so I either have a ton of room in the shoulders if I wear the waist where it’s supposed to be or I pull the shoulders down to get rid of the extra space and then the waist falls too low. They also are quite long, no? I have had to hem all but 1 of my Pinup Girl Clothing purchase just so I don’t look overwhelmed. Makes me look less “sassy pinup” and more “mommy, can I try on your clothes?” Not a good look!

Sadly, I don’t buy from PUG much at all because of it despite how beautiful the clothing is. I am certainly not going to spend that kind of cash when the fit isn’t close to being right on my body.Photo 1

But have no fear, better brands are out there! Instead of focusing on the brands that don’t work, I try to return to the brands that do and simply admire the other brands on other gals! While I always see conflicting opinions, LindyBop’s styles fit me REALLY well. I see a lot of girls who feel their sizing is off but I’ve never had an issue and whenever I’ve gone by their size charts, I’ve had success.  Their prices are also lower than some brands and their shipping is fast for them being in the UK (I am in the US) so I tend to order from them much more than others.Photo 4

I also fit really well in Bernie Dexter. If her price tag were lower, my gosh, I’d own every single one! Bernie herself is pretty petite (I think she might be the same height or one inch taller, if I recall correctly) so it makes sense that her dresses flatter a petite gal very well.

Still, even though I have challenges with some brands, I never get frustrated or think it’d be better if I were taller. Sure, if I gain 5 pounds it shows IMMEDIATELY (oh does it!) and my size 9 feet look ginormous on a shortie like me (like seriously, how does a 5’2” girl end up with size 9 feet?), but I will never get tired of hearing my 6’ tall boyfriend tell me how “little” I am (his word, not mine!) or how he wants to put me in his pocket.

I mean, it gets a LITTLE old when I am trying to make a point and I try to be serious and he just laughs at my anger and calls it cute, but…

Okay, okay, I’ve gotten a bit off track. Back to the clothes!

Bottom line is – don’t feel bad if some brands just don’t suit you. Sure, PUG isn’t the best for me (now that I think of it, neither is Collectif) and I get a little envious of other blogger goddesses twirling about in the latest Mary Blair collection, but I make it work by hemming where I can and it’s no big deal because there are so many different vintage repro brands that do flatter my petite size.Photo 7

If you struggle with some brands mentioned or you’re curious about checking into some brands that have worked for me, here are some links to their websites:

www.berniedexter.com

www.lindybop.uk (or www.lindybop.us)

www.ladyvlondon.com

www.tatyana.com

www.heartofhaute.com

www.modcloth.com (their new ModCloth label fits me really well!)

 

One Simple Trick To Make Your Photos Look Vintage

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The one thing I love most about taking pictures for this blog is actually what happens after all the posing and preening for the camera–after a shoot, I can hardly wait to get home and start editing my pictures!  I’ve been working hard to develop my own editing style, and right now, I’d like to think of it as “Colorful Vintage.”  I love playing up bright, primary colors in my photos, but I also love to take all the darks and blacks and flatten them out to mimic the way they’d appear in film.  Today, I want to show you how I get that matte look in all of my pictures using Lightroom.  It’s super simple and only takes a second!

First, I want to show you what I’m talking about.  The picture on the left hasn’t had the effect applied, and the one on the right has.

See how my dress is kind of glossy on the left and faded on the right?  That’s what I mean!

All it takes is a little tweaking of the tone curve in Lightroom.  This guy lives in the Develop pane.

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Now, here’s the trick.  Are you ready?

Click right in the middle of the box in the bottom-left to leave an anchor point.  Then drag the anchor point in the corner up.  Let go and voila!  Instant mattefication!  (If only my makeup worked like that.  Hm.)

This is something I do in each and every outfit picture that graces Mox and Socks.  Sometimes I’ll even deepen the blacks and shadows to make that effect stand out even more.

Do you use Lightroom?  What’s one of your favorite editing tricks?