Girls and Guise.

It’s been a while since I have written. It has been a long time since I have made the time to write. In fact, I didn’t write throughout the entire season that you COULD wear white. Don’t know what I’m referencing? Find out what you missed! (And, no. It’s not a coincidence that my boyfriend and I started dating just a little bit before my last post. What on earth would make you think that?) Anyway, among my many thoughts of “oh, I should write about that…” someone did step up to the plate! I received an email with a request to do a guest post and it came at just the write* time. Get it? ūüėČ Yes, I know I the difference between “write” and “right”. I just like puns, okay? Point being, I have a wedding to attend next weekend and haven’t even begun to figure out what I should wear. Keep reading for what Sarah Juzar thinks is the perfect solution to any occasion.

All about Cocktail Dresses

Nearly every girl has experienced the headache of deciding what to wear to a formal occasion. Even with a closet full of clothes or a store full of racks, in the moment, it seems like these the worst of times. This is where your cocktail dress comes in to save the day.

Cocktail dresses are not just for parties; they can be your best dress friend to any formal or semi-formal occasion. From office parties to wedding receptions, from date night to engagements, or to just about any social event; you can wear a cocktail dress and look fashionably on point.

When selecting cocktail dresses don’t just go on, mindlessly choosing the first catches your eye.

C H O O S E  W I S E L Y

So, you just picked a cocktail dress that looked good on the mannequin, but you are a real woman, so make sure it flatters you and your style. The dress you wear is what will helps you stand out, so look for something that highlights your best features. If you are wishing to get the attention on your upper body (neck and bust) look for necklines. Low neck, neck less, halter neck, boat neck, and off the shoulders are great ways to keep your neck in spotlight. If you have the legs of Carrie Underwood, go for dresses that are not long, but short… just a few inches above the knee works wonders. When you are planning to highlight your lower body area (waist, hips and back) your best choice would be backless dresses, wrap dresses, or dresses with ruched details around the waist. When taking your best feature to the limelight, just keep it to one part at a time. Drawing attention to all parts makes you look like too desperate for attention.

Colors are important too, but most of the cocktail dresses are worn during evening or night, so just go with what complements your skin color and accentuates everything about you.

Now let’s talk about the types of cocktail dresses that will work for as your formal dressing staples. In short, enter the cocktail dress paradise.

Keeping it simple:

1

There are occasions where you have to dress up but you don’t want to make it too dressy. Cocktail dresses that are simple yet elegant can be worn to these types of occasions. A dress with a decent length and silhouette is what you really what you are looking for…not too much detail or embellishments, but a solid, simple color. A minimalistic dress like this can be easily dressed up or down as per your choice. You can easily take dress like this from day to night. Wear it to work with flats and   a chic sweater, then shuck those shoes and cardigan and replace them with a statement necklace and pumps for a night you won’t forget.

Lace it up:

2

Lace has been a favorite among women for ages, perhaps because it has gives off a sublte charm and can always be modernized. A lace dress will be a very useful and stunning addition to your cocktail dress collection. You can look classy and sassy in a lace dress, without over doing anything. Just a lace dress with the right fit and you can forget all your formal dress woes. To accent the dress choice, don a statement necklace, watch, pair of strap heels and a glamorous clutch and that should do the trick. Just don’t forget to put on a smile after you are done pouting with your red lipstick.

Turn Up the shine:

3

When you feel like transforming yourself into a glamour queen, you need sequins and a lot of shine in your party dress. Sequins are a way to shine and get all eyes on you without even trying. A striking dress with sequins and sparkle will save this day for you. A dress that is itself too attention grabbing should be accessorized and dressed carefully. You go a little overboard with the accessories and you’ll end up looking like a Christmas tree. Just keep the accessories simple and delicate, wear your right heels, keep your hair simple and you’re ready to twinkle the night away.

Cut out to the cocktail:

4

If you feel like showing a sliver of skin while managing to stay sophisticated and charming, then a cut out dress is a match made in heaven for you. You can effortlessly draw attention to where you want and look glam. For a dress like this, you can wear your accessories simple and your hair pretty with a loose braided bun and you’re ready to go.

There are still a myriad of options available for cocktail dresses, just keep your eyes (and mind) open for them. You can always dress them up or down based on your own style intuitions! just don’t get too crazy.

Sarah Juzar is a content writer for Sophie & Trey, an online clothing store for women. Offering a large variety of dresses, shoes, jewelry and other women’s accessories. Like them on Facebook to stay updated with their latest deals and sales.

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Dessert is Stressed Spelled Backwards.

I spent my entire Saturday in College Station, Texas. Day trips are always tiresome; needless to say, my Sunday nap was highly anticipated.

The only thing that got me out of my bed after church, was that I knew there was a batch of these brownies in the kitchen. Unfortunately do not have Elastigirl’s arm-stretching talent…yet.

Now, not all of the sweets I partake in are 100% bad for you…

I received a lot of good feedback on this post, so I thought I’d write something similar. Here’s a couple not that bad for you yummies.

I was scheduled to attend an apartment warming party for one of my friends who is gluten-free. It’s kind of my thing to bring desserts, so I whipped up this blackberry oat goodness and served it with ice cream. There was zero, zilch, NADA left when it was time to go home.

blackberry oat

Blackberry-Oat Treat

2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter
2 cups blackberries (1 pint)
2 tablespoons corn starch                                                                                                                                                   Vanilla Ice Cream
Preheat oven to 375¬ļF and spray an 8×8 inch pan with Baker’s Joy. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until crumbly. Reserve one cup of this mixture for the top and press the rest into the pan. Toss the blackberries over the crust. Sprinkle on the remaining crumbs. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

I love pancakes, but I also know that most are made with white flour and that it is terrible for you. So,I made a pancake recipe inspired by my favorite breakfast place in Waco- Cafe Cappuccino. They have a wonderful whole wheat-apple pancake! ¬†I’d like to order it with chocolate chips, but apparently that isn’t possible, so I decided to make it myself.

WWCCPancake

Whole Wheat – Oat -Apple- Chocolate Chip Pancakes (A mouthful. Literally.)

3/4 tsp baking powder                                                                                                                                                       1/4 tsp baking soda                                                                                                                                                                 1/2 TBS Truvia                                                                                                                                                                     1/4 tsp cinnamon                                                                                                                                                               1/4 tsp nutmeg                                                                                                                                                                   1/4 tsp salt                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup oats                                                                                                                                                                       1/2 cup whole wheat flour                                                                                                                                                    1 egg white                                                                                                                                                                         3/4 cup milk                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 a small apple                                                                                                                                                             dark chocolate chips

Mix baking powder, baking soda, Truvia, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats, and flour. Stir in milk and egg white. Mince the apple and stir in as well. For even amount of chocolate chips, drop them on top of the pancake while cooking.

You can also add/sub items in this recipe. I sometimes leave out the apples and add 1 tsp of dark cocoa powder and 1 tsp of instant coffee crystals. I never leave out the chocolate chips, of course;)

This last recipe is not for those with lack of self control. If you’re on a diet, this is definitely NC-17 rated. I brought these to work and was scorned for doing so.CCCD cupckaes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

COOKIE DOUGH FILLING:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

CUPCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Cookie dough filling : In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to stir together the butter, sugars, milk and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie dough is firm. Scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon scoops and place it on a cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.

2) Cupcakes:¬†Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a blender. Blend to combine. Add the water, oil, egg and vanilla. Blend to combine, scraping down the sides as needed a couple of times until all is well mixed. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Drop a ball of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough into the center of each cupcake. If you would like the cookie dough to bake up slightly, keep the top visible as pictured in the post. If you’d like to keep the cookie dough somewhat raw, push it to the bottom of the cupcake wrapper, making sure that the batter comes up and over the dough. Bake the cupcakes¬†for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake portion of the cupcake (not tested through the center where the dough is), comes out fairly clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before adding the frosting.

3) Cookie Dough Frosting: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, milk and vanilla and continue to mix until all is well combined.¬†Frost cupcakes with a knife or scoop the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it on decoratively. Sprinkle mini chips on top. Then go back and eat the leftover frosting…It’s SO good.

So, yeah, that last one isn’t good at all for you…well it’s probably good in your tongue’s opinion to say the least. I’d apologize, but I don’t think Julia Child would.

‚ÄúThe only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.‚ÄĚ -Julia Child

Why J. Crew is better than Banana Republic.

It’s no secret that I am a J. Crew hoarder collector.¬†I could live on a diet of no.2 pencil skirts and Texas Ruby Red Organic grapefruits and be quite happy.

So what keeps me coming back and paying that pretty price tag? It’s quite simple, really.

1)quality. I know that it is a good product and I know that it is durable. None of that wear-it-once-and-toss it crud. *coughforever21cough* It’s definitely worth the money.

2)fit. Let’s be real. I have a waist that is a lot smaller than my hips. Some call them childbearing hips. I choose to ignore that statement. That being said, it’s sometimes hard to find clothes, especially skirts, that don’t make me look like I’m headed to da club. J. Crew fits and I can trust that it will 110%.

3)the people. Five words for you: Mickey Drexler and Jenna Lyons. The CEO and Creative Director are geniuses. Not to mention J. Crew staff are 97% of the time the best. (only 97% of the time because of an incident that occured in their Little Rock store).

This brings me to the meat of this post. I was shopping a couple weeks ago and went into the Banana Republic store in NorthPark mall. I found these great pants- navy with kelly green print. I have a thing for fun pants. In fact, one of my superiors at work told me I should shop at Loudmouth.com because one time I wore a pair of paisley crops to work (J. Crew of course). I loved the BR pants, but didn’t have a blouse at home that would pair well with it. I asked a lady in the fitting room if she knew of a top that would go well with them.

I often ask, because a)I don’t want to leave the fitting room and b)I like to see other people’s style, so it will broaden my own.

She told me no…you’re telling me that there wasn’t a top in the entire store that would go well with these pants, lady? I didn’t say that of course, just went on my way and purchased them. Lo and behold a passed a shirt on the way out that would have accompanied the pants quite well; however, I was ready to get to the next store and just passed it by. That sales rep cost her store a sale that day, as well as some respect. All because she didn’t try to help me. Isn’t that, i don’tknow…like her job?

J. Crew on the other hand, is always there to help. They start me a fitting room without me having to ask…They help accessorize and complete my outfits…They bring me additional items that might pair well with something I have chosen…need I say more?

Didn’t think so.

Be better than Banana Republic, and gosh darnit, be better than the Gap. They are one in the same, you know. If Ryan Gosling says it, you know it’s true.

So what do you think?

Dear Ex-Boyfriends,

If you clicked on this post thinking I was taking a note from T-Swift’s book, you thought wrong.

‚ĶThough, now that I think about it, maybe I should write a book about ‚ÄúRed‚ÄĚ flags in the dating world. (excuse the second Taylor Swift Reference)

Chapter One: if a guy tells you that you‚Äôre ‚Äúproud‚ÄĚ and the first example that comes out of his mouth is ‚Äúbecause you have a blog‚ÄĚ, his aspirations obviously don‚Äôt match up with yours. He needs a sugar momma and that’s not you.

Not that this has happened of course…or has it? you’ll never know. Why? Because that book would definitely be under a pen name. (so their mothers wouldn’t want to spank disown them).

Anyway, that wasn’t the point of this post. the point of this, was to address menswear! As I have mentioned before, I am a merchandise coordinator for custom shirts, at J. Hilburn.

J. Hilburn is revolutionizing the way we look at menswear, especially custom and made to measure. Less than 2 weeks ago, we had our annual conference in Las Vegas.  A large number of our style partners (we have over 3,000), EOs of Esquire and Mens Health, as well as Scott Bedbury ( THE guy responsible for helping Nike and Starbucks become household names) attended.

We are fixing to (I’m Texan and can’t help it) release our fall shirting fabrics and I am so excited about them. Our fall suiting will be awesome as well, but I work with shirting so that is what my mind turns to. Paisleys, and polka dots, and perfect autumn solids, all available under one roof! My favorite fall item isn’t shirting though- it’s our new grey flannel tuxedo. They make me want it to be winter already!

 

We cut out the middle man and make more affordable custom shirts, made to measure trousers, personalized sport coats, and quality ready to wear merchandise. We are looking to release other collaborations in the future, which the customer is really going to like. Our newest partnership is with J Brand denim. We will offer them in addition to our AG denim options.

Recently I was in some dear friends’ wedding and was able to dress the groomsmen, groom, and father of the bride in our tuxedos. They looked stunning to say the least.

      *Copyright Erika Pinkley

So, there you have it boys. (and girls, gotta be PC you know…)

I work for a menswear company that produces garments with some of the top fabric mills and most advanced factories in the world. Pima cotton, Egyptian Cotton, Super 120s wool…the list goes on and on.

Oh. AND I get a discount on everything. Did I mention that?

To the well-dressers, sorry your closet missed out on such a deal and a half.

To the slobs, sorry you missed an opportunity to look this good.

And to the somewhere inbetweens…eh. We’re all past this now, aren’t we?

Hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended…oh wait, that wouldn’t be a pun anymore I guess) post.

What Guys need to know about Wedding Etiquette.

While most of my friends, are getting asked the question, I just got wished a happy¬†anniversary¬†by my blog. ¬†No need to fret. It’s a good relationship. I write when I want and even when I’m gone for a month, it still welcomes me back!flower girl

In all¬†seriousness, ¬†weddings are a huge part of my life right now. It’s like I graduated and they just started happening. Only five months after graduating from Baylor I will have been in three weddings, ¬†invited to eight ceremonies,¬†attended ten showers, and been a part of countless engagements and parties. (and this is only the current count!) My mom even told me that I needed to get more magnets for the fridge to hold all the invitations…

Between my wedding duties and working at a mens clothing ¬†company, I have run into multiple wedding feaux pas¬†committed¬†by gentlemen, who I assume didn’t know any better.

Whether you’re in the bridal party, an attendee, or the groom himself, do yourself a favor gents, and make sure you abide by the following:

1)RSVP CARDS

If ¬†the invitation has your name, along ¬†your long term girl friend’s or a “plus one”, ¬†then you’re set to bring your girl.¬†If it is addressed to you¬†solely, then you are the only one invited. Do not, I repeat do not, RSVP for more than yourself. You’d think that this is common knowledge, but it’s not. For example, one of my friends who is getting married, recently had a guy RSVP to bring himself and three friends he wanted the bride and groom to meet. Not. Okay. Ever. Most of the time, people have a limited amount of seating and you cannot bring more than you are allotted. Plus, if you’re ¬†not seriously dating anyone, then why would you want to bring a date? Don’t you know weddings are good places to meet girls? I for one do not bring a date if I don’t have to- weddings are more fun when you don’t have to baby sit someone!

2) Wedding Shirts

I work mainly with J. Hilburn Custom shirting. At least once a week, I receive desperate please from grooms, groomsmen, and wedding guests who must have their shirts in an extremely short ¬†and impossible amount of time. Why must guys wait until the very last minute to order something they have known ¬†months in advance about? More importantly why do they think our custom shirts are made by wizards and could¬†miraculously be produced in less than two weeks, when we advertise three to four weeks.¬† I’ve even known guys to wait until the last minute to purchase off the rack shirts. It’s insane. Guys, if you can’t remember to get your shirt in time, get your girlfriend or mother to¬†take¬†you. I’m sure they’d be overjoyed to help you!

3) Groom’s Family’s responsibilities

Sometimes due to different cultures and sometimes ignorance, the groom’s family doesn’t know that there are certain things that they traditionally pay for. Here is a list of the main things that the groom’s family traditionally covers:

-rehearsal dinner invitations

-rehearsal dinner

-bride’s bouquet

-female family members’ flowers

-usher/groomsmen flowers

-marriage license and officiant fee

-honeymoon

Obviously this is not an extensive list, and it is certainly not followed 100% of the time.

I have a few bridesmaid-ships under my belt, so I have witnessed these issues first hand. It’s not a lot, but in wedding planning, every little detail counts.so try and be courteous of your bride to be!

Matters of the Heart: The Great Gatsby and other Cogitation.

‚ÄúNo amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†F. Scott Fitzgerald,¬†The Great Gatsby

It’s mid April, which means that it is less than a month until the highly anticipated film, The Great Gatsby, hits the big screen. The first time I read this book, I was a sophomore at Garland High School. I recently re-read my high school copy, which was rather intriguing, as it had all my annotations from my analysis paper I wrote. If there’s one thing I learned in high school, it was how to write an analysis essay. (Thank you International¬†Baccalaureate¬†program!) I enjoyed the book the first time around, but reading it for pleasure made me appreciate it even more.

Re-reading it, I noticed this eloquent quote regarding Mr. Gatsby:

“His brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days. He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption¬†he took for granted.

But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable¬†gaudiness¬†spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the¬†washstand¬†and¬†the¬†moon soaked with wet light his tangles clothes upon the floor, Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his¬†imagination¬† they were a¬†satisfactory¬†hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded¬†securely¬†on a fairy’s wing.”

If those paragraphs were food, they’d be a three course meal. Fitzgerald always has a way of making me want to drink in his words.

For those of you who have never read the Great Gatsby, pick up a copy; it’s an easy and enjoyable read. Gatsby is a man who has it all. Well, on the outside he has it all. It’s funny how Fitzgerald refers to Gatsby’s heart as being in a “constant and turbulent riot”, because most people of today’s world have that same issue.

You hear everyone say phrases like “go where your heart takes you”, “what does your heart say?”, “follow your heart”, but God doesn’t say that.

Look at Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart¬†is¬†deceitful above all¬†things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

or Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person‚Äôs heart, that evil thoughts come‚ÄĒsexual immorality, theft, murder,¬†adultery, greed,¬†malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.¬†All these evils come from inside and defile a person.‚ÄĚ

or even¬†Ecclesiastes¬†9:3 “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”

Proverbs 27:19

Point being, don’t trust your heart, trust God. The heart will lead you astray, God will not. The heart is often connected to human dreams and desires, which at the end of the day are nothing in comparison to God’s plan for us. Gatsby let his heart grow wicked and sick and focused on¬†worldly¬†gain that eventually caused his demise. His body may have died, but his soul was dead long before he was killed. ¬†(oops. sorry if you haven’t read the book…). Focus your mind and thoughts on heaven and you’ll keep on living even after you die.

‚ÄúAll I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†F. Scott Fitzgerald,¬†The Great Gatsby

Fashion runs the world.

I remember a while back someone posting this picture on Facebook as proof that sports were greater than fashion. I know for a fact Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel, wouldn’t have taken offense, as a statement like that shows pure ignorance.

This is haute couture, which literally translates to “high sewing”. Unlike items you’d find at Forever 21, this kind of runway show is considered art. Or wait…since Forever 21 rips off designers, you might find similar products there…Nevertheless, you wouldn’t actually bring this “bag” to the beach with you.

That being said, how does fashion actually affect you?

Let’s begin with sports, more specifically the king of Texas sports: Football. (oops. Is that confirming Josh Hamilton’s accusation that “we’re not a baseball town?”) ¬†Anyone¬†remember¬†Tear Away Jerseys? They were made of fibers that would rip when tugged, allowing players to escape the grasp of an oncoming defensive player. Who do you think created those? Let me give you a hint. The answer isn’t Jerry Jones. Try textile chemists.

You’re probably thinking sure, that’s one example, but no! There’s more! How many of y’all are runners? I myself have hopped jogged onto the bandwagon and taken up this sport, as you set your pace and there’s no needed equipment. For runners, the essential thing is to have the right gear. The right shoes, yes, but even¬†more so, the right clothes. Oh, so you like your wicking Nike top because it lets your skin breathe? Who do you think created that technology? Let me give you a hint. It isn’t a really fast Kenyan. Well…I guess it could be, but more importantly it was a textile chemist.

Whether your an outdoor tennis player or someone who likes to shoot some hoops no matter what season, textiles affects you too. You probably own some type of winter athletic-wear that helps keep your body temperature regular, but also allows you to play the game. These kinds of clothing are knitted together tighter than usual in order to keep a boundary¬†layer of air between your skin and your clothing. In case you didn’t know, fabric doesn’t keep you warm- your boundary layer does. Air is actually the best insulator. ¬†I’m sure you know the drill by now, but who do you think came up with these knitting techniques? You’re right. A textile chemist.

I’m not hating on sports. I love me some Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, and Stars (well, when they don’t make me yell at them from a seat in the AA center or Ballpark. Oh yeah, and Jerry World). Next time you’re watching a game, just remember that there’s a lot more than throwing a ball around. Clothing worn during games can provide protection for the skin and even prevent injuries. Those who work on textiles…something you might have deemed¬†irrelevant, just might be keeping your player safe AND your fantasy football team alive.

Still think fashion doesn’t run the world? What was the first thing Adam and Eve did after they ate the forbidden fruit? They realized they were naked and wanted clothing! Check it out in Genesis 3. Verse 21 says “The¬†Lord¬†God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

What are YOU wearing today?