Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm So Trendy

So until now I've secretly been laughing about plaid being a trend this fall.  Plaids always been a staple in my book, and I wear it year round, both casually and dressed up.  Most of the time it looks a little something like this.

Shirt: Superdry via Bloomingdales, old (similar) | Jeans: Citizen of Humanity | Shoes: Tory Burch | Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs | Glasses: Face A Face  | Earrings: Kendra Scott 

  Photos by: Mafer Arce

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Spend A Month's Allowance On Your Lunch Break

Yep, I'm 34 and I have an allowance.  That's what you have to do to a girl who would spend every last penny if you let her.  My monthly shopping habits go a little something like this.  Get D to agree to me taking my allowance early (hello, it's late September and October's money is gonzo) and then immediately head to the mall or load up my online shopping cart and POW, money's gone.  This leaves me with the remainder of the month to build back up my wishlist and eagerly anticipate the next months purchases.  God forbid I save for something big, which is why number 9 on my 101 in 1001 is going to be such a feat.  I'm seriously surprised I'm not launching What A Girl Wants posts every other day.  So here you have it, this is how I managed to spend October's allowance on my lunch break in September!  Happy shopping :)

(25% off with code SHOPFALL)

I have these in tan and wear them all the time so when I saw the gunmetal and black at 20% off, I pulled the trigger. 

 I've never in my life worn red lipstick.  In fact I'm not much of a makeup girl at all, so this is a big step for me.  In an effort to experiment and push my boundaries I added "Find the right shade of red lipstick" to my 101 in 1001 (number 11).  I figured it would take forever to find the right shade since I kind of have an aversion to bright lipsticks.  I was wrong.  I asked Jenna (my awesome BB girl) to give it her best shot and she nailed it.  Jenna obviously knows me all too well and picked the perfect orangey red tone for my fair skin.  I'm obsessed and am pretty sure I'll be wearing BB Old Hollywood Lip Color and Sangria Lip Liner all fall/winter. 

While I was there, I had Jenna try BB's Rich Navy Shadow on me as a liner.  Ladies, there's a reason navy eyeliner is so popular and number 73 on my 101 in 1001.  If you have brown eyes particularly, I suggest you run your little butts out and pick some up asap.  Wow!  Anyways, I was about to check out and mentioned that I need to refresh some of my basic eye shadows.  As luck would have it BB Navy & Nude Eye Palette was exactly what I had in mind and included the rich navy shadow.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

So there you have it folks.  That basically leaves me with enough money for a haircut, brow maintenance and a few trips to Starbucks.  Do you guys have an allowance?  Are you as bad with your fun money as I am?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dark Night

I love the look of an all black outfit, especially for a night out.  Something about all black just feels sexy and dramatic to me.  There's really nothing simpler either, add a few pops of sparkle and a black dress and leather jacket suddenly feel special. 

 Dress:Bailey 44 via Saks, old (similar, similar) | Leather Jacket: Hinge via Nordstrom, old (similar, similar) | Shoes: Glint | Bag: 3.1 Philip Lim | Glasses: Ray-Ban | Necklace: Via Nordstrom, old (love this, and dying for this)

What's your go to outfit for a night on the town?

 Photos by: Mafer Arce

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

101 In 1001

I've never been a fan of bucket lists.  Jotting a bunch of things down and expecting myself to work towards them given an infinite amount of time just isn't going to work for me.  I do my best work under pressure and I like deadlines.  

When I saw Sara's list of 101 things to do in 1001 days I got excited.  As of late, I'm really focusing on looking inward and pushing myself to grow by trying new things.  A thousand and one days is long enough to accomplish somethings, big and small,  without losing my attention.  So here goes.  I'll be tracking my progress on the 101 in 1001 page on my top navigation bar.  I hope you'll follow along.

Start date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
End date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1. Donate blood
2. Go to the beach and take a walk at least once a month for a year
3. Brush my cats every week
4. Build my dream closet in our 3rd bedroom
5. Learn how to mow the lawn
6. Learn how to operate the grill
7. Take a pilates class
8. Take a trip to Austin
9. Save enough money to buy a Prada handbag
10. Update the picture frames in our house
11. Find the right shade of red lipstick
12. Learn how to use our camera manually
13. Take a long weekend and go to San Francisco
14. Try a Manhattan, Sidecar and Old-Fashioned
15. Wear a pair of fake eyelashes for a day
16. Learn how to use chopsticks
17. Go see the Nutcracker
18. Watch every season of Breaking Bad
19. Spend an entire day with Heather
20. Go sledding
21. Meet Bethenny Frankel
22. Wash my car once a month for a year
23. Inspire someone else to take the 101 in 1001 challenge
24. Have a slumber party with Ariel, Grace and Zoey
25. Make smores
26. Go see Joe Rogan's standup routine
27. Hike 3 mountains I've never hiked before
28. Get my teeth whitened
29. Spend a weekend away with my Mom
30. Find a volunteer opportunity and start giving my time
31. Learn to read braille
32. Re-read my favorite books from high school, The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, and To Kill a Mockingbird
33. Buy a canvas and paint something
34. Buy a leopard print belt
35. Make it an entire year without cracking the screen on my iphone
36. Go to a Penn State football game
37. Go horseback riding
38. Go fishing with my Dad
39. Replace our dining room light fixture
40. Spend the day in Balboa Park
41. Buy my first cashmere sweater
42. Donate my old eyeglasses
43. Host a Christmas party
44. Plant a vegetable garden
45. Take Evee to Disneyland
46. Send Jack and Reagan a surprise package once a year for no reason
47. Subscribe to InStyle magazine
48. Replace the ugly purple curtains in our bedroom
49. Find a new dry cleaner
50. Put $50 on black the next time I'm in Vegas
51. Get rid of my Facebook account
52. Paint my nails emerald green
53. Jump on a trampoline
54. Climb a tree
55. Make a homemade ice cream cake for Darren's birthday
56. Go to Julian in the Fall
57. Make hot cocoa from scratch
58. Celebrate NYE at home over a candlelit dinner
59. Build a fort and camp out in the living room on a rainy day
60. See 1 concert a year, of my choosing
61. Plan a trip to Chicago with my mother-in-law
62. Buy a bike
63. Go to the movies alone the next time I want to see something and have nobody to go with
64. Adopt a pound kitty
65. Host a pool party
66. Light sparklers on the 4th of July
67. Find a new therapist
68. Get a passport
69.  Spruce up my cubicle
70. Workout once a week for all 143 weeks
71. Gain enough momentum with Brass Honey to partner with one of my favorite brands (i.e. Kendra Scott, Nordstrom, Madewell)
72. Coordinate a food truck crawl
73. Try navy blue eyeliner
74. Learn how to create graphics prettier than the 101 in 1001 one I created above
75. Swim in a lake
76. Pay off the BMW
77. Make the 2 hour drive back home alone (I haven't done this since my car accident in 2004)
78. Explore a local museum
79. Spend the afternoon in a bookstore
80. Make this for Darren using a deck of cards from the Bellagio
81. Make Kristi's homemade pizza
82. Buy a Clarisonic
83.  Have lunch with Jared
84. Dance my butt off at my cousin Katie's wedding
85. Drink eggnog and brandy
86. Get Liz to drink a spiked apple cider at Thanksgiving 2013 
87. Come up with 101 things to do in 1001 days
88. Buy a Kate Spade handbag to find out what all they hype is about
89.  Go wine tasting in Temecula
90. Buy an everyday watch
91. Watch Beaches and call my childhood friend, Erin
92. Make a new friend
93. Read Helen Keller's biography
94. Go a month without meat
95. Get a mani/pedi with Laura and Colleen
96. Write my own Notebook (love story)
97. Eat a dozen apple cider donuts in a day
98. Ride a roller coaster
99. Wear blue tinted contact lenses for week
100. Find a new job
101. Get a massage

Monday, September 16, 2013

Girl Crush, Khloe Kardashian

From day 1 of KUWTK I've had the biggest girl crush on Khloe.
She makes me love things I hate, like white shoes. 
She has the most amazing face and the kindest eyes.
She's a total contradiction, which I happen to love.  Hello construction boots and Chanel bag.
She's got crazy big hair that I'd totally die for.
 I'm pretty sure she started the ombre trend.
She pulls off red lipstick better than anyone, accept maybe Marilyn.
And she's got an amazing shoe collection I'd love to borrow from.
Khloe is totally fantastic, period.  I adore her for a million little reasons, but more than anything I think she has a heart of gold.  She's fun and funny and she has the best personality.  She's been knocked down and she gets right back up again.  Right after Bethenny Frankel, Khloe is the one person I'd most love to spend a day with.  I may not want to be Khloe, but she's definitely the kind of girl I want to be around.

Do you have a girl crush?  If so, who is it?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Love It, Or Leave It? The Dropped Waist Edition.

So, I'm actually kind of having a hard time with this one.  When someone says drop waist, my mind automatically goes to this.

Pretty scary right?  I'm finding it hard to get images of Kmart Easter dresses with big lace bibs and dropped waists out of my mind!!!  This one should be a no brainer, but it's never that easy.

We learn from our mistakes (bye, bye big shoulder pads) and we reinvent, making what was once old and tired, new and modern.  Our favorite designers create pieces that catch our eye and ultimately challenge our ideas. 

I mean look at the leather skirt on this Bailey 44 number.  By incorporating one of Fall's biggest trends, this drop waist dress suddenly feels new and relevant.    
And this sleeveless Alice + Olivia dress (in my new favorite color) is perfect for the office or for a night out.  I can totally see this being worn with a killer pair of black booties.

This RED Valentino dress is a stunner too.  The pleats, paired with the cult favorite Rockstud, definitely make this dress feel fresh.  

As if that wasn't enough to convince me, I see some of my favorite bloggers, who's style I totally admire, sporting a drop waist and looking absolutely AMAZING!

So why do I still think of this, which sadly resembles the dress I wore to my first homecoming dance in the early 90's (baby's breath in my hair and all).

All things considered I have to say LEAVE IT (back in the 80's where all things bad go to die).  

Are you guys with me, or are you loving the modern take on the drop waist?  Let me know what you think. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is There Anybody Out There???

So it's been just over a month since I've started Brass Honey and I wanted to take some time to write about what it's like to be in the trenches of starting a new blog.  Over the last few months I've read countless Blogging 101 posts that all seem to go a little something like this, "Be Yourself", "Content Is King", "Make It Pretty".  All very well and good but isn't that kinda stating the obvious?  To a lesser degree I've found a few, learn from my mistakes kind of posts, and while I think these are definitely more relatable, they give vague references and leave me wanting more.  Besides I've never been one to learn from someone else's experiences.

What both types of posts have in common is that they always seem to be written years after the blogger started blogging.  Their blogs are successful and have hundreds and thousands of followers, and while there's something to be said for learning from the pros, they're not struggling to make it past the 3 month mark which is the average lifespan of a blog.  They're not trying to get noticed in a sea of millions of other bloggers.  In all of my searches I couldn't find a single solitary post written by a new blogger in the midst of trying to make something out of nothing.  

You bloggers sure know how to make blogging look easy, and at least for me in this first month, nothing could be further from the truth.  Even taking pictures has proven to be a challenge.

See the fork on the bench?  Well I didn't.

And the missing stone in my bracelet.  Not a good look.

And let's not forget about the camera remote in my hand.

Pictures are only the beginning though.  What I'm really struggling with is finding balance.  For the first time in my life I feel like I'm working on something really meaningful.  I've never even had a hobby so the enthusiasm and love I have for my blog is totally new, and seems to be completely consuming me.  I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think about is my blog, not my husband.  I spend my lunch hour reading other blogs and I've spent one too many late nights at the computer trying to learn Photoshop or writing content.  D is starting to get annoyed and I'm starting to burn out.  I keep telling myself that it will only be like this in the beginning because it's new, and that once I learn how to do X or Y it won't take me so long, but I don't know.  Maybe it's just my personality.  I have always been an all or nothing kind of girl.

In an effort to try and find some balance I've had to take a step back and admit that there are some things that I just can't do.  I set some pretty realistic goals for myself as far as the number of posts I put out in a week, and I don't have droves of followers so it's not an issue for me to respond to the maybe 1 comment I get per post :).  If only those were my problems.  Instead, I'm dealing with learning how to pull back, admit defeat and then ask for help.  Not easy for someone who wants to figure things out for herself and loves to be in control.

Before I launched my first post in early August I spent three solid weeks trying to design my blog.  I'm not completely computer illiterate, but even some of the simplest things like linking my social media buttons took forever.  I did what I could, literally hit my head against my desk a few times, drank a few bottles of wine and then had to accept the fact that what I had, which is what you see today, was what I was capable of.  The Virgo perfectionist in me is still kicking and screaming, but for now Brass Honey will have to be plain and simple in it's design until the blog design I'm having built (by someone who actually knows what they're doing) is ready. 

Which brings me to my next struggle.  How much money is too much money to spend on your blog in the beginning, or ever?  A month and a half in and I'm spent $185 on blog design, photos and social media icons.  It's really easy for me to get caught up in all the things I "need" for my blog (i.e. professional photos, a new lens for my camera, a new outfit, business cards, etc.).  Still in the midst of working this one out, but am not doing so hot considering I'm scheduled to take more photos with a photographer on Saturday $$$. 

  I'm also struggling to balance my time between putting out content and promoting my blog.  While content is obviously important, if nobody's here to read it does it really matter? 

And on that note I'd love to give a shout out to my 1 Google+ follower and my 8 Bloglovin' followers.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming along for the ride!

With that said, 9 followers and 15 posts in and I'm feeling a little discouraged because I feel like I've put out a few great posts, one in particular (Five Things Not To Say To A Childfree Woman) and I know only a handful of people have seen them.

I guess I could go nuts spamming and leaving comments on every Tom, Dick and Harry's blogs, but it's not that simple, or maybe it is and I've just got it all wrong?  I feel like some bloggers are too big for my little old blog while others are too young, or too fashion focused.  I love reading said blogs, but I'm really only trying to reach out to bloggers that I feel share and run parallel to what Brass Honey is all about.

Just in case you're not one of my 9 readers, let me fill you in on what that is.  Brass Honey is about me, Shannon, a thirty-something, professional, married and living childfree.  Just an average girl with a lazy eye, speed bump gut and unicorn bump on her head.  Most importantly I'm a girl trying to connect with other girls who inspire and celebrate all that's great about being a real woman, the good and the bad.  I want to surround myself with people who can be vulnerable and share a piece of themselves and in turn will allow me to do the same.  That's not asking for much is it :).

Lots of struggles in this first month, but they say you should do what you love and I really do love what this could be for me.  I've never been afraid to fall or work hard so here's to making it another month!  I'd love to hear about your first few months blogging.  What did you struggle with?  How did you find your way?  Advice and support totally welcome and encouraged.

Bee Happy!