Monday, October 31, 2011


Not the most flattering picture in the world, but "BOO!!!!!!!"

Dress: Target
Cardigan: August Silk (Nordstrom Rack)
Tights: Hue (Macy's)
Boots: Fitzwell (
Head band: Free gift with purchase (Modcloth)
Earrings: Betsey Johnson
Sweater Clip: DIY

Because I didn't have a proper costume this Halloween, I took a page out of Bessie's book over at Bravoe Runway and decided to let Mr. CP style me today. It was my non-Halloweeny Halloween costume. It's a testament to how well he knows my style -- or how predictable I am, I haven't decided which -- that he chose an outfit that looks exactly like something I would have put together for myself. I hand't yet worn my Modcloth head band, a delightful extra that Modcloth included with the purchase of my By Night dress, so I was glad that he included it in the outfit.

I wanted to get this post up before we begin the final stage of our Halloween tradition. Every year we order (and eat) copious amounts of pizza, imbibe enough bottles of our favorite pumpkin ale to supply a small army, and gorge ourselves on delicious Halloween cupcakes from a local cupcake shop, all while watching movies that scare us (read: me) half to death. Tonight's line-up: Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, The Strangers, and (because I'm a wuss) Hocus Pocus.

I'm an adequate loser, so I guess I'm pleased to announce the winner of this year's (rigged) pumpkin carving contest: feel free to courteously applaud for Mr. CP. He emerged victorious with his artfully rendered carving of one of those dudes from that one video game (more specifically, a Big Daddy from Bioshock). I'm convinced he bribed or blackmailed one of the judges, probably himself, since I didn't receive any threatening letters or elaborate gifts. ::sigh:: Congratulations... I guess. Humph. Just kidding everyone, just kidding! Mr. CP's pumpkin turned out far better than mine, and it took him much longer to carve, as well. He deserved the victory. At some point we're going to need to assemble a creepy trophy to present to the winner every year. For now, he'll have to settle for a victory high five!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful and spooky night!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Story of Our First Date

Nearly 80 photos, and this is the only one that was usable. Apparently I was feeling fidgety today. 

Dress: A to Z Tees (Alhambra Outlet)
Cardigan: Anne Klein (Nordstrom Rack)
Tights: Target
Boots: Enzo Angiolini (Nordstrom Rack)
Necklace: Gift from Mr. CP (Brighton Collectibles)
Earrings: Vintage, gifted

Mr. CP and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend, and in honor of this hallowed occasion I thought I would share with you the story of our hilariously epic first date. Brace yourselves, friends. Brace yourselves.

I'm not stoic. I don't handle fear very well. So when Mr. CP approached me about going to a haunted house, my first thought was, "Hell you say?!" But then I thought, "I've been crushing on this guy for ages. Woman up, and just do it." Because I'm a huge, huge nerd -- and also in the hope that it would help me remain stoic in the face of terror -- I researched the haunted house online in order to figure out what I should expect. Browsing through the website, one thing became crystal clear: chainsaw-wielding clowns were going to be in abundance. So when I kept hearing chainsaws revving up inside the old morgue-cum-haunted-house we were about to wander into on that chilly October night, I knew precisely what was going on.

We were ushered into the haunted house with a group of three or four teenagers. I adopted what turned out to be a reeeeeally stupid survival strategy: remain at the end of the line. Are you shaking your head at me? You should be. Because if you plant yourself at the end of the line in a haunted house, you might as well paint a giant target on your forehead. So, there I was moseying on along when I heard a creaking sound behind me. I frantically turned around to see what the noise was, thought "Huh. There's a chainsaw-wielding clown climbing out of the wall," and then faced forward again. Two seconds later, I realized, "@$!% There's a chainsaw-wielding clown climbing out of the wall!!!!!" which is when things really got interesting. You see, apparently I was much stronger than I realized. In an effort to prevent the creepy ass clown from getting to me, I grabbed Mr. CP by the arm, and hoisted -- yes, hoisted! -- him between the clown and myself. In the process I... well... ahem... that is to say... I, um, dislocated his shoulder. Yeah. On our very first date, I dislocated his shoulder. I didn't even find out until a year-and-a-half later, either. He apparently popped his shoulder back into the socket and kept on going. Who does that?!?! 

You would think that's the end of the story, but no. No, it's not. In another spectacularly brilliant move, I got stuck at the end of the haunted house, and they had to send someone in to get me out. In my defense, it was not my fault... okay, it was a little my fault. They planted another chainsaw-wielding clown right next to the exit. A smart person would have just scampered past the clown, and been done with it. I stupidly decided to make myself as tiny as possible, and curled up into a ball on the floor. The line inside the haunted house got so backed up that they had to send someone in to get me the hell out.

So, yep, that's the story of our first date. I dislocated Mr. CP's shoulder, and got stuck in the haunted house. When I eventually found out that I had dislocated his shoulder, I asked Mr. CP why on earth he thought it was a good idea to stick around for a second date. His answer: "I figured things would never be boring with you around." True. That. 

To Mr. CP: I'm very glad you stuck around for a second date, love. I'm so fortunate that I get to laugh with you every day! Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Walk, Don't Waddle!

Top: Gap
Cardigan: August Silk (Nordstrom Rack)
Skirt: Thrifted
Tights: Gift from Mr. CP! (Modcloth)
Shoes: Old Navy
Sweater Clip: CatRabbit
Earrings: Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom Rack)
Head Band: H&M

I tend to fixate on things. It's just how I'm built. I get all worked up about something, and dwell on it. And dwell on it. And, for good measure, dwell on it some more. My current fixation centers on the relative lack of colorful and/or patterned tights available for plus sized women. At least three times a day in our house, I can be heard complaining at length about it. I usually conclude my daily rants with, "What the [insert expletive of your choice here]?!" (In my more PG moments -- which are admittedly few and far between -- I tend to favor, "What the crap?!") Poor Mr. CP is the one who has to listen to my rants. And let me tell you, it's the exact. same. rant. day in. and day out. Nothing really changes except the expletive I use. Poor, long-suffering Mr. CP. 

Because he's just that spectacularly sweet -- and also, I suspect, in an effort to get me to stop complaining -- Mr. CP put his mad Google Fu skills to good use and hunted me down two pairs of colorful, patterned tights! That's right, colorful and patterned. I got what I wanted -- two beautiful pairs of tights -- and Mr. CP got what he wanted -- silence. Okay, well, not complete silence, because I'm still me, but he no longer has to listen to my seemingly endless diatribes on tights. Hooray for Mr. CP!

I tend to be reeeeeally picky about tights. I want tights that are durable, that fit (dur!), and most importantly, that don't result in what I've dubbed Penguin Crotch. Penguin Crotch is best described as the result of a pair of ill-fitting and/or poorly made tights such that the crotch sits somewhere around the knees and causes the wearer to waddle in a rather unsightly way. I am pleased to announce that these Modcloth tights fulfill all three of the above requirements: they seem durable, they fit, and I do not waddle to-and-fro like a Pacific Northwestern penguin. Yippee!

p.s. I apologize for the wrinkly skirt. I had been sitting for a while. =)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

eShakti Review: Fair Lady Long Jacket

Coat: c/o eShakti (you can find the jacket here!)

eShakti contacted me recently, and offered to send me an item of my choosing to review. If you're unfamiliar with eShakti, it's an online company dedicated to providing clothes for women sizes 0-26. The company's philosophy is beautiful and simple: "One size does not fit all and all sizes are not created equal. For too long women have been forced to conform to standard sizing that too often doesn't fit properly. At eShakti, a woman can shop for exactly what she wants - no compromise, no premium to pay."

When you order from eShakti, you can either order from their standard sizes, or, for an additional $7.50, have the item customized to your exact measurements. For most items, you can request additional alterations: dresses, skirts and coats can be shortened or lengthened according to your taste, as can sleeves and necklines. Among the measurements they require you to provide when you order a custom item is your bra size. As busty as I am, I was relieved that they asked for this particular measurement. It meant that I wouldn't have to contend with any unsightly gaping, which is the bane of every busty girl's existence. This is what recommends eShakti above all else: the company provides you with the ability to customize almost any item of clothing to suit your size, your shape, and your taste. And for $7.50, it's an absolute bargain.

I chose to order a customized Fair Lady Long Jacket. It arrived promptly and in pristine condition. The seams are neatly finished, and the buttons are sewn on very, very well. It usually comes to pass that as soon as I get a coat home one of the buttons pops off. Not so with this jacket! I also love the added detailing around the wrist cuff: two buttons and some adorable decorative loops. I'm extremely impressed with the workmanship of the ruffle, as well. It's very neatly hemmed, and securely stitched on to the jacket, so it won't be tearing any time soon! The coat itself is made of a very nice quality, lightweight wool. It's also fully lined. The lining is composed of a fairly thin fabric, but it seems sturdy, so despite it's relative thinness I suspect it will hold up quite well over time.

eShakti's customer service was superb. They post the care instructions for items right on the product's main page, but I thought I would email them anyway and see how they responded. I was fully expecting a form letter that said something to the effect of, "You can find that information on the product's main page." I was delightfully surprised when I received an email that not only included care instructions, but did not passive aggressively instruct me to "check the product's page." They answered my question directly and helpfully, which is quite rare where customer service is concerned.

If you're considering buying this jacket, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • It hits slightly above the knee, so if it bothers you to have a skirt or dress showing at the bottom of the coat then you may want to consider altering the length.
  • According to the site, this jacket has a medium warmth factor. I'd say it's a light-to-medium warmth factor. It makes for a nice additional layer of wool, but if you're looking for a heavy jacket, this isn't a good choice for you.
  • Though the jacket is fully lined, it's still made of wool. If you have skin that reacts poorly to wool, you may want to pick a different item.
  • The jacket doesn't have any pockets. Just something to keep in mind.
For my part, I'm thrilled to pieces with the jacket. I ordered it a bit bigger than I needed, because I like to be able to pile on the layers in the winter, and the sizing is perfect. You could easily get it more fitted, though. I may end up belting it this fall and winter; we'll see.

My only complaint is that the jacket smelled a bit musty when it arrived. I hung it up to air out for a few days and the scent has more or less faded. I'm relieved it did, because it's dry clean only.

To recap: eShakti is amazing. You're guaranteed to find something that fits. Check out their site now. Go. Go now. Run! Don't walk! Are you running? You look like you're sauntering. RUN!

eShakti was kind enough to send me this item free of charge. This in no way affected my opinion of the item or the company. I'm an opinionated beast of a woman, so you can be sure that if I hadn't liked the item and/or company I would have said so. For serious.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Take Four: Cardigans and Chunky Knits

 Dress: Nordstrom Rack
Cardigan: Nordstrom Rack
Tights: Target
Boots: Enzo Angiolini (Nordstrom Rack)
Head band: Nordstrom
Earrings: Fossil
Brooch: Free Table at consignment store (hooray!)

For a long time, I shied away from chunky knits. I was convinced that they made me look, well, chunky. As I've grown more comfortable with my body, though, I've come to realize that it's largely a question of the specific item of clothing you pick. After trying on countless chunky knit items, I eventually realized that not all chunky knits are created equal. Some add bulk in areas where I reeeeeally don't need extra padding (see: the Ladies). Others, like this cardigan, miraculously obscure bulk, and nip in at the waist to give a nice hourglass effect.

There are few things I love more than cruising around the internet looking at photos of peoples' outfits. I particularly love seeing different interpretations of the same trends. So... do you want to see three more interpretations of chunky knits? You do?! Goody! Check out these three ladies!

Bekah at Matters of Merrymaking <--- she is, indeed, a merrymaker.
Gracey at Fashion for Giants <--- She's hilarious, and has beeeeeeeautiful boots, to boot. (heh!)
Karla at Frugal Big Girl <--- She always manages to score some serious deals!

I've met some truly wonderful people since I started blogging a few short months ago. That's far and away been my favorite aspect of blogging. So when Karla approached Gracey, Bekah, and I about starting up a blogging group called Take Four, I didn't hesitate to say yes!

Take Four is an opportunity for the four of us, who bet my chance through blogging, to support each other in a collaborative blogging project. The idea is simple: once or twice a month, we will post four unique interpretations of a selected trend.  In each post, we will provide links to each other’s blogs, so that you, our readers, can find a look and style that suits you, your closet and your budget.  We hope you enjoy the series and, as always, we love feedback, so feel free to get in touch with any of us!

Thrifted Goodies!

Behold my new royal porcupine scarf! Odds are no one will be able to tell there's a porcupine, royal or otherwise, on this scarf, but I'll know he's there which will inevitably put a bounce in my step. I feel like he needs a name... Ideas?

I love, love, love this scarf. It's absolutely massive, so I'm not planning on using it as a scarf. As soon as I figure out how to make a simple a-line skirt this lovely piece of fabric will form the front panel. =)

I saw this hanging on the end of one of the racks by a mirror, and scooped it up before someone else did. This angry looking woman came over and started snuffling around the skirt while I was inspecting it, but I scooped it up before she could steal it.

I've been desperately coveting a velvet blazer. I love the texture that a velvet piece of clothing adds to an outfit. The cut and fabric of this particular jacket are beautiful. As soon as I get it back from the dry cleaners, I'm going to pop the buttons off and Kelsify it with some mismatched vintage metal buttons. You can see that Boy Cat is already getting a start on those buttons for me. He's so helpful, isn't he?

Ribbet. Ribbet. Who doesn't need a dainty little frog pin? This guy is tiny, so he'll be perfect for a brooch collage like this one

I love rampant lions. They're so... rampant. Ahem. I love the pearl dangling from the bottom of the shield. It's a nice feminine touch.

Grand Total: Just under $25.00 (I had a 30% off coupon!)

There was a bit of a debacle that involved an adorable Ferragamo zebra scarf, so I'm going back to get that tomorrow morning. Apparently Value Village has a corporate policy that prevents cashiers from pricing tag-free items at the register, so the scarf has to be reprocessed. Pfft. I roll my eyes at you like a surly fifteen-year-old, Value Village. And at you, too, Random Person Who Ripped Off the Tag. I also shake my fist at you. And sneer at you. And... and... 

Update: Here's the Ferragamo zebra scarf! I snagged it for $9.99! Don't get me wrong, I was excited that it's a Ferragamo scarf. Frankly, though, I was more excited about the zebras. =) Is it just me, or do the zebras look like total Dudes? They kind of have that whole "dude face" thing going.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Silly Pumpkin!"

Low flying seaplane!
Behold the very rare Kelsius Moosius in her natural habitat!
Dress: Gap Outlet
Cardigan: Halogen (Nordstrom)
Tights: Hue (Macy's)
Boots: Enzo Angiolini (Nordstrom Rack)
Sweater Clip Brooch Thing: CatRabbit
Head band: Target

Bekah the Merrymaker made me giggle the other day when she concluded an email with the phrase "silly pumpkin." She was, unsurprisingly, talking about yours truly. The phrase seemed very appropriate for this particular post since I pulled a very silly -- or bafflingly stupid, depending upon how you look at it -- move the other day. I pulled a muscle in my back... drum roll, please... putting on my deodorant. That's right, folks. I managed to injure myself while going about one of the most mundane daily tasks you can imagine. I'm sure you're wondering how in the name of all that is sacred I managed to pull such a magnificently klutzy move. I really have no answer. There's not even really much of a story to it which, frankly, makes it that much more ridiculous.

This one time, I forced Mr. CP to go to a yoga class with me against his will. Not only did the instructor end up putting me in the corner to do "remedial" poses (+10 humiliation points), but in an unexpected and fairly hilarious twist of fate Mr. CP ended up being considerably more flexible than I am (+5000 humiliation points). Despite the fact that putting on deodorant doesn't really require an extensive degree of flexibility, I'm tempted to blame my injury on my general inflexibility. It somehow sounds less ridiculous than "it just happened." Silly pumpkin, indeed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For Love of a Dress: Green Edition

Dress: A to Z Tees (Alhambra Outlet)
Tights: Hue (Macy's)
Boots: Abound (Nordstrom Rack)
Head band: H&M

Dear Beautiful Green Dress,

I considered beginning this letter with a reference to Browning: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth..." blah blah blah. I also considered Shakespeare: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove..." yadda yadda yadda. But Browning and Shakespeare's respective odes to eternal love seem too trite and cliche. I decided instead to try to describe my love for you in my own words, insufficient as they may be, for that added personal touch.

When I spied your fern-y green folds at the store peeking out from behind other equally beautiful dresses, I immediately knew that we were destined to meet. To be honest, I hadn't been looking for you. I showed up on that fated day with the intention of buying your red hued sister. And yet, there you were... waiting for me... silently beckoning me closer...

I remember carrying you into the dressing room reverently, and trying you on for the very first time. You fit like a dream. And your color. Oh, your color! I felt like I was wrapped in the folds of a verdant green meadow. I knew then and there that you and I were going to make so many wonderful memories together. Picnics in the park, rides on the ferry boats, spins and twirls in the garden: the world would be our oyster.

I'm fully willing to accept that there are some out there who won't understand our love, who will mock it and judge it unfairly (coughcoughMr.CPcoughcough). All I can say is: they don't know us. They don't understand us. They simply don't understand the beauty of the love between a girl and her beloved dress. And that's okay. After all, I didn't intend to find you. You just sort of... happened.

I know deep down in my heart, my lovely green friend, that we're going to live happily ever after until that sad, sad day when you go to that big old closet in the sky. And in the end, that's all that really matters.

Yours eternally (or at the very least for many years),

A brief note about the outfit. I know the colors aren't your typical autumny colors (that one's for you, Jen!), but there's still something about this outfit feels really autumnal to me. Then again, I like this pairing enough that it screams winter, summer, and spring to me, as well...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY: Medallion Brooch!

A lot of you really seemed to like the dapper frog brooch that I wore in this OOTD. Some of you also left comments saying that you wanted to see a tutorial. Here it is! The process of figuring out how to make these brooches was harder than it should have been. Mama CP would have been horrified by some of the words that were flying out of my mouth over the course of my first attempt. The dapper frog brooch was sewn, but for the purposes of this tutorial I decided to use fabric glue instead. I figured it might be easier for those of you who don't have access to, or dislike working with sewing machines and/or needles and thread! 

Step One: Assemble Supplies

For this project, you will need:
  • Fabric glue
  • Ribbon (the thickness of the ribbon is really up to you!)
  • Decorative element (you can use anything from pendants to charms to recycled earrings. I chose to use a vintage pin. I simply used a wire cutter to remove the pin back, and filed down the sharp edges.)
  • Scissors
  • Flat-nosed pliers
  • Jump ring
  • Pin back
  • Awl
  • Iron

Step Two: Cut the ribbon!

I don't have any photographs of this step. I just cut length of ribbon that I thought would complement the decorative element. 

Step Three: Iron the ribbon!

Part 1: Fold both ends of the ribbon over a bit, and iron them flat. Fold them over one more time, and iron them again. This will prevent any pesky strings from showing when you're wearing your new brooch. (Image 1)

Part 2: Fold the ribbon in half, bringing the ironed ends together to form a small rectangle. Iron again so that you have a nice, crisp crease. (Image 2)

Part 3: Glue the edges together!

Again, I don't have photos of this part. Because I tend towards the air-headed end of the spectrum, I got preoccupied and forgot to take pictures. Using your fabric glue, glue the two edges of the ribbon together. The glue that I used needs 24 hours to completely set. I left it alone for about 10 minutes before I finished up the rest of the project, and didn't have any problems, though. Just don't wear it until it's had the full 24 hours to set.

Part 4: Fold (for lack of a better term)!

This part is a bit tricky to explain. For this step, you're going to be working with the folded edge of the ribbon -- so not the edges you just glued together. Working one corner at a time, fold the corners in towards the center of the ribbon, and iron them into place once you've achieved the look and shape you're going for. There's really no trick to this... it just requires trial and error, and patience. If you iron both the corners and find that they are uneven, you can always iron the ribbon flat again. This took me a few tries on my first attempt, but I've vaguely gotten the hang out it now. You just kind of have to work with the ribbon, and again, be patient. =) You'll get it!

Part Five: Punch a hole, add a jump ring, and attach your decorative element! 

Part One: Use an awl to punch a hole through the folds of the ribbon. You can see in the top photo precisely where to place your awl. Gently rotate the awl until you have punched appropriately sized holes on both sides of the ribbon. Be gentle with the awl. It's sharp enough that it will do the work for you.

Part Two: Thread the smallest jump ring that will fit through the holes. You can find a more detailed explanation of how to open and close jump rings here. Since you're probably going to be using a fairly small jump ring it will be a tight fit, but that's okay. Just gently work it through the holes you punched with the awl.

Part Three: Using another small jump ring, attach your decorative element to the jump ring you just threaded through the ribbon.

Part Six: Glue on the pin back!

Place two small dots of fabric glue where you'd like you're pin back to go. You're going to want it fairly close to the top of the ribbon. Place your pin back on the glue, and press gently. Again, it will take 24 hours for the glue to cure, so you can't quite wear it yet. What you can do, however, is...

Marvel at your beautiful new bauble!

I think it's important to let the people -- and, sometimes, favored inanimate objects -- know how much you love them, and how special they are. I spent a bit of time telling my new brooch how pretty she is. It turns out that her name is Gladys, she likes kittens, cotton candy, and rainbows, and she loves nothing more than adorning cardigans. I think she and I are a match made in Heaven.

I would love to see photos if you decide to give this project a try! As usual, let me know if anything is unclear. I'd be more than happy to clarify!

Monday, October 17, 2011

In Pursuit of Pumpkins

Sweater: Gap (old, old, old)
Skirt: Thrifted
Tights: Hue
Boots: Fitzwell (
Wellies: Sperry Top-Sider (Nordstrom Rack)
Hat: TJ Maxx
Bag: Red by Marc Ecko (Ross)

October is a month full of traditions in our household. Today, we made good on one of our long-standing traditions by heading to a pumpkin patch. Armed with our favorite chai lattes, we hopped in the car and made the 45 minute drive to our favorite pumpkin farm. I learned long ago the importance of bringing a change of shoes, so the first thing I did when we arrived at the farm was pull on my trusty wellies. We spent most of the afternoon winding our way through the corn maze, and tromping through the seemingly endless pumpkin fields in pursuit of the perfect pumpkins. This, of course, was the first step in another of our traditions: a sort of unofficial pumpkin carving competition we hold. We don't really have any judges, so we typically just end up bickering at length about whose pumpkin turned out best. Last year was one of the few times where we actually agreed on the winner. Mr. CP emerged victorious. I plan on carving my butt off this year to recapture some of my lost dignity. Huh... that sounds awkward... But my point remains. I. Will. Win.