Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Favorites #146

It's been a minute since I did a Friday Favorites post, huh? I finally had time to put one together this week! Here are a few things I've been loving lately:

Coloring books can definitely help reduce my high levels of stress, and this #OOTD coloring book is a must!
ootd coloring book

How pretty is this polka dot dress from Kitten D'Amour?

polka dot dress kitten d'amour

Betsey Johnson novelty bags for all!
betsey johnson novelty bags

a   //   b   //   c

And I'm swooning over this Kate Spade typewriter purse (IT'S MINT!):
kate spade typewriter purse
You all know how much I love novelty prints, and this vintage valentine skirt from The Oblong Box Shop has me looking like the heart-eyes emoji:
vintage valentine skirt oblong box shop

I weirdly identify with this pink jellyfish pin.
pink jellyfish pin

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I couldn't resist getting this pretty pink agenda for 2017. I don't always manage to write my schedule in my planner, but it definitely helps me feel more organized.

pink agenda rifle paper co

I don't wear nice stuff during the week much these days (when you work from home, there isn't much point), and subsequently, I wear a lot of sweatshirts. This one is so cute – and could totally be dressed up a bit!
modcloth victorian lady sweatshirt

My mom got me this Pixar crock pot for Christmas and I can't wait to start using it. Do you have any favorite crock pot recipes to recommend?
pixar crock pot

I'm always a big fan of Kate's pins, but I need these ones in particular.
democrat lapel pins

I know today is a pretty dark day for many of us. Personally, I'm actually thankful that I'm spending the day performing for kids because it might make me feel a little optimistic about the future. But if you need a little something to make you smile today, you need to look at this list of perfect pups.



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Leopard

leopard dress unique vintage

Leopard is one of those ubiquitous, go-to pinup prints, but I've never had much of it in my wardrobe. Over the last year or so, I've found myself drawn to it more and more, especially when it's done well. So when I saw this dress by The Pretty Dress Company – a brand that's carried in the U.S. exclusively by Unique Vintage – I was really eager to try it out.

unique vintage hepburn leopard dress
leopard dress pinup
the pretty dress company leopard hepburn dress

I've owned a couple of other dresses by The Pretty Dress Company in the past. Their quality tends to be really great and their dresses seem to be universally flattering. Given how their other brand dresses fit me (i.e., quite large in the bust), I expected this style would be a bit loose up top. But actually, this dress was a bit tight in the arms and in the bust area. It zips up and I think it looks quite nice on, but if you're concerned about lifting your arms or know you need a bit of extra room for the ladies, I'd recommend sizing up in this style. Other than that, I found this frock to be just lovely. The fact that it has longer sleeves is a real plus for the winter, and I love that this fabric didn't even need to be steamed when I took it out of the box!

leopard dress vintage
vintage brooch top hat cane
rockabilly pinup leopard dress
Outfit Details
Leopard Print Hepburn Dress: c/o Unique Vintage
Brooch: vintage (similar)
Hat: vintage (similar)
Boots: Miss L-Fire
Tights: similar

leopard print dress vintage pinup

In other news, my show opened this weekend, and we have school shows later this week. While it's been a fun experience, I'll be glad to have evenings to myself again. I've been under a lot of stress (a massage is definitely in order!), so I'm looking forward to taking a break from performing. It won't be forever, of course, but I'm going to be a lot pickier about the projects to which I commit. While I used to be in as many shows as possible a few years ago, my priorities are a lot different now. And that's totally okay. I know myself better now, and for that, I'm grateful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Navy

navy diner dress campbell crafts

Generally speaking, I've never been a big fan of navy blue. I'm not sure why, but it's always seemed kind of dull to me. As far as neutrals go, I'll always choose black or gray over navy. And if there's a print I really like on a navy background, chances are that I may forgo buying the item altogether. But it's a new year, and that means that it's the perfect time to try new things. So I decided to try out this navy diner dress from Campbell/Crafts – and I'm very glad I did!

navy retro dress
navy 1940s dress
vintage navy dress

I styled this dress in a very simple way (I wish I had remembered to add a brooch!), but I could definitely add a cardigan or layer another skirt over it to make the top into a blouse. I was a bit worried about the fit of the top, as button-down fronts usually aren't my friend. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it fits quite well with very minimal gaping. My favorite part is the pink trim, which happened to match a belt I already owned. I've seen this dress styled with a fuller petticoat, but I opted to go without in order to create a more 1940's silhouette. The material is a bit thin for our winters here in upstate New York, but I think it'll transition beautifully into spring. One thing's for sure: while I may not ever be naturally drawn to navy, I'll definitely give it much more consideration in the future.

navy dress retro
Outfit Details
Navy Diner Dress: c/o Campbell/Crafts
Pink belt: ASOS (similar)
Heels: similar

Do you have any colors you tend to avoid? And have you ever challenged yourself to try getting over your aversion?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People

I always intended to give this space a fashion focus, rather than making it a true lifestyle blog. But on occasion, I've talked about my personal struggles. These posts have been scary to publish, but they've also been really cathartic (and have often been well-received). I've written about breakups and heartbreak, as well as identity, self-esteem, and the importance of vulnerability. I've always been careful to not turn this blog into a journal, but I also fear that my posts are sometimes too superficial.

Next month, my blog will turn four years old. I'm proud of that accomplishment, but I sort of feel like I'm not doing enough with it. And while I didn't make this an official resolution, I want to branch out a bit in terms of my content – specifically with interesting or challenging things that aren't necessarily related to personal style but that are very much personal to me.

highly sensitive people self-care
Pictured: The Highly Sensitive Person ||  Sensitive enamel pin c/o Color Theory
Target candles and bottle brush tree (similar)
...Which brings me to today's post. I've been incredibly stressed out and totally drained lately. Learning how to balance a creative and demanding full-time job, rehearsals and performances, a relationship, blogging, and various other responsibilities has been a real struggle. As an introvert and highly sensitive person, the pressure of these obligations often takes a bigger emotional and physical toll than it might for others. While we tend to thrive in creative, unconventional environments, there are times when the world gets a little too overwhelming for us.

Even though I work pretty well under pressure, I know that I require significant time alone in order to recharge. But when you barely have any downtime, that can be much easier said than done. It's not always realistic to take substantial time off from work, so I have to take advantage of what little free time I have. If you're feeling anxious, stressed out, particularly sensitive, emotional, or just plain burnt out, you might just need a little break from it all. Below are some of my favorite coping mechanisms and self-care methods for my fellow introverts and HSPs – but I think they'll be of benefit to just about anyone.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Spend time in nature

I was in a near-constant state of anxiety this past summer. When I couldn't figure out what else to do with myself, my instincts took me outside. I don't consider myself to be a very outdoorsy person, but whenever I spend time in nature, my mood lifts and my mind feels much more at ease. It's actually been scientifically proven that taking walks in nature can help reduce stress and can even stave off depression. I'll usually head to a local park, but backyards, hiking trails, or other green spaces work well, too. This can also be helpful if you live with other people and don't have a private space in your home.


Get moving

I think most of us know that exercise helps us both physically and mentally/emotionally, but it's easy for me to forget how big an impact it has on my well-being. Any fan of Legally Blonde knows that exercise releases endorphins! Plus, working out can act as a distraction and as a means for reducing frustrations or even solving problems. I've never been a fitness queen by any means, but doing some kind of physical activity on a regular basis allows me to sleep better at night, have more energy during the day, and generally feel happier, more accomplished, and more confident. This year, I want to branch out and try something like Zumba (or maybe tackle yoga again) in addition to walking outside or on the treadmill/elliptical.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Escape to another world

Sometimes you need to check out of your own reality for a little while. One of my favorite ways to do this is by getting sucked into a good book or by watching a comforting TV show or movie. While it's not good to run away from your problems, these activities allow me to relax and shift my focus. When I'm too brain-dead or anxious to be productive, I'll turn on an episode of Friends, watch a Disney movie, or read a bit of this book (a gift from my dear friend and fellow HSP, Rusty). Personally, listening to music when I'm stressed tends to backfire – it's usually a bit too stimulating – but I know that many people find it to be a good option.


Write it down or talk it out

Though I've never tried it, my friend Rusty says that journaling his thoughts has been a very helpful practice for him. If you can put what you're feeling into words, it can allow you to see things more objectively. I think therapy can also be extremely beneficial, and I wish there wasn't such a stigma about seeking it out. There are a couple of friends I'd feel comfortable talking to as well, but I don't always want to talk to someone else about my problems; I tend to want to work them out for myself. Writing down what you're experiencing can help you look at things from a different angle or take out unnecessary emotion from the equation.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Consider your environment

Until recently, I never realized what a huge role my surroundings play in my overall mood. When I was living with my parents, I felt constantly on-edge because I felt like I never had any privacy. I'm so much happier living on my own, surrounded by things that bring me joy. Another thing I've learned: I can be a messy person, but messes tend to make me anxious. One of my main resolutions for 2017 was to stay on top of the housework and generally be more organized. Since I work from home a lot now, I've found that I need to be in an environment that makes me feel calm. I also decorate with touches that make me feel happy whenever I see them. If you live with roommates or a partner, try to find a quiet space that's all yours for when you're feeling overstimulated or overwhelmed for even a few minutes of precious alone time.


Make a plan, list, or schedule

I'm not sure whether this is true for all introverts and HSPs, but I think a lot of us tend to be "type A." Many of us are perfectionists and planners. I tend to get totally overwhelmed if I have a lot of tasks to complete; for a long time, my response was to avoid them altogether because I didn't know how to tackle them without getting stressed. Often, I find that making a list, a schedule, or a plan with specific goals or a timeline can help a lot. I know that I don't do well when I have to wing it. Even if I end up deviating from a schedule, I can have that to work from. Since I essentially make my own work schedule now, it's more important than ever for me to plan out my days. I always make sure to schedule in breaks for when I'm feeling too tired or stressed!

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Think about what you put in your body

Admittedly, I am not usually very good at this one. I think it's best to strike a balance between eating thoughtfully and healthfully (i.e., thinking of food as fuel for your body to do its best work) and letting yourself indulge and enjoy. For me, equating food with comfort tends to be a slippery slope because I often turn to junk food when I'm feeling stressed. I have a wicked sweet tooth, and I'm currently struggling to keep it in check. One of my other resolutions for the new year was to be much more mindful of what I'm eating. Weight Watchers has been really helpful for me in that regard because it makes me much more accountable, but food journaling or making a conscious effort to follow certain food standards can help, too.

In addition, HSPs in particular tend to be a lot more sensitive to any substances like caffeine, sugar, or alcohol. Although I drink more caffeine now than I used to, I have to be very careful about how much I have. If I have too much, I'll be anxious and jittery for hours. I can't even take Midol because there's caffeine in it! I never really enjoyed drinking all that much in college and I actually don't drink at all now. It's a personal preference, and if you like a glass of wine at the end of a long day, that's okay too. But if you find your caffeine or alcohol intake is affecting your ability to sleep at night or be productive during the day, you might consider cutting down a bit.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Find comfort in a furry friend

Those of us with canine or feline friends are very lucky in that our pets are natural mood stabilizers. Studies have shown that caring for a dog as an adult can lower stress levels and can reduce depression. It's also been proven that a cat's purr can reduce stress and provide a host of other physical benefits. While they may not always do what we'd like them to do when we're upset or anxious (I'm looking at you, Pumpkin), the act of showing affection to your kitty or pup will likely make you feel much calmer – and your pet will enjoy it, too.

Give yourself permission to unplug

In the digital age, we're constantly connected to our devices and our social networks. There's a lot of pressure to be constantly engaged, and while there are benefits that go along with that, it can be a big source of anxiety. This election season was especially overwhelming. I purposely took a break from Facebook for a weekend afterwards and it helped a lot. Although there are a lot of things to enjoy about these platforms, I make it a point to enjoy my life instead of merely documenting it. I might have less engagement and fewer followers, but I'd so much rather spend time with people I love – or by myself – than feel like my life is ruled by social media. Remember that it is perfectly okay (and advisable, even) to take a break from your personal tech use.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Get pampered

I find that getting a massage or taking a personal day to catch up on rest can be two of the best things I can do for both my body and mind. No matter your preference, self-care methods are extremely important for overall well-being. Taking a long, hot shower or bubble bath can do wonders. Paint your nails, have a blow-out at the salon, take yourself out to lunch, or meet up with a friend for tea. Reward yourself in a way that acknowledges your hard work and invigorates you for what's to come. Put your own comfort ahead of your other obligations for the day (or at least part of the day). 


Go exploring

Whether you want to take a weekend trip out of town or want to spend the afternoon exploring a familiar place, a change of scenery can also change your entire perspective. I know not everyone can take time off from work and family life to take a vacation, but if you're able, you should. Studies have actually shown that just planning your trip will give you a huge happiness boost – oftentimes more so than the vacation itself! That's why it's better to plan a trip well in advance; the anticipation is even more rewarding than the relaxation. Of course, exploring a new place can be exciting and can help you forget your stress. When you return from being away, you can look at your responsibilities with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People


Acknowledge what you're feeling and tell others what you need

Above all, don't be afraid to ask for help or to tell important people in your life what you need. This can be difficult to communicate when you're overwhelmed, but if you can't express it at the time, reflect on it afterwards. That way, you can tell your friends, family, or significant other how they can help you when you need it. For instance, laughter always helps me a LOT. Whether it's intentional or sheer instinct, my boyfriend knows how to make me laugh when I'm feeling stressed out and it's a huge relief. It helps me breathe and acts as a great reset button.

It's also important to acknowledge how you're feeling, rather than denying or ignoring what you're experiencing. Being honest with yourself and others is how we learn and grow. There's no shame in feeling overwhelmed or being highly sensitive. But acknowledging these things allows us to discover how to deal with issues that inevitably come up. You're likely pretty hard on yourself as it is, so remember to be patient and forgiving for your own sake.

The Soubrette Brunette: Self-Care Tips For Introverts and Highly Sensitive People

Do you have any favorite coping strategies that I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments! I'm always looking for new ways to wind down and refuel. And if you're wondering whether you might be a Highly Sensitive Person, this HSP test might help you figure it out. Finally, let me know if there's anything you'd like to see or learn more about here this year. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Felix

voodoo vixen kat dress

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a nice New Year's Eve. Mine was pretty much just what I wanted: a cozy night at home with yummy food, some good movies, and my boy + cat. It wasn't a big to-do, but opting for pjs instead of a fancy dress honestly felt so nice. After this crazy year we've had – and a particularly stressful week –  I was thrilled to stay in and be an old lady.  :)

cat print dress
cat brooch erstwilder
voodoo vixen dress
cat novelty print

I may like my sweatpants a lot during the week, but I'll always be a sucker for a great novelty print dress, like this one from Voodoo Vixen. The print is all kitty cat clocks, which feels especially appropriate for my life right now; time seems to be going by so quickly and I seemingly never have enough of it. And since I'm spending my evenings in rehearsal for a children's show that's all about cats, they seem to dominate my thoughts all the time! This might actually be one of my favorite dresses I've worn from Voodoo Vixen. It fits really well (I'm wearing my normal size, FYI) and I love all the little details. And it's actually on sale on their site right now!

cat clock dress voodoo vixen
Outfit Details
Kat Dress: c/o Voodoo Vixen
Mischievous Minty brooch: c/o Erstwilder
Belt: from another dress (similar)
Shoes: B.A.I.T. (similar)

Have a great start to your 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Outfit Round-up + New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year's Eve-Eve! I can scarcely believe that this year has come to a close. In many ways, this year has been incredibly difficult. But in other ways, it's been a really pivotal one that involved a lot of personal growth. I traditionally like to take a look back at the last 12 months with a little year-end outfit round-up. I enjoyed a lot of my outfit posts this year, but these were some of my all-time favorites. Which one did you like best?

outfit round up
January     ||     February     ||     March

Winter... brought a couple of fun shows and the ability to start trusting, letting go, and taking things as they come. For the first time, I felt okay with just allowing things to pan out. Although a lot of aspects of my life were in limbo, I think that's always been an important step in finding my way.

outfit round up 2016
April     ||     May     ||     June

Spring... brought a few adventures and a really fun role in a really fun show. But I also started to feel overwhelmed with anxiety around this time. The pressure to find a new job and move out was mounting, and the physical demands of the show I was in resulted in a couple of injuries. I knew I needed to make some major changes but all I wanted to do was hide under the covers. And yet, when everything seemed to be falling apart, I got off my butt and made some things happen. I feel proud of myself for that.

year end round up
July     ||     August     ||     September

Summer... was hard. I went through an unofficial breakup of sorts. My best friend was hours away in Boston awaiting a kidney transplant, and the person I spent most of my free time with wasn't talking to me anymore. I suddenly felt very lonely and tried to stay busy as a result. I started working at a job I hated, but it did allow me to find a lovely apartment. I lost ten pounds, but only because I was sad and depressed and needed to do something physical to relieve my anxiety. Basically, it was a season of growing pains. In retrospect, I know I am much better and stronger for having gone through them.

pinup outfit round up
October     ||     November     ||     December

Autumn... was when I finally found my footing. I was hired as a content writer (a dream job I never knew I wanted!) at the end of August, and I started feeling more confident about where my life was heading. That same month, I reconnected with the guy I'm dating now, and we made our relationship *~*official*~* by fall. Things are a lot different now, for the most part. My priorities may have changed a lot in the last few years, but for the first time, my perspective has changed, too. I don't look at those shifts with regret. I may be stressed and drained of energy, but I'm not wishing for other sources of fulfillment. I still love performing, but I'm not currently yearning for much more than I have. And although I always want to keep learning and evolving, I feel pretty content with the way my life is right now.

That being said, I still have a few resolutions for the new year. 
  • For the first time ever, I have a health insurance plan through my place of employment – which means I can afford a gym membership! This year, I want to make my health a priority and make regular exercise a part of my routine. It's a definitely necessity for me right now both physically and emotionally.

  • I'm planning on going back on Weight Watchers as well. This isn't because I have a certain weight loss goal in mind, but because I generally feel a lot better when I eat healthy foods. Plus, there are a lot of clothes I'm not wearing because they don't fit or I don't feel confident due to how I look in them. That's really the main thing I want to accomplish here: to feel great about the way I look.

  • I want to keep my place a lot cleaner and stay on top of household duties. When I get lazy, I end up feeling a lot more anxious due to the mess. I want to feel refreshed and relaxed when I walk into a room rather than overwhelmed.

  • Other things I'd like to do: learn how to sew, take a trip with Ashley, improve my photography, do some more writing on the side, be in a show I've been dying to do, go away for a weekend, read at least six books, and as always, remember to be grateful and to find the joy.

Did you make any resolutions this year? What about your NYE plans? I'm not sure how I'll be spending my New Year's Eve yet, but I'm hoping for something cozy. I may love getting dolled up, but I'd much rather snuggle up with my honey than guzzle champagne. Whatever you do tonight, I hope you have fun – and have a safe and happy 2017!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Chanukah

pinup girl clothing ice blue harlequin

I hope everyone had a great holiday! Our Christmas was really nice and we did a bit of Chanukah celebrating last night. Although I'm Jewish, I always grew up celebrating both holidays, but as I've grown older, our celebrations have evolved. Chanukah sometimes feels like a bit of an after-thought, but we tend to do stereotypically Jewish activities on Christmas Day (i.e., seeing a movie and going out for Chinese food). But given the current political climate, it seems more important than ever for me to be proud of my Jewish heritage and the traditions we keep. I may not be practicing – and I'd always felt like more of a secular Jew anyway – but it's still an integral part of my identity.  So when I saw this new harlequin colorway from Pinup Girl Clothing, I knew it belonged in my closet!

chanukah dress
menorah brooch
pinup girl clothing harlequin

While this dress can easily be associated with winter, it's also very clear that it's the perfect dress for Chanukah. For those wondering about the sizing, I took my normal PUG size (L) for this dress. The size chart suggests that I'm sort of in between an L and an XL, but I actually ended up ordering both and quickly discovered that my regular size was the clear winner. I know some girls received damaged dresses from this batch, but I was lucky and didn't find any flaws of note. Unlike some of my other holiday dresses, this one can – and will – be worn throughout the entire season. I'm excited to style it in other ways, like layering a sweater over it to make it into a skirt!

harlequin dress
harlequin dress
blue harlequin pinup
Outfit Details
Jenny Dress in Blue Ice Harlequin: Pinup Girl Clothing
Menorah brooch: Mom's (similar)
Shoes: Bettie Page (similar)

Sadly, I don't have the rest of this week off from work, but I'm glad it's only a four day week – and that I have leftover latkes in my fridge! :)

Have a great Tuesday!
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