Friday, September 19, 2014

Eternal Heirlooms-Oscar's Baby Book

Somedays I wonder what I could accomplish with 8 hours of focus, today I would have settled for 8 minutes.  But what I accomplished in my pre-baby career is currently rotting in rusty filing cabinets and hard drive dumpsters.

Although my daily lists are regularly bare of achievement-crowning checks, I am raising eternal heirlooms.  And to remind me and my children of this, I have written each of them their own book with the help of Beth Allen's illustrations.  This is Oscar's.  And we got it out just in time to share it with Grandma Sue, who's leaving for a humanitarian mission in New Zealand.  She never had 8 minutes of focus when she was raising me either.

Mixbook - Create stunning photo books, cards and calendars! |
Click here to read Coco's & Levi's.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School for Girls in 15 Items

I believe in early fashion literacy.  And the best way to teach these youngsters to avoid one-to-one outfit parings (ie one shirt shall always be paired with one pair of pants and nothing else) is the liberal application of wardrobe clusters: layering science, signature style compositions, color equations.  YOur sweet school will have mastered creative clothing strategy before her sneaker ever steps foot in the classroom.  

Below a shopping list and theoretical application:


That's more than two weeks of outfits, no repeats, with change left over for lunch money and fruity scented erasers.

What's in your daughter's back to school cluster?  Tell me in the comments.

Like my outfit?  Direct your digital attention to Shop & Apparel.  You shan't be disappointed.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Fashion Multi-Tasking: Styling with 31 Bits

I love multi-tasking.  
I consume audio books while washing dishes, I catch-up with girlfriends while running, and I benefit women in Northern Uganda while I accessorize.  

The last act is performed with the assistance of 31 Bits.  Who "uses fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty." 

What started with 5 college junior philanthropistis and 6 Ugandan beneficiaries has grown to over 170 beneficiaries and has been featured in Harpers Bazaar, People Style Watch, and Martha Stewart.

It starts with the beads. They're made by women in Northern Uganda from recycled paper: unused posters, advertisements, old text book pages.  They're cut into long strips, rolled tightly. and coated in a water-based varnish.  99% of the materials are sourced in Eastern Africa.

Every purchase helps these women earn an income, provide for their family, further the local economy, and find empowerment. 

I tell people all the time that fashion is more than superficial vanity. This is tangible proof.

Style Notes: 31 Bits necklace (fall + winter 2014 collection) / Frances clutch (available in store now) / Embroidered Top / Tapestry Pencil Skirt Link Bracelet / Geometric Bracelet (old, similar here)

Photography by Kym Ventola

Be sure to visit Summer BellessaAlex EvjenLauren KelpLindsay LettersStyle TutorConfessions of a Hairstylist, and Sea Salt to see how they styled their bits!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Pick the Best Swimsuit for Your Bottom

I am basically a lower figured, triple threat: fleshy hips, swimsuit munching bottom, and full thighs.  The latter is probably my strongest feature.  And while I’ve heard and even witnessed glory and wonder attributed to the leg-lengthening high-cut legline, I personally appreciate a bit more coverage.  Today I’m going to compare four low-leg, high coverage options.

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Let’s start with my favorite iteration: the retro leg, exemplified by Nanette Lepore’s Almalfi Floral Goddess Maliot.  I love how the rise cuts across the widest part of my hips, thereby dividing them into two smaller sections, without wrestling with my afore-mentioned thigh meat.

Shabby Apple Striped Ocean Park Swimsuit

Next, we take the rise a bit lower with a full boy short.  The Shabby Apple Ocean Park Swimsuit is a cellulite sentinel, shielding the seat and thighs from over exposure.  And if your body harbors curves exclusively around the hips and or seat, this might be the suit for you.  But the lower line creates a rather unwelcome “v” between my legs and highlight the ample circumference of my thighs.

Hapari Tankini Swimdress

The most conservative option within our set is also the most flexible.  This Retro Fashion Seaside Tankini and Swimdress by Hapari can be pulled low for seaside strolling or ruched up for swimming mobility, exposing the leg-legthening higher rise swim bottoms.

Our final option, Boden Tie Front One Piece, is surprisingly similar to our first option with one important exception: the width of the crotch.  It’s not uncommon for a retro leg to be accompanied by a wide crotch line.  If your thighs tend to gap, this might be your perfect fit, but my friendly thighs resisted and wrestled again this constriction with unflattering results.

For the best options for your bust and belly, link to these episodes.

I wouldn't have trusted just anyone to capture my swimsuit clad figure on film. I thank the trustworthy Breanne of Red Poppy Photo for posing me, photographing me, and giving me the courage to put my real body into a swimsuit for educational purposes.   Her camera is just as kind as the operator behind it. Check her out.

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Pick the Best Swimsuit for your Belly + Giveaway CLOSED

After two pregnancies, my six pack is a little more cuddly than cut.  Luckily choosing a flattering swimsuit for the midsection follows some of the same techniques as parenting a toddler: boundaries and distraction.

Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for your chance to win swimwear from Albion Fit.

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The draped panels on this Bleu Rod Beattie Chain Reaction Halter offer confident concealment from both sides.  The drapes cut towards a V, narrowing the torso, while providing core coverage right where you need it. While the unexpected chain detail strategically draws attention to your lovely legs.

The Kamalikulture Shirred Mio Suit is a middle figure classic. Rouching or shirring over an area you’re less than confident about immediately minimizes and disguises superfluous bulges.  The seamed panels on the side offer an optical illusion of a narrower waist.

Small appropriately placed prints like those offered on the Jessica Simpson Women's Safari Chic One-Piece act like optical illusions. A tiny print helps blur and camouflage everything underneath it.  Unlike the deservedly dreaded wide horizontal lines, small series of horizontal lines like these accentuate the smallest part of your body, creating instant hourglass perfection.

This Jersey Lomellina Colorblock Tank from J.Crew was so cute on my linear figured, athletic bestie that I had to try it on.  Unfortunately what it flaunted on her, it failed on me.  The silky, thin fabric offered no structure while the large blocks of solid color left me unmasked with an arrow pointing to the softest area of my squishy, delicious center. High cut leg lines can elongate legs, but they can also overexpose thighs, which was a cost not worth the benefit in my case.  And the unsupported bandeau led to a frowning, droopy bust. 

For better alternatives for your bust and bottom, be sure to subscribe, these episodes are coming next.

I wouldn't have trusted just anyone to capture my swimsuit clad figure on film. I thank the trustworthy Breanne of Red Poppy Photo for posing me, photographing me, and giving me the courage to put my real body into a swimsuit for educational purposes.   Her camera is just as kind as the operator behind it. Check her out.

And thanks to Albion Fit for allowing me to feature their Wait Until Dark Swimsuit

Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Albion Fit 
by pinning your favorite Albion Fit suit and posting the link in the column below.  Check my instagram at reachelbagley for more opportunities to win!


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