Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Black Flamingo

Have you ever taken a picture that you absolutely loved except for one minor detail that drove you batshit insane, and then proceeded to try to replicate the exact photo minus that one flaw only to have every attempt turn out to be a piece of crap?

That's exactly how I feel about this photo. The issue being I ONLY HAVE ONE FREAKING LEG.

I swear, I have two. See below for proof. Just the way I leaned against the wall and the length of the skirt conspired against me to make me appear to be doing my impression of a black flamingo, which is really just a way less glamorous version of the same colored swan.

Outfit Details
Shirt: Ann Taylor
Skirt: White House Black Market
Necklace: Vintage
Watch: Betsey Johnson
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Madden Girl 

Obviously, I gave up trying to replicate it. Just roll with me here.

Anywho, this is what I wore to work today. I just started a new job last week! Going well so far. I wanted to be comfortable but still a tad dressy, so I went with an all black ensemble featuring my favorite skirt, with a few gold and cream colored accessories as an accent.

I think cream colored shoes would have balanced it out better in retrospect, but I like how the black tights and black heels steamline my legs. What do you think?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kiss From a Rose

It's so nice to finally be done for the semester! So much has piled up on me and the last few weeks I found myself getting less and less sleep regardless of how hard I tried to get to bed early.

I didn't have a thing to wake up for today. I love the feeling of waking up naturally, where you gradually become aware of what's around you and how freaking comfortable your bed is. I remember in my half-awake stupor pulling my fleece blanket closer to me and thinking that I was a baby bird warm and cozy inside an egg.

Turned out I slept ten hours. I am okay with this. 

Unfortunately, I also had the bad luck of hitting a rough patch relationship-wise during finals as well. I think I've finally found the courage to move on though. When I'm with someone I care about, I noticed I have a tendency to be too willing to make excuses for them and let them take advantage of my eagerness to make them happy. I let them get away with treating me poorly because I want them to see me as understanding and willing to compromise. In the end, I'm the one doing all the work and feeling neglected.

I need to start focusing on my making myself happy first. It's a hard thing to come to terms with -- but it's necessary. Love is hard, man. 
Outfit Details
Cardigan: Target
Dress: Lace Affair
Belt: Forever 21
Earrings: Betsey Johnson

Anyway, any time I'm feeling  a little down I like to dress up in something gorgeous. I just got this dress a few weeks ago and I've been hoping for an excuse to wear it (someone take me on a date goddamit, it's a perfect date dress!) and I figured going to the mall with my friend for some Christmas shopping was as good a reason as any.

I guess it's not very Winter-y, but eff that I love me some floral printed dresses and I will wear them all year if I want.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The 5 Sparkliest Posts of 2012

I just recently hit my one year anniversary with Rhinestone Religion, so 2012 has been a huge year for me in finding my footing in the blogosphere. I've done a lot of learning by trial and error as well as just plain experimentation. After a year, I'm glad to say I've made several posts that I'm proud of -- posts that I think show off the personality and overall feel of my blog. 

Without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite posts from my first year of blogging!

I spent hours making the collages and writing the descriptions for this post, but it was well worth it. Not only was it a huge success with readers and new visitors, it also allowed me to show off some of my personality and incorporate some of my geekiness into my content, win-win for everyone! 

In this post you'll find outfits inspired by Daenerys Targaryen, Melisandre, Sansa Stark, Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister, as well as a brief description of the character and their style!

Sometimes simple posts can be just as rewarding as long projects. This post is a showcase of my favorite piece of jewelry -- a cream and gold colored rhinestone watch by Betsey Johnson. Just from looking at it, it shouldn't be too terribly hard to figure out why my blog might be named the way it is. This piece fits perfectly into my style and aesthetic taste, and it photographs beautifully to boot!

One of the best parts of 2012 for me personally was getting to see my friend Svanhvit for the first time in two years. I met Svanhvit when I was a senior in High School -- she was a foreign exchange student from Iceland. We bonded over our love of Pokemon and by the time of graduation we were practically inseparable. She came back to visit over the summer and we got to spend two weeks together.

Before she went back, I took some pictures of her style and did a mini-interview with her. It was a great opportunity to introduce some unique content and give my readers some fresh perspective on an international level. 

To my surprise, a post I wrote during an interim pit class last year ended up being my biggest source of pillar content; information that stays relevant and continues to draw in new readers. 

I've tried a bajillion LUSH products, and in this post I share my absolute favorites -- from facial cleansers to perfume, if you're feeling overwhelmed by LUSH's options, this post will start you in the right direction. 

I spent almost the entirety of my free time in September and October making my own Halloween costume -- I was a pin-up inspired version of Poison Ivy from Batman!

When I was a kid I used to watch the Batman animated series and Poison Ivy was always my favorite character. I've wanted to make a costume in tribute to her for years now, but this year I finally got around to doing it. I hand-sewed glitter sprayed leaves onto a corset and made eye masks out of craft foam... it was a lot of work but I was so glad to be able to share it!

I'm looking forward to continuing blogging in 2013, and all the inspiration it will bring!

This post was created as a submission to IFB's Project #75: Share Your Greatest Hits of 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

5 Things I've Learned From My First Year of Blogging

Today is Rhinestone Religion's birthday! 

Exactly one year ago today I published my first post called Winterizing a Summer Dress. I still remember making the post... I balanced my camera on my parent's picnic table because I didn't have a tripod yet and one of my dogs kept getting in the way (he's actually in the picture...) 

Since then, I've done a lot of reworking and revamping everything about my blog; from the layout to my content focus. I fully expect my blog to continue evolving in the coming years, and sometimes I can't believe the amount of growth that I've gone through as a person just by starting this personal project. 

I've learned so much just from taking initiative and beginning something all on my own, so in celebration of my first bloggiversary I'll share some of the tidbits of wisdom I've picked up on the way. 

1. Blogging Is Conversational 
Or at least it should be. You could treat it like a soapbox, or just sending words out into space. I certainly did when I first started, but eventually people will realize that you’re just talking at them rather than to them and lose interest -- if there's any interest at all. 

From my experience, blogging is more like a convention. You have your own booth where you get to display your own ideas and brand, and sure, some people will glance and it and move on. But others will stop by to chat, they’ll want to hear more of what you have to say and best of all they'll actually be interested. You’ll share your ideas with them, and together you’ll learn to build off each other’s input and resources.

You’ll wander from your booth and scope what else is out there, and eventually you’ll be the one coming by to check out something that piques your interest -- giving someone else that blissful feeling of actually reaching someone. 

The true beauty of blogging comes from sharing information and ideas with others, fellow bloggers or not. You're both the viewer and the presenter, the student and the teacher. And that's awesome.

2. The Best Followers are Interested Followers 
When I first joined IFB, I had barely any followers on my blog and it seemed like there was a huge culture of sending “follow for follow” messages. Which, I admittedly bought into because hey, finally I was starting to see the number on my GFC widget go up. It felt like all the work I was putting in was finally attracting attention.

But it wasn't; not really. Maybe a small percentage actually became interested in my content, but the majority of subscribers I had amassed in that manner passed over my posts as my traffic and comment count at the time could attest to. Even though I may have technically had more followers, I still wasn't necessarily getting any acknowledgement for my work. 

There is one thing to say for this though, and it’s that even starting off with a small amount of disinterested followers can provide a level of social proof for new readers -- getting the ball rolling, as it were. But it's really not a good way to build a meaningful readership and certainly shouldn't be a crutch for bringing in new visitors. 

The best reader relationships I've built have been with people who've found my blog organically, because we've had conversations on other sites or because I discovered their blog and took genuine interest in engaging with them.

3. Blogging Requires a Swiss Army Knife of Skill Sets
It’s amazing to think of all the things I've had to either teach myself from scratch or just plain become better at in order to improve my blogging. In fact, just thinking about it makes me a little dizzy. 

Photography, HTML and CSS, graphic design, writing and editing, new social media platforms, SEO… the list goes on and on, and all of them were skills I picked up along the way. Certainly not by plopping myself down and learning them all in one go, ain't nobody got time for that. 

And what may be even cooler is that with the nature of technology, there are constantly new tools being released every day to learn to utilize. 

Since I started blogging, I've constantly been learning new things and many of them are skills that carry over to the offline world as well.

4. Keeping an Agenda 
I only recently started using an editorial calendar to help plan my monthly posting schedule, and it’s made a huge difference in the frequency of my posts as well as the traffic I draw in.

Whenever you search for ways to improve blog productivity, editorial calenders will come up in virtually every guide you come across and for some reason I just chose to ignore that advice for the majority of my first year.

I guess I thought it wasn't really my "style," and instead I just jotted down a list of things I wanted to get around to writing eventually, maybe, some time, in the future, when I get around to it, I guess. That attitude sometimes lead to entire months without any updates, which is bad. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad. Bad. 

Now I keep a dry-erase calender next to my desk. Being able to see the entire month, and figure out when would be a good time to post what (gift guides in December or holiday outfit ideas around Christmas and New Year's Eve, for example) allows me to plan out my day so I have time to sit and create a post, even when I have things like homework and exams on my mind.

Setting a personal deadline makes it much easier to actually follow through with your ideas. They don't do much good stuck in your head, afterall. 

5. I've Become a Better Writer 
Writing has actually always been something I've been pretty damned good at, but I never really did it for recreational purposes. It was always clinical, fact-based essays for class that generally gave little room for personal voice.

Blogging, especially in the context of a more personal topic, almost requires a more conversational tone or you'll bore your readers to death. Not to mention breaking up your ideas into very small, easily digestible chunks like I'm doing now is like pulling teeth at first.

I'm not going to lie, it's been a difficult adjustment to make when you're so used to being as objective and academic as possible and I still want to improve on finding my voice in regard to blogging quite a bit.

But, I think that's one of my favorite parts of blogging - it's an ongoing project. You're never really done, so there's always room to learn and experiment.

Thank you so much to everyone that's taken an interest in my blog! I put a lot of work and effort into making the best content that I possibly can, and your feedback and support means the world to me. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: 7 Gift Ideas For the Beauty Addict

Have you started your Holiday shopping yet? Admittedly, I'm procrastinating just a teensey tinsey bit. Okay, I haven't even started. But that's only because I always make sure I get the absolute perfect gift for everyone on my list, alright?

To make your gift shopping a whole lot easier, I've compiled this gift guide aimed to help you find the perfect present for that friend who obsessively watches makeup tutorials on YouTube and has to keep an inventory on her lipstick; affectionately known as The Beauty Addict.

1. LUSH Each Peach Massage Bar, $10.95
LUSH massage bars make for a great and relatively inexpensive gift, especially for couples. They smell amazing, they're less mess than traditional massage oils, and they leave your skin silky smooth. What's there not to love?

2. Too Faced Love Sweet Love Set, $46
Sometimes, I buy Too Faced gift sets just for myself. Why? Because they're the definition of bang for your buck and you get to sample a variety of different products for a fraction of the cost of buying them separately. You may be tempted to keep this for yourself!

3. Sultra The Bombshell 1 Inch Curling Wand, $130
Curling wands are all the rage right now. They don't leave that gross crimp at the end of your hair like traditional curling irons. Show your appreciation for the diva in your life by giving the gift of gorgeous hair.

4. Sonia Kashuk Tile Soft Cosmetic Case, $6.99
Travel-sized makeup bags are a staple of any beauty addict. From blotting tissues to extra mascara, any makeup-minded lady is bound to need something to carry her touch-up tools in.

5. Urban Decay Naked Palette, $50
This is a hot gift this year, for beauty gurus and novices alike. If it's in your price range, it's almost guaranteed to be a successful present!

6. MAC All for Glamour Touch Up Kit, $39.50
MAC releases gorgeous holiday collections every year, and their 2012 set is no disappointment. I love the cushy cases that the kits come in this year! This cute little compact for mid-day touch ups would be perfect for the busiest women in your life.

7. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Lipstick, $34
"Saint Nick" actually brought me a YSL lipstick in Lingerie Pink this year. It has absolutely the most gorgeous packaging I've ever seen, and the color goes on smooth and creamy. Definitely a luxury item worth having.

What sort of beauty products are you lusting after this this holiday season? Tell me in the comments! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Time to Relax...

It may technically be the week before finals week, but I actually find that to be the most stressful part of the semester. This is the point where professors are scrambling to cram in everything that they had planned on doing, but didn't get the chance to.

So two papers, a project and a third of a three-day exam down and I'm already burnt out.

Saint Nick sent me some goodies today. I'm assuming he had to send it in the mail because my apartment doesn't have a fireplace. Winkwink.

My Week with Marilyn, a stunningly gorgeous YSL lipstick and some chocolate truffles. It's almost like the universe is saying

"Hey Lexi, it's alright. You can take a break."

And take a break I shall. Going to pop in this movie, sip some tea out of my nice teacup, light some candles and cozy up under a big fluffy blanket. Perfect. 

Also, if you happen to enjoy pictures of pretty pink and/or sparkly things as much as I do, follow me on Instagram.

PS. Tell me what you do to unwind! Maybe I'll get some ideas. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet & Cozy

Believe it or not, one of my eyes is actually open in this picture. Try to figure out which one.

I have a confession to make -- I am terrible at styling hair. Literally, atrocious. Hair is something I have a lot of, and it never does what I want it to do. I just flat out do not have the patience to work with it. 

On Pinterest, I found a tutorial that seemed so simple even I could do it. You chop off the end of a sock and roll your hair into a bun with it. That sounds so easy!

Well, yes and no. Cutting off the toe of the sock was easy.

 Actually rolling my hair into said mutilated sock was more difficult, but after some futzing and cussing I managed. It looks alright, except for this one little pizza slice snippet that I could not fluff out no matter what I did. 

Outfit Details
Cardigan, belt: Forever 21
Skirt, tights: Target
Boots: Blowfish 
Accessories: Vintage, Betsey Johnson

Anyway, my friend and I went out to dinner at a new Japanese restaurant that opened up in town. We've been making a point of finding locally owned places to try, since our particular college town tends to be overrun by boring chain restaurants.

When I went to pick her up, she said "How did you get your hair to do that?"

"With a sock. There is literally a sock in my hair right now."

It was one of those moments where you realize how ridiculous some of the lengths you'll go to for fashion are. It's probably a secret I'd best keep to myself, now that I think about it. Like a good magician, a lady doesn't reveal her tricks. 

Except I just told the entire internet. The Alliance won't approve.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Activity Ideas

As much as I can't stand the cold, I love the warm-fuzzy feeling of the Holiday season. There's nothing better than coming in from the cold to a cup of hot cocoa and soft glowing lights. Though honestly I'd be more than happy to skip over the majority of the Winter months, December is one of the few that I actually look forward to. Here are some ideas for ways you can enjoy your December to the fullest!

Decorate for the Holidays. It doesn't matter what you celebrate, adding lights and a few decorations makes your place feel cozy.
Bake cookies, pastries or other kinds of sweets. Share them with friends!
Make sure your closet is prepared for winter (coats, hats, boots, etc.) Go buy anything you're missing right away, before you get caught without it.
Paint your nails something sparkly. Last year I used some blue and silver nailpolish that reminded me of snow for my Winter manicure!
On that note, store anything that is strictly out of season like breezy summer dresses and sandals. Basically anything you know you won't need for a while, it'll free up space in your closet and you'll know exactly what you have to work with when getting dressed in the morning.
Get a cute welcome mat for your front door to save your carpet from slush.
If you don't know already, December 21st is allegedly the Mayan Apocalypse  The only correct way to handle this is to plan an End of the World party, of course. My friends and I already have one in the works.
 But just in case the world doesn't end, start planning your gift list...
...and wish list!
Send greeting cards to anyone you can't afford to buy presents for, but who you want to show your appreciation toward.
Do some hunting for cold Winter night reading material. If you have a fireplace, you are required to read in front of it. No excuses.
Volunteer your time or donate to a cause you believe in.
Once there's snow on the ground, get your friends together and build a snowman or go sledding.
Afterwards, watch cheesy Christmas/Holiday movies. Olive the Other Reindeer is one of my favorites.
Check out your local light displays. In Milwaukee, there's a neighborhood called Candy Cane Lane that collectively goes all-out on their displays to raise money for the MACC Fund. I visit with my family every year!

What's your favorite way to have fun in December? Tell me in the comments! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Feeling Less Like Fall

I know Winter technically doesn't start for almost another month, but December starts tomorrow and I have a hard time associating it with anything other than Winter. I had to bust out my thick coat, and I'm not sure how much longer I can get away with prancing toward campus in flats instead of thick furry boots.

I also seem to have lost my black tights. I'm not quite sure how that happened, or how I only have (had...) one pair of such a major staple. Though I think it may be time to switch to sweater tights, anyway.

Anyway, I haven't done any outfit shots for a while. Partially because my closet was just starting to overwhelm me and I didn't feel like I had any outfits worth sharing. I managed to perform a successful purge yesterday after being absolutely exasperated.

Secondly, as much as I hate to admit it I am way too embarrassed to go outside with a tripod and take a billion pictures of myself. It's taken me forever to figure out a way to get decent quality lighting in my bedroom (which does not even have a light fixture built in, mind you) but after some clever maneuvering and futzing with my camera I think I've finally managed.

Outfit Details
Shirt: Express
Shoes: Aldo
Belt: Forever 21
Necklace: Express 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Buys

I didn't really go crazy with Black Friday shopping or anything -- to be honest, I think the majority of the reason I go is just because I love the excitement of it. I went later in the day too, when the door busters were all over and the crowds had mostly died down. Regardless, I did manage to snag a couple of deals. I got the pink and black shirt and black skirt for only $25 (total!!) at Charlotte Russe, and the heart cardigan was $25 at Forever 21. It wasn't on sale, but it was too cute to resist. 

Aldo had 50% off sale items. I originally had gone to the physical store, but it was packed and decided I'd just order what I liked online instead since I already know how their shoes fit me. I need flats -- as much as I love heels, I realized I wear flats so much that the few pairs that I do own get worn out too quickly and I have to replace them every couple months. I snagged four pairs at Aldo for only about $80! I'm still waiting on the second two pairs to come in the mail though. 

I was so excited that this lavender blazer from H&M was on sale. I scoped it out a few weeks ago, but passed it over at $30 even though it was originally $49.99. On Black Friday I was excited to see they had dropped the price even more down to $20. I'm a sucker for pastels. 

Honestly nothing that I picked up at Sephora was on sale, it just wasn't terribly crowded and I decided I could use some new makeup. I got Dr. Jart+ BB cream, as I've been dying to try some beauty balms for a while. I'm really liking it so far, I think I'll post a review soon! I love the Too Faced lipliner I got, it makes my lipstick stay on so much longer. I'm still on the fence about my Stila eyeliner, it's good for very fine lines but thicker lines don't go on as smoothly as I'd like. The Clinique moisturizer was a reward from my amassed Beauty Points. I've never actually tried any Clinique products, and I'm loving it so far, I may actually end up purchasing it! 

Did you end up going shopping on Black Friday? What did you get? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Liebster Award

I'm honored to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Ditthania Suryani of A Silly Little Diary! This was a lot of fun to write, and I love how easy cute awards like this make it to share and find new blogs to read. 

Post a link to your nominator's blog
♥ Share 11 facts about yourself
♥ Answer the 11 questions asked by your nominator. 
♥ Write 11 questions for your nominees 
♥ Nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers and link to their blogs
♥ Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs
♥ No tag backs
♥ Add a Liebster Award picture to your site

11 Facts About Myself
1. When I was in middle and a little bit of high school, I went through a goth phase. I wore those huge chain pants from Hot Topic and baggy band T-shirts every day.
2. My favorite animal has been the cuttlefish since I was a toddler.
3. I have a crippling Chapstick addiction. At any given time, there are at least five tubes of Chapstick within my reach.
4. My favorite band is Nine Inch Nails.
5. I love video games! I have an XBOX360, PS3, Wii and a 3DS.
6. My favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, True Blood, Adventure Time, Arrested Development and Breaking Bad.
7. I've lost 35 pounds in the last year!
8. My favorite designer is Chanel.
9. Back at my parent's place, I have two dogs and a rabbit. The dogs are a golden retriever and a golden doodle named Ruby and Ty, and my rabbit is a jersey wooly named Lola.
10. I'm on my fifth semester of Japanese, and recently declared it as one of my minors.

Questions from my nominator: 
1. Describe your style.
A little retro and vintage inspired, classic and feminine with quirky details.
2. What is your favorite clothing shop?
I love White House Black Market.
3. What is the best place for tourists to visit in your country? Why?
Well, the United States is huge and there are tons of great places to visit, but New York City is probably my favorite place that I've traveled. "Mom and pop" shops and high-brand stores are everywhere, along with museums and historical landmarks. There's something for everyone.
4. Do you buy clothes online or offline? Why?
Buying clothes online provides more options and variety, but trying clothes on is something that is imperative to me so I usually shop brick and mortar stores.
5. When did you start blogging?
I started a Lolita blog a few years ago, but I never went far with it because as I discussed in a previous post Lolita never really felt like "me." I still enjoyed blogging though, so last year I began work on Rhinestone Religion and published it in December.
6. Who are your favorite fashion bloggers? 
I love Atlantic-Pacific, Scathingly Brilliant and Wish Wish Wish.
7. Choose one: playing at the beach or climbing a mountain?
Probably playing at the beach!
8. Dresses or jeans? Why?
If I could, I would wear dresses every day. Unfortunately, the majority of the year in Wisconsin calls for either wearing pants or staying inside.
9. What's your nationality? 
I'm American, but my ethnic background includes Serbian, Polish, Russian and Austrian.
10. Choose one: shoes or accessories? 
I have to choose? Probably accessories.
11. Have you graduated from High School? 
Yup! Class of 2010.

Questions for my nominees:
1. What inspired you to begin blogging?
2. How would you describe your personal style?
3. What is the meaning behind your blog's title?
4. What is your nationality/ethnic background?
5. If you could only go on one website again for the rest of your life, which website would it be?
6. What do you do for fun besides blog?
7. Do you have a celebrity crush, and if so who is it and why?
8. What's your favorite quote?
9. Do you prefer cities or the countryside?
10. Do you have any quirky or interesting talents?
11. Who would win in a fight: a T-Rex with machine gun arms, or a shark with laser eyes and a jet pack?

My Nominees: 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

This Year I'm Thankful For...

The amazing friends I've made -- the new one's I've acquired since moving away to college and the old one's I've held onto since High School. I couldn't ask for a better group of people.

My family, who will always be there for me no matter what I'm going through. I'm grateful to have a supportive and genuine family that loves me for who I am.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lazy Sunday 11.18.12

Hey everyone! You may have noticed Rhinestone Religion was down for a little bit -- I was busily revamping the layout and wanted to spare your eyes the ensuing chaos. Never fear though, I have at least the basics in place now. Some minor tweaking is still necessary, especially with the sidebar graphics, but nothing that is going to be intrusive at this point. I'd love some feedback on the new layout if you have the time. 

Anyway, I wanted to re-introduce my Sunday feature of sharing some of my favorite links that I've stumbled across over the course of the last week. Enjoy!

 ♥ This post on getting over a break-up from Parfait Doll was perfectly timed, as I went through a sort-of (it's complicated) break-up last weekend. Thankfully working on my layout has helped me keep my mind off of things! 
♥ On the topic of relationships, this article from the NY Times about why we keep going back to partners who don't always make us happy rings disturbingly true. 
Trent Reznor did an AMA on Reddit, and I can die happy. Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band of all time, but I'm enjoying his new work with How To Destroy Angels as well. 
♥ Leave it to Japan to invent odor-neutralizing underwear
♥ Chanel releases a recording of Marilyn Monroe's famous quote about Chanel No. 5 perfume, and it's adorable. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poison Ivy Halloween Costume

I love any excuse to get crafty and dress up, so it goes without saying that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Every year I spend the entire month of October working on my costume, because it feels incredibly dull to buy something pre-packaged. Last year I went as a Splicer from Bioshock and painstakingly made a bloodied masquerade rabbit mask. All things considered, that was a relatively cheap costume. This year, I went a bit more extravagant.

I've wanted to make a Poison Ivy costume for a long time -- she's my favorite villain, after all. However, I've put it off because I wasn't entirely satisfied with my body and didn't think I'd be able to pull it off. After losing 30 pounds, I decided I may as well finally go for it. (Though truth be told, I'm still not entirely satisfied with how I look in it. Oh well, we'll stick to the positives today.)

I didn't have a specific version of Poison Ivy in mind when I started fleshing out the costume. One of the cool things about her character is that the costume is pretty open to interpretation while still being easily recognizable. I knew I really liked the way Kim Kardashian wore it, so my silhouette was heavily inspired by her. I also knew I wanted to add a dash of my own personality, so I decided to go with a burlesque/showgirl inspiration for the details... which of course, meant lots of glitter. 

The skirt portion, admittedly, was thrown together rather quickly. I realized I didn't have the time I needed to make exactly what I had pictured, but I suppose it will do for Halloween purposes.

I would like to wear this costume to a convention at some point though, in which case I will definitely revise the skirt. I think a green bustle skirt in the same kind of fabric paired with a garter belt would look really interesting and add to the burlesque inspiration of the costume. And of course, more leaves!

The pieces that required the most work were the corset and the eye masks.

For the corset, I bought two branches of faux leaves, snipped them off into individual pieces and then used glitter spray paint on them. After they had dried, I hand sewed every single one onto the corset, taking extra special care with placement and to try to keep the colors contrasting against each other as much as I could. I've seen a lot of versions online where the leaves look plastered onto a body suit, and I wanted to avoid that as much as possible and allow for a more organic look.

I practically had a heart attack the first time I sat down with needle in hand ready to attach the first leaf to my brand-new $110 corset. Everything went much better than expected though, and I'm actually extremely satisfied with how that portion of the costume turned out.

For the eye masks, I followed this tutorial via The Deadly Garden. I had initially intended to attach them using spirit gum, but upon considering the possible (and likely) consequences that would have on my eyebrows I decided that eyelash glue would be a safer bet.

Total, I'm estimating that the costume cost me about $250 to complete. Though a large chunk of that was just the corset. The wig is this one from Gothic Lolita Wigs. It was actually my second choice wig, but I like the vintage feel of the one I ended up with a well. I also want to mention that I highly recommend Gothic Lolita Wigs -- this is the third wig I've ordered from them and they always have great service and insanely fast shipping. I got this one in two days!

If there is one thing I've learned from going all-in for Halloween this year, it's that as stressful as it can be sometimes I really love making costumes and I'd like to start being crafty all-year. I'm a cosplay admirer, but rarely ever actually participate outside of Halloween. I've been throwing around the idea of making a Qarth costume for Daenerys from Game of Thrones since I saw the perfect fabric at the store while shopping for this one!

What were you for Halloween this year? Have you ever made your own Halloween costume? Tell me in the comments!

This post was created as a submission for the IFB Project #70: Halloween Costume Challenge. Please take a look and give your support to the other entries! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween, Part I!

Hey-o lovlies! I hope you had a great Halloween Weekend Part I, because Halloween being on a Wednesday is as good of an excuse as any to take two weekends to celebrate.

I've been working on my costume for at least a month and a half now, and it's just about finished. I went out to see a friend's band on Saturday night, and since I was dancing I didn't think wearing my main costume, which involves a corset, would be a wise decision for my rib cage.

So, I put together the most original last-minute costume ever and went as a cat.

I already had the cat ears laying around. I just picked the dress up at H&M last weekend, it's super flattering and has an adorable bow detail on the front; just a little hint of girlishness that I love in my clothes. I counter-acted some of the innocence with just-barely visible thigh-high stockings with a garter belt.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a great shot of my makeup before I headed out, but here is an Instagram picture of how I did my eyeliner for the cat look.

It was actually pretty easy if you have a steady hand, I may put a tutorial together for it... though I suppose the prime time for costume makeup has passed.

I'm helping to throw a house party at a friend's house next weekend, which is where I will be wearing my "real" costume... but I'll be unveiling it here tomorrow! Though if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may already have an idea of what I've been working on.

What was/is your Halloween costume this year? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crisp Leaves and Chai Tea

My Autumn style board on Pinterest, "Crisp Leaves and Chai Tea" was featured for Independent Fashion Blogger project this week! Go check it out, as well as the other featured boards and entries.

My Favorites 

1. Fifi Tesi's Fall Fest
3. Toronto Shopoholic's Fall Style Inspiration
4. Joanna Suhayda's ~The Autumn Leaves~
5. Simply Kim's It Must Be Fall 

Have a Pinterest account? Leave it in the comments, I'd love to check it out! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Activity Ideas

It's a little over a week into October and the romanticism of Fall hasn't worn off for me yet. This is probably one of my favorite months just for the pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween party-planning and the warm fuzzy feeling of a thick sweater. I'd thought I would share some of my ideas for getting into the spirit of the season.

Get Creative With Pumpkins

If you're more of a traditionalist you could certainly go with the tried and true carving, but there are tons of other awesome things you can do with pumpkins to decorate for October. I bought a couple of mini-pumpkins for $1 each at the grocery store and painted them to match my room's color scheme. Check out Pinterest for more ideas. Here are a couple boards I like to get you started: {1, 2, 3, 4}

Visit a Haunted House

Halloween is obviously the best holiday (if you think otherwise, you're dong it wrong) and half the fun of Halloween is getting scared. I went to The Burial Chamber in Neenah with my friends last weekend. Keep in mind that it's more fun if you get into it, no one likes the guy who tries to act all cool by not being scared! 

Make a DIY Halloween Costume

It's always way more impressive to make your own costume than to buy a prepackaged sexy what-have-you to toss on the night of. That isn't to say you can't be sexy on Halloween, go for it! Just that it's even sexier when you made it on your own, plus it's a great conversation topic at parties. 

Fill Holes in Your Fall/Winter Wardrobe  

Every year I inevitably find myself missing  something that would have made the transition to cooler (and eventually freezing) weather much easier. This morning for example, I realized how much I would like to own a nice pair of thick knit socks. Now is the time to start shopping for those missing pieces (think scarves, boots, leggings, mittens, etc.) so that you're not without when the weather starts to really get cold.

Decorate with Candles

Candles no longer being considered contraband is one of my favorite things about escaping dorm life and I've gone a little bit crazy with them in my apartment. I usually unwind at night by lighting a few pumpkin spice candles and sipping a cup of chai tea, very cozy!

Read a Book Under a Tree

Enjoy the outdoors for a little while before it becomes too cold (I live in Wisconsin, this will be any day now.) On a warmer day, go outside and curl up under a tree on a pile of leaves, maybe even drink some tea. Take in the gorgeous colors and crisp feeling of Fall while you still can!

Do you have any other ideas for fun things to do in October? Tell me in the comments! 

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