Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summertime Blues

Retro swimsuit

I'm in absolute denial that August is almost over.  As much as I love the fall, I'm not ready to say goodbye to summer!  I feel like I didn't end up doing many summery things this season.  I didn't go to an amusement park or to a carnival... and I hadn't even gone swimming!  I figured I'd at least check that off my list while I still had the chance.

Pastel swimsuit
Fables by Barrie swimsuit
Retro pastel swimsuit

I really adore this swimsuit!  It's by Fables by Barrie, which is one of my favorite retro reproduction swimsuit brands.  This suit isn't available at ModCloth anymore, but you can still get it on the Fables by Barrie website -- and it's 30% off, along with all of their other swimsuits!  You can check out their full selection here.  As much as I love the design and fit of this suit, it definitely took some courage to go through with posting these photos.  It's hard for me not to pick apart my appearance (especially when there isn't a flowy dress to hide behind), but in the end, even though I'm not perfect, I like how I feel in this suit, and isn't that all that matters?

Fables by Barrie
ModCloth swimsuit
Lavender bathing suit

In short, I'm making more of a conscious effort to do things that scare me a little bit or take me out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes, it's better not to over-think things... and just jump in.

Outfit Details
Swimsuit: ModCloth (available here!)
Jelly wedges: Pinup Girl Clothing
Sunglasses: ModCloth

Have a wonderful weekend!
xox Sammi

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites #61

This whole week has felt sort of wonky and I've been having trouble keeping my days straight, but at least I have Friday Favorites to get me back on track.  Here are some of the items I've been loving over the past couple of weeks:
novelty purses
a  //  b  //  c  //  d  //  e

Novelty purses abound!  I especially love the milkshake and donut ones from New Look (which I couldn't resist ordering).  I also like the ones below from Betsey Johnson, especially the one that looks like a little chalkboard.

Betsey Johnson purses
a  //  b

And of course, I'm totally in love with these whimsical Olympia Le-Tan embroidered book clutches:

one  //  two  //  three

I really adore story-themed accessories, like these darling pieces of jewelry from ModCloth!  They're perfect for any logophile!
ModCloth jewelry
a   //   b

Belle is one of my favorite bookworms of all time, and this skirt (of the Beast's library!) is stunning.  It's from the Etsy shop Go Follow Rabbits, which has a ton of wonderful kitschy & geeky gear!

Glasses are the ultimate geek-chic accessory, and I'm dying over these cat-eyes from the Keiko Lynn + BonLook collaboration.  The bottom ones are my favorite pair!
Cat-eye glasses
I can't talk about cat-eyes without touching on these cute kitty cat items!  Lazy Oaf always has such fun stuff, and these paper clips from H&M are so adorable!
Cat accessories
1   //   2

Unicorns are pretty high up there on my list of favorite creatures.  This pencil sharpener and necklace are just right for any mythological-loving gal:

Unicorn accessories
1   //   2

I know it's way too early to be thinking about cold weather (I'm still in denial that August is almost over), but oh my gosh... these Hell Bunny coats!!!  I actually have this same coat in red, and it's unbelievably lovely... but the pastel pink and blue are just beyond!  They're the perfect mix of kawaii and retro.
a   //   b

This iPod speaker is so much fun!
Retro iPod speaker
And finally... these Irregular Choice shoes are insane, in the best way possible.  The heel is Elvis's face.  I can't handle how ridiculous and great these are.
Irregular Choice shoes
Have a great weekend!
xox Sammi

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission, which helps to run my blog.  I link only to items I absolutely love, from companies I wholeheartedly support.  Thank you for supporting The Soubrette Brunette!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Instagram Dress Sale!

Shop my closet
This is just a quick little post to let you all (or those who don't follow me on Instagram) that I'm selling a few of my dresses there.  A couple have sold already, but if they don't end up selling, then I'll list them in my store next week.  My favorite one is the yellow Steady Clothing dress in the middle -- it's brand new & never worn (I ended up needing a size up and I took the tags off so I can't return it)!  It's SO darling and I hope there's someone who wants to give it a good home.  :)  If you're interested, I'm selling stuff at good prices, so hop on over to my Instragram and take a peek!  And if you're not seeing anything there you like, you should take a look around my "shop my closet" store, as well!  There are tons of great things still up for grabs!

Have a great Thursday!
xox Sammi

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bicycle built for two (Flock Together)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I'm over on Flock Together today, wearing a delightful bicycle print dress that I borrowed from Marisa of The Shades of Monet Chronicles!  Check out how we both styled this darling dress here!

bicycle print dress
bicycle ring
bicycle dress
By the way, thank you for all of your thoughtful comments on yesterday's post.  Having your input definitely helped to put things in perspective.  I guess I should have been more clear about the fact that my number one priority for my blog is always to fulfill my own creative desires (rather than making decisions based on what other people will like).  Granted, I think everyone craves some kind of validation that what you're doing is in some way relevant and appealing, but at the end of the day, I am going to post what I want to post.  It can be a little hard to gauge reactions when you're on this end of the screen, so I appreciate all of the sentiments that echoed my own feelings on the topic so well.  Obviously, the bulk of my posts will always be outfit-related, because that's what I most enjoy, but I think it's just as important for me to not feel limited in what I do here.  I appreciate all of you who took the time to leave feedback on this subject, and if nothing else, it's so nice to be surrounded by such supportive people.  I feel very fortunate.
Have a great day!
xox Sammi

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tough Topics: On vulnerability

I'm trying something a little bit different with this post.  For a while now, I've been feeling like I should do some more "real" writing on my blog.  I always write fashion-related commentary, and I usually give small updates about my life, but there are some other, deeper subjects I've been wanting to tackle.  I've tried to make my blog a source of positive energy; I like having it be an escape from reality on some level (which is partially why I don't ever write posts that are fully devoted to my life in the theatre), and I think it's really important not to get bogged down (or bog you all down) with the trials and tribulations of my everyday stresses.  I've said this before, but I never want to come off as a ranting, raving writer.  I've seen it happen with other bloggers, and it's absolutely the quickest way to get me to unfollow people (and generally, I don't even bother with unfollowing!).  At the same time, I do think it's important to have maintain an honest and open line of communication, and I don't want to sugarcoat my life.  It's a fine line to walk, and I'd like to think that I've become pretty aware of this necessary balance and have done a fairly good job of maintaining it.

It's interesting to me that some of my most popular posts have actually been the ones I've written about important losses in my life -- decidedly heart-wrenching stuff.  My top 10 most-read posts include the 3 saddest ones: namely, the posts about my break-up, about my grandma's passing, and about the death of a dear friend.  One of the reasons for the popularity of these posts might be the fact that people who don't normally read my blog (i.e., family members and friends) find their way to these particular ones, but I think it also speaks to the power of vulnerability.  It's an interesting dichotomy.  It takes a lot of courage to write from your soul and show the most fragile parts of ourselves to people you've never met.  There's a huge amount of power that comes from being able to release that heartbreak.  Of course, it doesn't take away the hurt you experience, but being able to put pen to paper (so to speak) is incredibly helpful when trying to sort out your feelings.  I've also been fortunate enough to receive a plethora of kind and supportive comments from my readers, and when you send words out into the void, it's incredibly reassuring to know that you are not alone.

Photo via Modern Girl Blitz
I think it's a pretty common phenomenon for those in my generation to get to know people exclusively online.  We are saturated with technology, which can be both a wonderful and awful thing.  Sometimes it means we don't connect to people as well when we're face-to-face.  But it also gives us an opportunity to make a connection with people we might not otherwise meet.  And when you get the chance to meet those people "for real," it can be a bit scary and intimidating.  In many ways, even though you expose yourself to a bigger and more diversified audience when you post online, it's actually more challenging to do it in person.  There's more pressure.  Much more is on the line.  You can't hide behind your writing.  But it's ultimately really rewarding when you can transfer those internet friendships into real world ones.  When I finally had the opportunity to meet Kristina and Midge this weekend, we did a lot of blog talk.  I don't often get to talk about blogging with people I know, so it was a nice change of pace.  Among other things, we talked a bit about the formats of blogs, and I had mentioned how I don't necessarily feel qualified to speak as an authority on certain topics (and therefore don't include them on my blog).  I think hair and makeup tutorials are great, but frankly, I know only what works on me, and I wouldn't feel comfortable promoting myself as an expert on most beauty topics, even ones I know my readers would find interesting.  Similarly, I am in no way qualified to speak on photography, cooking or crafting DIYs.  As with many things, I learn as I go via trial and error, and I think asserting one's self as an authority on those topics without the skills to back it up is a recipe for disaster.  But I had already been a bit worried that perhaps I do too many outfit posts without enough variety in between, and Kristina kind of confirmed this fear for me.  As a Highly Sensitive Person, I am prone to obsessing and getting defensive about comments such as these; part of me wanted to cite the other types of posts I do ("What about Friday Favorites?!  Blogger interviews?!  Label Love?!"), and analyze it all to death.  But then I stopped and thought about it, and realized that feedback like this is priceless.  It's coming from someone who genuinely likes my blog and my aesthetic, but is still able to give an honest opinion on how to make it better.  I'm the type of person who always wants to grow and learn.  When you stop improving upon your art, you're no longer an artist.  That's not to say that my blog is "art," per se, but it is a creative outlet, and in any creative field, I firmly believe that becoming stagnant is equivalent to death.  And so, I always challenge myself to do more, to continue to put myself out there -- even when it's really uncomfortable and scary -- and to never be truly satisfied.  I suppose this can be exhausting, but I think it's also the only way you can further yourself as a human being (and especially as an artistically-inclined one).

The point of all of this is, I have some ideas for some more writing-based posts.  I always end up gravitating towards alliteration, so for lack of a better title, "Tough Topics" will have to do.  There's been one about self-esteem floating around in my head for a long time, as well as some on creating your own happiness, staying motivated, and the ins and outs of being a Highly Sensitive Person.  My question is this: what do you think?  Is there actually any interest in something like this?  I know a lot of you might come here specifically for quirky, kitschy dresses and petticoats (which, believe me, I understand), and you might not have any interest in anything more than that.  And if that's the case, I don't necessarily want to push for something that won't interest people, though if it's something I'm passionate about, then I think there might be at least a little bit of interest.  Basically, I need your help!  I'd love to have your input on whether or not you think these posts would be well-received.  In addition, if there are other topics that you've wanted to see me write about, or questions you might have, please leave a comment about those, too!  I have some other ideas for different types of posts as well, but this is especially appealing to me right now.  It's wouldn't be an all-the-time occurrence, but I do think there's a need for some variety, and since I feel that writing is a skill I possess, it's better for me to play to my strengths than to try and venture into territory with which I don't feel comfortable (beauty tutorials, recipes and DIYs) or a medium I don't necessarily like (video).  I believe in the importance of vulnerability, and I guess I do feel a need to put myself out there in some way.  So perhaps this is a good way to do that.  And if there isn't any interest... then at least I tried.  There is never any shame in that.  And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, it comes from a place of fear.  Vulnerability encompasses both being brave and being afraid.  That's what makes it so beautiful.  And so worth the risk.

Thank you for listening & have a beautiful day.
xox Sammi  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All in the golden afternoon

Hell Bunny floral dress
Floral print
Hell Bunny floral dress

This dress is even prettier than I thought it'd be!  I'd seen it on the ModCloth website for a long time, and I always liked the style, but I think it's even lovelier in person.  Hell Bunny is one of my favorite brands (I may have to make it the subject of my next "Label Love" post), and I'm glad I was able to snatch this dress up at 70% off!  Plus, it perfectly matches my pink BAIT heels!  The print of this dress and this pretty lighting reminded me of the song from Alice in Wonderland that all the flowers sing (hence the post title).

Floral dress
Pink flowers
Hell Bunny dress
Floral print dress
Hell Bunny floral dress

I'm still in New York City right now, and I had such a nice time with Kristina and Midge yesterday in McCarren Park.  We're going to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens today (and I wish I had brought this dress with me!), which will be fun.  Other than seeing them, I've spent a lot of time with my roommate from college, who was sweet enough to let me stay with her, and I've seen a few other people from school, as well.  As with most things, this trip didn't really go exactly as planned, but I think it was a good idea to challenge myself to be a little more independent and remember that I can handle the things that come my way.  I'm totally undecided in terms of whether I want to move back here (or the general area), but in a lot of ways, it might be something I won't feel 100% about until I try.  I have a lot of time to think about it, so I'm trying not to stress out about not knowing, as hard as that is.

Hell Bunny dress
BAIT footwear
Hell Bunny mums dress
Outfit Details
Dress: ModCloth (similar)
Spectators: ModCloth
Petticoat: eBay

Have a beautiful Sunday!
xox Sammi

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites #60: Pack it up!

My Friday Favorites post is a little bit different this week!  Since I'm currently in NYC for a long weekend, I thought it might be fun to do a little post about my travel must-haves.  I always think it's interesting to see a different take on a "what's in my bag?" post, so here are my necessities for my metropolitan getaway!
a  //  b

First of all, I'm totally obsessed with Lulu Guinness purses, and the Lulu by Lulu Guinness line at JC Penney is absolutely wonderful.  Her regular bags cost a fortune, but the JCP line is incredibly reasonable and unbelievably adorable.  I ended up getting a few different purses (including the one above) from the store.  Not only were they on sale, but I can be very picky about neutral bags, and they happened to have three different ones (a white one, one in a taupe color and a black one) that will be great staple purses for me.  I tend to use one purse until it wears out, and though I have a huge collection of novelty bags, I actually have very few practical purses.  The Lulu purses are the perfect size, too -- the ones I got aren't bulky at all, but all three are big enough to fit my DSLR, which is definitely mandatory for this trip!

Secondly, I needed a new carry-on bag, and I just happened to find this one on Amazon.  It comes in a bunch of different colors (as well as other styles), and it's cutesy without being distracting.  It was really inexpensive, and while it might not be the most durable travel bag in the world, it's a great option for a weekender bag or some light schlepping.  The bows are removable, too (though they're really much of the reason I bought it in the first place!), and it's definitely bigger than it looks!

a  //  b  //  c  //  d

Headphones are an absolute must for virtually any type of travel, and though I'm sure they're not as good for your hearing as other types of headphones, these earbuds sure are cute!  I love the hedgehogs and cats, and the Happy Plugs come in tons of other colors!

My flight was too short to really watch anything on DVD, but I've done a lot of traveling on trains and buses, and entertainment is vital on long trips!  I usually opt to bring a DVD set of a beloved TV series for a train ride, but sometimes I'll also bring nostalgic movies.  It's also nice to have something to watch if you don't have internet access!
a  //  b
1  //  2  //  3

If I get bored on the plane or in the airport, I'll definitely be reading more of this book.  If you suspect you're an HSP, you need to pick this one up.  I'm only about a third of the way through, but it's cemented the fact that I am, without a doubt, a Highly Sensitive Person, and it's really nice to know that I'm not alone in that!
If you're a blogger who isn't lucky enough to have someone willing to take your outfit photos for you, you might need to invest in a tripod at some point.  I have a couple of tripods that I use, but I really love this one, and it's excellent for traveling!  It can be packed away easily and conveniently in a suitcase (and even comes with a little bag), but expands to full size.  It's also surprisingly durable, and I use it way more than my other tripod, even when I'm at home.  In addition, it's well worth the money, especially when you consider how reasonable the price is!

Because I don't have the newest iPhone (mine's an iPhone 4S), it's really hard to find backup batteries that fit my model of phone and that are aesthetically-pleasing (and not a total piece of junk).  I'd seen these types of plug-in batteries before and had been looking for this same kind for my phone.  After a lot of searching, I finally found this one.  It wasn't very expensive, so I decided to give it a try.  The design isn't *quite* my style, but it's still pretty cute, and since I know I'll be using my phone a lot when I'm on the go, I think it'll be a good investment.
I don't know about you, but when I'm on vacation in a place with lots of people around (like here in New York or in Disney World), I make an effort to pack dresses that sport a longer hemline.  I'm a relatively tall girl, so some dresses tend to look shorter on me anyway, and it's annoying to have to be constantly pulling down your dress and making sure you're not giving everyone a show!  New York City can be like a wind tunnel sometimes, so I definitely didn't want to worry about that.  These cute-as-can-be dresses are a little more modest, but they don't sacrifice on style.  They're also good for the New York heat and could be worn for pretty much any activity I might do while I'm here, including picnicking in the park, seeing a show, or meeting friends for dinner!
a  //  b  //  c  //  d  //  e

You know me - I love a dress with a full skirt, and of course, I love crinolines.  However, petticoats are not exactly conducive to traveling.  This pettislip is a great solution.  It provides just a touch of fullness (and it's so soft!), and it barely takes up any room at all in my luggage!
If you're staying at a hotel, you can use an iron to fix wrinkly clothes, but even when an iron is available, I sometimes like to bring my portable steamer instead!  It's so fast, works with regular tap water and is a great size to pack.  I also make sure to bring a robe, both for showering and lounging purposes.  This fuzzy pink one is so fun!
Since it's still summery, cute (and inexpensive) sunglasses are necessary!  I don't trust myself to carry around pricy frames, since they always end up at the bottom of my cluttered purse.  I need something cheap and durable.  I love all three of these sweet and retro pairs (though I'd definitely need a case for the last pair):

a  //  b  //  c

In most cases, traveling = lots of walking!  I anticipated that much better for this trip than for our Disney World vacation (I was in agony almost the entire time!).  I decided to get this pair of white eyelet flats by Aerosoles.  The brand came highly recommended by my friend Kristina, and then when I saw this white pair at DSW, I knew I had to check them out.  I was glad I ended up trying them on in the store, because it seems that, while I wear a size 9 in heels, I end up needing an 8.5 in flats.  They seem very comfortable so far (and I think they'll stretch a little bit, which is good), and it's so nice to actually have arch support!  I tend to buy really cheap flats that I wear constantly, but I needed something of better quality for all the walking I'll be doing.  They were even on sale in the store!
I do tend to wear a lot of makeup.  For one thing, I have skin problems, which are obviously not made better by wearing a lot of makeup, but sometimes it's unavoidable if I want to look halfway decent.  But in addition, I just really *like* makeup, and it's fun to play around with.  My two favorite products as of late are below.  One is brand new to me -- the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder duo.  I fill in my eyebrows on a regular basis because, although they have a nice natural shape to them, they are very sparse in some areas and I feel so much more confident when they are filled in.  For a long time, I'd just been trying to find a good color match in eyeshadows, which was somewhat limiting and could lead to a harsh look.  I did some research and found this line of brow products at Sephora, and I am in LOVE.  I needed something travel-sized, and this eyebrow powder duo palette is perfect for that -- not to mention that it's much more natural-looking than what I had been using prior.  The other product is Revlon Colorburst lip balm stain, which I adore because I don't like wearing conventional lipstick, but I do need some color on my lips.  I have kind of a small mouth, and a little lip stain makes a big difference on me.  This balm stays on for a long time and feels much lighter than regular lipstick (and it's also easier to fix if you mess up)!

1  //  2

And finally: this might not apply if you are staying in a hotel, but if you're staying with friends (like I am) or family, I think it's a very nice gesture to bring a gift as a thank you to your host.  Gift cards for restaurants are always nice, or something for their home.  I opted to get my friend Caitlin a really beautiful candle from Crabtree & Evelyn, but this one is lovely, too.  It's the thought that counts, and a sweet little gift really makes you feel appreciated.

I had a lot of fun putting together this little guide, so I hope you didn't miss my regular Friday Favorites too much!  
Enjoy your weekend!

xox Sammi
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