Cuffed Jeans and The Boots with the Heels

a fashion fanatic, chocoholic, and a DIY devotee


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Versatile Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Thrifting Couture. A fellow engineer, she has great posts about thrifting and how she styles her pieces. I’m very jealous of her finds! Thank you, TC! 🙂 For this tag, I list seven random things about myself and tag fifteen other bloggers.

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1. I love food. There is actually only one food that I really detest – carrot soup with milk. My favorite food – that’s hard to decide.

2. My new food find is a melon pan. It’s a Japanese pastry that is basically a cross between a brioche and a cookie. It’s so delicious.

Melon_pan_&_iced_coffee

3. On that vein, I especially love spicy food. My dad called me asbestos mouth as a kid.

4. I have really weird, but very real-feeling dreams. When I was little, I had a dream that I met Mary Kate and Ashley and was so convinced that it actually happened. I told my friend while my mom was in the room and my mom was so confused since it actually didn’t happen.

5. I feel really at home in coffee shops. I love the people, the smells, and the coffee and pastries, of course. One of my favorite things to try in a new city/town is to try out the coffee shops.

6. I’m listening to music almost constantly. I listen to music when doing homework (except when I’m reading – that gets confusing), when I’m at work doing things independently, when I’m in lab, when I’m walking, and when I’m running.

7. I love finding music. I’ve found that Songza playlists give me the best suggestions!

Whew, that was difficult!

Now, for the fun part, here are my nominees:

1. Emily of The Frugalous Life – She has great posts about getting great pieces that are affordable too.

2. Jasmine of The Art of Imperfection– I’m obsessed with her outfits.

3. Whitney of Polish & Pipsqueaks– She has a great style and definitely has fun in her photo shoots.

4. Jessica of Desert Days– Her photos are so cool!

5. Alex of bodishblog– Her DIYs are amazing and I love her writing style.

6. Alice of scandalice – I love her style.

7. Belle of Visualépoque– Amazing style, amazing photography.

8. Emma of The Ginger Rules– She is awesome and loves sequins as I do!

9. Melanie of Lace & Combat Boots– She gives great style advice and has a really fun style.

10. Kate of What Kate Did Next– She has the best name ever and has great beauty tips.

11. Tara Jeanne of three wishes style– I’m love her style and she has a great mix of thrifted and non-thrifted pieces.

12. Mckenzie of Why Buy it? DIY it. – Her DIYs are so awesome that they look like you could buy them in stores.

13. Spaceandshoes– She’s not afraid to wear bold prints and colors and has interesting outfits.

14. Ellie of today i will mostly be– She can mix casual and dressier clothes together with such ease.

15. Fiona of The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets– I love all her outfits.


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Labels of Love: My Style Evolution

When I was little, I wore some questionable outfits. My aunt says that I wore things with stains and colors that completely clashed. My dad says that I had favorite pieces of clothing and would want to wear them often. Even if they didn’t fit me, I wanted to wear those pieces. A lot of people have favorite shirts or lucky jeans, but I normally remember where I got a piece of clothing and where I’ve worn it.

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ribbons on ribbons ribbons

I didn’t really get into fashion until early high school. I was a tomboy growing up and that required jeans and t-shirt mostly. Some french exchange students visited our school and I was in love with the French and their style. I started wearing tailored, neutral colored (and a lot of black) clothing. I had an obsession with scarves. Literally – I’d wear them all year round. When I got my first trenchcoat, I wore it so much that people would be able to find me in a crowd if they saw a brunette with a trenchcoat.

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aforementioned scarf and trenchcoat

Later in high school, I discovered the fashion blogging world and started wearing very trendy pieces regardless if they flattered me… (I’m looking at you baby doll dresses and banded bottom shirts). Then, I realized that I was buying pieces because they were trendy instead of because I really liked the pieces.

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clogs and velvet dresses

When I got to college, my style was a mix of trendy pieces and classic French-inspired pieces. As the semesters flew by and my classes became more one-sided and math and science-y, I needed an outlet for some right-brain thinking. Fashion was this outlet. I started to love taking pieces and trying to find ways to wear it in unexpected pairings or in unexpected ways. This was incredibly fun and relaxing and my fashion got a little more eclectic.

plaid and moccasins

plaid and moccasins

I started playing around more with fashion and started reading more fashion blogs. I enjoy doing fashion challenges with myself; one week, I wore a monochrome outfit with a different color each day. As I got more into thrifting, I got more interested in refashioning pieces and was more likely to buy more trendy items as they were not as expensive as the pieces in stores. Now, I’m really interested in Asian fashion and have been loving the cartoon prints all over tops and pants in Tokyo.

and sometimes, i sacrifice function over fashion #nobackpackforfirstdayofschool

and sometimes, i sacrifice function over fashion #nobackpackforfirstdayofschool

So, if someone asks me what my style is, I guess I’d say it’s eclectic trendy with french influences with girly details. Does anyone have a word for that? 🙂

How would you describe your style? 


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Style Rules for Guys

1. If you don’t care about fashion, but want to look good all the time I have two words for you. Desert. Shoes. These are literally the “sisterhood of the traveling pants” of shoes. They look good on men young and old, tall and short. They fit with a ton of different styles.

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2. Please don’t show me your white tube socks.

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3. Wearing suit vests without the suit add an instant polished look to your outfit without adding bulk. Wearing them with denim achieves a classic, but modern look.

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4. Don’t be afraid to wear pink! Pink is a calming color, so wearing it makes you feel more relaxed. I think lighter pink is easier to pull off, but with the right style of shirt, hot pink looks good too.

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5. Match your belt with your shoes. I may sound hypocritical as I break this rule all the time, but I think that women’s shoes are more of a statement item. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean that you should complete match the shade. Wearing a belt in the same color family, but with an interesting detail is really cool.

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6. Just say no to jorts. Unless you’re a carpenter (or maybe if you’re wearing desert shoes. Seriously, these are fashion miracles).

7. Men can mix patterns! Polka dots and stripes together are not a fashion faux-pas, but a cool look.
Three pieces of advice:
1. If you’re mixing too things, make one piece have a larger print and one piece have a smaller print. Without this, the print will get lost and look busy.
2. Match the main color of one piece with an accent or lesser color in the other piece. This makes the look cohesive without looking matchy-matchy.
3. Another way to join a look together is by using opposite colors on the color wheel. This makes both colors more vibrant because there is a strong contrast.

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8. One of my favorite people ever is Bill Cosby and he illustrates this principle. There is nothing cooler than a guy with an interesting sweater.

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9. Don’t be afraid to have fun with fashion! Try a new trend, mix some patterns, or even add a pop of color. For me, there’s nothing more stylish than a guy wearing something different with confidence. And a pair of desert shoes doesn’t hurt 🙂

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Ladies, what are your fashion rules for guys? Gentlemen, do you agree with my rules?


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Back to School: Hair Chemistry

I decided to try something new today and write a little about the science of hair and hair care. Let me know if it’s interesting or my engineering geekness is showing 🙂

Courtesy of Makeup For Life

Courtesy of Makeup For Life

There are three parts of the hair: cuticle, cortex, and the medulla. The cuticle protects your hair from damage and looks like a bunch of scales. The cuticle strengthens your hair; if your cuticle is damaged, your hair will be brittle. One way to test for cuticle damage is by shampooing, conditioning, and then combing. If the hair sticks to the comb and makes it difficult to move, your cuticle has damage. Another thing to take into account is the pH of shampoo or anything going into your hair.  pH is a measure of acidity of a solution. More acidic solutions shrink and stiffen the cuticle whereas alkaline solutions soften the cuticle. Your hair needs to be a balance of acidity and basicity, but studies have shown that more acidic hair is healthier.

The cortex is the biggest part of the hair. It looks like an old school telephone cord. With this structure, it’s more elastic and flexible. (Side note: if your hair is not elastic, that means the cortex may be damaged). When a cuticle is damaged, you might have split ends, or frayed cortexes. The medulla is in the center. This is more common in thicker hair, as it’s just a spongy core.

Is the hair you see actually dead? 

The hair starts underneath the skin in the follicle which is basically this tiny hole in your skin. At the bottom of this hole, there are cells that grow and make the hair. Once the hair leaves the skin, it’s dead as a doornail. So, the part you see (the shaft), is not alive. This means that you can’t really heal your hair once it’s damaged. Unlike a scab on your skin, there is no real healing mechanism.

This picture (and others noted with POI) are from the blog Point of Interest, a really interesting blog about cosmetic chemistry.

This picture are from the blog Point of Interest, a really interesting blog about cosmetic chemistry.

How does my hair get shiny? 

Sebum, or oil, keeps our hair shiny and fills gaps where the hair cuticles have been depleted. Sebum has wax and fats which smoothen the cuticles. When the cuticles are smooth, light can easily be reflected, making it look shiny. Curly hair has less smooth cuticles – making it look less shiny. However, too much sebum and your hair looks oily – and oil can stick dirt to your hair. Too much oil can also clog the follicle and prevent hair growth. 

Shampoo uses soaps or detergents to get rid of the oil. Detergents are solutions of surfactants. Normally, as the old axiom says, oil and water don’t mix. Surfactants change the properties of the water so that it can first wet the oil. Shampoos with detergent are actually preferable because they are not alkaline and don’t leave calcium deposits, making your hair look dull and lifeless. Too much shampooing and the sebum that protects your hair is all gone, making your hair look dull and damaged. Conditioner on the other hand creates a waxy coating over the cuticle and strengths it as well. By putting a waxy coating over your hair, you’re making the cuticle smoother and making light easier to reflect off of it.

Why is my hair curly? 

Curliness has two factors: the shape of the hair in the follicle and where the keratin proteins are. Keratin proteins make up your hair, skin, and nails. The cortex of your hair is made up protofibrils which is a collection of four keratin proteins. These keratin proteins are attached using hydrogen bonds (bonds of a hydrogen atom to an oxygen atom); this bond is relatively weak. For straight hair, these hydrogen bonds attach to other keratins at the same site, making a very uniform and organized hair. For curly hair, they attach haphazardly, causing bends and twists in the cortex and then in the hair. Since these hydrogen bonds are so weak, water can break them. When the hair redries, the hydrogen bonds will reform.

The hair’s form when dry will depend the form the hair is when it’s wet. If it’s air dried when someone is sleeping, the bonds will bond haphazardly as the wet hair is placed haphazardly. If it’s blow dried, the heat forces the hair to dry straighter. This is the reason braiding your hair when wet makes the hair curlier. The hydrogen bonds are a temporary hair shape determiner, but your natural texture comes from the amount of bridges that connect your keratin proteins are present in your hair. There is another bond that gives the hair its natural texture, disulfide bonds, or bridges attaching keratin proteins. Curlier hair has more bridges, causing the hair to bend to keep these bridges. When you get a perm, you add disulfide bonds to your hair, making your hair curlier.


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Trends at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards

I’ve always loved the Teen Choice Awards fashion because it’s very different than normal award shows fashion. The outfits are very summery and more casual – and therefore, provide a ton of style inspiration.

Pastel Above the Knee Dresses with Soft Embellishments 

Very cute, very summery. These ladies showed off some leg with these pastel dresses.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Carly Chaikin- Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Brittany Snow – Jason Merritt / Getty Images

teen choice awards 2013, trends 2013 teen choice awards

Troain Bellisario

 

Gabby Douglas - Getty Images

Gabby Douglas – Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Katie Cassidy

Katie Cassidy

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Anna Camp-not a huge fan of this one, but still a part of the trend – Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Jumpsuits & Men’s Suit Inspired

Shay Mitchell- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Shay Mitchell- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Nina Dobrev

Nina Dobrev

Demi Lovato- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Demi Lovato- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Crystal Reed- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Crystal Reed- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Tamara Mowry-Housley- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Tamara Mowry-Housley- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Sundresses with Quirky Prints 

A lot of these outfits have a Modcloth vibe to them.

janel parrish, teen choice awards 2013, janel parrish teen choice awards, teen choice awards trends

Janel Parrish- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards 2013, kerry washington teen choice awards

Kerry Washington- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice award trends 2013, hailee steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld- Steve Granitz/WireImage

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice award trends, maddie hasson teen choice awards

Maddie Hasson

Matching Separates 

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards trends

Chelsea Kane

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards trends

Naya Rivera

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards trends, cher lloyd

Cher Lloyd

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards trends,

Host Lucy Hale- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Taking the Surfing and Beach Theme More Seriously 

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice award trends

Bella Thorne- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

teen choice awards 2013, teen choice awards trends

Lilly Collins- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

teen choice awards 2013, rebel wilson teen choice awards

Rebel Wilson- Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Which look was your favorite? Which trend was your favorite? Who are your worst and best dressed celebs? 


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Tips for Thrifting: When to Go, What to Bring, and How to Find Great Stuff

When to Go 

-I’ve found that earlier weekdays (Mondays & Tuesdays) during work hours are the best times to find great stuff. There aren’t a lot of people and you can usually get a dressing room easily. However, not everyone has the liberty of a student schedule, so then I’d suggest avoiding the weekends. I’ve found that it is much more crowded on weekends than after work on week days.

Pay attention to sale days! At Goodwill, each week, different colored tagged clothing is 50% off. If you go at the end of the week, most of the colored tag items are gone. Going in on Sunday or Monday will allow you to get the most stuff with colored tags. At Salvation Army, they have bigger sales on Wednesdays. Most of these sales are on the chain’s website or at the store itself.

Don’t go thrifting if you’re tired. Thrifting can be overwhelming and requires time and effort. When I’m tired, I tend to look at the clothes haphazardly. I also don’t feel like waiting in lines or trying things on when I’m tired which impedes the process.

The earlier in the day, the better. This applies especially to sale days.

What to Bring 

A belt. There have been so many times that I’ve tried on a dress and wondered if it would look good with a belt. Sometimes, options for belts are limited at thrift stores, so it can help if you bring your own that fits you just right.

An outfit that is easy to put on and take off. I suggest bringing an outfit that is loose, but neutral, so that it is easy to try on with finds. I also suggest wearing an outfit where you can easily try something on without going in a changing room. Leggings work well for trying on skirts and tank tops are great for trying on blouses or suits. 

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A dress/skirt/shirt that is your perfect size. In some stores, they don’t have any fitting rooms. By bringing a well-fitted garment, you can have a better estimation if something will fit you or not. 

A patient friend. I’m someone who spends an hour or two in a store when I’m on the thrifting prowl. A friend can be an invaluable resource while thrifting as they might find/suggest pieces that you didn’t consider. However, if you have friends that don’t want to spend an hour or two at the thrift store, it’s a good idea to come early, so that everyone’s happy! 🙂

Other Tips 

Check the tried on rack outside of the fitting rooms. These can be a treasure chest. You can find interesting pieces as it’s almost like going through other people’s closets.

Start small. I usually like to start with dresses or shoes before going into t-shirts or blouses. This allows me to get into the thrifting mindset and prevents me from getting overwhelmed.

Have a goal in mind. This is a weird tip, but I always like to have target pieces in mind when shopping. It stops me from being overwhelmed by giving me a concrete goal. Normally, I don’t find the piece, but I like the others that I found along the way.

Go up and down sizes. Vintage sizing is very different than the sizing we have today and a medium at Forever 21 is vastly different than a medium from another store.

Don’t just look for designer goods. I know some people who only buy things that are designer or on brand. Thrifting has exposed me to so many brands that I’ve never heard of before and that’s part of the fun! 

Think not what the garment can do for you, but also what you can do for the garment. If you have some sewing skills, feel free to pick up pieces that don’t fit you completely. With cuts and stitches, you can transform a piece. Here are two examples: The Renegade Seamstress and Buttons and Birdcages.

Have fun! Try on things that you think are ugly- they might turn out to look great off the hanger! Try on lots of pieces and laugh at the strange t-shirts that people donate. Talk to the cashiers- they have great stories. Enjoy the world that is thrifting!

i doubt i'd be that happy without my thrifted fish bag

i doubt i’d be that happy without my thrifted fish bag

Do you have any tips for thrifting? 


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Outfit of the Day: An Ode to Sombreros

My brother found this sombrero and tried to give it away. I was in shock of his blatant disregard of the fashion appeal of a sombrero. A sombrero can be worn on your head or down for an ultra awesome look. It shades your head from the sun and makes you the life of the party! 🙂

sombrero how to wear

and it's great badminton wear

and it’s great badminton wear

Dress: Thrifted

Hat: Brother

Shoes: Payless

Necklace: Fred Flare

Do you have a favorite type of hat?