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Trying new trends w/ sex appeal

Annie Butler

As much as I love my staple wardrobe pieces, sometimes  a girl just needs to be on trend. Ya feel? Those are the days I turn to tobi.com.

Usually my style is really, muted. I tend to wear what I call "uniforms," and they cover about 95% of my skin. Ha! Today, I decided to challenge myself and share three currently trending outfits with, dare I say it, SEX APPEAL. Read on :D

EDGE OF NIGHT CAMI

WHOOP THERE IT IS. This cami is everything. I realized camis were trending again after reading cool-girl Aimee Rancer's post about it a few weeks ago. Mixing and matching soft, feminine pieces with hi rise denim was a perfect way for me to be completely out of my comfort zone on top (I couldn't wear a bra with this shirt, ah!!!) but still wear my regular, skin covering bottoms. 

I do love this cami, tho. It's a wonderful color for spring and though I didn't take any pictures of the back, the sex appeal is real. Trust me. Shop the entire look via the photos below.


GUYS. I wore a body suit. WTF? I never, ever, ever thought I would be able to pull off a body suit. & I guess I didn't allllllllll the way. I probably shouldn't have worn a bra with this lace up beauty, but that just seemed like way to much exposure for me. So I donned a bralett. 

Long ago I read on a blog that body suits are great to wear as an outfit "base." They don't ride up and they look like a shirt. I wanted to test out the theory.

This look is 10,000% outside of my comfort zone but I can tell you right now, people loved it. People like my fiancé. Paired with some hi rise vintage denim, I felt like I could take on the world in this ensemble. Shop the look in the photos below.


Okay... so, short dress + deep v.

I cannot pull this off.

It looks like I'm wearing a tiny night gown. Or a t-shirt. Which in retrospect is probably how I should have styled this piece......

However. If you are a little bit shorter than me, or can pose in a short dress without looking like you're the most uncomfortable person in the world...... give it a try. The look is below. 


What am I missing? What kinds of trends are you guys rocking these days? In other news, it's my bachelorette weekend! As I am writing to you, my friends and sisters are flying across the country to spend the weekend in Sonoma with me. I cannot wait. 

Miss you guys. Hope you're good. Sending love. xox

Photos: Jake Heath
Lip: Lipsense in Pink Champagne
TOBI clothes provided c/o. All thoughts are my own.


Spring Loungewear Wish List

Annie Butler

Yesterday I walked into Nordstrom Rack for the first time in a loooooong time. &, while I am still on that no-frills budget, it didn't  stop me from trying on every piece of the OG adidas loungewear line 😜

Anyway, once I got home (empty handed),  I started researching all the spring loungewear. I'm all about the bold retro feel out there this season, and I thought you might like to take a look at some of my faves. All images are hyperlinks. 

ANNIE'S TOP PICKS: SPRING LOUNGEWEAR EDITION


Mimalist Style & Max Comfort: A Review of Grana

Annie Butler

My style has changed a lot over the lifetime of this blog. Maybe it's something about getting older, or – like we talked about last week – wanting to live a more minimalist lifestyle, but these days I've been trying to invest in staples

Before I purchase any piece of clothing, I ask myself one question: will I still want to wear this in 5 years? If the answer is yes, I consider it a staple. If not, it's probably fast fashion, and not worth my hard earned cash.

Today, I wanted to investigate Grana, a clothing company with "timeless" at the core of design. As you'll see from the link I hyperlinked above, Grana searches for the best quality fabrics, in comfort and durability. But anyone can say that. Are the pieces really timeless? Comfortable? Durable? Cute? I checked it out.....

SILK CASHMERE BOYFRIEND CREW NECK

The silk cashmere boyfriend crew is my favorite Grana piece. Per the name, it's a mix of silk and cashmere, but let me just put that in terms that are easier to feel... HOLY SHIT THIS SHIRT IS SOFT. The length of the shirt is perfect for high waisted pants, and the loose fit doesn't hang on any food baby bellies. The sleeves are surprisingly tight, but not uncomfortable. I think the sleeves actually make this shirt super unique, adding a tiny bit of form to an otherwise modern box shape. 

Would I suggest it to you? Hell yes. You could sleep in it.  But don't. Wear it to work, instead. Like me. Shop for the outfit in the photos below.


Grana Sweater Dress

TBH, I was afraid of this dress. The midi length made me nervous and I wasn't sure what kind of shoes to wear with it...  Then I started asking other questions. Is it *too* loose? Do I look like a box? HERESY!

There is no such thing as too loose! Just check what super-cool-girl Kendall Chase says on that topic

Like the crew neck, this dress is one of the softest things I've ever put on my body. I'm not usually a dress-wearer, but when the weather is about to swing from 40 to 75 in a single day, I think this is the piece I'll grab for. 

In the saddest news of all time, Grana temporarily stopped making this dress. Maybe we can all write in and request it come back?


I wear this cardigan every single week. Actually, this outfit pretty much is my uniform for work. V-neck tee, comfy Grana cardigan, high waisted jeans, modern loafers. It makes mornings very easy when you have a go-to look to grab. 

What I love about the cardigan is the warmth. It's all wool, and all cool. Rhymes. It is my most practical Grana piece. Pick yourself up one in the photo links below.


MERINO RIB BOYFRIEND CARDIGAN 

Last but not least, we have the ribbed open cardigan. TBH, I don't wear it that much. Usually when I'm looking for a cardigan, it's so I can stay warm in a frigid office. But this one, well it's super duper thin. And, conservative? I don't know, but I feel like I need to be teaching the ABC's when I wear it. 

Don't get me wrong, this cardigan is soft as can be. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Just a wee bit girly for my taste. If you're only buying one cardigan, I'd steer you to the chunky rib knit merino in the photos from above. Still though, this cardigan is worth linking. Check out the whole outfit in the photos below.


So what's the consensus? HOW DID THEY DO IT?!?!? Did Grana capture the world's softest small animals, treat them to bonbons and ice cream, or you know, pet food, until they admitted the secret to creating a perfect, cuddly, soft? I have no idea. But in the search for comfort and modern minimalist style, Grana takes the cake.

Now, speaking of cake....... 

Photography: Jake Heath
Lips: Lipsense in Carmel Latte
Grana clothes provided c/o. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Two Steps to Kickstart Your Life of Less Spending

Annie Butler

I moved to California almost two years ago. In the blink of an eye, my financial outlook went from "Wait, I have to fork over $750/month to live in this beautiful apartment in the best part of Cincinnati???" to "Thank God I found this shit-box, tiny bedroom in the Tenderloin for $1,800/month. I hope the police don't try to break down the door again tonight.

My savings account depleted as I turned in huge rent checks, big security deposits, and scoured the internet for deals to furnish my little place. Half of my paycheck was going to taxes and what did end up in my bank account went straight to rent. For the first time, I wasn't able to pay off my credit card bill at the end of every month. 

The problem was, I was consuming like I was still living my old life. Clothes, meals, alcohol, furniture, vacations... I didn't really have the cushion in my income for it anymore, but I was buying like I did. Maybe even more. My rent was so high, it made all the other numbers seem really small. A $120 pair of pants equaled 1/18th of my rent! Not bad! 

I racked up a lot of debt. 
Cut to my #1 goal of 2017: get out. 

So anyway, Jake and I sat down and made a budget. What came out was an aggressive plan to pay off our loans. No room for shopping.

So, that's where we are now. I'm trying to remove the temptation of things. Have you ever been there? Or maybe, are you there now? These two steps helped me kickstart a new way of thinking about stuff, and hopefully they can do the same for you.

Step 1: Unsubscribe from all the email marketing

A 40% sale doesn’t mean you’re saving 40%, it means you’re spending 60%.
— Annie's Coworker at Lunch

I've had the same email account since I was 18-years-old. Over the years, I've subscribed to tons of email newsletters: Madewell, J. Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, West Elm, CB2, Target, Etsy, Kate Spade, Asos, and more, and more, and more..... it was insane. I loved it, too. I work in advertising, so I excused the newsletters as a way to keep up with industry trends. What are the good subject lines? Which ones catch my eye? 

But, you know what really happened? I bought things. Every morning, I logged in to my inbox and deleted all the newsletters that didn't stand out. I read the ones that did – which, unsurprisingly, were flash sales. Eighteen months ago I bought a Rebecca Minkhoff purse on a surprise sale.  Today I barely use it. One year ago, I purchased a second pair of glasses because "they're cuter than the ones I have." Now, I can't find them anywhere.

I didn't even notice how much the marketing was working on me..... and I'm IN marketing! I am literally trained to sell things to people, but I didn't see what I was being sold. 

The day after Jake and I cracked down on our budget, I unsubscribed from over 30 email lists. Theory being this: I won't buy things just because they are on sale anymore. Rather, I'll make the effort to look for the things I really need, when I really need them.

Step 2: Watch "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things"

Minimalism is such a buzz word these days. We hear about minimalist decor, capsule wardrobes, tiny homes. Have you ever wondered why it's such a trend, though? Maybe, just maybe, minimalists actually are happier?

For a few years I've been thinking a lot about minimalism. Part of it was forced on me – my last apartment was 250 square feet. Some of it, though, was from curiosity.

A couple weeks ago, I was g-chatting with my best friend, Natalie. I was lamenting the fact that, even in debt, I was still buying clothes. I wanted her to tell me my most recent purchase (a wool coat from Madewell that was "just the perfect length to wear with my longer shirts but much thicker than my other long coat which I can't wear during the cold weather") was a good one. She did make me feel better..... and then she said this, "but Annie, if you want to stop buying clothes, watch this documentary. It will really convince you that less is more."

I did watch it. & I think you should, too. Natalie wrote about it already, so I'm going to send you over to her blog for some lessons from the film. But here's what I think you should know: it's 78 minutes long. It's on Netflix. You won't regret spending the time to watch it. 

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things.

Okay, so that's what I've got. I'm no where near out of debt. & I also just spent $4 on a lunch I could have made myself. But... I'm a little more cognizant of it all, and I think that's a step in the right direction. 

Let me know if you have more tips :)


Photo: iStock 



STOP! Before you buy your wedding dress online, read this....

Annie Butler

I'm an online shopper. I prefer it to in-store shopping, actually. Clothes, beauty products, trash bags, plants, tools... anything I can buy online, I will. I've never really had a problem with it, either! Sure, sometimes the clothes I buy don't fit, but returning has always been a breeze.

Naturally, when it came time to buy a wedding dress... I turned first to the internet.

Call me naive, but I have a pretty "off-the-rack" body. I was embarrassed to strip down to my skivvies in front of my sisters, in-laws and mom. (That wedding bod is still a work-in-progress, guys!) And, since online shopping had been so good to me in the past, it seemed like the perfect solution.

I totally got scammed. 

On Thanksgiving, with a little wine in my system and a belly full of mac n' cheese, I ordered a dress I had been stalking on Pinterest from a site called Amy's Bridal Shop. The site was... not the greatest. There was only a single picture of the dress (you can see it above), and it was very pixelated. But,"They're a small little boutique," I said to myself. "Probably don't have someone to build them a real site."

Ugh.

I checked out through Shopify. Four weeks passed. I sent a message to the email address that had sent my confirmation. A few days later, I received a reply. "Hi Annie, It will be there soon."

The dress arrived a few days before the holidays. I plopped it in my suitcase to bring to Ohio, and, over mimosas with my sisters and mom, we unpacked it.

Guys. It sucked. First and foremost, it was NOT the dress in the picture. There was a red permanent marker line down the side, about thirty layers of tulle and HOLY was it unflattering.

I scoured the website for a contact number. Nothing. I checked the links to their social channels, hoping to send a message through FB. Nope. All the icons, from Pinterest through Twitter and beyond, linked to nothing. I sent a nice note to the email address from before. Nothing. Weeks passed. I sent another, more angry one. Nothing. Another week passed. I sent a scathing email. Nothing. 

Eventually, I had to contact Shopify, and they told me to report fraud to my bank. It's been three months. I still haven't gotten a refund and the not-dress is hanging in my room in Ohio as a huge poofy reminder of my mistake. 

Guys, online shopping is great, and some people have had success with it even for their wedding dress, but I didn't. 
So here's my advice: if you decide you want to buy your wedding dress online, read these tips first:

  • Make sure the site is connected to a legitimate store. 
  • Find a clear contact number on the page. Call it to be sure it connects somewhere.
  • If at all possible, try the dress on at a physical store before you purchase. 
  • Confirm that all the social media icons connect to a real social media account.
  • Look for clear refund and return policies listed prominently on the site.
  • Find positive reviews for the store and product before you hand over your credit card.

Planning a wedding brings a lot of emotions with it. It's easy to get swept up in it, and order a dress from a clearly scraped site. Don't make my mistake. 



In the end, I found myself at a BHLDN Show Room. BHLDN is owned by Anthropologie and the show rooms are connected to a few select stores around the country. It was wonderful. I found a beautiful dress & there's no tulle in sight ;) 

DIY: Over Stove Spice Shelf

Annie Butler

Over stove spice shelf

SPICES. Kind of hate to love them. Oh, I mean, spices totally make or break a meal. But good LORD - does anything get you more peeved than trying to retrieve a spice from the back of your cupboard?

At my old apartment in the TenderNob, I kept my small amount of spices on the windowsill above my sink. I've since moved in a with a roommate who actually knows how to cook, so, combined, our spice situation was out of control. Neither of us were happy, so we brainstormed a solution: utilize the weird above stove space as a home for our many bottles of spice. Like the single file nature of my window sill, a skinny shelf would make our spices easier to see, plus, bonus, easy access while we cooked! 

I used: 

Over stove spice shelf
  • Two (2) 38in x 3.5in pine project boards
  • Two (2) 38in x 2.5in pine project boards
  • Four (4) C-clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Level
  • Power Drill 
  • Two (2) brackets
  • Sand paper
  • Goat hair brush
  • Polyurethane 
  • 22 screws 

So, this is what we were dealing with....

Spice Chaos
spices
spice chaos

Here's what I did:

Step one: Sandwich the Project Boards

Project board is very thin and flimsy by nature. Alone, I was worried it wouldn't be able to hold the weight of our spices. I decided to sandwich the two wider project boards to make it a bit more sturdy. Using wood glue, I placed one board directly on top of the other. With four c-clamps I secured it for drying. Then, while the wood glue was still wet, I used a power drill to secure ten screws into the project-board-sandwich, to aid the c-clamps. If you do this step, be sure to choose screws that are long enough to reach both levels of the project board, but not long enough to break through the top. 

Here's a picture of the finished sandwich :)

Sandwiched project board

Step two: Sand and Polyurethane

After 24 hours, my wood glue was dry. I removed the c-clamps and sanded the sandwiched, thicker board. At this point, I also grabbed the two thinner boards and sanded them as well. Following the directions on my can of polyurethane, I applied two coats to each side of all the boards with a goat hair brush, several hours apart. This step is important because, at its spot above the stove, the shelf will be exposed to water, steam and other liquids. The polyurethane should prevent warping.

Step three: Build the shelf

When everything was dry, about two days later, it was time to build the shelf! The base of our shelf is the wider, sandwiched project board. Using three screws, I attached the skinnier project board to the front of this piece at a 90 degree angle. My intent was to make a "wall," so the spices could not easily fall off of the base. I did the same to the back side with the second skinny project board.

I don't like this picture because the brackets aren't flush (I readjusted before hanging), but this will help demonstrate what you're doing....

Spice Shelf

Step Four: Attach the brackets to shelf

Flip your new shelf over, so the bottom is in the air. Screw the brackets, flush, to the bottom of your project board. Again, be sure to use screws that aren't long enough to break through the top board.

Step Five: Screw Shelf to Wall

Voila! With a level and a screwdriver I hung up our new spice shelf! Unfortunately, the brackets I chose were too long for my un-flat wall, so I could only utilize the screw holes at the top of my brackets. The bottoms hang off into the air, a bit, but it still gets the job done. If this happens to you, too, just make sure to prioritize the screws at the top of your brackets since they will be bearing the real weight of your spices. As a side note, you can find brackets of all sizes at your local hardware store, I just didn't measure before choosing mine.

Over stove spice shelf
Over stove spice shelf

What do you think? We love our new shelf. It's already wayyyy easier to find what we need and it looks much cleaner!

Costs

Project board: $2.50 per = $10
Screws: $4
Brackets: $20
Tools/Polyurethane/Wood glue: Had
Total: $34!

Your Favorite Posts of 2016

Annie Butler

Friends! How was your New Year? I stayed in with Jake. We (read: he) made a delicious dinner and we toasted with champagne and ice cream sundaes at midnight. 2017 is going to be one for the books, with our wedding right around the corner, but before we go head first into the new year, let's reflect a bit, shall we?

What were my biggest moments of 2016? 

  • Moving into a new apartment (& out of the Tenderloin, huzzah!)
  • Starting a podcast!
  • Getting engaged.

What about you? What will you remember when you look back on this year? While you take a second to think about it, here's a list of the blog posts you loved the most in 2016, chosen by # of page views in my trusty google analytics account. 

xox


A Clickable Gift Guide: For the Commuter

Annie Butler

Commuter Gift Guide penfield rain jacket chelsea hunter rain boot everlane modern commuter backpack jockery power pack wireless earbuds hyfroflask waterbottle

Guess what you guys! I co-host a podcast! Seriously! It's all about the weird sh*t that happens on my commute.. and that's a lot of stuff. I mean there are men that cut their toenails on the train, bag ladies that push my co-host into oncoming traffic, and so. many. uber. drivers.

It's called Scenic Route, and there are seven episodes already waiting for you in iTunes. Plus, one more on the way!  It goes live Wednesday, just in time for holiday travel. That's where this gift guide comes in. This week we're doling out last minute gift ideas for the commuting friends in your life. 

We're pretty much experts in this department, so click on the images and choose something, quick! Only have a week left til Christmas! 

xox


Introducing: Jake

Annie Butler

Engagement Photos on the Beach

So I've been keeping a secret, albeit not very well.
I've been seeing someone. A really awesome someone. For the past three-ish years. 

It's been hard to keep it from you! Jake is a huge and wonderful part of my life. & he even works behind the scenes of Ida Street quite a bit – with the code, the photos, the concepts, the editing, and the projects. 

But a really long time ago, I made a rule that I wouldn't introduce any love interests to this blog until they were a permanent part of my life. So I guess thats a nice tee up to what I wanted to tell you today:

We're engaged!

Engagement Photos
Engagement Photos by Natalie Folchi

This summer was very busy, we bounced from one wedding to another, and from work event to work event. In October, I moved into a new apartment! & funny story, my uHaul caught on fire! It was the worst! Trying to figure out that fiasco, and then making the plans for this new place have pretty much taken up all my time. Not to worry though, some new DIY projects coming your way soon!

Later that month, during a hike along the Pacific Ocean, Jake proposed. My family secretly flew in to help us celebrate & literally that night, I lost my voice and started a week long illness!  

Stuck on the couch in sweats with laryngitis, I pressed publish on the first episode of Scenic Route – a storytelling podcast I co-host with my future sister-in-law. It's so fun, and pretty funny, so take a listen ;)

The next two weekends brought our first visitors in this new apartment, including my bestie Natalie who took these amazing engagement photos for Jake and me! Seriously, couldn't you die?! So romantic!  

The work front has been in full swing, too! Part of my job is planning events for our sellers, and Holidays sure are a popular social time. So all that is to say, I'm sorry! It's been a little busy and I've been neglecting you. But I hope you're excited to finally, finally meet Jake. It's been a long time coming. 

You guys are gonna like him. 

Girl in the mist

Annie wearing: dress / shoes / engagement ring.

Engagement photos at Black Sands Beach

Wanna know a little more?

Wellllllll... Jake and I met in 2013 in Cincinnati, which is where we will be returning for our wedding this May. He's a computer engineer, a kind soul, a strong back massuist, a super smarty pants, a builder, a bicyclist & and a great cuddler. He's also pretty easy on the eyes ;)

Black sands beach
Black sands beach
Black sands beach engagement

Jake wearing: shoes / pants / shirt

It's been so fun planning our wedding, and I'm so glad I finally get to share it with you! So I guess that's it! The cat's outta the bag! Send all your wedding tips this way! xox

Photos by Natalie Folchi / Location Marin Headlands, Black Sands Beach / Annie's dress / Annie's shoes / Jake's pants / Jake's shirt / Jake's shoes


Summer in SF, Layered With Uniqlo

Annie Butler

What's up, friends?! Man oh man I've been all over the country these last few weeks. SF,  Grand Rapids, South Haven, Detroit, back to South Haven, Cleveland, Cincinnati. This weekend I'm heading out to Yosemite and then back to Detroit, chilling here in NorCal for Labor Day and then flying down to South Carolina! Busy summer!

Honestly though, it's kind of nice because summer in SF is FREEZING. I'm talking thirty degree swings. Seriously, got on the plane in Cincinnati and it was 87. Got off the plane 4 hours later and it was a balmy 57.  I've never had to wear so many layers in August! 

That's what I wanted to talk about today. I got a nice little surprise from Uniqlo in the mail the other day. The AIRism Collection is made out of a really soft technical material that controls your body temperature. That means if you live anywhere but here, it can keep you cool in these dog days of summer. If you happen to be a resident of the great San Francisco, at least we can look cool under all our layers ;)

On another note, do you ever have trouble with your high waisted pant zippers? I always catch my fly down which just does not live up to the cool-classy image I'm trying to curate (ha!). Back when I was in college, someone taught me this great keychain trick. Loop a keychain into the tiny hole at the top of your zipper zip. Zip your pants up like normal, and then loop the middle of the keychain around the button of your pants before you actually button them. Bingo. You can kind of see the keychain in my pics, but it's better than having an I see London, I see France situation on our hands, amirite?

Anyway, hope you guys are having a great summer! I'll catch up with ya on social media!

xox

Summer in SF
Summer in SF
Summer in SF
Summer in SF
Kick up the heels

I did receive free product from UNIQLO while writing this post. All the opinions & text are my own. 


Lip Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Unicorn Blood / Cardigan American Eagle, similar / Shirt Thrifted Chambray Button Down, similar / Camisole Uniqlo AIRISM Line (c/o) / Denim Madewell Hi-Riser / Flats Madewell Thea Sandal in Black (on sale!) / Photos Jake Heath / Location Tenderloin / Edits Adobe Lightroom and PhotoShop 

Fashion and Art

Annie Butler

"Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can see and feel everything in clothes." Ok, I actually heard that quote from Gossip Girl. Blair Waldorf, God Bless. It's so true, though. Don't you think? Fashion is an expression of art. 

That's why this sweater-shirt is so incredible. For over a year Tahiti Pehrson and RVCA Women have been collaborating to make HIS amazing paper cuts into wearable clothing. Check out some of his work here, and then check out how crazy delicate and intricate my shirt is. Yeah. 

There's an entire unique line at RVCA inspired by Tahiti's work and it's all between $30 and $70! Plus, if you're local and scurry over to the shop on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, you might even see some of Tahiti's artwork in the back. I think it's there for a few more days.

Anywayyyyy... speaking of Blair, do you think this outfit is Waldorf-Approved? I hope so.

xox

Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Professional Gal in the City
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection
Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Collection

I did receive free product from RVCA while writing this post. All the opinions & text are my own. 


Sweater-Shirt Tahiti Pehrson RVCA Line (c/o) / Pants Everlane Culottes / Shoes JCrew Factory Heeled Suede Bootie, similar / Lip Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Eggplant / Sunnies RayBan Clubmaster in Black / Photos: Jacob Heath Nikond3200 35 mm / Location: Tenderloin / Edits: Adobe lightroom and Photoshop

The Non-Rx Blemish Cure Of Your Dreams

Annie Butler

I'm Irish, German and French Canadian. Somehow, that combination of ancestry has led me to one certain thing: blemishes. 

Over the years I've tried plenty of remedies: toothpaste, acne medicine, acne face wash, strident pads, etc. But two years ago my friend pulled a tube of Philosphy's Clear Days Ahead out of her purse while we sat at the Baltimore Airport. 

It literally changed my life.

This product trumps them all. As soon as I feel a zit coming along, I apply a small layer of this gel-like concoction and voila! Within about two days my blemishes are dried up. 

You can buy it at Sephora or on Amazon. It costs $20, but one small tube will last you several months. Hope it helps. xox

 

By the way, this post was not sponsored by Philosophy. I just feel really strongly about this product!


Photo: Nikon D3200 35mm 

Honest Review: My Everlane Purchases

Annie Butler

Shortly after moving to the West Coast I realized Everlane is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Those who love it really love it and can spot each other a mile away. Yep. Didn't take long for me to jump on board.

For those who don't know, Everlane is an online-only retailer that is all about transparent, affordable, modern style. They show you exactly what your money is purchasing (i.e., $40 to material, $6 to hardware, $15 to labor, $7 to shipping – you get the idea). 

Over the course of the year I've been in SF, I've purchased a good deal of Everlane products, and today I'm going to give you the inside scoop: is the cult following just a trend, or is Everlane worth the hype? Let's find out. Listed from favorite purchase to least favorite, we have.....

The Culottes (now a pick-your-price product!)

These were my FIRST Everlane purchase, & I am absolutely in love. They are a perfect fit, super stylish, great material and overall excellent. Would I suggest you purchase? Yes. Go. Now. 

The Leather Street Shoe

My most recent purchase. These leather sneaker shoes are a definite style statement. Do I love them? Yes. Are they expensive? A little, but not when you compare to other leather shoes. Should you purchase up a half size? Probably. I bought a 8.5 (my normal size) and they're a littttttle too tight. I only get blisters when I wear them on long walks though. 

Cotton Drop Shoulder Tee

I have this t-shisrt in two colors, and I'm planning to buy the other two colors this summer. I literally LOVE this shirt. The sleeve to elbow is everything I've ever wanted & the material (cotton) is super soft. Obsessed. Should you buy it? Yes. 

Modern Zip Backpack in Large << Fun Fact, Malia Obama was just spotted by Vogue wearing this backpack in black. 

My most used purchase, this backpack literally accompanies me everyday of the week. I keep my computer, my coffee, my change of clothes, my medicine, my makeup, my water bottle, my notebooks, my books, my tide-to-go wipes.... I keep everything in this bag. I absolutely adore it. It's seen a little wear over the last nine months (see photos above), but would I suggest it to you? Yes. In a heartbeat. 

Slouchy Trouser in Black

The slouchy trouser was one of my first purchases. I loved the idea of it, but to be honest, the fit left something to be desired. I think it's probably the shape of my leg, but the calves were just way too tight on me, making the entire fit a little, off. I still wear these, a lot, and you might absolutely love them. They just aren't my faves. 

Top – No longer on Sale 

Everlane Drop Shoulder Blouse

This drop shoulder blouse is no longer on sale, and I thank Everlane for listening to it's customers on this account. I picked this top for the sleeves (sucker for elbow length), but the shirt was a little constricting overall, and worse, shows pit stains. I think I've worn this shirt about 4 times since I bought it a year ago. Would I suggest it to you? Probably not. But you can't buy it anyway. They took it off the site ;)

So what's my conclusion? Is Everlane worth the hype? HELL YESSSSSSSSS! Count me a fan & if anyone wanted to gift me the dipped weekender, I'd say yes, puh-lease. 

xox


By the way, this post was not sponsored in any way by Everlane. I just really love the brand!

 

Trending: Matching Set Party Dress

Annie Butler

Well, it's wedding season, that's for sure! One trend I've been wanting to explore is the matching set party dress. I think they're so cute, so fun, and so perfect for rehearsal dinners, receptions, bridal showers, etc. Today I'm sharing four matching set dress options I've found across the web. Let's dive in. 

This JCrew option is sold separately as skirt and crop top for a total of $206. Kinda pricey, but very classy. 

This Nordstrom option is pretty in blush/white with a gold zipper on the back. Ringing in at $218 it's a little pricey, but about on par with my first.

This sexy little ShopBop number slits high in the front and shows a little more skin than my other links. Ringing in at the most expensive yet, a whopping $345! Funny how less cloth = more $$$.

Rounding out the list with my favorite one, a mini version from ShopBop. This matching set rings  in at $325.

 

So, in the end what did I discover? 1) These dresses are flirtatious and show just the appropriate amount of skin for a formal occasion. 2) Matching sets are hella expensive and I cannot afford them. Let me know if anyone out there finds a cheaper version!

xox

Au Naturel: Wood Watches by Jord

Annie Butler

Wooden Watch

For years I've loved to work with wood. I love the way it looks and the way it feels. I love sanding it down, staining it, coating on polyurethane, wax, and even keeping it unfinished. I love thinking about where it came from, and what it can become. I love decorating with it -- just take a look at my "Apartment" tab & you can see for yourself! A couple years ago I bought a set of wooden earrings at the City Flea and literally wore them till they broke. All that is to say, when the opportunity to sport a wooden watch came my way... I pounced. 

This JORD wooden watch is everything I imagined in a wooden timepiece. The craftsmanship and styling is impeccable, even down to the beautiful packaging. My one warning is this: perhaps this fragile wooden watch is more suited for a romp around a park in a red floral dress than a day at the office. I use my hands a lot during the workday - to type, to carry boxes, to hold bags of groceries - and sometimes the clasp of my JORD watch gets unintentionally released. Luckily, my JORD timepiece fits like a glove (yours will too, since they are custom made to your wrist size), and does not fall off. It would be a sad crime to lose this beauty.

Anyway, enjoy these pixelated pictures of my wooden watch. I've been aiming for magic hour photo sessions lately and JUST missing it, every time. As a result I give you pixelated and heavily edited pics at dusk.  & to thank you for putting up with my bad sunset timing, I've included one Easter Egg Picture at the bottom of this post for your giggling pleasure.

xox

Wooden Watch
Jord watch
Jord Watch
JORD Watch
Sam Edelman Booties
Jord Watch
Twirling Dresses
Silly girl

This was a sponsored product review written by me on behalf of Wood Watches by JORD. All the opinions & text are my own. 


Photography: Jacob Heath, Nikond3200 35mm and zoom lens / Edits: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop / Location: Lafayette Park / JORD Wooden Watch (c/o)  / Chic Wish Dress / Sam Edelman Booties

So this is 26.

Annie Butler

Today is my 26th birthday. In most ways, I feel like not much has changed since my 25th birthday. I still have a solid relationship with my family and all my sweet friends. I'm the same height. I weigh about the same weight (+ a few pounds, thank you Mr. Holmes). I cut my hair, then I grew it out again. From the outside looking in, I'm pretty much identical.

There is one major difference, though. I moved! & not only did I move apartments, I moved to a new coast.
So, I guess everything about my life is different, really.

I remember writing this birthday post on the eve of my 25th birthday from a hotel room in Buffalo, New York. If you had told me at that moment that in a short 365 days I would be living on the opposite coast, with a stitched up hand, 3 emergency room visits, two heartbreaking losses, lots of new friends, countless new experiences, one skiing lesson, one surfing lesson & one tiny tattoo... well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't believe you. 

I think that's an awesome blessing about living in the unknown, though. Had I seen all those things stampeding down a looking glass toward me, I probably would have crawled into my bed and never left. But I had no idea what was on the way. Instead I had to take it step by baby step, by a few leaps of faith.

I haven't any clue what my 26th year will bring, and I don't want to know.
Every year we have to choose to leap again, right into the unknown. 
& every year, in the middle of a normal day, I expect you take a look at your life and realize all those leaps taught you how to fly.

xox


Photo: Jacob Heath, Nikond3200 35mm | Edits: Adbobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Past Blog Birthday Posts: 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011 (x2)


Annie's Studio Tour

Annie Butler

Cute option for electrical wires

Hi, friends! 

I thought today we could take a little tour  of the rest of my studio :D First, a reminder about what the space looked like when I moved in..... Here's the "before" post and you can see a few transitional photos below. 

Small studio Before and After
Small SF studio before and after

It's filled with stuuuuuffff!!!! Woohoooo! I had to take a really slow approach to decorating this space due to some financial constraints, but slowly and surely (and 10 months later) this room really came together. You can see the finished product in these detail shots below. I've also put together a list of a few small strategies that made a big impact in this teeny-tiny studio.

  • Remove visually solid items: When I first made my kitchen table I had solid desk legs and solid backed kitchen chairs. It didn't take long before I replaced those with the airy hairpin legs and modern style stools. The moment I did there was SO much extra room in my apartment. Being able to see through the legs and stools just makes the room feel bigger. Not to mention, storing the stools under my table when not eating literally does give me more space:)
  • Break up the space into "areas." Even though my apartment is basically one big room, I tried to make four distinct areas and visually separate them. My "living room" is defined by the shaggy rug. The "dining room" is the space taken up by my kitchen table. My "office" is the standing desk on the wall, defined by a gallery installation. And the "bedroom" is, well the bed :)
  • Headboards are so adult & I finally understand the value. They make a HUGE difference in bringing together a room. I didn't have a headboard for the first nine months I lived here and my apartment really never felt finished until I did.
  • DIY!! In a small space, you might need unique pieces to fit a unique layout. Don't be afraid to custom build your own furniture to make it the perfect fit :D 
  • Lastly, live in your space. There's no need to decorate your apartment right away. Live in the space, see how you use it and what you really need. It will make the finished product that much more perfect. I really struggled to find a place where I could put a tv, but after a few weeks in my apartment I realized I didn't even need it! I use my laptop to stream Netflix & crash on a friend's couch or plan a trip to a bar if there is something on the actual tv I want to watch. 

Since you saw the finished kitchen a few weeks ago, this concludes my apartment tour. Ringing in at a whopping 275 square feet, this is probably the smallest space I'll ever inhabit. It's been a really fun challenge to design a space that worked for me, and I hope you enjoyed peeking into my life! xox 

Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Hanging Side Table in Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment

Photos: Diana Lustig Sources: DIY dining tableHairpin legs; Amazon Kitchen stools; Stendig Calendar;  DIY standing desk; Restoration Hardware bar stool (Thrifted); Mintwood Photo Co. Cyan-o-matic plant prints; Hickory + Co "Cincinnati" Wood laser cut-out; DIY wooden headboard; Iron Illumination swag lampsDIY hanging side table; Ikea Floor Lamp; Move Loot Winged arm chair; DIY tree slice side table; DIY floor-length curtainsRUGS USA area rug

Hello, summer! & some recent crushes

Annie Butler

Peonies
Crushes

Memorial Day Weekend!!! Does anyone else think instantly of the neighborhood pool opening when they hear those three words? I mean, it's the official start of summer, right?! 

Speaking of summer, I just have a few things to get out into the blogosphere that I'm really pumped for: this weekend last year, I was on a trip to Nashville to celebrate one lovely Bride. & in few weeks, I'll be making the trip again to celebrate another! In mid June, I'm going on a little weekend flash trip to Half Moon Bay, then jetting off to Nashville for the bachelorette party. In July I'll be traveling again, first to Lake Michigan for some family time, then to Cleveland for my bestie's wedding(!!!!!!!), then heading down to Cincinnati for a few days at home. In August I'm camping for the first time EVER... & I'm starting with a bang! Yosemite National Park, here I come! Later that  month, I'm flying back to Michigan for a quick work trip. In September, my mom is visiting & my sister, mom and I are driving out to Big Sur. Phew. It's going to be a busy but awesome summer!

But I'm bringing it in nice and slow, just the way I like it  :) I'm spending Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco. Maybe the weather will cooperate & I can head over to a beach & sport my new America Spirit Jersey. 

I hope you have an amazing weekend. & in the meantime, take a read at my recent crushes below (because I know you have too much spring, I mean summer, fever to be focused on the work day). 

xox


Photos: Nikond3200 35mm / Edits: Adobe Lightroom 


Joggers, Heels & Figuring Out Athleisure

Annie Butler

girl on the beach

Hi friends! How was your weekend? I don't know if you remember, but one of my resolutions this year was to really see the west coast. That has taken the form of mini-one-weekend-vacations, which we've deemed "flash trips." So far I've been to Portland, Tahoe & as of this weekend Reno, Nevada! I ended up crashing a total "guy's weekend" to get there, but it was pretty great. I lost $10 on the penny slots and roulette machines & promptly closed my wallet. Luckily, my friends fared better. Actually, one of them took pity on my poor gambling skills & bought me an awesome AMERICA spirit jersey with his winnings. That's all I really wanted, anyway :D I can't wait to wear it MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, which is coming up so, so soon!

Anywayyyy... I suspect the real reason you're checking in today is this outfit, so let's talk. I love the jogger pant. Always have, always will. In fact, looking back, would you agree that the jogger pant was our first hint of the athleisure trend gripping our country? In case you haven't heard of athleisure, it's basically wearing semi-athletic clothes (sometimes paired with other, nicer pieces) with no intent of actually exercising.

I'm so into it. Athletic clothes are probably the most comfortable clothes in my closet. Naturally I'm on board with dressing them up to wear all the time. Living in San Francisco, where my commute includes a several mile walk everyday, it's so convenient to wear Nike gym shoes with my work clothes & call it a fashion statement. Talk about efficiency!

What do you guys think about athleisure? Do you partake? & if you do, do you have separate athleisure clothes and actual workout clothes? I totally do. My athleisure clothes are way cuter. Although, I am trying to jump back on that exercise train.... maybe some cute workout clothes would help?

Maybe ;D

beach
Girl on the beach
DSC_0037.jpg
Wearing red
on the beach
Girl on the beach
on the beach
girl on the beach
on the beach
girl on the beach
red

Photos: Jacob Heath, Nikond3200 35mm / Edits: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop / Location: Crissy Fields / Shirt: Lush from Nordstrom Rack / Joggers: Similar / Heels: Similar from Asos / Jacket: JCrew Factory

DIY Hanging Wood Headboard

Annie Butler

It took me months to decide what I wanted to display above my bed. My studio is tiny. The bed, as the biggest piece of furniture, is the default focal point. Whatever I put above it was going to get a lot of attention.

For a while, I thought about temporary wallpaper. I photoshopped a bunch of different options into the space... and didn't love any of them. I turned my attention to engineering prints of mountain photos. That's like so specific, isn't it? & fraudulent, too.  I really only pretend to be outdoorsy. Anyway, I eventually stumbled on this ABM post where Elsie transforms her dining room into a half wooden wall. I thought it was so perfect. The one problem was, since I rent my space, I really couldn't drill all those boards into the plaster walls. It would destroy them.

I decided to go for a similar effect by building the half-wooden-wall as a separate piece and hanging it above my bed to look like a headboard.

DIY hanging headboard
DIY hanging headboard

To start out, I measured my space. You need to know the total width and height of your final headboard. Then head out to the Hardware Store (a big one, like Lowe's or Home Depot), where you will visit two sections.

  • First, lumber section. I bought three 2x4's and cut them to the height I wanted my headboard. Then I found seven very thin boards, I think they might be panels. I got them in varying widths & woods & even cut a few in half, just for aesthetics. Cut these boards to the width you want your headboard. I even laid them out in the shape of my headboard on the floor of the hardware store and measured the width and height to make sure it was right.  
  • Second, hardware section. In the picture framing area (it usually has a sign), I bought six large frame hangers and six safety hangers.
  • Optional, paint section. If you need stain, polyurethane, sandpaper or brushes, this is the time to do that. I already had those things :)

You're going to spend a few days with the panel boards. First: sand each one down with a coarse paper, then a fine. After they're nice and smooth, apply your stain. I decided to use a compilation of all the stains I had in my closet (left over from my DIY dining table, tree slice side table, a desk we built for Jake, and a few other projects). I applied one coat of stain to each board, front and back, and let that dry for two days. After another light sanding, I applied one coat of a matte polyurethane and let that dry another day. 

Now the fun stuff: Lay your three 2x4s vertically on the floor in a row. Each 2x4 should be several inches apart. Then lay your stained boards horizontally across the top of the 2x4s and screw them in, one wood screw in each panel into each 2x4. I forgot to take a pictures, so here's a weird drawing to help visualize this.

diy wooden headboard

In the end, each stained, horizontal panel will have three screws in it (one on top of each 2x4). After this is done, sand the whole thing down and apply two more coats of polyurethane to the top of your (now large) pallet, a few hours apart. Let it dry for another day. 

Once the poly is fully cured, flip your pallet over, so the three 2x4s are exposed. Attach all six frame hangers, two on each 2x4, in a row. 

DIY hanging headboard
DIY hanging headboard

Now you're essentially hanging a picture frame! So, I'm just going to walk you through the same instructions I did back when we hung a gallery wall :D

Roll a large piece of kraft paper across the back of your frame and trace the hangers. 

DIY hanging headboard

(Remember this is the reverse of your board, so you have to turn the kraft paper over before you hang it onto the wall). With painter's tape and a level, hang your kraft paper onto the wall so you can visualize where the headboard will hang. 

DIY hanging headboard

Nail your safety hangers to the wall right where you traced the photo hangers on your paper. You can nail them in right on top of the kraft paper.

DIY hanging headboard
DIY hanging headboard

Tear down the paper....

DIY hanging headboard
DIY hanging headboard

& then hang your headboard!

DIY hanging headboard
Hanging Headboard DIY
DIY hanging headboard
Hanging headboard

7 paneling boards, cut to length of your headboard (Lowe's): $80
3 two by fours, cut to height of your headboard (Lowe's): $12
Sand Paper (coarse and fine): Had
Wood Stains: Had
Polyurethane: Had
Brushes: Had
21 wood screws: Had
6 large frame hangers (Lowe's): $5
6 safety hangers (Lowe's): $12
Kraft Paper (Miachael's): Had
Total: $109


Photos: Nikond3200 35mm and Kit Lens / Edits: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop