Friday, May 27, 2016

Gurnee Mills Gift Card | Giveway

Hello, loves! Happy Fri-yay! Why is it Fri-yay and not a plan old Friday, you ask? Because I spent the whole day shopping awesome deals courtesy of Gurnee Mills! Gurnee Mills is the largest outlet and value destination in Illinois or as I knew it, the really huge mall by Six Flags. I actually used to go there all the time when I was little, but after we moved to the Green Bay area we kind of fell off our radar. But, guys. Guuuys. This place is huge and awesome. Every store you could ever want plus tons of outlet stores on top of it! It is seriously a destination.

My goal while I was there was to treat myself to something I would never usually splurge on. I wanted to treat myself, yo. I gazed and touched and sometimes even hugged things at stores that I wouldn't normally even go into. I'm pretty good at splurging on dresses and skirts so I focused on shoes and purses. I never buy myself shoes and purses. Although, I did sneak a few clothing items into the dressing room.

A photo posted by Noelle (@the_classyjunk) on

I will be raffling off a $50 gift card to be used at any store in Gurnee Mills. So, if you're in the Chicago/Milwaukee area get clickity clicking to get your shot at treating yourself too! The winner will be announced Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

You're Wild | Outfit

I promised you a Johnny Castle look, right? I'm sure you were just sick with anticipation. Well, wait no more!

A few weeks ago I featured a Dirty Dancing outfit inspired by the sweet, feminine looks worn by the ladies in the classic, campy 80's movie. Well, this week I am paying tribute to the greatest dancing bad boy that ever twirled his way into our hearts.

The scene that is crystallized as pure Johnny in my mind is the car window scene. The rain's pouring down, the car doors are locked, and to the sounds of "Overload" by Zappacosta, he smashes his own window in with a post just to get Baby into the car. A gleeful baby throws her head back and yells, "you're wild!" and the world fell in love. Not only did I want to emulate the ever classic black look that Johnny sports throughout the movie, but I also wanted to the capture the spirit of that scene. I wanted to wear something tough and daring. Something that said I didn't need anyone's approval because I knew how to get things done on my own. 

So of course I had to go with some short shorts because nothing makes me feel tougher or more daring then wearing something that internet trolls love telling people like me they can't wear. Well, in the words of my man, Johnny Castle, "You just put your pickle on everybody's plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me."

Jacket: Target (similar, similar in plus) | Shirt: Passive Juice Motel | Shorts: Kohls (similar, similar in plus) | Shoes: Torrid (similar) | Scarf: Thrifted (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Liquid Lipstick in Succulent

Monday, May 23, 2016

Boudoir Photos | Body Positivity

Confidence isn't about thinking you're the greatest thing there ever was. It's not about being sure that you're the best looking person in the room. It's about ownership of your body. When you feel ashamed of your body, when you hid your body, when you curse your body, you are owning the judgments and prejudices of society. 

Now let me make this as clear as I can. You are not the negative thoughts or criticisms of other people. Do not own that. If someone tells you how your body, your face, your personality, is not pleasing to them and you make the choice to internalize that then you are allowing that person to define you as an object. You are seeing yourself through the perspective of how you can be used by someone else. 

Your body, the way it is in this exact moment, is an extension of you and your existence. You are a completely unique individual. No one will ever experience the world the same way as you. No one can hear music like you do. No one can see colors like you do. No one will ever think the same thoughts as you. You are an entire universe in one body. Something as alive and dynamic as that can never be an object. You choose how to define yourself.

You can take yourself right now, right this second, without any adjustments or changes, and own yourself. Let go of the idea that your body has to fit into the parameters that make you the most useful to others and start figuring out how your body can be the most useful to you.

I never would have allowed my body to do something like this a few years ago. When I found Cayan Ashley Photography at a wedding show a few months back, I fell for her representation of female beauty . Her images captured the connection between the spirit and the body of her subjects, not the usefulness of a woman's sex appeal. It was unlike any other boudoir photography I had ever seen. I was thrilled when we connected through Instagram and when I came to the junction between deeming my body as unworthy of being documented this way or honoring my experience as an individual, I made the choice to discount the definition that society has put on my body. I wanted to live this and that's the only thing mattered.

Was it scary? Heck yes. Sometimes, I still get scared just by looking at these photos. But, I also feel incredibly brave and strong for having pushed passed a barrier that has held on to me so tightly. These photos exist because I want them too and it doesn't matter what anyone else sees.

So, now I challenge you to unlock something in yourself that you've held captive or didn't allow yourself to experience because you weren't "worthy" of it. Remember. The only perspective that matters is yours.

Outfit 1: Top: Modcloth | Bodysuit: Kohl's

Outfit 2: Dress: Torrid | Bralette: Torrid | Underwear: Torrid

Outfit 3: Sweater: Kohl's | Corset: Orchard Corsets

Friday, May 20, 2016

Plaid Cape | Shaped by Style

I'm wearing this amazing plaid cape from Hannah and doing math over on Shaped by Style! Go have a little look at the adorable outfit and see how algebra factors into to all of this! Oh, so exciting!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Portable Veblen | BBRBF Book Club + Outfit

Can we give three cheers for this book, please? And I know I just spoiled the suspense of how I felt about it. I know...what a shame...but, this book is totally worth it.

This month for BBRBF Book Club we read The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie. Actually, it was last month's book, but we ran into a snafu because it was a very hard book to get our hands on! But, again, totally worth it. Make sure to check out Kristina's and Sara Lily's reviews to see if they argee!

The Portable Veblen is about the brand new engagement between Paul and, our heroine, Veblen. They seem well matched, but their engagement is hasty and they both are struggling with the continuing ripples of difficult childhoods. They soon discover they don't know as much about each other as they had thought and fissures start to form as they each go on an individual journey of self-discovery.

There are so many different elements to this book that I honestly didn't think it would be good. You've got family trouble, traumatic childhoods, mental illness and disabilities, military involvement, medical research, economical theories, and squirrels. Yes, squirrels. It's a little daunting at the onset, but I have to give the author enormous credit for masterfully weaving all these distinct and weighty topics into one very cohesive and funny story. I would describe The Portable Veblen as whimsical and thought-provoking, which are not often elements you find in the same book. The writing style was smart and witty. Stringing together philosophy and poetry with a heavy realness. One of my favorite lines is when Veblen describes the diamond on her ring as so big that someone with an aversion to taking pills would avoid it. Having to choke down a giant pill (prenatals, anyone?) is so relatable that we can instantly visualize the diamond as well as feel the underlying discomfort that Veblen feels towards the commitment she just made.

The story itself follows Veblen and Paul as they introduce each other to the familial baggage they each carry. Paul's being hippie parents that raised him on a commune and his mentally disabled brother that he has an intense dislike for and Veblen's being her extremely emotional mother that suffers from hypochondria and a constant need for validation and her father who was verging on abusive during her childhood, but is now institutionalized because of PTSD. Phew...that was ridiculous sentence.

Instead of being able to relate to each other through their scars, they each respond in such jarringly opposite ways that it becomes impossible for them to connect. Veblen has developed a "tend and befriend" coping mechanism and is driven to understand all the intricacies of her mother. Growing up like that led Veblen to exist somewhat on her own plane of reality. She communes with squirrels and obsesses over her namesake, Thorstein Veblen, an economist who rejects consumerism.

Paul though, has forsaken anything to do with his upbringing and dreams only of living in a giant McMansion with his Land's End sweater vest and a big ol' boat in his driveway. Because I loved Veblen's dream of quietly living her life in the cottage she rescued, surrounded by the nature that she related to so much, I could not wrap my head around Paul's materialism and I often found myself rooting against him. Eventually though I did come to see why Paul was so fixated on the perfect suburban life and that realization offered a lot of understanding.

Despite the fact that Paul and Veblen were the main focus, the supporting characters were such a strong element of the story, too. As we explored Paul and Veblen's strengths and weaknesses, we also unwrapped the little gifts that were their families. Particularly Veblen's mom. She was awful, but she was wonderful, too. I hated the way she treated Veblen. The only way that it could be described is downright oppression and manipulation. They're relationship was so one-sided that my heart hurt for Veblen. And still, I understood why Veblen loved her and her antics made me love her too. Not only were the characters complex and multifaceted, but the feelings I got from this book were too. How was this author doing this to me???

On a scale of Total Pile to Masterpiece, I'd give this book a raving Can't wait to Read it Again because it was that Good!

For my outfit, I just emulated the sweat pastels on the cover and added this suede skirt to play the role of the squirrel. And how perfect is this little building I found after taking a wrong turn? It reminded me so much of Veblen's little cottage. If only I could have gotten a squirrel to pose with me.

If you want to read along, next month we are reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. Based on the cover I can already image the outfits that will accompany this book!

Cardigan: Thrifted (similar) | Shirt: Torrid (similar) | Skirt: Thrifted (similar, similar) | Shoes: Bait Footwear (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Solow

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Young Girl Reading | Style Imitating Art

Happy Style Imitating Art Day! This week we are getting our sartorial mitts on “A Young Girl Reading“ byJean-Honoré Fragonard. This one was pretty easy as it plays with two of my favorite colors. Yellow and mauve is a color combo that sits nicely in my heart as it is just so soft and pleasant.

I also enjoyed how the collar on my top, which is actually a dress, is a modern take on the collar the girl wears in the painting. I would have worn just the yellow dress, but it fits poorly and there are not many tweaks known to me that make it look decent. I can't alter it myself because the construction is a bit complicated and yet, I can't let it go. It was my favorite dress for years and I've never seen it's equal. So, it will remain in my closet, occasionally serving as a top until some other factor pops up and allows me to do something definitive with it.

My shoes don't fit well either. But, they're yellow too. So, obviously they must stick around, as well.

Make sure to check out Jen's blog for the full round-up of art inspired looks!

Sweater: Gap (similar, similar) | Top (dress) Eshakti (exact in navy, similar) | Skirt: Modcloth (similar) | Shoes: Modcloth (similar) | Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Having Fun with Kids and Still Saving Money | Family Life + Advice

As you might know, I recently had some family members lose their entire home to a fire. It was completely devasting to them and those of us around them. Afterwards, we personally kicked up our fire safety a notch in our house but it never quite feels like enough. Because this is such a personal topic to me, I was really excited to hear about the Gurnee Mills Fire Expo.

It's a free event for families that teaches fire prevention and safety, but also wraps it up in a fun little package that kids will love. I mean, hello, a firetruck alone is enough to make my kids' day. I'm always looking for free things to do because it's expensive taking a family of five anywhere. There are so many fun and often educational events to do out in the community that don't cost a thing and I would encourage anyone with kids to ditch the idea that every outing has to be at an expensive play place.

Some great places that host or advertise free activities are nature centers, the library, local businesses, and even community facebook groups. The members there frequently post about free events happening close to home. I learned about Princess Day at the Domes through a local babywearing group!

Enjoying our last free event, an earth day celebration at the nature center

Below you will find the description of the Gurnee Mills fire Expo and the itinary if you are local and would like to check it out for yourself.

GURNEE, Ill. (April 26, 2016) – Back by popular demand, Lake County’s Fire Safety Expo will return to Gurnee Mills on Saturday, May 14. The free interactive event, sponsored by the Lake County Fire Chiefs Association, aims to help prevent house fires and keep families safe. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and run through 3:00 p.m. in Gurnee Mills’ Parking Lot E, near Value City Furniture. 

Multiple safety teams will demonstrate the latest fire prevention tips and give families an opportunity to learn through interactive activities while enjoying food, refreshments and prizes. All day events for the Fire Safety Expo include: Kids Combat Challenge, Fire Safety Smoke House, Kids Fire Pole, Lake County Dive Team Exhibit, Grayslake FD Fire Safety Trailer, Free Teddy Bear Clinic, Fire Safety Sprinkler Trailer, Free Blood Pressure Checks, Kids Passport to Safety and Free Fire Truck Rides.   

“Gurnee Mills hosts many community events throughout the year, and the Fire Safety Expo is definitely one of our favorites,” said Elizabeth Striegel, Director of Marketing and Business Development. “Fire safety affects all Lake County residents and we are delighted to team with the Lake County Fire Chiefs Association to help further educate local families on this important issue in such a fun and engaging way.”

A complete schedule of events for the day is listed below.
·         10:00 a.m. – Fire Expo Opens
·         10:30 a.m. – Trench Rescue Demonstration
·         11:00 a.m. – Lake County High Angle Demonstration
·         11:30 a.m. – Waukegan Fire Department Bomb Squad
·         11:45 a.m. – Side by Side Demonstration (of homes with a fire-sprinkler system and without)
·         12:30 p.m. – Auto Extrication Demonstration
·         1:00 p.m. – K-9 Demonstration
·         1:30 p.m. – Wild Land Fire Demonstration
·         2:00 p.m. – Raffle (Main Stage)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016

Floral Circle Skirt | Outfit

We took advantage of the stellar outdoor space outside of The Soda Parlor for these outfit photos. The little patio is right under a water tower and there are cafe lights strung about the support beams. It's all kinds of wonderful to hang out there for a while. It happens to be the reason I fell Alanis Morissette style head over feet in love with the city the first time we came through. Can I just hobo it up and squat in that water tower? I can just tell it was meant to be my home.

Our first time visiting Nashville, we were driving home from Georgia and we arrived in full road trip attire. Comfy, frumpy, and slightly smelly. I really didn't think anything of it because it's Nashville, right? Home of country music. Besides some long gone artists from another era, I can't think of a single country music artist that I personally would consider a style icon. Real talk here. I don't really consider country music very cool. However, when we arrived, I was surprised to find the locals to be much like Milwaukee city dwellers. They had a creative, current, and unique flair to their style that isn't exactly meant for the streets of New York or Paris, but it's all about personality. These were my people and I was in road trip clothes! I immediately went into emergency mode; cuffing and tying things into a suitable outfit. It's not that I think it's some huge faux pas not to be dressed to the standards of those around you. Seriously. Eff that. For me it's about being a part of the fun and I was missing an opportunity to be a part of a scene that I connected with!

I was not going to make that mistake the second time around. I packed my new favorite outfit in a bag and changed from my wrinkly road trip clothes in a truck stop bathroom because this was going to happen! And, yes, this outfit was worth a truck stop change. I am in love with circle skirts, but the weight of this slinky fabric has the most amazing fluidity to it. Combining that with the twirl-ability of a circle skirt and you've got nirvana.

Of course, that wasn't enough for me. Adding the clashing red shoes (I created cohesion by wearing a matching red lip) and the boater hat took the outfit to a spunkier, quirkier level that made me oh so very happy. Especially because both were totally practical choices. The hat provide sun coverage for my sun phobic skin and Saltwater Sandals form to your feet, guys! Just by following the instructions included in the box, they fit perfectly. Which meant they were so comfortable to walk in all day. The marriage of form and function just gets me into a happy place.

No regets this time around. I did it up. Check out yesterday's post to see the photographic evidence of our fun!

Shirt: Target (exact in stripe pattern, similar in plus) | Skirt: Modcloth (similar colors, similar style) | Shoes: Modcloth | Hat: Thrifted (similar) | Lips: Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Succulent