April 8, 2015

Spring Playlist 2015



I said I was taking a break from Inspirsession during my travels through Europe, but as I'm still hoovering up inspiration everywhere, it's hard to resist the occasional update. At the very least, I couldn't resist cataloging a spring playlist for this year.

The majority of these selections are tunes that kept popping into my head during my work in the Irish countryside. When you're whitewashing walls and whacking weeds, some good music can really keep you going -- even if it's only in your head!

A few track notes:

Bob Dylan is admittedly an artist I've spent a lot of years ignoring. This had much to do with the fact he practically "belonged" to a select group of students in my high school who I didn't always see eye to eye with. As I've grown up, I've realized that the prejudices I formed about those people weren't really accurate -- and neither was my distaste for Dylan. So I guess I'm making up for that now.

Ireland has clearly made a place for itself in my brain with the obvious choices of An Dochas (Spokane! Whoo!) and Mark Knopfler's fabulous instrumental "Going Home" (check out the bagpipe version of this song as well -- pretty good stuff.) I've also become quite fond of their local John Creedon Radio Show, on which I heard the brand new track "Starling" and discovered the absurd "634-5789" in the space of one afternoon. Fabulous.

Cat Stevens. I have taken to binge-watching his live performances on YouTube as of late, and I can't get enough of them. Especially the fabulous head movement going on in this one. We can't all be Cat Stevens, but we can certainly strive for peace and follow our moonshadows and listen to the winds of our souls.

You can give the full playlist a listen here.

March 10, 2015

Winter Capsule Wrap-Up

On Thousand Wordsell, folks... it always happens this way. I see road paved with free time ahead of me, I promise myself I'll make the most of it, and instead I revert to some version of my pre-Seattle (read: high school) self -- spending the day listening to music and digging through memories in my room. Room paleontology. There are certainly worse activities, I suppose.

W2015 19: 70s Chic

Anyway, the time has come to wrap up my Winter Capsule Wardrobe venturOn Thousand Wordser several weeks of culling, packing, and stuffing clothes into various boxes and bags (only to later unpack and find new places to store them) I'm more resolved than ever to strive for a minimal wardrobe... and I've also been awakened to the drawbacks of the particular capsule process I chose to adopt.

First off: 37 pieces of clothing is a lot. Like, way more than you'd think. On the upside, it definitely kept my butterfly mind from getting bored. On the downside, having almost 40 clothes per season (less the crossover pieces) means having well over 100 pieces in your possession, easily. While that's still not much by the average, overloaded, American closet standard, it's way more than I can keep track of while out shopping for things I "need." And it's hardly compatible with my humble New York City apartment dreams.

W2015 20: Sweet Dreams

Secondly, this: Perhaps I baby my clothes (or maybe I just need to take a good, hard look at my hygiene standards...), but between 37 items and my fondness for Woolite detergent, my winter wardrobe is still in great condition. While I consider that a triumph in some regards, it rather defeats my favorite part of the capsule process: renewal. When everything still looks pristine, replacements hardly seem called for. Lesson learned: if you want the option to revamp your wardrobe season to season without feeling guilty for ditching still-wearable clothing, you need to buy less and wear more. You also need to slip a fat cocoon around that butterfly mind of yours.

W2015 21: Pom Pom


Like my last capsule reflection, I figured it would be useful to evaluate which pieces served me best and which I should've left out. Here are the results this time around:

    W2015 Winner of Most-Favored & Versatile Piece: Brown Ankle Boots (Lucky Brand) & Green Field Coat (Old Navy)
         It's a toss up between these two. These are just my style and I can't believe I waited so long to get them into my life! Comfy, utilitarian, but somehow sweet. Yep, sounds a bit like me!

    W2015 Loser of the same category: Wide-Leg Pinstriped Pants
         I'm not sure what I was thinking here, to be honest. I've had these pants for years, and I'd kept them around for the sole reason I thought I "ought to." (Everybody "needs" a pair of black work pants, right?) With the 70s coming back into style full-force, I dug them out of my back drawer, figuring I'd finally be able to make something of them. Nope. This girl doesn't need (or want) a pair of black work pants.

W2015 22: To Infinity And Beyond

Finally, an announcement: For the next three months I'm going to be adventuring across Europe with a backpack of clothes and two pairs of shoes.  I have been honing my wardrobe for the past few weeks, to bring it down to the bare necessities, and I can't to put it to the test! At the very least, it will be an excellent minimalist trial run. I don't plan to update Inspirsession regularly during this time, but I do invite you to follow my travel writing at One Thousand Words. Until then, inspire and obsess on, and have a lovely spring!

February 25, 2015

W2015 16, 17, & 18: Field Parka, Three Ways

Hello, all! Packing up my apartment this weekend took more time and energy than anticipated, so I've fallen rather behind on prepping my posts. To make up for it, I'm including multiple outfits in this one -- all about field coats. Since I've received some questions about brands and costs lately, I'm including that information, but I'll spare you (and myself) from additional commentary.

I hope everyone has a fabulous final week of February! To those on the east coast: My heart goes out to you. To those on the west coast: Has spring actually sprung??

F2015: 16 - Field Coat A
Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Blouse: Romy ($15?, on sale)
Scarf: unknown ($10, thrifted)
Shoes: unknown ($15, thrifted)
Bracelet: unknown (gift)

W2015 17: Field Coat B
Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Dress: Sans Souchi, gift
Earrings: Lucky ($25)
Ring: souvenir from Cordes, France ($15?)
Shoes: Josef Siebel ($60, on sale)
Bag: Fossil ($35, thrifted)
Leggings: Old Navy ($12)

W2015 18: Field Coat C

Coat: Old Navy ($42, on sale)
Sweater: Banana Republic ($40, on sale)
Skinny Jeans: J-Brand ($123, on sale)
Ring: Macy's (gift)
Boots: Lucky Brand ($39, on Ebay)
Lipstick: Revlon "Bordeaux" ($8)

February 20, 2015

W2015 15: Northern Comfort

W2015 15: Northern Comfort

Inspiration Image Source

To say this adorable picture of Mother-Nature's-Son Macca "inspired" my outfit in the first place would be a bit of stretch, but I think the two do compliment each other quite nicely.

President's Day weekend brought a spell of glorious sunshine to Seattle. At times, temperatures were in the high 50s (!!), but you could still feel that chilly winter bite while walking in the shade. I'm sure Northern Europe has very little to do sunshine and February springtime, but I was nevertheless in the mood for fair isle knits, work boots, and cup upon cup of breakfast-time tea.

Inspirsesson has yet to hear some important news: This March I'll be hopping a plane to the United Kingdom, then working in rural Northern Ireland for a few weeks (and that's only the first stop!) Needless to say, this last month has been a whirlwind of travel-planning, furniture-selling, and fretting over how to pack a sensible suitcase. Outfits like this one are going to be choice for the travel days I'm not doing grunge work: layered, warm, chic, walkable, and comfortable (LWCWC?)

At this point, I have yet to decide what to do with Inspirsession during my travels. More than likely I will take a brief hiatus to focus on travel writing. Between now and then, expect an early wrap of my winter capsule wardrobe... and perhaps a peep into my suitcase?

What do you like to wear traveling? Have you ever packed a suitcase for a very long adventure? Most importantly, do you believe hiking boots can be made stylish??


February 17, 2015

W2015 14: Aquarius Blues, or A Few of My Favorite Things

W2015 14: Aquarius Blues

Inspiration Image Source

The minute I saw this inspiration photo, I knew I wanted to save it for my birthday outfit inspiration. The moon necklace, the cascading hair, the far-off eyes, the blue dress... it immediately reminded me of all things Aquarius!

I've always had a great love for all things vintage and unique (and often both at once.) For my birthday this year, I wanted to bust out all my favorite individualist pieces from my winter capsule. It's just my good fortune that they all happened to coordinate!

First up: this cobalt silk shirtdress. I found this baby at a thrift store in college, and I admit I was hesitant at first. I wasn't fully convinced blue was my color, and I worried the silk might be finicky. When I put it on, though, the fit was so perfect that color and maintenance concerns fell right away. Have you ever experienced this? That Cinderella moment when something just feels made for you? Sometimes it can cloud judgement, but in this case I was glad I trusted my instincts. In all its simplicity, it's still one of the most flattering garments I own.*

Next, these shoes. I love just about any oxford, but an oxford heel adds just the right amount of vintage sass. I found this 30s throwback pair at another thrift store in good old Spokane, Washington some 4 or 5 years ago. Once again, it was love at first sight.

When you're rocking a dress and shoes in a style that's older than your mom, it's wise to inject a healthy dose of trendy/modern to balance things out. That's why I went for these punky plaid tights, rather than a simple solid or nylon stocking. Their color harmony with the shoes kept them from looking clownish, but they still measured up to the oomph of the dress.

Have you ever tried pairing your favorite pieces all at once? Try it and see what you learn about yourself!

*It should be pointed out that the actual dress is a sleek a-line cut, not the baggy mess that is its representation photo above.