Photography Challenge

In case you didn’t already know, I’ve been really getting into photography.  I don’t mean dabbling.  I mean photographing families, engagement sessions, weddings, and changing my career on Facebook to “photographer”.  Yeah, it’s for real.

In order to keep my skills sharp during the lull of winter I decided I needed to give myself a challenge.  I would like to take one photograph everyday and post it on this blog.  A lot of them will probably be self portraits.  Not that I am in love with being in front of the camera –  I am simply my most willing subject.

Hopefully the photos will improve as the days go on but you never know.  Perhaps sometimes I will get lucky and capture a fantastic moment.  Maybe the next day I will struggle to come up with something comparable.  Towards the end I could go crazy with photo shop and end up making a fantasy image out of lots of different parts.  It is all about just getting myself to do it, stay familiar with the gear and the settings, be able to problem solve when I am under the gun.

Without further ado, here is my first image: (Click to view it bigger)

irish sweater project 1 edited

I’d love to tell you about my frozen toes but I’d rather let this one lead you where you want.


Fabric Heaven

“Whoa, Where have you been!?”

I know, I know.  I pretty much gave up on this little blog didn’t I?  Well, we all know that life happens and my life kept happening without the blog in mind unfortunately.  We grow up.  The blog and I grew apart. We had a chat and I said, “It’s not you, it’s me!”

Not because I don’t love clothes, shopping, and style any more, but because everything else is so darn time consuming!  It just doesn’t seem practical to spend so much time on this blog.  But, today I want to talk about something very practical. Fabric.

When we grow up we learn a thing or two about fabric, right?  That super soft hoodie isn’t so super soft after a couple of spin cycles and that small t-shirt that you could get away with before shows more and more of your midriff until you can’t possible get away with it anymore because even your family members stare at you when you wear it around the house.

Cotton shrinks.  Polyester is uncomfortably hot. Spandex is very forgiving.  Suddenly the sateen sheets you thought were so awesome are unbearably itchy and you lay awake at night cursing the Bed, Bath and Beyond you bought them from.

So I am going to tell you about my recently discovered all-time favorite fabric.  MODAL.


It all started with a really cute jumper from Victoria’s Secret.  Once I had a few blissful nights in my new PJ’s,  I was hooked.  I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t discovered this miracle fabric sooner.  It was soft, breathable, stretchy…It was fabric heaven.  I decided that everything I own needs to be made out of modal.  Sheets, t-shirts, pajamas, workout clothing, sofa slip covers, pot holders, etc.

I love it so much that I debated even writing this post with the thought that if more people know about it, there will somehow be less modal for me to get my hands on.

Modal is actually hard to find without being mixed with cotton or spandex.  I not an expert yet but I think the modal and spandex mix is probably the best.

Click below for some modal goodness:

modal gap


orchid2Yes, that’s all you get.  Save some for me.



Adult Adventures: Couponing-Not so simple

Most of us have seen one or two  “Extreme Couponing” episodes on TLC; Where people are featured going on a huge, excessive shopping trip and getting over $300 worth of stuff for something between 20 cents and $1 after they apply their coupons.  If you’re anything like me, you might have immediately thought, “I need to do that.”  OR “How did I not know this was possible before?” OR “Think of all the hair products…”

Like any person whose mind is dulled by television, I forgot about my revelations;  Until one day a family member posted a photo of some fresh-from-the-store merchandise (on Facebook) with the caption “I got $36 worth of stuff for 20 cents.  #coupons #ifitsfreeitsforme”  to which I thought retorted, “Oh, it’s on!”

After browsing a few popular coupon websites, I eagerly awaited my family’s sunday newspaper delivery.  “It will be brimming with coupon inserts,” they wrote.  When Sunday came and went, I remembered that my dad stopped getting the newspaper delivered to the house about 8 years ago…  “No matter!” I thought.  We still had a complimentary “Sunday Saver” with the Smart Source insert and the Red Plum insert (SS and RP for all you coupon lingo-ers).  After combing through the pages for products and food I was interested in/stuff we use regularly I came up with two or three coupons.  Not a good start, I must admit.  But how was I going to save money if I bought things I didn’t need?

One find was a coupon for Tresemme “Buy one Get One Free.”  Plus, the Shoprite circular listed Tresemme was one sale for $2.99!  Two bottles of Tresemme for $3? Don’t mind if I do.  “My first deal!” I thought. “That wasn’t too bad.”  Then I looked at the clock and realized I had been at it for about three hours and had to go to work.

“There has got to be an easier way,” I thought to myself.  I searched the websites and blogs again.  “What is everyone’s secret?”  I came to the conclusion that the secret is… (drumroll please) Every person who successfully “coupons” is a genius.  Thats not even a joke! No, Seriously it’s not.  The couponing world is filled with, “this insert and that insert”, “this website and that website”, “Catalinas”, “MFR Coupons” and more.  Manufacturing coupons can only be combined with store coupons and store coupons can be methodically planned for with the previous purchase of products (but you better use coupons for those other products too or it won’t even be worth it).  Each store has their own membership cards and their own website where you can go to watch videos and redeem more deals.  CVS has something called “Extra Care bucks” which you receive when you buy a certain amount of an item or brand which can then be used as free money on future purchases at CVS.  Target runs coupons that can only be used at target.  Then there is the fine print.  This coupon gives you a $1 off of one item and this coupon gives you $3 off but only if you buy three of the item!  This coupon can only be applied once to one item but you use four of the same like coupons in one purchase.  This coupon is not subject to doubling.  This one says it can be redeemed at Walmart but since there is no Walmart logo, you can also use it at Cvs.  “Like, seriously!?”   Can’t you just imagine me pouring over this information during my morning coffee and not understanding why I have a headache?  I have a college degree (granted I graduated a Radio/TV/Film major but I am smart dammit, I have a minor in PHILOSOPHY ok!?)  Oh geeze, maybe I am just over thinking!?

I won’t give up!  I stuck it out and carefully planned my next attack at CVS.  I would get $15 worth of Dove products and get $5 back.  Then I would use my existing deodorant coupons on two sticks of degree and end up getting them for about 50 cents each.  It was foolproof… and then I got to the store.  All of the sales were different!  I had been looking at the wrong circular.  Dove soap wasn’t on sale anymore and neither was the deodorant I planned on getting.  But I wasn’t about to back down.  I scanned the aisles.  The deal for spending $15 on dove and degree products and getting $5 back was still on.  I grabbed some dove shampoo and conditioner, which was 2 for $6 (already $2 off per bottle) plus I had a Buy one Get One for $1.50 coupon.  Then I got two sticks of degree for 2 for $8 (already $1.79 off per stick) plus my two coupons for 75 cents off of each one.  But I still needed to spend a couple dollars more to get the $5 back.  After exhausting all of the other options, I had to get two more bottles of dove hair products. (Because, of course the bars of soap weren’t included in the deal!)  I ended up spending $14.40 on $31.54 worth of stuff.  Plus I got the $5 off for my next purchase.

I used that $5 to strategically increase my “Extra Care Bucks.”  After scoping the sales, I got $25 worth of stuff for $19 after my $5 off plus I got $9 back to save on my next purchase.  Then, I went back to return a $10 tube of makeup that I ended up hating, which, I must say was pretty sneaky because I got to keep the $9 in extra bucks which means I got that whole order for free. Score!

But what have I really come away from my days as a “couponer” thinking… That I have enough hair products to wash my hair for two years.

IMG_4303 IMG_4304

But seriously, coupons are a very valuable resource.  Now I won’t go on any big shopping trips without looking for coupons first.  However, buying things just because there are coupons for them is the fault of most extreme couponers because the question is begged, “Would I even have bought that if I didn’t have a coupon?”  Sure, there are ways to rig the system by getting things for free but there is also that fake feeling of savings when a box of crackers is 25 cents off when you buy two! (You don’t need two boxes of Ritz, they last literally forever.) Are the coupons really savings or are companies profiting from that false sense of savings?  It isn’t an easy line to walk. On one hand you have a lifetime supply of shampoo and on the other you might be, “Getting swindled and pimped- Getting tricked by business.” Yeah I just quoted Macklemore, deal with it.

Fall Uniform 2012

With every new season comes a slightly new “uniform”.  We learn what we like and modify it enough everyday that it is a different outfit but essentially the same idea.  Fall is my favorite time for clothes.  The heat of summer finally lets up and allows for tons more clothing options. (Plus, it is that rare time before the real cold when a heavy coat isn’t covering up your masterpiece.)

This fall I am sticking to my guns a little bit.  While I might be dying to add a nice structured bag and some riding boots to my wardrobe, everything thing else is relatively the same as it was this past winter.  Let me show you:

ImageStaples: Sweater, Collared Shirt, Leggings/Tights, Skirt, Skinny Jeans, Booties (Accessories: Sunnies, Scarf, Delicate Jewelry, Pearls, Gold and Silver)

You see?  It is always the same vibe but just portrayed slightly differently.  It’s a classy, nerdy, comfortable, and textured uniform that is appropriate for all occasions and perfect for the fall “academia” vibe (that I love so much).

In adding to my closet for this fall I stocked up on sweaters at TJ Maxx and grabbed some essentials like booties and scarves.  I am also getting into more delicate and classic jewelry, which I started with a few rings.

I picked up these two pairs on a very successful outing.  They’re both Wanted brand. (I scored mine for much cheaper than they are offered online at Barefeet Shoes in Atlantic City.)

My favorite rings this summer that I am keeping in rotation into the fall.  Left to right:  Starfish Ring from work.  My Class Ring (which now needs to be resized because it looks funny right next to my engagement ring).  Two Thin Gold Bands from Etsy.  Knot Ring from Etsy.

There you have it, hipikats.  It’s slightly different from my usual “Fall Trends” post (which I can still do) but I hope you enjoy it!

Fashion’s Greatest Photographers Pt. 1

We leaf through magazines in awe of the beautiful models and stunning clothes, but do we ever stop to wonder about the person behind the lens?  In order to get acquainted with the artists who have made those ads and editorials possible, I bring you five of fashion’s most influential and talented photographers.

Horst P. Horst (1906-1999)

After his first photography exhibition in Paris in 1932, Horst was instantly famous.  Over his career, he shot a number of ads and magazine covers.

Horst for Vogue Magazine 1940

Horst’s photo, “The Mainbocher Corset” is considered one of the great iconic photos of the 20thcentury.  In it, he featured a model in a back-lacing corset turned away from the camera, which has been described as mysterious and erotically charged.

The Mainbocher Corset by Irving Penn September Vogue 1939 Detolle for Mainbocher

Horst created a real-life version of the ancient Greek statues, a visual that he repeated often in many of his photographs.

Helen Bennett by Horst Paris 1936

Horst’s effect on the fashion world is considered one the most significant and long lasting of all fashion photographers.

Irving Penn (1917-2009)

Minimal, elegant, and calm; the work of Irving Penn set a standard for fashion photography in the 1940’s.  Working under the tutelage of Vogue art director, Alex Liberman, he shot his first cover for vogue in 1943.  (He shot over 150 covers for Vogue during his career.)

A Still Life of Accessories by Irving Penn, Vogue October 1943

Penn photographed a number of famous men and women but his muse was Lisa Fonssagrives, to model and wife to Penn.

Lisa Fonssagrives in Lafaurie’s pleated chiffon evening dress September 15, 1950

Penn was well known for bringing a specific style to his photographs that continues to inspire designers and photographers to this day.

Truman Capote by Penn 1948

Helmut Newton (1920-2004)

Newton’s photographs are a very distinct bunch.  Always in black and white and often sexual in nature, his style has been gracing the pages of fashion magazines since the late 1950’s.

Now often imitated, Newton’s portraits pushed the envelope of fashion photography and contributed a path of change to the fashion world.

French Vogue 1975 Le Smoking YSL Suit

Although his photos were sometimes labeled pornographic, it has been argued that Newton gave the woman a position of power and created a new industry standard.  Over the years he worked for French and Australian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Playboy.

Richard Avedon (1923-2004)

Alexy Brodovitch, art director for the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, discovered and hired Avedon in 1944.  Soon after, Avedon became their chief photographer.  Avedon went against the standards of fashion photography of the time, preferring to shoot models full of emotion and often in action.

Homage to Munkacsi 1957 with model Carmen

He is also known for his talent at capturing revealing portraits.  In 1957 session with Marilyn Monroe, Avedon took one final shot as she was winding down which became one of the most famous portraits ever made.  As photographer Vik Muniz said, it was “a picture of Norma Jean, not Marilyn.”

Marilyn Monroe 1957

Throughout his career, Avedon shot a number of covers for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue as well was campaigns for Versace. ( Fun Fact: The character of Dick Avery in the film “Funny Face” was based off of Richard’s experience as a fashion photographer.)

Harpar’s Bazaar cover shot by Avedon in 1965

Steven Meisel (1954-)

Meisel’s fascination with fashion began at an early age and now he is considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry.  Although he majored in fashion illustration at Parsons, Meisel enjoyed taking photos of models in his spare time and eventually moved into photography as a career.

Dolce and Gabbana F/W 2006 campaign by Meisel

Meisel has worked for a number of magazines and designers, many of whom he is constantly shooting for. For example, he works with US and Italian Vogue (He shoots every cover of Italian Vogue.) and he shoots campaigns for designers such as Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein, and Prada.

Meisel for Louis Vuitton S/S 2012 Collection

Thanks to his connections in the industry Meisel has promoted the careers of many successful models including Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Lara Stone, Doutzen Krous and Coco Rocha by featuring them in his campaign shoots.

Linda Evangelista in 1990 by Meisel

After the many years spent in the business producing striking images, Meisel has certainly proven himself as an artist.

Part 2 is on its way!  Thanks for reading, hipikats.

An Engagement

I have a bit of a proposal for my readers:

There is no arguing that I have been neglecting my blogging duties.  However, in my defense, summer is a busy time for me.  Working in a shore-town means summer is less about barbecues and ringing bicycle bells and more about getting the hours in.  Plus, my days off are better spent relaxing than holing up in my room on the computer!  So, as you can see, I have been engaged in a number of tasks and activities…some more exciting than others.  Take, for instance, OUR ENGAGEMENT! (OK, I couldn’t put it off any longer! Don’t act like you didn’t get the hints.)

Peter and I are engaged!  If you’re a friend or family then you already know, but if not then here is just a bit of background:  Peter is the most wonderful, amazing, talented, intelligent, kind, adorable, gentlemanly, perfect person in the world and he asked me to marry him! Can you believe it?  Hahaha…I sure couldn’t.  I was so surprised!  Now that it has had a chance to sink in I am just over-the-moon ecstatic.  (I don’t even take my ring off when I go to bed, but don’t tell anyone.)

So, here I am with all of this joy in my life and what do I think of, “I should do a blog post!”  Although I try to stick with fashion, I think the best way to keep a personal blog is to do whatever you want with it.  One day I am into fashion (OK, everyday I am into fashion) and the next day I am perfecting an Auntie Anne’s pretzel recipe (which turned out awesome, by the way), but right now I am completely focused on just savoring this time and our love (and planning a perfect wedding, of course, but one step at a time).  Therefore, a lot of my upcoming posts are going to be about wedding this or that.  You may sigh but what kind of a blogger would I be if I didn’t share the most important things in my life?

So for all of you curious people out there:

Peter and I have been together (uninterrupted, might I add) for about four and a half years.  When we first started dating, I was 17 and Peter was 19.  Now we are 22 and 23, respectively.


We went from being high schoolers, to college students, and now graduates together.  Over the years, we’ve learned a lot, from our friends, family, and professors, but most importantly we’ve learned a lot from each other.

Now, obviously we know each other inside and out.  Likes and dislikes, food preferences, pet peeves, habits, hobbies, favorite places, fears, hopes, and dreams are all part of it.  However, there is a point when learning about each other slows (although, it never stops completely) and learning from each other takes center stage.  It isn’t always easy to take advice and admit our mistakes but I have seen how we have grown from it over the years.  I can’t speak for Peter specifically but I can honestly say that being with him has made me a more caring and thoughtful person and I could never thank him enough for teaching me some of life’s most valuable lessons. And, I think one of the most important lessons we have come to understand from spending all this time together is that we never want to be without each other.  Which is why I’m just so overwhelmed at the fact that soon we will embark on a journey of a lifetime of togetherness. (It makes me so happy that I’m on the verge of tears as I write this.)

Peter and I have just always felt so perfect together.  Even in the beginning stages of our relationship when were just learning about each other we filled the voids that the other one left.  Every new discovery was a exciting realization that we enjoyed the same movies, music, hobbies, and life philosophies.  Every misstep was a chance for us to mend something we deeply cared about.  Every moment spent together was like being with a best friend.

Now, we are best friends.  We know every detail of each other’s lives.  We think the same things at the same time.  We share everything.  We are together whenever we can be (and somehow it still isn’t enough).  We make up for each other’s short comings and enhance each other’s better qualities.  We support and care for each other.  We are everything I could have ever hoped for in a relationship and more.  I just can’t help but wonder how I got so lucky.  Peter’s love for me shows in every smile, every touch, and every nickname.  He treats me like I’m the only person in the world who matters.  When I’m with him, I feel loved, safe, and utterly happy.  There is nothing better than the two of us together and there is, and never will be, anyone else I want to spend the rest of my life with.

There are no words to describe how excited and pleased I am to be making this step in my life with Peter and our families by our sides.  Over the coming months (who am I kidding, years) I’ll probably have a lot to say about flowers and color schemes but all that really matters is that I get to marry my best friend.  Which is why I wanted to write this post for myself and for everyone involved.  Throughout this process of simply having wedding, I know that there are going to be times when the decisions and details become distracting.  But I always want to remember, “Why are we getting married.”  And the answer will always be, “because we love each other and want to be together forever.”  And that is all that really matters.