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Style, Travel

Garfield Conservatory

floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-13floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-18floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-16floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-17floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-10floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-15 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-9floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-11floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-8floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-12floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-3floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-2floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-4floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-14 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-6floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-7 floral-silk-blouse-garfield-observatory-5Vest: Topshop // Blouse: Banana Republic // Jeans: Express // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Earrings: old, similar // Bag: old, similar // Boots: Circus by Sam Edelman // Manicure: Nails by MEI

What to do when you’re more than ready for spring to come, but the bulbs are just starting to push through the ground? Put on your prettiest floral print silk top—layered with a luxuriously plush faux fur vest because it’s technically still winter—and head to that great Victorian invention of indoor botany: the conservatory. Although the stunning facade of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco may be more appealing from the outside, the Garfield Conservatory just outside of Chicago boasts hidden lush gardens that are hard to beat.

We recently popped up to Chicago so I could cover an event for the Nordstrom blog, where I was treated to this bananas manicure by the great Mei, but once my job was done we had some time to explore Chicagoland a bit. We were originally planning on checking out the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute but ran out of time, so we decided to explore the conservatory after we happened to drive past it, and I’m so glad we did.

In addition to the wealth of daffodils, hyacinths, orchids and succulents, the Garfield is currently home to the solarise exhibit, which the conservatory website describes as “a series of light and sculptural environments created by Luftwerk – Chicago artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero.” I especially loved the floral patchwork of red-and-blue lucite panels that were suspended over the Show Room, adding another layer of color to the already stunning setting. We spent over an hour wandering from greenhouse to greenhouse, snapping photos along the way, but I could have happily just moved on in like the kids in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Being around that many flowers and all that beautiful color left me with a huge, dumb grin on my face, and I can’t wait to go back.

Clothing, Style

Moody Floral Maxi Dress

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Dress: Glamorous (sold out, simiar here) // Vest: Topshop // Boots: Chinese Laundry // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Necklace: Julie Vos // Bag: Forever 21 // Lipstick: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

I’ve long harbored an obsession with the Dutch Masters. The mysterious shadows in shades of somber black, the ultra-saturated blooms that seem to glow from within impeccable still-life arrangements and the fanciful appearances of the occasional dead peacock and plump, just-picked fruits. Perhaps most of all, I love the interplay of light and dark, which is probably what initially drew me to this moody floral print maxi dress.

The vibrant pops of rich teal and berry red lend depth to the floaty style, while matching thigh-high slits on either side part at the slightest hint of a breeze, revealing my favorite suede over-the-knee boots underneath. Since it’s still quite cold here in Iowa, a layer of cozy faux fur is a must, and this Topshop vest is an especially stellar specimen of the imitation stuff.

Accessories, DIY

DIY Faux Fur Pom Pom Loafers

diy-pouf-loafers-2diy-pouf-loafers-6As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve gone full-on vegan Cruella de Vil in my single-minded obsession with all things faux fur. Thankfully, running to the craft store and paying a couple bucks for these charming faux-fur pom poms is both much easier and much more ethical than kidnapping a whole litter of dalmatian puppies. But I digress.

This is one of those DIY projects that was borne of my (usually conflicting) desires for instant gratification and relative frugality and is almost embarrassing to share because it was so easy to make. I saw a similar pair of shoes on one of my Saturday-morning online window shopping trips, dug these old canvas smoking slippers out of the back of my closet, ran to Hobby Lobby and had furry toes before the sun went down. Not too bad for a fall day’s work.

diy-pouf-loafers-4For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of loafers/smoking slippers
• two small faux fur pom poms (this is the size I used)
• a needle and thread

1. If your pom poms came with elastic bands attached to them, simply snip those off to start. Thread a needle and start stitching your poms onto the toes of your loafers. Make sure to pull the thread tight with each stitch so your pom pom isn’t floppy. After it feels nice and secure, knot the thread on the inside of the shoe and trim any excess thread.

That’s all there is to it!

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Accessories, Style

Faux Fur for Fall

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Vest: Treasure & Bond // Shirt: J.Crew (similar) // Skirt: Banana Republic // Stole: Forever 21 (taken from this poncho) // Shoes: Charles by Charles David // Earrings: BaubleBar // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff // Watch: Michael Kors (old, similar here and here) // Bracelet: Banana Republic

Transitional weather is the very best. One of the most prominent items in the pro column of my running Is It Fun to Live in Iowa? list is the fact that we get to experience each one of the four seasons in its most quintessential form. Snow-covered winters, impossibly fertile springs filled with all manner of blooming things, blazing hot and uncomfortably humid summers, and, of course, resplendent autumns with actual tractors on the side of the road harvesting actual corn.

Besides the Flaming June-orange leaves currently erupting in my backyard and the flocks of tiny birds eagerly picking the last of this summer’s berries off of the bushes outside my window, I’m particularly enjoying the rash of 60-degree weather we’ve been having. I love being able to transition my favorite warm-weather skirt, marked with breezy micropleats, to a slightly cozier look by supplementing the outfit with an all-purpose military vest and the newest addition to my rapidly growing faux fur collection.

Clarabelle’s lucky—she gets to wear real fur all year ’round.

Clothing

A Blizzard in Burgundy

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Coat: Forever 21 // Beanie: Nordstrom (similar) // Pants: Articles of Society // Sweater: Target (old) // Belt: Target // Lipstick: NARS in Terre de Feu

Last weekend, we experienced our first real Iowa blizzard. It started snowing on Saturday afternoon and by the time we woke up on Sunday, everything was blanketed with over a foot of snow. It was so beautiful outside that we decided to get bundled up and spend some time playing in the powder. As you can see, the flakes were still falling pretty hard when we took these pictures. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen snow come down in such a dense sheet—it made our backyard feel like a giant snow globe.

There’s something about a massive snowfall that makes me want to dress like Anna Karenina, so I reached for this rich burgundy coat with a cozy faux fur collar. However, I decided to forgo the traditional ushanka in favor of a simple beanie with the perfect amount of slouch.