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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.

Clothing, Shopping, Style

Golden Girl

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Dress: Forever 21 (old, similar shown below) // Earrings: Forever 21 (old, similar) // Jacket: Forever 21 (old, similar) // Watch: Michael Kors (similar) // Bracelet: Julie Vos // Bag: (old, similar) // Shoes: Nine West (old, similar)

When I painted myself a mental picture of the life I would lead in Iowa, it did not include red carpets. But wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly where I found myself last weekend: getting my picture taken at a movie premier in downtown Cedar Rapids (hello, big-city living). Thanks to one of my coworkers who played a very convincing Elf #4 in the family-friendly, locally made masterpiece Up on the Wooftop, I finally had the opportunity to get all dressed up in this little gold number (originally purchased as part of a Bond girl Halloween costume and heretofore hanging forlornly at the back of my closet, waiting to be worn in earnest).

I would absolutely love it if there were more movie premiers in my future, but as that’s not currently the case, I guess I’ll have to settle for some dressed-up holiday parties. As evidenced by my aforementioned love of Goldfinger and my choice of premier garb, I’m a big fan of the gilded look. Thankfully, the fact that the ’70s redux is now in full swing coupled with the fact that it’s the season of all things shiny and bright means that gold dresses abound. From the short and sequined to the strappy and wrapped, there’s a golden dress with your name on it. But just be warned: you might be stopped for an autograph the first time you take one of these 14-karat frocks out for a spin.

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Lifestyle

Nutcracker Tradition

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Dress: Forever 21 // Jacket: Forever 21 // Earrings: Jeweliq // Shoes: Target // Bracelets: BaubleBar + Julie Vos // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I’ve gone to The Nutcracker. Ever since my grandmother took me to see The Sacramento Ballet’s production of the Christmas classic almost 20 years ago, I’ve had a minor obsession with it. I named my dog Clarabelle after the main character Clara, and my house is currently filled with the Nutcrackers I’ve collected over the years. I make sure to see it at least once a year, and I made Max promise that if we moved to Iowa, he would take me to see The Nutcracker at the Joffrey in Chicago.

While I missed seeing my beloved San Francisco Ballet’s art deco-inspired and historic production (not to mention Maria Kochetkova‘s Grand Pas de Deux), I am always happy to experience a new interpretation. Besides absolutely adoring the dancing itself, I love the ritual of going to the ballet. I love getting dressed up, eating a delicious dinner followed by a glass of Champaign at intermission, and perusing the gift shop to pick out a new Nutcracker to add to my collection.

Usually, I have my Nutcracker dress picked out weeks in advance, but this year I was at a loss. I waited until the last minute to decide what to wear, and ultimately forgot to pack anything suitable for my trip to Chicago. I had a bit of Christmas shopping to finish up in the city, so while I was out, I stopped by Forever 21 and picked up this cranberry pleated maxi dress along with this faux-fur-and-leather jacket. Since the temperature was in the 20s, I was desperate to find something warm to wear without looking like I was completely bundled up. Luckily, this combo fit the bill perfectly, and I spent a lovely night all dressed up with my beau and my favorite ballet characters.