An Eye Opener About Fast Fashion

Hello lovelies,

Like many of you, I love to shop. I love a good bargain for a hot style. Many of my clothes have been bought from Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe – retailers who specialize in “fast fashion.” 

Fast Fashion Retailers – Many are My Favorite!

Trendy, of the moment, affordable style? Sure, sign me up. Stores like these are super attractive for a fashionista like me.

However, today my view of fast fashion has drastically changed, due to a documentary called The True Cost

This film showed me how my pursuit of a $8 top is at the cost of workers in Bangladesh, China, India, and Cambodia. Many of these workers are in dangerous working conditions to keep the costs of manufacturing low. In 2013, a large building collapsed in the Rana Plaza where much of the garment industry is centered. 1,100 workers died as a result of factory managers neglecting the deteriorating conditions of the building. This event is just one of the tragedies at garment factories in these areas.

Is it worth the cost?

Not only are people being affected by the low wages and dangerous working conditions, but our environment is taking a hit by the use of pesticides on the cottons used in the material. Dyes used for leathers in India are full of chemicals, which end up leaking in water supplies.

Most of these women make just $3 USD a day.

I don’t want to preach to others that they shouldn’t buy from our favorite retailers, but maybe we can slow down how much we buy. Maybe we can recycle more of our clothes. Maybe we can give our business to more fair trade retailers and designers. 

My mission now is to profile fair trade brands and also show looks I created from secondhand stores.

I hope you will join me! Let’s share our fair trade and recycled looks!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo Melanie.

 

Blogger on a Budget: Chasing the Fall Blues

Hello Lovelies!

Are you enjoying autumn? Pulling out my fall/winter wardrobe was always something I enjoyed doing, as it was like a mini-Christmas! Hello sweaters, hello leggings, hello boots!

But here in Guam, it is like a endless summer! I can feel slight changes in the temperature with less humidity, so I guess this is fall! Since I’m not going to get any new clothes for the season, I have to get creative…so after visiting the Airman’s Attic,  I found some GREAT pieces for free!

Old Navy Dress 2

I found this adorable Old Navy cotton dress (love the polka dots!) which looks great with my Charlotte Russe duster! Add my cage sandals from JustFab, and I’ve got a great day look.

Old Navy dress1

But that’s not all, folks! I picked up these awesome bangles for free as well! I’m especially nuts about the “rocker” one. Wearing these with this outfit keeps it from looking too sweet.

Bangle CU

Bangles

What else is fun and free? Going through makeup bags and rediscovering lip and eye colors!

Old Navy CU

I’ve had a subscription to Ipsy for almost two years, so you can imagine I’ve collected quite a few beauty products! I decided to rock this warm pink lip from NYX. Originally I thought the color was “too pink” for me, but after adding some lip crayon in Spicy Berry from Ulta,  I really love it!

I admit, it’s a little sad to not shop for the new fall styles. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t switch up my looks! Plus it doesn’t mean I need to spend a fortune (which the Hubby appreciates!).

What is your favorite fall find so far? Please share! 

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

Getting Graphic about My Closet

Supermodel

Top, Charlotte Russe. Maxi skirt, Material Girl.

Lovelies, I hope your summer has been wonderful. I’ve been so busy unpacking box after box of belongings, trying to organize my closet.

Graphic stand 1

After unpacking so much, I realize just how much clothing I’ve collected over the last few years.  It’s actually a bit embarrassing. Call it an obsession or a result of being a fashion blogger, but I’ve discovered that I really do not need so much.

Graphic vignette

The last few days, I’ve said goodbye to several pairs of shoes, tops, pants, and many pairs of favorite leggings. All of these will go to charity for someone else to enjoy. Life is not about collecting things, and it’s time for me to go on a shopping diet!

Graphic BW

I’ve made a pledge to not buy any new clothes for the next three months.  All the looks I’ll show will be “shopped from my closet.” Who else wants to join the pledge? Share your “re-shopped” looks with me!

Graphic CU

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie

Fear of the “What If”

This cute sundress was FREE! Bag, Nine West.

This cute sundress was FREE!
Bag, Nine West.

Hello lovelies,

The past couple of months have been filled with lots of changes, ups and downs, and a recent health scare. I’m a pretty resilient person, however, this latest episode has brought the worst visitor in my life, the What If.

Two days ago, I was trying to pick up some larger pieces of cardboard all at once. My footing slipped, and suddenly a HUGE shot of pain ripped down my right leg. I gasped, and I fell forward. Flashes of what happened to me the last time this happened filled my mind. I ended up having back surgery; I prayed it wouldn’t be the same fate.

Thankful to be standing!

Thankful to be standing!

One visit to the ER and a shot for pain later, I was on the mend again. Thankfully after taking it easy for a day, I felt fine again.

But the question now lingers, “what if?”

I am hoping that this episode was a freak occurrence with my sciatica, but WHAT IF it happens again when…

we go for a hike

swim in the ocean

dance in my kitchen

pick up my cat?

Color dress 4

I don’t like this visitor, Mr. What If.  Living fearlessly pursuing my goals is important to me. To second guess or be scared of trying is something I do not want to begin doing.

Accepting that nerve damage has changed some things for me has been difficult. However, I need to keep Mr. What If quiet so I can focus on the things I CAN and WANT to do.

Like rocking a free dress from Airman’s Attic and going on a date with the Hubby, for instance:) Thought I’d try some dark grey and violet shadow for a new smoky eye, too.

Color dress 2

Breaking away from fear isn’t easy. However, I will not live my life running from it. So, bring it, Mr. What If.

What If….I do everything I dream of? Here’s hoping.

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xoxo Melanie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freshen Up Styles Without Going Broke!

As a blogger and fashion addict, I constantly receive special sales and discounts in my email, and there’s SO MANY awesome styles out right now…but…

Like most people, I am not flush in cash! So what’s a girl to do when I want to freshen my looks and don’t have funds to blow?

Accessories, accessories!

A new necklace goes a long way in making an older style look new again. Check this beautiful piece I got from Paparazzi Jewelry for only $5! (matching earrings came with this, too!)

IMG_20141113_145336 IMG_20141113_145400

Want to find cool necklaces like this? Or rings, bracelets? Just $5 a piece! Click here:

This look (below) is made up of a dress from four years ago, a long cardigan from five years ago, and leggings from last year. I made everything look new again by adding my Fashion to Figure moto jacket, Just Fab bag and boots, and an eternity scarf knitted by my friend and blogger Signe Savant!

An older dress & cardigan.

An older dress & cardigan.

Presto!

Presto!

Refresh style 2

So cozy!

So cozy!

Go through your closet. See which dresses, tops, or sweaters can be updated by just adding a new piece of jewelry or a jacket. Try different combinations to create a new style!

And HEY! Have you entered my Thirty One Gifts Makeup Bag Giveaway Yet? Click on the Rafflecopter banner!

Show me how you’ve updated your looks! I heart comments!

Love, laughter and shoes –

xx Melanie

 

Where Did You Inherit Your Love of Fashion?

My mom made her dress (that lace is gorgeous!) and mine for my christening.

My mom made her dress (that lace is gorgeous!) and mine for my christening.

 

Hey all! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! It’s a day to celebrate moms everywhere, be they moms to human kids or fur kids. 🙂

I’m paying tribute to my mom, who passed away 17 years ago (and miss so much!) and gave me my love of fashion. She could design and sew just about any style I admired (made a gorgeous prom dress, evening gown, and my 1st wedding dress). If she were here today, I know she would be amazing on Project Runway! Like me, she could appreciate a great vintage find, recycle a hand-me-down, and marvel over a bargain. I sure wish I inherited her ability to sew, but I lack the patience! I miss and love you, Mom.

Speaking of bargains, Mom would’ve loved this dress I got recently from Fashion to Figure. I love the “painting style” of it, and the color is my favorite color of blue! Fashion to Figure is a great site for we curvy gals (sizes 12-24), where the on-trend styles are very affordable, plus the fit and quality receives high marks from me.

Merry Go Round 2

Dress, Fashion to Figure. Tunic, Charlotte Russe.

 

Merry Go Round 3

Merry Go Round 1

Notre Dame blue

Give your Mom a call, a hug, a dinner. And if you’re a Mom, enjoy your special day!

My hubby surprised me with a brunch to celebrate his “furry baby mama.” Ha ha! Love this man.

Bacon, hashbrowns, and cheesy eggs!!

Bacon, hashbrowns, and cheesy eggs!!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

OODT: With a spring in my step….

Couldn't decide between pink and purple...so...

Couldn’t decide between pink and purple…so…

It’s an amazing Saturday in Germany, and the hubby and I decided to go for a walk, checking out the trees and bushes that are in bloom. I’m still marveling over the mild weather at this time of year (got to 60 degrees today!), and this was the perfect time to debut my new Vera Bradley flip flops!

From the looks of InStyle, Lucky, Marie Claire, and Glamour magazines, pastels are the hot trend for Spring 2014. I haven’t been much of a pastel girl, but I am easing into this trend. The easiest way for me is to try it with makeup, and yesterday I got NYC’s cream shadow in lavender, plus a gloss in deep berry.

Can't beat paying $1.50 for a new look!

Can’t beat paying $1.50 for a new look!

Maxi bracelet

Maxi skirts are also hot this spring, and I was thrilled to find this awesome blue and white maxi WITH POCKETS! Even better, it was on sale at the base exchange (BX) for $13! You can bet I will wear this nonstop this season.

POCKETS!!!

POCKETS!!!

Maxi skirt CU

Inspired by Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar necklace!

Inspired by Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar necklace!

Hubby told me today that I looked “gypsy-esque.” With this lovely early spring, I do wish to wander everywhere!

What trends are you loving? Hating? Let me know!

Maxi 3 half

WHAT I WORE:

T shirt – GAP (from thrift store)

Skirt – PASSPORTS

Flips – VERA BRADLEY

Silver heart chain – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Faux Pearls – BIJOU BIJOU

Beaded bracelet – gift!

Love, laughter, and shoes! xx Melanie.

IFB_SEAL_RED

Going Retro for Date Night at the Theatre!

The hubby and I decided to celebrate our Valentine’s Day a day late by taking in some theatre! I’ve been active in theatre practically my whole life, and one of my favorite things to do (besides performing!) is to watch friends rocking it onstage!

We’re very lucky to have a great community theatre program in our military, and the Hilltop Theatre’s production of “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” (in Baumholder, Germany) was wonderfully silly! I love the 1940s fashion and music anyway, so it was a double treat for me.

I love this Charlotte Russe ring! Looks way more expensive than it is!

I love this Charlotte Russe ring! Looks way more expensive than it is!

This theatre knows how to treat the patrons right! They offered free mocktails (which hubby and I both enjoyed), plus a regular bar (for a price, of course!). During intermission, I toasted the show’s success with Betty Boop in the lobby:)

Enjoying my Limeaid mocktail and posing with Betty!  Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Enjoying my Limeaid mocktail and posing with Betty!
Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Check it out…I am wearing a short sleeved dress! As I promised myself earlier this year, I wasn’t going to hide under sweaters and jackets. My arms may be bigger, but they are strong.

Boop boop a doop!

Boop boop a doop!

The retro feel of this show brought out some great fashion looks! Check out Oscar, fellow thespian, in this very cool mix of black/yellow/white! I LOVE her jacket with the vest detail!

This is one sharp lady! Great haircut, too!

This is one sharp lady! Great haircut, too!

I’ve been in a “reworking my closet” mood and I almost forgot about these great buckle heels from Target I bought 6 years ago! Perfect for pairing with my new peplum dress from Forever21 Plus  (link has a slightly different style, but still hot!) and rhinestone headband from Claire’s Accessories.

Six year old shoes still looking good! Very comfortable, too!

Six year old shoes still looking good! Very comfortable, too!

blk sparkle headband

Need an idea for date night? Take your sweetie to the theatre! It gives you a chance to dress up and support the arts! Cheers.

My "gypsy" silver purse with silver and white beadwork I picked up in Paris last year.

My “gypsy” silver purse with silver and white beadwork I picked up in Paris last year.

IFB_SEAL_RED

Reworking Vintage by Raiding the Closet!

VINTAGE 1970s gold disco purse!

VINTAGE 1970s gold disco purse!

There is a great thrill when you find that special piece…that dress, accessory, or necklace at a thrift shop, and you CANNOT believe someone gave it up!

This purse is one of those finds. Back in Michigan, I would regularly raid the local Goodwill for treasure. One day, there it was…a 70s disco shoulder strap purse! I swear, I felt like I got a passport into Studio 54 when I left the store.

The only trouble with these treasures is that it can be tricky to find things that complement them well. However, today I rediscovered a sweater dress from Express tucked away from last year that did the trick just fine!

Dress by Express. Bag, vintage. Boots, JustFab. Leggings, Forever 21 Plus.

Dress by Express. Bag, vintage. Boots, JustFab. Leggings, Forever 21 Plus.

I also lucked out and got my hands on some treasure by fellow blogger and friend Signe Savant of thedailysavant.com! She was doing a spring cleaning (which I need to do as well), and this super cool Charlotte Russe choker necklace is mine! Woo hoo! Be sure to check out her tales and fashion as well:)

One blogger's spring cleaning is another blogger's treasure!

One blogger’s spring cleaning is another blogger’s treasure!

I am also very lucky to have a great hookup (my stepmom!) who runs an Ebay store (hollywoodprincessfashion) that has discount designer wear. On many occasions, I’ve received terrific designer shoes, dresses, purses, and jewelry, including these awesome earrings by Betsy Johnson! Thanks, Diane! xoxoxo!

cu betsy johnson

Betsy Johnson leopard earrings, c/o hollywoodprincessfashion

What’s been your favorite vintage find? Please comment!

Love, laughter, and shoes xoxo!

Mixing Preppy and Punk!

Don’t you LOVE a great find?!! Especially when it’s free?!! One of the advantages about being in the military community is the gem called The Airman’s Attic. You can find everything from electronics, to toys, to clothes (of course!). Everything is donated from other military families, and it blows me away the kinds of awesome things I’ve found there!

Today’s #OODT includes two of my recent finds: an oversized J. Crew shirt and a GUESS purse! Both are in excellent condition, and I’m amazed I got both for free! Since I got a new haircut and color, I wanted to go for a “preppy punk” look. I love the edge my JustFab heels give the whole outfit!

Who knew a J Crew beige button down could look so fierce?

Who knew a J Crew beige button down could look so fierce?

One of my favorite JustFab heels! Leggings, Forever21 Plus.

One of my favorite JustFab heels! Leggings, Forever21 Plus.

A beautiful GUESS bag...free!!! Thank you to whoever donated it!

A beautiful GUESS bag…free!!! Thank you to whoever donated it!

Got my hair “did”! Channeling some Sheena Easton from around 1986-87.

Miss Sheena, during the "Prince" phase, U Got the Look!

Miss Sheena, during the “Prince” phase, U Got the Look!