Monday, January 31, 2011

Florals and stripes

All remixed except tee
Tee: Gap
Cardigan: Ann Taylor
Jeggings: J Crew
Flip Flops: Rainbow
Scarf: Target
Earrings: Turkey

I wore this to go into the city last week to get closet type stuff. By closet type stuff, I mean stuff to build a closet. Which B did. Skillfully, I might add. I'll have to take pictures of it because it's crazy and way bigger than a Philly closet.

I didn't wear these shoes, though. I wore (and this is the part where I hang my head in shame) a pair of Crocs. In my defense, they're this style which looks like a proper shoe and not a gardening clog, and also they were free. The bad thing is that flats generally rub my heels raw. So once we came back up to Vara Blanca, I changed into my flip flops IMMEDIATELY.

Another confession: I've been wearing jeans more than I have in the last, oh, six years. I still feel way more comfortable in a skirt, but I've had to do a lot of climbing around and that kind of stuff - jeans are just more practical for that kind of thing. Too bad I don't know how to be very creative with jeans. Any tips out there?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Double take

Another twofer post!

First up: Friday 28 January.

All remixed except top/dress
Dress (worn as top): Vintage gift from B via Etsy (no idea which vendor)
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Ann Taylor
Cardigan: J Crew
Shoes: Target
Earrings: Kohl's

I've found that when I pretty much live, work, eat, worship, and play in the same place, it's important to dress like you're for real going to work when it's time to work. It makes me at least a million times more productive.

I was way productive in this outfit. Like, so productive that we got stuff worked out for the school, talked housing options for colleagues, worked on scheduling...

...and climbed a fence. Yes, I'm so hard core that I climb fences in pencil skirts.

On Saturday, I opted for something a little more casual.

Shoes and earrings remixed
Sweater: F21 (about five years ago)
Jeans: LOFT - gift from my sister (she got them for $5; bargain shopping runs in our blood)
Shoes: Naturalizer
Earrings: Turkey

This look is about as simple as they come. I mean, it's jeans and a sweater. Y'all have NO IDEA how hard it's been for me to style these jeans, though. I spent waaaaay too long putting this look together, and then I wasn't even sure if I liked it or not.

B liked it, though, so we took some pictures when the sun came out. Y'all: this is the view from our front door. Those are volcanoes and mountains out there, and we just came from Philly - definite culture shock.

Pretty much, I have about three pairs of shoes that are appropriate for country life, and man, do I miss my heels. This is definitely an experience that's helping me to push my stylistic boundaries and find ways to reinterpret my style in a way that works out here in the mountains.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday doubles

In an attempt to get caught up-ish before the 30x30, I'm going to go ahead and double up on Costa Rica outfits today and tomorrow. Prepare for photo overload, y'all.

All remixed
Cardigan: Apt. 9 via Kohl's
Blouse: Banana Republic
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Steve Madden
Belt: Thrifted

I wore this for church on 23 January. I also wore it to cook, wait tables, and do dishes in the restaurant that we're managing to raise funds for the school.

Yes, I wore THESE SHOES to work all day at a restaurant; it was considerably harder on my body than teaching in them. Live and learn...

I really like the big, tough belt buckle with all the frilly, delicate pieces of this outfit. Yeah, I'm wearing ruffles, leopard, a skirt, wedge heels, AND a ginormous belt buckle. And what?

I dig it.

The Monday following that super busy day at the restaurant was NOT a good day for me. And then B saved the day and took me out for dinner at a nearby French restaurant.

All remixed except cardigan
Cardigan: Ann Taylor
Tank: Ann Taylor
Jeggings: J Crew
Shoes: Naturalizer
Earrings: swapped
Crazy face: c/o the freezing cold wind

For the record, French food fixes everything. Also, I have no idea why there's a relatively upscale French restaurant in the rural Costa Rican mountainside, either, but thank God there is.

And how about that sunset?! Between the dramatic sky, the red lipstick, and my sequins (oh, and hours of crying), I'd worked up quite an appetite.

Bonus: I got dessert.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friend Friday - Blogger Mechanics

It's Friend Friday!  This week, we're talking about...

Blogger Mechanics

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...)
I recently upgraded to a MacBook Pro which I love more than I should, partly because my previous computer (a super old Toshiba) had a cracked screen, frequently crashed, and had a battery that lasted about half an hour. Other than that, I use a Samsung TL105 which is by no means a fancy camera, but it gets the job done. Oh, and I occasionally use a gorillapod.

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system,photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)
I'm a Blogger girl. Yes, I've heard a lot about the benefits of being self hosted on WordPress, but since I don't earn a salary, paying for my own domain isn't in the cards right now. And Blogger generally works for me, so, the end.
As far as editing and storing pics, I'm apparently a huge fan of Google, because I use Picasa for storage and Picnik for editing. They're super easy to use. And free. Bonus.

3. What is your process for taking pictures?
I get off work (or get a minute free now that I'm in Costa Rica), find B, give him my camera, and make him take my pictures. There's a lot of awkward posing, because I'm really good at awkward. If awkwardness doesn't yield any good pictures, then silliness ensues. I'll dance around or make crazy faces. This is where most of my Ricky Bobby hands pics come from.  B loves it - at least, that's what I tell him.  

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily?
Back in Philly, I usually took pics in the same spot in my kitchen because it had the best light. Occasionally we'd get some nice pictures in other spots, but usually, it was me, the gorillapod, and the kitchen. Now, I feel like I have so many amazing spots with great lighting all over the place. I've been exploring a bit more and branching out right where we live and work. I might find a default spot, but I'm enjoying these experiments with different locations so far.

5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying?
This is easy. A DSLR camera so I can look cool and official when I take pictures of birds at La Paz. My goodness! I've never been so intimidated in my life! Birdwatchers are INTENSE. Just sayin'.

So how about y'all?  What's your picture taking process?  How far do you go to find interesting backdrops?  Seriously, how intense ARE those birdwatchers?!  

For more on the mechanics of blogging, check out ModlyChic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rainy day dress

All remixed except cardigan and socks
Cardigan: Ann Taylor
Dress: Ross
Belt: Target
Socks: gift from sister-in-law
Boots: Nine West
Scarf: J Crew
Earrings: Turkey

This is an outfit from one of our early days here in Costa Rica, before the sun came out and it was raining all day. That's why they call it the rainforest, I guess. After days of wearing jeans, I just wasn't feeling like myself and I wanted to wear a dress. Of course, it was still cold and rainy, so a sweater dress it was.

And for the first time EVER I got my quintessential "fashion blogger in an empty field" picture. I was pretty pumped. B thought I was weird, but I know y'all will appreciate it. I feel like I've graduated, like someone should give me a ribbon for mastering this important pose.

I've also mastered crazy face and awkward legs, in case there are ribbons for that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flashback and sequins

All remixed except tank, sweater, and tights
Sequined tank: Ann Taylor
Cardigan: J Crew
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Ann Taylor
Tights: gift from my sister-in-law
Bangles: Banana Republic
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Kohl's?

I wore this on January 9th, for our last Sunday at my parents' church and I loved it so much that I had to share this look. The tank, cardi, and tights were Christmas gift and I'm a huge fan of each of them.

I have straight hair in these pics because I'd just gotten my hair cut. It's a little shorter than I wanted, but I did get all the dead ends chopped off (finally). I get my hair cut, like, twice a year. Someone tell me I'm not alone in this....

And how fabulous are these floral mesh tights? I'm already imagining them over a pair of hot pink tights, but I haven't had an occasion to try that kind of layering yet. I guess I'll just have to create that occasion up here in the mountains....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Day off in Breton Stripes

Jeggings and scarf remixed
Breton stripe tee: J Crew
Jeggings: J Crew
Scarf: J Crew
Shoes: Sperry - taken from my mamita (with her permission, of course)
Socks: Target
Earrings: ?

Today's outfit was super simple and functional. And I love it. I thought about wearing this tee with a full skirt, but then I found out we were supposed to go to La Paz Waterfall Gardens for our first free day in two weeks. There was a lot of walking involved, so I opted for this functional outfit.

I love the preppiness of it - all these classic pieces coming together with just the tiniest bit of pattern mixing to keep it from being too cookie cutter. Also, these boat shoes are the best thing I've ever taken from my mom's closet. Just sayin'.

I have to say today was pretty incredible in that I got to pet a puma, shook hands with a monkey, held a toucan on my arm, and let a Blue Morpho sit on my hand. It was pretty much wonderful, especially because it's kind of just hitting me that we moved our lives here, and for all that it's a tropical paradise, sometimes a girl just wants to be able to run to Target at 9 pm, or call her mamita, or get a package in the mail, or just separate life from work. Today was good for me to get myself back on track and remember why we're here and what we're doing.

Also, I saw a baby female quetzal, which pretty much made me swoon, even if it was pretty much just seeing one at the zoo. While the females are nowhere NEAR as impressive looking as the males, seeing one of these rare-ish birds made my day. Yes, I am a huge nerd.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wanna Be Style Blogger: M.

Happy Monday, y'all. I'm still buried under a backlog of outfit photos which will go up, you know, one day. When I'm not doing a million jobs. In the meantime, a facebook conversation and a few emails exchanged with one of my besties has inspired me to do a new feature, which I'm going to call
Wanna Be Style Blogger
I can't take credit for that name, it's actually the subject of the email she sent me - see why she's so wonderful?
Anyway, as a result of all the style blogs she's reading these days, mine included, M has been venturing out of her clothing comfort zone, and she wanted to share these adventures. In her words:
"I would just like to report to you that for the third day in a row I love my outfit....I also loved my outfit on Sunday which involved hot pink tights underneath black fishnetesque tights....Four outfits in one week that are exciting but involve things I already own?! It almost makes me want to start a style blog. But that might require me actually blogging."

So I thought, I could at least do one post for her. Y'all, meet M.

What I'm wearing:
Green and white tank: Old Navy
Blue tank: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Jeans: Old Navy
Boots: Avenue*
Necklace: I made it myself
Ring: Baze Designs

*Ladies with wide feet and or larger calves RUN to Avenue. Seriously. I've literally been looking for boots since sometime in November and these are the first pair that I've found that fit properly. I always seem to get an image in my head of something and then I can't find it in stores. I even looked online and figured that if Zappos can't help me no one can. And then, cue heavenly music, I went in to Avenue and got these boots for $11.11! Eleven. Dollars. I know! They had huge sales going on for boots and shoes.

You can find Baze Designs on Facebook as well. This is a girl from my church who is only a senior in high school and has started her own craft business! She makes really cool stuff. I thought she had an online shop but it appears she does not. You could probably contact her though and ask her about shipping things to you.

I made myself do my hair a different way (speaking of which I am 100% naturally curly now! woot.).


Also, since she's one of my besties, I'd like to add that M has an adorable Etsy shop where she sells aprons and baby quilts (my niece loves hers), is an occasional blogger, and sings me old Chicago or Usher songs as the need arises. Pretty much amazing.

So now, here is where I need your help:
If you're also a Wanna Be Style Blogger, contact me via facebook, twitter, or send me an email at francesjsantiago [at] gmail [dot] com with your story and pictures. 
It's all the fun of fashion and style blogging with none of the commitment!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friend Friday - Authenticity

It's Friday! Let's get friendly, yes? I have to admit that I almost didn't post for this week's topic because I don't feel like I have a whole lot to say on the subject. What is the topic?


1. Most readers and fellow fashion bloggers value authenticity in the blogs they read. How would you describe blog/blogger authenticity?

Doing that thing you do online. Which to me basically means, if you're getting dressed for the blog and not for your life, it doesn't count. But I'm just going to go ahead an assume that most bloggers are not, in fact, running around naked, so in my book, they're authentic.
I have to say that defining authenticity is a little difficult, though. It's one of those things that you just recognize when you see it.

2. When it comes to your blog how do you infuse it with that true/authentic feeling?

I write like I talk. I include stuff about my life because it's a way to connect with people. Especially as I've been settling into my life here in Costa Rica, I've found that the little bits of life help to build that feeling. Hi, I'm a real person. I'm really moving my entire life to the mountains of Central America, changing my career path and trying to figure out what that means in terms of style. Also, this is why I haven't visited your blogs as often. The next time I have a day off I promise to spend most of it catching up on blogs.
(In life news, have I mentioned that B. and a friend built our bed frame today? We're moving in tomorrow!)

3. Have you stopped following a blog in the last three months? What made you lose interest?
Nope. Next question?

4. We can't communicate effectively on our blogs, something we don't live in real life... what are some ways you try to live an authentic life?
Authentic life? What does that even MEAN?! I live my life. It's my real life. I hate waking up early, I won't talk to anyone until I've brushed my teeth, and I can't wait for my hair to grow out just a little so I can do more stuff with it. Oh, and I'm living out of a suitcase right now, not earning a salary, and not shopping. Welcome to my authentic life.

5. Give a shout-out... Which bloggers do you think are truly genuine and why?
This question makes me feel like the worst part of high school. Does that make sense? That said, I will point out the five ladies I recently asked to guest post for me while I was starting to get settled here, and one additional blogger.
1. Shey of Modesty is Pretty - I feel like I know her - la considero una de mis amigas por Internet. :)
2. Danie of No Guilt Fashion - She was one of my early readers, and I love that she wears stuff that I can also afford (not now, of course, but when I got paid.)
3. Liz of lizzypunch - She's a student who totally reminds me of my younger self. (I'm getting old.)
4. Lydia from Chic on the Cheap - I dig her style, the way she shares little details about the things she likes, and the way she shares her shopping struggles.
5. Iris from 260 Days, No Repeats - Her style (and budget) are accessible. Plus, remember the time she made my header? Amazing!
6. Linda from the Auspicious Life - This woman is hilarious. That's all.

But you know, if you've got time, check out all the ladies in my blog roll.  They're all worth checking out (I've got to update that sucker....).

So how about y'all?  How do you define authenticity?  Which bloggers do you consider to be authentic?  What does "authentic life" mean anyway?!

For more thoughts on authenticity check out ModlyChic. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome home

All remixed except cardigan and earrings
Cardigan: Apt. 9 via Kohl's
Tee: Target (men's undershirt with DIY neckline)
Pants: New York & Co.
Shoes: Target
Bangles: gifts
Earrings: ?

So, I have to start by saying that this outfit was inspired by Elaine's outfit yesterday. Y'all, I have QUITE the backlog of outfit pictures, but I thought you deserved to see some scenery. These pictures were taken today by the side of the house where B and I will be living once we he builds a bed frame. Getting settled has been a slow process - I mean, we've been here a week and we're still living out of suitcases - but I'm starting to think that by the end of this week, we'll have things more settled.

I got this leopard cardi for Christmas from my mom. It's cashmere and leopard, which means I'm bound to love it. I also love the picture of it right next to these gorgeous flowers. I've decided that of all the flowers on the property, these might be the most dramatic. Does anyone know what they're called?

I have to admit that I can hardly believe it's January; I feel a little as though I've lost track of time. We've been crazy busy settling in and getting oriented with the work we'll be doing and the context in which we'll be working. Not only that, but we've met a lot of people and have had some great opportunities to network. This is my first time living in a rural area, and it's quite different from what I'm used to, but I'm super excited to finally put my degree in International Development to work.

Kiku, by the way, is loving the country life...except for the calf that walks around by the goat pen. She's not so much a fan of that calf.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not about my clothes at all.

I promise that there will soon be a post of me wearing a dress in the rain forest, but in the meantime, check out B's blog (I will soon be a team member, I think - right, B?). There are lots of pictures of Costa Rican rain forest loveliness.
Agua Dulce

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guest Post: Raindrops on roses with Iris

Hey y'all! While I'm getting settled in Costa Rica, some of my favorite bloggers have been kind enough to share their thoughts and wisdom. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do. For today's post: channeling the Sound of Music with Iris.

Hi, it's Iris from 260 Days, No Repeats stepping in for Frances Joy while she is getting settled into her new routine in Costa Rica. Good luck with everything! When I asked her for a ideas regarding what my focus should be on in this post she suggested talking about a few of my favorite things. Thankfully, that's a no brainer; raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens no wait, that's not right...
Well, as you might know (or have gathered) I am trying to go one year without wearing a repeated outfit to work. That challenge has definitely impacted what I would consider a "favorite". I don't have the option of leaning on one or two safe outfits because that would be breaking the rules. Additionally, wearing the same few items over and over again would be silly considering how many options I have. There are, however, a few key pieces that I find very useful when putting my copious amounts of clothing combo's together. Interestingly enough they're a bit unexpected and have taught me valuable lesson about style...
 First I don't know where I would be accessory wise without my silver bead earrings from Tiffany & Co. That is a bit surprising because I always used to wear long dangly colorful earrings or sets of matching necklaces and earrings; these new simple and classic studs were so not my style! They came as a gift from BF or more specifically his company as an anniversary gift for 5 years with them. He wasn't going to pick anything from the list of options they gave him because they were all very corporate (AKA not his speed) and I thought, "What girl is going to say no to free Tiffany's!?" And they came and they sat in my jewelry box for quite some time but, now that I have been wearing them more frequently I just can't stop! They go with everything. I've learned classics are always in style!
While you might thing jewelry is my favorite accessory, you would be mistake. Not that I don't love it but, I would take the same pair of earring everyday if I could have an endless selection of handbags. The purple tote that I use all the time is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made! It was shortly after I started my current job and had taken a grown up look at my finances deeming myself severely economically challenged and making shopping out of the question!  But, my style eye wandered and I had been looking for a purple patent leather bag (yes, that specific) for months.  at that point and caved when I found this one buried under other tote bags in less awesome (read: outlet only) colors. I hemmed and hawed over it while I stood in line but, took the plunge, it was mini panic attack ensuing but, it was exactly what I had been looking for and while it wasn't cheap ($100ish) it was a steal compared to the retail price ($550+). It has been worth every penny I splurged on it that day! I've learned when you find exactly what you want at a great price it will probably be worth the splurge!

The last (new) favorite of mine is the super skinny pant/jean. That's right people, I am a jegging convert! I'll be honest though, I used to scoff at the idea of wearing those spandex infused bottoms. I thought they wouldn't work for my body type (I am busty and have full hips) but, for some reason when I put them on the comfort sucked me in and I found that (to my surprise) lots of different things in my closet that worked well with them! O and they didn't look that bad on me either. I've learned if a trend is comfy and works for you then go with it!
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Well those are some of my most favorite things although bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens almost made the cut... Maybe these selections won't be what works for everyone but, hopefully you can take a thing or two from what I have learned! Thanks so much for checking out my guest post, I hope you enjoyed! If you have any questions you can email me or stop by 260 Days, No Repeats. I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friend Friday - Getting Dressed

I'm still alive, y'all, and it's Friend Friday! For this week, we're keeping things light - perfect because I'm still settling in here in Costa Rica. Today's topic?

Get Dressed!

1. How do you determine what you will wear that day?
I jokingly say that my subconscious dresses me. What I mean is, that I usually wake up with an idea of what to wear in my head. If it doesn't come right as I wake up, it'll come as I'm brushing my teeth or while I'm in the shower. Maybe I dream my outfits, maybe not; I wouldn't know because I never remember my dreams.
One thing I will say, though: I am NOT a planner. If I get something new, then I'll come up with an outfit around that piece, but in general, I don't plan too far in advance; I save that level of planning for the classroom.

2. Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend?

3. Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don't repeat?
Here comes my confession: in high school, I used my calendar for nothing but outfit tracking. I'd get dressed and then I'd write my outfit in the little box. There was a lot of "Purple striped sweater, Angel flares" and absolutely no birthdays or appointments. I don't do this any more. Now, I just kind of remember; I have a great memory for outfits, random facts, and song lyrics. If I don't remember, I go back to the blog and search. Or I repeat. Why? Because it's my life and sometimes I just want to wear something again, the end.

4. How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons? Hanging items together?)
Sometimes, things just pop into my head. I'll be going through my closet to clean it out or organize it, or get dressed, and I'll suddenly think, "This shirt would look amazing with my leopard print skirt!" Other times, I'll see something on another blog, on tv, or on the street and think that I have similar pieces that I could put together. Sometimes I'll try things on, but to be quite honest, I hate taking my clothes off once they're on. I rarely change more than once.

5. To streamline the process for 2011 what is one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time?
Honestly, keep my closet organized. In case you're curious, we don't have one right now; we have to actually buy a closet system and install it in our house when we finally move in. Most of my stuff will be folded up on shelves, and some will be hanging up in a little baby closet. Right now, I'm still living out of my suitcases in our temporary house - that is NOT so conducive to finding clothes to put on. I will say, though, once I start putting together great outfits, my outfit pictures are going to be so pretty....

So how about y'all? Do you plan ahead? Do you repeat outfits? How hard is it to find your clothes in a giant suitcase?  Any tips for closet organization when it's mostly shelves?

For more thoughts, visit ModlyChic.

Guest Post: Skirting the issue with Lydia

Hey y'all! While I'm getting settled in Costa Rica, some of my favorite bloggers have been kind enough to share their thoughts and wisdom. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do. For today's post: a hand made red skirt and the ever fashionable Lydia.

Hello friends of Frances Joy! I'm Lydia from Chic on the Cheap and I'm so excited to be guest posting for Frances Joy while she's making her move to Costa Rica!

Frances asked that I talk about one of my favorite pieces in my closet, and while I many that I love and rely on to get me through the week, the piece I'm choose is the little red skirt.

I'd been wishing for a red skirt for a while and decided one day to just make it myself. I didn't even use a pattern - just followed some simple instructions on creating a shirred waistband and hemmed it.

Since its creation, I realized just how starved for a red skirt I'd been. It goes with everything (I swear!) and if I ever had to pare down my closet for a big move, this would be the first thing in the suit case.

red skirt

Out for a walk

Grey skies

Don we now

What Lyddie Wears

Little fur

I hope Frances's move is going smoothly and stress free, and I can't wait to see some fabulous photos from Costa Rica!