City Style

Dressing for Family Portraits

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Autumn is a busy season for family photographers, and it’s easy to see why. The fall colors make such a lovely backdrop for a family portrait. Plus, the cooler temperatures mean no sweating through your session. Also, you can add layers to your outfits and craft a fun, complementary look for your whole family.

If you are anything like me, you stress about selecting outfits for your family portrait. I’m here to give you a few simple rules to follow that will hopefully make the process a little simpler. 

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Fall Fashion

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The kids are in school, pumpkin spice lattes are back and fall is right around the corner! Fall fashion is my absolute favorite as there are so many great opportunities to layer your wardrobe. I have so much fun in the fall, mixing and matching in my closet…throwing on a cozy cardigan, laying a pattered blouse under a sweater, or topping off my outfit with a chunky plaid scarf.  

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DIY Wood Bead Garland

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I’m feeling nested lately.  

I am due with The Other Girl in about 30 days… and scared shitless of course!  Even though it’s baby #2, the fears do not go away. And neither does the feeling of needing to get the house in order!  I really mean my house is never in order, so this a great excuse to get the hubby on board with cleaning and ridding and finishing up projects!  

Fortunately for him, the nursery is a project all my own.  I don’t know if people just “reuse” the items they’ve had in their previous nurseries or if they start from scratch on all of them.  It’s only my 2nd… not sure… But I do love designing things and rearranging so I’m starting over on the other girl's room.  And I’m not one to buy a set so usually my pieces come from everywhere.

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Pattern Mixing

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This month I am sharing one of my favorite fashion tips and tricks that really elevates the style of any outfit: pattern mixing. If you know me in real life, then you know I love me some pattern mixing. I find outfits composed of mixed patterns to be pleasing to the eye. Depending on the prints you choose and how you combine them, pattern mixing can bring a level of playfulness, daring, or elegance to your ensemble. I realize that pattern mixing may be outside many of your comfort zones, but never fear, I am going to give you some guidelines so that you can dip your toes into this fashion trend and not end up looking like a toddler that dressed themselves.

 

1. Start Small

For your first foray into pattern mixing, start small, with an accessory like a belt, scarf or even handbag. I really consider animal prints a neutral (seriously!) so try adding something like a little leopard print to your outfit. Here. I added a skinny zebra print belt to my skin print top and jeans. With a little front tuck, the belt just peeks out a little and adds a tiny bit of pattern mixing to my outfit.

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If you want to go a little bolder, you can do a scarf like the leopard one I did here, paired with a striped top.

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 2. Treat Stripes as a Neutral

This is one of my favorite pattern mixing combinations. A basic black and white striped print looks striking with a bold floral. Here I just tied a striped top around floral patterned skirt.

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I really feel like just about any pattern can be paired with stripes. Here I added a blanket scarf with an oversized plaid pattern to delicate black and white striped dress.

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 3. Play with Pattern Scale

Another fun way to incorporate pattern mixing into an outfit is to use the same basic pattern, but have a contrast in scale. So think, big bold floral paired with a small delicate floral. Or wide stripes paired with skinny stripes. Here, I added that same large print plaid pattern scarf to a small print gingham button-up.

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 4. Have a Common Color

If you don’t want to look like you got dressed in the dark, make sure that each pattern in your ensemble shares a common color. Here I have two pretty bold floral patterns, but they both share the bright pink color so it works.

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I hope that you feel a little more comfortable mixing things up in your closet. No matter what, if you are bold and confident in your choices, you will be able to pull it off. Now go be playful and have fun with your clothes!

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Fashion's "Rule of Three"

The rule of three or power of three is a principle stating that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The rule of three is often applied in writing, public speaking, and marketing: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”…“Blood, sweat and tears”…”Real. Comfortable. Jeans.”

The rule of three also applies to aesthetics. Photographers use the “rule of thirds” in their compositions. In home décor, vignettes are often comprised of three items, as it is more pleasing to the eye. When it comes to fashion, incorporating three key pieces into your outfit can turn a boring, basic ensemble into a stylish, pulled-together look. 

To apply the rule of three to your wardrobe, start with a top and bottom, say a shirt and pants, and add a third piece, such as a cardigan, a jacket or vest, or scarf. Or, you can begin with one item, like a dress, and add a statement necklace and striking handbag. Admittedly, the rule of three is easier to apply in the fall and winter months, when layering is practical as well as fashionable. It can be a little harder to implement in the summer while trying to stay cool, but by adding lightweight jackets, vests, scarves and statement jewelry to your summer wardrobe, you can be both stylish and comfortable. 

For example, here I took a basic summer outfit comprised of a T-shirt and denim shorts, and added a gauzy kimono. Still breezy and cool but a little more stylish than the tee and shorts alone. 

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A lightweight cardigan, jacket or vest also makes a great third piece. I wear a LOT of jackets and vests, and I find they are often the key to making an outfit look complete.

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A lightweight scarf, statement necklace, or killer handbag can also be an essential component of a stylish summer outfit. When it’s super hot, even a cute hat can be all you need to up your style factor a notch.

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Next time you are getting dressed, give the rule of three a try. You may be surprised by how much more put together you look and feel. 

 

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Maeve Vintage

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Ever since I was a little girl I remember dreaming up doll house living rooms or rearranging my own bedroom. I think my sister hated it.  I was always watching my mom move the sofa here and the chair there, too.  Then I grew up wanting to be an interior designer, but chose the {obviously} more secure college degree of political science.  So I continued to rearrange only my own living room and bedrooms much to my husband’s dismay…

Then I decided to start a business.  I never knew all that was involved but had always wanted to be my own boss and own my own boutique.  I honestly never saw the business I picked involving ALL furniture.  I thought it would be an adorable clothing boutique most likely for children.  But alas, I chose to offer boutique furniture rentals when I launched Maeve Vintage with my mom and sister in early 2015.   Maeve is named for my daughter, her middle name, and I hope that by me sharing a passion of mine with her, letting her watch me work, and letting her play in the warehouse (aka real life dollhouse) it will show her that if you have a dream and work hard at that dream, you can make it happen no matter who says what.  

 

*She's also a great furniture tester*

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Maeve Vintage is a boutique rentals & event styling company that serves central and northern Indiana with a warehouse space located in Fort Wayne.  We hope to allow all party throwers to add some charm to their events without breaking the bank. We offer vintage sofas, chairs, dressers, buffets, and even tiny details like table décor and vintage china.  Along with our individual pieces, we also offer packages for those who need a little direction on what would look good together.  And if you still aren’t sure how it will all be pulled together, we offer styling services too! 

Maeve is my favorite creative outlet I’ve found to date.  I get to be creative.  I get to work with fun people, including my family.  I get to buy things all the time--things I have nowhere to put in my own house and which I can use and reuse and style differently, which makes them the best blank canvas!  I can style tablescapes, lounge seating areas, seating arrangements, and more!  It’s a fun way to be able to move furniture all the time without upsetting my husband!  Haha.  But seriously the best part is that none of it is at my house!  He loves that.  

Just some examples of what we've done to date: 

 

Winter Holiday Minis with Holly of Blue Baloon Photography:

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A pop-up luncheon featuring our china, goblets, serving dishes, and teacart. Photos by The Colagrossis:

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Wedding of Abby & Dillon featuring our sofa & chairs. Photo by Cambria Custom Events:

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Mid Century Modern Styled Shoot featuring our furniture and styled by us! Photo by Kelly Benton Photography:

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Bridal Shower featuring our lounge seating:

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Industrial Boho Styled Shoot featuring our chairs and styling. Photo by Indigo Lace Collective:

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If you are interested in what Maeve is all about, we have a ton of information on our Website - www.maevevintage.com.  We are always posting new things on instagram (@maevevintage) - sneak peeks of upcoming shoots, published shoots, real weddings and events, etc... So make sure to follow along with us on this journey!  

 

Lastly, if you are thinking of starting a business or new venture all I can say is just do it.  You'll never know EVERYTHING before you start.  You'll never be 100% prepared for all the scenarios that my come your way.  You'll never regret doing it if you are doing it for the right reasons... So just jump in.  Someone I met recently told me "done is better than perfect" because if you wait for perfection you'll be waiting forever... and it's right!  I'd love to hear from you if you are thinking about doing something new!  Just do it!  

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Boring Bedroom Makeover

Suffering boredom in the bedroom?

Oh no, I’m not THAT kind of expert.  But I can help you create some excitement in your décor!  

Nightstands are a super fun and easy way to bring some personality into the bedroom without going for a complete makeover.  If you’re in the market for something new, consider bold pops of color or unique pieces that you might not necessarily think of as a standard “nightstand.”  

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Great way to save money here:  garage sales and thrift stores.  It you find a piece with a nice shape, give it a new coat of paint in a fun color.  

My favorite element in design is to mix and match.  This is now a trend in nightstands.  You don’t have to buy the standard pair of matching tables with a drawer.  Create some interest by mixing it up a little, by having a table and a cabinet, or a trunk and a table, or two different kinds of tables.  Have fun with it!

The rules:  

1. Make sure both sides are approximately the same height.
2. Both sides should have a connection in some way (finish, color, shape, style).

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Okay, so you already have the standard pair of stands with a drawer and shelves.  How do you spice it up?

  1. Mix up your lighting (again, keep the heights within the same range).

  2. Add visual interest with different heights of items on each stand.  

  3. Everyone is using their phone these days for an alarm, so throw out the digital clocks and add a cool replacement.  

  4. Fun artwork either on the stand or on the wall.

  5. Decorative boxes to hold the ugly stuff.  

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Now, no excuse for a boring bedroom!

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Spring Fashion Trends

As I sit here on a cold rainy day, it’s hard to believe that Spring is really here, but thinking about the season’s fashion trends gives me hope that blue skies and sunny days truly are ahead. The stores are full of new Spring fashions, and while I’m not feeling all the new trends (Wide leg cropped pants? 70’s fashion? No thank you.) some of them will make a great addition to your closet. Check out the following Spring fashion trends and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe.

1. Fringe: Fringe and tassels are everywhere this Spring. I am loving all the fringed sandals and wedges. They look great with everything. Fringed suede bags and fringed scarves are easy ways to add this trend to your wardrobe. Or, go all our and add a fringed sweater or kimono to your Spring closet!

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 Fringe by jenjenfirenjen featuring lightweight scarves

2. Bare Shoulders: If you are a child of the 80s like me, then the bare shoulders trend will feel very familiar. Maybe too familiar? I swear some of the off the shoulders dresses are the very same ones I wore to high school dances. Luckily, there are several updated ways to bare your shoulders without going full-on 90210.

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 Look for dolman sleeve tops with shoulders cut-outs or peasant-style off the shoulders blouses. These styles can be worn super casual with shorts or dressed up with skinnies and heels.

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 Shoulders by jenjenfirenjen featuring short sleeve tops

3. Lightweight Denim: If you don’t already have a chambray shirtdress in your closet, now is the time to get one. This will be a workhorse in your wardrobe, going from the office to date night to casual weekend outings. You can find cheap ones at Target and Old Navy or higher end pieces at department stores. Other lightweight denim pieces like blousy tops look great with spring florals, bright colors, and even white jeans. If you are into rompers (I swore I never would be but then I tried one on) then a chambray romper is perfect for wearing spring to summer.

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 Denim by jenjenfirenjen featuring Old Navy

4. Lace-up Shoes: Lace-up shoes are all over the place right now. There are tons of pointed-toe lace-up flats, but also lace-up shooties, booties, and even full-calf lace-up gladiator sandals. Since we never know if trends like these are going to stay, I usually look for cheaper options. I have yet to try on a pair of lace-up flats and I am curious how comfortable they are but I’m really crushing on these pink lace-up flats from Target.

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 Lace-up by jenjenfirenjen featuring ballet flats

5. Orange: As a pale redhead, I’m not personally super excited for the orange trend, but I know it looks fabulous on lots of other girls, so if you can rock orange, then you are in luck this Spring. Orange is everywhere! If you don’t feel like you can pull off a larger orange piece, then try adding orange accessories. An orange belt would look fabulous with your new chambray shirtdress…just saying!

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Me and My Not So Green Thumb
Does anyone else not have a green thumb but wish they did?  I don't know about you, but once it starts to get nice outside, I just MUST have greens in my house.  Not too many big plants, as they just become another expense because I kill them, but little greens all over make my life happy.  I swear I can only keep plants alive that must come back every year, which explains why I only buy perennials anymore!  
Some of my favorite ways to bring Spring inside even when it's still cold out can be found at your local Home Depot.  Yes, Lowe's probably has them too, but I've come to be able to depend on Home Depot for Fiddle Figs and Succulents.  
First, does everyone know what a fiddle fig plant is?  If you don't, you should.  Unless of course you are a plant killer like me, then I'll leave it up to you, but at typically $13 a pop, these can be killed a few times over the summer and are worth every penny of green they bring into my living room, even if for a short time.  
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"The fiddle leaf fig tree, also known as the Ficus Lyrata is a plant perfect for the indoors. It has large, violin-shaped and heavily veined leaves that tend to have upright growth. The fiddle leaf fig tree is a species that is native to the tropics as they require conditions to be wet and warm."  
 
Now, let's be real -- we don't live in the tropics, and I don't know about you, but I'm always having to add a layer because my house is so cold (which might be another reason I'm a good plant killer).  But this plant is so easy. Water it about once a week and make sure it gets direct sunlight. When it gets warm, I sit it out on our patio.  All other times, it's by a window, and I've set a time on my phone as a reminder to water it to try to not kill it so quickly.  But just look how cute she is... 
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And then there are those succulents... My absolute favorite.  I've used them in decor for the last 10 years.  They were even a huge part of our wedding.  They, too, are just so easy. Although, I still tend to have the uncanny ability to make them crumble, but at least it takes them a little longer than regular plants.  
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Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store and grab a cute little teacup and saucer or even a floral bowl.  Trendy floral, not grandma floral just to be clear.  Then head to home depot for a bag of potting soil and your choice of succulents!  You'd be surprised at the variety they have!  It's quite impressive. Then if you really want to add some fun to it go on down to The Corner Cottage in Noblesville who now has the largest array of fairy garden accessories I've seen in one place and get yourself some ironic animals... Deer, Dogs, Moose... and add them as a nice touch to some of your bigger planters if there is room. 
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And lastly, my other favorite green that even looks beautiful once it's dead {hahhaha} is that fancy eucalyptus from Trader Joes for $2.99 a bushel.  Run don't walk to get yourself this special treat.  They always have it and it always makes you feel like you just left the spa!  
And that's how you get away with having a not so green thumb and having some green thumb items in your home for Spring.  And of course, the little always gets to pick out a plant too, and she always picks these cacti with their great color!  Happy Spring! 
 
xo, 
Abby
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What To Wear At Disney

My family just got back from a magical week at the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World. I spent months planning this trip, from researching hotels and park attractions to making dining and Fast Past reservations. And of course, I also put a fair amount of thought into what I would wear. Those of you who have been there can attest, you do A LOT of walking at Disney. Upwards of 7-8 miles a day! So comfort is key. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still look cute. You are likely going to be taking tons of pictures that you’ll cherish for years to come. If you don’t want to be immortalized in yoga pants and a T-shirt, here are a few ideas for cute and comfy Disney wear.

Disney 1

 

Comfortable footwear is a must at Disney but that doesn’t mean you have to wear your workout sneakers. Fashion sneakers like these Pumas are a cute alternative. Pair them with distressed jeans and a fun graphic tee. A field jacket is a great piece to throw on for cool mornings or evenings. A crossbody bag with lots of pockets will give you quick access to all your necessities throughout the day.

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Elevate a basic casual outfit, like these dark wash denim Bermuda shorts and simple linen tank, with this darling tassled scarf. Throw a hoodie in your stroller in case of cool weather. Sandals with arch support and ankle straps, like these from Vionic, will keep your feet happy much longer than a cheap pair of flip-flops. If, like me, you are past the diaper stage, a compact crossbody bag will be all you need.

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A casual dress, like this T-shirt dress from Athleta, can be a great alternative to shorts. Pair it with a denim jacket and some slip on sneakers like these Skechers and you’ll be comfy and cool walking through the parks. I couldn’t resist adding this adorable diaper bag that features a subtle Minnie Mouse design. To sum up, casual layers with comfy shoes are a must. Add accents like a colorful scarf, a jacket and a cute bag, for a more polished and pull-together look in the most magical place on Earth.

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