Thank you so much for visiting A Splash of Sass! I hope you'll click through to my new blog for more style photos and posts!
See you at Closet 12!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Anonymous Announcement!

Ladies & Gents, Boys & Girls, may I have your attention, please?

There are about to be some changes happening around here!

One, I have made the decision to stop blogging anonymously.  Therefore, without further ado, I'd like to introduce myself: 
Photo by The Writer
My name is Rachael!

I've been thinking over the reasons that might be behind my blog not taking off like I'd hoped.  I've never been in love with all of the elements of "A Splash of Sass" together.  I liked the title, but didn't LOVE it. I felt like my sub-heading too broadly defined my blog, I was stretched too thin as far as what topics I felt I should be covering.  I didn't like being anonymous anymore, it made me feel isolated from the few readers I do have. So, here goes a new blogging experience as Rachael!

My second announcement is this: I'm Moving!
I don't want to totally cut ties with A Splash of Sass, but I need a fresh start.  Some of my posts will be coming with me, some will be staying here, so that occasional visitors will be able to find their way over to my new site, which I'm currently constructing.  I hope you will all join me over at Closet 12

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day to Night

With all the running around a day entails, it certainly helps to unwind with friends.  It also helps you feel less lame about sitting at home on evenings when you don't have to work, right?  I love being able to pick one outfit that works for everything on my day's agenda.  No, it doesn't always work, but its so nice when it does.

 Last week, I went shopping (again) with my friend Katie to prep my closet for Spring.  I may or may not have forgotten about all the brightly colored clothes I'd tucked away in the back of my closet and been paniced because I felt like everything in there was black or gray.  Needless to say, it isn't now.  This top was an H&M find.  I always gravitate towards buying bottoms, so I made Katie steer me towards the tops and get this one.  I really like that I'll be able to style it casually and more professionally.

What I'm Wearing:
Top: H&M
Bead Necklace: I forget...
Black Skinny Jeans: Forever 21
Patent Heels: Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret
Clutch: New York & Co.

I also found these black skinnies on our trip.  They were $10.50! You CANNOT walk away from that!  Katie and I both bought a pair and ended up wearing them out together at the same time.  It was seriously hard to resist going completely crazy on all of the sales, but I tried. A little.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Trend: Peplum Tops

How I love feminine trends!  Peplum tops are popping up everywhere this spring.  They're so versatile as far as what body types they flatter as they define the waistline, which is universally slimming and flirty.  I'm alsovpretty sure they help give a little "oomph" to the rear end, to which I say, "Yes, please!"  

I really this top demands red lipstick, something every girl should have.  I have a small addiction to buying red lip products: lipstick, gloss, balm, stain, you name it.  The one I have on in these photos is one of Revlon's new Lip Butters in Candy Apple.  I'd definitely recommend to someone who was a little shy about lipstick or trying red for the first time.  Its sheer with a little bit of shine and forgiving if you accidentally color outside of the lines a little, no lip liner needed.  I wouldn't call it long-wearing, but I don't have to apply it any more than I would normal lip balm.  Its a great everyday lip color and I love it a little more every time I wear it.

What I'm Wearing:
Peplum Polka Dot Tee: H&M
Skinny Jeans: Forever 21
Black Flats: American Eagle

I'm very excited for Spring weather and Spring trends.  Every few days, we get a clear blue sky that makes you want to go for a walk in the park.  Its still a bit chilly for that, though, unfortunately.  The Writer is in Florida visiting family and making me jealous of all the sunshine he's enjoying.  This year is the first time ever that I will be able to go on a paid vacation and I'm thinking that I may want to cash in on that soon.  I haven't been at my job a very long time, but it has been a busy few months that have made me very ready for the weather to thaw out and to enjoy some vacation time.  Sometimes it feels like I'm going a million miles an hour with no routine, since my work is open seven days a week.  Today is like my Sunday and I'm so thankful for some "me time"to catch up on magazines and get ahead on my laundry piles.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Wear

The weekends present a sort of conundrum when it comes to putting myself together.  I don't want to be known for a uniform of jeans, a tee shirt, and Converse or, heaven forbid, sweatpants. I also don't want to work too hard on an outfit, since it is the weekend and it's not necessary to overdress for errands.  This weekend outfit was easy and comfy, but not sloppy.  We're also getting to that point in Ohio weather where you never know what its going to be like outside and, therefore, never sure if you should bundle up or not bother and just walk quickly from your car to the store to avoid having to carry your coat while shopping.  Thank goodness for sweaters!

 What I'm Wearing:
Purple Banded Top: not sure, maybe TJMaxx
Chocolate Cardigan: The Limited
Jeans: Express
Plaid Flats: Kelly & Katie
Tote: Vera Bradley

I've also been trying to experiment with some new hairstyles for a few reasons. For one, straightening all the time is really damaging and I find it makes my hair look dirtier faster.  I try to shampoo every other day as much as possible to avoid drying out my strands and to keep my color from fading.  Curling keeps my hair looking fresh longer, but is time consuming.  Ponytails quickly induce boredom.  So, what to do?  I've never been one of those girls that could simply throw their hair up into a messy bun and walk out the door.  Its probably because I'm so meticulous and I hate for my hair to be a mess, even if, by chance, it were a cute mess.  Instead, I've been trying to master the topknot and gradually get used to letting it become a little messy.  I'm not disappointed in this particular attempt: 

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Orange You Glad?

Mixing my professional and casual wardrobes is sometimes a challenge for me.  I'm always afraid of looking too masculine if I wear a button-down shirt outside of work.  A while ago, I saw a picture of some editor of something dancing at a party with a button-down shirt knotted in the front.  Since it looked good on her, I decided to try it with a silky, over-sized blouse from Express.  I was pretty happy knotting my shirt like I used to do back in the 90's.  I never got away with it for long back then, my mother always told me to put my shirt down.  My five year old self probably wasn't smart enough to remember the tank underneath all the time, haha.

Speaking of, are the 90's making another go 'round? Neon is out in full force, that's for sure, and I've started noticing more tops with knotted features. I think these things are ok, as long as no one is gathering their baggy tee shirts to the side and holding them there with a scrunchy.  Really, as long as the scrunchy doesn't make a comeback, we'll survive.

Notice something different about my pictures today? They're outside! I asked the Writer to play photographer for me, so we went out side for some shots.  It was a little windy and brisk, but I'm sure we were all sick of seeing my pantry doors. I'm not yet comfortable taking my tripod outside with me as some of my male neighbors have been known to be fairly rude.

What I'm Wearing:
Tank: The Limited
White Button-Down: Express 
Jeans: Charlottle Russe (I think)
Ankle Boots: Blowfish


Friday, March 2, 2012

Colored Denim

How much am I in love with the colored denim trend?? So much.  I'm pretty sure I tried on a different pair of colored skinny jeans each time I went to Target for the last few months and was disappointed as many times because they fit funky.  It was as if they didn't get looser through the the thighs, no matter what size I tried on.

Thankfully, H&M was there to come to my trendy rescue.  I didn't even bother trying on Express', as cute and colorful as they were, because I couldn't justify their prices on something so trendy.  Even though February is over and new clothes are allowed, I'm still trying to be frugal.  H&M delivered on spring trends for me as I found a dotted peplum top, a pastel dress, and my green jeans for around $50. Can't beat that!  I want to go back immediately, though, because we just missed the Marni collection for H&M and some of those pieces look adorable.

What I'm Wearing:
Striped Tee: American Eagle
Scarf: a little shop off Dam Square in Amsterdam (2006)
Green Skinny Jeans: H&M
Studded Flats: American Eagle

One think I was surprised to love about these jeans is the rise.  For so many years I've been a low-slung, hiphugger girl which made me a little skeptical of how high on the hips these jeans sit.  In fact, I almost didn't try them on.  I'm so glad I did!  I found the slightly higher rise to be quite slimming, even though I paired the pants with horizontal stripes.  Reason #2 for going back to H&M immediately: more high-waisted skinny jeans!  Between jeans like this and my New Year's resolution of working out, I may beat the love handles in 2012!

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Mini Stay-cation

On Saturday, I started my lovely long weekend off my redeeming my birthday gift certificate from The Writer for a relaxing massage.  I haven't had a massage in so many years and it was so much more wonderful that I could have ever imagined, I didn't want to end.  I was so calmed that I actually took a nice long nap that afternoon.  Its amazing what not having to go work anytime soon with do for you.

What I'm Wearing:
Tee: Target
Scarf: Forever 21
Trouser Jeans: Freestyle Revolution
Sneakers: Converse
Bag: Coach

I woke up in time to get ready to go out to dinner with Ang.  Its never good when the first thing your server says to you is that its her second day on the job. So, naturally, Ang ordered the complicated cocktail that required pouring pink alcohol over a fluff of cotton candy at our table.  Poor woman, it wasn't her night.

Today got off to a slow start too, but hey, I'm practically on vacation.  After a morning with The Writer, I strolled through DSW armed with my Christmas and birthday gift cards.  I found some bright blue pumps that were really cute, but pinched too much.  There were some other cute spring heels, but I'm not ready for the bright neon colors. Target was a bust also and I left empty handed. The Writer and I are going to H&M up around Cleveland tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have better luck then.  I'm not sure how I'd rather spend my staycation than with The Writer, relaxing and sprucing up my wardrobe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dress for the Life You Want

It was brought to my attention several times during the past week that I look unusual.  I'm not sure if the commenting customers meant to be complimentary, but that's how I chose to take it.  Most recently I was told that I am "an old soul", that my face and dress are from a different era.  Since I consider Joan from Man Men a style inspiration, I was flattered.  The other customer flat out asked, "You're not from around here, are you?" I thought I had been short with her or said something in an accent that only shows up on certain words when people are looking for it.  No, it was the fact that I looked put together at work.  She confessed to me how she loves to wear vintage but hates the looks she gets from people in this area.  Why is looking put together or polished so uncommon?

At least I know I'm not the only one saddened by the general lack of style in this geographic area.  Honestly, its almost as if some people don't even bother to get dressed.  I see more than one person out and about in their pajama pants daily.  If you count sweatpants as pajamas (which I do - wear them at home or at the gym!), that number quadruples.  Forget tailoring.  Not everything must be knitted, people!

Sometimes its tempting not to care because it seems like no one else does.  I get depressed when I start feeling like this, as if everything is starting to deteriorate at once.  It takes courage to take charge of your life and your wardrobe! I firmly believe more people should do both.  I don't want to get stuck in the complacency that I see all around me.  They say you should dress for the job you want, particularly in interviews, but I say, dress for the LIFE you want.  Clothes make us feel a certain way, are you going to be ready to talk to that really important person about your latest and greatest idea in your sweatpants? I don't think so!

What I'm Wearing:
Tie-Front Blouse: The Limited
Button Pocket Trousers: Kohl's
Satin Slingbacks: Nina (probably from Marshall's a long time ago)
Gold & Cream Cuff: The Limited 

Hey! It's OK to be Awesome!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"A Finer Night You Know You'll Never See"

Even though it has been almost a week since Valentine's Day, I wanted to share some pictures and details of my date night with The Writer.

My knight in shining armor arrived at my door bearing a beautiful bouquet of flowers:

Each of us opened our gifts from the other before heading off to the local art museum to take a spin through the galleries before dinner.  My presents make me smile, not only because I love them, but because they prove how well The Writer knows me and how thoughtful he is.  He ordered in chocolates from Sockerbit, a NYC candy store that I'd visited and raved about last summer.  They are delicious!  He also found The Sartorialist's book of street style photos for me. Hello, endless inspiration!

After the art museum, which was quite enjoyable, we continued on for a late dinner at Kozmo's, a reclaimed laundromat.  What used to be a very utilitarian space is now a spacious, yet cozy, dining establishment.  The floor and parts of the walls that aren't exposed brick are perfectly stained to reflect a familiar glow and the booths are big enough to lie down in, not that we tried.

When we'd finished our scrumptious meals,  we came back to my apartment for champagne and strawberries and other desserts I'd spent the day making.  I might've gone a little overboard on the sweets, since we still have quite a few left over.  It was fun having a variety and I'm pretty sure The Writer was in sugar heaven.

Our Feast!
Strawberry and Blackberry Thumbprint Cookies 
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Covered Brownies
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Happy Valentine's Day!

Title: Cinderella by Rogers & Hammerstein

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cozy Neutral

I never used to be a sweater wearer. I felt they made me look fat. Who knows, they might, but I guess I've gotten over caring just a little.  I might've just gotten so cold that I gave in.  I might be overestimating the results of my gym membership and underestimating the affects of holiday eating.  You be the judge.

When I'm tired from work or going into a day that I know will be exhausting, I don't want to wear a button down shirt or blazer, even if they do have a little stretch. No. I want to be wearing the closest thing to pajamas while still being chic. Don't roll your eyes, why do you think the wrap dress was invented? Mhmm. It's comfortable, yet universally flattering.  Sidenote: Banana Republic has some adorable patterned ones out right now, if you haven't discovered "your" wrap dress yet.  Wrap dresses and sweaters are the perfect marriage between cozy and professional, I think, and I wore many sweaters as well as my wrap dress this week as I have been beat.

What I'm Wearing:
Sweater: The Limited
Necklace: Forever 21
Jeans: Express
Colorblock Wedges: Kohl's by Elle

Honestly, The Limited should pay me, I talk about their clothes so much. Alas, they don't, but are more than welcome to at any time.  I can't help it if they have cute sweaters that are usually on sale, now can I?  This one was a whole $12, I think, after an extra 40% off clearance.  You really can't turn down a super-soft natural blend sweater for under $15.  Nope, you can't and that's why my credit card is frozen in a block of ice in my freezer right now.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Opposite of A Spree: An Experiment

One of my resolutions this year, as it is every year, is to pay down my debt.  I realize that my student loan debt is going to take more than 12 months to payoff, unfortunately. The petty debt, though, the debt thats most likely to hurt my credit? I want that out of here.  I increased my all my payments, even some to the student loans, as of the first of this year. I've been proud of myself for committing and having the end in sight.

The hitch is that I may be a little overcommitted.  I don't want to be putting so much of my cash toward debt that I'm using credit and getting back into debt with everyday purchases.  Finding a balance is tough and I don't want to cut back on my payments if I don't have to, so I've made the following resolution:

Aside from bills, gas, groceries (which will come from Aldi and only Aldi), and a Valentine's gift for The Writer (my one and only splurge, he deserves it) I will not spend any money in the month of February.

No clothes, not even the clearance racks. No shoes, unless I use my DSW gift cards. No nail polish. No lunches out.  No candy. No yummy bottled green tea. Nothing that I've been wasting money on in the past will be bought this month.  Ugh. I already feel tortured.

While February will probably be more severe than is always necessary, I want to see how much I can save.  I want to see exactly how much I spend that I don't need to.  I have a budget that gets stuck to pretty closely, but I have a feeling that the little on-the-go purchases amount to more than I expect.  In fact, if I add up all my little purchases that could've been avoided by remembering to bring enough food or my water bottle to work and my few splurges from my girl's day earlier this month, I could've saved almost $200!! Unbelievable!

I'm so doing this!  Hopefully, I will even help myself on my diet and exercise resolution, since delicious takeout macaroni and cheese and General Tso's will be far from reach for 28+ days.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rosie the Riveter

"Casual" was the word used to describe today's meeting.  This word feels like a trap to me when used in conjunction with work events.  How do I know my definition of "casual" isn't too casual? Or will everyone be in yoga pants and my casual will look overdressed?  I'm glad I steered clear of yoga pants, not that I honestly considered them in the first place.  I was the only one in heels, but that's pretty typical.

What I'm Wearing:
Tank:  Sears
V-neck Tee: Target
Brown Motorcycle Jacket: Target
Trouser Jeans: Freestyle Revolution
Heeled Hiking Boots: Target
Silk Scarf, Turban Style: Missoni for Target
Clearly, I was having another ponytail day.  With so many early mornings this week, my hairstyles have been as simple as possible, since I want all the sleep I can get.  My "casual" office outfit needed some POP though, so I broke out my Missoni scarf for the first time.  Not that my photo does a good job of showing how it really looked, but it worked well with the pink and brown, I think.

The overall outfit reminded me of Rosie the Riveter, a little rugged.  It was mostly in the twisted scarf as a headband and girlie-tough boots that had me feeling like a vintage poster.  I needed the "We Can Do It" attitude to be running through my head today in the meeting, as some pretty stressful things have been going on at work.  Maybe I'll get a little postcard-sized Rosie to keep by my work station.  Modern iconography?

I have a long weekend coming up! I can't promise many outfits, but I'll try.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Colors to Cheer

I had a bit of a rough start to my day today. I didn't have to go in to work until a little later, so I decided to get some sewing done on this dress.  Actually, I was hoping to finish it, considering all that was left to do was to attach the sleeves, put in the zipper, and hem the skirt.  Things went wrong and I only ended up finishing the zipper, which didn't even turn out the way it should have, but it will have to work unless I'm going out to buy another foot for my sewing machine.

Bun then decided to have another accident on the couch.  She very rarely used to pee outside of her cage, but she seems to have become quite fond of going on the couch and I have become quite frustrated.   Perhaps she isn't having accidents at all, but taking out her little bunny rage on me in the best way she knows how.

I can't believe I just told a story about my rabbit peeing on a public forum.  I better get used to the embarrassment, because if I'm talking about my rough day, I'm going to have to talk about breaking a pair of pants. Oh yes, breaking.  It wasn't my size that did them in, although they did break when I undid them to put some Spanx underneath.  They weren't very high quality because the metal piece that usually stops the zipper from going down to far was just a little bit of melted plastic.  When I unzipped them, they unzipped so far that the one side of the zipper came out of the zippy part (you know, the part that makes the zipper work) and wouldn't go back in.  I gave up. I changed into the skirt and would later rip my tights for the second day in a row.

What I'm Wearing:
Boatneck Sweater: The Limited
Tank: Victoria's Secret
Skirt: H&M
Bracelet: Pandora
Flats: Missoni for Target

After taking a first set of photos, I realized my face looked really boring, especially with my hair back in a bun. No way was I getting creative with the hair today.  I did throw on some lipstick and my glasses to jazz up my upper half a little.

This sweater comes out very purple in photos. Its really more of a mulberry and nearly matches some of the zig-zags on the shoes.  I needed some color to boost my mood today, plus, wearing Missoni always helps. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Last Friday, my new friend Natalie and I went out for a girls day.  It was a great time! We had lunch at Panera then went over to get mani/pedis.  I got a great neutral tan color on my nails and dark purple on my toes because I'm a creature of habit.  I got a little crazy and let them put designs on my big toenail.  Flowers on my nails aren't "me" but it was worth a shot.

We had some time to kill before meeting The Writer and Natalie's husband for dinner, so we went over to the mall.  I had some gift cards from Christmas left and hadn't been to the mall forever.  Did you know that its semi-annual sale time?! I'd been trying to ignore it in favor of my 2012 budget resolution, but went a little weak in the knees when I saw this:

I'm completely in love with cobalt. I'm so glad that I think it might be hanging on for another season.  Aside from the color, this jacket fits in the most amazing way. Its a little shrunken, so it can pulled off with a casual look, but the tailoring allows it to be worn to work, which I did yesterday.  I wish I'd taken pictures, but I've been fighting a cold and have been staying in bed until the very last minute lately.  I also love that it has five buttons down the front.  Not only do they keep it nipped in at the waist and hips, they remind of the costumes from In Time.  I highly recommend seeing it if you haven't already.  The costumer did some appealing things with buttons to signify class differences.  Many of the suit jackets had long rows of buttons and I loved it.
I want to wear it every day! Its a good thing I found some other goodies at the sales that I can work into my wardrobe. Oh, yes, stay tuned.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project #1!

One of my gifts from my parents this Christmas was a dress form.  Its basically an adjustable mannequin and slightly creepy to come home to sometimes, but I'm really glad to have it.  You see, its very hard to make your own clothes when you don't have anything to fit them too, other than yourself.  Since pins hurt and I'm determined to let out my creativity more in 2012, a dress form is key.  It also motivates me to workout, since I have a duplicate of myself standing in my living room and I can't say its measurements thrill me at the moment.

Another reason for wanting a dress form is that I really want to learn draping.  Since there are gaps between the panels once I adjusted it, I covered it with an old band t-shirt which I fitted with pins.  It looks like it should work pretty well, I just have to work up the courage to do some free-form designs.

I started my first project of the new year tonight.  I may have only gotten as far as cutting out the pattern, but hopefully soon it will be a dress that I can wear to work.  If I don't have to pick up any more supplies, the dress will only have cost about $30.  Compared to the price tags on dresses at my favorite stores, its definitely a bargain!
My new dress, in its infancy

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I remember feeling like 2011 would never end.  It was a hard year for me.  There were many times I felt I could lose nothing more and still retain my sanity.  Needless to say, I'm hoping for a better 2012.

In 2011, I had six jobs. Six. I'm sure some people don't have that many jobs in their entire lifetime.  The year started out looking good. I left my job in retail for a 2-in-1 position that I thought would really boost my career and give me coveted PR experience.  First, one side of the equation tanked, right before our vacation to Florida, then the other, just before my trip to NYC. I was back in retail before I knew what hit me.  I went to New York City to visit The Writer during his internship not knowing how I would survive financially when I got back.  I'd been applying for jobs almost all year. Applying, applying, applying and never the right offer.  I'd been out of school for nearly a year and a half and all I had to show for it was the same shopping mall job that had barely paid my credit card bills in college.  I. Was. Stressed.

Finally, at the end of September, I started my first "real" job.  "Real" as in: 401k real, health insurance real, 40 hours/week real, pay off my debt real.  I have hopes for this job.  Granted, it isn't my passion, but I can pay my bills and then some, which I'm very thankful for.  The financial strides I'm taking, along with the industry I've broken into give me hope that 2012 will be a great year and that my hope will become a reality.  I'm hoping that this will be my last Midwest winter and that next Christmas I'll be taking NJ Transit down from New York City to spend Christmas with my family in New Jersey and meeting The Writer for snowy walks through Central Park.

In the meantime, I'm going to start making some of my own clothes.  I'll be posting about them with my new camera The Writer gave me for Christmas this year.  Have I mentioned he's pretty awesome?  I don't know how I would've made it through 2011 without him.  He's incredibly supportive and tons of other positive adjectives.

Oh, yes, and we're joining a gym together. How's that for a new year?
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