Move over Ikat!

I’ve been waiting for the refresh button to be hit on patterns this summer. For awhile, the design and fashion worlds couldn’t divorce themselves from the Ikat print. And while gorgeous, some new prints have been catching my eye these days, including Aztec prints.

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Image from Instagram @shopredclover shopredclover.com

I let out an audible gasp when I saw the sweater on the left. I have an affinity for (read: problem with) over-sized, chunky knit sweaters. I cover up out of insecurity instead of wearing more form-fitting pieces that flatter my shape. Insecurities aside, it’s a simple fact that every girl needs a chunky sweater collection along with a stack of books and a hot beverage of choice for the impending fall season. Here are some of my other favorite iterations of Aztec print (the sweater above is hopefully coming back from market with shopredclover.com so watch their website).

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1. Socialite Print Palazzo Pant from Nordstrom

2. French Connection Aztec Print Maxi Dress

3. Place Aztec Mini Sheath Dress from Express

Summer Essentials

Now that I have all these summer plans, I’m going to need the right supplies. After a 400 euro ($800 USD) debacle coming home from my semester abroad in Italy back in 2009, I vowed to be a better packer. That ghastly amount is what I had to pay IN ADDITION to my pricey cross-Atlantic ticket to get my belongings home. Screw you, Alitalia. So, for this summer I’ll need a beastly suitcase. My brothers have had the Adventure Rolling Duffle from L.L. Bean for the past 10 years. Every time we travel, I’m always angling for one of their suitcases, convincing them that girls have WAY more to pack and that their things can fit in my modest red roller bag. I’d say it’s high time I got my own, considering Karl and David’s have held up for so long, they must be made of magic. I also think it’s rather nifty that L.L. Bean has staff at their headquarters in Portland, Maine that run around town testing the luggage.

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Next, I’ll need some versatile shoes. Since we will be canoeing and hiking and being generally adventurous, I think Chacos will work. As a kid, my mom would force me into Teva’s, another type of rubber sandal that I just thought were horribly uncool. For whatever reason, Chacos are their more popular cousin, even edging their way into the southern college greek scene. Once my friend said to me, “Ewww, never, NEVER get Chacos.” “Why?” I asked. “Those are for potheads,” she said. However, I think I am willing to throw my reputation into the wind for comfort.

chaco-zxand2-yampa-sport-sandals-for-women-in-prep~p~4903w_01~1500.3Last but not least, I’ll need some entertainment. Sure, iPad’s are great. They combine practicality and fun. But recently, I got a better idea. When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to have video games (hand-held or console). I would spend hours at friends’ houses trying to get my hands on a Nintendo or a Game Boy. So, since I was never allowed one as a child, I figured I should make up for my loss and scour eBay. I found a Game Boy in Atomic Purple along with a few other relics from the stone ages, Pokemon, Spongebob (Legend of the Lost Spatula), Frogger and Super Mario Brothers Deluxe. My boyfriend (I’m sure) really enjoys when I scream expletives at the small screen. There is just no other way to react when you are Spongebob and you are being mauled by a giant jellyfish. I’ll just have to train myself to keep quiet on the airplane…

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A Sweater for Bugsy

photo-8So many great stories start with the line: “When I was babysitting…” Kids do/say/imagine some of the darndest things. A week ago, I headed downtown to babysit Tuna (yes, his name has been changed). Tuna is a hyper yet extremely intelligent 7-year-old with a penchant for science and spelunking for lizards in the many nooks and crannies of downtown Savannah’s historic buildings. Sometimes he talks in a monotone yell of excitement. “DID YOU KNOW THAT WHEN YOU BREAK A LIZARD’S TAIL OFF IT STILL MOVES?” And then adds, “I WENT TO ARIZONA LAST WEEK.” “Why?” I ask. “TO HUNT FOR QUAIL.” Why yes of course, I was there last month doing the same.

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For his seventh birthday Tuna received a guinea pig which, as I commented to his mother, gives him a sense of ownership and responsibility as he takes care of this ever-fattening ball of fur. Tuna brought Bugsy down the stairs upon my arrival. “Let’s make a sweater for Bugsy!” he says. I smile skeptically. “COME ON!” he retorts. I climb the three flights of stairs in Tuna’s historic home and arrive breathless in his bedroom. “Grab a sock!” he exclaims. Not sure what to do, I pause as he runs frenzied around me, coming to open the top drawer of his dresser and extricating a greying pair of formerly white athletic socks. “This will work!” he announces. “Grab the scissors,” he says, as if asking me to grab the scalpel in a life and death operation.

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We cut the toe and the ankle bit off of each sock and lay the remainder out for decorating. We will use the toe-side scrap for a hat. I write Bugsy in bubble letters on the side of the tube (I mean sweater). “COOL,” Tuna says rather close to my ear. “On the other side write “I AM BUGSY”,” he tells me and I obey. Once Bugsy’s outfits are properly decorated it is time to dress the booger. And what can I say…He looked pretty cute. I wonder often about my future and what the hell I am doing on God’s green earth. Maybe the answer is that I’m meant for rodent fashion.

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What’s In My Bookmark Bar? Part I

I have wanted to write this post for a long time now. Some of my best finds have come from other bloggers posting their favorite blogs so I thought I’d do the same. I’ll split it into two though so you can have time to explore each link.

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First, we have Rebelleon, a darling lifestyle blog written by my cousin, Catherine. This belle posts about beauty, DIY projects and other “blog-worthy finds” as she says. My favorite posts from her lately have been the DIY’s. Back in December I followed her post to make my own magazine Christmas tree, perfect for 20-somethings and college students. She also gave my grandmother’s wallet a new look with a little glue and a gorgeous stone.

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I met Kelsey Cronkhite when I moved to Savannah to study graphic design. She is definitely one of my blog role models. Her blog Pinegate Road features regular columns like “From the Desk”, where she “visits” with other designers and creatives to interview them about their process. I also enjoy “Outfittings” where she curates clothes pairings for every occasion.

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Last, but certainly not least, we have All the Mountains, an Australian blog I found through some random clicking one Friday night. Sadly, All the Mountains has closed its doors but you can still spend hours scrolling through their posts to get inspiration and witness unique products. I’ve definitely pinned plenty of their choices.

Look out for part II of “What’s In My Bookmark Bar?” coming soon!

Reborn by Samantha Barnett Evans

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Every year my family and I spend the last week of July in Oak Island, NC, a skinny barrier island just south of Wilmington. For many summers we have also frequented a quaint but eccentric gallery called the Art Shak. Owners Thom Seaman and Linda Platt started with a simple building and transformed it into a combination gallery-residence where they display many local artists and jewelers.

One of the many talented jewelers is Samantha Barnett Evans. I have followed Evans work for at least five years and have enjoyed watching her progress. A local talent, Barnett Evans studied at East Carolina University where she learned metalworking and jewelry design in one of the state’s most revered art programs.

Today her pieces combine silver, copper and enamel and usually have some sort of sentimental value or deeper meaning. My personal favorite, her enameled state necklaces (North Carolina, of course). Her copper poetry and scripture cuffs are also gorgeous and allow for complete customization with inspiring quotes or words of wisdom. Samantha’s rustically elegant designs can be purchased online on her website or at various boutiques listed on her page.

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Virginia Wynne Designs

These elegant pieces are handmade by Virginia Wynne. Virginia Wynne is a Louisiana native and a grad of Savannah College of Art and Design. I like how she uses atypical metals beyond silver and gold. Her copper and brass pieces incorporate unlikely pairings like glitter and micro beads for color and whimsy.

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You can view more jewelry by Virginia Wynne Designs on Facebook and Tumblr. If you would like to call one of her pieces your own, you can purchase Virginia Wynne Designs on Etsy or at ShopSCAD in Savannah, GA.