Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

forty for fall

So, here's the deal with me. I'm a wanna-be minimalist (I'm really a wanna-be Scandinavian, but that's a long-winded, lustful blog post for another day). I'm in love with the idea of a clean, simple collection of pieces in my wardrobe that can be worn any number of ways and always look tasteful, chic, and easy.

The reality of the situation is this: I do have a clean, simple collection of pieces in my wardrobe that can be worn any number of ways, yada yada yada, etc. In addition to those key bits, I also have a wild, cluttered collection of cheap junk that I maybe bought on a whim with the idea of "I'll wear it one day!" or "If I can find the right top, this skirt will look great with something!". The result is me standing in front of my closet each morning for fifteen minutes trying to sort through the stuff I'll-maybe-one-day-probably-never wear, grabbing my go-to selections, and then spending another fifteen minutes worrying that I should be wearing something I haven't worn a billion times already, something that's just gathering dust in my closet. It's kind of a hassle. 

So when I saw that Natalie of Hey Natalie Jean (a daily read of mine) was tackling this capsule wardobe challenge, I decided to join in (and I'm crazy excited to see what she comes up with, since her personal style is just the coolest). The idea is to pick 40 pieces to wear for three months, a.k.a. a season, and wear those 40 pieces exclusively (I love this kind of shit!). "Pieces" to me include bottoms, tops, and shoes. I'm leaving my accessories/lounge wear selections wide open. I'm hoping to develop a better sense of my personal style, take stock of what sort of fashion/aesthetic/design/whatever really inspires me, whittle down my overflowing closet to just my essentials, and stamp out the need I have to run out and buy a new something-or-other each time I can't decide what to wear. Maybe you aren't into this kind of weird stuff, but I am and can't friggin' wait to get started....which is why I'm starting today, September 1st. 

And without further ado, here are my top-40.
17 tops/sweaters + 1 leather jacket
5 pairs of pants 
8 skirts + 2 dresses
7 shoes
=a 40-piece wardrobe from now until December. 
So we'll see how this goes. The plan is to document each day, some in actual outfit posts, some in mirror selfies. I hope you'll follow along, but even more than that, I hope you'll join in! Do it! It's exciting! Let's see what we come up with y'all and inspire each other. Leave your links down below if you want to join to movement and share. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

school supply style

This is my favorite time of year. I love it more than peppermint mocha season. I love it more than sun hitting winter white legs season. I love it more than first wander outside without a jacket season. 
It's school supply time. 
You all know you feel the same way. There is no thrill like the one of tearing into a new packet of earthy-scented pencils or the excitement of a fresh, clean sheet of notebook paper. I'm an office supply addict, and my obsession just goes full throttle during the first few weeks of the school year. So, without further ado, here are my favorite picks for a successful, stylish school year. 

1// THIS tote bag is my favorite for carrying everything I need. It's functional, and has a little more flair than the average backpack (it's lined with the titles of famous banned books!).

2// THESE notebooks are my go-to. Moleskines are a little on the expensive and pretentious side, but their quality can't be beat. The pages are bounded with a thick thread, so you won't be loosing any important notes. There are 16 (the perfect amount) detachable pages at the back as well for pop-quizzes or passing notes. 

3// LE PEN. Oh Le Pen. Dream pens. Again, a bit pricey, but they come in every color imaginable, key if you are an obsessive color-coder as I am. 

4// A SET of sticky note tabs make finding a needed page in a book or notepad easy as can be. And guess what?! More color coding! 

5// THIS HIGHLIGHTER was introduced to me by my European friends during finals week in Ireland. It seems impossible to dry out, the bright color refuses to make pen ink smear and bleed across your page, and they come in every color of the rainbow. I'm converted to the gospel of Stabilo. German engineering at it's finest folks. 

6// SOMETHING FUN to stick on your laptop will brighten your study hours. I'm a Totoro fan, so went with the above option, but I've seen everything from Disney Princesses to Iron Man to food to pop culture art online. Whenever I whip out my laptop, however, all mouths instantly drop open and someone invariably asks, "Did you SHARPIE your MacBook?" Luckily, these guys are removable and changeable, unlike permanent marker. 

7// THESE make studying a breeze. If memory is not your bag (okay memorizing IS my bag, but I like to use notecards anyway), pick up a set and get to it. This may be the most boring product on the list, but also the most necessary. 

There you have it. I could spend another three-to-six hours debating the merits of certain types of glue and which eraser is best for your finger-size-to-palm-width ratio, but I'll spare you the details of my obsession. What are you musts for the new school year? Also-does anyone take notes on their computers? I'm an old fashioned sort of gal, so it's all pen and paper for me, but I'd love to hear what people think about note-taking on a laptop! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

the first last days

This is me on my first first day of school. Today is my last first day of school (for the time being). 

My mother sent me to a little brick country school, miles outside of our tiny town, at the end of a dusty dirt road. 

Lorenzo Elementary was the only school that offered full day kindergarten available in our area. Mama said I was "ready" for a full day of school, and to this day I'm not sure if she means I was ready to be active and learning for a solid seven hours, or if she was ready to have a solid seven hours to herself. Either way, on that first first day my Hello Kitty backpack was loaded up with pencils and my not-so-baby-anymore feet were stuffed into hardcore black Doc Marten boots (which my father lovingly knotted for me each morning) and I was off to the beginning of a sixteen-year adventure. 

Most of my classmates were farm kids, children who had grown up in corn fields and chores at the crack of dawn, cliché country stuff, but true. Each morning, rain, shine, or snow, the school matrons bundled grades K-6 up to be marched outside for a repetition of the Pledge of Allegiance and some patriotic sing-song (I still get "You're A Grand Old Flag" stuck in my head). I learned to read and write; I learned how to build a tumbleweed tower that withstood the powerful prairie winds. I made friends, although I often found myself lacking in conversation with some kids, the kids who went to church with their mamas, papas, and six brothers and sisters every Sunday, the kids who weren't allowed to watch my favorite show, The Simpsons. Spring was forever to be heralded by a sudden infestation of box elder bugs and pudgy fingers trying to trap their lightning quick black-and-orange bodies. 

Today, my little brick country school looms alone over fields of weeds and dirt. All of the colorful plastic playground equipment, all of the half-deflated basketballs, and our two-ship fleet of school buses are gone. If you stumble upon it, somehow find your car crunching ancient bits of gravel below its wheels as it eases up a pine-tree lined pathway, you might think the towering brick edifice is haunted. Some windows are busted out and a thick padlock clamped around a heavy metal chain seals the front doors tight like a tomb. When that famous Nebraska wind barrels through the trees, maybe you think you hear children laughing. Chills will run down your spine and an eerie sense of displacement will wash over you. You know the memory of that old haunted country school house will be fresh in your mind whenever your friends want to hear a ghost story. You'll probably shiver, reverse your car, and continue going wherever it is you're going.  

But I hope you won't. 

I hope, if you ever find yourself cruising over the Colorado line and into a state that's never crossed your mind, you'll pull over for just a quick second at a thicket of trees. I hope you'll smile, roll your eyes when you see the population of a little town called "Lorenzo", some 100 people large. Do me a favor, and when you come across my little brick country school, don't feel the emptiness and gloom that now envelopes the clearing. Think, instead, of a little girl who learned to read, who learned to love to read, who learned to love to learn. Know that this seemingly desolate locale was just the first stop on a long journey of notebooks and erasers and highlighters, of crushes and dramas and anticipation for both the school year to end, and for the school year to start. This empty place is where my life started, where my passions were sparked. It's the birth place of years of hard work, of two brown eyes that light up whenever a fact about a favorite novel piques an interest, and of high school graduations, and scholarships, and a six-hour-drive across the state, of a tough, but right decision to study what one loves instead of what guarantees one a paycheck, and a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to a country of green.

And so I believe that my little brick country school refuses to be haunted by anything. Rather, I think it sits waiting to see what brilliant things have come and continue to come from the early adventurers that love it. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


Wanna know what one of my very favorite things in the entire world to do is? Instagram. (Find me HERE @zoeyohn, follow me! Let's be friends!) So, for Friday, here's a little recap of some recent snaps. And only one food pic, kinda? What is this? 

1// best friends helping me celebrate 21
2// a long-awaited birthday gift 
3// silly faces 
4// drooling over Ben Gibbard at Maha 
5// my favorite lunch, 19-years-running
6// a bright lip to brighten up a Tuesday 
7// obsessed with these new Starbucks X Band of Outsiders to-go mugs (as if I need another mug)
8// the best time of day: nightly neighborhood watch patrol

Any big plans for this weekend? I'm enjoying the last few bits of summer vacation with a lot of sleeping in and mid-morning coffee downtown before the first day of school on Monday, yikes!