{Almost daily outfit of the day} Cornflower 3.30.12

1950's shirt dress from Archive Vintage; thrifted Bruno Magli heels; thrifted python bag; thrifted rose gold Michael Kors watch; Forever 21 & Neiman Marcus bracelets

The main story on the news these days is the half a billion dollar lottery drawing scheduled to take place tonight. Sometimes, when I'm having trouble falling asleep, I fantasize about what I would do if I won. I'd likely behave exactly as most would if they suddenly came into money -- I'd travel, and pay off debt, and probably purchase a larger house. I'd treat my friends to a lavish vacation and help out family, and donate to various charities. I'd open a vintage shop and host dinner parties, and hire a housekeeper to do my laundry.

It's nice to sit and fantasize about the what-ifs and could-be's of lottery drawings. But truth be told, if I really was to win the lottery, my first priority would be to hire a tailor to create 100 copies of this dress in different fabrics, colors and sleeve lengths. It's that perfect.

Thrifting 101: Do you thrift and tell?

We all have our secrets.

We might take credit for a recipe that came from Paula Dean. We may dye our hair in the bathroom sink and claim its gorgeously glossy color as our own. On occasion, we pretend to love the National Geographic channel when we'd much rather curl up with Mob Wives. There are those who swear allegiance to their spouse's favorite football team but really, really, really hate football. And let's not forget the plethora of secrets we keep from nosy neighbors and suffocating in-laws. Those are better left to ourselves.

Amongst thrifters, there's a different kind of secret. It's the hushed voice, the inquisitive glance, the pinkie swear that what is spoken will not be shared. This is the kind of secret many thrifters keep from their best friends and closest relatives -- the most guarded information which they squirrel away in the dark, twisty recesses of their brains.

It's the name of our favorite stores.

I was at a blogging event last spring when I found myself chatting with a fellow thrifting enthusiast. She was wearing the most incredible vintage skirt, and I asked her where she got it. "I'd rather not say," she stated, eyes cutting left and right. "It's my favorite thrift store. You understand." I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to pry the name of the store from her before giving up. I was so baffled by this incident that I wondered if I was committing a grave error by freely sharing the names of my own favorite stores. Would I benefit by refusing to share the stores I shopped at the most? Was I breaking some sort of cardinal rule by inquiring about where acquaintances thrift? Are we thrifters expected to keep our favorite shops a secret?

Since I started my Thrifting 101 series a year ago, I've received a countless number of emails from those both in and outside of Dallas asking where I thrift. I would never consider keeping the names of my favorite stores a secret. Why? First of all, I love being part of the thrifting community. I love sharing my scores with friends, and discussing the best way to remove stains from silk (Oxy Clean Max Force gel stain stick and a gentle spin in the wash...trust me). I love planning group thrifting excursions, and I adore celebrating the special pieces my friends dig up. Part of the joy of being a thrifter is sharing the excitement of a treasured find with a like-minded enthusiast -- someone who loves thrifting and vintage as much as you do. There is a real sense of community among thrifters, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Secondly, we when thrift, we are all looking for different things and in different sizes. My preference for sequins and 1950's dresses with full skirts might not be yours. Your budget might not be the same as mine either, and our reasons for thrifting could be dramatically different. As a result, we could  thrift at the same store and have totally conflicting experiences. Purposely choosing not to share favorite stores transforms a treasure hunt into a competition. And why would we want to do that? There's more than enough thrift fun to go around.

Now I ask you: Do you share the names of your favorite haunts, or keep them to yourselves? Has anyone ever refused to share their best stores with you? Do you keep thrifting secrets?

(P.S: Curious about the ginormous Goodwill pictured above? It's located at 2010 North Graves Street in McKinney, Texas and is one of my favorites!)

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Triumph of the dowdy 3.28.12

Thrifted silk blouse; thrifted chiffon skirt; Steve Madden pumps; thrifted vintage python clutch; Forever 21 & Neiman Marcus bracelets

Friends, there is a fine line between looking modest and mature, and appearing dowdy. When I first put this ensemble together I was thinking more "Enchanting, Whimsically Youthful Fashion Blogger in A Polka Dot Skirt" than "Matronly Retired Accountant Who Eats Lean Cuisines In Her Basement Apartment While Listening To NPR And Lamenting Her Youth." I think my sensible pumps pushed me towards the latter. Before you know it I'll be watching old episodes of Matlock while stirring Metamucil into my instant coffee and yelling at neighborhood kids to get off my lawn.

Snarking aside, I have to admit I felt pretty in this silk blouse and drawstring skirt, and received a few compliments from random strangers. So you win, dowdy outfit. You win.

An open letter to Spanx

jantzen 56

Dear Spanx,

As someone who considers herself "fashionable" and "stylish" and "having a vagina" and "possessing the nearly uncontrollable need to bind her wobbly bits into submission", I suppose I should love you. Lord knows a lot of women do. The shapewear industry is worth $812.5 billion, and annual retail sales grew 10.6 percent to $848.3 million from March 2009 to February 2010. Women are now building shapewear wardrobes of basic and specialty pieces like control camis, waist cinchers and all-in-one body shapers, much in the same way as they’ve made bras and tank tops wardrobe staples.

Spanx, your seemingly magical ability to smooth and slim is the stuff of legends. Women yank you on and feel, well, better about themselves. They speak of your power to their friends in enraptured voices, gushing over the way you make five pounds mystically disappear from their hips. It's no lie that I, too, have fallen prey to your seductive siren call of smoothing and shrinking. Frankly, I'm somewhat stunned by the way you concealed my food baby from last night's pad Thai dinner. That, my friend, is nothing short of a miracle, much like those visions of Mary people occasionally find on their toast. Sometimes I even look at my reflection in the mirror when I'm wearing you and think, "Damm, girl, you look good." (Most of the time my reflection says things like "You should really get on the treadmill today, fatty", or Maybe you shouldn't of had that second glass of wine last night, eeeehh?" because my reflection tends to be kind of condescending and bitchy.)

But here's the thing, Spanx: you hurt. Oh my God in heaven, do you hurt. You hurt like the wrath of a thousand white hot burning suns. Your godforsaken sucky-inny undergarments are no picnic to wear. Octavia Spencer, stunningly gorgeous Oscar winner and style goddess, wore THREE PAIRS of you to the SAG awards, a torture tactic I wouldn't be surprised to see at Guantanamo. Octavia told Ellen DeGeneres all about her painful experience:
"I could not party that night because I was being pinched in places that I didn't know it was possible. I ran into Melissa [and] said, "Oh my God, Melissa, I'm about to die. My Spanx are killing me." She said, "I just went to the bathroom and took mine off!""
Been there, done that Melissa. Spanx, I too have heaved a sigh of relief upon peeling you off at the end of the day. And when I do, I wonder why so many women are now flocking in hordes to shapewear. Is it because more of them are struggling with obesity than ever before? Are fashion trends dictating the need for the smooth silhouettes shapewear creates? Or is vanity sizing, and a lack of sizing guidelines in the United States, the source of your success? There is definite confusion among female consumers regarding what clothing size they are, as it is nearly impossible to accurately determine what size one needs to wear to guarantee optimal fit.

So what is it, Spanx? Why are you so damm popular? You're a modern day girdle who is so mainstream that middle and high school athletes are donning you underneath their uniforms and doctors are reporting an increase in stomach and digestive trouble as a result of your medieval constriction. Women are putting themselves in pain all for the appearance of a flatter stomach and smoother hips. Personally, Spanx, when I wear you, I often feel fatter than when I leave you in the drawer. It's the truth. You are a reminder that I wish I looked differently than I do.

There's something about you, Spanx, that makes me have a lot of questions and wonder why women like me wear you despite the pinching and compression and stomach ickiness and low self-esteem. Are you really worth all that? What is the point, after all? So we can pretend to have the figures we dream of having and hold ourselves up to an unrealistic standard? That's messed up, Spanx. It really is.

Until I figure things out I'm going to just go ahead and keep you off my body. I hope you understand. It's not you, it's me. Well, actually, it is you. You're just no good for me, Spanx. No good at all.


Elissa Stern

(Do you wear Spanx or other shapewear? If so, do you find squeezing into it painful and humiliating, or does it boost your self-image? What do you think is behind the popularity of shapewear?)

{Almost daily outfit of the day} In which I face my own death 3.26.12

Thrifted Thomas Pink shirt; thrifted Anthropologie skirt; Old Navy belt; Steve Madden pumps; vintage estate sale clutch; Forever 21 and Neiman Marcus bracelets; thrifted Michael Kors rose gold watch

On Saturday night I was driving home from a perfectly lovely tapas dinner with Stephanie, Erin, and Hilary when my front tire blew out. I've spent quite a bit of time behind the wheel, as evidenced by my long history of speeding tickets and traffic violations, but I've never gotten a flat in such a spectacular manner before. In case you're wondering what it's like to have your own front tire blow out, here's what happens: there's an ear-cracking BOOM! followed by uncontrollable swerving into the opposite lane and the terrifying realization that OH MY GOD, I AM GOING TO DIE, LIKE LITERALLY DIE A HORRIFICALLY PAINFUL DEATH RIGHT HERE ON THE FREEWAY AND I HAVEN'T MASTERED PATTERN MIXING YET AND I'M GOING TO MISS THE SEASON PREMIERE OF MAD MEN SWEET BABY JESUS AAARRRGGGHHH.

Of course, everything turned out okay. I made it off the freeway and my husband picked me up and had the car towed. When one emerges unscathed from such a treacherous event, pattern mixing doesn't seem so challenging after all.

On Sundays I Smile - Week in review 3.25.12

On Sundays I smile. 

I share these moments with you.


One of the things I miss most about living in NYC are the bagel shops that dotted every corner. I'd order a cinnamon raisin bagel the size of a hubcap and a steaming cup of coffee, read the New York Times, and study the atmosphere. The bagels at my local shop aren't quite up to par, but they'll do.

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was ride my bike around my neighborhood with a book in the basket, looking for the perfect shady spot to read. When my daughter asked to get the tires on her own bike fixed, I became so inspired that I decided to break mine out for a spin. I have not ridden my bike in four years. Hilarity ensued.

I met my friend Erin at the Grand Lux Cafe, where we ate things like goat cheese caesar salad and potato stuffed spring rolls and skillet macaroni and cheese with bacon and I ogled her rhinestone collar necklace which she wore with a vintage rock tee and looked amazing.

I continue to be haunted by this incredible vintage Charles Jordan python bag I spied at Archive Vintage Clothing in Dallas. Of course, I have no need for a vintage python Charles Jordan bag, but I want it all the same.

Yesterday I jogged six miles. Just kidding I ate pancakes.

I was interviewed on the blog 33 avenue Miquelon this week for it's Follow Friday feature. Drop by and check it out!

Now it's your turn. 

What were the best parts of your week? Leave a comment and share your smiles!

Some photos taken with Instagram: dresscourage

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Twinkle 3.22.12

Thrifted J Crew blazer; thrifted J Crew button down; beat up thrifted Seven For All Mankind jeans; Gap belt (clearance); Nine West pumps; estate sale clutch; Forever 21 rhinestone collar necklace

The other day, while embarking on a laborious mission to clean out my closet, I stumbled upon a photograph of myself at six years old. I am costumed in a stiff mint green tutu and shimmering leotard, rosy cheeked and sweaty, grinning maniacally at the camera. Rows of silver sequins and rhinestones dance around my waist. This photo is all that remains of my brief, yet illustrious career as a childhood tap student. Lacking both talent and equilibrium, I was the type of dancer who careened into walls and refused to practice and preferred to hide in the back of the class, chewing on my hair. I confess that my only impetus for sticking with those long, arduous classes was the opportunity to wear that recital costume. Silver and rhinestones were, and continue to be, hard to resist.

Thrifting 101: Shop Talk with Pocketful of Pearls

At the Texas Style Council Conference, I was privileged to speak with three other bloggers on creative consumerism. To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure what the term creative consumerism meant. I concluded that it's a philosophy defined by responsible shopping with a nod towards eco-awareness. As I was preparing for the panel, I realized that I could be making much more of an effort to be a responsible consumer. Though my wardrobe is approximately 90% thrifted, I don't pay nearly enough attention to supporting local small businesses. And while my clothes are overwhelmingly secondhand, I am largely uneducated about the impact clothing overproduction, specifically in the "fast fashion" category, has on our environment (a topic I hope to explore in next week's Thrifting 101 post.)

With this in mind, I'm introducing a new feature within my Thrifting 101 series called Shop Talk. I'd like to highlight small businesses that specialize in vintage clothing and accessories, whether based in my local community or on Etsy. If you have a vintage store, or online shop or business that specializes in creating apparel, leather goods or jewelry from secondhand or recycled materials, please contact me - I'd love to feature you and your business!

To kick of Shop Talk, I'd like you to meet a Dallas vintage enthusiast named Michelle, owner of  Pocketful of Pearls. I first met Michelle at the Dallas Flea and was immediately struck by both her amazing personal style and well-curated shop. Pocketful of Pearls has been featured in D Magazine and specializes in offering a wide range of sizes, which is an unusual and welcome feature in a vintage store. Read along and get to know Michelle and her wonderful shop better!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?

My name is Michelle Parker and I was born and reared in Arlington, Texas but my cultural/ancestral heritage is of Sierra Leonean decent (West Africa). In 2003, I moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University and have lived here since I graduated. I would describe my personal style as evolving. I like to dress according to my mood that day and I try to incorporate at least one statement piece. I also enjoy mixing vintage and retro pieces, similar to what you will find in my store.

How did you first get introduced to thrifting?

I was first introduced to thrifting in college. I became obsessed with the idea of finding quality, eye-catching clothing and accessories at a fraction of the cost.

When did you become passionate about buying and wearing vintage clothing and accessories?

I've always had an interest in clothing and accessories from different era's but my passion advanced when I began to develop my own personal style. I love the fact that when you shop vintage, you know you are getting a limited, if not one of a kind, item. I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt! I can walk into a store with no expectations and, with a little patience, walk out with a beautiful Victor Costa jacket or a signed Miriam Haskell necklace.

What inspired you to start Pocketful of Pearls?

P.o.P. developed from the excitement of “treasure hunting” and the premise of standing out while saving money. Through conversations, I realized there are lots of people that have this same interest, however they do not have the time or patience. As an online shopper myself, I also felt like there was a void with vintage/retro online boutiques that also carried a full range of sizes.

The P.o.P closet is all about variety and personality. I wanted to create a place for people who want to add eye-catching pieces to their wardrobe and aren't afraid to step out of the box. When you visit the site, you will find an eclectic mix of handpicked vintage and retro. Expect to explore a new way of shopping that is based on your current mood or the mood you would like to convey.

Any current projects you’re working on?

Yes! I’m so excited to be a part of Dallas Flea again on April 21 which is a fun shopping event showcasing several Texas vendors. I will also be a part of a pop-up shopping event hosted by Chastity from The Curvy Girl's Guide to Style in May. The easiest way to find out about future P.o.P events and exclusives is through our Facebook page (Facebook.com/pocketfulofpearls).

Do you have any helpful hints for those new to thrifting and buying vintage?

If you find one or two favorite thrift stores, find out about their sale days. Some stores have entire days where their inventory is 75% off. Also if you if you have a flexible work schedule, weekdays are a great time to stop by these stores. Most importantly, have fun! Try getting out of your comfort zone and explore new options.

How would you describe thrifting in Dallas? Do you prefer thrifting in smaller charity shops or larger, more corporate-based stores?

Expanding it to DFW, I would say “lots of options”. The good (and sometimes bad) thing about Dallas is that we are so spread out. Thrifting has definitely become more popular in the recent years, however because Dallas has so many options, you still have that feeling of thrill for the hunt. I personally prefer shopping at small charity shops because I like supporting non-profit organizations doing good work.

{Almost daily outfit of the day} In the trenches 3.20.12

Thrifted Norma Kamali trench coat; Gap Outlet jeans; thrifted Gap chambray blouse; Ellen Tracy heels; thrifted Coach "Willis' satchel; Old Navy belt; Forever 21 bracelets

I want you all to know that I tried very hard to prevent this post from dissolving into a discussion about Downton Abbey, but I am so obsessed with that show that I could not continue without it. I am convinced that Netflix added Downton Abby because they're planning to take over the world while the rest of us get nothing done. If you haven't seen Downton Abbey, the show captures the behavior of an aristocratic family and their meddling but loyal servants against the rigid societal boundaries of the Victorian era. Today's photos, containing my recently thrifted trench coat, instantly reminded me of the intrigue and diabolical manipulation at play between Downton characters. Let's hope the show doesn't kindle a longing for corsets. That would be too much.

On Sundays I Smile - Week in review 3.18.12

On Sundays I smile.

I share these moments with you.


My idea of heaven looks somewhat like this: a gigantic warehouse filled to the brim with vintage dresses, blazers, blouses, lingerie and pants, some dating to the Victorian era, and all priced between $2 and $9. I bought enough dresses, blazers, and blouses to warrant a $100 dry cleaning bill and fully stock my vintage shop (coming soon to Etsy.)

The weather has been so spring-like and pretty here in Dallas that I was able to take my kids to the Dallas Arboretum this week for Spring Blooms. The Arboretum is one of my favorite places in the city, and if you ever visit Dallas I highly recommend you go (and come and visit me too!) It's a perfect little slice of beauty is this great big bustling city.

The Arboretum is also a popular place for girls celebrating their Quinceaneras to have their photos taken. These are just two of the many girls I spotted. I'm not going to lie - their dresses make me insanely jealous.

To  conclude this post, here is a photo of the hot toddie that I drank last night out of a very special mug my daughter made. I have pneumonia. Again. Trust me when I insist that the extra whiskey added was for medicinal purposes only. I'll be taking a couple of days off from blogging to recover.

Now it's your turn. 

What were the best parts of your week? Leave a comment and share your smiles!

Some photos taken with Instagram: dresscourage

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Touch of spring 3.16.12

3.16.12 1

Thrifted Black House White Market dress; thrifted vintage clutch; Bandolino pumps; thrifted Michael Kors rose gold watch; Forever 21 bracelets; flea market turquoise ring

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Why Elissa, your legs are not nearly as pasty as they usually are! Have you been spending your free time vacationing on a beach in French Polynesia? Then you shake your head in bewilderment, because as far as you know there just isn't decent thrifting in French Polynesia. For me, March is not only about alternating days of too-cold/just-right temps and flowers blooming and green beer because it's St. Patrick's Day. No, March is also about going bare-legged for the first time since the fall and conducting an embarrassing amount of experimental applications with self-tanner due to the need to go bare-legged. My terror of blinding you with glaring white legs and desire to avoid being mistaken for an Orange County housewife led me towards Nivea Touch Of Sun. I'd say it's a success.

3.16.12 2

3.16.12 4

3.16.12 3

Thrifting 101: Thrift tips for the busy shopper.

{Source: Stephanie from Those Tricks}

It's just after five-thirty on a Tuesday afternoon. You've packed up your things and left work (or school.) Your head is spinning with all of the tasks you need to complete - mundane, ordinary things, like picking up milk from the market and stopping to get gas and swinging by the dry cleaner to fetch your favorite pink dress that you accidentally spilled chocolate syrup on. There's also the pile of work you brought home and your boyfriend/husband/cats that demand your attention. Earlier in the day you had thought about going thrifting, but now you're worried there might not be enough time. Thrift stores are huge, you sigh. How on earth can you dig up a great find when your stay there will be so limited?  Wearily, you conclude that thrifting is just not for you.

You could not be more wrong.

It's true that the more time you spend in a thrift store, the better your chances are of making a big score. A leisurely hour (or two) of thrifting permits you to explore every little corner, from shoes to housewares to men's tee shirts and books. But you'd be surprised how much you can accomplish in a limited amount of time.

Here are some tips for negotiating thrift stores with time constraints:

  • Plan thrifting pit stops: If you have a busy schedule, try to find gaps in your day when you can stop in and quickly browse on your way to your next destination. Many thrifters find it helpful to map out all thrift stores within a 50 mile radius of their homes or work. Luckily, there's a free iPhone app called Thrift Buddy that can help you out. It locates over 10,000 thrift stores in the United States and also includes store hours.
  • Be efficient: Before you enter a store, think about what you're looking to thrift and tailor your time around that goal. For example, with the arrival of spring I'm most interested in thrifting for spring and summer dresses. If I'm on a time crunch while thrifting, I make sure to immediately head for that section. I don't allow myself to get distracted by the blouses, or blazers, or anything shiny (which is a problem because I'm a magpie for sequins and evening wear.) I seek out the dresses and that's it.
  • Dress accordingly: I've noticed that I tend to lose most of my time in thrift stores while in dressing rooms. Taking off blouses with tiny buttons, or multiple layers, or tights layered with socks eats up minutes as I'm rushing to try things on. Wearing something that's easy to slip on and off, or slip clothes over, will cut your time down significantly.
  • Set an alarm: Really stressed for time? Set an alarm on your phone as soon as you enter a store. Be sure to leave yourself an extra five minutes for check out. If you haven't found anything when your time is up, don't stress! It's better to leave empty handed than spend money on something you don't really need.
Do you have any tips for busy thrifters? Do you avoid thrifting altogether because you're worried you won't have enough time?

The Texas Style Council Conference: My personal experience.

So this was supposed to be my big Texas Style Council Conference recap post, where I shared with you all the minutiae of the conference. I intended to give you behind-the-scenes photos, panel recaps, outfit pics and general tidbits from three days of parties, panels and events.

This is not to be.

As community outreach manager, I quickly learned that I would be lucky to take a deep breath during the conference, much less compose summaries of panels. I neglected to get photos with my favorite bloggers -- women I was truly excited to meet. I didn't get a chance to attend some of the panels during the symposium, which was a huge personal disappointment. I didn't connect with the brands and speakers I had hoped to. I was unable to really focus on socializing due to the overwhelming anxiety of trying to do a perfect job both for Indiana and TxSC attendees. I was so distracted that I had trouble concentrating on conversations and forgot things...like my book, which I intended to sell after my panel but was left behind at TxSC headquarters (my fault completely.) Truthfully, I was a nervous wreck, and my anxiety kept me from enjoying my time in Austin and connecting with many of the people I was around.

I'm not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to co-host a bloggers conference, especially one as large as TxSC was -- the event was oversold, and we ended up with 270+ bloggers -- and truthfully, I doubt I'd want to. I learned I am not so great at being an organizer. I am an excellent speaker, a wiz at social media and a talented writer. But natural born leader I am not. In my attempts to help meet the needs of so many people, of trying to impress my boss, of mingling with well-known bloggers and of the responsibilities of my job, I lost the joy I had when I attended TxSC as an attendee last year. In addition, I can't help but feel that the environment and feel of the conference was quite different this time around. The combination of so many attendees, a limited amount of space, and so many high-profile people created an event that was tough for me to process. I'm not trying to throw Indiana under the bus by saying that. It's just the way I felt.

Overall, I was exhausted, and stressed out, and probably rather unpleasant to be around myself. I neglected to make my personal priorities important, and as a result did not make the time to seek out bloggers I yearned to meet and attend the panels I was intrigued by. Worst of all, though, I was unable to give attendees the best version of myself. Instead I presented to them a frazzled, overwhelmed, and awkward women I hardly recognize.

I never understood just how much work goes into planning such a large, complex event. I suppose I was fortunate in that my responsibilities were limited to managing the social media accounts and blog, as well as prepare for the panel I was speaking on and the thrift workshop I co-led. I cannot imagine how I would have handled working with brands, locating spaces for the parties and symposium, signing speakers and making travel arrangements. I so admire Indiana for her hard work at pulling all of these elements together. Organizing and planning a conference is a highly complicated process. There's so much more that happens which attendees don't get to see.

Fortunately, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from bloggers who were at the Texas Style Council Conference, and heard that the panels were informative, engaging and enjoyable. I had the pleasure of speaking about creative consumerism with Meryl, Grechen and Pamela, and it was fun to to talk to attendees about buying secondhand. The thrift workshop with Jentine, Jessie, and Pamela was a blast, despite the pouring rain (the weather during TxSC was less than ideal. I'm talking torrential downpours and chilly temperatures.) I also had an awesome roommate -- Kyla, who I met at last year's TxSC -- and was able to meet with a few local business owners. Blogging conferences overall are a pretty amazing opportunity to learn, to grow, to network and, most importantly, to have fun.

My lessons from TxSC? Hand out your business card to everyone you meet. Conferences are as much a networking opportunity as a social event. Don't be nervous to approach a blogger you admire. Wear comfortable shoes. Stay with the people who make you happy and bring out the best version of you. Smile more. Understand that you won't connect with everyone, and that's okay.

If you're hired to work on a similar event, get your job responsibilities in writing, and refuse to perform additional work unless paid for it. Insist on receiving credit for your job, preferably in the form of public thanks, media credit or other form of print. And demand to be compensated for what you are worth. (I received all of these things, so no worries from my end.)

Did you attend the Texas Style Council Conference? Have you attended other blogging conferences? I'd love to hear your thoughts on your experiences.

P.S - In a sad turn of events, I also lost my iPhone while in Austin...and the few photos I had taken with it. Boo. But here are a couple from the interwebs. If you have more photos of or with me, please let me know. I have a serious case of the sads today.

Grechen and I; a blogger modeling a vintage dress; and Linda and Sydney at the Hunt.Gather.Style pop-up shop, who dressed me for the weekend. My sequin blazer is a $8 thrifted score from a Dallas Goodwill.

From Hunt.Gather.Style I wore this: a vintage mink cape and crocodile clutch. Go big or go home, I figured.

I forget whose site I swiped this from (sorry.) There's me, Sara, a blogger whose name I didn't get, and Julie at the Poshmark Posh Party.

Being interviewed at the swap.

Amy, Indiana and I at the swap.

For more photos from the swap, head over to the Swapaholics page to see. If you were at TxSC, you might be in one of them!

See you after the Texas Style Council Conference!

girl suitcase


Today I'm headed to Austin for the Texas Style Council Conference. I'll be back with recaps of the event and new outfit pics on Wednesday, March 14th. In the meantime, you can follow along on my adventures on Twitter at @dresscourage and @txstylecouncil.

Hope you have a great weekend!

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Simply pink 3.7.12

3.7.12 1

Thrifted vintage silk blouse; Old Navy jeans; Jessica Simpson pumps; Gap belt; Frye clutch; vintage rhinestone necklaces; Forever 21 bracelet

At this time tomorrow, I'll be hurling down the freeway headed to Austin for the Texas Style Council Conference. It's hard to believe that a year ago I was preparing for the same event as an attendee (and nervous newbie blogger) while this year I'm one of the co-chairs! I'm so excited to speak on the panels, mingle with designers and brand managers, and meet bloggers I've only interacted with on Twitter or through blog comments. If you'll be at the conference, please come by and say hi. I'd love to meet you!

3.7.12 2

3.7.12 3