Aug 31, 2011

30 for 30 Round-Up! {WIWW}

Well, guys I did it! I am on the very last day of my 30 for 30 challenge. If you are new around here, I challenged myself to make outfits out of the same 30 articles of clothing for the month of August. I have put myself on a little shopping fast, so this was my way of being creative while I'm avoiding stores like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack  :)

The challenge actually turned out to be 21 for 31. I didn't count shoes and accessories as a part of my 30, so I ended up wearing only 21 items of clothing during this 31 day month. Here is the line -up:

Three pairs of shorts: black, gray, and denim
Two pairs of pants: skinny jeans and gray cigarette slacks
Seven shirts: six tanks and one button-up
Three cardigans - for the intensely air conditioned buildings
Five dresses: all cotton - one long, four short
and ONE romper!

I didn't include shoes or accessories in the challenge this time, because, but I think I would next time to make it even more difficult. I could easily limit myself to 20 articles of clothing and then use the last ten items on shoes, belts, headbands, and necklaces.

Really though this challenge is not about what I wore, but what I learned....

1) My closet is huge. I have so many clothes. I could probably do this challenge for six months straight and never repeat the same item. It would take me over a year to wear all my pants if I only wore one pair of slacks and one pair of jeans each month.

2) Because my closet is so well stocked, I really have no reason to be shopping. I shop because I enjoy it, not really because I need new clothing. But there are other things I also enjoy like laying by the pool, reading for fun, and hanging out with friends, so I have plenty of things to replace my shopping habit with. This is why the shopping fast will extend beyond this month's challenge.

3) God has called me to be a good steward of what He has given me and this includes my clothing. I have really been challenged this last month to meditate on what stewardship looks like in every area of my life and what my attitude should be in regards to fashion/clothes/shopping. I will be writing more on this later...

So the shopping freeze continues. It's about the only thing frozen around here in this hot desert where we live :) Anyone have any new clothing challenges I could give myself for September? I want to continue to be stretched in the stewardship of my wardrobe, so any new ideas on how I can use/wear my clothes wisely would be appreciated. I am thinking of way to create new outfits, match unlikely items together or use my clothing in different ways. Kendi recently wore her shirt backward to make it look like a tunic... pretty impressive!

And here is what I wore...or should I say how I wore what I have already been wearing for the past three weeks...

DAY 21
Dress :: Ross {Design History}

DAY 22
Shirt :: Banana Republic
Cardigan :: Nordstrom Last Chance {Halogen}
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Shoes :: Urban Outfitters

DAY 23 {or the day I met my new students}
Shirt :: Target
Sweater :: Banana Outlet
Pants :: Banana
Shoes :: Nine West

DAY 24
Shirt :: Forever 21
Sweater :: Banana Outlet
Jeans :: Banana
Shoes :: Nine West

DAY 25 does not exist! :)

DAY 26
Dress :: TJ Maxx
Sweater :: Banana Republic
Belt :: Forever 21

DAY 27 MORNING {or when I wore a fishtail}
Shirt :: Banana Republic
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Flower :: Boutique in L.A.

DAY 27 EVENING {or date night}
Romper :: Urban Outfitters
Shoes :: Urban Outfitters
Belt :: Nordstrom
Necklace :: Banana Outlet
Husband :: Mine

DAY 28
Dress :: TJ Maxx
Belt :: Forever 21
Boots :: Charlotte Russe

DAY 29 {or the day I made my most creative outfit yet}
Dress :: Ross {Design History, see day 21}
Shirt :: Banana
Belt :: Forever 21
Boots :: Charlotte Russe
Watch :: Nordstrom {Skagen}

*I have to say this was my most creative outfit of the whole challenge. I tried to wear my shirt over my dress, so it would kind of look like a loose top and skirt combo with a belt around it, and then for some reason I tried tying my shirt up high on my waist and wearing my belt around it and I LOVED the result. It made it look a dress, and I opted for cowboy boots instead of heels. Here is the before and after...

DAY 30
Dress :: Target
Sweater :: Nordstrom Last Chance {Halogen}
Shoes :: Urban Outfitters
Belt :: Forever 21
Necklace :: Nordstrom Last Chance

And today is DAY 31! Right now, I am wearing my work out clothes... but I promise to wear something from the 21 piece collection when I go to class tonight!

Linking up to the lovely Lindsey...

pleated poppy

Aug 30, 2011

A Lesson on Gym Etiquette

Enter this week's GIVEAWAY!!!

To those who frequent my apartment complex's gym facility:

Over the past year of living here, I have realized that I have a few very strong opinions about gym etiquette. I thought my beliefs about proper gym behavior were pretty much common sense, but I'm afraid I was mistaken. Allow me to shed some light on this topic...

Treadmill Workouts for all levels

1) Oh Cable Guy, I just can't get enough of you. I loved finding your Burger King crumbs from last night on the leg press machine today during my work out... or should I say "your couch?" - since you sit on the leg press machine for hours at a time watching ESPN in our gym.

2) Oh, and Cable Guy, I think it's kind of rude that you come in while I'm working out and change the channel on the TV without asking. I know I'm actually using our gym to exercise, but maybe I was kind of watching that show... maybe?

3) And one more thing... when you turn the volume on the TV up to 60, I can no longer hear the music in my own headphones. I'd rather not damage my hearing as I try to listen to some music as I run, but I guess the volume of your ION network show is more important. I would hate for the sound of a cardio machine to ruin your gym-theater experience.

4) No, actually I don't want to get off my treadmill 20 minutes into my run to open the gym door for you because you left your keys inside...especially when the door is already open, but you failed to try it and instead glared at me through the window until I interrupted my run to open the already-open door for you. Running is NOT easy for me people; getting interrupted two-thirds of the way through a run is not ideal.

5) If you are able to talk {loudly} on your phone during your entire workout, I doubt you are really reaching your full fitness potential.

6) Sir, you know it's generally considered rude to be on a cardio machine for over 30 minutes while people are waiting, right? It seems especially extreme when you are walking 3 mph for 75 minutes as people wait right next to you. At least you are reading Wicked as you stroll leisurely on the treadmill. Good reading choice. Poor gym awareness.

7) To the mom who brings her baby into the gym with her as she works out: I applaud you for being so committed to working out as a young mom. I might even be tempted to take my kid with me to the gym someday too. However, the fact that you give your toddler cheerios in the gym and leave about a 100 of them smashed and strewn about the floor seems a little inappropriate. Maybe you should save snack time for home? Or bring a broom?

8) To the apartment management... I think it's great that you hired a work crew of six men to fix one of the apartment balconies. You are very good at getting maintenance done around this place. However, do you think you could provide the men with a better break room than the gym? I know they need to get out of the hot sun for awhile, but having six men silently stare at you for 15 minutes as you run on a treadmill makes for a very awkward gym experience.

9) Oh, and management, when you have it posted on the wall of the gym to call management "immediately" if any of the machines are broken and I do call you and let you know that a machine is, indeed, broken... it would be nice if you could have someone fix it in a timely manner... like under three months maybe?

10) No, strange teenage boy who is trying to get into the gym without a key, I will not open the door for you. The fact that you are swimming in our pool in broad daylight wearing only your underwear makes me think you are more likely to be a molester than the average citizen. I am in the gym alone and you and your underwear-clad body are NOT invited.

***And finally, to the girl who wears the sports bra and the spandex and runs a million miles on the treadmill at a 7.7 mph pace, you are my hero.


P.S. Yes, these are all true stories that have happened to me over the past year. And although many of these situations were hilarious, and a few of them were incredibly annoying, I must admit that I am thankful for our crazy, little apartment gym. Despite the fact that many of its patrons are not exactly good stewards of the gym,  the space has allowed me to work out for free for the past 13 months; I even did the majority of my half-marathon training on the non-squeaky treadmill :) It also prevents me from having to work out at the ASU gym where I might run into students, which is possibly more awkward than maintenance men or the boxer boy.

Aug 26, 2011

Happy Blogiversary {to me!}

Today is the day! It's been exactly one year since I started The Arizona Russums to document our life as newlyweds and to record our adventures after moving to the great southwest. I am so thankful for this blog. I love that it encourages and inspires so many people. I love getting text messages from my best friend back home about how much she loved my most recent post. I love that I have met new friends on this space {remember when it was über nerdy to have "online" friends???}. I've even met a couple girls from around AZ like Heather and Jordan that I would love to meet in person someday soon. I love that my whole grad school experience and future career got turned upside down and changed forever just by reading One in the SAHM, Hello Hines Family, and Fly Through Our Window. I love that my mom sometimes reads my blog in the morning before she feeds our dog. Poor guy! :)

But most of all, I love YOU for being my loyal readers and supporters of my blogging research. Thank you for trying my recipes, listening to me whine about yoga, and reading my thoughts on theology. It's my JOY to write Flowers Fade Friday each week, and I hope you are blessed by it. I can't wait to continue to this blogging adventure with you!

And don't forget one faithful reader will win THIS to celebrate my blog's anniversary...


Have YOU entered yet??? Head over to the GIVEAWAY page and leave a comment if you want to enter! I will be back to announce the winner this afternoon!

Aug 25, 2011

Gray and Yellow!

Gray and yellow. The best color combination EVER. If you ask me, I'll say gray is my favorite color, but almost nothing beats gray and yellow together. I've been drawn to this pairing since 2nd grade{!}, which is why these were my wedding colors...

Chrystabel Photography

Chrystabel Photography

And for the people who have asked me for tips on gray+yellow wedding ideas, did you see this post recently by Kim of The TomKat Studio??? So pretty!

But gray and yellow don't just make good wedding colors - they make pretty bedrooms....


Even baby bedrooms...

{can't find the original source... anyone?}

But if you don't want to decorate with gray and yellow, you can always wear it...


Or you can just buy some happy little gray and yellow items...

{my new sewing basket!!!}

{my new notebook!!!}

Yellow and gray is the perfect combination because it works for people who need a splash of sunshine in their life AND for people who are in need of gray, calm, cool day... And I love that gray+yellow can result in a totally modern and edgy look or a rustic, country feel!

What are your favorite color combinations???

Linking up with Gussy!
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

P.S. Have you entered the GIVEAWAY?! Winner will be announced tomorrow!

Aug 24, 2011

30 for 30 update {WIWW}

Umm... have you entered the GIVEAWAY yet???

It's hard to believe I am almost done with the 30 for 30 challenge I gave myself. If you missed my last post, I have put myself on a shopping freeze...indefinitely. It was going to last for August and maybe September... but then I talked to Micah and we decided that we would both give up a specific type of discretionary spending until we met some financial goals we've set for this upcoming year. So for me, I'm not shopping for clothes. And he is not spending money on any sports-related activities like golfing, surfing, going to games, etc. And if you know us, then you know each of these sacrifices is perfect for us... because they get us right where it hurts.. in a good way... like a refined-to-be-more-like-Jesus way.

So to make my no-shopping period fun instead of burdensome, I challenged myself to wear the same 30 articles of clothing in different, creative ways for 30 days. In some ways, it's been incredibly easy to only wear 30 items of clothing. In fact, I've only worn 20 items if you don't count shoes and accessories! First of all, it's easy because I don't layer anything! It's Phoenix. It's 100 bajillion degrees outside and you will only find me wearing shorts+tanks or dresses. Secondly, since it's been summer break, I often wear some combination of work out clothes, swimsuit, or pajamas all day long and then put on an outfit for about two hours total in the afternoon or evening. So I don't feel bad wearing a similar outfit again that same week. It's not like I'm going to work everyday and seeing the same people at the office who think I'm the gross girl who never washes her clothes. {Even though I kind of am the gross girl who never washes her clothes...}

At the same time though, the hot weather makes it challenging to put together creative outfits, since my main goal is typically to wear as few clothes as possible while maintaining some level of decency. It's been a little boring overall, but I have done a few crazy things the past few days. #1 I wore my fedora and got made fun of. #2 I found a belt in my closet that I bought at TJ Maxx in the spring and had yet to wear {I've now worn it twice!} #3 I am stepping back into the world of heels after a three year sabbatical. I figure I should wear heels as much as I can now, because after I have babies I will probably never want to wear them again. #4 I wore a romper in public for the first time ever. #5 I wore my bump-it to a concert. Ha!

And without further adieu, I give to you days ten - twenty of this 30 for 30 adventure...

DAY 10 {or the glorious day my BF Camille came to Phoenix and her dad made fun of my hat}:
Shirt :: Forever 21
Sweater :: Nordstrom {Halogen}
Jeans :: Banana Republic
Shoes :: Urban Outfitters
Hat :: Forever 21

DAY 11 {or the day I wore heels for a non-formal occasion for the first time in years}:
Shirt :: Banana Republic
Sweater :: Banana Republic
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Shoes :: Nine West
Headband :: Forever 21
Necklace :: Banana Republic

DAY 12 {or the day I wore the same outfit two days in a row}:
Shirt :: Banana
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Shoes :: Old NAVY {P.S. They KILLED my feet and are now in the Goodwill pile.}
Headband :: Forever 21
Necklace :: Nordstrom

DAY 13:
Shirt :: Banana
Jeans :: Banana
Shoes :: J.Crew {my wedding shoes!}
Belt :: TJ Maxx

DAY 14: 
Shirt :: Target
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Shoes :: Nordstrom Rack {Nine West}
Necklace :: Forever 21
Watch :: Nordstrom { brand ever! Highly recommend!}

DAY 15 {same outfit strikes again!}:
Shirt :: Target
Sweater :: Banana
Shorts :: TJ Maxx
Shoes :: Nordstrom Rack {Jessica Simpson}
Necklace :: Forever 21

DAY 16:
Shirt :: Banana
Pants :: Banana
Shoes :: Nine West
Necklace :: Handmade

DAY 17 {or the day I went to see Kellie Pickler at a free lunchtime concert}:
Dress :: TJ Maxx
Hair :: BUMP IT!
Headband :: Forever 21


DAY 19:
Dress :: Target
Sweater :: Nordstrom {Halogen}
Shoes :: Urban Outifitters

DAY 20:
Shirt :: Banana
Jeans :: Banana
Boots :: Charlotte Russe {from five years ago... I wish they were real ones... maybe someday}
Belt :: Forever 21???

Well, that's it for now! I am in my final ten day stretch. I will be back next week to do a round-up of the full 30 days. Anyone have any ideas of a new fashion challenge I can do for September??? Please share!

Linking up with the lovely Lindsey...
pleated poppy

Aug 22, 2011

Petal Pillow Tutorial

So in addition to sewing lots of pillows this summer, I also redeemed a pillow I already owned. A couple years ago, I bought this little, boring yellow pillow from IKEA. I don't really know why. I think it was über inexpensive {like under $5} and I wanted a pop of color for my bed. However, after we got married, I decided I was sick of this pillow. Not only was it boring, it also didn't quite go with our new duvet cover and the pillow form inside was too small for the case, so it always seemed a little too floppy. I tossed it in a closet for almost a year with plans to beautify it when summer va-cay arrived. {Sorry, I didn't take a before picture because it was just too drab to look at!}

Well, summer arrived and when it was almost over, I finally pulled out this pillowcase and got to work. I LOVE the result. Here is what I did:

I used an empty granola bar box to cut out my petal stencil {and golden graham bars are really good by the way, in case you were wondering}. I just drew a petal by hand and then cut it out carefully.

I then lightly traced the petal with a pencil onto the back side of my chosen fabric. {This fabric matched another pillow I had already sewn for our bed - trying to make my pillows coordinate a little bit and downplay the yellow on this case.} After I had traced six petals, I went over the lines with fray check, so they won't fray later on, and then I cut out each petal carefully. The fray check seems dark at first, but it dries completely and disappears.

I then used a heavier green fabric for the center of the flower. I wanted the green to go with our mostly green paisley duvet cover. I traced the circle with the top of a spice container that seemed to be the right size (hey it's DIY, right!?), used fray check and then cut the circle. Look at the pic on the far right for an easy way to cut a clean circle! Make slits going toward the circle and then you just have to cut around the circle itself for a few centimeters until you hit each slit and the extra fabric falls off. You quickly get a perfectly round edge!

Iron your pillowcase to avoid sloppy application. It's the right thing to do, I promise! {And I realllly hate ironing!}

Place your petals onto the fabric prior to gluing to make sure you get them spaced evenly. Then pick up one at a time, glue the back with Liquid Stitch (did you actually think I was going to sew this thing??? Ha!), and then place firmly onto the fabric. Smooth the petal carefully so there are no bumps and then move onto the next petal. For gluing, I found that it was best to apply the glue around the edge and then smooth it into the middle of the petal with my finger.

Let the pillow dry overnight!

And voila! I now have an upcycled pillow for my bed that adds a pop of color but also works as an anchor to coordinate all my other pillows! LOVE! {And to take care of the floppy problem, I put the pillow form back inside, but I also added leftover polyester stuffing from the last pillows I made. Now my pillow is perfectly puffy!}

Hope you will try it!!! I mean, you don't even have to sew it!

* Linking up with It's Overflowing... *

Blog-iversary GIVEAWAY!

Well... this week marks one year since I launched The Arizona Russums last summer. Micah and I had only been married for about six weeks, we were getting settled in our new AZ home {and by "settled" I mean all the boxes we still hadn't unpacked had been crammed into our disastrous guest room}, and it was time to document our adventures as we looked for a new church, made new friends, navigated our new city, and learned how to be Mr. and Mrs. Russum.

Who knew that when I started this blog a year ago it would change my whole life!? Literally. Since stumbling upon this crazy, exciting world of blogging, I have decided to change my focus in my grad school program and make blogging and studying blogging my whole career!

And today I am so excited to be hosting my first giveaway to celebrate my one year blogiversary! 

Allow me to introduce to you the cutest jewelry rack ever from the lovely Dede of Aunt Dede's Basement. This is a completely chic way to organize your necklaces. I just might have purchased one for myself...

And this one can be yours!!!

All you have to do is:
1 :: be a follower of The Arizona Russums and leave a comment

For extra entries:
2 :: visit Aunt Dede's Basement and leave a comment here telling me your favorite thing in her shop {she has adorable pot holders and aprons and, oh, that ruffled shower curtain!!!}

3 :: tweet and/or facebook about this giveaway with this post's URL

Leave a separate comment for each entry and U.S. residents only please. I will announce the winner on Friday afternoon - which is my actual blogiversary!

And if you can't wait, Aunt Dede's Basement is giving 20% off all purchases to AZ Russums customers until the end of September. Just enter BlogAnniversary at checkout!

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