Summer Sew Easy Series

 “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].”  1 Peter 5:7 (amp)

Heelllo Everyone!

I hope all is well with you! I’ve been super busy trying to manage multiple hats and as a result blogging has been on the back burner. New changes are coming as I am seeking to merge both areas of my business.

I value simplicity and order. So I am working to streamline my business so that the various components complement one another and allows me to be consistent with my output.

But I am so ready to get to blogging again. I miss creating and sharing content. I think I had a blog block.  For the life of me I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about.  Until today.  I had a light bulb go off and I decided to write all about it.

One of the things that I love about summer is that I actually get a vacay.  My children go and live with their dad for the summer and I get to be single and while I miss my kids;  I love the extra time that I have.

Time that my work-a-holic tendence can really bloom if i’m not careful.  but i’m honestly getting tired of that and I want to enjoy life a bit more.  So I decided that I want to maximize my time in the sewing room so that I can sew fewer days and live more.  Which leads me to announce the Summer Sew Easy Series.

I’m thinking easy pull over tops and dresses, pull on palazo pants, wrap dresses and skirts, upcycled pieces, small accessory projects.  Patterns that have less than 5 pieces to them.  Or better yet require no pattern to create.  No zippers, no buttonholes.  Just easy breezy.  Things that can be accomplished in an afternoon.  Things that I can raid my fabric and pattern stash to create ( because I really am practicing sustainability in my sewing I have only bought new fabric to make samples for my apparel line and even started saving the scraps for smaller projects instead of tossing them.)

I already started sketching some projects on my first set of posts and working on creating a hit list of content ideas. I think I might share them with you all on my Instastories later this week or over the weekend.  So stay tuned!

What about you all…?  What are your summer sewing plans? I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time……

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God Will Qualify You

When God gives you a gift its not always something that you might be naturally good at.  Sometimes its something that is in you but requires a process of cultivation.  

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected[and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Its been a while I know since i’ve blogged.  I have been super busy sewing for an upcoming fashion show and website launch for my Clothing Label Virtuous By Design.  I am super excited for this because i’ve been working really hard for the past year behind the seams researching the best business strategies, designing and testing markets for this  launch.  I’m believing that this is going to be a very successful and busy season.

Which leads me today’s post. The launching of my apparel line has me a bit reflective lately. As I was journaling yesterday morning I began to think back on my sewing journey. I really sucked at sewing when I first started, but I also really enjoyed it and soon found that I had a passion for it.  This journal entry very succinctly gives an accurate picture of the last 14 years of my sewing life.  I thought i’d share it with you.

April 2, 2019

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected[and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (amp)

I remember all the tears I shed, all the countless moments where I doubted my sewing abilities.  All of the grueling late night sewing sessions where me and my sewing machine were battling in the process of getting a project done.

The moment when God called me to sew professionally and I told him “i’m not good enough yet.” but He told me “do it anyway”.

The moments when God brought me clients who had more faith in me than I had in myself and when I cried over every sewing mistake that I made.

Every sewing book and blog post that I read, tutorial that I watched, online classes that I purchased, every successful sewing project that kept me encouraged and every sewing failure that kept me humble.

Countless prayers for sewing mentors and instructors that I could turn to for confirmation that I was doing it right. Only to find out that your Holy Spirit was guiding me the whole time.

Fashion Design school, to teaching others what I know and now the official launch of a dream that was conceived before I was even born.  For your word says in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Every triumph, every battle, every struggle, every mountain and every valley.  It was all in preparation for this very special moment in my life.  I now understand that my journey had to be painful…. You were teaching me that I didn’t need to be perfect to serve you.  I just needed to be willing to put in the work.  Thank you Lord for strengthening and perfecting me in the journey.

If there is anything that my sewing journey has taught me is that “God does not call the qualified.  He qualfies the called”.  When God gives you a gift its not always something that you might be naturally good at.  Sometimes its something that is in you but requires a process of cultivation.

Well that’s it.  I pray that my testimony encouraged you.  Until next time…..

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DIY Blue Crochet Cardigan

Happy Hump Day!  I’m so happy to share with you all my last crochet sweater from the January Gallery Night/Day exhibit.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. “1 John 1:9 (amp)

 

Hello Everyone!

Happy Hump Day!  I’m so happy to share with you all my last crochet sweater from the January Gallery Night/Day exhibit.  While it is the last sweater from this small collection it is not my last crochet project.  As a matter of fact i’m finishing up another crochet crop sweater.  I’m calling it the Brighter Side Skinny Crop Sweater.  Chunky yarn was fun but I wanted to create a more slim down version of the Brighter Side Cropped Chunky Yarn Sweater.

So stayed tuned i’ll be debuting this new piece in the coming weeks.  Along with sharing with you some crochet tips and tricks on my instastories.  If you don’t follow me on social media my handle on instagram is @themodestlifeblog and you can find my facebook page under the same name.  You can also click the links on my homepage to get to my pages as well.

Onto this week’s make.  This sweater was my first piece from the collection that I made.  It also took me the longest to make.  I wasn’t happy with it. It felt like it needed something extra.  But everytime I added the extra it didn’t feel or look right.  I went on back and forth like this right up until the week of the exhibit.  In the end I settled with the mantra “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  It also by far was the biggest hit with the people who came to see the exhibit.  Even men gave me compliments on the sweater.  Telling me “it was their favorite.”  Go figure….

My inspiration was born out of an impulse.  I bought this yarn to make a homedec pillow for my bedroom from a crochet pattern using Bernat simply softee yarn (which is not so soft by the way).  I didn’t like the way it was turning out and thought the color would make a pretty sweater.  So that’s how it all started.

Ironically, while it is not my favorite piece, it is my favorite photographed piece from the entire collection.  I really like the images that the photographer was able to capture with this look.

I kept it simple and casual when it came to styling. Black faded washed skinny jeans, my rust colored mule heeled slides.  I also had the t-shirt custom printed to say “handmade”.  I felt that this collection definitely had a handmade feel to it and wanted to celebrate that. I actually plan on playing with various styling options in the future and sharing on my social media as #OOTD.  So get connected to see what I come with.

I used a size 13 crochet hook which is bigger than what the yarn called for and used a single crochet to the back loop only to create the ribbing texture in the body of the fabric and a single crochet for the sleeves.  The ribbing I made using a sc to the back loop only. I used a combination of acrylic and acrylic/wool blend chunky yarn.

Photocredits: Latoya Gale Studios

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Well that’s all for now!  Until next time…….

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DIY Chunky Crochet Duster

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

 

Heeelllllllooooo Everyone!

Happy Hump Day!  I am really feeling on fire today.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. The winter blues was kind of holding me down a bit.  But I give God glory because after church service this past Sunday I felt like I got a second wind.  And in good timing too.  I have a lot to get done.

In today’s post I am sharing with you all my second look from the January gallery night and day exhibit.  If you missed the 1st look you can read about it here.  After I made my brighter side chunky yarn cropped sweater,  I knew that I wanted to make a second piece with the same color story and concept.  Which gave birth to this crochet duster.

The inspiration for this piece came from European street style.  I was seeing all kinds of crazy and colorful oversized knit sweaters and dusters on european blog sites and the desire to create a crochet version of these insanely cool and fun looks was ignited on the inside of me.  One of the things I was loving about my inspiration images was that they didn’t weave in the yarn ends from color changes.  It gave the pieces a more rustic and laid back vibe that felt artfully imperfect (Not to mention that it gave me an excuse not to have to weave in my yarn ends).

I entitled this piece “Laid Back Cool”, because I could envision myself walking down city streets window shopping, sight seeing, or just meeting friends for coffee or lunch.

To bring the look together I paired the duster with my favorite fringe hem skinny jeans, a Ralph Lauren Polo man’s button down shirt that I thrifted, a crossbody bag, my favorite tassle earrings that I purchased from Mendy’s ( she’s great and I love her pieces.  You can get a better look at the earrings here and shop her site from here).  The shoes were a recent acquistion from Forever 21.  I caught a post christmas sale.  I normally don’t engage in Fast Fashion but from time to time because of my budget, I entertain it.  These shoes were on sale for $15 so I bought a pair in rust and a pair in black.  For the shoot I wore one of each because I thought it added to the eclectic vibe of the outfit.

I used a chunky weight wool/acrylic blend yarn, a single crochet stitch to create a simple textured fabric and a jumbo size Q hook in order to maintain a drape in the fabric.  It features bold and bright color blocking tempered by stripes in a neutral black/cream colorway.

Photocredits: Latoya Gale Photography

 

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DIY Cropped Chunky Crochet Sweater

“When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

Hey Everyone!

I pray all is well with you!  I have been super excited about sharing today’s post with you.  As I’ve been sharing on my Instagram since the beginning of the year,  I had an opportunity to display some of my work at a recent gallery night/day in my city back in mid-january.  I was super grateful for the opportunity to feature some of my work.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to also take a step further than my normal iphone blog photos and I collaborated with La Toya Gale Photography .  Over the next few weeks i’ll be sharing some of the photos from my shoot along with my inspiration and creative process for each piece.

This week’s piece I entitled “The Brighter Side” I absolutely love this cropped sweater! My inspiration came from a desire to smile and have fun.  Which is also why I chose to crochet some pieces for this collection.  There is such a creative freedom that I feel when I crochet that allows me to tap into a much more fun and vibrant side of my personality.

I also desired to create pieces that exuded boldness and confidence.  The hardest struggle for me along this journey has been in having CONFIDENCE!, Confidence in my purpose, my gifts, my designs, my appearance, etc……. So I chose to experiment with bold colors, simple style lines and chunky yarn as a way to express this aspect of my vision.

This sweater to me represents a brighter side.  The color story makes me think of sunshine and reminds me that there is still a lot of life left for me to live.

Garment Description/Styling:

This oversized pullover sweater is hand crocheted using a chunky weight wool/acrylic blend yarn.  It features bold and bright color blocked stripes tempered by stripes in a neutral black/cream colorway.

I styled it with a street style vibe in mind.  I paired with skinny jeans, copper red suede slides, and my favorite mustard colored tassle earrings.

Photo Credits: Latoya Gale Photography 

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Well that’s all for now!  Until next time…..

 

xoxo,

Iris

 

DIY Crochet Super Scarf w/ free pattern

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[a] and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[a] and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

Happy! Happy! Happy! Wednesday to you all!

That is exactly how I have been feeling lately. Very happy! I walked into 2019 bursting with creative energy, renewed vision, focus and an immense amount of peace. God has been sooooo good ya’ll!

This week’s post is a quick one! I decided that one of the best ways to keep to my 2019 modest comsumerism goals was to organize my yarn and fabric stash. This not only helped me to be organized by it also rejuvenated my creativity. My first project is my go to yarn stash buster. A scarf. but not just any scarf…..

I created a crochet suuuuuuper scarf! using Bernat softee chunky yarn in the color teal. I’ve been wanting to make one of these 70s throwback scarves for sometime now but I really lacked the motivation to get it done. Reorganzing my stash gave me the motivation that I needed to get things going.

Its pretty and simple. I love the soothing but vibrant color of this yarn and wanted to create a fabric that had a lot of texture but wasn’t stiff and allowed the yarn color be the star of the show. The yarn recommended a size L/11 hook but I used a jumbo size Q crochet hook instead to help create drape and a single crochet stitch to create the simple textural fabric that I was envisioning.

This joker is suuuuuper long! With the fringe it barely touches the floor. I can wrap this around my neck twice and still have free ends that drape down from my shoulders. I also find that the color works not only with my coat for an outerwear accessory but i’ve been able to coordinate it with some of my day to day casualwear. Its been getting a workout this winter.

I whipped together a quick and easy pattern in case your looking to create your own super scarf below.

Pattern

Symbols and terms

SS=slip stitch

SC= single crochet

Hook= size Q

Yarn= super bulky size 6. I used Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in the color teal.

Chain 26

Row 1= sc into the 3rd chain from hook. Sc into remaining chain stitches. Ch 2. Turn. (24 sc)

Row 2=ch 2. Sc into next sc and across the entire row. Ch 2. Turn. (24 sc).

Row 3-191: repeat row 2 throughout until you reach row 191 or your desired length.

Row: 191: sc across and ss into last sc. tie off and weave in tail end.

Fringe

Cut 36 strings of yarn double the size of your desired fringe length. For example: the fringe on my scarf are 5 inches long so I cut my yarn 10inches long. Take 2 strings and double them over by folding the yarn strings in half. Attach the fringe to the first and last rows. Inserting the fringe in every other stitch. You should have 9 fringe on each end.

And that’s it! Easy! Peasy!

Well thats all for now! Until next time……

xoxo,

Iris

 

 

 

2019: The Year of Modest Creative Consumption

“The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.” Luke 12:42-43 (NIV)

Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!  I know i’m late.  January is almost over.  I ran into the New Year with a project deadline for my clothing label Virtuous By Design and that meant I had to put a hold on the blog.  But! I am back and can I say that…. “I missed you all!”

I am also pleased to announce that there are going to be some changes coming this year.  One of the biggest ones being how I live out my modest life. When I first started this blog I really thought about modesty from a fashion and spiritual perspective.  That won’t change but what I am planning on incorporating is exploring the concept of modesty and faith through being resourceful.  Being modest in my creative consumption.

Specifically creating makes using existing fabric and patterns from my stash (as much as possible) , thrifting fabric instead of purchasing new fabric, upcycling and exploring new technique and crafts as a way to create versus running to the fabric store everytime I want to make a new project.  Living out a modest life by being resourceful and watching how much my family and I consume.

To be honest most of my stash fabric are a product of impulse buying anyway.  I really don’t like alot of what’s there or I haven’t taken the time to really imagine the possibilities.

I already started in a couple of ways.

1) I went through all of my yarn and needle craft supplies. I seperated them by weight and found all kinds of stuff.  From unfinished projects, little balls of scrap yarn, and packages of embroidery floss.  Not to mention the tangled yarn messes from not properly storing my stash.

2) I crocheted a hat and super scarf set using left over yarn from another project.  This is also my first project related blog post of the year.  ( I hope to post this week or next.  I haven’t been able to take any pictures).

3) Dusted off my knitting needles and started knitting a sweater using a combination of yarns from my stash that included unraveling a sweater vest that I never finished (because I really didn’t like it anyway).

4) Not crafting related but something that I have been doing since I moved into my new house  and will continue into 2019 is that I have gone back to scratch cooking.  I don’t even bother to buy junk snacks for the kids.  I make them things like healthy low-sugar muffins, encourage them to snack on fruits, veggies crackers/peanut butter etc,  and make sure to cook 3-4 meals a week and filling in the other days with leftovers.  It saves a ton on the grocery bill but also gives me an opportunity to make sure we eat everything that we buy. It also gives me an opportunity to teach my kids how to cook and about real food.

So there you have it.  The vision for the blog in 2019.  I can’t wait to start sharing my makes with you! What about you ..?  What are some of your 2019 creative goals?  I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time…..

xoxo,

Iris

Sewing and Self-Care

“She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

Hey Everyone!

I pray all is well with you!  With the new year swiftly approaching 2019 goal setting or re-setting has been high on my priority list.  One of those goals is always self-care.  Tis’ the season to overeat then diet and detox. lol!  That’s not what today’s post is about.  I actually have been thinking about self-care from a sewing perspective.

What do you mean a sewing perspective…? Isn’t wellness a universal thing…?  Yes it is.  It is also my belief that no matter what you do professionally we as humans should strive to live a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are certain professions that physically demand more from us than others.

Sewing is one of them.  I didn’t notice it when I was hobby sewer, because I made a garment for myself or a loved one and worked at my own pace.  But when it became a vocation for me and I started to sew for others.  I began to really notice the effects on my body.

I began to have lower back and neck pain.  I would feel physically drained from the stress of sewing under constant deadlines.  Which had its affect on my cortisol hormone and caused belly bloating and sudden weight gain.  I had constipation.  Overall, I was pretty miserable.

At first I didn’t understand what was happening but as I met some older women who worked for factory sewing companies they began to share their stories with me about the strain of sewing on their health.

One woman told me she had suffered a stroke from the strain and stress of her job. Leaving her slightly paralized on one side of her body.  Another woman shared that her eye sight had weakened from so many years of sewing.  One of my professors from design school use to contract sew like I did and she told me she had to give it up because of the stress as well as wore a back brace when she would have to sit sewing for long periods of time.

After hearing all of these stories, I began to realize that I needed to figure out a way to live out my sewing dreams without the expense of my health.

Proverbs 31:18 says: “She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

When I read this scripture two things dawned on me 

  1. While health is a promise from God; we have a responsibility to take care of our bodies.  It has been my experience that God will provide opportunities, resources and tools to aid in the journey.  But we still have to do the work and make the right choices.
  2. I also quickly realized that sewing for me has to include a self-care component.  When I workout before going into my sewing studio I noticed that I have less body aches, my mind is clearer and I can even sew a little longer or it doesn’t take me as long to complete projects because I make less mistakes.

However, like many people prioritizing self-care can be a struggle for me.  It is also something that I have to be intentional about. Through self-examination, I have been able to pin point stress triggors and map out wellness strategies that help me maintain a balanced life.

Here are just a few things that i’ve learned along the way.

  1. Rise early, pray and the read the word of God and journal often.
  2. Exercise at least 4 days/week.
  3. Eat healthy plant based meals.  I’ve tried to be a vegetarian for many years now and its not easy, especially because my family likes meat.  So I strive to eat plant based meals as much as possible and sometimes I include meat and fish.
  4. Drink a lot of water daily.
  5. Take a multi-vitamin.
  6. Limit sugar and caffeine.
  7. Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.
  8. Enjoy my life. As a single mom I tend to get tired easily from work and kids.  Going with friends or socializing beyond phone conversations isn’t always on my list.  But I have afew activities that I try to hold onto when i’ve got a little free time.  Like salsa dance, lunch with a friend, or taking a yoga class with a friend.

9. Stay organized. Even if its a simple To Do List and a calendar app

10. Attend weekly worship service and bible study at church.

I know it seems like a lot but its not.  Outside of my church acitivies all of these things can get done anywhere from a few minutes to an hour at most.  And when I do these things consistently, I get to a place where I have energy, a focused mind, increased productivity and i’m a nicer person and mom.

So as your preparing for the holiday season and thinking about your 2019 goals, I hope that you include a strategy to maintain your health so that you can keep sewing for a long time.

Until next time!  Have a blessed rest of your week!

xoxo,

Iris

DIY: Holiday Sequins Pencil Skirt and Tips for Sewing w/ Sequins

Hello Everyone!

I pray all is well with you.  It is December already and no doubt many of you have holiday office parties to attend.  I’ll be honest with you.  I can’t remember the last time I went to a holiday party and I have never worn sequins prior to today’s post.

If you know me.  I like to keep things casual.  I’m not huge on evening gowns or overly glamorous oufits.  I do however, love the way designers are bringing sparkle to our everyday lives through sequins.  The incorporation of luxe fabric like velvet and sequins into ready to wear day looks inspired today’s make. Below are a few examples of my inspiration.

I thought it would be fun to make a stretch sequins pencil skirt.  I liked the idea of creating a holiday inspired piece that could stretch into the new year.  This skirt would be lovely and very appropriate at an afterwork holiday party and could be easily worn after the holiday season for a date night with your sweety!

This is a self-drafted pattern that I created using an existing knit pencil skirt. Its high-waisted and has a black elastic waistband.  I also added a lining made from some nude powermesh that I had in my stash for ages.  A little quick tip with the lining.  I like to cut my knit powermesh lining a 1/2 inch smaller than the outer skirt.  It gives a little compression and smooths out your curves nicely.  The sequins I purchased from Joann Fabric.

I chose to keep it sleek with a black blazer, black tank top and suede stilleto boots.  I added a little extra bling with these rhinestone black/gold tassle earrings.  I wanted the sparkle of the beautiful blue sequins to be the star of this outfit.

I also included a few tips that I learned from sewing with sequins below the pictures. I hope you find them helpful.

Tips for Sewing w/ Sequins

  1. Use lots of pins to pin your pattern down.  Those sequins are slippery.  I also used a very sharp rotary blade to cut my pattern instead of scissors. Made it easier to keep the fabric from shifting.
  2. Depending on how bulky your sequins is you may have to remove the sequins from the seam allowance prior to sewing your sequins.  Mine wasn’t so bad and I was able to cut it and sew without removing any of the sequins.
  3. Use a very sharp micro-tex needle.  I used a size 80 microtex needle. This went through my fabric easily without skiping stitches or thread breaking.
  4. Use an all purpose thread in a matching color.  I used a zig zag stitch and followed up with a straight stitch because it was a knit fabric and you could see the thread through the side seams.  Going over the seam a second time with a straight stitch helped tremendously.
  5. Hem your garment by hand.  I top stitched my pencil skirt hem but wish I would have hand finished the hem. It stretched out my hem a little bit.  Not too noticeable.

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

xoxo,

♥ Iris

OOTD: Chunky Sweater and Cheetah Print Soft Skirt

 

“O come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

I pray all is well with you!  Can you believe it…?! Thanksgiving has already passed and we are in full fledged Christmas season.  I am feeling so joyful these days.  I made the decision that I was going to rejoice my way into 2019.  I’m not going to let anything get me down.  Not even the early winter weather we’ve been experiencing here in Wisconsin!  I’ve already pulled out my heavy sweaters and very soon i’ll be wrapping a scarf around my neck.   Good thing for me chunky sweaters are all over the runway this season.

As I was scrolling through pinterest I was very intrigued by how designers are pairing oversized chunky sweaters with lighter weight soft skirts.  Below are a few examples. The look on the left is from Pabal Gurung and the look on the right is from Ulla Johnson.

Ulla Johnson коллекция | Коллекции осень-зима 2017/2018 | Нью-Йорк | VOGUE

It made me want to go through my closet and see if I had anything that I could pull from my existing wardrobe to play to with this look. To my surprise I was able to achieve a similar look with a rayon crepe cheetah print bias cut skirt that I recently bought from the thrift store and my favorite cream colored chunky knit H&M sweater that I had purchased from the Goodwill a few years ago.  In order to keep me from looking overly frumpy I loosely tucked the sweater in at the front and back.  Paired it with my new black suede stilleto boots from Forever 21 to give me height and provide a sleek silohuette.  Paired it with some yellow tassle earrings and voile!  My version of the designer look!

 

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Well that’s all for now!  Until next time.

xoxo,

Iris