A fun take on mixing patterns

Kitties! I’ve been digging on some plaid + stripes these last couple of weeks. Try it out! Of the outfits I’ve tried, this one is by far my favorite. Bright colors + black and white are a no fail combination in my eyes. The last time I wore this dress on the blog I dressed it up for a Christmas party, and my goal was to dress it down for this post but it’s ended up in that fuzzy area of not overly dressed up but definitely not dressed down either. That fuzzy area is pretty much where I like to dress 98% of the time.

Also in classic Marlena fashion, I have three different bows on (belt, shoes, and a small bow on my purse). Bows! I just love them. This top has no bows but does include ridiculously puffy sleeves, and every time I wear it I definitely get some sidelong glances. I feel like a space commander in it, albeit the type that wears purple kitten heels.

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So I do have to take a time out and talk about my new purse, especially since I never want to use another one again. Joe and I just celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary, and we like to do the traditional wedding gifts. Joe was like, “Leather? That seems hard; any ideas?” haha uhhhh yeah! So now here I sit with easily the nicest purse I’ve ever owned and I love love love it! I got him some cute oxford shoes by Cole Haan. We definitely went overboard…

Speaking of presents, I can’t believe it’s my birthday month already. Yesterday I had a blast at our company golfing trip (I was lucky enough to score the position of Gator Driver instead of Golfer… I can say with real confidence I left all of my athletic hopes and dreams back in high school) but the entire time I was like, “Why is it so hot?” Uh, because it’s June, dummy! Still isn’t kicking in I’m afraid, but now I have sunburned knees to remind me.

Outfit details: plaid ruffle top :: thrifted | black and white stripe dress :: Charlotte Russe | brown belt :: Francesca’s | purple bow heels :: Grey Dog Boutique | Kate Spade bag :: gift from Joe, Kate Spade

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Pssssst! Did you miss our $50 ASOS gift card giveaway, happening right now? Hop to it and good luck! We will announce the winner on Monday.

 

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Let’s pretend it’s summer

On Easter we spent the afternoon at Gray’s Lake, a local park in the middle of Des Moines. It was a bit windy, but oh my it was so lovely. Think running in the sand, playing at the playground, and throwing rocks into the lake.

Full disclosure: we don’t actually swim in the lake. I have a pretty high tolerance for disgusting things (I mean, I have a son), but the lake itself is basically a giant toilet. After I stepped on a dirty diaper one time, the luster of the free swim was over. We now go to the city pools, where at least I can tell myself the chlorine kills all the pee….

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I was never into maxi dresses before getting pregnant three years ago. Then I fell in love with the easiness of them. This one is a bit too low-cut for my preference, so I wore the scarf. This concealed everything about 20% of the time due to the dumb wind.

Anyway, these photos make me want to leave my computer and get back to the beach! Too bad it’s raining…

Outfit details: striped hat :: garage sale find (similar from Modcloth) | scarf :: gift from my grandma | striped top :: Kokorokoko | maxi dress :: target (similar) | bow shoes :: target (similar) | bracelet :: gift from Joe, Betsey Johnson | sunglasses :: my husband’s, from a gas station (similar)

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Two day roller coaster

Wednesday: best day! Thursday: worst day! Wednesday was my husband’s birthday, and I was able to take off for the afternoon, eat a fancy lunch with Joe and then head to the zoo with him and Charlie. So fun! That night I had put together a surprise dinner party for Joe at a fun Teppanyaki grill place. So great! And Joe was so surprised I loved it.

Before I left work for the afternoon, Kristen snapped some pics of me. It was super windy and I actually ended up changing before we went to the zoo but I am digging this outfit. I’ve actually paired this belt with this crop sweater before here, but I’m loving this beautiful bright red dress with it. Jessi gave it to me! And this scarf is a gift from my grandma that I’ve been wearing a lot lately. It’s so big and filled with such pretty colors.
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The worst day was Thursday. Not only did I have to go to the dentist on my lunch break (always a blast), I got into an accident on the way back to work! A nice enough woman wearing a terrible outfit (kitties, please never match a teal bulldog shirt with a light yellow Winnie the Pooh jacket and giant jeans. Ok?) ran a red light and crashed right into me. I wasn’t hurt or anything, but she hit my car so hard the front tire ended up falling off. Cuckoo! Oh well, now I have a rental for the rest of the month.

outfit details: pearl earrings :: gift from Joe | dress :: gift from Jessi | gold cardigan :: Charlotte Russe (forever ago) | blue anchor belt :: Kokorokoko | scarf :: gift from my grandma | gold oxfords :: Aldo (similar)

 

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Wedding Rehearsal

I get really into celebrations and because of this, I don’t have a birthday, I have a birthday week (or month, if I can get away with it!) and likewise, our wedding wasn’t just one day, it was a whole wedding week! I made the fantastic decision to take the entire week before my wedding off of work and I have to say I am SO glad to have made that decision. This gave me the chance to rest, tie up loose ends before the wedding and spend some extra time with friends that came from out of town. By the time the wedding itself actually rolled around I felt really prepared and fairly calm.

The day before the wedding I took to my bridesmaids to get manicures and pedicures, something I’d never done before but something I will definitely be doing again! It was the best, most relaxing treat!! And, a month later, my pedicure is actually still holding up really well. Bonus!

From there an army of friends and family helped decorate the venue and before I knew it it was time to get ready for our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner!

We really lucked out in that we got our wedding venue for the entire weekend, which afforded us the luxury of decorating the day before as well as deciding to host a low key rehearsal dinner in the venue. We loved our wedding venue a lot, it was such a great open space and looked so lovely all decorated up to our taste, so we decided to throw a pizza party there instead of planning a fancy dinner elsewhere. I admit the thought of foregoing a fancy rehearsal dinner wasn’t my first choice, but once my husband suggested it it made sense and I’m so happy we chose something low key. Especially after all the wedding planning we did; planning a rehearsal dinner was the last thing I wanted to do. So we got pizza from our favorite local pizza place and my mom very generously made desserts (super delicious tiramisu!) and we broke into the beer and wine supply we had set aside for the wedding.

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Now this dress… I’m in love with it and have been for years! I got it at a vintage store in Omaha and have only broken it out on a few occasions. Our wedding rehearsal was definitely a special enough occasion for this dress. It’s made so well, as many vintage dresses are. They really don’t make clothes like they used to. Having bought a lot of vintage over the years I have realized though, a sad fact of vintage dresses is that they are often pretty uncomfortable. This is not the case with this dress, thankfully! The material has a nice weight to it and it actually has a good amount of stretch, which I always appreciate!

I got these wedges recently from Modcloth, and they are so super comfy. They come with a detachable ankle strap, which I like. An ankle strap can be nice but I’m just not always in the mood for it, you know?
The bow was a last minute decision- it’s very hard for me to go anywhere without some sort of hair accessory on. I got this one at Vitae and think its pops out of my black hair very nicely!

Over the years John has done a great job of getting me antique rings (great guy!) but ever since I got my engagement ring I stopped wearing them, I guess to showcase it as being the REALLY special ring! But I loved the other rings he’s given me and I always will. The ring on my right hand here is the first one he gave me (well, technically the second, I lost the first one he gave me, which was kind of devastating to me at the time…) and I have always loved this one, especially. He got it at a flea market, and now after some years it’s missing some stones but I still love it as much as I always have.

Now that I’ve made it through planning a wedding, some people have asked me for advice, which is this (maybe a tad cliche but all true):
• Do what you want to do, it is your wedding after all.
• Let other people help you, because they want to help you!
• Take time off of work beforehand 🙂
• And finally, have fun and appreciate everything as its happening!

Outfit details: dress :: Thrifted | bow :: Vitae | shoes :: Modcloth | tights :: Target (last season) |

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Arghhhhh! I’m a kitty pirate

One thing (of many) that make Jessi and I very similar: if we find a dress we love, we will wear the hell out of it. One lovely afternoon we stopped into Hill Vintage and both found our own all-star dress! Things I love about it: the keyhole and button, the pockets, the color…. and it’s not too lightweight either, so these days where it’s cool in the morning yet warm in the early evening are a-okay with me.

On this particular day we had a fun afternoon with our boyz playing in the playground at Union Park. Jessi went on a super awesome albeit super hot slide (metal + the sun = danger!) while Charlie (my son) ran around like a maniac and Joe and John took pics of funny graffiti. But we all came together to ride this super sweet carousel.

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Summer is officially over, and the carousel officially closes for the season tomorrow. But I’m laser focused on the coming month, which is going to include pumpkin patches, the best wedding ever, and this dress with tights!

Outfit details: hat :: Jessi gave it to me! similar| dress :: Hill Vintage | belt :: Target (similar) | orange flats :: Charlotte Russe

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Double Trouble: Dear Creatures Dress, part deux!

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Did you see Jessi’s post from Wednesday with her take on the Jolene Dress? Here’s the thing: Melissa, one of the owners over at Vitae Design Collective, knows us well and mentioned they had just received some pieces from Dear Creatures’ fall collection. Well we trotted over and all the pieces are so stunning it was hard to choose just one to style! We settled on this fun black and white print with a darling little bow detail.

For my style up, I decided to throw this skirt over it. I love black and white with bold colors and these shoes have been speaking to me lately even though I bought them like 3 years ago. I went minimal on the accessories (not even sure you can see my pearl earrings in these pics) because I have sold bold graphic prints already.

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We live near this pretty cemetery and, creepy or not, sometimes we take our son there on walks. We did that the other day and I noticed this gorgeous mausoleum. So if you thought to yourself, “Is she in a graveyard?” the answer is a big ol’ yes! But seriously: isn’t it darling? I kept thinking a cute little hobbit was going to pop out and offer us some cookies.

Hope you’re having a great week! Mine has included a nonstop puking baby, becoming mayor of my dentist’s office on foursquare (ugh), and endless meetings at work. However, it’s Friday! So things are going up from here.

Another big thanks to Vitae for letting us borrow such a lovely dress for a few hours!

Outfit details: Dress :: c/o Vitae Design Collective | Skirt :: Hill Vintage | Flats :: Charlotte Russe | Belt :: gift from Jessi

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I’m With the Band

Guess what? This past year, thanks to my awesome fiancé, I’ve been able to live my life-long dream of being in a band. And not high school concert band/marching band, which, yes, I participated in (flautist!) but an actual band with two super talented brothers who so generously let me share the stage with them. Winning! We’re called Pussy Willow (John’s genius band name) and this was our 3rd show ever over Labor Day weekend. We played outside at the PBR bar in downtown Des Moines on a beeeeautiful night. Magical! I can’t take much credit for the music- John writes it all and tells me what to play, which is a-ok with me. But what I can take credit for is this awesome tapestry dress I scored on a recent shopping trip! It’s short short short, but was too cute to pass up. I admit I’ll be much more comfortable in a month or so when I can slip some tights on underneath and can run around freely without worrying abut flashing everybody. I think I made it through the night flash free (???) and it was worth it to hear comments such as,

“Is she wearing an old couch?”
“Yes, I think so.”

Hey, a tapestry pattern isn’t for everyone, but it’s purrrrfect for me!

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The action shot here is a bit dark, I know, but nonetheless is proof that I’m with the band. Yay!
All in all a lovely night with lots of great music and great friends. Ultimate fun!

Outfit details: Booties :: charlotte russe | Dress :: forever21 | rings :: forever21 | belt :: thrifted

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