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Shen Dove Style: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

30 for 30 Items: Winter 2011

Along with numerous other bloggers, I've decided to participate in Kendi's 30 for 30 this time around. I'm feeling pretty good about my choices now, but let's see how I feel in about 20 days or so : )
Here are my items:


I'm going to try to be mindful about my spending overall during the challenge. Naturally, I won't be shopping for clothing, but I also want to make sure my spending doesn't spike in another categories like eating out or entertainment just because I know I won't be shopping.

I am also making one minor allowance. If we get major snowfall here in DC, I will have to wear my Ugg boots, but I don't plan on photographing myself in them, so I didn't count them in my 30 items. Any minor snowfall or rain can be handled by the black boots I included in my 30 items.

Are you participating in the 30 for 30? Please let me know so I can visit your blog and cheer you on in your progress!

Edit: I've already decided to switch out my black Timberland boots for my brown ones. I now realize the brown one's are a bit more versatile for the clothing items I've chosen.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Friend Friday: Blogger Mechanics

Happy Friday folks! This week's Friend Friday questions focus on the mechanics of blogging. I am pretty simple when it comes to the technology I use for blogging. But the items that I use are quite integral to creating content for my blog. So let's get down to answering the questions!

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...).
Camera: I use a Canon Powershot SD1200 IS. This camera does a pretty good job of capturing my images and I love the color (orange!). My goal for 2011 is to 'master' this camera, so I can move up to my first DSLR next year. I can't with good a conscience spend a load on a camera if I am not fully utilizing the one I already own!

canon powershot
Tripod: For the majority of my pictures, I use a Targus tripod I purchased from Target. I'd love to invest in a better tripod eventually, but for now, this one does the job!

targus camera tripod

Computer: I use my personal MacBook to do my blogging that I’ve had for about 2 years. I love my little MacBook and don’t see going back to a PC for my personal computer use anytime soon!


2. What computer and online technology do you use (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)? I currently use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and iPhoto to edit my photos. I am a novice Photoshop user but I hope to improve my skills over the course of the year. I actually plan to obtain a certificate in print/web design because I discovered through maintaining my blog that there is so much that I’d love to learn about design and making my images look better! I currently store most of my photos for the blog with Flickr but have used Smug Mug in the past as well. I haven’t had any major issues with Flickr so far, so I’ll stick with it for now.

3. What is your process for taking pictures? I am a pretty novice photographer as well. I’m also pretty picky about my pictures, so rather than subject my friends/family/random people to requests to take my photos, I usually take most of them myself. I usually set up my tripod, adjust the angle if necessary and set the timer on my camera since I don’t currently own a camera remote. I’m self-conscious about taking photos in the sight of other people (I know…I must get over that), so if other people are around I usually hastily pack up my tripod and move on. I usually take a minimum of five shots before I stop. If I have more time I can take as many as 15 to 20 photos. It really pays to take my time with the photo-taking process, because when I rush, I tend to capture more images that are not usable.

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily? To be honest, I am not very adventurous in my photo locations. Whether I’m indoors or outdoors, I typically stick to a basic brick wall. I usually opt for a simple photo backdrop and keep the focus on my outfit. But as the days get longer with the arrival of spring, I definitely plan to change up my backdrops and scout other locations. There are a lot of beautiful spots and historical monuments (obviously, I live in DC!) in the city I'd like to use for my photos in the future. I'm also participating in Project 365 so I'd really like to capture more images in general throughout the year.


5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying? I have a wish list of things I’d splurge on rather than one item. I’d love to eventually purchase a "beginner" DSLR camera, a camera remote and register for a beginner’s photography class. I’d also love to purchase a camera light and backdrop for my apartment. The lighting is not conducive to good photos in my home, even in broad daylight, so I'm afraid photos of where I live will be kept to a minimum on this blog. But for now, I’ll visit my local library for digital photography books, surf the web for online tutorials, save my pennies for a camera and patiently wait for spring to arrive so I can take my photos in natural light in the evenings or early mornings again.

Every blogger has different preferences on the equipment they prefer to use, but I say find out whatever works for you and go for it! Blogging is a good excuse to keep your technology equipment and skills such as photography and design current anyway! If you're interested in participating in Friend Friday, visit the creator of Friend Friday, Katy over at Modly Chic to learn more.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DC Shopping: Amani DC

I was in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC over the weekend for a swap event and stumbled across a cute and socially responsible shop that I thought I'd share with you. Amani DC is the US retail location and warehouse for Amani ya Juu, a women’s stitching and peace-building project based in East Africa. The store offered unique bags, jewelry, linens, and other items in beautiful prints, colors and fabrics.


According to the organization's website, Amani ya Juu (meaning “higher peace” in Swahili) or Amahoro ava Hejuru (in Kinyarwanda).


I admittedly shop pretty regularly at big-box retailers in my city, but it's nice to support an organization that emphasizes fair trade practices and providing opportunities to women in Africa. The women who create the goods of Amani DC are from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia as well as other African countries.


So if you happen to be in the Mt. Pleasant area, check them out!


Neighborhood: Mt. Pleasant
Location: 3166 Mt. Pleasant St NW Washington, DC 20010
Website: www.amaniafrica.org
Hours: Tuesday: 10:00 to 6:00; Wednesday: 10:00 to 6:00; Thursday: 10:00 to 6:00; Friday: 10:00 to 7:00; Saturday: 10:00 to 4:00; Sunday and Monday: Closed


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When in doubt, add a blazer


For some reason, I'm really feeling blazers right now. Maybe not as much as I'm feeling the color orange, but close. I probably enjoy wearing blazers because I don't work in the type of environment where I must wear them daily, so they're like an outfit 'treat'. I find that blazers also add an extra layer of warmth that is needed in the cold temperatures that the Mid-Atlantic area has been feeling lately. Because of my innate curiosity, I looked up the word blazer on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, blazers have origins that date back to 1825. The term blazer actually identifies two distinct jackets. You can check out the Wikipedia entry for further info.


On another note, I was really hoping to have my act together to wear breton stripes on the blog today to participate in Everybody, Everywhere, but I didn't manage to get my breton striped outfit photographed in time...I hope to participate next time with the next item chosen though!

Blazer: Tulle
Skirt: Target
Shirt: Gap
Boots: Marshall's
Belt: Nordstom (BP Junior's)
Bracelet: Etsy seller
Earrings: Modcloth


Friday, January 21, 2011

Currently loving...the color orange

I don't know if the large quantities of clementines I've been eating on a daily basis are responsible, but I'm feeling the color orange lately.


Orange is not a color I relegate to a particular season like fall for instance. It's a year-round color for me. I'm happy it has appeared on Spring 2011 RTW runways, so I can continue to incorporate the color into my spring wardrobe as well as my winter one.


shirt; jacket; ring; image

As much as I appreciate tamer colors, there's nothing like a bright pop of the color orange to brighten your day!


Shirt: Express
Skirt: Loft
Shoes: Zappos
Earrings: Eastern Market vendor

What color are you currently loving?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

To infinity and beyond...

outfit full posted 1.19.2011

I don't know how I lived this long without an infinity scarf.

close up outfit posted 1.19.2011

I guess I'm a late adopter of technology and accessory styles. As a person that wears scarves year-round (I get chilly in air conditioning and cold in winter), I like the fact that my small (but mighty) scarf collection goes with a wide array of looks. This particular scarf can be worn for warmth, or as a pop of color in an outfit as I'm wearing it. Maybe I'll use some remaining gift card money that I'm (still) holding on to, to purchase an infinity scarf in another color.


Okay, that's enough about the scarf, Happy Wednesday!

Blazer: Gap
Shirt: Target
Short: Urban Outfitters
Ankle Boots: Forever 21
Infinity Scarf: Mod Cloth
Sunglasses: Target


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Style Profile: Words and Wardrobes

style-profile: words and wardrobes 1

For this edition of Shen Style Profiles, Ty of Words and Wardrobes was kind enough to answer a few questions about her style. Ty is a stylish mama with a knack for finding great thrifted treasures. Ty has a love for high heels and pops of color in her outfits; both things I personally love as well! So let's get down to the questions!

Shen Dove: What inspired you to start your blog? Describe the inspiration behind the title.

Ty: As cliche as it sounds, my blog started as a solution to my need for a creative outlet. It's my blog so I can write what I want to write, how and when I want to. It's something that's just mine. I chose words & wardrobes as the name of my blog because I like to write and I like clothes--and I like to think that the alliteration makes it easy to remember.

Shen Dove: Where is the strangest place you've taken an outfit photo?

Ty: I have to admit that my locations tend to be pretty uninteresting. I don't think I've strayed too far from my usual spot, which is somewhere in front of my parents' house. I see a lot of cool spots though and I definitely plan to change up locations because I think it can make my photos a little more interesting.

style profile - words and wardrobes 2

Shen Dove: How would you describe your personal style? Is it influenced by your career/job?

Ty: I think my style is influenced by my loathing for only being able to wear clothes at certain times of year or only being able to wear them to certain places, so I really try to buy things that I can wear year-round and that I can wear for different occasions--work, church, my son's school functions. I like things that an be remixed and worn in different ways so I can get a lot of wear out of them.

Shen Dove: How does the city/town/burb you live in influence your style?

Ty: I wouldn't say that my style is influenced by the city that I live in (Dallas), but more so the weather of the city that I live in. It can change in the blink of an eye so I always have to keep track of the weather.

style profile - words and wardrobes 3

Shen Dove: What are you go-to items this season?

Ty: Definitely faux leather jackets that can be thrown over pretty much anything, leopard everything, printed skirts, and long-sleeved tees that can be layered underneath sweaters and dresses.

Shen Dove: What are your regular reads (blogs, magazines, books), are they fashion-related or related to other topics?

Ty: I'm definitely a fiend for fashion magazines and I read them every month. I also like inspirational books, but my all-time favorite book is called The Coldest Winter Ever. I can read that book over and over and over again. Actually, I have read it over and over and over again.

Shen Dove: I've actually read The Coldest Weather Ever too, it's quite compelling! Please name a film, song or piece of artwork that embodies your current personal style.

Ty: I think my style is constantly evolving, so it's hard to find something that reflects that, but I sometimes feel like I can relate to Anne Hathaway's character Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. Andy's style was very plain and simple, but once she learned a bit about fashion, her style evolved. I think some of the outfits from some of my earlier posts were very safe, but after a while, I began experimenting, taking risks, and trying trends.

Shen Dove: Name a place you'd like to travel if money was not an option and describe a style/look you'd want to wear on your trip?

Ty: I would like to travel to Paris and I would wear the outfit from my 'feeling beret-ed (and bespectacled)' post. I thought that outfit was sort of 'Parisian chic.'

style profile words and wardrobes 5

Shen Dove: Looking your best doesn't necessarily mean spending your entire paycheck, do you have any tips for shopping on a budget?

Ty: I shop at thrift stores and manage to find tons of name brand (and designer brand) clothes on the cheap. Also, I also make alterations to some of clothes--shortening the hem on a long skirt, changing the buttons on a cardigan, adding lace detail to a dress. They're minor changes that can make a major difference.

Shen Dove: Do you have any personal style rules you live by? If so, what are they?

Ty: I really try to wear what works for my body and I definitely look (and find) inspiration EVERYWHERE. Also, as I stated before, I like to buy clothing that can be remixed and worn in different ways.

style profile words and wardrobes 4

Shen Dove: Thanks for the interview Ty!

So be sure to check out Words and Wardrobes if you aren't already!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Start with the Shoes


I must admit that this entire outfit was built around my shoes.


These shoes are one of the most uncomfortable pair I own, but they are also favorites, so they only get worn on days where I anticipate very little walking.


The little "sacrifices" we make for fashion!

Dress:Urban Outfitters
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Go Jane
Tights: Madewell
Necklace: Loft

P.S. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! I love long weekend's as much as the next person, but please remember to take some time to reflect on Dr. King and his legacy today!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dress Love, Let Me Count the Ways

There are certain clothing items that you never anticipate becoming 'wardrobe workhorses' and this dress originally purchased from Target is one of them.

Blue Dress Remixing

This dress has been worn countless times in real life and has appeared a number of times on this blog. I've worn this dress in cold weather and warm weather for a variety of occasions. I've worn this dress inside out, over skirts and layered under blazers and cardigans. I'm sure I have a few more remixes featuring this dress in me before all is said and done. I hope you're not tired of seeing it yet, because I'm certainly not tired of wearing it yet!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friend Friday: What to Wear?

Happy Friday folks! This week's Friend Friday questions revolve around something all style bloggers obviously have a penchant for: outfits! Even if you aren't a blogger, what you choose to wear has implications on how you view yourself and also how others view you.


  1. How do you determine what you will wear that day? To keep it real, my first consideration when determining what I will wear for any given day is seeing what’s clean : ) After that determination is made, I consider what the weather is predicted to be like, this is especially important in the extreme seasons of winter and summer. Not adding or removing a layer or clothing from an outfit in either winter or summer can possibly mean discomfort for the whole day. My last determination is what do I FEEL like wearing that day; I’m motivated by color on most days, so I think about what color I’d enjoy wearing that day. Some days, I simply feel like wearing the brightest color I can get my hands on and other days I really feel like wearing all black.
  2. Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend? Unless I have a special event to dress for (night out on the town, wedding, formal event, business meeting, etc), I rarely plan out my outfits in advance. This is not necessarily a good thing because I often am running around my room trying to build an outfit, watch the morning news and fix my lunch all at the same time in the mornings and this can lead to getting behind schedule though I am typically a punctual person…smh. The only time in 2010 when I consistently picked out my outfits on a daily basis was when I participated in Kendi’s summer 30 for 30 challenge. I mainly picked out outfits in advance during this time period because I had to make sure the item I envisioned wearing was clean (less days to stretch until laundry day) and to make sure I didn’t inadvertently repeat an entire outfit.
  3. Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don't repeat? I have no way what-so-ever to keep track of outfits and items already worn so I don’ t repeat….because I usually don’t care about repeating outfits. Let’s be real, if I can’t remember what I wore two Wednesday’s ago, will anyone else I interact with today really notice (or care) if I repeat a shirt or a dress? Probably not. I do try not to repeat outfits in their entirety that I’m photographed in though.
  4. How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons? Hanging items together?) When I have down time at home, I occasionally try on outfits so I can mentally note them for future wear. When I get inspired to try a look, I sometimes also draw or photograph outfit ideas in case I need the visual reminder. I really plan to draw/photograph/bookmark outfit ideas more in the future, I rarely wear certain wardrobe pieces because with me; it’s really ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to clothing/accessories. I’ve been toying with the idea of purchasing a dress form to house current favorite clothing items and accessories so I can see them better and also because I’ve had the goal/resolution consistently for the past few years to learn basic sewing skills. I’ll get around to achieving this goal one of these days.
  5. To streamline the process for 2011 what is one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time? In 2011, I definitely plan to get better at choosing outfits in advance. It’s a time saver and so silly that I waste so much time figuring out what to wear on a daily basis. I also plan to re-organize my closet so I can better see what I actually have so I’m not just reaching for the same items over and over.

If you're interested in participating in Friend Friday, visit the creator of Friend Friday, Modly Chic to learn more.

Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

National Swap Day - Jan 22nd


It has been brought to my attention that January 22nd is National Swap Day and swapaholics all over the country are scheduling swaps to share the contents of each other closets! National Swap Day is right on time for me personally because as I mentioned previously, I’d love to refresh my wardrobe but am trying to limit actual money I spend on clothing for the next few months. January is a great time to reevaluate what you’d like to keep and get rid of through out your entire house, not just your closet. Many people spend so much time plotting goals for other aspects of their lives in January, why not put energy into purging your closet as well? I plan to attend this swap in Washington DC hosted by Quarter Life, hope to see you there if you're local, or if you aren't, look out (or plan) for a swap in your area!

Photo via


Shen's Favorite Things: Graphic Printed Home Decor

I haven't spent much time or money decorating my apartment in the past year or so, but I think I'm due for a 'refresh' and I'd love to add the graphic pops of color to my apartment with AphroChic home decor items.

AfroChic Wallpaper

Wall paper: The Vibe, Haze

AfroChic Throw Pillows

AfroChic Shower Curtains

Shower curtains: The Beat, Brooklyn Life
I love the colors, prints and themes of AproChic's collections. Who says your surroundings can't be as colorful as your clothing?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Belated) One Year Blogoversary

Worn January 5, 2010

My blog turned a year old on January 7th. It took me a few years to get up the nerve to start a style blog after discovering them in 2007, but I'm so happy I did. It's been fun documenting outfits and other things that inspire me for the past year.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Reading List

It's that time again for me to make my winter reading list. Being a list maker and a visual person, I love having any love any excuse to make a visual of lists. This year, I plan to start reviewing some of the books I've read because the one thing I love more than fashion and books is talking about books I've read...I'm such a nerd sometimes : )

I've decided that 2011 is going to be a year where I really focus on self-development and reading my personal potential. That theme seems to run through most of the books I have on my winter reading list.

2011 Winter Book List

The Fountainhead - This is one of those classics that I have been meaning to read since high school. I think it's about time I read it.

The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles - I don't recall where I heard about this book, but I'm sure it was from some news article or blog. The title and play on words was intriguing to me, so I decided I'd give it a try.

The ELLEments of Style - I love coffee table books about style and fashion. I rarely buy them because of space (and budget) limitations, but I've been picking them up from the library occasionally for the past year. If I really enjoy this one, I might consider purchasing, but we'll see.

The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships - I know many people have an opinion on books in this vein (manifestation and the law of attraction) but as a goal-oriented person that really believes in the power of positive thinking and affirmation, I do enjoy the message of authors like Esther and Jerry Hicks. I decided to add this one to the book list after reading a review by one of my favorite hair/fashion blogs, Mane and Chic .

Write it Down, Make it Happen - Another book that I learned about via Mane and Chic. I have been sporadically writing down my goals and dreams for years, but not in any strategic way, so I thought this book might help me to do that after reading about it.

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Weight Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman - I want to read this book mainly out of curiosity and the fact that I did enjoy Timothy Ferriss's first book, The 4-Hour Work Week. I really want to see if the book lives up to its grandiose title. I figure if it's a good read, I can share it with male friends because I like giving books as gifts (naturally).

So what books do you plan to read this winter?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Blushing Florals

I have to be completely honest, I'm bored with about 8o% of the contents of my closet right now...I have to make a serious effort to remix what I own to curb the urge to buy new things. I usually start to feel this way once the cold weather really sets in and after the flurry of holiday activities has ended. With the exception of my leftover Christmas money, I am really trying not to purchase any clothing until my birthday in March because I plan to take a shopping trip at some point during that month, most likely to my favorite U.S. city, New York.


This shirt was a recent acquition, right after Christmas and I am actually wearing it backwards because I liked the higher neck of the back of the shirt. Of course, most outfits aren't complete for me during the winter months unless they include a skirt or colored tights, the one's I have on in these pics are purple if it isn't apparent because of the lighting. I really want to branch out beyond skirts, but I have such a hard time finding pants that fit my stature and proportions. I should make pants a priority when I go birthday shopping in March.


Happy Monday!

Shirt: H&M
Shirt: Nordstrom (BP Junior's)
Belt: Nordstron (BP Junior's)
Tights: Kohls
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: Jess LC
Earrings: Etsy seller


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Contents of My Bag

In an effort to obtain photographic inspiration in my apartment today, I took a few photos of the contents of my purse (after tidying it up). I carry around even more stuff on a regular work day (lunch, shoes, ear buds for my iPhone, etc). After looking at these photos, I realize I have no idea what happened to the pen I also usually keep in my bag. I'm rarely to be found without book to read, a notebook of some sort to write in and a pen. I am a former girl scout after all and can't seem to shake the motto of 'always be prepared'...


Bag: Forever 21
Book of the moment: Write it Down, Make it Happen
Card holder (with cards inside)
SmartTrip card
Lip gloss
Dr. Bronner's Antibacterial Spray
Bath & Body Works Spray
Hand lotion (Body Shop)
Orbitz gum
Sunglasses and case

What must-have's do you carry around regularly?


Friday, January 7, 2011

Friend Friday: Measuring Up

Happy Friday folks! Hope you have sufficiently recovered from your holiday fun. I've already started plotting and planning all of the things I'd like to accomplish, I think 2011 is going to be the best year yet! To get the year off to a good start, here is my first Friend Friday post of the New Year!

  1. Have you ever looked at someone's blog and thought yours would never measure up? Just like anything else, it can become very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. This is especially easy in the blogosphere because there are SO MANY talented, creative bloggers out there; many of whom attain a lot of attention/success from their blogging. But blogging success will be different for each and every blogger and I hope to define it for myself.
  2. Do you feel pressure to live up to some undefined 'standard' for fashion bloggers? I do occasionally feel pressure to live up to a 'blogging standard', but every time I begin to feel that way, I remind myself of why I started blogging in the first place; because I love writing, I love style and fashion and I love expressing creativity in small ways. I can only worry about being the best Shen Dove I can be. I've learned so much about fashion and style since blogging and am sure as I learn more that my blog will have more to offer to my readers, so that encourages me to keep plugging away.
  3. Many established bloggers are also extraordinary DIY'ers, bakers, crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging ? I don't necessarily think you need to do all of those things to have a successful blog. Though I so admire bloggers that can do all of those great things, I don't consider myself to be very crafty, so I don't see myself focusing on DIY or craft projects in the future on my blog, I'll more likely mention bloggers who've done fantastic things in those spheres so you can visit them directly to learn from their skills. But I do love travel, baking, art projects, positive thinking/goal-making, interviewing other bloggers, interviewing entrepreneurs and learning where to shop (on a budget!) in my city and other cities I visit, so those will become things I'll focus on going forward. I think bloggers should focus on topics that they really enjoy and if that happens to be baking, DIY, and crafty stuff, that's fab; but it's also okay to focus on other things as well.
  4. The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice - how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours? I think the process of developing my own voice is still in progress, but I'd say my voice comes through in my writing style; I pretty much write the way I'd talk to you in person and I'd like to continue to develop my writing style as I blog more. I try to have my pictures or other visuals on the blog relate well to what I've written because I've always considered myself to be a writer/blogger first and creator of images (outfit photos, collages, etc.) second.
  5. Toot your own horn...what's the one thing that is unique to your blog? What gives your blog an edge? My sense of style is a unique facet to my blog. I dress in away that accommodates my figure type, daily life and preferences and though I get my inspiration from many places, my style is really my own. Style evolves over time obviously and trends changes, but I think I'm always true to my personal aesthetic.
If you're interested in participating in Friend Friday, visit the creator of Friend Friday, Modly Chic to learn more!