Monday, January 31, 2011

A Late Start

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Its been two weeks since I have moved to Germany for my semester abroad. It feels like I've been here for forever already, but at the same time it still feels like I just got off the plane arriving here yesterday. I've got so many photos to post and encounters to tell already and this is just the beginning. But I'll take it slow and start with a simple introduction today.


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The city I live in in Germany is Bonn. Its a pretty small town, but its got a packed and bustling downtown area. It looks like fields of small rural homes on the outskirts, but as soon as you get to the center, its as busy as any big city in America. A few things I've noticed about Europe since arriving here: 1. People smoke. All the time. Everywhere. Its terribly annoying. 2. You walk. All day. All night. People don't really use cars that much here. Which I don't mind. Walking frees the mind. 3. Nothing is free. Plastic bags aren't free. Water isn't free. And appetizers at restaurants aren't free. So pack a reusable bag, water bottle, and granola bars and suck it up.

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Bonn is also the birthplace of composer Ludwig Beethoven as well as the producer of Haribo gummy bears. I've seen many cute gummy bear lamps around and wish to find one for myself soon.

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This is what my room looks like. I'm living with a host family and their house is very modern in decor. Its like living in an Ikea catalog. I love the paper orb lamp I've got going on. And the cubic design of the dresser. Odd facts about German households in comparison to American, each door has its own lock and skeleton key, light switches are big squares, and pillows also large squares.

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My friend's host Dad works at the Post Tower in Bonn. Inside they have these mail boxes from all around the world. The building itself has some pretty sweet architecture.

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The building is essentially made of 2 separate buildings shaped like half ovals offset together.

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[Jacket: Delia's. Cargo Skinnies: Forever21. Scarf: H&M. Duck Boots: Target]

And since this is a fashion blog, I've got to throw in a picture of myself in there. Please excuse the rushed-ness of this photo. We snapped picture this while waiting for the bus.

Girls in Europe really do have much better style than most in America. I don't know what it is. They always never fail to look stylishly laid back and warm in this awful cold weather. If I weren't afraid of drawing attention to myself, I'd want to start a streetstyle blog here. But I'd rather not seeing as my German is horrible. My goal is to dress as casually polished as all the natives to fit in and not scream 'look-at-me-I'm-so-American-and-so-lost-here' all the time. So far I've mostly been mistaken as a Turkish girl, which I am not sure is a good or bad thing. There is a large Turkish minority here in Germany. I guess its my dark hair that could mislead strangers.

Until next time bloggers, Auf Wiedersehen!
Rach:]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blogger Sketch Sunday [Kendi Everyday]

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Hey guys! Its been too long since I've done this. This is the Twenty-eighth edition of Blogger Sketch Sunday! This week's post features Kendi of Kendi Everyday whose blog is located in Austin, TX.

3 Reasons I love this blog:
-Kendi has to be the most down to earth fashion blogger out there. She has an amazing sense of humor that keeps you reading her blog for more than just the pictures. I admire her ability to laugh at herself. She posts outtakes from her outfit photo shoots, which always make me feel better. They show me that even gorgeous girls like Kendi have a few funny moments in front of the camera. She is a relief from all of the overly-serious high-fashion photo shoots of other bloggers.
-Her style is a mix of lady-like grace and laid back polish. She either goes full on feminine charm with pencil skirts, detailed blouses, and girly jewelry or sharp masculine with trouser pants, fitted blazers, and sleek heels. Its all about simple versatile pieces with quirky details.
-As one of the members on her last 30 for 30 challenge (at least attempted member, I only got to outfit eleven, for shame) I think her way of remixing items into different outfits is ingenious. Its great to finally see someone in the fashion blogosphere who works with a set amount of reasonably priced items and never fails to look like a million bucks. Kendi proves that your style depends on your brain, not on your wallet. So put away the credit cards and use that noggin to remix a few fabulous new outfits from what you've already got!

If you want a break from the monotonous serious-ness of overly-chic fashion blogs, check out her fun, lively, and stylish blog! I've put the link where I named her blog above.


This is the first Blogger Sketch Sunday I am posting from my new home in Germany. I'll be here for 4 months and a scanner is less accessible for me here. I want to try to keep up my weekly tradition, but it may be too difficult to maintain. But I'll be sure to tell you guys what happens and tune in soon for my first Germany-update post!

Rach:]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Away We Go

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Posts on the Visual Basic have been a little slow lately due to a wave of commissions and due to the fact that I am packing up to study abroad in Germany for a semester. This is the first time I have been out of the United States, other than Canada.

I'm not sure what to expect on this trip. I feel like I'm leaving for my freshman year of college all over again. Not sure how to feel. And positive this will be a life changing experience. I leave home with a heavy heart, full of worry and doubt.

But I look to the future with hopes for something new and and a sense of clarity. So I hope all of you bloggers out there stay tuned for all of my adventures. Today Texas, tomorrow Germany!
Rach:]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Outfits Inspired [Emma Watson]

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As I said in my last post, these are a few outfits I have put together, inspired by Emma Watson's style. Note that her looks always consist of a few structured basics, roughed up with edgy details and tough-girl accessories. *Sigh* if only I had the wardrobe below in real life. Alas, until I graduate college and get a real job, my dream wardrobe and I can never be.
Rach:]

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Style Guide [Emma Watson]

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You may know her as Hermione, but lately Emma Watson has taken the muggle fashion world by storm. Upon promoting the recently released Part One of the 7th movie in the Harry Potter franchise, Emma has been on the press junket looking fiercer than ever. I've actually always been a fan of Emma's style since middle school,even before she become a recognized 'style icon'. Emma's style has evolved so much since the Marc Jacobs military jacket and Chanel earrings she wore promoting Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on TRL. If any of you guys even remember TRL...

Any ways, since then, Emma has become a fashion maven. Being photographed with Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld, becoming the face of Burberry and reportedly collaborating with Alberta Ferretti for their own line. She has really grown into her own since of style, which is why I've decided to write this Guide to Dressing like Emma Watson:

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1. Trenchcoats
For the face representing Burberry, this one is pretty obvious. Emma has quite the collection of sleek and polished trenchcoats thanks to the fashion powerhouse. She always looks chic and put together, wrapping them over every outfit she wears. Their double-breasted lapel, figure flattering cut, and simple design never fails to look fabulous. If you like Emma's style, a great starting point would be to go out and buy your own trenchcoat to act as the base of your winter wardrobe. Emma has a few spectacular trenches from Burberry with studded details or leather sleeves. I suggest buying a simple trench coat in a solid neutral color to go with everything first, and then go out and buy a trench that has a little something extra for special occasions.

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2. Ray Bans and Skinny Jeans
A huge aspect of Emma's look is KEEPING IT SIMPLE. Her most stylish outfits are made of clean and well fitted basics. A common formula in Emma's wardrobe is the skinny jeans+trenchcoat+Ray Bans combination. Think classic and timeless like Audrey Hepburn. Emma always sticks to neutrals because she knows they always work together and never cease to look chic. Think gray layering knits, dark wash skinnies, black flats or boots, and camel coats. The accessories is where Emma packs the pow factor. Her relaxed Ray Bans and mega-studded bag adds a cool, rebel-edge to her look without being overpowering.

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3. LBD Gone Bad
Emma knows the power of a little black dress. But she also knows how to put her own spin on it. This is just another example of a classic that she does her way. Whether its one shouldered, long and dramatic, has a Freudian skeletal-like print on it, or a hem line all the way up to there, Emma shows her fearlessness in the face of fashion. If you like Emma's style, for your next special occasion, pick up a little black dress that is anything but basic. A LBD is always appropriate and by choosing one with a dramatic element, you'll be sure to stand out from the pack.

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4. Classic Silhouettes and Quirky Textures
Textures are really in this fall/winter season and Emma has definitely picked up on that. She indulges in this trend but still remains classic by wearing dresses with a quirky material in a simple shape. If she wears a piece made completely of sparkly sequins, its is a more conservative long sleeved sheath dress cut. Although her dresses have a simple silhouette, their lace, velvet, feathers, and glitter keep things from getting boring. And while Emma's streetstyle tends to revolve around neutrals like beige and gray, her red carpet palette is always black and red.


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The most important aspect of Emma's style is the DRAMA. Everything she wears is sharp and awe inspiring. She has got casually polished and laid back perfection down to a tee. What her style comes down to isn't what she puts on. Its her confident and daring attitude that shines through. She is simple but not boring. Edgy but not cliche. Classic but not unoriginal. Emma's style has toned down since her vintage '20s frock wearing days, but it still packs quite a punch.


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Alright so you know I have to mention this. Emma's new haircut. While I loved her hair longer a la her Burberry Campaign photos, I admire her fearlessness with her new pixie cut. Its very Mia Farrow. She reportedly cut it because she wanted to do something dramatic upon finishing filming the last Harry Potter installment. I think with the 12+ inches of hair she lost, she also shed her beachy-girl-next-door look. Her short hair allows her to pull off much more haute-couture looks. She probably won't keep this cut for forever, but for now its the perfect confidence boosting and previous-public-image shattering 'do.


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Because Emma's hair is so minimal now, she can pull off more dramatic make-up and heavy jewelry. While the old Emma would sport a tan glow and nude lips, this Emma puts the petal to the metal with lush dark lashes and bold red lipstick. The trick to wearing make-up like this without letting it overpower you is to tone down everything else.

-If you have long hair, pull it back and out of the way in a sleek up 'do.
-Even out any skin discoloration with a sheer tinted foundation.
-Lay off the powder, this look isn't cakey.
-Apply concealer to any spots and underneath the eyes to brighten them up.
-Sweep a sparkly nude colored shadow over the lids and in the inner corner of the eyes to add some sparkle.
-Take a clear mascara and comb thick eyebrows into place.
-Line the top lashes with a liquid eyeliner.
-Curl top lashes and brush a volumizing mascara through top and lower lashes.
-Run concealer lightly around your lips.
-Carefully apply red lipstick with a brush, not from the tube, to get perfect edges without the heavy build up.
-Finish with faint blush, be careful not to apply too much.

Find your own spike-like rocker earrings and you are set!


If you are a fan of Emma's style like I am, I hope this style guide has helped you pinpoint her style more and has inspired you to go out and take a few cues from her yourself. Stay tuned, my next post will have a few outfits I've put together inspired by Emma Watson.
Thanks for reading!
Rach:]

A Great Emma Watson style site to check out: Sassy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blogger Sketch Sunday [Sterling Style]

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Hey there bloggers! Blogger Sketch Sunday is now back in business! This is the Twenty-Seventh edition of Blogger Sketch Sunday. This week's post features Taylor of Sterling Style whose blog is located in California.

3 Reasons I love this blog:
-Alright so Taylor's blog is the perfect choice for my first feature of 2011. I along with probably 90% of the American population, I have made a New Years Resolution to get back in shape. For all the emphasis on appearances in fashion blogs, Taylor's blog is the only one to actually testify working out to look good. (Look at those Crossfit-toned legs!) I admire her enthusiasm and drive for staying fit. Its refreshing to see a blogger who is upfront and proud of her workout routine instead of falling back on the "I'm-naturally-this-thin-and-gorgeous-and-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want" excuse. She makes me believe that perseverance and hard work will pay off. Now to go find my old running shoes...
-Despite what I said in the reason above, I am pretty sure that Taylor really is just-that-naturally-gorgeous. I would describe this blogger's style as a balance between the sharp prep-ster look of J.Crew and the lavish girly-ness of Carrie Bradshaw. Her wardrobe is full of preppy basics like good layering cardigans, crisp classic trench-coats, and simple button down shirts. These act as a good baseline for the frilly clutches, huge pink flowers, feminine ruffled dresses, and teeny floral prints she uses to punch it up. Her outfits are always clean and classic with a little something extra to make it spectacular.
-I love that this blogger is honest about her blog's success. Her blog has gotten much recognition, attracted many followers, and she has gotten quite a few features. But Taylor still remembers when it wasn't all so easy. Her advice about being patient for your blog to grow and succeed is valuable to any blogger on the web today. She is right that blogging needs to be an expression of your personal passions and points of view, not some campaign to get famous.

If you've never come across her blog, which I seriously doubt, you should go check it out for yourself. I've located the link at the top where I first named her blog.

Thanks for reading bloggers!
Hope you all had a great start to 2011!
Rach:]