Jewel Tones and Polka Dots

Perhaps you’re starting to notice I have a thing for polka dots. What can I say, they’re just fun!

I recently bought this silver grey polka dot Bettie Page skirt from ModCloth. It’s the same cut as the B. Jones Style Skirt (styled here), though made from a light-weight, taffeta-y fabric.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

I paired it with a jade green tee, sapphire blue cardigan, and amethyst heels – with a sheer scarf to pull it all together.

And I won’t lie – I chose the colors to complement my mani, which had been inspired by this pin on Pinterest. (For the record, the design is super easy to do!)

Manicure (with Julep nail polish), bracelets, and rings. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Manicure (with Julep nail polish), bracelets, and rings. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

As you can see in the photos above and below, I decided to add contrast to the silver grey of the skirt with some gold jewelry.

Heirloom-inous Earrings from ModCloth. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Heirloom-inous Earrings from ModCloth. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Oh, and Jasper made his debut in an outfit post! (Though if you’ve been following me on Instagram – @katealamode – you’ve probably seen him several times already.) He’s an apricot blond poogle (a poodle/beagle mix) and such a sweetie! I don’t take him to work because he gets separation anxiety, so during the day he stays with my husband, who works from home.

Jasper and Rocky showing their moves. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Jasper and Rocky showing their moves. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Jasper and Rocky are best pals, so when Rocky comes home from work there’s much play and wrestling. But they can chill out from time to time too. :-)

A perfectly poised trio. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

A perfectly poised trio. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Skirt: Give Us a Spin Skirt, Bettie Page via ModCloth
Shirt: Learn the Basics Top in Green via ModCloth
Cardigan: Charter School Cardigan in Computer Science via ModCloth
Scarf: gifted
Bracelets: Sparkle an Idea Bracelet via ModCloth and a Victorian mourning bracelet
Cocktail Ring: family heirloom
Earrings: Heirloom-inous Earrings via ModCloth
Shoes: I Want to Bow What Love Is Heel in Purple, Jeffrey Campbell via ModCloth

Manicure: Marisa (dark blue) and Anne (violet), both by Julep. Inspired by this pin.

[All photos by Pat Zimmerman]

Going Dotty

San Francisco is a little bizarre, weather-wise. (Okay, it’s not just the weather that’s bizarre – but that’s for another post!) It’s full of microclimates – so it can be sunny and warm in one part of the city while it’s rainy or foggy in other parts. And even within one area, it can be raining one moment, dry, and raining again.

That’s what happened when I went out with to take these photos.

I’m not a huge fan of rain, but I do love umbrellas! This one has a blue sky underneath – so I have good weather wherever I go. :)

Just a little bit of rain. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Just a little bit of rain. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

After a little drizzle, there was a very brief downpour. I ducked inside to wait it out (which only took a minute or two before the rain stopped), but in the meantime the camera got a little fogged up:

Fog after the downpour. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Fog after the downpour. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

And then all was clear, if windy. I definitely had some Marilyn moments! Fitting, given the retro 1950s flair of this outfit.

Windy! But fun. :) Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Windy! But fun. :) Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

But I guess that’s what I get for wearing a full skirt in San Francisco. :) I just couldn’t resist – I love this polka-dotted one. It was actually a dress that fit beautifully in the waist but was tight at top, so I chopped off the top and turned it into a skirt.

I wore it with my favorite wide red belt, a black shirt, and red scarf – and added my Victorian mourning bracelet and this awesome Kate Spade pen necklace (a gift from my husband).

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

I also wore my new Pedro Garcia shoes (don’t worry, they didn’t get wet!). I seem to have a thing for peep toes, and I also liked the shabby ribbon trim.

Pedro Garcia heels. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Pedro Garcia heels. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

To be honest, I rather enjoy taking photos in windy weather. It creates cool effects! I just have to be a little careful with my skirts. :)

Blowing in the wind. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Blowing in the wind. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

And of course, right after I finished taking photos, the skies opened up again. That’s San Francisco weather!

Skirt: modified from a ModCloth dress
Shirt: Banana Republic
Scarf: gifted
Belt: Calderon, thrifted
Necklace: Kate Spade (gifted)
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Shoes: Pedro Garcia
Umbrella: Blue Skies Above Umbrella via ModCloth

The LBD Gets a Colorful Spin!

San Francisco weather is all over the place. This weekend it’s been drizzly and chilly. But not too long ago it was sunny and warm . . . and I took out one of my LBDs for a spin.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

This is one of my go-to dresses when I want to wear something easy. It’s made of a polyester jersey knit (of the late 70s/early 80s variety), so it never wrinkles. (It happens to be a great traveling dress for that reason — and because it’s super easy to accessorize!) I picked it up several years ago in a Chicago vintage store for about $20 – a steal considering how often I’ve worn it since!

This dress can be worn for work (with a camisole to keep the neckline more conservative) or for a night out dancing — it’s got great twirlability! (That’s totally a word. Or it should be, anyhow.)

And I ADORE color, so I paired the dress with a fantastic scarf/shawl from ModCloth and a vintage gold Anne Klein belt that I recently scored on Etsy. I also added one of my favorite pieces of jewelry — a Victorian mourning bracelet that used to be my aunt’s. She wore it all the time, and I think of her every time I wear it.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

The color didn’t stop there. In fact, this outfit was actually built around my shoes: rainbow-hued wedges by Poetic License.

Rainbow Road Wedges. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Rainbow Road Wedges. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

When I saw these shoes a year or two ago, I knew I had to have them! They remind me of Rainbow Brite, one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters.

And check this out:

Walking on rainbows!

Sunlight shines through the heel, casting a mini rainbow on the ground!

So when I wear these shoes, I’m always somewhere over the rainbow. Literally.

The whole ensemble. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

The whole ensemble. Photo by Santina of Style by Santina.

Dress: vintage (late 1970s/early 1980s)
Scarf: Neon Summer Shawl,Twist and Tango via ModCloth
Belt: vintage Anne Klein belt, via Etsy
Shoes: Rainbow Road Wedge, Poetic License via ModCloth
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet

To Alcatraz!!

When my friend Lisa visited, I took Monday off and we headed out with Pat (my husband) to Alcatraz. Pat’s from the Bay area, and we’d been coming back to visit his family for years before we moved here — but somehow we never made it out to that prison island. We were like those New Yorkers who never visit the Statue of Liberty. Sometimes you need a friend to visit in order to get around to the touristy stuff!

The day started pretty miserably — chilly and rainy — but around here, you never know what the weather will bring. So like a good San Franciscan, I dressed in layers: a trenchcoat, sweater (not just any old sweater though – a sparkly one!), and cami underneath, with a scarf that could double as a shawl. And I even wore jeans — a rare occurrence!

En route to Alcatraz. Photo by Pat

En route to Alcatraz. Photo by Pat

Oh yes, and I accessorized with bangles – I really love the red and pink combo. I knew we’d be walking around all day, but I also knew we’d be taking tons of photos. It is possible to be comfortable and still look good!

Bangles and sparkles. Photo by Pat

Bangles and sparkles. Photo by Pat

And guess what? By the time we reached Alcatraz, the sun had come out. That’s San Francisco weather!

Alcatraz - view from the ferry.

Alcatraz - view from the ferry.

Alcatraz has awesome views, both inside and out. I spent a lot of time just taking photos:

Alcatraz - storage door. And boy.

Alcatraz - storage door. And boy.

Alcatraz cell.

Alcatraz cell.

I briefly ended up behind bars . . .

Behind bars. Photo by Pat.

Behind bars. Photo by Pat.

. . . and even donned prison duds:

Prison chic? Modeling Alcatraz prison wear replicas. Photo by Pat.

Prison chic? Modeling Alcatraz prison wear replicas. Photo by Pat.

. . . but finally managed to escape outside with Lisa!

With Lisa at Alcatraz. Photo by Pat.

With Lisa at Alcatraz. Photo by Pat.

By the time we were ready to head home, rain clouds had started to gather again.

View from Alcatraz.

View from Alcatraz.

Luckily, we made it to the ferry just as the rain hit!

I highly recommend visiting Alcatraz — especially if you love to take pictures. Just make sure you wear layers, a raincoat, and bring an umbrella. I saw lots of tourists stuck with Alcatraz ponchos!

Sweater: Sparkling Personality Sweater, BB Dakota via ModCloth
Scarf: gifted
Trenchcoat: Burberry
Jeans: Banana Republic
Purse: Longchamp
Shoes: Aquatalia by Marvin K. (Water resistant! Perfect for San Francisco.)

(P.S. More photos available on my Flickr set.)

How To: Snap a Great Jump Shot

I totally have a thing for photos of people jumping. Maybe you’ve noticed that, what with the photo on my “About Me” page and the picture I took of Hannah in a “Seen Style” post a few weeks ago. And here’s further proof:

Might as well JUMP!

Might as well JUMP!

Being captured mid-jump is kinda tricky. There are several ways a photo of someone jumping can go wrong:

  1. The photo is super blurry
  2. The jumper is partially out of the frame
  3. The jumper’s legs aren’t off the ground (or they are, but just barely)
  4. The jumper has an awful facial expression

Luckily, there are ways to help ensure you get at least one good photo. I’ve divided this up into things the photographer can do and things the model/jumper can do.

What the photographer can do to snap a good jump shot:

  • Use a fast shutter speed. This will prevent problem #1. If you’ve got a point & shoot, just make sure you take the photos in an area with lots of bright, natural light – the camera should default to a fast shutter speed.
  • Take some test shots with the person jumping, to get a sense of how much vertical and horizontal space you need. This helps prevent problem #2.
  • Take tons of photos, preferably in quick succession. This is a lot easier if you’ve got a rapid-fire/high-speed burst setting on your camera, but it can be done with even more basic cameras (the photo session might just take a little longer). This helps prevent problems #3 & 4. If you take a bunch of photos, there’s a decent chance that at least one of them will work out!

What the jumper can do:

  • Bend your knees! You don’t actually have to jump very high to make it LOOK like you’re jumping high. Just jump a little, but kick up your heels – it’ll make it look like you’ve jumped a lot higher than you actually have. This helps prevent problem #3.
  • Jump up and and down a number of times in a row (while the photographer continues to snap photos). This improves your chances of getting a good shot (one that doesn’t include problems #3 & 4). I’ve actually found that I relax a bit after jumping around, so it becomes easier to smile or ham it up, rather than grimacing!
Look! I'm levitating!

Look! I'm levitating!

Btw, I wouldn’t recommend trying jumps in high heels! Good thing I was wearing a pair of low wedges. :)

Peep toe wedges, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Peep toe wedges, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Oh, and for me, I’ve gotta be in the right mood. A sunny day & bright colors can go a long way toward making thing happen! The colors in this outfit kinda made me feel like celebrating.

Taking a breather to show off my outfit :)

The details, with fuchsia, gold, and cobalt

The details, with fuchsia, gold, and cobalt

That’s about it. I’d love to see your shots! And hear other tips if you’ve got ’em. :)

Skirt: Jeu de Paume Skirt, Tropical Wear via ModCloth
Top: Banana Republic
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Scarf: street vendor
Necklace: vintage
Belt: Zara
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet

Photos by Santina of Style by Santina

A Lovely Valentine’s

This morning I was greeted with a sweet start to Valentine’s Day. My husband, Pat, made me a cappuccino — with a heart.

Cappuccino, with love

Cappuccino, with love

After work, I came home to some lovely roses, and Pat and I had cocktails. I whipped up a new cocktail recipe that was absolutely delicious — if I do say so myself. :) I’ve decided to call it the Briar Rose.

The Briar Rose, a cocktail by kate à la mode

The Briar Rose, a cocktail by kate à la mode

Briar Rose
2 tbsp honey syrup
1 tsp berry jam
2 oz vodka
3/4 oz crème de cassis
1/2 oz rose-water
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

To make the honey syrup, mix 1 part honey with 1 part hot water; stir until blended.
Mix berry jam into honey syrup until smooth (if necessary, heat briefly — about 10 seconds in the microwave).
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.

After cocktails, we headed out to Fringale for dinner, where we had a scrumptious dinner.

And the best part? I got to take some balloons home!

Les ballons. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Les ballons. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Okay, maybe not the best part — the food was awfully good — but certainly a fun way to wrap up the evening. I asked the waiter if I could take a balloon home, and he gave me a whole bunch. Win!

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s too!

Dress: Most Memorable Dress, Stop Staring via ModCloth
Shoes: Hot for Hemlock Heel in Crimson, Chelsea Crew via ModCloth
Coat: Burberry
Purse: Cole Haan

Retro Revamp

I had a rather fun morning – got to be a hair model for a DIY to be posted on the ModCloth blog. The only downside was that I had to let my hair set all day. But ModCloth has a stash of vintage scarves (used for other DIY posts), so I was able to grab a silk scarf and wrap up my ‘do.

Showing off my super-fashionable headwrap ;)

Showing off my super-fashionable head wrap ;)

Okay, totally not my usual style, but it was kinda fun. And went pretty well with my outfit.

It seems I’ve had a thing for patterns recently – this dress is another Trashy Diva fave.

Retro Revamp Dress by Trashy Diva, via ModCloth

Retro Revamp Dress by Trashy Diva, via ModCloth

I wasn’t actually planning on taking pics while my hair was still up, but went out with Santina to snap a few photos of her because her outfit was adorbs.

Santina strikes a pose

Santina strikes a pose

And as you can see, I somehow managed to convince her to ham it up a little. I think it suits her, even if it’s not really her MO. Check out this sweet kawaii pose:

Santina's Kawaii Pose

Santina’s Kawaii Pose

After work, Santina and I headed to the San Francisco Center for a party hosted by Madewell and Fabsugar. This was, of course, after my ‘do was finished: a tightly curled 1920’s hairstyle.

Santina and Kate @ the Madewell & Fabsugar Party

Santina and Kate @ the Madewell & Fabsugar Party

The party was all about shopping, meeting other bloggers, and talking fashion. Not a bad way to unwind after work. :)

Shopping and socializing @ the Madewell & Fabsugar Party

Shopping and socializing @ the Madewell & Fabsugar Party

Lovely bloggers at Madewell.

One of the coolest parts of the party was the Fabsugar style contest: anyone who wanted to participate had to style & model an outfit using Madewell clothes. And I’m happy to take advantage of any excuse to play dress up!

Participants in the Fabsugar Style Contest

Participants in the Fabsugar Style Contest

It was a little tricky, because most Madewell pieces are cut for thinner, straighter figures. Their skinny jeans? Not gonna work on someone like me. But I found this awesome green dress and managed to whip something up that’s totally my style: retro & colorful.

Kate à la Madewell - or Madewell à la Kate?

Kate à la Madewell – or Madewell à la Kate?

Two outfits in one day? Not bad!

Have you had an opportunity to play dress up recently?

Outfit #1:
Dress: Retro Revamp Dress, Trashy Diva via ModCloth
Cardigan: Button-Up Basics Cardigan in Brown via ModCloth
Shoes: Tippytoes Heels, Seychelles via ModCloth
Scarf: vintage
Belt: thrifted
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Tights: Hue
Purse: Un-Teal the End of Time bag, Magnes Sisters via ModCloth

Outfit #2:
Dress: Madewell
Tote bag: Madewell
Belt: Madewell
Necklace: Madewell
Shoes: Madewell
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Tights: Hue

My outfit photos taken by Santina of Style by Santina.