Succumbing to my surroundings

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November 29, 2010

Sweatshirt: Forever 21
Shorts: Citizens of Humanity (gift)
Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider (Nordstrom Rack)

I’ve never really been one to consider what others think of my style, but when it came time to pack for life on a beach in Mexico, I took a deliberate turn down Casual Avenue. Wearing most of my favorite clothes (in looks like this and this) seemed incredibly ostentatious for a town with mostly cobblestone roads. While I certainly miss my city style, it’s all too easy to succumb to my casual surroundings…especially on days like this one. By the time I traded in my bikini and board shorts for actual clothing, I was totally exhausted from surfing all day. Once the boyfriend and I decided to make dinner at home, I lost all motivation for getting dolled up. Sweatshirt and cutoffs? Yes, please!

I bought this sweatshirt just before leaving Portland and wore it on the flight down. There hasn’t been much opportunity to wear it since then, but winter is indeed setting in and the evenings are getting cool enough for an extra layer. Granted, I was in the sun while taking these pictures, but as I mentioned in my last post, eighty degrees now feels quite chilly to me! The combination of navy stripes and boat shoes gave this comfortable look a nautical vibe perfect for watching the sunset and having a few beers. 

Date night

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November 27, 2010

Tank: BCBG Max Azria
Skirt: Forever 21
Necklace: J. Crew
Cardigan: Halogen (Nordstrom)
Sandals: Gap

With the first few rocky months behind me, I am really starting to enjoy my time here in Mexico. My days have fallen into a bit of a routine, but the best possible kind: one that involves doing whatever I want and being at the beach all day. I spent most of Saturday surfing and was rather pleased to finally see marked improvement. While I enjoy a challenge, surfing is almost frustratingly challenging. I’ve always been athletic, and I’m not used to having to work too hard to be good at something but surfing has proved to be an exception. A day of catching waves with my rather proud boyfriend rejuvenated my will to persevere.

To top off my victorious day, the boyfriend and I had a date planned for the evening. Yes, after nearly ten years, we still go on dates! I debated wearing this skirt, but in the end I decided on this one. The watercolor-like floral print is so delicate and feminine, and I absolutely adore the berry tones. While I had hoped to wear another mixed print look, my first attempt failed and I was running out of time before sunset. I quickly reached for this layered tank and finished it off with one of my favorite necklaces. Knowing that once the sun set I would be freezing (you know, at a f-f-frigid 80 degrees), I grabbed this cardigan on my way out the door.

Next time I wear this skirt, I am determined to wear it with a printed top. For some reason mixing prints is kind of like surfing to me. My looks almost always come together effortlessly but not mixed prints. Are you a mix master? Any tips?

Cold turkey

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Packing ninety nine percent of my personal belongings and moving from a city to a small beach town has been an easy transition. After putting my arctic college years behind me, I’ve spent quite a few years chasing the sun and a simpler life, which often leads me to a beach. I love beach life just as much as I love city life. My six years spent in Portland slipped by so silently it scares me. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the routine of a comfortable (even if not completely satisfying) life. Accepting things one doesn’t particularly like sometimes seems so much easier than dealing with what it would take to change them. Now that I’ve stepped away from that life and finally settled into my new one, I’ve had a chance to consider the last few months and process this experience.

One of the most glaring changes is that I haven’t shopped…at all…in three months! Three months! Before moving, going three days without shopping would have been an impossible feat. Yeah, yeah, my name is Santina and I’m addicted to shopping...except I quit, cold turkey (although I’m more than confident that my return to city living will resuscitate the addiction)! Up until now I haven’t felt too many pains of withdrawal, but the thought of Black Friday made me twitch a bit. I love Black Friday! Waking up early to shop? Yes, please. While I’ve resisted the growing temptation to shop online I did allow myself to pick out a look that would be perfect for a long day of Black Friday shopping. I prefer streamlined looks for serious shopping, and this one is full of comfortable, easy pieces perfect for scouring a city for bargains. 

Black Friday
[Sweater: Markus Lupfer ($480) available at  Net-a-Porter, Jeggings: J. Brand ($141.90) available at My Wardrobe, Shoes: Juicy Couture ($195) available at Neiman Marcus, Nail Polish: Deborah Lippmann ($20) available at Barneys, Sungalasses: Ray-Ban ($145) available at Nordstrom, Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs ($360) available at Net-a-Porter]

The keys to my easy shopping look:
•    A crewneck. I don’t want to deal with buttons or layers when I’m frantically trying on clothes, making a crewneck the best choice.
•    Leggings. I don’t know about you, but some of my jeans require a little extra finesse to get on, especially after the holidays. Leggings are much more forgiving, and since they’re very much like workout pants, it feels natural to sprint across a store for a prized bargain.
•    Flats. I need to be quick on my feet! Sales with limited hours bring out the competitor in me. (Not that I haven’t been known to chase down a bus in five inch heels…)
•    A cross body bag. I need to leave my hands free for all the shopping bags I’ll be carrying around! It also reduces the risk of putting my purse down somewhere and forgetting it in a euphoric shopping stupor. (Yes, I’ve done this before.)
•    Sunglasses. My Black Friday usually begins a little on the early side, especially after a day of excessive eating. While I usually drink coffee throughout the day, I like to hide behind a pair of sunglasses as much as possible.

What about you? Do you have a go to shopping look?

Week in Photos: November 17 - 24

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Considering how often I find myself in front of the camera, I decided to venture over to the other side and actually take some pictures. I promised myself I would bring my camera to the beach every day this past week and I did. I had so much fun snapping pictures of just about everything around me that I decided to share five photos. 

I was thinking of making this a weekly feature on Style by Santina, but what do you think? Let me know by taking the poll below!

A refined bird

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November 23, 2010

Shirt: Forever 21
Belt: J. Crew
Skirt: J. Crew
Sandals: Dolce Vita (Urban Outfitters)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (borrowed from the boyfriend)

I thought about this shirt a few nights ago as I watched a flock of birds fly between a few palm trees at sunset. The birds appeared black against the pale yellow and pink light, creating a striking image as they circled the palm trees until settling in and perching on the leaves. I guess the image stuck with me because when it came time to get dressed before meeting up with a friend for a few drinks, I quickly reached for this shirt.

Last time I wore this shirt I took a decidedly bohemian approach, which isn’t too common for me. It’s a bit funny to me that I did so while living in a city, and now that I’m living a carefree life on the beach I went for a more refined look...or maybe I’m just reading into this a little too much. I still love this skirt just as much as I did when I bought it, and it has successfully transitioned through all seasons. I’ve worn it in winter, spring, and summer, and when it came time to pack, I couldn’t part with it. Which item in your closet do you reach for all year long?

My boyfriend's back...

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November 21, 2010

Tank: Drifter (Nordstrom Rack)
Bandeau: Forever 21
Jeans: Rich & Skinny (Nordstrom)
Necklace: Forever 21
Sandals: Havianas (Nordstrom Rack)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (borrowed from the boyfriend)

I guess you could say I’ve acclimated to my new climate. It was probably between 80 and 85 degrees when these photos were snapped, and yes, I was cold. Unsurprisingly, I did not leave Portland without my boyfriend jeans. As many of you know, I love my boyfriend jeans (as seen here and here), so much so that I actually have this pair in two washes. This was the first time I wore them in Mexico, and it was like seeing an old friend. I like the combination of the pale blues in the tank and the light denim. While this necklace more closely resembles spearheads, it also feels a bit feathery to me, which was perfect with the bird and feather print on the tank. My black Ray Bans seemed a bit severe on an otherwise soft look, so I swapped them out for this green and tortoise shell pair.

Denim trends come and go, but I really can’t see myself giving up my boyfriend jeans anytime soon. How about you? Do you have any jeans to which you could never say goodbye?

The big 1-0-0!

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November 20, 2010 

Shirt: Forever 21
Shorts: J. Crew
Necklace: J. Crew
Sandals: Gap

Can you believe this my one hundredth post? Neither can I! In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d share five things that I’ve learned from blogging:

5. Whether done as a full-time job or not, blogging is a job. I totally underestimated the effort required to maintain a blog. I have to say that all of those fashion bloggers, who I admired for quite some time before starting my own, make it look really easy. It’s not. Once I started Style by Santina, the number of hours spent sleeping seemed to decrease while the number of hours spent on a computer increased. I hate anything that fucks with my sleep, but I can honestly say that blogging is totally worth it. Just buy a good concealer.
4. Camera shy? Get over it. I haven’t always been so willing to step in front of the camera. There is just something so unappealingly permanent about a photo. It forever cements a certain moment in time and something about that kinda makes me feel like I’m suffocating. I’ve learned to get over it though, mostly because only people I am really comfortable with take my picture (think: boyfriend and best friend). Of course, the number of times that people will stop and watch us take outfit pics astounds me…and try as I may, I’m quite sure I will never be able to carry on as though no one else is there.
3. Blogging is not a competition. I can admit that I am a very competitive person. What can I say? I like to win. While I think it’s a quality that has mostly served me well, it can also make me very self-critical. At first, it was very challenging not to feel as though I was in competition with other personal style bloggers. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there was nothing productive in thinking like that. Rather than comparing myself to others and picking at my flaws, I look to my favorite bloggers for inspiration that extends far beyond the clothes I wear.
2. Leave a comment! Everyone loves ‘em. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was not replying to comments and not commenting on other blogs. One of the easiest ways to get more traffic (and more comments) is to reach out and comment on other blogs. Granted, I’m a numbers girl and I love diving into the stats behind my blog, but it’s even more surprising to find out who is actually reading. I never really thought anyone but friends would read Style by Santina, so I always click through profiles to learn a little more about my readers.
1. People aren’t all assholes. Friendship is probably the most surprising outcome to blogging. I’ve encountered people who I certainly consider friends despite having never met. When I was forced to take a hiatus from blogging (after my camera and laptop were stolen), I truly missed staying engaged in the blogging community. It’s an odd relationship one forges with other bloggers; I see these people nearly every day albeit via outfit pictures and stay connected through comments and e-mails. In some respects, I am more in touch with other bloggers than people I consider close friends in real life.

Do you have a blog? What have you learned?

Back in black

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November 14, 2010

Dress: Kensie (Sloan Boutique, Portland)
Slip Dress: Sloan Boutique, Portland
Necklace: J. Crew
Shoes: MIA (Nordstrom Rack)

I have a confession to make: I’ve actually owned this dress for more than a year (way more than a year) and only just wore it for the first time. While I usually can’t wait to wear a new purchase, it’s not that unusual for me to wait a few months before wearing something. I found many forgotten items while packing up my house in Portland and ended up packing quite a few of them.

The loose knit of this dress makes it impossible to wear without something underneath, so I paired it with a black jersey slip dress. In retrospect, I wish I had worn something brighter underneath to have a little color peaking through the dress…not sure if I actually have something that would work, but I will keep my eyes peeled when I finally finish unpacking. I haven’t worn much black since arriving in Mexico, bypassing one of my go-to colors for brighter, more beach inspired ones. Returning to black felt more formal than I remembered it being in a city, so I decided to play up that vibe with a pair of gold pointy toe flats. To finish it off I added this ribbon necklace, which is knotted with gold chains and rhinestones.

The reactions this look elicited made me laugh. Everyone thought I was sooooooo dressed up! A black dress, closed toe shoes, oh my! I really can’t imagine what they would think if they saw me in a look I would consider “dressed up”!

Mixed prints...finally!

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November 12, 2010

Tank: J. Crew
Skirt: Hinge (Nordstrom)
Belt: Forever 21
Rings: Forever 21
Sandals (not shown): Gap

After a few too many weeks between haircuts, the mullet is finally gone (as well as most of my blonde locks)! When I decided to go super short, I realized the cut would expose my dark roots, but since hair bleach is a bit hard to find here, I’ve decided to grow out my natural color with the hope that the sun will bleach it out a bit. Shocked? Yeah, so am I. I haven’t seen more than an inch of my natural color in over six years! I’m still adjusting to the color, but I already love the cut. I think with a few weeks of growth it will look a bit like Emma Watson’s current ‘do.

I think my sassy new cut inspired this mixed prints look. I struggle with mixing prints, adoring it on everyone but myself. While I wasn’t totally sold on this combination at first, I decided to roll with it. I like the mix of pastels, gray and black, and the skinny stripes didn’t overwhelm the delicate print of the skirt. I actually tried this skirt on with this shirt, but the bolder stripes dominated the look. I consider this first attempt at mixed prints a success!

As I walked to the beach for photos, I felt like something was missing. Ah, I miss my Marc by Marc watch necklace. It’s so sad that it was stolen, because my favorite accessory and I were sadly separated once before; I’ve actually owned two of that necklace. I had the first one for about a year before I lost it one rather fun girls’ night out. I have no idea how or at what point in the evening it slipped off my neck, but sure enough, it was gone. I was irrationally sad about it, so when I opened my birthday present from Erin just a few months later, I screamed when I saw my very same watch necklace. Confused as to how she could have bought it when I did so long ago, I thought she had found the one I lost but she smacked me into reality with something like “no, dumbass, I found it online!” My favorite necklace and I were reunited, and I couldn’t have been happier about it! When it came time to pack for my eight months in Mexico, I, ironically, packed accessories that I just couldn’t live without…apparently, the person who broke into my house felt the same about my Marc watch necklace.

I think if I could have thrown on a pair of heels and my beloved watch necklace, I would have liked this look even more, but I’ve come to accept that at the beach simple is best.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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November 8, 2010

Shirt: Gap
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider (Nordstrom Rack)

Once again, I decided to snap a few photos on my way out the door to work. These were literally taken right outside my front door, on the palapa-covered patio. I haven’t mentioned how much I love the new house...I love it! One of my favorite parts is the patio, which also serves as the dining and living rooms. It’s incredibly refreshing to spend so much time outdoors after so many years of working in an office and living in rainy Portland! I feel like the only time I’m indoors is when I sleep (and maybe when I guiltily watch reruns of the original Beverly Hills 90210…just maybe).

I threw this look together quickly as I left the beach a little later than planned, cutting into my "getting ready" time. As I looked through the photos, I thought this outfit seemed familiar. Striped shirt, denim skirt and boat shoes? Hmmm...swap out this fitted denim skirt for this flirty one, and the looks are almost identical! Hey, why mess with a good thing?

First day jitters

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November 7, 2010

Dress: Kensie Pretty (Nordstrom Rack)
Necklace: Forever 21
Shoes: Gap

These photos were snapped just before I walking to work…my first day of work. Yes, that’s right, I’m once again a working girl. I decided to get a job to make a little money (emphasis on “little”), as well as work on my Spanish. So, three nights a week, I’m a waitress at a small, family owned restaurant. The job is far from stressful and yet I found myself with first day jitters when it came time to get ready for work for the first time in a few months.

A dress is always such an easy choice: one piece and I’m done. To spice up this casual denim dress, I added sparkly accessories with a rhinestone encrusted glasses necklace and silver sandals. This look was cute enough to make me feel confident on my big, first day yet comfortable enough to run around, serving tables. All in all, the first day went well…I mean, I can drink free margaritas while I work, so how difficult could it be? I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss getting dressed up for work in looks like this one although I know that once I’m back to city life and working in an office, I will certainly miss this time…and the free margaritas at work!

Does anyone else still get first day jitters?

The Long and Winding Road

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October 31, 2010

Tank: Banana Republic
Shorts: J. Crew
Scarf: Tarnish (Nordstrom)
Bracelet: Marc by Marc Jacobs (Marc store, Boston)
Shoes: Franco Sarto (Nordstrom)

Slowly but surely, a cold has crept up on me; my body always reacts this way with a change in weather although I used to attribute it to sharp changes. The weather here is just about perfect right now. The humidity is gone and it hasn’t rained in over a month, and evenings bring tolerable temperatures for sleeping without air conditioning. All what would appear to be positive changes, so I’m not sure what my body is fussing about? When I’m feeling sick, especially around this time of year, I tend to wrap myself in chunky knits and layers. Temperatures of around ninety five degrees don’t really support that type of behavior, so instead I reached for a scarf.

I once again found myself packing for what will be my fifth move in two months, as well as what better damn well be my last move here in Mexico. As I was doing so, I noticed these linen shorts, which I actually didn’t realize I had brought with me. Much like that denim skirt from a few days ago, I found these shorts while packing up my house in Portland. They appeared to be from another life…I mean, when would I have bought long shorts? Everyone knows that when it comes to skirts and dresses, shorter is always better for me. I was determined to resuscitate these somewhat unflattering shorts and built an outfit around them. I quickly reached for this scarf, which I thought could serve as the point of interest in this look (read: take the attention off these long shorts). I grabbed a simple white tank, again, to let the scarf steal the show, but also because I wanted to show off my tan a little. Come on, I’m not feeling well…I need something to perk me up! Wearing sandals was completely out of the question; my legs just looked stumpy. Yellow and navy is such a classic yet happy color combination, one that I couldn’t resist while feeling a bit down, so I finished off the look with these patent espadrilles.

What do you think of these shorts? Or are they actually short capris? Any ideas on how they could be styled? I do love linen, especially when it’s hot, but I just don’t know about these…

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