Chubby Girl, Skinny Jeans

And, what? Who says non-skinny girls can't wear skinny jeans? I say anyone can wear them if you get a style that fits and flatters. In fact, I've been wearing all flavors of The Rockstar Jeans from Old Navy, which are described by O.N. as "super-skinny". Here are the royal blue ones I wore for casual Friday at work.

Jeans (Old Navy)
Top (Merona/Target)
Geometric graphic scarf (eBay)

Vintage and Other Stuff

We had dress up yesterday at the job so I decided to wear one of the vintage dresses I've collected over the years. For the most part, my outfit ended up looking like some "office rockabilly". (Is that a thing?) All I needed was a silk flower in my hair and some horn-rimmed glasses on the bridge of my nose. But I didn't have either of those so here's what happened.

Dress (Vintage) Blazer (Old Navy) Shoes (Fluevog) Jewelry (Etsy) Handbag (LM Designs) I'm always getting asked about this handbag. I bought it from someone on Livejournal who really needed the money to pay some medical bills, but the tag inside says it's made by LM Designs. I don't know if the company has gone out of business or is still around in some capacity, but I can't seem to find a stitch (no pun intended) of information about it online.

Court Jester

My husband calls me a harlequin when I wear these pants. Don't care. I love 'em. I love 'em so much I wear them with a plain white camp shirt to make sure I set them off. And yes, I wear them to work. Isn't that what casual Friday is for?

Hey, wrinkled-shirt police. Wondering if I own an iron? I do. I just don't know where it is because I don't use it. Because I don't know where it is.

Motto button down shirt
Tripp NYC split leg pants
Doc Martens "flats"

Links a la Mode from IFB

Edited by: Victoria of vmac+cheese
August is one of my favorite months. It’s that lazy time of year where summer lingers but fall’s on the horizon; when heading back to school means amazing sales and last minute vacation getaways. Okay, confession: it’s also one of my favorites because this is the month of my birthday! And this week’s links seemed made-to-order for the occasion, like little gifts that covered all the topics I’m interested in now: the Olympics, Autumn, interviews with great artists and craftsmen, and bloggers sharing true points of view on things like the YSL mess, Instagram, and more. Sit back and enjoy — these links are even better with a slice of cake.

Shopbop Linkedin, Youtube, & G+, Chilvers, 30%, 50%, 70%, Yigal Azrouel, Ko, Kelly Wearstler & Kors Bags


Beauty and the Sunscreen

Since we're talking about getting outdoors this month, PLEASE don't forget the sunscreen. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about sunscreen for a parenting blog because a lot of folks still aren't using sunscreen on their kids. But it turns out that a lot of adults are stepping into the sun's rays without adequate sun protection on themselves. That's where I come in, with some tips on preserving the health of your gorgeous skin. Sure, we hardly used any sunscreen at all back in the day (no, my darlings, cocoa butter doesn't count - I wish I did). But with global warming and the dwindling ozone layer the sun is a whole different thing right now. You can enjoy it, but you've got to play it safe.

So what should you look for when you're ready to buy a sunscreen? First of all, not all sunscreens are created equal. In fact, some barely live up to the name. But here's one thing all the experts agree on - an effective sunscreen must protect against both UVA and UVB rays. That's because while UVB rays get most of the blame for sunburn, both kinds of rays contribute to skin cancer.

I won't lie. As an African-American, I've had to go through a few tubes of sunscreen before I found ones that didn't mess with my sensitive skin or make me look like the white shadow. Much could be written about the challenge of finding an effective sunscreen for darker skin. But find one you must. Despite what you might have heard, people of all races can indeed develop skin cancer. VERY dark skin can have a natural SPF of about 13. (Don't be fooled, most of us do not have SPF 13 skin.) But dermatologists say you need an SPF of at least 15 to be protected. They recommend wearing sunscreen daily. But if you're going to spend any significant time outdoors, it's important to not only slather on sunscreen before you leave the house, but also to reapply it after a couple of hours.

My personal experience is that anyone with sensitive skin should avoid most sunscreens with the ingredients avobenzone or oxybenzone. I wore a sunscreen with these ingredients during a trip to the zoo on Father's Day and got an itch on my legs that is just now starting to fade. If you're a Sensitive Sally like me, don't do it. Unfortunately the chemicals avobenzone and oxybenzone are in most of the broad-spectrum sunscreens found in your neighborhood drugstores and grocery stores. If you're trying to avoid them, that leaves you with natural/mineral sunscreens. Natural suncreen contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both), which used to leave a slight white cast to the skin. But nowadays many companies have discovered ways to get those particles very small - not nano sized, but- small enough to wipe-out or dramatically cut down on the ghastly tinge. For now I like and use:

Jason Mineral Based Sun Block SPF 30+
COOLA Face SPF 30 Matte - Cucumber
BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 32
Loving Naturals Clear Vegan SPF 30+ Sunscreen Non-Nano Zinc Oxide UVA/UVB 4.3 oz.
Aubrey Organics SPF 15 Saving Face

You can find more options on the EWG list and on similar sites on the internet.

But now it's your turn. Please sound off. Did I leave anything out? What is YOUR experience with sun exposure and sunscreen? Or lack of?? Do tell!

Feeling At Home Near The Water

Lots of curvy women who are entirely comfortable in their own skin feel feel self-conscious in their bathing suits. If you're one of those people, I want you to know I've found some simple ways to feel better about that than you do right now.
The first one is pretty obvious, but still important: get yourself a new swimsuit. Think about it. The swimsuit you had last year might have been to blame for any perceived awkwardness at the pool last year, especially if the piece was ill-fitting or just worn-out. Putting on a swimsuit that makes you feel comfortable and attractive is going to go a long way toward helping your overcome any lingering shyness.
Another way to give yourself a boost of confidence is to have a quick pep talk before you head out. I've done this with great results. Remind yourself about all your great qualities, and remember how strong and able you are. These are not small things! Once you acknowledge these truths it's easier to believe that you are what you are - BEAUTIFUL.
Grooming is an important part of this trifecta, too, and not just because we're showing more skin in the summer. Doing things like shaving or exfoliating and moisturizing our bodies makes us feel pampered and cared for.
Guys the same goes for you. Give yourself a pep talk, do some grooming, and if last years swim trunks are looking worn-out or threadbare get yourself a new pair. Thankfully, buying swimming trunks has never been easier. All you have to do is look online and you can find a huge range of trunks and swimming costumes. They come in all sizes and a variety of different styles, so there’s bound to be something to suit everyone.
Alright folks, go out there and have a great time!

Summertime "Army" Casual

I promised that this Summer would be all about comfort, but with an edge. This outfit has some of my favorite pieces even though it's pretty tame. Also, this is more proof that - yes!- I can wear more than black. ;)

Army green jacket (Torrid) Floral top (Old Navy) Jeans (Vigoss) Shoes (Dansko) Handbag (Valhalla on Etsy) Review coming soon!

Blue Toes

To the reader who asked "What's your favorite pedicure color for spring and summer?" My answer: Turquoise! Oh, I'm always changing up and I'm sure it'll be something different down the road. But right now I'm loving my throwback "For Audrey" by China Glaze. (And yes, I have chubby feet!)

What Have I Been Doing???

What have I been doing? Way too much shopping for one thing. Each yeah I seem to be prepared for Fall and Winter months but completely befuddled by warmer weather. What to wear, what to wear? No matter how many clothes I have I always fell like I have nothing to wear in the Spring and Summer. This week I'm going to be sharing some of the knick-knacks that will - hopefully - allow me to remain a cool mama when the temperatures heat up. Stay tuned!

Last Blast of Winter

Even though we had a really mild winter, the season gave one last gasp last week. So, of course I took the chance to wear some of my favorite pieces altogether. It could have been a mess, but I thought it turned out OK. Stand back for the blogger-in-the-office-bathroom shot!

Puff sleeve cardigan - Bisou Bisou

Boots - Torrid

White cotton blouse - not sure

Corduroy flare skirt - Cotton Ginny

Hat - Emerald Angel UK

Ring- Alchemy Gothic

Adele on the Cover of Vogue

The beautiful British singer Adele has always been known for her outspokeness and flawless style. Now, she is gracing the cover of the March 2012 edition of Vogue. I love what I've seen so far. What do you think?

Brickhouse is On Pinterest, too!

Yes, I've joined the rest of the world in pinning my favorite images over at Pinterest. If you're over there, please stop by my little lemonade stand. I'm just getting started, but I'm planning on stirring up some plus-size glamour, alongside the mason jars and DIY goodness already found on that site. ;)

Beauty and fashion reviews coming later this week!

New Year, New Changes!

I'm back! I took an extended break from blogging but now I feel I'm bursting at the seams. There's a good reason, though. I've decided to make some changes to the blog. In addition to cosmetic updates to the design (see what I did there?), I'm also making a change in content. In 2012 I will be posting more of my personal photographs - with a better camera! - and daily outfits, as well as clothing reviews. And I welcome your comments. It's all part of my new push to open up my closet and (lack of?) style to those of you who have been so loyal. Let me know if there's anything else you would like to see in this space.

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