weddington way october style challenge

Bright bridesmaid

I love talking about weddings. I am definitely the friend to turn to if you want to talk flower arrangements or bridesmaid dresses, or seating charts, or veils, or just about anything else. Maybe because the weddings I have been involved in have all been chill and wonderful, and maybe because I have never been married, but wedding planning has yet to send a shiver down my spine. I am stoked, always, to talk about your wedding. Especially if it’s discussing what someone is wearing.

So when Weddington Way invited me to participate in their October Style Challenge, I was all in. Designing my own bridesmaid look? Sounds like a blast. You can see their current bridesmaid collection here.

weddington way bridesmaid dress

I started with the Alfred Sung D462 bridesmaid dress in French Gray. I love gray, and I wear it all the time. I love how versatile it is–you can basically dress it up any way you want. And I usually want to set it off with something bright.

In my (fake) wedding, the bride likes classic–with a twist. Her colors are gray and yellow. Her bridesmaids are wearing gray with beautiful bright jewelry and accessories. But their make up and nails are a simple pale pink.

raes day sweddington way bridesmaid illustration

to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 10

to do lists of the semi-adult

What do you want? It sounds like a simple question–but boy is it complicated. In this episode of To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult, Jewels and I begin to tackle knowing what you want. We talk about different ways we figure out what we want out of our lives and careers, and what we do when people don’t believe us. We don’t have too many real solutions, but we think a lot of knowing what you want comes from eliminating what you don’t want, trying new things, and ignoring the haters.

If you have any tips and tricks on figuring out what you want, we’d love to hear it. And if need some cheerleaders for support on something you want that people just don’t quite get, Jewels and I are here for you.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

the magician’s land and a good meal

the magicians land

The Magician’s Land (Kindle here) is the final book in Lev Grossman’s trilogy that follows Quentin Coldwater and his friends as they first learn magic, and then learn that magic alone isn’t enough.

This fantasy series has magical spells, beasts, and worlds, but what Quentin’s friends must really face is reality. It can be dark, but the Magician’s Land is also a great adventure and can be fun, funny, and touching.

One of my favorite parts was not falling into other worlds or chasing mysterious super-magicians on a magic carpet–though that was all fantastic fun–it was when a character needed to be reminded of their humanity.

And all it took was some bacon. Well, bacon was a start. This character was given freshly cooked bacon, some excellent chocolate, champagne, and more, to help remind them that being human can be delicious, and good, and the food that feeds your body can also feed your soul.

Which got me thinking: What would be on my plate if I needed a serving of love and compassion?

I’d need a hot cup of good coffee to start. It feels good to hold in your hands. It’s a ritual to pour and stir and hold and drink. And it reminds me of my mom, which is a pretty good place to start if you need to feel human and loved.

I’d also like just-baked cookies. Another treat to smell and to eat, the kind that are warm and gooey from the oven. I have only good memories of baking cookies, and I hope that never changes.

And crisp, cold beer. It almost doesn’t matter what kind, but if I could pick, it would Allagash White, or some other wheat beer, with a slice of citrus.

If I still needed reminding that being a human can be a wonderful thing, find me a hot shower, an ocean, and a baby to hold. I’d be pretty convinced after that.

So tell me, please, what would be in your remembering-humanity-is-great meal?

new outfit: sweater weather

fall sweater

October is my favorite month. I love the crispness of fall weather, the changing leaves, and finally getting to wear scarves again. And, of course, the return of sweater weather.

This sweater is one of my favorites, and I’ve paired it here with black and gold  accessories. Shoes and bag are from Target, button down is from the Loft, and the sweater is from JCPenney.

I am planning to drink lots of hot coffee and watch a lot of baseball this month, what’s your favorite part of October?

to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 9

to do lists of the semi-adult

We’re back! Jewels and I delayed the podcast a week because we both visited family, but we are back to talk about a subject near to our hearts: young adult entertainment.  We struggle balancing trying to be a grown up adult with loving teenage dramas on ABC family, but I believe there are no such thing as guilty pleasures, only pleasure-pleasures.

Jewels and I have watched every episode of the Secret Life of the American Teenager (and you can too on Netflix!). We also love Pretty Little Liars, Frozen (duh), Prince of Egypt, and the Hunger Games, but our favorite of all time is Harry Potter (duh).

Mark Reads is a wonderful way to enjoy Harry Potter all over again, and to learn about other great books and movies, too. Mark also read Twilight, and so did Jewels and I. (We don’t think it’s bad! I watch the movies a lot!)

Jewels and I are in deep when it comes to teenager-y pop culture, and we think it can include exciting and captivating storytelling. What’s your fave young adult not-guilty pleasure? You’ll get no judgment from us.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

neverwhere by neil gaiman

rae's days neverwhere illustration

When I was little, I played a game with a friend of mine who was a very talented artist. We would design a house for her iguana (his name was Mikey) and draw rooms on different sheets of paper. She and I would hatch different designs, and she would turn our ideas into pictures. We’d end up with pages and pages of rooms and hallways that we could move and reshuffle to make a mansion-sized house of cards. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (Kindle here), Door’s family’s entryway to everywhere reminds me of this game. When Door enters this room, she sees images of all the rooms her family has access to as part of their home. No matter how far away these rooms are, Door’s family can open the door and walk in.

Door’s family can open doors, and this game opened our imagination. (Essentially, I guess, that’s the same thing.) When you’re little and playing pretend, the world is full of possibilities. But as Richard Mayhew finds out, the adult world can often leave you feeling trapped–trapped in a loveless relationship, a dead-end job, or without a home and on the street.

When Richard stops to help Door, he opens his heart and mind once more to new possibilities–but like any new opportunity, it begins with Richard facing extreme difficulty and unimaginable torment.

Because after Richard recognizes Door as a person, one who happens to need help, he is thrust from his world in London Above and into her world of London Below (which are, pretty much, exactly what they sound like). As a result, no one in London Above notices Richard is even there. His ex-fiancee draws a blank, his desk at work is gone, and his home is sold right out from under him despite his cries of protests. (Is there anything more demoralizing than being completely ignored?)

So Richard heads to London Below, where he finds the rest of those who slipped through the cracks. Like Croup and Vandemar, two peas in a murderous pod, or Hunter, the beautiful guard focused wholly on her prey. (I’d have to watch my back, but I feel like I’d like to meet almost everyone in London Below.) Richard does his best to find his way, but this world is completely new to him and he doesn’t understand what everyone else seems to inherently know.

Everyone, at some point or another, has felt like Richard Mayhew. We’ve all felt ignored and abandoned, and hopelessly lost.

But Richard has the gift of recognizing the humanness in others (even if, in London Below, they aren’t all exactly human). To recognize another person, to say, “I see you, and I respect you, and I accept you,“ is the greatest gift we can give and sometimes the hardest thing to do. But respect saves lives (and souls), and this is what keeps Richard safe through his journey in the underworld of London.

Richard has a gift, but he let it get buried in the everyday nothings of everyday life that can weigh us all down. Lucky for him, and for those who pick up Neverwhere, Door opens his imagination once again to fun–and funny!–adventures.

Illustration is pen and ink; links are affiliate. 

ralph lauren fashion illustration

ralph lauren fashion illustration

I love fashion week, even from afar. (It’s not like I went to shows when I was in New York anyway, so the separation’s pretty easy.) Looking at pretty things for inspiration and for fun will never get old for me.

This fashion week coincided with roughly the same time I got sick of everything in my closet. My new style inspiration Keri Russell has inspired me to pare things down to simple, cool basics. (I mean, she looks good, right?)

While runways tend to be known for going over the top, there’s still great inspiration to pull from if you keep your eyes open.

This look from Ralph Lauren is a wonderful example of simple and cool. A ribbed sweater and pants in the same color family are perfectly coordinated basics, and the bright yellow trench is a fun and surprising update to a classic wardrobe staple.

So this is what I’m aiming for these days: classy, simple, cool.

My illustration is pen and marker. I tried something a little different this time and used a sepia pen since my colors were light and bright. I like it! My video slideshow shows some of the coloring process.

I’m liking these videos, but practice will make perfect I suspect. What do you guys think?