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Lorraine is a style obsessed mama to two young kids, a wife to a supportive husband and a family photographer. Lorraine graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006, with a degree in advertising photography. She enjoys quiet moments, silly kids, clothes, shoes, coffee and a little wine too. Can't get enough of her here on FredParent? Check out her personal blog: Rain in Style.

 

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Rain in Style

My Closet and Lessons Learned Along the Way

I know I said that I would discuss my love affair with scarves this week, but I am going to postpone that discussion to a later date. I have news! Do you remember my blog post about my closet quitting me? If you missed it, find it here. Well, friends, guess what? My new closet was just installed and it is glorious. For this post, I am going to give you a run down of my new closet, and some lessons that I learned along the way.  So bear with me. 

First, the company that I used is called Tailored Living of Fredericksburg - find them here.  I loved working with them; they were very courteous and helpful. They sent a designer out to work, and rework, the design for my closet. She made sure I got exactly what I needed to fit my needs. And, you all know, my needs are shoe storage and lots of hanging space. We had to tear out all the shelving, repair the walls, paint and put in new hardwood floors. All of which was quite the task. 

I started with removing all the old shelving and brackets. I did this by myself. And it was a JOB. One of those jobs that you want to curse and scream at all day...you know like being a "jack in the box" toy tester (that, my firends is an ELF reference). What lesson did I learn at this step? I learned that with enough brute force, you can pull anything out of a wall. Well, OK, brute force and the right tools. I had to try multiple different tools, before I found what worked. Don't judge me...my specialty is fashion, not tools. That and persistence. Knowing that those mollies and brackets stuck in the wall WILL come out. 

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After I successfully ripped, I mean gently pulled out, all of the brackets and mollies, I was left with walls that looked more like swiss cheese than like acutal walls. So, onto the next step, repairing and painting the walls. This step was also done by yours truly. And it was equally as frustrating. I wasn't very loving when I took those mollies out, so the holes were rather large, and there were a lot of them. It took a lot of spackle and sanding to get them filled in. Just when I thought I was finished, I was told it wasn't spackled enough, so back for more sanding and spackling. And sanding...and spackling, until the walls passed the "run hand over wall and see if it's smooth" test.

Painting was rather easy; I even painted the ceiling. I don't actually remember most of that part of the job. I blame the paint fumes and working in a small space. I think I might have lost a few brain cells. It's fine...now what was I saying? Oh, a lesson learned here, leave the spackling and sanding job to the OCD person...demolition is fun-ish, but meeting the demands of an OCD spackle inspector is not. 

Up next, floors. The carpet had to go and it had to go before we could get the closet installed. So we put in hardwood, which will be done to all of the bedrooms, eventually. The good thing about my closet is that it’s off the bathroom, so there was only a small area that we had to take care of immediately. Lesson learned here: It doesn’t matter how small the area, putting in hardwood floors is annoying, tedious and worth paying someone else to do. That's all I will say about that. Moving on.  

Once all of that was finished, the closet installers came and put the closet in. It took roughly three hours, and every bit of the process was well worth it. Ladies and gentlemen, I have my long awaited shoe wall! I will get to that in a minute, because it is worthy of its own paragraph. Here is what my closet looks like currently.  

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This is the longest wall which is facing you as you walk in the door.  I have so much more space then I thought I would have. Hanging here are skirts, dresses, tops and jackets/blazers. Folded on top will be sweaters, and my patterned and colored jeans. In the baskets in the middle are clutches, bags, and maxi skirts. The basket on the right will be light weight scarves. I have another basket for up there which will have my flat sandal type shoes.  

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 Now, I know this wall looks a little messy.  But this section is necessary for my closet. This is where I hang all my outifts for the week ahead. I even have enough room to plan for two weeks! Also on this rack, at the end, is rompers, and a few of my pants. The shelves on top, will be home to all of my blanket scarves. I even have shelving under this section and on the other wall too, for more shoe storage!! Speaking of shoes...

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My shoe wall is a beautiful thing to behold. I couldn't fit its entirety in the photo, but it is floor to ceiling shoes. Every time I come in here I want to cry - tears of joy of course. It's just so beautiful. The lesson that I learned here is a good one, if you need to solve a problem, and are stuck trying to find a solution, look at it in a different way. I needed to make more space for my shoes, but even with this shoe wall, they weren't all fitting. So, I turned them so one faces out and one faces in. Storing them this way creates enough room for one more pair per shelf!  Perfection. Plus this way, I can see the heel type for each shoe. So it's a win win. 

Next week I will be back with fall fashion. I haven't forgotten that I owe you a post about scarves and other fall inspired outfits. I just had to share with you my happy place. And, yes, sometimes I just go in there to forget about the sorrows and try on all the shoes...very possibly with a glass of wine...and probably chocolate. 

 

-xo 

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What A Moment Brings

I know that I had said that I would talk about scarves this week, but I feel like taking a step back for a minute...and speaking from the heart. Hear me out, if you have a minute. I'll continue the style talk next week.

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I’m not sure exactly where to go with this post. I have changed the direction of this so many times. But I feel the need, a pull, to speak about current events. Yes, this is a style blog, but style encompasses more than your outward appearance; it can speak volumes as to how you are emotionally. And right now... today... emotions run deep. I started off wanting to speak real talk, from my heart, about the madness surrounding us. It started earlier this week (we write our posts here a week ahead, so today is October 4) as I was sitting in the car line at my kids’ school. I noticed the flags were at half staff. And it started to make me think... How many times have we seen these flags at half staff over the past decade, or so, from tragedies, unfathomable tragedies? How many times will we see them at half staff in the years to come?

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The thought of this brought tears to my eyes. I started thinking back to my childhood, and I don’t recall the flags being at half staff even half as many times as they are now. Back in my day, it was a big deal to see them flying that way. We’d all whisper and wonder who died...it would be a concern, a question that needed an answer. But now, now it’s almost as if it's become so commonplace that no one questions it. Do we still wonder who died...or is it now more about how many died?

I don’t want to get very political here. What I do want to do is just talk about what a moment brings. In that moment, as I sat there staring at the flag, listening to my kids acting crazy in the back of the car... in that exact moment, everything was silent. I could almost hear the flag as it whipped in the breeze. And I thought to myself, how many times has one of the school officials had to come out here and lower it? How sad is that job, to lower a flag in a display of a nation in mourning? The weight of knowing that millions of flags across the country are flying at the same height, half as high and equally heavy with sadness.

And then in that moment, I realized that there must also be someone that comes back out to raise it, after a given amount of time. Someone has to return the flag to full staff. As that flag rises, the question becomes how do we rise? How does the nation rise like the flag? If only there was a simple answer, a simple solution to end the madness. But there isn’t. Unlike the flag, we as a nation, are not attached to a pully mechanism that helps lift us. We must become the pully for each other. We must lift each other up, embrace the wind as it whips us, and figure out how to never allow us to be lowered again.

 

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Hey! It's October, Bring on the Plaid

Squeal!! It's the first week of October! My favorite month, my favorite season. For my photo business it means I will be busy taking photos of my beautiful clients and their families. And, for my style blog, it means we are shifting into all fall all the time.  Pay no attention to the fact thas it has been near 90 degrees outside.  I am ignoring that, it won't break my fall spirit.  So, I’m back this week to chat about plaid. Do you love or hate it? If you ask me, it’s a definite love. I wasn’t always pro plaid. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about ways to wear plaid. Scarves, shoes, shirts, and skirts...they all start with S, "S" for stylish... LOL. That was cheesy, I know. And, actually as I sit here and write this post, I think that I will break this up into seperate posts, because my love for plaid runs deep. So, let's talk about plaid shirts....but see plaid scarves are so perfect too... focus, Lorraine, focus! Scarves will be next week.

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 So, first, let’s take a look at the obvious, plaid shirts. Plaid shirts are fun to play with. You can of course wear them with jeans, but you can also pair them with skirts and dresses. This blue and teal one I just got recently at Target, here, and it's my current favorite. I have it it two sizes, XS and small. I can wear both, but it is rayon, and I always worry with rayon shrinking, so if the XS ends up shrinking, I have a back up. I'm obsessed with it that much.  

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For the first outfit I tied the shirt at my waist, and have a sequin skirt on. I love the contrast of edgy with glamour. It's interesting, give it a try. Then I layered it under a vest, although I wish I put that one with grey booties.  The last two I have it layered on top of a graphic tank.  This plaid shirt is more fitted in cut, so it's perfect for using it as a cardigan.   

 

This is red/pinkish plaid shirt is another favorite. It's by Rails, and I recently found it on ThredUP.  You can find Rails shirts at Nordstrom. I didn't see this exact color, but check out this beautiful colorway, here.  At full retail, they are expensive. I will say, it is one of the most comfortable plaid shirts that I have.  It's also lightweight and soft, so it's easy to layer. I styled it similarly to the blue one above. Again, this shirt is a fitted cut, so it's easy to use it open, or tied at the waist. When looking for plaid shirts, look for a fitted cut, so they don't look too baggy and oversized.

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Another versatile option is a black and white plaid shirt. I looked for one for a long time before I found this one, last year at Francesca's, but they don't have it anymore. I found a similar one at Target, here. It's also lightweight and easy to layer. I like it with anything olive. So, I tied it over an olive LuLaRoe dress, and then with an olive anorak jacket. Pattern mixing is fun to try with plaid - it can go with leopard print, like I did, or with polka dots, or stripes. I've seen women put floral and plaid together, although I have yet to master that pattern mixing. Practice makes perfect though, and I am no quitter. I'll report back, if I make it work.

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So, I bet you'd never guess that I used to hate plaid. Like I just couldn't ever imagine wearing it. And now look! So, how did I overcome my plaid aversion? I started with one easy, versatile plaid shirt, which is now too big, but it was similar to the first blue one. I used to only wear them buttoned up, like a proper shirt. But now, I think it's fun to try them different ways. You can easily use the same shirt, 3 different ways, and it would look completely different. Seeing how versatile the pattern can be, I started a collection of other plaid things..my favorite being scarves. 

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That sign is 100 percent accurate, I am out of my gourd for plaid. So meet me here next week, and I will talk about scarves (plaid of course, but others as well), and discuss how to tie blanket scarves, and now to work them into your outfits.   

 

Catch ya at the pumpkin patch.  I'm waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come.  

 

-xo

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Who's Watching: A Discussion About Social Media

For this week, I want to take a step back and talk about social media. Specifically, how I have come to handle juggling my social media presence and protecting my kids. So let’s chat a little bit about what it means to not only be a style blogger, who relies on social media outlets to promote herself, but to also be a mom.

My Instagram account has rapidly gained followers since I started this blogging gig. And, while I don’t have a ton of followers, I have way more than I did when I first started. Back in my early days of IG, my posts were all about my kids. If not my kids, it was nature photos, or places we visited. It was great for just catching snaps of my kids...and having them in one place, like a story board of their little lives. I didn’t necessarily worry about it back then when I had like 10 followers, all of whom I personally knew. Currently, I have 600 followers and 4,509 posts. Now, that’s not a huge following, but that’s 590 more people then I used to have and I probably only know maybe 20 personally. Everyday the number of followers grows. And everyday I wonder, who’s watching.

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And, honestly, there is no way to know. What I can tell you is that i’ve seen some profiles of people that follow me, and what they post is not something that I want to be involved with, so they are blocked, immediately. Faster then you can say Instagram. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t more. My IG profile is public, anyone can see it. For me and my social media presence, it has to be, as I rely heavily on social media to promote my brand. Anyone can follow me, although I can remove them and block.

Anyone can message me. And some do. Some are honest inquires, some are sales pitches, some are notes from friends... and then there’s the "others". It’s the "others" that worry me sometimes. When I start getting messages requesting that I smash bugs in my heels, or asking me how soft my boots are on the inside, or asking me about my feet, or what I wear to bed...these are the others that cloud my vision. These are the "others" that have turned me. Like a nuclear fallout shelter..I am near capapcity.  

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So what do I do? Recently, I started noticing that I haven’t been posting images of my kids on Instagram. I don’t remember when I stopped, and I don’t think it was intentional at first. Maybe subconsciously I thought it was the best way to protect them. And I think it is, at least for me, for right now.

I can’t shield them from the craziness of life forever, I’ve never believed that that’s the right way. I have always talked honestly but gently to them about adult matters. I’ve even talked to them about my job, and that I have to be conscious about what I post online, hoping to teach them early about using social media correctly and smartly. But, do I want the “others” seeing my kids? Not if I have a way to prevent it. I’ve put myself in a position to be attracting “others”, whether they are devious or not. I’ve accepted that, sort of. However, my kids didn’t. It alarms me to think that if these are the messages that I get what kind of messages do I not get, and do these involve my kids. If these distasteful profiles are representative of those bold enough to put themselves out there and follow me...who is watching without the bold outreach? Who's watching from the side lines? 

Then there is Facebook, which is a little bit different. On Facebook, I have separate accounts. I have a business page for my photography, a style page for Rain In Style and I have my personal page. Both business pages are public, but not my personal page. On my personal page, you have to request to be my “friend” and to be able to see what’s on my page. Yes, I have received random friend requests from people that I do not know. Just recently, it was some sort of "service" page that someone had set up...I don't even want to discuss it on here. Of course those are denied, but so are seemingly regular people's friend requests. Sometimes I apologize to people for not accepting their friend requests, but really I'm not sorry.  My personal Facebook page will remain closed to anyone that I do not know.  There are ways to follow my style adventures, and my photo business that are separate from my personal page. Sometimes, I find myself seeking solace in that personal space, even though nothing online is ever really "personal", is it?

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There are days when I have to block numerous people, on both social media channels, and I sort of feel like this photo...looking over my shoulder, trying to detemine who is actually watching.  Sometimes I feel like completely giving up on this blogging thing, that the craziness of the social media world isn't worth it.  Like I want to go back inside that fallout shelter and let the world just be. But, in the end, I choose to keep going. That's part of the social media lesson, especially for my kids. I can shelter them for a little while, but eventually the world will open up, the crazy will come in, and like the fallout shelter...we must be prepared.  

 

So, for now, I will continue to discuss the do's and dont's of social media with my kids, while excluding them from it. I've told them that I am careful not to post anything showing my address and never anything involving nudity, or anything purposefully hurtful to others.  In another post, I will talk about how sometimes social media has not just alarmed me, but has dulled me. There is a part of social media that can be defeating and can crush your confidence. That's a topic worthy of its own post, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, I encourage a discussion about how you all handle social media and your kids.  What about older kids? Has anyone had run ins with questionable people?   

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Fall Layers

I’m back, spreading my fall joy everywhere! Have you seen me around town all bundled up? LOL. It’s true. But the weather has been kind of fall-like recently. At least in the mornings it has. So here’s a question, how do we bridge the transition from season to season? When it is cold in the mornings but warm in the afternoons? 

Layers. But let’s talk about stylish layers, and using them to not just keep warm, but also to add interest. A few weekends ago, I was downtown. I know surprising right? The kids were hunting for rock; it’s something that they love to do. It was chilly in the morning, but was supposed to warm up in the afternoon...typical for fall around here. So I took it as a great opportunity to do a few photos for this post. This outfit is also one of my top 5 fall outfits (which I will talk about in another post).

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By taking a basic dress, and adding layers to it, I was able to bundle up when cold, but then remove the layers when it warmed up. Try using a fitted jacket and scarf over a dress. This scarf... I know! I posted about it last week, here, but it's from Grace and Lace, and you need to get it. The colors in it are perfect for fall.

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Also mix your textures, it adds interest. My faux leather jacket, scarf and dress are all different textures. And then there’s my boots... yes, stylish friends, my over the knee boots, I will use the acronym OTK. They are also a different texture - these are like a faux suede. I got them at DSW last year. I saw them there again recently, or find them online, here. OTK boots are great for wearing with a dress, or jeans. I will talk about different ways to style them in a different post. For this post, they were a great way for me to be able to transition this outfit from chilly in the morning to warm in the afternoon.

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I changed my shoes, took off the jacket and scarf, and magically it became an entirely different outfit. And, yes I could have worn regular black booties with tights in the morning, but I find it easier to change my shoes while out and about, then trying to take tights off discreetly. That’s probably because I am like the least sly person ever. LOL. #truth

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And then there’s another added interest for when I took my scarf off - wear a long necklace under your scarf. That way when you take the scarf off, you aren’t loosing an interesting piece of your outfit, you are simply changing the focus. Genious. Except, I forgot to take my earrings out. I usually don't wear big earrings with a necklace. But, I don't hate it.  

 

So come on and join me in welcoming fall.  If I see you around town bundled up and looking stylish, I will smile and introduce myself...and probably ask where you got your outfit. Then we could go for coffee!

 

Be on the lookout for upcoming posts about how I've decided to handle my social media presence and wanting to protect my kids, and more fall outfit ideas! Plaid, vests, scarves, boots vs booties, and so much more.   

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This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

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