2016 year in review

2016 year in review

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Already the end of another year! How time flies, right? Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I like to take the time to look back at the year that’s ending so I can make plans for the new one. I don’t really like the word “resolutions,” but I do like to set goals for the new year. Last year, my goal for 2016 was to “live my best life today” and stop waiting for the perfect moment that’s never coming. I can’t say I always took the leap, but I think I did live my best life this year, the life that I really want, more than in any other year thus far.

Here are some good things from 2016:

  • Visited California for the first time (and ended up going twice!)
  • Visited Disneyland for the first time
  • Started this blog & recommitted myself to blogging
  • Took concrete action to improve my mental health
  • Got a new tattoo
  • Took on new & exciting projects at work
  • Entered my first pinup contest (I didn’t end up getting to compete due to illness but…that’s partway there!)
  • Saw Flight of the Conchords live, which I didn’t think would ever happen
  • Cast my vote for a female presidential candidate
  • Joined my first in-person D&D campaign
  • Made new friends

Here are some things I want to do in 2017:

  • Continue to improve my blog
  • Read more books
  • Travel to somewhere new
  • Get a new couch
  • Advance in my career
  • Make more new friends
  • More tattoos (sorry Mom)
  • Upgrade my hairstyling game
  • Write (and complete) a piece of fiction
  • Do my first photoshoot

But more than anything, I want to keep saying yes to new things. I want to keep taking chances, striving to be my best self, and working to be braver, stronger, and smarter every day. I’ve come really far in the past few years, and I want to keep moving forward.

However you’re celebrating the New Year this weekend, I hope it’s safe and happy – I’m sure there will be some shenanigans in my Instagram stories, so make sure to give me a follow if you want to see what I’m up to.

Happy New Year, lovelies! xoxo

Want to help me achieve my 2017 goals? I’d love to get your feedback on what you’d like to see on The Sconnie Sling next year. Tutorials, reviews, rambling, inspiration – leave a comment or email me at pennysnark at gmail dot com to let me know what I can do to make my blog more fun and useful for you!

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top 10 outfits of 2016

top 10 outfits of 2016

I was thinking about what I should blog about this week when I abruptly realized that these will be my last two posts of the year. Yikes. I’ve had so much fun getting back into the habit of blogging again, and the year’s flown by. I never kept up regular posting on a blog for this long before, and it’s definitely thanks to the lovely, encouraging community of vintage fashion enthusiasts that I’ve found ❤

To celebrate the end of 2016 (good riddance!), I decided to pick out my 10 favorite outfits. Going back through all my outfits of the year was so much fun! This was definitely the year that I really feel like I started to get a good handle on bringing my aesthetic to life in my day to day. A lot of my favorite pieces are actually missing from this round-up because I was trying not to pick anything where I just thought the dress or the skirt was great – I wanted to feel like they were full outfits that I’d executed.

So without further ado, here they are!

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Putting them all together, it’s obvious that I need to mix up my posing game next year! Fun fact, I do always take some head-on outfit pics looking at the camera, but I always feel like my expression is weird. It’s just easier to close your eyes!

It was a pretty great year in outfits, and I definitely expanded my wardrobe more rapidly than in any other year. In 2017, I want to continue to push myself to try new things and combine my favorite pieces in new ways.

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penny & the pearl | collectif review

penny & the pearl | collectif review

Like many pinup girls, I’ve been lusting after the Pearl coat from Collectif for a very long time. I first fell in love with it when I saw it on the Modcloth website a few years ago, and I’ve kept going back and forth on it ever since. This year, I decided that as soon as the coat came back in stock, I was taking the leap.

Of course, that leap turned out to be a much longer one than I thought. My package got lost in international transit limbo; I’m still not sure if it was actually lost or just held up in customs, but it eventually got to me about a month late.

By this time, I was really desperate for this coat, and I was hoping it would live up to all of my expectations. Did it? ….well. Yes and no.

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We all know the coat is gorgeous, and it truly is beautiful in person. It’s lush and luxurious and dramatic. Every time I’ve worn it, I’ve gotten compliments on it. People have called me over to ask where I got it. I did size up in it, and it was the right choice – it fits very neatly and snugly.

It’s also warm. The one thing I was most nervous about buying the Pearl coat was how warm it would be; I searched around a lot, but most of the reviews I could find were from people in more moderate climates. But I’m happy to report that it is quite warm; it’s definitely not on par with a ski jacket or anything, but it’s as warm as I’d expect a wool blend coat to be. I’ve worn it in -15 degree weather already this year, and it’s served me well.

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But unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The sleeves are  very tight; they are loosening up some as I wear them, but my movement is definitely restricted by how tight they are. Also, as soon as I took the coat out of the package, I discovered that BOTH of the pockets were already splitting open at the bottom. After wearing the coat for just a handful of weeks, one of the buttons has fallen off and the driver’s seat of my car is badly stained from the wine-colored dye. It also somehow managed to stain a light colored top even though I always had a cardigan on while wearing the coat.

Now, these are relatively minor issues, but honestly, I expect a lot higher level of craftsmanship in a coat that’s this expensive. It definitely makes me reluctant to order from Collectif again; the coat is gorgeous, and I’m certainly going to keep wearing it, but the quality of the details is disappointing.

Maybe it’s just me? Has anyone else had issues like this with their Pearl coat? I really am disappointed to have a piece that has such a passionate fanbase and that I’ve wanted for so long to come with all these careless flaws.

retro christmas apartment tour + party set-up

retro christmas apartment tour + party set-up

I was doing a lot of perfecting right up until the last minute, but I finally am ready to show off how I brought vintage flair to my Christmas decor this year! Last night was the night of my Christmas cocktail party, so everything was clean and pretty and perfect.

love Christmas. There’s a reason they call it the most wonderful time of the year! I can never resist the shinies and sparkles and general feelings of good cheer. As with most things, I definitely aspire to a beautiful mid-century modern Christmas, but I have to be budget conscious as well. I do my best to incorporate modern versions of vintage favorites  and retro-inspired DIYs alongside true vintage pieces to create Christmas decor that’s fabulous in any time period.

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My living room is unsurprisingly where I put pretty much all my Christmas magic. I do have a mini-holiday set up in the bedroom, but I try to practice good sleep hygiene, so if I’m awake, I’m most likely in the living room.

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! I would really love a true vintage aluminum tree, but I’ve had a hard time finding one in good condition within my price range. So I decided to get my silvery fix with this amazing giant tinsel tree! I really wanted to incorporate pink into my Christmas this year, but was having a hard time finding pink ornaments I was satisfied with…until I randomly stopped into a little local antique shop and found a whole stack of in-the-box Shiny Brite ornaments! I picked up a set of various matte pinks and one set of shiny, and supplemented them with silver ornaments from last year and a few specialty ornaments I’ve collected. You can’t really tell in this photo, but I also have a strand of pink pearl beads wrapped around the tree.

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Continuing the pink theme, I ordered a pink wreath…and received a blue one. Blah blah, various customer service mishaps, which ended up with me getting the wreath just a day before the party and not having time to set up an extension cord so I could light it up 😦 Next year.

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Here’s a detail shot of decorations on the credenza! Vintage and modern bottlebrush trees (click here for my ode to bottlebrush trees), sparkly ornaments, and a table runner from TJ Maxx. I love using table runners to add some color and style to a piece of furniture that might not be obviously holiday-ified.

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Let’s turn around! I posted a little preview of my ornaments DIY on Instagram, and I’m really pleased with how it all turned out! I created my own patterns from illustrations of vintage ornaments, cut out a bunch, and hung them and strips of ribbon with sticky tack. You can also see that I’m using ribbons wrapped around cabinet doors to display my Christmas cards.

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This part is a little bit decor, but mostly party prep! I dug out my somehow constantly growing collection of various sized decorative vases and filled them with some blue ornaments (pink and blue go together, right?). Here’s another table runner, originally bought for a Friendsgiving, to class up the joint. I bought a new cheeseboard (yes, I already owned a cheeseboard and decided this party required a whole new one…I’m from Wisconsin, okay??), and I did put food on it before the party started. Don’t want your cheese to sweat too much! (Let me know in the comments if you want more cheese details…I am more than happy to share them.)

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Here’s my little cocktail set-up for the evening! My ice bucket is vintage, and I completely fell in love with these acrylic “Merry Christmas” swizzle sticks and HAD TO HAVE THEM. Grasshoppers were the seasonally-appropriate house cocktail of the night.

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I had such a wonderful time decorating my apartment this year and welcoming a lot of old and new friends over to help me celebrate one of my favorite holidays! It was such a fun, festive night, and the best part is that the real deal is still to come.

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a unicorn reborn | ains & elke stylehaus review

a unicorn reborn | ains & elke stylehaus review

I have two great shopping regrets in my life. One is a pair of beautiful teal suede booties that I let a friend (a MALE friend, it goes without saying!!!) talk me out of buying in Chicago when I was in college, and the other is the black and white striped Jenny skirt. I knew that I wanted the skirt from the beginning, but for some reason I kept putting it off and putting it off…until it was too late.

So though I had come to Ains & Elke StyleHaus seeking out Christmas joy, there was no way I could resist this skirt!

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Working on my Jack Skellington creepy Christmas realness – how’d I do?

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I was most familiar with Ains & Elke StyleHaus from the stunning vintage reproduction sweaters I’d seen all over Instagram. The sweaters are a bit out of my price range (though I hope to save up for one next year!), but I couldn’t miss the Black Friday opportunity to pick up some custom skirts.

Ordering was super easy – all I needed to do was include my waist measurement and preferred length, and we were off! At $65, the custom Trixie skirts are an amazing deal; I also really appreciated that there’s no up charge for plus sizes, which always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The shop info predicted a 3-4 week turnaround time, and I received my skirts 3 weeks and a handful of days later.

The Trixie skirt has lovely deep pockets and closes with a back zip and two cute buttons. I have no complaints about the construction…everything looks sharp and super high quality! I’ll definitely plan on ordering more pieces from Ains & Elke StyleHaus, and I highly recommend checking the shop out.

I got lots of compliments on this skirt, and I know it’ll be a year-round staple for me. I can’t wait to show off the Christmas skirt I picked up…expect to see that on my Instagram next week!

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movie style: white christmas

movie style: white christmas

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You guys. White Christmas. Not only is it one of the only decent Christmas movies on Netflix (yay!), it’s definitely a tradition in my family. And yes, I know lots of people think that Holiday Inn is better…but they’re dumb, because there’s no way that a movie that features bright blue ostrich feather fans could be second best to ANYTHING.

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See? If I’m ever fabulously rich one day, I’m going to pay someone to make me a replica of this costume and just wear it around the house/to the grocery store/whatever. I’m sure none of you are surprised that I was enraptured with this movie, even as a child who had no idea that she’d grow up to be a pinup. I guess you could say I imprinted on it.

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When are floor-length sequined gowns with giant poufs of tulle and sequined gloves going to come back into fashion? Also, Rosemary Clooney’s hair is so on point during this whole movie. So shiny! So sculpted!

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I definitely relate more to the Rosemary Clooney character in this movie, both as a person and in fashion sense, but Vera Ellen has some great looks too! I’m a little bit obsessed with this checked circle skirt…it would be so versatile. The pop of red from the belt gives it just the right seasonal flair.

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How badly do I want this gorgeous green velvet dress for Christmas??? The cross straps over the bodice are KILLING me. With the pearls? It’s just too damn fabulous. How can you be sad when you’re wearing such a beautiful dress, Rosemary?

White Christmas is definitely a beloved holiday movie of my heart, but it’s made even better by being my favorite holiday movie with regards to style! Anyone else have a style icon from a holiday movie?

how to keep colored hair healthy & bright

how to keep colored hair healthy & bright

In both real life and the online world, by far the most common compliment I get is “I love your hair!” Fantasy hair colors are so much fun and a great way to show off your personality, but cycle of bleaching, dyeing and styling can be rough on your lovely locks.

Friends, it doesn’t have to be that way! You can have beautiful bright hair that’s soft and healthy, without sacrificing your color. I’ve spent the past year+ with purple hair, and my hair is softer than it’s ever been. Here’s how I keep my colored hair healthy and vibrant between cuts!

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One of the best things you can do to help preserve your hair color is to wash it less often. Because I do a vintage curl set every night, I wash my hair once a week with a color-safe and sulfate-free shampoo. I’m currently using L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Color Care System Moisture Shampoo (what a name!)…I don’t have a particular attachment to it, but I feel like it’s served me well and is available at Target for a reasonable price!

Approximately every other week, I like to do a deep conditioning hair mask to help everything hydrated and lovely. This is another one that I don’t have any particular brand loyalty too; I usually pick up whatever is on the shelf. I’ve used a Neutrogena Deep Recovery Mask and recently picked up a Tresemme mask, and both of them have done a wonderful job of making my hair ultra-moisturized and silky smooth. It’s kind of hilarious to see how my hair naturally forms in near-ringlets after doing a mask.

Absolutely crucial to the brightness portion of the “healthy & bright” hair is Overtone. I did a full review of Overtone, but the short version is that it’s color and conditioner all in one. Your hair actually gets healthier while you refresh your color and, bonus, it’s vegan! Depending on how my color is holding up, I like to use the Go Deep Weekly Conditioner (I’m currently using Extreme Purple) either each week or every other week to give myself a nice purple zing.

The last ingredient in my recipe for healthy colored hair is Suavecita Argan Silkening Serum. It may seem like you could skip this step but don’t! I went through a period of time where my sets weren’t working out the way I wanted, and I realized that it had been a while since I used my silkening serum. Next time I washed my hair, I made sure to run a pump through my damp hair and voila – problem solved. This oil isn’t greasy, and it is seriously the best smelling thing I put on my head. Some oil treatments make me feel like I smell like a salad, but I wouldn’t mind a perfume in this scent!

My last tip is something that I know isn’t achievable by everyone, but makes a huge difference: I never use heat on my hair. Heat not only damages your hair, but it can fade your color like WHOA. See here:

When you’re already spitting in the face of the hair gods by pouring chemicals all over your head, I find it wise to avoid other sources of damage. If you must use heat tools, make sure you use a heat protectant!

That’s the inside scoop on how I keep my dyed hair healthy. Any other candy-colored babes have tips? I always love new tips, tricks and products to try!

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