THE PERFECT BUTTON DOWN SHIRT

uniform the perfect button down shirt besottedFor years now I have wanted to add a fashion component to my blog, but I have been weary since I am not one to shop nor go for the latest fads. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE looking, I was a fashion publicists for more years than I prefer to admit and I get very excited to see what creativity comes out of the fashion industry each season but most items that come out won’t pass my criteria for adding to my wardrobe. I seasonally create a ‘capsule’ wardrobe of highly edited pieces that I can mix & match and create multiple outfits with, this is what I affectionately term my ‘uniform’. It makes dressing effortless and everything pretty much goes together, looks polished and feels very me. Contrary to what you may presume, it’s not boring and can be very creative. I think a beautiful tailored white button down shirt is a perfect edition to anyone’s base wardrobe, it’s super versatile and can easily go from office to casual without missing a beat.

Now for the downside of a button down for a girl (like me) that is uhm, a little busty–the dreaded gape. A gape can take an otherwise polished look and make it look unintentionally slovenly. That is where The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens comes in! It has a patent pending hidden button design that controls the gape and allows you to wear your button down without flashing everyone–brilliant!  They have many different bodies and colors, I am especially loving this silk camp shirt. If you are having a hard time imagining how you could incorporate such a basic shirt into your wardrobe, stylista Erin Hiemstra and a handful of her fashion savvy friends have some amazing looks to inspire you here.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall-truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

EASY FINANCIAL PLANNING/BUDGETING

lucky penny by essanelI think we can all agree that financial planning/budgeting isn’t on the top of our lists of fun topics to discuss. I would prefer to talk about shoes, but I do think it’s important and if you are like me it can seem so overwhelming if not broken down to bite size chunks.  I did not grow up in a household where money was ever discussed, no one talked about saving and no one talked about spending, it was kind of a taboo subject. As a young adult it was no wonder that I had no idea about budgeting, even though I worked at a few prestigious stock broker firms I basically lived pay check to pay check. It really wasn’t until recently that I have gotten more adept at figuring my budget out (especially with an income that fluctuates from month-to-month) by implementing a few new strategies.

I have mentioned I used Outright.com for my business, which I think is a great tool and was so helpful when I did my taxes. I recently put my account on hold because I found Mint.com, which is similar (and free!), it is not as in depth or targeted to my business as Outright but it is a good software for keeping track of what you are spending and where. It has some great built-in tools for savings goals (college tuition, houses, vacations, etc.), which allow you to see how much you will need to save each month to get to your end goal and access to depositing in separate savings accounts for each goal. I think being able to look at a savings goal broken down so clearly makes it feel so much more accessible than just dreaming about it for one day.  I am not a frivolous spender (I was) but I can easily see at a glance where my money is going, if it was the me of my early twenties I would have been able to see that I was spending my hard earned paycheck on pretty stupid things and if I had the savings goals in place maybe I could have not bought more than one pair of designer jeans and put the money towards that house on the hill.  Now, that I am older I cringe at the thought but it is never too late to start. One of the things I noticed in my budget graph on Mint.com was how much my husband and I spent on food, just groceries not even going out, it was an outrageous amount!  I started to meal plan based around what is on special at our local grocery store, we don’t eat processed foods so I needed to be on the lookout for what fresh produce would be on sale. This may seem silly if you are already doing this, but I was clueless. Case in point, big beautiful cherries are in season, I would have formerly bought them at the $3.99/lb. without thinking twice, instead I waited and the store offered them for $2.99 for a bag (about 3 pounds worth!) It’s these little victories that have cut our grocery bill in half.  I also love knowing what we will be having for the week, it takes a lot of pressure and undue stress off our shoulders and I get to see the savings goals grow! Let me know if you have any tips for dealing with this “exciting” subject, I would love to hear them.

I have collected some references/resources below that might be useful for you (dare I say even interesting?):

Mint

Outright

Smartypig

The Daily Worth

The Fiscal Flamingo (good for those dealing with debt)

Andrew Mellen, I’m a big believer in less is more, Andrew comes highly recommended as a grade A de-cluttering expert.

Regale Magazine Issue 4, it’s targeted for millennial’s but has a no-nonsense 7 step budget that might be helpful for those (like me) who had no idea where to start.

Money 101 lessons

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to motivate you to fall-truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

lucky penny letterpress print by essanel

AROUND HERE :: HELLO MONDAY!

for-besotted-frenchie small

 If you have spied my Instagram stream lately (hint it’s on the lower right of this here blog) it has been a bit Frenchie heavy. I haven’t been out much and she’s a willing model, but only because she sleeps about 23 hours a day. Karm of Karmomo an incredibly talented illustrator and lettering artist noticed and illustrated this sweet illustration for us (myself and the Frenchie). Karm wrote that she just started her blog, which is always exciting for me, because even if you think there’s a zillion blogs in the world, the world could always use your unique voice and you sharing your unique talent. I know everyone has a talent (or two or more) and if you are willing to share it you can’t imagine what doors that could open for you.  You don’t need to start your own blog either but contact a blog/site you love and see if you can share. Just a thought…

I have been working on the digitizing your calligraphy/lettering screencast tutorial for you and now I need to edit it.  I am not in love with the quality of the screencast, it was recorded using Quicktime and I am hoping to learn how to edit in IMovie (I signed up for a 7 day free trial at Lynda.com).  I did look at Screenr which looked like it would be easy enough and better quality but I can’t get Java to download to my Mac, so frustrating, any suggestions for this or an alternate free screencast program? I would love to start doing more video tutorials for you and I know that the digitizing of your lettering has been so requested, I hope to have it to you by Thursday!

I just discovered Berin Made, I am loving the charming lettering, get ready to pin some pretty lettering inspiration and some sweet diy’s! I haven’t been doing any lettering myself lately because I can’t get the energy up to pull out the ink and nibs (and oh, yes sitting up for more than 15minutes at a time is a little difficult) but Erin Hung of Berin Made has me excited to pull out my sketch pad and pencils and just start playing again.

Craftsy is another on-line video crafty class resource (they have some cooking classes that look great) they are currently offering a deep discount on their classes.  I just noticed that they have a bunch of free mini classes too!  I think this free zipper class would be perfect for the newbie sewer.

On a super bright note I have started to feel so much better. I have started to walk, not very fast mind you (or very far) but that hasn’t stopped me from downloading a free pedometer app.  I am loving being able to keep track of my progress and it makes me feel like I have accomplished something each day.  If you aren’t sick and haven’t been moving your body lately, I highly recommend getting out and walking, it’s low impact but you will be amazed at the results. I have been able to walk over a mile a day and working on adding to that each day.  Of course, I wish I could do more and try something a little more exciting but baby steps.

Wishing you the start to a great week!

P.S. Do you have a unique talent/skill or tip you want to share here, send me an email!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to motivate you to fall-truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

AROUND HERE:: SOME BOOKS TO READ, CLASSES TO TAKE ET AL

rosemary print by eva julietIt’s been a little slow around here on my sofa, but I have tried not to be idle while trying to get myself through this odd time in my life. I have done a ton of research on line on anything and everything and have even taken some classes.  I am listing some of the places & things I have found along the way that I thought maybe you might be interested in as well!

Creative Bug is a destination to take all kinds of self-paced crafty classes via video by experts in their field/craft. They recently have made their classes available ala carte which means you don’t need to have a monthly subscription in order to partake in the fun. I took this jewelry class and want to take this one next. I also have hopes to one day break out my sewing machine again and this whole cloth quilt by Ana Maria Horner looks like a project even this sewing novice could tackle. Did I mention Heather Ross teaches a classes?! I love her to pieces and this sundress couldn’t be easier.

I haven’t been eating much but I have been gearing up for the day when I will be able to. I have been voraciously consuming food blogs and reading cookbooks. I ordered Meatless, Martha Stewart’s new vegetarian cook book. I love Martha but I admit that a lot of the recipes have multiple ingredients for one meal and a fair share are very caloric, so they will need to be adjusted accordingly. I don’t want to deter you, there are a ton of recipes to choose from, beautiful photographs (of course) and lot’s of recipes that look like total winners. On the opposite end of the spectrum I also purchased Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo, it is in the same vein as Jam it, Pickle it, Can it by Karen Solomon which is one of my favorite books for making almost any of the things you would normally buy off the shelf (like condiments or crackers) from scratch. I have just started flipping through Jennifer’s book and love the idea of her all-purpose baking mix which is the basis/shortcut to make everything from pancakes and waffles to muffins. The mix does include sugar, which I don’t really eat so I would like to see if this would work with a natural sugar substitute. I am up for experimentation though, I’ll keep you posted.

Some of the food blogs or blogs with a food category I have found that I have enjoyed are Skinny Taste, these mini omlettes look perfect for on-the-go breakfasts.  Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Wellness has some great plant based recipes and I have tried some modified versions of her smoothies with great results. One of my latest obsessions is The Chalkboard Mag by the Pressed Juicery, it’s not just food but great wellness tips on everything from food to cosmetics presented for the modern bohemian, it’s very well put together and a wealth of health information, check out their Guest Editors & Experts (very impressive!)

I know this a lot for today. I have also been researching budgeting/financial planning and even though it’s not the most exciting subject I will try to do a round-up next week of some resources I have found useful that might be of use to you as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo & rosemary print by eva juliet

HANG IN THERE…

HANG ON FDR QUOTE BESOTTEDI feel like this quote is the equivalent of those 80′s motivational posters with the kitten hanging on a line that reads, ‘just hang in there’, but a dash bit more posh, no?  I have been absent here for a few days, because I had a bit of a rough time this week with my illness. I have had my blood drawn more times in the past few weeks then I have ever had in my lifetime and I am one of those squeamish types when it comes to needles so this has been an exercise in fear fighting 101. To say things have been rough feels like an understatement to me but I know there are many others out there suffering much worse than I am.

I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday and she is of the same mindset that I am that you need to look on the bright side in even the darkest of times. She told me about the author Laura Hillenbrand whom I am a big fan of; I have recommended her book ‘Unbroken’several times, I just love it (incredibly inspiring true story). What I did not know was that she wrote both her best-selling books Seabiscuit and Unbroken from her bed, because she suffers from chronic illness. I figured if Laura could do meticulous research on two 400 page books and have them shoot to the best seller list while not being able to leave her bed, I could at the very least write a post and check in, right? Actually, I think the moral of that story was that just because I am currently sick does not mean I have to give up, which I refuse to do but honestly some days are better than others and I am currently living on a moment by moment basis, acutely aware of those moments mind you. Many of you have written to me sharing your own stories of illness and I have appreciated the honesty and the bravery in doing so. Not one of those that live with a chronic illness that wrote to me victimized themselves or were throwing a pity party for themselves, many have redefined how they live and have been able to flourish and their positivity has helped me immensely. I know that what I have I will not have forever, it is what it is right now and and it is very rare and hard to treat but knowing there is a light at the end of this tunnel is what keeps me going. I promise I will not make this space all about what is going on, I just felt it necessary to pop in, for an explanation, a hello, some gratitude for the kindness of others and a bit of ‘normalcy’. I will be taking the rest of the week off while I recoup, I wish I could tell you I was taking the week off to fly off to an exotic locale, but maybe next year, right? A girl can dream and I shall be doing a lot of that from my mattress and maybe some pinning.

Thank you friends for your kindness + support, enjoy your week and for those in the states happy 4th!

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