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Choosing Your Fashion Trends

  • Jul 25 2014

Even though it's become trendy to proclaim that you "don't follow trends," the reality of this ironic concept is that most of us can't help it.

Trends are like the seasoning of a meal. We find them sprinkled through the stores we buy from, the fashion advice we adhere to, and the media we consume.

Some of them rub off on us and we think to ourselves, "Hey! I really like that!" while others never can quite get our attention, no matter how widespread they become.

(I never did give into the move towards skinny jeans. My boot cuts and flare legs work just fine for me thankyouverymuch.)

Sometimes we take on a trend with full-force embrace.

Remember the black and platinum hair style that was all the rage in 2004? Yeah, I'm glad I didn't jump on that one. Because except for the few people who really could rock the skater-punk-princess look, most of the people who headed for the salons now look at their old MySpace pictures from that time and grimace with regret.

So how can you judge? What if you like a trend but don't want to end up regretting it later?

To Trend or Not to Trend?

While you can never be 100% safe from regret and still make trendy purchases, there are a few ways you can avoid wasting your money on pieces that you won't wear after the year they're "in."

First of all: is the trend EVERYWHERE? The way trend work is that they are first taken on by a special, small crowd of early adopters. They test out new idea or look, and if they like it, word spreads and the trend starts to catch on to the greater masses. Essentially, when it gets to the point where everybody and their dog is rocking some kind of mustache accessory, then you can bet mustaches are on their way out. If keeping "with the times" is important to you, then its best to steer clear of anything widespread.

(Besides, you're a unique and special snowflake my darling, why would you even WANT to be wearing what everyone else is wearing?)

Second of all: does the trend flatter YOU?

As much as I love pin-up looks, when it came out in full-force in 2012 I hesitated to buy certain pieces that wouldn't pair as well with my B-cup figure as they would the bombshell models rocking the items. Essentially, anything that required some cleavage to pull off was out for me. If you can't make a trend work with what you've got, don't sweat it.

Finally: does this trend express and enhance your personal style?

When everyone else is wearing something you're not into, don't feel like you are in the wrong. Always, no matter what, stay true to you. If you aren't sure what you're personal style is, simply pay close attention to your gut reactions when you first come into contact with a new style or trend. Does this look turn you on or off? Does that piece feel like "you" or like someone else? Can you envision yourself wearing this trend, instagraming the crap out of it, and viewing pictures of yourself rockin' it years down the road?

While it doesn't hurt to be a tad commitment shy, I do encourage you to free yourself from the binds of CLASSIC ONLY and try out some new trends. Who knows, you may decide you love the mustache accessories more than you thought, and you don't give a damn if they aren't new enough to be considered "hip."

Music Festival Fashion

  • Jul 15 2014

Summer provides the perfect season to enjoy long days and weekends with your favorite live music blaring from the stages around you. That's right: music festivals have entered the scene!

This combination of sun, style, and outdoor enjoyment does come with its own fashion challenges, however. While you want to dress in line and in celebration of the performance genre you've come to participate in, you also want to make it through the day without your feet screaming in pain or your skin blistering form 3rd degree sunburns.

Trust me, I know from experience.

Funny story: when attending my first WARP TOUR back in 2006, I made a couple of very terrible fashion decisions, that, at the time, had felt like perfect sense. For starters, I wore heels. Stilettos, in fact. I know, I know. I should have KNOWN. But they were very punk pink and black boot heels, that laced up like sneakers and felt just so fitting for the music scene we were hitting.

2nd mistake: we didn't think about sunscreen. When you're a Casper-like individual such as me, this is a huge NO-NO.

Finally, I wore fishnet stockings. While this in itself wasn't a bad idea, the combination of the fishnets with the lack of sunscreen equaled a not-so-flattering sunburn/tan on my legs for the rest of the summer. Double oops.

So to avoid turning into the foot-cramping lobster that I became after my own first outdoor music festival, I urge you to head my advice: you can still look cute, support your favorite bands, and avoid the possibility of pain. Take your sunscreen with you, top your look off with a big, floppy sun hat, and rock footwear that you can stand moshing in all day and night long.

Music Festival Look

Featured in this outfit:

Sunglasses Earrings
Slick Summer Shades Earrings - $7.00

Adjustable Brown and Tan Summer Bracelet - $47.00

Rebecca Collection: Triangle Ring - $17.00

Sand and Maroon Beaded Ring
Rebecca Collection: Beaded Sand and Maroon Ring - $17

Bronze Skinny Ring
Bronze Skinny Ring - $6.00

Summer Reading List

  • Jul 9 2014

It's that time of year when the outdoors is calling and the sun is blazing. Having fun in its rays is one way to enjoy the freedom of the season. (Just watch out for UV overdoses!)

Taking a good book along is perfection when you're just wanting some time to yourself to submit to an afternoon of relaxation. Now that hectic, busy-body spring is behind us, summer invites us to indulge in late evenings of iced tea, glowing skin, and great stories.

I can think of no better way to enjoy this time of year than by picking up a good book to absorb myself in.

My assistant and I put our heads together, and we came up with the following list of recommendations:

The Time Travelers wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Land of the Blind by Jess Walter

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

A Thousand Splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

In the Woods by Tana French

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

The Glimmer Palace by Beatrice Colin

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Sashenka by Simon Montefiore

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Enjoy your summer and Happy Reading!

9 New Things to Try This Summer

  • Jun 17 2014

While summer should be relaxing, there is no reason for it to get boring. Between the long days and the warm weather, it's the perfect time to explore, reach out, and try new things. Here's a quick list to get you started:

1. Travel somewhere new.

Even if it's a city within your own state you've never been to, or even a part of your own city you've just never thought to explore. Nothing bring new adventure like wanderlust. Pick a date, pack those bags, and go!

2. Ditch the shoes for a pair of barefoot sandals.

A pair of these beauties will allow you feel the sand or grass beneath your toes.

Bridal Barefoot Sandals

3. Pick up a new hobby.

Head to the craft store and buy supplies for that thing you've always been wanting to try, be it knitting, photography, or taking a cooking class. Summer is the perfect time to learn a new skill and enhance your life with an enriching hobby.

4. Go to more local events.

Chances are there have always been a lot of local events in your city that you don't think to go to until you read about them, after the fact, in your local paper. Try being more proactive this summer, and watch for upcoming stress fairs, music festivals, and art gallery openings in your area.

5. Catch up with an old friend.

it's easy to let the hustle and bustle of everyday life get in the way of our well-meaning relationships. Chances are, you can think of more than one long-time friend you haven't seen or spoken to in far too long. Instead of feeling bad or embarrassed about it, set up a lunch date, a phone call, or a night out with these people. There's always a good chance your friendship can be rekindled for the future.

6. Read.

Summer reading lists aren't just for school children. Come up with your own, or stay tuned for ours to be posted on the blog next week. Nothing beats a summer evening where you get to relax with a mojito and a good read!

7. Pull an all-nighter.

Preferably make it an all-nighter where you are doing something totally wild and fun. Like sneaking out to go skinny-dipping, or having deep conversations and love-making on the beach until the sun rises.

8. Spend an entire day at the movies.

Summer is block-buster season, why not load up on popcorn and hit 'em all in one go?

9. Hit up the amusement park.

Because roller coasters are terrifying no matter how old you are.

Summer Tribal Trends

  • Jun 10 2014

No doubt about it, summer is starting to heat itself up. As June climbs up and in, people are pulling out their swim suits, beach towels, and sun hats for the occasion. Comfortable is in (horray!), and tribal designs are clinging to and sticking with us for yet another season.

It's no wonder, really.

The easy and causal designs make any outfit feel "cool" and relaxed. They set just the right mood for summer. The cross-hatching lines, modern shapes, and chevron designs feel confidently understated in a way that even the most sparkling of rhinestones cannot achieve. Something about the simple, native inspired pieces speak "calm" in a "despite everything that's going on" sort of way.

The above style board above features our vintage leather barrette and firework burst necklace designs. Both of which feature hand-woven Native American style beadwork on vintage deerskin leather, accompanied by wooden cylindrical beads for a layer of natural feel. (The barrette is made and ready-to-ship today, while the necklace is offered on a made-to-order basis.)

Tribal Leather Barrette
Buy here for $19.
Beaded Tribal Leather Necklace
Order here for $129.

Also included is our bead-loom created Blue Chevron Bracelet. It's multicolored shades of blue and brown wave along the length of your wrist to offer a design of calming serenity, while the glass beads feel cool to the touch of your skin. You'll be sure to get compliments the moment you step out with this accessory paired with your favorite indie attire.

Blue Chevron Bracelet
Buy here for $26.

Father's Day Gift Guide

  • May 28 2014

No doubt about it: dudes are hard to shop for. Dads? Even worse. How do you tell the guy who's raised you up and taught you well while always being there for you that you appreciate all of his efforts? With a #1 Dad mug? Puh-leeze.

How about something a little more meaningful this year? Or at least, something that he'll actually enjoy a little bit more than the container for a pittance of decaf.

Here's a quick gift guide to get your ideas going. Of course, I had to include our new line of Men's Leather Bracelets, but can you blame me? Finally having a collection to offer the dudes of the world is exciting and cool. Anyway... find the links to each featured product at the bottom of the guide. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

1. Turkish Cotton Bath and Beach Towel

2. Men's Leather Bracelets from Megan's Beaded Designs

3. Gear Book Ends

4. Mens Flip Flops

5. Whiskey Cooling Stones

What to Wear on Your Graduation Day

  • May 20 2014

It's nearing the end of spring and we all know what that means: time to congratulate the graduates in your life (which may or may not also include giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.)

Many graduates harbor the feeling of Finally! It's about time! while others will be wistfully looking back over their shoulders, pining for the chance to stay just one more year. For most graduates, however, it's a bittersweet mix of both. They are proud of their accomplishments (as they should be), hopeful for the future, but know they are going to miss their time spent behind a desk, studying in the Hub, and (maybe not as much) cramming all night for a final exam.

However, now that the big day is finally approaching, it's time to lay out what outfit to place underneath that cap and gown. Your ensemble will show up in a plethora of photographs, so you want to wear something stylish and photogenically flattering, but at the same time you want it to be weather-flexible and comfortable enough to accommodate lots of standing/walking/and hugging.

A loose skirt or dress will keep you cool, while also emitting a flair of "dressy" at the same time. Likewise, wedge style shoes give you all of the tall confidence of a pair of pumps or stilettos, while providing you with the necessary comfort you'll need throughout the day.

Graduation Pretty

Keeping a pair of shades handy will prevent a batch of squinty outdoor pictures, and a fun pair of post earrings won't weigh you down or get caught in the hair of all of the loved ones and classmates you'll be hugging following the processional.

Finally, don't forget to wear your smile. Those gleaming pearly white should be shining with everything you've got going for you and the pride in what you've already accomplished. you deserve this day and everything that it celebrates.

Getting Around the Blogosphere

  • May 8 2014

Megan's Beaded Designs has been making it's way around popular fashion blogs all over the internet. And what are these lovely fashionistas and beauty experts saying about my artisan jewelry and hair accessories? They love 'em! But don't just take my word for it, see for yourselves...

Sunflower Hair Clip

The adorable and sweet Kelly B. reviewed my Sunflower Hair Clip on her blog, A Thing of Beauty. She writes in her post: "I love to put bows and flower in my hair and this beaded sunflower from Megan's Beaded Designs is absolutely beautiful!"

You can check out the rest of the post here.

Beaded Artisan bracelet

Then we have sharp fashion blogger and self-described fashionista NOOSH, who featured my Bold Metallic Bracelet in her latest lookbook shoot, entitled Shadows.

Beaded Artisan bracelet

Noosh is offering a special 10% discount code to readers of her blog who purchase from Megan's Beaded Designs. You can check it out and the rest of the style post here.

Finally, the lovely Megan Cawe, stylist of Instagram, showed off her new pair of rhinestone post earrings. It was only moments after she opened up her package when she had to start wearing these beauties.


Wanna get your hands on your own pair? Snag 'em here.

Can we talk about budget bragging?

  • May 6 2014

I'd like to take a moment to discuss budget-bragging, and why it increasingly makes me feel icky and uncomfortable.

Budget bragging is when we tell all our friends and everyone we see out on the street about how little we paid for something. The more fabulous that something is, the more impressive the brag.

Now don't get me wrong. I get it. I've participated in budget bragging my entire life.

So let me explain to you why it's starting to make me feel icky every time I hear it.

Just to clarify: not all budget-bragging makes me uncomfortable, only certain kinds.

Bragging about the fantastically-priced vintage find at the local consignment or thrift shop? That's an awesome steal, and totally worth bragging about. Ditto for garage sale finds or antique shop treasures.

But going on about the handmade scarf you were able to talk a craft fair vendor down to only having to pay half price for? This is the kind of thing that makes me feel sad inside.

That craft fair vendor probably lost money from her sale of the scarf. Because you made her feel her work wasn't worth her original price, you planted the seed of doubt concerning her entire creative career. She may begin to think that all of her prices need to be lowered, and in doing so, she will eventually price herself out of business and stop making her creations altogether.

Beading Looming

The more I'm learning about how to take my jewelry business seriously, the more I'm being faced with the harsh reality that my current prices are far too low and will eventually force me out of business if I leave them as-is. If I want to keep creating my pieces and offering them to the world, I need to get serious and start asking for a fair value exchange of what they are really worth.

So every time I hear someone brag about their latest, super cheap discount or clearance find, the harder it is to bring myself around to actually doing what needs to be done.

This is why I implore you to look deeper, and to consider the reasons why something might be selling for the low price it is. Was is made in safe working conditions? Does the factory it was created in pay their workers a fair, living wage? Does the seller not know the value of his or her goods and is allowing him or herself to be taken advantage of? Does this cheap product make it hard or impossible for artists, small local businesses, and trades-persons to making a living wage to support their families? Does this business treat their employees with dignity? Does this product give credit to the original designer, or does it knock off of someone else's work without giving the original artist credit or compensation?

Everything we spend our hard-earned money on says something about what we value and who we support. It is a key into who we are and how we contribute to the world we live in.

And let me just add: I'm right there with you on this journey... working to change how and where I decide to place my purchases. I grew up in poverty, and never had a lot of "stuff." So once I was on my own and had my own bank account... well, the idea of spending what felt like exuberant amounts on a single item felt foolish when I could buy dozens of that same item for a much, much lower price if I shopped at the big box stores or discount retailers.

But now that I'm the shop/the seller/the maker of the goods, I know and understand why some items are priced what they are, and why some are so cheap. I also see artists and makers undercharging themselves and pricing themselves out of business all around me (I'm even including myself here), and I feel the urgent need for change.

My hope is that I can help you understand the difference. To maybe make you think twice before you budget brag to a friend, and to maybe even consider placing your spending dollars they will make a greater contribution and reciprocal impact in the world.

Fresh Pink Pastel Style for Spring

  • May 1 2014

Spring is a softer season--perfect for light colors and bright pastels, lacy and flowy skirts and dresses, and placing flowers in our hair. Even if you still prefer your gray suit or white t-shirt and stone-washed jeans, I import you to add a touch of colored pearl earrings or a soft touch of pink via a barrette hair clip to reflect the hopeful mood of May.

Speaking of May - Mother's Day is just around the corner. If you haven't nabbed anything for Mom yet to show her how much your appreciate her (or at least to show her how well you preform your obligatory holiday duties as a daughter or son), you can get something from Megan's Beaded Designs for 20% off with coupon code MOMSDAY2014 until 5/11. Can't decide what she'll want? Opt for a gift card instead. Problem solved.

Pastel Pink for Spring