...because home doesn't happen overnight.

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Carrie who is eyeing some ballet flats!

Post title runner-up: The One Where I Have a Midlife Shoe Crisis in Front of My Elderly Garage Door (I thought it was too wordy.)

shoemint 2

I don’t know why but I’ve had the urge to dress a bit edgier recently. It’s not so much about following a trend but has everything to do with the desire to try something different. It all started with a new pair of black jeggings. Once I discovered how comfortable and versatile they are, I’ve been wanting to wear them every day. (Luckily, our summer has been relatively mild. I’m one of those people who chills easily at the slightest breeze and in air-conditioned spaces so wearing jeans midsummer is completely reasonable to me.)

My only problem was that I didn’t own a pair of shoes that looked right with black jeans. I have mostly nude and saddle leather sandals for summer. I’m short and one trick I’ve learned to appear taller is to match my shoes to my bare legs / pants. That way my feet, ankles and legs are one continuous line of color which gives the illusion of longer legs. I needed black kicks!

That’s where ShoeMint comes in. The free, members-only website stays on top of what’s hot in the shoe arena so busy moms like me don’t have to. Inventory is updated monthly based on current trends. Whether you’re in need of something classic or runway-esque, you’re guaranteed to find high-end, high quality options. Refined materials – such as leather and suede – abound and shipping & returns are always free.

shoemint 5

I found the perfect black ankle boot for summer. It’s the Dahlia and it’s part of the exclusive collection designed by ShoeMint’s co-founders, Rachel Bilson & Nicole Chavez. The perforated suede allows for plenty of ventilation and gives the boot a sexy peekaboo vibe. Gold buckles round out the edgy look. A modest 2″ heel is enough to give my (lack of) height a boost but easily walkable. I have never in my life owned such provocative shoes. They are surprisingly comfortable and I genuinely LOVE them. Who knew switching up your footwear midlife could be so fun?!

shoemint 3

Another little trick I’ve learned to appear taller is to show some skin up top. (Not to be confused with going topless.) It doesn’t have to be a cleavage fest. Although, if you have it by all means flaunt it and I hate you. Just kidding – about the hate part not the flaunt part. For me, bare shoulders and a swooping neckline do the trick. I’m particularly fond of sleeveless tops with racerback detailing. Pulling my hair up into a high ponytail puts my shoulders front and center and keeps me cool, too.

shoemint 4

I also find it helpful to draw the eye up with a brightly colored / patterned top and an interesting necklace. I prefer flowy, loose-fitting tops that fall below my natural waistline. Ironically, the wood bead necklace I’m wearing here was a purchase from our current home’s estate sale.

In summary, I’m the Jon Stewart of DIY blogs. If you met me in real life, a warranted reaction would be “I thought you’d be taller.” In case you missed ‘em, my tricks for dressing taller:

*Wear shoes similar in color to your bare legs / pants. This creates the illusion of longer legs.

*Get a boost with a little heel action. An additional one or two inches can make all the difference.

*Show some skin up top. (But keep your shirt on, folks.) Bare shoulders or a low-slung neckline visually lengthen short torsos and necks.

*Draw the eye up with interesting colors, patterns and / or jewelry. Keep your bottom half mostly solid in color then add a fun top and necklace to draw attention to your upper half.

And just like that you’re 6′ tall! Haha.

 

shoemint

But enough small talk. Whether you’re 5’2″ or 6’2″, ShoeMint is graciously offering up a new pair of kicks to one lucky reader. See entry details below.

PRIZE: one pair of shoes from ShoeMint (retail value $70-$150). The choice is yours!

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. or Canada. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Sign up for ShoeMint here. (It’s completely free and there’s no obligation to buy.) Browse the selection then leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite pair of ShoeMint shoes.

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, July 13th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, July 14th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Score $40 off your first pair of shoes by clicking here. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored in part by ShoeMint. All content, clothing, short jokes and images are my own. I do NOT earn commission on purchases made via the links above. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for dressing taller. I’ve tried dressing in a single, solid color from top to bottom but found it yawn-inducing. On a side note, the crumbling, weed-riddled driveway is getting ripped out this week. Ahhhhh!!!!!

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, sources for my entire outfit:

*racerback tank – Juniors Eyelash, Kohl’s

*hoop earrings – vintage

*wood bead necklace – vintage

*black jeggings – SO, Kohl’s

*mesh ankle boots – ShoeMint

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

02.07.14 / Made Me Smile

light 1

The things that made me smile this week…

*An architect’s $11,000 dream house. (The most expensive thing is the toilet!)

*Fiddle leaf fig humor. #thespot

*Instagram of the week.

*My remote should arrive any day now. No more one-armed selfies! Pictures of the whole famn damily!

*A cosmetic kitchen overhaul from the designer’s viewpoint.

*Blinded by the light.

*Lots of snow = lots of reading.

*My favorite ankle boots for the 35+ crowd.

Do something that makes you smile this weekend! I’m taking five boys (!) to see The Lego Movie. Smiles all around.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Genny Ramer!

Some of you may remember this instagram post. Besides the obvious laughs, that photo also yielded many questions about my glasses. The short answer is they’re from BonLook.

bonlook 1

The long answer? The really REALLY long answer? I had 20/20 vision until my second year of college when I found myself squinting at the board. {That right there totally dates me. Do colleges and universities still use chalkboards nowadays?} In my early 20′s, I got my first pair of glasses. Since then, my vision has changed. A lot. Pregnancy was a huge factor. Sometimes my vision improved; sometimes it worsened.

Fact: When I was pregnant with Mabrey, I failed the vision test at the DMV when I was renewing my driver’s license.

The clerk took pity on me and said, “Hmmm…maybe it’s your hair. It looks like your hair is in your eyes. Would you like to try again?”

“Uh, yes…YES, it’s my hair,” I lied, pushing back my hair dramatically, not wanting to come back another day and wait in line two hours. I tried again and passed by the skin of my teeth. Nicest DMV clerk ever, right?

Anyway, I got lazy with my eyes. Getting new glasses every year was a hassle, not to mention, expensive. I pretty much never wore my glasses because they weren’t up to date and they had teeth marks in them from our dog who has since passed away. I went five years with no vision test, no eye exam of any kind. Oops. Then, a few months ago, I developed the most annoying twitch under my right eye. It would start as soon as I woke in the morning and last all day. This carried on for two months. TWO WHOLE MONTHS OF EYE TWITCHING. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. HH finally talked some sense into me and I went to see an optometrist.

Turns out, the vision in my right eye had changed for the worse. Not wanting to drag my kids around an eyeglass store while I chose one pair from the million on display, I thought I’d try shopping online. Our vision insurance doesn’t cover frames so I was looking for something inexpensive yet stylish and versatile. I wanted my new glasses to be appropriate for everyday and for dressing up from time to time, too. I found all that in BonLook. And, bonus!, they offer an online tool that lets you virtually “try on” glasses from the comfort of your home. Sold and sold.

After “trying on” several pair and selecting one, emailing a copy of my prescription to BonLook {some states require vision prescription verification} and calculating my pupillary distance with BonLook’s online measurement tool {super convenient since my optometrist failed to record it on my prescription} my order was ready to go in a matter of 20 minutes one evening after the kids were in bed. I found a coupon online and spent less than $80 on my new glasses. I have never spent so little on a pair of glasses! And I love them to boot.

bonlook 4

As luck would have it, a week into living with my new glasses, BonLook contacted me and asked if I would like to become one of their brand ambassadors. Of course! The brand is affordable, high quality and stylish and offers a quick and convenient online shopping experience. It’s a brand I stand behind.

And, and, AND!…BonLook is offering one House*Tweaking reader a FREE pair of glasses! See entry details below.

PRIZE: one pair of BonLook glasses {$99 retail value} Prescription or non-prescription. Eyeglasses or sunglasses. Shipping not included.

RULES: You must have a shipping address {no P.O. boxes please} within the WORLD. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Go here to enter to win.

DEADLINE: Enter before November 22nd. One random winner will be chosen.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: BonLook has an interview with me up on their blog today. It covers blogging and my thoughts on glasses. Check it out if you’d like!

Yes, I have a new blogging stool that I need to write about. No, I don’t normally blog in a skirt.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Last week we packed up the kids and headed to Maryland for my sister’s wedding. We spent four days in a hotel celebrating. It was exciting and exhausting all at once. I’m pretty sure the kids now think that people can only get married in “Marryland.”

The venue was Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, MD. It was a breathtaking backdrop.

But not more breathtaking than the bride! My sister is beautiful inside and out, and she managed to look both sweet and sexy on her wedding day.

Originally, my sister didn’t know if she wanted to wear a veil or not. In the end, she opted for a birdcage design that my mom made on a whim the day before the wedding. It was the perfect detail and complemented her dress so well.

The wedding was a family affair. I was one of two matrons of honor. Layne and Everett were ring bearers. Mabrey was the flower girl. I never thought I would get the chance to agonize over what a flower girl should wear! The kids did great. Promises of gum and soda after the ceremony did the trick.

The ceremony and reception were fun and laid back – just like my sister and her fiance, er, husband. One of my sister’s friends had a hand in matchmaking the happy couple years ago and they asked her to officiate the ceremony. She became ordained just for this wedding and wrote the ceremony from scratch. It was personal, funny and heartfelt. So, so good. HH and I read anonymous marriage advice that guests were asked to send in with their RSVP. A lot of it was humorous. I have never heard so much laughter during a wedding ceremony!

After the ceremony, guests hung around the mansion for dinner, drinks and lawn games. My dad made two cornhole games for the after party. They were impeccable. But, then, everything my dad does is.

HH DIY’d a life-sized Jenga game. He even made his first trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase stencils to write “jenga” on the sides of each piece and was out in the hotel parking lot the day before the wedding sanding the pieces smooth so they would slide easily. It was a hit!

Mabrey and I ventured away from the lawn games and walked the adorable neighborhood in which the mansion is nestled. There were so many charming houses that caught my eye and almost made me want to move. Almost.

At 8 o’clock, the party moved to the hotel with desserts, more drinks {!} and dancing. Layne and Everett got their groove on. One of my sister’s friends taught them the fish n’ hook dance and that was their standby for most of the night.

All in all, it was the best wedding I’ve been to in terms of it mirroring the couple’s personality. Rihana and Jack are easygoing, funny and sincere and that’s exactly how their wedding felt. Congrats you two!

This is the only picture of my family I was able to capture amidst all the festivities. I think the photographer got a few. Word is photos of the wedding will be featured in a premier local wedding glossy. I can’t wait to see them and share them with you!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking