Hello, Iowa

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Dress: Zara (old) // Shoes: Boden // Ring: Julie Vos // Necklaces: Francesca’s and Flea Market

For my first blog post in the heartland, I wanted to evoke a sense of out-on-the-farmness, so I went for the obvious backdrop. Having never been to Iowa before relocating here a month ago, the only image my city slicker mind could conjure when prompted with the idea of Iowa was fields upon fields of corn. And in that respect, I wasn’t wrong about the Hawkeye state—of corn, and soy, there is plenty.

Other than the requisite corn, I really had no idea what to expect of my new hometown. This was mostly by design; I worked hard to keep my imagination at bay and my expectations low. I surmised that if I simply had no idea what to expect in Iowa City, I couldn’t be disappointed. Thankfully, this theory proved to be true. In fact, I’ve found myself mostly quite charmed by this place.

Where I vaguely imagined flat cornfields as far as the eye can see, there are rolling hills with sun-dappled shade oaks and stately silos in various states of picturesque decay. Where I assumed there would be a dearth of brunch options, there are quaint establishments named The Bluebird Diner and Hamburg Inn (the latter of which is apparently a mandatory stop on the presidential campaign tour come election season). Where I feared I would find a limited selection of the produce I was used to in California, I’ve been treated to locally grown squash blossoms, beets, and corn so sweet it would not be an overstatement to say it tastes like candy.

Thanks to Max’s Craigslist efforts, we have set up shop a tiny white Dutch Colonial Revival (aka barn-style) house on the east side of town, just far enough away from all the undergrads. It has two porches and some built-in bookshelves, so I’m a happy girl. It also has a lovely ivy-covered garage in the back, which I am sure I will soon employ as a photo backdrop.

And that brings us to the shopping. As pleasantly surprised I have been with the situation here, I’ll admit I was slightly appalled to learn that in the whole state of Iowa, there is not one single Zara, H&M, or Nordstrom. I guess online shopping will have to do between our semi-regular trips to Chicago.

So, for those of you who have asked, this pretty much describes my life in Iowa so far: lots of sun, food, online shopping, and getting settled in. And I’m more than okay with that.

Panama Jackpot



I’ve never been a hat person. Sure, I tried them on from time to time, but it was always an exercise in futility. Baseball hats, sun hats, and beanies all looked…not great. And then I realized that this failed head/hat relationship was due to the fact that I have an abnormally large head. After this revelation, I pretty much resigned myself to a hatless life. And I’ve been almost completely okay with this situation—with the exception of the Panama hat.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve tried on the classic J.Crew version. I actually almost bought it once. But even when I managed to find the L/XL size (yes, really), I couldn’t pull the trigger. It was a bit too pricey for a hat that still didn’t look quite right. And then, one fateful day in the not-too-distant past, I took a trip to Target. As I was rounding the final curve of my compulsory lap around the accessories section, I spied the telltale off-white woven palm and black ribbon of a Panama.

Like any insane person, I decided to once again try on a hat, fully expecting that, once again, it would look horrible. I barely even bothered to look in the mirror, so complete was my assurance that this attempt would be as unsuccessful as all the rest. And then…and then, for the first time maybe ever, a hat looked good on me! That this particular hat was only $16 to J.Crew’s $60 was just sweet, sweet icing on the cake.

Since I’ve finally found the hat for me, I’ve been making up for lost time and wearing it pretty much everywhere. Last weekend I whipped it out to take a trip to the farmers’ market, where in addition to these fragrant roses, I purchased the makings of some muy delicioso ceviche.

Hat: Target // Top: Target // Cardigan: H&M (similar) // Shorts: Forever 21 // Purse: Forever 21 (similar) // Bag: Target (dollar section!) // Shoes: Old Navy // Nails: Essie in Lights

Cheat Sheet: Gold Coin Jewelry

cheat-sheet-coin-jewelryJulie Vos // Kenneth Jay Lane
Julie Vos // Nasty Gal

I’ve been admiring Julia’s gold coin pendant for quite awhile, so I finally clicked through one of her blog posts to find that she sells this very necklace in the Lemon Stripes store. But as much as I love it, I’m not ready to shell out over $150 for it. So I went on the hunt for a more affordable alternative. I can’t wait to add these Kenneth Jane Lane and Nasty Gal pieces to my costume jewelry collection for some gilded, gypsy-inspired flair.