Still Boot Weather

I can hardly believe I’m saying this— especially given that the official state shoe of California is the humble “flip-flop”– but as of February 20th, I’m proclaiming it to still be boot weather.

Spring usually comes early to San Diego, complete with endless weeks of sun and mild temperatures. Yes, I know– we’re spoiled. And although we Southern Californians are notoriously weather pansies, in our defense, the weather has been nothing short of bonkers lately.

This last weekend the neighbors to the north of us in Los Angeles got the worst of it: thunderstorms, high winds, flooding, mudslides, and even sinkholes.

Around our immediate hood in Oceanside, our next door neighbor’s raised cement yard collapsed, palm trees have been ripped to shreds or fallen and we even experienced something we haven’t seen since our days in Washington state: sleet.

That being said, I’m grateful to come from the weather unscathed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was injured or affected by the bizarre weather happening around the country in recent weeks. It’s been scary for many people and we can only hope that milder spring weather is on its way soon to all of us.

But back to boots. Because that’s what I’ve been living in for the past few months.

As we all know, boots can cost a pretty penny, but thankfully I found many of my favorite pairs sold during the off-season for super cheap. These thigh high boots for instance, I bought last summer online from ASOS for $50.

And they’ve definitely come in handy while combatting the rain and cooler temps.

Chloe Bisou’s sweet little sweatshirt has also come in handy– you’d be surprised at how even pugs become acclimated to milder temps. Chloe now shivers when the weather dips below 65 degrees, so I’ve been throwing this soft french terry sweatshirt on her when we go out.

And yes, we made the sweatshirt. And yes, we will selling them in a variety of colors VERY soon in our Etsy shoppe. So stay tuned!


What boots and warm sweatshirts are you still wearing? Feel free to join the conversation and leave us a comment below!

Heather: Pink floral dress, handmade by The Stylish Bisou. Grey over-the-knee boots, ASOS, currently sold-out, find a similar pair here. Polar bear crossbody handbag, Kate Spade. Long drop earrings, Forever 21, find a similar pair here.

Chloe Bisou: 100% French Terry, pink bow, Stylish B. sweatshirt; available soon on The Stylish Bisou Etsy shoppe. 

 

 

 

New Decor, New Dresses

 

This week Chloe Bisou and I are having a von Trapp moment. We didn’t make our clothes out of our curtains per se, but if you think that pillow on the couch looks similar to our new dresses, then you’d be right.

Over the holidays– after our spell of “the sickies“– I was deep cleaning our home and came to the conclusion that I was bored AF with our decor. Our ocean side shack desperately needed some reviving and I knew a fresh new color scheme would do the trick.

So my husband and I marched our butts into IKEA– when you have pugs, you can’t exactly go crazy buying expensive new decor. It behooves us to stay on a budget because- between pug hair, licking sessions, muddy paws, and chewing– we have no idea how long anything will last. You won’t see priceless heirlooms in our home- ha!

But folks, I have to tell you– the week after Christmas is the time to shop at IKEA. We found two relatively nice area rugs for $50 each (normally $100 each), curtains for $10 and even a bit of fabric for 99 cents a yard. All items, as luck would have it, were in the color scheme I had hoped for.

I then visited Joann and Michaels for fabric and new flowers. I did two DIY projects with the fabric:

  • First, we reupholstered our worn out ottoman. After a few hours of wielding a staple gun, our dilapidated pleather piece transformed into a stylish patterned ottoman.
  • Second, I covered all of our (fifty zillion) throw pillows (formerly covered in pug hair).

It wasn’t until I was working on the pillows however, that I fell in love with the Tiffany blue floral print I was incorporating into our scheme. So of course, I had to make new spring dresses from it! I have a (bizarre) obsession with using upholstery fabric for dresses anyway, because the cotton is always sturdier and has structure to it which is a must for dog dresses. Plus, this cotton is easy to clean!

It’s funny how even a few small changes in a room can make a big difference. We went from a red & brown scheme, which made our living room feel dark and earthy, to a teal, blue and green palette. Our living room now feels brighter, fresher, and ready for spring.

Redecorating a room doesn’t have to break the piggy bank. With a budget of $200 we made the following updates to our living room:

  • New area rugs
  • New pillow covers (or a few new throw pillows if you can’t find or make covers)
  • A few new real plants (which help keep the air clean)
  • Colorful candles
  • New curtains
  • Reupholstered a worn out ottoman (which is an easy DIY project)
  • New fake flowers (easy to maintain and Michaels has a great variety that don’t look cheap and plastic)

Have you redecorated your home recently? Feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what changes you made to update your room(s)!

 

 

Heather: Dress, handmade by The Stylish Bisou with Home Essentials fabric from Joann. Teal bow shoes, originally from ASOS, sold out, find a similar pair here. Oversized pearl earrings, H&M, sold out online, find a similar pair here. Large faux pearl necklace, made by Dazzles By Darla

Chloe Bisou: Custom made Stylish Bisou dress and pearls. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather:

Chloe Bisou, Career Pug 4 Life

If you’ve been following The Stylish Bisou in recent weeks. then you’ll know that this week my “day job” came to an end.

As I dust off my resume, Chloe Bisou has decided that she wants to continue being a career pug and has also updated her resume. Check out at her qualifications (aka skeelz) and possible future job prospects below.

Chloe Bisou…

…Spent some time as a yoga instructor. Particularly experienced in the downward facing dog, melting heart, and shavasana poses.  If there are treats involved, she might sit and nama-stay.

…Is a skilled babysitter. She will gladly play games, run amock, jump in puddles and always go in for the kiss. Rest assured that nap time and snackie hour will always be high on the priority list.

…Spent some time as a laundry attendant. Pressing is Chloe’s specialty, but if you have a particularly stubborn stain, Chloe is happy to lend her washboard back to scrub it out.  She admits to needing work on her folding skills.

…Once was a life guard for a short period. She was also asked to star in the new BayWatch movie to which she declined. She later regretted this decision realizing that she could’ve been within inches of her crush Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Photo Courtesy of LA Pug Meetup

…Spent some time as a gardener. Many people in the area buy goats to help with trimming the grass, but Chloe Bisou will finish off your unsightly weeds AND remove pests such as snails or slugs. (Yes, she eats them.)

…Moonlighted for some time as a Burlesque Pug. Available for upscale parties and events. Please note that her treat price is high, but her risque routine won’t disappoint (her clothes come off with ease.)

…Is a very talented food critic with a distinguishable palate. Available to review new local restaurants particularly if they involve rainbow chip ice cream sammies. (Oh, who are we kidding? She’ll eat anything and give it a good review… ha!)

…Is a highly qualified housecleaner. For a nominal fee, Chloe Bisou will get in the nooks and crannies of your home, making it slightly sparkly clean. She’ll even lick your cupboards free of (delicious) grease and use mom’s last season  fluffy shoes to dust your home. 

And although Chloe Bisou clearly has a wide range of talents, she didn’t need to touch up her resume after all because….

We’ve decided to give The Stylish Bisou a full time go for the next few months! This will be a temporary, month-to-month venture until I make a final decision about entering back into corporate world. But, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and see how it goes.

So, Chloe Bisou will recommence her role as stylist, designer, model, and CEO of The Stylish Bisou. We will be reopening our Etsy soon with some pre-spring items, followed by the official Spring Collection we previewed on the FWSD runway in October.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

MWF Seeking: Career Soul Mate

I’ve never been one to have relationship woes. It’s not to say that I haven’t had a few heartbreaks; I did as a teen (not unusual seeing that teen boys are often idiots), but after high school I found myself in relatively healthy long-term relationships.

Most notably, the relationship I have with my husband now is very good– we have our moments, but overall I feel incredibly lucky that he’s in my life. Our 11 year relationship has been easy, low drama, and filled with respect and admiration. (AND he’s cute, which is a plus. wink, wink.)

My career though….that’s another story.

That bitch has been nothing short of a dramatic roller coaster ride.

By the time most people are my age, they’ve made substantial headway in their career, maybe moving jobs a few times, but overall on a path to success. At 37 years old, I’m still searching for my career soul mate. (And starting to give up hope.)

When I watch Rom-Coms I find myself having less empathy for the girls’ relationship troubles and more envious at how they all got those fabulous jobs. While the star of the film pines for a man, I long for her normal, steady, happy career.

Just to be clear, I’ve given my career a lot of valiant effort. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old pursuing some admirable career choices, as well as MANY painful years of college. Somehow though, most of the jobs I’ve been attracted to have only succeeded in making me feel either underpaid and under-appreciated, or fighting for my sanity dealing with horrible bosses. Or both.

Like any deeply flawed relationship, I’ve spent many hours at my jobs internalizing the things I hate– fighting for myself here and there, but mostly planting a fake smile on my face and going home to scream or cry in my pillow later. Doing this until I simply can’t take it anymore and then scrambling to find the next job.

With every new job opportunity I start afresh, approaching it with zeal and a renewed sense of hope, excitedly saying to myself, “I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”

What otherwise could be called the (job) honeymoon phase.

In the honeymoon phase, I throw myself 100% into my “new career,” working hard to excel and please my coworkers and boss.

Then the honeymoon phase starts to wane…

I walk in on the owner of the company & my coworker making fun of my recent work on a project, for instance.

Or my boss calls me at work after having one too many drinks and scolds me harshly & unnecessarily over minuscule mishaps… Or I get told to choose between college or my job because–God Forbid– I want to work 45 hours a week instead of 60… Or I get raked over the coals for clocking in at 6:01am, not 6am, despite driving in 2ft of snow to get to work.

I could go on and on and on…I could write a novel in fact, about the neurotic, egotistical, power hungry bosses I’ve had. And I won’t even get started on the corporate mind games I’ve found myself playing, because we ALL can relate to how those go.

Crappy job, after crappy job, after crappy job; I’m living the cycle of a dysfunctional relationship with my career.

And the older I get, the harder it gets to talk to anyone about it. At this point, I’m starting to feel like Taylor Swift– she’s beautiful (I’m smart & hardworking), but after so many failed attempts at relationships (jobs), you KNOW people are starting to wonder what the hell’s wrong with her (me).

Everyone’s sick of hearing my same old broken record. “Here we go, Heather hates her job again…”

So why the heck am I sharing all of this? (And why is The Stylish Bisou seeming more like my diary lately than a style blog?)

Maybe it’s because on Tuesday I officially turn 37 years old and I often become reflective about my life around my birthday.

Or maybe it’s because as many of you know, this week I’m ending yet another failed job relationship and am now confronted with a serious choice of what to pursue next.

Here’s the thing: I love what I’ve been doing part-time with The Stylish Bisou.  I can handle the boss, despite the fact that she can be a moody bitch– ha! And the co-workers are cool, although they’re a little lazy and snore a lot.

But overall, I would love to make my side hustle a full time gig.

How I’m managing it now is not sustainable though. I’m busy, but consistently behind on orders; I’m not charging enough to make an earning; and I’m doing EVERYTHING myself (and failing miserably). It’s not a good recipe for success. The list of things I need to change at the moment is seemingly overwhelming.

This past week I’ve vacillated between waking up excited and confident in my decision to give The Stylish Bisou a full-time go, and the next day awakening to a voice in my head screaming, “what the hell are you thinking you idiot?!?!? Go get a real job!”

Because not having a steady paycheck comes with a whole slew of its own stressful problems, enough to bring someone to their knees.

I feel like I’m being asked to choose between marrying someone I don’t really love for financial security, or running off with my hot, but poor loverboy.

Photo Courtesy of Seventeen.com

 

So.

I sit here with only a few days left to decide. Will The Stylish Bisou join my list of long lost lovers?

Will we meet again someday in the grocery store (on a day where I’ve been cleaning and look slummy) and gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, imagining what could’ve been?

Or will I give The Stylish Bisou a chance?

The ending of this (career) love story is still a blank page.

 

You Can Take The Girl Out of Fashion…

I envisioned myself one day in the near future sitting at my computer, a steaming cup of delicious coffee to one side, the sun shining cheerfully into my office, as I construct the wonderful announcement that I had finally quit my day job to pursue The Stylish Bisou full time.

I envisioned that I’d sigh with contentment as I finished the last sentence to our announcement. I imagined how gleeful, excited, and confident I’d be knowing that there were so many bright days ahead.

In reality, I sit on a miserably grey rainy day, at my laptop in a cold office, to write something quite different. I didn’t quit my day job, I lost it.

It was an unexpected and abrupt departure. A week ago I received a phone call from my clients of four years to inform me that they’d found another agency who promised to do the job I’ve been doing, but for a cost that was “much, much, much” less. Effective at the end of the month. Lovely.

And so instead of excitement, I sit here rummaging through a head full of jumbled thoughts and feelings of sadness, anxiousness–a little bit of anger, a smidge of panic– and of course, failure. Not exactly what I envisioned for the first month of 2017.

You see, above and beyond working hard for–and actually CARING about–the clients I lost (they’re a great company that help a lot of people), my day job afforded me the opportunity to grow The Stylish Bisou.

On a typical day I wake up very early, work my day job and then seamlessly move into concentrating on The Stylish Bisou… and sewing, lots and lots of hours in my day are spent sewing. No commute time, no worries about transportation, no bosses breathing down my neck. And although pay has been meager, it’s been worth it to have the freedom of quickly transitioning from one job to the other.

So now what the hell do I do? 

Do I go out and find another part time job? Do I take the zero dollars in my pocket and keep pushing for the possibility of a  “successful” Stylish Bisou? Do I completely give up—throw the baby out with the bath water– and just pursue a full time corporate gig?

Or do I grab Chloe Bisou and hide under the warm covers until the 15th of forever?

I still am not anywhere close to knowing the answer, although OBVI I’d prefer the latter- ha!

I DO know that I sob uncontrollably when I think of having to give up any part of The Stylish Bisou– and I have the puffy eyes to prove it. But after crunching the numbers, I’m still financially in the red managing The Stylish Bisou, meaning that as of right now, it’s nothing more than a passionate hobby…. That I love.

Like, really really love… a lot. Super duper love. I’m talking, a hobby that I love an inordinate amount (anyone else watch Netflix’s Lemony Snicket?).

I also know that when I think of joining the rat race of interviews and egotistical bosses and crabby coworkers and the “you clocked in 1 minute late”  reprimands, I die a little inside.

BUT— I’ll  do what I have to do to make sure rent gets paid. I’ve been working since I was fifteen and I know when it’s time to lace up my big girl boots, grit my teeth, and get sh** done. People make decisions like this every day, so buck up Heather, and get over yourself.

And although I may sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself, I am currently researching ALL of my options, AND leaving the better part of it to a higher power to guide me on the path I need to be on.

Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, we WILL be showing a new collection at Fashion Week San Diego. You can take the girl out of fashion, but you can’t take fashion out of the girl.

Furthermore, we continue to thank you all for joining us on our journey. I know there are so many other happenings in the world right now, so for you to take the time to join us means the world.

Wishing you good health and prosperity…

 

 

 

 

 

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