Friday Conversations

It’s here, the first post in the Friday Conversations series! I may have been more excited about hitting publish than you lol. In all seriousness, I fully enjoyed answering your questions. Hopefully, by doing this I can answer everyone’s questions all at once and you’ll find my answers helpful. Please continue to send me your questions. I’ll be doing another round next month around this time, so ask away. Have questions on styling, shopping, business, blogging, relationships, etc? Let’s talk about it! Feel free to comment below or send me your questions to crystalinmarie (at) gmail.com with Friday Conversations is the subject line.

Happy Friday, friends! Enjoy :)

 1. You mentioned you probably won’t wear much of the summer clothes you wore last summer; what are you most looking forward to wearing this summer and how will your style change from last year?

Last year I think I got carried away with too many trends. Every now and then I have to check myself and make sure I’m shopping for the right pieces. Pieces that expand my wardrobe, that work well with the rest of my closet, and can be worn for seasons to come. Obviously, I’ll add trends every season, but I want to do it without sacrificing my style. I hate looking back at outfits and regretting them, thinking, “that’s so not me.” This year, I’m actually looking to embrace black in the summer (shocking!). I get so caught up in wearing white, I don’t think I even have that many summery black pieces. I’m also looking forward to mixing in prints, dresses, skirts, and embracing classic pieces with subtle details (think high/low, asymmetrical, bows, slits, etc.). I get stuck on the same silhouettes every season, it’s something I need to work on.

2. Can you show us the room you take your mirror selfies in? Where is the light so that the result is so good? Is It natural light or artificial?

Lighting is tricky. The best indoor light comes from non-direct light. For instance, when it’s sunny outside, close your curtains (unless they’re the blacked out ones). Your room is bright, but isn’t getting direct sun. Does that make sense? Or try shooting later in the day when the sun has passed your room, but it’s still bright outside. Never, never use artificial light. I take most of my pictures in my master bedroom, which is the room in the photo above. 

3. Do you have a recommendation for a work bag that fits a laptop?

When I worked at a 9-5 I used to carry the Longchamp tote. It wasn’t very structured, but it fit my laptop, notebooks, lunch, and water. Below are some other favorites at every price point.

4. Do you have a favorite site to sell your things besides your Instagram?

I use eBay occasionally. I’ve had great success on Instagram (@shopcrystalinscloset), so I haven’t had to try out any other sites. I tried selling on Poshmark years ago, but I felt it was all over the place. Too many interactions and non-serious buyers.

5. I have a question regarding upkeep of your beautiful dog babies! I have a little white Maltese and have been dealing with tear stains the last 6 months and I was wondering if that is something you had to deal with to keep your dog babies’ faces so white.

I have gotten this question so much. I’m so glad you asked! Tear stains on white dogs are inevitable. In fact, any water stains are. Lola has one eye that cries a lot, so we’re constantly wiping it to prevent any stains. Riley is a sloppy drinker, so he has stains around his mouth, which is hard to prevent. In general though, we clean our dogs every night and use TrueBlue Safe and Sure Eye wipes on their eyes. Everyday upkeep is what really helps keep their faces clean.

6. As someone who is starting out building a wardrobe what are some basic pieces that you would recommend investing in?

This is such a great question. But, it’s also tricky. Building a basic wardrobe is very subjective. Think about the things you love to wear and your lifestyle. Do you work at a 9-5 that’s business casual or do you work from home? Do you go out a lot and like to dress up or are you a home body? All of these things factor into building the best and most versatile closet for you. Honestly, the perfect wardrobe is one that serves all your needs. You want to be able to reach into your closet and find exactly what you’re looking for, for every occasion. Below is a list of where I would start. I am working on a full guide on how to build the most versatile closet starting with the basics (with the below pieces as a base) and expanding to include trends and seasonal pieces. Stay tuned!

  • Skinny jeans (black and blue)
  • Black trousers
  • Denim cut offs
  • Denim jacket
  • Leather jacket
  • Camel coat
  • Stripe tee
  • Black ankle boots
  • Chambray shirt
  • Black turtleneck
  • White button down
  • Loafers
  • Cognac / tan bag
  • Black bag
  • Nude pumps
  • Black dress
  • Midi skirt
  • White tee
  • Military jacket

B A S I C  P I E C E S  T O  I N V E S T  I N

7. I’d love to know if you’ ve found a hair stylist in the Portland area. I’m local and looking to change things up!

Sadly, I have yet to find a hairstylist I love and would recommend. I’m currently going to Dosha at Bridgeport out of convenience and knowing the stylist are Aveda trained.

8. My question is about your hair. How is it cut? Is it longer in front that back? And where do you go to get it cut in Portland? I’m impressed you found a good hairdresser so quickly! So hard!

My hair is cut the same length all the way around with a few longer layers. This last time I added a few more shorter layers around my face to frame it. My hair is very heavy, so while I don’t think the look I’m going for requires layers, I like to add them in to give more volume to the top of my head.

I currently go to Aveda at Bridgeport. I’m still looking for a good hairdresser. I’ll report back once I find one.

9. What do you think about overalls, is there an age limit, how do you style them etc.

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about overalls just yet. I’ve seen them styled well on others, but I don’t think they’re for everyone. I recently tried on a pair of shortalls from Abercrombie & Fitch (seen here) and didn’t hate them. But, I don’t think I would wear them enough to justify the purchase. I did see a pair of cropped flare overalls I think could be super chic. I will say, if you’re interested in picking up a pair, the pant version seem to be more versatile and less child-like. You can dress them up with pumps, a leather jacket, or even a bomber. And you can wear them casually with slip on sneakers or espadrilles, and a stripe tee. I’ve also seen overalls done well with off the shoulder tops too!

10. How do you like Portland? What area do you live and do you like it?

Mike and I have been here for a year and 2 months and we definitely like it. We’re going through our first full winter, so it’s been a bit tough, but in general we’re glad we moved and have settled in quite well. We never really experienced all four seasons, so that’s been a big change, with both positives and negatives. Our biggest thing is the quality of life here. People are nicer, it’s slower paced, and not as crowded. It feels like you’re in a bit of a rat race in the Bay Area. Mike and I are huge proponents of putting happiness first and for us right now, it’s here in Portland. We live about 15-20 mins outside of Portland.

11. I always hear about bloggers who turn their blogs into a business with brands, meaning borrow clothes/shoes from brands to promote on the blog or are given items free to promote. I am sure they can’t do this with every blogger but your page is popular (with me at least) and wanted to know if your blog is run that way or more just for fun?

I took my blog full time as my business in the summer of 2015. So, while it started out as a fun hobby, it has evolved into my full time job. I don’t ever really borrow clothes, but items are gifted on occasion (I do my best to let you know in the context if this is the case). I do paid collaborations with brands and also make affiliate commissions on any purchases made through my recommendations. With that being said, my goal is to always stay true to my myself and brand and work or recommend products that I truly love and believe in.

12. I purchased the grey sweater with the open back and black bow.  I would love some styling tips or ideas!

Yay, I’m so glad it fits you! I love it paired with black skinny jeans and pumps or OTK boots. Don’t be afraid to wear it as a normal sweater with a layer on top too.  That way, when you take off your jacket, it’s a fun element of surprise.

13. What trends are you looking forward to this spring and summer!

I will do a full post on this later, but to answer your question, I’m looking forward to slip on sneakers, slip on mules, ruffles, florals, high-waisted straight jeans, structured mini bags, and round bags. I tend to embrace trends on the more cautious side, so mostly adopting in the accessories department.

14. What hair products do you use?

I switch between Aveda Color Conserve and Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner and will throw in the Blue Malva conditioner to help balance out brassy tones. Before blow drying, I’ll add Aveda Smooth Infusion prep and the Volumizing Tonic. Once my hair is curled, I’ll massage in Paul Mitchell’s Wax Works to separate my curls and give it texture.

15. I’m going to a gala with my bf. I want to match but not to the point where it’s tacky prom. What would you suggest (my dress is black and nude shoes beige-ish pink coat).

I would have your bf wear a black tux or suit with a white shirt and find a nice tie to work with your dress and accessories. If you’re wearing a long dress, his tie can be any neutral, really (because you’re wearing a black dress). If you’re shoes stand out or you’ll be wearing your coat for most of the party, maybe go toward a nude/beige tie (or even pocket square, which ever vibe you’re going with). Ties with texture and/or print are the best way to go. Pick 3-4 colors amongst yourselves and play with shades and tones and you’ll look more chic and less prom.

16. I work in a corporate environment (business casual for the most part).  I would love ideas for work attire, pencil skirts, black pants etc. without being super boring.

I’m a bit out of my comfort zone with this question as I’ve never fully worked in a business casual environment, but I do love Club Monaco, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor for fun business casual pieces. All 3 brands do a very good job in taking basic work attire and making them interesting by adopting the latest trends. If I were to work in a business casual environment, I would most likely take the basics (black pants, blazer, blouse, skirts) and pair them with unexpected pieces. I’m not talking ripped jeans or off the shoulder tops. But, think mixing in a denim jacket, a more structured and sophisticated blazer, lace-up pumps, anything a little more trendy and fun (without looking flashy). Below are some of my favorite business casual pieces.

17. I would like to know if you have any tips on taking a blog from hobby to full time job?

My biggest tip would be to change your mindset. You have to start thinking about the business side of things and make sure you feel comfortable doing that. A lot of times blogging starts out as a hobby, it’s something we do for fun on the side. But, once it’s your full time job, your strategy has to change. Set goals, do your research, think outside the box, find your niche, do your homework, and figure out ways to earn a living. All of this should be in the works before you make the jump. Be business-oriented in all your steps moving forward.