Monday, November 30, 2015


This easily could have been titled some variation of Shades of Gray, but I refuse to take the easy road. Besides, there are more colors here than gray if you look closely. Also, I feel like more of a monochromatic 50's teenager wearing a poodle skirt, a la Pleasantville, so let's go with that. 

Honestly though, this skirt is so comfortable it's ridiculous. It's made of a thick, soft material and feels almost like wearing sweatpants without the constricting leg compartments. It's also heavy so it's perfect for wearing in the cooler months. 

Given the color is very neutral, this skirt goes with just about anything. Here I tried to something different by going monochromatic and sticking with a gray shirt with a Peter Pan collar. I spiced things up with plaid heels and fun details. 

I added color in unsuspected areas, like my lips and my bag. This lip color is great for fall and winter. It adds drama without being too in your face. So, what do you think? Would you try a monochromatic look this winter season? Let us know in the comments! 

Outfit details: Skirt: Lulu's, Shirt: J.Crew Factory, Shoes: Adam Lippes for Target, Bag: Sole Society


Friday, November 27, 2015

Maroon Lace

I guess you could say I've been on a little 70s kick lately! When we rounded up our favorite trends earlier this fall, we talked up flares and 70s style. So, let the record state we aren't all talk and no action! Between this and the last outfit I styled here, we're definitely living up the trend.

This dreamy lace top with bell sleeves is as comfortable as it is stylish. It can be paired with a strappy cami underneath for an edgy or evening look like I've done here, or a solid color under it for a workday. As you probably know, I'm all about theming outfits up, so the flares were a perfect way to reinforce the era.

Also, I'm loving all the tassels everywhere right now, and they fit in so well with 70s style. These fun beaded earrings remind me a little bit of dried corn (is that weird?), which is just perfect to wrap up a harvest-fall color palette before it's officially winter. I think they'll go well with reds and greens for the next season just as well, though!


Outfit Details: Top: H&M (similar), Strappy Camisole: Forever 21, Flares: Forever 21, Earrings: H&M (similar), Shoes: Primark, Ring: Vintage

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Red Nose Punch

We have got a treat for you today, just in time for your Thanksgiving feast! Whip up this punch on Thursday to satiate your dinner guests and keep the family arguments to a minimum. There is a little something for everyone in this punch. I first had it at my best friend's holiday party last year and it was a huge hit with everyone in attendance. Be warned though, it's sneaky! It goes down smooth and then BAM, you're tipsy. 

This recipe is fairly simple, but does require a little bit of prep. Luckily, you have time to get things ready tonight for your big day tomorrow. You'll want to prep your cranberry ice ring and simple syrup ahead of time. Read on for more details. 

Recipe adapted from here

30 oz. cranberry juice 
2 cups fresh cranberries
10 oz. bourbon
4 oz. lime juice
3 oz. cinnamon infused simple syrup
4 (12 oz.) bottles lager beer
2 limes, sliced

To make your cranberry ice ring, place cranberries in a bundt pan with four cups of hot water. Freeze until set (preferably overnight). While your cranberries are freezing, make your simple syrup. Recipe here

On the day of, combine juices, bourbon, and syrup in a large punch bowl. Stir to combine. Unmold frozen cranberry ice ring and float it in the punch. Next, add the bottles of beer in. 

Give it a stir and decorate the top with your sliced limes. 

Serve it up in festive cocktail glasses and enjoy! Now that you have the recipe down, make it again for Christmas and every party in between. 

Cheers to your health, happiness and a very happy Thanksgiving to you! 



Monday, November 23, 2015

The Art of Layering

In the midwest, this time of year can mean that the weather is very unpredictable. One day it can be warm and sunny and the next, it's snowing and blowing. That can make it very difficult when you're trying to figure out what to wear. That's where layering comes into play. You can think of it as an art form or a scientific equation, whichever way your brain tends to lean. Personally, I like to think of it as an art form.

Like any good masterpiece, you start with a base. In this case, I went with these comfy leather leggings, a long sleeve white tee and a white sweater. This sweater is lightweight so it's perfect for adding pieces on top of. 

Like any good base, it provides support for the layers you add on top of it. Here, that is a blanket scarf, felt fedora and leather moto jacket. These items are perfect for layering because they easily go on and off as needed. So, when you're running around outside, you can bundle up, then discard the heavier pieces once you get inside, or when it warms up later on in the day. 

With any good layering look, you need accessories that add to the functionality of the outfit, i.e. being able to hold all the stuff you take off when you get warm. I have a large tote that I got on a trip to Ireland. It's one of my favorite bags because it's so versatile and holds all sorts of things. Plus, it looks great with a blanket scarf peeking out and sunglasses hanging off the side. I also really love these wine colored ankle boots. I find myself wearing them with all sorts of outfits in the fall and winter. The color adds a little pizazz to the otherwise gray landscape of the colder months. 

This look is just one of many examples of layering for the colder temperatures. I'm looking forward to playing around with layers in the next few months. What's your favorite way to layer? 

Outfit details: Sweater: Michael Kors, Leggings: T.J. Maxx, Blanket scarf: Zara (similar), Jacket: T.J. Maxx, Hat: Target, Booties: Old Navy, Sunglasses: Nasty Gal


Friday, November 20, 2015

Featured Guest: Katie Baird

We’re so excited to launch a new type of post we’ll be sharing on Mod Circus: featuring our stylish friends here as guests! Honestly, we’re impressed by too many fashion-forward folks in our lives not to have them share their stories, and we hope you’ll find inspiration from the added variety. Our first guest is our good friend Katie Baird, a graphic designer by day, AKA Bambi Bloodlust the roller derby superstar by night.

We hit the skatepark on an unseasonably warm afternoon a few weeks ago to talk with Katie about her stellar style, roller derby stardom, and social media tips!

MC: Tell us a little about yourself.

Katie: I grew up in the Chicago Suburbs, I went to school with Jodi and Molly, and now I live and work in Decatur! I'm a graphic designer by day and have an extensive list of eclectic hobbies and passions that keep me busy when I'm not at work. I'm the captain of our local roller derby team the Prairieland Punishers, I coach the men's roller derby team The Capital City Hooligans based out of Springfield. I also do extreme trick roller skating in skateparks and on the street. I'm a member of the Moxi Skate Team and Chicks in Bowls Skate Team. I love to paint, draw, and practice calligraphy. I have a little letterpress and silkscreen shop in my basement where my man and I print greeting cards and posters that we sell in our Etsy Shop, Neon Kitchen. I love snowboarding, and I'm learning to skateboard. I'm a lover of craft beer, wine, coffee, and deep dish pizza!

 MC: What influences your style?

Katie: I love all things retro and all things skate related. I would say I'm inspired by alternative street style, skate culture, the athletic-punk vibe of the derby community, with a sprinkle of 70's Roller Disco. I love things that are quirky and weird, cute and edgy.

MC: How have you balanced staying stylish with making sure your clothes are comfortable and easy to skate in?

Katie: Stretchy everything! I like to skate on my lunch breaks and you never know when you'll stumble upon a good skate spot, so I like to keep my day to day clothes comfy and skateable. For me that means thin, stretchy pants, leggings and oversize tops, and comfy dresses (with bike shorts underneath).

MC: Your Instagram and Snapchat accounts are really awesome and engaging with lots of followers! How do you create your personal brand that sets you apart from other fashionistas and roller derby accounts?

Katie: Thank you! I really think it's just my attention to the details. I try my best to keep image I share bright colorful and compelling. I pay attention to how the image will look in my profile and on it's own. As far as the content itself, I try to keep it casual, fun, and authentic. It's really just snippets of my life (with a few saturation boosting filters!) I think I stand out because I have fun mixing fashion and skating, It's not just derby or skating photos, I try to embody the whole lifestyle. There's an amazing community of girls learning to skate on Instagram so we all can interact on there, sharing advice and virtual high fives. It's an great support system. You may be the only girl in your local skatepark, but you have a whole posse of ladies across the globe sharing the journey!

MC: How did you first get into skating? What are your favorite things about it?

Katie: Back in the 90s I rocked a sweet pair of inline blades and loved racing around the roller rink. After graduating college I saw a poster for roller derby in our neighborhood Jimmy Johns. That was the first time I became aware that there was a modern roller derby movement happening. I showed up at a practice and was hooked from the start. I fell in love with roller derby because it's so fun and addicting to play. It's graceful, aggressive, and strategic. Now my love of skating goes far beyond derby, I also skate in skateparks, street skate, trail skate, and dance skate. I'm always pushing the limites of what I can do on rollerskates!

MC: By day, you're a graphic designer. Do your artistic abilities affect how you dress too?

Katie: I love wearing pieces with crazy patterns, fun typography, or kooky illustrations. I love putting outfits together, thinking about color palettes, texture, and making a focal point.

MC: What are some fun little known facts about yourself?

I have had a long history of eclectic activities; baton twirling, synchronized swimming, theatre, classical singing, and playing the drums. I had a pet tarantula in high-school, people are usually surprised when they hear that!

For a grand finale, Katie put together a few fun polyvore looks for more skate-inspired inspiration below!

Be sure to check out Katie’s rad Instagram account, where you’ll see more of her adorable style and sweet skating skills! You can also like her athlete page on Facebook and see her lovely graphic design work here.

Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

With Thanksgiving coming up, we're getting all excited about turkey and potatoes, but sometimes it's fun to spice up the sides a bit. I just can't get enough squash in the fall, and this is a fun twist on a classic everyone loves. So, try this out for your family dinner this year and see if this just isn't the best way they've ever had squash.

Though I personally love the mix of sweet and savory dishes, my husband doesn’t quite as much, so I did my best to minimize the inherent sweetness of the butternut squash by also adding its much less sweet cousin, the pumpkin. I threw in onions and bacon too (because when should you NOT use them, really?), which have sweet undertones that don’t clash with the squash, but make the dish heartier and more savory. And, if I do say so myself, (and I do) I really knocked this one out of the park. Holy squashcheesygoodness.

This is so creamy and cheesy, you don’t even realize all the vitamins it’s packed with. Vegetables are tricky like that. Enough chatting, let's get to it!

You’ll need:
1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
6 strips bacon
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese*
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese*
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese*
2 2/3 cup milk (2% or whole)
2 T butter
3 T flour
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 15-oz box pasta shells**
Extra virgin olive oil

*Any cheese you may have on hand would work, as long as you end up with 3 cups total, but it would be best with a mix of mild and sharp cheeses.

**In my experience, shells hold onto hearty sauces better than macaroni, which why the title is “mac and cheese” not the full “macaroni and cheese.” Like when fast food places use “beef-y” or “chick-n” so as not to mislead you into thinking it’s real beef or chicken. This is “mac,” not actual macaroni and now you can’t turn me in for misleading you. ;)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice butternut squash vertically with a large knife. A good trick for ease of cutting is to microwave the squash for 30 seconds before slicing. Spoon out seeds and pulp and discard. Lightly coat with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place skin side up on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the center is tender. Once it has cooled enough to handle, scoop out squash process in food processor until smooth and creamy. Set aside 2 cups of puree for recipe (if any remains, eat as a side dish with another meal—yum!) Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While squash is roasting, prepare pasta according to directions on box and set aside. Cook bacon in a small pan, crumble and set aside. Then, in the same pan, sauté onions over medium-low heat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper using 1 T of the bacon grease to cook them in. Set aside.

Then, it’s time to get the roux going! Heat butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in flour until slightly browned and fragrant, about a minute and a half. Then, slowly stir in the milk in 4 or 5 increments, combining until completely smooth each time. Once all milk is added, turn heat to high and continue to whisk for about two more minutes until sauce thickens. Add all cheeses, reserving 3/4 cup cheese mixture for the top. Once cheese is melted, stir in both pumpkin and squash puree, onions and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste, then pour over cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Transfer into 9X13 baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and center is very warm.

Now enjoy the amazingly creamy, cheesy, vibrantly-colored mess of deliciousness that also happens to be good for you. Which, of course, is always justification for an extra helping.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Wear it Two Ways: Family Holiday Dinner

This time of year can be tricky when trying to figure out what to wear to various events on your social calendar. One such event is your annual family holiday dinner. Everyone's family is different, so what you wear might vary depending on what type of dinner you have planned. If you're anything like us, your family tends to dress up a little for their dinners. Below we have styled two different looks that are both dressy, cute and allow for a little extra stretch to fit in all of those holiday calories!


For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, my husband and I will travel to his parent's house, a little over an hour away. So, not only do I want to look put-together, but I need something that's comfortable for a car trip and that will continue to be comfy all day. 

It seems like every year, Christmas is creeping up earlier and earlier, but I guess I'm traditional in the fact that Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season for me. So, a festive red dress and green nails are a fun change from the muted maroons and autumn colors I've been living in the last couple of months. That makes this outfit perfect for holiday dinners later in the season, too!

Black riding boots can be casual when paired with a sweater and scarf, but here the shiny black boots polish off this dressy look nicely. Plus, they're super warm and comfortable! Important items to check off the list for this ensemble.

Retro-inpired earrings, red lips and a vintage hair barrette help add a fun throwback flair to the look. Mmm, all ready to load up on turkey and potatoes now!


My holidays have always been split up between two houses ever since I was little. My husband also has the same situation, so now we have four different houses to visit during the holidays. This calls for an outfit that is equal parts comfortable and cute.

This year, I've put together a festive plaid skirt and tights with a stretchy modern turtleneck. This skirt is made of a comfortable material which is perfect for spending time in the car traveling to our destinations.

The top I'm wearing is super stretchy, which is great for fitting in all of those dinners! In reality, we just eat a little bit at each place, but I am a sucker for mashed potatoes and fancy myself a potato connoisseur, so it's hard to pass them up throughout the day! I just make sure my clothes are stretchy to accommodate.

I also threw this little red jacket on to add some extra warmth. It's easy to get on and off, so it won't be a hassle to manage going from place to place. Plus, it's super cute with it's big button and cropped fit. 

I finish the whole look off with a nice big bag that is perfect for storing all of my necessities for the holidays (like a travel set of sweatpants) and these sleek black wedges. 

Hope your family dinners are filled with lots of happiness and good food! 

Molly's Outfit Details: Dress: Urban Outfitters, Boots: DSW (similar), Tights: Target, Barrette: Vintage

Jodi Outfit Details: Skirt: Lush, Top: Modcloth, Jacket: Coffee Shop, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Bag: Lulu's

Friday, November 13, 2015

70s Romper

We wrote earlier this fall about our favorite trends this season, and one we're seeing everywhere is 70s influences. From bell bottoms to bell sleeves and everything in suede, this trend is hot, hot, hot, but so easy to style for cool weather.

With the popularity of over-the-knee boots (also lovingly referred to as OTK boots), shorts and mini skirts are able to hold their own for this cooler season. This romper is a great example of a piece that's perfect for summer nights, but can transition well into the fall given the right accessories, like these boots.

I also added this vintage necklace (straight out of the real-live 70s! ;) ) to help bump up the boho vibe even more. Mixing old and new pieces really helps give an ensemble character while keeping it fresh and relevant.

Are you finding the 70s totally groovy right now, too? Or are you preferring other trends?


Romper: TJ Maxx (similar here and here), Over-the-knee boots: Forever 21, Necklace: Vintage
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