The Polaroiding has begun, with a few minor technical difficulties. Pola experts, you are welcome to weigh in. I'm taking all suggestions for better photos!

Just a couple more Camp Mighty pics. Pictured above: teenager, breakfast smoothie, neon, Doc Martens. You know, the usual. Speaking of whom, Mad has a special teenager entry in Anthology's Holiday Gift Guide. I enjoy item number 3 a lot. "Worth a shot," indeed.

Below: Kate took this awesome shot of my sparkly shoes while I was speaking. 5% fun, y'all!

Photo: JetKat Photo

And finally, please enjoy these haircut photos. I am loving the Hathaway, although -- surprise! -- I already want to go SWINTON. Next time.

Hey, girl. You want to hang out and talk products?

Side view(s).

In other news, I am fixing to go a) pick out a Christmas tree and b) pick out some door paint. If you knew what my front door has looked like for the past month, you would take away my homeowner's license.

AuthorAB Chao
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Last week at Camp Mighty, I partnered with Old Navy to present a workshop called "Fashion Forward: 5 Rules For Changing Your Life From the Outside In." Now, I am not actually very fashion-forward in the definitive sense of the word, but I do have some rules for dressing that make my life much easier and help to ensure that I don't look like an Olsen twin exploded all over my closet. As you may know, my favorite wardrobe theories are "French Person" and "Elegant Cowgirl," and I find that these rules help me to achieve both looks with a minimum of work and a maximum of awesomeness. In my presentation, I shared the five rules, and now I am sharing them with you. Let's go! (All clothing and accessories are from Old Navy except where noted.)

1. LESS IS MORE: This is pretty straightforward -- having good style is a lot easier when you have fewer things to choose from. Restrict your color palette, define your neutrals, and build a traditional foundation of classic pieces. Pictured above: The New Neutrals. Our color palette may be restricted, but stripes, metallics, animal prints, and dots can definitely stand in as neutrals.


2. TAKE YOUR TIME: It takes a while to build a wardrobe of good, quality basics, so don't be afraid of a blank space in your wardrobe. Build slowly and you'll find that you have fewer clothes, but the ones you have will be high-quality classics that you can wear for years. If there are items you really, really want but find they are out of your price range, make a list of them and save for one every year. It's like a life list for your outfits. Pictured below: The vintage man Rolex, number one on my "That One Thing" list.


Photo: Rolex

3. FOLLOW YOUR HEART: If it makes your heart skip a beat, buy it. There is no start too small: it could be a white t-shirt or a pair of gloves. If it evokes a reaction, it’s the right decision!

4. BE BRAVE: Confidence is the most important aspect of style -- if you act like you know what you are doing, you will look like you know what you are doing, even if you're wearing a gigantic neon pink hair pouf. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and take risks! Don’t be afraid. If something doesn’t work out, move on. One way to get started being brave is to wear something ridiculous, but awesome (see: Gigantic neon pink hair pouf).



Left and right-hand photos:; Nail polish: Essie; Pineapple handbag: Kate Spade

5. HAVE FUN: The whole point of this is to have fun and feel good while you're doing it. So don't stress -- once you have your traditional foundation in place, it's time to go nuts with the fun. One way to do this is to pay attention to the details, whether that means getting crazy with your nail polish or wearing a jacket with a secret bright yellow lining. Jonathan Adler's decorating motto, "95% chic + 5% fun" totally applies to your outfits, too. So go forth and accessorize like you mean it.


Before my presentation, I shopped for props at Old Navy and chose several items that illustrate the traditional foundation + 5% fun thing, and also that were just really cute. Please review:


So now you know my fashion secret: follow a formula, then accessorize funly. That's it! I hope you have enjoyed this time we've spent together. Get out there and figure out your neutrals, y'all!



Photo: JetKat Photo

Old Navy was kind enough to provide every person in attendance with a gift card for a free pair of jeans, which meant I got to fulfill one of my greatest wishes: to holler, Oprah-style, "LOOK UNDER YOUR SEATS!" Whee! It was basically the greatest thing ever.

PS: In addition to free jeans for campers, Go Mighty found out that Larkin Street Youth Services needs both jeans and gift certificates as part of its holiday gift drive for the homeless teens they support. They are sending certificates for 50 pairs of jeans -- thank you, Old Navy! -- but you should also note the wish list of simple things they need by December 14.

So, while you're building that traditional wardrobe foundation, go ahead and throw a gift certificate or clothes in your cart for the kids. If you do so, please let me know in the comments honor-system style, and I'll enter you to win your own free pair of jeans from Old Navy. Hooray!


I'd like to extend a huge thanks to the sponsors of these shenanigans: Camp Mighty, who were so kind to give me the opportunity to do this; and my partner extraordinaire, Old Navy, who were all-around awesome and made me feel even better than Oprah. Yay! Let's all go put on something cute.

AuthorAB Chao
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I brought this teenager with me to Camp Mighty, and she declared the Ace "cool," and the trip "pretty cool." I think that means I'm the best mother ever? Not sure.

I almost did a headless photo, all, "Check out the haircut I chose!" But I decided that would be mean. I went with the Hathaway, and I love it. I mean, it's pretty cool. Photos soon. And other stuff too!

AuthorAB Chao
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Oh, hello. What's up, Internet? It's December! I just today finished up the last of my decorating projects for the year, so I'm going to take the next few weeks to wrap presents, sip wassail, and re-examine my business plan for the new year. Yay!

I'm pretty good at recaps, maybe you've heard. So now, presenting the last few weeks of my life, as illustrated by Instagram.

I attended Camp Mighty, which was both 1) mighty and 2) camp-like. It was awesome. We talked, we drank, we bonded, we life-listed, we hugged, we saw superband The Tontons, and we learned a bunch of things. Seriously, if you are able, get your ass there next year. Unless you went this year, in which case you already know it was real fabulous.

My trip to Palm Springs also included a bonus couple of days in Los Angeles with Pamela (with whom I am currently not speaking, as she has elected not to spend New Year's Eve with us and the Lowe-Huffs -- A YEARLY TRADITION, I MIGHT ADD.). We had fun times, like when we were at the Roosevelt for hamburgers, and accidentally got invited to Mindy Kaling's book party. No big deal.

While I was away, my handy/nice/dreamy husband replaced all of the screen on our porch and painted the door high-gloss red. He is so awesome I should be using expletives.

I also received some cute packages for future clients in the mail.

Like THIS. Jealous? Me too.

Thanksgiving was the next week, and we observed the sacred tradition of beer and shots at our local bar on Wednesday. If you are not hungover on Thanksgiving Day, you are probably not from the South -- EVERYONE is out late the night before. I remember one year when a friend of mine was so sick she had to skip the WHOLE THING with her family due to throwing up all day long. She is now a revered local legend.

Then it got cold and I turned 36. Wait. I mean, I turned 36 and THEN it got cold. Oh, number forty, you are too near, both in temperature and in age. PS, I hope y'all like this outfit. I picked it out just for you.

This year is the very first that we have had a real tree in our house since we moved into the place. I have gone through so many fake Christmas tree phases over the years that a live one never stood a chance. But when I spotted this semi-flocked one at a local nursery, I couldn't resist. Check out all my awesome Christmas spirit. (Fully decorated tree and living room pic to appear soon.)

A bad thing that has happened in the last two weeks is that I sustained running injury (for the first time in over 3 years, what?). It's my knee. From overuse. Why is that even A THING, y'all? Whatever. HATE. Shut up, knee.

The only prescription for this problem is rest, ice, and stretching. So I have been diligently doing all three, to the detriment of most of my frozen fruit. I ran 5 miles yesterday and everything felt ok, so I'm calling this one over for now. And if not: I WILL CUT A KNEE.

In an insane small-world turn of events, I saw The Tontons AGAIN this past weekend. A block away from my house, at a bar in my town. Not only that, but their manager and I discovered that we graduated from the same college on the same day. We all became best friends instantly, obvs. So that was pretty cool. If you ever get a chance, go see them before they blow up, which will happen soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this educational Instagram recap. Oh, also, if you have any great holiday card ideas featuring all Chaos + Hank, be putting those in the comments. We spend every year trying to top this one from 2006, and we've got nothing.