Saturday, December 20, 2014

Photo Journal: NorCal Road Trip

Although it's been quite a bit since my pals Nicole and Sadie and I made our weekend trip up to NorCal this past August, I wanted to document it on the blog. It's been my favorite road trip so far, and I saw so many incredible new things for the first time.

Thursday: Oakland
The main reason for our trip up the coast was to see one of our all time favorite bands, Brand New (plus Joyce Manor, who opened for them and we also love). A 6 hour trip sounds crazy for one band, but they mean so much to us. We stayed with my friend Karen in San Francisco and the trip to Oakland from there was about half an hour. It was me, Karen, and Nicole's first time seeing them, and the show was unforgettable, as expected.

Friday: San Francisco
We had the whole day to explore the city the day after the show and Karen was kind enough to take us around San Francisco. Being typical tourists, we ended up hitting landmarks such as the Pier, Ghiradelli Square and Lombard Street. Karen also showed us gems such as Japantown (where we got yummy  + cute crepes) and Amoeba Records.

Saturday: Ride home through the Coast 
Our time in SF was short but sweet, and although we wanted to spend more time in the city, we decided to head home early Saturday morning and take our time going back home taking PCH. I'm very grateful that we decided to do this because I got to see places I had never been to before.

Santa Cruz
Our first pit stop was in Santa Cruz, where we saw the abandoned (but interesting looking) Red Castle. We ate lunch at Pizza My Heart, a pizza shop unique to NorCal residents where you can order a pizza meal that includes a slice + a shirt with their logo & the location you're at. The pizza is served on a frisbee! We ended up at Streetlight Records for a little bit of shopping as well. I recommend that store if you're a record junkie, their selection is wonderful and the price is way cheaper than ones back home.

Big Sur
Next was Big Sur/Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. If anyone reading is from California or visiting California, I highly suggest visiting these places. Being around nature this beautiful makes you feel so small and really makes you appreciate your surroundings. Something about seeing Big Sur in person made me so happy to be a human and alive on this planet and has inspired me to try to travel more and see more like it in person.

The last stop on our journey home was Downtown San Luis Obispo. We hung out for about an hour in its little college town, getting--not one, but TWO--rounds of coffee to keep us awake for the drive home (which, I highly advise against unless it's appropriate for the situation). Kreuzberg Coffee + Book bar is my favorite coffee spot there, and has a very cozy, laid back feel. Plus, their vanilla lattes are out of this world.

I hope you enjoyed reading our trip itinerary, although it's been a couple months it's been something I've wanted to document on the blog. I'll keep up itineraries/photo diaries for any future trips!

Until Next time,


(all photos taken by Alexa Manese) 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dressing Up: New Year's Eve

With the holidays quickly approaching, I'm sure everyone has only had getting Christmas presents together on the brain. However, one of the most exciting events to dress up for, New Year's Eve, is coming sooner than you think! If you need a cute outfit in a crunch, I've got some ideas for you here.


Modcloth, $59.99

NastyGal, $68.00

Asos, $142.13

Forever 21, $37.90

The Perfect LBD

Urban Outfitters, $69.00

American Apparel, $68.00

H&M, $34.95


Forever 21, $27.90

H&M, $129.00

Urban Outfitters, $49.00

Don't forget to stay warm!

Forever 21, $45.43

Celeb16, $37.05

xo, Alexa

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Break Roadtripping

The holidays are coming up, finals are ending which means the one phrase every student is stoked to hear: WINTER BREAK IS HERE!
If you're like me and spent every last dollar Leslie Knope'ing up your Christmas presents, but still have a heart full of wanderlust that must get you out of town, I've got the perfect idea for your month long time off...

A Road Trip!
Who doesn't love a good road trip? Gas is astonishingly cheap right now, you have time off, and your friends have time off as well. Fill a car up with your pals and pick a cool destination to drive off to.
Since I'm from the OC area, I have a list in my head of go-to places that aren't too far, but if you're reading from someplace else, research places to go to!

Here are my suggestions for those of you from California.

Not too far:
  • Joshua Tree. Spending a nice quiet weekend camping with good friends sounds like an ideal trip to me. You can stargaze, explore, and appreciate the quietness. Just bring tons of blankets!
  • Salvation Mountain. A hidden gem of California, Salvation Mountain is a beautiful walk-through giant art piece created by the late Leonard Knight. Make sure to take a camera with you for cool snaps.
  • Palm Springs/Palm Desert. My friends and I fell in love with this area when we stayed there for Coachella. It's cute, quirky, and you can get some good shopping in as well.

Salvation Mountain. Photo by: Alexa Manese

Even Further:
  • San Luis Obispo. Perfect small college town filled with cute shops and cafes.
  • Big Sur National Park. It's a bit of a drive but there's nothing else in this world quite like it. I can't explain the beauty of it in words or photographs, it's just something you need to see and experience with your own eyes.

Big Sur, California. Photo by: Alexa Manese

Go the Distance:

  • Pacific North West. I've always wanted to plan a road trip starting from Southern California going all the way up to Washington and making little stops along the way (Big Sur, San Francisco, Portland, and stopping in Seattle). This involves a little extra time but the experience would be way worth it.
  • San Francisco. I'm a bit biased because SF is one of my favorite cities on the planet, but there really is so much to do. It's harder to be bored than to keep yourself busy there! Explore the pier, Lombard Street, and The Golden Gate Bridge. Good eats are a must in the city as well. Some recommendations: New England Lobster Co., Pizza Delfina, and any of their yummy food trucks.
  • Mammoth Lakes. One of my best friends, Sadie ( is lucky enough to call this magnificent part of California her hometown, and from what I've seen in her photos, it looks like something out of a movie or a fairytale. "Looney Bean is my favorite coffee spot and Stellar Brew is another great coffee spot with freaking delicious treats like vegan donuts and carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting," Sadie advises. 
    • ***TIP: Driving up there in the snow may be a bit difficult so make sure to do the trip in a reliable car/someone who has experience driving in the snow.

Mammoth Lakes, California. Photo by Sadie Federspiel (

Are you going anywhere cool over break/think something should be added to this list that hasn't been? Leave a suggestion below!

xo, Alexa

Monday, December 15, 2014

Muse of the Moment: HAIM

Out of all the celebrities emerging into the fashion scene in 2014, my top favorite is the all-girl band HAIM. HAIM is composed of sisters Este (age 28), Danielle (age 25) and Alana (age 23) who not only play bass, guitar, drums, and sing, but also have the most killer fashion sense. They make casual outfits (that you'd probably wear out to run errands) look chic as hell and have perfected the tomboy-meets-girly aesthetic.




Days Are Gone is HAIM's debut album and while you're channeling your inner HAIM sister through these outfit inspirations, these are songs i reccomend to jam along to:
  • Don't Save Me
  • Forever
  • The Wire
  • My Song 5

Winter Playlist

Dear Readers,
I know it's been a while but I've been thinking about revamping the site a bit. A few old posts have been deleted, due to my goal to take Skeletal Swank to a bit of a new direction.
One thing that I want to change, is adding a monthly playlist to the blog.

Here are my personal picks for winter 2014!

listen on Spotify:

xo, Alexa

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Skeletalswank's 2nd Annual Halloween Costume Ideas!

Hey there everyone! It's that spooky time of the year again, Halloween season! If you're still stuck on trying to find a costume at this point no worries, I got you covered.

1) Alien

This is my personal top choice for this year's Halloween costume. For the main base of the costume, try to find a lot of green, metallic, or holographic colors (mix and match tops and skirts, dresses, etc). Add a cute alien antenna headband from the dollar store, or even do two mini buns at the top of your head. Makeup's the fun part-- experiment with a bunch of funky colors, glitter, colorful fake lashes, and body jewlery!

2) Daria from Daria

The biggest cynical teen on TV is an easy costume to throw together. All you need is a green jacket, some sort of orange top, a black skirt, combat boots, round glasses, and an unimpressed pout.

3) Tourist

This one's something you can put together with stuff around the house as well as thrift stores! Find a tacky looking hawaiian shirt from the men's section at Goodwill. Pair with high waisted shorts, converse, and accessorize with a backpack/fanny pack, binoculars/a camera, and Disneyland ears or a visor. Keep makeup basic, and add a dot of sunscreen on your nose/cheeks.

4) Cher from Clueless

America's favorite blonde is making a comeback this year, from Wildfox's collection, to plaid skirts raiding every closet. Cher's signature head to toe yellow outfit is one you can master without buying much.

5) American Horror Story: Coven witches

October also means the return of one of the greatest modern television shows of this generation. Channel your inner teen witch with a look based on the supernatural girls of American Horror Story: Coven. You really only need 3 basic pieces: gothic looking black dress, paired with tights, a black wide brim hat, and large sunglasses.

6) Princess Peach

Princess Peach is a cute and easy DIY costume that doesn't take much to make! Just check around local cheap stores or thrift stores for a high collar, cap sleeved skater-style dress. You can create your own crown and brooch with stuff from art supply stores (I personally love Joanne's), and buy some evening gloves from a costume store. For shoes, you can't go wrong with white converse or nice cream colored oxfords. Make sure to add bright blue statement earrings, wave your hair, and top it with a peachy pink lip color.

7) Margaux Tenenbaum

This one's gonna take a little more time and looking to achieve the perfect look. Margaux from Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums (go see it if you haven't, it's one of my favorites). Look around thrift stores for a giant fur coat, under it wear a blue dress with a collar (to be more true to the character, see if you can find a striped polo dress). To accessorize, pile on the heavy eyeliner, straighten your hair to a side part with a barrett clip, wear loafers and an oversized tan purse.

8) Marie from the Aristocats

This one's an easy last minute costume with a twist. It's the classic cat costume, but all white and pink! Take white cat ears, a white top/skirt or dress, and white shoes. Between your cat ears, make a little bun at the top of your head (with the rest of your hair down) and tie it with a pink bow. Wear a pink bow around your neck, a pink belt (optional), and don't forget to add cute whiskers and a nose with black eyeliner.
Another cat costume you can do with a twist is Luna from Sailor Moon (wear all black. use a post it note to create a crescent moon, use eyelash glue to attatch to forehead.)

9) Minnie Mouse

This is a classic. I was Minnie a couple years ago when I was in a crunch for a Disney themed Halloween costume and it turned out great. You have several options for the base piece: a red polka dotted dress, a red polka dotted top with a black skirt, or a black top with a polka dotted skirt. If you cant find red polka dotted pieces, you can take a plain red top or skirt and polka dot it yourself with puffy paint. Pair with red tights, Minnie ears, and either yellow flats or black shoes.

10) Spinelli from Recess

This is another great one to put together with items in your closet or to easily pick up at your local Target. Spinelli only needs her rebellious leather moto jacket, a red dress, a mustard-yellow beanie, striped knee high socks, and combat boots. For hair, make sure to get her pigtails, tied with red hair ties.

11) Britney Spears in the "Baby One More Time" music video

I've been wanting to do this look for so long, so hopefully soon....or next year or something. All you need is a classic white button up top that you can tie (leave last couple buttons unbuttoned to achieve this), a grey cardigan, a plaid or dark colored skirt, a purple bralet/bandeau, grey knee highs, and black shoes. Acessorize with fuzzy pink hair ties and scrunchies for her pigtails!
    *I've also seen the idea of "Britney through the ages" which is a fun idea for groups (Britney circa      "Slave 4 U", Britney circa Circus, Britney in "Oops! I Did it Again")

Well, there you have it! If you have any other cool DIY last minute costume ideas, leave a comment down below! Have a happy and safe Halloween!

xo, Alexa