The Rise of the Ugly Sweater

How many Ugly Sweater Parties have you been to over the last few years?

It occurred to me while attending my third Ugly Sweater sweater themed party this season, I needed to do a little research about this tradition.

Who really started this trend?
In the 80’s, according to an Urban Dictionary, a “Cosby sweater” is an oversized, hideous looking sweater with ugly patterns and colors, often worn by old men or hipsters with no taste, and named after the actor/comedian Bill Cosby. He wore a lot of ugly sweater while acting on ” The Cosby Show “.


Now, I don’t think we all gathered around the TV in our big 80’s sweaters and idolized Bill Cosby—and his iconic sweaters…but I can see the connection.

Koos Van Den Akker was the designer behind the wild collaged sweaters worn on TV that established Koos’ reputation with the rich and famous. Soon after Bill Cosby was seen sporting Koos’ vibrant and inspiring sweaters, famed notables such as Chuck Norris and Richard Simmons.

ustv-the-big-bang-theory-itchy-brain-simluation-2For years, I have thought this tradition was started with the age-old tradition of Grandmas and Mother-in-laws gifting itchy wool sweaters. Finally one day someone decided to throw a party to show off their ugly sweaters!


Remember Ugly Betty?

When did the parties start?

158271aVancouver, Canada claims to be the home of the first ugly Christmas sweater party in 2002. The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver holds a ball each year where ugly Christmas sweaters are the mandatory dress code. This year marks their 13th annual party… who’s going this weekend?


The best ugly sweater’s have a story behind them. I seriously have a few including a turtle neck that has belonged to my hip 80-year-old Grandmother.

Most friends will buy from a Goodwill or gently used store that stocks them on purpose and marks them up for the season. The newest trend this year is making your own or buying sweaters and vests 3 times too small and adding accessories such as fun glasses or ties and hats to the look.


My handsome husband and his two buddies.

Whatever the reason, Tis the Season to be silly with friends, slightly awkward with the buddies, laugh with strangers on the bus and most of all, celebrate gathering as friends to celebrate the love the Holidays.

Jimmy Fallon is even throwing an Ugly Sweater give-a-way to his fans. Tweet a photo of yourself in your best (worst) holiday sweater with the hashtag #12DaysOfChristmasSweatersContest and mention @FallonTonight in the tweet, between now and December 19th. Here is his “fine print” …The failure of Sponsors to comply with any provision of these Official Rules due to an act of God, hurricane, war, fire, riot, earthquake, terrorism, act of public enemies, actions of governmental authorities outside of the control of Sponsors (excepting compliance with applicable codes and regulations), or other “force majeure” event will not be considered a breach of these Official Rules… Will you win?


My prediction is this trend will go away some day. But for now—keep an over the top Holiday sweater, a snowman sweatshirt and that jingle bell vest hanging in your closet to dust off for those December parties. Now when someone asks at the party “when did this Ugly Sweater thing start?” You will have a few random facts to announce to the slightly intoxicated group.

Stay stylish and be kind this Holiday Season,
Your Holiday-Spirit-Gal






Ladies we do this. We see a fashion statement or a look and we pin it. But when do we ever actually give our own looks credit? I do this at least twice a week where I look through my board called “Have it _ wear it like this” and get inspiration to pair things together that I have had for a while.

Lets document it and share the love that @Pinterest actually inspires us to live in it!

Use the hashtag #pinneditlivedit and tag @MNdesigngal and lets share with eachother our pinned it lived it looks!

Happy Pinning!
your mn design gal

Spring in New York

There is nothing better then New York City in the Spring! Summer Fashion trends are in full force and the flowers only add that needed splash of Spring color. Can you spot the main trends of the season? Shared are also just some of the favorite tourist attractions with first time New Yorker Steve. Enjoy your Spring New York trip through this gal’s lens.
















Go and book your next trip! I got mine on my mind- San Fran!?

Your Traveling Gal,

Oscar’s Golden Girls

Even Mashable had an Oscar’s recap, so I thought I had to put together my thoughts on the second most important thing surrounding the night– Fashion.

GOLD and metallic was my fashion first impression take-away. Celebrities seemed to shine in it! Jennifer Lopez (aka Jenny from the Black, JLO) was the first I noticed on the E! network and she raved with her usual neckline and slimming booty look. Below her Golden bOOty did shine, literally. Cameron Diaz had some detail that shimmered and even though it was a bit more silver then GOLD, you would think these Power gals called each other to see what they were wearing.

OPRAH had shined earlier in the week winning her Golden Globe while Meryl Streep accepted her 3rd Oscar after 17 nominations. Both these timeless women wore their GOLD with pride even outshining some of the most popular leading ladies nearly 50 years younger. Eat your heart-out Dakota Fanning?

I had to showcase some of these ladies that did some amazing fashion things with their GOLDEN metallics as well. Octavia Spencer won for THE HELP and her beaded detail really accented her beautiful shape and be a winner in my opinion. The Office and also Bridemaids star Ellie Kemper had me double-taking her new big bang look that also showcased a red-kissed hair color. I haven’t gotten to her dress yet! She accessorized perfectly with a must-have clutch, ear-rings, cocktail ring and bangles. Finally Hollywood newscaster, who cares what her name is, had a take on the Gold as well with her touch of green earring that made it a bit edgy and I am always a fan of the empire inspired necklines.

My pick of best dressed was someone I used to watch on What About Brian, Actress Stacy Keibler. Looking at her dress, it would have look a bit over-done for being just a guest or a bit 80’s on anyone else! But the way she owned the dress and her minimalist accessories won me over right away. The wave in her hair made the dress more vintage even though it was very modern. Her open-toe shoes seemed down-to-earth and I spotted her arm plump that made me like her even more! (Arm plump is the extra fat that falls over from wearing something strapless, it’s a normal woman thing).

Did I mention her date?

Heading to the mall to find myself something GOLD,
your mn design gal | TRICIA

Lets enjoy a few moments with Stacy on What About Brian, (yes he’s the star from other sitcom 7th Heaven).

Can’t we all shop nice?

The customer is what drives sales. The sales reflect the budget for the advertising campaigns. The advertising campaigns influence the consumer.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Macy’s sues Martha Stewart Living for J.C. Penney is trying to refocus their products and audience. Have you seen J.C. Penny’s new branding? jcp alone is a big step for this shopping brand that is trying to break the grandma and cheap-stay-at-home mom of 7 stereotype. Notice the jcpenney facebook page. Everything is lowercase and notice the actual URL is just jcp rather than the brand spelled out or the J.C. Penney like this corporate public trading company is.

With the shuffle of the leading creative teams and CEO’s from Target to jcpenney you WILL see even more change in the advertising and branding. Is this Martha Stewart Living lawsuit just one of the many first steps Macy’s is trying to protect their celebrity-driven brand? Notice Macy’s facebook page that features Clinton Kelly (Celebrity fashion consultant) and they also will NOT let you not be part of their Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover propping this alert, twice to me until I agree.

I notice retail because of course, I’m a woman, but also with branding and design it is always changing in front of us that many customers are aware of. I find myself noticing the shopping bags, advertisements and of course the social tactics each brand goes to. Commercials with SHAZAM that gets you to listen to their music, or with lovable celebrities like Jessica Simpson that makes you want to be their them and wear their line and shop and experience.

The poor Kardashians got SEARS to buy their line. Not only do I feel it was over-priced for their demographic and store experience, but I hadn’t been in a SEARS since 1992 and that was because my dad was buying a refrigerator. On the SEAR’S website they have the Facebook icon that props the share button. Why would I want to share this? I would hope I would want to lead my user to their facebook page or the SEARS (why do I keep writing SEARS in all caps?). They are loosing out on getting their page visitors somewhere else to track their interests.
Lets face it, retail isn’t going away, but the stores could. What department store will go away first? SEARS who started in 1886, jcp 1902, Macy’s 1929, Herberger’s 1927?

Only time will tell. Until then, play nice and keep the look-out for even more re-branding and well, lawsuits.

Which stores were originated in Minnesota?
Herberger’s and SEARS. Maybe I will go back and try that Kardardasian Kollection.

your mn design gal

Halloween I dressed-up as Kim Kardashian.

Too Early to Pack?

No, I’m not moving out-of-state. (But I really should someday).

Last month was asking you where I should go vacation this winter. Well the trip is booked and we will be laying on the beach very soon.

Destination is The Dominican Republic. Staying in Punta Cana ladies and gentlemen!

I look forward to the vacation and sharing the highlights when back! Until then, I put together a few things that I just Need to Buy. Should I have not cropped the model face’s off wearing the cute cover-up? Nicole Richie’s hippie beach look really caught my eye!

Almost ready for the beach,

your mn design gal

90’s fashion flashback

Today, I had to snap a picture at my desk quick to share. I am wearing something I remember my mom wearing in the early 90’s… SHOULDER PADS!

The shoulder pads also remind of those Designing Women, (yes I used to watch it with my mom, back when I wanted to be an interior decorator too.) Today, I am wearing a Rachel Zoe dress found at Macy’s clearance last season. I paired it will a bold scarf from a San Diego boutique I got this summer, I guess I forgot my pearls today.

Call me crazy, but had to share my flashback moment with you.

My posture is super this morning, thank you shoulder pads!

you mn design gal


Trick or Treat… Divorce Papers

Yes, the rumor is true, Kim Kardashian and Mr. Kris Humphries were spotted in Uptown Saturday night. Then yes, Kim has filed for a divorce today, October 31st to this Minnesota native basketball player.
This Halloween couple costume idea was thought up 2 months ago when the big news came out that they were engaged then marring so fast! The news of the divorce comes out now today! #sohollywood

 The costume came together, while my Mom found the dress I had worn to Homecoming in High School, and the leopard cover-up was in the dress-up drawer. Yes, the magic booty was also padding and for sure had to become a bit more busty. Topped off with a black wig and edgy sunglasses and I became Kim! Notice Kris played basketball in Hopkins, so he got off easy with a printed jersey, popped collar and tie, shades and a big smile.

Of course, hearing the news Monday morning about Kim filing for divorce really sadden us Keep Up with the Kardashian fans.
Steve and I had to put on a love show Saturday night. Halloween today, text messages from friends and laughs about us not telling them our news and that they heard it from

Who to be next year? Hopefully won’t be bad karma for them!

Our pre-party before heading out! My friends are a bit crazy too! So much fun!

Kris will miss this Kardashian booty,

Kim K
Tricia S

Necklace Fabulous

As some of you know, I heart the statement necklace this fall. I sported this outfit earlier this week. The Gold-Bling pops and pulls my black outfit all go together! Wait—do you notice I got my hairs done too? Yes that is the Ombre coloring technique.

Happy Friday to my readers!

(So Gossip Girl isn’t it?)

mn design gal

Blog Props

Mondays are great days to catch-up on your favorite blogs. Get lost for 10 minutes in the blogger’s lives and imagine if…

I find myself always entertained (and frankly jealous) of this bloggers workshop that hosts. More info here. Enjoy the highlight reel.

blogshop new york from arian soheili on Vimeo.
CREDIT: Originally I found on
Photos by Angela; video by Paper Fortress Films; thanks again, Blogshop!

Appreciating the good today,

your mn design gal

ps. was totally going to go darker but the main blonde (Bri) in the video makes me want to keep my summer kissed blonde high-lights.