Friday, December 28, 2012

J.Crew's sequin stripe shell

Sequin stripe shell in green:  J.Crew, here
White jeans:  Banana Republic, summer 2010
Rio Navajo sandals:  Jack Rogers
Hello there!  I'm sorry I haven't responded to your comments...I promise I will soon!  It's been a whirlwind trip and one that I am so sad to see end, especially since we will be coming home to several inches of snow.  Until we leave, I am enjoying the mild temperatures in southern Florida.  I'm wearing J.Crew's sequin stripe shell that is still available. and I highly recommend it.  I am wearing a size small with room, so go with your normal size.  I love this green stripe so much, especially for Florida...very mermaid-y right?  See it also on Gigi here.  I can see loving it under a blazer at home too.  So sparkly and fun!

Hope you are having a fantastic Christmas vacation!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday red

Ribbon Grass dress by Sariah:  Anthropologie, spring 2012
Mid wedges in platinum:  Jack Rogers
Necklace:  The Limited, gift from my mom
Happy holidays to all my friends in the blogosphere!  There are certain shifts that happen as you grow older, which signify that you're the adult now and no longer the child.  One of those shifts, I believe, is being responsible for holiday dinners.  I made Christmas dinner tonight for our family and our in-laws.  Nothing fancy, chicken parmesean with homemade marinara and pasta, but for so many years, it was my mother-in-law who always cooked.  So these rites of passage, when changes occur, always feel significant.  Fortunately the meal went off without a hitch, and I didn't burn down the kitchen in our vacation rental.

It was a casual meal but I still wanted to look festive so I wore a red dress.  My mom surprised me with this new necklace, which I thought was very sweet of her.  All in all, it's been a wonderful Christmas, and I hope your holiday was special as well!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry pink and green Christmas!

Jackie cardigan in neon azalea:  J.Crew Factory, fall 2012
Strapless eyelet dress in succulent green: J.Crew, summer 2012
Mid wedges in platinum:  Jack Rogers
Christmas Eve, what a time of reflection!  I'm so thankful to be on the beach, with the people I love most in this world.  I know red and green are the colors of Christmas, but my preppy heart much prefers pink and green!  It's still festive, right?

I hope you are having a beautiful holiday with your families.  I'm so thankful to all of you for reading my little blog.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!  Go kiss someone you love. xoxo

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Feeling at home in FL in Lilly Pulitzer & Jack Rogers

Silk dress:  Lilly Pulitzer, 2009
Rio navajo sandals in turquoise/gold:  Jack Rogers, here
Earrings:  Banana Republic, summer 2012

Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rogers feel more "right" in Florida than anywhere else to me.  Lilly Pulitzer created her whimsically printed shift dresses in Palm Beach, FL around the year 1960.  Jackie O.  wore both Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Jack Rogers sandals frequently while in Florida and around the world, hence the iconic legend of both labels.  (Did you know Jackie O and Lilly Pulitzer were boarding school friends? Interesting right?)

Much warmer today, on the beach and this evening.  So glad I could finally wear a pretty dress.  Merry Christmas Eve-Eve!  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Polka dot cashmere + colored denim

Collection cashmere polka dot sweater:  J.Crew, other colors here
Garment-dyed ankle-zip toothpick jean in neon rose:  J.Crew, neon pink here
Two pocket chambray shirt:  J.Crew Factory, here
Mid wedges in platinum: Jack Rogers, here
Hello from the Sunshine State!  We made it here, in more hours than I care to say...9 hours the first day, 9 hours the second day!  Of course that includes stops for lunch, snacks, gas, potty, etc.  Traveling with small kids is never a quick trip.  Fortunatetly our 2 year old flew down with my mom, since he is not good in the car and gets car sick easily.  So it was just my husband, my older two boys, and me in the SUV.  It wasn't too bad a trip. 

Proof that I have actually become a grown-up:  Rather than stubbornly wearing a dress simply because I'm in Florida, I dressed for the weather this evening.  It was a beautiful, sunshiney day, but the high was only 65 today!  We were the only ones in bathing suits on the beach...everyone else was bundled up.  This evening, I had to face the fact that I'm FREEZING and I put on jeans and a sweater.  Unheard of for me in Florida in years past. 

The weather is supposed to warm up everyday, until it reaches 80 on Christmas Day.  Horray!  Until then, I'm happy I brought some cozy options.  I actually love how this outfit turned out, with the neutral sweater and bright jeans.  (Although my mom helpfully asked, "Does that match??" ...when I walked out.  Thanks once again Mom!)  I can't recommend the cashmere polka dot sweater's fab!  Treat yourself this Christmas and grab one before J.Crew sells out completely.

Off for a cocktail.  It's 5:00 somewhere. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ba Ba black sheep, have you a critter sweater?

Critter sweater with sheep:  Old Navy, sold out online but check stores
Toothpick jeans in garment dyed twill:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Flats: Coach, old
My boys all loved the song "Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool?" when they were babies.  So when I popped into Old Navy the other day to grab some pajamas for the kids and saw this sweater, I fell in love.  I saw the owl and fox critter sweaters as well, and thought they were adorable too.  But sizing was very limited, only Mediums and Larges left, and this one I have on, in an Extra Small.  No smalls in sight, which is my normal size everywhere.  Now I will tell you right now that I am rarely, if ever, an XS.  That size is usually too small in the chest, shoulders, and/or arms.  But I tried on the medium and it was huge, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try on the XS.  I was surprised by how well it fit.  The arms are plenty long, the sweater itself is plenty long, it's not too tight.  Now I couldn't fit a button down underneath, but that's ok.  For $15, I will wear my little sheep sweater happily until it falls apart.

I'm typically not a fan of Old Navy for women's clothing.  I buy my boys pants, jeans, and shorts there, and they're great.  But the quality seems very spotty with the adult clothes.  So I was happily surprised by how nice this sweater feels.  Also, I already had to wash it once (a little incident with bacon grease, whoops) and it washed nicely and I dried it flat, and it came out perfectly.  (And the grease came out, yay.)

I know critter sweaters are a hot but fleeting trend, so it's fun to buy one at a low cost and just enjoy it.  Do you have an Old Navy critter sweater?  What are your thoughts?  Do you like my sheep sweater? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blackwatch plaid + jeans

Schoolboy blazer in blackwatch plaid:  J.Crew, fall 2011
Natasha top in green:  J.Crew, 2011
Jeans:  Express, old
Willow riding boots in deep cognac:  Banana Republic, fall 2012
Necklace:  Gift from friend
My first day of Christmas vacation was spent attending my 5 year old's kindergarten Christmas party, taking  my 2 year old to lunch, and making dinner for my dad and his wife.  It has been a great day.  I was responsible for bringing the game in for the kindergarten party.  My boys and I made this adorable reindeer on posterboard last night and cut out a bunch of red circles for noses, and so the game was "Pin the nose on Rudolph."  The kids screamed with laughter everytime a blindfolded kid would try to guess where the nose was a much bigger hit than I anticipated.  After the national sadness of the last few days, there is no where else I would have rather been today than to spend a couple hours with a class of happy kindergarten kids.

Plaid blazers are everywhere this year, aren't they?  Or maybe it's just this time of year.  I saw another mom at school with the Target version from this year of this blackwatch plaid jacket, and it looked great!  I absolutely love this blazer, even though it feels a wee bit on the short didn't come in tall sizes. Blackwatch plaid is so perfect for Christmas time, isn't it?  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Floating rose + white blouse

White ruffle blouse:  Banana Republic, here
Flair skirt in floating rose:  J.Crew, fall 2011
Red suede heels:  Banana Republic Man Men Collection, fall 2011
I have gotten quite a bit of use out of my J.Crew items in the floating rose print.  I loved the pattern so much last year that I had to have the dress, skirt, and silk tie-neck top...I'm such a hoarder like that.  The last time I wore this skirt, I paired it with gray and black, here.  I think I like it better with the white blouse.  What do you think? 

J.Crew isn't the only retailer where online prices vastly differ from in-store prices.  This blouse is still $69.50 on Banana Republic's website, but I picked it up for less than $30 in-store.  Whaaa? a $40 difference.  Isn't that insane?  It's a great little top though, as far as basic white blouses go.  I have a tough time finding button down shirts that fit both my chest and torso...but this one fits perfectly all the way down.  I'm wearing a size 6. Some reviews online mention it runs small.  I didn't find that to be true, but maybe it depends on your proportions. 

Today was my last day of work for the year, and we leave for our Florida Christmas trip on Thursday.  I am grateful for the time to spend with my family.   Soon  enough my little boys will be too old to want to spend too much time with their mama...I need to appreciate it while I can.   Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

J.Crew shawl-collar blazer + jeans & boots

Shawl collar crepe blazer in vintage berry:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Sleeveless silk top by Charlotte Taylor:  Anthropologie, summer 2012
Skinny jeans:  Seven for All Mankind
Willow riding boot in deep cognac:  Banana Republic, here
Sunday evening once again.  We had a busy weekend filled with holiday plans and it was nice seeing a lot of our friends, but I had an underlying sense of sadness all weekend, as I am sure everyone did. 

It seems so irrevelant to talk about fashion at such a sad moment, but it's also a nice diversion isn't it?  I wore this outfit just around town today to do errands, grocery shopping, and then my husband and I took the kids out and about and to dinner.  I love this shawl collar blazer with jeans!  It's such a fun piece to have.  When I was at the grocery store today, I was wheeling my cart down an aisle when a man felt it necessary to tell me, "Da-yum girl, you look sharp! THANK you for keeping America beautiful!"  It totally lifted me spirits, not because I long for compliments from strange men, but because the way he said it was so funny. 

Hope you got to spend the weekend with someone you love.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sparkly, shimmery holiday outfit

Silver silk top:  Banana Republic, 2009
Lace pencil skirt: Ann Taylor, here
Necklace and earrings:  Ann Taylor, 2010
"Snakeskin" clutch: Banana Republic, 2010
Red pumps:  Max Studio
Hello lovely ladies.  I wore this outfit for a holiday dinner with friends.  It's not as colorful as I normally go, but I felt fun and festive in it!  Thanks so much for all your open and honest feedback the other day about the J.Crew jewel-neck top and this skirt.  The top went back, and based on your opinions I decided to wear this top with the lace skirt rather than the sequin polka dot top. I like how the silver top matches the gray lining of the skirt, and I was proud of myself for shopping my own closet!  I want to say how much I love the blogging community, and the fact that I have yet to have a mean comment.  Everyone is always so kind and classy with their comments and opinions, and I just appreciate it so much.  So thank you! 

The holidays are my favorite time of year for dressing up.  When else can I wear a necklace made of gigantic sparkly globes with matching earrings?  I will be sure to get a close-up shot of this necklace next time I wear it, as it is just awesome for the holidays.  I remember finding it on sale at Ann Taylor after Christmas a couple years ago, and then randomly finding the earrings at a different Ann Taylor location.  It was meant to be! 

Do you love dressing up for the holidays?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Taking a pause for today

The three little boys you see here are the center of my universe.  Their innocent faces are the most beautiful sights in my world. I love them with a fierceness that I didn't know existed within myself.  There's a certain vulnerablity in becoming a parent and loving someone more than you love your own life.  I'm always thinking:  What if something happens to one of my boys?  What if one gets hurt, or lost, or worse?  How would I live through it?  I don't know if I could.  Today I have to take a pause from lighthearted blogging.  My heart is sick over the school shooting in Conneticut.  Such young, innocent children and adults is more than I can bear.  To think of these parents who sent their kids to school today, not knowing they would never see them again.  I don't know how anyone could survive that kind of loss.  You think your kids are safe at school.  School should be a safe place. 

Hug your kids extra hard tonight.  If you don't have kids, hug a friend, or a loved one.   And if you believe in a higher power, please say a prayer for all of these families who didn't know that this morning was the last time they would hug their own children.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2 reviews: J.Crew jewel-neck top and Ann Taylor lace pencil skirt

Hello ladies!  At this time of the year, I am suddenly dazzled by all of the sparkley, lacy, and fancy party clothes.  I want to buy them all, and it is difficult to restrain.  So here are a couple pieces I recently picked up.  One I am definitely keeping, the other I am on the fence about so I need your honest feedback!  Please comment and let me know what you think!  Ok, the first up is the keeper:  This gorgeous, sumptious lace pencil skirt from Ann Taylor:

Lace Pencil Skirt:  Ann Taylor, here
Size 6
I mentioned yesterday how I popped into Ann Taylor and I was impressed by many items.  This lace pencil skirt caught my eye immediately.  It reminds me of an Anthro skirt from last summer, but even better quality.  Going through my holiday options in my closet, I've noticed I don't have many "fun" skirts.  Sure, I have many nice wool pencil skirts, but since I wear those everyday to work, I want something different for evening.  This pencil skirt is perfect for a night out.  It's sexy and fitted yet still totally classy, classic and ladylike.  It is $98, but click here for a coupon that will take 25% off any one full-price item!  That helped, so I paid $75 for this skirt.  A little on the pricey side, but worth it because I think it's such a classic piece.  It will be in my closet for a long time.  Here are a few more shots:

The lining is gray, which is a nice touch and it makes the black lace really pop. A note about fit: It definitely runs on the small side.  While I usually wear a size 6 with extra room, this is a 6 and the fit is exact...there is no way I could have sized down.  So if you carry your weight in your hips, consider sizing up. 

Ok, the next item is the one I am on the fence about, mainly because of the fit.  The jewel-neck top by J.Crew (item number 95649) is sold out online, but I snagged it on pop back so you may too:

Jewel-neck top by J.Crew
Size 4
I read a couple reviews online (LOVE blogger reviews, so helpful!) that said to size down in this top.  Sizing down is always risky for those of us with a larger chest, but normally I do size down in these boxier shapes from J.Crew, so I did go with the size 4.  I am so surprised by how big this is!  I can pull several inches of fabric away from the body of the top, there is ample extra room in the chest, even the arms are a bit loose.  On a positive note, it's a lovely wool crepe material and the jewel details are very nicely done:

I think this would actually look nice for work with a pencil skirt.  It is very conservative for a night out though.  So what is your honest opinion on this top?  It was $75.00 so I don't want to keep it if I don't love it!  But I want to love it...ahhh don't you hate that?  Please give me your honest opinion!

One more photo I want to share:  I may end up wearing this combo to one of the holiday parties we have coming up, with different heels of course: 

Sequin polka dot top, J.Crew, sold out online but check stores
Size small

How fun is this outfit? 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Haphazard gingham & schoolboy blazer

Perfect shirt in fuschia gingham:  J.Crew, here
Schoolboy blazer in gray heather flannel:  J.Crew, fall 2009
Wool No. 2 pencil skirt in vivid jade:  J.Crew, here
Intyce boots in black leather:  Steve Madden, here
This week has been crazy at work, and I'm fighting a nasty cold.  I just haven't been in the mood to take my normal time to plan my outfits at night.  Throw that in with my need to wear flats this week, and the outfit results are on the random and haphazard side.  On the bright side, I do love the color combo of this fuschia gingham and vivid jade skirt. 

Has anyone been to Ann Taylor recently?  I hadn't been there in forever, but I popped in there today.  There are actually a lot of cute items right now, if I have time later this week I will try to stop there again and do some fitting room reviews. Thanks for visiting! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Limping along in tweed + flat boots

Chimera jacket in charcoal:  J.Crew, fall 2009
Tippi sweater in marrakech purple:  J.Crew, here
Plaid/tweed skirt:  Ann Taylor, old
Intyce boots in black leather:  Steve Madden, here
I've been working out pretty hard at the gym lately.  Amazing the motivation that comes with knowing I will be on the beach in less than 2 weeks.  While the working out may be good for my gut, I did something over the weekend that killed my right knee.  I've been a runner for years and years and have never had a problem with my knees, so this is a bit concerning for me.  Being in heels yesterday totally aggravated it, so much so that I was limping last night!  Today I wore flat boots and my knee felt much better.  It's not sore to the touch anymore so I think I'm on the mend.  I guess my mom was right when she said excercise can be hazardous to your health.  Maybe I should just go back to lounging on the porch with wine.  Ha.

This Tippi is totally reading blue in this picture but it's my purple one.  So strange how it showed up as blue.  I felt kind of mod in this outfit, and very comfy in tights and flat boots.  I think these boots will be in heavy rotation during the winter months, when walking on the icy sidewalks and parking lots can be hazardous for a tall, clutzy girl like me.  Black boots seem a little less casual and more work appropriate to me. 

Do you like flat boots?  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Polka dots + Gingham

Intarsia charley sweater in dot:  J.Crew Factory, here
Gingham boy shirt in turquoise: J.Crew, similar here
Skinny jeans:  Banana Republic, old
Willow riding boots in deep cognac:  Banana Republic, here
Quick note beforeI begin:  Today and online only:  25% off and free shipping on any order with code MERRY at J.Crew!  They've been offering free shipping quite often lately and I could not be any happier about that!

Well clearly it's love for me and this sweater since I wore it the same day that I reviewed my Factory purchases.  I wore this outfit to do a little Christmas shopping and dinner with the family on Sunday.  I actually just had the sweater on without the shirt, and as I was heading out of my closet the gingham shirt caught my eye and I just had to see how it would look underneath the dots.  LOVE!  I am going to wear this same shirt and sweater combo with my retro jade wool capris later in the week...I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this sweater for both work and casual wear. 

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!  Christmas break is right around the corner! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

J.Crew Factory reviews: 2 shirts, 2 sweaters, and a J.Crew coat review

Hope everyone has had a great weekend.  Since we're lazing around, I finally have time to do some reviews of Factory items I have picked up over the last month.  To me, J.Crew Factory is very hit or miss.  But the four items I purchased recently have all been winners, and I bought them all for great prices.  Here we go:

Factory intarsia Charley sweater in dot, navy, here
Turquoise polka dots on navy?  Love.  At first I was a little disappointed in the blend of this fabric.  I didn't pay attention when I ordered it and figured it would be a 100% merino sweater.  Nope. The tag says 36% nylon, 35% viscose, 28% merino wool, and that pesky little 1% alpaca.  I'm still concerned about pilling., but it doesn't feel too bad on. I am wearing a size small, and the fit is great.  Not too short or tight.  Go with your regular Tippi size.  I paid $50.40 for this, with free shipping.  Kind of high for a Factory item...I guess I was blinded by polka dots.  I think this will look great with my retro jade skirt and wool capris. 

Factory classic crewneck cardigan in bright azalea, here
I needed a pink Jackie cardigan to throw over all of my Lilly Pulitzer dresses I have packed for our Christmas Florida trip, so I decided to try out the Factory version during a recent promo.  I paid $23.70 with free shipping.  It's on sale right now for a great price too, only $24.50 so if you need any colors now's a good time to stock up.  I was very happy with this's nearly identical to the retail version, in fact I may like it better because it seems a bit longer to me than the retail Jackie.  It is a thin material, but not see-through.  I always size up to a medium in Jackie sweaters to accomodate my chest, and I did so here as well.  You can see the fit is spot on, so go with your normal Jackie size.  Love the color and fit, and it was well worth a mere $23.70!

Factory two-pocket chambray shirt in blue chambray, here
It kind of drives me bonkers how Factory prices are always changing.  This shirt is currently $59.50, but when I bought it I only paid $32.00 with free shipping.  So if you like it, hold will go down again.  Since I have firmly jumped on the chambray bandwagon, I decided I needed another option other than that Banana Republic linen blend shirt I have.  I love this Factory version.  The color is a nice grayish blue, and the material is 100% cotton.  I am wearing a size small and it fits fine, sleeves and all.  So go with your normal button down size.  I really love this and am quite happy with the price I paid. 

Factory ruffle-trim button down shirt in pink, here
This may be too corporate-y for some ladies, but this is a great basic shirt to have if you work in an office environment.  I paid around $20.00 for it, with free shipping.  This is a size small, and I'm surprised by how long the sleeves are!  They may be too long for petite girls.  The material is very nice, not too thin, and I love the ruffle detail at the collar and cuffs.  This shirt has been languishing on the Factory website forever.  My only disappointment when  it arrived? The material is a very thin pink pinstripe, rather than the solid pink I thought it was.  Here is a close up of the ruffle and the color:

I would have preferred solid pink, but for $20.00 it's fine.  The ruffles will look cute peeking out of blazers.  A great deal for a great work wardrobe basic.

Those are my Factory reviews.  I now have one other review for you from J.Crew retail.  I hadn't purchased a new winter coat in two years, and I figured I was due for one.  I have mentioned before that I have commitment issues when buying winter coats!  I am always afraid I will make a wrong choice and hate my selection within a couple of months.  During a recent promo, here is the coat I picked out:

Double-cloth metro coat with Thinsulate, here
I bought this for $164.99, down from $325.00.  I think that is a fair price for a nice winter coat.  At first I was a little put off by how the material felt.  I imagined a thick, soft wool, and that is not what this coat is at all.  It is 75% wool and 24% nylon, and it has almost a rough feel.  I was kind of disappointed by that.  The vintage berry color is pretty, and the shape nice.  I am wearing a 6 Tall, and I was thrilled that it comes to my knees.  Not many coats do!  The sleeves are nice and long, and it is fitted without being too tight to fit a sweater underneath.  I'm not 100% sure I am keeping the coat, mainly because of how the material feels.  I guess I just didn't realize how the double cloth material felt. But I am leaning towards keeping it, because of the striking color and nice fit.  What do you think?

I hope my reviews were helpful to you today!  What do you think of these items? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cozy day featuring Anthro's Dimensional Petals Sweater

Dimensional petals sweater by Sparrow:  Anthropologie, here
AG Stevie skinny jeans, Anthropologie, fall 2011
Willow riding boot in deep cognac:  Banana Republic, here
I think in another life I lived in the pacific northwest...I seriously love rainy, gloomy days.  While everyone else is complaining how miserable the rain is, I am reveling in it.  I just think it's so cozy and romantic, especially on days like today when I don't have to be out working in it!  I worked from home today, which is a cherished rarity. Instead of sitting in front of my laptop in sweats, I decided to wear my new fave sweater for the first time.  I have been obsessed with the Dimensional Petal Sweater by Sparrow since I first saw it in Anthro's fall catalogue months ago.  At $168 it was way more than I'd be willing to pay for a wool-blend sweater.  Then it got marked to $129.95 and I thought:  LAME sale price!  So I held out...and snagged it this week on second markdown of 69.95.  NOW they're talking my language.  This sweater is everything an Anthropologie item should be:  Unique, flattering, and beautiful.  The material, like I said, is a wool blend, and some the flower petals are cut from the same blend, and others from a thick felt.  There's pretty beading too, and the buttons are fabric-covered.  For reference, I am wearing a size small, with room.  So go with your normal size, or if you are small-busted you may be able to size down.  I definitely recommend this sweater, especially for the sale price!  It is a wonderful, classic Anthropologie item.  Also see Molly of Anthromollogies looking beautiful in it, here.

In other thoughts, who else loves Spotify?  What did I do without it?  Happy Friday, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The blues: Wool herringbone blazer + polka dots

Wool herringbone schoolboy blazer in watercolor blue:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Wool cafe capri in yacht blue:  J.Crew, 2011 (other colors here)
Polka dot bow blouse:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Reptile Colette Pumps:  Tahari
So in my profession all the men wear suits.  There's really no leeway.  We ladies, on the other hand, have a lot more freedom.  But I still feel most confident, professionally, when I am wearing a suit or separates that come together like a suit.  That's why I loved today's look.  It definitely gave off a "suit" vibe but was a whole lot more fun!  I can't believe there was once a time where I only wore black, gray, or otherwise neutral dress pants.  How boring!  While I will still wear regular dress pants, I feel so dowdy in them now.  I'd much rather wear brightly colored wool capris.  So fun yet still professional.  In fact, many more colors are now marked to $49.99 on J.Crew's website, and I plan on snagging a few the next time there's a promo.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that I'd be addicted to wearing brightly colored pants and jeans in the near future, I wouldn't have believed it.   That's what's so fun about style...mine is constantly evolving.  While I will always love the preppy, clean classic vibe, I never want to get stuck in a rut.  Life's too short to not wear bright pants, right? 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Broken blocks shift by Maeve + bubble

Broken blocks silk shift by Maeve:  Anthropologie, fall 2011
Bubble necklace in brilliant blue:  J.Crew, fall 2011
Boots:  Coach, fall 2009
Do you ever purchase something for an absolute steal...and then never wear it?  Yeah, me too.  This dress is a perfect example.  It poppoed back on Anthropologie's website after Christmas last year for the insanely low price of $29.95 ( original retail price was $228.)  I ordered it and hoped for its arrival. (you know how unfortunately un-dependable Anthro sale items can be online, right?)  Well the Anthro gods sent it to me, and I was so excited...then it sat lonely in my closet for nearly a year.  I finally pulled it out to wear for an event last night. 

Now I know this crazy dress isn't for fact I was cracking up at one review online that said it looked like a clown and Lilly Pulitzer collaborated on it.  But I love it.  The full sleeves, shift shape, and silk material...beautiful. And for less the the price of taking all the kids to Subway...I love it even more.  Next time I will definitely wear heels rather than boots...I think it will look more streamlined. 

Look how long my hair has gotten!  Lordy I'm starting to look like a hippie.  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brown houndstooth + vivid jade

Brown houndstooth blazer:  Banana Republic, 2005 OLD!
Double serge wool No. 2 pencil skirt in vivid jade:  J.Crew, here
Ruffled silk top:  J.Crew, 2010
Leopard heels:  Nine West, similar here
I get a certain thrill when I pull out an old item from my closet and realize I still love it.  It makes me feel like I got a good ROI.  (Can you tell I'm in sales?)   The blazer I'm wearing is a little long in the tooth by my standards...7 years old!  But it is still a fave.  This outfit came together in about 5 seconds this morning after I realized that a newly purchased Anthropologie sweater I had planned on wearing was not working for me and I'd be returning it.  Don't you hate that?  Like Elaine on Seinfeld, sometimes I get tricked into thinking something looks really good in the store's dressing room, only to bring it home and realize it looks frightful.  Anyway, I was scrambling in my skirt and heels after that, and literally just grabbed a blazer I thought would decently match.   Only after throwing it on did  I realize how pretty this blazer still is and how flattering the definitely plays up an hourglass shape. 

It got me thinking:  How long do other women hang on to clothing?  For me it depends on the item.  As I've said before, I'm more likely to keep investment pieces like blazers and cashmere for a long time.  Items like silk tops are tougher to keep in good shape for that long...or maybe I am just hard on my clothes!  One thing I am not is a pack rat.  If it doesn't fit my body or my life anymore, out it  goes without any regret from me.  But if it continues to look good, year after year, I will keep an item for as long as I still love it.  What about you?  How long do you keep your clothing? 

Do you like my giant snowman in the righthand corner of the picture?  My husband loathes it, but the boys love out it comes every year!  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ruffles in the rain

Ruffled short belted trench by Elevenses: Anthropologie, 2009 or 2010? 
Wool cafe capri pants in retro jade:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Pumps:  Vince Camuto
A rainy Monday calls for a simple outfit, right?  I came accross this old rain jacket from Anthropologie on our coat rack this morning, and since we're having a weird warm spell I decided to give it a whirl.   I can't remember if this jacket is 2009 or 2010 and I couldn't find it online.  If anyone knows what it is, leave a message in the comments, thanks!  You can't really tell from this picture but the ruffles on the coat are pretty big and over the top.  But being a ruffle-lover, that's ok by me. 

I will have a few J.Crew Factory reviews later this week. I'm waiting for one more package to arrive, but I've been really impressed with the quality of Factory items lately.  The prices are really reasonable too, with all the promos Factory has been running. 

Thanks for stopping by on this Monday!  I can't believe Christmas Eve is in exactly 3 weeks!  Time is flying!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mako Blouse by Anna Sui + festival blue pencil skirt

Mako Blouse by Anna Sui:  Anthropologie, 2010
Double Serge wool No. 2 pencil skirt in festival blue:  J.Crew, here
Boots:  Ann Taylor (old)
We all have items in our closets that we love but that don't get nearly enough play, don't we?  This blouse is one of mine.  I adore it but rarely wear it because...well it's just kind of  blousey and difficult to style.  But it's such a perfect match for J.Crew's festival blue color that this outfit was a no-brainer.  Which is what I need for a Friday.  (Also see the lovely Molly of Anthromollogies rock this blouse here.)  I always feel like I should be going to a Mexican fiesta or something in this top.  Or maybe a folk dance.  Whatever.  I made it work for the corporate world, right? 

How do you make difficult to style items work for you?  Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

J.Crew Lady Jacket in berry...delicious

Lady jacket in double serge wool (bright berry):  J.Crew, other colors here
Leigh dress:  J.Crew Factory, here
Bow heels:  Mojo Moxy (DSW)

Today is a crazy-busy work day which started with an early morning mass with my second-grader and kindergartener.  My second-grader read one of the petitions so of course I was so proud of him.  Going to their school mass is always such a peaceful, beautiful way to start the day. 

I love this lady jacket so much.  For around $70, it was a steal!  Typically I have to stay away from this style jacket at J.Crew, as they are normally too short on me.  But this one seemed to hit me at a decent length and looks fine with dresses.  Did you grab this at a steal?  This berry color is sold out but the spicy gold is really pretty too! 

Gotta run...thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hacking jacket in turquoise + coral scarf

Hacking jacket in turquoise:  J.Crew, fall 2011. This year's version here
1035 pant in stretch wool, heather flannel:  J.Crew, fall 2011.  This year's version here
Pumps:  Vince Camuto
Cashmere scarf:  T.J. Maxx
So I have this love/hate relationship with winter coats.  I love how stylish they can be, but I hate how hot I get, with being in and out of my car and in and out of offices all day long.  So typically during the cold months, unless it's below freezing, snowing, or raining, I am much more likely to be wearing a wool blazer and scarf rather than an actual winter coat.  In fact, that was the big purchase I was considering making yesterday from J.Crew, a new winter coat.  But I just couldn't justify the need to spend more than $200 right now on a coat for myself when Christmas is right around the corner.  I am sure I will purchase a new one in the near future, but it's still just not cold enough for me! 

It's my second day this week in a turquoise/coral combo.  And amid all the black and gray coats you see all day long in Ohio, I definitely stood out. Here's a picture without the scarf, I wore my retro jade Tippi underneath.

Hmmm I could use a necklace but I wore the scarf for most of the day. 

Thank you for reading! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Some old and new J.Crew: Chimera Jacket + retro jade cafe capris

Wool pleated-silk chimera jacket in dusty blossom:  J.Crew, fall 2009
Wool cafe capri in retro jade:  J.Crew, here
Silk leopard top:  Ann Taylor, 2011
Heels:  Joan & David
Happy Cyber Monday! Anyone get some good deals?  I'm still debating a big J.Crew purchase but I'm just not sure I'm ready to pull the trigger today.  I still have a few hours left to decide!  Wouldn't it be awesome though if J.Crew would have offered a really exciting deal, like 50% off the sale price?  I'm just not that excited by either J.Crew or Anthropologie's Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. 

I'm loving these retro jade capris and especially how they paired with this older jacket from J.Crew.  I'm wearing a 6 Tall and they fit great, and don't seem to be stretching out as badly as the ones from last year .  As far as the jacket goes, the chimera has always been a favorite of mine.  For my working mom lifestyle, blazers and jackets make the best investment pieces. I wear them for years, and if they're good quality they last forever and hold a good resale value too.

Going back to the grind today after 5 days off was tough but yet a relief at the same time.  A relief in the fact that we were back on our regular schedule and I wasn't stuffing myself with food I don't normally eat.  I need to detox this week! 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Schoolboy + Tippi + bubble featuring turqoise and coral

Schoolboy blazer in heather coral:  J.Crew, 2009
Tippi sweater in retro jade:  J.Crew, fall 2012 other colors here
Coral silk blouse:  J.Crew, 2010
Skinny jeans:  Banana Republic, 2010
Boots:  Coach, 2009
Handbag:  Kate Spade, summer 2012
Lil' Bubble necklace:  J.Crew Factory, other colors here
Sunglasses:  Coach, old
Although I'm sad to see Thanksgiving break coming to a close, I'm feeling pretty content right now as I sit here in front of the Christmas tree sipping a glass of Pinot Noir, writing this blog entry while the kids watch iCarly. (Hey, I'l take the 30 minutes of peace.)  We had a great day today, visitng the aquarium and eating at our favorite pizza place.  This picture was actually taken at Newport on the Levy in Kentucky, which is right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.  It's a pretty view of the Queen City.

Coral and turquoise is my second fave color combo after pink and green.  It just feels fresh to me.  And really, where would we be without the Tippi sweater?  One of the best classics to come out of J.Crew, ever. I may not stop collecting them until I have every color in the rainbow. 

I did zip, zilch, zero Black Friday shopping.  Instead I slept in until 9:00 AM.  Because while there may have been deals to be had, beauty sleep is priceless once you hit your mid-thirties, ladies.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Updated: Plaid trousers 2 ways, my only thrifted closet item

Black ruffle neck cardigan and black silk cami:  J.Crew Factory, 2008
Plaid wool trousers: J.Crew, thrfted!
Bow pumps: Tahari

Chambray shirt:  Banana Republic, summer 2012
Plaid wool pants:  J.Crew, my only thrifted closet item!
Red wedges:  Me Too
 I think it's awesome when people can find amazing treasures at thrift stores.  But as much as I love a good bargain, I just don't get into thrift shopping.  I don't really have the time it takes to dig and find the good stuff.  However, I do have a dear friend that does a lot of thrifting, and she has found countless deals.  She even runs a little eBay business, selling much of what she finds at a great profit.  One day last spring she texted me a picture of these J.Crew plaid pants and said they looked like me.  She found them in a Goodwill in Cincinnati.  Of course I ran right over and bought them...I think they were $4.99, and in perfect condition.  I'd always wanted a bright pair of plaid pants, like these, but I didn't want to spend a lot because I knew I'd only wear them a couple times a year around the holidays.  So I was happy to find these!  They're great wool material, fully lined, and a size 6.  I had to take them to the tailor and have the hem let down, and now they're perfect on me.  I'm happy to see so many plaid pants at J.Crew and Factory right now, the trend, (which is actually more a classic), is still going strong.

I admit, it takes some guts to wear these babies.  At least for me.  And I struggled with what to pair with them to not look like a clown.  As you can see I tried them out two ways.  I like the black top better, but I first tried chambray, since that is the style answer to everything isn't it?   When I came down the stairs in this outfit, my husband started humming the Brady Bunch song and my 5 year old asked me why I was wearing pajama pants to go out.  Hmmm...not the biggest confidence booster.  But then I decided I didn't care...I love my plaid pants!  I wore them to go Christmas tree shopping (only real trees for us) and enjoyed every minute of it. 

Anyone know what year these may be from at J.Crew?  The fit is called "favorite fit."  I tried to find them online to no avail.

Thanks for stopping by!  Which way do you like these plaid pants? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Allie dress in aqua abstract floral:  J.Crew, summer 2012
Bubble necklace in kelly green:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Pumps:  Seychelles
Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends!  I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful, kind, inspiring community.  Blogging has given me so much more happiness than I ever expected, and I have loved "meeting" every single one of you!

This Allie dress has been quite a player in my fall wardrobe.  I ordered it in late September and have already worn it three times...the sign of a true winner for sure!  I changed it up with a bubble necklace (that you can hardly see!) and darker pumps for this gorgeous Thanksgiving Day...I don't remember a Thanksgiving EVER being this warm in Ohio. 

That's all I have time for today...I promise I will respond to yesterday's comments tomorrow!  As always, thank you for reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Green jeans: Who knew?

High Tea blouse by Floreat:  Anthropologie, 2010
Toothpick jean in garment dyed twill:  J.Crew, other colors here
Cece ballet flat in tortoise:  J.Crew, summer 2012
Headband:  Anthropologie, summer 2012
I'm taking a quick break from planning, preparing, and cleaning for tomorrow's feast to do a fast blog post.  Today was the most beautiful autumn day and I was happy to have it off to spend with my boys.  The high tea blouse has always been one of my favorites for its vintage inspired feel.  Anthro, please bring back more tops like this!  Speaking of Anthro, will you be getting up at the crack of dawn to hit Anthro's Black Friday sale?  I am considering depends on how tired I am after hosting 8 adults and 5 kids for Thanksgiving!

Who knew how versatile and awesome green jeans could be?  These from J.Crew have quickly become my favorites.  I hope colored denim remains "in" for a long time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

French hen silk blouse + cafe capris

French hen silk blouse:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Wool cafe capris in maraschino cherry:  J.Crew, fall 2011
Colette heels in reptile:  Tahari
Necklace:  J.Crew, 2009
Ahhh, a 2 day work week, pretty nice isn't it?  All day long I waited for someone to ask me if I had turkeys on my shirt so I could say "why no, they are French hens!"  But no one did.  Booo.  You can see that from any sort of distance, it's nearly impossible to tell what this pattern actually is.  But up close...Lordy these little hens are so cute. 

So I have a little trick for anyone who is dealing with sagging, stretched-out wool capris.  These red ones were driving me bonkers with how huge they had gotten.  So I took a chance and washed them with a tad bit of detergent in warm water, then let them air dry.  They totally snapped back into shape and now fit me so much better.    Washing them really helped shrink them just the right amount.  The only downside is it took forever to iron them... I'm rather picky when it comes to pressed clothes, and I like a sharp crease.  Do I just look for ways to make my life more difficult?  I can't help it...I like the crisp, clean look of freshly ironed clothes!  I even iron my  boys' school uniforms every night...what can I say, I am old school like that.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Electric plaid + pencil skirt

Collection bow blouse in electric plaid:  J.Crew, fall 2012
No. 2 pencil skirt in double serge wool, festival blue:  J.Crew, here
Cap toe heels:  Tahari
Handbag:  Kate Spade, summer 2012
Aren't Mondays so much better when you know it's a short holiday week AND the weather is beautiful? 

I am loving this bright blue pencil skirt, especially for the $42 price tag I snagged it for in-store.  What a steal!  I have so many tops it will match.  I have decided my winter uniform this year will be a wool pencil skirt and a long-sleeve silk blouse in a fun print. Easy yet still interesting and chic.  What will be your go-to winter look?

One of my customers said today,  "That top is's like, electric."  And of course I had to say  "That's what the print is called, electric plaid!" He kind of looked at me like I was crazy but whatev... I always think it's cute when a man notices fashion.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sequins + garment dyed twill toothpick jeans

Sequin colorblock tank:  J.Crew, summer 2012
Toothpick jean in garment dyed twill:  J.Crew, other colors for a steal here!
Nude pumps:  Max Studio
Before I get started, anyone know what I'm doing wrong with our silly little point and shoot camera that I always come out so blurry in night shots?  So highly annoying.  If you know what I can do differently please leave a comment.  I'm in such desperate need for a decent camera, but I just haven't gotten around to researching and finding the best one for my money just yet.

Anyway, we had a great night out last night.   My husband and I started the night with a nice sushi date, just he and I, which was lovely.  Then we met some friends at this dive bar where a few pals were playing live music.  So fun!  I wanted to keep it casual but still girly, and what better to do that with than sequins?  I've had this top for several months and this is the first time I wore it.  Now I wish I would have bought it in the ivory/navy combo too, because I LOVE it.  And who would have ever known how pretty mint and red look together? 

These jeans are a steal right now, at $49.99 + an additional 30% off.  They are so soft and more comfy than regular denim.  I have them in green, blue and red now...highly recommend! 

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend too!  I can't believe Thanksgiving is on much to do!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Flair skirt in floating rose: A J.Crew favorite

Silk pintuck blouse in charcoal:  J.Crew, other colors here
Flair skirt in floating rose:  J.Crew, fall 2011
Double-strand seahorse necklace:  J.Crew, summer 2012
Black boots:  Ann Taylor
It's Friday, and I feel like I started my weekend out right already.  Somehow, some way, I found myself with an extra 30 minutes to myself this afternoon.  I parked myself at Starbucks with a salted caramel mocha, and even though I was going over work information, it still felt like a relaxing luxury.  Afterward, I felt totally recharged for the remainder of my work day, and ready for the weekend!  Maybe it was the caffeine talking...but still.  It was awesome. 

I adore the flair skirt in floating rose from last year, but I have a really hard time styling it for some reason.  I settled on a charcoal top today but thought the result was just so-so.  I'll keep working at it through, because this skirt is too pretty to sit in the closet, especially around the holidays!  I did find some great styling ideas on one of my fave blogs, Shopping with M, I think I will try her chambray look with it next time.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Adding more polka dots to my collection, and healthy habits

Collection cashmere polka dot in caramel/dusk:  J.Crew, other colors here
Double serge wool No. 2 pencil skirt in vivid jade:  J.Crew, here
Boots:  Coach, fall 2010
YES.  I am insane.  I cannot resist polka dots or cashmere, so when you put them together it's futile for me to resist.  I caved and purchased ANOTHER collection polka dot sweater, this time in the caramel color. (See me in the green version here).  But...but...but...I have a good reason!  I do not have many neutral tops or sweaters at all, and I have a lot of bright I thought this would pair nicely with many skirts I own.  (Do you reason away excessive purchasing like I do?  This is a problem.)   As far as sizing goes, I again purchased this in a small.  You can see I have extra room in the torso.  That's OK by me, because I hate when sweater arms are sausage tight, and that's what an extra-small would do to me. can just be sure that I fully, 100% endorse this sweater in every color, so if you see it in-store or it pops back online, and you're considering it...I say go for it!  It's very nicely made and well worth the sale price. 

As far as the skirt goes, I originally ordered this color in the Tall 6.  I figured I'd try it out, I was really curious about how it would compare to the regular 6.  Turns out the Tall size was frumptastic on me.  I took it to my local J.Crew to get a second opinion, and all of the wonderful sales associates and the personal shopper there agreed.  The Tall length was just too long for me.  So I exchanged it for a regular 6.  (I'm 5'10".)  Just wanted to share my experience in case you're a tall girl like me.

On another note, we leave for Florida in 5 weeks for our annual Christmas vacation.  I start to panic around this time every year, knowing I have to be in a bathing suit, on the beach, during the fat season.  So I'm trying to cut back and adopt a few more healthy habits between now and then.  I think my current healthiest habits, besides exercising daily, include drinking 80 ounces of water per day, and a cup of green tea every afternoon.  What is your healthy habit, and can you share it with me?  I'd love some new inspiration.  Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shifting into neutral with a black suit

Victoria silk blouse: J.Crew, 2008.  Factory version here - why oh why polyester?
Black suit:  Ann Taylor, 2007
Leopard heels:  Banana Republic Mad Men Collection, fall 2011

As much as I love color, once in a while I like to shift it into neutral gear with an outfit.  However I think I startled some of my customers today with my black suit, as they're used to seeing me in brights.  But I needed to look extra corporate-y today so a suit it was.  Today during work, someone I had a meeting with kept lamenting about my youth.  He must have mentioned three times how young I was.  The whole time I was thinking, either he thinks I'm way younger than I really am, or age is all relative.  Mid-thirties isn't that young.  But perhaps to someone in his fifties, it is?  I remember when I was in my mid-twenties I thought I had all the answers.  Now I realize how young and naive I was back then, and now I know I'll never have all the answers.   But I feel like I know a whole lot more about how the world works at this point, than I did back then.  That's probably the only thing I like about getting older:  the wisdom that comes with it.  One fashion blogger  that I read on a regular basis mentioned the other day that at age 27, she was almost officially old.  My thought was:  Seriously?? Oh honey, you have no idea. 

How do you feel about getting older? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes (fashion) dreams come true: J.Crew Collection Crepe Shawl Blazer

Collection crepe shawl blazer:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Black lace top:  Banana Republic, holiday 2011
Gray pinstripe pants:  Banana Republic, fall 2011
Leopard heels:  Banana Republic Mad Men Collection, fall 2011

My friends, sometimes fashion dreams come true.  When I first reviewed this blazer of pink awesomeness, here, I never thought I would be lucky enough to own it.  The price, $350, is way out of my price range for a blazer.  Plus, my local J.Crew didn't have my size, a 6, and it sold out online in size 6 very quickly.  It popped back now and then, and even got marked to $249.99, but that was still too much for me to pay.  Imagine my delight when I was stalking my local J.Crew (a bi-weekly occurance), and I found one shawl blazer, on the sale rack, size 6, marked to $199.99 plus the addional 25% off.  I literally gasped out loud.  I even had several returns to make, so really this blazer was all mine for only an addional $39 to what I was already returning.  Happy day!  I kept the rest of my outfit simple (and conservative) because I wanted to let it shine today, but I will definitely mix it up next time. 

I know I will love this blazer for years to come.  Some things are just meant to be.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I heart the Heart-Me Tippi

Heart-me Tippi in peacock/pink:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Jeans:  Juicy Couture, 2007
Wedges:  Coach, 2010
Necklace:  Anthropologie, fall 2012

I've got the Sunday evening blues, what about you?  Such a great weekend with friends and family, I don't want it to end! Back to reality tomorrow.  By the way,  my 7 year old took this picture of me.  I think he did a fine job, don't you? 

I'm not gonna lie, I love my Heart-Me tippi soooo much.  Even after wondering if it was too young for me... (And you awesome ladies reassuring me that NO, it was not too young looking...THANK you for that).  I'm so glad I bought it, as I've worn it several times now and I just think it's darling.  With critter sweaters and heart sweaters being all the rage right now, it's also on-trend, and it's fun to take part in that trend.

Speaking of trends, it's so weird to see myself in flare jeans!  Rarely do I wear jeans, and when I do they are skinny jeans.  I guess I wanted to A.) Make sure these old Juicy Couture jeans still fit me and B.)  Try something different tonight, for a cookout at a friend's house.  They do still fit but they defnitely felt tighter...time to jump back on the low-carb bandwagon I guess.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Striped tippi + Double strand giraffe necklace

Tippi sweater in burgundy/pink stripe:  J.Crew, here
Double serge wool No. 2 pencil skirt in berry pink:  J.Crew, here
Password pumps:  Seychelles
Double-strand enamel giraffe necklace:  J.Crew, fall 2012
Friday turned out to be such a busy day I didn't even have time to post.  I had work, volunteering, and dinner with the family, so I wanted something relatively simple but still fun.  I swapped out my heels for metallic flats for my volunteer hours, so this outfit was pretty comfortable throughout the day.  This tippi was marked so low in-store, I think I paid $29.99 for it.  Who else grabbed it at that price?  Online it's still $59.99...go figure! 

Any new arrivals catch you eye at J.Crew?  There are a few things I am wanting to see in person... I'm drawn to shiny, sparkly things like a moth to a flame when the holidays approach. 

Have a fantastic weekend!  It's gorgeous weather here...hope it's nice where you are too.  Get out and do something fun!