Saturday, April 2, 2011

J Crew Matchsticks - Lived In? You Better Believe It!

 J Crew Matchstick Jeans in lived in wash (#28163, $108).  $108?  Really?  These were a ton of these in the sale pile at my B&M.  For $29.99.  Add on the Mickey card's 20% off and I got them for $24.  Thank you B&M.  It seems like there is always a pile of jeans in the sale section at my B&M.  I don't usually go for them because it seems like you need to try on at least a dozen to find the right pair.  But they are always so well priced in the sale section, maybe I should make the effort more often.  Not that I actually need any more, I think this pair pretty much rounds out my jeans wardrobe for a while. 

But price issues aside...let's talk about the "lived in wash." I love the online commentary on these jeans "hand sanded for that had-it-forever softness."  So true.  So so so true. They are so soft.  So not only did they fit, but they were so comfy. 

I took a 29...which is likely meaningless, because I always have issues with not buying my jeans small enough and having them loosen up too much later (I hear my sister's voice in my head right now).  I just hate it when I put them on and they still are uncomfortable.  Although I think I've been getting better after the weight loss this fall, trying on smaller sizes first.  Of course, right now I'm wearing a pair of Crewlet matchsticks in size they're more like a boyfriend fit. But lately I've been skewing to usually a 6 in pants and taking a 28/6 in LOFT jeans, so I guess this is the equivalent of an 8?  And it would make sense to go with a larger size in a slim fit to avoid muffin top. 

In any case, $24 jeans that fit and were really cute...of course I got them.  Love the wash - great for spring and summer since it is softer.  I wore them yesterday, April 1, and was glad I did get them.  April Fools' Day...oh yes, Mother Nature had a fun time with us.  Chilly, chilly, chilly.  And way breezy.  But I'll just be happy it wasn't rainy. 

So I paired the jeans with the tissue turtle in...shoot...dark charcoal, I believe.  I love how it picked up the gray in the tweed Dauphine jacket.  Oh, the poor Dauphine jacket, which I've hardly worn, bad me, since getting it late in spring last year on mega-sale.  Really need to rectify that because it's such a great jacket!  And then a pair of croc mocs to round out the outfit. 

I felt comfy, casual, and chic all day.  Gret for running around doing errands.  Didn't even change into sweats later in the evening after dinner.  *That's* how comfy the jeans are. 

Bottom line...if you've got the time, definitely dig through that pile of denim in your B&M!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

J Crew Urbanite Shift

J Crew Urbanite Shift Dress (338605, $118 or $94.40 with Mickey card; spiced olive & muslin currently $95 online) 

Since I had to pop in to my local B&M to do a couple returns on some ill-advised sale purchases, I sent a note to my PS to ask her to hold the dress for me.  I've been lusting over it in the catalog.  Love the retro orange color.  I know I'm all about the neutrals, but that is definitely a me color.  I'm very selectiveabout my colors, so I love it when J Crew does have some of my colors.  And have you seen the Fall 2011 looks?  Gorgeous colors, and finally a "real" red for winter!!  But back to the dress....

First of all, this dress is running HUGE.  I ended up with a 4.  I asked Jill to grab a 6 but she nabbed the 4 saying she had several 10's go down to a 4 in it.  And the retro orange wasn't even there in a 6, so I shrugged and said sure.  Thanks to my sister and dear dinagideon, I'm really trying to try on the smaller sizes first.  Hard to move the brain there.  But I remembered how big the Shelby dress ran, so I figured it was worth a try. 

Um, oh yeah, I took a 4.  A 4!!!!  I even tried on the 6 just to see (in the muslin) and it was like wearing a massive paper grocery bag.  So size down in this...way down.  Maybe that's what they mean when they say "easy fit" in the online description.  Pre-weight loss, I think I still would have taken a 6.

Other than the sizing issue, it's just a good old straight shift.  Lay it flat and you'll see the slight trapezoidal shape.  Remember, I am more angular (i.e., shaped like a brick) than curvy.  The dress hangs well from my broad shoulders.  If you are curvier or more pear-shaped, I don't know how it will work.  I'm happy I got to look in the mirror and go "oh yay, a dress that's not totally vacant on top".  If you actually have curves and have tried this, please pipe up!  I'd love to hear.

It does run on the short side, but the simple & straight silhouette offsets the length.  And it's not like I ever wear heels unless decorum dictates it, anyway.  The dress has an exposed back zip which is a nice feature as well as pockets.  Oh, I love pockets.  And it has my 2 favorite words "Machine Wash."  Thank you!

Let's talk color.  I'm glad I tried on the retro orange.  I admit I was sorely tempted by the muslin (oooh, pretty neutral), but I figure a tan dress is easier to find than one with this color.  Did not see the spiced olive in store.  The Retro Orange looks, to my untrained and upaid eye, like a pretty close dupe for Modern Red.  I held up the dress to a modern red perfect fit tee I got earlier in the spring and yep, they were an exact match.  So if you're trying to figure out exactly how orange it is, it's basically the same as the Dorrie skirt or the tees.

How am I going to wear it?  Let's see...With the navy atelier jacket and navy flats (possible Easter outfit), but I'd love some other flats...will have to play in the closet.  With sandals and sunnies, duh.  Maybe even with a long sleeve tee layered underneath.  I definitely had some fun playing with this on Polyvore yesterday.  Probably/possibly would work with tights underneath - I wonder if black tights would be too Halloween-y.  Any cardigan will work over it since it's sleeveless (must be why I love sleeveless in the summer, I always need the cardi anyway inside with all the AC, so it's just easier). 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Shoes for Spring #2 - Hunter Boots

I know, I know...everyone knows about Hunter Boots...blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda whatevs. 

Ok, this is for those of you who don't yet actually have a pair.

What is spring without rain boots?  Yes, my first Black Shoes for Spring was rain shoes...but "April showers" anybody?  Yes, they are called that for a reason. Spring is just wet.  (thank you, says my garden)  And some of you lucky ducks may be in perma-warm weather but here outside DC, we most certainly are not.  I think there was a chance of snow in the rain last night...and maybe even tonight or Friday. And sometimes it's just too wet for shoes, you want serious want RAIN BOOTS!

But if you can grab a pair of cute $29.99 boots from Target, why should you bother with spending the extra bucks on Hunters?   I'm not going to denigrate fun rain boots...I have a cute pair of hot pink Eprit ones that never fail to garner compliments BUT....they aren't Hunters.

I got my pair in December for my birthday.  My mom gave them to me and my sister (yes, us twinsies in our matching black Hunters) and then she & I gave each other our Welly socks.  It was a Hunter birthday indeed.  I got the black pair but they come in a rainbow of colors and quite a few other styles. But this was exactly what I wanted.  If I had realized how much I would be wearing them ever since, I definitely would have put them at the top of my wish list sooner.  I have been *livng* in them. 

What makes Hunters so special?  No, not Kate Moss wearing them to Glastonbury  way back when.  Although that certainly upped the glamour of the brand.

No...they are just the squishiest, comfiest boots I've ever put on.  Really and truly.  I admit, I love a good black boot for tromping around in...makes you feel like a bit of a bad-a$$.  But are actually comfy.  And you all know how rigid I am about mandating comfort in my daily life & wardrobe.  As Coco Chanel said, "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury."  I think that may be my matra.  And trust me, these are so comfy.

How comfy are they?  To give you an indication...I spent a full hour sitting criss-cross-applesause on the floor of a gym.  Quite possibly more comfortable than some of my ballet flats would have been. They just mold and bend however your body, leg, ankle, foot goes.  So you can get a lot done.  And I find myself keeping them on all day, even walking around the house.  Never that "wow, I can't wait to ditch these as soon as I walk into the house" feeling.  I even wore them Friday on a field trip with M's class to Historic St Mary's city...which is basically 6 hours of walking.  They are that good.

So how do you wear them?  In short, with everything.  Thus far, I can't claim to have worn them bare-legged but I'll do that when (if) it ever warms up.  They go with anything..and everything. 

At right is just one example, when I wore them last Thursday.  Minnie pants in Tall (I'm taking a 6 now, and they tuck perfectly into the boots and work great with the thick camp socks) and the Cashmere Cabin popover.  In retrospect, the clunky bracelet was too much, esp with the jacket. 

Then the navy Quilted Double Breasted Puffer, which I nabbed a few weeks ago on the sale racks, I kinda liked it for $158 but wasn't willing to pay the full price but I really loved it for $60.  And it has a hood!!  And see...the navy totally works with the black pants & boots.  Yep, I think this jacket will see a lot of action this spring. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nail Files - More Spring Polish with OPI & butter London

Two more Spring polishes to share with you all...

First promised (here you go, RosaLovesDC)...OPI Don't Mess With OPI.  Described as a "lean, mean, kick-grass forest green."  Ok, how can you not love the name?  Or the description?  Although I don't know that I'd actually call it forest green.  I'd just go with flat-out leaf green.  A true green.  A green green.  Have you been seeing all the navy/white/green combos for spring?  Guess what I'll be wearing with all my navy & white this spring? 

And yes, this was my St Patrick's Day mani.  I didn't even need any other green to set it spoke volumes on its own...but I did add a green turquoise bracelet.  I will admit it was a bit much at first but I adjusted quickly.  This will be a fun spring & summer color on tips or toes.

I've only got one picture here, because I think it shows itself quite well.  Just a good old straight up green.

Application, as usual with OPI, is flawless.  A very easy mani to do.  I will warn you that taking off the polish, I did make somewhat of a mess with the green running everywhere...not take care when removing this polish.  Unless you're a fan of the nail fungus look.  And if you are, hey, who am I to judge?

And the 2nd polish..excuse me, lacquer, I have to share is butter London's No More Waity, Katie.  (They call it "lacquer", I'm honestly not sure what the difference is, but I'm sure there's a reason there.)  To celebrate the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Oh, I'm such a sucker for a good lacquer name/story. 

NMWK is described as "soft, elegant greige shade with a splash of lilac glitter for the perfect marriage to combine fashion and fun."  Lilac glitter, definitely.  but the greige shade is really reads as much more purple on me than greige, IMO.  Not that it matters, because it's just a fun sparkly color that's perfect for spring...that I'll be wearing on April 29...for the big event....and it's just so pretty. (Don't tell hubby, but I'm even considering letting E take a mental health day to watch the coverage - I was about her age when Di married Charles and I still remember getting up early to watch it all.  Thank goodness for DVRs.) 

And you know what all that glitter means, right?  Less chipping. (Woot!)  The glitter always helps the polish adhere to the nail.  I have 2 pictures here so you can see it in different light.  In terms of application, I used 3 coats because 2 coats didn't show enough of the base.  But it was surprisingly easy to work with for a glitter.  And it has worn pretty well.   But this sucker was holy-moley-such-a-pain to remove.  Again...the glitter.  But totally worth it.  This is the 2nd time I've worn it since getting it, so yeah, I must think so.

I honestly haven't gotten any other lacquers from them in the past (although I do have Blowing Raspberries for answering a survey - a full size of it, so kudos to them for doing the free gift thing right!!)..because I really like to see my polish before I buy. 

So here's the big huge butter London news:

Starting this Friday, April 1, butter London will be in *ALL* Ulta stores here in the US.  I had a rep tell me about it back when I called to get something straightened out on my NMWK pre-order and then actually verified by asking on their Facebook page yesterday.  So yay!  I can't wait to check out all their gorgeous shades in person!!  I'm sure you can expect to see a few here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black Shoes for Spring #1 - LL Bean Coastal Rain Skimmers

Realized I have a couple posts I've been mulling that fit this category. Today's Black Shoes for Spring are my new LL Bean Coastal Rain Skimmers. (#TA261027, $69, but I only paid $59 - thanks for the $10 Bean reward certificate, Mom!!)

Seriously, best set up ever - Mom has the Bean credit card. I get to order online with free shipping & monogramming and she gets the points. Win-win. I *do* pay her back, of course. In this case, she specifically gave me the reward because she knew I had been mulling over these shoes.

*****Update on 3/26/10 - Bean just announced yesterday that they are now, like Zappos, offering Free Shipping.  Period.  Free Shipping...that's it.  As they say now on their home page "No minimum order, no end date, just free."  Could somebody please cue the applause? 

According to the Bean website, these shoes were featured in O magazine in September 2010. Ok, so apparently I missed them this fall, otherwise I would have been all over them. It's a perfect marriage of the duck shoe and the ballet flat. So it pretty much suits me to a T. You all know how I love my ballet flats. I know J Crew has the cute rubber ballet flats but they are just too narrow for me, and show a bit too much toe cleavage for a well-functioning "rain shoe".

I got a 9 which...oh, I don't know, I hate shoe sizing. Let's just say I run between 9 and 9 1/2, so if you're worried, size down. Or get 2 sizes? I don't know...that's why I went ahead and tried them on in store. I do usually take a 9 in Bean shoes.

It's a really comfortable shoe. They are weatherproof, but leather so they breathe - no stinky feet, yay!'s their blurb:
Ideal for wet trips to the office or around town, these casual weatherproof shoes combine comfort and style with protective coverage for inclement weather. Pliable patent-leather upper is seam-sealed to keep water out. Thickly padded insole and a flexible rubber outsole give you much more cushioning than traditional skimmers. Rubber outsole adds traction on wet surfaces. Imported. Best with lightweight socks.
( I wear socks unless I absolutely have to, i.e., with boots)

I was tempted by the blue but I just got a pair of navy patent mocs, so these looked too similar in the navy and I ended up with the black...which I wore today...yucky rainy day. So they were perfect.  (They also come in nautical red, bright yellow, and dark brown.)

I wore the skimmers with a JC black long sleeve tissue tee & cami, Loft denim mini, and black JC leggings.  I see now why Summerilla is always raving about her JC leggings.  Per Summerilla, she wears hers weekly, washes with no holes or fadin.  Love! Then accessorizing with above shoes, black scarf, ponytail & hoops, and topped off with my BR trench. 

It was a full day - mani/pedi in the AM (courtesy of gift certificate from Xmas - yeah, didn't use it when I had the cast on my right hand), then chiro visit working out an issue with my left rotator cuff muscle, and then up to school to help in M's class and in E's Jump Rope for Heart session.  (and back up to school to pick up some left-behind homework...sigh...)  A good outfit for my day.  Comfy for mani/pedi, yet still presentable for afternoon at school - and when I was helping M's teacher pull out pieces of "parchment" the kids made out of the tea they were soaking in, I was glad I had on dark colors. 

Definitely a perfect spring shoe!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weighty Issues...How I Lost It....

I feel like this post needs to have about a billion disclaimers at the top. A number of you (as well as friends at home) have asked how I lost the weight.

So let me please be very very VERY clear - this is what worked for me. And only for me. I don't pretend to know everything about health, diet, nutrition, wellness. There are lots of people who are far more expert than I am.

But this is what happened.... Back in August, there were some stressful things that happened and I had a night where it was so bad, that I literally didn't sleep. Lay awake all night with my mind a-whirring. After that, I had almost no appetite for several days. Which is SO not like me at all.

I do love my food. I think I have been blessed with a metabolism that is better than it should be, and I guess I've been spoiled by that. I've always loved my food. And have the unhealthy habit of eating fast - my mom had 2 brothers and my dad grew up in boarding schools. That's the only way to you can eat in either of those situations.

So after a couple days on not eating much, I snapped out of it. But when I did, I just wasn't as hungry anymore. Very hard to explain. Maybe my body reset itself? But all of a sudden, I stopped eating just because I could and instead ate when I was hungry. Maybe I needed to be able to stop and listen to what my body was telling me. We all get so used to eating whenever it’s easy, convenient, etc. Oh look, yummy food, I think I’ll have some. (again with the disclaimers, I don’t claim this is anyone else’s issue – it’s mine)

So the bottom line is that I waited to be hungry. Food became a means to an end, not the end itself. I remember reading an article in one of the billions of magazines I get where the writer very closely observed the uber-thin editors, etc during Fashion Week.  Her conclusion?  Yes, they ate, they just ate less.  It wasn't magic for them, it was conscious effort.

So there are lots of platitudes here I could spout, but it really all comes down to being in tune with my body and really listening to it. And when I did, the weight started just falling off. I lost about 15 lbs from August to October. I even resorted to some minor self-sabotage by eating random junk food when I was worried that I was losing it too quickly. We all know that losing weight too quickly is not good or healthy.

Does this work forever? No, absolutely not. In fact, a few pounds started to creep back while I had the whole cast/splint on thumb thing going on with my thumb…because I was eating when bored. So for Lent, to get back on track, I gave up sweets and snacking while the kids were at school or asleep. It’s actually a modification of my Lenten diet when the year after I had E – no eating when they were asleep. Since I had an almost-1-year-old and an almost-3-year-old, there were lots of naps and early bed times. Again, you don’t realize (or at least I didn’t) how much unconscious eating we all do.

Is it exercise?  No.  I do try to stay active, except when I'm being lazy (see note above on cast/splint).  I do have this to help keep me active:

But I honestly don't do enough activity for that to shed lots of pounds.  I'm not running 10 miles a day or swimming a billion laps. 

I will say, and I speak as one with the experience of having a parent who had a heart attack and needed heart surgery, exercise and activity is important.  **It's essential.**  Quite frankly, it's the reason my dad is still with us - if he hadn't been as active, I doubt he would have survived. Nothing like waiting in the cardiac cath lab for a supposed minor stent surgery after a minor heart attack that was only detectable from the blood chemical levels - and then finding out 4 major arteries are almost totally blocked and require a quadruple bypass.  But exercise is not what's going to take the weight off me.  And this is a weight conversation. Or at least it's my weight conversation.

I guess this all sounds very simplistic, but it really worked. For me, it’s about focusing on what my body is telling me. It’s ok to be a little hungry. Please don’t take this as an endorsement for eating disorders. But with our self-gratifying society, it’s so easy to do with food. (Speaking from personal experience.)

And it’s still ok to enjoy your food. You should enjoy your food.  I still enjoy my food. That’s for sure!! But I just don’t need to eat as much.

So I’m getting back on track and in tune. Not that I want to lose more weight – just be healthier and more conscious. And start to tone up more. Next step for me…yoga…so important as we age (flexibility!!!) but also should help with my neck/shoulder/stress issues.

Again...with my disclaimers...this is what worked for me.  I don't presume to know what works for everyone.  But if you want to shoot me a note, you can always use my blog email on my profile, which is

Sunday, March 20, 2011

J Crew Maritime Dress

So lesson learned on Friday...when you're in Polyvore and click on Blogger, it will post the set right to your blog as a new post.  Hmmm....this could take laziness to new levels for me.  Click, click, click...

And it's just taken me this long to get to the regular post.  The usual weekend stuff....

J Crew Maritime Dress (#37228, $78).  I had been curious about this dress ever since seeing it in the catalog and a few weeks ago my fave PS, Jill, emailed to tell me it was in, so she held it for me.  I asked for an M, but she said she'd hold an S & M as it was running large. 

Oh yes, it most definitely was running large. I know I've lost weight since last summer, but...  Anyway, the M was huge on me.  To my fave petite JCA girls, I hope the XXS works on you - but considering how much room there with the S on me, I don't know.  Definitely worth a try-on IRL or getting measurements from CS before ordering.

Wide-shouldered gals, like myself, guess what?  Plenty of room in the shoulders.  Maybe because it's knit? But no pulling or tightness. Yay!  The knit on this is nice & substantial - esp important when there are wide white stripes.  And did you notice the cute zippers on each side at the bottom?  What a fun detail!

As you can tell from the previous post, the PV set, I wore this on Friday.  A gorgeous early spring day.  Nice & warm, sunny, just perfect.  I paired it with black leggings and my black TOMS.  The TOMS themselves merit a post of their own which I promise I'll get to.  I'll just say this - love love love.  Then a pair of gold hoops and a ponytail to show off the hoops and the nicely wide neckline, and I was good to go.

I thought the dress worked really well with the leggings.  If you're nervous about the length, they are a perfect solution.  And they kept my legs warm - it was nice outside, but not that nice, and you all know I always run cold.  Without the leggings, yes, it's a short dress.  No, I won't be belting it like in the online pic because (1) I don't wear belts, and (2) that would likely make it too short.  When it's warmer, I'll be wearing it with anything flat shoe-wise - sandals, Converse, TOMS, espadrilles, navy flats, yellow flats.   

Definitely a fun dress for spring!!

Friday, March 18, 2011


J crew dress
$78 -

Dorothy Perkins black pantyhose
5 GBP -

TOMS canvas shoes
$44 -

Anastasia leather tote
$110 -

Leather wrap bracelet
$48 -

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nail Files - Perfect Monday Polish - "I Vant to Be A-Lone Star"

Oh dreary Monday...well, it's sunny here but so windy and chilly and just...ewww...soggy after a soaking rain yesterday; my backyard is the consistency of a sopping wet sponge.  Time to curl up with a cup of hot tea...and maybe a good book or magazine.  If I hadn't been too lazy to do my nails last night, this is the polish I would/should be wearing today.

I Vant to Be A-Lone Star by OPI, part of the Spring/Summer Texas Collection.  I admit, I wasn't expecting much when I went to the store to see the collection as I definitely tend to skew to OPI's Fall/Winter collections far more than any other.  But I actually came home with 2 of the polishes!  No pics yet of the green ("Don't Mess with OPI".  ummmm, don't worry, I won't) but with St Patty's day coming up, you can bet I will.

As the name...the pairing of the classic Great Garbo quote from Grand Hotel and Texas...yes, they *do* go together.  Ah, who cares, I am totally digging this color.  Per OPI, it's a "starry silver-blue."  It will be my go-to color this spring when I need a break from the depth of Chanel Black Pearl.

With all lighter colors, I hold my breath before opening the bottle.  You never know if you're going to get thick chalkiness or smooth pigment.  Totally smooth on this one.  I love the color.  It's definitely light blue, but it's a softer light blue, because of the silver aspect. 

I could see this on a bride's toes as she walks down the aisle - how pretty would that be?  (Mind on many things bridal, since my BF Patty set the place/date/time and we got bridesmaid dresses and E's flower girl dress and everything.  More on that in future post.) 

I've posted pics in 2 different lights...really just 2 different angles next to the windows by the give you a full idea of the color.  So pretty.  I already told my blue-eyed blonde sister to go out and get it.  I don't even think I suggested it, I pretty much told her she better get it.  But it will be gorgeous on her.

So if you need your nail polish to send a message...or you just want a little mood pick-me-up...I highly recommend this one.