Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flannel Sheets Are Sexy

Ok, maybe this is a funny post for today since it *did* get up to about the mid-60’s today here in MD. (Yes, I was smart enough to go ahead and do the outside Xmas decorating to take advantage of the weather. Still a couple of things to finish up, but most of it done.)

But here’s my point…it’s hard to feel sexy or anything else good when you are shivering and freezing! And flannel sheets don’t have to be plaid or boring.

top pic from Lands End
bottom pics from The Company Store

Nowadays, there are lots of modern colors and prints to make flannel work in your bedroom (see above) without making it look like you live in a cabin…unless, of course, that’s the look you are going for (below).

top pic from Lands End

I have been a fan of flannel sheets since childhood. To me, that was the sign of the beginning of winter…when you put the flannel sheets on. Of course, you all know me, I am so tactile, I just want cozy, warm, soft, etc.

Which brings me to my current dilemma…sweatpants. No, I’m not going to try to tell you that sweatpants are sexy. Well, maybe the right kind on the right person. But that’s not exactly what I’m looking for here. I need some sweatpants. Just a good old pair of sweats. Why? Well, other than today, it’s getting awfully chilly outside. And I do have an 11-month-old Labradoodle to walk. So I need some warmth!

It seems that nowadays, everything offered in the active pants for women category is
1 – plain cotton jersey – just won’t do. I want more than a tshirt for my legs.
2 – poly/spandex/quick dry – ok, comfy, but not warm…at all.
3 – velour – ok, thicker, but um, yeah, I want the cozy part on the *inside*, not the outside.
4 – just way way way too short.

So what am I looking for? Sweatpants, thick – regular fleece or polar fleece will do, and they must must must be long enough. (Remember, I’m 5’10” with a lot of height in my legs.) I would prefer a 33” inseam.

Any ideas???

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bananas for the Annalise Tee

This is a fun little tee from Banana Republic - per my receipt, it's the Annalise ??? tee, but I can't find it online. So maybe it's store only? And that "???" is there because I actually can't find the receipt right now - but it was, I believe, about $45. I got it with the Gap/ON/BR F&F 30%, so I actually paid about $33 or so.

Apologies for the *total* lack of details, but I still wanted to share. I got this tee less than 2 weeks ago at BR so it should still be around (and I've already worn it twice, so yes - love it). I wore it to JC last Friday and when my fave SA saw it, she swore to go get one at her break. ("What? I can wear it on the weekends.")

Size-wise, I got an M. As you can see, there is still some room in it and it's not supertight, so size down. The fabric is thin, but not sheer. (a nice change from so many super sheer JC tees, to be honest.) I love love love the necklace design on the tee - so fun - and the necklaces themselves would be so me, so it really fits. In case you couldn't tell since the pic isn't front on, the design is printed - there's no texture. That could be good or bad, but I'll take it as good because (a) less expensive (b) totally machine washable *and* dryable, and (c) fits under any top layer, even just another tee.

I realize you can't see so well from the pic, but the neckline is very pretty; it has an inlay of chiffon just inside the crewneck. And it's a crewneck, but not a super-tight crewneck. And can we go back to the design? One less accessory to add to your look!

This is a perfect tee for layering a jacket or cardi on top. I wore it both times with a black cashmere cardi and then a black scarf. Of course, in the pic here, you can't see the design at all since the scarf is tight because I was chilly, but when I wore it, you could see the desing on the tee just tine.

And then jeans and black flats. The first time I wore this was on the way home from the wedding weekend and let me just share - definitely pack the "boyfriend" jeans for the trip home vs. the skinnies - even if it's only an hour car ride. Obviously from the photo above, I wore the tee with skinnies the second time.

And here's my Polyvore from when I wore it the first time. Since the tee isn't online, I found a perfect sub for PV in the JC slub cotton crystal necklace tee.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nail Files - More Fun Holiday Polishes

As a Thanksgiving treat, I have for you some fun holiday polishes that I have sampled lately. (Just a little something to think about as you are licking your fingers clean after a yummy turkey dinner.)

First up, Dior Silver Purple. Great name - it's a silver toned purple color. (Don't get me started again on that Lemon Balm...I still don't get that name, loved the color, but the name was ridiculous.) Available at Sephora for $20. I was very mixed on this color. I alternately really liked it and then really didn't. If this color works for you, it could be a 12-season color, because I think this would be really fun in summer. It definitely works as a holiday color now. Interestingly enough, it reminds me a lot of a "jeans" color.

Next, Absinthe Makes the Heart by Sephora by OPI ($9). Fun holiday color. Somewhat similar to some other colors I have, but nothing matches it exactly. Per the website, "smoky dark gray with green and iridescent glitter." Similar to the 212-Sephora shade, but definitely different. I think this would be a great metallic to go with just about anything.
Last, an fave from last fall - Barielle Misbehavin' Mistress ($8). Metallic taupe. Yep, that's it. I actually wore this a number of times as a summer pedi shade. In the photo, it looks rather brown, but IRL, it's less brown. That must be the metallic effect. I love this shade. And that's why I'm still using it, I suppose. A great neutral that's not quite black.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Like the Tango Tank Actually Needs *More* Layers...

Told you I would be catching up... starting with today's outfit.

Ok, totally honest...I was going to just go with my tissue turtleneck and Chico's boyfriend jeans with a statement necklace to break up all the blue. (you know me and my simple, I mean, classic, outfits.) But then I thought...what if I added a statement top...on top? I know the tango tank will be just fantastic in spring & summer, but I'd like to try to wear it more now since 1 - it's cute, 2 - I like the shape and thinks it's pretty figure flattering, and 3 - trying to use what I have and stop buying all new stuff, you know.

So, attempt #1 at layering with the tango tank. (I have a M in both of these tops, btw.) Navy tissue turtle under the gray tango tank. Then gray fireball necklace, Dina hoops, and gilded daisy ring. And navy patent flats.

What did I think of this outfit? Ummmm, ok. It looks a little heavier in the picture than I thought it did IRL. Maybe that's because my hair is down. I actually think this would have worked much better with hair up. And I kept feeling like I should be layering a navy blazer on top for some reason...hmmm, I'll have to work on that since I don't actually have one.

Next time, I'll try this with a regular tee underneath. Have you done any creative layering with your tango tank?

Polyvore of today's outfit:

Items in this set:
J Crew top, $50
J Crew top, $40
Current/Elliott jeans, 243 GBP
Maloles flats, $130
Forzieri earrings, $449

A Little Fun with Blogging...And Some Blogging Questions

I will be trying to do some catchup blogging this afternoon, and since I'm not planning to take my laptop when we head to the river for Thanksgiving, I'll probably advance-post it so it trickles in over the next few days.

Sometimes I'm good about blogging. Sometimes I'm slack about blogging. I know, I know. I just tell myself that I'm saving people's Google Readers from getting over-clogged. (yep, that's right...I do it just for you...)

How do you handle it when you get too overloaded? Do you stop blogging? Do you stop reading other blogs? Commenting on other blogs? I am still trying to find the balance here. Because I do enjoy blogging, but I don't feel it's right to just blog and not ever read/comment on other blogs. And when I'm not reading, I do miss all the other bloggers I read. And I seem to just keep adding blogs to read (they're all so goooood!) But most important to me is for it to be fun. I never wanted blogging to feel like a chore or something I *had* to do.

There's fun to be had in the daily outfit posting (which I realize has dwindled to weekly outfit posting...)

Fortuantely, the shoes didn't really matter that day... They weren't the killer detail in the outfit - not that there really was one. (real quick - cashmere femme sweater from last year, chico's jeans, ON cami, gray ribbon fireball necklace - retail-only) I don't even think I Polyvored this outfit since I still don't have the necklace on PV, so here it is for the clipping...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is Edward Cullen the new Jake Ryan?

First of all, if by "Jake Ryan," you think I am referring to Hannah Montana's friend/boyfriend on the TV show, stop reading right now. You won't get this. (I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.)

So I went to see New Moon yesterday afternoon with friends. Fun movie. Great one to see with girlfriends. (And Gigi has a very cool giveaway sponsored by Orient Watch, ih honor of New Moon - check it out if you haven't signed up yet.) I do enjoy the Twilight series. I read all 4 books plus the online excerpt of Book 5 (Book 1 from Edward's perspective - loved it - it's about half the book - you can get to it from Stephanie Meyer's website here ) last October when E was home from school for a week with pneumonia.

A fun way to pass the week as we were doing multiple nebulizer treatments. To me it brings back that emotion of being young and in love - the angst and the anguish, the joy and the suffering of the teenage years. And one of the all-time classic chroniclers of that exact time period in life is John Hughes.

So naturally, all of the frenzy over Edward (and Jacob) led me to ponder Edward Cullen and the parallels to "Sixteen Candles" and Jake Ryan. For Valentine's Day in 2004, the Washington Post ran an article on the relevance of Jake Ryan to the romantic lives of today's young woman. In 2004, I was a "late twenties to mid thirties" chick. To me the lead sentence says it all:

...let's finally admit that Jake Ryan from "Sixteen Candles" is never
going to come get you.

(ouch, really? hehehe)

I read the article as a bit tongue in cheek - but there are some good points. How many women are still saying "he's nice, but he's no Jake Ryan." What high school boy really is that nice *and* that gorgeous? One of my neighbors named her son Jake after this character. But let's be honest, who didn't secretly pine for Jake Ryan?

So this leads us to Edward Cullen today. Are you in love with Edward Cullen? If not, are your friends? Or are you a member of Team Jacob?

Has Edward Cullen (or Jacob Black) replaced Jake Ryan as the new ultimate mate? Is he going to scar millions of young women for life because they will never actually find the perfect vampire? Or does Jake Ryan still stand the test of time, while Edward Cullen and Jacob Black rank among the classic Dawson/Joey/Pacey and Brandon/Kelly/Dylan triangles? You tell me.

I will say that when I mentioned at our post-New Moon dinner my theory of Edward Cullen finally knocking Jake Ryan off the pedestal, one of my friends just went "Ah, Jake Ryan as Edward - that would be the best." Hmmm, yeah, when I first read the books, I did picture Jake Ryan as Edward...just much paler.

Discuss amongst yourselves...and try to remember that there are wars and hunger and injustice in the world, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Spicy Olive Day

As I sit and ponder over some new purchases at JCrew the other day, I pulled out one new item since I knew for sure it would be a keeper - the Perfect-fit Long Sleeve Crewneck Tee (#18098, online - $24.50 or 2 for $35, in store - $19.50 - pricing monkeys at work again)

I like to stock up on a few new ones each year. This time, I got white, spicy olive, and light berry. I was actually looking at the light berry in the tissue turtle but it was much less "crisp" in color than the perfect fit tee and other light berry items.

Fit-wise, I take an L in the perfect fit tees. I feel like they are still cut close enough to the body, but that gives me breathing room and doesn't show the bulgies so much. I love how long the sleeves and overall length are in this tee. Makes it a great layer under sweaters for warmth.

I started out the day with the tee layered under a JC dress for church. Yes, this looks a lot like the Gap dress I got a couple of weeks ago during the F&F event. But, not so. The Gap dress is a heavy knit and its waistband is about 1 or 1 1/2" higher than the JC dress. The JC dress is wool - it actually came from the lovely dinagideon, who was kind enough to pass it along to me after she got it at the outlets and the lower waist totally did not work for her. Also the JC dress is from HO 08 and it has pockets (and size 8). But yes, very similar shapes and I plan to be able to wear at least one of them every month of the year.

So, spicy olive long sleeve perfect tee, wool shift dress, confetti necklace, Allison Daniel design ring, and cuff link earrings - plus tights and black patent pumps. I was actually so comfortable that I didn't change until about an hour ago.

Why did I change? Honestly, I don't usually love to wear dresses to the movies and I have a date with the girls to go see New Moon. One of the friends pre-ordered the tickets, so we are all set. We'll see how insane the crowd is...

So, for the movies - kept on tee, necklace, earrings, ring. Added dark rinse Chicos jeans, black flats, and this cream sweater. Anyone have any idea what it's called? It's from HO 07. It's so swingy that I actually bought it in the S. I love this sweater. So comfy, such a fun shape - I love the swingy. And it works as long as you have a fitted piece underneath. This would probably work even better with Minnies or skinny jeans, but instead I am wearing the jeans I wore for all day family Tysons outing yesterday because hey - it's a long movie, want the comfy pants. Not to mention the butter popcorn...

I have some thoughts that I've been mulling over about New Moon and the whole Twilight series. Will post later tonight or tomorrow...

Have you seen New Moon yet?

Polyvore for today:

11/22/09 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Friday, November 20, 2009

Borrowing from the Boys - Lilly-wear

When we were in Annapolis last weekend, I had a bit of time to do some shopping. Oh, it was so nice just to leisurely stroll around the streets - such a pretty town. It's a shame we don't visit more often since it's so close by. Must rectify that next spring - you know, when it gets a bit warmer.
But since it was actually warm on Monday, I got to don my sole purchase for myself from the Annapolis weekend (lots more done - sweatshirts for kids, a couple of thank you's for my parents since they were watching the kids, 1st Xmas present purchased - for my mother-in-law, and collar for Lucy because I am a total sucker). Back to that collar in a minute...

Here it is - Lilly Pulitzer long sleeve Gulf Stream Polo in...some pretty shade of blue (GingerSnap? You're the expert) Much as I love Lilly, this is the first actual piece of Lilly-wear that I have purchased., it's not even womens. It's a mens shirt. I got it in an M. It was uber-on-sale and I thought it would be a fantastic slouchy weekend option (who are we kidding, every day is my weekend, wardrobe-wise) - but an option with perhaps a bit more style than the typical slumpadinka wear.

I love how long this shirt is. Not the most tailored option, sure. But comfy. (don't throw too many tomatoes) And hey, it's color! I liked it with my black cafe capris. And I will love it with a pair of white jeans in the spring.

And what was my possible inspiration? Maybe Lucy's new collar? Yes, I am going to be one of *those* dog owners with a different collar for every month, probably. How cute is this? Navy and aqua blue, with little green bones that say "woof." Ridiculous to be sure but, like nail polish, it's much cheaper than designer handbags!

And yes, that is a tomato she is eyeing here. Apparently the doggie brain doesn't distinguish between tomato and ball. You wouldn't believe the green tomatoes laying around the yard. Maybe we need to add a fence to the veggie garden next year. Fortunately, this was a very late in the season discovery of puppy's.

Such a pretty puppy...

And this pic, just because it cracks me up... Yes, Lucy in her tshirt during post-surgical recovery. She was going through a laying-on-the-dress-up-dresses phase. She is a girl, you know.

Polyvore for Monday:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's All About the Hood - the Workhorse Coat

You all clearly know I've been majorly slacking in blog-world - reading, commenting, posting, replying to comments. I'm getting back there, I swear.... Thanks for sticking with me.(And thanks for the reality check at the bus stop, snaphappy.)

So in contrast to Monday's post on the lovely, luscious Winnie coat, I'm going to talk about my workhorse coat. Last month, Stylestance had an interesting post on choosing your top 3 coats in the closet. I remember thinking that there was really only 1 that I needed to get me through 90% of my days. Or at least the days that require a coat.

No Polyvore of the coat to speak of, since it is 10 years old. From Larry Levine, purchased at Bloomingdales while shopping with my sister. I'll readily admit that there is major sentiment attached to this coat as I purchased it when I was, ahem, with child. Yep, prego with my darling M. And when you are going to be in that condition in the winter (not mega, but still getting thick in the middle), you want something with a little room in the middle. Which is why I got in a...get this...size 14. (I think dina is scowling at me online now.)

So it's an A-line hooded charcoal gray wool coat. It does not get more basic, or perfect than this. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1 - Color - charcoal - goes with everything and doesn't show lint. Plus it's a great backdrop for bright scarves...or any scarf for that matter.

2 - A-line to offer a little room to the expanding middle *but* fits bulky sweaters underneath as well.

3 - And can we get to the Hood part? It has a hood! Yes indeed. You know those icky fall/winter/spring days where it's chilly and just kinda spittin' or lightly snowing outside and you don't really want to bring an umbrella and you don't want to wear a full-on parka? This is the perfect coat for those days. And hood = no hat = no hat head. (Trust me, that equation works, I was a math major, after all.)

4 - First baby sentiment? Don't even go there. Don't even try.

If the coat does have a downside (other than that it's not bright screaming yellow like my Winnie), it's the the sleeves are a little short. But that just means that I wear my fabbie opera length leather gloves with it - and it's got a little of that mod 60's vibe. If you need something similar, Target had a great pair of long black (soft) leather gloves for $17.99 in store - I highly recommend. I think this is that pair, which is out of stock online, but check the store - and really, they had a great selection of fantastic gloves.

The sad part is that this coat is kinda on its last legs and I will soon be looking a replacement.

(moment of silence for my coat)

Back to blogging...

And the rest of the outfit from yesterday? Sweater dress from Banana (HO 2007) that I couldn't really fit into last year and yay, it fits now. Plus footless tights, black flats, and my new constellation necklace. Necklace scored for $9.99 at my local B&M last week. So if you happen to be in your store and see one, snatch it up. Mine is the antiqued one, not the shiny one, but I think the antiqued is nice for a change.

Back to the footless tights...what do you think? Do they look ok? I'll be honest - they looked worse in person. I had to tug down on the tights & the dress to get a decent picture. Otherwise, the hemline of the dress combined with the visual cut off at the ankle - dang, I was looking awfully thick in the legs. Does that mean I'm ditching the dress or the footless tights? Nope. Next time I wear the dress, I'll go with full-on tights and flat boots, and it will be fine. Next time I feel the yen to go with footless tights (which truthfully aren't very "me" to begin with), I'll go with a different sweater dress or skirt. Lesson learned. And this is what I love about the daily outfit pic. Always educational for me.

Polyvore from yesterday:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It Takes Balls to Do Laundry...and Bags

One of my favorite blog reads (you know you're all my favorites, I swear) is always Lady (Buttons) Sings the Blues. She never fails to crack me up. So she was having a wee bit of fun at her hubby's expense on the subject of general lack of cleanliness of the menfolk...complete with haiku. And fun new terminology. I shall now excoriate my hubby to pick up his "gotchies."

And I am so juvenile that I am still giggling over that word. My dad calls them "growlers." Whatever...just don't call them "panties" as my poor mother did the first time M had underwear after potty training - you can imagine my reaction "Agggghhhhh, don't call them panties...undies is ok, but NEVER panties, he's a boy!!!" Ok, maybe I overreacted that time. I mean, the poor woman only had 1 set of twin girls, so she is used to the feminine terminology. (sorry, Mom)

Anyhoooo, so the convo on laundry got me thinking to two new updates to my laundry routine that have actually made my life easier. And I especially want to share because they definitely have a tendency to invoke that "seriously? this really works?" initial response - kinda like smoothie makers - hubby and I scoffed until we really tried it - and they are magic.

Laundry Lifesaver #1 - Dryer Balls! First of all, have you ever heard the tip on putting tennis balls in with comforters, esp down comforters, to fluff them and make them dry quicker? This is like that, to the umpteenth degree. Seriously - they fluff everything - which means no or fewer wrinkles (less ironing, yay) and they dry quicker. I admit that the primary reason I bought these is because I was looking for another item to add to my school fundraiser purchases so the kids had the same number of items ordered. You know how that goes. Imagine my surprise when they actually worked! Small downside - they can make the dryer a bit noisier. But that's why my laundry room has a door on it. If you don't have a Sally Foster fundraiser going on at your school, you can pick up the dryer balls at Bed, Bath, and Beyond...or a billion other random stores like that, I imagine - of course, BB+B does have their lovely coupons.

Laundry Lifesaver #2 - The Bra Bag! Ok, I'll admit it...I'm lazy. I have neither the time nor the inclination to hand wash my lingerie. Into the washer it goes. Sure, I use the super-duper-extra-delicates cycle and I air dry...but still those bras are going in the wash. I tried out that Bra Baby gadget that is the hard plastic shell - and it just didn't work with my bras. Maybe a 36 band size was too big and it works better for training bras, I don't know - but it was a disappointment. And regular lingerie bags just leave them too loose. And then when I was strolling along the Walmart laundry aisle looking for a pet roller to get the lint of my Minnies (long story for another post), I saw these - the Tide Bra Bag. And yes, the link is to Target because I couldn't find them on the Walmart website - like the dryer balls, I imagine you can find this lots of places.

As you can see from the picture at left, it's a 2-chambered bag, so you can wash 2 bras at the same time. I can't really describe it, so I'll use the excerpt from the Tide website:
The padded mesh protects the shape of bras and underwires and prevents delicates from snagging, twisting, stretching or tangling during the gentle wash cycle. The fine weave of our OptiMesh™ material prevents hooks and wires from piercing through, yet allows water and detergent to penetrate for proper cleaning without tangling! All seams and zippers are carefully covered with a smooth nylon material to further protect your fine washables from snags.

Now if someone could just make ironing easier, I would be all there. Gah, I hate ironing... Maybe I should ask Santa for a steamer this year? (the clothes kind, duh - already have the seafood steamer - I do live in Maryland, you know...)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Winnie Love

The J Crew Winnie coat (#16729, $245)...just pure deliciousness. This yellow - the "bright butternut"? How can you not just love it?! I have been in love with this coat since I tried it on back in August. And just as sure about that fact that I just couldn't quite justify paying full price when I already have a closet full of coats. So I was fully resigned to the fact that the Winnie would probably not be least not until many months later on a lucky popback.

Then, out of the blue, I got a call from the dear and darling dinagideon, who had just scored Winnies (bbu, natch) for both of us and the fabuloso JC clearance center in Arden, NC. Here is her full post on this little patch of JCA nirvana, as well as her other may-jah scores. So, $90 for the Winnie? Oh yes, please. Isn't she a doll?

Let's talk about the fit of the jacket. I have an 8. Yes, imagine my surprise that there was enough room in the shoulders in the 8. And the sleeves are pleny long - no cold wrists in my future. And for you JCAs with the smaller frames, it does come in petites as well. Oh, and it also comes in navy, and I am a huge navy fan, but this may be the one case where I just go "Navy? Whatever..."

I think the jacket works fine buttoned or open. So far the most I have layered underneath is a merino turtle, but it seemed plenty roomy. And the jacket is so warm, I think my medium weight sweaters will be just fine with it, and keep me toasty (i.e., cambridge cable turtle, cashmere long sleeve tee, etc.)

So what do you wear with Winnies? Well, Minnies, duh... Ok, they actually go with everything. As you can see in the pic above, the beauty of this coat is that it jazzes up anything you put underneath it. And with my usual classic, simple style, it's perfection. I get so many compliments every time I wear it. Walking around Annapolis this past weekend, I had people asking about my coat every time I stopped. Then again, it is a "Navy" color. (Go Navy, Beat Army!)

But for my inaugural Winnie outing, I went with a black bateau neck long sleeve tee from Target (last year) and skinny jeans & ballet flats. And a way cute retail only gray ribbon necklace with gray stone fireballs. dinagideon got the same necklace and I have one waiting for Summerilla when she stops by on Saturday. (she's going to a baby shower at the clubhouse at my pool, how random is that?) Dina got pics of Ugly Betty wearing it - how fun is that?

And I can't end the post without this note - anyone else think "Winnie the Pooh" when they see this coat? Seriously? The color? The name? If you have kids and you didn't make the connection, then you have no soul. Or Disney is coming to haunt you. I kid, I kid.

Polyvore from Winnie (the Pooh)'s first outing:

11/10/09 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Now I just need that black bucket hat to go with it...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Pick for the Gap 30% Friends + Family - OMG, another black dress

Ok, is there anyone out there who doesn't know about the BR/Gap/ON 30% Friends & Family that started today and runs through this weekend? And remember, it's Give & Get, so you can chose a cause that they will donate 5% toward. Double win!

I'll share my pick with you...and update with actual pics when I take them. Yes, it's another little black dress. Gap Double-Knit Pleated Dress (#691556, $59.50, less 30% = $42)

I actually tried this one on Tuesday when I was on my dress odyssey at Tysons and it's insanely flattering. And I picked it up today when I was back at the mall getting the duchess stone bracelet to wear with my dress for the wedding (yes, my bracelet costs more than the dress).

But back to this one...I took an 8 in the dress. The bodice is fitted. A regular bra works, yay. No shapewear required, yay. I think this may actually be a true 12-months-of-the-year dress. I will be wearing it now with a fitted tee or turtle underneath. Must get back to JC and check out that gray/black mini-stripe tee. I'm not sure yet about wearing a cardi or jacket with this - you need to make sure it is fitted correctly with the skirt. But summertime - sandals, fun jewelry and you are good to go. Knit means easy packing. I see lots of possibilities and lots of versatility in this dress.

So that's my pick. What have you been eyeing at the triumvirate?

Update - here are 2 quick IRL pics I took this morning:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dress Update (Are you tired yet? I am.)

Ok, so here's the dress update. And I think it actually might be final, unless I find something amazing on sale at the Lake Forest Ann Taylor when I do returns tomorrow.

You remember my post on the 3 Nordstrom dresses... They each had some very good points, but none of them were "the one." Then there was the Banana Republic dress that I ordered. Oh, how I had high hopes for this one. Fortunately, it arrived in the mail on Monday so that I could make alternate plans. How did it look on me? Oh honeys, it was was so's been a while since I actually looked that bad in a dress. One word for you...hideous. I didn't even bother to take a picture - I just wanted to get that dress off asap...before my self-esteem suffered any more. (hehehe)

That's not to say it's a bad dress - it's actually quite cute. It was a little short (but that's always manageable with the right shoe). No, the real fault is in the cut at the shoulders. Somehow I had muffin-top at my armpits. I don't pretend to be a sample-size, but somehow this dress created fat. From the online pics, I thought it was a fairly straight shoulder, but it cuts way in on me. And with my rectangular body shape and my wide shoulders...recipe for disaster. This is the single most unflattering cut there is on my upper body. However, if you have a pear shape (dina, summerilla, etc), definitely go try this on because it is adorable. And, at $132, plus the Gap/BR/ON 30% off right, now - wow - that gets it down to $92!!

So...what did I end up getting? Well, I went to Tysons yesterday to return all 3 dresses. I hit up just about every store there (except the department stores as I just did not have time). I did squeeze in lunch with hubby so that was a nice treat. I actually purchased 2 dresses - 1 from Ann Taylor and 1 from Talbots (that would need to be shortened). Both are going back because I swung by Montgomery Mall on the way home to do some J Crew returns and popped into their Ann Taylor while I was there. And then I found it....the dress.

Dress by Taylor at Ann Taylor, on sale for $99.99, plus 40% off, so final price was $60. First of all check out the amazing swirly ruffles around the neckline. Talk about framing the face...

The dress is actually a heavy knit, but the cut & the detailed neckline definitely kick it up - and it will be dressed up with accessories as well.

Let's talk about the cut - definitely form-fitting. My sister will be proud. (and dina - can you see my waist?) Requires a wee bit of shapewear for the midsection, but the Assets by Spanx line at Target will do - nothing too heavy duty. And I'm not even wearing any in this picture, so IRL, it will only look better. I also see versatility in this dress. It will work for the wedding. But I also may wear it to our work holiday party with my charcoal gray 3/4 sleeve fitted turtleneck tee from the Gap with tights and boots. And I can also just wear with sandals in the summer.

Can you tell I have a splitting headache and want to go back to bed in this pic? Yeah, me too. I am starting to see a new correlation between my headaches & migraines and atmospheric pressure. It could be the Halloween sugar, too, though...

Back to the accessories topic. (And this is why I don't Twitter - like I could actually limit myself to 140 characters - ask my friends & family - I really am this scattered in person.) First of all, I'll be wearing my hair up - in a ponytail (dressy ponytail, I swear...mental note, master the dressy pony before Saturday...) And with the neckline, I don't want to do a necklace, so I'm thinking significant earrings and major bracelets on 1 arm. I don't think a statement cocktail ring is going to cut it this time.

Idea 1 - heirloom flora earrings with something like the duchess stone bracelet in dusty blossom, with the garden pearl bracelet in clementine and a bracelet similar to the crystal symphony? I think I'll check F21 for bracelets as well.

Idea 2 - large gold hoops (Dina hoops, natch), with gold & crystal bracelets - like the crystal shapes bracelet, twisted crystal necklace wrapped 5 times, etc.

Any other ideas?

So off to mall tomorrow to return at AT & Talbots. (Here's the Talbots dress I had purchased, by the way - it is so gorgeous in person, just about 2-3" too long, and it's 3 times the price of this one, so back to the store it goes...) And that would be Lake Forest, since it does have both AT & Talb.

And here's a dress only pic so I can grab it for Polyvore (because it's not like some of us are even capable of getting dressed without PV, right?):

Friday, November 6, 2009

Black Dresses....and showing a little love to Banana

Today was a total sweater dress day. Do you have the sweater dress love? I will admit, it is hard to find the right fit, as they usually come in the alpha sizes, not numeric. But when you find one you love...mmmmmmmm...cozy... Nothing better for a chilly day - sweater dress, tights, boots...and done. And it just feels like you're wearing a big huge sweater all day. Danger areas? Either end of the spectrum - the too-tight & too-short hoochie SD, and the so big it makes you look like you are one big tea cozy SD. Last year, I got 2 great sweater dresses from Banana Republic.

(side note - any of you moms out there seen Elmo's World when he did the banana episode - and he sings ba-ba-banana, ba-ba-banana - well, it's been about 7 years and that song still pops into my head whenever I go into BR. you're welcome...)

This is one of the 2 sweater dresses from last fall. I got this one with 30% F&F last fall (so $130 less 30% = $91.) I have definitely worn it enough to be worth it and I'm not done yet. Last Christmas when we visited the in laws in NC, it was unseasonably warm, so I wore it plain with footless tights and ballet flats. And I layered it with a white or cream tee plus tights and boots all last winter. BUT...I kept wanting to get a striped tee to layer underneath because I thought that would be cute. If I do say so, I think I was right. Ta da!!

Today's outfit was the BR sweater dress from last year (in M), BR gray/white striped tee from this fall (M), black tights, flat black boots, plus some silver hoops & my Tiffany silver mesh ring from ages ago. I wore my hair down today (probably for warmth, hehe), but the dress looks really cute with hair up.

And you probably can't tell so well from the picture, but there is an inverted pleat in the front of the dress below the empire waist. So it's a great dress to wear when you might be filling the belly, so to speak. And today I had brunch at a friends' in the morning and then we went out to dinner tonight. Excellent wardrobe planning. Hubby & I took the kiddies out to a Japanese steak house for the first time and it was way fun - they loved it!! Of course, I'm sitting here in pj-sweats, because it's almost my bedtime, but the dress was a good dinner dress.

Polyvore from today:

And speaking of dresses... I really, truly, honestly appreciate all the feedback from everyone on the 3 Nordies dresses. I also applaud everyone for the very constructive comments. (You all didn't love all of them, which is fine - but you played nice - and I do appreciate that as well.)

I think my problem is that I am just not totally 100% feeling it with any of them. They are all very nice dresses and any of them would be fine. (yeah, I know, nice problem to have). And maybe part of the problem is that I got the 3 of them from 2 different parts of the store over 2 different shopping trips of about 15-20 minutes each, so I was rushed-rushed-rushed - and they just have some bad vibes attached. Or maybe I'm just being ridiculous and overthinking this whole thing because, this is not a problem - it's an the most. (Thanks Jemma Ruby - ever since you posted on that, I try to hold those words close.) So it's not a problem, other than the fact that I clearly need to get a life.

If you did comment on the 3 choices, please don't feel that it was a waste of time at all (and don't shoot me) made me really look much closer at the dresses and figure out what did and didn't work with them.And, I have come to the conclusion that I am just prejudiced against chiffon. I don't like how it feels. Ok, lesson learned.

But I think I have found true dress love... After debating over the 3 Nordies dresses, I happened to be perusing the BR website and found the dress at right. BR Tiered Pleated Dress ($132). They are already showing this dress on the large placard in the window, but it's Holiday 03 and only Holiday 02 is in the stores - wish I hadn't needed that level of detail. So I ordered it with 25% off and it is supposed to arrive on Tuesday.

And, I believe, it combines the best of the 3 Nordies dresses - the versatility and lack of chiffon in #1 (I would totally rock this with tights and boots for a more casual look), the tiers & necklace potential of #2, and the fun & flirtiness of #3. And when I first saw it, I swooned I felt it. We'll see. I've got my fingers crossed. So should you, so that I shut up about this. Whew, it's late, I'm punchy, and I should go to bed. Here's my planned ensemble in Polyvore...let's see how it all comes out in the proverbial wash...

Speaking of Banana Republic (coincidental timing), Slastena has an interesting post on Banana Republic today, from some spring magazine catchup - yay, I'm not the only one. Hop on over to comment - are you a Banana Fan? Or is your new theme song "Yes, we have no Bananas"?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The LBD...pick one...please?

So we have a wedding to go to next weekend. Very excited.... Because (1) being that I am 37 and hubby is 42, pretty much all of our friends have been married (at least once) so it's been 3 years since we've been to a wedding - that one was a FL beach wedding - fun fun fun. (2) Wedding is in Annapolis so my parents are coming up to watch the kiddies & we have a weekend away.

BUT...I need a dress. The lack of true cocktail functions over the past few years had caused my dressy dress supply to dwindle. And the 2 cute dresses I got last year from AT & ATL - well, they're just too big. I know, nice problem to have; I'm not complaining. But I don't want to break the bank getting a new dress. Enter Nordstrom. First of all, can I just say how much I love that store for their non-tricky pricing. It's full price...then it goes on sale and stays on sale...and that's it. No working coupons (unless you have that Nordstrom rewards Visa), or discounts, or sales on the right day - at least not that I'm aware of. And it just makes it easier because unlike Macy's, Lord & Taylor, etc, you don't worry that you are paying twice as much just by picking the wrong day to shop. Plus, Nordies doesn't put up their Christmas decorations until AFTER Thanksgiving and I really respect that.

I am planning to get...well, ok, I actually already bought (3) LBDs. It's a 6:00 wedding - not black tie (groom wanted to the rehearsal dinner to be jeans - bride nixed that one - but it's not uptight formal for sure) - so LBD is the way to go. And if I don't already have one that works, clearly that is a big vacuum in my closet. I think Tim Gunn is cringing right now.

In their latest catalog, Nordstrom had a whole section on LBDs - get this - under $150. Well hello, Nordies, you are speaking my language today. Here's the full LBD section online - lots and lots of choices (including the ones above $150, but seriously - many many many choices). And right now, Nordstrom has free shipping on orders over $100 with code HOLIDAY09 - through December 20.

Why am I boring you with the full background? Because I need some backup opinion here. Hubby & kids have weighed in. Hubby had an interesting perspective I'll mention below. But overall they liked all 3 - which is nice as I did as well. But I do need to choose. I would have loved to have my mom or sister with me for some very honest opinions and perspective, but I didn't. So I have you all. Get the rotten vegetables ready...let's go.

And it may be a long post before I'm done because I still can't figure out how to get the collagse to click-enlarge, so I'm posting lots of individual pics.

And please note utter lack of styling - hair & accessories are exactly as I wore them yesterday and shoes were too much of a bother. Plus I am employing the uber-unflattering to me full front pose, just for the info. You know how I hate that. Keep in mind, the event styling should be a vast improvement.

Dress #1 - Tahari by Authur S Levine Beaded Neck Shift Dress ($138). If you clicked over, did you notice that Nordstrom has "fit" notes with these dresses - this one says "Form-fitting at bust and hip. Runs large; order one size down." Wow, certain retailers with their wacky, inconsistent sizing should take know how you are. I am very comfortable in an 8.

Thoughts on this dress - first of all, the most versatile of the 3. I can totally picture this for the wedding with strappy sandals/heels, or with a pair of black tights and pumps for a less formal occasion (or for warmth, hehe). The fabric is the most substantial since the other 2 involve chiffon. It has an interesting texture to it - horizontal ribbing - but not so straight and rigid. Hard to describe, but it's flattering and it means this dress really doesn't wrinkle.

In terms of Audry Hepburn categories, this, to me, is a Sabrina dress. I feel infinitely chic in it. I love the hemline - perfect spot on me. I don't feel like this dress is dated, or old - but I feel like it's a bit more classic than the others and I would wear it longer and probably more often. The wide beaded neckline is even more gorgeous in person. Obviously, no necklace needed - just earrings and a great bracelet.

Dress #2 - Patra Beaded Chiffon Dress ($138). Again, took an 8. This is the dress that hubby thought was pretty but was the least "me". Interesting of him to note that because I actually feel the same way. I mean, I do like it or I wouldn't have brought it home. I think it's very flattering. I love that it shoes my collarbone, which we all know is universally flattering.

The tiers of chiffon on this are very nice and are edged in jet beads. And it is way comfy - as in you could eat a huge dinner and it probably wouldn't show. (hehe, as an aside - that sentence originally said "it was way comfy" - maybe I've mentally dismissed this one already?)

Downside - Is this too young for me? Will I get tired of the tiered look? Is it going to look dated in a couple of years? It is chiffon which does always run the risk of snagging (have I mentioned what a clutz I am?) I worry that with this dress, I will love it for that one night and then not ever wear it again. I can see this with a fab dangly necklace or two...of course, they would have to be non-snagging necklaces...

Dress #3 - Taylor Dress Illusion Yoke Silk Shift Dress ($148). Again, took an 8. This is probably the most fun of the 3 dresses. And initially, it was my top choice. Back to the Audrey categories - this is a total Holly Golightly dress. The petals at the neckline and hem are just fun fun fun. I don't think you can put this dress on and be sad. Exuberant...that's the word.

Downside - first of all - the wrinkling. This is the advantage of bringing several home and trying them on a few times. I have noticed this wrinkling. It shows in my pics, esp in the sheer mesh at the top. If you click over to the Nordstrom page and really look at it, you can see the wrinkling in all their pics in the sheer mesh at the top and across the whole body of the dress. I think it may be in part due to the fact that the entire dress has the mesh overlay, but still...what does that mean for packing it? And spending part of the evening sitting down for the ceremony or for dinner, etc? Am I going to end up a big wrinkled mess? (It is so cute though.)

Polyvore of dresses:

So those are my choices. What do you think?