Monday, November 8, 2010

Field Trip Chic

Q:  How do you know it's been too long since you blogged? 
A:  Blogger asks you sign back in when you get into your Blogger Dashboard.  hahahaha.

I was doing so well and then work got INSANE because I had deadlines to meet before heading off to Disney for a week - we just got back yesterday.  (And I even had started this post a week before we left and never finished it) 

A couple Fridays ago, I went on a field trip with M's class to the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm.  This is a field trip that could have been very ugly depending on the weather.  But the heavens smiled on us and we had a gorgeous, sunny, crisp fall day. 

What do you wear on a field trip?  Remember, you don't *have* to go into full slumpadinka mode.  But like the Boy Scouts, you do need to be prepated.

First of all, read the instructions.  (We're women, we're usually good at that.)  When the info sheet comes home and the first item says "dress for mud", you know to toss the ballet flats or flip flops in the back of the closet.  Then again...we were visitng a farm...not really sandal stuff, you know? 

So I started from the bottom up...with the good old LL Bean duck boots.  I couldn't even tell you how long I've had these...and they still work.  And then I had to giggle when a bunch of the parents were sitting around and I looked over to see another mom in duck boots. 

Jeans are the natural option.  Hey, if you want to feel good about your size, head on over to Target.  I just got these - Merona, fit #2, in straight - and I took a size 4.  How's that for the ego?  Now admittedly, I have shed some pounds over the past couple of months, but not that much.  Hey, we've all made that ooh-it's-a-smaller-size-and-it-fits purchase.  At least with jeans, you know you'll wear them - it's not a purple floral muumuu that will sit in the closet with its size 00 tag dangling dejectedly waiting to be worn. 

And given the recent weight loss, I have no idea where I'll end up, so I don't really want to spend much on replacement bottoms right now, so $24.99 jeans from Target worked out well.  It's nice to be able to wear pants that aren't falling down while you walk. 

Ok, the jeans and boots were kinda obvious. What to put on top?  Layers...always layers.  So, last JC cambridge cable turtle with a tee & cami layered underneath.  Then a puffer vest and cozy cashmere scarf.  To stay warm, zip up the vest and bundle up in the scarf.  To cool off, unzip vest, loosen scarf or stow in bag.  It was a perfect outfit for that day.

The field trip itself was a lot of fun.  And made me love M's teacher even more. Like when she, my friend Kim and I got in trouble with one of the volunteers for chatting at the back of one of the stations.  We were talking about our kids as students, and not gossiping, I swear.  Teacher was not really happy with the cranky lady. 

And then during another demonstration, a student turned her camera off and it made a very small noise.  The volunteer at the farm doing the demo pretty much freaked out - "what was that? who made that noise?"  After the students around the poor little girl with camera said "oh it's ----, she just turned off her camera," yet another crankly lady LOUDLY intoned "BOYS AND GIRLS COULD WE PLEASE TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES SO WE CAN PAY ATTENTION?".  Yes, she was that nuts.  These kids aren't allowed to have cell phones, duh.  So I really fell in love with M's teacher when she turned to me and whispered "Ok, I'll give you my cell phone number and then you can call me right now."  Love that!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nail Files - Fall 2010 - Rescue Beauty Lounge

Final post (I think) on fave Fall polishes.  How many of you have tried Rescue Beauty Lounge?  I am a huge fan of Ji Baek - I love her book, Rescue Your Nails, it's a great how-to for home manis & pedis with other fun info included.

I don't have many RLB polishes - in fact, before this fall, I only had one.  But when I saw the Fall 2010 release, I had to jump.  Note - get on the email list if you like these, I was able to pre-order since I had gotten the email and had them in hand even before they were released to the public.  Not because I'm special or anything...just because I signed up for the email list.  And I will add that they don't inundate you with 5 emails a day - it's not even once a week, so you're not setting yourself up for spam-ville...unlike some other retailers...

Let's get to the polishes, shall we?  The RBL Fall collection was inspired by the Housewives of Tudor Englad. I got 2 - Anne & Jane.  And they retail for $18 each.  The Real Housewives of the Tudor fun is that?

image above from Rescue Beauty Lounge

First up: Anne. Per the website: Rumored to be a sorceress, Henry's second wife lends her short-lived name to this bewitching olive green with a pink-gold metallic iridescence.  I'll admit - they had me at "olive green".  But the little teeny hot pink sparkles in this are just gorgeous - and very subtle - it's not overly flashy.  Hard to get a great picture - it's even better in person. Just a gorgeous, rich, saturated fall color.  If you've ever imagined a polish inspired by a rich brocade gown, this is it.  Yum. 

This will be one of my mainstays this fall, without question.  Application was flawless - very easy.  If you click on the link to go to RBL's website, they have links to some of the main polish bloggers' pictures, including my all time fave polish blog, All Lacquered Up.

And then we have Jane.  Or, as RBL says on their website: Ji’s latest favorite polish is named for Henry's favorite wife, a pale gray pearl with sheer washes of pink and gold.  I was pleasantly surprised at the application - it's nice and smooth.  Pale colors can often be streaky because of the way they are formulated.  I like the color.  A really nice neutral for year-round.  The pink and gold are *very* subtle - they just add a little richness to the color. 

And as you can see below, this is right in line with those gray-beige-taupe-smoky colors I like.  Jane, come meet your new friends....

Bottom line - Anne is a must-have for me and I'm thrilled with it.  Jane is a great neutral - so if you don't have something like it, go for it. 

And I think that's it on polish purchases for me for the fall.  My triumvirate for fall polish will be Essie Over the Top, Chanel Paradoxal, and RBL Anne.  Now it's time to clean out the nail polish bin...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Essential Piece: The Cashmere "Sweatshirt"

Still cashmere weather today.  And oh, I was loving my cozy bed last night.  Today was one of those days where I just wanted to be in a blanket all day.  But on days like that, I often find that just making the effort to get dressed in "real" clothes helps lift my energy level.  It's too easy to just sag down in the chair with the sweats on, you know?  So a perfect day for my cashmere "sweatshirt".

Before you start yelling, yes, I realize this isn't really a sweatshirt...thus my use of quotation marks above.  What I really mean is a nice cozy and oversized cashmere sweater to wear on these kinds of days.  You *want* to be in a sweatshirt, but you feel like you want to do just a bit more.  I think I do stand up a bit straighter than if I were in sweats.  Obviously, this isn't something you want to spend a ton of cash on since hey, it's functioning as a sweatshirt.  If you've lost a lot of weight, great, you're probably set.  If you want to find one, I suggest looking at the sales and buy up a size.  It's amazing how well this one works for me.

For you JCAs, you probably recognize a J Crew Cashmere Crewneck Tee when you see one (#28763, $145 - but we know these go on sale online ALL the time).  This is a size L, so it's a size up from the JC cashmere turtle I wore and posted on yesterday.  It's also from Fall 2008, so it's a year earlier, so who knows what that means size-wise.  I love this color - was it heather blade?  Such a gorgeous green, wish we'd see more of it.  I think I got this on sale plus discount = happy with what I paid. 

The key is to keep everything else trim, but comfy.  I added a pair of black Minnies (8T) because the slim bottom is important, a white crewneck perfect fit tee, some darling old Isaac Mizrahi for Target mocs (yes, they are that old and I will cry when they bite the dust), and a black ribbon pearl necklace - also from Target.  So I guess this is my J Crew/Target outfit?  Funny...the 2 stores I shop most about that...

So as the season wears on, keep an eye out for a cashmere "sweatshirt"'ll love it.

Polyvore from today:

Monday, October 4, 2010

C is for Cashmere....(and cashmere is for me....)

Yes, I have kids but I remember Cookie Monster's song from when I was little. a it was "c is for cashmere".  Fall has officially arrived - with cold and rain.  Down to the 40's tonight.  Yeeps.  We actually turned the heat on tonight and I gave our bed its usual fall makeover, swapping out the percale sheets and thermal blanket for flannel sheets, fuzzy blanket and a down quilt on top.  Yum...can't wait to go to bed tonight.

It was definitely a day where I was thankful that I do work from home, as I was hanging out in a big cozy sweatshirt.  And then tonight, I had a PTA chair dinner to attend, so cashmere was the only way to go.   Out came last winter's dark slate cashmere turtleneck (yes, I was that chilly, size M btw) plus black Minnies (8T) and black Born Lovely flats, and a stack full of bracelets - crystal shapes, gold link, crystal supernova.  It gave a little sparkle to the outfit.  (Any sparkle will do. It's a great base outfit for pretty much any kind of accessorizing.) 

Then some gold hoops and a ponytail and I was good to go.  Anyone else read the Percy Jackson series?  Yes, I am a 38-year-old woman and I like to read some juvenile fiction.  I say it's just because of the kids...  Anyway, in the 3rd or 4th book, where the author starts talking about the "Party Ponies"?  Always makes me think of this hairdo.  It's my party pony (in other words, my hair's been down all day and I need to do something different with it).

To recap the evening - lots of fun catching up with friends.  And I stayed cozy the whole time.  Success!  I may have to pick up another one this season.  I'm digging that heather cobblestone and heather saddle color.  Sigh, I know, more neutrals.  Maybe I need to swing over to the warm honey.  We'll see.  But it's late and I'm itching to crawl into my cozy bed.  Good night!

Polyvore from this evening:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nail Files - Fall 2010 - Chanel's about time...

Wow...just wow...that's all I have to say about this color.  It's funny, I had been visiting Chanel Paradoxal at Nordstrom for about 2 months.  Every time I went by the Chanel counter, I'd stop at look at Paradoxal.  You see, I just wasn't sure I needed it, especially when I had Dior's Lemon Balm from last fall.  But a few weeks ago, after realizing that I was doing this *every* time I walked through Nordstrom (in my defense, the Chanel nail polish does face right out to the mail aisle to get to the rest of the mall), I finally sprang for it.  And couldn't wait to get home and put in on my nails.  I love it.   I do.  I love love love love it.  The next day, I called one of my fellow nail junkies to coo about Paradoxal...yes, it's that bad.  And she agreed about the gorgeousness because she borrowed it when we got pedis together a few days later.

Of late, I had stopped buying Chanel polish, because I wasn't loving anything enough to pay the price for it.  I thought Pariculiere was a fab color, but OPI's YDKJ was enough taupe for me.  And I wasn't feeling any of the summer colors.  And I finally realized that much as I like Blue Satin, OPI's Light My Sapphire is a better navy for me - less bright, more gray.  And I heard reports of chipping issues with Jade... And... And... And...  For me to spend that much on a polish it has to be pretty spectacular.

This one is.  To start, Chanel polishes usually show on the nail a bit different than in the bottle - most often, it's that there is less sparkle on the nail than in the bottle.  With Paradoxal, if I had known what it would look like on my nails, I would have gotten it sooner.  In the bottle there is a very bright purple iridescent quality to it.  But on the nail, the color morphs a bit darker, with subtle sheen in the sunlight. 

How would I describe the color?  Hmmmmm.  It's just a gorgeous bit of smoky violet-taupe mysterious goodness.  Application is fantastic.  Even without my fave OPI wide brush, it applies like a dream.  Not too thick, but not too thin.  2 coats really is all you need.  It's funny as I post this, because I just put it on my fingers again last night. 

Closest comparisons with my polish collection, with notes because, as I said, Paradoxal definitely presents as much deeper on the nail than in the bottle.

Sephora OPI Metro Chic:  Paradoxal is definitely deeper/darker.
OPI You Don't Know Jacques: Paradoxal is more purple, less brown/gray.
Dior Lemon Balm:  Paradoxal doesn't have as much shimmer - and it's deeper.

Bottom line - HIGHLY recommend this one, if you've been feeling the urge.  It's still available online at, and my local Nordstrom had several bottles left in the case - so your local store may have it as well.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

J Crew Caprese Tunic

Yes, totally late to the party on this one, sure.  J Crew Caprese Tunic (#26796, orig $35, curr $14.99).  Would have been nice if I'd been blogging on this one over the summer, eh?

There is some background to this purchase...or at least what I was looking for here.  I used to have, several years ago, a fantastic pale pink linen long-sleeve pop over tunic top from H&M.  It wasn't super long, just enough to cover the bum, and long enough so that shape of it was a flattering vertical rectangle instead of the super-unflattering-on-me horizontal rectangle.  I loved this top, lived in it during the spring and summer.  I loved the popver idea, that it didn't have the button placket running up the front.  Alas, after a few seasons, it was showing wear because hey, it was from H&M, and you don't go purchasing a piece you expect to last for 10 years there.  But I've been searching for a replacement for it ever since.  When J Crew had their chambray popovers, I was one of the first in line to grab one and try it on.  Sadly, it was just too boxy - too wide and not long enough. 

And then I started seeing pics of the Caprese Tunic.  First thing I noticed was the length - so I thought, hey, I wonder if I could make that work.  The second thing I noticed was the self-belt, so I thought, hey, I can chuck that really fast (since my plan was to wear it as a loose but straight tunic, not something belted and puffy).  Of course, this was over the summer, it's not so easy to get to the B&M to try on, and so it took me a few weeks before I got there to try it. 

The first thing I did was grab a S, since it looked a bit wide and I had no intention of wearing it belted.  And then I realized that the S was huge on next I opted for an XS.  Yes, folks, an XS....  Ok sure, it's sleeveless and I don't have to worry about the shoulders, but still...5'10" and size 8 in pants here...the XS was exactly perfect for how I wanted to wear it.  (No wonder there are only M's & L's left online.)  Bottom line - this sucker runs HUGE. 

So thanks, Jenna & company, I'm sure this isn't how you thought of it, but it worked out exactly how I wanted it to.

Now that I have semi-replaced my lovely pink linen popover...the next question is how to wear it.  Well, since it was summer when I got it "with white jeans" was the easy obvious answer.  See first pic above - with my Kut from the Kloth white slim jeans from Nordstroms - one of my best buys over the summer - indispensable. 

That is one of those outfits (chambray top + white jeans) that works with pretty much any set of accessories you want to throw at it - metallic, bright, pastel, neutral, you name it.  That day (I think the kiddies & I met Dina & her kiddies to lunch & shop  a bit), I chose heeled sandals and a chunky bracelet.

Next outfit (middle pic), I went with black Minnies (Tall, size 8), and a gray cami.  For chillier weather, I could have easily added a cardi.  I'm pretty sure it was hot that day, so in the chambray top and black ankle pants, I felt cool and seasonally appropriate.  I was headed into school for a meeting and wanted to look nice, but be comfy (then again, that's my usual dressing mantra, right?)

And then let's get to today's outfit, shall we?  It's pretty yucky outside.  We've got the remanants of TS Nicole blowing through.  We've already gotten 3 inches of rain or so, with more to come. 

But am I complaining?  No, and here's why:
1 - it's not too chilly, so the rain doesn't feel to cold (don't you hate those days that are 38 degrees and rainy?  ugh!!!)
2 - With all the rain coming down, the stinkbugs aren't flying.   Are you getting hit with those, too????  They were divebombing us at soccer games this past weekend.
3 - I don't have to commute 99% of the time, so I'll just shut up now.
4 - I have cute pink rain boots for the grocery store runs.

Back to today's outfit.  I guess the rain gave me the blues, though, because um yeah, that's pretty much all I'm wearing.  Darker slim Chico's jeans, a navy cami, and a navy Jackie on top.  I think I actually might like this a bit better if the jeans were a touch darker, but still I liked how it worked...even though I have since abandoned the flats for a pair of cozy socks. 

And I think it shows the flexibility of this top - perfect for some of these fall days where it starts out chilly and then gets warm.  I doubt I'll still have it out in December, but I think it will be in regular rotation for the next couple of months, and then tucked away until spring.
Now my question is - if you have the Caprese, how are you wearing it?  I'd love to hear....
Polyvore from today:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Putting on the Parisian with J Crew

Ok, I'm not taking credit for the theme here...I'm going with Parisian because as I was leaving the bus stop this morning, walking Lucy, one of my friends was driving by and hollered out her window "You look so French today!"  Well, I'll take that as a big huge compliment...and wear this outfit again.

And here's the part, I was thinking of all my fellow JCA's as I got dressed this morning.  I know a lot of uber-JCA's got the shaft regarding the Mickey card.  I did get my 25% white card...and I am completely flummoxed as to how I got it when so many deserving others didn't.  As I said on Rats On Parade's blog, I hardly even shopped this summer - because the kiddies are home, so not so much mommy-out time.  Who knows...

So today's outfit was a few J Crew classics.  Ok, both purchased in the past year, but they've already become classics to me, and will continue to be so.  The vintage bateau top in dark pewter (#24484, $39.50) - still for sale on the website and in store.  (This is an M, btw.) My store had it in a gorgeous bright orange, but not in my size.  They also had a dark olive green, which I purchased, but then returned because it is just so similar to the dark pewter..  I am still considering ordering the orange one..  I still just adore this top.  I'm curious to see how much I end up wearing this when it really turns to sweater weather.  But even if I'm not wearing it as much mid-winter, I'll be wearing it plenty now.  Of course, the most recent Jenna's picks suggests using a striped sailor tee as your base layer, just like a cami.  Hmmm, I think I'll stick with some of my tanks.  But striped tees almost always send me mentally to Paris...or the French Riviera...

If you can see the tank peeking out, it's from the Loft - their Essential Tank.  I only see it on sale on the website, but if I recall correctly, the store was quite well stocked.  These have been one of my major finds from this summer.  They are usually $14 each, or 2/$20.  But I majorly stocked up when they were on sale for $6 (um, yeah, I got 8...but I think I'm pretty set for a looooong time now).  They are similar to the JC favorite tank, but the straps are a wee bit wider (good for hiding bra straps).  And the Loft tanks come in a wide array of colors - even for neutral-happy me.  Yes, I got white, navy, and black, but I got a yellow, orchid, several tan/taupe colors...lots of options.

The pants are, of course, the JC Minnies in Tall 8 (#24646, reg $79.50, curr on sale online for $69.50).  I think I need to wash and dry these because they are way loose in the midsection now.  Then again, I've lost a some weight recently, so maybe that's it.  In any case, they still worked, and a quick spin in the dryer will put them back where I need them to be.  As a reminder, the Tall Minnies have an inseam of 29" and I'm 5'10", so mentally adjust based on how long you want your pants to be.

To finish off...crystal? starburst? pendant necklace (can't remember the name), gold hoops, braided rope rose gold bracelet, and my comfy Naturalizer croc loafers.  Anything exciting today?  No...just work.  But I felt cute & comfy, so that's a good way to be.  So if you are on a JC shopping ban because Mickey snubbed you, enjoy those classics in your wardrobe - they still work!!

Polyvore from today:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nail Files - Fall 2010 Polishes - OPI

Ahhh, I do love polish.  I have 3 of the OPI Switzerland collection to share with you.  Mixed reviews here.  I'll be honest - this one didn't thrill me like the 2 previous fall collections  - France & Spain.  I don't love the teal-y blues, they just aren't my thing.  Didn't go gaga over the reds/browns...or at least not yet.  But I did find a few to enjoy.

First:  Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous.  Have to get this out of the way - every time I think about the name, I picture Billy Crystal as Fernando on SNL with his "You look mahvelous" spiel.  Ok, I'm done (now it will be stuck in your head, not mine).  Back to the color - a sparkly dark pewter.  Honestly, I wasn't feeling this one so much when I put it on, but that was earlier in August when it was so devilishly hot that it was hard to even comprehend fall...let alone fall polish.  Looking at the picture now, it's really growing on me.  I'll have to pull that one out again soon.  It would be a fun party polish - and the darker pewter means it works with silver and gold, so it's way versatile.  And do I even need to say it?  Application was fantastic.  And remember, as with all sparkly polishes, those little bits of glitter mean that it stays on better.

Second: Cuckoo for this Color.  I've probably said it before, but at the risk of repeating, I'm just not a blue-green person.  I am really way more of a yellow-green person.  I don't get teals and turquoises when I shop for clothes - they just aren't great colors on me unless I have an uber-unhealthy tan.  And I'm just not drawn to them in general.  I go for the olives and such.  Not sure why I even got this one except that it was pretty and I was just in that state of mind.  Again, application is fantastic.  If you skew to the blue greens, go for it.  This was ok on me.  But it was GORGEOUS on E's toes, so I have a feeling she'll be the one sporting it this season.  I do also think it would be a great spring/summer pedi - very mermaid-ish, as well as cuckoo-ish. 

2 of my fellow DC JCA's come to mind immediately when I see this color - dinagideon & Summerilla - you both need this polish - Summerilla because she loves fun polish and it will look great on her; dinagideon because she doesn't do a lot of nail polish but this would be beyond amazing on her, too, and she is such a teal chick!

And finally: Glitzerland.  Ok, points along on the name, huh?  I'm still on the fence about this color.  I had it on last week when I wore my "you're so stylish it makes me sick" outfit and when I went to lunch, both friends commented on the polish and loved it - one of whom is a die-hard creme fan.  I think my issue was that by now, I am SO READY for the dark polishes, that I wasn't in the mood for a lighter one.  But as far as golds go, this one will work on a lot of people because it's not too yellow-gold, it's more tan-gold.  Way more versatile and skintone friendly for more people.  A great party or holiday polish.  I'll probably take this one up again when I get bored with darks in a few months (usually hits me in January - I don't crave sunlight, I crave pale polish.  Weird, I know).  Again, great application.  Can't argue with that - it's why OPI is my default polish. 

So that's my summary of my 3 faves from the OPI Switzerland Collection.  Some nice options for over the season.  I think Cuckoo will be a hit, but for my daughter, not for me. 

What are my fave fall polishes so far?  Stay tuned...I'll try to churn those out this week. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer Dress Round Up with Their Funny Stories

So it's Fall.  And our first couple of days were pretty darn warm.  So it was a good chance to look back at a few summer dresses and get in 1 or 2 more wearings.  I'm still working on the transition-summer-dress-into-fall thing.  Then again...I just love Fall clothes, so I'm usually ready to dive headfirst into Fall, and just say sayonara to the summer togs.

First up, since it's actually still available, is the J Crew Ruffled Jersey Dress (#29816, curr on sale for $59.99).  I did get a PS discount on this from FP, and I'm ok with that because I've already worn it twice in the three weeks since purchasing.  I took an M.  Plenty of room.  Love the fit on this.  It works great with a black bra - the straps blend right in.  It's not as low cut as the shirred v-neck dress from the spring was (this one doesn't show off a tan line, like the other one did).  I love the length - it works with the dress.  One note is that there is no hem - it's a raw edge.  But I haven't had any problems with that so far.  The weight of the knit is great - not too heavy, not too light.  And by the way - yes, my dress is black - they had lots in black in the store.  I only see the heather carbon or shadow online but trust me, it's black.  AppGal tried it on here.  (if soemone else did and I left you out, please holler.)

In the second pic, I'm wearing it with the Old Navy Cinched Front-Zip Jacket that appears to no longer be on their website.  I have to thank Gigi for guiding me to this as a great alternative to the JC downtown field jacket - she had a great pic when ON was doing their 30%, so I went ahead and ordered.  What I LOVE about the jacket is that I was able to get it in a Large Tall.  Large so that I have enough shoulder room...and can put heavier sweaters underneath (thank you, ON for the online reviews - always helpful), and Tall so that it's long enough in the sleeves.  Note in the name "cinched" - it comes in at the waist, so it avoids the all-too-common utter lack of shape that many field-type jackets have.  I will be wearing this jacket tons in the fall.

Funny story for this dress:  I was wearing this outfit again Friday night when hubby said to me as we were heading out the door to dinner "You're so stylish it makes me sick...but I don't mean that in a bad way."  Ah men...gotta love them.  What do you do?  I smiled serenely and sailed out the door.  Clearly it wasn't a rehearsed comment.  I've got to give him credit for noticing...and realizing it was stylish?  Then again, I also had a friend holler out her window to me at how nice I looked picking up dog poop.  I guess it was a winner all the way around.  And yes, I do clean up after my pooch when I walk her - if you have one, I hope you do the same.


Next up...the AT Loft Medallion Shift.  I loved this dress when I first saw it.  It's interesting because it's a yellow/tan print dress, like the famed LoL sateen sheath in the Dunclare print (which Dina has on here) - which I tried and immediately returned because the colors were just horrid with my skin tone.  As soon as I saw this at Loft I grabbed it...fortunately, I was shopping during a 40% off sale. 

I got an 8, and it had plenty of room. It's definitely not fitted - very flowy and breezy, but it shows of a lot of arm and leg to counter-balance the lack of shape. I love the linen fabric. Not see through, not stiff. The only downside, if I could come up with one would be that it really requires a strapless bra. But for this dress, it's worth it. 

And again, as I do with shorter skirts/dresses, flat sandals -these are from Target a few summers ago.  I wore them a ton this summer, and again, will be so sad when I have to replace them.  But they are insanely comfy and work with most of my summer wardrobe.  I found its perfect partner in last summer's JC linen vneck short sleeve cardigan.  They were made for each other.

Funny story on this dress:  A few weeks after I had purchased it, my mom and I were at Loft (30% off or something, probably) and I had pulled a few dresses into the dressing room to try on.  While I was doing that, my mom came back with this dress in hand and said: Did you see this one?  It just looks like you."  And I said: you're absolutely right, and that's why it's already hanging in my closet.  So clearly my mom knows my of the many reasons I love shopping with her.

Polyvore of Loft Medallion Shift Dress:

And the final dress I have to share, which was in HEAVY rotation this summer is the Loft Empire Tank Dress with Twist Detail. Can't remember the specs on this, I know I got it as a % off, just not sure whether that was 30, 40, or whatever.  In any case, in terms of cost per wear, it may well be one of the cheapest items in my closet right now.

What's not to love on this one...  Great shade of gray.  Beautiful draping. Lovely empire waist.  I took an M in the dress, and it fit perfectly.  The fabric is mostly synthetic, if I recall, but it still breathes.  This was a hot, steamy day staple in my wardrobe this summer.  Wore it tons.

Funny story on this dress: When I tried it on, I was asking the SA about the feasability of wearing my usual summer sports bra/cami underneath so that I didn't have to wear a real bra with it.  She, of course, was going on and on about how I could dress it up with heels, necklaces, etc. 9 a bit like at left here)  and I was just like:  um, I have plenty of that stuff, I really just want a cute knit dress I can throw on with a sports bra on a hot day and head out the door.  And that's exactly what I did with it...over and over and over again.

Polyvore of Empire Tank Dress:

I may have a post or two more on summer left, but I'll be switching to fall really soon, I swear.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

J Crew Franny Dress (Retail Only?)

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  We are headed off to a Mexican Fiesta Pool Party tonight - grown-ups only.  I want to be wearing a cute little dress...but it's about 70 degrees right now and headed down to a low of 51 tonight, so I don't think a cute little dress is in the cards...unless I go with a coat and tights...but it's Labor Day weekend - way too soon to pull out the tights in MD.   Instead I'll be wearing a pair of white jeans, like probably 50% of the ladies there.  I imagine that about 35% will have on regular jeans, and the other 15% will split out between black pants and the fools crazy enough to go with bare legs.  Did I mention it's always very breezy at our pool, so it's going to feel a lot chillier? 

But I'll have my Jaspe sequined slouchy sweatshirt to keep me warm...and sparkly...and given all the gardening I've been doing today, a sweatshirt seems about right  I've posted on that before and I'm not sure if I'll get pics before I go, so I thought I'd share what I wish I were wearing.  And I'll brace myself for the tomatoes, because a lot of you saw it on AppGal of Musings on the Mountain and I think pretty much everyone agreed with her big thumbs down.  Then again, I've always said it would be really boring if we all wore the exact same JCrew, right?

J Crew Franny Vintage Mixy Dress (#31033, $128, currently marked down in stores but not sure of the price).

Let's get this out of the's short.  It's shorter than anything I own.  But I fell in love with the spite of the length.  Now I'm certainly not going to wear it to volunteer at school.  For me, it's a great party dress.  I wore it a week after I got it to a wine tasting and fundraiser for Grassroots Soccer.  (fantastic organization, by the way, a co-workers daughter is doing a fellowship in South Africa this year) 

Even though it's short, the way the hem falls, I actually don't feel like it's about to blow up in the wind - it's cut straight at the bottom - not billowy.  I actually felt very secure in it, hem-wise...and you know me, I'm usually the first complaining (whining) about JC's hemlines.

I love love love the fact that the dress is cotton.  I like the mix of textures - the black eyelet is just fun for me.  The waistline hits me at a good spot.  It's cool and comfy, and works great with just a regular black bra (so it's easy).

Interestingly enough, I got this dress when I was out shopping with one of my dearest bloggie friends, dinagideon - who is a couple inches shorter than me and is long-shinned as well (while I am short-shinned, with more of my leg length in my femur).  Dina tried on the dress, but it actually looked shorter on her, which was weird.  And we both agreed it was weird because usually everything looks and is shorter on me.  We think it had something to do with the weird bodice fit on her.  For me and my wide shoulders, it sat in the right spot.  But it was nice to ha

But I go back to Ema's sidebar notes on her blog, My Closet, My Baby, and I:  "If something that you are trying makes you feel like you are Kate Hudson (replace Kate Hudson with your favorite style icon), BUY IT."  I felt a bit Gwyneth in the dress.

Given all that's going on with the dress, I kept the rest of the outfit pretty simple - ponytail, stud earrings, and flat sandals.  Yes...FLAT sandals...because it is a short skirt and flat shoes always ground the short length a bit. 

Funny story:  When I was trying the dress on at my not-usual B&M, the SA suggested it would look great with heels.  And I just looked at her and said "with a hem this short?  seriously???  Um, yeah, I don't think so."  But I may try it out in chillier weather with tights and a long cardi...we'll see...not sure if I'm that adventurous yet.

And if you need a tomato to toss, check out the gorgeousness below...fresh out of the garden this morning:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to School in the Crew...with some Loft Love

Today's post is dedicated to My4Boys - have you seen her new blog, Tweed and Toile?  And it's not just the cute pic of her 2 pooches on the sidebar that makes me like it...although admittedly for me, cute puppy pics always make it more fun.  She's always had such great Polyvore sets, and now we get to see them in person. Check it out!

Anyway...a month ago or so, she had a way cute Polyvore set with one of my all time fave tees, the J Crew navy/white striped tissue tee from last fall with cuffed jeans and a pair of adorable red sandals - from Loft (the Bridget thong sandal).   I might not have stopped to look that closely at the shoes at Loft, but the next time I went in, I moseyed over to the big huge tower o'sale shoes, tried them on, and realized that they actually were as cute as I thought they should be (note the large amount of projection here - it disappoints me when something doesn't live up to all the outfits I've created in my head).  And not only were they cute, they were on sale and 50% off, so they were mine for $17.49.  I was impressed with the padded footbed for comfort, and the fact that it meant my other sandal requirement - that I could  slide the strap over the back of my heel without having to unbuckle it.  Lazy, I know, but it works for me.

I'm viewing these as the perfect summer alternative to my patent peep toe flats - it's a great pop of color for all the neutral - white/tan/gray/navy/black - that I wear. It works with all of them.

And so to the outfit...I wore it, ironically, much earlier in August - about 2 weeks before the kiddies went back to school, but the JC Nicky skirt always has such a schoolgirl vibe for me (maybe because of the navy color?), so it really reminded me of back to school.  So whenever I wear it, I'm usually trying to downplau the schoolgirl feel and skew it more to the resort vacation vibe..which is why I probably never wear it with sweaters.  But colorful sandals really help with that. 

The Bridget thong sandals were the perfect finishing touch to the navy skirt and white (open crewneck painter) tee ensemble.  And a chunky pewter locket for some visual weight.  I liked the nautical feel of this outfit. Admittedly, I could sub in most any of my colorful sandals and they would work with this outfit.  I particularly look forward to utilizing the Bridgets for the 4th of July, when I'm usually wearing navy with or without some white, because I just don't do red clothing in the summer - doesn't work on me with my coloring.  Speaking of the 4th, I could replicate this outfit...if only it weren't so hot every year...oh well, food for thought.

Does anyone else have the Nicky skirt from Spring 09?  I wouldn't mind finding it in in the hot pink or orange color they had.  Size 8...let me know.  Maybe I should really be posting on the JCA exchange.  (see note above on laziness)

Polyvore from 8/16/10:

And since I mentioned cute puppy pics above as well as back to school...this is Lucy's back to school picture...since the only way E would consent to get a BTS pic with her brother was if Lucy was in the pic as well. (yes...the kiddies needed to go back to school this week and get out of the house...)

Hope you are enjoying your back to school season!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Old Navy Striped Rosette Cardigan

Kiddies & I are at the River for a few days of R&R before school starts back more week before we have to back to real life.  Hubby is even here for a long weekend.  And of course, the pooch.  Lucy always loves it here...plenty of room to roam.  And M&E have a new toy to play with - my parents got a kayak, so that's been a lot of fun. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to tomorrow morning (gotta get my kids out of it first!).  And maybe I'll get closer to caught up on blogging.

Last week, while still in town, I met up with one of my fave bloggie friends, dinagideon, and all our kiddies, to do some lunch and shopping.  We actually started at Old Navy, since I was on the hunt for what appears to be an online only dress. 

I was out of luck with the dress, but while we were there, dina stopped by the table with the cardis...including the Striped Rosette Cardigan (#772013, online $26.50, was in-store special of $19.50).  The cardi comes in charcoal, heather oatmeal, purple or yellow, all with white stripes.  And of course, I was drawn straight to the charcoal - a lot like my JC vintage bateau striped tee - I love that white/dark gray combo.  Dina picked up the yellow as it reminded her very much of a JC cardi from a few seasons ago that she missed out on.

As of right now, while I'm typing this, the cardi has an online rating of 4 1/2 stars, based on 25 reviews.  (oh, I love the online rating!  wish everyone did it...)

I got an M, and I thought the fit was great - not too tight, not too loose.  Interestingly enough, the cardi comes in Tall and Petite online - but I really didn't see any need to size up to the L, or go with a Tall - for how I'm going to wear this cardi, it's plenty long.

I didn't close the lower 2 buttons - I think it works better with the bottom 2 undone, or open...much like the JC Jackie.  Like the Jackie, the sleeves are 3/4.  Nice cotton knit - not too thin, not too heavy, very versatile - especially in transitional seasons.  I've washed it once, and it seemed fine.  We'll see how it does over the long haul, but so far, so good.

After picking up the cardi on Monday, we had a break in the humidity on Wednesday, with lots of rain and some cooler temps, so of course, I had to pull the new cardi out for a spin. The cardi is fitted enough to go with looser bottoms, so I paired it with my J Crew linen cotton seaside pants and a white cardi.  Then some fun red sandals for a pop of color.

The ON cardi was a fun, comfy cardi for the day.  I anticipate wearing it a lot with just a white tee and jeans or Minnies in the fall.  

Gigi also tried on the cardi here.  If I missed anyone else, please let me know.

Polyvore from Wednesday:

8/18/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Nail Files - Essie Love

With a blogging absence of more than a month, it's a safe bet that I have some polish pics stored up to share.  So I will start with 2 new polishes that I am loving.  Not new as in a new collection, but new to me.  And shocker...they're both by Essie.  I do tend to prefer OPI polishes over pretty much every other kind - including the OPI Sephora line.  I just find that the regular OPI line has fantastic formulas, dream application with that pro-wide brush, and gorgeous colors.  Essie has often been a problem child for me, especially their light and sheer colors - way streaky - even with 3 coats.  But these two...totally covetable. 

First up - with indoor & outdoor pics - Essie Jazz - "a neutral creamy beige-taupe", which is available in J Crew stores and on the website (#22678, $8).  Finally...a JC Essie shade I can fall in love with, unlike that Russian Roulette red and some of those drippy (IMO) mauves.  To start with, since application is always my issue with Essie, I will tell you that the application on this light polish is great - surprisingly easy for a paler Essie shade.  Virtually no streaking, yay.

And I *love* the color.  Again, another version of classic khaki pants for your finger tips.  A fantastic neutral.  Definitely work-safe, IMO.  I will be wearing this on my tips a lot this fall, a very good alternative to a standard nude polish.  As mentioned, I purchased mine at the JC store.  I haven't seen it in my usual Essie/OPI haunts (i.e. Trade Secret, Pure Beauty, Ulta), so if you really love it - try J Crew (especially if you're trying to get to that free shipping minimum) or one of the polish e-tailers.

Next...what may be my new fall fave polish - Essie Over the Top - "a dramatic metallic midnight silver", originally from their Winter 2007 collection.  It reminds me a lot of YSL's Tuxedo Gray or a metallic version of OPI's Suzy Skis in the Pyrenees from last fall's Espana collection - not quite navy, not quite charcoal, but in between.  Kinda like a fave J Crew shade of mine, Shadow (aka  SHA).  Over the Top almost looks like hematite.  It's less intense than black, but still has that dark moodiness I love. 

And I can't stop staring at it.  After the first OTT mani on my fingers, I used it for the next one- that's love. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

2 Days, 2 Denim Skirts

Back again...I think I just needed the long uninterrupted break.  Good to take a breather from the electronics every once in a while, no?  It's funny...when I didn't have any hours at work, I thought I'd have all sorts of time to blog, but I just wasn't on the computer that much - Polyvore, blogging, blog reading, Facebook, any of that. 

But work has picked back up.  So back to busy, back to being on the computer.  Hubby got me a real chair for my desk after I swiped his while he was in Chicago last week.    So now I can sit here at my little desk in the living room and look out the window while I lean back in my comfy chair.  I just have to keep kicking the kiddies out of it.

While I was breaking, I started to work on some more closet clean out and gave quite a few things the fish-or-cut-bait designation.  You know...this things you always mean to wear but never get around to it.  On this latest round, I realized I had 2 denim skirts hanging in there that had probably not been on my body in almost a year. 

Not usually something I wear in the summer, but we had a semi-cool stretch of days, so it seemed a perfect time to pull them out.  (No idea why I never wore them this past fall or winter, but enjoyed them so much, I'll definitely make that change).

First up...from this past Saturday, the Boden denim mini I got last summer...the one that I planned to wear all fall and winter with a sweater, tights, and boots....and never did.  Maybe I was too into the Minnies & skinnies?  I've always loved skirts, and was so happy when M & E were out of diapers so that I could actually wear them again.  changing diapers on a floor while wearing a skirt take more talent or effort than I've got.

I love the buttons down the front of this skirt...not that I ever tuck anything in so that you can see most of them.  But it's a really fun piece.  Not too heavy.  I paired with a navy JC boyfriend tissue tee & cami, a chunky bracelet, and my old trusty JC sneakers.  No idea how old those sneaks are...they don't date back to my college JC outlet days, but they were purchased early on in motherhood for me.  As always, with a short skirt, I don't like to do heels - at 5'10", and with a long femur (2, actually), I like a flat shoe to ground the look.  And this suited a day that involved a training session at church and hanging out with the family at home.  Grilling out and then s'mores, yum!!  I'm pretty sure I've posted a similar outfit on Polyvore, but it's simple and it works.  And it's navy.  What more do I need?

Polyvore from Saturday:
8/13/10Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

To repeat from above...what more do I need?  Well, stripes for starters.  Oh, I am such a sucker for stripes. Especially the navy and white ones.  The tee is from Gap, and without a doubt, has one of the worst online pics I've ever seen (check out the Polyvore below or the embedded link:  Striped cropped-sleeve henley tee.)  It looks anemic.  I never would have purchased it based on that - in person, it actually is navy and has a really great long length they seem to be trying to hide in the online pic.  Well, you can see the length from the picture at left.  So you know I love it.  The fabric is very similar to the JC painter tees - so you definitely need a cami or tank underneath.

I got the tee (size M) a couple of weeks ago when my sister came up to visit.  She liked mine so much, she went back the next day to get one for herself (of course, we had all 4 kids on the 2nd trip).  I think the striped tee ended up being around $17 or of those chain reactions - on sale, plus % off, plus additional 10% off since I put it on her BR card. 

The outfit, btw, is from Friday, when we had some very cool weather (oh it was lovely).  The denim mini here is from Loft from probably about 3 years ago.  The weight of the denim (heavier than in the Boden skirt above) keeps it from flying up or riding up.  But you can find a denim mini pretty much anywhere.  And then my canvas slip-ons from LLBean, gold hoops and a ponytail.  I felt very young and carefree that day. 

Polyvore from Friday (seriously, isn't the IRL so much better?):

Happy to be back and looking forward to catching up with you all.  Thanks to all the followers and other regular readers who didn't just jump ship!  XOXO