Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dum dum da dum...dum dum da dum.....

Why, yes, that is a wedding march I'm dum-dumming in my title.  (really?  you didn't get it?  gee, I thought it was soooo obvious...)

Here's my good news, my dearest friend from high school, Patty is getting married this fall in Massachusetts.  (that's not her, btw, it's one of our planning pics found by here ever-resourceful sister, I believe.) I am absolutely thrilled for her because she is without a doubt the best person I know - so smart, so good, so funny, so generous, a great athlete.  As in she was the complete package.  Is there anything she can't do?  Ummmmm, she never tested well, but that's pretty much the biggest flaw she had, I think.  And it didn't interfere with her getting into college.  And even though I will always love William & Mary and it is part of my soul, I have to admit that UVA actually is a good school.  I'm just not going to pay for my kids to go there.  Anywhere else but there...

So she found a really great guy and they are getting married...and I get to be a or the bridesmaid (numbers not yet finally determined).  Which reminds me of a funny story about Grace Kelly when she was getting married and they were trying to explain bridesmaids to the foreign press because at the time (no idea if it's still true), bridesmaids where much younger unmarried women, so the phrase just didn't translate.  So as a 38-year-old married woman, I get to be a bridesmaid, and I couldn't be happier.  Especially since I'm supposed to wear navy blue, my all-time fave color. (Yes, it's about more than just the dress, but the dress is so much fun, isn't it?) And E & M might be flower girl & ring bearer.  How cute for words.  (E's feeling a little shy about it right now)

Yes, it's about more than just the dress, but come on...the dress is so much fun, isn't it? I can't wait to go looking at dresses with Patty - I hope she goes with white-white, as opposed to off-white.  You know how most people need a tan to look good in white?  She dosen't - she always wears that color well.  She is currently favoring some Alfred Angelo dresses, and we have plans to go to one of their salons soon to check them out.

And I'm looking forward, yes to finding one for me, it's like the supporting actress category at the Oscars - I'm the supporter - a good background!  And I'm supposed to wear navy blue, my all-time fave color. It has been a while since I've been in a wedding.  I remember the bright purple dresses for my sister's wedding (she did go to ECU, you know) - not anything I ever wore again, but they did photograph so well with the flowers.  And when her hubby's sister got married a year or two later, they recycled the dresses - I was more than happy to hand that over.  Even the Liz Claiborne dress I wore in a friend's wedding - it was hot pink - I wore it one other time and then retired it - it just wasn't a me color. And there are so many more options today than back when I got married.

You know J Crew has a huge bridal section.  silver_lining was kind enough to warn me on the Polyvore below about the side zippers in some of the dresses, so I'll be on the look out for that.  snaphappy is going to be in a wedding in the fall, accompanying in her grandfather, so she's supposed to be wearing navy also - and the bride is looking at J Crew navy dresses.  So I think snaphappy and I will be popping down to the Georgetown B&M in the next month to check out the selection, since that one has their bridal salon.

Ann Taylor has their whole bridal line, although it seems more skewed to bridesmaid dresses lately.  I'm actually strongly considering one of their dresses, not a bridesmaid one, but part of the regular line,which is 30% off right now with code DRESS30.  Of course, by the time I got around to looking at actually ordering it, the smaller size was gone, so I ordered the other dress in the smaller size.  (all dresses currently under consideration in Polyvore below)

And right on cue, timing-wise, I just got an email from my PR Specialist contact at White House Black Market about their new bridal line. And well, since I'm not a PR Specialist, I'll let her tell you about it:
Recognizing that White House Black Market is already a destination for women planning events as special to their lives as their wedding day, the boutique fashion brand is thrilled to introduce a new Limited-Edition Bridal Collection! The collection features a stunning bridal gown ($498) beautifully designed in soft ivory satin with a fitted bodice and elegant asymmetrical skirt, complemented by a matching ivory satin clutch ($68) and heels ($98). The collection will be the centerpiece of a new service-oriented initiative of affordable couture: Wedding Specialists in four select boutiques (New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago) available to assist in all aspects of dressing a wedding with the chicest in-season White House Black Market silhouettes, accessories and gifts. Wedding Specialists will also be available through a dedicated number (888.WED.WHBM) and through a new online service, the Wedding Boutique, at WHBM.COM/WEDDING. The gown is available for fitting at our boutiques mentioned above and is available for purchase exclusively by phone and online at WHBM.COM.
I would love to hear some feedback from all of you concerning wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses.

And all of this brings me to one of my favorite wedding conversations - the First Dance, or more specifically The Song.  What song did you dance to or what song do you plan to dance to?  And more importantly, what songs just make you utterly cringe when you hear them?  I admit to actually having my opinion of someone affected if I learn they did their first dance to a (IMO) completely and utterly cheese-tastic song.  I mean there's sappy and sentimental and then there's just schmatlz and ick.  You know how some songs on the radio will actually make your skin crawl?  Yep, those songs...  Feel free to let loose on your opinions there - music is so individual, isn't?

Polyvore of bridesmaid dress possibilities:

Photo credit note: sorry - no idea on the photo credits sprinkled throughout, other than the WHBM pics - the others came from a planning email from the bride. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nail Files - More Spring Polish

Lots of polish fun to share...

I'll start with my awfully belated MAC Liberty of London Blue India, a rich teal color.  I thought it would be a bit more grayish or muted, but it was full on teal blue. 

The biggest thing that bothered me was the length of my nails.  I like them short short short, esp when I wear funky colors (hey, that's my aesthetic, it doesn't have to be yours), and I thought they were just too long with this color on.  I am honestly not sure how much I will wear this on my fingers, but I'm pretty sure I'll be sporting it quite often on my toes this summer...esp when I'm wearing my Target LoL tankini (more on that in another post).

This was the first MAC polish I have used and I was very impressed with the formula.  I had heard that some people have issues with application  & streakiness, but I had none of those.

Next up, we have the guest nails of my darling daughter E, who was sporting a layered combo of OPI Thanks So Muchness, topped with 1 coat of Mad as a Hatter.  (Occasion was her final basketball game of the season, nails to match the red team jerseys.)

What a fun combo!  She loved it.  Here's the full story on the polish - Summerilla wanted Mad as a Hatter but was only able to find the minis and quickly realized that they just were a pain to apply on grown up fingernails.  So I found a full size bottle of MAAH (thank you to the Trade Secret at White Flint) and we swapped.  Turns out that the OPI minis are the *perfect* size for little girl nails.  Thanks, Summerilla!!

And to close, a semi-disappointing Essie spring polish.  I've said before that I find a lot of their cremes, esp the lighter colors, to be very streaky.  Some of them are ok, such as the J Crew Russian Roulette - I didn't love the color on me, but the application was great.  And Risky Business, which I got last year, was good, too.  (It's a fun orange-y spring color, so I'll probably put on and post about that one soon-ish.)

Essie Neo-whimsical.  It's a pretty color - but the application was not great.  And since I do my own nails fairly regularly, I need to be able to apply the color instead of relying on someone else's expertise.

What I'm really interested in is a comparison of this and the OPI Panda-monium Pink from the new Hong Kong collection.  I actually got that color because I like this shade, but can't stand the application.  And I love the application for about 99% of OPI polishes.  We'll see how that works out...will post on it soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Short Skirts...Long on Style & Value

Today's post will be on a couple of short skirts I have picked up recently.  Both of which are, IMO, very cute, fun for summer, and a great value for the money.

First, >Old Navy Women's Linen Blend Whirly Skirt (#730585, $24.50, curr on promo for $15 in store).  I tried and then purchased after seeing Gigi's post when ON first instituted the dress/skirt promo.  I also used an in-store 15% off coupon to get it for $13.50.  Not too shabby for a summer skirt.  (and how can you not love the name "whirly"???)

I got the flax skirt; it's also available onlin in white, cobalt ink, and honey pot.  The B&M may have had more colors - to be honest, I don't really remember because when it comes to linen, there's nothing better than khaki for me.  (Which is why I was so bummed the JC Playa dress was only in the white & papaya - I still think it would have been perfect in khaki.)

This skirt is short - 16", as mentioned online.  However, because the elastic is only in the back and the rest of the waistband is nice and wide, it's very easy to wear low on the hip.  And in summertime, that's probably comfy, too.  I got an M, which gave me plenty of room for the nudge down on the hips trick. (If you plan to wear at your waist, you will want to size down.) At this length, I think it works long as I'm wearing flat sandals or sneakers with it.

And that would be in direct contrast to the dreaded JC Nico skirt, which has an extremely wide elastic as its waistband that creates mega-muffintop on anyone trying to nudge it down to get the length to a decent level, if they're short-shinned like me.

I love the pockets - I think they give the skirt some extra style.  But the key is wearing the skirt low enough so that the pockets aren't adding width to the hips.  But you definitely want a streamlined top with this skirt - nothing too blousy.

Next skirt...from Target.  No...not Liberty of London.  Actually, did they even have women's skirts?  Because that would have been way cute.  >Merona Women's Patchwork Madras Skirt (orig $19.99, in store on sale for $14.99, online for $8).  (Tough choice here - do I get a price adjustment from the 19.99, or re-order online?)  I have been semi-coveting this ever since >Sweet Tea in Seattle got a similar one last summer from Target. 

I got it in a 10, figuring that I may want to wear it a bit down on the hips since it's much shorter than the online picture would make you think.  And the 10 works.  I love it with the navy tee here, even though I just grabbed that to throw on with both skirts.  (And yes, if I wear the tee sans cami, I definitely need a dark bra.)

Not much more to say on this skirt - I love the patchwork madras, the fit is just fine, I can't wait to wear it with tanks or tees this summer, and it will be great with sandals, flip flops, or sneakers.

Easy...just like a summer skirt should be...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Amazing ON Find - Best Bathing Suit Cover Up Ever...esp for the Price!

Life has been crazy and I miss all my bloggie friends...and I have so much to share! But I have to do this one right away since it's about the BR/Gap/ON GiveGet promo this weekend. (First of all, did you get your coupon. If not, email me at my contact info and I'll be happy to forward to you - I still have 20 I can forward).

Anyway...while the kiddies were at school today and after my conference call, I had a bunch of returns to do, one of which was at ON. As I was chatting with a friend I ran into, I all of a sudden noticed all these really cute dresses and said "oooh, must go look" so we wandered over there...and then picked out different colors so we wouldn't be twins at the pool this summer.

It is the best (esp for the price!!!) bathing suit cover up I have seen this year. Ok, I haven't been shopping for coverups a lot but I'm always on the lookout.

Old Navy Smocked Tube Dress (#730556, $15).

But wait...there's more...the dresses are currently on promo for $8.

And then I had my 30% off GiveGet promo.

So that means....

I paid $5.60 for each. They could fall apart after a month and I would have no grounds whatsoever to complain.

Don't shoot me, I got the black and the blue (blue chip).

Fit-wise...what do you need fit for? It's a bathing suit cover up. Or at least it is for me. On my 5'10" and short-shinned frame, it's really too short to be a dress. And I'm totally comfortable with this as a single-tasker. Because it was $5.60.

I did take an M. Size down-ish. There's plenty of room.

In store, they had the black, blue, green, orchid, yellow, and coral shown online. They also had a white and a black that had some large-scale flowers printed on (the black had blues/greens; the white had corals/yellows, if I remember correctly). I feel like I should have gotten more than 2.

Got a few fun pieces at Gap, too, that I'll share IRL pics of soon. Here's the PV for now (all purchases on sale, then with additional 30% off):

(yes, I finally caved and bought distressed jeans...but they were soooo cute!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yes, It's What's On the Outside that Counts

First of all, following the lead of so many others, I started a secondary blog for selling clothes.  It's Heidi G - From My Closet.  As I say in my sub-header: "Because the post office is closet than the consignment shop."  (It really is.)  Browse all you want.  I'll still list on the JCA Weekly Exchange and Polyvore, but this will have more than just J Crew-wear.  And I'll be adding to it regularly.

Secondly - my Public Service Announcement for the Day/Week/Month/Year:

Clean out your dryer lint - the lint screen and the outtake hose!  My neighbor across the street had her dryer catch on fire earlier this week.  Not a fun experience at all.  Fortunately everyone is ok.  Which brings me to my next point - don't turn on your washer/dryer/dishwasher and leave the house...unless you are 100% sure that everything will be perfect.  This will be a definite mindset change for me!!

Enough lecturing...and back to regularly scheduled blogging...

How much time do we waste on just the clothes, yu know, the shirt/sweater/pants without stopping to consider the outer and the under and the with?  I'm certainly not going to pretend to be an expert on the underpinnings to put with an outfit (that's why we have Cleo's blog, Trousseau Adventures).  But I am pretty comfortable talking about the "outer" and the "with" least as it relates to my style.

Sometimes it is really is all about the outerwear and accessories.  Remember in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lechter made the comment to Clarice about "your good bag and your cheap shoes"? 

We do love our clothes...but if you're throwing on a crappy coat or cruddy shoes, it will ruin the whole look.  And when it's cold, rainy, snowy, or just not 75 degrees outside, most of what others see is your outerwear and accessories.

To illustrate here on the left. First picture: Before, perfectly fine, simple, standard type of outfit for me (I do adore this Cambridge cable turtle!) Second picture: After, with sunglasses, trench, & bag.  C'est plus chic, non? (then again, didn't we learn that from Jackie O, Audrey, Grace, et al?)

Starting with the outerwear...How many coats do you have?  How many do you wear?  How many are actually flattering on you?  Which ones improve your outfit instead of actually competing with it? 

I do try to make sure my outerwear at least works with my outfit for the day - if not actually taking my look up a notch.  In fact, if all I'm going to be doing is running errands, it's easy to just slip on a plain, simple (i.e., typical me) outfit, but add a coat that is either bright/happy/cheery as the focal point of the outfit - yes that would be the Winnie coat - or in warmer temps, the green Gap corduroy coat I wore today.  Conversely, I find that my charcoal gray heather hooded car coat from Bloomies 10 years ago (aka my pregnancy coat), adds wonderful texture to ensembles.  It all depends on mood.  And weather.  But you don't have to spend a fortune on coats.  It's something to work on over time.  And the way sales happen so soon in the hardly ever have to pay full price, unless it's something that you are just *dying* over.  But the great thing about coats is that when you talk CPW (cost per wear), you get a lot of value for your money because you were them so often.

The quickest way add luxury to an outfit is with a big, cozy scarf.  Even if it's not super cold outside, a generous but lightweight scarf always chics up a look.  And if you're always cold like me, it keeps you warm!!  This is not a wardrobe item that has to cost much.  If you want to lay out a ton of cash, be my guest.  I won't judge.  But you really don't need to.  Most malls have that kiosk in the middle where they sell the pashminas rather inexpensively.  And just about every store, or at least the ones I go to, has a wide selection of scarves, wraps, etc.  The beauty of the scarf is that it comes in so many different colors, textures, fabrics, patterns - you are sure to find something that's right for you.  One of my favorites is a damask hot pink wrap that I got from Old Navy about 5 or 6 years ago for $10 on mega-sale.  I'd say the CPW of that one is down to pennies, or at least dimes.  And the light gray cashmere wrap I got from Banana Republic right after Christmas for $30?  Definitely under a dollar per wear and dropping rapidly.  Of course, you don't always need one with a turtleneck like I have here.

Shoes?  Bags?  Hats?  Sunglasses? Oy, I could go on for a while...but it's been a crazy busy week, and I'm done. Good night all! No, I'm not going to bed quite this early, but will be pretty soon. So I will probably try to catch up on blog reading until my eyelids close...

Polyvore from March 2:
3/2/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winnie Twinnies...and how is it that Dina & I always end up at J Crew?

First up...what color are Winnie Twinnies?  In my world...yellow.  Big, bold, bright yellow.  And why is that important?  Because tomorrow I am wearing yellow...and you may want to as well.  Tomorrow is Wear Yellow for Chelsea day (see Debye's very moving post on her blog Modestly Styled, Modestly Me) to honor the memory of Cheslea King who lived in Debye's community. Obviously our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with all dealing with the tragedy...but I really love the message in wearing yelllow - keeping the symbol of the light she brought to everyone.  Hug your loved ones close tonight.

(And on a totally shallow note...does anyone have a Polyvore sub for the in store J Crew vneck painter tee in bright citron?)

Now on to Winnie Twinnies...I met dinagideon and drewablank last Thursday at Tysons for a quick Starbucks lunch and some J Crew time to check out the new arrivals.  I'm trying to think if I actually got anything...oh wait, yes, one thing.  More on that below.  But it's always so fun to see them, esp before drewablank heads off on her fabilis trip back home to the Phillipines. 

The fun part was that dina & I were actually wearing our matching Winnie coats (since, you know, I kinda live in mine...) and of course, we had to get a picture...

Outfitwise, I once again wore my new men's half-zip cotton sweater (size M).  I am loving this sweater!!  And then the classic-stripe tissue tee (size M), Chicos Ultra Slim Leg jeans (size, 0.5, which always make me feel great), and the new J Crew crystal fireworks earrings (one of my 20% off purchases a few weeks ago).  The earrings are adorable - but they aren't small.  The only issue I have with them is that I can't do my usual "hold the phone between my ear & shoulder while I talk and do other things" trick.  Not that I really should be doing that's bad for my chiro issues.  The fab AnneG was smart enough to suggest BlueTooth to me on PV...not quite realizing that I have seriously tiny ear canals - it's very weird - M has them too - but the vast majority of ear things don't actually fit in my ear.  

And it was such a yucky day from all the snow melt and dirt and mud, that I just threw on the pink rain boots.  I do love them with the yellow & navy.  And with cozy socks, they keep my feet quite warm.

Polyvore from last Thursday:
2/25/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Since hitting J Crew once a week with Dina isn't quite enough, we met up at the Montgomery Mall J Crew on Sunday morning for the crewcuts fashion show...with our mini-JCAs in tow.  The SA? Manager? at the B&M who was running the show pronounce my E as a dead ringer for Jenna her new name is now mini-Jenna.  (We did pick up a way cute dress for E - the tiptoe dress in heather aluminum- and headband.  Marvel at my restraint, please...)

What did I wear?  Remember I mentioned that I only got one thing when I met up with drewablank & Dina?  It was the CFDA Fashion for Haiti tee.  I had tried it on and hemmed & hawed earlier in the week.  Then I decided that I really did like it, and at least I could say it was going to a good cause...100% of profits to Haiti relief.  You can get the tee here on J Crew's website, or in store.  And as you probably know, lots of retailers are offering the tee.

Size-wise, I got the W1, which would equate to "Small" on the website - these are unisex sizes, folks. If that's too large for you, you can get the crewcuts version here (like dina did, in size 14, I believe; it's currently backordered, but only until 3/16 - not too shabby).  I love the graphic on the tee, not that you can really even see it here...And all I can say is that they must have pinned the daylights out of the model's tee in the online pic.

So for the fashion show, I wore the new Haiti tee with black Minnies (8), black cashmere cardigan (L), and a lime scarf from I don't even know how long ago.  Plus the black Born Lovely flats and some sparkly jewelry.  Very comfy and then very warm when E & I headed to the ice rink to meet Hubby & M for the kids' ice skating lessons.

Polyvore from Sunday:

But I think Dina and I need a new hobby.  When she stopped by her regular B&M yesterday with Rex, he asked "Where's Miss Heidi?"  And I share that with you in hopes that you'll enjoy it a bit and it will add a little lightness to your day since Hubby just wouldn't appreciate it so much if I shared it with him.  Knitting anyone????

Nail Files - New & Old Polishes for Spring

Lots of polish pics to share...cause yeah, I've been behind on this as well.

For starters...let's discuss the OPI Hong Kong collection.  One word - underwhelmed.  Not a single polish enticed me enough to I ended up with another polish from the France collection (Fall 2008), Eiffel for This Color.  Well...I didn't.  The color is really pretty - and I'm surprised it took me this long to purchase it myself because I have often admired it on others. 

What's the issue?  Coverage - I trust OPI colors to give me complete coverage in 2 coats (except for the sheers, of course).  Like the uber fabulous Suzi Skis the Pyrenees, which I have on tips & toes right now - the coverage on that is amazing.  This one, like many of the Chanel and Essie cremes, I find, was streaky - I didn't feel that 2 coats was really great.  So PASS on this one - try Give Me Moor instead, from the Spain collection this past fall.

The next collection I checked out was the Sephora by OPI Modern Flowers (Spring 10).

The first, a keeper, even though it's not terribly exciting, is Handpicked for Me - light pink lilac with silver shimmer.  I'm sure E is going to want to borrow this one.  It's very pretty.  Great spring color.  Not much more to say than that.

The second...well that one already got returned.  Leaf Him at the Altar - ok, I wanted to keep it based on name alone.  It's described as a metallic vine green.  It's metallic.  And it's green.  But it just didn't do it for me.  For the $ I pay, I wanted it to be a bit more special.  I found it to be something I would conceivably find for $3 at Target.  It just wasn't enough...or right...or whatever.  The magazine pics make it look much more special.  Or maybe I'm just too old...

And then we come to an oldie that I haven't worn in a while...and I'm not sure why I haven't because I was loving it.  Chanel's Kaleidoscope from Fall 2008.  It's this great gold-green-platinum metallic bunch of sparkliness.  Not that I think that's a real word.  But oh, I forgot how much I loved this polish.  This was was definitely worth the Chanel price.

My next polish purchase?  I am dying to see the MAC Liberty of London collection...It's supposed to be out next Friday.  I am so at Nordstrom that morning - they have a polish I'm dying to see - Blue Inda.  More info on it on All Lacquered Up, my fave polish blog.  And the lippies looked quite pretty, too.