Wednesday, February 24, 2010

J Crew Dress Review - Checkered Puckered Shift Dress

Oh honeys, as I mentioned in yesterday's post on the jersey promenade gown, the Checkered Puckered Shift Dress - and hehe, try saying that 5 times fast - (#22357, $150) - it just was NOT good on me. At all.

Trying to find redeeming qualities about the dress...hmmm...the fabric is kind of interesting? Um, not really. Oh wait, I've got it - there are some pretty buttons on the back at the top. That was pretty much it.

First of all - the name - checkered puckered? Sounds like a hot mess to me.

Let's start out with what I ordered - I got the dress in Pearl, in a size 10, since that's what I usually take in J Crew's more tailored dresses. This dress, of course, could use some more tailoring...or less...I don't know...something....

I think the size was probably too big, but I didn't even notice because I couldn't get past the color. I have the Jackie in pearl and it's lovely - like the color of a chocolate-vanilla milkshake. So pretty.

The dress in pearl? It looks like a white tee that got dipped into the basin of a washing machine that had a load of medium darks washing. Just dingy and dirty and icky and not at all attractive. I was so hoping this would be a cute, flirty, frothy, springy off-white dress. Sorta like the Playa dress from last summer. Seriously, the color of this dress is an insult to pearls everywhere and they should complain.

By the way, the dress is also available in dark pewter and rosy peach. Even though I just don't do warmer pinks/peaches, I think the rosy peach is probably the best option.

Outside of the unattractive color. the dress just did not look good on me. I know "hot mess" gets overused, but that really explains how I felt when I put the dress on. Too young on me. Too many ruffles. Weird bottom with the puckering under. No waistline. Weird ruffle thing at the sleeve.

If you go to Fabulous Florida Mommy's post with the scanned pics of the March catalog...or if you have a catalog yourself, the dress appears on the 12th picture, on Amanda Brooks. The stylists were wise enough to hide the dress with a large jacket. It looks much better that way.

So yes, that dress was immediately packed back up and returned. Yikes. But here are a couple of Polyvores that I made with the dress. Maybe I'll find a substitute for the spring/summer - I love the idea of it, but the actual dress was just a horror on me.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

J Crew Dress Review - Jersey Promenade Gown

The Basket Weave Portico Dress was just bad. The Checkered Puckered Shift Dress (which I haven't even posted yet, but will) was no good either. Don't worry, though, I will post soon to share the scoop with you all. Both of these have been returned to J Crew.

But the Jersey Promenade Gown (#23480, $118) is still hanging in my closet. Still haven't fully made up my mind. I certainly haven't clipped the tags, but since I got 20% off, if I want this dress, this is the one I should keep. It's online/catalog only, so it makes for a good ridealong to get free shipping if you want to check it out.

*** I just posted this and am already editing it. The dress now appears on the website as $94.90, as part of the online-only 20% off tees & knits promotion.***

For starters, much as I like the Sheer Lilac, you know I'm a sucker for all of J Crew's dark gray's, so I did order it in Dark Pewter. I ordered a size 8 in the dress.

I'm still just not sure whether I like it or not...but it may go deeper than that and just be a question of whether or not maxi dresses really work on me. I love the idea of maxi dresses. I love the idea of not having to shave your legs or being able to cover up mosquito bites. But with my height (5'10"), it really is just a *lot* of fabric.

I think this is as flattering as a maxi dress gets for me, but I don't know that it's me. And I'm not really a boho girl...preppy/classic/casual is much more my style. And I believe that my legs are one of my best features, and I like dresses that show them off. Above-the-knee length is my friend. Except of course, for last spring, when I tripped over the puppy gate and ended up with a bruise that ran most of the length of my shin - at that point, a maxi dress probably would have been a good idea.

But on to the fit of the dress, because that's what you're really interested in, right? I have to deal with my existential style issues later. (But again, can't you tell from my expression that I'm not 100% comfortable?)

First of all, bravo, J Crew! It was not low cut down to my navel. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it did look rather low in the pictures - as in low enough to require special bra purchases. I have on a normal bra here - I think you could actually get away with a regular bra with the clear straps.

The draping on the bodice and twisted straps are very flattering. I love the banded waistband - I think it gives the dress more shape than the usual maxi dress.

I'm happy to field any other questions on the dress. I think, in the end, this will go back. Who knows. But while I waffle, it's still hanging in the closet...

This was my initial Polyvore for the Jersey Promenade Gown:

Jersey Promenade Gown
Jersey Promenade Gown by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Monday, February 22, 2010

The DC JCAs Go Legal

Saturday night, a group of DC JCAs decided to gather for dinner, even though it was technically a few days before the next JC release. Plus it was Slastena's birthday (see her post here - I feel honored to be a part of the best birthday ever). And we do love to celebrate...

Let me say, first of all, major kudos to Legal Seafood at Tysons Galleria. I love them anyway because they have the best rolls and they are the *only* place around here where I can reliably find steamer clams on a regular basis - and they are probably my fave seafood ever from years of eating them at the Lake in CT when we would visit my grandparents. It was the Friday night standard...steamers out on the big picnic table, overlooking the lake.

But back to Legal...we had originally planned to meet at Coastal Flats at regular Tysons until I called and the hostess told me that they can't accommodate a party of 9 at 1 table. So we pretty much switched to Legal at the 11th hour. When Rosa and I got there at 4:30, they were able to give us a table for 9 at 5:00, our meeting time. Then, when Slastena arrived with 2 more friends in tow, they expanded our table - graciously and smoothly and without complaint.

Summerilla needed to be gluten-free. Not only did they have a gluten-free menu, they had gluten-free rolls, the manager served her food personally just to assure there was no cross-contamination, and she even had gluten-free croutons on her Caesar salad. (See her post for pics.)

Then Cleo had some issues with her fish being overdone, and they were actually, *gasp*, interested and concerned. Speaking of Cleo, she (finally) just started her own blog, which we are all very excited about. Check out Trousseau Adventures here.

And at the end of dinner....the checks...yes, I just said "checks." With an "s" at the end. The waitress, without us asking, gave us all separate checks (except for me & dinagideon, since we split the Dover sole). How easy for us!!!

So again, not to fawn too much over the restaurant, but steamers & rolls aside, that was one of the best customer experiences I've had in a while. Bravo! I'll definitely be back.

Outfit-wise...charcoal cashmere turtleneck, black TALL Minnies (how I adore thee), gray fireball beaded necklace (aka the Ugly Betty necklace), gray beaded bracelet, clementine pearl garden bracelet, and Born Lovely flats. Comfy outfit for the evening. And blah, blah, blah...back to the outing.

And what JCA meal is complete without a little shopping? After dinner, we headed right across the hall to J Crew, natch. Once in, dinagideon spied the Crystal Rock Necklace discussed, I mean dissed, on the mothership last week. (#26074, $128) Well, of course she had to try it on. Not only were the proportions *perfect* on her frame, but the colors were absolutely gorgeous with her outfit. Simply stunning in person, the picture doesn't even do it justice. Granted, if we put this on darling, petite Rosa, she might have tipped over. But don't let me talk you into it...dinagideon is hoping you stay far, far away so that this necklace will go on sale and she can scoop it up for a deal. Now shoo...all of you.

The canvas shopping totes were hot items for purchase this time. Me? I picked up an Anthropologie top on sale that I tried on when Rosa and I popped in there before dinner.

And of course, there's always time for a group picture after shopping...

From left, Cleo, Kelly, Rosa in DC, 3-Penny Princess, dinagideon, me, Summerilla, Drewablank.


Thanks for a great evening, ladies!!

Polyvore from Saturday:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

J Crew Dress Review - Basket Weave Portico Dress

My much-anticipated (well, for me at least) J Crew package arrived on Wednesday afternoon. So I was thrilled to get the long beach cardi, the tall minnies, the pearl Jackie, and the crystal fireworks earrings all at 20% off. Like I said before, the savings more than offset the shipping, and I have returned the full price items.

And it was a great time to try some dresses that were catalog/jcrew.com only...20% off, so yay if they worked. And no worries if they didn't since the shipping was already taken care of. Sorry for the delay in getting the pictures up - Thursday was cleaning lady here, then meeting at office, followed by team happy hour. Friday was Valentine's parties at school, reimbursements to dole out, and sleepovers here. We are currently in the lull between 1 basketball game and 1 soccer game.

The J Crew Basket-weave Portico Dress (#22888, $118). This did not work on me at all. Well - you can see that from the picture at left. I ordered this in a 10, based on the model picture (but more about that below).

First of all, the pros:

1 - The color, brilliant orange, is gorgeous!! Love love love this color - I hope J Crew has more in it this spring. The dress is also available in dark slate. (dina - are you so proud of me for bypassing my fave J Crew gray for orange?)

2 - The fabric is beautiful. It's a cotton-silk blend and feels divine. Nice and lightweight for the summer.

3 - The neckline is fantastic with the basket-weave. Interestingly enough, the packaging outside the dress said "Tutenkamen dress", so maybe this is yet another example of an item that will have a different name in-store than online. The dress does not say online only, but I haven't seen it in stores yet. Maybe it will be part of the new release next week.

4 - It has pockets. (need I say more?)

Now let's get to the bad...it's all about fit. First of all, check out the dual images below of the dress, both from jcrew.com:


At left we have the thumbnail that appears when the dresses are all listed, with this dress on a dress form. At right, the model picture that appears when you select the dress and go to the product page. Guess which one is more accurate...the left pic that shows an a-line dress or the right pic which shows a dress that appears a bit tight on even the model's hips? Yep, the right one. All I can say is that I'd love to see the back view of the left pic, because I'm guessing the back of the bodice on that dress is pinned within an inch of its life. Plus, the way they pinned it makes it appear to have a much higher waistline, giving the illusion of an overall length below mid-thigh on me.

When a dress looks like that on the model, it really should be a warning sign. It fit me pretty much like the model, only it didn't look as good. It was tight around the butt/hips. And it was short. And because of that, plus the fact that the fabric is so lightweight, it would bunch up around my waist when I walked or raised my arm, and then stay up. Not too attractive.

And as tight as it was around the lower half, it was so loose - I don't even know that a belt would help. Again...fit like the model pic.

But is it a bad dress? No, not at all...on the right person it would work. I have a fairly straight figure (you know, a brick and all that) but for someone who is really, really straight and not too tall, this would be a great dress.

Here was my initial Polyvore if the dress had worked...not gonna need that now. But I do love the orange/pink combo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Borrowing from the Boys - at J Crew

A little springtime for you all...as we sit here with snow all around. I do love tulips.

You know what I don't love? Boots. I am sick and darn tired of boots. Normally, I really like boots - I would even say I love my black flat boots because I feel rockingly awesome in them. But that sentiment loses a bit of its luster when I am forced to wear them day after day by all this snow.

And this is not a diatribe against the snow. And to update my earlier diatribe against politicians in DC (not the natives but those from elsewhere) - Chris Dodd, we love you. If you hadn't heard, he lifted the since-9/11 ban on sledding at the Capitol. Attention Durbin and everybody else: *that's* how you endear yourselves to the metro area.

Maybe I'm just cranky because we've been indoors so long and I get irritated at the jerkie neighbors who don't shovel their sidewalks, even after a week, and I can barely walk Lucy around the block. I'm just sick and tired of being forced into boots. Maybe it's the stubborn streak.

So, I have officially abandoned boots for the time being. Sure, I'll put on my FUggs to go to and from the bus stop(I'm not *that* stubborn...or stupid), but otherwise, it's back to flats for me.

All of which is a really, really long introduction to yesterday's outfit. (Today? hehehe, still in sweats - going to the office later, haven't dressed for that yet.) The previous day, which would have been Hallelujah, The Kids Are Back at School Tuesday, I popped down to JC to do a couple of returns. As I strolled back from the semi-anemic sale section, I saw a gorgeous sweater...laying on the table in the men's section. Why not try it? It couldn't be any worse that some of the boxy sweaters I tried on from the women's section lately. So I meandered off to the dressing room, swapped out my current sweater for this one, and fell in love.

Let's backtrack...I love all of the fab JCAs who are rocking the crewcuts wear, like Dina. Problem is that crewcuts just doesn't cut it (hehe) with my shoulders - and torso length. But, when you are JC and the women's sweaters in store aren't thrilling you, where do you turn? Yep...the only other section is Men's.

Ta da! J Crew Men's Cotton Half-Zip Sweater (#21666, $69.50) I was anticipating that I would love the feel of the sweater, but would have to give a sternly judgmental eye to the fit and potential boxiness. But to my amazement, it was rather form fitting. On the body, it's much leaner & longer than the online picture would indicate. This would be great with leggings because it covers the butt.

And that thick cotton knit - where did you go? I haven't seen you in the women's sweaters in quite a while. They call it a "chunkier full milano stitch." Can we order that in women's, please??? It's warm enough for winter and will be great for spring, too.

I love the zip neck. Zipped up for warmth. Unzipped to show off a cute tee or fab necklace. This is a perfect piece with jeans, obviously. But I will also wear it with cafe capris and white jeans come spring time.

I got the navy, but it's also available in irish moss and heather stone. Bottom line - how often do you buy something and simply have to wear it the next day. I'm sold!!

Rest of outfit - Chico's Ultra Slim Leg jeans, white crewneck perfect fit tee, clementine pearl garden bracelet, and moc croc loafers. And I was happy all day.

Polyvore from yesterday:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Shopping Ban for Lent? Seriously??

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I had said before that I was going to do what I did last year for Lent, which was to give up unnecessary shopping. And then hubby said "I thought we'd been doing that since January." Bah dum bum. Oh yeah, right. So I thought about about it and realized that yes, I had been really good about it. My purchases have been well thought out, practical - many replacing current clothing that was due to go. Yes, I ordered 3 dresses with the latest 20% off but (1) 2 of them are online only and I haven't seen the 3rd in store, and (2) I am most likely returning some/all of them. The nice thing is that I reordered the Tall Minnies, the Long Beach Cardi, and the Pearl Jackie to get the 20% off - and that more than offsets the shipping, so even if I return all the dresses, I'm still way ahead. Nice to have a B&M so close by, but I won't rub it in.

So that left me with what to do for Lent. First of all, Lent is a special time of self-examination and penitence. Lent is a time for concentration on fundamental values and priorities, and is not a time for self punishment. (Thank you, Father Ken, since I just borrowed your excellent wording from your Invitation to a Holy Lent.) I've had some vague ideas swirling around.

Recently I heard on the radio, because I'm not a regular Oprah watcher, about her plea for the no-phone-zone when driving. No calling, texting, etc. DISTRACTED DRIVING = BAD. No other way to say it. But it's more than just the cell phone. How many times have your been out driving and seen other drivers eating, drinking, smoking, applying makeup, reading, shaving, writing, looking anywhere but straight ahead. I guess this is really driven home right now because of the huge snow mounds we have everywhere in the DC area which make driving even more hazardous than usual.

What intrigued me most was my initial reaction to the radio ad when I thought "No way can I do that." That, dear friends, is what gave me pause - to have such an immediate reaction. Red flag much? Um, yeah, clearly this is an area to explore. If you want to sign Oprah's online pledge, here's the link to it. I think I'm more beholden by putting out here on my blog, but I will go ahead and sign online.

This morning, dropping the kids off at a friends', since I had an early meeting, I had to remind myself to call Nancy to ask her to open the garage before we left our garage, wait to drink my tea until I was parked at school, take a phone call while I was parked at the grocery store, not put on lipstick or check messages until I was stopped at a light. We are so accustomed to multi-tasking while driving - we don't even think about it anymore. All of this yields more focus on driving, more quiet, more time for reflection. All of which are good things. But it takes work.

And it's more than just driving. On Monday, I cleared out my work email inbox and my personal email inboxes (I have one for regular and one for the blog). What a sense of relief and accomplishment. I idly thought "that's what I should be doing for Lent, cleaning out my email on a daily basis so that it doesn't get cluttered and distracting." Distraction = less focus. Clutter, whether physical or electronic or mental = distraction. Isn't all the multi-tasking while driving really another form of clutter? Cluttering up our time?

And think about how good it feels to clean out the closet, the utility drawer, the pantry, the linen closet, under the sink, etc. It's cathartic. It's good for the soul. All the clutter just weighs us down in so many ways. And when you think about it, this really does align with a shopping diet or shopping ban. You're not bringing in more cr@p you don't really need

So here's my final decision. My Lenten practice will be No Distracted Driving - under the overall theme of Disengage the Distractions and Clear the Clutter.

And I've decided and declared just in time to head off to church for the 12 noon service.

Other ideas for Lent...or just living better and gaining a new perspective, outside of the usual giving up meat, sugar, etc.:

My mom gave up saying anything bad about someone for Lent last year. She felt better about herself by giving up the negativity and tried to continue it when Lent was over. I think it's a great idea. And she's really not a negative person anyway, but we all are guilty.

Another idea is a Lenten Carbon Fast. I found this fascinating - it was put out by the Archdiocese of Washington. A daily calendar for Lent of something different to do each day to improve our/your environment. Lots of great suggestions on daily living anyway. (No, I'm not Catholic, but that is irrelevant. If it's a good idea, it's a good idea.)

And here's the most intriguing new idea I've heard, which one of our Seminarians related to me. The idea is living simply and in solidarity with people who have suffered losses are living with very little (i.e., Haiti) - pack 1 bag. It can be any bag, it can even be a big bag. But pack 1 bag and live out of that for 40 days. We are so used to all of our "stuff". Would you be able to live out of just 1 bag for that time? Clothes, toiletries, accessories.... I guess I'd have to pack my laptop and phone? Lots to think on here.

So do you observe Lent? What are you doing this year? Thoughts on the above?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wash and Go

Yesterday was the last day of our 10-day weekend. Yes, dear friends, the last day my kids went to school was Friday, February 5. Whoa, that's a long time. Fortunately, the little darlings were shipped off to school today, thus saving our collective sanity. They did have a 2-hour delay, which made getting E out of bed a bit easier. But tomorrow, it all starts on time (I even have an 8:30 meeting at school).

For my last day of our snow break, I decided that veg-wear was the way to go. And really it's not that exciting. But it's won't you *don't* see that's pretty darn cool.

Starting with what you can see - J Crew long sherpa hoodie - so cozy - I got an L to have plenty of room in it - didn't want it to be confining at all. J Crew tissue boyfriend vneck tee (in M), you know, the standard. And then a pair of Nike yoga pants - M Tall - oh, I love their Talls!! They aren't too tall, they're perfect.

Just standard veg-wear for winter. Vary the sweatshirt, vary the tshirt, wear a shelf bra cami so you can skip the bra. Oh wait, did I just mention the bra?

That's the interesting part of my ensemble today. I have on a new bra that I wanted to share with you...only it's not like I'm just gonna share a picture of that. So the one here at right from online will just have to do.

The Soma Wash and Go Theresa Bra (#550000516, $42). Yes, that's right, Wash & Go. I love the idea of wash & go. I wish I had wash & go hair like my sister and SIL do, but no such luck, too thin for that.

But I can have a wash & go bra. How brilliant is that? I know we all try to be good to our lingerie. But haven't you had a day, especially in the summer, when you were just out doing whatever and you just come home and feel so icky and sweaty and downright unclean? All you have to do is toss this bra in the washer. Per the website it is "specially constructed to withstand the heat and tumble of your washer and dryer--up to 50 times!"

Did you get that? The DRYER. Not just the washer which, using my special bra bags, is where I usually launder my bras and then hang them to dry. But you can put this one in the DRYER. And then actually DRY it there. Wow.

And this is not some flimsy triangle bra. It has molded cups for coverage and underwire. Granted, I don't need a lot of support at 36A, but I do like the way underwire bras look on me. This is also one of their "tshirt bras", meaning it doesn't show through tees. Yay. And since Soma is a subsidiary of Chico's, you know they have great coupons online - don't forget to look it up.

They also have a Wash and Go Tracy bra with fuller cups (the Theresa is the demi style, which I prefer).

Polyvore for yesterday - but really...whay am I bothering with this? Oh that's right, A/R tendencies strike again, can't leave it out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Outfit Catchup

We are watching the Opening Ceremonies on TV and I'm getting ready to catch up on some outfit posting. First of all, Canada - you make such a gracious host...or hostess...I'm not sure of usage here. Go Canada!!

I love the Parade of Nations - it's always so inspiring. And it's continuous so we actually get to watch it, instead of having to constantly cut away for a billion human interest stories. (They just cut away for the oh-so-important commercials.) You know, when there are so many of "interest" stories, somehow they lose a bit of my interest. Plus sports-fan hubby gets really irritated at all the fluff. Speaking of fluff...another Lucy snow pic for you:



Some thoughts on the Parade of Nations:

  • Azerbaijan has the best pants, without question. Google it. I'm sure pics will be up by the time I post this. UPDATE - click here for picture.
  • Go Bermuda - Bermuda shorts for the Winter Olympics. Love it!! I realize it's the national costume, but it's still pretty cool.
  • Ireland has awesome yellow-chartreuse pants. And if I were the only country separating Israel & Iran, I'd probably wear an alert color as well.
  • I want the Slovenia women's green coats - GORGEOUS!
  • And I want one of the US turtlenecks, too. They have to be selling those somewhere. Why miss the opportunity to make a buck?
  • I'm totally digging the quilted parka/dresses that the female flag bearers are wearing. Where can I get one? I look really good in off-white. And it's that cold here.

Outfit #1 - January 25 - Nude & Black. Inspired by an article in Glamour about the color nude for spring. I loved it paired with black...and realized I could do it with last springs cotton-cashmere bouquet cardi and a black tee. Plus my Chicos slim leg jeans. I really liked this outfit. And I'll wear it lots this spring - esp with white jeans. Truthfully, it wasn't quite warm enough for the day, but I loved the colors anyway. That's why we have coats. And it was quite fab with my black Selby bag and its vachetta handles.

Other accessories - loved it with my two-tone spectator Me Too ballet flats. And I paired the duchess stone bracelet with the braided rope rose gold bracelet. Great bracelet combo - my fave JC SA raved over it when I stopped by while I was out. So naturally, I was pleased that she appreciated it.

Polyvore from January 25:

1/25/10
1/25/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

Outfit #2 - January 26 - I finally got the Knox sweater jacket right (this is size M). It's the neckline that's so tricky. A crewneck is too cluttered or crowded with the high vee of the Knox, but a vneck tee is perfect underneath! I decided to play off the military feel of the Knox, so I paired with black Minnies and my black boots. I kept the rest of the accessories simple - just Tiffany heart bracelet and silver hoops.

I admit I felt kinda tough in this outfit. Oh, what a great pair of boots can do for self-confidence! Stylestance has a fun post back in the fall about the effect our shoes have on how we walk - and it's so true. I skip when I'm wearing ballet flats. But when I have on my flat riding boots, I have authority and I stand tall. Which, unfortunately just reminds me of Cartman...respect my authori-tay. But I always feel great in these boots - except for when it's slushy/snowy because I have no traction but always thing I should - ok, so maybe a bit too much confidence.

Polyvore from January 26:


1/26/10
1/26/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew

One final note - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom today! And Abraham Lincoln, of course.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Surviving the Snow

First of all, let me get something off my chest that has bothered me for quite some time about the DC area, and I include all my beloved suburban MD & VA brethren under the "DC" umbrella (hee, weather metaphor).

As you probably know, we are smack in the middle of Snowpacolypse 2010. 27" over the weekend. 10"+ today - hard to tell since the wind keeps blowing (blizzard conditions) and moving it all around. UPDATE - Per the news, we got 18" here in the 2nd round. I had shoveled out front walk earlier today, and now when I look out my front door, all I see is a wall of snow across the walk. Ok, that was smart. At least I got some fresh air. (That's the view out my back door and off the back porch from early this afternoon. Snow's actually higher now.)

But here's the thing...I hope this finally shuts up all the smart-aleck carpet bagging politicians who count dissing DC snow response as a favorite sport. It never fails that every 2 years, when we have a crop of new politicos in town, regardless of party, that as soon as it snows and DC freaks out, they all decide to get up on their little platforms and OMG, everyone in DC is an idiot and no one know anything about snow, you all are a bunch of wimps, etc, etc, etc.

I will not argue the fact that people flip a little when we get just a bit of snow. But HELLO, that's because we don't GET a lot of snow (I mean, except for this year, it is historic and record-breaking and the federal government is closing again tomorrow - 4 days in a row because of weather, I believe that's unprecedented). DC with snow is kinda like people who've never had alcohol before, give them a beer and wacky things ensue.

But don't blame us for getting a bit wacky. We don't have the infrastructure that *y'all* do back in Chicago/Massachusetts/New York or any other spot in the Midwest or Northeast you care to pick. Clearly our "snow shovels" aren't as big as yours. If you would like to pull out your check and write the various Metropolitan Departments of Transportation a six-figure check to up the manpower, equipment, and various supplies for dealing with the snowfall, I'm pretty sure we can all get used to the snow real quick. But until then, please, shut up, you don't look cute or clever or cool, you look like an a$$. Please go back to the work you're supposed to be doing.

Thank you, I feel so much better now.

You might not know this but I can be a bit superstitious about silly things. So I swore yesterday, as we were getting the blizzard warnings about the high winds that if we had power today and didn't lose it that I would actually get dressed in real clothes instead of the usual yoga pants, cami, sweatshirt that I've been hanging out in all week.

Thus far {knock on wood}, our power has stayed on. And I think getting dressed in real clothes made me feel a bit less lethargic today. This does hold with my usual philosophy of trying to dress up when I feel really crummy because it definitely makes me feel better.

For today...navy J Crew Wellesley cable turtleneck sweater - yes, that's Wellesley - the precursor to Cambridge. Wellesley = HO06, much thicker. Cambridge = now, and thinner, but I think we've all had the quality discussion. Moving on... I may need to replace this next year, though, because I absolutely love to wear it, but after 3 years, it is just too short. In their latest issue, Real Simple had a really great article on stretching out shrunken clothing. Guess I need to try it out with this sweater, huh?

And let me talk about the pants for a moment...Gap real straight cords (on sale for $24.99, $19.99 or $17.99, depending on color). The cords come in regular, petite, and tall. I have the regulars, but I cuff them (or wear with boots). I love the fit of these, very comfy (size 10, btw). They look a little weird if you see them folded on the table, but that's because they are several inches higher in the back than the front. And you know what that means - they actually cover your butt! And don't flash anyone if you bend over.

Now, I'm really not much of a cord girl. I'd usually rather wear jeans or Minnies, but I love winter-white cords for winter. So these are perfect.

Underneath, I have a short sleeve perfect fit tee in light berry (size L - I always size up in the perfect fit tees) - which I got back in December for $4.99 at my B&M. (How could I resist?) I love this navy-white-berry color combo - I think I'll definitely be sporting it with white jeans in the spring.

Other than that - Dina hoops, clementine pearl garden bracelet, and brown croc mocs. (This, of course, was all after I finished shoveling this morning). A pretty decent snow day outfit, I think.

Polyvore for today:






Of course, I'm probably going back to sweats tomorrow... Stay warm and safe, everyone! And thanks for listening...

Monday, February 8, 2010

And Why Am I Looking at Spring Shoes Again???

Did you enjoy the game last night? And if you don't really care about football, did you at least have some yummy snacks and good company? I was happy the Saints won, but admittedly that paled in comparison to the fact that hubby and I won $60 from the squares game since he successfully picke squares for the ending scores at the 1st, 3rd & 4th quarter. Go random!! And he successfully recouped his $20 investment, while I managed to snag the net of $40. Yay me...you can guess where that's going...

But speaking of football, I wanted to refer you Saints fans and Francophiles over to a blog that my friend snaphappy referred me to - Simply Southern - where she has a history 101 lesson on the fleur de lis. And it's just a fun blog to read - lots of fun events posts and great quotes - esp this one from Phyllis Diller that she posted yesterday:

The reason women don't play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public. (hehehe, don't you love it?)
So...I'm sitting here at the computer, just cracking up...and the source of my midday mirth is not the usual afternoon viewing of peopleofwalmart.com, but the continually updating Winter Storm Warnings. After getting 27" of snow in my front yard this past weekend as part of the DC Snowpacolypse, we are now expecting...wait for it...10-20" of snow Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. First it was going to be a few inches, then yesterday afternoon, it bumped up to 5"+, then this morning, 5-10", and now this. Oy....

Since when did the prospect of 10" of snow make DC blase? Seriously? Hubby is so done with the snow. I don't blame him - he commutes (worked from home today, though). And he does the lion's share of the manual labor. I do shovel, though. However, if it's the weekend, like with this snow, he does most of it because he's here.

But if you want to smile, here's my fave pic from this weekend of Lucy racing down the hill behind the pool where we were sledding yesterday:



But enough about the snow...at least until I get the pictures formatted...and to keep you entertained until then, I have two new shoe purchases to share...

Long-time readers probably remember me whining about my favorite Isaac Mizrahi sandals from Target - the Liz gladiator sandal in bronze snake. I have gone through 2 pairs of these. They go with literally everything and are so comfortable to boot. (pun...hehehe) Anyway, if I had realized that Isaac was jumping ship to Liz Claiborne, I would have stockpiled that sandal. No such luck, and I baby my last pair, only wearing them when I really really really want to and nothing else matches an outfit, because like I said, they do go with everything.

And then last Saturday (previous weekend, the one with just a few inches, not feet, of snow), I was wandering around Target to grab a couple of birthday presents for M&E for parties they were going to on Sunday. As I was by my little old self, I wandered around the shoes, just browsing...and what in the world did I see there but an almost exact duplicate for my beloved Liz sandals???? This is the Elyssa sandal by Merona Collection ($19.99). (and yes, that's me who wrote the current 1 review)

At left, below, is the new Elyssa sandal, at right is the old Liz sandal.

Before I get to the shoe comparison, a few points:

1 - Liz and Elyssa. I'm suuuuure it's just a coincidence that the names are sooooo similar. (Oh, was that sarcastic? Sorry. Maybe they were just trying to make it easy for me.)

2 - I know there has been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about the Merona Collection taking the literal and metaphorical place of the Target Isaac Mizrahi line. This seals the deal for me. No question about it.

3 - My pedi polish is OPI You Don't Know Jacques from the 2008 Fall/Winter Collection. One of my all time faves and may actually be the first colored polish that necessitates me buying a new bottle because I've used so much (you know me, I'm all about the polish).

I didn't get the sandals that Saturday because it was actually snowing outside. I did, however, get them the very next day when I was there killing time while E was at one of the parties. (wasn't actually snowing then) Ironically, the oh so kind, generous, and clearly eagle-eyed jmpb of Polyvore Pictures, who also was sent me an email last week alerting me to the sandals at Target. I love you, jmpb - you are awesome!

Details on the shoe - it's also available in silver metallic and black, both with silver accents (the buckle & the little ring over the toes where the straps meet. However, it appears that the silver and black may only be available online. I took my regular size, a 9. It has padding in the sole. The straps may look thin, but don't seem to rub at all or be too tight - however, because of the 3 straps spread around the front of the foot, the sandal is nicely fitted and doesn't slide around. Lazy me, this is important - but like the IM version, the heel strap is just loose enough so that you can juuuuust stretch it over your hell without having to unbuckle. (Yes, I do look for that in ALL my sandals.)

The only real difference I can see between the 2 sandals is the footbed. Instead of the bronze footbed that matched the straps (and hid dirt), the new sandal has a Vachetta-ish footbed with stitching around the outside. I can't vouch for total comfort since I haven't actually worn them around much, but initial trials give them a total thumbs up. And even if they don't work for full-day wear, they are still more supportive than my JC Danielles.

Polyvore with stock photo comparison:
Happy Feet
Happy Feet by HeidiGblog featuring Isaac Mizrahi shoes

And onto the next shoe...the Born Lovely Flat ($84.95, available at Nordstrom). No really, that's its name. And lovely it is.

I had been eyeing these flats ever since I got an email featuring them. They are available in black, pink, yellow, and green (see Polyvore at bottom). And a huge thank you to Erin for reminding me that they are available in silver also (separate listing on Nordstrom.com here but same price).

And I am perfectly happy to pay $84.95 for them. (yes, another case of full price love - I don't count Target shoes as full price since they're so cheap to begin with...and I say that with love.)

I love ballet flats...as you probably realize from the fact that I wear them all the time and that I have them all over my blog header. But no, they aren't terribly supportive - whether they are from Target or J Crew. Usually I get around that with a trusty gel insole.

However, these ballet flats...from Born...they're as comfy and as supportive as you would expect. They are so comfy that I even wore them around town running errands last Friday morning as the Snowpacolypse was starting because I wanted to wear them just one more time before boot-weather set in again. My feet sing when I wear them. Not only are they supportive - but they are soft - the leather is so soft...as soft as my Selby bag.

I took a size 9 and they fit very well. You may want to considering sizing down a 1/2 size (per the advice in the Nordstrom reviews). If you are used to JC shoes, definitely size down.

My only issue with these shoes was what color or colors to get. For starters, don't shoot me for getting them in black. My current pair of soft leather plus gel insole Target black flats are just done. They need to go bye-bye. So I really did need a pair of black. My issue here is color. I decided to get a 2nd pair of flats with a little bit of birthday money from my inlaws, which had been patiently camping out in my wallet.

I decided to get the yellow, thinking that it would be a really great lighter neutral-ish color to wear with pretty much any other color. The question then is does the yellow work with my skintone or fight with it? Should I get the pink or green instead, realizing that neither is quite as versatile. Still chewing this one over in my brain, folks.

Polyvore with all the pretty pretty colors.
Born 'Lovely' Flat
Born 'Lovely' Flat by HeidiGblog featuring Born flats

Friday, February 5, 2010

J Crew TALL Minnies and the Long Beach Cardi

My lovely little UPS package arrived yesterday afternoon and I could not wait to tear into it. It has been a while since I've been *this* excited for a package. And what was in my package???

Well, for starters, as I mentioned in my Wednesday post, my beloved Minnie pants are now available in Tall. ($24646, $89.50) And that means a 29" inseam instead of the usual 26". The Talls are offered in sizes 0 to 14. And the regular and petites start at size 00. (GingerSnap and Rosa in DC - think the petites in 00 might work finally?)

Yes, I know the Minnies are supposed to be cropped, but they were a little too cropped for bare 45-degree weather wear. They were great at 50 degrees with ballet flats and they were awesome in boots. But sometimes, even when it's in the 40's, I get tired of wearing boots all the time and want a change.

These are fantastic - still definitely an intentional crop but with a bit less skin showing. And I can always wash and dry them once to get the length to shrink up a bit if I think they need it. Honestly, I ran into a situation with my current Minnies and needed to machine wash them several times to get Lake-smell out of them and they definitely appear a wee bit shorter (but that probably was due to the dryer).

In any case, now I have 2 pairs of black Minnies and I'm positively thrilled.

But don't even get me started on the next item or I just won't shut up. I have been lusting after this cardigan ever since it came out in January. And imagine my disappointment to see the dreaded phrase "jcrew.com/catalog only". So annoying...


I present the J Crew Long Beach Cardigan (#20796, $138). I ordered the navy in M. Right now, it looks like all sizes of the light pewter and XS & XL in navy are backordered until 5/17. (But we all know that JC usually ships early, right?) I got the navy, and as it shows on the website, it's not a solid color - there are some gorgeous color striations in it. Just lovely.

On to fit...um...perfect. It was so comfy that I didn't want to take it off and put on my day's outfit. The sweater is a nice and chunky linen & cotton blend. Just thick enough, but not bulky. I was impressed with the streamlined fit of the cardi. The collar is a great detail - a generous width. Haven't tried buttoning up the collar yet to see if it works, will have to try that.

From the pictures, it certainly seems sheer, but IRL, it doesn't really seem that way. Interesting. I guess it's like when starlets get photographed on the red carpet with all kinds of things showing - the flashbulb makes a lot of things show up.

How am I going to wear this? To begin with, I doubt I'll be pairing it with the black Minnies. Forgive the styling here...they were in the same box. I had the camera out. Trying to keep it easy (on me) here...

In reality - I will wear the cardi with jeans - lots of jeans - boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, white jeans. All of them. Probably my khaki cafe capris. Maybe a shorter pair of khaki shorts for fun. Top-wise, this could be the main event with a tank/cami, or layered over a tee or pretty much any other shirt.

For a cooler-weather spring look, a tissue turtle would totally work with the cardi. And it would be great over the right dress. Not sure I have that dress. If only JC had made the Playa in tan linen like I wanted them to, that would have been perfect. In any case, I'm quite sure I'll be sporting it often this spring and summer.

And I'm sitting here trying to figure out when "not too early for linen/cotton" is. Of course, we are getting our storm of the century with 20"-30" of snow right now, so what on earth am I thinking?

As you can see by the pictures at left, I tried it open, closed, and with the top 2 buttons only done. And they all worked. You belters out there will have fun belting this with a myriad of underlayers.

I'm sure you're wondering about the price, huh? For me, is this full price worthy? In a word...absolutely. Here's the thing...for me, it replaces not 1, but 2 sweaters.

The first is a navy linen/cotton longer hooded henley sweater from Banana Republic that is about 4 years old and most definitely shopworn. Bye bye to that one.

The second is the library shawl cardi which, much as I love it, is showing its age because I've had to get 2 small holes repaired (1 totally my fault, the other only partly my fault and really Lucy's, but seriously, who wears a good sweater around a small puppy???) and even more so because of my weight loss. When I got the cardi in an L last year, 15 pounds ago, it totally worked. Now, it's just kinda too big for me. (won't be getting rid of the LSC, though, as it will be perfect for wearing around the house with yoga pants).

Could it be my perfect sweater? Hmmmm, I don't know that anything can truly replace the Jackie, but this is pretty darn close. It definitely makes it into my sweater hall of fame.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spring is Sprung...at White House Black Market

So we got 4-5" of snow Tuesday night. And we are due for 16-24" this Fri/Sat. And quick, let me post this before the total goes up again. Yes, I'm still in MD...I didn't move. Crazy. But I love the snow, I really do. The kids love to play in it. Lucy loves to run around in it because (1) it's snow and she's a Labradoodle, duh, and (2) M is outside as much as he possibly can be (we call him in when his lips are blue) so she has someone to play with pretty much constantly outside.

Winter is in full throttle here. But I'm still loving and longing for pretty spring clothes. And I have the Spring 2010 lookbook video from White House Black Market to share with you all...and oh it's so gooooooood....

Quick background...how did I get this? A wonderful PR specialist from Chico's/WHBM/Soma - y'all knew they were same umbrella right? - sent me a lovely thank you after I posted on the Chico Ultra Slim Leg jeans. Which, by the way, are still an utter fave and I wear them constantly...I can't wait to get a pair of the Slim Leg jeans in white for spring/summer, but need to go to Chicos to try on.

Here's my quick white jeans tip, which I think I've shared before - with white jeans, about 50% of the time, you need to size up - even with the same size/cut that works perfectly on you in regular washes. White jeans just aren't as forgiving as normal denim...but they are so fabulous...so if you haven't been able to make them work before...go 1 size up...seriously.

But without further ado (and i sure do ado a lot), here is the Spring 2010 Lookbook from White House Black Market...

video

I am such a sucker for the Parisian chic look. Give me an empty airy space, some French music, and a dog and I am there. Oh wait...that's exactly what they did...how did they know that's what I crave every spring? I guess that's why they do what they do...

So what are you digging from the collection? I love the Pink Tiered Top (#560000345, $88). What a pretty piece for spring & summer. With white jeans...yum! So soft and drapey, the tiers look incredibly flattering and well placed. (while I see the online pic with the top off shoulder, given my linebacker shoulders, I think I would go on-shoulder as in the video - just much more flattering on me.)


The purses...hmmm, I think I want them all. This one is way fun - Pearl Dust Ruffle Wristlet (570000839, $48). And the size...10" by 5"...it could hold my keys *and* my sunglasses at the same time. Woot woot! Oh, I'm so tired of skimpy little going-out bags...even E carries more than that out, and she's 7!!


The dresses...lots of gorgeous choices, too. The Chiffon Leaf Print Blouson Chemise is particularly dreamy (#560000836, $148). I can see this at a garden party...for brunch...dinner out with hubby...and I love it paired with the little white jacket - I can see a jacket totally changing the mood of this dress.

So what are you craving for spring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

J Crew Spring Arrivals - Dresses & the Rest

First of all, I will note that I did not get any of these dresses I have posted. Good to clear that up to begin with.

Dress #1 - Retail Only and I didn't get it, so I'll make this up - the Flutter Front Dress (#21811, $69.50) in black, also available in SGR (soft green? sage green? souper green?)

This was another piece that was available in the first spring release, but I just hadn't posted it yet.

I took an M. It fit fine. This seems repetitive (well not to you, but I'm writing this post in reverse order) - I liked it, but I didn't FP love it. A cute dress. Very versatile for the summer.

The other reason I didn't get it? The color. I have enough black knit dresses right now. And the soft green color was very pretty, just not for me.

But if you are needing some more knit summer dresses to add to your summer wardrobe, definitely give this one a try.

Dress #2 - Gabriella Dress (#24330, $69.50), which I tried on in an M. And Pamela tried it on here. I was cracking up as I read her comments because I was like - exactly! It's exactly what I was thinking. I tried this dress on because of how much I loved my dressy jersey strapless dresses last summer. And, as Pamela said, definitely for $19.99 or $29.99. Not worth FP for me.

First of all, it's strapless, with no add-on strap. I don't think I ever wore my dressy jersey strapless dresses without the strap last summer. Second, one of the reasons I wore the djsd so often is that I could wear it without a bra due to the double layer of fabric plus ruching over the bust. This dress...like the Sanur convertible dress, only has the double layer of fabric, so I'm not sure I'd feel so secure wearing it without a bra. But it would be a fab bathing suit coverup (which is actually what I plan to do with my djsd's when they start to fade out of everyday wear...but that's how I repurpose all my little knit summer dresses.)

Dress #3 - Rumpled Meron Dress (#22748, $132) in Black Fog. Loved the color of this. Just gorgeous. i have on a size 10 here - I find that in the shift dresses, I really need a 10 at J Crew to accommodate my hips.

I liked the dress...but I didn't love it. Or at least I didn't FP love it.

The fabric is what really makes this dress - such a gorgeous color. The fabric has such a rich color and sheen IRL.

Pear warning - this dress has a loose fit (which you can see on me as well as the online pic where it's belted). The online copy even reads: "Shift silhouette. Loose fit." Those of you who like something very fitted at the waist will probably want to steer clear.

Dress #4 - Ruffled Carly Dress (#21494, $98). Not sure why I'm even bothering with a pic of this one - it's SO much better on dinagideon here and A Bigger Closet here...and then again on A Bigger Closet where she re-fashioned it as a tunic. Most impressive.

Bottom line...too short on me. I took an 8, I think. I love the ruffles. I love the weight of the fabric. There just isn't enough fabric covering my thighs. Plus, let's be honest, it may be machine washable, but am I really doing to want to iron this sucker? You know how much I hate to iron. So it's really all for the best.

I would love to see something similar in a slightly longer length however...hint, hint J Crew.

Fitting room tip - if you are concerned about whether or not a skirt or dress is too short, just sit down in it. If you are not comfortable, it's too short.

Now this...this is the dress I want to see. Alas, like many of my other spring release faves, it's catalog/online only. Has anyone tried this one yet? I like the sheer lilac color, but I really LOVE the pewter.

Jersey Promenade Gown (#23480, $118). I've been trying to find a maxi dress that really works on me. You would think that being tall would make it easy, but it seems to make it worse. It's just so much fabric. I think this dress could potentially work because (1) it has a more defined (and longer) waist than many maxi dresses, and (2) it looks comfy but not overly flowy.

The only thing that concerns me is the bodice - I worry that I wouldn't really fill it. And what kind of bra do you wear with this? But oh the possibilities this dress has...{le sigh}

And here's the Minnie update. Apparently Minnie is quite the success. The beloved Minnie pant is now available in denim (#23559, $98, yes, almost $10 more than the regular Minnie). No IRL pic from me because honestly, the denim Minnies were just not good at all on me...to the point where I couldn't wait to take them off as soon as I put them on. They just did not work. And my fave SA and personal shopper, Jill, told me they were the same on her. (I love the honesty - she never steers me wrong.)

The Minnie is also now available in wool, as a Collection piece (#17347, $168). Shoot, I'd consider going there. But maybe not at FP unless I really really really thought I'd wear them that much.

But the best (to me) Minnie news is that the Minnie is now available in Tall (#24646) and Petite (#24645), both $89.50 - same price as regular Minnies. I have a pair of Tall Minnies on the way that should arrive later this week (with the long beach cardi), and I'll post as soon as I can. Here's the thing...I love my Minnies, but with a 26" inseam, I have to wear boots unless it's a good 50 degrees outside. So I had gotten out of the habit of wearing them a bit in early winter. But I think the extra 3" of length will make them even more versatile. Maybe even office worthy?

And again, if you've posted on the above, please let me know and I'd love to update with your link. Thanks!