Thursday, March 31, 2011

J Crew Urbanite Shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Shoes for Spring #2 - Hunter Boots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nail Files - More Spring Polish with OPI & butter London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here's the big huge butter London news:

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely a perfect spring shoe!

Monday, March 21, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

J Crew Maritime Dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely a fun dress for spring!!

Friday, March 18, 2011


J crew dress
$78 -

Dorothy Perkins black pantyhose
5 GBP -

TOMS canvas shoes
$44 -

Anastasia leather tote
$110 -

Leather wrap bracelet
$48 -

Monday, March 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 4, 2011

Miracles at the Drugstore...or Target...or wherever...

Miracles?  Yes...they are to me.  A sample here of three of my latest, life-changing products, two of which are cast-tested to make life easier when you only have 1 completely functioning hand.

#1 and definitely tops on my list: Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System.  (usually $29.99 in drugstores) 

I was seeing ads for this all over this winter, and while still casted, picked one up figuring that it would help since I really only had the use of 1 hand for exfoliating and this might make showers easier.  I have friends with the amazing Clarisonic system, but I never wanted to spend $200 on it...even though I know, yes, they *swear* by it. 

Admittedly, I haven't tried the Clarisonic but now....I *swear* by this one.  Wow.  The brush is nice and soft so it's not harsh on my skin.  But it definitely clears away any flaky skin and really gets the cleanser working.  I have used this with both the cleanser it comes with and another one - and they are both great.  It feels like a facial massage. The only problem is I can't decide whether to keep it in the shower or to keep it by the sink because I'd love to use it twice a day - it feels that good on my face.

If I'd known how amazing it was, I would have scoured the DC metro area for one - or ordered from Amazon sooner. No wonder all the stores were sold out.  I got mine at an off-the-beaten-path CVS, but it seems like the stores are better able to keep it in stock now.  But if you don't need immediate gratification, the link above takes you to the Amazon sight - where you can get the Free Shipping option - have I ever mentioned that I really HATE paying for shipping?  But I've also seen it at Target now, too.

I said I loved it. well does it work?  Well, let's see....when I went to see Black Swan with friends about a month ago, the ticket guy ID'ed me...yes, at an R movie...because "you can't see it if you're under 17".  That's what he told me when I started laughing because I didn't think he could possibly be serious. I figured it was "be nice to moms" night or something.  Oh no, he wanted to see the ID.  And then a couple weeks ago, out with other couples for dinner, the waitress said she probably should ID us, but even I looked like I was probably an 84 or 85 birth year.  Ummmm, no, 1971.  So that's my testimonial right there. 

#2: Garnier Anti-Dark-Circle Eye Roller ($11.39 at Amazon...I got mine at Target)

So here's the deal with this one.  I love it.  I really do.  The color is supposed to be one-size-fits-all, and I don't know about anyone else, but it's perfection on me.  It is a totally awesome everyday product for me.  And here's why - it's concealer and eye cream in one.  Ta da!!!  Yep, saves me a step.  And I do love it when I can save a step in the least most (all) mornings...

I often have trouble with eye cream in that a lot of them are way too strong for my undereye tissue - ow, the stinging, the know what I'm talking about.  My faves are: Arbonne RE9 Advanced Corrective Eye Cream, Kinerase Under Eye Rescue, and Olay Regenerist Eye Serum.  And the last combo eye cream/concealer product that I tried (Clinique's) was a bitter disappointment - too cakey, not moisturizing enough - blegh.

I thought I'd give this one a try while I was in the cast because I was all about saving time and keeping things easy.  And this one was a winner.  I will be honest - when the directions say to roll on the product and then blend in any excess - hahahahaha - um, yeah, I have yet to use it and not have to blend.  So, I roll on, pat in (don't rub!!), and I'm good to go.  It feels nice & cool, no stinging to be had.  And I bet it's going to be even more amazing in the summer. 

Yes, I still use my regular eye cream with my Bobbi Brown Corrector sometimes.  But I'm going to sub in this product on a regular basis - and in the summer?  It's likely all I'll use. And um, fyi, better than YSL Touch Eclat.  Oh yes, I said it.  And I mean it. 

#3 and most recent purchase (yesterday at Target): John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer ($9.99) 

Wow!  Love love love!!  I just got this yesteday - had seen it in magazines and thought "well, heck, why didn't I think of that" and "OMG, where has this been all my life?"

I can only speak to my very fine hair (we don't need to revisit the appalling haircut I got last spring when some idiot thought it would be a good idea to texturize my hair all while saying "wow, your hair really is fine").  Yes, it's fine, it's not thin - just fine.  So I get those little wisps of hair at my scalp where the hair broke that stick up and always prevent me from using any type of volumizing products on my hair.  UNTIL NOW.

As you can see from the product pic, it's basically like a mascara wand for your hair.  And the product inside is like some wacky-good combo of smoothing/fixative/oil/hairspray whatever.  I don't really care what it is, it works.  Totally kept down the icky pieces and didn't make my prone-to-be-oily-and-needs-to-be-washed-every-day scalp greasy.  So mega bonus for the not-greasy scalp.

The only caveat I have here is that I've only used this for a day.  But I really think it's that good.  I may even need to get one to tuck in my (voluminous) purse. 

So those are my 3 absolute bestest products I've found lately.  Enjoy!  And happy shopping!

Do you have any recent discoveries you want to share?  Speak up!!

The Power of an Accessory - Loft Faux Fur Neck Warmer

Alrighty....first post back is up and I'm ready to go.  Taking a step back from spring because brrrrrrr, it was chilly today. 

One of my favorite pieces I picked up for this winter was Loft's Faux Fur Neck Warmer.  I'd been seeing lots faux fur neck things...but this one really spoke to me - from an aesthetic perspective and a price point perspective.  Love it when you get the balance!  The Faux Fur was originally $39, but I'm pretty sure I paid closer to $25-30, because I got it when they were doing 30 or 40% off.  And let's be real - I don't often purchase full-price at Loft because they run so many specials. 

I think the reason I really love this piece is because it works so well with so many of my simple pieces.  As I've been away from blogging, I feel like I have continued to refine my style and for me, simple is best and classic rules.  Not boring (I hope) but it just works for me.

But that simplicity gives me a fantastic background for specific outstanding pieces - like a great necklace, massive cashmere scarf, fun shoes...or totally luscious faux fur neck warmer. 
First outing - our annual Christmas party.  Each year, we have a family Christmas party for...well, it seems like the neighborhood.  Huge party.  Adults & kids.  Lots of fun.  I get to dress up however I want because...well, it's my party.  That's what's great about being the hostess.  And then hubby wears jeans to balance it out so everyone's good. 

I first wore the fur with the J Crew wool shift dress that the lovely dinagideon passed on to me because the waist just hit her so weirdly.  It's been a perfect dress for me.  It fit before I lost the weight and it fits now.  And the fur was just the perfect touch to update it for this year.  Did it even matter what shoes I was wearing?  No, not really.  Only caveat is that this is definitely a hair-up accessory, IMO.

We're going to a Brewer's Ball in a couple weeks, and I'll likely be wearing the same outfit because guess what....the fur is cozy.  Shocker, I know.  And for someone like me who is always cold, that's a definite bonus, especially with sleeveless!

Its next outing was for a Gift Exchange Brunch, where I paired it with my ubiquitous JC cream cashmere long sleeve tee, the Loft gold brocade skirt I picked up for a song this fall, tights, and boots.  Perfect for the brunch.  And nice and warm.  I love the texture of the fur with the shine of the skirt.

And as my friend Kim pointed out, the fur actually works as a nice diet tool.  You don't want to overeat or load up your cracker, chip, or whatever when you might be worried about (ewwwww) food falling onto the fur.  Had not thought of it that way, but yes, she had a point.

The only downside of this piece is that I didn't wear it as much as I had thought I would in daily use.  But that may well have been related to the whole popped ligament/cast thing.  With all that going on, I think I overly clung to my massive BR cashmere scarf as a security blanket and just didn't "feel it" with the fur neck warmer.  It's only the beginning of March, so I'm sure we'll have some weather for it before spring arrives for good.

Christmas Party Outfit:

Gift Exchange Brunch Outfit:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Navy for Spring, including J Crew Shelby Dress

So when my parents were here for a visit Tues-Wed of this week, my mother informed me she was tired to seeing the same darn picture of my fingernails on my blog.  Ok...'nuff said...I've been wanting to get back to blogging.  Black Pearl by Chanel is lovely, but you can only stare at it for so long....even for me....

And now that I am cast- & splint-free, I really have no excuse.  I got discharged by my occupational therapist on Thursday and the hand surgeon on Friday last week, no surgery needed. Immobilization by cast & splint did the trick.  And apparently,  I have weirdly hyper-flexible thumbs, so even though I don't have all the movement back in my right thumb, I can still bend it more than the vast majority of the population.  And I'm working on strength.  Every bottle or jar I open is a victory.  Uber-bendy thumbs...who would have thought? 

So... a slew of pre-spring purchases to share.  And boy have I been on a navy streak....just like I am every spring.  (note same navy flats and, as appropriate, Gap jeans.  and...the cast...this was a quick try-on session)

Let's start with J Crew.  The Shelby Dress (#35083, $128).  Wow, still full price, and I bought it a month and a half ago.  Huh, how about that.  What can I say?  Love love love.  It's navy, so that always wins in my book.  I love the eyelet.  I tried on the white, because I've been looking for a LWD for summer, but navy was so much better on me.  Yes, the dress is short, but you know me - I'll be wearing it with flats or flat sandals to ground it.  And interestingly enough, the white read as shorter on me than the navy.  Optical illusion?  Who knows - but it was the navy I fell for and brought home.   

I took a 6 in the dress.  And even though I've been sizing down across the board due to the weight loss, I really think this dress runs large.  It doesn't get you in the ribcage like so many JC dresses do.

Love the cut of the dress.  There's a lot of fabric up top, but because it's shirred, I didn't feel like it looked "vacant" up there.  At the same time, if you are busty or actually have curves, I think the dress could totally accommodate that, too.I'll wear it tons.  Nicely out to dinner or to church.  Or just running around town. 

Next from J Crew, the Stripe Tux Tunic, (#34997, orig $79.50, now marked down to $19.99 on the website, all sizes available).  I certainly didn't pay full price for this one.  I believe it was marked down, and then I got 30% off.  So the price was not too far off the current price.  Glad I didn't pay full price.  It's really cute but it has its limitations, for sure. 

I took an M in the top, but if you aren't as large in the shoulders as I am, you could definitely go down a size. 

IMO, the *only* way to wear this is with very slim bottoms.  In my quick try-on pics, I've got a pair of Gap legging jeans (which merit their own post soon, because I've been living in them).  But truthfully, I actually liked them better with the black Minnies when I tried them on in store.  The color of the stripes is "washed navy" - very pretty, but it almost works better with the black slim pants. And likely white jeans, since I wear them with everything in the spring.  But again - slim is the operative word here. 

I wore pretty much this outfit to the Valentine's parties at school.  Loved it.  It will be a fun top for spring.  But again, not worth full price. 

Moving on to Ann Taylor and more stripes.  Because the only thing better than navy in spring is navy stripes. No idea what this dress was called.  But when I saw it and then tried it on...again, it was love.  I usually wear sundresses in the summer, but there are lots of times that you just want a sleeve.  This dress perfectly fits the bill. 

I love the wide scoopneck - and have even tested it to verify that yes, you can lean over and the top stays put.  Often with necklines like this, to get the dress large enough in the shoulders, the scoopneck is so loose that I would end up flashing everyone any time I bent down to put something on the dinner table!  So bravo, Ann Taylor...or should I say...brava!

In case you happen to run into one of these in the sale section, I took an M.  It's fitted but not tight.  And way comfy (is there any other way for my wardrobe?  no...not really)

I think my mom actually liked this one better than the J Crew one.

I'll wear it with any kind of shoe in my closet really - sandals, TOMS, flats, whatever.  With hoops and a ponytail, I'm done for summer.

Finally, a quick run-through at the Loft.  Wow, the Splitneck Lounge Tunic is mega-on sale, with extra % off even!!  It was orig $34, pretty sure I had a % off when I bought it, though...but that was back during the cast days.  Now it's $29.99 with 40% off.  

I took an M - the S was too tight in the shoulders.  This top is very thin, which you may not be able to tell so much in the picture. And when they say splitneck...they mean it.  No way can I go without a cami underneath. 

I picture wearing this with every pair of slim pants under the sun that I own - white jeans, khakis, cafe capris, and (duh) regular jeans.  It would also be way cute with Bermudas.  

The top has a button on the outside of the sleeve and a tab inside so that you can roll up and secure the sleeves.  If you wear it with sleeves down, the tab may bug you a bit, but shoot, paying that little for a cute spring top, who cares?

So you can tell by the 2nd pic that I was realizing the riculosity of posing with a big blue cast on.  Is riduclosity a word?  It should be...perfectly describes my state of being while I was dealing with this thumb mess.