Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Anthro Reviews: Deuxhill Cowlneck, Pointedly Skirt, Florist's Arrangement Sweaterdress, Je Ne Sais Scarf Tee, Wily Sweater

::biggggg strrrrrrrretch...::

That's right.

I'm back, folks.

And I'm ready to flex my blogging muscles after a relaxing week of merriment and atrophy.

Well, sort of ready. The truth is that I think I might have pink eye (what am I, eight years old?). So although I got all spiffied up today in my Peppered & Striped skirt and Wish You Were Here Cardi, I regrettably did not take any pictures.

Instead, I have some Anthro fitting room reviews. Because---yay!----over Christmas vacation, I got to go shopping at Anthropologie with my mom, sister, and grandma. It was so fun to be in the store with them, and we all came away with armfuls of goodies. Of course, my fitting room reviews tend to be slightly irrelevant to the rest of the shopping world (since I like to surf the sale rack for golden oldies), but lest I lose my blogging groove again, let's get to it:

Oh, how long will this dress languish in the sale section? It's gotten crummy reviews, but I thought its alleged flaws might actually work for my figure. I was kinda right. The pleats around the hips give me the illusion of an hourglass figure, and the scoop neckline and floral applique draw the attention up to my face. The fabric is soft and has a nice, subtle jacquard. All in all, I really liked this dress, and husband liked the picture, too. But Mom and Sister both thought the color washed me out. Even with the add'l 25% off, I won't bite, but if it gets a second cut, I'll probably jump on this.
Yay! I went back and forth stalking this cardigan online, and eventually I raised the white flag. But then I found  my sister found a Size Medium hiding in the sale rack! Rejoice! It's ridiculously cute, and the foxes are so subtle that they just look like polka dots from far away. I love how the sweater has two layers so you can either wear the top layer buttoned (like above) or unbuttoned (which reveals a red striped vest-like layer). The length is nice and long. The only negative is that my sister has also been stalking this sweater, and she gave me the stink-eye when I decided to buy it. :) Love ya sis! Underneath the sweater, I'm wearing the deuxhill cowlneck (see below....).
Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88
I loved the purple color online, because I wanted to recreate Anthro's recent catalog look with a purple top and the Peppered & Striped skirt. Unfortunately, they only had a size 8 in purple which was way too big. I like the versatility of the cowlneck and the drape of the shirt, but I definitely needed to get a size 6. I ended up kind of being indifferent to the purple color. The fabric was silky and very comfy.
Enter Size 6 Navy! I really only brought this in the dressing room for sizing, but I ended up really liking the pattern. In the store, they had a display with this top and a long dark fuchsia cardigan, which looked so pretty. There are several buttons on the cowlneck so that you can wear it as more of a funnel-neck or a flat collar. I ended up taking this one home with me!

This was another experiment based on bad reviews. My sister tried on this skirt (see her review here), and even though I liked it on her, she was not a fan. Since I am loving the A-line, longer length skirt trend of the moment, I thought I'd give this a try and hope that its flare might fake me some good old fashioned hips. And, it did! This is a Size 8, and it was snug but comfortable; I might be OK or even happier with a size 10; I'm not sure. When I first tried on the skirt, I looked down and exclaimed to myself, "Why is there a gigantic hole in the middle of this skirt?" Oh....I then said....it's the pocket.....After a few tugs, I was back on track and loving this skirt. I hope to pick this up on sale if it's still around.
I really loved this shirt. I only tried on the neutral motif for sizing purposes (it was the only available size medium....again, I was initially interested in the purple colorway). But once I had this on, I loved the colors. The scarf around my neck adds some color to my face so I'm not washed out, and the beige shirt (yes, it's regrettably completely see-through) is a nice neutral. So it's like the best of both worlds. I put this back on the rack, fully intending to stalk it online, only to later find that it was sold out online in all of the colorways in size medium. YEEPS! I freaked out and did my first charge-send by calling a store in Dallas, TX, and they are very graciously sending me one. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

OOTD: Blogging in Bed

I woke up to a nice snowfall this morning so I'm blogging in bed. This would be the perfect day to wear this robe, yes? Soooo cooooozy.

And now: my prepster-look from yesterday for your blog-viewing entertainment:

(Eddie Bauer sweater, Limited infinity scarf, J.Crew perfect-fit tee, LOFT khakis, Steve Madden Melanee oxfords)
And have you checked out Anthropologie's sales today? 25% off regular-price jewelry and an additional 25% off sale items (no codes required). I'm personally struggling about whether to cave on a certain dress that I was hoping would get a second cut first....

Because stores should know by now not to mess with me when it comes to sales. I placed an order at J.Crew with some "great" deal a few weeks ago, only to see an even "greater" deal a few days later---so you guessed it, I placed the whole order again. And now that J.Crew is presumably having their "greatest" deal now (30% off sale and free shipping at $150), is it wrong that I'm considering placing the order a THIRD time?!

I probably won't be around for the next few days, but I'll be back as soon as I can!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OOTD: Workout Apparel

I haven't had many OOTD posts lately because my camera is off getting repaired, and I can only take pictures of myself with my phone in my warped skinny-mirror. And although I personally love to look at myself in my warped skinny-mirror; it somehow feels like a lie to try to pass off its depictions as truthful OOTDs! LOL.

It's also been bitterly cold lately so it's hard to give any kind of priority to fashion when you're just struggling to keep warm.

So instead of my regular outfits, I decided to show you some of my favorite workout apparel in the cold weather. I teach dance aerobics classes a few times a week, and I used to always wear NY&Co. black pants. I saw these WorkItOut tights on Athleta's Website a while back and thought they looked adorable with skirts on top, so on a whim, I bought a pair and a few skirts. And what can I say....true love!

I got Size Medium, and they fit perfectly. The length is great for me---nice and long. I'm about 5'6 and they cover up my entire leg, but can be "scrunched up" to be a little shorter if you prefer. They also come in Petite and Tall. They're very thick, warm and surprisingly comfortable! They pack you in, yes, but you don't have to do the "wiggle" to get them on or anything. There's a drawstring in the inside waistband so you can tighten them more if you need to. Their availability fluctuates, but I ordered a couple of reflective pairs that are on backorder till January. I'm hoping they restock because these will be my new go-to winter workout pants.

The Printed Powermesh CYA skirt I'm wearing is also a size Medium. There's not much to it (kind of just a swath of fabric), but the length is nice and it doesn't get in the way of my movement. I also got it in the blue jungle kitten colorway, though I find that colorway kind of hard to match with my current selection of tank tops.  The yellow tank top and black jacket are both from NY&Company. The shoes are Ryka Studio D Mid, Size 9.5, my go-to workout shoes. I also have them in black.

 


In this second set of pictures, I'm wearing the same bottoms but I layered two tops---because it was freezing! I later sort of regretted this while working out, but I appreciated it when I walked outside again. I wish there were more short-sleeve options for workout apparel. Tanks are cute, but sometimes it's nice to just wear a semi-fitted T-shirt. I layered this Athleta top over an Old Navy green sleeveless tank that's got great longer length. 

I highly recommend Athleta workout gear, even though they're pricey. Their items wear really well, and they're unique. 

Unfortunately, by the time items hit sale, the sizes and best colors are usually pretty picked over. They have had a few 20% full-price sales this holiday season, and if you see one again, jump on it! Even though Athleta is now part of the promotion-heavy Gap companies, Athleta is rarely included in company-wide promotions.

Here are a couple of other items I'd recommend from Athleta.

Chakra Tank (I really like this top in Size Medium, but I have to wear a sports bra for support underneath, so it kind of ruins the pretty back design.)

Pizzazz Tank (I haven't bought this one, but it looks sleek and still has some great colors left!)

Sleeveless Twist Top (I got this in green size Medium, which is no longer available, but there's still pink and blue. The long length is great, and it's one of my favorites. The fabric is thick and stretchy, which is a plus.)

Paisley Diamond CYA Skirt (I got a size Small because it was the biggest size left. It's short, but it fits. And I got lots of comments about the cute glittery diamonds!)

Nusa Rollover Skirt (I got a Size Medium. At first, I thought it was kind of tight, but after I wore it a few times, it wasn't bad so maybe it stretches a little? I got the sky blue color, and it's so comfy. You could live in this skirt! You can roll the top up or down to change the length, and there are so many pretty colors left.)

Oh, and here are my puppies. Happy Tuesday! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Spy Anthropologie: Yuma Cardigan

I was recently browsing through People's "Star Tracks" feature and found this picture of Blake Lively, in what appears to be the Yuma Cardigan, currently available at Anthropologie!

And it can be yours for a mere three hundred and ninety-eight dollars----eeks! Click here to view the image of Blake (because I freaked myself out by actually *reading* People's website terms of use....)

Anyhow, People's image reproduction policy may not give me that warm, fuzzy feeling, but I bet this blanket-like sweater sure does! (badum-ching!)

Happy Friday night!

Yuma Cardigan ($398) by Cynthia Vincent

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reviews: Shoes, Shoes, and Shoes

I'm in quite a pickle here, readers.

I have been trying to be more thoughtful with my shoe purchases lately, and it's working! Unfortunately for my wallet, that means all the pairs sitting on my living room floor seem really great! The difference between the pros and cons of each pair is quite diminutive and therefore difficult to put into words or quantify.

Even worse is that with my last Endless order, I used a discount with a tiered minimum purchase amount ($100 off $300; $60 off $200; $30 off $100), so I have to be financially savvy, too, when deciding what stays and what goes.

I bought these boots, along with the black Anne Klein Ladell, a few months ago, thinking they'd both serve the same purpose so I'd pick one. But I like them both! The Ladell is suede and dressier; I've already worn them several times and still love them.. But I've been hanging onto this boot still because it's a little bit rocker-chick, cheaper, and more casual because it's made of faux leather. I sized down a half-size (from 9 to 8.5) because of the reviews, and they fit well. No complaints. They're comfortable enough. But the height worries me----perhaps it cuts my leg off at an unflattering point?
 Gola Women's Harrier Suede Sneaker, Green/White, Size 9
Honestly, I started searching for colored sneakers to reach the minimum purchase amount I needed for my discount. I found this brand (Gola), and was intrigued. Unfortunately, most of the colors I was drawn to were sold out.  This was the only color left that I even remotely liked. My reasoning was that if I'm going to always reach for comfortable shoes, they might as well have some personality.  These are very comfortable, look really well-made, but they're so bright! They weren't cheap, so I think maybe I could find a pair cheaper that I really love.
 NineWest Women's Snowdrift Oxford, Grey Suede, Size 9
I loved these shoes online in blue (the style looks similar to a shoe sold at Anthro last season). But I figured that grey would be more versatile. I think these could be a real workhorse pair of shoes in my closet: they'd go with practically everything, be comfortable enough, and still have a heel to elongate my legs. When Husband first saw them, he said they made my feet look really small---and not in a good way, he thought they made my feet look really nubby, lol. I like the way these shoes tie very tightly (the lace comes through the side flaps of the shoe, so when you tie them tight, the flaps sit very snugly against your ankle. In other words, the opening is not rigid so there's no annoying gap.)

I have been sitting on this pair for a while and unsure about whether they'd actually do what I want them to do. I would like to wear these under jeans and with bare legs in the spring/summer, maybe with some chunky socks and short skirts. These fit well and are comfy, but the calf opening is very wide. I know that's the style and all, but could I get over it? If I get these, I would force myself to give up my rejuvenated love affair with the Nine West Peroxy (which I reviewed here in tan, then returned, and now decided I DO need in dark green).
I discovered these shoes first on Kendi Everyday. On Endless, the shoes got horrible reviews, but I figured I'd try them out anyway. And they are definitely cute. I've never worn wedges like these so they're a bit puzzling, but comfortable enough to stand and walk in. I sized up a half-size (from 9 to 9.5) because of the reviews, but they're a little loose in the opening. Otherwise they fit fine, so maybe it's the price you pay for a good fit everywhere else. These are simultaneously fashion-forward and old-standby, and I'm sure they would be very versatile, but are they too chunky?
These I am definitely keeping, because I wore them the other day! As you may already know, I have been searching for a good oxford for a few months now. These are very menswear-inspired, and even though they have lace-holes, there are no laces. So they have a nice casual feel. They were incredibly stiff though, and I worried about them possibly chafing (especially my ankles, where the opening kinda sticks out). But after wearing them for a day, they molded to my feet and were really comfy. 

This purchase was another attempt at the oxford-trend. I like them, and Husband liked them, too----at least that's what he said initially. But then when i showed him the Melanee (above) he said, "Yes, those are even better. They look less like bowling shoes." What? LOL. I got these in grey because I thought maybe my oxford-troubles were because of the brown colors I was trying (and also because I saw a J.Crew catalog pic with cropped wool grey pants and grey oxfords. Cute!). These were a reasonable price, and i can always use more flats. Whereas the Melanee had to be broken in, these shoes were comfy right out of the box. But since I'm already keeping the Melanee, do I really need another pair of oxfords?

Husband says he likes the Steve Madden Dessertt, the Gola sneakers, and the Steve Madden Melanee. What about y'all----which ones do you like/dislike?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY Anthropologie (From Me, the World's Worst Present Wrapper)

I have a real problem when it comes to wrapping presents.

It's disconcerting, to say the least, because I like to think of myself as pretty crafty. I love to scrapbook; I create handmade greeting cards; I made the table centerpieces for my wedding; I even have spruced up a few boring purses with flowers and feathers.

But whenever a holiday rolls around, I grab the wrapping paper, tape, and scissors----and deftly hand them to my husband. He's the wrapper in the family. And not just because I'm wrapping-illiterate. But because he's a spectacular wrapper. His presents get compliments consistently. He prides himself on only using one piece of tape on each side of the box. His lines are always even, and sometimes he even matches up the pattern so the seam is, well, seamless.

But at least I can say that I come by my wrapping habits honestly, because if I'm the world's worst wrapper, then my dad is the second worst! He'll never live down the time he gave a present in a plastic grocery bag---the handles tied in a knot, of course! Unfortunately (for me, that is), he's actually stepped up his game in the last few years, whereas I continue to get worse and worse.

I think I am a bad present-wrapper for the same reason that I'm a bad cook. If it's simple, then I get bored, and I cut corners, and I use a lot of tape and too much paper, and who really cares anymore. But I don't have the skills (or the not-cheap wrapping paper) to make a complicated design look professional.

Despite my bad track record, I thought it would be nice to "creatively" wrap some of our Christmas presents this year. I saw some really awesome-looking pictures on Anthropologie with some materials way out of my price range. But hey, I figured I could try to use things I already had at home. These are the results:


 INSPIRATION FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE:

Vintage Stamps, $6.00 for 50
Spin Me a Yarn Skein, $4.00 for 14.2 yards
Lacy Wrapping Paper, $10 for 3 sheets (30 x 20.5 inches each)
Merry Menagerie Gift Tags, $10 for 10
TOTAL COST: $30.00


I loved the postage stamps because they add a fun pop of color. And the lace texture of the wrapping paper makes the entire thing seem lavish and expensive. The different shades of green in the yarn add visual interest, plus the handmade/crafty feel that I always love.


MY ATTEMPT ($0):
I only had one color of yarn: purple. But I think I might run by Michael's so I can add another color because I really think it will add some dimension. For wrapping paper, I used the white side of patterned Christmas paper. It's a little see-through so to do it again, I would probably splurge and buy a light-color pattern paper. I used some really old stamps from my sticker box that I think I got for free a long time ago from organizations soliciting donations. (The animal stamps say 1992 or something! What can I say, I keep everything...)

INSPIRATION FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE:

Snowy Anisoptera Tie-On (dragonfly), $6.00
Dress it Up Ribbon, $12 for 7.5 yards
Printed Stripes Wrapping Paper, $10 for 3 sheets (27.5 x 19.75 inches each)
TOTAL COST: $28.00


Pattern mixing in wrapping paper!? Yes, please! These blue colors are amazing together, and I love the randomness of the thickly textured ribbon knots. Much more modern than the traditional "big bow in the middle" concept.
MY ATTEMPT ($0):
Considering I just used random wrapping paper scraps that I had left in a box, I thought they look pretty cute together. Of course, for a more sophisticated look, I would go to the store and buy paper in more complementary colors. But this is for my 10-year-old nephew, and I hope he likes it the way it is! I didn't really have any good, thick ribbon, but these green and red ribbons still look cute knotted. They were kind of difficult to knot and make them tight enough. Taping the knots didn't really help and looked horrible. Because I used paper scraps (and because I was lazy), the dividing lines are not exactly even. On a second attempt, I would be sure to make things a little straighter.

These wrapping jobs both took me a while to complete, but I was able to use things I already had around the house, which was nice. Clearly, if you went out and bought specific materials, you could make some gorgeous presents for Christmas or any other special occasion! And if I (the world's worst wrapper) was able to churn out these semi-acceptable packages, just imagine what you could do! :)

To see more of Anthropologie's awesome wrapping ideas, click here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

OOTD: Lucerna Dress

I don't know about you all, but at my house, all us people and puppies are snuggled up on the couch waiting for the Pats and Jets to duke it out on Monday Night Football.

Husband and I have both decided that no matter the outcome of this game, we hope it's definitive and determined early on.  I love the Patriots and all, but man, they stress me out. Those exhilarating, last-second, come-from-behind TDs may *seem* fun, but they are generally the product of three and a half quarters of tense nail-biting, angry yelling at the TV screen, and heart palpitations. And then outsiders complain about the Patriots' running up the score every so often---man, it's the LEAST the Patriots can do for their fans after putting them through heck all the time!

(Free People black beanie; Banana Republic sweater;
Gap cable thigh-high socks; Miz Mooz boots;
Lucerna Dress (sized down to small); LOFT grey tee
Isn't it funny how pets always get so inquisitive when their parents take OOTD pictures? Anyway, I heard from a very reliable source that Docker and Jack are going to hit the jackpot this Christmas...

Can't wait to share!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

OOTD: First Snow

Today we had the first substantial snow of the season. Yay!

My mom and I went Christmas shopping earlier this morning, and the good news is that she found almost everything on her gift list. The bad news? I only purchased one gift, and then realized that I forgot to include about four people on my list in the first place, so I actually made negative progress. I'm awesome like that.

These photos are not the best in the world, but I am blogging them because they have a good back-story.

Husband and I were at Dunkin Donuts getting our pumpkin lattes earlier today, and I was telling him about how I'll never really have a good blog because all the really popular bloggers take gorgeous pictures in exotic-looking locales, usually with their photographer husbands. (I know, right?---whine, whine, whine) But, anyway, he immediately stopped the car in the back of the parking lot and said, "Let's do this. Give me your phone."

He's so sweet! And, what can I say about the experience? Well, it was about as awful as I imagined it would be! LOL. Husband left the car on and running, I ran to my spot in front of an empty field and stood awkwardly for a minute or so while he snapped two quick shots. Then we dashed back into the car and sped off like a bunch of no-good troublemakers.

(Old grey coat, LOFT striped scarf, LOFT white tee, AE navy v-neck sweater, 
J.Crew toothpick cords in ochre, Miz Mooz boots)

Three cheers for awkward fun with Husband! Maybe this photo-taking thing just takes a little practice.....or a little talent.....or just a whole lotta chutzpah! 

I'm working on it.... :) 

Friday, December 3, 2010

OOTD: Neutrals are Easy

I have a deep, dark secret that I'm dying to get off my chest....

I am having a secret love affair.

There, I said it. Except.....it's not really all that secret. Husband even knows about it. In fact, during the day when I whine about my heartache, he goes out and drives my love over to our house. Isn't he sweet? I rendezvous with my love at least once a day, sometimes more, and my heart is aflame when ever he's not around.

What's my love's name, you ask? Why, it's Gaviscon. And, in my lovestruck eyes, he's the only remedy for a broken heart! (ba'dum-ching!)

(J.Crew beige turtleneck, AE plaid men's shirt, old Ann Taylor cashmere cardigan,
World Cargo Pants in beige, Anne Klein Ladell boots)
Hahaha, did I get you going for a little while at least? I know, I know. Horrible puns....what can I say? :)

Anyway, whenever I have an easy time getting dressed in the morning, I size myself up in the mirror and incredulously say, "Whoa, that was too easy...... What gives?" 

And every time----every time!----I look down at my clothes and realize I've dressed myself entirely in neutrals. A smorgasbord of browns and whites and beiges and blacks and not only greys with an E, but grays with an A, too!

Incredible, isn't it? Neutrals really ARE easy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

OOTD: Rectangular Me

Today I had an epiphany.

I very much wanted to wear my Safekeeping Capelet to work, but I still haven't figured out how to make it look proportionately pleasing on my rectangular frame.

Because in all my Internet research on body shapes, sometimes I find discrepancies about what I should wear and what I should avoid. For instance, empire waist tops. Good for enhancing my bust? Or bad for being flowy around my midsection? Or pencil skirts. Good for enhancing my hips? Or bad for emphasizing my long, straight lines?

Unfortunately, the one thing *everyone* agrees on is that I should avoid tops that end right at my waist. No good can come of them for a short-waisted, rectangular girl like me. After I took my pictures today and scanned through them, the rationale of this caveat suddenly became clear.....

When you don't have a defined waist----the last thing you want to do is direct the viewer's eye to your nonexistent waist. (...somewhere, a light bulb turns on....)

(Acting Out Skirt, black tights, Anne Klein Ladell boots, Gap grey crew socks,
Safekeeping Capelet (on sale!), LOFT old green sweater)
It's a real bummer to be told that you can't wear a certain style just because of your body shape. I'm sure there are extenuating circumstances-----my being a better stylist, for one-----that could help mitigate the badness, but for now I just have to cry.

::CRY!::

I want to wear my capelet all the time, but I also want to look my best! Any suggestions? What about shorts? Or maybe an A-line skirt? Should it be high-waisted? Or low-rise? Help!

I hope it doesn't seem like I'm gratuitously self-loathing or anything. It's just that I really want to "understand" fashion. I see so many bloggers who look nice. Every. Post. How do they do it? It seems like they have figured out their personal style and what makes them look the best and feel the best. If you saunter through my old posts, you quickly see that I have a fashion identity crisis, to say the least.

It's partly because my job dress code is nonexistent. And it's partly because my day-to-day life has little continuity so it's hard to find a style groove. And it's partly because I went to private school in high school and wore a uniform every day.

Enough ranting! Let's just say that I hope this epiphany really sinks in so that I can better understand my closet and my body better. :)