Friday, October 31, 2014

Let's Be Cozy, Shall We? Back in a Minute!

Let's Be Cozy, Shall We? (Back in a Minute!)

Giesswein Vent Slippers? Yes.
Lately all I want to do in the evenings and on the weekend is cozy up. I have not been doing that, let's be clear. We have been on a whirlwind tour-from Houston to New Orleans, Charlotte, and beyond! Every weekend since September 25th has been travel, travel, travel. I'm taking a few days off from posting here for one more adventure to celebrate my Halloween birthday (today!!), but when I get back it's all about this: Let's. Get. Cozy.

I'll meet you by my fireplace in these incredible tights (on sale!) under the last of summer's maxi skirts with a fisherman's sweater on top. You wear these knit joggers and a funny sweatshirt-maybe studs? Or sparkles? No-no, the perfect cashmere sweater. It's a date. Bring the gluten free marshmallows. And the sav blanc.

Until then, you might enjoy some of this to read. The theme is mummies and mommies:

The Beauty Legacy I Want to Leave My Daughter
Halloween Hair Hacks
When Did "Looking Like a Mom" Become an Insult?
Monsters and Ghosts
And an oldie-but-goodie, In Defense of Single Mothers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Black Tie Dresses That You'll Actually Want to Wear & Holiday Dresses that Shine

Black Tie Dresses That You'll Actually Want to Wear & Holiday Dresses that Shine


There was a time when I was constantly being invited to black tie, formal events. I never knew what to wear! I've never been a big fan of buying one expensive dress when I could buy several for the same price-or less. Black tie events seemed to require a statement dress, and I didn't have one just waiting in the wings. I've often found acceptable ones at TJMaxx, Marshalls, and even Kohls in the past. 

However, if I were invited to any kind of formal event now, I would leap with joy and buy one of these. So please, send those invites! And, as always, if I ever have a sponsored post, I'll let you know. This isn't one. 

Left, Right similar in plus size here

The beautiful thing about these statement dresses is that they would require little to no other styling: simple shoes, hair, makeup, and accessories. Wouldn't that be the nicest way to travel to an event? Just bring the dress, wash your hair, and you're ready to go. Looking for something brighter or shorter? It's expensive, but man is this a gorgeous dress! I love that (or this in plus size) for an Indian wedding.

Speaking of statement dresses, if you're already anticipating getting invited to (or hosting!) a great holiday party, these dresses could be for you. 

For a holiday dress, I have two simple requirements: I need to be able to dance and eat in it, and I need to be able to wear it for more than one holiday season. That means I tend to look for dresses that are forgiving around the waist in a classic shape and/or fabric. The dress above, for example, is a classic black, and when have sequins ever not been in style? The sleeves temper the shortness so I think I could get away with it for awhile. I love these options, too!

I also have to mention this fun jumpsuit if you want an alternative to a dress. I wore a jumpsuit to my best friend's wedding in January last year, and I felt so comfortable and stylish at the same time. 

And I'm sorry to be talking about holiday parties so early on. I'm not an advocate of speeding the seasons past at all, but I do know that we women like to plan ahead so I thought I'd share these dresses yesterday and today in that spirit. 

Also, if you're looking for a bridesmaid dress that won't get shoved in the back of your closet, this is brilliant. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fanciful Dresses for Whimsical Events

Fanciful Dresses for Whimsical Events

Free People

Every so often, I get really excited about the dresses that a store has or that are out for a particular season. This is it! I'm excited. Today's dresses have me wishing that someone would invite me to a whimsical party-in a barn, at a library, on the steps of City Hall, or even a fall baby shower. 

I imagine each of them pulling off two styles: each could be worn "dressy" with quirky heels and a short bolero jacket or with booties, tights, and a felt Panama hat. Any dress that automatically brings to mind two styles is one worth buying if you ask me! And, of course, during this season's last warm days, you could wear these with sandals and a jean jacket. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Bold & The Bohemian: Go Boho in Two Steps

The Bold & The Bohemian: Go Boho in Just Two Steps

Add a Kimono

If you don't already have a kimono that you love, this is the place to start. I've been wearing my mom's vintage kimono from Japan for a few years, but there are also some great new ones out there. I purchased one this summer from TJMaxx, for example. The thing that I love about a kimono is that it's light and airy but also provides a light layer for a trip to the movies or on one of these fall days when the day is hot but the night is chilly.

Via Asos
Look for one with colors that you typically wear so that you can throw it effortlessly over jeans shorts and a t-shirt or a maxi dress. At this time of the year, I'd recommend that you look toward neutrals or dark colors because this is something you can easily wear over jeans or leggings in the fall and winter. See how the rest of her outfit is not boho, but she still just looks cool?

Or, go whole hog and boho up the whole getup!

Desert Wanderer Kimono

Layer on Necklaces

Part of the appeal of this laid back style is that it feels gathered, not pre-conceived or pre-fab. If you've got this much to layer on laying around at home, do it up.

Via Style Lovely
If not, or if you'd rather dip your toe in the trend instead of jumping in, look around for a couple of necklaces to wear at once.  This Etsy store has some real beauties.

Enjoy your Monday! I'm trying to get my voice back after a few loud nights in Charlotte this weekend and nursing my sunburned face. It was supposed to be cold at the football game, but joke was on us! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Friday! And-dressing for a tailgate?

Happy Friday! And-dressing for a tailgate?

My friends know that I'm a bit of a foreign exchange student when it comes to "typical" American things. I was born and raised in Vermont, and certain things (popular TV from before 2001, many movies, all Westerns, professional sports...) just weren't a part of my upbringing. Other things were (books! theater! cooking!), mind you, but sometimes I find myself experiencing things for the first time now, in my thirties. 


This weekend is one of those times: I'll be attending my first ever tailgate before my first ever NFL game. I've never attended a college football game, let alone a pro game. And, frankly, I wasn't sure who was playing until last week. I don't (care to) know how football works, really. I'm there for Team Fun. Or team Hooray!

And what to wear? I'm thinking I'll pass as a regular American with a jersey, right? Lucky for me I picked one up in New Orleans. Too bad it's from Tipitina's and not an actual sports team. Classic me. My friend suggested wearing tutus, and I have one from my unicorn costume so I think this is going to be awesome all around. 

I hope your weekend is just as fun(ny)!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Finds: Plaid, Fall Skirts, Capes, and Wool Panama Hats

Fall Finds: Plaid, Fall Skirts, Capes, and Wool Panama Hats

Since coming back from the perfect summer weather of New Orleans, it feels like fall is officially really here. I found myself feeling a little unprepared, did you? I went from wearing a few fall things to suddenly needing an extra layer in the mornings and even later. 

I've gotten many requests for personal shopping so I know lots of you are panicking about not having the clothes you want to be wearing for fall. Here's my thought: look through your clothes to see if you already have some fall basics, the things that are in style every fall. If not, I've got some affordable ideas for you. But don't feel like you need an entirely new wardrobe every season-that can get very expensive! Instead, look for basics that last year to year and top them off with a few fun pieces. 


Plaid. My husband's reaction to a new plaid shirt the other day was to say "don't you already have that one?" I panicked for a minute thinking that I might have actually bought two of the same shirt. Silly guy! What he meant was that I had another plaid shirt. A few other ones more accurately. If your collection could use another plaid shirt for fall,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning to Love...

❝ I’m still learning to love the parts of me that no one claps for. ❞
Rudy Francisco 

How to Stay Warm with Lean Layers for Fall

How to Stay Warm with Lean Layers for Fall

Come winter, I'm fine with bulkier layers. A girl's gotta stay warm, right? However, this time of year I'm still mourning the loss of warm weather, and I'm just not ready for wool. However, as previously mentioned, my office is freezing, and I need to be warm! So, I had a great idea: I'm focusing on lean layers that still pack on the heat. It's almost like taking lean meat and rubbing spice all over it before grilling it. Hmm...sorry. Maybe I need some more dinner! 

Wear a thick sweater over a long, lean dress and pants.

I went to the Leesburg outlets here in Northern Virginia the other day to put my plan into action. I was on a mission to add long, lean layers to my closet in place of the light shirts I typically layer with. This fall, I decided that they just aren't going to cut it. My office is too cold! My apologies in advance for the changing room selfies. Here's how I showed up (gotta love my unicorn nails still done from the party, right?)

This is an American Eagle cardigan, and I'm going to wash it by hand and as little as possible, frankly. I love the print but don't expect the quality to hold up for very long. It's fairly thick, but it flows away from my body so much that I could layer on a thicker, long top underneath. The bottom layer is this long dress/tunic thing from Target. With my high waisted Old Navy jeans, I felt nice and tucked in around the middle. When I got too hot shopping, I could still wear the whole outfit minus the sweater. And yes, those are my good-for-my-back Danskos.

Treat a Light Sweater Like a T-Shirt

At Banana Republic Outlet, I found several light sweaters that I've decided to wear in place of the cotton button downs and long-sleeved t-shirts that I typically pull out around this time of year.  These sweaters are warmer, but they're still light enough to layer up. I imagine wearing them under blazers for long, lean layers. I love the look of a sweater poking out on the arms, longer than the rolled-up arms of a blazer. I also liked these pants from Banana in a size down from here to avoid that bunching.

Match Similar Weights and Colors

Here, I put together a thicker sweater with a thicker jacket. However, the jacket is lined so it doesn't pull on the sweater, and the cut of the sweater is narrow enough that it works. Frankly, this sweater isn't typically one I'd wear to work since it was quite close to my body (ie my chest was too prominent), but with the idea of using it as a layering piece, it suddenly became the perfect thing.

And yes, I wanted the sweater to be longer below. You don't have to do that if it's not your style, but it's absolutely fine for the two not to "match up" in length.

Happy layering!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Trip to New Orleans in Images

Our Trip to New Orleans in Images

What an incredible trip we had to New Orleans! I can't wait to talk with you more about it, but for now I have two big Bernese Mountain Dog babies who won't let me type for too long without plopping their huge heads on my laptop. I'll leave you with some favorite images-and a few previews-for now. I hope you had a great weekend and start to your week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I'm in Love with High Waisted Old Navy Jeans

Why I'm in Love with High Waisted Old Navy Jeans

I'm posting these pictures of a recent day out with the dogs to a dog event and romp in NOVA for one purpose: to remind myself to tell you about the best skinny jeans ever.  Old Navy's The Rockstart Super Skinny jeans in the high waisted fit. Yes, they come in talls and petites. And they're the best. Look at my smile-doesn't it look happy?

And yes, the day was gorgeous and the dogs were happy so I was, too, but those jeans! They tuck in the bottom of your stomach instead of pushing it out and over like many skinny jeans do. I highly recommend that you try on a pair. I wish they came in more colors and washes!

Not paid to say so-just love 'em.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Personal Shopping at Macy's

Personal Shopping at Macy's

Recently I took a client for a personal shopping session at the mall. She preferred not to have her picture posted here, but I snapped some pictures that I wanted to share with you all because they're such great jackets and dresses! 

And, as always, I don't get paid to share specific products with you so yes, you can look these up on Macy's website, but also keep your eyes out for similar styles wherever you shop.

Cute Winter Jackets

What I loved about these was their high collars for cold weather, there structures shoulders to flatter the waist, and their funky details like big buttons or zippers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Land of the Unicorns: Easy Adult Halloween Costumes

The Land of the Unicorns: Easy Adult Halloween Costumes

This past weekend I attended my dear friends' annual Halloween party as a unicorn. This included

Gluten Free Guide to Northern Virginia: Historic Leesburg

Gluten Free Guide to Northern Virginia: Historic Leesburg

Before I moved to Northern Virginia, I had no concept of what it was like. Scratch that, I had some negative ideas about what it was like. At best, it was provincial. At worst, backwards. I know, I know. These were my own perceptions of what it meant to be in Virginia, and I've been proven wrong about them more times than I've been proven right. One of my favorite things since we moved here has been setting out to see what's out there-beyond the pull to Washington, DC.

This weekend, I struck out on my own toward the Leesburg Outlets in search of pants for work. On past trips, I've resigned myself to the slim pickings of food in the area around the outlets during lunchtime, but this trip I decided to go earlier than usual to avoid the Columbus Day crowds. I took a detour to find some gluten free breakfast in Historic Leesburg.

And there across the street from a statue of a Confederate soldier in a town named for an infamous general, I found a little quirky, hippie spot. What I found was Shoes, Cup, and Cork, and they had delicious gluten free breakfast options!  And almond milk! Specifically, I had the maple walnut Kind healthy grains with almond milk instead of yogurt with a large tea. I can't wait to go back here and sit outside when the weather warms back up again in the spring.

I also can't wait to try out the gluten free options at Palio. See that down there? It says gluten free pasta available upon request! That will be a nice treat after a few months of eating clean.

And if nothing else, come to Leesburg to look at all of the beautiful historic buildings and go shopping for antiques!

 I'll meet you there!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Roundup

Mid week roundup

Happy Friday! And, for many of us, happy long weekend!

Did you see this adorable idea last week? It would be so fun for kids-or adults-at a party! Maybe a retirement picture even!

Also I loved some of the ideas on this post on what to wear to a wedding and think they could easily apply to winter parties so while fall sales are on you might think ahead to festivities! Let's all wear this jacket.

Fall red lipstick comparison? Yes, thanks!

How to roll your jeans above booties. Agreed.

Waffle iron baked apples? Whaat? I might need to buy a waffle iron...

And last, thanks to Ashley for sending me this incredible article. What you think, you are. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ugg Alternatives: Comfy, Casual, Grown up Boots

Ugg Alternatives: Comfy, Casual, Grown up Boots

Inspiration via
Yes, we're talking about boots again! Because, you see, I have a client who needs comfortable boots for fall and winter. This client is always cold, especially in her feet. Yes, she's had her thyroid checked (Mom). She has had back pain lately and is finally realizing that she can't wear flat shoes with no support. Ok, ok. That client is me! I'm the client!

Here's the thing: I hate how Uggs look. I've hated them since the beginning. But, they're so warm. And they're so easy. And they're so awful-so here we are. Here are my ideas for my "client" and for anyone else out there on the hunt for supportive, well-made, but not hideous, boots that will keep you warm in the coming months until it's time for serious winter boots.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Three years! We have been there for each other through the dark and the light and back. I love us. I often wish I could clone my husband so other women could date or marry him. Is that weird? Oh well, I'm owning it.

Before and during our wedding, a dear friend of ours took these Polaroids. I hope you enjoy them. 

Happy Anniversary to us!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Up Close and Personal in the Target Dressing Room

Up Close and Personal in the Target Dressing Room

Normally I save my dressing room shots for Instagram, but I took so damn many this time that I thought you might be interested in what I found! I laughed because I showed up in black and white and tried on almost exclusively black and black & white. Know what you love, I guess?

The Good

This banded bottom dress is a tricky one, but I ultimately decided that it was a great thing to have. Here you see it styled as I would rarely-if ever-wear it. Maybe for a date night with some sexy boots or heels because, as you can see in the rear view mirror, it is a booty dress/sweatshirt thingee.

It has some odd arm panels, but don't pay those any mind.

The great thing about this comfy layer is that it will provide nice butt coverage for skinny jeans or leggings, and it is soft and cozy. Also, I love the draping it does! 

I loved how long these sweater leggings or tights were, but they were very flimsy material. The ones I tried on already had a hole in the waist. H&M has similar sweater tights for cheaper.

The OK

Ok so these next two dresses show how much I truly love and trust you all. I'm not pregnant (and not fixated on it, clearly!), but I have always been a bit squishier around the middle than I like to show off. Yes, I sometimes wear control top tights, Spanx, or at least a slip. But, these two dresses weren't flattering, and I wanted them to be easy, pull-on-in-the-morning, wear for work dresses. And they weren't going to be that for me.

This sweater dress gave me pause and made me consider my personal ban on sweater dresses. However, I did not buy it for the same reason that I never buy them: they show every lump. This goes back to my same feeling that I don't want to wear Spanx under a comfortable dress. However, if you are lump free or more at peace with your lumps, then this is a soft dress with a great pattern. Wear it alone, over tights, or with a long cardigan or blazer over it.

This dress was a pretty blue that doesn't show up in the horrible Target lighting, and I love that it had sleeves. However, it hit me at an awkward spot-just at the hips. If you have a shorter torso, then I think you'd love this dress.

The Bad

As you can see by my Kardashian face and the booty shot in the behind mirror, this was not a winner for me. If you really want to show off your curves or build up some curviness if you're on the less curvy side, you might love this peplum dress. I felt ridiculous in it.

This black top was a nice length but the split side went up so high that you'd have to wear another top under it, which I found annoying. The pants looked great in theory but were more suited to a smaller butt.

Oh, and I woke showed up like this. You know, in case you were wondering.

Oh-and Clog Watch 2014 continues. Yes, I'm still wearing them. Yes, my back is getting better, and no, I'm not a clog convert. But if you love Danskos and/or you need major arch support, these Tamara clogs are some of the most stylish options I've seen.