Monday, November 29, 2010

Anthropologie at The Grove (a Visit, a Review, an OOTD)

About a month ago, Heather Cook, the Personal Shopper at the Fashion Valley Anthropologie asked me if I'd ever been to the Anthro at The Grove (an incredible Disneyland-like mall - the facades are insane!), in Los Angeles.  I told her I hadn't, and she basically told me that any self-respecting Southern California Anthro-blogger needed to see it (though not in so many words).  She described an amazing store, teeming with gorgeous clothing - all those elusive, higher price-point pieces that just don't show up on the San Diego store floors - as well as cases and cases of jewelry.  Her words planted a seed in my head, and when we were in Culver City to see the Tron Pop-Up Shop, I checked our Nav (what my DH and I call the GPS) and was thrilled to see that The Grove was only 12 minutes away!

Which actually meant we spent the better part of 30 minutes navigating through traffic getting there, and another 10 minutes getting parked.  Ah, Los Angeles, I haven't missed you at all!  In fact, by the time we got in the store, I only had 15 minutes to look around, before we had to leave, to get to dinner with my sister, back in Orange County.

It was enough though, for this time - and yes, I will go back there sometime soon, to spend hours in the fitting room.  Because everything Heather said about the store was true.  Since I didn't have time for real browsing, I admired the holiday decorations instead. We all know how gorgeous Anthro holiday displays are, but the cathedral-height ceilings at The Grove store allowed for some incredible sights:

 A tree grows in Anthro! Replete with treehouse and rope bridge!

 I loved this beautiful light fixture with its metal frame and glass accents. I want something scaled down for my dining room.  It was just gorgeous!

The sheer size didn't mean the Visual Department overlooked the details. Look at this darling owl! And behind him, there's an end table with a camera sitting on two books, nevermind that most customers can't see those things, since they're perched on the landing of the rope bridge, at least 10 feet overhead.

So, you know that I couldn't at least try to try something on, right? When my eyes landed on my much-desired, long-wishlisted-but-sight-unseen Harvested Honey Coat, I had to try it on. So, here it is - I'm wearing a size 0 here.  Kate wanted to come with me and try on the From the Archives Dress  (and I'm sad to report it was too big for her and that I also ran out of time, and couldn't try it on either), so here we are:
The coat's color is as pictured on the website - a warm, dandelion yellow.  The sleeves were a bit long on me, so I'd probably want to have them taken up, and I thought the collar was a little big, but nothing I couldn't cope with.

Side view: I thought the coat fit me well and was a good length on me.

Coat with collar unbuttoned - I liked that it looked like something I could easily throw on over clothes, unbuttoned and still look good.  Kate thought the coat could be improved with a scarf, and demonstrated with the scarf/sash of the From the Archives Dress.  The sticker price on this coat is a bit too rich for my blood, so I'll have to wait until it goes on sale, but when it does, I'm going to make it mine. (Please go on sale soon, please go on sale soon...)

Sorry about not posting my outfits in sequence - but this was Day 19 of 20, in my abridged 30 for 20 Remix Challenge.  A lot of people asked me if I thought it was too hard to come up with 30 outfits for 30 days with 30 items - and actually, the answer is no. I could probably go on remixing the items into different outfits for quite a while.  The difficulty is ignoring all the other stuff in your closet that starts to scream at you for not wearing them. Yeah, that's right. Screaming clothing. Scary, hm? I thought so too.

Here's some great news - we're extending the deadline for the Movie-Inspired Outfits Netflix contest.  We've received some really amazing submissions (you guys are awesome!) but someone pointed out to me that having this sort of contest over a holiday week probably wasn't the best idea, since if your life is anything like mine, you had no time at all to put together an outfit or stage a photo. So, if you're interested in participating, please submit a photo this week.  The entry period will close this Sunday, December 5th.

Thanks, and have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tron-Inspired Design

Hi everyone!  Hope you've all had a great long weekend (at least, my American-compatriots) and a wonderful Thanksgiving.  My family and I spent a few days with our relatives and friends in Orange County - we had a lovely Thanksgiving with my sister's in-laws, spent time with my in-laws, hung out with my parents, and got together with various friends for Black Friday shopping and recuperating.  It was super fun and super-exhausting.

We even took an afternoon to head up to Culver City to check out the Tron Pop-Up Shop.

Tron: Legacy is due out in mid-December, and my household is holding its breath in eager and anxious anticipation.  My husband has loved the original Tron since childhood (though, I admittedly have long harbored a serious dislike for the movie, having been forced to sit through it multiple times in elementary school for "rainy day lunch" activities, "good citizenship" movie afternoons, etc) and has been on tenterhooks since they announced they were doing a sequel to the original.  Will it be brilliant (like Toy Story 3)? Will it be bad beyond belief (Star Wars Eps. 1-3)? It's a matter of days 'til he knows for sure. Until then, he and Rowan have been reveling in the trailers, the merchandise (toys!) and bits of "making of" news.  And yes, I admit that I'm also excited - I love a good sci-fi story as much as the rest of them, and while the original was really super slow and dull for me as a child, I will concede that it wasn't horrible when I re-watched it as an adult. Just a note: while it looks very dated (it is 28 years old!), the original Tron was actually ground-breaking in its blend of computer graphics, live action, traditional animation, and filming techniques to achieve its special effects. Incredibly, it was actually disqualified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for competition in the special effects category, because the Academy deemed its use of computers as "cheating" (we can all appreciate the irony of this now).

(Rowan checking out the fake foliage decking the exterior of Royal/T)

The Tron Pop-Up Shop (a pop-up shop is just a "temporary store" - most familiar in the form of seasonal shops, like the Halloween costume stores or Christmas decor stores that often "pop-up" in the month preceding the holiday, and then disappear shortly afterwards) is housed inside of Royal/T in Culver City, a combination maid cafe/art space ("maid cafes" are a subculture phenomenon from Japan, where young women dressed up as "maids" - think "cute" Japanese animation characters, rather than the naughty French kind -  serve customers.  The Tron space is modeled after Kevin Flynn's safe house in the new movie and is filled with Tron-inspired merchandise - everything from die-cast toys to high-end designer shoes and clothing.

 View of the Tron Pop-Up Shop from the "outside."

The interior of the shop. 

Tron-inspired clothing, designed and produced by Opening Ceremony.

More Opening Ceremony Tron-inspired fashion.

"Quorra Platinum Shoes" by Jerome Rousseau (only $795!) and Tron Icon Earrings and Necklace by Rotenier

The "Circle Bag," designed and produced via a three-way collaboration between Opening Ceremony, threeASFOUR, and Tron. Available in black or bronze leather.

Opening Ceremony dress

Opening Ceremony neoprene and rubber peep-toe ankle boots.

Adidas Tron-Inspired Shoes (the blue stripes flash on and off!)

Other items for sale in the shop include books, art, pens, belts, t-shirts, jackets, game console controls, etc.  You can read more about some of the Tron-inspired fashions and designs here and here.  If you decide to make a visit, please note the hours on the press releases online are INCORRECT. The store actually closes at 9 PM (not 10 PM) on Wednesdays and 6 PM on all other days. We found this out the hard way.  =P

Oh, and one last little something - my OOTD from Thanksgiving (and yes, I was actually raking):

Konnichiwa Sweater, Southward Stop Dress, Anthro Tights, Apepazza Martin Boots

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Are Thankful...

for family,

(Rowan and Kate)

for love,

(Kathryn, on right, and her husband, on left, Halloween 2010)

for friendship,

(Carol, Kathryn, and the Traveling Mullanys)

and for you, our readers and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baseball Has Been Good To Me... (30 for 30 Remix Challenge)

...since I quit trying to play it. -Whitey Herzog

So, here's the thing.  You know how Sara and Debbie were talking about their conflicted emotions doing the 30 for 30?

Yeah, me too.

So I'm cutting this experiment a little short. I'm turning it into a 30 for 20 Remix Challenge.  Does this make me a cheater? Maybe. A quitter? Yes. A poor sport? Perhaps.

Do I feel better having made this decision? Absolutely.

Will I still have learned some invaluable lessons from this exercise? Indubitably. Will I make up for quitting early by trying it again in the spring? Umm...let's talk about it when we get there. Will you forgive me for throwing in the towel early? I really hope so. Because I was dying inside, people! Dying!

So biggest lesson-learned: I really have a lot of great clothes in my closet! I mean, really, really great ones!  Fun clothes that I'm dying to wear! And the other giant lesson learned? It really is easier to come up with new outfits and combinations, when you're working with a smaller set of items. Sometimes, having a lot of things actually makes it harder to be creative.  What's that they say? Scarcity is the mother of invention?

Huh? Winners never quit and quitters never win? Yeah...I've heard they say that too.  (*grumbling*)

I still need to get Days 11-14 off my camera and edited, but I'll post those in the next day or so.  I've still got days 17-20 to complete.  In the meantime, here are my outfits from Days 15 and 16 (yesterday and today):

Day 15: Stem Striped tee, Here Today Here Tomorrow Dress, Berry Bush Tights, Indigo by Clarks shoes (okay, okay - I cheated! These shoes are not in my 30. I just couldn't bring myself to wear flats, and boots didn't seem at all right. Mea culpa.)

This is my "teenage witch" outfit.  Right? Can you see it? Give me a broom and a pointy hat, and it would have been perfect. Sigh. I think I could have gotten away with this outfit if I were 19.  Not so much, now. Yep, cheaters never prosper. Ain't that the truth.

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie
This is Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie. I thought it was appropriate reading for a teenage witch.  It's a little creepy at times (faeries - especially the modern kind, sometimes are...) but a quick, fun read.

Day 16: Stem Striped Tee, Hop Skip Jump Skirt, Apepazza Martin Boots, Nordstrom knee-socks, Frill Force Jacket, H&M scarf, Snakebite Belt

Day 16's outfit was inspired by the inimitable Kendi. After the massive failure of Day 15's Teenage Witch outfit (which caused me to announced to my coworker, "I officially hate this outfit!" sometime after lunch), I sought solace with She Who Leads Remixers, and I saw this outfit. Simple, clean, classic - needless to say, I loved it. So, using what I had on hand, I did something similar. I think it worked out well.

We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle

I think Kendi lives in Texas (though I'm not entirely sure) and while I don't think you can count Texas as a "Southern" state (I attempted to confirm this belief with my DH.  The conversation went something like this:  
Carol:  Honey, was Texas in the Confederacy? 
Husband: I don't know. 
Carol: Can you check? 
Husband: Why? 
Carol: Because I'm curious and you're in front of a computer, whereas I have the baby in my hands.
Husband: (heaves a big sigh and clicks away at the computer) Yes, they were part of the Confederacy.
Carol: Thanks!  (Pauses to think) Would you consider Texas a southern state?
Husband: No.
Carol: What sort of state would you consider it?
Husband: I consider it Texas. Texas is Texas.
And isn't that the truth? Texas is Texas)  it's in the same general latitudinal parallel as the southern states, so close enough for me. For those of you new to her, the author Celia Rivenbark is like a female, southern version of Dave Barry. I literally found myself laughing out loud while reading this book, much to the disapproval of whomever happened to be around me.  What sort of person engages in this type of unseemly outburst while reading? A person reading Celia Rivenbark, that's who.

By the way, did today's sale items tempt you? Let me know if you got something! I still have a few days to go on my shopping ban...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friends in High Places

This week in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, and all around me for the past couple weeks, I've been hearing people talk about the things they're grateful for, in preparation for the holiday. Concurrently, I've been hearing a lot about the unemployment rates, the barely budging economic indicators, and it all drives home to me that on my Top 5 List of Things For Which I'm Grateful, somewhere after my family, my friends, and my health, is the fact that I'm employed.

"Work is just work," I've heard said, and while this is true, it's also so much more.  It's the means to providing for ourselves and our families, to meeting our responsibilities and obligations, to sustaining our lifestyles, and to making conversation with strangers at parties ("So, what do you do?...").  Work provides many of us with our sense of identity, purpose, and value. It's how a lot of us contribute to the world at large, to our communities, and to our families.  Sometimes, it's the way we show our love for each other and even for ourselves.

Kathryn and I are so happy to be collaborating with Tara from Little Girl, Big Closet this week on her "Friend in High Places" feature, and especially so as we're using the opportunity to highlight the work of Dress for Success, an international non-profit organization that helps women, struggling to enter the workforce, overcome a very basic but very real barrier - acquiring a suit to wear to the interview.  They also provide other services to help women find jobs and remain employed. They're able to do this very important and increasingly pertinent work through support from men and women like yourselves in the form of monetary contributions and the donation of new or gently used and cleaned professional attire.  Tara, Kathryn, and I are pledging items from our closets to DFS, and hope that you'll join us. We encourage you to open your closets, find those office clothes that are a little too big or a little too small, or were a good idea-that-never-quite-made-it-into-an-outfit (you know the ones I'm talking about) and contact your local chapter to schedule a donation.  

Here is the amazing and incomparable Tara B. in her "interview outfit."  We love how she incorporated her signature love of color and print to demonstrate her creativity and flair to potential employers. So beautiful!

To see more of Tara's fabulous outfit and her tips on assembling your own perfect "interview outfit," check out her blog here.

Here is Kathryn's "interview outfit," and like Tara, Kathryn did a brilliant job of really choosing pieces that make this a trademark Kathryn look. I love how the feminine silhouette of the suit and the ruffled cami layered under the jacket evoke Kathryn's aesthetic so well. Really lovely!

H&M suit
J.Crew Coralie Cami
Bedecked Brooch Necklace
White House Black Market Patent Belt
Zara Heels

And here's my interview outfit.  Many years ago, I was applying for a "promotion" at an agency I used to work for, and because I was interviewing for the position with my very own supervisor and the Deputy Executive Director, I was a little on the fence about whether or not I should "dress up" for the interview - especially since it was scheduled to take place in the middle of the work day, and an interview-appropriate suit wasn't actually appropriate attire for my job duties.  My very dear friend Loretta gave me a piece of really good, sound advice, which I have remembered and applied ever since, and that was, "I think you should wear a suit to the interview. It shows that you're serious about the job, and that you respect the position you're applying for, and that you respect the people who are interviewing you." 

While I've yet to wear this outfit to an interview, I think it conveys those things, don't you?

Twenty8Twelve Blazer
Burberry Button-up
Lanvin Platform Pumps (sans chains)

Kathryn and I are pledging the following items to Dress for Success, and without any pre-planning, it turns out the pieces we're pledging make up a whole suit between them!

This dress shirt +  this Gap tweed belted jacket + these Gap black trousers = one whole outfit (minus the shoes and other accessories)

We really do hope that you'll join us in supporting Dress for Success.  There will be a linked badge in the sidebar of this blog all week.  Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Opa! (OOTDs)

Hello, Everybody!

...well, like last week's OOTD post, I don't know what the title of this post means, either.

Whenever we celebrate someone's birthday at work, it's always kind of the same scenario - everybody disappears into the conference room (or break room) and one person heads over to the birthday person and gives them a completely transparent (and usually very lame) excuse to get them to make their way to the designated room so that we can all yell, "Surprise!" and serenade them awkwardly. And completely off-key, I might add.

("Office Space" really is one of the greatest movies ever. I kind of hope we get a submission for our Netflix giveaway from someone who dresses up as Lumbergh. Can we make that happen please?)

Anyway, all this to say that we had a birthday in the office last week, and when the birthday person walked in someone yelled, "Opa!" I guess that word was on my mind. So there you go!

*ahem* here were my outfits from last week:

Last Monday's OOTD:

Dress: Super old (like, really REALLY old)
Target Mossimo Women's Ultrasoft Cardigan Sweater in Ochre
Nordstrom Frenchi Tights in Black
Nordstrom Socks in Charcoal
(unseen: Oh, Hello Friend Bow Belt)
Frye "Jane" Boots

This was a look I pretty much stole er, borrowed from Kendi here. I've been wanting to try the socks-with-boots thing for awhile now, and this was the first time I was courageous enough to try it.

Looking at the photo now, I can't decide if I pulled my socks up too high or my boots slouched down or both. I might not pull my socks up so high the next time. Anyway, this outfit was a bit of a "risk" for me, as I had tights and socks with my boots...which pulled me out of my comfort zone. Also, my feet were killing me by the end of the day, because the socks and tights made my boots feel much tighter than they normally fit. Owie.

Overall, this was kind of a fun and different look for me. I was happy to find that old dress lingering in the back of my closet. And since I'm not participating in the 30-for-30 challenge, I figured I might as well try to have a little fun with the things in my closet that I haven't worn in awhile, eh?

I was also thrilled that Danni of Oh, Hello Friend was in town and selling her goodies! I was able to pick up some fun things for myself, including this bow ring:

(sorry about the weird focus, the camera decided to focus more on the wrinkles on my hand than on the ring, but those are little rhinestones on that ring...)

Last Tuesday's OOTD:

Nordstrom BP Susina Ruffle Cardigan (Anniversary Sale, 2009)
Nordstrom BP Rubbish Tank (super-duper old, similar here)
Anthropologie Glowing Leaf Skirt
Nordstrom BP Bow Necklace
Oh, Hello Friend Eiffel Tower Brooch
Oh, Hello Friend Mustache Ring
Seychelles Bette Flat

So here's the debut of the Glowing Leaf Skirt that I impulsively picked up a couple of weeks ago in order to make the free shipping minimum at Anthro. That's me being "economical." Yeah.

I like this skirt. A lot. Like I can't wait to wear it again. Unfortunately, the photo turned out a little weird because the sun was peeking out so the middle looks a little washed out, but let me assure you - it's a purdy lil skirt. My dentist actually complimented me on it.

I want to sign a measure into law that requires all skirts and dresses include pockets in their design. Jussayin'.

Another little item from my Oh, Hello Friend haul this week was this little mustache ring:

(again, sorry about the soft focus)

I decided to pick up this ring as my little symbolic mustache, in honor of "Movember" (since I can't really grow a mustache).

Another fun detail, this Eiffel Tower brooch:

Overall a fun little outfit...I felt very girlie, like I did when I wore this outfit the previous Tuesday.

Last Wednesday's OOTD:

Anthropologie Moulinette Soeurs Reed Shirtdress (Spring 2010)
Oh, Hello Friend Belt
Nordstrom Frenchi Knee High Socks
Frye "Jane" Boots
Oh, Hello Friend Pocketwatch Necklace
Oh, Hello Friend Mustache Ring

Well, since I didn't feel like using any of the items on the 30-for-30 list I'd started to make for myself, I decided to pull one of the items off of Carol's 30-for-30 list.

Like I said regarding Monday's outfit, next time I think I won't pull my socks up quite so high. And I didn't realize until wearing this outfit how much I felt like the open-face pocketwatch necklace reminded me of Flavor Flav...which isn't exactly a look I was going for, but, uh...whatever!

Have I mentioned that I own like, five pocketwatch necklaces from Oh, Hello Friend? They're very handy for telling the time, too - though it was a little bit of a pain when Daylight Savings Time ended...

Here's the detail on this watch, which was a lovely gift to me from Danni over the summer:

Danni has a similar one available here, but I just love the little charms on this necklace! The key makes me smile big.

Last Thursday's OOTD:

Anthropologie Moth Whirling Ruffles Dress (Fall 2009)
TSE Cashmere Cardigan (super old, like 2003)
Nordstrom Frenchi "Dot" Tights
Lela Rose for Payless Shoes (with work-sponsored pedometer)
Forever 21 Vintage Charm Necklace

This outfit was weird. Like I can't decide if I like it or not. And I'm kind of leaning towards "not."

I have a love/hate relationship with this dress. I really want to like it, but every time I put it on I find myself wishing it was about 4-5 inches longer. I just feel like it hits at an awkward length for me. Or maybe it would look better if I just lost 20 pounds or so. *shrug*

The tights ended up looking a little weird...not quite dark, not quite light...just kind of...there. Ugh. I dunno. Maybe I need to seek out Kim's help in styling this dress, or maybe I just need to give this dress up all together. I dunno. may notice the weird accessory on my right heel. I'm still keeping track of my steps per day, and I generally wear my pedometer somewhere on my waist. However, I didn't have anywhere on this outfit to clip the pedometer, so I clipped it to my shoe to record my steps.

It sort of looks like a prison ankle bracelet, dontcha think?

I'm currently at almost 370,000 steps since I started keeping track in early October. Which is sort of crazy, when I think about it. Over the past week, I've been averaging about 10,500 steps a day. During that time I also made my way to a Bikram yoga class, which I think should somehow count for extra steps because that crap is haaaaaaaaard! I hadn't been to a class in quite some time, so I was having a hard time keeping up. My chin still hurts from collapsing on the mat after "bow pose." Somehow I don't think that's what the instructor meant when she said, "slowly release from the pose." Oops.

I'm really hoping that somehow all this exercise will balance out all the eating I plan on doing over Thanksgiving.

Last Friday's OOTD:

Anthropologie Bianka Blouse in Black Motif (different colors here)
Love By Design Crocheted Vest (similar here)
Express Leggings (buy here)
Frye "Jane" Boots
Oh, Hello Friend Pocketwatch Necklace

Ah, Friday. I think I was just kind of pooped out of outfit ideas by this point so I decided to use a repeat outfit with a little added vest. I picked up the vest during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (Yay, yet another unworn item!) for what I thought was a steal...only to see a ton of them show up later at Forever 21. Funny how that happens, hmm?

So if this post shows anything, it's probably that I love my Frye boots with a passion. They were an Anniversary Sale pick-up last year; and, while they were pricey even on sale, I don't regret them one bit. They're probably one of my favorite shoe purchases ever. I just love 'em.

And if this post shows anything else, it's that I love all of Oh, Hello Friend's offerings. Here's another little gift I got from Danni, as a thank-you for this week's purchases:

(cute little charm with the boy and girl kissing!)


Welp...thanks for hanging in there with me, through this post. I know it was probably pretty long and fairly boring. This week I'm planning on getting my hair cut. Just in time for the holidays...yay! I'm not ready to do the big chop yet (for donation), but I am kind of thinking of cutting bangs. I just feel like doing something different with my hair, and looking at some of my favorite gals in the blogosphere has me inspired to try bangs again. (I'm looking you, Tien/Tara B./Maria/Roxy...)

Oh, and before I go - Jan Russell? Regarding the Spinning Lace Dress? You are absolved. Just because I said so. After all you've been through lately with the car, you deserve it!

Thanks for reading! ^_^

Friday, November 19, 2010

Days 8, 9, and 10 (30 for 30 Remix Challenge)

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Guess what? I have, at the moment, a blessedly plan-free weekend.  Well, okay, I do have some vague notions about needing to take the kids in to get haircuts, and I also need to do some grocery shopping, but other than that, I'm looking forward to not-too-much-going-on.

It's like the calm before the storm.  The holiday storm, that is.  *shudders*

Many of you may not know this about me, but I love reading. Books, more so than clothing (gasp!) are my first and greatest love (well, after the husband and children, of course).  I'm an avid, constant, and even compulsive reader.  I was an English major as an undergrad, just because I really wanted to read the books.  I tend to spend absurd amounts of money in bookstores (you think I'm bad in Anthropologie) and when I can't get to the bookstore or library, I frequently re-read books I own and have already read about a million times.  The other day, while browsing my bookshelves (sometimes I like to do that, just to look at my books and reminisce over them), I spotted this one, which my DH had found for me, a few months back, at a used bookshop in downtown San Diego:

I thought it was very appropriate to the occasion.  ^_-

Day 8: Theory "Stay" Tee, Hellebore Sweater Skirt, LAMB Tippy Flats, Nordstrom Long Strand Pearl Station Necklace, Flower Pin

Have you ever read, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford?

What??  You haven't??? 

You need to read them.  I mean, eccentric British gentry, girls and women who are sassy, smart, and well-dressed, humor, romance, and World War II from the home front? What more do you want? 

(Not directed at those of you who have read this/these book(s), of course.)

 Day 10: Gap Herringbone Tweed Band Blazer, Burberry Button-up, Joe's Ponte Knit Leggings, Apepazza Martin Boot, Oh Hello Friend Pocket-Watch necklace

Hope your Friday is super! Don't forget to enter our giveaway and contest!