Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miss November Studio! (something fun)

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of blogging going on here at In Pursuit of Pretty Things. Both Kathryn and I have been swamped with work (and some play) these past few days, so while we've got lots of stuff to share with you, we haven't had any time at all to actually do the sharing.

*Deep breath*

So, we promise to get posting soon: we have more Future:Standard stuff, new July Anthro Catalog stuff (squeee!) and Nordstrom Anniversary Sale stuff too (yay!!!). Not to mention other random stuff (Vegas? Oh, wait, what happens there stays there. Ummm...Anime Expo, for you Japanophiles out there, and later in July, San Diego Comic Con!). But, we're not just about making promises for future fun in this post - we're here to give you a head-start on spending down your July pretty-things budget (*cough* need our help to do that, right?).

Miss November Studio (of my fantastic umbrella necklace and super fun retro space-gun necklace) is trying to put together some funds for school (yay, education!) and is offering 20% off any purchase on items in her Etsy store right now, with promo code: FACEBOOK.

(How CUTE is this necklace???)

Or, you could do a whole garden (which I kinda wanna do...):

I love the idea of supporting local artists - real people! - who create such beautiful things. Sandra is just amazing and I love her work (you know how often I reach for those necklaces). Also, in case you were curious, the Umbrella Necklace is still available for order (though a lot of her other pieces are disappearing fast - there was an adorable ladybug necklace I had my eye on, which has completely vanished already! Waaaa!) 

Happy shopping, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Future:Standard Trunk Show (Summer 2011)

Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a great weekend. This past Thursday, I attended the Future:Standard trunk show, where I was hard pressed to stick to my shopping ban. There were so many fantastic things there - dresses and blouses and sweaters and other things I really really wish were in my closet. Just to refresh your memories (for those of you who've been reading for a while), Future:Standard is a fairly new, local (online) business, that focuses on ethical clothing and accessories (sustainable, eco-friendly, fair trade, locally made, etc). My d a c e Iris Blouse is from Future:Standard's spring trunk show, which I love and have worn quite a bit over the past few months. I have several new items on my wishlist, that I'll be diligently stalking over the next few months (if I can hold off for that long).

The trunk show was hosted at the Blokhaus building in San Diego, which is a fantastic space. Here are some photos from the event:

 Getting my picture taken at the photobooth. (Is it still called a photobooth, if there's no actual booth?)

White-board wall, welcoming everyone to the Future:Standard trunk show, and the photobooth backdrop.

Inner atrium, where most of the clothes were displayed. The table at the far end had yummy refreshments that included wine, hummus and pita chips, and Metromint water - in the mint-chocolate flavor! I'd never had mint-chocolate flavored water before. It was pretty fun - and both Rowan and Kate loved it (they polished off the bottle I brought home to share). 

These two racks held most of my favorite items, but the rack to the right is the one I wanted to quietly wheel out and take home in my car.

More fantastic items, including a rack of things that had been reduced, on sale. And yes, even these, I resisted. Barely.

Table displaying shorts, jeans, pants, and tees. From front to back: Tencil Twill Cuffed ShortsTwo Bunch Palm Shorts, Frayed Bottom Shorts; left of Frayed Bottom Shorts: Lapel Shorts

Chester CardiganMalik Tank, and Two Bunch Palm Shorts. I really loved this outfit - so cute!

Short Sleeve Silk Blouse and Chesil Shorts. I love the elegance and sophistication of this otherwise casual outfit. That blouse is high on my wishlist.

Lotus Blazer, Gilberthe Tank, and unknown jeans

I tried on a few things, so I'll be doing a fitting room review post soon on those. Meanwhile, check out Future:Standard's online store, and let me know if there's anything that's catching your eye. I did notice that a few of the things I tried on at the trunk show that I absolutely fell in love with aren't up on the F:S website yet...hopefully they'll show up soon, so I can share all the cuteness with you!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ted, Kate, Vince, and Rebecca Got Together (Fitting Room Reviews)

Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a great week. My week has been busy with work but otherwise good. I'm putting myself on a self-imposed shopping ban for a little bit - well, at least until the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July (EEEEEEE!!! My favorite shopping event of the year!), and then definitely for quite a while after that, to make up for my Jason Wu and Kate Spade indulgences over the last couple weeks. This doesn't mean I won't do my duty by you, and scope out what's pretty and in store (and even what's not in store yet - Fall 2011 pre-orders are taking place at a lot of the department stores right now). 

So, here's who I found hanging out together in Nordstrom's Individualist department...

I spied this dress on Nordy's website last week and tweeted about it - the whimsical print and the brightly colored bead-embellished birds are just the sort of whimsical touch I love in a dress. I was definitely intrigued by the retro, mod-ish silhouette of the dress as well. I'm wearing this in Ted Baker's size 1, and it fit well, overall, considering that it's somewhat shapeless and shift-like. It's definitely a mini, and has sheer, blousey sleeves, which I thought could have stood to be a touch less blousey. Also, had the dress not had a raglan shoulder, I think I might have liked it better. It's got an exposed back zipper (see product shot here) and is dry clean only. Overall, super cute, but I think I'd wait for sale on this - except for the fact that it seems to be flying out of the stores (UTC only had this one left, and it was on hold for someone else. The SA was kind enough to let me try it on for size).

Kate Spade "Stella" Dress:

This little dress is classic Kate Spade, all silk and fully lined with a playful print, ruffles, and patent skinny belt. I'm wearing it in a size 0, and while it was super cute, the fit was all wrong for me. Pros: super cute ruffled neckline and dips into a flattering but-not-too-low "v," and good length on the skirt, hitting right at the knee. Cons: the bodice was too long on short-waisted me (you can see how the fabric breaks under my chest), the waist uncomfortably snug (I'd just eaten lunch, but c'mon, a girl should be able to eat and not suffer for it), the skirt a little too roomy in the hips, and it's dry clean only (not really a surprise). Sooo...if you're longer-waisted than me, with no belly but fuller hips (or no hips at all), then this could be the dress for you. ^_-

I'm wearing the Lola Dress in a size 2, so it was a bit big on me everywhere, as I think I'd need a size 0. But otherwise, this sheath-style dress was just perfect - pretty and ladylike and well-made. The lace-printed fabric is a cotton-silk blend that manages to be light and substantial at the same time. The dress is fully lined, there's a back zipper, and it comes with a skinny patent belt. It's dry clean only, as most Kate Spade garments are. Simply lovely.

I found this lone Vince dress hanging on a rack, and as I'm always intrigued by these odd, not-quite-drapey-artfully-shaped-to-seem-artlessly-shapeless dresses, I decided to give it a try. I'm wearing it in an XS, and couldn't find a link to it on Nordstrom's site, so the product link above goes to another retailer who is carrying the dress. It's hard to see in these photos (you can get a clearer view on the product shot here), but the sleeves on this dress are asymmetrical, much like those of the Neo-Refinement Pullover, only shorter. The dress is lined, dry clean only, and a pull-on style. I liked it, but found it a bit dear (Vince tends to be), even at the sale price ($174). Still, if you like this sort of thing, I'd recommend it.

Rebecca Taylor Wrap Dress:

This is a lovely plum-colored version (sadly, these photos don't do the color justice - it's much plummier than the purple you see above) of the python print dress I tried on a few months back (post here). For some reason, I wasn't able to find this purple version on Nordstrom's website, nor any other sites for that matter, so the product link above is for the python-printed version. You can probably call Nordstrom though, and ask for the "purple Rebecca Taylor wrap dress with the ruffle and belt" and if the SA has seen it, she'll probably know what you're asking for. I'm wearing the dress in a size 0 here, and the details are exactly the same as with the python-printed version: 100% silk, fluid lines, faux wrap-dress with elastic waist (covered by the belt), pull-on styling, dry-clean only. The skirt was a touch too long on me, but otherwise, this dress is lovely, lovely, lovely.

That's it for now. Do you have any occasions coming up for a pretty dress? 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shorty (OOTD)

It was hot enough in San Diego this week to warrant the wearing of shorts. So I did. I wore them. 

Kate wanted to join me for this shot:
Sweater: Open Cardigan, Forever 21 (similar here and here)
Shorts: Mossimo shorts, Target (from last summer, similar here and here)
Belt: Patent Skinny Belt, J. Crew (similar herehere, and here)
Necklace: Banana Republic (from 2009? Similar here and here)
Shoes: Sandals, Cole Haan (similar here, here, and here)

Today was the first day of the Nordstrom Men's Half Yearly Sale, and I dragged the husband there after work to pick up something for him to wear to a wedding tomorrow (he's lost 60 lbs since last October, and all of  his suits or nicer clothes are far too big for him now). We ended up with a Hugo Boss sport coat (similar here) along with a crisp white shirt to wear under it (similar here), which look terrific on him. Sale + double points = excellent deal.

But that's not all I found.

I found this:

Jason Wu Printed Faille Dress (similar here and here and here)

Do you remember this? This is the dress I tried on when Jason Wu made his personal appearance at the Fashion Valley Nordstrom (blogged here). This is the dress that the designer himself said was perfect on me, and asked who I was (squee!!! This memory still makes me feel effervescently happy). At full price, it wasn't a realistic purchase for my budget. But we found one (I say "we," because my friend June saw it and texted me excitedly with the news - thanks, June!) on designer clearance, and well...the dress is now mine! (Thanks, husband!!!) I feel like I need to whisper that, because even on clearance, it's the priciest piece of clothing I own, but I do feel like it's such a classic and timeless piece, I'll be able to wear it for practically the rest of my life (incentive to stay in shape, yes?). I'm going to start by wearing this to the wedding we're attending tomorrow. And then I'll wear it the day after, to visit my dad. Then the day after that, while I'm out buying groceries. And the day after that, when I'm mopping the floors. If anyone has something to which they'd like to invite me and my Jason Wu dress, please let me know. We'd be delighted to attend. ^_-

And that being said, I'm back on my shopping ban. At least for dresses. I think this officially means I'm more or less done with new dresses for quite a while. Quite a while. 

Is there anything that you'd never consider at full price but wouldn't be able to resist if it were on clearance? 'Fess up below! ^_^

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Pursuit of Vega$ (a Herve Leger Review and other stuff)

Hello everybody, and happy Thursday (almost Friday, but...whatever)!

(or, if you're a Boston Bruins fan, happy day-after-winning-the-Stanley-Cup Day!)

(...or, if you're in Vancouver and you're reading this, congratulations on being alive and not in the hospital or jail today. #keepitclassy)

(...yes, I just used a hashtag in my blog post. w00t.)

I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone that came out for our first-ever shopping event at Anthropologie this past Sunday! It was so great that so many of you came out, and I really enjoyed meeting you all. I hope everyone had a great time!

I wanted to write a quick note to say that, if I seemed a little quiet on Sunday, it's because I can get sort of shy sometimes. I know that might seem kind of weird, given that I scream my head off at hockey games and...uh...I have a blog with my bestie where I post pictures of myself wearing various outfits that I share on the internet. But when it comes to meeting people in person, I generally tend to sit back and get kind of quiet, especially in large groups. In other words...I'm awkward. So if I seemed kind of standoffish on Sunday, please don't take offense! I was just feeling a little shy.

Which is going to make this post seem even weirder, because it's basically about my search for a skanky I mean, slutty...I mean slinky outfit for my trip to Las Vegas next week.

This post deals with me looking for outfits to wear which are not the typical type of outfit that I choose to wear. Not that there's anything wrong with slinky, body-hugging clothes...just that they're not my usual cup of tea since, as previously mentioned, I can be kind of shy. But Vegas is Vegas (or, does anybody else remember that old TV show, "Vega$"..?) and that calls for something a little different, wouldn't you say? One reader commented last week that she tends to "up the skank factor" when she's in Vegas, and I guess that's pretty much what I'm looking to do.

Even though I'm super awkward.

I actually thought about titling this post, "In Pursuit of Skank"...but I decided maybe that wasn't the best idea.

Anyway, in my search, I worked up the courage to walk into the Herve Leger store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa last week just to take a peek. I mean, what else screams "body-hugging" more than Herve, right?

So here's my review of what I tried:

Herve Leger Cap-Sleeve Bandage Dress in Petal Pink

For reference, I'm wearing a Small in these photos. There's a zipper that runs all the way up the back of the dress, so you definitely need help getting into it.

I have to be honest - I was terrified to try this dress on. In addition to the sticker shock of the $1050 price tag, I was afraid to try on something so form-fitting. But these bandage dresses are pretty darn amazing - they really do suck you in and lift you up and create an extremely flattering silhouette. As my friend described it, "It's like a dress made of Spanx!"

I had just eaten dinner not long before I tried this dress on, so the photos show what the dress looks like with me sporting a serious food baby. And pardon the panty lines too - needless to say, any girl is gonna want to rock some seamless panties with something this snug. Mostly I found myself shocked (and let's be honest, pretty darn pleased) that the dress made me look like I have a chest!

The color is the most perfect shade of pink I think I could have asked for. It's a lovely blush-y pink color that manages to not totally wash me out.

(funny side note: you may notice a little paper tag hanging off my butt in the photo. There's a tag that is sewn into the rear of the dress that's a lot like the kinds of tags you see on pillows or on the inside of lululemon garments. Once the tag is ripped off, the dress is then considered non-returnable. Isn't that interesting?)

Me, in all my food baby glory.

For reference, the shoes were Herve too.

This dress is currently listed at #1 on my "If I Had a Billion Dollars" wishlist. I love it. I adore it. But I'm about $1000 short at the moment. So I'm going to watch it like a hawk to see if it ever goes on sale.

Or I'm going to try to win big in Vegas and buy it. *smirkyface*

And so, since I don't have a million, or even a thousand dollars to spend on a dress at the moment, here are my current options for going out:

Option #1 - the "...okay, since I don't have $1000 to spend on a pink dress, let's try this" option:

Bailey 44 blush jersey "Indecent Behavior" ruffle front dress

This little Bailey 44 dress is currently available on Bluefly and isn't a bad deal at less than $100. I wish the pink were a little more like the pink of the Herve, but I can't help but be drawn to these blush-y/nude-ish type pinks. For reference, I'm wearing a size Small here. I think styling it with the necklace will help "ground" the pink (as Carol likes to say), so that I don't look so naked-ish. And since it's a Bailey 44, it's super comfy!

Option #2 - the "If I don't want to spend any money on an outfit and use my cash towards a spa day instead" option:

So this was thrown together with stuff I own, including a one-shoulder top purchased in Montreal 7 years ago and an old sequin skirt from Victoria's Secret Catalog:

One-shoulder top by Dex (similar from ASOS here)
Silver sequin mini from Victoria's Secret Catalog (this year's version here)Link

So this outfit gives me a second option. And the best part is, it's stuff I already had!

Last week I spotted a girl wearing a dress from Arden B. that looked promising, so I may try to head there in the next few days to check it out.

What do you think? Will these two options work for Vegas? Or is there something else out there I should try? Let me know what you think in the comments!

I'll leave off tonight with my obligatory hockey comment - congratulations the Boston Bruins on winning the Stanley Cup! It was a hard-fought series, and while my heart aches for Vancouver, the Bruins deserved to win. And goalie Tim Thomas deserved to win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. There were some...uh...ugly riots that took place in Vancouver after the loss (ugh, it was like 1994 all over again!). But it seems like the citizens of Vancouver are banding together to get the city cleaned up. It's important to remember that the greatest trophy in all sports should not be shadowed by the ugliness of a few irrational people. (I refuse to call them fans.)

The Boston Bruins - your 2011 Stanley Cup Champions.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you all have a great day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Food Fashion Friends (Our In-Store Event at Anthropologie)

Photo credit: Kelly, Blog: Alterations Needed
This past Sunday night, Kathryn and I had the opportunity to host an in-store shopping event for In Pursuit of Pretty Things readers at the Fashion Valley Anthropologie. It was a marvelous time and we had a great turn-out. Over 30 women joined us, donned name tags, chatted, ate, laughed, tried on pretty clothes, shopped, and made friends. I didn't notice it until I saw this photo that Kelly from the blog, Alterations Needed, shared with me - but there were a stack of books next to the row of mugs spelling out "PRETTY," entitled, "Food Fashion Friends." Isn't that the truth? ^_^

Photo credit: Kathryn
These are the name tags Kathryn made for the event - they were super pretty and she thoughtfully hung them on ribbon so as not to damage people's clothes! (If it'd been left to me, I'd have had everyone wearing, "Hello My Name Is" stickers.) 

Photo credit: Kelly, Blog: Alterations Needed
Laura, Fashion Valley Anthro's Personal Shopper had this rolling rack of beautifully styled items out for the event. We were able to peruse them, and if something caught our eye, we were able to ask either Laura or one of the other SAs who were helping us, to pull the items in our sizes. This was such a treat - if you've not ever worked with a Personal Shopper before, I highly recommend it. They help take all the guesswork out of styling an outfit, and even if you're good at styling outfits, they are often able to show you combinations or items you'd never have considered on your own, but find yourself loving. Oh, and the service is totally free - and there's no hard selling involved. Promise. ^_^

Photo credit: Kathryn
Here's our refreshments table! We had cookies and fruit and mini cream puffs and sparkling water and still water with orange and lemon slices and coffee - I have to say, I thought it was all just lovely. When the DH arrived with the kids halfway through the event, Rowan bee-lined it to the table and ate a whole row of those cream puffs while I wasn't looking. Yep, that's my boy.

Photo credit: Kathryn
We were fortunate enough to be able to give out these amazing cookie favors to all of our guests that night, thanks to the talent and generosity of a friend of Kathryn (not me). Isn't she amazing? She cut the cookies into the shape of dresses, and decorated each one by hand - they were all a little bit different, too! We can't thank her enough and hope she knows how much everyone loved them! (One guest even joked that she wished she could find a dress in Anthro that looked like her cookie.)

Photo credit: Kathryn
Here's a detail shot of one of the cookies. Kathryn added the finishing touch by creating the pretty labels and tying them on with ribbon. *Happy Sigh*

Photo Credit: Kathryn
Laura also asked Kathryn and I to submit our favorite current items to her to be styled for the event, ahead of time, and she was able to pull together the most adorable outfits! I loved them! The yellow Take-Action Dress, for instance, which I hadn't been all that impressed with on its own, was transformed when Laura added the Gleaming Intersection Scarf to it - they were fantastic together. I want the whole outfit! (And a couple others besides.) Oh, and I was also sorely tempted to take the little sign home - how cute would it be, hanging on the door of my closet? 

Photo: Carol's iPhone
Here's Kathryn trying on the Hamatreya Skirt with the Cape Tee. Doesn't she look fantastic in this pairing? I tried on that very same outfit a couple months ago, and while I loved the skirt, the blousy top made shorter me look like I'd been attacked by a bolt of fluttery fabric. Sigh...

Photo credit: Kathryn
Here are some of us, hanging out in the fitting room, watching other members of our party try things on and giving our feedback. There was a lot of laughing, squeals, exclamations of delight, murmurs of agreement, and other good stuff going on here. We basically took up a whole half the fitting rooms, and there was a bit of a back up for people waiting to try things on, from time to time. Laura gave an impromptu belt tutorial (which I missed!) that impressed and amazed everyone who saw it. So much fun!

After the shopping wrapped up, we said our goodbyes to the women who were heading home, and the rest of us, 16 in total, headed over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It was definitely a fantastic time:

Photo credit: Kathryn

Photo credit: Carol's iPhone
It was a great night and an amazing way to spend an evening. Thanks to all the women who came out to the event - it was really lovely getting to meet all of you - and to Kelly from Alterations Needed for not only attending but taking photos and sharing them with us. Thanks also to Laura, Megan, Lindsay, and Sandra, for offering the opportunity to do an organized in-store event - it was beyond amazing. 

Special thanks go to Laura, who helped me plan, organize, and prepare for the event; to Kathryn for always going along with my crazy ideas and making everything better with her eye for beautiful details; to Maya for inspiring the idea, contributing moral support, and helping coordinate the dinner portion of the evening; and last but not least to my DH for his great forbearance and support - he stood in line for us at Cheesecake Factory, watched the kids for me while I ran errands in preparation for the event, and offered sage advice whenever I needed it (love you, honey!).

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you at our next get-together. ^_^

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cake, Pie, and Cupcakes All At Once (We Hang With Roxy)

Last weekend, when Roxy tweeted that she was packing for a trip to LA, my little (virtual) ears perked up - what? Roxy? In Los Angeles? In driving distance of me and Kathryn?!

It's true - last night, I trekked up from San Diego to LA to meet Roxy, braving Friday rush hour traffic (in OC and LA - ugh) and picking up Kathryn on the way. Readers, we had a ridiculously good time. As Roxy put it, it was like having cake, pie, and cupcakes all at once. I might throw in some souffle or chocolate croissant bread pudding too. It was that fun. (And there wasn't even alcohol involved! Honest! Despite some tweeting about shots....)

We picked up Roxy from her hotel in Hollywood and decided that a visit to the Grove was in order for dinner and shopping. (Because really, how can you get three style bloggers together and not go shopping?) Over dinner, Roxy confessed that she'd wondered if we might show up in our matching Mullany dresses, and if that meant she should have worn hers. Next time, Roxy, next time....

Of course we stopped by Anthropologie:

Fun feature wall, over home goods, made by colorfully printed paper bags.

Lounge and intimates items from left to right: Stand-in slip, Lace Layered Bandeau, Into Obscurity Chemise, Drifting Down Robe, Spun Sugar Bra, Match Set Chemise.

I love the visuals in an Anthro - this feature wall was created with paper, cut in leaf shapes, arranged over a blue background. Beautiful!

Kathryn checking in on the progress of Game 5 of the NHL championships 
(Vancouver won! Apologies to our Bostonian readers...).

We waylaid a passing customer, and asked if she might oblige us by taking our picture. And here we are! Carol, Roxy, and Kathryn, together. In an Anthropologie. You may be able to tell by the size of my grin, exactly how happy I was about this. Oh, and in case you're wondering why I'm nearly as tall as the other two, it's because they're wearing flats, and I'm wearing 5" platform heels. Yep. Awesome.)

And because a girl can't live on Anthro alone (well, maybe some girls can, but we can't), we headed over to our other favorite store, Nordstrom. Can you believe there's no Nordstrom in NYC? Even though I already knew this (having lived in New York state for a few years), when Roxy mentioned it, it suddenly diminished the stature of "the City," for me. Big Apple or not, it doesn't have a Nordstrom, and well...yeah.

Roxy spied this fantastic Marc by Marc Jacobs handbag in the window of Nordstrom.

Which color? Faded mauve (in previous photo) or the faded khaki, which Roxy is holding? 
Yeah, we don't know either.... Maybe both....

And then, we saw these Miu Miu Mary Jane pumps, which set off an explosive bout of tweeting by all three of us. We decided that if any item merited us all trying it on - and even purchasing - together, it was these Miu Miu Suede Mary Janes. We failed to execute the plan, simply because it turned out that the very last pair in the store were the display pair, which happened to be in my size 6. So, I was the only one to try them on (apologies for the crease marks on my feet from my other shoes, and the less-than-perfect condition of my pedicure). We photographed and tweeted them anyway, in honor of Chloe, who could probably rock these shoes like no one else (not that Roxy, Kathryn, and I wouldn't mind trying. ^_-)

Overall, last night was quite possibly one of my favorite shopping experiences ever. In case any of you were wondering, Roxy is fun, smart, adorable, and super nice - Kathryn and I couldn't have possibly liked her more. Our only possible complaint is that she lives too far away. We're so glad to have had the chance to meet her, and hope that we can all do it again someday. Thanks for such a fun time, Roxy! And thanks to the rest of you for reading!