Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Help: Book Club Discussion

Welcome to the first meeting of the In Pursuit of Pretty Things Book Club! For the past couple weeks, we've all been reading or thinking about Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel, The Help

So, here's how this is going to work. In the comments below, you'll see that I've started the discussion with some questions. Please read through the comments to familiarize yourself with the questions, and reply to the questions directly, by clicking on the "reply" buttons, rather than starting a whole new comment/discussion thread. If you have a new question to ask, that hasn't been covered in the preset questions, then feel free to add the question as a brand new comment. I'll leave the comments open for those of you who need more time to finish reading the book, but still want to contribute to the discussion. And of course, please exercise courtesy at all times.

So, to recap:

  1. Discussion questions are listed in the comments below.
  2. Please review all comments, to familiarize yourself with the lead questions and any replies.
  3. Reply to questions or responses to questions directly, by clicking on appropriate "reply" buttons
  4. If you have a new question to ask, that hasn't been asked in earlier questions, add the question as a brand new comment.
And, it bears saying, if you haven't read the book yet, and plan to, exercise appropriate discretion - the comments will be full of spoilers.

That's it! Let the discussion begin!

*Discussion questions taken in large part from O Magazine.

Nordstrom News & Soon-to-be September Picks (FREE SHIPPING forever!)

So last week, Kathryn wrote a post that featured some great finds from Nordstrom's BP (juniors) department (which, btw, is one of my favorite places to find cute yet inexpensive necklaces and accessories). Well, today, Nordstrom announced that they're providing free standard shipping on pretty much all orders and returns - no matter how big or small. What does this mean? This means that even if you don't have a brick & mortar Nordy's in your neck of the woods, you can take advantage of the same high level of customer service and amazing open return policy that those of us who've lived within easy driving distance of a Nordstrom have done for years.

Pretty incredible when you think about it, huh?

For those of you who are used to getting free shipping as a benefit of being a Level 2 (or higher) member of the Fashion Rewards Program (Nordstrom cardholders), you get a new benefit, which allows you to get up to $15 of free standard or expedited shipping for in-store or online purchases. Just a note - if you decide to use this benefit, be sure to mark the expedited shipping option, as it will not default to that option automatically.

Sooooo...because I've got some Nordstrom Notes burning a hole in my pocket, and well, despite the fact that I've told myself repeatedly that I don't need any new clothes right now, I have a few items on my personal Nordstrom wishlist that I'm totally going to buy are under consideration for possible purchase with my discretionary funds for the month of September.

(Which is tomorrow, by the way. Gah! Too soon, too soon!)

Tory Burch Wide Leg Jeans:

Kelly (McPheters, my Nordstrom Personal Stylist) showed me these Tory Burch Wide Leg Jeans, and I love them! The pair I tried on in store (see photos below) were a size too big - I plan to order these in a size 26 - and they'll definitely need to be hemmed. While they're just called, "wide-leg jeans," they're really much more like denim trousers with their dark rinse and welt pockets on the front and back. The wide leg fell nicely from the hips, without making me feel...wide (I've had this problem with wide-leg denim before) and I really loved the little added detail of the gold Tory Burch logo-stamped button. Anyway, these will work beautifully as a replacement for my old pair of Gap wide-leg denim trousers from a few years back, that have seen better days, and will be suitable for work as well.

Hinge is a private-label brand for Nordstrom, and of the several company-owned brands, it definitely stands out as a favorite for me. I really enjoy its casual, contemporary feel and appreciate it's fairly reasonable price points (which become entirely reasonable, once on sale). This drapey little jacket caught my eye when I walked past it in the store, and I decided to give it a try. Here, I'm wearing an XS, and while it tends towards the voluminous (as dolman-sleeved tops do), I thought I could still make it work. It'd make a great alternate to cardigan sweaters, in my closet - I like it with denim, as pictured above, and it'd probably be super cute belted over skirts as well. Other Hinge items which I didn't have enough time to try on, but are definitely on my radar: Hinge Surplice Top (so pretty!),  the Hinge Tie-Front Tank (great layering piece, or as-is for warmer temps), and the Hinge Cowl-Neck Cape Tee (cute! want!).

Leith Pleated Washed Silk Blouse:

Can I have this blouse, please? I tried on this Leith blouse in the XS, and oh my goodness, I love everything about it. I love the demure Peter Pan collar. I love the pleats down the front that lend that slightly-precious collar some elegance. I love the substantial matte silk and the short exposed zipper in the back (see the product shot for back detail - on the ivory color, I think I remember the zipper being black) that gives the whole thing some edge. It has shoulder pads, which at first took me aback, but the longer I had the top on, the more "okay" they seemed, and well, if I decide I hate them, shoulder pads are super easy to remove - just a couple snips and out they'll come. I admit, this top costs way more than I'm usually comfortable paying for a blouse, but when it's love....

Those of you long-time followers of this blog may remember my favorite pair of LAMB Tippy flats, which I pretty much wore to death over the course of a year and a half. They were my "brown" shoe, and were so neutral, I pretty much wore them with everything, which means, sadly, that the sole is worn out and the toe and various other areas are also pretty badly scuffed. So, I'm looking for a new "brown" flat shoe to replace them, and have decided I might try a leopard print. But have you noticed? There are so many different leopard prints. Some are lighter, some are darker, some have spots that are set closely together, others are farther apart, some are calf hair, some are matte, some are patent, some are faded - how's a girl to choose?

I have, I kid you not, been searching for "the perfect" leopard flat for over a year now. And I'll tell you this - I really like the color and spot-placement of the Ivanka Trump Pearlis Flat below. Also, her shoes have some nice padding which make them surprisingly comfortable for walking in. My hesitation? That bow. It's ugly. It's not cute. It's just stiff and awkward. It could be a deal breaker.

Ivanka Trump "Pearlis" Flat

The Ivanka Trump "Magnoli" Flat is a second option. Again, it's got the nice cushioned sole and on this one, the bow isn't ugly - it just is. But the print is lighter than I'd like, I think, and the spot-placement is less dense, which I'm not sure I like as much. This shoe, like the one before, is calf-hair, which is fine, but yeah...I'm not sure it's exactly what I'm looking for...

Ivanka Trump "Magnoli" Flat

Which leads me to my current third option, the Kate Spade "Jill" Calf Hair Flat. Like the Magnoli above, this particular leopard print is lighter in color, and it's a bit more stylized - almost camo-like, in some ways. I do, however, like how the lighter colors are grounded by the black trim, and I adore the little florette detail on the toe - it lends a playfulness to this shoe that are lacking somewhat in the other two shoes. This could be it, but having never seen it in person, or tried it on, I'm not sure how I'll feel about it, once it's on my foot.

Kate Spade "Jill" Calf Hair Flat

So there you have it - three things I know I want, and three things I'm not yet sure I want. What about you? Anything you might be pulling the trigger on, now that you know Nordstrom is offering free shipping and returns? And what about my leopard-print-flat-dilemma? (haha, because this is important people!) Which of the three shoes speaks to you? Have you seen the perfect leopard-print-flat somewhere that I might have missed? Let me know!

And as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

That SoCal, It's So Hot Right Now (OOTD)


Oh, my East Coasters. First an earthquake and then a hurricane. I hope y'all are okay!

As for SoCal...well guys, right now it's hotter than Bradley Cooper speaking French in a tv interview.

On hot muggy days like this, I love knit dresses like this one that I picked up after spying it on the lovely Rosa of Love At First Shop several weeks ago here.

Chances are, if Rosa wears something cute, I want to wear it too.

The material breathes like a dream (perfect for scorching days like these) and the drapey cowl neck does wonders for making me feel not-so-small-chested.

...and hey, did you notice the shoes? Yep. There's the shooz again. I'm trying to play catch up with that whole "cost-per-wear" game. I've seriously worn them everyday since I've gotten them. The advantage to buying something in that pretty pretty nude color (and really, is there a prettier nude than that Jimmy Choo nude?) is that they go with everything. And the high-heeled wedge makes me feel like my legs look über long. And the really awesome news is, they're suuuuper comfy. (I wonder if that "suuuuper" was umlaut-worthy? like, "süper") Anyway, I'd jog in them if I could. Which...I mean...I can't, get the point.

You best believe I'll be one of those girls who even wears these puppies to a hockey game.

Which I already did, this past weekend. To see this man:

who's that man in the JOFA helmet..?

the one, the only...Teemu Selänne.

My mother's nurse urged me to take some time for myself this past weekend, to take my mind off of things. So I took the opportunity to attend the Fedorin Cup - a charity hockey game held every year in memory of Eric Fedorin, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 1998. It was fun to find myself at a rink, hanging with friends and listening to the relaxing sounds of skate blades and sticks on the ice. Teemu's appearance was a total surprise, and it gave a lot of the fans (me included!) hope that he intends to return for one more season.

And - bonus! - he signed my Team Finland jersey (which I've had for...13 years? Wow!)

It was a welcome reprieve, even if it was just for a few hours.

And I suppose it's important in times like these, to remember to take good care of oneself. Which I guess for me means...a pair of shooz, a hockey game and a beautiful Finnish man.

So take good care of yourselves, my friends. And thank you so much for stopping by!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

If You're Going To San Francisco... sure to wear some flowers in your hair. And barring that, there are at least 278 other things to do, but if you're an Anthro lover, who happens to be staying at a hotel adjacent to Union Square, well, one of those 278 things has to include walking over to the lovely Anthropologie store, located right there, on Market Street, about half a block from the Powell Street BART station exit.

Because I was there for work, and hence, spending time with a co-worker after our workday had ended, I wasn't able to "dive deep" into the store, the way I might have, had I been there on my own with a couple hours to kill. But still, I wanted to share some quick snaps I took of the store (mostly from the ground floor - there's a second "basement-level" floor that actually houses the bulk of the store's merchandise) for those of you who've never visited this SF Anthro before.

It's the Golden Gate Bridge! Complete with Rice-a-Roni accents! (It's the San Francisco treat, you know.)

 Beauty items on display - I love how this store creates the effect of having multiple "rooms" by their clever use of the frame-like feature they built along one long wall.

 A "sitting room," which leads to the top of the stairs that take you down to the rest of the store.

The much-coveted Bowed Lacerta Mary Janes! Sadly, I didn't have time to try them on, but they're really lovely in person!

 I did throw on the Ascot Swing Coat (it was cold! And I was reeeeally tempted...) for fun. My co-worker, Jeff, was nice enough to offer to take some photos of me in it. I wasn't quite ready in this one...

There we go - it makes it easier to take my photo when I don't abruptly check my collar. (Jeff was particularly proud of how he caught my reflection in the mirror as well - nice, right?) I tried on the Ascot Swing Coat in an XS, and I have to say, I loved it. If it wasn't for the fact that I knew I was returning to at least 2 more months of summer weather in SoCal, I might have walked out of the store, wearing this coat. The collar was a little tricky to figure out - and to be honest, I didn't have the time to really get it right, as you can tell in the photo above. I'm certain I could get it, given just a few more minutes of fiddling and folding/unfolding. There's a loop hidden beneath the fold of one end of the collar, so no tying is involved (which is what I thought I had to do at first). Again, I didn't get it right, but I really loved the coat despite that. I felt that the proportions were right in every regard, and the color is just great - it'll carry me through fall, winter, and into early spring, easy. The only concern you might have about this piece is that it isn't terribly heavy - it's not going to be your winter coat, if you live in a locale that gets real winter weather. It is, however, quite promising for San Diego.

I'll be heading to San Francisco for work at least a couple more times over the next few months. And I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time there.