Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Smiling (OOTD)

I'm sad to report that the weather in San Diego has turned. We've dipped back down to a chilly mid-60s range (yes, I know, we're total wimps), and we're supposed to get some really gusty winds today and tonight.

So, no more bare legs and sandals. But sweaters are once again totally acceptable in every regard. 

This past Saturday was, as I mentioned in a previous post, Small Business Saturday. To do my part, I decided to go ahead and order the "Smile" t-shirt from Jedidiah, and as they also happen to be a locally-based San Diego company, I got my order delivered in record time. And I have to say, I love it - I love this t-shirt. The graphic quite literally makes me smile, and the cut is flattering (yes, even with t-shirts, cut matters) and buying it is helping to provide support to youth in need.

It's like a super shirt. A super cute shirt. *happiness*

Top: Women's Smile T-shirt, Jedidiah
Pants: Stretch Twill Minnie, J. Crew
Shoes: Pink Studio (similar here, here, and here)

Kate wanted to come say hi. And as the timer was ticking down, she stood next to me, smiling up, as sweet and still as you could want. Then, about half a second before the camera actually shot the photo, she started dancing around.

Two year olds. ^_^

Hope you're having a great day! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Until Our Ships Come In (Holiday Gift Guide 2011)

So, the truth of the matter is this: my Christmas gift list is too long (lots of family) for me to really splurge a lot on each present. I really really wish I could. Every year, I find myself wishing that I had the budget to pick up that "totally awesome thing that Person X would absolutely love!"

You know what I mean, right? Sometimes, the strain of gift-shopping is less about finding the right gift, and more about finding the right gift I can actually afford.

So, for those of us who are not part of the 1%, but who still want to find our loved ones things we really really think they might enjoy, find useful, or even - dare we hope? - love, here's a place to start. The next installment of the 2011 Holiday Gift Guide features things that are $45 or less. Not $100 or less, not even $50 or less (seriously, sometimes, that $5 really matters). $45. Or less.

Until Our Ships Come In:

1. Pieces Heavy Knit Snood: I love the cable. And the button. And the chunkiness. The color is great too   - so earthy and warm. *happy sigh*

2. J. Crew Golden Stripe Bracelet: I love this - so chunky and elegant (funny how those two words can actually describe the same thing) with vintage flavor.

3. Bobbi Brown "Classic To Go" Palette: I think the name kind of says it all, don't you? Everything you need for an understated day-time look. A great gift for the make-up wary who secretly yearn to wear make-up. (You know who you are.)

4. By Design Nordic Sweater: So, yes, it's acrylic. And yes, it's from the Juniors department at Nordstrom. But I kind of love it! Stripes - delicious red and gray ones! And it's light enough to layer over and under other things. Oh, the possibilities!

5. Shining Time Statement Necklace: It's really pretty, and it tells time. *another happy sigh*

6. Rachel Rachel Roy Fair Isle Snood: This snood (hehe, that word makes me giggle everytime I see/hear/say it) comes in at the high end of our price range, when measured at full price. But if you act fast, you may be able to grab it at 30% off (not sure how long that promotion is going to last)! Which makes this a very affordable, but still super cute gift.

7. Iron Lace Earrings: On the one hand, I loved the idea of lace jewelry. You know, earrings and necklaces, and such. On the other hand, I didn't love that it was so...floppy, sometimes. Pretty pieces of lace don't always hold their shape when dangling from a single point, do they? These earrings solve that problem. So lovely.

8. Filigree with Joy Necklace: Both striking and lovely.

So, what do you think of our $45 and under list? Are you constrained by budget on how much you can spend on gifts, or is this the one time of year you throw caution to the wind and splurge on others? What do you think we should have included? Tell us below!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside's...Delightful? (OOTD)

I finally got my camera back! Yay!

 Dress: Ihrin Dress, Anthropologie (similar here, here, and here)
Shoes: Wedge Sandals, Charles David (old - 2006? similar here and here)
Necklace: J. Crew (similar here, here, and here)
Watch: Michael Kors Crystal Chronograph (this is also cute, and love this one too!)

We're back home after a few days with family and friends in Orange County. Southern California is experiencing some unusually warm weather - sunny, with temps in the high 70s to low 80s, clear skies - which due to the occasional gusty breezes and dry heat lead me to think it's got something to do with the Santa Ana winds are at work. If it weren't for the shorter daylight hours, I would have thought we'd time-warped back to summer. Whatever it is, I'm not complaining, especially since it meant I could go out today in my new dress in bare legs and sandals.

I hope the sun is shining for you, wherever you may be. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

For the Socially-Conscious Consumer (Holiday Gift Guide 2011)

It's Small Business Saturday, everyone! I hope that during your pursuit of pretty and other cool things, you'll consider supporting a small business (they, along with working and middle class families are the backbone of America, after all!) today and throughout the year. As you well know, I, like many others, tend to patronize large businesses when I'm doing my shopping. I think this year, though, I'll make a strong effort to spend some of my hard-earned dollars at smaller businesses, so even though today is the actual Small Business Saturday, be ready to see that phrase pop up throughout 2012, as I explore small businesses in San Diego and wherever I may happen to be. Also, if you're a small business owner who thinks our readership might be interested in what you have to offer, shoot me an email. Maybe we can feature you here, in our small corner of 'net.

Until then, here's our next installment of the 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. This time around, we're looking out to give you some suggestions for gifting that socially-conscious and conscientious friend of yours (you know, the one who's always signing online petitions to save endangered species and fight human trafficking, re-tweeting Doctors Without Borders, and coming by to gather your canned goods for the local food drive? Yeah, we know him/her too. ^_^)

For the Socially-Conscious Consumer:

1.  Future:Standard: Most of you have seen my posts regarding Future:Standard before. I love the concept of sustainable and socially-conscious clothing. I'm dying over the dress pictured above (the Mongolian Tweed Cocktail Dress). The Good: shop from this online women’s apparel retail shop that features solely humanitarian and environmentally-friendly brands and give back to 1% for the Planet.

2. Leoluca Handbags: Is it just me, or would that handbag (pictured above) look great with the tweed dress from Future:Standard? The Good: This high-end line of handbags is 100% designed, sourced and manufactured in the USA(which means they're helping support the employment and livelihoods of people who are being paid fair-trade wages, etc) from two California-based best friends.

3. MusiCares: We joke all the time about starving artists - but often forget that it's a reality for many who choose to enrich the lives of others through their art. The Good: MusiCares works to provide a social safety net for musicians and others who work in the music industry. Help a music-lover in your life show their appreciation. Purchase a T-shirt to support the efforts of the GRAMMY MusiCares Foundation.

4. Jedidiah: Some of you may remember when I won a t-shirt from this company via a Twitter contest a few weeks back. I love the tee, and even more, love the fact that all the proceeds of every sale goes to helping partner charities. The Good: Purchase any clothing item and help build an outreach center for homeless youth in NYC through StandUp for Kids. Also, on Black Friday – Cyber Monday, receive complimentary shipping and a complimentary gift with every purchase.

5. The Honest Kitchen: Are you an animal-lover? Do you count a furry, four-footed friend as a member of your family? Check out the range of healthy, high quality pet foods provided by this business. The Good: Purchase holiday treat packs of raw, wholesome foods for your pets and give back to a range of animal-focused charities through their Pawlanthropy program.

6. The Intersection Event: Is there a budding social entrepreneur on your list – or a busy executive who wants to learn how to use their business success to give back? Consider getting them tickets to The Intersection Event at Pixar Headquarters in January, feature speakers such as: actress and UNICEF ambassador, Susan Sarandon; technology expert and CTO of Walt Disney, Greg Brandeau; design connoisseur and CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown; the entrepreneurial founder of AOL, Steve Case; passionate leader and VP of Google, Marissa Mayer; social activist and SVP of World Vision International, Dr. Chris Pitt; computer scientist and President of Pixar Animation Studios, Dr. Ed Catmull and more.

7. GIVEN: Graphic tees are always an easy gift, and here's another source for some that help others while showing off great design. The Good: Purchase a T-shirt and help eliminate famine in the Horn of Africa. Men’s and women’s available. Supports World Vision.

8. The Paradigm Project: You could go to the local big-box store and buy any number of attractive ornaments that are perfectly serviceable for decorating your tree. But imagine one that would actually change the lives of an entire family? The Good: Purchase a Christmas Tree ornament and a stove will be given to a family in Africa, saving $280 of local income, 1,300 hours of time, 33 trees and a 60% reduction of toxic smoke inside their home.

9. Rain Tees: Is there a tree-hugger in your life? Or even a kid who likes to climb trees, play in the shade of trees, or has found refuge in the branches of a tree? Then consider getting them a shirt that stands in solidarity with trees - and the good of all living things on the planet. The Good: Purchase a T-shirt and plant a tree in an area of deforestation.

10. Phoenix Activewear: We all make those resolutions. You can help your friends and family take a step closer to actually fulfilling them. The Good: For the gym-lover on your list, shop this line of activewear that is 100% designed, sources and manufactured in the USA (jobs, jobs, jobs. 'nuff said).

Hope those gave you some good gift ideas (heh, sorry, sometimes I can't help myself). There are lots of other great small businesses working to promote positive change in the world - if you know of one you think people should consider, tell us about 'em below!

Friday, November 25, 2011

For the Digital Denizen (Holiday Gift Guide 2011)

Happy Black Friday, everyone! Hoping you all had a great Thanksgiving, and a productive "first day of the holiday shopping season." I went out to a local Anthropologie with my sister, sister-in-law, and good friend for their Black Friday sale at 6 AM, and was a crazy madhouse sort of experience, but still  fun, in it's own wacky way. My SIL, who is not a shopper, actually found a couple of items she looked amazing in, which was great! I'm hoping I can persuade her to guest post about her experience, as I think her perspective would be an amusing and interesting one.

I snagged an Ihrin Shirtdress (there's not been a shirtdress made that I've felt able to turn down...) and a Bojagi Pullover, which is appropriate both culturally (see past Anthro Primer post here) and wardrobe-ly. ^_-

I was less successful finding gifts for some of the folks on my gift list - sometimes it can be really challenging to find the right present for someone on the fly, like that. I did pick up a couple things for people on my list, but the vast majority of my gifts for holiday recipients are still pending. And really, as much as I like to think the peeps on my list will appreciate a carefully chosen Anthro item as much as I would, I know that for some of them, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, for those who spend a good portion of their lives tapped into a digital space, they might prefer gifts with a different kind of functionality.

So, here it is - the next installment of our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide.

For the Digital Denizen in Your Life:

1a. Marc Jacobs Crossbody iPad Case: For the tech-happy fashionista in your life, here's an iPad case that looks like...well, not an iPad case. If I didn't know better, I'd think this were a super adorable handbag. Quilting? Chain strap? Will carry and protect my mobile devices? Can you really ask for more?

1b. Burberry iPad Cover: Here's an iPad cover that says, classic, sophisticated, and well-connected (digitally-speaking, anyway). 

1c. J. Crew Printed iPad Case: Chic and easy on the pocket-book. Love the leopard!

1d. Kate Spade iPad Sleeve: Executed in Ms. Spade's trademark quirky, tongue-in-cheek style.

2. Evernote Premium: Evernote is one of the premiere organizational apps currently available. It's incredibly simple to use and can help you organize and keep track of all the various bits and pieces of data floating around in your head. This cloud-based program allows you to save anything you see, hear, think, or find interesting. You can load it across all your devices, allowing you to access your "notebooks" across platforms. Notes (which can contain text, documents, audio files, images, pdfs, webpages, articles, etc.) can be linked to each other, shared out to everyone via social media or with a single individual. Everything you store in your notebooks is searchable - even the text in images! For more confidential data, there are security features available. Try the free version if you've never used it yet, but if you have a friend or loved one on your holiday list who's trying to juggle 1-5 different lives and rely heavily on their mobile device(s), this might be a special treat for them.

3. Spotify Premium: When I first downloaded and tried out the free Spotify app, I wondered, "How can they do this???" It seemed, essentially, to be a music player much like my iTunes, only...with just about any song or album I wanted to listen to, not just the ones I own. For those of you who are wondering, it's different from Pandora, because it requires - and therefore allows - you to choose your own playlist. Why buy the premium version? Well, first of all, it's commercial free (I hate the commercials. Seriously seriously hate the commercials in the free version), allows you unlimited amounts of (extra high quality) streaming music, let's you use spotify on your mobile devices, and also maintain offline playlists. So, basically, it's a subscription to their enormous music catalog, to take with you, wherever, and listen to, whenever. How enormous? Well, big enough that between my DH and I, we've yet to look for a song or album that we couldn't find (minus certain known band/label holdouts). 

4. Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card EYE-FI-8PC - Do you have a blogger or photographer on your holiday gift list? Consider this - a memory card that not only stores photos and videos (as usual), but wirelessly uploads them (RAW or JPEG formats) to your computer. I know. It's like, whaaa---?

5. Dropbox Pro - Because sometimes, 2 GB (free version) of cloud-based file storage and sharing just isn't enough.

6a-b. Abbi New York Computer Bags - So, six years ago, when I bought my first Macbook, I also purchased my first computer bag, and I wanted it to be cute. Functional and cute. No black, no nylon, no backpack, thank you very much. I found the answer in Abbi New York, who created fantastically cute, feminine, highly usable (well padded with room for other stuff - notebooks, file folders, my wallet, etc), and really reasonably priced (under $200!) computer bags. I purchased the Valerie, featured in the image above. I carry it to this day, and still receive compliments on it, even now. You can too...if you live in Japan. When I did a quick search of Abbi New York on the web, I found that even though this is an American company, based out of NYC, they only seem to be selling in Japan!!! This is too sad for words, because I really want the style featured in the image above (6b) as well. Maybe if we all ask very nicely, they'll sell and send to us here in the States, and elsewhere too (check out their really outstanding collection of computer bags at this link)? In the meantime, you might want to also check out this Marc by Marc Jacobs computer bag, this other Marc by Marc Jacobs computer bag, this Kenneth Cole Reaction Computer Tote, or this Nine West Computer Tote.

So, what do you think? What else should I have included? And what did you score this Black Friday?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For the Analog-Aficionado (Holiday Gift Guide 2011)

It's holiday shopping time! I don't know about you, but I love holiday shopping. Sure, I don't love the crowds, the maddeningly disordered stores and displays, or having to wrap box after box afterwards. But I do love making up my lists, researching through catalogs, magazines, and blogs for gift suggestions, and finding that "just right" gift for someone on my list. Last year, we wanted to provide a gift guide, but just didn't get around to it, due to poor planning, etc. This year, though, I decided it'd be a good way to ease into my own holiday shopping.

And besides, it's an excuse to come up with random "types" of people for whom we may be shopping. 

So, without further ado, here's the first part of the In Pursuit of Pretty Things 2011 Holiday Gift Guide.

For the Analog-Aficionado in Your Life:

1. Paper Flavor Stationery - Made of paper! For use with pens and pencils! Can be placed in the post! - and the illustrations from Paper Flavor are ridiculously cute. I've already ordered the Nerd Girl thank you cards for myself (glasses! - if you do something nice for me, expect to receive one soon!). You can get $20 off an order of personalized holiday cards with the promo code: PFELVES20.

2. Orla Kiely Small Journals - Like #1, also made of paper! Can be used with pens and pencils, and used to store notes, ideas, and other outpourings of the self, without fear of hard-drive failure! Added bonus - pretty covers featuring Orla Kiely designs we've all come to know and love.

3. Moleskine Volant Notebook Ruled: Set of 2 - These slim little notebooks come in a variety of colors (I favor the pink and green shades myself...) and are perfect for slipping into your handbag (you can pretty much count on me having one in my purse at any given time). Comes in handy for lists, taking notes, and jotting down thoughts and ideas. The last few pages of each book are perforated, so that you can easily tear out sheets, should you wish to pass a note to someone else. Comes in super handy when dining out, and the kids need to be entertained - the tear-out sheets are great for drawing on, creating paper hats, folding origami, etc.

4. SE 11 Function Credit Card Size Survival Pocket Tool - It isn't just the guys who need to be prepared. And this one, with it's slim profile and discreet case, won't leave you feeling like you're lugging around a tool box.

5. Crosley CR40 Mini-Turntable (Red) - I know that technology has rendered listening to music via digital formats super high fidelity, but I actually love the crackling static that accompanies listening to music on vinyl. There's something just so...comforting about the sound. Sort of like memories of riding my bike - the pink one with the banana seat and white plastic basket adorned with three plastic daisies - down the street when I was 9 yrs old, with my little sister sitting on the back around my neighborhood. Or eating coconut-pineapple ice cream from Thrifty's. Oh, and I love the mid-century modern aesthetic of this particular turntable.

6. Lomography Diana Mini- 35mm Camera - It's a camera that uses film that isn't disposable! Remember these? (I suppose if you're under 25, you actually might not...which is a little mortifying for me....) Anyway, you know the hipstamatic and instagram apps that are so popular right now for their "retro film processing" looks? This is the original - sort of. It uses 35mm, rather than the better known medium format - but look. If you've never used actual film before, it's better to start off slow. ^_-

7. Hermes Cape Cod GM Watch - So, they say you can tell the difference between a Gen X-er or older and a Gen Y-er or younger, by whether or not someone is wearing a wrist watch to actually tell time with, as opposed to wearing one as an accessory. I happen to have been born in a year that sits at the boundary of the X & Y, so I like to wear a watch to tell time and as an accessory. The Hermes Cape Cod GM, with its Swiss-made Quartz movement and silver dial, double-tour barenia calf-skin strap, satisfies both sets of requirements.

That's the first installment of our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide - what did I leave off, that should have been included? And are you checking out the Anthropologie sale today?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That Time of Year (OOTDs)

It's that time of year, everyone. And no, I'm not talking about holiday-shopping season...though it's that time of year too (more on that later).

I'm talking about the holiday eating season.

And I have to say, I've gotten a head-start. These past few weeks, so packed with work-related stress means that I've been eating badly - fast food in a rush, or skipping some meals entirely, then gorging at the next, or comfort eating (mmm, bread and butter, french fries, Halloween candy). And being super busy with work has meant I haven't had any time to get out and participate in my favorite form of exercise: mall-walking.  

It's been...unfortunate. I've gained about 4-5 lbs. (Okay, so that sounds lame, but it's enough to make the waists on pants & skirts feel tight.)

Which may not seem a lot, unless you're 5'2". You petite ladies understand, right? The extra weight shows up extra fast when you're on the shorter side. Less room for it to spread around, you see.

And it doesn't help that we're coming up on Thanksgiving this week. Not to mention that everywhere I go, I'm confronted by abundant displays of holiday treats and goodies. Sometimes, it's like the world is conspiring against me. 

It's been over a week since our last post, and well...we'll talk more about why later. The good news is that my work life is easing up - at least in one work-intensive aspect - and hopefully that means I'll have more juice left in my reserves to post on a more regular basis. On the other hand, I was in Orange County a couple weeks ago, visiting family and meeting friends, and...I left my camera at my mom's house. 

*Cue cries of dismay and great gnashing of teeth*

Anyway, I've only got a few, iPhone-snapped OOTDs to share with you, that I happened to take (or ask my husband to take) when I had the opportunity. And as they span a period of about three weeks, you can see me slowly put on the pounds....

What I wore a few weekends ago:

Shirt: J. Crew Factory, 2009 (similar here and here)
Sweater: Sweet Cables Pullover, Anthropologie (similar here, here, and here)
Necklace: Kate Spade 'Hang in There' Necklace (on sale here! Similar herehere, and here)

And a couple weekends ago:

Remember those extra pounds I mentioned...? Well, here's what I wore this last weekend (and I blame that ridiculous grin on my husband, who was helping me by taking the photo with my iPhone, but also making me laugh, so that I'd look, "more natural":

Sweater: Fisherman Sweater, J. Crew (more colors available in-store)
Tights: Frenchi Tights, Nordstrom (similar here and here)
Shoes: Indigo by Clarks (similar here and here)

There were, of course, many more outfits in the past few weeks - some of them quite good! - but without a camera and precious little time, I didn't document them at all. So sorry for that - these are slim pickings, I know.

Coming up over the next week, I'll be posting some gift guides to help you with the already-here holiday shopping season. Regarding the holiday eating season...well, good luck to all of us with that.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kate & Anthro (Mini Fitting-Room-Reviews)

It's that time of year! The time of year that Anthropologie releases its holiday selection of ridiculously cute clothing for small children. This past weekend, I visited Anthro and can you believe I'd actually forgotten that these items might be in-store? 

I know, I know...have I mentioned that work's been crazy lately?

So, here we go. Without any further ado, some Kate-sized fitting room reviews:

Laughing at Mom's efforts to snap a non-blurry photo of her....

Kate's wearing a size 2T in both the skirt and top. While I totally loved the Tussie Mussie Skirt - it was huge on her. The skirt was practically falling off her hips, and if you look closely at the photo below, you'll see her diaper is peeking up over the waist of the skirt. Kate is on the petite side - I think at her last check-up, she measured in at around the 50th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight - so take my review of sizing with that in mind. I will say, however, that up 'til now, I haven't ever found a 2T sized item that she couldn't wear - and well, I'll put it right out there. This skirt? She couldn't wear it. Not unless I pinned the waist to shorten it some. The good news about the larger sizing is that if I did buy it (which I hope to, eventually), she'd be able to wear it for at least two years. Wishlisted for sale time (second cut).

The Malted Tweed Cardigan is by far my favorite-est thing Kate tried on that day. Again, she's wearing the size 2T, and it fit her pretty much perfectly. Note that the sleeves hit at her wrist, and I'm going to guess that by next year, this sweater might be "short" on her arms. It's beautifully made, from a soft, nubby wool blend, and the ribbon is too cute for words. Its double-layered bubble-hem effect is created by the fact that when unfolded and laid flat, this sweater is all one piece. The inner layer is like a vest, with buttons and no sleeves. The outer, "top" layer has the sleeves and closes via ribbon. I absolutely love this sweater - there's something so classic and When We Were Young-Christopher Robin about it, if you get what I mean. It's reamingly expensive for something Kate won't be able to wear for more than a few months (basically costs as much as a full-priced grown-up dress), so I'd really only be able to consider it on second cut. Fingers crossed, and wishlisted for sale!

Swish! Swish!

 Sweetest Pup Cardigan & Twisty Tulle Bubble Skirt:

Again, Kate is wearing size 2T in the sweater and skirt. First, the skirt. Totally confusing and weird. The two things that occurred to me as I observed Kate in these items were, 1) my 2 year old does NOT need to be wearing a mini skirt - ever, and 2) did I get this on her correctly? On the hanger, it sort of hung...well, straight. But once I pulled it up to her waist, it was doing this weird twisty thing, and while I'm well aware that it's behavior is reflected in its name, I couldn't help thinking maybe it was me? That if I could get it on her correctly, and not quite so twisty, it wouldn't be as short? (See model shot here, on the product page for comparison.) I tried, truly, to straighten it out and lengthen it. No luck. Also, there's an interesting bow/tulle appliqué that's cute in theory, but once on the child, really just looks like a mess. I couldn't get this off her fast enough. Absolute pass for me.

The cardigan features a darling critter print and interesting tulle ruffle down the button placket, and some tulle appliqués in the shapes of flowers (practically invisible) on the side. Not my favorite, but I didn't hate it either. I don't think I'd pay $88 for it. Wishlisted for further consideration at sale time.

Dotty Little Frock:

Kate has a darling liaMolly dress from last year, which she still wears, that reminds me of this dress, in terms of general shape and cut. Like last year, I find that her current size, 2T, is far too big for her, but unlike last year's dress, this one's cut is not nearly as flattering for her toddler-shape. Kate doesn't have a waist to speak of at this point, though she does have the most adorably (and age-appropriate) round belly. The waist-tie seems to actually be shooting for the waist, and maybe if she was, say, three inches taller, it'd work. Also, in terms of fit, the neck-hole was too small. Kate does have a larger head, but really, this was kind of ridiculous. I barely got it on her, and had it been a smidge more difficult, I would have given up, as continuing to try to get the dress on over her head might have caused injury. So, fit considerations aside, I still have to say I was disappointed by this offering - I really love liaMolly and was hoping to pick up at least one, if not more dresses for Kate from this brand, as we've had such a good experience with last year's dress. The color and patterns were really pretty, but I found the bow and high neckline fussy looking and the flared cap sleeves slightly awkward. Definite pass on this dress for me, but hoping to find the Flitter and Flutter Dress for Kate to try soon. I think that one could be a winner! Fingers crossed!

That's it for now. Thanks for reading, and have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Weekend! (Random fun)

Hi everyone! How are you? Doing well, I hope. I'm sorry I've been away for so long. It's positively criminal to treat a blog this way. I do apologize.

That being said, I've been teeming with things I've been wanting to share with you, but every time I sit down to write up something, 1) life interferes (usually in the form of my children) or 2) I remember that I'm still underwater with work (and will probably continue to be 'til the end of next week) and all of my energy and momentum drain away.

So, I've decided that I'm just going to start posting bits and pieces, even if there isn't a lot of context for them. Just because I've been wanting to share with you, and if I keep waiting, they'll all slip through the sieve of my mind and never see the light of day again. For instance, this infographic (I love infographics. They're usually so cleverly designed and generally have good information/insights. Some of them are just rubbish - all flash, no substance - but even those are interesting to look at, just for their structure. Okay, sorry - see? All these thoughts. Teeming! Spilling out all over the post. It's like blogger-Tourette's!) - I know it really has nothing to do with the sort of content we usually post - but it made me 1) chuckle and 2) groan inwardly (wow, are you Brits passive-aggressive or what?) and I'll think twice when one of you tells me something I've done is "quite good."


Okay, so I'm going to go work on another post now. (One with pretty clothes in it!) It's all about the small wins, sometimes, right? 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspiration from a Duchess (A Quickie Review)

Greetings and salutations!

It's been awhile, eh? My apologies for the extended absence. I hope you're all well!

As it turns out, while Carol was on the search for the perfect coat, I was channel-surfing when I caught a glimpse of the Duchess of Cambridge in a gorgeous red coat that made me drool:

It's embarrassing to say, but I've always had kind of a thing for stuff celebrities wear. It's a total guilty pleasure, and I peruse those "what they wore" articles like nobody's business.

So when I saw Kate Middleton in that red L.K. Bennett coat? Aiyiyi. It was love. Love!

...but it was a problem. Because the coat (called the "Ami" coat, by L.K. Bennett) is sold out in my size.


And so began my internet search for a similar-ish red coat. Which led me to head to the mall to track down this one, by Express...

Wool Blend Long Fit and Flare Coat

I'm wearing a Small, and I'm not 100% certain but I'm pretty sureI love this. Since I can't have Kate's awesome coat, I'm thinking this one might do. It's got a nice fit, and the description really is apt - it fits and it really does flare. I mean it really kinda adds a little badonkadonk, amirite? But - honest question - is it a bad type of badonkadonk? Or is it possible to live with?

Or is it just that I have a prominent bandonkadonk?

I have so many questionz!

The flap pockets are fake. They're just there for show. There are hidden seam pockets located below them.

Here's me, channeling my inner Duchess - by...adding a belt (because belts totally translate to mean "Duchess"):

The length is not as long as the L.K. Bennett coat, but this Express coat currently on sale for 30% off. And I do like the big black buttons.

Maybe I look a little too "Little Red Riding Hood"...but...I don't care. I like it.

What do you think? Is it a decent replacement for a coat I can't find?

Anyway, I hope you're all well...take care, and thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Winter Coat (And Pssst! Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale Starts Tomorrow!)

Hi everyone! How are you all, this first fine day of November? Doing well, I hope. In case you didn't already know, tomorrow (November 2nd) is the start of the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Children. I'll definitely be scoping out the kids' departments for some cool-weather items (Mini Boden!) for Rowan and Kate, and in spite of the really lovely weather we're experiencing here in San Diego (currently, daytime temps in the mid-70s), I'm on the search for a good everyday jacket/coat. Something I can dress up or throw on over jeans and a tee. You know.

The holy grail of winter outerwear.

It seems to me that this shouldn't be all that hard - finding a coat you can kind of wear with everything. But for some reason, outerwear, almost more than any other type of clothing, seems to be persnickety about what I'm now going to call, opportunity orientation (yes, I did make up that phrase, and no, it has nothing to do with what you're thinking - this is a PG-13-rated blog, thanks very much - our Twitter feeds in the sidebar, notwithstanding). By which I mean the range of opportunities for which any item of clothing may be deemed appropriate.

It's even harder to find the right type of outerwear for someone living in a place like San Diego. Because face it, while we whine with the best of 'em about how cold it gets during the winter (otherwise known as the period between December and February, where temperatures are known to drop into - gasp! - the 40s), we really don't need the type of cold weather outerwear that say, our friends in the Northeast (my sympathies on your recent record-breaking snowstorm & resulting power-outages!) may require. Having spent a few years living in upstate New York, I am acutely aware of the difference. So, that being said, I'm also looking for a winter coat that's warm enough to keep me snug should the weather dip down into the high 30s and 40s, but light enough to just keep the chill off, when we're looking at the mid-60s.

Hey, I have been living here (San Diego) for a few years. It's scary how fast your body acclimates to temperature differences. The low 60s really can be chilly!

So, with that in mind (along with the Double Points I can earn during the first few days of the Half-Yearly Sale, I perused Nordstrom's selection, and here's what caught my eye:

This coat is so lovely - despite the real fur trim - that I keep looking at it. Unfortunately, it's not really what I need (want being something completely different of course) - that kind of pale, winter white is just asking for dirt smudges & staining (I am the mother of two children - one a toddler and one very partial to activities that bring his hands into contact, well...winter-white-coat-staining-things. Should I somehow grow up to become a wealthy Russian aristocrat, this coat (with a faux fur collar, thanks) would totally be a contender. Until that day, I'll keep admiring it from afar.

Early in the pre-fall season, I came across this Burberry coat. I love it. Love, love, love. Unfortunately, I don't have $1000 to spend on a winter jacket (I know, shocking, right?). So, barring that, this Laundry by Shelli Segal Anorak comes pretty close to the Burberry version, except for that faux fur lining - which, happily is detachable (yay, buttons!). And, at under $300, is so much closer to my actual budget. Only concerns? It could be too casual. Also, it could be too big. It looks sort of biggish on this model, who we all know is probably at least 7" taller than me. What do you think? And how much does it matter that it's only available in navy?

Okay, I just think this jacket is adorable. It's sort of quirky with that empire waist and gathered lower panel. The wool blend fabric and lining mean that it's probably the perfect weight for a SoCal winter. It also looks like I could both throw it on over dressier, work-appropriate outfits, or jeans and a tshirt. There is a print, so it's less versatile in that regard, but it's a pretty neutral color, so I'd say it's still pretty wearable with a large range of things in my closet.

The hold-up? The price. Be forewarned, those of you who click on the link to see the product page. Burberry packs a mean punch, when it comes to sticker-shock.

Burberry Brit Double Breasted Coat

Yes, I know, yet another Burberry coat. "Really, Carol, you've got to get a grip," I can imagine you saying. Well, the good news is, this one is on sale. Which means it's still in the range of a higher-priced J. Crew coat. But, again, it hits all my points - will work over dressier work looks (possibly even standing in for a blazer in a pinch), good over jeans and a tshirt, black, so pretty much will play well with everything in my winter wardrobe. It also looks to be a good weight for San Diego winter months, and will hold up well under the stress of small hands, feet, and bodies. So far, it's the one I like the look of best. But even on sale, it's still a little more than I want to spend. 

What about you? Have you found your Perfect Winter Coat yet? What are you considering? Share below!