Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy-Breezy (OOTD)

There are days when I 1) have very little time to get dressed, 2) am out of clean clothes because I haven't done the laundry, or 3) am just feeling unmotivated. It's on days like these that I'm grateful for hard-working items like this Rachel Zoe jacket in my closet.

I was plugging away at writing a report for work, when my computer's calendar reminded me that I had to leave in 5 minutes to meet with my co-workers for a lunch meeting. I work from home, so had been sitting in this t-shirt and jeans combo all morning. I threw on the jacket and necklace (another hard-working denizen of my wardrobe) and was out the door in record time.

Gives real meaning to the phrase "effortlessly pulled-together." (Mostly because there was so little effort put into this outfit, but I still felt pulled-together.)

Shoes: Madewell Calf-hair Skimmers (similar here, here, and here)

By the way, for those of you missing Kathryn, check out her "5 Minutes With" feature on Respect the Shoes. Hope your week is going well - thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Compeer-able (Fitting Room Review)

Back in the summer of 2010, I was obsessed with the Tracy Reese's Compeer Dress, but after months of thinking about it and waiting for it to go on sale, that very pretty frock ended up being a bit of a disappointment

I tell you this, because yesterday, I was killing time at the Grove in LA (the DH and Rowan were attending the Fitness Expo, going on at the LA Convention Center), and that included a visit to Anthropologie (of course...) and that is where I came across the Four Corner Shirtdress:

I'm wearing the Four Corner Shirtdress in the size 0.  Similar to the Compeer, it's a shirtdress constructed of a riveting orange-red cotton eyelet. Unlike the Compeer, it's unlined, and not nearly as structured. It has an empire waist, functional buttons that fasten down the length of the dress, an asymmetrical hemline (the skirt hit me about 1" above the knee in the front, and a couple inches below that knee in the back). There are little pleats and tucks at the front and back of the dress, that keep the voluminous skirt from feeling sack-like. My friend Lisa, whom I was with, was dubious about the dress on the hanger - would it be too tent-like? We (and that included the sales associate working the fitting room area, who had yet to see the dress on), were all pleasantly surprised. (Okay, I admit that I had hopes for it from the start - which is why I decided to give it a try.) The dress has pockets, is machine washable, and is my February purchase (I know - it's not even February yet! But it will be, in a couple days! And you know my weakness for shirtdresses...). I'm going to guess that most will feel that it's worth waiting for sale on this item - the dress, despite it's many details, feels more like a $70 dress, than its full-price. It's definitely a spring-summer item, and wouldn't be very useful at all, in most winter climates. But here, in San Diego, we've been having a remarkably mild winter, so I'll be able to wear it immediately. 

And a shot of it belted (belt not included):

It's love! And I promise to be good for the rest of the month (haha, and by that, I mean February)! Pinky-swear!

Hope you're all having a great Sunday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stripes, Smoke, and Mirrors (Fitting Room Reviews)

Hi everyone and happy Friday! What's a better way to kick off the weekend (we're very nearly there!) than with some fitting room reviews? (Yes, I know. There are probably quite a few better ways, but let's all pretend together for a few minutes, yes? Thanks.)

Anthropologie has, for the past season, been bombarding our inboxes with lots of emails heavily promoting the striped Bailey 44 dresses. I pretty much dismissed them out of hand because 1) the length of the first iteration (the Tiered Stripes Dress) was such that I knew - knew - that I would look pretty ridiculous in it (and I think that conviction bears out in the review below), and 2) I'm not a fan of body-conscious dresses. They make me, if no one else, terribly conscious of my body and all its imperfections, and really, who needs that kind of added pressure? I was, therefore, totally ready to forget the existence of those dresses, despite Anthro's efforts to the contrary. That is, until  I came across Jess's reviews of the dresses (in her blog, Consume or Consumedhere and here) and suddenly, I started to feel curious about them. This is, essentially how I ended up standing in an Anthropologie fitting room, with an armful of striped Bailey 44 dresses. And here's how it went:

I decided that the Pieced Column Dress, with its shorter length, might be the way to go for someone with a petite stature, so started off with that one. I'm wearing it in an XS, and I have to admit - this might be the first body-conscious dress that I'm actually wanting to buy for myself. Ever. In Jess's review, she mentioned how the staggered, almost criss-crossing stripes created a "smoke and mirrors" effect that really disguised body flaws, while still accentuating your curves - and you know, I have to completely agree. At least, looking straight on, I had a really hard time, even with my own gimlet and fairly critical eye, spotting any unseemly lumps and bumps that would normally send me scrambling to get out of clingy clothing. It's a bit harder to disguise a poochy tummy from a side view (and for the sake of honesty, I'll admit I was totally sucking in for that photo, above right, having just eaten dinner), but overall, I think I could live with it. The skirt is shorter - it hit about an inch and a half above my knee, so for women who are taller, it'd probably be substantially shorter. The dress is a pull-on style, made of layered, jersey fabric. It's lined and it's dry clean only. It's pretty much unlike anything else in my closet and I think that alone makes it a great candidate for my February purchase. Totally wishlisted.

Tiered Stripes Dress:

This is the Tiered Stripes Dress, and I'm wearing it in a size Small, because the Fashion Valley store was out of XS on the night I was there. It's big on me - but I think that were I wearing the XS, it'd pretty much be identical to the Pieced Column Dress, except for the additional 12" (give or take a few) of fabric that add to the length of the skirt. As I suspected, the length was problematic on me - it's supposed to be midi, and ostensibly, the XS might be an inch or so shorter, but at least in the size Small, I felt like a little kid wearing her big sister's hand-me-downs, that she still needed to grow into. Like the previous dress, this one is pull-on, and dry clean only. Pass for me.

Sorted Stripes Dress:

Here's the third of the Bailey 44 column dresses - the Sorted Stripes Dress, which I'm wearing in the XS. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much from this dress, and while it wasn't quite as good as the Pieced Column Dress at smoothing out my figure, I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty the dress is, on. It's definitely too long on me, hitting a good inch below my knee (the dress hits at the top of the model's knee in the product shot), but the variegated striping did a good job of accentuating the body's curves while distracting the eye from other figure flaws. The dress, like the other two, has a pull-on styling and is dry-clean only. If there was a petite version of this dress available, I might totally spring for it. As it is, I still like it enough to have wishlisted it for consideration at sale time.

And while we're on the topic of stripes, I have to share this little jacket that caught my eye, as I passed by the Kate Spade window display. Stripes! Peplum! Love! It's the Kate Spade 'Ari' Jacket:

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Bloom (OOTD)

I don't remember what this cardigan's name is. I just know that I haven't worn it in many moons, so I decided to pull it out for a spin. I considered, briefly, wearing a skirt with it, but, well, I was feeling lazy. A skirt would have required tights because it was chilly the day I wore it (Monday, I think). And it already seemed like a ton of work to put that shirt and the cardigan together.

What? I told you I was feeling lazy. 

Sweater: Anthropologie Cardigan (similar here, here, and here)
Jeans: AG Angelina Bootcut Jeans (similar here for non-petites)
Shoes: Diamond Stitched Skimmers, Anthropologie (similar here, here, and here)
Watch: Michael Kors Clear Crystal Chronograph (similar here, here, and here)
Bracelets: Invisible Children, The Rose Bracelet;

Kate's Outfit (obviously, she's not too lazy to put on tights...):
Top: BabyGap (similar here and here)
Skirt: Peek Tiered Skirt (similar here and here)
Tights: Dotted Tights, Target (similar here, here, and here)

For those of you local to San Diego, or planning a visit, I want to tell you that I had lunch at this amazing little place called The Carnitas Snack Shack. I had the Pork Sandwich, which had fried pork loin, pulled pork, and bacon on it (yes, that was three kinds of pork) along with the most amazing pepperoncini-pickle relish. I about died. How good can a pork sandwich be, you wonder? The answer, my friends, can be found here. (And you should note that it runs along the lines of, "pretty freaking amazing"-good.) For non-pork eaters (I hear you're out there), there were also vegetarian, fish, and beef options, which I hear are also fantastic. 

Hope your day is a great one! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pretties on My Mind... (Wishlisting)

I'm not going to lie. I'm really glad we're in the last week of the month. I'm already listing, considering, weighing, rationalizing, finagling...trying to decide what should be my February purchase. I'm actually beginning to wonder...should I set myself a budget, rather than a # of items? On the one hand, I could conceivably allow myself to buy one thing that's quite pricey, which wouldn't help at all with the whole, "save more," resolution. On the other hand, if I were to set myself a monthly allowance for clothing, I could end up buying too many lower-priced items, which wouldn't help my "too-full closet" and "keep the house cleaner" (at least, my room-portion of the house...) situation. I suppose, what I should really do is set myself a budget in tandem with the one-item-a-month rule. But...well, this all comes down to the fact that there are two things that I really want. I mean, really, really want. And, of course, quite a few other items I'd really quite like as well. But two that I'd have bought yesterday, if not for this resolution:

The J. Crew Heart Me Sweater (now sold out, but am hoping to hunt down somewhere) and the Club Monaco Shawna Shirt.

I confess, I'm somewhat obsessed with Club Monaco's offerings lately. For instance, the outfit below:

In order to recreate this outfit, I need the following items:

1. Lexi Sleeveless Blazer (similar here, here, and here)
2. Dorothy Sweatshirt (similar here, here, and here)
3. Jessie Tank (similar here, here, and here)
4. Tylor Pant (similar here, here, and here)

There's also this outfit:

For which I'd need:
5. Tate Quilted Vest (similar here and here)
6. Elise Sweater (similar here, here, and here)
7. Shawna Shirt (I'm almost definitely certain to buy this. As soon as I'm able.)

And then, of course, there are a few non-Club Monaco items I'm longing for:

And to round it all out, a stunning shoe:

And no worries, friends - I'm not actually planning to cave and buy 13 things before the week is out. Nor am I planning to cave and buy anything before the week is out. I'm just, you know, thinking things through. Though, February 1st might see me sporting that Shawna Shirt... ^_-

Have a great day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Like Candy (OOTD)

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement regarding my resolutions (you all accurately honed in on the one that'll be hardest for me - the shopping one...). This top is my official January purchase - the Kate Spade Bow Ellis Top - which I found on the sale rack at Nordstrom, on second cut.

I know, right? What are the chances??? I don't know about the rest of you, but I find Kate Spade clothes to be...well, reamingly expensive. Especially at full price. Particularly since I'd love to buy nearly everything. So, on the rare occasions a Kate Spade item makes it into my wardrobe, it's either because I developed a wholly unhealthy obsession with said item, or because I completely, unexpectedly, and serendipitously came across that item on sale, and maybe had a coupon code to boot. Something like that. Or, like this. At any rate, this one is my January keeper, and I love her. She's like candy, isn't she?

Oh, wow, did I just anthropomorphize a sweater? Mmhm. Yes. Yes, I did.

Shirt: Burberry Button-Up (similar here, here, and here)
Shoes: Madewell Leopard Calf-hair Skimmer (similar here, here, and here)

And while I was snapping my OOTDs, Kate asked me to pause and hold on just a minute...

 Kate's Outfit:
Sweater: Target Cherokee Cardigan (similar here and here)
Skirt: Mini Boden Gypsy Skirt (similar here and here)

Apparently, she had some posin' to do:

(It would seem I do that with my feet a lot. Notice her intent focus and concentration...)

Hope you're all having a great Monday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Better Late Than Never (Resolutions)

Hi everyone! A happy Lunar New Year to you all, and happy year of the Dragon to all my fellow-Dragons! According to the lore of the Chinese Zodiac, we are a very interesting group indeed - though, as with all things related to astrology, I read about this stuff for fun, more than anything else. Still, as my DH (who is also a Dragon) reminded me the other day, our "Dragon" years have held significant milestones for us and our lives. I'm excited to see what this year might bring.

That being said, I also have spent the last few weeks considering what, if any, New Year's resolutions I might adopt for 2012. Here's what I've come up with:
  1. Really really really cut down on my clothing purchases. (I recently did some epic loads of laundry, and suffice it to say, there's just no physical space left.)
  2. Save more (should be aided by Resolution #1).
  3. Keep the house cleaner. (sigh)
  4. Fix up the backyard.
  5. Be more organized. (a never-ending battle, for this ENFP)
  6. Get fit.
  7. Live up to my potential. (Be braver!)
Looking these over, I'm starting to think I might as well have added, "Climb Mt. Everest" and "Write the next Booker Prize winner," (both virtually impossible). Still, I'm nothing if not optimistic, and as one of the Dragon's major characteristics is its good luck, maybe I'll actually be able to accomplish some of these things this year.
    Anyway, I can honestly say that I got off to an okay start, as I returned some clothing items I impulsively purchased (didn't need 'em) at H&M, Target, and Gilt Groupe. I did however, make a purchase this morning, after finding these on sale (30% off) at Neiman Marcus' home sale:

    'Genevieve' 16-piece Dinnerware Service

    I love the pretty pattern, and that it's an everyday set. The set I currently own is ten years old and showing signs of wear, so when I saw this one on sale (it's not a bad price, for 4 place settings...), I swooped on it.

    As for resolution #1, I think I'm going to try my hand at giving myself something along the lines of Dea's rule, which is one clothing item a month. We'll see how that goes.

    How long do you think I'll make it? ^_-

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Girls' Night Out

    A couple weekends ago, when Rowan and the DH were attending an anime convention in Los Angeles, Kate and I had a girls' night out.

    We had dinner at Nordstrom Cafe.

     All done!

    Kate picked out some new shoes. (They're rainbow, sparkly, and they light up.)

    We visited Anthropologie. (And the Disney Store. And the Sweet Factory.)

    We had good times. ^_^

    You may have noticed that we removed Disqus as our commenting system. Now that Blogger's native commenting system handles threaded replies, we decided to revert to it, as with Disqus, any comments that were left via a mobile device (like smart phones, etc) were "lost" until I re-imported them, and even then, there was no guarantee that the import would necessarily work. This seems a shame, as more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices (myself, included) and so, despite the disarray that will exist in some of the posts with more threaded responses in the comments (our first book club post, for instance lists all the comments in sequential order, rather than threaded, which of course renders most of the discussion into...well, nonsense), I think this will be better, overall, in the long run.

    At any rate, I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. Stay warm and dry, everybody! 

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Bits and Pieces

    Hi everyone! Happy Thursday! I chipped my back molar a couple nights ago, so spent a good part of yesterday getting my tooth fixed. Suffice it to say, there's nothing like a visit to the dentist's chair, followed by an afternoon of half-my-face-feels-like-it's-been-stuffed-with-wool numbness, and an evening of ow-why-is-the-right-side-of-my-face-sore-oh-yeah-that to kill any desire to wear cute clothes and take OOTD photos.

    Which is why you're getting a "bits and pieces" post. It's sort of like Trader Joe's All-Fruit Bars Ends & Pieces...only, with blog-fodder. (I <3 TJ's Ends & Pieces, by the way. Tasty! And economical to boot!)

    Yep, that's what you get here - quality remainders, folks. Quality.

    Okay, so here's an OOTD, I snapped whilst in a fitting room, sometime after Christmas. (I know it's sometime after Christmas as I'm wearing my Christmas gift):

    Shoes: Me Too Ruffle Flats (similar here and here)

    Some fun goodies I ran across while out and about recently:

    Tory Burch 'Robinson' Envelope Wristlet - I love that it really looks like an envelope!

     And oooh, the very pretty (and highly functional) inside of the Tory Burch 'Robinson' Envelope Wristlet! Though, I think, in terms of a new wallet option, my heart might be set on this one instead (I can't resist the little hedgehogs!)

    I love this outfit! Too fun and retro-sexy. Makes me wish it was summer. And that I was 19 again, so I could pull this off. (Oh, and a more budget-conscious option here: If You Dot It Top and Soulmates Dotted Tap Shorts

    Here's the Kate Spade 'Belina' Dress, which I tried on in a size 2 in these (rather blurry--sorry!) photos. The size 2 was a touch big on me - I think I'd be safe sizing down to a size 0, were I to buy this. It's made of silk, is lined, has pockets, and an exposed back zipper. The size 2 hit me about an inch and a half above my knee, so was a nice length, I thought. It's got 3/4 sleeves. Overall, I definitely liked it - and Rowan pointed out that it matches my phone case - but I don't know if I love it enough on. Wishlisted for consideration at sale time.

    Hope you're having a great day!

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012


    It's important to stop piracy. But not at the price of freedom on the web. 

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Reticent... (OOTD) something I'm generally not. But today, I've got nothing. I've been looking at this post draft all day. Trying to think of something interesting to talk about.

    Um, well, it was cold in San Diego today. In the mid-50s for a good chunk of the daylight hours, which is nigh on freezing in these parts. Nigh on.

    And, um, I did loads of laundry today. In fact, there's a load in the dryer now, even as I type.

    Mm...I'm out of breakfast food - no toast, no eggs, no cereal...just some toddler yogurt - so will have to run out to the grocery store early tomorrow morning. I hate having to go out so early in the morning.

    Yeah, okay, I'll stop now, and put us all out of our misery. Here's what I wore a couple days ago (and no, I don't know what I'm doing with my hand in that first photo either. It's like I'm about to pop an invisible piece of chewing gum):

    Outerwear: Stella McCartney Hooded Cape in size 40 (similar here, here, and here)
    Top: H&M turtleneck (similar here, here, and here)
    Shoes: Apeppazza Martin Wedge Boots (similar here, here, and here)
    Bracelets: Invisible Children 'The Rose' Bracelet

    Have a great Tuesday, and thanks for stopping by!

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    A Cycling We Will Go (Fitting Room Reviews)

    I admit that I was a bit disappointed not to find the Bike Lane Dress at the Fashion Valley Anthro when I was there, last weekend. So, one evening, I slipped out after dinner to see if the UTC Anthro might have it in stock. They did. But of course, if I was planning to head to the fitting room anyway, I needed to check out a few more things (it's only reasonable, don't you agree?).

    While browsing the sale rack, I came across a lone Madero Hoodie, in an XS. I love it! The hood is pretty big - not your small-just-for-looks-will-barely-cover-the-back-of-your-head sort of hood. Oh no, it verges on capacious, and it's lined in a soft sherpa-like fleece. It should be noted that the body of the jacket is not lined, so this isn't going to be a particularly warm layer, if that's what you're hoping for. It's got functional pockets on the front, a tie-waist sash, and a fitted silhouette. Totally came home with me that night.

     Top of the Line Chemise:

    I'm wearing the Top-of-the-Line Chemise in an XS, and it's funny, because it was hanging with other normal clothes in the store, and not with the lounge things, so I thought it was a dress. As you can see above, it'd certainly work as one - if you can get past it's rather boxy shape. A belt might help in that regard, but as it's already a little on the shorter side (hitting above my knee by an inch or so), a belt would definitely shorten it further. It's cotton, machine washable, and super comfy. I can totally imagine it being the perfect thing to pull on over a bathing suit, as evening falls at the beach. Or, just to lounge around the house in, on weekends. Wishlisted for sale time.

     Sweet Enticement Dress:

    When I saw the Sweet Enticement Dress show up online, I was immediately interested. It has pretty details, a silhouette I love, and a reasonable price! So, when I saw it in the store, I grabbed a size 2 (I'd just eaten a pretty big dinner, and thought I'd play it safe - see photos above) and added it to the pile of things I was taking with me into the fitting rooms. Well, sadly, this dress - while it had so much potential, has fallen far short of the mark for me. The size 2's bodice was just too big on me, and made the whole garment look...well, frumpy. The skirt hit at the top of my knee, which was a decent length, but everything else just didn't quite lay right. I thought maybe it was a sizing issue, so I asked the very helpful SA if she might bring me a size 0. She did, and it was a tiny bit better but also a little bit worse (see photos below). 

    The size 0 fit me better in the bodice, but still didn't lay as nicely as I'd prefer...the lace back on this dress is beautiful, but I almost wish it had one of those smocked elastic panels, as that might improve the fit. Also, on the size 0, the skirt was definitely shorter, hitting a couple of inches above the knee. There's an attached slip, that gives the impression that you've got an actual detachable slip, when you don't (basically, only the back half exists). This, I think, is actually more convenient than having a fully separate slip, as there are fewer straps and things to get twisted up in when you're taking the garment on and off. The dress is made of cotton, has pockets, and is hand-washable. Overall, I found it to be very disappointing, and back to the rack it went. Pass for me.

     Detail of the lace back of the (size 2) Sweet Enticement Dress.

    I tried the Bike Lane Dress in the size 0, and suffice it to say, it fit like a dream, except for the length. The dress is a winner for me on a number of points - adorable print, great fit, cotton, machine washable, and it's got pockets. There's also a side zip, and some boning, which held the dress up, though I can't vouch for it staying up should I start jump-roping, or some similar activity. The big drawbacks here? The length (it hit me beneath the knee) and the fact that it's strapless. Do note that there is a petite version of this dress available online, but the 0P is already sold out (gosh, my fellow shorties are fast!). It does come with removable straps, but having dealt with those on other strapless Anthro dresses, I know that they're basically useless. Were I to buy this dress (and believe me, I'm sorely tempted), I'd consider taking it to my tailor and asking him to remove the bottom two inches of the dress, then use the extra fabric to sew in actual shoulder straps. Imagine how cute and easy to wear this dress would be, then! At any rate, it's definitely wishlisted, preferably for sale time, though I don't know how long I'll hold out...

    Grass Court Dress:

    Here's the Grass Court Dress, which I'm wearing in a size 0. It's funny, I didn't realize, until I was in the fitting room with it, that the eyelet fabric of this dress is actually made up of crossed tennis rackets. Absolutely fun and whimsically sporty. I've mentioned it before - I've got a weakness for greens, so even though I wasn't really drawn to the cut of this dress (I was worried that the narrow-cut shoulders and full skirt would contrive to make me look more pear-shaped than I already am), I decided that I'd give it a spin, anyway. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The bodice fit beautifully, and the waist hit at my true waist. The skirt was on the longer side, hitting me below the knee - I'm not sure if I could try shrinking it a bit to shorten the length (it is cotton, after all), or if I'd be willing to fork out the extra dollars to have it taken up. The dress has a side zipper, pockets, is made of cotton, and is machine washable (yay!). It also comes with a removable multi-colored braided belt which sort of reminded me of a summer-camp craft...not totally keen on it, but I don't hate it either. I'd probably opt to wear other belts I own, over this one. As I mentioned before, the shoulders are cut inwards a bit, and the back is almost (though no quite) racerback, so a normal bra would probably not work with this one. Overall, I like it, and have wishlisted it for consideration at sale time.

    Well, that's it for now. For those of you who have MLK Jr. Day off, hope you're having a great time. And for those of you that don't, hope your Monday is going well. Thanks for reading!