Monday, June 30, 2014

OUTFIT: Mix and match

Remember this post and this post?  (Sorry, I like to live the fantasy that this blog has actual followers...)  Anyway, this outfit was a basically a shortcut using combinations from those outfits. Is that cheating?  I don't think so.  Isn't it great to have a different, but already proven outfit ready to go based on former outfits that worked?  Why not?  And, it makes me think of some ideas for a capsule travel wardrobe (maybe coming soon).  Life is complicated, fashion shouldn't be.

PS I just noticed I held my bag backwards for every picture.  It's all in the details, right?  Sigh.  (And, squint much?)

Activity: Work at the office

Shirt: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Steven Madden (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)
Earrings: Ebay (similar)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

OUTFIT: Shorts and blazer

Are these shots artistic or unskilled?  I'm not sure.  Anyway, it's an outfit.  Sometimes it's fun to mix up your expectations for casual shorts with a blazer and dressier top.  Obviously the reality of these types of outfits is that you can only wear them for specific temperatures, but perhaps one cool summer night, you may have the chance to slip away for an evening concert or outdoor play.  If so, I offer my humble idea for a possible outfit....  Have fun!

Blazer: thrifted (similar)
Top: Marshalls, long ago (similar)
Shorts: Old Navy (exact)
Shoes, Via Spiga via ebay (similar)
Bag: Vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Spain vacation, long ago (similar)
Hat: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

OUTFIT: Olive and yellow with black

Sometimes you find a formula that works.  In this case, it's a color combination - olive and yellow (of any shade, mustard or neon).  Here, I paired it with black, but it looks great with white (see this post), navy (see this post and this post) or brown (wait a future post).  The beauty of locking down a formula that works for you is that, once you nail the combination, you are freed up to be creative with the accents.  Maybe it's just me, but I struggle with outfit inspiration (often!), so sometimes when I find the basic combination of my outfit (in this case, olive shoes and tank with a mustard yellow skirt), I suddenly find the rest of the pieces easy to add.

What's your secret to outfit inspiration?

Activity: Weekly meeting for worship

Jacket: thrifted (similar)
Cami: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in current colors)
Shoes: thrifted (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

J. Crew Factory Reviews: Stripe square collector tee, Soleil Collector tee

J. Crew Factory has been having lots of sales, both online and in store.  My main complaint with their website is that, while the regular J. Crew site has reviews of items attached to the description for items, J. Crew Factory does not (or if it does, let me know how to find it!!).  I like reviews to know about fit, fabric and feel of items before I order.  So, maybe I'm odd, but I often Google J. Crew Factory items to see if any bloggers have posted a review. So, here's my addition to the blogosphere.  May you find it helpful!


Stripe square collector tee- When I first received this top, I thought it was great and would totally work for me.  Soft, drapey fabric, longer sleeves and a drop shoulder made it a bit unique.  But, after taking outfit photos, I decided it was so boxy that it just wasn't flattering.  Plus the box graphic made me look wider, which I don't need!  As you can see, definitely not the greatest look for me.  So, back to the store for this item.  Keep that in mind if you're a  heavier-up-top gal.  As far as fit goes, I ordered it in my regular size, and it had a relaxed fit, as seems to be meant.


REVIEW: Soleil collector tee- This one is a keeper!  Various colors to work with from the pattern, a soft, casual feel to the fabric, good sleeve length.  And, a more flattering fit and graphic than the other tee!  I ordered my regular size, and it fit as expected.  It's also not super long on me (I'm 5'2" with a short torso), which I like, but if you're taller, or have a longer torso, keep that in mind depending on the length you're looking for.

Monday, June 23, 2014

OUTFIT: Simple

Doesn't summer life feel so simple?  At least the few moments you get to sit and enjoy it.  There's something timeless about the feel of a warm summer day.  The possibilities for the day seem endless, as if almost anything could happen.

Then real life intrudes, but do try to savor those simple moments of calm.  That's my goal this summer!

Here's a simple summer outfit.  Nothing fancy....

Tee: thrifted (similar)
Tank: via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Shorts: Old Navy (exact - on sale)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similarsimilar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (savesplurge)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

FAMILY STYLE: Special convention outfits

You may have noticed (or not, probably) that I didn't post 2 days last week.  We left home Thursday for a really special annual convention from Friday to Sunday last week, and I had run out of past summer outfit drafted blogs to use (although I still have leftovers from the cold spring, if anyone is interested...), so.... na da.  Anyway, here's a quick family style post to tide you over.  (Plus, you get to see my handsome guys all dressed up.)  I will try to get some cute outfit photos this week.  Inspiration, please come to me!!

(Excuse my frizzy hair, the weather was incredibly damp and, believe it or not, I had flat ironed my hair BOTH of these days, not that you can tell by this time of day.  Ugh.)

 This was a gray oxford cloth suit from J. Crew (from this season, if you're interested) that Mike wore, but it's hard to tell in the photo.  Gavin's suit is also from J. Crew, last season.

This was a seersucker Ralph Lauren suit of Mike's from last year, but it ended up photographing the same as the gray one above.  Gavin's jacket and pants are Old Navy (jacket last year, pants this year).  I refashioned Gavin's tie from one Mike was going to donate (see Mimi's tutorial video here).  I added the gray panel to the bottom of my Boden (thrifted) dress and the neckline.  Let me know if you are interested in a tutorial on how to do that.

My handmade ties for Gavin and his buddy Mitchell (the fabric matched Mitchell's daughter's dresses).  Anyone want a tie tutorial?  I have "perfected" a lazy mom's guide to cotton ties for kids.  This was my first attempt on a man's tie, it turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What an Emergency Room nurse uses in his first aid kit (including a steal from a farm store!)

You want to be prepared, but how do you figure out what is needed in your first aid kit?  Didya know that my husband works as a nurse in the emergency room of a good-sized hospital?  Based on his experience with what they use on trauma cases, he decided to update our 10-year old, half-used up minimal first aid kit.  Wanna see what he got?  

I'll share!  
Be healthy!!

All of this was purchased as a chain drug store, and a chain farm store (what?  I'll explain, don't worry...)


4" x 4" gauze pads

Gauze sponges


Antibiotic ointment

Bandaging tape (used to hold the gauze pads in place)


This is sometimes called "Coban" (a wrapping/bandaging tape).  When purchased at the drugstore, it is at least 3 or 4 times more expensive than when purchased in the horse section (yep, horse section!) of the farm store.

Bandaging/wrapping tape (to protect the gauze wrapped areas)

We cut ours in half to be a more useful size.  Bonus - more to use!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

OUTFIT: Simple black and white

I'm loving the simplicity of black and white for summer.  To me, it's rather stark (even boring) for winter, which can be part of the appeal, I suppose, but for summer it just feels right.  Layering white over white can be such an easy way to add texture, too.  It was chilly in the morning and I layered a white linen jacket over the lace top, and it really worked (too bad I didn't capture it in my photos, it was an afterthought).  I'm guessing you have lots of white and black items in your closet you can easily pair together, too.  Give it a try!

Activity: Volunteer work

Tee: thrifted (similar)
Tank: via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Skirt: thrifted (similar a-line, similar straight)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similarsimilar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (savesplurge)

Monday, June 16, 2014

OUTFIT: Casual comfy chic

If you're like me, you're always looking for the outfit that looks cute, but FEELS like you're wearing a soft tee and stretchy pants or shorts.  Usually a contradiction in terms.  Until now.  

This outfit was thrown on during a weekend lazy morning, with the addition of a denim jacket when the weather turned windy. Add platform sandals, and you have an actual,  bonafide, okay-to-leave-the-house-in outfit.  And, amazingly, the loose linen top and shorts feel just as comfy as a tee and boxers.

The key is these shorts.  Well, mine are from a couple seasons ago, but the version currently being sold is actually even better.  These feel like stretchy shorts, but have that classic, casual summer-style vibe.  They work with flip-flops (to rock on your patio) or platform sandals (to leave the house).  And, they even have pockets!!!  I just got two more pairs, and know they will be in heavy rotation this summer.

Activities: Lazy weekend morning, errands later

Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Top: old via Marshall's (Ruffled: similarsimilar; Linen: similar)
Shorts: Old Navy (current style)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similarsimilar)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

OUTFIT: White on white on white on white...)

I made goals to wear lighter and brighter outfits (see this post ) and to buy, then use my new white pants (this post and that post).  Well, you can't get any lighter or brighter than this. While I prefer darker colors (more flattering in photos, for sure), it was fun to feel glamorous as I waltzed my white outfit around.  And, I think I'll try it again.  The white jeans weren't nearly as prone to dirt as I expected, I just had to choose my venue.  Obviously I changed before watering my plants in the garden...

Activities: Family breakfast at local diner, work in the office

Tee: thrifted (similar)
Tank: via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Jeans: thrifted and refashioned (similar)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (savesplurge)

The reality of my outfit photo taking!!  Gavin always wants to be a part of it.... Cutie.

Friday, June 13, 2014

OUTFIT: White blazer and floral skirt (plus a J. Crew Factory floral pencil skirt review)

Have you ever seen an item and you just couldn't make up your mind if you liked it or not?  That's what happened to me on this skirt.  We were at the J. Crew Factory store (shopping for Mike, not me, I swear!), and there was 40% all clearance items, and this skirt was on sale and In.My.Size.  You know the feeling.  But I just wasn't sure if the pattern was too much.  And I already have several pencil skirts, including 2 patterned versions.  But, I figured, it was the only one left in the store (ended up being $21), so snatch it up and you can always return it.  But now I really like it.  I don't have any floral skirts, and this one even has cool butterflies and birds in the pattern.  So, I'm a fan.  

The bad news is that this doesn't seem to be available online.  Sorry!!  Go to a store if you're a fan and check it out.  I can't wait to style this with ankle boots in September and tights and knee-high boots later in the fall/early winter (okay, I can wait, I just mean I look forward to using this skirt in different ways!).

Now, as to the review, in case you find it in the store, this skirt runs true to the J. Crew Factory pencil skirt sizing.  I bought my normal size, and it fits as my other skirts in this size do.  I do prefer the J. Crew No. 2 pencil skirt style, it's a bit longer, but this one is washable, always a bonus, and the fabric is decent quality, although obviously not quite where the regular J. Crew pencil skirt is.  So, bottom line, if you like the J. Crew Factory pencil skirt, go ahead and get this floral pattern in your regular size.

Blazer: via ebay (similar)
Shirt: Talbots, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Shoes: J. Crew (similar)
Bag: Coach via Coach outlet (similar)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Signs you're not great at parking #badparkersunite

1. You pull into the underground garage with your ginormous SUV, look at your tiny parking spot hemmed in by a concrete pillar and another parked car and your 3 year old son says, "I don't think you can do it, Mom".

2. You actually borrow the babysitter's car so you don't have to pull your car out of the parking spot underground.

3. You think about going somewhere after your husband took the car (parked outside) to work and think, "Nah, it's not worth unparking the car"...

4. Your son tells his dad, "Mom's not good at parking".

Sad, but true.  But, there's hope for all things, I'm getting better at parking underground!

Got any good parking stories for me?

OUTFIT: Casual graphic tee with blazer

I used to be completely against graphic tees.  "Why should I wear advertising on my chest?"  "That's so ordinary."  "That's just not me."  Now I'm trying to branch out, including a more casual, but still stylish look that includes.... you guessed it, a graphic tee.  The key is making sure it's obvious you tried, that you're not just the average, sloppy, I just threw on a tee and jeans, fashion-free zone.

Tips: Try wearing a belt with a half-tucked tee and platform or heeled shoes.  Or try the look of the moment, a graphic tee with a blazer.  Small touches can make all the difference.

Also, fit matters.  Be sure you're not wearing a giant, men's fit tee.  It doesn't have to be a tiny fit, but make sure the shoulders fit, and the length is right for you.  If not, try a half-tuck.  Jeans should fit well, too, whatever cut you choose.

Here's my first attempt at this look.  J. Crew Factory had a great online sale on tees, and I tried a few new things.  Links for you to try are below.

Tee: J. Crew Factory (exact - on sale!)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact)
Blazer: ebay (similar, similar)
Sandals: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (savesplurge)

(This is how my outfit photo shoots usually go - working around Gavin playing nearby or wanting to pose with me...  Just thought I'd throw that in there.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WARDROBE RECAP: 6 ways to wear eyelet

This season, eyelet is everywhere.  And, is there anything that screams "summer" louder?  This is the perfect style to buy now and continue to wear later, even when the trend fades, since eyelet will always be a classic choice.  

Here are 6 ideas to try with eyelet (see photos below):
1. It looks great with military jackets.
2. It dresses up bright shorts.
3. It pairs well with neon.
4. It adds texture when paired with a pattern.
5. It works well with cognac colored accessories.
6. It adds interest and texture when paired with other white or pale items.

I have one eyelet top and one eyelet dress.  Both were items I happened to find on clearance or in thrift stores, and I'm so glad I picked them up!  Now I'm on the hunt for a one or two more options.  Try picking up a new piece to try with your summer wardrobe, or grab an old classic one already hanging in your closet.

Here are some buying options:


And here's some inspiration on how to wear it, in any season:
(Outfit details are in the original post link below each photo)