Friday, October 31, 2014

OUTFIT: It's all about them shoes (Changing up a basic tee and jean)

Maybe because I'm still toying with the idea of trying a seasonal capsule wardrobe (this post, based on this blog), or maybe because I hadn't posted an outfit for a while and I wanted to make it a good one, I decided to give 3 different outfit ideas in one post.  A bit of a mini travel wardrobe/capsule collection, I suppose you could say.  In this case, by varying accessories with a basic palette of black tee and skinny jeans, you could make at least these 3 different looks.  Change up the bag and your options multiply...  (Yes, always a bag girl - lady? person? None of those sound great.)

(And sorry for the punny title.  I couldn't resist.)

With cap, moccasins, and rolled jeans:

With a scarf and metallic oxfords: 

With scarf, ankle boots and rolled jeans:

Activity: Errands to get set up in our new city, plus a bonus train museum with Gavin (I wore the metallic oxford shoe option)

Tee: Ralph Lauren, thrifted (similar)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact fit in current washes)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Watch: vintage Citizen via ebay (similar)
Hat: from Mexico vacation (similar but even better for fall)
Scarf: Army surplus store (similar)
Moccasins: Minnetonka (exact)
Oxfords: Sam Edelman via ebay (similar)
Ankle boots: Carlos by Carlos Santana (similar)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall cravings.... What I'm adding to my cart this fall.

Fall and shopping, to me they just go together.  Maybe it's the many years of back-to-school shopping?  But I haven't been a student for, well, lots and lots of years.  So, I'm not sure why I get this intense craving each fall to go shopping.  This year I've so far resisted, since I was busy getting rid of clothes, not adding to them.  But, now that we're getting settled, and I'm still purging from my closet, I have had my eye on a few things that could fill in the gaps.  

Is that hat not the cutest?  This would be the least practical for me, since I couldn't wear this style of hat except during my most casual days, and never in my volunteer ministry.  Not to mention my hair makes it a challenge to avoid "below-hat pouf".  But, at this price, I'm considering it.  I've been wanting this particular plaid for a while, and the hat is an unexpected touch, rather than the usual plaid flannel shirt.  Maybe....

The blanket scarf is also adorable, but since I already have SO many scarves, I may just see if I have anything similar, or even just make my own from a slightly lighter fabric, since I'm now in a much warmer climate.  We'll see.

The wedge shoes are just a matter of time.  After the shoe/foot debacle of the 15th anniversary (this post), I've realized that I don't need more shoes, but better shoes.  I've tried these on in-store, and know exactly how comfortable they are.  Pluse, these will be wearable 3 seasons a year and will get worn ALL the time.  The cost-per-wear will be minimal, even though the initial cost is a bit higher (although I found them new with tags for $50 less than most sites and stores on ebay.  Hopefully they'll still be there when I'm ready to pull the trigger.) And even though these aren't a current trend, for me, it's a classic that I'll never give up, no matter what's considered in style.  At 5'2", I'm always going to want something cute and comfortable in a wedge heel.  And while I have sandals that meet this criteria, closed toe shoes are another matter.

The ankle boots are so cute, and actually comfortable (as opposed to my current pair, which will be donated if I get these).  Another thing I realized from the shoe debacle of 2014 (as I'm now calling it), is that I need to try on shoes in person before buying them - at least for the big ticket, basic pairs I'll wear over and over again.  I tried these boots on in-store and so I know my exact size.  Now it's just a matter of making sure I truly need an ankle boot in my basic shoe wardrobe (because of being in a warmer climate now), and then finding the best price.  These run pretty much the same price in store and online, so I'll just see if I can watch for a site-wide sale.  

So, that's my list.  I'm really trying to hone it down to the essentials and do more with less clothing.  What's on your list?

SNEAKY STORAGE: Puzzle roundup

Moving is crazy, stressful, annoying, BUT, it does have the benefit of forcing you to examine exactly what you own and perhaps even why.  With an added bonus of "Is this worth transporting?", it'll have you purging your possessions like a house afire.  

However, we also knew that we couldn't get rid of too many toys at once without freaking Gavin out.  He's pretty flexible, but wondering where all his toys went would not make for a smooth transition when we left our home state for a completely new environment.  

Hence, a sneaky storage solution.  Puzzle boxes drive me crazy because 1) they always break and 2) they are so bulky to store.  Gavin had an entire bin basically filled with just 4 puzzles stored in boxes.  After I transferred the pieces for each puzzle to its own labeled plastic ziplock bag, with the flat cover of the puzzle included for reference, two-thirds of the bin became available for storing other toys.  

Not exactly rocket science, but I sure wish I'd thought of it earlier!  Give it a try...



And here's a better view of how easily the puzzles are identified (although harder to tell how much bin space was saved):

I labeled the plastic bag so that we wouldn't accidentally throw the storage bag away while we were doing the puzzle.  I've been known to do that...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I love my mama

I haven't mentioned it that much on the blog, although it will become obvious soon, when my outfit photos have a completely different setting (that is, when I actually wear an outfit worth blogging and have time to take a photo of it), but my family just left my birthplace state of Wisconsin and started an adventurous journey.  We will be living in the Dallas, Texas area for 3 months, then moving on to... who knows? And so on, for the next year or so, while my husband travels for work.

Obviously, this is a big change for our family.  The move was relatively complicated, since we had just moved from our home of 7 years into an apartment with a short-term lease a few months ago, and our things were already in storage and stuffed in the apartment, to be sorted for more storage, sold, donated or to be packed in the cars to travel with us.  

Side note: Have you ever thought of what things you would absolutely pick to take with you to live indefinitely, if everything you brought had to fit in your vehicle?  Interesting question.  (And a whole other blog post topic someday, I'm sure...)  

Anyway, I finally got through those decisions last week, and have finally arrived in our new (temporary) home.  I could NOT have gotten everything done without my mom.  So here is my ode to her and all her help.  I love her so much, and will miss her.  (I finally got her to move back to my state, then I move away from her...  Sorry, mom!)

Why I love my mom:

1. We drive each other crazy sometimes, but she's ALWAYS there for me. 

2. When I'm feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start (painting a wall, packing a kitchen.... the list goes on), she just dives in and helps me overcome my indecision.

3. She is always willing to help, both me and others.

4. She's not afraid of hard work, physical or emotional.

5. She's a truly positive person (annoyingly at times, I must admit), a rarity in these times.

6. She truly believes in me.  It's corny, but she is the "wind beneath my wings".

I could go on and on.  Love you, Mom.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

OUTFIT: Emerald for fall

Activity: Meeting for worship

Jacket: vintage Bob Mackie (similar)
Top: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew, old (exact in current colors)
Shoes: BCBG via ebay (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)
Earrings: Stella and Dot (similar)

Excuse these terrible photos.  And the lack of posts this week.  I've been moving, but it hasn't been the lack of time to post but the lack of outfit photos to post.  With 1/2 of my closet in another state, and living out of a suitcase, along with the early darkness, my opportunities for "blog-worthy" outfits have decreased.  I tried getting this photo series in my hallway, rushing before we left for the meeting, but the result was less than stellar.

I must say I'm so excited to be reunited with my entire wardrobe in a few days, but for a different reason than I expected.  I'm actually planning to pare down even more than I did before the move, hoping to be presented with less clothing options every day.  Although my outfit choices have been more limited since I have only a few pieces with me, I'm amazed how much less stress this gives me.  I'm even considering trying a limited "capsule collection", perhaps like Caroline, although I admit that's scary to me!

What do you think?  Worth a try?  Blog-worthy?

Monday, October 20, 2014

OUTFIT: Casual Monday - Embellished sweatshirt, black jeans and ankle boots

Activity: Story time with Gavin, errands

Sweatshirt: Old Navy (similar)
Chambray shirt: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact)
Boots: Carlos by Carlos Santana (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Earrings: Sterling silver studs via ebay (similar)

I still get excited knowing it's fall!  And, the perfect fall weather (in Wisconsin, anyway - at least it was last week), where you can layer up and skip a coat.  It's already frigid here (not even, actually, but it feels like it), so I'm rather excited to move south next week and hit "rewind" weather wise.  But, will it be sweater weather for a while in Dallas?  Tune in for the Southern adventures...

Friday, October 17, 2014

OUTFIT: Hat and coat

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Hat: Marshall's, old (similar)
Coat: Guess (similar)
Sweater set: Lord and Taylor, really old (apparently they don't make these anymore!)
Skirt: Athleta, old (similar)
Boots: Costume International via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Folding Wayfarer by Ray-Ban (similar)

Fall has truly arrived, and with it, my opportunity to pull out my wool hats (all 2 of them).  This hat feels a bit over-the-top, but that's part of the fun.  The fabric is really only appropriate for fall and winter, and, while it could be worn on mild winter days around here, it's not warm enough for full-on frozen tundra season.  So, I'll enjoy my costumey hat now, while I can....  Along with my sweater set.  Yep, I'm retro, all right.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

OUTFIT: Fall transition - Denim jacket, maroon top

Activity: Can't remember, actually...  It's been that kind of week!  Casual day, I guess

Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Top: Madewell (similar, similar)
Skirt: Athleta, old (similar)
Shoes: Minnetonka (exact)
Bag: vintage Versace (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)
Cute little boy accessory: homemade

It's time to pull out the denim jackets and cozy moccasins!  This was actually after my silly foot escapades (this post), so these were my only comfortable shoes, but they fit the going into fall mindset.  I think they'd look great with leggings and a long, comfy sweater, too.  For those of you ready to hop into boots already, I understand, but 'round here, winter comes early and stays late, so I'm not in a hurry to rush into my truly fall gear yet.  We'll get there.  Soon enough...  Enjoy fall!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OUTFIT: Vest and embellished sweatshirt for fall

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Sweatshirt: Old Navy (similar)
Chambray shirt: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Vest: Lands' End (similar)
Boots: Calvin Klein via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Foldable Wayfarer by Ray-Ban (similar)
Earrings: sterling silver ball via ebay (similar)

Fall is here!  I was excited to pair my new embellished sweatshirt with my down vest for a meant-to-be pairing.  Is there anything you've been waiting to wear this fall?

PS I would normally be wearing navy tights with this, but I had misplaced them so I had to wear a weird color tight all day.  Just took them off for the photo because they were distracting.  Happily, I have since re-discovered them in this mess of a moving-soon place!  Now, will they make it all the way to our new home in a new state??

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

OUTFIT: Glasses! (With black and white and mustard)

Activity: Meeting for worship

Jacket: Gap, old (similar)
Top: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in current colors)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Bag: Audrey Brooke via DSW (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)
Glasses: Crimson via Nordstrom Rack (similar)

So, I don't wear glasses.  (Yet, I just had my first non-perfect vision test - I'm getting presbyopia, aka old eyes, in my old age, just like my parents.  Ew.)  Mike completely laughed at me for getting these "vanity glasses", but I figured, hey, I like how glasses change up a look.  AND, as a bonus, when my eyes get bad enough to need reading glasses, I'm NOT wearing those grandma readers from the drug store.  I'll have prescription lenses put in these frames.  Call me prepared.  And old.  Ew.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Early fall packing list - Over 60 outfits from 22 pieces (including accessories!)

PLANNED fall trip packing plan - for cool weather:

Packing for travel in the fall can be tricky, since the weather can vary wildly (at least here in the Midwest).  The above photo and layout show what I PLANNED to bring to my anniversary trip to Chicago.  That was when the forecast predicted cool weather with highs in the 60s.  Closer to the trip, however, the predictions were for temperatures near 80.  Big difference!  So, I reworked my travel wardrobe to include some warmer weather options, including some sandals.  And overall, it really worked (except I recommend you choose broken in, comfortable shoe choices, unlike me - see this post).

Here's a look at what I ended up bringing (or close equivalents via ShopStyle layouts), and over 50 different ways to rework these 22 items.  (That total includes accessories, but not undies, socks, etc.)

OVERALL PACKING LIST (other than undies, socks, nightclothes, workout clothes, etc):

Marc by Marc Jacobs, Barbara Bui, Merona, Old Navy


Packing List
1 dress - Red/white stripe cotton T-shirt dress
4 tops - navy peplum, black/white space-dye, graphic tee, black linen tank
2 layering shirts - red plaid, chambray
1 denim jacket*
1 cargo vest
3 pants - skinny jeans, white cropped jeans, charcoal sporty pants
1 skirt 
2 shoes - silver oxfords, red sandals
2 scarves - blue/red plaid, black/white bandanna print
1 bag
1 watch
1 pair earrings
1 statement necklace
1 pair sunglasses (Ok, those don't really count as a packing item but they looked great in the layouts...)

*The denim jacket may seem really similar to the chambray shirt.  Normally I wouldn't pack both items, but the weather was really changeable and the chambray shirt wasn't going to be warm enough, I needed the option of the warmer jacket also.  You could swap the denim out for a black denim jacket or black dressy sweatshirt for something more distinct.

Below are some of the outfits I came up with using this packing list.  There could be many more, since I didn't include every possible option. You could also add a pair of shorts for even more warm weather outfit options. (I personally prefer to wear skirts or cropped pants for summer in the city unless it's boiling hot - I don't like sitting on public chairs, benches, bus seats, etc. with bare thighs.  Ew.  Just me.)

You'll see some layouts include more than one outfit option within the grouping.  I've based each set on one basic piece - the dress, the skirt, the jeans, the cropped pants, the sporty pants - then added various top and accessory options with that piece.  I definitely didn't include every variation, so you may come up with some even better ideas with these pieces!

OUTFITS 1,2 Based on the dress. (1. Dress alone.  2. Dress and vest.):

OUTFITS 3-6 Dress (3. Dress alone.  4. Dress and scarf.  5. Dress and jacket.  6. Dress, scarf and jacket. By switching the jacket for the red plaid shirt, you could completely change the look, also.)

OUTFIT 7-11 Dress (7. Dress with the shirt open like a jacket.  8. Dress and open shirt with scarf.  9.  Dress with shirt tied at the waist.  10. Dress with shirt tied at waist with scarf. 11. Dress with shirt worn buttoned and shirttails tied together in a knot.) 

OUTFITS 12-17 Jeans (12. Jeans and blue top.  13. Jeans and blue top with blue scarf. 14. Jeans and black top. 15. Jeans and black top and white scarf. 16. Jeans and blue top and white scarf. 17. Jeans and black top and blue scarf. You could also swap out the sandals for the oxfords.)

OUTFITS 18-25 Jeans (18. Jeans and graphic tee. 19. Jeans, graphic tee and scarf. 20. Jeans, graphic tee and vest. 21. Jeans, graphic tee, vest and scarf. 22. Jeans and spacedye tee.  23. Jeans, space dye tee and scarf. 24. Jeans, space dye tee, vest 25. Jeans, space dye tee, vest and scarf.  You could add even more looks by rolling up the jeans.  You could also swap out the oxfords for the sandals, or change out the vest for the plaid shirt.)

OUTFITS 26-38 Cropped pants (26. Cropped pants and blue top with necklace. 27. Cropped pants, blue top, necklace and jacket.
28. Cropped pants, blue top and scarf. 29.  Cropped pants, blue top, scarf and jacket. 30.  Cropped pants and graphic tee.  31.  Cropped pants, graphic tee and jacket with necklace. 32. Cropped pants, graphic tee and scarf. 33. Cropped pants, graphic tee, scarf and jacket. 34.  Cropped pants and space dye tee with necklace. 35. Cropped pants and space dye tee with scarf. 36. Cropped pants and space dye tee with jacket. 37. Cropped pants and space dye tee with necklace and jacket. 38. Cropped pants and space dye tee with scarf and jacket.  You could also swap in the red sandals with any of these looks, and play with front tucking of the space dye tee to vary the looks.  You could button the jacket up to resemble a top and wear the necklace to give a different look. You could also switch the jacket for the vest with the graphic or space dye tees, with or without the necklace or scarf. If you added one more pair of shoes to the packing list, a sexy black pointy toe heel, you could get even more evening looks with these items.)

OUTFITS 39-42 Sporty Pants (39. Sporty pant and graphic tee. 40. Sporty pant and graphic tee with plaid shirt. 41. Sporty pant and space dye tee. 42. Sporty pant and space dye tee with plaid shirt.  By adding the necklace to either of these looks, you would change the feel completely.  And how great would the necklace and those additional pointy toe black heels look with either of these tees and pants?  You could switch to the sandals, as well, for a completely different attitude - especially if you tied that plaid shirt around your waist.)

OUTFITS 43-53 Cobalt Skirt (43. Cobalt skirt and navy top with necklace. 44. Cobalt skirt and navy top with scarf. 45. Cobalt skirt and navy top with necklace and jacket. 46. Cobalt skirt and navy top with scarf and jacket. 47. Cobalt skirt and front-tucked graphic tee, with or without necklace. 48. Cobalt skirt and front-tucked graphic tee, with scarf. 49. Cobalt skirt and graphic tee with jacket, with or without necklace. Cobalt skirt and graphic tee with jacket, with or without scarf. 50. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with or without necklace. 51. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with scarf. 52. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with jacket, with or without necklace. 53. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with jacket and scarf.  54. Cobalt skirt and black tank, with or without necklace. 55. Cobalt skirt and black tank with scarf. 56. Cobalt skirt and black tank with jacket, with or without necklace. 57. Cobalt skirt and black tank with scarf and jacket. You could also use the cargo vest with either the graphic or space dye tee, which would add several more looks. If the weather is quite warm, the chambray shirt can stand in for the jacket as a lighter layer in the evening.)

OUTFITS 54-63 Cobalt Skirt (54. Cobalt skirt and black tank, with or without necklace.  55. Cobalt skirt and black tank with scarf. 56.Cobalt skirt and black tank with plaid shirt, with or without scarf. 57. Cobalt skirt and graphic tee, with or without necklace.  58. Cobalt skirt and graphic tee with scarf. 59. Cobalt skirt and graphic tee with plaid shirt and necklace or scarf. 60. Cobalt skirt and peplum tee, with or without necklace.  61. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee, with or without necklace. 62. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with scarf. 63. Cobalt skirt and space dye tee with plaid shirt and either necklace or scarf.  64. Cobalt skirt and plaid shirt.  Plaid shirt could be worn open, buttoned, tied around the waist, buttoned down and tied together at the waist with any of these looks to give even more variety.)  

So, this is how I successfully packed for a short(ish) trip away in variable weather.  I'll post a cooler weather fall packing list soon.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!