Monday, March 30, 2015

REVIEWS: Gap moto jogger pants

Activity: Errand-filled day

Sweater: thrifted (similar)
Tee: Lands' End (similar)
Pants: Gap (exact)
Shoes: Sperry via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Hat: vacation in Mexico (similar)
Watch: Luccien Piccard (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

I found another new item still available in stores that I bought in multiples because I liked it so much.  I thought another review might be helpful?  Hope so!  

REVIEW: Gap moto joggers

Sizing:  I bought a size smaller than I often wear.  They were somewhat fitted at first, but the smaller size had the better length for me (I'm short), and I knew cotton pants would stretch some.  So, these seem to run somewhat large, size down, especially if you're between sizes.

Rise:  These go to just a bit below my belly button.  Comfortably mid-rise, I would call it.

Length:  These hit me just below the ankle (again, I'm only 5'2", so take that with a grain of salt).  They probably would hit at ankle or just above it for more average-height ladies, depending on your inseam.

Fabric: A soft, smooth and cozy 100% cotton knit.

Quality:  I really like how these feel, and so far they haven't pilled, and washed up well (I wash in cold and line-dry most of my clothing).

Color: This is a nice, deep navy.  I also bought a charcoal gray, and totally would have bought the mushroom/taupe color if it had been in stock at the time.  (There's a slightly faded black color and a deep red color also.)  I like that the fabric isn't heathered, which makes it slightly less casual to me.

Comments:  These are my new favorite pants.  They look so cute, but they are just as comfortable as regular sweat pants.  I've worn them at home, doing errands, and plan to use them traveling also.  I may get a couple more pairs while they are out, since they fit well and are so practical.  Guess I'll have to watch for another 40% sale like the one going on when I purchased these!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

OUTFIT: Earthy spring

Activity: Museum day with our honored guest from Wisconsin (Love you, Nana!)

Sweater: J. Crew, thrifted (similar)
Top: W by Wilt (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (exact)
Shoes: Nine West, thrifted (similar)
Bag: Ralph Lauren (similar, similar)
Sunglasses: Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Earrings: old, refashioned (similar)

Who says spring is only represented by pale colors and pastels?  Aren't there also earthy tones in the spring landscape?  (At least muddy brown and sickly green grass coming to life, right? ;) )  I added the gray bag as a nod toward traditional light spring colors, but I really liked how this color combination came to life.  It basically proves my belief that taupe is the most versatile "color" (okay, neutral) on the planet.  Love me some taupe.... 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OUTFIT: Peplums and Panamas...

Activity:  Volunteer ministry, errands

Top: Gap (exact) (reviewed here)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Hat: Stetson via Resistol Outlet in Garland, TX (similar)
Earrings: vintage via ebay (similar)
Watch: Tommy Bahama (similar)
Shoes: Dansko via ebay (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Rayban (similar)

Spring has sprung here in Texas.  (Insert happy sigh.)  Time to embrace fashion without layers - a new concept for me.  Thank goodness for summer friendly accessories -  especially this Panama hat.  I wanted one last summer, but didn't get around to finding one, especially since it's not something you can really buy without trying it on.  Thankfully we live right near a great hat outlet store, so I am now the proud possessor of my own Panama hat.  Looking forward to taking it international next month when we visit Ecuador.

I hope your own spring is quickly finding its way to you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

REVIEW: J. Crew structured flutter tee vs. Gap peplum tee

It's not that often I buy things that are still available for others to buy (clearance rack and thrift store shopper issues...).  But, when it happens, I like to share my experience, in case it will help others in their shopping.  There are so many gray tops out there right now, it can be hard to decide which one to go with (because, really, do you need more than 1 or 2 gray tops?).  I was so excited to find these 2 options, but there was one definite winner and one return.  Here's what I thought, hope it's helpful!

J. Crew structured flutter tee:

Sizing:  I would say this runs pretty true to size.  The shoulder area runs slightly larger because of the style (more on that later), and the waist is fitted, so keep that in mind based on your body shape.

Length: The waist hit at my true waist, and the flared bottom hem sat at high hip length - appropriate for this style of shirt

Fabric:  A thin, almost sweatshirt cotton material.  Not as forgiving of any imperfections through the torso.  Versatile for spring or summer, though.

Quality:  Seems good to me. The hem is intentionally finished with a serged stitch, not a folded-under and stitched hem, so that could fray more easily if caught on something.

Color: Nice light heathered gray, it is a nice color.  There is also an ivory available, but I didn't see that in store, and I hesitate with light colors I haven't seen in person because so many are virtually see-through.

Comments:  I loved the idea of this shirt, but it wasn't very flattering through the torso (admittedly, not my slimmest area), seemingly due to the combination of the thinner fabric and seaming of the top.  Also, I did not like the shoulder at all.  There is no set-in shoulder, and there was an odd crease/fold with the extra fabric.  While it may partly be related to my smaller shoulders and larger bust, even looking at the J. Crew website model wearing this shirt, you can still see the unusual shoulder fold area.  I wasn't a fan, especially at the price point, so I returned the shirt.  I also tried pairing this shirt with various bottoms, and was underwhelmed.  It didn't really look the way I hoped it would with shorts, nor did it quite right with jeans (at least on me).  Bummer, because I really liked the idea of this shirt!

Gap peplum tee:

Sizing: Runs true to size.

Length:  The waist seam hits slightly above my natural waist.  The peplum bottom hits at mid-hip.  

Fabric:  Quite a substantial cotton, like a very thick tee-shirt or a rugby shirt.  That does make it slightly more casual, but also more flattering.

Quality:  Fabric, seams and finishing details all seem well-made.  Hopefully it will hold up well!

Color: The attractive light heather gray color is shown in the photos, there is also a heather charcoal gray available, and a heather medium blue.  Very versatile and just right for spring.

Comments: I bought this shirt in the light and dark gray colors, especially at the 40% sale they were having in store the day I visited. I plan to get the blue color, too - I only saw that on my way out of the store after checking out.  This shirt is just too versatile - great with skinny jeans, a pencil skirt, or even shorts.  Great purchase, and great design, Gap!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

OUTFIT: Chambray cargo jacket and lace tee

Activity: Downtown park day with (lots of) kids

Jacket: Old Navy (exact)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Pants: LOFT (exact)
Bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)
Boots: Bussola (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

These photos were taken at the end of a long day that included 2 train rides, a trolley ride, 2 walks to train stations, playing at a park, enjoying food truck fare, touring a large art museum (most with 5 children) and... several... brutal... 4 year old... very public... tantrums.  Sigh.  So, those rosy cheeks were earned honestly, with lots of hard work.  Thankfully, though, that outfit did take me through my long and varied day.  What more could I ask?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

OUTFIT: Boyfriend shirt and white jeans

Activity: Casual day

Shirt: Old Navy (exact) (shirt review here)
Pants: Gap, thrifted and refashioned (similar)
Shoes: Nine West (similar)
Earrings: vintage, ebay (similar)
Bag: ebay (similar)

When I tried this dark indigo shirt on, I immediately knew I would eventually pair it with my white denim capris.  Something about that particular contrast just felt right.  Looking forward to some future variations with pencil skirts!  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

OUTFIT: Spring pastels

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Jacket: Old Navy (exact) (reviewed in this post)
Top: ebay (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (exact) (reviewed this post)
Boots: Bussola (sold out - similar)
Bag: Ralph Lauren (sold out - similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)

I've been slowly collecting lighter and brighter outfit ideas and wardrobe items over the past few months, even though I haven't worn many of them yet.  This is my second try for a light pink top, and I still don't think I quite have what I'm looking for (plus the scoop neck is too low, a chronic problem for me), but I'm going to keep trying. (Thank goodness I can buy AND sell on ebay!)  And this skirt is much darker than the one in my ideal mental wardrobe.  But, sometimes progress is something to appreciate.  And eventually, I'll create an outfit in reality that matches the outfit in my imagination.  Until then, I'll enjoy the process...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Recent Old Navy and Gap purchase reviews

As I mentioned in this post, I recently ordered a few things for spring.  Most of them came from Old Navy and Gap, using of a credit card reward and a big 40% off sale.  Here's what I thought of these items, as well as some outfit photos (full outfit blog posts coming later).  Hope it helps you in your decision making! (Totally non-sponsored!)


Chambray boyfriend shirt in dark indigo (on sale right now for $20) - As mentioned earlier, button-downs usually fit me huge and baggy in the shoulders and correctly fitting the bust, or properly fitted on the shoulders and tight and gaping at the bust.  This one, probably because it's designed to be a roomier "boyfriend" fit, works at the bust.  Bonus, because the shoulder is a drop shoulder (which I usually don't like, but works on this style), it looks relaxed without having a huge square shoulder sticking out past the natural shoulder.  It doesn't seem to gape too much at the buttons, and I like the deep, dark dye of the top.  It's a substantial cotton fabric, and I think looks like it cost more than it did.

Gray pencil skirt (On sale right now for $10) - This is a bit more charcoal gray than I wanted, but I like the fabric.  I have 2 or 3 Old Navy striped pencil skirts in this style from previous seasons, and I notice that this version is a good inch shorter than previous versions, which happens to be a good thing for me, since it still hits just below the knee.  For taller or longer-legged ladies, you may want to try this on in-store prior to purchasing, or just know it may fit a bit shorter.  It's a nice, smooth, stretchy cotton with enough substance to cover things nicely.  

Boy meets girl canvas field jacket (pictured above also) - As I mentioned, I've been drooling over various bloggers outfits using cargo jackets for a while, but I decided to go with this light blue chambray version because I already have several olive colored blazers, as well as an olive cargo vest.  It turns out I LOVE this fabric.   A relaxed, lightweight, slubby 100% cotton that is perfect for spring.  I really like the style of the chest pocket, and how the hand pockets are diagonal welt style.  Some had mentioned in the website reviews that this ran large, and perhaps if you are between sizes you would want to size down.  I ordered my usual size, and I like the relaxed feel and the additional layering options this will give me.  I just tied up the drawstring waist a bit, and was good to go.


Soft denim lounge shorts  - No outfit picture on these yet, but I did try them on once the order came in.  I chose to size up in these, because I wanted a truly relaxed fit, and I figured the hem would be a bit lower, as well.  I'm happy with that additional relaxed feeling.  For me, these will mainly be lounging and playing at home shorts, with a few jaunts to the grocery store thrown in.  With cute flats and a tee, they'll be perfect for my comfy but stylish plans...  They are a very soft fabric, not stiff like jean cutoffs, but with the look of faded denim.  Very cute, and destined to be worn often this spring and summer!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

OUTFIT: Spring layers (and ode to the taupe cross body)

Activity: Casual day errands

Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Tee: W by Wilt (exact)
Skirt: Athleta (similar)
Shoes: Sperry (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage Navajo via ebay (similar)

I'm personally not really into the denim jacket with jeans thing (although others do it very well).  Since casual days are often an opportunity for me to be able to wear my jeans (something I can't do all that often), sometimes my trusty denim jacket gets less wear than it deserves.  Pairing it with a pencil skirt was a comfortable, versatile option I think I'll try again - especially this spring when you really need light layers.

And, can I give some love to this little bag?  I have mentioned my little ebay habit of buying used Coach bags in the past, and I was thinking I had maybe gone a bit overboard with yet another one (but it was such a deal!).  However, it's been much more useful than I expected!  The color is perfect for spring, and since it's a cross-body, it won't get set on things and get dirty as easily as a larger light colored bag could (Have you noticed how much I mention stains with anything light colored?  Call me a slob...).  Plus, although I do have many bags, it's great to have a tiny cross body to throw on that just holds my phone and wallet when I'm just running out of the house quickly to grab one thing at the grocery store.  I used to just carry my wallet and phone, but then your hands aren't free.  This is so practical - definitely a valuable addition to my little stable of bags.  (Or the irrational justifications of a bag junkie.  I can't decide.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

OUTFIT: Purple and mustard.... (and one year blog anniversary!)

Activity: Meeting for worship

Top: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in current colors)
Heels: Luxury Rebel, thrifted (similar)
Trench: Forever 21 (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Bracelet: JC Penney, old (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

I was trying to find the right post for my one-year blogging anniversary.  I've taken quite a few outfit photos lately, but they haven't turned out well enough to qualify.  I like this one because I think it exemplifies some of the growth of the past year.  Would I have worn purple and mustard together a year ago?  I really doubt it.  Would I have felt comfortable taking photos of myself?  Undoubtably no.  These photos were even taken while my husband was nearby (usually I have to be alone and out of sight of others or I get nervous and can't do it), but I dealt with it and did what I had to do.  Progress, people.  Progress.

What will this next year hold?  I know it will hold living in a new state (at least one, probably 2 or 3). I'm hoping I will keep my current healthy eating habits and continue to feel and look better.  And I'm hoping to make some internal improvements of my outlook and attitude.  And, maybe I'll learn a new blogging trick or two...

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Spring 2015 purchases

Spring is almost here!  I feel even more excited this year than usual, maybe because it's my first early spring in a milder climate.  We've already had tantalizing tastes of spring in some beautiful 70-80 degree days thrown in here and there during January and February, so I can't wait!  As I have been lately, and especially with my current traveling lifestyle, I'm trying to be very conscious of each purchase I make, and considering if there's anything I could get rid of as I bring a new item in.  (I'm definitely not ready for a capsule wardrobe yet, but I may get there in time - or at least my version of a capsule-ish wardrobe...)

Here's what I've purchased over the past couple of months or so, as well as my wish list for the few things I'm still seeking.  My color cravings appear to be blush and light blue, along with light neutrals like gray and khaki.  Quite the opposite of my normal deep, dark colors, so it promises to be an interesting season for me, color-wise!


Pink peplum top (mine is similar to the one pictured, purchased from Nordstrom Rack) - Blush is my new favorite color, although I'm rarely brave enough to actually wear it.  (Partially because I hang with a messy 4 year old, and also because I hadn't found lighter colored bottoms to wear with it to get the look I'm seeking.)  I'm going to try to be braver this spring!  Shirts are washable, right?

Gray sleeveless shell (I found mine at TJ Maxx last week- it has a scalloped bottom, but is very similar to the one pictured).  I've been into gray for a while now, this pale version is just right to use on into spring.  Can't wait to pair it with my white blazer.

Dark indigo boyfriend chambray shirt (exact available!) - It fits!  Button-down shirts and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love how versatile they are, and how well other stylish ladies wear them, but because of my larger bust and smaller shoulders, button-downs usually fit one or the other - huge and baggy in the shoulders and fitting the bust, or properly fitted on the shoulders and tight and gaping at the bust.  This one, probably because it's designed to be a roomier "boyfriend" fit, works at the bust.  Bonus, because the shoulder is a drop shoulder (which I usually don't like, but works on this style), it looks relaxed without having a huge square shoulder sticking out past the natural shoulder.  I had been wanting a dark chambray shirt to add to my collection for a while, I'm excited to pair this one with white capris.


Khaki pencil skirt (exact available - on sale) - I love this skirt!  I found it a month or so ago from Sierra Traders Company (one of my favorite discount retailers).  It's well-made, although I ordered the larger of my two usual sizes and was glad I did, it's quite fitted through the hips and thighs, so keep that in mind if you're ordering for yourself.  What says spring (and summer, when I plan to continue to rock this skirt) more than khaki?  So versatile.

Relaxed denim shorts (exact available) - These are my "okay to go in public" lounge shorts.  They haven't arrived yet, but I'm hoping they will be just right for hanging out at home, but still decent for running outside to play or for errands.  Those are the kind of wardrobe items I need most.

Gray pencil skirt (mine is from Old Navy, and is slightly lighter than the version pictured) - Gray has been my go-to this winter, and I'm continuing into the spring.  The version I bought is more charcoal gray than I wanted, but I'll keep looking for a true pale gray (almost that classic sweats color).  I just needed something to get away from black.


Delicate arrow bracelet (as pictured, similar to mine) - I love how delicate this is.  I had been in a chunky watch and "statement jewelry" phase, but this is so wearable, and should be comfortable to wear, even if it's hot out.

Tough arrow earrings (as shown - mine are a vintage Navajo pair from the 1970s) - I'm not sure if it's because I'm living in Texas, and have been going to cowboy events, but I'm really feeling the turquoise, "Western" thing right now.  I doubt that's a current trend, but I'm okay with that.  

Delicate blush-colored geode necklace (similar - one shown above isn't available anymore) - This is another simple item that adds so much style to an outfit, and it's comfortable to wear.  I've worn it already much more than I expected.  

Gray satchel (exact) - This is the key to completing my "light and bright" plans for spring.  I've been wanting a tan or gray bag for a while, and when I saw this one at a great price at TJ Maxx last week, I had to go for it.  I know I have lots of bags, but NOTHING in a lighter color, and this type of textured leather should theoretically be hard to stain (Can you tell I'm a slob?).  So. excited. about. this. bag....


Chambray cargo jacket (exact) - I've been drooling over various bloggers outfits using cargo jackets for a while, but when I saw this light blue chambray version (on 40% sale), I finally pulled the trigger.  I decided to go with the light blue because I already have several olive colored blazers, as well as an olive cargo vest, so I thought this would be different from what I already have.

Monday, March 2, 2015

OUTFIT: Blanket scarf with emerald skirt

Activity: Meeting for worship

Scarf: SheInside (exact, similar)
Blazer (taupe): LOFT via ebay (similar)
Top (cream): J. Crew Factory (similar)
Skirt (emerald green): J. Crew (exact in current colors, similar color)
Tights (navy): Merona (exact)
Shoes (navy): Steve Madden via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Pearl studs (similar)

Introductory apology: The weather was pouring rain, so I attempted an indoor photo shoot.  (Obviously my photography equipment and skills require an update.)  But, I was happy to be able to at least capture a fleeting idea of another way to use this scarf.  While I thought the Texas weather would already be warming up by the time I received this scarf, it turned out we had a few cold weather surprises in store for us.  That means that I've been housebound for almost a week - but able to enjoy my cozy scarf in various ways.  Here's one of my latest ideas...