A Return to Blogging

Wow, I didn’t mean to take that month long break from blogging!  I feel like so much has happened: crazy-time at work, my birthday, dinner dates in dc, delicious cocktails at the Columbia Room and then a quick trip to Houston, Tx for S’s wedding.

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OOTD: Museum Day Trip Dress

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been obsessed with pairing the colors coral, navy and green ever since I saw this pin.  Well this weekend I stuck my head in my closet again and tried to pick out another combination when I found my Modcloth Museum Day Trip Dress.

[DressModcloth; HeelsMiz Mooz via HauteLook; Purse – Marc by Marc Jacobs]

I really want to be better at remixing clothes from my closet, and in some ways I am.  I only have two blazers and one pair of black pants but I manage to dress myself semi-professionally 4 days out of the week and that takes a bit of remix magic but when it comes to dresses, I’m not great.  I haven’t worn this dress since its last appearance on this blog, October of last year. How crazy is that? I use a picture of myself in this dress as my icon for wordpress and twitter; I see it everyday and yet it remained unworn in my closet for months.   That said when I received my new Miz Mooz Petra sandals in the mail on Friday, I walked directly into my closet and pulled out this dress.  Sometimes I have my moments.

I am so in love with these shoes! They are absolutely beautiful and so comfortable. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never worn a heel with a front platform before.  I have been missing out. It’s wonderful, you get all of the benefits of wearing higher heels without the foot pain, what could be better?  Normally I shy away from heels over 3 inches because they inevitably make my feet ache but maybe I’ve finally found a way to gain some height without killing my feet.

OOTD: Navy, Coral and Green

So Bot and I are moved into our new place in MD! We’ve spent the last few weeks unpacking, organizing, assembling Ikea furniture and generally attempting to make this place habitable. The only problem is the heat! Last week temperatures were above 100°F  and I wanted to do nothing but lay around in the air conditioning.  Sadly, I had errands to run and I ventured out into the world wearing as little as possible.

[Tshirt – Old Navy; Skirt – Torrid; Belt – Torrid; Flats – Webster for Target]

Okay, I admit it is not the most exciting outfit in the world. I find it extremely difficult to be inspired when dressing in the summer, because environmental concerns become all consuming for me. For my errands day when I wanted to wear something that was cool and lightweight, a so-thin-it’s-almost-sheer t-shirt from Old Navy and this Torrid above the knee bandage skirt fit the bill perfectly. I will admit I had to remove the belt before heading out though. It does not have a proper latch and kept popping apart when I moved. Ah well.

What is most exciting about this outfit is the pairing of the colors. Ever since I saw this pin I’ve been obsessed with coral, navy and kelly green together.  I actually don’t have too many items of those colors in my closet (which actually led to me standing in my closet on this particularly morning bemoaning loudly to Bot my complete and udder lack of coral) so even though this outfit may look like nothing fancy I am really proud of it. I shopped my closet and rose above my lack of coral without succumbing to the urge to immediately purchasing something new. Plus I actually used one of my pinspirations!

How to Dress for a Summer Hootenanny

If you’ve hung around these parts for a while, then you’ve probably heard that one of my best friends is getting married this summer. She is having a very small wedding in Texas so my friend Jess and I decided to throw her and her fiance a party here in Va.

The party had a hootenanny theme with music playing from an ipod (lots of Iron Horse covers of Shins and Modest Mouse songs), plenty of great food (including pies), paper flags, mason jar cocktails, bocce ball, flowers, and tons of time to chat with the happy couple (see how our ideas for the party evolved on my Pin Board here).

[Tank – Old Navy (bought years ago); Jeans – Old Navy ($25); Boots – Old Navy ($15); Headband – Modcloth via Birchbox; Necklace – gift from S.]

I opened my Birchbox last Friday to find this amazing headband from Modcloth. It might be my favorite thing I’ve ever received in my box, which is a bit silly since it is not even a beauty product but its so adorable.  I decided right away to change my Hootenany outfit so I could incorporate the headband. This is what I came up with.

I admit that I did not wear the heeled boots the whole night, I was one of the hostesses after all, which required scampering around a lot. Instead, I grabbed my Birkenstocks to play bocce and fetch drinks. This tank is my go to for hot summer nights, it’s cotton and very light and breezy but happily not sheer.  I cannot say the same for my jeans though, it was entirely too hot to be wearing such tight pants, I was sweating all night.

My number one tip for dressing for a summer hootenanny: comfort is key! Wear loose fitting clothing so you can transition between various activities with ease. I wish I had paired my tank with a pair of cotton shorts or even a maxi skirt, both are comfortable and still allow you to sit in the grass easily and modestly when all of the chairs are taken.

We played a lot of bocce ball! If you are not familiar with the game check it out here. I fell in love with it in Atlanta because one of my favorite bars had a bocce ball court out back. We were lucky because our friend Erik had a full bocci ball set that he brought with him and let us use.  I sipped on a homemade margarita while playing a number of games (I lost every one) so I managed to cross two things off my Summer Checklist.

An action shot! S. and T, the happy couple, are on the right. They had never played bocce before and still beat me…

What do you all think of my hootenanny outfit? What would you wear to a rustic/country themed party or get together? Did you get a modcloth headband in your birchbox too?

P.S.- Feel like trying out Birchbox? Click through my link here to gift me with a referral bonus.

OOTD: And Then I Went Gardening

A weekend ago, Bot and I traveled south down 95 to our friend Jess’s house to hang out and set up for the hootenanny we threw this past weekend.  Jess was wonderful and offered to host the shindig at her house so Bot and I went down to see how we could help set up early. I thought we’d be cutting out paper flags, maybe arranging candles around her house, but instead we did some gardening and, as usual, I did not dress appropriately.

[Shirt – Torrid ($35ish); Tripp NYC Black Skinny Jeans – Torrid ($45); Sandals -Impo (bought forever ago)]

To be fair, this outfit actually worked really well for gardening. My skinny jeans are so stretchy that digging up a back yard and planting grass seed again was super easy.  I did have to kick off my heeled sandals but gardening is no fun if you can’t squish some dirt between your toes.

This is probably the Swan song for this Torrid shirt. It is one of my favorite items I’ve ever bought from them.  Not only is it the cutest ditzy, flower print but it is also a light poplin material so it’s nice and cool during the summer. I wore this constantly in Atlanta, which is probably why the shirt is so dingy looking now, too many washings. I’m glad this shirt got to make an appearance on my blog before its retirement because it was one of the first pieces of clothing that made me think that I could actually be fashionable some day.

As for the gardening, it went really well. The hootenanny was a success too but I’ll have more on that later this week.

My Summer Checklist

I was reading through the blog of Brittany Belle, when I stumbled across her Spring/Summer 2012 Checklist. It is such a great idea! Even though Autumn is my favorite season, I freely acknowledge that the summer months have a certain magic to to them.  It feels like the focus shifts, yes the world keeps turning, we still have our regular jobs; but, instead of the 9-5 dominating your life, the weekends and holidays seem to grow to mythic size.  Those times get crowded with vacations, outings, and other adventures that don’t seem like such a priority during the rest of the year.  And so, I thought that a checklist full of silly and fun adventures to accomplish this summer seemed like the best idea I’ve ever heard.

So without further ado, my Summer 2012 Checklist

  1. Visit the National Zoo
  2. Make homemade lemonade
  3. Make a homemade Shandy
  4. Go swimming
  5. Hike
  6. Have Breakfast for Dinneraccomplished 6/2
  7. Visit a Photo Booth with my best-ies and Bot
  8. Get up REALLY early and go to the Farmer’s Marketaccomplished 6/16
  9. Play some Bocce ballaccomplished 6/9
  10. Make homemade margaritasaccomplished 6/9
  11. Have a picnic
  12. Visit the Batting cages

You may notice that none of these are fashion related at all. Perhaps I should add that my hope is that I create some great outfits for these events and that I take lots of pictures to chronicle my adventures.

Do you have any summer plans? What would be on your checklist to do this summer?

Fashion Confession: I Don’t Shop with Other Women

So I have a somewhat shocking confession, until as recently as last month, I didn’t go shopping with other women.  I was afraid to shop with them, even really close friends.

[Shirt – Old Navy ($10); Skirt – Torrid via Goodwill ($5); Flats – BCBG ($40); Sunnies – Target ($13)]

It started at some point in high school.  I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point I became ashamed of the size clothes I wore.  It was no longer about the fact that I couldn’t afford as many of the nice things my friends had, it was about the dreaded number on a tag.  The same situation would repeat itself.  I would be shopping with a friend, gathering items that looked like they were generously cut so I could at least try something on in the dressing room (even though I had no intention of buying since clothes from straight sized stores didn’t fit me).  My well-meaning friend would squeal and hold something up, “This is SO you! What size are you? I’ll grab you one.” I swear it felt like every head in the store would turn my way as I tried to quietly mumble my size.

Then, when Bot and I moved to Atlanta, I did not really know anyone. I definitely didn’t know anyone enough to ask them to drive 45 minutes outside the city with me to a suburb mall to shop at the Torrid.  Instead, I would drag the ever patient Bot with me as my shopping companion.  And then at some point this became the norm.  I never accepted invitations to shop with friends or if I did I would walk around without really shopping for myself.  These practices continued even after I started this journey of self-acceptance, and even after I started this blog.

Then last month I went on two shopping adventures with other women! I’m not even sure what changed. I just wasn’t concerned anymore. I chatted about my size like it was nothing, like it was exactly what it is, just a number.  This skirt is the result of one of those shopping excursions. My former coworkers and I visited our local Goodwill and while scouring the racks they found me this adorable Torrid skirt. I had no intention of looking for anything for myself, like usual, when they told me they had found a cute, pink, size 18 skirt. “That’s my size,” I declared loudly and after trying it on, we all agreed it was perfect.  It was such a great day and I like this skirt so much, I think I’ll have to go shopping with other women again soon.

Kiyonna, A Love Story

This is a love story that started quite a long time ago. I had been watching Kiyonna’s clothing from a far; I looked, I lusted and fell in love. Then something magical happened – Kiyonna had a 50% off sale. So last October, I finally splurged and bought two Kiyonna dresses, but it took me months to wear them. (I wore the other dress to the Met Opera a few months ago.)

[Jemma Ruched Dress – Kiyonna ($54); Camisole – Old Navy ($10ish); Heels – Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack ($70); Necklace – Lia Sophia (?)]

I haven’t been feeling that great about myself lately.  Self-acceptance/ self-love is a journey and sometimes you are at a high point and sometimes low.  Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck in a valley and when it came time for Bot and I to get ready to go meet our friends for drinks on Friday night I was ready to cancel. Then Bot gave me the saddest puppy dog eyes ever and I headed to my closet to find something to wear.  I pulled out my Jemma Ruched Dress by Kiyonna, that I had yet to wear, and decided that since it was Memorial day it was thus totally appropriate to wear a bright red, vintage inspired dress. No exaggeration, the minute I put on this dress my day changed. Why did it take me so long to wear this amazing, beautiful, mood-altering dress? To me, this is what plus-size fashion should do, make you feel absolutely beautiful even on days when your self-confidence is at it lowest.

I was day-dreaming about this dress yesterday as Bot and I drove an hour north to go apartment hunting in Maryland. Really, I cannot say enough great things about it. The quality of it is amazing: fully lined, well made, beautifully cut and best of all, it fits me perfectly!  I have so many items in my closet that I bought because they were cheep and they kinda worked.  Yet, with most of those clothes, I’m severely limited: one top can only be worn with a high-waist skirt because it doesn’t fit on my stomach or another has to always be worn with a jacket or sweater because the armholes are too large and show my bra.  But this Kiyonna dress fit like it was tailor-made for me.

As we are driving, Bot and I were discussing the dress and it’s amazing ability to completely shift my mood and I shouted, “Why do I have anything else in my closet? I should own all of their clothes!”  Bot reminded me of one of my first blog posts when I wrote, “I am a firm believer that wardrobe essentials are worth spending extra precious dollars on because you will wear them again and again.  So consider these things carefully when you purchase- don’t be fooled by inexpensive items, because one day they might be sitting in your closet with their price tag still on.” The truth is that Kiyonna’s clothing is a bit expensive for me.  I have to save up for and splurge on their pieces.  (Their dresses are normally around $100 and their separates around $50.) But knowing how this dress fits and feels, that is exactly what I am going to do.  Plus they have a great sale section and often have holiday sales (like right now when you get 25% off for Memorial day.)

Casual Friday – OOTD

My new job does not have a very strict dress code. I was told that they are on the “casual side of business casual.”  Since I am only a temp who is hoping to land a more permanent position, I do not indulge in these relaxed rules regularly.  But the other Friday (which is, believe it or not, even more casual in my office) I decided maybe I could make my trouser jeans into a casual Friday outfit while still looking a bit polished and professional.

Okay, so I didn’t have to include this image but how hilarious is that pose? Where do I come up with this stuff?

[Top – Talbots (gift from MIL); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Cardigan – Banana Republic Factory Store ($25); Heels – Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack ($70); Necklace – gift from friend; Headband – NY&Co($10?)]

I think this outfit came out really well.  My Mother-in-Law sent me this lovely Talbots shirt the other week. I had tried it on when we went shopping together last month but I wasn’t ready to commit to it. The problem is that tunics don’t normally get along with my body shape. I am not the biggest fan of flow-y, drap-y tops and usually for a tunic to fit over my hips it is crazy billowy up around my shoulders and chest.  This top is from the Talbots Women’s Petite range and I think it is actually suppose to fit longer, a more tunic length. I, however, love how it looks. How great is the sash? Since it’s made from the same fabric it draws your attention to the smallest part of my waist without being too jarring.

This Banana Republic cardigan is on constant rotation in my outfits.  If I’m not wearing a blazer to work there is a 50% chance that I am wearing this sweater instead. What can I say, sometimes you find your cardigan soul-mate.

Sorry about the coloring in these pictures.  We took these shots after Bot and I went to happy hour to celebrate his promotion and my new job and we were rapidly loosing the light.  I’d love to say that I’m not really that pale, but I actually really am.

A Nod to Nautical

In my head, anything that has navy and white stripes is “nautical”, particularly if there is also some red involved. So when I threw on this outfit the other Sunday to head to church I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “Hey you! Rocking that nautical trend.”  Then when I looked back at these pictures I realized that there is nothing particularly nautical about them.

[Top – Gap Outlet ($30); Jacket – Torrid (gift from in-laws); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Shoes – Target ($25); Necklace – Florence Street Vendor]

This is one of those outfits that I felt wonderful in and then when I went back and looked at the pictures I was astounded. Ugh, do my jeans really fit like that? Does that white top really wash out my face that much? Why does the striped jacket look so lame instead of how cool it looked in my head. I could not get over it.  In fact, the only thing that I love about the outfit are the shoes, they look great.  However, they pinch my toes terribly, so terribly that I’ve decided to get rid of them.  When I think about it, I had kind of an awful day in this outfit.  Bot and I tried out a new restaurant and it was horrible. I took a midday nap and woke up feeling worse than before I had slept. What do you think? Was it the outfit that ruined my day or was it the day that ruined my outfit?

My apologies for my absence around these parts. I’ve been getting settled in to my new job and getting used to the routine of riding the Metro every morning. It’s not so bad, although I did see a mouse on the tracks the other day. He was a lot cuter than the rat I saw on the tracks of the Subway in NY, I guess we have cuter rodents in DC.