A Day of Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and even though I had to work, I had a great day!  My family all worked together to cook while I was making coffee and they made an amazing spread!

[Shirt – Torrid($15); Pants – Torrid($48); Flats – BCBG via DSW($40)]

This is what I threw on when I got home.  I kept telling people all day at work that all I had to do was go home and Thanksgiving dinner would all be ready for me.  It turned out to be incredibly true, as soon as I walked in the door everyone shouted “SUPPER IS READY.” At least they let me change first.

I’ve been looking for a good pair of black skinny jeans for a while and I’m loving these by Tripp NYC from Torrid.  They hug where I want them to and just fit great. My only complaint is that the pull tab on the zipper keeps getting stuck sort of sideways when I’m trying to zip the pants up.  This locks the zipper and I have to spend a few minutes shaking the pull tab to get it to work.  I probably would have exchanged the pants for a different pair except that the nearest Torrid is an hour and a half away from me and I didn’t want to pay to ship them to Torrid. For now I’m just dealing with it but it’s kind of frustrating since otherwise the pants are such good quality and I paid full price for them.

This shirt has become one of my favorites. It was a second thought on my Torrid shopping trip. Bot actually picked it out from the clearance rack and I decided for $15 it was totally worth it.  Originally, I thought the sequin pocket (you can sort of see it in the picture) would bother me but it does not at all.  I’ve actually started to appreciate the sparkle that it adds to my outfit.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I’m thankful for so many things this year, especially all of you, readers!

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And Then Life Happened

Can you believe after all of those new clothes I don’t have an outfit post for you all?  Bot, who is my photographer, and I have had opposite schedules for the past few weeks. It wouldn’t be an issue if it didn’t get dark so earlier now a days.

[Dress – Old Navy ($20); Sweater – Gap ($20); Necklace – Florence Street Vendor(15 euros )]

This is a shot from Bot and I’s adventures in Charlottesville for Guy Fawkes day when I got to hang out with my college roomie.  We have a wacky tradition of watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and eating Chinese food on Guy Fawkes Day which we did again.  I’ve been trying to stay away from internet “window” shopping because, after all of my purchases, I’ve put myself on a shopping ban until the New Year.  Still, its hard not to drool after some holiday collections. My favorite things right now:

This Emerald Cowl Back Dress from Next; The IGIGI holiday collection; This Charlotte Boatneck dress from the Monif C Holiday Collection; The new Screen Siren collection from Kiyonna.

How to Prepare for a Day of Shopping

I have not been very good about curbing my shopping lately. It all started off rather harmlessly, I needed a new pair of jeans because my Old navy Sweetheart boot-cut jeans were too big; then it spiraled into a full-on shopping spree. Luckily for me this only happens a few times a year and I had actually been saving up for a few things so I didn’t completely blow my budget.

My clothing haul from my last few shopping trips - Torrid, Old Navy and Gap.

For me shopping has been a crucial part of my self-acceptance journey.  I discovered Torrid when I was living in Atlanta and it is hard to describe the difference that having fashionable clothes that fit me has made in my life.  Finally shopping was fun instead of a chore!  Bot and I would make the trek to the Alpharetta Mall (a suburb of ATL) to visit the Torrid and we would make a day of it.  I would gather up all of the things that remotely interested me and a few styles that I wasn’t sure about and then try them all on and finally decide what among the “yes pile” was coming home with me.  This past week Bot and I decided to have another one of our shopping adventures and made a day of it again.

So I thought I would share with you how I prepare for an all day shopping adventure:

  1. Start with a good foundation – I always wear my favorite go to bra and undies when shopping so that I will know if an outfit is going to require something special in the undergarment area.  It also helps to wear neutral colors.  There is nothing worse than trying to contemplate a pair of amazing khakis and not being able to see past your own vampire-themed undies. (Not that this has happened to me or anything…)
  2. Consider what you’re looking for – During this shopping trip I was especially looking for a pair of high boots that would fit over a pair of skinny jeans so of course, I wore my jeggings on the shopping adventure. (Sadly, I found none.)
  3. Make it an event – Bot and I make an event out of shopping. It is not only about ogling the pretty clothes but also about walking through the mall together – talking and having fun.  We also make a point of going out for a good dinner (or lunch) afterwards so we get a whole day together.
  4. Keep it simple – I know, I know, this one seems contrary to the previous advice but I mean keep your shopping outfit simple.  If you are going to be visiting lots of stores and dressing rooms, its going to become a pain to take off and then re-don all of those layers again and again. Just keep it simple and classic.

As a final note, I recommend getting a cup a coffee as soon as you hit the mall.  That way you’ll be forced to walk around with out entering any stores for awhile (due to most stores’ no food and drink policy.)  Then after you finish your delicious beverage you’ll know which stores you want to hit and where they are located.

In with the New and Out with the Old

I threw this outfit together to run errands last week.  I am in love with this top from Torrid which I bought right after Torrid put out their Look Book last month.  It is not a shirt that I would ordinary be drawn to, what with the animal print, red color, sheerness, and smocked bottom hem. Maybe starting this blog has made me more adventurous or maybe their Look Book did exactly what it was suppose to, convince me that it was possible to style well something that I would never ordinarily think of wearing.

[Top – Torrid ($30ish on sale); Sweater – Gap ($20); Jeans – Old Navy ($25); Flats – BCBG via DSW ($40); Scarf – Stolen from a friend in HS]

I’m not as happy with this outfit as I hoped, probably because of the jeans.  These ones are officially too big so they will be retired to the “cleaning” or “working outside” pile. It might also be time to retire this scarf which I “borrowed” from a friend in High School and never gave back (maybe I should send it to her in the mail randomly one day.) It is however, my only black scarf so I’ve been keeping it.

And for your amusement, Bot caught a shot of me drinking coffee and I look ridiculous.

About 90% of my outfit photos look like this...

Add a Little Baroque to Your Life

Anyone who has taken an Art History 101 class knows about the supposed origin of the word Baroque – from the Portuguese barocco which was a term for a misshapen pearl.  When I was in undergrad and studying Italian Baroque Art, I took this origin to heart and bought this fabulous, baroque-esque shell necklace to show off my love of Seventeenth-Century Rome.

[Sweater – Old Navy ($25); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Shoes – Target ($25); Scarf – Borrowed from Mom; “Baroque” Necklace – Fair Vendor ($30)]

This is just a simple outfit that I wanted to spice up a bit.  I added my red, open-toe wedges and this necklace that I bought from a fair vendor four years ago.  One of my favorite things about this time of year is the release of holiday collections.  So many of them this year are full of beautiful fabric concoctions that make my baroque loving heart patter.

So how do you add a little baroque to your wardrobe? How about something gold or lace or add a tutu or a fascinator.  The seventeenth century  might have been all about “go big or go home” but there’s nothing wrong with adding a little dazzle to an otherwise boring outfit.  And yes, it officially so cold that I hid my fabulous necklace under this scarf all day.

A Quick Trip to the Bookstore

I was reading The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower the other day when she was talking about how to immerse yourself in culture.  It got me thinking about how I haven’t been taking very good care of my intellectual life since I moved back to VA.  As part of of a grand scheme to work on that, Bot and I ran out to the local Barnes and Noble to pick up a new book to kick off my quest.

[Shirt- City Chic ($13); Cardigan – Gap ($20); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Belt – Lane Bryant ($30 for 2); Shoes – Miz Mooz ($50); Purse – marc by marc jacobs (gift from Bot); Scarf – Target ($15ish?)]

This is the outfit I threw on to head into town.  We only got a few quick shots inside because it was late and had gotten dark. Also, we were afraid that some of the staff at Barnes and Noble were going to get angry about our impromptu photo shoot.  Although the picture doesn’t show it, I belted my cardigan for this outfit!  I’ve been working up my courage to belt my cardigan for years, ever since I saw Michelle Obama rocking them. For some reason,  I was sure that someone was going to point and laugh at me for it.  Aren’t our fashion fears just hilarious sometimes?  I know that you all must be tired of seeing my jeans, I need to invest in some tights so that I can wear my pretty dresses even when its cold outside.

By the way, the book I picked up was The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.  Atwood spins the tale of The Odyssey from Penelope’s point of view, with a “chorus” of the twelve murdered maids.  It was a quick, somewhat funny read, but no where near as impressive as the previous Margaret Atwood book I read, The Blind Assassin.

Whatever my next “cultural” outing is, I’ll be sure there are lots of pictures.

It Is Time to Embrace Sweater Weather

I have a love hate relationship with sweaters. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love sweaters.  I always choose warm, cuddly soft, knits that feel like hugs, and until I looked at these pictures, I never questioned my sweater love.  Then I looked at the photos that Bot had taken and all I could see was how the sweater clung to and accentuated my stomach.

[Jeggings – Old Navy ($10); Sweater – Worthington, J.C. Penny (bought forever ago); Jacket – Lane Bryant ($75); Shoes – Miz Mooz Oxfords ($50); Purse – Marshall’s ($25); Scarf – Florence Street Vendor (15 euros); Bracelet – Grandmother’s Costume Jewelry; Necklace – Made by Me; Earrings – SERRV ($25ish?)]

At first I thought about only posting the second photo, where my purse is covering my “offending” stomach, but that is not what this blog is about.  Its a journey, to be fashionable for one thing, but also to learn to love myself. And lets be honest, my stomach is not offensive, nor would it “disappear” under a more loose sweater. Its all about loving what you have and there are a lot of things that I love about this outfit.

This jacket, for starters, is one of my absolute favorites.  It was a very big purchase for me at $75 but I’ve worn it for a good 3 to 4 years and its still going strong.  Present day Mel probably wouldn’t have bought this piece.  The jacket is unlined, which means that I have to be careful when I take it off since it looks rather sloppy with its exposed seams and shoulder pads.  Also the hem on the sleeves unraveled within the first month of owning it (and I have still not resown it.) But since younger Mel didn’t think about jacket linings, I have been reaping the rewards for over three years.  It has been my go to jacket for spring, fall and even cool summer nights.

This purse was a happy, cheap find at Marshall’s but with a bit of an incident. I had a different, but exactly the same, purse in my hands and then I suddenly changed it for this one thinking it was less scratched up. Unfortunately, I didn’t check to make sure it had all of its pieces, like the longer shoulder strap, before I bought it. When I arrived home I noticed the extreme lack of strap and promptly put the purse back in my car to be returned and there it sat for 4 months, well past the allowable return deadline.  These are the woes that fill my shopping life. I have a tendency to not return things by the given deadline and I’m stuck with them and out the money. Luckily for me, my brother had an almost matching shoulder strap which he gave me to use and now I have a new purse.

The moral of this post? Always love yourself and make sure that you actually return things ON TIME.