Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Playing Darts

I tried another alteration experiment today. I found this sequin-shoulder tee shirt on the clearance rack at Ann Taylor Factory Store, but the smallest size they had was SP. While I liked the style, I ran into the all too familiar problem of a super low scoop neckline. As I looked in the mirror, I pinched it in two places behind my neck, which brought up the front, and wished it were so. Then it dawned on me: I could just add a few little darts and make my wish come true.

Here is the finished product. How did I do?

And from the front...

A "Festive Black" ensemble - super easy.

Yay for Christmas decorations!

Shirt: Ann Taylor Factory Store (altered)
Skirt: Express

Monday, November 28, 2011

Colorful Experiment

Do you know the feeling when you put an outfit on and it is either brilliant or a disaster? That's how I felt about my outfit today. I don't usually mix so many colors together and I think I might have gone a little overkill with the yellow. 

This outfit sports a navy blue shirt, purple sweater, and a red and white skirt with yellow accents.  I think this would look better without the yellow headband, it looks like I'm trying too hard. 

Shirt: Ann Taylor Factory
Skirt: Gap Outlet
Sweater: Gap outlet (old)
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: Old Navy
Bracelet: Gift

The pictures were taken in our little garden. We are growing mint, oregano, basil, carrots, kale, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, and lots of flowers. The chain link fence isn't the most beautiful, but we are attempting to get an ivy plant to grow on it. 

Grow kale grow!

What do you think, was the outfit a hit or a miss?

 How could I make it better?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Layering Tutorial

I really enjoyed this tutorial this morning and thought that you might as well. I just love Wendy's videos!

I am terrible at layers, but I really want to get better at pairing them. Here's to a good start!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Chic

For Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family, I layered this short-sleeved olive sweater over my snakeskin print blouse. With the addition of my newly hemmed stretchy pants (see my last post), and I am ready to eat a big meal and give lots of thanks.

I had to pose with a pumpkin, of course...

Truth be told, I switched the heels out for my riding boots before I left. That way, I would still have socks on inside the house after I took my shoes off.

Really, we have so much to be thankful for. This year has certainly had its ups and downs, but I am thankful for them all - for the joys of the ups and the growth that comes with the downs.

Necklace: Forever 21
Sweater: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Blouse: LOFT (here - available in XXSP again)
Pants: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Shoes: Ann Taylor Factory Store

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Little Black Dress

I went shopping at Banana Republic outlet a few weeks ago and bought this little black number. It fits really well around the waist and has pockets!

It is a size 0 and is a perfect addition to my work wardrobe. The great thing about black is that you can pair it with any color to make it pop. My earrings (which you can see better in the third picture) were the color I went with. 

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Earrings: Francesca's
Shoes: Gift
Bracelets: Gifts

Do you have a staple black dress for work?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Favorite

I love these pants.

I bought them today (40% off) at Ann Taylor Factory Store, and wow, are they comfortable. They are a material I have never seen in this sort of pants (maybe I am a little behind...), which is a thick blend of polyester, rayon, and spandex. They are somewhere on the continuum between sweatpants and dress pants, and I think they can be dressed up or down. Once it gets too cold for my purple cords, I think these will be my go-to pants for the winter. 

Pros: Dark heather grey color (they also come in black). Soft, stretchy material. Warm enough for winter. Good for tucking into boots or wearing with heels. Slim fit.
Cons: Minor gapping at the waist, since they only come in the Modern Fit rather than my personal favorite, Curvy Fit. About 3 inches too long, even in Petite sizing (but I expect that from every pair of pants I buy). Dry Clean only (I intend to try washing them like the rest of my laundry - I'll let you know how it works out)

Tip: When trying on, try on several sizes. I could have bought the 0R, 00P, or 0P, and went with the middle option, 0P. Don't buy them too tight, lest you incur VPL (Visible Panty Lines), but, according to the SA, these stretch out as you wear them, so don't buy too loose either. 

Without boots to show calf width (folded under at the bottom).

Scarf: Express
Shirt: Banana Republic Factory Store
Bracelet: 10,000 Villages
Pants: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Boots: Target

Monday, November 21, 2011

Date Night and a New Dress

I bought this dress back in September but haven't had an opportunity to wear it. 

We invited our neighbors over for dinner and they had to cancel last minute. We had a gift certificate to Outback, so we jumped at the chance to go out on a date. 

I still want to find a sweater or shawl or something that would pair well with this dress. I took a scarf with me which worked, but I could definitely do better. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Dress: Thrifted
Shoes: Nine West
Necklace: Target
Earrings: Francesca's
Watch: Gift
Scarf (pictured below): Gift

We stopped in at our neighbors on the way to dinner so they could take a picture of us. Somehow we never get good pictures when we are dressed up.

This is our neighbor Darryl. He loves grilling, sweat suits, and keeping the neighborhood under control. He is by far our favorite neighbor. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harvest Festival 2011

Every year in my hometown, the catholic church puts on a carnival. It has rides, turkey legs, fried oreo's, and of course, corn. 

This year we went with a bunch of our friends, stormed the cake walk, and won a white cake. It was a brilliant idea. 

Hooray for face painting and cake :).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Low Maintenance

Half an hour before church started this morning, I found myself in pajamas and a bathrobe, with teeth unbrushed, face unwashed, and my hair in a knot on top of my head. Plus, Luke was still napping. I had to get ready, and fast. I washed up and put on makeup like a little tornado, then put my hair up, and headed to my closet to see what I could find. 

I am so glad that I found this dress/tunic (I'm not sure what it is exactly). Add leggings, boots, and a statement necklace, and I was on my way. I was pretty proud that I was able to wash up, put on makeup, do my hair, get dressed and hop in the car, all in the span of 25 minutes. 

I love this little dress. I am all covered up, and in such a comfy sweatshirt-like material. I feel a little self-conscious about the shortness of the length, but with leggings, it is no problem (Am I wrong about this?). 

I used Wendy's "Everyday Updo" tutorial again and am really pleased with it. Also, you may notice that I am sporting a little lip color, which is really unusual for me. I recently threw away the only lipstick that I have ever owned, which I bought for my wedding 7 1/2 years ago. I barely ever used it, as you might have guessed. To replace it, I picked up Burt's Bees Rhubarb Lip Shimmer, basically a glorified chap stick. I like it - just enough, but not too much.

Photo credits go to my sweet husband today. 

Sunglasses: Kate Spade
Necklace: Francesca's 
Dress: Ann Taylor (last year)
Leggings: Francesca's
Boots: Kohl's

What does your speed routine look like?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Faux Real

Pardon the pun - I couldn't help myself...

While we were in Chicago last weekend, my sister-in-law generously came downtown to watch Luke at our hotel so that Peter and I could go out for a nice dinner. After calling several restaurants that warned us of 1 1/2 to 2 hour wait times, we decided to be adventurous and find a restaurant on the go. Amazingly, we stumbled upon an American Bistro called Viand, right off of Michigan Avenue, which seated us right away in a cozy and quiet dining room. 

And now that we had a taste for adventure, we decided to each order a meal that included something that we had never eaten before. For Peter, that meant Arctic Char (a fish not unlike salmon), and for me, it was Duck. Both were delicious.

For the occasion, I wore a new cardigan from LOFT that incorporates faux fur, which looks great both on its own and over the collar of my coat. The rather realistic looking faux fur panel is also detachable, so if I need a long black cardigan, I have one. How versatile! I did safety pin the collar together in the front, since it tends to spread even when buttoned up. It is almost like they forgot a button at the very top. We forgot to take pictures while we were there, so I recreated the look after we got home.

For the actual date, I wore a pair of black pants, but they turned out to be baggier than I remembered, so I swapped them out for my purple skirt.

Jacket: Marc New York (via TJ Maxx)
Cardigan: LOFT (here)
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Sunglasses: Diane Von Furstenberg

Thanks for reading!

Have you tried faux fur this season?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Shoes

I love buying new shoes. You can wear them multiple days in a row and no one looks down on you :). 

I've been wanting to get a pair of black heels that are comfortable enough to wear at work all day. I came across these beauties and they were $15. Yes, I will buy you. 

I love purple and teal together. I just can't help but pair them together when I'm building an outfit. 

Shirt: Gap Outlet
Sweater: Gap Outlet
Pants: Ann Taylor Factory
Shoes: Nine West
Earrings: Francesca's
Necklace: Gift
Watch: Gift

Do you have go to colors when you are trying to build an outfit?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A (Belated) Birthday Present

For my birthday (in March), my sweet husband gave me the promise of a family overnight adventure to Chicago. For months, we waited for an opportunity to go, but Luke was sick, or I couldn't get off work, or we were too tired...until last weekend, when we finally mustered the courage to give it a try. 

Our first stop: the Sears (now Willis) Tower. They recently built transparent ledges on the 103rd floor, so you can actually step out from the building and look down. The Sears (I just can't call it Willis) Tower is currently the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

I have to say, it was a little bit scary, but we figured that if Luke could do it, so could we.

 The next destination: The Field Museum of Natural History. 

This is my favorite museum in Chicago, since it houses dinosaurs and every kind of animal you can think of, stuffed and placed in very realistic environments. You feel like you stumbled upon them in their natural habitat. No problem, tigers, you eat that wart hog. I won't bother you.

The bonus was that they had a special exhibit on Chocolate (can you see the banner to my right?) while we were there. What a happy coincidence! They even gave us a free sample. It is amazing that for all the years that I have loved chocolate, I had no idea where it came from or how it was made. Katie, how is it possible that you hate chocolate?!?!

And what did I wear? 

I really like the mustard and eggplant combo, and the grey sweater kept me warm and cozy. And I had to wear the leopard print scarf, of course, so I would feel at home among the real leopards. 

I tried this new hairstyle all week. Check out this video from Wendy's Lookbook if you want to give it a try. It is a great style if you need to look put-together and you only have 5 minutes.

How did I do?

Twins! (I think he wore it better)

It's ok, Luke. Your mom knows what it's like to be little too. 

We look like we are about to be an unsuspecting lunch...

Thanks, my love, for the great birthday present!

Earrings: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Scarf: Express
Tank: Gap (altered)
Sweater: H&M (recent)
Pants: Gap
Boots: Target

Do animals/nature inspire your clothing choices?