Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The BSC - What would they wear now?

Last week there was a guest post on Dooce about the Baby Sitters Club, which sent me and my friend Julie on a trip down memory lane and led to the discovery of a hilarious blog called What Claudia Wore

I cannot tell you how obsessed I was with the BSC when I was 9-11.  I probably had about 90 books once you counted the mysteries and Super Specials (Remember when the club went to NYC together?) and really wanted to live in Stoneybrook instead of Highlands, TX.   Once I got to 8th grade I moved on, but I will always love the BSC and the years I kept my local Waldenbooks in business.

I learned that Ann M. Martin has just written a new BSC book (yes!) but it's a prequel and not the "Where are they now" update I was hoping for.  Since she's not going to write one and describe their fantastic outfits, I decided to give it a shot my way.  I apologize in advance if you're not the right age to enjoy this, but I'm having fun here.  

Kristy Thomas
I think Kristy probably grew up to be a teacher/coach who lives with her partner, 2 kids, and dog Louie Jr. in Massachusetts.  She played softball in college and is still a tomboy, but not in a hopeless way because her friends Claudia and Stacey take her shopping once a year when she visits them in NYC.
Claudia Kishi
I think Claudia managed to get accepted to RISD (she learned to spell and focused more on her art in high school) and is now working as a designer/painter in NYC.  She still dresses like a crazy person and is married to a graphic designer who wears hats that she makes.  When she's been drinking, she bitches about how Lady GaGa is stealing her look.

Stacey McGill
Stacey went to NYU and still lives in New York (of course).  Since she is so great with numbers, she landed a job in finance, a Wall Street husband, and spends her downtime shopping for Burberry, Louboutins and designer pieces on  She's still close friends with Claudia and they go out for cocktails once a month.

Mary Anne Spier
Mary Anne and Logan didn't stay together after high school.  He got a scholarship to the University of Kentucky and she didn't want to leave the east coast.  She's now a high school guidance counselor and lives with her husband and young daughter in Connecticut.  She and the BSC girls keep up on Facebook, but her life is more about being a mom and visiting Dawn in California.  Stacey bought her that fancy diaper bag.

Dawn Schaefer
Dawn is still in California and runs a small vegan restaurant in Santa Monica with her surfer husband.  She's all about casual, fair trade clothes (those are PVC sandals) and surfing.  She visits Stoneybrook a few times a year to see her mom and Mary Anne, but mostly grew apart from the others since she moved away in 1995.

Mallory Pike
Mallory moved far away from her giant family and does not have or want any children.  She went to Northwestern and now works in a library in Chicago and has a snarky blog where she makes fun of chic lit books and Twilight.  She and Jessie grew apart after high school, but still see each other at Christmas and laugh about how the residents of Stoneybrook let them be in charge of children at the age of 11.
Jessi Ramsey
Jessie went to Julliard and is a member of a dance company in New York.  She's tried out for So You Think You Can Dance a couple of times, but they don't pick ballerinas very often.  She lives in a 1 bedroom apartment with two other dancers but wears more than leotards and a ballerina bun these days (thank goodness).

So who was your favorite character?  Do you agree with my picks?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cole Haan Giveaway - tell your friends!

I know I've only been blogging a few months, but since I don't do many things halfway, I want to increase my readership and get a better idea of how many ladies visit this site in a week.  I know I haven't gotten to 9,000 page views through my friends and coworkers only, so I hope that you'll participate in this little experiment and potentially win a great prize! 

Since it's summer, I am giving away a brand new pair of black Cole Haan sunglasses with a case!  These usually cost around $70, but I got a great deal and decided to pass them along to the rest of you in hopes that you'll help me out by recommending this blog to your friends and becoming a follower or fan on Facebook

Here's how this will work:  I am going to create an Excel spreadsheet and you will get one line for each action you take.  At 8:00 Central time on Monday, July 5th I will cut off the entries and then use a random number generator to select a row number.  On July 6th, I'll post the name of the winner and she'll need to email me about claiming the prize.  To get rows in my spreadsheet, you can:

1. Comment on this post with your name (and your blog, if you'd like) You do not have to create any sort of account to leave a comment.
2. Recommend this blog to your friends.  For every friend of yours who comments and includes your name as the referral, you will get another row in the spreadsheet and she'll be entered to win as well
3. Become a follower (see right) and comment letting me know that you did- you don't have to have a blog or even a Gmail account.  It only takes a moment.  If you're already a follower, say so in the comments and you'll get an additional row in the spreadsheet
4. Like me on Facebook (see right) and comment letting me know that you did.  If you're already a fan, say so in your comment and you'll get an additional row in the spreadsheet
5. Add me to your blogroll and you'll get two more rows in the spreadsheet.  (Link me to your blog in your comment so I can see it)

6. Write a post about how you enjoy this blog so much and you'll get three more rows in the spreadsheet.  (Link me to your blog in your comment so I can see it)
 Let me know if things aren't clear, but I'm hoping you ladies will run with this and help me increase my readership and get to the point where giveaways will be common around here.  Good luck!!

The impossible dream: Cheap sandals that don't hurt

My friend Leslie has asked me to try and help her find a pair of cute sandals to last her through the rest of the summer, but they need to be comfortable enough or all-day wear and around the $40 mark.  The comfort stipulation rules out the flat, 1/4 inch hard soled sandals that are all over Target this summer and makes this challenge pretty difficult.  However, since I can't stand to wear poorly made shoes either, I can't blame her!

I started looking at DSW because they offer name brand shoes, but often from last year and discounted prices.  I was pleasantly surprised at the selection and found the following options that may work for Leslie:

Yellow Box Charlotte Sandal
This sandal has the same look as the hard, flat soled ones but with more than twice the padding underfoot

Jones New York Heira Wedge Sandal
This sandal has a very small wedge that I think would keep it from being painful after several hours, and the straps have enough embellishment to look cute with dresses as well as jeans

Unisa Connie Studded Cork Wedge
The cork sole on this sandal should make it more comfortable than most, and I like the silver studs as well.

 Liz Claiborne Binti Sandal
This sandal looks very comfortable, with an extremely padded sole, but may be a little too basic

Aerosoles Discovery Sandal

These are also very basic, but are chicer than many other Aerosoles and would be comfortable for sure

Next, I started looking on and filtered by a top price of $45 and showed only brands I had heard of to narrow down the 2000+ choices
These look comfortable, but I'm not a fan of the heel strap with dresses

This pair is definitely fancier than most, but would look cute for a date or even with shorts and a tank for running errands

Hopefully one of these options will work for Leslie, or anyone else looking for comfortable shoes at a low price point.  Happy shopping!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Non-Bridesmaid Dresses

Even though I'm pretty far along in my wedding plans, I still like to look at the magazines and see what other people have done.  I enjoy looking at gowns and reception decor, but almost every ad for bridesmaid dresses make me cringe because they are so. freaking. ugly.

Who decided that matte satin was a good choice for everyone?  Not to mention with bows and sashes.  I wanted the girls in my wedding to actually be able to wear their dresses again and decided that since so many weddings are in the works right now, I'd track down a few options for bridesmaids that would fit the same criteria.  Most often, that means bypassing bridal brands entirely and looking at other stores for cuts and fabrics that are flattering on a lot of body shapes.  Here are my favorites right now:

The Limited Draped Waist Tank Dress
Earlier this month, The Limited launched their bridal collection and it was pretty pathetic.  Hardly any colors and about three dresses that look like what they already sold.  However, this dress would be a great choice if you have bridesmaids in a range of sizes.  The v-neck and defined waist are universally flattering, and the light gray color would be very chic with bright flowers but also wearable at holiday parties and weddings afterward.

Ann Taylor LOFT Sheath Dress
So many bridesmaid designers offer a basic black dress for the brides who decide to be kind, but they charge about $140 for them.  A dress like this is cut so basically and made from thick, shiny cotton that could be accented with a statement necklace (cool bridesmaid gift idea!) and only costs $80.  

J.Crew Silk Tricotine Allegra Dress
I think J.Crew has the best line of bridesmaid dresses, and this dress is my favorite because the fabric is dressy enough for a fancier wedding, but you can still get a variety of colors for $140 or less.  Plus, all your bridesmaids can order their own dress online.

Calvin Klein Empire Waist Gown
For those wanting their bridesmaids in a long dress, I think the key to versatility is being able to picture someone wearing it to a charity event.  This dress is made of a more elegant fabric than most bridesmaid dresses and could easily be sold after the wedding or shortened.

Speechless Halter Gown with Brooch
This dress is a cheaper alternative to the one above, but I would remove the brooch and replace with something a bit nicer from Etsy.

Aidan Mattox Cross Back Dress
Obviously, this dress is not intended for large breasted bridesmaids but it would be equally cute in a wedding or on New Years Eve.

Carol Hannah Whitfield Pinckney St Dress
If you and your bridesmaids are Project Runway fans, Carol Hannah (from last year's New York season) sells wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses on  I like the one-shouldered Pinckney St dress, which comes in silk chiffon or jersey and in several colors.  Each dress is made to order, so they most more than most but are definitely versatile.

Hopefully this is helpful to those of you planning weddings.  Please remember to say no to red satin.  It's not anyone's friend.

And for those not shopping for bridesmaid gowns, what was your best (or worst) dress from the past?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best thing at Target

Yes, I know posting things from Target makes me Captain Obvious, but I seriously did not realize how much the Dwell Studio line has been expanded lately and I want all of it!

Previously, there were a few bedspreads and some baby clothes but now there are so many more items including kitchen textiles

and way more pretty bedspreads

And rugs

The prices are great, which makes this line an affordable alternative to more expensive lines like Crate and Barrel and West Elm.  If you're just starting out, or just tired of what you have, I think a few of these pieces would go a long way in a kitchen or bedroom.  Now run to Target before they're all gone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mid-week treats from Overstock

I don't need any clothing or bags right now, but that doesn't stop me from browsing.  I started looking at sofa tables on Overstock, but quickly ended up on the handbags page and found what appear to be some hidden gems from a brand called Presa for around $100 (or less), which is cheap for real leather bags of that size.

Next, I started looking for workout clothes (since I have 3 months to get to the weight I want) and found a lot of Calvin Klein activewear for around $20 or less, which is about the same price as TJ Maxx

And if you're in the market for neutral, metallic heels, this pair from Nine West is only $39.99

And now I need to stop looking before I buy something I don't need.  Happy Online Shopping!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts

Last Friday I had time to catch up on my tv watching, and stumbled across a pretty impactful show on Planet Green (originally aired on BBC).  It's a documentary series called Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts and it placed five twenty-something Londoners who love cheap fashion inside Indian garment factories.  They lived with the workers, worked in the factories, and saw how little their paychecks go despite the hard work and long hours.  A stick of deodorant cost an entire day's wages for someone on the sewing tables.

I will admit that I don't give much thought to where my clothes come from.  I know most all of our clothes are made in foreign factories but I trusted that conditions were decent.  On this show, I recognized labels from Target and was really saddened by the fact that the people who make those shirts make around $2 per day and live in poverty.  And that's in the nice factory!  There were lots of factories that were just disgusting and the workers had to sleep there under the sewing machines.

You can read about the show here 

It really made me think about the true price of a $7.99 shirt.  If we keep buying these clothes and putting pressure on retailers to keep prices so low, then we're supporting the need for low wages so that a shirt will cost only 25 cents to produce.   Then, on the other hand, I know there are people here who can't afford to spend $25 on a shirt made by well-paid workers and if orders are reduced, those same Indian workers will have no job at all.  What's a girl to do?

I know I can't buy all my clothes from Etsy and vintage stores, and the fair trade clothing sites I've found features lots of plain, unfashionable stuff.  So, internet, what do you think we should do?  Know any good sites that sell cute fair trade clothing (besides American Apparel)?  Share with the rest of us!

$20 towards my tunic dress

Sorry I've been away so long, but I desperately needed a 4 day weekend and spent some time with my family in Bryan and Houston.  While I was there, I ended up making some progress in my dress search.

Since I could not find a suitable tunic dress for less than $100, I've decided to go a different route.  I went to JoAnn's fabric and found a 99 cent pattern (the bottom middle option below) plus black eyelet fabric and interlining all for $20.

I'm going to have a dress made and hopefully, end up with what I want for under $75.  Has anyone had this done in Dallas before?  Where should I go?

Friday, June 18, 2010

You, too, can wear a giant necklace

So many times I've had women tell me "I like your necklace.  I wish I could wear something like that, but I would look weird."  I can relate to that feeling because up until 2006, I was the same way.  I wore a small diamond solitaire on a white gold chain almost every day.  I still wear it sometimes, but after college I was pretty poor (not gonna lie) and had to find ways to make my nine outfits look like more than nine outfits. 

Since it took some trial and error for me to figure out what works, I thought I'd show how to style a few beginner necklaces in hopes of growing the ranks of Brave Necklace Wearers. 

Long Silver Necklace
Besides a solitaire, there isn't another necklace that's easier to wear.  I have two, one thick and one that's more delicate, and wear them with every style of outfit I own.  I'll throw them on with a tank top and bermuda shorts, or with my work outfits.   If you're only getting one, I'd go with something a little on the thicker side so people will see it.  As you get comfortable, add a gold or bronze necklace to your collection too.

Colorful Beads
These necklaces take a touch more courage, but make a plain top into an outfit that looks like you planned it.  I have this type of necklace in turquoise and red and wear both quite often, especially in the winter with my 3/4 sleeve v-necks, but also with tank tops and dresses in the summer.  To prove the versatility, I styled a winter work outfit, a more formal evening look, and super casual summer dress all with the same Fossil necklace.

The Bib
Too many people are afraid of necklaces as big as their hands, but I think they look so great on most people as long as the necklace sits at the neckline of your top (or you're going strapless).   If the necklace is bold and bright, like the one below, it still goes with a lot of things but you may have to adjust the length so that it sits in the right spot.  I'm not above extending my necklaces with a chain of safety pins to make it line up with my top.  I think colorful stones go as well with jeans and a neutral cardigan as with a more formal look for an evening wedding.

Hopefully this inspired a few of you to be brave and branch out.  If you see a necklace you like, but don't know how to wear it, let me know and I'll help out. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shopping for other people: Babies (Part 2)

It's been a while since I've posted a selection of baby gifts, and since every third person I know is having a child in the next 6 months, it is time to refresh the gift list.  I do buy things from registries if I think they're cute, but if I have to choose between bottles or some boring onesies I'm going to strike out on my own and pick something cute and unique from an Etsy seller.  Like these things (notice the absence of giant head bows):

Knitted Hats from CiteFuzz
I think these are precious and sturdy enough to be handed down later.  Just be sure to figure out how many months old the baby will be when it starts getting cold, and allow several weeks for the hat to be made.

Custom Mobiles by Hart's Desire
I know this gift would be best with some input on colors from Mom, but I love it.  It's so simple and chic for those who don't want the room to scream 'baby' and older kids would enjoy it too

Pillow Case Dresses
You can find these dresses from various sellers that look so cute on little girls.  I like when they're made from modern fabrics and use material instead of ribbon to secure the top.

The Unisex gift
I have to include something green/blue/yellow for those who want to be surprised, and I think this blanket is really cute and not too babyish.

Onesies from FinchBaby
I have no idea if these onesies will survive the rigors of babyhood, but they are so cute I don't care.  I don't think baby clothes necessarily have to be cutesy, and the mod mommies out there will like them.  (You practical moms are cringing, aren't you?)


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