Monday, July 30, 2012

Important Causes: A Mighty Girl!

This has nothing to do with clothes, shopping, or anything else you usually see here, but as a devoted bookworm and sometimes feminist I got really excited when I saw this:

A Mighty Girl is a website devoted to compiling a collection of books and movies with smart, confident heroines and encouraging girls to read and feel inspired.  In a time when many toys for girls resemble prostitutes, and you can buy "children's lingerie" promoted by Miley Cyrus' little sister, I think it's great that some people are taking  a stand and making it easy for parents, teachers and those of us with young female relatives and friends to find material that doesn't portray girls as sidekicks who need a boyfriend.

So, I encourage you to check out the site if you're in the market for books and movies aimed at those under 13 and use their Amazon referral links to buy the products so they can keep building the community and establishing book clubs for girls. [dismount soapbox]

What to Read: Roco Mag

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend.  I had a great time touring an awesome local brewery with friends, then enjoying lots of good food and naps. 

I also had the chance to sit down with a great new Irish digital interiors magazine called Roco launched by a fellow blogger, Rachael Colton.  Some of you may remember that Rachael has posted here, and I have filled in for her, so if you're familiar with her taste then you're probably psyched to see it on a much grander scale.

I know there are lots of online magazines out there, but Roco is different in that it caters to the Irish design scene, and those of us who want a taste of something different.  I loved the first issue, and encourage you to check it out.  Here's a little peek:

The debut issue has lots of big names, plus gorgeous rooms, fashion, and an idyllic Irish wedding.  It certainly makes me want to catch a plane to Dublin, and commend Rachael on following her dreams. 

Have you checked out Roco, yet? 

Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday!  Who else is super excited for the Olympics to start today?!  I can't wait... but first I have to get through what's going to be a long, busy day at work.  Until then, here are five things I thought were worth sharing on the internet:

1. I made this pasta salad for dinner last night and it was SO easy and good!  I did tweak the recipe to a be a little healthier by substituting turkey bacon for the normal kind, and adding a little less avacado.  We'll be eating this again at our house!

2. Ever since I saw this image on Pinterest, I've been inspired to layer some of my shorter necklaces.  However, I need to make a quick trip to Forever 21 for a couple of cheapies to round out the collection.

3. My husband has decided that he is going to put his mad carpentry skills to good use and build us an end table, since we can't find one we like that offers enough storage for our bonanza of remotes, iPad, and wireless keyboard (yeah, that's how we roll at our house).  I've been tasked with gathering inspiration, and so far I'm loving this vintage piece and think we may copy it in ash wood, with a little less height.

Source: via Haley on Pinterest

4. My birthday is coming up two weeks from Sunday, and I've decided that I really want this watch above all other presents.  I hope N sees this.

5. This week I discovered a really interesting website called The Burning House, which is a photography project where people gather what they'd grab if their home were burning and submit a photo.  It's really fascinating to see how people from all over the world approach the question, and there has recently been a book published, which is also on my birthday list.  I think it would be a good coffee table option, don't you?

And with that, I bid you good weekend!  GO USA!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fit 101: Finding Flattering Pants

I'm one of those people who notices everyone's outfit, and am quick to compliment.  What I would never do is critique, as much as the patrons of my local grocery store need me to do so.  However, since someone asked me in a comment, I decided it would be helpful (and fun!) to put together a quick review on how to pick pants that are flattering on your body.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when you shop:

Consider straight-leg instead of skinny
Even though the skinny jeans trend seems to be here to stay, many women will look thinner in a slim cut, straight leg style that doesn't cling to the leg from the knees down.  When a pant leg is tight all the way to the ankle, it helps create an upside down triangle shape on your body if your legs aren't thin.  However, a slightly looser leg is going to make your thighs stand out less and make you seem taller, while still following the trend.  This is the best way to wear white jeans if you're scared of appearing larger than you are!

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

You should be able to stick your hands in your pockets, even if it means going up a size
A lot of women clearly think that if they zip, they fit.  This could not be further from the truth, since the best way to look fat is to be squeezed into your pants.  If you cannot stand comfortably without sucking in and put a hand in your pocket (or the waistband) then sitting down is going to be really awful and you'll likely have to adjust them every time you stop moving.  (If you need some reassurance regarding that number on the label, check it out this post I wrote on the topic a while back)

Look, here's an example of pants that skim the hips but aren't too tight with horizontal wrinkles radiating from the crotch:

Source: via Haley on Pinterest

Shop to fit your hips, then worry about length
Most stores offer pants in a choice of three inseam lengths, at most.  Last time I checked, women came in a much wider variety of heights, which means most of us need to hem our pants to the perfect length.  That means that you should keep your eyes open for pairs that flatter you from waist to knees and worry about the length later.  Since I like wearing my pants cropped just above my ankle bone (to show off my shoes!) I often end up buying long length pants on clearance and then chopping off eight inches or more.  So long as you're not buying an extremely flared shape, you'll be fine!

For example, for me to have pants like that, the inseam would be 26 inches - good luck finding that in a store!

Yes, you can wear color! (if they fit)
I'm not sure why people think colored pants make them look large since we all walk around wearing blue pants and think we look great.  The challenge with finding colored pants is that the trend seems to be most available in skinny cuts, which are hard to wear.  It's common knowledge (on this blog) that jewel tones look great on everyone, and the same goes for pants if they follow the same fit guidelines you look for in the rest of your wardrobe, it just may be tougher to find them. 

Source: via Haley on Pinterest

Hopefully this was helpful.  I think I should print it out and post it at my local Tom Thumb so that the too-small jeggings wearers know that they're hurting my eyes.

What's your pants pet peeve?  Or am I the only person who has one of those? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reader Request: Preppy Chic Checklist

Good morning!  I hope you all had an amazing weekend - mine was wonderful, and I can't wait for the next one.  I received a request email last week from Kate, a reader who said she'd love to see a checklist of preppy must-have pieces.  Since I'm a big fan of that look, despite being far far away from the quintessential Northeast prepster culture, I had fun putting this collection together for her.

The inspiration:

Source: via Evie on Pinterest

The list:

Preppy Checklist

In my opinion, no preppy wardrobe is complete without:

1. Colorful oxford shirts for layering in the fall winter, and worn alone the rest of the time.  Don't forget to pop the collar and roll the sleeves!
2. The perfect pair of white jeans
3. Monograms!  Start with a necklace and phone case, then move on to luggage.
4. The quintessential navy blazer - preferably shrunken and feminine
5. Classic accessories like aviator glasses and a beat up leather weekend bag that you'll carry for 20+ years
6. Loafers - preferably colorful ones like these cheapies from Gap and Target
7. Stripey cardigans for layering over the oxford shirts
8. Nautical accessories like a striped belt and Sperry topsiders
9. The classic khaki trench coat
10. Candy colored chino pants and shorts

Now, who wants to watch The Royal Tenenbaums and trade in your car for a Grand Wagoneer?  Anybody?

Hopefully this was helpful for Kate, and the rest of you.  If you have a shopping dilemma, send me an email and let me know.  I love helping out!

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday!  Who besides me is ready to not do a damn thing until Sunday?  I am going to be with my husband and not look at my phone or laptop, and go to dinner with my girlfriends tonight and enjoy some wine and their company.  I encourage you to do the same, but until then here are five things I deemed worth sharing:

1. I freaking love this quote:
“People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl … It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.” —Gabourey Sidibe

2. For the past two weeks, I've had 10 stitches in the middle of my back from a pre-cancerous mole that had to be excised.  It sucks, and reminds me every day how important it is to have your skin checked by a dermatologist.  I have to go twice yearly thanks to my medical history, and if I hadn't been doing so since I was 12, my current situation may have been much worse since the mole in question is one I've had for about 10 years.  Please, don't put off making an appointment for a baseline skin check, and keep an eye out for problems.  If you have ever used tanning beds, you should be googling the doctor's phone number right now.  You have officially been warned.

P.S. Also, pale is beautiful too!  If it's good enough for the Emmas, it's good enough for us.

3. Since I had exactly one well-fitting sports bra and about 5 that were either too big or small, I bit the bullet this week and bought this bra.  Let me just tell you, it is most amazing feat of engineering you'll ever put on your body.  There is no pinching, no bulges, and you feel less sweaty.  If you've got a large chest, I encourage you to try it out.  However, I still find it terribly unfair that we must pay so much more than our smaller friends.
4. I totally forgot that Project Runway premiered last night, but I watched the first episode and I am pumped!  It's the only reality show I really like, and I can't wait to see the skill on display this season.  Any early predictions?  Read about the new season here.

5. There's something I find really striking about this lamp, the shade (a DIY project via Pomp and Circumstance) and the wall color in this photo.  I just love it, and although I'm not sure where I could copy it, I will keep thinking and perhaps try my hand at my own balsa wood shade! 

And with that, I bid you good weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shopping & Lies

I am sort of ashamed to say that shopping is my main hobby besides reading books and watching movies.  My cousin and I jokingly talk about finding something else to occupy our weekend afternoons together, but we always end up trolling the Banana Republic sale room instead of taking up tennis or crafts.

All those years of perusing the racks, plus several years of working in marketing, make me especially entertained by the efforts to influence our behavior and those who fall for it.  Since I feel like sharing, here's a few of the things that have caught my eye lately:

Lie #1 - Shorts are fine for an office job, as long as they're tailored
Wrong.  It is not okay to wear shorts to work, even knee length ones with heels, unless your office is exceptionally casual and shorts are specifically permitted.  Seriously, don't do it. You'll look like you manage a club.

Lie #2 - You should always wear two shirts (or more!)
It's not a coincidence that mannequins and models are usually wearing two shirts.  If a few of you believe that's how you must dress and in turn buy multiple pieces, then it was worth it.

Source: via Aurora on Pinterest

Lie #3 - This shirt will fit like we've shown it on this mannequin
If a shirt is pinned onto a mannequin so that it looks fitted, that means it's not cut that way.  Lands' End is the worst about this - their button downs look cute and slim fitting, but the side seams go almost straight down from the armpits and are cut like a man's shirt.  You MUST try on the clothes, or be okay with coming back for a return.  (Funny, I found a post by my e-friend Sarah, observing the same thing.  This is her photo)

Lie #4 - If you've washed or worn it, it's yours forever.
The vast majority of stores will allow you to return or exchange a defective item if it falls apart sooner than you think it should.  I end up doing this a few times per year, often with shoes, and have never once had a problem.  Here's why they don't mind:  the items you buy cost the company usually about 20-30% of what you paid after the first markdown (if that's their pricing strategy) - this is how stores can afford to mark things down 50% and still make money.  That means your return amounts to a small loss compared to the lifetime value of your business if you keep shopping there, or worse, the potential bad publicity you'll give them if you tell your blog readers about the bad experience you had.

Which leads me to the final misconception...

Lie #5 - Higher price = Higher quality
Clothing and shoes are worth whatever people will pay for them.  Just because the tank top has a $69 price tag doesn't mean it's going to last or be better than the one that's $19.99 at Gap.  If you can't tell outright that the seams are well done and fabric is sturdy, someone's probably making a lot of money on it.  Some luxury brands mark up their goods 700% more than the cost of making them (especially if that happened overseas in places like China and India) and people happily pay it for the prestige.

Source: via Sharareh on Pinterest

Image via

So... who wants to go shopping?  :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Be the Best Dressed Guest: What To Wear to Weddings

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I had the pleasure of attending a gorgeous wedding on Saturday night, and it reminded me that I should share my annual reminder of the foolproof formula for wedding guest attire.

Long time readers will be familiar with my love affair with the jewel tone sheath dress.  They look good on all skin tones, and the shape is among the most forgiving you can wear.  All you have to add is some bold accessories and great shoes, and you can switch them up to make the dress work all year round because, contrary to popular belief, nobody remembers what you wear from month to month.  I wear the same two dresses to almost all weddings, and nobody ever calls me on it (to my face).

Here are some examples of what to look for when you're shopping:

best dressed guest - jewel tone dresses

I know the dresses shown above are expensive, but you can find these shapes all over.  I think a dress like this is a great investment piece, since you can wear it for years without looking dated.

Happy shopping!


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