Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday! I hope all of you had a great week.  Mine was busy and still isn't over, but I am getting close to finishing Baby Cardigan's room - which is good news considering that he will be here by March 17th at the latest (eek!)

Before I go trolling Etsy for 8x10 prints, here are 5 things worth sharing on the internet:

1. I am so enamored with this home tour from Jessica Ahnert Davis of The Eagle's Nest.  I love everything about it, especially this little entry way vignette with the mirror and prints.

2.  When I have a waist again, I'm going to wear the crap out of a gingham dress like this one from Gap.  But I will button mine because I am a lady.

3. Last year I was really excited to get some "perfect" leopard flats from Gap, and I am now sad to report that they have been thrown out because after about 4 outings they smelled terrible.  I think these will be my next pair, but I'm on the fence about whether Steve Madden shoes are worth $59.  Thoughts?

4. This week's recipe is a blueberry power muffin made with Chobani greek yogurt from the Domesticated Academic.  I have been craving blueberry muffins, and these look almost too good to be true.  Stay tuned!

5. As the weather starts to warm up, let us all remember how fun it is to mix prints and how much mileage you'll get from a pair of brown wedges that are comfortable.

Bonus 6th Thing for Texas people + Crazy Dog Lady PSA:

** Harold has been adopted!!  Hooray!**  But the story is still important... let's put tags on our dogs, ladies!

Over the President's Day weekend, my husband and I found a big, sweet male yellow Lab wandering around our neighborhood.  Being the dog lovers that we are, we promptly leashed him and gave him some water before taking him on a long walk to knock on doors and see if anyone recognized him.  To our surprise, nobody did, so I put up lots of signs and we let him chill at our house and play with Maggie in the backyard.  He was wearing a collar, had neatly trimmed nails, perfectly clean teeth, and a habit of jumping on couches - all signs pointing to a dog with a family.

So, I did what I still believe is the right thing to do - I turned him over to our local shelter a day later (a Humane Society partnership with a very good live release rate) so his family could find him.  I wouldn't want someone immediately giving or keeping my dogs if they got loose, and I was positive that he'd be reunited soon.

Well, that was a week ago on Tuesday and now Mr. Lab is up for adoption without any takers.  If you or anyone you know would be interested in a calm, healthy male yellow Lab who is about 2 years old and great with other dogs, please point them to Irving Animal Services and ask about "Harold".  I'm sure they'd love to get him in a foster home, too.  I've contacted some rescue groups and none have responded yet, but the thought of him going "code red" makes me want to cry.  (Obviously, with a new baby on the way any day now, we are not in a position to bring a new dog into our home.)

You can check out his page here (he is not a lab mix, they use that label in both instances) and please take a moment to get the word out if you live nearby or have animal rescue connections:

So, the point of this besides finding Harold a family, is to PLEASE put tags on your dog and get a microchip!  My husband and I have found four strays in the past year or two, and not one has had any sort of valid ID tag.  It's so inexpensive, and now you can order tags online or have them engraved by a machine at Petco or Walmart.  Please do it this weekend if your dog is currently wearing only a collar.

The end.

/dismounts soapbox

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Business Capsule Wardrobe: 2014 Edition

As fun as shopping can be, the whole paying for it part can be a real drag.  When you're starting a new job after college, wearing a new size of clothing, or adapting to an office with a different dress code, it's even worse because you need lots of things all at once.

Although my office is as casual as they come (Converse + dog sleeping under my desk today), I haven't forgotten how hard it was to buy a work wardrobe on a limited budget.  I have done several posts on this topic, and as I prepare to facilitate a style workshop later this week, I wanted to share this year's version of the capsule wardrobe:

Avant garde, it is not.  However, if you need to make two weeks worth of outfits (or more) you only need a handful of pieces that fit well and can multi-task:

Pants that Fit: I think you need both a black and gray pair, but you can get buy with just one at first if you're willing to wash them often.  A slim, straight leg hemmed to where it doesn't drag the floor will work with most shoes and is universally flattering - much more so than flared cuts!

A Black Sheath Dress: Look for a close-fitting cut that can be layered under blazers and cardigans - bonus points if it has sleeves and can be worn alone in an office setting.  This can double as your funeral dress and a blank canvas for festive accessories, so go ahead and get the best version you can afford.

Two Skirts:  At least one of these should be a fun, but not too seasonal color (I vote for a saturated blue or burgundy).  Pick the cut that makes you feel prettiest, and keep the length somewhere from 2 inches above to an inch below your kneecap.

Two Button-down Shirts:  At least one should be white, and fit you perfectly with a proper bra.  No gaping buttons!  The other can be colored or black - whichever you're more likely to wear as a base layer.

A Blazer (Optional):  Depending on your needs, a well cut black or gray blazer could get loads of wear both in and out of the office.  I prefer closely fitted, semi cropped cuts as opposed to longer hip length versions, but try on several styles and see what flatters your shape.  It will be obvious! However, you can skip this if you don't think it is needed.

At Least Three Completer Pieces:  These are cardigans or more casual blazers that you'll pair with your base pieces to add color to your outfits.  I highly recommend a few jewel tone cardigans, plus a more structured piece like a sweater blazer that is a little dressier. 

One Pair of Friday Jeans:  These should be a dark wash in either a trouser or slim straight cut.  This is not the time for jeggings, or anything too distressed.

Quality Accessories:  I recommend a skinny black belt, and preferably a leopard print one as well.  These will add interest to your cardigan combinations, and define your waist.  You'll also need a well-made pair of black pumps that aren't going to kill your feet - I highly recommend the Cole Haan/Nike collaboration.  Finally, invest in a purse that isn't coming unstitched and doesn't look cheap.  I'm not saying you need a designer bag by any means, but a well made thrift store purse is a better choice than most $14 versions that start to reek of vinyl after a few weeks.


Wow, that's a lot of information!  What do you think are the most important starter pieces for a business wardrobe?

Friday, February 21, 2014

5 Things Friday

It's Friday - hooray!  I hope y'all have fun plans this weekend - I keep thinking about how it may be one of my last without a baby and that I need to make the most of it.  Perhaps I'll find time for a movie in a theater with a large Icee and more candy than one person should consume.  Any recommendations on what to see?  I'm not up on any of the Oscar nominees, but I don't want to be sad.  Decisions, decisions...

Now, here are five things worth sharing on the internet:

1. This post from SF Girl by Bay yesterday made my internet week.  Amelie is my favorite movie of all time, and I LOVE the art selections inspired by the character.  Check it out!

2. This tank is one of those inexpensive pieces that I could see being worn to death this spring and summer.  I'd layer on the jewelry and put a cardigan on top until the weather warms up.

3. I like the simplicity of this bedroom - a lot.  (It was designed by Geremia Designs.)

4. I really want to make this coconut and lemon bread (via A Feast for the Eyes), but I'll need to translate the recipe into measurements I know because I'm not what 140g of coconut looks like.

image via A Feast for the Eyes

5. Is this not the easiest gift wrap you've seen on Pinterest?  It's among the only examples that don't make me marvel at how much time was spent.  All I need is a roll of brown paper and some washi tape, which you can now buy in tons of colors for $2.99 at Office Max or Office Depot. 

Have a nice weekend, ladies!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Going to Extremes: Getting the Most Out of Your Wardrobe

Happy Tuesday!  So it turns out that I needed a long weekend even more than I realized, and decided to spend Monday taking two impromptu naps, watching a Drunk History marathon, and getting a much needed pedicure.  Clearly, blogging had to take a back seat to that kind of productivity.

However, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love getting extra mileage out of my wardrobe.  I try not to buy things that I can only wear one way, and choosing versatile pieces  makes investing in what you love a lot less painful. 

I know not every garment can go from the board room to the farmers market, or be worn year round, but there is tons of potential in the right pair of trousers and a great-fitting dress. 

Here's what I mean:

If you want to find something to wear to a variety of events year-round, be sure you pick a fabric that's not prominent in just one season.  That means no heavy wools or floaty chiffon, but mid-weight options that will work as the weather shifts from warm to cool. 

You should also be very particular about the fit, as you'll need to be able to add layers or go without.  Not to mention that fact that the right cut makes you look slimmer and more put together!

Finally, try to stick with neutral colors that you can jazz up with playful or sexy accessories.  Think of your investment piece as a chameleon - it should blend in with the rest of your outfit and not necessarily take center stage. 

Got it?  Now go take advantage of those pre-spring sales! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope all of you have a LOVE-ely day, and get to spend part of it with someone you adore... even if they're related to you, a friend, or have four legs and fur.  I'll be back next week!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What I Wear: Casual Valentine's Day Outfits

True confession: Even though I live in a large city, I wear jeans at most restaurants.  I don't pair them with my tennis shoes at dinner, but they fit in best at most of the places we go.

I get the feeling that I am far from alone, and with Valentine's Day looming, I thought I'd put together a few pretend outfits that I'd actually wear... were I not 8 months pregnant with one pair of jeans that fit me.

As you can see, a lot of jewelry and some fun shoes go a long way!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Help me, Mamas! + Random Baby Things

If you don't have any interest in baby things, I'm sorry that today's post doesn't apply to you.  I promise I won't make this a mommy blog!

Tomorrow I will officially be 36 weeks pregnant, and I have begun packing my hospital bag and making random purchases of things that weren't gifted or fun to buy (think wipes, mattress protector, baby mittens, etc).  Since there are so many of you smart, stylish mothers online, I'd love to know what you found most useful in those first few weeks and at the hospital!

We've got the basics covered, but I like to be prepared... if that's even possible. 

I know my baby will look nothing like this, but the photo was taken by my sweet friend Maryam and I think you should check out Sweet Violet Photography if you're in the Dallas area.  She'll be photographing Baby Cardigan after he arrives and I cannot wait!

In other news, I have realized that JCPenney now carries high(er) end baby clothes in the Baker by Ted Baker line and they are adorable and Zara-esque.  So, if you're hunting for a gift, I recommend checking them out before all the cool brands disappear.

I also just discovered an amazing Etsy shop called BLVD67, and have ordered a Boppy cover and changing pad cover for Baby Cardigan.  The prices are great, and the fabrics are modern -- my two favorite things!  Check out these bedding fabric combinations (not limited to baby rooms!):

Finally, this may be a little personal, but did anyone buy a postpartum binder like a Belly Bandit after having a baby?  I've read good things about them, but there are lots of choices and I'm not sure what to get or if I should even bother.  I'm not expecting a miracle or anything, but if it helps I'll do it!  (I'm considering this one)

Friday, February 7, 2014

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday, ladies!  I hope your week has been great, and that you've got some fun in store for the weekend.  I'll be trying to relax with my feet up (late pregnancy swelling is but also doing lots of organizing in Baby Cardigan's room and trying to make it ready in the event that he comes early. 

Before then, here are five things worth sharing on the internet:

1. One of my favorite baby gifts from last week's shower is a set of Baby Lit books, which are toddler versions of classic tales that teach counting, colors, and other subjects with amazing modern illustrations.  Now I want them all!

2. As someone who was always the youngest in class, I thought this article was really interesting.  Basically, studies have been conducted in several countries and all have shown that the practice of "red shirting" kids so that they'll be among the oldest in the kindergarten class doesn't have long-term benefits and the younger kids consistently outperform their older peers by the time everyone is in 8th grade. 

He's wearing a red shirt... get it?

3. I've said time and time again that I don't know how I lived without my leather moto jacket.  It's the perfect weight, and goes with pretty much everything.  If you're in the market for one of your own (real or faux), now is the time to buy!  I really like the Bernardo brand that you can find at Nordstrom, and there are several styles half off right now!

 cognac / gray / tan / black

4. This pregnant lady wants to make a giant oatmeal cream pie REALLY bad.  Check out the recipe at Sally's Baking Addiction!

5. I tend to keep controversial topics off this blog, but as a mama to be, I am now hyper aware of the possibility that someone's unvaccinated child could expose mine to a dangerous illness before he is old enough to be protected.  It really scares me, and since lots of people like to argue about this on the interwebs, I thought I'd share an incredibly well-written article penned by a doctor about this topic.  Besides the science (the not disproven, peer-reviewed kind), the issue of trust between doctor and parent is not one that I'd considered.

Bonus 6th Thing!  Do not click through if you are not up to date on Downton Abbey!

//// spoiler ahead ////

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Business Casual Doesn't Mean Boring!

Oh hey, internet.  Sorry I ended up taking a little unplanned break, but I am back after a fantastic weekend with my family and some really busy work days that didn't leave time for blogging.

Speaking of work, I have been browsing on Pinterest in hopes of being inspired to create some new outfits with my very limited, 8-months pregnant, maternity wardrobe.  I didn't see much to help me, but I did see lots of the same old basic work outfits.  /sad trombone

I know that some offices won't take kindly to those who push the envelope (which sounds terrible to me!) but for the most part, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with injecting some personality into your wardrobe and wearing classic silhouettes in unexpected colors and prints.  Unless you are required to wear suits in a conservative setting, you probably have a little more freedom than you realize!

Here's what I mean:

In my opinion, wearing a black striped dress instead of a solid one does not suggest that you're any less capable, especially when you pair it with a ladylike wedge.  You can also make your bright dresses work at the office (if the fabric is right) by wearing them under a blazer or cardigan.

Also, basic slim black slacks suddenly feel more Deschanel-esque when paired with a printed flat and creamy blouse, as do a subtly patterned pair that can get down to business with a sleek sweater as well as your favorite evening top and heels. 

Isn't that more fun than a plain white button-down?  I agree.


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