Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Outfit of the Day

Hi everyone, sorry I've been gone the past few days.  Here are some recent outfits.

I think you either want fantasy in a blog, or you want reality.  I love looking at some of the high fashion and high end blogs, but in the end, I'd much rather see what real people who are kind of like me are wearing.  And I hope you like that too.

Jacket - Gap. Shirt-ANA at JC Penney. Skirt - Ann Taylor via ebay.  Bag- Sak Silverlake Flap in Teak. Gap flats.

I found this jacket tagged $7 at my local Gap. Must have been a return or something.  The belt actually hit at my waist.  I'm short waisted so things with a self belt normally hit me too low, below my waist. It breaks one of my fundamental rules: no pockets on the boobs. These are pretty flat and placed high so they are passable.  One thing about rules is that they are made to be broken!

I think Sak leather bags are way underrated.  I got this one from Overstock, but you can find them under $100 on similar sites like QVC and Amazon as well as in department stores.  It is a well made bag with soft but substantial leather.  The Teak is a great cognac color.  I can't believe I chose brown for this but I am trying to branch out from my usual black.  I now have quite a lot of brown for summer.  And it's true, cognac does go with everything, even black.  I like the cross body style to give my shoulders a break form big heavy bags.

Do you have "rules" for yourself about clothes? Do you break them?'

Have you tried cognac yet?  Boots are next on my cognac list.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gap's fall line

I tried on a bunch of items at Gap the other day.  The lighting was terrible and my fitting room photos did not come out, so I hope you won't mind stock photos.  I didn't bring anything home, nor was there anything I wanted to use the 40% coupon on so I didn't ever bother getting one.

On to the reviews!

Striped Embellished T, $29.50.
I tried this on based on Ema's recommendation.  It is a nice quality fabric.  The cut is not as lean as J Crew's current striped shirt.  It was a nice fit on me even though the cotton/modal blend was a touch clingy on my stomach.  I was close to getting it and then I looked at those horizontal stripes on the DDs and realized that it would have to be a layering top only.  And my days of layering something long sleeved under something else long sleeved are pretty much behind me.  I about had a hot flash just thinking about it!  But even though it was a no go for me I recommend it.

Tweed Vest, $59.50
This is 52% Wool, 48% Rayon.  The fabric felt nice and not itchy. I liked the color of the tweed and I think it would go with a lot. I have been looking for a menswear vest for three or four years now.  As you can imagine, finding one that fits in the bust and does not gap under the arms has been the challenge.  This was close but no cigar.  I probably should be looking for a petite (I know, sounds weird to think of a big bust in a petite but I often fit better into petite tailored items).  This of course doesn't come in a petite.

Shrunken Pin Striped Vest, $59.50
See above.  This one fit worse.  If I  had known the word "shrunken" was in the title, I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Band Blazer, $98.00
I liked this blazer.  My tiny Gap had it in navy and black.  The material was a substantial cotton knit, and it was much more flattering than the brown tweed.  It is fitted, and it hit me in the waist pretty well, considering I'm high waisted.  However, I don't need navy or black blazers.  The brown tweed didn't fit as well.  The tweed was better quality than last year's horrible scratchy tweed, but I was still afraid it would itch around the neck. And I don't need brown.  I need gray.  And my Gap didn't have any jackets in gray.

Corduroy Trimmed Utility Jacket, $89.50
This jacket has a nice, substantial cotton shell.  It is lined and a good weight for fall. It might be a tad warm to wear inside.  The color, called "split pea," was more vivid than it shows online.  I was immediately attracted to the belted style.  You know, hourglass, accentuate the waist, et cetera.  I didn't love the corduroy collar.  I think it would be hard to keep popped and I could see it wearing before the other fabric.  This almost fit, but the waist hit me a bit below my natural waist (which is how the majority of misses belted things hit me).  No petite in this one.  It also comes in a nut/oak brown called "worker brown," which is gorgeous if you can wear it.  I prefer the Old Navy and J Crew incarnations of the field jacket to this one.

Well, I hope these reviews gave you some insight into a few of Gap's fall items.  I hope to try on more when I get to the city in a few weeks.

Do you like the Gap? Do you feel they have been a bit "off" in the past few years?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't Knock Forever 21

As a 40-something professional mom, you wouldn't think I'd frequent Forever 21.  But I do. I admit, just looking in there is overwhelming.  It seems disorganized, and for me searching for something I saw on a blog or in a magazine is next to impossible.  The staff is not helpful.  There's usually a line for the fitting room.  And face it, it's probably not worth my time because it's juniors sizing, so very little would even fit.  Have you ever tried to find a large at F21? I'm convinced they just don't have them.

OK, so what do I like at F21? Accessories!  They are inexpensive, on trend, and all contained in their own little area.  Usually there is a table or two with accessories on or around it.  I just make a beeline for the table and ignore the rest.  I don't care for the faux leather bags, but the faux leather belts are just fine, as are the scarves, necklaces and bracelets.  I don't wear regular sunglasses (mine are Rx) but they have those too.

Here are some of my treasures:

On the left is a multi colored scarf.  It has the perfect amount of volume and streaks of my major wardrobe colors against a neutral background that contains brown and black.  

Next is a knock off of the Anthropologie Stormy Seas necklace.  Yes, the charms are plastic but you have to get really close to tell.  Plus the small beads are silver; Anthro's are gold.  I usually prefer silver when it's available.

Third is a long multi chain necklace in silver for when I need to add a little rocker to my outfit.

Fourth is a gold necklace in turquoise.  I love turquoise, I didn't have a long turquoise necklace and for $5.88 I can stand gold.

Here is the same necklace in silvertone with white beads. Old Navy shirt.

All of these items combined set me back less than $30.  They aren't going to last forever, but with gentle care and a ziplock bag (to prevent tarnishing) they are holding up just fine.

So next time you're at the mall, don't walk past F21!

Outfits of the Day

Hi everyone, just a few quick outfit posts this morning.  I'll be back later with some reviews of Gap's new fall line.

On Friday, I was at a loss for what to wear.  When in doubt, pull out a dress.  This is an old one and a favorite for traveling.

Merona dress.  And yes, I usually wear a slip underneath.

Yesterday it cooled down a bit so I tried to do a jacket.  I was going for the military with girlie look.  This jacket is from 2007.  I guess I don't need a new one this fall, do I?

Gap Outlet jacket, Ann Taylor skirt, J Crew slub shirred ruffle shirt (outlet version), Mia Hayat sandals.  Sorry for the blurry pic.

Bonus: How do you like my latest mani?

This is Sinful Colors Mint Apple. Best $1.99 I ever spent, thanks to Nouveau Cheap! If you haven't checked out this wonderful blog, save yourself some time and money with her great recommendations.

I lift heavy and I always think it's a hoot when I'm there in the weight room with a crazy mani among the guys.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Big Day for Generation Z

According to Wikipedia, "Generation Z'ers are typically the children of Generation X, their parents also include the youngest Baby Boomers as well as older members of Generation Y."

My son, The Most Wonderful Boy In The Word, started kindergarten today.  He missed the cutoff last year, which means he will be turning 6 in just a few weeks.  Everyone has asked my whether I cried when he went to school.  I didn't because he is more than ready.  He went to summer school at his current school, so even though he's in a different room, has a different teacher and only has a few of his friends from summer school in his current class, he's hitting the ground running. While the time has gone quickly, I don't want to hold him back and I'm trying not to hover.  I think I've helped instill the coping skills he'll need, but he remains really sensitive. I don't think I want that to change.

I tell Wonder Boy that he has an old mommy.  That made getting pregnant and staying healthy through pregnancy a challenge.  Thank G-d everything turned out all right.  A very wise friend, who had her second child at age 42, once said that what we lack in youth we make up in wisdom.  She is so right.  I was a much better mother at 38 then I would have been at 28.

Being older has helped me appreciate and cherish every little moment with my son.  Like most things in life, this morning's big deal was anti climatic.  I took him into his daycare room and he melted into his friends and the fooosball table, unaware of the enormity of the day.  Yet ordinary little moments, like last night when he told me I was the best mommy in the world, will linger in my memory like a postcard.  It reminds me of when I was in Paris.  Yet, the Eiffel Tower is cool, but rounding a random corner on a random Parisian street and taking in the vignette of the boulangerie, the charcuterie, the cafe and people with their dogs somehow made a greater impression.

So go into the world, my son.  Enjoy learning all there is to learn.  Mommy will be waiting to hear all about it.

Zay gezunt, Generation Z.

Song of the Day - Cake, Short Skirt, Long Jacket

Ok, this was really the song of yesterday during my workout.  I have a genius mix with this song and somehow it always gets me going.  I aim to have fingernails that shine like justice.

The Elusive Goal Weight

Most American women feel like they need to lose weight. Almost all of us have our issues with it.  I've mentioned that mine are mainly health related at this point and that I had been putting off starting a blog until I lost weight.

Fortunately I'm beyond beating myself up over the body image issues.  Dr. Kvetch (DH) loves me, I love me, and that's all that matters on that front.  However, I have about 20 pounds to lose.  It's not an arbitrary number and not one that will make me uber skinny.  It's the number that gets me to a BMI of 24.9.

I weighed about 15 pounds more than this for a long time after giving birth to my son.  In 2008, Dr. Kvetch and I did Weight Watchers together.  At my lowest weight during WW I was about eight pounds less than I am now.  I'm just over 5'3" (and I'm old enough that now the doc measures my height at check ups).  At this height, five pounds still makes a difference in how I look.  I had a change in one of my medications that is really making weight loss a struggle.

I'm not going to WW meetings anymore.  Other than the weigh ins, I find the meetings don't help much if one is already confident and assertive.  Right now I'm not following WW online either because I'm focusing on some specific issues with my diet. (I'm using Fitday).  All of that is for another post.  But I still follow some of the WW philosophies.

One of these philosophies is to get rid of all of your "fat" clothes when you lose weight so that you can't slide and let the weight pile back on.  I did this, first getting rid of 14s and then 12s and size larges.  At my lowest I fit in all 10s comfortably and some 8s in skirts.  I realize with vanity sizing the 10s of my college days would now probably be 6s today.

So if my clothes, especially pants, look tight, that's why.  It's supposed to be a sign to get back on track.  I carry weight most in my stomach, but you can also see it in my face.

My current weight status conflicts with one of my fashion goals of buying quality over quantity.  I'm  not going to shell out the bucks for quality until I'm at my goal weight.  I've restrained myself from the J Crew pencil skirts on sale.  No designer jeans yet.  The best bras will have to wait.  Most of my wardrobe is lower end right now.  I do still try to pick out items of decent quality and construction.  I buy on sale and on ebay, and I doubt that will ever change.  I will admit to rebuying a few pants in size 12 to get me through.  But I'm hoping to fit into my 10s comfortably this fall.

You'll see whether I make any progress.  Where are you on your weight journey?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Song of the Day: Madonna, Express Yourself

I am very much motivated by and interested in music.  Today I was dragging during my workout.  I only have a small window within which to get my exercise done, so if I blow it off I can't easily make it up.  I almost blew it off in favor of checking out Kohls.  But I talked myself into just walking.  I did my ten minute walk, and then I talked myself into starting just part of my run. Wouldn't you know it, I did my usual run plus five minutes extra.  Madge and the latest In Style on the treadmill got me through it.  Yay for the Immaculate Collection.
What song got you through your day today?

OOTD Prepster

Preppy with a twist. One of my favs.  And argyle is my absolute favorite pattern.  I worry lately that it trends a bit young, but I love it so much.  Should one who owned The Preppy Handbook in the very early 80s still be wearing argyle?

I like the idea of putting the military looking stuff with a totally different style like preppy, boho, feminine, etc.

Here I have an Ann Taylor Loft jacket, Merona sweater from several years ago, Eddie Bauer khakis in the Blakely (curvy) fit, white Merona watch and Clarks sandals.

I have several very preppy shoes I was dying to wear with this outfit - Blucher moccasins or tassel loafers.  However, this picture demonstrates one of the pitfalls of my life - PANT LENTGH!

Petite pants are just too short. Often the petite rise is also too short on my high waist. Regular inseams (32") are too long for flats.  I take a 30" inseam for flats.  So either I have them shortened or wear a heel.  I do have many pants shortened.

But these pants have that exposed hem which makes them impossible to shorten.  I love the fit otherwise on my hourglass self. They're a bit snug now but they weren't when I bought them.

I only do about a two inch heel when I do heels, which isn't often. I do wedges much more often.  Been there, done that with the heels, back in the day when one had to dress up for work.

Do you think certain patterns seem young? What do you do about pant lengths?

J Crew fitting Room Pictures

J Crew. Many people are obsessed with it.  I have worn Crew since the lat 1980s.  In those days it was rugby shirts and roll neck sweaters.  Colors like "port" and "bottle."  Uber prep.  Since those days I have had Crew items in my wardrobe continuously.  I'm not one of those people who dressed head to toe in Crew because it was always a tad too expensive and only a few items fit (mainly cardis).  However, I can see the attraction of the "old" (ie. pre 2008-09) Crew.  It was one stop shopping for a lot of women. She could buy her work clothes, casual clothes, bathing suits and special occasion dress in one place.
People have written a lot about the change in Crew, the more fashiony styles, the decreasing quality, the inconsistency in sizes, the higher prices, the final sales.  I don't much care for any of that, but I don't spend enough money with them for them to care.  As long as their stock is going up, they will continue in their current direction.

I don't get to a J Crew store very often.  The nearest stores are two hours away, either east or west.  I have a "Crewlet" (J Crew Outlet) about an hour and a half away.  When I have the opportunity I try on as many things as possible.   This comes in handy later for buying things on final sale or on ebay (which is in essence the same thing only usually cheaper). I very rarely buy anything full price at J Crew.  I don't mind the outlet versions of regular Crew items; I have found them to be decently made.  The majority of my J Crew pieces are via ebay or the swap on the J Crew Aficionada blog.  That blog will tell you about all things J Crew and it's amazing.

Really none of the items here look that great in the photos.  There were a few items I really liked and that I will plan to stalk.  Overall though, everything seemed to be a repeat of the past two seasons

Rimini cardigan - size M.  I loved this sweater.  It looked much more flattering in real life and I recommend it for an hourglass figure.  It's merino.  The sleeves narrow at the cuffs. I love the biker type zipper.  Colors in store are black, nutmeg and cobblestone.  There are additional colors online.

Donegal Tweed Schoolboy Blazer in aluminum.  This is a gray tweed.  Online there is moss, a green tweed. I loved it. The back has the vent stitched down, which is why it doesn't lay right.  This is an 8.  Usually I'm a 10 in jackets, but I find I have to size down in crew jackets.  Also I usually take a petite in jackets because I'm short waisted, but this one fit in the shoulders and hit at the right place in the waist. It's snug over the chest, but I never button jackets more than one button.  I love this jacket, and I need something gray to fill a hole in my wardrobe, but alas I will have to wait.

Calista Cami, size 10 in dark rosewood.  There were several other colors in store and more online. Meh. I have a Frances top (it's from the outlet) that I like.  I like that you can flip the collar down on the Frances. On this one you can't. I'd be very uncomfortable will all of that silk around my neck, not to mention it's just not flattering.  It's too expensive to just be a layering piece, and I'm trying not to buy any more ruffles.

I didn't see this one online. It is merino and had no buttons; there are two small pockets in front.  The color is a dusty lavender.  I have enough cardis; this is nothing special.

I hope these photos were helpful!  Have you tried on anything at the Crew lately?

Monday, August 16, 2010


Talbots sweater, Ann Taylor Loft cardi, NY and Co. cargos, worn with kelley green patent ballet flats from Talbots.

I stalked the Lily Pulitzer-esque cardi at Talbots all season.  I was finally able to purchase during the recent sale.  I had to size down to a small and it's still roomy.

I bought the cargos for around $6.  I wasn't sure about the cargo thing.  However, these are tapered (not skin tight like the famous J. Brand Houlihans) and the pocket is placed such that they are actually slenderizing.  They are now my most favorite pants. I have a pair in gray, too.

I'm in the fitting room at Gap, but somehow none of the other pics came out.  I'll do a post about what I tried on.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Massive Canna Lillies

I love to garden, and I have even completed the Master Gardener program at my local county extension. (I can't officially call myself a Master Gardener right now because I am not current on my volunteer hours).

Some people think cannas are old fashioned, but I love them. I love the tropical looking leaves coming from a rhizome that costs much less than a tropical plant would. I like being able to overwinter them, and I like the fact that when you dig them up you have more than when you started. (I am in USDA zone 5b/6a.) I always put some in my pots and scatter others around my garden beds. The rhizome you plant in spring looks sort of like ginger root. After the first freeze, you dig them up, cut off the brown stalks, throw them in a trash bag and store somewhere where they won't freeze.

I got this batch from a friend at work, and I can't thank her enough. These plants are close to six feet tall, and we have hummingbirds drinking from them. The second picture shows the plants at the level of the railing on my deck. The marigolds behind are in window boxes on the railing.

Do you like to garden?

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Follow You, Follow Me

I just updated my reader list to officially add all of the blogs I have followed for a long time. I usually read them at work where I just have them saved as favorites. Tonight I added all of you lovely ladies to my Google reader so that you know I'm a fan. I'm sorry if you didn't know I was following.

From the Website songfacts.com: "According to the book Genesis, which is a biography of the band written by Dave Bowler, the band all agreed that their music was attracting mainly male audiences, almost 95% in fact. This song was written specifically to redress the balance. (thanks, Eamon - Motherwell, Scotland)"

Well that is an interesting factoid, isn't it? I loved "Follow You, Follow Me" in Seventh Grade. And still do.

Outfit of the day

Talbots sweater, Eddie Bauer Tank, Gap Pants, Mia Paoli Sandals via Marshalls, The Sak bag.

I really like Eddie Bauer for tanks and tshirts. They fit slim enough on me without being skin tight. They somehow fit my narrower shoulders without pulling across the chest. They are excellent quality and they last for years. If you have a big chest I recommend them.

When I bought the sandals I didn't know they were a knockoff of the Jack Rogers Navajo. They are leather and very comfy. I do see this style copied a lot. Liz Claiborne had a version this year.

I love crisp navy and white. It's a nod to my preppy high school look, when I actually owned "The Preppy Handbook."

Flats would have looked better but it was another scorcher today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What To Do With Those Darned Button Packets?

If you're like me, you always save those little button packets that are attached to some clothes. But why is it then whenever I DO lose a button, I can never find the replacement?

After losing my first round of weight, I had a big ziplock full of buttons to clothes I no longer owned. I think the buttons may have gone back to the 80s. I recognize their craft value, but they don't need to be taking up valuable real estate in my cramped bedroom.

So #1, get rid of buttons to clothes you no longer own.

As for the the clothes you currently own, keeping the buttons in one place, like in a ziplock or drawer, is a no brainer. But I have taken it a step further, thanks to my friend Mr. Sharpie:

Problem solved.

How do you keep track of buttons?

Outfit of the day

It was close to 100 degrees today; with the humidity the heat index was way up there.

This is a Merona dress. It is the style with the "knot" in the middle, right under the bust. I find this style to be very flattering to the bust while hiding the pooch.

The sweater is from Talbots. Doesn't it look like a J Crew Jackie? Jackies don't fit me right at the bust due to the way the sleeve is set in. The Talbots version is a tiny bit boxy in back when unbuttoned but it is made of soft pima cotton and a bargain from the recent sale.

The Merona wedges are from last year.

Vintage Native American turquoise and sterling ring, purchased in Colorado in the 70s by my mom.

White Merona watch. Boy, that's a lot of Merona.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Body Type

One reason I'm doing this blog is that I have not found many bloggers who have a body type similar to mine. You don't have to be like me to enjoy this blog (and hopefully to get something out of it), but if you are, I'd love to hear from you.

I had put off doing this blog until I lost some weight. I've decided that defeats the goal of showing a real life person. Most of us struggle with our weight, right? Future posts will probably discuss the inevitable body image and weight loss issues. Suffice it to say that at this stage of the game my weight loss (and fitness) are health focused more than anything else. I have some health issues impacted by weight and I have a five year old son who I want to see grow up. Enough said.

I am an hourglass with a large bust on a smaller ribcage. I tend to gain weight most in my stomach. I'm also short waisted. I'm 5'3" and a half but I'm big boned for my height and I have bulky muscles. Finally, I have wide feet. All of this makes it super hard to find clothes and shoes that fit.

Contrary to Charla Krupp's suggestion, I refuse to wear shape wear unless it's a special occasion. I'm sure it would look better but it would be too hot and uncomfortable, plus I just don't think it's healthy to constantly compress everything. I do wear slips, and if I can get the younger generation to do that, then I will have accomplished something!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Favorite Summer Purchase

My most favorite purchase of the summer has to be my oversized white watch.

I coveted this one:
The beautiful but expensive Michael Kors, currently $312 on Amazon (but a version was included in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale).

I almost asked for this one for Mother's Day:
Fossil, $85 at Macy's.

But I knew there would be an inexpensive knock off somewhere. I was reluctant to spend very much on what might be a short lived trend. So I settled on this:

Target Merona, $14.99. I actually had a 20% off coupon, so it set me back around $12.00

I have worn the watch almost every day. It fits like a bracelet with a few extra links making it dangle. I find I don't need to wear any other bracelets or much other jewelry with the watch. The links are plastic but they do dent, and the paint scrapes off the trim of the watch fairly easily. I found this out when I dropped the watch putting it on one morning. But overall it has been a great purchase and I totally recommend it. The watch is no longer on Target's website but some remain in store.

I hope they will do a version of the black on black oversized watch for winter!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

Admiral James Stockdale uttered these words in his vice presidential debate as Ross Perot's running mate in 1992. If you are old enough to remember it, you're in the right place! (No offense to my younger readers though).

I knew I wanted to start a blog, but I'm not sure exactly what I wanted it to be about: fashion, parenting, over 40, parenting a younger child over 40, working mom, sandwich generation, spiritual matters, beauty - I just couldn't narrow it down to one topic. I have thought about it for several months now, and I am zeroing in on a direction. I want to create the blog I have been looking for. The blog that tells me which clothes are stylish, reasonably priced, decent quality and readily available at mainstream stores. The blog that compares different products and tells me which is the best one. The blog that goes through the catalogues and recommends items that might look good on my figure, which I think is similar in size and shape to many other people. The blog that helps me decide what to wear to work, or to the gym, or to the playground with my son. The blog that shares those epiphany moments as a mom, a daughter, a professional, a shopper, a grown up and as a person trying to do it all. Can this blog be all of those things? It's worth a try.

I do know what this blog will not be. It's not a shopping blog. While I do love to shop, my focus is on making strategic additions to my wardrobe while mixing and matching what is already there. It won't be dedicated to one store. It won't be a constant "my child is amazing" rah rah session (even though he IS amazing!) It won't be a middle aged whine fest, nor will it assume that you can afford expensive stuff because you're older. It won't be preachy, but I will share insights that I think may help others. It won't necessarily be an outfit of the day blog, but I do expect to post some outfits.

So we'll see how it goes.