Monday, August 29, 2011

Bright Before Us

Having a 3-day weekend, one day of which involved a hurricane that kept us all indoors, really ramped up the reading time.
This is somehow the pose I associate with the book Bright Before Us.
I probably should have spent more time in the closet because this outfit...was not how I pictured it in my head at all.
Dress - Tucker for Target, Cargo skinnies - American Eagle, Espadrilles - Franco Sarto
This dress is on the short side for work, so I thought, Ah ha, I will pair it with my skinny cargos which perfectly match the stems and leaves on the dress. I wore matching wedges to elongate my legs further, but I don't think it was enough. Maybe if the dress was shorter, but oh well.
Let's chalk this up to, Well, you tried, Michelle.
This outfit also fails because it in no way can be associated with my review for Bright Before Us by Katie Arnold-Ratliff, which is something I tried to do for Townie: A Memoir and The Instructions.
Sorry, it's too hot to wear a puffer coat like the ones featured on the cover.
What did I think of the book? 4/5 stars! Here is a great example of being able to really write. Not relying on a fantastic character that we all love, which you know, is fine to do. But I dislike it when people act like authors must constantly churn out super huggable characters. You don't necessarily need likeable characters if an author is fantastic! For example, our main character Francis is a complete JERK. He makes mistake after mistake. He actually maneuvers himself into these terrible situations and you want to scream, "No! Stop! Please, God, just stop!" (and maybe you actually do scream these things. Whatever. I was invested.) Like if you were a teacher taking your kids on a field trip and found a washed up corpse, what would you do?


Reading Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III really put me in a 70s mood. A lot of the book is set during the 70s when Dubus grew up in Massachusetts. He mentions several times wearing his Dingo boots and leather jacket, his long hair pulled back in a ponytail. I totally wanted to rock that look, but it's still too hot, so I went for the 70s girl version he mentions a lot with a halter top. And though I really, really, really wanted to wear some flares (obviously)...I haven't bought any yet :(
Halter top - American Eagle, Belt - Primark, Jeans - Hudson, Rainbow wedges - Target
And are you feelin' me on these wedges? Because I thought I was kind of crazy thinking they were 70s-style, so you know what I did? Googled "70s style rainbow", checked out the Images, and literally saw these wedges! Ha, take that.
But how awesome is the book?
Completely engrossing. A 4/5!
I fell asleep reading Townie: A Memoir Friday night, actually holding it like a teddy bear, and read it all day Saturday. Why?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fave of the week: August 20-August 26

I had quite a fashionable week! It was difficult choosing a favorite when I could say that every single day I felt comfortable, girly, and pretty. I also felt very summertime-y, probably the least so, though, on Monday, the day of my fave outfit:
Nothing says fall like lots of browns.
Why does this one win out when I loved Wednesday's color blocking, Tuesday's crisp white with fun pop of green, and Saturday's lady-like shopping outfit? Because I am ridiculously proud of my pattern mixing here. Pin-striped skirt with diamond-patterned transparent shirt with floral-esque shirt underneath? Varying degrees of brown and beige and creme? Throwing in some black accessories? Finding a way to wear a shirt I don't even normally like on myself? I feel like this is why I'm not just reviewing books, this is why I wanted to be a "fashion blogger" too. It forces me outside my usual comfort zone. Does it work all the time? No, sometimes not. But usually my faves of the week are outfits that I pushed myself on, thought, Could this really work?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Instructions

In honor of finishing The Instructions by Adam Levin, I am today wearing this somewhat fall-time outfit, complete with a hoodie.
Flower pin (in my hair, can't see it in this picture) - Nordstrom Rack, Blue short-sleeved hoodie - Lacoste, Bracelet - Present from Husband, Belt - Banana Republic (Present from Mom), Chain belt (difficult to see in picture) - Nordstrom Rack (Present from Mom), Skirt - H&M, Blue boots - Frye
See? There's my hood.
I love hoodies.
But how did I feel about the book?
I felt like, Yippee! I finally finished The Instructions. Not that it was a chore. Far from it—this 1,030 page book is an amazingly fast read when you get into it. Unfortunately, I was most often trying to read it right before bed, only able to tackle 5 to 10 pages, then fall asleep. Ugh. Why wasn’t this available on the Kindle? I couldn’t carry it around in my purse, it couldn’t hang out in the bathtub, it was even actually a problem to read in bed because it’s heavy. I very nearly dropped it on my own head one night and gave myself a concussion.

So, review time.

Back to school

I think if I was going back to school, my first day outfit would look something like this:
Striped polo - Lacoste, White watch - Michele Watches, Blue skirt - Old Navy, Green wedges - Steve Madden
Complete with a kicky ponytail. Don't I look ready to learn?
Actually, I look a bit tired here. Must have been all that baking.
Instead I just went to work like any normal Thursday...except with the knowledge that I was taking off the next day, which is why this outfit is pretty casual.
I love random days off!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I got the blues

I have a couple of favorite dresses from Anthropologie. This is definitely the prettiest dress, the second dress I ever bought at Anthro. Today's dress, though, is my first dress from Anthro and by far the best deal I've ever gotten from there. Behold:
Twenty bucks. That's right--twenty.
I love the full skirt, I love the rich blue, I love the buttons and collar, and I love...
the pockets!
In fact, I love this dress so much, I wore it the day after my wedding. Today it got pulled out because I felt like wearing it before summer wrapped up. Then I remembered that a button had fallen off, so I grabbed this cardigan and buttoned it a bit to cover it. Then I thought, Uh oh, color blocking time! I went for the pink/red combo everybody's been doing lately, but with red shoes (which I always feel like are pink, until I see them next to real pink...but next to true red, they look more red-pink...) and a pink cardigan (it's kind of a pink coral instead of a true pink). I would like to focus more on the pink/red combo (and ditch the blue...and have truer colors) but I don't think my closet can provide, so this is my version.
Pink cardigan - Express, Blue dress - Anthropologie, Red espadrilles - Me Too
And I can't forget to show you my hair, still showing some curls and waves from the no-heat curling.
Hair clip - Present from Mom's trip to Japan a few years ago
In other news, I spent my whole night being Martha Stewart. I made dinner (her honey-mustard chicken with onion and a spinach salad), then proceeded to get into some baking (her zucchini-banana-flax muffins and soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies). I am super tired, but ate some goodies to make sure they tasted great for Child's first day back at school.
Next time I'm doing all of this, I'll wear Martha Stewart blue (yes, she has her own color. See in the corner my stand mixer and hand towel? Martha Stewart blue.)

Mama wear

Yesterday, Husband and I went with Child to the open house of Child's new school. We were super excited.
Green cardigan - Gap Outlet, Necklace - Arden B., White tank - Target, Zipper belt, worn backwards - New York & Company, White skirt - Charlotte Russe, Brown wedges - Sam Edelman
My feet maybe only started to hurt our fourth time around the building.
Edges of the wedges cutting in a bit.
But you know what I try really hard not to do? Complain. Because it doesn't make you feel any better, it doesn't usually make things go faster (I will only complain if it might help that), and it completely ruins your outfit.
You want to be Lady with Great Shoes (and whoa, apparently Great Calves, if I do say so myself).
You do not want to be Lady Who Wears Ridiculous and Inappropriate Shoes and Whines Like a Child (not like my child, but a child in general), especially when you're around lots of children. You gotta be Tough Mom.
I look tough, right?
Speaking of moms, I saw this slideshow today of Jennifer Garner's first trimester mama wear--was she hiding the bump well or not? (1) I love, love, love that blue gown in the second picture. (2) Lots of people said she seems like a great mom and a normal person, but then one person said that she needed to stop shopping at the Gap Outlet. Haha, OMG, I recently bought a great deal of things from the Gap Outlet. This cardigan, in fact, is the last of that haul which included 10,000 other cardigans and a few dresses. I felt slightly mortified, then had to reassure myself I did not look like...well, some of those less flattering Jennifer Garner shots. Then I felt bad again because Jennifer Garner seems super sweet, but whatever, I'm going to say it--Jennifer Garner, pull it together. You can run after kids and still wear clothes that fit (and I know you wear ill-fitting clothes even when not pregnant). You can even wear sneakers because, man, these wedges did kill after a while.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mixin' it up

Time for some serious pattern mixing.
Yep, we've got three patterns in this picture. And browns and black.
I've had this pink top since high school, but rarely wear it because there's something about those muted pinks that I think isn't so flattering with my skin tone. I was in the mood to wear it, though, thinking about The Limited opening at my nearest and favorite mall.
Sleeveless shirt underneath - The Limited, Brown and creme shirt - Express, Black belt - Primark, Brown pinstriped skirt - Express, Creme and black flats - Sam Edelman
You know what we really need in this area, though? Zara. No doubt. I probably wouldn't even bother to go anywhere else if we had that.
And maybe Club Monaco too.

Return of the maxi

I wanted to be sure to wear my maxi dress in all of its simplistic glory before summer was over.
Maxi dress - Gap Outlet, Pink purse - Present from Sister, Wedges - Me Too
First I had to get this hemmed up. The first time I wore this dress, I wore my chambray shirt over it, which held it up enough to not drag on the ground. Without it, the dress seriously drags, and there's nothing I hate more than a frayed, dirty dress (or pants).
Not it's the perfect length!
I would very seriously benefit from hemming my own stuff, but I figure time is money, my friends, and when I have five things to get fixed, I would rather drop it off, stop thinking about it, and by the end of the week, pick it up again, only to feel like I have all new clothes (whee!).
All other hemmed items are in anticipation of fall weather!
These pictures were taken at the end of the day, which is why my hair is a bit frizzy, but check out those no-heat curls!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You's a window shopper

So yesterday I did not go to see The Help. Instead Husband and I went to the mall. I told him part of me did not want to go because of my self-imposed shopping ban. But the other part of me was flipping through the August Nordstrom catalog and the J.Crew catalog on the car ride over. He told me we would just window shop. Then mentioned how I had to try on J. Crew's No. 2 pencil skirt in viridian green. We are very bad for each other.

Before we left, I convinced him to take a pic of me outside.
Light blue headband - Target, Multi-colored necklace - Aeropostale, White blouse - Anthropologie, Black quilted purse - Uniquities, White watch - Michele Watches, Gold, white, and multi-colored bracelets - Nordstrom and Uniquities, Black silky shorts - Express, Gold espadrilles - Michael Kors
 Oops, under the shade.
Ahhh, sunshine.
As you can see, I'm doing the no heat curls hairstyle again. It's the perfect updo for when it's hot, and you want to keep your hair out of your face while shopping. Also, am I the only person who gets crazy hot while trying on clothes? Really it's for the best that I keep my hair off my neck during these times.
Stores visited included The Limited, just opened at my favorite mall! I got an invitation to an RSVP opening event...then promptly failed to RSVP, and I found out they were at max capacity. Ugh. Still, it was fun visiting, and I think it'll be my new go-to place for work clothes.

Speaking of work clothes, who else reads 9to5chic? I discovered it maybe two and a half weeks ago, and devoured the entire blog. Anh has great style, and a penchant for Chanel purses. It might have influenced me the last time I went to Uniquities and saw this:
If it had big fake Cs on it, I would have definitely resisted because I hate knock-offs. But a lady-like purse clearly inspired by Chanel? Yes, please. Even while on a shopping ban.

Fave of the week: August 13-August 19

Well, well, well,this is unexpected--from least favorite skirt to fave of the week:
Wednesday's outfit won for the week. I just love when a good pattern mix works out. Seriously, if you're not mixing your patterns, you should be, because it pretty much makes the outfits your wardrobe provides infinite.

Something else to consider--think you can only wear a tunic as a tunic (with leggings or skinnies)? Think again. I've worn them over a dress and now tucked into a skirt, and I've loved both results!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I like your Mogwai

The other day on What I Wore, Jessica was talking about being a fashion blogger, but still sometimes just wearing the ol' jeans and shirt, and I thought, Preach, girlfriend. It helped me to justify what happened see, I was feeling like it was Friday on Thursday, so I had already worn a casual but still office-appropriate outfit then. This pretty much meant my Friday felt like Saturday, and so then this kind of happened:
OMG, I know.
Of the six people I saw and spoke to all day Friday, four said, "I like your Mogwai," which really cracked me up. If I saw somebody wearing this, I would say, "Ahhh, I love The Gremlins," merely referring to the movie. People had to get specific with me. I'm surprised they didn't say, "I love Gizmo," then, "Hey, did you know Howie Mandel did Gizmo's voice?"
Uh, no, I didn't. Man, that guy is talented.
Another fun fact, I was going to wear this with my white jeans. Maybe they shrunk in the wash? Or maybe I gained weight. Well, the point is, they didn't fit. So...yeah, they shrunk in the wash! Darn it!
Gold headband - Primark, T-shirt - some random 80s store, present from Husband, Belt - Target, Watch - Michele Watches, Bracelets - Nordstrom and Uniquities, Jeans - Gap, Sandals - Jeffrey Campbell
Totally random--should I see The Help this weekend? I originally gave it 2/5 stars on Goodreads, and I've actually over time become more annoyed and even angry about this book. I feel like the movie will not help me in feeling better...By the way, here's a letter from the Association of Black Women Historians regarding the movie that was posted recently on Celebitchy (oh yeah, I got there for gossip and to learn). Thoughts?

You fancy, huh?

Thursday I woke up and couldn't handle real "work" clothes. "OMG, pleeeease," I pleaded to my closet, "let it be Friday." My closet can make a lot of magical things happen, but it would not do this one little thing for me. So I pretended like it was Friday and pulled on some olive khaki capris anyway.
Blouse - Uniquities, White tank (underneath) - Target, Belt - Target, Olive khaki capris - 7 for All Mankind, Olive wedges - Franco Sarto, Pink flip flops, pink toenails, freshly waxed eyebrows - Salon
Whenever I go more casual than I should, I justify it by telling myself it's the most expensive outfit I've worn all week, which I think should count for something.
I mean, that counts, right?
These pictures were taken after an evening with Sister, getting our toenails did. Then I went ahead and got my eyebrows waxed because I have been way too lazy/busy to get them threaded at my usual place. First time getting a waxing! I think I'll normally thread (I read that waxing gives you wrinkles. No, seriously.), but waxing actually didn't hurt like I thought it would.
Here are my super awesome wedges.
Sorry you don't get to see me in my wedges, but I couldn't risk smudging my beautiful nails (again).
And these flip flops matched anyhow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All's well that ends well

So remember when I wore this skirt a couple of weeks ago and felt so Meh about it? Turns out it just needed to be remixed to get some happy feelings from me.
Tunic as shirt - Arden B., Black cami - Express, Belt - Express, Skirt - Ann Taylor Loft, Blue boots - Frye
And of course be worn with my beloved short cowboy boots.
Sorry for the dark pics today. I'm trying out new photo places and times.
I built this outfit around my tunic, which I love but doesn't get out of my closet much. So then I thought, what if I pair it with a bottom I don't love so much?
Turns out it elevates your love for Meh bottom!
And I had to pair these boots with this shirt. When I first got these boots and thought they would go with nothing, I wore them with the only thing I found that I thought worked with them--this tunic, which has bits of blue all over it. Ugh, I wore them with black jeans that weren't skinny enough, and I looked disproportionate and lumpy all day.
Hard to see, but there really is blue all over it!
Anyway, it scarred me almost for life because it looked so terrible. But then I discovered my boots go with everything, and this tunic has breathed new life into this skirt, so I will forgive it for messing up my first boot outfit.


Husband said I looked liked a beautiful angel in this get-up.
Purple headband - Nordstrom, Dress - Jovovich-Hawk for Target, Gold espadrilles - Michael Kors
I was actually going for ethereal, so I definitely appreciated the compliment.
Then other people made fun of me for being a hippie.
Something else I appreciated--how I thought I could only wear this dress styled in one way, but then when I was deciding on shoes, figured out four other ways to style this.
I really need to write down those combos before I forget...maybe I already have...
Also, training your hair not to be washed except for...maybe once a week...means that my hair trick from the weekend is still playing out.
And for a girl that hates styling her hair, that's pretty sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How short is too short?

So I bought this dress last winter while shopping with Sister and Best Friend (actually, we all bought it because we're super cute). And I thought, Oh, definitely I can wear this to work. Well, I think it shrunk. Because now every time I wear it, I question it.
Shirt - Express, Black patent belt - Primark, Bow dress (worn as skirt) - Nordstrom Rack, Flats - Sam Edelman
What do we think? Too short? It might not be so bad if it wasn't also on the form-fitting side. Also maybe not so bad with tights underneath it. I at least wore flats so as not to be like, Look at my legs! Looooook!
Never mind that the shoes are cream, but the dress as white accents.
In other fashion news, check out this peek at the Missoni for Target Collection. I need the scarves and the men's ties, obviously. Can't wait until September! What do you need to buy from the collection?