Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Budget Post

Budget post time we go!

Starting Budget:



J. Crew Factory Shift Dress ($42)
J. Crew Factory Flutter-Sleeve Top ($34)
J. Crew Factory Fleece Sweatshirt ($25)
J. Crew Factory Basketweave Shorts ($25)
Anthropologie Ombre Midi Dress ($10 -- on sale for $50, used $40 gc)
Diba Kora Lee Flats ($11)
Banana Republic Tunic ($17)

Total: $164

Easily under budget, which is a nice change.

I was really loving some J. Crew Factory this month. I had such high hopes for this easy shift dress  when I saw it online and was relieved that I ADORED it in person. The pattern is so vibrant, and this shade of green is super flattering. This probably sounds strange, but my only criticism is that it is lined -- sure, it improves the overall quality of the dress and probably helps it fall a little more smoothly, but it makes the dress a bit heavy for summer (and sadly, it would not work well as a bathing suit coverup as I had originally thought). But it is easy and fun and I'll wear it gladly!

I've been looking at this flutter-sleeve top for a while (great shape, and I couldn't resist the color), so I was happy to grab it at a great price. I added this cozy looking sweatshirt on a whim and of course, I love it. I already have too many lounge-y now I have too many plus one.

Finally, I've mentioned these shorts a few times and after I fell in love with them in my theme park post so I picked them up in a flash sale. Great buy -- I'm excited to do some fun pattern mixing this summer.

Best bargain of the month was this watercolor ombre dress at Anthropologie, picked up for a song. My brother is getting married this summer in a simple outdoor wedding and I've been looking for something special but not too over the top. I loved it at full price and was shocked to see it on the sale rack for such a bargain. In typical "me" fashion, I had to make it a bit more complicated (several trips to the store were involved for exchanging sizes and digging out an old gift card I really wanted to use), but I think it is a great buy.

I also picked up these great flats at a local resale shop. I've really lucked out there with shoes that seem to be completely unworn. And who can pass up comfy practical shoes that are also super cute?

I'm pretty glad that I ended up with fewer pieces than previous I'd hoped, I focused on quality, not quantity, and I really love all of these pieces to...well, pieces!

As for May, I suspect I'll be pretty busy and may not do a lot of shopping. Or maybe I'll see what everyone else bought and go on a late night binge! As usual, linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers -- you should check them out, and also let me know great buys you've made lately!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Buy This: Perfect Black Romper

Last year I made an impulse purchase during one of Loft's fabulous flash sales: a silky black long-sleeved romper. I'd never worn one before, but it seemed like the kind of thing that would come in handy in a year-round summer climate. It was dirt cheap, so even if I only wore it a few times it would be a reasonable investment. Spoiler alert: I fucking loved it and wore the hell out of it.

This romper is so flattering and so versatile, I'm planning on buying another because it is just the easiest summer uniform. And you need to buy one immediately. Good news -- there are a number of great options in stores right now. Here are a few of my favorites:

from l to r:

Loft Pleated Romper ($80, but basically always on sale -- try to catch it when it is around $30-40)
Banana Republic Factory 3/4 Sleeve Romper ($80, but also often on sale)
Monrow Long Sleeve Romper ($158)
DvF Celeste Romper ($368)
Mikoh Hawaii Romper ($146)

Some tips for buying...

Trying on is a must. You want the fit to be loose but not baggy or sloppy, so try on your regular size and one bigger and one smaller to be sure. Make sure the shorts hit you in the right place. Check out your ass. Sometimes the line between relaxed and dumpy is dangerously thin.

Look for a waistline that blouses a bit. You have enough tight, uncomfortable clothes. This should feel comfortable enough that you can eat a great meal and throw back a few beers and not feel like you're stuffed into a sausage casing.

Stick with long sleeves. Full length or 3/4 are best for creating a great proportion. You're showing plenty of leg, so keeping your arms a bit covered gives balance to the overall look.

Pay attention to the neckline. You probably already know whether a round- or v-neck looks best on you/with your favorite jewelry -- stick with what works.

Think about care. Did I mention I wear this a lot? My Loft romper is machine washable, making it that much easier for me to keep it in regular rotation.

The possibilities for styling this great wardrobe staple are almost endless. Stay tuned for some of my favorite romper-based looks soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

And just like that, the last weekend in April comes to a close. I'm not ready for summer!

This weekend was pretty chill -- a little relation, a little fun, and a little prep to head out on another business trip.

1. I've realized over the past few years that I am someone who needs a consistent workout routine in order to be a happy person, physically and mentally. For most of last year I started my Saturday morning with a intense and sweaty yoga/pilates class -- it was the perfect combination of challenging and exhilarating, and I always left feeling great about myself and inspired to tackle whatever was going on in my life. For a bunch of reasons (some good and some not), I hadn't made it to class in a few weeks. Even though I was beat from a long weekend, I dragged my butt out of bed on Saturday morning for a good hour of sun salutations and kick-through pushups (don't ask - they hurt!). I'm sore today, but falling back into my felt great routine. Next week it will be a little easier. (Probably)

2. Saturday night I spent a few hours at my favorite place hanging out with some great kids -- every night they have a different party, and Saturday is a rockin' pool party. Everyone chows down on burgers and hot dogs and then there are games, silly line dances (I'm awesome at the Cupid Shuffle, aka the easiest one), sno cones and cotton candy...the works! Families have a great time, and the volunteers have a blast, too -- on a warm Saturday night, a fabulous pool party is just the best place to be.

3. I placed a pretty big online order at Zara. I've been eyeing these shoes online, and I really liked this sweater and these jeans when I was in my local store last week (couldn't find either in my size). I wanted about a dozen other things...yay for the tiniest amount of self-control.

4. Sunday afternoon was spent on the couch snuggling with my furry roommate, the cutest mini dachshund in the world (IMO). I hate that I have to board her when I travel (she's not a fan either), so I thought we'd have a little quality time. She doesn't like the dog park and isn't a fan of walks, but she does love belly rubs and napping in my lap. Done and done.

5. I've spent the rest of the day getting ready for my trip. My nails were looking pretty rough and I'll be shaking lots of hands over the next few days, so I stopped at my favorite salon for a few coats of Big Apple Red. Usually I decide to start packing for these trips around midnight before a pre-dawn flight, but for once I have my shit together -- I'm all packed and ready to go and will probably get a decent amount of sleep! A few months ago I picked up this Nicole Miller rolling carryon at TJ Maxx (the only place to buy luggage, BTW) and I LOVE it - it is so compact but it holds everything I need for three or four days. I have gotten pretty good at traveling light and packing smart, so I'm planning to do post on some of my favorite tips sometime soon.

Time for bed -- have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dressing for Theme Parks

So, I live in Orlando (have I not mentioned this 17 million times yet?), and I spend a lot of time visiting various theme parks. Why? Because there is some seriously world-class entertainment in Central Florida and many of these attractions are literally in my backyard. I didn't grow up here and I won't live here forever, so there is still a novelty in deciding on a random Saturday afternoon that I feel like riding Pirates of the Caribbean and eating a Dole Whip...and doing it!

In addition to being a theme park nerd, I am also a hardcore people watcher. Sometimes that is the best part -- settling on a bench with a huge iced coffee and just watching the world go by. I am always interested and sometimes fascinated in what people wear as they're chasing down thrills and costumed characters. You kind of see everything -- super dressed up, incredibly dressed down, and everything in between.

I pass no judgment -- you're on your day off, so you wear what you like.

BUT, I don't think you have to give up your personal style for the sake of comfort and functionality on a long hot day in a theme park. In fact, you probably have some great park options sitting in your closet right now. Whether you're planning a big summer vacation to Disney or just hitting your local theme park for the day, here are some of my go-to park options that feature one of my favorite wardrobe basics: a good classic white button-down.
Gap Fitted Oxford Button Down ($50)

1. This is my go-to outfit for a day of hardcore park-hopping. Crisp, cool, totally put together -- you'll be able to ride every stomach-churning thrill ride again and again and still look great in all of those goofy photos you'll end up want to taking.

I just ordered these cute graphic print shorts (saw an awesome flash deal that brought them to less than $25 with shipping) -- this simple, chic print looks great with a classic button-down. Comfy shoes are a must -- you may get wet! -- and a chunky watch and sleek shades are practical and cute. A small cross-body bag is a must for keeping cash, keys, phone, water, snacks, and extra sunscreen.

2. The weather in Florida is not always your best friend, and a rainy day can happen at any park. Your button-down is a great choice for layering under a light, slim rain coat (that can be folded into a little pouch if the sun shows up). I'd add a light pair of cropped jeans and rubber wedges (similar), perfect for staying dry in the deepest puddles (note: I own the Tretorn wedges pictured and they are the best rain shoes ever -- I regret not stocking up before they were discontinued). I wouldn't bother carrying a lot of extra stuff -- just a little card wallet with some cash and credit cards is all you'll need.

3. Maybe you're heading to a park for something other than rides and junk food -- theme parks all over the country have food festivals, concerts, and fine dining options. A button down is great over an airy maxi dress, just knotted at the waist (think Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley) -- it is a perfect extra layer during the day to keep the sun from broiling your skin (and then you can tuck it in your big, roomy bag when the sun goes down). These mini wedges look comfy and have a kind of jolie laide quality to them. I have these sunglasses and they're amazing, and I love a simple bold necklace.

4. OK, so maybe you want to have a little fun -- here's my version of cute but still fabulous character-inspired dressing. A nod to Minnie Mouse, the chicest rodent ever.

The white shirt is perfect with slim cropped red pants and comfy slides. I almost always want to wear giant sunglasses and a big rose gold watch, so why not here? I'll admit, I'm kind of afraid of a fanny pack this little sleek one seems perfect (I like to keep my hands free for Mickey Bars). Just add your sparkly mouse ears and you're ready to go!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Truth (Vol. I)

I haven't shared a lot of personal stuff on the blog yet, so I thought I'd try a little something different today. If you met me in person, here are some of the things you would come to know...

LIKE: Cake


LIKE: Dogs using their paws like hands
DISLIKE: Dogs winking at me (what are you trying to say?!)

LIKE: Blythe Danner
DISLIKE: Gwyneth Paltrow

LIKE: May flowers
DISLIKE: April showers


LIKE: Brunch (prime rib, champagne? check!)
DISLIKE: Breakfast (no prime rib or champagne? boring)

LIKE: Manicures
DISLIKE: Smudging the polish before I get home (always)


LIKE: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
DISLIKE: The Daily Show without Jon Stewart (I am in denial -- how can he leave us?)

LIKE: Running
DISLIKE: The first 10 minutes of a run ("Am I dying? I might be dying.")

LIKE: Mets
DISLIKE: Yankees

LIKE: Broad City


LIKE: Your comments on my silly posts
DISLIKE: Well... ;)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

Sometimes a weekend seems like 48 hours of endless possibilities and I just go go go, trying to jam as much into 2 days as humanly possible.

And then sometimes you just need some time to be a slug.

1. Things got off to a rough start on Friday night as I tried to make my way home from a short business trip. I travel a bit for my job and I usually don't mind it too much -- it isn't particularly glamorous, but I like to explore new cities and I always try to mix in some pleasure after the business part is done. This was just a quick 2 days in DC. They were pretty long ones but generally successful and I was happy to headed home -- my 7:30 flight should have gotten me back to Florida around 9:30 and I planned to pick up some dinner, rescue my dog from her luxury pet resort and be on the couch catching up with my DVR for an hour or two before bed. It was such a good plan...

Instead, our flight was delayed for hours: one in the terminal (which wasn't so bad as DCA has thoughtfully installed approximately 1 million power outlets so the masses can be soothed by all of their glowing screens), and then more than two on the plane. When you travel a lot you know that some delays are unavoidable, but the pilot basically admitted this was a case of human incompetence. I am so, so grateful for Chris Hardwick and an iPod full of Nerdist podcasts to keep me from completely losing it.

We finally landed in Orlando around 1am and I sprinted through the terminal, ready to get my hands on some food (nothing on the plane, nothing open in the airport when we landed) and my dog. And it all took FOREVER. I finally made it home at 3am and shoved a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my face before collapsing into bed. 

2. Saturday I let myself sleep in a bit. As I was falling asleep just before 4am I realized that I'd been awake for 42 of the past 48 hours. A lazy morning turned into a lazy afternoon with a Catfish marathon, some blogs, and a snuggly puppy dog to keep me company.

3. I didn't let my trip and need for sleep get in the way of two big fashion/beauty related events happening this weekend. First, I hit Sephora to take advantage of their 15% off sale for VIBs. I am all about skincare these days, and I picked up a few things I've heard people raving about: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (Lisa Eldridge loves it), Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, and a small size of First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. I'll share some reviews soon!

4. I also hit Target to check out the Lilly Pulitzer collab and I'm still annoyed by it -- read more about my unhappy experience here.

Time to tackle another busy week -- hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer x Target Was a Shitshow (and everyone involved should be embarrassed by it)

After much fanfare and a teeny bit of controversy, the Lilly Pulitzer x Target collection launched today. 


You can read all about here and here and here and probably a million other places.

My experience: I arrived at my local store at around 7:45. I am not a major Lilly fan, so nothing in this collection was a must-have for me. Some of the clothes looked great, and I loved a lot of the home goods. But I wanted to see things in person and take a moment to consider my purchases, so I chose to head to the store rather than try my luck at online shopping (not Target's forte). This was a mistake.

While waiting in a decent but not long line, we were told that quantities were very limited -- for most items, they had ONE in each size. One. ONE! When the doors opened, women made a mad dash and snatched every last dress, romper, dish towel, and folding chair off the racks and shelves. By 8:15, everything was gone. By 8:30, the racks were being disassembled. I'm sorry, but....that shit cray.

These were the items I was hoping to pick up -- guess you didn't want my $250, Target!

I bought nothing, because I didn't feel like beating anyone over the head for a pair of flip flops and I just got turned off by the whole collection as a result of this sad experience. A lot of ink will be spilled over this mess, so I don't want to waste a lot of time on this, but here are my thoughts:

Target really has no idea how to gauge the reaction to their designer collaborations. I don't think they were expecting this (because if they were, they left MILLIONS of dollars on the table by not having enough merchandise), and I think it is because they just don't understand what appeals to their shoppers. Some of their recent designer collaborations have been duds -- I think every single item in the Altazurra collection went to clearance, it was a terrible fit with Target's audience. They don't seem to understand that some elements of designer clothes (great fabrics, expert tailoring, high-fashion silhouettes) don't translate well into a lower-priced garment. But there are elements (like great prints and flattering shapes) that still look great even if you're cutting costs. Missoni and Lilly Pulitzer are perfect examples of this.

The other thing these two brands have in common is that they can work for a wide range of women. Even if you don't consider yourself particularly preppy, you'll probably enjoy having a fun floral dress in your closet for some great little summer shindig. And you can add a happy/fun zigzag knit piece to almost any look. Missoni and Lilly have pretty universal appeal and their designer lines are priced too high for the average consumer, so it should come as no surprise that there is huge demand for lower priced versions of these brands. (Do you hear that, Target? SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE. But clearly you were surprised -- why?!?)

What is particularly irritating about the Lilly x Target collection is the amount of hype that has been generated over the past 3 months. We've been reading about this in blogs and magazines since January -- so many outlets breathlessly announced the release of the lookbook, giving us a chance to get excited about a pretty great looking and expansive collection of clothing, accessories, and home goods.

But Target never had the inventory to support this kind of interest. DID I MENTION MY STORE HAD ONLY ONE OF EACH ITEM IN EACH SIZE?!?!?

Target has forgotten a key piece of its original Design For All mission with these collaborations: the "all". Being able to buy great clothing from a big box retailer shouldn't mean hoards of intelligent women are fighting over a polyester maxi dress like people fought for bread in Soviet Russia. 

And worse than that, this debacle really took the fun out of things. These collaborations should be fun for everyone. Fun for designers, who get to think outside the box a bit and reach new customers. Fun for shoppers, who get to enjoy something special at a great price. And fun for Target, who should be enjoying great press and a fire hose of cash flowing freely into its registers. But instead, almost everyone involved is left disappointed and unsatisfied.

Two ideas for the next time around:

1. Hire me to manage your designer collaborations. I could do better than this, no doubt!

2. Bring back Isaac Mizrahi's collection -- seriously, that shit was amazing. 10 years later I still have (and wear) three or four pieces that have held up (in terms of quality and style) beautifully.

Target claims that it will learn from this experience, but only time will tell. If you're unhappy about this, don't hesitate to let Target know...and for the love of god, don't overpay for these things on eBay!

What do you think -- did ANYONE have a good experience with this collection? Do you think this was a savvy strategy or a total catastrofuck?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Un-Mellow Yellow

I've always loved pops of yellow when I'm decorating a room (I've salvaged many a thrift store/Craigslist find by slapping on a few coats of shocking yellow paint), but I don't have a ton of yellow in my wardrobe.

Then I saw this coat and thought, "Damn, mama needs some electric yellow duds: stat!"

Sadly, this color is sold out online (maybe a few are floating around in stores?), but I've been inspired to find some more fun options for adding some very un-mellow yellow to my life.

clockwise from l to r:

Lilly Pulitzer x Target Romper ($35) -- this happy little romper hit shelves this weekend (if you're interested, act fast -- I expect a pretty big turnout for this collection). On its own it could come across a bit juvenile, so be sure to add a pair of chic sandals and one or two pieces of good jewelry to make it a bit more sophisticated.

Uniqlo Linen Striped Sweater ($30) -- life motto: never enough stripes. I love a classic striped shirt, so this top is an easy way to incorporate a bold color without going too far outside my comfort zone.

Brooks Brothers Quilted Barn Jacket ($52) -- yellow is so classic for spring, but you may also find some deals on bright winter pieces from last season. This jacket is fun and preppy and would be great for those annoying spring days that are cold enough to require real outwear but you just can't bear to dig out your winter coat (note: this is a boys' coat, but check out the size chart: a L or XL should fit smaller ladies).

Zara Elastic Waist Trousers ($60) -- I'm loving this easy, relaxed silhouette (Old Navy and J. Crew have really similar pull on cropped pants) -- the bright color is kind of a fun styling challenge.

Gap Printed Boatneck Dress ($46) -- a pretty little dress that seems easy to throw on when you need to look great on the hottest summer nights.

Ray-Ban Liteforce Aviator Sunglasses ($180) -- if you want to dip just a toe in this trend, a pair of sunglasses is about as noncommittal as you can get. The only other yellow sunglasses I ever had were oversized gag glasses from a bar mitzvah DJ, so this traditional aviator shape seems considerably more practical.

Target Sam & Libby Toni Slide ($27) -- everyone seems to be doing a version of this simple sandal. This neon yellow pair would be amazing with relaxed summer whites.

H&M Bangle ($15) -- does this remind anyone of your high school prom corsage? (Mine was awesome, six lovely blush-colored roses). This version is a bit cooler, and you don't have to endure any awkward slow dances.

Gap Fit and Flare Sundress ($42) -- bright yellow is the perfect color for this sporty dress. Tennis anyone?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

I had company visiting this weekend and decided to make it an extra long weekend so I had plenty of time to play (I actually haven't worked a Friday in weeks and I could definitely get used to that). This weekend was all about fun -- I ate, I played, I watched mindless TV. It was awesome. Chores and errands will wait -- sometimes it is fun to just take a few days off of being an adult and let your inner child make all of the decisions.

1. One of the highlights of the weekend was singing, dancing, and YMCA-ing my heart out at the Village People concert. Epcot has a lot of great (free) concerts all year long -- the lineups often feature weird combos of forgotten stars of the past, one-hit wonders, and cover bands, and they are always tons of fun. There are all kinds of great snack-y treats and yummy cocktails nearby so you grab a bite, grab an adult beverage, and rock out. The Village People were just as much fun as you'd hope -- disco will never die!

2. When you're on vacation (or you just feel like you are), it is hard not to indulge in some delicious food. There was a lot of dessert consumed -- I'm proud to say I shared the ginormous brownie sundae that came at the end of today's lunch, but I polished off the entire trough of peanut butter/chocolate goodness known as the No Way Jose that I ordered at Beaches and Cream yesterday. There was also a bottomless skillet of chicken and ribs and corn at some point in the weekend -- so glad I was wearing my favorite stretchy jeans.

3. At some point I found a few minutes to jump on a few things from Old Navy's weekend sale. I really just wanted this cute tee (total price after sale/coupons: $3.50), but I added a few basics (running tights, jeans) that I've been wanting to stock up on to get free shipping.

4. At some point we found ourselves too tired to keep trekking around the parks but too hopped on sugar to completely call it quits, so we burned off some energy in one of my favorite arcades. Skee ball, air hockey, pinball -- reminded me of fun afternoons on the Jersey Shore and Coney Island when I was a kid.

5. We made the best of a stormy, rainy night with a double feature of classics: Bridesmaids and Mean Girls. Even funnier when you know all the lines, right?

Back to the grind tomorrow -- hope your week is off to a great start!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Prints Charming

Since moving to Florida, I've had to overcome a pretty serious fear of a particular item of clothing: shorts. Shorts are the basis of most Floridians' wardrobes, but I honestly hadn't worn a pair since college. My pale, athletic legs just seemed more suited for jeans and trousers. I sweated through June and most of July last year until I gave in and realized I just needed to find a way to make shorts work for me.

There are two rules that I follow when I'm shopping for shorts: find the right length (for me, a 4-5" inseam is usually best; shorter just hits me in the wrong place, longer makes my legs look stumpy), and go for fun patterns. I initially tried to play it safe with solid, neutral colored shorts, but I actually found that a bold (and sometimes crazy) print was more flattering and a lot more fun -- and the opportunities for bright and happy pattern mixing are endless!

Here are some of the prints that are charming the, well, pants off of me right now:

clockwise from l to r:

Old Navy Seahorse Poplin Shorts ($23) -- I love the fresh minty green color, and how cute are these little seahorses?

J. Crew Factory Ikat Print Shorts ($35) -- this is a bold print, but the black and white palette makes it work like a neutral. You can pair this with a million solid colors, but it would also look great with your favorite striped tee, a polka dot cashmere sweater...or maybe a crazy Lilly Pulitzer-esque paisley print!

J. Crew Factory Printed Boardwalk Shorts ($40) -- this happy floral print seems perfect for summer days at the beach or summer nights at a great outdoor bar. I love the idea of keeping the top dark and neutral (a nice navy blouse or a slim black sweater) and then picking up one of the pretty pink shades in your lip color (I just bought Nars Roman Holiday after seeing it on the fabulous Franzisca, which would be perfect).

J. Crew Striped Board Shorts ($84) -- so yes, J. Crew does some pretty great print shorts. These are too short for me, but the sporty striped pattern is great -- you should buy them so I can admire your great ass.

ModCloth Aweigh With Words Shorts ($60) -- in Florida you can get away with a nautical print year-round, so I love these cute anchors. Stripes would pair nicely here -- I'm also thinking about this adorable sweatshirt that I saw at Anthropologie over the weekend (it is SO soft). Now I just need a boat!

Loft Cabana Stripe Riviera Shorts ($55) -- these are very chic, and 'cabana' and 'Riviera' are two of my favorite words -- if you believe in The Secret and the laws of attraction, buying these shorts might just be the first step to some very fabulous summer plans.

Zara Jacquard Mini Shorts ($60) -- I love the subtle print of these shorts -- they give an airy basketweave-y feeling that feels so right for summer.

Dorothy Perkins Khaki Left Shorts ($29) -- this print could be called Florida camouflage, and it kind of reminds me of the wallpaper in Blanche Deveraux's bedroom, which is basically the highest compliment I could give a crazy leaf pattern.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekend To-Do List

Another lovely weekend comes to a close. Did you have a good one? Mine was pretty fantastic (and not just because I ate at Chipotle twice...though that was probably a big part of it). Here are a few highlights from the past three days:

1. I was initially bummed not to be able to join my family for Easter (they decided to spend a week in Mexico -- genius, right?), but my plans turned out pretty great: a fun and relaxed brunch with a friend (who's a boy, but he won't be making any appearances on the blog). We went to Yard House and partook in their many delicious beers (they have more than 100 on tap) and stuffed ourselves silly (there was a tower of onion rings -- heavenly). We also rescued several sad little chocolate bunnies we found languishing in the 50% off bin at Walgreen's. I polished off three and thought about how wonderful it is to be an adult and buy your own damn Easter candy.

2. After stuffing my face with beer, chocolate, and fried food, I spent a few hours on the couch being alternately fascinated and horrified by Going Clear, an absolutely damning documentary about Scientology. Definitely worth a watch -- the celebrity component is titillating of course, but the stories of the ordinary men and women who have given up so much for the sake of this "religion" strike the most powerful chord. I hope a lot of things change as a result of this film, including the revocation of their tax-exempt status.

3. So. much. cleaning. I have company coming into town next week so Saturday afternoon felt like a great time to do a deep spring cleaning. There is not a speck of dust to be found in my apartment, all of the fingerprints and water spots have been buffed off of the appliances, a million loads of laundry have been washed and folded, and I detailed the couch like it was a fine Italian sports car (removing a metric ton of dog toy fluff -- why is destroying your toys even fun?). It was a hell of a workout, but it does feel great having a spotless, organized home (that I'll be able to maintain for about...three days).

4. I used my Friday off to take care of lots of errands -- a desperately needed haircut and color, a few returns, and a Trader Joe's run. Sadly there is but one sad little Trader Joe's location in the metro Orlando area and it is about 25 miles away, so a trip there is a bit of a treat (mercifully a second, closer location arrives next week -- the people need their peanut butter filled pretzels!). I stocked up on my usuals and then tossed the intriguing Baconesque cheese popcorn in my cart. Spoiler alert: something that tastes like bacon was delicious.

5. And it wouldn't be a weekend without a little shopping. There were sales galore, of course. (Aren't there sales every weekend? It is kind of exhausting at this point.)

On Saturday morning I stopped by my local Banana Republic because I wanted to check out a few things that I'd been eyeing online: this eyelet dress (so pretty, but I wish it came in a color other than black or white), this relaxed romper (a great summer buy -- I have one that is very similar and I adore it), and this gorgeous top (the combo of the color and the cutouts give it a kind of celestial effect, right?). Unfortunately, they had none of these things in my store (they did have a bunch of great things that I can't find online...stop making it so hard, BR!).

I walked away with just one top that I'm in love with (above, in true white) -- I have been looking for an open weave tunic-y, lacy blouse to wear with leggings and skinny pants. I sized up so this one is nice and long, and I am pretty sure it is what I will reach for on those crazed days when I don't have time to think about what to wear but need to look like a grownup.

I also stopped in Anthropologie, because it was hot out, the mall was cold inside, and I'd found an awesome parking why not stay and shop? I picked up one of their Voluspa scent diffusers in the most delicious orange scent. This one is for my living room, but I want to grab another for my closet -- I've done this with their candles (though this seems MUCH safer) because I believe that I like my Old Navy and Target clothes just a bit more when they have that lovely Anthro smell.

I also spotted this dreamy, watercolor-y dress on the sale rack. It's so pretty, let's take a better look at it:

(Ignore those clunky shoes, they're the worst). I've had my eye on it for a while, and now I have the perfect occasion for it: my big brother's wedding! It will be a small, casual outdoor wedding (ceremony on the beach), so this seems pretty ideal. I wasn't sure I was going to buy something new (as you know, I'm big on shopping my closet), but I think a special family wedding -- with photos that will live on forever -- deserves something a bit special. I'm going to keep an eye out for other options over the next few months (thank you Anthropologie for your generous return policy), but maybe it's as easy as finding that sale rack dress when I wasn't even looking for one.

Finally, I hit Sephora to pick up a birthday gift and see what VIB samples they had I (I've banked tons of points because sometimes their 500 point rewards are awesome -- this time I just grabbed a small sample of the Fresh Soy Cleanser, which will be nice for travel). I've gotten friendly with one of the sales associates and she hooked me up with some fun samples (you can get up to 3 each time you visit, but she was extra generous). I'll let you know if I find anything I love!

Finishing off the weekend with a shift at Give Kids The World - I'll be delivering late night Easter pizzas! I may have also picked up a set of bunny ears at Walgreen's this afternoon -- who wouldn't want to open the door to a bunny holding pizzas?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Three Ways: Striped Dress

A great striped cotton dress is a wardrobe staple for me. I seem to have one or two in constant rotation in my closet, and I'm always on the lookout for another great one.

I like this one from J. Crew with thick navy stripes (left), but you can find lots of variations at tons of different price points: Uniqlo/NLST/H&M/Petit Bateau/Iris & Ink. I kind of want them all. Watch for me on the next episode of Hoarders: Breton Stripe Edition.

In addition to being totally cute, a striped dress is hugely versatile. Here are some of the ways I'll be wearing mine over the next few months:

I love this look for celebrating a holiday with my family. Sometimes they don't "get" my sartorial choices, but this sweet, ladylike outfit feels like me and won't garner too many questioning looks from well-meaning relatives.

I have a particular striped dress/floral coat combo that I've been wearing for a few years and I love it. I found my coat for a steal years ago at an Ann Taylor Loft outlet, but this one from Dorothy Perkins is a great buy (you'll keep it for years and find a million unexpected ways to wear it). Besides the dress and the coat, you don't need to give people much more to look at -- a pair of dangly earrings and pretty, pale heels should do it.

It's super easy to make this dress work-appropriate. I have my eye on a chambray blazer right now (maybe this one or this one), and I love the way it immediately dresses up a relatively casual piece. A big necklace and a great ring (love this one so much!) add some sparkle. In my office, I can get away with these great leopard pumps -- they also come in a more subdued black.

Sometimes you just want to revel in the comfy glory of a simple summer dress. On a hot day, it doesn't get easier than throwing on what is essentially a t-shirt and then adding your favorite accessories of the moment. A pretty scarf adds just a little color, this cuff is cool and unfussy, and these slides are the chicest/cheapest summer shoe ever (they come in and out of stock, but keep watching!). And don't forget some shades.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: The Bright Stripes

It is no secret I love a good stripe -- I have approximately one million classic striped shirts in all variations of black, white, and navy, and I frequently have to stop by myself from buying more (but this one has slightly thinner stripes! And this one has tiny buttons on the shoulder!).

Right now I'm digging a different stripe-y vibe -- bold, vibrant, and almost obnoxiously bright, these candy colored stripes are a perfect way to go screaming into summer.

(clockwise from l to r):

J. Crew Pleated Shell with Metallic Stripe ($158) -- I love this light and airy blouse with unexpected foil accents. If you're lucky enough to work in an office where you can get away with a bit of flash, this could be a fun little wardrobe workhorse.

Dash and Albert Rainbow Striped Tote ($65) -- I'm a sucker for a rainbow stripe, and I love a great roomy tote. I'm reminded of Marie Kondo's magic rule about possessions, and this one is a joy sparker for sure!

Diane von Furstenberg Rose Dress ($468) -- DvF does great dresses, and this one is no exception. Sure, it isn't your classic-wrap-dress-investment-piece-that-you'll-wear-forever, but it would be a fun buy if the right sale came along.

Mara Hoffman Romper ($168) -- I loved this gauzy rainbow print fabric in the shirtdress/beach coverup, and it works perfectly in a sweet little romper. If you're a child of the 80s, this should be a great hit of sartorial nostalgia.

Tory Burch Silk Shorts ($250) -- these crazy shorts are actually made of silk -- the knit yarn effect is just a print. Perfect with a crisp white button down and an easy pair of slides.

Boden Holiday Sandals ($68) -- I love these so much I want to order them RIGHT. NOW. Website says out of stock, but I'm hoping that just means they haven't officially come in stock as they seem like a Summer '15 item to me. They are like happy fireworks on your feet -- I have a black romper that I live in all summer and these would be absolutely darling.

Dorothy Perkins Yellow Stripe Floppy Hat ($21) -- I have never been a girl who wears a fabulous floppy hat to the beach, but I aspire to be her. This one looks perfect for keeping the sun off of my face, so maybe I need to give it a shot.