Search Results for: label/House and Home

Thursday: Animal House

Cardigan: c/o Foxcroft
Tee: J. Crew via eBay (similar)
Skirt: Halogen (similar)
Bracelets: Ann Taylor (similar)
Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors
Trench: DKNY (similar)

Snakeskin AND leopard? At least I didn’t wear a zebra-print blouse or my spotted Vince Camuto pumps, THEN this truly would be an Animal House!

So I have been wearing Foxcroft shirts for a long time and have always loved the high quality, opacity, and great fit for my curves, but I didn’t realize they also carried sweaters! Foxcroft recently sent me this cardigan and I am in love. Like their shirts, they are cut generously for curves, and like their shirts, this sweater is very well made. With such a print, it jazzes up a simple cardigan, tank, and jeans look for the weekend and also dresses up nicely for the office!

With cold weather here in DC and many other places (and coming this way to other parts of the US), I want to try to share my outerwear as much as possible… even if I have my hands shoved so deep in the pockets it makes the jacket look weird.

While it’s super easy to throw on your dirty black parka every day, having a coat wardrobe can really complete your look. I often buy coats off-season for great prices, and try to choose classic silhouettes so they will still be stylish the coming year. This trench from DKNY I purchased last fall and it is one of the best outerwear buys ever. Even though I can get away with regular sizes for most clothing, I prefer coats in petite so they curve at the right part of the lower back and sit well on the shoulders. Coats are worth being altered for a great fit, but resetting shoulders and the waist is costly and sometimes impossible. Better to go for tall or short or whatever you are, go up a size, and then alter than try to recreate the wrong size (or just wear it too small or too large!).

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Dinner at our Friend’s House

My husband was babysat by the wife of this couple, the husband has been his friend since high school and once was his roommate. Can’t get more relaxed, honest and comfortable. It was a last minute spaghetti dinner while watching the concert/telephone for Katrina relief (and yes, we all have donated in many ways).

Wore the same “vintage” jeans from work the same day.

Green spaghetti strap top from The Gap that I got for a steal for $6.99. It’s made from tissue weight jersey, has three ruffled layers and is the best color of jade green.

Same silver hoops and silver cuff bracelet.

Solid black Reef “Sandy” flops. Simple silver toe ring.

Took a shower just before heading out. Left with wet hair, just added a bit of Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Defining Lotion which gave me beachy loose curls by time we arrived at our friends’ house.

Fresh pasta, homemade sauce and garlic bread, good wine, great salad, good music and a good cause. Great way to blow off steam from the work week.

Let’s Move! Event at the White House

I’ve had some pretty amazing opportunities as a blogger but the one at the top of the list has to be the other week when I was invited to the White House.


Though I was born in DC and have lived in the area my whole life, the only time I’ve been to the White House is for an elementary school field trip and all I remember is lots of place settings and what I felt were tacky little rooms all in green, red, or blue. So when SheKnows reached out and asked if I’d like to attend an event there for Lets Move! I screamed, did a little dance, and then calmly replied, “I’d be honored, thank you!” I scheduled PTO with my job for the first half of Tuesday; sorry boss, gotta take some time off to hang with Michelle Obama!

Let's Move! A Conversation on the Health of our Nation's Children - White House, March 2016 with Michelle Obama and 150 bloggers and online influencersOf course the most important question… what to wear? Usually this would be easy – a dress with an interesting print and a pair of pumps. But it was going to be chilly, we’d be both inside and outside, we’d be walking on grass/possible mud, and oh yeah, I have a broken toe so pumps or any heel is NOT going to fly. We were told the event was Business Casual. I spent Monday night texting selfies of my possible outfits to my sister, got myself all worked up in a frenzy and decided to take a bath, go to bed, and figure it out in the morning. Come morning, I was more in an, “eff it, this isn’t about me it’s about Let’s Move!” mentality and chose to wear this dress (matte jersey doesn’t wrinkle or crease when sitting, doesn’t show sweat if I get nervous, has a fun print, isn’t too short or too tight) and this coat (it’s a statement all on its own and will bring cheer to a grey and drizzly day). As for shoes, this is where I said eff it and just decided to wear my silver brogues. They’re flat, roomy enough for my toe, won’t get ruined in rain or a bit of mud, and at least look as though I put forth some effort. They didn’t go, I even texted my friends Alison and Rosana that I felt very Reality Bites wearing brogues with a dress, but comfort (and not sinking into soft grass) always trumps style!

The Metro was having some serious issues so I splurged on taking an Uber to the White House. My driver was a sweetie, he asked where I was going and we got into a long conversation about blogging and monetizing the internet. By day he’s an Uber driver but by night he has an Amazon store. I learned how families help relatives who are new to the US set up Amazon stores as a way to make money; this system is great for them because they don’t have to be fluent in English, they don’t need a resume, and as my driver pointed out, they aren’t judged by their looks or ethnicity. He used to sell electronics but found the stock he was receiving was not consistent quality so now he sells books. He dropped me off at the Southeast Gate to the White House, where security let me right in when I mentioned what I was there for.

OMG OMG OMG I'm walking into the White House!!

OMG OMG OMG I’m walking into the White House!!

Can I just say how awesome the White House staff is? Everyone is so genuinely nice. Even security guards smile and say hello. It’s a very chill vibe, everyone is so confident in their jobs and seem to really enjoy visitors.

Chillin' with Eleanor

Chillin’ with Eleanor

They had a coat check (with even more lovely people managing it), we bloggers and online influencers milled around checking out the library and many of us took White House bathroom selfies and photos with the paintings of First Ladies.

Chillin' with Bill

Chillin’ with Bill

We then went up a flight of stairs to a large room where a woman was playing the piano and they were serving coffee, tea, juice, and water (with a few granola bars on trays). I felt super elegant sipping java from a china cup and saucer and had a fellow blogger take my photo with Bill. I saw a few bloggers I knew like Julia Coney from All About the Pretty and Lindsay Ponta from Shrimp Salad Circus (both even more lovely in person!) and found my friend Jessica McFadden from A Parent in America and A Parent in Silver Spring. Neither of us could believe we hadn’t met in person prior to this event; we have tons of mutual friends in the blogging and DC fashion worlds and have followed one another on blog and personal social media for eons. No surprise we got along great face to face!

bloggers and online influencers listening with rapt attention

bloggers and online influencers listening with rapt attention

We then were ushered into a ballroom full of tables, gold chairs, and lovely springlike centerpieces. I was able to score a table to the left of the stage, one row back. You could feel the energy in the room, the nerves, the excitement, and likely the radio waves from all the phones Snapchatting, Periscoping, Instagramming, Tweeting, and taking selfies! There were 150 of us bloggers, vloggers, and internet influencers from all sorts of niches but the anticipation really brought us together as one.

We listened to three panels of pretty badass women who are working to make America healthier. We heard from:

  • Deb Eschmeyer, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition
  • Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS
  • Dominique Dawes, Co-chair, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and three-time Olympic gymnast (and one of my regular customers when I worked at the Express store in White Flint mall in the late ’90s!)
  • Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Dr. Katie Wilson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA
  • Deborah Kane, Director, Office of Community Food Systems, USDA
  • Jackie Haven, Deputy Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA
  • Stephenie Fu, Senior Policy Advisor, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA

We also had a cooking demonstration from Cris Comerford, the Executive Chef for the White House. She created this salad which I know we’ll be trying out in the Gary household in the near future. After her demonstration she answered a few audience questions and thanks to that I found out the Obamas’ favorite comfort food is a roast chicken which they have for Sunday dinner every week.

But the most interesting speech for me was from Ryan Shadrick Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel for Partnership for a Healthier America. She shared that she took a work conference call from home discussing a recent initiative where Sesame Street characters were placed on fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. Kids would notice, ask for the food with Elmo or Big Bird on it, increasing the healthy snacks in children’s diets (and BTW uber cool that Sesame Workshop offered the images for free). After the call, feeling pretty proud of herself for the successful initiative, her 9 year old son took her down a peg by saying if he saw Elmo on an apple he’d be less likely to buy it. She asked who would encourage him to buy an apple. His response? “LeBron.” This inspired her to help create the campaign Team FNV. If Doritos and Mountain Dew can get big-name celebrities and have flashy ads appealing to young America, why can’t fruits and vegetables? They gathered some big-name celebs in sports, acting, music, and more who for free agreed to be spokespeople for the campaign and created meme-worthy marketing that makes healthy food darn cool. Check out their Instagram account, their amazing website, and store (the leek tee shirt caused an all-day training for Karl about the importance of eyebrows and what Vine is!).

Michelle Obama, even more awesome in person!

Michelle Obama, even more awesome in person!

I felt rude constantly holding up my phone during her speech so this is my selfie with Michelle Obama!

I felt rude holding up my phone during her speech so this is my selfie with Michelle Obama!

And then the reason why we were all buzzing with excitement, the keynote speech from Michelle Obama. Oh. Em. Gee. I’m not one to get all spazzed out by famous people, but it was pretty exhilarating to be just 12 feet from a woman I find such an inspiration. She’s even more lovely in person. She shared how before she became First Lady, she took the girls to the pediatrician and he scolded her on their poor nutrition. Immediately after she changed their diets; they ate at home more often and desserts were a once a week treat instead of an expected daily experience. A year later back at the pediatrician he was amazed and asked what she did because he had rarely seen such a change in families. When she became First Lady, she decided to make this her mission and created Lets Move!. Obama reassured that this isn’t something she will drop once they leave the White House; this is something she plans to work on and fight for the rest of her life.

And Lets Move! has accomplished so much! In just the past few years, the campaign has eliminated junk food marketing in classrooms, helped over 30 million kids have access to healthier school meals, assist with 1.6 million kids attending healthier daycare centers, and encouraged 200 corporate partners to make commitments for a healthier America.

As soon as I got this picture I texted it to my mom!

As soon as I got this picture I texted it to my mom!

After Obama’s speech, we grabbed our coats and were led to the White House Kitchen Garden. We as a family garden; we have several square plots in our backyard and a plot in our city’s community garden. I took a ton of pictures not just for the blog but to text to Karl with inspiration. Oh I was mega jealous of their beehive and just loved how our own garden and the garden my parents had when I was a kid isn’t that different from the one at the White House. Gardening is something that really brings us all to the same level, adds this level of humanity, and it’s so awesome to eat food you planted, tended to, cared for, and picked. I know that Emerson has been more receptive to lesser-known vegetables when she has helped water them, weed their plots, and pick them for dinner. I was thrilled to hear about Farm to School; the USDA offers grants to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers which offers healthier and local options for kids.   Also Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools program is a wonderful way to get more children in America access to healthy foods.

The most important point I got from the day is we can vote with our wallets. I often mention this in regard to fashion, but it also holds true for food. If you don’t have healthy options in your local grocery or in your child’s school, SPEAK UP. We have the power to make change, in 2016 we have the ability to be heard with petitions, letters, social media, and our buying power.

Click here to find out what Let’s Move activities are in your neighborhood! 

Casual Brunch and Errand Running… Became House Party!

I took a super quick shower to rinse the conditioner out of my hair, and quickly hit it with the hairdryer. My hair had this fabulous beachy look due to conditioner still left in it. I twisted around a few locks to make it more piecey, washed my face, applied only powder, mascara and lip balm.

My dear friend and I went to our favorite Greek diner for chicken souvlaki salads and water with lemon. I wore the same vintage jeans from the day before (jeans are better the second day), and a dark gray vintage CBGB tee shirt. Same black Reef flops. Left the purse at home, slid the license and check card in the back pocket.

After lunch, we hit Zips Dry cleaning so I could drop off the duvet and shams for their bi-monthly freshning. Then we hit Mecca for some necessities. I had been at the beach the weekend prior and forgot my toilitry bag and needed to refill in time for my next business trip. I purchased:
1. An off-white silk shade and a black matte finish metal base to make a new lamp for the living room. Compliments the leather couches quite nicely as that the black finish looks like dark brown. The shade looks nice against the curtains. Far better than the inherited ceramic vase-style lamp of prior.
2. A funky cherry red patent travel bag from Sonia Kashuk that holds a TON of travel sized things. I also got a second bag but in a floral print for all my makeup when I travel. My current cosmetic bag has met it’s maker.
3. For toilitries, I got shampoo and conditioner by Pantene (not every day, but a good small-sized substitute for trips), a mini shower gel by Dial (again, just for trips), toothpaste, shaving gel, contact lens solution, hairspray, a body buffer, and razor blades. I still had my travel toothbrush, body lotion, razor and brush. It’s so cool that it all fits in one case now!

My friend and I got home, just as my husband and his friend got home from martial arts class – they went to a workshop on using a knife for self defense. THey were starving so we went to our favorite margarita hangout. The guys got colossal plates of food covered in sauces and cheese, while my friend and I downed two large Top Shelf margaritas each and nibbled on some chips. We got up and realized we were feeling mightily buzzed.

The four of us went back to our house. The guys practiced their knife skills in the back yard and smoked cigars, while my friend and I watched one of my favorite shows on TV and opened a bottle of some of the best cheap wine there is. Two more friends came over bringing wine, beer and more cigars. We ordered thin crust pizza, popped in some movies, and I promptly fell asleep!

#WO2crosscountry: Dodge City, Kansas and Durango, Colorado

Wardrobe Oxygen family road trip recap of Dodge City Kansas and Durango ColoradoCheck out this post to see the first part of our two week cross-country road trip!

We knew we wanted to head next to Durango, Colorado to pick up where Karl’s dad went on his road trip, but there was no way in heck that we could drive that distance in one day. Looking at the map we realized the mid-point between St. Louis and Durango was pretty much smack dab in the middle of the United States. We looked at what cities and towns were located along our route and Dodge City, Kansas came up.

oasis convienence store gas kansas mexican food driving through kansas - wardrobe oxygen Emerson in KansasDriving to Dodge City was an experience Karl and I were both looking forward to. Karl did a similar road trip with his dad back when he was in high school, but it was farther north. Any time I went farther west than Ohio, it was by plane. We found it awesome to drive through such flat land, so very different from the East Coast. It was a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky and we could go over an hour without seeing another car or any sign of life. Right when we needed a gas station and restroom we saw an Oasis – a gas station and convenience store named Oasis right in the middle of nowhere. Talk about a perfect name for a business!

Dodge City, Kansas

Spearville KansasWe drove through Kinsley, Kansas which is the town that lays claim to being the center of the United States with equal distance to each coast, and Spearville which is the land of windmills. While I’ve seen wind farms before, it was surreal and alien-like to see miles and miles of hundreds and hundreds of them glowing in the setting sun. Just as our tummies started rumbling, we reached Dodge City.

Wyatt Earp Blvd Dodge City KansasI didn’t book a hotel in advance, but TripAdvisor said the La Quinta in town was pretty nice. We got their last double queen room. It was nice, but the TV didn’t work. The front desk immediately moved us to a double queen suite across the hall for no additional cost. We asked where to eat and they suggested the Bad Habit, which we drove to and found was a standard bar and grill we could find back home. We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious food, and the waitresses were sweethearts. In fact every person we encountered in Dodge City was super nice and friendly.

There was the most spectacular moon that night but after filling our bellies we were DONE. We went back to the hotel and Emerson fell asleep before we finished that night’s chapter of The Secret Garden.  I woke up early the next morning and used the hotel gym (eh, it was fine, it got the job done and wasn’t dirty) and had breakfast (free with our stay). My family got up, ate, and we packed up to get back on the road for another long drive.

Getting in the car the tire pressure light went on. We drove to two different gas stations and both had their air machines broken. Karl had brought a small air compressor with us thank goodness so we inflated the front left tire which was a hair low. We couldn’t find the reason for the issue, so we crossed our fingers and went on.

visit to dodge city kansas wearing the HomeT shirts as a family Visiting Dodge City Kansas wearing The HomeT shirts as a family historic dodge city kansasFurther down Wyatt Earp Boulevard is the historic part of Dodge City including Boot Hill Museum. Unfortunately none of it was open at 8am, however that doesn’t mean there weren’t any people.

boot hill dodge city kansasParking in a lot to check out the replica frontier town (behind gates), we met two men who were in the Navy (and took our family photo), and a gentleman from Bethesda, Maryland! Historic Dodge City was so cute, we wished we had more time to check it out. Maybe on another trip!

kansas colorado border welcome to colorful coloradoWe got to the Kansas/Colorado border and got out to take a family photo at the sign. We were so glad we were wearing our Maryland shirts from The HomeT.  Emerson was freaked out by all the grasshoppers jumping on our ankles, and I must say Kia ate a bunch of them in her grill. It was sunny, warm, and windy and felt like we finally had left the familiar and truly got into our road trip.

The Drive From Dodge City to Durango

#WO2crosscountry Family Cross Country Road Trip in a Kia in ColoradoThe drive from Dodge City to Durango was one of the most memorable from the entire trip. Going from completely flat plains to mountains and seeing everything in between was spectacular. We started the day hot and without a cloud in the sky, experienced humidity, clouds, sun again, rain, intense hail, and then a light drizzle in weather so cool we donned light jackets. We went from miles and miles of nothing but grain coops and fields to large ranches with the occasional cattle to small towns, suburbs, national forests, and historic towns.

We drove through towns that were almost completely boarded up. It was sad to see what must have been a bustling community now a ghost town. Gas stations, fabric stores, bars, markets, hardware stores and more boarded up, glass broken, some buildings literally crumbling to the ground. Even sadder were the towns that had the main street boarded up like this yet there were still people living in the houses around them. This led to a really great conversation with Emerson about how not every part of the United States has access to jobs, healthy food, and opportunities like we have. I think it’s very important for kids (and adults) to understand the disparity in the United States, especially with the election right around the corner.

Kim Outpost in Kim, Coloradoimage via

We stopped in Kim, Colorado for gas. With a population of around 100, the Kim Outpost is the hub of the community with a single gas pump and a building that is the community center, restaurant, grocery store, auto body shop, library, video rental store, and business center for the town. We asked the the wife of the couple who own Kim’s Outpost about the signs on the highway saying, “This Land is Not for Sale to the US Army.” She told us how for almost a decade they fought the Army to keep their land and not have them expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. When living in the cities or suburbs, news like this is a blip on the TV or deep in the pages of the paper. However to these folks, it was their life, their history, their livelihood, and their future at stake and they dedicated their life to this fight and won… at least for now.

#WO2crosscountry cross country road trip wardrobe oxygenSoon, the land became more mountainous, and we saw more developed and thriving communities. We had options for gas and food. We drove through adorable towns like Pagosa Springs (if I win the lottery don’t be surprised if we move there!), and through the Rio Grande National Forest. The view driving down the mountain in Rio Grande National Forest was utterly spectacular and we all agreed we MUST return and camp there, hike there, soak up the beauty.

driving through rio grande national forestWe ended up in standstill traffic in the San Juan National Forest. For almost an hour we sat in the same exact place, couldn’t get any radio stations, Waze wasn’t working, and we had no idea what was going on. Finally the traffic started moving again. Driving down the mountain we saw the reason for the standstill – a tractor trailer had fallen off the curvy road and was wedged on a cliff! We assumed since we saw no emergency vehicles the driver was safe and the truck was secured, but we made haste when driving past it just in case.

Rio Grande National ForestOnce out of the forest, a truck going in the opposite direction bounced a rock up from the road and it hit our windshield, leaving a major chip.  When we stopped for gas, Emerson hugged Kia and that’s the photo used in the title images for this series.  By this time, our 2011 Kia Soul was the fourth member of our family and we were sad it was getting “injured” with the slow leak in the tire and the cracked windshield (when we unpacked we saw the hail also did some damage to our cargo box).

Durango, Colorado

Wardrobe Oxygen - Trip to Durango Colorado A trip to Durango Colorado by Wardrobe OxygenThough this was the longest drive of the trip (and made longer due to traffic, rain, and hail), we arrived in Durango energized.  I had reached out to a few hotels and the tourism department for Durango before our trip and was offered a reduced rate at the Leland House and Rochester Hotel.

Leland House Durango Colorado the Leland House and Rochester Hotel in Durango Colorado - Wardrobe OxygenThe Leland House is across the street from the Rochester Hotel but they are owned and run by the same mother-son duo and work in tandem.  In 1993, they purchased The Pittman Apartments, built in 1927, from Leland and Lola Hill. The building was renamed The Leland House in honor of that family who owned the property since 1947.

Rochester Hotel Durango Colorado The Rochester Hotel in Durango Colorado - Wardrobe OxygenA year after restoring the Leland House, they began restoring the rundown Rochester Hotel.  Built in 1892, it is one of the oldest hotels in Durango. The former 33-room boarding house is now 15 king and double queen rooms with private baths.

Rochester Hotel interior, Durango ColoradoAll the rooms in the Rochester have a Western movie theme based on the movies that have been filmed in the area; movie posters framed in marquee lights line the hallways, along with film histories and photos from these movies.

Leland House Durango Colorado Queen Suite Bedroom Leland House Durango Colorado Queen Suite Kitchen Leland House Durango Colorado Queen Suite Living RoomEach room in the Leland House is named after an historic Durango figure and the interior décor is accented with local memorabilia, biographies, and photos of these figures.  We stayed in the “Balsey” Kern Suite, a queen suite with a spacious living room with a gas fireplace designed to look like a wood stove (obviously not used this time of year) and sofa bed, a full kitchen and breakfast nook, a charming bedroom with super comfy king-size bed and a charming yet modern bathroom with shower.

Leland House Queen Suite Bathroom Durango ColoradoThe bathroom had Aveda shampoo, conditioner, and body wash and handmade glycerin soaps.  We were on the main floor and right outside our room was a door to a balcony and stairs down to the hotel’s “secret garden” and where our car was parked. After four nights in traditional hotels, it was so nice to rest somewhere more homey.  I already regretted not staying in Durango more than one night.

View of Durango Colorado Durango Colorado view of the Strater HotelWhile Emerson and I got unpacked, Karl got a lay of the land.

olde tymers cafe durango coloradoThe hotel recommended we go to Steamworks for dinner, but there was a crowd outside and just inside with a 45 minute wait for dinner.  They also recommended Eno which looked fantastic but not an Emerson-friendly menu.  On Instagram, McKristie recommended Olde Tymers Cafe so we headed there and it was exactly what we needed after such an long day on the road.  A quirky yet cozy atmosphere with random tchotchkes on the walls, a large bar, tables and booths snuggled up to one another, and a very friendly relaxed staff.  Olde Tymers Cafe is known for their burgers but Karl and I have cut out red meat this year so we each got salads that were generous, creative, and delicious.  It went from a light drizzle to actual rain while in there and it was so comforting to be in there in the amber light, so Karl and I decided to have another drink and stay a bit (and I passed Emerson my phone, which had a few Toca Boca games on it to keep her entertained).

Emerson at Cream Bean Berry in Durango ColoradoKarl said he saw an ice cream shop when exploring the town so when the rain stopped we headed to Cream Bean Berry.  This is not your typical ice cream shop, Cream Bean Berry makes artisan ice cream with only a few flavors each day.  They had a flavor that was a bit like cookies and cream (Emerson’s favorite flavor) with Nutella in it, so Em got a small cone.  After two bites she was done.  It was past her bedtime and started raining again but I couldn’t believe she was refusing ice cream.  I took a bite and knew why – it was so rich, so decadent, so multi-facteted.  Two bites was enough for a little girl without too large of sweet tooth.  I have been cutting down on dairy but I had two bites as well and it was a little bit of heaven.

We headed back to the hotel where Emerson passed out almost immediately but Karl and I stayed up and had some adult quiet time thanks to separate bedrooms, feeling as though we were able to relax for the first time since we got on the road.  Again we wished we were staying in Durango longer than one night and from the small bit of the state we saw and its people, we agreed we were in love and HAD to return.

breakfast rochester hotel leland house durango colorado rochester hotel leland house breakfastThe next morning we walked across the street to the Rochester Hotel for the breakfast included with our stay.  The breakfast was incredible!  They had homemade granola, fruit, and homemade pastries, but they also offered a cooked dish that changes every day.  On our day, it was a basil and feta scramble and potato cake served with toast.

rochester hotel courtyard rochester hotel durango colorado courtyardThere’s seating inside but also a charming courtyard where one could sit and dine in the morning, relax in the afternoon, or have a cocktail in the evening.

Leland House Rochester Hotel Durango Colorado bike rentalLeaving the courtyard I saw the hotel had bikes to borrow, and each had a tag on the bag with its name.  Trigger, Silver, they were all named after horses!  Again, we were wishing we could stay longer to really explore Durango and experience all that the Leland House and Rochester Hotel had to offer.  But we had places to go and sights to see so we packed up and got back on the road.  When checking out I bought one of their coffee mugs so I can remember this experience even when home.  We hope to see you again soon, Colorado!

What We Learned from This Part of the Trip

  • Take advantage of every bathroom and every gas station. While in some parts of the country there will be signs saying last gas station for X miles, don’t assume they’re all out there. We never got to the point where we were sweating bullets over our fuel tank or having bladders ready to bust, but that was because we never let the tank get below half full. Don’t risk it, top it off and make the kids try to use the restroom even if they say they don’t need to.
  • Fuel up just before you get to your destination. It’s way nicer to hop in the car the next morning and get on the road than have to stop and get gas. Also, if you use the bathroom before you get to your hotel, you’re not as antsy checking in and unpacking. An empty bladder makes for a calmer mind. We did this before Durango and made it a habit afterwards and it just made things more pleasant.
  • Have a car emergency kit. Sure, you may have flares or jumper cables, but what will you do when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no car to see that flare or offer a battery to jump? We brought this tire air inflator and a portable power unit like this one. While we never needed the portable power I have used it in the past to jump my battery and when at home it’s a great way to run the vacuum for the car or charge a cell phone when tailgating.
  • Listen to local radio. When we were in the Flint Hills area, Karl saw a sign to turn on AM 1680. We did and for 15 minutes heard a gentleman read history about the area. It was interesting and a nice change from music. After this, we made it a habit to listen to local radio to hear what music was popular, events in the area, the accents, and to learn more about that community.
  • Don’t rely on your phone for navigation.  There’s a lot of this US of A that doesn’t have good cell reception.  We had Karl’s dad’s old Garmin GPS as well as recent paper road atlases and had a general idea of the route we were taking before we get on the road.  Have a backup to your backup, better safe than stuck in the middle of nowhere!
  • Don’t be afraid to look like a tourist.  The HomeT sent us each one of their Maryland tees and thanks to them we met so many nice people in Dodge City and it made for great photos at landmarks. We wore them again on our trip and again saw that they made people smile and want to help and talk to us.

Stay tuned as we leave Durango, Colorado for Winslow, Arizona!






Ask Allie: Clothing Retailers for Grown Up Women

This past weekend I stumbled into LOFT with a friend. She loves LOFT, I thought okay. Hrm yeah I am not a fan, not sure why, but after walking around the store nothing appealed to me. I am going to be 50 this year and my friend told me that it is time to step up to women’s labels. Please tell me that I have other options. I love JCP, NY&Co., Macy’s and Old Navy. Got any suggestions?

I just wrote about LOFT this week, how it seems as though either it is younger or I am older. Either way, the clothes just don’t feel right to me, even though I have many LOFT pieces in my closet from previous seasons that I still adore. As I often say, it’s not you, it’s the clothes.

Best Clothing Retailers for Women Over 40 - Wardrobe Oxygen
But yes, you do have other options! I’ll share my favorites, but I also hope you readers will pipe up in the comments with the places you have the greatest success finding fab grown-up fashion.

I’m glad to see that you mentioned department stores like JC Penney and Macy’s; I find that especially as you get older, shopping from department stores is a smart move because of the options. With stores like LOFT, you’re stuck with one brand, one cut, one style concept. Department stores may have buyers that dictate the brands and styles, but you will still have more variety.

Great Clothing Retailers for Grown Up Women


One department store you didn’t mention is Nordstrom. Many who aren’t familiar with Nordstrom may discount it as being too expensive, however they have prices competitive with Macy’s and I find they’re more selective with brands and quality. Not only that, I find far more styles that are on trend and cool while not looking too young or trendy for grown-up women. Check out the brands Halogen and Caslon for wallet-friendly wardrobe staples, JAG and Kut from the Kloth for quality denim at a nice price, Vince Camuto and NIC + ZOE for on-trend pieces that also work at the office, Eliza J and Maggy London for great dresses. Nordstrom has fantastic in-store customer service and free alterations on some purchases. Online, they have free shipping and returns and price match other retailers.

When it comes to individual brands and boutiques, a lot of it comes down to personal style. Just as with LOFT, brands have a certain aesthetic, certain customer in mind when they create their collections. While your best friend may love skinny jeans, you may prefer a bootcut because it better flatters your figure and also goes better with the tops and shoes in your closet. The sale holds true with brands; what is one person’s Holy Grail of fashion can be a mega fail for another. The list of retailers you provided has a variety of fashion but a base of simple versatile basics so I will try to focus on similar brands.

Lands’ End

While many think of Lands’ End for parkas and fleece, they are also a great destination for women’s fashion. The quality is usually stellar, the prices reasonable for the construction and fabric, and they have amazing sales. On top of that, they have a liberal return policy and you can even return online purchases at Sears. I appreciate the extensive and honest customer reviews that also share the reviewer’s age range (great for gauging whether such adoration is from a college kid or a retiree). Lands’ End is my go-to for dresses (check out their ponte options which are flattering, forgiving, and usually washable) and sweaters (I have a Supima cardigan from them that is over a decade old and still looks brand new) but many have great success with their footwear and variety of pants.

J. Crew Factory

While J. Crew can be extremely pricey (especially for the inconsistent quality), the J. Crew Factory store has become a favorite of mine for casual closet basics. Great plain and printed tees, reasonably priced jeans in on-trend silhouettes and washes, and unique pieces like patterned skirts and jackets can be found, and the prices are pretty great. In fact, J. Crew Factory has replaced Old Navy for my weekend style staples as the quality is better for just a fraction more money. J. Crew Factory has $5 flat-rate shipping (and free shipping over $100) and a reasonable return policy. They also have some customer reviews which help you determine which item may be right for you. I recommend signing up for their emails so you know when they have promotions (which are often) like 40% off the store.


I learned about Boden from another blogger (may have been Forever Amber) and it has remained for many years as one of my favorite destinations for that special something that completes my wardrobe. While I’ll purchase basics at places like Lands’ End and J. Crew Factory, Boden is where I find a top or dress that is a statement piece, and truly defines my style. Quirky prints, interesting details, and great quality makes Boden a place you should check out. The thing is, the quirkiness is sophisticated and looks better on grown up women than those right out of college. They often have lengths and tall options, plenty of customer reviews, and stellar customer service. Boden is also a great place for knit tops; they’re one of my favorite places for Breton and other striped tees.

Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill is a place I have shopped from for decades. While I first found them when searching for the perfect bed linens, they are now a place I can trust for high-quality stylish yet not trendy fashion. Garnet Hill is not cheap, but their buyers are extremely picky and provide high quality and a very clean aesthetic. Garnet Hill has plenty of customer reviews and a ton of information not just about the items but the brands they are from so you can be a very educated consumer. I also like that there’s usually several images from a variety of angles and occasionally on different models so you can get a better feel for what you are purchasing. Garnet Hill isn’t my go-to because they charge for shipping, never have promotions, and as a blogger I won’t get money sharing them because they don’t participate in any affiliate or monetization programs but they do have great quality and provide a stellar shopping experience.


I have a love/hate relationship with J.Jill. I have partnered with them in the past and I have pieces from the brand, but they are hard to shop online. I was discussing this in the comments of a recent post; the way they pin and style their looks online and in catalogs is very misleading and I find sizing a bit inconsistent. Even with the partnership in 2014, I ordered online for my pieces but had to go to the actual store to exchange them because they fit and looked very different from how they looked online. Also I find that pieces that look meh online are awesome in stores (and they have a different variety of colors in stores). When you’re at the mall, consider stopping in J.Jill and try on a few things, you may be pleasantly surprised.


Talbots is one of my favorite shops, and it’s another store where you need to actually try on the clothes and not base judgement on their online store. When I go online I am underwhelmed, but when I walk into their stores (or receive their catalogs) I fall in love with so many things. If you remember Talbots as the place for chinos with pineapples embroidered on them, the store is worth a visit this year. While the brand still has a bit of a preppy classic vibe, there’s a lot of the line that fits a variety of personal styles. From quality knits to figure-flattering dresses, Talbots even has a revamped denim line I find extremely flattering and well made and a really stylish activewear collection. I also recommend signing up for Talbots emails as they often have sales and promotions. Usually I shop Talbots in person instead of online because they usually charge for shipping and the clothes just look far better in person than on their website.

White House | Black Market

White House | Black Market is another store I prefer in person. And even then, they’re off and on. Their sizing is smaller so if you’re cusp sized you may find pieces run narrow. However, they often have some really nice pieces and carry petites. Do not judge the store but the salespeople; while they often employ young girls the line often carries elegant and fun yet chic pieces that are great for creative offices, nights out, or And while the brand originally was two stores, one that had all white clothing and one that had only black, the store now has merged and carries a variety of colors and neutrals.

And now I would like to hear from you readers… where are your favorite places to shop that are stylish, flattering, and appropriate for a grown up woman? I’d love to hear your thoughts and I bet this reader would too!

Couple’s Weekend Getaway in Columbus, Ohio [Sponsored]

Karl and I took a little couples’ getaway last month to Columbus and it was just what the doctor ordered. Only a six-hour drive or 1-hour flight from DC, Columbus is a thriving city with plenty to do and see. Their culinary scene is amazing, with so many unique restaurants, food trucks, and talented chefs.  It was the perfect city for a quick getaway where we could relax, recharge, and celebrate as a couple.

le meredien columbus the joseph reviewWe stayed at Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, a gorgeous boutique hotel conveniently located on High Street in The Short North. Staying here was a real treat; because I am a Starwood Preferred Guest member (seriously join those free loyalty programs they’re worth it), we were upgraded to a Deluxe King room. The room was spacious and gorgeous, with a beautiful view of the city and the staff had macarons from Pistacia Vera and a bottle of Chardonnay on ice waiting for us.  I don’t think I’ve ever before taken so many showers in one weekend; I was obsessed with the shower’s perfect rainshower head, strong pressure, and plenty of hot water.  We took advantage of the room service one evening and the food, prepared by the adjoining Guild House restaurant, was astounding.  Even the lobby was great; cool furniture and decor but comfortable enough to chill and read the paper, drink a cocktail, and do a bit of people watching.  The Joseph staff was warm, friendly, and extremely helpful.  I would stay at this hotel again in a heartbeat and recommend it completely if you’re coming to visit Columbus.

A review of The Pearl Restaurant in Columbus #lifeincbusthe pearl columbus oyster roomEvery time Karl and I visit a city, we get oysters.  The Pearl is located directly across the street from The Joseph, and was recommended by many as the place to go in Columbus for oysters.  The place was busy, but in just a couple minutes we were able to get seats at the oyster bar.  The place was well staffed, and everyone was very friendly.

the pearl restaurant oyster review columbus ohioWe started with a mixed dozen of oysters and then got a second dozen of the ones we liked best.  Karl got the restaurant’s exclusive Pearl Oyster Stout from North High Brewing and I chose a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  We were both pleased with our selections.

DSCF0981The bill arrives in a hardback book; I loved the randomness of the one we received!

forno kitchen bar columbusWe also got a chance to check out forno kitchen + bar, an elegant and modern space that is still inviting.  We stopped by between meal times for a cocktail and appetizer.  We sat at the bar and found that our bartender Jimmy was a true mixologist who is passionate about food and drink and quite knowledgeable about the Columbus culinary scene.  While Karl got a Woodford Reserve neat, Jimmy recommended forno’s Kiwi Mule, which was delicious, crisp and refreshing on a warm summer day.  We shared the Ahi Tuna Tacos which were phenomenal, and made us wish to return and try more from their menu.

the pint house columbusforno recommended we check out Short North Pint House & Beer Garden.  Run by the same folks as forno, but a completely different experience.  The Pint House is ginormous – a front room with a ton of light, tall tables, and the funkiest fountain made from beer taps.  A bar goes along the wall of this area into the main part of the place,  and juts out to hold at least 30 stools and continues down the wall to the back.  Over 70 different beers on tap and dozens more available in bottles and cans, the place is a beer lover’s dream.  I don’t drink beer any more, but I had a Moscow Mule.  I know these drinks are popular nationally but I had never seen so many people drink them before I visited Columbus.  It seemed everywhere I looked someone was sipping out of a copper mug.  I had never had one before, and now I see the appeal.  Karl tried a few different local brews, and the folks at the Pint House were kind enough to treat us to their Short Rib Nachos, which were tasty and plentiful.  This place was hopping even in the middle of the day, and the staff was super energetic and friendly.

DSCF1038The first night in Columbus, we met a couple who recommended we check out Stack City Burger Bar, a new restaurant part of the Hyde Park Restaurant Group, which also owns a half dozen other restaurants in Columbus.  Thinking this would be your run of the mill bar and burger joint with a bunch of TVs showing sports, we were pleasantly surprised.  The location is warm and modern but somehow made big screens part of the decor.  Plenty of outdoor seating, but we decided to sit inside, though they opened up all the walls so there was a gorgeous breeze.  We each got a Bloody Mary which was really delicious and made with coconut vodka and just the right amount of spice and heat.  Karl got a bison burger with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and a side of onion rings; I chose the Red White and Blue burger (lettuce, tomato, onion, bread and butter pickles, cheddar) with fries.  They cook their burgers medium well, but they are not dry.  Incredibly flavorful and juicy, a bit reminiscent in flavor to Shake Shack, though the buns are slightly toasted and have the perfect amount of firmness.  We each could only eat half of our burgers and just a bit of the sides; the burgers were so good the leftovers tasted great a few hours later after sitting in our hotel minifridge!

katalinas cafe columbus ohioWe were informed that one of the best breakfast destinations in Columbus is Katalina’s. Located in the Victorian Village (less than a mile and an easy and pretty walk from the hotel), Katalina’s prides itself on using local and fresh ingredients.  Katalina’s is a casual and cheery place; you order at the counter and they bring it to your table either inside the small cafe or on the outdoor patio.  We got there around 9am and the place was pretty full but we didn’t have to wait in line very long and snagged a table indoors.  If you want to eat outside, I recommend getting there as close to open as possible.  We were psyched about our seat; there was a sign there from a regular customer who was in Italy for the summer; he provided his SnapChat and Instagram handles and wanted to hear from those who enjoyed the restaurant from his favorite table.  How adorable is that?  We took a selfie and I mentioned him on Instagram and he wrote back the same day!  Such an example of the fun and friendly people of Columbus.

katalinas columbus breakfast reviewI got the breakfast tacos with chorizo, which were amazing.  Everything was so fresh, and it came with a side of the most amazing corn on the cob I have ever enjoyed; steamed so it was juicy and plump and coated in spices that had a hint of heat and tons of flavor.  Karl got Hens in a Basket and couldn’t stop raving about the Brussels sprouts slaw side.

DSCF1064The other place we knew we had to try for breakfast was Northstar Cafe.  With three locations in Columbus, we visited the one in the Short North, which was just a few blocks down from our hotel.  Northstar also has indoor and outdoor seating, a casual atmosphere, and a focus on organic ingredients.

northstar cafe columbusI got The Standard Egg Sandwich with sausage, Karl chose the Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash.  The sun was strong and while we got there early enough for outdoor seating, we chose to sit in the airy and inviting dining room.

zencha tea salon columbusThere’s plenty of fabulous independent coffee, tea, and juice shops in Columbus.  I didn’t see a single Starbucks and it was AWESOME.  Our hotel provided illy coffee pods and a little machine in our room that made phenomenal espresso and coffee so we didn’t visit any coffee shops.  However, we stopped by Native Cold Pressed Saturday morning and got some delicious green juice to counteract our Friday night cocktails.  On Sunday Karl got delicious Jasmine Pearl iced tea from ZenCha Tea Salon.  ZenCha was so relaxing and the art in there to show awareness for human trafficking was powerful.

north market columbusA must-visit when in Columbus is the North Market.  Established in 1876, the market has over 30 vendors offering local and fresh food.  The main floor is like other markets I have attended; stalls for fishmongers, butchers, bakers, coffee roasters, pastry chefs and yes even the famous Columbus Jeni’s  Ice Cream.  Upstairs has plenty of seating (and a great view of the booths below) and Hot Chicken Takover, one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in Columbus.  I could have spent all day at North Market, and could have spent my entire paycheck.

north market columbus ohioAnd you know you always wanted to know what I looked like as a goat! We saw this upstairs in North Market and I couldn’t resist!

columbus collageThe weather in Columbus was perfect – in the 80s, sunny, with a light breeze.  Being from DC, we loved having a break from the humidity and all the mosquitoes!  We walked a LOT, often with no place in mind, just checking out the city.  It’s an easy city to walk; we never drove our car and had CoGo Bike Share available for longer treks.  To be honest, we forgot to take pictures on most of our adventures, we just enjoyed a new city full of some of the nicest people.  Columbus is creative, colorful and modern.  The culinary scene rivals larger metro areas like DC but is not at all pretentious.  While all the current trends can be found in dining, art, and fashion, it’s shared in such a friendly manner. (That last picture Karl said I had to share of me in Magnolia Thunderpussy.  He says that’s my “face” when I’m plotting a scheme or justifying a purchase!)

DSCF1077We had a great time Columbus; thank you so much for having us!  We look forward to returning and enjoying more of your wonderful city!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LifeInCbus. The opinions and text are all mine.

Unlock the Perfect Cup this Holiday with TASSIMO™: Review and Giveaway

Looking at how often I write and tweet about coffee, you’d think I was a coffee connoisseur. Notsomuch. When I hit my local coffee shop I ask for it plain and big because all the –inos overwhelm me. At home, Karl is the master of the coffee domain. I have no idea how to use the French press so I rely on him to fuel my caffeine fix. Lately I have been working more early mornings and I have to stop by the local coffee shop or fast food drive-through to get my cup of Joe because I just can’t figure out how to make a decent cup of coffee. You know what would be a perfect holiday gift for me? A super simple single-serve coffee maker that would make a great cup of coffee every time.

Enter TASSIMO™, who was awesome enough to send me the TASSIMO™ T55 Single Cup Brewing System JUST at the perfect time. I was working a lot of long days and hated spending so much on take-out coffee or watching Karl make me a cup still bleary-eyed in dawn’s early light. No needing to wait until the holidays to become a coffee-making expert!

Place the T DISC upside down so that the INTELLIBREW™ technology can read the barcode. Snap the lid shut, press Start and in minutes you’ll be enjoying a perfect cup!

The TASSIMO™ Brewer is super easy to use too. Add water to the reservoir in back, insert your TASSIMO™ T DISC in the top, and press start. The built-in technology INTELLIBREW™ scans the barcode on each T DISC to identify precise brewing instructions with the exact temperature, water, and time duration, so each and every drink is perfect every time. This Home Brewing System isn’t just for a cup of joe–the TASSIMO™ can also make cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate, tea, and more. One of my favorite features is how quickly it heats water; for little energy you can have a piping-hot cup of water for soup or tea in seconds.

TASSIMO™ sent me a few T DISCS to get started, and it’s fun to make hot chocolate, cappuccinos, caramel latte macchiatos, or espressos by myself and know it will be delicious. With well-known brands like Twinings, Gevalia, and Maxwell House partnering with TASSIMO™ for their T DISCS you know the quality and the flavor is great. I love that there are great limited edition flavors like Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Mocha for the holidays!

Now I’m a pro at making fancy coffee house drinks from my kitchen counter!

If you’d like to unlock a perfect cup with TASSIMO™ this holiday season, they are offering some great deals on their site. With Cyber Monday code TACYMON3 you can get 20% off T DISCS; you also get 20% off Brewers and with each Brewer purchase, you will receive two free packages of T DISCS (valid in the US only on Cannot be combined with other offers . Limit one coupon redemption per customer. 20% T DISC discount limited to 6 T DISC packages. 20% Brewer discount limited to two Brewers. Offer only valid on 12/2/2013 until 11:59PM PST).

If you miss the Cyber Monday Deal, brewers and T DISCS are also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon.


The giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified.

Friday: Real Housewife

Tee: Armorlux (gift from reader)
Vest: c/o Karen Kane
Jeans: Jag
Boots: DUO Boots (similar)
Necklace: LOFT chain and pendant from eBay
Earrings: Vince Camuto
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, misc.
Bag: Sabina (similar)

My husband saw me in this outfit and said I looked like a Bravo TV housewife. I guess with the gold, the fur, the boots, it is a bit Real Housewives! When I left the house, I had straight hair, straight bangs, and felt I was channeling a bit of Patti Smith. Though the rain had stopped, it was still so wet and humid outside that by time I got to the sidewalk my hair had all curled up. By time I was at the Metro, I felt like Veronica Lake – my bangs had become part of the rest of my hair and I had deep waves. Lovely, but with a walk from the station to my job those waves just became a hot mess and now I am typing with a topknot. Oh well, it’s Friday!

Isn’t this vest fun? I want to sip cocoa at a ski lodge, wearing it with a cram turtleneck. Karen Kane always amazes me with their fashion – it’s a ton of fun yet translates well for real life. Their fall collection is pretty fantastic – sequins, leopard print, jewel tones, and more!

And I have to share the beauty which is these jeans. I have other pairs of Jag jeans and I really like how they fit, hold up, reasonably priced, and are pretty classic looking (no bling, logos, etc.). These have a smooth waistband – sort of reminiscent of maternity jeans but they curve to fit a woman’s body and give a smooth line under fitted knits. Comfortable and brilliant!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Little Housemate

When did this baby…

Become this kid?

I’ve been living with this person for almost three years, and time seems to be speeding up. I blink my eyes and suddenly she’s a kid, not a baby.  She has such definite opinions on what she wants to wear, to eat, how she wants to spend her time, what she wants us to read before bedtime.  She likes to do things like sit upside down or bridged across furniture (like above), she likes to sing at the top of her lungs and make up words and play pranks.  She has an amazing memory – she will meet a person once and three months later recognize them AND remember their name.  She notices when people get haircuts, even change their nail polish color.

Even though I don’t really encourage it, she’s extremely girly – loves to play with my jewelry and makeup brushes, believes a party isn’t a party unless she’s wearing a dress.  This weekend was awesome for her because she got to wear a tutu to a costume party.

Emerson in awe over her best friend Spiderman… I mean Ayden

She used to be very shy, but lately has become more outgoing and sociable.  She will go up to kids and say hi and try to start a conversation.  She will share with new people to encourage a friendship.  At her first swim class she wanted to be left alone and spent most of the session in tears, but now she’s playing with the other kids and having a blast.

She leaves half-empty yogurt tubs and sticky sippy cups all over the house.  She has terrible taste in television.  Her favorite word this day seems to be “NO!”  She has broken at least a dozen of my necklaces and I often find my bracelets under her bed, in her toy kitchen or shoved under the couch cushions.  Even so, she’s a pretty awesome housemate and I feel blessed to have her in my life!

Sorry for lack of outfit post today – early day and a busy one at that.  I will get back to fashion-related posts on tomorrow!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Head is Too Big to be Hipster: A Warby Parker Review

Once I got new glasses, I wanted more. A pair of red frames to channel my inner Sally Jesse Raphael, a funky blue or green pair to jazz up all-black ensembles, a funky shape to show personality at the office. I had heard a lot of great things about Warby Parker and decided to try a pair of frames from them.

Me in my new glasses – Lafont’s Issy & La collection, the frame is called “Gloss”

Warby Parker Eyewear’s mission is to offer reasonably-priced fashionable frames. On top of that, for every pair of Warby Parkers sold, a new pair is given to someone in need. Warby Parker is also proud to be a carbon-neutral company.

Warby Parker has a try-on program where you can pick five frames and try them on at home. They will ship the glasses to you for free and offer free return postage; I decided to take advantage of this program and see if I could find a new pair of signature prescription frames.

The Warby Parker site is very easy to navigate; click on your gender and then whether you desire optical or sunglass frames. From there you can choose material, color, frame shape, and width. From experience, I know my face is pretty wide, so I stuck to the medium and wide styles of frames. Since I already have a pair of tortoiseshell frames, I stuck to more unusual colors.

The glasses arrived quickly in a sturdy shipping box, and then a lovely navy linen box. Each pair of glasses was in its own compartment, wrapped in plastic and labeled with its name. Each pair of Warby Parker frames has the brand and style name inside on the temple. I found the quality to be stellar, especially for the price. These frames rival the more expensive designer styles I tried at my nearby glasses shop. The return process is simple – peel off the self-adhesive UPS label and drop it in a nearby UPS drop box. I couldn’t be more impressed with Warby Parker and their process… except that my face is too big for them.

Maybe I should have tried men’s frames, but I felt that almost every pair I tried (except for the Bensen, and they just weren’t a style I was looking for) was just a hair too small for my face. I often have this issue not just with glasses, but sunglasses as well. In fact, when I got my new glasses, they were the only ones I liked after trying on about 20 pairs – each other pair seemed just a bit too small for my face shape, even some of the men’s frames I tried.

So if you have a normal to small-sized noggin, I encourage you to try Warby Parker. The Warby Parker at-home program is completely free so you have nothing to risk; if you find a pair you like you can feel good that not only will you look great, but your purchase will also be doing good. As for me, I will have to look elsewhere, my head is just too big to be hipster.

Note: Warby Parker has no idea I am doing this review and I was not compensated in any way for it.  I just decided to try the brand and share my experience with you!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook


I tried to get to work today…

My sister and my offices were open and we had a lot of work to do so we headed to DC.  For those who don’t know, the DC area received up to 30″ of snow over the weekend.  Yesterday (and today) the Federal government was closed as were most school systems in the area.  Yesterday my office was closed; my sister attempted to go in but the roads were so bad she turned around.
We got almost to the DC border and gave up and turned around.  The roads were horrible and the drivers even worse.  We came back to my house and made a makeshift workstation at my dining table.
All the necessities – cell phone, external hard drive full of music, lip gloss and baby monitor!
Anyway, today I put on a black scoop tee from Old Navy that I have had for about two years, my gray Caslon ruffle-trim cardigan, a few different silver chain necklaces, my dark Gap Long & Lean jeans, and my DUO “Bern” boots in tan (my makeshift snow boots).  Black quilted coat from Lands End and berry colored scarf from Ann Taylor LOFT.
Hair was washed and dried pretty quickly.  Makeup is Stila Illuminated tinted moisturizer blended with Estee Lauder Doublewear Light foundation, Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge and bronzer, Lorac shadow in Serenity, DiorShow mascara, Sephora lip gloss in Precious Pink, Tarte Indelible Wink liner.  It’s far easier to work from home when I feel slightly sassy!
They expect another 10 – 20″ in the next day or so.  I may be hanging out at home for quite a while.  In fact this attempt at going to work today (and a quick stop at Starbucks) was a welcome change for I was getting quite the cabin fever!

Shop My Closet – On Poshmark!

WardrobeOxygen on PoshmarkI’ve been saying for a while that I needed to get off my tuchus and sell all the clothes I don’t currently wear. While I may clean out my closet I do have a dirty secret… I have bins and bags full of clothes in my attic (and there were a couple full contractor bags in my home office). I regularly donate career wear to a charity and have Freecycled and donated all my maternity clothes and clothes that are in “well loved” condition, but the nicer stuff I’ve been holding on to.

No more. All this clothing is doing no one favors being boxed and bagged up in my attic. A couple weekends ago, my best friend came over and for eight hours we dug through three bags. All pieces were photographed, packed up, labeled, and ready to ship. While I have used eBay and a Shop My Closet blog in the past, this time I decided to use Poshmark. My friend Alyson has raved about it for a long time and many of you have told me you use it with great success. It seemed simpler than eBay too.

For the past two weeks I have been using Poshmark and I have become as big of a fan as my friend Alyson! It’s an app-based program; while you can visit Poshmark on your computer, to buy and sell you need to do it on your phone. As a seller, I think this makes the process uber easy – my pictures are already on my phone so I can easily upload them, write a quick description, and even answer questions and negotiate counteroffers. I’ve found the customers to be more… reasonable than on eBay. You’re not usually expected to offer 5,000 measurements for a $6 LOFT tee, people are super friendly and quick to share and comment, and while I have had a couple ridiculous counter offers (no, I will not sell that NWT original retail still in the store $250 item for $15), in general it has been a friendly and painless experience.

Tips for Selling on Poshmark by Wardrobe OxygenA couple of you saw on social media that I was on Poshmark and have joined to buy and sell. If you’re interested, if you use this link and code PMZYS you’ll get $5 off your first order and I too will receive a $5 credit (find me, I am wardrobeoxygen).  There’s no auction or bidding, you can counter-offer and some sellers (myself included) offer  “bundling” where you can purchase multiple pieces from a seller at one time and save on shipping ($4.99/order).  If you’re interested in selling on Poshmark, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Be Honest.  Like other selling sites, Poshmark has a rating system.  Buyers can give you up to five stars for orders.  It’s not worth it to ruin your reputation by trying to pass off replicas, lie about the condition of a garment, or its original price.
  • Provide Details.  Is it an XL but fits more like a L?  How did you style it?  If you recall the original style name or number or even color name, include it.  While Poshmark won’t let you write a novel, you can offer quite a lot of information.  The more details you provide, the more likely the item will sell and the more likely the buyer will get what she expected and leave you a favorable rating.
  • Take Good Photos.  I use my iPhone 6s and take the pictures in natural light near a window.  For Christmas I got this dress form; it’s not high quality (in fact I cracked the base the day my friend and I were on a Poshmark selling spree and it’s now held together with packing tape) but it gives a better idea of how an item will fit than lying a sweater on your bed or floor.  If you have a photo of you wearing the item, include that too.  I also search the internet for stock photos of the item.  A mix of all three is a great way to get an item sold.  Poshmark lets you upload four photos per item with the first photo being your cover photo.  I’ve found the most successful cover photos are those with me wearing the piece.  If you don’t have a photographer taking your picture in items for a blog, a mirror selfie in a well-lit room is still good (and you can cut off your head in the photo if you wish to be anonymous).
  • Stock Up on Free Priority Mailers.  Your post office has Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes and boxes for free; these are perfect for shipping out your orders.  Included in the cut Poshmark takes from your sales (20%, or $2.95 if the item sells for $5 or less) is a shipping label.  When you make a sale, Poshmark emails you this Priority Mail label.  You can order shipping bags and boxes from for free but know it takes up to two weeks to receive your order.  If you have a post office nearby, grab a few to get your sales going.
  • Take Care with your Sales.  I fold nicely, wrap in tissue, tie with a bit of curling ribbon, and carefully slip into the box or bag.  I got a pack of cheap tissue paper; you only need 1-2 pieces per order.  The curling ribbon I purchased when I attended a baby shower where all presents were to be wrapped in blue.  That yet-to-be-born baby is now 5 and as you see in the photo above, there’s still plenty left even though every shower and birthday present since the shower had turquoise ribbon on it.  I bought some rolls of packing tape, and because I’m a dork like that, ordered some cheapy business cards from VistaPrint (this is a referral link that will give you $10 off your first order) that thank the buyer for her order, have my name and my Poshmark address on them.  The overall cost is minimal, but it makes the experience much nicer for the recipient.
  • Raise Your Rates.  Poshmarkers LOVE to counter-offer.  Consider this when making your prices.  It’s worth it to up the price a few dollars to be ready for a counter-offer (if you accept a counter-offer the item sells immediately to that individual).  Also, if you have stagnant items that don’t want to sell, you can then lower the price without too much heartache.  A plus to lowering the rate is anyone who “liked” the piece will end up receiving reduced shipping.
  • Be Quick with Communication.  If someone asks for additional details or makes a counter-offer, be polite and reply within 24 hours.  Since Poshmark is on your phone, it’s easy to quickly type in a response and move on with your day.
  • Follow the Rules.  Don’t accept sales through PayPal or offline.  Don’t try to sell used makeup or clutter Poshmark with items they don’t allow to be sold on their app (home goods, electronics, health and wellness products, used underwear and makeup).  Don’t label something a blouse when in fact it’s one of those belly wrap things that spam social media.  And don’t call something Chanel-esque or like Louis Vuitton – that’s a trademark violation and such names can only be used if the item is legitimately from that brand.
  • Be Part of the Community.  Share other people’s sales (I only share that which I actually like), follow other accounts, leave comments and reply to comments.  Poshmark is very social, and by being part of the community you’ll get a larger audience to see your closet, resulting in faster and more sales!

Are you on Poshmark?  I’d love to hear your experiences and feel free to share your closet in the comments!


Sorry, no pics from the rest of the weekend. The house is in full upheaval so it’s hard to get near a mirror without a pile of crap or a construction worker…

The belly is getting big, as are the arms, the legs, the breasts, the chins… I was shocked to find out I only gained seven pounds this past month – it feels more (and looks more) like 20. Went to the midwife yesterday, all if fine and weight if fine, so I guess I shouldn’t worry or stress about it. I just feel like a whale, and I now snore even if I drift off to sleep (happens when your breasts practically touch your chin). Barely anything fits – I have the two pairs of ponte pants from Old Navy and picked up another pair from Liz Lange for Target (not as thick or nice). At home I wear old pre-pregnancy yoga pants. A couple dresses fit but most are too short now to wear without leggings or tights. It’s also too cold most days to walk around town in bare legs (I put on leggings with this outfit just to walk to work). Only a month left!

Merona for Target – Gray ponte dress
Pashmina International – Oyster pashmina
H&M – Silver necklaces
Silver cuff
Naturalizer – Creston flats in Black

Hair:Day Two, just brushed

Beauty: Philosophy – The Supernatural foundation in Beige, Clinique – Like Mink shadow duo (the lighter color); Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (on lips and cheeks), Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black, Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara in Rich Black

Plus Sized Work Attire Options

Dear Allie:
I am getting back into the workforce after five years as a SAHM. I’m really excited, but am having a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am a size 18, 5’5” and an apple and all I seem to find are lowcut dresses and polyester pants. Do you know where I can find suits and work clothes like dresses and blouses for my size?
Why are all plus sized suits made out of polyester? Where can I find a suit that is equal in quality and price to J. Crew but goes above a size 16?
I was recently promoted and my new position requires me to travel on business several times a month. For such trips, I will need to wear a suit while at the office I can usually get away with casual pants or even nice jeans. While I have a great wardrobe of business casual pieces, it is proving difficult to find more corporate of attire for my size (I vary between a 20 and 22). Do you know of any retailers who specialize in suiting and corporate attire for plus-sized women?
Hi Allie, I need to improve my look at work. We’re allowed to wear anything we want but I don’t want to look like a slob any more and think if I look good I may be more likely to get a raise or promotion. I’m 5’7”, a size 20 with a large bust and don’t even know where to start looking for nicer work clothes. HELP!

I am not sure why the world thinks women over a size 12 don’t hold professional jobs. They must think that with the poor selection of career wear for plus-sized women. While quality suits and stylish business casual clothing does exist, it’s hard to find. Below I feature some brands who realize that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you wish to sacrifice style, quality, or professionalism.

If you’re plus sized, I’m sure you already know about Lane Bryant, Avenue, Ashley Stewart, One Stop Plus/Woman Within/Roamans/Jessica London, and other retailers who specialize in plus size fashion. Below are some suggestions on brands I know who aren’t the typical shops, and who provide quality, well-crafted and stylish career wear in plus sizes

I know, I know, Nordstrom again? Thing is, they offer a great selection of quality brands and style for plus sizes. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Rachel Palley, Calvin Klein, Karen Kane, Eileen Fisher, Tahari Woman, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole… all these brands and more are offered in plus sizes at Nordstrom stores and online.

Unlike many other department stores who think a woman in a size 22 dress wants a muumuu or a flowing polyester pantsuit, Nordstrom buyers find brands and pieces that are in the same vein of style as the rest of the store. Great colors, fun silhouettes, lots of options. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, will perform alterations onsite, and have personal shoppers that can help you secure a professional wardrobe for your job.

Macy’s is another department store who offers a fantastic selection of brands and styles for plus sizes. Alfani, Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, and then their in-house brand INC International Concepts are great resources for great plus size office wear. Like Nordstrom, Macy’s provides a good amount of real estate in most of their stores for plus-sized fashion.

Macy’s always has promotions for discounts and shipping deals. Macy’s has a great return and exchange policy, where you can return by mail or at any nearby store.

Talbots Woman comes in sizes 12-24 regular and 12-22 petite. Each season they offer several styles of suit separates so you can mix and match for the perfect career look. Talbots also specializes in business casual looks, with tailored trousers, well-crafted skirts, polished knits and sweaters and even shoes and accessories.

While many retailers hide their plus size department in a dusty corner or keep it only online, Talbots often has separate stores just for their Woman line, or else it gets plenty of real estate in their mixed-size store. Talbots is phenomenal with customer service, seeking out sizes at other locations, taking returns in-store, and giving you honest feedback and offering suggestions at the fitting room. When I was a size 18, Talbots was my go-to store, where I knew I would find quality, style, and a supportive staff.

Jones New York
While Jones New York is a department store staple, they also have their own online boutique that has a large selection of career wear in extended sizes. Since you have to return by mail (they offer a pre-paid shipping label), it’s good to try out JNY in a store to know how it fits, and then go online to find a larger selection.

Kiyonna knows how to dress a woman. They make well-made pieces that are stylish and flattering to a plus-sized figure. No muumuus and garish prints here, Kiyonna offers beautiful dresses, and also a beautiful selection of separates. While their bottoms are very basic, they are well-made and classic. Some of their tops can run on the sexy side, but many are great pieces for business casual environments or fabulous shells under suits. Their return policy is pretty standard but I hear their sizing is quite consistent so once you know how you fit in Kiyonna you won’t have to make as many returns and exchanges.

Ann Taylor
If you enter an Ann Taylor store, you may think they don’t care about anyone over a size 12. However online they go up to size 18 and XXL on the majority of their pieces. I also find Ann Taylor runs a bit large and many of my readers have agreed that their size 18 can often fit a size 20 woman.

Ann Taylor regularly has promotions for free shipping and percentages off select items – it’s smart to sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you stay updated. Their online selection can sell out pretty quickly when they have such sales, so shop early. While Ann Taylor doesn’t offer free returns, they do accept returns even of larger sizes in any store. And if you have to do a return, check out their sale rack where I have regularly seen larger sizes from other women who have made returns.

Lands’ End
Lands’ End may not be the retailer you would think for career wear, but they do have a pretty great selection of workwear staples. While their summer selection is more geared towards shorts and dresses, they always have a good selection of blazers and coordinating bottoms and come the cooler months have an even greater selection of suiting and work-appropriate pieces.

Lands’ End often has promotions for discounts and free shipping so sign up for their emails to get the latest news. Lands’ End also accepts returns at Sears stores which makes shopping with them even more convenient.

Eddie Bauer
Like Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer mainly focuses on casual weekend fashion. However, like Lands’ End they have a few stand-out pieces each season for career wear. Eddie Bauer often focuses on easy-care pieces, and you’re likely to find wrinkle-free suiting, no-iron button-front shirts, and machine washable trousers and dresses. Eddie Bauer offers free exchanges and accepts returns by mail (they will provide a pre-paid shipping label or you can send by your own method) or in store.

I’m quick to head to Overstock to find a toaster oven or an area rug, but I have now learned to go to this site for fashion. Popular brands like Tahari, Kasper, Calvin Klein, and Ann Klein are featured by Overstock, and at nicer prices than at the department store. While some of the styles offered on Overstock are a bit strange, you can also find some gems – often pieces being sold right now at your nearby Belk or Macy’s. Overstock has customer reviews, ridiculously cheap shipping, and a reasonable return policy.

TJ Maxx
While most of my local discount big box retailers will have some plus size fashion, it’s usually a small section, messy, and full of strange pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Not so for TJ Maxx, who usually carries higher-end brands than similar stores, and they usually have a larger and better organized plus size department.

Where do you find stylish and well-made plus size career wear? I’d love to know your suggestions!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook


Weight Watchers Update

This week I removed 0.6 pounds. Last week I removed 0.6 pounds. The time before it was 0.6 pounds. I guess 0.6 is my lucky number. I’m not complaining, I would rather lose 0.6 pounds than gain it. However, I do feel as though I am in a bit of a rut.

As always, I feel Weight Watchers reads my mind and the meetings are spot-on. This last meeting, we were asked to partner up with someone, discuss “I could lose weight if only…” I think we all do this – if I only had more time, if I only had money for a personal trainer, if I only had a personal chef to make me delicious healthy meals, if I only had a supportive spouse who didn’t bring potato chips into the house, if I only had blah blah blah…

Well my thing is exercise. I never find the time for it. So I told my partner. She said she walks around the neighborhood lake every Saturday morning before yoga (which is taught by my kickass husband!). She said we could walk together. I hemmed and hawed, saying Emerson’s schedule is difficult, the dogs, the this and the that. She said she knows where I live, it’s 10 minutes to the lake, 20 minutes around the lake, 10 minutes home… do I really not have time for that? I can bring Emerson in the stroller. So I said sure, some time we could do it and forgot about it.

Friday around 4:45 this woman emails me and asks if we can switch to Sunday. Sundays we do the farmers market and then I had plans, so I said I was busy. Darn, I am out of town next weekend so we’ll have to wait until I return. She replies, “Well then I guess we’ll have to do Saturday. See you at the lake at 8:30!” Damnit, I was stuck!

So I set my alarm for 7:30, got myself together, woke E at 8 and by 8:30 we were at the lake. We did the walk around the lake, then walked to a nearby playground. We took the long way home, walked by another playground and then another. I got home at 10:30am and felt more awake than I would have after a big cup of coffee. I was a sweaty, disgusting mess but I felt great. Not only that, Emerson also got some great activity time at the playgrounds. We came home, had a snack, played indoors for a bit to cool down and calm down before her noontime nap.

Usually while Emerson naps on Saturdays, I am a bump on a log. I may write my article for, may fritter away time on the Internet, may even take a nap myself. This Saturday I had so much energy I started gutting the house. I listed a bunch of stuff on eBay and Freecycle and started organizing our home office.

Now, I am not going to lose 50 pounds by doing a 20-minute walk once a week, but it’s better than nothing. And having a neighbor and friend hold me accountable forces me to do it. And this weightloss is about permanent life changes, baby steps to a new me.

Of course we can’t all afford personal trainers and chefs, but we can make very small changes to our life for the better. Summer is a great time to start new habits – longer days, fresh fruit, weather nice enough to take a walk or swim some laps in the local pool. What do you feel is holding you back from losing weight? What can you do to overcome that obstacle?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Dress – Eliza J (no longer available – similar. Also recently saw this dress at Ross for around $20)
Belt Another Line c/o Nordstrom Rack
Shoes – Nine West (no longer available – similar)

I miss my closet! It SUCKS trying to figure out what to wear every morning from a crowded rolling rack in my home office, with pieces monkey-hung six down. I have no clue what I own, I don’t have a mirror nearby, and I just get overwhelmed. Today they were to come and start repairing the roof, but it’s raining off and on, will be doing such for the rest of the week so I fear repairs will be delayed.

Not to be Negative Nelly all over this post, but the sound of rain falling on a tarp covering a huge hole in your roof is not pleasant. It made getting to sleep and staying asleep very difficult last night. I have been trying to stay positive about this whole experience (no one was hurt, little material damage, yadda yadda) but it’s starting to get to me. While it really isn’t a big deal (again, no one was hurt and my house is still liveable), it reminds me of when I was on bedrest for pregnancy. Everyone asks a ton of questions, constantly bringing it up, and they keep sharing their horror stories of missed water damage destroying a home, second hurricanes coming, etc. which just stresses me out more. I can’t wait until this is all over and done with (and note to all, if your friend is on bedrest while pregnant, don’t tell her stories of HELLP, placenta previa and abruption, and early labor and forced C-sections. Just bring her magazines and snacks and come by to say hi.).

This weekend I started feeling under the weather on Saturday night, by Sunday early evening I was full-blown sick. Chills, body aches, sinuses freaking out, eyes hurting, fever. Sunday Emerson woke with the same thing I had so we were sicky poos together all day on yesterday. Today I am better, though still sniffling and feeling grody. While Emerson’s nose is running like a faucet and she is pretty low-key, she too seems to be feeling better today.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook


In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. 🙂

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Ask Allie: Fashion Advice for a Petite SAHM

Dear Allie,
I am currently rocking the awful “mom” look aka yoga pants and huge t-shirts and I am so over it! Could you direct me to a few classic pieces to start my wardrobe? I am a stay at home mom with two under two, so I need a practical look. I live in Ohio where the weather is always changing. I am very petite (5’ and less than 100 lbs). I also have trouble finding comfortable shoes that look stylish and fit my size 5 feet. Any advice?
– Megan

Dear Megan,
I am so glad you realize that one can be an active mom while maintaining style. I recently wrote an article on about new mom fashion, but will offer some basics that should get you on track without looking like a mom, or like a college student:

Dark Straight Jeans
A dark straight jean is classic, can be worn any season of the year, looks more polished than lighter washes, and doesn’t need a fancy label to look chic. Having a straight leg means this jean should work with most any length or style of top in your wardrobe – simple tanks and tees, longer tunics, blazers and cardigans, blouses tucked in or left untucked. Add a bit of spandex so that you won’t be showing your undergarments or cutting into your stomach when crawling on the floor after your little one.

The Lee Slender Secret 5-pocket Jean is a classic style that is great for women who may have a bit of that baby pooch still left. Oprah recently rated them as a top jean, and reviews state that these jeans in petite are not needing of hemming for those who are 5’ tall. $29.99


Levi’s 512 jean is a straight, classic style that is made for a woman’s shape. Their Perfectly Slimming 512 Jean has the Lycra to keep your body looking smooth, and giving you the flexibility you need to keep up with your children. Again, this jean is rated great for the really petite woman – they run short so you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg on alterations. $40.00

A Versatile Trench
When the weather is chilly one day, hot the next, and rainy the third it’s hard to be prepared. A simple trench or mac in a water-resistant fabric that is lined will keep you looking stylish yet comfortable on those in-between days.

The Sunshower Coat from Lands End is a favorite – it’s a classic style, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. Lands End is known for their quality and service so you know you will get a great piece that will give you years of wear. Khaki is a safe bet, but a more memorable color like their Wine Grape will look great with neutrals, make your skin glow, and will give you a sunnier outlook on the day, even if the sky is cloudy. $99.50

Macy’s Style&Co brand offers great style for a reasonable price. This double-breasted trench has a shorter length that won’t dwarf your petite frame, and the soft sage color will look great with neutrals, but be a fresh change from beige and black outerwear. $79.00

Solid-colored Seasonally-appropriate Tops
Toss the oversized tees and stiff striped button-downs. It’s easy to be comfortable, get dressed in an instant yet look great if you have an arsenal of flattering, well-fitting knits in your size and colors you adore. Wash on the gentle cycle, line dry and these pieces can give you years of great wear. Look for pieces with 5% spandex or more – they will be more likely to keep their shape, not need to be ironed, and maintain their color longer than 100% cotton tops. For winter, I love merino wool because it acts like a knit in keeping its shape and flattering the figure, and can also be washed on the gentle cycle.

Ann Taylor LOFT is a fave of many petite women thanks to their extensive collection, reasonable prices, and truly petite sizing. Their Petite Twisted Boatneck Tee is a fashionable version of the comfy tee shirt. The neckline adds drama to a casual day look, and would fantastic under a cardigan or casual twill blazer. Great colors like Balsam Green and Ocean Depths will complement dark denim, khaki, white, gray, and black. $19.50

I love Nordstrom’s Caslon line – great wardrobe basics of great quality. The petite Caslon Ballet Neck Tee is a feminine and flattering twist on a simple knit top – the ¾ sleeves make it wearable almost year-round and a scoop neck is lovely on most every woman’s figure. $24.00

A Casual Blazer
A great way to jazz up simple tees and jeans is with a casual blazer. If it’s unlined and has a bit of stretch, it’s as comfortable as a hoodie but with far more polish.


Ann Taylor LOFT’s Petite Urban Twill Blazer is a great choice. The grosgrain trim gives it a unique, higher-end look, and in navy it would go with most any color tank or tee in your closet. $69.99

The striped blazer from Banana Republic would look amazing with neutral tanks, tees, and bottoms. It would also look quite chic with a pop of color underneath – try candy pink, blood orange, or apple green. The standup collar elongates the frame, making you look taller. $149.99

A Trendy Knit
Right now, striped tees are a hot look – this is a great way to add some variety and current fashion to your wardrobe without looking passé in a season. Striped tees look great with a simple denim or twill skirt, under a blazer, with shorts, capris, jeans, and even dressed up with a fuller skirt or with trousers. Add a bit of contrast with a turquoise or coral necklace, or a cardigan in a color like leaf green, tangerine, or yellow.

This black and cream striped boatneck from Lauren by Ralph Lauren isn’t your ordinary tee shirt – the silver buttons and boatneck make it a refined piece that would look great with jeans, and also with a white twill skirt for spring outings. $59.50


I own the Striped Sailor Tee from Ann Taylor and adore it – the scoopneck is flattering, the knit heavy and durable, the epaulets give a bit more style and panache. It comes in three colors. $38.00

A Not-so Little Black Dress
I have a black wrap dress from Old Navy that I bought years ago on clearance. I wear it with leggings and flats around the house, with heels for a wedding or funeral, with tall boots to work. It’s so versatile, and the matte jersey is a fabric that stretches, gives, washes easily, and looks timeless and seasonless.

The Petite Gemma Wrap dress from Banana Republic is a great choice – ¾ sleeves work year round, and a true wrap style means you can cinch the waist for a more custom fit. $98.00


Merona for Target has really come a long way in the past year – the quality has improved immensely, and the style is quite on-trend yet classic. The Merona Petite Faux Wrap Knit Dress is a great choice – the empire waist hides any post-baby pooch, and makes it dress up or down with ease. $20.98

It often impossible to find size 5 footwear in stores, however the selection is pretty impressive online. Sites like Nordstrom and Zappos have a great selection of smaller sizes that are still stylish and comfortable. I recommend investing in:

  • A sandal with a low wedge heel (more comfortable than heels, able to wear with shorts or with a dress).  The “Amber” wedge-heel sandals from Munro is a great summer choice – uber comfortable, thin elegant straps, will look great with skirts and dresses of all lengths, as well as shorts, trousers, and cropped pants. Munro is known for comfort and quality – these shoes should be wearable even for a day of sightseeing or a trip to Disney World. $179.95
  • A pair of ankle boots you can slip on with jeans and a sweater (low heel, brown or black depending on your wardrobe – more versatile than flats as that they can dress up and also be waterproofed for rainy days).  The “Wisteria” by Merrell has a wedge heel which is comfortable when standing or walking for a long period of time, but can still be paired with casual trousers. They get great reviews for comfort. $140.00
  • A pair of tall riding boots (wear with dresses, over jeans and you will be amazed how they will transform wardrobe basics into something stylish – waterproof them for more versatility).  These riding boots from La Canadiene are so classic – waterproof Italian leather, moisture-wicking lining, memory foam insole, low heel, elegant styling. These are boots you buy now and will still be wearing a decade from now. $256.00
  • A pair of simple black leather pumps for those times when you do need to dress up (they work with pants, dresses, and even with your dark jeans for a Date Night or drinks with your girl friends).  The Nuncio pump from Nine West is a classic pump that will look elegant year-round and years from now. 2.5” heel, elongated toe, and available in narrow and wide widths. $69.95

For additional petite inspiration, check out:

This Weekend

Morning yoga on Saturday. Walked to class, it was lovely in the morning, but got pretty cold and rainy later in the day. Cadet blue tee from Mossimo, black yoga pants from ProSpirit, hibiscus hoodie from Gap, hiking shoes from L.L. Bean. Hair is second day, just blown straight while dry where there was behead. No makeup. Had a good yoga session, then had tea with my mom at a nearby cafe and walked home.

I had to go to the accountant to sign my taxes once I got home, so I switched to Express bootcut jeans and a bit of L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3 and Cover Girl Lash Exact mascara in black and Revlon ColorGlide Sheer in Sheer Burgundy so didn’t look as naked. Not super sassy, but I was out for a very short time then headed home to complete tasks around the home and then have Netflix Night with the hubby (saw Half Nelson, was very good. Sad and upsetting and awful, but terribly good acting).

Sunday started with brunch and then errand running with a friend. Very rainy day. Black ribbed tank from Caslon, black and gray striped stretch v-neck sweater from Banana Republic, dark cotton denim patch-pocket jeans from Gap Outlet, black city boots from Impo, silver hoops and cuff bracelet.

Hair was washed, conditioned, Suave Professionals Healthy Curls mousse applied while damp and allowed to air dry 50%. Then dried with diffuser and curling iron to the unruly parts. It was a super rainy day and was humid even in the house and the hair was crazy.

Makeup was L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3, concealer in W4-5, Nars blush in Orgasm, eyes has the Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone, olive on lid and along lash lines. Lashes curled and Cover Girl Lash Exact mascara in black applied. On lips is Lancome Juicy Tubes in Exposure.

That night, went to a General Admission concert in the city. I pretty much got home from errand running and had 20 minutes to get ready. Took off the sweater and put on the hoodie from the previous say (wasn’t sure if I would get hot, had no time for creativity, and knew it was a low-key event), switched to my Curvy Bootcut jeans because the previous ones were sopping wet from being out in the rain. Applied a tad bit more olive shadow, a fine line of Maybelline’s Ultra Liner in black to the top lash line, and Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Afterglow. I think the pictures my hubby takes are so funny because you can see how he is a foot taller than I; I look like a midget in his shots!