Search Results for: label/Project 333

#ShareAMeal and Help End Child Hunger

This past month I co-led the first meeting of our town’s new Girl Scout Daisies troop. While I may be busy with the blog and work, I feel it’s important to dedicate time to my daughter and other girls in our town and help them become caring, responsible members of the community. I remember my years as a Girl Scout – while it was a ton of fun, it also opened my eyes to all the different lives that girls my age lived. It’s never too early to educate children on show kids how they can help others and make a positive impact on their community and this world as a whole.

1 in 5 kids in america don't know where their next meal is coming from

Sixteen million children in the United States don’t get enough food. That’s enough children to fill 18,000 school buses and 223 football stadiums – and often you’d never be able to tell it by looking at them. These children could be in your town and maybe even in your neighborhood. Hunger can take its toll on everything, from their immune system, oral health and academic and social development. I don’t think it’s too early to educate Emerson and her fellow Daisies on the fact that she has classmates, neighbors, and even fellow Daisies who may sometimes go to bed hungry. And it’s not too early to teach them how they can help.

37 US states reported more than 20 percent children in food insecure households

When SheKnows and Uniliver informed me of Project Sunlight, I asked to be part of their campaign so I could share it on my blog. Launched in November of 2013, Project Sunlight is an initiative from Unilever that is focused on encouraging people to create a brighter future for children – by taking small steps to live sustainably, use less and share even more. Unilever Project Sunlight believes a future is possible where every child has a healthy and happy childhood and it was natural for this mission to extend to another important cause – child hunger in America. Unilever Project Sunlight believes that even the smallest act – whether it’s sharing a meal, donating time or money, or volunteering – can make a difference when multiplied over time and help build a brighter future for children.

22 million children in the US rely on food stamps as their primary resource to acquire food

Unilever has partnered with Feeding America, which serves more than 12 million children every year. By teaming up with organizations like this, Unilever is better able to help in the effort to improve the health and well-being of families and children in need across the country. With the help of Feeding America’s vast network of 200 food banks nationwide, Unilever has been able to contribute nearly 30 million meals to families and children over the past five years.

enable Javascript to watch this video

Mahatma Gandhi was quoted with saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and it’s a great way to see your value in this life. You CAN make a difference, your decision to be that change WILL create the change in the world. And when it comes to childhood hunger, you CAN be a positive change for this world, and quite easily. For some ideas on how to help, I encourage you to click this link to view or download an incredibly useful toolkit from Unilevel Project Sunlight that provides a ton of ways to be involved in a manner that fits your life, your budget, your comfort level. From facts on child hunger to links to #ShareAMeal, this PDF can help you turn the tables on child hunger. We will be using this resource as a family and as a troop to be the change we wish to see in the world and do our part to end child hunger. And I’d love you to make the comments of this post an additional resource – share ways you have helped end hunger in your community, your experiences with food insecurity, ways people can make the change they wish to see in this world regarding child hunger.

About SheKnows’ Hatch, the Hatch Hunger Project and Unilever Project Sunlight:
SheKnows’ Hatch teamed with Unilever Project Sunlight to help families build awareness and take action around child hunger in America. The facts are startling: 16 million kids living in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That equates to one in every five children – enough to fill 18,000 school buses and 223 football stadiums. On average, those who live in food-insecure households have only $36.50 to spend on groceries every week. That means that 80 percent of children may not understand the everyday struggle their peers – many of whom could be their own friends or neighbors – confront when there’s not enough food on the table. The Hatch Hunger and Project Sunlight video and workshop aims to create empathy by showing kids what it means to shop for healthy, filling meals for an entire week on a thrifty budget. It teaches important math and teamwork skills. Finally, it is about action, empowering kids to have a positive impact on their community to Share A Meal with a family in need and donating food and canned goods to local food banks.

Ready to Wear Beauty with MaryKay® and Project Runway®

I’ve been a fan of Project Runway® since the very first season. I love the creativity that takes place under pressure, the judges input, and who doesn’t adore Tim Gunn? One of the coolest parts of each Project Runway challenge is how in just a short span of time the beauty teams are able to take the contestants’ visions and make them a reality. Mary Kay® is the Official Beauty Sponsor of Project Runway® Season 13 and it’s cool to see an accessible brand known for everyday beauty create such creative, intense, and high fashion looks. MaryKay® asked if I’d like to experience their makeup collection, and with MaryKay Global Makeup Artist Luis Casco’s direction and recreate some looks from Season 13 of Project Runway®.

marykay project runway emerald smoke

The “Emerald Smoke” face: click the image to view the instructions to create and shop this look.

I first tried Casco’s “Emerald Smoke” look, a bold face that is perfect for the upcoming fall season. I loved how this look is totally out of my comfort range, and loved how the colors could work on a variety of skintones. I’ll be honest, I’m clueless when it comes to makeup, especially eye color application so it was great to have on the MaryKay® site instructions from Luis Casco and videos showing how to achieve this season’s bold eye looks. I’ve always wondered how people achieve a really intense color that blends nicely; with Casco’s instruction I learned a cream shadow base will help colors pop on the eyelid. I’ve used MaryKay® before, but this experience has me loving a few new products. Their Cream Eye Color is a great consistency that blended well, didn’t crease, and was long-lasting. Meadow Grass gave a subtle hint of color on my lids that made my brown eyes stand out and would be wearable for any day, but when I applied MaryKay® Mineral Eye Color in Emerald over it I suddenly had bold intense jewel-like lids. Per Casco’s instruction, I then added their Mineral Eye Color in Lime in the inner thirds of the eyes and it really did brighten the whole look. I’ve tried MaryKay® LashLove Mascara before and am always a fan. It lengthens, separates, and doesn’t bother my contacts-wearing eyes. One coat is perfect for day, but a couple coats gives the drama needed for the “Emerald Smoke” face. MaryKay Project Runway When I received the products to create “Emerald Smoke” the lipcolor and blush scared me; even in the middle of summer I have fair skin and felt that the deep plum shades would look clownish on me. I applied their Cream Blush in Cranberry and while it looked extremely dark on my skin, when I blended it I found it looked quite pretty – more dramatic than my normal blush, but perfect with such a bold eye. The True Dimensions® Lipstick in Mystic Plum and Lip Liner in Cappuccino is an intense look, but again it balanced the bold emerald eye and I could see myself wearing this lipstick come fall with a more subtle rest of the face. I like the creamy formula and how it made my lips look more hydrated and plump.

graphic eye

The “Graphic Eye” face: click the image to view the instructions to create and shop this look.

The second look was titled, “Graphic Eye” and this was a look I have always loved on others (and think I recall from Project Runway) but never thought I could carry off myself. Thanks to Luis Casco’s instructions, I was able to try it out. The Mary Kay At Play™ Bold Fluid Eyeliner in Blue My Mind is a gorgeous color and made quite an impact without looking too crazy. I was impressed by the quality of the MaryKay® brushes; their Eye Crease Brush makes a big difference with shadow application and gave a natural contour to the upper lid while being perfect for a touch of color below the eye. Mary Kay® Ultimate Mascara™ in Black is another winning mascara (though it can’t compete with my beloved LashLove), and I have been using Mary Kay® NouriShine Plus® Lip Gloss for over a year in various colors and found Au Naturel to be just as lovely and a great topcoat for lipsticks and stains. “Graphic Eye” is actually a pretty wearable look, and the bold blue could easily be replaced by a different color or just be a classic black cat eye. Having such instruction available makes runway beauty more of a reality for us beauty-application newbies! While these aren’t everyday looks, it was fun to recreate looks from my favorite television show and have a bit of the MaryKay® and Project Runway® beauty experience in my own home! If you’d like to experience the same, I have just the giveaway for you! Which of these looks would you most like to try? Leave an answer in the comments below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a collection of Mary Kay® products to create one of the looks featured + some beauty essentials.

You can visit Mary Kay® on Project RunwayFacebookYoutube, and of course, their website for more ideas and information! 

Sweepstakes Rules:  No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1.  Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2.  Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3.  Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4.  For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 9/4/2014-10/7/2014. Be sure to visit the Mary Kay brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Shopping with Intention and Changing Shopping Habits with #Project333

Reader (and friend after all these years) Linda made me aware of the blog, Project 333. Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for three months. Linda has been really interested in minimalism, and recently I have been as well. Linda asked me to think about what 33 pieces from my wardrobe I would save from a fire.

As the next three months are spring/summer, I had to get into the warmer weather state of mind. I went through my outfit posts from last summer and thought about what was currently in my wardrobe. I wanted to consider work of course, but also casual weekends and the occasional date night, concert, wedding, or other social occasion. What I came up with:

Gray leather hobo purse (Banana Republic) | Black leather clutch (HOBO Bags) | Black Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses | Vintage brown leather belt | Black leather and stretch wide belt (Lauren Ralph Lauren) | Black pumps (MICHAEL Michael Kors) | Tan sandals (Softspots) | Orange heeled sandals (Naturalizer) | Black flip flops (Reef) | Black silky slouchy tee (Leith) | Black and white striped shirt (Armour lux) | Printed V-neck tee (OBEY) | White ribbed tank (Caslon) | Chambray shirt (Target) | Gray V-neck tee (Old Navy) | Orange Ikat-print cotton sheath (Maggy London) | Black twill skirt (Limited) | Gold and white floral cotton skirt (Talbots) | Black blazer (Limited) | Orange matte jersey drapey camisole (Ann Taylor) | Black ponte dress (Felicity + Coco) | Pink jersey maxi dress (Gap) | Black cardigan (Only Mine) | Black trousers (Tahari) | Boyfriend jeans (Gap) | Black and white striped tank (Ann Taylor) | White jeans (Kut from the Kloth) | Distressed denim shorts (Target) | Silk Scarf (Liberty) | Cadet blue zebra-print long scarf (Nepali by TDM) | Silver cuff | Silver chain with personal charms | Statement necklace (Etsy)

Trying to use images available in Polyvore, this is only a representation of my actual items (for example the floral dress represents my orange Ikat-print dress). I have linked to the actual pieces when they have been featured on my blog or Instagram (the zebra scarf to the site, the pink dress to an image I found online). However I think this collage gives the right effect.

When thinking what to keep, the most important thing was to have appropriate attire for work. I am lucky to work in a relaxed business casual office, where jeans are acceptable on Fridays and colored denim can make a pass during the week if it’s crisp, saturated color, and dressed up like pants. With this collection, I was able to create 40 different work ensembles for a possible 60 days in the office during a Project 333 period of time.  (I know the actual project suggests swapping only three items at the end of the period of time, I am just trying it in this manner for now.)

What this exercise really did was make me realize how woefully inadequate my current wardrobe is. My body has changed, but I have also had a transition in my personal style. With the warming temperatures, I am finding my closet more and more frustrating, the pieces I currently own so mismatched. I’m trying to buy less, and just filling holes, but it feels as though there’s more holes than current wardrobe. This made me realize that instead of filling holes, I maybe need to start from scratch in some ways. Not buy what works, but what is right. Knowing that the whole season will only be 33 pieces (including shoes and accessories – even sunglasses!) is a relief. When you see it’s only 33 pieces, you don’t feel as much as though you’re going to go bankrupt to dress for a season. I looked at this collection above and felt I could really live with these pieces, and only needed a few minor changes to make it perfect.

Will I be taking part in Project 333? No, at least not now. My blog is my part-time career. I have made my outfit posts a way to offer inspiration and creative ideas for fellow women who may have similar figures or lifestyles. I also use the posts as a way to feature brands I like or have just learned about. However, Project 333 really forced me to look at what I buy and why I buy it; it has also transformed how I plan to shop and dress myself this year. You can expect to see a change in future purchases (as well as more items I will likely be selling on eBay – follow me on Facebook for updates when I am having sales).

The horrible tragedy in Bangladesh really got me thinking about what I buy. One can’t just blame H&M or Forever 21 for such situations, bargain basement to high end designer lines ship their manufacturing and/or fabric weaving to other countries where it can be done for far less. We expect to get more for less and to accommodate, retailers sometimes do shifty things to still make a good profit. Be it purchasing used, or purchasing darn near perfection to reduce how often I spend, I’m trying to make a difference. Project333 really forces one to shop with thought, with a plan, with intention. Imagine if we all shopped with intention instead of in desperation, purchasing good enough, using shopping as therapy or entertainment.  Imagine our wardrobes, they would be full of quality, well-fitting pieces, signature items, pieces that both flatter and inspire.

This won’t be my only post on this topic, I plan to think about what I wish was in my closet for the 333 Project, and how I plan on taking the lessons learned from this with me as I do shop, and how it will affect my fall/winter wardrobe.

What do you think of Project 333? How does it make it look at your current wardrobe and your shopping habits?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

If I could Start Over: #Project333 Inspiration Update

With my first Project 333 post it got me thinking about what I should have in my closet versus what is currently in there. I love using Polyvore to feel out an idea or capsule wardrobe – seeing the pieces together sans models or distracting backgrounds helps me imagine mixing and matching and seeing them on my body instead of another’s. After making the set of my current wardrobe choices if I did do Project 333, I made this set of what would be better choices:

You can see it’s not drastically different. Still have the white jeans, the black pants, the boyfriend jeans, the silky slouchy tee and of course an Old Navy Vintage v-neck tee. But I realized I needed what I had, but slightly different. Let’s take the striped top for example. I have a TON of striped shirts, but none are quite right for the summer. I have short sleeved, but it’s a boatneck, or it’s a scoop but the stripes are too small, or it’s sleeveless, or has too long of sleeves for the warmer months. Or black skirts – I have one in taffeta, or a pencil that’s a bit too tight and short for versatility. My black ponte dress is cute, but a bit too low-cut to work at the office without a scarf or jacket.

I saw the need for more versatile tops.  I like having a drapey silky sexy top to wear with white jeans for a Date Night or concert, but my current one can’t be worn really anywhere but there.  Something like the gray silk top in the collage above could be worn to work tempered with black pants and a scarf, or under a blazer.  I also realized how many times I wish I had a long gold statement pendant – something unique but no color so it can dress up or down and be a classic.  I recommend them constantly but I don’t currently own flat gold sandals and need to replace them.

As I mentioned in my Summer SAHM wardrobe post I find printed dresses to be better for summer than solids, and I don’t have many that are prints right now because I haven’t found many I like. I realize the reason may because I am shopping by pricepoint more than actual style. The older I get the more I am realizing that sometimes you need to spend more on an item to get what you actually want, and in the long run you spend less because you stop buying “almost not quites”.

I just don’t want to shop like I used to. I could spend an hour scrolling through online shops for entertainment, for boredom. I’d look for something that would fit and flatter, but also look cool on the blog. Brighter colors, unexpected silhouettes, a statement accessory. While I love you folks, it’s pretty silly to shop for the blog and not for life.

So this potential wardrobe is very very similar to the last one, but a bit harder working, versatile, and polished. It’s inspiring me for this season to be more thoughtful with my shopping, be it quality, quantity, where it was made. Knowing I’m buying less means it’s easier to stomach a higher pricetag.

Next step is gutting my closet.  Last week  I went into the back of my closet to get my black matte jersey maxi dress to wear to a wedding and I learned two things: the matte jersey maxi dress looks dreadful on me now (had it altered to fit the year Emerson was born and well, the breasts and shoulders are very different now), and I forgot about a black drapey handkerchief hem dress I got on clearance at Ann Taylor last fall. While I was thrilled to find the dress (and wore it instead to the wedding and loved how it looked), I was horrified to have items in my closet I didn’t know about. Come on Alison, you know better and that’s what you constantly preach! So a closet gutting is in order, knowing there will be huge holes and lots of empty space and possibly a panic attack about how few pieces I have for summer. But I think with closets less is more, fewer pieces means less drama in the mornings and fewer opportunities to make things work or buy things I don’t need to make the “almost not quites” work.

As for the Polyvore set, it has transformed my shopping list and is a visual reminder of how my wardrobe SHOULD and CAN look I look forward to seeing how this exercise progresses…

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Attention Washington DC Area Women…

For this month, bring your gently used career wear to any nearby Zips Dry Cleaning location, and they will donate it to Suited to Succeed, a non-profit that assists women in transition from training programs and unemployment to self-sufficiency by providing free professional clothing and workshops. We all have some random suits and dresses in our closet that we hang on to but don’t really need or wear; why not simplify your closet and help a fellow woman in the process? Goes pretty well with the recent closet-gutting project!

My Favorite Necklace

The cool wood necklace I snagged from my mom, brown merino bracelet sleeved v-neck sweater from The Gap, French vanilla colored cuffed trousers from Ann Taylor, Brown snakeskin pumps, six skinny gold bangles from Target.

Makeup is Bare Escentuals, bronzer on cheeks, fawn shadow, the brown powder for my brows used as a shadow – crease and along lash line. Origins bronze tinted balm, mascara.

Not too exciting, I slept through my alarm from staying up all night watching Project Runway.

Business Blue

Blouse: Ann Taylor | Pants: Tahari | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex” | Necklace: Etsy | Watch: Citizen | Bracelets: Had forever, Nordstrom, JewelMint | Bag: Brahmin (similar)

Some days I just want to look a bit more corporate, be it for a client meeting or just to steel myself for a difficult project. While this blouse looks very office-worthy, it has a nice shirttail hem so it will look nice untucked with white jeans, or even belted with a skinny belt. I also like it with its sleeves rolled for a more casual effect. While I liked the slouchiness of a Regular, I went with a Petite Large to have the neckline more office-friendly and the sleeves a proper length.  And gosh, how can I resist an outfit that encourages use of my Brahmin??

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Thursday: Keefing Up With Appearances

Jacket: Ann Taylor (similar) | Tee: eBay (DIY cut neck) | Pants: LOFT (similar) | Boots: DUO (similar) | silver cuff and necklace | Bag: Steven by Steve Madden | Lipstick: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic

Today is a tough day at work – big project today that has been causing me and many of my coworkers some stress. Will all turn out well, but we’ll all be super excited when it’s over. And speaking of which, this evening my friend Nicole and I are going to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the 9:30 Club. I think this is my fifth or sixth time seeing her, and I know it will be a fun time. Just what I need after a hectic day, some girl time with Nicole (and Grace!), a couple cocktails, and some strength from Keef!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Friday – Saturated Stripes

Dress – Calvin Klein (similar)
Booties - Miss Sixty (similar)
Bag - Sabina (similar)
SunglassesMarc by Marc Jacobs

Yesterday I was at work very late, and this morning I got started on a project very early. Such a schedule means a dress – simple way to look polished with very little effort! I know I wore this same exact outfit recently, but it’s easy (and love that this dress went in the washer and dryer and ended up looking this great!).

What are your weekend plans? Tomorrow night my husband and I are going to have a Date Night – my mom is watching Emerson, we’re heading into the city for dinner and then to see Band of Skulls at the 9:30 Club. Can’t wait!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Sick Day

I stayed up all night coughing a layer off my lungs. Good times.

Today my husband went for a hike with his best friend, and I am trying to purify the home. Laundry, change the sheets, sterilize the bathroom, a quick run of the vacuum (after watching Project Runway, of course!).

White terry robe from Land’s End. The BEST bathrobe ever! So sturdy and warm and cozy (be warned – they run large). Under it is a black ROOR tee-shirt belonginf to my husband. On the bottom is a pair of my husband’s boxers from Banana Republic. On my feet are these hideous ankle socks my mom bought me for the 4th of July – red and white stripes with a blue square of stars on the top of the foot.

Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?

If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.

Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.

If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.

Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.

If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.

Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.

Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.

At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.

In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

Friday Favorite: Grown-up Coloring

I’m a doodler. Look at my work notebooks and my paper planner and you’ll see squiggles, boxes, and flowers in the margins. My tattoo is of a swirl design I have been doodling since high school; that doodle I used to draw as a teenager on friends’ jeans and jackets with fabric markers and they would sometimes pay me for the work. Doodling, like writing longhand, helps me listen, focus, and remember. So when I broke my right arm twice last year and couldn’t write or doodle, I felt like a fish out of water.

I began coloring in Emerson’s coloring books with her last year as a form of physical therapy; at first it was to get better control of my left hand. Later in the year, it was to regain the strength and dexterity of my right hand. Soon I was back to being able to doodle again in some capacity, and it made me realize how important it is in my life for calming my mind and focusing. One frustrating day at work, I did my swirly doodle all over my office dry erase board. I bought a box of Crayola markers and during conference calls went from ink-drawn squiggles to filling a piece of blank white paper with doodles, squares, mazes, and more. Sick of my gloomy mud-brown windowless office, I began taping these doodles up on the wall my desk faces to have some color in my day.

PicMonkey Collage

The first time I did The Artist’s Way, I bought myself a pack of 26 markers and one of those velvet posters you can find in Target. I loved the meditation of coloring the pattern on that poster, and ended up using it to be a bookcover for my Artist’s Way journal. I don’t know why I let that habit lapse, but this year when wandering the aisles of A.C. Moore finding supplies for a Girl Scout project, I picked up a spiral-bound sketchbook, just like the one I used as my Artist’s Way journal. I started carrying it around with me to doodle in there instead of random pieces of paper, and I bought this pack of 100 markers from Amazon. Inspired by reader Judy’s Instagram photo, I bought this coloring book and this coloring book. While I like making my own doodles, sometimes I’m just too stressed to be creative and the process of choosing a marker, carefully staying within the lines, and seeing a pattern come to life brings me back to center.

When I get home from work, I am F R I E D. Either a hellacious Metro trip or fighting DC traffic after 8-10 hours of work makes me a pretty crappy parent. I give myself a moment to use the bathroom, brush my teeth, change into comfortable clothing and have a short moment alone. It’s not enough, I’m still wired, angry, stressed. So now what I do is come into the living room and invite Emerson to color with me. She grabs one of her coloring books or some blank paper (or I let her color in one of my books, which thrills her to no end) and we sit on the floor with the coffee table as our workspace. Sometimes we add construction paper, glue, pipecleaners, tape, or fabric to the mix. We color, I ask her about her day, she often draws what she experienced, and I am able to calm down while still spending quality time with my daughter. I notice that she’s more open with me when distracted by drawing a castle or bending pipe cleaners; I hear more about the social dynamics, more details about what she did in class, more hoensty.  She now asks to color with me at other times during the week, it’s our “Mommy and Me” time.

This past week I saw on Instagram that my friend Christen has also taken up grown-up coloring, she and her husband taking markers to mandalas as a form of meditation and mindfulness. She agreed that she finds the process of coloring so relaxing.

Why do we stop coloring as we grow up? Coloring is even better as an adult, as we know how to stay in the lines, we can afford the fancier markers or make the switch to pencils, pastels, or watercolors. There are plenty of coloring books created just for adults that have complicated, inspiring, thoughtful, or spiritual images, but there’s nothing wrong with just doodling with a #2 pencil in the margin of your spiral notebook. But if you feel a bit stressed, have a hard time meditating or slowing down, consider going Old School and picking up a coloring book. It’s a pretty fun way to relax and center!

The Return of Foxcroft Style Stars (and a Giveaway!)

Last year I had the opportunity to head to NYC and style a photoshoot for Foxcroft Collection. I’ve been a fan of their no-iron shirts for a while (and love that they come in Plus and Petite), and it was fun to support them with this project. And it wasn’t any old project either. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Foxcroft invited teachers from NYC’s P.S. 159 Bayside to model their silver anniversary collection and be Foxcroft Style Stars.


For the second year, Foxcroft is celebrating the hard work and dedication of New York’s public school teachers with Foxcroft Style Stars 2014. Twenty women from P.S. 31 in Brooklyn, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, received the star treatment.  L’Appartement Prive Salon hosted the teachers for the day of pampering: hair consultations and styling by celebrity hairstylist Laurent Dufourg, and a custom wardrobe from Foxcroft.

foxcroft style stars

Janet Zukowski, who has taught at P.S. 31 for over 30 years, said the day was “magical.” Zukowski continued, “We felt appreciated and were treated royally. I think it was a once in a lifetime kind of event.”  Laurent Dufourg, who has worked with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sophia Loren, and Tina Fey enjoyed styling the teachers, stating, “Working with these ladies is extremely rewarding because they leave the salon feeling like a million dollars. I love it. It is very satisfying.”

Foxcroft Collection will reveal the 2014 Style Stars as the center of their back-to-school digital campaign, launching this month. The campaign will showcase the ladies dressed in the brand’s latest looks for fall, which will be highlighted on the Foxcroft Collection homepage. You can shop their looks at this link and get 20% off the pieces (valid until 8/20/14)!


You can have a bit of the Foxcroft Style Star experience for yourself! Please visit Foxcroft Collection and in the comments below let me know your favorite blouse. One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win the blouse in the style and size of her choice!

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA only, and winner will be chosen at random. You must have a valid email address in your Disqus profile/signed in with a valid email address or else include it in your comment to be eligible. No need to provide size, if you are the winner we will contact you for details.  If winner doesn’t reply to winning email within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

Tuesday: Fact of Life

Dress: Gap
Cardigan: LOFT (similar)
Boots: Fitzwell
Necklace: Gift
Bag: Sabina (similar)

I was tempted to title this post DONT CURR; today is that kind of day. Instead the theme to The Facts of Life played in my head – you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Facts of Life. Well today’s outfit is a fact of life – some outfits aren’t fun or chic or terribly flattering, but they get the job done. This is more of a weekend look for me, but it was raining cats and dogs this morning, I have a complicated project today at work, and I really didn’t care too much how I looked doing it. Revlon’s Matte Lipstick in Wine Not makes the look a hair more purposeful, but really I’m just glad I have had my coffee and got to the office without a car driving in the gutter and splashing me from head to toe!

FYI, this dress does shrink in the wash.  I washed on cold and tumbled dry on medium and it shrunk most everywhere.  Personally, I like the fit much better than before (size Large regular) though wish I still had that extra half inch of length. Speaking of which, this dress is currently on sale and Gap is offering 30% off today (code THANKYOU).

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Silk blouse – Ann Taylor (similar)
Pencil skirt - Calvin Klein (similar)
Mary Janes – Franco Sarto “Lotion” c/o Nordstrom Rack
Necklace – Boutique in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Crazy that just a couple months ago this shirt was too tight to button! I have had this blouse (and the same one in emerald green) for YEARS (at least six see the first time I wore the green one on this blog here) and I can’t imagine not having them in my wardrobe.  Ann Taylor has similar colored silk blouses this year, but I love how these have a classic silhouette that won’t be out of fashion in a year (or six!).

A couple of weeks ago, I helped my friend Izolda with one film from her One-Minute Movies project.  Well the film is finished!  If you ever wanted to know what my voice sounds like, check out Mrs. Butterman in the film below (I do love myself in pink!).

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Wardrobe Today – Wednesday

An early morning for me, and another where my husband had a shoot and my mom came over to watch Emerson.  I love my mother, but I don’t love the pictures she takes for my blog.  I think she gets flustered, because she is actually a very good photographer.  The one at the top was the best out of the pack, and it was after I ran my fingers through my hair in frustration and realized I was running very late.

Sweater - Ann Taylor
Denim pencil skirt – Ann Taylor
Necklace – Ann Taylor (gosh, spotting a trend?)
Shoes - Franco Sarto

Hair is next day, I brushed it and hit the dryer and round brush to any bedhead.  Makeup is Max Factor Pan-Stik, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad (the gray one), Nars blush in Orgasm, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and lipstick in Pink Champagne, DiorShow mascara in black.

I am working on a new project at work that is testing my creative skills.  Nice to stretch my limits, but it’s a bit stressful.  May be MIA tomorrow and the first half of Friday to take care of it.  But do make sure you stop by Wardrobe Oxygen – I am running a giveaway on a collection of five tights for fall!


Black jersey dress from Velvet Torch, gray ribbed tank from Caslon, black coral necklace from Mexico, black leather thong heels from Target.

Hair was washed the night prior, allowed to air dry, then straightened with the dryer and round brush. I haven’t gotten used to this cut yet, it does often take up to two weeks for me to fall in love. This time I asked for more bangs and I haven’t yet gotten used to the concept of real bangs.

Makeup is Smashbox Photo Finish primer, L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3, concealer in W4-5, The Body Shop’s bronzing powder in Light and a touch of Nars blush in Orgasm on the apples of the cheeks. On lips is Revlon ColorGlide in Rum Radiance. Eyes is the Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis (ladies did you see it in the recent issue of Allure as a must-buy? It really is!) – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone, light dusting of khaki on lids. Lashes curled and Max Factor’s Lash Perfection applied, fine line of Maybeliine UltraLiner in black on top lash line.

Sorry guys, it has been busy at work this week with a deliverable and a project coming to completion. I missed you all too! :-)


Meeting with client, first time to emet them and to kickoff the project. Gray suit from Tahari, salmon silk-knit scoop neck cap sleeved shell from Ann Taylor, black city boots from Enzo.

Hair was dried straight with the craptastic hotel room dryer and a round brush – I was packing light. I then added a bit of Jonathan Dirt for texture (my new play toy).

Makeup was L’Oreal True Match foundation, Body Shop concealer, Chanel pressed powder, NARS Orgasm blush, Revlon ColorStay quad in neutral – ivory and khaki. L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black and Goldie lipgloss in Blossom.

Yep, don’t expect to see this lipgloss mentioned again. Forgot I had it in my purse and went through the airport x-ray and they confiscated it. Waaaah! They took my almost empty Tide to Go pen too, which got through at three airports in the past month. Grrrrr.

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram