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What I Wore: Spring Green

I am such a fan of green and this blouse from Dobbin Clothing is the perfect Kelly green for spring.  This is a tunic length blouse, so it also looks adorable untucked with some slim pants.  With wearable heels (seriously these shoes are uber comfortable all day) and a hat to sheild myself from the sun, I’m ready for outside brunch with my girl friends!

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Vacation Recap: What I Packed

My family and I left for vacation on a Sunday morning and planned on heading home on Thursday, but we actually stayed until Friday. We were staying with relatives in the south, who live on a lake. I knew I would have access to a washer and dryer but didn’t plan on using it.

What I Packed:

What I Didn’t Use:

  • Lands’ End white linen sundress
  • Chambray shirt
  • Lands’ End Canvas swimsuit

What I Wish I Brought:

  • Another pair of workout pants
  • Water shoes

The car ride was about nine hours; on the trip down, I wore the orange shirt and denim cutoffs and the tan sandals, on the way home I wore the gray tee, white jeans (yep they are that comfortable!), and tan sandals.

We spent the majority of the vacation at their house, where it really didn’t matter what I wore. We went to the zoo one day, and for that I wore the Soft Surroundings linen shift with the tan sandals; I used the yellow leather tote since it was my purse, Emerson’s bag, and also carried some snacks and water. We went to a nearby bar for beer and wings and I wore the white jeans with the vintage tee (pretty much this same outfit, but with the yellow sandals and the yellow tote). One evening they invited over neighbors for dinner and a sunset cruise on the boat and I wore this outfit. I thought I may use the chambray shirt as a swimsuit coverup, but instead used the J. Crew sundress or just a towel.

The lake shore was rocky and the bottom either rocky or mucky, my flip flops couldn’t hang and I really wish I had a pair of proper water shoes. Emerson had a pair from REI and my husband wore his Vibram Five Fingers and they both had a blast while I stuck to the bottom of the lake. I also wish I had brought more workout clothes – I know my cousin and his wife are athletic, but I didn’t know I would have free access to a gym every morning and I took advantage of it.

I brought more dresses than necessary. This was a very relaxed environment where a sundress looked quite fancy, even with bare feet and no makeup. I felt most comfortable in my orange shorts and Breton-striped tee, which was casual but true to my personal style. While I could have packed my entire closet for this vacation, I tried to keep the list short so fashion wasn’t something I had to think about while away. I wanted simple pieces that could dress up and down with ease and mix and match.

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Bonnaroo 2011 – What I Packed

I am breaking my Bonnaroo 2011 review into a few posts. I know this topic isn’t interesting to all; won’t be offended if you scroll right through. Do know I will soon return to regularly scheduled fashion posts!


Bonnaroo 2011 – the 10th anniversary of this music and arts festival, our fourth time attending, and our first time going as VIP. This year there were four in our party – me, my husband, my sister, and our friend Sarah (Emerson stayed with Grandma).

For those who do not know about Bonnaroo, it is a four-day festival taking place in Manchester, Tennessee in June (I will sometimes call it The Farm as that is is on an old farm that was recently purchased just for Bonnaroo).  There are two stages, three large tents and several smaller stages where musicians perform pretty much from 11am until 4am (or later!).  On top of that, there are artists, dancers, vendors, food, and the best people watching on the planet.   Oh, and a water slide and Ferris wheel!  Bonnaroo is hot – there aren’t any trees and very little shade; when it’s really dry it can get really dusty and hard to breathe and when it rains it can easily flood your campsite or parts of the festival grounds (known as Centeroo).

Image of Bonnaroo 2010 courtesy of the blog Hurple Hoopla

Over 80,000 people attend Bonnaroo each year and most camp.  There are several types of camping programs available – General Admission, Family Camping, Access Camping (for those with disabilities and needs for close access), VIP (what we chose this year – details in a future post), RV and VIP RV camping, All Access (which is where you get to live the life of a celebrity in a tour bus with major access and perks), and even some folks choose to spend their evenings in a hotel and take a shuttle to Centeroo each day.

Centeroo is a fenced-in area at Bonnaroo where all the events take place. You can see from the image above how massive Bonnaroo is.

Image of the What Stage courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times

There is a real mix of musicians who perform at Bonnaroo – rock, jazz, soul, blues, gospel, hip-hop, bluegrass, country and everything in between.  Because of this there is an amazing mix of people – attendees come from all over the globe, some who are attending for the first time and some who have been to all 10 Roos.  All who love music.  Attendees come in all ages too – this year seemed to have more college-aged folks than usual and the majority of the crowd is under 30, but it’s not shocking to see folks in their ’60s, ’70s, or ’80s rocking out at a show right next to you.  Many people also bring their children as that Bonnaroo has a program set up just for the little tykes.

After being on The Farm three times before, through dust storms and record-breaking heat, and rain I felt pretty knowledgeable about what I should pack to be prepared, comfortable, yet still adhering to my personal style. However, I found that going VIP meant I overpacked. There was far less need for things to keep me cool, hydrated, and protected. I am going to share all that I packed, and then write about what I used and didn’t.


What I Wish I Brought:

  • Gummi fruit snacks. I had these previous years and loved them for a quick sweet treat. You can tuck a packet in your bag for a Centeroo snack.
  • String cheese. We had too many dry crunchy snacks and string cheese was always something I enjoyed at previous Roos.
  • Better shampoo and conditioner. Man, the stupid combo stuff made my hair a tangled, dry, frizzy mess. Was very grateful for the Garnier Fructis samples at the showers.
  • A proper shower caddy. This year we had shower trailers and the bucket got all full of water.
  • A big floppy hat. I was constantly feeling as though the tops of my ears were burning; a bigger hat would have been chic as well as offer better protection.
  • TOMs or flat espadrilles. My boots ended up not being too comfy (learn more later), the flip flops were downright dangerous in Centeroo, and I just couldn’t break down and wear the Crocs. I saw many people in canvas shoes that looked quite happy. My husband and sister both wore Sanuks and liked them at Bonnaroo.
  • Cute tops to wear with my cutoffs. When we were camping in GA, regular shorts would have been ridiculous – they would be too hot, too constricting, would ride up and be awful. However being VIP I didn’t have to walk as much and had respite from the heat. It would have been nice to be able to switch to a breezy cotton camisole with cutoffs for later in the day.
  • My camera battery charger. My camera battery was near-dead once I arrived so I only took a handful of photos.
  • A better phone. My Droid sucks and wouldn’t keep a charge for more than an hour, even though I didn’t have on WiFi and didn’t use it for anything but to check the time
  • A watch. Something small and waterproof. I heard Walmart has little ones in the toy section for a couple bucks that are of gummy rubber. That would have been perfect.
  • A grill. I found grills to be a PITA in GA, but in VIP it would have been nice to cook up breakfast each morning. In GA you can find a vendor that for $5 will give you an overflowing plate of eggs, potatoes, and onions. In VIP for $10 you get a pretty meager breakfast and have to walk a mile to find one of the GA vendors.
  • A bigger table. We had more space in VIP and it would have been nice to have a table we could use as a dining table, or to organize/store our foodstuffs nicely.
  • More jewelry. I went down wearing a beaded necklace from Forever 21 that stained my necklace and shirt, and a pair of silver hoops. I have a necklace I usually wear to Bonnaroo but it broke just before we got in the car to leave. My other necklace I was going to bring broke two days before we left.

My sister‘s Bonnaroo 2011 shoe collection – Crocs, wellies, and Sanuks

What I Didn’t Need:

  • The Crocs.
  • The jeans. It never seemed to get cold enough where I felt I needed to bundle up. A shirt or hoodie and my boots was plenty.
  • The Uhydration tablets. We never got that overheated where we needed to replenish like that
  • The hose. With VIP, you have 24 access to real showers, no need to DIY at a water station.
  • The watermelon. We forgot about it.
  • A case of beer. I hardly drank so we ended up taking home almost an entire case.
  • The solar radio/iPod and speakers. We were so close to the main stage at camp, we never touched these things.
  • My henley. I wore the chambray shirt one night, the hoodie another, every other night was pretty warm while I was out.
  • The Clorox wipes. I only used the porta-potties once while on the Farm so I didn’t need to sanitize. Along with that, no need for toilet paper or carrying personal wipes all day; and no need for the Pstyle. I only used the personal wipes for quick cleaning between showers.
  • The bathing suit.  But then I always bring a bathing quite everywhere because you never know when you will need it and they don’t take up much space!
  • My husband’s energy bars.  I don’t think he ate any of them.

Packing: GA versus VIP
Do know, my regular list would have probably been pretty awesome if we were in GA again. Over the three years and my time on the Inforoo message board I really learned the best things to bring, and what was pointless. I learned that comfort trumped fashion, that even SPF 30 will give you a dark tan by the end of the festival, that porta-potties aren’t that bad if you are prepared.

 Image courtesy of The Tennessean

Fashion

My standard uniform for the past three Bonnaroos was a 100% cotton sundress that floated away from the body, a pair of cotton underwear and a cotton bra, moisture-wicking bike shorts that keep me cool and also offer modesty in wind and when sitting on the ground, a straw hat, sunglasses and either my Crocs or DUO boots (the boots with cotton socks). It wasn’t glamorous, I wouldn’t be featured on any street style fashion blog, but it got the job done and I didn’t have to THINK about my clothing all day long. Come evening, I would change either into a maxi dress or just slip jeans under my dress. I liked loose jeans since I would be dusty and sometimes sunburned – far more comfy than tight denim!

Me on Friday at Bonnaroo this year

However, with VIP you have creature comforts. Three different locations for air-conditioned toilet trailers. The ability to wash your hands or take a shower twice a day. Fresh fruit at your disposal and cool, dark tents where you can rest up and recharge. Shorter walks to Centeroo (and two close entrances that drop you off in two different parts of Centeroo). It’s easy to stay clean, be comfortable, and look cute. All the people I saw in adorable vintage dresses, lacy peasant tops and vintage cutoffs either had on the VIP wristband or a press/all access badge and lanyard. If we do VIP again I feel I can be more creative with my wardrobe.

 Image courtesy of Dane101.com

Food

Also realize we have chosen over time to bring less food and purchase more in Centeroo. It may not seem cost-effective, but each year we saw how much food we brought home (even this year we brought home half the oranges, the watermelon, the bread and PB&J – only made one sandwich, and a third of the snacks were never cracked open). It’s hard to plan on being back at camp when camp is so far away; it’s easier and ends up being more frugal in the long run to only bring snacks and maybe breakfast food and purchase everything else at Bonnaroo. Vendors in GA have cheap food; in and near Centeroo you can get cheap arepas, pizza slices, and grilled cheese sandwiches. On top of that, there is some pretty spectacular food. I ate alligator, field green salads with candied walnuts, “black lemonade” which was lemonade mixed with a slush of crushed fresh in-season berries, and fabulous DIY pitas with fresh veggies, tzatziki sauce and grilled chicken.  This year they even had a section for fancy food trucks!

My sister’s freezer full of water pre-Bonnaroo

You will see we packed frozen water – when the water is frozen it acts like ice for your food. It melts throughout the time there so you always have icy cold water to drink! We have also learned that if you bring two coolers, you can once a day open the big one to fill the small one, and it will keep things cold/frozen longer in the big cooler (the less often you open a cooler, the longer it will stay cold). We didn’t do that this year and had to purchase ice twice while at Bonnaroo.

It is important to drink lots of water, but it’s also important to replenish salt in your body when you are sweating a lot. Salty foods like pistachios, and hydration products like Gatorade and Uhydration tablets help greatly and taste good.

I can’t stay up for four days straight like I could a decade ago so I use 5 Hour Energy to survive at least part of each late night at Bonnaroo. My husband guzzled FRS drinks a couple times a day to stay energized. I take the 5 Hour Energy 5-7 hours before I plan to crash because I can feel them wearing off and I end up almost dead by time they have run through my system. Some people have reactions to 5 Hour Energy; I recommend you try them out more than once before you go to Bonnaroo to ensure they work and don’t work against your body.

Drink

It’s hot. Seriously hot. Crazy hot. Heat and drinking do not mix, both will dehydrate you, and if you drink a lot you will be less likely to realize you are dehydrated. People die at Bonnaroo due to hyperthermia and heat-related issues – even well-experienced festival goers. If you’re thirsty, drink water. Keep the drinking of alcohol until after the sun starts to go down.

Drugs

There are drugs at music festivals. I have heard Bonnaroo isn’t as bad as many others in regard to this but do know this takes place. No one will look twice at you for abstaining. But realize people will stop by your camp asking you if you need any, people will be using them right next to you at a show, and especially once the sun goes down you will see the effects of people using all sorts of drugs.

On the trip down, cops will search cars looking for drugs. When you hit the farm, security may search your car and the search may be basic, or they may tear your car inside out. Cops on horses patrol the campgrounds looking for drug dealers. I don’t care whether you partake or not, I just want you to be fully aware before you go.

 Picture of some of the stuff my sister packed for herself this year – she too likes L.L. Bean!

Packing: What We Used

L.L. Bean Boat and Totes are my favorite for packing. They hold a ton, they have a sturdy bottom so they don’t tip over, but are flexible enough to smush around a cooler so you can close the hatchback. I have almost a dozen (and just got another one from Lands End the day we returned from Bonnaroo!). My pet Boat and Tote is the XL zip-top with extra-long straps. It’s berry with teal trim and it’s big enough to hold all my Bonnaroo clothes, beauty products, and even shoes. We used another for mine and communal beauty/personal supplies, another for camping equipment. We used a Whole Foods reusable bag for snacks, one of those mega IKEA blue totes for camping equipment, and my husband used a big duffle from his Navy days for his clothes and necessities. My husband also shoved our pillows and bedding into a waterproof bag which worked a bit like a SpaceBag by shrinking it all to the size of three basketballs.

Packing: Getting There
The two of us go in my husband’s Subaru. We drop the back seat, and use a Thule storage bag on the roof. I know four people can fit in a Honda Civic with all their equipment, but we liked that we had complete open space up front, the ability to see out the back window, and could access any of our luggage while on the road. On the way home, we were able to shove everything in the actual car and not use the rooftop carrier.

We have learned to wash the car before we go. We don’t advertise that we’re going to Bonnaroo because that’s just begging for a cop to pull you over and be tempted to search your vehicle. When driving into the farm, we dress conservatively – my husband wears a polo, I wear shorts and a regular top. The cops are drooling for cars to pull over kids and we don’t want to be seen as a kid. We have also found this speeds up our entry to Bonnaroo because we look like tame, respectable adults.

We stay overnight in a hotel on Wednesday so we’re well rested for our first day at Bonnaroo. I have learned to pack a single bag to take into the hotel with our toiletries and change of clothes. This way I don’t have to rifle through the entire car for our toothbrushes. We also use our Wednesday night to hit a Walmart for refrigerated items like beer (also a great chance to pick up things forgotten like allergy meds!).

On Thursday, we have the tickets in the glove compartment, the GPS ready to go, and a couple icy bottles of water ready for the cops directing traffic into Bonnaroo. The local police in Coffee County Tennessee work really hard to keep the lines moving quickly and smoothly and it’s not an easy job. When you slowly inch by them, thank them for their service and offer them a sealed bottle of cold water. It’s the right thing to do. This is another reason why we don’t overstuff our car – so we can reach the cooler!

Packing: What Not to Bring

  • Don’t bring things like flat irons and hair dryers. Seriously ladies, it’s okay to spend one long weekend with frizzy hair tucked under a hat or scarf.
  • No drugs, no glass, no weapons. Yes, we have broken the glass and weapon rule, but do as I say, not as I do okay?
  • Nice stuff. Leave your It Bag, your favorite dress, your designer jeans at home. I personally think you should also leave home computers and other electronics but if you do feel you need to bring them, be sure to lock them in your car out of sight.

Packing: What Not to Forget

  • Your tickets/wristbands!
  • A second set of car keys. One pair should be on your person at all times, the other pair should be somewhere safe (on your friend’s person, in your friend’s car, etc.). It would suck to have to pay a locksmith to get back in your car.
  • Car battery charging cables. Again, it would suck to require assistance while at Bonnaroo.
  • Sunscreen. I don’t care if you think you never burn, if you want to get a tan, if you think you have a base tan. It’s darn hot and there is NO SHADE. I wore SPF 30 on my body and 55 on my face the entire time, reapplied almost hourly and still came home with a dark tan. A sunburn would ruin your experience mighty quickly.
  • Immodium AD. I know, gross topic but again this could ruin your experience pretty quickly. Change in water, change in environment, too much beer, too much sun, too much fried food, a sketchy snack from a vendor on Shakedown… be prepared. Along with this, some Motrin, Benadryl, and aloe vera are good things to also have on hand.
  • Something to hold water. Water is available for free in Bonnaroo but you need some way to carry it. Camelbaks aren’t chic but they make a heck of a lot of sense. You can drink while walking, you don’t have to carry anything, and you can wear it and dance your booty off at the same time. A little water bottle won’t cut it; my 32oz. bottle was hardly enough and I was in VIP. Again, comfort over fashion – dress to stay hydrated.

Next post will be about what I wore each day… additional posts will come regarding how the VIP experience was, and what I saw/did each day while at Bonnaroo.

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Rehoboth Beach 2012: What I Packed

Last weekend I went to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my mom, sister, and daughter. This is an annual Girls’ Getaway for us.

We always stay at the Avenue Inn, which is reasonably priced, close to the beach and all the shops and restaurants, and is really clean and beautiful with wonderful amenities. We arrive Friday afternoon and leave Sunday afternoon and spend the majority of Saturday on the beach.

What I Packed:

  • Blue halter one-piece swimsuit
  • Paisley halter one-piece swimsuit
  • Tan and white print silky halter top
  • Breton-stripe Armourlux tee (seen here)
  • Hot pink matte jersey drape-neck top (seen here)
  • Keith Richards tee shirt (seen here)
  • Orange plaid cotton voile shirt
  • Chambray shirt (seen here)
  • Gray-blue heather v-neck tee (seen here)
  • White v-neck tee
  • Denim cutoff shorts (seen here)
  • White jeans (seen here)
  • Cream jeans (seen here)
  • Black and white print short straight skirt
  • Navy floral cotton voile sundress with spaghetti straps (seen here)
  • Brown jersey maxi dress (seen here)
  • Tan sandals
  • Reef flip flops
  • Straw fedora
  • Small tan leather crossbody purse

On the way down I wore another Old Navy vintage tee and denim cutoffs with the tan sandals. When we got there, it was after lunch so we decided to not go to the beach and instead enjoy the hotel’s pool. I wore the paisley suit with my tee shirt and shorts and flip flops.

That evening, we went to Hobos for dinner. I hadn’t been there before, but was intrigued by their goal to have the menu be as local and organic as possible. I wore my brown maxi dress with the tan bag and tan sandals. For accessories I wore an ivory short necklace, silver hoops and my silver cuff. After dinner we wandered onto the beach so Emerson could check it out. Afterwards, Emerson and I headed back to the hotel since it was her bedtime. Worked for me, I was able to catch the majority of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies!

The next day we headed to the beach. I brought the chambray shirt and the navy dress as potential beach cover-ups, but instead went with denim cutoffs and the white v-neck.

We stayed at the beach until around 3pm, then headed to the hotel to get out of our swimsuits and went to Claws for an early dinner (they have a lobster promotion from 4-6pm). We didn’t even shower, didn’t dress up because we knew we’d likely be covered in lobster – I wore my Keith Richards shirt with denim cutoffs and flip flops. It’s a casual place and the ensemble was completely appropriate.

After, we wandered through a few stores and headed to Funland for Emerson. Actually, Emerson was still terrified of the rides (even the little boats, though she sat in one for about a minute), so us adults ended up playing a few games to win her a couple stuffed animals. We then went back to the beach to enjoy the view, the weather, and Emerson’s peals of laughter as she threw the stuffed animals across the beach and then ran to get them. After, my sister took Emerson back to the room for bedtime and my mom and I wandered around the main drag, looking at stores and talking. We stopped by Catchers and got an outside seat, shared a salad and each got a glass of rosé, but it soon started raining so we ran back to the hotel. Emerson slept in one room and the three of us watched the Olympics in the other, drinking red wine and eating chocolate chip cookies from the hotel lobby.

Usually, I go out with my sister one evening and we do a bit of bar hopping or head into Dewey to see a band perform. I expected to wear my white jeans with the tan and white halter top. I also brought the hot pink top and printed skirt to wear in case I ended up going out both evenings to bars and such. Oh well, will have to wear them another time!

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, checked out a few stores right near the hotel, stopped by a bookstore that had Curious George visiting (blew Emerson’s mind), and then decided to head home. This year Emerson’s older – we didn’t bring a stroller and she doesn’t have the patience for the shopping we have done in the past. On Sunday, we usually hit the rest of the Rehoboth shops and then stop by the outlets; this year we drove right by. I wore my hot pink matte jersey top with the white jeans, tan sandals and purse.

I obviously didn’t wear everything – as mentioned, the chambray shirt and dress were potential beach outfits – the shirt as a coverup, the dress as something I could even wear into a restaurant over my suit for lunch. I brought the plaid shirt in case it was chilly in the evening – I often wear it with denim cutoffs for a casual weekend look. The cream jeans I was thinking I could wear home, or pair with the chambray shirt or the blue vintage v-neck for a chilly evening that is more casual. The Breton-striped tee was a silly choice as it has sleeves, is a bit fitted, and would have only looked nice with the white jeans. Actually, the skirt was also a silly choice as it would have looked terrible with any of the shoes packed – I mainly packed it because I just got it the day before with the pink top and it was sitting there begging to be invited.

Rehoboth Beach is interesting in that you can wear most anything once the sun goes down. During the day it’s typical daytime fashion – shorts and sundresses. However, come sundown you will see the same daytime clothes, resort attire, club attire, verging-on-evening attire, and everything in between. Sitting at Catchers, I saw women walk by in bathing suits covered with a pareo, women in sequined shorts with silky blouses and heels, women in body-con dresses and flip flops, women in chino capris and Polo shirts, women in ribbed tanks and denim cutoffs, women in floral cotton sundresses and flat sandals. At the bars, you will also see most everything, though most veer towards shorts and pants with fun tops or sundresses.

Usually I do a lot of shopping in Rehoboth – this year I spent my money at Forecastle so the only spending was on dining and for Emerson. To keep from being tempted, I went in very few stores that I knew carried things I liked. I don’t NEED anything right now, so that was also motivation to not spend!

It was a really nice weekend. This year it was all about Emerson and it was fun to see her have such a good time and experience new things!

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Rehoboth Beach Recap (and what I packed)

Everyone was so surprised that I could fit a week’s worth of luggage in my Lands End tote, so I made sure to take pictures of my bag for this weekend’s getaway. Since I worked late on Thursday and had to get to work very early on Friday (and then leave straight from work to the beach), my packing was less calculated and more throwing random stuff into a bag and crossing my fingers. What I packed:

 
  • Old Navy denim cutoffs
  • Bold print loose rayon tank from Downtown Cowgirl
  • Tan crocheted sweater from Ann Taylor
  • White ribbed tank from Caslon
  • “Make Art Not War” tee shirt
  • Pink Heritage Oxford from Lands End Canvas
  • Chambray shirt from Merona
  • Mauve tissue-weight boyfriend cardigan from Ann Taylor
  • White chino shorts from Target
  • Ivory/navy stripe scoop tee from J. Crew
  • Red stripe maxi dress from Gap
  • Olive jersey sundress from Banana Republic Outlet
  • Same dress in purple print
  • Navy cotton sundress from J. Crew
  • Red-orange knit surplice neck dress from LOFT
  • Multicolored clutch from Novica
  • Strapless bra
  • Nude bra
  • four pair underwear
  • My Shimera nightgown
  • White paisley halter swimsuit from Canvas
  • Turquoise halter swimsuit from Swimspot.com
  • Orange beach towel from Lands End
  • Black Reef “Sandy” flip flops
  • 22 oz. Camelback reusable bottle
  • bodycology Body Wash and mesh scrubby
  • Contact lens case, solution, and extra pair
  • Toothpaste and brush and NTI
  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner
  • Jonathan Create Motion (didn’t bring dryer or curling iron since I knew friends would have)
  • Round brush and paddle brush
  • Razor and extra blade
  • Deodorant
  • Eye cream, day moisturizer, night retinol treatment and night cream (forgot face wash)
  • Large cosmetic bag of makeup
  • Small cosmetic bag of some jewelry (hoops, green shell earrings, some bracelets)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Extra pair of sunglasses

To work and for the trip down, I wore my navy Canvas dress, jute belt from Anthro, tan Softspots sandals and carried my brown Sandhurst hobo from Banana Republic.

When we got there, I changed into my denim cutoffs, white tank, and tan crocheted sweater.

Before we went out on Saturday evening

The next day for pool, boardwalk, lunch, etc. I wore my Canvas bathingsuit and my J. Crew dress as a beach coverup. That night, I wore my purple print dress from Banana Republic outlet. Sunday, I wore the same dress in olive.

So yep, I totally and completely overpacked, but I was in a rush and at least I had options!

The weekend was fun, but exhausting. Since I had to work until 3 on Friday and we all wanted to ride in one car, we didn’t get to Rehoboth until 8pm. Instead of spending forever trying to figure out where to eat, we went to Adriatico. Never a line, outdoor seating, reliable and good service and food. After we roamed looking for a good bar to hang out and ended up at the Parrot Biergarten which happened to be right next door to where we were staying!

 Sunglasses hide a multitude of sins

The next day we were feeling the effects of our wild and late night. We had a slow start and a slow day… we didn’t even get to the beach. Instead we hung out on the sundeck of the hotel, which has a really nice pool and hot tub. We went to Zoggs for lunch which looked interesting, but had meh food, gross bathrooms and terrible service. After we roamed around the boardwalk and shops, and then went back to the hotel for a late afternoon nap. That night we went to Claws for crabs.

I was crushing on this green feather headband fascinator from Tiger Lili, but my friends reminded me that I don’t have the life where I can carry off such a piece.

My sister waiting in Downtown Cowgirl while my friend and I tried on fur vests and fun clothes we don’t really need

We planned on going out to the bars, but realized we were pretty exhausted and spent from Friday so we roamed around Rehoboth (at this time I got my new blouse and a vintage leather cuff) and then went back to the hotel room where we watched Titanic and were asleep by midnight. We’re such wild folks!

 

Sunday we headed to Dewey Beach to go to Suicide Sunday at The Starboard. We used to be big Dewey people, but haven’t gone in a couple of years. It was fun to return, make our own Bloody Marys, bop to ‘90s pop, eat Eggs Delmarva. After Suicide Sunday, we planned on hitting the outlets. While driving to the Coach outlet, a car pulled up to us and informed us that our brake lights weren’t working. Awesome.

We stopped by an auto body shop which thank goodness was open on Sunday. Unfortunately he said we needed some part that he didn’t have in stock. He did a reset, and wished us well. The reset lasted maybe five minutes and then the brake lights were out again. So we drove home slowly with a “Brake lights not working!” sign in the back window and our hazards blinking. And then we drove into a torrential rainstorm. What should be a three-hour drive took us more like six. By time I got home, I was completely DONE. D. O. N. E. I snuggled a bit with Emerson, my husband made casual dinner of pulled pork sandwiches which we enjoyed with one of my friends from the weekend and her husband and I was in bed by 9:45.

As we were packing up on Sunday, I found it too funny to not photograph:

Great minds think alike – we gals love our boat totes from Lands End and LL Bean!

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Week-long Vacation – What I Packed

Amanda from Miskabelle Vintage asked me what I packed for my week-long trip to Vermont. I would love to say I made a very careful list and planned out all my outfits (and my sister would like me to say this as well since she told me a dozen times to make one so I didn’t forget anything). Well, in typical Allie fashion I didn’t make a list. I packed the night before, and just imagined the week in my head as I stuffed randomness into my mega-big L.L. Bean Boat & Tote. Good thing, I imagined the trip properly; I wore 99% of everything I brought and wanted for nothing.

Not my actual bag, mine is berry colored with teal straps and base and zips on top

What I Packed:

The house advertised laundry facilities, but I wasn’t going to rely on them. Was happy to find out that they did in fact have a washer and dryer, as well as detergent and a clothes line.

On the way down, I wore the pink oxford with the looser denim cutoffs and the tan sandals.  Most days I wore shorts with a tee or tank; come evening I usually switched into a dress. I wore the navy J. Crew dress a lot because it’s 100% cotton and not jersey – it dried fast if I got it wet near the lake, it was breezy, and it was low-fuss. I wore the tan sandals almost exclusively. The flip flops were too casual and not good if we walked long distances, and these sandals are incredibly comfortable. I was going to return them, and then took them by chance and now adore them. The oxford was a smart choice – I wore open as a beach coverup, paired with the white shorts for a more put-together look, as well as wearing them on the ride down with very casual shorts.

What I Wish I Brought:

  • A bathrobe. My husband’s family is the type that gets up, grabs a cup of coffee, and checks email or sits out on the deck in sleepwear. My nightgown is… well it’s pretty. I guess it could be seen as sexy since it has a low neckline (I bought it back when still nursing because it worked well for that while still being a style I found attractive). I ended up wearing it with my yellow cardigan, feeling a bit ridiculous. If I had brought my navy jersey robe from Lands End, I would have been a far happier camper.
  • Beat-up loose jeans. I have one pair… and they are too big. I don’t own any casual jeans right now, all my pairs are from NYDJ and are dark and fitted. We went to a farm, we spent a lot of time near or on the water, we stayed up until midnight around the dining table playing card games, we sat in the grass and looked at the stars – it would have been nice to do it in denim instead of yoga pants or a low-cut maxi dress.
  • My aviators. The sunglasses I brought were fine, but they are really big and a bit heavy. It would have been nice to have my trusty aviators; I have had them for three years and they are like a second skin when worn.

This was a very casual week – the one night we went out to dinner it was at the cousins’ restaurant and fellow diners were wearing jeans and Tevas (it is small-town Vermont after all). That night I wore the purple print jersey dress and the sandals and brought along the mauve cardigan for when the sun set. One day we planned on going to Montpieler and I put on the striped tee and cargo jacket with the more fitted cutoffs, and it was appropriate for going “into town.” There really wasn’t much need for fancier duds, and locals probably could tell I was a tourist from a mile away with my wardrobe.

As for beauty products, I kept it pretty simple:

Back in the days of Sassy magazine, I read where a girl had loose curls in her hair and she kept them glossy and slightly controlled by a small amount of Lubriderm. I have found that when I leave the DC area and experience well water or soft water, this works great for my hair as well. I will lotion up the bod, then a tiny bit more on my already lotioned hands, rub it in, and then touch the tips of the hair and work from the bottom up. Scrunch, let air dry and the small bit of lotion will keep frizz at bay, give a soft shine, and enough hold that my hair won’t be completely flat in an hour.

The Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner smelled great, and is sulfate-free so it didn’t ravage my hair.  I also love what Nature’s Gate is about, and how they use natural ingredients and work hard to be a sustainable company.  However, my hair is pretty finicky when I change shampoos and I could tell the difference in the way my hair acted and looked while in Vermont.  I think this shampoo would be good for those with very fine hair and those who don’t color and ravage their hair like I do mine.  My husband has become a fan and has taken over the bottles now that we have gotten home.

Fashion and beauty really weren’t on my radar while on vacation, and it was nice to have a vacation not just from work but also from being so concerned about my appearance. Since I have built up a useful wardrobe, I didn’t have to stress about what to take – I just took the clothes I wear on weekends and it worked out.

For a while after having Emerson, I was at a loss on weekends. It was either stretched out postpartum knits, or dressy work clothes. As I have come to find myself again, I have also found my casual self. I have figured out what types of clothes work for weekends and after hours that are simple, carefree, but still fit my personal style. I have found casual dressing to be far more difficult than social or corporate attire because there is so much gray area. If I go to brunch or the movies, I will have friends who will wear designer sundresses, and other friends who will wear tee shirts and cargo shorts. It took a while for me to find my niche, a style that is appropriate, but also me. A bit preppy, a bit boho, everything machine washable and everything works with the same pair of sandals, though can be dressed up with different accessories.

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What I Wore: Pleats Please

Shirt: c/o InStyle Essentials | Belt: Vintage – Belonged to my Mom | Skirt: J. Crew Factory | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Shoes: Vince Camuto

I gotta say, style rules be damned, I love me a pleated chiffon maxi skirt.  I’m short, I’m overweight, and I don’t care.  I saw this one at J. Crew Factory and felt it was a perfect replacement for my beloved Ann Taylor maxi skirt, which now has a broken zipper, stretched to twice its original size and hasn’t held up well with time.  This new skirt is a 14, and I didn’t have to have the length altered.  I wore this skirt with the brilliant InStyle Essentials shirt (hello shirts sized by bra size!) for a more work-friendly look, but found it also looked fab with a simple gray Old Navy Vintage v-neck tee (see here on Instagram).  I love how skirts like this can dress up and down with ease and are nice and breezy for the upcoming warmer weather.

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What I Wore: Ikat Believe It

Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tank: c/o J.Jill | Pants: LOFT | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Lipstick: Korres Guava Lipstick in Wine Red

I swore off LOFT for a while, the quality had really gone downhill and the sizing was inconsistent. However, this winter I tried them again and found some great wardrobe staples that were the quality I remembered from before and a 14 petite pant, especially in the “Julie” cut fits me quite nicely. I haven’t really been a pants person in recent years, but after being in a cast so long I really enjoy more effortless clothing and pants allow me freedom. I’ve been gravitating towards more pants for the workweek, and have to say most of the pants I now own are LOFT.

While I paired the pants in this post with an ivory jacket, I wore them to work with a black boatneck tee (see here on Instagram) and out to dinner with a bright green silk drapey sleeveless top.  Crazypants can be versatile!

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Ask Allie: Two Weeks in Europe, What to Pack?

Allie I found you on Pinterest through your list of what to wear to Paris. I’m going to England and Europe for two weeks and need help knowing what to pack. No offense, can my capsule have some actual color and no leopard? I love bright colors and want to fit everything in one suitcase. Can you help me?

what to wear to europe spring capsule wardrobe

When I travel I usually stick to primarily neutrals (okay to be honest, it’s primarily black) with a couple pops of color because I find it hides stains, is more versatile, and dresses up and down with ease. However, I do know I often rely too heavily on black so for this wardrobe is a base to showcase the colors and keep everything cohesive. Last year I made a capsule wardrobe of what to wear to England in the spring, but this capsule is for warmer weather and with brighter colors. I’ll admit I made this capsule a month ago but it got lost in my files and I hope isn’t too late for your travel. You didn’t specify what parts of Europe and England you’ll be visiting or what sort of activities you will be partaking in, so I made some assumptions and geared this towards sight-seeing, but also visiting nice restaurants and possibly staying with friends and family.

A jacket is a must when traveling; while I often feature trenches in capsules because of their classic elegance, an anorak can also work if it’s a longer length and has clean lines. Look for something water resistant which will also resist wind; a hood is a lifesaver and also provides warmth. Packable versions can handle being shoved into the bottom of a tote when seeing museums and will take up less space in your suitcase. This is an item where it’s a great idea to choose a favorite color; while it may not dress up as easily, it’s far more enjoyable to wear a cheery hue than khaki or black on a gloomy day!

Dresses and skirts are a great idea for travel; they take up less space, can dress up easily, and are quite comfortable and wrinkle-resistant if you choose fabrics carefully. Matte jersey, modal, silk jersey, and ponte are all fabrics that give and stretch to continue to look great after being shoved in a suitcase and then worn for several hours. Solids are less memorable and easier to mix and match. While the tee shirt dress and skirt are black, consider them base pieces to feature colorful tops and accessories. I love wrap dresses, which are figure flattering and usually made of matte jersey, a very travel-friendly fabric.

I recommend always bringing a pair of trousers as well as jeans. While jeans have become more commonplace across the globe, a pair of pants are an easy way to make your knits look more dressed up. Choosing a pair of pants in a ponte knit means they won’t stretch out or wrinkle with wear, and are easy to spot clean. A pair of leggings don’t take up a lot of room and are a godsend under dresses and skirts if the temps drop, are great to have for any athletic activities, and make for comfy loungewear. As for jeans, a hint of lycra stretch will be more comfortable for long bus rides or days on your feet.

With tops, go for pieces with a bit of Lycra which will resist wrinkles. A striped tee is quite versatile, can be tucked into a skirt, worn under a jacket with jeans, or left untucked with leggings. A flowing tank or shell in silk or a synthetic with a hint of shine can look casual with jeans or dress up nicely with the trousers or skirt. Knits with interesting necklines (scoop, surplice, etc.) immediately look more dressy than a standard tee and are also more flattering. A few tanks tucked in your bag are great for changing the look of a wrap dress, slipping under other tops for warmth, wearing under jackets and sweaters, or on their own if there’s a heat wave. As for cardigans and toppers, I recommend going with lighter knits which fit better in your bag and can more easily tuck into a tote if it gets warm. Merino wool is a great choice for warmth without bulk, plus it repels odors and water.

Accessories are a great way to switch up the look of a capsule wardrobe. A pashmina is a travel must – wear looped around your neck for the flight and have it as a blanket for the plane. Wear to change up your outfits, as a shawl when it’s chilly, or to cover shoulders when entering a house of worship. Scarves are a great accessory to purchase while on your trip – they don’t take up much space in your suitcase and each time you wear you will remember your vacation. A couple bold necklaces will dress up simple knits. A watch is stylish as well as handy. Bring along a slim belt in a contrast color to switch up the silhouettes of dresses, cardigans, and untucked tops. A pair of classic wayfarers are chic sunglasses that will go with everything in your suitcase. A tote and a small crossbody in black leather are all you need – use the tote as your carry-on or fold into your suitcase. The tote can be for sightseeing, lounging by the pool, and shopping. The small crossbody carries essentials close to your body to prevent pickpockets, but can also dress up for the evening. Tights and an umbrella don’t take up much room but can be very useful is the weather isn’t on your side.

As for shoes, if you keep them all around the same height they will work with skirts as well as all the pants and jeans in your capsule wardrobe. While sneakers seem like a smart choice for a lot of walking, you can find just as much support and comfort from brands like Sofft, Naturalizer, and Clarks yet a style that will be more elegant and more able to dress up. Depending on the time of year you attend, a pair of tall boots can be a great choice; protect with a waterproofing spray before you go and they will be great for inclement weather.

two weeks Europe what to pack what to wear

What I Wore: Weekend Style

jag jeans review 3 alison gary jag jeans review 2 jag jeans review
Top: lamixx via Etsy | Jeans: c/o Jag | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelets: Coin Collection (gift), c/o Lifetherapy, c/o LiveTheLook | Necklaces: Etsy (similar), personal charms on a chain

I’ve been really digging off the shoulder tees and sweatshirts lately but the prices I’ve seen are crazy, or else they don’t come in large enough sizes. Etsy to the rescue! I searched off the shoulder and found this sweatshirt from lamixx. It’s as comfy as a sweatshirt but a bit more glam and has become a weekend favorite.  As for this bag, Handbag Heaven sent it to me at the end of 2014 and I’ve been wearing the heck out of it yet never showed it on the blog until now. It’s an amazing price, looks like real leather, comes in three colors, and is the perfect size for concerts and day trips.

Jag Jeans reached out to me recently and asked if I’d like to try some of their collection. I was thrilled as I have been a fan of Jag Jeans for a while. I love the reasonable prices, the classic yet stylish cuts, and that they offer regular, petite, and plus sizes.  I wore these jeans last Thursday and received a ton of compliments, two women asking where I got them.  When they saw the waistband and heard the price they were as psyched as I was about Jag Jeans.  These jeans are so comfortable and flattering to curves; the pull-on waistband gives a smooth line under knit tops and prevents muffin top.  I mentioned on Instagram that I needed to shorten the jeans, but I washed them on hot and dried them and they’re now a better length and size.  Stay tuned as I’ll be featuring other Jag Jeans on the blog in the future!

Free Shipping on all orders! Shop Jag Jeans now!

What I Wore: Certainly Red

Red Print Dress by Triste via Gwynnie Bee free endearment dana clutch in red Red Print Dress by Triste via Gwynnie Bee
Dress: Triste c/o Gwynnie Bee | Bag: ‘Dana’ c/o Free Endearment | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Nordstrom (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Certainly Red’

No matter how carefully I shop, sometimes I am just so sick of everything in my wardrobe. This especially happens at the end of a season when I’m craving different weather and with it different silhouettes. And at these times of the year I am even more glad to have a Gwynnie Bee membership. One of their trademark white boxes arrives at my door and I have the ability to break from my over-worn seasonal wardrobe without spending a ton. And when I tire of the pieces from Gwynnie Bee I can send them back! This dress from Triste comes in a ton of different prints and colors, but I love how this one tricks the eye and creates a bit more of an hourglass shape.

Free Endearment sent me this bag a couple months ago and it’s pretty great. As you see, it’s a nice size and an accordion style so it can hold a ton, plenty of pockets, a magnet closure for security, and a detachable strap. It’s available in a few other colors of leather and right now is on sale. I find my red bags get more use than any other color in my closet because it’s such a perfect accent shade.

What I Wore: It’s Myne

myne heidi dress hobo bags clutch zippers myne heidi dress review

Dress: Myne | Bag: Hobo Bags (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Glasses: Zenni Optical | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Certainly Red’ | Ear Cuffs: Etsy (here and here)

I wrote about this dress in this post. A lot of you wanted to see me in it since I am a very different shape from the model, but it has been too cold to bust out this lightweight silk dress until now. When I bought it I figured I’d style it with peeptoe ankle booties and my wide silver metal plate belt, but once spring arrived I decided I liked it a bit more stripped down. The dress is by the brand Myne, and each time I read the label I say, “It’s MINE!” in the whiny voice I use when I read Emerson her book, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share.  As an FYI, this is a size 10; I originally got a 12 but found it too long for my petite stature.  The 10 fits comfortably but the belt that came with it is too small (no biggie, the belt is kind of ugly and cheap looking).

If you signed up for my monthly Style File newsletter you know that I recently got these glasses. They’re huge, they’re bright, and they’re a lot of fun for a very low price (hello prescription lenses under $30!). I’ve been wearing a lot of red lately – I’ve been doing a red lip almost all winter and have been choosing OPI’s Big Apple Red as my nail polish of choice for almost a year. It made sense if I was going to buy some funky glasses to have them in my current signature shade!

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Now that the cast is off and the swelling has gone down, I can finally get into the spring fashion spirit! Here’s a few things I have recently purchased and like very much:

1. Well all know my adoration for stripes; when I saw this shirt at J. Crew Factory was only $21 I had to try it. I love the fit, the shape, the fabric, everything. It’s tempting to get it in gray as well!

2. I don’t ever shop Walmart, but I was on vacation in a small town where it was the only place to go to get a pair of shorts for Emerson. While there, I found these shorts by Faded Glory for $12.94 and I must say they’re pretty great. Good length that is comfortable yet not dowdy, a bit of stretch so they’re flexible but also keep their shape, and a nice non-dorky wash. Totally got rid of the cheesy neon skinny belt and will likely do an at-home distressing on them, but not too shabby. As with any shorts, I went a size up for a better fit.

3. I don’t own this EXACT shirt from Boden, but unfortunately the one I got is no longer on the site. This shirt featured is the Eliza Top, and I own the Eliza, but in a cerulean and navy stripe (yep MORE stripes!). I absolutely positively LOVE this shirt; I love silk but hate washing it (this shirt is machine washable); I like ¾ and bracelet-length sleeves now to protect my scar but stay breezy (this shirt has it), and I love a top that is casual like a tee but can dress up for work (wearing it right now with a pair of trousers and pumps, looks great tucked into a pencil skirt, and this weekend wore with boyfriend jeans). The Eliza Top from Boden is a regular in their collection and a great addition to many wardrobes!

4. I now own five pairs of Nine West’s Flax pump (black, natural, silver, peacock print, red and black spotted haircalf). I know that seems a bit insane, but it’s a pretty perfect shoe. Single sole, pointed toe, walkable heel height, and a nice price. I’ve been wanting a “nude” leather pointed toe pump for over a year, but find each pair is too pale, too dark, too pink, too something for me. The Flax’s Natural Leather is a pretty perfect shade for me, and I love having a shoe that looks great with both pants and skirts.

5. Another silky shirt with an in-between sleeve length! This is the Sophie Blouse from Dobbin Clothing, and while it has the same basics I like from the Boden Eliza Top, it gives a completely different effect thanks to the details. Slightly crinkled silk, gold buttons down the front, and blousy sleeves. The color makes it work with black, brown, ivory, and denim quite nicely. I often wear this blouse untucked with dark wash narrow jeans, but also wear to work tucked into ivory tropical wool trousers.

6. I mentioned my desire for delicate gold this spring, and I am still loving my Rebecca Minkoff cuff; I also picked up this dangly but not too jingly bracelet from Nordstrom for $24; it doesn’t look cheapy, it’s stretchy and doesn’t get in the way when I type.

7. This Panama hat is only $17 from J. Crew Factory. Runs a bit wide, but I like that because I can twist up my hair and tuck it in the brim to keep my neck cool (or hide bad hair).

8. Me and my Lifetherapy bracelets – it’s an addiction! I love turquoise, I have a few bracelets from the company in blue (see here) so it brightens up my current collection, and this one has an Aquarius symbol! I like that these bracelets are just one long cord; I’ve been known to also wear them as a long necklace with tanks in the summer!

9. Seriously, the Converse Shorelines are my jam! I’ve missed having casual tennis shoes for spring and summer, and these are so easy to slip on, no heel blisters, and no looking as though I’m wearing shoeboxes on my already chubby feet.

10. Linen always looks like such a mess on me.  Well this spring I’ve given up being crisp, and have embraced the casual wrinkled-ness of linen.  My J.Jill white linen big shirt is great knotted over distressed jeans, and these pants (the Julie fit from LOFT) I love with a simple cotton knit sweater, silk blouse, or with a denim shirt.

***

Outfit posts have been few and far between because it was slow and difficult getting dressed with the arm, and honestly pretty depressing. I gained weight and lost muscle being so sedentary during my time on disability, and just putting on a tee shirt could leave me in tears. And then, much of my wardrobe didn’t work with the cast, only having one arm to put myself together after using the bathroom, the stiff swollen arm and all that jazz. But I feel SO much better, have much more flexibility and less swelling and am feeling like myself again. So stay tuned, for actual posts of me wearing these new pieces!

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What I Wore: Crisp Coral

dress 1 dress 4 dress 2
Dress: Ellen Tracy | Belt: Steve Madden | Bag: c/o Novica (from several years ago but it’s still available!) | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: gift (similar)

I wore this dress for Easter; after taking the pictures I wish I had also photographed it with the pink coat I wore over it (this one, you can see the combo here on Instagram). The dress comes with a black and gold belt; I originally planned to pair it with my skinny hot pink patent belt (seen here).  And while the color combo made me quite happy, the belt’s hardware is silver while this dress has a large gold zipper with round gold zipper pull in back.  I tried my yellow croco skinny belt and it looked cartoonish with the mango-orange color.  The rest of my skinny colored belts have silver hardware and my leopard belt looked too wintry so I went with this chain belt, a recent purchase.

I don’t know if Nordstrom recently started carrying Ellen Tracy or if the brand has updated their look, but when seeking out spring dresses at the department store this season it seemed almost every dress I gravitated towards was Ellen Tracy.  Available in regular, petite, and plus sizes and the dresses all hover around $100 for what I find to be stellar quality and flattering cuts that will stay stylish for a while, I have a new favorite dress brand!

More Dresses from Ellen Tracy:

What I Wore: Tux Time

mural 2 mural 1 mural 3
Jacket: Mural | Tank: Lands’ End | Pants: Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Necklace: MYHABIT | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar)

If you follow me on Instagram you know I wore this outfit Thursday night. I was asked by the Junior League of Washington DC to style two looks for their spring fashion show at the Chevy Chase Bloomingdale’s.  I wanted something that would let me get on the floor to adjust a hem, race from the end of the runway taking pictures back to the fitting room to help my model change into her next look, and not be a sweaty grody mess by the end.  I recently picked up this tux-inspired boyfriend blazer from Mural at Nordstrom and felt it was a perfect choice.  I was right, I had a great time, I raced all over the second floor of that department store but still looked relatively put together!  This jacket also comes in hot pink and black, but there’s something great about a white blazer that can make any look fresh and crisp.  Even better when the jacket has pockets big enough to comfortably hold a Tide to Go pen!

Shop the Look:

What I Wore: Springtime Dreamin’

plenty by tracy reese petite dress plety by tracy reese dress plenty tracy reese robin dress
Dress: Plenty by Tracy Reese | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar) | Bracelets: Coin Collection, c/o Lifetherapy, Rebecca Minkoff, c/o LiveTheLook | Earrings: Argento Vivo (similar)

In the shade, this was a bit chilly but in the sunshine it was nice. I’m enjoying the pockets of real spring weather we’re having, though I did NOT enjoy celebrating the first day of spring with snow! I styled this with a black moto jacket, sunglasses, and a bag but honestly I liked the pictures of the dress all by itself.  I mentioned this dress in this post, and just styling it for this post makes me even more eager for warm weather when I can wear it on a regular basis!

What I Wore: Suit Up

wo2 7 wo2 3 alison gary wo2 2 wo2 4
Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Top: ELOQUII via Gwynnie Bee | Belt: Lauren Ralph Lauren (similar) | Pants: LOFT (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: HOBO (similar) | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon in ‘In the Red’

With the change in my company and role over the years, I have fewer and fewer needs for a proper suit. However I can’t stress the importance of still having one for those unexpected moments – an interview, client meeting, conference, business workshop… the pieces can be used separately increasing the price per wear. I purchased this jacket over a year ago from LOFT (last seen on the blog here) and figured it would match black pants from LOFT that I already owned.  Notsomuch, the jacket was a refined twill with a sateen “tux” detail while the rest of my LOFT suiting was more like gabardine.  Then I found these pants on clearance at LOFT this past fall; I think they were meant to be with this jacket!  With the same tux-details and trim as the jacket and the same fabric I have made a match; though it took over a year it also cost less than $100!

I haven’t shared Gwynnie Bee on the blog lately, but that doesn’t mean I am not still a subscriber AND fan!  With the colder weather, I’ve been choosing more casual pieces from Gwynnie Bee; ways to maintain style even when bundled up.  But I saw this ELOQUII top in their collection and had to try it.  As a cusp-sized woman I find ELOQUII to be a hair too big; I sometimes have success with tops and dresses but sometimes find them a hair big for my 5’3″ self.  This top was a bit loose, but adding a belt cinched it and gave it a subtle peplum look that worked with the ruffles at the shoulders and hem.  The top is from a scuba fabric that is uber comfy and doesn’t cling.  I’m a huge fan of ELOQUII and am glad that Gwynnie Bee features them and other hot cusp and plus sized brands!  Gwynnie Bee is offering a 30-day free trial of their program; if you’re size 10 or up it’s worth a try.  I love that for the price of one item I can get three pieces each month in current trends and try out brands I may not otherwise be able to afford.  Click this link to learn more!

I wore this look last Thursday; my dear friend Rosana of DC Style Factory had an event, Skirting the Issue, at Betsy Fisher, where she educated the audience on what skirt was best for each figure and lifestyle need and then had custom fitting by Betsy Garcete at Zophia and personal styling by Rosana and her team.  It was a really fun evening; if you’re in the DC area I can’t recommend DC Style Factory enough for personal styling, closet cleanouts, shopping support and helping you find your personal style.  I’ve recommended DC Style Factory to many Wardrobe Oxygen readers and they have all reported back with rave reviews.  Be sure to follow DC Style Factory on Facebook to learn when they have their next training seminar; I know I’ll be at that one too!

Shop the Looks Featured in this Post:

What I Wore: Casual Camel

hsn iman leather jacket love cortnie bag iman leather jacket hsn
Jacket: IMAN Platinum Genuine Leather Soho Chic Quilted Jacket c/o HSN | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Shoes: Cole Haan (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Love, Cortnie | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Oh this weekend was GLORIOUS! After a ton of snow and sub-zero temps it was nice to be able to take a break from the parks and lug-sole boots! HSN sent me this jacket from their Spring Fashion Collection, The Fashion Edit.  I originally thought it could work with the dress I wore last week, but it fits me more like outerwear than an accent piece.  With the warmer weather, I could finally wear this jacket with a pashmina at my throat and be comfortable!

This jacket is quite lovely, very soft buttery leather and luxe details. It comes in six colors, regular and plus sizes, and the price is amazing for such quality.  One thing I love about HSN is how beautifully things are packaged.  No stuffing everything into a plastic bag, pieces are wrapped with tissue, sealed in stiffer plastic cellophane.  This jacket came on a padded hanger that was wrapped in tissue and all the gold details also wrapped in tissue.  I understand it’s hard to tell what is true and fiction when a blogger receives free merchandise from a brand, but I am seriously impressed with HSN and they quality and brands they offer, and am glad they reached out to partner with me.

This post is not sponsored by HSN. They were kind enough to send me this jacket in hopes I could style it in a previous outfit post. I felt it looked best on its own and chose to wear it in this manner and feature it on the blog.

What I Wore: In the Navy

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #SoleSociety Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Navy and White Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Sole Society Suede Pumps Jacket: Lauren Ralph Lauren (thrifted – similar) | Tank: Boden | Jeans: NYDJ | Bag: c/o Fossil | Watch: Citizen | Shoes: ‘Ena‘ c/o Sole Society

I’ve been hearing about Sole Society for a while and admired their shoes but didn’t know much about the brand or its quality. So when Sole Society contacted me and offered to send me a pair of their shoes to try out, I was pretty excited. While Sole Society has many fun and fashionable styles, I wanted to try a more classic pair that could work at the office. I chose the ‘Ena’ pump; a 2.5″ heel shoe with a pointed toe and bow detail. While it comes in a black and white tweed and mushroom colored suede, I chose navy suede as it is becoming more and more a prominent color in my wardrobe.  I ordered an 8, my regular size and found it to fit like most department store brands of shoes, both in width as well as length.

sole society ena suede pump navy

For this outfit, I styled the Ena Suede Pump in more of a Casual Friday look with dark denim and a navy blazer, but have also worn the pumps with a simple sheath dress and with ivory trousers and a silk tee.  Sole Society is known for high quality shoes, bags, and accessories at amazing prices and these pumps do not disappoint. I think the quality and style rival brands that would sell a similar shoe at twice the price. I also have to say that from the blog end of things, it has been a pleasure working with the people of Sole Society, they’re super nice, personable, and passionate about their brand.  All that and they have a referral program where you can earn a $25 credit for referring friends to Sole Society!

Have you shopped with Sole Society before?  What do you think of the brand?

What I Wore: Monet

gwynnie bee spruce sage dress review hobo bag red leather clutch

outfit blog size 14 mom over 30 wardrobe oxygen

Dress: Spruce & Sage c/o Gwynnie Bee | Shoes: Nine West “Flax” | Bracelet: Nordstrom | Bag: Hobo Bags (similar) | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverZ! | Lipstick: NARS Red Square

Emerson said this dress looked like rose petals underwater. I said it reminded me of a Monet, she quickly agreed which freaked me out because we haven’t really taught her that much about artists. A Monet fan in a past life? Besides the dress being a pretty print, it’s pretty comfortable too. It’s fully lined, but the lining is a bit stretchy and not as hot as a traditional acetate one. While this would look cute with a skinny belt or shoes in one of the great colors of the print, I decided to keep it simple with nude pumps and a fun little bracelet.  And this bag was a Hobo Sample Sale purchase that has given me years of happiness; it has a chain strap making it uber versatile and an unexpected classic.

This dress is a perfect example of why I love Gwynnie Bee; it’s a pretty dress that I kept for more than one wear, but it’s the type of dress I would purchase and then grow tired of before the season is through.  With Gwynnie Bee I can keep and wear as long as I wish and the return for a new dress to love!