Search Results for: label/meme

Meme – Tagged!

I have been tagged a lot lately for awards and memes and I apologize for not doing them. Work has been very busy and I just haven’t had the time I would really like to blog. However the utterly fabulous Weasel at La Belette Rouge tagged me for one JUST as I was having lunch so I decided to play!

Eleven Things About Me:

1. Clothes Shop: Banana Republic (shocker… can’t wait until I can shop there again!)

2. Furniture Shop: Oooh good question. Haven’t bought furniture in so long, I am looking for recommendation as that we hope to get a new couch and dining table with the remodel!

3. Sweet: In small doses and only for special occasions, I love Lindt’s white chocolate truffles. Right now I have been craving Breyers Chocolate Crackle ice cream – it is their classic vanilla with little bean flecks, but has ribbons of chocolate (like Magic Shell) through it. Tres yum!

4. City: Charlottesville, VA. My husband and I visited a year or so ago and it was a wonderful trip – great food, great music, great history, great nature activities and great people.

5. Drink: San Pelligrino with fresh lime and crushed ice. If I weren’t pregnant I would be talking about Grey Goose vodka and bold red wines. But lately sparkling waters and seltzers are my indulgence.

6. Music: Like Weasel, I too adore Morrissey! I have adored him since high school. My boyfriend at the time was a huge huge Morrissey/Smiths fan and we went to see Morrissey at Merriweather Post Pavillion. We had great seats and brought daisies and homemade tee shirts to throw at him on the stage. He picked up and smelled the daisies we threw! Swoon!

Other than that, my classic two favorite bands are REM and Pearl Jam – I obviously went to high school in the early ‘90s, huh? I also have a big place in my heart for women rockers who write powerful lyrics.

7. TV Series: I DVR Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model and How I Met Your Mother. When it’s running, I am also a Lost addict.

8. Film: The Thomas Crown Affair – seen both but love the more recent one most. Just saw it last week and I still adore it – the clothes, the story, the locations, the people… oh so lovely! Rene Russo in Celine is perfection!

9. Workout: Yoga, duh!

10. Pastries: Wow, that’s a tough one. I am not a huge pastry person. My dad used to get me a Boston Cream Pie for my birthdays when I was a kid so I have a soft spot for them. I do love a well-made macaroon and lately have had cravings for dark chocolate-covered graham crackers.

11. Coffee: Haven’t had much lately other than huge cravings for a java chip frappucino from Starbucks. Before I was carrying around spawn, I liked plain iced coffee, good diner coffee with one Splenda and a touch of cream, and occasionally a little seasonal latte from Starbucks. But really, I like my coffee simple, hot and fresh.

Okay, your turn! I am nominating La Femme Couture, Christina’s Favorite Things (seems appropriate!), Things a Boutique Owner Sees, and Notes from the Laundromat.

Belated Meme!

Oh geez, I have been so busy this season I haven’t been keeping up with my favorite blogs and it took until TODAY for me to realize that the lovely Amarie at Secondhand Style tagged me for a meme! Well here we go!

What four things do you love most about living in France?
Well, like Amarie, I do not live in France. I have only been there one and that was for a three-day layover in Paris before heading to Norway. However I am drawn to French style and have met many a wonderful woman on the French Chic message board!
1. The way that many French people seem to understand their personal style. Unlike many Americans, the French and other European countries do not fear showing their personality with their wardrobe and style choices.
2. The food! Smaller portions, but better ingredients really forces you to slow down and savor your meal.
3. Like Amarie, the cheese. I love cheese, the French love cheese. Cheese is fabulous.
4. The beautiful history and age in the buildings. Just walking around Paris is gorgeous and you are surrounded by such architecture that doesn’t exist in a country as young as America.

What four most memorable jobs have you had?

1. I was a waitress for less than a week at a Mexican restaurant. my sister worked there, I needed money, they hired me. I sucked at it and never returned. I am the queen of retail, but I was not born to wait tables.
2. I was a lifeguard for many many years. My favorite stint was at a country club where we didn’t have uniforms and I could twirl my whistle in the chair while wearing a bikini, getting a killer tan and attend their parties, drink on the company dime and race around the golf course in carts. Great summer job during college!
3. Manager at a fraternity and sorority merchandise store in college. This job taught me that I had a passion for retail, that I was good at training others, and that I wanted someday to be my own boss. I loved the trade shows, creating the training manuals, the behind-the-scenes goodies like P&L, inventory and accounting. I loved when a random idea thought up on the way to work could take place (the owner trusted me) and I would see an increase in the sales because of it.
4. Working for Express. I started as a sales associate, worked my way up to Assistant, Partner, Manager and then Visual Merchandiser. I worked in 12 different locations. I learned more in my five years with Express than my five years of college. I really got to understand fashion and how it worked for different women, got to understand how retail therapy really IS a form of therapy, and how $1 crap can be sold for $150 and we are suckered into paying those prices.

Four quirky things about the way I eat (and drink):

1. I love pepperoncinis. Like, I will eat three for dessert, I put them in my salads, on my sandwiches, in a bit of foil for a mid-day snack at work. I like them soggy, and I like their vinegar spicy brine too.
2. I hate food that is warm and sweet. Plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce, maple syrup, hot chocolate, hot brownie sundaes… I like my chocolate cold and my entrees savory.
3. I like my food separate. No putting a bit of each part of my meal on one fork, or mushing things up on my plate. I like my salad in a separate bowl so dressing doesn’t get on anything else.
4. Um… I am a vegetarian. I eat eggs and cheese, but drink soy milk and do not eat fish, pork, chicken, beef or any other animal.

What are your four favorite foods?

1. Thai – the combo of the coconut, the curry, the spicy, the peanuts…
2. Sushi – yes, even as a vegetarian
3. my mom’s recipe for macaroni and cheese – I don’t have it often so when I do it is quite a treat.
4. Cheese

Four recipes you cook all the time?
Well, I don’t really use recipes. I often read them for inspiration but do my own thing. I also do “pantry-cleaning” meals where I make a dish from what is on hand at the end of a week. However some of my favorites:
1. Steamed artichokes. I steam them with garlic and Herbs de Provence and a tiny bit of olive oil, serve on a bed of steamed brown rice with hollandaise sauce on the side.
2. Last night I made the BEST meal – one acorn squash for $1.53. Cut in half, scooped out the seeds. I drizzled olive oil, crushed red pepper, black pepper, oregano and salt on them, put them in a baking dish at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then covered with foil for 15 more. In the mean time I took a take-out box of leftover steamed rice, 1/3 a bag of faux ground beef, two stalks of celery finely chopped, a handful of raisins finely chopped, leftover piece of portabella mushroom chopped up, a few cloves of garlic minced, some ketchup, various spices, a splash of the cab I was drinking and a little bit of olive oil and sauteed all this goodness up. Stuffed it into the squash halves, sprinkled a bit of mozzarella on top and cooked uncovered until the cheese was melted. Soo good and such a great way to clean out the fridge!
3. Chipotle night – I warm some whole wheat tortillas, make some vegetarian taco filling and mix it with black beans and some spices, steam up rice with a touch of lime juice and cilantro, put out guacamole, sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped red onion, shredded lettuce, salsa and hot sauce and we have an assembly line on the counter.
4. Another pantry cleanser – some Quorn brand chicken cubes, the last dredges of a container of sour cream, can of diced tomatoes, leftover bits of onion, peppers and garlic sauteed up, the three last olives in jar chopped, the half-glass of leftover wine, a touch of dijon mustard over pasta. It’s all about starting with the garlic and onion – nice and caramelized and soft and then everything builds upon that.

A Thanksgiving Meme…

Thanksgiving in my family is a big deal; my mom is from New England and other than the year my father passed away, the meal has always been at her house. Each year the crowd changes, but the spirit is the same. We invite any family that is in town (and when I say family, it is from my mom’s side, my dad’s side, my husband’s side, my cousin’s wife’s side… we’re not particular) and any friends who either can’t or won’t head home for the holiday. Some friends like Jake and Shelly are now family for attending multiple years in a row. This year is low on blood family (everyone is using this year to visit the other sides of the tree) but high on adopted family (Shelly will bring her boyfriend to celebrate their first Turkey Day together, Jake will be there, and there may be a few other friends along with me, my husband, my sister and my mom).

Each year, my mom cooks a big turkey to perfection with her own recipe of stuffing. This year since I am a vegetarian, my hubby and I will have these turk’y roll-ups that are breaded and have cranberry stuffing inside. Along with the turkey, we ALWAYS have squash, roasted sweet potatoes, boiled onions, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pickles, olives and amazing homemade mashed potates. And of course homemade gravy. For dinner my mom makes an apple pie, my sister is making a pecan one, Shelly is bringing bread pudding and I believe Jake is bringing a pumpkin pie. Of course Cool Whip and Breyer’s ice cream to top all the desserts!

We eat on the china that was my grandparent’s and the crystal that was my parent’s wedding gift and use silver that has been passed down many generations. We use the green tablecloth because it accents the china nicely and feels festive. We hold hands, say a quick grace, and then in honor of my father, repeat what he always said before carving the turkey, “Good Food, Good Meat, Good God Let’s Eat!”

Much wine is consumed, my sister and I get giggly, the boys go to the basement to watch sports, and then depending on the weather, we either fall into a food coma watching TV, or take a brisk walk around the block to aid digestion. This year, my sister, husband, friends and I will be participating in the DC Turkey Trot to benefit S.O.M.E. I thought it would be cool to wear matching scarves as a Turkey Trot team (and Old Navy fleece scarves are on sale $5 if you purchase 2 or more) but the boys in the group protested. Guess boys don’t find matching scarves cute – us girls were all for it!

I was tagged by both Julie at the JQ Lounge and Shell at Skybluepink to do a meme about seven things one may not know about me. I find these memes so darn tough because I am a very open person and I am not sure what people don’t know and hate to be repetitive.

So stealing an idea from my dear friend Amanda, I will list seven things I am thankful for, in honor of tomorrow, my favorite holiday of the year.

1. I am thankful for a quality, not quantity family. I don’t have grandparents or many cousins, aunts and uncles who are still alive, but those I do have are so wonderful. I have a very special connection with my sister and mom, have some great cousins that I am glad to have as friends as well as family, and two aunts who are fabulous people (and married some fabulous men to be in my family!).

2. I am thankful for Skim Pumpkin Spice Lattes, No Whip. Without them, my last day at work (and days where I need an extra pick-me-up) wouldn’t be so sweet… or spicy!

3. I am thankful for my husband, who on December 27, 1992 I feel hard for (yes Virginia, there is love at first sight!) and loved me ever since, despite me stealing the majority of the closet, making him into a metrosexual, spending too many hours on the laptop blogging and filling the bathroom with so many beauty products, some of his stuff has been pushed to the linen closet in the hallway. But in all seriousness, he and I have progressively gotten better and better, more and more in love with one another and I begin to tear up just thinking about how awesome he is, and how awesome we are as a team.

4. I am thankful for Banana Republic’s fall/winter collection. FINALLY this company has gotten it right – chic styles, great colors and fabrics, back to their original great quality and it fits me too!

5. I am thankful for the amazing friends in my life. The older I have gotten, the stronger my friendships have become with women. I am thankful for my gaggle of girlfriends that I can rely on no matter what (Debbie, Shelly, Beth, Amanda for starters…), as well as the new friends I have made through the blogosphere.

6. I am thankful for blogs. Many find them to be silly and trivial and strange (um, posting my picture, tummy rolls and all for public consumption?), but through then I have met some amazing people, have been inspired, have found self-confidence and the ability to love all of me, belly rolls and fat calves and all. I see how blogs bring people together, open up the world and really allow people to be loved, respected and appreciated for being just themselves. It’s a pretty awesome community!

7. I am thankful for change – I have felt a bit stagnant and frustrated lately and realized that life has been very… status quo lately. Same job, same relationship, same house, sma weekend activities… all very good but all very comfortable. I am looking forward to a new job to jump-start my brain and my creativity!

Now, I am tagging Shar, Toya, Anna, Catie, Linda, Morgan and Gervy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The Writing’s on the Wall… of my Blog… (Meme)

So I was visiting my friend Nicole’s blog (won’t link because she likes her job – and not for them to read her blog) and she did a meme that involves handwriting.

Interest piqued!

I used to get failing grades in handwriting when in elementary school.  I hold writing utensils in a weird way, where I have two to three fingers on top of the pen, versus the standard one finger (I say this is a good thing since Princess Diana and Michael Jackson both supposedly held writing utensils in the same manner).  This caused my handwriting to slant in 50 different directions.  I would come home with that mushy wide-rule paper with big red slashes through it, showing my crooked illegible cursive.

I decided to embrace my handwriting, make it an art form, love it for what it was.  I love my handwriting, and I LOVE to write.  I write in journals not to pen my thoughts, but for the relaxing meditative results of pen to paper.  I prefer old-school college-rule spiral notebooks (the more subjects the better) and a black pen with a medium tip that just glides across the paper.  Seriously, I dig my Bic.

So the meme is – write the answers to these questions on a piece of paper:

  1. What’s your name/your blogger name?
  2. What’s your blog’s name/URL?
  3. Write “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (original meme forgot the word brown)
  4. Favorite quote?
  5. Your Favorite song?
  6. Your favorite band/singers?
  7. Anything else you want to say?
  8. Tag three to five other people.

As you see above (if you can read my handwriting), I am tagging everyone who wants to participate.  I would love to see your handwriting!  Blogging is a great way to connect with fab people from across the globe, but we rarely get to know regular in person things about our blogging friends – what we sound like, how we laugh, what our handwriting looks like.  Gosh in this day and age, how many of us still write on a daily basis?

I want to know you better!  If you do this meme, come back here and let me know so I can get to know you better!

And if you would like to know more about what your handwriting says about you, check out these links:
http://www.personalityquiz.net/innertraits/handwriting.htm
http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/handwriting_analysis/handwriting_analysis_instructions.asp
http://handwriting.feedbucket.com/

Thursday: Mementoes

Tee: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Halogen (similar) | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: Nine West | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Pin: Belonged to my cousin | Gold bracelet with tassel: J. Crew (similar) | Gold and blue bracelet: c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot

Today I didn’t feel like wearing anything complicated, but because it was a simple palette, I felt I could carry off a lot of accessories. Another of my dad’s ascots, today I held in place with a pin that belonged to my cousin, Amy. When she passed, her sister gave me her “A” jewelry and it’s so nice to be able to wear them and think of/honor her. The blue and gold bracelet is called the “Emerson,” of course I loved the name and love the look of it!

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I Have Been Tagged!

Lisa at Blonde Thoughts tagged me for this meme. Thanks Lisa!

Four Jobs I Have Had In My Life
1. Lifeguard
2. Assistant at a florist
3. Manager of a shop that sold fraternity and sorority merchandise
4. Sales associate at Garden Botanika (remember them?)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over and Over
1. Heathers
2. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion
3. Amelie
4. Tombstone

Four TV Shows I Like to Watch
1. America’s Next Top Model (guilty pleasure!)
2. Project Runway
3. Jeopardy
4. Lost

Four Places I Have Vacationed
1. Costa Rica
2. Norway
3. Bermuda
4. Maine

Four Of My Favorite Dishes
1. My mom’s recipe for macaroni and cheese (addictive!)
2. the Athenian Omelet at Plato’s Diner
3. A salad with goat or blue cheese, some nuts, fruit… lots of interesting textures
4. Almost anything Mexican, Thai or spicy

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Gmail
2. MySpace (another guilty pleasure)
3. The Sartorialist
4. I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?

Four Places I Would Rather be
1. At the beach
2. On my deck in my backyard
3. At the National Gallery of Art
4. At an outdoor cafe with a glass of white wine, fun finger food and a gaggle of friends

Four Bloggers I am Tagging:
Ack! You kill me guys! Let’s see…
1. Kelli at The Cooking Id
2. Morgan at Cult of the Black Sweater
3. Christina at Pink Chick
4. Anne at Bananza80

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: FabSugar.com. 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?


Fit
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.


Style
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.

The A to Z of Me

I don’t do a lot of memes, but I found this one pretty entertaining. Also, it’s Saturday night, my husband is at a concert and I should be cleaning but instead I am procrastinating on the Internet. I have learned a lot of fun things about other bloggers who have completed this (such as Beautifully Invisible), and thought you may enjoy it too!

A. Age: 36, and damn proud of it!

B. Bed size: Queen. We considered upping to a king but after vacationing for a week in such a big bed we decided to stay as-is. We like having our own space, but knowing that snuggling is just a foot away.

C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning the bathroom, especially the tub. But I do it because I do a far better job than my husband. When he cleans the bathroom he says he “buffed it up.” I don’t want to know what that means, so I head in there with a bottle of BioKleen All Purpose Cleaner, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s and a box of baking soda (mix the last two for a great eco-friendly soft scrub).

D. Dogs: I have three – a 12-year old Boxer and two blonde rescue dogs of unknown origin and age. We adopted the two blondies when my father-in-law passed away at the end of 2008. It has been a rough transition, it’s true what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks. However, they are family and we love them.

E. Essential start to your day: A hardcore teeth brushing and flossing. I brush my teeth at least four times a day.  And coffee (3/4 of a Splenda, splash of French Vanilla La Creme).

I like orange. The painters thought I was insane.

F. Favorite color: Rainbow? If I have to pick one, it would be orange. My half-bath is bright orange and it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house. Though bright green is a close second fave.

G. Gold or Silver: Silver. I do wear a lot of gold lately, but am still partial to silver!

H. Height: 5’3”

I. Instruments you play: I took piano lessons until 8th grade and then decided boys were more interesting. I can still read music, but don’t know any songs by memory other than Heart and Soul and Chopsticks.

J. Job title: My 9-5 title is Senior Web Meetings Manager, but I do much more than that. How about High Priestess of Web Communications? Think they would be okay with that on a business card?

My favorite little person

K. Kids: Emerson Elaine – she’s two and a half, she cracks me up and amazes me on a daily basis.

L. Live: The ‘burbs outside of DC.

Me & Sister with Mommy

M. Mother’s name: I call her Mommy. My friends even call her Mommy.

N. Nicknames: Allie by those who read my blog or knew me before high school, Beeb by my husband, Mommy by Emerson, Sister by my sister (she calls me Sister, as in, “Sister, what would you like to drink?” I also call her Sister).

O. Overnight hospital stays: Other than being born, never until I was induced to deliver Emerson. I hope that is the last time.

P. Pet peeves: People who talk on cell phones when in public bathroom stalls. Women who pee on public toilet seats and don’t clean up after themselves. Folks who don’t realize that in DC on escalators it’s Stand to the Right, Walk to the Left. Judgmental parents.

No one at Westerberg is going to let you play their reindeer games. 

Q. Quote from a movie: I have one from Heathers that I quote, especially after a couple glasses of wine. I won’t write it here, but you can find it here at 0.54. I can almost quote the entirety of Heathers.

R. Right or left handed: Right.

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.  Never had to have a chaperone, no sir, I’m there to keep my eye on her.

S. Siblings: Sister. She’s three years younger, one of my best friends, and the first I go to when I need style (home or fashion or life) advice.

T: Time you wake up: Between 4:30 – 5:45 on weekdays, on weekends I usually sleep in until 7.  If I didn’t have dogs or a child to wake me, I still think I would be up by 8am.

U. Underwear: Hanky Panky retro thongs – comfy, pretty, and they don’t roll down or cut the lower tummy. Love them!

V. Vegetable you hate: Eggplant. Yeah, made it pretty hard back when I was a vegetarian.

W. What makes you run late: Blogging, surfing the ‘net, my husband. If I didn’t have a netbook or a husband I would be 15 minutes early to everything. I am never on time, I am either uber early or slightly late.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: My hands and feet and ankles 50,000 times (I am a klutz and have broken or sprained almost every bone from my wrists down and my ankles down).

Y. Yummy food that you make: I don’t have a signature dish, but I love to cook. I’m pretty good with making off the cuff meals from the randomness leftover in the pantry and fridge.

Z. Zoo animal: None. I don’t like zoos. I haven’t been to one since I was in elementary school. I find them sad, and every time I have been I have gotten stung by a bee.

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to read your responses, so if you choose to do this meme, please leave a link in the comments!

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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!





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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesCole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
BagSabina
Silver cuff

I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!

New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it.  I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!

Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!

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Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Wednesday


Black cashmere tank from Banana Republic, black ponte jacket from Banana Republic Outlet, Chinese red shantung skirt from Banana Republic (definite theme here!), leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren.

Hair was washed and conditioned, dried with my Croc wet-to-dry iron. No products.’

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory over whole lid. Lashes curled, two coats Cover Girl Lash Blast and one of Imju Fiberwig. Maybelline Ultraliner in black on top lash line and on lips is some Revlon Shiny Sheers in a sheer red that I left at home by accident so do not have to read the label.

I am not really sure what is going on with the layout of my posts; I have not done anything different so it must be that Blogger is being stupid again.

This outfit is inspired by Catie’s contest at Cuffington. This outfit makes me fabulous inside… though notsomuch when I walk past my reflection in a window. I adore this skirt, it is so much fun and the color is awesome. The cashmere tank is really thick and I have had it for years and got it for like $10 on the clearance rack. Jacket has given me many miles and I love its versatility and the shoes… oh I love these shoes so much I have two pairs of them! All that is missing is my silver cuff, this great green ring I bought at a Ren Fest and my wedding tiara and I would be wearing almost all my favorite things! :) Too bad this skirt isn’t the most flattering (the one my husband says makes me look like Mimi from Drew Carey) or I would wear it every week! :)

Thursday

Black stretch v-neck from Banana Republic, white twill cuffed cropped pants from Casual Corner, black leather thong heeled sandals from Mossimo, multiple skinny silver bangles from Ann Taylor Loft, black leather and silver necklace from Chico’s.

Hair is weird. In the shower I was considering loose messy waves and the front feathered out. Yeah, I watched Jessica Simpson’s stupid new video and was slightly inspired. So I added Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Spray, blew hair straight letting it do as it pleased, twisting some pieces. It ended up looking damaged and gross. I continued blowing, using a paddle brush, that made some difference. I then blew the front with a round boar bristle brush and then applied bioSilk so it didn’t look as much like straw…. not my best hair day.

Makeup is L’Oreal True match foundation in C3, MAC Studio Stick concealer, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer for color and powder, a bit of Nars Orgasm blush. Eyes is the ivory shadow from Revlon’s ColorStay Neutral shadow quad, then The Body Shop’s 08 (Granite) in the lids and along the lash line. lashes curled via Shu Eumura and two coats of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black applied. On lips is Sally Hansen’s diamond lipgloss in a hot pink (the label with the name fell off).

Friday Favorite: The Body Shop Satsuma Shower Gel

body shop satsuma shower gel

From fall 2001 to the beginning of 20014, I was a trainer for The Body Shop stores. After many years in apparel and merchandising I desired a change. I was making a concerted effort to get out of debt, and it would be easier without temptation around me and the need to be dressed in the latest and greatest (hello all-black dress code!). And it worked, I not only got out of debt, but I learned a lot about skincare and ingredients, how to be profitable and philanthropic at the same time, and finally how to properly apply eye shadow!

When I worked for The Body Shop back in the early oughts, we would burn fragrance oils in an aroma jar at the front entrance. I learned quickly that a blend of Satsuma and Exotic oils would bring in customers from all over the mall, and it would be easy to sell them a jar, bag of candles, those two oils and much more. After two and a half years with the company I couldn’t stand the smell of Exotic but I never tired of Satsuma. After leaving the company I’d still buy the shower gel and glycerin soap bars. It’s a sweet orange scent that doesn’t get weird, isn’t too fruity or pungent, and is a nice pick-me-up in the morning. But with time I forgot about Satsuma and moved on to new brands and different scents.

When my arm broke, I realized simple things like squeezing shower gel onto a pouf or washcloth were nearly impossible. I went on a hunt for spray and pump products that could be used with one hand and came back to The Body Shop. I ordered a bottle of Satsuma shower gel… and I don’t think I’ll go back to any other bath products!

Not only do I love the clementine scent, I love how it doesn’t dry my skin. It doesn’t scent my skin, so no competing with perfume or lotions but it does scent the main floor after a hot bath or shower. Even Karl uses it! A little goes a long way; I bought a 25 oz. bottle in February and just hit the bottom of the label and that includes all the times I indulged in very bubbly baths. While it’s a perfect summer scent, I know I’ll love it in the colder months too. A little bit of sunshine with every shower or bath!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Practical Pal

We all have that friend or relative who doesn’t NEED anything and finds most traditional gifts frivolous. While she may be perfectly happy with a gift card to Target, it’s nice to buy actual gifts for people to unwrap and realize you thought of them. While I have been scouring the web for other posts, I’ve been bookmarking things I find to be so practical yet lovely that most anyone would like it as a gift. All of these are under $100 and have free shipping.

gift guide practical presents holiday

1. Large Personalized Canvas Tote – $34.50

A little secret, this is one of my favorite baby and bridal shower gifts. While many sizes of this tote are available, I find the Large Tote to be the most versatile size. It can be a beach bag, overnight bag, reusable grocery tote, tote all your kid’s toys to grandma’s, tote your dirty clothes to the Laundromat… I love carrying potluck items in it – I wrap the casserole in towels on the bottom and on top I can put a 6-pack, bottle of wine, present for the hostess and it won’t topple over in the trunk on the way there. Personalization is free, making it the gift she didn’t think she needed but will be using regularly for years.

2. Stabilicers Lite Hikers – $29.95

I may be biased from my ice slip last year, but this was an AWESOME gift from my sister. They’re rubber so they stretch over shoes pretty easily, and are easy to slip off once you get to your destination. A great choice for anyone in an icy location, and especially good for those who aren’t as steady on their feet (or fear black ice after a previous fall, jus’ sayin’…). Do know they run a bit small, if unsure go up a size because they still won’t be too big for boots and sturdier shoes.

3. Starbucks Stainless Travel Mug – $19.95

Almost ten years ago, I won a $50 Starbucks card and I bought that year’s version of this mug. And I am still using that mug today. Most travel mugs get weird with time – the lids get stretched out, they leak, the double walled system separates. Not this baby. While it doesn’t look brand new any more, it keeps my coffee hotter longer than any other mug I’ve had, fits in all the cupholders in both of our cars, and it holds a full 16 ounces. This is something that is worth spending a bit extra and your loved one will thank you five years from now when she’s still reaching for it for her daily work commute. Do note, this isn’t one with free shipping (it is on Amazon with free Prime shipping but costs $10 more), but I’ve seen it in several Starbucks locations this year so it’s easy to pick up in person. If you plan to buy more at Starbucks, code AFF10 should give you 10% off your first purchase with them online plus free shipping if you spend at least $65.

4. Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite – $99

I got one free last year as part of a blogger promotion and it made me a Paperwhite convert. My mom bought her boyfriend one last Christmas and he loves it. Long battery life, great for the practical person who doesn’t want to add more stuff to her house, and especially nice for those with poor vision or dexterity. While the newest generation Paperwhites are $119, you can find perfectly good refurbished ones under $100 and Amazon provides a 1-year limited warranty and proper packaging so you can feel good giving refurbished as a quality gift.

5. Portable Power Bank – $49.95

The more we rely on our smartphones, the faster we deplete their batteries. This compact charger that isn’t much bigger than a smartphone adds a boost of power to small appliances just when you need it most.

6. Silk Long Johns and Socks – Starting at $17

Of course you better know the person quite well to give such a gift, but it’s likely one that will be loved and well used by the recipient for many years to come. Since he doesn’t read my blog I’ll let you know I got Karl the Silk Interlock Crew and Pants for a gift this year (thank you Lands’ End for carrying it in Tall!) and I know he’ll go gaga for it while he usually finds most gifts silly. Lands’ End has a great return policy, are known for quality, and have a nice variety and pricepoint making it a good destination for such gifts.

7. Legacybox – Starting at $75

What a cool concept; fill a Legacybox with old films, photos, slides, negatives, tapes and more and send it back with the pre-paid shipping label and they will carefully digitize all your memories. You will get back all your original memories as well as DVDs with your digital copies. At the time of writing this, if you visited the site and provided your email you’d automatically get a 25% off coupon and last week I received a coupon for 40% off and a promise to have Legacybox delivered in time for Christmas.

8. Adult Shearling Insoles – $16

Slip them into a pair of your tall leather or snow boots for warmth and comfort or give new life to an old pair of slippers. Made from natural shearling which wicks moisture and EVA foam which adds cushioning, these would be a welcome treat for anyone’s tootsies this winter.

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Black Knit Moto Jacket – Gap (no longer available online but you may find in their stores in black or gray)
Black Ponte Dress with Exposed Back Zipper – LOFT (no longer available online which is a shame because I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress!)
Belt – Ann Taylor (bought a couple years ago)
Black Patent Mary Janes – Nine West (see below)


Shop your closet, folks. Shop your closet!

I have been spending this week doing a hardcore closet clean-out.  I dumped everything out of my bureau and only put back that which I like.  I made one bag of things to donate, and one bag of things to put on eBay.  Now I am working on my closet.  I took everything out that is too small, too big, too ugly, too worn.  There’s a pile of items to repair, and then I added to my two bags.

I am putting all my shoes in boxes on the shelf, because the floor of the closet it a bit of a No Mans Land. My dogs sometimes like to take a nap in there, my husband uses it as a place to throw things and close the door when people come over, I often find Emerson’s books and toys hidden in corners… anyway it’s a bad place to keep shoes. I opened each box to ensure the shoes inside match the label on the outside… and found these shoes!

Long-time readers may remember them. I saw them at Nordstrom a couple years ago and HAD TO HAVE THEM. They only had them in 7. I ordered them, and they were far too small. I started searching online for these shoes from another retailer and found then for half the price of Nordstrom, but only in an 8. I ordered them anyway… and they were too big. I think I wore them twice, both times bad experiences with rubbing, blisters, and carefully shuffling from Metro to office. After that, I shoved them in the box, stuck them in the back of the closet and figured I would eventually put them on eBay.

Well last night I found them and tried them on… and now they fit! Not only do they fit, they are pretty comfy! I am so excited because on my shopping list I had a pair of patent Mary Janes. Granted, I wanted all black with a pointy toe and a slimmer heel, but these are pretty stellar. I had a stranger stop me on the street and ask me who made my shoes and two coworkers said they are “Fierce.” Hooray!

Tonight I hope to finish the closet and this weekend hope to tackle the attic. After that I will be posting even more stuff on eBay – check it out!